Got questions about labeling or organizing your plants? We’re here to help. Enjoy our blog “Metal to the Petal” to find ideas, images and answers as you keep your garden organized. We invite you to comment and share!
Winter Doesn’t Have to be Boring With Creative Landscaping Ideas
It’s hard not to feel a tinge of sadness amid the excitement as a lush green summer gives way to fall’s explosion of color. The changing leaves are beautiful, but there’s the knowledge that bare trees and dull lawns will shortly follow. With a few new landscaping ideas, your winter garden doesn’t have to be spent simply waiting for spring to arrive.
Many of your plants, trees and grasses will grow dormant, but there are some species that are ideal choices for keeping your winter garden vibrant and other ideas for helping you enjoy the view out your window this winter:
Try new, winter-friendly landscaping ideas. You’re often limited to evergreens for enjoying color during the winter, but there are a few plants that you can choose for your garden that will bring color to your landscape in the winter. There are several varieties of the Lenten Rose, which is a flowering perennial that blooms from January until March. Its stem makes a nice winter bouquet if you cauterize the stem to prevent sap from flowing.
You can also plant an unusual conifer tree called Techny Gold that has gold foliage and only becomes more intense with color during the winter months. If conifers don’t appeal to you, try a Colored-twig Dogwood, which can produce bright yellow, orange or red stems that are visually appealing against a largely colorless backdrop.
Add a colorful container. Brighten up your landscaping with some brightly colored containers and add your favorite winter plants. Many ornamental grasses, like Carex Toffee Twist or fountain grass are beautiful even in dormancy. You can also add small conifers to containers, choosing small varieties like False Cypress and Juniper that can be tucked in anywhere you need a spot of color.
Depending on where you live, you may also be able to add in some flowering plants that thrive in the winter, such as the Pansy or Primrose. Some edible plants make nice winter additions too, like Kale or Swiss Chard.
Entice animals to come and play. Birds are particularly good at livening up your winter garden. Provide a water source with a heated dog bowl to attract birds. Get creative with sticks or rocks to prevent the birds from bathing in the water, which can be dangerous for them in cold weather. You can also freeze cranberries into a mold to provide a treat for your feathered visitors. If you live in a rural area, put a salt lick out for deer or make a corncob available for chipmunks.
A winter garden doesn’t have to be bleak and boring. The right plants and a few colored pots, plus a way to attract animals can make your winter garden fun. You may find that with some clever landscaping ideas, you feel a little excited about the coming winter.
Take the opportunity to label your winter garden with Kincaid Plant Markers. Designed for use year after year, Kincaid Plant Markers are made for a lifetime of gardening.
Tips for Choosing the Best Pumpkin Varieties for Gardening at Home
The first cool mornings, school buses rumbling through the neighborhoods and yellow leaves appearing on a few trees all signal one thing: fall is here and it’s time to eat and celebrate all things pumpkin. If you’re gardening at home and wanting to grow the perfect pumpkin for carving or for pie, there is a wide variety to choose from.
While the world around you is obsessed with sprinkling pumpkin spice on every food product in sight, you’re looking for the real thing. Whether you’re gardening at home or just trying to choose the right variety at the pumpkin patch, there are a few tips to know about choosing the best pumpkin variety:
A few basics: First, did you know that pumpkins are a fruit, not a vegetable? They come from a family of fruits known as Cucurbitaceae, which includes other familiar favorites like cucumbers and watermelons. When you choose a pumpkin, look for consistent color and a nice solid bottom. A green stem indicates recent picking.
The best carving pumpkins: When you’re ready to decorate your front porch with a toothy, glowing smile, opt for a variety like “Rock Star,” “Aladdin” or “Charisma.” It’s likely that you can find these varieties when choosing seeds, but the finished product at your local supermarket will likely just be labeled as a carving pumpkin.
It’s pie time: Your best choice for baking a pumpkin pie is not a pumpkin at all. The best results are achieved with a butternut squash or an acorn squash. If you’re a bit tied to the idea of your pumpkin pie containing the real thing, though, you can try a “Baby Pam,” also known as a sugar pumpkin, or the “Cinderella” variety.
You’ve already had dessert, but…: After you’ve polished off your pre-dinner pie, enjoy a pot of pumpkin soup. The best results come with a buttercup pumpkin. If you’re using a sweeter pumpkin, some cooks like to temper the pumpkin with a bit of sweet potato, which can also improve the texture of your soup.
Like other fruit in this family, pumpkin can be a little more challenging to transform it into something edible. Try roasting your pumpkin brushed with olive oil or sauté it with some butter. Both will soften up your pumpkin for easier handling and impart some extra flavor to your recipe, too.
Whether you’re headed to the store to grab ingredients for your famous pumpkin pie, or you’re simply in the planning stages for gardening at home next spring, fall isn’t complete without pumpkins.
When you plant your pumpkins, don’t forget to label them properly with Kincaid Plant Markers. They’ll help you distinguish your carving pumpkins from your pie pumpkins so that you can give them individualized care all season.
Plant Some History in Your Garden With These Gardening Tips
Once you’ve begun growing vegetables in your own garden, you’ll find commercial produce just doesn’t compare when it comes to taste. Varieties found in the grocery store might be big and flashy, but they lack taste and depth of color. One of the gardening tips that can further shape the taste advantage of a home garden is the use of heirloom vegetables.
You may immediately think of tomatoes when heirloom gardening is mentioned, but there are heirloom seeds for a variety of vegetables, like cabbage, squash and a host of other options. You could enjoy the same taste in your squash that Native Americans have harvested for hundreds of years, or a pepper that thrives in the French countryside. If you’re looking for gardening tips to put a little history in your garden, then heirloom varieties are for you.
Heirloom vegetables taste better. Commercial seeds are bred for a couple of priorities, including their ability to ship without damage and their yield. What is often sacrificed is taste. Heirloom vegetables are preserved generation after generation and the result is superior taste and color that makes commercial varieties seem flat by comparison.
You’ll enjoy yield all season. Commercial vegetables are also modified to produce one big harvest so that they can be gathered up and shipped out all at once. If you’d rather choose tomatoes every week for your salads and BLTs, then opting for an heirloom will give you enjoyment of your vegetables all summer.
Gardening with heirlooms saves you money. Not only are the seeds less costly than commercial breeds, but if you save the seeds for next year, your cost of planting goes down to zero. Heirloom seeds are open pollinated, which means that you can replant them the next year.
Your seeds will be adapted to local threats. When you choose a local heirloom, your seeds will be naturally resistant to local pest and weather conditions. You can further bolster your vegetables against threats by choosing the seeds from your best and most robust plants each year for planting the next year. You’ll have cultivated a sturdy set of plants that are likely to withstand bugs and storms more than a commercial breed that was cultivated for another climate.
Heirloom plants provide more nutrition. It turns out that when size, yield timing and durability are the priorities for breeding, some nutritional benefits are squeezed out of the picture. Some nutritional testing shows a distinct advantage for heirlooms.
Heirlooms are a wonderful way to add a little history to your garden. In order to preserve the individualized care these varieties need, consider adding one more to your list of gardening tips: choose Kincaid Plant Markers. They’re sturdy, attractive and will never rust, helping you enjoy your heirloom vegetables year after year.
Tips for Identifying Trees That Can Bring Beauty to Your Landscape
You may keep your house trim painted, your walks clean and your front door sparkling, but it’s easy to forget that landscaping plays a big role in keeping your home beautiful. Identifying trees and shrubs that will make an instant impact on the appearance of your home comes down to choosing a few vibrant selections.
There are longer-term solutions for a home’s curb appeal, of course, like planting slow-growing trees or some tulips or daffodil bulbs. But if you’d like help identifying trees and bushes with immediate visual payoff, here’s your list:
Ginkgo Tree: You may associate this name with the health supplement called Ginkgo Biloba, valued for its use in improving brain function. It’s derived from the Ginkgo tree, and this tree is a smart choice for beautifying your landscaping. It can grow to up to 25 to 50 feet and provide your yard with lots of shade. The foliage changes from bright green to vibrant yellow in the fall.
Your Ginkgo tree will need full sun or partial shade, receiving around four hours of sunlight each day. Mulch your tree to preserve moisture at the roots.
Burning Bush: You can get immediate satisfaction from planting a burning bush. They change from pink to red and add a bit of fire to your landscaping color scheme. These are a good choice for your flower bed or to liven up a row of boxwood shrubs. Burning bushes thrive in both sunny and shady areas, so there’s a lot of flexibility in choosing a location for these plants.
Japanese Maple Tree: You won’t be the first on your block to have one, because these have become a landscaping staple. It’s no wonder, because they offer a lot of benefits: interesting texture for your planting layout, cooling shade and a variety of deep orange and red colors in their fall foliage.
If you want to enjoy an orange color in your Japanese maple leaves, it’s best to plant the tree in spring or early summer. This tree is ideally planted in full sunlight, but also needs adequate drainage to establish its roots. A Japanese maple has a wide spread, so be careful not to plant it close to the house or walkways.
Beautyberry Shrub: This selection will offer your yard an umbrella-shaped bush with green foliage, dotted with light purple berries during the spring and summer. In fall, white and purple berries appear which gives your landscaping a seasonal change. A beautyberry will do well in full sun or partial shade.
Identifying trees and shrubs for beautiful landscaping is only half the fun. Use Kincaid Plant Markers for added beauty and function to your yard, and to be sure that each plant is getting individualized care. Take a look at our full selection of attractive plant markers.
Indoor Gardening at Home Doesn’t Require Much Space But Reaps Big Rewards
If you long for the lush green of a garden during the bleak months of winter, or if you’re looking for a way to exercise your green thumb inside, consider an indoor garden. Gardening at home isn’t limited to your backyard but, instead, can bring all the benefits of an outdoor garden inside for you to enjoy.
Here are some easy guidelines for getting started gardening at home with some indoor plantings:
Any size space is appropriate for your indoor garden: You don’t need a large area to get started with your plants. If space is limited, try a windowsill or a small set of shelves and try just a few varieties. Even a plant or two can improve the air quality in your home and provide the visual appeal that live plants contribute to any room.
Consider lighting options: One of the challenges of an indoor garden is making sure your plants have adequate light to grow. Different plants require different light levels, of course, so you’ll want to plant species that will grow well together with similar light needs. A regular light bulb won’t work to give your plants the ability to engage in photosynthesis, because you need the same wavelengths as the rays the sun produces.
There are many varieties of lights available, and they each come with a different price tag. While a simple fluorescent light will be adequate for herbs, for example, because they don’t create buds or flowers, vegetables will require something more robust. A High- Intensity Discharge bulb is ideal, but they can be expensive. High-Pressure Sodium bulbs produce an orange light that is good for flowers and with a longer life, they are more economical than some other options.
Check your temps and humidity: The ideal temperature for an indoor garden when gardening at home is between 65 and 75 degrees. Thankfully, that’s a pretty comfortable temperature range for people, too, but you can also vary it by around ten degrees if necessary.
Humidity can become a concern with indoor gardens, because winter brings the dry heat of the furnace. Be sure to mist your plants, or you can place a water tray near your plants, adding lava rocks for an increased evaporation area. Don’t place your plants in a tray of water, though, because they still require adequate drainage.
No matter where you’re planning to create a garden, it’s best if you can easily identify each variety you’ve planted. Kincaid Plant Markers provide an easy and attractive way to label each plant in your backyard or in your indoor garden.
Low-Maintenance Plants Are Among the Top Gardening Trends in 2017
Succulents are a popular choice for gardeners because they require little care and attention, and they often come in cute, pint-size varieties that make fun accents to your garden or windowsill. While succulents are one of the more popular gardening trends, they still need some specific care to thrive.
Here are a few guidelines for getting in on the fun of one of the easiest gardening trends:
Don’t assume that your succulents need full sun. Succulents are varied in their need for sun. Most will require two or three hours of full sun, but many need filtered light or just partial sun throughout the day. Check the growing conditions for your particular variety, and if you’re working with several types of succulents, be sure you’re planting them according to their need for light.
Most succulents prefer moderate temperatures. If you live in a climate that has freezing temperatures, you’ll need to bring your succulents inside for the winter. Many are also unable to weather severe heat, too. Make it convenient to care for your succulents by planting them in pots so that they can be easily transported to a windowsill when the weather outside gets extreme.
Don’t be afraid to water. While succulents prefer to be mostly left alone, you should still give them water. You’ll want to water somewhere between every few days and every few weeks. Some succulents will survive intervals longer than a few weeks, but you’ll need to monitor soil conditions to determine the right times for watering.
When planting, resist the urge to pat. For a seasoned gardener, it’s an automatic response to pat the soil around a new planting. When it comes to succulents, you should dig a hole for the root ball, place the succulent in the hole and walk away. It may feel strange, but you need to give the soil time to naturally fill in around the plant. Too much compacting of the soil will have your succulent sitting in moisture. If you mulch, use similar sensitivity to your succulents. Don’t mound mulch around the base of your succulents.
Incorporate some fun gardening trends into your succulent plantings. Try a pincushion garden, where succulents are used in a creative circle design to emulate a pincushion. Choose colors and types according to the “embroidery” that you’d like to create. You can also use succulents in a living wall in your home, where your family and friends will be delighted to view your plants in an unexpected display. An outdoor option is to grow succulents in the crevices of a rock garden, if you live in a climate that is friendly year-round to succulents.
No matter where you choose to grow succulents, your garden won’t be complete without Kincaid Plant Markers. Give each variety of succulent the care they need by clearly identifying each plant. Take a look at our selection, ideal for beautifying your garden.
Get a Little Conversation Going With These Landscaping Ideas
If you’re getting a little bored with hostas and hedges, or your landscape design has always centered around red geraniums and Japanese maples, you may be ready to stir things up a bit. Make your house the talk of the neighborhood with some landscaping ideas that will jazz up your yard and lend a quality of other-worldliness to your garden.
Coming up with plants that will garner a little attention may take some hunting, but here are a few plants that you should consider implementing into your landscaping ideas to get your neighbors to stop and stare.
Korchia Balls: These may resemble little fuzzy aliens scampering across your lawn, and lend an air of fun to your landscaping. They can be bright green or hot pink, so choose a variety that goes with your other plant selections. The seeds need to be soaked overnight to get them started and then placed in peat moss.
Blue Passionflower: This fascinating flower looks like an architectural masterpiece. It will thrive best in warm climates, but you won’t need many to get a good population of blossoms. A few vines will suffice. They can be planted in warm, moist soil.
Wild Maypop: Is that a flower, or a miniature Medusa? The gorgeous tendrils radiating out from the center resemble something out of an ancient myth. This flower does best in cooler climates, though its bloom looks like something that got caught in an electrical socket.
Dwarf Weeping Larch Tree: If you always wished Cousin It was a part of your family, here’s a way to realize that dream. The dwarf weeping larch tree looks like it could be shuffling toward you, and if you stare hard enough, you might just see a pair of eyes hidden in that hair-like mop of a tree.
Black Bat Flower: This flower looks bewitching enough to capture the attention of Dracula, but purchasing seeds might require the budget of a count, too. Seeds are a whopping $10 each, so for each one you plant, cross your fingers that you’ll find success.
Prickly Caterpillar Beans: If you want something to entertain your garden guests, or you’re looking for an unusual garnish for your dinner plate, prickly caterpillar beans are just the plant you’re after. Just be sure to avoid actually eating them because they really are prickly!
Giant Allium Flowers: A relative of the onion, these huge purple globes don’t look like anything that would grace a dinner plate. Plant giant allium bulbs in a spot where you can enjoy them year after year for a Dr. Seuss-approved garden.
Maybe you’re tired of the same old landscaping ideas, or perhaps you just have a taste for the whimsical. No matter how creative a combination of plants you use in your garden, they’ll look great with Kincaid Plant Markers.
Combat the Decline in Pollinators by Identifying Flowers Bees Love
As you enjoy the bursts of color in your summer garden, are you already planning the changes you’ll make in your garden design next year? One important change to consider is creating a haven for bees by identifying flowers that benefit pollinators.
Gardeners across the U.S. are adjusting their garden designs to help rebuild the declining bee population. By identifying flowers that feed bees, you can join in the movement and save not only the bees but also the flowers and fruits that need pollination.
A great place to start your bee-friendly garden design is with a list of the flowers that give bees the source of nectar and pollen they need:
- Agastache (Anise hyssop)
- Asclepias (Butterfly weed)
- Berbris (Oregon grape)
- Ceanothus (Wild-lilac)
- Chrysothamnus (Rabbit-brush)
- Echinacea (Coneflower)
- Eriogonum (Wild buckwheat)
- Eupatorium (Joe-pye weed)
- Helianthus (Sunflower)
- Kallstroemia (Caltrop)
- Larrea (Creosote bush)
- Lupinus (Lupine)
- Monarda (Bee balm)
- Papaver (Poppies)
- Phacelia (Scorpion-weed)
- Ribes (Currant)
- Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan)
- Salix (Willow)
- Salvia (Sage)
- Sambucus (Elder)
- Solidago (Goldenrod)
- Symphoricarpos (Snowberry)
- Trifolium (Clover)
- Vaccinium (Huckleberry)
Creating Your Bee-Friendly Garden Design
Wildflowers or flowers that are native to your area are a great plant choice for encouraging pollinators because of their hardiness. Hardier flowers are easier to care for and will thrive even when weather takes its toll on more delicate garden flowers.
When identifying flowers you want to include in your bee habitat, remember that bees differ in preferences just as we humans prefer different meals and abodes. A broad selection of flower shapes and sizes gives bees of every variety a place to call home.
Blooming season is another factor to consider in flower choice. Because pollinator varieties operate on different activity schedules, it’s important to plant flowers that will bloom at different times of the year. With a well-planned garden design, you can help provide each bee variety the nourishment they need.
The Trouble With Pesticides
You wouldn’t want to plant a beautiful bee habitat only to have them endangered by toxic chemicals. Avoiding pesticides altogether in favor of nontoxic pest control techniques is the safest route. However, if you do choose to use a pesticide, try to select one that targets the specific pest you want to eradicate.
Reading the pesticide label thoroughly will give you the best understanding of where and how to use the product in the safest manner possible. Refrain from using pesticides near open blossoms or any areas you have seen pollinators frequent.
Identifying Flowers in Your Garden Design That Are Bee-Friendly
You may decide to incorporate a mix of flowers that attract bees in your current garden design. In this case, identifying flowers for pollinators with stainless steel plant markers can help you remember which plants are critical for your bee habitat. You’ll love the longevity and flexibility you gain with Kincaid Plant Markers. Place your order for markers and labels today!
Try These Gardening Tips to Choose the Right Method for You
If you’re looking for a more non-traditional way of gardening, there are a lot of ideas out there that might fit your needs, your commitment level and your budget. Some are newer innovations, while others have been around for generations. Others strive to imitate the processes in an ideal natural environment. Here are some gardening tips for choosing the ideal growing plan for you:
Lasagna gardening: This method layers organic materials for a nutrient-rich growing environment. It can be a good choice for a no-till plot, because the layers of plant “waste” kill the sod under the garden and immediately start building a fertile place for growing. The goal for this type of garden is to build rich, diverse layers of materials, including straw, compost, kitchen scraps, wood chips, newspaper, grass clippings and cardboard. This is a low-tech, low-cost method that makes the most of what you already have to fuel your garden.
Drawbacks: You may be limited in terms of size with a lasagna garden because it requires so much debris to get started and maintain. You could also introduce pests into your garden that might not otherwise invade because you have such a wide variety of compost and other materials layered in your garden.
Hugulkultur: This gardening style comes from Germany and other eastern European countries and utilizes the benefits of decomposing wood to feed plants. To get started with Hugulkultur, you’ll start with a layer of bigger limb sections in the shape that you want your garden bed and then add a layer of smaller pieces of wood, twigs and straw. Finally, fill in the gaps with soil and begin planting. The mounds retain moisture but balance it with good drainage.
Drawbacks: It can take a long time for wood to break down, so this will be a study in gardening patience. It also may require a lot of chopping and hauling of wood, depending on how big of a garden you’re planning.
Aquaculture: This is a gardening method that appeals to many because of the symbiotic relationship created between fish and plants. Each is grown separately, but the plants naturally clean the water before it goes back to the fish and the waste of the fish feeds the plants. This approach can help farmers increase their profits by offering a new product.
Drawbacks: While aquaculture is an exciting way to grow plants and fish, it doesn’t tend to be feasible for non-commercial gardens. Even a small system designed for aquaculture will set you back hundreds of dollars and keeping both plants and fish healthy can reach beyond what can be addressed with simple gardening tips.
No matter what kind of gardening style fits your budget and your yard, you’ll want to identify your plants with Kincaid Plant Markers. No list of gardening tips is complete without including a plan for neatly identifying each variety.
Plants That Are Perfect for Gardening at Home in the Fall
If you were busy all spring and are lamenting your missed chance at a garden this year, or if you simply long for one more round of homegrown vegetables before the growing season is over, there’s good news for you. Gardening at home in late summer can be fruitful if you choose the right varieties.
These recommendations are all based on gardening at home in zones 4 through 7, so if you live in other zones, consult your local nursery for guidelines on late summer planting.
Brassica or Cole Crops: This isn’t just one plant, but a whole category of plants that work great into the fall. Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kohlrabi all fall in this family and will do well with being planted in August. Be sure to plant these varieties from seedlings, not seeds.
Kale: This plant falls in the brassica family, too, but it deserves its own mention because some people prefer kale grown in the colder months. In fact, if you live anywhere over a zone 5b, you can grow kale through the winter with only a piece of heavy row cover for protection. Growing kale in the cold can make it sweeter, so experiment this fall to see if you prefer cold-weather kale.
Lettuce: Lettuce is a great choice for fall and early winter because a light frost won’t ruin your plants. Also, many gardeners prefer to grow lettuce in the cooler months because the summer sun can burn the tips of the leaves. Plant lettuce eight weeks from your first frost and continue planting until two weeks before the first frost.
Carrots: These are one of the best choices for fall and winter harvests. As the temperatures drop, the starch in your carrots turns to sugar, leaving your carrots extra-sweet. Start your carrots in August with a lot of water, sprinkling them once or twice a day. Once the weather begins to cool, you may want to cover your plants with straw to keep the heat in the ground.
Spinach: Spinach thrives in the fall and will even give you a mini crop in late fall or early winter if you protect it with a cold frame or a hoop house. Your plants can over winter and then provide more harvest until early May. Start approximately eight weeks before your first frost and plant up until two weeks before the first frost.
Turnips: While turnips used to be considered food for livestock, they have been cultivated to have a more refined taste. Plant these root vegetables in late summer, or about eight weeks before your first frost to enjoy them all fall and winter.
When you’re gardening at home, be sure to include Kincaid Plant Markers so you can provide your plants with the individualized care they need to thrive. Take a look at our full selection of attractive markers to keep your garden neat throughout the year.