Russ has lived in the great state of Utah for over 30 years and has extensive experience in horticulture, grounds maintenance, and all phases of landscape and hardscape construction.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Secrets to Growing Great Annual Flowers

There are three things flowers want!  I guess a fourth one might be great TLC.

ONE: A water source.  
Regular amounts of consistent water, not too much or too little.  Probably quite a bit of water when the plants are young, then 3 to 4 times a week when the plants have established themselves.  Good deep watering rather than light watering.

TWO: A fertilization program.  
Use 16-16-8 garden fertilizer about every 4 weeks.  Work it into the ground.  

THREE: A bug/insect/snail repellent.
Make sure you are keeping the insects in check!  Slugs and snails can wipe out a good flower garden in just a few days.  Also, use the product Dipel on Petunias to keep the Tobacco Bud Worm from eating your Petunias.

These annuals were planted and fertilized and watered all in one day.

After just 6 weeks, the flowers are looking very full and bring a lot of color to this front bed area!

What kind of fertilizer do you use?
Do you have any good pictures of your annual flowers?

Let me know if you have any questions for me!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Example of Great Yard Maintenance

In 2007, my landscaping company did a large landscaping job in Highland for Arthur and Jean Newell.  This complete overhaul of their half acre yard has been properly maintained by the owners ever since the job was finished!  I appreciate the Newell's for supplying these great pictures that I'm using for this blog post.

 An elegant water feature sits as the focal point of this part of the yard.

 This beautiful iron arch leads the owners to their backyard lawn and oasis.

 Regular fertilization, weed control, and bush trimming are important to keeping a yard looking its best.

A secluded area with concrete pad and a small fire pit is a great addition to any backyard. 

 A good variety of shrubs, trees, and color along this stone walkway create an unmatched ambiance.

Beautiful flowers, roses, perennials, and a small gravel walkway bring contrast and beauty to this yard.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Water Features!

Water features are becoming an incredibly popular addition to a beautiful residential landscape.  Each design is unique and custom for the backyard.  My company has done dozens and dozens and I'd like to share a little information about water features in this blog post.

There are two types of water features:  those with ponds, and those without ponds ("pondless").  Advantages to having a pond are enjoying fish, lily pads, etc.  But, they are more difficult to maintain.  Pondless systems have no standing water and no potential for a child to fall into the water.
This pond is a few feet deep in some areas.  This picture shows only one half of the pond -- missing is a bridge that goes over the middle.  There is one main small water fall that diverges into two streams.  Beautiful greenery surrounds the water feature.

This is an example of a "pondless" water feature.  There is no pond at the end of the large stream.  This is a bigger than average water feature with lots of cascading water falls.
My company has been using Aquascape water feature products for over 15 years.  
Click HERE for more information about "pondless" water features.  
There are great videos about water features, too.  Find them HERE.
This pond we did not construct, but it looks great in the yard and it's a "pondless" system!

I hope you've enjoyed this post!  Let me know if there's a topic you'd like me to cover or if you have any questions about what I've covered so far in my blog!

Monday, May 7, 2012

First Planting Job This Summer

My landscaping company manages a large commercial account in Spanish Fork called ModusLink.  Today we went down there to plant summer annuals in a 10' x 16' x 18' triangle bed area near their guest entrance.  Before planting, we added some planting soil and mixed it in with the existing soil.  After planting, we sprinkled around some fertilizer to give the plants a little boost.  The picture above will serve as a "before" shot and in a few weeks we'll post the "after" shot to show you how it turns out!

My very favorite part of landscaping is adding color to a landscape by planting summer annuals.  In my 30 years of experience, I've learned a lot about flower planting, sun exposure, color arrangements, and how to make a flower bed look great.

Here's a list of what I used in this job:
3 - Coleus (each a different variety): 4" cup
2 - Potato Vines: 4" cup
3 - Delphiniums (they were already there)
12 - 'Wilhelm Languth' Geraniums (with variegated leaf): 4" cup
1 - flat of 'Victoria Blue' Salvia
1 - flat of 'Ice Crystals' white Alyssum
1 - flat of Profusion (mixed) Zinnias
24 - 'Bubblegum' (Proven Winner) Petunias: 4" cup

What summer annuals do you like to plant?
Have you planted them already?
If you have any questions for me, place them in the comments box below!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Let's talk summer annuals!

The secret of great summer flowerbeds is exposure -- the right plants in the right locations.  For example, you don't want to put petunias on a north exposure because they'll never get enough sun to grow!  Different colors and different textures are the key to a beautiful flower garden!  The red plant is Coleus - there are many varieties that will take full sun.

Planting close together gives you a nice full look.  Mixing colors makes things look more natural than rows of the same color. These were probably planted 12" apart to give this nice full look.

Plants pictured: Spikey blue plant (Victoria Blue Salvia); Purple plant on the left is another version of Coleus; pink in middle right is a miniature petunia; yellow in bottom left is another small zinnia.

Correct watering and fertilization of the flowers is very important.  Never water daily -- longer watering with more time space in between is best -- even in July and August (hottest months here in Utah).  Flower beds should at most be watered 3 times a week.  Also, dead-heading old blooms makes new blooms come out.  This needs to be done at least weekly, but if you have the time, do it daily.

Plants pictured: Magenta colored plant (Verbena); light green (potato plants); tall red (coleus); orange in the front right (baby zinnias)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Butchart Gardens: Victoria B.C., Canada

One of my favorites places on the planet! The world famous Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

These Zinnias can grow quite nicely here in Utah.  They will want a sunny location.

A Dusty Miller (grey plants) border is always nice. You want different colors and textures in your flower bed.

Lots of running water always makes for a beautiful garden!

Look for a great blog post next week about tips for summer planting in Utah -- how to make your own mini Butchart Gardens!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Make it Homegrown!

So, a question that might be on your it a good time to plant your garden?  Here in Utah we are experiencing the total opposite of 2011's spring. We are breaking records for high temperatures that have lasted some 80 years! My garden is planted and is thriving in this unusually warm weather.  Warm and dry is better than wet and cold.

Now, this doesn't exactly mean that summer is here and that we don't need to worry about cold or even freezing temperatures.  You just need to be aware of the ever-changing weather conditions. I have my garden blankets and hot caps ready to go if necessary!

TIP:Cool crops that are perfect to plant even in cool weather:  broccoli, lettuce, onions, spinach, peas, radishes, turnips, beats, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, swiss chard.

My garden spot is only about 15 ft. by 18 ft. I believe that any garden bigger than this is considered a "farm". I don't want a very big job because it's feeding only two people!!

Plant vegetables that you and your family will eat, not items that you won't eat and are growing them just for fun (I've done that!). This year I am planting only the following: two types of broccoli (Packman, Premium Crop), string beans (Slenderette), spinach, and three varieties of tomatoes (Celebrity, Roma, and Cherry (Husky Cherry Red)).

I've planted yellow Marigolds this year for the first time around my garden to thwart insects (I've seen it done before with success!).  The preparation that goes into a garden is very important! I make sure I add a garden compost to the area (several bags) then I roto-till it into the ground and make it very rich and easy to plant. I don't mess with seeds; I go for the 1 gallon tomatoes and 4 inch cup on the other items. I don't have a lot of patience waiting for seeds to come up!!

What do you plant in your garden?