Take the Hassle out of Daily Watering

May 23, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Look for a hose trolley that is sturdy and topple-resistant yet lightweight and maneuverable to make watering easy.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Proper watering is key to gardening success, but untangling and dragging heavy hoses across the yard, smashing delicate flowers and young vegetable plants along the way is a common occurrence in many yards. If this describes your escapades when watering garden beds and planters, it may be time to look for some time-saving solutions that reduce the hassle of hand watering.

Protect edging plants, especially those at the corner of the bed with hose guides. You can make your own from colorful wine bottles inverted over a section of rebar anchored in the ground. Or invest in some functional or decorative hose guides available for sale.

Connecting and disconnecting the hose to the faucet, inadequate length of hoses, and nozzles can be a source of aggravation. Washers disappear, connections loosen, and leaks occur. Invest in quick-connectors that allow you to make all these connections with a simple click.

Clear the hose clutter off patios, decks and walks while keeping them easily accessible for daily watering. A hose reel allows you to easily wind up the hose out of sight near the faucet. These are often mounted on the wall or are unsightly and bulky devices with wheels that can still be a bit unwieldy. Evaluate the design and ease of use before investing.

An automatic reel that retracts the hose quickly and easily or a lightweight portable model may be just the solution. Irrigation equipment like the G.F. Italia Portable Reel Nozzle Hose available at gardeners.com is lightweight enough, allowing you to carry 50 feet of hose that unravels just the length you need as you water various garden beds or containers on the deck.

Coil hoses are designed to expand when filled with water then retract into a small size for clean, easy storage and portability. You eliminate the need to unwind and rewind long lengths of hoses every time you water. Look for hoses made of long-lasting, kink-free materials that have superior coil memory for years of easy watering.

Make moving long stretches of hoses easier with featherweight and lightweight slim products.  A featherweight hose can weigh as little as two and a half pounds, making it easier to move through the garden and back onto the reel or storage container.

Combine the convenience of storage and lightweight portability. You’ll minimize the need for maintaining hoses at every faucet while retaining the convenience. Look for products that allow you to easily move your hose where it’s needed. Expandable hoses allow you to easily move your hose from faucet to faucet for watering around the yard or pack it in your RV when traveling.

Make proper watering a more convenient part of garden and container maintenance by investing in quality hoses, connectors and storage options.  If it’s easy, you are more likely to water plants as needed and then store the hoses conveniently out of sight after each watering.

Landscape Structures Provide Function and Beauty

May 8, 2019  
Filed under Home & Garden

Arbors can provide a beautiful framework and vertical gardening space for pole beans, melons, or squash in food gardens or serve as a support to climbing roses and flowering vines in garden beds.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Incorporate arbors, trellises and other structures into your designs when planning new or updating existing gardens and landscapes. These structures help form the framework of any garden, add year-round interest and provide years of beauty and function.

Utilize arbors to define and connect distinct areas of the landscape. Invite visitors into your landscape with a vine-covered arbor.  Guests won’t be able to resist the invitation to enter and experience the beauty that lies beyond.  Cover these structures with vines for seasonal interest, additional texture and blossoms. Combine two different vines to extend or double your floral display. Plant an annual vine for quick cover with a perennial that takes a year or more to establish and cover the structure.

Beat summer’s heat by creating your own shade with vine-covered arbors.  Plant annual or deciduous vines that let the sun and its warmth shine through during the cooler months. When the leaves return, they provide shade and cooler temperatures during warmer times.

Arbors are as much at home in the food garden as the flowerbed. Connect two garden beds with an over-the-top arbor. Grow pole beans, melons or squash up and over the Titan Squash Tunnel (gardeners.com). You’ll expand your gardening space by going vertical and help reduce disease problems by increasing the sunlight and airflow reaching the plants. Secure large fruit to its obelisk with a net, cotton or macramé sling to prevent them from breaking off the vines.

Dress up any home, garage or shed with trellises covered with flowering vines, climbing roses or an espaliered fruit tree. Provide space between the wall and trellis when mounting them to a building. The space reduces the risk of damage to the wall and the plants benefit from the added airflow and light.

Many trellises are works of art in their own right, so when the plants go dormant the structure continues to dress up an otherwise blank wall.  Whether you prefer simple squares and diamonds, circles, leaves or ceramic songbirds perched among the branchlike supports of the Enchanted Woods Trellis; select a design that reflects your personality and complements your garden design.

Combine several trellis sections to create a decorative screen or bit of fencing. This is a perfect solution for creating privacy or a bit of vertical interest in any size or shape of garden space. Add colorful glass bottles and contemporary design to a vertical planting with a trellis like Gardener’s Achla Designs Vinifera Bottle Trellis.

Use obelisks as focal points and plant supports in the garden or containers.  They’re perfect for creating scale in the garden, especially when new plantings are small and immature. Select a support tall and sturdy enough for the plants you are growing.

Add a bit of beauty and elegance when growing watermelons, cucumbers, pole beans or tomatoes. Train them onto decorative obelisks and they’ll be pretty enough to include in flowerbeds and mixed borders. Add more beauty and a bit of hummingbird appeal with scarlet runner beans. The bright red flowers are followed by green beans that can be eaten fresh or its large seeds harvested and used fresh or dried.

Always consider the function, strength and beauty when selecting structures for your landscape. Team them up with plants suited to your growing conditions and you will benefit from years of enjoyment.