Your Best, Brightest and Most Beautiful Garden in 2017

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Your Best, Brightest and Most Beautiful Garden in 2017

By Laura Carson Miller

Spring is here and everyone who knows me well knows I’m a super fan of gardening outdoors and bringing the outdoors in with lots of houseplants!

Forcing flower bulbs in the winter months is a great treat that never loses its appeal and over the winter I enjoyed the fruits of my labor with sweet smelling white irises and  several pots of giant multicolored tulips I planted in early November.

I’m also growing lettuce from seed for the first time this year, Bibb and Black Seeded Simpson (super cool as my grandfather, known as ‘Pop’, grew this variety), in addition to starting another herb pot, this time for basil and parsley from seed.

To help you make the most of your home and garden during 2017, Pike Nurseries offers garden classes all year long to keep living spaces healthy and thriving.

 Improve Health with Houseplants

Gardeners looking to improve health this year should look no further than common houseplants and edible gardens. Research has revealed that certain houseplants – like the Peace Lily and Florist’s Chrysanthemum – can efficiently remove pollutants like Formaldehyde, Benzene and Ammonia from a room’s air, releasing oxygen and improving the overall health of an environment.  

Here are some popular houseplants that excel in providing superior air quality inside your home:

  • African violets
  • Ivy
  • Bamboo
  • Spider plant
  • Weeping fig
  • Various ferns and palms

Stop and Smell the Roses

Not only does the garden’s atmosphere provide endless enjoyment and tranquility, but spending time outdoors can be beneficial to one’s overall health and wellness. One of the top benefits of doing this is lowered stress levels and mental stability due to gardening’s relaxing tasks. Whether it is weeding, pruning or digging, working outside can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol or prevent diabetes, heart disease, depression and osteoporosis when practiced on a regular basis. Gardening can also provide low-impact exercise and strength building through planting and lifting of soil and other materials.

 Practice Waterwise Habits

Most homeowners overwater their lawn and garden. For improved garden health, water deeper and less often to reduce water use. Lawns should be watered in the early morning to reduce evaporation, while water wands and trigger sprayers should be used to ensure only plants are being watered and not the pavement or ground between them. During the cooler months, yards should be watered less frequently (once or twice a week), whereas warmer temperatures call for more moisture. To avoid overwatering, it’s helpful to always group plants of similar water needs together, as well as choose waterwise plants like Rudbeckia, Sedum, Rosemary, Nandina and Helleborus. Another healthy habit in the garden that will save big is mulching. By placing a thin layer of mulch (2-3 inches) on the soil surface surrounding the plants, hundreds of gallons of water can be conserved each year. Last, but not least, amending the soil is an important factor in moisture retention, as it allows roots to establish more easily.

Keep the Lawn Organized

A well-maintained garden not only adds curb appeal to a home, but it also protects the landscape against pests. From pruning dormant plants and cutting back perennials to discarding leaf debris, adding mulch and removing dead annuals and weeds, organization in the garden is key to keeping it looking beautiful and healthy all year-long. Other helpful tips include adding Pansies, Violas, Hellebores and Camellias for pops of color during the bare, winter months, as well as transplanting trees and non-blooming shrubs, so they can develop their root system before the Southern summer heat arrives.

 For springtime buzz, pollinator-friendly plants – like Buddleia, Echinacea and Lantana – are perfect for attracting birds, bees and beautiful butterflies, which keep plants healthy and prolific. Additionally, beneficial bugs, like Ladybugs, help keep away unwanted creepy crawlers. These good luck bugs do wonders for the garden since they prey on damaging pests like aphids (a single Ladybug can eat more than 5,000 of these in its lifetime), thrips and spider mites. Plants that are ideal in attracting these good bugs include Lobelia, Coreopsis and Dill.