Blog posts from August 2011

Ugly Garden Contest, Dallas!!

Aug 24, 2011

Ok folks, you only have three more days to get your entries in for North Haven Gardens' First Annual Ugly Garden Contest, in Dallas, Texas! Let's face it, ALL of our gardens are ugly after this horendous summer. There is NO shame in entering this contest, so cast it aside and enter...it's all in good fun!

The prizes are amazing:

1st prize winner (or loser) will win…

  • $2500 Gift Certificate to spend at North Haven Gardens
  • 2spots to September 11th Gardening 101 Class. Details here.
  • 2 FREE In store, 45 min sessions with Kay Nelson, NHG Garden Coach
  • You’ll be featured on our Facebook Page and on our website (Not your address or any other personal info of course, just some photos you submitted)
  • Take pictures of your front or back garden and print them out
  • write a brief description of why your garden is ugly and any vision you have for it (sitting area, veg garden, pet garden, etc)
  • bring them to us at North Haven Gardens by 5pm, August 26th.

They will choose 5 finalists and visit their home to assess how bad their landscape really is. Winner (or loser) announced Friday, September 2nd. You must be in the NHG Delivery zone to qualify. See approved zip codes here.

All Finalists win a FREE in-store session with our NHG Garden Coach.

Fall is for Planting!

Aug 23, 2011

Ok folks, we know it's hot, but that doesn't mean that you should ignore the timing of important fall garden projects; such as starting seeds indoors for some of your fall crops, getting your beds amended, or building new raised beds, etc. Fall is also the very best time to plant new shrubs, trees, groundcovers, perennials and bulbs. Planting in fall gives you a good 9 months for plants to establish before the summer heat comes back on. Now would be a good time to hit some gardening classes in your area. Here are a few upcoming classes I'm teaching in Dallas, plus some other good classes at NHG:

Fri. Sept. 2nd · 1pm-3pm - AND Fri. Sept. 16th 1pm-3pm at NHG
Fall Vegetable Gardens - Leslie Halleck

Don't miss this excellent overview of how to get your fall vegetable garden growing and producing. Whether you are just starting your plot, or have an established one you are looking to improve, this class will offer information on soil conditioning, what to plant through the cool season, pest management and more.

North Haven Gardens
SAT, AUG 27th 10AM - 4:30PM
Landscape Design 101
by Bram Franklin, Landscape Designer.

Join us for this full day class to design your dream landscape. Did you know fall is the best time to plant? And now is the time to plan!
Bram goes over...
~ basic concept design
~ site development
~ drainage
~ hard-scape and more
~ Lunch included

Bring pictures of your landscape, a plot plan, pencils and a ruler. Lunch included. $80 per person. Call or come in to sign up early 214-363-5316! Limited space, class fills quickly. Registration form here

SUN, AUG 28th 1PM - at NHG
Fall Vegetable Garden by Sandi Holmes-Schwedler, TCNP. Broccoli, cilantro, dill, cauliflower, salad greens and more thrive in the cooler fall weather. Find out how to grow a great fall harvest in this class for both beginners and experienced veggie gardeners alike!

Gardening 101, Sunday 9/11/11,  11am-4pm at NHG
Learn all you need to know about Texas gardening! This is a great class for those new to the area, beginner gardeners or experienced gardeners looking for a refresher course. $65 / $60 for Grow Card Members. Price includes our new book Easy Gardens for North Texas (Retail value $29.99), class handouts on soil amendments, planting, maintenance and more all bound up in an easy to use binder. Application & Details here.

Off to Ecuador!

Aug 10, 2011

Travel alert: I will be running off to Ecuador Friday morning. I'll be flying into the capital city of Quito and then heading off to Banos, a city that sits on active volcanoes…Yay! I'm not sure exactly what I'll be doing the week that I'll be there, but I'm sure it will be fun. On Saturday, when Dallas breaks the all time record for consecutive days above 100F, I will be waking up to a 50F morning followed by a 70F day. Aaahhhhhh, thank you mountains. Who knew you had to go South to get away from this horrible heat?

Map of Ecuador

I'm looking to hit some Volcanic baths, do some hiking in the national park that surrounds the volcano and…well, maybe a whole lotta nuthin’.  If inspired, I may also head down to Cuenca. The architecture in Quito and Cuenca is supposed to be amazing. Banos will provide the beautiful landscapes. In any case, you can look forward to posts and photos of the adventure. Believe it or not, I’m skipping TWO work conferences next week, one in Chicago, to go on this trip. UNBELIEVABLE. And I’m patting myself on the back for it, lol.

Tungurahua Eruption 2011 - photo courtesy of The Telegraph

I spent two weeks in the Amazon jungle in Peru in December of ’09 and it was amazing. This trip to Ecuador will much less of a “back woods roughing it” kind of trip, but I’m really looking forward to seeing such a beautiful country. Hopefully, Tungurahua, or “Throat of Fire”,  will cooperate while I'm are there…

Proper watering in this Texas heat!

Aug 3, 2011

We are experiencing record heat and drought. As a result, many established trees, shrubs and lawns are suffering. Plants may look chlorotic or even losing leaves. Especially new plantings (1-2 years old), or less adapted plants such as Japanese maples or Dogwoods. If you think you can't lose a large established shade tree in this weather, think again. Not to mention, the stress of this drought will effect the tree's health for years to come and has a compounding effect.

Frequent,shallow watering contributes significantly to plant stress this time of year. Watering your established turf and landscape for 5-10 minutes a day is the absolute WRONG way to water. Established plantings need 1" worth of water weekly. A deep watering 1-2 times per week is much more effective than a short, daily watering, which will damage root systems and waste water to evaporation.

Realize, of course, that smaller herbaceous plants and annuals will require supplemental hand watering in addition to your sprinkler system, because they have much smaller and shallower root systems.

New plantings will require supplemental watering in addition to your sprinkler system. Water should saturate at least 6" deep. Gator bags are a great way to keep newly planting trees watered.

Some people promote that you should stop watering all together during a drought like this. Problem is, allowing shade trees and shrubs to die will only result in massive increases in energy usage to cool your home. Allowing turf to die will result in soil erosion. Replacing the plant material, which is ineveitable, will cost more in $ and resources to get the new plants established. Watering properly will cut down on waste and preserve the landscape we have.

Remember, DFW is not a desert climate. It is grassland prairie and Eastern hardwood forest. Planting "desert" plants won't solve your problem. The 20" of rain we can get in the spring, or the 10" we get in fall, will rot those plants quickly. Not watering will not help in the advancing desertification process that we are starting to experience in Texas, it will only make it worse. Cities feel the heat worse due to the high concentration of contrete and metal which can raise our temps a good 10-15 degrees. Shade trees and shrub/turf plantings are key to holding down temperatures, reducing cooling costs and reducing pollution.

Mind your watering restrictions where you live. Even if you are only allowed to water once per week, one solid deep watering per week is enough to keep your established landscape healthy. 10 mintues won't do the job.

Addendum: So how long to water your landscape?

It really depends on your individual landscape, irrigation system, hand watering etc. The easiest way to "audit" how much you need to water in order to get the equivalent of 1" worth of rainfall per week, is to get several tuna cans and place them in different areas of your sprinkler zone - or where you put out sprinklers. Run the irrigation until you get 1" of water in the can. That's how long you'll need to run it. HOWEVER, in very dry or clay compacted soils, sometimes your landscape can't take in that much water at once without run off. So you may have to split the time into 2 cycles. For example, if you see run off after 20 min, but you've only got 1/2" of water in the can, then what you'll want to do is irrigate for 20 min, then let it rest, then wait about 1 hour and do the remaining 20 min (so an A and B cycle on your system) or split up your hand watering.

When it comes to using soaker hoses or drip irrigation, you have to run those systems much, much longer. That's a big mistake people make with soaker hoses - they run them for the same time they would a sprinkler, which will result in even less saturation. Soaker/drip systems put out a much lower volume of water, but over a longer period of time, which can really reduce waste and help plants absorb all the water they need. But if you run your sprinkler for an hour, you may need to run the soakers for about 6 hours. You'll just need to see how long it takes to saturate at least the top 6" of soil.

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