Thursday, December 29, 2011

Beautiful Landscaping With Winter Trees

One of nature's great ironies is that the warm colors of fall are soon followed by the stark monochrome of winter. One way to combat cold weather boredom in your yard is with winter trees and shrubs. Evergreens are classics in the winter landscape, but some deciduous (leaf dropping) trees and shrubs can provide visual pop that pines and hollies can't match.

Most of us are familiar with the features of a good landscape tree. We look for an attractive shape, interesting flowers or good fall color. But what about a tree that has shed its leaves? Selecting trees with interesting winter features will result in a landscape that will be enjoyable throughout the year.

Looking Good Naked
When thinking about winter trees, consider what they bring to the landscape when they're naked. Two features to look at when considering a winter tree are its shape and its bark.
A tree with a weeping habit will create an interesting shape against the gray winter sky. Cherry and birch trees both come in weeping forms and provide year-round interest. A winter tree with a unique branch pattern will cast eye-catching shadows on freshly fallen snow. Corkscrew Willow and Harry Lauder's Walking Stick are two plants with curving, quirky branches.
A great winter tree may also provide interest in the form of a unique or colorful bark. Birch trees have curly, peeling bark that ranges in color from gold to salmon to white. Red Twig Dogwood has bark that turns a showy red to orange during winter months. These and other plants will provide an interesting contrast to common evergreens in the winter landscape.
Don't Forget the Evergreens
Although interesting bare trees may become the focus of your winter landscaping, many unique evergreen plants can do more than just provide a splash of color. Dragon's Eye pines have quirky, twisted forms and variegated yellow and green needles. The Blue Holly is a fast-growing evergreen that produces bright red berries in winter. These berries will brighten the yard and provide food for winter birds.
Planning Your Winter Landscape
When laying out your winter landscape, think about where you'll be viewing your plantings. Whether it's from the family room, kitchen or a cozy sun room, most views of your winter trees will be from the inside looking out. The windows of your home create a picture frame for viewing the landscape. Planting with these interior frames in mind will give you great views all year long.
Planted singly or in small groups, winter trees will cry out for the spotlight in the landscape. They will benefit from a backdrop of evergreens, winter shrubs or ornamental grasses. Hardscape features such as fences or walls can also provide backdrops for unique winter trees.
Going Green with Green
Some trees can even deliver energy savings. Plantings of evergreen trees and shrubs on the north- or west-facing sides of your property will create a windbreak. This green barrier will redirect the flow of cold air around your house, reducing heating costs when the plantings have matured.
Deciduous plantings, by contrast, are better placed on the southern side of your home. In warmer months, their leaves will provide cooling shade. When they drop their leaves in the winter, they will allow sunshine to warm your home.
10 Great Winter Trees and Shrubs
  • Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana "Contorta") Zones 3 to 9
Upright, medium shrub with twisted, tree-like branches. Spiraling, quirky growth habit gives this plant its winter interest.
  • River Birch (Betula nigra "Heritage") Zones 4 to 9
Rapidly growing upright tree. Commonly multi-trunked with peeling, salmon-colored bark that gives great winter texture.
  • Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum) Zones 4b to 8
A medium-sized, rounded shrub that will produce numerous bright red berries that last well into winter.
  • Young's Weeping Birch (Betula pendula "Youngii") Zones 3 to 6
Medium- to large-arched weeping tree. Bark is white, non-peeling with strong vertical black stripes. Showy in the winter landscape.
  • Red-Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba) Zones 2 to 8
Vigorous, medium to large shrub. In winter, this plant displays bold red to orange bark on many upright stems.
  • Corkscrew Willow (Salix matsudana "Tortuosa") Zones 4 to 8
Small to medium upright tree, featuring contorted and twisted branches and twigs.
  • Dragon's Eye Pine (Pinus densiflora "Oculus-draconis") Zones 4 to 7
Slow-growing medium to large evergreen. This pine develops a twisted trunk and dark-orange bark as it matures. Needles are bi-colored yellow and green.
  • Paperbark Maple (Acer griseum) Zones 4 to 8
Slow-growing small to medium tree. Cinnamon to reddish-brown bark peels to reveal purple-brown older bark.
  • Blue Holly (Ilex X meserveae) Zones 5 to 7
Fast-growing medium to large shrub. Evergreen with blue-green leaves. Male and female plants must be grown to produce bright-red berries in winter.
  • Serbian Spruce (Picea omorika) Zones 4 to 7
Towering, fast-growing evergreen. This is an extremely easy to grow pine that develops into a tall, narrow pyramid. Cones grow to more than two inches and are blue-black when young, then turn cinnamon when mature.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

How To Protect Trees And Shrubs From Ravages Of Winter

The ravages of a Maine winter play havoc with the garden’s trees and shrubs. Winter sun, wind and cold can bleach and desiccate evergreen foliage, damage bark and injure or kill branches, flower buds and roots. Hungry mice burrow beneath the snow to feed on bark and twigs while deer and rabbits nosh on flower buds and foliage.
What can the gardener do to mitigate this damage?
Protecting against sunscald
On cold, sunny days, the bark exposed to direct sunlight (usually the south and southwestern sides of the tree) heats up to the point where living cells beneath the bark become active. These cells, called cambial cells, are responsible for producing new water and food conduction tissues within the trunk. When the sun becomes blocked by a cloud or building, the bark temperature drops precipitously, killing the cambial cells. The resulting damage is called sunscald.
Sunscald is characterized by sunken, dried or cracked areas of dead bark. Young trees and newly planted trees are highly susceptible, as are thin-barked trees such as cherries, crab apples, maples, birches and mountain ash. Also, pruning evergreen trees or shrubs in late summer or fall to remove lower branches may expose previously shaded trunk tissue to direct winter sun, resulting in potential sunscald injury.
Protect sensitive trees by wrapping the trunk with light-colored material that will reflect sunlight, keeping the bark temperature more constant. Commercial tree wrap, a polyurethane spiral wrap that expands as the tree grows, or any light-colored material will work. Wrap the tree in early November and remove the wrap in April.
Newly planted trees should be wrapped each winter for at least the first two years, thin-barked species for five years or more.
There is no remedy for sunscald after it has occurred, other than to carefully cut away the damaged bark with a sharp pruning knife and hope for the tree’s natural wound-healing capacity to work. Do make damaged trees a priority for wrapping in subsequent winters.
Protecting evergreen foliage from browning, bleaching
Whenever the winter sun warms conifer needles, transpiration occurs. Water is lost from the needles while the roots are frozen, and this results in desiccation of the needles and destruction of chlorophyll, followed by needle browning or bleaching. Browning or bleaching of broad-leaved evergreens, such as rhododendrons, occurs in the same manner.
Among the conifers, the most susceptible types are yews, arborvitae (Mainers call it “cedar”) and hemlock. All conifers, however, can be affected.
Solutions to this problem begin with proper placement of conifers and broad-leaved evergreens in the landscape. They are best planted on the east side of buildings, certainly not on the south or southwest sides or in windy, sunny sites.
To protect low-growing conifers from winter wind and sun, prop pine boughs against or over the plants once the ground has frozen. The boughs will act as a windbreak and catch insulating snow.
For larger conifers and sensitive rhododendrons, burlap wind barriers can be constructed on the south, southwest and windward sides of plantings. These barriers, if tall enough, also may protect against salt-spray damage to plants near driveways and roads.
Stakes for the barriers should be installed in early November, before the ground freezes. Later in the month, attach the burlap sheets to the stakes with staples or sturdy twine. Make the enclosure as tall as feasible to block wind from hitting the uppermost branches. Leave the top of the enclosure open.
Water-stressed trees and shrubs are ill-prepared for winter winds and cold. Throughout the growing season, your trees should receive an inch of water a week from rain or irrigation. Beginning in late autumn until freeze-up, they should receive an inch of water per month by rain or irrigation. Waiting until October to begin watering as needed will not maximize stress resistance.
Some gardeners spray evergreens with anti-desiccants or anti-transpirants to reduce winter damage. Save your money. Most studies show these materials to be ineffective.
Rabbits and mice and deer, oh my!
Most of our garden mice spend the winter in the woodpile below the porch sunflower feeders. In a really hard winter, however, we have experienced mice damage on the lower trunks of newly planted shrubs and trees, enough to start placing cylinders of quarter-inch hardware cloth around the bases of sensitive plants. To be effective, these wire cylinders must extend two to three inches below ground.
Cylinders made of the same wire will deter the garden’s rabbits from feeding on specific shrubs or trees, but they should extend at least 18-24 inches above the ground to deter nibbling of tender lower branches. In all cases, these wire barricades may be left in place all year, but be sure to enlarge them as the trunks grows larger.
As for the noshing deer, we built a fence to keep them away from the blueberries and raspberries. Beyond that solution, you’re on your own. In my mind, deer at the edges of the winter garden are part of the joy of gardening in Maine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How to Take Care of Bulbophyllum Orchid

The genus Bulbophyllum is the largest one in the entire orchid family Orchidaceae and currently contains over 1800 orchid species, and new species are constantly being described and added to this vast genus. It is currently one of the largest genera in the entire plant kingdom, only Euphorbia and Senecio contain more species. In the floral trade, Bulbophyllum is abbreviated Bulb.
The forests of Papua New Guinea in South East Asia are believed to be the evolutionary homeland of the Bulbophyllum orchids since this is where you can find the largest diversity. Over 600 different Bulbophyllum species have been discovered here. Bulbophyllum orchids can not only be found in South East Asia, they are also naturally occurring in tropical parts of Australia and Africa, and even in South- and Central America. Over 200 species can be found on the island of Borneo alone, and 135 species have been discovered on Madagascar.
It is impossible to provide any Bulbophyllum orchid care guidelines that will be true for every single species in this enormous genus and it is therefore best to look for more detailed information about your specific Bulbophyllum species. Bulbophyllum orchids come in a wide range of forms and shapes. Some are epiphytic and grow on plants, while others are lithophytic and grown on stones and cliffs. Some are root climbers that slowly creep their way up along tree trunks, and yet another group of Bulbophyllum orchids are the tall plants that develop cane-shaped stems. In this genus, you can find orchids that have become almost entirely leafless since their pseudobulbs carry out most of the necessary photosynthesis, as well as orchid species that have adapted to dry conditions and developed succulent foliage. The general characteristics for the genus Bulbophyllum are the basal inflorescence, the mobile lip, and the single-noded pseudobulbs.
Watering Bulbophyllum orchids
As mentioned above, it is impossible to provide any guidelines that will be true for all Bulbophyllum species. Many of them are however used to rainy environments and need a lot of water. If you keep one of these species potted, you can water your Bulbophyllum orchid every 3-4 day and allow only a slight drying out between each watering. If you keep the orchids mounted, you can water them twice a day. If a new leaf is smaller than the old one, your Bulbophyllum orchids needs more watering.
Nutrients for Bulbophyllum orchids
If you fail to find species specific information regarding nutrient requirements for your Bulbophyllum orchid, try using a balanced fertilizer (20-20-20) two times per month. Divisions should only be given half strength. Seedlings can benefit from a fertilizer high in nitrogen until they are large enough to blossom.
Bulbophyllum orchid temperature
Most Bulbophyllum orchids are used to tropical environments and need warm to intermediate conditions. Do not let the temperature drop below 55 degrees F (13 degrees C) or rise above 95 degrees F (35 degrees C).
Bulbophyllum orchid light
It is hard to provide any specific recommendations since Bulbophyllum orchids are found in such a myriad of different environments. If you are unable to find species specific guidelines you can assume that the wider the leaves are, the less light demanding will the plant be.
Potting medium for a Bulbophyllum orchid
Most species will do well in fine seedling bark mixed with perlite. You can also mount many Bulbophyllum orchid species on a piece of wood or similar. Which potting medium you choose will affect the recommended watering frequency; a mounted Bulbophyllum orchid should be watered more frequently than a potted one.
Repotting a Bulbophyllum orchid
How and when to repot your Bulbophyllum orchid will greatly depend on the species. Always repot your Bulbophyllum orchid immediately if the potting medium goes bad, e.g. if it becomes infested with mould or starts smelling bad.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Care for Moth Orchids Tips

Moth Orchids are one of the most popular types of Orchid flowers. They look very beautiful and give an elegant look to your garden. They are commonly found in South East Asia and Northern parts of Australia. They can be grown in homes as they are a perfect option for an amateur grower. These flowers are very easy to grow as compared to the other types of Orchids but still they need proper care and handling.
Here some important and helpful information is given that would guide you to care for your Moth Orchids. The important factors to be considered are:
Now these factors would be described one by one.
Orchids grow very finely at the normal temperatures in houses. They require different temperatures in day and night. So the ideal temperature in the day time is 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and in night time these flowers require 60 to 70 degree Fahrenheit.
Moth Orchids require indirect light. It is ideal and preferable to place them in front of east-facing window. The color of its foliage indicates that how much light is required by them.
Bright Green Foliage (means its getting correct amount of light)
Deep Green Leaves (light is not sufficient)
Yellow Leaves (absorbing too much light)
Moth Orchids like humidity that’s why they are mostly found in rain forests. In warm weather, they require moisture after one or two days. The humidity is lower in homes, so it becomes necessary to moist them. To do this you can place a tray containing stones and water below your plant. Due to evaporation, the surrounding air will become moist and humidity requirements would be fulfilled.
It is better to water your Moth Orchids early in the morning once a week. They require more water in summer season as compared to that of winter. Some people get confused about watering their Orchids. The best time to water them is when the pot becomes dry.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Flowers In Spring

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
Anne Bradstreet.
Spring is the season that is loved by every person because the vibrant colors of flowers all around create such an ambiance everywhere that brings the best beauty to watch. The changing season brings up a great change in plants and trees. After the very cold freezing winters the mild hot weather brings life to plants and they spread the colors. This season brings to human the creativity of Mother Nature and provide with blessings for eyes to watch. All these spring flowers and more are the sign of new life into plants and hence create the same effect over humans as flowers bring message of happy living for everyone.Roses are ancient symbols of love and beauty. Roses are often considered as the most perfect flowers for expression of love. Roses, in particular, define love so well because of all the various shades some of which are natural and some are man-made; that symbolize the various stages and emotions of love and romance. Here is some really interesting information about roses.
A single rose of any color in full bloom means “I love you.”
Two roses put together to form a single stem means an impending engagement or marriage.
A dozen roses in a bouquet represent a traditional romance, but can signify something more particular, such as a dozen ways that I love you.
Two dozen roses in a bouquet represent an even deeper attraction and can tell your beloved that you think of them every hour.
Three dozen roses symbolize a romance that is unlike any other.
Four dozen roses represent an unchanging and unconditional love.
One red rose combined with several yellow roses means joviality.
Pale colored roses symbolize friendship instead than romantic love.
Deeper colored roses symbolize a more romantic love with passion and intimacy.
All roses symbolize love, but certain colors of roses can take on specia

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rose In Four Seasons

The stunning, architectural quality of the roses at the foyer of the Four Seasons in Istanbul, in this earlier post, is classic Jeff Leatham style. Mr. Leatham shot up to floral fame when he became the head florist at the George V Hotel in Paris and later, the Four Seasons Group of Hotels (owned by the Saudi prince who also owned Gucci, parts of Citibank, The Raffles Group), and he revolutionized the fresh floral arrangements in hotel public spaces. His pieces are simple yet opulent, using hundreds if not thousands of the same or similarly colored blooms to create living canvasses
The roses they sell in bulk at the Dimasalang flower market at say PHP80-100 a bundle of 24 blooms are incredibly well-priced, but you might say they are irregulars, with the blooms not the perfectly shaped rose of western hothouses that have managed to figure out just how to precisely manipulate a bloom to look perfect nearly every single time… But I find that for say PHP300 or so, you can create a pretty eye-stopping arrangement, and that is a FRACTION of the cost of the original. Here, I use two rather tall glass vases ( I have had them for years, you can get them for a few hundred pesos each at Landmark home section), almost filled to the brim with water.
The weight of the water in the vase helps to steady the arrangement. Then I take some 60-80 blooms and strip them of thorns and all but the topmost leaves and slowly form them into a very tight bunch, trying to mass the blooms together. I then rest them at a precarious looking angle using only the top 4-5 inches of the vase. They look like they are unsteady and about to tumble over, but they never have. Make sure your roses are fresh, soak them in cool water until just below the buds for several hours before arranging them. This arrangement should last you 4+ days in a cool room.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Orchid Care In Seasons

Orchid Care - Among the Fundamentals
If you obtain or buy an orchid for the primary time something in your world modifications forever. You will receive a way of enthusiasm and it'll thrive on having more orchids. To ensure that your orchids to thrive you have to grasp orchid care.
Lots of people are postpone from buying orchids as a result of they're costly and have a reputation as being tough to look after. Each of those are true but with a bit of observe it is possible for you to to improve your orchid care skills. Time beyond regulation you will grow to be more assured and as you get more orchids you will begin to turn into extra adventurous.
I will give you an introduction to the weather of orchid care. Watering is where numerous individuals make mistakes. This is very true for beginners because they really feel they must be doing something. Do not water your orchid too much. You solely must water it once every week and if it isn't completely dry then you possibly can depart it longer than that.
Once you're snug with the watering it is advisable to take into consideration temperatures. Not each orchid is identical however most do prefer a warmer temperature. In case you are protecting them indoors or in a greenhouse then they need to be fine. If alternatively you have got them outdoors please pay additional consideration on cold nights.
You will discover that orchids thrive once they get plenty of light. You do not wish to depart you orchids in direct sunlight all day. This is one thing that many get wrong with orchid care resulting within the leaves going yellow.
I hope that you do not get delay by the difficulty of orchid care and purchase your first orchid. It's a very rewarding experience that I'm positive you'll enjoy.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Four Seasons Of This Year

I think it is fair to say that what we have seen in 2011 is a massive failure of all three of these schemes to deal with the vacuum left behind by the upward flow of wealth. And since it is all happening at once, you might call it a “perfect storm.” Now it is possible to argue that societies around the world should have found a better way to deal with this income disparity. But in many cases their options were limited.
The real problem with regard to the global debt crisis is that most of the wealth that should have benefited the global population is now firmly in the grip of the wealthy one percent, who in most cases have not shouldered their fair share of taxation. If the wealth of the one percent were distributed more evenly in the world there would likely be no debt crisis, even if everyone at the top kept a few million dollars of pocket change.
For many years the problem was hidden behind impressive reports of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures around the world. For example, Tunisia – where this new way of doing business had been implemented successfully – regularly showed annual increases in their GDP. But where did the benefits of that growth end up? In the laps of the top one percent, of course.
What happened in Tunisia had literally happened around the world. So when the youth in Tunisia launched the Arab Spring, as it came to be known, they were not just protesting against their own sorry lot, they were uncovering global financial inequity that had similar faces all around the world, including in western democracies.
As spring turned to summer and Arab revolutions kept smoldering, serious social problems brought on by huge government debts began appearing in Europe. A young and restless generation had begun to understand that their futures had been sacrificed on the altar of this new world order. Everywhere they looked, they saw multi-billionaires not paying their fair share of taxes while sovereign states were going bankrupt or simply abandoning their poor.
And then fall brought with it a global expression of discontent, beginning in the United States. In the matter of a few weeks, the Occupy Movement had been ignited in more than 1600 cities around the world.
As expected, at first the media portrayed this movement as a minor irritation that would soon go away. But then governments began using riot police to clear away protestors – eerily reminiscent of tactics used at first in the Arab Spring and European Summer.
Now winter has come and it is likely that Occupiers will go home shortly to keep warm. But spring is coming soon and I expect that they will be back in greater numbers and with greater backing.
The seasons of 2011 have indeed been unprecedented in world history. Perhaps it is a sign of climate change beginning to happen.