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Summer Garden

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Planning Your Summer Garden

If you are like many people around the world you want a summer garden to bring
a little life to your lawn during those oh so hot summer months. Most of us
however, would prefer a garden that doesn't require constant care and
attention. This is where proper planning comes into place for creating the
summer garden of your dreams.

There are several things you need to ask yourself when planning your summer
garden. Each of these things will to some extent determine the type of summer
garden your lawn will accommodate. First of all, how much space on your lawn do
you wish your summer garden to occupy and in general terms how big is that
space. Most of us live in homes that have woefully inadequate lawn space these
days. For this reason it is important to have a realistic vision as to how much
of that prime real estate you are willing to commit to your summer garden.

Once you have determined how much space you are willing to commit to your
garden you need to decide on the location. Location is important to know before
beginning the planning phase because you will need to plan according to the
location. You need to be able to answer the following questions about location.
How much direct sunlight gets to this location on an average day? Is this a
location that is generally moist or typically dry? And how much indirect
sunlight does this section of lawn see on any given day? These are questions
that are important because they will, by and large, determine what kind of
plants your garden will be able to accommodate. You also need to know a little
about the terrain of the area as well. It is level, rocky, or muddy? These
things will each have a different but profound effect on the type of garden
that can be grown and steps you will have to take to make a summer garden work
in this particular location.

The next question you will need to ask and answer before moving on to the
planning and purchasing phase is how much time, on average, do you want to
devote to your summer garden on any given day? Gardens often require tending
and you must be prepared to devote some time to keeping your garden in good
working order though some are definitely higher maintenance than others. You
need to have a realistic idea of how much time each day or week that you are
willing to devote to making your garden the beautiful sanctuary it can be in
mind before you decide on the types of plants and flowers that will fill your
summer garden.

You should also have in mind the type of summer garden you wish to create as
well. Do you want a vegetable garden, flower garden, or do you simply want to
add a little bit more green to your lawn? Do you want to add a water feature or
have a sitting area?

When planning your summer garden you will need to consider all these things and
more. Another thing you will want to keep in mind is the local climate. It is
moderate, dry, wet, or cool many mornings? These things will also have a fairly
significant effect on the best type of garden that is suitable for your current
situation.

Planning a garden is so much more than walking outside and pointing and
grunting. There is a great deal of work that goes into planning a successful
summer garden. Asking the right questions is a good place to begin the process.
Once you have the answers it is time to begin the more exciting aspects of
planning your summer garden such as working the ground and selecting the plants
that will soon call your lawn home. Just remember that paying careful attention
to the details ahead of time will save a lot of lost time and money later.

Maintaining a Summer Garden

There are many things that go into planning and planting a summer garden. Far
too often would be gardeners do not consider the time and energy that should be
spent maintaining the summer garden in order to keep your summer garden looking
beauty and healthy throughout the long dog days of summer and well, in many
cases, into the first frosts of fall. If prolonging the life and beauty of your
summer garden is a priority then there are things that must be done in order to
keep everything ship shape and in good working order.

Create a calendar of things to do in your garden for routine maintenance
throughout the summer growing season and follow it is closely as time and the
weather will allow. Make sure this list allows for upsets such as a week of
rain or a week of no rain as well as time to adjust for these inconsistencies
and an inability to work in the garden when temperatures are well over the mark
on the thermometer that reads uncomfortably hot. By having a list of things to
do written down in a place where it can be seen it will weigh more heavily and
be much more likely to be accomplished than if it were out of sight and out of
mind.

Make sure you keep your garden weeded, watered, mulched, and fertilized
according to the needs of specific plants within your garden. Check for leaves
that are turning yellow and any pruning that needs to occur on a weekly basis.
Remove the leaves and perform necessary cutting when needed and remove all
weeds whenever the opportunity or need arises. If weeds are becoming a
prevalent theme you may want to increase the amount of mulch being used in your
gardening efforts.

Trim the areas of your lawn that need trimming in order to create a more
uniform appearance between lawn and garden. You do not want to ignore the
beauty of your garden because your lawn is looking shaggy and unkempt. Devote a
little time to lawn care in order to keep your lawn and garden on a consistent
scale with one another throughout the summer gardening season.

Make sure that you carefully study each plant that you have in your garden and
are aware of any special needs that exist for one plant over another. If your
plants that need shade or extra water are either receiving too much sunlight or
not enough water you need to make efforts to add shade to them and get more
water to them throughout the remaining months or you risk losing the investment
of time and money you have already made in procuring and growing these plants.

Taking proper care of your garden during the summer months can make the fall
harvesting process go a lot more smoothly while also helping prepare for the
planning that will occur in the winter months ahead. Learn from the maintenance
of your garden and plan the next garden with the needs you became aware of this
season in mind. Always take time to learn from both your successes and your
summer gardening failures for the best possible results. Learning to maintain
your garden is the best way to determine whether or not you want to attempt a
more or less ambitious garden in future growing seasons.

Creating a Summer Garden on a Budget

Summer gardening can quickly escalate into an expensive undertaking if you do
not enter into the prospect with certain and very specific budget constraints
in mind. If you plan according to your budget and purchase according to your
specific plans and needs you are likely to find that your summer garden is more
budget friendly than the vast majority of other summer gardens on the block. I
hope the advice that follows will help you cut the expense of summer garden and
help you find budget friendly ways to build the summer garden of your dreams.

Do not buy what you do not need. It doesn't matter how good the deal if you do
not need the seeds, tools, and various other items there is no real reason to
purchase them. It is a waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere to
spend money that doesn't need to be spent.

Don't pay for shipping if it can be avoided. You may find a few items cheaper
online but be very aware of the costs involved in shipping. If it costs more
when all is said and done than it would have cost to purchase the same items
locally you haven't saved anything at all. Look at the big picture rather than
seeing only the cheaper asking price. It is also a good idea to support small
local businesses whenever possible as they are going to be more likely to
bargain, barter, and throw in freebies.

Check locally for free composting materials. Many communities offer these free
to residents. When compared with the expense of purchasing these materials the
savings can be significant over the course of a summer.

Work out an exchange among gardening friends. This is a great way to
incorporate new plants into your summer garden without purchasing each plant
you wish to include. This is a great way to make new gardening friends, share a
passion, and save money. It's a win win situation for most gardeners who are
constantly waging war on the high costs that can be involved in gardening.

Select plants that are native to your area for your summer garden. This is a
huge money saver that is often overlooked. The costs of non-native plants can
be excessive in the best of circumstances and the added care incurs further
costs. Keep costs down by selecting plants that will easily thrive in your
climate and those that are locally cultivated. This isn't an all or nothing
proposition of course. If you absolutely love a couple of non-native plants, by
all means incorporate them into your garden. However, if you are planning a
garden from scratch choose as many native plants as possible for filler.

Check your local classified ads and free-cycle program for used garden tools
that are in good condition. There are many reasons that people sell or give
away garden tools and a bargain is a bargain on these tools that are going to
be used to play in the dirt. You do not need to be incredibly picky about the
tools you purchase and saving money is almost always a good thing. It's even
better, of course, when you get them for no cost at all. You also might find a
few free plants available through these sources too.

Mulching saves time and money. Really! It saves water to mulch because the
mulch holds the moisture in. This lowers the cost of watering and eliminates
many of the pesky weeds that crop up-which saves time. We all know that time is
money and most of us despise weeding unless we have some truly aggressive
emotions to work through that is.

By using all of the steps above you should find that you have saved a good deal
of money in the planning and growing of your summer garden. Combine them with
tips of your own that you discover along the way and next summer your garden
should cost even less.

Summer Garden Pitfalls

We all love learning great ways to create a summer garden fit to rival them
all. What we do not really take the time to check out often enough are the
things we should avoid when creating a summer garden. Learning the potential
pitfalls of summer gardening can often lead to much better results in the long
run while allowing you to learn these sometimes painful lessons from the
mistakes of others rather than your own personal gardening flops and nightmares.

One thing that we are all guilty of is landscaping for the neighbor's
enjoyment. If you spend the vast majority of your free time in the great
outdoors, this is one thing but if you are like the typical family you spend
the vast majority of your time inside your home looking out. For this reason it
is wise to plant your summer garden in an area that you can easily view from
within the walls of your home rather than in an area that only the neighbors
are likely to see on an average day. In other words, garden for your enjoyment
and make it so that you actually get to view the benefits of your labor on any
given day.

Avoid cluttering your lawn with too much of anything. Keep your summer garden
on scale with your lawn. It will look completely out of place if you have too
much in garden on a postage stamp lot and will look completely under maintained
to have very little landscaping in your summer garden on a lot the size of a
grand estate. Try to keep everything in perspective and appropriate to the
amount of land available as well as the climate of the area in which you are
planning your summer garden.

You should also avoid looking as though you have no plan in your summer garden
landscaping and design. Planning is the most important thing you can do for
your summer garden. Without a solid plan upon which to build the design of your
summer garden your garden is doomed to either fail or look as though it was
poorly planned and executed. Invest the largest portion of time and energy
towards the planning stage of your summer garden in order to achieve the best
possible results.

Another common pitfall when planning and creating summer gardens is failing to
consider the long-term implications of the plants and flowers selected for the
garden. If you are not interested in heavy maintenance it makes little sense to
purchase plants and flowers that are high maintenance by nature. Select plants
according to your summer garden needs and not simply because you think they
look good in a brochure or on the store shelves.

If you take a little time to make a concerted effort towards properly planning
your summer gardens according to your personal tastes and the desired level of
maintenance you wish to invest in keeping your garden in top form you will find
that you will enjoy your garden much more than if you throw some plants in the
ground and hope for the best. One thing to remember is that while there are
summer gardens that require a little less maintenance than others there is no
such thing as a no maintenance garden. Expect to spend some time and effort
keeping your garden looking sharp and in order.

A Summer Garden for All Seasons

One thing that is often overlooked when planning and creating a beautiful
summer garden for homeowners to enjoy is the fact that the garden exists
throughout the year. Unfortunately in the vast majority of summer gardens there
is a huge hole in the garden for the vast majority of the year. Carefully
planning in order to avoid this process and planting flowering plants that
bloom during various seasons of the year as well as plants that provide
beautiful foliage and greenery even when the flowers may not be blooming can
prevent this absence of life within your summer garden from occurring.

Plant continuously and groom your garden consistently throughout the year.
Obviously the winter months are not great months for planting in the earth but
this doesn't mean that you cannot use flowerpots filled with seasonal offerings
to fill the gaps of green within your garden. There are all kinds of flowers
that thrive in winter weather that would make a beautiful addition to your
winter garden without taking anything away from the beauty of your summer
garden. In fact, the ability to incorporate these flowers and plants into your
garden without necessarily planting may be an excellent incentive to keep your
garden up to date even in seasons that aren't traditionally thought of as
gardening seasons.

Add features to your garden that aren't plant related to bring splashes of
color to your garden during winter months while preserving the space needed for
planting your summer garden when the appropriate time comes. Flowerpots are a
great example of this but so are lawn ornaments and statues that may be either
moved to a different location during summer months or removed all together.
Keep the earth warm for the summer garden to come during those long cold winter
months.

Use the winter months to plan your summer garden. The spring is often spent in
preparation and the fall months are spent harvesting. The winter months would
be put to excellent use planning the new additions and possible movements that
need to occur in the coming months. Working on your garden and improving your
garden does not necessarily require working in your garden. Once you have those
gaps filled in and a little bit of green and color in your garden for the winter
months you can focus your undivided attention on making the coming summer garden
even better and more spectacular than ever before.

Be careful not to plant all of your seeds in one garden spot so to speak while
you are making your plans. By this I mean you need to keep a certain
willingness to make adjustments and corrections as you go and learn more about
the growing process and the specific gardening needs of your yard. Every
growing season will bring a season of new lessons to learn take the time to
reflect upon the lessons learned during previous seasons when making plans for
the coming seasons and make the adjustments that present themselves along the
way.

By learning from the mistakes of the past and always looking to and
anticipating the needs of the future you are insuring greater success each year
for your summer garden not only during the dog days of summer but throughout all
the seasons of the year.

Planting a Summer Garden

When it comes to planting your garden the first thing you need to focus on is
planning your garden. Once you have a line on the things you want to plant,
where you want to plant them, and what the needs of your individual plants will
be it is time to really dig in and get your hands dirty. Of course, for many
gardeners this is the best thing about growing a summer garden (though some
will argue that the results are the best thing). Either way, many gardeners
relish the idea of getting their hands in the dirt in order to really get their
garden underway.

Before the planting begins however you should take a calendar and mark the days
that each part of your summer garden will be planted. Different flowers and
vegetables have different growing seasons. Some prosper by earlier plantings
while others prosper by later plantings. If you are planting a summer vegetable
garden then it is quite possible that some of the plants will need a precise
number of days between planting and harvesting. Both the plant and harvest days
should be noted. This also however provides an excellent opportunity to plant
more of the vegetable (and some flowers) every two weeks to provide a
continuous rotation of the vegetable you love well into the gardening season.

Plants that are known to take up a great deal of space on the ground when left
to their own devices may be trained to climb poles that you set up in the
garden for them. If space is limited, this is highly recommended. Doing this
also provides an opportunity to shade plants that prefer less direct sunlight
when planted next to these climbing vines that are climbing vertically. Also
make sure you have enough stakes for all the plants that require them for best
effect.

Plant your plants so that those needing shade get the shade they need and those
that require the most water are located on a downward slope so that they get the
water that runs off from the plants that require lesser amounts of water. This
is a trick of conservationists and seasoned gardeners that makes the most of
sometimes limited resources such as water for the purpose of creating a better
environment for optimal growth. At the same time you want to avoid planting
vegetables and flowers that require less water at the bottom of these slopes as
they are likely to become over hydrated, which can be just as devastating as not
getting enough water.

Make sure your soil is healthy so that it can create the healthy plants you are
hoping to have. Fertilize the soil in which these plants, flowers, and
vegetables will be grown. This provides the foundation necessary for optimal
performance from your plants and greatest yield from your vegetables. You
should also take great care once the planting has taken place that the plants,
flowers, and vegetables that make up your summer garden are well fed in order
to produce even better results. There are plenty of fertilizers and plant foods
from which to choose be sure to check local laws in order to make sure you
aren't using a combination that is not recommended for your region or that is
not permissible in your reason as this is often strictly regulated from one
state to the next.

Plan your pest control before you begin planting your garden. There are some
plants, flowers, and herbs that work as natural pest controls. These make an
excellent addition to your garden as they offer no harmful side effect and can
rid your garden of many of the pests that provide constant head aches. Another
thing you may wish to consider is the use of chicken wire to protect some of
your plants from things a little bigger than the average bug. The more humane
the methods of pest control and the less you rely on pesticides the better.

Versatility in Your Summer Garden

There is no hard and fast rule as to what a summer garden should be. This means
that your personal vision for your summer garden is going to be quite achievable
if you take the time to do the proper research and plan the planting for your
summer gardening wisely and with great care. One thing is certain, planting
wisely can produce a summer garden that is beautiful and maintains some degree
of natural pest control. Your summer garden can produce fruit, vegetables,
flowers, and even be designed in order to attract certain birds or butterflies.
Of course, your summer garden may also be designed to accomplish more than one
of these goals as well. That's the beauty of the versatility of your average
summer garden.

Here are a few things to consider. Versatility in a summer garden means that
you aren't committed to one prevailing purpose or theme. This means that it is
not at all inappropriate to plant a few flowering plants or herbs as pest
control along with your favorite summertime vegetable offerings. At the same
time it is completely acceptable to add a few vegetables that you just can't
seem to live without in your flower garden or amid a the plants in a garden of
green.

When it comes to colors, the possibilities of the average summer garden are
almost limitless. There are plenty of brightly colored flowers that hallmark
the summer season and bring a little splash of color to a world that is often
drained of color by the sometimes blinding summer sunshine. By brining a few
well placed colors into your garden as a highlight or border you are adding
dramatic appeal. If you choose to make your garden a sea of brightly colored
flowers, plants, leaves, and vines you can also achieve great affect that may
be breathtaking in beauty. Be prepared to spend a great deal of time tending a
garden of this nature however as many of the brightly colored flowering plants
are attention hogs to some degree.

If you live in a dryer climate you also have the option of using low water
landscaping or creative conservation techniques in order to create a garden
that is lovely in its own right. A garden doesn't have to be excessively green
or full of bright vividly colored flowers in order to be beautiful. By using
landscaping techniques that are conservative in nature you are making your own
conservation efforts and the rest of the planet should appreciate not only the
effort but also the beauty of the creation that was born of that effort.

If you prefer nice and lush greenery and live in a climate that will
accommodate this particular style of a summer garden there is no reason to
avoid this either. Be sure to use some conservation efforts though because you
never know when drought conditions may present themselves in climates that are
typically quite moderate as we are learning in the Midwest this summer.

Vegetable gardens are yet another option when creating your summer garden and
another fine example of just how versatile these gardens may be. Keep in mind
that many people are discovering the beauty of vertical gardening and hanging
plants for a few favorite vegetables and this may be an option if you wish to
use limited space wisely and to greater effect.

Another option when it comes to showing the incredible versatility of the
summer garden is raised gardening. This is quite literally planting your garden
above the ground. Some people create elaborate 'sand boxes' of sorts in which
the garden is planted. This allows great versatility for those with smaller
spaces in which to plant their gardens as well as those who have landscaping
issues that are inhospitable for gardening.

These are but a few examples of just how versatile a summer garden may be but I
think they provide excellent insight and food for thought for those who are
looking for a little something new and different for their summer gardens.

Summer Gardens for Small Spaces

There are many people who relish the idea of having a summer garden but feel
that the reality is well outside the realm of the possible. The good news is
that in the modern world in which we live nothing could be further from the
truth. The only thing is you may have to rearrange your idea of what a summer
garden is and is not. You can still manage to have the beauty of flowers or
fresh picked vegetables in almost any situation if you are willing to take the
necessary extra steps required to do so.

First of all, those who live in high rise buildings often feel as though they
have no options larger than a window sill for their gardening needs. This is
often not the case. Discuss with the landlord the option of establishing raised
gardens on the roof top of the building in which you live. These are becoming
more and more popular and some buildings also offer greenhouse possibilities,
usage, or space to tenants to satisfy the urge many of us get to give our green
(or not so green as the case may be) thumbs an adequate workout. Raised gardens
are a great choice for many landlords and building owners as long as they are
created and maintained at the expense of the tenant who proposed the garden.
Some buildings even offer gardening coops as perks to those who live within the
building and a system of contributing and sharing the fruits of the labor of
those who have contributed to these gardens by planting and maintaining
flowers, plants, fruits, and/or vegetables. This is also a great way to meet
neighbors that may share your passion.

If you live in a smaller apartment type of setting that has little or no lawn
space you still have a few options available to you. First of all, many of
these types of apartments come with balcony space or a small patio area. This
means that you can use ferns or flowering plants to add a little bit of green
and other colors and have the plants hanging along the patio or balcony.
Another thing that is growing in popularity for small spaces is hanging
vegetables such as tomatoes. This is a little outside the area of traditional
but provides the opportunity for fresh tomatoes to even those who have very
limited gardening space. Small peppers also do well growing upside down though
this isn't recommended for the larger sweet peppers as they are too heavy for
the vines to support. Going up with your garden frees up that valuable ground
space for must have plants to be planted in raised gardens that can be made
quite small to accommodate your specific needs.

A vertical garden is yet another option. This requires some degree of handyman
skills or knowing someone that has these skills for designing and building a
platform for your gardening needs that allows you to grow the flowers or
vegetables you crave without taking up nearly as much ground space. This is
also a convenient way of gardening for those who are in wheelchairs and cannot
get up and down for regular gardening tasks as easily. A vertical garden can be
planted with very little ground space, such as what would be available on a
patio or a balcony and allows for many more plants that one might expect with
such a small growing space. Combine this method with hanging plants and you may
find that you have quite an impressive little summer garden growing.

Do not allow limited real estate to be an obstacle for your summer garden
needs. One way to overcome this is to begin thinking vertically when it comes
to real estate rather than horizontally. You may discover that you have a lot
more room with which to work than you realized. The important thing to remember
is that your summer garden does not have to conform to anyone's idea of what a
summer garden should be. Make it your own and have fun.

Summer Gardens for Butterflies

There are many different reasons that different people decide to plant summer
gardens. One common reason that is becoming more popular these days as people
to seek to entertain their children through little things done closer to home
is to attract butterflies. This is much easier done than one might think if you
live in the right environment for these beautiful creatures to thrive and
flourish.

Butterflies are beautiful creatures with very short life spans. For this reason
they seem to be attracted to beautiful things during their short lives. Brightly
colored flowers attract butterflies in droves. This means that flowers such as
aster, marigold, black-eyed Susans, and butterfly weed are well known to
attract butterflies.

Another thing you may wish to consider when selecting flowers for the purpose
of attracting these delightful winged creatures to your summer garden is the
nectar. This is the essential food for butterflies so a garden that is filled
with more nectar producing flowers is likely to garner more than its fare share
of attention from the butterflies nearby. The greater the selection of nectar
producing flowers the greater the number of butterflies your garden is likely
to attract so be sure to plant plenty and prune them in a manner that produces
maximum flowers for maximum impact.

In addition to the flowers in your summer garden there are other methods that
may be used to attract butterfly to the delight of young and old alike. One of
those methods is by placing a several pieces of ripe fruit in your garden. This
is another treat for butterflies to enjoy and will attract many that may be in
the area.

One thing to remember when planting to attract butterflies is that they do
adore worshipping the sun. This means that shady types of gardens aren't best
suited for attracting them and won't keep them long if it happens to do so.
Plant your butterfly garden in an area that benefits from the full force of the
sun most of the day in order to entertain the most possible butterflies and keep
in mind that different butterflies are attracted to different plants both as
caterpillars and as butterflies. A little further study may produce the best
results when seeking the most suitable plants for your butterfly garden
depending on the type of butterflies you most hope to attract.

You should also avoid using pesticides in a flower garden built to attract
butterflies. It wouldn't make sense to attract butterflies to your garden only
to harm them through the nourishment they receive while paying your summer
garden a visit. Employ organic gardening methods in your butterfly garden for
the best results.

You should also make sure there is a source of water nearby in order to keep
the butterflies well hydrated. They need water just like any other animal. Many
gardens these days add water features that keep the water moving (best for
avoiding mosquito infestations) while having it freely available for the
animals that we are hoping to attract such as birds and butterflies.

Our summer gardens are an investment of both time and attention. It is great
when we can accomplish more than one beauty as the result of our hard work and
effort. A summer garden designed to attract butterflies is a great way to
achieve just that.

Summer Garden Weddings

Blushing June brides often want few things more than a beautiful fairy tale
summer garden wedding surrounded by friends, family, and many beautiful
flowers. There are many ways to plan and create the beautiful summer garden
wedding that most brides dream about if you are willing to risk the whimsy of
the weather in order to have your dream come true. Of course, really what gods
dare call forth rain on the wedding day of a beautiful June bride?

Not only do you need to take into account the size and scope of the summer
garden in question when planning your wedding but also the easy access to an
interior spot suitable for the wedding should something go wrong and Mother
Nature allow a stray drop or two to rain on your parade. Rain is a factor that
many brides to be plan for by procuring tents for that fateful day to protect
those who will be attending as well as the ceremony itself.

You should also consider the clothing for a summer garden wedding. While the
idea of formal attire for such a wedding might seem beautiful and appealing you
should carefully consider the reality of potentially high temperatures
compounded with high humidity and the effects that will have on hair, make up,
and the trappings that go along with formal attire and tuxedos. It may be a
little too hot for comfort when confronted with a bright and sunny summer
afternoon. Choose the clothing carefully and prepare to have fans on hand in
case members of the bride or groom's party become overheated.

One reason that many brides elect to have a summer garden wedding is so that
they may go less formal rather than more formal. This means that concessions
may be made everywhere when it comes to formality and the summer atmosphere and
the entire wedding can be a far more relaxed and fun occasion rather than the
sober ceremony that many make it out to be.

Another great thing about a summer garden wedding is that you can use flowers
from the very garden in which you are getting married in order to create your
bouquet. This provides many bright and beautiful options while allowing the
wedding party to blend in with the natural surroundings. It also helps budget
conscious brides save a little extra money when it comes to the cost of the
wedding.

Another thing that must be considered when planning a summer garden wedding is
the comfort of guests. Plan for areas where guests can cool off and make sure
there are plenty of drinks flowing that will keep them from dehydrating. Plenty
of bottled water on ice is another good plan for a summer garden wedding. Make
sure there is plenty of water to keep the bridal party and the groom and
groomsmen well hydrated prior too and after the actual ceremony occurs.

One final bit of advice for a summer garden wedding is to take time to
literally sit back and smell the roses and any other flowers that may be
present. Part of the beauty of a garden wedding is the myriad of fragrances
that are filling the air. Take the time to enjoy the little things such as this
that make this day so very special for the happy couple and everyone that shares
this special day.

Making Your Summer Garden Grow

For as long as there have been gardens there has been some degree of garden
envy. Whether the garden is made of flowers, plants, or vegetables, there
always seems to be one garden that is more prolific, greener, more colorful, or
yields more food. Whatever you are envious of in the gardens of others, chances
are that if you take the proper time to learn about the placement of the
plants, the optimal growing conditions for each plant, preferred soil
treatments for each plant, and best case scenarios when it comes to sunlight
and watering for the plants in your summer garden you could create a summer
garden to rival the best in your locale no matter what you happen to be growing.

Of course it requires a great deal of time, effort, and energy to become the
absolute best and your efforts may be best suited into making small
improvements each year in your summer garden rather than creating a massive
overhaul that may burn you out on your summer garden all together. That being
said, you may find some of the information below useful when working with your
summer garden to help it become the best it can possibly be.

The first thing you need to do is check to see what regulations exist in your
state in regards to plant food. Your local county extension office is often a
good place to turn for information regarding these particular regulations as
they exist not only for plant food but any other restrictions that may be in
place for adjusting the soil in your summer garden. Once you have the
information in hand you might want to test the pH in your own soil to see what
kind of conditions you currently have and what, if any, adjustments need to be
made before planting.

You should also make sure you are aware that every decision you make in regards
to your summer garden will affect the yield and output to some degree but no
matter how carefully you plan there will always be events that are beyond your
control. This summer alone we are seeing record rainfalls in part of the
country that have flooded and devastated crops while experiencing frighteningly
low rainfall in other parts of the country and a very real drought in parts of
the heartland that are responsible for much of the corn and soybean production
for the nation. Stuff happens and for this reason the best of plans can easily
go astray.

With this in mind, plan your garden carefully around the things mentioned
above. Each plant will have its very own needs that must be met for optimal
growth and yield. If those needs are not met chances are you will still have a
plant but it will not provide the best possible flowers, the most vegetables,
or the greenest leaves. If average is your goal then some care is needed but
not as much as if your goal was to create and grow blue ribbon winning
vegetables or flowers and that isn't everyone's goal when it comes to creating
a summer garden.

Keep the local laws in mind when fertilizing and feeding your flowers and
plants, avoid using pesticides that could be harmful electing instead to go
with methods of pest control that are more natural and humane, this is
particularly important when planting vegetables as you do not want to expose
your children to potentially harmful chemicals that may be used as pesticides.
Grow according to the needs of the plant and within the limits of the space you
have for gardening. This means that if you only have shady space available for
your summer garden choose flowers, plants, and/or vegetables, that thrive in
shady conditions rather than those that need copious amounts of sunlight. More
importantly, plant according to those things you wish to include in your
garden. It is there for your pleasure after all; you may as well get as much
pleasure as possible from it. That often makes it grow best at any rate.

Make Your Summer Garden Sizzle

Most people spend a great deal of time and effort planning their summer
gardens. Whether you are planning a summer garden that is designed to awe and
amaze all those who manage to capture a glimpse or simply trying to construct a
summer garden that will inspire you when you manage to take a moment and glance
around, taking in the fruits of your labor there is no reason you should skimp
on the planning stage as it may prove detrimental to the overall effect. If you
are looking for ways to make your summer garden sizzle the absolute best way is
to give it the careful planning and attention to detail it deserves.

First and foremost you need to plan more than the plants that will go in your
summer garden. Whether you are planting flowers, trees, shrubs, greenery,
fruits, or vegetables you need still need to plan the boundaries, bordering,
landscaping, and layout of your summer garden. You should also consider the
accents in your lawn and garden area that will showcase certain aspects of your
summer garden while diminishing the effects of less attractive features of your
summer garden or the natural landscape of your lawn.

Arrange your summer garden in a manner that is attractive. Whether you are
using traditional rows for a vegetable garden or raised landscaping boxes in
select areas along the exterior of your home there are plenty of opportunities
to present your summer garden in as attractive of a manner as possible. Take
great time and care that you do just that when planning your garden. You want
your summer garden to be a place to show off to friends and neighbors.
Arranging it attractively so that it doesn't detract from the remainder of your
landscaping efforts is a wise move-even if your summer garden is intended to be
merely functional as a vegetable garden.

Use lawn furniture, birdhouses, water features, and other clever landscaping
tips and tricks in order to provide additional focal points throughout your
summer garden area. Provide plenty of distractions so that visitors may see
something different every time they stop by. Be careful that you do not make
your summer garden seem gaudy or overcrowded though. There is a fine balance
between having too many gaps in scenery and overloading the senses. Take care
that you do not cross that line.

Use lighting so that your summer garden may be enjoyed even when dusk is
imminent. There are many ways this can be accomplished. I recommend using solar
powered lighting along pathways and walkways within your summer garden and
overhead lighting in common areas where there is seating and that are meant for
congregating and socializing.

Create pathways within your gardens and mark them with pavers and stones. These
pathways provide visitors a walking path through your garden area and keep feet
from compacting the soil and inhibiting the growth in your garden. This is also
a great method for keeping your garden attractive in appearance and from looking
overgrown in areas that aren't readily accessible for mowing.

Install a water feature such as a goldfish pond or waterfall for a little
dramatic flare. These are not only beautiful but allow the opportunity for a
social area and a little more lighting in your garden area. If you enjoy birds,
it also gives the water a little room in which to flit and flitter to the
delight of young and older kids alike. For a really sizzling summer garden it
needs to be a garden that people want to enjoy and where they wish to
congregate. Little touches such as those mentioned above make a huge difference
to visitors and increase the enjoyment of summer gardens exponentially.

Plan your summer garden to attract visitors and keep their attention and you
should have no shortage of flattering comments about your green thumb or your
gardening efforts. Remember to keep the plants looking healthy and beautiful
though of you may find the opposite of the desired effect is the case.




Low Water Summer Gardens

If you live in a dessert community or in an area that often experiences seasons
of drought or extremely dry times during the year then it is quite likely that
you would be best served by considering a summer garden that requires a little
less water than the average summer garden by avoiding the lush greens and big
'drinking' plants that many people prefer to keep in their gardens in favor of
plants that consumer water more economically and employing water saving methods
to maximize the benefit of water that is used in your summer garden.

There are several things you can do in order to insure that your summer garden
is water friendly and doesn't over tax water systems that are often
overburdened in attempts to keep them lush and green. One of the first, and
most responsible things you can do is scale back your idea of what a summer
garden should be. You do not need a huge summer garden filled with lush
greenery in order to make a good impression. In fact, a responsible garden that
conserves the natural resources and highlights the natural plant life is often a
garden that is much more deserving of accolades than one that uses too many of
the limited natural resources that are available.

The second thing you should do is think local rather than global when finding
suitable plants for your low water summer garden. Dessert plants and flowers
are accustomed to the dessert climate and can survive with low amounts of water
and flourish. If you must have some of the more lush greenery or a few more
exotic plants in your summer garden consider using them sparingly and
supplementing your garden with local plants and flowers.

Third, you should use things that aren't plants in order to fill in gaping
holes in the landscaping. For this you could use rocks, stones, nice lawn
ornaments and a wide array of other things to fill in the holes that you feel
are left behind by the absence of greenery and create borders and boundaries
for your low water summer garden.

Finally, keep your lawn green by using low water grass mixes. This is a great
way in almost any climate to combat drier than normal summer seasons and keep
lawns lush and green without investing a great deal of time and effort watering
the lawn. The savings in water costs alone are often quickly cover the cost of
the investment in the new grass for your lawn and will help the focus remain on
your bright and beautiful lawn to the point that many homeowners do not lament
the absence of a huge summer garden.

Living in an area that doesn't have the natural resources necessary to create a
beautiful and lush summer garden should not eliminate the possibility of having
any sort of summer garden at all. By making wise decisions in regards to the
type and volume of plants to include in your summer garden you can take matters
into your own hands and insure the ability to maintain a low water summer garden
that will be the envy of the neighborhood. Combine these efforts with water
conservation methods inside your home for amazing results and a beautiful
summer garden no matter how dry the area in which you live may be.

Landscaping Your Summer Garden

There are many things that must be considered when planning and planting your
summer garden. One of those things is the natural landscape or terrain of your
lawn and garden area. It is best, whenever possible to work with the landscape
rather than working against it or going to extraordinary efforts to make
changes to the natural landscape of your lawn when you could very easily and
beautifully plan your summer garden to go with the flow of and work well with
the natural terrain of your lawn and garden area.

One way in which this is accomplished is by taking a quick survey of your lawn.
This will need to be more than a cursory visual survey. You will need to walk
your lawn and the area in which you are planning for your garden space. You
will need to measure the terrain and take not of inclines and slopes. While you
are at it, you need to study the condition of the soil and any areas that seem
particularly inhospitable for planting. If these types of areas are present in
your garden you need to decide what you want to do about them. Is it possible
to turn this patch into a water feature or some other attractive addition to
your garden rather than remaining a bare patch in the midst of your flowers,
plants, and/or vegetables?

You should also determine the amount of shade a particular area receive and, if
in direct sunlight, how to create shade for those plants, vegetables, or flowers
that grow best in indirect sunlight. This can be accomplished by planting them
creatively in the shadow of plants, shrubs, or vegetables that grow much taller
or by using rocks to create shade or even climbing vines on trellises or fences
in order to create an artificial shade.

Once you have a good feel for the terrain and landscape of your summer garden
you will need to plan for the vegetables, flowers, or plants that will be used.
Vegetable gardens tend to be less aesthetic in nature and are often the easiest
to landscape, as it is a matter of need rather than beauty. If you are planting
a flowery summer garden however, it is quite likely that you will be planning to
achieve some degree of beauty within your garden. Decide now if you want to keep
the flowers and plants within a certain color scheme or if you want dramatic
blues and greens combined with bright and vivid reds and yellows. This is a
personal decision but will greatly affect the appearance of your garden when
all is said and done.

You should also landscape your garden according to the amount of time and
effort you want to devote to working your garden on any given week. Some plants
require more care than others. If you want a garden that is basically sow and go
then you need to make sure it is filled with plants and flowers that are suited
to that sort of low maintenance. Most vegetable gardens require a good deal of
tending in order to flourish and are not acceptable in this sort of situation.

If you are completely lost as to how to landscape your summer garden it may be
worth the effort to have a team of professionals come in and do the landscaping
for you. When procuring their services be sure to either check into a
maintenance program with them in which the upkeep the landscaping or have them
provide a low maintenance type of landscaping that you will be able to maintain
and duplicate on your own.

Many gardeners find the task of landscaping their summer garden to be the
highlight of the summer growing season. If you are not among those, the hope is
that the recommendations provided here will provide you with a good start and
several helpful tips on getting your garden landscaped and ready to grow.

Keeping Your Garden Green

There are many things we do to add a little splash of color to our summer
gardens but we often fail to focus on keeping our summer gardens looking lush
and green just a little bit longer even though we know that by doing so we are
essentially prolonging the life and therefore our enjoyment of our summer
gardens. The focus of this article is to keep your summer garden looking crisp
and green as long as possible by taking a few extra steps a little earlier in
the summer months to prepare for the inevitable beginning of the end.

One thing to keep in mind is that once your summer garden begins to take on
that yellowish brown hue that indicates the end of summer it always seems to be
a downhill ride into the fall. That ride, more often than not is over far too
quickly and your summer garden is but a dim reminder of its formerly glorious
summer greenery.

First things first, get rid of the yellowing leaves and dying flowers as they
make their appearance. They rob the remainder of the garden of its splendor and
leave the pallor of decay on the garden far too soon in the season. You will be
glad you did, as it will immediately restore the look of health and vitality
that your summer garden is missing while also providing a much perkier attitude
and bearing from the remaining plants.

Weed. Remove those pesky weeds that detract from the beauty and lushness of the
greenery in your garden. By removing the weeds your entire summer garden looks
better almost immediately. While you are at it, reapply mulch. This will delay
the inevitable return of the weeds while also providing an extra layer for
holding in moisture to keep your plants from drying out and looking green.
Another great thing about mulch is that it simply makes things look neat and
orderly.

Fill in the gaps. While you are in the process of plucking leaves, weeds, and
dead flowers from your summer garden it is quite likely that a few gaps will be
created. Fill them in other greenery, small shrubs (evergreens are a good idea
in this situation), or nice garden art for smiles and a little dash of color
among the green. The effects are often stunning and you have the look of an
almost new summer garden for only half the effort and expense of creating one.
You may also want to scour the local plant stores for late season offerings and
markdowns. These are often well cared for and in good condition to add a little
touch of color or green to your garden.

Another way to keep your summer garden green is to plant plants that are
appropriate to your climate. On an ordinary summer, excluding drought or
excessive rain conditions this will be the best way to achieve maximum
greenness from your garden. This is actually one of the best ways to prolong
the life of your garden as well because the plants being used are accustomed to
the weather patterns that exist in your locale. For this reason they will be
much better suited to stay green and healthy much longer than most implants
that are not accustomed to the local weather patterns.

Creating a greener garden is a worthy cause for most gardeners. We plant our
summer gardens because we want to enjoy them. By keeping them green, healthy,
and vibrant a little bit longer we are able to prolong our enjoyment of our
gardens as well as the productivity of our summer gardens. This means more
flowers, more fruit, more vegetables, and much longer spans of greenery for the
uninitiated. Taking the steps mentioned above in order to prolong the life and
your enjoyment of your summer garden seems to be a worthy sacrifice for an
extra month of enjoying your lawn and outdoor living space.

Keeping Mosquitoes Out of Your Summer Garden

Our summer gardens are filled with all kinds of pests at one time or another.
One pest that has potentially nasty health consequences to many species that
may be welcome additions to your summer garden habitat is the very unwelcome
mosquito. Keep reading to discover steps you can take to keep mosquitoes from
invading your personal space and keep friends, families, and animals safe and
protected in your summer garden.

One way to minimize your exposure to mosquitoes is by minimizing their ability
to procreate. They must lay eggs in still water in order to breed and you can
remove as many sources of potential breeding ground as possible by keeping your
lawn and summer garden area free of any debris that will allow even a minimal
amount of standing water to collect after a rainfall. This means you must keep
your gutters clean and free of debris, make sure all cans and bottles are
picked up and placed inside a garbage can that is lidded. Keep lids on garbage
cans at all times, and change animal bowls daily.

Burn citronella oil. This is highly effective at dusk when the mosquitoes seem
to be at their worst as it not only provides a natural repellant for mosquitoes
so that you can enjoy your summer garden a little better but also because it
provides its own mood setting light that is well suited for enjoying in a
summer garden environment. In addition to the oil you can also choose to burn
citronella candles and use repellants that are created to spray or rub onto the
skin using natural ingredients for added protection for you and your children
from these dangerous pests.

It is also possible to find garlic based mosquito repellants that are highly
effective at making your garden inhospitable to mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks.
This is a little different than citronella as it is applied to your lawn and
garden area rather than burned or applied to the skin.

Another thing you can do to make your garden inhospitable to mosquitoes is to
fill it with creatures that prey on mosquitoes. There is nothing like a bigger
fish in the sea to run the smaller fish to different hunting grounds. Plant
trees, shrubs, and bushes that attract the birds that eat mosquitoes. This will
provide plenty of nutrition for these birds while diminishing the mosquito
population one snack at a time. Purple Martins are well known for eating
mosquitoes and a great addition to any summer garden (though not for this
reason alone).

Plant lemon thyme in your summer garden. If you crush the leaves it is believed
to be an effective repellent for mosquitoes. Choosing this plant for your garden
can help you naturally repel mosquitoes without smelling bad in the process,
which is something that must rubs, sprays, and oils cannot always claim.

Mosquitoes are a huge problem in summer garden largely due to increased fears
of West Nile Virus and other diseases they may carry from one person to the
next. For this reason it is now more important than ever to control the
population and limit our exposure to these harmful animals. Most of us wish to
do this without adding new risks due to chemical exposure. Hopefully this
article has given you plenty of natural alternative to consider when it comes
to controlling the mosquito population in your summer garden.

Is a Raised Summer Garden Right for You?

Raised gardens are becoming quite popular as more and more people are renting
property or find themselves in high rise apartment buildings with little to no
lawn space and even less access to actual soil in which to plant the flowers
and vegetables they desire to have with them. There are actually quite a few
pros for using raised gardens as opposed to tilling the soil for those who wish
to have smaller gardens and are limited on space in which to do so. At the same
time, those who desire bigger yields are often dissatisfied with the limits of
raised gardens. The choice is ultimately yours but I will try to point out some
of the pros and cons of this type of garden so that you may decide for yourself.

Soil compaction. Pants love to breath and that is often difficult when placed
in garden rows as we have quite a bit of difficulty avoiding all together the
possibility of stepping onto the tilled rows in which we have planted our
fruits, vegetables, or plants in a traditional garden situation. By using a
raised garden, which is designed to be worked from without rather than within,
there is little fear of compacting the soil around the plants. At the same time
many lifelong gardeners feel the inability to walk around in their gardens is a
disadvantage in itself and prefer to be able to do so. This is often a matter
of preference rather than practicality but a valid opposition just the same.

Numbers. You can actually plant more plants in the same amount of square
footage in a raised bed because there is no need for rows. You should also be
aware that plants in raised beds often tend to grow larger than plants in
traditional garden rows. That being said you should resist the urge to over
plant within the raised garden bed, as this will eliminate that slight benefit.
Many traditional gardeners have seen the results of overcrowding in these beds
and feel that their way of doing this is much butter.

One huge benefit to raised beds for summer gardens in areas that are nearly
saturated with excess moisture is that raised beds allow much better drainage
than traditional row gardening. This is one thing that the average gardener
will not argue with unless he lives in an area in which this isn't much of a
problem. Most gardeners in the south though, where there is a great deal of
humidity and moisture will agree that proper drainage is a problem.

Raised beds are less back breaking. This is a huge benefit to those of us who
are feeling the years creeping into our bones. By being above ground, raised
gardens offer easier access for planting, weeding, planting, and investigating
for signs of pests. Another great thing about raised gardens is that they are
not as quick to cool as the earth, which renders them more productive and with
longer growing seasons that most gardens that are placed in the ground.

For those who have unusually shaped yards or growing areas, raised gardens
allow the opportunity to have a beautiful summer garden in almost any shape you
can build the box for. This means you are not limited to rows, as many gardens
tend to be and that you have a few more options for aesthetics when planning
and growing your summer garden.

The downside to raised summer gardens is that they are difficult to dismantle
and nearly impossible to till. This means you must do all the working of the
soil by hand and many gardeners do not fully appreciate the beauty of that
process. The most important thing however, is that you choose a summer garden
system that works for you. You may find that combining the two provides the
best results and is a great use of your time or that you prefer one over the
other. There really is no wrong answer only the one that is wrong for you.

Growing Vegetables in Your Summer Garden

As a child, I remember many sunny summer afternoons sitting on the porch
shelling more than my fair share of peas and butter beans in the deep dark
heart of the old south. There were other vegetables we grew in our summer
gardens that had to be picked and stored for winter but the peas and butter
beans always seemed to take the most time and attention and are one of the
things I sorely miss having left my home in the south for much cooler climes.
One thing though, has never gotten away from me and that is the deep and
abiding love I have for the smell of freshly plowed soil and the taste of
vegetables fresh from the garden.

I point out the fact that my childhood favorite summer garden vegetables only
seem to flourish in the south to drive home the fact that you really will need
to research the vegetables you plant in your summer garden as they relate to
the specific area in which you live. Not all vegetable plants are created equal
in their tolerance for temperature or rainfall (or lack thereof), which could
greatly impact their suitability for your particular vegetable summer garden
depending of course, on where you are located.

Some great plants to include in your summer vegetable garden should of course
be dictated by those vegetables that you enjoy eating as well as those
vegetables and herbs that use a good deal when cooking. If you use peppers a
lot in your cooking then peppers are probably an excellent choice for your
summer garden. If you don't like peppers, then they are not likely to be a good
choice, as they will probably be wasted. My children will eat green peppers off
the vine so they make an excellent choice for our garden. Tomatoes are another
popular favorite for summer gardens. Some have even gotten creative and created
hanging tomato plants in which the tomatoes literally grow upside down. If space
is limited in your summer garden this may be a great way to have your tomatoes
and grow them too-without taking up valuable real estate within your vegetable
garden.

For those who love their greens summer gardens provide an excellent atmosphere
for growing greens such as broccoli, lettuce, and cabbage. Collard greens,
mustard greens, and turnip greens are also good summer garden inclusions. I
also have strong memories of boiling huge vats of greens to be frozen for
winter when the full force of the harvest was upon us. There was always
something to be done with the vegetables as winter approached and during those
lean winter months we were so grateful for the hard work and effort we had made
to insure these great vegetables would sustain us during the months they weren't
so readily available.

Having a summer garden filled with vegetables is a satisfying pursuit in many
ways. First of all you are producing something that is useful to you and your
family. Second, you are providing a way for you and your family to enjoy the
vegetables you love most throughout the year. Finally, you are able to produce
vegetables that are fit for consumption and enjoyment at a much lower cost than
you would pay for these vegetables at the local supermarket. This helps save
money for some of the more important and more entertaining things most of us
would like to do with our families.

As with any summer garden you will need to plan carefully the placement of your
vegetables and do some research on individual watering and shade requirements.
It helps to plant those that need partial sunlight in the shadow of those
plants that will grow taller and provide shade for the smaller plants. It also
helps to keep the thirstier plants closer together and further away from those
plants that require less water to sustain them. You should also take care to be
realistic in your planting and avoid planting more than you can comfortable
consume or harvest, as that will be wasted time and effort on your part.

Furnishing Your Summer Garden

Once you've made all the really tough decisions about which plants, flowers,
and vegetables to include in your summer garden you now have the pleasant task
of making yet another decision: what type of furniture should go in your summer
garden. This is no small decision and should not be taken lightly as it will
ultimately affect your enjoyment of the garden you worked so hard to create.

While there are many people who are content to rush to the local home and
garden store and pick out whatever is on sale at the moment, this seems hardly
worth of someone who would go to all the time, effort, and careful planning to
create a beautiful summer garden in which they wish to sit and enjoy the
effects of his or her hard effort. In fact, the furniture that is ultimately
selected for the summer garden should be furniture that is meant to last
several years. For this reason you need to invest a little more time and effort
into selecting the best possible furniture for your summer garden.

The furniture you choose for your summer garden is going to be a personal
choice. If possible try to choose enough furniture to accommodate those guests
that you feel will frequently enjoy dining in your garden. If you plan to host
a wide range of barbecues and garden parties you will want plenty of garden
furniture to accommodate those needs. If you are only going to have immediate
family then the typical arrangements for a family should suffice. Be sure that
there are seating options available for occasional guests even if there aren't
dining options readily available.

Once you've decided how many will be enjoying your garden area and in need of
seating arrangements you may want to discuss and decide what type of seating
arrangements are needed most. The man of the house might expect a hammock and
while teenaged girls and the lady of the house may expect lounge chairs in
which they can enjoy the full warmth of the sun's rays on lazy summer days
within your summer garden. Another common expectation for appropriate
furnishing in a summer garden is a swing or a glider of some sort in which
couples may sit and inspect the splendor of their creations.

You should also include your normal flare for design when selecting your summer
garden furniture. You want the furniture you select for your garden to be
furniture that you find enjoyable and beautiful as well as comfortable. No one
wants to sit in uncomfortable furniture for any length of time and most people
do not feel comfortable in furniture that they find ugly.

One other thing you will want to consider when selecting furniture for your
summer garden area is how well it is made to withstand the abuse that Mother
Nature often provides. You will want to select furniture that can withstand the
summer time heat naturally but also that can handle the cold of winter and the
ravages of water and bugs that often love to make a feast of outdoor furniture.
Buy with all these things in mind and you should have furniture for your summer
garden that is sure to delight and please all that enter your garden area. More
importantly, you should have furniture that you enjoy.

Decorating Your Summer Garden

Most people spend a great deal of time planning the landscape, flowers, and
greenery of their summer gardens but very little time planning the decorative
items that will make this little spot of heaven on earth even more enjoyable
for man, woman, child, and pet. There are many things that can add to your
comfort when enjoying your summer garden but here is a list of things you might
want to seriously consider including in your own personal oasis from the world.

A hammock. There really can't be enough said about the value that a well placed
hammock in your summer garden will add to the enjoyment of your time spent in
the great outdoors. This is particularly true, for some unknown reason, for
men. There is something about hanging a hammock that says this place is home to
a man and this should not be overlooked when creating the outdoor place you wish
to share together.

Wind chimes. There is something soothing about listening to the wind making
music in your garden. Whether you are enjoying a nap in your hammock, catching
some rays on a lounge chair or simply sitting outside reading a book and
sipping some tea the sound of wind weaving a melody through the chimes is a
very enjoyable sound.

Seating. While most men will argue that a hammock is all they need most women
cannot find outdoor comfort by hammock alone. Hammocks are also woefully
inadequate seating when there are crowds larger than two involved in most
cases. For this reason it is nice to have plenty of seating in your garden area
so that friends and family may enjoy seeing the results of your effort along
with you. Select seating that is fitting of your great tastes and that is
comfortable for the best possible results.

Flowerpots. While your summer garden may be filled with flowers, plants,
bushes, trees, fruits, and vegetables there is rarely the occasion when there
is too much color in a summer garden. Fill large flowerpots with impatiens or
similar flowering plants and place them strategically around the seating area
for a beautiful affect that brings the beauty of your summer garden well onto
your patio or deck. The same thing may be accomplished on a larger scale with a
few well-placed raised garden beds or a few climbing vines.

Water features. There is not enough that can be said about the drama and
elegance that a water feature can bring to the average summer garden. Whether
you elect to include a fountain, waterfall, or goldfish pond the additional
value and enjoyment it provides to your garden is almost impossible to measure.
Water features are a rather significant investment in your garden area but well
worth the money you will invest when it comes to return on investment. Your
family and your friends will appreciate the effect that this brings to your
summer garden.

Many may consider their summer gardens decoration enough. However, a few small
decorative touches can mean the different between a summer garden that is nice
to stroll through and a summer garden that invites everyone to sit a while and
enjoy the effort you've contributed to the creation of this little slice of
your world. Plan your summer garden carefully and you too will have this
reaction every time you walk through it.

Colorful Summer Garden Flowers

If flowers are your thing or if you plan to include some flowers in your summer
garden then you should take a moment to learn about those flowers or flowering
plants that are best suited to summer months and what those plants like by way
of sunlight and shade. Not all flowers are created equal when it comes to
withstanding the heat of the summer sun and some require a little more care
than others. Keep all of these things in mind when planning your summer garden
and choose wisely according to the type of care you wish to provide.

This is a general guide to the various types of plants that are well suited for
a summer garden and not necessarily those that are well suited to rest side by
side. Study the flowers you decide you would like to include in your summer
garden in order to insure you keep those that love water and dislike sun away
from those that thrive with little water and copious amounts of sun. In other
words you will need to conduct a more thorough study of the flowers you decide
to include in your summer garden in order to determine the proper placement of
these flowers for the most color, effect, and the best possible life for the
flowers you choose.

The following are some fun sun loving flowers you may wish to include in your
summer garden. Geraniums are bright little splashes of color that are ideally
suited for a summer garden. They happen to work well for creating borders or
simply providing a highlight of color in a bed of green and do quite well in
pots on their own or mixed with other colorful summer flowers. The Hibiscus is
a beautiful spot of color that will lend a tropical feel to your summer garden.
A welcome addition to many gardens they may grow quite tall so keep them to the
back of the summer garden to allow the full array of color from all summer
plants to capture the eyes of visitors. Marigolds are another popular addition
to most summer gardens. With a wide array of colors from which to choose it is
no small wonder that these flowers remain a popular favorite for sunny patches
within the summer garden.

Shade loving flowers also abound for summer gardens everywhere. Most gardeners
find heavily shaded spots within their lawns or gardens to be a particular
challenge. Perhaps some of these suggestions will alleviate that sense of
challenge for you. Impatiens are widely popular choices for shady spaces and
provide a wide range of bright colors perfect for creating fun and bright
borders. The viola is another great brightly colored flower that is well suited
for borders or potted arrangements, whichever suits your particular summer
garden needs. Mimulus is another excellent choice for color in your summer
garden and may tolerate partial sun quite well if you're looking for a nice
border plant. If you prefer more dramatic coloring in your summer garden you
might be interested in including Lobelia or ageratum, which both have beautiful
blue hues in your summer garden plans.

Of course this is only a small sampling of the many bright and beautiful summer
flowers that can make a real splash in your summer garden. Be sure to check out
the color offerings of each and specific care instructions to make sure that
they are a genuine match not only for your personal tastes but also the
landscape and terrain of your garden and the other plants that will be included
in your summer garden. The planning stage is often the hardest work that many
people put into their summer gardens but the pay off for all this proper
planning is quite often rich and beautiful. Failing to plan properly can result
in a great deal of wasted time and effort on your behalf and a less than stellar
summer garden.

Building a Summer Garden with Kids

We love our children and we want to teach them to value the things that are
important to us. These things include morals, integrity, ingenuity, and an
appreciation for the things in life that we consider beautiful and worth
expending our energy, time, and effort in order to create. One of those things
that many of us love sharing with our children is our love of gardening.
Whether you are creating a spectacular garden worthy of acclaim, fame, and blue
ribbons everywhere or a simple garden that will hold pretty flowers and a few
favorite vegetables there are many lessons that your children can learn from
working the earth by your side.

The first, and perhaps best, lesson that most children learn when working in
the garden is that life works in cycles. This is an important lesson for
children, as it is a lesson that will be repeated often throughout the course
of their lives. Of course this is only one of the many lessons that gardening
will teach but gardening is one of the kindest ways I've ever seen this
particular lesson learned and it helps ease children into those times when
lessons about the cycle of life are not so kindly or gently presented.

The next lesson that gardening teaches children is that persistent effort often
pays out with delightful results. Whether their gardening efforts yielded sweet
peppers or pretty flowers, there is often a desired result that is achieved
through gardening. If you really want to capture your children's attention when
it comes to gardening choose a fast growing plant for their first gardening
experience. The ability to see the fruits of their labor quickly appear is
often one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

If you want to guide your children towards the path of creating a summer garden
without quite the fanfare or responsibility you may want to begin simply-perhaps
with a potted plant or a hanging tomato plant or something similar that will
yield visible and tasty results with much less effort, time, or attention being
required in order to achieve quick and enthusiastic results.

Be sure to point out interesting facts about the different plants in your
garden that may be exciting to children to learn. Remember your first gardening
experiences and share them with your children. You may be surprised to find how
much you have in common with your children when it comes to ideas and
enthusiasm concerning summer gardens.

When planning a summer garden with kids you need to consider all of the things
you would consider when planning other summer gardens but relate those things
to pint sized hands and sponge-like minds. Kids soak up every ounce of
information we provide them at an alarming rate. Be careful that you aren't
teaching them incorrect logic when it comes to gardening and growing beautiful
summer plants.

More importantly, you should make a concerted effort to insure that you are
teaching your children the positive aspects of gardening so that this becomes
an activity they look to for enjoyment and pleasure rather than approaching
with dread. You should also take great pains to insure that you allow your
children to grow the things they will like in your summer garden too.
Strawberries and watermelon are popular favorites for younger hands to grow
because little mouths enjoy eating these delicious fruits that can be grown in
most gardens. They also like to grow flowers that they can tend and watch
throughout the summer if flowers are your summer garden calling rather than
food.

When gardening with children there are many lessons that you can teach your
children along the way. Science, math, and meteorology all have roles in
gardening but you should also be on the lookout for the valuable lessons that
your children can teach you about gardening and life in general when you take
them out to work with you in your summer garden.

An Organic Summer Garden Experience

If you have the time and the inclination to create an organic summer garden
there are few better ways to go when it comes to the potential impact on the
planet. A summer garden is a thing of beauty to be enjoyed by all you invite
into your garden. That being said, there are certain pests we'd all like to
keep out of our gardens as well. The problem is that the pesticides of the past
have undetermined side effects that have the potential to cause lasting harm. If
we can avoid introducing those chemicals to our own gardens we are protecting
our kids from dangers we may not even be aware of yet and protecting the other
animals that may innocently come in contact with our gardens such as birds and
butterflies from being harmed by the chemicals present in most common
pesticides.

What does this mean to gardeners when it comes to efforts directed towards
keeping out potential pests? Quite honestly, it means we are going to have to
get a little bit creative in those efforts turning to natural solutions rather
than chemicals. One way in which this can quite easily be accomplished is by
encouraging animals that prey upon the pests to make your garden their home. Of
course, this could potentially bring about its own set of problems but from a
gardening perspective it is often very sound reasoning.

Use organic mulch. While this isn't necessarily a means of pest control it is a
wise move when it comes to organic gardening. Not only does the mulch provide
the very useful mulching properties throughout the growing season but once the
growing season has ended can be turned over and used in order to boost the
organic material within the soil. This in turns provides nutrients that are
important to keeping the soil fit for sustaining plant life in future growing
seasons.

Attract birds to your garden. This has a two-fold benefit for the organic
gardener. First of all the birds are often natural predators for many of the
bugs that make a nuisance of themselves in the average summer garden. Second,
birds leave behind their own little fertilizing additions to the landscape of
your garden. Don't you wish all solutions were this simple?

Keep your garden healthy, well fertilized, watered regularly and appropriately,
and free of weeds. A good offense is the best defense. A good immune system and
constant hand washing are the best defense the human body has against catching
colds and viruses. The same holds true for gardens and their ability to fight
pests. Keep your garden strong and healthy and it will repel many of the pests
that may cripple other gardens on its own. It certainly doesn't hurt anything
to keep this philosophy in mind and you may be amazed at how well it works.

Organic gardening is more than a plan for your garden it is a return to the
ways of old in the world of gardening. For centuries before pesticides were
created man managed to live off the abundance of his gardens. It makes sense
that by returning to those ideals we can also enjoy great food and a bountiful
harvest in the modern world. Make the choice today to make your summer garden
an organic garden and reap the benefit in better health and greater enjoyment
of the gardening process.

A Summer Garden for the Birds

There are many reasons to create a summer garden the best however, as most
gardeners are well aware is for your personal enjoyment. For bird lovers
everywhere it is quite possible to have a fabulous summer garden that appeals
to the bird lover in them as much as a lover of beauty that exists within us
all (there are of course a few disagreements along the way as to what beauty is
and is not). If you are a bird lover you should seriously consider making
efforts to make your summer garden more attractive to your fine feathered
friends.

There are several ways this goal may be accomplished. First of all birds like
water. They need to drink water and they actually enjoy playing in the water.
With this in mind make sure there is some sort of water source available for
the birds to enjoy in your summer garden. Some excellent choices would be a
water fountain, a goldfish pond, or a waterfall. The key in this is to make
sure that the water source is not a stagnate water source as you want to
attract birds and not mosquitoes. Other than that, have fun creating a neat
place for your bird pals to frolic and play.

As far as attracting specific birds, you will need to research the specific
birds you are interested in attracting to your summer garden and plant
accordingly. The variations are virtually limitless and far too numerous to
include in this brief overview. Be sure to invest some degree of time when
planning your garden to check into favorite birds and the flowers or trees they
prefer. You should also take the time to study their predators and avoid
creating a friendly atmosphere for the predators to hang out in your summer
garden while you are doing your research.

Another way to attract birds to your summer garden is by creating an
environment in which they feel safe and at home. Plant trees that these birds
favor for building nests or place birdhouses in your garden that will provide a
great potential home for these birds to make their own.

In addition to planting flowers and trees that will attract various birds to
your summer garden you should also take care to attract food to your summer
garden for these desirable birds as well. If you aren't sure about attracting
food for the birds you might want to consider providing food for these birds
you are hoping to draw into your summer garden. You can accomplish this by
filling bird feeders (make sure you use feeders that are designed to prevent
squirrels from stealing the food intended for your birds) with foods that
attract the birds you are most interested in attracting to your lawn.

There is no right or wrong way to create a peaceful and relaxing summer garden.
If you wish to add to your enjoyment of your garden it is quite possible to do
this by taking a few extra steps and landscaping with the birds you enjoy
watching in mind. The steps above will help make your garden an attractive
place to favorite birds to play and build their homes. Incorporate them all
into your summer garden for best results and the opportunity to live in harmony
with the birds you enjoy watching.

Extending the Life of Your Summer Garden

We all love our summer gardens. Whether our gardens are meant to produce
colorful blooms and fragrant flowers that delight the senses or plenty of
vegetables that will keep our families fed throughout the long cold winter
months, there is much to be said and enjoyed about keeping a summer garden
growing and thriving. In fact, many of us look for ways to prolong the lives of
our summer gardens in order to get that little bit of extra life from the
flowers, plants, and vegetables that we plant in them. Keep reading to discover
a few ways that you can prolong the life of your summer garden for a few more
days, weeks, or even perhaps an extra month of color or vegetable production.

One thing you can do to prolong the life of your garden is by planting in a
raised bed. This is basically planting your summer garden in a specifically
designed garden box that rests above ground. These boxes will heat up quicker
and cool down more slowly allowing a little extra growing time. For small
flower or vegetable gardens these are often ideal allowing flowers to continue
flowering and vegetables to continue producing after the initial seasonal
frosts that often signal the end of growing seasons for those plants planted
below ground.

If raised beds aren't going to work for you, it is possible to begin the plants
in the warmth of the interior of your home or a smaller scale raised bed and
then transport them once they have matured a bit and the frost season is over
with. This gives your garden a bit of a head start though it will do little to
prolong the life of your garden once the first frost hits. For that, raised
beds are truly the most effective method for small vegetable gardens. Those
with large crops often find alternate heating methods and acceptable expense to
prolong the lives of their gardens or to ward off against frosts that occur
either early in the fall or after the initial spring planting.

You could also invest in garden row covers to protect your plants and extend
their life a little beyond the average growing season or at the very least
protect your plants through the first frost or so. These covers keep the plants
nice and toasty warm in fact, it is important that you monitor them closely when
covered to avoid overheating and do not use the covers when not necessary as
this can affect the growth of the plants and the yields negatively as much as
it can impact them in a positive manner.

You should understand that there is no requirement that says you must prolong
the life of your garden. Many people get what they want from their garden
whether it be the enjoyment of beauty from the bright and colorful flowers or
enough vegetables to last through the leaner winter months when vegetables come
at either a premium price or lack in flavor to some degree. Once you've gotten
what you want or expect from your garden there really is no reason to prolong
its life. There is especially no reason to take extraordinary steps to do so.

That being said there are many families that feel an extra month of color will
help get them through the long and drab winter months that seem to be absent of
bright and vividly colored flowers and that an extra week or two to harvest
their vegetables will provide an extra month of two of food. These are very
valid reasons for making the effort to extend the life of a summer garden. My
hope is that the information above will help you do just that. Good luck with
your summer garden and hopefully you will be able to enjoy your summer garden
well into the fall or at the very least beyond the year's first frost.





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