By MORGAN MANNS
Looking for a way to make your residence more appealing to passersby?
Gardens are a good way to splash some color and character into a yard, according to Ilene Fruth, owner and operator of Fruth’s Sugarhouse, Greenhouse & Floral Shop in Vanlue.
Gardens can be placed close to the residence, out in the yard or both, Fruth said. The colorful flowers attract the eyes and bushes add “texture and finesse.”
“Gardens are specifically based off (the homeowner’s) preference,” she said. “You put what you want in it and base the size off the size of the yard or the house.”
The first criteria when selecting plants is determining what size would look best in the garden, according to Fruth. The second criteria is whether or not the plants will be in the sun or shade.
Some plants that need to be in the sun include petunias, daisies, geraniums, marigolds, pansies, succulents, snapdragons and crabapples. Some that need to be in the shade include impatiens, hostas and begonias. Fruth said the care information is typically on a tab placed with the plant upon purchasing.
“You don’t want to put a shade plant in a very hot and dry place,” she said. “Even watering a bunch can’t guarantee that the plant will survive.
“A lot of people overwater, especially with bushes and trees. Water real (well) once a week, and check them every day. If you can put your finger in the flowerpot and get dirt stuck on your finger, then it’s got enough water.”
Fruth added that the dryer the weather, the more often the plants will need to be watered and the more it rains, the less often the plants will have to be watered.
Popular bushes and shrubbery include small trees, knock out roses, boxwood, juniper, hydrangeas and butterfly bushes, which will attract butterflies, according to Fruth.
“Bushes get different heights and some spread,” she said. “It really depends on personal preference and how you want your garden to look.”
There are two basic, popular types of plants: annuals and perennials.
Perennials can live longer than one year, re-sprouting year after year throughout the growing season. This allows the homeowner to avoid purchasing new flowers or seeds every year and replanting them.
Examples of perennials include, but aren’t limited to, daffodils, roses, hostas, tulips and day lilies.
Annuals complete their growth cycles in one year. However, they bloom for longer periods of time than perennials. According to Fruth, annuals will shed their flowers and then bloom again fuller than before.
Examples of annuals include, but are not limited to, marigolds, begonias, petunias, impatiens and snapdragons.
“A good way to create variety in color and to attract the eye is to plant both annual and perennial plants,” Fruth said, adding the different sprout times for the perennials mixed with the ever-blooming annuals will keep the garden looking “fun and full of life.”
Homeowners can create their own garden without the help of a landscape artist. Fruth said the ground can be worked up by taking a shovel or Rototiller and making it real fine. Add fertilizer to the area, dig a hole, place the plant in it, water around it and then replace the dirt.
Soil can only be tilled if it is completely dry, according to Fruth.
“If you take a handful of soil and squeeze it in your hand and it sticks together like a mud ball, then it’s too wet,” she said. “You need it to be loose and crumbly.”
Mulch should be added to the garden after the ground is tilled to help retain water, inhibit weed growth and keep soil temperatures moderate.
Before placing mulch, all weeds must be removed. To remove weeds, first identify it as a weed. Then, grab the weed at the base of the main stem with a gloved hand and pull it sharply out of the ground to get the root. Fruth said all weeds should be disposed of so their seeds don’t relocate themselves into the garden or yard.
To keep bugs, rabbits and other creatures from eating the plants, Fruth said there are various products at garden centers; however, a homemade remedy she uses includes a teaspoon of dish soap and a teaspoon of Listerine.
“Spray the concoction on and around the flowers,” she said. “It won’t hurt the flowers at all.”
Mulch should be replaced every year, once it has decomposed into the ground or when weeds start poking through.
“It’s a good idea to put it around the plants,” she said. “It suppresses the leaves and keeps the moisture around the plant.”
Some homeowners put stone in their gardens instead of mulch. Fruth said this also helps keep the moisture in but that the garden should then be sprayed with some type of weed or grass controller to prevent them from sprouting around the stone.
Fruth said stone can also serve as a decorative tool when homeowners don’t like the woody, rustic look of mulch.
Other garden decorations include antiques such as old farming equipment, benches, bird houses or bird feeders and creature statues.
“I saw a flower planted in an old shoe in someone’s garden,” Fruth said. “It looked nice. But it’s really a matter of preference. (A garden) can look appealing if you just take care of it and don’t have a bunch of weeds there. But if decorations are what you like, let your imagination go wild.”
For more information on gardening and gardening tips, visit Fruth’s Sugarhouse, Greenhouse & Floral Shop at 19900 CR 169, Vanlue or contact a local garden center or garden club.