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Choosing Roses for Your Garden

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There are thousands of varieties and colors of roses in the world. Choosing the right varieties for you can seem impossible! How can you possibly choose from all of those thousands of types? It can be overwhelming at first.

There are large shrub roses that can be covered in dozens of large, beautiful blooms. These are great even when the blooms fade, because they provide a stunning backdrop of rich green. The foliage itself is pretty enough to be enjoyable, even when there are no blooms.

Hybrid tea roses are delicate, classy, and visually stunning. They provide full blossoms that are perfect for cutting and placing in vases. If you want amazing cut roses, hybrid tea roses are a great choice.

If you want to make a visually striking statement outdoors, you might consider climbing roses. They can be trained over arbors, around doorways, and over walkways. They can climb trellises beside walls, and they can be trained over fences. Climbing roses are perfect for creating a romantic garden.

If you don’t have a lot of space, you can choose petite roses. They grow on very compact plants, and can be neatly tucked away into small corners. They can also be grown in containers, so you can even grow them if you have only a patio for growing plants.

You can purchase your roses in one of three ways. You can purchase them in pots, wrapped inside a plastic bag, or bare root. It doesn’t really matter which way you purchase your roses, but it’s probably preferable to avoid those grown in containers, because they can end up having their roots grow into a very tight clump that can be damaged when you transplant the rose.

Bare root roses are kept dormant and are stored without soil. Their roots are kept damp by using some wet sawdust, paper, or burlap. Bare root plants are generally planted in early spring, and they tend to adjust well to their new location.

Potted plants often don’t adjust quite as quickly. Most plant catalogs and online sources ship bare root roses, so you should be able to find the varieties you want in this format. Bare root roses are also often cheaper than potted roses.

No matter what, don’t automatically buy the cheapest type of roses you can get. Healthy roses are an important investment. If you buy low quality roses, it will probably come back to haunt you later.

It would be a major waste of money to buy roses and plant them, only to have them die a few weeks later. It’s better to spend a little extra up front and have a better chance of having roses that survive and thrive.

When purchasing your roses locally, be sure to pick a plant that has at least three strong stems (or canes). You should be sure to look carefully for any potential signs of disease or pest infestation, and don’t buy any plants that have signs of damage.

Be sure there are no brown spots or wilted leaves. Also be sure to look for white roots rather than dull brown or ivory roots. White roots are a sign of good health. Any buds should be fat and bright.

Also, be sure to keep color scheming in mind when you purchase roses. You should purchase roses in colors that go well together. You don’t want to choose colors that clash, because it will make your garden look cheap and less aesthetically pleasing.

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Planting Your Water Garden

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Water gardening requires proper planting conditions, just like any other kind of gardening. You need to be sure to have the correct soil, a good location, and quality plants. But there are special considerations for water gardens that are different from traditional types of gardens.

You’ll have to deal with considerations such as the depth of the water, the temperature of the water, and how to keep your plants and animals safe during the winter. Most aquatic plants seem to do better in a heavy, loamy, clay-based soil.

You can’t use standard potting mixes, because they are far too light, and they won’t hold on to nutrients for very long. The soil you plant your aquatics in should be damp. You’ll fill your container about 2/3 full of the soil.

Water lilies should have their rhizomes placed so the growing tip is pointed to the center at a bit of an angle. The growing tip usually has eyes, a bit like a potato. This way, it can grow across the center of the container.

After you have the rhizome place properly, you’ll cover it with soil so the tip is just slightly above the soil level. The exception is tropical water lilies, which are planted in the center of the container.

Lotuses are also planted in the center, but their rhizomes are very delicate and should be handled carefully. Emergent and submerged plants should be potted by putting some soil into a pot, centering the plant in the pot, and covering its roots with more soil.

Once they’ve been potted, you need to cover the soil with about ½ inch of small gravel. This helps keep the soil from clouding the water and also from eroding away. Once you’ve properly potted your plants, they should be submerged to the correct depth.

You can place bricks underneath containers to help bring them to the correct depth. Check the planting instructions for each plant to see what level the plants should be submerged to. Water lilies generally grow best at a depth of about 12 to 18 inches above the top of their container.

The pot could be placed at a shallower depth at first, and lowered later as the plant grows. The more sun the pond gets, the deeper the container can be placed in the water. Tropical water lilies need to be at 12 inches depth if possible, but they can grow in only 6 to 8 inches if they have to.

Lotus plants only need about 4 to 6 inches of water over the top, and emergent plants generally only need a couple of inches of water over them. You can adjust the height of the various plants by placing bricks or inverted pots underneath.

Be careful not to over-fertilize your water garden. This can lead to an algae problem. You can use slow release tablets or some sort of granular fertilizer. Several different types would be acceptable, including 5-10-5, 12-8-8, 10-6-4, and 20-10-5.

You should fertilize every month from spring until August. Tablet fertilizer is generally the easiest to use. You simply have to push the tablets into the soil. Most aquatic plants won’t do very well in cold weather, so they need to be over-wintered.

This means you’ll need to take some precautions to ensure your plants aren’t killed by ice and freezing temperatures. For very shallow ponds, this will mean the plants need to be brought indoors for the winter.

They need to be kept above freezing, but below 50 degrees so they stay dormant. Be sure to keep the roots very moist at all times until spring. You can also remove rhizomes from their containers and store the plants in moist sphagnum moss inside plastic bags. Tropical water lilies must be stored in an aquarium tank with a lot of light at about 68 degrees.

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An Introduction to Butterfly Gardening

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In order to attract butterflies to your garden, you have to make your yard more inviting to them. You’ll need to provide plants that the caterpillars can use, food for the adult butterflies, and a good place for the butterflies to breed.

Most varieties of butterflies will also need some sort of shelter from wind. Although they really like open areas with a lot of sun, you’ll probably need to provide some sort of windbreak to protect them from high winds that can disturb them.

Butterflies often congregate by the edges of mud puddles. You’ve probably seen this before. It isn’t known exactly why butterflies enjoy mud puddles so much, but it’s thought that it may be certain minerals that are present in the muddy water. If you want to attract a lot of butterflies, you might consider keeping some damp areas in your garden.

Female butterflies need plants that can be eaten by the caterpillars that hatch from their eggs. Black swallowtails prefer dill and parsley, for example. Monarch butterflies typically only lay their eggs on milkweed. Female butterflies spend a lot of time searching for these plants to lay their eggs on.

Adult butterflies eat nectars from various flowers. Flowers that contain a lot of nectar are especially attractive to butterflies. These flowers are usually brightly colored and sweetly scented. Some species of butterflies feed on the honeydew produced by aphids. Some even feed on plant spa, bird feces, or rotting fruit!

Your butterfly garden should contain at least one big patch of flowers that will attract butterflies. You may want to get flowers that bloom in sequence, because this will keep butterflies visiting your garden more often.

You should bear in mind that many flowers that are preferred by butterflies are considered weeds. For example, dandelion is very attractive to several types of butterflies. Thistle is another weed that many types of butterflies enjoy.

If you have an herb garden or vegetable garden, you may notice some butterflies congregating on some of your plants there. The European cabbage butterfly enjoys broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables. The black swallowtail often frequents herbs such as dill and parsley.

Don’t use insecticides in your garden unless absolutely necessary, because they can kill caterpillars. Some insecticides can also kill the adult butterflies if they light on plants that have been treated, or if they drink nectar that was polluted by poison.

Some flowers you should plant if you like to attract butterflies include cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbage, herbs like parsley and dill, and many types of flowers. Some great flowers for butterfly gardens include asters, lilacs, verbena, zinnias, cosmos, marigolds, sunflowers, thistles, butterfly bush, bee balm, and sweet pea.

Making your garden hospitable for butterflies doesn’t take a lot of extra work. Simply keeping a small wet area for them and planting a few plants that they’ll enjoy is often enough to attract a number of butterflies.

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