Hydrangeas in New Hampshire

healthy plant, no blooms

healthy plant, no blooms

 

Hydrangeas in bloom are among the most eye-catching plants in the garden. They add color and interest through summer and into fall.  When your hydrangeas aren’t blooming you can’t help but feel like something is completely missing from the garden. There is usually a fairly simple explanation for a lack of blooms.  Some species of hydrangea grow each season off of new wood and some grow off of old wood.  The first step is to make sure you know which variety you have planted. Along with knowing the variety, it’s important to be sue you have planted the right plant for your growing zone.  This can also be the reason for wimpy blooms.

Check out this informative link from Proven Winners that gives you a step by step chart to clear up any hydrangea questions you might have.

https://www.provenwinners.com/sites/provenwinners.com/files/pdf/hydrangeas_demystified_2015.pdf

right plant, right spot

right plant, right spot

 

New Lakefront Landscape Gets a Thumbs Up!

Dear Chris,

We want to tell you again how much we like the recent landscaping you did on our waterfront property. Your crew changed a mediocre back yard to one of exquisite beauty as well as being functional. It’s absolutely beautiful and beyond our expectations.

Your men (Marcelino and Louis) did a fantastic job . We were impressed with their professionalism and their work ethic. Please extend to them our sincere thanks.

If you and your company ever need a reference please feel free to ask us.
We would highly recommend you .

Again thank you for making our home just that much more beautiful.

P.S.  Horst also agrees, your guys did a fantastic job!

Sincerely,
Carol and Horst G.

Moultonborough, NH

walkway to dock erosion control landscape erosion control laandscape

Watering Wisely When Rainfall is Scarce

watering-tips-new-hampshire

 

 

Watering

It seems straightforward enough, right?  Water your plants and they will grow.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as that, but at the same time it’s not all that complicated either. There is not a handbook for watering, but keep a few simple things in mind and you’ll get the results you are hoping for. Using the right tools: soaker hoses, lightweight hoses, sprinklers, rain barrels and irrigation timers can help make your job easier. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

 

The Best Way to Water

•                Focus on the root zone. Daily light sprinklings encourage the roots to grow near the surface making them vulnerable to drying out instead of growing a deep, healthy root ball. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease. There is no value in watering if the water runs down the outside of the root ball or pot leaving the roots of the plant dry. Slower watering, especially at first, will help make sure the water soaks in to the root ball.

•                Water only when needed. If we are in a stretch where we are getting frequent rain, which is not the case in the Lakes Region at the moment, then it’s ok to cut back on watering. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little. Plant roots need a fairly constant supply of both air and water. Too little water and the roots die from lack of moisture. Too much water and the spaces between soil particles remain filled with water, suffocating roots. Both situations reduce a plant’s ability to deliver enough water to stems and leaves, resulting in wilting. The only way to tell if lack of water is causing wilting is to check soil moisture.

•                Water deeply and thoroughly. Lawns and annuals don’t need to be watered quite as deeply as perennials, shrubs and trees. Move the soil away with your hand or a garden tool to be sure that the water is actually soaking down to the root system. Watering at the base of the plant instead of from overhead, loses less water to evaporation.

•                Water in the morning. If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.

•                Mulch everything. Mulch reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil.

Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler.

Keep Your Hanging Baskets Going All Season

Some of us received beautiful hanging baskets as long ago as Mother’s Day.  Keeping them fresh and flowering throughout our very changeable growing season here in the Lakes Region can be a challenge.  As the heat and dryness of summer bears down on us, hanging baskets can start to decline. But with these basic techniques your baskets can look great all season long.

1. Water, water, water

Baskets can dry out quickly, and should be checked twice daily and watered every day; be sure to wet the moss sides as well. If you are seriously dedicated, once a week, take the basket down and soak it in a tub of water for 20 minutes to hydrate the entire root ball.

2. Deadhead

Remove spent flowers, or deadheading, on a weekly basis, prevents plants from going to seed. This will encourage more flower production. Part of the beauty of the mixed basket is its prolonged and varied display.

3. Check for pests

During your weekly deadheading, keep a watchful eye out for aphids, whiteflies and other unfortunate pests. If you see any, try a quick spray of insecticidal soap to keep them from becoming problematic.

4. Prune

Not every plant in the basket will be at its peak all season. Cutting plants back after a flush of bloom will tidy them up and prepare them for a fresh crop of flowers. Meanwhile, other varieties will begin putting on a show. If the entire basket seems to be “flat lining”, go ahead and give the whole thing a trim.  If you fertilize it heavily, in a couple of weeks it should be full of buds again.

5. Fertilize

Daily watering means nutrients can be leached out of the soil before the plants can absorb them. We like to use a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Grow once a week to keep plants thriving.

midsummer hanging baskets

midsummer hanging baskets

6. Protect

During stretches of extreme heat, give your baskets a break and move them to a cooler, shaded spot to de-stress for a couple of days; likewise when heading on vacation. Your baskets will appreciate it.

A Happy Customer That We are Happy to Have!

We would like to compliment Miracle Farms for the fantastic job they did in designing and building a bluestone walkway and stairs from our house to the water, and underneath a large deck, creating a patio.  Drainage issues were a concern and were carefully considered and accounted for.  What was most impressive, however, was the implementation of the design.  The employees consistently showed up earlier every morning, worked continually until leaving at the end of the work day for approximately a month.  (It was a big project.)   Aside from a lunch-time break, we never saw anyone disengaged.  After each day’s work, before leaving, the grounds were cleared of debris and materials re-organized for the next day’s work.

Miracle Farms also cares for our lawn and looks after our house and dock during the winter.  They have provided excellent service.  They are responsive to any queries we have made regarding any concerns we have had.  We are really pleased with the quality of work and care they provide.

 

Linda and Jarrod W

Moultonborough, NH

Celebrating National Pollinator Week in New Hampshire

lantana:hummingbirdJune 20-26, 2016 has been designated National Pollinator Week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of the Interior. Why should I care you ask? Here are some very good reasons why.

  • About 75% of all flowering plant species need the help of animals to move their heavy pollen grains from plant to plant for fertilization.
  • Most pollinators (about 200,000 species) are beneficial insects such as flies, beetles, wasps, ants, butterflies, moths, and bees.
  • Pollinators are often keystone species, meaning that they are critical to an ecosystem. The work of pollinators ensures full harvests of crops and contributes to healthy plants everywhere.echinacea:bee

The Pollinator Partnership has a series of guides that will help gardeners around the country select plants for their area by simply putting in your zip code. It does a good job of explaining the different types of pollinators and their habitat requirements. It takes more than flowers to keep these populations healthy. There are also many shrubs listed that will also get the bees buzzing.

We want to remind you not to freak out if you see a caterpillar munching on your plants. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you want to see butterflies, you need to let the caterpillars eat. Don’t get terribly concerned – in most cases a few nibbles on a leaf won’t kill your plants. Relax. Someday that caterpillar will be a beautiful butterfly.pollinator 1

Do your part. Plant something in your garden today that will benefit pollinators.  Butterflies love yellow, orange and red, while hummingbirds are attracted to red, fuschia and purple.

 

http://www.pollinator.org/guides.htm  verbena:monarch

Party Prep for Properties In the Lakes Region

arbor for wedding

arbor for wedding

For several years now we have been asked by clients to send our garden services crew to “freshen up” their properties for parties or other events.  A crew generally goes in just before a wedding, graduation party or summer barbecue and mows the lawn, edges beds, touches up mulch where needed, and rakes beaches.

 

 

whiskey barrel accent

whiskey barrel accent

We often add annuals for a pop of color in the landscape.  Many clients have rented colorful containers to accent areas of the yard or to enhance an area for picture taking.  Give Miracle Farms a call when you’re planning your next backyard event no matter how large or small.

 

 

 

wedding signage

wedding signage

 

annuals under tree

 

Container Gardening in New Hampshires Short Season

Container gardening is one of the most popular ways to add interest and color to any outdoor space. The only rule you need to follow when creating your container garden is to be creative and enjoy it! At Miracle Farms we generally follow the Thriller, Filler, Spiller method when planting containers. This concept utilizes three different types of plants to create well-rounded combinations. Here’s how it works.

thrillers, fillers, spillers

thrillers, fillers, spillers

Thriller Plants

•                Thrillers are plants with height that add drama and a vertical element to the combination

•                Thrillers can either be flowering or foliage plants or ornamental grasses

•                Thrillers are generally put either in the center or at the back of the container

•                Place it in the center of the container if it will be viewed from all sides

•                Place it in the back of the container if it will be viewed from only one side

•                Some examples are: angelonia, argyranthemum, grasses

 

Filler Plants

Once you’ve chosen your Thriller, next start choosing your Filler varieties

•                Fillers tend to be more rounded or mounded plants and make the container look full

•                Fillers are generally placed in front of, or around, the Thriller variety

•                Fillers should be placed midway between the edge of the container and the Thriller variety

•                If the Thriller is in the center of the container, the Fillers should surround the Thriller variety

•                Some examples are euphorbia,  calibrachoa, and  petunias

 

Spiller Plants

•                Lastly, you add the Spillers

•                Spillers are trailing plants that hang over the edge of the planter

•                Spillers are placed close to the edge of the container

•                If the container is going to be viewed from all sides, Spillers should be placed on all sides

•                If the container is going to be viewed from only one side, Spillers should be placed in the                 front of the container

•                Some examples are bacopa, lobularia, and sweet potato vine

use potting soil rich in organic matter

use potting soil rich in organic matter

 

Feel free to plant containers full. You don’t need to go by the space requirements listed on the plant label because it’s not making a permanent home in your garden.  Especially here in New Hampshire where are growing season is rather short, who wants to wait for a container to fill out?  However, you will need to make sure you have enough space for the root zones.   Use a well-draining, mixed potting soil that’s rich in organic matter.  You can fill the container part way with a substitute fill material (we use empty plastic containers) to save on the cost of soil and to make the container lighter and easier to move.  Most annuals will do very well with about 12 – 16” of soil. Remember to fertilize once a week as frequent watering of containers results in leaching of nutrients.

Raised Beds in the Lakes Region, NH – Pros and Cons

The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I build raised beds, or plant directly in the ground? Depending on where you live, soil conditions, sunlight, cost and time involved, your answers may vary.  Let’s take a look at some of these factors to help you decide.

1. If the soil where you were hoping to plant is hard-packed, sandy, or rocky then there would be an advantage to building a raised bed and filling it with a healthy mix of topsoil and compost.  Of course the cost of materials and the construction time may be enough to make you dig a little harder and amend the soil in the ground.

raised bed in early spring

raised bed in early spring

2. The raised height can help to keep pets out of your garden and by putting a layer of wire mesh in the bottom, you will likely deter burrowing critters trying to come in from below.  Again, this adds cost to your project.

3. The fresh soil that you would start with should by nature be cleaner and more free of weeds and a raised bed requires no edging to keep grass out. Because of the height, raised beds are generally a bit easier to weed and maintain.

4. Once you commit to raised beds you can get creative with the design and layout.  Check out this article on HOUZZ that details lots of options for materials to use when constructing your raised beds.

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/16676705/list/8-materials-for-raised-garden-beds

5. Time and Cost are a disadvantage. Planning, building and maintaining season after season takes time and financial investment. Even naturally rot-resistant woods such as red cedar and cypress will eventually need replacing and can be difficult to find. Although today’s pressure treated lumber is no longer made with arsenic, many people still prefer to use untreated wood.

6. Soil temperatures in raised beds will warm sooner than soil in the ground so planting can begin a bit earlier.  It is also easier to cover raised beds should you fear an early or late season frost.

There is certainly a lot to consider when making this choice.  If you know you want raised beds, but don’t have the time or energy to construct them, call Miracle Farms Landscape Contractors and we will help you get the job done. 603-253-9292

raised beds early spring

raised beds early spring