Ornamental Grasses are at Their Best in Lakes Region Winter Gardens

The garden in winter doesn’t normally get a lot of attention. However, with a little time and energy during the growing season you can add some ornamental grasses that will give life to your wintertime garden as well. We know ornamental grasses accent a garden at any time of year, but they just might be at their best in the dead of the winter. They provide texture and movement in the winter landscape – elements often lacking when the rest of the garden has gone to sleep. When the rest of your landscape is taking a visual rest, the colors, textures and movement of the grasses has a beauty all its own. Many varieties do double duty by attracting birds to your winter garden providing shelter and food. Maintenance is simple – cut back in the spring before new growth appears. Honestly, we think they’re worth growing for their winter interest alone!

Why we love ornamental grasses

  • Natural appearance
  • Deer resistant—white-tailed deer do not eat most ornamental grasses
  • Few insect or disease problems
  • Low nutrient requirements
  • Little maintenance, except spring cutback
  • More than one season of interest
  • Fast growth—most are mature size by three years
  • Varied texture, from fine fescues to coarse giantMiscanthus
  • An array of foliage colors from many shades of green to blue, yellow, bronze, and red, as well as several variegated forms
  • Movement with the wind provides visual and audio interest, susurration—a whispering or rustling sound—that is pleasing and unique
  • Beautiful effect when planted en masse

 

Two of our favorites that are super hardy zone 4 grasses are panicum Northwind and calamagrostis Karl Foerster. Try them in your garden this year!

 

 

 

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.

Controlling Crabgrass in your Lakes Region Lawn

Mother Nature has been teasing us with some beautiful spring like weather for a month or so now here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and here’s hoping we are headed in the right direction. With the warmer temperatures and lack of snow it’s a great time to think about what we can do to get the lush green lawns we’ve been dreaming about and there’s no room in the dream for crabgrass! Crabgrass control starts with good practices that encourage the growth and health of desirable lawn grasses, as crabgrass will not invade vigorous, healthy turf. Good management is the best means of crabgrass control, and often least expensive as it will also help control other weeds and diseases.

Crabgrass

One of the first things on the list for a healthy lawn is an application of a pre-emergent weed control just after completing a spring clean up. If your lawn tends to be spotted with yellow dandelions and crabgrass, pre-emergent weed prevention is for you. Timing is everything however; so don’t get ahead of yourself before your lawn is ready. Pre-emergent crabgrass preventer can wear off before crabgrass actually germinates if you put it down too early. Crabgrass germinates based on soil temperatures, generally around 56 to 64 degrees at the earliest.

Many professionals watch for a colorful sign in the landscape as an indicator that soil temperatures are within an adequate range for crabgrass to germinate. The sunny golden yellow of forsythia in bloom is a sure sign to move forward with your pre-emergent crabgrass control application, as they will be in full bloom just prior to crabgrass germination. Keep in mind that the herbicide will not be effective after the crabgrass is out of the ground and actively growing so keep this window in mind.

Applied in spring along with your much needed spring fertilizer, pre-emergents work by stopping weeds and crabgrass before the plants have an opportunity to germinate and grow. They work by forming a barrier over the surface where they are applied leaving the roots of established plants (such as perennials, shrubs and trees) unaffected. Be sure to keep pre-emergents away from garden beds where you may be planting seeds. You need to activate the herbicide by watering the lawn after the application. Most products call for a half-inch of irrigation (or rain) within 21 days of application.

Your lawn will grown green and healthy if it doesn’t have to compete with weeds for sunlight, water and nutrients. Apply a pre-emergent yourself or leave your weeds in the experienced hands of the “Lawn Enforcement Officers” at Miracle Farms. Contact us to schedule a free estimate for this service and any other lawn and landscape needs we can help with.

For the Lakes Region in NH, call us at 603-253-9292

2015 Perennial of Year – Geranium Biokovo

 

 

 

Geranium Biokovo flower

 

And the winner is! This bright and beautiful perennial is covered in delicate blush pinkish-white flowers in late spring with foliage that turns a lovely shade of reddish-orange in your fall garden. It is lightly scented and grows best in sun to partial shade in well-drained soil. Biokovo is hardy in zones 4 to 8, and relatively deer and rabbit resistant which makes it a perfect selection for the Lakes Region in New Hampshire. It makes a beautiful ground cover and is a great addition to the front of a border garden. Biokovo pairs nicely in a planting with Japanese painted ferns, and late spring blooming penstemons.

 

The Perennial Plant of the Year™ (POY™) program began in 1990 to showcase a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Perennials chosen are suitable for a wide range of growing climates, require low maintenance, have multiple-season interest, and are relatively pest/disease-free. If you are looking for an excellent perennial for your next landscape project or something reliable for your gardens, make sure to check out the Perennial Plant of the Year™ archive list.

 

At Miracle Farms we often rely on the list of past Perennial of the Year winners to be reliable bloomers year after year.

Here are some of our favorites:

Rudbeckia ‘goldsturm’

Salvia ‘may night’

Echinacea ‘magnus’

Phlox ‘david’

Leucanthemum ‘becky’

Nepeta ‘walker’s low’

Brunerra ‘jack frost’

Amsonia ‘hubrichtii’