July 4th in the Lakes Region

Happy 4th of July in the Lakes Region!

Happy 4th of July from The Lakes Region!

Looking for some last minute ways to spice up your Fourth of July garden party? Here are a couple of quick and easy tricks to do just that!

Decorative Lawn Stars:

  • Find a flat piece of cardboard and cut out a star to the perfect size.
  • Pick up some red, white & blue spray paint.
  • Take your star stencil out to the yard and go crazy spraying stars on the grass and create your own milky way! (The grass grows out and it will be gone in a couple of lawn cuts.)

Handkerchief Pillow Cases:

  • Go to your local Dollar store and buy 2 red, white or blue, handkerchiefs and some festive colored ribbon.
  • Take a pillow that is about an inch smaller than the handkerchief all the way around.
  • Place one handkerchief on the bottom of the pillow and a different color on the top
  • Tie the corners with your colored ribbon and you are finished!

Festive Bowling:

  • Take 10 of your recycled fruit and vegetable tin cans and remove the paper label
  • Use your left over spray paint from the lawn stars to paint the cans in festive patterns and wait for them to dry
  • Set them up in a stacked pyramid, grab an old softball or baseball and bowl your first strike!

 

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’

When To Apply Pre-emergent Weed Control To Your Lakes Region Lawn

Crabgrass

crabgrass control

dandelion

weed control

Feels like we’ve been waiting for spring to arrive forever and dreaming about that lush green lawn from last season. 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 actually germinates based on soil temperatures, generally around 56 to 64 degrees at the earliest. With the late start of spring here in the Lakes Region air temperatures in that range are just starting to take hold.

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.

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

Planning Ahead: Landscape Projects for 2015

Just a few warm spring days are enough to make me dream of spending hours in the yard this summer.  This is a great time to think about some of the landscape projects you might want to do this coming season.  If you’re anything like me you have a list as long as your arm of things you would like to improve or add to your landscape. The hardest part is deciding where to begin. Now is the time to think about your outdoor space and how you use it.  Identify areas that get a lot of use and those that do not.  Evaluate the environmental conditions of different areas, particularly sun exposure.  What do you value the most about your property – the waterfront? a commanding view? the stream that runs through the back?  These are all important things to consider as you decide on your landscape improvement plan.

Hardscapes such as stonewalls and patios can make dramatic changes to your landscape and provide areas for family and friends to relax and enjoy your outdoor space.  Smaller projects like a simple walkway or a fire pit add function and enjoyment as well.  Landscape plantings are a great way to enhance elements that already exist in your yard.  Plants can soften and define a stonewall or walkway.

Miracle Farms Landscaping NH

walkway with planting

You should consider a few decorative touches once you decide on your project.  New patio furniture, a lovely collection of planted containers, a small fountain and perhaps some landscape lighting to add your own personal touch.  With some thoughtful planning ahead, you can really improve the function and appeal of your outdoor environment.

Nice Winter We’re Having This Spring!

Here comes the snow, here comes the plow truck, here comes the sander… there goes the lawn.  Very shortly here in the beautiful Lakes R egion of NH, the snow will be gone, (fingers crossed behind my back).  That lush green lawn you tended so lovingly last year has most likely taken a beating under this long lasting carpet of white.  The longer, sunny days ahead will reawaken your lawn – The part that’s not still buried that is. Piles from plowing and shoveling cover parts of the lawn adding weeks to the time that grass has access to sunlight. You can help this process along by breaking up large piles and removing snow from the edge of driveways and walkways and placing it on the drive or walk where it will melt faster.  This will expose the grass to the sun and allow it to start warming the soil.  Removing the sand and gravel deposited by the plow allows for air circulation around the grass and stimulates plant healing.  This is most easily done with a rake and/or a backpack blower.  Adding a starter fertilizer and some “organic amendments” like good compost, or peat will give your grass a much-needed boost.

As the snow melts away you may start to see unusual pink or whitish-grey web-like spots on the grass.  This creeping crud, better known as snow mold, can cause some damage if the area stays wet and you don’t remove it.  The disease is generally only affecting the grass blade at this point.  A good spring fertilizer will help push new growth and your lawn will “outgrow” the disease. Gently rake the patches away once the grass is dry and dispose of the debris in the trash NOT in your compost pile. Give your rake a rinse as well to prevent spreading the spores around.  If damage is very visible you can apply compost or fertilizer and a little seed as well.  The good news is that snow mold fungus, for the most part, is a cosmetic issue.

Call the professional Lawn Enforcement Officers at Miracle Farms to help take care of your post-winter lawn care woes.

snowmold 2 snowmold 1

Spring in the Lakes Region?

Did someone say spring????

 

Just three short days ago the sun crossed the celestial equator on its way north along the ecliptic marking the vernal equinox… aka, SPRING! So I guess we should be expecting to see little bulbs poking their colorful heads through the warm soil, but not here in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Not even close. It is still winter here in a big way – feels more like January 23. In fact it’s close to zero today with the wind chill and there is still plenty of snow cover.  There was some great snowmobiling this season, the ice fishing was awesome and we have all become incredibly skilled with our snow blowers.  The truth is though, spring is around the corner and just thinking about it and all the promise of our gardens and landscapes makes the air feel AT LEAST ten degrees warmer.  We can hopefully look forward to average April temperatures in the mid to high 50’s.  Have faith! It will arrive eventually.

 

pansy

Invest in Your Landscape

We all know first impressions are huge and your landscaping is an extremely important piece of the curb appeal you want your home to have if you are thinking of selling. A properly planned landscape can help your home stand out from others on the market and can also give you a decent return on your investment.

The following statistics from RealEstate.com help make the case for a little landscaping:

  • Raises the property value as much as 12%.
  • Increases your resale value 14%.
  • Spending as little as 5% of your home’s value on landscaping may get an ROI (return on investment) of as much as 150%.
  • Decreases the amount of time your home is on the market – sometimes by as much as six weeks.

Don’t jump into a major landscape renovation in order to flip your house quickly, but rather think about a long term plan for your property that you will enjoy over time and one that will add value to your home when and if you decide to sell. Consider not only plants, but also other elements like outside lighting, walls, patios, walkways, fire pits, water features and fencing

Great landscaping is a smart investment.

Great landscaping is a smart investment.

Of course we would tell you that landscaping is a good investment, but we believe a well designed outdoor space offers enjoyment for your family and a solid monetary return as well. Winter is a great time to daydream about your home here in the Lakes Region and come up with a list of things you would like to change or add to your landscape environment. Hiring an experienced team of professionals to help you plan, install and maintain your Lakes Region landscape is definitely a worthwhile investment.

Winter in the Lakes Region 2015

winter landscape care lakes region nh

I love winter. And I love snow, lots of snow.  Not so lucky thus far this winter in that department, unfortunately.  It’s certainly a little more challenging to enjoy a practically snowless winter.  Sure you can still enjoy hot cocoa, warm soups and stews and a cozy fire, but it’s so much nicer to look outside and see that beautiful blanket of white everywhere.  Nicer for us and nicer for our gardens.

The lack of snow can be very hard on the landscape, too. Without the snow to help insulate the plants and prevent the frost from getting deeper into the ground, things are bound to suffer.  Trees and shrubs are extremely exposed to the recent bitter temperatures, harsh winter winds and storms of the wet freezing rain type that we have had a few times already this winter.

If you notice storm damaged trees and shrubs there are a few things you can do at this point.  With safety first and foremost, remove any loose or broken branches.  You can cut away partially broken branches just enough to remove them, but do proper pruning in the spring.   If branches are coated in ice, first take pictures because it looks really cool, then allow the ice to thaw naturally.  You can cause further damage if you break or chip away at the ice.

With some luck we’ll get some decent snowfall in the weeks to come.  After all, it makes winter what it’s supposed to be here in the Lakes Region, right?

Joe-Pye Weed For Late Summer New Hampshire Gardens

With dazzling clusters of pink, purple or white flowers, the under-rated Joe-Pye weed is a winner in your late season, lakes region perennial garden. Ranging in height from 2 feet to as much as 6 feet there is a variety to suit every gardener. Joe-Pye weed is a maintenance free perennial with a woodsy, wildflower look that attracts butterflies and bees by the dozens and looks right at home in a cottage garden. Large flower heads suitable for cutting, sit atop sturdy stems. The taller varieties make a bold statement as a backdrop in a border garden and pair beautifully with ornamental grasses. When most other plants have stopped flowering for the season you can rely on this late bloomer to take you into the early days of fall.

Joe-Pye Weed Late Summer Color

Joe-Pye Weed Late Summer Color

 

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