Flowers - Flower Gardening

The Magic of Annual VinesMorning Glory Porch
For the cost of a packet of seeds, you can quickly create a show stopping garden accent or a living hideaway for children, hide a rusty chain link fence or an unsightly garage wall, and turn an ordinary balcony into a private garden. Started from seeds, annual vines will scramble to heights of 20 feet or more, highlighting features you want to show off and covering eyesores.

More about using annual vines effectively

Attracting Birds to the Garden
A gardener's relationship with birds is one of mutual benefit. The gardener provides for a few of the birds basic needs, and the birds help to keep down the insect population while treating us to an unending source of entertainment. Birds take their role as insect predator seriously. A single bird will gulp down 500 to 1,000 insects in an afternoon.

How to attract birds to your garden

Plants for the shadeAstilbe
Deciding what to plant under your shade trees is not a problem of finding something that will grow in reduced light, but of finding plants that will grow in the poor, dry soil present under trees. Your plants will be competing with the tree for nutrients and moisture, and the tree will usually win.

If the soil under the tree is dry and root-clogged to the point where you have difficulty digging a hole, you will have to improve the soil before you can plant. A layer of organic material several inches deep is the best remedy. The tree will provide you with an abundance of organic material in the form of leaves. Chop them to the size of fifty-cent pieces with a bagging lawn mower and spread them under the tree. Sprinkle them with compost activator and keep them moist. Repeat this procedure annually until the leaves have rotted into a deep humus. Earthworms will move in and loosen the subsoil, making it possible to plant the shade garden of your dreams.

Building the soil takes time and patience. To get a head start, use containers as temporary homes for your shade plants.

When selecting plants, choose those with white or pastel flowers and light or variegated foliage. Light colors will stand out in the shade, while dark colors such as reds and purples will recede into the background. I've listed some common shade-loving plants below. Some of them prefer a moist soil, and if your soil is dry you should grow them in containers.

Nasturtiums for a Child's Garden
Nasturtiums are a great flowers for a little one's first garden. The big seeds are easy for little fingers to handle, and it won't hurt if some of the leaves and flowers wind up in a child's mouth because the entire plant is non-toxic. Seeds can be sown directly in the garden, or in hanging baskets.

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