Landscaping tips for a little Cottage to a Busy Street

When the pleasure of having your very own small cottage is offset by the grit and rumble of traffic on the busy street outside front, landscaping for peace and privacy becomes a top priority. Due to fundamental laws of physics, achieving sweet silence is unlikely, but it is possible to create an oasis in which the traffic’s effect requires a back seat to the balance of the garden’s layout. Plants and their positioning, intelligent obstacles and provocative landscaping components reduce exposure to the hustle and bustle of vehicles zooming by.

Buffering Noise Beautifully

Placing a noise barrier between you and the offending source of sound lessens the decibel level in the garden. A tall wood fence installed close to the street and an adjacent high, well-manicured hedge of evergreens produces a visually attractive display that deflects and absorbs sound waves, and serves as a backdrop for a border of the flowering perennials and annuals favored in cottage gardens. Fraser photinias (Photinia x fraseri) are evergreens that boom in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 and 9 with thick, leathery foliage accented by bright-red new leaves which emerge in the spring. These photinias are suitable for roadside planting as a result of their tolerance to heat and fairly dry dirt when the plants have been established. Emerald green arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis “Smaragd”), which thrives in USDA plant hardiness zones 2 through 8, also hold up well to roadside conditions.

Cottage-Style Greenery

Luxurious greenery provided by a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs farther attenuates traffic sound. Only inside the fence-and-hedge noise buffer, Leyland cypress trees (Cupressocyparis leylandii), which grow in USDA zones 5 through 9, promote the noise streaming with dense evergreen foliage. Around the garden’s borders, red laceleaf Japanese maple (Acer palmatum “Ornatum”), which rises in USDA zones 6 through 8, and also pink-flowering dogwood (Cornus florida “Rubra”) along with several varieties of little holly trees and shrubs (Ilex spp.) , booming in zones 5 to 9, bring wealthy cottage-garden-style color and texture through the seasons.

Flowers and Fragrance

Plants with evocative fragrances can counterbalance that the whiff of exhaust fumes that creep into the garden from a busy street. The lemon-scented blossoms of a small, evergreen “Baby Grand” magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora var. “STRgra”), which rises in USDA zones 7 to 9, along with the lemony foliage of dwarf evergreen “Wilma Goldcrest” Monterrey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa “Wilma Goldcrest”), growing in zones 7 through 10, insert a little freshness. The sweet scent of lilies and “Cecile Brunner” climbing roses (Rosa x “Cecile Brunner”), a cottage-garden favorite in zones 4 through 11, add light and depth pink accents into the landscape ambience. Underfoot, spreading thyme (Thymus spp.) Groundcover plants add savory zest to gardens in USDA zones 5 through 10.

Sound and Light

The tinkling, splashing sounds of a little fountain placed close to a seating area can offer a sense of calm which overrides the hum of traffic just past the garden’s boundaries. Playing background music via outdoor speakers disguised in artificial stone put into the cottage garden layout can also mitigate noise from the street. The nighttime garden can be welcoming, in spite of the beam of headlights on the opposite side of this garden display, by redirecting the perspective having strategically areas landscape lighting set alongside pathways and tiny spotlights aimed up to emphasize vertical garden features.

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How to Propagate Mock Orange

Combined hints of jasmine, rose and citrus wafting on the late-spring air signify only one thing: a nearby blue orange (Philadelphus x virginalis) shrub is in bloom. This old-fashioned garden stalwart aromas gardens throughout U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 4 through 8 using a fragrance worthy of bridal bouquets. Its clusters of cupped, yellow-stamened white blossoms open on slender, arching branches of deep-green leaves. The drought-tolerant shrub inquires only for a well-drained location with loads of sunlight, and annual pruning after it flowers to make sure ample future blooms. Mock orange propagates as readily as it blooms, from softwood cuttings taken in summer.

Prepare a rooting medium of 50 percent builder’s sand and 50 percent peat moss. Fill your rooting containers using the medium, firmed to 1 inch under their rims. The sand-and-peat blend absorbs and drains water fast.

Mix a solution of 9 parts water and 1 part household bleach. Dip a sharp knife or pruning shears into this disinfectant before utilizing them to take your mock orange cuttings.

Harvest the mock orange cuttings in the early morning, when their moisture content is at its peak. Take each cutting from an intact, healthful division, cutting just below a leaf node 4 to 5 inches from the tip. Each cutting should have at least two or even three different sets of leaves. Immediately place each cutting in a plastic bag to avoid dehydration.

Strip the tip foliage from each cutting. This tender growth is susceptible to scorching and decay. Removing it also builds increase hormone into the lower part of this cutting to get more vigorous rooting and promotes bushy fresh plants.

Insert a wooden let’s rod to one-half the length of every cutting into the containers of rooting medium to make your planting holes.

Pour a small amount of 1,000-ppm IBA (indolebutyric acid) rooting hormone talc to your clean saucer. Pinch the lowest set of leaves from a cutting together with your thumb and forefinger, and plunge the base of the cutting into the powder.

Insert the powdered cutting into one of the prepared holes till its lowest leaves are simply over the medium. Firm the medium quietly around its base for support. Repeat the entire procedure until all your cuttings are potted. Discard the used rooting hormone, and water the containers before the medium is moist throughout.

Insert four let’s sticks across the lip of every container, then slide the containers into clear plastic bags, and tie them shut so the plastic rests on the poles, not the cuttings. These makeshift greenhouses provide humid, rooting-conducive atmosphere.

Place the cuttings in bright light away from direct sunlight. Open the plastic bags for five minutes every other day to get ventilation. Check for new development, a indication that rooting has happened, after four weeks. When the plants appear to be growing well, gently lift them from the rooting pots for transplanting to separate 3 1/2-inch containers of potting soil.

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Is It Great to Plant Holly in the Front Yard?

Holly trees and shrubs (Ilex spp.) Are evergreen plants which produce a festive addition. Positioning your holly is important for the health of the plantlife, and also the health of the plants round the holly. Hardy into U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 6 through 11, these crops are attractive and easy to cultivate when increased in the proper conditions.


There are more than 400 species of holly. Based on the sort of holly you choose to plant, it may grow into a shrub 3 feet high, like Japanese holly (Ilex crenata), or even a tree 50 feet tall, like American holly (Ilex opaca). You must research the size of your holly plant before placing your tree with any structure, or the garage. Take into account the spread of the plant in addition to the height. Your plant shouldn’t be placed anywhere on your property where the plant’s side may become crushed against the wall of your garage, or where the cover of the plant can grow into an overhang in your own garage. For trees like holly, the central trunk ought to be implanted at least 12 feet away from driveway and the garage.

Light Requirements

Holly thrives in full sun. Generally a building’s southern exposure is the sunniest. Your holly will likely do in that place Should you intend to plant your own holly also if this side of the construction isn’t very close to some other structure — your property, for example — then. Places see day shade and morning light, while western exposures watch sun in the day and are in shade during the morning. Exposures are normally in darkness much of the day.

Impact on Existing Plants

Wherever think about the plants. Particularly if you plan to grow a specimen such as an American holly tree, lots of plants in the vicinity of your tree could become plunged into shade. When the shrub will eventually fall in the path any blossoms lining bushes, shrubs or your own garage along your property ought to be shade-tolerant.

Home Defense

Trees and spiny shrubs are placed strategically within a landscape to prevent possible intruders from getting easy access to windows and doors. Placed close doorways and windows, thorny bushes also deter intruders from hiding within their depths. Most cultivars of holly have spines in their leaves and may be used for this function. Planted near a garage door, the holly might make before seeking cover to wait for a opportunity following a vehicle pulls out to slide through a garage door intruders think twice. Many do, although not all cultivars of holly have spines. The cultivar”Burfordii” (Ilex cornuta”Burfordii”), a holly that is frequently used as a screen, is a superb choice for this use.


Holly berries are toxic to people. If the area close to your garage is a high-traffic place, or when you have children in your house or neighborhood, you may have to prune the berries. Unless you are willing to do this every winter, then your holly tree could be better suited for a low-traffic, personal area of your yard.

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Building Materials for a Fence

Your house’s surrounding fence is an extension of the structure’s style; fencing may show a bright flower garden using a basic post and rail setup or conceal your personal space with a tall concrete wall. Fence manufacturers offer many distinct materials for a long-lasting edge based on aesthetics, functionality and price.


Simulating an old-fashioned wood fence, vinyl fencing offers the identical overall look but with less upkeep. Built of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC), this fencing option does not need any periodic painting or surface treatment to keep its construction or aesthetics over time. In fact, manufacturers treat the vinyl to resist sunlight damage as an extra benefit for long-term use on your property. Although it is more expensive to purchase compared to basic wood, the vinyl saves you money through the years, because you don’t have to always observe the stuff for pest intrusions, such as termites, or even replace damaged bits as nature’s components wear down the stuff.


Among the most affordable fence construction materials is basic wood. Offered in several different tree species, such as wood, cedar fences may be stained to get a glowing and natural look or painted with almost any colour. You have the option to use the timber as a privacy improvement, like lining 8-foot tall panels tightly together, or developing a brief, picket fence for property and decoration borders. It is possible to mix the timber with metal posts so that not one of your hardwood investment touches the moist ground; this fence construction strategy prevents decay and pests from infiltrating the timber.


Chain-link cable is an inexpensive fencing material option to keep pets and kids safely on the property without undermining the encompassing view. Although it does not offer any privacy, it does last several years without care. More expensive metallic fences, like iron and aluminum, provide a more decorative touch compared to chain-link fence. Based on the design, you may use your metal fence as a scaling device for neighboring vines. As a result, your fence has a flowery inclusion that adds some solitude from the dense leaf.

Concrete and Other Challenging Substrates

Bricks, stone and concrete provide the most privacy in a high cost. Typically built by specialist contractors, these hard materials can be covered with stucco or basic paint to match the property’s colour. Neighbors can’t see to your own property because these fence materials produce a veritable wall between properties, in addition to a strong wind barrier through the winter. Requiring little maintenance through the years, these fence sorts’ main issue is chipping; it may be necessary to paint or stucco the fence occasionally in case your home is in the home for many decades.

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When to Trim an Evergreen Huckleberry

The evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum), also referred to as the California huckleberry, is a broad-leaf evergreen shrub that grows 1 1/2 into 15 feet tall. It’s native to the coastal mountain ranges from British Columbia to central California, including lower elevations of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Its dark-blue vegetables are smaller than blueberries but have a similar taste. Although evergreen shrubs usually need little pruning, evergreen huckleberry is pruned to support the growth of its berries and to acquire a supply of its foliage.

Landscape Pruning

Evergreen huckleberry has red bark and deep-green leaves, a combination that causes it to be grown as a ground cover or cover plant. If an evergreen huckleberry plant will be the correct size for your landscape, you may not have to prune it at all. If you want to thin overgrown branches, eliminate dead or dying branches, or encourage growth near the plant’s sides or bottom, then the best time to do this is in late winter or early spring before new growth starts.

Severe Pruning

The shiny leaves of evergreen huckleberry shrubs keep their deep-green color throughout winter. Plant nurseries frequently use the leaves as backdrop foliage in flowery sprays, and huckleberry shrubs are frequently grown for their foliage. As the plants grow older, they become tall and woody, grow more slowly and yield fewer attractive leaves. If you want to grow a tall, mature evergreen huckleberry because of its foliage, prune it almost into the ground in late winter or early spring, leaving short stubs. The plant will grow new, useful sprays in a few years.

Pruning to Increase Berry Yield

Huckleberry shrubs grow strawberries on brand new shoots. Often commercial growers encourage the growth of new shoots on huckleberry plants by burning their plants in spring when soil is moist. That option, however, is out of bounds for home growers. Instead of burning the plant, then stimulate the growth of new shoots and ensure a steady supply of huckleberries by pruning huckleberry branches after you decide on the berries.

Pruning for Christmas Decorations

Huckleberry shrubs frequently are pruned from late November through December to get sprays of its green leaves for Christmas and New Year’s wreaths and decorations. Although late winter or early spring typically is the recommended time for pruning evergreen shrubs, evergreen huckleberry can defy this holiday seasonal pruning if it is done judiciously.

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Herbicides & Asparagus

Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis) are poor competitors with weeds. The exact same growing conditions that produce healthy asparagus also encourage the development of weeds that compete for nutrients in the soil and decrease plant yields. Herbicides are utilized to kill or control unwanted weeds in the asparagus bed. The University of California Integrated Pest Management Program classifies all herbicides as pesticides and supplies cautionary recommendations to their usage.

Asparagus Growing Conditions

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable plant that may yield for 10 or more years. It’s made up of a root program, crown and ferns. The edible parts of the plant — the spears — are immature ferns. They’re selected in early spring. Spears that aren’t harvested develop into ferns that manufacture and store energy for the next year’s harvest. Asparagus prosper in sandy, well-draining land having a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0. The acid-alkaline balance in soil is corrected naturally once you use mature compost as an amendment. Be careful to make an asparagus bed in as weed-free an environment as you can.

Herbicides Frequently Used

Glyphosate herbicide products are often recommended to control winter annual weeds and biennial weeds near asparagus plants. 1 study in the University of Caen, France established a relation between the inert ingredients in the most popular weed-killer and individual cell damage. Glyphosate weed killers are also recorded as the third-most commonly reported causes of pesticide-related illnesses among agricultural employees, as reported by the Organic Consumers Union. Safer methods of controlling weeds include a vigorous program of hand pulling, hoeing, light tilling, cover crops and mulching.

Read the Labels

Important safety information is located on all herbicide product labels. Determine how and when to employ, what protective clothing to wear and what emergency measures to take in the event of over-exposure. Labels also clarify the short- or long-term toxicity warnings and proper storage procedures. Signal words that indicate toxicity amount are Danger, Warning or Caution. Integrated Pest Management programs encourage pesticide users to not apply products prior to a rainfall or under windy conditions. Spot treatments are recommended as one method to minimize ecological harm to surrounding plants, wildlife and children. Weed control products applied to entire asparagus soil beds can run into local groundwater supplies.

Least Toxic Weed Control Approaches

Light hoeing in the asparagus bed is recommended, but never rototilling. Deep tilling implements hurt plant crowns, reduce yield and promote illness. Organic mulches such as grass clippings, straw, compost or wood chips implemented 4 to 6 inches thick suppress weed growth. Use weed-free sifted compost as a soil additive when summer harvest of the asparagus spears is whole. Large asparagus beds may be planted with a cover crop in between the rows. Buckwheat in summertime and rye or wheat in autumn and winter stop weed growth throughout the asparagus dormant season. Cover crops also enhance soil structure and nutrient content.

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How to Care for a Hyacinth's Bloom

Hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis ) are spring-flowering bulbs which have a sweet fragrance in addition to blooming in a huge variety of vibrant colors. During the spring months, hyacinths could be grown outdoors in the U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 9. Homeowners that want to enjoy the plant through the winter can force blooms by raising the hyacinth inside. Care is minimal but important if you would like to maintain the blossoms at peak condition.

Set the hyacinth blossom in a spot that receives full sun. If the plant is inside, this means placing the plant at a windowsill. It means cutting off any branches or moving any things which might be blocking the sun from reaching the hyacinth.

Water the hyacinth once or twice per week while booming. The goal is to keep the soil moist, but not sopping wet. When not in bloom, the hyacinth favors drier soil.

Work some compost to the soil around the plant at the beginning of spring. Doing so once annually provides the hyacinth a few added nutrients which will keep it blooming bright and healthy.

Spread a layer of mulch around the base of this hyacinth plant. This will help keep the temperature on the soil warmer during cold nights.

Watch for gray mould and bulb decay, diseases to which hyacinths are prone. Gray mould causes brownish lesions on the inside of the hyacinth’s leaves and works its way outward. Bulb rot starts with the bulb and spreads upwards. The leaves of this hyacinth will wilt and turn yellow or yellow in colour. Apply a fungicide to fight these disorders.

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How to Use Plastic Wall Plugs to Secure a Bookcase to the Wall Street

Bookcases and other tall furniture pieces may seem very sturdy, but at an earthquake, a tall bookcase can easily fall over and cause substantial harm. Even in places where earthquakes aren’t common, it is a fantastic idea to secure a tall bookcase to a wall for security. Vinyl wall plugs into drywall will not be nearly strong enough to secure the bookcase, since the unit will need to be anchored to the wall studs. If the wall adjacent to a bookcase is masonry, however, you may use plastic wall plugs to secure a bookcase to the wall at about an hour.

Place an L-bracket on the top left corner of this bookcase or earthquake strap just above the rear left edge of the bookcase and the wall. Mark the hole locations throughout the strap or bracket onto the bookcase and the wall with a pencil. Then mark hole locations for an additional strap on the right side and at the center of this unit.

Slide the bookcase from the wall. Insert a 1/8-inch drill bit into the chuck of a power drill, then drill a pilot hole at each marked place on the bookshelf. Attach the L-brackets or earthquake straps to the bookshelf with 2-inch timber screws.

Insert a 1/4-inch masonry bit into a hammer drill, and drill a 2-inch-deep pilot hole at each marked location on the masonry wall. Harness a plastic wall plug in to each pilot hole with a hammer. Clean any masonry dust made by the drilling on the floor with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner.

Reposition the bookcase against the wall, and push an anchor screw through the holes at every one of the L-brackets or earthquake straps and into the plastic anchors to secure the bookcase to the masonry wall.

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Successful Orange Tree Planting

An orange tree in your yard will provide many years of fruit and shade, so it pays to take the time to be certain that to pick the right tree for your area. While orange trees are suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9a through 11, there’s a good deal of variation among different varieties, so do some research prior to purchasing. With just a little work and attention, you can expect your orange tree to start producing fruit in three to five years of planting.

Choosing the Right Tree

You need to consider numerous factors when picking a orange tree for your yard. Considerations include cold hardiness, ripening times and resistance to insects. Local soil conditions and insects will determine that rootstock is most suitable for your area. One of the primary factors is the climate of the area. Orange tree types vary in freeze sensitivity and summer heat requirements for ripening. Nurseries and growers in your town can recommend the very best varieties, or you could consult your neighborhood cooperative extension office. While orange trees could be grown from seed, for the best results select a container-grown tree grafted onto resistant rootstock. Container-grown trees are more vigorous and recover quickly from transplanting.

Choosing the Right Location

Orange trees prefer a location with complete sun and well-draining soil. They need space to spread out — at least 15 feet apart from other trees, power lines and buildings, even farther from septic tanks and drain areas. In cooler climates, planting against a south-facing wall provides additional warmth. Grass and weeds compete with the newly planted tree for nutrients and water, so remove them before you plant the orange tree. In areas with poor drainage or clay soils, do a drainage test prior to planting. Dig a hole about 1 foot deep. Fill it up with water and wait for it to drain, then fill it again. Check the hole the following day. If any water remains, plant the tree on a mound or in a raised bed.

Planting the Tree

Container-grown trees can be planted year-round, but planting in early spring provides the tree time to become established before summer heat and cold winter weather arrives. The planting hole should be the thickness of the first container and twice as wide. The top of the root ball should rest about 1 inch over the surrounding soil. Fill the hole in with indigenous soil and pack it gently round the tree. Water the tree thoroughly, but do not add fertilizer.

Care After Planting

It’s important to water your orange tree correctly to get it established. A watering ring round the tree allows water to soak into the soil for proper watering. Mound soil in a ring round the outside of the planting hole, forming a berm that holds water. Fill inside the ring twice per week during the initial month. The berm will gradually wash away as the tree grows. Decrease watering frequency gradually, watching the tree carefully for signs of wilting during the initial year. A 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch helps the soil retain moisture. Supply extra water during warm, dry weather. A dose of fertilizer created for citrus trees, given when new growth appears, about three weeks following planting, helps nourish the plant. Proceed to fertilize the tree every six weeks throughout the summer and autumn, following the recommendations on the bundle.

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Black Spots on Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine Leaf

Growing ornamental sweet potato vines (Ipomoea batatas) is not for the faint-of-heart. Perennials at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 9 through 11 and annuals elsewhere, 6- to 12-foot sweet potato vines trail from containers and scramble over bare ground with leave. Their purple-black, chartreuse or variegated foliage and late-season trumpet flowers make bold visual statements, until the unsightly black fungal spots that follow pest infestations ruin the show.

Sweet Potato Vine Pests

Tiny, sap-sucking aphids and whiteflies feed on sweet potato vine leaves. Pear-shaped aphids leave the foliage curly, wilted and discolored. Melon or cotton aphids, frequently located on sweet potatoes, soften from pale or dark green in existence to yellow as temperatures rise. Whiteflies have white-winged, yellow bodies covered with white, powdery wax. In massive numbers they cause the leaves to yellow, wither and drop. Both insects congregate and feed on the foliage undersides. The waste that they secrete is what links them directly into black, fungus-spotted leaves.


Aphids and whiteflies consume more sap when they need for survival. They remove the rest as a gooey, carbohydrate-dense waste called honeydew. Huge populations of the insects drench a sweet potato vine using the clear, sticky substance. Ants and black sooty mold fungi generally feed on the honeydew. Sooty-mold infested vines have a velvety black patches on their leaves.

Sooty-Mold Effects

Because sooty mold fungi feed on honeydew, they don’t penetrate or directly damage sweet potato leaf tissue. Left unchecked, sooty mold may collect enough to keep sunlight from reaching the leaves. Inadequate sun exposure interferes with the vine’s photosynthesis, possibly limiting its development. The fungus-coated leaves sometimes fall and age prematurely. Even without these issues, having sooty mold on a vine grown mainly because of its ornamental foliage is less than desirable.

Ant Management

Ants worth honeydew as a food source so highly that they kill aphids’ and whiteflies’ natural predators to secure their supply. Eliminating ant colonies close to your sweet potato vine shields these predators, including ladybugs, lacewings and parasitic wasps. Control the issue with slowly acting boric acid ant bait put near the vines for the ants to transport back to their nests.

Cultural Management

Together with the removal of honeydew-secreting insects, sooty mold fungi finally starve and wither away. If predators are not keeping aphids and whiteflies in check, a blast in the garden hose or pruning and disposing of heavily infested stems may remove light populations. Removing adult whiteflies using a handheld vacuum, and freezing the dust cup bag and its contents before disposal, may work. Avoid excessive fertilizing with nitrogen-based fluid which encourages tender, aphid-attracting new development.

Chemical Control

Insecticidal soap, horticultural or neem oil, sprayed heavily enough to saturate both surfaces of the foliage, suffocate aphids and mealybugs. These treatments only kill the insects present during application, so you may need to repeat the spraying. Spray when the plants are well nourished and the temperature is below 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Always use these remedies depending on their tag specifications.

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