A garden is a wonderful place for a child to experience the natural world and learn how things grow. It is a place of wonder and surprise that excites the imagination as it teaches valuable lessons about the environment, responsibility, and discipline. With a little planning and effort-and a little help from you-your child can create his or her own garden world to enjoy all summer long. Continue reading Children in the Garden
A bouquet of flowers is the perfect gift for a loved one, friend or family member.
Asides from being aesthetically pleasing, each flower has a different symbolic meaning.
So if you’re considering buying some flowers as a romantic gesture, what do you need to know before you purchase?
1. Yellow Daffodil
The Yellow Daffodil represents new beginnings. It is also referred to as a lucky symbol of future success.
If you’d like to wish someone good luck, this is an ideal gift to give.
2. Blue Violet
These beautiful, hot-hued blooms are said to represent trustworthiness.
The Blue Violet flower symbolises faith, affection, intuition and love. If you’re looking for romantic flowers, blue violets make a wonderful gift.
3. Blue Salvia
The Blue Salvia plant is connected to healing. This flower specie represents wisdom, a long life and good health.
It’s common for those recovering from an ailment to receive this plant.
This beautiful flower is an elegant option for a bouquet and boasts an appealing fragrance.
The lilac’s colour represents the meaning of the flower – purity and youthful innocence.
These romantic flowers are generally gifted to those experiencing a secret love.
Present them to someone close to you who you truly care about.
Forget-Me-Nots are an ideal option to gift to a loved one.
These plants imply true love, and just as the name implies, they are given in the hope they (or the sender) will never be forgotten. Many believe this plant to signify an authentic love brimming with memories.
7. Sweet Alyssum
This enjoyable bloom boasts a fragrant scent and a serene, spiritual energy, which is said to provide an emotional balance in the home or office.
Asides from symbolising beauty, the Sweet Alyssum is said to protect an individual from heated encounters.
A great option for those who are a little down in the dumps and require an instant pick-me-up.
8. White Clover
The clover flower suggests feelings of vitality, and it is conventionally given to those who need a little good luck.
9. Cherry Blossom
These picture-perfect flowers signify spirituality and boast cultural roots in both Japan and China.
In the latter, this particular bloom portrays femininity and in Japan, the nature of life.
These aesthetically pleasing flowers are a great addition to any bouquet, especially if you’re searching for romantic flowers. These beautiful blooms depict femininity and are often gifted to a partner or loved one.
If you’re considering making a romantic gesture with flowers anytime soon, we’d love to hear about which blooms you go for, and the reaction you get.
Overview of the Four Requirements for Attracting Backyard Birds
Wild birds require four things to be attracted to a backyard: food, water, shelter and nesting sites. If you make each of these four things available, you will be amazed at how many different species of birds become regular backyard guests.
A good food source is the most important thing you need to attract birds. Food sources can be naturally occurring or supplemental sources such as feeders. Offering several different foods will attract a greater variety of birds.
Popular foods to attract birds include:
Not all foods will attract the same birds. For the best results, learn which birds are present in your local area and choose foods to attract them to your yard. Once your yard is a popular feeding site, more unusual species will become curious and you can offer them treats as well.
Water is critical to birds’ survival and adding water to your backyard will quickly attract birds. Types of water features that are attractive to birds are:
- Bird baths
Moving or flowing water will attract the most birds because it is more visible and they can hear it from a great distance. Water should be kept fresh and clean, but no chemicals should be used to purify water because they can be harmful to birds.
Birds also need water in the winter. A heated bird bath will provide drinkable water that birds do not have to use body heat to melt first. Heaters can be added to regular bird baths or special heated baths can be used.
Birds will not stay in a location where they do not feel safe, and adding backyard features that can offer them shelter will help attract them to your yard and keep them there once they have found it. Common bird shelters include:
- Scrub brush piles
- Overgrown grassy areas
Provide shelter at different levels for birds that prefer both high and low shelters. More dense plant growth is popular with small and medium bird species, while larger birds prefer perches where they can scan nearby areas for predators and other dangers. Shelter near feeders is especially popular since birds can quickly retreat if they feel threatened while feeding.
Many plants can also serve as food sources for birds, so choosing plantings wisely can not only provide shelter but will also entice birds with a natural food source.
For permanent guests, it is necessary to provide nesting sites for backyard birds. Many birds prefer to nest in natural locations, but manmade sites can also be attractive and may be easier for birders to enjoy. Nesting sites can include:
- Trees and shrubs for natural nesting sites
- Simple nesting boxes
- Functional or decorative birdhouses
- A brush pile for ground nesters
Different birds build different types of nests, from twig piles to dangling cups. For the best results, learn what types of nests your regular backyard birds prefer and offer nesting sites that are suitable for their needs.
By providing food, water, shelter and nesting sites, you can attract birds to your yard and invite them to take up residence.
Do you envision your garden to be a lush haven with an abundance of healthy plants and colorful flowers, with a constant show of hardy perennials and cheery annuals? Or do you see your dream garden filled with an abundance of vegetables and herbs, including some of the popular heirloom varieties of tomatoes, peppers or eggplant? Whatever your dreams and plans for your outdoor space, you can get started with a simple, fun and inexpensive method – grow your own!
Starting plants from seeds simply requires a little forethought and planning. You need to lay out a timetable, working back from the last expected frost date in your area. The individual seed packets you choose will give detailed instructions, including how many weeks ahead of the last frost to plant, planting depth, how long the seeds take to germinate and when the new shoots will be hardy enough to be planted outdoors.
Your local garden center or nursery is sure to carry a broad selection of seeds from reputable companies, as well as everything else you need to get going.
You will need:
- Planting containers or trays with individual “cells” or cups to hold the planting medium and seeds, with something to cover them once planted. Some come with covers, or you can just use sheets of plastic.
- Planting medium. Use a soiless planting mix. It should be sterilized, have good water retention and be lightweight enough for tender sprouts to push their way through the surface, all characteristics not found in average garden soil.
- Seeds. Obtain the best seeds possible. The choices today are limitless and each year more and more organic and heirloom seeds are available.
- Labels to identify the seeds in each tray. Strips of plastic written with permanent markers work well.
- Water. The planting medium needs to stay moist – don’t overwater or allowing seeds to dry out. This is probably the most critical aspect of the germination process but can be learned easily with a little practice.
- Light. Natural or artificial light is vital, but you needn’t have to rig up expensive grow lights. A bright south-facing window is perfect.
- Warmth. Most seeds need a constant temperature of 65-70º F to properly germinate.
Be sure to follow the directions on the packet carefully, for each type of seed. Check on them each day to control moisture, light and temperature. Before long, you will experience the thrill of spotting the first signs of germination – tiny sprouts rising through the planting medium!
Once the seeds have germinated and the plants have started to leaf out, you can harden them off by taking them outdoors for a few hours each day. After four or five days getting acclimated in this manner, they can be planted in their rightful place and begin beautifying your garden! And you will have gained a new and rewarding skill. But watch out – pouring over those enticing seed catalogues can be addictive!