Category Archives: Articles from our Gardeners

Irrigation Tips

By Michael Albert

Irrigation can be an intimidating prospect to many gardeners. I would like to provide people with a few helpful hints about irrigation.

Effective irrigation is about getting the right amount of water directly to the plant roots. Water in the air or on leaves can be inefficient and can cause disease, sunspot and pests. The best time to water is early morning for this reason. Irrigation that is broken, turned the wrong way, spraying into the plant, or not level, will waste water.

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Sensory Garden

By Carly Hatfield

My childhood home always had a small vegetable plot during the growing season thanks to my parents. Our backyard had blackberry and honeysuckle bushes as well as a pear tree. My brothers and I would dodge the hovering bees to pluck a tiny honeysuckle bloom and suck the sweet nectar from it. We would show our friends our newly acquired talent, giving a glimpse into the wonders of the world in our own backyard. Picking apples, blueberries and strawberries showed us how to appreciate fresh fruit because once winter came, store bought blackberries didn’t hold a candle to the ones we just happened to have all summer long in our backyard.

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Feelin’ Hot, Hot, HOT

By Ellen Azotea

It’s a gorgeous summer day, and the garden is calling. Perhaps the lawn mower and hedge trimmers are chiming in too. In my garden, I tend to jump right in without planning for what my body might need—my plants take top priority after all! But as the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so let’s review some warm-weather gardening safety: 

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The Hum of the Hummingbird

By Carly Hatfield

The beloved Ruby-Throated Hummingbird will be back very soon to capture our attention for  yet another season. This small bird is a wonderful guest in any garden. Migrating to the south from October through April to escape the harsh winters, this bird is always a sign that favorable weather is on its way. One can provide a reliable food source and shelter for these small wonders with just a few steps.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

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My First Peeks at the Woodland Garden

By Karen Fraizer

This winter I was assigned the task of taking care of the Woodland Garden here at Kingwood Center. We had a long-time gardener retire, that had been taking care of the Woodland Garden for many years. This gardener left me with a plant inventory, garden maps, and very detailed notes for this garden (Thanks Glenna). This winter and early spring, with everything covered in snow, it was difficult to get a vision of the garden. With spring slowly emerging I am surprised everyday by something new. First, it was just the outline of the walkways and the beds. Second, it was the benches and the stepping stones throughout the beds. Now, with spring officially here (fingers crossed), it has been so exciting to watch the spring bulbs popping up. The daffodils that are scattered throughout the garden mix well with the blooms of the hellebores.

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Fruit Tree Guild: Companion Planting

By Carly Hatfield

A Guild is a type of companion planting, taken from the techniques often used in permaculture gardening and utilized specifically in fruit tree production. These ideas and practices can be used to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, improve the soil profile, increase the fertile nutrients available to surrounding plants, and deter pests and disease issues. A customized guild can be implemented in every garden no matter the focus of harvest; whether it be fruits, vegetables or just a stunning colorful display garden.

Our Carriage House garden utilizes a fruit tree guild since we feature many fruit tree varieties that act as the focal point or anchor of our gardens such as Apple, Cherry, and Pear. Also a few varieties of fruiting bushes such as Blueberries and Raspberries and even a few varieties of Hazelnuts are featured in the carriage house garden. These specimens are as beautiful as they are functional and require some thoughtful observation to get the most out of them and their harvest.

Carriage House Garden

Carriage House Garden

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

By Karen Fraizer

recycle

Did you know that when you throw away an aluminum can it will still be there 500 years from now?! And, did you know that there is no limit to the amount of times aluminum can be recycled? Or that when you throw out a glass bottle it will take 4000 years or more, to decompose?! And, that the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours? With all the statistics available, you should be scared into recycling.

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Gardening for the Birds

By Ellen Azotea

Providing for the needs of our feathered friends while improving our gardens is a wonderful way to combine two favorite hobbies: gardening and bird watching. A garden, ideally, should provide food, water, shelter (cover) and a place to raise young, but adding even just one of these elements will attract more birds to your yard.

A female house finch in the author’s garden

A female house finch in the author’s garden

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Have you ever wondered how Ducks and Peafowl survive the winter?

By Shawn McClain

Have you ever wondered how ducks and peafowl survive the winter? Maybe you have asked about Kingwood’s ducks and peafowl. You probably have heard us say “they are quite hearty to this climate and we assist them with shelter and high protein food through the winter months.” The heartiness of these interesting birds came to light this past winter when an old Kingwood newsletter surfaced.  In this newsletter, the birds were mentioned and explained how their arteries and body temperature aid them in cold weather.

duckpond

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