Category Archives: Articles from our Gardeners

Poisonous Plants

By Karen Fraizer

A poisonous plant is by definition, “a plant that when touched or ingested in sufficient quantity can be harmful or fatal to an organism”.

People sometimes think if they do not directly ingest a piece of a plant (such as leaves or seeds), that they are probably safe from being poisoned. Or, maybe you think that if you see an animal consume the plant, it is probably okay for you to eat. Both of those statements are false and could get you into a sticky situation! Some plants are poisonous just by touching them. Some may be alright for the birds… but are definitely not okay for us. 

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Deadheading & Cutting Back in the Late Summer Garden

By Ellen Azotea

It’s the end of August, and we have been slogging through the dog days of summer this month. The heat and humidity have done a number on our gardens and container plantings, and it’s time to start tidying things up in preparation for autumn.  There is still color in the garden, so this is where deadheading and cutting back come into play. 

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The Struggle with Annuals

By Karen Fraizer

You may think that because we are Professional Gardeners here at Kingwood, everything in the gardens comes easy to us. Well, you would be wrong!

When we are planning our annual displays a year in advance, you can be certain that we are picturing the perfect specimens. The problem is, rarely do we get that “perfect specimen”. We must fight mother nature as well as human error, to make the annuals look as good as everyone expects them to.

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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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