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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Breathing Room

By Doug Schuster

There have been many studies of the benefits of having houseplants, including improved emotional state and stress levels, enhancing aesthetics of your space, improved healing time, and air purifying. All plants in some way contribute to air purification, but some are better than others. There was a study done by Dr. Vadoud Niri, a researcher at OSWEGO State University of New York, which studied popular houseplants and their ability to absorb VOC’s. VOC’s are volatile organic compounds; these include trichloroethylene, xylene, formaldehyde, ammonia, and benzene, these VOC’s are commonly present in your home or office from paints, furniture, office equipment, and cleaning supplies.

bromeliad-potted-indoor-plants

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Winter Pruning

By Mark Hoover

Winter can prove to be a challenging time for gardeners who dream of long, warm, sunny days in the garden. Though we’ve had some long stretches of cold snowy weather, spring is coming. That also means the spring rush is coming. Days of trying to check off that never-ending list of spring garden tasks will soon be upon us. In the meantime, slightly warmer winter days are a good time to get out in the garden and assess the pruning that needs to be done. Often, winter pruning can get overlooked but it’s a very important and simple task that can take your garden to the next level.

cornus kousa clean cut

cornus kousa clean cut

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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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Volunteering at Kingwood

By MacKenzie Cole

Though the snow-covered landscape surrounding us tries to deny it, Spring is coming. With its arrival, Kingwood will begin another exciting season filled with beautiful gardens, informative workshops, and exciting events. With so many activities to plan and so many plants to care for, you may wonder how Kingwood manages to keep it all together and maintain its serene, yet ever changing, atmosphere.  The answer? One big group of some seriously dedicated volunteers!

This group of volunteers prepares the trial beds for a beautiful annual display

This group of volunteers prepares the trial beds for a beautiful annual display

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Service Building Addition, A Critical Prelude

By Chuck Gleaves

It is exciting times at Kingwood Center Gardens right now. We are breaking out of our chrysalis to create a vastly enhanced visitor experience with our first ever visitor center accompanied by new gardens and expanded parking in a garden setting. Construction is scheduled to begin in March of 2019. As a prelude to all of that and to make it possible for us to manage our dramatically larger and better public attractions we will first make a large addition to our service building.

The Service Building in 1966 shortly After completion. (The new wing will be about where the cars are parked.)

The Service Building in 1966 shortly After completion. (The new wing will be about where the cars are parked.)

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