Monthly Archives: March 2024

Herbs As Companion Plants

Practiced by organic gardeners for years, companion planting has become very popular for all gardeners. The concept is to plant together species that will benefit each other, to help prevent disease and insect infestation without the use of chemicals. In general, herbs and other aromatic plants like tomatoes, marigolds and onions are helpful in warding off insects. Certain colors, like the orange of nasturtium flowers, are thought to repel flying insects. While these practices have not been scientifically proven, many gardeners have been using them for years with positive results. Try it – and see if it works for you!

Best Companion Herbs

The exact herbs you choose to pair with other plants will depend on what you want to grow and what problems you want to eradicate. The most common herbs and their purported benefits include…

  • Basil – Enhances the growth of tomatoes and peppers. Dislikes rue. Repels flies and mosquitoes.
  • Borage – Companion to tomatoes, squash and strawberries. Deters tomato worm.
  • Chamomile – Companion to cabbages and onions. Improves the growth of all garden plants.
  • Chervil – Companion to radishes.
  • Chives – Companion to carrots. Deters Japanese beetles, blackspot on roses, scab on apples and mildew on cucurbits.
  • Dill – Improves the growth of lettuce, cabbage and onions. Dislikes carrots.
  • Fennel – Most plants dislike it – avoid using it as a companion herb and instead plant it away from the garden.
  • Garlic – Plant near roses and raspberries. Deters Japanese beetles.
  • Horseradish – Plant at the corners of your potato patch; deters potato bug.
  • Hyssop – Companion to cabbage and grapes. Deters flea beetles and cabbage moths. Dislikes radishes.
  • Marigolds – Plant throughout the garden as they discourage nematodes and other insects.
  • Mints (esp. Spearmint and Peppermint) – Companion to cabbages and tomatoes. Deters aphids, flea beetles and many types of cabbage pests.
  • Nasturtium – Companion to radishes, cabbage and cucurbits. Plant under fruit trees. Deters aphids and squash bugs.
  • Onion – Repels cabbage loopers, potato beetles, carrot flies and imported cabbage moths.
  • Oregano – Improves the growth of beans.
  • Parsley – Enhances the growth of roses. Repels asparagus beetles.
  • Pot Marigold – Companion to tomatoes, but plant elsewhere, too. Deters tomato worm, asparagus beetles and other pests.
  • Rosemary – Companion to cabbage, bean, carrots and sage. Deters cabbage moth, bean beetles and carrot fly.
  • Rue – Companion to roses and raspberries, dislikes sweet basil. Deters Japanese beetles.
  • Sage – Plant with rosemary, tomatoes, strawberries, cabbage and carrots. Dislikes cucumbers. Deters cabbage moth and carrot fly.
  • Summer Savory – Companion to beans and onions. Deters bean beetles.
  • Tansy – Plant under fruit trees. Companion to roses and raspberries. Deters flying insects, Japanese beetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs and ants.
  • Tarragon (French) – Enhances the growth of all vegetables.
  • Thyme – Improves the growth of tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. Repels whiteflies and cabbageworms.
  • Wormwood – Use as a border, keeps animals from the garden.
  • Yarrow – Plant along borders, paths and near aromatic herbs. Enhances production of essential oils. Attracts beneficial insects including ladybugs and predatory wasps.

Exactly how much benefit companion plants give to one another will vary; be sure to choose varieties to group that have similar soil, light, water and fertilization needs. Even if their companion benefits may not pan out, you’re sure to enjoy a more diverse and vibrant garden filled with delicious vegetables and herbs!

Perennial Flowering Vines

Vines are valuable and versatile plants that provide a remarkable vertical display while using minimal ground space. Offering an extensive mixture of decorative foliage, flowers, fruits and fragrance, vines are generally fast-growing, relatively pest-free and require minimal maintenance.

Why Choose Vines?

There are numerous uses for vines in the landscape. They can visually soften fences, walls and trellises or dress-up a lamp or mailbox post. They will provide summer shade when grown over an arbor, gazebo frame or pergola. Vines may be used to provide privacy by screening a patio or porch and can define any outdoor living space when used to create living outdoor walls or green barriers.

Three things should be considered when selecting a vine for your garden:

  1. Intended Use
    If you want a thick barrier or screening look, opt for vines that will provide dense foliage, but if you prefer a more delicate vine, choose plants with more space in their foliage. Check flowering options, growth speed and how much training the vine will need to reach its full potential. At the same time, consider how the foliage is shed in autumn and how much care the vine may need to stay in good condition.
  2. Planting Location
    Like any plant in your landscaping, vines will have specific needs for sunlight, soil condition and watering. Also consider the size of the space where your vine will live to be sure it won’t crowd out nearby plants or be stunted in a too-small space. Condition the soil appropriately to nourish your vine, and adjust a drip system or sprinklers to provide adequate water as needed.
  3. Vine Support
    Vines need adequate support to stay upright and sturdy. Because vines climb in several different ways, support is critical. Wires, spirals, trellises, fences or arbors should support vines that use tendrils or a twining stem. Other vines attach themselves with aerial rootlets. These vines grow best on brick or stone walls. Some vines have no natural method to attach to a vertical structure and will just sprawl if not manually assisted with garden wire or string to an appropriate support.

You will want your vine to thrive for many years to come, therefore you must select the right vine for your chosen location. Use the chart below to learn about some of the more common, landscape-friendly vines you can welcome into your yard.

Click the image above to view full size.

Cultivating A Passion for Garden Photography

Does your gardening passion include taking photos of your plants and progress?

Capturing the beauty of a garden through photography is a gratifying experience that allows one to freeze moments of natural splendor in time. With cell phones, it couldn’t be easier. Whether it’s the vibrant hues of blooming flowers, the delicate dance of butterflies, or the serene charm of a sun-dappled pathway, garden photography celebrates the wonders of nature. Sharing these snapshots of joy with others can be equally rewarding. One outstanding way to showcase garden photos is through social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook, where fellow gardeners can admire and engage with the images. Another means is creating a dedicated blog to narrate the stories behind each photograph, sharing gardening tips, and fostering a sense of community among fellow green-thumbs. Furthermore, printing, and framing garden photos can transform them into tangible keepsakes, perfect for preserving the serenity and beauty of nature for perpetuity. Ultimately, sharing garden photos not only spreads joy but also inspires others to appreciate and cultivate their own slice of natural paradise. dfgsdfg

We want to assist you if you’d like to increase your cell phone garden photography skills. Capturing beautiful snapshots of your garden just takes a little knowledge, practice, and patience. Let us introduce you to a number of useful cell phone photography tips from experts to help you take stunning photos to showcase the vibrant beauty of your garden.

  • Optimize Lighting
    • Shoot during the golden hours, early morning or late afternoon, for soft and warm light ideal for capturing the beauty of your garden.
    • Overcast days can provide even lighting, minimizing harsh shadows.
  • Clean Your Lens
    • Before you start shooting, be sure to wipe the lens of your phone with a clean cloth to remove any dirt or smudges that could affect image clarity.
  • Focus on Composition
    • Utilize the rule of thirds to create visually appealing compositions. Imagine dividing your frame into a grid of nine equal sections and placing key elements along the lines or at their intersections.
    • Experiment with different angles to find the most flattering view.
  • Utilize Depth of Field
    • Most smartphone cameras come with portrait mode or a similar feature that allows you to create a shallow depth of field, blurring the background and making your subject stand out.
    • Experiment with selective focus to draw attention to specific elements within your garden, such as a single flower or a butterfly resting on a leaf.
  • Mind Your Background
    • Be mindful of what’s in the background of your photos. Look for clean, uncluttered backgrounds that won’t distract from your main subject.
    • Experiment with different angles and perspectives to find the most pleasing background for your composition.
    • Choose backgrounds that complement your flowers without distracting from them.
  • Capture Details
    • Capture the intricate details of your plants, details that make your garden unique. Get up close and personal to depict the elaborate patterns of petals, the delicate veins of leaves, or the tiny insects that call your garden home.
    • Use the macro mode on your smartphone camera, if available, to obtain stunning close-up shots with incredible detail.
  • Embrace Natural Elements
    • Incorporate natural elements such as water droplets, dew-covered leaves, or beams of sunlight filtering through the trees to add visual interest to your photos.
    • Feel free to get creative and experiment with different ways to incorporate these elements into your compositions.
  • Catch Seasonal Changes
    • Document the various stages of your flowers, from bud to bloom. This adds a dynamic element to your photography.
    • Showcase the seasonal transformations of your garden.
  • Steady Shots
    • Keep your phone steady to avoid blurry images. Use both hands or lean against a stable surface.
    • If your phone has manual settings, experiment with adjusting the exposure for better results.
  • Play with Perspectives
    • Experiment with different perspectives – shooting from above, below, or at eye level.
    • Capture the essence of your flowers by including wider shots that showcase the overall beauty.
  • Edit Wisely
    • After taking your photos, spend some time editing them to enhance their beauty further, taking advantage of built-in editing tools or third-party apps to enhance your photos.
    • Experiment with adjustments to brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness to fine-tune your images and make them pop.
  • Practice Patience
    • Remember that great garden photography takes knowledge, practice, and patience. Take the time to explore your garden thoroughly, waiting for the perfect moments to seize it in all its glory.
    • Don’t be discouraged by initial failures or setbacks. Keep experimenting, learning, and refining your skills, and you’ll soon be capturing stunning garden photos with ease.

Sharing plant and garden photos on social media is not just about showcasing botanical beauty; it’s a vibrant celebration of nature’s artistry and a delightful way to connect with like-minded enthusiasts. Whether it’s a stunning array of blossoms in full bloom or the intricate patterns of a succulent garden, each snapshot captures a moment of joy and inspiration. The fun lies in the camaraderie of sharing tips, tricks, and successes, fostering a sense of community among green thumbs worldwide. From swapping gardening hacks to marveling at rare plant finds, social media platforms become virtual gardens where friendships flourish amidst the foliage. Moreover, sharing these snapshots can inspire others to embrace the therapeutic joys of gardening, fostering a ripple effect of appreciation for the natural world. So, next time you capture the radiance of your garden, share it with the world and watch the seeds of inspiration bloom.