9-1-17… How about this Gem for a late summer/fall blooming native perennial… Boneset… Eupatorium perfoliatum

Writtey by flowerbeds on Friday, September 1st, 2017 at 8:52 pm. Posted in Uncategorized

This is one of a few very important flowering plants for the bees and other pollinators at this time of year… so please think twice about cutting it down or removing it as it definitely serves a purpose… this native gets about 3-5’ tall and loves full sun to part shade. The pure white slightly aromatic flowers are eye catchers in a late summer landscape. This plant acquired its name for the belief that it would help in setting and healing your bones. The dried leaves have also been used to make boneset tea, believed to be effective in treating colds, coughs, and constipation.

7-21-17… Native Plant To Highlight… Short Toothed Mountain Mint… Pycnanthemum muticum

Writtey by flowerbeds on Friday, July 21st, 2017 at 9:43 pm. Posted in Uncategorized

This is one of my summer flowering favorites that brings a mountain of pollinators and beneficial insects to your garden… This plant spreads at a slow rate unlike other mints, so don’t be afraid that it will take over your garden. This gem gets about 30” tall and supports itself nicely sporting silvery green leaves and tiny pink flowers. Full sun is desired but will tolerate partial shade, though I haven’t tried planting it in full shade yet. When in bloom, this mountain mint delivers a nice aroma and is a MAGNET for butterflies, beneficial wasps and flies and of course bees. No garden is complete without a little bit of mountain mint.

While walking in my own garden today, I noticed my milkweed was in bloom, both the orange butterfly weed and the pink swamp milkweed. Milkweed is the primary nectar source for the glorious Monarch Butterfly. Milkweed is another essential plant for every garden.

If you are interested in adding any of these plants to your garden, feel free to reach out to KW and we will get them planted in your landscape.

7-14-17… Your Summer Lawn…

Writtey by flowerbeds on Friday, July 14th, 2017 at 8:59 pm. Posted in Uncategorized

The Summer heat and lack of rain has reached us and your cool season turf grasses (fescues, blue and rye grasses) are taking a beating during this time. Here are a few tips to keep your lawn in the best shape possible during this summer stress. The first thing to consider is mowing. You want to mow the grass TALL, the crews at KW started mowing the lawns at 4” last week, up from 3.5” the week before and for the most of June. This allows for the grass blades to produce more carbohydrates which fuels the plant functions, it provides a greater surface area for photosynthesis to occur and it keeps the roots cool as taller leaf blades shade the soil from the hot sun. Mowing your lawn short in the summer will encourage weed seeds to germinate while discouraging your turf grass to thrive, NOT a good idea. The second practice is frequency of watering. Cool season grasses require about 1” of water per week to keep them actively growing, BUT, it is the best practice to water just 1-2 times per week, heavily to achieve that 1”. Watering everyday is detrimental to turf grass during the summer drought period because it encourages shallow roots, which dry out much faster than deep roots. Watering heavily causes the water to go deep into the soil and will encourage the roots to do the same. The last thing to consider is fertilization. Stay away from HEAVY doses of fertilizers especially with large amounts of Nitrogen in them. This will only feed the weeds and not the grass. Heck, who wants to feed weeds. KW’s summer fertilizations contain beneficial microbial biology to create a living soil that the turf grass can feed off of as it needs too.

In review, mow tall, water heavy but infrequently and avoid heavy doses of fertilizers.

Support Your Local Monarchs

Writtey by Elisa on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015 at 4:20 pm. Posted in Butterfly garden, garden, garden landscaping, Native Maryland Garden, organic garden, Theme Landscaping

Monarch

Monarch Butterflies have begun to return to our gardens again this year. Monarchs require Milkweed for their caterpillars.  As a matter of fact, Monarch caterpillars can only feed on Milkweeds and nothing else. The adult Butterflies, however, need nectar all summer long.

According to National Geographic, Fewer monarch butterflies are crossing North America to winter in Mexico, and the biggest culprit seems to be the disappearance of milkweed in the United States. The trend is particularly troubling because monarchs have long been considered both an indicator of our ecological health and a representative of pollinator populations.

When planting for Monarchs, mix Milkweed with lots of flowering nectar plants (as well as grasses) that will bloom from early in the summer (when Monarchs first arrive) through the fall.

This will have several advantages including the following:

  • Provide nectar for the Monarchs, along with many butterflies and pollinators, when the Milkweed are not flowering. Each species of Milkweed only flowers for about a month.  The adult Monarchs need nectar from the time they arrive until they leave.
  • Create a sustainable ecosystem in your home garden.
  • Support not only the struggling Monarch, but many species of Butterflies, Beetles, Moths, Birds, Snakes, Turtles, and Mammals…etc.
  • Create a beautiful butterfly garden for your enjoyment.

 

What kind of Milkweed should you plant? Plant Milkweeds native to your area and adapted to your soil and sun conditions. Monarchs can use ALL of them. There are about 75 species of Milkweed found in North America. There are a lot to choose from. You can find out what species are native to your area at the Biota of North America Program (http://bonap.net/NAPA/TaxonMaps/Genus/County/Asclepias ).

Maryland Milkweed

 

Email KW Landscaping for more information and to inquire about integrating monarch attracting milkweed into your summer garden.

 

Perfecting your Seasonal Summer Planters

Writtey by Elisa on Friday, June 5th, 2015 at 1:28 pm. Posted in Container Gardens, flower garden, garden landscaping, organic garden, professional planters, Summer Garden, Summer Planters

Summer Planter Arrangement June is the perfect time to fill your planters with beautiful arrangements to brighten your home all summer long. Garden and home stores are overflowing with plants and pots in every shape, color and size imaginable so it can be hard to decide what design you want. Here are a few tips to consider when planning your planters:

1)    Consider all colors and textures – A well balanced arrangement doesn’t rely solely on one or two colors but incorporates accent colors in both the flower and the foliage. You should also consider texture, combining sharp shiny reeds with soft furry leaves can create eye-catching drama and balance. Try combining an arrangement of Pennisetum rubrum (red fountain grass), Ipomea (sweet potato vine), Calibrachoa (million bells), Begonia Dragonwing and Ageratum for a variety of colors, textures and growth habits. Summer Planter

2)    Balance foliage and flowers – the foliage to flower ratio is critical. The positioning of foliage to frame and also create movement will dramatically increase the aesthetic success of your planter.

3)    Shade or sun – Consider where you plan to place your planter. If your planter will have the bright shade of the morning sun, this will open up more options than deep shade spaces. Study the area in which you want to plant, then purchase your plants accordingly. If you love planting container gardens but don’t know where to start send KW Landscaping an email and they can provide beautiful arrangements for your summer planters.

Maryland Summer Planter

Bring your Garden to Life as Summer Approaches

Writtey by Elisa on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 at 2:18 pm. Posted in flower garden, garden, garden landscaping, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Management, organic garden, Summer Garden

Flowers always make a home seem more welcoming. Adorn your entrance with assorted annuals to keep color year long. Petunias, Salvia, Geraniums, Ageratums, Begonia are all great additions to consider in addition to others. If you have a small space between your house and the street, try putting a low fence in front. It gives the illusion that your house is farther from the street than it really is, and it also makes for a great space for planting flowers and vines.

Enjoy your garden from Spring to Fall. A great thing about gardening in Maryland is that we get treated get a long season to enjoy colorful annual flowers. Consider adding these annuals/bulbs/tropicals to your garden and containers;

Spring: tulips, daffodils, crocus, primrose
Summer: lantana, new guninea impatiens, zinnia, coleus, hibiscus, verbena, canna lily
Fall: pansy, violas, aster (perennial), mum

KW Landscaping specializes in making your gardens bloom with color and variety all season long. Consider adding the following enhancing services to your home or business.

ENHANCING SERVICES

SUMMER & FALL COLOR PLANTINGS: Our service includes removal and disposal of prior season’s annuals and the installation of new annuals. The summer planting is in May and the fall planting is in September.

COLOR PLANTING FEEDINGS: Our service includes FIVE feedings for you summer and fall color. This Organic feeding will encourage larger plants with more colorful blooms. Service is provided April, June, July, August & October.

BULB INSTALLATION: Our service includes the planting of our custom bulb collection in the fall for a spring bloom display.

To add Color services to your landscape management program please email info@kwlandscaping.com for more information and a quote.

Organic Turf Management Practices for your Home or Business

Writtey by Elisa on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 1:14 pm. Posted in Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Management, lawn care, organic garden, organic landscaping, organic lawn, organic lawn care, organic turf management

KW Landscaping is proudly NOFA certified. What this means is that we adhere to their guidelines and recommendations when landscaping your home or business. We also have completed 30 hours of coursework and attend yearly trainings to maintain our certification status. When it comes to organic lawn care, NOFA sets the standards for our industry. When considering what to include in your yearly maintenance landscape agreement, it’s important to consider some of NOFA’s best practices when it comes to organic lawncare.

When preparing your yard for a beautiful organic lawn you will want to have your soil tested. If you want your property to look its best, to save money, and to protect the environment even more, do an easy soil test before you apply anything at all. A soil testing lab will be help you figure out how much of which fertilizers and nutrients to apply for optimum results.

For a healthy lawn you will want to Mow high at a height of approximately 3″-4″. You also will want to leave grass clippings on your lawn and water infrequently, if at all. You should also encourage a bit of white clover, fertilize with compost and overseed bares spots in the fall and early spring.

Good turf management (infrequent but deep watering, moderate fertilization, soil amendments based on soil tests, mowing high at 3″-4″, and a diversity of grass and plant species) will result in a vigorous turf with a deep extensive root system that can tolerate relatively high grub densities without damage. Nature itself often can keep grub populations in check through the checks and balances of weather conditions and predator-prey cycles.

KW Landscaping offers and strongly recommends their ORGANIC TURF ENHANCING PROGRAM: yes this program is 100% Organic: This program is designed to grow a green, thick, lush lawn that is safe for you, your children, your beloved pets and my technicians. The turf will be fertilized monthly, March-October, ensuring a constant food supply. The turf will be overseeded in the fall. Overseeding is the best form of weed control because it creates competition that weeds cannot handle. The crew will spread 8lbs of seed per 1000sqft, this is double what University of Maryland recommends. Also in the fall, the lawn will be Aerated. Aeration ensures greater seed to soil contact which increases seed germination. The turf will be topdressed with compost in the fall too. Your soil is a living ecosystem and the compost provides organic matter which soil microbes feed on. Compost is black gold that insures the results of this program and you can never have too much. The soil will be amended with adequate nutrients to balance the soil chemistry for your particular lawn. A soil test will be conducted to know exactly what your soil needs because a soil deficient of those needs will not be a place grass will want to grow. Weeds are messengers telling us what is deficient in the soil or what problems your soil may have and most times we just “shoot the messenger.” You cannot IGNORE the underlying problem. This program will address those issues, creating an environment that grass will want to grow in. For example, crabgrass loves compacted and calcium poor soils, so if you relieve the compaction and increase your calcium levels, the soil will be a less desirable place for crabgrass to grow. This program uses science and science takes time. The lawn and soil ecosystem will get better and better over time.

For more information or to get a lawn maintenance quote please email info@kwlandscaping.com

Organic Turf Management

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference: http://www.organiclandcare.net/

Mulch Much?

Writtey by Elisa on Thursday, March 12th, 2015 at 4:19 pm. Posted in Uncategorized

organic mulch

KW Landscaping is currently in the process of renewing all of our landscape management agreements for our clients. The services vary depending on the individual client’s desires and needs however, the application of organic mulch is an important service to consider adding to your annual agreement.

The best time-saving measure a gardener can take is applying mulch. This goes for every garden site, from vegetable gardens to flower beds and, in the fall, I even suggest mulching your lawn with compost. Mulched gardens are healthier, more weed free, and more drought-resistant then unmulched gardens, so you’ll spend less time watering, weeding, and fighting pest problems.

There are two basic kinds of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include gravel, stones, black plastic, and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).

Both types discourage weeds, but organic mulches also improve the soil as they decompose adding beneficial nutrients. Inorganic mulches don’t break down and enrich the soil, but under certain circumstances they’re the mulch of choice. For example, black plastic warms the soil and radiates heat during the night, keeping heat-loving vegetables such as eggplant and tomatoes cozy and vigorous.

Using Organic Mulches

There are two cardinal rules for using organic mulches to combat weeds. First, be sure to lay the mulch down on soil that is already weeded. Secondly, lay down a thick enough layer to discourage new weeds from coming up through it, but do not spread the mulch too thick around plants as that will cause other issues.

Wood chips and bark mulch are the most common mulches. You can purchase bags of decorative wood chips or shredded bark from a local garden center to mulch your flower garden and shrub borders. A more inexpensive source of wood chips might be your tree-care company or the utility company. They may be willing to sell you a truckload of chips at a nominal price. Many community yard waste collection sites offer chipped yard debris or composted grass clippings and fall leaves to residents for free (or for a small fee).

Shredded leaves are great for woodland gardens. If you have trees on your property, shredding the fallen leaves creates a nutrient-rich mulch for free. You can use a leaf-shredding machine, but you don’t really need a special machine to shred leaves—a lawn mower with a bagger will collect leaves and cut them into the perfect size for mulching.

Please beware of using wood chips and brush dump mulches. These two can be full of plant pathogens or insect infestations. Trees and bushes often die because of a insects or diseases. When these are chipped up or ground into shredded mulch, the issues do not go away. Composting this material will not get rid of these issues either. If you use these chips or mulches, you may just introduce a huge problem into your landscape. Ask what the source of the mulch is before you buy and avoid brush dump mulches. My strong suggestion to get a quality product is to purchase bagged mulch, it is much easier and faster to spread as well.

Grass clippings are another readily available mulch, although it’s a great idea to return at least some of your grass clippings directly to the lawn as a natural fertilizer. It’s fine to collect grass clippings occasionally to use as mulch, and the nitrogen-rich clippings are an especially good choice for mulching vegetable gardens. Your vegetables will thank you for the nitrogen boost! But think twice about doing this trick if your lawn is chemically treated, those chemicals will make their way to the food you want to eat.

If you have enough compost, it’s fine to use it as a mulch. It will definitely enrich your soil and make your plants happy, but keep in mind that when any kind of mulch is dry, it’s not a hospitable place for plant roots. So you may want to reserve your compost to spread as a thin layer around plants and top it with another mulch, such as chopped leaves. That way the compost will stay moist and biologically active, which will provide maximum benefit for your plants.

Pine needles: Pine needles are a trim-looking mulch for garden beds. They allow water to pass through easily and they break down slowly. Despite what you may have heard, using pine-needle mulch will not make your soil significantly more acid. If you would like pine needles as your mulch, KW can source these and spread it as we do for a few clients.

KW Landscaping’s mulch service includes an application of an Organic weed & feed and edging of the beds and trees. An Organically dyed BROWN cedar mulch will be used. The benefits of Cedar mulch include slower decomposition (allowing the mulch to last longer) and natural insect resistance. This service is typically performed in the Spring. Fall or an early Winter mulching is available upon request. This mulch is free of insects and diseases unlike local brush dump mulch used by others.

Please email KW Landscaping with any questions you may have or to receive a quote for your home or business.

cedar mulch landscaping

 

Bed Management for your Home or Business Landscape

Writtey by Elisa on Thursday, February 26th, 2015 at 5:13 pm. Posted in garden, garden landscaping, landscape bed management, Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Management, organic garden

KW Landscaping is currently in the process of renewing all of our landscape management agreements for our clients. The services vary depending on the individual client’s desires and needs however, bed management is an important service to consider adding to your annual agreement.

KW Landscaping’s Bed Management service includes weeding & cleaning of all beds and pruning of shrubs, perennials, and ground covers for a manicured look all season long. During our SPRING CLEAN-UP in mid to late March, the ornamental grasses, liriope, butterfly bushes are cut back to allow for this seasons growth. Roses will also be pruned to remove any dead growth that occurred from this cold winter. During the growing season (April-October), the crews will visit the property every two weeks (for some properties weekly), to continue to keep the weeds pulled and plants properly pruned at the right time. The spent rose blooms will be deadheaded as well to promote repeat blooming, this is most commonly needed with the ever popular Knockout Rose. After all the leaf cleanup is complete, the crew returns for FINAL CLEAN-UP and cuts back the perennials to give your property a manicured look for the winter. Service runs March through the end of the season.

This service is essential to enjoy your landscape and not to be a servant to it each weekend. Let our crews keep your landscape well groomed all the time by hiring KW Landscaping to provide our Bed Management service. Please email KW Landscaping for more information or to schedule a time for a free estimate.

landscaping and bed management

Choosing the right Mowing Service

Writtey by Elisa on Thursday, January 29th, 2015 at 3:30 pm. Posted in Landscape Maintenance, Landscape Management, lawn care, organic garden, Uncategorized

KW Landscaping is currently in the process of renewing all of our landscape management agreements for our clients. The services vary depending on the individual client’s desires and needs however mowing is a mainstay of our landscape management offerings. While it may seem like a straight forward service, there are some factors to consider when hiring a landscaping company to care for your property. Here are items to consider.

  •      Decide what you want from a service. Most offer some sort of fertilizing, mulching, leaf removal, aerating, mowing, and small tree and shrub maintenance; Do you need more?
  •  Inquire about the company’s philosophy and methods. Do they use slow release organic fertilizers? (That’s good). Do they routinely spray for pests or problems that you haven’t experienced? (That may be bad.) Do they check you soil before recommending a fertilization program? (Another good sign.)
  •  Talk to neighbors who use the landscape service. This is a good way to determine which services operate in your area and to get that homeowner’s recommendations.
  •  Request a lawn inspection and a free estimate of service costs from the company. Beware of companies that quote guaranteed annual prices without having seen your lawn.

beautiful Maryland lawn

 

  • Ask about prices and what services are included. Some companies require a yearly contact; others work on verbal agreements that can be discontinued by the customer at any time. Find out what happens if you have a problem between applications. Will there be a charge for these service calls?

 

  •  Check to see if you can save money by paying an annual fee up front. This method is more convenient than paying after each treatment. Some companies offer monthly installments to make their services budget friendly.
  •  Understand what services the company is proposing to provide before work starts. Find out what treatments are included, approximately when they will be applied, and what results can be expected.
  •  Find out what is guaranteed. Some will assure performance, and others will refund your money if the work is unsatisfactory.
  •  Make sure the service is licensed to apply lawn-care products as required by your state.
  •  Check with your local Better Business Bureau to find more information on a specific lawn-care company’s service record.

KW Landscaping’s mowing service includes edging, trimming, blowing and picking up any sticks or trash. The lawn will be mowed at varying heights throughout the season to promote a healthy stand of grass and compete with weeds. The heights will be lower in the spring and fall to encourage tillering (branching) and higher in the summer to deal with summer stress. Service runs April through October. Email KW Landscaping for a custom quote.