Home and Garden Ideas
Garden & Backyard

Think Outside the Box to Accommodate the Special Needs Gardener

As people age it is important to help them maintain the level of activity they have enjoyed throughout their adult lives.  For some, this means making adjustments so old hobbies can still be enjoyed within the limits and range they can handle.  Just as Baby Boomers have totally changed each stage of life they’ve passed through, so too, with a simple activity like gardening.  To them, you shouldn’t let disability, accident or age keep you from feeling the dirt between your fingers.  Here are a few ways to accommodate:

Raised beds –  These can be very attractive and offer advantages to bending over or getting on the ground to plant and tend to a garden.  Built at a height of 18-24 inches off the ground, raised beds offer easy access to those who want to garden while seated.  Digging, and weeding will be easier to do and you can maneuver readily when it’s time to harvest all the fresh vegetables that your efforts yield.

Spacious Pathways –To allow for wheelchairs, you want the pathways between planters to be at least 4 feet wide.  This will allow for easy maneuvering between the rows and access to those little sprouts in the middle.

Standing Planters –  Allow the gardener to reach deep into the middle to pull those pesky weeds out of the way.  These planters are a good choice if your gardener has trouble bending over and wants easy access to all sides of the bed.

Organic Design – A U-shaped or octagon raised bed will be easier to negotiate for those in a wheelchair.  Order lightweight wood blocks designed especially for raised beds, and they can help build the boxes as well.  Ask your local gardening center for advice on the type of product to use.  There are synthetic wood blocks that would be perfect for this project. Being thoughtful about the design will get them outside and back in the dirt the love.

And when it’s time to serve the bounty, Ann Taylor offers all the looks you’ll love. Whether is the shorts, tanks and tees you’ll feel good in while you garden, or the pretty party clothes that will look smashing when you finally set the table at the end of the harvest.  Get shopping with Groupon for great deals on Ann Taylor, then get out in the yard and have some fun.

Garden & Backyard

How to choose Landscaping Services

How to choose Landscaping Services

Landscaping services are available near good sized towns and often serve many rural locations as well. The consumer can expect the landscaping service to provide ongoing services such as mowing and snow removal in the winter.  For others landscaping service may be used only for spring cleanups or fall winterization projects. There are a wide variety of choices to suit the needs of large and small yards and gardens. Both the private consumer and the business customer can make good use of landscape services.


A landscape architect would be part of landscaping services, and would help plan how to best plant an attractive and healthy yard.

Call upon this landscaping professional to select trees and shrubs that are good growing companions. This type of expert service will help select attractive and easy care ground covers, perennials and annuals to allow the surroundings to modify your home. Others involved in landscape services would be the persons who actually do the physical work of maintaining an attractive landscape.

Commercial buildings and businesses use landscape services. The advantage of landscape services is that it allows the business to concentrate on what it does best, whether banking, housing or selling things, all the while having a comfortable and attractive environment. Landscaping services represent a good investment for the image of a business and can make a difference in the type of customers that are attracted to the business.

Landscaping services are useful year around. They do maintenance, and labor on yards, walkways and gardens. They also can provide a decorative touch to a home or business with seasonal displays of growing plants.  Landscaping is a good career for an artistic person who loves the outdoors and enjoys being able to see the product of their labor, and share it with all who come around.

Check online directories, phone directories and business directories for  reputable landscaping services in your area.

Garden & Backyard

Gardening equipment and supplies

Gardening equipment and supplies

Of course you can have a garden without investing in a lot of equipment, but when you have a chance, various products can make for an even better growing experience.

Gardening equipment can be something as small as a hand trowel or a three tined hand rake or fork. Your gloves that you wear as you work in the soil are also essential equipment. They are essential not just for keeping your hands clean but also for keeping splinters and other sharp things from hurting your hands.


Your lawn mowers, weed eaters, edgers and trimmers are some of the larger, powered gardening equipment. Rototillers are great to own for breaking and turning the soil. You can choose front or rear tined tillers and there are even small versions that fit between planted rows. They are real back savers  when it comes to keeping down weeds in the garden.

There are many places to buy gardening equipment and supplies. The local discount store generally sells them in the spring.  Large hardware and home stores have a greater variety and they tend to carry gardening equipment year round. Look for snow blowers for instance, for winter garden and home needs. Well known department stores will have hardware departments that carry gardening equipment.

Do not forget that garden centers carry gardening equipment year round and can order what one needs if it is not in stock. In both very cold and very warm seasons it is good to check out the new gardening equipment to see what is available. There may be a tool that makes your experience easier or an ornament that makes your garden more beautiful. Gardening equipment is part of maintaining a home and yard.  The gardener relies on pruners, and trimmers, saws and hatchets. Remember to buy good quality hoses and sprinklers as well. Gardening equipment is a part of every household.

Garden & Backyard

Sources for garden seeds

Sources for garden seeds

zaqMany of our favorite flowers and vegetables are started from garden seeds. It is an enriching process that for a small cost can provide an abundance of garden plants.

There are many sources for garden seeds. The prospective gardener can save seeds from favorite plants each year. This is not the most successful way to preserve plant traits, if the parent plants are hybrids. They will not always grow true to seed.  For hybrid varieties the gardener should perhaps stick with plants or vegetative reproduction.

Another way to obtain seeds is to join a club or cooperative that exchanges seeds. This is an especially nice way to obtain seeds for heirloom flowers and vegetables. Heirloom seeds can also be ordered online. Heirloom vegetables grown from seed are said to be flavorful and the plants are supposed to be very durable. The flowers that grow from heirloom seeds have an “antique” or classic appearance and are lovely as well.

Many of the well known garden companies are now online. In the past people would get the actual catalog in hand right after Christmas. The gardener would plan his plantings and shop through the well known growers to find just the right combination of things to grow in the New Year. Starting garden seeds indoors is a way of lengthening the growing season at the same time as making winter seem somewhat shorter.

Other sources of garden seeds are brick and mortar garden shops, found in nearly every community. Mass merchants and even grocery stores have racks of garden seeds just as spring rolls around. Hardware and home stores have garden seeds and everything you might need to go with them, like tools and sprinklers and fertilizer for growing. You can buy peat pots or soil mixes for starting garden seeds at home. Garden seeds help us move toward success in our gardens.

Garden & Backyard

The importance of Botanic Gardens

The importance of Botanic Gardens

gt13Botanic gardens are park like areas with well labeled plants on display. They may be supplemented by garden sculptures and fountains and ponds. Botanic gardens in various parts of the country will feature and support a large variety of growing matter.

An interesting feature of some botanic gardens will be topiaries formed either by trimming growing plants or by encouraging growing plants to grow over a framework. You can see examples of these topiaries many places, such as Green Animals in Rhode Island, in the USA.

Botanic gardens can accompany zoos. Sometimes you may see the term zoological garden and then you will know that not only are plants featured with appropriate information, but also animals will play some part in the experience. A botanic garden may have a certain feature or theme that is carried out throughout.

If the plantings are out of doors the botanic gardens will have to proceed with plants that are climatologically suited for the area. There may be one or more conservatory on the premises to protect and shelter plants that need different growing conditions. The Como Park Zoo near Minneapolis, Minnesota has such a conservatory.

Botanic gardens may have arid desert plants or they may be totally tropical. They support the improved propagation of new plant varieties and provide a wonderful experience for fans of growing things. Many large cities have botanic gardens and can really enrich the experiences of both residents of the area and tourists who come to visit.

Botanical gardens can be wonderful places to host cultural events. Orchestra performances, and fund raising dinners are often well set in such an environment. Growing things also provide great backdrops for fashion shows.

Visit botanic gardens, and see cacti and succulents or great tropical palms. Walk among the butterflies and birds.  This is an opportunity to enjoy some of the greatest beauties of nature. Botanic gardens make a great addition to a tour or vacation any time of the year.