the dirt

Because Everything is Related, It Helps to Lower our Expectations!

For the most part this year, our landscapes have been disappointing to us.  Although this is a typical emotion in the dog days of summer, the majority of current landscape issues that we are experiencing are caused by the unbalanced weather conditions. This has much to do with WHY the plants in our gardens are [...]

Thirsty? So Are Your Plants!

The Mid-Atlantic region continues to experience a precipitation deficit and warmer than average temperatures since the year began, despite the brief but welcome relief of a few temperature dips.  According to the Middle Atlantic River Forecast Center, Anne Arundel County has the largest precipitation deficit in Maryland since January 1, with 7.20 inches below normal, [...]

Pruning Shrubs – The Long and Short of It

Pruning is a very broad and sometimes confusing topic to the home gardener.  Before you get crazy with your (hopefully sharpened) pruners and shears, here are some basic guidelines. Tip #1:  Why prune? Pruning will promote a long-lived, healthy shrub by opening up the shrub to light and air and keeping the plant shapely and [...]

The Effect of a Mild Winter

For the most part, this winter has been uncharacteristically mild with inadequate precipitation in our area.  Jake Crouch, a climate scientist at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC states, “The Northeast region had their fifth warmest December on record, and January has been warmer than average.”  This pattern has seemed to continue into [...]

Rain Garden Tips

Designed to collect runoff from roofs, driveways and other hard surfaces, rain gardens are 3-12 inch deep, saucer-shaped depressions filled with loose soil, rocks and native plants. Approximately 70 percent of pollution is caused by storm water runoff. Rain gardens help to reduce storm water pollution by capturing the runoff before it enters the drains. [...]

Shade Anyone?

Getting out of the sun is often essential at this time of year unless you’re enjoying a swim, or sunbathing. Why not create a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere for that respite from the heat? If you don’t already have a spot in your yard such as this, here’s what to do: Plant trees! The south [...]

In or Out?

It’s safe to say, during these winter weeks we all spend most of our time cooped up inside-whether at home, work, or foraging for necessities (shopping). This season does offer some different opportunities for venturing outside. If there isn’t a nearby park or trail within walking distance, here are some worth going the extra mile [...]

Oregon: A 7-Day Extravaganza

Tim and I just returned from a fabulous trip to Oregon for the annual Perennial Plant Association symposium. Self described as” plant nerds” or (plantaholics) we couldn’t resist a 7-day extravaganza visiting Oregon’s leading nurseries, garden centers, and tours of private and public gardens. We rubbed elbows with leaders in our industry: landscape designers, horticulturalist, [...]

Tree Tip

Last winter’s damage may recently have become more noticeable with the leaves fully flushed on larger trees. Limbs and branches that have been “hanging in there”, but haven’t survived past this latest dry spell, or that have recently been infested by hungry insects, could potentially be hazardous to you and your property. Consult a tree [...]

Just Add Water

Heat stress can be reduced psychologically with a trickling fountain, or cascading waterfall. Even just the sound of water adds a calm coolness to your surroundings. If you would enjoy a water feature in your outdoor space, but don’t have the budget for costly labor and materials, consider a self-contained fountain or pond-less waterfall, which [...]



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