Gardens — published on April 20, 2008

Gardening Tips

  1. New gardener? Take the time to really look at your property and make a plan that pleases you. Don’t expect to achieve your goals in one year.
  2. Put in hardscape first: walks, driveway, patio, then trees and shrubs and lastly flowers.
  3. Prepare planting beds well. This is your one chance to get it right. Remove all grass and weeds, dig the beds and amend the soil with composted manure or other nutrients, rake the surface smooth and level, and water well.
  4. Site your plants to their best advantage. Sun-lovers will probably survive in shade, but will not bloom very well if at all.
  5. Trees, shrubs, hostas and ferns make a pleasing display that requires little maintenance.
  6. Buy a good gardening reference, or borrow one from the library; then read it, many times. You don’t have to follow the advice to the letter, but you will learn a lot and save yourself from making too many costly mistakes.
  7. Don’t discard seeds. Some are viable for many years if kept in a dry glass jar and stored in a cool place such as the refrigerator. Portulaca seeds are known to be viable for 45 years!
  8. Know your limitations. If a plant requires ” rich, moist, well-drained soil in half-shade in a sheltered location”, you might want to give it a miss unless you’re very keen.
  9. Plant native seeds, available from several sources. Use drought-tolerant types such as Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Monarda, Calendula, Aquilegia[ columbine]., Portulaca, Artemedsia, Sedum and so on.
  10. Don’t “sprinkle” planting beds. It is more beneficial to give the site 1 inch of water per week, delivered at ground level, to encoiurage deep-rooting.
01: Impressions — published on April 20, 2008

So what is Curb Appeal?

It’s the key component to selling your home

You’ve probably heard the term a thousand times, especially if your home is already listed and you’re working actively with a real estate agent. “Curb appeal”, simply put is the look of your home’s exterior based on a buyer drive-by. The key to selling a home is to give your home “curb appeal” so if a potential buyer were to see your home while passing through the neighborhood, it would catch their eye. There are a number of ways you can give your home curb appeal without going broke.

Landscaping

A properly groomed lawn is paramount if you wish to sell your home for top dollar. Make sure the grass is green and evenly trimmed, and plant some fresh flowers to give your home an even brighter look. You may even consider removing some unappealing bushes or an overbearing tree. Whether the job is major or minor, landscaping has a proven track record of increasing the value of your home. Just make sure there aren’t any landscaping tools left out in the yard as they can negate the changes you’ve made.

Lighting and Entryway

You want your home to look inviting, so potential buyers will be chomping at the bit to get a chance to view your home. If you brighten your home with new Malibu lights or lanterns, as well as clear the entry way or highlight it in some way, buyers will be even more interested in seeing your home. Flowers, lights, and even props that match the theme of your home leading up to the front door can have a big effect without breaking the bank.

Paint and Windows

Let’s face it, a lot of old homes have old windows, and a lot of times it’s very obvious. Windows may have sun damage, cracks or bubbling, and rusty old frames. The paint on the siding of your home may also be chipped, cracking, and out of date. For a relatively small amount of money, you can replace your windows and get a new coat of paint to modernize your home. These changes can really frame your home, and give it the finishing touches needed to wrangle in a new owner.

Driveways, Garage Doors, and the Porch

While the three of these items can add value to your home, they can also show wear and tear that can suck the value out of your home. By updating these aspects of your home, you can increase the selling price of your home dramatically. If you have a driveway full of potholes and crumbled asphalt, consider at least filling in the holes and smoothing out the imperfections. If your garage door needs a new paint job or a new coat of oil, by all means get it done. If the battery no longer works, see what you can do to get the garage door back in working order. Some people insist upon parking indoors. And finally if you have a nice porch, highlight it with new paint, colorful plants and perhaps even some new furniture.

Remember, simple changes can boost your home’s curb appeal and make selling it faster and more rewarding.

07: Market Value — published on April 9, 2008

Create Lasting Curb Appeal

We’re coming upon the time of year when home exterior matters most. Not only is it prime house-hunting season, which means your neighbourhood could encounter “drive-bys” from interested homebuyers, but spring is also an ideal time to get outside and enhance your house’s curb appeal. Even if you’re not planning to sell, remodeling the exterior will raise the overall value and appeal of your homr. Plus, you always want to make your neighbours jealous. And since nobody can see the beauty on the inside, it’s wise to make the outside of your house as attractive as possible.

The Land Itself:

A yard makeover is probably the easiest way to make your home more inviting. In landscaping, the obvious items are your first concerns: new trees, pruned shrubbery, and overall lawn maintenance. But don’t forget about the little details and accents that complete any yard makeover.

Flowerbeds:

Planting foliage around the perimeter of a house can serve many purposes. Adding some nature will always make your home feel more welcoming and beautiful, but it will also add colour and interest. Plus, flowerbed plantings can hide unsightly foundation lines and lets onlookers know you’ve put TLC into your home.

Planters and Window Boxes:

Flowerbeds are a simple addition to any yard makeover, but if you don’t have the time to tinker in the garden, then seasonal planters may be the easier answer. Simply place inexpensive box-planters under your front windows, add a few plants, and you’ve suddenly created a quaint feature to your exterior appearance.

Walkways:

Landscaping doesn’t just pertain to plants; it includes the entire architecture of your lawn. Think about installing some unique walkways which lead guests (and the eye) right up to your entryway. Concrete is popular, but interlocking pavers have become a popular trend that blend an old-world look with a hint of modern design.

Porch Seduction:

Entryways Invite Attention If your entryway simply consists of a concrete slab and a door, you’re not exploiting its full potential. Your front entrance says a lot about the rest of your house, so you want it to feel warm and welcoming. A porch can do a lot to pique people’s interest, so add some decking, handrails, or new stairways to lure people to your door. Also, don’t think of your front door as a barrier between you and the outside world. It’s not an obstacle to turn people away; instead think of it as a friendly passageway with which to engage your guests. Therefore, decorate it with a seasonal wreath, add a door knocker, install new hardware, or just put down a welcome mat to make any visitor feel more at home.

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep:

Spotlight Your Siding. We often talk about the importance of siding since it’s the first thing people notice about your home. Although the type of siding is a big decision, when it comes to curb appeal you also want to consider its overall appearance.

Painting:

The condition of your siding is what people notice right off the bat. So spring is a perfect time of year to re-paint. A fresh coat can make your house look brand new, and if you’re ready for a change, take advantage of this opportunity to update the colour.

Trim and Accents:

When you paint siding, don’t be afraid to get creative: not everything has to be a universal shade. Feel free to switch things up and create colour accents. For emphasis, paint the front entryway or garage door a different colour than the rest of the house. Or make your trim pop with some color contrast. And don’t forget your window shutters as well. Anything to define individual character and differentiate your place from your neighbor’s will not only help in overall appearance, it will also help make your house feel more like your home.

Watch Your Back:

Curb appeal doesn’t just lend itself to the front your house. Don’t forget that people notice what’s going on behind the scenes, as well. So extend your yard makeover into the backyard. Just by adding a vegetable garden, a privacy fence, or constructing a storage shed in addition to your garage can help to raise a couple of eyebrows, followed by a few nods of approval.

01: Impressions — published on April 9, 2008

Curb Appeal Basics

Keep things simple…

  1. Take an honest look at your property from across the street and make note of the strengths and weaknesses.
  2. A clean, newly-painted home, with a simple, but well-planned landscape will add to the value and saleability of your home.
  3. Don’t add too much color to the landscape beds. Mass plantings of colour are great, but avoid mixing and matching too many colours.
  4. Use different textures and shapes of plants to make them stand out and contrast.
  5. Avoid planting shrubs in long straight lines. Mass plantings in odd numbers create interest. Use broad sweeping curves to help break the strong linear lines of most homes.
  6. Mow lawns frequently to keep them looking sharp and mow in different directions to create patterns.
Rocks — published on April 9, 2008

Landscaping with Rocks

Driving down a country lane our first glimpse of a stone wall along the edge of a field evokes the rustic the beauty of an era that has past into history. The thought of the toil it took to remove these plow breaking rocks from the field are not our first thought as we offer appreciation to the form and beauty that these stacked stone walls offer.

These stone walls, representive of the challenges of an earlier life, are now appreciated in a different sort of way.

You can say that rocks are an icon of order and timelessness. Something that serves as an anchor for anyone looking for an historical link.

So it’s only natural that a new rock would be invented. One so light weight and durable that it could become another common element in today’s landscape. All because an appreciation for this material and technology to make realistic copies.

A single large rock can make a very dramatic statement but also be rather costly. That is until artificial rocks came along.

Now these light weigh, pre-cast rocks are creating a niche of their own. Copied from real rocks they have the presence of real rocks without the cost. Often used to hid unsightly elements, they have gained popularity as a complimentary form for lawn and garden landscapes.

Professionals frequently use them as lightweight substitutes for the real thing when called on to hid an unsightly utility or provide landscape accent.

From Stonehenge to recent times, we’ve had an appreciation for the timeless qualities of rock. And in recent years we have taken to it with even greater enthusiasm.

If you’ve looked at new housing development you may have noticed this growing popularity of rock in outdoor décor, now a common natural element in residential landscaping and building. In some circles it has grown more popular than brick for home designs.

Skillful stone masons are finding plenty of work for other projects as well. Add that to the fact that many DIY are trying their hand at weekend projects only reinforces the notion that stone is a wonderful material for home and garden.

An ever growing selection of lawnscaping materials has added new possibilities to outdoor décor. With a greater variety of choices lawns are taking on a new look, one that carries with it beauty throughout the year and reduces the need for heavy maintenance and chemicals – pluses in an environmentally challenged world.

Larger houses on smaller lots also call for different thinking, complimentary soft forms like juniper, boxwood and viburnum group well with rocks and garden sculpture. If this is your situation, there are resources that can help you make the right choices for region and local conditions. Take the time to identify plants that will thrive in your area to ensure success.

01: Impressions — published on April 8, 2008

Inexpensive Curb Appeal Builders

The home buying season is quickly approaching and it’s time to think about ways to improve the curb appeal of your home. With all the recent activity in the real estate market and with long-term mortgage rates moving lower, it’s now a buyers market in the Toronto area. So you need to get a competitive edge over other home sellers in your area by making your home look better than the rest.

Here are six things you can do to your home to make it look more appealing to buyers that won’t cost you a fortune and could make the difference in your home being sold versus your neighbour’s.

Paint the House

A new coat of paint can go a long way to making your home look a bit newer. Bold colors can reflect your personal taste, so make sure you choose a neutral color that will appeal to the most number of people.

Clean the Yard

Take the time to clean up the yard. Rake the dead leaves and grass and put away any tools or equipment that may be lying around. If buyers see a mess in your yard, they’ll think twice about wanting to see the inside of the house as it may be an indication of what else may await them.

Plant New Flowers and Trees

Another easy and inexpensive way to improve the look of your home is to plant some new flowers and/or trees. Adding some new color can make a big difference in brightening up your home?s appearance and make it look more cheery to prospective buyers.

Enhance Your Walkway

You can boost your home’s look by adding a brick- or stone-paved walkway to the front of your house. Dress it up even more by adding some solar-powered walkway lights. They’ll make your home more inviting by adding more ambiance.

Replace Your Front Door

You may think it wouldn’t make a difference, but changing the front door can change the entire look of your home. Replace that stale and plain-looking door with a nice wooden one with a decorative, beveled window.

Add Window Treatments

They say windows can be the soul of your house, so it’s important to dress up your home by dressing up your windows. Add some decorative shutters to keep your home from looking plain and boring. Adorn them even further by adding some plant boxes. You’ll be amazed at how much a simple thing can improve your home’s appeal.

Home buying season is nearly here and it’s time to get a competitive edge over other home sellers by sprucing up the look of your home. Luckily, adding to your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to set you back financially. Adding some color and a few adornments will go far in helping you sell your home faster.

07: Market Value — published on April 7, 2008

Curb Appeal for Dummies

  1. It Starts At The Street Look at your property from the street through the eyes of a potential buyer, you will be amazed about what you see. Pay attention to detail.
  2. Driveway and Sidewalks Does your driveway and sidewalk look dingy and stained? These are large areas that can really stand out.  Oil and rust stains can be removed or lightened with pressure washing.
  3. Landscape Look at your flower beds, do they have flowers or any color at all? Some new mulch and a little TLC will help sell your home. While you have your green thumb out look at your trees. Do they look well trimmed and at least 6 feet from any part of the house?
  4. Entryway Look up, what do you see? I’ll bet you see the remnants of a once thriving spider. Look ahead, you probably see a door and hardware in need of some attention. Look down, can you even read welcome anymore on that worn out doormat? Look to the side, is the door bell light in working order?
  5. The Home (You should still have your buyer focus) Unless the home has been pressure washed in the last six months, the soffits (underneath) and fascia (facing you) are stained and covered with dirt. How is the paint? What about the area of the walls just above the dirt ? Can you see through the windows?
  6. The Rear View Let’s not forget the backyard, is the patio clean and organized? Can potential buyers see themselves having a BBQ today?

These are just a few items to get you started in preparing the outside of you house for a beneficial sale.

Driveway — published on April 7, 2008

Driveway Entrance Appeal

While some homeowners still choose giant, wrought-iron gates and huge statues of lions to mark the entrance of their driveways, the secret to an aesthetically pleasing driveway is to create one that is open and inviting to your visitors. Attractive, yet durable, landscaping touches are key to creating the perfect driveway entrance for your home.

Step 1:

Decide whether you are going to use any type of wall or fencing when you landscape the entrance to your driveway. The use of “hardscape,” which involves any type of construction material, will dictate the “softscape” or the use of trees, shrubs and flowers. Your approach to landscaping will depend upon whether you want to create a grand, impressive driveway entrance or soften the walls and gates with the use of brightly colored plants.

Step 2:

Landscape your driveway entrance by drawing your visitors’ eyes toward a particular feature or object. For instance, if you plant flowers along the edges of the driveway, your visitors’ eyes will be drawn toward the house or the rest of the property. Just make sure that the ultimate focal point is aesthetically rewarding and not a beat-up old garage or storage shed.

Step 3:

Pick the right type of landscaping to enhance the lines of the driveway or the property. If your driveway is curved, for example, you may want to plant shrubs that enhance the shape and make it more noticeable. Then again, if your property is nothing but right angles and straight lines, you may want to vary the landscaping to break up the monotony.

Step 4:

Choose durable materials and plants when you landscape the entrance to your driveway. Think about the damage that may be caused over the long term due to cars parked along the street, road hazards and conditions, traffic and even vandalism. Avoid placing expensive hardscape and softscape in areas where it could be damaged or abused.

Step 5:

Pick hardscape and softscape that suits the style of your home and reflects your tastes, as well. For instance, rose bushes work very well with traditional forms of architecture, such as Tudor and Victorian homes, while a Japanese maple may be a stunning touch for a more modern-looking house. Remember that your driveway entrance is often the first impression you will make on visitors, so choose landscaping that says something about who you are.

The use of annual flowers and plants is an excellent idea when you landscape your driveway entrance. When you replant every spring, you won’t have to be concerned about damage caused by road salt and bad winter weather.

01: Impressions — published on April 7, 2008

A Glossary

of Gardening and Landscape Terms

acid soil : A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil. (a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline) Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil.

acre: A measure of land totaling 43,560 square feet. A square acre is 208.75 feet on each side.

aerate: Loosening or puncturing the soil to increase water penetration.

air layering: A specialized method of plant propagation accomplished by cutting into the bark of the plant to induce new roots to form.

alkaline soil: A soil with a pH higher than 7.0 is an alkaline soil. (a soil pH lower than 7.0 is acidic) Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil.

annuals: Plants whose life cycle lasts only one year, from seed to blooms to seed.

arboretum: A garden with a large collection of trees and shrubs cultivated for scientific or educational purposes.

aquatic plants: Plants which grow in, live in, or live on the water.

bare root: Plants offered for sale which have had all of the soil removed from their roots.

bedding plant: Plants (mainly annuals), nursery grown and suitable for growing in beds. Quick, colorful flowers.

biennial: A plant that usually only lives two years, normally producing flowers and seed the second year.

bolting: Vegetables which quickly go to flower rather than producing the food crop. Usually caused by late planting and too warm temperatures.

bonsai: The art of growing carefully trained, dwarf plants in containers.

botanical name: The Latin or “scientific” name of a plant, usually composed of two words,the genus and the species.

bract: Modified leaves growing just below a flower. Often confused with the flower itself.

bud: Early stages of development of a flower or plant growth.

bulb: The thickened underground storage organ of the group of perennials which includes daffodils and tulips.

cambium: The thin membrane located just beneath the bark of a plant.

catkin: A slender, spikelike, drooping flower cluster.

chlorophyll: The green pigment in leaves. When present and healthy usually dominates all other pigments.

complete fertilizer: A plant food which contains all three of the primary elements… nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

compost: An organic soil amendment resulting from the decomposition of organic matter.

conifer: A cone bearing tree with tiny needlelike leaves.

corm: A thickened underground stem which produces roots, leaves and flowers during the growing season.

cover crop: A crop which is planted in the absence of the normal crop to control weeds and add humus to the soil when it is plowed in prior to regular planting.

crown: The point at which a plants roots and top join. (usually at soil level)

cultivate: Process of breaking up the soil surface, removing weeds, and preparing for planting.

cuttings: A method of propagation using sections of stems, roots or leaves.

damping off: A fungus, usually affecting seedlings and causes the stem to rot off at soil level. Sterilized potting soil and careful sanitation practices usually prevent this.

dead head: The process of pinching off used or spent blooms to keep the plants well groomed and to prevent them from setting seed. This will promote continued bloom.

dibble stick: A pointed tool used to make holes in the soil for seeds, bulbs, or young plants.

dethatch: Process of removing dead stems that build up beneath lawn grasses.

dividing: The process of splitting up plants, roots and all that have began to get bound together. This will make several plants from one plant, and usually should be done to mature perennials every 3 to 4 years.

dormancy: The yearly cycle in a plants life when growth slows and the plant rests. Fertilizing should be withheld when a plant is in dormancy.

double digging: Preparing the soil by systematically digging an area to the depth of two shovels.

double flower: A flower with many overlapping petals which gives it a very full appearance.

drip line: The circle which would exist if you drew a line below the tips of the outer most branches of a tree or plant.

epiphyte: A plant which grows on another plant but gets its nourishment from the air and rainfall. They do no damage to the host plant.

erosion: The wearing away, washing away, or removal of soil by wind, water or man.

espalier: Process of training a tree or shrub so its branches grow in a flat pattern.

evergreen: A plant which never loses all of it’s leaves at one time.

eye: An undeveloped bud growth which will ultimately produce new growth.

evaporation: Process by which water returns to the air. Higher temperatures speed the process of evaporation.

fertilizer: Organic or inorganic plant foods which may be either liquid or granular used to amend the soil in order to improve the quality or quantity of plant growth.

flat: A shallow box or tray used to start cuttings or seedlings.

foliar feeding: Fertilizer applied in liquid form to the plants foliage in a fine spray.

forcing: The process of hastening a plants growth to maturity or bloom.

frond: The term used to describe the branch and leaf structure of a fern or members of the palm family.

frost: The condensation and freezing of moisture in the air. Tender plants will suffer extensive damage or die when exposed to frost.

germinate: The process of the sprouting of a seed.

girdling: The choking of a branch by a wire or other material, most often in the stems of woody plants that have been tied to tightly to a stake or support.

grafting: The uniting of a short length of stem of one plant onto the root stock of a different plant. This is often done to produce a hardier or more disease resistant plant.

ground cover: A group of plants usually used to cover bare earth and create a uniform appearance.

growing season: The number of days between the average date of the last killing frost in spring and the first killing frost in fall. Vegetables and certain plants require a minimum number of days to reach maturity, so be sure your growing season is long enough.

hardening off: The process of gradually acclimatizing greenhouse or indoor grown plants to outdoor growing conditions.

hardpan: The impervious layer of soil or clay lying beneath the topsoil.

hardiness: The ability of a plant to withstand low temperatures or frost, without artificial protection.

heading back: Cutting an older branch or stem back to a stub or twig.

heeling in: Temporarily setting a plant into a shallow trench and covering the roots with soil to provide protection until it is ready to be permanently planted.

herbaceous: Describes a plant with soft rather than woody tissues.

honeydew: The sticky secretion produced by sucking insects such as aphids.

humus: The brown or black organic part of the soil resulting from the partial decay of leaves and other matter.

hybrid: The offspring of two plants of different species or varieties of plants. Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether.

hydroponics: The science of growing plants in mineral solutions or liquid, instead of in soil.

lath: In gardening, an overhead structure of evenly spaced slats of wood or other materials used to create shade.

layering: A method of propagation, by which a branch of a plant is rooted while still attached to the plant by securing it to the soil with a piece of wire or other means.

leaching: The removal or loss of excess salts or nutrients from soil. The soil around over fertilized plants can be leached clean by large quantities of fresh water used to ‘wash’ the soil. Areas of extremely high rainfall sometimes lose the nutrients from the soil by natural leaching.

leaf mold: Partially decomposed leaf matter, used as a soil amendment.

loam: A rich soil composed of clay, sand, and organic matter.

manure: Organic matter, excreted by animals, which is used as a soil amendment and fertilizer. Green manures are plant cover crops which are tilled into the soil.

microclimate: Variations of the climate within a given area, usually influenced by hills, hollows, structures or proximity to bodies of water. (i.e. when it’s raining at your house, and the sun is shining on the other side of the street)

micro nutrients: Mineral elements which are needed by some plants in very small quantities. If the plants you are growing require specific ‘trace elements’ and they are not available in the soil, they must be added.

mulch: Any loose material placed over the soil to control weeds and conserve soil moisture. Usually this is a coarse organic matter, such as leaves, clippings or bark, but plastic sheeting and other commercial products can also be used.

native plant: Any plant that occurs and grows naturally in a specific region or locality.

naturalize: To plant randomly, without a pattern. The idea is to create the effect that the plants grew in that space without man’s help, such as you would find wild flowers growing.

node: The part of a stem from which a leaf or new branch starts to grow.

organic gardening: The method of gardening utilizing only materials derived from living things. (i.e. composts and manures)

organic material: Any material which originated as a living organism. (i.e. peat moss, compost, manure)

parasitic plant: A plant which lives on, and acquires it’s nutrients from another plant. This often results in declined vigor or death of the host plant.

peat moss: The partially decomposed remains of various mosses. This is a good, water retentive addition to the soil, but tends to add the acidity of the soil pH.

perennial: A nonwoody plant which grows and lives for more than two years. Perennials usually produce one flower crop each year, lasting anywhere from a week to a month or longer.

perlite: A mineral, which when expanded by a heating process forms light granuals. Perlite is a good addition to container potting mixes, to promote moisture retention while allowing good drainage.

pest: Any insect or animal which is detrimental to the health and well being of plants or other animals.

photosynthesis: The internal process by which a plant turns sunlight into growing energy. The formation of carbohydrates in plants from water and carbon dioxide, by the action of sunlight on the Chlorophyll within the leaves.

pinching back: Utilizing the thumb and forefinger to nip back the very tip of a branch or stem. Pinching promotes branching, and a bushier, fuller plant

pistil: The seed-bearing organ of a flower, consisting of the ovary, stigma, and style.

pollination: The transfer of pollen from the stamen (male part of the flower) to the pistil (female part of the flower), which results in the formation of a seed. Hybrids are created when the pollen from one kind of plant is used to pollinate and entirely different variety, resulting in a new plant altogether.

potting soil: A soil mixture designed for use in container gardens and potted plants. Potting mixes should be loose, light, and sterile.

propagation: Various methods of starting new plants ranging from starting seeds to identical clones created by cuttings or layering.

pruning: The cutting and trimming of plants to remove dead or injured wood, or to control and direct the new growth of a plant.

pH: Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil, a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline soil. Soil pH can be tested with an inexpensive test kit.

rhizome: A modified plant stem which grows horizontally, under the surface of the soil. New growth then emerges from different points of the rhizome. Irises and some lawn grasses are rhizome plants.

root ball: The network of roots along with the attached soil, of any given plant.

rootbound: A condition which exists when a potted plant has outgrown its container. The roots become entangled and matted together, and the growth of the plant becomes stunted. When repotting, loosen the roots on the outer edges of the root ball, to induce them to once again grow outward.

rooting hormone: A powder of liquid growth hormone, used to promote the development of roots on a cutting.

runner: A slender stem growing out from the base of some plants, which terminates with a new offset plant. The new plant may be severed from the parent after it has developed sufficient roots.

relative humidity: The measurement of the amount of moisture in the atmosphere.

scion: A short length of stem, taken from one plant which is then grafted onto the rootstock of another plant.

single flower: A flower having only a minimum number of petals for that variety of plant.

soil pH: Basically, pH is a measure of the amount of lime (calcium) contained in your soil. A soil with a pH lower than 7.0 is an acid soil, a soil pH higher than 7.0 is alkaline soil. Soil pH can be tested with an inexpensive test kit.

sphagnum: A bog moss which is collected and composted. Most peat moss is composed primarily of sphagnum moss. This moss is also packaged and sold in a fresh state, and used for lining hanging baskets and air layering.

spore: The reproductive cell of ferns, fungi and mosses. (these plants do not produce seeds)

staking: The practice of driving a stake into the ground next to, and as a support for a plant. When attaching the plant to the stake, be sure that it is tied loosely so it doesn’t strangle the stem. When staking a potted plant, the stake should be set into the planter before the plant is added.

sucker: A growth originating from the rootstock of a grafted plant, rather than the desired part of the plant. Sucker growth should be removed, so it doesn’t draw energy from the plant.

systemic: A chemical which is absorbed directly into a plants system to either kill feeding insects on the plant, or to kill the plant itself.

tap root: The main, thick root growing straight down from a plant. (not all plants have tap roots)

tender plants: Plants which are unable to endure frost or freezing temperatures.

tendril: The twisting, clinging, slender growth on many vines, which allows the plant to attach themselves to a support or trellis.

thatch: The layer of dead stems that builds up under many lawn grasses. Thatch should be removed periodically to promote better water and nutrient penetration into the soil.

thinning: Removing excess seedlings, to allow sufficient room for the remaining plants to grow. Thinning also refers to removing entire branches from a tree or shrub, to give the plant a more open structure.

topiary: A method of pruning and training certain plants into formal shapes such as animals.

topsoil: The top layer of native soil. This term may also apply to good quality soil sold at nurseries and garden centers.

transpiration: The release of moisture through the leaves of a plant.

transplanting: The process of digging up a plant and moving it to another location.

tuber: A flat underground stem which stores food and plant energy and from which a plant grows. (e.g. Dahlias)

variegated: Leaves which are marked with multiple colors.

vermiculite: The mineral ‘mica’ which has been heated to the point of expansion. A good addition to container potting mixes, vermiculite retains moisture and air within the soil.

Entryway — published on April 6, 2008

Adding Curb Appeal

An entryway has the unique position of welcoming visitors to a home and setting the mood for the rest of the house. A front door design theme can be carried from the exterior to the interior and throughout the entire home. Since today’s door manufacturers offer an abundance of striking entry systems that are compatible with most budgets, it’s possible to create a million dollar look for almost any home.

By adding sidelights and transoms, you can can create an elegant entry system. Transoms are shaped windows, usually with decorative glass, above a door. Sidelights are windows, with decorative or clear glass, that frame a door. Included below are tips to create an impressive entry system to fit most budgets.

Even with a limited budget, homeowners can create an impressive entrance. Fiberglas, steel and composite doors are now crafted to emulate the look of wood, while offering energy-efficiency. Steel doors are extremely strong and cost-efficient; Fiberglas doors resist rusting, cracking and splitting; composite doors withstand all types of weather. These types of doors are low-maintenance and cost-effective.

With a more open budget, a homeowner can select from a wider range of entryway designs. Whether the home is stucco, brick or wood-sided, wood doors make a remarkable upgrade to the front of most houses. Wood doors are offered in a variety of species, including oak, fir and pine to fit the homeowner’s personal style.

An inviting entryway can be fashioned within any budget. By creating a unique doorway, a homeowner can change the look of the entire house and increase curb appeal with an inviting, new exterior.

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