Add Curb Appeal with Potted Plants

It is no wonder that today’s homeowners and nursery managers are adding more potted plants to an already wide-ranging spectrum of landscaping ideas. Flower pots are no longer restricted to kitchen windows, nor are beautiful and elegant plants limited to front and backyard gardens and plots.

Containerized plants of all kinds add flexibility to any scene. Portable and easily tended, these allow for an ever-changing view, mixing and matching as the weeks pass. The containers themselves can vary in type and style which adds even further interest to the scene. Blending colors, shapes, and textures in a particular setting is part of the fun and creativity of landscaping with pots and other types of containers.

Advantages of Potted Plants for Landscaping

  • Individually managed, each flower or shrub benefits from the precise amount of TLC required, never too much nor too little as with garden settings with a variety of different plants.
  • Potted vegetation can be used to create an ever-changing scene. Framing an entryway, lining front stairways, skirting a driveway, or providing a border around a patio or deck, potted greenery and flowers can add drama or a relaxing aura to just about any environment.
  • When the weather turns and a freak hailstorm, deluge, or another nasty event should occur, moving potted plants to safety is possible. Not so with plants planted directly into the ground.
  • Potted plants are the perfect option for townhouses and apartments where space is limited.

Create a Beautiful and Productive Balance

Arranging the plants in an appealing array enhances the curb appeal and the owners’ personal enjoyment. Placing taller plants in the rear and shorter ones in front is a natural strategy, but creating well-coordinated color contrasts is essential.

Adding herbs gives contrast and supplies the homeowner chef with a continual supply of flavor enhancers.

Heritage Oak Farm

Heritage Oak Farm has been a producer and equipment supplier to nurseries and landscape professionals for decades. Built upon their extensive experience in growing, lifting, and transplanting trees, shrubs, and other nursery products, Heritage created their ProLine™ series of equipment designed to:

  • Make tree and shrub handling easier
  • Reduce damage to trees and shrubs during transport
  • Help nursery and landscaping operations become efficient

For more information regarding ProLine™ equipment, visit their website to view the extensive range of labor-saving equipment.

For questions, contact the Heritage Oak Farm ProLine professionals at 888.288.5308.

 

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Positives of Professional Lawncare Services

As you drive around certain neighborhoods, you’ll notice some lawns have a consistently better appearance. This is because the homeowner 1) is knowledgeable and gives many hours to lawn care or b) has hired a quality full-service lawn care service to care for the property.

Some lawn care companies only mow. Some spray. A few handle more than one function. However, a full-service lawn care company takes full responsibility for the lawn, treating the landscape as if it were theirs.

However, few homeowners and business owners have time to maintain their landscape and lawns in the condition they would like. Lawns require regular attention to ensure they are nourished, sustained and kept free of problems. Unfortunately, do-it-yourselfers discover issues only after they have worsened and are unable to return the lawn to the desired state.

Hiring a professional lawn care service offers many advantages.

Knowledge

Lawncare professionals understand how to create a perfect lawn. Lawn maintenance involves expertise and consistency with proper watering, fertilizing, insect and weed elimination, winter prep, and spring restoration. Pros identify potential problems before they become serious. They tend to use the right amounts of products.

Tools

Proper lawn care requires tools that must be well maintained. Professionals use the highest quality, well-maintained tools to do their work.

Right Products for the Job

Professionals know which products work best and which should be eliminated. They also know the precise application amounts.

Healing the Lawn

If a problem begins to develop, a professional lawn care service professional will:

  • Identify the problem
  • Treat the area to ensure the problem does not spread
  • Repair the area
  • Restore completely

Most homeowners do not recognize diseases until they have spread and often will attempt to treat the problem with the wrong products.

Overall Cost

The efficiency of a lawn care service stems from having several customers to spread their fixed costs. When a homeowner considers the complete cost of doing it themselves, they are often surprised:

  • Lawn mower and maintenance cost
  • Fuel
  • Products: fertilizers, weed prevention, restoration products, seed for bare spots
  • Edgers
  • Weed cutters
  • Storage

Two more considerations are time and quality. Several hours of work per week to achieve a mediocre lawn may not justify the effort.

Heritage Oak Farm

Heritage Oak Farm provides high-quality ProLine™ landscaping equipment to nurseries and landscape professionals.

For information regarding the full line of products, phone (888)-288-5308

 

Finding the Right Landscape Designer

In most instances, it is easy to discern whether a professional landscape designer has been involved in developing a plan for a new or reworked landscape. The balance, placement, color, seasonal variations, and hardscape designs are clear signs that a professional has been at work. As an artist approaches a new canvas, a landscape designer imagines a setting that is beautiful, functional, and practical without excessive expense and required maintenance.

Selecting a landscape professional for home or business requires weighing several variables. The first step is to consider what you are willing to spend and which elements of the job the landscape designer should complete.

Finding a Professional Landscape Designer

The world abounds with landscape architects, designers, experts, and specialists. Some are better at implementing and maintaining, while others are proven geniuses at imagining and designing. Some landscape companies staff professionals for each discipline.

Home or business owners should choose a few candidates to interview to determine who:

  • Communicates well
  • Shares your vision
  • Presents a substantial portfolio of design experience
  • Provides a solid list of references

Checking references is important. How past projects were handled, the ease of communication and outcome will determine if a candidate is solid or should be eliminated from the list.

Questions to Ask a Landscape Designer Candidate

Does the designer provide a free, upfront consultation?

A one or two-hour consultation is an opportunity to become familiar with each other as the designer talks philosophy and provides off-the-cuff suggestions about how to approach the project. This meeting is an opportunity to share vision and budget requirements while determining if you are compatible with each other.

What will be the process?

Once a design is presented, perhaps modified, and accepted, and the cost is agreed upon, how will the project proceed? If the contract is for design only, then you must start again to find the professionals to implement the plan.

Executing the Plan

You may be requesting a design only if you had another professional capable and prepared to implement the plan.

Alternatively, in a design-build scenario, the designer may oversee the full implementation of the project, using associated professionals to complete the job. In situations that require extensive construction and sophisticated grading, using the design company to carry out the plan can be economically advantageous and uninterrupted.

ProLine from Heritage Oak Farm

Contact Heritage Oak Farm about ProLine™  professional landscaping equipment at (888)-288-5308.

 

The Joy of Spring Flowers

There may be no greater joy for many homeowners than witnessing the first bloom of spring flowers. Color replaces the drab grays of winter as the first flowering signals a new season of outdoor activity and pleasure.

Depending on the climate zone, many varieties of annual and perennial spring bloomers are available. Selection may rely on color preference, timing, and size.

Popular Spring Flowers

Pansy: The variety of petal colors make this the most common spring offering for many gardeners. The delicate blooms are magnificent in your early spring planting pots and window boxes.

Yellow Trillium: These true spring plants begin to offer up yellow blooms in April, then fade away by June. Ideal for shady spots, the plants work best in Zones 5-8.

New Guinea Impatiens Hybrid: In many climate zones, the Impatiens varieties can be an annual or a perennial. Best with morning sun or full sun, these flowers are great in beds with foliage plants and also in pots or hanging baskets.

Bloodroot: These perennial flowers begin to appear as early as March in Zones 3-9. With white blooms, these will continue until late June. These herbaceous plantings usually reach about 6 inches in height while spreading at least a foot in width.

Snowdrop Anemone: Best in Zones 4-8, Snowdrop Anemone grows well in sunny or only lightly shaded. The plant offers up sweet white clusters of blooms in the early spring and, according to Better Homes and Gardens, may even rebloom in the autumn.

Twinspur: Perennial in some zones and annual in others, these blooms are best in full sun, although should have some afternoon shade in really hot climates. Sunset suggests that Twinspur looks great as a complement to roses and thrives in the same conditions.

Zinnia: Simple flowers to grow from seed, Zinnia Elegans are annuals in all zones. These plants favor full sun. Flowers should be snipped off when fading so that new replacements can grow in their place.

Lilac: The fragrance of lilac is synonymous with springtime. Certain varieties of lilac range from dwarf shrubs to small trees. Best in Zones 4-8, lilacs can grow to a height of twenty feet.

Contact Heritage Oak Farm

Heritage Oak Farm offers its ProLine™ full menu of efficient, high-performance nursery and landscape equipment designed for professional landscapers. Check out the Heritage Oak Farm website, or call (888)-288-5308 to learn more.

 

Get a Jump on the Spring Gardening Season

Even though the ground is still frozen and, in some areas, snow-covered, gardening projects can still begin. It may not be placing those delicate flowers and vegetables out yet, but important details can be accomplished before the calendar gives the “go ahead” to start the annual planting process.

Planning

Rather than wait until the last minute to rush through the nursery with a half-baked list of ideas, late winter is always a great time to plan. Look for new ideas, perhaps at one of the important garden shows in the area, or consult with a professional landscape designer or nursery to plan that spectacular garden design.

Besides sketching the vegetable and flower plantings, late winter is an excellent time to re-imagine the yard with new trees and shrubs.

Clean Up and Service the Equipment

While your equipment may have received a cursory cleaning last fall, late winter is a great time to service machinery and prepare for the coming season. Tillers and lawn mowers should get fresh oil and fuel, and a start-up test can be beneficial to identify any operating problems.

Remove the Dead Leaves and Accumulated Debris

Some of last year’s leaves and small fallen branches undoubtedly remain, either from your trees or from the neighbors’. Cleaning these up now will leave your planting areas and lawn looking great as you wait for the real gardening season to begin. Matted leaves can restrict the early growth of perennials and provide a comfortable home for insects.

Eliminate the Weeds

Weeds will begin to pop up as soon as the ground is soft. Attack the problem shortly after the soil can be worked, often before the last frost. Till the soil to discourage weeds from taking root. Pull and discard any that may have established themselves late last year. Cover the area with mulch for now until planting begins. Mulching should continue to keep weeds from developing.

Perennial Pruning and Care

Cut back ornamental grasses to allow new growth to develop. Also, for many trees and shrubs, late winter is the right time to consider pruning. However, if you are not sure, consult an expert who has experience in the varieties and climate with which you are working.

Some varieties of perennials like hostas, asters, and Siberian iris can even be divided at this time to create new plants, free of charge.

 

Jump into Spring with Your Favorite Flower Bulbs

As we see the last vestiges of winter chill dissipate and signs that spring is near, the time to think about what’s next for your flower bulbs is here. Some varieties may have been planted in the fall that should begin to pop up as the weather warms. Others may be planted in the early spring for summer flowering.

In either case, the joys of gardening begin anew.

Spring Bulb Planting

Bulbs planted in the fall that begin to come forth early include tulips, crocuses, daffodils, and others. However, whether we neglected to do that planting last year or want to supplement the glory of previous plantings, spring bulbs can bring added pleasure.

Whether in a container garden or positioned among the rest of your plantings, spring bulbs bring an extra measure of color and beauty to your landscape while summer approaches. Bulbs available for spring planting in most zones can provide virtually the entire spectrum of color and texture.

Landscape professionals or nursery experts can advise which options work best in your area and soil types.

Spring flower bulbs can yield blooms as early as late spring and early summer.

Here are some examples to consider:

Spring Blooms:

  • Dutch Windflowers
  • French Anemone
  • Grecian Windflowers

Early Summer Blooms

  • Dahlias
  • Begonias
  • Canna Lilies
  • Foxtail Lilies
  • Christmas Bells
  • English Iris
  • Mountain Bells
  • Asiatic Lilies
  • Dutch Iris

Thinking Ahead

Bulbs of the prior year can be lifted in the fall, dried and stored for spring planting. These should not be stored in plastic because living organisms must be allowed to breathe.

Planting Spring and Early Summer Flowering Bulbs

  • The first consideration is to purchase quality bulbs that are not withered, moldy or dried out. Usually, the more substantial bulbs will produce more flowers, although the smaller ones will increase production over the coming years.
  • Find a well-drained location that gets lots of sunlight in the early months of spring and early summer. Remember that trees have not developed their summer foliage yet, so more areas are suitable than you may think.
  • Always plant with the pointed side up since this end will become the stem.
  • Plant bulbs to a depth of approximately three times their length.
  • Amend the soil with bone meal or a water-soluble fertilizer and water.

If you have questions regarding spring bulb planting, always consult your local professional to ensure best results.

 

Opportunities to Grow in Nursery Jobs

Working mostly outside, helping plants and trees grow and flourish is how many people love to spend their precious spare time. Many who are in nursery jobs as a career cannot imagine doing something else with their lives.

Working for a nursery is a wonderful way to enjoy the outdoors, watch nature take its course (with a little help), and learn more about the science and business of plants and trees.

What Do Nursery Workers Do?

Depending on the size of the nursery and the breadth of offerings, nursery workers perform a vast number of essential jobs. Whether in a greenhouse or outside, nursery workers assess and adjust the conditions for best growth and good health for a broad variety of plants, shrubs, or trees. Functions include, but are not limited to, planting, watering, feeding, cutting, pruning, transplanting, and even transporting and replanting.

Tree Farm Workers

Tree farms specialize in shrubs and tree growing for commercial sale. Starting with the planting and care of seedlings in greenhouses, nursery jobs move outside where workers plant, tie, wrap, feed and spray the saplings. Eventually, the young trees are lifted and prepared for transport to their new homes. Highly specialized equipment is required to ease the physical work and protect the trees and shrubs from damage.

Large Nursery Operations

With larger concerns, certain nursery jobs are more specialized. For instance, where controlled irrigation is used to precisely water plants and trees, some workers are dedicated to monitoring, measuring, replacing, and repairing irrigation systems to ensure proper hydration throughout the farm.

Marketing and Record Keeping

Some nursery workers are adept at explaining the operations and pointing out the positive attributes of each plant. They detail the proper care, feeding, and natural characteristics of each plant, shrub, and tree to prospective customers. Also, some nursery jobs involve keeping detailed records of inventory, marketing projections, sales results, budgeting and more.

Nursery Management

Like any business, nurseries require solid management. From overseeing numerous employees, establishing the core objectives, monitoring the budgets, and setting the course for coming years, nursery managers must be experienced in virtually all areas of nursery operations.

Opportunities in Nursery Operations

Nursery operations are becoming more comprehensive. Opportunities are abundant for individuals to become more engaged in the art and science of growing plants. Education and experience in horticulture, botany, soil science, plant breeding, irrigation, and landscaping are real assets.