Five Uses For: Coffee Grounds

2371437304 886ceef001 300x168 Five Uses For: Coffee Grounds

If you’re like me, the coming of spring and warm temperatures has zero say on your ability to consume coffee, but here are five ways you may not have thought of to dispose of the leftover grounds while putting them to good use.  

  1. Shake coffee grounds around Roses, Cactus, Rhododendrons, and Camellias in place of a seasonal fertilizer and plant food for beautiful blooms on a budget. 
  2. Toss the grounds around in your lawn in the bald spots in place of fertilizer, and watch the grass recover and patch itself back up. 
  3. Brew something up that worms can’t resist, and catch your own live bait for fishing trips.  Coffee grounds make excellent worm food in your composting areas, but you can scatter the grounds in open areas, or around the edges of your lawn to trick worms into braving the open air. 
  4. Create an ant proof barrier under a door or outside a window sill with a line of coffee grounds.  Ants do not like the smell of coffee, and can be trained from using cracks in your foundation, window sills, and doorways as entrances with liberally sprinkled grounds at their point of entry. 
  5. Beat the Spring snow with coffee grounds sprinkled over steps, and decking to encourage quick melting, and give traction in slippery areas.  Ground coffee is a great safe alternative to commercial ice melt products that can harm your wooded structures, and plants.
Your Thoughts:  There are dozens more ways to get added mileage from your coffee grounds, what do you use yours for?
Photo courtesy of D’Arcy Norman

Roses: When To Begin Spring Pruning

img 0050 225x300 Roses: When To Begin Spring PruningEarly spring is the perfect time to do large scale cut backs on your rose bushes to encourage new growth, and a bush full of blooms!

The key to spring pruning is to trim just as the plant is budding and waking up from its winter dormancy. A bush that has grown “leggy” over the course of several years can be trimmed all the way back to about 8 inches in height at this time safely to encourage a fuller plant. The best way to identify your spring window of opportunity is to watch the blooming of the Forsythia plants for your cue.

Rose breeders recommend trimming your roses when Forsythias are blooming, usually at the end of March. Although roses will bloom through the summer and fall, the heaviest pruning and shaping of the plant should be done at the beginning of the growing season, when the cool temperatures, and lack of insects make pruning wounds easy to recover from. 

Successful Pruning

When considering your rose bush  for pruning, identify any “woody” stems on the plant that are giving the plant height, but reduced bloom production, and place these on the top of you list for pruning. Even an aging plant with dead sections can benefit from strong pruning in the spring to encourage new shoots to emerge from the roots.  

Most roses can benefit from a heavier pruning every few years to encourage blooming, and to keep the plant full and pliable. If your roses have had more bare stems than fruitful branches with leaves and buds in the past few years, your bush is ripe for a spring pruning. If you are hesitant to trim the whole plant at once, select a few feeder stems and prune them heavily to within 6-10 inches of the ground.

Spring thinning and pruning will rejuvenate your plants and soon have you reaping the benefits of a far healthier plant.

Site That Inspires Me: March

picture 3 300x189 Site That Inspires Me: MarchSpring is finally here, and I can think of no one better to encourage us to dream big even in small places this season, than Fern over at Life On The Balcony!  

Fern’s site focuses primarily on container gardening, and landscaping on on the terraces of condos and apartments, and her articles range from small tips on achieving the best results inside the pots, to lengthy posts full of container combinations sure to wow the neighborhood! I make trips to Fern’s page on a daily basis to see what she has “growing on” in the southwest, and I’m sure that this is one habit you won’t be able to resist either once you’ve skimmed her page and gained inspiration from her archives, and her garden photography.

Although “Life On The Balcony” has been around for a little less than a year, Fern is committed to publishing new articles almost every day, to provide you with ample ideas to fill your spring notebooks with prospective plants for purchase. Whether you are looking for ideas to brighten up your balcony garden, or simply looking for pot designs to incorporate around your front door, from veggies, to cactus Fern is your girl!  Hop over to her site via the link above, and check out her virtual bookshelf while you’re there for further reading or gift ideas.

Happy Gardening and welcome back spring!

A Tip To Rev-Up Liriope For Spring

img 0585 271x300 A Tip To Rev Up Liriope For Spring

Spring is still a few weeks away, but March is a great time to trim back any Liriope plants that you have in your yard! March is typically when I trim Liriope beds in formal landscape designs, since it forces the plants to jumpstart for the spring, and gets rid of last years yellowing or dead growth. In spots with heavy Liriope concentration, I recommend mowing the plant with a lawn mower down to about one inch in height, like you see here, to neaten the plant. Repeated mowing over the years also encourages the individual plants to grow in thicker before spreading thither and yon through your yard. Try this tip out this spring, and see if you can’t encourage a healthier plant in your landscape.

Are Organics On The Menu For The White House?

3144647385 7d0c0ec1b7 300x199 Are Organics On The Menu For The White House?

I’ve read that President Obama isn’t keen on lobbyists in his White House, and recently restricted gift swapping to and from special interest groups and his staff, but I wonder if that rule encompasses the sharing of local fruits and vegetables? There’s a new breed of lobbyist coming to Washington, determined to ease the new President into the role of “Organic Gardener-In-Chief,” and they come with garden plans in hand!

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Swans In Winter

img 0565 Swans In Winter

Winter weather is heading up the East Coast today, and so like many of those in the Landscaping and Property Management field of work, I am heading in to work to wait out the storm, and make sure that the roads and sidewalks in the area are clear for foot and road traffic throughout the day.

There is a quiet beauty, that always preceeds a big snow storm, so I’m taking the time to enjoy a little of that at the lake by the office, and bringing “Federico and Maria Therese,” two of my Mute Swans, a quick handout to eat before the rest of their food sources get buried in the snow.  Mute Swans always look regal, but in the winter weather they look especially beautiful, although I’d imagine in a few hours they will be difficult to see once the snow starts getting underway.

img 0567 Swans In Winter