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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Reely? Water a Wonderfully Long Life

Suncast Hose Reel
A couple of years ago I was using a customer's water hose and noticed how I loved she had a true rubber water hose and how easy the hose reel was to use.

Then she told me she had not really thought about it, but this was the only hose she had in the back yard for about 18 years. That's amazing.

This hose had lasted so long because it was housed in a reel system by Suncast, mostly hidden from the sun.

The other hose in the front yard was one of those plastic type semi-rigid type plastic hoses re-enforced for whatsoever - perhaps re-enforced to kink and be more difficult to use.

Rubber hoses are so much easier to use and rarely kink and when they do they don't cinch or create a problem you have to walk down the hose to correct - just whip them out from where you are and you are off and watering.

Every hose, not so much with rubber ones, but all the others, get kind of funky and break down when exposed to the sun and being coiled and re-coiled in some odd fashion and left in a plant bed or near a home's foundation.

The Suncast model above is the one my customer used and it sounded familiar as I have used several other Suncast products before, but mainly for patio/deck or storage boxes, which I just purchased two more of.

I just purchased the hose reel system above along with a 100' rubber hose. I'm still fairly young, but this hose and reel system may outlive me.

A Few Key Points:
  • Rubber water hoses are the most durable and easiest to use.
  • Rubber hoses, protected from drying and sunlight in an enclosure, may outlast you.
  • A durable, enclosed hose reel system may mean you aren't buying expensive/low-quality hoses every year or two.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Spring Crabgrass and Weed Control - Pre-emergence Application

Stinging Nettle
Coming up, in the next few weeks, will be the time to put down crabgrass control and suppress some of the spring and some summer weeds which will germinate in our lawns in the coming months.

You can somewhat disregard what you've ever heard about what days or dates to apply this because it has more to do with soil temperature than time-of-year.

We are going to apply pre-emergence (including potash - potassium) in the coming weeks
at the following rates:

Lawn (not property) Square Footage

Up to 8,000...$50.00, refer a nearby friend or neighbor*...$40.00
8 to 12,000....$55.00, refer a nearby friend or neighbor*...$40.00

* Refer a friend or neighbor who lives within four miles of you who commits to having their lawn treated and receive $10.00 off.

Treatment will only be applied to lawns and over-broadcasting on to man-made surface will be blown or swept back on to lawn.

Property owner should water their lawn for at least twenty minutes as soon after application as possible.

And, please be advised, crabgrass and many other weeds are usually not the cause of an unhealthy lawn, but rather, unhealthy lawns (such as lack of or improper watering, mowing too short, unfertile, over-fertilized or unbalanced pH soil, wrong turfgrass selection) allow such un-wanteds to occur.

Please share this with some friends and neighbors by using one of the features below. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

She's a Lady. Well, Perhaps Not So Much.

Lady Banks Climbing Rose and Broken TrellisMany of you may be familiar with Lady Banks Climbing Rose - Lady banksiae. 

And, I wish this picture would have been taken during bloom for those of you who aren't familiar with this wonderful thorn-less rose.

She is beautiful and can reach, quite quickly, great heights and sprawl out beyond what many anticipate.

This Lady, well, she got just a little too amorous with Mr. Trellis and things went south.

She had wrapped herself around him, broke him down and pulled him away from the wall. Perhaps, her love for him was the death of Mr. Trellis. He was half the man (trellis) when I addressed this and the remaining half was not pretty, at all. Okay, enough of that.

Unfortunately, I had only been trying to care for almost every aspect of this property's landscape for a little over six months and all I had time to do was to keep her outward growth at bay so she would be somewhat presentable and so the homeowner could easily get her vehicle past her when she was showing off - the shrub, not the homeowner.

Lady Banks Climbing Rose on New TrellisBut no, Lady Banks received all the attention (my fault), while Mr. Trellis' ails went unnoticed, until I began thinking about pruning the Lady back before winter.

I ordered two of these trellises, painted some attaching hardware, put them together and gave her a new partner, whom I hope she will go more slowly with.

Of course, come late winter, she is going to get a make-over and I will ensure she knows where to go and how to behave over the ensuing months - I sense a great relationship ahead.

For those of you who may remember Tom Jones or even those who experienced his regeneration over the last decade or two - hell, I don't know - I thought I would provide a She's a Lady video. That is, with big belt buckle, low-buttoned shirt, big gold chain, sequined jacket and some swirling hip moves, all included.

Hey, he was having fun and a lot of Lady's loved him. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pine Cone Cheese Ball

Pine Cone Cheese Ball
Well, I finally pulled the trigger on making this pine cone cheese ball thanks to having an event worthy of such a task - the annual Santa Lucia celebration of the Nordic Club of Columbia, S.C.

It was a success - so I was told. Scandinavians are a very honest bunch of folks (sometimes, to a fault) or at least, polite.

This is definitely a dish for which you have to pay attention to its appeal, as much, or more so than its taste. However, I do have some aesthetic ideas for the next one.

I actually wanted the pine cone to sit on the table in all its glory for a while, but someone, whom I won't mention, decided it looked good enough, just long enough, and then it became food. Thankfully, the taste reviews equaled the presentation compliments.

I obtained this recipe from my good friends at MeadowCroft Farm, but, as with most recipes, I made some adjustments.

Oh, by the way, those are true Norway Spruce (Picea abies) branches I used as a garnish. No, not really.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Don't LEAVE it Alone

I have mentioned this before, but having had several customers contact us late last January about clean-up of Mother Nature's debris (leaves, needles, berries, etc.) so late in winter, I thought it worth mentioning again.

Last year was somewhat confusing for many trees as we truly didn't have any consistent cold-enough (for complete shedding) temperatures for our deciduous friends.

I remember finally being called to properties and finding several inches of leaves and straw - not that evergreens are deciduous, but they still rid themselves of what they don't want when not needed during the colder climes.

This year is different and much of what will fall, already has. So either get out there yourself, call your regular lawn service or call us.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Winter Wonder - Farfugium

Farfugium japonicum var. giganteumMany of you may have never seen this wonderful plant or you have, in awe, and said, "What darn plant is that?"

And, if you have seen one, you may not have seen it showing off those tall stalks full with panicles of yellow daisy-like flowers.

Well, this is Farfugium japonicum var. giganteum - also known as giant leopard plant.

You don't see many in these parts, but the ones I have seen all look healthy and beautiful, particularly this time of year - definitely enough reason to find some for your property(s).

They are perennials and the flowering takes place during the late fall and/or winter. Oh, they love water more so than any other plants, so plan to do so or have an irrigation system to take care of this for you.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Indoor/Outdoor Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon' - Before Pruning
Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon' - Before Pruning
This is Acer palmatum var. dissectum 'Red Dragon' - Lace Leaf Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon'

I've been trimming this girl for many, many months, not nearly as much as other trees and shrubs because I don't like to intervene with japanese maples much after I initially prune them or until they show me what they want to do.

Well she was approaching that mass of leaves and color resembling a red blob - not quite fond of blobby looking plants of any type, particularly not a japanese maple. And, all that dense growth is not healthy over time.

Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon' - After Pruning
Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon' - After Pruning

Here she is after some pruning for aesthetics, but mainly for health - airflow and sunlight. It does help to know what her intent is and where and how to make what types of cuts.

Japanese Maple 'Red Dragon' in Vase

Well, I actually did this the day before Thanksgiving and thought about taking some of these cuttings indoor and this is the result.

These aren't (at all, nada) your typical cutting plants - they are woody stems which just lost their home. Don't expect much here, most japanese maples were grafted before you ever got them to put in the ground or a pot.

Although I did put them in water, we only got about two good days from them, but that was enough to add some killer color and shapes for the holiday. Enjoy while you can.

You go, Red Dragon.