Create a Sprawling Garden: Summer Flowers for Beginners

After highlighting summer crops in last month’s edition of Create a Sprawling Garden, Tree Classics will now take a look at four lovely flowers that are perfect for beginners. Not only are these blooms easy to grow. They also handle the extreme heat of summer very well.

1. Red Valerian

Most other plants wither under the summer sun, but the red valerian thrives in such conditions. In fact, this drought-resistant plant can exist in just about any condition except for wet climates. Originally from the Mediterranean region, red valerians are now commonly found in most western states such as California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, and Hawaii.

Depending on how you look at it, the self-sowing seeds of the red valerian can either be a convenience or a nuisance. If you don’t want them to overpopulate your garden, make sure you deadhead your red valerian before the next bloom. A bi-weekly watering schedule and some bone meal placed in the soil should also be enough to take care of this summer bloom.

Let red valerians cascade from an elevation or grow along paths, rough slopes, and steep banks. Their lasting blooms enliven any dull and listless garden.

Red Valerian
Photo from M Hillier via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

2. Moonbeam Coreopsis

The moonbeam coreopsis flourishes even in the brightest of daylight. You can plant this perennial flower in average or poor soil and it will still blossom radiantly. Because of its endurance, the moonbeam coreopsis is ideal for gardens in humid states, such as Florida, Alabama, and Arkansas.

As with most summer plants, this coreopsis cultivar does not require too much attention. One thing to note, though, is that for the moonbeam to bloom without hassle, you must regularly prune the flowers right after they fade. You can do this for a few times during the summer, and then allow the plant to go to seed at season’s end to reproduce new ones.

The pale yellow bloom of the moonbeam coreopsis adds contrast to the large leaves typical of perennials. Use the moonbeam coreopsis to balance the rich purples and blues of other blooms.

Moonbeam
Photo from F. D. Richards via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

3. Daisy Fleabane

Native to the West Coast, fleabanes are considered one of the most durable summer flowers. It regularly blooms all throughout the harshest conditions of the season, from June to September.

In planting your daisy fleabanes, keep an eye out for “legginess.” It is a condition in which the plants do not get enough sunlight. They grow long thin stems that do not stand upright. When this happens, cut off these plants and remove them from under the shade.

If you’re looking for flowers to place in front of stone walls, then daisy fleabanes are for you. The slender ray petals give a splash of vibrancy to the naturally bland color of stone. Also, the long stalks make these cultivars a classic choice for flower arrangements.

Daisy Fleabane
Photo from wackybadger via flickr. CC BY 2.0

 

4. Goblin Blanket Flower

Also known as the kobold, the goblin blanket flower can withstand arid climate and, with enough leaf mulch, remain in bloom through winter. Similar to other summer flowers, it can survive even on low-quality soil as long as it has good drainage. If you plant them in moist garden loam, the stems tend to grow too far apart.

True to its namesake, the goblin blanket flower has an unusual way of growing. Unlike other plants that develop better in rich soil, this flower benefits more from thriving on poor earth. It is not advisable to enrich the soil by adding compost or other fertilizers. Goblin blanket flowers also do not grow properly in heavy clay.

The dark maroon center and golden yellow tips of the petals give the goblin a sunny appeal. Baring some striking resemblance to the sunflower, it also has a wide bloom that ranges from three to four inches. When planting the goblin in a group, you can place it beside taller flowers with warm tones.

Goblin
Photo from Sarah Korf via flickr. CC BY 2.0

Flowers have a unique way of enlivening any space. Try planting these colorful summer blooms to help you define the aesthetics of your outdoors.

Create a Sprawling Garden: Summer Crops for Beginners

July is almost here! The warm weather is setting the stage for an amazing harvest. But are you having trouble jumpstarting your own summer garden? Even if you’re still figuring out how to till the soil and prep your seeds or seedlings, it’s not yet too late for you to create a sprawling summer garden that looks professionally made. Tree Classics recommends four hassle-free (well, relatively hassle-free) crops that flourish this season. So let’s get diggin’!

String Beans and Green Beans

Our favorite would have to be snap beans, otherwise known as string beans and green beans. They are best grown in warm soil as they decay easily in damp dirt. You need not dig deep when sowing them in since they have shallow roots. Growing them an inch deep and three inches apart is fine. Place them in a spot that gets a lot of sunshine. Water them once they start to sprout but don’t let the soil turn overly moist. Allow the plants to continue sprouting throughout the season by regularly picking the mature beans.

Eggplants

 

Another summer crop that loves the full sunlight is the eggplant. Our favorite would have to be the rich dark purple Asian variety because they add so much color to a summer garden. Grow this crop in a fertile area where you had not grown eggplants a year before. You can grow the seeds indoors first before planting them in containers outside when the weather starts to warm. Remember to water the eggplants generously.

Tomatoes

Always a favorite during the summer, tomatoes have different varieties to suit any dish this season. For beginning gardeners who love fresh salads, Tree Classics recommends growing cherry tomatoes. Unlike other varieties, cherry tomatoes enjoy just a moderate amount of sunshine and can be grown in containers. Water them generously at the base of the plant. Harvest your cherry tomatoes once they have turned bright red orange and firm.

Cucumbers

 

One summer crop that requires both full sunlight and constant moisture is the cucumber. Whether you’re growing slicers that are best served fresh or picklers that are best preserved, you will find cucumbers to be an essential part of a sprawling summer garden because of the beautiful way their vines grow. If you want them to crawl out gloriously, set up a trellis in your garden. If you’re more of a practical gardener, you can also plant them by making mounds or rows with drip irrigation. Water them well as cucumbers turn bitter when they lose moisture.

Summer is the best time to get your hands dirty even if you’re just starting out as a home gardener.

7 Creative Ideas for Your Kitchen Island

From simply being an extension of kitchen counters, kitchen islands have taken on a number of innovative and creative designs. No longer just an old block of wood sitting in the middle of the kitchen, the island has turned into a statement piece as well. If you have one installed but are looking to update its style, then you’ve come to the right place. Tree Classics presents you a slideshow of seven amazing designs for your culinary workstation.

1. The Old Cottage Look

Modern kitchens often do away with the island. But if you feel you want to infuse this contemporary space with a bit of vintage charm, then an antique table placed in the middle of your kitchen instantly gives it that old cottage look. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the costs of having one built! This substitute for the permanent kitchen island is easy to incorporate: you no longer need to install it.

2. Creative Storage Spaces

One of the primary advantages of having a kitchen island is being able to maximize every nook and cranny as extra storage space. Most homeowners choose to have cabinets, drawers, and shelves added to a kitchen island for easy access.

3. A Statement of Style

Aside from its functionality, a kitchen island can also become an ideal showpiece. Surprise your friends and family with a repurposed item that shows off your creativity. An old sewing machine table, for instance, works as a sturdy island while exhibiting unique metal detailing.

4. Extra Seating

Some kitchen islands also serve as breakfast nooks. Adding a few stools helps maximize limited room, especially if you live in a small apartment. This also lets you interact with family or guests while you prepare meals.

5. Sleek and Sturdy

For a lustrous appeal that lasts, install a stainless steel kitchen island. The metallic finish exhibits a smooth and sophisticated profile. The durability of steel also means you won’t have to worry about wear and tear over the years.

6. Countryside Charm

If you’re not a fan of industrial home designs, opt for a wooden workstation instead. The natural texture and aroma of teak and cedar bring the wonders of the countryside into your kitchen.

7. Going Places

An island on caster wheels allows for easy mobility even within a very small kitchen. This space-saver is not only efficient, but it also creates a look of minimalist chic.

Create a one-of-a-kind look for your kitchen by upgrading your culinary workstation with these creative ideas.

At Home with Tree Classics: Creative Ways to Save Closet Space

Rummaging through your closet to dig up an item buried under clothes, blankets, and shoes is a tell-tale sign you’re running out of closet space. Chances are: the items crammed inside it may be better stored in another location. Use other areas of your home as creative storage spaces – and let your closet breathe.

1. Shoes

The bottom of the closet may be a convenient shoe storage space for some. However, shoes and shoe racks take up more room than you think. Free up the area for other items by storing your shoes in an under-stairs cupboard. Keeping them out of the bedroom will also prevent their dirt and grime from entering your personal space.


Contemporary Closet Organizers by London Closet & Home Storage Designers Clive Anderson Bespoke Furniture

 

You can also use shoe racks or cubbyholes in the mudroom to keep your footwear from tracking mud indoors. You can use the top part of this area to store your frequently used coats, jackets, and windbreakers.


Spaces

 

2. Pillows and Blankets

Use your closet space mainly for clothes and move your pillows and blankets to another area. A good place to keep these items in is an underbed drawer. Storing them under the bed allows you to keep them handy if you need to change sheets or add more pillows to the bed. If you don’t have a drawer, keep them in a storage chest or a slide suitcase under or by the foot of the bed.

3. Off-season Items

Clothes and accessories that are seldom used can be kept in stackable storage boxes and labeled according to the items they hold. The space underneath a window seat can double as a treasure trove for various odds and ends that may not have an immediate use but may hold sentimental value. Place hand-me-downs in this secure and convenient spot.


Eclectic Home Office by San Francisco Interior Designers & Decorators Story & Space – Interior Design and Color Guidance

 

For vertical spaces that are often under-utilized as storage, hang bags, coats, or hats by using valet hooks and Velcro fasteners that can hold enough weight. Do prevent this area from becoming an eye sore by eliminating what looks like clutter. Hang only items that can also serve as decorative pieces when displayed.

Save closet space for the more valuable items. Scout other areas in your home that you can use as storage for other unique pieces.

4 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Curtains

Window curtains can either make or break the style of a room. While their main function is to provide protection from the harsh light of the sun, curtains also frame windows to highlight the view outside or accent the overall look of the room inside. Tree Classics gives you a list of things to consider when selecting draperies.


Modern Living Room by London Architects & Designers SHH – Spence, Harris, Hogan Associates Continue reading