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Landscape & Garden Magazine for the Green Industry

Volume 1 Issue 4
Archives ProGardenBiz Landscape & Garden Articles

Archives ProGardenBiz Landscape & Garden Articles

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ProGardenBiz Landscape & Garden Magazine for the Green Industry

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ProGardenBiz is an online landscape & garden magazine for professional gardeners and landscape contractors doing maintenance, irrigation, installation, planting, and waterscapes.
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Quote for today: Millions yearn for immorality who don't know what to do with
themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

- Susan Ertz


Gardening with Perennials

Designing with Color

You can mix and match different colored flowers, from pastels to bright red, to create the mood and effect that best suits your garden.


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The great thing about flowers is that you really can’t go wrong with them. Even if a perennial bed doesn’t turn out exactly like what you envisioned, chances are it’s going to be attractive. After all, have you ever encountered an ugly flower? And, unlike the wallpaper or paint color that looked great in the store but now grates on your nerves, perennial plants can be moved and rearranged (and even given away) to suit your tastes. It’s easier, and more fun, than re-wallpapering!

color wheel

You can find nearly every color of the spectrum in flowering perennials. Most people are drawn to certain colors, so if there is a color scheme you’ve admired--whether it is in a favorite sweater, upholstery, or garden--keep this in mind when choosing plants. Let’s take a look at some popular perennial plants, and see how different color combinations can set different moods.

Soft pink, powder blue, lavender, and peach--these gentle colors set a mood of tranquility. They are the familiar colors of cottage gardens--informal gardens that contain a variety of old-fashioned flowers. Pastel colors look best when viewed from relatively close up, and they can looked washed out in the harsh mid-day sun.

Racy reds, vibrant oranges, magenta, and sunny yellow--these colors invigorate and energize a garden. Bright colors hold up well to brilliant sunshine, and attract the eye even from a distance.

Complementary Colors
Colors that are opposite on the color wheel are described as complementary. High in contrast, complementary colors add creative energy and vitality to a garden. Yellow and violet are complementary colors; as are orange and blue, and green and red.

Harmonious Colors
These are colors that are next to each other on the color wheel; examples include blue and violet, orange and red, and orange and yellow. These color combinations tend to be gentler on the eye than complementary colors. A harmonious color scheme unifies a garden, while allowing enough range of color that it doesn’t become monotonous.

If you are concerned about your ability to choose colors, a harmonious color scheme might be a good starting point for you. Unlike complementary colors, which, if overdone, can seem jarring and can give a riotous feel to a garden, harmonious colors are a pretty safe bet. As you gain confidence in your design eye, you can always add splashes of a complementary color here and there to liven things up.

Monochromatic Color Scheme
You may have seen gardens composed of all white flowers, and indeed some of the world’s most famous gardens use a monochromatic color scheme. Instead of relying on different colored flowers, the gardener creates interest by mixing flowers of different sizes and shapes, and choosing foliage with interesting textures and colors. Perhaps you are partial to a single color such as yellow. You can create varying moods depending on whether you choose soft pale yellows, bright sunny yellows, or deep golden yellows. Or you might use a mix of shades.

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Published by the National Gardening Association,

Installing a Water Garden

Article by ARA

Installing a water garden can seem like a monumental task, but it actually can be a fun project you can easily tackle. It is especially easy if you purchase a kit that includes everything you need. This is an excellent profit center for a landscape contractor. Installation can involve moving existing irrigation sprinklers. Once the pond is established it becomes another component of the grounds maintenance. There is much more to landscape maintenance than just mowing.

The first step in creating your water garden waterscape is to carefully select the site for your pond in a level area. For more...

Questions from our readers...

Q. I am hoping that someone can share their tips in keeping the mulch beds clean of dead leaves and flower buds.  At the beginning of the season, the mulch beds are pretty messy.  Even during the summer, my rose beds get messy with dead rose buds.  Raking is difficult because the rake gets caught in the plants.  Blowing blows the mulch as well as the leaves.  Any suggestions would be welcome.

Thank you very much.

A. Many people like the look of a "clean" garden bed and will rake everything out leaving only the surface dirt.  Although this looks tidy, it's not the best for your plants.  Leaving leaves and other plant debris provides natural mulch and returns nutrients to the the soil.  To make this look better you can turn the leaves into the soil or cover lightly with a dark mulch.

The less you remove from your garden, the less chemicals you need to add to replenish it.

Q. Hi all....I need your advice since I do not have a green thumb. I live in Arizona and I am looking to put down Desert Landscaping. But I need to kill whatever is remaining of the current lawn. So far I have used a tiller to remove from the roots up and sprayed various chemicals from Home Depot....even stuff that was suppose to last a whole year. But the grass just continued growing 2 days later. Can anyone tell me how I can kill this lawn? What chemicals can you recommend? I am getting tired of continuesly working on this lawn. Any help would be appreciated.


A. I'm not sure what chemicals you have already used, but it sounds like they were either ineffective products or perhaps used incorrectly. Please be very careful in using any herbicide that will sterilize the ground for "a whole year".  Even though you are going to put in desert landscaping you will still be putting some plants in the ground and such chemicals will kill your new plants as well.

The best product to use to kill the old lawn is Round-up.  Read the label directions completely.  It is important to water well and have a thriving plant prior to using Round-up.  Round-up works best on healthy plants.  If used correctly, Round-up will definitely solve your problem and it will not hurt any new plants planted later.  For hardy grasses it may require more than one application spaced a week or so apart.

Also, if you will be putting in decorative rock as part of your desert landscaping then the plastic ground cover you put down under the rock will also serve to smother any remaining grass or weeds and prevent them from coming back (except, perhaps, around the edges of the plastic).

Q. I planted some lantana last year. Do I prune the plant back - leave it alone or just cut off what looks like it is dead?


A. It's not necessary to prune back Lantana, but you can to control it. Here in California Lantana grows all year and needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it from over-growing the entire landscape.  Definitely prune back the dead material and then trim the rest to suit your landscape's appearance.

Have questions? We have answers. Send your questions to editor@progardenbiz. Your questions are welcome and will be answered by email and appear in our "Letters" or "Ask?" columns.

Starting a Landscape or Gardening Business:

ProGardenBiz, a landscape and garden magazine for the Green Industry is your online resource for starting and operating a business as a landscape contractor or landscape and lawn maintenance gardener. Related fields covered by ProGardenBiz are irrigation installation and maintenance, sprinklers - repair and maintenance, waterscapes, water features, and ponds. You will also find information on plants, plant identification, trees and tree maintenance, and many other topics that span the Green Industry.

If the answers you seek are not readily found, then drop us an email at: editor@progardenbiz. Your questions are welcome and will be answered by email and appear in our "Letters" or "Ask?" columns.

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