Garden Whimsy

For June, our newsletter will be short and sweet. With just a little imagination and maybe some help from Pinterest, you can create an outdoor paradise. Your garden can become your escape to tranquility and solitude, a place for reflection and meditation or simply a place of whimsical delight. The following photos are just a few examples...

Fairy Light Watering Can

Fairy Light Watering Can

Recycle and paint an old bike for a planter

Recycle and paint an old bike for a planter

Stained glass bicycle wheel garden spinner

Stained glass bicycle wheel garden spinner

Landscaping posts sharpened in to colored pencils

Landscaping posts sharpened in to colored pencils

A garden easel...

A garden easel...

A fairy house tucked away at the base of a tree. I've seen a wide variety available for sale on Etsy.

A fairy house tucked away at the base of a tree. I've seen a wide variety available for sale on Etsy.

Brighten an old shed with colorful flowers made from plates and garden hose stems

Brighten an old shed with colorful flowers made from plates and garden hose stems

I love this! Garden mats made from old garden hoses and zip ties...genius!

I love this! Garden mats made from old garden hoses and zip ties...genius!

Put those marbles to good use!

Put those marbles to good use!

Terra cotta pagoda pots

Terra cotta pagoda pots

Paint dead tree branches for color...

Paint dead tree branches for color...

Using E6000 silicone, glue copper pennies to a bowling ball. Make sure to bring it inside during the winter though.

Using E6000 silicone, glue copper pennies to a bowling ball. Make sure to bring it inside during the winter though.

Something fun to do with your kids!

Something fun to do with your kids!

Who knew saws could look so dramatic.

Who knew saws could look so dramatic.

This is so clever ... I wish I had somewhere to do this!

This is so clever ... I wish I had somewhere to do this!

Succulents in an old birdbath ... beautiful.

Succulents in an old birdbath ... beautiful.

Garden tool trellis

Garden tool trellis

Thrift store finds ... old bud vases and dishes

Thrift store finds ... old bud vases and dishes

A different kind of garden border

A different kind of garden border

Second life for these rain boots

Second life for these rain boots

Well, there are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There is no need to go into any expense. Hit a few thrift stores or see what's been hiding in the garage. Make your garden your own, you'll only have the summer to enjoy it.

Pallet Gardening

Garden envy? You want one, you need one, but where? Maybe you live in an apartment or simply don't have the backyard space. Try pallet gardening. It's a great alternative to traditional gardening and a chance get creative in limited spaces.

Raised pallet garden

Raised pallet garden

With pallet gardening, you have options. Live in a balcony apartment? Try hanging your pallet vertically for a growing wall. Limited yard space? Place pallets horizontally on the ground as part of your landscaping. For raised beds, multiple pallets can be stacked, or as in the photo above, placed on sawhorses. 

Horizontal pallet garden

Horizontal pallet garden

Pallet gardening is easy and all you need are a few basic tools and supplies.

  • Shipping pallet
  • landscape cloth (3' X 50')
  • crowbar
  • hammer
  • utility knife
  • sandpaper
  • 4 mounting brackets (for vertical pallet)
  • potting soil
  • plants

To start, find your perfect pallet. Personally, I suggest using a new, clean, fresh pallet, but you can buy used. In either case make sure your pallet has been heat treated. There will be a (HT) stamp somewhere on the pallet. Also, if going with a used pallet, look for stains. You can never be sure of what chemicals were stored on an old pallet. You want your pallet to be as clean as possible and free from rusty nails and staples. It might be a good idea to scrub your pallet with a light bleach solution to get rid of any bacteria, especially if planting edibles.

Kansas City has several companies that offer new and used pallets. Here are just a few....

Look for HT stamp

Look for HT stamp

Kansas City Pallets
Specialty Lumber Solutions
1301 E. 31st Street
Kansas City, MO 64109
Phone: (816) 506-4131

Midwest Pallet
1161 S. 12th St.
Kansas City, KS 66105-1614
Phone: (913) 371-3555

Keep in mind that Craigslist is a great source for free pallets as well as businesses near your home. Remember, look for that (HT) stamp!

Here's a video that walks you through the process. There are several ways to make a pallet garden, but this is my favorite.

Mounted vertical pallet garden

Mounted vertical pallet garden

 If you've decided your pallet will be hung vertically, make sure to consider the weight of a fully planted pallet after watering. It can be quit heavy so choose the right mounting brackets and a solid location on which to hang. Attach the mounting brackets in place before you add the weight of the soil and plants. After you've added plants to your pallet, keep it horizontal for a few days and water thoroughly. Add more soil as it settles. Once the soil has settled, hang your pallet and monitor it closely. Water frequently, especially the bottom half of the pallet gets the driest.

Vertical pallet garden wall

Vertical pallet garden wall

There it is...easy peasy. 

For more ideas on pallet gardening and other pallet projects, check out Pinterest. You'll wonder why you didn't think of this sooner!

 

New this Spring ... Playground Mulch Certification

Kansas City, when the weather can reach 80 degrees one day and snow the next. Lucky for us, spring is just around the corner and backyard playgrounds are beckoning children everywhere. Whether your backyard playground is a tire swing or a playset with all the bells and whistles, you have to ask yourself, is it safe?

Each year, according to Centers for Disease Control, emergency rooms treat more than 200,000 children for playground related injuries, many from falls. There are several factors that account for these injuries, some of which are faulty playground equipment, absence of adult supervision or lack of a proper ground cover for the play area.

When it comes to cushioning falls, playground mulch is an easy fix. Not only will it add to the visual appeal of your home's landscaping, but it's low maintenance and affordable. However, buyer beware, not all mulch is alike. This year, Lawn-Corps has designed a playground mulch with children's safety in mind. It is renewable, green, 100% natural and for a parent's peace of mind, it's certified.

We produce our playground mulch on site by using clean, virgin wood which comes directly from local saw mills. Most importantly, it meets the highest playground safety standards required by the following:

Playground Mulch, finished product ...

Playground Mulch, finished product ...

  • International Play Equipment Manufacturers Association (IPEMA)
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)

To ensure our products safety, Lawn-Corps playground mulch has also been rigorously tested and certified by the following standards:

  • IPEMA Certified ASTM 1292 Standard Specification for Bodily Impact
  • IPEMA Certified ASTM 2075 Metal Test and Sieve Analysis

It's important to know that Lawn-Corps is one of two companies in Missouri and Kansas that have achieved certification by meeting these standards. It's a big accomplishment for us and one that we are very proud of. It's just a first step to help ensure the safety of our most valuable resources ... our children.

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A Plastic Society

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

Ariel view of Lawn-Corps from a United flight.

A year ago I was on a United flight when, from the air, I was amazed at an unexpected site ... Lawn-Corps! It reminded me of a line from a Jason Isbell song: “From the sky we look so organized and brave." It rings true. We’ve all marveled at our earth from an airplane; the incredible patterned farmland in squares and circles, the neatly planned grids of neighborhoods with ribbons of road and highway. How spectacularly perfect our world looks from the air. From the ground, the reality that our city, our world, is not so organized and those that pollute it, not so brave. 

What's left behind after a compost screening.

What's left behind after a compost screening.

We bear witness daily; the senseless polluting of our earth, endangering wildlife, waterways and the air we breathe. Litter has made a home along our city streets, highways and in our parks where our children play; cigarette butts, pop cans, fast food wrappers, and plastic ... lots and lots of plastic. We see it at Lawn-Corps too, a water bottle in this bag, a flower pot in another, tennis balls and landscape netting. It may seem insignificant, but it adds up ...  it all adds up.

Recently, I came across a great video narrated by "The Dude" himself, Jeff Bridges. It was eye opening and a bit horrific. I found the statistics alarming and was so moved that I found it important to share its message with you.  I urge you to watch and share it with others in hopes that it will inspire all of us to do the right thing. 

Until next time ... have fun playing in the dirt.

 

 

 

Deep Summer Tips

Summer is here, however, as I write, Kansas City will be experiencing record low temperatures, a summertime version of last winter's "Polar Vortex". When the heat does arrive, it can take a toll on your lawn and garden. So far this summer, Kansas City has been fortunate with rainfall, but we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop … and when it does, here are some helpful tips to get you through. 

  • Water … do it early in the morning. Plants will be more receptive in the coolness of the morning and there will be less evaporation. Try to avoid watering in the evening to prevent mold and fungus growth. Also, a deep, penetrating soaking is much more effective than surface watering which can create shallow root systems and can stress lawns and gardens in time of drought . A good rule of thumb is an inch of water a week.
Water deeply, early in the morning

Water deeply, early in the morning

  • Mulch … this is a great way to keep plant roots cool during the heat of the day. Mulch is also an excellent way to retain moisture in the soil. There are a variety of mulches you can use such as grass clippings or chopped leaves. Some folks even use cardboard or newspaper, but I personally find it unattractive in the garden. The decorative wood mulches provide an attractive landscape and are effective in retaining moisture and preventing weeds. Also, as mulch decomposes it will add other beneficial nutrients to your soil. 
Janice uses pine bark mulch in her garden.

Janice uses pine bark mulch in her garden.

  • Deadheading … get the most out of your flowering plants by deadheading. You will extend your plant's life and allow it to produce more flowers all summer long. So, after the blooms have died and faded, simply pinch or snip the dead blooms off the plant. If done daily, it won't take any time at all.
Pinch or snip dead and faded blooms.

Pinch or snip dead and faded blooms.

  • Mowing … raise the cutting height on you mower to its highest level, no shorter than 3-1/2". Taller grass is more drought resistant and will grow deeper roots which are able to handle stress better. Mow regularly and don't wait till your grass gets too high because the clippings can smother your grass. An industry standard is not to cut more than 1/3 of the grass blades. As you do this, don't bag them. Let the clippings fall back onto the lawn for added nutrients. Also, don't mow in the heat of the day as the heat can burn your lawn.
Raise mower blade and let clippings fall.

Raise mower blade and let clippings fall.

Well, these are just a few tips for the deep summer. If you're new to gardening, I hope this helps. If you've been gardening awhile and have any gardening tips, please, feel free to share. 

Till next time … see ya!