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Our Other Garden

We now officially have two gardens – our DIY backyard garden and a windowsill garden. I truly feel it is necessary to have this ‘other garden’ because we stopped putting curtains on our front windows and we’ve removed the blinds after that. The house we live in is along national road and dust and smoke from outside usually land inside this house.

The least I can do to fill in the gap and remove the boredom of a curtain-less window is to surround it with plants. And since our backyard has had several makeovers (relocating plants, adding some more plants species, killing a few plants but not on purpose, etc.) and the space isn’t big enough, I have relocated some of the plants to the front and made sure the dish gardens are only located at the front of the house as well.

The dilemma of buying plants when I (or my mom) cannot resist is where to put the new plant/s at the backyard garden. It has become a chaotic garden when I haven’t pruned and rearranged and relocated the plants. It is constantly a work in progress. But now it looks better –>  this update will be on my next post.

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I did not leave the windows behind. I’ve always wanted to use those green plastic soda bottles as plant containers because they look great. I ran out of green soda bottles, so I used clear plastic bottles and a broken blue drinking glass (the bottom part).

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This is the view I see from where I work at home. It’s not much, but I really enjoy looking at these plants.

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Now, let me ask you…

Have you done that ‘long-standing’ gardening project already?

It’s 2014, don’t wait another year.  =)

UPLB Garden Show

There was still a bit of a drizzle when I left home last Saturday morning. It was already the second day of the UPLB Garden Show which is currently being held at the Seniors’ Social Garden at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, Laguna. We always make it a point to go to the garden shows on the very first weekend -usually a Saturday – because the plants and flowers used on every garden/landscape design are still fresh and in their best conditions.

It was cloudy and it also rained at the university. Nevertheless, the plants did not budge and continued to show off their glorious beauty. Too bad we do not have a replacement yet for our busted digital camera, so we still resorted to using my sister’s camera phone.

Despite the technological constraints, we managed to take good pictures of the landscape designs and their featured subjects. The rain was all worth it because we enjoyed everything we saw. There weren’t as many as last March’s participating landscapers and garden designers this time, maybe because they know the rain won’t be of help during setup time and show.

Here are the best photos we took during the garden show:

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Windowsill Garden, Backyard and Front Garden Updates

This post is a bit overdue. And so does this front garden that we have right now. I’ve decided to transfer one of the plant stands, the pot with Ti plant and low Chinese bamboo, croton, green/pink aglaonema, the rectangular planter with coleus, and the welcome plant from the backyard garden in order to fulfill this project.

Right after we went to the garden show, my mind’s been poking me to accomplish the extension project of having a garden at the front of our house which is beside our roofed garage and at the back of the defunct mini store.

From the garden show, we bought maiden hair fern; two small ti plants; pink and green aglaonema; two types of colocasia; a tillandsia and a few small dish garden plants (from Del’s Garden); and Italian oregano. We wanted to buy other plants that day, but it would it be inconvenient since we’ve only commuted from the university going home. I resorted to buying a couple more from Inang’s Garden in Binan when I went there to buy a sack of garden soil. I bought a Golden Garland (Nong Nooch Vine), a White Petioled Aglaonema, and pandakaki.

Here are the plants at the ‘front garden’ together with our age-old evergreen vines:

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from left to right: pot of ti plant with Chinese bamboo; new small burgundy/brown and rainbow ti plants; maiden hair fern; Italian oregano; pink/green aglaonema from the backyard garden; pink/red/green colocasia plant

 

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from left to right: welcome plant, croton and coleus from  the backyard garden; white-petioled and pink/green aglaonema;  new pandakaki plant; angel-face colocasia

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our old evergreen plants — we trim them and just throw away the excess vines and outgrowths…but these days, I save most of them and replant in the PET bottles just like the ones below

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seedlings: marigold and cosmos (hoping these will last)

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additions to our ‘front garden’ are these cute dish garden plants — they make up the windowsill garden now which is a sub-project of the front garden project

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this golden garland or Nong Nooch vine is placed at the backyard garden because it needs more sun exposure…the tillandsia joined the older tillandsias out at the back as well

Of course, I cannot leave the backyard garden. I’ve also updated it a bit. Trimmed what needed to be trimmed. And transferred other plants at the front to free up some space. By August, the backyard garden was too overcrowded. The rainy months caused a lot of damage and unsightly overgrowth and legginess to some of the plants. The coleuses had to be trimmed down, even though we have no choice. The constant trimming also hurts the plants’ appearance and health, but we had no option, or else their stems will give up and topple the rest of the upper parts. As much as I want to maintain more coleuses, we refrained from purchasing when we went to the garden show. We just had to do our best to maintain whatever we have at the moment.

With the reduction of one of the plant stands, the backyard garden became more spacious. We had to keep it that way for now since it seems to help the plants as well. The two taller and older ti plants were relocated beside the wall and at the back of one of the plant stands. It gave the backyard garden a better appearance, in my opinion.

Here’s the backyard garden now:

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Now, my main concern is if the seedlings I’ve planted will grow and be alive until maturity. I am known to have a brown thumb when it comes to growing plants from seeds. My next update would include the plight of the seedlings. I’m keeping my fingers crossed… again.

 

Flowering Plants in Our Backyard Garden

This is a long overdue post because the pictures were taken last June – when the flowering plants were still alive and kicking. Well, some of them are still alive but without flowers.

The Moss Rose plants were heavily affected by the July-August rains, so by now, they’re almost non-existent in our backyard garden. We decided to save some of the plants that were still alive but without flowers. Lately, the rains are coming in – either because of a monsoon or because of a typhoon. In the past two months, three storms struck, if I am correct. We felt sad because some of the plants didn’t make it after the rains.

I just want to share the backyard garden in it’s prettier state before the rainy season. We may be sad today, but having these pictures remind us of the beautiful blooms and the sun-loving flowering plants and shrubs we had. And indeed, life is short even for some plants. But hey, that’s part of gardening. We just have to choose perennial plants that can stand any weather, like some of the plants that survived.

 

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DIY Garden Landscape Tips

A garden landscape design can create a lasting appeal for any home. It is a way to showcase the elegance of a home with the addition of outdoor structures, foliage, as well as other elements. If you love the beauty of the outdoors you can create the same for your yard by using a DIY garden landscape approach.

The important elements that constitute typical landscaping designs are the natural and synthetic elements. These elements should complement each other and the home to achieve the design goal.

DIY Garden Landscape

Trees

Trees are excellent in providing shade especially during hot summer days. They can also help cool the home when planted properly. Smaller trees such as citrus, other fruit-bearing trees and ornamentals provide color and sweet smell in the garden.

Avoid planting trees that drop needles, acorns, and cotton-like fibers, and those that have heavy foliage. Clean-up is often required to clear the yard, the driveway and/or walkway if you have such trees.

Use large trees as focal points or plant them in groups to create a display. Plant fruit-bearing trees and ornamentals in lines along the property to create a natural boarder.

Shrubs

Addition of shrubs to achieve a specific garden landscape design is essential. You can use evergreens, boxwoods and topiaries to add texture, pattern and direction into your garden. Shrubs are also used for functionality as they are excellent for making hedges.

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Flowering Plants

Landscape designs always use flowering plants to add color and to brighten the area. lowers are inviting and they create such visual effects that beautify the garden.

Choose the best colors that suit and complement your home. Calm shades of blue and green create distant, recessed look. For accents that stand out and attract, use vivid hues of red and yellow flowers.

Design flowerbeds around the edge of your home and along walkways. Fill empty spaces with lush grass to add beauty and function to the yard.

Hardscape design

Driveways and walkways are almost always a necessity when creating a garden landscape design. These hardscapes contribute to the overall design and look. Select the ideal materials for your design and use curves and lines to accent the look of your home.

Courtyard appeal

Creating a courtyard appeal usually needs an enclosure or fence. A courtyard may provide a sitting area that is both relaxing and entertaining. Normally, homeowners rely on the expertise of a professional landscape architect to design a courtyard.

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Water features

Water features add elegance, beauty and tranquility to any garden. Add a fountain or cascading waterfall near a flower bed or use it as a focal point in the garden.

Your preferred DIY garden landscape should be complementary to your home. It should also be an extension of your warmth and personality as it is the first thing that people will see when they visit you.

A Few Tips In Planning For Your Own Flower Garden Design

You’ve always wanted your own garden but you’re not sure how and where to start. It’s really not complicated to plan for one, but it usually takes time and effort since it involves digging up soil and cultivating the plant varieties.

“Uniquely Your Own” Flower Garden Design

If you want a flower garden that is uniquely your own, you should consider the following:

  • Why you want a flower garden
  • Where you want it to be located – front yard or backyard; at the balcony; or all over your residential property as long as there’s space
  • Consider the conditions – climate that is unique to your region (check your region’s hardiness zone to make sure)
  • How much time you can devote in maintaining and caring for your flower garden
  • The type of flowering plants that will thrive in your region
  • Your budget
image credit: Brian Chow, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

image credit: Brian Chow, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Try to ponder on these factors before you even start looking for a flower garden design. These will surely help you decide on how and where to start.

For instance you only have a small vacant area in your property, but you want a showcase of flowering plants that is as big as a botanical garden you saw in one of your travels. You can always mimic whatever you see, but you need to consider the aforementioned factors to help you with your decision. You can reduce the scale of your ideal botanical garden theme into a small flower garden that will fit into your outdoor space.

Another thing you need to consider is where to look for flower garden designs.

Gardening books are among the best sources because real expert gardeners have devoted their time in writing down the essential guidelines for home gardeners.

Flower Gardener’s Bible by Lewis & Nancy Hill (available at Amazon.com)

Flower Gardener’s Bible by Lewis & Nancy Hill (available at Amazon.com)

One of the books I found online is The Flower Gardener’s Bible (A Complete Guide to Colorful Blooms All Season Long; 10th Anniversary Edition) which is a complete guide to flower gardening. The book covers everything from choosing your site, designing your garden, choosing plants, caring for plants, improving soil, and many others.

image credit: Kathy, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

image credit: Kathy, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

Lastly, if you do need a professional landscaper or a gardener to help you with your planning, then there’s no harm in finding one. It is important that you plan and seek advice ahead to ensure that you’ll succeed in your flower garden design. If you have enough budget for a landscaping project, it will be much better and the result will surely be spectacular.

Landscaping Ideas You Can Use For Your Front And Back Yard

You can convert a boring front or back yard with your own landscaping ideas in mind. The key to successful landscaping is planning and creativity. With these three simple landscaping ideas, you can create your own landscape design without burning your wallet.

3 Simple Landscaping Ideas That You Can Create

1. Create outdoor rooms for your yard – If you are fond of watching HGTV and other do-it-yourself home improvement shows chances are you have come across yard designs with outdoor rooms.

Landscape designers are using this concept to add sitting areas as well as functionality to the landscape. Outdoor rooms also add the homey feeling to the entire home and it creates a welcoming effect to the homeowner and guests as well.

Addition of outdoor beds, benches, lounge chairs or sofas can create a cozy atmosphere. Flowering plants, shrubs and potted plants can be added next to the seats for a more outdoor feel. Addition of cushions, small coffee table and accessories can improve the overall look of the design.

credit: ugardener via photopin.com

credit: ugardener via photopin.com

2. Create pleasing visual displays – You can make your yard a relaxing and stimulating area of your home by adding visually pleasing accessories and objects. Bird houses or bird baths that come in different shapes and sizes are great for attracting birds and other wildlife into your yard.

Add flowering shrubs, ornamental plants and other foliage to attract bees and butterflies into your yard. Not only do these insects help pollinate your flowering plants, but they bring natural beauty to your yard as well.

Partner your yard accessories with flowering plants and other foliage to create a balance of natural and synthetic beauty in your yard.

Use a variety of pots and containers for your plants. Use big planters for flowering or ornamental plants and shrubs. The good thing about these pots and planters is that you can relocate or remove them if you want a different look for your yard.

credit: a-citta-vita via photopin.com

credit: a-citta-vita via photopin.com

3. Mix annual and perennial plants – When you are looking for maintenance-free landscaping ideas, it is ideal to plant two different types of foliage. While annual plants beautify your yard for only one season, adding perennials can fill in the gap since they bloom all year round.

Mixing annuals and perennials is also an inexpensive way of beautifying your landscape since you won’t need to plant year after year to maintain a pleasant-looking yard.

Creating good landscaping ideas doesn’t have to be costly. You can plan ahead and use the power of the internet for more information and techniques. You may also want to try free landscaping software to help you with you landscaping project.

Landscape Design Ideas

Enhance Your Home and Surroundings

Homeowners who have the extra space would often want landscaping ideas planned and designed to beautify their surroundings. If you are the type of homeowner who has a budget for landscape design, you may commission a professional to do the job for you, but be sure to be there and to give your personal preference to make the landscape design unique.

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credit: Distant Hill Gardens – flicker – via photopin cc

Landscaping is the artistic way of redefining and enhancing your existing extra space – may it be your front or back yard, or all the open spaces that surround your home.

The job of a professional landscape designer is to incorporate your ideas and his/her expertise to come up with the best plan and design for your area. You should note that your home and your surroundings play important roles in the plan and design. The resulting landscape design should complement and enhance the appearance of your home.

credit: brewbooks via photopin cc

credit: brewbooks via photopin cc

Landscaping Ideas And Tips

Landscaping is normally done by professionals and they employ a lot of planning and design revisions to meet the unique preferences of their clients. However, you should understand that landscape artists follow the natural land formation and flow of your existing surroundings.

Landscape designs are made based on what already exists, but drastic changes and applications can be made if you have a certain preference. You should take note that changing the natural form of your backyard, for example, requires extra time and budget to meet your preferred landscape design.

The most common enhancements used in landscape designs are themed landscapes using ornamental plants, water features, ponds and some fixtures. Asian themed landscape designs are quite in-demand these days because of the popularity of koi ponds and Zen atmosphere.

For a more enchanting landscape design, professionals utilize water features and lighting. Exotic plants and herbs are also quite fascinating and can add more beauty to specific themes.

Fixtures and structures such as gazebos, benches, stones, lamps, trellises and other enhancements are also good additions to landscape designs. They add beauty, sophistication and uniqueness to any landscape so long as they are appropriate to the theme in mind.

Trees, shrubs and bushes are also important in landscape designs. For smaller spaces, small growing trees are ideal to use. If you have large extra space, trees of different height and foliage can add texture and depth to the area.

Planning for landscape design ideas is fun, but there sure is a lot of hard work and money involved. Be sure to be hands-on with your landscape design project to ensure that your home and the ambiance you’re after are complemented.

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Other pages to check out:

Landscaping Ideas You Can Use For Your Front And Back Yard

A Few Tips In Planning For Your Own Flower Garden Design

DIY Garden Landscape Tips

Good Use of Spare Time

I’ve been through a lot of personal issues this year because of my job. I’ve been yelled at by my boss, had my pay cut by my boss, and have even been fired by my boss for something that I didn’t even do. That job was one that I’ll never miss working at, especially now that I have marketing that I can do without all of that stress. I learned about it from Ewen Chia and now, I laugh at all of those people who still work for my old boss. Whoever did the error that got me fired should see me now.

Since I don’t have to work like I used to before, I’ve had to come up with some kind of way to make use of my time. (more…)

The American Need for Cultural Exposure

There’s no doubting that Singapore is swiftly becoming one of the most financially and politically powerful Asian countries. They’ve been a model for providing a unique, well educated and highly skilled work force both domestically and internationally which has been one of the major reasons for many international businesses to come flocking to this new nation of riches and potential. I’ve been working as a mobile app developer in Singapore for the past year which has been nothing short of an incredible learning experience. I’m positive that I’ll be able to take the lessons that I’ve learned here with me whenever I return to the States.

I find it incredible how few American workers are willing to travel overseas for employment. (more…)