Todd Finn - RE/MAX Partners



Posted by Todd Finn on 6/26/2016

Homeowners have different amounts of time they can spend in the garden; for most of us, it is never enough. If you have a busy schedule and cannot devote a lot of time or energy to caring for your landscape, you can still have a beautiful, eye-catching garden. With a bit of research and planning, you can discover plants that thrive in your garden and require little in the way of care or maintenance. Consider about the configuration of your garden, making a sketch of areas that are sunniest and those that receive shade. Note the content of the soil. Likely some areas of your property have soil that is loamier or sandier than others. Take several soil samples from your yard, marked with the location, to your local county extension office for soil analysis and advice on what you need to do to supplement your soil and improve growing conditions. Creating a low-maintenance garden and landscape is about more than selecting the right low maintenance plants. It is important to factor in your United States Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone, your unique gardening environment and then working with it. Matching plants to the conditions in your garden and the plants requirements when you plant them, and you will have save time later. Group plants with similar water requirements together, keeping all your thirsty plants in one spot for ease of watering. Consider installing a drip irrigation which is an inexpensive and healthier way for plants to obtain moisture and a lot less work for you. Low Maintenance Plants When looking for low maintenance plants for the garden, choose perennials that you only have to plant once. Perennials and annuals that self-seed grace the garden every spring with bursts of color and fresh greenery; all without effort on your part. It is best to choose perennials rated for your USDA hardiness zone and growing conditions. If a plant grows in the wild in your “neck of the woods” it will grow in your garden. If established in the wild, the plant is acclimated to your make it through the winter where you live, tolerant of rainfall amounts, soil quality, and climate. Hardy Perennials Gardener’s in USDA hardiness zones 2 through 6 suggest peonies, butterfly weed, daffodils and tulips for sunny, permanent spots in the garden. The many different striking varieties of geranium are perfect for borders, pots, baskets, and containers, but must be dug and stored or brought indoors in areas subject to freezing. In these same hardiness zones, ferns, hostas, and bleeding heart are hardy perennials that tolerate shade and cold temperatures.




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Posted by Todd Finn on 5/15/2016

You've just bought a house…or maybe you're about to sell one. You look around your property and realize it's less than attractive. The grass is patchy and yellowed in some areas; the shrubs that came with the property look overgrown or spindly; and there's no color anywhere. So how do you go about making your yard an inviting oasis--a place that you or a potential buyer would like to spend time in? You start with the base--the soil. An inexpensive home soil test kit will tell you if your soil is too acidic or alkaline. Depending on the results, you can add a lime or a sulphur mixture to obtain the correct pH. Another factor is your soil's composition and texture. The best soil has the perfect proportions of clay, silt and sand and has some organic components as well. If your soil is so dense you can barely get a spade into it, you need to to loosen it up with a good hand tool and some loam. Loam is basically "perfect soil", with the correct proportions of sand, clay and silt. Loam is available at your local landscape supply business and is sold by the cubic yard. You can mix it into your existing soil or--if your soil is very poor and rocky (as is often the case here in New England), you can remove it and replace it with loam. The other important component of soil--especially if you plan on planting flowers and/or vegetables is organic nutrients. There are two ways to enrich your soil: on the surface and in the soil itself. The best way to add nutrients from the inside out is with compost, which is organic material that has been partially broken down. Old-fashioned composting takes time and work. You need a bin, lots of organic material (leftover food, leaves, grass clippings, etc.), time for the material to break down and someone willing to turn the compost frequently (mixing it up). There is an easier method, however: recycling yard waste. Many landscape suppliers will take your branches, limbs and clippings and turn them into compost for you. Typically, you drop off your yard waste and drive off with someone else's that's already been turned into compost--everyone benefits. Once the soil is good, you can then go onto to the fun part--choosing and planting flowers, shrubs and trees.




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