Monday, May 23, 2016

Schoenbrunn Palace Gardens









The gardens at Schoenbrunn Palace, located in Vienna, Austria, were opened to the public around 1779.  The Schoenbrunn Palace was the former summer residence of the famous Hapsburg family.

The palace gardens are essentially baroque in style.  There are several interesting structures located throughout the gardens.  One is the steel Palm House, pictured on the bottom.  Neptune Fountain, with its groups of Greek - Roman statues, is a picturesque focal point.  There's also a zoo - the first in the world.

    Two other gardens, not to miss, are the dry landscape Japanese garden, and the tea garden, both presents of goodwill from Japan to Austria.



The Palace gardens are free.  They are open year-round from 6:30 AM to dusk.  There is a charge to visit the Labrinth Garden and Palm House.  Admission is 3.30 euros.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Choosing the Right Fertilizer for Your Garden









 It's time for gardening to begin.  And that means a little bit of soil fortification through fertilization.  Do all of the different fertilizers have you a bit confused?  If so, here's a brief tutorial.  There are three main ingredients in fertilizer bags:  nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.  Nitrogen is for foilage growth, phosphorus is for flowers and roots, and potassium is for overall health.  When you look on a bag of fertilizer, you'll see a set of three numbers.  These represent the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that are in the mix.  So, a 5-10-5 mix has 5% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus, and 5% potassium.



"Okay," you say.  "So what do I need?"  Well here's how you decide:



1.  Test your soil.  Those tests you get at the store will tell you your pH, but not necessarily what nutrients are missing in your soil.  So I would recommend contacting a government agency or local university to have a soil test done.  These are usually free (or there might be a small fee).  This will tell you exactly what kind of nutrients you will have to add to the soil in order to grow your desired plants.



2.  If you aren't able to test your soil, then pay attention to your plants to see what they need.  If the leaves on your plants are yellow and unhealthy, select a fertilizer with a high nitrogen count (21-3-3).  Be aware, if a plant has too much nitrogen, it won't produce flowers.  If you want to produce more flowers or fruit, choose a fertilizer with more phosphorus.  Note:  purplish leaves usually indicate a deficiency in phosphorus.



3.  If you want a general guideline, follow this:  1-2-1 is a great mix for vegetable gardens, 5-10-5 is a good all-purpose fertilizer.



4. There are also fertilizers for specifc plants.  Always follow the labels on the packaging when fertilizing your plants.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

George Washington's River Farm





George Washington's River farm and gardens are located in Alexandria,Virginia.  The property covers nearly 25 acres and overlooks the Potomac River.  The farm was owned by George Washington from 1760 until his death in 1799.  It now serves as the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society.Children can enjoy this historic site, as well.  There are a dozen small gardens made just for kids.  These include a Fairy Tale garden, Hummingbird Garden, Butterfly Garden, Scratch and Sniff Garden, Maze Garden, and Bat Cave.
The Wildlife Garden is a big favorite for kids.  They can hang out at the pond, pictured above, and spot little creatures like turtles, goldfish, and frogs.
The gardens are open Monday through Friday. Admission is free.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Topiary Park


I don't know about you, but I've always found topiaries to be fascinating focal points of gardens.  If you like topiaries, the place to visit is Topiary Park, in downtown Columbus, Ohio.  The seven acre park is famous for its topiary interpretation of Georges Seurat's famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grande Jatte.

The park was dedicated in 1992, but it goes back to the early 19th century.  It was once a part of the Old Deaf School Park. The concept came from artist, James T, Mason, who teaches sculpture at the Recreation and Park's Department of Cultural Arts Center. He designed and installed the frames and living topiaries.
  
The garden contains 54 topiary people, eight boats, 3 dogs, a monkey, a cat, and a pond, which represents the Seine River.  The largest feature is 12 feet tall.




The park is open daily from sunrise to sunset.
Admission is free.  The best viewing is April through November, when the greenery is in bloom.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Beijing Botanical Gardens







The  Beijing Botanical Garden, located in Beijing, China, was established in 1955. It is the largest botanical garden in northern China.  Eleven themed gardens make up this 400 hectare complex.  These include a tree garden, rose garden, peony garden, and traditional medicinal herb garden. The gardens contain over 6,000 species of plants.

 In addition to all of the beautiful plants, the garden contains several historic sites, including the Cao Xueqin Memorial Hall, Tomb of Liang Qichao, and the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha.
With its ponds, elegant bridges, and gorgeous flowers, the Beijing Botanical Garden is a place of great beauty.






 Admission is free, and the garden is open daily from 7 AM to 5 PM.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Brookside Children's Garden


Brookside Children's GardenThe Brookside Children's Garden is part of the Wheaton regional park in Maryland.  Probably the most interesting feature of the garden, is the tree house pictured above.  It is constructed of recycled material.  Kids can climb the stairs, then play with wooden blocks or construct things with other natural materials.
The garden also features a gnome hut, where kids can follow stepping stones to a tea party, and a water garden, where kids can observe frogs and other assorted water creatures.
Brookside Gardens Pictures
The Brookside Chidren's Garden is open daily from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is free.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

United States Botanical Gardens







Located in Washington DC, the United States Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Established in  1850, it has grown to house about 26,000 plants, including medicinal plants, orchids, and cacti.

The Conservatory, built in 1933, houses a jungle, desert, and primeval paradise.

Outdoors, the National Garden features a variety of mid-Atlantic plants.


The gardens are open 10-5 daily, including weekends and holidays.  Admission is free.