Children love playhouses and creating one in the garden is fun and easy and the children will enjoy helping you create it. Your children will spend many happy summers playing in one of these and it will become one of their fondest childhood memories.
What You’ll Need
A nice sized section of garden area. Make sure there’s room enough for the kids to play inside.
Sunflower Seeds (various types, we like very tall ones and then smaller ones)
Various herbs (we like chamomile, lavender, mint, basil, oregano, marigolds and other similar herbs)
Decide On A Shape
Decide what shape you want your garden playhouse to be. You may wish to draw it out with string prior to planting your seeds.
Planting Your Playhouse
Plant your giant sunflower seeds as the outer “walls” of your playhouse. Space them far enough apart that children can go in between them, but close enough together that they make it appear like a secret garden.
Plant snow peas near the tallest sunflowers. They will grow and wind up the tall sunflowers. Children will enjoy nibbling on these while they’re playing so be sure to show them how delicious they are.
Intersperse the herbs throughout the sunflowers and plant smaller sunflowers in between as well. You want it to appear as if there is a quaint little garden fence along the outer “walls” of your playhouse so be creative and make the herbs appear to be a fence line or add pops of color here and there.
Plant the carrots along the inside “wall” of the tallest sunflowers. These make great snacks for hungry children while they’re in the playhouse.
Help your children water their playhouse every day. Talk to them about how some plants grow faster than other plants. Talk about how some plants have edible seeds (sunflowers) and some have edible roots (carrots) while some have edible flowers and delicious leaves.
Furnishing Your Playhouse
Depending upon the age of your children, you may wish to put some lawn furniture inside the playhouse area. We have a hammock we like in ours.
You could make the inside like a sand castle as well and have a sand bucket or some “earth moving” tools like toy dump trucks etc. Get creative and make this playhouse as personal as you can for your children.
Winding Down The Season
As the season winds down and the sunflowers begin to tip over teach your children about how to dry sunflowers. Remove the heads of the flowers and air dry your seeds. Then toast them with some sea salt and enjoy eating them.
Uproot the remainder of the sunflower stalks and put them in a compost pile. Save the herbs and dry them for eating with dinner in the winter months. Remind the children how the herbs grew in their own playhouse.
Oregano, lavender, chamomile and marigolds will come back year after year so there is no need to remove these. Basil will need to be replanted each year.
Enjoy playing in the playhouse.
Just because you don’t have huge, elaborate gardens does not mean you cant accentuate what you do have with l garden bridges. Garden bridges could be just what you need to turn those mediocre garden areas into something quite splendid.
Garden bridges can add a touch of country or formal design to a garden. Small garden bridges are easy to find. There are many garden bridges that you can find in garden centers or home improvement centers. One of the best places to find small garden bridges may be online. There are lots of sites that have many ideas for small garden bridges.
Make Your Own Garden Bridge
If you are good with a hammer and nails you may even be able to make your own garden bridge. Plans are available at building stores and at online sites. You will find many choices for garden bridges at these online sites and you can also see photos of many different bridge styles.
A garden bridge can be a big benefit for your garden space. A small garden bridge will look attractive in a smaller garden and draw attention to a specific area.
You can choose the right small garden bridge if you do a little planning ahead of time. If you have a smaller garden you will want a smaller garden bridge. Look at the space you have and decide where a bridge would fit in. Consider more than one area and then choose your favorite.
There are some lovely gardens that are small in size but large in beauty because garden bridges have been added in just the right places.
There are just so many benefits to growing your own fresh organic vegetables, first of all it’s great fun, second of all it can save you money and third of all your vegetables will taste fresh and delicious just like they did in the good old days.
More and more people are coming around to the idea of growing their own vegetables but don’t know where to start so here’s where you can start – by reading this guide to vegetable backyard gardening for beginners. Growing vegetables just might be easier than you thought; after all, it’s really not rocket science.
Vegetable Gardening – What to Grow
Don’t get over excited and plant lots of different vegetables, start off small and learn as you go along. If you grow too many vegetables (or too many of the same type of vegetables) the chances are that a lot of them will go to waste which would be a crying shame. Think about your family and what they will actually eat – alternatively it doesn’t harm to hand over a few tomatoes to the neighbor every now and then, it can give you a real sense of pride.
Remember that vegetables like tomatoes and peppers will keep on supplying you with food for the whole season so you don’t need too many plants. On the other hand carrots, corn and radishes are a “one supply only” so you may need to plant more of them.
Vegetable Gardening – What about Space
You don’t actually need masses of space to grow your own vegetables, you can even grow many vegetables quite successfully in containers. A well tended garden will provide you with plenty of vegetables – a 10 foot square well tended plot will provide tons more delicious veggies than a 20 foot square plot which has veggies fighting against the weeds.
The Basic Needs of a Vegetable Gardening
Whatever size of vegetable plot you decide upon you must remember that all veggie gardens have three basic requirements.
” Full sun – the majority of veggies are sun loving and will need around six or eight hours of sunlight every day for best results – if they don’t get plenty of sunlight not only will you not get as good a crop but they are also likely to suffer from diseases and insect attacks. Leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce don’t need to be grown in full sunlight and things like peas prefer a little shade if you live in a particularly hot summer climate.
” Water – water, water and more water. Vegetables need plenty of water in order to grow so when you plan the location of your vegetable plot remember that it will be much easier for you if it is close to a water source – or if you have a very long hose!
” Soil – just like any other plants vegetables do best if they have good soil. The majority of vegetables will do better in well drained, moist soil which has plenty of peat moss or compost in it.
Follow those few basic guidelines and you will be able to look forward to eating delicious home grown vegetables for the whole summer.
Herbs are an important addition to the fruits and vegetables that we grow in our gardens. However, they do not have to be just plain old green plants. Most flowering herbs can more than hold their own when put up against any flower garden.
They have beautiful foliage and bright blooms. The herbs give you a double bonus by not only looking beautiful, but also being practical as well because they can be used for your crafts or cooking needs.
Flowering Herbs In Your Backyard Garden For Color
Having a border made of flowering herbs is a great compromise for those that have limited space because the plants serve double duty as a perennial border as well as an herb garden. There are many easy to plant beautiful herbs that you can use for foliage and flowers. Most of them bloom with colors ranging from silver, pink, lavender, and bronze, as well as white and yellow.
One of the first perennial herbs that you can use is anise hyssop. This perennial will grow bushy clumps, having stems that branch upright and are topped with lavender blue flowers. These flowers will bloom somewhere between mid to late summer.
The flowers are very attractive to beneficial insects and pollinating bees, which in turn will benefit your entire garden. Both the flowers and leaves of this plant are very fragrant when they are dried or fresh and are great to use for a potpourri mix.
Bee balm is another great flowering herb. This usually blooms in the summer with red flowers, however, some may also come with purple, pink, or white blooms. This herb will also spread on its own.
A delicate looking but very sturdy and easy to grow plant is feverfew. This herb will bloom from early in the summer to early fall. The flowers are white pedaled with yellow centers and look like mini daisies. These plants will grow up to 2 feet tall.
The very distinctive fragrance and look of lavender is also a great addition to your garden. The tall spikes of purple blue flowers sitting on very slender stalks over narrow leaves that have a silvery color give lavender a distinctive look.
It will bloom around midsummer and makes a great border. The only consideration for lavender is to be sure it has very good drainage.
Meadowsweet is a great perennial herb that blooms with white clusters of flowers during mid to late summer. Dark green large leaves will grow in clumps and spread by creeping. You will need to divide these plants around every 2 to 3 years to help control their spreading.
The purple coneflower otherwise known as echinacea, will produce sturdy stems in clumps that are topped with large daisy like rosy pink flowers that contain raised centers that are brown and orange in color.
Using flowering herbs in your garden as a border, or just in general, can make a great addition to the look of your garden as well as providing great herbs for your cooking and craft needs.
The summer is a busy time for gardeners – some plants will grow like wildfire and others will be liable to perish under the hot summer sun. With a little TLC and plenty of water there is no reason why every plant shouldn’t flourish and bloom in the summer months – extra water and fertilizer is really the key to having a beautiful backyard summer garden.
Here are a few more backyard garden tips to help you get the most from your garden this summer.
” It can be a little tempting to over water lawns during the summer months, I know, you wouldn’t think it possible but a lawn only really needs two – three inches of water per week.
” Watering your lawn (and the rest of your garden) early in the morning will reduce the amount of water which is lost because of evaporation.
” You need to treat your lawn every 4 or 6 weeks with some lawn food – the slow release food is the best choice.
” Don’t forget to mow your lawn quite regularly. You should mow the grass every time it has grown around a half an inch to an inch for the best results.
” Flower beds need to have plenty of organic mulch to help them retain as much moisture as possible.
” Give your flower beds plenty of water – the soil should be always moist but never soggy.
” Your flower beds will also need to be fertilized quite regularly through the summer – at least every three or four weeks.
” Dead head flowers to promote more bloom and new growth – pinch back any stems which are becoming leggy.
” You may need to water newly planted flowers more than once per day until they become established and settled in the flower bed.
” Trees also need lots of fertilizer to encourage rapid growth during the summer, especially citrus fruit trees, deciduous fruit trees and desert trees.
” When you water these trees make sure that they have plenty of water to around 3 inches of depth.
” If you want to plant any citrus, fruit or desert trees now is a good time to do it.
Summer Gardening Pests
The plants may be glad to see the summer but it is also the time when you have to be most vigilant against diseases and insects.
” Keep an eye on your trees and shrubs for foliage which suddenly begins to wilt
” Branches which begin to die at the end (around 6 – 8 inches at the end) may be victims of the female cicada – she may have selected to lay her eggs. If you can see slash marks measuring around ¼” that’s probably the culprit – you can’t do anything to control it but the damage is usually pretty limited.
” Prickly pear cactus is extremely susceptible to cochineal scale – white fluffy globs – blasting them off with water jets is usually sufficient to sort them out.
Summer is the time when most people can really enjoy their garden and following a few of these summer gardening tips will ensure that you have a beautiful garden to enjoy.