www.WalterReeves.com
About Walter  •  Contact Walter  •  Glossary
www.WalterReeves.com
Gardening in Georgia
   
Home
Lawns
Landscaping
Outdoor Flowers & Foliage  
Ornamental Trees  
Shrubs  
Vines  
Groundcovers  
Orn Grasses  
Pest Plants  
Plant Lists  
Water Features  
General Garden Info  

Food Gardening
Houseplants
Insects / Animals
Tools / Chemicals
Gardening Events
How-To Archive
Seasonal Calendar
Q&A of the Week
Gardening Links

Walter on TV & Radio
Walter's Books

Buy Walter's Book Here!



  Landscaping > General Garden Info > Garden Phrases - Misunderstood by Some

General Garden Info

Garden Phrases - Misunderstood by Some

I was reading late at night recently when I came upon a phrase that chilled my soul: “Dress with dried blood to accelerate.”

Did it concern the latest Hollywood terror flick? Was it directions for driving a getaway car? Are fashion designers upping the ante on the catwalks of Milan?

Actually, none of the above. It came from a gardening tome published in the 1930's and dealt with their notion of how to promote better peony growth with the addition of organic fertilizer. Unless you know the garden vernacular, your initial reaction might be the same as mine.

I relish telling a tale from several years ago when I gave a bag of bulbs as a housewarming gift to my friend Karl and his wife. Never having gardened before, they stared, big-eyed, at the assortment of daffodils and tulips I proffered.

“What should we do with them now?”, they inquired.

”Oh, just prepare a bed and put them in it”, I casually replied.

“Surely you don’t mean we have to SLEEP with them?!” they squealed in unison.

I quickly reassured them that “preparing a bed” was a gardening term and had nothing to do with their night time arrangements. Ever since, I have tried to keep them in mind when explaining garden tasks to beginners. I also keep in mind that we are ALL beginners at some aspect of gardening. Even garden experts might run across a term or phrase they’ve never encountered. Today, let’s examine some garden words and phrases that are commonly mis-interpreted.

PREPARE A BED Just as a lumpy mattress and thin covers make for a miserable night for a couple, heavy soil and skimpy mulch can make life miserable for a plant. Whether you’re planting bulbs, a butterfly bush or begonias, the roots of your plant MUST be happy in order for it to thrive. What makes roots happy? Organic matter!

Few gardeners have perfect soil in which to plant. Their soil may be too sandy, too wet, too dry or too full of clay. Mixing organic soil conditioner with the soil to a depth of eight inches or more makes good gardening soil out of the poorest dirt.

I have lots of clay in my landscape soil. When I prepare a bed, I spade up the existing soil as deeply as I can with a round-point shovel. Onto my loosened pile I pour a two cubic foot bag of soil conditioner for every ten square feet of bed. On top goes two bags of gritty sand (Quikrete All-Purpose Sand, PaveStone Underlayment Sand, granite dust, etc) . I also scatter a pint of garden lime and a half-bag of hen manure on the site. My Mantis tiller makes short work of mixing it all together but, if the soil is moderately dry, a shovel is almost as fast.

I rake the bed smooth, stand back a minute to admire my handiwork and then drink some iced tea, secure in the knowledge that this PREPARED BED will be a happy home for anything I plant there.

WELL-DRAINED I was explaining to someone recently that flowering cherry trees absolutely require well-drained soil to succeed. “Well, that’s not a problem,” they responded, “I’m planting on a slope, so water drains right past it.”

“Sloping soil is usually poorly drained,” I replied. “Your cherry will be dead in a year if you plant it on that eroded clay bank.”

It is important to distinguish between surface drainage and soil drainage. Water inevitably flows down hill. That is surface drainage. Soil drainage, though, is what happens to moisture when it soaks through the earth around a plant’s roots. Roots must have oxygen around them. Clay and water in the soil cut off oxygen. Going back to my recipe for bed preparation above, notice the sand I added. It, plus the organic soil conditioner, helps water soak past roots underground. Once the water is gone, oxygen flows into the soil and roots take a happy breath of life.

Garden words that seem to mean one thing may actually mean something else. To keep your garden happy, you have to learn the language of gardeners and properly apply the words to your outdoor tasks.




 



powered by
FreeFind

Find links, recipes and miscellaneous information Walter mentions on his WSB radio show, and check out Walter's schedule for TV appearances.

Click here to sign up for Walter's e-mail garden newsletter

Click here to check soil temperatures in your area.

Divide over-wintered baskets of Boston fern into four sections. Plant new hanging baskets using two sections of fern in each.

View April Calendar


 
LawnsLandscapingFood GardeningHouseplantsInsects/AnimalsTools/ChemicalsCool Plants
How-To ArchiveSeasonal CalendarQ & AGardening LinksWalter on TV & RadioWalter's Books
About WalterContact WalterGlossaryFeedback
©2009 Walter Reeves The Georgia Gardener. All Rights Reserved.