Tall tales from years of old are a common phenomenon in our society. These are perpetuated by some inkling of truth, or, just made out of “whole cloth.” The hobby or passion of gardening isn’t immune from these old wive’s tales. We hear them, and because of the claim itself, discount practically any notion of illegitimacy. After all, since these seeming helpful hints survive, there must be something to them or they’d disappear.
All of this might be otherwise logical, but at some point, experience tells us something quite different. In a few instances, it’s common sense which prevails, in many others, it’s scientific testing that uncovers and exposes practices which might be counterproductive, benign, or downright harmful.
Take for instance burying banana peels to promote growth, particularly in roses. Now, it is true that banana peels contain high amounts of potassium. What’s more, it is true that roses do thrive and bloom from potassium, it’s also true that chemical reactions in the soil occur simultaneously. While microorganisms break down the banana peels, an excess amount of nitrogen must be contributed to cause said breakdown. When nitrogen is taken away, so is the very nutrient that’s needed to promote growth in all plants. Hence, banana peels buried into the soil do more damage than good. In this case, it’s best to compost banana peels rather than bury them.
Why Gardening Myths are Perpetuated
We all love products that deliver results. Some have become so synonymous with consumers, we call them by their brand names rather than the actual product. We know these products intimately and use them quite often. The reason we as consumers call these products by their brand names is because the advertising has worked. In some instances, it’s because the first generation of a product was rolled out under a brand name, so, it sticks. While in other instances, it’s the high water mark for the best quality.
Many consumers assume that products on the store shelf must have been tested to prove their claims. Certainly, fertilizers have to meet nutrient content requirements, and pesticides are rigorously tested for safety before EPA registration. For some other garden products, however, no such testing is required before sale to the public. –Robert Cox, Horticulture Agent, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension
Gardening myths aren’t really any different. We buy certain products because of the claims. For the majority of these, results are real. However, that doesn’t mean another manufacturer doesn’t produce as high of a quality product. As the nearby quote points out, manufacturer claims aren’t held to scrutiny. That puts the power of consumer choice in our hands. Aside from manufacturer claims, there are just some myths that simply don’t go unchallenged.
Most Common Gardening Myths Exposed
Let’s take a look at some of the most common and biggest gardening and landscaping myths out there. Some of these might surprise you, while others might be something you’ve always thought not to be true. In no particular order, here are some of the biggest gardening myths:
- If a tree is dying, it’s not being properly fertilized. Okay, so organic lifeforms need to be fed. That’s unarguably true, but, it doesn’t mean that more fertilizer, which is to say food, is the only answer. You can’t put a tree on a heeling track if you’re not treating the right symptoms. Perhaps, it’s a disease, or pests, it could also be true that’s it’s suffered some type of mechanical damage. Or, it’s simply at the end of its life.
- Damaged trees need dressing treatment. Sticking with tree myths, one is still very prevalent, though completely untrue. For what seems like ages, homeowners and arborists dressed wounded trees with tar and other substances after damage was inflicted. Though Dr. Alex Shigo of the U.S. Forest Service disproved this practice as not only unnecessary but harmful in the 1980’s, it stays with us.
- All planting must be done in the spring. Now, when it’s spelled out to read, this probably strikes you as untrue. Surely there can be plants which can be planted and grown at other seasons. For instance, fall is a great time to plant trees. Though it is the case that summer planting is one time that’s most challenging for growth. Because of the sheer magnitude of sunlight, plants can burn, especially in places like here in Sarasota.
- Routine watering is absolutely necessary. While watering is necessary, the amount differs, and, for different plants. Too much water will drown just about anything. This isn’t to say that you need to cut down on watering, just adjust the schedule. Water for more time but with less frequency. That will do a lot more good for you landscape.
- Adding vitamin B-1 prevents transplant shock. Though this might sound like good science, it’s actually been disproved by scientists. Thiamine, or Vitamin B1, does absolutely nothing to prevent transplant shock. Fertilizer will, and, it’s less expensive.
If you’re wondering how to design a rock garden, you might think it’s going to be a long, difficult project.
The truth is, it’s only going to be a complex as you choose to make it and with the right planning, you can create a beautiful rock garden design.
What’s more, you don’t have to resign yourself to the idea this is a pure backyard landscape feature,
it also makes for a wonderful front yard improvement which increases your home’s curb appeal.
A great advantage to installing a rock garden is it’s simplicity compared to other, more detail orientated projects. For instance, you might have an urge to plant new species on your property, like bamboo or giant Salvinia. While these might look good in a landscape design, understand both are invasive species. In fact, there are a number of non-native, invasive species found in Florida that wreak havoc on private properties across the state.
Organic and natural materials should be anyone’s first choice when decorating the outdoors and having a rock garden should definitely be on your wish list this summer. Use rocks to transform your plain and boring backyard into a beautiful and relaxing oasis. Use their sculptural beauty to create eye-catching designs and try to make them look as natural as possible in the setting you’re providing. –homedit.com
Another advantage to a rock garden is this decorative feature is one that’s low maintenance. It does require much attention but it provides a lot of beauty. The best location for a rock garden is in an open area, where it can be expanded in the future. Moreover, you can select different plants to celebrate a season and because there are so many warm days in Sarasota, you won’t have to wring your hands over the right choices. So, let’s get to how to design a rock garden for your property:
- Choose an area and clear it. The first step to creating a rock garden is to choose a specific location and clear it so you have an empty slate on which to create. As stated above, it ought to be an open area as rock gardens typically meander widely. It’s part of their appeal and gives it a zen feel when you and guests visit it.
- Decide on a workable design. One of the biggest landscaping mistakes is to forgo thoughtful planning and just winging it on a concept seen on the web, in a magazine, or down the street. To avoid problems during and after the installation, choose a workable design. While this might not be an exciting part of the process, it’s one that’s absolutely necessary. You do not want to be part way or nearly finished when you realize there’s a big problem. Think about space, use, and where plants and rocks will be set.
- Select different sized stones for your rock garden. Although this is an obvious part of the design, it bears inclusion because it is so important. Select large boulders, medium boulders, small boulders, flat stones to use for a walkway, along with colored riverbed stones and flagstone to mix it up. Be careful with which you select as these can be too heavy for a single individual to handle on his or her own.
- Start setting the stones, beginning with the largest. With the area cleared and a design selected to work with, start building your rock garden by setting the largest boulders and stones first. Be sure to take some time to consider how the largest will be arranged because it’s very difficult to relocate these as they can easily weigh up to 500 pounds. Set stones according to size, from largest to smallest.
- Choose complementary plants for your rock garden. Become familiar with different plant species and which will not only thrive in the Sarasota climate, but also, will be complementary to the rock garden. Mix up colors and sizes so the final product doesn’t look mundane and boring. Remember, a key rule of landscaping is to avoid straight lines as non-linear shapes look and feel more natural.
- Create a rock garden riverbed and/or walkway, if desired. You can also opt to put-in a riverbed to allow water to flow through your rock garden, which gives it more charm. Another great additional feature is to lay a winding walkway around, inside, and to and from your rock garden. This not only adds a wonderful aesthetic, it has the benefit of creating a separate space to enjoy when in your yard.
If it’s time to refresh your landscape, contact us. We are a full-service, professional landscape design company and serve all of Sarasota, including near Bayfront Drive, around Rolling Green Golf Club, along Longboat Club Road, and elsewhere.