Landscaping and Gardening Services in Pismo Beach and SLO County
264 Irish Way, Pismo Beach, CA 93449
Mon-Sat: 7:00AM - 5:00PM
09 Jan 2018

Farm to Table: The First Steps [Infographic]

farm to table

 

What’s Farm to Table?

It’s growing and eating your own produce.

Let’s start with the first steps.

You’ll know where your food (or at least some if it) comes from, and it gets you and your family outside working together.

Here’s how to start Farm to Table

• Work with a landscaper
• Have a soil sample taken and tested
• Consider renting a tiller to save cash
• Learn about tools

Working with a landscaper saves you from errors that may make you decide to throw in the towel.

Your landscaper can help you select the best area for your garden.

They’ll take a soil sample and tell you if your soil needs nutrients.

Researching tools before buying saves you money.

If you know what you actually need before you go to the store, you won’t overspend.

Tools meant for little hands let young children help.

Plants

Choose plants that grow well in your area and your space.

Some choices you’ll need to make are:

• Which vegetables your family likes
• What’s missing from your regular diet
• Which vegetables and herbs will grow all year
• The easiest veggies to grow

A garden is a great way to encourage your kids to eat a variety of vegetables.

You can plant their favorites and introduce them to new things.

The best gardens produce all season.

Some plants have a specific growing season.

Others produce all year.

Some will be ready to harvest in a couple of months.

Others won’t be ready to harvest until fall.

Good vegetables to start with are tomatoes, bell peppers, hot peppers, beans and peas.

Don’t forget herbs such as basil.

In Part 2, we’ll discuss late-season crops and seedlings or planting from seed.

If you’re ready to get started with your own Farm to Table, contact Evergreen Landscaping to help get you off on the right foot.

 

29 Dec 2017

Winter Wonderland Landscaping Ideas

How can you transform your Pismo Beach property into a winter wonderland for the New Year? It’s easy when you combine tasteful holiday decor with your existing landscaping.

winter wonderland landscaping ideas

Elements of Winter

What makes you think of winter, no matter your climate? The basics of a winter theme include:

• Snow
• Winter plants
• Color combinations
• Lighting
• Inside decor

Instead of filling your yard with out-of-date, oversized decorations, weave elegant decor elements through your landscaping and onto your porch and patio for a look that will enchant your family and friends.

Creating Winter in Your California Yard

You may already have some white flowering plants that bloom in winter. If not, your landscaper can either add some to your yard or provide you with potted plants. Potted flowers are a good choice for holiday decorating because you can place them anywhere you like.

Jade Plant is a succulent with masses of little white flowers resembling snowflakes. Jade Plant starts blooming in December.

jade plant

Cyclamen is best known for its pink to lavender palette, but it’s also available in white and looks great in large planters.

Cyclamen

White, silver and blue convey a cool impression. Use white and blue strings of lights around your door. You can also light up large shrubs or small trees. Remember with lights, less is more. Your guests will appreciate a pleasant touch of cool color more than a blaze of lighting outlining your house.

Instead of lighting up the house, light up the garden. Glowing globes hanging from your trees will create a fantasy atmosphere.

Silver and blue wreaths can be traditional or modern. Whatever style you prefer, the colors will add to your wintry atmosphere.

Decor

Holiday yard decor detracts from your landscaping and lighting. Consider taking your lawn colors into the house with decorations that enhance your winter theme.

Spiral tree decorations in clear plastic or crystal resemble icicles. Snowflake decorations are a must. Silver, blue and white glass balls continue the dreamy winter vibe. If you’ve taken down your tree or didn’t put up a tree, you can hang decorations from your mantel or even from potted trees. Green garland wrapped around your stair banisters adds an authentic winter element and keeps your whites and blues from becoming overwhelming. Garland is also a great way to display ornaments.

Traditional or Modern Decor?

If your home is traditional, we recommend plants like Poinsettias. Poinsettias come in red and ivory. A basket looks great in a traditional setting. A white ceramic pot is perfect for a modern setting. White Orchids are perfect for a modern home.

Small potted Evergreens are classic holiday decorations and, depending on the type of tree, bring the fragrance of the forest into your home. You can plant them in your yard after the holidays. Your landscaper can help you select the perfect Evergreen.

Things to Remember:
• Cool colors evoke the spirit of winter
• Modern, understated lighting is flattering
• Potted winter plants inside and out complete the winter atmosphere

Ring in the New Year in a beautiful winter wonderland. Call us today for plants and landscaping planning.

13 Dec 2017

How to Create a Holiday Garden Landscape

Your garden can be a part of your holiday decor. Some of your flowers will carry over into fall and winter. You can still order bedding and container plants. Don’t just settle for evergreens when you can have colorful autumn and winter flowers.

How to Create a Holiday Garden Landscape

Planning Your Holiday Landscaping

Some of your summer flowers will bloom well into November and December. You can plant other flowers that will come into bloom in winter. You can also order flats of some flowers for the holidays. Some landscaping flowers to consider are:

  • Marigolds are yellow to deep orange annuals that will re-seed themselves as summer comes to an end and the seed heads dry up and turn brown. Don’t deadhead your Marigolds if you want a second blooming starting in fall. Marigolds can withstand some freezing or just below freezing nights and are good bedding plants. The central plant is a viney growth with spreading flowers six to eight inches tall.
  • Daphne bholua is a wonderful evergreen shrub that grows to about eight feet tall and flowers in midwinter. Each stem has many blooms ranging from white to deep mauve.
  • Pansies provide brilliant color in low-growing bedding plants. Scarlet Pansies with almost black centers are an excellent choice for December. Landscapers have flats ready for pre-holiday planting.
  • Snapdragons may not seem like a winter flower, but at up to three feet tall, they can be your colorful winter standout. Plant them in early autumn for maximum height and blossoms in December. You can also order them from your landscaper.
  • Iceland Poppies are all colorful drama on a tall stem bare of leaves. The blooms are a spiral of orange, red and neon pink. Plant full-grown Iceland Poppies in full sun in late autumn and early winter.

Outdoor Container Plants for Late Fall and Winter

Container plants look great flanking your front doors and steps. They also dress up your deck. Fall and winter container plants accentuate decorative greenery and are especially beautiful when placed next to areas with holiday lights. Some container plants for holiday decor are:

  • Cyclamen’s white petals also feature the pale and deep reds you associate with Christmas flowers. Keep them on your porch in partial shade. Water Cyclamen frequently.
  • The yellow blooms of English Primrose are a welcome sight in winter. The color and trailing flowers are a perfect complement to Thanksgiving decor.

Winter Berries

Nandina, also called Heavenly Bamboo, reaches heights over eight feet. In spring, bumblebees love to forage in its tiny, pale yellow flowers that grow on its slender stems. Nandina’s red berries feed colorful songbirds in winter. The leaves change from deep green to gold to red. You can order juvenile Nandinas with colorful leaves now.

Things to remember:

  • Use a combination of landscaping and container plants
  • Plant and seed in early fall for winter color
  • Add permanent beauty to your landscaping with shrubs

Is your landscaping losing its color? It’s not too late to call us for natural holiday beauty. Contact us today.

30 Nov 2017

How Your Indoor Plants Can Be Used for Holiday Decoration

 

Do your houseplants disappear behind your holiday decorations? Incorporating your plants into your holiday decor is a growing trend. We have some suggestions for making your plants stand out this holiday season.

Tall Plants

Do you have tall potted trees like Fiddle Leaf Figs, Yucca, Ficus or one of the many varieties of potted Palm? Here are some ways you can make them into holiday standouts:

  • Light them up with short strings of white lights or red lights that will complement their greenery. Keep pets away from cords. Essential oils like lavender, lemon and eucalyptus applied to the pot will deter cats.
  • Decorate them. Small plastic balls are preferable. They’re light enough not to damage the plant. We don’t recommend glass ornaments unless you don’t have kids or pets. As with all ornaments, make sure they’re securely attached. Metal hooks, ribbons and twine are all dangerous to pets.
  • Surround them with tall decorations like reindeer, nutcrackers or Santas.
  • Tie silver and gold bows or ribbons to their branches. This decorating technique is especially pretty in the dining room.
  • Do you want to change things up this year? Skip the traditional central tree and place your gifts around your potted trees. Flank your fireplace with tall trees with gifts stacked around them. The kids will have more room to open gifts, and you’ll have a unique background for your holiday photos.

 

How Your Indoor Plants Can Be Used for Holiday Decoration

 

Medium and Small Plants

Smaller plants can be an essential part of holiday decorating with plants. Ideas for decorating with medium and small plants like Calatheas, Jade plants, Peace Lily include:

  • Use miniature decorations. If the leaves won’t support the decorations, tuck them into the plant. Red, silver and gold are good colors for this decorating technique because they catch the eye amidst greenery.
  • Buy your own ribbon and gently tie bows into plants like Asparagus Fern.
  • Cut sturdy wrapping paper into wide strips, wrap around the plant’s container and tape it. Alternatively, put big velvety or shiny bows on the pots.
  • Add wildlife. Dollar stores are great places to find small ceramic birds, rabbits, squirrels and deer.

Special Holiday Plants

Poinsettias aren’t the only Christmas houseplants. Ivy and Christmas Cactus can be used together or alone to line your mantel. A string of white lights edging the mantel is the perfect finishing touch.

For a unique centerpiece that delights the nose as well as the eyes, put your Peppermint plant in the middle of the table. Surround it with red, gold, silver and clear glass balls. You can put a few in the pot without damaging the plant. Tall white taper candles or white candles in jars will complete the simple and natural centerpiece.

Things to Remember:

    • Gold and silver are the hot colors for holiday this year
    • Use plants of different sizes
    • Make sure hanging ornaments are lightweight

Do you need holiday plants, or do your indoor potted trees need attention? Contact us for all your holiday plant needs.

15 Nov 2017

How to Know When It’s Time to Give Up On a Plant

It’s frustrating to let go of a plant, but sometimes the money and time spent trying to keep it alive just isn’t worth it. How do you know when to give up on a plant?

Why is the Plant Important?

If you’re worrying over a plant or shrub, stop for a moment and think about why it’s so important to you. Some reasons people spend time and money trying to keep a plant alive are:

• They grew the plant from seed. It’s an accomplishment to nourish a plant from seedling to adult plant and very disappointing when the plant develops a disease or simply doesn’t thrive.
• It was a gift. The plant itself may not be unique, but it’s special because it was a gift.
• It’s an exotic plant. Some exotics can be quite pricey, and no one likes the idea of losing a substantial amount of money.
• The plant is integral to your landscaping. Losing it may make your design uneven, or it may be a centerpiece of your landscaping.
• It’s an old plant. It’s understandable to be attached to your grandmother’s azaleas or irises and to go above and beyond to save them when they start to wane.

How to Know When It's Time to Give Up On a Plant

What Can You Do to Save a Plant?

Identifying the cause of the plant’s decline is the first step. You may be able to see insects on the leaves or grayish spots indicative of a fungus. Older plants may start to fade or die off if they aren’t getting enough sunlight. If you live in an old house, the nutrients in your flowerbed soil may be exhausted.

If the plant is very important to you, call your landscaper. They may be able to eliminate insect pests, treat a plant disease or trim trees to let more sunlight reach your flowerbed. A landscaper can also recommend plant foods and supplements or aerate your flowerbed soil and add new, nutrient-rich soil. Shrubs may just require pruning. If wildlife is dining on your plants, your landscaper has various methods to deter them.

When Should You Give Up On a Plant?

Some plants just can’t be saved. It’s time to give up when:

• You’ve spent more money on a common plant than it’s worth.
• It’s too late in the season for a dying plant to recover.
• The plant has no sentimental value or can be replaced.
• The plant (usually a vegetable) has a disease that can spread throughout your garden.
• It’s a very old plant, like a blooming shrub or irises. Unfortunately, some plants are just too old to save.

If you have to remove old plants, you may want to replace them. You could also consider trying something new to change the look of your landscaping.

Things to Remember:
• No plant is irreplaceable
• Don’t overspend trying to save a plant
• Call your landscaper for help making a decision

We can diagnose what’s wrong with your plant, treat problems and replace plants. Call us today for assistance.

27 Oct 2017

10 Benefits of Aloe Plants [Infographic]

10 Benefits of Aloe Vera

You probably know that cutting a leaf from an aloe vera plant is the best treatment for mild burns.

However, aloe gel in stores usually isn’t pure and can contain chemicals and dyes that do the opposite of what you want.

Check out these other surprising benefits of aloe:

Treating minor burns is the main use for aloe plants. You only need to cut off the tip of a leaf to get enough juice for a burn.
• You’ll need more aloe juice for mild sunburn, but a little goes a long way.
• Aloe vera juice is frequently used as part of a regimen for revitalizing natural hair.
• Ashy elbows and knees will benefit from regular applications of aloe gel.
• Treating your heels and toes with aloe is like a daily mini pedicure.
• Smearing aloe on unpeeled fruits and veggies helps them stay fresh.
• Aloe can ease gum problems.
• Turn down the itch of mosquito bites with a fresh aloe application.
• Aloe is a great alternative to antibacterial creams if you have allergies to over the counter products.
• Aloe is a succulent. It requires little care, beautifies your decor and keeps skin and hair healthy.

Aloe plants make great housewarming gifts. Pick up one for yourself and a friend.

If you need help finding the right plants for your landscaping needs in the San Luis Obiso area, contact Evergreen Landscaping today.

12 Oct 2017

How to Preserve Your Herb Garden All Year Round

herb garden

It’s always depressing to say goodbye to your garden at summer’s end. The easiest way to have a year-round garden is to cultivate herbs in planters.

Starting a Year-Round Herb Garden

If you plan to start seedlings indoors and overwinter the plants, you need a large window that gets the sun most of the day, a Florida room or sun room. Your herbs need light, warmth and TLC to survive winter.

The easiest herb to start and grow is basil. Basil seeds germinate in about a week. The soil should be barely moist to the touch. Misting seedlings with water twice a day prevents over-watering.

You can also start basil from a cutting. After the original plant’s stem gets woody, it’s not likely to last much longer. Using clean scissors washed in soap and water, cut the healthy, green branches at an angle, above joints. Put them in water in your sunniest window. When the white roots start to crowd the bottom of the glass, transplant the new plant into dirt and water it a little every other day. Full-grown basil plants can tolerate three or four days with no water.

Containers

Most gardeners use seedling trays when starting herbs because it makes transplanting seedlings easier. Just scoop the dirt and baby plants out of each section with the tip of a sharp trowel. Clay pots are best for all plants, especially new ones. Clay keeps the roots from getting overheated and dying.

Herbs to Grow Outside and Indoors

In addition to basil, some of the best herbs to overwinter are:

• Oregano
• Rosemary
• Sage
• Thyme
• Chives
• Parsley

Oregano is easy to root in water. Rosemary, sage and thyme cuttings must be rooted in potting soil and require humidity. Divide new growth from chive and parsley plants and transplant.

Regularly harvesting your plant during summer will keep it flourishing until fall. If your basil starts to flower, pinch or snip off the flower. Always use clean scissors, and clean them before using them on a different plant to avoid spreading plant diseases.

Wait until chives are around six inches tall before cutting so that they stay lush.

Do you have an abundance of fresh herbs? Dry the extra in separate paper bags. Punch several holes through each side of the bag with a pencil, make sure the herbs are dry, tape down the top of the bag and hang it in a dry, warm place in your house. Chives are difficult to dry. They develop a musty gray growth and aren’t usable.

Some herbs are mild when fresh while others are strong when fresh and lose flavor when dried.

Overwintering Herbs

Start your cuttings or divide plants while the weather is still mild to avoid temperature shock. Your herbs will require nurturing during the winter, may not produce as much and some may go into hibernation. This is normal. Your goal is to have a growing garden ready for next spring.

Things to Remember:
• Some herbs root in soil and others in water
• Use clay pots
• Move herbs inside and outside during mild weather

To learn more about herb gardens and keeping herbs over the winter, contact us.

28 Sep 2017

5 Natural Fertilizers to Help Your Garden and Deter Unwanted Visitors

Natural FertilizersUsing chemicals on lawns and plants is a hot topic. There’s growing concern about the effects of herbicides and pesticides on bees. How do you add nutrients to your garden and control pests without resorting to chemicals?

Go Natural in the Garden

One of the advantages to using natural fertilizers and pest repellents is that you probably have them around the house. Other pluses are:

• A chemical-free lawn is safe for your family
• Natural insect repellents don’t kill bees and their main food sources, clover and dandelions
• You can keep wildlife out of your garden without harming them

Most of these methods of fertilizing and protecting your garden are so easy and safe that your children can help you.

Five Natural Fertilizers and Pest Repellents

• Used coffee grounds are a fertilizer and rodent repellent
• Crushed eggshells are a fertilizer
• Hot sauce sends wildlife running
• Onion peelings repel wildlife and enrich soil
• Used dishwater (from hand-washing dishes) keeps bugs off your plants

How to Use Natural Fertilizers in Your Garden

Before starting to use any fertilizer, it’s best to get a soil test. Your landscaper can assist you. Crushed eggshells add nitrogen to the soil. Your soil may not need that.

It’s easiest to save eggshells in the carton. Keep them in the fridge, or they’ll draw fruit flies. You should wear a filter mask when crushing eggshells. Some gardeners like to break up a few eggshells with a sharp trowel and work them into the soil. This works best for container gardening and potted plants.

Coffee grounds are one of a gardener’s best friends. Dump the filter and grounds into an empty coffee can. You can work the grounds into the soil or sprinkle them on top to keep squirrels from digging up seeds and bulbs.

If you have particularly determined squirrels, place the used coffee filters over newly planted seeds for a few days. Seedlings will sprout under the filters as long as the pot or area gets direct sunlight. Water after applying coffee grounds.

Toss your onion scraps right into pots or your garden. The smell deters pests, and the plant material enriches the soil as it decays.

Hot sauce shouldn’t be put directly on plants. Sprinkle it around the garden border and apply it to the rims and sides of planters to make rodents run. The hotter it is, the better.

Dishwater has long been the secret of a beautiful flowerbed and healthy vegetables. Different gardeners swear by different brands of detergent, but the older, basic versions are recommended. You can throw the water in the dishpan over your flowerbed, pour it on plants that have a fungus, or mix water and dish soap in a spray bottle so you can cover the undersides of leaves. Dish soap gets rid of aphids and other insects that eat your plants. Don’t use soap meant for dishwashers in the garden.

Things to Remember:
• Wear a mask when crushing eggshells
• Get a soil test
• Strongly scented natural materials keep rodents away

Contact us today for all your gardening needs.

13 Sep 2017

How Do You Properly Transplant Trees Without Hurting Them?

tree transplantingTransplanting both young and mature trees safely is possible. The ease of transplanting a tree depends on the type and size of tree, preparation and proper equipment.

Why Transplant a Tree?

Transplanting trees is a bigger project than moving plants, and it does carry risks. It’s best to have your tree moved by a licensed landscaper, especially larger and mature trees.

There are several reasons for moving a tree, including:

• You prefer another location
• The tree is sickly or just not thriving
• You’re redoing your landscaping
• The mature tree is shading plants that need sun
• You’re building onto your home and want to keep the tree

Young trees, or saplings, are the most frequently transplanted. This is usually because the property owner changes their mind about the location, or the tree appears limp, loses leaves or just doesn’t grow.

Tools for Transplanting Trees

• Shovels with sharp points (moving a tree requires multiple people)
• A post hole digger
• A ten gallon bucket for each tree
• Large containers for big trees
• A yard dolly/cart or large wheelbarrow

The best shovels to get a tree out of the ground without damage feature solid shank construction for strength and longer, narrower blades than a standard pointed irrigation shovel. A post hole digger makes digging a new hole for a young tree a breeze. You’ll need regular sharp-pointed shovels to dig large holes for mature trees.

Preparing to Transplant a Tree

Make sure that you know where utility lines are before doing any extensive digging in your yard.

Moving an established tree requires substantial preparation. Root pruning must be done the season before transplanting the tree. Root pruning should be done by an experienced landscaper. It diminishes transplant shock and is necessary to move mature trees with long-running roots.

Find a location as similar to the original for a mature tree. If you’re transplanting a young tree that isn’t doing well, ask your landscaper about a location with a better ratio of sun and shade and richer or better-draining soil.

Dig the new hole in advance. Depending on the size of the tree, just digging a new hole could take more than a day. It’s possible to move trees up to 50 feet tall, but that requires professional landscaping equipment.

Thoroughly water the tree’s new home the day before transplanting. If the hole is large enough for children or pets to fall into, cover it with a tarp held down by cinder blocks.

Dig around the tree about half a foot from the new root ball formed by root pruning. Any plant should be dug out from underneath, not pulled up by the stem or trunk. Wrap the root ball in burlap for moving the tree to the new location. Water the area again after replanting the tree.

Things to Remember:

• Transplanting trees must be planned in advance
• The right tools will make the job easier
• A landscaper should move a large tree

For the best results in moving your tree, contact us and let us do the job for you.

29 Aug 2017

10 Low Maintenance Plants

Low-Maintenance Plants for Easy LandscapingIf you don’t have a green thumb but you want decorative plants and some color in your yard, there are many low maintenance plants to suit your needs.

Not all of them are wild grasses and succulents. By their nature, drought resistant plants are usually low maintenance. They come in all varieties, sizes and colors.

Colorful Low Maintenance Plants

  • Purple Sabre is a perennial with long, spiky leaves. It grows to about three feet tall. Purple Sabres are actually more colorful and put new branches when rarely watered.
  • Most Irises need little care other than occasional summer water. Many Irises, including African Irises, are sun worshippers. African Irises have blue-white petals with splashes of yellow and purple centers. They’re perfect for banks of flowers in your flowerbeds or for edging sunny walkways.
  • Few flowers brighten up a yard like the Santa Barbara Daisy. Each flower has a profusion of long, slender pale purple flowers and a sunny yellow center. Masses of Santa Barbara Daisies are impressive and require almost no maintenance.
  • Sea Lavender has small, true purple flowers interspersed with a few white flowers here and there. It grows to around a foot tall and is perfect to plant in front of wild grasses. It’s ideal for small bouquets and for drying.

Beautiful Low Maintenance Shrubs

  • For something unusual and attractive, try Kangaroo Paw. It’s a large shrub reaching five feet in height. Its burgundy flowers appear in spring and add color to your yard through June.
  • California Fuchsia brings hot tropical color your yard. The neon pink blooms open to reveal a pinkish-white “underskirt” of petals and long stamens. California Fuchsia grows to a width and height of two feet.
  • Apricot Mallow, also known as Desert Mallow, is a shrub with small orange flowers. It likes sandy soil, clay and lots of sun. It grows one to two feet tall in the desert. In your yard, it can reach a height of five feet.

Succulents

  • California’s succulents are beautiful and interesting. Gardeners on the East Coast are usually frustrated in their attempts to grow succulents like Hens-and-Chicks, also called Chicks-and-Biddies. This is a popular succulent because the parent plant puts out small new plants with their own root system. Hens-and-Chicks is usually used as an easily transplantable groundcover.
  • For a colorful succulent, try Sedum Spurium. Sedum Spurium has little red flowers that form perfect rosettes and bloom in summer.

Wild Grasses

  • Ornamental grasses are a must as a backdrop for your drought resistant garden. One ornamental grass you’re sure to love is Little Bluestem. It’s native to the prairie. In autumn, each blade of grass changes from grayish-green to all the colors of a prairie sunset.

Things to Remember:

  • Your low maintenance garden should have a variety of plants for year-round interest
  • There are many plants available that aren’t grasses or succulents
  • Ornamental grasses and succulents form the basis of a low maintenance garden

To plan next year’s easy care garden, contact us today.