Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hello Helleborus!

Helleborus HelleborusOrientalis

 

Last time we talked a bit about perennials and how some of them might not make it through a rough winter. You might be wondering if there’s something new in the market. Something that’ll brighten up your garden all summer long and into the fall. Something not just pretty, but functional too.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the helleborus.

This gorgeous, water lily like shaped plant is both deer resistant and mole resistant. It’s toxicity means that it will repel pests from your whole garden, providing pretty protection. It comes in various shades of purple, which means not only is if functional, it’s fashion forward. Pantone’s color of the year is radiant orchid, a shade the lovely helleborus is happy to wear in the most stylish of landscaping.

Want to incorporate this excitingly different perennial to your existing landscape? Give Algiere’s a call, we’ll be happy to put a plan together just for you!

 

 

 

The Good, the Bad, and the Freezing: What to expect when the snow melts

hardiness map

It’s now mid-March, and maybe, perhaps, we’re done with the snowfall. We might get to actually see our yards and gardens, very soon. So what can we expect lying beneath the melting snow? Good things? Bad things? UGLY things?

 

The simple answer is a little bit of all of the above.

First, the good news. Extreme cold weather can kill off larvae and fungi. Remember our post last year about the Emerald Ash Borer? Those little guys might not be as much of a problem this summer, thanks to the polar vortex. Cold weather can lead to a better tomato growing season as well, keeping the ph in the soil low, eliminating Black Spot, and killing off aphids. Another neat trick winter can perform on your veggies? A process called cold-sweetening, where plants break down their energy resources as free sugars in order to stay warm and guard against frost damage. Just like salt spread on roads and sidewalks, these sugars protect the plant before it can freeze, with the added benefit of giving you a sweeter harvest.

The bad news? Ornamental trees are sensitive, they can get easily damaged by a harsh winter. Now is the time to prune, your Japanese Maples especially, to prevent further damage.  Planting zones can be thrown out of whack be extreme weather, a zone 6 could potentially go down as low as a zone 4. You might need to replace perennials sensitive to cold like Hosta and Japanese Anemone.

No one can predict what the weather will do. Educate yourself on the best plants for your temperate zone, keep sensitive plants covered, and stay alert to falling temperatures. Your landscaper can recommend the best plants for where you live, so call a professional when in doubt. Of course, the best way to protect your landscape is early prevention in the autumn, before temperatures drop. Last year we were forced to cancel five fall clean ups because of the early snow, book early!

Ben’s Beard 2014

Spring is only a week away, so they tell us, must be time to shave Ben’s beard!!

The even will occur on April 17th, and we’re just hoping the boys won’t need their beards by then. In addition to Ben and Jeremy, Patrick Bohan, who joined the Algiere’s team in May, has also put his razor aside all winter and is ready to get shorn for charity!

 

This year all proceeds will go to support St. Vincent de Paul Place in Norwich. Supporting those in need in Norwich, St Vincent de Paul provides meals on site, as well as a pantry for folks who need food at home. In this way, the organization can help the homeless and those on a limited income gain more independence. To give a donation, you can use the link below, putting Ben’s Beard in the gift section. This year you can also give a food donation as well, bringing canned and paper goods to their downtown Norwich location, at 120 Cliff Street, the old St. Joseph’s school. Paper and nonperishable food donations can also be dropped off at the Greater Norwich Chamber of Commerce, located at 112 Main St.  Currently they’re in need of tuna fish, pasta sauce, canned soup, pasta, oatmeal, butter/margarine, napkins, paper towels, and garbage bags.

So forget the groundhog and the snow still on the ground, Ben’s Beard is the TRUE sign of spring, make your donation today!

 

https://www.networkforgood.org/donation/MakeDonation.aspx?ORGID2=060687373

 

 

 

Time for a shave!

Time for a shave!

Composting, Good for You, Good for the Earth

English: Composting

English: Composting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

365/66 California Compost

365/66 California Compost (Photo credit: mjmonty)

 

 

 

So, Earth Day has come and gone. Over a month later, you’ve helped clean up the shore line, pulled invasive species at the local park, and attended a fundraiser for fracking awareness.

 

You’re feeling pretty good about things, and then you get home. The garbage is piled high, and you’ve got newspapers and scraps of old computer paper just lying around the office. You wonder, how can I clean up my mess, and help make Earth Day every day at the same time?

 

The answer, my friend, is composting.

 

Many people think compost is hard, but the key is to maintain a good mix of the green, (like grass), with the brown, (ashes, coffee grounds, etc.) Grass will provide the nitrogen, and the brown items will provide the carbon. A little of each, well mixed, will break down more quickly and provide the best blend of nutrients for your soil.

 

Anything that has been living is good to add to a compost pile, but avoid pet droppings or meat scraps, as these will attract unwanted pests. The great thing about this rule is, this includes paper products! Just be sure to shred any newspapers or junk mail up really well before you add them.

 

See? You get to clean up your house, AND provide a nutrient rich soil for your vegetables and flowers. Everyone wins!

 

Need help getting started? Not sure what to plant after you lay your compost, or how? Give Algiere’s a call, we are here to help with all of your spring gardening and landscaping needs!

 

Get Your Earth Day on With a Free Tree From Algiere’s Landscaping!

We are raffling off 5 Sugar Maples  on Earth Day as a way to say “thank you” for all the likes on Facebook. We can’t think of a better way to help the Earth soak up carbon and add beauty to your yard at the same time. Want one? Just like and share the Algiere’s Landscaping page on Facebook, it’s that easy!

Don’t live local? Don’t worry, we will ship one to you if you win! One lucky local winner will receive the grand prize of Big Al our mascot stopping by to plant an extra special tree.

Have fun and happy Earth Day!

Like and share to take me home!

Like and share to take me home!

Cold Crops, What to Plant When Spring is Late

Potatoes come to Europe.

Potatoes can be planted, even in the cold!

 

 

 

 

 

For springs like these, people come to us moaning about the short growing season. What can they do? What should they plant when a spring is this slow in showing up?

 

Let us introduce you to some great cold crops you can plant, even when the temperature is close to freezing. Think root vegetables, like onions and potatoes, though you should only use seed potatoes to get your plants started. Some leafy vegetables as well, like lettuce and arugula, can be planted in temperatures as low as 40 degrees.

 

Want to get started but fear the temperatures dropping even further, or a possible late season snow? No problem, cover your plants, making tents out of empty milk jugs, cut to accommodate your seedlings’ size. You can also attempt to raise the temperature of your soil using plastic covers.

 

Whatever the weather, you can enjoy gardening, and Algiere’s is available to you year round for all of your gardening and landscaping needs!

 

Time to Get Your Seeds Started!

Sunflower seedlings, just three days after ger...

Time to get those seedlings sprouting!

 

 

 

Spring is beginning to warm up, and it’s time to get your seeds started. Before you start, be sure to keep a record of what you’ve planted, and the progress they’ve made, this will help you next year to remember what works, and how long you will need for each seedling. Make sure to store your seeds in a cool dry place, in small plastic containers. To make sure that your seeds are still viable, take a few and soak them in cool water. If they sink, they’re still plantable, if they float, they’re technically “dead” and won’t sprout.

 

Use plastic containers instead of clay for planting, they will keep moisture better. You can recycle old yogurt containers or other plastic tubs, just make sure you poke holes in the bottoms of them for drainage. Make sure you don’t overcrowd your seeds, tamp them down to make sure that there is contact between your seeds and the moist soil or potting mix that you use, and cover them lightly with more soil.

 

You can maintain air and moisture quality in a few ways. Use a small fan to keep the air circulating, spread some finely ground stone or grit over the potting mix, and cover the containers with plastic. Check your containers daily, and use a spray bottle to add moisture when needed. Keep your seeds warm, between 65 and 75 degrees, by placing them near a heater or using a heating mat. Want to recycle even further? Ben’s dad makes his own heating pads for plants using old waterbed mattresses!

 

Once your seeds germinate, you can remove the plastic covering. Make sure to rotate your pots daily so that the stems grow uniformly, and gently brush them with your palm to encourage strong stems. Once the leaves begin to emerge, it will be time to feed your seedlings weekly with watered down fertilizer.

 

At this time you should also begin hardening your plants by placing them outside in the sunlight for a few hours in the morning, gradually adding more hours until your plants are acclimated enough to the outside temperatures to be planted.

 

Good luck, and if you need any assistance with your plants this spring, give Algiere’s a call!