Choosing the Right Containers

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Container gardening is a great way to enjoy non-stop color all season long inside or outside.  Container gardens are great for those with little to no garden pace, or for those who want to create a colorful focal point in their landscape.  It’s a bit early in my area to start planting containers as it’s best to wait for the threat of frost to pass, and in central New York that’s usually end of May to beginning of June.  However, that doesn’t mean we can’t start selecting our containers, after all the more we do now the more we can enjoy later.  I’ve put together a short list of the most popular materials/pots used for container gardening.

Clay or Terracotta

Terrocotta pots

Terracotta pots are probably the most popular containers to use.  These containers are very versatile, and they can be decorated in many different ways which can bring even more creativity to container gardening.  These pots come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, and are readily available at any garden center.  There are a couple of disadvantage to clay, first it’s very porous and will dry out rather quickly so terracotta pots are best used in shady areas. Another disadvantage to terracotta is that it will break if left out in freezing temperatures, this makes it difficult to plant spring blooming bulbs in them.

Stone or Concrete

Stone or Concrete Pot

Stone pots are very nice if you’re looking for a bit more decoration on your container right from the get go.  These containers take on a natural antique look, but you can also coat them with live yogurt for a mossy look.  Natural stone can be a bit hard to find, and very expensive, but concrete casted reproductions can be easily found at your local garden centers or big box stores.  These containers are much more resistant to freezing temperatures making them great for spring blooms, and it’s nice to be able to leave them out in the winter.  They are quite heavy so be sure to place them in places where they won’t need to be moved often.

Wood

Wood Planters

Wood planters offer a very nice natural look.  These containers are long lasting, and are a very nice choice for perennials as a permanent planting.  Wood containers can actually be made, which offers an unlimited selection of sizes and shapes however they are also available at most garden centers.  Natural rot resistant woods such as cedar are best, other woods should be treated with a plant friendly wood preservative

Miscellaneous

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There are many, many other choices for container gardening.  The “upcycle” movement has opened the door to using pretty much whatever you can find laying around as a planter.  The chandelier planter above was found on Etsy, and I’ve seen things like old rubber boots, red wagons, pallets, and even wine corks used as planters.  Whatever you choose just be sure it’s plant friendly, and represents your personal style.

Container gardening can be fun and easy if careful consideration is used in choosing the right containers.  The containers you choose should be an extension of your personal style, and that style will be shared by all who visit your landscape.  Hopefully this post is helpful in your quest to find the perfect containers for your container gardens.  If you have any suggestions for us we’d love to hear them.

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Waking Your Overwintered Geraniums

Roughly 3 Weeks Post Wake Up

I’m not sure if I’m just a frugal gardener, or whether I just can’t stand seeing my hard summer work go to waste. Anyway, I always feel that overwintering my geraniums is the right thing to do. It might just be that it gives me a nice little project to do as my spring fever starts to set towards the end of March. Geraniums are extremely resilient, and handle overwintering very well.  I had 5 geraniums in storage and they all tried to flower, but I just picked them off hoping to save a little energy for the plants. That said I brought my geraniums out of storage this past weekend and potted them up to get them started for summer.  I wrote and re-share a post on “Overwintering Your Favorite Geraniums” that always gets a great response, so I figured I’d also re-share my “how-to” on bringing your geraniums out of storage.  I hope you’ll excuse my novice photography, but I took some pics and they’ll walk you through some easy steps to bringing these hearty plants back to life.

What You’ll Need

What You'll Need

  1. Your Geraniums of course
  2. Your pots: I use my terracotta pots because sometimes I re-pot & sometimes I don’t and I love terracotta.
  3. Pruners: You can also use a pair of nice clean scissors.
  4. Potting Soil: I know, I know, I used Miracle Grow here but of course if you can use your own own mix it’s better.

Soaking The Roots

Soaking The Roots

This is an important step in bringing your geraniums “back to life”.  I like to soak them overnight, and the best soak is in Anne Haven’s “Authentic Haven Brand Manure Tea”.  Soaking your roots in the vitamin rich tea gives your geraniums a much needed boost coming out of storage.

Cut Your Geraniums Back By About Half

Before:

Cutting Back the Geraniums Before

After:

Cutting Back the Geraniums After

Not to big of a difference, like I said roughly half.  I also like to get rid of the dead wilted leaves, but if you’re lucky enough to have some green leaves cut back to them and call it good.

Potting Them Up

Potting Them Up

This is the easy part, fill your pots with your potting mix and pot them up.  I throw usually split up all the cuttings and throw them in the bottom of the pots with some stones for better drainage.  I’ve found that geraniums don’t like to be over watered and they need good drainage to do really well.

You’ve Woke Your Geraniums

You've Woke them Up

Immediately After Potting

Roughly 3 Weeks Post Wake Up

Roughly Three Weeks Post Wake Up

Place your newly potted geraniums in a window that gets nice light, but doesn’t get to hot.  I like to give them one good initial watering, but don’t water them too much, like I said they like to dry out a bit.  Keep the soil nice and loose at the top so the roots can get some air, and just wait for the magic.

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & shares.

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March Gardening Tips to Get a Jump on Spring

March Gardening Tips to Get a Jump on Spring

It’s been one long cold winter, and if you’re like me you’re totally over it!  I live in Syracuse, New York where the average temperature in February was 9 degrees…yup 9 degrees.  That said, March has arrived and I feel like I can finally think spring even though I know we still have at least month of colder temps ahead.  Since it’s getting time to think spring landscape I wanted to put my to-do list together.  Some of the things on this list will be tough the first couple of weeks of March since we’re buried in snow, but I’m hoping for a quick melt off.  So without further adieu, my March to-dos…

  • If you haven’t been paying attention to your compost pile, now is a good time to start turning it/them.  Your pile should be damp enough and with a little turn you’ll turn the heat up for faster production.
  • Take a walk around the yard with your flame gun, or organic weed killer, and get them while they’re young.  This “task” will save you a lot of time and headache later!
  • Put the final touches on this season’s planting plans.  Try something different with your plantings, attract birds & butterflies, repel pests, etc…
  • If you’re planning to include vines & climbers into your gardens now can be a good time to get your trellises up.  You’ll be way ahead of planting, and it’s one less annoying task to get done later.
  • If you’ve left your ornamental grasses for the birds this winter it’s now time to tie them up, and cut them back to a few inches above the ground to allow for new growth.
  • Winter can be especially hard on lower, weaker tree branches.  When you get those warmer early spring days this month start trimming any dead, damaged branches your shrubs, & trees suffered.
  • You can prune summer-blooming shrubs such and Rose of Sharon, Spiraea, Potentilla and Summersweet (Clethra). Wait to prune your spring-blooming shrubs (such as forsythia and lilacs) until they’ve finished blooming so you don’t cut off this year’s flowers.
  • Trim back winter-killed rose canes to one inch below blackened area and all rose canes to about a foot or two above ground level. (This does not apply to climbing roses.) Once buds begin to form cut the stems back to a strong fat bud.
  • In the vegetable garden, begin to plant potatoes, peas, lettuce, radishes, and carrots.
  • Force some spring blooming trees and shrubs like forsythia, pussy willow, quince and crab apples.
  • Towards the end of the month as temperatures begin to warm, slowly remove any protective mulch you’ve laid out. Be sure to check your “frost dates” so you don’t remove mulches too soon since hard freezes are still possible.
  • Now is the time to transplant roses, shrubs and ornamental trees before the leaf buds open.
  • Set up and Clean water features and fountains.

I’ll try to accomplish most of these tasks, however as I said I live in Syracuse, New York so many will be tough to get to.  However, longer days should help as we “spring” ahead this Sunday the 8th!  What are you doing in your gardens this month, please leave a comment, and add to our list!!

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & shares.

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Spring Is On The Way!!

Spring is on it's way

Only 32 days until Spring 2015, and there is so much to do!  Almost time to bring out my overwintered geraniums, so keep an eye out for a “Tips & Tricks” post on waking them up!

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & shares.

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Tips to Keep Your Dog Safe & Warm For the Remainder of Winter

Images by Beth

Images by Beth

Wintertime is a super fun time of year for dogs and dog owners.  Watching a dog run, and play in fresh snow will make anyone laugh out loud. However, dog owners also need to remember it’s very important to keep your dogs clean during this time of year. I’ve outlined a few tips for keeping your best friend healthy and clean through the rest of this winter season. Continue reading

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Step-by-Step Making the Perfect Garden Hose Wreath Into the Perfect Holiday Present

Are you looking for the perfect gift for that perfect garden fanatic, your perfect landscaper, or just plain anyone on your list that can’t stand their old garden hose?  This post was originally written by the wonderful Jennifer Shanley.  The post is so popular that I it’s become Perfect Garden Hose tradition to share it in the beginning of December, and this is year three!! If you’ve seen the post three years in a row my apologies, but for any new readers you must let me know if you try it.  So back by popular demand, here’s how to make your own Perfect Garden Hose Wreath. Continue reading

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HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM ALL OF US AT JGB ENTERPRISES & THE PERFECT GARDEN HOSE!!

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Attracting Birds During the Winter Months

It's Mid-November, and it's time to start thinking about our backyard feathered friends.  I already have my resident Cardinals "yelling" at me in the morning because the feeder is empty, so I've got to get going myself.  By now the shelves at your local hardware or big box should be stocked to the gills with bird seed.  I suggest taking a weekend to see if you can identify what kind of birds take up residency in your yard for the winter and purchasing your birdseed accordingly.  However if you don't have the time you can always buy a blend that will accommodate just about any bird.  If there are birds that you'd like to see search out what kind of seed(s) or food will attract them, and try to attract them.  I've outlined some tips on attracting, and taking care of your yard birds below.

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JGB Awarded the DLA Innovative Business Performer of the Year

JGB Enterprises, Inc. makers of The Perfect Garden Hose, attended the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Business Alliance Awards Ceremony held in Fort Belvoir, Virginia on October 22, 2014. JGB was awarded the DLA Innovative Business Performer of the Year – Award for Small Business.

The award was presented by Vice Admiral Mark Harnitchek, Director of the Defense Logistics Agency. JGB's Director of Government Contracts, Marty Salanger was on hand to accept the award.

We were nominated for this award by DLA Land and Maritime located in Columbus, Ohio. It is an honor to receive this prestigious award and all employees should be proud of their support to DLA and take great pride in support of America's Warfighters.

Thanks to all for their continued contributions to JGB's success!!

As always don’t forget to sign up over there to the right for regular TUFF GUARD updates, and all things garden hose related!

***Follow us on Twitter at @tuffguardhose, and LIKE our Facebook page for regular updates & shares.

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