In the Northeast, many of us just can’t wait to get our hands in the dirt and play in the garden when spring rolls around. But landscaping and gardening are activities that that can be done throughout the year, from planting annuals in the spring to making sure your shrubs are secure for the chilly winter months.
Whether you’re the kind of gardener who starts with seeds or you just dabble in the occasional potted plant, we’ve got great gardening resources to help you cultivate your green thumb all year through.
Landscaping and gardening websites
One of my best virtual landscaping and gardening friends is www.gardeners.com, the website for the Vermont-based Gardener’s Supply Company. The site is packed with tons of articles about organic gardening and landscaping, controlling pests naturally, composting and planning a garden. Have a burning question? Just enter it on the site and someone will get back to you with an answer, usually within 24 hours.
Connecticut-based White Flower Farm is another great resource. Sign up for a free catalog and you’ll be tempted year-round. The site sells and gives advice on perennials, annuals, flowering shrubs – including more than 40 varieties of hydrangeas – roses, bulbs and vegetables.
Visit DIY Network for project ideas that can be completed in just a few hours or a few days. The site breaks down gardening and landscaping projects into steps, so you can clearly see what kind of commitment you’re getting yourself into. Ever wanted to build a potting bench? You’ll find it here, as well as a guide to what to plant in the fall, how to make a raised garden bed and much, much more.
Having a beautiful garden doesn’t have to be a seasonal endeavor in the Northeast.
If you’re anything like me, you swoon when the latest issue of Better Homes & Gardens hits your mailbox. So much Pinterest-level perfection, packed into one issue. The website is just as inspiring, filled with tips, plans and projects that you can tackle on your own. One of my favorite features is the site’s garden plans. You’ll find hundreds of illustrated gardens for every scenario – shady, long-blooming and beginner gardens, for example – as well as a list of plants you’ll need and a handy chart showing where they should go. It’s sort of like paint-by-numbers, but with plants!
Every gardener in the Northeast should be acquainted with the name Henry Homeyer. The self-proclaimed “Gardening Guy” – an organic gardener and author who lives in Cornish Flat, N.H. – is known for his weekly gardening columns that run in newspapers throughout New England. If you want practical, down-home tips about when to prune your rose bushes, plant those daffodil bulbs and make the most of your tomato harvest, Henry’s your man.
Gardening and landscaping apps
Is there a beautiful tree in your neighborhood that you’d love to see on your lawn, but you don’t know what kind it is? Leafsnap, being developed by researchers at the University of Maryland, Columbia University and the Smithsonian Institution, will help. Just take a picture of a tree’s leaves, bark or flowers, and the app will identify it. The free app focuses on tree varieties in the Northeastern U.S. and Canada, and is available for the iPhone and iPad.
Want to record your garden’s growth for posterity? The Gardening Companion app (free for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices) is a gardening and landscaping app where you can record everything about your garden, from when you first planted seedlings to when you last fertilized those beefsteak tomatoes. You can also set reminders for when to accomplish important garden tasks.
The Home Outside app is an amazing landscaping and gardening resource that can help bring your dream backyard to life. You can drop and drag more than 700 outdoor elements onto a map or photo of your property, so you can see what your designs will look like. Ruler margins will help you design to scale and a notes feature lets you jot down ideas. It’s free for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Have you ever come across a flower or shrub you just couldn’t place? The myGarden Answers Plant ID can help. This self-described “Shazam” for plants lets you identify unknown plants and trees just by uploading a picture. You can also get help on garden pests and problems from horticulturists and fellow app users. The free app is available for the iPhone, iPad and Android devices.
Keep track of your veggie harvest with the Garden Tracker app. It lets you record when you planted, when you should harvest, and when you last watered and fertilized your plants. A handy garden zone map lets you know the first and last frost dates, depending on your USDA growing zone. You can even track different gardens and snap photos, so you can see just how much your garden has grown over the months. The $3.99 app is available for the iPhone and iPad.
Have any other landscaping or gardening tips you’d like to add? Share it with us in the comments!