Once the busy spring and summer flower seasons ha ve passed, many nurseries and garden centers are still stocked up on garden enhancements, such as wrought iron decorations and pottery planters. Additionally, these items are often marked down to clear inventories for the next year. So, visiting the nurseries and garden centers often in the middle of the summer can be a great opportunity to fill spots in the home landscape that have not lived up to expectations.
Some great accessories include trellises, birdbaths, and larger pottery or plastic pots.
Trellises are often made of wood or metal. They come in flat designs to aid vining plants to cover a wall space or obelisk shapes which can support a plant that is out in the center of a garden.
These decorative pieces can also act as focal points that can draw the eye to a certain point in the yard and help create height in a landscape that is otherwise low to the ground. Many types of plants benefit from trellises, including annuals like morning glories and perennials like climbing roses or wisteria.
Along the same lines, if you haven't staked or caged tomato plants yet, now is the time before they grow any taller. Supporting the vegetable plants will keep them healthier and the fruit cleaner and more out of the reach of pests.
With the above average summer heat this July, consider adding a little flair to the garden that will also help our feathered friends. Birdbaths are a wonderful addition to a garden as a way of introducing a simple water feature to a space as well as providing a necessary life force to the many birds and insects living in the yard.
Also, watering, especially this summer has been more than necessary to keep plants adequately so keeping a birdbath fresh and clean shouldn't add too much to the gardening chores. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that water that is allowed to stagnate will not be attractive to birds can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Be sure to change the water regularly.
Birdbaths come in all styles, prices, and materials. Consider that metal or stone birdbaths will resist the harsh advances of winter when that time comes and ceramic and pottery ones will need to be kept empty and safely stored from freezing temperatures.
The other reason to shop for garden decor now is to look for growth spurts, especially in houseplants that may be crying for a little more root room. Any of the plants that have been around for a while might benefit from a transplant to a larger container, and now while stock is on sale at many places it's a great opportunity to prolong the plant's life by giving them room to grow.
Garden Decor Material
Always consider the material of garden decor. Metals will often rust or turn color and may need some sanding and painting treatment in the future. Wood that is natural or painted or stained will also weather and need some upkeep. Ceramic and stone is very durable but can crack and freeze if left out for the winter. Plastic is very lightweight and durable, but the prettiest and realistic-looking ceramic knockoffs can be as expensive as real pottery or cast iron. Choose what will work best for the landscape's look and style, as keep in mind that everything has its pros and cons.
Garden decor can work double duty with the care and beautification of a garden or landscape. Don't neglect these fun, often whimsical and functional aspects to gardening. These enhancements can be very affordable, require minimal maintenance and will make quite a splash to the landscape.
Information for this column was contributed by Volante Farms, 292 Forest St., Needham.