|Landscaping & Gardening Information|
You Take The Vacation - Not Your Garden
If you are planning to go on vacation, there are some important tasks that you really must undertake to ensure that your garden continues to maintain that well cared for condition which you constantly strive for.
After all, because you have spent so much of your time during the rest of the year trying to achieve perfection, it would be a great pity if some of that good work were to be undone.
You do deserve that well earned vacation however, so I put it to you that you will enjoy the break even more, in the knowledge that you will not be returning home to any unpleasant surprises.
Here are a few simple steps that I would advise you to take to help to make sure that all remains well.
Just how much you need to plan in advance depends entirely on how long that you intend to be away from home.
Even if you are only going away for a week or just over it, I strongly recommend that you make the time to attend to those basic garden chores the day before you leave.
For example, I always mow the lawn, deadhead all my flowers, and I make a point of moving any house plants that I might have temporarily placed outdoors to blossom, back indoors.
Naturally I make sure that they are watered thoroughly.
If you intend to be away from home for two consecutive weeks or longer, I suggest that you make some provision well ahead of the time, especially for the care of the lawn.
Perhaps you know a reliable teenager looking for some extra money in your neighborhood. If you do, strike a deal with him to cut the lawn once a week during your absence.
Whether he uses his lawn mower or yours though, do make sure that he knows to cut the lawn at the highest setting on the mower, which will usually be about three inches or so.
If you have an exceptionally large area of lawn however, or you intend to be away from home for a much longer period, you would probably be best to hire a professional Gardener, or a Garden Maintenance Company to attend to this. (funds permitting of course)
The day before you leave, preferably in the late morning, prune just recently opened blossoms, taking long stems with the cut flowers. I suggest that you also carry a container of water and water thoroughly.
On the same day prune flower buds also, as the blossoms will have most likely have opened and wilted during your absence.
Check your annuals and perennials for blighted foliage, removing any discolored leaves.
Your house plants will also need to be cared for as well while you are away. If you intend a long break, then you really should arrange for someone to attend to their needs if at all possible.
A good friend or neighbor will most likely be more than willing to oblige, especially if you offer to return the favor.
Your plants should be fine though, if you are only going away for a few days or so.
However if you have a situation where you simply cannot call on anybody to assist, or perhaps you do not want to impose on anybody, then I have outlined a few useful steps that you can take, particularly if you are intending to be absent for an extended time.
Move all those plants that are summering outdoors back inside, but place them in a shaded area first. Do this during the week before you leave, so as to let them acclimatize to the change in conditions.
Then bring them indoors, and place them in a spot where they will be most likely to get the benefit of indirect sunshine. In the morning before you depart, spread sheets of newspaper on the floor of the room where your plants are situated.
Water all your plants thoroughly, (whether they need it or not), and then place them on the newspaper sheets.
Place four large bowls of water around the plants, and cover them with a large white sheet. Make sure that the sheet drapes down beyond the plants onto the newspaper.
This will help to keep your plants moist and healthy.
Remember that the first priority is to have a fantastic vacation.
If you are like me however, you will enjoy it all the more, because you know that you have taken the time to make sure that your cherished garden and house plants have been well looked after.
Marie K Fisher is an avid gardening enthusiast with a passion for exotic flowers and wonderful colors. She is a regular contributor to Garden Center Showplace a leading online Garden Center. For more details of the superb range of products offered, and also more Featured Articles And Tips on Gardening visit http://www.gardencentershowplace.com
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"?Therapeutic horticulture is the process by which individuals may develop well-being using plans and horticulture. This is achieved by active or passive involvement." Although the physical benefits of garden therapy have not yet been fully realized through research, the overall benefits are almost overwhelming. For starters, gardening therapy programs result in increased elf-esteem and self-confidence for all participants. Social and therapeutic horticulture also develops social and work skills, literacy and numeric skills, an increased sense of general well-being and the opportunity for social interaction and the development of independence. In some instances it can also lead to employment or further training or education. Obviously different groups will achieve different results. Groups recovering from major illness or injury, those with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and mental health problems, older people, offenders and those who misuse drugs or alcohol, can all benefit from the therapeutic aspects of gardening as presented through specific therapy related programs. In most cases, those that experience the biggest impact are vulnerable or socially excluded individuals or groups, including the ill, the elderly, and those kept in secure locations, such as hospitals or prisons. One important benefit to using social and therapeutic horticulture is that traditional forms of communication aren't always required. This is particularly important for stroke patients, car accident victims, those with cerebral palsy, aphasia or other illnesses or accidents that hinder verbal communication. Gardening activities lend themselves easily to communicative disabled individuals. This in turn builds teamwork, self-esteem and self-confidence, while encouraging social interaction. Another group that clearly benefits from social and therapeutic horticulture are those that misuse alcohol or substances and those in prison. Teaching horticulture not only becomes a life skill for these individuals, but also develops a wide range of additional benefits. Social and therapeutic horticultures gives these individuals a chance to participate in a meaningful activity, which produces food, in addition to creating skills relating to responsibility, social skills and work ethic. The same is true for juvenile offenders. Gardening therapy, as vocational horticulture curriculum, can be a tool to improve social bonding in addition to developing improved attitudes about personal success and a new awareness of personal job preparedness. The mental benefits don't end there. Increased abilities in decision-making and self-control are common themes reported by staff in secure psychiatric hospitals. Reports of increased confidence, self-esteem and hope are also common in this environment. Prison staff have also noticed that gardening therapy improves the social interaction of the inmates, in addition to improving mutual understanding between project staff and prisoners who shared outdoor conditions of work. It's interesting that studies in both hospitals and prisons consistently list improving relationships between participants, integrating with the community, life skills and ownership as being some of the real benefits to participants. But in addition to creating a myriad of emotional and social benefits, the health benefits of being outdoors, breathing in fresh air and doing physical work cannot be overlooked. In most studies, participants noted that fresh air, fitness and weight control where prime benefits that couldn't be overlooked. Although unable to pin down a solid reason, studies have shown that human being posses an innate attraction to nature. What we do know, is that being outdoors creates feelings of appreciation, tranquility, spirituality and peace. So it would seem, that just being in a garden setting is in itself restorative. Active gardening only heightens those feelings. With so many positive benefits to gardening, isn't it time you got outside and started tending to your garden? Next time you are kneeling in fresh dirt to pull weeds or plant a new variety of a vegetable or flower, think about the tranquility you feel while being outdoors in your garden. Let the act of gardening sooth and revitalize you. Soak up the positive benefits of tending to your own garden. If you have someone in your life that could benefit from garden therapy, contact your local health unit to find out more about programs in your area. Not only will the enjoyment of gardening help bond you together, but it will also create numerous positive mental and physical benefits for both of you. So get gardening today for both your physical and mental health. You'll enjoy the experience so much that you'll immediately thank yourself.
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