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The Best Gardening Apps for the Tech-savvy Gardener

The Best Gardening Apps for the Tech-savvy Gardener

Apps are increasingly improving and simplifying our everyday lives in many different areas. It seems there’s an app for everything these days, and the gardening world is no exception. Here, we have a look at the best gardening apps on the market at the moment.

 

Garden Plan Pro

A handy app where you can enter in the layout of your garden and plan accordingly. It’s mostly focused around herbs, vegetables and fruit, and would be useful for the urban gardener who wants to cultivate their own produce. The app also offers advice on where best to plant each type of produce, as well as when to plant, harvest and rotate the crop.

 

Botany Buddy

Botany Buddy offers a plant encyclopedia with over 2000 species of cacti, succulents, shrubs and other plants, complete with colour photographs for identification. Plant species can be searched by various criteria, including leaf size, seeds, flower colour, bloom time, sun requirements, hardiness, shape and size. The app is appropriate for both amateur gardeners and professionals.

Life

Think of this app as a sort of gardening journal. You can document which plants are currently in your garden, record their progress and create a schedule of care according to priority. You can add photos, get updates on the weather and be informed on when your little plant babies should be blooming.

 

Garden Companion

Sometimes, you just need a companion when it comes to gardening. Gardening Companion offers hundreds of articles on gardening, as well as photos and YouTube videos instructing on a huge range of gardening topics. Like the Life app, Gardening Companion also has a journal component to record your gardening ventures.

 

Growit!

Growit! is an app that tells you what and how to plant based on your location for the best results. There is a feature to create your own unique project and show it off to others in the area, offering a sort of social media-type community atmosphere around gardening. In your project, you can offer tips and tricks you use in your own gardening to others in your local area. Who knows, maybe you’ll make some new green-thumbed friends?

Garden Compass

This app is for the gardener who wants to be organised, offering a personalised care calendar as well as reminders, plant identification and advice.

 

Try out your new gardening apps on your plants from Evergreen Growers!

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5 Books Every Gardener Should Own

5 Books Every Gardener Should Own

Gardeners are a funny and passionate bunch. They are the pensive, tranquil types who like to live a peaceful existence in beautiful surroundings. They appreciate the small things, and find beauty in the simplest things. They are romantics, dreamers, poets and creators at their cores. It takes a certain type of unique person to be a gardener, yet there are so many different types. As such, there are millions of books, manuals and guides written about every aspect of gardening. Go over to a gardener’s house and they’ll be sure to have bookshelves crammed full of tomes about gardening, and stacks of these books lying around. Here are just a few books that every self-respecting gardener should own.

 

Stuff Every Gardener Should Know – Scott Meyer

Not only does the cover of this book look beautifully rustic, quaint and colourful, it also serves exactly what it says on the tin. This manual should be something of a bible for all gardeners, with insights on many aspects of gardening – when to plant what, tips on avoiding weeds creeping into your garden beds, how to grow the loveliest roses, and other nuggets of essential gardening wisdom.

 

New Wild Garden: Natural-Style Planting and Practicalities – Ian Hodgson

If you dream of a garden filled with wildflowers, this is the perfect book. It’s becoming an ever-growing trend to plant native or indigenous wildflowers, to encourage pollinators and wildlife, and just all-round create a beautiful garden.

 

The Education of a Gardener – Russell Page

Written by one of the most prolific garden designers of our time, this book provides practical advice on how to design a garden, with a strong basis on Page’s horticultural knowledge and experience.

 

What Plant Where – Roy Lancaster

This book is an invaluable resource for anyone who has problem areas in their garden where it may be difficult to get plants to flourish. In a similar vein, there is also “Grow what Where” by Talbot, MacDonald and Peate, specifically focusing on Australian natives and where they best flourish.

 

The Dry Garden – Beth Chatto

Published in 1978, this book is still relevant today, perhaps even more so with the event of climate change. It works on the principle of planting the right plant in the right spot to maximise potential and success. The book is based around Chatto’s own experience creating a gravel garden, and such a garden is perfect for those who don’t have the time to water, once it is established.

 

You’ve got the knowledge, now get the plants at Evergreen Growers!

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10 Flowers To Plant To Attract Native Bees To Your Garden

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You’ve probably heard that bee populations are sadly on the decline, and some species are in danger of becoming extinct because of pesticides, habitat destruction and less flowering plants due to urbanisation. This will have drastic effects on crop production and biodiversity, but there are steps you can take to help. Here are a few examples of flowers you can plant in your garden to attract and support native bees.

1

FLOWERING GUM

This gum provides a great food source to native bees and birds too. The vibrant red native flowers will brighten up your garden and make it a sight to behold.

2

TEA TREE

This shrub is not only great for attracting bees, but the essential oils can be used to make soap, candles and much more! 

3

GREVILLIA BRONZE RAMBLER

This high nectar producing plant produces flowers for most of the year, and looks pretty while doing it!

4

BOTTLEBRUSH

The iconic Australian bottlebrush genus are a hardy choice for any native garden, producing plenty of nectar over spring for bees.

5

PURPLE CORAL PEA

A beautiful climber with bright purple flowers. Also comes in a white variety. 

6

PINCUSHION HAKEA

These Australian natives have fascinating flowers and come in shrub or tree varieties. Stingless native bees love this plant.

7

NATIVE SAGE

These flowers are low-maintenance and will grow in a pot or container if you don’t have much room but still want to provide food for bees in your garden.

8

NATIVE ROSEMARY

The adorably named teddy bear bee and the blue banded bee are a fan of these flowers, which stick around for most of the year.
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CUT-LEAF DAISY

This pretty type from the daisy family is a lengthy flowerer and is attractive to several different types of native bees. It also looks fantastic as a ground cover and in garden beds as a filler.

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LAVENDER

Lavender is a beautiful addition to any garden, and conjures up images of quaint cottage gardens with picket fences. An added bonus of lavender is that it’s also a favourite of the blue-banded bee.

OTHER FAVOURITES…

Bees also love herbs such as rosemary, sage, basil, thyme, mint and lemon balm, so you can take care of the bees while you cultivate your herb garden!

Browse our online store at Evergreen Growers, to find a range of flowering plants you can plant in your garden to attract and help native bees.

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THE MOST SPECTACULAR GARDENS AROUND THE WORLD

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There are an incredible amount of innovative and spectacular gardens around the world that are a testament to the creative and horticultural minds behind their conception. From tranquil Japanese gardens to colourful Dutch tulip gardens and everything in between, here are a few examples of the best.

THE LOST GARDENS OF HELIGAN – ENGLAND
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These incredible gardens in Cornwall were restored in the 1990s from an estate that was abandoned after the Second World War. They are the most popular botanical gardens in the UK, and are comprised of vegetable gardens, sculptures, a “jungle” and an Italian garden.

By Heinz-Dirk Luckhardt – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1042385

 
 
KEUKENHOF GARDENS – THE NETHERLANDS

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Containing groves of shady trees with sunlight filtering through to meandering streams, and a patchwork of colourful tulips across the landscape, the Keukenhof Gardens is truly a sight to behold. With over 7 million tulips, the gardens are a hugely popular tourist attraction.

By Luu – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6906923 

 

VERSAILLES – FRANCE
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Built on a foundation of stubborn marshes, woodlands and grasslands, the gardens of Versailles are perhaps the most famous in the world. The gardens were built for Louis XIV and contain garden beds in intricate patterns, an orangery, fountains and a canal. It took thousands of men to shift the earth and build the garden to completion. 

By The original uploader was Urban at French Wikipedia – Transferred from fr.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2114168
 
 
RYOAN-JI – JAPAN

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The gardens of Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto are a classic example of the Japanese dry landscape garden style. These gardens are highly regarded as one of the best cultural examples of Japanese Zen temple art design, with larger rocks arranged around smaller pebbles swept into patterns. This technique is supposed to facilitate meditation.

By Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4375710

 
 
BUTCHART GARDENS – CANADA
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Located in British Columbia and declared a National Historic Site of Canada, these gardens are an oasis containing vibrant flowering garden beds, sprawling lawns, fountains and statues. The garden site began as a limestone quarry and were developed over the 1900s. These days, the gardens are a popular tourist destination and are ranked as one of the best display gardens in the world.

By Marcus – user:NorwegianMarcus, CC BY-SA 1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=781853 
 
 
THE GARDEN OF COSMIC SPECULATION – SCOTLAND
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These gardens were built in 1989 and are based around concepts of maths and science. Instead of focusing on horticulture, they were designed to provoke thought and stimulate ideas. However, they’re only open to the public one day a year!

By Flexdream – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5207691 

At Evergreen Growers, we can help you create your own stunning garden. Browse our online store and pick your new plants to be delivered to your door, and get planting today!

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Make Your Very Own Fairy Garden!

fairy_garden

The winter holidays are here and what better way to spend time with your kids than by creating a winter wonderland for their fairy friends.fairy_garden

There are a number of different ideas to make your little garden that use various bases and feature different architecture.

STEP 1

First of all, you will need a base. Commonly used are existing garden beds, large soil-filled pots or old wash tubs, the base of a pot-plant, a garden box, or between the roots of a big tree.

STEP 2

Design the plantation and structural elements of the garden. Is it rocky? Is it green? Is it a woodland or is it floral? Does it have moss? Is there a house for the fairies to stay when they visit? Let your child’s imagination run wild here and you may even like to get them to embrace their creativity and produce a drawing for reference.

STEP 3

Now that you have a plan, you need to curate the structural elements of the garden. These can be made or bought. You can find lots of cute porcelain and plastic pieces at $2 shops but if you’d prefer to keep on the creative, budget route, here are a few ideas:

  • Use a pine cone as a house. Help your child paint on a door and some windows onto the exterior.
  • Make a house structure out of sticks and twine — just like in the Three Little Pigs!
  • Paddle Pop sticks and glue make a great resource for crafts. Seal the final structure with some varnish and it should last the weather.
  • Old jars can be painted up and connected to build a fairy fortress or buried in the soil to provide a pond or well for their pixie pals.
  • Decorate the sprites’ space with some solar fairy lights or purchase some glow in the dark stones to build a path to the front door.

The options are endless so this project won’t just stretch your child’s imagination!

STEP 4

A fairy garden isn’t complete without the garden! Decide on the flora you want to include. Small plants and succulents are a great idea for this project, or perhaps you want to make your fairy garden practical by planting herbs!

STEP 5

Assembly. Lay out all the facets of the fairy garden so you can methodically fit them into the base. Now you can play, arrange and rearrange to your heart’s content until you decide on the final landscape. Make sure you place everything to make sure it fits before you plant the vegetation and fasten the structures!

And voila! Now you have your very own fairy garden!

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4 Of The Coolest Plants You Didn’t Know About

coolest_plants

Bet you didn’t know about these cool florae! Check out our favourite obscure plants for this month!

Nepenthes

More commonly known as the Tropical Pitcher Plant, the nepenthes species can be found mostly in the forests of the Philippines, Sumatra and Borneo.blog 2

Shaped like a water pitcher, this plant devours anything that can fit in its sticky, sappy opening. This can include anything from spiders, termites, worms and other insects, in the smaller buds, right up to lizards and forest rats in the larger, life-sized pitchers.

These creepy crawlers have adapted to a variety of jungle uses. Monkeys drink from them, tree shrews do their business in them and sometimes the less tasty insects may even be granted permission to live in them! Cool, huh?

coolest_plantsDrosera capensis

Think Venus Fly Trap but sneakier! Cape Sundew is a carnivorous plant native to South Africa. Unlike the nepenthes species, this plant uses its gummy, sap-coated leaves or “arms” to hug its prey to death. It takes generally about 30 minutes for this plant to consume its feast alive, which would be a pretty merciless way to die. The Cape Sundew is also listed as one of New Zealand’s invasive plant pests.

Victoria amazonica

These oversized water lillies can grow up to three metres in diameter and, with bended edges to avoid overlapping their friendly brothers and sisters, they can act as floating devices for small animals and sometimes even babies. A fully grow amazonica can support a whopping 45kgs if the weight is evenly distribued! The undersides of these magnanimously sized are covered in thorns to protect them against the nibbles of pond-dwelling animals.Blog 1

These impressive giant leaves also flower with buds that change colour but can only be seen in the dark. On the first night they are white and female; the second, pink and male. The reproduction occurs when beetles are caught by the female on the first night, coated in pollen and released to inhabit the male flowers on the second evening. At daybreak, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the buds close quite quiclky as the sun emerges.

Dracaena cinnabari

blog 3This tree is pretty spectacular. It takes its common name, the Dragon’s Blood Tree, from its sap, which presents a thick, deep red when dried into resin. In ancient times, this was a highly-prized substance and was (and still can be) used for many things, including toothpaste and as a natural stimulant. This is an incredibly rare species and can only be found on Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea. The tree’s canopy is umbrella-shaped, shading its own roots from the constant sun showers off the coasts of Somalia and Yemen.

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DIY Chia Pets: A Lesson In Nature And Nurture

chia_pets

Chia pets are all the rage with young kids and are a great addition to the family garden or to sit on the windowsill inside. Teach your kids the importance of nurturing when it comes to the environment with this no-fuss DIY hobby project.

What you will need:

Potting soil

2 tbs chia seeds

1 small terra cotta pot

1 small dish

1 knee-length nylon sock or stocking

A spray bottle

2 googly eyes

Rubber bands

Permanent marker or permanent paint 

Step 1:

Soak your chia seeds in water overnight.

Step 2:

The next morning, you can put the soaked seeds in the toe of the nylon sock or stocking.

Step 3:

Add the potting soil to cover the chia seeds and tie a tight knot to tighten the nylon around the soil. You’ll need to add enough to make a ball larger than the rim of your terra cotta pot.

Step 4:

Place the ball of soil in the pot so that the knot is invisible inside the pot.

Step 5:

Use the rubber bands to make ears or shape your chia pet to resemble whichever type of animal you like.

Step 6:

Apply the googly eyes and draw on a nose and/or smile.

Step 7:

Make sure you keep your pet in a place where he or she can get exposure to sunlight. You may consider keeping it in a sheltered place outside or on a sunny windowsill inside.

Step 8:

Spray your chia pet with the water bottle every day.

Step 9:

Wait patiently for your chia pet’s hair to grow!

Chia pets are such a great introduction to gardening for young children and are a great tool to teach your kids about the patience and care it takes to grow not only plants but anything from scratch. They are great fun for the whole family! You can help your children build a little chia community — Mamma Chia, Papa Chia and all their little baby Chias — and you can give them a bunch of different looks and accessories!

You can completely customise your chia pets by using a range of different DIY crafts, extending your kid’s learning to encompass creativity and innovation. Teach your child to sew and help them add patches to the sock or stocking before you create your pet! Or perhaps you can inspire their imagination to paint with fabric paint on the sock or stocking before you add the chia seeds and soil. These are all great fun ways to help stimulate your child’s mind and improve their dexterity and fine motor skills!

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Let Your Kids Grow With Their Plants: The Educational Benefits Of Gardening With Kids

gardening_with_kids

The best way to teach a child is by engaging all the senses. Gardening is a great way to do that as kids can feel the dirt, see the colours, shapes and sizes of the plants, hear the snap, rustle or crunch of leaves and stems and inhale the scent of the garden herbs flowers and vegetables.

Responsibility

One of the best things kids can learn in the garden is responsibility. Charging them with the task of looking after their seeds and plants and nurturing them until they blossom is a great learning curve and can also be tied in and used as a metaphor for lessons in caring for one another.

Patience

The ‘Now generation’ is used to instant fulfilment. That is not possible with a living growing thing. It takes time and care and, above all, patience to grow a healthy garden, which is something that not all children are taught these days.

Fine Motor Skills

Gardening is a great way for kids to improve their fine motor skills. Digging, sowing and balancing watering cans improves strength and dexterity.

Planning and Organisation

There is a lot of planning and organisation that goes into building and growing a healthy garden. You need to consider the seasonal blooming pattern of each plant, the length of time it takes to bloom and the best time of year to plant it. Letting your children be a part of this process helps them to hone problem solving skills, while enriching their experience in organisation and planning.

Mathematics

There are so many lessons in mathematics that can be taught in the garden context. From counting and measurement to graphs, fractions, shapes and angles.

Science

Gardening stimulates the curiosity of children in concepts related to botany, biology and chemistry. In their own garden, they can make predictions (or hypotheses) and monitor the progress of each of their ‘experiments’.

Healthy Eating

Being healthy and developing the knowledge to maintain a healthy diet is part of growing up. It’s often hard to get kids to eat their fruits and veggies but it’s much easier once they are involved in the process of growing the produce as they develop a sense of pride for what they have achieved.

Sustainability

Getting out in the garden is the number one way for them to learn about the ecological impact of humans on the planet. It instils a sense of ownership and responsibility in them to maintain a healthy relationship with planet Earth. Lessons in pollution, recycling and chemical damage can also be brought into casual conversations had in the garden.

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Turn Your Garden Into A Tropical Paradise

tropical_paradise

Just because winter is quickly creeping up on us and shattering our bones with its freezing chill doesn’t mean we can’t prepare our gardens for the warmth coming around the corner. In anticipation for the warmth that greets us at the end of the long winter, why not turn your garden into a tropical oasis? The joy you will receive from stepping out into the garden on that first warm day of the year, enjoying the sun and its flowing rays on your paradisiacal garden will reinvigorate your love for the home and your love for the birth of spring.

Read on for tips on how to turn your non-tropics home into a tropical haven.

Be wise with your plant choice and plant densely

When designing your Bali-esque garden it is important to select lush plantation and evergreen foliage. Luckily, there are plenty of plants that do just that. It is important that within your garden you create something of a microclimate. This can be done through hard structures or plantation, and they work against the effects of summer winds and winter freezes. You can then begin the laying of a quality, well-draining mix that can be easily managed, and covered by organic mulch which will hold the garden’s moisture and stop the roots from drying out through the summer.

You want to create a dense garden, and this means planting densely. There is the potential that you may have to remove plantation if things become overgrown however you want the garden to look lush, with a myriad of plants creating that ultimate rainforest effect. Choose large-leaf foliage plants for the base, and add colourful flowering plants to give it that extra touch of vibrancy.

Plant choices for non-tropical climates include the bird of paradise, angel’s trumpets, and, of course, beautiful bougainvillea’s. For vivid oranges and reds choose cannas and clivias plants. Once you have grown a microclimate you can begin to try out new semi-tropical plants which often yield great results despite the non-tropical climate.

We’ve got what you need!

If you need a great selection of plants to begin growing your tropical paradise with, simply have a look through our online store. Evergreen Growers have a wealth of beautiful plants that will help create that resort-like garden, and will give birth to a whole new love for your home.

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Keep Your Garden Growing For Winter

winter_growing

I write this as I sit in my living room, extremely cold, and with multiple layers on. It’s darn chilly outside, and it’s only just turning to winter. Each year I forget how cold it can get, and as the month of June creeps chillingly closer, I have to remind myself to get out into the cold and do a few things to ensure my garden stays fertile throughout the colder months. I often have people asking, ‘how is your garden still so lush after winter?’ and I tell them the same answers every time, some of which I would like to share with you here…

Take your fragile plants indoors

Many people opt to leave their annuals or perennials outside during the winter months, which often leads to a premature death. You simply have to bring the plants inside during the coldest part of the year, and take them out for at least a week when the weather gets a bit warmer. This system is basically to avoid them freezing outside, so when it’s not so frosty they can be returned to the warmth. 

Cover vegie garden seedlings

Autumnal vegetables may need protection throughout the winter. Many can survive around freezing point but if you are in an area where it gets much colder it is necessary to cover your patches in blankets overnight. If the weather gradually warms up throughout the day, you will need to remove the blankets so that the patch receives air and does not overheat, plastic is a good option, but if it heats up it is vitally important to remove the blankets when it warms up so that the vegies below don’t fry. 

Plant bulbs for spring!

This is necessary for providing an element of life to your garden for when the winter months warm up and things look brighter outside. Get planting with spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils and remember to plant the bulbs with their roots facing downwards. You are still able to plant bulbs even if it has a sprout at the top.

Contact Evergreen Growers for more tips

If you would like to receive more tips on the protection of your garden throughout winter, or would like to find out how to get it really going for spring, feel free to get in contact with us here at Evergreen Growers. Fill out an enquiry form on our contact page and we will get back to you with all the information you require.