Chrysanthemums 101

Chrysanthemums 101

Mums can give you color till the cold comes. 

Chrysanthemums nicknamed “mums,” are one of fall’s quintessential flowers. They’re usually the last plant to bloom before frost, ushering your garden into the big sleep of winter with a last bang of color.
There are many species of mums, hundreds of varieties, and thousands of hybrids, with blooms that can be as frilly as a cheerleading pompom or as dainty as a daisy. Mums come in a rich range of colors including white, yellow, orange, lavender, purple, red and bicolor. They’re easy-to-grow and can be used in beds, borders, and containers. They attract butterflies in the fall and make great cut flowers, lasting up to two weeks in a bouquet.

Chrysanthemums are an ancient flower, cultivated in China as far back as the 15th century. Flowers can be as small as a quarter or big as a dinner plate. They bloom in various shapes, according to variety. Mums can be flat flowers with a single or double layer of petals that look like daisies, or a mounded flower with long petals shaped like tubes or quills.
Growing Mums.  Chrysanthemums grow 1′ to 3′ tall and get 1′ to 2′ wide, depending on the type.

When and Where to Plant Mums
If you’re using a mum as a perennial, plant in early spring, or in the fall at least six weeks before the first killing frost. If you’re using chrysanthemums for a pop of fall color to boost your late season garden, plant them when they’re blooming in later summer or early fall and treat them as annuals.

Mums grow best in full sun. Give them too little sunlight, and you’ll get a weak plant that produces few flowers.
Mums are happiest in rich, well-drained soil. Add compost or other organic material to your soil when you plant to give your mum the best shot at being a strong, healthy plant.

Garden Design Suggestions

  • Mums are ideal for containers because of their shallow root systems.
  • Use those pots of blooming mums sold in the fall as annuals to replace summer annuals that are past their prime. Tuck the mums in beds, borders, or planters to keep the color coming until frost.
  • Plant them in beds or borders in the early spring or fall as perennials. They come back each fall with more flowers.
  • Plant chrysanthemums in swaths or clumps of the same color and flower type. Mass plantings are pleasing to the eye.
  • Pair them with other late-season bloomers like sedum, goldenrod, Russian sage and asters.
  • Use them in the middle of sunny borders, cutting gardens and butterfly gardens.
  • Mums contain substances that can be toxic to cats, dogs, and horses, so keep that in mind if you have pets that might munch on them.

 

 

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Trends for Outdoor Spaces

Trends for Outdoor Spaces

The outdoor season is never long enough, is it? Homeowners are always looking for ways to create outside spaces that are unique, comfortable and help them make the most of their sunny days and warm evenings. From outdoor kitchens and living rooms to retro-shape pavers making a comeback, to new environmentally conscious choices, check out trends that are making an impression outdoors.

Decked-out living spaces – Homeowners are extending the use of their outdoor space by moving indoor rooms outside. Al fresco kitchens are extensively equipped with appliances, preparation counters, pizza ovens and grill islands. The outdoor living room is complete with fireplace, cozy seating, area rug and big screen TV. A creative use of pavers such as different styles and colors, contrasting borders, and vertical elements like steps, low walls and pillars will help to define your inviting gathering spaces.

Mix and match – Play with an array of pavers in different shapes, textures, sizes and colors to add unique style and character to your outdoor patio. Mix and match them to create different patterns or a pixelated effect that are not only visually interesting, but also hide stains and marks.

Put a hex on it – Making a comeback everywhere in bathroom and kitchen backsplashes and in wallpaper patterns is the hexagon shape. Now the six-sided paver shape such as Granito (Unilock) can be found in outdoor patios and walkways. For an atypical look, honor the geometric pattern by leaving the pavers whole on the edges of your project.

Think permeable – Permeable pavers (Unilock) help to reduce the amount of water that flows into public drains, which can get overstressed in a major storm event. Water flows through the paver joints into a gravel base below where it is naturally absorbed back into the ecosystem. As more municipalities are limiting the amount of impervious surface space you are allowed to have on your property, permeable pavers make sense for a large patio, pool deck or driveway.

Take a seat on a wall – Low seat walls are a simple, stunning way to provide additional seating around a fire pit, water feature, small-space patio, flower bed or raised garden to make tending the garden easier and more comfortable. Build your own with a versatile system like the U-Cara Multi-Face Wall System (Unilock) for a seat wall that is not only functional, but also adds visual interest to your outdoor project.

What inspirational trends in pavers have you noticed? We can help you make it happen!  Complete the below form and request more information or give us a call at 815-786-9418.

 

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Adding a Walkway to your home

Adding a Walkway to your home

With the right materials, a walkway can completely transform a home’s curb appeal. Today’s walkways can feel both historic and modern.

If you own a home and have a yard, your outdoor space probably includes some sort of path — from front sidewalk to front door, around the side of the house, or out to the backyard. You can rely on a basic from-here-to-there walkway, or you can upgrade yours with ideas that are beautiful and practical.

Safety
Safety is often the first consideration for any walkway material, especially when your new walkway will need to withstand an abundance of rain, snow, and ice.

Style
Another characteristic to look for is a style that complements your home. Each home is unique and deserves a walkway that enhances its look.

Durability
Over the long run, concrete pavers significantly outlast poured concrete or asphalt. The challenge with poured concrete or asphalt is that they’re solid surfaces, which are very heavy. They must be supported by an adequate base that won’t shift under load, or because of the natural movement of soil. Any shifting will cause cracking or heaving, which means the entire walkway will have to be reinstalled. Paver walkways do allow for slight movement, which prevents cracking or heaving, and should a paver be damaged, you can just have that one paver replaced.

Whether you’re looking for a new design for your front entry, a solution for your side yard or you’re wanting to add walkway to enhance your landscape, give our designer a call to provide you options by calling Aztech Landscaping at 815-786-7647 or complete the below request for a free consultation.

 

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Fun Facts About Pumpkins

Fun Facts About Pumpkins

Nothing says autumn more than a beautiful, orange pumpkin, but this most beloved symbol of fall is hiding some fun little secrets. Think you know everything there is to know about these great big gourds? We wanted to SHARE some fun facts about pumpkins!

Pumpkins are fruits, not vegetables

Fruits are considered to be the part of the plant that has seeds on the inside. By this definition, a pumpkin is definitely a fruit. They’re a member of the gourd family, which includes other fruits like watermelon and winter squash.

Pumpkin pie wasn’t served at the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving

Despite our modern-day obsession with pumpkin pie this time of year, it was nowhere to be found at the original Thanksgiving feast of 1621. Pilgrims wouldn’t have had butter or flour for making pie crust, let alone an oven for baking. Some historians speculate that the Pilgrims may have hollowed out pumpkins to fill with milk, spices, and honey for a custard-like dessert, but even this has never been proved.

The first jack-o’-lanterns

Early jack-o’-lanterns were made by carving turnips or potatoes — not pumpkins. The Irish and Scottish used them as part of their pagan Celtic celebrations, while the English did the same thing, just with beets instead. In fact, the tradition of the jack-o’-lantern stems from the Irish legend of a man named Stingy Jack who was known as somewhat of an unpleasant trickster. Immigrants brought their carving traditions to America but found that pumpkins were a much easier alternative.

Pumpkins grow (almost) everywhere

Pumpkins are grown on every continent except Antarctica. They even grow in Alaska.

More than 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkin are produced in the U.S.

And 80 percent of this crop are picked within one single month of the year — October. The top-producing pumpkin states are Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California. In fact, Morton, Ill., is the self-proclaimed “pumpkin capital” of the world because it’s home to the Libby’s corporation.

Pumpkin seeds as snacks
The average-size pumpkin contains about 1 cup of seeds.

To roast seeds: Separate seeds from the stringy pulp and run them under cold water (a colander works well here). Then carefully blot dry. Preheat oven to 250ºF. Make a seasoning mix with butter or oil and your favorite dry seasonings. Try Cajun, taco, simple salt and pepper or whatever you’re feeling. Bake for about 45 minutes, then increase the temperature to 325ºF and bake for another 20 minutes or longer — until seeds are crispy. Stir a few times during baking.

SAVE THOSE SEEDS:

How do you store pumpkin seeds for next season?
Once your seeds are thoroughly dry, place them in an envelope or brown paper bag. Label it with the date and details about the pumpkin. Store your seed envelope in a cool, dry place until planting time. Some people keep them in the refrigerator if they don’t have another suitable place.
Your jack-o’-lantern won’t make a good pie
Those oversized pumpkins you pick up at the roadside stand are bred for size, not flavor. Farmers know that most people buy pumpkins that they can carve, so they don’t worry about their tastiness. If you plan on using fresh pumpkin to cook, pick up a Cinderella, Pink Banana Squash or Sugar Pie pumpkin variety. A 5-pound pumpkin should yield two pies.

World’s largest pumpkin pie

The largest pumpkin pie ever made was 20 feet in diameter and weighed 3,699 pounds. It was made in September 2010 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers (USA) at the New Bremen Pumpkinfest in New Bremen, Ohio.

National Pumpkin Day is celebrated every Oct. 26

National Pumpkin Day is an unofficial holiday that is celebrated annually on Oct. 26. The holiday serves as a day to give thanks for the squash that have been such an integral part of North American heritage. It’s also a convenient day to carve a pumpkin since most pumpkins will hold up a few days before Halloween on Oct. 31.

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Learn About Tulips

Learn About Tulips

The perfect time to plant Tulips has arrived!

The reasoning behind planting tulips in the late fall (October- November) is that tulips require 12-14 weeks of temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in order to bloom in the spring. It is also helpful because the low temperatures suppress the fungal growth in the bulbs. Planting later in the season like November helps avoid the peak of wildlife animals that hoard food for the winter.

Plant in the Fall for Spring Bloom

Tulip bulbs are planted in the autumn before the ground freezes. By planting varieties with different bloom times, you can have tulips blooming from early to late spring. Some types are good for forcing into bloom indoors and most are excellent for cut flowers, too.

Tulip flowers are usually cup-shaped with three petals and three sepals. There’s a tulip for every setting, from small “species” tulips in naturalized woodland areas to larger tulips that fit formal garden plantings from beds to borders. The upright flowers may be single or double, and vary in shape from simple cups, bowls, and goblets to more complex forms. Height ranges from 6 inches to 2 feet. One tulip grows on each stem, with two to six broad leaves per plant.

HOW TO GROW TULIPS

If it rains weekly, do not water. However, if there is a dry spell and it does not rain, you should water the bulbs weekly until the ground freezes.

Rainy summers, irrigation systems, and wet soil are death to tulips. Never deliberately water a bulb bed unless in a drought. Wet soil leads to fungus and disease and can rot bulbs. Add shredded pine bark, sand, or any other rough material to the soil to foster swift drainage.

Apply compost annually to provide nutrients needed for future blooms.

In the spring, when leaves emerge, feed your tulip the same bulb food or bone meal which you used at planting time. Water well.

Deadhead tulips as soon as they go by, but do not remove the leaves!

Allow the leaves to remain on the plants for about 6 weeks after flowering. The tulips need their foliage to gather energy for next year’s blooms! After the foliage turns yellow and dies back, it can be pruned off.

Large varieties may need replanting every few years; small types usually multiply and spread on their own.

 

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Popular service areas include: Lake Holiday, Oswego, Sandwich, Sugar Grove, and Yorkville. (see more areas)

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