Hello!  Wow – look at that…another week has gone!  This season is just zooming by – I’m having to remind myself daily to sit down, relax and enjoy the stunning weather and all the gorgeous plants in bloom right now.

I have been harvesting from my salad container garden!


One summer treat that I always find the time for is watermelon and mint juice.  There are days when it is so hot I don’t feel like eating.  But I can always drink several chilled glasses of this summer only libation!

It is so easy and straightforward – here is the recipe:

Fill your blender with watermelon and a bunch of mint. Puree.  Drink!

The mint can be adjusted according to taste.  You can strain the juice before drinking it. I never bother to, but some may not like the chunkier drink.

This is the time of year when the proper labeling of your plants can make a strong difference in the care and maintenance of your garden.  One of the biggest strengths of Ladybug Landscaping is working with perennials.  We have become highly proficient at creating extremely long bloom times in the yards of our maintenance clients. 

It all begins with great design, of course, but it is also very important to keep in mind which perennials can be cut back after blooming to encourage rebloom.  We keep this information in our client files and make monthly schedules of whose house needs what pruning, and when.

But not all of our clients have us do their garden maintenance. In fact, a large portion of our business is garden coaching and supporting our clients in taking care of their garden.  Besides plant charts with information written on them, one of Ladybug’s signature touches are our large decorative plant tags with information written on the back.

We use different codes for each label- here the dark gray is for plants that can be cut back after blooming, the hearts are for edibles and the smaller tabs are for the container gardens.

I’m using these tags in my garden because my handwriting was pretty lousy on them and the pen I chose to write with on the back was bleeding.  Use a pencil!!!

I buy the wooden shapes at a craft store, paint them ( I recommend using milk paint for vegetable garden labels), load the backs with information (when to cut them back, diseases to look out for, bugs to keep an eye on, unique fertilizer needs, when to harvest etc.)  seal them with outdoor modpodge and place them at the foot of the plants.  I sometimes glue a popsicle stick to the label to make it easier to put in the ground.  These last for a long time – I’ve had some in my parent’s yard for a couple of seasons now.  This is also a really fun project for kids to help with!

My basil is filling in!

I love the whimsy and fun these plant labels bring to a garden.  Obviously hearts are not going to work for everyone, but they sure put a smile on my face every time I see them.  And they even cheer me up during the dreaded weeding!

How do you personalize your garden?  Do you have any little tricks and ideas that help you make your gardening easier?

Caroline Finnegan owns Ladybug Landscaping, a full service organic landscaping company. based in CT. She is a NOFA accredited landcare professional and when not designing gardens can be found rearranging her furniture or out at a flea market finding new goodies. She almost always has dirt under her nails.



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7 comments

comments

  • jenn bronson | June 10, 2010

    The one major thing we do to try and make our gardening easier is mulch, mulch, mulch. We use wood chip mulch from local tree cutters which is great at preventing weeds, keeping the soil moist and roots cool. Also, it is free!!! As far as personalizing our garden, my husband and I make flowers out of food cans. We cut them in all different shapes, paint them bright colors, and attach them to bamboo stalks. In our veggie garden we use them as plant markers! They really help to bring color into our garden during the bloom down times.

  • jenn, how amazing! do you have pics of these flowers? i would LOVE to see them, send ‘em over!!

  • so jealous of your green thumb, and I love the labels.
    I’ve just weeded a tiny patch in our Chicago yard…now what?

  • I love that idea for the plant labels! May have to try it this year. Beautiful post!

  • Oh Jen – I second Bonnie’s request for pictures! Your flowers sound so cute!!

    Laura – well it’s all up to you! Are you looking for a flower garden or do you want to grow vegetables? If you give me a little bit more information I would be thrilled to offer you some guidance!

    Thank you Courtney! The craft stores have so many different shapes to choose from – and I try and have as much fun as I can out in the garden!

  • jenn bronson | June 15, 2010

    Ok, I can’t figure out how to send you the photo other than through email. I am not great with computer stuff. Is there a way to upload it on here for you?

  • Esther | June 27, 2011

    def tried out the watermelon and mint juice.. it was a great way to have the refreshing taste of watermelons without having to get our hands sticky!
    since some people in our family don’t like chunky drinks, i strained the juice and took out the larger pieces of mint
    nevertheless, it made for a refreshing and tasty drink!
    def a summer bbq staple!

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