Plant-based essential oils boost the mind, body and spirit during the holidays

Gardener’s Supply Company Warming wraps infused with essential oils can provide relief to those suffering from sore shoulder and neck muscles.

Gardener’s Supply Company
Warming wraps infused with essential oils can provide relief to those suffering from sore shoulder and neck muscles.

By Melinda Myers

Ease into the hectic holiday season with the help of aromatherapy. The fragrances of plant-derived essential oils have long been used to improve the health of our mind, body and spirit.

Boost your energy and increase your focus as you work to balance work, family and holiday fun. Peppermint has long been prized for this and so much more. You’ll find it also helps relieve headaches and indigestion.

Freshen your home with the scent of grapefruit.  It’s the perfect solution when unexpected guests drop by for a visit. You may also find the grapefruit aroma, along with your company, help to lighten your mood.

Use eucalyptus essential oil in the fight against colds and flu this winter. Just place a few drops into a diffuser on your desk at work, in your bedroom or family room.  The diffusers come in a wide array of shapes and sizes. Some use heat, ultrasonic vibrations, fans or wood wicks to disperse the fragrance throughout the room. Others, like the Eden Aroma Diffuser, allow the fragrance to seep through the porous portion of the diffuser pot and into the room.

Or use a eucalyptus eye mask to help relieve sinus pressure and sooth tired eyes. Just gently heat or cool the mask, cover your eyes and relax into a bit of relief.

End your day with relaxing lavender. It helps reduce anxiety, relieves headaches and improves sleep. Turn up the heat and fragrance Continue reading

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Gardening with Melinda: Plant easy-care daffodils now for added spring beauty

Photo by Longfield-Gardens.com Unique daffodil varieties like Lingerie offer double flowering.

Photo by Longfield-Gardens.com
Unique daffodil varieties like Lingerie offer double flowering.

By Melinda Myers

Daffodils have a cheery presence in the spring garden and are a surefire way to chase away the winter blues. These fall-planted bulbs are also reliable perennials that require no maintenance and are not bothered by deer or other pests. The National Garden Bureau has declared 2017 the Year of the Daffodil, and with the fall planting season right around the corner, now is the time to choose your favorites.

Yellow trumpet daffodils are classics, but there are many other flower styles and colors to choose from. Double-flowering types like white and yellow Lingerie and long lasting lemon-yellow Sherbourne feature multiple rows of petals and some varieties look more like peonies than daffodils.

Multi-flowering varieties like Beautiful Eyes, display several flowers on each stem. This variety’s white and orange blossoms have a gardenia-like fragrance. Miniature Continue reading

Gardening with Melinda: Proper tree planting and care is critical to survival

The GreenWell water saver contains and concentrates the water where it is needed during a tree’s critical root establishment phase.

The GreenWell water saver contains and concentrates the water where it is needed during a tree’s critical root establishment phase.

By Melinda Myers

Whether planting a tree to add seasonal beauty, grow backyard fruit, provide a bit of shade, or reduce energy costs, it’s a big upfront investment.  Make the most of your money spent by giving your tree its best chance at survival with proper planting and care.

Now is a great time to plant trees. Cooler air temperatures make it less stressful on newly planted trees and the gardeners planting them.

Select a tree suited to the growing conditions. Make sure it tolerates the sunlight, soil and temperature extremes. Check the tag for the mature height and spread. You’ll have a better-looking plant that always fits the space with minimal pruning.

Plant it correctly to insure your tree thrives for many years to come. Dig a Continue reading

One Simple Step Can Improve the Health and Vigor of Your Lawn

Fall lawn fertilization is the first step in growing a healthy lawn next year.

Fall lawn fertilization is the first step in growing a healthy lawn next year.

By Melinda Myers

Do just one thing this fall and you can improve the health and vigor of your lawn.  Fall fertilization helps lawns recover from the stresses of summer and provides needed nutrients to grow deeper roots and a denser stand of grass. And that means fewer weeds and a healthier lawn that’s more resistant to drought, insects and diseases.

Fertilize around Labor Day as the temperatures begin to cool and lawns start spreading outward instead of growing upward. Continue to leave clippings on the lawn. They return nutrients, moisture and organic matter to the soil.  Consider it free fertilizer applied every time you mow the lawn.

One fall application will give low maintenance lawns the nutrient boost they need. You’ll have a healthier lawn with minimal care.

Increase the quality and improve the lawn’s ab Continue reading

Gardening with Melinda: Add extra appeal with garden art

Gardener’s Supply Company The Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage provides a sturdy support for tomato plants while adding color to the landscape

Gardener’s Supply Company
The Kaleidoscope Tomato Cage provides a sturdy support for tomato plants while adding color to the landscape

By Melinda Myers

Adding excitement to your garden is easy.  You can create instant, year-round color, structure, motion and fun to your landscape with a bit of garden art.

Just like shopping for plants, look for pieces that complement your gardening style. And consider all the benefits each piece of art provides. Many pieces are functional as well as beautiful, helping you get the most from your garden budget.

In centuries past, garden art included statues of gods and beautiful people as well as pieces that mimicked nature’s ornamental qualities. You can still find those traditional garden statues. But these days you will also find colorful pieces made from a variety Continue reading

Gardening with Melinda: Harvesting, Storing and Preserving Herbs from the Garden

Photo credit: Bonnie Plants Harvesting and preserving herbs allows you to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden flavor all year long.

Photo credit: Bonnie Plants
Harvesting and preserving herbs allows you to enjoy fresh-from-the-garden flavor all year long.

By Melinda Myers

Enjoy herbs all year round. Harvest herbs now for garden-fresh meals and preserve a few for the winter ahead.

Snip a few leaves or leaf-covered stems as needed. For the same intensity of flavor, you generally need two to three times more fresh herbs than dried except for Rosemary which has an equally strong flavor fresh or dried. Continue harvesting herbs as needed throughout the growing season. And don’t worry about harming the plant because regular harvesting encourages new growth which means more for you to harvest. Just be sure to leave enough foliage to maintain plant growth.

You can remove as much as fifty percent of the foliage from annual herb plants. This is about when the plants near their final height.  You can remove up to one third from established perennial plants that have been in the garden for several months or more. Harvest when the plant has formed buds, but before they open into flowers for the greatest concentration of flavor. This is the perfect time to Continue reading

Gardening: Bring in the birds this winter

Photo credit – Gardener’s Supply Company

Photo credit – Gardener’s Supply Company

By Melinda Myers

Brighten your winter days by inviting birds into your landscape. Their beauty and motion help enliven the garden and lighten your spirit. Not only do they provide entertainment, but also an opportunity for all ages to stay involved with nature year-round.

Increase the number of visitors to your yard by including all the essentials these winged visitors need; food, shelter and water.

Plants are the easiest way to bring birds into your landscape. These natural feeders provide seasonal food and shelter for the birds. Take a walk through your yard and look for trees, shrubs and perennials that provide food and evergreens that provide year-round shelter.  Plan on adding a few of their favorites that provide food and shelter and seasonal beauty you can enjoy. Continue reading