Ivy For Your Home and Garden

This plant, in some of its varieties, is probably the most popular ornament of the parlor. The ease of culture, its beautiful foliage, its rapid growth, and evergreen character all combine to make it a favorite.

The soil should be a rich loam; the richer the soil the more rapid will be the growth. Yet avoid stimulating manures. Slips root readily, taken off at any leaf joint, and placed either in earth or water; in the latter they will soon throw out roots, and may then be transferred to pots.

The only precaution to be taken in growing ivy is to keep it from frost while in growth and if frozen, to keep the sun away from it, thawing it out with cold water from whatever garden water feature you possess. In summer the plants may be set out of doors, and will make vigorous growth.

There are many species, of which the most common is Hedera Helix, the common twining ivy, a native of Europe, of which there are many varieties. The leaves of these varieties vary quite a bit and many distinctions have been founded on these variations.

There are two very beautiful kinds, the silver and golden, the foliage being beautifully variegated with white and gold. The Tree or Aborescent Ivy is merely a form of the common variety, which is shown by its returning to the primal Aborescent form not infrequently. The leaves are entire, and the plant often, retains its form for years.

H. Roegneriana is a variety with large, heart-shaped leaves, which is much esteemed.

H. digitata, the palmate or hand-shaped Ivy is a pretty variety, of rapid growth; the leaves are small, dark, and veined. This is often called, erroneously, the Irish Ivy.

H. Canariensis is the Irish, or Giant Ivy, the leaves are five-lobed, and larger than those of the common ivy. This type of ivy may not be best for areas where patio statuary is on display since it can grow quite large and overshadow the statues.

Almost all the varieties of nurserymen’s’ catalogs are merely forms of these, with peculiar foliage.

The Golden Ivy is a splendid plant; when the young
leaves come out it resembles a mass of yellow flowers. Ivies are grown in hanging baskets, around windows, made to trail around picture frames and looking glasses; indeed, they may be made decorative in the highest degree.

The plants should always be well supplied with water, though it should never be allowed to stand at the roots. Large plants of the common varieties may be procured inexpensively. The ornamental foliaged varieties are somewhat pricier.

If you have ivy growing out of doors (and it will thrive if you keep the winter’s sun away from it), a pretty effect may be produced by cutting large branches, and keeping them in vases or outdoor fountains of rain water. They will grow well all winter, and planted in spring make nice plants for autumn.

The plant commonly known as German Ivy is not an ivy; the botanical name is Senecio Scandens. It is deservedly popular, from its rapid growth and its freedom from insects. The Coliseum Ivy is a species of Snap-dragon, as may be seen from an examination of the flowers, and a very pretty plant it is; botanically it is Linaria Cymbalaria.

Five-leaved Ivy is the Virginia Creeper or Woodbine (Ampelopsis Virginica), a native of our woods. The Poison Ivy is Rhus Radicans or Rhus Toxicodendron, and not of the same family as any of the above.

Add Gazebos to Your Home and Garden for Added Elegance and Romance

If you were to sit down and think about what would be a good addition to your garden, gazebos would probably be the first thing that comes to your mind. Gazebos speak to us of enchantment and romance so much so that they often are the focal point in a garden. In some cases, if you have larger gazebos, they usually become the venue for garden weddings and other functions. You can also see strategically placed gazebos in public places like parks and courtyards where they serve as shelter from the rain and resting places for when you get tired from walking.

If you want to place gazebos in your house, your initial options would be your deck, patio or garden/yard. Gazebos may be placed on the deck or the patio either as a stand-alone structure or as part of the whole ensemble and attached to the wall. You have more options of designing around your gazebo when you place it in your garden or yard. You may play with the landscaping to get the best ideas for your gazebo. If you’re near the waterfront, you may prefer to place the gazebo there for a better view and better breezes.

When choosing a gazebo, you need to think about the material, the shape and the size. Most gazebos are built of wood because they respond well to the harsh conditions of the weather. However, modern gazebos may also be built of vinyl which is stronger and more durable than wood. Gazebos can come in many shapes. The most popular shape is the octagonal although you can often see rectangular, oval, hexagonal and dodecagonal gazebos. The size of your gazebo will depend on how much space you have in your garden. You want it to take not more than 50% of your space so it will look nice on your garden.

Gazebos are available for purchase from most outdoor furniture stores. They come in assembly kits which you can do yourself if you believe in your skills in putting them together. If your carpentry skills are more than average, you may opt to build the gazebos for yourself in which case, you really have control over what you want the gazebos to look like. If that’s not an option, go ahead and find somebody with the needed skills and expertise. You can work with this person to get exactly what you’re looking for.

Crafting Stained Glass Mosaic Stepping Stones for Your Home and Garden

Making your own stepping stones is actually quite easy, a bit messy and a lot of fun. It’s a wonderful outside family craft for a warm seasonal day. Crafting a personalized hand-print and/or footprint stepping stone for each child, parent and even the pets will not only add charm to your garden path but also become prized keepsakes. The kids will enjoy comparing their hands and feet to their parents as they grow and the parents will cherish the memories the little prints’ will hold of childhood for many years to come.

The easiest way to craft stepping stones is to make them using a method called the “Stone Topper”. If you have never made a mosaic stepping stone or are looking for a quick and inexpensive way of crafting a number of stones, this method is perfect. No molds, no expensive kits, little mess and you probably have most of the needed materials on hand!

For each stone you will need:

1. A 12″ already made plain cement stepping stone. Any shape will work.
2. Five pounds of Cement Mortar Mix, this can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
3. Broken pieces of stained glass, glass nuggets and/or marbles.
4. A roll of strong and sturdy duct tape, enough to wrap around the edge of the stone.
5. Water.
6. A plastic bucket or large plastic bowl.
7. Measuring cup for liquids.
8. A garden trowel or old large spoon.
9. Dust mask, eyewear protection, and latex gloves.
10. A level work surface covered with paper or plastic.
11. Paper towels and trash bag for clean-up.

To make:

· Soak your stone in water until thoroughly wet.
· Wrap the top of the stone with duct tape forming a 1 ½” deep bed into which you will pour your cement mortar.
· Mix your cement following the manufacturer’s guidelines.
· Pour the cement into the duct tape bed leveling the mortar evenly throughout.
· Press your hand or foot into the wet cement.
· Decorate with the glass and let dry 5 to 7 days before placing outside.

The garden stones can easily be made in an afternoon and after a few days of drying they will be ready to set in your yard or they can become the perfect gifts for the Grandparents to enjoy in their yard.

Stained Glass Mosaic Stepping Stones are one of the easiest crafts to learn. It doesn’t require a great deal of artistic knowledge or technique to make a simple beautiful piece. If you love the look of stained glass and the fun of putting together a jigsaw puzzle you will love crafting these garden stones.

Feng Shui Tips For Home and Garden

If you plan to enlarge your house, you just first consider the effect the extension will have on the overall shape of the building. Certain shape combinations are auspicious, while others are not. At the same time, you must analyze what effect the extension will have on the overall position of the house and what impact it will have on the directional sector it occupies.

Another method of determining the Feng Shui effects of extensions is to look at the element represented by the sector where the extension is to be built, and then check its impact on e element represented by your main door. Thus, if the extension is to be built on the northern side of the house, it represents the element water. If the main door is located facing the southeast(which represents small wood) then the extension will enhance the door’s Feng Shui, since water produces wood.

If, on the other hand, the extension is located in the northwest, representing big metal, then the extension will have a detrimental effect on the door, since metal destroys wood. This method of analysis is highly recommended, since element analysis is one of the fundamental principles of all Feng Shui practice.

This same analysis can be applied to the building of gazebos, stand-alone garages, and other large structures planned for the home.

Fences and walls serve to divide the boundaries of the house from external influences. Walls, for instance, are effective barriers that can block out the effect of harmful objects such as boulders, fast-flowing or clogged up drains, telephone poles, and whole host of other inauspicious structures. The design of walls should, however, be harmonized with the landscape.