Tips for Reducing Stormwater Runoff – Help Clean-up the Bay

April 5, 2011

There is a great new initiative in Virginia to help clean-up the Chesapeake Bay from stormwater runoff.  I know that you think because you don’t live near the Bay this doesn’t affect you, but it is actually the runoff from the cities that causes most of the pollutants in the Bay.  All the fertilizer you put on your grass to keep it green; ends up in the Bay.  So below are a few simple tips to help keep our Bay beautiful!

  •  Plant More Plants – A great campaign by the Chesapeake Bay Program that is teaching homeowners in the cities surrounding the Bay, simple landscape strategies to help keep the Bay healthy.  Plant More Plants has a great website that offers information on why this is important, how to plant rain gardens (with four planting plans), provides a comprehensive list of native plants for Virginia and a blog with information on soil, stormwater, wildlife and more. 

    Basic Rain Barrel from Plow and Hearth

  • Use of Rain Barrels – I have blogged about the use of rain barrels in the past, but the information is so important.  A single rain barrel can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water a year.  This is 1,300 gallons of FREE water that you can use for watering plants, gardens and lawns or for even washing cars.  That is 1,300 gallons of water that gets absorbed back into the ground slowly and never reaches the Bay.

Permeable Paver Patio

  • Use of Permeable Pavers – This is another subject that I have blogged about in the past, the use of permeable pavers in landscaping.  Permeable pavers present a solid surface, but still allow storm water and pollutants (car oil, antifreeze, pesticides) to drain through a natural, ecological process.  The permeable pavers come in a variety of designs and colors for all types of applications (driveways, patios, walkways).   This is a product we use more and more in the northern neck of Virginia.

 We all love to eat the blue crabs and oysters, so let’s do our part to help keep the Bay clean and healthy!

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Join us at the Virginia Home and Garden Show this Weekend!

January 11, 2011

We have a landscape/hardscape display booth at the Virginia Home and Garden Show this weekend.  The show is January 14-16 at the Meadow Event Park (near Kings Dominion).  You can’t miss us, we are the first booth to the left when you walk in the door.  Come out to see us and start planning for SUMMER! 

For all the details check the Virginia Home and Garden Show website.


Holiday Decorating – Use Natural Items

December 13, 2010

Every year before the holidays, my wife sets out on an afternoon walk with her trash bag and clippers.  She wanders through our backyard (and a few of the neighborhood businesses) in search of trimmings to decorate the fireplace mantel and holiday table.  She comes back with a bag full of evergreen, pine, nandina, holly with red berries, and her favorite magnolia clippings.  There are so many different textures and colors in foliage this time of year holiday decorating becomes easy.  

Once she has all her clippings (or store-bought garland if you prefer), she pulls out the candles, ribbon and lights to put together beautiful, natural holiday decorations.  The clippings will stay vibrant through the holiday and your house will smell wonderful!  To help you find some inspiration for your holiday decorating, take a look at HGTV.com.  They have wonderful pictures (the ones used in the post) to help get you started on your way.

Carville Landscape Co. would like to wish everyone a happy holiday and prosperous new year!


Perfect Time to Teach Kids about Gardening

July 6, 2010

When my children were young, I always had them in the garden with me.  Sadly my two-year old daughter was more interested  in eating the dirt than gardening, but it was a great activity for us to do together. 

Now that children are out for the summer, it is the perfect time to teach kids about gardening.  There are so many lessons to be learned in the garden: the science of soil and the many creatures that live in it, how to grow plants from a seed, the plants need for food – nutrients, water and sunlight -, how pollination works, how to make dinner from what you grow, and many more! 

For a great guide on gardening with your children visit Grow Veg.  If you are not that savvy in the garden or don’t have an outdoor space you can call your own, there are many children’s education programs that local botanical gardens host that can be fun family learning experiences.   In Richmond, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden provides many great programs for families and children to learn about gardening.  Or visit Wikipedia for a great comprehensive list of all the botanical gardens across the nation.  Find a program right for you and start growing!


Rain Barrels – Save Money and the Environment

April 22, 2010

In an effort to celebrate Earth Day, I thought I would blog about an environmentally-friendly topic – Rain Barrels.  Each year more than 30,000 gallons of rain water will fall from your roof.  Most of this water runoff is washed away into storm sewers and eventually nearby streams and rivers, which can cause river bank erosion and water pollution.   An easy and inexpensive way to conserve water, help stop pollution and save you a little “green” is to install a rain barrel on your homes downspout.    

Basic Rain Barrel from Plow and Hearth

Rain barrels range in sizes from 30 to 100 gallons and come in many designs.  A single rain barrel can save most homeowners about 1,300 gallons of water a year.  This is 1,300 gallons of FREE water that you can use for watering plants, gardens and lawns or for even washing cars.  In addition to the cost savings you receive by reducing your public water consumption, you will help the environment by reducing water runoff as you use the stored rain water around your home and garden (water will absorb slowly back into the ground replenishing groundwater supplies, helping to protect our rivers and Bays).    

Decorative Rain Barrel from Plow and Hearth

You can find rain barrels just about anywhere these days, the big box retailers, your local conservation organizations or you can make your own (Home Depot sells a kit).  Most barrels come with a spigot for your hose, a screen to keep debris and insects out and linking kits to link several barrels together.  They range in price anywhere from $70 to over $200, and in design from a basic black plastic barrel to more decorative pots.  I thought Plow and Hearth had a great selection of basic and decorative rain barrels (just a suggestion, not an endorsement).

So on this beautiful, sunny Earth Day, think about how you can do your part to help save the Earth – start catching some rain!


Fall Foliage in Virginia!

October 15, 2009
Douthat State Park - Bath county

Douthat State Park - Bath county

It is one of my favorite times of year – time for the leaves to change color in Virginia!  It is time to visit one of your favorite state parks or just take a drive down Skyline Drive and admire the beauty of nature. 

The state of Virginia has done a great job of putting together a website that provides everything from information on fall festivals to weekly pictures of changing leaves at the state parks all over Virginia.  Visit Virginia.gov  for information on wine festivals, hiking, scenic drives, mountain biking, fall festivals, apple picking, corn mazes, pumpkin patches and much more!     

Take a moment this fall to slow down and enjoy all that nature has to offer.


Looking for FREE Plants for your Yard – Divide your Perennials!

September 17, 2009
Planted divided perennials

Planted divided perennials

By dividing your plants you have an easy and FREE way to populate your yard.  Plants can become large and over grown, and when they get to this point it is time to divide them.  The best time to divide plants is when they are dormant, so it is a great time to start dividing your spring and summer blooming plants.  Some of the best plants to divide are perennials, bulbs, hosta, ornamental grasses, house plants and herbs.

It is easy to get started, first water the plant thoroughly the day before dividing.  Wait for a cloudy, cool day so you won’t dry the plant out by working in the heat of the sun.  Cut off any spent flowers or stems.  Lift the plant from the soil with a spade, making sure you keep as many of the roots intact as possible.  Then separate the large plant into smaller, handful sized plants.  Make sure all the new plants have their own, healthy root system, otherwise they won’t grow. 

Replant the divisions as quickly as possible and water them thoroughly.  Make sure you mulch the new plants well to protect them from the winter frost.  You can also pot divided plants and save them for planting later or for trading amongst friends.  Just make sure you use nutrient rich potting soil and water them well.      

For a fun idea – throw a fall planting party with your friends and trade divided plants.  It is an easy way to get new plants for your yard for FREE.  Happy planting!


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