Book and Media Reviews

This is a new section dedicated to reviewing educational books and media related to gardening.

The Garden Refresh by Kier Holmes

Reviewed by Deb Gault September, 2022

The Garden Referesh – How To Give Your Yard Big Impact on a Small Budget

By Kier Homes

Start with imagining the Purpose of your garden.  Plant something of interest year round. Include the 3 B’s – berries, bark and branches -  For interest and to provide birds with snacks.  Holly is a good choice because you can bring it in for interest in vases or use in arrangements.

Look for inspiration on your walks or on garden tours.

Determine the spaces you spend time in and focus your efforts and money there.

Chart the sun’s pattern throughout the day as a way to figure out what type of plants should be planted in different areas.

Track wind patterns – you may need a windbreak (living or manmade).

Assess the soil – if horrible, consider raised beds or pots.

Repurposing existing materials, i.e. plants and high quality structures, can help save your budget.  Swap plants with other gardeners.

Focal points are important – they draw the eye and move it through the landscape.  Use a sculpture, tree, piece of furniture or large urn, large rocks or boulders into your space, near entry paths and lounging areas.

Sound enhances the outdoor experience.  Bird feeders and birdbaths encourage entertaining visitors.  The sound of water is soothing, consider a pond, fountain or spa.  Wind chimes can be a plus.

Color – hot colors like yellow, orange, red and bright pink stimulate and energize.  Cool colors like blue, green, white, pale pink and purple create a calmer feeling.

Choose plants on your likes, what you are drawn to and what makes you smile.

Visualize how your garden will look during the day as well as evening.  Consider illuminating your plants for enjoyment and safety along paths.

Use a garden hose or rope to lay out your garden beds.

For harmony, create a group of 3 pots of similar style, color or material.  They must have drain holes.  Put coffee filters over the drain holes to keep the potting soil in.

Pine needles are a natural, free mulch.  They are acidifying, so only use around plants like azaleas or rhododendrons.

Butterflies need a water source.  Create a puddle of mud from a shallow plate or clay saucer filled with flat pebbles, some compost and fresh water.  Top off with ripened fruit like mushy bananas or oranges.  Pineapple sage is a hummingbird magnet.

Certain plants, like Iris, will slow down or even stop flowering if not divided.  Divide during the season farthest from the plants bloom.

Use tea baqs for compost.  Lightly sprinkle coffee grounds over your soil for added nutrients.  This helps with drainage.  Use on roses.

Use one tablespoon Epsom salt with a gallon of warm water and shake.  Poke holes into the soil a ways from your plants and pour in.  Reapply once a month.