Did you know that there are a number of shrubs, ground covers, and trees that can be utilized within your landscape that will not only look fantastic but also give you back in return beneficial medicinal healing properties that have been known and used throughout history ?
I have been receiving quite a number of request for various landscape designs that incorporate natural, herbal, medicinal, and otherwise people and pet friendly plant choice's to beautify one's landscape. The use of shrubs like Rosemary, Lavander,and Roses have brought not only beauty to my client's landscape but medicinal value to their projects also.
I have listed what I call the " Simple 7" landscape shrubs,trees, and ground cover that is simple to grow and in most cases easy to grow in various climates within the United States and other parts of the globe.
Here is my list:
Aloe Vera: The gel from this plant is good for burns, wounds,dry skin, insect bites, and fungal infections, anemia, poor digestive function, and liver disorders.
Apple: Consume fresh apple slices for constipation, sour apples as a diuretic, infusions for rheumatic pains, feverish colds. The juice used undiluted or mixed with olive oil as a household standby for cuts and abrasions.
Lavender: Take the flowers and dry them in bunches covered with paper bags to harvest the flowerets as they fall. Also harvest towards the end of the flowering of the plant.
Applications include use as a essential oil, massage oil, and as a infusion for feverous exhaustion.
Mint: Infusion for nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, migraines.
As a wash for inflammation, repel mosquitoes, scabies.
As a massage oil for headaches, and fever.
Rose: Cream for dry or inflamed skin.
Lotion as a moisturizing lotion.
Rose hips for diarrhea, stomach weakness.
Massage oil to relieve stress and exhaustion.
Rosemary: As an essential oil, stimulant in feverous exhaustion.
As a massage oil for aching joints and muscles.For the scalp for hair growth. and around the temples for headaches.
Yarrow: Use as an infusion wash for eczema, inhalation for hay fever and mild asthma. As a poultice for cuts and grazes. As a compress, infusion of diluted tincture to soothe varicose veins.
As you can see, there are many beneficial uses of numerous commonly used landscaping plants, shrubs, and trees that will not only provide you with years of horticultural beauty, but also with years of beneficial medicinal uses.
* I researched the excellent book by Penelope Ody " The Complete Medicinal Herbal" to obtain my above mentioned information
Normally you would tend to avoid planting shrubs and other 'Water Thrifty' landscaping plant materials in the hotter season's of the year. June, July, August are not your prime planting months especially for plant materials which normally in their native growing habit, hardly ever get supplemental watering during these hot months. Here in Southern California, we get most of our rains in the winter months of October,November, December up through hopefully March and April of the following year. Most water conserving/thrifty plants,trees, and shrubs drink up during those months and create a sort of reserve for the hotter months to come. Succulents like Agave,Cactus, and Aloes have a much better survival rate than their less fleshly cousins and the survival rate is much higher when planting these varieties during the warmer months.
There are still many landscape rebate programs going on here in Southern California and with that there are 'Deadlines' to get the make overs completed. This leads to customers needing to finish their projects as soon as possible even if it means planting in the warmer months of summer.
One of the best tip I can pass on to you is to be sure when you do plant your trees and shrubs, make sure you hydrate the hole for the plant with water and if possible mix within that backfill water some Moisture Manager water management product ( Check out the link on my website) which will help your plantings through the normal stress of being transplanted from a container where it has called home for many months and also help keep those water friendly plant materials properly hydrated by supplying available water vapor from the pore spaces within the soil at the root zone. The application will last up to 90 days so this is a real big plus as most newly planted shrubs,trees, etc... will take at least 60-90 days to grow out their root systems to properly anchor and stabilize the plant or tree before it actually starts to grow out in leaves,branches, flowering, etc.. ( I am writing a book which one of my chapter's' will cover the concept of root growth before a plant grows to it's maturity ).
Plant the shrub or tree a inch or so above the planting hole, be sure to create a nice water basin around the base of the tree or shrub and mulch within 3 to 40 inches of the trunk of stalk of the tree or shrub planted to help contain water when you do water your plants.( You can possibly get away with watering your new plants /trees 1-2 times per week especially after using the Moisture Manager in your water back fill when you first installed the plants.
Do your planting if possible early in the morning to help reduce the heat stress level or, in the early evening but, avoid excessive evening watering of your new plant materials as you do not want to welcome the opportunity for fungus of other diseases to have an opportunity to settle in especially if you live in humid zones of the state or country.
By being patient to when you do your planting, choosing the correct plants for the correct zones and utilizing the cutting edge products out there that can reduce planting stress levels and increase the moisture availability level for your landscape team, success during the hot summer month is within reach.
* Be sure to link to the "AS SEEN ON TV LINK" on my web site to be able to go directly to the 'Moisture Manager' website and receive a great discount on the product just by entering the discount code provided.
I have noticed in my landscape design/build business lately, a lot of request for decomposed granite use by homeowners.
Taking out old cracked patio's, sidewalks, dead or otherwise useless lawn areas around clients properties, has stimulated the interest of many clients who are looking for solutions to their challenges. Decomposed granite is a very good product to use under many landscaping situations not only as a semi-solid to hard pan walking surface, but also as a clean fresh ground cover alternative to various chipped tree mulches and synthetic rubber mulches that have hit the sustainable landscaping scene. There are a few things one show be aware of though when choosing to use decomposed granite in their own particular application.
* Decomposed granite ( AKA "DG" ) is granite rock that has weathered to the point that it readily fractures into smaller pieces or chunks of weak rock. Granite is composed of various other minerals such as feldspar,quartz, and mica just to name a few. The chemical transformation of feldspar into a clay material call Kaolin is one of the important weathering processes. The presence of the clay allows water to seep in and further weaken the parent rock allowing it to fracture or crumble into smaller pieces. Decomposed granite can come as a crushed stone or a fine and used as a pavement material.
Many times, I have hadto educate my clients about DG to the facts that unless stabilized with some sort of polymeric stabilizer such as TechniSoil G3, PolyPavement, and other brands available, the fantastic idea of replacing that ugly dying back yard with a decomposed granite patio replacement may just end up becoming one big DG bog at the first rain. Proper prep of the job site, use of landscaping fabric, landscaping edging, proper grading and DG compaction are all very important proceedures that should be addressed when choosing a contractor or deciding to do the job DG installation yourself.
There are various colors of DG available now and grades to choose from crushed to a grade know as "fines". Having choice is a good thing but, understanding DG's limitations based on what the end use is expected to be is "MOST IMPORTANT" when choosing to go with decomposed granite use at your home or business.
* Information on decomposed granite derived from Wikipedia.
** Excellent DG suppliers in Southern Ca: Cal Blend Soils www.calblendsoils.com (877) 675-3405
Southwest Boulder & Stone www.southwestboulder.com (877)-SWB-ROCK
Using regional plant and construction materials is a wise and economical choice when doing landscape projects. By choosing plant materials that have a history of success in the region or planting zone where you are located is a sure bet for having a better chance of plant survival and performance. The various soil types, climate zones, and location of installation(s) play a vital role in the on-going success of your landscaping project. Too many times I have seen clients get really excited about a landscape design in a national landscaping or gardening magazine and want to duplicate that design in their landscape. Sometimes this poses a problem if the client does not do his or her research on what type of environment the plants are best suited for. With the access of various internet online nursery websites,homeowners can go online and learn about almost any variety of plant,tree, or shrub out there and make a wise decision on what will work at their home. If your time is better spent with your family or doing other research, hiring a competent landscape contractor,or designer to help you figure out what will work best to suit your desires and needs. Websites like www.sanmarcosgrowers.com give you the botonica and common names of many trees,shrubs,ground covers, and water thrifty plant materials. An added bonus is the site also offers photos and vital information on the materials they carry.
When it comes to regional building materials, using locally mined/quarried stone,gravel and the like are wise choice's as the material will be a little less costly, and more suited for the zone/region you are located in plus, most likely be in very ample supply. Take a trip to the local stone yards in your area and discover the array of locally mined/quarried stone and see if any of the choice's meet your desires. By utilizing regional plant and building supplies you do yourself a big favor in your wallet and use the best products from your local areas.
Retaining walls have been a mainstay for slope retention and erosion prevention for a long time. There are numerous companies that specialize in producing various styles and sizes of retaining wall materials for today's contractor and home owner. The latest addition to the mix of useable "Eco-Friendly" materials to use in building retaining walls is the fully plantable segmental retaining retaining wall block. Manufactured by Soil Retention Systems ( Which offers the Verdura Wall block ) The interlocking block has a section built into the block to allow for the planting of vegatation which will help in the retention of soil and aid in the reduction of water runoff and help maintain the natural habitat where the retaining walls are built. Use of native plant materials is encouraged as native plant roots can grow much longer and have the ability to bind the soil better and possibly faster than non native vegatation choice's.There are developer advantage's also as there no height restrictions when you are build a green wall ( Be sure to check your local city and county code requirements anyway to be sure ) so an increase in property value is a possibility by installing the green wall. LEED certification (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design ) points can possibly give the owner an opportunity to take advantage of state and local government incentives for your project also. Beautiful ground covers and vines add class and suit a landscaping purpose when using the plantable segmental retaining wall system.
* For more information on the plantable segmental retaining wall system go to the website www.soilretention.com.
* Information for this blog was obtained from the January/February 2011 publication "Soil Erosion and Hydroseeding" ( www.soilerosiononline.com ) article "Living Retaining Walls".