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Issue #02

Welcome to the b+r Installations email newsletter. In this issue we are serving up more ideas for making the most of the Texas outdoors.

We’ll introduce you to another satisfied couple who are enjoying the addition of a shaded outdoor living space to their Robson Ranch home. Then it’s on to the garden for tips on cultivating flowering bulbs, adding quick color to your backyard and finally, the how-to’s for building a soothing garden fountain. Enjoy, y’all!

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Featured Installation -
B+R Adds the Finishing Touch to Robson Ranch Home

Dale Valentine of Robson Ranch went to a home show last August, and found something to make his home a showplace.

He talked with Brant Fontenot and Randall Patterson – owners and installers of B+R Installations– and was impressed with their professionalism and the striking beauty of the lattice shade cover they were displaying.

 

 

 

Determined to transform a sun-drenched back patio into a comfy outdoor living space, the Valentines found it easy to achieve their desired look with five lattice colors and four beam-end cuts to select from. “We chose ivory for the color and the corbel end cut for the decorative rafters, and figured out the amount of shade we needed, and they came out and installed it in a couple of days. They looked after our property like it was their own. And, despite the challenge posed by high Texas winds, the promised two-day installation was completed on time.”

The Valentines and their Yorkie-Bichon, Chester, are enjoying the addition. “Our patio faces southwest, and the Ultra-Lattice® does a great job blocking the sun. And it shades our outdoor seating area, so we can enjoy it more often. Our home seems larger and the cover definitely helps to keep it cooler. Neighbors have asked about it, and of course I’ve recommended B+R.”

Although their house is bordered by the golf course, they have had no problems with errant golf balls. Dale doesn’t think a golf ball could budge his Ultra-Lattice® – and neither could the Texas weather. “If our early June storms didn’t budge it, I don’t know what could!”

Dale added, “Some people today take shortcuts, but not these folks. The installers worked hard and did what they said.”

“We’re in the process of building a custom home here at Robson Ranch. As soon as the new house is ready, I’ll be contacting B+R Installations. I’ll want that beauty and shade in place as soon as possible!”

Mother Nature’s Instant Party Plants

(ARA) So everything is in place for your big outdoor party or event this summer, but Mother Nature seems to have provided you with just one color scheme: green. You want color and texture fast, and there’s no time for potting or planting.

Solution: fill your yard, patio and deck with the spectacular blooms of a variety of robust, durable, easy-to-maintain annuals for an instant garden that looks like it’s been there all along. Plus those blooms and color will last long after the party is over. “Annuals are really nature’s ready-made party decorations,” says Jeff Gibson, marketing manager for Ball Horticultural’s “Simply Beautiful” line of annuals. “They provide almost limitless choices for color, bloom continuously, and best of all they’re live plants, which means you can enjoy their beauty throughout the entire growing season.”

But first things first. With the deadline for your outdoor party looming, focus on geraniums, impatiens and petunias, the Big Three of annuals and the real workhorses when it comes to color and bloom. “Our Simply Beautiful Tidal Wave petunias are bountiful when it comes to filling landscapes or hanging baskets,” Gibson notes. “The blooms spread upward and outward, spilling over containers and baskets like a thick carpet of color and texture.”

Angel Mist angelonia and Fanfare trailing impatiens are also lavish in their spreading floral displays. Angel Mist features orchid-like blooms ideal for beds and containers. Or, fill an entry container with Fanfare impatiens for a dramatic waterfall of color. Free-flowering and very vigorous, Jungle Gold impatiens are ideal for mixed containers, where they put on a big show in combination with other large, robust container plants. In fact, don’t even bother to plant. When it gets close to party time, just set the beds of annuals directly into containers and cover with Spanish moss until the festivities are concluded. Then repot or plant for the rest of the season.

“Less is more when it comes to color and annuals,” says Gibson. “Choosing a single color pattern carries a more dramatic visual impact than mixing and matching. And you can get more bang for the buck in terms of color and coverage by breaking the normal rules for potting and planting annuals that call for spacing them widely apart.”

He says that in the case of party plants for your outdoor event, concentrating plants as close together as you can get them adds a thick lushness to your presentation that tells your guests you’ve been working real hard at getting everything just right. In fact, you could have started the day before if you choose the right plant material. And your guests will never know the truth.

To find plants suitable for your climate and taste, visit www.simplybeautifulgardens.com
or www.wave-rave.com.
Courtesy of ARA Content

 

 

 

Glorious Bulbs – Secrets for a Delightful Landscape

Shade covers, decks and fountains all add charm to a backyard, but the most breathtaking feature, by far, is the beauty of blooming plants. For a colorful and rewarding landscape, fill those empty spaces with bulbs! For many, the mention of “bulb” conjures up thoughts of cheery daffodils and stunning tulips, but bulbs aren’t just for spring. With the right mix, you can enjoy colorful bulb beds in Spring, Summer and into the Fall. These easy-to-follow guidelines will demystify the process of growing bulbs in any garden.

 

BULBS 101
Bulbs are easy to cultivate because each bulb contains within itself the nutrients necessary for one full season of growth and bloom. Some bulbs, such as paper-whites, hyacinths and amaryllis, don’t require soil and can be forced to grow indoors with water alone! All bulbs need a phase of dormancy, which is followed by periods of growth, flowering, and finally food manufacture and storage.

WHAT AND WHEN TO PLANT
Bulbs can be divided into three groups:

  • Spring Flowering Bulbs
    Choose tulips, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and alliums. Plant 3–4 weeks before first frost (late fall to early winter). They will need the cold season to start their biological clock.
  • Summer Flowering Bulbs
    Choose dahlias, begonias, lilies, gladiolas and callas. Plant in late Spring for blooms a couple of months later. Summer flowering bulbs will bloom in most climates but most of them are not winter hardy; hence in cold climates most summer flowering bulbs should be lifted and stored and used the next season.
  • Autumn Flowering Bulbs
    Choose Autumn crocuses and colchicums. Autumn flowering bulbs are planted in early summer.

SOIL
Loamy soil is the key to growing healthy bulbs. A mixture of sand, silt, clay and organic matter does the trick. Peat moss is a great additive! Good drainage ensures against rot and higher percentages of sand and organic matter allow bulbs to expand and multiply for even more bounteous blooms the following year.

FERTILIZER
The added nutrients that fertilizer supplies are especially important during and after the blooming phase. Be sure these nutrients are readily available, so plan to fertilize right before bulbs bloom.

WATER
Soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Bulbs and roots require regular watering, except during dormancy.

HARDY VS. TENDER BULBS
A bulb’s “hardiness” is based on its ability to withstand the average minimum temperature. Bulbs originating in colder climates usually tolerate freezes without damage and are called “hardy.” The beauty of hardy bulbs is that they can be left in the ground year-round and treated as perennials. However, they require a minimum period of cold during dormancy to show their colors later. In warmer climates, lifting and artificially chilling bulbs may be required. The opposite goes for “tender” tropical and subtropical bulbs (tuberose, for example). In colder climates, these nonhardy bulbs must be lifted and stored inside during winter.

STORAGE
Bulbs that do not naturalize should be dug up or “lifted” from the ground and stored where they will not freeze. When the tops have died back, carefully dig up bulbs, shake off soil and let dry a few days. Then place them in labeled paper bags or boxes and store inside at about 65 degrees in a dry place. In warmer regions, induce next year’s flowering by storing them for 8-10 weeks at a temperature slightly less than 48 degrees, prior to planting.

RULES OF THE “GREEN” THUMB

  • Bulbs do well in fields, amongst other landscaping and in pots.
  • Plant bulbs at a depth that is twice their width.
  • Cluster bulbs for added impact.
  • Always plant root side down and point upward.
  • Never cut foliage until it has yellowed if you want blooms next year.
  • Every 3-5 years, dig up “naturalized” bulbs, separate them and replant at a greater spacing.

Build a Soothing Fountain for Your Garden

(ARA) You’ve weeded the flower beds, planted the vegetable garden and dusted off your patio furniture. Now comes the fun part: adding some decorative elements to your garden. And what better way to pull your design together than with an elegant fountain? Fountains not only add a beautiful visual accent to an outdoor space, they also create a soothing sound that blocks out noise from the street or the neighbors. With a fountain as its centerpiece, your garden will become a wonderful secluded retreat from the hectic outside world.

But sometimes it’s hard to find exactly the right fountain. “Most people have a particular kind of garden; it could be formal or casual, contemporary or old-fashioned,” says Larrisa Gleason of the Beckett Corporation, a water gardening products manufacturer. “If you haven’t found a fountain to suit your style and have some garden materials you want to put to use, get creative and make your own,” she suggests.

Here is an easy project for homeowners who want to create their own elegant, three-tiered#fountain using some lightweight planters that are designed to look just like terra cotta. All you’ll need is a Beckett fountain pump, three planters, a drill, some tubing and small finishing rocks.

Three-tiered Planter Fountain
This custom-made fountain recirculates water in a steady stream pumped up through multiple layers of pottery. The water cascades down the sides, reentering the large pot on the bottom through holes that are drilled into the second tier.

  1. Drill one larger hole on the side of the medium planter that will face the “back.” This hole should be large enough for the end of the pump cord to go through. Drill a hole at the bottom center of the smallest and medium size planters to fit the tubing that will be threaded through the hole. The tubing should fit snugly. Check diameter size before drilling. Add four small bit-sized holes for drainage in the “lip” of the planter at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock. These holes will be hidden with decorative rocks.
  2. With the large planter right-side up, place the pump in the bottom. Thread the electrical cord through the large hole in the medium planter. Cut the tubing long enough to fit on the pump and extend approximately 3 inches above the top of the small planter. Place the tubing on the pump.
  3. With the medium planter turned upside down, thread the tubing through the bottom center hole. Repeat for the smallest planter.
  4. Press the top two planters down to fit snugly on top of the large planter base. Trim any excess tubing beyond one inch at the top of the smallest planter. Place decorative rocks on the top of the small planter base to camouflage the tubing and around the rim between the medium and large planters. Plug in and presto! a fountain fiesta!

For other projects and more information about Beckett Garden Accents, visit www.888beckett.com or call (888) BECKETT. Beckett Garden Accents are also available at The Home Depot, local home improvement stores and independent lawn and garden stores nationwide.

Courtesy of ARA Content