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Use our blog as a resource of information pertaining to landscaping, hardscaping, and other topics pertinent to the care and aesthetics of your property.

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Are my Hydrangeas and Butterfly Bushes Dead??

Are my Hydrangeas and Butterfly Bushes Dead??

All day long, at the office and on the road in my clients gardens, I get the same question: are my hydrangeas DEAD??? Probably not is my answer. But most of the plants that bloom on current year’s wood lost a lot, if not all, of their old wood and are taking a long time to re-sprout. Examples include Rose of Sharon, butterfly bushes, Caryopteris, and Hydrangea macrophylla and H. serrata species.
 
 
Hydrangea 2The first thing you need to do is scratch the bark. If it is green below the bark, the wood is alive. If the branches are brittle and dried up and there is no green wood below the bark, the branch is not alive. Continue doing this until you find live wood. If it means you have to cut the plant back to ground level, do not worry. This category of plants will regenerate an entirely new top as soon as it gets a bit warmer. A couple of years ago I took this photo before I dragged my tarp filled with butterfly bush and crape myrtle branches to the compost. They all died to the ground and guess what? They grew and bloomed just beautifully later that summer.Hydrangea 3
 
Hydrangeas can be a complicated subject and I get tons of questions about how to prune them. Pink and blue hydrangeas (H. macrophylla and H. serrata) bloom on NEW SHOOTS off of LAST YEAR’S wood. It appears that a lot of last year’s wood did, in fact, die over the winter. Look for live buds as the weather warms up.Hydrangea 4 We generally refrain from pruning...
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Disease During Drought

Disease During Drought

Plant disease-causing fungi are usually inhibited during periods of drought. Most fungi require water to infect and develop. Although drought factors tend to reduce the risk of disease, there are some disease situations that are enhanced.Leaf spotting fungi in the Helminthosporium complex are more severe when the potassium levels are low. The lack of soil moisture due to droughts can affect the availability of these nutrients although there may be adequate levels in the soil. During dew periods and other sporadic moisture periods, nutrient deficient plants can become infected and disease can develop. These leaf-spotting disease fungi can reduce hay quality.
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Rain Barrels

Rain Barrels

This past Saturday, (Oct. 12th), I listened to what was probably the last thunderstorm of the season.  Along with some pretty gusty winds was a very heavy rainfall, which I watched roll down the streets towards drains that were already covered with leaf debris.  All that water running into our sewers and eventually out to Lake Michigan, not just waste water but wasted water.  How many times a year do we hear about MMSD (Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District) having to dump the contents of the storm sewers into lake Michigan UNPROCESSED because of a heavy downpour that the sewer system couldn’t handle?  There is a solution, and an easy one.  Install a rain barrel in our yard capturing the roof fun off from your house and/or garage.  This will not only help preserve Lake Michigan, but reduce water pollution (oil, grease, fertilizers) and can also lower your water costs.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, outdoor irrigation can count for up to 40% of water use by households during the summer when rain becomes scarce.  Municipalities often institute mandatory water restrictions, leaving your yard and plants brown and crispy, sometimes with the negative effects lasting into the next summer.  Just one rain barrel can save the average home owner up to 1300 gallons of water during the summer.  With the usual rain barrel being a 55 gallon drum, just ¼ inch of rain can fill it to the top and can be used...

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Watering your new plants

Watering your new plants

Congratulations! You have just made a significant investment to your yard, and to your life, by installing new plant material. To ensure that investment is productive and successful, you need to nurture it, just like any other investment, making sure you do all you can to help it pay-off.  So, now what?

Watering – not enough or too much – is the most important step in establishing new plants. Beautiful Blooms will always “water-in” all the plant material they install for you. However, once we leave the property, you become responsible for seeing that adequate moisture is supplied. Knowing when and how much to water – and conversely, when not to water – can be tricky, so we offer these guidelines.

Perennials: It is recommended that you water 3 times-a-week, for the first 3 weeks whether is rains or not. After 3 weeks, water once-a-week, unless there is at least ½ inch of rainfall during that week. If natural rainfall is not sufficient, then supplemental, regular watering is needed. Remember that plants dry out faster in windy, unprotected areas, as well as on slopes.  Also, pay close attention to plants placed under a roof overhang; they will need slightly more water since the soil in that area tends to be drier as it does not receive any rain.

Small shrubs: You should use a hose at a slow trickle for 10-20 minutes per shrub to thoroughly saturate the root zone. You will want to keep the water at the ...

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Spring Bulb Planting Tips

Spring Bulb Planting Tips

Flowers that have been planted within the landscape bed of a Brookfield homeowner.Flower bulbs are easy to plant and easy to care for. Here is general information that applies to all spring-flowering bulbs.  Spring-flowering bulbs MUST be planted in fall when soil temperatures are between 40-55 degrees F.  I prefer to plant as late in the season as possible because it gives the critters that much less time to dig them up before the ground freezes.  Once the ground freezes, the bulbs are safely locked into a vault of frozen soil until spring when they will abound with beautiful colors.  Just remember, spring flowering bulbs MUST be planted before the onset of winter. Choosing a Site There are two key considerations when choosing a site for bulbs.

Pewaukee landscape bed with flowers grown successfully from bulbs.

1. Sunlight

Most bulbs need ample sunshine to bloom well next spring and to store up the energy required to flower in future springs. Many bulbs–including crocuses and bluebells–can be planted beneath deciduous trees; these bulbs  are able to satisfy most of their light needs before the trees leaf out. (See each item we offer for specific light requirements.)

2. Drainage

All bulbs need good drainage; never plant bulbs where water collects. The drainage of heavy clay soils may be improved by digging in organic matter such as compost or composted manure. How to Plant There are two principal ways of planting bulbs.

3. Planting a bed

Excavate the area to be planted and loosen the soil in the bottom. Set the bulbs in the bed, following the spacing recommendations...

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Aftershocks of 2012 Drought

Aftershocks of 2012 Drought

2012 Drought = Dead or stressed plants

Yep, we are certainly seeing the effects of the drought last year.  Established and new plants alike, many are dead or severely stressed this year.

Obviously, if it is a dead plant—it needs to be replaced.  Have you noticed a dead plant that we have not talked to you about?  Please shoot us an e-mail so we can get this replacement on our list.

Seemingly healthy plants last summer have begun to show signs of stress this year.  Most noted on shrubs and trees.  Signs to be aware of include dieback, prolific flowering or seed production (more than normal), increased number of basal shoots (suckers), off color or early fall color on leaves.  To reverse the damage done from the drought it is important to pamper your stressed plants.

Three main ways to do this includes monitoring moisture, fertilizer needs, and good pruning practices.  For shrubs, I feel that stressed plants will need to be pampered for about 2 years.  Trees may not even be showing all of the long term affects of such a severe drought, therefore I recommend pampering ALL trees for the next 5 years.  I encourage you to contact us with any concerns you have about the long term health of your trees, or contact our preferred certified arborist Dave at M&M Tree Service directly at 414-355-3420.

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Annual Planting 2013

Annual Planting 2013

Annual pricing is listed below.

“There is likely frost until the last full moon in May.”  Hmmmm….that goes hand in hand with the sort of weather we are having because the last (only) full moon in May is May 24, 2013.  Anything less than 50 degrees at night and injury to summer annuals is nearly guaranteed.  Here is more interesting information.  I’m sharing this with you because the earliest we are planning to start annual planting is the week of May 20th—and will likely conclude the week of June 3rd .  All dependent on weather of course.  According to the predicted last frost, these dates may be pushed back a week.

While that is a few weeks away, our planning and ordering has begun.  I invite you to communicate directly with Mary Beth as she is the one making these arrangements.  Her e-mail address is Marybeth@beautifulbloomslandscape.com.  To be sure we are covering all of your container planting needs, please answer the following questions.  If you have anything specific you would like to add, of course please do.  As a quick reference, I’ve included our pricing information for annual/twig color at the end of this e-mail, there are more options/information than what was originally printed on your earlier contract.  If you have any questions or concerns about annual planting, please contact Mary Beth.  Thank you!

**cut and paste these ...

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Severe Drought, Part 2

Severe Drought, Part 2

Yes, we have all gotten some much needed rain over the past 10 days or so…but it is not enough, not even close.  And again the hot temperatures in the 90’s continue.  This newsletter is a follow up to the initial “Severe Drought” article I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  You can find that article posted on our website.

 I will do my best to answer many questions that I Have fielded recently and provide you with information as to what you can expect to see going forward.

 5 common questions and observations concerning the drought:

1.       Q: I have a sprinkler system, isn’t that enough?  A:  NO.  First, there is likely a water ban/restriction in your area so the use of a sprinkler system may not even be allowed.  Additionally, a sprinkler system is only applying a small amount of water to a large area…in some instances this includes pavement or unplanted bed space.  Further—a sprinkler is wetting leafy materials where the water either will evaporate readily and/or cause disease issues.  Sprinkler watering is particularly wasteful during a time such as this.  Manually water—use a hose.  Not necessary to actually hold the hose and spend countless hours applying water, but rather remove any hose end attachment and turn the water to a slow-medium rate and set the hose near the base of the plants needing water and...

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Severe Drought

Severe Drought

This morning the headlines in the morning news were that the drought in SE Wisconsin has been upgraded to “severe”.  What this means is that crop damage has occurred or is highly likely, there may be water shortages, and water restrictions are in place in many communities.  Well, the farm fields are not the only thing affected…as we well know, the lush green of spring in our individual landscapes has long since passed.  Coupled with no rain are the effects of sweltering high temperatures.  What to do….and what not to do….

I keep dancing, praying, and hoping for rain!  The cooler temperatures this week are a blessing, unfortunately the severe heat of the last two weeks has caused some damage to many landscape plants.  The damage that I have seen is mostly a ‘sun burn’ of top leaves on shrubs and trees, and where there has been no watering I am seeing shrubs now turn ‘crispy’.  Are they dead?  I’m not sure yet.  Stressed for sure…and time will tell if they can or will rebound.

Sincerely, I hope that we do not see widespread loss of ornamental plantings.  And I am generally not an alarmist…but the last time I recall a drought like this was in 1988 and the last brutal heat I recall like this was in 1995….never do I remember the heat and drought happening together.  I have driven and observed landscapes from Delafield to Whitefish...

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