Tag Archives: new home community

Getting Your Yard and Garden Ready For Winter

Fall has just arrived and winter is right around the corner. There are several things to do outside in the yard and in the garden to prepare for winter. Some things are a must; others will make next years gardening easier or more productive. Doing these things now will save money and valuable time in the spring.

Here is a check list to follow:

Water evergreens, trees and perennials before the ground freezes. This step is often overlooked and many home owners assume the plants, trees and shrubs will receive water from the snow that falls. This isn’t always the case so be safe rather than sorry and water heavily before winter sets in.

Mulch after the ground freezes to prevent heaving. Heaving is what happens when the ground freezes then thaws, then freezes again. This isn’t good for the plants and shrubs but wait until the ground is frozen before adding mulch around perennials and trees.

Disconnect and drain the garden hose, coil it up and place in the cellar, garage or storage building for the winter.

Being in a new home community, you may have new landscaping.  Protect any newly planted or young trees with burlap to protect from harsh winds and damaging snow. Also if you live in an area frequented by deer you might want to protect young trees with a fence to keep the deer from eating the bark and killing the tree.

Add a couple of inches of straw or hay to the strawberry and asparagus beds. Remember to pull this back in the spring when the temperatures start to rise.

Prune grape vines in the winter. Wait until the temps are down to freezing and winter is here. There is so much to do in the spring and this is one job that can be done now, just don’t do it until the winter freeze has set in.

Evergreens can take a beating during winter months. Protect evergreens with an anti-desiccant spray like Wilt-pruf, to seal in moisture. Give a second coat half way through winter for extra protection. Another option is to wrap the evergreens in burlap, especially in severe winter climates.

Bring outdoor containers indoors for the winter. Some outdoor containers can withstand the winter temperatures and the freezing and thawing. Others crack and break. This is another time an ounce of prevention can save you money.

Clean, sharpen and oil the garden tools. There is an old saying, “Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.” Wash and oil all the tools you use in the garden. Take this opportunity to sharpen any tools that need sharpening. Store them in a safe place where they will be ready to go to work, come spring.

If you are considering a new home in West Michigan, check out Sable’s website for new energy efficient homes.

Plant Bulbs in the Fall

Daffodil & Grape Hyacinth Mix - Tall bulbs in back - short in frontTulip Bulbs - Pointy end up

The good news is that planting flower bulbs is fast, easy, and nearly foolproof. One reason bulbs are so beloved of both beginner and master gardeners is that, with so few issues to consider, gardeners can put all their effort into the fun part of gardening — design.

  • When the bulbs arrive. Bulbs should be planted as soon as the ground is cool. In most parts of the country, this would be around the time of the first frosts, when evening temperatures average between 40° to 50° F. But you should plant at least six weeks before the ground freezes. You can, if necessary, store bulbs for a month or longer, if you keep them in a cool dry place. When in doubt, however, the bulbs belong in the ground. They won’t last till next season.
  • Read the label. And keep the label together with the bulbs until planting. Without the label, you can’t tell the red tulips from the white ones just by looking at the bulbs.
  • Where to plant. You can plant bulbs just about anywhere in your garden — so long as the soil drains well. The Dutch say, “bulbs don’t like wet feet.” So, avoid areas where water collects, such as the bottom of hills. Bulbs also like sun. But the spring garden is very sunny — the leaves aren’t on the trees yet. Get creative!
  • Prepare the planting bed by digging the soil so it’s loose and workable. If it’s not an established garden bed, chances are the soil could use the addition of some organic matter such as compost or peat moss. These are available at most local garden retailers.

Tips for Planting Bulbs

  • Plant the pointy end up. That’s about all you need to know. It’s easy to spot the pointy end of a tulip; tougher with a crocus. But in most cases, even if you don’t get it right, the bulb flower will still find its way topside.
  • Plant big bulbs about 8″ deep and small bulbs about 5″ deep.
  • No fertilizer is necessary for the first year’s bloom. Bulbs are natural storehouses of food. They don’t need anything to flower the first year. For bulbs that are intended to naturalize or perennialize (return for several years) or for bulbs that are coming into their second year, spread an organic fertilizer such as compost or well-rotted cow manure, or a slow release bulb food on top of the soil.
  • If you do fertilize, never mix fertilizer in the planting hole. It can burn the roots. Also don’t follow the old adage of adding bone meal. Modern bone meal adds little nutritional value. It can also encourage pests and even dogs to dig up your bulbs looking for bones!

Design Ideas

  • Plant bulbs in clusters. Don’t plant one bulb alone, or make a long thin line along the walk. Clusters give a concentration of color for greatest impact. Even if you don’t have enough bulbs for a big bed, small clusters can make a super spring show.
  • Plant low bulbs in front of high. This is a good general rule for bulbs that bloom at the same time. Our website will give you the height of the plant and it’s approximate flowering time. Of course there are times to break this rule. For example if the low growing bulbs bloom early and the tall bulbs bloom late, plant the tall in front. Their display will camouflage the dying foliage of the smaller bulbs!
  • Try a double-decker effect. You can plant small bulbs in a layer right on top of large bulbs. If you plant bulbs that flower in the same period you can create an interesting double-decker effect (picture bright pink tulips blooming above cobalt blue Grape Hyacinths). Or you can stagger the bloom time by planting mid- and late-season bloomers together, creating a spring display that blooms in succession, for a whole season of color!

In the end, what you do with spring bulbs is limited only by your imagination. A few hours one brisk autumn afternoon can yield months of colorful excitement in your yard or garden next spring.

If your thinking of building a new home in Michigan, give us a call.  We build energy efficient homes in new home communities or on your land.

Rosewood…Preserved for Natural Areas

Villa’s of Rosewood in Rockford MI
When Sable Developing first looked at the rolling hills, wooded acreage, and wetlands, there was no question this was a site that called out for preservation and protection. There are 62 acres of land with approximately 23 acres preserved for natural areas, and wetlands.

The Villas of Rosewood is a single-family home, detached condominium community situated on 62 acres in Rockford. What makes the 105-unit development so unique is the careful planning and engineering devoted to protecting its natural environment and allowing its residents to connect with nature. To ensure continuing protection of the natural areas, all lawn care will be serviced by professionals using organic methods. The goal of Villas of Rosewood is to make the site as beneficial to the environment after development as it was prior to development.

The community includes multiple rain gardens, ponds, and connecting stream beds combined with native species of trees, shrubs, water plants, and wildflowers. In traditional developments, retention ponds are built to capture runoff from pavement and roofs, often resulting in stagnant water that invites mosquitoes and flies. The Villas of Rosewood has an innovative ecosystem using a series of three bio retention ponds, connected by 1,700 feet of streambed, and surrounded by several rain gardens. This system will protect nearby wetlands by continuously cycling and filtering surface water. The ponds have aerators to provide water movement and oxygenation, and special plants known for their removal of organic and inorganic materials. These plants, which are all historically native to northern Kent County, will produce flowers, seeds, and fruit beneficial to wildlife. The rain gardens include several native plants, including pickerel weed (which produces beautiful spikes of purple flowers and removes heavy metals), switch grass, spice bush, water talla, and blue lobelia.

The landscape in the Villas of Rosewood provides a beautiful setting for the European cottage-style homes built according to Energy Star specifications. Conditioning costs of the homes is 40% less than non-Energy Star homes. Benefits include minimizing runoff into the community storm drains, and preservation of wetlands and wooded areas. This preservation permits the continued growth and sustainment of wildlife and vegetation.

Integrated storm water management early in the site planning process
Microscale techniques to manage precipitation
Natural features in landscape
Fewer pipe and underground infrastructure
Flowing streams with water falls and retention ponds
Preserved and improved wildlife habitat
Enhanced wetlands and wetland protection
Rain gardens and bioretention