Improving curb appeal

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers--what do May flowers bring?     'Pilgrims!'    This was always a favorite joke of my students when I taught first-grade many years ago.  They loved to tell everyone they could get to listen to them and then, they would dissolve into a puddle of laughter, at their own cleverness.

On a serious note, this is an excellent time to think about adding color to your yard.  Take a good, hard look at the exterior of your home as someone else might see it and start with a pencil and paper.  Clear your flowerbeds of old mulch and last fall's leaves and start sketching in how you want to enhance the exterior of your home.  Starting with a plan is always best.  it will minimize your time once you start your project and keep your costs in check.

For very little expense and effort, colorful flowers are a good way to add value to your home whether you are planning on selling--or just want to give your home and the neighborhood a better look.  You can increase the value of your home with cosmetic additions---like adding flower beds that hide parts of the yard or building that might be considered unsightly.  For example, a flower bed of colorful annuals or low growing perennials along the driveway adds a feeling of elegance to the landscape.  A blooming perennial can hid a water hydrant, air conditioner or other utility connection to the house or soften the sharp corners of the house or fence.  

Our local gardening centers are swelling with the perfect choices for our region.  Did you know we live in planting zone 6? There are 11 planting zones, or 'USDA Plant Hardiness Zones,' in the United States and Southern Canada.  The USDA planting zones are regions defined by a 10 Fahrenheit difference in the average annual minimum temperature.  To put the definition in layman's, terms: the higher the numbers, the warmer the temperatures, for gardening in those areas.  

It is standard practice for seed dealers and nurseries to label their products according to their USDA Plant Hardiness Zones--that is, the planting zones in which you'll be most successful at growing those particular plants.  Examples of cold-hardy plants (numbers in parentheses indicate zones): Peonies (2-9); Goldenrod (2-8); Adonis Plants (3-7); Ninebark (3-7); Oriental Poppy (3-7) and PeeGee Hydrangeas (3-8).  Examples of plants that are not very cold hardy: Bougainvillea (9-11); Bird of Paradise (9-11); Gerbera Daisy (9-11); Aloe Vera Plants (9-11); Purple Fountain Grass (9-11) and Elephant Ear (8-11).  Growing plants not suited to our region's climate is sometimes possible but not recommended for beginners.  

So--now I've told you probably much more than what you wanted to know, go forth, get dirty and improve that curb appeal of your home!

Happy Spring everyone!