What would happen if 30 percent to 90 percent of the human work force quit working? Do you think someone would notice? You bet they would, and a huge outcry would probably ensue! A similar situation is unfolding with honeybees, as honeybee populations have declined by about 70 percent throughout North America, and also in large percentages throughout the world. The death or disappearance of honeybee populations, often called Colony Collapse Disorder, could have disastrous consequences for our agricultural food supply. That’s because, in addition to producing honey, honeybees pollinate approximately one-third of food crops: about 90 different farm-grown foods, including fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Scientists are trying to determine what is causing the problem, but you can help the bees by growing flowers that bees visit for nectar and pollen. Bees need the flowers especially in the early spring, late summer and fall. The bees reciprocate by pollinating your vegetable garden. Bees are particularly attracted to yellow, purple, orange and blue flowers. Some examples are sunflowers, black-eyed susans, lavender, borage, asters, bee balm, and calendula. Relax with an Adirondack chair and table set as you watch the little dynamos work.
Planter boxes are an economical way to beautify your patio, veranda and windowsill. There is no match for an attractively arranged Western Red Cedar planter box of any style. Wherever placed, our cedar planters are an excellent addition to any ranch, back yard, front yard, or cottage or apartment balcony.
We offer three styles of cedar planter boxes, which should accommodate whatever flower, plant or small shrub arrangements your landscaping design requires. You can combine the boxes with our trellises, arbors and planter bench planks to create landscaping designs limited by your imagination only. Indeed, maybe you can contrive combinations we haven’t thought of yet! If so, please share them with us. Our boxes include: 10-inch planter box; 20-inch planter box; 30-inch window box; a window box that is ideal for ledges, railings and balconies; and 2-foot, 4-foot and 6-foot raised garden boxes. Garden boxes can be used in multiples, on top of each other, for deeper rooting plants. And, here’s a novel idea: Use the garden boxes in multiples as outdoor enclosures for small pets! Neat, huh!
It’s never too early to start planning your garden! Happy planning and planting!
St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner. Now is a great time to begin planning a celebration of Irish heritage. Why not have it on your deck or patio! This might not be a good idea if you’re hip-deep in snow or drowning in “wintry mix,” as we are on the East Coast and in the Midwest. But, in 10 days maybe it’ll all be melted and the temperature in the 60s! Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing.
For a main course try hearty Beef and Irish Stout Stew served with or over mashed potatoes. For a good recipe, visit AllRecipes.com. Stew is a dish that can be adapted easily for more (or fewer) people. Irish Soda Bread is a good accompaniment, but biscuits serve just as nicely.
For drinks: Irish Cow (a warm drink), Irish Spring, Nutty Irishman (shooter or cocktail), and St. Patrick’s Day Mocha Java. I get my recipes from The Complete Bartender (Revised Edition, 2003) by Robyn M. Feller. Search the net for recipes. Need an Irish-themed movie? Try The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara or Darby O’Gill and the Little People with Sean Connery.
Believe it or not, spring is approaching! This is usually the time for cleaning up the garden, planning and designing new flower beds and shrubbery plantings, and selecting fine-quality furniture, gardening benches and storage hutches to help you realize your garden plans and relax in your oasis. But, you don’t want to neglect sprucing up your interior rooms.
Maybe your foyer could use a new table. Or, you could freshen the look of your dining room with a lovely buffet cabinet or wine rack. My Web site offers these items and many others that you might like as you consider your interior-design changes. All are manufactured of fine-quality hardwood with a lovely cherry finish and the look of fine, classic antiques. Browse the Classic Accent Furniture Collection now.
Now is a good time to review the design of your outdoor living areas, no matter what the climate where you live. While many readers may be creative in their own right, some might require outside help in landscape design and outdoor planting.
Web sites abound that address every aspect of gardening. One is the Web site of the Royal Horticultural Society, the United Kingdom’s leading charity for promoting good gardening. It offers books, magazines and loads of gardening and how-to information. Another good source of information is the Complete Gardener Series by Time-Life Editors. The series comprises volumes devoted to topics like landscape design, ferns, shrubs and trees, and vegetables and herbs. Check Amazon.com and eBay to obtain these books. And don’t forget so-called coffee-table books on English- and American-style gardens. These are filled with color photographs that you can use as inspiration for your own designs.
Why not include in your garden design one of my 100 percent Western Red Cedar garden hutches to store your outdoor equipment in one convenient place? They are available in three sizes (27, 30 and 49 inches) to suit your yard or deck.
Planter boxes are an economical way to beautify your patio, veranda and windowsill. There is no match for an attractively arranged Western Red Cedar planter box of any style. Wherever placed, our cedar planters are an excellent addition to any ranch, back yard, front yard, or cottage or apartment balcony. They are also a great way to start your outdoor plantings during cold winter weather.
We offer three styles of cedar planter boxes, which should accommodate whatever flower, plant or small shrub arrangements your landscaping design requires. Combine the boxes with our trellises, arbors and planter bench planks to create landscaping designs limited only by your imagination. Indeed, maybe you can contrive combinations we haven’t thought of yet! If so, please share them with us.
Our boxes include: 10- and 20-inch planter boxes; 30-inch window box; a window box ideal for ledges, railings and balconies; and 2-, 4- and 6-foot raised garden boxes. Garden boxes can be used in multiples, on top of each other, for deeper rooting plants. And, here’s a novel idea: Use the garden boxes in multiples as outdoor enclosures for small pets! Neat, huh! It’s never too early to start planning your garden!
Western Red Cedar, native to northwest North America, including Alaska and the southwestern provinces of Canada, is popular as an outdoor furniture material for several reasons:
1. Among common softwood timber, cedar is the most stable; it naturally lies flat and remains straight. No warping, twisting and checking, common faults among many other species.
2. The wood stays cool in the hottest temperatures.
3. Its resistance to bacteria and fungi recommend it for outdoor use. Also, its natural oils provide resistance to rot and decay, a particular advantage in moist and humid climates. Example of item: cedar planter box.
4. Western Red Cedar is durable. For example, untreated and uncovered cedar furniture left outdoors, even during rugged winters, can last eight to 10 years. It will last about twice as long if covered or brought inside during winter.
5. Although unnecessary, cedar is the best softwood to stain, paint or oil.
6. Red cedar emits a distinct aroma that people like but that repels moths, insects and other pests. Many households still use cedar-lined chests to store their woolen blankets, clothes and other susceptible household textiles to protect them from these pests.
7. No toxic chemicals, like arsenic, chromium or copper are used to preserve Western Red Cedar.
(Continued from 1/10/2014 post)
A good wood sealer such as Thompson’s WaterSeal helps by blocking the pores of the wood. This inhibits the grain from becoming raised, yet allows the natural fading of the wood to a gentle silvery-gray color.
A number of finishes can be used on cedar furniture to preserve the colorful tones of the freshly sanded cedar. We recommend good-quality penetrating sealers and transparent or solid exterior stains. Many colors are available making it easy to match your existing decor. We recommend a single coat of a semitransparent stain with a UV inhibitor, such as Sikkens Cetol 1 (natural) or Thompson’s Stain. Every third year you might reapply a coat of stain to freshen the finish. Cedar requires little or no sanding, preparation or primer when you use a stain.
Paint is fine; but, over time, it requires scraping and refinishing. Stain, however, is “breathable” and won’t trap moisture; so, no blistering, no peeling. Stain is the best choice for cedar. Many colors are available in semitransparent and solid finishes.
Western Red Cedar should be preservative-treated if it will be embedded in the ground; for example, fence posts, landscape ties or garden arbor posts.
Western Red Cedar in its natural, unfinished state has a richly textured tactile grain and a glowing palette of warm, mellow tones ranging from light amber to deep honey brown. No man-made material can duplicate the depth of cedar’s natural luster. Western Red Cedar is subtly aromatic, and the characteristic fragrance of Red Cedar adds an aromatic dimension to its universal appeal.
Because of the inherent nature of Western Red Cedar to withstand insect attack and the outdoor elements, cedar does not require a finish to keep its structure over the years. Many folks prefer to allow their cedar furniture to age naturally without a stain or finish. Over time the colorful tones of the wood slowly weather to a handsome silver-grey, and the grain of the wood becomes slightly raised. If left completely natural, this silver-grey color eventually is highlighted by darker streaks formed from the reaction between the cedar resin and the zinc hardware. If you don’t fancy the dark streaks, we suggest using a simple wood sealer (see next blog entry).
We do not recommend using oil finishes on your cedar outdoor furniture. (Continued)
Whew! What a busy December: Between preparing for the holidays and updating prices on GardenFurniturePatio.com, I barely had time to get in a few rounds of golf! (Ha, ha!) Anyway, I’m changing prices on my Website to reflect pricing changes from my supplier. Most, if not all, items are reduced; so why not browse a bit and see if something strikes your fancy.
I also have some new products to offer; such as, new cushion colors, new models of accent furniture and a cedar sauna/entry bench. Also, a few Western Red Cedar items have been redesigned in response to customers’ suggestions. Check ‘em out! And remember, January is a great month to start planning landscape and garden redesign and for selecting new pieces of furniture to complete your plans!
Happy New Year!