Trumpet Vines

Trumpet Creeper

Trumpet creepers, or campsis radicans, is a flowering plant that is native to the eastern United States. This plant is known by several other names including trumpet vine, cow-itch vine, and hummingbird vine. This fast-growing plant is capable of growing up to 33 feet. It is best known for its trumpet-shaped flowers, which range in color from orange to red and are produced from June until September. These plants are also known for their ability to grow almost anywhere and even in poor quality soil. In nature, these plants are most often found in woodlands and near riverbanks. However, their beauty has made these plants a popular landscaping and gardening feature. These plants are most often used on trellises, fences, arbors, pillars, and posts.

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A trumpet creeper plant can be a great addition to your lawn or flower garden, and not just because of the beautiful flowers that it will produce. When planted appropriately, these plants can serve several purposes. Planted along a fence, these plants can provide additional coverage creating increased privacy in your yard. These plants can also be used as groundcover and work well in areas that are in need of erosion control. This plant’s trumpet-shaped flowers are also a great way of inviting nature into your garden, attracting hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees that will pollinate your entire yard.

Although these vines are very easy to grow, there are still a few things to keep in mind when adding them to your lawn or flower garden. When planting these vines, it is important to allow them plenty of room for growth. These plants will thrive nearly anywhere, without constant watering or the need to use fertilizer. It is also very important to remember the growth ability of this plant. It has the ability to choke the life out of trees if allowed to grow on them, therefore this should be avoided. This vine should be pruned and trained in order to keep it under control and growing only where it is meant to be. Deadheading, or removing dying and dead flowers, will prevent reseeding and growth in other areas as well.

These beautiful vines, with their trumpet-shaped blossoms, will increase the aesthetic value of your lawn or flower garden tremendously. They will add color, create extra privacy, and even bring a small piece of nature onto your property.

10 Lessons I Learned From Life Off The Grid

Before my wife and I ever got married, we decided that we wanted to homestead. We knew that it would take a lot of research and work; however, we were determined to live off the grid. Five years and two children later, we are living in a homesteading community. We do not miss the high utility bills and stress from modern day living. The National Association of Homebuilders estimates that the average American electric bill is $110.21 per month, which is a lot of money. An off-the-grid lifestyle has taught me several invaluable lessons:

1. Off-the-grid living takes a lot of work

It was not easy to plan a house that is mostly self-sustaining. We had to do a lot of research to find out what kind of power, water, and septic systems were the best for our family. Once we decided on solar power, well water, and a composting toilet, we did all the work ourselves. Fortunately, we have homesteading neighbors who told us how to do it.

2. We did not have to live in the wilderness to live off the grid

When we talk about living off the land, a majority of people picture a little hut in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness—miles away from civilization. While that may be some people’s ideal situation, we still wanted to be close to town. We chose to build in a small community of homesteading families. It is a rural area where everyone has a parcel of land for gardening. There are some chores that we do together as a community. I found that we could live off grid without being hermits.

3. It is possible to survive without modern technology

The first electric lights were put in street lights in 1879, says the historicalarchive.com. Even in the early part of the 20th century, there were still many rural homes that did not have electric or running water. They depended on lanterns, candles, wells, and outhouses. I do not think that our kids are missing out by not having television or the latest video games. We have more time to spend as a family. We work together in our garden, tend to the animals, and tackle DIY projects.

4. Homesteaders are just regular people like anybody else

Not everyone who lives off the grid is a hippie who spends time burning incense and creating yogic poses. I found a lot of ordinary people in our community who still loved comfortable living.

5. I discovered the joy of farm-raised food

Before we began gardening, we bought all of our food at the grocery store. Now, I can see a big difference between the puny produce they sell and the ones that we raise. We use organic fertilizers that are safe for people and the environment. We also raise free-range animals that are fed a natural diet and are butchered humanely. We know exactly what our children are eating.

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6. My family and I have learned valuable skills

Part of living off the grid is making the things the family needs. We no longer buy as many toiletries and cleaning supplies from the supermarket. These things are filled with potentially hazardous ingredients, warns organicconsumers.org. Instead, we make homemade soaps and cleaners like our grandparents did. My wife has learned to sew a lot of our clothes and household items.

7. Living off the grid is not free

Even though I do not have utility bills, we still have to pay for supplies. There are some things that we still have to buy at home improvement and grocery stores like flour, corn meal, milk, soap and medicines. We still have to earn a living.

8. We still use modern technology as needed

Setting up solar panels, windmills, or wells require technology. When we go the library for books, we still take advantage of the free Internet time.

9. Not everyone who lives off the grid homeschools their children

There are several families in our homesteading community who homeschool their children. We also found that just as many of our neighborhood children attend the local public school. After careful consideration, we felt that our children would be fine in public school. We give them a practical education when they are home.

10. Living off the grid is not for everyone

We have a lot of friends who enjoy the grid every day. There is no moral superiority for those who homestead. Not everyone can live off the land. I just appreciate and accept my friends for who they are.

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Want An Instant Landscape ? Here’s How

Plant Mature Trees for an Instant Landscape
One of the most exciting things about a new home site is framing the new home with landscape plantings. Tasteful landscaping adds a great deal of appeal to a new home, and the landscaping of a new home involves many choices for the new home owner. The owner can enjoy creating a vision in which to frame the home, much as an artist can create a vision on a canvas.
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Most new home sites tend to be surrounded by trees and plants just out of the grower’s pot, and the homeowner must wait several years to begin realizing benefits of the landscaping. The alternative is to find a tree farm that can provide large trees to provide an instant look of maturity, so that the landscape can be enjoyed while the homeowner is still enjoying the newness of the home.

The decision to buy large trees from a quality tree farm means the homeowner gets the completed look of an instant landscape. The homeowner can get much quicker results in all the benefits that mature trees provide, including shade during the summer months, as well as the sheer beauty of the physical presence of a larger tree and leaf displays during the seasons. A decision to buy large trees might include flowering varieties to provide color and fragrance during the growing season. In most cases, immature trees require years of growth before attaining a significant display of blossoms or flowers.

Many homeowners who have chosen young trees for planting have ended up being dissatisfied with the spacing and design of their plantings. Spacing is especially difficult because of the variation in growth rates and end sizes of many varieties of trees. The new landscape that features large trees avoids most of the uncertainty involved in spacing between trees and between the home and the landscape plantings.

Planting large trees in a new home site allows the homeowner to bring the future vision of the property into the present, for instant enjoyment of all the pleasures that nature can add to a new home.

Travel Bags For Every Occasion

Like me, I must plan to pack a travel bag, especially during the most bussiest season for our nursery business. I always forget something and have to go to a drug store or Walmart most of the time when we arrive in some state in an area I have not a clue where to go to get anything at. I have found out there’s bare necessities one needs to use each time they travel in their bags, here is a list of them:

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  1. Headphones or Ear Plugs- In a hotel there’s always some screaming child or someone partying in the next room. I download a branc of running water and plug them in to sleep. Lord help me if a hotel ever catches onfire, I wouldnt hear nothing.
  2.  Commode Wipes- No matter how enticing and clean your room may seem, there are millions of germs on tiolet seats, don’t forget your sanitary wipes.
  3. Snacks- That sugar craving at 11am won’t forgive you without some needed chocolate and energy. Always bring some quick-pick-me- up snacks for the best possible experience. No one wants to awake and track down a snack shop in a hotel
  4. Medicine- Headache, heartburn or pms, always pack some quick meds.
  5. Contacts or Glasses- Oh My! What a disturbance when you needs your bifocals to read some fine print and you forgot them! Always remember to pack your second eyes.

Energy With Life Off The Grid

A lot of people want to become more sustainable in how they manage their life. However, it is impossible to do everything alone. That is why it is necessary to get outside help for managing an off the grid lifestyle. Many people who are preppies advocate this as a way to get free of government interference. Actually, off the grid living often puts you in the crosshairs of government regulators. That is why it is important that you are familiar with the expectations that your local government has for people who are not plugged into the community power supply. There are several things to consider.
1. Off the Grid Living Rules
Living off the grid has a lot of benefits. It also brings with it a lot of challenges. Many governments are influenced by powerful real estate and banking lobbyists who want to continue seeing people buying expensive mortgages that keep industry profits flowing in. This means that many cities outright ban off the grid living. Some government agencies like the Department of Energy offer helpful information, but others are quite restrictive. Make sure that you check before investing in off the grid power systems. Some off the grid people have seen their houses confiscated and themselves imprisoned by overzealous government agencies. Do not let this be you.

2. Pick an Easy Location
There are some parts of the world where living off the grid is much easier. Top international locations for living off the grid are those in the developing world. Examples include Latin America, Southeast Asia, India, and Africa. Picking a location there may make it much easier to enjoy your off the grid lifestyle without having government bureaucrats stealing your home. Places in the developed world where off the grid living is easier are rural and politically conservative locations. The top states in the United States for off the grid lifestyle include Idaho, Texas, Maine, Vermont, and Arizona.

3. Work Hard
Off the grid living requires a more independent mindset than most people have. You often have to internalize your food and energy production. This usually requires having a farm and power generating equipment. The benefits are freedom from pesky businesses who demand high prices for their products and services.

Conclusion
Off the grid living is not for most people. It can be lonely when you are out in the wild. Off the grid living in the city creates lawsuits and confiscation for the few who try it. Rural off the grid living requires a commitment to work hard and be more independent than most people want to be.

Why People in Third World Countries Live Longer Than Americans

Life expectancy is an uncomfortable subject and one that America needs to talk about. As it stands, the United States ranks below most developed countries when it comes to life expectancy. The problem gets grungier when one compares certain areas of the United States to third world countries. For example, certain regions in America have a slightly lower life expectancy than Guatemala.

Why the Life Expectancy in America is Low

There are a number of things one could point to to explain why the life expectancy in United States is low. The following are just a few issues that could be linked to this issue:

  • The United States’ population is largely uninsured whereas other countries have universal healthcare.
  • Violence in the United States is relatively high.
  • Income inequality drastically affects life expectancy.

Still, these are just a few issues that could be linked to the problem. There is not much that could be done about most of these issues, unless the people of the United States take notes from other countries to see what might benefit this country.

Restriction on weapons and universal healthcare for all citizens are just a few things that some third world countries and developed countries offer their people. Still, there is one particular problem that might be salvageable.

Lifestyle and Nutrition Might Play a Role

The following are a few things that third world countries are doing that might help Americans increase their life expectancy:

1. Healthy Eating is the Way to go

The lives of people in third world countries may not be as glamorous as people in places like the United States, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. One reason that might explain why some third world countries rival a few regions in the United States could be because some third world populations have healthier eating habits.

You might think this is something that is done willingly, but the vegetarian or vegan diets that many people in third world countries enjoy is mostly out of necessity. There is a significant lack of meat in poor households because they cannot afford it. This means that people in third world countries are eating lower cholesterol foods by accident via gardening.

Americans, no matter how poor, usually have access to meat and other high cholesterol foods. The following are a few problems associated with eating too much meat and a high cholesterol diet:

Americans Face Unhealthy Diets
  • The body could develop plaque in the blood system, leading to circulatory issues and heart problems.
  • Too much cholesterol could lead to bile imbalance, which usually means gallstones.
  • The body may have a hard time providing nutrients throughout the body. This could lead to weakness and immune deficiencies.

Keep in mind that some American diets, in addition to high cholesterol content, rely on foods that have been heavily processed. It is not uncommon to find ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, which is linked to heart failure. Most poor people in developed countries usually rely on food that they grow rather than buying food at the store.

2. Living an Active Lifestyle

There is no denying that living in a developed nation means commodities. It is not abnormal for people of all ages and social economic status to enjoy some of the following luxuries:

  • Owning a vehicle or renting one
  • Public transportation like buses or trains
  • Trips using taxis or a car-sharing service

People in some regions of the world do not have money for or access to transportation, which usually means walking is the only option available. In other words, people in third world countries are a little more active.

It should be noted that most people who live in third world countries usually depend on jobs that demand physical exertion. The United States is filled with sedentary jobs, which allows for issues like obesity and other similar problems.

The lifestyle of a person living in a third world country might include farming for food. This is sometimes in addition to a regular job. There is no shortage of physical labor in many countries that are not as developed as the United States.

The idea that many undeveloped countries lead a healthier lifestyle because they may not have access to first world commodities might not make sense. It is hard to imagine that first world commodities could lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

The sad truth is that some commodities like processed foods were created by companies attempting to take shortcuts to make a profit on what was being sold. Hopefully, the United States changes the direction of its society to a healthier nation and one worthy of considered a developed country.

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Gardening For Therapy

Most people in their lifetimes suffers from some type of mental aliment, arthritis or depression of some sort. Gardening is probably the best therapy for anyone needing to get their mind off things that are making them sick with constant worry.

Planting trees or even making a flower garden filled with beautiful blooms of color with perennials, native grasses or anything you enjoy will certainly be an attribute in helping you cope with many illness’ and other type problem most people face in every day life and coping after, for example the loss of a loved one.

Many people choose to have a tree planting memorial to remember the one they love for decades as they watch the trees grow and allow the community to help be a part by purchasing any type small seedlings or plants and distribution them to a local area for planting. This also helps provide much needed oxygen plus it makes everyone that participates in the planting remember the loved one that has passed away by the planting event memorial.

For people that are elderly, most love to plant anything, from flowers to vegetable gardens. This is also recommended by doctors for helping their joints with low impact exercises while aiding their mental capabilities also.

The Benefits Of Live Stakes

Live Stakes

As long as people have been using plants, they have been using a method to reproduce called cuttings. Whether it is sharing a piece of a plant with a beloved friend, or creating a new plant to fill a home, cuttings are a cost effective way to produce a great deal of plants for a small cost.

A cutting is different from seed because it gives the gardener some control over the end product. When using seeds the end results can be anyone’s guess. Because cuttings are taken from what is considered to be a mother plant, it will be identical to the plant it was taken from, because inside they are genetically the same. Cuttings can be used on virtually any kind of plant from vegetation to a houseplant. The benefits of using a cutting are vast. The cutting will have the same physical characteristics of the mother plant, because they have been asexually reproduced.

If a person has a begonia that has amazing color and does well, it is not uncommon for a cutting to be taken and shared. This piece of the plant is placed in water and over a period of time, roots will form. Once the roots have formed, it can be replanted for a whole new plant can be grown. Essentially, a person can make identical plants by simply taking a snip of the original one.

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While manipulating plants for various uses has always been a popular thing, one cannot rule out the use of live stakes. Live stakes are trees that are planted to keep hills and areas to keep from eroding away. Riverbanks are a great location to find live stakes as they help from the erosion and damage that can occur here. The root mats that these trees create are important for the area they are placed in. These stakes are dormant but still yet still very much alive.

There are many benefits to the use of the Black Willow Live Stakes. These stakes can completely improve the aesthetics of the area. They also will provide a great habitat for any wildlife that may be in the area. It is important to install these stakes while they are in their dormant season. It is also of critical importance not to let these stakes dry out. Those who have areas that are prone to erosion should consider the use of these stakes to help improve the integrity of the area.

Another commonly used manipulated product is tree poles. Virtually everyone has some type of tree pole on or near their property. The poles are made of incredibly durable materials and they can withstand the harsh winds and rains. These tree poles have been tested to ensure their ability to withstand the elements, including the wind tests.

These poles can provide a great balance and allow a person to use the natural environment they want. Often called replica trees, these poles can be made from cypress, mono-elms or mono-pines. While there are many benefits to using plants and vegetation for their intended use, there are also other ways that these gardener’s delights can be used to help our environment.

Global Warming Endangers Plants

More and more plants are being endangered because of extreme global warming. We are in the middle of an earth crisis, says Tammy Sons from Wholesale Nursery Co.

Some of our plants in the fields are dying and we can’t give them enough irrigation. It’s 70+ degree weather in the fall and normal this time of year we are in heavy rainfall situations in the fields and also we usually are thriving with cooler temps enabling us to dig and ship.

She is a firm believer in global warming and with her being in the tree nursery industry, she would surely know when something isn’t quiet right.

Outdoor Plants In Winter

How To Care For Plants Outdoors in Winter Season

During wintertime, most garden plants enter a period of dormancy due to the cold, harsh winter weather. Preparing outdoor plants for the cold season will ensure that they will survive and wake up undamaged and healthy in the spring. The right type of continued care throughout the colder months will also minimize damages that could occur. Below are some steps for ensuring that garden plants are kept safe during winter.

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1. Remove dead leaves, mulches and other garden debris from summer before the ground begins to freeze in the fall. This is very important because soil substances usually harbour disease that can attack garden plants so they become vulnerable in the springtime.

2. Put down fresh mulch. Use 2 to 4 inches of straw mulch over surface roots of shrubs and trees to protect them and help preserve moisture in the soil. Do the same for perennial flower beds. This will protect the crowns of the garden plants from becoming frost bitten. It will also prevent frost heave that is caused by the ground thawing and then refreezing.

3. Check for soil moisture around shrubs and evergreen trees whenever the ground thaws during the winter season. Water the evergreens when soil becomes dry and is not frozen. This is important because otherwise the needles or leaves could turn brown and die.

4. Put up wind breaks for garden plants not in sheltered areas. Surround the plants with wrap burlap and stakes. This will break the wind without trapping any heat that could burn plants on sunny days.

5. Bring annual flowers, such as begonias, impatiens, coleus and geraniums inside to protect them during the cold. Ensure that they get adequate light and water. In springtime, they may be replanted outdoors.

6. Move all container garden plants to the inside to protected areas during the winter months. The roots will be very vulnerable in containers during winter. Place them inside a shed or garage location where they are away from winter winds.