Archive for the ‘Landscaping Maintenance’ Category

Green Thumb Company to offer free quotes for fall services

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BELLINGHAM- Award-winning lawn maintenance business Green Thumb Company will be offering free quotes for a multitude of services this fall.

Green Thumb Company serves both commercial properties and residential customers in the Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden area.

Services offered will include yard cleanup, leaf cleanup, pruning, hedge trimming, lawn mowing, bark spreading and more. Grounds maintenance will also be available through 12 month contracts.

Green Thumb Company has served the Bellingham area for almost three decades. While the company has evolved from what originally consisted of an old truck and a few lawnmowers to a now full-service residential and commercial grounds maintenance business, the dedication and passion of husband and wife owners Allen and Amy Harmon has never ceased.

Allen and Amy’s love for gardening and work ethic began with their parents. Each grew up surrounded by lush lawns, blooming flowers and thriving gardens. The tradition is now growing in their two sons, who show a love for dirt, as well as a desire to learn more about the family business.

The Harmons’ employees are no exception to Allen and Amy’s work ethic. The company earned the US Commerce Association Best of Bellingham award for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

For more information about Green Thumb Company, visit www.greenthumbcompany.com or call (360) 671-5296.

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The Purpose of a Landscape Maintenance Contract

residential and commercial maintenance Bellingham, WA

For residential and commercial landscape maintenance in Bellingham, WA – call Green Thumb Company.

A consistent and well thought out landscape maintenance contract is the best way to protect your outdoor investment. A well-kept landscaped yard sends a special message – regardless if your style is symmetrically subtle or brightly and texturally dramatic, and says a lot about the owners.

A well maintained landscape can also make the curb appeal of a house “pop out” from the neighboring surroundings, which is vital when it comes time to sell your home. But regardless of what reason is most important to you, the simple act of coming home to a lovely yard is one of the best feelings in the world!

After spending a considerable amount of money on your landscape design and installation, it only makes sense to both protect it and ensure that it develops as you’ve planned. That is where a landscape maintenance contract comes in. We offer scheduled maintenance contracts, vacation and seasonal programs as well as comprehensive property clean ups and work both with residential and commercial home owners.

Green Thumb Company’s Landscaping and Yard Maintenance Contracts are custom designed according to the needs of our customers’ landscapes — as well as their budgets. We listen to your preferences and note what you don’t like, versus what you enjoy doing yourself in the garden, to create a plan that is perfect for you!

Some items that may be included in a contract include:

  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Shrub, Ground Cover and Vine Maintenance
  • Small Tree Maintenance.
  • Flower Bed Maintenance
  • Seasonal Color Maintenance
  • Surface Maintenance
  • Fertilization Program
  • Lime Application Program
  • Spreading Bark Mulch and / or Compost and Soil onto flowerbeds and garden beds
  • Pruning
  • Lawn De thatching
  • Lawn Aeration

Seasonal and vacation services might include leaf removal, bark and mulch spreading, weed control in planting and flower beds, gravel refurbishing, lawn renovation and more.

Contact us at 360-671-LAWN (5296) to discuss your landscape maintenance needs for Bellingham, Ferndale and the surrounding neighborhoods like Birchwood, Edgemoor, Happy Valley, Geneva, Barkley, Cornwall Park, Columbia, Sunnyland, Fairhaven, Sehome, Whatcom Falls, South Hill and King Mountain. For more than 24 years, Green Thumb Company has specialized in servicing many of Whatcom County’s fine neighborhoods. Let us help you out with your landscaping needs with a contract designed specifically for you!

Great Online Resources for Pacific Northwest Gardeners

It’s true, all of us, (including me!) have been guilty of waiting until the last minute to start gardening projects. And, yes, I have underestimated what it takes to take a project from dream to reality. Come springtime, the sun is out and I’m itching to get back into the garden – but my design isn’t completed, and now I’m crazy busy with work! I missed my window of opportunity and darn it all if my project won’t get finished now for months. I KNOW better..!

Each spring following the first sunny weekend, our office gets excited calls from folks anxious to design and build their new gardens, discuss landscaping projects and launch into creating their dream backyard…immediately. Guess what? While you might wait to call in spring – all that means is that your design project will begin in the spring, but it likely won’t be finished until much later in the year.

The reality is planning for your springtime projects should begin in winter – if not much earlier…Why wait when you can start now?

Whether you’re hoping to put in a new vegetable bed, renovate your ornamental shrub borders, design your perennials garden or create a new project from scratch, it’s important to jump into the planning phase as the icicles are dripping from the eaves. If you wait until the spring sunshine to start your planning, be ready to wait even longer to watch your garden grow. Don’t let winter get away from you. Jump into your project now – even as you finish mulching your garden beds and start checking off your Christmas shopping list.

I’ve put together a list of a few resources to help get your creative juices flowing. Go fetch a cup of tea, boot up your computer and settle into your chair to and begin your springtime planning today.

Enjoy the resources and the season,
Amy Harmon

Online Gardening Resources

UW Burke Museum Herbarium
biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php – Fantastic site with 1000’s of plants and images specific to the northwest. Excellent help for plant identification.

Great Plant Picks
www.greatplantpicks.org

King County Yard & Garden topics
http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/stewardship/nw-yard-and-garden.aspx

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides
http://www.pesticide.org/

Northwest Garden News
http://www.northwestgardennews.com/

Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture – Tree Care
http://pnwisa.org/tree-care-information/homeowner-articles-and-tips.html

Plant Native
www.plantnative.com – Includes a nice step by step plan for naturescaping.

Plant Amnesty
http://www.plantamnesty.org/ A fun & informative website, with tongue in cheek humor

Rainy Side Gardeners
http://www.rainyside.com/ – Maritime Pacific Northwest Gardening has a nice native plant section with photos.

Seattle Times- Plant Life
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/plantlife/ A selection of articles written by Valerie Easton, a Seattle freelance writer and contributing editor for Horticulture magazine.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/index.htm – Living with Wildlife

Washington Native Plant Society
http://www.wnps.org/ – A non profit organization for native plants.

Washington State University Extension
http://gardening.wsu.edu/

Washington State University Native Plants
gardening.wsu.edu/text/nwnative.htm – Identifying, Propagating, and Landscaping. Nice photos!

Pacific Northwest Native Wildlife Gardening.
www.tardigrade.org – Includes a listserv for gardening for wildlife (with native plants).

Washington State University website
www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/ -Puyallup site full of horticulture myths. Very informative!

USDA National plant database
plants.usda.gov – Lots of information and images on plants beyond the northwest.


Green Thumb Company is a Bellingham based, full-service grounds maintenance company. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

Indoor and Outdoor Plant Care Between December and February

Taking care of your Indoor and Outdoor plants in Bellingham, WA in the winter

Winter Plant Care in Bellingham, WA

Many people see the fall and winter as a time to close down the garden and wait until the spring to start up gardening activities again. However, there are plenty of things you can be doing through the fall and winter months to continue enjoying the pleasures of gardening, both indoors and out.

As most gardeners soon realize, prepping your plants for the winter is a never ending task — gardening does not end just because summer is over. The timing of gardening chores and events can vary from year to year, depending on weather and site conditions, but a lifetime of winter gardening in the Pacific Northwest has taught me a few tricks to keep things looking great, even through the winter months.

Below is a basic guide to help sort out both the WHAT and the WHEN to tackle the most important tasks to keep both your outdoor AND your indoor garden plants looking fresh and fantastic for the holiday season and beyond.

 Enjoy the season ~ Amy Harmon

Indoor Plants

Houseplants need additional light in the winter months

Houseplants getting additional sunlight through the windows

December

  • Check houseplants for brown, dry edges on their leaves. This may indicate too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants together, or using pebble trays.
  • Extend the beauty of holiday plants, such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus, by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area free from drafts.
  • Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move plants closer to windows, but avoid placing foliage against cold glass panes. Another option is to add artificial lighting in the area.
  • Because growth slows or stops in winter months, most plants will require less water and much less fertilizer.
  • If you are forcing bulbs for the holidays, bring them into warmer temperatures after they have been sufficiently “precooled”. Two to four weeks of warm temperatures (60°F), bright light, and moderately moist soil are needed to bring on flowers. Bulbs require a chilling period of about 10 to 12 weeks at 40°F to initiate flowerbeds and establish root growth. Precooled bulbs are available from many garden suppliers if you did not get yours cooled in time.
  • When shopping for a Christmas tree, check for flexible, green needles that do not shed, and a sticky trunk base, both indicators of freshness. Make a fresh cut on the trunk, and keep the cut end under water at all times.
  • Evergreens, except pines and spruce, can be trimmed now for a fresh supply of holiday greenery. Use proper pruning techniques to preserve the beauty of landscape plants.

January

  • Keep holiday poinsettias and other plants near bright window. Water as the top of soil becomes dry.
  • Check produce and tender bulbs that you have dug up and kept in storage. Discard any that show signs of decay, like mold or softening. Shriveling indicates insufficient relative humidity.

February

  • Check water levels daily in cut-flower vases and re-cut ends as needed.
  • Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots.
  • Early blooms of spring-flowering bulbs can make a beautiful gift for your sweetheart. Keep the plant in a bright, cool location for longer lasting blooms. Forced bulbs make poor garden flowers and should be discarded as blooms fade.

Lawns, Woody Ornamentals, Landscape Plants, and Tree Fruits

December

  • Prevent bark-splitting of young and thin-barked trees, such as fruit and maple trees. Wrap trunks with tree wrap, or paint trunks with white latex (not oil-based) paint, particularly on the south- and southwest-facing sides.
  • Protect shrubs, such as junipers and arborvitae, from extensive snow loads by tying their stems together with twine. Carefully remove heavy snow loads with a broom to prevent limb breakage.
  • Protect broadleaf evergreens, or other tender landscape plants from excessive drying by winter sun and wind. Place canvas, burlap, or polyethylene plastic screens to the southland west to protect the plants. Similarly, shield plants from street and sidewalk salt spray.
  • Provide winter protection for roses by mounding soil approximately 12 inches high to insulate the graft union. Additional organic mulch, such as straw, compost, or chopped leaves, can be placed on top. Wait until late winter or early spring to prune.

January

  • Check the lower trunks of young trees for rodent injury. Prevent injury to the tree with hardware cloth/ or protective collars.
  • “Leaf”  (my feeble attempt of a pun) through the nursery catalogs and make plans for landscape and fruit orchard purchases. Order early for best selection.
  • Cut branches of forsythia, honeysuckle, pussy willow, crabapple and other early spring-flowering plants to force into blooming indoors. Place the branches in warm water and set them in a cool location.

February

  • Check mulches, salt/windscreens, rodent shields, and other cold weather plant protections to make sure they are in place.
  • Prune landscape plants, except early spring bloomers, Rhododendrons or other plants that have already budded, which should be pruned after flowers fade.
  • Prune fruit trees to control tree size. Remove dead, damaged, or weak limbs.

Flowers, Vegetables, and Small Fruits

December

  • Protect newly planted or tender perennials by applying mulch such as straw, chopped leaves, or other organic material after plants become dormant.
  • Store leftover garden chemicals where they will stay dry, unfrozen, and out of the reach of children, pets, and unsuspecting adults.
  • Mulch strawberries when temperatures have dropped to 20°F.
  • Clean up dead plant materials, synthetic mulch, and other debris in the vegetable garden as wells in the flower beds, rose beds, and orchards.
  • Order seed catalogs, and make notes for next year’s garden.

January

  • Browse through garden catalogs and order seeds and plants early for best selection.
  • Sketch your garden plans on paper, including what to grow, spacing, arrangement, and number of plants needed.
  • Wood ashes from the fireplace can be spread in the garden, but don’t overdo it. Wood ashes increase soil pH, and excess application can make some nutrients unavailable for plant uptake. Have your soil tested to be certain of the Ph before adding wood ash.

February

  • Prepare or repair lawn and garden tools for the upcoming season. (This will be the next article and I will link the two)
  • Start seeds indoors for cool-season veggies so they will be ready for transplanting to the garden early in the season. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds should be started five to seven weeks prior to transplanting.
  • Test leftover garden seed for germination. Place 10 seeds between moist paper toweling or cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep seeds warm and moist. If less than six seeds germinate, then fresh seed should be purchased.

 If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN or Request a Quote directly from our website.

DIY Tip#1 – Using a Weeder in the Pacific Northwest

I don’t know about you, but weeding in the spring is a chore I don’t mind doing. It’s methodical, almost relaxing for me! and ensures that I enjoy the best part of summer looking over a (relatively) weed free yard and landscape. Here are some Do-It-Yourself Tips to using a weeder to remove unwanted plants and leave a healthy lawn or garden behind.

A weeder is a tool with a long metal spike that is used to pull weeds up from their roots. Weeds here in Bellingham and Ferndale, Washington are especially insidious and their roots run deep so that they can thrive in our climate. Chemical weed killers often kill more than the weeds they are sprayed on. Runoff and seepage may send chemicals onto other plants or into the water supply around Lake Whatcom or into nearby wells. Manually pulling weeds with a weeder gives you the assurance that the weed is out without harm to the surrounding area.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Garden hose or watering can (optional)
  • Bucket or wheel barrow
  • Knee pads (optional)
  • Garden gloves (optional)

Step 1

Wear gloves to avoid contact with irritating thistles, nettles and thorns and also to prevent blisters.

Step 2

Feel the moisture levels in the soil surrounding the weeds by attempting to press your index finger into the soil. The soil is damp enough to pull weeds if your index finger goes into the first knuckle without much effort. Water the soil and wait 30 minutes for the ground to soak up the water to soften the soil before each retest.

Step 3

Jam the sharp metal tip of the weeder straight down into the ground about an eighth of an inch away from the taproot. Shorter weeders require that you get down on the ground to press the in the point of the weeder. Knee pads make the kneeling experience easier and less painful.

Step 4

Shimmy the weeder back and forth until you have loosened the soil next to the root enough to pull the weed from the ground.

Step 5

Press the weeder down on the other side of a main root that is still holding onto the soil. Work the weeder back and forth in the ground as you pull straight up on the weed without snapping the root. Leaving large pieces of the root behind may allow the weeds to regrow.

Step 6

Pull the weeder up out of the ground and knock off any dirt stuck to it before using it to release the next weed root.

TaDah! Done. Is hand weeding really worth the effort? Only you can answer that question. Weeding IS time consuming, but when you can look out over your lawn and landscape and see a weed-free (ish) yard, I sure think it is!

Enjoy your summer ~ Amy


Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

Three critical LANDSCAPING MAINTENANCE tips for your lawn.

We often have a “do it and forget it” mentality. Once a task is completed, we don’t give it a second thought. Instead, we move on to whatever is next in line. That attitude may work in some areas, but it certainly is not appropriate for the care and nurturing of your Bellingham or Ferndale home landscaping.

Great Whatcom County landscaping does not stem exclusively from those days of planning and planting. Your property is a growing, living thing. You can set something beautiful into motion, but in order to get the most out of your landscaping, you will need to conduct regular landscaping and lawn maintenance. You will need to address the yard’s needs and to be proactive in order to prevent the development of problems that could completely derail your plans.

The lawn is a important part of many Whatcom County’s landscape plans, in most cases. Grass frequently forms the basis from which the rest of our landscaping efforts emerge. A good looking, healthy lawn is a necessity for those seeking landscaping success. The lawn is the canvas upon which landscapers paint.

Understanding the importance of great grass and the need for regular landscaping maintenance let us look at three things you can do to keep your property attractive and in line with your landscaping vision. These three lawn care tips are all “out of season” activities you can do to improve your landscape’s health and beauty.

FALL FERTILIZATION

Fertilization is a perfect example of maintenance for landscapes. It is one of those regular things that you simply cannot afford to neglect. Every year, as the end of autumn approaches, you should apply a final dose of fertilizer to your grass. The lawn will absorb those nutrients and they will help to keep it strong, healthy throughout the winter, and ready to explode into growth when things warm up again.

WINTER CLEANING

If your lawn is smothered in any location, it can do a great deal of harm. Before the really cold weather sits in, walk your property and carefully remove any debris from the lawn. Things like tree branches, an old hose, your children’s toys or that tool you have been meaning to put back into the garage can do serious damage if left in place through the winter. Smothered grass is less disease resilient and may even die completely. You certainly do not want to bring in spring with a brown ring in the middle of the yard!

AERATION

Aerate the grassy area before the year’s first freeze. As winter comes, thatch will accumulate and your lawn can be “choked off.” A serious aeration and that aforementioned fall fertilization will prepare your lawn to last out the cold and will position in for maximum spring performance. You can rent an aerator at any hardware store, if you do not own your own. Some people claim to get more than satisfactory results from manual aeration strategies, including special slip-on shoe cleats. Give your lawn a chance to breathe through the winter and it will thank you in the spring.

These are only three of literally thousands of potential landscaping maintenance tasks you can perform. These three means of improving your lawn’s health however, do reveal why maintenance activity is necessary. If you simply “let things go,” you run the risk of undoing all of your hard work. Last year’s landscaping accomplishment can become next year’s embarrassment if maintenance is not taken seriously.

Remember, your Bellingham landscaping and lawn maintenance is not a pretty picture that, once painted, remains in place forever. It is a constantly growing and changing collection of living things. It is, in many ways, an organism unto itself. In order to nurture it effectively, you will need to revisit it frequently. That is what yard maintenance and landscaping is really all about.

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Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to maintain your home’s investment by talking to us about landscaping maintenance, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

Landscape Maintenance Tips

After going to the expense of landscaping your Bellingham or Ferndale home, you should take steps to preserve your investment. The lawn must receive proper care and routine lawn maintenance is necessary to keep your landscape and yard looking it’s best!

Yard Maintenance

  1. Grass needs mowing as well as fertilizing. This is often done in the late fall. Flowering shrubs and perennials need pruning annually. A healthy lawn should also be aerated once a year. Mulching your flower beds helps keep moisture in as well as forming a barrier for keeping weeds out. A seasonal yard clean-up in both the fall and again in the spring keeps leaves from piling up in the yard, keeping it free from developing any fungus or mold.

Irrigation System Maintenance

  1. To operate an irrigation system so that it is most effective at watering, the system must operate properly. Timers must water the grass efficiently, and there must not be any overlapping watering zones.

Benefits

  1. The prime benefit of a well-maintained lawn is its natural beauty and the pleasure it gives the homeowner on a daily basis. Green grass and healthy shrubs also add to your home’s worth.

Considerations

  1. The weather can affect the lawn’s appearance. If a homeowner doesn’t have the time or physical ability to take care of routine yard and landscaping maintenance, Green Thumb Company can! We are able to set up an affordable season-long contract for yard maintenance or feel free to call us as needed.

Warning

  1. It is necessary to wear personal protective equipment when doing lawn or yard maintenance. Turn off all electrical systems for the irrigation system before performing routine maintenance to avoid the danger of electrocution.

Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s investment or simply have a desire to have your yard looking it’s best, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296). We would love to talk to you about your Bellingham or Ferndale or Lynden landscaping or yard maintenance.