16 Aug 2018

How You Can Help Save the Honey Bees

Why Are Honey Bees So Important?

A decrease in the honey bee population means a decrease in the number of plants pollinated, which, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is about 75% of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts in the United States. This means that 70 of the top 100 human food crops would become scarce. Without the work that honey bees do, humans would not only lose many fresh foods but also many meat and dairy products as well. This is because without the crops that honey bees pollinate, livestock would starve. In summation, the entirety of humans’ diet relies upon the wellbeing of honey bees.

In addition to a drastic increase in food scarcity, a decrease in the population of honey bees would also lead to a large reduction in the Earth’s biodiversity and natural beauty. Honey bees are a keystone species to many habitats, such as “tropical forests, savannah woodlands, and temperate deciduous forests”. These habitats attract other insects and small animals, which in turn draw in larger animals, thus creating larger, more complex and beautiful ecosystems. Without these tiny pollinators, these habitats would collapse.

Honey Bee

What Can You Do to Help the Honey Bees?

There are many ways to help the honey bees!

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers in your lawn or garden. Examples of perennial flowers that are good for bees are: Agastache, Allium, Asters, Bee Balm, Catmint, Cone Flower, Coreopsis, Hardy Hibiscus, Joe Pye Weed, False Sunflower, Lavender, Poppy, Sedum, Tall Phlox, and Turtlehead. Examples of annual flowers include: Ageratum, Clover, Dahlias, Gaillardia, Gladiolus, Nasturtium, Pentas, Petunias, Sweet Alyssum, Salvia, Sunflower, Verbena, and Zinnia. Honey bees are also very fond of fruit, vegetables, and herbs like: Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Cucumbers, Garlic, Pumpkins, Squashes, Peppers, Dill, Fennel, Parsley, Sage, Thyme, and Rosemary. Flowering bushes such as Honeysuckle, Butterfly Bush, Sweet Pepperbush, and Viburnum. A simple Google search will also help you find bee-friendly plants that suit your lawn or garden!
  • Make bee-friendly choices in your lawn or garden. Here are some key tips: Avoid hybrid flowers, which may be sterile and have little or no nectar or pollen, skip the double flowers, which lack pollen, make sure you’ll have blooms for bees year round, plant flowers in patches – bees like to focus on one flower type at a time, and leave an undisturbed plot for ground-nesting bees.
  • Avoid using too much fertilizer and pesticides. Research shows that neonicotinoid pesticides linger in the nectar and pollen of flowers, where bees are most likely to come into contact with them. These treatments weaken bee immune systems and make them more susceptible to disease and infestation by pests. If you do decide to use chemicals, follow the instructions carefully on the package. People should apply chemicals early in the morning when bees and other pollinators aren’t around. Also, do not use chemicals while the plants are flowering and don’t spray them in other places where pollinators may land.
  • Create a bee bath. A fun activity that can also help save the bees is creating a bee bath. Fill a shallow bird bath or a small dish or bowl with clean water, and arrange pebbles and stones inside so that they poke out of the water. Bees will land on the stones and pebbles to drink the water as they take a break from foraging and pollinating.
  • Don’t panic if you see a swarm of honey bees on your property. Swarming is a natural process that occurs when colonies of honey bees have outgrown their hive. If you see a swarm, contact a beekeeper’s association; many bee-conscious groups will collect swarms to keep or relocate them to a safer new home. Honeybees in a swarm are very gentle and present very little danger, but can be made aggressive if disturbed or sprayed with water. Just leave them alone and wait for help to arrive.
  1. Jorgenson, P. (2015, September 25). Why Are Bees Important? 33 Reasons to Care About Saving the Bees. Retrieved from http://www.lifebasicsorganics.com/blog/why-are-bees-important  
  2. 5 Ways Bees are Important to the Environment. (2018). Retrieved from http://www.pthomeandgarden.com/5-ways-bees-are-important-to-the-environment/
  3. English Gardens. (2018). Pollinator Friendly Plants. Retrieved from https://www.englishgardens.com/pollinator-friendly-plants
  4. The Honey Bee Conservancy. (2018). How to save the bees – easy ways to help the bees today. Retrieved from https://thehoneybeeconservancy.org/how-to-save-the-bees/
  5. Help Honey Bees. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.planetbee.org/save-honeybees/
  6. Rossman, S. (2017, June 23). Honeybees are in trouble. Here’s how you can help. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/06/23/honeybees-trouble-heres-how-you-can-help/419062001/
13 Aug 2018

What is this White Stuff on my Plants?

Lately we have gotten quite a few calls about a white substance on a wide range of plants. This white substance is called powdery mildew and our recent weather conditions have created the perfect environment for this fungus to thrive. Powdery mildew thrives in hot and humid weather, especially if the weather conditions persist for more than 3 days in a row.
powdery mildew on plant leaf
Powdery Mildew
  • What does it look like and how do I know if I have it?

Your plant will have a white powdery substance on the top of the leaf. The leaves may also start to curl and twist in affected areas.

  • What plants commonly get powdery mildew?

This fungus is one of the most widespread and common diseases in plants. Some of the more common infected plants are Roses, Lilacs, Bee Balm, Serviceberry, Crabapples, and Burning bushes.

  • Are my plants dying?

No, this is purely aesthetic and only grows on the surface of the plant. Powdery mildew does not infect the tissue and is not killing the plant. With that being said, the plant my drop its leaves early if it fully covered.

  • How do I get rid of it?

Trim the areas of the plant that are affected by the powdery mildew and remove the debris from the area (do not compost this debris). Do not use overhead watering. Place the hose at the base of the plant instead when watering. There are also multiple chemical sprays that can be purchased at home improvement or garden centers that will help resolve the problem as well. For a more naturalistic approach, baking soda mixed in water may help solve the problem as well.

25 Jul 2018

Warmer Weather Means Patio Living

Warmer weather means more time on the patio with friends and family. Is your patio ready for entertaining? Check out these tips below to get your patio summer ready!

  • An attractive patio complements the house and landscape, as well as provides a comfortable living space.
  • Make sure the grade is level and stable enough to support tables, chairs, and foot traffic. Ensure smooth, safe transition areas, especially along edges and in corners. Significant changes in grade call for terracing or steps.
  • Use trees and shrubs to create the illusion of an enclosed patio away from the house. It is one of the simplest outdoor rooms you can make. All you need is level ground, comfortable seating, and the shelter of trees and shrubs.
  • Extend a patio’s usefulness with a roof or partial cover. Position the patio to be warmed by the sun; a southeast or southwest location is ideal.
  • Small yard? No problem! Good patio design works with the space you have.

Want help designing the patio of your dreams? Contact one of our landscape designers today!

01 Jul 2018

Help Your Plants Beat the Heat this Summer!

The summer sun has come out full-force recently! High temperatures can reek havoc on your plants and yard without some additional care. Check out these tips to keep your plants healthy and happy in these high temperatures.

  • Watering- Keep soil evenly moist in order to protect your plants root systems and provide moisture. Use an irrigation system or drip hose to keep the top 4 inches of soil damp. Using drip hoses or an irrigation system can help keep your plants happy and you free from watering multiple times a day.
  • Mulch- Beyond being decorative, mulch provides many benefits for your garden bed. In the summer, a thick mulch dually protects from the sun AND helps the soil retain moisture and nutrients.
  • Weeding- Weeds compete with your plants for moisture and nutrients in soil. High temperatures also dry out soil, leaving it hard and robbing it of even more nutrients. Give your plants a leg up by removing as much of the competition you can and keep your beds weeded.

Shade delicate flowers and vegetables against direct sunlight- A shade shield could be all your garden needs to beat the sun’s concentrated summer heat. A protective shade should be 3 to 4 feet away from the plants to allow for airflow. Using PVC, you can create a flexible structure to hold your shade in place that can later be removed when the temperature cools down.

06 Sep 2017

Serene Landscape group is a Proud Sponsor of the Plymouth Rotary Club Chicken BBQ

We are committed to giving back to our community!  The Annual Plymouth Rotary Club Chicken BBQ is one event the Serene Landscape Team always sponsors.  All of this years event’s proceeds once again will benefit the Plymouth community including local schools and service organizations.  At Serene Landscape Group we believe sponsorship is hands on work.  Many of our crew can be found BBQ weekend donating time by doing the heavy lifting and setup for the BBQ.  We have also made it our tradition to pitch in early Monday morning after the BBQ to dismantle the massive cinder block grill and to remove other large equipment.  Helping to make our community stronger is a way to make everyone come together and celebrate.  We are not only a proud sponsor of this year’s event, but also a proud Plymouth community business.

06 Sep 2017

Serene Landscape Group is a Proud Sponsor of the 2017 Plymouth Taste Fest

We welcome you to come join us at this year’s Plymouth Taste Fest.  Our team has designed and installed a complete landscaped setting for you to enjoy while taking in the tastes of Plymouth.  If you are interested in our design and installation, please see us at Taste Fest or connect with us by contacting an account manager at our main office (734) 416-9062.  We are Plymouth, Michigan’s leading landscape deign and installation company.  We take pride in beautifying Plymouth and surrounding communities.