Zika, West Nile, Malaria, Dengue … these illnesses are spread by the flying disease-delivery vehicles known as mosquitoes and they are continuing to expand their territories. Along with diseases, mosquitoes and their little needle mouthparts offer no shortage of itchy welts, meanwhile, their annoying hum can keep the soundest of sleepers swatting at their faces all night.
Do mosquitoes fall in love with you daily? I seem to have won the mosquito lottery – they usually don’t want anything to do with me. I’m not sure if I should be offended, or holler from the rooftops. Others aren’t so lucky, studies show that 20 percent of people are especially irresistible. Researchers from the University of Florida in Vero Beach note that some people are “High attractor types”.
The researchers mention there are two factors of mosquito attraction and they have to do with sight and smell. Ok, this may seem obvious to most but mosquitoes are not so easy to figure out…I know there are so many wives’ tales out there like eating bananas, eating garlic, or putting Marigolds around your house, I’m sorry to break it to you but you are wasting your time. Scientists do however think the following factors likely come into play.
As mentioned above, mosquitoes actually use their eyes to target victims. According to researchers mosquitoes are highly visual, “especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision.” Wearing dark colors (navy, black) and red make you easier to spot.
2. Blood type
It’s all about the blood for mosquitoes; well that and nectar. Adult mosquitoes survive on nectar for nourishment, but females rely on the protein in our blood for the production of eggs. So it’s little surprise that some blood types may be more desirable than others. Research has found, in fact, that people with Type O blood are found to be twice as attractive to mosquitoes than those with Type A blood; Type B people were in the middle. In addition, 85 percent of people produce a secretion that signals what blood type they are; mosquitoes are drawn to those 85 percent more than the non-secretors, regardless of blood type.
Mosquitoes can sense carbon dioxide up to 160 feet away; so the more one exhales, the more attractive they become. Larger people exhale more. Also to note, since human beings exhale carbon dioxide through the nose and mouth, mosquitoes are attracted to our heads, which explains the whole “mosquitoes buzzing about the ears all night” misery.
4. Heat and Sweat
Mosquitoes apparently have a nose for other scents besides carbon dioxide; they can sniff down victims through the lactic acid, uric acid, ammonia and other compounds emitted in sweat. They also like people who run warmer; a hot sweaty human must seem quite delicious to them – couch potatoes, rejoice. Strenuous exercise increases the buildup of lactic acid and heat in your body, the Smithsonian points out, while genetic factors “influence the amount of uric acid and other substances naturally emitted by each person, making some people more easily found by mosquitoes than others.”
5. Lively skin
Some research has shown that the types and amount of bacteria on one’s skin can play a role in brining on the mosquitoes as well. Our dermal casing is naturally teeming with microscopic life, and the whole mixture creates a distinct fragrance. In one study, a group of men were divided into those who were highly attractive to mosquitoes and those who were not. The delicious ones had more of certain microbes on their skin than the unattractive ones, but fewer types – a larger community but less diverse. The bacteria factor could also explain why some mosquitoes are drawn to ankles and feet, an especially ripe source of bacteria.
Women with a bun in the oven are probably those least wanting to attract mosquitoes, but alas, some species are evidently more attracted to pregnant women than women who are not. One study in Africa found that pregnant women are twice as attractive to malaria carrying mosquitoes as non-pregnant women; researchers believe it is due to an increase in carbon dioxide – they found that women in late pregnancy exhaled 21 percent greater volume of breath than non-pregnant women. They also discovered that the abdomens of pregnant women were 1.26°F hotter, adding to the mosquitoes-like-warm-bodies component.
Who knew mosquitoes had a taste for beer? The little lushes. In one study researchers found that significantly more mosquitoes landed on study participants after drinking a 12-ounce beer than before. The scientists figured that it was due to increased ethanol content in sweat and skin temperature from consuming the brew, but they were unable to find the exact correlation, just that it happened. So nobody knows why, clearly the crafty pests aren’t targeting inebriated folks as easy marks, but it does seem to be a thing.
Did you know Livingston Farm’s screened in gazebos can build you a truly effective wall of defense from these blood robbing, thieves. If you enjoy the welts, the itching and lathering yourself with DEET, then continue as is, but if you would like some reprieve, come visit Livingston Farm’s fully screened in gazebos. Hopefully our advice can help you relax and enjoy your summer!June 26, 2017
A few fun facts about Livingston Farm:
Our name was once Livingston Farm Landscape Products and Storage, then changed to Livingston Farm Landscape Products and Excavation, phew those were a mouthful….
When Livingston Farm began, there were 2 employees, we now have 10.
Livingston Farm began in 1998 when Dave and Stanley sold the cows.
At one point, Livingston Farm had 4 employees named Dave working at the same time and currently has two employees named Tyler.
The original Livingston Farm once had a Pig named George which happens to be Dave’s middle name.
When Dave was a child on a dairy farm he spent many hours of his summers hand-picking stones from fields to prepare the fields for crops. We are sure he didn’t think then about all of the amazing walls he could have created with all of those stones.
All of Dave’s children currently work at the business.June 23, 2017
As any New Englander knows, we have 4 seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Plants and trees experience life cycles through these seasons. For human beings, life cycles occur every day. We require a certain amount of rest each day (we call it sleep) to be our smiley selves each day. The amount and quality of our rest helps to determine how healthy and productive we are. Most trees “sleep” each winter (we call it their dormancy period) while some animals are hibernating. The amount and quality of animals and trees determines how healthy and productive they are! Livingston Farm would like to help you prepare your plants and trees for winter and make their dormancy period the best it can be.
Outdoor Plants and Trees
It is important to protect the root systems of young plants and trees. This can easily be achieved by applying a layer of mulch on top of top soil or compost around the root system, be sure not to pile too much around the trunk. When this happens, you can encourage potentially harmful issues like creating an environment for rot or nibbling-critter damage. Mulch at Livingston Farm is created from natural things like wood chips and sawdust, these natural ingredients act as insulators that protect the roots when the temperature drops in late fall/winter/early spring. Mulch also acts as a weed deterrent and helps retain moisture during the growing season.
As summer comes to a close, the grass and ground-covers toughen, moving rabbits, squirrels and field mice to chew on tree bark. This destructive threat increases with cold weather and snow cover. On the farm, outbuildings, clutter and ground-cover provide adequate cover to house this animal. In urban settings, landscaping, hedges, and ground-cover provide the same housing and can be even worse than the rural setting. It’s heartbreaking to grow and nurture plants and trees along, only to wake one morning to find them girdled to death or impaired for life by hungry critters.
Small animals can chew trees way up into their fifth and sixth season. Simple and inexpensive solutions that can be applied in mere seconds are tree guards. These wraps also afford protection to the trunk by reflecting the winter sun’s rays. Most winter damage to the tree’s trunk is from getting warmed up on bright, sunny winter days. At nightfall, the trunk often doesn’t adjust to the sudden temperature drop. Trunk-protecting tree guards can help with this.
Container Plants and Trees
Folks who live in small quarters (or just choose to grow plants and trees in containers) come to a crossroad when the nighttime temperatures fall below 15ºF. The problem is this: when the temperature dips to 20ºF and stays there for a while, it’s possible to freeze the core roots of the plants. Until you decide to bring the plants inside, you should thoroughly water the pots prior to cold snaps. This will help protect the roots. It’s easier for freeze damage to occur in a dry container than in a wet container.
When the weather gets cold, and you are working toward winterizing, you can move your container plants into an unheated garage or shed. Prior to moving, thoroughly water the pots. If a plant is cold-hardy, you can leave it outside by mounding 4-6 inches of mulch around and over the top of the pot – heavy enough to provide a protective barrier around the pot. Prior to mounding, you should adequately water the pot. For added protection, consider using some type of rodent bait in the sawdust or mulch to avoid mice depredation.
Keep in mind, some container plants need to be transferred inside because they may not be cold hardy for the zones in which they are planted.
How well we balance our sleep life with our work life can help determine the quality of our senior years. Since a plant endures four seasons each year, its rest period and our care can determine both its performance and longevity. Livingston Farm can help you keep all of your plant life alive!
November 6, 2016
Tiny Home Adventures!
What are Tiny Houses? The Tiny House Movement? Tiny Living?
Simply put, it’s a social movement where people are downsizing the space that they live in. The typical American home is around 2600 square feet, while the typical small or tiny house is around 100-400 square feet. Tiny Houses come in all shapes, sizes and forms but they focus on smaller spaces and simplified living.
People are joining this movement for many reasons, but the most popular reasons are because of environmental concerns, financial concerns and seeking more time and freedom. For most Americans, 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it and because of it, 76% are living paycheck to paycheck. So what is the alternative? One might be to live smaller. While Livingston Farm doesn’t think tiny houses are for everyone, there are lessons to be learned and applied to escape the cycle of debt, where almost 70% of Americans are trapped right now.
This is a growing movement, that is for sure! With international attention on CNN, AP, Guardian, Huffington Post, NBC, Oprah, PBS and so many more people have come to know about another way to live their lives.
The tiny house phenomenon redefines what makes a house a home, empowers the people for a better future and leads to movement that breaks the mold every day. The tiny home phenomenon redefines what makes a house a home, they empower the owner for a better future and lead to movement that breaks the mold every day. Tiny house people come from all walks of life. With the cost of affordable housing rising every day, it makes sense to look at other options for their living accommodations. A tiny house built by Livingston Farm is the perfect solution for this growing trend. Your tiny house can serve as the perfect vacation home, guest house, office, studio, or a place to call your own.
Our Quality-All of our buildings are constructed with high-quality materials and include free installation, innovative engineering and design, and an industry-leading 1 year warranty coverage. We’ve been bringing quality-made outdoor structures, tiny homes, guest homes and cottages to happy customers throughout Vermont for the past 10 years and we’re ready to help you make the most of your living space. Our tiny homes have been thoroughly tested to assure they are safe and built to industry standards.
Customizations-Let your imagination run wild! When we combine our expertise with your dreams, we can build a home you will entertain in for years. Livingston Farm will design the outer walls of your tiny home and partnered with a contractor of your choice, we can actualize every detail of your wish list. Our tiny homes can be built as one-story or two-story homes. Your idea of having your own “space away” is our specialty. Let us help you enjoy building a home that meets all of your needs.
Delivery-If you choose one from our in-stock buildings, your tiny home can be delivered within days! If you want to design your own, we begin building as soon as your order is placed. You can have it delivered and begin your inside finishing work in just a few weeks! Every Livingston Farm tiny home includes free delivery and on-site installation within 50 miles. We have specialized equipment to deliver your home onto your property with minimal damage to your lawn or property surface. Livingston Farm can place your home on a basement, crawlspace, or slab foundation. Please call or email us to setup and coordinate your next tiny home delivery today.
Livingston Farm Team-We’re a local Vermont company of builders, landscapers, gardeners, excavators, designers, and stone masons. That combination means that each one of us can help you find solutions to the most complex home or business challenge. We are eager to help you with any project you may have, as if it were our own. We can deliver, install, prepare the site, and remove any other obstacles (upon request) as a team. We look forward to working with you to create your dream home.
Vermont Company-As a local Vermont business, we hire people with a better understanding of the products we sell, build and deliver. We take more time to get to know our customers and stand by the quality of our products and service. Here at Livingston Farm, we proudly support local Vermont and USA made products.
October 5, 2016
Fast Growing Shade Trees
Hot hot hot! Summer temperatures are here and Livingston Farm is here to help! Many areas across the nation are experiencing temperatures around 90 degrees and above, along with prolonged dry periods. This is great for days by the pool or out on the lake, but what about your garden?
It is often easy to assume that the conditions in northeastern climates are tough for plants to survive in. However, there are multiple varieties of drought tolerant plants and trees big and small that will thrive in the heat, even with little to no water. These plants will turn your dry landscape into a relaxing oasis. Livingston Farm carries some of the best cow-manure compost and topsoil in Vermont! We have exactly what your trees need to start their healthy life!
The Gingko Tree provides months of colors with their unique, heart shaped green leaves that turn a vibrant shade of golden yellow in the fall. They glow in the landscape while other plants are entering dormancy.
Worried about a smell? Don’t be. Male Ginkgo varieties don’t produce fruit so they don’t produce the same smell that female Ginkgo trees have.
These trees can be grown anywhere. They’re cold hardy up to growing zone 3 and will survive harsh, snowy winters. They are also smog tolerant, making them perfect for urban areas. Most importantly, they are drought tolerant and heat resistant, so not even the blazing sun or scorching heat will stop Gingko Trees from thriving.
Chinese Pistache trees should not be overlooked, because they add beauty and functionality to the landscape. They have thick, green canopies that create shaded areas beneath them that are perfect for hanging out under during hot days.
These are tough and low maintenance. They will tolerate urban smog and pollution, and will adapt to a variety of poor soils that are sandy or heavy in clay. Landscapers flock to Chinese Pistache trees because they’re one of the most heat resistant fall foliage trees available, with a high level of drought tolerance. It’s an ornamental tree that nearly impossible to kill.
In the fall, their green leaves turn multiple shades of red, orange and yellow for a vibrant fall foliage display. By growing to about 25 to 35 feet tall, they’ll be noticed all over the neighborhood and recognized as one of the most beautiful trees.
Phenomenal Lavender bushes only grow to about three feet tall, so they will never outgrow an area with limited space. Even though their size is little, their personality is big.
By blooming for months every summer Lavender illuminates the landscape with tons of purple flowers. The flowers have a sweet fragrance that fills the summer air. It often attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, which are a delight to watch.
It’s always great to have this lavender variety on hand because it naturally keeps mosquitoes away. In the summer during barbecues or family reunions your guests won’t have to use harmful chemical sprays.
Best of all, Phenomenal Lavender is incredibly low maintenance. It’s the hands-free flowering shrub with a high level of drought tolerance and heat resistance, so it will continue to bloom and thrive during the hottest heat waves of the year.
There is little to no wait with the American Red Maple. It grows up to three feet per year, which is a rapid growth rate. Forget waiting for a large, beautiful shade tree because you’ll almost instantly have a mature maple tree. The American Red Maple is recommended for growing zones 4 through 9 and will adapt to a variety of poor soils, while also being urban tolerant. They will clean and filter the air in smoggy city areas.
Most importantly, the American Red Maple is beautiful. It has a thick canopy filled with lush green leaves that create a shaded area beneath it that’s perfect for hanging out under during a warm sunny day. In the fall the green leaves turn a shade of bright red for a vibrant fall foliage display that can be seen from miles away.
When we get hot and thirsty, so do our plants, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take a break from gardening and improving your landscape during the summer. There is a large variety of heat resistant and drought tolerant trees that will laugh at the heat while providing beauty all summer long.
Adding trees to your landscape can bring about fresher air, privacy, and shade to relax under, all while increasing your property value. It’s no secret that a beautiful landscape can increase the value of a home, while benefiting your neighborhood with vibrant green hues for everyone to enjoy.
You can find the right tree for your landscape for any project, from needing a living privacy fence to planting ornamental flowering trees in your landscape. No matter what you’re looking for, consider a tree with a rapid growth rate in order to have a full bodied, mature tree in your yard, without waiting for years before your tree takes off. If you have any questions, Livingston Farm is here to help!August 11, 2016
The new home and garden trend is sweeping the internet, and it’s actually pretty amazing and doable. We’ve seen she-sheds and man-caves but the BackYard Bar Shed puts a different spin on making the most out of your shed. Bar sheds are popping up all over the place, and some of them are pretty darn creative. With a wide array of different options, this is one of the least daunting projects we’ve come across in a while. Let us build the shed and you can customize the inside.
Backyard Watering Hole
The fun thing about bar sheds is that you can get as creative and elaborate as you’d like. Plus, it gives you a place to put all of those beer mirrors and bar games you’ve been storing in your garage since your college days.
What comes to mind when you hear the phrase “bar shed?” I’m guessing many of you have never heard that phrase. It’s so simple, yet until we built our first one, I’d never heard of them, let alone walked inside of one.
It’s pretty genius, right? When we had a customer send us a picture asking us to build it, I was blown away. How have I never thought of this? I wondered. You’ve got a private area, outdoors (yet still covered), disconnected from your regular living space. An attainable retreat at almost anytime. It’s perfect.
From what I’ve learned, the trend started because everyone has their fresh fruit and vegetable gardens and they needed a shed to be outside near their garden retreat. Many people have sheds for storing gardening tools but that’s their only purpose; to keep a $5 rake safe. Naturally, folks started enjoying a quick beer or cocktail in these sheds, and eventually, a few people gathered, mini happy hours casually formed, and from there, the natural evolution of bar sheds began.
This trend has been taking off for many years in the UK, and it’s now starting to pick up steam in the US as well. Many home brewers use their sheds on brew day and refer to the space as a “brew shed.” And of course, we’ve all seen a backyard shed fitted with tiki decor.
We even have a family member who has a bar shed. He doesn’t call it that, and I never realized it until writing this article, but it’s the size, shape, and build of a standard shed, located near their pool. It houses all of the pool supplies, alongside a nice 4-person bar, a beer fridge, and a sizable selection of other adult beverages.
It was right in front of my eyes all this time. I just never really thought of it as a bar shed.
After all, it’s a great way to repurpose a storage space (if yours is just gathering dust and junk), an awesome venue for small get-togethers with friends, and a perfect refuge for you and the people you live with when you need a few hours apart. Here at Livingston Farm we can create your next backyard bar shed, it’s up to you to dream!August 4, 2016
NATURAL STONE vs CONCRETE STONE PAVERS
One of the biggest decisions you will make about your landscape is which hardscape material to choose for your patio and other outdoor areas. Unlike plantings and furniture, hardscape materials are not easy to change once they are installed, so it’s a big commitment. Many of our customers ask us, “What is the best hardscape material for my new landscape?”
It’s not an easy answer. It really depends on your style, vision and budget. And you have two very distinct choices when it comes to hardscape materials from Livingston Farm.
To help you decide which hardscape material is the best choice, we’re going to discuss concrete pavers vs. natural stone.
Your patio is where you’ll spend most of your time in your landscape, so you’ll want to pick a hardscape material that creates the right atmosphere for your landscape design.
What Style Are You Looking For?
As you think about your patio function and size, you’ll want to consider what each material offers and how that fits in your overall landscape design.
Do you want a symmetrical or more natural look? Do you want colors that blend with or contrast the colors of your home?
Hardscaping materials come in a variety of colors and textures. Some materials are more suited for traditional and historical homes while others are perfect for modern and contemporary designs. For installations in your community and the surrounding areas, you’ll need to be sure the materials you pick hold up in various weather conditions with installation.
And in some cases, you may want to blend pavers and natural stone pavers to create accents, patterns, borders or even combine a mixture of sizes and contrasting shapes.
Now that you’ve determined the look of your patio, here are the hardscaping materials you need to consider.
Concrete pavers offer a multitude of style choices — from modern to classic —they are beautifully suited to many patios, outdoor kitchens and pool areas and offer many choices for designs. Classic style pavers mimic the look of brick and are a popular choice for traditional and historic style homes because it is the ideal paving material if you want to create an established and authentic look. But the modern style — with irregular shapes and precision cuts — can be used in Vermont landscapes as they are adaptable for more contemporary designs.
Traditionally rectangular in shape, Concrete pavers can also be irregular or square shaped and laid in many patterns including herringbone, basket weave and even circular patterns. The biggest advantage to concrete pavers is the variation of colors — from white wash to grays and browns to reds — so you can choose to mix and match colors or alternate depending on your pattern.
Concrete pavers are ideal for Vermont climate because they can rise with the winter freeze and settle back into place during the summer thaw, allowing them to “flex” with the temperatures, whereas regular concrete would crack. If any damage does occur, pavers can also be pulled up in isolated sections and re-laid without tearing out the entire area.
Concrete pavers can start at $4.77 per square foot to purchase depending on the size of the project, access, slope, shape and other variables.
Natural Stone Pavers
It can be difficult to choose the best stone for patios — as you have a lot of options when it comes to natural stone pavers. You can choose flat-topped uniform stone or rough-edged irregular shapes. Natural stone pavers can be made of slate and flagstone— colors vary naturally and offer a rich, textured, earthy appearance. Vermont stone’s natural colors skew more towards greens, greys and blacks.
The type of natural stone you choose depends on the look and feel of your patio and landscaping. Irregular flagstone can create a gorgeous, rugged look with a lot of detail, while uniform dimensional stone offers more linear and symmetrical patterns.
Natural stone pavers will start around $8.25 per square foot to purchase depending on the size of the project, access, slope, shape and other variables.
So, Concrete Pavers vs. Natural Stone?
Your patio will be where you will spend most of your time outdoors. Whether you are hosting outdoor parties or just enjoying a relaxing day around the pool, your choice in materials will most often reflect your home’s style and architecture. And there are many other factors to consider when you are comparing concrete pavers vs. natural stone— including price, design options and maintenance.
And your patio might not be the only hardscaped feature in your yard. Hardscape materials can also be used in these areas to create retaining walls, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces and fire pits — and even paths, walkways and driveways. If your landscape has several of these elements, you may want to consider materials that can easily blend all of these elements together to create an inviting and natural atmosphere — and increase curb appeal.
The best way to determine which hardscape material is right for you is to come into our office at 40 South Route 116 Bristol, Vermont or check out our stone catalog online. Livingston Farm would be happy to help you pick the right shapes and patterns to build the patio, walkway or driveway of your dreams!June 24, 2016
It’s summertime! The weather is warm and the sun’s shining. It’s time to break out the grills and invite all your friends and family over for summer parties.
Unfortunately, along with friends and family, come those pesky uninvited guests that you wish would just go away – forever! No I’m not talking about your crazy Aunt Georgina or that neighbor who shows up with empty hands and stays way too long. I’m talking about mosquitoes. Although it’s almost impossible to get rid of all mosquitoes from your property, here are a few steps you can take to help limit the amount of mosquitoes that will show up to party with you and your guests.
Limit Still Water On Your Property
The first thing you should do to cut back on mosquitoes is to eliminate their breeding grounds. Mosquitoes need water to breed. Stagnant water or moist soil is where adult mosquitoes lay eggs. By limiting water on your property, you’ll be less likely to be bothered by these pests. After a heavy rain walk around your property and make sure there isn’t any obvious standing water. If you have an area with standing water (more than a day or so after it rains) consider leveling off that area so the water drains. If you find your lawn being used as a delivery room for your next round of mosquito bites, Livingston Farm can help with all of your drainage struggles. Livingston Farm Excavation services can help with all of your earth moving needs. It’s important to make sure your lawn has proper drainage after rain storms, melting snow, and unknown runoff zones. Proper drainage supports the health of your lawn and your sanity of limiting your mosquito interactions.
Keep Your Things Under Cover to Eliminate Water Build
Up Keep all containers, such as recycling bins, garbage cans and other storage containers dry. Make sure to put holes on the bottom of the containers for drainage and not on the sides. Check your gutters to make sure they are free from debris so water does not build up in them. Also make sure the gutter drain is free from debris and standing water cannot build up around the drain. Check flower pot bases; water sitting in the bases is an often overlooked mosquito paradise. Change water in animal dishes outside and birdbaths at least once a day. If you find yourself with extra pots, gardening tools, and other odds and ends that collect water, Livingston Farm has outdoor structures that can hide all of your belongings away from your neighbors and pesky mosquitoes looking for a nest.
Earth Friendly Ways to Limit Mosquitoes
You might think of sprays and poison when it comes to keeping mosquitoes away, but Mother Nature has some remedies that can help the good fight against these pests. Plants like tansy, basil or marigolds are a great way to limit mosquitoes. The smell of these plants helps to keep mosquitoes from hanging around yards. Spraying Listerine around bushes and on the grass also helps to keep mosquitoes from joining the party. Garlic (in liquid form) is another item you can spray on your property to help deter mosquitoes. In addition, there are organic and natural mosquito sprays that connect to your garden hose. Be sure to read labels to make sure they are pet and kid friendly. If you prefer to leave the planting and sprays for another day, Livingston Farm can build you a beautiful screened in gazebo to create the safest line of defense for you and your family to stay out of reach for your unwanted BBQ guests.
Candles & Dimmed lights Can Deter Mosquitoes
Mosquitoes love light. So, changing out bright white lights to dimmer yellow lights is a quick fix to help cut down on mosquitoes. Citronella candles and torches are also easy ways to keep mosquitoes away.
Other Ways to Eliminate Unwanted Flying Friends
If you spend a lot of time outside and want to make an investment, mosquito traps or mosquito magnets are your top choice. These traps use propane and octenol to mimic human breath, which mosquitoes like, and it traps and kills them. However, these units can run up to $800, so bring your wallet if you choose to go this route.
Easing the Pain of Your Bites
Even if you follow these tips, unfortunately you’ll probably still end up with a few bites over the summer. Unless you decide to stay inside your gazebo or outdoor shed forever…Don’t worry; there are a few things you can do to help ease the pain. The best way to stop the itch is to use products with antihistamines. A good home remedy is using the peel of a banana on fresh bites. This helps to take away the swelling and itch. And finally, the quickest way to stop a mosquito bite from itching is cool water.
Last thing, remember that mosquitoes are usually more active during dawn and dusk. Hopefully these tips will help to keep away most uninvited guests from your party or backyard BBQ. Sorry Livingston Farm can’t help you with that crazy Aunt or unwanted neighbor from down the street.June 17, 2016
Now that summer is here and your itchy gardener fingers are able to get their exercise, it’s time to make sure you have a garden that is Vermont friendly to you and your furry house guests.
We’re all beginning to enjoy the oodles of blooming beauties accenting our prized emerald landscapes.
While there are almost limitless options for your planting beds and borders, some plants you should flat-out avoid:
- Invasive plants in Vermont State that take over like sinister scoundrels, choking out beneficial plants the ecosystem needs.
- Plants that attract ravenous, garden-clearing deer and cute, but dastardly munching bunnies.
- And plants that look pretty, but are toxic to your furry pets.
First, A Better Understanding Of Invasive Plants
Invasive plants spread aggressively outside their normal range, multiplying like crazy because their new environment lacks the insects, diseases, hungry animals and competition from other plants that keep them in check in their native habitat.
They may look lovely and innocent in your backyard, but invasive plants can pose a serious environmental threat. As they spread, these garden bad guys crowd out native plant communities, which harms the rest of the ecosystem.
When we say garden bad guys, we mean actual outlaws. New regulations went into effect in March 2015 in across the nation that ban the sale, purchase and transportation of a long list of invasive plants that have been causing a ruckus throughout the nation’s landscapes for decades.
Brace yourself. The list of 143 invasive plants — you can see the complete list — might include some of your favorites, including Norway maple, burning bush, Dame’s Rocket, purple loosestrife, garlic mustard, and several types of honeysuckle.
A popular vine on the list is: Asiatic or Oriental bittersweet. It probably came here innocently enough, when backyard gardeners decided they’d look pretty on their trellises. Now you can see this invader smothering trees along the highway.
One captivating plant you should definitely avoid is purple loosestrife. It’s lovely, with tall purple spires. Look away.
Brought to New England as an ornamental plant in the 1800s, purple loosestrife has tiny seeds that spread like crazy in wind or water.
Massive drifts of the purple flower grow to thousands of acres in size, crowding out crucial open-water habitat for butterflies and amphibians.
What to plant instead? Blazing star has spiked, pink-purple flowers and offers nectar for many native species of butterflies and other insects. These plants make wonderful highlights lining any walkway or patio.
Instead of invasive Oriental bittersweet, plant American bittersweet. It’s a native species that looks very similar, with pretty orange berries, but doesn’t grow out of control.
Love Japanese barberry? Good substitutes for this pretty, but invasive shrub are Weigela ‘Midnight Wine,’ with its dark burgundy foliage —and the low-growing cotoneaster.
Why is it that your favorite garden lovelies are also the plants that summon hungry deer to an all-you-can-eat buffet? Like you, deer apparently have good taste. Actually, they’ll eat just about anything. Here are a few of their favorites to avoid, and the deer-resistant plants you can grow instead:
We know, we know. Everybody loves hostas, those hardy, beautiful lovers of shade. But deer devour them, right down to the nub.
What to plant instead?
Brunnera. This is a shade plant you might not have heard of, but some varieties, like ‘Jack Frost,’ boast stunning variegated foliage that fill in great for hosta. It offers clusters of pretty blue flowers in the spring.
Another good hosta alternative is lungwort. It sounds gross, but trust us — it’s a garden stunner, with silver speckled leaves that brighten up shady spots. It’s covered in coarse hairs, so deer tend to leave it alone.
Deer love lilies like toddlers love lollipops. What to plant instead?
Bee Balm is a showy perennial with bright flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies, but deer and rabbits say, “meh.”
Also try Golden Marguerite, with cheerful gold daisy-like flowers. It has fuzzy leaves that deer leave alone
Munch, munch, munch — so long, pretty yews. Try these deer-resistant shrubs instead: spirea, potentilla, American holly.
Holly offers the same verdant green you get from yews. Spirea boasts delicate foliage and cascading branches of white or pink spring flowers, while potentilla brightens up your landscape with pretty buttercup-like flowers as early as June and as late October.
When Deer Say, “Yuck.”
In general, deer pass up plants with fuzzy or hairy foliage. Think lamb’s ear and lady’s mantle.
They also instinctively avoid plants that will upset their stomachs, including bleeding heart, poppies, daffodils and ferns.
Deer also crinkle their noses at heavily fragranced foliage. So herbs are your garden pals. Most herbs are both beautiful and deer-resistant, including sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavender and others.
Ornamental grasses? Bingo. Deer find grasses tough to digest and don’t like their sharp edges.
These Plants May Be Harmful To Pets
Lots of common garden plants can be toxic to dogs and cats. Here are a few to talk with your landscaper about — and possibly avoid:
- morning glory
Plant these colorful and safe annuals instead:
Pet-safe perennials include:
- bee balm
Download a list of all potentially toxic plants for pets.
Livingston Farm Knows The Right Plants
Our experts at Livingston Farm Landscape love finding the perfect annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees for your landscape, while avoiding invasive outlaws, critter salad bars and plants that could harm Bella or Max.
We’ve been accenting landscapes for more than 15 years, so we have a vast knowledge of plants, stones — and a number of tricks up our sleeve when it comes to finding great substitutes for plants that can harm the environment or your family pets.
At Livingston Farm, we’re about creating a better way of life. That means caring about the ecosystem, as well as beautifying it. If you have any questions, please contact us by phone, email, or feel free to stop by our Bristol, Vermont location!June 14, 2016
Join us Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for our spring sale*Come by Livingston Farm and say hello this weekend as we celebrate 10 years in business in beautiful Bristol, Vermont. Save on your next landscaping project with the great specials we have going on. Time is running out – drive over to our Bristol, VT location today.*Sale prices apply only on 5/13/16 – 5/15/16.May 9, 2016