Edgings are essential for creating that "finished" look in any flush-to-the ground patio.
They help set off the patio area and, in thecase of gravel or pebble patios, serve to retain loose materials within the designated borders.
Concrete, bricks, cobblestones and a variety of woods will make ideal edging material.
Selection will depend on the look you wish to create, as well as on your expertise and your budget.
Books on how to design and build decks and patios offer advice concerning the correct method for constructing patio edgings.
The first step involves carefully outlining the patio area with stakes and string, indicating where the edgings will be located.
Poured concrete is the simplest to use and least expensive edging material.
Begin by digginga ditch approximately four inches deep and to the width you desire along the perimeter outlined by the string.
Level the ditch by stamping it with a flat shovel or hoe, then pour in the concrete.
After the concrete has cured for approximately a week, remove the soil within the patio area to the level at which you will fill in the patio material.
Follow the same basic procedure if you wish raised concrete edgings, but after you have leveled the ditch, lay in 2-by-4 forms along either side, securing them with support stakes every three feet before pouring the concrete.
For curved edgings, the 2-by-4s can be kerfed -- notched with a saw -- to make them more pliable.
Notch each board every two inches for gentle curves, closer for more severe ones.
Remember never to notch the board deeper than half its width.
Pour concrete to the top of the forms and let cure for a week.
For a more decorative look, cap off the edging with a layer ofbricks after you have completed the rest of the patio.
Bricks used as edgings must be set in mortar to prevent them from shifting.
Dig a ditch as wide as the brick and to a depth equal to half the brick's length.
Set the bricks in and then fill in the remaining space with a mixture of one part cement and three parts sand.
Fill theditch on both sides of the brick to within about 1/2-inch of the top to leave room for resodding flush with the brick.
CARING FOR BEARDED IRIS CULTURE
Irises are one of the easiest perennials to grow inthe home landscape, says Carroll County Extension Service Horticulturist Thomas G. Ford.
They require little care and will reward the novice grower with magnificent floral displays year after year.
Irises prefer a sunny, well-drained location in the home landscape. Thesoil should be loose in texture and contain ample amounts of organicmatter.
Before planting your iris, turn the soil over with a spade or garden fork to a depth of at least 10 inches. Mix in two pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 50 square feet of bed space. Organic growers can readily substitute bone meal for the 5-10-10 recommendation, but animal manures should age at least one year before incorporation into an iris bed.
When planting your irises, dig two shallow trenches that are separated by a small ridge. Place the iris rhizomes on theridge and spread the roots carefully into both trenches. Firm the soil lightly, and fill the trenches with soil so the rhizome lies barely beneath the soil.
If you are planting several rhizomes, plant them a foot-and-a-half apart and make sure they face the same way. Thisallows the rhizomes to increase in the same direction without crowding each other.
In two or three years, the rhizomes will begin to crowd each other. Remove the iris rhizome from the soil in July or August. Cut off the older sections of the rhizome and replant the younger pieces.
Information: 848-5103 or 875-2801.
HANDLING PROBLEM EARWIGS
European earwigs are a common sight to most Carroll countians.
This insect is reddish-brown in color and is about 3/4 of an inch in length.
Unlike other pests, it has a pair of strong forceps on the rear sections. Female earwigs are easy to differentiate from males because the female's rear forceps are straight and the male's arecurved.
Earwigs are a nuisance in the home and garden. They are disliked because of their repulsive appearance, foul odor and habit offeeding in kitchen refuse.
Earwigs also feed on a wide variety offlowers, vegetable plants and insects in the home garden. Earwigs prefer the foliage of dahlias, zinnias, alettuce, potatoes and beets. High populations have been known to devastate some agriculture crops.
The female earwig lays her eggs in a nest in the soil. Both the female and the male live in the nest until the eggs are hatched.
Females take good care of the young until they are ready to leave the nest. Earwig populations can soar quickly, with each female capable of raising 30 young.
Earwigs are generally nocturnal, hiding by day and feeding at night. Around homes, they hide in plants, under window sills and along fences.
Chiefly an outdoor pest, the earwig will eat any crumb or plant part that is discarded in the home.