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Archives for April 5, 2013

Bygones for April 5

  • John Blum and George Patok were inducted into the Duluth Area Bowling Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual awards ceremony over the weekend. Blum, 72, carries a 190 average and has bowled five sanctioned 300 games.

    Researched by the Reference Information staff at the Duluth Public Library. Call (218) 730-4200/option 5 or click on Ask Us at

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  • Article source:

    Auckland starts shaping aerotropolis

    Dramatic gateway aims to link airport to history of Maori and European settlers

    Spectacular entrance landscaping is part of a refocus of the airport's role in the region. Image / Supplied

    A big upgrade of Auckland International Airport’s entranceway on George Bolt Memorial Drive has started and 9m high mounds of earth will soon be developed to create a dramatic gateway.

    Peter Alexander, property general manager, said the earthworks for the landscaping project were underway at the northern area in plans designed by New Zealander and acclaimed San Francisco-based urban design adviser James Lord.

    “This is to create a point of arrival because at the moment you don’t really know when you’ve got to the airport,” Alexander said.

    “We really want to differentiate this place from the backs of warehouses and hotels that’s occurred to the north of the airport.”

    The works starts at the Verisimo Drive roundabout and will finish initially at the northern edge of the airport shopping centre. But after that centre is upgraded, the new landscape pattern will continue through the shopping centre to John Goulter Drive, Alexander said.

    The job is planned to be finished by October.

    “Our land hasn’t really been presented as a place. It’s just the remnant of a farmland,” Alexander said.

    Over the next one to three years, the airport will also develop a new public park area featuring a major sculpture trail with local works, cycleways, a mountain bike trail, playground and playing fields.

    It would also develop a second 24ha public park, about half the size of the Auckland Domain, Alexander said.

    It also planned further development of its business centre to attract more commercial activity to the precinct, he said.

    Ludo Campbell-Reid, Auckland Council environment strategy and policy manager, said the entranceway work would result in an “extraordinary landscape, cultural and environmental statement”.

    Lord had been working with the airport for some years and had travelled here quite often to give master planning and advice, he said.

    “Airports, like waterfronts, are changing. They were once traditionally seen as a single gateway place, very much industrial sheds and where people just moved through with large over-sized buildings and wide roads,” Campbell-Reid said.

    “Planners have always struggled with airports and the focus has been to put them out in the middle of nowhere and Auckland’s fathers decided that’s where the airport should be,” he said.

    Airports were changing, with less noise due to changing engine technology, Campbell-Reid said.

    “People’s needs are changing too, as there’s so many more people coming through airports,” he said.

    “The airport has looked at its role in the city and seen where it fits into the Auckland Plan and the two big ideas for the region are that The Southern Initiative and the City Centre Initiative are the two big economic transformation areas.

    “The southern area is of such importance to the council that it has its own transformation initiative.”

    Changing the entry area was a local example of bigger plans by the airport management team who realised the airport needed to be a destination in its own right, Campbell-Reid said.

    Alexander said the airport had a workforce of 12,000 people and had approved $225 million of development work in the last four years, including work completed, under construction and committed to.

    This month the airport announced expansion and refurbishment of the airport shopping centre, on George Bolt Memorial Drive north of the terminals.

    Alexander said future-looking airports were embracing the aerotropolis concept as major transportation hubs became urban growth areas with a significant impact on the wider economy.

    Lord said the roadways would stay exactly the same but landscape parkways will connect an original waka landing site, Oruarangi Creek, with the planned new northern runway.

    “So the backyard becomes the front yard and the new landscape avenues in the business park will visually connect with the waterways with the new runway,” Lord said.

    The 9m high mounds will be about 100m long and refer to Maori stonefields, he said.

    “When the iwi arrived, they created the stonefields for their tropical fruit and kumera so their way of survival was to shape the land and line it with rock which heated up. At night the radiant heat kept the plants alive. These mounds recall the stonefields,” Lord said.

    “But running with that is when Europeans arrived, rather than shaping the earth we planted hedge rows and that was our way of creating the kind of environment we needed for the food that would sustain us so the new design is referring to both group’s approach and makes a beautiful language of the landscape of New Zealand,” he said.

    “So we’re using existing roadways and almost creating these axis off the curves with a double row of poplars which will grow very tall and frame the view and the earthforms will create the hugging or welcoming gesture.” New hedging will be native plants and all the lawns now alongside George Bolt Memorial would be removed to create the new native landscape, he said.

    Airport plans

    •Expanding strip shopping centre.

    •Redesigning northern entranceway.

    •New 1.5km sculpture trail from office park to Abbeville.

    •Second 24ha public park planned along Oruarangi Creek.

    •Designed for bikers, walkers.

    •Business centre to be expanded.

    [Source: Auckland International Airport]

    By Anne Gibson @Anne Gibson Email Anne

    Article source:

    Patience, grasshoppers: gardening season is coming – The Post

    HANOVER – 

    It has been a long, cold winter, and spring seems reluctant to appear. You could be forgiven for feeling that it’s never going to get warm enough for getting into the garden! But have faith, the spring will arrive and the gardeners among you can get your hands into sun-warmed soil and begin to work with Nature to create beauty and delight.
    In the meantime, you might want to drop by the library and see what we have on the shelves to inspire you to get growing. The library has more than 400 books that relate to gardening of all kinds, from indoor plants to container gardening to pruning advice, favourite perennials and annuals, and landscaping and outdoor living ideas. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or just learning, we have loads of books that can spark your creativity while giving you reliable information to make your efforts bear fruit.
    The library has the magazine Organic Gardening, a wonderful resource for gardeners. Published by Rodale, it is dense with innovative, useful ideas and thoughtful articles for both food and flower gardeners. We also offer Canadian Gardening magazine, a beautiful magazine lushly illustrated with photographs of gardens across Canada. It also offers excellent ideas and advice specific to Zone 5 (this region) and cooler.
    Don’t forget the databases! With your library membership you have access to several on-line databases via our website. Just visit and click on the menu item, “E-Resources: on-line resources for research and reading”. There is a database specifically for people who grow food and flowers, called Gardening, Landscape and Horticulture. This database contains over three and a half million articles published between 1980 and 2013. Farmers, landscapers and gardeners alike will have their information needs met with this collection of journals focused specifically on key issues in gardening, landscaping, and other areas of horticulture.
    Of course, nothing can replace direct conversation with a gardening expert! One of our local horticulture specialists, Jeff Davis of Davishill Nursery, will be presenting a program at the library on Saturday, April 6 at 1 pm, entitled “Make Gardening Easier 101.” Tickets are available at the library or at the door, for only $2 per person, so don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to pick a Master Gardener’s brain for the help you need. Call the library at 519-364-1420 for more information.

    Article source:

    Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden: Serene reawakening in Pasadena

    His parents had stopped maintenance on the nearly 2-acre Japanese-style garden a decade earlier, when Caltrans acquired about a third of an acre by eminent domain for extension of the 710 Freeway. Plants had died.

    The pond had gone dry. Garden ornaments had been sold or stolen. The teahouse, overgrown with moss and weeds, had burned to the ground.

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    PHOTOS: Historic Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden revived in Pasadena

    “Every real estate agent around wanted to sell off the lot in parts. It was tempting,” Haddad said, noting the enormous tax assessment that was coming his way. “They were offering a fair amount of money. But I couldn’t say yes.”

    Haddad and his wife, Connie, shared memories of living in the guesthouse as newlyweds; of their Labrador, wet from a dip in the pond, roaring through the plant beds; of a daughter’s wedding; and of their grandchildren playing around the manicured grounds. They also knew that the garden, though in serious disrepair, dated to 1935 and was of cultural importance. So they held on.

    To fully understand the rebirth of the garden since then, you could note that in 2005, the Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden, as it is known, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Or you could simply see for yourself: The garden will be open April 28 as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour.

    What visitors will see is nothing short of time rewound. The garden, originally commissioned by Ellamae and Charles Storrier Stearns, was designed by Kinzuchi Fujii, a master carpenter, landscaper and recent immigrant. He conceived the landscape as a Japanese “stroll” garden that revealed itself — through essential elements such as ponds, waterfalls and a teahouse — as visitors wound around paths and over bridges.

    Fujii’s clients spared no expense. Black leaded tiles topped a garden wall, and stone ornaments were imported from Japan. Tons of granite boulders were hauled from the Santa Susana Pass. A teahouse of nearly 400 square feet was built for the property in Japan, then shipped to Pasadena. The landscaping included plants typical of Japanese woodland gardens — black pines, Japanese maples, Chinese elms, camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons and ferns — as well as California natives such as redwoods and live oaks.

    That vision remained relegated to history until the Haddads retired and could even think about bringing the garden back to life. The bones were still there — the winding path, the man-made hill from which a waterfall once tumbled, the concrete and granite bridges. And the freeway plans had languished for so long, the extension no longer seemed to be an imminent threat.

    Jim started the enormous undertaking by reviving the pond.

    “I labored over it for eight or nine months,” he said, until he found a sealant and method for fixing the leak. But there was much more to be done. The original waiting house, which in Japanese gardens is built along a path as a place to rest and contemplate the scenery before continuing on to a teahouse, was infested with termites. The burned-down teahouse, once a highlight, needed to be rebuilt.

    When the Haddads questioned whether their efforts were worth the time and money, Kendall Brown, an authority on Japanese gardens and a professor of Asian art history at Cal State Long Beach, encouraged them to continue.

    The Storrier Stearns garden, he said, is one of the few remaining prewar private estate gardens, remarkable for its scale and complexity. “It’s on a level with the best of the country’s top estate gardens,” Brown said.

    Takeo Uesugi, a landscape architect and professor emeritus at Cal Poly Pomona, confirmed Brown’s assessment.

    “He believed that it should be restored,” Connie Haddad said. “He impressed it upon us.”

    Uesugi came on board as a consultant and introduced the Haddads to Jesus Rodriguez, a Colombian horticulturist who studied in Japan. Rodriguez moved onto the property to restore the garden with on-site composting, rainwater collection and proper plant care.

    Jim Haddad, meanwhile, rebuilt the waiting house using a spruce tree discovered in Lake Arrowhead. (“If you’re going to be authentic,” he said, “you have to really look.”) Using plans for the original teahouse, he also oversaw the construction of its replacement — “as close to the original as you could get,” he said.

    The original 11-foot-tall entrance gate had been dismantled and is in the Japanese Garden at Balboa Park in San Diego, so a replica was built. The rocked-lined paths were bolstered by seven truckloads of new rock. Bridges were repaired. New vegetation was planted.

    The revival, as impressive as it may be, is only partly complete. The Haddads have plans for Phase 2, which will focus on one final section of the property. In the meantime, they’re enjoying the beauty they’ve re-created.

    “This garden is something else in the moonlight,” Jim said inside the exquisite teahouse. “In the rain, there’s a serenity that overpowers you here.”

    Added Connie: “It takes you away. It’s hard to realize with a quick visit. You have to sit in the garden and let it work on you.”

    SEE IT

    The Storrier Stearns Japanese Garden remains a private property, open only for filming and events, but it will be one of six private landscapes on the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Pasadena tour on April 28. Admission to Storrier Stearns is $5 and can be purchased on tour day at that garden 270 Arlington Drive, Pasadena. Maps to all the gardens and a discount ticket set (six tickets for $25) will be available from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on tour day at Arlington Garden, 285 Arlington Drive, Pasadena. The Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Los Angeles tour, which covers six different properties, is scheduled for May 5. For more on Storrier Stearns: (626) 399-1721,

    Article source:,0,5073883.story

    Denver Post Garden Calendar, 4/5/2013


    Colorado Dahlia Society

    Saturday:Offering a second sale due to the inclement weather on March 23. Annual spring tuber sale offers hundreds of varieties, 9 a.m. until sold out. Society members will be on hand to answer to questions. $3 each or two for $5. Paulino Gardens, 6300 Broadway, 303-429-8062,

    The Center for ReSource Conservation

    Visit the website and click on the “2013 Gardens on Sale Now” link for various Garden-in-a-Box options. Kits include plants along with planting and care instructions. Water-efficient gardening and landscaping products and services are also included. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit founded in 1976 to conserve natural resources.

    Denver Botanic Gardens Library

    Tuesday and Saturday: Colorado Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions noon -4 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday in April. 1007 York St., 720-865-3575, e-mail gardeninghelp@;

    Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield

    Friday:Free day, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 8500 W. Deer Creek Canyon Road, Littleton, 720-865-4338,

    Denver Rose Society

    Thursday:Dave Ingram presents “Bugs and Fungi — The Good, The Bad and The Ugly,” 7 p.m. Free. Plant Society Building at the Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., 303-880-7415,

    Jared’s Nursery, Gift and Garden

    Saturday and Sunday: Spring Open House includes short seminars on gardening-related topics including starting seeds, vegetables, soil amendments, organic gardening and more, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 10500 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton, 303-979-6022,


    City Forestry, Colorado Springs

    Deadline Thursday:Annual program with approximately 80 trees on a first-come, first-served basis. The trees were purchased through Trees Across Colorado with the Tree City USA Fund. Residents must pick up and plant their own trees, instructions included. Call for more information and to apply for a tree. Pickup dates and times on the website. 719-385-5942,


    Colorado Agriculture Leadership Foundation

    Saturday:CALF has partnered with CSU Extension/Douglas County Master Gardeners for a series of gardening classes including “Take the Mystery Out of Gardening — Class #1 – Seeds or Transplants?” 9 a.m. $5; April 13: “Choosing Soil Amendments,” 8-10 a.m. $5. CALF’s Ag Barn, 2330 S. I-25, Castle Rock, 720-733-6935,,

    Denver Botanic Gardens

    Saturday:“Keys to Home Vegetable Gardening,” 10 a.m.-noon. $31, $26 members; Sunday: “Getting the Most Out of Your Home Garden,” 9 a.m.-noon. $35; April 13: “Hardy Bulbs for Colorado,” 1-6 p.m. $60, $54 members. Reservations required. 1007 York St., 720-865-3585,

    Echter’s Garden Center

    Saturday: “Get Gardening Now!” with Betty Cahill, 10-11:30 a.m. $5, reservations not required; April 13: “Vegetable Gardening Know How,” 9:30-11 a.m.; “Selecting the Best Trees and Shrubs for Colorado Gardens,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme … and many more,” 3-4:30 p.m.; April 14: “Gardens That Inspire and Transform,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Pond 101 — Get Your Feet Wet,” 3-4:30 p.m. 5150 Garrison St., Arvada, 303-424-7979,

    The Gardens on Spring Creek

    Saturday: “The Care and Pruning of Roses,” 10 a.m.-noon. $18, $15 members; “Water Saving Succulent Planters,” 1-3 p.m. $35, $30 members; April 13: “Succession Planting,” 1-2 p.m. $12, $10 members. Reservations required. 2145 Centre Ave., Fort Collins, 970-416-2486,

    Growing Gardens’ Greenhouse

    Saturday: “Introduction to Gardening II,” 9-11:30 a.m. $35. Growing Gardens is also offering Top Bar bee hives for sale in early spring for $225 each. The hives are handmade by a local craftsman. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Growing Gardens and its support of community urban agriculture. 1630 Hawthorne Ave., Boulder, 303-443-9952 ext. 2, e-mail,

    Jared’s Nursery, Gift and Garden

    April 13: “Attracting Hummingbirds” with Tom Bush of Front Range Birding Company, 10 a.m.; April 14: “Ponds,” with Andy Humphrey, 1 p.m.; “Lily Ponds vs. Koi Ponds” with the Rocky Mountain Koi Club, 2 p.m. 10500 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton, 303-979-6022,

    Nick’s Garden Center Farm Market

    April 13: “Getting Started with Indoor Gardening and Hydroponics,” 10:30 a.m.-noon. Free; April 20: “Nick’s Build a Pond Day,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $15, lunch and snack provided; April 21: “Nick’s Build a Pond-less Waterfall,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $15, lunch and snacks provided. Reservations required. 2001 S. Chambers Road, Aurora, 303-696-6657,

    Ross Cherry Creek Library

    Wednesday: “12 Gorgeous Groundcovers for Preventing Weeds,” 6 p.m.; April 13: “Add Whimsy to Your Garden for Next to Nothing,” 1 p.m. 305 Milwaukee St., 720-865-0120

    Tagawa Gardens

    Saturday: Fantasy Orchids Show and Sale, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; author Jane Shellenberger will discuss and sign her recent book, “Cool Warm Season Vegetable Growing in Colorado,” 11 a.m.-noon; “Orchids 101,” 1-2 p.m.; Sunday:“Best Plants for Colorado Ponds,” 11 a.m.-noon; “Sustainability, Organics, GMO’s and The Kitchen Garden Pharmacy,” 1-2 p.m.; April 13-14: Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists Show and Sale; April 13: “Getting Your Pond Ready for Spring,” 9:30-11:30 a.m.; “Save Money Create a Healthier Landscape,” noon-1 p.m.; April 14: “All-Natural Skin Care,” 1-3 p.m. $25, reservations required. 7711 S. Parker Road, Centennial, 303-690-4722,

    Timberline Gardens

    Saturday: “Basic Pruning: Principles of Pruning,” 9-11 a.m. $10; “Urban Farming 101,” noon-2 p.m. $10; Sunday: “Composting 101,” 10 a.m.-noon. $10; “Walls and Walkways,” 1-3 p.m. $10; April 13: “What To Do, When,” 9-11 a.m. $10; “Permaculture,” noon-2 p.m. $10; April 14: “Aromatherapy,” noon-3 p.m. $12, includes materials for one herbal remedy, $7 for each additional remedy. Reservations required. 11700 W. 58th Ave., Arvada, 303-420-4060,


    The Littleton Garden Club

    Deadline April 26: The Littleton Garden Club, serving Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson Counties, is offering $50-$500 grants to service organizations in the Littleton area that promote gardening and the beautification of public gardens by a service group or educational horticulture program. All types and ages of groups are invited to apply. The grants are not for homeowners associations. Grants will be awarded at the Littleton Garden Club meeting at 6 p.m. May 1. Call or visit the website for details and reservations. Call Jan at 303-978-9000 or e-mail


    Denver Botanic Gardens

    Through Friday:“Botany Inside Out: Early Printed European Books” in the El Pomar Room; through May 12: “Coleoptera Friends: Paintings by Robert Spellman” in the Gates Garden Court Gallery. 1007 York St.,720-865-3580,



    April 13: Continues its Community Links Series with a “Natural Beekeeping Workshop,” 10 a.m. learn the basics of a natural, holistic approach to beekeeping with bee biology basics, hive maintenance, tips on a successful swarm season and a local honey taste test. $5-$20 suggested donation. Lunch and an open house follows. 2828 Larimer St.,


    Mail info 10-14 days in advance to Garden Calendar, The Denver Post, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202; fax 303-954-1679; e-mail

    Article source:

    Garden Notes / News of area clubs and events

    Master Gardeners of Erie County Cooperative Extension and Buffalo in Bloom will present a free basic gardening class from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday in the community room at the Broadway Market. For information, call 877-8989.

    East Park Garden Club will hold its installation dinner at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Holiday Inn, 100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island.

    Eden Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Eden Junior-Senior High School, 3150 Schoolview Road, Eden. Joe Manuel will present “Organic Gardening.”

    Evans Garden Club will install officers Tuesday in O’Brien’s Pub, 8557 N. Main St., Eden. Cocktails at 6 p.m.; dinner at 7 p.m. For information, call 947-4571 or 549-6385.

    Amana Garden Club will hold a coffee social at 11 a.m. Wednesday in Burchfield Nature Art Center, 2001 Union Road, West Seneca. Each member will present a flowering spring bulb. During the afternoon workshop, members will create items for the spring festival May 5 at the nature center. All welcome. For information, call 875-5563.

    Hamburg Garden Club will meet at noon Wednesday in Brierwood Country Club, 5324 Rogers Road, Hamburg, for its 89th birthday and installation party. The themed event, “April Showers Bring May Flowers,” will focus on planting perennials for a cutting garden.

    Lancaster Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in St. John’s Lutheran Hall, 55 Pleasant Ave., Lancaster. Carol Ann Harlos, master gardener, will present “Powdery and Downy Mildew” and how it affects impatiens and other flowers.

    Garden Friends of Clarence will install officers at 6 p.m. Wednesday in Brookfield Country Club, 5120 Shimerville Road, Clarence. For information, email

    Alden Garden Club will meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Alden Community Center, 13116 Main St. Peter Diachun, master gardener, will present “Roses: Pruning, Pest Control and Soil.” Guests and new members welcome. For information, call 937-7055.

    The Black Rock Riverside Tour of Gardens committee will host Lyn Chimera, author and master gardener, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Northwest Buffalo Community Center, 155 Lawn Ave., off Military Road. She will discuss soil, choosing appropriate plants and basic planting techniques. All welcome. For information, call 877-2740.

    Western New York Herb Study Group will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Buffalo Erie County Botanical Gardens, 2655 South Park Ave. Kathy Lourence Spider will speak on herbal remedies and beauty products.

    South Town Garden Club will meet at 9:30 a.m. next Friday in the Burchfield Nature Art Center, 2001 Union Road, West Seneca. New members welcome; no gardening experience necessary. For information, call 668-0209.

    Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses will present a free garden series from 6 to 7 p.m. on the following dates at the Eggertsville-Snyder Branch Library, 4622 Main St., Snyder: Fairy Gardens (Wednesday), Perennials (April 17) and Frost Tolerant Plants (April 24). Call 839-0700 or stop by the library to register.

    Arbordale Nurseries and Landscaping will present a free garden series from 7 to 8 p.m. on the following dates at the Amherst Main Library at Audubon, 350 John James Audubon Parkway, Amherst: Landscape Designing and Renovations (Tuesday), Spring Pond Care (April 23), Living with Deer in the Landscape (May 14) and Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs Anywhere! (May 21). Call 689-4922 or stop by the library to register.

    If you have a submission for Garden Notes, please send it to Susan Martin, Garden Notes, Features Department, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. Fax: 849-3445. email: All items must be received in writing two weeks prior to publication.

    Article source:

    Sessions offered to learn gardening tips

    IRON – The St. Louis County Extension Office’s Spring Gardening Extravaganza will be held at two St. Louis County locations on Saturday, Apr. 20: Hermantown High School from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. and the Clinton Community Center in Iron from 1 – 5 p.m. The cost of the program is $30 which includes program fee, reference materials for all sessions, coffee and refreshments.

    Straw Bale Gardening will be the keynote presentation by Joel Karsten who grew up on a Minnesota farm and has received national recognition for this gardening technique. In addition, the program includes other new techniques for small space gardening such as lasagna gardening and using containers and raised beds. Bob Olen, St. Louis County horticulturist and educator will present materials on growing specialty crops such as asparagus and squash, along with a gardening season outlook.

    The program also features University of Minnesota Master Gardeners from St. Louis County with displays and presentations on amazing succulents and bee friendly lawns and landscapes.

    For more information and a brochure call St. Louis County Extension in Duluth at 218- 733-2870; Virginia office at 218-749-7120; or visit the web site ext and click Garden and Lawn.

    This program was developed in partnership with St. Louis County Extension, University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners in St. Louis County and Hermantown/ Proctor Community Education.

    Article source:

    Yates offers gardening tips for spring

    Spring Garden

    Spring Garden

    Long-time gardener Jerry Jones had his garden ready for cold season plants. He will have to wait a few days for the soil temperature to warm up before planting his warm weather crops.

    Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013 9:02 am

    Yates offers gardening tips for spring

    By Dianna F. Dandridge
    Staff Writer

    Sequoyah County Times

    Spring has finally sprung and a lot of people are beginning to feel the need to get some things growing and dirt on their hands.

    Tony Yates, OSU Extension Agent in Sallisaw offers a few tips for the gardners looking to get out in the sun and soil.

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    Friday, April 5, 2013 9:02 am.

    Article source:

    Monty Don’s gardening tips: Camellias are prone to all manner of problems but …

    Monty Don

    16:30 EST, 5 April 2013


    16:30 EST, 5 April 2013

    Scores of letters arrive in my mailbag each week from many of you, and although I only have space to answer three at a time, I do assure you that each and every one is read.

    So I cannot help but note the pattern of the kind of things that you feel are troubling you most in the garden, and one of the questions that recurs again and again at this time of year is about camellias.

    They are an enormously popular plant and lots of us grow them, so it is not surprising that they feature, but the problem of sooty mould lands on my desk as regular as clockwork.

    So, let me start with solving the mystery of the black, sticky soot that can appear on the surface of camellia leaves.

    Camellias are prone to all manner of problems. Don't fret, says Monty Don, they can be cured...

    Camellias are prone to all manner of problems. Don’t fret, says Monty Don, they can be cured…

    The ‘soot’ is a mould that is a symptom rather than a cause of the problem.

    This is because it grows on the sticky excrement, known as honeydew, dropped from an aphid or scale insect attached to the underside of a leaf above.

    The best treatment is to get rid of the honeydew by getting rid of the offending insect, and the best way to do this is to wash the leaves with washing-up liquid and warm water. Spraying the shrub regularly with water from a hose will dislodge any returning insects.


    Q. My drain has been damaged and I think the roots of my leylandii are to blame. Is there a law on the height of these trees?
    Mr J Worthington, Macclesfield, Cheshire

    A. A Leyland cypress will have roots that spread about a third to one half its height. However most of these roots will be slender and not very woody so are unlikely to break a drain. The law says an evergreen boundary hedge cannot exceed 2m (6½ft). There is no restriction on individual trees.

    Q. My son has blight on the crops in his greenhouse. What can he do?
    Mrs Emily Stubbs, Manchester

    A. The most important thing is ventilation. Only water in the evening or first thing in the morning and open the greenhouse wide from early in the morning to late evening, trying to keep a temperature of about 12-25°C.

    So much for that problem, but although unsightly, it does not deter from the lovely flowers that are at their very best in gardens across the country right now.

    Mind you, where I grew up, in Hampshire, camellias were extremely rare because they do not like chalky, alkaline soil, thriving best in an acidic soil with a pH between 6.5 and 5.5.

    They like to get their roots into a loose, open soil, so add plenty of compost (although not mushroom compost, which is alkaline) before planting to allow the right balance between water retention and free drainage. If your soil is too alkaline the leaves will start to show distress by turning yellow. If in doubt, a thick mulch with composted pine bark or needles or composted bracken will help maintain the pH balance.

    Although most camellias are pretty hardy, and the smaller-leafed williamsii group are especially so as well as having the advantage of dropping their spent flowers rather than leaving them to wither messily on the tree, they should not be planted on an east-facing wall.

    This is because the bright sunlight that usually follows a freezing night will thaw the frozen tissues of the flowers and buds too quickly and can destroy them. The same plant can happily be grown on a west-facing wall, which will be just as cold but will thaw much more gradually.

    I receive a lot of letters wondering why it is that camellia buds drop off in spring. The reason is usually because the shrub has not had enough water the previous autumn when the buds are forming – this is especially true if they are growing in a container. Give the plant a good soak each week, ideally using rainwater, which is slightly acidic.

    The best time to prune camellias is just before the plant starts to grow in spring, which is just as the flowers finish. Train young plants to have one central stem, leaving the first foot or so bare to get ventilation around the bark.

    Next year’s flower buds will  form on the initial spring growth, and although there might be a second burst of growth during midsummer, this will not produce any more new buds. 

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    Tips for rebuilding your garden this spring – Bryan

    Now that the first day of spring has passed, gardeners are busy creating or fine-tuning their landscapes to achieve a beautiful setting that complements home, patio, or balcony.

    In selecting plants that will thrive in your garden and landscape, an important consideration is whether they are suited to your climate, soil and site. Know a plant’s growing requirements before choosing them.

    Soil testing, which measures soil fertility, is important. Growing plants need a supply of the major nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Some plants prefer soils rich in all nutrients, while a few grow just fine in soils that are not.

    A soil analysis will also indicate the pH of soil. Knowing the pH level, will aid in selecting plant material suitable for your site. While many plants grow well in moderately alkaline soil, others, such as camellias, azaleas and dogwoods, will not thrive in alkaline soil. A pH of 7 means that the soil is neutral. A pH below 7 indicates acidity; one above 7 indicates alkalinity. For information on soil testing visit the website at

    Where to find plants

    Plants offered at the Brazos County Master Gardeners 2013 plant sale on Saturday will focus on heat- and drought-tolerant perennials selected for Brazos County growing conditions. Vegetables, herbs, trees and roses will be sold also.

    Bring your wagon and arrive early for the pre-sale walk-thru from 8 to 8:50 a.m. It’s a wonderful opportunity to preview plants before the sale begins at 9 a.m. at the Texas AM AgriLife Extension at 2619 Texas 21 West in Bryan.

    If the March freeze took a toll on your vegetable garden, all is not lost. The plants in the sale are large and ready to plant in your garden. Offerings include seven kinds of peppers, five types of tomatoes and 4 different eggplants to choose from, including Raveena, an unusual and small eggplant that can be grown in containers.

    Tycoon, a Florida hybrid tomato that produces high yields of 12-ounce red globe-shaped fruit, is expected to do well in this area. Other tomatoes are Bush Champion, Fourth of July, Viva Italia and Sunsugar an early producing, golden yellow cherry type.

    The pepper selection offers everything from mild to hot. Choose from red, yellow, orange or even a lilac bell pepper. The Giant Marconi is a sweet Italian pepper and the Mucho Nacho Jalapeno is on the very hot side.

    Perennials and herbs

    A large selection of perennials, many sun-loving and those that prefer shade, are for sale, including some native plants. There is a large selection of salvias, lantana and rudbeckia that are known to be drought-tolerant. Also, small trees, Texas Red Buckeye and Fireman’s Cap, both with bright red spring blooms.

    The sale includes a selection of 13 herbs, like oregano, sage, thyme, dill, cilantro, mint and some hard-to-find basil varieties, such as African Blue, boxwood and Genovese compact.

    If you have a sunny spot with good drainage, be sure to take a look at the wonderful selection of roses. Featured is a climber — Peggy Martin — that is spring blooming and thornless.

    For more information about the plants for sale, go to or call the Brazos County Extension Office at 979-823-0129.

    Resources to select plants

    The Texas Urban Landscape Guide ( rates plants for eight Texas gardening zones based on resource efficiency categories: drought, heat and pest tolerance, and soil and fertility requirements.

    Texas Superstar plants ( have undergone rigorous testing and observation by horticulturists with the AgriLife Extension Service and Texas AgriLife Research.

    Earth Kind Roses ( are among the most thoroughly tested and environmentally responsible roses for Texas landscapes.

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