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Archives for April 17, 2013

Beach Library receives lifetime gift from artist

Activities This Week

Wednesday, April 17, 10:30 a.m. Preschool Story Hour in Kid’s Place multi-purpose area

Wednesday, April 17, 10:30 a.m. Galapagos in Community Room

Article Photos

Preschool Story Hour this past week featured Sheila O’Neill who told Irish tales to the wee ones. Her story included the leprechauns she could see with her special glasses.

Wednesday, too but at 6:30 p.m. Knitting Needlecraft group meets

Thursday April 18, 10:30 a.m. Going Further with Your iPad

Friday, April 19, 10:30 a.m. Windows 8

Tuesday, April 23, 10:30 a.m. Healthy Eating

Tuesday April 23, 6:30 p.m. Library Board Meeting

Event Details

Travelers and those eager to learn more about the unique places on our planet can consider the journey to Galapagos as shared by Miffy Greer.

Anyone using the Windows 8 operating system can learn some features about how the latest layout is organized. Those buying a new computer will find that this system is automatically a part of the setup. Pre-register.

Healthy Eating explores topics relating to how what we eat and how we eat contributes to or takes from health. All of the topics are covered in the books in our collection so there is wonderful opportunity after the session to explore the ideas and discussion in more depth. Pre-register.

The Library Board meets in its regular monthly meeting to celebrate both the end of construction and to look at upcoming issues. The various updates enable one to get a better grasp of what goes on behind the scenes and how much is involved in many of the tasks and activities in serving the community.


We’re pleased that the drawing classes have generated such interest. Because of the special interest, sessions are being added this month. If you’ve wanted to try your hand in drawing or going further on a project or a particular favorite, know that drawing classes are scheduled for April 22 and 29, both at 10:30 a.m. on the respective Mondays. Pre-register for the session.

Special Thanks

We were happy that local artist Don Musto exhibited paintings in the Library Commons last month. This month we are excited with his donation of nine paintings as a lifetime gift to the library. If you haven’t already noticed, note the hanging of six of them on the second floor as you exit the elevator and head toward the display of seashells. Three hang in Audio Avenue adding color and vibrancy to an area that truly invites it. Hope you enjoy the journey of the paintings and our thanks to Don for this gift to be enjoyed many times over.

Library of Congress

In 1800, President John Adams approved an act of Congress that established the Library of Congress. The act also established the Joint Committee of the Library to purchase library materials. During its first 14 years Congress appropriated funds to keep the collection growing.

In 1814, the British burned the Capitol, and with it the Library’s fledgling collection. Congress once again supported the Library by appropriating funds to purchase Thomas Jefferson’s personal collection of 6,487 books. Thus the foundation was laid for a great national library.

Today, with a fiscal year 2012 appropriation of almost $630 million per year, the Library of Congress sustains a growing collection of more than 155 million items.


If you haven’t stopped by the Friends of the Library bookstore on the third floor, consider doing so this month. There are many treasures to be found and discoveries that await discovery. We receive book donations on nearly a daily basis and those that cannot be added to the collection receive a home in the bookstore ready for your review. Prices are so minimal that one can take a bag home and then pass on a title or two to others.


We celebrated a grand thanks to the volunteers who have added so much to the library during the last year during a sit-down dinner last Friday. Attended by 53, the evening was a time for volunteers to meet and hear from others who work different days than they might, and get a good feel for the completed construction and upcoming plans. If you have not volunteered, summer may be a good time to get started. Fill out an application available at the Staff workstations on the first and second floors. One can concentrate on landscaping, greeter, maintenance or circulation tasks. Fill out the application that covers your particular area, and we’ll get in touch with you.


On the second floor on the bulletin board stand near the elevator and stairs is a listing of magazines we are seeking sponsors for. Many magazines in the Living Room are sponsored by businesses and individuals who enable us to stretch the budget a touch further. The magazines need a donor of between $12 and $40. Business cards and donor name in memory of can be placed on the binders. Donations can be left with a staff member and just mention the magazine and any business cad or donor info that should be included. Thanks for considering this gift.


A recorder at 765-8162 gives the hours we are open if you call in when we are closed. Open hours are Monday and Wednesday 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 9 to 5; and Saturday 9 to 4. We look forward to seeing you.

Article source:

Is There a Walt Disney–Steve Jobs Connection?

Tim van de Vall

Yes, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs had a lot in common, at least in aspects of business. There were a number of other interesting parallels between their personalities too; however, the two men certainly were not just alike.

In fact, they were very different in numerous ways, each having been born in a different generation: Disney was born in Chicago in 1901, and Jobs was born in San Francisco in 1955. Disney was generally a more formal, suit-wearing, conservative businessman, while Jobs exemplified the counter-culture values of the 1960s.

I can go on with their list of differences, but what is really remarkable are all of the similarities between the two men and how they both impacted the American culture and then the world. Both Disney and Jobs built strong, successful businesses with a variety of creative products, along with unique, standout brands. What is most similar, though, is how they each went about it, what motivated them and what they saw as priorities in doing so.

During my adulthood, I have been a lifelong fan of the Macintosh, Apple and Steve Jobs, but I’ve also been a lifelong fan of Walt Disney. Since childhood, I have been a fan of many of the Disney movies and especially the theme parks, but now as an adult, I am inspired by the man. A similarity between the two men may not be obvious to many, but I came to recognize it some years ago.


I have three framed stock certificates that I purchased in 2004, which hang on the wall in my office. There is one from Apple Computer, Inc., one from The Walt Disney Company and then one from a company which doesn’t exist anymore as a stand-alone corporation: Pixar. My Pixar stock certificate is now even more of a cherished and valuable collector’s item to me.

Those three certificates make up a set that I created: “The Steve Jobs Collection.” The reason I purchased them was because of how cool I thought it was for Steve Jobs to have returned to Apple and to have saved it after funding the wildly successful Pixar, which essentially ended up saving Disney’s soul in the end. Then later in 2006, Disney purchased Pixar for approximately $7.4 billion in an all-stock deal making Steve Jobs, majority shareholder of Pixar, the new largest individual shareholder of Disney. He had a 7% stake in the company and accepted a new seat on its board of directors.The Disney company later issued me two shares of its stock for that one share of Pixar that I owned.

So where to start? I have read numerous books on both men’s lives, but in preparing for this article, I researched their stories again. As I did, I made a wall chart for the major accomplishments of each, and I narrowed these down to what I feel are their most significant career achievements. I also listed out some of their significant failures. Lastly, I started listing words or phrases which seemed to describe both men.

Here’s what I found:

Walt DisneyMondadori via Getty Images

The American cartoonist and director Walt Disney with a plush puppet of Mickey Mouse.

Walt Disney’s Significant Contributions

  • Pioneer/innovator of sound-synchronized cartoons – Steamboat Willie, 1928
    • Also formally introduced Mickey Mouse
  • Pioneer/innovator of full-color three-strip Technicolor cartoons – Flowers and Trees, 1932
  • Pioneer/innovator of the seven-layer multiplane camera – The Old Mill (Silly Symphony) and Snow White, 1937
  • First major feature-length animated film – Snow White, 1937
  • Television pioneer/innovator – Disneyland, 1954 and The Mickey Mouse Club, 1955
  • Pioneer / innovator of modern “Theme” Parks – Disneyland, 1955
    • Full theming of buildings, attractions and lands within Disneyland
    • Disneyland/Walt Disney World, etc. theming has influenced other businesses
      • Other “amusement” parks
      • Restaurants
      • Theaters
      • Shopping centers
      • Malls
      • Town centers
    • Audio-Animatronics
    • Multiple/sister parks

Steve JobsAFP via Getty Images

Steve Jobs poses with Apple Computer’s new iMac during a media event in 1998.

Steve Jobs’ Significant Contributions

  • Pioneer/innovator of the consumer computer (with appliance-like plastic case) – Apple ][, 1977
  • Pioneer/innovator of the modern graphical user interface, with simplified mouse – Apple Lisa, 1983 then Macintosh, 1984
  • Pioneer/innovator of object-oriented programming and operating system environments – NeXTSTEP, 1989
  • First feature-length computer-animated film – Toy Story, 1995
  • Reinvigorated the landscape of the personal computer and the start of the return of Apple – iMac, 1998 and PowerBook G4 (Titanium), 2001 plus many others
  • Innovator of retail — Apple Store, 2001
  • First mainstream portable digital music player – iPod, 2001
  • First mainstream online music store – iTunes Music Store, 2003
  • First fully-realized smartphone (with desktop quality email client and web browser) – iPhone, 2007
  • First mainstream tablet – iPad, 2010

Both men were the face of their companies, as well as chief spokesperson and promoter. Yet neither man took total credit for all of the above, instead also recognizing their people. Both of these incredible business leaders had a skill for selecting top creative and business talent. Make no mistake, though, they both were the singular, driving force of their companies, pushing their will to the limit in order to realize their passionate visions.

When each died — Disney in 1966 and Jobs in 2011 — it almost seemed impossible to imagine either of their companies without them. Ironically, in their last meeting, Steve Jobs himself famously told current Apple CEO Tim Cook to, “Never ask what he would do, just do what’s right.” Jobs then spoke of what happened to Walt Disney’s company after he died and to specifically not focus on any “what would Steve do” kind of thinking.

So now let’s take a look at the many shared personality traits, values, actions and attitudes that I listed for both Disney and Jobs:

Quality and a desire for perfection – Both men wanted to make great products for a great experience. Whether cartoon shorts for Disney, or dealing with documents on a computer screen for Jobs, they both wanted their customers to have better than good, and way better than average. Both often held back from releasing products if everything was not just right.

Innovation – Innovation was one of the partners in each man’s drive for quality. In creating the best products, both men often pushed their teams to come up with new solutions to problems and new ways to fulfill the customer’s needs. Both leaders often wanted to create something that hadn’t been seen before.

Attention to detail – This was the third partner to quality and innovation. Disney and Jobs both had incredible attention to detail, while still being able to see the “big picture.” Often thought of as micro-managers, they didn’t micro-manage the process, just the final approval of what was good enough. No detail was too small, like Disney moving a tree five feet over at Disneyland, or Jobs’ concern for what the insides looked like in the Macintosh. Both men were the final arbiters of taste.

Not just driven by money – Neither leader was driven by money alone. Both men cared more about a customer’s experience with their products than the money a product generated. They each enjoyed their financial success, and felt that they had earned it, but their general attitude was that if they created superior products, then customers would buy them and the profit would manifest itself.

Visionary and future-focused – In Disney’s case, he was an eternal optimist in that society itself would continually get better. Many attractions at the Disney parks reflect this. He also loved technology, and felt that technology could always be used to improve the human condition. Jobs was well known for “never looking back” at products or mistakes, as he only focused on what was next and how products could either be improved, or what new products could be innovated. This is one characteristic where it’s interesting to note that the men were also different; Disney was extremely nostalgic. The Main Street USA in all Disney parks represents the idealized main street of Walt Disney’s childhood in Marceline, Missouri, where he lived for four years.

Recreation of entire industries – Disney was first with a modern feature-length animated film. He brought a motion picture quality to productions on television and he changed everything in regard to family oriented resorts. Jobs knew when he first saw the graphical user interface, that it represented the future of personal computing. He later changed the music industry, the cellphone industry and then the personal computing landscape again with the iPad.

Showmen and master pitchmen – Both Disney and Jobs had a flair for an audience and the storyline. Many of Walt Disney’s films and the Disney parks touched people on a personal level, while Apple devices often inspire emotional connections with their users.

Each charismatic leader had a partner – Later in his career, Jobs may not have worked with Steve Wozniak, but they started off as partners. Steve Jobs was the product design and marketing lead, while Steve Wozniak was the master engineer. The “Woz” single-handedly created the Apple 1, then Apple ][, then the crucial Apple Disk ][ floppy drive which elevated the Apple system ahead of competition. Walt Disney was joined early on by his brother Roy. Walt was the product visionary, while Roy was the business and accounting manager behind the scenes. After Walt died, Roy spearheaded the construction of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Florida. The park opened in October 1971; Roy died just two months later.

They both knew failure and took risks – Disney’s first venture into animation ended up going bankrupt and he lost the rights to his first successful cartoon character. Then, after gaining success in Hollywood, he risked his reputation and the entire company on making Snow White. After proving that it would not end up being “Disney’s Folly,” he did it again with both television and Disneyland. Jobs similarly met failure with two flopped computer launches, the Apple /// and the Lisa. Then, after a seemingly big success in launching the Macintosh, sales were weak and the Apple board felt that he was disruptive at the company. Running the Mac division, most of his authority at the company was taken away from him and he later quit. That was in 1985, and Steve Jobs was 30 years old. He then turned his focus to two risky startups and invested a lot of his own money into them. One was NeXT Computer and the other Pixar. It took about nine years of patience before Jobs saw the huge success of Toy Story in 1995, and NeXT almost went bankrupt before being purchased by Apple in 1996. Both men persevered after failure and, most admirably, neither man stopped taking calculated risks after achieving success.

A corporate head with fans? – In Disney’s case, it’s a little easier to understand: He became a TV star in 1954 as host of the Disneyland program, something he didn’t really want to do, but proved so good at it that he became known as “Uncle Walt” to many viewers. With Jobs, it was a combination of his pure charisma and stage presence with product introductions that captured the attention of the media and customers alike. He brought some of the most exciting electronic products to the people in the last 10 years of his life. He became a bit of a rock star, as consumers became admirers for the visionary innovation that he represented.

Both died relatively young – Walt Disney was 65 when he died in 1966, and Steve Jobs was 56 when he passed in 2011.

In closing, I would like to speak to the original picture that is presented at the top of this article. Near the very end of each man’s life, they both masterminded large civil engineering projects. In the picture, Disney is standing in front of his EPCOT project — The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow — and Jobs is seen with a depiction of the Apple Campus 2. The original concept for EPCOT was not the current theme park that now exists, but rather an entire city with a central commercial core to include restaurants, shopping and high-volume residential. It was to then move outward from the center to suburban residential, and then further outward to industrial areas. The city would have incorporated moving sidewalks, PeopleMover tram-like cars and monorails. Unlike his feature films, Disney felt that Disneyland could always be changed and improved, and that it could always be made better. EPCOT would be the city equivalent to the park, always evolving, growing and improving, while the world observed and took notes.

Steve Jobs’ Apple Campus 2 ideas were not quite as lofty as Disney’s idea for an entire city, but in terms of office buildings, it’s certainly spectacular! Its design instantly stands out because of its resemblance to a flying saucer or ring, but this design has a foundational purpose: to flip the more common 80% building and 20% landscaping ratio into a 20% building and 80% landscaping ratio. The office structure will be a massive 2.8-million square feet and house about 12,000 employees. The plans call for a four-story circular design with 40-foot, floor-to-ceiling panes of concave glass imported from Germany. It also features green technology like a huge rooftop solar array. Parking will be in both underground garages and a parking structure. Originally announced to open sometime in late 2015, recent reports now have it pushed back to 2016. Also, where it was originally estimated to cost a little under $3 billion, now estimates are putting it at closer to $5 billion, which is a cool $1 billion more than the new World Trade Center being constructed in New York City. When originally presenting the plans for the new campus to the City of Cupertino’s council, Steve Jobs stated, “We have a shot at building the best office building in the world. I really do think that architecture students will come here to see it.” In later plan updates, Apple added as one of its primary objectives: “Achieve the security and privacy required for the invention of new products by eliminating any public access through the site, and protecting the perimeters against trespassers.”

Recorded in October 1966, Walt Disney made a 25-minute film about his plans for the “Florida Project.” Ironically, it wouldn’t be seen until after his death, less than two months later. The leadership at The Walt Disney Company later decided that only Walt Disney himself could have been capable of bringing such a project to fruition, and that they did not want to be in the business of running a city. The current EPCOT, while still emulating some of Walt Disney’s ideas, is not a city, but closer to that of a classic world’s fair. It balances a focus around technology and the future in the Future World area, while the World Showcase is the world exposition and an embellished version of the EPCOT downtown shopping area.

Steve Jobs made his presentation to the Cupertino City Council in June 2011, and died just four months later. Though Apple has $137 billion in cash reserves, its stock market price has fallen 38% since September amid rising competition, especially in the smartphone arena. Though the $5 billion Apple Campus 2 price tag only represents less than 4% of cash reserves, shareholders are questioning the enormous cost versus issuing much higher dividends. Will Apple executives change plans, or will they do what Steve would do?

David Greelish has studied computer history and collected old computers for over 20 years now. He is a computer historian, writer, podcaster and speaker. He was the founder of the original Historical Computer Society, publisher of the zine Historically Brewed and is currently the founder of the Atlanta Historical Computing Society. He has published all of his computer history zines along with his own story in the book, The Complete Historically Brewed. He is currently the director of the Vintage Computer Festival Southeast 1.0 being held the weekend of April 20-21 in the greater Atlanta area.

Article source:

Jack Harris remembered for generosity, love of art and North Central Michigan … – Petoskey News

Known for his philanthropy and eye for art, his generosity transformed the campus of North Central Michigan College.

Jack Harris, of Oden Island and Naples, Fla., and founder of the Harris Gardens at the college and namesake of the Jack and Dorothy Harris Health Education and Science Center on its campus, died April 8 at his winter home in Naples after a brief illness. He was 85 years old.

“I would watch him out my window walk around and talk to everyone who was outside,” recalled college president, Cameron Brunet-Koch. “Everyone he met was his friend and he was just very kind and generous.”

Brunet-Koch met Harris several years ago at the urging of a board member. They immediately hit if off.

“He started spending more and more time on campus and at that time, the center of our campus was ugly,” she said. “Jack wanted to see if he could add some beauty and character.”

That beauty and character came in the form of art sculptures, landscaping and picnic tables and benches. Currently, there are 26 sculptures in the Harris Gardens, all chosen and funded by Harris.

“Our campus has really become a destination because of Jack,” Brunet-Koch said.

“Jack definitely had a vision and an excellent eye. None of these sculptures are where they are by just happenstance. He walked around and made sure they were in the perfect place — he took into account the whole canvas of our campus with the placement.”

Originally from South Bend, Ind., Harris served in the military and later taught elementary school art in Florida. While teaching, he opened an art gallery in Ft. Lauderdale and later, he and his sister, Dorothy, moved to Petoskey where they purchased a gift shop called The Mole Hole.

The success of the Mole Hole store led to other ventures in Petoskey, including The Wind in the Willows, a kitchen shop; Gallery One, an art gallery; and Toad Hall, another gift shop.

From there, Jack opened a second Mole Hole in Naples, Fla., with his lifelong partner, Ralph Pollio. The Mole Hole became a successful franchise with more than 200 stores operating nationwide.

Sean Pollion, executive director of the North Central Michigan College Foundation, called Harris a “true philanthropist in every sense of the word.”

“Jack was very caring and giving and he truly believed in the mission of the college and how the college could make such a positive impact on our community,” Pollion said.

In 2011, Harris was inducted into the foundation’s Founders Society, which honors those who have made a significant and positive impact on the growth and development of the college.

The college’s Jack and Dorothy Harris Health Education and Science Center, which opened for the fall 2012 semester, is the only building on campus named after someone.

Harris is survived by his adopted son, Evandro Ficanha; partner, Ralph Pollio; and his sons, Kenney and Mark Pollio. He was preceded in death by his mother, Evelyn Harris; and sister, Dorothy Harris.

North Central will host a memorial and picnic for Harris at noon on Tuesday, May 28 in the Harris Gardens.

“He was just very caring, very giving and had an excellent sense of humor,” Pollion said. “Jack had a real interest in helping people and I can’t overstate that. There was something unique and special about him.”

“Jack was such a wonderful man, I will miss him terribly,” Brunet-Koch added.

“North Central is certainly a better place and I know I’m a better person because I got to know him too.”

Follow @RachelBrougham on Twitter.

Article source:,0,2742213.story

Pasco, Hernando gardening notebook for April 17

Gardening | notebook

Plants and markets

Fresh Friday Night Farmer’s Market, 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Railroad Square in downtown New Port Richey (on Nebraska Avenue between Grand Boulevard and Adams Street). Food trucks will make their debut at the market, parked on Missouri Avenue at Cavalaire Square. Vendors will sell produce, plants and specialty foods such as fish, meats, cheeses, bakery items, jellies and jams, honey, nuts, coffee and ethnic foods. This seasonal market will continue every Friday until April 26. For information, visit

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Longleaf Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday in downtown Longleaf, off Starkey Boulevard and State Road 54, New Port Richey.

Suncoast Co-op offers fresh, locally grown, chemical-free produce. Register online at to place your order; orders may be picked up from noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, 4131 Madison St., New Port Richey. The Suncoast Cafe, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the ReStore, serves locally roasted organic coffee, homemade teas and baked goods.

Baker House plant sale and open house, 9 a.m. to noon this Saturday and the third Saturday of the month, October through May. The historic Baker House is at 5744 Moog Road, behind Centennial Park Branch Library. Plants for sale by Elfers Centennial Garden Club. For information, call (727) 372-9954.

Hernando County Farmers Market runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays at 2450 U.S. 19, Spring Hill.

Spring Hill Garden Club’s Plant Nursery is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Mondays at 1489 Parker Ave., off Spring Hill Drive (four-tenths of a mile from U.S. 19). Local plants for sale; people may also visit the nearby Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, the “best kept secret in Hernando County,” which is open daily from sunup to sundown. For information, call (352) 683-9933 or visit


Common Garden Insects, 10:30 a.m. April 24 at the Spring Hill Branch Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive. It is unrealistic and even unwise to strive for an insect-free yard. Learn which bugs are helpful in keeping other pests in check, and learn how to identify and control insect populations in your garden. No registration necessary. Sponsored by Hernando County Extension Services. For information, call Sylvia Durell at (352) 540-6230.

Bats: Creatures of the Night Garden, 10 a.m. April 27 at Home Depot, 10017 U.S. 19, Port Richey. Learn how to welcome insect-eating bats into your garden by providing food, water and shelter. Call Pasco County Cooperative Extension at (352) 518-0156.

• Plant Propagation Made Easy, 5:30 p.m. April 29 at Hernando County Extension Services, 1653 Blaise Drive, Brooksville. This program will demonstrate the secrets of growing plants from cuttings, seeds and division. No registration required. For information, contact urban horticulture agent Jim Moll at (352) 754-4433.

Rain Gardens, 9 to 11 a.m. May 4 at Pasco County Extension, Clayton Hall, 36702 State Road 52, Dade City. Design ideas, information on what plants work best and ideas for where to create a rain garden in your landscape. This free seminar is taught by a local Master Gardener. Call Pasco County Cooperative Extension at (352) 518-0156.

Celebrate Earth Day

New Port Richey: Vendors showcase the wide array of earth-friendly businesses and organizations in the west Pasco area at the New Port Richey Environmental Committee celebration from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday in the courtyard between City Hall and New Port Richey Public Library on Main Street. For more information, contact Kacey Atkinson at (727) 809-2306 or by email at

Spring Hill: The Spring Hill Garden Club and the Hernando Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will hold an Earth Day celebration from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Nature Coast Botanical Gardens, 1489 Parker Ave. in Spring Hill. Master gardener Rita Grant will talk about “Wildlife in Your Landscape,” while Florida-friendly landscaping coordinator Sylvia Durell will discuss “Gardeners and the Gift of Water.” Tours of the botanical gardens will be available; and Brownies from Girl Scout Troop 317 will plant marigolds. No admission fee, but donations are greatly appreciated. Call (352) 683-9933 or visit www.naturecoastgardens. com.

Crews Lake Park: Join the Pasco County Cooperative Extension at Earth Day, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 27 at Crews Lake Park, 16739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills. The Extension will offer gardening activities for kids and adults, rain barrel workshops at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and the worm composting workshop at noon. Pre-registration required for workshops. $10 per rain barrel; 1 per household limit. For more information or to register, call (352) 518-0156.

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Boost your lawn this spring

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

There’s still time to give your lawn a spring boost to help it survive the worst of the British weather, says Hannah Stephenson

Gardeners who didn’t want to venture out in the freezing weather at the beginning of the month may now be looking at a moss-ridden, lumpy lawn with scatterings of bald patches, a world away from the velvet carpet of grass they desire.

But there’s still time to give your lawn a boost, even if it might look a bit forlorn now, or consider re-seeding or turfing if you think it’s beyond hope.

If you have loads of moss, it’s worthwhile applying a moss killer before you scarify, and wait a few days before raking it up.

Improve badly draining soil by aerating the lawn, driving a garden fork into the ground all over the lawn when it is moist, making holes to a depth of 10-15cm (4-6in). I once bought a pair of lawn-aerating shoes, but they kept falling off so I went back to the old faithful fork.

Others use hollow-tine lawn aerators which remove plugs of soil from the ground, but they are hard work and aren’t very good on stony soils or heavy, dry soils.

The holes you make allow air and water to get into the grass roots and should then be filled with a mixture of sharp sand and organic soil conditioner to stop the holes from closing up.

If the soil is heavy and air is forced out due to excessive rain, spread a large bucketful of sharp sand per square metre over the surface, working it into the holes with the back of a rake.

Feed the grass with lawn fertiliser available at most garden centres. This can be done by hand, applying approximately two grams per square metre, and water it in.

All lawns need good drainage and oxygenation, so scarify it with a springtine rake to remove thatch – dead grass that mats beneath growing grass – and moss. For larger lawns, it’s worth renting a petrol-driven lawn scarifier to do the same job.

Some lawn dressings incorporate a slow-release fertiliser but if this isn’t the case, add a little amount of general lawn fertiliser (not containing weed or moss killer) before applying it. Make sure you brush it evenly over the area or it will become patchy when the fertiliser kicks in.

A few weeks later, if your lawn is still patchy, oversow it lightly with a quality lawn seed.

Once it’s ready to cut, make your first few cuts, keeping the blades set quite high. If your grass is already long, give it a few cuts over a number of weeks, lowering the blades a little at a time, so that you cut the grass length down gradually.

By summer, you should be mowing weekly, stepping up to twice a week when necessary, but don’t mow the grass shorter than 2.5cm (1in) high and keep on top of weeds in the lawn. Annual weeds which emerge in any bare patches will be removed by mowing.

Of course, in the unlikely event that we have a sustained period of warmth in the summer, go easy on the mowing and don’t worry about letting the grass go brown because it will recover.

When you mow during drought, leave the cuttings on the lawn to stop the roots drying out and help keep in the moisture.

Continue to feed the lawn monthly through the summer, then you can apply a high-potash fertiliser in the autumn to keep the grass in good condition in the cooler months.

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Top 10 Tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Summer Entertaining

LONDON, April 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ —

We’ve had our first glimpse of warmer weather, so it won’t be long before we’re dining alfresco, holding family BBQs and having outdoor parties. If you’re planning on entertaining in your garden this year, now’s the time to get your gardening gloves on and start making your outdoor space the perfect spot for relaxing with friends. Online garden centre Plant Me Now has put together their top 10 tips to get your garden summer-ready:

Lawn gardens

  1. Choose granular feed to slowly feed your lawn over the summer months, but if you have an important event, use a soluble feed a few days before for faster results.
  2. Edge your lawn to give a nice, clean line between the lawn and the flowerbed – an easy way to make your garden look much tidier!
  3. If moss has been a problem, use a moss killer then simply rake it out. You can then over-seed (or re-seed) to thicken the lawn and fill in any empty patches.
  4. Large spaces are perfect for growing a wild flower meadow and various mixes are available to attract different kinds of wildlife (butterflies, ladybirds, bees, etc.) To ensure fresh growth next year, simply mow at the end of the season.
  5. Plant perennials in your flowerbeds for beautiful colours that come back year after year; then fill in any gaps with summer bedding plants.

Patio gardens

  1. If you don’t have flowerbeds or a big space to work with, fill pots and containers with beautiful summer bedding plants in a variety of colours
  2. Give dirty patios a good scrub or blast with a pressure washer to remove moss and dirt, ready for welcoming your alfresco dining guests
  3. Make tired wooden garden furniture look as good as new by treating it with teak oil – there’s no need to splash out on a new set of chairs and tables.
  4. Place solar lights around your patio for a fantastic, eco-friendly way to light up your outdoor space when the sun goes down.
  5. Plant some climbers – they’re perfect for covering unsightly old fence panels or walls.

Plant Me Now is the UK’s leading online gardening centre, specialising in perennial flowers, bedding plants, bulbs, garden accessories and tools for adults and children. A dedicated team of horticultural experts are the backbone of the business, producing nursery bedding plants on site and sending them directly to your garden to cut out the middle man. This method ensures quality and value is maintained, as well as minimising transportation to reduce their carbon footprint. 

SOURCE Plant Me Now

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10 tips for sprucing up your spring garden


10 tips for sprucing up your spring garden

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Now is the time to refresh your garden for the warmer months ahead. For many DIYers, that means making a beautiful show of pastel or vividly colored flowers epitomizing the rebirth of spring, but it also means planning for the summer heat that will follow spring’s mild temperatures. Welcome Home asked local landscape designers for their favorite ways to do both. Whether you choose to plant a colorful display of seasonal flowers or simply tend to the plantings you already have, here are 10 tips to help ensure optimum conditions for a garden of delights.

 • 1. Out with the old — Just as we perform spring cleaning in our homes, the best place to start in the garden is with a good cleanup. Remove fallen twigs and sticks, cut back dead wood and trim spent blossoms. Trimming will allow you to see things better, visualize new ideas, make room for new growth and help prevent insect problems.

  ”I like to give everything some elbow room,” says landscape designer Kim Alvarez of Alvarez + Basik Design Group. “Give everything a good haircut, except for things about to bloom.”

  While many people like to clean out the leaf litter left from winter, landscape designer Matthew Ponseti of Ponseti Landscaping calls fallen leaves “nature’s free mulch.” He likes to use them as a layer of insulation beneath a top-dressing of mulch.

  • 2. Take stock of conditions in your garden — Once everything is clean, it’s a good time to assess challenging areas. Before planting, you need to know whether your soil is healthy, if your flower beds drain and how much sun exposure there is wherever you plant. Landscape designer Kenny Rabalais of the Plant Gallery advises digging 6 to 8 inches for a handful of soil from below the surface, then taking the sample to a good nursery for advice. (Healthy soil is a loose, dark-brown mixture; clay-like soil, sandy soil and soil that hasn’t been touched in years will need some conditioner). Rabalais also recommends checking the amount of sun in the garden at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m., so you’ll know what vegetation will flourish there. Also make sure flower beds are 3 to 6 inches above the lawn line for proper drainage. Rabalais says you always should check the information on plants to determine whether they are sun-loving or shade-loving and how much water they need.

  • 3. Make a plan — Whether drawn on paper or simply conceived in your mind, a plan will reduce the chance of costly mistakes and will help you determine what you need to purchase. Ponseti recommends drawing of your yard to scale to avoid unorganized planting that fails to make a statement. Landscape designers emphasize the a plan should go beyond what looks good and include considerations such as the maintenance required, how large plants will grow and any placements that could be problematic. For example, crepe myrtle trees are beloved in New Orleans, but landscape designers don’t recommend them near driveways or pools because they shed their blossoms and make a mess. Likewise, trees like magnolias, which have shallow root systems, and oaks, which become huge over time, shouldn’t be used around driveways, patios and other areas where roots can cause concrete to crack or shift.

 • 4. Mulch flower beds — “Everyone’s least favorite thing to do is buying and spreading the needed amount of mulch, but it’s the best thing you can do,” says Ponseti, who favors processed pine needles over other mulch choices and waits to put down new mulch until the oak trees have have finished dropping their leaves. In addition to keeping weeds at bay and retaining moisture, mulch gives a garden a finished look.

 • 5. Look for variety — “There are a hundred different shades of green, and different greens and different textures look good together,” Rabalais says. “Different leaf structures, variegated and nonvariegated, different sizes (of leaves) and different colors give character to a garden.”

 • 6. Work with layers — Using layers in your garden will create a lush look. Rabalais suggests starting with the tallest plants in the rear and moving forward with increasingly smaller plants. As a rear layer, Rabalais usually chooses an evergreen because they never defoliate and can hide a fence, brick wall or raised portion of a house. Ponseti recommends using grasses as one of the layers in a less formal yard and boxwood for a more formal look. Alvarez is fond of the contrasting textures achieved with coarse-leaf plants like fatsia coupled with ferns, which have a softer appearance.

 • 7. Group flowers together for impact — Planting a flat of impatiens all together will create a stronger impact than spacing them apart. Groups of single colors also pack a punch. Alvarez suggests planting flowers in groupings to accentuate focal points like areas near a front door or places where you spend time in the backyard.

 • 8. Fertilize — Fertilizing during your spring spruce-up will benefit seeds and bulbs that already have come up as well as new plants you’re installing now. The right fertilizer will make your flowers more abundant, and they’ll last longer. The key is to make sure the fertilizer comes in contact with a plant’s root ball.

  Rabalais’ favorites are a time-released capsule dropped into the soil before putting in a bedding plant, or a liquid fertilizer that requires a little more work but gets into the root system the same day you water your garden.

  Ponseti’s recommendation for spring is zero-nitrogen fertilizer for the short term and a 15-5-10 blend of fertilizer once your plants begin to grow more aggressively. He also suggests an herbicide for lawns to control clover and dollar weeds.

 • 9. Incorporate sounds and scents — Truly spectacular gardens are a feast for the senses. Along with using beautiful displays of springtime color, these landscapers suggest bringing in fragrant plants like gardenia, citrus trees, jasmine and herbs, which lend themselves to side and backyards more than front spaces. The sight and sound of a water feature brings a peaceful, personalized touch to a garden, but landscapers caution that fountains must be regularly maintained. What to look for: a gold filtration system and a base that’s large enough to hold an adequate amount of water without it splashing over the side.

  For those who want to go maintenance-free, Alvarez recommends a small wall-mountable fountain that can be plugged in and provides instant sound with no hassle.

  • 10. Make the most of your gardening dollars — Rabalais suggests dividing a 6-inch or 8-inch English ivy into three sections (use a kitchen knife to slice it apart), then planting the sections around the base of a pot of spring flowers.

­­  Ponseti suggests buying potted plants at least 4 inches tall, because anything smaller doesn’t have an adequate root system. He says gardeners also should look for double-seeded plants because they are fuller and have a better survival rate.

  Alvarez says you can find good deals on plants at local farmers markets. If you have a green thumb, plant one or two different types of seeds instead of just using plants purchased from garden centers. Two of Alvarez’s favorites to start from seed are nasturtiums (they’re easy to grow and are edible) and moonflowers (they’ll bloom by late spring or early summer, and their white flowers open in the evening).

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Physicians of Myddfai inspire debut artisan garden at Chelsea Flower Show

For the first time the National  Botanic Garden of Wales is  entering a garden in the  prestigious RHS Chelsea Flower  Show. More than 4,000 plants are being  grown for the Get Well Soon artisan garden designed by Kati Crome and Maggie Hughes  which will go on display when the show opens  on May 21.

When the designers – previous 2011 gold  medal winners at Chelsea –  approached the National Botanic Garden in the Towy Valley asking if they could design a debut garden,  director Rosie Plummer thought it was too  good  an opportunity  to pass up.

Their entry, the Get Well Soon Garden,  draws inspiration from the healing properties of plants and Wales’ own famous 12th century  herbalists, the Physicians of Myddfai, who  are honoured at the National Botanic Garden.

The design is one of eight artisan gardens at the show, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Get Well Soon features a reflexology path, a  seat carved from a long-dead elm tree at the  National Botanic Garden, a  water feature and 2,500 plants, all with healing properties.

There will also be two trees, a willow  already on site at Chelsea and a Euonymus europaeus which will be delivered in a vast  pot.

The Get Well Soon garden design
The Get Well Soon garden design


To ensure the 2,500 plants are at their best  for the show, Kati and Maggie have spent the  last few months growing double that amount  as around half won’t make it or peak in time.

And it’s been a family affair, says Kati.

“We have approximately 96 different plant  species that we have sourced from around 17  different nurseries with a total of just under  2,800 plants. About half the plants are  currently in our two gardens. We have no  greenhouses and have small gardens – so our  husbands are not particularly pleased with us!

“I’ve got a tiny cold frame that I’m keeping  a few of the plants in and have been fleecing  the rest every night. I also find myself moving  them round the garden following the sun on  those rare days that it decides to appear.”

Kati and Maggie live in the south of England  but have ties to Wales as Maggie’s husband  Simon is from Swansea and they’re regular  visitors to the national  garden. They also  designed a gold medal-winning artisan garden  for Chelsea in 2011 called Postcard From  Wales inspired by Welsh cottage gardens.

With Chelsea’s 100th anniversary show fast  approaching, Kati and Maggie are now busy  making final arrangements for this year.

They’ll move onto the Chelsea  show site 10  days before opening to assemble the 7m x 5m  garden which also includes wooden post  sculptures,  stonewalls and shelves.

Kidwelly building firm Ron Pocock will join  them on site to build the walls and carry out  heavy landscaping while Kati and Maggie are  charged with planting.

“It’s taken about a year to get ready,” adds  Maggie. You have to submit drawings in  September so a year ago  our thoughts were  on what plants are out at this time of year.

“Medicinal plants are very interesting  because they form the basis of so much  modern medicine. The garden represents all  areas from hi-tech, where tiny extracts are  used to make medicine, to things like fennel  for soothing tea.”

The last few months have been busy and  the cold winter and spring have caused a few  headaches, she admits. “Plants can be quite naughty and we’ve had a cold spring.

“We have had irises grown at Sissinghurst, some in friends’ greenhouses and in our own gardens.”

Although none of the plants are being  grown at the national garden itself, vital parts  of the design will come from around Wales.

Four wooden posts are waiting  in  Pembroke Dock to be made into  plant labels,  a bust of Hippocrates has been made in  Swansea and Dai Edwards from Pontypridd  has cut a section of a dead yew tree from the  national garden to make  a seat while stone  from a Swansea quarry will also be  used.

When the show finishes the  £22,000  garden,  sponsored by Penn Pharma,  South West Wales Tourism Partnership  and Growing The Future will come  back to Wales to Penn Pharma’s  Tredegar headquarters.

More information from



The vast majority of modern medicines we  use today started with biochemical  compounds that have their origin in plants,  even  if  they are now synthesised.  Here are  some of the common  plants important in  medicine.


The daffodil has a  poisonous bulb and  shares the compound  galanthamine with  snowdrops. This  compound is  useful in treating Alzheimer’s  disease.


Despite being extremely  toxic, the foxglove  contains digitoxin, a  compound of which is an  important heart medicine.


Salicylic acid derived from  willow bark was used to  create the first aspirin in  the 19th century. The  father of modern  medicine, Hippocrates, who lived sometime  between 460 BC and 377 BC left records of  pain relief treatments, including the use of  powder made from the bark and leaves of  the willow tree to help heal headaches,  pains and fevers.


A herb which is most  commonly used for  insomnia, valerian can  also be used for muscle  and joint pain and as a  relief from menstrual  cramps.



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Competition: win a gardening design course worth £1600

The shortlist will be announced Wednesday May 29 2013 and the winner will be
notified by email on Wednesday June 8 2013.


KLC School of Design would also like to offer Telegraph Gardening readers 15
per cent off their Open Learning Diploma in Garden Design. Simply use the
promo code TEL2013, valid until June 16 2013.

Terms and Conditions

Entrants need to be over the age of 18. No previous art or design experience
is necessary.

As a condition of entry, the entrant grants KLC, The Telegraph and
their PR agency permission to use or reproduce the photograph and text in
print or digital format.

The decision of the judges is final and the winner agrees to take part in
reasonable post-event publicity and to the use of their names and
photographs in such publicity.

By participating in the competition the entrant expressly declares his/her
intent to want to complete the KLC Open Learning Diploma in Garden Design.
The course is not transferrable.

All entries must be received by midnight on May 17 2013. By submitting an
entry, each entrant agrees to the above terms and conditions.

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