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Archives for May 9, 2013

Lunch and architecture set to restore our long-lost sense of neighbourliness

In those halcyon days when corner shops proliferated, streets were largely car-free and children played out, there were endless opportunities to meet and chat with the neighbours.

Now a quarter of us don’t even know the names of the folk next door and many of us are barely on nodding terms with them.

This social isolation has had a direct impact on our health and well-being, according to researchers, who say that older people are most affected.

While experts ponder how to tackle the issue, green entrepreneur Sir Tim Smit, co-founder of the Eden Project, is busy promoting his own solution.

Like most good ideas, it is simple. The Big Lunch, an annual event that began in 2009, encourages neighbours to organise street parties so they can get to know each other over a Jacob’s join.

The Lottery-funded initiative simply encourages neighbours to share a few hours of food, friendship and fun. This year it will take place on Sunday, June 2.

Of course, it was a concept that reached its zenith last year as thousands of Britain’s braved the weather to stage their own street parties to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee. The Big Lunch initiative joined forces with this special red letter day and, as a result, some 8.5m took part.

That was exceptional – but it’s just that spirit which The Big Lunch aims to maintain.

“We are, by nature, a very reserved nation,” says Sir Tim. “This is a chance for people to knock on each others’ doors and come together over lunch. They get to know each other and it goes from there. It’s simple but effective.”

One of the best examples of the Big Lunch’s success is in Chapel Allerton in north Leeds.

After seeing a TV advert about the event, Matt Tamplin decided to knock on doors in his street to see is there was any interest.

“I used to be an events manager but I was temping at the time, which wasn’t particularly challenging.

“When I saw the ad I thought: ‘I can do that’ but I got a mixed reaction from people. A few weren’t interested and looked at me as if to say: ‘who are you and why are you knocking on my door, asking me to lunch?’ But the overwhelming response was that lots of people were up for it.”

What started as a “bit of a do” that attracted 75 people has grown into CARA, Chapel Allerton Residents Association, which covers the whole suburb.

It organises social events, classes in everything from wine tasting 
to jewellery making, raises money for charity and has discount schemes that encourages people to support local shops and businesses.

Its Facebook group has over 2,000 members and there’s even a website: Friendships have been forged, romance has blossomed and community spirit abounds in Chapel A.

“So many people have made friends and one couple who met at the first lunch are still together,” says Matt, who is helping to plan the latest Big Lunch due to be held in a few weeks time.

“Someone lost their dog recently and posted a message on the Facebook page and within a couple days he had the dog back. That couldn’t have happened a few years ago.”

Sir Tim Smit has a few other ideas on how to get people together.

“We need more Post Offices. Many of them were forced to 
close which was terrible, because I’d like to see Post Offices that 
are multi-functional and that 
offer access to the internet, a 
café, a GP surgery and a corner shop.

“I also think we need more outdoor play facilities for children and young people and we need to utilise churches for community events.”

Architect Ric Blenkharn believes that good design can promote neighbourliness.

Ric, co-founder of Malton-based Bramhall Blenkharn, says: “Design can make such a difference to how we live.

“It’s not only buildings themselves, but the spaces between them that can generate a sense of well being and community.

“Traditionally, market places and public squares were important social hubs for people to meet and pass the time of day.

“Thoughtful design can create such places, where contact is not forced but is natural and comes through chance meeting.

“There is also a tendency today to create gated communities 
or for people to hide behind security gates and high walls, but if homes are orientated with entrances that face each other, they encourage contact between neighbours and can actually reduce crime.”

Architect Alex Ely, a member of the RIBA Housing Policy Group, would like to see people friendly streets with good landscaping, chicanes, trees and seating areas to slow traffic.

“When we walk out of our homes most of us want to be able to mix with our neighbours or look across a pleasant street.” he says. “Too often, the design of housing has been determined by the demands of the road system, to the neglect of the creation of a sense of place.

“If you happen to bump into someone while walking down the street, it will usually result in an apology or perhaps a polite conversation.

“A similar incident between two cars, however, is more likely to lead to anxiety, rage or hospitalisation.”

Building right first time is what LILAC, the Low Impact Living Affordable Community, did when they created 12 flats and eight houses in Bramley, Leeds. The properties were designed to create social interaction.

The 42 men, women and children, who recently moved into their new, strawbale-built co-housing scheme, have created a shared common house with a kitchen, dining room, office, workshop and activity area 
where residents can share everything from meals to tools and toys.

The two rows of houses face each other and kitchen sinks are strategically placed under the windows so you can give a cheery wave to passers-by while doing the dishes.

There are no washing machines or tumble dryers in the homes, so residents have to use the on-site laundry, giving them a chance to meet and chat with their neighbours.

They can also swap gardening tips as every home has it its own allotment.

Inspired by co-housing projects in Denmark, LILAC was launched five years ago by a group of friends, who were looking for affordable homes.

Unlike the communes of the 1960s and 70s, those living in co-housing schemes have a home of their own and share facilities.

Although they have their own kitchens, cooking and eating communally is encouraged. The emphasis is on creating a caring, eco-friendly and sociable community.

The Homes and Communities Agency, which part-funded a grant to help LILAC clear the former school site ready for development, said it was a “model for the future”.

LILAC member Alan Thornton says: “We thought there must be a better way of living, where you still have your own separate dwelling, but you know all your neighbours and you share resources.

“We have designed in conviviality.

“You’re more likely to walk past each other on this site and there are lots of opportunities for communicating with each other whether it’s at the laundry or in the central post room in the common house.”

Meanwhile, if you are stuck with architecture that doesn’t encourage neighbourliness, then think about organising a Big Lunch.

As Matt Tamplin says: “If you knock on a few doors and ask you’ll be surprised how many people will say ‘yes’.”

For further information or to request your free pack including posters, invitations, a planner and other materials to help organise your Big Lunch, simply visit: or call: 0845 8508181.

The big lunch’s big cheese

Sir Tim Smit was born in Holland in 1954. He read Archaeology and Anthropology at Durham University then worked in the music industry as composer/producer in both rock music and opera. In 1987 Tim moved to Cornwall, where he and John Nelson together ‘discovered’ a forgotten Edwardian estate and restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Tim then co-founded the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall. Eden began as a dream in 1995 and opened its doors to the public in 2000, since when over 13 million people have come to see what was once a sterile pit turned a horticultural and architectural wonderland. It includes two vast greenhouses reproducing the rainforest and other ecosystems.

Article source:

Wildlife right in your backyard

DOVER — On Tuesday, May 21 at 7 p.m., naturalist Jean Eno will present “‘A Garden for Wildlife: Natural Landscaping for a Better Backyard” at the Dover Public Library.

Jean’s presentation will explore ideas for landscaping your yard as a habitat for wildlife and birds, explaining what wildlife are looking for when feeding or looking for a home. Or maybe you have problems with wildlife around your home and want to know what to do. All of these questions can be answered as you learn to alter your landscaping and gardening practices. Plant choices, gardening techniques, wildlife and habitats, use of native plants, and issues such as invasive plants will also be discussed. You’ll learn techniques for attracting songbirds, mammals, hawks and owls, and even mysterious amphibians such as red-backed salamanders to your backyard. The slide presentation will include helpful handouts and lists of suggested plantings.

Jean Eno is a naturalist for the Great Bay Discovery Center, the education headquarters for the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (a partnership program between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the NH Fish and Game Department). She is the director of a watershed conservation initiative for the NH Rivers Council, working to improve water quality, land use, and wildlife habitat in North Hampton, Stratham and Greenland. Jean holds a degree in Environmental Studies from UNH, and is an active board member at York’s Center for Wildlife, the Great Bay Stewards, and the historic Weeks Brick House Gardens. She is an active volunteer for the NH Coverts Project and “Speaking for Wildlife” programs, and enjoys birding, organic gardening, and down time with her husband and pets.

Article source:

High school students get start on their own businesses via ClassE – Journal Gazette and Times

CHARLESTON — Thirteen high school student entrepreneurs put their business talents on display for the public as part of the ClassE trade show and reception at the LifeSpan Center on Tuesday night.

This is the first year for ClassE, which is an entrepreneurial development class where students jump start their own business. Enrolled in the class are six students from Mattoon High School, six from Charleston High School and one from Oakland High School.

Jeanne Dau of the Business Solutions Center at Eastern Illinois University is the teacher of ClassE; she said the class is offered to high school juniors and seniors during fall and spring semesters and is modeled after the Effingham CEO class.

“This class is learning by doing,” Dau said. “The students choose what they are passionate about.”

Students enrolled in the class create a business plan and are given money by businesses in the area to put their plans into action.

The businesses that students had on display at the trade show and reception were: 2 Moms Dressings, C4 (Coles County Chess Club), College Cuisine on a Dime, EB Icee, Working Hands Day Labor, Lizard Energy, Right Path Landscaping and Lawn Care, Mobile Detailing, Miller’s Truck Shop, Speedrobo Games and Wiles Goods.

Michael Strader and Colton Anderson, co-owners of Right Path Landscape and Lawn Care, both said they came up with the idea for their business because they have family members who work in the landscaping industry, in addition to both having dabbled in lawn mowing jobs during the summer.

“We love it and love that it doesn’t feel like a job,” Strader said.

The various services Right Path Landscape and Lawn Care offers include general landscaping, curbside appeal and mulch work. Also, during the winter, the co-owners provide snow removal as well as hanging outside Christmas lights.

Anderson said he enjoys the business because it’s something that he can do year ’round.

“It’s something we enjoy doing and we can do in the summer and continue in the fall,” Anderson said. “I like being able to take something that’s a bunch of shrubs and weeds and turning it into something great.”

Anderson, 18, a senior at MHS, plans to attend Concordia University Chicago after graduating this year, but said he still plans to stay involved in the business when he’s away at college.

“I will be able to operate from college,” Anderson said. “I expect to stay involved — I don’t want to lose involvement in the business.”

In college, Anderson said he wants to major in business management to help bring new ideas to Right Path Landscaping and Lawn Care.

After college Anderson said he plans to focus his full attention on the business.

“After four years of college I will hit it really hard and enhance my knowledge base,” Anderson said.

Strader, 18, a senior at Oakland High School, said he plans to stay around the area and attend Lake Land College so he can stay fully involved in the business.

He plans to study business administration at LLC.

“I hope to heighten the business,” Strader said.

Both Strader and Anderson said they enjoyed ClassE and were glad they took it.

“I loved it,” Strader said. It was the highlight of my senior year and I didn’t even mind driving all the way from Oakland.”

Anderson said the class helped him figure out what he wanted to pursue as a career.

“This class has been amazing,” Anderson said. “I never expected to learn life lessons. It really helps you find yourself.”

Contact Bilharz at or 217-238-6839.

Article source:

Natural burial gardens showcased at Malvern Spring Gardening Show

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show had a minimalist “naked garden”, while Chelsea Flower Show paraded a “healing garden” dedicated to the Queen Mother.

This year the government is even creating a “dead tree garden” at Chelsea to highlight the impact of Ash dieback disease.

next week’s Malvern Spring Gardening Show won’t be without its unusual touches either, as one of the show plots will be recreating a natural burial ground garden.

burial has grown rapidly in the UK, with more than 270 sites having been created over the last 20 years, and Malvern’s show plot will be a replica of one of the country’s most recent, created by millionaire publisher Felix Dennis on land in Great Alne, south Warwickshire.

Landscape architect Ann Sharrock,
who designed the garden at the burial ground, is now recreating it in a
16×13 metre plot to go on display at the Three Counties Showground next

Rather than emulating the actual burial ground, the show garden will mimic the ground’s garden where friends, relatives and anyone in the community can
go for peace and reflection. But that won’t stop Ann hammering the message home.

“I am going to have a coffin included,” she says, “but that’s just for a bit of drama!

wanted it to be a shared space so it’s not just grieving friends and relatives but a place where walkers could pop in and visit.

“And I think the main thing was for there to be a journey.

start with the grief, contemplation and thinking about your dead friend
or relative, but you move round the garden and then there would be more

Ann, a recent graduate in landscape architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University, designed her first natural burial ground garden for her final degree project.

antithesis of a manicured cemetery, a natural burial ground respects its location by including few hard landscaping features and is designed to return to its natural state over the course of 50 years.

She says: “Natural burial grounds don’t have gravestones and don’t necessarily have any markers of a grave, except maybe a tree.

50 years or so the land is left to become overgrown. It will revert to natural woodland and there will be just a few small signs as to what it might have been.

“That’s why this garden is a bit different.”

But for Ann, the main draw of a natural burial ground and its garden is its holistic outlook and respect for nature.

She says: “It’s about biodiversity, making good use of the planet and encouraging both humans and all kinds of wildlife species back to the land.

Landscape architect Ann Sharrock's burial ground show garden
Landscape architect Ann Sharrock’s burial ground show garden


whilst I’m not a screaming advocate of natural burial -– although I think it’s a brilliant idea – the main thing is all those other things that go along with that conservation.

“Secular or non-secular, there’s a respect for that land and for that graveyard.”

In place of hard landscaping, Ann will be using different types of grass to give a sense of structure.

She says: “The only hard landscaping in the garden is the bridge and the two benches.

“So it’s quite different from a lot of other show gardens which have five men and a dumper truck.”

The entrance takes visitors over a bridge over a clear pond, symbolising the bridge between life and death.

They then walk through a wet meadow and move into a spiral which gradually works its way down, lined by yew trees.

“I want it to be seen as a public amenity,” says Ann.

most graveyards you rush in, cut the grass, leave some flowers and rush
out again. But you never see them in their wider context or enjoy the space.

“That’s what I hope people get from this, that this space can be enjoyed.

“And I hope there not going to think I’m burying a body in it!”

The RHS Malvern Spring Gardening Show runs from tomorrow until Sunday.

* For details visit:

Article source:

Edible Landscaping topic for Community Gardens’ class Saturday

Community Garden feeds people

Community Garden feeds people

Daniel Graham, garden coordinator at the Brownwood Area Community Gardens, holds up carrots he harvested in April from the pantry boxes that was later donated to the Salvation Army’s Loaves and Fishes program.

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 4:23 pm

Updated: 6:29 pm, Wed May 8, 2013.

Edible Landscaping topic for Community Gardens’ class Saturday


Brownwood Bulletin

The next class in the series offered by the Brownwood Area Community Garden on edible landscaping is set for 11 a.m. Saturday in the shade arbor of the gardens, which is located at 1514 Dublin Street.

“This class serves as an introduction to the topic and to get people thinking about growing food — not lawns,” class instructor Debra Mathis said.

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More about Gardening

  • ARTICLE: Community Garden celebrates Third Annual Spring Festival April 20
  • ARTICLE: Greenhouse is a ‘real-world setting’ for horticulture students


Wednesday, May 8, 2013 4:23 pm.

Updated: 6:29 pm.

| Tags:

Community Garden,

Debra Mathis,


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Simple ways to save water, money and your landscaping this summer

Simple ways to save water, money and your landscaping this summer

Simple ways to save water, money and your landscaping this summer

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 am

Updated: 3:33 am, Thu May 9, 2013.

Simple ways to save water, money and your landscaping this summer


(BPT) – With many states facing drought this summer, homeowners across the country will be looking for ways to save their landscaping while conserving water at the same time. Even if you’re not in a drought-affected area, it pays to keep conservation in mind when it comes to watering outdoors. Using less water is good for the environment and your wallet.

Fortunately, maximizing the efficiency of your watering efforts and taking steps to conserve water outdoors can help trim your water bill this summer, even if you live in a severe drought area, such as in the western regions of the country. Here are simple ways to conserve water, save money and preserve your garden, lawn and landscaping this season:

Efficient, effective irrigation

Traditional watering methods for lawns, gardens and flower beds waste a lot of water through run-off, over-saturation and evaporation. Rather than spraying water over plants, use a method that delivers the right amount of water where it will do the most good – the roots of plants.

Drip irrigation systems, like those offered by Mister Landscaper, can help you water more effectively. These systems deliver water as close as possible to plant roots, allowing you to achieve better results with less water used. You’ll also lose less water to run-off and evaporation. Place the system on a timer, and you can also ensure you’re watering at optimum times of the day to reduce evaporation and waste. A starter kit with 50 linear feet of tubing – ample enough to handle most gardens and planting beds – costs less than $1 per foot. Visit to learn more.

Water lawns, gardens and flower beds either early in the morning or as evening approaches to ensure you don’t lose moisture to the hot sun. And if a day is windy, hold off watering lawns altogether as the breeze could leave you watering the sidewalk or driveway, rather than your grass.

Reuse, recycle and preserve

Even during a drought, some rain and condensation will occur. Take steps to capture natural moisture. A rain barrel situated beneath a downspout ensures you can catch run-off from your home’s roof. While using barrel water may not be practical with most irrigation systems, it’s a great option for watering container gardens or even indoor plants. You can also use household water, such as water left over from boiling vegetables or pasta, to water potted plants. Just be sure to let the water cool completely before using it.

You can help plants retain more moisture by placing organic mulch around the roots. The mulch will also help keep down weeds that would compete with plants for much-needed moisture. Depending on where you live and the type of mulch you choose, you can buy a bag of mulch for just a few dollars.

Finally, adjusting the type and location of plants is a great way to grow a drought-resistant garden or landscaping bed. Check with your local agricultural extension or search online for naturally drought-resistant species that do well in your area. By planting these hardier varieties, you can help keep your environment green and growing through a long, dry summer – and avoid the money drain of high water bills.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013 12:00 am.

Updated: 3:33 am.

Article source:

Chelsea Flower show gossip

1. Prince Harry has been baking cakes for Sentabale in Maseru, Lesotho. Will he do the same at Chelsea Flower Show? No, but he will be there on 20 May. Also at the show will be Zara Phillips, cutting a cake for John Deere tractors’ 50th. And the Queen. Hazza effect made tix sell out/touts bump up prices quick.

2. Other Chelsea gossip. Hortus Loci and Crocus are friends again.  Tim Penrose from Bowden Hostas is possibly the biggest character in the marquee if you’re looking for someone who will chat. There aren’t many overseas trees in the show gardens, honest.  Ash are banned. James Wong was doing a show garden but now he isn’t.  Best bank background, East Village garden designer Marie Agius is daughter of Marcus Agius and grand daughter of Edmund de Rothschild. Judging: this year’s gardens will be judged again afterwards using the RHS’s new criteria-based system. Diarmuid won’t be there. He’s at Hampton Court. One Sunday environment hack has an interview lined up with Harry. There can’t be any good evening events on this year. I haven’t been invited to any anyway.


3. Chelsea odds:

Bradley Hole evens

Ulf 2/1

Balston 3/1

Myers 7/2

16/1 the rest


3.  Peter Seabrook’s autograph Ebay £5.99. Titchmarsh £24.99.  Monty Don £5.95. Charlie Dimmock 75p. Diarmuid Gavin £11.99, Joe Swift 99p

4. At Defra’s annual ministerial media reception. Owen Paterson, Richard Benyon, David Heath and Lord de Mauley were there along with a crowd of hacks and Defra PRs, plus some Borough Market-style Brit food purveyors.
After wading through pile of fag ends on Defra doorstep, much talk about a Brian May badger stunt outside Parly. No-one knew which badger was Brian. Radio 4 are no longer covering stunts where people dress as badgers, bees or foxes outside Parly. Doesn’t make good radio anyway.
OP gave a little speech on priorities, growing GB food, improving environment and his admiration for Australian-style stringent customs regimes after getting his boots washed there because they had Grand National mud on them.
He said he’d had to split up Polish and Hungarian enviro ministers who were arguing about bees and that he’d got hundreds of thousands of anti-gvt neonicotinoid emails. Defra is strong sticking to its guns in face of public opinion about bees, badgers, foxes.
How this event works: Low grade hacks try and make friends with higher up ones. Broadcast hacks pal up with PRs and ministers. Defra PRs v smiley -hope this means they will flag up report dates in the future.

5. TV star Michael Barrymore is working up to three days a week at a Tomlins garden centre in Brentwood, Essex. He says: “I don’t get paid for it. I help out because I enjoy gardening.”

6. Scotch osprey has ousted a Lake District one/ cruelty to badgers ‘almost doubles’ ahead of cull

7.  Superb Monty interview as he goes French on us.

8. Unacceptable. 

Plans to drop climate change from curriculum ‘unacceptable’ Guardian.
Sky News Australia Perth pitch invasions ‘unacceptable’ says Sanzar boss
New Zealand Herald-”From our point of view it’s extremely disappointing and unacceptable behaviour from a small group of idiots in what was otherwise a very good …John Kerry: ‘North Korea’s rhetoric is simply unacceptable’ He reiterated that North Korea “will not be accepted as a nuclear power,” and called the country’s bellicose rhetoric “simply unacceptable”. Five years’ jail for her life is unacceptable, says brother of woman …
Evening Standard

9. Bees by me:

Bill Oddie calls Owen Paterson a c**t

Harry and Chelsea

Monty and snooker

10. A busy Mont Don has also replied to an article I wrote for thinkinggardens

Mont said: “Monty Don:
I hesitate to dip my toe in these waters but for what it is worth, here is my pennyworth.
A number of points: Television, high-paying journalism, big name designers et al are all driven almost entirely by commercial pressures. Numbers rule. So if you earn your living in the gardening media – as I and a number of people posting here do – then you are pretty much forced to go with the numbers to earn your living. He who pays the piper calls the tune.
Matthew and any other horticultural journalist would give their eye-teeth to get a highly paid gardening column – even if it meant simplifying and repeating those simplicities. Most garden readers and viewers are decent people wanting information and entertainment. They are, in some form, paying for that and you, writer or broadcaster, have to respect that.
Having been a horticultural hack for 25 years and written for every newspaper and most gardening mags I know that I would rather be read by three million people every week than speak to 300 like-minded souls. Television is a mass medium. Always has been. The more people you reach, the better. This does not necessarily mean you have to dumb down but certainly means there is always a pressure to. I think there is a compromise which is to try and simplify things and to inspire. Then people can move on and up.
Books are the medium in which one can truly express yourself – as Anne and others here have notably done. But gardening books sell tiny numbers compared to cooking for example. The great danger – as with the entire horticultural world – is that like speaks enthusiastically to like, everyone gets terribly pleased with themselves and their world draws a little tighter around them.
In the end the real pleasure is the doing. Almost everything interesting about technical gardening has already been said. I would much rather just garden at home than write or film about about it but if one has to go to work it is a pretty damn good way of doing it. So the best thing that one can possibly do as a writer or broadcaster is to enthuse and inspire others to actually go out and do it so they too can experience that satisfaction.
Er, that’s it.
Monty Don  writer and broadcaster.
I’d say: “Garden writing is getting a lot better since I started getting published more in the nationals.” That will probably be the last time I am.

11. Spotted: Natalie Cassidy, Warwick Davies at London aquarium.  Gambo at Oxford circus. Warren Gatland in Cardiff.

12. Have you ever watched? anns a gharadh alba-scottish gardening tv gaelic

13. Top selling gardening book: Titch? No Monty? No. Container Gardening by Richard Jackson.4,461. Between Miranda Hart and Jamie Bulger in Nielsen non-fiction charts.  I’ve got a gardening book out in November btw. I’ll be happy with 4k sales.
14. New series of Superscrimpers is now on Channel 4. Martyn Cox is dishing out money saving gardening tips across the ten week show. Brown sauce to clean secateurs is my favourite.

15. 481k people visted RHS shows last year, 70 pc women
87 pc abc1 17hrs tv, 1,350 press cuttings, 5000 tweets, 104 hrs radio
59 pc over 55.

16. Garsons Farm in Esher featured recently with Katie picking a carrot for CBeebies ‘I Can Cook’.

17.  This guy wants waiter service at Dobbies.

18. Butterflies’ actress Wendy Craig opened Trent Valley Garden Centre (Stephen Smith’s), Doncaster Road on the outskirts of Scunthorpe on August 17, 1985. Do you remember her visit? What are your memories of the day? Leave your comments here.

19. The inimitable Soilman.

20. The Sun gardening domain name was recently bought for £30.

21. Nigel Slater now refers to Dan Pearson as his gardener. Since The Sun launched its Sunday edition it has never carried any gardening editorial, offer or advert.

22. Graham Paskett novel:

23. Spoke to Hessayon the other day. He’d sent me a letter. He said the sales of 16m refer just to books on houseplants and cut flowers. ‘the total number of Experts out there is over 53 million, ‘kindest regards Dave’.

24. Great and the good were at RHS Lindley Hall for launch AGMs. Roy Lancaster, Seabrook and lots of plantsmen. Twiglets on menu. I heard that TM had lost the pumpkin seed they paid record sums for. So rang them the next day. They said it was lost. At end of the day they rang back to say they’d found it. Also at the RHS awards recently in London. .

25. Heritage garden and garden show music is getting better, while numbers fell last year. Chelsea has Brian Eno doing the music for Jinny Blom/Prince Harry. British Sea Power played there once. At Cardiff a Steve Miller type band was playing, who might turn up at Hampton Court.

26. Blue Peter gardener Chris Collins is celebrating a decade at the children’s show by launching a children’s range called Seedlets.
The seeds, tools, watering cans, bags and wildlife houses come in beginner, intermediate and expert levels and are being marketed by LiteBulb Group and sold by King’s Seeds representatives into garden centres.
Collins launched the range at the Toy Fair at Olympia in London. He has ideas for more TV series through Alchemy TV such as 20 strangest plants and ‘River Cottage in the City’, saying: “It’s all very well millionaires doing it in country cottages”. He is also working with catering company ISS on School Food Matters, a project about growing your own in small playgrounds.
He has an RHS book, Grow Your Own for Kids out, and says: “I’ve never had a kid wobble on me. Every kid I’ve worked with gets engaged in gardening because it’s in our blood. We’ve been gardeners for thousands of years but it’s only in the last two decades we’ve been relying into supermarkets.”

27. Waitrose and Middle England middle of the road fave Titch collide in a trolley full of pleasant shopping, reliably-sourced food and the friendly face of afternoon light TV chat, Chelsea Flower Show and the occasional obsequious royal documentary. Waitrose is getting round the issue of BBC and commercial clashes (Titch will unveil new gardening ranges for Waitrose this month) through a “black out period” where he will not appear in Waitrose TV ads and promotions immediately before, during and after Chelsea Flower Show. He ran into a bit of flak when he fronted BQ for three years, because BBC guidelines don’t allow its presenters to commercially promote their field of expertise. Percy Thrower and Diarmuid Gavin fell foul of this and the BBC dropped them but AT has always managed to negotiate contracts to avoid the commercial conflict issue.
Titch is promoting Waitrose’s ‘commitment to British agriculture and horticulture’. He’s about helping British farmers, post-horsemeat crisis: “There is a real need to promote a greater understanding of just what is involved in producing healthy, well-grown produce and transporting it from field to fork so that it arrives with the consumer in the best possible condition.” So while gardening isn’t about gardening, it’s about shopping, supermarkets have gone the other way. They aren’t about groceries. They’re about farming. But most gardeners think they’re urban farmers now.

28. The wonders of twitter:
Defra UK @DefraGovUK

Hi, this is David Heath. Really pleased to be taking part in today’s #loveourforests tweet-a-thon. Send me your questions!
View details •

matthew appleby @mattapple1

@DefraGovUK hi, what’s going to be in chalara action plan? quarantine zones? any hope for uk ash? will defra aim to save heritage ash? how?
No answer. Defra press office: “He got lots of questions.”

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Yates offers May gardening tips

Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:44 am

Yates offers May gardening tips

By Dianna F. Dandridge
Staff writer

Sequoyah County Times

Even though spring is taking its time making a real appearance, there are many things the home gardener should schedule into their routine.

Tony Yates, Sequoyah County Agriculture Extension Agent recently offered some timely tips to keep the lawns and gardens at their best.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 8:44 am.

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Gardening comfort tips for boomers

New Research

Researcher at the Tel Aviv University in Israel may have found a way to diagnose schizophrenia by testing microRNA molecules in neurons from the nose. Neurons would be removed through a biopsy. MicroRNA molecules regulate gene expression. Researchers found that schizophrenic patients had more of one type of microRNA than non-schizophrenic patients. More testing is required before this method can be used to diagnose the disease, however, as researchers are unsure of whether the microRNA changes begin before or after schizophrenia symptoms begin to show. Currently, the only way to definitively diagnose schizophrenia is through sampling the brain during autopsy.


Number to Know

164 million: number of American homeowners who have gardened in the last 12 months, as stated in a 2012 report on

Boomer Health: Tips for avoiding physical discomfort while gardening

Fresh packets of seeds, the dirt between your fingers, and the smell of freshly churned earth – gardening season has officially begun. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or a newbie to home planting, gardening is a great activity that provides both physical and mental health benefits.

In addition to burning calories while enjoying the peacefulness of Mother Nature, one unwelcome part of taking up gardening as a hobby is the potential for strain and injury. To get the most out of your time gardening, consider these tips for avoiding physical discomfort:

Start with a few stretches

Before grabbing your tools and heading to your yard, spend five or 10 minutes doing stretches focusing on your arms, legs, back and neck. You’ll be moving and turning a lot, so be sure to stretch and loosen muscles to avoid strain when you’re out tending your garden.

Avoid bending and lifting the wrong way

Chronic back pain is an issue for many Americans both young and old. Just because you have back issues doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy gardening. Consider installing raised garden beds, which allow you to garden without having to bend over. Additionally, container gardens can be placed on tables or deck railings for easy access. If you don’t suffer from back pain, avoid back injury by bending and lifting the right way. Remember to maintain good posture, minimize quick twisting motions, bend at the hips and knees only, lift items in a slow and controlled manner, and enlist help if necessary.

Protect skin from the sun

One of the best parts of gardening is you get to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors, but that can mean extended time in the sun so it’s important to protect your skin. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat and light cotton clothing that covers exposed skin are good first steps. Always apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum lotion that is SPF 30 or higher at least 15 minutes prior to going outside, as recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.

These simple tips will help position you for a full season of gardening delights. Without injury or other physical irritations, you’ll be able to savor the fruits of your labor in the beauty of the warm weather.

— Brandpoint

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Professional training day for garden design graduates aims to build business …

Friday, 03 May 2013

The London College of Garden Design is giving its graduates a free day’s training to assist their professional development.

The 2013 Graduate Inspiration Day will feature specialist sessions including engaging customers through social media and creating a business which is bigger than themselves.

Director Andrew Fisher Tomlin said:  “We were conscious that it is tough out there and we want our graduates to succeed in their new careers.

“We always want to display the talents and achievements of our students and graduates and this new day is another way in which they get value for the investment that they have made with us.”

Recent successes for former students of the college include reaching the finals of the RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year competition in 2012 and 2013.  Meanwhile many former students now work with leading designers.

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