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Archives for May 29, 2013

MTO kills plan for Hwy. 406 roundabout art

WELLAND – 

The city’s arts and culture advisory committee has just been going in circles where it comes to the new Hwy. 406 roundabout.

Efforts to put something fancy in the centre of the turning circle at East Main St. have been killed by the Ministry of Transportation.

The city’s arts and culture group had spent the past several months soliciting ideas from local artists for the centre of the roundabout. Chairman George Doros said those plans have been cancelled.

“We’ve been told not to pursue it. It’s one of those things that come from the top down.”

As recently as a month ago, the committee was working towards creating an iconic centrepiece for the roundabout, including the potential of recreating Atlas Specialty Steel’s Titanium Rose — featured on Welland Rose Festival Parade floats in the late 1960s and early ’70s.

He said committee received several proposals from artists and were continuing to look for more, when they learned that the plans were cancelled.

“It’s unfortunate and we’re disappointed,” he said. “We’re trying to promote arts and culture in Welland and we’re trying to do things and yet we’re not allowed to do some things. Hopefully, there will be other opportunities.”

In an interview, Welland traffic and parking manager David Ferguson said agreements were reached between the city and MTO a few years ago when the project was first designed.

That agreement, Ferguson added, has already been approved to include essentially a welcome sign and gardens. The plans of the arts and culture advisory committee went far beyond the scope of the project previously approved by the MTO.

Doros first discussed the potential of adding something more substantial than just a welcome sign during a city council meeting early last summer. But by that time, Ferguson said, it was too late.

The MTO had already completed its environmental assessment and public consultations regarding the plan for the roundabout, “and it was pretty much over and done with by then,” Ferguson said.

Nevertheless, Ferguson said he did discuss the committee’s ideas with MTO representatives.

The MTO, however, was not receptive to the idea.

“This is the MTO’s first roundabout at the end of a 400-series highway. They want to be cautious and don’t want to overkill it, and potentially defeat future projects.”

Said ministry spokeswoman Astrid Poei, “Safety is our top priority.”

She said the city developed plans for landscaping the roundabout, which includes trees, shrubs and a sign welcoming people to Welland. That plan was reviewed by the ministry to ensure that items within the roundabout were located in such a way that they would not block the view of traffic.

“In addition, objects within the roundabout such as statues, sculptures and monuments are generally discouraged, as they may distract drivers from keeping their eyes on the road,” Poei said in an e-mail.

The ministry has in the past allowed decorative elements along provincial highways, such as statues of lions on the QEW near Martindale Rd.

Poei said the roundabout is different because there will be pedestrian traffic on sidewalks on East Main St.

“As best practices have shown, a feature in the central island of a roundabout may entice pedestrians to cross live highway lanes to take photos.”

Poei said the roundabout is expected to be open to traffic by late summer.

Ferguson said a public meeting to discuss how to use the intersection is taking place at the civic square on June 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

allan.benner@sunmedia.ca

Article source: http://www.wellandtribune.ca/2013/05/28/mto-kills-plan-for-hwy-406-roundabout-art

Businesses may tap into water rebates

City tries to draw commercial customers into low-usage effort

Businesses, bring on that new low-usage water irrigation system.

Santa Fe officials are working to improve on past efforts to expand the city’s water-efficiency rebate program into the commercial sector.

A slew of proposed changes to a city ordinance would allow officials to work with businesses, a group of water customers that hasn’t really been addressed in the past, city officials say.

“We’ve had great success in the residential area in terms of incentivizing conservation through the various retrofitting and rebate and credit programs and the desire was to figure out a way to do that better on the commercial side,” said City Councilor Peter Ives, a sponsor of the ordinance.

Santa Fe has had success with an augmented water rebate program, started in 2010, that provides cash for water-efficient washing machines and other smaller-scale appliances.

That program conserved 32.5 acre-feet of water in 2010 and 9.04 acre-feet of water in 2011, according to city officials. An acre-foot is equal to about 326,000 gallons.

The rebates are linked to a city plan designed to allow Santa Fe to bank the water saved from the rebates and offer it, for a price, to builders who need to offset water for use in new development. Eventually, builders’ payments are expected to provide funds for new rebates.

The city has historically provided some incentives to commercial water customers, such as rebates for installing a certain percentage of low-flow fixtures, but they haven’t been all that popular.

According to city officials, possible beneficiaries of a new commercial water rebate program could range from a hotel or restaurant that installs air-cooled rather than water-cooled systems, such as for an ice machine, or a laundromat using a reclaimed water system. Schools and governmental entities could also take advantage of the program.

City water conservation manager Laurie Trevizo said individual businesses and other entities could bring ideas to the table that city officials haven’t considered – and she expects and hopes that will happen.

“The commercial rebate program was a way to sort of inspire different types of commercial applications to come up with ways to save water,” Trevizo said. “We’re not experts in every commercial business so we’re relying on people who are in those industries.”

Rebate possibilities listed in the proposed ordinance include exchanging water-cooled for air-cooled equipment, water reclamation systems, cooling tower modifications, large scale irrigation improvements, eliminating water-intensive phases of industrial processes and industrial laundry equipment upgrades or reuse. Landscaping changes may also qualify for a rebate, Trevizo said.

Once the new system and/or equipment has been in place for a year and city officials have documented that water has, indeed, been conserved, the customer gets a one-time rebate applied as credit to their water bill.

The amount of the rebate is based on how much water the participant has saved as well as what the city is paying for water rights. Estimates are still rough but “there is a big financial incentive,” Trevizo said. A device that saves, for example, 100,00 gallons of water would be worth a rebate of around $4,764.

Applicants will need to work with city water officials before and after they install a new system or equipment, and city officials will regularly monitor applicants during the first year to ensure less water is being used.

Applicants must also make sure that at least 80 percent of their fixtures are water-efficient and free of leaks.

“Commercial users get blamed for lots of high water use, but they’re not wasting water, they just happen to have an industry that happens to use a lot of water … this is a way for them to be more efficient at what they’re doing,” Trevizo said.

A city memo written by Trevizo earlier this month says offering a commercial water conservation rebate program will help reduce the city’s overall per capita water consumption levels, “solidifying the City of Santa Fe as a leader in water use and conservation.”

The City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on whether to publish notice of the ordinance. The council will vote on the measure in June.

Article source: http://www.abqjournal.com/main/2013/05/29/north/businesses-may-tap-into-water-rebates.html

No silver bullet in search for more water

When it comes to offering solutions to the looming threat of water shortages across the Southwest, there are some very creative ideas out there, like hooking onto icebergs and towing them to Los Angeles or running a pipeline west from the Mississippi River.

Those were some of the more far-out ideas of the 150-plus options submitted for the Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand published in late 2012.

Other options are far less costly and more technically feasible. A number of measures will help produce “new water” that now is lost through misuse, lack of recycling and poor watershed management, officials agree.

The real issue is the low value given to water because it is “ridiculously cheap,” suggests Robert Glennon, University of Arizona law professor, who encourages the nation to abandon its wasteful and extravagant use of water in his book, “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What We Can Do About it.”

“People are spoiled,” he said. “They pay less for water than they do their cell phone. We need to value and appreciate it for the special thing it is.”

Why, he asks, are California farmers using millions of acre-feet of water to grow alfalfa to ship to China to feed Chinese cows when cities all over the Southwest are wondering how to keep the taps running.

“But it doesn’t have to be cities versus farmers,” Glennon said. “If cities want the water, they need to pay. They need to take care of the rural areas. They could pay farmers to modernize their irrigation systems and stay in farming but free up water for municipalities and industry.”

And rather than come up with grand schemes like icebergs and huge pipelines, he said, “we need to look inward at conservation, reuse and desalination.”

Conservation doesn’t apply just to farmers, he said. There are lots of ways municipalities can save water.

One very simple way is for people turn off lights they’re not using, he said. “It takes water to produce electricity. A 6-volt light on for 12 hours a day takes 6,300 gallons of water. Tell people if they want to save water, turn off lights.”

Cities also need to look at issues like landscaping, water running down the street and other wasteful practices, he said.

For example, in Tucson there’s a cultural emphasis on desert landscaping, said UA professor Thomas Meixner, who serves on the Tucson Citizens Advisory Committee.

There’s peer pressure coupled with a city policy that the more water a household uses, the more per unit they will pay, he explained. Over the years, there’s been a substantial reduction in water use.

Tucson also has been among the leading communities in the nation in reuse of wastewater. Other cities are turning to treatment plants as well to supplement their water supply.

While the idea of reclaiming sewage for drinking water may sound unappealing, treatment plants around the nation and aboard the International Space Station are turning out water with good reviews. Other communities use wastewater to irrigate golf courses and parks, and industries often recycle and recirculate their water.

Meixner also noted that with better management of watershed areas, not only would forests be healthier, fewer trees and undergrowth would mean more water to reach streams that feed into water supplies.

While it’s unknown how much additional water might be realized with better watershed management, he said, one study in northern Arizona indicates it could be 5 percent. “That’s enough to think about.”

The same may be true for the salt cedar that has taken over the banks of the Colorado River.

Another option related to the watershed is weather modification, said Herb Guenther, a water consultant and former director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

Winter cloud seeding is already being used in Utah, he said. It has resulted in 14 to 20 percent more precipitation and increased runoff of 250,000 acre-feet at a low cost of $1.02 per acre-foot.

Yet another option is desalination, not a new subject for Yuma, home to the Yuma Desalting Plant that has sat idle for much of its existence. Desalination is technology now being used by 11,000 plants in 120 countries, Guenther said. And despite its age, the Yuma plant performed beyond expectations during a demonstration run a few years ago.

Jim Cherry, former head of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Yuma Field Office and now a consultant, says there’s a source of water underneath the Yuma area that rivals the storage capacity of both Lake Mead and Lake Powell. That water now is a nuisance to farmers and homeowners in the Yuma Valley because of the high groundwater it creates and has to constantly be pumped to protect crops.

There’s an estimated 49 million acre-feet of groundwater in Yuma Valley, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

“It’s a resource that’s not being closely looked at,” Cherry said. “It’s a little salty but it could be taken down to river levels and used. It would be cheaper than desalting ocean water.”

Concluded Meixner of the dilemma of increased demand for water in the Southwest even as a lingering drought and climate change threaten the supply: “There’s not a silver bullet. We just need to maximize the benefits of water and minimize waste.”

Article source: http://www.yumasun.com/articles/water-87758-yuma-need.html

Arroyo Grande garden has a wee bit of England

Cory Kelso of Arroyo Grande brought a wealth of knowledge and experience in cottage gardens when she and her husband, Jim, relocated to Arroyo Grande from Southern California in 2005.

She had spent 12 years as a landscaper, specializing in Cory’s Cottage Gardens, and was featured in three gardening guides, including the 1999 Sunset Special Issue Garden Guide with her article “Big Ideas for Small Gardens.”

“My mother was a farm girl who raised me with my hands in the dirt,” she said.

After high school, instead of going to college, Cory lived on a farm in New Hampshire, where she received a hands-on education in horticulture from a knowledgeable old farmer who knew every plant in the forest by its botanical name.

Cory used that knowledge as she raised her family, growing her own vegetables and fruit. As the children got older, she pursued her love of gardening and began landscaping for others. In 1993, she picked up a book, “Christopher Lloyd’s Flower Garden.”

As she read about his English gardens, she felt like he was writing to her. So moved by his writing and depth of knowledge, she traveled to England to participate in his weeklong Garden Symposium on his 16th-century Tudor estate.

They became fast friends, sharing a similar wit and adventurous spirit, and he invited her to spend two to three weeks working on the estate gardens for the next three summers.

From England, Cory brought not only an enhanced understanding and love of cottage gardening, but she carefully carried back several of his favorite clematis, which now thrive in her showpiece cottage garden in South County.

In order to have a traditional cottage garden near the house, they removed concrete and brought in “truckloads of mulch” to turn into the sandy soil. They chose water-saving rotator pop-up sprinklers that provide a soft spray that doesn’t harm leaves.

Creating a free-flowing cottage garden effect is not as easy as it looks, she said.

“It takes a ton of effort, even though it looks like the gardener just threw a bunch of seeds out.”

The three main elements of the cottage garden are permanent foundation plants, a variety of flowering plants with seasonal blooms, and self-sown annuals that fill in the nooks and crannies so that weeds have no room.

In Cory’s 20-by-20-foot cottage garden, her taller structured foundation plants include Japanese maple, philadelphus, holly, viburnum and osmanthus. These evergreens anchor the garden and provide rich green backdrops for the flowering plants. Seasonal blooms start with fuchsia and bulbs in the spring, and then roses and alstoemeria followed by dahlias, lavender, spiraea, hydrangea and true geraniums.

It’s important to add some light and airy bloomers to create movement in the garden, Cory said. She loves the tall Verbena bounariensis “stick verbena” and many of the self-sowns for this effect. Among her favorite self-sowns are the Agrostemma githago with its magenta bloom, the Lychnis coronaria alba that resembles a lamb’s ear with white blooms, and the bright yellow columbine Aguilegia chrysantha.

“The original cottage gardens in England were small allotments of land, where a family would grow both food for use and flowers for pleasure, packing every square inch as compactly as possible for maximum use,” Cory said.

It was that element of limited space that created the colorful, individualistic and informal look of the cottage garden. To keep this look, Cory advises that the cottage gardener allow plants to get tall and airy, to avoid overpruning and to “relax and let it happen.”

Cory, a Master Gardener and member of California Rare Fruit Growers, continues with her landscape consulting and design business, which focuses on helping people create something with color and pizzazz that is realistic for their lifestyle and reflects the design of their home.

“Landscape and garden choices bring the personality of the owner outdoors,” she said. This is certainly true in the case of the Kelso’s intriguing and vibrant English cottage garden in Arroyo Grande. Cory’s mentor, Christopher Lloyd, is now deceased, but would surely have enjoyed an early morning stroll through the garden with her.

Reach Connie Pillsbury at conniepillsbury22@gmail.com.

Article source: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/05/29/2525336/arroyo-grande-garden-has-a-wee.html

Saluda considers exempting gardening from permit

Saluda considers exempting gardening from permit

Published 11:00pm Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Public hearing set for June 10

Saluda commissioners are considering amending the city’s land disturbing ordinance, adopted earlier this year, to exempt gardening activities from obtaining a permit.

Saluda is also considering a new definition in the zoning ordinance for manufactured homes.

Commissioners met May 13 and discussed several recommendations from its planning board and decided to go forward with public hearings for the gardening exemption and manufactured home definition.

Commissioners scheduled a public hearing regarding these factors for its June 10 meeting, which begins at 7 p.m.

The draft exemption to the land disturbing activity currently states, “home gardens, community gardens, home landscaping or lawn preparation on existing lots and parcels shall be exempt from permitting fees unless erosion, drainage and slope stabilization concerns necessitate a land disturbance permit as required in Section 3.10 of the city ordinance when determined by the zoning administrator.”

Commissioner George Sweet said he thinks the exemption for gardens and landscaping is in accordance with the city’s intent. He said people technically need a permit and “we didn’t think they should have to get one.”

The draft manufactured home definition can be found in the N.C. General Statutes 143-145(7).

“It is a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is eight feet or more in width, 40 body feet or more in length, or, when erected on site, is 320 or more square feet; and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling, with or without permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, including the plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical systems contained therein. A manufactured home includes any structure that meets all of the requirements of this subsection except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the Secretary of HUD and complies with the standards established under the Act. Further, a label in the form of a certification is required by HUD to be permanently affixed to each transportable section of the manufactured home,” states Saluda’s draft definition.

The Saluda Planning Board also sent recommendations to commissioners on definitions for boarding house, junk, junkyard, modular homes, motels and hotels and rooming house as well as a recommendation to amend the sign and outdoor advertising section of the ordinance. The rest of the planning board’s recommendations were sent back for further consideration.

Commissioner Lynn Cass said she wants more specifics in the definitions for boarding and rooming houses. Other commissioners expressed concern over the sign amendment recommendation, which is being proposed for signs in C business districts.

Article source: http://www.tryondailybulletin.com/2013/05/28/saluda-considers-exempting-gardening-from-permit/

Good time to prune, aerate and fertilize

The last week of May means it is time for some pruning if you have spring flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons, forsythia, quince or viburnums that already have bloomed.

If those are on your to-do list, here are a few tips to consider:

Azaleas and heathers: This is a good time to shear azaleas and heathers back by a few inches all over the plant to encourage branching and more flowers.

Rhodies: You can control overgrown rhododendrons by removing one third of the tallest branches or shortening the entire shrub right after the plant finishes blooming.

And after you’re done with that, get to work on your lawn.

The end of May is a good time to aerate, fertilize and add lime to your lawn if you haven’t done so yet this spring. Leave grass clippings on the lawn to return valuable nitrogen to the soil and help shade out weed seeds. The secret to having a tidy yard and not collecting the clippings is to mow more often and use a mulching mower that will chop those grass blades into tiny pieces that can fall back into the soil.

INCREDIBLE EDIBLES TO ADD NOW

There is good eating ahead for anyone who visits a nursery this month. New plants are available that will make you rethink how you enjoy your landscape – and eat your meals. Take a look at these:

Raspberry Shortcake: This compact plant is perfect for containers. This new raspberry plant does not need a pollinator, will not sprout wild vines that need supports and is happy contained in a pot. The berries are full-size and ready to harvest the first summer. Even apartment dwellers with just a bit of a sunny deck or patio can enjoy the fruits of very little labor.

Blueberries: These also are perfect for urban farmers. New blueberry varieties are available in dwarf and compact forms as well as unusual colors such as blueberry “Pink Lemonade.” Blueberry plants can thrive in container gardens if you remember that they love moist, acid soil. Keep them well watered and fertilize with a plant food made for rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas. Blueberry plants do not like lime near their roots.

READER QUESTION

Q: My new house sits on an empty lot and I am overwhelmed about where to start landscaping. What one piece of advice would you give to someone new to the area – or new to gardening? N.M., Woodinville

A: Start at the front door and work your way all around the house. By breaking a landscaping project up into smaller chunks, you can slowly envision and design separate areas as smaller gardens.

Once you add pots of color near the front door, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment. Then choose small and compact evergreens to spread around the property. Evergreens will make up the winter skeleton of the landscape. Fill in with flowering shrubs and small trees arranged in layers around the house. Finally, add groundcovers and splashes of color.

To learn more about what to plant where, pay attention to the plants that do well in your neighbor’s landscape, visit public gardens and go on a lot of garden tours this summer.

Tip: The Enumclaw Garden Tour is June 22.

Marianne Binetti is the author of “Easy Answers for Great Gardens” and eight other gardening books. She has a degree in horticulture from WSU and will answer questions at binettigarden.com.

Article source: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2013/05/29/2616340/good-time-to-prune-aerate-and.html

Tips to avoid injuries while gardening

For many people, gardening is one of life’s greatest joys. But exercising your green thumb carries some risk.

In 2012, more than 41,200 people nationwide were injured while gardening, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Don’t let a day of digging, weeding and watering get the best of you. Take steps to prevent and treat common gardening injuries.

Protect yourself

• Safety goggles and gloves shield your eyes and skin from chemicals and pesticides and protect you from sharp or motorized equipment.

• Spending hours in the sun each day can lead to sunburn and can increase your chance of skin cancer. Sport a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher. Take frequent shady breaks, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is at its highest.

• While watering your plants, don’t forget to water yourself. Drink plenty of liquids, but avoid alcohol or sugary beverages that will dehydrate you. 

• Use lightweight hand tools with rubber handles and ergonomic designs. Tools with offset handles make digging and weeding easier. Or cover your current handles in foam tubing. Sharp, clean tools work better and require less effort, so maintain or replace your equipment often.  Handle extenders and reachers can help you reduce the need for bending, reaching and stretching.

• Stretch and get ready. “Prepare your knees and low back for all that bending and lifting. Before you get out of bed in the morning, lie on your back and pull your knees to your chest. Then drop your legs from side to side five to 10 times. If you begin this now, you’ll be rewarded with greater flexibility and a reduced chance of sprains and strains later in the season,” says Dr. Lauri Grossman, a New York chiropractor who has been practicing homeopathy for over 25 years.

Natural remedies

• Did you get scraped or cut out there? Treat minor injuries with clove oil or aloe. Aloe also helps relieve sunburn and blisters.

• “Before pain gets in your way, treat it at the first sign with a homeopathic medicine that works with your body to relieve pain rather than mask symptoms,” says Dr. Grossman. She recommends a natural pain reliever like Arnicare Gel.

Try it for neck, back, shoulder and leg muscle pain and stiffness, swelling from injuries, and bruising. Arnicare Gel is unscented, non-greasy and quickly absorbed by the skin, so it’s convenient to apply and easy to use anywhere on your body. More information about muscle pain treatment and a $1 coupon for Arnicare can be found by visiting www.Arnicare.com.

• For stings and bug bites, apply honey, baking soda, toothpaste or ice.

By following a few precautions, you can make this gardening season a safe and pleasant one.

Article source: http://muscatinejournal.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/tips-to-avoid-injuries-while-gardening/article_1dbccd99-eecf-5c13-9dcc-eba2e5f6a4d1.html

AgrAbility Project helps with Gardening tips

Amber Wolfe, AgrAbility Project Coordinator, Arthritis Foundation and co host Tracy Forner talks about one of America’s most popular hobbies. 
According to a recent Greenhouse Management Online study, nearly 164 million homeowners in the US (49%) gardened in the past 12 months. In addition to the enjoyment it brings, gardening is also a great activity for maintaining range of motion, bone density and strength, joint flexibility, and overall quality of life.  However, many people feel they have to give up this popular pastime because of arthritis pain. Arthritis is the number one disability-causing disease in America, with nearly 50 million American’s having a diagnosis of at least one form of arthritis.

For information on the webinar go to www.tinyurl.com/garden-webinar .

Or visit www.agrability.org and go to the Latest News pod at the top of the page.

Article source: http://www.wishtv.com/dpp/indy_style/in_indy_now/agrability-project-helps-with-gardening-tips

Planting Containers

By Carol Stocker

This is the time to plant your seasonal containers with annals.

Anything that holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom may be transformed into a container garden for terrestrial plants

For vibrant plant growth, the containers must provide adequate space for roots and soil media, allowing the plant to thrive.

Container gardening has been on the uptrend over the past five years and continues to grow in popularity, especially in urban areas where green space can be limited. But to ensure the most success, it is crucial for the 21 million households planting container gardens to pick the right plant for the pot.

Going the container route saves space, helps control pests and overcome soil issues, enabling the availability of home grown fresh produce without a yard. But it is important to choose a seed or a plant that was specifically developed for the compact container space.

When choosing what to use to fill containers, never use garden soil by itself no matter how good it looks or how well things grow in it out in the garden.

Container soils are often referred to as soilless or artificial media, because they contain no soil at all.

When these mixes are used, they should be moistened slightly before planting. Fill a tub with the media, add water and lightly fluff the media to dampen it.

When filling containers with media, don’t fill the pot to the top. Leave about a one inch space between the top of the soil and rim of the pot.

Soils for containers need to be well aerated and well drained while still being able to retain enough moisture for plant growth.

A regular fertilizer program is needed to keep plants growing well and attractive all season.

The choice of fertilizer analysis will depend on the kinds of plants you are growing. High nitrogen sources would be good for plants grown for their foliage while flowering and vegetable crops would prefer lower nitrogen and higher phosphorous types.

Plants that thrive in like soil, watering, and light conditions make successful combinations. When combining plants, size, texture, proportion, color, setting, and lighting all play a role.

Containers offer the advantage of being portable. As the seasons, temperature and light conditions change, you can move your containers to maintain the desired conditions for peak performance.

Most fruit bearing vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, and eggplant require full sun.

Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard greens, spinach, and parsley can tolerate more shady location compared to the root vegetables such as turnips, beets, radishes, carrots, and onions.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to watering. That is why you have to be watching your containers on a regular basis and understand the requirements of the plants you choose to put in the containers.

The best way to tell if a plant needs water is to feel the soil. And if the first inch or so of the soil is dry, water. Use enough water each time so water starts to drip out of the drainage holes.

When shopping for plants for containers, consider one of my favorite nurseries, Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake St., Salem, N.H. (tel 603-893-5858) The selection is so large and the quality is so good, it really is worth a trip.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/house/blog/gardening/2013/05/planting_containers.html

Cut corners with lazy gardening tips

Cut corners with lazy gardening tips

news.com.au staff

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

© The Cairns Post

 

SO you’d love your garden to look magnificent, but the amount of effort required seems daunting?

Don’t fret – at some stage, we all feel the same way. No matter what those smug, green-thumbed, know-alls say, gardening can be darned hard work. All that weeding, mowing, pruning, spraying, raking and watering can get the best gardeners down.

Yet there are sneaky ways to spare ourselves some toil. I know most of them, because I’ve put a lot of hard work into becoming a lazy gardener. For starters, stop beating yourself up about your lack of garden energy. It’s OK. The world won’t end.

Next, think smarter. Decide what you hate most about gardening and find a way to reduce or eliminate it.

Here are a few suggestions:

* Never plant a lawn that takes more than 20 minutes to mow: life is too short!

* Replace all your normal pots with self-watering ones. You won’t have as many plant losses.

* Avoid too many plants that die down in winter, avoiding the need for cutting back.

* Don’t plant a rose, no matter how beguiling, unless it’s rated top 10 for disease resistance. Spraying is a real drag.

* Don’t make wide garden beds, they’re hard to work and you’ll do your back in.

* Ignore advice not to plant too thickly. With enough good plants, weeds can’t grow.

* Buy a lightweight tiller to reduce digging.

 

Short cuts: top tips for a lazy garden.



Article source: http://www.cairns.com.au/article/2013/05/29/243064_real-estate.html