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Archives for June 3, 2013

St. Patrick’s garden plots offer ‘food for a thousand’

Youth and adults from St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church work on the first gathering from the parish’s “Food for a Thousand” garden. (June 3, 2013)

Youth and adults from St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church work on the first gathering from the parish’s “Food for a Thousand” garden. (June 3, 2013)

ALBANY, Ga. — Through the generosity of numerous volunteers and community donors, the “Food for a Thousand” vision has blossomed into a reality at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, with an initial harvest already conducted and distributed through a local food bank.

Youngsters in the church’s “Stuck in the Middle” program for children and youth helped with the first gathering after morning services on May 19. The result was several grocery bags stuffed with Swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, and collards and other greens. The produce was delivered to the Neighbors in Need food pantry the following Monday morning.

Coming soon from 18 raised garden beds will be squash and peppers and expected later in the summer are tomatoes, corn, okra, watermelon, and other garden favorites.

“Food for a Thousand” at St. Patrick’s is a “signature ministry” to grow healthy food for local feeding ministries and families in need. Coordinated by Juby Phillips, of Albany, and with wholehearted support from St. Patrick’s rector, the Rev. Jay Weldon, and other members of the parish, it has taken root and is growing, with ideas already being explored for additional outreach.

The food ministry would not be possible without the participation of donors from the community at large. Phillips said, “It really is unbelievable the generosity found within our community.” She said the “donors and angels” that have supported the “Food for a Thousand” ministry include, so far, Brenda Gray, organizer and visionary; Chester Averett (A-1 Painting), construction of raised-bed boxing and delivery of wood, products, and seeds; Steve and Vickie Collins (Lawn Barber Nursery), garden plan, soil, and plants both vegetable and herbs;; Keith Gates (Short Paulk building supplies), lumber, metal conduits, and screws for 18 raised beds; Steven Stocks, tractor work for bed preparation; Steve Stocks and Bruce Lee, compost; Roger and Barbara White (Yoga on Pine), landscaping fabric; Ken Phillips, tree service and wood chips; Mark Gavin (Mark’s Greenhouse), irrigation equipment; Manuel Gonzales, installation of the irrigation system; and Chuck Knight (Knight’s Appliance), a freezer for harvest storage.

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Boost value to your home with landscaping – Sarasota Herald

By LEW SICHELMAN, United Features Syndicate

Forget wiring your new home for audio, video and data. Pass on the upgraded kitchen cabinets. Say no to thicker carpets. If you really want to add lasting value, opt for landscaping.

Done correctly, the addition of trees, shrubs, plants, walks, lighting and patios can increase the value of your property by 20 percent — almost instantaneously.

Real-estate professionals have always known this. A study by Arbor National Mortgage found that 84 percent of the agents questioned believe a house on a treed lot would fetch at least that much more than one on a lot without trees.

Another survey, this one in Greenville, S.C., showed houses with “excellent” landscaping could expect to sell for 4 percent to 5 percent more than homes with just “good” landscaping. But those with only “fair” landscaping would sell for 8 percent to 10 percent below “good” houses.

Some builders, on the other hand, don’t seem to get it. Indeed, landscaping is practically an afterthought for many of them. Sure, they deck out their models; but for the most part, they do very little when it comes to the houses people actually buy and live in.

For many builders, the standard is “four heads of broccoli and two asparagus” — four shrubs and a pair of spindly evergreens. In some jurisdictions, they have done such a poor job that lawmakers now require a minimum numbers of shrubs and trees.

But a growing number are finally waking up to the fact that landscaping pays, in more ways than one. For starters, nicely landscaped houses add curb appeal over and above the sample house. After all, what’s more off-putting to potential customers than driving through sections of newly built houses with brown lawns and a few scraggly bushes?

For another, there’s money to be made in landscaping. Big money. There’s no record of how much people spend planting stuff after they move in. But it’s typically the next thing they do after unpacking and hanging their curtains or blinds.

The National Association of Home Builders in Washington, D.C. reports that people are spending a lot more money on the outside of their houses than they used to.

One builder that has figured it out is St. Lawrence Homes in Raleigh, N.C. The company offers three different landscaping packages as standard at Trenton, its high-end, big-lot subdivision in Chapel Hill. But “just about everybody” goes beyond that, opting for $3,000 to $5,000 in extras, such as lighting, irrigation systems, pavers and vegetation, said sales vice president Rich Ohmann.

At Sun City Lincoln Hills in northern California, Del Webb offered four different upgraded landscape packages, plus an a-la-carte menu of upgrades. That’s in addition to a standard package of a 24-inch box tree in the front yard, 19 shrubs and sod, which is more than most builders offer.

Still, four out of five buyers in the now nearly sold-out project choose to upgrade, spending an average of $12,000 each.

Which begs the question: How much should you spend?

The Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) suggests you “invest” 5 percent to 10 percent of your home’s value on landscaping. That rule of thumb can be expensive, but the good thing is, you don’t have to do it all at once. Indeed, you can start small and watch your money grow . . . well, grow on trees.

Start by making a realistic budget. Next, ASLA suggests looking at books and magazines and start a file of plants, trees, gardens, yards, patios, decks and fences that strike your fancy.

ASLA also suggests you hire one of its members to bring your ideas to life. If you go that route, interview several companies and check their references. If you can’t afford an architect, check out the services offered by local nurseries and big-box retailers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot. Many offer design services, sometimes without charge, if you are buying your plants at the same place.

Before you hire anyone, though, or before you purchase plants, you’ll need to find out exactly how your builder plans to landscape your house. Or better yet, how much he plans to spend. With that in mind, tell him you might be interested in doing your own landscaping work, and ask for a landscape credit.

Chances are you’ll be surprised how little you’re offered. But at least you’ll have a starting point.You’ll also want to determine whether the builder will use sod or seed — or a combination of both. Because sod requires more water to grow than seed does to germinate, it should be laid in late spring or summer. Already rooted, sod can better withstand dry, hot weather; it also covers poor soil preparation, which, after the lack of water, is the major reason new lawns fail. Seeding is best in the early spring or late fall, when rainfall is abundant and the cool nights give the grass relief from the heat. If the builder wants to seed during any other time of the year, be certain he will try again if your lawn doesn’t take.

If the builder won’t guarantee your grass — most won’t — and your local building code allows you to occupy a house with a barren lot, consider asking for a lawn credit and either do the work yourself or have it done by a professional after you move in.

If you are not satisfied with the builder’s landscape plan, ask that he spend the entire budget on one large tree and put in your own foundation plants, or take the entire credit and do your own thing altogether.If you are on a tight budget — and what new homeowner isn’t? — a few larger plants will have a greater visual impact than a bunch of smaller ones.

Professionals suggest starting in the front yard with a large-caliper shade tree — one that’s 4 to 6 inches in diameter at a point 12 inches off the ground. This, they say, will immediately give your home an established look that otherwise would take five or six years to create.

As a rule, you can expect to save half the cost of landscaping if you do the work yourself. But unless you have a green thumb and can transport plants properly, it’s best to stick to the smaller ones and let the pros handle the bigger pieces.

Large trees are killed most frequently when carried uncovered in the back of the buyer’s SUV from the nursery to the house, not because they are planted poorly. And most nurseries won’t guarantee plants they don’t install.

Budget-bound homeowners should plan their landscaping over several years, doing a little bit at a time until they achieve their goals. But remember that plants grow, so make sure your plan allows them plenty of room to reach maturity without suffocating one another — or damaging the house itself.

If you plant a big tree too close, the growing roots could cause the foundation to crack. And if you place it too near a sidewalk or driveway, root expansion could cause the pavement to buckle.

So before planting anything, it’s a good idea to determine how large it will become and what leaf pattern will develop, and then decide where to place it.

One more thing: Don’t forget your lifestyle. If you don’t enjoy working in a yard or garden, make sure the plantings you buy are low maintenance.


Lew Sichelman has been covering real estate for more than 30 years. He is a regular contributor to numerous shelter magazines and housing-industry publications. Readers can contact him at

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Plan for Fox Farm Corridor moving ahead



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CHEYENNE — It has been two years since planners at the city and Laramie County began looking at how to address long-term traffic impacts on Fox Farm Road.

And now, after numerous open houses and months of public input, planners are starting to put together a picture of what the thoroughfare may look like in coming decades.

The Fox Farm Road Corridor Plan covers Fox Farm Road from Walterscheid Boulevard in the west to College Drive in the east.

The idea behind the plan, said Nancy Olson of the Cheyenne Metropolitan Planning Organization, is to develop ideas for how to prepare the south Cheyenne roadway for the added traffic that is expected over the next 25 years.

“The county planning office was interested in putting this plan in place for the road so when they’re required to do development actions, they can guide it in the direction that the citizens want to see,” Olson said.

Currently the stretch of Fox Farm being looked at is home to a range of medium residential, commercial and light industrial zoning. But as the area grows, planners see residents looking toward mixed-use zoning as well as growth of the industrial base.

“We’ve been talking to three major landowners east of College Drive, and they’ve begun to think about getting the land ready for development in the future,” Olson said.

“We also need to look at the major intersections to see how they may need to handle more traffic as the area develops.”

Gary Kranse with the Laramie County Planning and Development Office said one part of the plan involves meeting competing needs of residents and the local industry.

One concern for residents is the number of trucks that drive on east Fox Farm, particularly those that haul oil and products from the HollyFrontier refinery.

HollyFrontier and other industries, meanwhile, would like better access to the roadway for trucks.

One potential solution, Kranse said, could be to realign the intersection of South Industrial Road and Burlington Trail to make it easier for large trucks to negotiate.

“It’s a hard turn there, and it just doesn’t function well because it’s out of alignment,” he said. “The thought is: If it functions better, it’ll get used more.”

Kranse said trends have shown that residents in areas like Fox Farm are more likely to seek mixed-use zoning over time to include home offices and other such businesses.

He said that is likely to increase traffic on the road as well as on feeder streets like Walterscheid, South Greeley Highway and Avenue C. Interchange improvements are being recommended there.

Residents’ desires have led to recommendations to install roadway and pedestrian street lighting along the corridor as well as sidewalks, landscaping and drainage options.

Kranse said road widening is possible for some parts of Fox Farm. But residents have been quick to express concern about losing part of their own property in the process.

“There are no sidewalks, so we wouldn’t have to take any people’s property to get those in,” he said. “All the road widening would occur within an existing right of way.”

AVI Engineering of Fort Collins, Colo., has been working alongside the city and county to develop ways to meet residents’ and businesses’ interests.

AVI is continuing to collect public comments from open houses, like the most recent one on May 28 as well as from an online survey the city has set up.

“AVI will be putting together all the comments we heard at the last public hearing,” Kranse said. “Based on that, they’ll be making final adjustments to the plan and then it’d be time to take it to public hearings.”

In the meantime, the window for public participation remains open.

Those interested in voicing their thoughts can do so by visiting There, they can review the plan as it stands, including what public recommendations already have been included.

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Scents of home found in Cary’s Vedic Gardens


The scent of the mogra flower is everywhere in India. It grows in great blooms, and its petals twist into garlands and ceremonial decorations.

“It is the most prized flower. In the evening, the ladies sit by the roadside, selling piles and piles of it,” explained Anil Gandhi, wearing a burlap sunhat and a thick black mustache as he brushed through rows of mogra seedlings at Vedic Gardens.

He’s a rare American vendor of the fragrant white flower – and his nursery outside Cary is home to whole crops of botanical culture for western Wake County’s growing South Asian population.

Like many Indian-Americans, Gandhi, 56, came to the United States for a telecommunications job in the 1980s. Back then, immigrants drove hundreds of miles even for the basics of Indian cooking, and rarer still were the flowers and trees that are so central to religion and everyday life in their homeland.

Customs policy forbids the import of most plant life from India, and climate differences double the difficulty of cultivating staples such as Holy Basil, bodhi trees and curry leaf trees. Yet just as Indian groceries, restaurants and Bollywood cinema have proliferated, gardens have followed.

Gandhi pioneered the business locally almost by accident. He was laid off 12 years ago amid a cascade of telecommunications mergers and acquisitions, finding himself without work for the first time since he and his wife arrived in 1989.

“I sat at home for a couple of months, sold my car, bought a pick-up truck, a wheelbarrow and a couple of axes, and never looked back,” he recalled.

The business first focused on landscaping, cutting waterfalls and raising meditation shelters in suburban backyards, but Gandhi made a specialty of sourcing banana trees and other South Asian plants from stateside vendors.

Almost three years ago, the venture found its home: Vedic Gardens, now a heavily landscaped farm property at the edge of busy Davis Drive, near the Cary-Morrisville border.

It’s a rare career path, he acknowledged. For Indian-American immigrants, “it’s one-in-I-don’t-know,” said Gandhi, who’s often mistaken for Central or South American.

But his niche is strong as it is unique, he said. He’s most proud of his bodhi tree, holy for its association with the Buddha, and his curry leaf tree, used for garnishes and chutneys.

Both are products of years of intensive care and careful greenhouse placement. Back home, they’d be dwarves – but here they’re pricy rarities.

“Some of these, we have to buy from here only,” said Sreenivas Kondapaneni, 35, a software engineer who grew up in a South Indian farming family. “Finally, we’ve got one place where we can get our Indian plants.”

The nursery has become a road-trip destination for South Asian families passing through North Carolina, but it also has an increasingly diverse customer base. While about 80 percent of last year’s visitors were South Asian, that figure dropped to about 60 percent this season, said Gandhi, who attributes the change to popular interest in herbal medicine.

Gandhi, a father of three, also has branched into the plants of other cultures from around the world. He scans the Internet each night for deals, always looking for the next bit of life for the unlikely garden at the edge of Cary.

Kenney: 919-460-2608 or

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‘Hidden’ gardens yield bumper crop of beauty on annual tour – Westport

The classic children’s book “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett introduces readers to an unhappy child named Mary Lennox whose disposition is much improved after the discovery of a garden hidden behind a locked gate on her uncle’s estate.

Even those of good humor left five local gardens Sunday feeling immeasurably better for having walked their grounds, taken in their beauty, witnessed their explosion of colorful blossoms and breathed in their intoxicating perfume.

The Westport Historical Society’s 22nd annual Hidden Gardens Tour unlocked the magic of three Westport and two Wilton properties for hundreds of appreciative gardeners and flower lovers. It was an opportunity to see formal perennial flower beds, elaborately-designed terraced vegetable gardens, specimen trees, a grove of apricot and quince trees and manicured shrubbery.

“It’s a great event. We come every year,” said Christine Daigle of Fairfield. Her husband Andrew Daigle said it gives them ideas for their own garden.

Susan Wiedl of Oxford said she gets ideas that she hopes to incorporate into her garden but on a smaller scale. “It’s enjoyable. It’s just so beautiful,” she said.

“I like looking at the gardens. It looks so pretty,” said Jaylin Hopkins, 11, of Westport. Jaylin’s mother, Tanya Clemons, called the tour “both humbling and inspiring.”

Landscape designer Jay Petrow, owner of Petrow Gardens Landscape Design in Westport, was impressed with the quality of the gardens on this year’s tour from the botanical park-like atmosphere of a six-acre estate on Prospect Road in Westport to the vibrantly-colored perimeter plantings and garden paths of the former Christmas tree farm on Spruce Meadow Court in Wilton to the formal English and Luxembourg gardens on a property on Meadowbrook Lane in Westport.

The latter property was designed and planted by the home-owner, Paul Liistro, who spent 20 years adding stone walls, perennial plants, a water fountain, a birdcage gazebo and other hard-scaping and landscaping elements. Sunday marked the third time that his property was featured on the tour.

“I love the formalness of this garden with the roses and boxwood. Coming from a professional designer, he did a great job,” said Petrow, who served as a docent at the Meadowbrook Lane property.

“He integrated color well and I like the way he juxtaposed the columbines against the clematis and the peonies,” said Marcy Juran, a professional photographer and marketing expert from Westport.

“The one on Prospect Road was more like a work of art,” Petrow said.

The owner of that property has divided his grounds into multiple gardens of common and unusual botanicals.

“The owner has this taste that is not your typical azaleas and rhododendrons; not every-day plants, not plants common to this area, yet plants that thrive in this area,” said Paul Sztremer, owner of the Stamford-based grounds maintenance company Wildflower, which is responsible for the care of the Prospect Road property.

For Joan Vohra, an owner of the property on Burr Farms Road, there is nothing common about azaleas or rhododendrons, which dot her property, as do roses and hydrangea. “I’m from Canada. You can nurse along one rhododendron if you’re in the right neighborhood,” she said, but for the most part she couldn’t grow them north of the border.

Most who took the tour appreciated the stunning views as well as the practical information.

“You can take a look at shrubs in a nursery but this gives a good idea of what goes together,” said Mousumi Ghosh, who recently moved to Westport. She took the tour with her parents Ira and Sibdas Ghosh, both horticulturists who are visiting from India.

Mousumi Ghosh was especially drawn to an unusual spruce tree that had upward articulated pinecones and the appearance of a white coating on its needles. “It’s almost like someone put Christmas ornaments on this tree and it looks like someone put powdered sugar on it,” she said.

“It’s nice that these people even let us see their properties. It’s their own private sanctuary,” said Linda Ashe of Prospect, who attends the Hidden Garden Tour every year with friend Diane Slater, also of Prospect.

While some took the tour others shopped at the Garden Marketplace set up on Veterans Green next to the historical society headquarters, featuring vendors selling plants, garden tools and other floral-related arts and crafts.

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GREEN SCENE Pride Inc. 25th annual Garden Tour to showcase landscaping

ALTON — From flower beds to monuments to backyard chicken coops, this year’s Pride Inc. Garden Tour is truly a celebration of how landscaping beautifies both private and public spaces.

The 25th annual Garden Tour will be held from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday, June 9, showcasing nine home gardens, established gardens at Gordon Moore Park and the newly unveiled Western Military Academy Memorial, along with the second annual Art in the Garden Fair.

“We have a wonderful variety of garden styles this year that are really captivating,” said Debra Kannel, event chair. “I encourage everyone to come out, visit each garden and take some time to ‘smell the roses.’ Whether you are a novice or an experienced gardener, this year’s Garden Tour is sure to inspire our visitors to create some beauty in their own back yards.”

The variety of showcased gardens highlights the wide diversity of horticultural styles, which reflect homeowners’ individual tastes, as well as different growing conditions, ranging from shade to full sun.

One of the featured homes dramatically highlights the transformative effect of landscape design.

Building their home at 925 Rozier St. in 1985, Stephanie and Doug Mendenhall recently renovated their kitchen so it would serve as a more cohesive connection between indoor and outdoor spaces. The expansive windows provide ample views of their backyard oasis, which includes two patio areas edged with hostas, evening primrose, Shasta daisies, daylilies and liriope.

Although the couple enjoy looking out into the garden, they prefer spending time outside, whether it’s planting, weeding, mowing or taking time to savor the view.

“I love gardening, so it just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” said Stephanie Mendenhall, who spends at least an hour a day tending her plants. “That’s how we ended up with the hostas lining our driveway. Our lower garden at the back of our property is nice, because we can take plants from there and put them in other places.”

Mendenhall also uses decorative touches, such as placing pillows in turquoise and lime green to complement their gardenscape. Her love of vibrant color pays homage to her Mediterranean heritage.

However, Mendenhall describes her taste as “eclectic,” mixing contemporary design with vintage pottery, traditional wrought iron furniture, romantic candles and whimsical sculpture.

“We enjoy being out in the garden when the weather permits, and we eat dinner outside on most nights,” she said.

For Doug Mendenhall, “a cup of coffee and a newspaper in the morning” on the patio is a great way to start his day.

The other stops on this year’s tour include:

  • Jim and Patricia Belk, 1207 White Oak Trail, Godfrey
  • Felicia Breen and Chad Nelson, 2040 Alby St., Alton
  • Jean Cousley, 726 Belle St., Alton (Art in the Garden location)
  • Kent Hake, 1603 Liberty, Alton
  • Hank and Terri Hart, 4746 West Hill Drive, Godfrey
  • Christine and Gary Ilewski-Huelsmann, 436 Bluff St., Alton
  • Amy Meyer, 423 Bluff St., Alton
  • Gene and Sarah Ursprung, 19 Pond Way, Alton
  • Gordon Moore Park — Oriental and Rose Gardens and Heartland Prairie
  • Western Military Academy Memorial, 2009 Seminary, Alton

For the first time on the Pride Garden Tour, two of the showcased homes, Breen and Nelson’s and the Harts’, have chicken coops. The Breen and Nelson home also will be featured on Sierra Club’s Urban Farm Tour scheduled for the same day from 5 until 7 p.m.

Members of the Rose Society and Alton Park and Recreation Department will be available at Gordon Moore Park to share gardening tips and guide guests through the park’s Oriental and Rose gardens and Heartland Prairie.

“This is a great opportunity to learn more about our community treasures from local professionals,” Kannel said. “In the Rose Garden, rose experts will be on site, and ticket holders may enter into a drawing for a free rose bush.

“Also, at the Western Military Academy Memorial, people can visit the newly dedicated historical site that commemorates our rich history and reminisce to the sounds of the Alton Youth Symphony Chamber Orchestra.”

Complimentary cookies from Duke Bakery will be available for sampling.

For the second year, garden-themed artwork will be on display at the Art in the Garden Fair, located this year at 726 Belle St.

“Art in the Garden will feature at least 10 artists set up in tents throughout in Jeanie Cousley’s garden,” Pride Inc. Executive Director Sarah Ansell said. “Visitors can expect to find unique works by local and regional artists in a variety of mediums: painting, glass work, jewelry, fiber and mixed media.”

A longtime member of the Bucket Brigade committee, Julie Fraser, is a featured artist.

“Julie makes cupcake-style potholders from a variety of fabric designs, which will be specifically garden- and nature-themed for Art in the Garden,” Ansell said. “The proceeds from her sales support ‘Working Towards a Cure’ — a breast cancer charity that helps breast cancer patients with unexpected expenses that occur during treatment.”

Students from Marquette Catholic High School, ceramic students at Jacoby Arts Center and other local artists also will participate.

“It’s going to be a great tour this year. There are so many lovely gardens in our communities,” Pride Inc. President Karen Wilson said. “The Garden Tour is always a great way to kick off the start of summer and get some new ideas for your own garden.”

Tickets for the tour cost $12 and are available at the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau, Liberty Bank (all locations), Dick’s Flowers, Seasons Garden Center, Karen Wilson State Farm Agency, JMC Design Gallery Co-op, CNB Bank and Trust (Alton), Mississippi Mud Pottery or at the Pride office. A map with directions will be provided.

Tickets also will be available at each of the homes on the day of the tour.

Pride Inc. is a local, nonprofit organization dedicated to community beautification. Proceeds from the Home and Garden Tour will be used to support programs such as the Bucket Brigade, Student Pride, neighborhood improvement, and other beautification and service projects.

For additional information, visit the Pride website at If interested in being on the Garden Tour next year, please contact the Pride Office at (618) 467-2375 or email a photo of your garden to

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June in the French Garden – Gardening tips for the south of France – Guide 2 Midi


June in the French Garden – Gardening tips for the south of France

June continues to be a busy month in the garden.  Weeds continue to grow and remain a problem throughout the month.  Try to keep on top of them by hand weeding or by using glyphosate (a bio-degradable weed killer), where possible. 


Continue cutting lawns weekly to produce a lush thick mat, before the hot weather stops growth.

Water, Water, Water – Hopefully watering systems are now in place and simply need checking before use.  If not, they are very easy to install, cost effective and will save you hours, not to mention the obvious benefit to plants.

Vegetable Garden, still plenty of work this month. Here are a few tips:

  1. Continue watering and weeding. 
  2. Tomatoes should be trained and tied straight up removing all side shoots.  Don’t water tomatoes from above as this will encourage blight, which is inevitably catches most of the plants in the South West.  Leaves curl and become dotted with brown legions, ultimately spreading to the fruit.  Weekly sprays of bordelaise (before the blight arrives) and ground watering along with rigorous checks and removal of lower growth will keep tomato blight in check.
  3. Continue sowing vegetable seed crops, radish, lettuce etc, but also consider planting or sowing for autumn veg, certain peas and beans for example.

Roses –  black spot is also abundant this year with the wet Spring and now after the first flush, many Roses will start to become infested.  Feed well, continue spraying with Bordelais and cover the ground underneath plants, both the spores getting up onto the plants and help to retain moisture in the ground.

Other jobs:

  1. Many early Spring flowering shrubs should be lightly pruned this month, keep them in shape and to promote vigour for next year’s flowers.
  2. Herbaceous plants need staking and  feeding.  If you have a herbaceous border, this may be the last chance you have to walk through the bed before plants get too thick in the summer months.
  3. Continue checks for aphids, slugs and treat as necessary.


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Garden Tip: Keep yourself and your plants hydrated


Summer Is about staying hydrated

Here are two important tips for summer, one for your plants and one for you. Save water, and drink water.

Save water by positioning plants with the same water needs together. You wouldn’t plant dahlias under a Ceanothus shrub or sunflowers with a cactus would you? Either one would die from lack of water, or the other would die from overwatering and root rot. If you group drought-tolerant plants together, you will save water by irrigating infrequently.

Drink water when you work in the garden. Consider carrying a water bottle with you. On warm summer days, it’s important to avoid overheating and dehydration.

— Katie Martin, UC Marin Master Gardener

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Bee-Friendly Garden Tips

Adopt a Hive:  Tony Gray of 'Fragile Planet Ltd'.StyleNest have teamed up with expert beekeeper at Adopt-a-Hive to bring you some bee-friendly garden tips that the whole family can follow.

Pulling the kids away from the TV and getting them into the great outdoors can prove to be a tricky task. StyleNest and expert beekeeper Tony Gray are on hand to help sow the seed to help encourage the little ones see a greener side.

With the Chelsea Flower Show currently on and with the plight of wild bees in the UK, what better time to start helping the cause. Follow Tony Gray’s gardening top tips to help save the bees.

Tip 1 Don’t Use Pesticides

Bees wont visit your garden if it’s sprayed with pesticides as it’s not very welcoming. If you have to use one then try to use the least toxic one you can find.

Tip 2 Use Local Native Plans

Bees love native plants more than exotic plants. As much as you may be trying to recreate a Mediterranean garden, these plants don’t adapt well to British chilly weather and native plants don’t require much looking after. Your bees will feel much more at home.

Tip 3 More Colour

When bees are buzzing through the air, they’re naturally attracted to colour as this helps them find the yummiest flowers full of nectar and pollen. Colours including blue, purple, white and yellow help to attract bees.

Tip 4 Grouping

Clusters of lots of flowers look a lot more inviting. Allow four feet or more in between each bunch to give the bees some space to land and take off.

Top Tips

  • Bees are just like us and come in all different shapes and sizes with no two bees the same, so make sure you have lots of different shaped flowers so every type of bee is welcome.
  • Some bees like to fly in spring and some in summer so ensure you have a range of plants for them to feed on throughout the seasons.
  • Like us all, bees prefer sunny spots in the garden with a little shade with shelter from strong winds for landing so find a balanced spot for planting.

For more information visit

Click here to see StyleNest’s roundup of the best gardening kits for kids. 

See more in Interiors Notebook »

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WALTON HIGHWAY: Japanese design on display at garden open to support …

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