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Archives for June 7, 2013

Felled but not forgotten

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  • Avenues of honour are drawing renewed interest in the lead-up to the 100th Gallipoli anniversary. Photo: Sarah Wood

A peculiarly Australian phenomenon, the avenue of honour, turns an age-old landscaping device into modern-day remembrance. Both garden and commemoration, avenues of honour pair the life of trees with the death of war.

Like any avenue, they frame and divide. But unlike regular routes lined with trees they symbolise service and sacrifice and, with the centenary of the Anzac Gallipoli landing in 2015, they are prompting a new wave of interest.

The Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 initiative aims not only to document and preserve the 547 known avenues around the country, but to create new ones as well. The goal is to see a tree planted for each of the more than 100,000 Australians who have died at war.

While most avenues of honour were established close to 100 years ago in the aftermath of World War I, arboreal memorials are returning to favour.

Darren Peacock, a social technology consultant for Avenues of Honour 1915-2015, attributes this to the growing popularity of Anzac Day commemorations and an increasing environmental consciousness around the planting of trees.

“There is a momentum around the convergence of these ideas,” he says. “Tree-planting has more cachet now than 50 years ago. We do need to plant trees and take care of them, but we can also use trees to express remembrance.”

While the Canadians have named lakes after those who went to war and Australians became more inclined to establish swimming pools and other community facilities as a form of remembrance after World War II, Peacock says the original avenues of honour were a “spontaneous” community gesture.

He says it was driven, in part, by the fact that the graves of the dead were so far away.

“It wasn’t possible to visit graves in France. So trees were planted locally,” he says.

While the earliest recorded avenues of honour were planted in response to Australia’s participation in the Second Boer War of 1899 to 1902, most avenues came about a couple of decades later. They were planted everywhere except for the Northern Territory, with about half of them located in Victoria.

About 3770 exotics were introduced along 22 kilometres of roadway in Ballarat from 1917 to 1919, while a 2.5-kilometre stretch of road in Woodend was lined with oaks in 1918.

The same year, 281 elms were planted (245 survived) over 3.3 kilometres in Bacchus Marsh, with an avenue of sugar gums planted in Melbourne’s Macleod in 1919.

Photographer and horticulturist Sarah Wood has been documenting avenues of honour for about five years and is now involved with the Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 project.

She says one of the most interesting aspects of these plantings is the role communities have played in establishing and maintaining them.

“Groups of people sat around tables all over the country; communities were united in this activity and it was ongoing,” she says.

“We are talking about years of care: people were planting saplings and even seeds, and who was going to water them every day and keep kangaroos away from them?”

But drought, compaction, neglect and the widening of roads and other forms of urban expansion have exacted their toll.

Peacock says Avenues of Honour 1915-2015 – established by Treenet, the urban tree research and education organisation based at the University of Adelaide’s Waite Arboretum – will also gather information about which avenues have done better than others.

Success, Peacock says, has depended on the suitability of the species selected (both exotics and natives) and the subsequent treatment of the site chosen. Even some of those avenues where trees have done well are coming to the end of the plants’ lives, with the focus now on how to replenish them.

Information gathered is to be shared on a website that was launched by Treenet last week.

The site ( maps existing avenues of honour (right down to the 100 oak trees that were recently planted in Willunga, south of Adelaide, in preparation for the Anzac centenary) and will provide a forum for people to discuss old avenues and propose new ones.

“Avenues of honour say a lot about our attitudes to life and death,” Peacock says.

“They talk about what we value, which trees we favour and what we destroy. These are locally cherished symbols that people really care about and now there’s a desire to continue the tradition, and also refresh it.”

People with information about existing avenues of honour, or those who are considering planting a new one, can email:

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The Stable, the Unpredictable, and the Bully — More Tales From the Garden

My social life has changed significantly in the last year and a half that I have been in a relationship with a curator at a major museum. He has dinners out frequently for business and most of the time I join him. When people ask what I do and I tell them I am a landscaper, they usually respond by saying ” A landscaper, how wonderful you get to work outside in nature everyday”. Well yes, and no. Landscaping is probably one of the most challenging jobs there is especially if you are a designer and a contractor. You not only have to come up with creative ideas for a space, but implement them as well. You have to be creative and a good project manager. But the most challenging aspect is working with the variety of personalities that you need to work with when dealing with clients. I have been landscaping homes and businesses for close to 15 years now, not to oversimplify, but I have found there are roughly 3 personality types that you find.

The folks that are the easiest are the ones that are the most stable, don’t sweat the small stuff, and want a professional that has the skill and knowledge to do the job. In many cases these are the folks that have done a lot of research and have decided that we are the best company to do the project. They are easy because simply, they let us do our job and treat us as professionals. They may make some changes along the way, and definitely ask a lot of questions, but their interaction with us is professional and respectful. They have clear expectations which make it a pleasure to work with them. These folks are the ones most stable and when they make a decision they are comfortable with it.

The second personality type is the unpredictable type. These folks are the ones that are frequently easygoing when in the design process. However when you get into the actual installation phase and plants are coming out and things are torn up, they can come a bit unglued. You can see that they are wondering if they made the right decision. In the course of the project their personality fluctuates dramatically. They can be perfectly happy on one day and completely unhappy the next. Unlike the stable clients that did the research and feel comfortable with their decision and let you go about implementing the project, they are not secure in their own decision-making ability so are constantly questioning if they make the right decision. These folks put a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect so are in constant fear of making a wrong decision. Unfortunately, this fear most frequently manifests itself in anger and frustration, which is directed to the service professional.

The third personality type you know what you are getting up front. You have a sense from the beginning that they won’t be easy to deal with. In a perfect world most service people would run from these folks, and 5 years ago many of us did. But today we don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing our clients as much. These are the folks that believe that anyone that they are paying can pretty much be treated as they see fit if they expect to be paid. Being paid by them can be a trick in and of itself. These are the most disrespectful and most unpleasant to work with. These are the bullies.

In the last two months I have had all three personality types as clients. The emotionally stable personality was a young guy, probably in his thirties (young to me these days). He had done a lot of research on the Internet before contacting us. He had got several estimates as well. He settled on us because of our ideas and experience. This project was reworking a backyard that was newer, but was not very attractive or functional. We reworked the planter beds to get rid of a lot of straight lines, installed a flagstone patio and a fire pit. Along the way he asked a lot of questions, we did a lot of emailing, pretty much daily, but he let us do what we were hired to do. When we finished he really liked the project and we are now doing a project for his mother.

Our unpredictable client was a woman that had found us through the showcase house we did last year. Not sure why, but the showcase house clients are frequently the unpredictable type. The project started with a design that was supposed to be done for the backyard, but then changed to a design for a driveway. Then quickly changed to redoing the planting around the driveway in an updated Mediterranean look. This look was second-guessed several times in the course of implementing it. At the end of each discussion I thought there was an agreement, but at the start of the next day more second-guessing and changes were made. These are the clients that even though they have signed a contract really pay no attention to it and are actually surprised when you refer to it as though they have no memory of it. Payment by these folks is really a matter of catching them in the right mood. I have learned to ask for the next payment when you get them on one of the good days (or hours).

The bully client was in the Bush Administration (which should have sent me running). His wife fell into the unpredictable category, so an interesting combination. I knew he would be difficult. He barked at his wife frequently throughout the initial meetings. They had found us through a friend of mine. My friend works with them on a volunteer basis but warned me about taking on a project with them, as their difficult side was quite obvious as he put it. Somehow I thought I could make it work and would just keep my head down. Being a former engineer, the bully client felt he could do all of the irrigation work himself. We informed him via email that more heads were needed to provide complete coverage. He responded that it was unnecessary. The next time we were at the property he attacked my crew about a broken pipe (which it turns out the hardscape crew he had hired separately had broken). Regardless of who broke it the reaction was way out of proportion and hostile. When I arrived he blew up at me for being unwilling to replace plants that might die because he refused to install more sprinkler heads. Being responsible for his own work was not something that he felt comfortable with. I stood up to him in a calm manner, explaining that it wasn’t reasonable for us to be responsible for his work. This only infuriated him more (which is very common with bullies, the more you reason the more upset they get). Because of this series of outbursts we left shortly thereafter as I wanted to assess if we were even going to continue. I don’t feel we should have to deal with harassment by a client – that is going too far. The day after, my crew told me that the other crew that did the hardscape was very happy with the way I stood up to the bully. They told my crew that their boss would never have stood up to him. Instead, their boss just took the yelling and insults so he would get paid. For better or worse I am not able to do that. I don’t tolerate bullies well. Against my better judgment we did finish up. The bully when he was out in the yard acted as though we weren’t there. But have I seen the final payment? Still waiting on that as the unpredictable of the pair who was making out the checks left on vacation for two weeks without paying us.

So how do I usually respond to the folks that say to me that I have such a wonderful job? The nature part is great. I just wish that was mainly what I did.

Follow Anne Phillips on Twitter:

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Angie’s advice: Irrigation without the aggravation

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Keeping your lawn and plants hydrated during the summer can be a challenging task, even more so in recent years when we’ve experienced some pretty severe droughts.

For homeowners who don’t have a sprinkler system, dragging out the hoses and sprinklers every day after work can be a time-consuming — and costly — job.

One solution to cut down on your water consumption is investing in a low-drip, or low-flow, irrigation system. A low-flow system allows water to slowly drip either onto the soil or directly into your plants’ root systems through a network of hoses and pipes. The goal of the system is to conserve water because it doesn’t allow for runoff or loss of water to non-growth areas. It goes directly to the roots.

The system is widely used by farmers and greenhouse operators, but the technique has gained traction by everyday gardeners to keep their plants and vegetables growing strong. It can be especially beneficial when municipalities face water restrictions, which Indianapolis did during last summer’s drought. The system can also cut down on the number of weeds that grow in your yard.

“You’re not going to lose any water to evaporation or runoff,” said Charles Watkins, owner of Indianapolis-based All-Green, Inc.

Low-flow systems consist of a hose, which can be placed below or above ground, that contains small holes, or drip emitters, that are typically spaced about 18 inches apart.

“It’s primarily used for mulch beds and shrub beds,” Watkins said. “But it can be used for lawns as well. It uses less water, but can take a little bit of work to get it installed. It takes a special kind of hose for the drip irrigation.”

Low-drip systems can be fairly inexpensive, depending on the size of the area where you are installing it.

There are other ways to cut your water consumption. Watkins said using something other than the typical Kentucky Blue Grass that grows on yards across Indianapolis can also decrease water usage. Rhizomatous Tall Fescue (RTF) is a hybrid grass developed with a longer root system that can absorb more water. The grass is known for quickly growing a deep root system, which makes it more adaptable to drought, heat and soil conditions. Aside from the root system, RTF looks much like typical Kentucky Blue Grass.

“It doesn’t need watered as often,” Watkins said. “People probably only started using it two or three years ago. But it’s beginning to take hold.”

Dale Pitchford, with A Better Tree Landscape in Indianapolis, said he has seen more people going with larger porches and patios and other hardscaping ideas to cut down on the amount of landscaping and watering in their yards.

“We’re seeing more of the big fancy patios,” he said. “We’re seeing them with the cookers and fire pits built in.”

Watkins said using plants that are tolerant of dry climates or native to that particular area can also help. Xeriscaping, or drought resistant landscaping, has also grown in popularity.

“It will absorb the extra water and in the process absorbs the extra moisture,” Watkins said.

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie’s List, the nation’s most trusted resource for local consumer reviews on everything from home improvement to automotive repair.

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Chautauqua Doing Its Part To Limit Sediment

CHAUTAUQUA – A plethora of flora is what’s in store for the Chautauqua Institution.

Recently, the Chautauqua Institution announced it has made plans to implement ecologically friendly landscaping practices this offseason. New practices include the construction of rain gardens and the designation of “no-mow zones.”

The promotion of practices such as “no-mow zones” are not new to the county. As the general population better understands humanity’s impact upon the environment, a greater number of county residents are doing their part to maintain an ecologically friendly lifestyle. According to Ryan Kiblin, Chautauqua Institution manager of grounds, garden and landscaping, the institution is happy to do its part.

Article Photos

The Fletcher Music Hall rain garden is the longest established rain garden in the Chautauqua Institution according to Ryan Kiblin.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb

No-mow zones have been established around the Chautauqua Institution grounds to help slow rain water as it gathers momentum flowing down hills on the way to the lake.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb

Informational signs have been placed around Chautauqua Institution explaining how rain gardens and permeable surfaces help mitigate sediment entering the lake.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb

Informational signs have been placed around Chautauqua Institution explaining how rain gardens and permeable surfaces help mitigate sediment entering the lake.
P-J photo by Remington Whitcomb

“We have a lot of steep hillsides in Chautauqua,” said Kiblin. “When you mow the lawn and it’s only a few inches long, it’s basically the same as a paved road. When it rains, all that rainwater gathers momentum, picks up sediment, and deposits it right into the lake. By allowing the grass to just grow, that gives you 12-18 inches of growth that slows that water down, creates some resistance, and gives the sediment a chance to settle out of it instead of rushing into the lake.”

Kiblin was quick to state that the institution is not “going to just stop mowing the lawn.” The institution has instead selected strategic locations which will best mitigate sediment flow into the lake, and the institution will do its best to make the zones attractive, as well.

“Instead of just leaving it unmowed, we’ve sculpted these areas,” said Kiblin. “The areas have paths cut through them so guests can walk past, and we’ve trimmed the edges of the roads, as well. From looking at the zones, it’s obvious that we’ve intentionally set these areas aside. It doesn’t just look like we forgot to mow.”

Kiblin said that when anything changes, people tend to question why, but so far no one on the grounds has been opposed to the no-mow zones.

“We’re not trying to save money on labor or fuel,” said Kiblin. “That’s not why we’re doing this. We’re doing this to save the lake.”

Additionally, the institution will be improving its stormwater management practices as well by building rain gardens – tiered terraces that use boulders and stones to slow down rainwater – reintroducing native species to the grounds and planting 11 new trees.

“The idea is to take this project along in baby steps,” said Kiblin. “We have a few rain gardens along the grounds, and we’ve done a few different buffer zones on the lake shore so far. It’s a matter of taking steps and showing people that we can make these changes in a small way, but they can have big effects on the lake. A lot of people are worried that these changes will limit use at the institution with regard to the lake and the grounds, but that’s simply not the case. These practices will help to ensure that Chautauqua stays beautiful so people can use it indefinitely.”

Kiblin was also quick to offer praise to Doug Conroe, Chautauqua Institution director of operations. According to Kiblin, Conroe has been promoting ecologically friendly practices around the lake for 15 years, however support was always limited. Now that many residents are able to see the problems that plague the lake and understand how human use has caused these problems, more and more people are willing to take steps to restore it.

“I’ve actually had homeowners from different areas on the lake stop me at (educational seminars) to tell me that they’re sorry they never better understood how they were impacting the lake, and have since installed a buffer zone on their shoreline, or installed a rain garden where their rain gutter drains. So what we’re doing here is affecting other areas of the lake. And that’s a true joy, to know that others want to follow our actions.”

Article source:

Parking Lot Rain Garden Landscaping Protects Our Water

MILPITAS, CALIFORNIA, May 14, 2013 (Marketwired via COMTEX) —
Yes, there are solutions to the water pollution created by parking
lot runoff that winds its way through drainage systems, rivers,
lakes, canals, and, at some point, into our water glasses. Water
contamination has to be tackled at the source – in the parking lots
themselves – and one of the answers to the problem can be with the
addition of rain gardens and self-sustaining landscaping.

A TV short aired by the Knowledge Network in April 2013 described the
problem and its management very well: our waterways are becoming
increasingly polluted with oil, gas, anti-freeze, toxic cleaners,
paint, and other chemicals that accumulate in parking lots,
construction sites, and streets; as well as with fertilizers and
pesticides used to enhance landscaping.

The TV cameras zeroed in on concerned citizens who had learned about
the benefits of rain gardens to help control water pollution and were
introducing the concept in the Seattle, Washington, community of
North Ridge, with the goal of constructing 12,000 such gardens. Many
other communities across the country are becoming involved in similar
programs as citizens learn that rain gardens help manage storm water
runoff and can protect our water sources.

“We offer our clients rain garden landscaping in an effort to help
them reduce water pollution from parking lot runoff and to help
absorb overflow after a storm,” said Gina Vella, President, Universal
Site Services. “I think it’s wonderful that so many people are
becoming involved in the management of storm water runoff.”

Rain gardens are shallow depressions about 12 or more inches deep
filled with compost that will collect and filter storm water and
parking lot runoff so that the water is cleaned naturally. As well,
the rain gardens are landscaped with attractive vegetation, which
grows well in the composted-enhanced, nutrient-rich soil.

“We calculate the size and number of rain gardens needed to support
the runoff from parking lot surfaces and the best location for them,”
Mrs. Vella added, “and our company specializes in providing
self-sustaining, native vegetation to reduce the need for fertilizers
and pesticides so that we don’t add to the pollution problem.

Plant species native to an area are self-sustaining because they have
a natural protection against local weather conditions and insect
infestations. Exotic, non-native plants usually require the
protection of herbicides and fertilizers for survival.

Companies that landscape their parking lots with well-placed rain
gardens covered with native plants provide three-way protection for
the community: the rain gardens filter toxins from runoff, diminish
overflow after heavy storms, and reduce the amount of herbicides and
fertilizers that are washed into our water.

It’s one of the easier solutions to the problem of parking lot

About Universal Site Services

Universal Site Services is a full service property maintenance and
site services company serving clients in California, Arizona, and
Nevada. Founded in 1958, Universal is one of the largest
family-owned, full-service outdoor maintenance companies on the West
Coast. Universal was one of the inventors of the regenerative air
parking lot sweeper. Services include parking lot sweeping pressure
washing, day porter, landscaping, property maintenance and graffiti
removal. For more information about Universal, please visit or call: 800-647-9337.

        Doug Hay  Associates
        Doug Hay

SOURCE: Universal Site Services


(C) 2013 Marketwire L.P. All rights reserved.

Article source:

Bobbitts put years of work into gardens and landscape

Bobbitt garden

Bobbitt garden

The Bobbitt garden is located at 2280 Shawnee Trail.

Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2013 2:25 pm

Updated: 7:38 pm, Thu Jun 6, 2013.

Bobbitts put years of work into gardens and landscape

Rick and Dorothy Bobbitt bought their home at 2280 Shawnee Trail in spring of 2001. It was four years old with little landscaping and a gravel driveway. By the fall of that year, they had poured a concrete driveway and built a combination shed/shelter for entertaining and family gatherings.

Next came landscaping, including a large circular area in back which houses a variety of perennials as well as a water feature. A three-season porch was added with a small covered deck area for evening bird watching or just catching up on the day.

During the summer of 2009, the large barn at the back of the property was built. Most of the trees were added or moved over the years. Flower and vegetable garden beds were added and are very easy to maintain.

Rick built Dorothy a garden shed to match his barn and provided her a place to store garden tools and transplant materials. All improvements to the property were done primarily by the Bobbitts, with little help from professionals. Rain barrels have aided in watering.

Throughout the yard, you will find different areas to gather, relax or engage in a friendly game of horseshoes, corn hole or ladder golf. Rick discovered clever uses for clay pipe, including a table and chairs he made from the clay pipe.

Having been taught to never discard a flower, Dorothy once staked a flower until it grew four-feet tall before her father-in-law convinced her that it was a weed. Now she uses a transplant bed to divide and start new plants. Rick and Dorothy say the work has all been worth it and they love what they have created. Trial and error has been their best teacher.

email @ nradciff@circlevilleheraldcom

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Thursday, June 6, 2013 2:25 pm.

Updated: 7:38 pm.

| Tags:

Circleville Herald

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Gardening with all sun, no heat: Tips to help you get the upper hand on …

One of Canada’s most famous gardeners once told me that Calgary was the toughest place in which to garden. The usual complaints are the fleeting frost-free season, punishing hails, bone-sucking semi-desert conditions and the diabolical Chinook winds. These are wicked challenges for sure, but I think the most overlooked challenge is the combination of bright sun with too little heat.

Sun but no heat? Sounds like someone’s been in the sun too long. The altitude is the key to understanding this seeming contradiction. During the main part of the day, Calgary is exposed to relentless rays of sun penetrating a thin atmosphere at an altitude of more than 1,000 metres. But the heat fades quickly as the sun sets, as anyone who has lingered in the garden after dusk knows.

The lack of night time heat shuts plant growth down. So, even if we experience a nice long stretch of warm days, our plants shiver through the cool nights, and maybe warm up enough to start growing again in late morning. So, they grow more slowly than in other Canadian cities of similar latitude.

The secret to success with heat-loving plants like tomatoes involves trapping as much daytime heat as possible and harnessing it through the night. One way to do that is to grow tomatoes in large black pots or in special bags designed to trap daytime heat that will keep roots warm all night.

Cut the bottoms off two-litre pop containers and place them over young transplants at night before things cool off to trap cosy warm air around the tender stems and leaves.

Some gardeners cover all their heat-loving veggies in small portable greenhouses. The trick is to keep the sides open during the heat of the day and to close it up at night, thus trapping valuable BTUs inside.

It’s a little trickier to grow some of the flamboyant tropical beauties such as callas and cannas. These bold patio enhancers will accept all the heat you can give them, but even though it rarely gets as hot as it does in tropical places, the intensity of our high altitude sun can scorch their large tender leaves.

As with tomatoes, growing tropicals is more successful in containers than in the ground. And containers situated on warm patios have a further advantage.

I have found moderate success avoiding leaf scorch while still providing heat by slowly introducing plants started indoors to warm shady areas, and eventually bringing them into areas with morning sun and light afternoon shade. But it’s always a race with Jack Frost.

In the garden, place large dark stones around plants that need a boost to cope with cool nights. Dark coloured mulches will absorb more heat than light coloured mulches. But avoid using black plastic over root zones. Plastic does not allow for air or water circulation and heat could build up to killing levels.

If you think of heat as something to conserve, as you do water, your efforts in the short months we have to grow stuff are more likely to be fruitful.

Sidebar: Growing a hot bank account

Horticulturists and farmers use a measure called growing degree days (GDD) or growing degree units (GDU) to measure the accumulated heat over a season. Usually, this is the number of hours in a day that the temperature is over some minimum temperature, below which the plant does not grow. Different plants need different amounts of accumulated heat over the season to grow, flower and set seed. These are known for most plants, and keeping track of growing degree days helps gardeners and farmers predict when bloom or fruit ripening might occur.

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Gardening Tips: Many perennials to choose from for your garden

Posted: Friday, June 7, 2013 11:29 am

Gardening Tips: Many perennials to choose from for your garden

By Matthew Stevens

RR Daily Herald


June is Perennial Gardening Month in the United States.

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Friday, June 7, 2013 11:29 am.

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Winter gardening tips

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Bill’s Gardening Tips for June

Pest Patrol Duty is Back

Now is the time to be vigilant about the pest in our gardens. With the recent rains and cooler weather and now warming up we have quite a collection of pest attacking our gardens from all sides. We have the Fire Ants, Mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, aphids, and a multitude of spiders and other creepy crawling critters. So lets attack these little pests one on one.


Boy are the mosquitoes out in force. This is part of being blessed by all that rain we have been enjoying. Now that mosquitoes are here let us protect ourselves from these flying little pest. On page 84 of my book “Gardening in the Texas Hill Country”, I have the solution.

First and the easiest is the white ceramic dish, water and Liquid Lemon Joy mosquito trap. This is really effective. However, please place the dish in an area away from where you are going to be, as this solution will attract the mosquitoes to it and therefore you if you sit next to it. So place the dish with the solution in it in another location some 25 to 50 feet away from the area where you will be. Fill a white ceramic dish with water adding several drops of Lemon Joy dishwashing soap and mix together. Mosquitoes will be attracted to it a drink the mixture. When they drink the solution they will die within fifteen feet of the dish. This solution is not harmful to pets or children. Is that cool or what, now you can enjoy being outside once again.

Fire Ants

One of the good things about a drought was there were no Fire Ants in our yards or gardens, now we that we have had some nice rains and the Fire Ants are back. There are some easy and effective ways to control them.

One of the best ways to control the Fire Ants in the yard and gardens is to apply Beneficial Nematodes. These little, they are microscopic, guys are called the “Marines” of their world.

They seek, kill, and destroy their enemies, and their enemies are Fire Ants, chiggers, and fleas. The difference in these guys and other solutions such as baits is that they go wherever the Fire Ants go, as they are after their food source. These Beneficial Nematodes are found in the garden centers, feed stores, or nurseries. Look for them in the refrigerators or ask the folks at the centers where they keep them. Instructions as to how to apply are on the box or the containers they come in.

Bugs in General

This recipe came from Sharon Cuyler who sent in to “Organic Gardening” this effective and inexpensive solution to our bugs in the garden. Sharon uses it effectively on ants, potato bugs, white flies and she says it even works on bugs she doesn’t know the names of.

The formula is simple, and approximate: 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of witch hazel, and 2 drops of liquid dish soap. She puts it in a spray bottle and uses it on everything, and it is safe for vegetables. She also sprays it around her house. Shelli Rosamond of Marble Falls, has been testing it as well, and says it is working for her. This is something that I have been looking for a very long time a solution to the bug control problem that is effective, inexpensive and easy to apply.


Last year we had an abundance of Aphids attacking our plants and trees, as there was a shortage of Lady Bugs in the area to get control of the aphids. Last year the aphids were so bad that my Meyers lemon tree and my avocado trees were covered up and then there came the black residue from the infestation. Both of those trees were in serious trouble. No lemons were had and no avocadoes either. I used insecticidal soaps and pure water and some other products but to no avail. Two weeks ago, I was listening to John Dromgoole, of The Natural Gardener in Austin, on the radio and he had a caller with the same problem I had. John told his caller about a product called Serenade. I immediately bought some and tried it. Wow! One application and my trees are already responding in a very positive way. Many thanks John. This product is good for any fungus that attacks our gardens.

Remember: We have had a very unusual Spring even for the Texas Hill Country, and we have to be patient as the plants are just as confused as we are.

Till Next Month!

Keep your souls and your soles in your garden!

Remember the True Master Gardener: Jesus said, “I am the vine; my Father is the Gardener.” John 15:1

Have questions or comments? Contact Bill Luedecke at The Luedecke Group Realtors, P.O. Box 1632, Bertram, TX. 78605 (no Post Office in Oatmeal) or email For additional gardening web sites, go to his web site; www.TexasLand.Net and click on links.

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