Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for July 2013

Save your garden from a drought

Agapanthus (PA Photo/thinkstockphotos)

As the hot weather continues, Hannah Stephenson offers tips on how to make your garden more drought resistant

Our sweltering July probably prompted many gardeners to reach for the hosepipe. In fact, according to The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), less than 3% of the annual water consumption of an average household is estimated to be from garden use, but at peak demand times as much as 70% of water supplied may be used in gardens.

This doesn’t have to be the case though. Rainwater collected in water butts, waste water from the kitchen and grey water from the bathroom can all be used to water plants.

Or, maybe, the ultimate solution is simply to create a garden that doesn’t need much watering in the first place.

This doesn’t mean creating a desert garden devoid of colour. Dramatic flowerbeds can easily be achieved from plants that have very low moisture and maintenance demands. Many drought-resistant plants naturally form communities of plants which all thrive in the same conditions and come from similar Mediterranean habitats.

At the front of the border you could have dwarf lavender, Sedum spectabile, lamb’s ears and ornamental grass such as stipa tenuissima, while middle-sized drought-resistant plants include Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’, Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ (wallflower), Russian sage and Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ (catmint).

At the back of the border you could use species more than 1.8m tall, including Cotinus coggygria ‘Royal Purple’, Choisya ternata (Mexican orange blossom) and Trachelospermum jasminoides.

Most drought-tolerant plants will have either aromatic leaves, fleshy and succulent leaves (which store moisture for dry spells), grey leaves, hairy leaves (which shade themselves with their own hairs), long narrow leaves (which are good at shedding heat without water), or spikes (which act as ‘fins’ to cool the plant).

The RHS offers these extra tips to create a more drought-resistant, but still attractive, garden:

:: Cultivate the soil deeply and dig in large quantities of organic matter to improve soil structure, water retention and water availability for plants. Well-rotted garden compost, mushroom compost, composted bark and well-rotted farmyard manure are all suitable forms of organic matter. Heavy manuring can add nearly a month’s worth of water storage capacity to the soil. Loam-based potting compost doesn’t dry out as quickly as peat-free composts. If using peat-free, water-retaining gels might have some benefit.

:: Apply sufficient fertiliser as plants use water most efficiently where nutrient levels are adequate. But do not apply too much fertiliser to the soil, as this can encourage too much lush growth which can flop in summer, requiring extra watering and becoming frost-damaged in winter.

:: Choose plants with grey-green or silver leaves as they reflect the sun’s rays, helping to conserve moisture within the plant tissues.

:: Try to choose plants which suit the site’s soil type and aspect. They will be more tolerant of varying climatic conditions as well as of pest and disease problems.

:: Plant things while they are still small. They will develop much greater resilience as they adapt to their conditions from a young age. Ideally plant in autumn so they can do some growing before dry weather arrives.

:: If planting Mediterranean plants, do so in spring when the soil is warming up. Many of these plants will suffer from root-rot if planted in autumn and become cold and damp over winter.

:: Before planting, thoroughly soak the plants in their pots in a bucket of water until the bubbles stop rising to the surface.

:: Thoroughly water in all new plants (and keep them watered in the first season after planting to ensure they establish well). Once established, they will become much more drought tolerant.

:: After planting, mulch the bed with 5-7.5cm (2-3in) of gravel or, even better, a layer of compost or straw covered with gravel, to help retain moisture while the plants establish.

:: You may decide to go without a lawn in your drought-friendly garden, but if not, you’ll be pleased to know that lawns are surprisingly drought tolerant and usually recover well in the autumn rains even if they have been brown and parched most of the summer. Lawn irrigation should rarely be required, if at all, to keep the grass healthy.

Article source:

Gardening Tips

Posted: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:42 am

Gardening Tips

Lady Beetles

(Ladybugs): (size = 1/4 inch)

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.

You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
facebook account:

Choose an online service.

Current print subscribers

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
facebook account:

Choose an online service.

Current print subscribers


Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:42 am.

Article source:

4 Easy Tips for Growing Big, Juicy Tomatoes From Organic Gardener

By now your tomato plants should be starting to bear fruit, tantalizing you with their green promises of what’s to come. After all, no store bought tomato can ever compare to the juicy sweetness of a homegrown tomato.

However, tomato plants can quickly become overburdened with long heavy limbs and dozens of fruits. Sometimes a tomato cage won’t cut it. Here are four tips for wrangling and managing your tomato plants this summer.

Tip 1: Cage ’Em

I know I just said that sometimes a tomato cage won’t cut it, but there are times when a cage will cut it—namely while the plant is still young. You can buy tomato cages at any home improvement or gardening center or you can make one by wrapping chicken wire into a tall cylinder. Whatever you use, place the cage over the tomato and carefully thread the limbs through it, allowing them to rest on the cross wires or the center rings. It’s easiest if you place a cage over the tomato when you plant it so that you can help the limbs use the cage as they grow.

Tip 2: Stake ’Em

Organic tomatoes growing in Darla Antoine's garden in the cloud forest of Costa Rica. (Darla Antoine)

Stakes are a great solution for a larger vegetable garden. Your stakes should be at least 1-inch thick and five or six feet tall. Plant the stakes at least a foot in the ground. You can use wooden stakes you buy at the home improvement center, you can harvest large branches or small trees from your property, you can use bamboo or you can use fencing stakes—you get the idea. Use smaller pieces of wood or tightly pulled baling twine to create cross supports between the stakes. Carefully thread the limbs through the support system. You can also secure the limbs to the system with twine, twist ties or zip ties.

Tip 3: Net ’Em

Even if you cage and/or stake your tomatoes, they may still require another layer of support—depending on how far out their limbs decide to reach. I like to buy tomato nets and secure them to the top of their support system. Zip ties work great for this. Use the netted squares to support the ends of the limbs.

Tip 4: Prune ’Em

It’s not completely necessary, but your plant will benefit from a little pruning. The very bottom leaves (they often look wilted or yellow) are great ones to prune because they aren’t going to produce anything. You can also prune or pinch off the little “suckers” or leaves that shoot up in the elbow between two limbs. These suckers also won’t produce anything and they really do suck the plant of energy and nutrients that the plant could send to the tomatoes. You can also selectively prune back some of the leaves on the plant—namely the ones that are inadvertently shading tomatoes or blossoms. Don’t prune too much though! The leaves are gathering the sunlight that create the sugars and other nutrients the plant needs to produce and survive (photosynthesis, y’all).

And there you have it. Four simple tips to help you get the most of your tomatoes this summer. Here’s to many tomato sandwiches.

Darla Antoine is an enrolled member of the Okanagan Indian Band in British Columbia and grew up in Eastern Washington State. For three years, she worked as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest, reporting on issues relevant to the Native and Hispanic communities, and most recently served as a producer for Native America Calling. In 2011, she moved to Costa Rica, where she currently lives with her husband and their infant son. She lives on an organic and sustainable farm in the “cloud forest”—the highlands of Costa Rica, 9,000 feet above sea level. Due to the high elevation, the conditions for farming and gardening are similar to that of the Pacific Northwest—cold and rainy for most of the year with a short growing season. Antoine has an herb garden, green house, a bee hive, cows, a goat, and two trout ponds stocked with hundreds of rainbow trout.

Darla Antoine on a recent visit to Washington State (Courtesy Darla Antoine)

Article source:

August Gardening Tips

With daytime temperatures in the 90’s and above, your landscape is under extreme stress. Here are a few simple tips to keep your yard looking its best during the summer heat.

Make sure you are watering correctly. The recommendation is to water early morning. Watering in the evening can cause fungi to develop overnight. Be sure to water long enough so the root system grows deep rather than staying close to the soil surface. Check your irrigation system for leaks, clogs or breakages to make sure water is getting to all areas in your lawns and beds.

Remember to adjust the height of your lawn mower blade to allow your grass to grow taller during the summer months. A thicker turf will be protected from the heat and will require less watering.

Check your garden regularly for insects and fungi. Plants with heat stress are more prone to disease. If you find a problem, take care of it as soon as possible using a recommended insecticide or fungicide. Both organic and non-organic products are available to stop and protect against insects and fungi.

In the last few weeks our customers are seeing high levels of pests and disease especially on trees and lawns. Brown patch and other types of fungus are very common on lawns during August. If you are unsure of the problem, bring in a sample twig, leaf or grass plug to the Nursery and we’ll help you diagnose it and offer a solution.

Did you know July 28 thru August 11 is the best time to plant cantaloupe and watermelon for the Fall? Our one page planting guide is a wealth of information on when to plant, how deep to plant, number of days to maturity and average number of harvest days.

Stop by McDade’s Nursery to pick up your FREE copy of this very valuable garden tool.

Now is the time to be planting Fall tomatoes. We have in stock Celebrity, Super Fantastic, Supersweet 100, Purple Cherokee, Red Cherry, Super Fantastic, La Roma, Yellow Pear and Champion.

We also have summer vegetables – okra, cucumber and zucchini.

Happy Gardening

Article source:

August gardening tips from the Eden Project

When you’re going away on holiday, leaving the garden untended can be a real
worry. Ask a friend to take charge of jobs like deadheading, and you can
reward them with the produce that becomes ready to pick when you’re away. If
you don’t have someone to turn to, there are some alternative solutions,
like tanks that release water and nutrients at set times.

Article source:

The details of design/build

CHICAGO – More than 20, years ago, Jon Carloftis had the chance to spend the summer in New York, leaving his hometown of Lexington Ky. He needed a job and had a background in working with plants, so he made up business cards advertising his garden rooftop work. 

Article source:

Inventor from InventHelp Designs Convenient Herb-Garden Hydration System …

  • Email a friend


Pittsburgh, PA (PRWEB) July 31, 2013

Many people like to use fresh herbs on food whenever they’re available, but sometimes the time and effort needed to maintain an outdoor herb garden deters them from taking on the responsibility. This inspired an inventor from Fishkill, N.Y., to design an alternative method of caring for an herb garden both indoors and outdoors throughout the year.

“I needed a watering system that not only was easy to use but saved me from having to water my plants on a daily basis and allowed for convenient transport between the indoors and outdoors,” he said.

Ideal for organic-food enthusiasts, vegetarians and foodies, the new product, YEAR ROUND GARDEN, provides a convenient way to nourish and maintain an herb garden year-round. It eliminates the need to water each plant manually each day, which enables the user to leave for long periods without worrying. In addition, the system makes it easier to move the plants indoors or outdoors, and it customizes temperature and amounts for each plant. The inventor has created a prototype of his idea.

The original design was submitted to the Manhattan office of InventHelp. It is currently available for licensing or sale to manufacturers or marketers. For more information, write Dept. 12-MTN-1580, InventHelp, 217 Ninth Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or call (412) 288-1300 ext. 1368. Learn more about InventHelp’s Invention Submission Services at

Email a friend



Article source:

Garden Feasts

We turned to the experts to create our magical moments with products and accessories that exude both creativity and realness. Into the mix, we threw a piece of outdoor furniture selected from the Richard Schultz line from Knoll. Each designer had to incorporate either the Petal End Table, Topiary Bench, or Fresh Air Chair from the collection into their setting.

Our lucky break came with Rhode Island based garden designer Louis Raymond, who offered one of his on-going projects, a lovely urban backyard in Providence, Rhode Island, that proved the ideal one-stop location for our three planned scenarios. To Raymond’s gardener’s lunch, Erin Heath and Rose Mattos, floral and event designers from Foret Bespoke Floral Installation Design in Somerville, Massachusetts, added a picnic in the park, and interior designer extraordinaire Kate Coughlin of Boston, pulled out all the stops for festive formal dinner. All three are a feast for the eyes.

Here are some candid photos from the day, enjoy!





Article source:

In Nokomis, better doesn’t mean bigger – Sarasota Herald

Almost 15 years ago, when told they could come up with ideas to revitalize their town, the top of their wish list was sewers.

Residents, many with low to moderate income, have long been attracted to this community just south of Sarasota by something as rare as a tourist with unbaked skin — the ability to enjoy a true Florida lifestyle at a bargain basement price.

“It’s a chance for somebody of limited resources to get a place on the water,” says Bruce Dillon, chairman of the now-defunct Nokomis Revitalization Committee, who worked for years to translate the people’s wishes into a popular plan.

When some communities have the chance to revitalize, they look for ways to bring in bigger and better — more winter residents, waterfront hotels and fancy restaurants.

Nokomis, on the other hand, focused on ways to improve the quality of life for the people who already call it home.

“Families of folks who came here 50 years ago are still here,” says Dillon.

The multimillion-dollar plan, forged through 11 public workshops in 1999 and 2000 and updated in 2010, was hashed out by about 40 civic associations’ members.

Some people objected to parts of the plan that called for an arts and office district that would attract more people to the area.

The people are OK with some economic development, as long as code enforcement limits the size and scope of any projects.

For the past decade and a half, crews have worked at bringing the plan to fruition. Most of the priorities have been accomplished, although some sidewalks have to be built and a few sewer lines are still going in. But the work is almost over.

For those who have lived there for years and know the land like a sweetheart’s face, the differences are striking.

“Colonia Lane used to be a two-lane road with no sidewalks,” says Dillon. “Now you can look out and see mothers pushing baby carriages down the sidewalk.”

Outsiders, however, might not notice many changes. Some are underground, underwater or not apparent to those driving through the area on U.S. 41.

After sewer lines and safe water, the next concern of residents was reconstruction, streetscaping and lighting of Colonia Lane, one of the major thoroughfares through town.

In recognition of boating as “part of the Nokomis way of life,” according to the plan, next in importance was the dredging of Dona and Lyons bays and Shackett and Curry creeks. Nokomis, bordered by waterways on three sides and laced by private canals, needed more boat ramps, channel markers and canoe trails.

Also important to residents was to be part of the “Rails to Trails” project, utilizing an old railway corridor as a jogging and bicycle path. Called the Legacy Trail, it now covers 10 scenic miles with views of waterways from Sarasota to Venice on its southern border.

Other priorities were landscaping on U.S. 41, increased code enforcement and county-sponsored cleanup days.

Also new are a number of “pocket parks,” small areas of green space, usually including a couple of benches and designed to benefit a nearby neighborhood.

Although many in Sarasota County might not be able to pinpoint just where Nokomis is, one county planner is impressed with how much the small community means to the people who call it home.

“The people there love their community,” says Jane Grogg, Sarasota County’s manager for neighborhood services. “There’s a small-town feel to Nokomis, and a real sense of pride. They have a desire to improve things, and have worked so hard for it.”

Article source:

Council consults on projects

{ story.summary|safe|escape }

Sixteen members and three guests from Bogan Shire came along to Jenny Lane’s garden July 2013 Garden Club meeting. 

As Dawn was away, Norma presided over the meeting and warmly welcomed everyone, especially the Bogan Shire Council staff including Development and Environmental Services manager Timothy Riley, Environmental Health and Building inspector Dean Woods and Acting Parks and Gardens supervisor Mark Jenkins.

Duck Creek Picnic Races: the horse races were called off due to rain but the social event still went ahead. 

Mary Burley had approached IGA about supplying potted colour to beautify the racecourse but the plants were not on the transport, so no plants were put in. The money will be put aside for 2014 races.

Timothy Riley introduced Dean Woods and Mark Jenkins. Bogan Shire Council is seeking advice from the Nyngan Garden Club for upcoming projects that require landscaping / beautification works. 

Site plans for the projects will be provided to Nyngan Garden Club for consultation on landscaping ideas.

These projects include:

Nyngan Pool: hedge along eastern side inside fence line creating a privacy barrier. These plants would probably need to go in next month.

Ambulance Station and Library: landscaping between buildings

Pangee Street opposite Caltex Service Station

Affordable Accommodation for the Aged Project 

Staff housing

Davidson Park: needs work to improve the aesthetics including one type of path material and pathways that flow better.

Old BP service station site and the area adjacent to it (hole). Underground tanks need to be removed from the BP site. 

Council has made an application for the old BP site and adjacent land with the idea to landscape the area keeping in mind the works already undertaken in the Heritage Park area to ensure continuity of design. 

The addition of tables and suitable seating for travellers put forward and was discussed as being a great idea particularly for under the large trees that are already established. 

Heritage Park trees will be planted very soon.

Mark Jenkins brought along a list of roses available from the Palmdale Nursery. New roses are to be purchased by Council to add to the garden bed in Davidson Park. 

Garden Club members were asked to choose suitable roses for the Phillip Dutton Rose Garden. Mark will receive a monthly email from the nursery detailed plants available each month.

An RSL Rose has been release and Mark asked for suggestions for where would be best to plant these roses. 

Flower Show: the Town Hall has been booked for the Flower Show on October 26. 

Mary provided members with copies of the 2011 Flower Show Program. Discussion was held on having a section for Flower Arranging/Floral Art and maybe a cactus section for cactus enthusiasts. 

Entries will be accepted between 9 and 11am.

Open to the public from 1pm with gold coin admission.

Lunch will be 12 to 2pm.

The lucky raffle winners today were Gai Lister and Anna Corby.

The next meeting will be held at Lesley Ryan’s garden on June 24 at 12pm. 

Please bring your hat, lunch, and a chair. 

Looking forward to warm sunshine, many hours of gardening and beautifying our town. 

The Happy  Gardener


August 26: Meeting 46 Nymagee Street

September 23: Meeting 40 Nymagee Street

October 19 to 21: Bus Trip to Griffith

October 26: Garden Club Flower Show

October 28: Meeting 39 Canonbar Street

November 25: Christmas Party at 48 Hoskins Street 

December 7: Christmas Carnival and Markets

Article source: