Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for July 6, 2013

Cleveland needs a new bike summit to rank and fund a flood of ideas to remake …

Critical Mass.JPGView full sizeCyclists arrive for a Critical Mass event at Public Square in 2012. 

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The nationwide urban bike revolution is poised to shift into higher gear in Cleveland.

The question is whether the city can accelerate quickly and become more competitive with capitals of bike-friendliness such as New York, Chicago and San Francisco and regional standouts such as Pittsburgh.

With only 47 miles of a proposed 89.5 miles of bike paths and trails complete within its boundaries, Cleveland isn’t yet a star performer, but it appears ready to improve soon.

The city’s Office of Sustainability is nearly finished with an ambitious inventory of streets aimed at ranking which ones are most eligible for upgrades as “Complete and Green Streets” with enhanced landscaping and amenities for cyclists and pedestrians.

And the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, which oversees how federal transportation dollars are spent, just completed a four-year update of its regional bike plan.

Activists and civic volunteers, meanwhile, are coming forward with terrific proposals to repurpose and re-use traffic lanes and other pieces of baggy, loose-fitting infrastructure built when the city’s population was more than 50 percent larger than it is today.

Red Line Trail.jpgView full sizeA photo of the proposed Red Line greenway viewed from Lorain Avenue.

 To wit:

  • The Rotary Club of Cleveland is raising awareness about a concept four years in the making to turn part of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Red Line right-of-way into a three-mile bike path on the city’s West Side.
  • A second brilliant idea is that of turning former streetcar median lanes on 50 to 70 miles of city streets into “bicycle boulevards” for commuting and recreation. The prime movers behind this notion are John McGovern, board president of the Ohio City Bike Cooperative; and Barb Clint, director of Community Health and Advocacy at the Cleveland YMCA.
  • Meanwhile, the Kent State University Urban Design Collaborative recently completed a detailed study on the feasibility of turning the lower level of the Detroit-Superior (Veterans Memorial) Bridge, once used by streetcars, into an all-weather bike and pedestrian link.

(Incidentally, the lower level of the bridge, normally off-limits, will be open for free public tours on Saturday, July 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.).

All of these ideas are deeply inspiring, and deserve to be realized immediately.

rohal and stover panorama.jpgView full sizeRotary volunteers Jason Rohal, left, and Leonard Stover, visited the site of the proposed Red Line Rapid greenway site earlier this week.

The problem – and it’s a good one to have – is that a plethora of great proposals requires making choices. 

Not everything can happen all at once, and the new ideas join an already substantial portfolio of projects for bike paths and trails in Cleveland that are under way in various stages, including the long-delayed completion of the northernmost section of the 110-mile Towpath Trail.

Also, obviously, moving from concept to reality requires highly detailed and expensive planning, not to mention construction dollars. Yet money to fix potholes in the city, much less revamp entire rights-of-way, is always scarce.

All of this shows why this is absolutely the perfect moment for a new, citywide bike summit to sort through all the great ideas, to rank them in order of importance and urgency, and then to raise the money to realize them sooner rather than later.

Streetcars to bike lanes.pngView full sizeA proposal developed by members of Bike Cleveland’s board of trustees including Barb Clint and John McGovern calls for turning miles of former streetcar medians in Cleveland into bicycle expressways.

 Such a process could further energize Cleveland’s efforts to make itself a greener, healthier and more beautiful city. It would give greater confidence to local government, foundations and private philanthropists about the critical next steps needed to create a strong, citywide bicycle network.

Bike Cleveland, the city’s leading advocacy group, would be the most likely convener of such a summit. The young organization held its first summit in 2011 to craft its mission of building “livable communities by promoting all forms of cycling and advocating for the rights and equality of the cycling community.”

The logical next step is for Bike Cleveland to help the community sort through and prioritize the many excellent proposals for transforming city streets – in collaboration with the city, NOACA and other agencies.

“I think it definitely makes sense,” said Jacob VanSickle, Bike Cleveland’s director since 2012, when I called him earlier this week about the idea of a new bike summit.

He estimated that there are “dozens” of large and small bike plans that have been funded by sources including NOACA.

“Maybe some of them are getting implemented, but a lot are sitting on shelves gathering dust,” VanSickle said.

NOACA Director Grace Gallucci, who moved to Cleveland less than a year ago after leaving a high-ranking transit post in Chicago, said her agency’s updated regional bike plan is based on extensive public participation by bicycle advocacy groups, but to her thinking it is still “probably not bold enough.”

She also said the plan lacks any methodology to rank and prioritize projects, and that such consensus is needed. She’d welcome the chance to refine NOACA’s plans and has proposed to her agency’s board of directors that an update be completed within a year.

The city of Cleveland, meanwhile, wants to update its 2007 Bikeway Master Plan.

Detroit-Superior.pngView full sizeA proposal to install bike lanes on the lower level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge, envisioned here in a digital rendering, could cost from $2 million to $11 million according to a new estimate.

“We are fully on board with the idea of being comprehensive and not piecemeal,” said Robert Brown, the city’s planning director.

“One of the next steps is updating and making more robust our citywide bicycle plan,” he said. “We would do that in a way that would engage a broad range of stakeholders.”

Well, a summit could be one way to get started. The need is urgent because the physical transformation of Cleveland’s hard, gray public realm would improve livability for all residents – and help Cleveland attract new ones.

A new report from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in Cambridge, Mass., shows that the percentage of residents aged 25 to 34 in Cleveland is still shrinking as a proportion of the city’s overall population.

This makes it even more important to capitalize on the influx of millennials in neighborhoods that are growing, such as University Circle, Ohio City, Tremont and Detroit Shoreway.

Linking those and other neighborhoods to downtown and regional parks with better bike trails and paths would be an enormous boon to newcomers and existing residents.

So here’s what I envision for the summit: The event would begin with a Critical Mass bike ride attracting hundreds of cyclists to the city’s new downtown Mall, which doubles as the roof of the new convention center.

The meeting would then proceed inside the new Global Center for Health Innovation, which faces east toward the Mall with glassy, four-story atrium.

A bike summit at the Global Center would underscore the message that cycling and physical exercise are very much part of Cleveland’s desire to become a green, healthy city.

It would also be a way for the cycling community to assert itself dramatically, at least for a day, in the heart of downtown, and to show that the big new civic investments downtown can serve as a jumping off point for a transformation of city neighborhoods as a whole.

Dave Johnson, director of public relations and marketing for the convention and global centers, said he’s open to the idea of such a meeting and that he likes the sound of it.

Here’s hoping that such a meeting can take place – and soon. It would be exciting to see a mighty convergence of cyclists, health advocates and great plans for the future of city streets that could balance bikes, pedestrians, cars, transit and safety.

A new bike summit could be a solid step toward the transformation of Cleveland – a city that finally, after two recessions and a mortgage foreclosure meltdown, seems to be gaining traction toward a better future.

Article source:

Nickel City Housing Cooperative will be hosting an Open House

wondermoth-plankton-2013-Bufffalo-NYHave you ever thought about living in a cooperative environment? Where one day you might end up cooking for others, and the next day you might be sitting down to a meal prepared by the same friends? Picture a house where responsibilities are shared amongst the residents…  these types of living environments thrive on social situations, and might not be right for everyone, but then there are those of us who thrive in cooperative living quarters.

The Nickel City Housing Cooperative (NCHC) is opening its doors on Saturday July 6 from 2-5pm, showcasing its two living environments – Ol’ Wondermoth and Plankton. The occasion marks the International Day of the Cooperative, “an annual celebration of the co-operative movement observed on the first Saturday in July since 1923 by the International Co-operative Alliance.”

Cola Bickford is one of the dwellers who lives in the fantastic brick home located at the corner of North and Elmwood. ”I love cooperative living and I am excited to open our doors to people who are curious to learn about who we are, what we do, and what it means to be a cooperative!” says Cola, a resident member of NCHC, Ol’ Wondermoth.

It’s hard for me to believe that NCHC has been around for over a decade. I remember that the cooperative was one of the first articles that we ever covered… right after the launch of Buffalo Rising in print. It was then that I learned that the mission of the group was to find vacant buildings in the city, fix them up, and then occupy them with residents. It’s still a great formula – maybe it’s time to see a third project spring up somewhere?

*Members of both houses will be offering tours of the houses that will detail the history of the property to date and how the houses operate today as a cooperative living environment. Refreshments will be offered and people of all ages are welcome. For more information, please contact 


Article source:

Landscaping is a form of art

After being cooped up indoors for a typical long Western New York winter, people like to spend as much time outside as possible once summer finally rolls around.

People all over are tending to their properties to create that ideal summer paradise in their backyards. That means that the folks over at Pinelli Landscaping, located at 4524 Clinton St in West Seneca are hard at work turning the chore of lawn work into works of art.

“I worked for another company for four years,” said owner Tony Pinelli. “That’s where I started to get into design and installation and my passion grew from there. I felt I had the capabilities and talent to do good work so that’s what drove me into starting my own business.”

Pinelli Landscaping first opened in January of 1994. Over the years they have progressed from a lawn cutting service to paving and blocking (laying out bricks for walls and walkways), they’ve turned what they do into as much a form of art as it is a business.

“We have a full-time blocking crew, two full-time maintenance crews, who do smaller landscaping projects, a crew that does both, and I have two landscaping crews,” Pinelli said. “There’s also a lawn cutting crew.”

He added that in order to keep busy during the winter months they do snow removal, snow plowing and salting. In the past few years they have also been in service installing Christmas lights at local residences.

“What drives me every day is the satisfaction of my customers,” Pinelli said. “My goal when I first started was to build a reputable company. The customer needs to be 100 percent satisfied, not 95 percent, not 90, 100 percent. That’s how I operate, how the crew operates. That’s how I train them.”

Pinelli Landscape takes a great deal of care when planning out a project. First they consult with the customer to discuss their visions and try to put ideas together. Then a blueprint is drawn up so they can see if everyone is on the same page.

He says that once the design is on paper, several different budget options will be assessed and presented to the customer so they can pick which works best for them.

“It’s not difficult if you’re open minded when you assess the property,” Pinelli said of working with other people’s visions for their lawns. “You want their ideas as much as possible because it is so wide open, the same project can be done hundreds of different ways, I want to know what they want to look at.”

Pinelli does just offer landscaping services, his office is also a licensed nursery, they have examples of the plants they work with in the store so they people can come in and choose. He says that it helps make it easier to visualize the designs.

While they do have a retails aspect to the business, they mostly focus on the design and lawn care, although he says they might get more into it in the future.

According to Pinelli that best part about the job is getting to go out and work in the field, the actual installation of plants is what got him into landscaping and it’s his reputation for great customer service and creativity that has kept him here for nearly 20 years.

“It’s turning things from what it was to what it will be,” he said. “That’s what I like to do.”

Article source:

Russell Studebaker: Create garden style with Joseph’s coat

Over time, even fashions change in landscaping, but the good plants remain the same.

During the Victorian era (1837-1901) and even into the Edwardian period that followed, Alternanthera ficoidea reigned along with the British monarchs in the gardens of the day. There were elaborate parterre beds, knot gardens, edgings and floral clocks made up of thousands of these plants that we call today Joseph’s coat. This is a plant that responds well to clipping and close planting to create designs.

And in certain locations in England the style still endures. Today, we see a revival of this planting style in the three-dimensional figures at the Disney Parks, in some Canadian gardens and in theme and logo plantings.

As you recall from biblical writings, Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, was given a legendary coat of many colors from his father. Other names given to the plant include parrot leaf and calico plant, but my grandmother called it Joseph’s coat, and I stick with that name. As a child, I grew the old form of my grandmother’s on her window sill. Its green leaves were blotched with yellow, orange, red, brown, copper or purple and colored best in the sunny window.

There are several cultivars and forms of this tropical perennial plant, and all hail from Mexico to Argentina. And all have exclusively colored foliage that develops when grown as summer annuals in sun.

At one time at the Tulsa Park Department, we grew a dozen or more different varieties to use in the Woodward Park rock garden, the pattern beds in the Sunken Garden and in the logos at Tracy Park. Today, Glasshouse Works in Stewart, Ohio (740-662-2142, offers the most varieties of Joseph’s coat plants.

The Joseph’s coat pictured in the fleur-de-lis design at Utica Square is called Golden Joseph’s coat, True Yellow, and Golden Calico Plant. All the plants that you see of this chartreuse variety growing in Tulsa’s gardens and landscapes are from two plants that I received from the Missouri Botanical Gardens in the early ’70s. It was a plant that caught on and was propagated by local nurseries.

In 1975, Jim Buckler, the director of horticulture at the Smithsonian Institute, was visiting and wanted cuttings, and we provided. He then propagated them and created the formal Victorian parterre design that exists just outside of the Castle at the Smithsonian.

Many years later, Disney World in Florida experienced a crop failure of its Golden Joseph’s coat and asked Buckler for cuttings. He didn’t want to be bothered and told Disney about ours at the Park Department. Disney called, and so we bagged up a large garbage bag full of fresh cuttings and sent them. So this little Victorian Golden Joseph’s coat has traveled in its exhibition experience ranging from the prestigious and august setting of the Smithsonian Museum to the contemporary and whimsical face of Mickey Mouse at Disney World. Quite a feat for a modest plant.

Grow Joseph’s coat in a sunny, moist, well-drained, warm soil. It responds well to fertilization after clipping and forms a more dense mat of foliage. Propagate by cuttings directly in the rooting media or in water when temperatures are warm in spring and summer. These plants are generally pest-free except for a small foliage eating worm that can defoliate plants overnight in the late summer. It is susceptible to frost.

Russell Studebaker is a professional horticulturist and garden writer in Tulsa and can be reached at

Home Garden

Gardening teaches kids life lessons

In the Brady Heights Community Garden, brother and sister Brendan and Ryan Dalton, respectively, are growing carrots and tomatoes, lettuce and green beans.

Hot-weather gardening tips: more water and mulch, fewer weeds and pests

Tulsa made it through a treacherous and hot week last month, and don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.

Only active print or digital subscribers of the Tulsa World are allowed to post comments on stories posted to After you fill out the form below and click submit, your comment will be published instantly online along with your screen name.

By clicking “Submit” you are agreeing to our terms and conditions.

Article source:

Gardening Tips: Extension website offers way to ask garden questions

Posted: Friday, July 5, 2013 11:10 am

Gardening Tips: Extension website offers way to ask garden questions

By Matthew Stevens

RR Daily Herald


A few years ago, extension services nationally partnered to develop a website — It serves as a portal to unify the extension services that exist in each of the 50 states. In addition to publications and news articles, the site also offers an Ask an Expert feature. Through this feature, users can ask questions and their question will be sent to a local or subject matter expert. Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked in the past week or two, along with my answers.

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
linked account:

Current print subscribers

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
linked account:

Current print subscribers


Friday, July 5, 2013 11:10 am.

Article source:

Gardening tips and a blueprint for life

July 6th 1:14 am | Seth Kantner

Tip No. 1: Water.

For nearly 20 years now, June has been my traditional time to travel to villages, running Maniilaq Association’s garden project.

When the ice breaks up on the Kobuk, I have to boat away from my birthplace and lifelong home, and go to work. The land is lit in sun, the river flooding, birds singing and the beavers busy all night in their lakes. It’s a bountiful and beautiful time of year and I don’t much want to leave.

But I grew up with a tradition of folks seeking summer work — commercial fishing and construction jobs — and this job is a short-season one, and linked directly to endless sunlight. As a result the work is manic and rewarding and stressful — like in nature, I guess — all those blueberries and fireweed and lousewort’s leaping to life in spring. All the spruce tips greening, the willows and alders and birches leafing out, swans and geese and loons laying eggs, and thousands of caribou having kids. None of them waste a moment, and I enjoy their tight schedule.

Tip No. 2: Everything needs love and care.

After spending Breakup on ice and walking the tundra, every village I travel to is an incredible oasis of wrecked equipment. Trucks with flat tires slump where they died; new snowgoes, wrecked snowgoes, upside down half-dismantled snowgoes; boats buried in tall young willows, and four-wheelers in all stages of death and disrepair.

Lurking back in the brush are the yellow monsters, heavy equipment randomly rusting behind homes and city office buildings — backhoes and dozers, graters and dump trucks and loaders left after countless construction projects over the decades.

Landing in Kobuk, my assistant, Linnea Wik and I hurry down the steps of the Era Alaska Caravan into sweltering heat. The pilots race to unload case after case of Pepsi. I marvel at the irony — how these pilots stay in great shape, handling so much canned pop.

This heat wave arrived directly after a frigid fog off the coast ice. I’m wilting and lusting after one of those blue cans though I don’t drink pop. Linnea has been in California; she smiles in the sun and carries boxes of plants across the dusty gravel.

I head for the shore, to search for our program rototiller. The sun burns my shoulders. The leaves are green along the riverbank. I wish a cloud would appear in the sky. I spot the handles of the tiller in Alex Sheldon’s yard. Shedding sled dogs rise in the heat to growl at me.

I’ve known Alex since I was a kid. He’s an Inupiaq man, handsome and humorous. Fifty years back he was friends with Linnea’s and my parents—back before all this clutter came to the Arctic. Later, he ran the Iditarod, and one winter borrowed my lead dog, Murphy, to run around the village. Now he’s out of town, and the recent flood has made rubble of his yard. The red Troybuilt tiller is forlorn, packed with mud and grass and wet caribou hair. When I pull the starter I hear sand grating. The exhaust coughs up orange rusty water. It’s depressing. I used to love small engines, and this one needs a lot of that now.

Linnea and I give up on the machine; we haul shovels and rakes and her pride and joy—her broadfork–to Nina Harvey’s garden to till the soil. Along the sleepy street we acquire a young man on a bicycle. He rides circles around us. He’s wiry and thin, and talks more and faster and louder than villagers generally do. “I’m Guy Moyer. The Guy Moyer, I like to say, since my grandfather Guy Moyer passed away. He was a great gardener. I’m contemplating having a garden. I’m cultivating the thought.”

Within a few minutes Guy makes use of my entire repertoire of little big words: nemesis, detrimental, exponential, dichotomy, etc. “I’m like an XM radio,” he says. “What channel do you want to hear?”

For the next two hours while we work, he rattles on. Nina gets worn down by the chatter, or overheated, and she climbs the steps up to her house. Guy tells stories, always returning to details of stealing carrots from his grandfather’s garden, the joy of plucking a large one, the feel of rubbing it clean on his shirt. He even does a Rambo-like imitation of himself as a five-year-old, making a night raid on Guy Moyer’s famed garden. He crouches behind fireweeds, pretending to inhale the “longs” he used to find (unfinished cigarette butts) and then sprints toward the rows we’ve tilled.

“I call them aisles,” he says, moving fast. “Not rows. I looked for the little markers. You know why? To find the carrot aisles.”

I find myself wishing for a pencil, to write down his words. My memory is useless for these things; my mind like one of those automatic toilets at the Anchorage airport — WHOOSH — flushing randomly before I want it to, everything gone. I wish someone would line this dude out with his own Inupiaq comedy show on TV. From the far end of Nina’s garden the sunshine of Linnea’s smile agrees with me.

Tip No. 3: Talk to your plants.

From Kobuk, George Douglas boats us and our plants down to Shungnak. Before we leave, Guy offers George a pound of bread yeast. Apparently the Kobuk school gave out pounds of it this spring. “Thought you might want to make pizza,” Guy says. George says no thanks, he has plenty. In my mind I’m thinking, Yeah, right, guys. You’re talking homebrew.

George swings a blue 36-pack of Pepsi into his boat. “It’s the quality, not the quantity,” he says when I question him about his purchase. I nod, wondering about sunstroke. Maybe I have it.

The boat ride is splendid, just in time to save me from melting. At Shungnak we disperse plants, and then hide out in the clinic, letting the sun swing north.

At 9 p.m., we head to work again. Shungnak is more wrecked vehicles, with a backdrop of stunningly beautiful scenery, the tundra a huge green fling to the mountains at the pale blue edge of the sky. It’s stifling out still, the Death Star glaring from the north. Linnea and I assist a woman named Johanna planting her tilled silt soil. She has a cloud of kids and quickly more show up. It’s fun, but stressful with so many little feet trampling around the unfenced garden.

“I could plant?” a little boy asks. He’s eight, maybe. I start to answer, but from the lake in the middle of town I hear the chortling call of a grebe. I pause, call to the bird. The serious little boy asks what kind of duck it is, and I tell him of searching for grebe eggs, when I was a kid.

“Let’s go look,” he urges. “You want to? Come on. I find some last year.”

I’m surprised. I remember my brother and me searching with kayaks. The eggs weren’t easy to find. I’d like to join the boy, to acknowledge and encourage him. But we have work to do. “We have to work,” I say.

When we are done, George strolls up wearing trunks and a tanktop. He hands me a shopping bag. Inside are huge wedges of homemade pizza, hot still, with corn meal on the bottom of the crust, and fresh red peppers, olives and pepperoni on top. Open-mouthed, Linnea and I stare into the bag, not believing our fortune.

We stroll toward our next job, famished and searching for shade. Finally we sit on a dusty plywood box to eat. The little boy appears again. He has a grebe egg in his hand. How did he find it so fast? “Let’s go look more,” he urges. “Come on.”

“I have to work,” I say, agonizingly. “I know it doesn’t look it, sitting here eating. But we have to.” I explain how to check if the egg is good–with a cup of water—and that a floater should go back in the nest.

The little boy goes away again, and an old friend saunters up. He tells us the boy’s name, of him setting rabbit snares by himself, and how it was him who found the man down along the river. He tells of suicide and hardship and abandonment. “He’s the one who found the body.”

In sober silence we walk down to Wesley Wood’s old garden. It’s cooler there by the water, and Wesley’s daughters and relatives are turning the mucky soil. The bugs come out and join us. After midnight Linnea and I carry our tools up the hill. Some of our plants left outside have been stolen. Kids play by the steps of the tribal office. One of them is the little boy. “How to grow?” he asks, so serious.

I hand him a cabbage start, explaining as best I can. Our plants are drooped, wilted yet again today. I’m hot and tired, so impressed, and nearly hopeless. “Here,” I say. “These are the roots.”

Tip # 4: Love your garden.

In Ambler, after dispersing plants, I chat with Gladys Jones. She tells me she and Lawrence are building a log cabin at camp now. Previously, they built their own home, and then a grocery store, too, that they manage together.

Her words and accomplishments seem surreal here in the dusty and worn tribal office. “Where did you find such an energetic husband?” I joke thoughtlessly.

“I think it’s me,” Gladys says with a small smile. “And I want to study to be a physician’s assistant. It’s good being busy.”

Later, the villages and people begin to blur. In Noorvik, we rent a boat ride upriver to Kiana. The drivers turn out to be two smiling teenaged girls, Tinmiaq and Iriqtaq Hailstone. “We’ve just did three more episodes for our reality show,” they tell us proudly. I nod blankly; I’ve never owned a TV. I’m worried about these cabbage plants in the open boat. The girls turn to Linnea, explaining the show.

Working in Kiana late into the night, we’re accompanied by two girls, aged four and five, Danielle and Shayden. They’re sun-cooked, red-cheeked, their bare arms and legs lumpy with bug welts. They watch and help and never complain, all the while squinting and scratching and waving away mosquitoes. Only once Shayden holds out a can of WD-40, asking quietly, “This one is bug dope?”

In Deering, Marlene Moto wears a back brace like something out of a science fiction movie. Somehow she scurries across a maze of dog diggings, to point out where she wants another garden. She stands staring off across the distant sweep of land, like she’s done that every day of her life.

In Kivalina, at the last garden, my new tiller won’t run. Again Linnea happily presses her human-powered broadfork into the soil. I give up and join her. Beside us the Swan ladies cut blubber off ugruk hides. Laughter drifts over from their work. Old Joe Swan putters with the little tiller engine. “You got the power,” he croons to it.

“Is he a rototiller whisperer?” Linnea murmurs.

“I’ve heard of talking to plants,” I tell Joe. “But not to engines.”

“I’m more accustomed to hearing people swear at them,” Linnea whispers again.

“Oh, you have to talk to them,” Joe says. “You’ve got the power…”

Smiling, Linnea and I turn back to the soil. Occasionally we pull out a shard of glass, a chunk of rusted steel, caribou teeth, a .22 cartridge. Suddenly I remember something Guy blurted out up in Kobuk. “I like to stay positive,” he said. “Too many people here hook both wires up to the negative terminal.”

I think about those words, and my past and future, our region’s past and future, as we continue gently pressing tiny turnip starts into the dark earth. And watering them.


Contact us about this article at

Article source:

Tips and best plants to grow for a fragrant, night-time garden

datura.JPGView full sizeBrugmansia is a fragrant choice for a night garden.

Some plants can perfume the memory of an evening for years.

Nicotiana sylvestris entices with its sweetness. Asiatic jasmine wafts wonderfully at night in a garden and triggers instant nostalgia.

Other elements to include: light-colored flowers, variegated foliage, water, a place to sit and lighting.

To start planning an evening garden, look at location. If the garden
is exposed to the western sun, consider a spot with partial shade for
the night garden.

The smallest yard can still have a spot for evening enjoyment, on a
deck, porch or small terrace. There’s no reason you can’t have an
evening garden in containers.


Scented plants:

Brugmansia (datura, angel’s trumpet)

Calla lilies

Daphne caucasica

Geraniums, scented (pelargoniums)

Heliotrope, white forms

Lilies, white Asiatic or Oriental such as ‘Casa Blanca’

Nicotiana sylvestris (flowering tobacco)

Phlox paniculata ‘Norah Leigh’ (variegated phlox)

Rosa ‘Gertrude Jekyll’

Trachelospermum asiaticum and jasminoides (star jasmine) (for sheltered locations)

Vitis species (edible grapes)

Light-colored plants:

Anemone hybrida ‘Whirlwind’ (Japanese anemone, many white hybrids)

Phygelius ‘Moonraker’ (Cape fuchsia)

Salix integra ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ (variegated willow)

Weigela ‘Briant Rubridor’


Stipa gigantea (giant feather grass)

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’

Elymus magellanicus (Magellan’s blue grass)


Acer japonicum (Japanese maple)

Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell)

Albezia (silk tree)


HGTV also offers plants and info on how to grow a night garden, including maintenance tips:
Spend a little
more time deadheading the spent flowers. This will encourage more
flowers to bloom, which in turn means more night color in your garden.
And more night color will beckon you to relax in a garden custom-made
for the stars.

Weekend Gardener has planting a moonlight garden, with more plant ideas (many white ones) plus some suggested combinations.
Overall remember, the idea behind a moonlight garden is to reflect the
glow and stillness of nighttime, and to create a special area that
really offers its best qualities at night.

Dulcy Mahar, in one of her columns for Homes Gardens of the Northwest from 2009, included a list of plants to “perfume your night garden.”
To truly indulge yourself in late-summer evenings, pack the garden with
as many scented, pale August bloomers as you have space for.
Fortunately, scent and pale color often go together. There is a logical

— Homes Gardens of the Northwest staff

If you want to automatically receive a free daily homes and gardens tip, sign up at’s newsletter subscription site.

Article source:

Gardening tips for July

As soon as things dry out, get going on some of your summer gardening chores. The rain has undoubtedly set you back some, and may have even caused you to forego some of your usual activities in the landscape and garden. Just remember that you don’t want to tramp through soggy soil unless you have to. If you go out to pick tomatoes, it will compact the soil.

Watch out for Japanese beetles. This is their time of year, and this year they seem to be quite prolific. Several products are on the market to help control them, but any spray or dust has to be reapplied after a rain. You can remove the beetles by hand, dropping them into an empty milk jug, or knock them into a pail of soapy water. You might also try using a hand-vac to remove them if you can do so without damaging foliage.

Keep the blooms on annuals and perennials coming by deadheading as soon as flowers begin to fade. Hopefully, you have been able to cut and arrange some bouquets from your garden flowers. Wait until later in the summer or early fall to let a few flowers remain on and form seed that you can save.

Look for sales. Check out the discount and sales sections of garden centers. Give plants a good looking over to be sure you can bring them back from the brink. Some stores will also be cutting prices on seeds and supplies, so watch for deals and stock up.

During the month of July, you can make second plantings of pole string beans, pole lima beans and bush lima beans. Plant Southern peas and rutabagas. Start transplants of collards, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and tomatoes.

A frequently asked question among gardeners is, “How late can I prune my azaleas?” July, before the plant sets its flower buds for next year, is the latest you should prune if you expect to have flowers in the spring.

Weeds have thrived in this wet weather — in the lawn, the landscape and the vegetable garden. Hoeing and hand-pulling are the best ways to handle weeds around food crops. Put down a good layer of mulch to discourage leftover seeds from sprouting.

When using weed killers, either spray or granular, around ornamentals and in lawns, read directions carefully. Be sure the product is labeled for the specific weeds you are trying to get rid of. Also be sure it is labeled as safe for use on the type of grass or around the ornamentals you do not want to harm. Always avoid applying herbicides on windy days or right before a rain.

Planning an extended out-of-town trip or vacation? If you have houseplants or a vegetable garden, you may want to ask a gardening friend to watch over things for you, watering and harvesting as needed. You can return the favor when they go on vacation or let them keep the produce they pick in exchange.

Have you snapped some pictures of your garden yet this year? And I don’t mean that new pond in your backyard created by our massive amounts of rain. When the sun shines, get out your camera and snap pictures of the flowers and plants that are really outdoing themselves this year. If nothing else, you can post them on Facebook.

Remember to keep tabs on local pick-your-own operations and roadside stands for fruits and vegetables that you don’t grow yourself and that are only available for a short time period. Blueberries, for example, are in full production right now, so don’t let the opportunity to load up on them pass you by.

Contact the writer: 138 Nature’s Trail, Bamberg, SC 29003.

Article source:

Hot-weather gardening tips: more water and mulch, fewer weeds and pests

Hot-weather gardening tips: more water and mulch, fewer weeds and pests

By BRAVETTA HASSELL World Scene Writer on Jul 6, 2013, at 2:26 AM  Updated on 7/06/13 at 7:25 AM

Print with comments

Print without comments

Water will be best absorbed when temperatures are cooler, but don’t wait to water if your plants are showing signs of heat-stress. MATT BARNARD/ Tulsa World

Print with comments

Print without comments

Home Garden

Russell Studebaker: Create garden style with Joseph’s coat

Over time, even fashions change in landscaping, but the good plants remain the same.

Gardening teaches kids life lessons

In the Brady Heights Community Garden, brother and sister Brendan and Ryan Dalton, respectively, are growing carrots and tomatoes, lettuce and green beans.

Tulsa made it through a treacherous and hot week last month, and don’t think we’re out of the woods yet.

Here are a few hot weather gardening tips to keep in mind as we march toward the thick of summer. Keeping an eye on your garden – observing your plant beds, shrubs and trees – will help you decide how to remedy problem areas that crop up during this season.


During the summer, weeds have a way of seemingly springing up overnight, stealing away the nutrients the plants you want to survive need. Get rid of them by picking them out by hand.


Be mindful of the weather forecast. When you see a cool day appearing soon on the horizon, hold off watering until then. That way more of the water is absorbed by the soil and plant roots as opposed to being vaporized by the heat. But if your plant is showing signs of heat-stress, water as soon as possible.

The amount of water needed will vary based on the plant variety, so pay attention to labels. Beyond that, when you do water, do it early in the morning if possible. During the hottest stretches of the summer, think about watering deeply (longer) and less frequently.

When it comes to container plants, you already know they will dry out the fastest – the smaller the container, the quicker. Check the soil, but plan on watering pots once to twice a day when weather really heats up.


Mulch, mulch, mulch. It keeps plant beds warmer in the winter and in the summertime holds in moisture for your plants to use. Protect your garden beds and tree zones with it.

When considering what mulch to put down around perennials and shrubs, check with the OSU Extension Office to find out what mulch is most appropriate.

Fertilizers, pesticides

In terms of fertilizing, some light feeding of a stressed-out plant may be helpful.

For pest control, pick them off if you can. Strong blasts of water can propel some harmful critters off your plants as well.

And try to stay away from chemicals. During the summer’s most intense heat, your plants will have enough to deal with from environmental conditions. Chemicals also drive pollinators away.

Bravetta Hassell 918-581-8316

Home Garden

Russell Studebaker: Create garden style with Joseph’s coat

Over time, even fashions change in landscaping, but the good plants remain the same.

Gardening teaches kids life lessons

In the Brady Heights Community Garden, brother and sister Brendan and Ryan Dalton, respectively, are growing carrots and tomatoes, lettuce and green beans.

Only active print or digital subscribers of the Tulsa World are allowed to post comments on stories posted to After you fill out the form below and click submit, your comment will be published instantly online along with your screen name.

By clicking “Submit” you are agreeing to our terms and conditions.

Article source:

Small style hits the big time

Size matters. More and more.

If not a decided shift at recent High Point furniture markets, let us just say that rooms with smaller footprints will not be ignored. The good news is that the commitment ramps up challenges to design furniture smartly, with an eye to size and proportions, multitasking, built-ins and visual tricks.

A sign of the times is that RH (the re-branded Restoration Hardware) – which several years ago went into heavy Belgian industrial and French chateau mode with mega-scale and opulent proportions – last spring introduced one of its legendary weighs-a-ton sourcebooks devoted to … drumroll … small spaces! The latest edition is described as “a scaled-down collection of furnishings in sizes that work beautifully in more intimate spaces.”

Relatable scale and clean, modern lines are one reason, perhaps, for the appeal of mid-century furniture. This is precisely what grabbed the eye at the Stockholm collection booth at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York in late May. Inspired by home furnishings from the 1950s and ’60s, the sizes of pieces seemed right; add to that comfort, sophistication and style – in a provocative palette punched up with kellyish or emerald greens and acid yellows – at affordable prices. The collection launches at IKEA next month.

Another standout at that show, because of its thoughtful incorporation of storage, was a bathtub designed by the Canadian firm, Blu Bathworks. In addition to graceful lines, the piece spoke to storage needs in an architecturally savvy way, its front and sides wrapped with wood shelving designed to house essentials like towels, soaps and sponges, and even a decorative piece thrown in for good measure.

One company that always has understood the need for small as well as for large scale is Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. For every 90-plus-inch sofa, there are several cozily silhouetted chairs. For every nearly 4-foot-square cocktail table, there may be dozens of petite martini side tables.

“From our first days,” said Mitchell Gold, “we observed how people live and want to live. The reality is every home has small spaces even if the homes are large. We realized people need a variety of proportions.”

Scale really is the motivator – not just the measure, but how the inches measure up; in other words, the proportions of the piece. When Libby Langdon designed her Howell chaise for Braxton Culler, she was reaching out to those who love a lounge option but one that reads more simply, such as a chair attached to ottoman, not a space- hog.

“Often furniture is unnecessarily oversized and overstuffed,” Langdon said. “Many standard sofas have large, rolled arms, each measuring 12 inches wide, which means they are taking up two feet of usable space.”

It’s telling that some of the most popular categories of furniture in recent years have been small tables, bar carts, etageres and desks. One reason is that houses with less square footage demand flexible furniture, so versatile double duty is welcome. A desk can serve as a vanity. A slim etagere or baker’s rack can be ganged in sets of three on one wall or employed in a kitchen or bath for handy items.

A piece with doors and shelving inside might be tapped as a bar, TV cabinet, for plates and glassware in the dining room, or folded shirts and accessories in the bedroom. A cart with casters can be used in an entry, holding books, framed photos and flowers, or as a rolling bar.

Another tack for maximizing space and function is a piece that can be pulled apart and reconfigured. A table introduced this spring by French Heritage has 18-inch components that serve as accent tables that are easily moved about (and stacked); six can be put together to create a handsome 36-inch hexagonal coffee table.

Built-ins long have been a go-to option for designers, as they take advantage of tight corners. They offer storage as well. The top of a new platform bed at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams lifts to reveal stash-away space equivalent to a six-drawer dresser, according to Williams.

Visual space-saving is another clever device for limited square footage. The etagere is a good example, or a cabinet with slender proportions and transparent backside, which allows the wall paint or covering to peek through and become part of the piece.

Going up the wall, of course, is becoming a useful way to conserve space. We see it in floating shelves, wall-mounted cabinets, and in wall-hung toilets, such as the newest model from Kohler, Veil, introduced at the contemporary furniture fair – fabulously compact with a concealed tank and minimal footprint that saves up to 12 inches of floor, a boon for cleaning.

Rails on kitchen backsplashes also are an excellent way to get pieces off the counter. In Susan Serra’s New York kitchen design, those rails don’t remain static; rather, they’re armed with spices, tools and the like. Contents are changed out for formal entertaining, substituting with flowers and paintings – decorative elements to “dress” the space.

Designer Libby Langdon, host of HGTV’s “Small Space, Big Style,” likes to use bold color as a backdrop. In designing a guest bedroom in her own home, she painted the walls vivid chartreuse, complementing the hue in black and white. A black four-poster bed made of rattan surprisingly anchors the space, but its simple design and open weave feel light. Another device, which she often favors, is doing draperies from ceiling to floor, which visually stretches out the height of the room.

Gold used a 100-inch-long Chesterfield sofa in his 1,850-square-foot Washington, D.C., condo because it makes the small scale feel more sumptuous. “We also used a 96-by-38-inch dining table instead of a console to serve as a place for media equipment. Putting it up against the wall makes it look generous, not at all overwhelming.

“On the other hand, in the bedroom we used our specially designed small-scale bedside tables, which are (only) 20 inches wide. For many condos, bedroom walls are just too small for a queen-sized bed and a pair of tables. For us the key is that nothing should ‘hang over.’ Furniture shouldn’t go past a wall’s border.”

That’s smart living.

Article source: