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Archives for July 11, 2013

Peace lily — Garden show adds beauty to American Fork Steel Days

AMERICAN FORK — In one word, RoseMari Taylor’s yard is “serene,” and on July 17, you can feel that serenity as you walk through her gardens for the first Steel Days Garden Show.

She and nine other garden owners in American Fork are preparing a free garden tour on that day as a part of the annual city celebration.

“If people want to see the real beauty of American Fork, they need to see the gardens in American Fork,” said Taylor, who is a member of the city’s beautification committee.

Don’t think the gardeners merely took a few weeks of throwing their yard together for the show. The hosts for the tour have worked for decades preparing gardens for their enjoyment.

“These are just people in American Fork who just have gorgeous gardens who work hours on them each day and are willing to share that beauty that they have created with others,” Taylor said.

Some artists use pen or palette, but these American Fork landscape artists use dirt and all varieties of flora. In the Taylors’ garden there is an old twisted and bent ash tree. A sweetheart swing hangs from one of the tree’s thick branches. A nearby window box explodes with color.

Ivy climbs over trellises providing shade. Lamb’s ear, horehound, lilies of all colors, goldenrod, lemon balm and baby’s breath can be found in her herb garden as well as lavender, marigold, daisies, oregano, sage, spider wort, yarrow, larkspur and holly hocks.

Another garden in her backyard is designed for relaxation. A waterfall babbles its way down the stones, golden fish lazily swim in the pond, trumpet vine provides shade and attracts hummingbirds, and beyond the fence is her vegetable garden. Yet another garden area has Concord grapevines forming its green fruit that will ripen into dark grapes in the fall for harvest.

When she and her husband, Doug Taylor, bought their one-acre property 51 years ago, RoseMari Taylor said there was nothing as far as landscaping goes. Her pastime — her husband always knows where to find her — is a constant in their life.

“She wants to work herself to death out there,” Doug Taylor said.

“It’s my passion. Everyone has a passion,” RoseMari Taylor said.

A retired welder, Doug Taylor has supported his wife in her love for growing all varieties of plants. They grow on his creations — an arbor, trellis, fence, gates.

“All the pipe work, he has done it all,” she said.

She said she leaves the telephone in their house and finds peace working outside.

“It’s the best place to problem solve,” she said and laughed. “You can tell I have a lot of problems.”

The Taylors’ house is just one location of several to visit. The garden show is free and people can get a copy of the locations for the tour at the American Fork library at 64 S. 100 East or at the city administrative offices at 51 E. Main St.

Taylor said people will be able to get ideas for gardens of their own. They will also find certain types of trees that will grow well in this area.

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More than just gardens . . .

Have a go at willow weaving and being a weather presenter, then head to Jodrell Bank’s interactive space exhibit at this year’s show

There’s more than simply gardens at the RHS Flower Show Tatton Park this year.

The show has a number of features designed to inspire and educate visitors, including an interactive science hub from the nearby Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, which will explain the links between the world of physics and astronomy and the themes of the new Galaxy gardens.

In the Feast zone you can find out for yourself what it’s like to be a weather presenter at the BBC Local Radio feature. Using an autocue and special effects, try reading the weather on the big screen from the show. There are different events going on each day in the BBC Local Radio marquee, from appearances by celebrity guests to gardening clinics. For budding performers, there’s the chance to take part in a radio drama produced especially for the show.

If you want to find out more about traditional skills, and even have a go, in the Grow zone you can enjoy Twigtwisters’ willow feature depicting Noah’s Ark complete with a life-size elephant! They will also be running short willow workshops that you can join in with throughout the day.

Willowpool Designs will be creating a Willow Wonderland using wood from one of Britain’s favourite trees. You can make an eco wish and hang a ribbon on the willow wishing tree, or join in a willow workshop and make a leaf.

Meanwhile, in the Escape zone, the Dry Stone Walling Association will be showing visitors the art of this traditional craft, which stretches back at least 3,500 years in Britain. Members of the Association’s Cheshire Branch will be demonstrating how a traditional dry stone wall is constructed and will be on hand throughout the show to answer your queries and offer advice.

Anyone looking for ideas for their own garden should head to local nursery Four Oaks Direct, who will be showing you the diverse colours, foliage styles and heights of perennial plants in their Perennial Garden. Perennial plants can be used to good effect in borders and planters in the garden, as well as in patios and courtyards.  However if trees are more your thing head to I Want Trees’ feature, which gives inspiration to those wanting more privacy in their garden.

Or perhaps the landscaping skills being displayed in the Landscape Gardening Competition staged by WorldSkills UK will inspire you. Candidates will get an opportunity to show off their landscaping skills in a build scenario that is demanding and challenging, and the competition will be used to select the candidates that will go through to the WorldSkills UK National Finals in November.

Finally, the RHS National Flower Bed Competition is always guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Seven local authorities and community groups will be displaying the best in bedding at the show and each has designed a bed that draws on a theme from their local area. This year’s themes range from a celebration of Birmingham’s canals to the story of how a pit boy from Newcastle-under-Lyme became the sixth Prime Minister of Australia.



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Home Community Take part in the Landscapes of Excellence garden…

London Community News

By Haley Ritchie for London Community News

If you have ever wanted a peek into your neighbor’s backyard, you might get the chance July 13 at London’s fifth annual Landscapes of Excellence Garden Tour.

The self-guided tour is hosted by Landscape Ontario’s London chapter, and promises to feature six of the city’s best backyards and gardens. The professionals responsible for designing and installing the landscapes will be at each site to answer questions on everything from lighting to stonework.

“It’s a perfect opportunity to meet with the people who are actually designing and installing the gardens,” President of Landscape Ontario’s local chapter Jarrett Woodard said. “There’s a lot of garden tours where people go and look at plants and gardens, but our tour is complete landscapes. Pool, fences, stonework, gardens, driveways, lighting, and water features — a little bit of everything.”

The event is focused on providing tips and inspiration to people looking to hire a professional landscaper, those ready to take on a do-it-yourself (DIY) project, as well as gardening enthusiasts interested in yard maintenance.

London Middlesex’s Master Gardeners group will also be present at the final stop of the tour, offering unbiased advice on planting and tips on gardening in the city with Master Gardener and HGTV host Denis Flanagan.

Good landscaping is an investment for many homeowners. According to Landscape Ontario, when done right it can raise real estate values from 6-12 percent, but a poorly done DIY job can lower property values by up to 10 percent.

Jay McKinnon, the designer of the “Victorian -Splendor” garden on the tour, is a landscaper who has worked in     London for over nine years. The biggest gardening mistake he sees people making is underestimating how large projects can become.

“That’s why a lot of people decide to do it on their own. But at the same time, if you’re renovating your house are you going to jump in and do your own electrical work? Probably not.”

“Start with the design,” McKinnon said, and he recommends hiring a professional for at least the initial planning.

It’s important to think about details like soil types, spacing out plants while considering future growth and incorporating plants with different bloom times throughout the season.

Dedicated and knowledgeable DIY landscapers who are not looking to hire should still attend according to Woodard, since it’s a great showcase for new materials and ideas. Many of the gardens feature LED lighting and one has a technologically advanced rain harvesting system hidden under a patio.

“It’s for everybody. It’s great for people looking for ideas; I think a lot of it is the design concept. To see what professional landscapers can come up with,” he said.

Tickets can be bought online in the form of a $10 passport (children are free) that serves as a map for the tour and includes details for each of the featured gardens and companies.

Passport holders can then take the tour on July 13 at their leisure from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Proceeds from the tour and charity BBQ will go to the Veterans Memorial Parkway community project, raising money for a new stone feature that will be installed by the London members of Landscape Ontario.

To purchase online tickets visit: or call 226-289-1830.

R&S Landscaping announces theme for annual photo contest

MIDLAND PARK — The subject of RS Landscaping’s fourth annual photo contest will be New Jersey’s Gardens, the Midland Park-based company has announced. The contest gives local residents the opportunity to submit photographs displaying the beauty of nature for which the Garden State was named.

Previous subjects of the photo contest have been butterflies, hummingbirds and children in the garden. The garden was previously the backdrop for these contests. This year, the garden itself is brought into the foreground to be celebrated, said a company spokesperson.

“In past years we’ve chosen subjects for the contest we’d hoped would be an interesting challenge for photographers to help connect them with nature and learn about the local ecosystem,” said Robert Schucker, president of RS Landscaping. “This year we wanted to focus on the garden itself. Sometimes the biggest challenge is to recognize the beauty that is right in front of you every day.”

The Garden State certainly has no lack of gardens within its borders and in order to illustrate the diversity of these gardens, RS will not discriminate as to the type of garden. It will accept photographs of any garden within the state, whether it is a private backyard, a public garden or a state park.

“This great state has some of the most beautiful display of plantings in the world,” said Schucker. “We look forward to viewing all of the entries.”

From July 8 through August 31, individuals can submit photographs for a chance to win the first place prize, a $100 gift certificate to Kodak. The second place winner will receive a pair of gardening books that detail perennial care and garden design.

RS Landscaping has specifically made this available as a summertime project that’s fun for kids and parents can make educational for the entire family. Kids and adults can learn about flower or vegetable gardening and improve their photography skills in the process.

Submissions should include the photographer’s name, town, location of the photo, and a short story behind the picture. Submissions can be sent via e-mail to All submissions will be posted on RS Landscaping’s Facebook page, and members of the RS team will select the best photograph. The winners will be announced in early September, and the winning photographs will be posted on the company’s website,

RS Landscaping may be reached at 201-447-6205 or

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Careers in landscaping much more than playing with plants

EDMONTON – Elizabeth Wheale spends winters on the ski hill and summers working outside in other people’s yards.

The 28-year-old recently finished a landscape gardener apprenticeship and started her own business, Fair Haven Landscaping. The Red Deer-based company services central Alberta, including rural areas, completing projects ranging from building retaining walls to starting flower gardens from scratch.

Landscape gardening is a red seal trade that requires a four-year apprenticeship, including a minimum of 1,200 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training each year. Olds College is the only school in the province that offers technical training in the trade.

Wheale grew up on a farm and enjoyed working outside, including a winter job as a ski instructor. But she hadn’t considered a career in the landscaping trade until she started working for a local company.

“Originally I was actually planning to go to the United Kingdom and do a bachelor’s degree in theology and youth work,� Wheale remembers.

However the program she had her eye on didn’t start until June and Wheale’s ski instructor job had finished for the season, leaving her looking for work for a few months. She ended up at Geneva Gardens Inc. in Red Deer, where the company’s owner encouraged Wheale to consider an apprenticeship.

“He saw the potential there and told me about the apprenticeship and said I’ll hire you for the summer, but I want you to do an apprenticeship. I hadn’t been totally sure about moving to the United Kingdom, and once I started working it made sense to stay,� she said.

She finished her apprenticeship with top marks and earned the Top Apprentice Award in 2011 for landscape gardener.

Landscape gardeners can work for a variety of employers, including landscape architects, contractors, nurseries, tree farms, greenhouses, cemeteries, governments garden centres and landscape supply outlets.

Others, such as Wheale, are self-employed.

“I enjoy the challenges that come from different people and their different preferences. I get bored easily so it’s nice to have variety,� she said.

Still, Wheale points out that starting a business comes with challenges.

“It’s thinking through the estimates and cost evaluations and valuing your own time and deciding what hours you’re willing to work and what type of work you’re willing to do. There’s lots of logistics you have to work through and you’ve just got to do it, and any entrepreneur is like that,� she said.

Wheale said one of the biggest challenges she’s encountered so far is getting customers to understand they get what they pay for.

“Cheap is out there, it’s just not skilled,� Wheale said.

Landscape gardening is an optional certification trade, meaning a recognized trade certificate is not required to practise the trade. That can mean skilled workers who are certified find themselves fixing other people’s mistakes.

“There’s one customer right now where I’m problem-solving because the landscaper who went in before did things that aren’t best practice,� Wheale said. “There are so many people out there with a wheel barrow or bobcat, but do they understand soil textures, or hardiness zones?�

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Tips to pain-free gardening

Gardeners can lessen the aches and pains that can come from growing plants at home by heeding the advice of gardening expert and author Melinda Myers.

Vertical gardening: Grow plants on a blank wall, fence or post. Height makes gardening easier and creates visual interest.

Choose tools wisely: Look for ergonomic grips, long handles and ratcheted tools to keep posture upright, provide more power and make the grip easier.

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Practical tips for pain-free gardening

Gardeners can lessen the aches and pains that can come from growing plants at home by heeding the advice of gardening expert and author Melinda Myers.

Vertical gardening: Grow plants on a blank wall, fence or post. Height makes gardening easier and creates visual interest.

Choose tools wisely: Look for ergonomic grips, long handles and ratcheted tools to keep posture upright, provide more power and make the grip easier.

Leverage heavy loads: Split up large loads into smaller increments. Use everyday items such as a wagon or winter sled to move supplies around.

Take breaks: Work five-minute breaks into the gardening schedule to lower the likelihood of injury.

Try easy back bends from the waist and don’t work for more than 20 to 30 minutes straight.

Stay attentive to weather and flexibility. Do additional stretches or warm-ups if the joints are feel stiff or cold.

Keep tools sharp: File trow- els, shears and shovels.

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Summer Water Saving Tips from Homeserve for Your Home and Garden

WALSALL, UNITED KINGDOM–(Marketwired – July 11, 2013) – Glorious sunshine, the smell of barbeques and warm nights all signify one thing; summer is officially here at last! With the rising temperatures it becomes more important to try and save water as we do sometimes experience water shortages in the UK. With this in mind we’ve created HomeServe Handy Hints to help you save water.

By making some minor changes you could not only help to reduce your bills, but also become more environmentally friendly too! So read on to find out more with our latest Handy Hints.

Saving water in and around your home

  • Don’t leave your taps running – Do you leave the water running when you brush your teeth? Most people do, but by simply turning off the tap whilst you clean your teeth you could save a significant amount of water across the year. By making this small change you could help to make a positive difference to your water bill.

  • Be sensible with your settings – All appliances have different washing settings so try to use the most efficient settings available. Another top tip to avoid water waste is to ensure your dishwasher or washing machine is full before use so that you get value for money with each wash.

  • Think of alternative uses for your used water – When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water away. Try using it instead to water your trees, plants or shrubs.
  • No butts about it – Consider investing in a water butt for your garden. Apart from the cost to purchase it, collecting the water is free and it can be used to water your plants and shrubs to help keep your garden looking lovely.

  • Grab a bucket and sponge – When cleaning your car why not reach for a bucket and sponge and do it yourself? It may take a little longer than using a car wash but by choosing to clean your car this way you’ll avoid a car wash that invariably uses more water.

HomeServe also offers boiler cover insurance as well as insurance for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating.

Important information regarding HomeServe help and advice

HomeServe try to make the home advice as useful and reliable as possible. However, the purpose of HomeServe help and advice content is to provide homeowners and private landlords with general guidance and useful tips only. It doesn’t necessarily deal with every important topic or cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals and might not be relevant or appropriate in all circumstances. It is not designed to provide professional advice or financial advice and should not be relied on as such. The full disclaimer regarding HomeServe help and advice can be found on the website at the following page:

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Tips for (nearly) weedless gardening – Times

Click photo to enlarge

For a time many years back, I would become nervous every time I went out to my garden to weed. The weeds were so few that I feared something was wrong with the soil.

True, I had taken deliberate steps to create this condition, but initially it was hard to believe that results could so well bear out theory.

The first step in creating this “weedless” condition was to stop turning over or tilling the ground.

Buried in every soil are countless dormant weed seeds just waiting to be awakened by exposure to light and/or air. Not tilling — whether with a shovel, garden fork or rototiller — keeps those seeds buried and dormant.

Added bonuses to the no-till approach are preservation of valuable soil humus (organic matter), earlier planting in spring, more efficient water use and, of course, not having to go through the trouble of tilling.


I now take great pains to avoid disturbing the layering that naturally develops over time in any soil.

I clean up old marigold plants, tomato vines and other spent plants during and at the end of the growing season by just jerking them out of the ground, coaxing out plants with large roots, such as corn, by first cutting around their main roots with a garden knife.

I also enrich the soil from the top down, spreading fertilizers and compost or other organic materials right on the surface. Most of a plant’s feeder roots — the roots that benefit most from organic

materials and fertilizers — grow near the surface anyway. And near or on the surface is where organic materials can also do the most good offering protection from the pounding of raindrops and the summer sun.

Still, there are always those weeds that arrive in the garden as seeds hitchhiking in with the wind or dropped by birds. Each year, I smother them by spreading a thin, weed-free mulch over the soil. The mulch of choice depends on the look I want, the plants and the soil.

Poor soil and hungrier plants demand the most nourishing mulch. So every year, compost gets slathered an inch thick over the ground where vegetables grow.

Buckwheat hulls, straw or wood chips are adequate and attractive for most flowers.


Of course, you can’t just stop tilling, throw mulch on the ground and garden as usual. Walking on the soil and rolling a wheelbarrow, garden cart or tractor over it compacts the soil; tillage is then needed to aerate it.

The way to avoid compaction in the first place is to lay out the garden with permanent areas for plants and for traffic. Trafficked areas also need to be mulched, in this case with some lean, weed-free material such as wood chips, gravel or straw.

Planted areas in my vegetable garden consist of rectangular beds 3 feet wide surrounded by 18-inch-wide paths. Beds in my flower garden are more free-form or have stepping stones.

Planted areas in a vegetable garden don’t need to be raised beds, however; they can be laid out flat on the ground.

A big advantage of bed planting is that you can pack more plants into less space. Instead of planting carrots with 18 inches between rows, four or five rows can be planted with only a few inches between them. (That 18 inches is to let you walk between the rows for planting, weeding and harvesting. With a 3-foot-wide bed, you can do all that from the paths.)

Also, different vegetables, flowers, or vegetables and flowers can be grown together in beds.


Changing watering technique was the final step on my road to “weedlessness.” Not all plants need regular watering, but for those that do, drip irrigation is the way to go.

Drip irrigation puts water near garden plants, so none is wasted or promoting weed growth in the areas between plants or in paths.

This is not to say that with the above four steps — drip irrigation, mulching, keeping traffic off planted areas, and not tilling — weeds never appear. They do. But weed problems do not.

What few large weeds do appear get yanked out of the soil, roots and all, coaxed out, if necessary, with a garden knife or trowel at their roots.

Colonies of small weeds are quickly done in with a “winged weeder,” colinear hoe or some other hoe with a sharp blade that can be slid along parallel to and just a fraction of an inch below the soil surface.

Also important in keeping a garden weed-free is to search regularly for them. With the above four steps, this activity is pared down to nothing more than a few pleasant minutes per week.

For more information online, visit and

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Student design competition winner’s Hampton Court garden set to feature on …

By Matthew Appleby
09 July 2013

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