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Archives for August 10, 2013

This bridge needs a name… you have a few hours to think of one

Artist's impression of the new bridge to be built as part of Connswater project in east Belfast
Artist’s impression of the new bridge to be built as part of Connswater project in east Belfast

– 09 August 2013

Prince George, Victoria, Titanic Bridge… the bid to name the new bridge planned for Victoria Park in east Belfast is drawing to an end.

The public are being urged to get their thinking caps on, but to make it snappy because the closing date for naming the structure, which will be constructed as part of the Connswater Community Greenway project, is midnight tonight.

The pedestrian and cycle bridge is part of Phase One of the project which will provide a much-needed connection from Victoria Park to Airport Road, linking people to the Harbour Estate and Titanic Quarter.

East Belfast Partnership’s Stephanie Meenagh said she hopes now that the heat is on, the public will come up with some great ideas for naming a bridge that they will walk on for years to come.

“We have had a few great ones so far but I believe there are still some cracking ideas to come.

“I can’t say what the names suggested are but so far they have been based around the history and geography of the area, our ship-building and aerospace industries, the Titanic, royalty and the animals that live in Victoria Park.

“The park used to have a swimming pool so we have had some suggestions around that.

“Some suggestions have been based on local activists while others stem from fiction and literature linked with east Belfast.

“It is such a rich place culturally and historically so the suggestions have all been pretty interesting,” she says

Stephanie revealed she has been “overwhelmed” by the response and that the five-strong panel – made up of representatives from the council’s Parks and Leisure department, Victoria Park Run, Belfast Harbour Commission, Connswater Community Greenway Trust and east Belfast community organisations, have a difficult task ahead of them as they join forces to pick the winner.

The Connswater Community Greenway is a £35m investment which will connect the green and open spaces in east Belfast through the 9km linear greenway.

“Plans for the bridge at Victoria Park where unveiled earlier this year as part of phase one of the project.

“This initial £4m contract, awarded to local company BSG Civil Engineering, will focus on Orangefield and Victoria Parks, creating 3km of new paths, three new bridges for pedestrians and cyclists – including the bridge at Victoria Park – landscaping, and public realm work such as street furniture and lighting.

So what will the new bridge be called?

People can submit their entries online by logging onto

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Ways a small business can use Instagram

One of the great features of Instagram is that it offers the ability to share your images across other social platforms, including Facebook.

One of the great features of Instagram is that it offers the ability to share your images across other social platforms, including Facebook.

Brian Bushner
Social Engagement Manager- The Business Review

 | Twitter
 | LinkedIn

Instagram has been in the news a lot lately. Have you discussed this social platform for your brand?

Instagram allows users to take photos and video with a mobile phone, store it on the site and share it with others.

One of the great features of Instagram is that it offers the ability to share your images across other social platforms, including Facebook.

Should you use Instagram for your business? The answer is easy – ask your customers, are they using it? If so, here are some ideas to get you started:

Product demo – use either the photo or video features for this one. A photo of a dish your restaurant is serving tonight, or a video of how your product works go a long way.

Create a living portfolio – run a hair salon? Share photos of finished hairstyles. Run a coffeehouse? Share images of beverages you’ve made. Selling cars? Share photos of each car you’ve sold.

Search hashtags – is there a trending hashtag you can use? #518WX is always a popular one in Albany when there is a weather event. Specialize in replacing windshields damaged by hail? Well, this hashtag was almost made for you!

Before after – do you restore things? Remodel offices or homes? Landscaping? Whatever you do, before and after photos and videos are a great advertising tool to show off your skills!

These are a few basic ideas, which can also be used for Twitter, flickr, and other platforms your customers use.

Above all, whatever you do with Instagram, make it fun.

Instagram has a brand page that shows how some national brands have creatively used the platform – check it out here.

Bushner writes on all things social media.

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Going native:… |

Fall is just around the corner, which happens to be the best time of the year for planting landscape plants here in the High Desert.

Are you thinking about ideas of what to plant in your landscape? Are you trying to conserve water? Do you want your landscape to be an aesthetically pleasing fit with the desert surroundings? All of these questions can be answered with the use of California native plants, specifically those that thrive in the heat of summer and the chill of winter.

Native plants can be used for a number of reasons, including establishing a sense of place, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, conservation of natural resources, less maintenance and their inherent natural beauty.

Using native plants allows the landscape to look uniquely Californian. Many wildlife habitats have been destroyed by progress a n d development; using native plants can help create new habitats that provide food and shelter for many animal species, including native mammals, reptiles, birds and insects.

Because native plants are adapted to the area’s climate and soils, less water and fewer fertilizers are used, thus conserving natural resources. For the most part, native plants require less maintenance than many exotic species. And creatively designed landscapes using

native plants can be even more beautiful than those using traditional plant materials.

The native plant choices are nearly endless — there are multitudes of flower and leaf colors, various textures, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, evergreens and deciduous — and you can have something interesting happening in the landscape all year long. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to Mojave Desert natives — there are numerous California species that are easily adaptive to this climate and soil. As long the plant can tolerate alkaline soil, hot and cold temperatures, intense sunlight and some wind, it should do just fine.

Generally, natives’ only requirements are well-drained soil, little to moderate water and a few hours of sunlight. Try to avoid species such as Cottonwood (Populus fremontii), which make an attractive shade tree but are native to wet areas and therefore require abundant amounts of water to thrive. When you go out to purchase the plants, just pay attention to the label or ask a knowledgeable salesperson about the plant’s needs.

This brings me to the subject of where to purchase native plants. Some nurseries carry a huge number of native species and some have only a few. Reliable local sources include Heavenly Growers at the Apple Valley Farmers Market, Cal Herbold’s Nursery in Hesperia, Oak Hills Nursery in Hesperia/Oak Hills, The Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano and The Living Desert in Palm Desert, to name just a few. Many of the garden centers such as Lowes and Home Depot sometimes carry a few native selections as well.

Here is a short list of available plants that do quite well in the Victor Valley area: Blue Palo Verde (cercidium floridum), Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis), Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), Deer Weed (Lotus scoparius), Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Quail Bush (Atriplex lentiformis), California Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), Prince’s Plume (Stanleya pinnata), Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum), Chaparral Whitethorn (Ceanothus leucodermis), Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis), Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri), Blue Sage (Salvia clevelandii), Foothill Penstemon (Penstemon heterophyllus), Scented Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri), Desert Verbena (Verbena gooddingii), Desert Sage (Salvia dorii), Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris), California Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californicum), Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens) and California Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica). Remember this is only a partial list of beautiful possibilities.

Happy gardening!

High Desert resident Micki Brown is a drought-tolerant plant specialist with an M.S. in Plant Science. Send her questions to be answered in the column, and garden-related events to  

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Trowel & Glove: Marin gardening calendar for the week of Aug. 10, 2013

Click photo to enlarge


• The Marin Open Garden Project encourages residents to bring their excess backyard-grown fruit and vegetables to the following locations for a free exchange with other gardeners on Saturdays: Mill Valley from 10 to 11 a.m. on the Greenwood School front porch at 17 Buena Vista Ave.; San Anselmo from 9 to 10 a.m. at the San Anselmo Town Hall Lawn; San Rafael from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. in Sun Valley Park at K and Solano streets; San Rafael from 9 to 10 a.m. at Pueblo Park on Hacienda Way in Santa Venetia; San Rafael from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Terra Linda Community Garden at 850 Nova Albion Way; and Novato at the corner of Ferris Drive and Nova Lane from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Go to or email contact@opengarden

• West Marin Commons offers a weekly harvest exchange at 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Livery Stable gardens on the commons in Point Reyes Station. Go to www.westmarin

• The Marin County Outdoor Antique Market, with antiques, collectibles, books, jewelry, art, rugs and vintage furniture, is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 11 in the parking lot of the Marin County Veterans Memorial Auditorium at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael. Free. Call 383-2552 or go to www.golden

• The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards on Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 899-8296.

• Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Muir Woods or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays or 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 561-3077 or go to

• Tony Mekisich speaks about “Rose Garden Irrigation” at a Marin Rose Society program at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 13 at the San Rafael Corporate Center at 750 Lindaro St. in San Rafael. $5. Call 457-6045.

• The Marin Organic Glean Team is seeking volunteers to harvest extras from the fields for the organic school lunch and gleaning program from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays at various farms. A community potluck picnic follows. Call 663-9667 or go to

• Jenny Stroebel speaks about “Best Combination of Plants” at a Peacock Garden Club meeting at 11 a.m. Aug. 14 at the Falkirk Cultural Center at 1408 Mission Ave. in San Rafael. Call 453-2816.

• Katherine Randolph of Marin Master Gardeners speaks about “Fire Safe Landscaping” at noon Aug. 16 in the Board of Supervisors Chambers in Room 330 at 3501 Civic Center Drive in San Rafael. Free. Call 473-6058 or 472-4204 or go or

• The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 663-8590, ext. 114, or email to register and for directions.

• Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to www.opengarden or email

• Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

San Francisco

• The Conservatory of Flowers, at 100 John F. Kennedy Drive in Golden Gate Park, displays permanent galleries of tropical plant species as well as changing special exhibits from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $2 to $7. Call 831-2090 or go to www.

• The San Francisco Botanical Garden Society, at Ninth Avenue and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park, offers several ongoing events. $7; free to San Francisco residents, members and school groups. Call 661-1316 or go to www.sf Free docent tours leave from the Strybing Bookstore near the main gate at 1:30 p.m. weekdays, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. weekends; and from the north entrance at 2 p.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Groups of 10 or more can call ahead for special-focus tours.

Around the Bay

• Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to www.corner

• Garden Valley Ranch rose garden is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at 498 Pepper Road in Petaluma. Self-guided and group tours are available. $2 to $10. Call 707-795-0919 or go to

• The Luther Burbank Home at Santa Rosa and Sonoma avenues in Santa Rosa has docent-led tours of the greenhouse and a portion of the gardens every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. $7. Call 707-524-5445.

• McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tips on planting olive trees and has olive trees for sale by appointment. Call 707-769-4123 or go to www.mcevoy

• Wednesdays are volunteer days from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Occidental Arts and Ecology Center at 15290 Coleman Valley Road in Occidental. Call 707-874-1557, ext. 201, or go to

• Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen offers third Saturday docent-led tours at 10 a.m. March through October. The garden covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 1 megabyte and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.


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Tweetery, Tweetery, Tweet: The Bird Friendly Landscape

Very late at night, not quite dawn, the insects shush and the first bird says hello. If your garden is particularly bird friendly, lots of sweet tweeting and chirping and song-of-the-morning bird music greets  you before the sun arrives. And then, during the day, more birdsong fills the garden, making it a place of sound and motion, not just color and light and fragrance. And I swear, varieties of plants that are bird friendly tend to be hardier and lovelier than other plants.

sunflower in the cutting garden at CGC

sunflower in the cutting garden at CGC

If you’d like to make your garden a place birds want to hang out, sign up for The Bird Friendly Landscape, a class offered by Sue Trusty, Horticulturalist, on Thursday, August 22nd from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. It’s fun and interesting to incorporate plants in the landscape that will attract the interest of our flying friends. The presentation reveals the secrets to attracting birds to your yard using appropriate plants and landscaping. Also learn how to make your backyard a certified wildlife habitat. Go to the Civic Garden website for registration details.

Cindy Briggs

Posted in: classes, favorite, garden, Wildlife

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Caterpillar Show at Tower Hill Aug. 25

Posted by Carol Stocker

Secrets in Your Backyard will be the title of a live caterpillar show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston Sunday, August 25, 10am-4pm

Samuel Jaffe, life-long naturalist, trained biologist, photographer and passionate
educator, brings his “Caterpillars of Massachusetts” show to Tower Hill Botanic
Garden for those who want to get an up close and personal look at these bizarre yet fascinating garden visitors.

Jaffe, 30, is from Newton, Mass., and he earned a biology degree from Brown University,
and then worked on a study at Harvard University that examined interactions between
ants and caterpillars. He’s now an environmental education major at Antioch University
New England.

Jaffe first started taking photos of native New England caterpillars in 2008. “I did not imagine at the time the power that these images would have to open people’s
eyes to the wonders of their own back yards,” says Jaffe, “but after my first exhibit
it was clear that caterpillars were special.”

As Jaffe put it, he started his journey of exploring these bizarre native beauties
and soon realized that photography alone was not sufficient in demonstrating caterpillars’
charisma. Jaffe then organized his first caterpillar show and that’s when the Caterpillar
Project was born.

This summer, as part of the Caterpillar Project, Jaffe is touring around New England
with native live caterpillars and his photo gallery. With magnifying glasses provided,
the show offers a special glimpse into the varied and dynamic world of these wonderful
caterpillars which each have their unique way of disguising and defending themselves
in natural surroundings. The show will also reveal the secrets of caterpillars:
why they are called the “eating machines,” how they breathe and sense, and most
fascinating, their art of survival.

Caterpillars are the master of disguise. The Abbott’s

Sphinx caterpillar sports a camouflage of brown skin with green dots that run along
its body, making it look just like its host plant -the Grapevine. And you could
hardly spot the Oak Beauty caterpillars in the woods because they mimic a twig so
cleverly that there’s barely any contrast between the caterpillar and the wood.
But hiding is not always the best way to survive form predators. They also develop
some dazzling moves for their own protection. The Spicebush Swallowtail caterpillar
can perform an impressive snake mimic. And the White Furcula caterpillar, when disturbed, will inflate its two tail-looking, modified rear pro-legs and whip these tassels over and around itself.

The Live Caterpillar Show is included with regular Garden admission: $12 Adults,
$9 Seniors (65+), $7 Youth (6-18), and FREE for Tower Hill Members and Children
under 6. WOO Card holders earn points and gain discounted admission. The Garden
is located at 11 French Drive, Boylston, Massachusetts, exit 24 off Route 290.
For details and directions, call 508-869-6111 or visit the Garden’s website at

It is the home of the Worcester County Horticultural Society, incorporated in 1842
for the purpose of “advancing the science, and encouraging and improving the practice
of horticulture.” Located on 132 acres of garden paradise in bucolic Boylston, Massachusetts, the Garden hosts educational programs, exhibits, shows, and special events throughout the year.

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Gardening Tips: Wait until fall to relocate Yellow Jackets

Posted: Friday, August 9, 2013 11:36 am

Gardening Tips: Wait until fall to relocate Yellow Jackets

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Last month I wrote about Ask an Expert app through

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Friday, August 9, 2013 11:36 am.

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Garden Tip: Watering tips for dog days of summer

By Heather Prince

August 8, 2013 5:00PM

Master gardener Nancy Carroll waters her plants on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. Carroll said that it is important for gardeners to water their plants regularly if they can because of the extended stretch of dry conditions in the area. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: August 9, 2013 3:04PM

For the past month or so, rainfall has been very scattered, so don’t let the cumulation of water earlier this year fool you.

Here are some guidelines for watering this summer:

Put out a rain gauge and make sure it’s out in the open so you can get an accurate measurement.

Water recently planted plants and those in containers more frequently. For the most part, plants thrive with an inch of water per week. However, new plants don’t have an established root system yet, so they may need more. Check the soil moisture by inserting your finger into the soil 2 inches deep under any mulch. If it feels dry, water slowly and deeply.

To deeply water trees, use a slow trickle from a hose for 20 to 30 minutes, and about 15 minutes for shrubs. If you’re using a sprinkler, place an empty tuna can out as an easy way to measure how much water is being delivered.

Let your lawn go dormant. This also discourages Japanese beetles from laying eggs in your turf as they prefer lush, well-watered grass. Dormant lawns will still need to be watered once a month, if we receive no significant (an inch) rain. If possible, water in the morning, giving foliage time to dry to prevent fungal problems.

Garden Tip is courtesy of Heather Prince, The Growing Place, 630-355-4000,

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The slow-gardening movement; tips on ways to savor the time in your yard

Felder Rushing is not a man to be hurried. This former county extension agent turned folklorist, author and lecturer is an advocate of slow gardening — emphasizing the process over the product.

“Life has a lot of pressures,” Rushing says. “Why include them in the garden?”

Slow gardening is an offshoot of the international Slow Food Movement, which, in its words, aims “to strengthen the connection between the food on our plates and the health of our planet.” Think of it as mixing ecology with gastronomy, promoting wellness over the high-calorie fare of many fast-food menus.

The way Rushing looks at it, fast gardening means outsourcing most gardening pleasures.

“A lot of people feel they’re too busy to maintain their lawn and shrubs, so they hire ‘mow and blow crews’ to get it done,” he says. “That’s fine, but it’s product-oriented. Others like eating out regularly. That’s OK, too, but it’s not home cooking or enjoying what you grow.”

Slow gardeners, on the other hand, look forward to whatever needs doing. “They’re anticipating, performing and sharing the process,” he says.

Slow gardening is more psychological than horticultural. “Some people make their beds every morning even if they live alone and nobody’s there to notice,” he says. “They do what they do because it makes them feel good.”

Yet slow gardening is not lazy gardening; there are no shortcuts or how-to lists.

“Sometimes it can get pretty intense and long on gadgets,” Rushing says. “But if you’re able to get into the rhythm of that, you’re practicing slow gardening.”

Susan Harris, a garden coach and blogger (Gardener Susan at gardenersusan.com  from Greenbelt, Md., also subscribes to the slow-gardening philosophy, and recommends it to her students, readers and clients.

It’s “doing what I’m passionate about, not being a purist about anything, using hand tools, not power tools, tolerating some pest damage or just growing some other plant rather than bothering with products (organic or otherwise),” Harris said in an email. “Applying pesticides is not gardening in my book, at least not the slow kind.” full size

Some suggestions from Rushing’s book “Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons” (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2011):  

Take it easy. Gardening doesn’t have to be stressful or a rush to reach harvest. Go slow while you grow.

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses. “A lot of gardeners are scared they’re going to mess up,” Rushing says. “What are the neighbors going to say? I’m saying, hold your head up and go on. Make mistakes and savor them. People are going to talk about you anyway.”

Don’t be penny-wise and flavor-foolish. “Slow gardeners don’t mind spending a little more trying to grow tomatoes over what they’d buy at the store, just for that first, hot-off-the-vine bite in the summer,” he says.

Get together. Share your harvests. Teach. “If you like going to farmers markets, great. But take some kids along with you the next time and show them the difference between a yellow (summer) squash and a zucchini. To me, slow gardening is passing along a favorite plant or some of your knowledge.”

— DEAN FOSDICK /The Associated Press
ARE YOU A SLOW GARDENER? Do you savor the time you spend on your landscape? How many hours a week do you spend working in your yard? Take our online poll and let us know:

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Tips for creating your own walled garden

Garden walls, particularly those with crumbly holes, can be a haven for
wildlife. Attract bees, butterflies and other insects with Verbena
, buddleia, agastache, echinops, polemonium and the paler
varieties of sedum, including Sedum spectabile.

Wall-backed borders are ideal for growing dahlias. Prepare the ground with
well-rotted manure and incorporate organic slug pellets into the soil. Drive
in stakes when planting so as not to damage the root system later on, and
dress with pelleted chicken manure or a general-purpose fertiliser.

“One of the best tips for planting out vegetables like cabbage and
cauliflowers in a windy garden,” says Castle of Mey head gardener
Andrew Glaister, “is to make a shallow trench with a draw hoe and plant
your young plants into the bottom of the trench. The sides of the trench
will help protect the plants or seedlings from the wind. The trench will
gradually fill in as you hoe the weeds and the plants mature.”

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