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Archives for August 17, 2013

Canada’s Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opening in Souris


Canada’s Longest Pedestrian Suspension Bridge Opening in Souris

PRWEB.COM Newswire

Souris, MB (PRWEB) August 17, 2013

The Town of Souris, MB. is once again the home to Canada’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge.

The 184-metre Souris Swinging Bridge is opening to the public Saturday, Aug. 17 at noon.

“We’re excited to see the Swinging Bridge re-open, but please keep in mind there may be times when one end of the bridge or the other will not be accessible until the landscaping is complete,” says Souris Mayor Darryl Jackson. “The official opening will take place at a later date so watch for updates on the Souris website and Facebook page

After the previous bridge fell victim to flood waters in 2011, The Town of Souris partnered with Stantec to develop options to replace the iconic swinging bridge.

Stantec began with engineering analysis of the Souris River and its banks. Then they looked to similar pedestrian bridges in Canada and around the world for inspiration and ideas, generating a number of replacement options. Due to the historic and iconic nature of the Swinging Bridge, the Town decided early on that a suspension bridge, similar to the one destroyed in the flood, was the most desirable of the replacement options.

Stantec designed the bridge to not only be high enough for annual flood waters recorded to date to not reach the superstructure, but also to put Souris back on the map with Canada’s longest suspension pedestrian bridge.

“This has been such a gratifying project for our team,” says Stantec’s project manager Kevin Amy. “It’s been an exciting design challenge, but more importantly we know how much this bridge means to the community of Souris, and we’re proud to have played a role in giving this iconic structure back to them.”

The swinging bridges that have spanned this site have all been Souris’ principal attraction. The first of three bridges were built in 1904 by the late Squire Sowden as a means of transportation across the river. Replaced twice previously, in 1961 and 1976, the historic bridge once again was destroyed during the spring 2011 flooding in Manitoba. Because the rising Souris River was submerging the bridge, the Town of Souris sacrificed it in 2011 to alleviate the load the water was putting on the anchors located in the earth dyke.

Stantec Winnipeg office led the project, with structural engineering support from their Calgary office. Hilderman Thomas Frank Cram of Winnipeg is providing assistance with the site work.

About Souris

Souris is a vibrant beautiful community nestled at the junction of Plum Creek and the Souris River. It is surrounded on all sides by the productive farmland of the Rural Municipality of Glenwood. Souris is a service centre for this farming population as well as its own townspeople. The town is noted as being a Communities in Bloom National winner, a great sports town with recreational facilities to rival any community’s in Manitoba and a wonderful safe place to raise a family.

About Stantec

Stantec provides professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics for infrastructure and facilities projects. We support public and private sector clients in a diverse range of markets at every stage, from the initial conceptualization and financial feasibility study to project completion and beyond. Our services are provided on projects around the world through approximately 13,000 employees operating out of more than 200 locations in North America and 4 locations internationally.

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Plenty of family fun to be had in the Whitsundays

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Payson General Plan Predicts Hotspots For Growth


As Payson grows from a struggling tourist town of 15,000 to a diverse college town of 40,000, much of the new development will concentrate along the highway, around the proposed campus, along Main Street and in industrial and high-density residential areas around the Payson Airport.

At least, that’s the blueprint for the future outlined in the proposed once-a-decade overhaul of the town’s General Plan.

The consultants who prepared the revision spent months gathering suggestions from citizens, then wrote an ambitious wish list for the future, politely sidestepping the still stubborn stumbling blocks of the past.

The plan calls for the town to finally escape its highway, strip-commercial prison, which has largely defined Payson until now. New development lured to the area as the town doubles, then redoubles in population will create walkable clusters of mixed residential and commercial.

The blueprint envisions smaller more diverse homes. It envisions highway frontage graced with trees, sidewalks and benches that hide parking and buffer shops and coffee-sipping shoppers from the rush of traffic. It aims for pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, a finally revitalized Main Street, a thriving university campus area, apartments and year-round industries built on hundreds of acres of empty land near the Payson Airport.

Of course, Payson has been struggling to realize many of these glittering urban dreams for years — especially when it comes to the titanic struggle to turn the mile-long straggle of shops on Main Street into a meandering shoppers’ refuge to rival the the core shopping areas of small tourist towns like Jerome or Bisbee or larger regional centers like Prescott and Flagstaff. At build-out, Payson would have as many people as Prescott does now — but still one-third less than Flagstaff has now.

Years of effort to bolster Main Street succeeded in attracting some $14 million in private investment and transforming the area from one of the highest-crime areas in town to one of the safest. But despite that singular success, the clusters of shops remain scattered and ambitious plans and proposed developments have faltered.

Likewise, ambitious plans to put a roof over the Payson Event Center have repeatedly floundered. The town hoped moving the rodeo grounds from the shaded Rumsey Park to the spacious but sun-drenched site at the south entrance to town would draw an array of events and trade shows and spin-off development. Five years ago, the town announced with fanfare a plan to build a major hotel overlooking the Event Center, but that plan fell victim to the recession.

More recently, town officials hoped to take advantage of federal incentives to cover the Event Center with solar cells as part of the university campus plan. That fell through when the state and federal incentives expired.

Still, the General Plan revision anticipates major new projects in the four growth areas that will mingle commercial and residential and provide a setting for new industries providing year-round jobs.

The plan stresses the need to diversify the town’s housing stock, which now includes 8,417 dwelling units. Of those, 90 percent are single-family homes — including 5,668 houses and 1,738 mobile homes. Payson continues to struggle with a shortage of affordable housing — defined as the mismatch between the average wage and the average house price.

Multi-family units like condos and apartments constitute only 10 percent of the town’s housing stock, which makes Payson a tough place for renters.

With plans to build a university and various spin-off businesses and industries and the Arizona housing market on the mend, planners hope for a turn in the Payson real estate market as well.

That could soon confront town planners with the need to find some way to achieve the glittering promise of the General Plan’s effort to lure shoppers off the buzzing highway. Strategies include things like landscaping the now mostly barren highway frontage, moving storefronts closer to the street by shifting the parking lots to the back, building up to four stories to create facades and shaded places to sit and chat and eat.

Currently, about 55 percent of the town’s 20-square-mile area is zoned for residential, most of it low and medium density. Office zoning accounts for 1 percent, industrial zoning 4 percent and commercial zoning 3 percent. The commercial development generates most of the property taxes, which provides about two-thirds of the town’s budget.

The remaining categories include 21 percent devoted to open space — mostly drainage areas and hillsides, the 3 percent included in the Tonto Apache Reservation and the 3 percent of “civic” space — including town buildings and parks.

The development that flows into the four designated “growth areas” will largely determine whether Payson can generate the sales tax revenue it needs to pay for public services without losing its treasured “small town” feel.

Growth areas – Main Street

Residents expressed “overwhelming” support for the continued redevelopment of Main Street, in hopes of creating a healthy, pedestrian and tourist-oriented commercial area between the Beeline Highway and Green Valley Park, the consultants reported.

“Large scale retail development along Beeline Highway and State Highway 260, hurt the bypassed Main Street corridor,” they wrote, “increasingly Main Street serves as a pass-through rather than the destination and community center of a traditional ‘Main Street.’”

But the plan contained few new ideas on how to reverse the trend, with struggling shops too widely separated for casual strolling. The street varies in width from 61 to 125 feet, with fragmented sidewalks and little landscaping. The plan calls for filling in the gaps in the storefronts and developing consistent widths, features to slow traffic and the development of outdoor café seating. However, the plan included no discussion of how the town might pay for such improvements.

Payson Airport

The area around the Payson Airport has some of the largest undeveloped tracts of land and the most industrial and multi-family zoning in Payson, thanks to the annexation several years ago of some 200 acres private owners acquired from the Forest Service in a land swap that took 20 years to arrange.

The area has figured prominently in discussions between town officials and companies they’ve tried to lure to the region in the past several years. That included a Chinese consortium that wants to build a solar cell chip assembly plant here in connection with a university campus. In addition, town officials have opened discussions with several gun and ammunition manufacturers they hope will join the existing ammunition making plant now operating near the airport.

State Route 260

This stretch of highway frontage will likely be transformed by the construction of the proposed university campus on 253 acres of land south of the highway. The Rim Country Educational Alliance also has the option to buy about 100 acres between GCC and Tyler Parkway, where it hopes to build a research park and other facilities. The university plan calls for a 500-room conference hotel on a hill overlooking the campus.

Instead of building a strip mall string of stores looking toward the highway across barren parking lots, the plan calls for building clusters with landscaping, sidewalks, bike paths — and parking lots tucked in around back.

“The goal will be to define a district anchored by vibrant retail and commercial framing the core intersection and extending along both roadways. Gila Community College and any future higher education institutions will create demand for a young “hip” district focused on the public space. Small, loft-style apartments will accommodate students and increase market feasibility.”

Beeline Highway corridor

The Beeline remains the “spine” of Payson, the consultants concluded, with average traffic flows of 2,000 to 3,000 cars a day — soaring to 20,000 on busy weekends.

The General Plan should encourage commercial infill all along the highway, with efforts to shorten setbacks and provide sidewalks, tree canopies and features that buffer shoppers and pedestrians from the intimidating rush of the highway.

Payson business owners trying to survive along that frontage have struggled for years, trying desperately to get some of the 20,000 drivers to slow down and turn off the highway.

The General Plan discussion in the report focused on finding ways to redevelop chunks of highway footage, in hopes a new approach could make drivers slow down and park.

“Beeline Highway is the commercial lifeblood of Payson,” the report concluded. “It offers the greatest visibility for retail, dining and commercial activity. However, development over the past decades has resulted in inconsistent facades and setbacks, excessive curb cuts, loss of tree canopy, and lack of gateways defining the Beeline Highway as part of the community.

“Designating areas for mixed-use development/redevelopment along Beeline Highway helps to define the corridor as a destination.”

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McKinley Park Community Garden Promotes Healthy Lifestyles

Share on TumblrSubmit to StumbleUponShare via emailMcKinley Park Community Garden. (The Gate/ Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)

McKinley Park Community Garden.
(The Gate/ Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)

The McKinley Park Community Garden (MPCG) hosted its first garden walk, a tour of the neighborhood gardens owned by local residents.

The garden walk is just one of the many efforts of the McKinley Park Community Garden, a not-for-profit organic garden established last April.

On Saturday Aug. 10, residents saw firsthand the lush vegetation of the garden and the crisp leaves flapping in the wind.

Gardeners young and old visited each plot, curious to see what harvests would be born. Yet the sun’s beams radiated on nature lovers near and far as they relished in the day’s summer beauty.

Besides the MPCG, people were given maps of gardens nearby, where residents opened up their backyards and shared the joys of their personal at-home greeneries. One man even owned a chicken and gave those on the tour fresh, organic eggs.

The garden provides plot land and soil for residents who may not have their own backyards and want to grow crops of their choice at an affordable rate. Community gardeners pay $50 for the entire growing season from May through October.

“We really wanted it to be rooted in community, and not [have] decisions made by just one person,” said Corenna Roozeboom, McKinley Park Community Garden organizer.

MPCG is not exclusive to McKinley Park residents. Gardeners from Pilsen and Back of the Yards have bought plots as well. It serves all Chicago residents, but particularly those living in South Side and West side neighborhoods who want to grow their own food but can’t, Roozeboom said.

Urban gardening is part of a broader agricultural movement in the U.S. that has gained exposure in recent years. “People are becoming more aware of where their food is coming from. They want to eat healthy food without industrial chemicals,” Roozeboom said.

Located at 1900 W. Pershing Rd., the community garden is situated in front of a warehouse. While the warehouse had been abandoned for 50 years, Roozeboom said she still had to negotiate with the property owner over the course of nine months in order to get permission to use the land.

Through persistence, she secured a two year lease agreement with the property owner. She was able to secure a two-year contract. In lieu of paying for the use of the warehouse’s lawn, Roozeboom and local gardeners must maintain the care of the property.

Ten residents form the community garden’s steering committee. The committee helps draft the garden’s bylaws, coordinate outdoor events including the garden walk and monthly volunteer cleanups, as well as workshops on planting, composting and square foot gardening that take place at the local library.

The community garden received strong support at the municipal level. 12th Ward Ald. George Cardenas provided city shovels and landscaping equipment during the construction of the garden, Roozeboom said.

The garden itself is approximately 84 by 284 feet, and the plots themselves are 4 by 8 feet. The rectangular design of the community garden and the close quarters of its plots encourage neighbors to interact side-by-side.

Sixty-three plots will yield a variety of crops, including corn, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, sweet potatoes, beans, beets, cucumber, lettuce and even quinoa, kale and Swiss chard.

The crop yields of two plots will be donated to two local parishes, St. Andrew Lutheran Church and St. Maurice Church.

So far, McKinley Park residents’ response to the community garden has been positive. Blanca Aviles, McKinley Park native and member of Windy City Harvest, has recognized the benefits such a community garden has given to the locals. “Being able to grow your own vegetables offsets supermarket prices and helps people add greens to their diet,” Aviles said.

Roozeboom, along with Aviles and other gardeners, hope to foster McKinley Park’s growing passion for gardening, and even more so the general well-being of the environment. “There’s value in taking care of something together,” she said. “I hope the garden helps people connect with Mother Nature even more so now.”

The McKinley Park Community Garden’s next event is the first Garden Cocktail Soirée, a social evening of flora-infused drinks taking place on Friday Aug. 30 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The garden is open to the public.

Jardín Comunitario en McKinley Park Promueve Estilos de Vida Saludables

(The Gate/ Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)

(The Gate/ Adriana Cardona-Maguigad)

El Jardín Comunitario de McKinley Park (MPCG) celebró su primer paseo de jardines, un recorrido por los jardines del vecindario propiedad de los residentes locales.

El paseo de jardines es uno de los muchos esfuerzos del Jardín Comunitario de McKinley Park, un jardín orgánico sin fines de lucro establecido el pasado mes de abril.

El sábado 10 de agosto, residentes vieron de primera mano la exuberante vegetación del jardín y sus frescas hojas ondeando en el viento. Jardineros jóvenes y mayores visitaron cada parcela, con curiosidad por saber cómo nacerían las cosechas. Sin embargo los rayos del sol radiaban sobre los amantes de la naturaleza cerca y lejos mientras disfrutaban de la belleza de verano del día.

Además del MPCG, la gente recibió mapas de los jardines cercanos, donde los residentes abrieron sus patios traseros y compartieron las alegrías de sus propios jardines. Un hombre incluso tenía una gallina y le dio a aquellos en el recorrido huevos frescos, orgánicos.

El jardín provee una parcela y tierra para los residentes que no cuentan con sus propios patios traseros y quieren sembrar las cosechas de su elección a precios asequibles. Los jardineros comunitarios pagan $50 por toda la temporada de siembra de mayo a octubre.

“Realmente queríamos que se basara en la comunidad, y que las decisiones no fueran tomadas por una sola persona”, dijo Corenna Roozeboom, organizadora del Jardín Comunitario de McKinley Park.

MPCG no es exclusivo de los residentes de McKinley Park. Jardineros de Pilsen y Back of the Yards también han comprado parcelas. Sirve a todos los residentes de Chicago, pero particularmente a aquellos que residen en los vecindarios del sur y oeste de la ciudad que deseen cultivar sus propios alimentos pero no pueden, dijo Roozeboom.

La jardinería urbana es parte de un amplio movimiento agricultural en Estados Unidos que ha obtenido exposición en recientes años. “La gente cada vez está más consciente de dónde provienen sus alimentos. Quieren comer alimentos saludables sin químicos industriales”, dijo Roozeboom.

Ubicado al 1900 Oeste Pershing Rd., el jardín comunitario está situado frente a una bodega. Aunque la bodega había estado abandonada por 50 años, Roozeboom dijo que todavía tuvo que negociar con el dueño de la propiedad durante nueve meses para obtener el permiso para utilizar el terreno.

Mediante persistencia, ella pudo asegurar un contrato de arrendamiento de dos años. En lugar de pagar por el uso del césped de la bodega, Roozeboom y jardineros locales deben darle el mantenimiento a la propiedad.

Diez residentes forman el comité directivo del jardín comunitario. El comité ayuda a redactar los estatutos del jardín, coordina eventos al aire libre incluyendo el paseo de los jardines y limpieza con voluntarios, además de talleres de plantación, compostaje y jardinería de pies cuadrados que se lleva a cabo en la biblioteca local.

El jardín comunitario recibió apoyo a nivel comunitario. El Concejal del Distrito 12 George Cardenas le ofreció palas y equipo de jardinería durante la construcción del jardín, dijo Roozeboom.

El jardín mide aproximadamente 84 por 284 pies, y las parcelas miden 4 por 8 pies. El diseño rectangular del jardín comunitario y la cercanía de sus parcelas animan a los vecinos a interactuar de lado a lado.

Sesenta y tres parcelas rendirán una variedad de cultivos, incluyendo maíz, chiles, berenjenas, camote, frijol, betabel, pepino, lechuga e incluso quinoa, col rizada y acelgas.

La producción de dos parcelas será donada a dos parroquias locales, la Iglesia Luterana San Andrés y la Iglesia San Mauricio.

Hasta ahora, la respuesta de los residentes de McKinley Park al jardín comunitario ha sido positiva. Blanca Aviles, originaria de McKinley Park y miembro de Windy City Harvest, ha reconocido los beneficios que dicho jardín comunitario les ha dado a los residentes locales. “Poder cultivar tus propias vegetales compensa los precios de los supermercados y ayuda a la gente a añadir verduras a su dieta”, dijo Aviles.

Roozeboom, junto con Aviles y otros jardineros esperan fomentar la creciente pasión de McKinley Park por la jardinería, y más aún el bienestar general del medio ambiente. “Hay valor en cuidar algo juntos”, dijo. “Espero que el jardín ayude a la gente a conectarse con la madre naturaleza y más ahora”.

El próximo evento del Jardín Comunitario de McKinley Park es su primer tardeada de cocteles en el jardín, una noche social de bebidas infusionadas de flora que se realizará el viernes 30 de agosto de las 6:30 a las 9 p.m. El jardín está abierto al público.

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L.A. Finally Realizes Front-Yard Gardens Are A Good Thing

If you live in Los Angeles, here’s a good way to fight crime: Read the Bureau of Street Service’s Residential Parkway Landscaping Guidelines, then take to the streets. Regardless of what neighborhood you’re in, you’re bound to find something illegal on almost any block—whether it be near Beverly Hills or near Baldwin Hills.

Until just this week, many of the front-yard vegetable gardens (a rare sight) you might spot while cruising the block for landscape crimes were illegal too.

Rose bushes, towering shrubs, cacti, bougainvillea—if these are planted on the strip of land between the sidewalk and the curb, publically owned land known as a parkway, their presence is almost certainly against the law. According to the guidelines, “non-standard parkway plant materials”—anything other than grass, basically—must be shorter than 36 inches, can’t be noxious or invasive, and should not have “exposed, rigid spines or thorns.”  

Despite the rampant presence of residents with a blatant disregard for the landscaping law of the land, no one in Los Angeles seems to care about parkway planting rules until someone puts in a vegetable garden.

Ron Finley—he of the “if you ain’t a gardener, you ain’t gangster” TED talk fame—planted just such a parkway garden in front of his house in South Central L.A. in 2010 and was duly fined by the city the following year. City Council member Herb Wesson, who represents the district where Finley lives, stood by the activist-gardener, vowing to change the restrictions. On Tuesday, two years later, now-City Council President Wesson brought up a measure that would temporarily suspend the parkway garden restrictions. It passed unanimously.

“They’re worried about someone tripping over an eggplant,” Finley said of the city’s initial resistance to changing the rules. “Not tripping over the couches and the bed and the garbage or the condoms. They’re worried about an eggplant. I’m glad we got our priorities straight.”

But it’s not like he’s been in a holding pattern for the past two years, waiting until the city changed its regulations. Just two days before the measure passed, he helped to plant “one of the biggest street, vegetable edible plantings in the city” on parkways in a South Los Angeles neighborhood.

Elsewhere in the city, other gardeners have ignored the restrictions too, including Abbie Zands, who hired the edible landscaping design company Farmscape to install a raised vegetable garden on the parkway in front of his Los Feliz home. He too was fined, as was Finley’s neighbor, Angel Teger, two incidents that led to a renewed round of media coverage, including a column by Steve Lopez in the Los Angeles Times.

“Last time I checked, Los Angeles had 5,000 miles of ruptured sidewalks—some of which look like mountain ranges—caused primarily by invasive roots on unmaintained parkway trees planted by the city,” Lopez wrote at the end of July, suggesting that vegetable gardens on parkways “is the least of our worries.”

While the city finally seems to agree with that sentiment, Farmscape’s Dan Allen points out that the suspension is temporary, designed to give the Bureau of Street Services time to come up with an amended list of approved plants. Allen’s concern is that only nominally edible plants like rosemary and lavender will be added, leaving out the likes of tomatoes and cucumbers and fruit trees. Raised beds may not be approved either.

Finley, however, is dismissive of the “academics” worried about a plant list. “The city doesn’t have enough money to enforce this shit,” he said, imagining how ridiculous a vegetable beat cop policing someone’s garden would sound: “Hey, dude, that’s purple cabbage—you’re supposed to have rhubarb.”

Which is not to say that Finley doesn’t see the City Council’s action as a major victory. ”I think it’s a long time coming. It’s a sign that, possibly, the people who run the city want to change this food injustice, equality injustice, and change the health of certain communities. It’s big.”

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Landscape Blunders to Avoid


Free Summer Gardening Classes

August 17: Vacation Landscapes, Less Work

August 24: Cutting Time, Work in the Yard

September 7:Fall To-Do List for a Healthy Yard

Spring and Fall . . . the best seasons to be adding to our landscapes. When thinking of altering your home’s landscape, remember the 60% rule. It dictates the perfect balance between plants and the inanimate objects in your yard. It specifies that 60% of an outdoor property should be comprised of living breathing plants. This percentage of plants is an excellent design guide. Too many plants and your home could look like it’s set in a jungle; with too few plants the house will be standing in what’s called the Arizona Lunar Effect.

Without enough plants you risk imitating the Mac-mansion on top of the hill in a horror film; the buildings starkly protrude into the barren landscape, hard and unnatural. This is the cold, dark feeling projected on a neighborhood from a landscape lacking basic foundational plantings and proper tree placement. As landscape plants reach the 60% mark the property’s architectural elements appear more like the warm, inviting home we all long to have.

Experienced gardeners know that great gardens are a process, not a destination, and the wisest gardeners learn from each other’s mistakes. In my many efforts to create the gardens I see in my mind’s eye I’ve had my share of blunders. Here are some avoidable mistakes that you can take from Ken’s gardening school of hard knocks.

Subsoil on top. This is at the top on my list of avoidable landscaping mistakes. I have learned that mountain builders and developers carve off the topsoil from a home’s building site, leaving only the subsoil. As a result, homeowners are left to grow things in soil that is almost impossible to nurture any plant life. This is why I repeatedly write about composted and organic amendments in landscaping and the use of shredded bark as topdressing. You can never replace the topsoil lost, but you can amend planting beds and/or individual plants to create the environment your landscape needs. It is so important to add fresh organic topdressing every year to every garden.

Wrong plant in the wrong place. The previous owner of our home loved holly and had planted holly throughout the yard. The yard is relentlessly hot and sunny, and holly cannot stand up to hot, full sun conditions. Those poor little hollies struggled to survive until I repositioned them in parts of the yard that catered to their needs. BEFORE you plant, know the light, soil, and water conditions your prospective garden additions require. As your landscape changes, and it invariably does, note whether you need to transplant something to a more suitable location or thin it out of the landscape altogether.

Out of proportion. A nearby ranch home in our neighborhood is all but obliterated from view by two gigantic deodar cedars. Years ago, when they were planted in front of the house, they probably started out as cute Christmas trees. Seventy feet later (and 25 feet wide), they allow only the slightest glimpse of the home hiding behind their branches. Don’t plant trees or shrubs in areas where they won’t have room to grow. If necessary, consult with the plant experts at your local garden center. Their expertise is well worth the cost and the extra travel and shopping time.

Too busy. When you’re an enthusiastic gardener, it’s fun to have one of everything. But, planted here and there throughout the garden can result in an unsettling, “too busy” look. Try to congregate your one-of-a-kinds into one area or find a way to pull the look together by repeating some of the same colors and plants in other parts of the landscape.

All the Same. If you want to camouflage a 100-foot length of a neighbor’s chain link fence, there may be a better way than planting red tipped photinia every four feet. Besides being monotonous, too many of the same type of plant sets up a monoculture, which can become susceptible to an invasion of pests. How much more fun to have a selection of viburnums, cotoneaster, silverberry, blackberries, currants, and other flowering and fruiting shrubs that provide multi-season viewing interest and provides varying feed for the birds.

Right now in our landscapes the Arizona Smoke Tree has stolen the show. Its dramatic smoke-like flowers form in clusters that smolder brightly above the prized 12′ tall tree. This dynamic Southwestern plant grows in more colors than most gardeners realize, but they all have the same wispy flowers that hover above the dark royal purple to chartreuse foliage. This truly is a heat lover, but it’s worth planting now for the scarlet leaves that appear in fall. This tree is on my Yavapai Friendly plant list for really tough, low water use plants.

While a picture is worth a 1,000 words when it comes to describing a flower, video is the only way to share the feeling of a garden. With a fancy new pocket video recorder and a quick upload I can record the creative local landscapes that I regularly seem to find. Consequently, every day on my Facebook page, in the section entitled the “30 Second Plant Tip of the Day”, I post one new picture and a different video of local gardens. This week it has plant highlights from the Yavapai College campus. All flower pictures and videos can be viewed at .

Garden Class – This Saturday’s 9:30 a.m. gardening class is entitled “Cutting Time Work in the Yard”. After this class you no longer will be a slave to your landscape. You’ll take home lots of shortcuts, tips and tricks that can turn any garden project into fast work. An ounce of know-how can prevent hours of work!  Best of all, this informative class is fun filled and FREE.

Until next week, I’ll see you in the garden center.


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Gardening Tip – 17th August

Gardening Tip – 17th August

17/08/2013 , 9:57 AM by Peter Riley

Worried about unwanted insects destorying all your hard work in the garden? John Gabriele has some tips to help you out 



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Looking After Your Garden During Monsoon

During the monsoon season, there are many things which gardeners do not follow. This in turn gives rise to en number of problems in your garden. Today, we have give you eight monsoon gardening tips which should be followed in order for your garden to look luscious and green. It is true that the monsoon season is a great time to make new additions to your garden. But, what if you are not following simple tips to make your garden look beautiful? Thus, we advise you to plan for this monsoon season so that your garden thrives the whole year.

You need not worry about the monsoon cloud which is looming over your city if you simply follow these monsoon gardening tips. Some expert gardeners believe that the best way to get through the rainy season is by making use of every tip you come across in order to keep your garden looking great.

Looking After Your Garden During Monsoo

Monsoons are the best time of the year for those who love gardening since you can see your plants soak in the moisture, grow faster and bloom in all its glory.

Here are some of the best tips for monsoon gardening

Weeds – It is during the monsoon season where you get to see a lot of weeds growing in your garden. Rainfall causes easy growth of some unnecessary plants in the soil like that of weeds. These weeds can tamper with the nourishment of your useful plants. Therefore, it is very important to frequently pull out the weeds during the monsoon season.

Trimming – The monsoon season marks the presence of gory winds which can simply cause damage to the long branches of your fruit trees. Therefore one of the most important tip for monsoon gardening is to trim the plants during the season.

Algae growth – One of the most common sights gardeners often come across is the patches of green algae on the soil surfaces of the garden. This indicates trouble if you ignore it as algae rotten the plant. Therefore, constantly check your plants regularly during the monsoon season.

Light – It is very rare to see a ray of sunshine during the rainy season. If you have a potted garden, keep them in the sun whenever there is a dash of sunshine. They need some amount of sunshine to grow. You can also provide artificial light to the indoor plants by using additional light source.

Fertilizers – There are en number of natural fertilizers which are organic in nature and can be used on garden plants. The soil in monsoon gardens should at all times be well enriched. Make sure you use only natural fertilizers for your garden plants or backyard.

Water logging – One of the key monsoon gardening tips you need to follow is, never allow water logging. You need to drain out the additional water to avoid lose soil in the plants.

Insects – It is a known fact that during the monsoon season there are a lot of insects which is a real menace to plants. One of the best monsoon gardening tips is to allow frogs and toads in your garden to keep your garden free from insects.

Watering the garden- There is enough water already. There is no necessity of watering your garden during the monsoon season.

These are some of the monsoon gardening tips if you have a backyard garden or a terrace garden.

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Yates offers August gardening tips

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2013 8:59 am

Yates offers August gardening tips

By Dianna F. Dandridge
Staff Writer

Sequoyah County Times

Through the long hot days of summer garden plants have produced a bountiful harvest and many of the gardeners are ready to call it quits.

But, fall is a great time to get a little more out of the garden, according to Tony Yates, Oklahoma State University Agricultural Extension agent.

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Candice Olson’s new book offers tips for bedroom upgrade

Look for guidelines for remodeling a kitchen or bathroom and you’ll discover an embarrassment of riches, from books and magazines to hundreds of websites. You’ll find everything from decor suggestions and layout tips to technical expertise for tackling the hands-on work. That’s no surprise, as those two rooms are the most popular candidates for renovation.

But we all have other kinds of spaces, and some are equally important when it comes to determining the quality of life under the roof.

Bedrooms are one of those mostly unsung spaces. They aren’t “functional” in the same sense as a bath or kitchen, so they involve fewer goodies when it comes to fixtures and built-ins. And for much of the time we spend in them, we are asleep – so how critical can they be, right?

Why not just get a good mattress, a nice bedspread and some pillow shams and be done with it?

Well, it turns out bedrooms have at least one champion who thinks they should get some respect. Designer Candice Olson, who has transformed many kitchens and bathrooms through her “Divine Design” TV series and in previous books, explains that bedrooms are the most intimate and personal spaces in our homes.

At their best they serve as private sanctuaries where we go to be ourselves, recharge our life batteries and hold our worldly cares at bay until we’re rested enough to take them on again.

This role is Olson’s focus. A bedroom that offers both physical and visual comfort, she insists, simplifies and amplifies the senses and creates an experience of genuine restfulness and renewal. Good paint colors and nice linens are part of the package, but other elements figure just as prominently, whether they are big and bold gestures or smaller, more nuanced touches. Olson’s recent book, “Candice Olson Bedrooms,” features more than two dozen bedroom projects and breaks down the strategies she used to make them happen.

Given Olson’s premise that bedrooms are highly personal spaces, it makes sense that the solutions she finds for these homeowners are tailored to their specific life circumstances and design preferences. That said, there are some common themes that emerge in many of the examples, and they form a kind of basic toolbox:

Create zones: It’s common for many newer homes to be generous with square footage but not necessarily with good detail work. In bedrooms, the result is often a generic cube of a space with nothing but a door, window and closet. And when it’s a large room, things can get shapeless and sprawling, pushing the eye to meander but never settle on any real focal points. Olson fixes those spaces by designating a sleeping zone distinct from a sitting/reading area for informal relaxing. Some separation of zones can be achieved with furniture placement, area rugs and other simple elements, while other projects require structural changes in the room.

Enhance or create architectural features: Paint colors and fabulous fabrics can go only so far toward transforming a bland, boxy space. More effective elements include moldings, ceiling beams, wall niches or bump-outs, window seats and other details that can break up monotonous walls. One favorite of Olson’s is a feature wall that includes a fireplace and some built-in display storage for artwork or favorite items.

Add built-in storage: Built-in storage features improve the practical function of most bedrooms, but they also add visual interest and an opportunity to showcase a little custom woodwork or even just different paint colors and some decorative hardware. Built-ins are especially useful when angled roof lines, dormers, alcoves or odd subspaces in a room limit the use of freestanding furniture.

Use window treatments to maximum effect: The basic function of window treatments is to provide privacy and control daylight levels, but Olson chooses drapery fabrics to bring more colors and textures into the mix, and often uses floor-length drapes for greater impact, especially if the windows they cover are small and ordinary.

Create key focal points: The bed is a natural for this role, but fireplaces, small seating groups or prominent windows will also work. Visual environments are more soothing when the eye has distinct opportunities to rest and soak in the view. Reinforce these features with small accent touches of color, texture or artwork to make the look richer or more layered.

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