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Archives for September 2, 2013

Gardening tips on hand at plant sale on Saturday

Plant lovers can pick up some bargains at Bracknell Horticultural Association’s spring plant sale on Saturday, May 5, between 10am and 3pm, at The Bandstand, in Bracknell town centre.

The group will be selling vegetables and herbs, and there will also be a seed swap and hanging basket demonstrations. Visit www.digforbracknell.org.uk

Article source: http://www.getreading.co.uk/news/local-news/gardening-tips-hand-plant-sale-4200381

Vegetable Gardening Tips: Monsoon Season

During the monsoon season, one of the main things that gardeners fear is the stagnation of water and the birth of pests controlling the garden. Gardeners should take extra care of their vegetable garden during the monsoon season because this is the time when your garden thirsts for things to keep your plants healthy, like sunlight which is rarely seen.

Gardeners should take a look at some of these tips for a vegetable garden during the monsoon season. It is necessary that you provide in extra hours in the garden when you see that little ray of sunshine. Try to do all your gardening work when there is sunlight, so it gives you time to prepare for the rain.

Vegetable Gardening Tips: Monsoon Season

Take a look at these tips for vegetable garden during the monsoon season.

Watering the garden – Gardens require a good amount of water for them to grow in a healthy manner. But due to the monsoon season, make sure that for a vegetable garden there is not too much of water standing in the bed. Cumulation of stagnant water will only lead to thriving of insects.

Looking after soil – The soil is the most important aspect in a vegetable garden. If the soil of your vegetable garden is loose, it is a problem. Vegetable garden soil needs to be of medium texture. They should not be loose nor tight!

Fertlisers – It is very important for you to compost your own natural fertilisers for your vegetable garden during the monsoon season. In this season, garden beds are more prone to developing moss which may lead to fungal infestation.

Weeding – When it comes to a vegetable garden, weeding is important. Make sure to trim your garden during this season as weeds grow easily in this weather. Vegetable gardens are prone to getting lots of weeds because of the soil bed.

Pest control – If there is stagnation of water in your vegetable garden, they will welcome pests and insects with a lot of care. Using natural pesticides to get rid of pests is the only way you can not harm your vegetable garden and corrupt your veggies.

These are some of the ways in which you need to care for your vegetable garden during the monsoon season.

Article source: http://www.boldsky.com/home-n-garden/gardening/2013/vegetable-gardening-tips-monsoon-season-035045.html

The Rise of Fall Gardening

    By

  • LINDSEY TAYLOR

Enlarge Image

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Meredith Heuer

THE LATE SHOW | This shot of garden designer Grace Kennedy’s Garrison, N.Y., property—showcasing a border of Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine’ and echinachea—was taken last year at the end of September.

Interactive: Fall Palettes

A color guide to plants that are in flower when the leaves are turning. Ms. Kennedy shares two of her favorite late-season palettes.

View Graphics

Meredith Heuer (2)

Click to view the interactive

“MAYBE IT’S BECAUSE I’m a procrastinator, or maybe it’s because I love the bittersweet quality, the light and the cooler temperatures, but I’ve always embraced the decay and the musky, earthy smells that are synonymous with fall,” said Grace Kennedy, a garden designer based in Garrison, N.Y., who considers autumn the standout season of the year.

Most novice gardeners don’t see it that way. Once Labor Day hits, they resignedly watch their success stories fade and start to say goodbye to the flowers they’ve nurtured. But for Ms. Kennedy, the growing cycle is just beginning then. “Some wonderful plants peak once the hot weather subsides,” she said. She tells her clients with evangelical zeal how alive a fall garden can be if you plan for it—with late-blooming perennials providing color (see interactive), plumes of ornamental grasses swaying in the welcomed breezes and fruit and berries attracting voracious wildlife. In the Northeast, where summers can be oppressive, a fall garden can flourish a good three months before it finally succumbs to the first hard frost.

Ms. Kennedy, whose own spread blooms into late November, typically brings a bucket load of cut flowers—cosmos, zinnias, sunflowers, foxgloves—to her parents for Thanksgiving. Her belief that fall can be a time of floral abundance was shaped, she said, by a book she read early in her career, Rosemary Verey’s “The Garden in Winter,” which argues that “off” seasons are fair game and should be factored into a garden plan.

Some clients have struggled to see things her way, but lately there’s been a shift, she said, and both newer and more established clients are coming to her with ideas on lengthening the season. “There’s a trend toward edibles,” said Ms. Kennedy, “but also an interest in ecosystems. Clients are seeing the garden as an active system that provides and feeds in addition to looking good.” Shrubs like elderberry or beautyberry, for instance, both nourish and shelter birds.

Other professional gardeners have long been playing with plant selections to dramatically extend the longevity of their flora display. William Wallace at Wave Hill, a public garden in New York City, fills its beds with late-blooming salvias, like Salvia leucantha, which starts flowering in late September, and Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight,’ whose blue flowers sprout out of chartreuse bracts. He also likes to weave in asters and garden mums, and has started leaving seed heads on plants through the winter and adding more grasses to the flower beds to give them textural interest and a modern, unstuffy sophistication—a trend that’s catching on elsewhere too.

Add ornamental grasses to fall flower beds to give them a modern, unstuffy sophistication.

To extend your own garden into fall, Ms. Kennedy recommends working some late bloomers and ornamental grasses into existing beds or, if space allows, dedicating a whole border to plants that flourish in autumn. When it comes to grasses, she particularly likes Calamagrostis and Carex varieties, as well as little bluestem. Meanwhile, her favorite perennials include Vernonia (ironweed), a tall native plant, riveting to butterflies, that can reach a height of 7 feet when it hits its stride in late August. She shares Mr. Wallace’s love of asters and salvia, along with dahlias and agastache (hummingbird mint), whose seed heads reliably seduce gold finches.

Though many people assume that gardens should be planted in spring, fall is actually a great time to shop for plants and get them in the ground. Nurseries often have sales, and you can see the autumn bloomers at their peak, so you’ll know what you’re getting.

Explore More

A version of this article appeared August 31, 2013, on page D4 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: It’saFallWorldAfter All.

Article source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323906804579037313716802966.html

Shiloh backyard has it made in the shade

Carroll and Sandy Wheeldon are a gardening team.

“I am the one with all the ideas,” said Sandy. “He’s the labor.”

It works.

The Wheeldons, both retired, moved into their Shiloh home in 2001. They bought the lot partly because of a towering white oak tree in the middle of the backyard.

“It puts the house in shade by 1 in the afternoon,” said Sandy.

The white oak stood in the midst of dense woods. Before their five-bedroom brick home was built, they started reclaiming the backyard.

“It was a jungle,” Sandy said.

“I pulled a 63-foot grape vine out of that tree,” said Carroll. “I tugged and tugged. Another one, me and a guy bigger than me were swinging on. We couldn’t get it out of the tree.”

They won the battle.

The neat, deeply wooded garden along the back of their yard is a shady oasis with winding brick paths and shade-loving perennials. An arched wood bridge spans a usually dry rock creek bed. Statues add interest. Wind chimes made by Sandy’s father, hang from a sassafras tree.

“We love the whole setting,” said Carroll, “how peaceful and quiet it is back here.”

“I love to come out from 8 to 10 in the morning,” said Sandy. “Kids are in school. People are at work. All you hear is water running and birds.”

The sound of water running comes from a waterfall and pond, located on the sunny side of the yard. Goldfish filled the pond until a blue heron spotted the action. In two days, he cleaned out 35 six-inch goldfish.

The water feature became part of their yard after Sandy spotted just the right one at a St. Louis home show. With their landscaping, the backyard waterfall and pond turned out nice enough that they were invited to be on the St. Louis Water Gardening Society’s tour last year.

“The most frequently asked question on the tour was, ‘What do you have hanging back there?’ said Carroll, pointing out white blocks in the garden. “It’s Irish Spring soap. If you put it out, deer won’t bother plants.”

The Wheeldons credit Skip Soule from Lagniappe (a Cajun term that means “a little something extra”) of O’Fallon, with the landscaping around the house that includes rows of azalea bushes and rhododendron. They were put in the year they moved in. They invited him back to build their circular garden walk, and put in shade plants.

The most recent project was a pondless waterfall in the front yard.

“We just picked him out of the phone book,” said Sandy, walking along a garden path. “He knows plants really well. He’s good at picking plants that blossom at different times of year.

“These are bleeding hearts, which in the spring are gorgeous.”

Skip, a landscaper for more than 30 years, tries out new plants on his own wooded lot before introducing them to clients’ landscapes. The Wheeldons’ yard has been an ongoing project for him.

The slope of the yard called for retaining walls.

“There are 13 tons of gravel in this one,” said Carroll. “I know. I hauled it all in.”

The garden with its ferns, hostas and variety of trees continues to evolve.

“We came up with ideas from here, there and elsewhere,” said Sandy.

When grass doesn’t grow in the deep shade, they try plants. There’s not a weed in sight.

“What we do, we wait until the oak blossoms fall,” said Carroll,” then we put the mulch down. We put it down heavy and we don’t have to pull weeds the rest of the summer.”

Just beyond the pond is the Wheeldons’ vegetable garden. It was a sea of red tomatoes last week. They also grow peppers and cucumbers.

“I probably will be canning this afternoon, 50 to 100 quarts,” said Sandy. “I can whole tomatoes.”

“We don’t have to buy them for spaghetti or chili,” said Carroll.

“Because my mother canned, she taught me to can,” said Sandy. “I have never bought a can of tomatoes in my life. Now, my mother is 85. She’s not able to, so I take her tomatoes.”

Carroll is originally from Washington. Sandy is from Missouri.

“My dad grew up in central Missouri. around Fort Leonard Wood,” she said.

Sandy met Carroll met when he was stationed there.

The Wheeldons moved to the metro-east in 1988. Carroll, a U.S. Army lieutenant-colonel, retired from the service two years later, then took a computer job with Mitre Corp.

“We liked Shiloh,” said Sandy. “Everything was close that we need, but it was still country living. We liked the open area.”

“The main reason we picked this lot, it gives you the privacy. It’s gorgeous in the wintertime when you get snow.”

Both retired three years ago in July.

“I was not allowed to relax until she did,” said Carroll.

“When we’re out here, we look at each other and wonder, ‘How did we do al this and work at same time? We do not know.”

They do know they’ve slowed down in the last five or six years. For the last four, they’ve talked about selling their house.

“He was ready,” said Sandy. “It broke my heart.”

Now, they’re both ready to downsize, to move to a condo and let someone else inherit their oasis.

“We want to enjoy retirement,” she said, “and do some traveling.”

Article source: http://www.bnd.com/2013/09/01/2770692/shiloh-backyard-has-it-made-in.html

Life after the floods – Skipton moves forward


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  • Skipton’s main street on January 15, 2011, was part lake, part river.

LESS than three years ago Skipton was a muddy mess.

Floodwaters from the overflowing Mount Emu Creek devastated the town’s low-lying homes and businesses in September 2010 and again in January 2011.

While there are still signs of the damage today, the resilient community is fighting back.

Skipton is determined to change its reputation as a small spot on the map for people driving along the Glenelg Highway. 

It wants to cement its future as an overnight tourist stop and a commuter town for Ballarat workers.

The pub hopes to be up and running by Christmas, nearly two years after it was forced to shut when rising water from the creek rushed through the ground floor and filled the cellar. 

Corangamite Shire has also recently fielded inquiries from three businesses wanting to set up in town.

A new development plan, given the tick of approval by the council last week, has listed five priority projects the community hopes can be completed in time for the town’s 175th anniversary celebrations next year.

Further development of the Ballarat to Skipton Rail Trail, landscaping improvements, creating sites for camping or caravans and installing new entry signs are on the list.

Residents John Kavanagh and Lilla Orton have urged the council to get behind the community’s vision for Skipton. Mrs Orton said the town needed more residents and more businesses and the community plan was a start. 

“It may be baby steps, but I think that’s how you’ve got to go,” she said.

“It’s all about improving the town, not just for the tourists but the people who live there.

“We need commuters from Ballarat. We’ve got a country lifestyle (and) it’s an easy commute.”

Mr Kavanagh said the $30,000 earmarked to improve the rail trail link into town would be a big boost.

“It’s a great thing for tourism. A lot of people use it, but more funding would increase its usage.”

He said Skipton was not big enough for a large caravan park, but was well positioned for overnight stays.

“Free camping” was a growing concept for people travelling in caravans and campers with their own self-contained facilities such as toilets, showers and power, Mr Kavanagh said.

Tourists kept an eye out for spots with “RV (recreation vehicle) friendly town” signs as they travelled around Australia: “You know when you go there, you’re welcome and invited, and people appreciate that.” 

He said the 157-turbine Stockyard Hill wind farm, between Skipton and Beaufort, would soon provide a major boost to the town, with an estimated 400 jobs required in construction and 30 to 50 ongoing.

The shire’s community development officer Gary Moorfield said Skipton was the 10th town to complete a community plan as part of the Building Stronger Corangamite Communities project. He said 48 people, representing 10 per cent of the town’s population, had a chance to suggest ideas during the consultation phase, initially identifying a list of 20 suitable projects. 

“The trauma of the 2010 and 2011 Skipton flood events and the protracted and ongoing period of recovery and adjustment have left their mark upon the community,” Mr Moorfield said.

He said the community planning initiative provided an opportunity to “gather and harness community motivation” and make sure some long-held aspirations were completed. 

Cr Ruth Gstrein praised Skipton residents’ resilience. 

“When I was mayor, Skipton was one of my favourite towns because the community helped itself,” she said.

Cr Jo Beard said development of a community plan was an exciting process and showed the passion people had for their towns.

Mayor Chris O’Connor acknowledged that Skipton was the town located furthest from Corangamite’s Camperdown offices and it was only natural that its sense of “engagement and connectedness” suffered as a result.

“But we do love you, don’t worry about that,” he told the town representatives.

 “We know you’re there.”

malexander@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Article source: http://www.standard.net.au/story/1745355/life-after-the-floods-skipton-moves-forward/?cs=73

Moonlight Garden Tour Set to Benefit The Arc of Blair County

ALTOONA, BLAIR COUNTY — Feel like you need a vacation? You can stroll through the backyards of some area gardens when you join Tussey Landscaping for their annual Outdoor Living Spaces Tour on Saturday, September 14, from 10 am to 10 pm.

The Outdoor Living Spaces Tour gives you the opportunity to view some of the nicest landscaping creations in our area, especially at night. Stroll through unique and various landscapes and visit with the homeowner to see what landscape and lighting can bring to your backyard.

All proceeds benefit The Arc of Blair County, a local non-subsidized/non-government funded agency serving individuals with any type of learning delay including AD/HD, reading delays, Autism, Bi-polar or mental health diagnosis, Down syndrome and other disabilities for 60 years.

Article source: http://www.wearecentralpa.com/story/moonlight-garden-tour-set-to-benefit-the-arc-of-blair-county/d/story/dJd897UcSEapEWXd3M2s2Q

10 favorite lakefronts

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Article source: http://www.albertleatribune.com/2013/09/01/10-favorite-lakefronts/

Busch Gardens Sheep Help Maintain Landscape Through Grazing

WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City York Counties.

Busch Gardens' Scottish blackface sheep are helping maintain the park's landscape through grazing. (Photo courtesy Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

Busch Gardens’ Scottish blackface sheep are helping maintain the park’s landscape through grazing. (Photo courtesy Busch Gardens Williamsburg)

Some of Busch Gardens Williamsburg’s animals may inspire other SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment theme parks to put their sheep on landscaping duty.

Busch Gardens is focusing the grazing efforts of its 17 Scottish Blackface sheep on targeted areas to help beautify the park and cut down on human labor.

The pilot program at Busch Gardens is the first of its kind among the theme parks of Seaworld Parks and Entertainment, which has one of the world’s largest animal collections across its 11 parks.

Using sheep to maintain the landscape has eliminated the need for about 100 gallons of fuel per year, 288 labor hours per year and has reduced the need for powered lawn equipment. The sheep, which eat 2.5 to 3 pounds of grass each per day, also produce manure for landscaping.

The sheep were trained earlier this summer and now, a chicken and turkey crew is being assembled as a cleanup crew. The crew will comprise two turkeys and four chickens that will follow the grazing sheep, spreading manure while eating ticks and parasites.

“The chickens and turkeys are still young, so they’re in the barn getting used to the sheep, hearing the music in the park and undergoing training sessions,” said Stephanie Peters, an animal care specialist at the park, in a release. “They’re being trained to recall to the trainer with a cowbell and also to enter an animal carrier when called. Eventually we will deploy them under the roller coaster and let them do their thing.”

The sheep currently spend about five hours a day grazing along the banks of the Rhine River and below Verbolten, which was examined before setting loose the sheep.

“Before launching the program, we extensively studied the toxicology of the plants in the park,” said Jay Tacey, zoological operations manager, in a news release. “We scoured the area and removed any plants that might not be good for sheep,” said Tacey. “We haven’t had to remove much. The sheep graze on what they’re supposed to.”

Getting the sheep used to the roller coaster took two days of training.

“We took them out for an hour or two in the morning before the park opened when Verbolten was not running. After several positive tests, we brought the sheep out while the coaster was operating.  When one of the coasters came around, we would give the sheep food and other forms of positive reinforcement as the coaster train passed over them,” said Peters in the release. “If the sheep ignored the ride or moved close to a trainer instead of running away, we positively reinforced this behavior.”

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Article source: http://wydaily.com/2013/09/01/busch-gardens-sheep-help-maintain-landscape-through-grazing/