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Archives for October 3, 2013

How to create the perfect garden

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‘Give Us Entertainment Options, Outdoor Dining and Bike/Ped Access,’ Say …

residents favor building a pedestrian-friendly shopping center made up of small
and medium-sized retailers at North Redwood Boulevard, a place where families
could shop, then stay for dinner and a movie.

the conclusion the city is making after two community workshops to discuss the
future of the parcel
on the corner of Redwood and Olive Avenue
, the last significant piece of
land Novato has for development.

really want something that will be fun, and offer outdoor dining and entertainment,
that’s pedestrian oriented, with hidden parking and connections to the SMART
bike path, said Bob Brown, director of community development for Novato.

120 people attended the workshops, held over two Saturdays in September, and
worked with city planners and volunteer architects to come up with a vision for
the area.

had a great expression of ideas, so we’re really happy with how it’s moving
along,” Brown said.

plans for the shopping center should be available online early next week and
Brown hopes to submit the recommendations to the Economic Development Advisory
Commission, followed by Design Review, Planning and the council by the end of
the year.

also support building housing on the Atherton ranch site and a mixed use
development on a small parcel on the northwest corner of Olive and Redwood.
Mixed use typically means shops on the ground floor and apartments or offices

opinion is split on how to best redesign Redwood Boulevard, which many say is
too wide and should be reconfigured. (The thoroughfare was the only road between
North Bay communities before Highway 101 was built.)

residents who attended the workshops support landscaping the median by putting
in benches and more trees, creating a space where residents could stroll or sit
on a bench and read the newspaper. Others say Redwood Boulevard should be
narrowed and the additional space turned into a bicycle lane and sidewalks.

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Minneapolis’ solutions to downtown parking-lot glut: pleasure or pain

Apparently I’m not the only person in town who shuns the surface parking lot as a soul-deadening blot on the landscape — or who thinks it’s not exactly the highest use of God’s tundra.

Among the throngs of candidates vying for public office in Minneapolis this election cycle are at least two who — in contrast to Ronald Reagan (“Tear down this wall, Mr. Gorbachev!) — want to see some walls go up. They are mayoral candidate Jackie Cherryhomes, former City Council president (1989-2001), and Diane Hofstede, who is battling a challenger to keep her 3rd Ward council seat.  

At a recent debate, Cherryhomes said that as mayor, she would do something to make sure that some of downtown’s 120 surface parking lots get developed. I think there may be as many as 140, but the final count doesn’t matter. They stretch like ugly fungi next to or across from some of the city’s proudest buildings — the Cowles Center and the Central Library, to name two. Likewise, in a recent mailing, Hofstede says she’s for “proposed new residences and businesses to replace surface parking lots.” 

I am totally with these ladies. Hofstede’s vision seems to be rather limited; she’s for projects already in the works, such as the Wells Fargo office and residential complex in the Downtown East neighborhood that would, one hopes, complement the new Vikings stadium, assuming that the Wilfs and the Wellses don’t bug out on us. 

Cherryhomes, however, has a more expansive approach. She wants to see new buildings rising from the blacktops. Obviously, that can’t happen with the wave of a magic wand.

“I don’t have any specific ideas,” she says. “The real challenges are legacy lots.” By those, she means lots handed down among families that produce a lot of cash flow. “We have to convince those people that they don’t need to own those anymore.” The problem needs a lot of analysis, she adds.

She was happy to hear when I told her that the analysis was done. HRA Advisors, a consulting group, had recently completed a $40,000 study  (PDF), which by the way, focuses on Downtown East — the neighborhood most plagued with lot fungus — for the city’s department of Community Planning and Economic Development (CPED); Cherryhomes didn’t seem put off by the fact that it was 84 pages long. (Would-be mayors, I guess, are gluttons for work.)

Anyway, the analysis makes it obvious that transforming parking lots into buildings will be a tough task; the financial incentives just aren’t there — at least not yet.

The study divides owners into three groups:

• First, there’s the legacy group of individual owners Cherryhomes spoke of. They have no incentive to sell their land unless it fetches a whopping price because their return (from parking fees) is so high right now. And even if they were tempted to sell, there would be no place to invest their wad that would produce a comparable return. Money market funds or bank accounts? Somehow 0.2 percent per year doesn’t cut it. The stock market might work, but, unlike a downtown parking lot, it’s risky and volatile. And, because the city has put a damper on new surface parking lots, these owners can’t just buy or create a new lucrative lot elsewhere. So they hang on.

• The second group is made up of employers, and their parking lot is a perk they give to their staffers. They could sell off their land to a developer, but that would mean either infuriating their workers or finding them new parking elsewhere without significantly upping their expenses. 

• Developers themselves are the third group. They bought land in hopes that someday it would be worth building something on. As long as the money they collect from parking fees is enough to pay the property taxes and interest on their loans, they’re satisfied. So what are these guys waiting for? Well, they told HRA in interviews that the Hennepin County buildings and Medical Center and lack of neighborhood amenities have held them back. Oh, and there are too many parking lots, separating Downtown East from the rest of the city.

The report offers several complicated solutions to this problem, but I will boil them down into two categories for you: pleasure and pain.

With pleasure, the city offers developers incentives to build — tax rebates, tax incentives, outright grants and so on, a la Block E. Sometimes such programs work; sometimes they produce white elephants. Or on the “build-it-and-they-will-come” theory, the city creates amenities, like transit and parks that people want to be near. Of course, that takes years and years to show an effect, and the results are also iffy, although Rome wasn’t … you know.

Then there’s pain. The city could hike parking lot owners’ taxes, although the report’s authors suspect that they would merely pass the extra cost of doing business along to their customers. HRA put some faith in a city effort to enforce its parking lot landscaping ordinances more strictly than it has in the past. For example, lots are supposed to be screened with a specified number of trees. Trees take up space, actually spaces — parking spaces, reducing revenue. If revenues are reduced, parking lots will cease to be quite as lucrative, and selling might start to look like a better deal.

Smart candidates don’t generally speak about inflicting pain on their potential constituents; but if they mean to get stuff done, it should be at the back of their minds.

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Huntsville Five Points yard is calm, elegant and fun space to be (Cool Spaces …

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – When Anne Noble has had a long day – or just about any other time, really – her favorite place to be is her back yard. Behind her 1921 bungalow in the Five Points historic district, Noble has created a retreat that is calm, elegant and one very cool space.

“This is where I live, kind of,” Noble said on a recent morning as she led a visitor though her gorgeously renovated kitchen through a set of French doors to the outdoor space beyond. She completed the structure and the basic landscaping of the yard last summer but calls the area “a work in progress.”

After Noble finished her extensive kitchen remodeling project three years ago, she looked past the interior of the house to a yard that had drainage issues and not a lot of character. She went to Bill Nance, who was known for the elegant gardens he created all through Huntsville’s historic districts. The two discussed ideas, and Nance told Noble some basic things he thought the yard needed to make it warm and inviting.

“It’s probably one of the last things he did,” Noble said, as Nance passed away that following weekend.

With Nance sadly gone, Noble turned to landscape architect Mark Harbarger to help her realize her dream of a comfortable, functional, easy-to-care-for place to spend time with friends and one her dogs, Lulu and Lola, could enjoy.

“I told him I wanted something I could maintain easily one Saturday a month,” Noble said. The result is a terraced backyard with no grass, a raised bed vegetable garden and plantings of hydrangeas, crepe myrtles and ligustrum. A row of five arbor vitae shrubs flanks the back of the yard, softening the wood fence at the back as well as drawing the eye, giving the space texture and depth.

“It helped to have an overall plan,” which included concrete pavers and stone walls that define the space, Noble said. A French drain took care of the water issues, and a green and white color scheme gives the yard a serene feel. A row of lavender provides a pop of purple as well as attracts butterflies. She also adds pots of plant and pillows on the outdoor couch and chairs on her patio to add additional splashes color to the otherwise two-color scheme.

Some fun additions include pathways made with slices of a tree a neighbor cut down as well as a series of small windows screened in chicken wire and spaced along the bottom of the fence. Noble picked up both those ideas on Pinterest, and added the windows for ventilation as well as a place Lulu and Lola can survey the neighborhood.

Other projects are underway in the back yard, including a mossy log infused with cremini mushroom spores in one corner. Nearby is Noble’s now very brown Christmas tree from last year. She got the idea from an Anthropology catalog of saving the tree and shaking off the dead needles this year. She plans to paint it and place it on her front porch this Christmas season.

Mostly the cool space behind Noble’s house is for relaxing and entertaining. She has a television on the patio area outside the kitchen where friends can watch football. She’s also hosted her book club there, and friends have asked if they can do yoga in the back yard or bring their spin bikes over to exercise in the pretty place.

“It’s a great gathering space,” Noble said, “but also a spot for me and these two hounds. It’s been a really fun space.”  

“Cool Spaces” is a weekly feature looking at interesting rooms in Huntsville homes. Do you have a suggestion? Email Pat Ammons at

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From Kale to Kohlrabi:

Click photo to enlargeCollege plant sale Friday, Saturday

For the Ukiah Daily Journal 

Mendocino College’s horticultural students are offering winter gardeners the opportunity to purchase a wide range of vegetables, perennials, trees and native plants at their annual Fall Plant sale. The event will take place this Friday and Saturday and is one of two annual plant sales held at the college.

 Kim Lyly, Agricultural Technician for the college says the students are ready to display their hard work. “We have over 250 varieties of plants available for sale,” says Lyly, adding that all plants are good performers for the region. Tender specimens which may need a little extra protection are noted on descriptive cards placed with each plant.

 “We’ve expanded our vegetable offerings and have placed a poster asking our customers what other types of vegetables they would like to see at future sales,” says Lyly.  New to the sale are white “Tama” Japanese radishes. “We are also offering Chinese Cabbage and Pak Choy. Heirloom and organic seeds are procured when available. There are a variety of lettuces, broccoli, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, spinach, cilantro, parsley and chard.

 For those looking to put some late-season color into the garden, salvias are the way to go, says Lyly. “We have a large selection of salvias in many colors,” she notes. Butterfly bushes, gaillardias, penstemon and Princess Flowers are all blooming, and have the additional benefits of attracting hummingbirds, which sip the fall nectar to help build energy for the winter.

 Incense Cedar, California Bays and Western Redbuds are beautiful native trees that are ready for planting. “The fall is the best time to plant natives, shrubs and trees,” says Lyly. The cool air combined with the warm ground allows plant roots to get a good start. “Then your plants really take off in spring,” she continues. Lyly emphasizes that mulching new planting will help to preserve water. “The only thing you should pay attention to is if we don’t have any rain for a few weeks, you’ll want to give new plantings some water,” she notes.

 Other trees available include several varieties of fig, dogwood, prune, linden, hornbeam, oaks and the beautiful liquidambar. “We have dwarf peaches which will do very well in containers,” says Lyly. Culinary herbs, sedums, succulents, lavender, columbines and a large variety of native plants are available. Staff and students will be on hand to help with information and plant selection.

 Shoppers can take some time to wander through the horticultural department gardens. Recent student plantings include a blue and white garden, a California native garden, a desertscape and a “follow the flow” garden that is punctuated by a meandering walkway through the landscaping. For the past year, students have been working on the native garden, installing a bridge and pond. Proceeds from the sale will help to fund improvements to the landscaping in the front of the horticulture department, developing a raspberry and blueberry and expanding upon the very successful kitchen garden which is being used by college culinary students. “We have over 50 tomato and pepper plants in the garden. Students are picking and utilizing the vegetables like crazy,” Lyly smiles.

 The bargain prices make winter gardening very affordable. One-gallon plants are $5. Six-packs are priced at $2 and four-inch containers are $3. Five-gallon trees are $15. “We haven’t raised our prices in 15 years,” Lyly notes.

 The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The fall sale is slightly less crowded than the department’s spring sale, so Lyly encourages anyone who can’t make it on Friday to visit the college on Saturday.

“There will be a good selection available both days. People can bring their own wagons, but please put your name on them,” she notes. Cash and checks are accepted.

 For information visit or phone 468-3148.

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Power Lawn and Garden Equipment Industry Worth $20 billion by 2017 Says a …


Power Lawn and Garden Equipment Industry Worth $20 billion by 2017 Says a New Research Report at

PRWEB.COM Newswire

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) October 03, 2013

This study analyzes the world power lawn and garden equipment industry. It presents historical demand data for 2002, 2007, and 2012, and forecasts for 2017 and 2022 by product (e.g., lawnmowers, turf and grounds equipment, trimmers and edgers), power source (internal combustion engine, electric), market (residential, commercial), world region, and major country. The study also considers market environment factors, details industry structure, evaluates company market share, and profiles industry players.

World demand to rise over 4% annually through 2017

Worldwide demand for power lawn and garden equipment is forecast to rise more than four percent per year through 2017 to well over $20 billion. Growth in equipment sales will be supported by a recovery in the massive US market that will lead to increased spending on durable consumer goods and landscaping services. Demand will also rebound in Western Europe as the construction of new housing climbs following the Euro zone economic troubles in 2012. In developing areas of the world, particularly the Asia/Pacific region, sales of outdoor power equipment will be stimulated by households that will increasingly seek out multifamily residential properties with associated lawns and/or gardens, spurring growth in commercial lawn care equipment.

Complete report is available @

US, Canada, Western Europe to remain dominant markets

While power lawn and garden equipment sales in developing nations will record the largest advances in percentage terms through 2017, the US, Canada and Western Europe will continue to account for the vast majority of world demand. Consumers in these developed nations have high income levels that allow for discretionary purchases like power lawn and garden equipment, and landscaping services that utilize this equipment. Additionally, countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the US have strong residential lawn and garden care cultures, and the lion’s share of golf courses worldwide are located in these three nations.

Turf and grounds equipment to be fastest growing

Lawnmowers will continue to account for the biggest portion of sales among all product groups, owing primarily to the large number of homeowners that possess and maintain their own lawns in the US, Canada and Western Europe. In these areas, a lawnmower is considered an essential appliance for most homeowners, as these products are the only way to efficiently manicure a larger lawn. Turf and grounds equipment is expected to post the fastest market gains, driven by recoveries in the professional landscaping industries in many developed nations. Furthermore, a continuing trend toward urbanization of developing nations, including those in Asia and South America, will boost the use of public parks and other green spaces, increasing maintenance needs and bolstering demand for related equipment. Sales of aftermarket parts and attachments will rise at a slower rate than demand for new equipment, as economic growth in the US and Western Europe will boost per capita incomes, and prompting many users to discard older units that require repair and maintenance.

Commercial applications to experience fastest gains

Residential demand for power lawn and garden equipment will continue to account for the majority of all sales globally through 2017. However, demand for outdoor power equipment for commercial applications will grow at a faster pace going forward, fueled primarily by a recovery in the professional landscaping industries in industrialized nations. As technologies for batteries and electric motors continue to improve and the use of large battery-powered equipment becomes more economically viable, market expansion for electric equipment will outpace that for internal combustion engine-powered machinery. The growing popularity of robotic mowers will also contribute to gains in electric outdoor power equipment.

Company Profiles

Profiles global players including Deere, Husqvarna, MTD Products, STIHL Toro.

Purchase a copy of this report @

Browse more reports on Garden Industry

About Us: ( .) is an online database of market research reports offers in-depth analysis of over 5000 market segments. The library has syndicated reports by leading market research publishers across the globe and also offer customized market research reports for multiple industries.

Read the full story at

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Autumn and winter gardening tips from Coolings’ Plant Doctor Mark Reeve

Autumn and winter gardening tips from Coolings’ Plant Doctor Mark Reeve

Autumn and winter gardening tips from Coolings’ Plant Doctor Mark Reeve

Now that summer is a distant memory, here are a few tips ideas to settle your garden in for the autumn and winter months, writes Plant Doctor Mark Reeve of Coolings Garden Centre.

Don’t forget get your pots! Many plants, especially evergreens ones, can freeze in their pots in winter.

If the roots freeze they can’t take up any water so the plant dies. Move them somewhere sheltered near the house to protect them. 

If they cannot be moved then use bubble wrap to wrap around the pot to insulate it. It might not look pretty but it may save your favourite plant.

Fleece can be used on top growth to keep off a few degrees of frost but check the plant regularly as mould and rots can set in. We stock the fleece and bubble wrap at Coolings.

The autumn and winter months are good times (rain and frost permitting) to plant trees and shrubs.

Many trees create a fantastic show later in the year. Many Japanese cherries have good leaf colour as well as spring flowers.

Trees such as Amelanchier, Liquidambar and Nyssa light up the garden in autumn. If you only have room for shrubs then Acers (Japanese maple), Cotinus (smoke bush), Enkianthus and Hamamelis (witch hazel) put on a stunning show.

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Gardening Tips for October

October is one of the best months to be planting trees, shrubs and perennials. You improve the survival rate of plants when you plant in the Fall as it gives the root system time to establish itself during the winter months. Above ground the plants appears to be dormant in winter (and they are) underground roots are active, growing deeper into the soil to provide a strong anchor for the whole plant.

When spring arrives the plant is acclimatized to its new environment and is ready to put out strong leaves, new top growth and lots of flowers.

Remember, there is still time to plant fall vegetables. Beets, broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, peas, Swiss chard, lettuce, radish, spinach, turnips, onions, parsley, mustard and carrots are all crops that do well this time of year. Vegetables can be planted from seed or transplanted.

Also, make sure to adjust your watering schedule for the cooler temperatures of Fall. The recommendation is to water in the morning if possible. Be sure to water long enough so the root system grows deep rather than staying close to the soil surface. Check your irrigation system for leaks, clogs or breakages to make sure water is getting to all areas in your lawns and beds.

Check your garden regularly for insects and fungi. Plants that have suffered heat stress during the summer are more prone to disease. If you find a problem, take care of it as soon as possible using a recommended insecticide or fungicide. Both organic and non-organic products are available to stop and protect against insects and fungi. This year we are beginning to see oak trees with wooly aphids that give a snow like appearance to the leaves.

Fall is also a good time of year to apply a fresh layer of mulch. Mulching helps reduce water evaporation and keeps the soil temperature warmer during winter to help plants survive frost and snow conditions. Mulching also saves on watering and always improves the appearance of your landscape.

If you are looking for a sea of bluebonnets in your garden next Spring now is the time to be planting. To encourage bluebonnet seeds to germinate they need to be scarified (the shell softened) before planting. Drop by the Nursery and we can show you how to do this – it’s not hard.

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October gardening calendar

Winding down from summer, gearing up for fall. These garden tips and tasks will get you outdoors to enjoy Middle Tennessee’s October weather.

• Leaf-raking is about to begin (or in some cases, may already have begun). Shred leaves with the mower and place them in the compost, or shovel them directly onto garden beds as mulch.

• Continue to provide water if the weather is dry. Herb beds, especially herbs that last through winter, benefit from regular moisture as the weather cools.

• Fall is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Be sure to provide enough water now and throughout the plants’ first year. A layer of mulch helps keep the soil moist.

• Cheery pots of mums brighten porches and gardens, but remember to provide water to keep them fresh as long as possible.

• Keep your herb garden going. New plantings of parsley, cilantro and sorrel can stand up to cooler weather.

• The Nashville African Violet Club will meet at 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Green Hill Women’s Center, 10905 Lebanon Road, in Mt. Juliet. And the Tennessee Gesneriad Society will meet in Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall at 2 p.m. Oct. 13. For more information about both events, call 615-364-8459.

• Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee will meet Oct. 15 at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Ron Daniels, and the topic is roses. Refreshments at 6:30 p.m.; meeting at 7 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.

• Plant summer herbs in a pot to grow in a sunny window — or under lights — through the winter.

• Bring your houseplants back inside before nights begin to turn crisp. Clean the pots before you bring them in, and check the containers and the soil for hitchhiking insects.

• Harvest that second planting of bush and pole beans, cucumbers and summer squash, along with any tender herbs, before frost threatens. Frost is possible around the end of the month in many areas of Middle Tennessee.

• Perennials that need to be divided can be dug and replanted now. Prepare the new planting bed by removing weeds and amending the soil. Do this before you dig the plants to be divided so that perennials can be replanted immediately. Keep newly transplanted roots and foliage watered.

• Bring any tender perennials — potted citrus trees, tropical hibiscus, bougainvillea, etc. — indoors and set them in a sunny spot to spend the winter. Provide regular water throughout fall and winter.

• Clean up spent flowers, rotting foliage and other debris from perennial and annual beds to prevent harmful insects and diseases from overwintering.

• As leaves continue to fall, rake or blow them from newly seeded lawns to keep them from shading the new grass.

• Plant spring-flowering bulbs. Some garden wildlife consider bulbs a tasty treat, so you may need to protect your plantings by laying hardware cloth across the planting bed and covering it with soil. The foliage will grow through it next spring. Garden critters won’t bother daffodils, which are poisonous to chipmunks and other rodents, but tulips are often in danger of becoming a rodent’s dinner.

• Say goodbye to summer gardening by cleaning mowers, trimmers and other power tools, emptying hoses and storing them indoors, and cleaning dirt and mud from garden tools before putting them away for the winter.

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Some tips will help your lawn and garden thrive in fall

Hansen golden thyralisCourtesy
Golden Thyralis is in full bloom in full sun in the IDEA Garden of the Tyler Rose Garden. It is a tough perennial.

Fall has finally arrived, with welcome rains and milder weather. Yellow and white wild rain lilies also welcomed the rain, and popped out their flowers in abundance across the county. This milder weather should also encourage some gardening activity. After all, fall is our second gardening season m…

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