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Archives for January 13, 2014

Grow an Avocado…You Know You Want To!

Created: 01/09/2014 2:57 PM

By: Networx

I don’t know about you, but I’m an avocado fiend. I adore these delicious little fruits, particularly the rich, creamy Hass that’s widely cultivated in California and parts of the Southwest. And, like so many of us, every time I wrench a pit out of an avocado to get at the goodness inside, I mull over the thought of growing my own avocado tree. I’ve even sprouted a seed or two in my day, but I never really committed to the project, assuming it was too cold for me to grow avocados, and thinking it would be too much work.

Turns out, I was wrong.

While avocados can be a bit fussy (they really prefer to be grown in USDA zones 9-11, although you can grow them in greenhouses), it’s totally worth a try. Even if you don’t get your avocado tree to bear fruit (and we’ll talk about that more in a moment), avocado trees are actually rather gorgeous, and well worth keeping up as part of your landscaping. You can buy them at some nurseries to get a jump start, but the fun part is actually sprouting them from seed — though be warned, because commercial avocados are grown with grafting techniques, your tree might not behave exactly as you expect. If you want a reliable outcome, you’ll have to go with buying a tree from a nursery. Consider this more like a fun gardening experiment.

Start out with an avocado pit. Make sure to cut the fruit open carefully to get to the pit, and take it out without disrupting the layer of brown material on the outside of the pit. Run it under water to remove any remaining flesh, which could rot and damage the pit while it’s sprouting. Then, point the narrower end up (that’s where the tree will sprout) and the broader end down (that’s where your taproot will develop) and use a few toothpicks or prongs to pierce it, much like you’re setting up a Christmas tree stand.

Rest the edges of the toothpicks on a glass, bowl, or similar container and fill it with water. Make sure to let the top of the pit stay dry, while the bottom of the pit stays wet, and change the water every three to six days, keeping the pit in a bright, sunny, warm area of the house. It can take up to two months for an avocado pit to sprout, and while you’re waiting, make sure it doesn’t develop mold and mildew. If you’re having trouble with light levels, talk to your Dallas electrician about setting up a grow light.

You’ll know you have a starter when your seed starts to dry out and crack at the top, sloughing away the brown casing material. A small shoot will start to appear, even as a taproot develops at the base of the pit and branches out into a series of roots. Keep the avocado pit watered, warm, and well-lit for several weeks, until the young tree is about a hands-length tall. Cut the stem back to promote healthy growth (I know, it feels cruel, but do it anyway!) and then allow it to grow back to the same height before potting it up in rich, moist soil.

As your avocado tree grows, you can gradually transplant it into larger containers, and eventually into the ground. If you live somewhere warm and temperate, your avocado tree will likely be happy outdoors in a sheltered, sunny place. If you live somewhere cooler, keep your avocado in a wheeled container so you can move it indoors for wintering on a sun porch or in a sunny part of the house.

Avocado maintenance is actually pretty simple. Periodically pinch the leaves back to encourage the tree to develop a bushy form, rather than a leggy one. Generally, you can pinch the top two leaves to promote the formation of branches, rather than more leaves, and as the branches grow out, you can keep doing this to make your avocado even in form. If your avocado starts being nibbled on by aphids or other insects, wash it in warm water with mild dish soap, or consider applying neem oil, a good source of natural pest control.

Is your tree browning? It may be drying out, or it could be upset about being buffeted by winds. Looking wilty? Low water may be a problem, but it could also be drowning in too much water, so check the soil carefully. Houseplant food with a good balance of nitrogen and zinc is usually sufficient for avocados.

So, when will your tree produce fruit? It takes around five to seven years for a tree to fully mature and start bearing, and be aware that avocados are what is known as alternate barriers. That means that one year, they’ll set a large crop, and the next year will be smaller. The year following will have a large crop, and so forth.

Avocados are also not very good at pollinating themselves, although they technically can. The problem is that while the flowers are both male and female, the sex organs open at different times, making it difficult for the pollen to reach the female organs and fertilize them, even with bees or manual pollination. For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a second tree around to help out; when the female parts are open on the first tree, the male flower parts on the second tree produce pollen to fertilize them.

These fruits are actually pretty special snowflakes in the flowering department. The trees are broadly broken into two categories. “A” avocados open their female parts in the morning of the first day of flowering, and their male parts in the afternoon of the second day. “B” avocados do the opposite. If you have one of each, they’ll fertilize each other, and the trees should both set fruit.

Hass is probably the most famous A variety, but there are a number of others, including Pinkertons. Bacon and Fuerte cultivars, meanwhile, fall into the B category. (Yes, there’s an avocado cultivar called “Bacon.”) Get one of each, and you’ll be getting happy avocado fruit! Once a tree starts fruiting, unless it’s damaged or diseased, it can keep going for decades…or hundreds of years, as attested by some truly ancient but still productive Mexican avocado trees.

P.S. If you’re running out of ideas for that bumper avocado crop, here are some tips.

Katie Marks writes for

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‘Curb Appeal’ host John Gidding speaks at Gloucester and Camden County …

PITMAN — It was the hottest show on turf. Hundreds of homeowners attended the Gloucester and Camden County Spring Home Show at Total Turf Experience on Lambs Road Sunday. The show featured demonstrations and informational booths from home improvement contractors and vendors, and featured a keynote speech by John Gidding, host of the HGTV show ‘Curb Appeal.’

Other presentations included home organization tips from Barbara Berman and a talk by Chef Warren Caterson. Vendors moving everything from vacuum cleaners to hot tubs peddled their wares as visitors looked for contractors and decorating tips.

“We’re looking for ideas for the house,” said Laura Golden of Pitman. “We’re always doing 10 projects at a time.”

Other visitors had come to see new products.

“We’re finding it interesting,” said Luci Nurkowski of Washington Township. She had just decided to buy a combination floor steamer and mop, but like many other attendees, she was waiting for Gidding. “I’m a huge fan of the show,” Nurkowski said.

The ‘Curb Appeal’ star opened his presentation by talking about the preparation that goes into shooting each episode of the show, which brings in experts to make over home exteriors. Gidding then moved on to discuss the fundamentals of design, eliciting laughs from his audience as he spoke.

“Could this be any more depressing?” he said of a particularly drab picture of an unfurnished front yard.

The worst news he had to deliver to his New Jersey fans was that only homes in the San Francisco Bay area are eligible to appear on ‘Curb Appeal.’

“The first question is always, ‘can you do my house?’” Gidding said. “We don’t travel, so people are always a little crestfallen. But I love spilling the secrets of behind-the-scenes television.”

Gidding said he tailors his live appearances to meet the interests of each audience. After taking a few questions, he focused the Sunday’s discussion on landscaping. And the lecture circuit isn’t just for the fans. Once in awhile, public speaking helps Gidding drum up clients for his own business.

After Gidding spoke, fans lined up to chat and take photos. Several people in the audience said Gidding’s talk had been useful for their own decorating plans.

“We just purchased an older home,” said Denise Sabelli of Washington Township. “It definitely gave us some inexpensive ideas.”

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Gardening trends for 2014

Trends in gardening are like the latest fashions in the clothing world. Some will work for you and others simply will not. Each January you see the latest and greatest ideas promoted in the media and you wonder, “Should I follow that?” Here are some things to consider when deciding whether to follow the latest trend in gardening.

Gardening trends may refer to the plants you grow, how you combine them, the containers you plant them in, how you lay out your landscape or collection of plants or a number of other factors. Each year experts in the field of landscaping and gardening choose what they feel are great and innovative ideas and plants to spotlight along with related products.

Trends can be a good thing in that they provide ideas that you may never have thought of on your own. These ideas, depending on the source, are usually well thought out and have been tested before they go public in a big way. Always consider your source when deciding whether a new trend is truly a good, workable idea.

The plants and materials related to a current year’s trend are often front and center on garden center displays and in online catalogues. If you are shopping in a smaller town, you may have to hunt for them a little harder.

What are some of the “trends” being promoted for 2014? The ever-expanding interest in container gardening continues to be at the forefront of trends for 2014. This will mean that a wider variety of pots and planters will be available in stores. Of course, you can always use your own imagination or what you have around the house to create your own collection of containers.

Combining plants of varying heights, textures, growth habits and colors can be a tricky thing. Whether you are growing in pots or in flower beds, this takes some forethought. You can garner many workable ideas about mixing up plants that work well together from the promotions and pictures you will see in the media this year.

A focus on neon colors as well as gardening in black and white will be evident in gardening this year. This may be reflected in the plants you see for sale or the shades of containers on the shelves.

The National Garden Bureau spotlights one annual, one perennial and one vegetable each year. Their goal is to educate the public in a focused way. Though their approach is not really the same as designating plants as part of a trend, it does mean that the plants they choose are often more available that year. In 2014, they are focusing on the petunia (an annual), echinacea (a perennial) and the cucumber.

Another trend for 2014 that should be promoted each and every year is educating gardeners and increasing their knowledge. You may find that more of the plants you buy have detailed care instructions or that garden centers are offering more educational workshops.

How do you know when to follow a trend? Ask yourself these things. Will it work for you in your particular situation? Does it fit into your budget? Are items available locally or easily through mail order? If I go all out with this year’s trend, can I still put it to use next year?

Trends are simply ideas you have never thought of before on your own. You can often create the same effect for far less money than the pre-assembled items that you will find for sale.

The bottom line is: Do you like it? If one of the gardening trends being promoted for 2014 really appeals to you, go with it.

Contact the writer: 138 Nature’s Trail, Bamberg, SC 29003.

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Prison Gardens Help Inmates Grow Their Own Food — And Skills

Last week, we reported on the correctional industry’s enduring practice of punishing certain inmates with a bland, lumpish food known as “the loaf.”

Fortunately, there are also more encouraging stories to tell about prison food.

It turns out there’s a pretty vibrant movement of prison vegetable gardens across the country that provide inmates with satisfying work, marketable skills and fresh food to eat. From Connecticut to Minnesota to California, correctional authorities are finding all kinds of reasons to encourage inmates to produce their own food inside the walls.

Recently, we got a rare glimpse behind those walls — of those gardens — at the San Quentin State Prison outside San Francisco, thanks to this video from Planting Justice. The Bay Area group works with less-advantaged communities on food by building gardens and creating jobs in urban food production.

In the video, filmed in December, we see inmates at San Quentin building five raised beds for vegetables in the prison yard of the medium security unit. The inmate Charles’ excitement about the prospect of a homegrown tomato is pretty palpable. It’s the first vegetable garden inside a California state prison.

Planting Justice helped oversee the garden project in partnership with Insight Garden Program, which has been helping inmates at San Quentin rehabilitate and get training in flower gardening since 2003.

Those gardening skills are being put to use once the men leave San Quentin as well. In the past three years, Planting Justice has hired 10 former inmates to work on landscaping jobs, according to the group’s website. They get an entry-level wage of $17.50 per hour.

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than four in 10 offenders return to prison within three yeas. By contrast, Planting Justice says the recidivism rate for the men who go through the garden program is 10 percent. Programs in other states have had similar successes — apparently, gardening behind bars seems to help people steer clear of crime once they get out.

In 2012, Nourishing the Planet, a blog of the Worldwatch Institute, put together this list of five urban garden prison projects. It notes that not only do the garden programs help with rehabilitation, they also often save states and local government thousands of dollars.

And one prison garden in Missouri was reportedly so bountiful, it had extra produce — 163 tons’ worth — to donate to food pantries, shelters, churches, nursing homes and schools in 2013.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit

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Become a green gardener


Grow your own this year by creating rooftop edible gardens on sunny skyscrapers.

Cape Town – Become a green gardener this year and incorporate an environmental ethos into everything that you do. Now is the time to protect the environment by developing eco-friendly gardens and creating a smaller carbon footprint.

Your garden is an important link in the web of local ecosystems. What can you do this year to create an eco-friendly garden?

Remove invasive plants

There are over 9 000 alien species in South Africa. Of these, about 360 are declared as undesirable invasive alien plants. Aquatic invasive weeds that jump the proverbial garden fence can do enormous damage in waterways and agricultural dams by spreading across the water and blocking light to all fish and microfauna below.

Now is the time to check that you have no invasive alien species in your garden such as the yellow-flowering cat’s claw creeper, bugweed (Solanum mauritianum), Spanish broom (Spartium junceum), morning glory climbers, any of the cestrums as well as Lantana camara.

Also be aware that devil’s beard (Centranthus ruber), a perennial once known by the innocuous name of kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate or red valerian, is invading the perimeter of the Table Mountain National Park.

Plant local for wildlife

Connecting with nature and encouraging the growing of indigenous plants to replace invasive plants is very fashionable. Structured gardens are being replaced by wildlife-friendly gardens in which plants are chosen not just for their colours and forms, but also to provide food, protection and breeding places for birds, small creatures and insects.

Grow your own

With worldwide concern at the shortage of food growing, the “Farm to Table” or “Farm to Fork” movement that began in the 1960s and ’70s has gained impetus, with the emphasis on producing fresh local ingredients.

“Grow Your Own” shows how it is possible for communities to work together to create productive and attractive fruit tree, vegetable and flower gardens. Home gardeners are combining edible plants with colourful flowers, and making use of vertical space and trellis panels to grow edible screens.

Design style

Landscapers continue to introduce designs that are innovative and labour-saving, with the emphasis on clean lines, pure form and using space as a sculptural concept. This approach is appealing and welcome in view of our busy lifestyles, where homeowners want a place in which to relax and entertain friends with the minimal amount of attention.

Decks and thatched bomas with rustic seating are popular outdoor entertainment areas, modern water features such as millstones are replacing high-maintenance pools, and permeable surfaces such as gravel are replacing lawns in preference to hard landscaping. Walls and security fences around properties have encouraged homeowners to search for ideas on how to beautify and turn these utilitarian structures into attractive features.

Water is precious

With the need to conserve water, rainwater run-off from roofs is stored in tanks. These come in different shapes and sizes, making them suitable for all gardens.

Grey water systems are being installed in which household water is re-used in the garden. Grey water comes from baths, showers and handbasins, as well as washing machines that use biodegradable soap.

Decorating the garden

Gardeners are spending more money on decor in a variety of mediums. As well as traditional statuary, decorative balls and animal sculptures made from wire, screens, arches, balls and panels crafted out of wattle are being used as focal points. Perspex, fibreglass and metal containers with sleek modern lines are popular, and giant pots are used as focal points in the garden and are often left unplanted.

Simple planting in containers is fashionable. A row of containers will often contain only one type of plant, such as Cape restios that are chosen for their interesting form. Bold-leafed aloes are favourites for clay pots.

Fashionable colours

The environment has become a major role player in colour fashion, and this year will strongly reflect this global awareness in the garden in shades of green – from olive, avocado, forest and moss to tropical green. Green in the garden is not limited to foliage – green flowers have simplicity and freshness, yet can also be theatrical and sophisticated, depending on how they are used.

Green plants soften hard landscaping and add freshness and coolness to hot gardens; combined with water and weathered rocks, they create a tranquil garden that offers shelter to wildlife.

Identifying with our ethnic heritage, we need only recall a flaming African sunset in orange, red and violet-purple to see how these colours, balanced by black and gold, can play an important role in an indigenous and naturalistic garden. There are tawny grasses in autumn, aloes to light up the garden in winter, and Leonotis leonurus, proteas and pincushions, crocosmias, bulbine, watsonias and gazanias for summer.

In contrast to the brilliance of the previous colour scheme, there is the amethyst, apricot and soft pink of a sunrise that can be used to create a restful garden of soft colouring and gentle form, a quality that is increasingly important in our busy and often stressful lifestyles. Simplicity and harmony are the keynotes in this garden, using flowing curves instead of geometric shapes, soothing colours rather than contrasting ones, and delicate rather than strong fragrances.

The night sky is the inspiration for the deep, shadowy evening tones of indigo, purple and silver-grey. These are valuable colours in the garden, introducing depth and shadows, and softening or strengthening an existing colour grouping. An excellent example is Salvia “Black and Blue” with rich cobalt-blue flowers and near-black stems and calyces. Silver-grey with a hint of pearlescent green or blue brings a quality of restfulness.

Weekend Argus

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Gardening series begins

Those organically-grown vegetables now being sold in the produce departments of local supermarkets are nothing new, according to Jim Couts, co-owner of Jubilee Gardens and Landscapes in Marietta.

Couts gave a presentation on organic composting during the first of six free community garden classes at the First Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday afternoon.

“Around 1850 all farming and gardening was organic-no synthetic fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides were used,” he said. “The essence of agriculture for thousands of years was based on organic compost and fertilizers.”

Article Photos

SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Jim Couts, co-owner of Jubilee Gardens in Marietta, gave some pointers on organic composting and gardening during the first of six free community gardening classes at the First Unitarian Universalist Church Sunday afternoon.

But with the advent of the industrial age in the late 1800s, and into the 20th century, synthetic or chemical-laced fertilizers were introduced, Couts said.

“People were very excited. Their plants grew large and fast,” he said. “Synthetic fertilizers will make your plants look great, but as long as you keep using it you will also have to use pesticides and herbicides on your garden.”

Couts said the use of organic compost and fertilizers helps eliminate the need for such chemicals as the organics, derived from composted plants, discarded food scraps and animal manure, provide a natural shield for the roots of plants that synthetic fertilizers cannot provide.

Fact Box

If you go

“Ethical eating” will be the topic of the next community garden class scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 232 Third St. in Marietta.

The free classes, covering a variety of subjects of interest to area gardeners, will be held at the same location every Sunday through Feb. 16.

For information: Roger Kalter, 373-1784 or

He added that the use of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides is killing off the honeybee population which is key to the pollination process vital for plant growth.

“Synthetic fertilizer prices continue to increase, which means food prices increase, and that impacts the ability of low-income people to purchase quality food,” Couts said. “If you eat food that’s only grown with synthetics, you’re not eating healthy food. The continued use of synthetic fertilizers is just not sustainable.”

He encouraged those attending Sunday’s gardening class to help stop the use of chemical fertilizers by growing their own organic gardens and participating in local community gardening.

Couts noted Jubilee Gardens and Landscapes is planning to start an “organic only” community garden with 30 plots available along Phillips Street in the Norwood area.

“We’re looking for people who want to do organic gardening to take part in that garden,” he said.

For more information, e-mail Jubilee Gardens at, or call (740)706-4672.

Couts said organic composting begins by creating separate piles of materials like food and garbage scraps, leaves and grass clippings, and cow and horse manure.

“Collect the materials, but keep them separate, then construct a compost bin that’s 3 feet square and 3 feet deep in which to place the compost materials,” he said, adding to cover the bin with a tarp that’s easy to remove.

The compost material can be mixed in the bin and turned regularly with a pitchfork or shovel to keep the material loose and aerated for 30 days.

“The material should be turned three times the first week, two times during the second week, and one time during the third and fourth weeks,” Couts said.

Some water should also be added to keep the compost moist, he said.

“But you don’t want too much water. Moisture and air help keep the microorganisms in the compost working,” Couts added.

He said the compost is ready for use when the material looks like black dirt, and the process should take about six months to complete.

Couts said a much faster method is vermicomposting, in which worms are added to help break down the compost mixture. He said it takes about one month for vermicomposting to break down the materials into usable compost.

Tom Rowell of Williamstown was among the 35 people who attended Sunday’s gardening class. He raises crops on farmland near East Ninth Street in Williamstown.

“I believe in saving our landfills, so organic gardening has always been my way of life for more than 60 years,” he said. “I haul piles of leaves to my property all fall and use them to make compost that I put around our flowers, fruit trees and blueberry plants. It also helps cut down on weeds.”

Sunday’s class will be followed on Jan. 19 by a presentation entitled “Ethical Eating” by local gardeners Megan Buskirk, Dana Singer, and Chrissa Campbell of Marietta.

“They’ll also be providing some incredible ethical food for everyone to try,” said Roger Kalter who helps coordinate the community gardening classes, now in its sixth year.

Buskirk said ethical eating covers a variety of topics, including consumption and marketing of locally-grown foods in area restaurants and stores, as well as the ethical treatment of animals that are used for food.

“I’ll have a list of 10 things that people can do to help encourage the availability of more locally-grown food and the ethical use of that food,” she said.

Buskirk said Singer will discuss the economics of ethical eating.

Kalter said future community gardening classes will include a presentation by the Marietta In Bloom gardening group and a special presentation on edible landscaping-landscaping with plants that also can be used as food.

“Our final day will be a hands-on class, building cold frames and raised beds,” he said.

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Gardening under glass: Tips for planting a terrarium

If you thought terrariums went out with macramé, mood rings and pet rocks, wake up and smell the 1970s.

If it makes you feel less dated, you can call those fancier terrariums – ones that have the vintage elements of a Victorian-influenced miniature house – by their formal name, Edwardian or Wardian cases.

Historically, botanists used these cases to protect and keep plants alive during shipping, and growing in terrariums was popularized by the Victorians. Terrariums had another heyday in the ‘70s, but those giant fishbowls stuffed with plants were a lot less elegant looking.

I’ve always found these glassed-in structures enormously appealing for their architectural details, but there’s also the fun of gardening under glass. There’s only so much daydreaming and page-thumbing I can do in winter, even with dozens of spring garden catalogs. I want to get my hands dirty.

Tovah Martin, horticulturalist, author and gardening trendsetter, suggests thinking of terrariums as “somebody shrank the garden.” Five years ago, she wrote “The New Terrarium,” which contains solid, practical advice. The challenge is selecting the right plants.

You can use practically any glass container to create this self-contained biosphere. Martin suggests a vase, canning jar, apothecary jar, cookie jar, a glass teapot, and yes, a fish bowl. You can also repurpose an old aquarium. It’s easier if you can get a hand inside the container, but you can always poke in plants with a wooden spoon or even a chop stick.

Make sure the container is scrupulously clean. A lid is helpful because you can better control moisture content. My case has removable glass panels across the top and sides. If you don’t have a lid, leave it uncovered or top it with a plate.

Because there are no drainage holes, you’ll need a layer of pebbles or gravel and a layer of activated charcoal to prevent root rot and keep the soil fresh. Use lightweight potting mix for planting. Depth of the soil may vary depending on the rootball of the plants you want to grow.

Always wear gloves when handling materials and plants.

Martin advises against cactuses, succulents and most herbs except mints because they can rot in the high humidity. Ferns, mosses, orchids, bromeliads, starfish plants, nerve plant, air plant (hello, again, ‘70s!), black mondo grass and strawberry begonia are a few of her favorites. Whatever you chose, they should be small and thrive in low light and humidity.

Don’t just plop in plants. Make sure roots are firm in the soil. Design the environment in the same way you would an outdoor bed – a mix of plant textures and colors and decorative touches. Be creative – a large marble “shooter” for a gazing ball, for example. Check out aquarium supplies or look for dollhouse miniatures like chairs and other items to incorporate into your design.

Water lightly after planting, then close it up and place it in indirect light. If the light is too bright, your plants will be French-fried in a hurry. Martin advises opening the lid every 10 days or so for a half day. Look for condensation after closing the lid again. If you don’t see any, lightly water plants.

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APLD "Ask A Designer"

“Ask a Designer” Booth Offers Professional Landscape Design Advice
At the San Francisco Flower Garden Show

Bring your garden design dilemmas to the San Francisco Flower Garden Show and get 30 minutes of advice from a professional landscape designer at the “Ask a Designer” booth. The Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD) has teamed up with the garden show to provide you this first-ever opportunity to sit down with a designer for some quick and affordable tips and solutions for your… Show more

How does it work?
You make reservations here and pre-pay for a 30-minute time slot for $30 (plus a small ticketing service fee). At the show you will be assigned your own personal designer.

You are encouraged to prepare in advance and bring photos of your existing landscape and of landscapes you love, your existing site plan, plant lists whatever you’d like to share with your designer. You will go away with valuable professional guidance that will help launch you toward the next step in your design process.

What can be accomplished in your 30-minute session?
Here are some ideas:

*a review of the plants on your wish list
*suggestions for creating a list of plants that work well together and are suitable for your site
*ideas for translating the look of a garden show display to a real-life home landscape
*coaching on how to organize your ideas into an overall theme for your landscape
*professional feedback on your own landscape ideas
*resources for finding plants, hardscape materials and decorative elements
*learn in detail about the step-by-step process of professional landscape design

Sign up now to secure your consultation time slot.

* Consultation fee does NOT include show entrance or parking. Please arrive 10 mins. prior to your appointment.

Show less

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The Soul Heals With Japanese Gardens

The Soul Heals

Japanese healing gardens are created to remember and remind us of the fragility of life and the beauty that awakens each and very moment, giving attention to that which is right before us, in our now. In the blog series on Japanese Healing Gardens, I will take you on the path towards understanding the healing and restorative capabilities that a Japanese Healing Garden can offer for yourself, a family member or in memory of a loved one. It is only in awareness and education that one can truly begin living Zen.

When someone experiences a great loss, we can never know exactly how that person feels, yet we can honor. Through the the essence of  water, Koi, plants, stone and the connection to a greater spirit,  life goes on. Spending time in a Japanese garden has restorative qualities that gives peace and tranquility. Viewing  Japanese Healing Gardens from the interior as well as from the outside is another importance to the design itself. Public corporations, schools,  hospitals and healthcare facilities are seeing the positive results from this restorative approach to garden design. It has been noted the results of the healing qualities that a patient experiences when looking out the window to a healing garden or a memorial garden at the hospital. I have studied with several Masters that opened my eyes to the communicative and spiritual transformation that exists within this, especially if there is water and Koi within the design.  In residential hospices, the Japanese Healing Garden becomes a spiritual part of the care that is given to the patient. The beautiful addition of Koi swimming across the rippled waters only adds a universal connection that reveals yes, life still exists. When we don’t know the answers of what to do, or why something is happening or even why someone is in our life, I know I find comfort within the Japanese garden. Everything comes into balance and the healing begins.

The Koi Whisperer Sanctuary and Japanese Gardens is  honored to be designing several Zen Living Japanese Healing Gardens in 2014, both in residential and educational facilities. It is essential that the connection between the Koi from Japan and the history of the Japanese garden design stories are told. I am grateful for  the awareness that is being given on the holistic aspect and the difference it is making both in educational facilities and the healthcare industry. I look forward to this journey with you.

We become compassionate not from altruism which denies the self for the sake of another, but from the insight that sees and feels one is the other. – Huston Smith

Love and Light…


copyright 2013 by  MaryEllen Malinowski, Zen Living by design | Infrared Light Int’l   Zen Living by design Magazine in Spring 2014
























































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































The purpose of the heling garden is not only to help heal but also that onhonor, in remberance of one that has passed.

Zen is experience. It is in the action that Zen becomes a way of life.

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Healing, Inspiration, Nature, Uncategorized, zen design

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