Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for April 19, 2014

Rick’s List: Landscaping edition

Rick Koster offers weekly lists of ideas, notions and things that must be seen to be believed.

Watching the Masters last weekend, I couldn’t help but think of the parallels between Augusta National Golf Club and the landscaping at my own house.

Augusta Highlight #1. Magnolia Lane – the main driveway to the clubhouse, featuring 60 of the titular trees on either side of the boulevard.

Koster Property Highlight #1. The Corridor of Weeds and Garbage – a thin strip of carefully tended debris and thorn-vines along the rear fence.

Augusta Highlight #2. The Flower Bed at Founders Circle – The Masters logo writ large in a glorious display of butter-yellow blooms.

Koster Property Highlight #2. The Window Box of Spiders – Our paint-peeling planters were designed for tropical perennials. Alas, they seem to grow only spiders.

Augusta Highlight #3. Ike’s Pond – General Eisenhower selected the spot for a gorgeous fish pond on the club’s par-three course.

Koster Property Highlight #3. The Trickling Creek of Sewage – Despite the efforts of engineers and plumbers, there is a quasi-permanent marsh of creepy water flowing through the front yard.

Article source:

Column: Keep water-saving landscape diverse

When people call or inquire about landscape design or extreme makeover ideas, they almost always say they would like to have a colorful, low-maintenance, water conserving landscape.

They may use the term Xeriscape, which indicates they are familiar with the concept of dry landscaping.

I respond by informing them you can have a water conserving landscape that provides colorful, four-season interest featuring a diverse range of plantings. After all, I am a horticulturist, and to me a landscape without plants is, well, a pretty desolate, lifeless one at best.

By the time I get onsite, if mention of removing a lot of turf and replacing it with gravel comes up, I clarify that a certain amount of turf might actually be OK, so a discussion on a desirable turf to mulch ratio ensues.

Keeping large areas of gravel debris free or weedless is nearly impossible even with landscape fabric underneath. It’s hard to dig persistent weeds out of 1½-inch sized gravel, and almost mandates that chemical weed killers be applied regularly. Most people now realize that herbicides are not the panacea once thought due to their detrimental effect on the health of humans, animals, the water we drink and the air we breathe.

Turf areas can be reduced and replaced with larger garden beds and hardscapes, but you can also switch to a native grass like blue grama or buffalo grass if it fits in with the rest of the landscape. For a new bluegrass lawn, improving the soil by tilling in 3 cubic yards of compost is the best thing you can do. For established yards, aerating at least once a year in spring or fall when the ground is moist will help create a healthier, greener lawn.

Going Xeric may reduce your maintenance somewhat, but it will not totally eliminate it with regards to plants. Most nursery shrubs that have been breed for their special features require some sort of attention after four or more years, often in the way of a rejuvenation pruning to remove older branches or trunks. Perennials still need annual spring cleanups.

However, if we can let go of the concept of having a Better Homes and Garden looking landscape, then native plants can be used. While they look at home in their native setting, the tricky part is in aesthetically integrating them into an urban landscape. Drought tolerant native shrubs are useful in filling in outlying areas of our property as their winter appearance may seem slightly rangy. This way, you can also take advantage of their value in attracting wildlife.

Or, you can go totally native and while still using the tough shrubs as background plants, you can carefully draw the eye to the foreground with the use of boulders, ornamental grasses and colorful perennials.

As for water conservation, once an automatic irrigation system is set up, annual checks will help assure the water is going where it is needed and when.

Xeriscape’s seven principles will help conserve moisture and hopefully you’ll also have the additional benefit of reducing your landscape maintenance if attention is put toward the design, plant and mulch choices and other components.

Robyn Dolgin of Wild Iris Living offers consultations, designs and main- tenance for edible and ornamental landscapes, ranging from courtyards to small acreages. She can be reached at (970) 493-5681, robyn.dolgin@ or WildIrisLiving. com.

Article source:

Ideas 4 Landscaping Review | Build a Wonderful House with Helen Whitfield’s …

Ideas 4 Landscaping Review | Build a Wonderful House with Helen Whitfield’s Design Collection – V-kool

PRWEB.COM Newswire

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) April 16, 2014

Ideas 4 Landscaping is a brand new book, providing people with a lot of wonderful landscaping ideas and videos that help them design every corner of their own house. This book is created by Helen Whitfield – an educator and a member of ANLA. She has spent years researching and studying to create this brand new landscaping designs collection. The author states that this book is proven useful, so people should not concern about it. After Helen Whitfield introduced this book, she received a lot of positive replies from happy customers. Therefore, author Lien Nguyen from the site released the Ideas 4 Landscaping review, showing people whether or not this product is worth buying.

The Ideas 4 Landscaping review published on the site shows readers the basic information about an entire collection of landscaping ideas. This book is really useful for people who want to design their own house. Within this guide, people will find a lot of garden landscape designs with pictures and illustrations. People will get ideas for any type of garden they want. The author provides users with a lot of designs for back yard, front yard, and garden.

Lien Nguyen from the site says: “This book is a useful assistant for people who want to design their own house. Ideas 4 Landscaping is very special compared to other resources that are currently sold on the market. Buying this product, customers will get 2 months to try it and 4 exclusive bonuses: “How To Grow Organic Vegetables “, “Save On Energy Costs – Green Home Guide”, “Landscaping Secrets Revealed Guide”, and “120 Premium Landscaping Videos”. If people do not feel satisfied after trying the designs that are contained in this book, they will get all their money back.”

If people want to read the full review of Ideas 4 Landscaping book, they can visit the site:

If people want to know more information about this book, they should access to the official site.

About author Lien Nguyen – the one who wrote this Ideas 4 Landscaping review: Lien Nguyen is currently a writer working for the Vkool Company. She has precious experiences and enthusiasm on writing interesting and informative articles. If people want to contact Lien Nguyen, they should counsel her through email.

Read the full story at

Top ^

View: Mobile site | Full Site

Article source:

How to garden with allergies

Copyright © 2014 MNN HOLDING COMPANY, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Website by GLICK INTERACTIVE | Powered by CIRRACORE

Article source:

Garden tours show Sacramento’s links to waterways

We are a community built on waterways. That sense of place not only inspires major public gardens, such as the new Anderson Healing Garden at Mercy General Hospital (see Page 4), but our own backyards.

That river-friendly theme can be seen, from very different perspectives, next Saturday during two garden tours. One offers a rare glimpse into a beautiful private garden along Carmichael Creek. Another explores the possibilities of living within our water limitations while being kind to our waterways.

Pauline and Irv Faria have nurtured their 1-acre woodland sanctuary in Carmichael for more than 50 years. Nicknamed “Pauline’s Garden” after the woman who does the work, their oasis was featured last November in The Bee.

“We still continue to receive requests for garden visits,” Irv Faria said. “The public response has been appreciated and motivating.”

Each spring, the Farias open Pauline’s Garden for one day to the public. Visitors can wander among scores of graceful Japanese maples and blooming azaleas in the shade of massive heritage oaks.

“I don’t know why, but the garden has never looked better in spring,” Faria said. “It was probably that heat spell we had, followed by a lot of rain. The azaleas are magnificent right now. The dogwoods are all out. The foxgloves are 4 feet high. Everything else is just blooming out of this world.”

Don’t be surprised if a bevy of quail scurries out from under a rhododendron or a wild turkey salutes with a loud gobble from an oak perch. This garden is a Certified National Wildlife Habitat, and the Farias welcome many animals and birds to share. Deer are regular visitors, too.

“Through the garden, we have attempted to satisfy our need to stay in touch and exist in harmony with wild nature,” said Faria, a retired university professor, when we toured the garden. “It has been our fortune to have a garden sanctuary set apart from the everyday world. It’s our private world we enjoy sharing with others.”

If you visit, wear sensible walking shoes; the property is steeply sloped along the creek sides. Eight terraces offer places to sit and view wildlife, or just relax amid the fragrant flowers. Whimsical wind sculptures and bronze statuary decorate the winding paths.

The sound of water provides a steady and relaxing soundtrack. Among the many water features are large frog ponds, a hillside waterfall and cascading fountains.

Water keeps flowing in the creek, too. “It’s fed by two other creeks,” Faria noted. “It’s mainly runoff, but it just hasn’t stopped.”

The Farias usually open Pauline’s Garden later in spring, Irv noted. “But everything is coming out (into bloom) so much, we were afraid to wait any longer.”

So far, the garden has survived the drought very well, he added. “We’ve cut back a lot in our water use, but it’s holding up really well. We have so much shade; that helps.”

So does mulch. “I brought in a truckload of shredded cedar bark and spread it all over,” Faria said. “That’s helped tremendously.”

‘Greener Gardens’ tour

Saving water while helping waterways is the focus of the Elk Grove Greener Gardens expo and garden tour, also next Saturday. This all-day event includes hands-on demonstrations, vendors, industry experts, plants sales and more at a do-it-yourself expo in Elk Grove’s Miwok Park. Master gardeners will staff a plant clinic and solve garden mysteries; bring your questions (and examples of pests or problem foliage in a sealed plastic bag).

“The free expo is designed to teach the public how to incorporate sustainable and river-friendly principles into their own landscapes,” explained organizer Soleil Tranquilli. “Our free garden tour showcases several local residential landscapes featuring lawn conversions, drought-tolerant landscaping, river-friendly landscapes and water-conserving landscape designs. Two special ‘all-star’ gardens will be revisited this year. (Labeled) plant names help you identify favorites for your own garden.”

Also on the tour are three public gardens: Elk Grove Rain Garden Plaza, the River-Friendly Inspiration Garden and the Elk Grove Community Garden.

See a virtual tour of gardens featured on previous tours online at Via the website, you also can register in advance for this year’s tour and get the map to homes.

The current drought will prompt many people to see these attractive examples of water-wise, mostly lawnless landscapes. But even in rainy years, this low-water philosophy offers dividends, Tranquilli noted.

“Landscape watering accounts for over 50 percent of residential water use, largely spent on watering lawns,” she said. “According to the American Water Association, converting a 2,500-square-foot lawn to low-water-use plantings saves 372 gallons of water per day during the growing season. In just one year, a homeowner who converts their traditional landscaping can save 44,640 gallons of water.

“Water conservation is just one piece of the ‘Greener Gardens’ mission,” she added. “By encouraging river-friendly landscapes, we aim to conserve water, protect our local waterways from flooding and contamination from the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, and contribute to recharging groundwater.”

It all links back to those rivers and creeks, those waterway ties that bind us together.

“Even when a local stream cannot be seen visually, all areas are watersheds and thus connected,” Tranquilli said. “We know that personal landscaping choices do affect local waterways. Showing this connection is the first step to making positive changes.”

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

• Read more articles by Debbie Arrington

Order Reprint

Article source:

Residents Re-Landscape Gardens To Stand The Drought

Everywhere you go in L.A. you see bright, green lawns and blooming flowers. Manhattan Beach residents Sarah and Steve Olsen saw something different. 

On March 1, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill giving an additional $500 million to water agencies that implement conservation plans. It’s already having a trickle-down effect.

“The vast majority of water goes into landscape, and especially if you have a big lawn,” Steve said.

Some say not enough Californians feel the drought, but the Olsens do. They decided to cut back.

California officials are encouraging residents to redesign their gardens with native plants to conserve water in today’s drought.  

The Olsens have a water drainage system underneath their garden to collect rain that will slowly seep into the plants’ roots. 

“Drough tolerant landscaping typically only takes 20 inches of water per year, whereas grass turf takes about 80 inches per year,” said Long Beach Water Department’s Kaylee Weatherly. 

Long Beach encourages conservation through an incentive program that pays residents $3 for every square foot of grass they remove. Homeowners can earn up to $3,000 if they make the switch to drought-tolerant landscaping. Santa Monica has a similar program, paying residents $2 for every square foot of grass. 

Santa Monica resident Emilie Moore is taking steps to limit water usage beyond her garden. She changed her high-pressure showerhead to a low-flow device. 

“It’s just important for people to realize that small changes at home…can really make a difference,” said Moore.

The Olsens say replanting their garden not only saves them money in the long-run but makes them feel like good citizens. 

“It’s certainly good to know that we’re doing our part to contribute to something that really belongs to the whole community,” said Steve. 

Article source:

Gardening Tips: National Gardening Month

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014 11:51 am

Gardening Tips: National Gardening Month

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


April is National Gardening Month and judging by how often my phone has been ringing lately, people are celebrating by working out in the yard. Here are a few questions that have come through my office this week.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.

You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
linked account:

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
linked account:


Friday, April 18, 2014 11:51 am.

Article source:

Hardwood floor tips, gardening tips and rose lecture: AM Links for Friday …

H18AMLINKS6728.JPGView full sizeLearn how to refresh hardwood floors in an article on the Mother Earth News website.
LOWDOWN ON FLOORS: Hardwood flooring can be a cost-effective choice over carpet, especially if the wood floors only need refreshing, says Mother Earth News’ Guide to Installing Hardwood Flooring. This article covers the anatomy of a floor, laying down the boards, installation and finishing touches.

Read the complete article here.

GARDENING TIPS: “Really healthy plants start with really healthy seedlings,” explains John Kempf, founder and CEO of Advancing Eco Agriculture in Middlefield. Kempf specializes in optimizing plant health and soil biology to increase crop yield and nutrients.

Here are some of his best tips for home growers:

Go Short: “Instead of buying the largest seedlings, get the ones with the shortest, sturdiest stems,” Kempf says. Look for tomato seedlings that are 6 inches tall.

Performance-Enhancing Hugs: A biological fertilizer such as compost tea, liquid seaweed, kelp meal or alfalfa meal should be used when transplanting. This will provide minerals to the plant and improve soil.

It’s Better to Wait: Only use insecticides, herbicides and fungicide when you have a problem, not before.

ROSE LECTURE:  David Shetlar presents “Managing Insect and Mite Pests of Ohio-Grown Roses” at a meeting of the Western Reserve Rose Society at 7 p.m. Monday, April 28 at the North Royalton Library.

Shetlar will discuss the major insect and mite pests that Ohio rose growers deal with, including rose midge, rose slugs, Japanese beetle adults and spider mites. He will provide information about insecticides and miticides.

The library is located at 5071 Wallings Road, North Royalton. The event is free; register by calling the library at Lori Hilfer (440) 582-4310.

Article source:

Get ready for summer: Alan Titchmarch on transforming your garden …

A the weather warms up, soil conditions improve and new shoots appear everywhere. The surge in strong new growth is the trigger that kick-starts the garden forward into summer, so this is the time to feed, pot-up summer plants and get your lawn sorted.


This is the peak season for buying plug plants and young plants of all sorts of frost-tender species intended for summer patio containers.

You’ll find a huge selection at nurseries and garden centres; if you’ve ordered by post they’ll be delivered any time now. Unpack them as soon as they arrive, water if need be and stand them in the light, even if you don’t have time to pot them straight away. 

Since their tiny “starter pots” or “cell-packs” will already be chock-full of roots, they need repotting as soon as possible. Use peat-free seed and cuttings compost and pots that are roughly three and a half inches (9cm) in diameter.

Half fill the pots with compost and make a slight depression in the centre. Tip each young plant gently out of its original container without damaging the rootball and sit it in the centre of its new pot, then fill the gap round the edge with more of the same compost and firm gently. 

If you have your own fuchsia or pelargonium cuttings taken last summer and overwintered indoors, they’ll also be ready for potting.

The technique is exactly the same, but when you’ve rooted several cuttings in the same pot or seed tray, lift the whole lot out onto a sheet of newspaper and gently separate the individual plants with your fingers, keeping as much of the roots intact as possible. Lower each rooted cutting into the partly-filled pot and drizzle compost round the roots, then firm it gently in place.

After potting any plugs/young plants/rooted cuttings, water them lightly in, nip out the very tips of the shoots between your fingertips (this makes the plants grow bushy and flower more profusely), and stand them on a drip tray on a bright, sunny windowsill indoors to grow-on. 

They’ll be at just the right stage to plant outside after the last frost has passed, in mid to late May, to give you a superb summer show.

Article source:

Garden Tips: Good lawn care discourages crabgrass

At this time of year, many homeowners are asking about crabgrass control and basic lawn care. Is it too late to apply crabgrass preventer? When should I fertilize? How often should I be irrigating?

First, determine if the offending grass is truly crabgrass? Many homeowners think they have a crabgrass problem, but what they actually have is a Bermuda grass problem.

Crabgrass is an annual that comes up from seed each year and dies with frost in the fall. Bermuda grass is a perennial that comes back from its tough, wiry trailing stems and rhizomes (underground stems) each year. Its leaves are blue-gray in color, where crabgrass leaves are green. While not similar in appearance, these two grasses often are confused with each other because they have similar seed heads.

Best management practices for a healthy lawn: Your first line of defense against crabgrass should be encouraging healthy, dense turf using good cultural practices. This includes mowing, fertilizing and irrigating properly. Mow bluegrass and bluegrass-mix lawns to a recommended height of 2 to 2.5 inches. A dense, tall turf shades germinating crabgrass seedlings and deters their growth.

Equally important in controlling crabgrass is fertilizing at the correct times of the year to promote root and side growth (called tillering) instead of top growth. The most important time to fertilize your lawn is in the fall. Washington State University recommends making a fertilizer application in early September and again after the last mowing (around mid-November) but before the soil freezes. If you apply fertilizer in the fall, wait until early May to fertilize again. Fertilizing earlier in the spring encourages top growth at the expense of root and side growth, resulting in weaker turf and more frequent mowing. The best times to fertilize lawns in our region are: Nov. 15, May 1, June 15 and Sept. 1, applying 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn area.

When irrigating lawns, the tendency in our region is to water daily starting early in the season for 15 minutes each day. This daily, light irrigation leads to weaker, shallow-rooted, thin turf and makes it easy for crabgrass to germinate and grow. You will have to water more frequently during the hottest part of summer, but during the relatively cool weather of spring and fall you should not be watering daily. Adjust your timers to water less frequently but more deeply to promote deeper grass roots.

Chemical crabgrass control: There are a number of home garden products often called crabgrass preventers that contain herbicides that are applied in the spring before crabgrass seeds germinate to prevent them from sprouting and growing. The general time to apply these products is when the soil temperature reaches about 62 degrees at a depth of 1 to 2 inches or about two weeks after forsythia blooms start to drop.

There are also some home garden products (containing dithiopyr or fenoxaprop) that will kill young crabgrass seedlings after the seeds germinate, although their effectiveness is not as reliable as good turf management and the use of preventer products.

— Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: