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Archives for April 24, 2014

Top Ten Bee-Friendly Tips: #1-Use Native Plants in Your Landscape



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    Rhonda Hayes

    Top Ten Bee-Friendly Tips: #1-Use Native Plants in Your Landscape

    Posted by: Rhonda Hayes

    Updated: April 23, 2014 – 3:21 PM

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    Use native plants in your landscape. Sounds pretty straightforward. But with so much emphasis on food-growing gardens the past few years, it’s sounds a little decadent to plant pretty flowers, almost like a guilty pleasure.

    Yet that’s what bees need. Lots and lots of flowers. Hopefully lots of native flowers that they are best adapted to for gathering nectar and pollen. Insects and plants that have evolved side by side have the best synergy when it comes to pollination. These plants have adapted in accordance to color, flower shape, bloom time, and the insects have adapted with their body parts, diet and reproductive cycles to benefit from each other.

    So it sounds pretty easy, you just look for the native plant label and there you go. Well sort of.

      

    Bee on native sunflower                             Photo by Rhonda Fleming Hayes

    Whenever there’s an opportunity marketers will find it. Lots of plants are labeled native, but in a country as broad and diverse geographically as America, you’ll find not every plant can be native to every place in America. A plant native to Oregon might not be the best for a Minnesota bee. So when you’re shopping online or in person, do a little google search on the side with that plant. Try to find plants local to the upper Midwest, and more so to Minnesota. That’s not to say other plants will be of no value, but those plants will also have the best chance of surviving and thriving in our climate and growing zone. More plant labels and catalog descriptions are starting to identify bee-friendly plants. 

    So are all non-native plants bad for bees? Not necessarily. There are lots of “exotics”, plants that have been brought here from other countries that flourish in our state that bees find attractive. You have to go no further than Minnesota favorites like lilacs and hostas for example. But do avoid “double” flower forms and sterile versions of bedding plants and ornamentals that have little to no food value left in them. 

    A great way to figure out what bees like is to go looking for bees. What do they seem to go for? Bees do well when they have different flowers blooming as the season progresses. Bees benefit from large swaths of the same flower so they don’t have to spend as much energy foraging. 

    Now after all this, some people still don’t want to use native plants. They say they’re weedy looking or invasive. Not necessarily. There are design strategies for dealing with these objections, like using some straight lines, employing traditional plant spacing, choose clumping forms, and limiting the number of species. For more detailed ideas I highly recommend the Landscaping with Native Plants of Minnesota by Lynn Steiner.

    Still have questions about using native plants in the landscape? Feel free to comment or email through The Garden Buzz. 

    Thanks for contributing!

    Your comment is being reviewed for inclusion on the site.

    Be the first to comment

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    Los Gatos: Students’ goal is to make Ghana a more ‘healthy, beautiful’ place

    With a goal of making Yamoransa, Ghana, a “healthy and beautiful” place to live, a group of Los Gatos High School students plans to head there this summer for a work project. In fact, the high school’s Garden for Ghana Club was formed earlier this school year with just that in mind.

    Club president Brooke Ahmed started the club after interning last summer with Alrie Middlebrook at the California Native Garden Foundation in San Jose. Middlebrook travels to Ghana annually to help people in the tiny African nation implement sustainable environmental practices.

    In Yamoransa, the students will cultivate eroded land into beautiful landscapes and productive gardens. They’ll be working alongside scientists and students from Ghana’s Central University planting trees, flowers, produce and botanicals that will “correct” the eroded land.

    “We are thinking now of landscaping ideas and plants to grow,” Brooke said. “That includes plants that are useful for solving deforestation problems. Other plants can help with Yamoransa’s erosion problems; they have a lot of rain there.

    “The people of Yamoransa don’t have a healthy, balanced diet,” Brooke added, “so our purpose is to educate them and help them become self-sustaining.”

    But to get to Ghana, the students need travel money. So a fundraiser is planned for May 18 at the Los Gatos Adult Recreation Center, 208 E. Main St. The event is from noon to 3 p.m. and will include brunch and guest speakers. In addition, members of the high school’s various bands are being lined up to entertain guests.

    The 20 students who are members of the Garden for Ghana Club have just started fanning out around town, asking local merchants to support their fundraising effort by donating items that can be raffled off during the brunch. Early sponsors include retailers Nuance and Jennifer Croll, along with the Purple Onion.

    The students hope to gather more donations for their auction–including items like wine, spa treatments and dinners from local restaurants.

    Brunch tickets are $25 and can be purchased by emailing Alrie Middlebrook at alriem@me.com. People who wish to donate to the auction should also contact Middlebrook.

    Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/my-town/ci_25624977/los-gatos-students-goal-is-make-ghana-more

    Bright IDEAs: IDEA Competition to award $30K to local entrepreneurs

    Seven finalists remain for the sixth annual Ingenuity Drives Entrepreneur Acceleration (IDEA) Competition organized by the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. The competition aims to encourage new ideas by awarding money to companies with innovative concepts that are easily marketable.

    At an awards banquet Thursday night at the Sanford Center, three $10,000 awards will be given to three of the seven finalists. Those seven were whittled down from an initial pool of about 20 entrants, said Marty Sieve, NMF vice president for programs. Although NWF does much of the the legwork with the competition, winners are decided by a board of 12 representatives from the event’s sponsor groups, such as local banks and schools, he said. The selection committee looks not just for a good idea, Sieve said, but a good team of entrepreneurs to bring the idea into a bankable reality.

    “It’s not strictly a business plan competition… it’s not just a theoretical thing,” Sieve said. “We are evaluating the competence of the entrepreneurs themselves… the real life prospects for bringing this product to the market.”

    The ‘Bedraptor’

    One of the finalists is Bemidji inventor John Szurpicki, who recently received a patent on a new soil tilling blade called the “Bedraptor,” which is designed to to dig narrow trenches around the borders of landscape beds.

    The idea for the blade came to him years ago when he operated his own landscaping company and couldn’t find the tool he wanted, no matter how hard he searched.

    “I contacted all my dealerships that I would buy equipment from,” he said. “Everything that they had me try was more a gimmick, and the things that did work were just too doggone big.”

    Szurpicki came up with a prototype working in his garage, taking a conventional blade design and adding angled horizontal blades that both cut the earth and heave it neatly into the landscape bed. However, rather than selling the new tool himself, Szurpicki plans to license his product to a bigger corporation that can manufacture and market his invention. The competition has already helped put him into contact with the right people, he said.

    “Thanks to the IDEA Competition, I’m in communication with (farm/lawn implement company) Toro… I’m having some conversations with them to see if they have an interest,” he said.

    Szurpicki previously was an IDEA competition finalist in 2010, he said.

    Other finalists include Addy-Olly in Thief River Falls, Berd’s Innovations in Red Lake Falls, CR Data Solutions in Bagley, Gifts of the Grove in Laporte, Lamplighter Hockey in Warroad and Skyrocker Telescope in Roseau.

    Past Bemidji winners include Jeff Sullivan in 2012, Mark Landes and Jennifer DeBarr, also in 2012, the team of Jason LaValley, Jorge Prince and Roger LaValley in 2011, Jeff Sullivan and Arnold Kleinsasser, also in 2011, Eric Thorsgard in 2009 and David and Bonnie Ekstrom, also in 2009.

    Article source: http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/bright-ideas-idea-competition-award-30k-local-entrepreneurs

    Landscaper offers water-saving tips

    Although St. Helena has lifted its emergency water-use restrictions, the need to save water and reduce and cut water costs continues.

    And, according to a Napa Valley landscaper who specializes in reducing water use and preventing leaks, conservation can be achieved easily and inexpensively.

    Ben Penning, operations manager for Lou Penning Landscapes, offers several tips for home gardeners:

    • Install a “smart” irrigation controller. “Smart irrigation controllers take daily weather readings and adjust your controller every day,” said Penning. “They will also turn your irrigation system off when it is raining and turn it back on when the sun comes back out. The City of St. Helena has a rebate for a smart irrigation controller.”

    • Convert all overhead spray irrigation to drip irrigation. “Drip systems are much more efficient than sprays,” he said. “In some cases drip irrigation can reduce your water use by 75 percent.”

    • Spread 2 to 3 inches of mulch. Penning said, “A thick layer of mulch will help keep moisture in the soil and prevent weed growth. Mulch gives your garden a fresh, new look and with many different types to choose from you can customize your garden and make it your own.”

    • Install a separate water meter on the irrigation mainline. “This way we will know exactly how much water your landscape is using compared to your house. Also if there is a leak somewhere on the property, we can tell right away if it is inside, or in the landscape,” he added.

    • Develop a water budget for your landscape. “Watering your landscape can be a bear to figure out and program perfectly. Let us show you how.”

    • Set up a rainwater harvesting system. “Rainwater harvesting is not a new invention. People have been doing it for thousands of years on a small scale. It is possible to capture the rain off your roof and use it in your landscape, no matter what size roof or yard you have.”

    • Set up a grey water system. California recently relaxed laws on using “grey water” from you house in your landscape. No, this doesn’t mean toilet water, it is water from your shower and clothes washer you can safely use in your landscape to water your thirsty plants,” Penning said.

    • Install a master valve on your irrigation system. “Irrigation systems can leak or fail in many different ways,” said Penning. “The only way to ensure your irrigation system is not leaking when the system is not running is to install a master valve that will allow water to pass only when the irrigation controller is watering a valve.”

    Lou Penning Landscapes has been tracking residential water use in St. Helena for the past four years. “We are irrigation experts, accredited by the Irrigation Association and certified with the Bay Friendly Coalition,” said Penning.

    He invited residents to attend a Bay Friendly Garden Tour on Sunday, April 27, featuring 12 low-water-use and watershed-friendly landscapes, from Napa to Calistoga.

    The 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tour will include six gardens in Napa and six gardens between Yountville and Calistoga, including drought-tolerant gardens with habitat, heritage oaks, chickens, honeybees, composting, orchards, vegetable beds, lawn-free entertaining spaces, rain barrels and information about “Beat the Drought” workshops.

    Two of the gardens scheduled to be featured on the tour were installed by Lou Penning Landscapes and were designed by Kellie Carlin Landscape Design of St. Helena.

    Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at bayfriendlygardentour.brownpapertickets.com or at the Resource Conservation District office, 1303 Jefferson St., Suite 500 B in Napa. On the day of the tour tickets can be purchased at 10 a.m. at the Yountville Community Center. Details are available from Frances Knapczyk at 252-4188, ext. 116, or Penning at 732-6457.

    Article source: http://napavalleyregister.com/star/news/local/landscaper-offers-water-saving-tips/article_2bbbc008-cb0e-11e3-b72a-001a4bcf887a.html

    Main Line Gardens announces purchase of Waterloo Gardens brand

    SAC

    The Save Ardmore Coalition

    SAC is a grassroots organization dedicated to the revitalization of Ardmore, Pennsylvania’s business district based on community input, consensus building, sound and comprehensive planning, and the preservation of our architectural heritage.

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    Article source: http://mainlinemedianews.com/articles/2014/04/23/main_line_suburban_life/news/doc5356b256b0c07614640587.txt

    Downtown Landscape Exhibits Spur Ideas For Home Gardens

    One of the most popular activites of the the Leesburg Flower Garden Festival is marveling at the creative genius of the various landscapers, who have built garden designs to show customers just what they could achieve, with the right ideas, materials and focus.


    It takes a huge amount of planning and work—and expense—throughout the year to come up with the perfect design, a fact that’s often lost on vistors as they survey the finished products.

    Last year, people marveled over Jason Dengler’s “take-you-back-to-the-farm” charming chicken house, complete with live chickens, surrounded by a tiny garden. Dengler and his Wildwood Landscape team won Best Overall Presentation, with the judges and public alike agreeing the chickens stole the show.

    Dengler, for whom this will be the seventh year of the landscape contest, has placed in the top three each year. He’s won four times and also the People’s Choice award several times.

    Last year’s award for Outstanding Technical Craftsmanship went to West Winds Nursery, from Sudley Springs. The Outstanding Creativity Award went to River’s Edge Landscape, of Bluemont, for its sophisticated and elegant display. The company also won the People’s Choice award, in which the public decides to whom it will award the palm.

    For many, the landscape design exhibit is the focal point of the festival and a source of visual pleasure as well as a mine of information, ideas and practical advice on how to design a garden, how to intersperse different plans, shrubs and trees and how to blend them in a harmonious whole with water and hardscape features, such as fountains, pools, trellises, gazebos and stone walls.

    For the landscaping team, the effort and expense pays off in the exposure to some 40,000 people and resulting orders down the road.

    An added side attraction—at least for downtown residents of Leesburg, is watching the gardens slowly emerge from bare pavement.

    “It’s the best free show on earth,” according to one resident, who in previous years watched the evolving sight.

    When the landscapers first move in at 6 p.m. Friday night, the intersection of King and Market streets is filled with fork lifts, dump trucks, piles of dirt, sand, mulch, stone and brick, various trees and shrubs and hoses snaking across the tarmac.

    But then, slowly, order begins to emerge. First, the outlines of the garden appear—a dry stone wall rises from the pavement, a huge boulder is levered onto a corner of the garden, or a gazebo is lowered carefully onto the small plot, and a large tree positioned near it with its branches drooping over. Maybe a fountain is placed in the center of the plot. High walls, maybe ivy or wisteria covered, suddenly emerge, and slowly the garden takes shape. A wrought-iron or wooden bench appears—destined to be sunk down onto gratefully the following days by weary festival goers.

    Finally, the plant materials are set in place—colorful bulbs peeping out from shrubs and trees—and covered with a pungent smelling blanket of mulch. A last water, and the weary team members wrap it up and call it a day—a long day, that in many cases last well into the night.

    The next day, landscapers are on duty at their exhibits, patiently answering the questions by the public, who get a great free horticultural design education.

    Doug Fulcher has taken over management of the design competition this year. Awards will be given for Best Overall Presentation; Outstanding Technical Craftsmanship; and Outstanding Creativity.

    The cash award of $750 for Best Overall Presentation is given to the landscaper whose garden has scored the highest number of criteria points as determined by the judges’ site visits and discussions.

    The Outstanding Technical Craftsmanship award of $500 goes to the exhibitor whose garden shows the finest quality of materials and workmanship as defined by the criteria.

    The Outstanding Creativity award, also worth $500, is given to the landscaper whose garden exhibits the most originality and features elements that are unique, provide human interest or humor, and/or convey an identifiable mood or theme as defined by the criteria. Entrants may only win one of the three landscape awards.

    Judging happens Saturday morning and the results are posted at the main entertainment stage in the early afternoon. The popular People’s Choice, in which the public gets to agree, or more frequently, disagree, with the judges’ verdict, is posted on Sunday morning.

    Article source: http://www.leesburgtoday.com/more_a/special_sections/downtown-landscape-exhibits-spur-ideas-for-home-gardens/article_614a578e-cb18-11e3-8509-0019bb2963f4.html

    How to deter badgers

    Has your once beautiful lawn been dug up by badgers? Hannah Stephenson investigates how to deter them

    Walking up my garden a few weeks ago, I discovered great clumps missing from my lawn, and that the resulting holes had been used as some sort of animal toilet.

    I live in a fairly rural area, and was soon told the likely culprits were badgers, territorial creatures which have no problem digging under fences to forage for food in my – and many other people’s – prized grass.

    “They are the JCBs of the animal world, built for digging,” says Jack Reevey, media adviser of the charity Badger Trust (www.badger.org.uk). “It’s very difficult to deter them. If you try to fence them out, it would have to be a very strong chain link fence rather than chicken wire and you would have to dig it 2ft down because they can burrow under fences. The fence also needs to be higher than 3ft or they’ll climb over it.”

    Pungent scents such as Olbas oil or citronella can deter them, he notes, but such scents will have to be re-applied regularly because they evaporate or rain simply removes them. If you are fertilising flower borders, avoid adding fish, blood and bone to them as its scent attracts them, along with the rich, loamy soil which is a haven for worms.

    “Although badgers are timid creatures, light doesn’t particularly worry them and they get used to other distractions such as scarecrows or sonic devices,” he notes. “Noise doesn’t worry them either. I’ve heard of setts being made under train tracks and of one instance where a sett was found under the runway of an RAF airbase.”

    If you have a particular patch of lawn where the badgers are feeding, you can place a piece of chicken wire on the offending area, pegging it down strongly, and let the grass grow through it. It should deter the badgers, who don’t like getting their claws caught in the wire mesh.

    Lawns in good condition, particularly if they are well drained and free of moss, are also less likely to suffer, the Trust says.

    The RHS advises replacing damaged turf by re-sowing with grass seed or laying turf in April. They add that improved aeration and drainage of a lawn will reduce the insect larvae burden too. Also the removal of moss and overhanging vegetation which both contribute to damp areas. Generally well drained and well aerated lawns are less attractive to insects as an egg laying site so less larvae result.

    A badger’s diet consists of around 50% worms and the rest is made up of leatherjackets, which are larvae of the cranefly, chafer grubs and other insect larvae, the majority of which can be found in lawns and short grass.

    In the vegetable patch, they love carrots but I’ve heard they don’t like parsnips or beetroot which you can plant to keep them away, and some gardeners put out peanuts (which they are fond of) in the hope it will distract them from more precious garden crops.

    They will also eat flower bulbs, fruits and vegetables, and seasonal availability of these foods will often mean badger activity fluctuates with the time of year – my own badger problem tends to happen in winter and spring, with Reevey says is common.

    With all this advice in mind, always seek advice before taking any action. Many badger conservation groups have a lot of experience in dealing with problems caused by badgers and your local group may be able to provide advice.

    Article source: http://www.hertfordshiremercury.co.uk/Homes-and-Gardens/Gardening/How-to-deter-badgers-20140423160406.htm

    Some gardening tips and plants that have become ‘deer-licious’

    Squash, from Zia Scapes, is being grown in a seed starter. Night-time temperatures still are too cold to plant most vegetation outside.

    The weather is practically perfect for gardening enthusiasts in Lincoln county, however, the night-time temperatures are still cold enough to zap any prematurely planted vegetation unless proper precautions are taken.

    Maria Lerma with Season’s nursery said it is still too soon to plant most plants due to risk of another hard freeze.

    “Last year Ruidoso had a hard freeze on May 25th,” she said. “It is best to wait a few more weeks for most plants at least.”

    Lerma said the only plants that can be planted right now and be OK are snapdragons, dianthus and pansies.

    Pansies, seen here at Seasons Nursery, do well in colder temps.

    Jeanie Secor, with Zia Scapes Landscaping and Nursery, said right now is the best time to be starting seeds and amending, tilling and feeding the soil. Plants should be planted deep in the ground in case of more frost so they have a better chance of surviving. Secore recommends doing the following now.

    Soil preparation

    • Tilling

    • Adding coco or peat moss to help hold in moisture.

    • Adding earthworm castings to draw in necessary microbes and other worms, which helps keep soil healthy, turned and from getting packed in.

    • Steer manure

    Start seeds

    • Start seeds; can use a seed starter kit

    • Keep seeds near a light source

    Protect plants

    • Plants not ready to be planted can be put outside during the day but need to be brought in at night.

    • Place a cut plastic jug over small plants or use plastic covering if left outside or already planted.

    Drought conditions, lack of food and pure curiosity are shaping the local deer’s acquired tastes for plants that were once considered deer resistant.

    Maple trees, seen here at Zia Scapes, are ready to be transplanted.

    “Deer resistant does not mean poisonous.” Secor said, “Deer are browsers and like to taste things. Deer also travel in herds, so when one tastes the rest of the herd take a taste as well.”

    Secor said the using a deer repellent spray is the best option to keep deer away. Secore said repellent must be sprayed weekly, many repellents are made from natural sources and the smell of mint and peppers tend to deter the deer as well. Lerma said right now the deer are looking for water sources and food, which means they will consume what they need to just to survive. Lerma said there are still a few plants that are holding strong to their classification under “deer resistant.” These plants also are low-water plants meaning they require less water once established.

    Deer resistant and low-water plants

    • Marigolds (snnual)

    Perennials

    • Agastache

    • DustyMiller

    • Lamb’s ear

    • Lavender

    • Purple coneflower

    • Shasta daisy

    • Snapdragon

    • Valerian — red

    • Vinca

    • Yarrow

    Shrubs

    • Apache plume

    • Autumn sage

    • Butterfly bush

    • Barberry

    • Cotoneaster

    • Red yucca

    • Russian sage

    Article source: http://www.ruidosonews.com/ruidoso-news/ci_25623632/some-gardening-tips-and-plants-that-have-become

    Home & Garden: Tips for planting trees in Colorado’s Grand Valley

    Trees that develop roots on the surface of the soil can be a major nuisance, especially when they are growing in the lawn. These roots make it very difficult to mow the lawn let alone walk across the it without tripping.

    The shallow development of roots is partly genetic, but is mostly due to the oxygen and moisture content of the soil. When the soil oxygen level is insufficient, roots tend to develop closer to the surface than they otherwise would. This problem can be aggravated by watering too often and not giving air sufficient time to move back into the soil.

    When a tree is planted it is often “guyed” by driving T-posts into the soil next to the tree, placing a wide nylon strap around the trunk and holding it in place with wire attached to the T-post. The purpose of guying a tree is to keep the root ball from moving. The trunk of the tree must move in order to develop diameter and taper guys should not be needed to keep the tree upright; if the tree is too weak to stand up by itself, it should not be planted. If you use the T-posts and guy technique, these should be removed within one year. Guys left on too long cut into the tissue and can cause tree death. When T-posts have been left too long, roots develop over the wings at the bottom of the post. When the T-posts are pulled out of the ground, roots are torn which is damaging to the tree. T-posts left in longer than a year should be cut off at ground level and not pulled out. If you guy a tree using this method, it should be done no higher than 18 inches from the soil surface.

    The best way to guy a tree is to drive stakes through the root ball into the underlying soil to hold the root ball in place. One advantage of guying the tree in this manner is the stakes can be left in place forever. This method also allows the trunk to develop better taper and diameter as the trunk. The stakes are cut off even with the top of the root ball so they don’t protrude, eliminating a tripping hazard.

    A lot of the trees and shrubs I have looked at are exhibiting very poor annual growth. The amount of growth a tree or shrub puts on each year is delineated by the circular scars on the shoot. The circular scar is the remnant of the terminal bud that develops for the next year’s growth. These buds are wrapped in protective scales and a scar encircling the stem remains when that bud begins growth the next year. Some of the trees I have looked at exhibit less and less annual growth over the last three or four years. Without adequate growth there are inadequate leaves to produce the food necessary to feed the plant and the tree or shrub suffers accordingly. Fertilizing trees and shrubs is an important maintenance requirement. In most cases one pound of nitrogen applied per one thousand square foot area around the tree or shrub is adequate.

    In some instances the growth increment has been so poor I have been recommending two pounds nitrogen per one thousand. When you fertilize trees and shrubs the fertilizer should be watered in or it can be injected into the soil. Most likely your lawn care company or tree care professional can do this for you.

    Fertilizing trees and shrubs should be done after leaves start to emerge, but no later than Aug. 1-15. To ensure your trees and shrubs are getting the appropriate fertilizer elements, ask your tree or lawn care company if they can do a soil test for you. Some companies offer soil testing to their customers to ensure your lawn, trees, shrubs, and other plants in your landscape are receiving the nutrients they require.

    GJ Free Press columnist Dr. Curtis E. Swift is a retired horticulture agent with the Colorado State University Extension. Reach him at Curtis.Swift@alumni.colostate.edu, 970-778-7866 or check out his blog at http://SwiftsGardeningBlog.blogspot.com. He owns Swift Horticultural Consulting and High Altitude Lavender.


    Article source: http://www.postindependent.com/news/grandjunction/11122713-113/tree-soil-trees-growth

    Turning gardens into healing sanctuaries: Walnut Creek to host landscape …

    WALNUT CREEK — Sarah Sutton’s no stranger to the relationship between healing and nature. Growing up on the Peninsula, Sutton and her sisters appreciated the wonders of nature — forests, landscapes, beaches and gardens. Then and now, Sutton had always regarded the earth’s treasures as a natural art form that helped to calm the mind, body and spirit.

    “Our Dad would take us out to be immersed in nature, whether it was hiking in the forest, walking in Huddart Park, the beaches along Half Moon Bay,” said Sutton. “We were three little girls tidepooling.”

    From her father, Sutton learned the art of de-stressing in nature — something she’s cultivated as a landscape architect, ecologist and artist.

    The author of “The New American Front Yard: Kiss Your Grass Goodbye” will be presenting “Healing Places, Restorative Spaces: Creating Landscapes and Gardens that Sustain Ourselves and the Planet.” The book received a Silver Nautilus Award for Green Living/Sustainability and an Honorable Mention Award at the 2013 SF Green Book Festival).

    At the April 30 event at The Gardens at Heather Farm, Sutton will show people how to regard home gardens and landscapes as much more than window dressing — they can be sustainable, restorative healing places.

    Sutton admits that while she grew up reading Sunset Magazine, which first instilled in her a love for gardens, she initially wasn’t an avid gardener at the time. She thought about becoming a commercial artist but a college counselor pointed her toward pursuing a degree in landscape architecture. Suddenly, it all made sense–this career integrated her childhood love for nature with her love of art.

    Sutton, who is also a Certified Natural Health professional, will discuss how garden designs and what you plant in your garden can help you create a healing sanctuary in suburbia. Topics will include how to holistically manage your garden, front yard foraging, regenerative landscape design and using Feng Shui principles in your garden.

    While Sutton has painted oil and watercolor pieces, she considers the healing design projects she’s helped create to be a different kind of art medium. She’s applied holistic garden design principles to park plazas and gardens for family and friends.

    Suzanne R. Schrift, a longtime colleague and a friend, said Sutton has a broad understanding of ecologically sound landscape principles and cutting edge practices, and is committed to teaching people how to think and act sustainably in the landscape.

    “Her new book is an easy to read yet extensive guide that will change the way people see the landscape around them,” Schrift said.

    Gail Donaldson, who’s known Sutton for nearly 20 years as a colleague and friend, said Sutton’s work has always combined her passion for the natural environment with her love of art and design. Sutton’s book, Donaldson said, is a guide “to restoring the planet one yard at a time.”

    “The book contains a wealth of information on sustainable design, clearly presented in a lively and engaging way,” Donaldson said. It is chock full of ideas, images, references and information, valuable to novices and experts alike. Presenting a step-by-step approach to transforming a front yard, I find that I can open this book to just about any page and find an inspiring idea or image.”

    At first, trying to apply her knowledge to her own home garden was a challenge, said Sutton, who lives in Berkeley.

    Eventually, she learned to design a healing garden tailored to her own needs. She’s also learned how to make tinctures and healing salves made from herbs from her own garden.

    When she experienced some health issues, Sutton gravitated toward natural remedies that included using herbs and plants from the garden.

    “The realization was that I learned about propagating, harvesting and growing my own plants to use for healing,” said Sutton, who obtained a certificate in Therapeutic Healing Garden Design from the Chicago Botanical Garden. “I could dig up dandelion and make my own tea. It was a real epiphany.”

    Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/home-garden/ci_25622267/turning-gardens-into-healing-sanctuaries-walnut-creek-host