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Archives for April 25, 2014

Using ICT To Protect Europe’s Landscapes


(CORDIS) — How can both policy makers and citizens make better use of ICT in order to protect Europe’s landscapes? This is the question posed by E-CLIC, an innovative EU-funded project designed to encourage greater citizen involvement in the protection of nature.

Through social media platforms and competitions, the project aims to promote learning, stimulate discussion and, ultimately, get people engaged in the formulation and implementation of landscape policy.

A specific aim of the project has been to highlight the importance of the European Landscape Convention (ELC), the first international treaty to be exclusively devoted to all aspects of European landscape. The ELC covers natural, rural, urban and peri-urban areas, and concerns ‘outstanding’ landscapes well as every day or degraded ones. It encompasses protection and management, as well as raising awareness of the value of a living landscape.

One means of achieving this is through the use of social media tools, which can connect policy makers with the general public and help to create a sense of community. Indeed, a virtual E-CLIC community has already been set up, where citizens can go to discuss, share and network with others interested in landscapes. Examples can also be added to the existing E-CLIC best practice database, while the E-CLIC project can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

The second key innovation of the project has been the launch of competitions in the six project partner countries – Estonia, Greece, Germany Slovenia, Spain and the UK – as well as international competition open to all EU Member States plus Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. Participants from eligible countries are invited to submit an idea / project based on the use of ICT to solve a landscaping challenge. The challenges for the international category, for example, are: urban sprawl/inner urban shrinkage; post-industrial landscapes; and extensification / intensification of rural landscapes.

In order to take part in the competition, participants must join the E-CLIC online community, choose one of three landscape challenges, and complete the appropriate online registration form for their category. Resources are available to help entrants with their proposals, and entries can be submitted by individuals or teams. Deadlines for the national competitions vary between May and august, while the deadline for international submissions is 30 May 2014.

Selected finalists will be given the chance to present their ideas at the E-CLIC International Conference to be held in Estonia in 2015. From the 18 national winners (three from each participant county) and three finalists from the other European countries, three eventual winners will be selected by a jury of experts.

Ultimately, through the effective application of ICT, the E-CLIC project aims to change peoples’ perception of EU landscape policies and encourage citizens to think about the impact such policies can have on their lives and everyday activities. It also aims to promote understanding of the ELC at schools and universities, and create a database of interactive learning tools that may help demonstrate the challenges faced by landscapes.

About the author:

Eurasia Review

Eurasia Review is an independent Journal and Think Tank that provides a venue for analysts and experts to disseminate content on a wide-range of subjects that are often overlooked or under-represented by Western dominated media.

Despite the combined Eurasia and Afro-Asia areas containing over 70% of the world’s population, analysis and news continues to be dominated by a U.S. slant, and that is where Eurasia Review enters the picture by providing alternative, in-depth perspectives on current events.

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Chelsea Flower Show 2014: promise of peace in war-inspired gardens

“I had the idea in October 2012 at the Imperial War Museum,” Rowe says.
“Standing in front of John Nash’s painting Over the Top, I had a eureka
moment to do a garden to mark the centenary.”

The idea had a personal resonance for Rowe. Her paternal grandfather went over
the top on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and was wounded. He
returned to the fighting, and also saw action in the Second World War,
landing in Normandy on D-Day. On the other side, her maternal grandmother
left a box of papers in which she revealed that she had served as a nurse
behind the front line, and been awarded a Military Medal for gallantry.

“Those were the inspirations,” she says. “They took me to Flanders and the
Somme a couple of months later, in early December 2012. I thought it was
amazing that you could still see traces of the trenches, mines and bomb
craters that had been created over the course of the war. The lines hardly
moved, and the landscape was completely destroyed. The topsoil was removed,
trees were stumps and there were crevasses in some areas.

“The tie-in with the ABF charity is this whole idea of no-man’s-land – what
today’s soldiers should not have to come back to. I’m trying to bring
together ideas of the landscape recovering with the human spirit and body
recovering – it’s quite conceptual, really.”

Rowe: ‘I’m trying to bring together ideas of the landscape recovering
with the human spirit and body recovering’

This concept will take form in three stages. The front of the garden, inspired
by mine craters, has a large water basin as its focal point. This will be
surrounded mostly by moisture-loving and waterside plants, such as reeds and
irises, and a group of three river birches (Betula nigra).

“They are majestic, and also they are pioneer trees, the kind that come in
when an area is disturbed,” Rowe says.

The central part of the garden is a “lost” area, inspired by the village
gardens that became overgrown when their populations fled or were killed.
There will be peonies, euphorbia and a field maple, among other ornamental
plants. Finally, the end of the garden aims to evoke the chalky downland of
the Somme, with the kind of woodland that inspired the war poets. Three wild
cherries will provide structure, while Wildflower Turf, the firm that made
the mound for the Olympic opening ceremony, is providing the mix of flower
and grass for the hillocks. Unifying the garden is “quite a long, slightly
Brutalist, gently sloping wall” – a reminder of trenches, tunnels and
pillboxes. Other details will be made from Portland stone, the material used
for many of the First World War headstones.

In contrast to all this period inspiration, Matthew Keightley of landscaping
firm Farr Roberts has designed a garden for the Help the Heroes charity,
“Hope on the Horizon”, which addresses the war in Afghanistan. Keightley,
29, has a brother serving in the RAF Regiment who has been deployed for his
fifth tour. Last time he was fighting as a helicopter gunner, covering
medical evacuations.

Matthew Keightley’s garden for Help the Heroes

“Talking to him got me thinking about how all we hear about is the tragic
wounding and then, much later, the soldier who has recovered heroically,”
Keightley says. “I wanted to represent the recovery process through a

Keightley is unusual in never having designed a show garden before. He is more
of a hands-on, practical landscape designer. Another unusual aspect of this
project, sponsored by The David Brownlow charitable foundation, is that
rather than being broken up or sold off, as is often the case with Chelsea
show gardens, “Hope on the Horizon” will form part of a larger landscape at
the Help for Heroes facility Chavasse, near Colchester.

“The challenge is to adapt it so it doesn’t look like a 15m x 10m plot plonked
in a landscape. The whole thought process has to be positive,” he says. “Not
just for people looking at the garden but for the soldiers using it to help
with their recovery.”

The garden is arranged along two axes, in the shape of the Military Cross. At
one end is a sculpture by the Scottish artist Mary Bourne, depicting the
horizon. The hard landscaping is in granite, which becomes more refined as
you move through the garden, to represent soldiers growing physically

The planting, meanwhile, is intended to represent psychological well-being. It
becomes more deliberate as you progress through the plot.

It will also be a tactile space, he says. “I am using herbs that will release
a scent when the soldiers brush past, and plenty of grasses that can be
touched. There is an avenue of large hornbeam trees, to frame the view.”
Other plants include acanthus, agapanthus, geraniums and poppies.

Keightley: ‘I am using herbs that will release a scent when the soldiers
brush past, and plenty of grasses that can be touched’

Battling this symbolism, of course, are the usual weather issues that affect
every Chelsea designer.

“It has been a mild spring, so I have had to make some amendments – some of
the digitalis, for example, flowered too early, and I will replace them. But
I staggered most of the planting to give myself options,” says Keightley.

He hopes that the garden won’t be seen as gloomy. “It’s obviously poignant
that this is the anniversary of the First World War. But the garden is a
celebration of the soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan, rather than
dwelling too much on the past.”

offer for Telegraph readers
: enjoy tickets to Chelsea Flower Show, a
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Lisa Heyer: Ramp up curb appeal with gardening ideas from

Lisa Heyer

Lisa Heyer

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 6:15 am

Lisa Heyer: Ramp up curb appeal with gardening ideas from

Lisa Heyer

Spring is underway and for many it’s time to get outdoors and reconnect with nature. Gardening enthusiasts who want to deepen the shade of their green thumb can find helpful information and how-tos just a click away at the landscaping and gardening section of, the comprehensive website for homeowners from the National Association of Realtors.

“ has all the tips, advice and inspiration you need to make your garden really stand out this year,” said Pamela Geurds Kabati, NAR senior vice president of communications and HouseLogic spokesperson. “Whether your gardening plans are as simple as pulling weeds and raking leaves or as large-scale as a complete overhaul of your backyard, offers valuable insights on how to make it happen.”

According to the 2013 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, gardening and landscaping efforts pay off; curb appeal projects are rated among the most valuable home improvement projects. A pleasing exterior with well-groomed shrubbery can really make a home stand out.

Visitors to will find tips and ideas for beautifying their yard in articles like “Five awesomely easy landscaping projects”. Users can also check out “10 must have landscape tools” for help planning their projects. Another interesting article explores the benefits of spending time outdoors and “Gardening as a cure for depression”.

HouseLogic also helps homeowners avoid landscaping pitfalls with resources like “11 trees you should never plant in your yard”. This slideshow highlights trees that are sometimes more trouble than they’re worth and can help owners make more informed decisions when deciding what trees to plant.

HouseLogic is an award-winning, free source of information and tools from the National Association of Realtors® that helps homeowners make smart decisions and take responsible actions to maintain, protect, and enhance the value of their home. HouseLogic helps homeowners plan and organize their home projects and provides timely articles and news; home improvement advice and how-tos; and information about taxes, home finances, and insurance.

Article prepared and submitted by Lisa J. Heyer, owner/broker with Jackson Realty.


Thursday, April 24, 2014 6:15 am.

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Victoria County Master Gardener’s tour explores 7 gardens (w/video)


  • • WHAT: Victoria Garden Tour

    • WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

    • WHERE: Seven gardens in Victoria

    •  COST: $15 for all gardens; tickets can be purchased at Earthworks Nursery, 102 E. Airline Road; Devereux Gardens, 1313 N. Navarro …

  • SHOW ALL »

    • WHAT: Victoria Garden Tour

    • WHEN: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday

    • WHERE: Seven gardens in Victoria

    •  COST: $15 for all gardens; tickets can be purchased at Earthworks Nursery, 102 E. Airline Road; Devereux Gardens, 1313 N. Navarro St.; and Texas AM AgriLife Extension, 528 Waco Circle. Tickets may also be purchased from any Master Gardener by calling the Victoria County Extension office at 361-575-4581.

  • On the tour

  • Jim and Ginger Fagan’s garden

    John and Marcia Kauffman’s garden

    Donna Shafer’s garden

    Mike Best’s garden

    Mrs. Frank S. Buhler, Jr.’s garden

    Bobby and Jan Jacob’s garden

    George and Blanche Charkalis’ garden

Every day is an escape for Jan and Bobby Jacob.

The couple lounges in their backyard, cradled by a garden 30 years in the making.

Their garden – in the Country Club area of Victoria – is more than just plants, landscaping and flowers; it’s a sanctum for their memories.

Irises nearly in full bloom speckle the greenery with a vibrant purple and are the same cuttings from Jan Jacob’s grandmother’s garden.

“I have stuff that reminds us of family,” she said, adding that the drift roses remind her husband of his mother’s rose garden and the geraniums in the backyard remind her of her mother’s green thumb.

The Jacobs’ home is one of seven gardens on the Victoria County Master Gardener Association’s garden tour Saturday and Sunday.

This is the couple’s first year on the tour, although both have been spectators on the tour in the past.

Now their outdoor oasis will be seen by Crossroads residents.

The garden, which takes up the perimeter and side backyard of the home, was no easy task.

It’s all about trial and error, the two said.

“We wanted to plant something to hide the fence,” Jan Jacob said, laughing at how the idea started when they first built the home.

The couple’s first home on Goliad Highway was not fenced in, so living with a fence was difficult, she added.

Jan Jacob said she imagined the garden becoming as big as it is now, but it has changed a lot over the years, especially in the past five years.

South Texas winters have been rough, especially a winter three years ago when back-to-back overnight freezes killed several of her plants and flowers.

“After that freeze, we drove all over town to see what wouldn’t freeze,” she said.

Seeing other gardens, they began to change their garden to include plantings that could survive freezes, such as magnolias and Japanese blueberries.

She still has one plant, a variegated ginger, one of her favorites, that is prone to freezing. She has to make sure to cover it when the winter turns bitter cold.

“It has to not freeze for three years for it to bloom,” she said. “If it freezes, then it’s like you’re back at year one.”

The backyard came full circle several years ago when the couple had an outdoor kitchen built. This now serves as a centerpiece, bringing together the entire landscape.

The garden helps bring together their love for gardening and birds. The garden is often visited by hummingbirds, and most recently, some summer tanagers.

“This time of the year is the best time of the year to do something in the outdoor kitchen,” Bobby Jacob said. “Neighbors and friends like to come over, and they like to see the birds and the yards. It’s just a fun place to be.”

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Tom Karwin, On Gardening: Renovations Part 2: The work begins

Contributed  For a simple method to analyze your gardens soil texture, visit and search for Garden Good Guys mdash; Soil.

Gardening and landscaping involves planning before getting your hands in the soil.

Last week’s column, which was about renovating a garden, recommended four preparatory actions:

1 Draw a diagram of the property.

2 Decide on basic design concepts.

3 Establish objectives for the finished landscape.

4 Set priorities for development.

Once the gardener has completed those actions, he or she still has additional tasks to complete. Those tasks are the focus of this week’s column.

Remove unwanted plants A neglected garden probably motivated the landscape renovation project. Neglect often includes trees and woody shrubs that have outgrown their space, lack a role in the new design or are unhealthy. In some cases, this task will require contracting with an arborist or laborers. Check local ordinances before removing trees.

All herbaceous plants that are unwanted are defined as weeds. These include garden plants and grasses as well as common weeds. Pull or dig larger plants, then remove grasses and weeds efficiently with chemical-free solarization. This method covers the target area with clear plastic so the sun raises the temperature of the soil, killing weeds, pathogens, nematodes and insects. For details, see the University of California’s free publication “Soil Solarization for Gardens Landscapes,” available at (search for Pest Notes 747145).

Removing weed plants with a do-it-yourself approach could be time-consuming and frustrating. Consider contracted services to get the job done quickly and thoroughly.

Remove unwanted hardscape If your garden includes paving, e.g., sidewalk, patio, walls or outbuildings that are not included in the new design, remove them to free your progress. Again, consider contracted services to speed the work. This would be a good time to invite a disinterested friend to comment on your garden accessory collection, and to remove items that are no longer assets.

Analyze soil structure The gardener should know the structure of the garden’s soil. An ideal soil would have 45 percent minerals (sand, clay, silt), 5 percent organic material (plant and animal), 25 percent air and 25 percent water.

There are various combinations of sand, clay and silt that might be found in a garden. The mineral content of ideal garden soil, called loam, should be about 40 percent sand, 40 percent silt and 20 percent clay. For a simple method to analyze your garden’s soil texture, visit and search for “Garden Good Guys — Soil.”

Notice that these preparations do not include buying plants! For many gardeners, the primary strategy for improving the landscape is to buy plants. That approach, without an overall plan, weakens the landscape design and wastes time and money.

Tom Karwin is a UC Master Gardener and vice president of the Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum. He gardens in Santa Cruz. Send feedback to Visit for more on garden renovation.

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Keep these tips in mind for May gardening

April 24, 2014

Keep these tips in mind for May gardening

Ray Ridlin

Special to The Sun
The Edmond Sun

Thu Apr 24, 2014, 05:43 PM CDT

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you head into your May gardening routine. Keep ahead of the weeds. We are always happy for the rain, but wet ground can keep us out of the garden and that allows weeds to grow by leaps and bounds. Now is the time to guard tender plants such as tomatoes, eggplant and peppers against sudden late frosts. During the first part of May you may be planting beans, early corn, okra and late potatoes. You also may be replacing tomato plants lost to late frosts. Finish setting out cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, beets, etc.

Here are some things to do:

• Pine needle disease treatments are needed in mid-May.

• Cool-season lawns can be fertilized again. If you did not fertilize cool-season grasses in March and April, do so now.

• Warm-season lawns may be fertilized again in May.

• Seeding of warm-season grasses such as bermudagrass, buffalograss, zoysiagrass, and centipegrass is best performed in mid-May through the end of June. Soil temperatures are warm enough for germination and an adequate growing season is present to promote winter hardiness.

• Dollar spot disease of lawns can first become visible in mid-May. Make certain fertilizer applications have been adequate before every applying a fungicide.

• Nutsedge plants become visible during this month. Post emergent treatments are best applied for the first time this month. Make certain warm-season grasses have completed green-up. A good indicator is to wait until after the Forsythia blooms.

• The second application of pre-emergent annual grass herbicides can be applied in late-May or early June depending upon timing of first application. Check label for details.

• Vegetative establishment of warm-season grasses can continue.

• Annual bedding plants can be set out for summer color.

• Soak new transplants and newly planted trees unless rainfall is abundant.



Text Only

The Edmond Sun. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.

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Spring gardening tips from Dickman Farms Greenhouses & Garden Center in … – The Post

With winter finally gone it’s a good time for Central New York gardeners to tend to their gardens with early spring projects. You can start by clearing dead foliage from some plants and pruning dead branches from shrubs and trees.

Kate Ward, the Garden Center Manager at Dickman Farms Greenhouses Garden Center in Auburn, also recommends flowers and vegetables for early spring planting, ones that can sustain an occasional cold spring night. Ward talks about putting a ‘little color’ to your yard and garden. Ward says the record cold of this past winter can provide unexpected opportunities for spring gardening.

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Garden designer Jan Johnsen’s tips on how to add serenity to your garden

Garden designer Jan Johnsen says that a serene landscape consists of three primary features: simplicity, sanctuary and delight.

“Delight is anything that gladdens your heart: a hollowed out tree trunk, an interesting gate or an elegant stone lion,” she writes in the first chapter of her new book, “Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection.” “It is the most personal aspect of a heavenly outdoor space and can be found amidst a patio flush with planters or in a woodland garden dotted with foamflowers and ferns. You may thrill to a fire pit or bubbling fountain. Delight prompts you to savor your surroundings.”

To give a garden a sense of serenity, here are a few things Johnson, who lives in Croton-on-Hudson, likes to add to the landscapes she designs.

Ornamental trees — “I like smaller trees such as Japanese maples, flowering cherries or dogwoods in a garden. They add a special touch. I particularly like ‘Coralbark’ Japanese maple for its bright red stems in late winter and early spring.”

Big boulders — “If I find rocks or rock outcrops on a property I make sure to highlight them. Large boulders infuse a sense of stability into a scene. Large rocks seem to ‘ground’ us. I love to sit on them whenever I can and I think others like it as well.”

Color – “Color is nature’s catalyst and affects us profoundly. I always try to add a colorful accent in a garden. It can be a blue gate, a green wall or a yellow bench. The cool colors are the best for creating a calm atmosphere, but I have to admit I also love a tiny punch of red.”

Crabapple berries light up a garden in the fall – and provide food for birds. Photos by Jan Johnsen.

Grass steps — “These are grass treads with stone or brick risers. The line of long grass steps can create a lovely, calming shape in a garden.”

Jan Johnsen’s signature grass steps, at a property she designed in Bedford. “Long grassed steps make a property less steep,” she writes in her new book.

Stacked stones — “The sight of a simple tower of rounded rocks can be a nice cue that you are in a serene setting. Sometimes I will have people stack the rocks themselves as a fun activity!”

Asian statues — “Right now a popular request is for gardens that feature statues of Buddha or Asian deities. I think it is the meditative atmosphere of such outdoor settings that is so enticing.”

Sanctuary — “In my book I talk about ‘the lure of the sheltered corner.’ I always try to add a sitting spot that is protected on one side with a view out to the yard or beyond. People love this feeling of being partially enclosed.”

Ah, the lure of a sheltered corner in a garden. Here, lush purple hydrangeas soften a stone wall and provide a welcome backdrop for a wooden bench in the Manleys’ garden in Chappaqua.

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Garden designer Jan Johnsen’s new book, ‘Heaven is a Garden,’ is a total winner

From 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 garden designer Jan Johnsen will be giving a free talk at the Croton Free Library based on her excellent new book, “Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection” (St. Lynn’s Press, April 2014).

The book is a delight — smart and well written, not too long, and full of practical I-didn’t-know-that tips for home gardeners. It’s beautifully illustrated, too, with her own photos of landscapes she has designed and installed, most of which are in Westchester. If you’ve got a gardener on your gift list, keep this book in mind.

A gravel path through a Chappaqua garden designed by Jan Johnsen. Photos by Johnsen.

If you can’t make it Tuesday, Johnsen is also speaking and signing books at noon on Saturday, May 3 at the Hudson Valley Garden Fair in Montgomery Place in Dutchess County. Admission, plus lecture is $24 in advance, $30 day of event.

A bench catches the early morning light in a Chappaqua garden designed by Johnsen. The white blooms behind the bench are foamflower (Tiarella ‘Neon Lights’).

Johnson, who has more than 40 years of experience as a landscape designer, says that she has been working on the book for six years, getting up every day at 5 a.m. to write before going to work. “It was a true labor of love,” she says. “I wrote it and took the photos and then found a publisher — not easy these days.”

“The design ideas I present are not standard-issue design rules, so I worked hard to make the text easy to grasp,” she adds.

Jan Johnsen, photo by Laura McKillop

With her husband, Rafael Algarin, she is the proprietor of Mount Kisco-based Johnsen Landscapes and Pools, which oversees about 20 projects a year. They live in Croton-on-Hudson.

They founded the firm in 1986 in Greenwich, and then moved it to Westchester a few years later to be more centrally located and because that was where most of their work was. They have lots of well-known clients, including the Chappaqua garden they designed for Hillary and Bill Clinton.

“We started out as design and build, but now we provide maintenance services to projects we have installed and offer project management of large landscape and pool projects as well,” she says. “Rafael runs the firm and oversees the crews.”

The Croton Free Library is at 171 Cleveland Drive; 914-271-6612. Montgomery Place is at 26 Gardner Way in Redhook, N.Y.; 845-758-5461,

Twitter: BillCaryNY

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