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Archives for June 28, 2014

Gardening Tips: Pollinators: Time to protect and preserve our honey bees

Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens



Posted: Friday, June 27, 2014 2:02 pm

Gardening Tips: Pollinators: Time to protect and preserve our honey bees

By Matt Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC

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Last week was National Pollinators Week, a week set aside to raise awareness for honey bees and other insects essential for pollinating so many of the crops we grow for food and fiber. Since I was traveling last week, I didn’t have time to comment on this observation, but I’d like to use my column to do so this week.

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Friday, June 27, 2014 2:02 pm.

Article source: http://www.rrdailyherald.com/opinion/columns/gardening-tips-pollinators-time-to-protect-and-preserve-our-honey/article_294de7c0-fe25-11e3-beb7-0019bb2963f4.html

Summer garden priorities

Posted: Saturday, June 28, 2014 12:30 am

Summer garden priorities

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

thedailymail.net

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Now that the adrenaline rush of early season gardening has waned somewhat, it is time to sit back, drink a beer or other beverage and consider what to do next. As my friend and fellow newspaper columnist Dick Brooks would say “Time for a ponder.” Pondering is an art form for seniors such as Dick and me. What to do next in the yard and garden is worthy of serious consideration once the mandatory chores are finished. There is still plenty of time to begin a vegetable or flower garden of any sort and that window remains open for at least another two weeks, longer if fall vegetables or flowers are the goal. Actually you can plant any containerized plant pretty much all summer and fall as long as it is healthy.

The best way to tell if a potted or balled in burlap plant that you plan to purchase is healthy, is to examine the root system. Pop it out of the pot and make sure the roots are white and fill the container. It is OK if the plant is root bound in the pot. Sometimes you must even break the pot to get it out, but even that is OK (but not at the garden center!). Soggy, brown or black roots that don’t fill the pot are a sign that root rot has or will shortly kill the plant. Planting is not the same as transplanting however and right now is NOT a good time to dig up anything to transplant. Plants that are fully leafed out are also growing roots to sustain the new growth and disturbing the root system at this time of the year will often kill the plant. Most of the feeder roots of trees and shrubs are far beyond where you would expect them to be. Roots grow horizontally more than vertically downward. If you must dig something up, dig 4 times as wide as you think you should and half as deep. Digging up anything on my property is usually a day long melodrama. I often wonder how boulders manage to mysteriously appear beneath my trees and shrubs. Even digging a modest hole to plant a small shrub requires a pick axe, mattock, pry bar and a few sticks of dynamite. Most holes are dug with shovels but I have never been able to use my shovel on this property.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014 12:30 am.

Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_4c458c1c-fe32-11e3-9f61-001a4bcf887a.html

Down to Earth: Tips to keep your gardening pets safe

From the time we started our first vegetable garden, our family has had three dogs, all of which we would classify as “gardening dogs” that love to be in the garden with us. And since, for the most part, they behave well in the garden, we often let them join us there.

Our current dog officially became a gardening dog last year, when she successfully rousted a rabbit from the herb bed. Beans (an apt name for a gardening dog) now regards it as her mission to check all beds to make sure there are no interlopers.

If you have a four-legged friend who enjoys gardening with you, here are some tips to keep the experience safe.

Toxic plants

Most vegetables planted in the vegetable garden are safe for all animals, but there are a few vegetable plants that are toxic to pets, even as dried leaves on the ground. Generally, pets will avoid these plants, but you should keep an eye on your critters, or fence off the dangerous plants to keep animals away.

The Solanaceae plant family, which includes potatoes and tomatoes, has leaves and stems that are toxic to both humans and animals. Although many online resources say that the tomato itself is not toxic to dogs, my neighbor’s little dog nearly died from eating a tomato. Most sources say that dogs won’t eat enough to hurt them, but it pays to be very careful around these plants.

Rhubarb is another plant that is poisonous to both animals and humans. While the ripe red stalks are fine to eat, the leaves and green stalks are toxic.

You should also watch animals around plants that are members of the onion family. Onions, chives, garlic and leeks can cause poisoning in dogs and cats, as they are related to daffodils, which are highly toxic. Unlike some of the other potential problem plants, these have an aroma and flavor that might be attractive to some dogs and cats so you should pay attention when your pets are around them.

Outside of the vegetable garden, there are several other popular landscaping plants that are toxic to animals. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a reference list of toxic plants at www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-posion-control. That’s a good place to research dangerous house plants, too.

Gardening supplies

If you plan to allow your pet in the garden, you should plan to garden organically. Even so, you still need to keep pets away from organic fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. Organic products include ingredients such as bone meal, blood meal and fish emulsion, so they smell very tasty to dogs and cats. Be sure to keep pets indoors whenever you apply these products and leave them indoors for the recommended time on the package.

Compost can also be dangerous for pets, depending on what you’re composting. Coffee, moldy food and certain types of fruits and vegetables can be toxic to dogs and cats. In addition, it is common for molds to grow as the organic matter decomposes, and some of these molds are hazardous to pets.

Mulch is another area of concern. Although cocoa bean shells are a popular landscaping mulch, you should never use it in any area where pets will be roaming. Cocoa bean mulch contains theobromine, the same chemical in chocolate that poses a problem for dogs. Unfortunately, the same chocolate smell that makes it appeal so much to people also attracts dogs and may encourage them to nibble. Decorative stone or bark mulch are recommended as the most pet-friendly options.

Finally, keep your garden tools picked up while pets are gardening with you. Rakes, tillers, hoes and trowels can create hazards and can cause trauma to paws, noses or other parts of your pet. Rusty, sharp tools can also pose a risk for tetanus if they puncture skin. Store all unused tools in a safe area and don’t leave them on the ground for a curious pet to investigate.

Training your pet to garden

We all know that cats will generally ignore your efforts to train them, but they seem to have the ability to wind their way through plants in the garden without disturbing a single leaf. Dogs, on the other hand, do not possess this stealth, but they are, thankfully, trainable.

Dogs best equipped to become garden dogs will already be trained to obey you on a leash and on call. If your garden is fenced, you will just need to reinforce which parts of the garden are allowed for roaming and which parts are not.

Well-designated paths make it easier to teach both dogs and cats how to move through your garden. Like people, dogs and cats will take the easiest route, and an open path will be much more appealing than a crowded planting bed.

Raised beds are another good deterrent to walking through plants, especially if the beds are closely planted. If your pet won’t respect the bed’s boundaries, install short fencing around it to make it clear which parts are off-limits.

You can also plant natural pet-repellent plants like scented geranium, citronella, or coleus canina (sometimes called “scaredy cat”) among your vegetables. It’s said that cats don’t like citrus, so orange peels scattered on your beds may keep them off. Be aware that cayenne pepper is not recommended as a deterrent, as it can cause pain and discomfort to pets.

On the blog

Come visit my blog for more discussion on gardening with your pet at blogs.roanoke.com/downtoearth.

Article source: http://www.roanoke.com/life/columns_and_blogs/columns/down_to_earth/down-to-earth-tips-to-keep-your-gardening-pets-safe/article_06cfd1de-fe40-11e3-9336-001a4bcf6878.html

Summer Tips to Reincarnate Your Garden After Flowers Die


Summer Tips to Reincarnate Your Garden After Flowers Die

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Published on Saturday, 28 June 2014 14:00

Written by Melinda Myers

 

Summer is filled with parties, gatherings, picnics and more. We all want to make these occasions special and memorable for our guests.

Many gardeners tend to schedule events around peak bloom or harvest in order to share the beauty and flavor from their garden.

Unfortunately nature does not always cooperate. It seems we are saying “you should have been here last week” or “come back next week when the flowers will be at their peak”.

No need to worry. It may be considered cheating by the purist, but isn’t it all about creating a great space and event for our guests? Consider adding some fun flower accents. Metal flower sculptures like daisy bouquet stakes, hollyhock stem stakes or aluminum fiddleheads insure color throughout the season.

Or make it fun with faucet handle flowers (gardeners.com), which are sure to spark some conversation amongst your guests.

You can also add some extra color with a bit of floral paint. Use garden colors to paint seedheads of flowers past their prime. Just cover the stem and leaves to insure only the seedheads get painted for a more realistic look. It might fool your guests or give them a good idea for their own garden.

Or stop by your local garden center. Many have flowering planters and large size annuals that you can use to fill in voids and add color to the garden.

Pot a few of these up and use them as centerpieces on the tables. A search of the garage or visit to a thrift store may find reasonably priced fun items you can convert into containers.

Keep your guests comfortable and the mosquitoes at bay with the gentle breeze of a fan. Mosquitoes are weak fliers and the gentle breeze of a fan can keep them away. Or step it up with the help of geranium oil. It’s natural, fragrant and can help repel mosquitoes.

And be sure to include fresh-from-the-garden flavor in your beverages and dishes. A pot of basil or mint near the party means guests can flavor their own lemonade tea or mojito. The hollow stem of lovage, cut down to size makes a great straw for your tomato juice or bloody Mary. Your guests won’t forget the fun of sipping their drink through this celery-flavored straw.

Then add some color and a gourmet touch to your salads with a few edible flowers. Nasturiums, roses and calendulas are just a few to consider. Just be sure they are edible and pesticide-free before serving them to your guests.

Use fresh-from-the-garden or container herbs for grilling, salads and your main course. And consider drying a few herbs or starting cuttings from your plants to use as party favors.

Don’t let the sunset put an end to your celebration. Light up the evening with solar illuminated planters, solar pathway lighting and decorative fiber optic lights. Or go old school and set votive candles in a mason jar or tucked safely in the garden.

So set aside some time to take a walk through the garden and plan a party or two for you, your family and friends to enjoy its beauty.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

Article source: http://news.hamlethub.com/eastwindsor/life/523-reincarnation-for-your-garden-after-flowers-die

A grand tour of gardens at this weekend’s Newport Flower Show

NEWPORT, R.I. — You may want to pack a suitcase or two before visiting this year’s Newport Flower Show, which opens Friday and runs through Sunday at Rosecliff manor.

The reason: The Preservation Society of Newport County, which organizes the event, has chosen “Journey: Grand Vistas” as the show’s theme. In practical terms, that means that many of the flower and garden displays at this year’s flower show will focus on themes of travel, leisure and luxury, with a special emphasis on classic European garden and landscape design.

In keeping with the show’s travel-oriented theme, the Preservation Society has invited six local designers to create landscape schemes inspired by both traditional and contemporary European gardens. At the same time, the designers were asked to adapt their plans to modern American tastes and budgets. (The designers for this year’s flower show are: Crystal Brinson Horticulturist of Fairhaven, Mass.; Maria Sadek of South Dartmouth, Mass.; All American Landscaping of Middletown; All Island Landscape of Portsmouth; Warwick-based Yardworks; and Verde Designs of Newport.)

As usual, the designers’ creations will be displayed on Rosecliff’s front lawn, where visitors can enjoy them at their leisure. As an added bonus, one of the show’s sponsors — Connecticut-based Bartlett Tree Experts — is creating its own horticultural display. Designed by gardening guru Warren Leach of Rehoboth’s Tranquil Lake Nursery, the display will feature two small but fully functional trains and a scale model of Rosecliff itself made from dried leaves and other plant materials.

Now in its 19th year, the flower show also has a knack for attracting VIP speakers from the worlds of garden and landscape design. This year, the featured guest is noted garden designer and television personality P. Allen Smith, star of the PBS series “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home.” In addition to his TV work, Smith is also the author of several gardening books, as well as a cookbook, “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” inspired by his own Moss Mountain Farm near Little Rock, Ark.

As it turns out, Smith is no stranger to the intertwined themes of traveling and gardening. After graduating from college (according to Wikipedia, he attended Hendrix College in Conway, Ark.), Smith won a scholarship to study garden design and history at the University of Manchester in England. He’s also led tours of gardens in England, Italy, Holland and Germany.

“Actually, there’s a very strong connection between travel and garden design,” Smith says. “One of the first things Thomas Jefferson did when he was laying out the plans for Monticello was to visit some of the great European gardens. John Adams did the same thing.”

Smith will be giving two midday talks during the flower show.

The first, at 1 p.m. Friday, is titled “Looking over the Garden Fence” and will explore the fertile connections between travel and garden design. “As someone who travels quite a bit, both for work and for pleasure, I certainly think travel has a big impact on what I do,” Smith says. “I mean, who doesn’t enjoy peering over the metaphorical fence seeing how other people do things? For gardeners, travel is a great way to learn about new plants, new techniques and new ways of doing things.”

On Saturday at 12:15 p.m., Smith will be back at Rosecliff for a talk entitled “Irreverent Moves that Will Improve Your Garden and Life.”

Asked about the topic, Smith notes that “people, including gardeners, often take themselves too seriously. Take weeding, for example. I happen to like weeding myself. But I also think that people who strive for gardens that are entirely weed-free are going too far. So my message is: Relax, don’t stress and remember that into every garden a few weeds must sprout.”

Other highlights include an afternoon tea on Saturday featuring authors of recently published gardening and landscape-related books. Tickets for the 2:30 p.m. event are $60. Organizers are also hosting a champagne brunch at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Tickets for that event, which will be held on Rosecliff’s famous terrace, are $75. (Note: Seating for both events is limited, so reservations are recommended. Ticket prices for both events include admission to the flower show.)

The 19th Annual Newport Flower Show takes place June 27-29 at Rosecliff, 548 Bellevue Ave. Times are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. General admission tickets are $18 in advance, $25 (Fri.) and $23 (Sat.-Sun.) at the door. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday talks by P. Allen Smith are $50 per event. (For $100, visitors can also attend a pre-talk luncheon with Smith.) Tickets for the opening night cocktail party are $170 in advance, or $190 at the door. For more information, call (401) 847-1000 or visit newportflowershow.org.

The original version of this story was posted June 21 at 1 a.m.

Article source: http://www.providencejournal.com/features/lifestyle/garden/20140627-a-grand-tour-of-gardens-at-this-weekend-s-newport-flower-show.ece

PJ Bremier’s Fine Living: Renovated garden a part of school’s culture

Click photo to enlarge

Soon after Marin Primary and Middle School was founded more than 20 years ago in Larkspur, David Heath, the former head of school, established a small school garden on the grounds.

“The garden has grown over the years and is a deeply integrated part of our culture and studies here,” explains MPMS’s head of school, Julie Elam.

Heath visited the school and its evolving garden over the years, but died this spring before garden was reopened after a recent renovation.

It was overhauled as part of the school’s 2007 multiphase master plan to improve the campus.

Jason Perko, a landscape architect with Pedersen Associates Landscape Architecture in San Rafael and a parent of a student at the school, was invited to join the planning committee and volunteer his services in designing a garden that would support a garden that would be used for teaching and learning.

“It didn’t take too long, about two months,” Perko figures. “I met with the head of school and the garden coordinator and a number of other people who wanted to be part of the process.”

His goal, he says, “was to create better site circulation with new paths, new steps and a new layout.”

There are about 18 raised beds of various heights and sizes radiate out from a lawn that serves as a central gathering place. The San Anselmo resident and his co-workers from Pedersen Associates slightly changed the perimeter of the garden and added rain harvest barrels and a second gated entrance at the upper level of the garden. The garden is ADA-accessible and the next phase, according to Elam, will include an adjacent teaching kitchen.

Only a small budget was allocated for the plant material, but that’s where some generous parents stepped up with donations of plants and trees and even rocks.

A look at the garden today reveals perennial and seasonal vegetables, espaliered apple trees, fig and pomegranate trees, citrus and Asian pear trees and kiwi and grape vines.

Also tucked into the garden are some California natives such as lemonade berry, huckleberry and ceanothus and a large number of drought-tolerant plants, including lavender, rosemary and sages.

He specifically chose fruiting trees and vines that would produce a harvest from fall through spring, when school was in session.

“We tried to develop a plant palette for kids so they could learn where food comes from and what native plants look like and what you can do with them,” he explains.

That thinking is part of the bigger picture of a vibrant working school garden, where students learn academic lessons from and in the garden.

“Each grade level participates and spends time each week on specific plots, growing different things, learning about food and agriculture and plant growth and integrating that with other topics such as studying early Californians or nutrition, cooking, math, science and sustainability,” Elam says.

And, even though Perko designed the garden with all students in mind, he got a particular pleasure seeing his young daughter enjoy the garden when it was reopened with a May Day celebration this year. “It was heartwarming,” he admits.

As for other parents, or schools, who want to establish a garden, he offers three sensible suggestions.

“Gather as much information as you can from those who have an interest in the garden, pick your plants wisely and know the curriculum so you can design for them,” he says.

For information on designing a school garden, contact Marin Primary School at 924-2608 or Pedersen Associates at 456-2070 or www.pedersenassociates.com.

PJ Bremier writes on home, garden, design and entertaining topics every Saturday and also on her blog at DesignSwirl.co. She may be contacted at P.O. Box 412, Kentfield 94914, or at pj@pjbremier.com.

Article source: http://www.marinij.com/lifestyles/ci_26047848/pj-bremiers-fine-living-renovated-garden-part-schools

Design adds privacy and color as a frontyard becomes a living space

Garden designer Naomi Sanders was gratified to learn that a recent landscape design she created in Venice was copied by a neighbor.

“I feel flattered,” she said with a laugh. “It’s great when homeowners see something or are inspired by a garden and apply it at home.”

The imitation is understandable: Working with a limited variety of plants, Sanders transformed the frontyard of a nondescript 1952 home into a striking, secluded space that feels fresh and modern.

Sanders painted the house green to help it recede from the street. This allowed the garden to stand out and feel larger than it was. Motivated by drought concerns, she also pulled up the lawn and installed a new driveway complemented by graphic pavers surrounded by gravel that works as a permeable hardscape.

Contrary to the homeowners’ initial impulse to remove all the original foliage, Sanders chose to keep the home’s older, established plants. A large palm tree was saved for its ability to create separation between the driveway and the landscape. And palms on the side of the house were maintained for their textural elements. “They lined the walkway and screened the side of the house.”

Tall red kangaroo paws planted along the walkway added privacy and color. “They are bright and vivid, and yet you can still see through them,” Sanders said. “They have a nice relationship with the putty green of the house. ” Despite their transparency, Sanders views the tall perennials as a privacy screen. “It doesn’t make sense to have a fence,” Sanders said. “The plants are your fence.”

New Zealand flax and Mexican feather grass add subtle movement. “Movement is a major part of the design,” Sanders said. “I wanted it to be soft and feathery as you walk through the space.”

The frontyard is now a clean and simple free-flowing outdoor area, with secluded places to sit and relax. A concrete water fountain in the center serves as a gathering spot with sturdy surfaces for seating and entertaining. Sanders also broadened the steps to the front door to add more seating. It’s a peaceful hangout complemented by the warm color contrasts from Japanese maple and tufted clumps of small cape rush. It doesn’t feel like you are sitting in the frontyard next to the driveway.

Repeating plants and pavers was a central part of the garden’s design and what makes it so visually elegant. Although Sander can empathize with gardeners who can “lose their way with plants,” she suggests looking at an outdoor space in a cohesive way. “No matter how small or large or space, maximize its use as much as possible. It doesn’t have to be just a frontyard. It can be a gathering spot.”

::

Sanders’ pattern of seven plants

Landscape designer Naomi Sanders transformed the frontyard of a nondescript Venice home using a simple plant palette. Here she shares the seven plants she used in repetition to create a welcoming frontyard and private, usable living space:

Acer palmatum dissectum ‘Seiryu’ / Japanese maple

Podocarpus macrophyllus / yew pine

Phormium tenax ‘Bronze’ / New Zealand flax

Chondropetalum tectorum / small cape rush

Anigozanthos ‘Big Red’ / kangaroo paw

Stipa tenuissima / Mexican feather grass

Pittosporum tobira ‘Wheeler’s Dwarf’

lisa.boone@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-sanders-garden-20140628-story.html