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Archives for July 12, 2014

Gardening Tips: Busy garden work before really hot weather rolls in

Matthew Stevens

Matthew Stevens

Posted: Friday, July 11, 2014 11:27 am

Gardening Tips: Busy garden work before really hot weather rolls in

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Mid to late summer can be a tough time for gardeners. In most years, it is so hot in July many gardeners try to stay indoors as much as possible and just hope everything will survive. We’ve been somewhat lucky this year we haven’t had much truly oppressive heat, and there have been several days in the mid to high 80s where gardening outside is possible. As summer goes on, we might see things change and make outdoor activity a bit more grueling. Until then, here are a few things you might want to do around the yard while it’s still comfortable.

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Friday, July 11, 2014 11:27 am.

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare- Additional Details, Tips and News about …

The designers of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, are working on a new map in accordance with Aquafina! This version will feature Aquafina sponsored characters and will be released on the Xbox One, PlayStation4 and PC.

This pack is known as the Tactical Taco Party Pack and includes advanced features such as Vanish Confirmed Mode, a map called Jewel Junction – we have no idea why – and a multiplayer playlist comprising of eight vs. eight formats.

Well, you could expect something similar to EA’s SimCity with featured the sponsor’s logo on an electric vehicle re-charging station. Even though both these patches have been unveiled for the PC, we have not been able to get our hands on it yet – quite frustrating for us too!

However, we are waiting to get out hands on the PS4 and Xbox One variants which were released earlier this week. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare however is very popular with global gamers due to the numerous additions that were made.

Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare Xbox

Air Herald reported the release of Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare and its expansion – for the PC only – earlier this week and you can read the details here. However, some of the features that remained unattended will be reviewed here.

The zombies arrive in a discoverable pattern – only if you watch closely. This will help you place the plants at the required spots. Losing your treasure Yeti is not a valid option. Hence, if you think that you are about to lose it, just restart the whole level and start in the beginning.

You need to be smart while assessing where to place a plant – and what type – next. A smart gameplay is more energetic and active and can help you complete the levels, without having to endure huge losses.

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Purple haze: Alan Titchmarsh tips on growing lavender

When it comes to plants that earn their keep, lavender is in the top rank. It looks good all year round with its neat mounds of narrow grey leaves and the aroma they impart when brushed against is a great delight. Then those wonderful spires of purple flowers open in summer and can be cut to make into lavender bags for those who like their undies to be pleasantly fragrant.

But choose your lavender variety carefully. My two favourites are ‘Imperial Gem’ and ‘Hidcote’, since they both have rich purple flowers and are sturdy and upright. Their domes of leaf are neat, too.

‘Hidcote Giant’ is much taller and its flower stems flop all over the place, getting in the way of the mower and of passing feet – really irritating! The white and pink forms are interesting, but not nearly so striking as those with traditional lavender-purple flowers. Sometimes it pays to stick with old favourites.

What lavender needs to do well is a spot in full – even scorching – sunshine and a soil that is reasonably well drained. Cold, claggy clay soil will often bring about its demise in winter due to rotting.

In terms of keeping the plants happy, the thing to do is to clip them over after the flowers have been picked or, if you don’t intend to use them, after the flowers have faded. Cut the stems back by a few inches, but not so far that the stems are bare of live foliage. 

Article source:

Striking gold in the garden

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the Abbots Ripton Hall Garden Show, which was held in June. This bi-annual event is held in the spectacular grounds of Lord and Lady de Ramsey with the proceeds supporting a range of local charities.

The attractions included show gardens, each being in a space of 6 metres by 6 metres, and with the theme of “Inspiration”. Now putting together a show garden is hard work. Far harder than an actual real garden, of which I have done many. But we decided to go for it anyway.

So I designed and, with the students of Manea School of Gardening, built an inspirational garden in a few, hot and sticky days. My main aim in the gardens I design or build is fairly simple: to offer a practical and affordable solution to maximise the beneficial nature of a garden – for all the potential users of the space.

Every design, every garden, is unique. However, much of the criteria in designing a garden usually comes from the client – what they want to use the garden for, such as entertaining or for the children, how much time they have to look after it – and of course, budget.

In this case, there was no ‘budget’ as such. And the ‘client requirements’ were for me to decide.

We had a trip to Bannolds, who kindly lent us some wonderful slabs and sets, suitable for a path and a seating area. Our students grow many plants on our courses, but these were kindly supplemented by Delamores, Unwins Seeds and Honeysome aquatic nursery.

The students had been on a rustic chair-making course, so we had a wonderful rustic bench.

Garden design has to follow various conventions or principles, such as balance, harmony, proportion, simplicity, interest… but these alone do not form a plan.

So our garden, ‘The Birds, the Bees and Me’ was designed as a space which I could happily retire into (maybe, one day!). A small space, but room for lots of friends – no matter how many legs they may have – if they have any at all!

The design featured habitats, water and sources of food for multiple species without detracting from the colour, scent and interest appreciated by a keen gardener.

As with life, a garden should have a choice of paths or directions. The alpine path led straight to the main seating area, with an optional, more leisurely, route through either the meadow or the dry garden.

The pergola was constructed from home-grown twisted willow; a coppiced shrub of which was located behind the pond – dappled sunlight penetrating the branches reminiscent of lying beneath an ancient oak in summer.

The hedge beside the meadow includes hazel – early pollen for bees and nuts for birds, as well as stakes for plant supports, fencing and building – including our fantastic rustic bench. This is one of our most valuable of British natives.

We liked the finished result – and so did the judges. We got a Gold.

So, a big thank you to our sponsors and all those who helped.

Article source:

How Minneapolis accepted Southwest Corridor light-rail deal



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    A view of the Kenilworth corridor neighborhood, where the Southwest light-rail line is proposed to run in Minneapolis.

    Photo: Renee Jones Schneider , Star Tribune

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    Minneapolis officials long insisted they wouldn’t stomach a light-rail line next to freight tracks in a part of the city popular with bicyclists, hikers and canoeists.

    But with no palatable alternatives and time running out for action, they agreed to just that.

    The Southwest Corridor light-rail deal accepted last week by city negotiators and Mayor Betsy Hodges sacrifices the interests of a small and well-connected group of opponents for promises to make the line more accessible and appealing to other Minneapolis residents. The City Council is expected to vote on it in late August.

    Final approval would keep the Southwest project, the most expensive transit venture in the Twin Cities at $1.6 billion, on track to win federal approval this fall to advance in competition for funding. The nearly 16-mile line would run from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.

    The deal emerged from six closed-door sessions — some of them heated — between city officials and regional transit planners that got off to a slow start when the city advanced a transportation agenda beyond the scope of the Southwest project.

    A participant said the turning point came when retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan, who was mediating the talks, suggested the city agree to scrap a light-rail tunnel planned north of a water channel in the Kenilworth corridor and use the savings to restore a Minneapolis station and improve access and amenities to other stations. A light rail tunnel would still be built south of the channel.

    It wasn’t an entirely new idea. Suburban officials, who were at odds with Minneapolis on the project, had raised it in the spring.

    “Once the mediator suggested it, I think that helped us get a resolution,” recalled Adam Duininck, a member of the Metropolitan Council, the agency planning the project, who was at the table during negotiations. “That helped the city get comfortable with the idea.”

    “When they walked through some of the things they wanted — the station improvements and other things — it became evident what they needed was some money to help fund these things,” Duininck said. “It was the mediator who said, ‘You know, one of the ideas could be to take out the northern tunnel, that would free up some resources.”

    “That’s kind of how we ended up heading down that path,” he said.

    Boylan declined to comment on the mediation talks. “I promised confidentiality on my part and even giving some background might be viewed as a breach of my promise,” he said in an email.

    Melting opposition

    The deal earmarks $30 million to finance pedestrian bridge and bike access to three light-rail stations on the near North Side, a demand of community leaders there, better access to a station at Lake Street, restoring the station in the Kenilworth corridor at 21st Street and improved landscaping, guard rails and noise abatement.

    Running the light rail at ground level north of the channel beween Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake won’t please Kenilworth corridor residents who have fought that concept as well as the earlier plan for a tunnel north of the channel.

    The residents had the support of Hodges and City Council Member Lisa Goodman, who represents the Kenwood and Kenilworth area. They had insisted on moving the freight trains out of the corridor to make way for the light rail.

    But the Minneapolis resistance gradually eroded in the face of some hard realities.

    Some of the opposition in the corridor softened this year when residents of condos and townhouses south of the channel and closest to the proposed light-rail track accepted a Met Council plan for hiding it in a tunnel past their homes.

    “You’re fragmenting the opposition this way,” said Carleton College political science professor Steven Schier. “Pretty artful.”

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    Lavender landscape: York County couple transforms their farm into a piece of …

    Arrive at Chris and Jackie Pinard’s home this time of year and you are welcomed by a curve of purple – long lanes of lavender plants flanking the gravel drive.

    They form fragrant ribbons that thread the drive’s iron gates and lead visitors to the house, just a fraction of the lavender plants the couple is growing on the property, a farm that’s transformed nine acres of northwest York County into a piece of Provence.

    La Bastide des Lavandes, or lavender homestead, as the farm is called, is the culmination of four years of work. But, as Chris explains, the seeds for the Mediterranean-style home and 2,500 plants that surround it were sown in his boyhood in the countryside of southern France.

    “I spent my summers harvesting wheat, taking cows to pasture, baling up hay, milking cows,” says Pinard, 46. “You don’t take the country out of the country boy, so I tried to re-create it in my own way.”

    Pinard’s vision – a home nestled amid a sun-drenched landscape that welcomes wildlife and requires little water or weeding – has come to fruition and turned into a business that, in its second year, is seeing a profit.

    A former fitness therapist, Pinard now sells lavender plants, blossoms and products, gives educational tours to small groups and individuals, offers plein air painting classes with an impressionist painter and cooking classes with a chef and is considering new ventures for the future.

    But before a visitor hears about what’s coming, it’s important to take time to focus on what’s now. To, yes, smell the flowers. Because early summer is the time when many of the 44 varieties of lavender are in full bloom, bringing a flush of violet-blue glory to the property, located about 25 miles southwest of Charlotte.

    Crunching along a gravel drive under a midday sun, a visitor is enveloped in the heady scent of the plants on either side. These are the ‘Grosso’ lavender variety, a cultivar celebrated for its high oil content. Pinard has planted them in red clay mounded for good drainage – he adds a little lime once a year, but that’s it for soil amendments. And every plant is jeweled with bees.

    ‘Just the two of us’

    After fleeing a Gaston County suburban lot and HOA four years ago, the Pinards picked their property – a cow pasture with adjoining woods. They built a home faced with stone and with clay dyed with natural pigments, designed a clay-tile roof and terra-cotta floors, and painted the shutters a deep, oceanic blue.

    They added a small lavender-drying barn, chicken coop, greenhouse and goat shed, all with a style that echoes the Mediterranean house. And Chris began creating his outdoor rooms, gardens connected by amber-colored gravel paths and accented with fountains, enormous artisan-crafted pots, and in one case, a copper-roofed windmill.

    Today the property includes a dry-shade garden, a white garden and plants that range from black-and-blue salvia to rare citrus crosses to Italian cypress to olive trees. The lavender is the constant, its foliage forming a silvery-gray network through every space.

    “I wanted to feel like (I was) back home,” Pinard says. “All the colors and materials being used are very typical of what’s being used in the south of France.”

    Jackie Pinard, a pediatrician, says she’s always loved nature and gardening, but never imagined living with gardens on the scale the couple now has.

    “I don’t have the skill or talent Chris has (but) I enjoy helping him with it and I enjoy seeing his vision come to life,” she says. “It’s just the two of us doing everything here.”

    Noisette, the goat

    Pinard insists his garden is low-maintenance, but it’s clear a lot of work was done on the front end. In some places, he put down landscape fabric, but everywhere the plants are deeply mulched in bark or stone. Metal edgings create crisp borders for the planted pots and the vegetable garden. Drip hoses run on a timer.

    Pinard concentrates on evergreen plants, and the only large deciduous trees in the main part of the farm are destination specimens – such as a large willow oak near the woods’ edge. That focus on evergreens keeps leaf removal to a minimum. Weeding, meanwhile, takes about an hour a week, says Pinard. He doesn’t use insecticides and laments the loss of bees and other insect life to products like Sevin.

    Behind the house, the pet goats – all nannies, with French names such as Noisette – wander the pasture, nibbling at shrubs. “I love goats,” Pinard says. “They’re like puppies – they follow us around.”

    Hens murmur in the pen nearby. Pinard swings open the barn’s blue doors to reveal a wagon that will soon hold a custom-made still for distilling lavender essential oil. Beyond the barn and goats, beehives are stationed near a fringe of trees. Pinard will begin selling honey this year. “Our honey this year, which was our first, had notes of peach, almond and rosemary,” he says. “The advantage we have is all the flowers we provide for the bees … it makes a very specific honey.”

    The honey, soap, lotion, potpourri and other products augment the central work, the lavender harvest, much of which takes place in fall when buds are gray but have the most oil. “It’s all harvested with a scythe. We bunch it, bind it up and hang it to dry in the barn, take it down, debud it and store the buds in a dark, cool place to retain the oils,” says Pinard.

    Landscaping lessons

    Before that, though, come the summer tours, for which Pinard suspends work on his other business, landscape design. Last year, the Pinards began with 10 tours, offered summer and fall, and this year they have nearly tripled that and added a waiting list.

    During the three-hour tours, he describes how to create outdoor rooms with plants and paths, how to grow Mediterranean herbs in a humid, southeastern climate. (One tip: don’t plant lavender in the summer, when it shows up on home improvement-store garden shelves. It fares better planted in late autumn.)

    Along the way, he’ll pass along ideas for more environmentally friendly landscaping and shatter a few gardening stereotypes. He steps into a pergola-shaded garden to stand beside one such stereotype: the Leyland cypress, much-maligned in gardening circles for growing to monstrous heights everywhere someone wants a privacy hedge.

    “You need to trim them, not let them grow to the maximum height and defoliate at the bottom,” says Pinard, pointing out the way his small, pruned Leyland wall encloses the space but respects its boundaries.

    “We’re a lavender farm, but we don’t just grow lavender. The whole goal is to show people there’s not just 10 plants at a local nursery that you can grow,” says Pinard. “You need to be surprised by your garden on a daily basis.”

    New things are still to come on the lavender farm, where the Pinards are contemplating additional gardens, more education and possibly wellness retreats.

    “The business part of (this) grew with the landscape,” says Chris. “I didn’t really have a business model to begin with. I started it as the accomplishment of a dream.”

    Article source:

    Landscape design business building on success

    Dunedin-based business Design and Garden Landscapes
    recently received a swag of awards at Landscaping New
    Zealand’s Landscapes of Distinction awards. Business reporter
    Sally Rae speaks to the company’s founder and director Wayne
    Butson about the path to success.

    Wayne Butson

    When Design and Garden Landscapes completed its work on
    the Thom garden at Doctors Point, director Wayne Butson was
    delighted with the result.

    Perched on the edge of the estuary, and complementing what
    was already an award-winning house, it was what he described
    as a special garden.

    ”Sometimes you get the scope to do something that really
    comes together well. You don’t always have the scope to do

    ”I knew it was a good garden. I loved the plantings and
    overall design and the location of the house. It had all the
    elements,” he said.

    What Mr Butson did not expect was for his business to win the
    landscape of the year national award at Landscaping New
    Zealand’s biennial Landscapes of Distinction awards, courtesy
    of that garden.

    Mr Butson, his wife Ella and their staff had gone to the
    awards function in Wellington for a ”fun time” as he was
    standing down as president of Landscaping New Zealand after a
    two-year term.

    Judges had visited 26 gardens from Whangarei to Wanaka,
    ranging from tropical to alpine, and the Thoms’
    ”naturalistic” garden, which combined native and exotic

    Design and Garden Landscape's team at Landscaping New Zealand's recent awards in Wellington (back from left) Matt Aberdein, Kent Pollard, Simon Greenall, Emma Taylor, Ella Butson, Grant Wassell, (front from left) Bud Law, Wayne Butson and Paul Gillies. Photo by Brian Sheppard.

    Mr Butson was thrilled with the company’s success, which
    also included medals for work on two other gardens,
    particularly as it was acknowledgement for the work of his
    team, he said.

    It was the second time the business has won the title; it
    previously won in 2010 for the Kunac garden on the Taieri.
    Design and Garden Landscapes, with its staff of seven, has
    come a long way since the business was established by Mr and
    Mrs Butson in 1991.

    Originally from Pukerau, Mr Butson worked at Pukerau Nursery
    during his school holidays and, after leaving school, he was
    offered a job at the nursery. The nursery also won awards in
    this year’s Landscapes of Distinction awards.

    He later studied horticulture at Lincoln and then, after
    meeting his future wife, he moved to Dunedin.

    After working for other businesses, Mr Butson decided he
    wanted go into business himself – a big decision for a young
    man in his 20s.

    ”I wanted to be a master of my own destiny and wanted to do
    my own thing,” he said.

    With a background in horticulture, rather than building, it
    was not long before he realised he needed to take on staff
    with other skills.

    After two years in business, he employed a builder and
    builders have been part of the business since.

    Combining the skills of tradespeople from the building and
    construction industry, with his background in horticulture
    and plants, had been ”a pretty good combination”, he said.

    He started with one truck, working from home, mostly doing
    small work. Then came more design work and the projects got

    ”Like anything, you start from small beginnings. We’re still
    a small business but we’re growing and want to continue

    ”We want to move forward … and keep doing really good
    design and good construction,” he said.

    The work was predominantly residential, although they were
    looking to do some more commercial work, and it was mostly
    around Dunedin and the surrounding areas. They did a lot of
    work in rural areas, particularly on lifestyle properties.

    All the team were passionate about what they did and were
    often ”throwing ideas around”, Mr Butson said.

    He and landscape architect Emma Taylor, who joined the team
    in November, gained inspiration from all sorts of sources.

    It was about coming up with different ideas and design
    elements to do the same functions, he said.

    Design happened from the influence of other elements and they
    were always combining and merging ideas from something else
    that sparked an image or material or combination of planting
    groups, he said.

    Then it was about problem solving and how to build it.

    ”You can have the most amazing design inspiration ideas …
    if you can’t build them, it’s useless. It’s got to be
    practical,” he said.

    People were very aware of the value of investing in their
    ”outdoors” and were increasingly wanting outdoor rooms.

    Living in the South, with long nights and great twilights,
    there was much more capacity to spend time outside and people
    wanted to extend their outdoor living.

    Outdoor fireplaces were popular, as was outdoor heating, and
    lighting was becoming quite a big part of their business.

    A lot of clients wanted their outdoor areas to look like a
    magazine cover but did not necessarily want to do the work,
    he said.

    More people were interested in their own vegetable gardens
    and most of their plans had a raised garden bed, as people
    were getting more aware of having healthy food, he said.

    People were also becoming more award of having
    environmentally friendly products and Design and Garden
    Landscapes were stocking a new product called StoneSet,
    porous paving which collected rainwater that could be stored
    for further use.

    Typically, a garden of the size of the Thom garden would take
    three months to build, but they also did work that might take
    a week.

    ”We do all sorts of things from a nice little patio … to
    three months’ hard work,” he said.

    It was a very creative business to be in and he got ”a kick
    out” of standing back at the end of a job and seeing what
    had been achieved.

    He had enjoyed his tenure as president of Landscaping New
    Zealand and ”trying to push” the landscaping industry
    within New Zealand, especially in the South. It was about
    promoting excellence, he said.

    But it would also be nice to step back from that and focus
    again on his own business, he said.

    Mr Butson was incredibly grateful to have such a great team
    around him.

    ”I’ve always said, if you can, surround yourself with people
    that are better than you are … that’s what I’ve done,” he

    There were a lot of very good horticulturists, designers and
    contractors in the South – ”people need to realise we’re
    punching above our weight down here” – and they could hold
    their own in the country and win awards.

    A year ago, the business moved to former bus depot premises
    in St Andrew St which had proved a good move, as it was in
    one location and easily accessible for clients.

    Article source:

    Anna Pavord: Hotfoot it to Rousham House to appreciate William Kent’s …

    Kent had genius, but he also had luck on his side. Born in Bridlington, Yorkshire, in 1685, he began his working life as an apprentice coach painter and ended it as pet architect and landscaper to the top Whig grandees of the age. One of his first benefactors was Burrell Massingberd, squire of Ormesby in Lincolnshire, who introduced Kent to the hugely rich Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington and Cork, then making his first Grand Tour in Europe.

    That was the meeting that mattered. For the rest of his life, Burlington remained his friend and benefactor and put Kent in the way of many lucrative commissions: painted ceilings, plinths for statues, bridges, garden buildings. Kent could make pretty drawings and cleverly managed to avoid ever having to tackle the boring part of his job. He was the concept man. It was somebody else’s problem to work out how best to execute his ideas.

    Fortunately, there were plenty of craftsmen skilled enough to execute Kent’s concepts. His design for the south lawn and the Temple of the Mount at Holkham shows how, in their irregular shapes and serpentine lines, his gardens differed from the geometric style fashionable at the end of the 17th century.

    Encouraged by Burlington, Kent became increasingly interested in garden buildings. The poet, Alexander Pope, was a fan, too, and Kent designed an extravaganza for Pope’s estate at Twickenham. “All gardening is landscape painting,” said Pope, and Kent showed it was true.

    Rather than painting in two dimensions, Kent now used three. Woodland, smooth expanses of lawn, water, the contrasts of light and shade were his materials. Famously, his near contemporary, Horace Walpole, wrote that he “leaped the fence and saw that all nature was a garden”. By 1734, Sir Thomas Robinson of Rokeby was writing to his father-in-law about “a new taste in gardening just arisen … to lay them out, and work without either level or line”. The celebrated gardens of Claremont, Chiswick and Stowe were now full of labourers, he said, already “modernising” expensive work by previous designers that had only just been finished there.

    A wisteria-covered path in the William Kent-designed gardenA wisteria-covered path in the William Kent-designed garden (Alamy)

    Labourers were also busy at Rousham, where Kent’s employer was General James Dormer, a veteran of Blenheim, who after his brilliant military career sought “philosophic retirement” in the Oxfordshire countryside. Kent’s work survives virtually unchanged at Rousham: the statues, the plunge pool, the Vale of Venus, the circuit walk, grottoes, glades, cascade, temples, serpentine rides. Even the cattle grazing the park are period pieces: majestic longhorns, in summer wallowing in buttercups.

    Rousham was the first place to embody Pope’s concept of “calling in” the surrounding countryside to the garden. Distant prospects are borrowed and enhanced by eye-catchers, like the Gothic folly you see when you stand by the statue of the lion and the horse. Although he usually used classical buildings in his gardens, he turned to the more picturesque Gothic for distant buildings, such as the eye-catcher and the mill at Rousham. He never went Baroque. Burlington’s circle associated Baroque with the decadent monarchies of the Continent. Rousham was conceived as a patriotic garden, a political garden, a celebration of Englishness.

    To get the full Kent effect at Rousham, follow the circuit walk, already shown in an estate plan of 1738, drawn up by the steward and the head gardener, John MacClary. The walk takes you round the edge of the garden, where a ha-ha allows you to look directly out over the outer park and its fine trees. Tunnels of dark yew give on to light, grassy glades, where there might be a statue, or a spring, or a view, carefully framed by wings of trees on either side.

    MacClary evidently loved the garden. “The prettiest view in the whole World,” he wrote in a letter of 1750. By some miracle, the views are still there. Venus still presides over her Vale. Apollo, with his back to the garden, still broods moodily over the River Cherwell. Privately owned, by the same family that first brought it into being, Rousham has escaped into the 21st century, its spirit of place still intact.

    The garden at Rousham House, Rousham, Steeple Aston, Oxfordshire OX25 4QU, is open every day (10am-4.30pm). No children under 15. No dogs. No shop. No tea room. Admission £5. The garden at Chiswick House, Burlington Lane, Chiswick, London W4 2QN is open daily (7am-dusk), conservatory open 10am-4pm. Admission free. William Kent also worked at Claremont Landscape Garden, Portsmouth Rd, Esher, Surrey KT10 9JG which is open (10am-5pm) daily until the end of October. Admission £7; and at Stowe, Buckingham, Bucks MK18 5EQ, open daily (10am-6pm) until 2 Nov. Admission £8.50

    Article source:

    Thieves steal tools from St. Louis non-profit group


    ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI ( KTVI)- St. Louis City Police are on the look-out after someone who  stole garden tools, used for a non-profit’s community garden.

    The organization says It will be hard  to come up with the money to replace them. Just a few weeks ago Gateway Greening  was the victim of a robbery.

    Behind lock and key thieves nearly emptied out the tool shed at the 13th Street Garden  getting away with a pair of wheelbarrows, as well as a variety of long-handled shovels, rakes and loppers. In recent days, Gateway Greening was one of three St. Louis area non-profits that have experienced thefts of gardening and landscaping equipment.

    With Gateway Greening being a non-profit, the organization relies on monetary and physical donations to fill its tool sheds, and it is in need of funds to replace the stolen equipment.  ” When somebody takes our tools that we used for our gardens, it takes away our ability to improve our neighborhood, ” Matt Fernandez, Old North St. Louis Restoration Group.

    It’s a vibrant non-profit organization.  Gateway Greening sponsors a garden in the heart of North St. Louis. The garden provides for those most in need. Including extra vegetables to homeless shelters and community organizations. “Sometimes  fresh local produce may not  be available in some areas,” said Matt Even , Gateway Greening.

    Gateway Greening, is a non profit 501c3 organization dedicated to educating and empowering people to strengthen their communities through gardening and urban agriculture. Gateway Greening is a nationally recognized and respected organization valued for our expertise and collaborative approach to garden-based community development and public health.

     As Gateway Greening works to raise awareness of this issue, the organization is calling on the generosity of the public to raise these much needed funds. anyone who may be interested in donating funds to help replace the stolen tools?

    Donations can be sent to 2211 Washington Avenue. St. Louis, MO 63103 or you can call 314-588-9600 ext 101. A list of tools that were stolen are available by phone.



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    Create an Eye-Catching Vertical Garden in Your Yard

    Inviting gardens contain vertical elements. Draw the eye up by growing plants that twine, vine, and cascade, and you divide the garden into areas, creating outdoor rooms. Growing vertically also provides sun protection and privacy from neighbors. And well-placed vertical plants camouflage areas of the landscape that you prefer not to see.

    Vertical gardening is also a highly efficient method for growing veggies and fruits. Encouraging produce to grow up a trellis or from pots attached to a backyard wall makes the best use of space. With such a setup, you’re often able to grow more produce than traditional horizontal methods allow.

    Grow a successful vertical garden by following these landscaping tips.

    Use all available elevated space. In addition to hanging plants and encouraging vines to cover walls, install trellises, gazebos, arbors and patio covers on which plants can grow. Also encourage non-aggressive vines to climb up into trees.

    Fill your hanging baskets. Rather than suspend small 6- or 8-inch baskets containing minimal plants, opt for 20-inch hanging containers bursting with blooms and foliage. Adding a lot of plants creates a full, lush look that will draw the eye up. If you buy a hanging basket and it isn’t full enough, add additional similar plant material.

    Go for variety. There are many hanging and climbing plants, so mix things up. Some good viners and climbers include Black-eyed Susan vine (Thunbergia), Boston ivy (Parthenocissus), Bougainvillea (for warm climates), cardinal climber, clematis, climbing rose, cross vine, English Ivy and creeping fig (Ficus repens). Vining vegetables include bean, tomato, cucumber, pea, winter squash, melon, pumpkin and gourd.

    Design with contrast in mind. Incorporate a wide variety of vining plants into your landscape. In hanging baskets, mix various colors. For instance, try red and white and purple and yellow plant combinations. Also create interest by opting for plants with varying growth habits.

    Water often. Heat rises, which means elevated gardens tend to dry out quickly, especially in warm and windy weather. Hanging baskets may need daily watering in warm weather when there is no rainfall. Even vertical plants with roots in the ground should be monitored closely, because the foliage is closer to the sun and exposed to wind.

    Feed regularly. Encourage vining and climbing plants to grow skyward by providing adequate nutrients. Depending on the type of plants you’re growing and the season, feed your vertical garden about once a month with a well-balanced, organic fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or a 15-15-15. Such foods will promote foliage growth and flowering in most plants.

    Ensure stability. Safety is paramount when it comes to vertical gardening. The last thing you want is for a heavy hanging basket to fall and injure someone or something. Check that hooks are firmly anchored in place before suspending a pot or basket. Thin climbing plants on walls regularly, or they can become too heavy and pull away from the wall.

    Julie Bawden-Davis is a garden writer and master gardener, who since 1985 has written for publications such as Organic Gardening, Wildflower, Better Homes and Gardens and The Los Angeles Times. She is the author of seven books, including Reader’s Digest Flower Gardening,  Fairy GardeningThe Strawberry Story Series, and Indoor Gardening the Organic Way, and is the founder of


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