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Archives for November 17, 2014

Garden weeds: great tips to win the battle

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If it’s something a little more aggressive such as wild mint, dandelions or winter grasses with tap roots that can grow very deep, it is a game of patience. By consistently knocking the top off, you remove the weed’s ability to get sunlight and even though it may come back a couple of times eventually you win the game as the weed will die from lack of sunlight.

Probably the most important thing you can do is not let weeds go to seed. Once weeds seed they can produce hundreds of new weeds. There’s an old saying, “one year’s seeds is seven years’ weeds”, so if you can reduce the seeds you can reduce the weeds.

It’s also important to tame the lawn. Kikuyu and couch lawns often invade the garden, spreading from both seed and underground runners. Mow the lawn regularly to remove seed heads and install deep barrier edging around the garden beds. Tip: Continuous concrete edging is the best barrier for keeping runners at bay.

If you havea garden completely covered in weeds, cover it with newspaper about six sheets thick and drench it with the hose. This blocks the sun and kills the weeds, then cover it with mulch and you have broken the cycle. The paper will break down and become compost, improving the soil.

For weeding on paths and driveways, I have had good success with a large screwdriver and boiling water, I try to remove the weeds with the screwdriver and at worst bash it up then the boiling water from the kettle gives it the knock out punch. Boiling water is safe and within seconds of being poured on to pavers or concrete it cools down and the run off will not damage your lawn or plants. 

If you are truly beaten by a weed, such as onion weed, grow something taller and stronger on top of it such as agapanthus. It’s not admitting defeat, it’s just choosing your battles. For weeds in the lawn, just don’t mow for a couple of weeks and the weeds will be taller than the lawn, then water well and dig them out.

Weeds are a part of a gardener’s life. Even the most manicured gardens get weeds so don’t be too hard on yourself.




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Article source: http://www.watoday.com.au/home/garden-weeds-great-tips-to-win-the-battle-20141113-11ls5u.html

Top tips for an eco-friendly garden

If we all start to consider what we can do in our own gardens, we can seize
the opportunity and make a difference. In Victoria they are not growing food
(yet) but George Monbiot, the environmental campaigner, told me that he
believes that growing your own is possibly the most constructive way to
improve your garden’s green audit. He reckons that on his allotment, in
return for two and a half hours’ work a week, he grew more vegetables than
he needed. Picking your own cucumber gives you a better buzz than stumbling
across a cut-price melon in Morrisons.

In order to entice people into growing their own, being pragmatic rather than
dogmatic does smooth the path. A well-known organic gardener told me he
hardly grows any veg now because it is such hard work. But if your whole
crop of broccoli is going to be ruined by cabbage white butterfly maybe it’s
better to apply a squirt of insecticide rather than dig it up? With raised
beds, no-dig methods and concentrating on easy, highly productive crops,
growing your own food can be fun and fulfilling.

To apply the principles of a green audit to your own garden or allotment means
looking closely at factors such as shelter belts (to reduce heat loss),
growing trees (for the carbon sink benefits), water butts (to save water),
swales and permeable hard standings for cars (to reduce storm water run-off)
and, of course, composting, something many gardeners eulogise about.

The increase in soil fertility that compost brings is immediately obvious. And
then there is the satisfaction of seeing the volume dwindle in your rubbish
bin. Different methods work for different people: rotary bins, heaps,
wormeries, bokashi, collecting leaves. When I work abroad I am embarrassed
by our measly efforts at composting compared to other countries, such as
Japan and Germany. Recycling wisely wherever possible can also help to
change your garden. Emmeline, who helps me in my garden, has made her own
(good-looking) greenhouse with wood and materials from a skip and websites
such as Freecycle (uk.freecycle.org.uk). When she has any excess produce,
such as when her currant bushes are heaving, she rings her neighbours so
they can help themselves. My halo spins slower here, but my pigs love me.

A greener approach

Perhaps one way to approach your own “green audit” it is to consider whether
your garden is an asset or a liability. John Walker, author of How to Create
an Eco Garden, says if you go and mow the lawn, think about exactly what you
are responsible for.

This would include the energy to make the mower, the fertiliser, the weed
killer, watering, maybe even the initial seed or turf production. Perhaps
you could consider reducing the frequency of mowing parts of it to improve
the habitat range and reduce the inputs. Maybe your freed-up time could then
be better spent tending the tomatoes. Maybe you decide to remove the lawn
altogether – although not many would go down George Monbiot’s second-best
option of just letting the garden revert to scrub and woodland.

I am a firm believer in making the garden work for you so that it reduces your
impact in other areas. It is a fabulous place to entertain and educate
children if you design it thoughtfully, and it works equally well as a
honeypot for adults too, saving the need to go out and blow lots of cash on
exotic holidays.

Peter Harper, who was head of research at Cat (Centre for Alternative
Technology), spent 10 years measuring inputs and concluded that
“recreational gardens are brilliant, they keep you at home and this
outweighs all the other things you can do, they stop you going out and
spending money.”

Gardening can also help reduce the burden on the NHS. Jules Pretty, professor
of environment and society at the University of Essex, says research now
shows that engagement with green places is good for our health. This was
recently endorsed by Dr William Bird, speaking at the John MacLeod Lecture
for the RHS, who said: “There is a significant incentive [for the NHS] to
develop a programme that includes horticulture.” There is a high correlation
between being happy and being active, and I cannot think of a more positive
and active hobby than gardening.

You may not want to go the whole hog and carry out a green audit on your space
but there is one simple indicator – bird song. As my garden gets greener it
gets louder and louder… although at 5am on a summer morning I sometimes
wonder if this is such a good thing.

Audit tips

A green audit is an official examination of the effects a company or other
organisation has on the environment, especially the damage that it causes.

To carry out an informal green audit in your garden, ask yourself: is what I’m
doing in the garden having a beneficial or a negative effect on the
environment? Here are five ways to be more environment-friendly:

1 Make the garden fabulous so that you don’t go out and spend money and
energy elsewhere. Measure days you spend in the garden and incentivise
yourself to do more there.

2 Grow as much as you can to reduce your food metres – measure the
number of meals you supplement with home-grown produce.

3 Make a haven for wildlife: water, meadow, trees, shrubs – notice the
number of different birds, insects, amphibians and bats you see.

4 Compost and recycle all you can. Aim to reduce the amount of waste
you send to landfill as far as you possibly can.

5 Keep yourself fit and happy. Get a step counter and check that you do
10,000 steps a day (recommended by Clyde Williams, professor of sport
science at Loughborough University). Watch your steps soar as you spend more
time in the garden.

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardeningadvice/11235266/Top-tips-for-an-eco-friendly-garden.html

Garden Bridge attacked as ‘luvvies’ folly’

Campaign group attacks wisdom of spending taxpayers’ cash on scheme

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Article source: http://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/garden-bridge-attacked-as-%E2%80%98luvvies-folly%E2%80%99/5072148.article

Light Within A Japanese Garden Lives Through All Seasons

Filed under:
Healing, Inspiration, Japanese Garden Design, Nature, Uncategorized, zen design

Tags:
aqua, Architect, art, Astellas Pharma, be, blog, bonsai, botanical, bridge, Buddhism, calm, Center, chicago, Chicago Botanical Gardens, child, design, design center, designer, Dr. Tomoki Kato, education, energy, Ethereal, free, Garden Design, gift, gratitude, Healing, Hoichi Kurisu, home, illinois, infrared, infrared light, international, intuitive, James Robinson, japan, japanese, Japanese Garden, Kendall Brown, Kids for Koi, koi, Koi pond, Koi Whisperer, Koi Whisperer Sanctuary, Koichi, Kyoto, lifestyle, light, living, Living Art, malinowski, mantra, maryellen, Masaharu Yoshida, Master, meditation, morning, Moss garden, NAJGA, Nature, nishikigoi, Nishikigoi Gallery, North American Japanese Garden Association, Now, Osaka, peace, Phoenix, photography, pond, pond build, pond design, Prune, Quiet Beauty, sanctuary, sea, Season, Sopha Shaw, soul, St. Charles, Stephen Bloom, stone, Stone garden, sun, time, Ueyakato Lanscape Co, Uncategorized, United States, universe, Water, water gardening, waterfall, whisperer, World, zen, zen design Anderson Japanese Gardens, Zen Living Magazine

Article source: http://www.chicagonow.com/zen-living-by-design/2014/11/light-within-a-japanese-garden-lives-through-all-seasons/

Holiday Lighting crew tackles big projects in time for the holiday season

Kristen and Josh Graczyk

Kristen and Josh Graczyk

KRISTEN AND JOSH GRACZYK of Elm Creek are new at the holiday lighting business, but they are experienced business owners who do landscaping, underground sprinklers, lawn care and installation of concrete curbing on area properties. They are 2002 graduates of Elm Creek High School.

Holiday lighting

Holiday lighting

KRISTEN GRACZYK works with one of the lighted stars that will decorate homes and businesses this holiday season. Customers provide their own decorations, but some can be purchased in their showroom at 2016 Avenue F.

Holiday decorations

Holiday decorations

BOXES OF HOLIDAY decorations are stored for customers in the warehouse behind the showroom.



Holiday Lighting

Curb-It Holiday Lighting is part of Curb-It, GrindStone Hardscapes, both located at 2106 Ave. F. The owners are Josh and Kristen Graczyk. Its phone number is 237-4805. Its web site is www.curbit.net.

Kristen Graczyk

I’m kind of a Christmas freak. I have already changed my car radio to Christmas music, and I have four real trees in our house every year.”


Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2014 4:00 am


Holiday Lighting crew tackles big projects in time for the holiday season

By MARY JANE SKALA
Hub Staff Writer

Kearney Hub

KEARNEY — According to the calendar, Christmas is still six weeks away, but for Curb-It Holiday Lighting, Christmas began four weeks ago. While the rest of the world was carving pumpkins and choosing Halloween costumes, the company at 2106 Ave. F began hanging exterior Christmas lights and decorations.


Between now and the end of November, company owners Josh and Kristen Graczyk of Elm Creek will complete 60 to 70 installations. As of early this week, they had hung lights and more at 24 sites.

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Saturday, November 15, 2014 4:00 am.


| Tags:


Curb-it Holiday Lighting,



Christmas

Article source: http://www.kearneyhub.com/news/business/holiday-lighting-crew-tackles-big-projects-in-time-for-the/article_5f9d4d96-6c4a-11e4-8523-4faf9cce6ca7.html

Area boy builds Buddy Bench to achieve Eagle Scout status

Eagle Scout

Eagle Scout

Seated from left, second-grader Griffin Ernst, Eagle Scout Chad Cable and fifth-grader Natalie Yacullo try out the Buddy Bench that Cable built to achieve his Eagle Scout status. With them are Prairie View Elementary School Principal Rhonda Myers and third-grader Myles Aerts.



Posted: Sunday, November 16, 2014 4:59 pm

Area boy builds Buddy Bench to achieve Eagle Scout status

By KIM NOWATZKE

For The News-Dispatch

TheNewsDispatch.com

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ROLLING PRAIRIE — Simple yet profound. That’s the concept behind Chad Cable’s Eagle Boy Scout project.

Cable spent 11 years in Scouts – first as a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout. With his 18th birthday, the deadline for when his Eagle Scout project had to be completed, approaching quickly he knew he needed to decide if he was going to tackle this life challenge.

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Article source: http://www.thenewsdispatch.com/news/article_49384b14-6de4-11e4-854b-73f960910367.html

Eight ideas for dealing with big water using neighborhoods

It’s easy to disparage a neighborhood or subdivision that uses a lot more water than the average. But what do you do about it?

The Star put that question to Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, a Tucson Water spokesman, five city council members and a community water group as part of our research on high water use in affluent census tracts up in the far northeast side and the Catalina Foothills, as reported in a Tucson Water database. The Star published a story on the top water using residential neighborhoods in today’s editions.

Here are their responses:

Rothschild: Once we can identify areas where we know there is higher use going on, we probably ought to go into those ares and target them for more education. I also think we can look at incentives in those higher use areas. Our block rate program, if in fact, we’re seeing something that is really disproportionate, we could look at potentially raising block rates on an annual basis until we are seeing the results we want from those higher users.

Councilman Steve Kozachik: Just because they can afford it doesn’t mean the region should sit by and let them use this precious resource at a rate of three times the average. That’s the reason I think the discussion of lift fees, or charging them for the cost of the infrastructure that delivers it up to their homes, is an appropriate topic for us to consider. The fact is that the infrastructure costs are being borne by low water users who live down in the valley, and the only reason we invested in those pipes, pumps and other gear is to deliver the commodity up to the foothills.

Councilman Paul Cunningham: People in the (Tucson) country club area don’t drink any more water than the rest of us, so this is clearly for landscaping. Water is a precious resource in this region and we all, and this goes for people in all parts of Tucson, have to figure out ways to not use large amounts of drinking water on lawns and high water use plants. This is a sign that we have to do more to encourage rainwater harvesting and gray water. I hope that Tucson Water looks at this as an opportunity to do so.

Fernando Molina, a Tucson Water spokesman: We are currently looking at the possibility of conducting field studies to collect water use information that will help us identify where conservation potential can be found among the various user classes. We currently have in our conservation budget funding to conduct audits of commercial facilities, thus providing the customer with information that they can use to develop a conservation plan . . . We need to collect similar data from residential customers, but have not yet developed a methodology on how we will accomplish this.

High water use does not necessarily translate into wasteful use of water. We do not have any field data to support whether the water use at either of these locations (the foothills and the country club estates areas) is efficient or inefficient, but we know that these are areas that typically have high levels of water use. Factors such as income may result in greater discretionary uses of water such as pools, spas and larger landscaping requirements, resulting in higher overall levels of water use.

Community Water Coalition, activist group: Tucson needs a more pervasive culture of conservation. We have among the lowest per capita residential water use in the nation, but in light of this data it appears that the conservation minded residents are shoring up the average for the water abusers. In this period of extended and severe drought, there should be no excuse for one segment of this community to deplete this common resource.

Water rates and lift charges cannot be the only solution. You can’t buy your way out of drought. Tucson Water needs a more comprehensive education strategy to target these high use areas with a message that conveys how high water use, and especially additional local pumping, burdens our water supply and imperils the very environment that led many of those residents to choose to locate their homes where they are.

Councilwoman Shirley Scott: I would think outreach with education about alternatives is good. If the water usage is outside the house, they may want to consider rainwater harvesting and putting less flora and grass out front, and putting out more drought tolerant plants and decorate in a different way. Also we should be giving them information on their ability to buy and install reclaimed lines to their property. I would not think these users are in line with the majority of people, but in the bigger picture, our potable water usage decreased 2 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Councilwoman Regina Romero: This is exactly the reason we need to insure that we are promoting and expanding our rainwater harvesting program and continuing the block rate. I also think that this is exactly the reason that we need to expand our outreach to low-income communities and make sure they understand about water harvesting. What we have seen is the low-income areas of our city have less tree cover than other areas. The greening of neighborhoods has to happen without increasing potable water use. We need to make sure that all areas, regardless of income levels, use less water. We need to conserve.

Councilwoman Karin Uhlich: The first step is to make sure that people are aware of the options . . . for landscaping and reducing water use in other ways. I don’t know the extent to which Tucson Water has done outreach. Winterhaven has instituted a lot of water reduction measures.

Lift charges? I think that those two are separate issues — the energy use and water use. If we want to look at segregating energy charges, it could be more complex. If we want to price water to encourage more conservation, I think that the most straightforward thing is the block pricing we’ve utilized. We’ve done a good job. We look at that every year — we update it annually.

Molina, Tucson Water: It is important to recognize that, while certain customers use greater volumes of water than others, they are also paying a price that is higher than the average cost of water. In fact, while the increasing block rate structure is designed to encourage efficient use of water among large volume users, the high water users in the three highest tiers of use subsidize the cost of water for water used at the least expensive tier. The average cost to deliver water to residential customers is $2.45 per 100 cubic feet use, while the first tier charge for water is $1.38 per 100 cubic feet.

Article source: http://tucson.com/eight-ideas-for-dealing-with-big-water-using-neighborhoods/article_d5cd7974-6d5c-11e4-8250-5310506ad923.html

For Walnut Creek Residents: Where To Get Free Recycled Water

Walnut Creek residents can now get free recycled water from Central Contra Costa Sanitary District to be used for hand-watering lawns, gardens and landscaping, including plants such as fruit trees, vegetables and herbs, to help save drinking water supplies. Produce should be washed with drinking water prior to consumption.

How to get free recycled water:

  1. Before picking up water for the first time, complete a Residential Recycled Water Use Application/Agreement and receive training on the proper use of recycled water. Applications can be downloaded from
    www.centralsan.org/recycledwater or obtained at the facility.
  2. Visit the water station at 4797 Imhoff Place, Martinez. Hours are Mondaythrough Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  3. Bring containers, which must be a minimum size of one gallon, have water-tight lids, and be secured for safe transport.
  4. The maximum fill per trip is 300 gallons. There is no limit on number of trips.
  5. Please note: Water is heavy! Ten gallons weighs more than 80 pounds; 100 gallons weighs more than 800 pounds. When driving vehicles with such heavy loads, be sure to allow for additional stopping distance.

Central San, which collects and treats wastewater for more than 470,000 customers in central Contra Costa County, produces approximately 600 million gallons of recycled water each year.

For more information about the residential recycled water fill station, call 1-800-646-1431.

Article source: http://patch.com/california/walnutcreek/walnut-creek-residents-where-get-free-recycled-water

For Lamorinda Residents: Where To Get Free Recycled Water

Lamorinda residents can now get free recycled water from Central Contra Costa Sanitary District to be used for hand-watering lawns, gardens and landscaping, including plants such as fruit trees, vegetables and herbs, to help save drinking water supplies. Produce should be washed with drinking water prior to consumption.

How to get free recycled water:

  1. Before picking up water for the first time, complete a Residential Recycled Water Use Application/Agreement and receive training on the proper use of recycled water. Applications can be downloaded from
    www.centralsan.org/recycledwater or obtained at the facility.
  2. Visit the water station at 4797 Imhoff Place, Martinez. Hours are Mondaythrough Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  3. Bring containers, which must be a minimum size of one gallon, have water-tight lids, and be secured for safe transport.
  4. The maximum fill per trip is 300 gallons. There is no limit on number of trips.
  5. Please note: Water is heavy! Ten gallons weighs more than 80 pounds; 100 gallons weighs more than 800 pounds. When driving vehicles with such heavy loads, be sure to allow for additional stopping distance.

Central San, which collects and treats wastewater for more than 470,000 customers in central Contra Costa County, produces approximately 600 million gallons of recycled water each year.

For more information about the residential recycled water fill station, call 1-800-646-1431.

Article source: http://patch.com/california/lamorinda/lamorinda-residents-where-get-free-recycled-water-0

Texas & Neighbors: Spas, skiing, gardens and Polar Express on tap

SANTA FE, N.M.

Revel in botanical garden’s winter glow

Head to the Santa Fe Botanical Garden at Museum Hill for the second-annual Glow event, which runs Dec. 4 through Jan. 3. The 2-acre garden will be illuminated with lights and geodesic domes and displays. Plus, Santa is on hand for pictures on Friday nights, and there is live music and a cash bar on Saturday nights.

Visitors also can purchase hot chocolate and coffee from Santa Fe’s Iconik Coffee Roasters, or shop the Glow store. Entry costs $8, and children 12 and under enter free. Early bird tickets at reduced rates are available through Nov. 15, and can be purchased online.

A preview party will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 3, and costs $35 for non-members. The event includes live entertainment with Steve Chavez and the New Mexican Marimba Band, plus cocoa and cookies. Tickets must be purchased in advance.

Contact: santafebotanicalgarden.org

Jessica Elliott

 

AUSTIN

Spa moves to the top of some choice lists

Lake Austin Spa Resort — that 40-room high-end retreat with organic gardens and a 25,000-square-foot spa — has just earned big kudos. The resort was recently ranked No. 21 on a list of 100 top hotels and resorts in the world in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards. What’s more, it ranked fourth in the destination spas of the world category.

The resort offers a range of rooms, with lake views or 12-foot ceilings and private meditation gardens, along with a Lady Bird suite, hot tub cabins and garden cottages. At the spa, guests can choose from among 100 treatment options including a new Intuitive Energy session that includes polarity therapy and more. New classes include floating meditation in the property’s pool barn. Visit the website for details.

Contact: lakeaustin.com; cntraveler.com/rca

J.E.

 

VAIL, COLO.

Snow Daze festival keeps the party going

Vail Mountain opening day is Nov. 21, and just weeks later is the resort’s early season party, Vail Snow Daze. The two-weekend annual festival includes free concerts, plus an expo village, gear demos and après-ski and after-dark parties.

Lukas Nelson — son of Willie Nelson — kicks off the concert with his band P.O.T.R. (Promise of the Real), followed by the Wallflowers, on Dec. 13. Then, the weekend of Dec. 19-21, 10,000 Maniacs kick off the Dec. 20 free concert with Rusted Root capping off the show. All concerts will be held at Solaris, with doors opening at 5 p.m. Check the website for more details.

Contact: vail.com/snowdaze; vail.com

J.E.

 

HOUSTON

Hermann Park is on the grow

To commemorate a century in operation, the Hermann Park Conservancy has renovated and opened the former Houston Garden Center site as the McGovern Centennial Gardens. The 15-acre site, part of the larger 445-acre Hermann Park, now has a grand entry pavilion and event space called the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion, and is the conservancy’s most extensive redevelopment project.

The new gardens were designed by Chicago-based Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects in collaboration with Houston-based White Oak Studio Landscape Architecture. Visitors will find an interactive family garden, along with a 30-foot-tall garden mount with a cascading waterfall, and a sculpture promenade with public art. Arid and rose gardens are in the works, and will be unveiled in December.

Take a stroll through the park, then head indoors for warmth at the nearby Children’s Museum, Health Museum or Museum of Fine Arts. Work out at the park’s exercise station before taking the Marvin Taylor Trail. Also in the works for early 2015: a $5 million renovation of the Grand Gateway, the park’s historic entrance, which will include landscaping, lighting, benches, bike racks and more.

Contact: hermannpark.org

J.E.

 

BRISTOW, OKLA.

All aboard for the North Pole

Now Oklahoma has its own Polar Express trek — the Eastern Flyer Polar Express Train Ride debuts Nov. 21 and runs through Dec. 28. Pajama-clad children and families can hop aboard vintage-inspired rail cars at the Bristow Depot and depart for a trip to the North Pole, with storytelling and festivities filling the one-hour, round-trip journey.

The trek begins when the conductor punches each child’s golden ticket. Music from The Polar Express soundtrack will play as story reading begins. Dancing chefs will serve hot chocolate and cookies, and upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa will hop on board to give each child a silver sleigh bell.

If you’re traveling from Texas and want to stay in Bristow for the trip, a premier family getaway package includes accommodations at one of two hotels. Tickets cost $35 for adults and $25 for children in standard class; the getaway package starts at $95 for adults and $22 per child based on double occupancy.

The Polar Express train rides are licensed by Rail Events, a rail-related special events management company, on behalf of Warner Bros., and are based on the original book by Chris Van Allsburg, first published in 1985. All aboard.

Contact: 855-487-1430, easternflyerpolarexpressride.com; Key Holidays at 1-800-783-0783 for package reservations

J.E.

Article source: http://www.dallasnews.com/lifestyles/travel/regional/20141114-texas-neighbors-spas-skiing-gardens-and-polar-express-on-tap.ece