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Archives for December 6, 2014

December gardening tips

I have listed many different tasks that can and should be done during December and the winter months.

• Fall and winter are good times to take soil samples from your lawn and garden. The results from your soil test will measure the pH of the soil, organic matter content and the levels of some of the major elements required for plant growth, such as phosphorus and potassium.

• Continue mowing as long as your grass is growing. Most modern mowers also do a good job of mulching tree leaves if they aren’t too thick and you still need to move some to your compost pile. Heavy accumulations of large leaves from oak and maple trees should be raked and composted rather than left on grass.

• Now is the time to ready your lawn mower for next spring. Check the belts and spark plugs, change the oil, sharpen the blades and clean off all the dirt so the equipment will be ready when you need it in the spring. Drain the fuel tank of the lawn mower or tiller before putting the machine away for the winter.

• Clean and sharpen your garden tools, then store them in a dry area.

• Remove any diseased or insect-infested plant material from your landscape; it may harbor over-wintering stages of disease or insect pests. If you leave this plant material in your garden, you are leaving diseases and insects which will begin to reproduce again next spring and add to next years’ pest problem.

• Place Christmas trees away from fireplaces, radiators, heat vents and anything else that could dry the needles. Keep your Christmas tree well watered from the time it is brought home until it is recycled.

• If the ground is workable at all (not frozen and not too wet), now is an excellent time to turn the soil. Not only will this expose insect eggs to the effects of winter and hungry birds, but the freezing will help to break apart heavy clods of dirt.

• It’s not too early to begin thinking of a strategy for new spring plantings. You might want to create a small map of your garden, and use it as a guide for ordering plants and seeds from catalogs that will be arriving in the mail soon.

• It’s a good time to prune most of your deciduous trees and shrubs.

• Don’t forget your house plants! Dust on the foliage can clog the leaf pores, so clean them up a little with a damp cloth or a quick shower under the tap. Actively-growing plants will benefit from a shot of liquid plant food. On very cold nights, it is a good time to close the curtains or blinds between the window and your house plants.

Article source: http://www.blueridgenow.com/article/20141206/ARTICLES/141209916

This week’s gardening tips: prune freeze damage, winter care for tools, mulch …

Varieties of certain shrubs, such as azaleas, nandinas and junipers, will develop a purplish or burgundy tint to their foliage during cold weather. This is natural and no cause for worry. They will turn green again in the spring. Prune off any recent freeze damage on gingers, philodendrons, cannas and other herbaceous tropicals. Place a 4- to 6-inch layer…
http://media.nola.com/home_impact/photo/13963672-thumb_square_large.jpg012/04/201412/04/2014

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Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2014/12/this_weeks_gardening_tips_prun.html

The garden can be your very own Santa’s grotto when it comes to gifts and …

If you are struggling with Christmas present ideas, don’t forget that there are few people who will not be happy to receive a bowl of fragrant hyacinths (you’ll be surprised how often men are grateful for flowers once they’ve got over the initial shock), a poinsettia or a Christmas azalea.

You could send friends an early present of a potted Christmas tree that they’ll be able to plunge in the garden on Twelfth Night and bring in again next year.

And when you are completely stumped, don’t forget garden centre gift vouchers, available in all denominations, that can be spent at garden centres all over the country – a bit like book tokens.

When you come to think of it, the garden can play a huge role in the Christmas festivities and can do much to add to the Yuletide glow.

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column in today’s Daily Express. For more information on his range of gardening products, visit alantitchmarsh.com

Article source: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/garden/543528/How-to-make-Christmas-gifts-from-the-garden

Carroll Creek Park Phase II on Schedule for Completion

FREDERICK, Md. – Twelve months after breaking ground on Carroll Creek Linear Park Phase II, Frederick city officials say they are ahead of schedule and slightly under budget.

“They’re doing everything they can with the weather we’ve got, and we’re happy with the progress,” said Mayor Randy McClement.

Waynesboro Construction, the general contractor hired for the project, has offered efficient alternatives to the city that have reduced costs and put them nearly $225,000 under budget.

“They’re a great company to work with,” said Roelkey Myers, Phase II project manager and deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department of Frederick. “They’ve actually come to us with ideas on better finished products, and we’re saving money.”

The $15.8 million dollar project, which stretches over about 9.2 acres, is divided into four construction sections. According to Myers, the area between South Bentz and Court Streets is mostly completed, with walkways and landscaping already in place. Similarly, the construction area along East Street near the Delaplaine Center has also made steady progress.

Myers also explained that due to inclement weather, construction on the park between the south side of Court Street and Market Street, and East and East Patrick Streets will likely be tackled next year.

Once completed, the park will offer features including water displays, brick walkways and light fixtures. City officials believe these items will increase foot traffic and ultimately boost Frederick’s economy.

“A lot of the businesses including McCutcheon’s are very happy to see this, because they have an expansion of their retail that they want to move forward with,” McClement said.

According to the city’s website, more than 400,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of commercial and retail space and 300 residential units are planned or under construction along the park.

But before the new developments set up shop, city officials are looking forward to the completion of a park that was first initiated in the 1970’s.

“If we have a good winter, we’re going to be way ahead,” Myers said. “We have to build in the possibility of bad weather.”

Article source: http://www.your4state.com/story/d/story/carroll-creek-linear-park-phase-ii-project-upda/15411/vxD27C23Rkq1vwB9yNoSRQ

Gardening: What to plant in your garden and add to your landscape in December – Florida Times

In December, enjoy winter landscapes that are only found in Florida — snow free! This month, we’ll see plenty of color in the landscape. Holly, pyracantha and other berries are making a great display, and early camellias will continue to emerge throughout December and into spring. Many favorite winter plants also make great holiday décor, so enjoy your landscape inside and out this season.

Here is your December timetable:

COLD IN STORE?

The recent cold snap should have convinced you to gather up covers for tender plants. I like to store old blankets and sheets with the Thanksgiving décor, since both are coming out of storage around the same time. Tomato cages put away a few months back are also close at hand and they make easy-to-position supports so that covers don’t crush foliage.

Tuck a few bricks or stones under tender plants. You’ll be glad to have them handy if a sudden freeze crops up. Should that occur, cover tender plants so that the cover touches the ground on all sides and weigh down edges so wind can’t pull them up. The “tent” effect will keep heat trapped. The blanket itself doesn’t warm the plant much, but it does trap warmth that radiates from the ground overnight. 

Other handy supplies for your “cold storage” kit include a well-working irrigation system and a few extra bags of mulch. Water well a day before a freeze to protect plants, but don’t keep water running during the freeze. The risk of root rots increases drastically with wet soils, and that’s what you’ll have if you run sprinklers for the duration of the freeze. This technique is best left to professional growers; watering actually needs to run for an additional several hours of thaw time and would mean violating water restrictions along with the risks to plant health.

When it comes to watering plants during cold, plan ahead instead and do it before a cold snap. Finally, use mulch to protect container plants that can’t be brought in. Push them together and pile mulch around the outside to insulate. With a little planning, your tender plants will appreciate the help standing up to the cold.

PRUNE TODAY FOR DISPLAY

Hardy old garden roses (hybrid teas, grandifloras and floribundas) appreciate a hard pruning once a year. With careful timing, you can prune now for a great display on Valentine’s Day. It takes about eight or nine weeks for flowers to emerge after annual cutting back, so get your gloves and pruners ready and get out there before Christmas. 

When pruning, make cuts just above an outward-facing dormant bud. Imagine each of these buds becoming a new branch, and consider the overall form as much as possible while you work. Entire branches should be removed at the point of emergence. To begin, take out dead material. Any diseased material should be removed as well, being sure to sterilize between cuts with a solution of half water and half rubbing alcohol or a 10:1 solution of bleach and water. Next, look for branches crossing each other and remove one of each offending pair.   

Now you’re ready to hard prune with an eye toward overall form. It’s easy to not prune roses hard enough, but a gentle hand will result in weak, thin and spindly growth. Roses are tough when it comes to pruning. Rest assured that a “tough love” treatment will result in fuller and more vigorous plants. Shorten all the main canes and lateral branches, leaving at least half the length of any 1- to 3-year-old canes. If you’re not sure of the age, look for canes that are thicker than your pinky finger. Shape up smaller stems and remove weak branches. Finish by raking up old leaves and refreshing mulch. Wait until mid-February to fertilize plants. 

If the holidays have you too busy for gardening don’t worry — January through mid-February are great times to prune your roses. For sweetheart ideas on roses that work well with Florida-Friendly Landscaping, visit edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep339.

THINGS TO PLANT

Welcome to winter gardening Florida-style this December. Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, Chinese cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, mustard, onions, parsnips, English peas and sugar snap peas, radishes, rutabagas, swiss chard and are all good selections this month. Finish planting Brussels sprouts by end of the month.

December herbs bring fantastic aromas and flavors. Try borage, chervil, cilantro, dill, fennel, garlic, lavender, nasturtium, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme. Rosemary “Christmas trees” are a popular gift choice that will give back in flavor for years to come.

In December, annuals make great color statements in the landscape: try alyssum, baby’s breath, calendula, carnation, chrysanthemum, dianthus, dusty miller, delphinium, foxglove, lobelia, nemesia, ornamental cabbage/kale, pansy, petunia, poppy, snapdragon and viola. Transplants of your favorites will help avoid the risk of cold damage to seedlings in the garden.

Perennials to plant this month include African iris, dianthus, flax lily, garden mums, strawflower (chrysocephalum sp), leopard plant, osteospermum and walking iris.

December’s bulbs, tubers, rhizomes, or corms will keep you busy planting: African lily, amaryllis, anemone, Aztec lily, blackberry lily, buttercup (ranunculus sp), calla, crinum lily, dahlia, daylily, dutch iris, freesia, gloxinia, hurricane lily, hyacinth, ixia, kaffir lily, narcissus, society garlic, spider lily, St. Bernard’s lily, tritonia, tulip, voodoo lily, walking iris, watsonia and zephyr lily.

Amy E. Morie is an environmental horticulture agent II in the Clay County Extension Office.

Article source: http://jacksonville.com/entertainment/home-and-garden/2014-12-05/story/gardening-what-plant-your-garden-and-add-your

Options abound for bringing garden indoors – Tribune

There are lots of wonderful ways to bring your garden indoors for the winter. First and foremost, using fresh evergreens and dried seedpods from your landscape to decorate your home for the holidays is a great way to keep a little green in your life even when the snow flies.

Here are four favorite, easy and elegant ideas to dress your house for the holidays — naturally.

1. Use tiny evergreen tips, juniper berries and festive ribbons to decorate your dining-room chandelier.

2. Fasten a few fresh-cut pine and cedar boughs together with a piece of florist’s wire, and anchor them with a cluster of pinecones or interesting seed pods to build a swag to hang on a porch light, mailbox, fence or front door.

3. Create a spectacular mantelpiece for your fireplace by wrapping round LED lights around bare tree branches. Lay the branches across the mantle, then add some evergreen boughs and a beautiful bow to the center.

4. Make a simple, yet stunning, centerpiece for the table by laying down a fresh evergreen wreath and adorning it with fruit, berries, pinecones and ribbons. Add a large candle to the center and a group of small votives around the outside.

Growing paperwhites is another favorite way to keep gardening all winter long, even after the holidays come and go. This member of the narcissus family is very easy to grow. The bulbs are fairly inexpensive, and they’ll flower within four weeks of planting.

Purchase a few bulbs from your local nursery and pot them in a container filled with fresh, sterile potting mix. When planted, the pointed nose of the bulb should be just above the soil surface. After planting, water the bulbs in and then place the container in a cool, dark place for a week to 10 days. The bulbs use this period to grow roots. Water them as necessary and then bring them into a well-lit, warm room. The blooms should open within three to four weeks, depending on light levels and temperatures.

As the flower stalks grow, you’ll probably have to provide them with some support, as they’re often quite top-heavy. I like to use birch or red-twigged dogwood branches to prop them up. And remember, paperwhites are very fragrant so just a few flowers go a long way. If you plant some new bulbs every two or three weeks, you can have a house full of flowers all winter long.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners� at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control� and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.� Her website is www.jessicawalliser.com.

Send your gardening or landscaping questions to tribliving@tribweb.com or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Article source: http://triblive.com/lifestyles/jessicawalliser/7298344-74/fresh-bulbs-jessica

Gardening Q&A with Richard Nunnally – Richmond Times

Fairy Garden

Fairy Garden

Fairy garden.



Posted: Friday, December 5, 2014 3:50 pm

Gardening QA with Richard Nunnally

Q: This year I’ve decided to give living plants to many of my friends for Christmas. Most of them are gardeners and I hope these gifts will bridge the gap until their gardens break dormancy in the spring. What kinds of plants would you suggest for gifts?

Answer: To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience with indoor plants. We don’t use them at our house because our cat tends to nibble on them and leave us little green surprises. Having said that, I contacted Doug Hensel, president of the Great Big Greenhouse and Nursery, to see what he’d recommend. Doug’s first recommendation was to use a really popular new feature for indoor gardeners called fairy gardens. These are fun, miniature gardens enjoyed by people of all ages. The fun is in landscaping a container using miniature plants and then accenting the plants with hardscaping pieces such as miniature fencing, walkways, buildings and animals.

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Richard Nunnally is a freelance writer and adjunct instructor in Horticulture at at the Reynolds Community College. Contact: tdgarden@verizon.net.

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Article source: http://www.timesdispatch.com/entertainment-life/home-garden/gardening-q-a-with-richard-nunnally/article_4d2692cc-7cc0-11e4-a369-a7afab2cca00.html

Landmarked Midtown estate brings $8.8M

Palm Beach attorney Emmett E. Tracy Jr. and his wife, Marilyn, have parted with Villa Filipponi — their 1929 landmarked estate at 322 Clarke Ave. — for a recorded $8.775 million.

A revocable trust in the name of Marilyn Tracy sold the seven-bedroom house on a double lot in Midtown to a Delaware limited liability company named EJHFL LLC, according to the deed recorded Wednesday. No other information about the buyer was immediately available because of Delaware’s strict corporate privacy laws.

Fite Shavell Asssociates agent Thor M. Brown had listed the house for sale at about $10.9 million in August 2013, and the property landed under contract in March, according to records in the Palm Beach Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. But the sale did not close until this week.

Brown said a confidentiality agreement prevented any of the parties involved from discussing the sale. MLS records list the buyer’s real estate agent as Gary Pohrer of K2 Realty.

With 7,682 square feet of living space inside and out, the Spanish Mediterranean-style house stands one house east of Cocoanut Row on four-tenths of an acre.

The Tracys have downsized to a four-bedroom home at 161 Main St., which Marilyn Tracy’s trust bought in October for a recorded $4.3 million. The seller was Laura T. Andrassy, the first wife of professional golfer Greg Norman. Brown acted on the Tracys’ behalf in that deal opposite agents Toni Hollis and Gloria Moré, who also work at Fite Shavell.

The house entered the town’s landmarks registry in 2002, about five years after the Tracys paid Thomas and Renate McKnight $3.2 million for it, according to property records.

Although the house is usually attributed to noted society architect Marion Sims Wyeth, the Landmarks Preservation Commission’s designation report did not identify the architect. Because the house is landmarked, exterior walls viewed from the street cannot be significantly altered.

The house already had been renovated and expanded by other owners before the Tracys bought it. They have family ties to the Detroit area.

In 2004, the Tracys expanded a sitting room, built an adjacent outdoor pergola and enlarged the guest apartment and garage, according to a 2013 Daily News article.

Gardens ‘a real attraction’

Marilyn Tracy also lavished attention on the gardens, making additions and commissioning landscape architect Mario Nievera’s firm to add brick walkways, the article said. Photographs of the landscape have been accepted by the Smithsonian Institution into its Archives of American Gardens’ Garden Clubs of America Collection.

“It’s a real attraction, and it’s been a very satisfying effort for my wife, to bring the transition from what it was when Renate had it,” said Emmett Tracy, referring to home’s landscape and the previous owner.

The house was constructed for Laurietta Ford von Stresenreuter Filipponi, whose husband presented himself in society as Count Carlo Filipponi, although his Italian title proved to be false, according to newspaper reports from the 1920s. The late Palm Beacher Frank O. Butler was her grandson.

The house’s exterior details include a clay barrel-tile roof, wrought iron-railed balconies, decorative tiles and Corinthian columns. The interiors feature original details such as Cuban-tile floors, fireplaces and pecky-cypress ceilings.

The two-story living room is overlooked by a second-floor arcade. In the opposite wing, stairs lead to an outdoor observation deck.

Palm Beach architect Jeffery Smith carried out an extensive renovation and restoration project after the McKnights bought the house in 1990 from Richard and Marion Gillette. Three years later, they bought an adjacent house at 310 Clarke Ave.

“The McKnights knocked down the house next door, which gave them the space for the gardens,” Emmett Tracy told the Daily News last year.

During the renovation, Smith added a loggia and pool pavilion, along with a 1,200-square-foot addition to the southwest corner of the house.

Wednesday’s special warranty deed also transferred ownership of the land at 310 Clarke Ave.

Article source: http://www.palmbeachdailynews.com/news/business/real-estate/landmarked-midtown-estate-brings-88m/njLwF/

Minnetrista puts brakes on water treatment plan after residents protest



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    Minnetrista has hit the pause button on a hotly debated plan for a water treatment plant after hearing from residents outraged by its price tag and recent news that installing new water mains could require ripping up some homeowners’ trees, landscaping and driveways.

    “I want better-quality water, but at what cost?” said Pat Maund, one of the residents who packed a City Council meeting this week to vent their displeasure. She called the $20 million cost alarming, given that only about 1,200 users are now tied to the city’s water system.

    The delay is the latest speed bump on a long journey by the western Hennepin County community to improve water quality and plan for future growth. In late 2013, the city approved one company’s plan for a water treatment plant but later discarded it for one crafted by Bolton Menk, an engineering firm with offices in Minnesota and Iowa. That move sparked political turmoil over costs and how the selection was made.

    Maund said she fears the new water mains could damage $30,000 worth of her landscaping. Some neighbors have up to $50,000 invested in trees, gardens, lighting and irrigation systems that could be affected, she said. Residents said Bolton Menk hasn’t explained how homeowners will be reimbursed.

    “How can you replace two mature maples?” Maund asked representatives of the firm. “I don’t want sticks.”

    The City Council voted unanimously to delay giving Bolton Menk the green light to proceed with a final plan and directed it to explore less costly alternatives that avoid intruding on neighborhoods.

    The council will take up the matter again in January after two new members come on board. Lisa Whalen already has assumed the post of mayor after winning a special election in November.

    Bolton Menk engineer Seth Peterson cautioned the council that a delay could mean missing a deadline for a low-interest loan from the state. But city staff members noted that financing costs may not be as significant if a cheaper way to build the project is found.

    Resident Brad Cole urged the council to hold off so the city’s new leaders can make the final decision on the ambitious project. After the meeting, he said he was encouraged by the vote.

    “The council listened and agreed to take a look at this without ramming it through neighborhoods,” he said. Cole said the city previously had done a poor job of communicating with residents, saying he learned his yard lay in the likely path of a new water main only when he discovered survey markings on his lawn.

    Maund said a Bolton Menk surveyor told her that digging could extend from the street and boulevard into her yard and driveway.

    Whalen noted that while boulevards are city-owned, the trees on them are about 15 years old — planted when the neighborhood was developed. “If you replant them with little tiny ones, we’re basically starting all over again,’ she said. “It changes the character of the neighborhood.”

    Rail route discounted?

    Peterson said the firm had considered routing the water main away from the neighborhood to an area near the Dakota Rail Regional Trail. However, he said the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority owns the right of way along the trail and has a policy to not grant an easement if there’s a reasonable alternative for a route elsewhere.

    In an interview, Michael Noonan, Hennepin County’s real estate manager, said the county told Bolton Menk about the policy and the firm backed off without making a request that the county provide information about other route alternatives.

    “We simply said, ‘Do your homework and make your request,’ ” Noonan said. “They just withdrew.”

    Bolton Menk’s plan with one water treatment plant initially was priced at $16 million, about twice the upfront cost of the discarded plan for a decentralized system with two smaller plants. But the decentralized system would have additional costs down the line.

    Rising construction costs have pushed up the price of Bolton Menk’s project to about $20 million and could mean higher-than-projected increases in user rates.

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