Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 22, 2015

Top weekend picks: Sept. 24-27

Digging up history: Join UNC-Greensboro and private archaeology firms on their journey to discover what’s beneath North Carolina’s oldest government buildings. Archaeologists and investigators will share what they know so far, talk about techniques of finding well-hidden history and offer a free tour and presentation. Free; 11 a.m. Saturday; research observation from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday; North Carolina State Capitol, 1 E. Edenton St., Raleigh.

Pride Night: Raleigh will participate in North Carolina’s 31st annual LGBT Pride Festival by playing host to the festival’s official nightlife. Downtown bars will feature drink specials, block parties and special entertainment throughout the weekend. Other events will be held across the Triangle. Thursday through Sunday; various locations in downtown Raleigh;

A taste of southern style: The Southern Ideal Home Show is the Triangle’s largest home and garden event, with vendors on hand to help with ideas for building, remodeling and landscaping. Visitors can buy directly from vendors to get started on home improvement projects. $9, free for children 15 and younger; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; North Carolina State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Road, Raleigh.

Korktoberfest: The Raleigh Wine Shop will host its 5th annual Korktoberfest and storewide sale. The event will feature free wine tastings from around the world. The store will also welcome Capital Club 16 for an authentic German lunch on Saturday and Cousins Main Lobster Food Truck on Sunday. Free except for purchases; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; 125 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh.

Fun with a purpose: La Fiesta del Pueblo will celebrate Latino culture. The event will feature folk music and art, dance exhibitions and Latin-American food. Educational booths will be available for those looking for local resources on health care and other services. Free; noon to 7 p.m. Sunday; Fayetteville Street, downtown Raleigh.

Article source:

Macon’s Kings Park sees progress, setbacks

When trimming his greens in the garden, William James Gray removes the dry, yellowed leaves.

“You break the dead ones off and they’ll come back,” Gray said as he bent over to prune some of the plants. Last season’s crop was fading as new growth was about to spring from newly planted seeds.

The 83-year-old farms the vacant lots around his home in east Bibb County’s Kings Park neighborhood, keeping down the weeds, watering the plants and getting rid of pests.

Neglect can be ugly, as evidenced by other abandoned lots around him.

The yard of the boarded-up house across the street nearly hides its forgotten facade.

Removing dilapidated, vandalized and burned-out buildings might breathe new life into the subdivision that sparkled with new houses in the early 1970s.

But demolition of even the worst eyesores mires into months of legal wrangling.

In the year since The Telegraph launched “The House Next Door” project to highlight the blight epidemic across Macon-Bibb County, the list of problem properties has grown.

Although government officials have yet to uproot the worst of the worst, its leaders are plowing the ground to try to turn the neighborhood around.


Lurlean Rhodes has been trying to get something done about her street for months.

She brought it up at a neighborhood association meeting and spoke up at a meeting Mayor Robert Reichert held at the East Macon gym.

Last month, the morning after an evening shower, Rhodes was chatting in lawn chairs with neighbors Richard and Sharon Finney.

Water was puddled along the curb once again, but she did not appear to be upset about it. Crews had been out to cut away asphalt to improve drainage during the county’s 5X5 project, a neighborhood improvement initiative that targets five-block areas for five weeks of concentrated work.

“It made me feel much better because they did try to help me out to keep that from puddling,” Rhodes said. “They tried to fix it where it would drain. They really did, but it still puddles some.”

Beginning in mid-July, Macon-Bibb workers spent five weeks there, making repairs, sprucing up public property and enhancing the neighborhood’s community center and park.

Richard Finney, who remembers when ball fields were built at the park, doesn’t think enough is being done.

“These politicians need to stop being politicians and do something,” he said.

In the community’s glory days, that new park kept him from walking all the way from the neighborhood near Masseyville Road to Drake’s Field near Davis Homes, or to a practice lot in Baconsfield where the Kroger supermarket is now.

“Been a lot of changes,” he said.

Things were different when he was growing up, living down the street from his grandmother. He lives in her house now after coming back home from the military.

“Oh man, a lot of discipline,” Finney said of his early days. “I refuse to allow kids just to be disrespectful.”

Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Elaine Lucas understands the generational divide that happens in many modern neighborhoods.

Older, more stable homeowners tend to shoulder the responsibilities of neighborhood associations.

Lucas worked closely with Kings Park’s association President Theresa Hugley while identifying projects to address during the 5X5. But the new roofing on picnic shelters and the mulch on the playground did little to impress Shirley Person and Christine Shinholster.

The sisters grew up on Majestic Court and remember a time when the whole neighborhood came together.

“I watched them build Kings Park,” the 51-year-old Shinholster said.

“Newcomers tear things up,” Person, 53, added.

The women and their grown children were unfazed by efforts made to enhance the park. The family sees more areas for improvement.

“They need to put trash bins down there,” Person said. “They just don’t do anything out here they say they’re going to do.”

The sisters would like to see the community center come alive again with summer lunch programs and other seasonal activities for the younger crowd.

Unlike some neighbors, they don’t think there are good and bad sides of Kings Park.

Shinholster’s son, who is in his early 30s, was wounded in a shooting on their street in June that killed 19-year-old Andrew Sims.

They said the troublemakers are not from the neighborhood.

“It’s coming from outside here,” Shinholster said.

In early July, Bibb County Sheriff David Davis led a safety walk focused on community outreach.

Lucas sees the county making great strides in tending to the people’s concerns that seemingly were ignored for decades.

She got her first good look at the blight during her campaign for county commissioner a couple of years ago. Kings Park was not in her district while she served on Macon City Council.

“There was so much that needed to be cleaned up,” Lucas said.

Neighbors joined in the summer’s 5X5 focus, and county department heads are submitting a report on all the manpower and money spent over the five weeks that ended last month.

During that time, three more homes were added to a demolition list.

Of the 52 properties the county deems in violation of maintenance codes, 27 include unsafe or condemned buildings. The county had 43 properties on the list a year ago.

Although 31 new cases were added since then, the 5X5 project resolved 11 of those issues.


Alex Howard’s family home is still in limbo with its remnant of a roof continuing to cave in.

Howard said he’s found a drier place to stay, but he still looks out for the house.

“See if anybody’s set it on fire because there has been a lot of arson lately,” said Howard, who blocked the end of the driveway with stacks of old tires he found dumped near the “no dumping” sign at a dead end on Kings Park Circle.

The county declared his house unsafe last year, but Howard does not really know when or if it will be torn down.

He thinks a burned-out house facing his house should have been razed months ago.

“We’ve got some houses on this street that got very little history of somebody staying in it,” he said.

When The Telegraph visited last year, a young family was living across from Howard.

They are gone now, and the house is vacant. The front door stands open, and the grass is high.

Still, Howard has hope from the recent attention.

“The community’s trying to get together,” he said. “They’ve got walk-throughs and stuff like that. It helps. It gets them a little focused and sets a tone to the neighborhood.”

Lucas does not want to lose that momentum.

Dumpsters full of trash were removed, overgrown trees were cut back and new relationships forged. Laminated cards with contact information for county services were distributed to residents.

“So now they know who to call and when to call when they have a problem,” Lucas said. “We want to sustain the positive attitudes. There’s a lot that’s been going on, but the plan is now to sustain.”

A Shalom Zone that would bring leadership training and other benefits is in the works, along with a Citizens On Patrol organization to train neighbors to be on the lookout for suspicious activity. Meanwhile, Friends of Tattnall Square Park has agreed to share ideas for landscaping and other improvements.

Lucas wants the Kings Park neighborhood, young and old, to work together to make things better.

“They all have a responsibility for keeping it clean, not just the older folks,” she said.

Gray has decided to stop mowing the lawn of the house next door that’s been vacant four or five years.

“I’m just going to leave it be,” he said. “I hate to let it grow up, but I’ve got to let it go.”

On the mend from cancer, Gray still gets out in his garden most every morning when it’s not raining.

Now that Kings Park’s problems are getting some attention, he sees a sunnier outlook for his community.

“It’s going pretty good, now,” he said. “I can see a lot of improvement they’re doing, I can see them starting out on it. I appreciate that.”

To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303, and follow her on Twitter@liz_lines.

Article source:

Plan an easy landscape project

As leaves begin to bud on trees across the country and temperatures finally start to climb, landscaping can become a great weekend project.

Jeff Burke with Budget Landscaping has been landscaping since 1978 and has been serving Houston-area homeowners for the past 18 years. He said most landscaping projects run an average of $2,500.
Burke said that because his company has little overhead, it’s able to work with homeowners to guide them through the landscaping process inexpensively. He said he’s also able to offer homeowners solid tips and ideas.
Start Brainstorming

First, Burke said that homeowners should get to know the people who run local nurseries. Second, homeowners should get to know their neighbors, cultivating ideas and sharing experiences so that the amateur landscaper neither wastes time nor money in undergoing a project doomed to fail because of soil conditions or climate.
Many of Burke’s landscaping ideas have nothing to do with green things — some center on rocks.
For example, he said one of his favorite inexpensive projects is to lay some flagstone rocks around the foundation of a house. He said he also likes to create ponds comprised of moss rock.
In both instances, Burke recommended that plants be removed and replanted in and around the rock areas to achieve a natural look.
The addition of a bench to a back yard is not only decorative, it’s useful. For homeowners who are feeling a bit more leisurely, Burke recommended planting a couple of cypress, pine or oak trees just far enough apart to fit a hammock.
If a monthly bill isn’t a tremendous concern, water placed within the proper context can add a splash of beauty to any landscape. Burke recommends that customers who are interested buy their own fountains at wholesale prices. He then adds flagstone underneath and plants irises around the edges.
Inexpensive landscaping projects can involve the entire family, as well.
“(Annuals) can add beauty to a home, and you can make it a family project, too,” said John Buechner with Lawn Doctor.
Annuals are plants with a life cycle of only one year — they germinate, flower and then die.
Burke said he likes planting a few small trees, such as pines, at the side of a house to spruce up a home’s profile. Having lived everywhere from Venezuela to Laredo, Burke said he’s grown to appreciate everything from rainforests to orchids, pansies and pine trees.
On the other hand, Buechner said that improving a house’s landscape can be as much the result of peer pressure as it is an appreciation for beauty.
“Landscaping and how your lawn looks is a personal decision,” he said.
Even the government has entered the landscaping business. The Environmental Protection Agency features “A Source Book on Natural Landscaping for Public Officials.”
Pro Might Be Best

If after all this, no ideas for an inexpensive landscaping project come to mind, perhaps it’s best to let the pros have a look. According to Associated Content, many homeowners actually waste money trying to save it by doing it themselves.
Buechner said most of Lawn Doctor’s customers look to spend a minimum of $300 on even the most inexpensive landscaping projects.
“For almost the same amount of money, he could buy our services,” Buechner said.
Likewise, Burke said that homeowners who aspire to a little do-it-yourself landscaping shouldn’t necessarily avoid professional service companies just because of costs.

Article source:

At Scotland’s Crawick Multiverse Garden, You Can Look into the Void

Have you ever wanted to meander between two spiral galaxies, or follow in the footsteps of a comet? Now visitors to southwest Scotland’s Nith Valley can do just that. Welcome to the “Crawick Multiverse,” a massive installation created by renowned landscape architect Charles Jencks that gives symbolic physical form to some of our most abstract physics theories.

It’s not the first such garden Jencks has landscaped — he’s done other science-themed projects in Beijing, Edinburgh, and Dublin, among others — but it is possibly the largest and most ambitious, spanning 55 acres. In a fascinating long piece at Atlas Obscura, Aline Simone — whose father is famed cosmologist Alexander Vilenkin — describes the Multiverse as a mashup of scientific disciplines and styles, combining “the austerity of a Japanese rock garden with the whimsey of an Alexander Calder mobile; an improbable marriage of Seussian shapes and GPS precision.”

The American-born Jencks, 76, spent over three years bringing his vision to life, bankrolled by Duke Richard Buccleuch, who forked over 1 million pounds for the project. Before he took on this massive project, the landscape had been ravaged by a failed coal-mining operation in the 1980s, leaving a mess of rubble and contaminated sewage behind. Over the course of three summers, aided by six men armed with diggers and dump trucks, Jencks’ vision for the Crawick Multiverse gradually took shape.


His interest in landscaping dates back to 1990, when he began helping his wife, Maggie Keswick Jencks (an expert on Chinese gardens), with a garden at their home in Dumfries. Tragically, she died of breast cancer five years later.

Jencks continued to work throughout her illness on what became the 30-acre Garden of Cosmic Speculation, and gradually a theme of the origins of the universe emerged via his now-trademark crescent pools, cones, twisty paths and concentric circles. Today the garden is among the most famous in Great Britain, and boasts Soliton Waves, Quark Walks, and Symmetry Breaks, to name just a few noteworthy elements.

The Crawick Multiverse features a “Void Shelter” that spirals downward to a small pool of water shaped like an apostrophe. There is a “Comet Walk,” a conical spire called the Belvedere Finger, twin stone circles representing the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies, two Black Holes, and an Omphalos — “a boulder-limned grotto symbolizing Earth’s mythic navel,” according to Simone. Finally, there is the Multiverse itself, a “spiraling mound lined with red sandstone and mudstone boulders.”

In her article, Simone describes the reactions of a some of the world’s top theoretical physicists to a special sneak-preview of Jencks’ project, including Bernard Carr of Queen Mary University. “I’ve spent so many years thinking about it but this is the first time I’ve actually entered it,” Carr mused, adding, “Of course, we’re all in the multiverse.”

Royal Astronomer Lord Martin Rees took a moment to ponder the implications of a multiverse for theoretical physics and cosmology:

“It’s a speculation which may be true,” Rees mused about the multiverse. “I like to think of it as a new Copernican Revolution. We’ve learned that the Earth’s not the center of the solar system. We learned that our solar system is one of zillions of planetary systems in our galaxy. We’ve learned that our galaxy is one of zillions of galaxies in the visible universe. But we’ve learned now that possibly, our visible universe, huge though it is, is just a tiny part of physical reality. And there may have been other big bangs leading to other cosmoses perhaps quite different from ours.”

And as Jencks himself has written, “What is a garden if not a celebration of our place in the universe?” Read the whole thing at Atlas Obscura.

Images: (top) Omphalos and distant galaxies in the Crawick Multiverse. (bottom) A map of the Crawick Multiverse. Both courtesy of Charles Jencks.

[Via Atlas Obscura]

Article source:

Plant Sale Returns Oct. 24 and 25

Plant Sale Returns Oct. 24 and 25

Many drought tolerant and California native plants will be for sale

Share this article:

The fall plants sale at UC Riverside’s Botanic Gardens will be held Oct. 24 and 25.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The 33rd annual Friends of U.C. Riverside Botanic Gardens Fall Plant Sale will take place Saturday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fall is the best time to plant California friendly perennials, shrubs, bulbs and wildflower seeds. Plants established in the fall and winter will grow faster in the spring and require less water during the summer.

Nearly 10,000 plants and more than 500 varieties of California native and California appropriate plants will be for sale. Choose from plants that attract hummingbirds or butterflies, drought tolerant and California native plants, as well as plants that have fragrant flowers or ones suitable for cut flowers or foliage.

A partial plant list is available on the web site of the Botanic Gardens. Most of the plants for sale will have a detailed information sign and color photo. University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) Riverside County Master Gardeners, gardens staff and volunteers will be on hand to give advice and garden troubleshooting tips.

The Master Gardeners will also be selling organically grown cool-season vegetables, herbs and beneficial flowers.

In addition, several free programs and demonstrations will be held:

  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 11:30 a.m., “The New California Garden…Make Every Drop Count!” A panel of UCCE Riverside County Master Gardeners with years of experience in natives, cactus, succulents, water-wise gardening and adaptive irrigation, will answer your questions about gardening and landscaping in California’s dry Mediterranean climate.
  • Saturday, Oct. 24, 1 p.m., “Edible Landscaping with Cool-Season Vegetables.” Christine Lampe, a UCCE Riverside County Master Gardener, will speak about incorporating edible plants into your landscape design. Herbs and vegetables can add beauty to your garden and taste great. Many will also attract beneficial predators, butterflies and birds.
  • Sunday, October 25, 1 p.m., “Children’s Activity – Leaf Rubbings Wildflower Bookmarks!” Erin Snyder, Resource Educator with the Riverside-Corona Resource Conservation District (RCRCD), will show your child how to create leaf rubbings and make wildflower bookmarks! Parents can learn more about educational materials, programs, school garden planning support and mini-grants available free of charge through the RCRCD.

For more information on the plant sale visit, contact the Botanic Gardens at 951-784-6962, or send an email to

The Botanic Gardens cover more than 40 acres and feature nearly 3,000 plant species from around the world.  Enjoy beautiful vistas and numerous scenic trails, including gentle pathways graded for wheelchair access.  A wide array of blooming plants can be seen year around.

Archived under: Science/Technology, , , ,

Top of Page

Article source:

Feed your roses and find a low-maintenance salvia – tips from Malcolm Campbell

See exotic orchids in Enfield this weekend.

Exotic orchids showing

THE Orchid club of SA have their huge spring show this weekend from 10am to 4pm on both Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th September in the Enfield Community Centre, 540 Regency Road Enfield. They have plants for sale and all the necessary orchid accessories, plus loads of expert advice on hand and lamingtons for afternoon tea.

Rose feeding

Remember to start your watering regime when you feed your roses if you want to avoid salt toxicity problems.Source:Supplied

MANY gardeners feed their roses at pruning time and then, as the soil moisture dries out rapidly in spring, they forget to start the watering regime and the nutrients they added a few months ago are now causing salt toxicity in the soil. Remedies are to water, of course, or use specially formulated rose plant tablets, which only release when soil moisture is present; unlike most controlled release prills that release with soil temperature!

Salvia solvers

Salvias are easily managed in our climate.Source:Supplied

I RECKON you could fill a flower garden with some of the various salvia species and cultivars. Most are easily managed in this climate and on our predominantly alkaline soils. If you want a low-maintenance garden with a drift of colour that will last all spring and summer and well into autumn, check out the salvia range. I have to confess that whenever I am working in a garden and a problem area arises I put in a few salvias and the problem is solved.

Sunny shrub

A DELIGHTFUL little evergreen shrub that grows to just 50cm tall and gets covered with red and yellow tubular flowers all spring and summer seems to have been lost in our gardens due to recent name changes. Once known as Jacobinia pauciflora it is now correctly described as Justica rizzinii and it is a popular source of nectar from visiting Eastern spinebills in some gardens I work in. It thrives in a sheltered spot that gets plenty of sun and is regularly watered, such as you might find near a well-kept lawn.

Hardy grey leaf succulent

THERE are many fine succulent foliage plants that thrive in our Mediterranean climate but one of my favourites is Cotyledon orbiculata, which is popular with the New Holland honeyeaters too. You really only need one plant and just keep breaking sections off to strike them en-situ and before long you will have quite a drift. I’m sure a patch on my verge has supplied the whole suburb with cuttings.


Lobelias love semi-shaded areas.Source:Supplied

FOR a semi-shaded aspect on almost any soil type, a drift of annual lobelias is hard to trump. They come in shades of blue and mauve to white and flower with such intensity on prostrate or trailing bushes that they are excellent fillers under fuchsias, hydrangeas and even roses. One punnet is never enough though and incorporate some compost into the soil before you plant as they appreciate an organic root run.

Never let a sucker survive

SPRING always sees a few root suckers emerge on citrus, so it’s time to remain vigilant and remove any that appear on the rootstock or they can soon dominate. I have seen older citrus trees so neglected that only the rootstock remains. The rootstock it pretty easily discernible as the bark changes colour at that point and it is usually at about soil level too. Of course root suckers or adventitious shoots appear on many plants but on citrus they seem to go more unnoticed.

Article source:

Garden tips: blackbirds, bearded iris, year-round flowers

Enabling Cookies in Internet Explorer 7, 8, 9 +

  1. Open the Internet Browser
  2. Click Tools (or “gear” icon at top right hand corner) Internet Options Privacy Advanced
  3. Check Override automatic cookie handling
  4. For First-party Cookies and Third-party Cookies click Accept
  5. Click OK and OK

Article source:

7 tips to maximize your fall garden

With summer officially giving way to fall this week, many gardeners might be tempted to pack up their trowels and call it a season rather than deal with the inevitable fallout of upcoming frost.

“But fear of frost and failure don’t have to stop you from enjoying a fruitful fall garden,” said Joan Casanova, spokeswoman for Bonnie Plants, a third-generation, century-old wholesale grower whose products are available in Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and 4,500 other independent outlets nationwide. “With the right plant choices and a few tricks, producing a hefty harvest can be easy.”

In fact, added Chuck Stoviak, nursery manager at Morristown Agway lawn and garden center in Morristown, “for a lot of gardeners, fall is one of the most colorful times of year and gardening this season remains a great stress-relieving hobby that gets you outside and in touch with nature.”

Stoviak and Casanova shared some of their best advice on what to plant, how to maintain it and other favorite tips to maximize your fall garden.

Frost-friendly vegetable choices

“Frost occurs when temperatures drop enough to condense and freeze the moisture in the air, which may occur frequently in the fall before the ground really becomes frozen, which is known as a ‘hard freeze,’” Casanova said. “However, by stocking your fall garden with frost-tolerant varieties, you can ensure that your garden remains victorious and bountiful right up to the first hard freeze (which you can estimate by visiting These choices include spinach, cabbage, collards and kale as well as certain root vegetables like radishes and turnips.”

Hearty plant options

“Seasonal items such as cabbage and kale provide a nice color show, and chrysanthemums (mums) are fall standards,” said Stoviak, who noted that cabbage tends to ‘color up’ further as the weather gets colder and can offer a great show all the way into December and beyond. “Other great plants to consider in the fall include ornamental grasses, which send up feathery plumes at this time of year and are very pretty, and Purple Beauty berry plants, which show off their bright fuschia berries this season and are a very interesting addition to a fall display. Another attractive option is Blue Mist Spirea, which has pretty blue flowers from late August through September and light blue, frosty-colored foliage, which is unusual against the traditional golds and reds of fall,” he said. “And though some gardeners like to cut down their ornamental grasses in the fall, I always advise them to leave them alone until the spring because they still offer a nice show through the wintertime.” Stoviak said gardeners should also consider certain plants such as black-eyed susans and coneflowers as well as some summer-blooming perennials for their fall gardens based on their interesting seedheads, which also provide nourishment for birds in the colder weather.

Permanent plantings

In addition to seasonal items, Stoviak suggests that gardeners consider planting permanent shrubs and trees to fill their garden or landscape during the fall. “This is a great time of year for larger trees and shrubs to be planted because the soil is still warm enough for root systems to establish without too much heat,” he said.

Get a good start

“After the hot summer we had, people’s gardens might have gotten brown around the edges, so be sure to water the garden and clean up fallen leaves,” Stoviak said. In addition, because time is of the essence, Casanova said, “start out with more mature plants to get your fall garden growing faster and ensure that your plantings are strong enough to endure unexpected or extreme temperature variations. And remember to choose short-season varieties that will produce quicker during fall’s shorter growing season.”


“Last fall was very dry, so it’s important to water new plants all the way through wintertime or they can experience winter burn,” Stoviak said. “Though we may retire inside when it gets too cold, those poor plants still require water. Consider an anti-transpirant spray like Wilt-Pruf brand on broad leaf evergreens such as azaleas, rhododendrons, laurel, and holly, which helps minimize dehydration in the plant.”

Guard against pests

In addition to removing fallen leaves or debris that may have collected in the garden and are harboring insects, “use an organic oil spray on trees and shrubs that have gone dormant to smother any summer pests that are overwintering on the plant or any eggs they may have laid,” Stoviak said.

Protect plants

“Choose a location for your garden that gets plenty of sun, especially in the morning when you’ll want plants to quickly shake off overnight chill; planting in a raised bed also helps insulate plants and their roots from ground freezes,” said Casanova, who noted that container gardens are also great for fall and are easy to bring inside for protection when a severe frost or hard freeze threatens. Gardeners can also cover plants against extreme cold, with one option being a cold frame. “Typically constructed of wood and glass or plastic, the frame sits over plants like a portable mini greenhouse,” she said, “and you can build your own by searching for and downloading plans online or by purchasing a prefabricated one. For less severe situations, simply turning a pot or bucket upside down over tender young plants can be enough to shield them from the cold.”

Share your Morris garden photos. Email EAbreu@GannettNJ or upload to

For more


Morristown Agway

176 Ridgedale Ave.,


Tel. 973-538-3232


Bonnie Plants

A national plant wholesaler providing tips, troubleshooting ideas and videos for home gardeners.


Article source:

Top tips for Florida fall gardening

It’s usually easier to tell when fall is approaching in Florida by college football on TV rather than a temperature change outside.

That said, if you want to plant an early fall garden from seed, you need to start before the weather changes. That means right about now when the days are reasonably long and the afternoons are still filled with lightning and thunder.

The list of vegetables you can grow here in South Florida is immense. They don’t call Palm Beach County the winter vegetable capital for nothing. Beans, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, carrots, lettuce – they are all reasonably easy to grow in your backyard. The king of the backyard garden has to be, however, the mighty tomato.

We save all of our own seeds each year. After years of trying various heirloom tomato varieties, we have settled upon five types: Kellogg’s Breakfast (large yellow), Black Cherry (medium-size cherry tomato, very prolific), Cherokee Purple (large, beefsteak style purple tomato), Chocolate Stripes (similar to Cherokee Purple, but with a beautiful green- and red-striped skin) and finally, Heinz 1439 (red, prolific salad-size tomato).

Most garden centers will have seed starter soil, which is ground finely to make sprouting easier. We start with that in either very small pots or individual trays, or in peat pots or peat pot trays.

I usually wet the soil in each of the little pots before planting the seeds because it’s easier to work with. I use a toothpick to dig a tiny hole, about one to two times the depth of the seed. With tomatoes, I drop 2-3 seeds into each hole, then cover with soil and very lightly firm the soil. You don’t want to make it tough for the little guys to push through to the sunlight. Some will tell you to soak the seeds in water overnight before planting, but I’ve found they still sprout just as well without that step.

After planting, I water the soil again very carefully, then place in the full sun. That warm, moist soil will have the tomato seeds sprouting in about 5-7 days, sometimes even faster. I water the pots every morning, making sure the water can drain easily.

It’s not uncommon for every seed to sprout, so after a couple weeks, you will need to either thin out the sprouts (keep the strongest-looking one in each pot, throw the others away) or wait another week or two and separate them when putting them into bigger pots.

By about 3-4 weeks after they sprout, the seedlings will be big enough to put into larger pots or into the ground directly. I grow all my backyard tomatoes in pots, as with the other vegetables as well. A five-to-seven-gallon pot is best for each tomato plant. Fill it with good garden soil, preferably with a little Perlite mixed in to lighten the dirt for easier root penetration. Sand from the backyard is not the best thing to grow vegetables in – that’s why the muck in the Glades produces such wonderful produce.

A good weekly watering with a liquid fertilizer is needed, and use Dipel (an organic insect repellent) to keep the worms away. It’s best to water vegetable plants in the morning so they can dry by nightfall, keeping fungus at bay.

Within another month, your tomato plants will be big enough to need stakes to hold them up, and another month or so after that, you will be picking your own tomatoes.

And then you will discover how much better they are from your backyard than from a supermarket.

Article source:

Design Recipes: Transitioning seasons: Fall decorating tips

Local News

Remembering Elwyn Righetti on Memorial Day

Article source: