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Archives for October 8, 2015

Drought tolerant landscaping makes homeowner happy

REDDING, Calif. –

Each Wednesday, viewers share ideas about how to conserve water as part of KRCR News Channel 7’s Water Wednesday drought coverage.

Bob McAllister of Redding has saved large amounts of water after removing his grass lawn. In its place, are  drought tolerant landscaping and colored rocks in the shape of a sun with a smiley face.

“I recently removed over 1,800-square-feet of lawn, front and back, and decided to replace with drought resistant trees and shrubs with drip irrigation. (I) am saving over 3,000 gallons per week. In addition, I added permanent sunshine to the front yard so it’s always happy at my house,” McAllister wrote.

Send your water saver tip to

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Fruita Gateway Enhancement Project: You be the designer

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Husqvarna Unveils Ideas for the Future of Professional Landscaping

HUSKVARNA, Sweden, Oct. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — What if your trimmer could talk to your smartphone, or smart watch, and help you do landscaping in new ways? Following the positive response to the sensor based fleet management system Husqvarna Fleet Services, Husqvarna presents a concept of a connected battery that can collect and provide real-time data from power tools. Featuring the connected battery technology idea, Husqvarna also unveils a design concept hedge trimmer for the future, with a visor that uses real-time data and augmented reality to support operators.

To view the Multimedia News Release, please click:

During a press event in Antwerp, Husqvarna unveiled a prototype of a lithium battery with integrated Bluetooth connectivity – a connected battery. Tools equipped with the new battery prototype will be able to share valuable information about themselves to their user. The battery prototype can easily be paired with an operator’s smartphone or a smart watch, to either provide the operator direct information, or to pass on information to other members of the team, such as other operators, managers, technicians or dealers.

Battery and connectivity constitute the biggest leap in our industry since motorizing outdoor products, says Kai Wärn, CEO and President of the Husqvarna Group. “The connected battery and our concept hedge trimmer demonstrate Husqvarnas commitment to pioneer high performing battery products and leverage the possibilities of the Internet of Things.

Multiple benefits of real-time data

The requirement for landscapers to increase productivity and end-results calls for high-performing and efficient tools. When powering tools with intelligence, landscapers can start developing new ways of working. For example, avoiding downtime by shifting from reactive maintenance if a machine breaks down, to proactive maintenance, as the tools themselves can alert and prepare managers and technicians when they need service.

Other examples of opportunities from real-time data provided by the connected battery prototype:

  • Improving skills: Tools can give direct feedback and guidance on how to use them, helping operators to refine their technique as well as help beginners use the tool in a professional and optimized way faster.
  • Improving safety: The new battery opens up new opportunities to improve user safety, as well as to prevent theft by locking your machine so someone else cannot use it.
  • Improving team communications: Getting an instant overview enables team leaders to go from ‘how did we do today’ to ‘how are we doing right now’ and thus be more flexible in adjusting directives or allocating resources differently if something unexpected happens.
  • Improving planning: With the data and insights provided by the connected battery, team leaders will have better intelligence to support their planning, both short and long term.

Husqvarna RamusTM A design concept for the future

To manifest the belief in the potential from battery and connectivity, Husqvarna has also created ‘Husqvarna RamusTM‘ – an intelligent and super light futuristic concept hedge trimmer that employs the same technology as in Husqvarna’s connected battery prototype. The concept trimmer features existing technologies from the forefront of several different industries, some examples include:

  • Super light cutting blades in carbon fibre and liquid metal, with individual sensors on each blade to govern exactly how much power the battery should provide for the job at hand.
  • An augmented reality visor that uses data to support the operator in real-time with everything from machine status information to projected cutting patterns while cutting.
  • An integrated micro camera that displays the cutting view within the operator’s visor when cutting high hedges or complicated angles out of sight.

The prototype of the connected battery and the Husqvarna RamusTM concept hedge trimmer was unveiled on September 30th at an international event about the future of landscaping, held by Husqvarna in Antwerp, Belgium. The prototype of the connected battery is currently patent-pending and further details are to be defined.

Husqvarna Fleet Services

Husqvarna was first in deploying connectivity to outdoor power products and in 2014 ‘Husqvarna Fleet Services’ was introduced – an online service platform that supports landscaping professionals with data from smart sensors added on to products. The aim is to integrate the new connected battery with Husqvarna Fleet Services when available to the market. And just now, Husqvarna is launching a smartphone app version of Husqvarna Fleet Services that further supports work in the field and increases crew involvement. For example, the new app allows team leaders and operators to access assignment details on the map and even record and submit new business opportunities identified by the operators while working in the field.

Link to high res images and video


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Keyhole gardens: a drought-friendly twist on raised beds

Americans whose gardens have been toasted by drought might consider a landscaping concept from Africa. It’s called keyhole gardening, and some believe it’s the ultimate in raised-bed design: a sustainable combination of composting and planting.

Keyhole gardens are small — typically no more than 3 feet high and 6 feet in diameter — and look like iconic keyhole shapes when viewed from above. From the side, they can resemble a tall earthen pie with a giant slice taken out.

They don’t need fertilizer, use 80 percent less water than the normal backyard patch, tolerate hot climates and are easier to tend because they’re at waist level.

Keyhole gardening was pioneered in Africa and became popular there again recently through initiatives by humanitarian aid groups.

A keyhole garden’s primary asset is drought tolerance, although it also works in temperate climates, said Eddie DeJong, co-founder of Vita Gardens in Sarnia, Ontario. The company makes keyhole garden kits.

The gardens get their nourishment from compost and water poured down an open-ended tube in the middle of the garden bed.

“After the garden has been established, it should be watered primarily through the compost basket and less and less around the bed itself,” DeJong said. “This trains the vegetables to grow deep roots down to where the moisture and the nutrients are.”

Structural components commonly include native and recycled materials such as straw bales or bricks.

Some commercial kits offer a more tailored look for use on patios and decks. DeJong said his company is working on lighter, more compact sizes for keyhole gardens, and aluminum and composites for a modern, urban look.

Keyhole gardens have proven to be more productive for nursery owner Rose Marie McGee than regular raised beds.

“Some of this is probably due to the hundreds of worms the keyhole garden promotes,” she said. “And an abundance of worm castings is one of the best fertilizers and soil conditioners.”

The Associated Press

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Home-and-garden makeover central – The Register

The 33rd annual Lane County Home Improvement Show, Oct. 9-11 at the fairgrounds in Eugene, will help visitors see and realize the potential that exists throughout their homes and gardens.

With more than 230 exhibits full of solutions for homeowners and a theme of “Great Home Garden Transformations,” the show will feature new products, innovative ideas and expert advice — including from HGTV and DIY Network host Jeff Devlin in sponsorship by PenFed Credit Union— focused on all types of renovations, remodels, restorations and repairs.

The fall show is for interviewing and lining up remodelers and builders. “With everything and everyone under one roof, the show is an efficient way to source ideas, products, experts and inspiration for virtually any project,” says show promoter Karen Ramus, owner of Berg Productions Inc.

Fall home-show attractions include colorful fall landscapes, live music in the entrance and show gardens, large mums offered at special prices, free hourly home and garden seminars, and early holiday gift shopping options.

Show hours are 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; and
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Free expert advice

An annual highlight of the show is its extensive lineup of free how-to seminars presented by local and visiting experts — highlighted this year by HGTV and DIY Network host Jeff Devlin, star of such shows as DIY’s “I Hate My Bath” and “Good, Better … Best” and HGTV’s “Spice Up My Kitchen.” (Learn more about Devlin — a historic restoration carpenter for more than 20 years — and his daily home-improvement seminars in a story on Page 11.)

Altogether, 36 free how-to clinics and presentations on home and garden improvement topics will happen on the home show’s three stages; the schedule appears on Page 10 and online at eugene

The Remodel it Now! Stage will host 12 talks by local experts on a variety of building, remodeling and design topics, from inspiring kitchen remodels to home earthquake preparedness.

The Project Stage will host gardening and landscaping seminars, such as “The Relaxed Gardener” and Home Garden Monthly columnist John Fischer teaching edible winter gardening and easy fruit and vegetable drying methods, and the OSU Extension Service conducting demonstrations on fall garden care, adaptive gardening, sustainable landscaping and composting.

And at the PenFed Credit Union Stage, the show-sponsoring credit union will present five financial readiness seminars; at each, one attendee will win a $250 gift card good at The Home Depot.

Products, services showcase

Beyond the seminars, home-show attendees can tap into helpful one-on-one advice by consulting individual vendors (see the complete list, arranged by area of specialty, in the directory starting on Page 5).

The best projects start with a conversation with an expert or two, notes Ramus, the show organizer.

“It’s not easy to sit home waiting weeks to meet up with contractors to discuss your dreams for your home,” she says. “With 11 new home builders, 17 remodelers and nine landscaping firms staffing exhibits for their at-show job interviews, the show is an ideal place to start those interviews.”

Ramus encourages anyone planning home or garden projects to bring a list of questions and ideas, and any relevant photos or plans that can help in discussing projects and budgets with multiple contractors.

With more than 225 exhibits, including 35 new exhibiting companies, the show allows visitors to see and learn about many new products and services. Vendors present fashion-forward colors, trending material choices and new product innovations.

Just a few new products to be featured are the Red Rhino TV Box, an all-in-one entertainment center designed to stream video movies and television without a monthly bill; a chef’s line of gourmet Wolf countertop appliances, from toaster ovens to blenders, from the Appliance TV Center; and the “Best Hummingbird Feeder Ever,” an American-made, dishwasher-safe feeder with more than 30 feeding ports.

The fall show also is timed right for scheduling furnace tune-ups and looking into other home heating improvements or repairs.

With many related vendors under one roof, the show allows convenient comparison of multiple brands, pricing and features on heating systems, stoves and fireplaces.

Heating contractors can assist with the selection of more-efficient furnaces, explain new technologies and innovative heating systems, discuss rebates and help determine what system works best in a retrofit installation.

While the gardening season is winding down, the show also offers many products of interest to gardeners.

Examples include extendable pruning tools, expanding rakes, leaf totes, mini-barns, ponds, greenhouses, solar lanterns, gloves, work boots and gigantic fall mums sold by McKenzie River Nursery.

Show gardens, music, prizes

Gardeners seeking inspiration, as well as other visitors, may walk through colorful fall-themed garden vignettes including “Fall in Love with Your Garden” created by Burch’s Landscaping Service; the “Backyard Tailgating Garden” by Rexius; and the “Glorious Fall Garden” by Graham Landscape.

Local musicians will play in some of the gardens during the show. Passin’ Notes will perform 1950s-70s music at the show entrance Saturday morning. And in the lobby piano lounge, Northwest composer and Grammy-nominated pianist Charles Suniga will perform throughout the weekend.

In the lobby, show guests also may register for more than $7,000 in prizes sponsored by KEZI-9, including The Garden Shed crafted by Quality Woodcraft; a Corsicana memory foam queen mattress set from The Mattress Company; a Broil King Gas Grill; and a Kettler patio set/umbrella, both from Emerald Hearth, Spa Patio.

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Jacksonville Zoo Wins Awards For Tiger Exhibit Landscaping

1 year ago

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Gardening Tips: Time to start the final fall clean up

Tuesday, October 06, 2015   by: Susan Richards

October has arrived following the nicest September we have had in quite a few years!

The bit of rain we had last week and cooler temperatures has resulted in leaves starting to colour up.

I hope you get a chance to take a drive and enjoy the show!

I am sure most of you are well ahead of me in your yard work, but if you are not, here are a few gardening tips for the end of the season:

1. Get your lawn in order now so you will have less work in the spring: Rake up and compost leaves.

To speed up the composting process, run the lawn mower over the leaves to chop them up.

The smaller the size heading into the compost pile, the faster you will get finished compost ready to use in the garden.

Give your lawn a final short cut, this will make spring raking easier.

If you have time now, hand dig any perennial weeds you come across.

Be sure to get the entire root or they will be back to haunt you in the spring.

2. Clean out garden beds to get a head start on spring work: Pull out dead annuals. Chop them up and add them to the compost pile.

Weed beds and cultivate the soil. Add organic material such as compost, composted manure, coir fibre or peat moss.

This will improve the soil texture and compost will add nutrients ready to be used by plants in the spring. Edge any beds that have had the lawn encroaching into them.

Plan to put in lawn edging in the spring if this is a good solution for your problem.

3. Cut back all your perennials that have finished blooming. There still may be some colour left on Autumn Sedum, Toad Lilies and Anemones, but all others are probably finished.

Leave 3 to 4 inches of stem showing so you will know where the plants are in the spring.

Make sure any foliage from plants that had disease or bad insect infestations are bagged to be put out in the garbage rather than going to the compost pile.

This will help prevent a serious problem next season. Add organic material at least an inch thick to the bed.

Turn it into the top layer of soil before you level the bed.

4. As long as your hybrid roses have had a hard freeze to harden off the stems, they should be ready to be covered for the winter.

Prune off any dead stems before you cover the plants.

Put a rose collar around each plant and fill it full of soil or compost.

This will freeze solid as temperatures drop, but not thaw and freeze numerous times throughout the winter.

You can cut the stems that are not cover or wait until spring to do all the pruning once roses are uncovered.

Remember, hardy shrub roses do not need winter protection.

5. Make sure you have all the supplies you need on had to winterize any tender trees and shrubs. (You can refer to my previous article on this subject for full details.)

It is not too early to put on white plastic spiral tree guards to prevent rodent damage or to wrap the tender bark of young trees with Tree Wrap to prevent frost cracks.

I hope you get a chance to put your yard in order before the snow comes to stay.

With any luck we won’t have an early snowfall like last November that never did go away.

If you don’t get everything done, don’t panic.

There have been years I have not managed to get through my entire fall chore list. It wasn’t a big disaster.

Spring clean up just took a little more time the next year!

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Up-to-date gardening tips & tools

Shovels, rakes, spades and trowels are mainstay tools for home gardeners, yet these tools don’t fall into a one-size-fits-all category.

As gardening season picks up here, consider these suggestions by Real Simple.

• Before buying, pick up the tool and test its comfort in your hand. If a tool feels too big or too heavy, you may injure your hand. If a handle is too long, you may sacrifice comfort. D-shape handles on tools with short shafts provide comfort and are easier on the wrist.

• If buying tools online, be sure they are returnable.

• Choose tools with wood or coated, metal handles, as they are strong and not too heavy. Ash and hickory wood tools are most durable, Douglas fir is not. Avoid tools with painted handles as they may disguise low-quality wood.

• Look for gardening tools with these words or terms: “solid-socket,” “carbon steel,” “stainless steel,” “tempered” and “epoxy-coated,” as they indicate well-made tools.

• Hang tools with long handles on a peg rack to keep edges from dulling.

Hand rake: Gather and pick up bunches of leaves or pods under and around plants more easily with the OXO Good Grips hand rake. The tines can be adjusted from a 3-inch to 12-inch spread and the handle length is also adjustable. Ideal for small and large jobs. $16.

Hand trowel: A bit smaller than standard trowels, this rust-resistant trowel can get into tight spots and is ideal for transplanting. The carved wood handle is sturdy and comfortable yet lightweight. Comes with a leather cord in handle for hanging., $17.

English Y-Stakes: Ideal for plant, flower and cactus support, yet hardly visible, each stake has two vinyl-casted galvanized arms to contain bending and control shaping. Each arm has an eyelet on the end for adding wire or twine for increased support. Aluminum shaft is powder coated and will not rust. Pointed end inserts easily. Available in 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-foot heights at $9.95, $12.95, $19.95 and $21.95 respectively. Two per pack.

Spiral Birdfeeder: This decorative spiral-circling feeder allows multiple birds to perch and nibble at the same time. Made with a built-in hanger, an easy-open lid that stays attached and won’t fall, and drainage hole at the bottom. Holds six cups of seed., Item #8589161, $24.95

Chicken Wire Cloche: Protect new and tempting plants from nibbling rabbits and other desert critters while allowing them to get established and receive needed sunlight and water. 16-inch diameter, 12½-inches high, 1 lb. 1 oz., Item #8590210, $19.95, 3 or more $18 each

Contact Green Valley/Sahuarita freelance reporter Ellen Sussman at

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Gardening Tips for Cooler Weather from the High Plains Food Bank

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Frost’s Garden Centre offer some top tips on looking after your garden in October

October is time to tidy up the garden for Winter…

So cut back cottage garden perennials that have finished for the year, and old well established clumps can be lifted and divided into smaller clumps to regenerate the plant. Give some of the spares to your friends to plant!

Any summer flowering shrubs that are tall such as Buddleia, lavatera or Cornus Alba which are normally pruned hard in February can be lightly trimmed to avoid wind rock over the winter.

Tender plants should be bought in now to protect from the winter and any alpine containers should be moved closer to the house to protect them from getting over wet during the winter months, or you could place in a porch or cold glasshouse.

Apple and pear harvest should be in full swing, making sure they are all harvested before any gales. New rhubarb crowns can be planted out now ready for next Spring, established ones can be lifted and divided if required. Make sure you also get your Spring cabbages planted ready to harvest next year.

Wallflowers will be available to plant now along with Mysotis (forget me not) and Pansies for some Autumn and early Spring colour, put some Spring bulbs under your bedding for additional interest and longer display of flower colour. 

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