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Archives for January 9, 2016

Fielding Questions: Readers request a recap of poinsettia challenge

Start now by moving the poinsettia to a very sunny window with at least six hours of direct sunlight. Cut a hole in the bottom of decorative foil and place the plant in a drainage tray. Allow soil to dry between thorough waterings. Do not keep constantly moist. If in doubt, err on the dry side, because many poinsettias are killed from keeping soil soggy. Flower bracts usually remain colored for several months. Apply a Miracle-Gro-type fertilizer every six to eight weeks in winter.

In early May, cut the plant back to 4 to 6 inches above soil level, even if only bare stems remain. Repot in a container 2 or 3 inches larger in diameter than the existing pot. New growth will soon sprout.

Continue growing your poinsettia indoors in a bright, sunny window, or preferably move it outdoors in late May for the summer to a protected spot receiving morning sun and afternoon shade. Leave the plant in its pot, rather than planting it out. Fertilize every two weeks, and pinch branches back in early July to encourage a full, bushy, compact plant.

Bring indoors in late August before night temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Poinsettias bloom in response to day length. Beginning Oct. 1, give plants six to eight hours of bright sunlight during the day, and at least 14 hours of uninterrupted darkness each night. Move the plants to a dark room or closet, or cover with a large box from about 5 p.m. until 8 a.m. with no light from bright streetlights or adjoining rooms.

Continue the daytime sun and nighttime dark rotation for eight to 10 weeks, until the leaf-like bracts turn from green to red (or pink or white).

It’s work, but the process is a fun challenge.

Q: It’s great that in the paper you mentioned supporting locally owned garden centers. What are some of them in the Fargo/West Fargo/Moorhead area?

Thanks, and oh, by the way, I am late with a comment about our poinsettia plant, which did fairly well even though we were in Texas for two weeks in November. It produced two to three red blossoms, and I’ll definitely try it again next year. — Kathleen Bennett, Fargo.

A: As I’ve mentioned before, we need our locally owned garden centers and greenhouses because they hands-down provide the best selection of adapted trees, shrubs, fruits, annuals and perennials. Cheap plants from mass merchandisers are often not the best buy long term, and I would hate to see our shopping experiences limited to national chains.

In the wider metro area, you’ll find Baker Garden and Gift, Shotwell Floral and Greenhouse, S S Landscaping and Garden Center, Beyond Outdoors Garden Center, all Fargo; Paul Bunyan Nursery, Farmers Market, both West Fargo; Sheyenne Gardens, Harwood, N.D.; Hollands Landscaping and Garden Center, Ole’s Nursery, both Moorhead; Levi Runion Garden Center, Sabin, Minn.; and Greenleaf Nursery, Glyndon, Minn.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, please let me know and I’ll give a mention.

Q: My daughter recently took a class on succulent care at the Cactus Jungle in Berkeley, Calif., and came away with this tip: Don’t ever cover a pot’s drainage holes with stones or pot shards because that actually impedes drainage. To provide good drainage and still retain soil in the pot, cover the holes with pieces of the mesh-type seam tape that’s used on drywall. Sounds like a terrific idea. What are your thoughts? — Ms. Benson

A: This advice is great to hear because it reinforces what we’ve been discussing in our weekly column. Research shows the long-advised practice of putting a layer of stones or broken pot chips inside a pot to aid drainage creates a layer of change that disrupts drainage, instead of promoting it.

Instead, just fill the pot top to bottom with quality potting soil that is well-drained by nature. Since doing this, I’ve never been bothered with potting soil escaping from a pot’s drain holes. But if it’s a concern, the mesh-type drywall tape sounds like a reasonable way to cover the holes while allowing drainage.

As a side note, greenhouse growers don’t place anything in the bottom of the thousands of potted plants they produce, and soil washing out doesn’t seem to be problem.

If you have a gardening or lawn care question, email Don Kinzler at ForumGrowingTogether@hotmail.com. All questions will be answered, and those with broad appeal may be published, so please include your name, city and state for appropriate advice.

Article source: http://www.inforum.com/variety/3920175-fielding-questions-readers-request-recap-poinsettia-challenge

Seeds: Train to be a ‘green’ gardener

Every gardener wants a green thumb. But why stop there? This winter, become a totally “green” gardener.

“Green” gardeners know how to save water and make the most of the resources they have on hand. They nurture their soil along with their vegetables and flowers. They keep chemicals out of our rivers, lakes and oceans. They’re kind to wildlife and reap the benefits of “good” bugs.

And they grow amazing gardens, with bountiful harvests and beautiful plants.

Learn how to be a “green” gardener with the help of a 10-week course designed for local homeowners. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, at the Roseville Utility Exploration Center (1501 Pleasant Grove Blvd., Roseville) and continues through March 17. The fee is $55 for Roseville residents, $65 for non-residents, including all course materials. (Sign up by calling 916-746-1550 or visit roseville.ca.us/explore.)

A separate 10-week class, priced at $150, is geared to landscape professionals and will be held at the Sacramento Tree Foundation (191 Lathrop Way, Suite D, Sacramento) on Wednesday nights starting Jan. 27. (Register at ecolandscape.org by Thursday, Jan. 14.)

Cheryl Buckwalter of EcoLandscape is the facilitator for both courses. An expert in “river-friendly landscaping,” she’s taught hundreds of gardeners, both pros and hobbyists, how to be better stewards of their landscapes while helping the environment. These gardeners have created their own “greener” outdoor spaces, using the principles learned in EcoLandscape’s classes.

River-friendly landscaping is “an integrated, watershed-based approach to landscaping that works with nature to reduce waste, prevent pollution and support the integrity of the Sacramento region’s waterways,” she said.

“One distinction between (the two courses) is that this ‘at home’ series includes a class on edible gardening and one on landscape design,” Buckwalter explained. “Other class topics will be an overview of river-friendly landscaping, irrigation, (the concept of) right plant/right place, soil health, compost and mulches, pruning, integrated pest management, fertilizers and lawn care that includes lawn alternatives.”

Three sessions of the pro course are devoted to irrigation, including conversion of traditional sprinklers to drip systems. El Niño or no El Niño, water conservation remains a top priority for local water districts and utilities. The 10-week class is co-sponsored by EcoLandscape, the Regional Water Authority, the California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento County Stormwater and the city of Sacramento.

Licensed landscapers who complete the course can earn continuing education credits from several professional associations as well as the title of “qualified green gardener.”

“This training program is for everyone who designs, installs, maintains and manages landscapes,” Buckwalter said. “During this wonderfully wet season with cooler temperatures, now is the perfect time to broaden your knowledge and add to your menu of environmentally-friendly services.”

Because folks with no green thumb tend to hire people who do.

The ocean needs friends, too

Our inland suburban gardens affect a lot more than our immediate neighborhoods. What flows off our landscape goes into streams and rivers – and eventually the Pacific Ocean. Clean California beaches start here.

That reminder comes from the Surfrider Foundation, which recently launched its own “Ocean-Friendly Garden” program. Find out details and tips at www.surfrider.org.

Similar to river-friendly landscaping, ocean-friendly gardening concentrates on water – both its use and quality.

What’s an “ocean-friendly garden”? According to the foundation, it minimizes traditional turf and grass areas and instead focuses on creating a less-thirsty landscape with native plants.

Extra soil, used to create berms or swales, and mulch act as sponges to retain water, so plants have their own built-in reservoirs to keep them healthy, the foundation says. That “sponge effect” does more than hydrate plants; it can help prevent flooding during El Niño storms.

The goal is to limit runoff as well as use, notes the foundation. All water – rainwater or water used intentionally for irrigation – that isn’t absorbed by your soil runs off your property and into the street, picking up such pollutants as fertilizers, pesticides, automobile oil, brake pad dust and exhaust. That runoff goes untreated into storm drains that lead to the ocean.

Such urban runoff is the No. 1 cause of ocean pollution, the foundation says. Less runoff means cleaner water and beaches. That’s something everyone, not just gardeners, can appreciate.

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/home-garden/debbie-arrington/article53611770.html

Federal court to hear arguments for stopping Ann Arbor deer cull

A hearing in federal court is set for 2:15 p.m. Monday as a group of Ann Arbor residents seeks to halt the city’s deer cull.

The hearing will take place in the courtroom of Judge Arthur Tarnow of the U.S. District Court in Detroit.

A group called Ann Arbor Residents for Public Safety, led by Sabra Sanzotta, filed a lawsuit this week, challenging the legality of the city’s plan to bring sharpshooters into city parks at night to kill up to 100 deer this winter.

The plaintiffs filed a motion in federal court Friday afternoon, seeking preliminary injunction to immediately stop the cull.

That motion is the subject of Monday’s hearing.

It will be up to the judge to decide whether to hit the pause button on the cull while the lawsuit plays out.

“Plaintiffs want to establish the rule of law — there are state laws against hunting in cities, and the way hunting in general is to be carried out is closely legislated,” Sanzotta said, arguing the law is being ignored.

This past Monday was the earliest the cull could begin, though city officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, whose sharpshooters have been hired to carry out the cull, have declined to confirm whether any shots have been fired yet.

The cull permit approved by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources runs through March 1.

The lawsuit targets not only the city of Ann Arbor, but also the state and federal government for involvement with the planning and approval of the cull.

City Attorney Stephen Postema said Saturday that the state hadn’t officially been served with the lawsuit yet.

Postema said attorneys for the city and the federal government plan to appear in court Monday, and he’s working this weekend to prepare a response to be filed in court ahead of the 2:15 p.m. hearing.

Postema said he doesn’t know whether any shooting has begun in the parks because he’s not involved with that aspect and it’s not relevant to the hearing. He said there’s no legal prohibition to prevent cull activities.

Barry Powers, the Bloomfield Hills-based attorney representing the plaintiffs, said one of his clients, Sanzotta, was informed by police Friday morning that no shots had been fired as of 11:45 a.m. Friday.

City officials said earlier this week they were still working on getting updated notices about the cull posted in English, Chinese and Spanish at the two dozen parks and nature areas on the north and east sides of the city where shooting is planned between 4 p.m. and 7 a.m. on weekdays.

The city and the USDA don’t plan to do any shooting on Saturdays or Sundays, so parks can stay open on weekends.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs, the city and the federal government had a conference call with the judge Friday afternoon.

Powers said the attorneys for the defense provided no assurances that shooting would not begin before Monday’s hearing. So, in addition the motion filed earlier in the day, the plaintiffs filed an emergency application for temporary restraining order Friday afternoon. Postema said the judge declined to grant that request.

Based on park closure hours announced by the city for the cull, shooting could have taken place between 4 p.m. and midnight Friday, and shooting still could occur from midnight to 7 a.m. Monday before the court hearing.

Powers said it’s his understanding the city’s legal staff and administration is reevaluating the deer management plan, presumably with the DNR and USDA lawyers. He said the city needs time to satisfy itself it has the power to act, and it finds itself forced to do so in light of the lawsuit.

“It should have vetted these underpinning and obvious legal and constitutional questions long ago,” Powers said.

Postema declined to comment on Powers’ remarks, saying the city will be responding to the legal claims in court.

A request for comment from a USDA spokeswoman this week was referred to a representative from the U.S. Department of Justice who did not immediately respond to a request for an update on the status of the cull or the lawsuit.

The city hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit or the motion filed Friday, though city officials maintain the cull is legal as permitted by the DNR.

Representatives for the DNR did not provide a response when asked to point to a law that allows the DNR to permit culls in city parks.

“We are confident the federal courts will carefully scrutinize the constitutionality and legality of the joint and common plan of all three governments to join together to effectuate the public, nocturnal, and so far clandestine shoot-to-kill campaign in the backyards of the city’s men, women, and children residents of, and visitors to, the world-renown city of Ann Arbor — all at the costs of not only the Bill of Rights but of the very rule of law, itself,” Powers wrote in an email Saturday.

Powers said the lawsuit takes all three levels of government to task for violating the state and federal constitutional guarantees of separation of powers, disrespecting the principles of state-municipal preemption mandated under the Michigan Constitution, infringing the rights of residents to freedom of speech and information, and impairment of their rights to be safe and secure in their homes.

Additionally, Powers argues, the cull violates residents’ rights to quietude and bodily integrity, and their rights to not fear for their personal safety from the threat of “ultra-hazardous activity,” while chilling the rights of residents to fully enjoy the parks without fear of reprisal, and stifling their rights to move freely within and about their homes and neighborhoods. He said the cull also blatantly violates state and city gun safety and hunting laws, including provisions that outlaw possession, transportation and discharge of loaded weapons in cars or trucks, at night, with silencers, no matter what the target, and no matter the ends.

Powers argues the cull creates grave and imminent public safety risks without cause, and he says the city, state and federal governments so far have failed to demonstrate how the federal government, through a federally issued permit, has the power to trump state laws prohibiting the use of silencers and mufflers on the loaded weapons the USDA sharpshooters will be openly transporting.

Asked to address claims that hunting at night and the use of silencers is illegal in Michigan, Pam Boehland, a spokeswoman for USDA Wildlife Services, said earlier this week that Wildlife Services professionals are not hunters.

“It is not a sport or a hunt, but rather well-researched method to control the deer population and reduce damage in the most efficient and effective manner possible,” she said. “We are experienced with helping communities achieve common goals in resolving wildlife damage and disease issues. We use the latest tools and techniques to reduce disturbance and allow for efficient and safe, deer removal.”

In this case, Boehland said, the use of sound suppression is allowed in accordance with a federally issued permit.

“We comply with all state and federal laws,” she said.

As the legal debate heats up, Sanzotta is publicly distributing copies of emails traded between City Council members and pro-cull residents leading up to last year’s decision to move forward with a cull. She claims council members concocted a plan for a cull outside of the public view and before there was a public hearing, and that public safety is being jeopardized now as a result.

“The citizens are living in terror, especially those who live on the borders of the parks,” Sanzotta wrote in an email Thursday. “We call in to the city to ask if the hunting is happening tonight in our backyard — the city nor the police will tell us anything about it. They say they are not at liberty to say.”

Council members maintain there’s nothing wrong with trading emails with residents or forming opinions before a public hearing. They say there was strong evidence in support of lethal methods to reduce the deer population, and they’re still convinced a cull is needed to prevent long-term damage to the city’s nature areas and address residents’ complaints about damage to gardens and landscaping.

Ryan Stanton covers the city beat for The Ann Arbor News. Reach him at ryanstanton@mlive.com.

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/01/federal_court_to_hear_argument.html

Green Thumb: Gardeners share tips for solving common problems



Gardeners are always coming up with great ideas to make their work easier, their vegetable gardens more productive and their landscapes prettier.

Thankfully they love to share their successes — and even their failures — so others can benefit from their adventures.

The industrious volunteers at Germantown Farm Park have provided frequent fodder to this column because they are passionate about gardening and always willing to try new techniques.

They seem to never stop making refinements in their gardens even when winter weather keeps me indoors with a warm throw, a hot beverage and a book.

When Gail Easterwood read about using slinky toys to keep squirrels out of bird feeders, she decided to give it a try with a pink Slinky cadged from the toy box she keeps for her grandchildren.

Using twist-ties, she secured the Slinky at the top and bottom of the pole that supports her bird feeder. Despite taking running starts to scale the springy Slinky, most of the squirrels fall off before getting very far.

“Once in a while one will get up there, grab a few bites and jump off,” said Easterwood, a GFP volunteer. B.S., “before Slinky,” they were up there every day eating the food before the birds could get to it.

“The birds seem a lot happier now,” she said.

Evelyn Mosely, another farm park volunteer, and her husband Phil are always tweaking the edible beds in their Germantown yard. This year they are lengthening their growing season by planting broccoli, cabbages, lettuces, carrots, arugula, curly kale, Chinese and other greens in a high hoop greenhouse.

Even though the plants are under a covering made especially for greenhouses, insect pests manage either to get in from the outside or to emerge from the soil beneath.

The couple deterred some of them with a sprinkling of diatomaceous earth — the sharp fossilized remains of tiny fish that are fatal to all insects but harmless to humans.

But recently they called in the heavy hitters — their grandchildren and some (mostly) beneficial bugs.

After their daughter-in-law told them about the swarms of pesky Asian ladybugs seeking warmth in her house, Evelyn suggested the grandchildren nudge the spotted beetles into jars and bring them to the greenhouse to do battle with the bad guys.

It’s too soon to know which bugs will win, but their experiment is a fine example of gardeners finding creative solutions.

There’s nothing like seeing pretty flowers indoors and out on drab winter days. Some of the best are the camellias many of us grow outdoors with success during mild winters and disappointments during colder than average ones.

Former Californians Heather and Stephen Olney brought their love of camellias with them to Memphis about 35 years ago.

They purchased numerous varieties of camellias so they can expect blooms from November through March. They installed them in a row along a south-facing wall of windows of their East Memphis house.

Cold winter temperatures and strong winds sometimes cause the camellia flower to become so mottled with brown blotches they were not pretty at all. Most years their problem is solved by Stephen’s innovative way of attaching a polyethylene sheet to the wall and a row of nearby crape myrtles.

This year, Heather has cut dozens and dozens of flowers that she gladly shares with friends who float them in water in shallow bowls.

“I love giving away camellias, roses and other flowers from my garden so others can enjoy them, too,” Heather said.

Luring Butterflies

If you want to bring more butterflies to your garden, you might want to attend a workshop on Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Dixon Gallery and Gardens, 4339 Park.

The Dixon’s garden education coordinator Suzy Askew and other staff members will reveal the nectar and host plants butterflies love and provide guidance for designing an area for those plants.

Participants may bring a copy of their garden plan and a photograph to get specific siting recommendations. Cost: $20; $10 for Dixon members. Call 761-5250.

Article source: http://www.commercialappeal.com/entertainment/lifestyle/home/green-thumb-gardeners-share-tips-for-solving-common-problems-289cc981-6d59-5175-e053-0100007fa996-364679751.html

GARDENING: Nine tips on how to rescue a flooded garden


If your garden’s been flooded or waterlogged, action needs to be taken to safeguard your plants ­- and your health.

After the wettest December on record, and climate changes models predicting wetter winters, even those gardeners whose land isn’t under water may have to rethink aspects of planting and design.

Here’s nine tips to save what you can if your garden’s been flooded:

1. As the water falls, draw a sketch of low­-lying areas to help with replanning.

2. If the garden’s been flooded by sea water, there’s very little you can do to get rid of the salt, except lift plants, wash off the soil and replant in containers. The saline build­up in the soil will be washed away in time.

3. Flood water is usually contaminated with sewage, but it’s not good practice to disinfect borders/lawns, as it can kill plants. The sun’s UV radiation will kill this type of bacteria. It should return to background levels in approximately nine days in the summer and 25 days in wet, cold winter conditions. Don’t eat any fruit or veg that has been in contact with flood water.

4. If your garden floods regularly, consider building raised brick beds.

5. Paths and drives can be cleaned and disinfected to kill bacteria and reduce slipping hazards ­- keep off the area for up to three hours.

6. Don’t dig, rake or hose down the garden. This will spread the contamination further, where lack of sunlight and damp conditions will encourage the bacteria to multiply.

7. Plants dying from waterlogging have the following symptoms: yellowing leaves that drop off; wilting; roots are black, soft and smell of rotten eggs; growth is stunted or shoots die back.

8. Stay off wet ground to reduce soil compaction: tell­tale signs are when water fails to drain away and puddles appear on the soil’s surface.

9. If plants have been under water for less than a week, there’s a reasonable chance they can be saved, but take cuttings to be on the safe side. Prune ornamentals right back, so they have less green growth to support.

* For more gardening news, tips and offers, visit Mandy’s website, www.mandycanudigit.co.uk

Article source: http://www.hartlepoolmail.co.uk/lifestyle-etc/gardening-nine-tips-on-how-to-rescue-a-flooded-garden-1-7664204

Save our soil: extreme garden rescue tips

Point Break is on (again) at the movies and everybody is looking again at extreme sports and the challenging elements of nature. But what about extreme gardening?

Every day plants pit themselves against the weather, natural disasters and man-made challenges and we don’t see Hollywood making box office hits about them!

• Five expert gardening tips for summer
The strange trick every gardener should know
Tips for growing your own veggie garden

Seriously, when bushfires ravage gardens, frosts burn off new growth and rain deluges and storms uproot, swamp and snap plants, what is the best way forward for your garden’s recovery?

Here are five SOS garden survival tips for when it’s super hot, super cold, really rainy or really dry, but the principals of good gardening remain: don’t feed stressed plants with strong fertilisers and prune to encourage new growth.

1. Heat Waves

Prune

High temperatures will cause plants to wilt and then collapse. This can be lethal in extreme circumstances or simply cause the new growth, which is more susceptible, to brown or blacken. High wind speeds can also cause the same sort of damage.

Trimming this damaged growth off will promote new growth. This is fine as long as this flush doesn’t then get burnt by a second heat wave. If you think there is any chance of another spike in temperature, delay your pruning another few weeks or months.

Soak

Either way, a good soak with a seaweed solution will help damaged roots repair and an application of compost will encourage great soil bacteria, both of which will help your plants recover.

Pick natives

To help prevent this happening again, choose hardy plants that have hairy leaves or succulent foliage as these are adapted to extremes. Many Australian natives will also cope with higher temperatures, but stay clear of the rainforest types like lillypillies – these just frazzle!

Water and shade

If you know a hot day is forecast, water deeply the day before and you can set up temporary shade with sheets, shade cloth and hessian over susceptible plants. Even old palm and fern fronds can protect plants below them.

For an artificial helping hand, spray on a product sold as Drought Shield (or Stress Guard) made by Yates. It’s like blockout for your garden!

deadtresspic

2. Freezing temperatures

Cold-proof

Frosts and snow even might seem a fair way off, but in areas that get into minus degrees, gardens need to be hardy to not blacken and burn off with the cold. Plants mostly adapt by being deciduous (losing leaves) or herbaceous (dying down to a permanent rootstock) over winter, but others have waxy leaf coverings, thick bark or downward pointing branches to help deal with snow and ice.

Most damaging are the frosts that occur late spring or early summer, when plenty of new growth, which is the most vulnerable, has already shot. Again, the use of covers or the spray on Stress Guard, which also helps against the cold, will help.

Take shelter

Bringing plants in pots under cover, and tying shrubs branches together so that they don’t break, are other successful strategies.

pottedplants

3. Storms and Floods

Raise it up

Plants suffering from lack of drainage in the garden are particularly prone to rotting off or fungal attacks.

In these areas planting in raised garden beds or in pots can help.

Clear debris

It’s very difficult when the whole area is inundated to do anything other than wait for the waters to recede. Once they do, trimming any broken or damaged branches, making sure that their trucks are free of debris and even crown lifting plants to ensure good air flow can help.

Apply fungicide

If your favourite garden specimen is dropping leaves despite the rain, there is a good chance you have phytophera or another root rot. An application of a fungicide can help, but seek professional advice from your local nursery.

rainyplants

4. Drought

Mulch, water, compost and shield

Long periods without water can take their toll too. Deep watering, regular applications of compost, seaweed solution, water surfactants (Like Better Wetter or Saturaid) and using ‘Drought Shield’ can all help. In drought prone areas, planting with water storing crystals is a good safe guard, as is a good thick layer of mulch.

Choose well

Best of all, choose plants that can cope with periods of dry. Many of these will have a “one drop” symbol on their plant tag or say that they are xerophytic or drought tolerant.

plantsindrought

5. Fires

Keep your distance

Many Australian natives have adapted to regrow almost instantly after fires have passed. Gums, banksias, Waratahs, hakeas and many grasses for example will flourish, as will many wild flowers like egg and bacon bush, flannel flowers and croweas. Some non-natives have the ability to retard fire, though won’t regenerate as well if badly burnt.

A garden in prone areas should be careful to maintain a distance between the plants and the buildings, as over hanging branches, full gutters and so on are all reasons houses catch alight.

Water 

If your garden was singed, water well and use seaweed solution.

Clear it out

When new growth starts to appear, you should get an idea which parts are going to regenerate and which are too damaged. These dead areas can then be removed, but do give them a few months to see if they are, in fact, like Lazarus.

flannelflower

SEVEN ELEVEN STOCK

Article source: http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/2016/01/09/sos-extreme-rescue-gardening/

GARDENING: Nine tips on how to rescue a flooded garden


If your garden’s been flooded or waterlogged, action needs to be taken to safeguard your plants ­- and your health.

After the wettest December on record, and climate changes models predicting wetter winters, even those gardeners whose land isn’t under water may have to rethink aspects of planting and design.

Here’s nine tips to save what you can if your garden’s been flooded:

1. As the water falls, draw a sketch of low­-lying areas to help with replanning.

2. If the garden’s been flooded by sea water, there’s very little you can do to get rid of the salt, except lift plants, wash off the soil and replant in containers. The saline build­up in the soil will be washed away in time.

3. Flood water is usually contaminated with sewage, but it’s not good practice to disinfect borders/lawns, as it can kill plants. The sun’s UV radiation will kill this type of bacteria. It should return to background levels in approximately nine days in the summer and 25 days in wet, cold winter conditions. Don’t eat any fruit or veg that has been in contact with flood water.

4. If your garden floods regularly, consider building raised brick beds.

5. Paths and drives can be cleaned and disinfected to kill bacteria and reduce slipping hazards ­- keep off the area for up to three hours.

6. Don’t dig, rake or hose down the garden. This will spread the contamination further, where lack of sunlight and damp conditions will encourage the bacteria to multiply.

7. Plants dying from waterlogging have the following symptoms: yellowing leaves that drop off; wilting; roots are black, soft and smell of rotten eggs; growth is stunted or shoots die back.

8. Stay off wet ground to reduce soil compaction: tell­tale signs are when water fails to drain away and puddles appear on the soil’s surface.

9. If plants have been under water for less than a week, there’s a reasonable chance they can be saved, but take cuttings to be on the safe side. Prune ornamentals right back, so they have less green growth to support.

* For more gardening news, tips and offers, visit Mandy’s website, www.mandycanudigit.co.uk

Article source: http://www.shieldsgazette.com/lifestyle-etc/home-and-garden/gardening-nine-tips-on-how-to-rescue-a-flooded-garden-1-7664204

Garden Q&A: Tips for planting blueberries

I want to plant blueberries. I read the Home and Garden Information Center’s online article on blueberries and recommended varieties. Am thinking about the northern highbush varieties Bluecrop, Blueray, Elliott and Earliblue. However, in catalogs I see a slew of varieties with low chill requirements. What are the chill hours here? Would a plant that needs 200 chill hours work in Baltimore? Any other tips?

They should be fine. Most varieties require 750 chill hours (when the temperature is between 32 degrees and 45 degrees), and in Maryland this requirement is usually met no later than early February. Blueberries thrive in soil that’s acidic and high in organic matter. Prepare the entire blueberry bed in advance. Do a soil test and adjust the pH based on test results. Work in organic soil amendments. As our climate warms, some growers find that instead of the full sun normally recommended for blueberries, blueberries enjoy a little afternoon shade. Growers in Central and Southern Maryland are having success with Southern highbush cultivars.

I was given this beautiful plant but don’t know what it is. Maybe edible? I have it outside in a pot. Should I taste it?

Based on the photo you submitted, you have red-veined sorrel (Rumex sanguineus), which is a perennial herb. Like other herbs, such as oregano or mint, it can be aggressive and get out of hand, so you may want to keep it in the pot. The pot can be sunk in the ground up to 1-2 inches below the lip.

Digging deeper

Common witch hazel

Hamamelis virginiana

A whiff of perfume on a winter walk demands a quick search, leading to our native witch hazel. Garden expert Michael Dirr calls this “one of the truly great winter-flowering shrubs.” The 15- to 30-foot vase-shaped shrub/small tree carries handsome leaves all summer, some of which persist into winter. In fall, it rewards with quirky crinkled flowers at a time when flowers are rare. Warm winter weather makes bloom stick around even longer, and that same quirkiness provides a surprise pick-me-up for winter gloom. Adaptable to clay, loam or sandy soils, and dry to moderately moist conditions, it grows in part or full shade.

—Ellen Nibali

Article source: http://www.baltimoresun.com/features/home-garden/bs-hm-garden-qa-0110-20160108-story.html

Vermont Garden Journal: Tips For Great Garden Design

3 weeks ago

Article source: http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermont-garden-journal-tips-great-garden-design

9021 17th Ave. SW receives approval, moves to recommendation phase

9021 17th Ave. SW receives approval, moves to recommendation phase

By Daria Kroupoderova

A 30-plus unit apartment complex at 9021 17 Ave. SW passed a key hurdle Thursday when the Southwest Design Review Board (SDRB) approved to move the project to the second phase of design review.

Blue Architecture and Design took recommendations from the SDRB. Based on the suggestions, the 9021 17th Ave. SW apartment project will be moving forward to the recommendation phase of the project where the firm will present a more finalized product based on the board’s suggestions from the first phase of the review.

This was the first Design Review Meeting of the year. The SDRB comprised of Todd Bronk, a landscape architect who resides in West Seattle; Donald Caffrey, an architect who is also a West Seattle resident; and Matt Zinski, an architect who is a Beacon Hill resident. Senior Land Use Planner planner Tami Garrett was also in attendance.

The meeting started with Bob Guyt of Blue Architecture presenting three building options to the board and public attendees. These options were based on critiques Blue Architecture received from the first design review board meeting, which took place on Oct. 15.

Guyt started off with a brief overview of the general area. He pointed out that due to the close location to public transit, they are not required to provide parking per code, but will provide a spot per unit anyway. All three building options have underground parking, with the first option having some surface parking in all three building options. Also, the entrance to the garage is located in the alley behind the building for all three options.
Guyt addressed an issue that was brought up at the previous meeting of a wall surrounding the building. Previously, the wall was going to be three feet tall, which raised concern through comments in the past meeting. Guyt presented a wall that would only be two-feet tall. This would help “interact with the street more directly,” according to Matt King, Buyt’s partner at Blue Architecture. The wall and landscaped front yard will also help shield windows of ground floor units.

The first option presented was a building comprised of 31 units, four stories high. It is closely related to the option that was preferred at the previous meeting. Since this building is more pushed down than previous options, the ramp to get into the parking garage becomes more steep.

The second option, a U-shaped building, comprised of 35 units, also four stories high. The building option pushes out the most on the property lines. It has a secured courtyard in the middle as an amenity space and is the densest option that the architects provided.

The third option was the favorite of the architects. It is a stretched H design that has 32 units, four stories high. The most time was spent presenting this option compared to the other two. The courtyard area is pushed to the south of the property giving more room for the area. However, to get to the courtyard, residents would have to walk around the building.

Three local residents made public comments about the projects. The first was Mike, a local resident who lives right by the property. He wanted to know if the color was set for the building option three design. The color scheme is not set according to the board and architects. His other concerns were that he wanted to see a play area for kids, and had concerns about parking at all three options.

Next to comment was Deb Barker, a former design board member.

“The project has moved considerably along,” Barker said. “I’m really glad to see that there actually three separate individual, stand alone, massing options.” Another point she brought up was the material that would be used for the two-foot wall. She suggested something softer, such as landscaping. She also pointed out that option two is the only option that has good access to the courtyard area, even though, ultimately, she supported option three.

The last to comment was Amanda Kay Helmick, the co-chair of the Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council. Kay Helmick suggested to look at the colors and styles of buildings on the block and try to match the planned property to that, making it more cohesive within the neighborhood. She also pointed out that option three needs a courtyard that would a play area.

“Having space for kids would be wonderful,” Kay Helmick said. She also echoed Barker’s comment about having a softer material for the two-foot wall.

“I do appreciate that there will be a building there,” Helmick said. “I definitely would like to make sure that this design review board considers again the neighborhood it’s going in to.”

The board took all the public comments into consideration and echoed some of them, such as option three having better access to the courtyard area and the materials and colors being used would fit the neighborhood.
Ultimately, after discussion, the board all agreed that option three was the best and approved to move on to the recommendation phase.

Local resident Kim Barnes said she felt that the new building options show that the firm is listening to the community and are being sensitive to the community’s needs.

Article source: http://www.westseattleherald.com/2016/01/08/news/9021-17th-ave-sw-receives-approval-moves-recommen