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Archives for March 26, 2016

Bringing light to a darkened walkway at night – The San Diego Union

Q: I saw your article in Costco Connection magazine about outdoor lighting. I’m in a three-story condo building in a downtown location and we want to light along the sidewalk entrance to our building. It’s very dark there at night.

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Jennifer Adams
Jennifer Adams

Jennifer Adams

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K. W.

A: Here are some ideas that you can discuss with a local landscape contractor or electrician, as well as your building manager or homeowners’ association.

Use the least amount of light that will accomplish what you want. Do you need security level lighting or just need to illuminate the sidewalk? Is this a walkway to just your door or to the entire building? What kind of building is next to this walkway? Is there a strip of landscaping next to the sidewalk? All these answers will help you decide what kind of fixtures to use and how much light you need.

Hopefully you have a light at the door itself. Definitely add light there if what you have is inadequate. At the minimum, attractive low voltage lighting along the path itself would light the sidewalk nicely. Reduce glare by keeping these fixtures next to the ground. If there is landscaping next to the sidewalk it might be easier to run wiring; an electrician can give you more ideas.

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Solar-powered lamp on garden background.

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Solar-powered lamp on garden background.

Solar-powered lamp on garden background.

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Clear party lights along a fence would add a festive touch, but not a lot of light. Wall-mounted sconces are a great way to accent the building itself but would need professional installation, and probably approval from your building manager or HOA.

Solar-powered light fixtures on a stake are a good idea for temporary use or in private, enclosed yards or terraces with sun exposure during the daytime. But they won’t last as long or are as effective as a hard wired solution. Plus they’re frequently stolen! Higher priced solar fixtures hold their charge for longer.

Good luck, and let me know how this project turns out!

Adams is a designer, writer and TV personality. Send your questions to AskJennifer@JenniferAdams.com or on Twitter: @JenniferAdams.

Article source: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2016/mar/25/bringing-light-to-a-darkened-walkway-at-night/

Home show coming to JPJ next weekend

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2016 8:20 pm

Home show coming to JPJ next weekend

The Daily Progress staff reports

The Daily Progress

The 43rd annual Blue Ridge Home Builders Association Home Show will be held at the John Paul Jones Arena on April 2 and April 3.

The Home Show will have more than 100 booths showcasing companies and innovations in building concepts, gardening and landscaping ideas, energy-efficient upgrades and remodeling.

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Article source: http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/home-show-coming-to-jpj-next-weekend/article_85b69778-f2e8-11e5-94a6-f3f47c08df29.html

Public gets chance to weigh in on downtown design

“I think it’s a good ordinance,” Commissioner Steve Gardner said.

The standards would cover all new construction in the central business district of downtown. Building owners planning to remodel their buildings would not be mandated to follow the standards, said Megan DeSchepper, city planner.

“It is to give a basis on how any new construction would look. We’re preparing for the what ifs of the future,” DeSchepper said.

If approved by the city council, the design standards will become part of the Willmar Zoning Ordinance.

The design standards cover everything from placement of buildings to the height of buildings to the percentage of window glass on the street facing side.

“It is to keep downtown looking like it does,” DeSchepper said.

While there is no defined or required design aesthetic, the city planning commission wants new buildings to be made out of quality materials and not look like a big, metal box. Building materials allowed to be used are brick, stone, stucco or decorative masonry. Accents can be made of metal or other materials.

The standards require new buildings be built on street corners wherever possible. DeSchepper said this would allow parking lots to be constructed between two buildings, instead of out front of the business, like in more modern retail districts, including First Street in Willmar.

New construction is encouraged to be two to four stories high.

Projects with buildings higher than that will require a special plan review. Buildings which are only one story high will need to include at least a half story ornamental cornice, to lead some architectural interest to the building facade.

The planning commission discussed at length the windows in new construction.

“Other cities are much more vague than we are,” DeSchepper said.

The draft standards say all street level facades on the public right-of-way need to be at least 40 percent windows, with 50 percent of that allowing for a clear view in and out of the building. The remaining 60 percent can be wall or privacy glass, though reflective or faux glass is not permitted.

“They’re trying to maintain that openness,” DeSchepper said.

The standards will also cover business signs, downtown stormwater management and landscaping around and between parking lots. The parking lot landscaping and stormwater standards will minimize the amount of bare parking lots, DeSchepper said.

“This is about keeping downtown walkable,” DeSchepper said.

Creating downtown design standards have been on the city planning department’s to-do list for several years. In 2012, the Willmar Downtown Plan was created and approved. A joint effort between the city of Willmar and Wilmar Design Center, now known as Willmar Downtown Development, the plan laid out 19 different goals, including adopting downtown design standards.

“It is in our comprehensive plan,” DeSchepper said.

The planning commission first started work on the design standards last spring, after discussions with Willmar Downtown Development. DeSchepper said a sub-committee of city staff, planning commissioners and representatives from Downtown Development worked on the standards, first taking a look at the ideas from Adam Arvidson and other cities. Arvidson was a landscape architect who worked part time for the Design Center when the downtown plan was being written in 2011-2012. DeSchepper said the sub-committee of the planning commission took those ideas and decided on standards that best fit their vision for downtown Willmar.

“We want to maintain the character of the heart of the community. This is where commerce began,” DeSchepper said.

Members of the public will have their chance to share their thoughts on the design standards at the upcoming planning commission meeting. If the planning commission decides to recommend approval of the design standards, it will go to the city council for a first introduction of the ordinance which would amend the current zoning ordinance. The city council will also need to hold a public hearing on the standards before they can vote on them. If the standards are approved they will go into effect soon after, DeSchepper said.

Along with the design standards the planning commission also continued to look at updating the city’s sign ordinance Wednesday night. The amended ordinance was tabled at the last meeting.

The amendment would allow certain buildings to have digital signs in residential areas. Currently digital signs are banned from areas zoned residential. However, places of worship are usually located in neighborhoods and more and more of them are wanting to update to digital signs.

“It is kind of a new area,” Bill Paterson said, who was representing Redeemer Lutheran Church. The church wants to replace its old letter sign with a digital sign, but it is located in a residential zone along 5th Street.

Commissioners were concerned about the brightness of the signs once the sun goes down.

“The digital signs are very easily programed,” Paterson said, which includes programming how bright the wording is.

Commissioners also asked that the ordinance state digital signs in residential areas should be shut off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.

The overall thought was the churches, apartment complexes or housing development who want a digital sign will also want to be good neighbors and will not want their signs to negatively impact homes around them.

“They’ll either be self-policing or the neighbors will help them police it,” Gardner said.

The new rules for digital signs in the ordinance will only affect those in residential areas. How large the signs can be is in another section of the ordinance. Single family homes are not allowed to have digital signs.

DeSchepper will be bringing back a draft amended sign ordinance to the next planning commission meeting. A public hearing will need to be held before the ordinance can be sent to the city council.

Article source: http://www.wctrib.com/news/local/3995428-public-gets-chance-weigh-downtown-design

Q&A: Ray Caranci, West Palm’s official tree-hugger

Q. What does an arborist do?

A. I review all of the landscape plans for compliance with the landscape code of the city, making sure everything is there, hopefully making for really wonderful new projects that are sustainable to look good for a long time. If anybody wants to remove a tree within the city they need to get a permit for that. I review that to make sure it falls under the reasons in the code that allow it to be removed, and I make sure they have replacements, if necessary.

Q. A lot of people were upset recently when palms next to a CityPlace garage were chainsawed.

A. They were on Florida East Coast railway’s right of way, so we don’t really have jurisdiction over that, so I’m working with CityPlace to try to get a landscape plan that will restore some nice landscaping to buffer that garage, on their property, which is a 6-foot-wide strip.

+QA: Ray Caranci, West Palm’s official tree-hugger photo

Landscape Planner Ray Caranci

Q. You’re working with Ballpark of the Palm Beaches on its landscaping plans?

A. I’m going to be very involved in that, to make sure everything turns out to be a spectacular, top quality installation with the landscaping. I’ve tried to get them to design it so shade trees and palm trees are strategically placed so sidewalks are shaded from the sun, and shade trees are put in spots that aren’t going to interfere with the structures and will be sustainable for the long-term and provide shade for pedestrians and spectators.

Q. What about downtown, with all the development cropping up. Will it become less green?

A. There are a lot of projects coming in for approval. It’s a question of what will actually get built. There are some trees that are going to be, unfortunately, removed. But they will be replaced and newer ones put in with proper installation to have them thrive. We may lose a few trees on a site but overall the tree canopy will be increased in the downtown area, as well.

Q. You say the city is planning a study of its tree canopy?

A. The last canopy study was done in 2006 or 2007 by the county, so it’s really outdated. We’re working with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability and hoping that within the next year or so we would do something and have the study broken down by neighborhoods, so individual neighborhoods could see where they’re at and set goals, and the city could help them achieve those goals.

To read the latest headlines from West Palm Beach, go to: palmbeachpost.com/westpalm


Have a West Palm Beach story idea or news tip? Contact Staff Writer Tony Doris at tdoris@pbpost.com or 561-820-4703.

Article source: http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/news/local/qa-ray-caranci-west-palms-official-tree-hugger/nqrwb/

Exercising the accessible garden

Growing older or having a disability doesn’t have to keep a person out of the garden, according to the speaker at a Crossroads at Big Creek presentation this week.

“I’m trying to make accessible gardening less about being old, and more about just doing things differently,” Kathleen Blankenburg said. “We need to look into how to enjoy gardening while taking care of our bodies.”

Door County Master Gardeners invited Blankenburg of Sister Bay, an avid gardener,  and owner of The Gardening Angel, a now-closed garden design firm that specialized in small space and accessible gardens.

Interest in horticultural therapy, or therapeutic gardening, has been growing in popularity in recent years, according to the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). One of the reasons many are turning to the practices of therapeutic gardening is the proven record of improving cognitive abilities, physical rehabilitation and vocational skills.

It also allows a popular pastime to be not so tough on the body.

Blankenburg, a landscape and horticulture design graduate of Milwaukee Area Technical College and an AHTA member, has had major roles in development of accessible and therapeutic gardens at places such as Threshold Inc in West Bend. She taught landscaping at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in both continuing education and certificate programs.

To put her teaching and education into practice, Blankenburg and her husband, Ralph, spent years developing their own home garden, which features a number of accessible garden features including raised beds, vertical trellises and window boxes.

Blankenburg got her start in therapeutic and accessible gardening when she was still working in human resources management. Her mother, who has now passed away, was in a wheelchair near the end of her life, and Blankenburg did not like the fact her mom could not enjoy the outdoors and gardening.

After graduating and starting The Gardening Angel, Blankenburg began giving presentations and workshops at assisted living centers, nursing homes and other places that had horticultural elements and wanted to do more.

She explained that horticultural therapy and accessible gardening means “there are no restrictions to getting to what you want to do.” She said the idea is about taking care of your body, and modifying something you enjoy to what your body can handle.

Ideas Blankenburg offered for this style of gardening include using ergonomic tools like “stand-up weeders” and other long-handled tools. She also discussed how raised beds can be built for access from a standing or sitting position, rather than kneeling down. There are similar products and designs for gardeners who use a wheelchair or motorized chair.

Other interesting concepts like a tiered garden box, potting benches and vertical planters among others for above ground planting allow for staying away from digging.

Door County Supervisor and Master Gardener Helen Bacon was in the audience for Blankenburg’s presentation, and she said her involvement in developing the new Senior Center prompted her to attend.

“The new center will have a garden, and it would be nice to design on with these ideas in mind,” Bacon said. She is hoping to have a place where seniors and staff can come out and enjoy the space.

Kim Erzinger of Sister Bay also came to the event and said he has a few raised beds in his garden already.

“I enjoy coming to the garden programs, and I’ve picked up a few ideas. The vertical gardens are an interesting concept,” Erzinger said.

The vertical gardens are basically boxes with soil and plants in them that either stands or hangs upright, for direct access, rather than being spread out horizontally.

The Good Samaritan Scandia Village in Sister Bay has a prime example of an accessible garden for residents to both work in and enjoy. The 13 outdoor raised beds have been around for at least 7 years and are used to grow flowers and vegetables of the resident’s choice.

Activities Assistant Shari Rosenquist said residents have a sense of ownership over the gardens.

“It expands their living from inside to outside while giving them the benefit of just being able to get their hands in the dirt to touch plants and smell flowers,” Rosenquist said.

She believes that gardening is an innate part of many people who live at Scandia as they probably grew up tending to gardens. The outside beds are about three feet high and allow those in wheelchairs to access and work in them.

“We need to be in touch with dirt and living plants, and this kind of program is essential. We’re very grateful we have it,” Rosenquist said. She stated that many people love to be taken outside during the summer to enjoy the garden.

“It can be a real joy for residents to go outside and pick a cherry tomato or strawberry, warm from the sun and off the vine, and eat it while they’re visiting,” Rosenquist said.

The garden program at Scandia extends throughout the year, as the activities department offers indoor gardening, primarily for tropical plants. In addition, the produce grown is used in cooking programs and in the dining room when there is enough.

Blankenburg is hoping for a future with more horticultural therapy and accessible gardens in facilities like Scandia, but to make these programs successful and lasting, larger support will be needed.

-abloechl@doorcountyadvocate.com, Twitter @alyssabloechl, Facebook Alyssa Bloechl

Article source: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/door-co/news/2016/03/26/exercising-accessible-garden/82256268/

Problem landscape? Solutions abound in ‘The Garden Bible’

It’s a small gardening world after all.

In search of a publisher for his latest book, Sacramento garden designer Michael Glassman found a perfect fit an ocean away – in Australia. The result is a problem-solving work of art with built-in appeal on both sides of the Pacific.

“The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Space” (Images Publishing, 224 pages, $45) is now available in Sacramento via Amazon.com.

“I wanted to do a book that was really beautiful but not just pretty pictures. It had to have some meat to it, too,” explained Glassman, an award-winning landscape designer and serious photographer. “It’s pretty to look at, but has good information to take away. I found a publisher that wanted the same thing.”

Images Publishing, the Australian book company, is based in Victoria, a state with a similar climate to California on the southeast coast of the island continent. Many of the design and gardening challenges (such as smaller spaces, less water) faced by Californians can apply to gardens down under, too.

While American publishers are moving more material online, Australian book companies continue to put a premium on big format, photo-filled, hard cover books, said Glassman, author of seven outdoor living and garden-themed books including three for children.

“In Australia, Internet connections are still slow, so people are still buying books,” he said. “Their bookstores are booming. There’s a tremendous audience.”

Before publishing “The Garden Bible,” the publisher tested the book’s concept – case studies of problem landscapes – at Germany’s Frankfurt Book Fair, the world’s largest trade fair for publishers.

“They absolutely loved it,” said Glassman, who then spent a year getting it done.

His co-author is Barbara Ballinger, a longtime features writer for national magazines. Her work also has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and the New York Times. They met when she interviewed Glassman for a story several years ago. Eventually, they worked on articles together and created a blog, The Bare Root.

Most people don’t even know there’s a problem until it’s brought to their attention.

Sacramento garden designer Michael Glassman

“I love that Michael is so knowledgeable and understands the importance of seeing a site, studying its topography, how much sun and shade there might be at different times of the day, the amount of rainfall, the soil type, and any other factors that influence a design such as zoning restrictions, including setbacks,” Ballinger said. “But most of all, Michael listens so well to what homeowner clients want and can afford.”

Glassman also helped Ballinger with her own landscape.

“The biggest lesson I learned from Michael…is that first gardens sleep, then creep and finally leap,” she said, because gardens change as they grow. “The second biggest lesson I learned from Michael is that there are no mistakes, but there are learning lessons. You plant something in the wrong spot, and you can dig it up and try it elsewhere, or try something different next time.”

For Images Publishing, Ballinger wrote an earlier book, “The Kitchen Bible,” on designing spaces for food and fun. She came up with “The Garden Bible” as a natural sequel.

“We’ve been wanting to do a book together for awhile,” said Glassman, who also credited Ballinger with making the book about more than California gardening.

A native New Yorker, she spent three decades in the Midwest before recently returning to the East Coast; that gave her a different gardening perspective to Glassman’s California experience and broadened the book’s overall appeal, he said.

“We featured 29 other designers from all over the United States plus Australia,” he said. “These are problem-solving solutions with a universal appeal. In Chicago, how do you relate to a California garden – or the drought? We have gardens in New Jersey, New York, Texas. No matter where they are, they have something they can relate to.”

“The Garden Bible” is built on case studies of fantastic-looking and functional garden spaces that started as problematic landscapes. The issues may not at first appear apparent because the solutions work so well.

“We want this book to be a go-to resource rather than just sit on a coffee table and look pretty,” Ballinger said. “If you’ve never had a garden, we want you to start at the beginning and leisurely understand all the steps.”

Those steps include deciding what type of outdoor space you like and want, determining a budget and finding skilled professionals to help make it happen, she said.

“(A major step is) developing a master plan that you can follow all at once or slowly as you can afford to tackle all parts of your yard,” she added. “This is so important so the look is cohesive, and you don’t have to go back and rip up a vegetable garden when you realize that was the spot for your terrace.”

Sacramento area readers may recognize some of the case studies. Glassman included several of his own projects in “The Garden Bible.”

They also may spot some familiar scenes in Chapter 6, “Recognize Problems Before You Start.” Glassman picked up several examples in his own Davis neighborhood: Bad drainage, runoff issues, poorly planned patios and decks, lack of walkways, bad choice of plants and many more.

“Most people don’t even know there’s a problem until it’s brought to their attention,” Glassman said. “I went around my neighborhood for what not to do and found plenty of ‘before’ shots. It was a fun chapter to work on.”

Glassman also included his own backyard, a space he originally created for then-client, now wife, Dr. Elaine Waetjen. The couple started dating after the project and eventually married.

“Who would have known that we would fall in love and get married?” Glassman said.

Starting with a “do-it-yourselfer’s nightmare,” the project became “The Eclectic Outdoor Room” in “The Garden Bible.” Glassman transformed the cramped and ugly backyard patio and narrow strip of landscaping into a livable outdoor dining room.

“It’s now a wonderful environment,” he said. “We spend every morning out there.”

In a Winters walnut orchard, Glassman designed a resort-like pool and patio combination. The mosaics of a Land Park artist became part of her garden makeover. A boring, tired, lawn-heavy Davis landscape transformed into an inspirational zen garden.

Each offers a lesson in possibilities.

“Every landscape not only has a problem, it has a back story,” Glassman said. “Why did they buy this property? How did they get into this situation? It makes this work very fascinating.”

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/home-garden/article68253232.html

Tips on container gardening, rhubarb picking

Question:

I am in a seniors’ residence with a very large patio. There is talk of doing container gardening here. But no one really knows how to create this.

Olga Sorenson, Vancouver

 

Answer:

If your patio is above ground, you’ll need to ask your manager or strata council if the structure will stand the significant weight of soil.

It’s best to begin with just a few containers because the first year will be all learning. Even in containers there’s thinning, weeding, pest patrol, watering, harvesting and crop rotation.

One important bit of learning is cooperation. Sometimes a few people do all the work while the others visit and cheer.

I’d suggest half-barrel size containers because soil dries out less in these. Also in winter, the roots of plantings in the middle are less susceptible to freezing.

It’s essential all your tubs have drainage holes in the bottom. A piece of landscape fabric or several layers of plastic mesh will stop soil from migrating out of the drainage holes.

Some patios have drains for excess water, but balcony patios may need protection under pots so water is contained.

It’s best to learn not to over-water and to never let soil dry right out unless you’re growing dry-land plants. Dry soil has a sneaky trick of shrinking away from the sides leaving a narrow fissure all the way round the inside of the pot.

This allows water to cascade down and out of the bottom. Meanwhile, the dry soil in the centre stays dry. If this happens, dig very small holes in the soil surface where water can pool. Fill them frequently until the soil is moist throughout.

For container gardens all you really need is a small shovel, a trowel, a small garden fork or rake. Stakes, tomato cages or a small trellis are optional depending what you plant.

Once the containers are in place, you can begin loading them with topsoil from garden centres. Check whether fertilizer is already added. Leafy vegetables like high-nitrogen fertilizer. When you go to get the containers and soil, it’s best to go when the nursery isn’t busy and make a point of chatting to one of the assistants. If you talk to them about gardening in containers they’re very likely to tell you things you’d have never thought to ask.

 

Question:

I learned from my parents:“Never pick rhubarb in a month with an ‘R’ in it.”

This is quite different than your rule about picking until early June. Does it develop too much oxalic acid after that?

Pat Pepperman, via email

 

Answer:

The rule about not picking rhubarb after early June is one I learned as a child in England. I was told it tastes better in early spring and gets stringy and dry later.

But here, I was told rhubarb develops higher levels of oxalic acid in summer. Our summers are hotter. That would make a difference to rhubarb.

A lot of gardening practice can be adjusted by what a person does culturally. I’m sure if you water rhubarb diligently while picking it, the moisture level in the stalks will be higher and oxalic acid lower. Frankly, rhubarb roots are so huge and strong, it may be irrelevant exactly what one does when. I’d say keep right on doing what suits you best. Just like adjusting cooking recipes.

Thanks for sharing – that’s one of the joys of this work.

© 2016 Burnaby Now

Article source: http://www.burnabynow.com/community/gardening/tips-on-container-gardening-rhubarb-picking-1.2216678

Get expert gardening tips before gardening season begins

Join me on Saturday, April 2, in Springfield for the Master Gardeners of Clark County annual Garden Fling.

The event features a full day of educational programming as well as a variety of garden vendors, a raffle and lunch. The vendors always bring plants so you can get an early jump on your gardening.

Educational programs begin at 9 a.m. The first break-out sessions include “Designing Your Perennial Garden” by MGV George Simon. He will cover the basics of what it requires to design a pleasing perennial garden.

Another session during this hour is the “Ask an Expert Panel.” This gives you the opportunity to bring your most burning gardening questions to this panel of master gardeners.

The final option during this hour is MGV Diane Catenacci presenting “Creative Container Plantings.” We rely on Diane and her crew each year to design our container display gardens, and they do a great job of combining plants and colors.

The next break-out sessions begin at 10:15 a.m. and feature Kathy McConkey, OSU Extension program assistant, and “Darn I Wish I’d Known That.” She will talk about common garden problems you can prevent by knowing a few trade secrets.

Mic DiGioia of Market is going to discuss using “Succulents” in the garden. This popular grouping of plants is really getting a lot of attention because they are so easy to grow.

I also will present “Pests of Perennials.” Despite the fact that they are really pretty easy to care for, perennials come with their own group of pest problems, and I will share how to manage them.

At noon, I will be the featured keynote speaker on the topic “Attracting Pollinators to Your Landscape.” Not only will I talk about the best trees, shrubs and flowers to plant in order to attract pollinators, I also will address how to use chemicals in the landscape correctly to ensure pollinators aren’t eliminated.

Our final breakout sessions begin at 2 p.m. Another popular topic in today’s vegetable gardening world is “Heirloom Tomatoes.” MGV Peggie Elsnau has been growing them for quite some time and will share her favorites and growing tips.

MGV Shonil Datta, who is a woodworking whiz, will share tips on how to “Make Your Own Garden Structures.”

The event will be held at Kenton Ridge High School, 4444 Middle Urbana Road, Springfield

During breaks, participants can visit vendors and enjoy meeting other gardeners. In addition, the Kenton Ridge Boosters will sell food. Doors open at 8:30 a.m. Admission is $10. No preregistration is necessary.

For more information on the specific programs and times, visit www.go.osu.edu/gardenfling

Article source: http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/lifestyles/home-garden/get-expert-gardening-tips-before-gardening-season-/nqrMq/

Garden tips: codling moth grubs; winter vegies; sawflies; new daphnes

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Article source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/home-design/gardening/garden-tips-codling-moth-grubs-winter-vegies-sawflies-new-daphnes/news-story/3c5ac3decdfd689ffea21d0ba6f9f684

Jack Christensen’s garden tips for the week starting March 26



1 Night crawlers: Keep an eye out for snails and slugs. They have ravenous appetites, and they’re nocturnal, so you might not notice their feeding until your crops are spoiled. Who would suspect that they even climb citrus and stone fruit trees to feed on the tiny, tender new fruits? And this early activity leaves unsightly brown scars on the fruits later. Apply snail bait on and around trunks before flowering is finished. Reapply snail bait every 10 days for a month or two to kill new hatchlings and new move-ins from the neighborhood.

2 Ongoing harvest: Continue harvesting winter crops and citrus. Remember — you don’t need to pick all your oranges, lemons, and other citrus when it first ripens. Most citrus fruits will hold on the tree — and become even sweeter — for several months. So harvest what you can use and let the rest of the fruit get sweeter. Then as more and more start to fall off, you can harvest the rest of the crop and share it.

3 Sprucing up: Refresh woody herb plants such as rosemary, sage and tarragon by pruning off some of the leafy stems to maintain size and shape. Don’t cut into bare stems, however, because they won’t grow back. It’s a good practice to tip-pinch new growth frequently during the growing season, both to harvest herbs that can be used in cooking, and to shape the plant. You can also add new herbs to the garden — chives, parsley, thyme as well as new rosemary, sage and tarragon.

4 Feeding time: As new shoots arise and grow on cymbidium orchids, feed the plants regularly with nitrogen fertilizer until July. (By regularly, I mean in accordance with package instructions.) New roots develop quickly at this time, taking in the nitrogen and other nutrients to build pseudobulbs. In July, switch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer, which will prepare and condition the plants for next season’s blooms. If you use liquid plant food, which is ideal for orchids, feed at dilute strength with every watering, about twice a week.

5 Water-wise: If you’re considering low-water landscaping, drought-resistant shrubs include Australian fuchsias (Correa), California lilac (Ceanothus), cotoneasters, crape myrtle, pineapple guavas, dwarf pomegranates, lantanas, manzanitas, pyracantha, rosemary and verbenas (an especially good ground cover). These perennials also thrive with low water: Achillea (yarrow), Anaphalis (Western pearly everlasting), Artemisia (includes Dusty Miller, wormword, and sagebrush), Asclepias (colorful milkweeds), Coreopsis (a type of daisy), daylily, Dianthus, Echinopsis (flowering cactus), Eryngium (spiny coriander), Gaillardia (blanket flower — sunflower relatives), Lavandula, Potentilla (Shrubby Cinquefoil), Salvia, Santolina (Lavender Cotton), Sedum, Sempervivum (Hens and Chicks), Stachys (Lamb’s Ears), thyme and Veronica. Now for the annuals: Alyssum, Cosmos, Gazania, Geranium, Helichrysum (small-flowered daisies), marigold, morning glory, Phlox, Portulaca, Thunbergia (Black-eyed Susan vines and shrubs), Verbena, Vinca and Zinnia. Look them up online, or ask to see them at your local garden center, so you can choose the ones you like best.

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/lifestyle/20160325/jack-christensens-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-march-26