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Archives for April 6, 2016

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

Design for a garden that doesn't mind dry

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

Southern California landscape designer Barbara Paul likes to incorporate Mediterranean plants into her drought-tolerant designs. The dramatic purple flower spikes of Pride of Madeira steal the show in this front-yard garden. Even drought-tolerant plants need water while they are getting established, Paul reminds gardeners.

Design for a garden that doesn't mind dry

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

LEFT: Coneflowers are long-blooming, drought-tolerant perennials for flower beds or pots. Planting them in a pot lets you put the color where it will have the most impact: by the front door, next to a garden gate, or on a patio or deck. This is Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry. RIGHT: Little Lucky lantanas grow to only about 12 inches tall, and they’re known for their longlasting flowers. These lantanas are a sterile hybrid; they’re grown not to attract butterflies and other pollinators, but for their ability to bloom for weeks.

Design for a garden that doesn't mind dry

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

Little Lucky lantanas grow to only about 12 inches tall, and they’re known for their long-lasting flowers. These lantanas are a sterile hybrid; they’re grown not to attract butterflies and other pollinators, but for their ability to bloom for weeks.

Design for a garden that doesn't mind dry

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

Many drought-tolerant plants will bloom prolifically in the cracks between steppingstones. Salvia New Dimension blooms from summer through fall. It tolerates heat and drought and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds, but deer do not like it.




Marty Ross

Posted: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 12:00 am
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Updated: 11:28 am, Wed Apr 6, 2016.

Design for a garden that doesn’t mind dry

By Marty Ross

The Lewiston Tribune

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1 comment

Gardeners can’t take water for granted anymore. Drought-resistant garden design and drought-tolerant plants are the wave of the future.

Southern California is leading the way with water-wise landscaping practices, but even if you live where you can count on a great deal more than their two inches of rainfall a year, water is getting to be an expensive resource. Garden designs that emphasize water-thrifty plants are appropriate everywhere.

© 2016 The Lewiston Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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on

Wednesday, April 6, 2016 12:00 am.

Updated: 11:28 am.


| Tags:


Garden

Article source: http://lmtribune.com/close_to_home/design-for-a-garden-that-doesn-t-mind-dry/article_e9f8b4d4-f4ac-5c8e-96e4-d651aa3c8c5c.html

Gardening calendar: Tree disorders, growing blueberries, growing pumpkins, landscape design, and more

Thursday, April 7

Tree disorders, insects and diseases: 7 to 9 p.m. at Nampa City Hall, 411 3rd St. S. Learn about some of the most common insect related problems found on local trees and most common problems created by people. Corrective suggestions will be given to help maintain healthy trees. Presenter: Dan Schults, CWI horticulture professor. Free. 468-5858, nampaparksandrecreation.org.

Saturday, April 9

Growing Blueberries in Idaho: 10 a.m. at FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. 853-4000.

Growing Great Pumpkins: 10 a.m. at the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise. $20 general, $15 IBG members. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Rose pruning and care: 10 a.m. to noon at Lakeview Park, Garrity Boulevard and 16th Avenue North, Nampa. Learn basic techniques to produce beautiful, healthy roses. Presenter: Lucas Navock, Nampa Parks employee. Free. 468-5858, nampaparksandrecreation.org.

Spring Plants and Design: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Learn about the best spring plants and how to incorporate them into your garden with companion plants, bulbs, etc. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Tuesday, April 12

Color in Landscape Design: 6:30 p.m. at the Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise. $17 general, $12 IBG members. Register: 343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org.

Wednesday, April 13

Cut Flower Garden Design: 6 p.m. at FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. 853-4000.

Saturday, April 16

Get Drought Smart: Design and Plant Now with Natives and Water-wise Plants: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Designers will guide you through the process of creating a sustainable garden to fit your gardens needs. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, April 23

Foodscaping: Innovative Ways to Grow Edibles: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover ways to integrate your edibles within the existing garden to maximize your space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, April 30

Container Garden Drama: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Designers will guide you on the best practices to create a seasonal container for your patio or porch. Bring your ideas and containers. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, May 7

Plant sale: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 2201 Woodlawn Ave., Boise. 615-1505.

Vintage Vogue: Roses, Peonies and Hydrangeas: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Learn how to design with David Austin roses, peonies and hydrangeas in your garden. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, May 14

Moveable Feast: Growing Edibles in Containers: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how you can create colorful and aromatic edible container gardens you will enjoy all season long. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, May 21

Growing Up: Trellis and Vines: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how trellis and vines can be utilized to hide areas or create ambiance in your garden space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

Saturday, May 28

Art in the Garden: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how to utilize garden art to reflect your garden style and create a focal point in your garden space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815, info@madelinegeorge.com.

June 11

Idaho Rose Show: Noon to 5 p.m. at The Riverside Hotel, 2900 Chinden Blvd., Boise. Presented by Idaho Rose Society. Free. 440-7826.

Article source: http://www.idahostatesman.com/living/home-garden/article70311737.html

New equipment on the way for Margaret Mahy Playground

The Margaret Mahy playground at sunset.

Tunnel slides run alongside the giant slide.

Even the dads can get in on the action.

The high nets are a challenge.

Hot weather is the best for the playground.

Cera anchor projects director Rob Kerr tries out the playground.

The trampolines are a hit with the after-dark crowd.

A new playground has brought life back to the centre of the city. But there’s more than meets the eye in this space designed for young and old, ABBIE NAPIER writes. 

Rob Kerr sits back with one hand in the grass, suit pants hitched up, gesturing enthusiastically. His earring catches the sun as he talks. 

“This is all part of a bigger vision,” he says. “It’s been such a worthwhile project.”

The Margaret Mahy Family Playground is the city’s coolest government-led project to date and the kids whizzing by on flying foxes are a reminder of how much the city has been missing them. When was the last time a child’s excited scream – that perfect combination of terror and delight only heard at playgrounds – was heard in the desolate streets of the CBD?

READ MORE:
Multimillion-dollar Margaret Mahy playground open for fun
How much did Christchurch’s Margaret Mahy playground cost?
* New barbecue area for Mahy playground
* What happens at Christchurch’s Margaret Mahy playground after dark?

Walking past the Margaret Mahy playground is a reminder that Christchurch’s rebuild dream is finally starting to be realised. Rob oversaw its creation as the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority’s (Cera) anchor projects development director. 

In the shade of the Oxford Tce poplar trees, he talks about risk. 

More than 6000 children contributed to the early stages of the playground’s development through the BNZ Amazing Place competition.They sent in their wild ideas for the ultimate playground, each dreaming bigger and better than the one before. They dreamt up “rocket lands”, dragon slides into sandpits, native fish aquariums and “dolphin rockers”. 

They wanted flying foxes that went through dark tunnels and splashed down into lakes – “Every parent’s worst nightmare,” Rob says. 

“What they really wanted, was risk.”

It’s a boring thing to say, right after talk of rocket ships and dragons, but the idea of managed risk was the foundation for this playground and the root of every idea that made it into the real world. Designers had to balance the thrill of a physical challenge against safety constraints, budget and practicality. 

Rocket lands and flying foxes through tunnels were a long shot, but the root of those suggestions was an element of fear. 

“You have to look beyond the ideas themselves, to find out how they want to actually play,” Rob says.

For example, what would be fun about a water area? What do kids want to experience at a playground? Looking around school playgrounds these days, many are kitset safety playgrounds – no loose bolts, no slippery monkey bars and a serious lack of risk. While the Margaret Mahy version might not have revolving planets and swings that touch the stars, kids can throw themselves down eight-metre slides and climb up huge nets suspended in the air. There are water guns, giant seesaws, sandpits and hills to climb – risk.

“We accept more risk now in our playgrounds than we had 20 years ago,” Rob says. “Well, not really risk, but the feeling of risk.”

Cera Development Director of Anchor Projects, Rob Kerr, talks about the Margaret Mahy Playground in Christchurch.

Creating playgrounds that feel risky for children but are actually quite safe is a science that has evolved in recent years. 

“Behind all this is a lot of science behind play – what children need in terms of physical and mental elements, like seesaws and balancing challenges or sensory experiences.

“There’s reason and rational thought behind everything here.”

Cera’s “design jury” decided which ideas made it through the rigorous selection process, dishing out prizes for the best. 

“But, to be honest, the real prize – and one I hope they value the most – is that they sat around the table with our designers and worked it through. It’s a slightly insane process and a learning opportunity, not only for the kids, but for the designers as well.”

In the scorching heat of late afternoon, a group of young fathers slide with their children and take each other on with water cannons. Rob is game enough for a go on the 40-metre-long flying fox, but, an engineer at heart, it’s the Archimedes’ screws that have really captured his imagination. They’re part of a water-movement system that powers a wheel and are fascinating for the toddlers watching at the bottom. 

“I just think they’re fantastic.”

It’s this engineering background that stands Rob in good stead to head up a playground development. On the one hand, he is knee-deep in Manchester St roadworks and, on the other, he’s been part of a team that talked about the right woodchips for children to fall on and brands of coloured artificial turf. 

Beyond the playground itself, Rob has kept the development vision in sight at all times, thinking about how this playground will link with other spaces and how it will work with the rebuilt city as a whole. Nearby will be large residential developments, office blocks and riverside precincts. 

The playground is the first building block in bringing those spaces together. 

THE SHADE IS COMING – AND CURLY WHIRLY SLIDES

Since it opened on December 22 last year, the playground has copped a lot of flack from those first waves of parents and families. While the majority were enthusiastic and loved it, some were disappointed at the lack of disability-friendly equipment and others complained about hot slides and a lack of shade. 

Kids love the water park element in hot weather.

When you’ve spent years working on something so incredible, how do you cope with that criticism? 

“I don’t see it as negative,” Rob says. “It’s not about saying we didn’t get it right; it’s about making it better.”

In response to some critiques, Rob can assure shade is on its way. In fact, the foundations for it were built into the space, but the construction team had to wait for some equipment to go up before making final decisions on the best way to protect the space from the sun’s rays. Many of those decisions have now been made and solutions will be in place soon. 

“We could only do so much, particularly if we wanted it open before Christmas. Some of it, we just had to wait and see first.”

The slide presented a particular challenge because of its location against the hillside and near the climbing nets. Constructing a shade structure that couldn’t be climbed on by children using equipment nearby was a hard ask, and a decision best made after everything was in place.

“The fact that people care enough to speak out – that’s a good thing.”

Judging by the delighted screeches from the water area and the laughter on the trampoline, the kids have already voted.

While 90 per cent of the playground is complete, there’s 10 per cent still to come, including some gigantic climbing towers and “curly whirly slides”. Work should be finished in May this year. 

Rob is tight-lipped about what more is to come. It’s part of building the anticipation, he says.  “Because we want to.”

Just in case the adults out there are feeling left out, fear not – all the equipment can be used by anyone, any size. 

“There’s even people here late at night, in a nice way. People have a sense of ownership over the space.”

At night, the playground is lit up and almost takes on a different identity, catering to people wandering home after the pub in need of a swing or a tumble down an artificial hill. In fact, this kind of after-dark patronage keeps vandalism at bay and means the space has value to a wider section of the city. The more people who use it and love it, the better.

“There’s nobody too big or too small. People use it as they find it,” Rob says.

So, what did this large-scale public work cost? They’re difficult sums, because the land is being used only in part by the playground, and some underground infrastructure had to go in during the playground build in preparation for developments nearby – the alternative being to rip up the land later on to put pipes and wiring in.

But, simply put, the equipment, land remediation work, surfaces, landscaping, design fees and infrastructure cost about $20 million. On top of that, the land cost about $19m. Is it worth spending so much public money on a playground? The answer lies in the wider vision for the city. 

“We want this to become a part of people’s lives,” Rob says. “Places people want to be in; that’s what the blueprint is all about.”

“This is the sort of money it costs in the central city to get this green, vibrant and prosperous space. You can’t do it cheaper, and if you did, you wouldn’t have done it properly. This is the value of playgrounds like this.”

At least 100,000 people visited the Margaret Mahy playground in the first three weeks it was open during the Christmas holiday period. It’s been steadily busy since, particularly after school and at weekends. 

“Children need to reclaim their city, too. That’s really important. Also, the idea of parents feeling comfortable bringing their children into the city. You now need to make a choice to come back. I think 100,000 people through in three weeks shows that pent-up need.

“That makes me smile.”

– Avenues magazine, April 2016


 – Stuff

Next Christchurch Life story:

Adelaide’s Gray Street Workshop brings Theatre of Detail to Christchurch

The Press Homepage

Article source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/78622101/New-equipment-on-the-way-for-Margaret-Mahy-Playground

Nora gets to the heart of Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’




CAMBRIDGE — “It’s wanting to know that makes us matter,” Hannah Jarvis explains in Tom Stoppard’s 1993 drama “Arcadia.” Stoppard is always wanting to know; in “Arcadia” he explores quantum physics, deterministic chaos, iterated algorithms, and the second law of thermodynamics. But he’s also keen to observe people, as if to suggest we’re just as intriguing as galaxies and atoms. It’s a funny, touching play, one of his best, and the Nora Theatre Company production now up at Central Square Theater, while doing justice to the ideas, gives it humor and heart.

The action is set in a single room of Sidley Park, the Coverly family’s country house in Derbyshire, England. The year is first 1809 and then “the present day,” with the time period switching back and forth until the seventh and last scene, when the two eras converge.

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In 1809, 22-year-old Septimus Hodge is tutoring precocious 13-year-old Thomasina Coverly, who posits that “if you were really, really good at algebra you could write the formula for all the future.” Thomasina is also curious about “carnal embrace,” and there’s plenty of that in evidence, as Septimus has his eye on both Thomasina’s mother, Lady Croom, and Mrs. Chater, who, notwithstanding the presence of Mr. Chater, is equally amenable to the attentions of Lady Croom’s brother, Captain Brice, and of fellow house guest Lord Byron. (Neither Mrs. Chater nor Byron actually appears onstage.) There’s uproar outside as well, since Lord Croom (another unseen character) has hired architect Richard Noakes to give Sidley Park’s Enlightenment landscaping — “nature as God intended,” according to Lady C — a Gothic makeover.

In the present day, meanwhile, competing scholars Hannah Jarvis and Bernard Nightingale are trying to determine what went down in 1809 — specifically whether Byron fled England after killing Mr. Chater in a duel, and who was the mysterious Sidley Park hermit. Even when the academic conclusions of this pair seem reasonable, they can turn out to be wrong, Stoppard’s point being that real history is invariably messier and more complicated than our plausible reconstructions.

Running just over three hours, with a single 15-minute intermission, the Nora production, under artistic director Lee Mikeska Gardner, has a witty, cartoonish feel to it. The audience, seated on three sides of the set, gets a good view of the long wooden table, with its algebra book and theodolite and domino set and tiny terrarium. There are French windows and doors, as Stoppard requests, and a sepia rendition of trees in the distance. The switching between eras is meant to be fluid, so not to worry if you see a 21st-century coffee mug in 1809 (just assume it’s in a quantum state), or if 19th-century tortoise Plautus looks exactly like his 21st-century counterpart, Lightning.

The acting is first rate, right down to Tank the Turtle, who doubles as Plautus and Lightning. Lolling on the table or tripping in beauty, Kira Patterson is an irrepressible Thomasina, and convincing as a 13-year-old. Celeste Oliva brings winsome detail to the repressed, put-upon Hannah; Ross MacDonald is bluff but not unsympathetic as the overconfident Bernard. Sarah Oakes Muirhead is arch but also sexy as Lady Croom; Will Madden is a sly fox of a Septimus; Alexander Platt makes a deliciously comic fool of the multiply cuckolded Chater. Matthew Zahnzinger, as the present-day Valentine Coverly, does a nice job of explaining iterated algorithms to both Hannah and the audience. Death may haunt “Arcadia,” but there’s abundant life in this Nora production.

ARCADIA

Play by Tom Stoppard. Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner. Presented by Nora Theatre Company.

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At Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, through May 1. Tickets: $15-$55, 617-576-9278, www.centralsquaretheater.org

Jeffrey Gantz can be reached at jeffreymgantz@gmail.com.

Article source: https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/theater-art/2016/04/05/nora-gets-heart-stoppard-arcadia/lRwMzEKO16q4nHcY64x9DP/story.html

Control the Type of Customer You Work With

Many of the best landscaping companies today began as very small operations—the owner and maybe one or two other employees in a pickup truck. When speaking with these owners, they’ll often comment on how it seems like a whirlwind that brought them from that humble starting point, to the point of having a growing business with more work than there is time to do it. Whether this sounds familiar—or even if you’re just starting out in that truck—defining exactly what type of projects you want to do, and who exactly you want to be doing them for, is the key to actually driving the growth of your company.

What is a target customer and why should you care?

The term target customer refers to the type of person most likely to buy a product or service. Your target customer dictates important elements of your landscape business like average design/build project value in dollars, average maintenance contract, or average length of time you are working on one project, and even the amount of time it takes your customers to pay. Important stuff, right? It sure is, and the crazy part is that your business has a target customer regardless of whether you’ve strategically chosen one or not.

Your target customer is the one in which you currently or will do work for most often. If you’ve been in business for five years and each season you build a bunch of 20’x20’ patios and your projects are almost always less than $12k, that homeowner is your target customer—like it or not. But if you find yourself wishing you could land larger projects—perhaps more complete outdoor living spaces with outdoor kitchens and fireplaces—than you need to take charge of your business and work to make your company appeal to that type of customer. It’s called redefining your target customer, and it’s how you do more of the work you want and less of the work you don’t.

What type of projects do you like to do?

The first step to defining or redefining your target customer is to take a hard look at your company goals for the next three to five years. This can be sort of an “if anything was possible” type exercise. Next, take those goals and run them up against a little reality—what are the limitations and capabilities of your staff? What are the opportunities in the geographical areas you service? Gathering the answers to these kinds of questions will force you to make necessary changes like adding team members or expanding your service area in order to meet your goals.

Once you’ve documented exactly what types of projects you want to focus on—i.e. $45k outdoor living projects with custom hardscapes, lush plantings, fire and/or water features, and landscape lighting systems—you can begin to understand what type of customer purchases those projects.

Understanding the customer and buyer personas

Mountain View Nursery utilizes local talent and resources in its award-winning landscaping

burniston.3.cmykBy Marlana Ward

A local company is garnering regional attention and praise from experts in landscape and horticulture fields throughout the Southeast.  Mountain View Nursery and Landscaping has been chosen from among numerous landscaping companies throughout Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina for their outstanding work in utilizing natural looking products offered by hardscape products manufacturer Belgard.  The company was recently bestowed the award for Best Natural Use of Belgard Products in a Project.
Belgard is a leader in natural looking hardscape products and takes very seriously who is chosen to represent their company as the best.  Mountain View’s Ricky Hansen completed intense training and inspection qualifications to achieve status as a certified Belgard contractor.
“It takes several years of installation experience, classes, and many driveway, wall and paver projects being inspected to achieve this elite certification,” stated Mountain View owner Harvey Burniston, Jr.
Mountain View has also been recognized for their work with water gardens and lighting projects.  “Our company was one of the first ten companies in the United States to be certified through Atlantic Water Gardens,” said Burniston.  “We also received a lighting award from Kichler Professional Lighting in 2012 for our projects in LED low voltage outdoor lighting.”
Mountain View Nursery and Landscaping is a family owned business with multiple personal connections to the Johnson County area.  Owner Harvey Burniston, Jr. first realized the potential of not only the local resources but also the talent of the students he taught while at Johnson County High School.
“I decided that I had a lot of good students who wanted to work and apply what they had learned in my classes so I began landscaping after school and on Saturdays,” Burniston explained the important role his students have played in his company’s formation and development.  “I have probably had hundreds of students working part time and some full time over the last 27 years.  Many have won FFA awards in different horticulture areas because of their great work with our company.”
A major driving force for the formation and expansion of Mountain View Landscaping into the nursery business was Burniston’s desire to have an operation his three daughters could be a part of.
“In 1998, when my oldest daughter Melissa was going into high school, we bought our first cold frame greenhouse to grow perennials,” he shared.  “I never had to tell my daughters to work.  They were self-motivated because they knew the more plants they potted up would be more money for them.  All three girls won numerous FFA awards because of their work ethics and achievements in the business.”
Mountain View’s strong family atmosphere is further evidenced with Burniston’s sons-in-law providing well-trained leadership to the company’s hard working teams.  Ricky Hansen heads Mountain View’s hardscape crew and Cody Graybeal manages the company’s landscape crew.
Mountain View’s staff consists of highly trained landscape and greenhouse technicians.
For the rest of the story pick up a copy of this week’s Tomahawk.

Article source: http://www.thetomahawk.com/local-news/mountain-view-nursery-utilizes-local-talent-and-resources-in-its-award-winning-landscaping/

Council: Game on for boulevard gardens

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Article source: http://www.argusleader.com/story/news/2016/04/05/council-game-boulevard-gardens/32575951/

Around the Town: Vendors, seminars and more at home show

Article source: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/around-the-town-vendors-seminars-and-more-at-home-show/article_2c30ad60-e70f-585c-ac00-ab39a98e12e1.html

Thinking spring: Gardeners take in tips at Cottage Grove workshop



COMMERCIAL SPACE available in new building with nice convenient location!
Commercial Park off Hwy C., Somerset, WI.

Article source: http://www.swcbulletin.com/life/4002258-thinking-spring-gardeners-take-tips-cottage-grove-workshop

Tips to growing prize-winning produce: ‘Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening’ book

Sally and George Peterson are DIY gardeners who have transformed a rough hillside with a lake view into a tree-laden landscape with organic vegetables and herbs growing in raised planter beds and a greenhouse.

On their Ashland property, 225 trees, mostly native and drought tolerant, provide shade, fall color and berries for birds. They have also planted 200 shrubs and 3,000 bulbs, and installed a filter system to catch rainwater.

We gave Sally Peterson a stack of garden-related books and asked her if the information would help other DIYers in the Pacific Northwest. Here is one of her reviews:

 

“Blue Ribbon Vegetable Gardening: The Secrets to Growing the Biggest and Best Prizewinning Produce” by Jodi Torpey ($16.95, Storey Publishing): My husband, George, and I thoroughly enjoy planting, nourishing, harvesting and especially eating many varieties of fruits and vegetables from our garden.

We labor mostly for selfish reasons. The produce tastes so much better than anything trucked to a grocery store. We also truly feel joy when we are able to share our bounty with neighbors and friends, as well as our local food bank.

We never thought about entering our home-grown food in a county fair or other competition. But for those who aspire to earn blue ribbons, Torpey’s guide provides detailed and practical information on the process and secrets of growing top-notch produce.

But even if you don’t want to compete, the 224-page book has good basic suggestions, such as using a planting checklist, that are helpful for every gardener. Her strategies would be most valuable for beginners.

Entire chapters are dedicated to growing beans, beets, cabbages and other popular produce. Included are lists of varieties that have prize-winning potential, a heat guide and color photos.

Torpey weaves fun trivia into each chapter, which was of particular interest to me. For instance, Thomas Jefferson enjoyed growing jumbo varieties of cucumbers and asked for seeds from the former governor of Ohio.

It’s clear that Torpey encourages families to learn, work and grow vegetables together, not to mention entering contests.

“For some growers, a competitive nature is simply hardwired in their green thumbs,” she writes. “Competitive gardening is similar to other competitive sports. Medals, ribbons, and prize money are nice, but gardeners enter their vegetables in contests for the pleasure of seeing how their skill stacks up against the competition. They also get validation from the personal accomplishment of growing something wonderful from a handful of seeds.”

If this describes you, Torpey’s guide is a perfect book. If it doesn’t, the book is still a good resource for gardeners who want to grow more of what they eat.

— Sally Peterson

Stay in the loop. Sign up to receive a free weekly Homes Gardens of the Northwest newsletter and join the conversation at the Homes Gardens of the Northwest on Facebook page.

Article source: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2016/04/blue_ribbon_vegetable_gardenin.html