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Archives for June 1, 2016

10 things we learned from the Chelsea flower show

1 Finally, we’re over cow parsley

The meadow planting that has been so prevalent in recent years has moved in two different and competing directions. In one clutch of show gardens, the naturalism (in Chelsea parlance, a borrowed or captured landscape) of all those frothy plants has morphed into another type of landscape: the dry garden. We’re talking scree, gravel, drought-resistant plants: this year, Hugo Bugg’s Royal Bank Of Canada garden and Andy Sturgeon’s Telegraph garden were the standouts. But elsewhere, the froth of the meadow had an injection of riotous colour and an exuberant “everything plus the kitchen sink” approach to planting. Ann-Marie Powell’s RHS Greening Grey Britain garden epitomised the trend, with its bright orange shipping container of an outdoor room, echoing the bright orange geums among purple alliums; see also Diarmuid Gavin’s riotous planting in his Harrods British Eccentrics garden.

2 Pines replace topiary

Dwarf mountain pines featured in Sam Ovens’ Cloudy Bay Garden. Photograph: Neil Hepworth/RHS

Tightly clipped topiary, in boxes, balls or hedges, was once everywhere at Chelsea, but not this year (apart from Gavin’s garden, where it was taken up to – and possibly beyond – the limit, with an avenue of conical clipped bay trees that twirl on the spot every few minutes). What took its place? Native trees, particularly pines, in a more relaxed style. My favourites were the dense, grey-green of the glaucous Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris ‘Glauca’) in Nick Bailey’s Winton’s Beauty Of Mathematics garden, and Sam Ovens’ looser, less controlled dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) in the Cloudy Bay garden (right down to a broken branch on the ground; Ovens had to keep stopping people from tidying it away).

3 Small is beautiful

The Senri-Sentei garage garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara. Photograph: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The smallest gardens at Chelsea (the artisan gardens) are often the most desirable for the average punter. The garden I’d like to take home this year is the Senri-Sentei garage garden, created by Japanese designer Kazuyuki Ishihara. It’s cute, compact and beautiful, with a haze of colourful Japanese acers festooning the rooftop garden that shelters a vintage Mini.

4 Lawns rule

The Chelsea Barracks garden, designed by Jo Thompson. Photograph: Neil Hepworth/RHS

To anyone unacquainted with the mores of Chelsea, the idea that a lawn might be controversial must seem very odd: after all, it’s a central feature of most British plots. But Jo Thompson’s Chelsea Barracks garden, billed as a rose garden reimagined for the 21st century, contains a sizable green sward rarely seen at the show these days.

5 Stone walls

James Basson’s L’’Occitane garden features drystone walls. Photograph: Neil Hepworth/RHS

If there’s a theme to the hard landscaping this year, it’s rough-hewn stone: it came in boulders and as drystone walls in Cleve West’s MG garden; as gabion walls in Rosy Hardy’s Brewin Dolphin Forever Freefolk garden, and drystone walls in the Provence landscape of James Basson’s L’Occitane garden. As a trend, it’s an unusually accessible one. Get yourself on a drystone wall course this summer and you could have built your own by Christmas.

6 The medium is the message

The Modern Slavery garden designed by Juliet Sargeant. Photograph: Sarah Cuttle/RHS

Garden sponsorship makes for odd bedfellows: while some designers are bankrolled by investment funds, others are sponsored by charities with a serious message. Can a garden make people think a little harder about Ebola or meningitis? I don’t know, but with 165,000 visitors passing through the showground last week and millions more watching on TV around the world, you can see why they try. The Modern Slavery garden by Chelsea first-timer Juliet Sargeant is notable for its powerful message; at the centre of the garden is an English oak, symbolising the tree where William Wilberforce stood when he dedicated his life to ending slavery.

7 It’s a fair copper

A copper water bowl in Nick Bailey’s Beauty of Mathematics garden. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

The interior decorating trend for coppery tones has been picked up in both planting and objects: see the wonderful copper water bowl by sculptor Giles Rayner in Nick Bailey’s garden, the orange isoplexis in Andy Sturgeon’s garden.

8 Lupin love

Blue lupin (
Lupinus pilosus) growing in its native Jordan. Photograph: Alamy

Every year, there are a few plants in the show gardens that everyone wants to grow immediately. For me, it was the gorgeous, navy-blue lupins (Lupinus pilosus) in Bugg’s garden. Not only are its blooms stunning, the plant is drought-tolerant and a nitrogen fixer.

9 Spotty Dotty

Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’. Photograph: Alamy

Away from the glare and glamour of the show gardens, the pavilion is simply all about the plants. Of all the delights of its nursery exhibits, one plant calls out to me every year: Podophyllum ‘Spotty Dotty’, with mottled umbrella-like leaves and wine-red flowers. Perhaps it’s finally the year to give it a go.

10 Bins can be beautiful, too

Woven compost bins in Ann-Marie Powell’s garden. Photograph: Jane Perrone

Even composting has a place at Chelsea. If there was one thing I wanted to steal from this year’s show, it was Powell’s wonderful cylindrical woven willow compost bins made by Staffordshire basketmaker Eddie Glew. With these beauties, you wouldn’t want to hide your composting in a corner.

Go to for more pictures and all our Chelsea coverage.

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See a huge future for the Raymond Group in the FMCG space: Giriraj Bagri, Raymond

All the businesses of the

Group will sit under this umbrella, says Giriraj Bagri , President – FMCG Business, Raymond. In an interview to ET Now , Bagri also talks about his business ideas. Edited excerpts:

ET Now: Which products do you plan to manufacture with your new FMCG company?

Giriraj Bagri: What we are announcing here is creation of a Raymond FMCG Group. All the businesses of the Raymond FMCG Group will sit under this umbrella. There are certain legal entities which are there which for the time being they are expected to continue so we are not altering any legal entities structure at this point in time.

ET Now: But if you can tell us what has been the rationale behind this introduction?

Giriraj Bagri: As you are aware that the Indian consumption landscape is growing and is expected to grow at a significant pace going forward with income levels, media fragmentation and access to information increasing quite rapidly. The Raymond Group is very well poised in terms of the brands that it owns, it owns very powerful brands in the male grooming area and it is a convergence of the opportunity and the latent brand which the group has which brings us to a tipping point. Hence we see a huge future for the Raymond Group in the FMCG space.

ET Now: Will you be having your own manufacturing facility or will you outsource the same?

Giriraj Bagri: We have a manufacturing plant in the prophylactics area in Aurangabad on the other hand most of the JK Helene Curtis products are outsourced. The Raymond products as we do the category entry strategy and are landscaping of the strategic plans we will have a combination as we see the need of in-source and outsourced manufacture.

ET Now: What are the products that you are looking at launching under the new brand?

Giriraj Bagri: We have just started landscaping the emerging Indian landscape because as you would realise that the emerging India, the young India of the future is going to have needs which might be significantly different from the India of the past.

We are looking at lot of innovative products in different categories as we go along a bit premature for me to talk about them at this juncture.

ET Now: For any FMCG companies sales is clearly an important aspect what is the sales that you are targeting from this new company?

Giriraj Bagri: Let me say that what we are trying to create here is a very unique lifestyle consumer products company as a group and as a consequence whatever are the innovations that are required to create this kind of a persona we will do that.

Targets are a bit premature at this point in time because we have just created this group, the whole business plan and study check thrust is currently being distilled and outlined and therefore would be very premature for me to talk about numbers as yet.

ET Now: If you can tell us by when will the new company come in business and start adding meaningfully to Raymond’s consolidated financials?

Giriraj Bagri: A large part of this group which is the Park Avenue business, the KamaSutra business are already in existence and doing pretty well and they will continue to contribute to the growth as we go forward.

The cherry which will come on top of it is what the Raymond’s brand will hold under its umbrella and that is a area of creation well the normal creation cycle would follow its path.

ET Now: Now investment especially towards AP spends towards the new brand now that is going to be introduced and if you can take us through those details?

Giriraj Bagri: Whatever is required you know when a new brand enters into new categories it requires a certain level of threshold it depends on a nature of the category and the intensity of rivalry existing in that category. So as we finalise our go to market plans the investment strategy will be crafted accordingly.

Article source:

Budding ideas for trees


To find the right one, experts suggest branching out

Money doesn’t grow on trees. But it does factor into buying one to enhance the landscaping on your property.

Trees are priceless. They provide habitats for animals, clean the air, fight climate change, and mark the seasons. They provide an explosion of fiery color in the fall and a perfect backdrop for snow in the winter, offer up an abundance of aroma in the spring, and give us shade from the summer.

Trees are hardy, but not if they’re the wrong type for your climate — think a palm tree in northwest Ohio — they’re planted in the wrong type of soil, and the tree you want to plant is appealing to insects or pests and diseases.


The emerald ash borer detected near Toledo in 2003 spread throughout Ohio and caused the widespread felling of ash trees. Dutch elm disease wreaked its havoc, too.

So when thinking about incorporating a tree into your property, it pays to take some time to determine what best fits what you want your tree to do for you.

Daniel Plath, an arborist, master gardener, retiree from the city of Toledo Division of Forestry, and owner of Plath Garden Services, said that when he helps select trees for his clients, he doesn’t only look at trees.

“I’m looking [at] what would do well and what would fit into the landscape, and how the plants and trees are going to affect their landscape in a positive way,” Mr. Plath said.

He noted that trees won’t only affect his client’s property. If the garden is in an urban setting, this tree could affect the neighbors.

“In an urban setting you’re looking at your neighbors’ property as well,” he said. You don’t want a tree that will have limbs hanging over your neighbor’s house or growing in such a way as to damage your neighbor’s yard.

A gold star magnolia tree planted in South Toledo by Daniel Plath.


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More importantly, he said, what do you want from the tree?

Do you prefer fall foliage or flowers in the spring? Is the shape or color of leaf important to you? Do you want shade, and how long are you willing to wait for a tree to be able to provide that?

“There are trees that grow faster than others but maybe not necessarily desirable,” he said. For example, “Willow trees grow very fast, but they are weak wooded, they have disease issues, and insects are attracted to them.”

Mr. Plath said he has a few favorites when it comes to shade trees. “The swamp white oak is a shade tree that does really well. It’s sturdy, doesn’t have a lot of surface roots; it can tolerate drier sites and heavy soil types.”

Another of his favorites is the Chinese elm with the Latin name Ulmus parvifolia. But be careful, he said.

“The common name gets confused with another tree. The Ulmus parvifolia doesn’t have the pest or disease problem,” Mr. Plath said.

Perhaps you want eye-popping color in the fall and fragrant flowers in the spring, an attractive color of bark, or a pleasing shape and color of the leaf?

What could fit the bill, Mr. Plath said, would be a type of tree that is trending right now: an ornamental, which is a smaller tree that fits in well in smaller areas and bears flowers.

“They don’t really mature out at larger sizes,” he said.

He said he prefers the paperbark maple, or the Acer griseum. “It’s an adaptable, gorgeous tree. It doesn’t have flowers, but the bark is beautiful, and it has beautiful fall colors,” he said. It’s not a fast-growing tree, and he said it maxes out at 25 feet to 30 feet.

While it has no flowers, he said the bark is beautiful. The brown to reddish brown bark peels away to a cinnamon-colored shade.

Another tree Mr. Plath is fond of is one that is associated mainly with the southern states: the magnolia.

“Magnolia varieties adapt to clay conditions really well. The sweetbay magnolia or magnolia virginiana has a really nice form for a small tree, and it has light yellow flowers in the spring,” he said. Plus, he added, the tree is a nice fit for a smaller landscape.

But before you start digging that hole for your Ulsum parvifolia or Acer griseum, you have to finish your homework. That is, if you haven’t checked your soil.

Is your dirt clay or sandy? Is it wet or dry?

That’s important to know, said Amy Stone, educator, Ohio State University Lucas County Extension office, because northwest Ohio is a little different from other areas in that it has two types of soil.

“We have the Oak Openings region, which has a sandy-type soil. Then we have the Great Black Swamp, which is a wetter soil,” Ms. Stone said.

You can pay someone to test your soil, or you can do it yourself, and you don’t have to be a scientist to do it, Ms. Stone said.

Take damp soil and rub some of it between your fingers. If it’s gritty, it’s mostly sand. If it feels slimy, it’s mostly clay.

Or, she said, perform the “ribbon test” by rolling the soil between your hands. If you can make a ribbon and it doesn’t break, you have mostly clay. If you can’t form a ribbon, then it’s mostly sand.

Another test, she said, is to gather some soil and put it in a Mason jar. Fill the jar with water and a pinch of salt and let the soil settle. The sand will settle first, then the silt, and then the clay.

And if you still can’t tell, she said, then call the horticulture hot line at 419-578-6783. Questions can also be emailed at

Ms. Stone said a little groundwork can save you headaches and cash. It’s something she found out through her love of blueberries.

“I kept trying to grow them,” she said. “But in the end I decided it was cheaper to go down to the market and buy them.”

After all, blueberries don’t grow on trees.

Contact Heather Deniss at:

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Gorilla Harambe Shooting: The Best Way To Avoid Tragic Human-Gorilla Incidents? Modern Free-Range Primate Zoo …

The fatal shooting by zoo officials over the weekend of Harambe, a 17-year-old endangered western lowland gorilla, to save a 4-year-old boy at the Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Garden has led to a flurry of blame-seeking.

Is the mother of the boy to blame for not noticing that her child climbed a barrier until he tumbled into the gorilla habitat? Is the Ohio zoo the culprit for not having adequate barriers between humans and its primates? Or, as some animal rights advocates argue, does the problem lie with animal captivity itself?

Here’s another possible candidate for blame: the exhibit’s concrete moat. It could have played a role in agitating Harambe enough to violently drag the boy around until he was shot and killed out of fear for the child’s safety.

“A survey of gorilla activity in zoos found that gorillas spent a significantly higher proportion of their time in flat areas than sloped areas and that they also preferred areas with open views,” said Devin Legisa, researcher at Seattle-based Zoo Design Inc., an architecture and landscaping firm that specializes in moden zoological park exhibits. “Areas like the bottom of moats are uncomfortable to gorillas too because visitors appear larger and more dominant and the sense of refuge is reduced.”

Harambe Thane Maynard, executive director of the Cincinnati Zoo, speaks to reporters Monday, May 30, 2016, two days after a boy tumbled into a moat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a Western lowland gorilla. Photo: REUTERS/William Philpott

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Older zoo exhibits — Cincinnati’s gorilla exhibit was opened in 1978 from a repurposed greenhouse conservatory — can employ outdated designs of separating humans and dangerous animals, and it can cost millions of dollars to fix the issue.

Lax federal rules and oversight lead to zoos largely deciding on their own the best way to deal with the often-conflicting ideas of visitor accessibility and distance from the animals. In Cincinnati’s case, the only thing keeping human and primate separate was a 3-foot fence and some shrubs, bounded by a 12-foot moat that was accessible to the gorillas. The barrier worked for decades, until it didn’t. While this was the first incident of its kind at the park, stories of visitors falling or climbing into zoo exhibit pits occur regularly, if also rarely.

Protective concrete moats and pit-like exhibits for primates, bears and big cats are by modern zoological park standards a medieval vestige of an earlier era. For much of the 20th century (and before), larger and more dangerous animals were treated as living displays put there for human enjoyment instead of captive creatures with high levels of awareness and emotions. As zoos began shifting away from spectacle and began to see themselves as educational and scientific institutions, animal exhibits changed with them.

Zoos across the United States have been gradually introducing modern exhibits over the past decades that improve animal welfare while fortifying human-animal barriers. Multimillion-dollar modern primate exhibits can vary, but they all share at least three common features: Animals are given a place for privacy away from the eyes of visitors; they’re given a lot more outdoor space and natural features than in older, more confining exhibits; and visitors are the ones who are “contained” in distinct viewing pavilions behind thick layers of Plexiglas or on high platforms.

But it’s not cheap.

“New, sophisticated exhibits cost millions of dollars, particularly multi-species settings,” said Gigi Allianic, spokeswoman for Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, which last year opened a $15 million tiger and bear exhibit. Woodland Park was one of the first in the world to open a “naturalistic gorilla exhibit,” in 1979. Famed primatologists Jane Goodall and the late Dian Fossey served as consultants.

Last year the Houston Zoo opened a $28 million modern gorilla exhibit after 11 years and considerable fundraising efforts. While the zoo features outdoor elevated platforms that could be easily breached, the design relies on people’s sense of self-preservation; if you want to play with the gorillas, there’s no water to break a rather long drop to the ground.

Zoological parks have gone through some profound architectural changes since the middle of the past century. It wasn’t until animal behavior specialists noticed that captive apes, large cats, bears and pachyderms exhibited signs of mental distress in confinement that zoos began taking notice. In the late 1960s U.S. zoos began giving captive primates outdoor space, and paying more attention to addressing the animals’ physiological health, says Zoo Design co-founder Julia Hanuliakova.

“We use to perceive animals as something we needed to completely control in experimental, sterile, hospital-like conditions,” she said. “We’ve known how to take care of their bodies, but now we are trying to figure out how to make them happy.”

The Cincinnati Zoo is more than aware of these needs and has been working for years to address them. Next year it plans to open a $12 million gorilla expansion project that would incorporate modern and year-round viewing for visitors and improved living that offer more primate privacy.

And no concrete moats.

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Garden Tour supports victims of domestic violence

Spring is in bloom, and Safenet Services’ 21st Annual Garden Tour returns on Saturday, June 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and offers the opportunity to enjoy beautiful gardens and landscaping while supporting victims of domestic violence.

“This year’s tour has something for everyone. Each of our five stops are unique — we have beautiful floral gardens, a greenhouse, hardscapes with outdoor kitchens, and even a blueberry farm,” said Emily Brown, Safenet Services Resource Coordinator.

Safenet’s longest-standing fundraiser provides a relaxing, self-guided tour of gardens throughout Rogers County. Vendors will be set up at each location so guests may purchase plants and garden accessories.

The Master Gardeners of Rogers County will also be on hand at each of the homes to identify plants and answer questions.

The women of St. Paul Episcopal Church will be hosting the Garden Party Luncheon and Garden Goodies Bake Sale from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“The Garden Party Luncheon has become a tradition for the Garden Tour,” said Donna Grabow, Safenet’s Executive Director. “For $7.50 the St. Paul Episcopal Church Women have put together a delightful menu, which includes a drink and dessert. The proceeds from the lunch benefit Safenet Services and the lunch is open to anyone. You don’t have to be on the Garden tour to attend.”

Tickets are $10 and are available in advance at Pixley Lumber Carpet Department, Stonebridge Garden Center or the Safenet office.

Attendees may also purchase tickets the day of the event at any Garden Tour location. Homes on the tour are: Hope and Scott Savage, 1008 Oak Ridge Circle; Jerry L. Hastings, 1255 Easy Street; Beth Young, 1402 Quail Valley Dr.; Steve and Christine Cummings, 6939 Garden Stone Lane, Owasso; and Canyon Berry Farm, 20126 S. Dickerson Dr.

Safenet Services strives to create a healthy support environment for women and families healing from the consequences of domestic violence and sexual assault by offering free and confidential services for victims in Rogers and Mayes counties.

Services offered include a 24 hour crisis line, 35-bed domestic abuse shelter, counseling and parenting education, protective order assistance, and victim advocacy.

For more information or for tickets, call Safenet Services at (918) 341-1424.

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Missouri governor’s mansion ranks high in landscaping survey

JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri may rank below the national average when it comes to a number of economic and social indicators, but the taxpayer-paid yard it provides for its governor is at the top of one list.

A lawncare company has put the grounds of the Missouri Governor’s Mansion at No. 3 in the nation behind Kentucky and Wisconsin.

LawnStarter, which allows homeowners to book appointments with gardening professionals via the web or mobile app, issued a survey Tuesday ranking the top 12 mansions when it comes to landscaping.

“We did not visit all 50 states. Rather, we sifted through hundreds of photos of the landscaping at all of the governor’s mansions in the U.S.,” said LawnStarter editor John Egan, a former Jefferson City resident. “In studying the photos, we looked at the lawns, plants, trees, flowers and other landscaping elements to determine the winners.”

Built in 1871, the Jefferson City home of  Gov. Jay Nixon and his wife, Georgann, has eight gardens. Not all of them are for looks. Some contain vegetables and herbs used for cooking.

The yard, perched on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River, also includes fruit trees that were planted during the term of Gov. Lloyd Crow Stark in the late 1930s.

LawnStarter put the Kentucky mansion at No. 1,

“The Kentucky Governor’s Mansion is, simply put, a gem. Yet the stunning limestone structure wouldn’t be quite the gem it is without the superb landscaping. The tidy, bursting-with-color landscaping accentuates what’s already an attractive and treasured asset,” the survey noted.

Others on the list include Arkansas, New Jersey, Oregon, Maryland, Alaska, Alabama, Nevada, Kansas and Tennessee.

Article source:

Top 7 landscaping and gardening trends for 2016

This story is sponsored by Western Timber Frame.

Last year, the trends in architectural landscaping and gardening elements focused on comfort and lifestyle, being cost-effective and environmentally friendly. This year, the American Society of Landscape Architectures (ASLA) survey projected the greatest consumer demand, for 2016, will be in the conservation of water, e.g. rainwater/graywater harvesting. For many communities, integrating sustainable solutions to dramatically reduce water usage for a healthier environment is a big topic.

Inspired by neighbors, friends, social media, such as Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV, etc., many of today’s homeowners are doing home improvement projects to give them a better living in their own backyard.

Of these improvements, some may include the ASLAs projected 2016 top 7 current trends for architectural landscape and garden elements listed here with some of their potential benefits.

Pergolas: preferred by 50.94% of people who voted

Pergolas add living space that is more private than a deck or patio which makes it easier for families to come together with relatives, friends and neighbors in a nourishing, naturally relaxing atmosphere. A solid wood pergola provides the same cooling human-friendly shade that a shade tree does.

Shade trees lower heating and cooling costs for both indoors and out, help prevent soil erosion, attract wildlife, provide leaves for compost, and can be a good investment in a home’s future. A conscientious homeowner can install a solid wood shade structure in one day, enjoying all the comforts of a shade tree maintenance.

Decks: preferred by 47.40% of people who voted

Like a pergola, a deck offers more living space and a place for a family to play outside while enjoying good company in a convenient setting. A deck can also free up some yard space by elevating it or with additional levels to take advantage of multiple living areas.

There are a variety of options that can be incorporated with a deck to make it more functional such as built-in planters, attached pavilions, arbors or a gazebo. The underside of the deck can also be utilized for extra storage space.

Courtesy of Western Timber Frames

Arbors: preferred by 44.32% of people who voted

For enthusiastic gardeners, an arbor offers a defined and elegant entrance for a garden, property while providing shade being both decorative and functional. Arbors provide beautiful ceremonial backdrops for backyard weddings, hanging bench swings, and are also often used to shade pool, patio and barbecue areas.

Fencing: preferred by 44.07% of people who voted

A fence defines a property. Privacy fences are the highest in demand. A higher fence can give some privacy and guard a swimming pool or playground equipment, preventing unintentional trespassers from placing themselves in harms way.

Fencing can provide protection for the family and their possessions. It furnishes a safer place for children and pets, keeping them in the yard while helping to raise the barrier of entry from strangers or animals. A fence reduces white noise and can procure some protection from the elements.

Indigenous plants: preferred by 86.02% of people who voted

Indigenous plants support the local ecology, contributing to healthy soil and water. Native vegetation develops its own defenses against disease and pest. Pesticides are not discriminating and kill beneficial insects as well.

The native plants and beneficial insects, birds and butterflies, etc. were made for each other. Once most native plants are established they need very little water between the rains. They use less water, less pruning and help to use less or no fertilizer. Native plants are usually lower maintenance.

Courtesy of Western Timber Frame

Low maintenance landscapes: preferred by 84.55% of people who voted

Low maintenance landscapes are yards that can manage themselves unattended for weeks at a time and are beneficial for gardeners who do not have a lot of time. This means easy-care greenery, no fuss ground works, durable furnishings and architectural landscape.

Examples would be watering from drip systems, replacing lawn with pavers to reduce watering or weeding, garden beds filled with gravel and ornamental grass or miniature evergreens.

Food and vegetable gardens: preferred by 74.95% of people who voted

Backyard gardening, community gardens and even planter boxes are providing tasty produce right off the vine. Homeowners can potentially save hundreds of dollars with the investment of even a small vegetable garden according to the National Gardening Association (NGA), and it tastes so delicious.

Courtesy of Western Timber Frames

Digging in the dirt can also be a rewarding family activity, allowing children to reap the fruits of their labor.

Additional information on backyard gardening and architectural landscaping can be found at

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Gardening Tips: Tips for all-season colour

This is the time of year that all the garden centres are full of people choosing plants carefully so that joy of colour can last all summer long.

I often have to disappoint a customer standing in the annual greenhouses with the news that YES, the annuals bloom all summer but NO, these plants aren’t perennials that return year after year.

If you get a bit confused by which plants are which, just remember that annual flowers must be planted annually or every year.

They are the ones that DO bloom all summer when given the right conditions to grow in, adequate and consistent watering during the heat of summer and enough nutrients to keep those flowers coming right through until fall frost.

Hardy perennial flowers are a permanent part of your garden. However, the vast majority of them have a limited timeframe they bloom within. Very few will bloom all season long like an annual flower will.

When planning a perennial garden, it’s important to identify the bloom time of the plants you are considering. Right now in my garden I have primroses, bleeding heart, trillium, forget-me-nots, moss phlox, lewesia and cushion spurge blooming.

Within a week or two, depending on the weather, those blooms will fade away. (Spring blooming perennials enjoy cool temperatures and unfortunately fade faster with hot weather.) Late spring and early summer perennials will bloom next, keeping my garden colourful as we head into summer.

With some attention to the details listed on plant tags as you shop for perennials, you can ensure there is an ebb and flow of colour in your perennial beds.  

Then, once fall comes and the perennials start to die down, you can be assured that next spring they will pop back up from the ground to start the colour parade again next season.

Annual flowers must be re-planted every single year but the colour they provide is well worth the effort. To be successful, once again pay attention to the information provided on plant tags. Know the conditions you are shopping for so you choose the correct combination of plants that will thrive in your yard.

The most important information on the tag will relate to light conditions. A plant that requires full sun will need to be growing in an area that receives sun all day or at least from about noon onwards.

Tags may state FULL SUN, have a symbol showing a sun or be coded with a section of bright yellow which indicates sun loving plants.

A plant that thrives in part sun/part shade is one that must have at least 4 to 5 hours of morning sun to bloom well. These plants are often unhappy if exposed to the full heat of the afternoon sun.

Tags may state one of those conditions or have a sun symbol that is half blacked out. If the tag is colour coded, orange is the universal colour for part sun/part shade.

Some plants are happiest with little sun at all. Those fall in the category of shade lovers.

The symbol used for a shade plant is a sun with the centre entirely black. The color code on the tag will be purple to identify plants that will tolerate 4 hours of sun or less and never sun in the middle of the day.

Some tags will have two symbols or colours. Those plants may be tolerant of full sun to part shade or shade to part shade. There are also a few plants that will thrive in any light condition. Dragon Wing begonias are my go-to plant for growing anywhere!

Although this may should confusing, plant tags usually go a long way towards making your plant choices easier.

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Gardening Tips for Kids

TORONTO, May 30, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Many families are encouraging their kids to get outside into the garden. Gardening can benefit children’s health and well-being and impact their attitudes towards learning, the environment, nutrition and so much more.

Gardening has become easier and more accessible for kids, thanks in part to innovative plastic gardening tools and equipment that are readily available at many home or garden stores.

Want to start gardening with the kids? Here are a few gardening tips for kids to get you started:

Gardening Tip for Kids #1: Go Vertical

No backyard? No problem. Create an urban oasis on virtually any wall with vertical gardening, made possible by innovative plastic products that allow plants to grow above the ground. Known also as “green walls” or “living walls,” vertical gardens consist of a collection of plants that grow up a wall or other vertical surface, both indoors and outdoors.

For example, Woolly Pockets are flexible, breathable gardening containers designed for use on just about any wall (as well as floors and tabletops). The felt pockets are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles attached to a moisture barrier made from 60% recycled plastic. Some schools short on space are installing vertical gardens on walls and chain-link fences in only a few hours.

Gardening Tip for Kids #2: Use Plastic Containers

Even if there’s no room for a garden, kids can still enjoy growing and harvesting fresh vegetables. Container gardens are easy to manage, can be as large or small as space permits and allow experimentation with different plants, soils and environmental conditions, indoors and out. Plastic containers are ideal for this type of gardening—they are lightweight and easier to move than heavier pots and reusable many times. And in some locations, depending on the local program and kind of container, they can even be recycled. Check out some of these cool examples of container gardens.

Gardening Tip for Kids #3: Enjoy the Feathered Friends

Most kids love wildlife. They can encourage feathered friends to visit the garden for many seasons with an inviting, durable bird house constructed of recycled plastic. It’s also easy to create bird houses from plastic bottles! Reusing and recycling plastics helps reinforce the environmental lessons of gardening.

Gardening Tip for Kids #4: From Mint to Marjoram, Start from Seeds

Kids can reuse plastic nursery pots and seedling trays to grow herbs year round. Lightweight plastic pots and trays are convenient and easy to move around to capture the sun.

Gardening Tip for Kids #5: Get a Group Together

Most kids enjoy playing in the dirt with their buddies. Gathering friends to create a garden makes the mess into success, turning dirt time into an educational and fun activity. You can even garden at school.

Gardening Tip for Kids #6: Make a Gardening Chore Chart

Many children benefit from the structure of regular, meaningful chores. Daily watering? Weekly weeding? Pest patrol? These simple tasks allow kids to play a genuine role in caring for the garden.

Gardening Tip for Kids #7: Sharing is Caring – Grow Your Own Gifts

A garden takes on special meaning for kids when its fruits can be shared. Sharing a bouquet of flowers with a friend or teacher … planting a row of vegetables specifically for a food pantry or ministry … inviting friends for harvest time … all great ways to cultivate a garden and caring kids.

Find more kids gardening tips and ideas at

Today’s intelligent plastics are vital to the modern world. These materials enhance our lifestyles, our economy and the environment. For more information, visit

A photo accompanying this release is available at:

Darlene Gray
Canadian Plastics Industry Association
905.678.7748 ext. 239

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Local experts share summer gardening tips – Portales News

By Eamon Scarbrough

With summer coming on fast, local residents are planting gardens full of flowers and vegetables.

However, in order for a garden to thrive, there are several pieces of advice from local experts to keep in mind.

A garden will thrive if placed in a location that has access to sunlight and water, according to Roosevelt County Extension Agent Patrick Kircher.

“Make sure that they’re picking a location that’s got quality access to sun and water that’s going to be a good soil site where they’re going to have good, healthy soil to work with,” Kircher said. “I really always try to encourage folks to try to pick varieties that have some disease resistance, and most of the time that will be listed on the tab when they’re looking for those.”

The health of the soil is also important to maintain, said Bryan Guthals of Guthals Nursery in Clovis.

“I would use cotton burr compost to revitalize my soil, because vegetable gardens tend to draw a lot of nutrients from the soil. That’s just an additive you put into the dirt, and then you plant your seeds,” he said.

Another way to keep soil healthy is by utilizing pest control, according to Guthals.

“Pesticides are not everybody’s bag. A lot of people don’t want to use them, because a lot of folks want to do stuff organically, which I certainly understand. Neem oil is a really good product,” he said, including a warning about organic products. “If they want to use something organic, it has to be used very frequently, something like a three-to-five-day process. When you go organic, it’s just that. It’s not going to last very long.”

Soil has to be monitored and maintained, Guthals said, or it will become unhealthy.

“In my opinion, you need to pay attention to your soil’s fertility, because so many folks don’t pay attention to that. They just try to keep planting things on the same soil year-after-year, and they may use a chemical type fertilizer on it,” he said. “When you don’t put that cotton burr compost, which is your organic soil matter, on there annually, then your soil becomes worn out. Fertilizers don’t fix all that.”

However, fertilizer will go a long way in getting a plant to its optimum health, according to Lisa Jaynes of Garden Source in Portales.

“A lot of people tend to forget to fertilize, and they’ll water their plants, but actually, the plants need food also in order to do everything they can do. I would say fertilizing is key,” Jaynes said.

It is also important for gardeners to strategize what they are going to plant in order to make sure that they can adequately take care of their garden, according to Kircher.

“Try to set out a game plan for what you want to do. Try to map out your garden where it’s easy to work in,” he said. “Raise things that you’re going to utilize. Plant crops that your family enjoys. Don’t plant so much of something that it overruns you and you get burnt out and tired of it. Try and make it where it’s an enjoyable, workable process.”

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