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Archives for June 20, 2016

Contemporary Garden Design by Amir Schlezinger, London – beautiful and highly liveable

Amir Schlezinger of Mylandscapes, London, designed this contemporary garden as a social space. Beautiful yet highly liveable, this Regent’s Park garden design extends interior space into relaxing outdoors full of serenity. ” … the benches correspond with the shape of the indoor fireplace, while the Ipe hardwood continues the lines of the flooring. The granite waterfall creates reflections on the surrounding walls – contrasting dramatically with the narrow bands of buff sandstone.”


Well placed greenery and a waterfall mask the surrounding sounds of traffic and noise. Tiles and hardwood accompany each other as well as draw the eyes along the borders of the garden. The bamboo and other trees add an elegant and warm tone to the design. A great designer can take any modern space and create a warm yet spacious feeling. Schlezinger did just that. This contemporary London garden is full of beauty and calm. Mylandscapes Garden Design.






Photographs by Jerry Harpur.

Article source: http://www.trendir.com/contemporary-garden-design-by/

Building community for long term prosperity

With every disaster comes a fork in the road. Do you rebuild or move elsewhere to start over? This was the question for thousands of citizens of the New Orleans and Gulf Coast area following Hurricane Katrina in 2005. To this day there are hundreds of homes that sit abandoned in the New Orleans area; left behind by those who chose to move elsewhere.

On the opposite side of the coin, there are those who decided to return to their homes (or who never evacuated… that went well) and rebuild the Gulf Coast into the community they wanted it to be. This was a happy outcome. It was great to see New Orleans come back from what could have been a much larger loss. It brings a big question to mind though, what would such an event do to your community?

Luckily, not every disaster is always so severe and you have to live in the right area to encounter such disasters. This does shine light on the fact that community is important. Especially for the preparedness minded. New Orleans wasn’t put back together by just a few people; there were thousands who came together to rebuild the city.

So would your community do the same? Could you count on your neighbors, the families in the next neighborhood over or even those on the “other side of the tracks?”

Of course it is impossible for most of us to answer those questions. What is possible though, is the ability to start now, to build your community (regardless of what you determine your community to be) into what you would like it to be if there was a disaster or emergency.

There is no clear path to building a strong community. Different nuances, different people and different areas will all lead down a different path, but there are some common ideas that can be used to develop your street, neighborhood and town into the community that you would like it to be. The cornerstone of a solid community is to connect with others, build those connections into trust and get involved. Here are some of the potential ways that you can work to build community in your area ahead of the storm:

  1. Treat others how you would like to be treated.
  2. Don’t gossip. This will only build animosity.
  3. Attend a meeting for a local civic organization and address concerns in the community.
  4. Invite neighbors over for a BBQ.
  5. Shop at locally owned businesses.
  6. Start a farmer’s market or meet with farmers about establishing a community supported agriculture program.
  7. Volunteer at a nursing home, school, with a charity or Habitat for Humanity.
  8. Start a community garden.
  9. Volunteer at a shelter or hospital.
  10. Go to local school events and support the future leaders of the community.
  11. Become a mentor for a child.
  12. Be a mentor for those who are trying to get in to/ahead in your field of work.
  13. Take a meal to a neighbor who lives alone, just had a baby or who is sick.
  14. Help in the neighborhood with home repairs, landscaping or yard maintenance.
  15. Assist with local scouting activities.
  16. Participate in a community musical group or play.
  17. Teach a class to the community. Disaster preparedness is a great option.
  18. Greet new residents to the community.
  19. Attend church services or participate regularly in a community organization.
  20. Throw a block party, community BBQ or potluck.
  21. Participate in a bike, run or walk to support local charities.
  22. Visit a community networking event with the goal of meeting at least five new people.
  23. Coach or assist with a local youth sport.
  24. Join an intramural sports team.
  25. Become a tutor for adult learners.
  26. Set up or participate in a local clean up effort.
  27. Get to know a neighbor better by striking up a conversation the next time you see them.
  28. Greet others when you see them. You’ll make a difference and provide an opportunity to meet new people.
  29. Start a neighborhood watch program. This will increase the sense of security in the neighborhood.
  30. Teach a firearm safety course.
  31. Set up a neighborhood wide yard sale.
  32. Organize a community meeting where citizens can openly share their ideas of what they would like to see happen in the community.
  33. Barter and trade with others.
  34. If you own a company, keep the jobs in the community.

This list is obviously limited, but as you can see there are many ways that a community can be built up but there are also several challenges that a community may face when trying to pull itself together following a traumatic event like a natural disaster. These challenges further support the idea of establishing community ahead of a disaster and include:

  • Lack of trust/cohesion – Following a traumatic event, it can be difficult for community members to trust one another or feel connected.
  • Lack of stability, reliability and consistency – Disasters can cause the stability in a community to falter. Likewise, what used to be reliable and consistent may no longer be so.
  • Lack of vision for the future – After a disaster or traumatic event it can be difficult for a community to see a vision moving forward. Coming back from something that shattered a portion of any community can be an arduous task.
  • Demanding personal needs – At a time when an individual or family is trying to recover from a disaster it can especially challenging to look at how they can assist with the community when there is a lengthy list of personal needs.
  • Extensive community needs – On the heels of disaster the needs of the community can be so great that individuals and organizations combined may not have all the resources needed to address the needs of the community.

It clearly seems like proactive community building is the preferable option so that the response and healing process comes together for the community.

Let’s say there is not a natural or man-made disaster, how would a strong community respond to an invasion by a foreign force? Of course the hope is that the community would come together and resist such an invasion, but if this invasion is at the invitation of our own government, there will likely be those who just go along with the program.

So, what do you do now?

The easiest way to start establishing your community, and building your team, is to start on your street and begin to build those bonds of trust. Be aware of those who may be overly cautious or standoffish. You do not want to bring someone in to your circle that may prove to be a problem. Look for those who are of a similar mindset.

Establishing a clear vision is important so that there is a common understanding of what the standards and goals of the community are.

Be inclusive. Everyone, regardless of age, can be part of the community, even if it is only for short periods of time or limited in scope. There are always limitations, but for a large majority of the general population there is always something that can be done.

Establish leadership. It is probable that your local community has an established government, but just because there is a government in place does not mean that there is leadership in the community. If you are not someone that is the leadership type, identify who is and support them.

The more the merrier. When building your community, the more people that can be involved, the easier things will be within the community. Work will get done faster. The talent pool will be larger. There is strength in numbers.

Don’t forget that practice and drills can make a big difference to the reactions that people have if there were to be a disaster or invasion.

Hopefully this has given you some ideas about how you can connect with others in your community and build those connections of trust that are vital to a true community. Now is the time to get involved. Don’t miss an opportunity to have support and to support others simply because you didn’t want to make the effort.

— Tom Miller

Article source: https://personalliberty.com/building-community-for-long-term-prosperity/

Not just a pipe dream: Installing a water feature for your backyard

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Article source: http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/not-just-a-pipe-dream-installing-a-water-feature-for/article_822fc55f-07f8-563a-abc5-2e0b46b4d6e7.html

Family saved, planned and then built a backyard to behold in Powhatan

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Discover Richmond: April 2016

Hungry? Hope so.

For the new Discover Richmond, we got to thinking about the incredible and tasty breadth of our burgeoning food scene. So enjoy a feast for the eyes and stomach: We’re spotlighting 26 local restaurant “fave” dishes.

And for some wine and wanderlust, we offer tastings and pairings as in, a glimpse at some admired wineries around the state, plus cool destinations to check out while you’re nearby.

We also look back at Virginia on the cusp of World War 1 and at the height of major presidential campaign and we hit the trail (by bike, no less check out our misadventure).

Discover Richmond touches on history, people, food, lifestyles, travel, the arts the topics you’ve told us you like. Enjoy the journey!

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Discover Richmond: April 2016

Hungry? Hope so.

For the new Discover Richmond, we got to thinking about the incredible – and tasty – breadth of our burgeoning food scene. So enjoy a feast for the eyes and stomach: We’re spotlighting 26 local restaurant “fave” dishes.

And for some wine and wanderlust, we offer tastings and pairings – as in, a glimpse at some admired wineries around the state, plus cool destinations to check out while you’re nearby.

We also look back – at Virginia on the cusp of World War 1 and at the height of major presidential campaign – and we hit the trail (by bike, no less – check out our misadventure).

Discover Richmond touches on history, people, food, lifestyles, travel, the arts – the topics you’ve told us you like. Enjoy the journey!

View the magazine
(an All Access subscription is required)


Purchase a copy from our online store


Discover Richmond: February 2016

As we roll into 2016, Discover Richmond is excited to expand its reach and touch on history, people, food, lifestyles, travel, the arts – the topics you’ve told us you like.

In this issue, we look beyond our local boundaries and spotlight great adventures within easy grasp of our central location. From cool destinations within a roughly 100-mile radius of the area, to great camping, to relaxing BBs and restaurant picks, we give you some ideas as you think about springtime travel.

We also look back at fascinating pieces of our political and social history, and for modern flavor, we check in with local chefs, touch base with a hotel insider and music impresario – and even delve into the science of spit.

Enjoy the journey!

View the magazine
(an All Access subscription is required)


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Our annual Discover Richmond magazine is your guide to all things Richmond

To mark the 40th anniversary of Discover Richmond, this year’s guidebook features a treasure map of 40 local gems – places you must see in Richmond.

It also includes all the helpful lists that can serve as a guide to living and exploring the region – theaters, sports teams, art galleries and shopping venues – it’s all here in our comprehensive guidebook.

Save it and use it as a resource all year long.

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Discover Richmond: RTD Person of the Year

To mark the 40th anniversary of Discover Richmond, the final magazine of 2015 spotlights 40 difference-makers in the local community and crowns one of them as RTD Person of the Year.

They are educators and elected officials, medical professionals and philanthropists, fair-housing advocates and business leaders, judges and historians, role models and visionaries. Some are household names, some have been unheralded heroes, and all are exceptional people whose work was substantial and impactful in 2015.

Discover Richmond also includes an inaugural Hall of Fame class, featuring 12 leaders whose ongoing commitment to the community – through the arts, education, business, philanthropy and more – has helped shape the region.

Read about their work and be inspired for a new year.

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The Times-Dispatch tells the story of Richmond’s past, from 1850 to 1965, in a keepsake magazine called Discover Richmond: Remember. It is the first of a four-part magazine series The Times-Dispatch is publishing to celebrate our 165th anniversary of chronicling Richmond and Virginia.

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In a keepsake magazine called Discover Richmond: Communities, The Times-Dispatch spotlights 40 areas around the region that together help define what we call home.

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(an All Access subscription is required)


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Article source: http://www.richmond.com/discover-richmond/article_8f604a66-896a-5236-8df0-d69b6d1a58d3.html

Garden by the yard for inspiration at the La Porte City garden walk

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Article source: http://wcfcourier.com/news/opinion/blogs/growing_things/garden-by-the-yard-for-inspiration-at-the-la-porte/article_186802ee-2a35-55ae-869c-b97896aa221d.html

Urban farming may be coming to more Fort Worth neighborhoods

Fort Worth is hoping to grow closer to becoming one of the healthiest U.S. cities.

On the momentum of the Blue Zones initiative — a five-year, healthy-city project — Fort Worth planning and development staff is poised to roll out a long-sought land-use policy designed to encourage residents to take vacant and underused lots and turn them into urban farms that won’t require rezoning.

From there, gardeners will be allowed to set up temporary stands a few days a week to sell their produce. Changes are planned for all zoning districts to encourage healthy eating and getting fresh produce into areas called food deserts, where access to healthy foods can be difficult.

Brandy O’Quinn, policy manager with Blue Zones Fort Worth, called the proposed urban agriculture amendments to the city’s zoning ordinance progressive, adding the changes will hopefully teach younger generations how to grow food.

“We’re starting to see a culture shift across the U.S.,” O’Quinn said. “Cities are starting to understand they need to remove the barriers. It’s all tied together.”

The proposed changes in Fort Worth come on the heels of other zoning changes made earlier this year that include the addition of an ordinance allowing push carts, mobile vendors and the like to sell fresh vegetables and fruit in neighborhoods.

The Zoning Commission will hold a public hearing July 13 on the latest proposed changes to make a recommendation to the City Council. Council action is likely in August after members return from their summer break.

An urban farm is being defined by the city as a public or private, for-profit or nonprofit agricultural operation consisting of planting and harvesting crops, raising fowl and/or beekeeping. Home gardens and community gardens are already allowed in the city.

Anything to raise the level of nutrition in this area would be good.

Connie Nahoolewa, executive director at the Northside Inter-Church Agency in Fort Worth

Connie Nahoolewa, executive director at the Northside Inter-Community Agency, which operates a community garden, said the change will encourage entrepreneurship, but it will also mean more fresh produce stands in urban areas. That, she said, “makes an incredible difference. Anything to raise the level of nutrition in this area would be good,” she said.

Stephonia Roberts, who grows a garden at her Carter Park neighborhood home to supply her organic skin and hair-care product line, likes the business idea of the ordinance.

She started her garden some time ago as a way to eat healthier, but it grew beyond being a hobby and into a way to deal with some health issues. And then to help supply her business, Mrs. Jack’s Body Food, which is sold online and at fairs.

Some of the ingredients she uses also come from an organic farmer in Oregon, she said.

Roberts, a Texas master naturalist, said she’s hoping the ordinance will encourage more home gardening, particularly in her neighborhood. From her home off Interstate 35 and Seminary Drive, she said she has more access to liquor stores than to stores with fresh produce.

A couple times a year, she hosts a garden dinner party to show how to eat what you grow.

You live in a garden. It’s called earth.

Stephonia Roberts, Fort Worth resident, entrepreneur and gardener

“It doesn’t cost an arm and a leg,” Roberts said. “You live in a garden. It’s called Earth.”

Growing good food

The proposed ordinance has a lot of support among residents and nonprofits.

James Zametz, who makes his living in the construction remodeling trade, is also an urban farmer in the South Hemphill Heights neighborhood. His entire back yard is devoted to herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, cilantro, peppers, lettuce, strawberries, raspberries and an apple tree, just to name a few.

“I have it arranged so it looks like landscaping,” he said. There are no raised beds or rows of plants.

Zametz also oversees the website KeepFortWorthFunky.com as a way to encourage buying from locally owned businesses. Through it, Zametz said, he has his eyes set on starting a food co-op with produce grown in Fort Worth gardens.

He’s also pushing to get a neighborhood garden started. Growing food is something everyone should learn, he said.

Having an urban agriculture ordinance will go a long way toward achieving those goals, Zametz said. “A City Council that’s mindful of that … makes the community better,” he said.

Likewise, David Barnett, who runs Feed By Grace, the organization where the homeless farm the Unity Park Garden on the east side, said that while the zoning won’t impact what they’re doing, it is a great solution for under-served areas. He calls the move an awakening in the city.

“I’m excited that urban farming and community gardens are getting some needed public attention,” Barnett said.

Joining the crowd

In the past several years, dozens of cities nationwide have begun using zoning codes to introduce and allow for urban agriculture.

In Chicago, for example, an old meat-packing plant is used as an urban farm, and in Dayton, Ohio, a vacant ammunition plant in the heart of the city is being used to grow food.

In Fort Worth, the ordinance will allow gardeners to supply local businesses, schools and nonprofits who feed the hungry. It will also improve the appearance of some neighborhoods.

Moreover, it will allow aquaponics, or the process of raising fish and plants together. Currently, aquaponics is not allowed.

For gardens more than 1 acre in size, a site plan would be required on lots not shared with a residence, under the proposal. In some cases, a land-use certificate of occupancy would be needed, and fees would kick in if a water tap is needed.

The ordinance spells out beekeeping, allows for produce sales in residential districts three days a week, and allows self-pick farms in commercial districts.

Eating healthy

Jocelyn Murphy, Fort Worth’s planning manager, said remnants of agriculture zoning are scattered throughout the city.

The intent with the new zoning “is to try and help people eat healthier,” with the bigger picture of increasing the supply of locally sourced produce.

The city, Murphy said, may not be on the forefront of urban farming, but it’s not behind the curve, either. About 70 people attended a public meeting in mid-May about the proposed ordinance.

If approved, Ann Salyer-Caldwell, associate director of community health with Tarrant County Public Health, said Fort Worth would be the first Tarrant County city with urban farming zoning.

The food truck and push cart piece “helped open doors to City Hall to get this rolling. Policy doesn’t happen overnight.”

Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/community/fort-worth/article84718547.html

Porter County Garden Walk planned


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Article source: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/porter/duneland/chesterton/porter-county-garden-walk-planned/article_2473b2dc-042a-5f58-9b95-7cc9f36b1e12.html

This week’s gardening tips: watering, pesticides, palms, chinch bugs, and parsley

This week’s gardening tips for South Louisiana: After planting bedding plants, water them with a half-strength solution of your favorite water-soluble fertilizer. This gets them off to a good start.

When buying pesticides, ask for a recommendation for the least toxic material
that will do the job and buy the smallest container available. Large-sized containers may take years to use up, and by then the pesticide has often lost its effectiveness.

Plant palms through August, as they establish best when planted in warm soil.
Select hardier palms, such as cabbage palm, windmill palm, Mediterranean fan
palm, Canary Island date palm, palmetto and needle palm. Water them during dry weather until they become established.

Chinch bugs, which are most damaging during hot dry weather, often begin to
show up in late June and July. Look for irregular dead areas that enlarge fairly
rapidly in your lawn. The grass will have a dry, straw-like appearance. Treat with acephate, permethrin, bifenthrin, cyfuthrin or other labeled insecticides to prevent extensive damage. Follow label directions carefully.

Cut back early summer-flowering perennials when they finish flowering to keep
the plants looking attractive and, in the case of some perennials, encourage more flowering.

When parsley sends up flower stalks, or bolts, its productive season is over.
However, the tiny flowers provide attract parasitic wasps that help control other insects. So consider leaving your blooming parsley in place until flowering is over.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for NOLA.com’s weekly home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous local landscapes. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the NOLA.com’s New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2016/06/watering_pesticides_palms_chin.html

Garden Tips: Restricted roots can push conifers over edge too – Tri

Last week, I covered the top factors contributing to the browning and dieback of many area needled evergreens. While it is no surprise that heat and drought stress could cause problems, some of you might wonder why we are just becoming aware of the severity of the situation.

It is easy to tell when a tomato or squash plant is suffering from drought or heat stress. They wilt. This is not the case with trees, especially conifers. Browning needles and excessive needle-drop are telltale signs of stress, but a conifer may not exhibit browning until some time after the damage from stress has occurred. Why is that? Conifer needles have a very waxy coating that slows their drying out, delaying browning, diagnosis and pre-emptive action.

Mid-Columbia has had 3 years of hot summers and minimal winter precipitation

I will also point to the cumulative stress from three successive years of extraordinarily hot summers and minimal winter precipitation. Many of these conifers have been declining over that time, but the additional stress year after year has pushed them past the tipping point.

So what about trees that are turning brown despite getting watered correctly, keeping the top 18 inches of soil moist and mulching to keep the roots cooler? Restricted or girdling roots, the result of improper planting, are often involved in helping push trees over the edge.

Container-grown plants are frequently pot-bound with circling roots or very dense, matted root masses. If these roots are not properly cut and loosened at planting time, the roots will not move out into the surrounding soil, where they have access to moisture and nutrients. Eventually, the roots will girdle, or choke, the plant, preventing the uptake of water, and killing the tree. The signs will be that same as signs of drought and heat stress.

Where trees are growing in lawns, periodic aeration can help relieve some of the compaction.

A similar problem occurs with balled and burlapped trees that are grown in the field, dug and their root ball wrapped in treated burlap. In our dry climate, the burlap does not decay quickly enough to allow for good root growth. University horticulturists, landscape professionals and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) all say that the burlap should be removed before planting.

Also, the soil in the root ball is commonly different from the native soil where the tree is being planted. This can lead to difficulty in keeping the soil in the root ball and surrounding soil moist, but not excessively wet.

Soil compaction restricts root growth and can contribute to a tree’s demise. This is because compacted soil has less air available for the roots and roots need air to function. In addition, soil compaction physically impedes root growth. In older landscapes, soil becomes compacted over time from traffic and even sprinkler irrigation. In newer landscapes, the soil may be highly compacted due to the use of heavy construction equipment during building.

The soil in the root ball is commonly different from the native soil where the tree is being planted.

Where trees are growing in lawns, periodic aeration can help relieve some of the compaction. However, if the compaction is severe, a certified arborist may recommend more extreme measures. When planting a new landscape, the soil should be properly prepared with tilling before planting.

This week and last week, I have mostly focused on the browning and dieback of conifers in our area, but we are also seeing dieback on some local deciduous trees and shrubs. Depending on the plant’s situation, this decline may be attributed to the same factors causing the browning on conifers. I sure hope this summer is cooler.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/living/home-garden/marianne-ophardt/article84469932.html