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Archives for July 25, 2016

London College Of Garden Design graduate wins premier student …

London College of Garden Design graduate, Jane Finlay has been announced as the winner of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers’ International Student Design Award for her design ‘The Restorative Garden’.

After hearing of her success Jane said: “I was so delighted to have my design ‘validated’ on an international platform; awards such as this help to launch new careers and for me it’s now a firm step up on that ladder”.

As the Gold Award winner Jane will be awarded a scholarship and an award to be presented at the APLD’s International Landscape Design Conference to be held in Santa Fe, New Mexico on September 15th 2016.
Of her entry the lead judge Greg Pierceall, Professor Emeritus, Purdue Landscape Architecture said of this complex site and residence: “Overall this is a stellar site design”. He added: “At a macro scale looking at the total composition the project is great. The site spaces, plantings and surfacing are well done as is the layout and construction details. The project presentation is very well defined, outlined and presented. The plans, images, sections and references work well to convey the weave of plantings and areas within the site design.

Director of the London College of Garden Design, Andrew Fisher Tomlin said “we have always focused our design training to be world-class and Jane’s award for a space that is both calm and yet full of vibrancy is a great reflection of what we want to deliver to our students. Jane’s success is well-deserved and we hope will lead to even greater recognition”.


About the London College of Garden Design

The London College of Garden Design aims to offer the best professional garden design courses available in the UK. Over the past 5 years LCGD graduates have won all but one of the Society of Garden Designers Student Awards and have gone on to win ‘Future Designer’ Awards and RHS medals at some of the Royal Horticultural Society’s main shows.

The College is one of Europe’s leading specialist design colleges and offers professional level courses including the one-year Garden Design Diploma which is taught from the Orangery Conference facilities at the world famous Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. In 2016 they have successfully launched Europe’s first specialist planting design course aimed at professionals that is taught over two terms from January to July.

Short courses are offered at Kew, RHS Garden Wisley, Regent’s University in central London and our satellite hub in Crewe.

For more information please contact

Jane Finlay
Telephone 07966 510341

London College of Garden Design
Andrew Fisher Tomlin
Telephone 020 8542 0683 or 07957 855457

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Malaysian garden designer wins top prize at Singapore Garden …

Malaysian horticulturist and garden designer Inch Lim took home one of the top prizes for his show garden at this year’s Singapore Garden Festival.

Mr Lim won the gold and best of show awards in the landscape gardens category. He also picked up the horticulture excellence award.

His 80 sq m garden, called The Treasure Box, is cocooned behind a high wall and is filled mainly with rice plants. He picked the plant for its bright green shade.

The Kuala Lumpur-based 6-year-old is participating in the show garden competition for the second time. He said: “I created a secret garden behind these high walls. Once you go in, a surprise awaits you.”

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  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Eco-friendly Garden Award goes to Fairies Wheel by North East CDC

  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Innovation Award goes to Topsy Turvy by Central CDC

  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Biodiversity Garden Award goes to Lyrical Play by North West CDC

  • Gardeners Cup 2016: Championship Trophy goes toCandy Floss by South West CDC

  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Educational Garden goes to Winter Wonderland by South East CDC

  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Innovation Award goes to Topsy Turvy by Central CDC

  • Fairies Wheel by North East CDC

  • Gardeners Cup 2016: Championship Trophy and Best Floral Garden goes to Candy Floss by South West CDC

  • Gardeners’ Cup 2016: Best Biodiversity Garden Award goes to Lyrical Play by North West CDC

  • Winter Wonderland by South East CDC

  • Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, viewing winning entries of Community Garden Edibles Competition

  • Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, with community gardeners at Candy Floss, which was awarded Gardeners’ Cup 2016 Championship Trophy

  • Minister for National Development, Mr Lawrence Wong, with a community gardener at World of Terrariums

  • Nature’s Resolution by Stefano Passerotti won the Gold and Best of Show in the Fantasy Gardens category.

  • Nature’s Resolution by Stefano Passerotti won the Gold and Best of Show in the Fantasy Gardens category. Ms Chicco Margaroli is beside him.

  • Silence by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam from the United Kingdom won a silver award in the landscape gardens category.

  • Their garden with rain trees, shrubs and a reflective pool is inside a curvy cement-based structure.

  • Visitors can peer into the structure through holes punched into the walls.

  • The shapes of the holes are designed as Morse code messages.

  • Malaysian horticulturist and garden designer Inch Lim won the gold and best of show awards in the landscape gardens category.

  • An Urban Jungle by British garden designer Adam Frost won the gold and best construction in the landscape gardens category at the Singapore Garden Festival 2016.

  • Japanese duo Katsuhiko Koga and Kazuhiro Kagae won gold and best indoor lighting in the fantasy gardens category at the Singapore Garden Festival 2016 for their garden, Power Of The Earth.

  • Adam Shuter, director of a boutique landscape company in New Zealand, imagines a house for Polynesian mythological demi-god Maui. The garden won bronze in the fantasy gardens category.

  • Dare to Dream by John Tan Raymond Toh won Bronze in the Fantasy Gardens category.

  • The Sugarcane Maze created by Chinese Yu Kong Jian, a globally celebrated leader in ecological planning and design.

  • The founders of Kluge LuuTomes Design, Leon Kluge and Bayley Luutomes, created a garden showing how man-made elements and nature can coexist in a harmonious and symbiotic environment.

  • Singaporean designers John Tan and Raymond Toh created their Dare to Dream garden with small pavilion, and a bench mounted on the wall.

  • Floral designer Chen Nia has set up a dining table inside a cocoon like structure for the Singapore Garden Festival 2016.

  • Held in conjunction with Singapore Garden Festival 2016 is the Orchid Extravaganza and Singapore Orchid Show. The centrepiece of Orchid Extravaganza, which is designed by Singaporean landscape garden designer Alan Tan, is a spiral display of 1,000 orchids.

  • Monkey Face Orchid, a species of the Dracula orchid at the Orchid Extravaganza at the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay.

  • Rhyncholaeliocattleya Chyong Guu Linnet, also known as Cat Face Cattleya on display at Orchid Extravaganza, part of the Singapore Garden Festival.

  • Masdevallia Machu Pichu, also known as Kite Orchids on display at Orchid Extravaganza, part of the Singapore Garden Festival.

  • Phalaenopsis Taida Smile, on display at Orchid Extravaganza, part of the Singapore Garden Festival.

  • The Tulip Orchid from South America has a lip that rocks back and forth like a cradle as well as lemon or golden yellow blooms.

  • A monkey face orchid.

  • A dracula orchid.

  • Miltoniopsis orchids also known as Pansy orchids.

  • Alan Tan, a Singaporean garden and landscape designer, puts the finishing touches to this year’s Orchid Extravaganza,

Meanwhile, Italian landscape designer Stefano Passerotti, 53, won the gold and best of show awards in the fantasy gardens category.

In total, 15 designers and teams took part in the two competition categories.

The show gardens are the centrepiece attraction at the biennial event, which is held at Gardens by the Bay. The sixth edition of the festival, which also has other exhibits and activities, opens Saturday and runs until July 31.

The Straits Times is the festival’s official media partner.

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  • First preview of the Singapore Garden Festival, organised by the National Parks Board and Gardens by the Bay.

  • Behind-the-scenes set-up for Singapore Garden Festival includes two-storey high giant chairs.

  • This year’s Festival carries a “wonderland” theme and comprise many displays put together by the talents at National Parks Board.

  • Benny’s Sunflower farm, join Benny and his fellow six-legged friends in a honey party.

  • Swathed in bright, cheery shades of yellow,these sunflowers of varying sizes are certain to leave you in high spirits.

  • Gary’s Musical Flower Field: Soak in the orchestral ambience as Gary (a Grasshopper) conducts a trio of the piano, cello and the harp.

  • Gary’s musical flower field: Asclepias curassavica, commonly known as tropical milkweed.

  • Lindy’s Ginger Garden: Watch Lindy (a ladybug) tend to her garden with grace and aplomb as she fleets around her cherished collections of edibles and ornamentals.

  • Look out for bananas and Torch Gingers (known colloquially as the “rojak flower”) as well as the stunning Heliconias!

  • Chairs of the giants: Standing as tall as two stories high, be prepared to feel dwarfed by these chairs fit for giants! Marvel at the colours of these planted chairs.

This article was first published on July 23, 2016.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.

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Award-winning deck builder offers outdoor living space tips





National Picnic designer Betsy Cook works from many different rooms in her Collingswood home.
Shannon Eblen

For 28 years, Mike Corvino has transformed backyards throughout South Jersey into beautiful living spaces. Recently, Corvino, owner of DeckCrafters in Cherry Hill, submitted one of his projects to Timber Tech’s Show Off Your Deck national contest and won second place.

“We feel pretty darn good coming in second place,” says Corvino. “It’s reassuring, and gives us some more confidence.”

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The entry photos were of a deck Corvino and his crew built in Mount Laurel. They used Timber Tech-capped composite products from the Legacy Collection in Tigerwood and Mocha colors to protect the deck from falling foliage and Mother Nature. They used black rails to complement the deck colors, and installed a remote-controlled lighting system for ambiance and safety.

The winning deck design also is multi-level and multi-functional. The upper deck is off the kitchen, and has a barbecue and cooking area, as well as seating for a family dinner outside or a small group of people. Walk down the wide flare-style staircase to the lower level, which is the main entertaining area.

Corvino’s son-in-law and business partner for 12 years, Luke Stewart, helped complete this deck and is please with the contest results.

“Coming in second for a nationally recognized contest feels pretty good,” says Stewart, of Cherry Hill. “We are very happy.”

About 100 photographs were entered in the Show Off Your Deck contest, and after looking at each submission Julia Fitzgerald, chief marketing officer for CPG International, and her team narrowed  down the entries to four finalists. The four finalist’s work were put on social media and voted on by everyone who viewed them.

“We wanted to run the contest to show off these wonderful decks,” says Fitzgerald. “The contractors do amazing transformations, and should take pride in their work.”

The first and second place winners get to celebrate with a gift certificate, $500 for first place and $250 for second, from Frontage, an outdoor furniture provider. Winning deck builders receive a tool certificate and gear for their crew. As a bonus, the winning contractor’s customer also receives a Frontage gift card.

Joshua Gillow, owner of MasterPLAN Landscaping in Brodheadsville, Pennsylvania, won first place.

“Mike made a big impact in the yard, the homeowners can get so much enjoyment from the deck,” says Fitzgerald of the DeckCrafters’ design. “The different levels work well, and it flows nicely from the back of their home.”

Fitzgerald says her team looked at the materials used, interest in the railing system, lighting and overall creativity when selecting the finalists of the contest. Homeowners can consider these points, too, when considering building a deck in their yards. Here are a few favorite trends to keep in mind when making plans for a deck this summer.

Style that lasts: “Wood has become passe,” says Corvino. “In the beginning, all I did was build cedar decks, but now people want the PVC or capped composite decking.”

Corvino says these materials are much lower maintenance than wood, and they are fade, stain, crash, mildew and mold resistant – making the deck extremely durable even when combating outside elements.

HISTORY TOUR: Get to know South Jersey’s historic inns

“After 10 or 15 years, the deck will still look like it did on its first day,” says Corvino. “It doesn’t age. You can spill a glass of red wine on it and just hose it off.”

Capped composite and PVC decking materials are more expensive than wood, but Corvino says homeowners will make a return on this investment.

“You don’t need to stain it, power wash it or preserve it like a real wood deck,” says Corvino. “It’s saving time and money.”

Beyond basic browns: If wood has become passe, then so has its basic brown hues. Fitzgerald says she sees more homeowners passing over wood shades for colors that match their homes and yards.

“A lot of people are opting for gray colors when building decks,” says Fitzgerald. “They are becoming more confident to utilize colors that look great with their overall outdoor scheme.”

And, like Corvino did on his contest-winning deck creation, more people are opting for multiple materials instead of just one to give decks a unique, more intricate design.

“Many are not just choosing more color for decks, but also a variety of materials,” says Fitzgerald. “They are creating decks with designs, patterns and borders.”

Light it up: Lighting themes are becoming a priority among homeowners, too, says Stewart.

“Having a good lighting system makes it easier to enjoy the deck at night and provides safety – guests can better see where the steps are,” he says. “And lighting also gives decks a ‘cool’ factor. It looks nicer and impresses company when you host an evening party.”

Corvino says not many of his clients wanted lighting options when he started his business, but now most are asking for ideas to brighten up their deck at night. He says some choose to light up steps, and he recently installed recessed lights under a deck’s rails.

“The recessed lights under the rails highlights the rail system,” says Corvino. “It doesn’t shine in anyone’s face, but it brings attention to a deck’s features and gives ambiance.”

Retro railings: “Before, you would see white railings on decks, but now people are branching out and using different colors,” says Fitzgerald. “Another look that is popular are cable railings. It kind of gives decks a cool, retro look from the ’50s.”

Corvino says another favorite railing system is the capped composite radiance rail from Timber Tech.

“We used it on the deck we entered in the contest, and it is becoming popular,” he says. “People can bring their style to the deck with this material because it comes in different colors and grains.”

Cool combinations: Corvino says he is building more decks that have steps leading down to a patio and other hardscaping options.

“By making designs like this, the homeowners have another living space outside,” he says. “The deck and the hardscape provide different atmospheres, so people can have the best of both worlds.”

Stewart agrees, saying he also has seen more combinations and multipurpose decks.

“Everybody is putting more of an emphasis on a staycation, especially since the recession,” says Stewart. “They want to create functional spaces outside. When they walk out on the deck they want to have a place to barbecue, another place to eat and then an enjoyable area to sit back and relax with family and friends.”

For more information

DeckCrafters is located in Cherry Hill. For more information, call (856) 488-4387 or visit

For more information about materials or deck ideas, visit or

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Public art becomes a priority

Enjoy Local, the mural painted by artist Jason Jones implores visitors of the Fayetteville Town Center square. Area residents and visitors have the chance to enjoy more local art than ever before as cities increasingly make public art a priority.


A mural by Bentonville artist Kenneth Siemens decorates the side of Pedaler’s Pub Saturday next to the Downtown Trail in the …
(By: Ben Goff)

Having iconic, focal points make for great meeting places, points of reference and are a chance to reflect regional identity, local art commissioners said.

Art all around us

Four Springdale traffic boxes are being converted to art, with plans for more locations in the future. In addition to photos, the boxes also have information explaining the importance of the images and the historical significance. Intersections where you can find the installations:

• Sunset and Thompson

• Maple and Thompson

• Old Missouri Road and Emma Avenue

• Emma Avenue and Thompson

Source: Staff report

Fayetteville has had the longest formal artistic presence of the four large cities in the two-county area. The Fayetteville Arts Council was established in 2007 to “encourage the planning, placement and maintenance of public displays of art within the community,” according to its website.

The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission established a new program this year to ensure public displays of visual art would be funded and the selection process would be systematic. It dedicated more than $100,000 for public art in 2016.

“Prior to that, it hadn’t had a funding stream for public art,” said Dede Peters, community outreach coordinator for Fayetteville. “Public art depended on donations.”

On occasion, Fayetteville Parks and Recreation would set aside funds for public art from its budget, Peters said. But this year is the first time continuous funding for it is guaranteed.

A Fayetteville Art Walk map shows visitors 49 places where they can view public art, primarily in the downtown and University of Arkansas campus area. It’s grown to include many benches, creatively shaped and colored bike racks, sculptures, painted traffic boxes, as well as six murals and 12 storm drains covered by Upstream Art, an organization that intends to educate people about the connectivity of drains and creeks to cut down on pollution.

The peace fountain in Town Center Plaza, created by local artist Hank Kaminsky, and the Wilson Park castle are popular because people can interact with them, Peters said.

“The most popular one is the Wilson Park castle,” Peters said. “It’s just a part of your life. People get married there, birthday parties take place there and kids play there.”

The peace fountain is a hit because guests can spin the installation that has water running down its sides. The interaction cools people off during the summer and amazes them when it’s frozen over in the winter, Peters said.

Maintenance and cleaning for the large work requires several thousand dollars each year and is paid for by the Fayetteville Visitors Center.

Works expected to arrive later this year include two crosswalks — one in the area of Washington Elementary School and one in front of the Walton Arts Center — and a mural along the Tsa la gi Trail funded by a grant from the State Department of Finance and Administration.

The Bentonville Public Art Committee has been in existence since 2012. It has $70,000 to work with this year — $20,000 from the city and $50,000 from Visit Bentonville. In previous years, the committee organized the acquisition of two sculptures — orange spokes called SunKissed created by Nathan S. Pierce and a hiking figure dubbed PAC-Man by Craig Gray along the North Bentonville Trail.

Two prior projects were temporary installations, including Ozarks Topography, a stained glass sculpture along the North Bentonville Trail, and NuPenny’s last stand, a vending machine like structure filled with midcentury toys, which was in downtown Bentonville.

The city also has six Upstream art installations.

The committee did a public call for artists earlier this summer in making plans for its next installations — seven bicycle tunnel murals and one crosswalk — because it’s rare that artists approach the committee on their own, said Shelli Kerr, planning services manager for Bentonville.

“Because of Crystal Bridges’ influence, the committee felt that we should start expanding the availability of public art in the community,” Kerr said.

Things are moving in that direction. The plan for the seven tunnels was approved by Bentonville City Council on Tuesday, and the council will review the crosswalk plan on July 26.

“The value of public art is multilayered for a community like ours,” said Chad Alligood, a committee member and curator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. “We have explosive growth and development. The renaissance is happening in the region on all levels, and part of that development of the civic fabric has to be the presence of art.”

Many of the other artworks visible to Bentonville visitors are privately funded or on privately owned buildings that are visible to the community. That’s primarily how public art is growing in Springdale and Rogers, too, whose public art organizations are in their infancy.

Highly visible works, such as the Coca-Cola mural in downtown Rogers, the sun mural on the windows of the Rogers Opera House and a plan for a mural on the side of a salon on West Elm, which was approved by the Rogers Historic Commission on Wednesday, are privately funded projects.

“Our biggest challenge is funding,” said Roger Reithemeyer, chairman of the Rogers Public Art Commission. “We don’t have the funds available to solicit artists, but we hope to be there at some point in the near future.”

Since the formation of the commission in 2014, a series of metalworks in the likeness of daisies, apples, butterflies and other creatures have popped up in the landscaping bump outs of downtown Rogers. Reithemeyer said they were created by local artists Tom Flynn and Michael Reese and donated by the Downtown Merchants Group.

Within the next month, plans call for a piano to be painted in bright, cheery colors and installed in Rogers Centennial Park. The commission approved the donation by Rogers resident and business owner Julie Colgan, who approached the art commission with the idea.

“I thought this was a neat way for people to see something and interact with it, that maybe it would get them off their phone for a bit,” Colgan said in a commission meeting Thursday.

Colgan got the idea from someone who visited The Rusty Chair, her antique store. She found someone willing to donate a piano and arranged for a Bentonville artist to paint it. She also offered to be responsible for protecting it from the elements when major storm systems move in.

Two murals in Springdale, at The Jones Center and the Perrodin Supply Co., were also privately funded. The most recent public art project is the painting of four traffic boxes, three of them along Thompson Avenue, through a grant by the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, said Melissa Reeves, director of public relations for Springdale.

The Springdale Art Initiative, formed in 2014, led to a number of art installations including a mural for the Springdale Aquatic Center, the restoration of a U.S. map at Lee Elementary and a painting of a quilt square installed at the Shiloh Museum meeting hall.

“Public art is going to be really important as we do downtown revitalization,” said Misty Murphy, executive director of Downtown Springdale Alliance. Future art installations will “not just be murals and more traditional art, we’re looking at participatory, interactive, tactile and experimental works,” she said.

One hope for such interactive art is a water swing that creates a waterfall while in full swing, but halts the flow of water while the user is directly under it.

“It used to be that public art was to plop down a sculpture in the middle of a square,” Alligood said. “Increasingly, our ideas about public art are things that engage the population.”

NW News on 07/25/2016

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Tropical Gardening: Is Hawaii America’s most tropical garden state?

The answer to the question posed in this week’s Tropical Gardening column headline is that it could be and it should be!

The International Palm Society meeting last month gave participants a chance to see the “Garden City” of Singapore and compare it to Honolulu and the Neighbor Islands.

Hawaii is blessed with spectacular natural beauty, a great climate, a multi cultural mix of people and, most of all, the Hawaiian foundation of aloha. However, have we taken the opportunity to use landscaping to fully minimize the negative impacts of high rises and highways?

It has been more than 30 years since I had an opportunity to spend time in Singapore. It has the unfortunate and unfair reputation for being one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, you can do it on a shoestring budget if you know where to stay and go.

Last time I visited, I was not impressed. It was suffering some of the growing pains Hawaii was experiencing in the 1960s and ’70s. It seemed it was in the throws of construction and destruction.

Singapore’s history in the 19th and first half of the 20th century was one of political/social anarchy and upheaval until the end of World War II. From then to now, it evolved from a dusty, developing location into one of the world’s most stable, safe and prosperous places. It also is possibly the best example of how to make a city/nation of 6 million people one of the most beautiful in the world.

(By the way, Singapore is a city and also a country. The main island is smaller than Oahu but the country includes about 50 small islands. It is just a short distance from the tip of peninsular Malaysia.)

The most impressive thing about Singapore is that the landscaping is so well done that you feel like you are in a forest garden. The 10-kilometer drive from Changi Airport to downtown is lush with shade trees, palms and flowering shrubs. The Singapore Botanical Gardens and Garden By The Bay are overwhelmingly beautiful. The latter is about 250 acres of tropical gardens recently created at the cost of $1 billion. Both are free and open to the public.

In a nutshell, Singapore set a great example for cities of the future.

It would be worthwhile for our elected public officials, planners and developers to visit and bring home some new ideas about how we can guide our future.


Folks throughout the Islands are complaining about the hot summer temperatures. And sure enough, temperatures in Honolulu as well as Kona have been higher than what seems normal. When temperatures are reported to be about 90 degrees or above, it feels pretty hot, but if you happen to be in the sun on a shopping center parking lot, it can be well more than 100 degrees.

In West Hawaii, where we really need trees for shade and beauty, trees are being cut down in some of our major hotels, roads and shopping center parking lots. Of course, the excuse is always that it is to reduce maintenance, for safety, or the trees are too big. What it boils down to is that these shopping centers were given building permits based in part that they were including attractive landscaping.

The community supported the developers plans based on the inclusion of sufficient landscaping. When landscaping is removed or not properly maintained, it is a breach of trust.

Highway maintenance is another issue. The opportunity to have a really beautiful entrance from the Kona airport to Kailua is ignored with excuses of cost and upkeep. We are a visitor destination that counts on a beautiful environment.

During the last several years, well-landscaped areas along Alii Drive, Henry Street and Palani Road have gradually deteriorated with several hundred palms cut down. It has happened so gradually that most folks don’t notice it. These beautiful trees get cut down because they take maintenance or might become a safety issue.

There are ways to mitigate the concerns for safety and maintenance if we are willing to explore them. The absolute last resort is to destroy the trees. Unfortunately, one of the great community guardian organizations in Kona, Hilo and Puna, The Outdoor Circle, lost its support and momentum since the beginning of the Great Recession.

At one time, developers and politicians went to these community service groups before any plans were considered. The Outdoor Circle, statewide, has been instrumental in keeping the Islands “Clean, Green and Beautiful.” Thank goodness the Waikoloa Outdoor Circle remains active in these endeavors. What we need around the rest of the island is a rebirth of the local Outdoor Circles.

For thousands of years, human cultures have had an impact on the planet. Some have fought to subjugate the natural order and some have worked within the ecological system. The cultures that seem to have lasted the longest are those that have been in tune with the environment.

All this changed within the last few hundred years as our human populations expanded and began to impact one another through territorial wars, colonization and thinking that land is just another commodity to be bought and sold for profit.

During the past 50 years, a new awareness of our relationship with the world has been building. Rachael Carson’s “Silent Spring” brought environmental concerns to the general public in America. Since then, all kinds of organizations such as Sierra Club and Nature Conservancy expanded and become mainstream.

This same environmental awareness has had a tremendous impact on the agricultural industry. The landscape portion is particularly concerned since it is extremely visible to the typical urban and suburban dweller.

Also, we should recognize that landscape installation and maintenance creates lots of jobs.

Even if you are not commercially involved in landscaping, here are some things all of us should know about landscape gardening in a way that is friendly to the other creatures that share the space around us.

The concepts of conservation and sustainable gardening in urbanized areas are based on these as well as other principles. These could be encompassed in the theme “as nature would have it.”

Some simple rules to remember are, first, to design a landscape using the proper plants in the right place. Massing plant materials to discourage unwanted weeds or pioneer species is one approach. Using materials adapted to the location so as not to require lots of extra water, fertilizer, pesticides, pruning and other expensive resource consuming inputs is another.

Native plants can be considered where appropriate, but non-native or multicultural heritage plants are most commonly used since most of these have been tried and tested in many environments and proved readily adaptable. Multicultural heritage plants are those that each culture has brought to Hawaii since humans first set foot on its shores.

Coconut, Kukui, Noni and breadfruit, for example, are examples of Polynesian heritage plants. Jakfruit and moringa would be plants representing the Filipino culture.

The second rule is to use what special resources are already available on the land. The value of existing trees, land contours and rock formations should be considered.

Remember, it is important we learn to appreciate nature by practicing wise management of all our resources. Of course, good maintenance practices are important as well.

Landscaping is an important element in creating a more enjoyable and healthy life whether we live in small towns or gigantic cities.

Singapore set an example that millions of people can live together surrounded by clean, green and beautiful gardens offering peace and tranquility in a crowded and otherwise hectic world.

For general gardening questions, you can contact the Master Gardeners in the Hilo and Kona College of Tropical Agriculture Extension offices.

Article source:

Taltree opens new playground

Kayla Novath, 10, of Valparaiso, peeks out of newly donated train-themed playground equipment at Taltree Arboretum Gardens during the July 15 grand opening of the playground.

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Home Help: Upgrade your curb appeal

Summer is a great time to complete your home improvement projects, but deciding which ones to tackle can be overwhelming. Here are a few simple curb appeal projects you can tackle this summer to welcome your family and friends into your home with style.

Start fresh with a new front door. For a dramatic refresh replace your front door. From single doors, to double-door options, to those accented with decorative glass or sidelights, its easy to find a door that fits your budget and your style.

Pick a standout color for your front door. Nothing adds to your curb appeal like bold, vibrant color. Pick a front door color that shows your personality and makes your home different from your neighbors. From red to blue and green to orange, color can instantly refresh the front of your home.

Update your hardware. Refresh your existing front door with new hardware. New hardware can be a quick update and add beauty to the entrance to your homes exterior design. Hardware is available in a variety of finishes including satin nickels as well as unique designs including modern and traditional.

Replace broken or damaged items. Replace broken light fixtures, burned out bulbs, and worn out weather-stripping on exterior doors. Pitch that faded wreath, worn out mat, and dead plants, and instead, add a bright new welcome mat and eye-catching seasonal decorations.

Lay a new path. From the moment your guest step off the sidewalk, the path to your front door showcases your home. Flagstone, gravel, or pavers – any of these materials can be used to create a new, inviting walkway in a weekend or less.

Illuminate your walkway. Make it easy for others to see the way to your front door at night. Transform and illuminate walkways with easy-to-install solar lights. Stake them in the ground positioned so solar cells get enough southern exposure for sunlight to recharge nightlights during the day.

Trim bushes, create great container gardens. Landscaping should accent your home, not dominate it. Keep bushes below the bottom sill of your windows to improve your view. Trim or replace overgrown shrubs and trees. Keep plant material trimmed several feet away from your home to minimize damage from wind or insects. Fill decorative containers with plants that accent your homes color scheme, front door, and landscape design.

Create a herd mentality for your home
Other than upgrades and curb appeal, the pricing of your home could be the most important aspect of selling your home. Once you and your real estate agent (if you have one) have determined the value of your home based on the amenities and comparables of similar properties sold in your neighborhood, creating interest from multiple buyers is ideal. Using the price range youve established, price your house on the lower end of the value range to create a herd mentality. With the lower range price, you will have more interest from more potential buyers. Given the high stakes of real estate, most buyers dont want to be the only one interested in a house. The herd mentality also gives you the option to sell quickly if needed.
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Picking the right chandelier
A chandelier can make any room feel luxurious, but knowing how to pick the right chandelier for your home can be tricky. According to design experts, a general rule of thumb for picking a chandelier is to take the width of the room where it will be placed in feet, then double the number, convert that number to inches to get a minimum dimension for the diameter of your chandelier. Although the minimum measurement will help you make sure you dont have too small of a chandelier, a slightly-oversized chandelier will give the room a grander feel. Also make sure that your chandelier doesnt hang too low.
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Fertilize your garden with milk
The benefits of milk to the human body have long been known, but we arent the only living organisms that can benefit from the calcium and other nutrients from milk. Like us, plants use calcium for growth, but milk can also help alleviate viruses and fungus from your garden. Using fresh, evaporated, powdered (diluted with water) or expired milk, you can spray the leaves of your plants or you can add the milk directly to the soil to keep your plants healthy and improve crop yields. Although milk is a great fertilizer, using too much can result is a foul odor and poor growth.
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Tiny House Tips & Beer Garden Design with Frank Fontana

Frank talks Tiny House tips and Beer Garden(David Miranda)

Frank talks Tiny House tips and Beer Garden(David Miranda)

Realities of Reality TV– Michelle Myers Michelle Hunter producers for Frank’s new show on FYI Network.

Organic Sunscreen- Organic Sun Paste, made with thanaka powder. This indigenous cosmetic is also high in antioxidants, cools the skin and tightens the pores.

Tiny House Tips- Kim Lewis Interior Designer

Tiny Living for Millennials, you can own a tiny home that looks amazing, and still save money.  From fixtures  finishes to sustainability and recycle.

National Watermelon Day Features- The General Manager of Dark Horse Tap Grille, discusses National Watermelon Day. (seasonal craft beers, handcrafted cocktails)

 Beer Garden Design- Interior Designer Annette Konstantoydakis

One of the first beer gardens with close proximity to Wrigley Field. Wanted to bring the feeling of inside outdoors while having the space serve as a backdrop to the people, more of a vacation feel.

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