Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for August 17, 2016

Backyard beauty; pond, landscaping absorbs couple’s time, enthusiasm, runoff water

Aurofa — It all started innocently enough.
“In 1996, we were buying bird seed,” said Birchbark Trail resident Tim Ludick. “They had a little water fall kit that was about $125. It just morphed into a 3,300-gallon pond since then.”
The pond is the centerpiece of a reimagination of Tim and Dixie Ludick’s sloping, wooded backyard. What was once a swampy area has been transformed into a system of terraced paths, fountains, waterfalls, plantings in and out of the pond, and a bridge.
“This was not an overnight, magical transformation,” said Dixie.
All rocks, terraces and fountains were installed by hand.
“It’s a feat of civil engineering,” she said. “It demonstrates an amateur gardener can fight erosion in the backyard.”
The Ludicks won Aurora’s 2013 Neighborhood Gardening Award, when the backyard fairyland was up against the likes of Barrington’s entrance and other professionally done projects.
Last month, the pond was featured in the “Parade of Ponds,” a joint project presented by Hoffman’s Water X Scapes and the [Akron] Beacon Journal.
“There were 35 ponds, and ours was the featured one,” said Tim. “I really didn’t think anyone would come this far, and we had 100 people come. They were so nice and complimentary.”
The pond grew from 1,000 gallons to its current size in 2009.
“In ’09, I ordered this huge liner,” he said. “It took about 2 1/2 months of digging after work, mosquitoes biting me all the way, breaking two shovels and a pick.”
He did have help from five friends installing the liner itself, which is made of a heavy rubberized material.
“It was delivered on a truck that had a fork lift on it,” he said.
Underneath the pond, he dug a French drain. Altogether, the property includes 11 water pumps, only five of which are directly associated with the pond itself.
THE WHOLE system of tiers snaking around the pond and throughout the backyard have a purpose beyond aesthetics, he added.
“The tiers kind of slow down the water now, and I have mostly Ohio native rain garden plants in some areas,” he said. “They’re very hardy and suck up the water.”
His downhill neighbor likes the backyard trail system and pond so much he installed a trail connecting to it from his backyard, said Tim.
Dixie said Tim’s influences include golf course designers Pete Dye and Donald Ross, who she said work with the existing topography of an area rather than bulldozing it as the basis for their courses.
“Anything you see him do, he doesn’t fight the topography; he works with the topography,” she said.
During the fall, the whole area undergoes yet another transformation as the Ludick’s son uses the trails to build a haunted woods, which one can check out in more detail at
Amid the trails, there are several interesting features, including a “magic” faucet fountain, which looks like a faucet in mid-air streaming water from out of thin air.
There also are a couple of unique trees on the property, including a seedling of the tree in Appomattox under which Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Gen. U.S. Grant, ending the Civil War.
The offspring of the famous sycamore is a young tree, but not exactly a seedling any more.
Nearby is a Dawn Redwood, a tree thought to be extinct until the late 1940s, when a grove was discovered on a hillside in China, according to Tim.
The Dawn Redwood is the oldest tree species, dating back 70 million years, according to Ludick, which means dinosaurs may have munched on it at one time.
Tim said he thought after the 2009 expansion, the project would be done, but he now admits it will “never be done.”
Dixie said he never seems to stop thinking of new additions and improvements.
“He’s constantly got ideas rolling around in his head,” she said. “It’s always a work in progress.”
Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4188

Rate this article



Do you want to leave a comment?   Please Log In or Register to comment.

Article source:

Lee money plan yields traffic wish list – The News

Charlotte County has taken half-a-page from the Lee County playbook and has adopted its own version of the growth increment financing mechanism for using property tax revenue to fund growth-related infrastructure projects.

Lee County has discounted its impact fee collections, which fell dramatically when new construction sputtered and died during the Great Recession.

The Lee County plan will take an estimated $9.6 million in first-time tax revenue next year and funnel it into major transportation and environmental projects.

City leaders plan to earmark the $64 million in GIF funds to $84 million in county financing for major  transportation improvement projects.  Another $6 million would go toward environmental work.

The county uses “new” property taxes from both new construction  infrastructure projects.

Growth funding also includes taxes paid on homes that are sold during the year, and are no longer under the homestead exemption and the state Save Our Homes cap. Those programs limit property tax increases on particular properties. When they’re sold, the property tax is based on the real value of the home and the resulting increased tax is used for county infrastructure work.

After casting an eye south to Lee’s program, Charlotte County adopted its own GIF plan last month. County Administrator Ray Sandrock said it includes parts of the Lee scheme, but doesn’t grab the higher taxes paid by homes that were sold during the previous year.

“Lee’s plan is more complex,” Sandrock said.

A discussion involving Lee County Manager Roger Desjarlais led to Charlotte considering the plan.

“We have an eight-county group where we met several times during the year and share ideas,”  Sandrock said. “At one of the meetings, probably about a year ago, (Desjarlais) explained the process to us.”

As in Lee County, years of recession have left some public works projects unfunded in the county to the north. Charlotte will use some of its money to finish the middle portion of the reconstruction of  Burnt Store Road. The two ends were done, but when developers fell by the wayside after the economy crashed, no impact fees were collected from the middle stretch to pay for the improvements.

Lee County currently assesses builders just 45 percent of the bulk of the impact fee intended to make them pay public costs associated with their projects.

Lee’s To-Do List

Burnt Store Road may also be rebuilt in Lee County.  The stretch from Van Buren Street in Lee County to the Charlotte line is on the county’s top 10 list for additional transportation projects to be funded over the next six years

The county plans to use a combination of state funds, money from the BP Settlement, repayment of internal loans for improvements around Hammond Stadium, along with $64 million in GIF money to come up with an additional $84 million for road and bridge projects. .

A top 10 list of transportation projects would require an additional $233 million to complete.

Topping the list is a four-lane extension of Three Oaks Parkway from Alico Road to Daniels Parkway at an estimated total cost approaching $60 million.

Other projects on the list  include a $26 million project to widen Ortiz Avenue to four lane between Colonial and  Martin Luther King boulevards.  Bridge replacements at Big Carlos Pass and on Big and Little Hickory Islands is also on the list, along with a $5 million per year, five year program to repave roads in Lehigh Acres that have been substandard since the day they were built.

Bonita library:  $14 million

Meeting the demands of the city of Bonita Springs for a new library will cost more than $1.5 million more than the original figures tossed around when the city was approved.

At the insistence of Bonita leaders, the library was placed in the downtown, which is being renovated. The site means the building had to be two-stories to fit, and the price rose to $14.1 million. The original cost of new libraries for North Fort Myers and Bonita was $12.5 million each.

Roads of Estero

County officials say they want Estero to approve agreements for the county to provide some municipal services by the end of the month. The contracts for landscaping, general municipal services, gas tax expenditures and solid waste removal expire on Sept. 1.

Talks between the two governments continue over what roads would become Estero roads and which would remain with the county.  Lobbying will be getting underway soon at the Old County Courthouse. Estero wants to own many of the roads in town, but the county is reluctant to yield authority over important north-south and east-west roadways.

“Council member (Bill) Ribble and their manager will visit each of you in the next couple of weeks so they can discuss their position with you.” Commissioner Larry Kiker told colleagues Wednesday. “Hopefully, we can have Estero resolved prior to our own budget hearings.”

Article source:

10 Landscaping Design Ideas To Enhance Your Home Garden

Whether for style reasons or to impress others, people like wearing fashion jewelry. However how do you know if you are getting the many of your jewelry collection? By becoming informed on the topic of jewelry. The following short article is going to give you some great advice that will help you end up being more experienced about jewelry.

The Audi TT provides three engine configurations that includes a 130/180 horse power 1.8 T turbocharged engine with four cylinders. There is likewise a 225 horsepower 1.8 engine with intercooled turbos. Both the roadster and the coupe offer a front-wheel and a four-wheel drive. To include to the stylish facade and appearance of the Audi TT, 17 inch alloy wheels with a six spoke cast are included plus high efficiency tires and high strength Xenon headlamps that has an automatic modification.

For Audi, the car company, the TT is related to full strength and pure driving pleasure. The automobile mesmerizes the chauffeur with its overall agility and innovative design. The vehicle likewise offers more output and lesser weight. It also has a striking two-color surface that offers the Audi TT a special look. The color and color choices for this 宴會廳 line consists of avus silver, misano red, Mauritius blue, silver, and phantom black.

Include value to your monthly coaching programs. If you want your clients to keep on coming back, you need to have the ability to provide them not just with quality but useful material as well. Make sure that the info you consist of in your information base item are closely associated to the requirements, demands, pushing concerns, and many regular questions of your target market. When these individuals feel that you can provide them what they genuinely need, you can be guaranteed that they will not mind investing their dollars just to acquire more details from you.

Let me just offer a list of a few of leading window replacement business listed below. This is by no means definitive but it should help stir you towards the ideal instructions.

Choosing a video card has a lot to do with individual choice. Numerous motherboards have on board video abilities. This suggests that the motherboard can manage basic video tasks for the computer system. The onboard video would can showing the video need for normal program such as workplace utilities and would can supporting the video requirements of fundamental online use. Nevertheless, the onboard video is not up to the task of dealing with demanding video editing programs, pc video games, streaming high quality video and so on.

A good lit design in conjunction with lit bois is a great method to get that good night’s sleep. It is likewise a good idea to get a lit adulte that can accommodate your body, legs and arms so that you will not get any cramps. And that one of the ways is to use lit futon or any futon fitted bed so that your back will not hurt.Whatever you do, always put in mind that your bed should be a location where you can lay your worn out body. Thus, ensure always that it is a relaxing place to be.

Article source:

Bee-harming pesticides are declining at plant nurseries, report shows

Retailers appear to be selling fewer ornamental plants laced with pesticides linked to bee population declines, according to a new report.

Less than a quarter of the trees and flowers from stores and nurseries tested by environmental activists contained pesticides at levels that could be harmful to bees, which are vital to pollinating many of the nation’s food crops. Two previous reports, in 2013 and 2014, revealed that more than half of the samples contained potentially dangerous levels of chemicals linked to bee deaths.

“Our data indicates that compared to two years ago, fewer nurseries and garden stores are selling plants pre-treated with systemic neonicotinoid insecticides,” said Susan Kegley, a chemist at the Pesticide Research Institute and lead author of the report released Tuesday by the institute and Friends of the Earth.

Neonicotinoids, which mimic nicotine insecticides produced naturally in leafy plants, have been linked to the decline of bee populations. 

Activists hailed recent pledges by such major retailers as Home Depot and Lowe’s to phase out neonicotinoids in the plants they purchase from nurseries, even as they urged others, such as Wal-Mart and True Value, to make similar moves. About 65 retailers, including Whole Foods and BJ’s Wholesale Club, have committed to phasing out neonicotinoid-treated plants, according to the report.

The pesticides are predominantly used to control sucking insects, such as aphids and psyllids, that damage the plants.

“The market is shifting away from selling bee-killing pesticides, and retailers including Ace Hardware and True Value are lagging behind their competitors,” said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, food futures campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

A Wal-Mart spokesman said the company “has been monitoring the science around neonicotinoids” and bee health and will rely on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to assess the hazard posed by exposure to the chemicals.

A spokesman for Bayer CropScience, the primary manufacturer of Imidacloprid, said there is no evidence that proper use of neonicotinoids on home and garden products harms bees, and cautioned that losing home vegetation to insect damage can decrease habitat for the pollinators.

“Over its 20-year history, there has not been a single documented honey bee colony loss that can be attributed to a labeled use of imidacloprid,” said Bayer CropScience spokesman Jeff Donald.

“The unfortunate effect of the activists’ campaign is consumers who lose choice on how to protect their lawn and gardens, which may result in them losing plants and flowers to damaging pests or in them resorting to other costly or potentially more dangerous pest control measures,” Donald added.

Of the 60 samples taken nationwide — including several in the Bay Area and Sacramento — 14 showed traces of one or more neonicotinoid pesticides, mostly imidacloprid.  

Three of 13 samples from city-owned landscaping also tested positive. Most of the samples that tested positive contained one pesticide; two flower samples contained two different neonicotinoid insecticides, according to the report.

California’s $7-billion almond industry depends almost completely on pollination services provided by bees. Other crops that depend strongly on commercial honeybee colonies include alfalfa, apples, avocados, blueberries, cherries, cucumbers, onions, cantaloupe, cranberries, pumpkins and sunflowers.

California farmers applied nearly 144 tons of imidacloprid on more than 1.5 million acres in 2013, the last year for which complete data were available, according to the state Department of Pesticide Regulation.

The top users of the pesticide were wine-grape growers, who applied 30 tons of it to about 240,000 acres in 2013, according to the state agency. Growers of table and raisin grapes, tomatoes for processing, oranges and cotton also were among the heaviest agricultural users, according to the agency.

The single biggest user, however, was the predominantly urban pest-control industry, which applied nearly 37 tons to homes and businesses to combat pests such as termites, according to the agency.

Several studies have linked high levels of neonicotinoids to decreased foraging, failures of queen bees, breakdowns in hive communication and other colony-threatening phenomena. Last year, however, a study suggested that exposure to levels of the pesticide expected on most farms would pose no significant negative effects on bee colonies.

Many factors have been blamed for the bee die-offs: exposure to multiple pesticides, poor hive management practices, loss of habitat and natural pathogens such as mites and viruses. The USDA last year reported winter colony losses of about 23%, based on a survey of beekeepers. A winter decline of about 19% is considered normal.

In May, the USDA reported a 17% loss of colonies from commercial beekeepers during the first quarter of this year. About 114,000 colonies were lost in a manner suggesting colony collapse disorder in that period, the USDA reported. That same quarter a year ago showed 92,300 colonies lost under similar circumstances.

Twitter: @LATgeoffmohan


Bees threatened by a common pesticide, EPA says

Article source:

Master gardeners transform downtown Baldwin City park

Although Tuesday morning wasn’t one of their designated workdays at Tom Swan Park in downtown Baldwin City, Douglas County master gardeners Jane Akob and Carol Anderson soon had their fists filled with weeds.

“When you see a weed, you have to pick it,” Anderson said as she bent to pluck another weed growing in the shade of the Lumberyard Arts Center, which forms the eastern boundary of the 400-square-foot pocket park.

It is such dedication that has transformed the park since Akob first took over its care in 2012 from an overextended Susan Baker, who at the time worked for the Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce in the old filling station building just to the south of the park on the corner of High and Eighth streets.

Akob has photographs taken from that time, which show a few flower beds surrounded by grass in the about 400-square-foot pocket park. Four years later, what little grass remains is obscured by flowering plants and bushy scrubs, which are watered by an irrigation system she installed.

“I became a master gardener in 2010,” Akob said. “Back then, each year’s master gardener class had a class project. In 2012, I proposed it (Tom Swan Park) as a class project, but it was rejected. I started working here anyway. The next year, I decided to make it a demonstration garden, and it was approved.

“It’s turned out pretty well, We’re pretty proud of it. It’s become a local attraction. A lot of people in Baldwin City when they have visitors, they drag them down here.”

There’s a lot to see and learn in the little park. Small tags near their stems identify the pasque flowers, begonia, heliotrope, sweet potato vines, purple coneflowers, zinnia, lobelia, fennel, salvia, rain lilies and many other flowers and scrubs in the park.

That is the point of the garden, Akob said. For all the greenery and flowering beauty it offers from March through October, it is a demonstration garden meant to instruct and educate.

“The goal is to show people good practices, like good soil testing, proper fertilization and using plants in the right place,” she said. “Every plant is labeled. It may make my work a little harder, but it makes it good for visitors.”

Tom Swan Park is the smallest of four demonstration parks in the county, said Douglas County Horticultural Extension Agent Marlin Bates. The others are the garden at Douglas County Fairgrounds near the extension office, Monarch Waystation No. 1 next to Foley Hall on the University of Kansas’ West Campus and the Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden at 1865 East 1600 Road at the KU Field Station northeast of Lawrence.

The gardens are all different. The Monarch Waystation specializes in vegetation that promotes invertebrate conservation, and Native Medicinal Plant Research Garden is reserved for the kinds of plants that give it its name. The fairgrounds garden shares with Tom Swan Park a focus on residential ornamental and landscape plants, but is large enough to have rain, scrub, shade, vegetable and other sub-gardens.

Despite their differences, the demonstration gardens are all tended by the county’s master gardeners and share the goal of educating the public, Bates said. Master gardeners are often on hand to share information and all have educational material on hand. Those who visit when master gardeners are unavailable can call the master gardener hotline at 785-843-7058 for more information or answers to questions.

Another commonality is the shared use and further testing of Prairie Bloom perennials and Prairie Star annuals K-State Research and Extension developed to thrive in northeast Kansas, Bates said.

One thing special about the Baldwin City garden is its accessibility, Bates said.

“That’s one of the things we really like,” he said. “It is the centerpiece for downtown. It’s cultivated a greater understanding of the master gardening program, We’ve had a number of new recruits from the Baldwin City area because of the work Jane and her crew do there.”

Visitors will also get landscaping ideas. The small park is sprinkled with sculptures local artist Forrest Waltman carved and is graced with a arbor arch, obelisk and screen master gardener Les Conder built. There’s also a sundial donated by a woman whose story illustrates the value of the park beyond education.

“She was sitting here when I came by one day,” Anderson said. “She said she her husband was out at the rehabilitation center at the nursing home. She said she came here to get away from all that stress.”

Copyright 2016 The

Lawrence Journal-World.

All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
We strive to uphold our values for every story published.

Article source:

Meadows-in-a-can are a myth. Real ones take a lot of planning and patience.

The meadow garden has long captured the imagination of gardeners resisting the cultural hegemony of the lawn. The meadow stands as an appealing hybrid between the gaiety of the cottage garden and the primal power of the prairie. In an age of ecological gardening, its allure grows even stronger, and echoes of the meadow are found in plants now common in our gardens, whether their minders know it or not.

On this southeastern Pennsylvania property, shown in the book “Garden Revolution,” environmental designer Larry Weaner created a meadow, woodland groves and shrublands. (Larry Weaner/Timber Press)

But when it comes to fashioning a full-throated version, here’s the rub: It’s difficult to achieve something that looks so easy. It requires knowledge and patience in a world that sometimes seems to value neither. Meet Larry Weaner, an environmental designer who has been crafting meadows and other naturally informed landscapes since the early 1980s.

A few years ago, there was the notion that meadows were so eager to sprout that you could buy a can full of wildflower seed, sprinkle the contents on a piece of cleared land and you would have a floriferous meadow in perpetuity. But there is no meadow genie in a can, and the idea was so ill-conceived from a horticultural (if not a marketing) standpoint that consumers were doomed to fail. Weaner explained to me over a cup of coffee that you don’t plant a meadow; you set a series of natural events into motion and then guide their development.

The meadow-in-a-can idea “set back the meadow and maybe native design for 20 years, if not more,” he said. “The product put forth was completely insufficient, and it wasted the inclination of so many people who failed.”

The seed mixes were heavy on fast-blooming annuals and biennials such as corn poppies, cosmos, cornflowers and the like, “but these plants weren’t aggressive enough to suppress weeds.” The pretties petered out, and the uglies moved in.

How do you create a meadow? With a lot of advanced planning that includes a detailed understanding of your site’s topography, soil type and biology, hydrology and a list of plant species that grow together naturally in your region. That’s a lot to get your head around, so while you digest all that, you might pick up Weaner’s new book, “Garden Revolution,” written with Thomas Christopher. It is subtitled “How Our Landscapes Can Be a Source of Environmental Change.”

Carolina bush pea forms the ground cover in the partial shade conditions of a birch grove. (Larry Weaner/Timber Press)

Once desired perennials mature through a regimen of weed mowing, mown paths will frame the meadow and its views. (Larry Weaner/Timber Press)

Weaner outlines one method of establishing a meadow: Kill existing vegetation and sow a mix of perennial grasses and wildflowers using a seed drill that doesn’t disturb the soil. The mix itself should be at least 40 percent warm-season grasses, which would give you an opportunity to plant such beauties as little bluestem, side-oats grama and purpletop tridens.

For the first two growing seasons, count on mowing at six inches every six weeks to eradicate tall weeds while allowing the young seedlings below to develop their roots. Once a year, walk through and spot-treat pernicious weeds such as thistle and the inevitable young woody invaders.

In the third year, you can form mown paths and settle to an annual winter mowing. Although you can shape the meadow by thinning dominant wildflowers such as goldenrod and asclepias or by allowing a few shrubs to frame a certain view, you can’t “plant” a meadow as you might a garden border. As Weaner points out, pretty much every traditional horticultural practice is antithetical to his approach to making landscapes. Don’t pull weeds; you’ll create more as you bring weed seeds to the surface. Instead, cut them. Don’t fertilize, irrigate or enrich the soil; meadow plants like it lean, and you’ll just encourage more weeds.

He notes that the conventional wisdom among landscape designers (and moreover, I would add, their clients) is that a new garden is a creation that must not change, whereas an ecologically driven landscape is all about change, as species ebb and flow over the years.

In traditional landscape design, you might well find a small, hidden garden room that presents itself as a surprise. “If you walk it 100 times, there is no surprise,” he said. “But if the landscape is changing constantly all the time, there is mystery.”

One of the assets of a naturalistic garden is its seasonal changes. By leaving some but not all wildling shrubs in place, Weaner creates a natural layering effect that comes to the fore as leaves turn. (Karen Bussolini/Timber Press)

Weaner and Christopher write that “a traditional garden is like a beautiful car with no engine. The body is sleek, the interior is plush, and the stereo sounds great, but the owner will always need to push it up the hills with bags of fertilizer, weeding forks, and watering wands.”

It’s worth noting that there isn’t just one model of a meadow; its nature depends on the prevailing local conditions. And they write, too, about shrublands and woodlands — different environments with shared principles of shepherding desirable plant communities while keeping weeds and invasives at bay.

If I had a 20-acre spread in the country, one of my first jobs would be to convert a lawn or an old hayfield into the type of seeded-grass-dominant meadow that Weaner espouses. Such a place would be especially rich in wildlife. (Note to voles, coyotes and groundhogs: Try the next county.)

But what of the suburban or city garden? Weaner is unfazed by downscaling. “There was a 40-acre meadow I planted, and we made a path that created a little patch, probably four by four feet. It was a meadow. There is no minimum size.”

Weaner says meadow plants work in small, structured urban and suburban gardens as well as in the country. This project required plants that would grow in alkaline soil. (Rob Cardillo/Timber Press)

Weaner lives on a one-third-acre plot in suburban Philadelphia and has nurtured desired seedlings as they have emerged, from drifts of cardinal flowers and golden ragwort. He discovered that if he laid wood chips, latent seeds of hickory and oak germinated and became handsome shade trees. After 28 years of guiding his flora, any soil that is disturbed is likely to result in eruptions of native plants rather than weeds, because the nature of the seed bank has changed under his guidance.

“I’m connected to it, but I’m not the sole master of it,” he said. “Nature made some of the decisions.”

He laments that it is difficult, if not impossible, for gardeners who want to move away from traditional garden models to find the labor and advice geared to ecological landscaping. But he feels the world has moved closer to his view of what constitutes a garden since he began 34 years ago.

“The extent to which people have changed their attitudes toward native plants and landscapes that contribute ecologically is an absolute sea change for the better,” he said. “That makes me very optimistic.”

@adrian_higgins on Twitter

More from Lifestyle:

A shrub to brighten the dog days of summer

Growing sweet corn? Here’s how to keep your stalks from toppling.

The advantages of using wooden pathways in your garden

Birds, chipmunks, snakes, insects: At some point, the gardener feels like an intruder

Article source:

Gardening Tips: Plants are doing a happy dance –

I know that you will be reading this article almost a week after I have written it, but right now all the plants in my garden are doing a happy dance! As much as we can water, nothing beats a steady, all-night soak to perk up the landscape.

I just returned from the first of three buying shows that I will attend to purchase plants and product for the 2017 gardening season.  The area around Toronto Pearson Airport was a brown wasteland.  

The lawns were totally dormant. Trees and shrubs were dying in large stretches of boulevard, as well as around businesses and hotels. Most annual plantings were struggling to survive.

We should be thankful for the little rain we have had because Southern Ontario hasn’t even received that! I was talking to one of my growers yesterday and in the 35 years he has been in business, he has never seen such a hot, dry season.

I know we are coming to the last few weeks of summer, but the long-range forecast for the Sault area does show sunny, hot and dry. Don’t stop watering the gardens until we do get a steady stretch of fall rain.

As this might be the year that we experience a dry September, be sure your permanent plantings get a deep, thorough soak at least once a week.

It is very important that trees, shrubs and perennials are well watered until plants are dormant. Evergreens need to be watered right up until the ground freezes.

Local lawns have had a hard go of it this season. As I drive around town I can tell where there is an irrigation system or a homeowner faithfully watering. Those are the only green lawns around!

Lawns are pretty though. If they were healthy going into a drought period, once cooler fall temperatures and a bit more rain arrives, they do tend to green back up. That is the time to apply a fall fertilizer.

The nitrogen in the fertilizer will help the grass turn a healthy green; the phosphorous will stimulate new root growth; and the potassium will help the lawn toughen up for winter.

Many good quality lawn fertilizers now have little or no phosphorous (the middle number on fertilizer packages). This is because research has shown that phosphorous remains in the soil a long time, staying available to the roots.

Low phosphorus fertilizer ensures that excess phosphates don’t end up contaminating ground water.

Although it is a bit early, I have had reports that a hatching of white grubs is underway. When the eggs that were laid at the base of grass plants hatch, the larvae begin to veraciously feed on roots.

Brown patches will appear and expand  in your lawn. The dead grass pulls up easily with no roots.

Check the area carefully for small white grubs that have a cinnamon red head. If you do find them, you can apply beneficial nematodes to kill the grubs.

This microscopic insect is ingested by the grub and quickly reproduces in their gut. The grub stops feeding and dies within a week.

Now is also the time to be on the lookout for craneflies hovering around your lawn. These insects look like giant mosquitoes!

They will soon be laying eggs in the root area of your lawn. The eggs hatch within a few weeks and the larvae (leatherjackets) feed on the roots.

The damage is the same as you see with white grubs but the insect looks very different. Leatherjackets are greyish-brown with a torpedo shape to the body. There is a different nematode available to target this pest.

For the last few years cranefly has been more of a problem than white grub. However, hot dry conditions are what the grubs thrive in. There may be a bigger grub problem this year than last.

Once you have gotten rid of any pest that is damaging your lawn, give dead areas a good hard raking. Spread loam in bare areas and sow grass seed. Water well until seed germinates, then keep new growth constantly  moist until the grass is established.

Article source:

Shady spots: 6 tips for creating a cool haven in your garden – BT

When the mercury soars, some gardeners enjoy the peace and calm of a cool, shady haven.

Yes, we can all crouch under the sun umbrella, but it’s just not very pretty, is it? And I’m afraid I don’t go for canvas gazebos either, even if they are practical, what with all those metal poles and coach bolts.

So how else can you create shade in a sunny spot?

1. Add an awning

Awnings are another option and can add a splash of colour if you need it. But they have to be situated in the right spot, can be expensive and if your patio is windy, they may be vulnerable.

One idea which can be effective is to train leafy climbers over an arch to create a retreat.

If you have a wooden bench, you could place some sort of arch over it and grow climbers in pots or in the earth on either side, to train up it and provide colour as well as some shade.

[Related story: Grow your own: Top tips to give your vegetable patch a head start for the autumn]

2. Put up a pergola

A light-roofed structure, such as a pergola, can also provide relief from the sun, as you can train climbers over the crossbeams, providing more hours of shade.

Pergolas are usually made from timber or metal, with a horizontal trellis laid on top.

They are usually built out from the house or a wall, often positioned directly above a patio and, as well as providing shade, they also put paid to nosey neighbours who may want to know what you’re up to. Ideal trailers to use on pergolas include sweet-smelling roses, honeysuckle or clematis.

You can buy kits from DIY stores and big garden centres consisting of timber uprights and cross pieces to put together yourself, or alternatively have a local builder do it.

3. Add colour and texture

If plants aren’t creating your shade, you can add colour and texture to a shady spot with hostas and ferns, heucheras and hydrangeas, adding further splashes of colour with shade-tolerant Busy Lizzies, stocks, violas and nicotiana.

Climbers which grow over a freestanding structure in the sun often do better than when planted against a wall or fence because there is no restriction of light.

If the structure – arch or pergola – is big enough, virtually any climber will be suitable, but if the gap is only small, avoid roses with sharp thorns or other bushy plants.

And remember that a combination of climbers which flower at different times will provide colour to your patio for longer and create an attractive mix.

For big structures, you could train wisteria, laburnum and a late-flowering clematis.

4. Try a trellis

Trellis is another useful commodity to help create shade in a sunny spot.

Panels with curved tops are available to make useful screens to shelter the patio.

[Related story: 5 ways to make the most of your garden shed]

5. Adopt an arbour

Arbours are another option for shade.

They are open-sided structures, usually set over a sitting area in an informal part of the garden, and while they may not suit the patio area, you could always move down the garden to sit in an arbour smothered with fragrant climbers.

6. Try before you buy

Remember before you start, though, to experiment with temporary shade before investing in time and money to create permanent shade.

If you have that old sun umbrella, move it around the patio to find out where it is most effective.

What are your tips for the perfect shady spot? Let us know in the Comments section below.

Article source:

Janssen: Fall gardening, canning tips for those with arthritis

Doug Janssen, PT, DPT, is Columbus Community Hospital’s director of rehabilitative services. Those who have questions or would like more information about how therapists can get them on the path to healthy physical activity and exercise can contact Janssen at 402-562-3333, located at the Columbus Wellness Center.

Article source:

Gardening hacks: Top tips for planting in a small space

It turns out that, with the boom in renting, fewer people than ever are taking an interest in their outdoor spaces – however small and manageable they could be with a little effort.

As a result, Wyevale Garden Centres are sharing their top tips for gardening with limited space, so people don’t miss out on the joys of being green-fingered:

1. Bring the outdoors in

Why should foliage only be outdoors? If you don’t have a garden, or are intrigued by the indoor planting trend, stock up on some pretty pots and quirky succulents. They need minimal care and watering, and will brighten up any small space or windowsill.

2. Citrus injection

Not only do miniature citrus fruit trees look great, adding a cool Mediterranean vibe to a small courtyard space, when given lots of love and care, they can be abundant. Pot these trees in a large statement planter to give them enough space to flourish. Thriving outside in the hot summer months, these trees love warmth, so bring them back inside during winter.

3. Mini herb garden

Herbs don’t need much space to grow and are a great low-maintenance choice for first-timers. Rosemary and thyme are firm favourites, whilst purple sage adds colour to your practical display.

[Related story: Grow your own: Top tips to give your vegetable patch a head start for the autumn]

4. Scale planting

Just because your space is small, it doesn’t mean the plants have to be. A selection of large plants in bold, standout pots will help make the most of a small garden or courtyard, adding architectural impact and style as well as increasing the sense of space. The areca palm, a large evergreen plant, would work really well in this context.

5. Vertical planting

If your garden is small, emphasise a third dimension – height. Vertical planters can be easily attached to walls or fences and by filling them with plants like ajuga and geraniums, you’ll be making a bright and bold statement. Alternatively use trellis to train climbers up, which can double as screens if your space is overlooked.

6. Privacy on wheels

Another ingenious way to keep your outdoor space private is to place your plants in containers with wheels. That way you can freely move your plants around to serve different purposes. Fill big planters with lavender to bring a stunning summer fragrance to your space, as well as grasses like stipa tenuissima to introduce a romantic texture.

7. Clusters

Try placing a selection of small pots, or very chic terrariums, as a centre piece to your dining table or on a windowsill. The plants used in these displays are extremely low-maintenance, won’t break the bank and look great inside minimal contemporary pots.

What are your top tips for gardening in a small space? Tell us in the Comments Box below

Article source: