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Archives for September 2016

Bring a little flash and panache to your garden

ROCKPORT — The Rockport Garden Club is holding its October Tea Monday, Oct. 3, starting with a social hour at noon for members of the club, followed by a talk open to the public with an award-winning garden designer. Kerry Ann Mendez will speak starting around 1:15 p.m. at the Rockport Community House at 58 Broadway. Her talk is titled “Flashy Plants with Outstanding Fall Color.” The public is invited to the talk portion of the event with a suggested $5 contribution for nonmembers.

The talk will introduce perennials, from chrysanthemums and asters to alliums and anemones, as well as shrubs, annuals and bulbs that carry the fall colors in the garden. The lecture also includes some timely tips for jump-starting more glorious gardens next year.

An author and lecturer, Mendez focuses on time-saving gardening techniques, workhorse plants and sustainable practices. She has been on HGTV, and in numerous magazines including “Horticulture,” “Fine Gardening,” and “Better Homes and Gardens.” Mendez was awarded the 2014 Gold Medal from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. Her most recent book, “The Right Size Flower Garden,” focuses on exceptional plants and design solutions for busy and aging gardeners. Copies will be available.

Navy Band Northeast’s Pops Ensemble to perform at school

The Navy Band Northeast’s Pops Ensemble will perform a free concert at Rockport High School on Jerdens Lane Saturday, Oct. 22 at 3 p.m. The ensemble is comprised of 30 musicians from around the country and provides musical entertainment for audiences of all ages. The versatility of this group allows it to play a wide variety of musical styles, including traditional wind band literature, popular standards and patriotic favorites.

The Navy Band Northeast was established in 1974, and is one of 11 official bands of the U.S. Navy worldwide. Under the direction of Lt. Gregory Fritz, the band is attached to the Naval War College at the Naval Station Newport, R.I., and serves the military and civilian communities throughout the northeastern United States.

The Navy Band Northeast’s Pops Ensemble concert is hosted by the Rockport Navy Committee. The support and financial donations of the residents and businesses of Rockport help make the concert possible. To reserve tickets, go to www.rocnavcom.org or call Roger at (978) 618-3548.

Remembering the role of the Tool Company

On Tuesday, Oct. 11, the Sandy Bay Historical Society presents Fred Peterson, a longtime Cape Ann Tool employee, who will explain the importance forging produced by the tool company played on land, sea, air and space. His photographs show many surprising and interesting products that the tool company produced.

The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Brenner Room of the Rockport Public Library. Admission is free.

Friends of the Library seeking used books

Friends of the Rockport Library is asking for donations of used books in good condition for its Oct. 21-23 book sale. Books may be taken to the Rockport Library at 17 School St. during regular library hours. All proceeds support special library projects. Donations are greatly appreciated. For more information, visit www.rockportlibrary.org, or call 978-546-6934.

Rockport Ramblings was compiled by staff this week. If you have a news tip or an item for next week’s Ramblings, please contact managing editor Andrea Holbrook at 978-675-2713, or aholbrook@gloucestertimes.com.

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Article source: http://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/bring-a-little-flash-and-panache-to-your-garden/article_34801049-d389-5b27-8150-89a7e4343f75.html

Spring Garden Township designing new complex

Spring Garden Township officials have contracted an architectural firm to design a municipal complex that would consolidate its administration, police and recreation services into one location.

Township manager Gregory Maust said the discussion of this complex has been ongoing since 2000, but the decision to actually build likely wouldn’t come until at least late 2017.

“It has to do with the characteristics of Spring Garden Township,” Maust said of the delay. “There’s not a lot of new development here, and this is a significant investment to be made.”

Maust said Murphy Dittenhafer Construction are currently working through a feasibility study that would give the township a price estimate for the project.

Funding would likely come from the township borrowing money through a bond issue, he said.

“Our facilities are in dire need of upgrades,” he said.

Municipal services are currently split into the administration building at 558 S. Ogontz St. and the police and recreation building at 340 Tri Hill Road. Both buildings have been around more than 60 years, according to Maust.

The new complex would be built on a 56-acre parcel, at 1799 Mount Rose Ave., that the township owns. The property is the former home of the shuttered United Dye Works factory, Maust said.

There has been no discussion about selling the Ogontz Street or Tri Hill Road properties, he added.

According to a news release from Murphy and Dittenhafer, the township’s preliminary plans include adding recreational facilities to the property such as pavilions, walking trails and athletic fields.

The township also anticipates incorporating sustainable “green” design principles throughout the project, according to the release.

— Reach David Weissman at dweissman@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @DispatchDavid.

Article source: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/story/news/local/2016/09/30/spring-garden-township-designing-complex/91319980/

Landscape design class at JC Raulston Arboretum

Preston Montague, a landscape designer and botanical illustrator, is teaching a “Landscape Potential I” class starting Oct. 8.

The two-part course introduces participants to landscape design and includes a practicum where homeowners bring in photos and maps of their property for a one-hour one-on-one consultation with Montague to find a solution to problems they may be facing or to work together on a design.

The class is 9-11 a.m. Oct. 8 and the practicum consultations can be scheduled for 1-6 p.m. Oct. 15 or 16.

The cost is $30-$40 for the Oct. 8 class or $120-$160 for the Oct. 8 class and practicum. Advance registration is required online. Go to jcra.ncsu.edu. Contact Chris Glenn at 919-513-7005 or chris_glenn@ncsu.edu for more information.

The arboretum is 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh.

Parade of Homes starts this weekend

More than 250 homes will be open to the public for the annual Parade of Homes, which starts this weekend.

The free, self-guided tour is from noon-5 p.m. Oct. 1-2, 7-9 and 14-16. This annual tour is a way to view some of the newest homes and communities throughout the Triangle. Many homes are decorated to showcase the latest design trends and ideas. The homes’ prices range from $167,990 to $2 million.

The tour books are available at individual parade homes on Oct. 1. For information on the homes on the tour, visit triangleparadeofhomes.com. There is also a new mobile app for this year’s tour.

The tour is organized by the Home Builders Association of Raleigh–Wake County and the Home Builders Association of Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties.

Spoonflower hosts head scarves sewing event

Spoonflower is hosting a sewing event from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 1 for the public to sew head scarves to benefit local cancer patients.

The head scarves will be donated to Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, which offers counseling, support groups and a wig and turban program.

Spoonflower will provide fabric to create brightly colored headscarves and beanies, as well as several sewing machines for people to use. Fabric donations are welcome. Those who have their own sewing machines are encouraged to bring them. All ages and all skill levels are welcome to attend; this is a rolling event.

The event is at The Durham Hotel in downtown Durham. For more details: nando.com/headscarvessewing

Raleigh Garden Club’s Monthly Meetings

The Raleigh Garden Club has released the list of speakers for its monthly meetings at the N.C. State University Club in Raleigh.

The meetings are 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and include lunch. The meal costs $18. Without the meal, it costs $2. Reservations are required and can be made online at raleigh-garden-club.org/

Oct. 5: Joan McAndrews of the Fuquay-Varina Garden Club will speak about conifers. This diverse group of plants can add an exciting dimension in your garden. McAndrews will cover the many shapes of conifers and use sizing charts to evaluate the smaller varieties best suited to a garden.

Nov. 2: Brienne Gluvna Arthur will discuss the history of camellias and will be selling plants from the Heritage Camellia Collection.

Dec. 7: Linda Zoffer, owner of del ZIO Designs Interiors, will talk about decorating tabletops for the holidays. Zoffer will share a slideshow on utilizing real and faux florals and greenery with other objects on the tables. She also will share advice on keeping real foliage fresher longer.

Other upcoming dates, speakers and topics include: Tim Hanauer, “Inside the Designer’s Mind,” on Jan. 4; Tony Avent on winter gardening on Feb. 1; John Conners , “The Seven Wonders of Wake,” on March 1; Douglas White, “Exploring Raleigh’s Cultural Resources.”on April 5; and Susan Hooper, “Interpreting an Idea Through Floral Design,” on May 3.

The university club is at 4200 Hillsborough St., Raleigh.

For more details about each event, go to raleigh-garden-club.org/monthly-meetings/

Garden, mushroom classes in Concord

The Elma C. Lomax Farm in Concord is hosting two upcoming classes:

On Oct. 8, explore the giants of the plant world. Participants will observe bark, leaves, twigs, fruit and form of trees, learn the utility of dichotomous keys for identification, and discuss the benefits and horticultural uses of native trees and other plants. The three-hour class costs $22.

On Oct.. 22, learn how to grow mushrooms in this introductory three-hour course. Cost: $35 and includes materials.

Space is limited. To register or for more information, call Allison Kitfield at 704-216-3546.

Article source: http://www.newsobserver.com/living/home-garden/article104728566.html

EYE ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Responses to a changing environment
By David Goldstein, Ventura County PWA, IWMD

Some people are not eager to respond to climate change in any way other than turning up their air conditioners. Others will adapt to climate change through conservation and will work to slow or prevent additional climate change.

Free gardening classes

In the spirit of “think globally, act locally,” residents of Ventura County are learning how to garden with an eye on the environment; they are cutting their water use and producing food, both of which are responses to our changing environment.

The Ventura County Public Works Agency’s Watershed Protection District (VCPWA WPD), the Green Gardens Group Inc. (G3) and the Ventura Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation are hosting free, interactive Watershed Friendly Garden Workshops through October and into November. All classes are on Saturdays, from 9 a.m. until noon. Some classes are at Meiners Oaks Elementary School near Ojai, and other classes are at Oak Park High School. These classes are led by certified landscape professionals and landscape architects who have undergone specialized training specific to the watershed-friendly approach to landscaping, and they are eager to share their knowledge with you.

The next class, on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Meiners Oaks, is a landscape design seminar. Bring a ¼-inch scale drawing of your property (a site plan) to this class for more specific ideas for your landscape.
The landscape design seminar will be repeated in Oak Park on Oct. 8, but before then, on Oct. 1, Oak Park High School will host “How to Evaluate Your Site.” A “Lawn Be Gone” workshop will be presented in Meiners Oaks on Oct. 5 and in Oak Park on Oct. 29. A workshop on the more general topic of “How to Plant and Irrigate” will be offered on Oct. 22 in Meiners Oaks.

These events are free, but registration is required as seating is limited, so go to www.greengardensgroup.com/events/tags/ventura for the schedule, class details and registration.

David Laak, Water Quality Planner, Ventura County Watershed Protection District, contributed text to the above portion of this column

Opportunities to make a difference

Changing the types of products our society manufactures is another way to both adapt to climate change and work toward limiting the change. If enough consumers apply environmental principles to their purchases, manufacturers will compete to meet environmental goals. Also, if enough people who keep their “eye on the environment” build their careers in the manufacturing sector, more products might be made with environmentally beneficial attributes, even if these products are marketed based on other selling points.

Several opportunities for local students to learn about careers in manufacturing will be presented at events during the entire week surrounding National Manufacturing Day on Oct.7.

On Oct. 5, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Ventura College’s Applied Science Center, a program presented by VC Innovates will encourage students, parents and teachers to explore careers in manufacturing. The event, titled “MADE in VC,” will showcase local manufacturing and can help you “discover how you can study and get a job in manufacturing — from design to product” (in the words of the promotional flier). Other attractions for this event include dinner for the first 200 attendees and keynote speaker Jeremy Bout, who produces the television show Edge Factor Live. RSVP is required at http://madeinvc2016.eventbrite.com

Also as part of National Manufacturing Day, several members of the Manufacturing Roundtable of Ventura County are offering facility tours and presentations to high school students from Oct. 3 through Oct. 7. For more information about these events and the Manufacturing Roundtable of Ventura County, contact Patrick Newburn at 477-5306 or patrick.newburn@ventura.org.

Even if you do not attend one of the events, you can celebrate manufacturing by doing something you might not normally associate with an industrial activity. You can recycle.

Recycling is the first step in a manufacturing process; it is a method of supplying raw material to industry. Recycling enables corporations to mine the urban waste stream instead of extracting resources from nature. The resources provided by recycling are also pre-refined, so manufacturers use less energy and create less pollution when they melt, mulch, pulp or otherwise transform discards into new products. As an added benefit, using recycled content in manufacturing sustains three to 11 times more jobs than the collection and disposal of recyclable material, according to data from the California Department of Resources Recovery and Recycling.

For more information:
http://www.mfgday.com/

Saving our coast with underwater forests

Climate change may affect our coast through sea level rise and by harming sea life. Ocean acidification originating from elevated amounts of atmospheric CO2 dissolving in the ocean is one problem, and warmer water holding less oxygen is another problem, both resulting from climate change. These are especially damaging to wildlife when combined with decreasing oxygen levels in the water due to rapid growth of microbial populations fueled by nutrient runoff (pollution) from fertilizer on farms, according to Dr. Sean Anderson, a professor of environmental science and resource management at CSU, Channel Islands.

These threats were summarized in last April’s West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel report. To address these problems, the report recommends restoring seagrass and kelp forests.

At the California Islands Symposium, Oct. 3-7 at the Ventura Marriott, Ventura County’s ocean-lovers can help organize Coastal Resilience and Restoration Districts focused on integrating living shorelines with giant kelp. Keep your eye on the environment at a district organizing kick-off meeting at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, Oct. 8 at the Ventura Marriott during the California Islands Symposium.

Dr. Sean Anderson, a professor of environmental science and resource management at CSU, Channel Islands, and ocean foresters Mark Capron and Mohammed Hasan contributed text for this portion of the article.

Article source: https://www.vcreporter.com/2016/09/28/eye-on-the-environment-2/

Yaklich works toward Eagle Scout status

PRINCETON —The Princeton Chamber of Commerce and Bureau County Red Cross have a new sign outside the Prouty Building, thanks to a local Boy Scout eager to receive his Eagle Scout status.

Mark Yaklich, 16, a member of Princeton Boy Scouts Troop 1063, went to Princeton Chamber Director Kim Frey and asked for ideas for a project that could benefit his hometown.

When she pointed him in the direction of the dilapidated and outdated signage for the Chamber and Red Cross out front of the Prouty building, he knew it was an area where he could make improvements.

Yaklich said the former sign was too small and couldn’t be seen from the road because of the overgrown bushes growing in front of the building.

With ideas on how he could make improvements, Yaklich raised $1,800 in donations from people and businesses and worked with Ken Stoner of Stoner Signs in coming up with a new design for the sign. Yaklich said when it came to the design, a big thing for the Chamber was getting its new logo put on the sign.

On Sept 17, Yaklich, along with nine fellow scouts, spent 10 hours completing the project. Princeton Commissioner Ray Mabry volunteered his services, and Al Taylor from Elite Landscape assisted with laying out the new landscaping.

At the Sept. 19 city council meeting, Yaklich was recognized by Princeton Mayor Joel Quiram who pointed out the improvements out front of the Prouty Building and thanked Yaklich for his hard work and dedication.

Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable for Boy Scouts. Only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts are granted this rank after a lengthy review process. The requirements necessary to make Eagle take years to fulfill.

Requirements include earning at least 21 merit badges and completion of an extensive service projects the scout plans, organizes, leads and manages.

With only two badges left to earn, Yaklich is hoping to earn his Eagle Scout honor by the end of the year. He said it’s important to him as he looks toward the future. He said many scouts who earn the honor are set apart from others when applying to colleges.

Comment on this story at www.bcrnews.com.

Article source: http://www.bcrnews.com/2016/09/23/yaklich-works-toward-eagle-scout-status/a1e3rsn/

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for deterring deer from …

Editor’s note: How Does Your Garden Grow is a series the Gazette will feature again this growing season, provided by master gardener Ken Oles of Wrentham. He will discuss various backyard gardening topics, and answer your gardening questions.

 

Q: Are there any steps that I can take to prevent deer from ruining my vegetable garden and causing damage to low-hanging tree branches and shrubs?

A: White-tailed deer are native herbivores that cause much damage to plants and continue to be a problem in our New England gardens in the city as well as in the country.  Their numbers have dramatically increased over the past decades due to a lack of natural predators, fragmented landscapes (think of local farmland that has been developed), and changing social values about hunting.  

White-tail deer may use a variety of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and marshy areas, but they are opportunists and suburban development with its mixture of trees, shrubs and lawns provide a safe, predator-free environment.

In suburban gardens and backyards, landscaping provides excellent deer forage and growth of deer herds is unchecked, resulting in unrecoverable damage to our gardens, shrubs and trees. 

In our forests, overgrazing by deer alters natural habitats and affects other wildlife while contributing to the rampant spread of invasive plant species.  Barriers and some repellents are effective, but in a severe natural food dearth, they may not prevent foraging.

While some plants, such as hostas (often referred to as “deer candy”) are preferred and are regular fare, other plants are never touched.  In vegetable gardens, the best deterrence is a tall fence.  I have witnessed deer bounding over a 7-foot high fence from a standing posture!  The most effective repellents have rotten eggs and garlic as part of their ingredients and will need to be applied every two weeks or sooner during the growing season if there is heavy or extended precipitation. 

When choosing ornamentals for your landscape, choose deer-resistant varieties and protect them during severe deer pressure.

 

Ken Oles is a Wrentham resident and a life member of the URI Master Gardener Association (www.urimastergardeners.org). He is also the coordinator for the Harvests from the Heart community garden in Wrentham that produces fresh produce for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Ken is a member of the board of directors and co-president of Masschusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. He can be reached at wrenthamgarden@yahoo.com.

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://franklin.wickedlocal.com/news/20160924/how-does-your-garden-grow-tips-for-deterring-deer-from-gardens-damaging-trees

Atascadero water levels highest in years – A

By Jordan Elgrably

Atascadero Lake glimmers half-full

–For residents of Atascadero, the five-year water shortage isn’t nearly as grim as it may appear, reports civil engineer John Neil, manager at the Atascadero Mutual Water Company. In fact, says Neil, “Well levels for this time of year are the highest they’ve been since 1993.”

That’s because Atascadero is situated west of the Rinconada Fault and benefits from an expansive basin that is fed by rainfall and the Salinas River. The water falls on the hills, runs into the river and creek channels and then fills up the aquifers.

There’s also more water available now because local residents have judiciously conserved water usage at the rate of nearly 20-percent, down from 30-percent conservation in 2015, Neil says. In fact, Atascadero has the largest water system in San Luis Obispo County, serving a 35-square mile area and some 31,000 residents. But while Atascadero is classified by the state as an urban population, the average lot size is an acre and a half, which means that the greatest use of water is not indoor domestic needs such as washing your clothes, bathing or flushing the commode, but outdoor watering.

Fortunately, as Neil explains, “Things are looking good right now but I’m always going to say water is a finite resource, so conserve. [Right now] our conservation standard according to mandated state guidelines is zero but we’re still telling our customers to conserve 15-percent.”

Three-day-a-week watering remains in effect, and watering is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Atascadero Mutual Water Company continues to incentivize residents to replace lawns with drought-resistant gardens and landscaping, with a turf buy-back program that pays 50 cents per square foot of turf. Neil says that some 38,000 square feet of turf has been replaced thus far.

Meanwhile peak demand for water during the hottest months has dropped off from 10 or 11 million gallons per day to as low as 6.5 million gallons per day, most of that from reduced outdoor watering.

And while last year Atascadero Lake had completely dried out in the fourth year of the drought, the lake is now at about 50-percent capacity, says Friends of the Atascadero Lake board member John Trumbull, who points out that a combination of winter rainfall and creek water imported from Atascadero Creek brought the moribund lake back to life. Also, early this summer, Friends of Atascadero Lake saw the completion of a new well thanks to some generous donations totaling $30,000, including major support from Filipponi Thompson Drilling. The well water is necessary to offset lake evaporation, which during hotter months burns off nearly a quarter of an inch daily. Water from that well is now pumping water into Atascadero Lake from a nearby property owner just 800 feet away.

The Friends of Atascadero Lake is a nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve the lake for present and future generations. The organization, founded in 2013, now hosts the annual family-friendly Lake Fest each spring. The next Lake Fest takes place on May 20, 2017, with games, rides, a cardboard boat-building competition, beer garden and food booths.

Right now the nonprofit is raising money to put in place a new aeration system in which an underwater pump will help oxygenate the water to keep algae from forming and prevent the water from getting too hot and stagnant. The are also hosting their Annual Perimeter Cleanup Day at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. Interested volunteers can visit friendsofatascaderolake.com for info.

And in an era when local residents are hearing bad news about polluted water supplies around the country, the good news is that Atascadero water is clean, non-fluoridated and high quality. “We’re fortunate from a water-quality standpoint,” says John Neil, “that we’re in a rural area and there’s really nothing upstream of us, except ranches and so on. The water quality’s very good.”

“Our biggest issue is that the water’s hard,” he adds. “But E.G. Lewis picked a good spot, and we’re fortunate that this aquifer recharges and operates the way it does. Our goal,” he adds, “is to manage it sustainably for the next 100 years or better. We’re here for the long haul.”

For more water insights visit slocountywater.org.

comments

Article source: http://atowndailynews.com/atascadero-water-levels-highest-years/43814/

Gardening tips: choose big plants and rich, fiery shades for autumn

With so many of the new season’s container plants on tempting display at every garden centre, it shouldn’t be too tough to consign summer’s bedding to the compost heap, first taking cuttings of any treasured tender plants.

Consider, for example, assembling one fabulous cache of containers that celebrates autumn’s rich, fiery shades. Ordinary terracotta pots are perfect for setting the warm mood. You could blaze a trail with a russet-red Japanese maple such as Acer palmatum Atropurpureum, then stoke up the fires with the hot pink-and-bronze strappy leaves of phormiums Maori Sunrise or claret and fir green Jester.

Two or three tall prairie perennials would fit the bill, too, such as butter-yellow Rudbeckia Goldsturm and Helenium Siesta, the splashy, burnt-red flower petals, flecked with gold, decidedly less siesta, more fiesta. After the perennials have bloomed, plant them out in the border or leave them in the wings until next year.

Pick out the seasonal shades of ace foliage plant heuchera, such as Marmalade, Autumn Leaves and Bonfire, and allow their ruffled foliage to extravagantly spill over the tops of wide, low pots or tall, slimline planters. Scarlet-flowered cyclamen and the cherry-red or milky-pink berries of gaultheria that almost cover the evergreen leaves — you might have to trim them back to give full rein to the fruits — make fine additions.

BIGGER’S BETTER

Go large, for impact. There’s no point filling a roomy container with masses of teeny-headed violas that will cost a lot and look very little. Instead, invest in a shrub in a tub.


Viburnum tinus isn’t overly thrilling, but Viburnum tinus Lisarose has just started to produce its showy, large, dome-shaped flower clusters in rich pink, that will carry on through winter and provide valuable late nectar for bees and insects.

Or you could bag a camellia. You won’t have to wait for spring if it’s a Camellia sasanqua such as Rainbow, which has the prettiest red-edged, white fluttery flowers through winter, or sweet-scented pale pink Plantation Pink, but these Oriental beauties will need a sheltered spot.

PIZZAZZ ON THE PATIO

There are other ways to make the patio come alive through the cold months. Just as you’d buy cut flowers to decorate the house, spend a little on the outdoor room, too, by giving the dining table an eye-catching monthly centrepiece.

As well as those French-market pots of button chrysanthemums that make huge domes of colour, garden centres are selling four-packs of baby ’mums that, in all their autumnal shades, make great tabletop displays, grouped in small terracotta pots.

In November you could trade them in for a patchwork of marble-leaved cyclamen in heavenly shades of watermelon red, shocking pink, rose and magenta.

Window boxes show your style as clearly as any room in the house. For a sharp, urban vibe go for crisply cut grey or black window boxes that lend themselves to more graphic compositions; Bay and Box make deep clay fibre planters specifically to fit Victorian bay windows, including small ledges.

Contrast shapes and textures, as well as colours, for the most eye-catching combos. You could have filigree-leaved evergreen ferns interspersed with white cyclamen, or, still on the monochrome theme, shrubby white-flowering hebes contrasting with sensational Heuchera Black Taffeta, the floppy, frilly black leaves overlaid with a sheen of deepest green.

Or think pink — a good partner for a black window box — and plant ice-pink, slim-stemmed heathers together with chunkier, deeper-toned varieties, then settle in shocking pink cyclamen and a rosette or two of ornamental cabbage, with those distinctive frilly layers of cream, pink and winter green, for a window box with real wow.

A profusion of powder-blue pansies alone carries its own charm and shows you are up to speed with the new season’s colour predictions. Or you could add jewel-like highlights with single plants of pansies or violas in golden-yellow or garnet.

Evergreen herbs are another good textural and practical choice. Dot small prostrate rosemaries along the box to trail over the edge, and fill with palest green and purple sages contrasting with gold-tipped thymes. Leave room here and there for a few pale-faced violas in, say, two-tone lemon and lilac.

Terracotta troughs are the ideal window boxes for bright orange pansies such as Padparadja, partnered with twirly tufts of bronze carex grass. Underplant all your window box plantings with dwarf daffodil bulbs in multi-headed golden Tête-à-Tête or scented white Segovia, to pop up in early spring.

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Article source: http://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/home-garden/gardening/gardening-tips-choose-big-plants-and-rich-fiery-shades-for-autumn-a104986.html

Water saving gardening tips

AT the Johannesburg South Garden Club meeting, guest speaker Sally Mulligan, from Sally Sunshine Nursery, spoke about water wise gardening and how to plant correctly, to save water.

“Our nursery in Walkerville is a natural nursery and we grow many herbs, as well as seedlings, plants, shrubs, trees, etc.,” she said.

”We have two boreholes on our property, which helps tremendously with watering, but a bit of advice I can give to all gardeners is to use mulch as much as possible. I use leaves and pieces of tree bark, which I lay thickly around the bottom of plants and it really does help to keep the soil moist.

“We all need to try to plant water wise and, if you visit your local garden nursery, you can ask which plants will do well with little water. Usually the greyer the leaf, the less water the plant will need.

”Lavender, Rosemary and sage are all good to grow and won’t need much watering. ”Perennials to consider include Leonotis leonuris (wild dagga) which has beautiful orange flowers and Pelargonium cuccuistum (wild geranium), with its velvety leaves and masses of light purple flowers.

“Ground covers include Gazania hybrids, which are available in beautiful colours, Arctotis suriculata which have grey foliage and large daisy flowers in an assortment of colours, and Osteospermum jucundum, an excellent evergreen ground cover with large pink or purple daisy flowers.”

Sally also recommended that the club members take into consideration planting which will encourage birds, bees and butterflies, and said indigenous plants are ideal for this.

“Aloes can make a lovely show, and also use grasses,” she advised.

”You can even do a whole bed of grasses with stones and dry river beds. Put in plants or grasses in threes or fives; odd numbers are always recommended in the gardening and flower world.”

Sally has a stall at The Art Farm, Plot 56, Klipriver Road, R550, Alewynspoort, every Saturday, and can be reached on 083 393 1921 if you require any further information on water wise plants.

Related Articles: 

Johannesburg South Garden Club’s garden competition – part 1

Time for tea at Johannesburg South Garden Club meeting

For free daily local news in the south, visit our sister newspapers Alberton RecordComaro ChronicleSouthern Courier and Get it Joburg South Magazine.

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Article source: http://comarochronicle.co.za/124531/saving-water/

Ceramic artists ride design’s trend toward the handcrafted

Lisa Jones founded her ceramics company, Pigeon Toe, eight years ago with an emphasis on petite pottery pieces like her three-legged “tripot” bowls and teensy stacking bowls.

Her timing could not have been better, she says.

“I rode the wave of a resurgence in handcrafts and the individual maker,” says Jones, 32, of Portland, Ore.

Artistic, accessible and affordable, small-scale handcrafted ceramics can appeal to young singles decorating first-time apartments, or to older folks and families looking for a more personalized look than mass-produced items provide.

“We have our entry-price customers, and aspirational pieces reaching a demographic of people with means to spend,” says Jones. Pigeon Toe’s best-seller is the 3-inch-high, $48 tripot. It has an unglazed, white porcelain exterior, and a glazed interior in a choice of 16 colors.

“In the past five years, smaller ceramics have grown so much in popularity,” says Eugenia Santiesteban Soto, senior style editor at Better Homes and Gardens magazine. “They’re functional, but they’re also pieces of art. People are tapping into the notion of owning something beautiful and imperfect, but that you can use in your everyday life. You can tell there’s a hand that made it. It feels very soulful, authentic.”

Besides the evergreen appeal of mugs, Soto notes the functional allure of cups and vessels that can hold everything from food and drink to flowers, pencils and cotton swabs.

Mociun, a Brooklyn, New York-based jewelry and home goods store, sells mugs, cups, tumblers, pitchers, vases, bowls and plates by dozens of artists from across the country. Prices range from $24 for a speckled tumbler to $446 for a set of five metallic nesting bowls. Mugs sell the best, said company founder Caitlin Mociun.

“I have watched artists grow in their careers, starting as a hobby and now creating full collections of pieces sold in several stores,” she says. “A lot of our customer traffic at the store is walk-ins or tourists. They are looking for gifts or take-away items, which small-scale pieces are great for.”

Jeremy Ayers is a ceramics artist in Waterbury, Vt., whose modern rustic pieces — from a $55 round salt box to a pair of bulbous, aqua-colored mugs — are carried by stores (including Mociun) and his own online and studio shops. His studio is in the 1870 carriage barn where his great-great-grandfather made wheels and carriages.

“I’ve been noticing more customers on the younger end who want to add to their home aesthetic,” says Ayers, 41. “Maybe because so many young people work in an office cubicle, having my mug in their cubicle is a breath of fresh air.”

With pottery, repetition is part of the process. Ayers usually produces his salt boxes in batches of 20.

Creating each one out of a lump of clay on a pottery wheel takes about five minutes, he said. Then he trims the box, and loads it into a kiln to be fired for 12 hours. It takes another 12 hours for the box to cool. Then he puts a glaze coating on it and loads it back into the kiln. The glass in the clay and the glass in the glaze melt together, becoming one glassy object — stoneware — that doesn’t leak and is dishwasher safe, he says.

For those wanting to make their own pottery, Ayers — who teaches classes — suggests going to community classes. Jones, mostly self-taught, learned a lot from YouTube and books. Air-dry clay or clay easily baked in an oven are options too, she said. Pottery wheels can cost upward of $700 to $1,500, and a kiln can run between $1,500 and $3,000, says Ayers.

Another market for small pottery pieces — especially those with a minimalist, Scandinavian-design aesthetic — is as wedding gifts, as an alternative to large, expensive, traditional china sets, says Soto.

“People live more casually now, and there’s been less of a need for formal china settings,” she says. “People want something that reflects the way they live a little more, day to day.”

Article source: http://www.salina.com/sections/home_and_garden/ceramic-artists-ride-design-s-trend-toward-the-handcrafted/article_ee1b80ee-ff54-5015-b00a-14ad49e6c49b.html