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Archives for October 19, 2016

TifTuf Bermuda Grass Thrives at Atlanta Botanical Garden

The Great Lawn in the heart of Atlanta Botanical Garden stands up to traffic with drought-tolerant TifTuf Bermuda grass.

ATLANTA, Ga. (PRWEB) October 19, 2016

During Summer 2016, the Atlanta Botanical Garden’s Great Lawn received a makeover with drought- and traffic-tolerant TifTuf Bermuda grass.

As the entryway to the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory, the Great Lawn hosts numerous events in the garden throughout the year. From summer concerts in the garden to September’s Garden of Eden Ball, the lawn endures foot traffic and damage for several months.

“The existing lawn had sustained years of events and no longer looked the way we wanted it to,” said Amanda Bennett, manager of display gardens at Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Super-Sod of Atlanta replaced the TifSport Bermuda grass on the old lawn with TifTuf Bermuda grass during May 2016. Since installation, the TifTuf grass on the Great Lawn has weathered the heat and traffic of a summer in the garden.

“The rebound time with TifTuf seems to be a bit quicker. It has also been easier for water management, even in this hot summer,” Bennett said.

Since 1992, the University of Georgia has been conducting tests on TifTuf with the research name “DT-1.” UGA’s research found that TifTuf used 38 percent less water than the standard Tifway 419 Bermuda grass. Traffic tolerance research found that TifTuf maintained its visual appeal better than Celebration and Tifway Bermuda grasses after 10 weeks of intensive traffic tests.

“I’m impressed so far,” Bennett said. “[TifTuf]’s rooted in quickly, looked healthy from virtually the day it went down and has been easy to maintain.”

Visitors can view TifTuf and the Great Lawn alongside colorful glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly in the garden’s current exhibit “Chihuly in the Garden.”

The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. The Garden is located at 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE in Midtown, between 14th Street and Monroe Drive. The Garden is open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sunday. Admission is $21.95 adults, $15.95 children 3-12, free to children under 3 and Garden members. For more information visit or phone 404-876-5859.   

Super-Sod, a subsidiary of Patten Seed Company, is a family-run business that employs experts in turf and horticulture. Super-Sod continuously develops new garden products; fosters gardening and landscaping; and seeks improvement in farming practices, technology, environmental stewardship and employee knowledge. Visit to learn more about the company and to sign up for their Monthly Lawn Tips eNewsletter.

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A history of dirt therapy

Martha Montgomery, left, and Dee Hubbert, right, garden Friday, Oct. 7, 2016 at the Pope’s Tavern Herb Garden in Florence, Ala. The Florence Garden Club have been tending the garden there for 70 years. ALLISON CARTER/TIMESDAILY

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It’s Time to Get Rid of Your Lawn!

By Mary Talbot

In a case of taking “the grass is always greener” a bit too literally, American homeowners have long strived to make their lawns brighter, lusher and more velvety than their neighbors’. But all that competition has a devastating environmental impact. Every year across the country, lawns consume nearly 3 trillion gallons of water a year, 200 million gallons of gas (for all that mowing) and 70 million pounds of pesticides.

Adams County, Pennsylvania Master Gardener, BBG Graduate and NRDC Member, Audrey Hillman.

You may also know that turf grass, however welcoming it looks for our bare feet, provides virtually no habitat for pollinators and other animals and plants that make up a healthy, diverse ecosystem. In fact, these lawns can do substantial harm to the environment and to both vertebrates and insects. Birds, for instance, may ingest berries and seeds that have absorbed pesticides from the ground. Likewise, rainwater runoff from lawns can carry pesticides and fertilizers into rivers, lakes, streams and oceans via the sewer system. This can poison fish and other aquatic animals and harm humans who swim, surf and eat seafood that may be contaminated. And then, of course, lawn mowers can pollute the air.

Luckily, today more Americans are ready for a change.

“We’re on the cusp of a transition that will likely take place over the next 10 to 15 years, away from the conformity of mowed turf,” said Ed Osann, senior policy analyst and water efficiency project director with the Natural Resources Defense Council‘s Water program.

He adds that eradication of all grass isn’t the goal. “We’re not declaring war on turf or suggesting that we remove every square foot of it. But we want to encourage people to think about whether there are places in their yards that can be converted to allow for a more diverse and sustainable landscape.”

The No-Mow Movement

A growing number of homeowners are converting part or all of their lawns to a less thirsty form of landscape.

These no-mow yards fall into four categories:

1. Naturalized or unmowed turf grass that is left to grow wild;

2. Low-growing turf grasses that require little grooming (most are a blend of fescues);

3. Native or naturalized landscapes where turf is replaced with native plants as well as noninvasive, climate-friendly ones that can thrive in local conditions; and

4. Yards where edible plants—vegetables and fruit-bearing trees and shrubs—replace a portion of turf. (According to the National Gardening Association, one in three families now grows some portion of the food they consume).

Making the Change

A successful lawn conversion depends on climate, terrain and of course individual taste. Of the four main no-mow strategies, Osann said, native or naturalized landscaping is likely your best option. It’s adaptable to any part of the country and offers gardeners an infinite range of design possibilities. If you want to join the no-mow movement, here are some pointers to get you started:

  • Get expert advice. Begin by talking with a landscaper who has experience with lawn conversions or even a neighbor who has naturalized all or part of his yard. A landscaper can help remove existing grass and recommend native plants to use in its place. Depending on water and weather, a low-growing turf lawn will “green up” about two weeks after seeding. Another alternative is a wildflower garden grown from seed. (Just make sure you choose a wildflower mix that fits your climate and weed out existing vegetation that would compete for moisture and sun). After the seeds germinate and the flowers bloom (in 6 to 12 weeks), they don’t require watering unless there’s a prolonged drought.
  • Do your weeding. Invasive plants like ragweed, thistle and burdock can crowd out their native neighbors and may run afoul of local ordinances (as noted below). For most no-mow advocates, the payoff in natural beauty and habitat are well worth the effort.
  • Check for incentives. Not surprisingly, western states such as Arizona and California, which have been in the throes of extreme drought for more than four years, have taken the lead in spurring homeowners to do lawn conversions. California, in fact, launched a turf replacement initiative that offers rebates of up to $500 per yard for homeowners who convert turf lawns to native, drought-resistant xeriscaping. On a more grass-roots level, organizations like the Surfriders Foundation, a national environmental group made up of surfing aficionados, have helped transform turf lawns in Southern California parks and homes into ocean-friendly gardens, using succulents and other indigenous plants along with hardscape materials like rocks and gravel that increase filtration, conserve water and reduce runoff.
  • Check the rule books. The no-mow movement may sound idyllic, but some practitioners have faced a surprising stumbling block: the law. In one example, Sarah Baker, a homeowner and scion of a family of horticulturalists in St. Albans Township, Ohio, decided to let her turf grass yard grow wild. Last year, she was forced to mow when authorities from her township deemed her garden, which had become a naturalized but well-tended landscape, a nuisance. Sandra Christos of Stone Harbor, New Jersey, said that after she replaced turf grass with native plants, she was delighted that cormorants, night herons and kingfishers made themselves at home alongside “every kind of butterfly you can imagine.” But since receiving a letter from the town clerk, Christos has had to tame the mallow, bayberry, clethra and rosa rugosa along her walkway—or pay a fine.

Sarah Baker in her yard.Amanda Mae Taylor

While local ordinances or homeowner association bans have emerged―mostly out of concern over fire safety, rodent control and noxious weeds―they take on aesthetic concerns too, often proscribing grass over eight inches tall, vegetable gardens (especially in planned communities) or any kind of landscaping that deviates from clipped turf.

A recent white paper by students from Yale’s forestry and law schools, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council, surveyed legal obstacles to various forms of no-mow and concluded that, for sustainable landscaping to achieve wider adoption, some municipalities will need to adjust their policies.

That change can happen if residents push for it. Montgomery County, Maryland, for example, amended its nuisance laws to allow for naturalized lawns after locals made the case that their wild gardens improved air and soil quality and reduced stormwater runoff.

Moving away from water-guzzling and chemical-hungry lawns and cultivating yards that are diverse and self-regulating is a matter of mounting urgency worthy of that kind of community organizing. As global temperatures rise and droughts drag on, the demands of turf grass are likely to become untenable.

“Our existing lawns are going to get thirstier and their water requirements will increase,” Osann said.

Fortunately, with an evolving toolkit of sustainable landscaping strategies, home gardeners can avoid such effects and help nurture the health of the planet—right in their own backyards.

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2017 Minnesota Gardening calendars are now available

The calendar is developed for home gardening and landscape enthusiasts across the state. Minnesota Gardening 2017 is the only calendar designed and written exclusively for Minnesota gardeners.

This year’s calendar includes seasonal pictures of the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and information about healthy soils, vegetable planting and the Minnesota USDA plant hardiness zones. Each month also includes timely gardening tips to keep you up to date.

Calendars are available on a first come, first served basis for $12.99. For more information, call call (320) 762-3890.

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Gardening Tips: October 15, 2016

Questions for Earl May’s Tim Rundlett focused on the lawn this week. From how short should you mow your grass this time of year to how much to water sod, and also whether you should mulch leaves or leave them on your yard, Tim has the answer.

If you have a question for Tim this upcoming weekend, submit your questions by clicking here.


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Gardening Tips with Ohio’s Garden Sage | WOSU Radio

Harvesting apples, vegetables and herbs as well as preparing for winter weather keeps gardeners busy all autumn long. We discuss what needs to be done in your garden this fall, plus some current gardening trends.



Join Ann Fisher and Ohio’s Garden Sage Debra Knapke for an evening of “Drinks and Dirt” brought to you by WOSU Public Media, and the folks at Chadwick Arboretum, The Groovy Plants Ranch, and Lowes of Central Ohio.

The event opens with a Q A session on gardening with a focus on succulents. From there, each guest receives all the materials and hands-on instruction they need to create their very own succulent terrarium. Drinks and light snacks will be served. Drinks and Dirt is scheduled for Thursday February 9 at the 4-H Center on the Ohio State University campus from 6-8 p.m. This event is exclusive to members who donate to support WOSU.

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Shiny berries and maturing flowers: Perfect tips to brighten up your garden this autumn

Diary Dates

See autumn in all its glory at National Trust grounds across the country.

Visit to find your nearest colourful landscape and information on opening times and facilities.

Three of the best are:

Winkworth Arboretum, Surrey, GU8 4AD

Bodnant Garden, Conwy, LL28 5RE

Stourhead, Wiltshire, BA12 6QF

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In Pictures: Peek inside Irish garden designer Diarmuid Gavin’s own private Eden

“Well, not in the way he does it, but yes, when you are trusted with a certain type of client you have to run an operation that is beyond question,” he says.

With reality television constantly crying out for new franchises, I wonder if he’s ever considered fronting a gardening version of The Great British Bake Off. The thought has indeed crossed his mind. However, gardening is such a painstaking process it simply doesn’t lend itself to the format (indeed, the BBC’s own attempt, The Big Allotment Challenge, was cancelled this year after two series). You can pop a cake in the oven and, half an hour later, stick it under Mary Berry’s nose. Cultivating a rose bush takes rather longer.

“They have tried,” he says. “I was flown to Los Angeles by Fremantle, the big media outfit that makes American Idol. They wanted me to do a gardening challenge programme.

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Pop Up Shop at Trustees Garden features cutting edge design, family fun

ONE of Savannah’s most vital sites will host one of its most unique events, the Pop Up Shop at Trustees Garden from Oct. 21-29.

Located in one of the most historic areas of Savannah, back to the very earliest days of Oglethorpe’s founding of Georgia, the Pop Up Shop features fashion and family-friendly fun, concurrently with the Savannah Film Festival also going on downtown.

click to enlarge

    “We’ll have many independent designers, from New York City and Savannah,” says designer Rosalie Stone Morris, who is spearheading the show, which she describes as a “mini-festival.”

    In addition to her own Stone Morris line, local designers include Mamie Ruth, M. Liz, Lovelane Designs, and Morris’s partner in organizing the show, Abbie Hastings.

    Wares on display comprise mostly women’s clothing, as you might imagine, but will also include a men’s collection, and accessories like scarves and handbags, “lots of fun little knick knacks,” says Morris. “We’re even going to have sets of handcarved wooden glasses.”

    The show will reside mostly under a tent in the mall area adjacent to the Morris Center and the Pirate’s House. Fashion is just one of the offerings.

    On Thursday night, there will be a tasting out in the garden area, with menu by Meta Adler and proceeds benefiting Historic Savannah Foundation. “The menu is inspired by the history of Trustees Garden,” says Morris. “The things originally planted there were vital to the sustainability of the colony.”

    Most afternoons will feature yoga from Dancing Dogs.

    “We’ll have lots of trunk shows throughout the run,” adds Morris. “The last night we’re doing a big Halloween Party for kids.”

    From 3-6 p.m. Oct. 29, there will be a closing party with a Halloween –themed trunk show from Lovelane Designs — and a costume contest.

    Though she frequently visits her native Savannah, Morris works out of New York City. She says the game has changed from the days when a small elite controlled the fashion world.

    “There are so many independent designers now. They get their cues from Asia, from all across the board. It seems like everything goes now,” she says.

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    Grab Your Garden Gloves

    With cooler temperatures in the weeks ahead and many already thinking winter, some garden gurus in our area say this is why now is a great time to tackle some important fall projects around your home and backyard. The work now could mean a better spring for your landscaping. To get some ideas, Newswatch 16’s Ryan Leckey visited the crew at Corky’s Garden Path Greenhouse in the Justus area of Lackawanna County.

    Among the Fall projects Corky’s suggests to tackle this month, they include:

    • 1. Planting Fall bulbs.
    • 2. Protecting your shrubs from winter weather (antitranspirant, burlap, wire cages filled with fallen leaves).
    • 3. Putting your vegetable garden to bed (making sure you don’t spread disease, compost).
    • 4. Trimming shrubbery and perennials. If you’re not sure which to prune, leave it alone.
    • 5. Fertilize your lawn and check its pH.

    For a look at Corky’s Fall Gardener calendar, head here! For tips on fall lawn care, head here!

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