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Archives for October 21, 2016

Oklahoma State University Offers Landscaping … – Ponca City News


STILLWATER — A landscape comprises all the living and nonliving elements of an area of land including plants, landforms and man-made structures. Fences and lighting are as much a part of the landscape as trees and herbs. A well-designed landscape provides many benefits to homeowners; landscaping increases property and resale values, increases the beauty and utility of spaces surrounding buildings, and creates a unique sense of place for relaxation and enjoyment.

Proper planning is necessary to achieve the greatest returns from your investment and to avoid common landscaping mistakes. At their website, Oklahoma State University offers several different resources to help with landscaping and gardening. This particular fact she can be found under the link “Lawn, Yard and Garden” at the Resources page. The document, “Homeowner Garden Design Series: Planning the Landscape” details how to conduct a site evaluation, identify design objectives and create a rough landscape plan.

Landscape planning and design are fluid processes. There is often no correct sequence of steps. For those designing or redesigning an entire landscape, they suggest starting by creating a site map and conducting a survey. When creating a garden or bed for a specific purpose, we generally start by identifying our goals such as creating a wildlife garden or establishing plants to shade a patio. The same set of techniques are used whether planning an entire landscape or designing a single garden.

Site Evaluation

The purpose of the site evaluation is to record existing structures and features of the landscape, identify the positive and negative aspects of the existing landscape, and to record specific environmental and site characteristics. The landscape survey will be used in the initial planning stages and later when designing plantings.

A site inventory documents all existing elements on the site in their existing location . First, draw a site inventory which documents existing plants, structures and utilities.

Planning a Landscape

• Conduct a site evaluation–identify positive and negative features, and environmental conditions of the planting site or landscape.

• Identify landscaping goals – consider how you plan to use the area.

• Create a bubble diagram–define areas for each planned use of the landscape. Landscape to scale as best you can. You do not need to be an artist; any drawing that makes sense to you will be adequate. Grid paper is useful for drawing to scale. Mark the location of the house and unattached buildings such as garages or sheds, as well as existing walkways, drives, utilities boxes, patios, fences and other structures. Reproduce the general floor plan of the house including the locations of windows and doors. Call OKIE (1-800-522-OKIE) to have utility lines mapped and add these to the drawing.

Record the locations of existing plant material including trees, shrubs and flowerbeds. Mark the location of tree trunks and use circles to indicate the extent of the tree crown or canopy. You may wish to adopt your own system of symbols to represent objects and plant types such as evergreen and deciduous plants.

Once you have recorded the existing structures, walk through the landscape and take careful notes regarding site conditions. Environmental conditions such as amount of sunlight, protection from wind, and soil moisture will vary in different locations throughout the landscape. Likewise, soil type and slope are not uniform over a site. Each of these bears great impact on the types of plants and plantings that can be established on a site. Consider each in turn, taking clear notes and recording information on your site map. You may wish to take notes on a separate sheet of paper, and use a numbering or lettering system to coordinate notes to specific locations on the map.


Indicate on your map areas that receive full sun (six or more hours of direct sunlight each day), part sun (four to six hours per day), or shade (less than four hours of direct sun daily).


Identify what areas are relatively exposed to strong winds, and what areas are sheltered by buildings, structures or plants.


Low spots tend to remain wet and experience more frost than uphill areas. Steep slopes create challenges to gardening, such as erosion, and may need to be altered. On the other hand, slopes also provide opportunities in design. They provide variation in elevation and can be used in separating distinct areas of the garden.


Identify hot spots in the landscape, such as along south facing walls or near air conditioning units and dryer vents. Areas that receive full sun or afternoon sun will also be hotter (and drier) than more shaded sites. Other areas may be more protected from sun and wind, providing ideal planting sites for heat sensitive plants. Skilled gardeners can identify microhabitats in the landscape where marginally hardy plants can successfully be grown.

Water and Drainage

Identify areas in the landscape where water collects. Low spots and areas surrounding drain spouts tend to be wet. Other areas may be exceptionally dry. The soil beneath the roof overhang does not receive as much direct rainfall as areas not sheltered by the roof. The constant air flow near air conditioning units also has a drying effect on plantings. Consider and record any existing irrigation systems and structures.

Soil Type

Soil type will greatly affect the drainage of an area. Sandy soils drain very quickly, while clay soils are slow to drain. Some plants have specific soil requirements. Record the soil texture (sand, silt, clay) in different areas of the landscape. Sandy soils have a coarse texture and feel gritty when you rub them between your fingers. Clay soils have a fine texture and feel smooth when rubbed between your fingers. Silt soils are more powdery feeling. Many soils have a mixture of two or more particles along with organic matter.

Once you have recorded all the characteristics and features of the existing landscape or planned planting site, it is time to conduct an evaluation. Site analysis identifies challenges and positive features of the landscape. The purpose of this step is to identify the positive and negative features of the landscape. Begin by examining the existing structures. Many structures are necessary and cannot be altered, the air conditioner or utility box, for example. You might find other structures that are inessential to the current use of the landscape, such as a swing set that has not been used for years, or a rusty old fence that serves no real purpose. Identify which structures you wish to keep and those that need removal or replacement.

Evaluate the existing landscape. Identify plants you wish to retain and work into the new landscape or planting. Look for plants that have overgrown their space; a shrub that overhangs the sidewalk or blocks a window, for example. Some trees and shrubs may just require a little pruning, while others may need to be removed or transplanted to a new location. (See fact sheets HLA-6414 Planting Trees and Shrubs and HLA-6409 Pruning Ornamental Trees, Shrubs and Vines for more information on these topics at OSU’s Resource website.)

In a visual evaluation, we are also concerned with views. Identify the locations from which you most often view the landscape. This may be inside your home, such as through a kitchen or sitting room window, or may be outdoors, such as from a patio or deck. Go to each location and look out over the landscape. Look in all directions and consider views both within and beyond your property line. Is the current view from those windows pleasing or would you like an additional planting to add more interest to that area? There may be a lake or pond nearby, or a picturesque view of a hilltop church. These may be views you wish to enhance or frame through landscape elements or plantings.

Plantings can create lines that direct the eye toward an interesting view or away from an undesirable view.

On the other hand, there may be a utility box or a larger public utility structure, or perhaps your neighbor has an unattractive chain link fence you’d like to hide from view. Landscape plantings can also be designed to hide such undesirable views. Likewise, plants, as well as various structures, can be used to add privacy in areas of the landscape.

Finally, identify problematic areas as you conduct the survey. Erosion and poor drainage or standing water are problems that can be corrected with proper planning. Likewise, you can alter certain conditions such as excessive shade and poor air movement to improve the physical plant environment. Assess the health of existing trees and shrubs. Dead or dying trees may pose hazards and require removal.

Landscaping Goals

Before you begin to plan the landscape or planting, clearly identify your goals. How do you plan to use the yard or garden? Make a list of the activities you intend to carry out in the yard or garden. This may include reading, sunbathing, meditation or relaxation. Do you wish to have an outdoor dining area? Do you need to plan areas for pets, hobbies or for children to play? Be thorough and consider all members of the household. List the number of people that participate in each activity; this will help you to plan an appropriately sized area for each activity.

Identify any structures or hardscape that you may need to install to meet the desired landscape uses such as a patio or deck to accommodate a dining area. Will you include a play structure or fenced area? Make sure to consider long-term plans as well as immediate ones. Perhaps you someday plan to put in a swimming pool or hot tub. These should be included in your initial planning.

Determine what special features, if any, you might want to add to the landscape. Perhaps you want to include a fountain, sculpture or other unique feature in the garden. Are there specialty gardens you wish to install such as a rock or vegetable garden, or wildlife habitat? Identify structures that might help you enjoy the landscape to its fullest. These may include pergolas for shade, benches and sitting areas, paths or steps. Each should be considered as part of the planning process.

Make sure to get the entire family involved in the planning stage so that everyone’s needs are addressed. You might find family members have very different ideas or needs, work to meet as many as possible. Get the ideas down on paper; you can decide later which ones will realistically fit into your landscape plan.

Create a Rough Plan

Once you have identified your wants and needs in the landscape, it is time to start putting ideas on paper. It is a good idea to make several photocopies of your landscape drawing to use for planning, and work in pencil. You will likely go through several drafts before coming up with a plan you like.

The landscape drawing already indicates the locations of existing structures, trees and other plantings. Remove from your drawing any plants or structures you plan on removing or replacing in the landscape. Now draw bubbles to represent the different use areas you intend to incorporate into the landscape and label each bubble clearly with its intended use. This is called a bubble drawing or bubble plan.

Bubble drawing with areas identified for vegetable gardening, lawn, wildlife habitat and mixed beds.

Bubble drawings help define use areas and allow you to visualize how different use areas fit together into the landscape. The bubbles roughly correspond to the shape and size of planned use areas, but will continue to be refined throughout the design process.

Remember to include service areas where garbage cans may be stored, a location for stacking firewood if you have a fireplace and an area for composting. Patios, walkways and sheds can be drawn to approximate the intended shape and size. Be sure to include all planned use areas and proposed structures.

Create several potential bubble drawings and select the best one. The final selection will be used to develop a more detailed concept plan. In a concept plan, the individual bubbles begin to take on specific shapes and characteristics. We also start to see where one bubble borders another, and how individual spaces will come together. The concept plan provides a starting point for designing the landscape, but is far from a completed design. Before we can move on in the designing process, we must appreciate how plants and structures function in the landscape, understand the guiding principles and elements of design, and learn to organize space to effectively transition from one use area to another. These concepts and more are presented in the Homeowner Garden Design Series of fact sheets.

One final consideration in the planning phase is irrigation. Consider how you intend to water the landscape plantings. Will you install an irrigation system to water lawns or garden beds? Are there adequate faucets to accommodate watering by hand or sprinkler? Planning ahead can save you time, labor and expense in the long term. You may need to work with a contractor to create an irrigation plan. Once you have developed an irrigation plan, add this to your concept plan as well.

It is important to also note, if you do not feel confident with design, you can hire a landscape architect or designer to complete all or part the design work.

Take the time to find a designer you feel comfortable working with.

Some businesses offer design work only, while others design, install and may even maintain landscapes. When selecting a firm, review photographs of past projects and ask for references.

Visit some of the designer’s completed projects to see the finished work. A good designer will listen to your ideas and use them to create a space that meets your needs.

More information and other useful gardening and landscaping articles are available at Oklahoma State University’s website at

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Garden design that will stop traffic

Come to NJBG’s seminar and learn from Kerry Mendez


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  • Gorgeous, low-maintenance gardens are no accident. Learn proven design tricks that will make your landscape more beautiful than ever in a program entitled Garden Design Tips for Traffic-Stopping Curb Appeal, presented by nationally recognized gardening speaker Kerry Mendez, this Saturday at 2 p.m.


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  • Photo By Eric Jenks

    Kerry Mendez


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NJBG invites you to learn many exciting Garden Design Tips for Traffic-Stopping Curb Appeal in a program that mixes humor and practical information at the New Jersey State Botanical Garden on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. in the Carriage House Visitor Center for a program presented by nationally recognized gardening expert Kerry Mendez.

Garden Design Tips for Traffic-Stopping Curb Appeal offers great ideas and exceptional plants to beautifully ‘accessorize’ your house. You’ll learn how to disguise less attractive features and show off your home’s best side year round. Drought tolerant plants, perennials and annuals that don’t need deadheading, no prune shrubs, long-lived bulbs, the illusion that you have more plants than you actually do due to their astonishing display – these are just some of the treasured nuggets that will help make your landscape more beautiful than ever. The easy-to-follow, targeted solutions shared in this program can add a real wow factor to your home.

A $5 donation is requested. Seating is limited and will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis. For more, contact NJBG at

Mendez is dedicated to teaching the art of low-maintenance perennial gardening and landscaping. As a garden consultant, designer, writer and lecturer, she focuses on time-saving gardening techniques and workhorse plant material as well as organic practices. She has been in numerous magazines including Horticulture, Fine Gardening, Garden Gate and Better Homes and Gardens’ Garden Ideas and Outdoor Living. Mendez was a featured guest on HGTV and hosted Capital News 9’s In the Garden television segment, as well as info segments for Channel 13. She is a garden columnist for Life@Home and Today’s Garden Center magazines, and writes freelance pieces for regional and national magazines. As a presenter for Horticulture magazine’s 2010 and 2011 webinar series, her webinars attracted thousands of gardeners from around the country. Kerry is a self-taught gardener with over 25 years of experience and a ‘passionate perennialist’ that enjoys mixing humor with practical information.

For more about Mendez and her business, Perennially Yours, visit

The New Jersey State Botanical Garden at Skylands, which appears on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places, is open from 8 am to 8 p.m. every day. Admission to the Garden is always free. Parking is also free in the fall, winter and spring.

NJBG/Skylands is located on Morris Road in Ringwood, New Jersey. For an event schedule, membership brochure, directions or more information, please call 973-962-9534 or visit


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Gardening tips at WOW meeting

YES, it’s true! Women are just as keen gardeners as men, and at the Women of Worth (WOW) meeting on Tuesday, October 18, they listened intently to the guest speaker, Morné Brits, who spoke about plants and what their basic requirements are.

“The health of a plant isn’t just about the plant but the soil. If you have good soil you’ll get a good plant,” Morné said.

He explained if the soil isn’t very healthy you can buy soil fertiliser, although many soils do have enough nutrients already.

He went on to say as a gardener you should know what your plants need so they will grow healthily and provide you with enjoyment. “Especially now with not having much rain we need to be mulching around our plants. Use leaves or extra compost, making sure the base of the plant is well covered which will keep the soil moist after it’s been watered.

“Also try to find more environmentally friendly products to use in your garden. Be careful when choosing pesticides, as these don’t only kill the insects you want to get rid of but other insects too, such as bees and butterflies,” added Morné.

The meeting ended with refreshments and a discussion about the next meeting, which will be the Christmas lunch to be held at a local restaurant.

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

Remember to visit our FacebookTwitter and Instagram pages. You can also email our offices on, or

Add us on WhatsApp today! Comaro Chronicle: 079 427 8074 and Southern Courier: 079 404 5789.

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Master gardener gives gardening tips

For more info

Look for the Gardeners’ Dirt column in the Victoria Advocate on Sundays written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AM AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. To contact the association, call 361-575-4581 or send an email to

Produce always tastes better straight out of a backyard, a gardening expert said Thursday.

“There is no experience like picking your vegetables in the morning and having them cooked for dinner at night,” said Sandi Coleman, Victoria County master gardener.

Coleman gave a presentation at the South Texas Farm and Ranch Show about the essentials of gardening.

Gardeners should do their research and plant their produce at the right time, Coleman said.

Gardeners need to note the maturity dates of each produce to make sure they harvest at the right time, she said. Gardeners should keep a record book and write down when they plant their produce and fertilize.

“If your carrots are splitting, you’ve waited too late to harvest – same thing with your beans,” she said.

Having good fertilizer is necessary, and Osmocote, a time release fertilizer, has always worked well for Coleman, she said.

Weed control is time-consuming but can’t be ignored, Coleman said.

“The rewards in the end are really worth it when you go out and you can see your garden weed-free,” she said.

Produce won’t grow without adequate soil moisture, she said. Gardeners can use a drip irrigation system or water with their hose.

Gardeners should pick a location for their garden where their produce gets at least eight hours of sunlight and isn’t competing with trees or structures for sunlight.

Crops need to be rotated every year because different types of produce use various nutrients in the soil, she said. For example, some produce takes more nitrogen than others.

Gardeners planting produce from the seed instead of a transplant should go to, which lists the best plant varieties that grow in the gardener’s county. Gardeners will most likely find these plant varieties at local plant nurseries and not retail stores.

Gardeners have control over the produce they grow and can decide how organic they want to be in their craft, Coleman said.

“You have control over what you use to kill your pests,” she said. “I do my best to use organic ways, but if that doesn’t work, I don’t mind getting out the spray.”


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Fight winter drabs in your garden with these tips – Visalia Times

Cyclamen is a gray day’s best accessory.

These beauties are a marvel to our winter flower-starved eyes.  They bloom continuously in vibrant shades of crimson, pink or white, and have green heart-shaped foliage often marbled or streaked in silver.

Cyclamen start entering the stores early in December, bringing their 8-inch plants into our hearts.

These plants are perennials and worth every dime you’ll spend. They are excellent houseplants, continuously blooming for weeks.

The plants I have moved outside have bloomed for months. Since their bloom period is so long, it is okay to purchase them when they start blooming for best color choice.

Cyclamen persicum, commonly known as the florist’s cyclamen, has many small (1/2-3/4″) scented flowers held on a long stem rising above the foliage.

The flower is shaped like an inside-out umbrella or a ballerina in mid-leap

Cyclamen blooms naturally in winter to early spring but is forced to bloom in the greenhouse for early holiday sales.

A native of the Mediterranean and North Africa, it is hardy in our zone 9 community.

There is plenty of personality here with varied colors and three different sizes from larger standards to tiny miniatures.  The leaves are also frequently patterned differently.

Here is an opportunity to shop around to feed your need for color.

Here are some tips for growing cyclamen successfully in the house:

During the winter give your plant bright indirect light.  Without enough light, you will get sporadic blooms with spindly growth, a sure indicator of insufficient light.

Avoid drafts as well as hot places, as constant cool range, 50-60 degrees will suit this plant.  They are not fussy and give so much back!  If conditions are right, as a houseplant they might not go dormant. Cyclamen can be an excellent house partner with aloe plants.

Outdoors they are smart plants. They do not care for the drought and heat in this valley, so they siesta during the summer! By April the leaves will start to yellow and die back.

Keep them shaded with indirect lighting, water occasionally and allow them to rest. When you move your dormant cyclamen outside, keep it in a shaded area out of direct sunlight. You can re-pot now into a slightly larger pot.

Cyclamen grow best in a soil-based standard potting mix with the tubers just above the soil line. Water well while leaves are present, keeping water off the tuber, so it doesn’t rot. When the leaves start to disappear, reduce water to allow the plant to go dormant for two months.

New growth will start to appear August-September–repot if needed, and resume watering and feeding.

A good time to bring it into the house as an official house plant is when you are still comfortable with the windows open, giving this wonder plant time to acclimate.

Some wonderful varieties to look for include:

For answers to all your home gardening questions, call the Master Gardeners in Tulare County at (559) 684-3325, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:30 and 11:30 am; or Kings County at (559) 852-2736, Thursday only, 9:30-11:30 a.m; or visit our website to search past articles, find links to UC gardening information, or to email us with your questions:

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Frick Collection Names Selldorf Architects for Its Renovation

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Creating a fabulous garden for pennies: It’s possible





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They replaced the lawn with a gorgeous drought-tolerant meadow that doesn’t need mowing

In  our latest lawn-to-drought-garden makeover submitted by readers, a Cheviot Hills lawn is removed and replaced with native grasses such as Carex pansa and Carex tumulicola  to create a low-water urban meadow.   

Inspired by Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, a leading proponent of choosing perennials more for shape and texture than for color, landscape designer Jonathan Harnish created the no-mow meadow that provides year-round interest.     

The homeowners wanted to remove their barren lawn and replace it with a more naturalistic, meadow-like garden.

“They wanted something a little more innovative but also low-water and ultimately low-maintenance,” Harnish said.

Readers' summer photo issue 2016

Caption Readers’ summer photo issue 2016

A selection of photos submitted by readers from their summer travels. See more

A selection of photos submitted by readers from their summer travels. See more

Toughest L.A. workouts: Training Mates

Caption Toughest L.A. workouts: Training Mates

Toughest L.A. workouts: Training Mates

Toughest L.A. workouts: Training Mates

Tommy Hilfiger runway finale at New York Fashion Week

Caption Tommy Hilfiger runway finale at New York Fashion Week

Tommy Hilfiger runway finale on Sept. 9, 2016.

Tommy Hilfiger runway finale on Sept. 9, 2016.

Road trip Video: sights, sounds and 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Caption Road trip Video: sights, sounds and 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway

Our reporter drove all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through Virginia and North Carolina. 

Our reporter drove all 469 miles of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which runs through Virginia and North Carolina. 

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#Rethink Your Yard This Fall With a Visit to Antelope Gardens

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Experts say that planting in the fall gives your plants a great opportunity to set down some roots, get well established, and helps you conserve water.

Plants require less water in the fall because the days are cooler and soil stays wet longer than it does during the warmer days of spring and summer.

And there’s no better way to get started on rethinking your yard than by visiting Antelope Gardens for plant ideas and irrigation systems to install.

The two-acre Antelope Gardens contains hundreds of species, of plants—both California native and low-water non-native plants—including Aleppo Pine, Autumn Sage, Blue Grama grass, Butterfly Bush and California White Sage.

The garden is located at 7800 Antelope North Road and is open until the end of October, Monday- Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm and the second Saturday of each month from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.  Learn more about Antelope Gardens at

What is River-Friendly Landscaping?

River-Friendly Landscaping is a way to have a beautiful yard that also benefits the Sacramento region. It’s an integrated approach to landscape design that focuses on conserving and protecting natural resources, and encompasses seven basic principles:

  • Landscaping Locally: Using plants that are native to Sacramento and therefore require less water, fertilizers and pesticides.
  • Landscape for Less to Landfill: Using grass clippings and plant debris as mulch, and reusing building materials for landscape features.
  • Nurturing the Soil: Adding compost and mulch to have a healthier soil for your plants in which to grow.
  • Conserving Water: Designing a landscape that features native and low-water use plants and minimizes the amount of turf grass.
  • Creating A Wildlife Habitat: Using native plants to provide food for birds and beneficial insect species.
  • Reducing Energy Use: Planting trees to shade your home and air conditioner reducing the amount of energy needed to cool it.
  • Protecting Air Water Quality: Reducing the use of fertilizer and pesticides, and keeping them out of the air and waterways.

You can find out more about River-Friendly Landscaping by visiting

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Waldwick businesses nix extension request for landscaping improvements

Waldwick — Response from business owners to the East Prospect Streetscaping Project has been supportive as long as the work stays within the borough’s right of way.

“I sent out a letter and a survey to the business owners on that street just going over three of our ideas,” Borough Administrator Andrew Tatarenko at an Oct. 4 Borough Council work session. “One just being the basic streetscape, doing all the work within our right of way, antique lighting, pave our sidewalks. I also explained two other options that would involve encroaching on their property.”

The borough is applying for a grant through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) to purchase and install lighting, benches and plant containers along with decorative walls and walkways along the East Prospect from Franklin Avenue to Centre Street.

Tatarenko said that the borough will submit the application next month, but that prior to submission, he sent out letters asking business owners whether any of the work could be extended onto their properties. The consensus was that business owners do not want to lose parking spaces and, therefore, denied the borough’s request.

“We respect what they want,” said Mayor Thomas Giordano. “We tried and we listened.”


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