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Archives for November 5, 2016

Harlow Gardens gets a look at its early work in Tucson | Home and …

Bill and John Harlow, both 76, talk about the 75-year-old blueprints to a Joessler home in the foothills on Oct 17, 2016, that their father used to landscape the Tucson property. The 1941 blueprints were drawn up by their father, John M. Harlow, and were found when the current homeowner moved into the home earlier this year.

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It’s getting cold — are your gardens ready?

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Remember, remember: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips for Bonfire Night

Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and plot; I see no reason why gunpowder treason should ever be forgot…

Well, aside from the fact many children have no idea why we let off fireworks on November 5, most of them will enjoy it – and the bonfire that goes with it.

Clutching their sparklers they will, hopefully, tuck into jacket potatoes and baked beans tonight, even if roasted sweet chestnuts went out with Guy Fawkes.

I am not a fan of bonfires – not the kind lit at any time between January and December, anyway.

Why is it folk wait until the only sunny day for weeks to light up a pile of green rubbish in their garden that smokes everyone else out of theirs? That kind of bonfire we can all do without. The stuff on it should be composted or else put into the recycling.

Oh dear, am I sounding like a grumpy old man? I’m not really one. 

It just strikes me that the real killjoys are those people who specialise in homemade fog and make the washing on the line reek of kippers.

The solution? Burn only dry, woody material and it will blaze away and produce very little smoke. And the result? No more rubbish and happy neighbours.

There, I’ve got it off my chest. But soon, no doubt, blazing fires will be lit all across the country and I have no problem at all with the annual celebration in memory of that failed attempt in 1605 to blow up the Houses of Parliament.

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Dream Gardens with Alan Titchmarsh: Cold comfort for your veg

Yet there are still plenty of us who grow our own and even more people without vegetable patches who delight in stocking up on bargain, bulk buys of carrots, onions, fruit or spuds, still with their patina of soil, from farm shops. 

A few bags stashed away for safekeeping are all it takes to bring on a self-sufficient glow. Yet how many people find that, when they go to use them weeks later, their once-pristine produce is a mass of oozing sticky brown goo? The solution is proper storage. 

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Punch List: Fall tips for preparing your garden, trees and lawn for winter


Indoor lights need to be turned on earlier after “falling back” an hour. Before you entirely switch off the outdoor garden, tuck it in properly with a rake up, clean up and cover up.

Raking basics

  • Leaf raking is great exercise — both your heart and landscape will thank you. Rake often until the trees are bare, especially from sidewalks and lawns.
  • There are beneficial garden uses for extra leaves besides adding them to the compost pile or taking them to the leaf drop (both recommended).
  • Dry leaves can be mowed into the lawn, adding back valuable organic matter to the soil. Set the mower height high and make several passes over the leaves. Mow often if leaves are getting too dense.
  • Use leaves as mulch around planting beds or as a protective cover over bare areas like vegetable beds. Mulch helps conserve moisture and prevent soil cracking and winter desiccation. Bag up extra and use them through the winter to refresh blown away leaves.
  • Cottonwood and oak don’t break down easily, so use less as mulch or chop well and add to the compost pile.
  • Leaves that remain during the winter can mat and smother the lawn — often getting wet and mushy, which can lead to snow mold.

To cut back or not?

  • After several killing frosts (if we ever have some), spent and frozen perennial foliage can be cut back. Or, do you wait for spring?
  • No brainer: All warm-season vegetables and ornamental annuals can be tossed or composted if disease-free.
  • New plantings or half hardy perennials receive additional insulation and protection from freeze-thaw cycles when foliage is left in place through the winter.
  • Leave standing ornamental grasses, woody plants and shrubs, including butterfly bush, sage, lavender and other late summer or fall bloomers.
  • Evergreen perennials and groundcover plantings keep the soil protected and add winter interest.
  • Birds appreciate seeds from coneflower, black-eyed Susan and sunflowers, and like being protected in leftover foliage. Keep providing fresh water for the birds as well.
  • Native plants provide shelter and protection for beneficial insects.
  • After killing frosts, plants with disease like powdery mildew (bee balm, phlox) or ones that had pest insect problems (slugs on hosta) should be cut back and thrown away, not composted.
  • Leave at least two inches of stubs so you’ll see where they will emerge next spring.


Get your trees ready for winter now. Prevent winter sunscald damage to trunks of young, thin-barked, leafless trees by covering them with tree-wrap, which is sold in garden centers.
  • We’re close to three inches of moisture behind for the year. It’s been extremely dry for weeks and months. A drastic, rapid change in lower temperatures like the flash freeze in November of 2014 was harmful and deadly to many trees and plants. We can’t control the weather, but we can do our best to prepare our landscape for winter.
  • Water all landscape plants, trees being the most important. They need to be watered well so they enter winter with adequate soil moisture (to a depth of 12 inches).
  • If sprinklers are turned off, pull out hoses and move the sprinkler heads around the drip line of trees (where branch tips end). Or use soil needles (no deeper than eight inches, or soaker hoses).
  • Water mid-day when temperatures are over 40 degrees. Read more fall/winter watering how-tos at
  • Colorado winters can be feast or famine or somewhere in between with snow cover and precipitation, keep hoses and sprinklers within reach to water on warm, dry days. Once a month is ideal. Read more from CSU:
  • Protect trunks of young fruit trees from gnawing animals with 2-3 feet tall wire mesh around the trunk.
  • Prevent winter sunscald damage to trunks of young, thin-barked, leafless trees by covering them with tree-wrap (sold in garden centers). Remove the wrap in April.
    In the fall it is common and normal for the inner most and oldest evergreen needles to turn brown and fall off.
  • Check straps and stakes on newly planted trees to make sure they aren’t pinching or girdling the trunk or nearby branches, loosen or remove. These supports are only necessary for one to two growing seasons.

    Now that it’s fall, go ahead and protect young trees from winter sunscald with tree wrap.

General landscape care

  • Apply a two to three inch layer of mulch (bark, shredded bark, pine needs or chopped leaves) around trees, shrubs and perennials after the ground freezes. Keep mulch at least six inches away from the stems or trunks of the plants to prevent voles and mice from nesting.
  • Overwinter containerized plants like roses in an unheated garage or place in a deep trench covered with soil to prevent freezing. Water when the soil starts to dry, at least once a month.
  • Fertilize the lawn while it is green and the ground not frozen. Use one pound of actual nitrogen per 1,000 square feet. Read more on fall lawn care from CSU Extension:
  • Critters like rabbits, voles, mice and rats are looking for places to feed and nest through the winter.
  • Clean up hiding places, including left over construction materials, tall weeds and brush. Remove food and water sources. Patch entry holes to homes, garages and sheds. Read all label instructions and exercise great care if using over-the-counter poisons or traps.
  • Continue planting spring-flowering bulbs and garlic planting stock until the ground freezes.
  • As the weather gets colder protect cool-season vegetable crops with cold frames or heavy mulch (at least six inches thick) to extend the harvest.
  • Gather up outdated garden chemicals and products. Properly dispose of them through your municipality’s hazardous waste program.
  • Get a jump on next season by cleaning and sharpening garden tools before storing.

Betty Cahill speaks and writes about gardening in Colorado. Visit her site at for more gardening tips.

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Design and Garden Landscapes


Design and Garden Landscapes Ltd, a local award-winning garden design and construction company, are working on a garden display for The Great Kiwi Home Living Show, here is a sneak preview of some of the elements which they will be pulling together to create a feature garden especially for the Show!

Come and visit them at the Show, not just see what they can do for you and your landscape, but to experience it as well.

In the lead up there will be competitions and updates on the build to keep up to date with what they are up to head over to their Facebook page!

For more information:

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Rain gardens catch and channel rain | The Garden Of Eva | syvnews …

Due to the current drought, any responsible homeowner in Santa Barbara County would be wise to consider incorporating a rain garden into their landscape. Unfortunately, it is anyone’s guess when the drought will end. Make the best out of the rainy season by capturing the rain that lands on your roof, and let the benefits flow.

What is a rain garden, you might ask?

Rain gardens are depressional areas, landscaped with native vegetation that soak up rainwater. They are strategically located to capture runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs, driveways and streets. Rain gardens fill with a few inches of water after a storm and then water filters into the ground, rather than running off to a storm drain. Rain gardens can absorb most rainfall events.

During the next rainfall, observe your landscape and identify existing drainage patterns. Collect water from rain gutters, driveways or other overflow areas and let gravity move water towards a natural depression or flat area. The idea is for water to soak into the ground, benefiting plants long term, rather then pond.

When designing your rain garden, keep water away from building foundations, utilities, underground pipes, septic systems and large tree roots.

Rocks and gravel will help slow water. In my landscape designs, I often incorporate a dry creek into the landscape. A well-designed dry creek is both attractive and functional. The dry creek collects water from the downspouts or rain chains, where water will slowly flow down the creek during rainy days. A dry creek should have a minimum of 2 percent slope (1/4 inch per foot) in order to work properly, and approximately 9 inches at it’s deepest point. Boulders, rock, gravel, sand and native flora help slow the runoff, allowing water to percolate into the ground along the way.

Water gardens are dry most of the time, especially in hot climate areas such as in the Santa Ynez Valley.

If designed appropriately, water will soak into the ground within 24 hours of last rainfall.

In order to avoid flooding, plan an overflow route should a large storm hit. An overflow route can be directed into a driveway that drains to a storm drain.

If irrigation is absent during dry months, select plants for your dry creek that are drought tolerant. Native plants are the best option since they are adaptable to long periods of drought, once established. If you are not familiar with plants best suited for your garden and dry creek, visit local nurseries for plant suggestions, or contact your landscape professional for guidance.

The ideal time to plant is during fall, when air temperatures are cooler and the soil is still warm. Water the new plants thoroughly and apply three to four inches of mulch without covering smaller plants. It is important that you keep mulch 1 to 2 inches away from the base of the plants, as new mulch often is too hot, and can burn plants during the first two weeks to three weeks after application. Shredded mulch such as gorilla mulch is fibrous in nature, and does not tend to float like decorative bark might do. It is a good garden rule to reapply mulch annually.

During the first 12 months, give your native plants regular water until established. After the first year, minimal water is required.

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Garden design for those with limitations

Editor’s note: Don’t let physical limitations stop your gardening. Welcome to our three-week series on updating your garden to help those with limitations keep active. We’ll cover design, containers and ways to improve mobility over the next three weeks.

By Lucia Haddad

OSU Extension master gardener volunteer

“But though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener.”

– Thomas Jefferson 1811

Gardening offers many benefits for the mind, spirit and body – as well as sore backs, stiff hands and aching muscles and joints! While physical changes might challenge those of us who garden, we can make changes that allow us to keep gardening. A study at Kansas State University found that gardening was a predictor for leading a physically active lifestyle and high life satisfaction for older adults. Adapt and modify, but don’t give up! The coming winter months are an excellent time to think through which tasks of gardening were the most difficult over the last season.

For some gardeners it may be muscle weakness, fatigue or joint pain; for others perhaps limited vision or a reduced sense of smell. What parts of gardening caused the most discomfort, or just didn’t get finished because they were too hard?

Now is the time to reconsider the garden design and layout to tackle those challenges before the next season. By adapting the garden to the gardener, we can keep the joy and still garden safely.

Evaluate the location and size. Does the garden need to be closer to the house for better accessibility and fewer steps? Perhaps it is time to make the garden smaller to cut down on the work required to plant and maintain it.

Is getting water to the garden a problem? Dragging hoses back and forth can be an energy drain. Consider putting the garden closer to a water source, or install drip hoses for irrigation. How difficult is it to get tools and equipment to the garden? Is there a convenient place to store garden tools so they are within easy reach and minimize steps? For small tools, one creative suggestion is to install a mailbox near the garden to store hand tools at the garden site. Wearing a tool belt or apron can minimize trips back and forth to gather tools.

Store potting soil and soil amendments in wheeled plastic trash containers or on a child’s wagon for ease in moving. If fatigue or muscle weakness are concerns, be sure to create several small sitting areas for resting, preferably in the shade.

Improve the garden paths. Above all, the garden needs to be a safe place. Look critically at the paths and walkways to be sure obstacles are eliminated. For information on gardening for all ages, check out:

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