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Archives for November 7, 2016

‘Turn your blandscape into a landscape’

Amy and Luke Oeth are documenting their first time gardening as part of a video campaign to inspire other new gardeners to dig in.

Amy and Luke Oeth bought their first house about a decade ago. Like many first-time homeowners, their improvement efforts were focused primarily indoors. Stripping their bathroom down to the studs didn’t intimidate them, and neither did building a stone patio in their backyard last summer, but plants were another story. Save for a raised bed vegetable garden, their house was surrounded by overgrown perennials and grass.

That all changed this past spring.

Amy Oeth works for GdB Agency, a PR and advertising firm that represents Bailey Nurseries’ brands, including First Editions Plants. The agency was brainstorming ways that Bailey could encourage customers, especially newbie gardeners, to get over their cultivating fears and get started. The other goal was to teach people how to pair plants in the landscape — another hurdle for the inexperienced.

Videos of real-life people navigating new landscaping projects were pitched, and the agency decided that the Oeths were the perfect couple for the task.

The Oeths have lived in their house for 10 years, but this is their first garden project.

“What we wanted to do was find a way to show real projects to people that are inspiring, instill some confidence and encourage people to go out there and just try it out,” says Kris Fitzpatrick, account director at GdB. “When you think about DIY projects you do at your home, there’s usually something that’s technical that you have to figure out. With landscaping, the instructions are pretty basic.

“We wanted to see what would happen if we found a real-life couple that had the right situation, the right personality to take this on and let them have a little fun with it.”

They’re calling it the first-timers campaign, with the tagline, “Turn your blandscape into a landscape.” The first video introducing the series features the real, likeable couple posing American Gothic-style, with ragtime piano music in the background and a narrator reassuring viewers that “Anyone can plant with pride and confidence,” because of the selection and breeding process.

Bailey Nurseries and GdB are both located in Minnesota — St. Paul and Minneapolis respectively — and requested help from nearby Bachman’s, a garden center chain in the Twin Cities. Bachman’s sent a garden designer to help the Oeths plan the project before they got started. They began with the backyard to warm the space around their newly built patio.

“There was no big expectation on me being a pro, which was really helpful,” Amy Oeth says. “I was pretty excited because I’ve been wanting to have more personality and style back there. You don’t want to spend time in a place that doesn’t feel cozy.”

But, like many new gardeners, she wasn’t sure where to start.

The Oeths’ garden before and after the first-timers project.

“It was really helpful to have the designer come out and do a quick plan for us,” she says. “That’s where I would have got stopped up myself, not knowing where to put things with shade, sun and part-sun [options]. I’m not an expert on that at all.”

Once they had their plan, the Oeths, armed with a tripod and video camera, documented their first days in the garden. During the first weekend, they amended and tilled the soil off-camera. The next weekend, they started rolling and planting their hydrangeas, dogwood, magnolia and other Bailey plants.

“We got [the plants] all in the ground in one day. It was pretty doable with the two of us, Luke digging the holes, me putting the plants in, filling it in,” she says, laughing. “It took us 6 or 7 hours. That was very intensive, but it was really easy and it was pretty fun. And it was a fun challenge to do it all in one day, too.”

The video is time lapsed, so all of those hours in the garden are condensed to about 1 to 2 minutes — an ideal run-time to ensure people will get through the entire video.

More videos that feature specific gardening tips and solutions are in the works, Fitzpatrick says, as are interactive photo galleries with plant pairing ideas in the landscape that feature more than just Bailey plants. Topics are still being discussed, but they may cover transplanting, the Oeths’ front garden bed or how to recover when a storm has pelted your landscape.

The digital campaign will include several platforms, including YouTube, the First Editions website, Houzz, Better Homes Gardens and their social media channels. POP with images from the program will be available to garden centers as well. In the future, they may share and even create similar videos for new garden center staffers who are inexperienced as a training tool.

“We want to see the appetite for it,” Fitzpatrick says. “If people are liking it, we want to keep doing more.”

Oeth wouldn’t mind continuing with the project, she says.

“It’s just so fun to watch them grow,” she says. “It’s been six weeks. I think they’ve doubled in size. It feels so nice and cozy [in the backyard]. It’s very rewarding.”

Michelle is editor of Garden Center magazine, a GIE Media Horticulture Group sister publication.

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Tropical Gardening: Arbor Day is time to think about trees | Hawaii …

On the mainland, Arbor Day is in the spring, but in Hawaii it can be observed all year.

This weekend, Friday through today, officially marked our Arbor Day, with all kinds of tree giveaways and plant sales throughout the islands. At many locations on each island, you can find events by doing a quick internet search for one near you. Just look for Hawaii Arbor Day 2016.

Many native trees, such as kamani, manele, halapepe, kou and hibiscus, are available. They also are giving away non-native trees. Many trees will be Hawaiian plants introduced by the early Polynesians referred to as “canoe” plants such as the kukui, noni and mountain apple.

Also, the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Waimea distributes plants for a nominal fee throughout the year. For more information, call nursery manager Jacob Witcraft at 887-6061. Our local nurseries are celebrating as well, so it’s a good time to visit and check out their inventories.


We are fortunate county and state planners encourage landscaping as much as possible when developers apply for permits to build subdivisions and shopping centers. Unfortunately, our requirements are somewhat minimal when compared to many communities in Florida and California that also depend on a strong tourist industry.

Developers from Kohanaiki, Kukio, Hualalai, Waikoloa and north to Kohala go that extra mile to really beautify their projects with lush landscaping. Smaller projects in Hilo and Kona often do not make that effort.

When it comes to maintaining the landscape, they sometimes try to save a few bucks and the landscape deteriorates. In the long run, millions of dollars might be lost, as well as not keeping the communities attractive to local residents and visitors alike.

To make matters worse, even though permits are given based on a commitment to landscaping, there is sometimes no follow through or trees are planted and then cut down at a later date.

It is vital we continue to encourage good landscaping on big projects such as new roads and highways, and at the same time landscape and maintain the little pieces of paradise we call our homes. Imagine the highway from Kona airport to Kailua planted in flowering trees and shrubs.

Our island is special in that we can grow almost any plant in the many micro-climates that exist here. We have some of the most beautiful scenery found anywhere in the world. However, it does take conscious planning, planting and maintenance to bring out the best.

By planting trees, we can actually make our gardens and community several degrees cooler in the summer. If trees are placed just right, we can even create a garden climate that is warmer and less windy during the cooler season. It’s really interesting when we expand these basic principles.

What happens when everyone in the neighborhood or community plants trees? Well, we can actually change the climate over fairly large areas.

USDA foresters have research data that support the theory reforestation could increase local rainfall in dry areas and modify temperature extremes. You might say trees are natural air conditioners. When enough are planted in an area, temperatures remain cooler in the summer. The sun’s rays don’t have a chance to penetrate and heat up the ground.


The best place to start improving the beauty of the island is right at home. In selecting trees for shade, consider the hundreds of species of tropical plants that produce food as well as shade. Depending on your taste, available space for planting, and location, we can grow almost anything.

The more popular types of fruit trees include mango, coconut, citrus, guava, avocado, papaya, lychee, breadfruit and banana. Of course, our No. 1 nut, the macadamia, also is an attractive choice.

Besides the more common edibles, the cashew, carambola (or starfruit), sapodilla, sugar apple, soursop, loquat, longan and tamarind are others that are ornamental trees. Spices such as clove, cinnamon and allspice also can be grown.

We don’t have to stop with these. Shrubs such as the natal plum, ceylon gooseberry, surinam cherry or pineapple guava also can be used.

Vines often add the right touch on a fence. Passion fruit, ceylon spinach, winged bean and others will produce goodies to treat your appetite.

Even edible ground covers can be incorporated into a garden. Many herbs are tough and attractive as are some of our tropical vegetables, such as dry land taro, sweet potato, Monstera and Tahitian spinach.

There are so many choices, that the list is almost endless. Several books are available at local bookstores and garden supply stores.

Sunset’s “The New Western Garden Book” is a great starter. There also are many publications available through the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service to help you with care and use of some of the plants you might select. These can help in planning your landscape and maintaining it in the proper manner.

Just think, if each of us just planted one tree this weekend, there would be about 200,000 new trees added to our beautiful island.

This information is supplied by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. For more information about gardening and landscaping, contact one of our Master Gardeners at 981-5199 in Hilo or 322-4892 in Kona.

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Need an excuse not to bag up and haul off those fallen leaves in the yard? Compost them to benefit your gardens and …

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Northeast Ohioans spend thousands of dollars every fall on commercial products to mulch their gardens for the winter when the best natural mulch can be found in our yards and is absolutely free: Leaves.

Whether you normally rake the fallen leaves and bag them yourself, or hire a landscaping crew to do the work for you, it’s easier and smarter to deposit the leaves directly into your gardens or a compost pile.

The potential benefits to your plants, flowers and wildlife far outweigh the temporary imperfections in your finely manicured English garden, according to naturalists at the National Wildlife Federation.

As the leaves decompose, they are transformed into garden gold: an organic mulch that helps the soil to retain moisture, stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, as well as prevent weed seed germination.

As a bonus, the leaves will add nutrients to the soil, and provide a habitat for insects and soil microorganisms that result in lighter, fluffier soil, and provide food for foraging birds, amphibians and other wildlife, and habitat for moths and butterflies.

“It is an established fact that the trees in one acre of forest shed as much as two tons of leaves each fall,” according to Texas AM University’s Aggie Horticulture web site.

“You may complain, as you lean wearily on a leaf rake, that your neighborhood outdoes any forest, but be thankful. Hang on to your leaves. And if your neighbors don’t want them, hang on to theirs. It makes no sense to send valuable treasure to the dump,” the Aggie site recommends.

The Aggie site provides these recommendations for the best ways to manage leaves for use in your landscape:

  • Mow them. During times of light leaf drop or if there are only a few small trees in your landscape, this technique is probably the most efficient and easiest way to manage leaf accumulation. Mow them and simply leave the shredded leaves in place on the lawn;
  • Mulch them. Store the leaves in a compost pile, allowing them time to break down and provide the ideal improvement to your landscape. Leaves can be used as a mulch in vegetable gardens, flower beds and around shrubs and trees. As an option to raking, a lawn mower with a bagging attachment provides a fast and easy way to shred and collect the leaves, which decompose faster than unshredded leaves;
  • Apply them directly. Leaves may be collected and worked directly into garden soils. This allows sufficient time for the leaves to decompose prior to spring planting;

The National Wildlife Federation offers an additional recommendation: Avoid leaf-blowers.

“They are loud and create noise pollution and rely on fossil fuels which pollute our air and contribute to global climate change,” the federation said. “Use a rake instead. You’ll be able to hear the chirping of birds and other natural sounds while you’re working, plus you’ll get some good exercise!”

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Uckfield gardening tips for November

Gardening is entering a quiet period as the days get shorter. Weather is unpredictable and we should be ready for heavy rain, high winds and, yes, snow.

Here are some of the jobs I have tackled in the last few days, writes the anonymous gardener.

Winter pansies have been planted and look good. They will get battered by the weather.

Winter-flowering pansies are great value, giving colour through the dark days of winter and then a real flourish in the spring

Keep an eye on them through winter, dead head as needed and wait for spring to give them a boost.

Plant your wallflowers as soon as possible for a colourful and fragrant spring

Wallflowers are now planted with their backs to walls and fences and in pots. Put some near the front door, the fragrance is wonderful in the spring when the flowers come out.

Roses are still flowering but the frosts will soon kill off the blooms.

Bushes that are tall and in exposed windy places need chopping back. Yes – chopping. The pruning will come late February or March.

Chop much of the growth away now to prevent windrock.

Roses are prone to the black spot disease and one way of controlling is to pick up all the rose leaves as they fall. Burn them, if you can. Do not compost.

A final flush from this rose bush which is showing signs of blackspot, despite a great deal of care and attention through the summer

It’s laborious work but it does help with control next summer. I’m afraid the chemical treatments for blackspot are not what they once were.

Sweep up the leaves. Make sure you get them away from drainage channels. They can soon form a dam and that can lead to flooding.

The final cut of the lawn should have been completed; if not do it on a dry day.

Apply an autumn lawn feed to strengthen the roots and help the grass survive the worst of the winter weather.

Pay attention to lawns

There is still time to apply a moss killer. Rake out the moss after it turns black.

By hand, it is hard work but good exercise. Machines are available.

Bring in patio furniture or secure against the gales. If you can, cover wooden outdoor seating to prevent them become soaked during a bad winter.

If there is a good coat of paint or preserver, it will survive but if repainting has been neglected, wood can soon become rotten.

Prepare for the gales

Generally clear up in the garden and pick up anything likely to blow around in a gale.

When stormy weather is forecast, go round the garden and “batten down the hatches”.

If you have a vegetable garden, it is now time to lift parsnips, leeks and pick that winter favourite Brussels sprouts.

Dig vacant land and leave rough for the frost – we hope – to break down. Don’t leave the digging for too long. Wealden clay in these parts becomes very sticky, to say the least.

See also:

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Uckfield shops gear up for Christmas

Find local businesses in our Uckfield Directory

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