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Archives for December 25, 2016

‘Nocturnal Animals’ producer Tom Ford lands a trophy estate, and other top sales

The holidays may bring a year-end lull to certain business sectors, but the high-end market for real estate in L.A. has shown no signs of slowing down. Here’s a look at the high-water deals that closed between Nov. 27 and Dec. 10.

$38.75 million — Holmby Hills

Designer and filmmaker Tom Ford bought the estate of late socialite Betsy Bloomingdale for about a third of the rumored asking price of $55 million.

The Roland Coate-designed home, built in 1929, sits on more than three acres in the 100 block of Delfern Drive and has a formal rose garden, a tennis court, a swimming pool and pool house.

DIGGIN IN | 2017 gardening trends: From Uberizing to minimizing and repurposing

Like paint colors for your home or fashion favors for your closet, gardening trends come and go.

For 2017, gardening trends range from clean, healthy living with fewer chemicals and more organic food to “sound-scaping” with trees to buffer sirens and birds to bring song.

“We see a lot of growth in the coming years for gardening,” says Katie Dubow, creative director at the Garden Media Group, which tracks and promotes national gardening trends.

“Whatever you’re growing, wherever you’re growing it, the ability to garden year-round just makes this category so much more relevant. And access to healthy food, year-round, will be a game-changer.

Winter in the garden can be just as bright and beautiful as other seasons | DIGGIN IN

Winter in the garden can be just as bright and beautiful as other seasons | DIGGIN IN

Too often, winter is considered the dead season in the garden. It doesn’t have to be that way when you plan and plant with every season — not just spring and summer — in mind.

“There is nothing more beautiful to me than the silhouette of trees against a winter sky,” says Peggy Krapf of Heart’s…

Too often, winter is considered the dead season in the garden. It doesn’t have to be that way when you plan and plant with every season — not just spring and summer — in mind.

“There is nothing more beautiful to me than the silhouette of trees against a winter sky,” says Peggy Krapf of Heart’s…

Read the story

Here, more local and national gardening gurus share their thoughts on 2017 gardening trends.

Millennials matter

The important millennial market force that wants to grow its own food, teas, cocktails, beer and medicine is expected to continue, according to Tish Llaneza of Countryside Gardens in Hampton. Llaneza shops markets like Atlanta and Baltimore annually, and attends nationwide seminars to keep up with national trends.

“Five million of the six million ‘new’ gardeners last year were 18-34 year olds, according to the 2016 National Gardening Report,” she says.


Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Caption ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’

The country’s opinion is almost split evenly in deciding whether stores and businesses should greet customers with “Merry Christmas” or something that is not faith specific. (Dec. 23, 2016)

The country’s opinion is almost split evenly in deciding whether stores and businesses should greet customers with “Merry Christmas” or something that is not faith specific. (Dec. 23, 2016)

What is measles and how can it affect young children?

Caption What is measles and how can it affect young children?

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. Learn the symptoms and possible effects (Dec. 23, 2016)

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. Learn the symptoms and possible effects (Dec. 23, 2016)

Air traffic controller assigned different duties after directing jetliner toward Mt. Wilson

Caption Air traffic controller assigned different duties after directing jetliner toward Mt. Wilson

An air traffic controller in San Diego mistakenly routed a wide-body jet with 353 people aboard toward Mt. Wilson. She has been removed from her current assignment amid an investigation into the incident, The Times has learned. (Dec. 23, 2016)

An air traffic controller in San Diego mistakenly routed a wide-body jet with 353 people aboard toward Mt. Wilson. She has been removed from her current assignment amid an investigation into the incident, The Times has learned. (Dec. 23, 2016)

Flights canceled and delayed at LAX

Caption Flights canceled and delayed at LAX

Airport officials said nearly 230 flights in and out of LAX have been canceled or delayed as the first of two rainstorms caused gridlock for hours and forced authorities to switch flight operations Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. (Dec. 23, 2016)

Airport officials said nearly 230 flights in and out of LAX have been canceled or delayed as the first of two rainstorms caused gridlock for hours and forced authorities to switch flight operations Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. (Dec. 23, 2016)

More than 600 LAX flights canceled or delayed

Caption More than 600 LAX flights canceled or delayed

Airport officials said nearly 230 flights in and out of LAX have been canceled or delayed as the first of two rainstorms caused gridlock for hours and forced authorities to switch flight operations Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. (Dec. 23, 2016)

Airport officials said nearly 230 flights in and out of LAX have been canceled or delayed as the first of two rainstorms caused gridlock for hours and forced authorities to switch flight operations Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. (Dec. 23, 2016)

“New technology makes growing 365 days-a-year, easy, affordable and convenient.”

For instance, indoor gardening — growing under lights in soil, hydroponically or aquaponically — is becoming mainstream. From arugula to bok choy, clean fresh food will be available to plant, pick and plate every season. From herbal tea gardens on the windowsill and healing herbs under lights to vitamin-packed microgreens on the kitchen counter, medicinal gardens are blooming indoors.

“At the other end, Baby Boomers are keeping only those things that speak to their heart,” she says.

“They are taking the plunge and discarding all the rest. By doing this, they can reset their life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

Food reigns important with Americans, who now demand to know what is in and on their food — and where it comes from, Llaneza adds.

“The demand for organic, locally sourced food now far exceeds the supply,” she says.

Consumers want products that are clean and “free” from pesticides, antibiotics, preservatives and cages.

“This is especially important to millennials who are concerned with the arrival of their first fur baby or child,” Llaneza says.

The desire for good eating is evident in many new delivery services — from BirchBox to Blue Apron.

“Subscription services introduce people, especially millennials, to products they didn’t even know they wanted,” she says. “Subscriptions compel people to engage more in gardening and take more risks.

“In turn, they will create a new generation of confident gardeners willing to take on advanced projects.

“The garden industry is poised to ride this rising trend.”

Natural meets old and new

Landscaping is an expensive investment, whether you do it yourself or have someone create it for you. Your yard is also a natural reflection of the world where you live, so make it as natural as you can. Natural stone gives you the best of both worlds — value for your money and longevity in looks and feel.

Beautiful hardscaping, such as stone, will last a lifetime, says Peggy Krapf of Heart’s Ease Landscape Garden Design in Williamsburg. An added bonus is it doesn’t need water, and deer never eat it.

Natural also goes well with mixing old with new and repurposing objects in the landscape, adds Krapf.

“I love gardens with personality and gardeners who use things they love in creative ways,” she says

“Containers can become water features, fences can become areas to display collections, a child’s wagon can become a portable garden, and old broken pots can be partly buried in the ground with flowers spilling out of them onto the ground.

“Imagination and creativity can make gardening fun.”

Less lawn is better

It isn’t always easy to eliminate the lawn in a yard, especially on a large property, according to Krapf.

But there are many ways to minimize the amount of turfgrass used. Creating large planting beds, exaggerating wood lines and natural areas, and creating patios and walkways all can reduce turf in the landscape.

“In small areas, groundcovers and low growing plants can take the place of grass, often in addition to stepping stones and pathways,” she says.

Habitats go year-round

Whether you’re trying to attract pollinators to your yard or add more diversity to the overall species count in your neighborhood, sustainability experts are now urging home gardeners to consider which plants and planting combinations will provide continued food and shelter to wildlife, long after we humans have wrapped up the gardening season, according to Randy Schultz of Shultz Communications.

For instance, American Meadows offers many types of flower seeds and flowering plants that attract pollinators to your yard and garden. Bee the Change seed packets contain an assortment of wildflower seeds that bring hummingbirds and bees. On a similar note, the Monarch Magnet Perennial Garden attracts and supports monarch butterflies.

Try something different

For gardeners who want to branch out into different realms, these trends are growing in popularity:

•Growing your own hops is a natural step for the beer enthusiast who wants to experiment with the freshest, most local ingredients possible, according to Grace Chapman Elton, horticulture director at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond. It’s also fun to watch hops grow; however, you do need to have ample space and provide a structure for support for the prolific flowering vines.

Article source: http://www.dailypress.com/features/home-garden/dp-fea-diggin-in-final-1225-20161224-story.html

MDC says frost flowers can be part of landscaping


Posted: Saturday, December 24, 2016 8:00 am
|


Updated: 8:02 am, Sat Dec 24, 2016.


MDC says frost flowers can be part of landscaping


0 comments

Frost flowers appear like magic in woods and fields when winter brings sub-freezing temperatures, but people can make them appear with the right choice of native plants in landscaping designs. The recent cold spell created icy blooms on the stems of white crownbeard, a native wildflower, at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Anita B. Gorman Discovery Center in Kansas City. In recent years, glassy or milk-white ribbons of ice have appeared reliably on crownbeard with the first deep freeze.

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      on

      Saturday, December 24, 2016 8:00 am.

      Updated: 8:02 am.

      Article source: http://cedarrepublican.com/news/mdc-says-frost-flowers-can-be-part-of-landscaping/article_607c3bb2-c6fe-11e6-a265-db233e17be06.html

      Gardening column: Despite cold temps, pine tree can thrive with these tips

      It’s almost Christmas Day and many of us have already been celebrating by decorating our homes with baubles, glitter and Christmas trees. We’ve also been visiting, eating great food and exchanging gifts with family and friends. I am happy to say I have been enjoying a few of these festivities along with some pleasant gifts. Some were gifts of fragrance; coffee shop cards, candy and a small pine tree that when I first saw it I thought it was a charming silk tree or rosemary. To my surprise and pleasure it turned out to be a real live pine tree.

      Another surprise was that unlike most pine trees we have growing in our area, this one doesn’t like temperatures that drop below 20 degrees outside and 50 degrees indoors. Even in the more southern zones where it is naturally grown outdoors, this tree needs to be planted during the warmer season so it will have time to put down roots and adapt to the cooler temperatures as they move in for the winter months.

      This hothouse tree in our zone has the botanical name Pinus pinea and several common names; Italian stone pine, umbrella pine and parasol pine. It is native to the Mediterranean region, Southern Europe, Israel, Lebanon and Syria. It is also naturalized in North Africa, the Canary Islands, South Africa and New South Wales and mountainous areas in southern California. The species was introduced into North Africa ages ago and in fact such a long time ago that many think it is a native of that region. Other relatives include most of the deciduous conifers (Larix spp.), spruce trees, fir trees, Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga spp.), and cedars (Cedrus spp.

      If you happen to receive this unusual but special little tree as a gift, the following information should help keep it growing and happy in your home for many years to come:

      • As an indoor plant it is slow growing and will probably reach no more than 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide.

      • When in a container and the roots begin to show or grow through the drain holes, it can be repotted in a container 1-1/2 times larger.

      • When used outdoors in summer it is often used on patios or staged in ornate containers on either side of an entrance way to the home.

      • When planted in the ground (it grows best in zones 8 to 10), it is known as it ages to reach as much as 60 feet tall.

      • The Italian Stone Pine earned it names umbrella and/or parasol because it forms a rounded umbrella-like canopy.

      • This tree is drought tolerant once established.

      • It is grown mostly from seed.

      • It prefers full sun when outdoors and bright light indoors and when indoors 50 to 75 degrees is preferred.

      • It is very tolerant of almost any type of soil but it is essential that it drain well.

      • If in a container it must never be overwatered but when the soil feels dry to the touch, water sparingly.

      • Add a balanced fertilizer only when you see new growth.

      • Its seeds are the pine nuts we enjoy and although they are not true nuts they are eaten roasted and salted alone or in recipes.

      • If grown for the pine nuts it takes many years before the pinecones form which contain the pine nuts.

      “Merry Christmas to everyone!”

      Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to bloominthing@gmail.com. She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on “The Plant Medic,” a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

      Article source: http://www.news-sentinel.com/living/Gardening-column--Despite-cold-temps--pine-tree-can-thrive-with-these-tips

      6 Tips to Transition From Garden Plot to Homestead

      If you already love gardening, then upgrading your passion to a homestead is a great way to live a more sustainable lifestyle and turn your hobby into a potential moneymaker. Whether you’re dying to start a small, farm-stand business or you just want to raise your own food and lower your carbon footprint a bit, make sure you’re prepared to make the leap.

      Here’s how to begin turning your garden into a large-scale homestead:

      Go Slow

      There’s no rule that says you need to get out there and turn acres and acres of land into arable fields in just one season. First, consider how much time you put into your current garden chores on a weekly basis and decide how much additional time you care to spend on these activities. If you can double your time, go ahead and double your planting area. If you can only spend 25 percent more time outdoors, then only increase your planting area by 25 percent. Biting off more than you can chew will only frustrate you.

      Set Your Goals

      What is it that you hope to gain from your homestead? If you’re planning a cash crop to take to farmers markets, spend some time researching your local market scene so you know what niches need to be filled. If you prefer subsistence farming, calculate what your family needs for a year of good eating to plan your year’s crops.

      Be clear about your financial priorities before you start to build your homestead, as your monetary goals — and current financial reality — will inform your plans to expand.

      Source: Unsplash

      Add Animals

      The main difference between a suburban garden plot and a bona fide homestead is livestock. Animals have many uses on the homestead, including providing food, clothing, and labor. If you have no experience raising farm animals, it’s best to start with chickens, which are easy to care for, take up little room, and don’t require butchering skills if you raise them only for eggs.

      Other small animals to consider include:

      • Ducks
      • Turkeys
      • Rabbits
      • Honeybees

      As you gain confidence in your animal husbandry skills — and if you have sufficient acreage — you can consider adding larger animals that require more care. Bear in mind that the following animals will require more dedication to your homestead. For example, dairy animals need daily milking.

      • Goats
      • Sheep
      • Llamas and alpacas
      • Pigs
      • Cows

      You may also enjoy keeping working animals like horses, sheepdogs, and barn cats on your property. Just remember that each animal you take on requires additional care and feeding.

      Invest in Equipment

      As the size of your homestead grows, so too will your need for tools, equipment, and machinery to care for it all. Unless you plan to use a draft horse and an old-fashioned plow for your fieldwork, you’ll need to invest in several pieces of equipment including mowers, reapers, and spreaders.

      Big farm equipment can be overwhelming if you’ve never used it before, so shop for equipment like this spreader first, which is great for small applications, like on a homestead. You can always trade in your equipment for even bigger pieces as you expand, but it’s a good idea not to overspend on these machines, which also require upkeep and storage on your property.

      Source: Unsplash

      Consider the Land

      Once you’ve begun to expand your garden into a bigger homestead and know it’s the right lifestyle for you, you may find yourself running out of room — or bumping up against local zoning restrictions that limit your farming activities. If you want to expand, shop for land that has existing access roads, sufficient fresh water sources, and the zoning you need for your homesteading activities.

      An existing farm that needs some updating can be a great bargain, but be sure to calculate your expenses for renovating first. If you’re willing to move and to put in sweat equity to refinish an old house or reinvigorate the land, you’ll be in a position to live the homesteading dream in the long term.

      Be Ready for Surprises

      Even the best-laid plans don’t always turn out the way you expect, and this is doubly true on a homestead where you’ll be at the mercy of the weather and local conditions. There will be times when plants die and animals are lost to local predators, no matter how much preparation you put into your irrigation and fencing.

      Homesteading requires flexibility and the willingness to try again in the face of failure, so make sure you have the personality for this all-consuming and unpredictable lifestyle before you expand.

      Few things are as satisfying as growing your own food and living a self-sufficient life. If the idea of learning new skills appeals to you, and you want to do your part to live more sustainably for the good of the planet, expanding that lush garden plot into a homestead filled with life can be an incredibly rewarding path to take.

      Article source: https://www.grit.com/farm-and-garden/transition-from-garden-plot-to-homestead-zb0z1612

      Garden tips: Frost protection – East Bay Times

      It’s officially winter and the holidays, better known to gardeners as vacation time. There’s not much to do in the garden, but there is one important chore to do this week.

      • Most of our concern should be in frost protection.
      • Move frost-tender potted plants near the walls of your home, where they’ll benefit from radiated heat. You also can settle them in beneath larger, more hardy plants. Moving them near a fence will do no good as the fence has no extra heat to spare.
      • If frost is forecast, cover plants that can’t be moved in closer or inside. Frost cloth is preferred, but you can also use sheets. Prop up the fabric so that it doesn’t come in contact with the plant.
      • In the morning, remove the cover and allow the plant to breathe and, if it’s sunny, soak up some rays. If frost is predicted that night, cover them again.
      • Christmas lights can also help protect plants, but you need the old fashioned type, not the new LED ones, which produce little if any heat. Make sure they are rated for use outdoors.
      • Before the frost, make sure the plants are well watered, but don’t water your succulents. The succulent stores water in its tissues and can develop damaging ice crystals.
      • If the frost nips your plants, leave them be. Pruning away the damage can encourage the plant to produce new growth, which will be more frost tender than the older growth. Just try to ignore the damage until the spring.
      • If covers aren’t your forte, there are spray-on frost protectors that can offer a modicum of protection.
      • If you have plants you are afraid of losing, take some cuttings now and root them indoors.

      — Joan Morris, Staff

      Article source: http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/12/21/garden-tips-frost-protection/

      Garden Tips: How plants do (or don’t) survive the cold – Tri

      The dead basil in my container garden is a testament to the fact that certain plants are not cold tolerant. Many tender plants in our gardens are tropical in origin and do not have strategies for tolerating temperatures below 32 degrees. When the water inside the cells of these tender plants freezes and expands, it damages cell walls and causes cell death.

      Plants that are able to tolerate hard frost or much lower temperatures have adapted to freezing temperatures in several ways. Woody plants that originate in northern climes with very cold winter temperatures have developed a type of “supercooling,” where the formation of ice in cells is suppressed. However, even hardy trees with supercooling have their limit. This limit is about minus-40 degrees, the point when ice forms within their cells. The very hardiest of plants, those that can survive below minus-40 degrees, use a different method to avoid cell death. They move water from their cells to between the cell walls, lowering the freezing point of the rest of the cell contents.

      The recent cold spell was hard on us, but what about our garden plants? The good news is that the drop to our severely cold temperatures was gradual, plus it was late enough in the fall that hardy plants were probably fairly well acclimatized and able to tolerate the low temperatures. The physiological changes that help hardy plants survive cold weather are prompted by shorter day lengths in late summer and fall months along with gradually cooling temperatures in fall and early winter.

      Some local gardeners may have assumed that our recently past mild winters would continue, and felt safe planting plants not rated as completely hardy for our region. Plants that were not rated as hardy for our region, or only marginally hardy, may have sustained some injury from the recent cold weather, but we will not know that until next spring and summer.

      If you go to the USDA hardiness zone map at planthardiness.ars.usda.gov and type in your ZIP code, Tri-Citians will find that we are in Zone 7a (0 to 5 degrees). To be safe, I recommend only planting plants that are rated as hardy to Zone 6b (0 to minus-5 degrees). Of course, gardeners typically like to “push the envelope” and see if they can get away with growing less hardy plants. That is OK, if they understand that they could lose those plants during a severely cold winter.

      While the snow that accompanied the cold weather may have been seemed like a curse when shoveling the driveway, it may have been a blessing to some of our plants, such as perennial flowers. Most perennial flowers die back to the ground and regrow from their crowns and roots the next spring. Snow provides insulation for plants. Having the snow blanketing the ground during our cold spell may have helped save the more tender perennials in our gardens.

      Now that milder temperatures have returned, we will have to wait and see if our plants sustained any damage from the cold weather. Only time will tell.

      For more information on the causes of cold temperature injury to woody plants, go to: https://research.libraries.wsu.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/2376/6041/FS196E.pdf?sequence=1isAllowed=y or look for WSU publication FS196E “Environmental Injury: Cold Temperature Injury of Landscape Woody Ornamentals.”

      Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

      Article source: http://www.tri-cityherald.com/living/home-garden/marianne-ophardt/article122763099.html