Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 7, 2017

Pollinator Gardens Coming To Mashpee

If you have an event you’d like to list on the site, submit it now

Article source:

Rose expert Stephen Scanniello visits Sacramento city cemetery …

Stephen Scanniello, a rock star in the rose world, returns to Sacramento this week for three appearances including two hands-on pruning demonstrations at the Historic City Cemetery’s famed rose garden.

This will be the third January trip to Sacramento by Scanniello, president of the Heritage Rose Foundation and among the world’s foremost authorities on old garden roses. He’s also the curator of the famed Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden in the New York Botanical Garden, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary.

Anita Clevenger, curator of the cemetery’s historic rose garden, is happy that there are still hundreds of local roses to prune. At this time last year, the garden’s world-famous collection of rare roses appeared threatened by new city guidelines on the cemetery’s gardens.

“There’s no plans to move anything right now – which is good,” she said. “We’re keeping things trimmed, cared for and beautiful.”

Concerns about possible damage to the cemetery’s monuments brought recommendations that several of the rose garden’s large climbers and oversized shrubs be severely pruned back or moved. That caused an outcry among rose lovers, not just in Sacramento but nationwide.

A moratorium on the issue kept the roses rooted where they’ve grown for decades. In April, city officials announced that a new technical advisory committee would be formed including experts on “cultural landscapes, ornamental horticulture, conservation and preservation planning.”

That committee is still being put together, said Sacramento Councilman Steve Hansen, whose district includes the 30-acre cemetery.

“We’ve had our cooling-off period,” Hansen said last week. “We’re moving forward in a way that’s good for everyone. We need to get it right.”

Meanwhile, Hansen is focusing on irrigation. The cemetery’s antiquated system is badly in need of replacement.

“I’ve been working to identify resources for irrigation and making sure not to undermine the historic part of the cemetery,” Hansen said. “It’s going to be a $1 million fix. The irrigation (system) was so under-maintained for decades, it’s a real mishmash. Nothing is inexpensive, especially when dealing with a project as sensitive and complex as this one.”

Scanniello will do his part to keep those rare roses looking good. At 9 a.m. Jan. 14 in the Historic City Cemetery, he’ll demonstrate how to care for large climbing roses. At 1 p.m. that same day, he’ll lead a session on pruning tea and China roses.

In addition to his cemetery demonstration, Scanniello will discuss rose garden design at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center in McKinley Park. This free event is hosted by the Sacramento Rose Society.

“After Stephen’s last visit, our climbing roses never bloomed so beautifully,” Clevenger said. “He takes quite a different approach to pruning than what you see in books. He wants the climbers’ (floral) display at different levels, so he cuts the canes to different lengths. He clears out the clutter so the roses can breathe. And he’s just full of stories that he shares the whole time he’s demonstrating. It’s worth it just for the entertainment.”

Rose expert comes to Sacramento

Stephen Scanniello, one of the world’s top authorities on old garden roses, will make three public appearances in Sacramento this week:

▪ 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12: Scanniello discusses “Designing With Roses,” how to use roses in garden landscapes, big or small. Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Blvd., Sacramento. Free. Details:

▪ 9 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 14: Scanniello will demonstrate how to prune large climbing roses. Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento. Suggested donation: $10. Details:

▪ 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14: Scanniello turns his attention to pruning tea and China roses. Historic City Cemetery, 1000 Broadway, Sacramento. Suggested donation: $10. Details:

Article source:

Landscape design: There’s an app for that

Designing your own garden is half the fun, whether you do it all at once or a bit at a time. But you don’t have to do it alone: help, advice and good ideas are as close as your smartphone, where you can find garden design apps and other online gardening tools.

Garden designers often use sophisticated software to design and present their ideas. The computer-assisted design programs they rely on are made for professionals, and they’re tricky to master — and frustrating, especially if you’re just going to be a one-time user.

Apps and online tools, on the other hand, have been developed to help you work comfortably with the fundamentals of design so you can transform your property into a garden you can be proud of.

“You’re not ready to pick up a shovel until you have a plan,” says Jennifer Silver, communications manager for Julie Moir Messervy Design Studio in Vermont.

Four years ago, Messervy’s six-person garden-design firm introduced a design app called Palette, now renamed Home Outside (which is the also the title of one of Messervy’s most popular books). The app, which is free, puts professional design tools in your hands, but you don’t have to be a pro to use them.

Home Outside enables you to make an overall garden plan for your property. Even if you’re only thinking of installing a patio in the backyard, drawing up a master plan is a good idea, Silver says. It helps establish flow, so the whole garden — from the curb to the back fence — will be more graceful, coherent and accommodating.

A full-garden plan also helps you avoid expensive mistakes, she says, because it forces you to look at each part of your yard and think about the way the spaces work and feel and relate to one another.

With Home Outside, users can simply import a Google Earth image of their property, which neatly solves the challenge of measuring and mapping existing features. This image is the essential first layer of the landscape design. From there, the app guides you through the process of adding more layers or overlays — paths, walls, flower beds, water features and plants. You can even add labels and notes, make a list of materials or sources, or jot down the names of specific plants you’re interested in.

If you decide you need professional advice (for a fee, of course), you can use the app to contact and collaborate with garden designers in Messervy’s office.

Another design app, Garden Planner, which costs $34 (though a free 15-day trial is available), lets you sketch the layout of your property and drag icons representing walls, paths, trees, shrubs and flowers around the space and reshape them. Putting a plan together like this feels like playing, which encourages experimentation.

HGTV also offers landscape design software ($80) that includes a Deck Wizard feature to help gardeners design decks and patios. You start with a plan view or by importing digital images of your property, then use a simple drag-and-drop process to add paths, fences, flower beds and other features.

The software allows your design to be viewed both as a plan and as if you were standing looking at the garden (in elevation). It shows how the landscape changes through the seasons and even projects how trees and shrubs will grow from garden-shop size to maturity. A built-in plant encyclopedia will help you choose the best plants for your climate.

For first-time designers, the options may appear overwhelming. Garden design is a complex process, and it really starts with taking stock of your property, making lists of priorities and possibilities, and trying to imagine a garden where there is nothing.

Designer-based apps and software help you do all these things and keep you from going down a lot of dead ends. It will be helpful to listen to the thoughts and comments of experienced designers, which you can do from any spot with a Wi-Fi connection.

YouTube, the champion of do-it-yourself projects, is a great source of short garden design videos.

Houzz, an online design resource, presents hundreds of thousands of garden images — a deep well of ideas — with links to designer websites where you can find videos, workbooks, galleries of projects and, in general, lots of inspiration.

Looking at pictures, watching videos and moving garden features around on a template on the screen of your phone, computer or tablet may not seem like hands-in-the-dirt gardening, but the point of a design is that you’re interested in the overall effect, not just the beauty of individual flowers scattered around your yard.

It’s hard to design a good garden until you explore the territory. Dig in online first, and you’ll be sowing the seeds for a successful garden plan.

Article source:

Hartford, State Officials Unveil $30M Albany Ave Improvement …

John J. Thomas has been hearing about improvements to Albany Avenue since he was a teenager, he said Thursday.

Come Tuesday, he’ll turn 51. He can celebrate with the knowledge that the street he grew up on is soon getting those long-touted renovations.

City and state officials announced the details of the “Albany Avenue Safety, Operational and Streetscape Project,” a $30 million facelift to the major North End artery, at an open house Thursday at the Artists Collective.

“At a time like this, to see this level of commitment is encouraging,” Thomas said. “This is the type of investment that makes residents want to take ownership and give back to where they live.”

The project affects a one-mile stretch of Albany Avenue, from Homestead Avenue near the West Hartford line to Bedford Street. It’s an overhaul that emphasizes pedestrian safety and traffic flow, featuring the upgrading of 20 traffic signals and the installation of traffic-calming bulb-outs.

Three Kings Day at Webster Hill

Caption Three Kings Day at Webster Hill

Three Kings Day at Webster Hill Pre-K class of Randi Leopold

Three Kings Day at Webster Hill Pre-K class of Randi Leopold

Barbecue Pizza At Blind Pig

Caption Barbecue Pizza At Blind Pig

The Bear’s Smokehouse crew is turning its old Arch Street location into Hartford’s newest pizza joint that uses a Marra Forni pizza oven that reaches 915 degrees and cooks pizza in about 90 seconds. Read story here.

The Bear’s Smokehouse crew is turning its old Arch Street location into Hartford’s newest pizza joint that uses a Marra Forni pizza oven that reaches 915 degrees and cooks pizza in about 90 seconds. Read story here.

UConn Welcomes Back Randy Edsall

Caption UConn Welcomes Back Randy Edsall

UConn football welcomed back former head coach Randy Edsall at a press conference at Rentschler Field Friday morning. 

UConn football welcomed back former head coach Randy Edsall at a press conference at Rentschler Field Friday morning. 

Donations Help House Homeless Hartford Family

Caption Donations Help House Homeless Hartford Family

Shanette Hicks-Baptiste and her five sons lost everything in a September house fire. Now, thanks to donations from friends and neighbors, they’re going home. 

Shanette Hicks-Baptiste and her five sons lost everything in a September house fire. Now, thanks to donations from friends and neighbors, they’re going home. 

Article source:

Going Natural

Let’s start the new year with some good news! We are constantly bombarded with bad news, most of which we can do little about. So here’s the good news — by using sustainable practices in our gardens we can positively influence the world around us. And whatever we do to reduce the negative impacts of gardening on the larger environment results in healthier gardens.

Furthermore, the elements of sustainable landscaping reinforce each other, creating positive feedback loops. And finally, these practices sustain us as well, enriching our lives with a stronger sense of place and the rewards of being attuned to natural processes and seasonal patterns. The California Landscape Garden eloquently comments: “… as we work in our own gardens to heal the larger California garden, we are ourselves healed and restored by a personal habitat that is full of life and ecologically robust … .”

What is sustainable landscaping? Here’s a definition I like: landscaping that creates a regenerative cycle that is tied into the larger ecosystem and that requires minimal external inputs. In this column I will discuss one of the key concepts of sustainable landscaping: promoting biodiversity — the flourishing of a wide range of plant and animal life. Sustainable landscaping promotes biodiversity in several ways.

Using Native Plants

Using native plants in gardens is an important element of sustainable landscaping. Our local native plants are unique, interesting and often very beautiful. They are also well-adapted to local climate and soil conditions. And, very importantly, they provide habitat for native birds, bees, butterflies and other insects. Ecologists estimate there are roughly 20 animal/insect species associated with each native plant species. If you want to sustain native wildlife, you are well advised to include native plants.

Want to learn about local native plants? Check out the website for the North Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society at or go to and type in your address to be provided with a list of plants specific to your area.

I am not suggesting that you should plant nothing but natives. I appreciate the approach advocated by Ann Lovejoy, a prominent Seattle-based garden writer, who recommends that gardens should be a mix of natives and what she calls “allies” — that is, plants that thrive under the same conditions as natives.

Avoiding Invasive Plants

However, there are some non-native plants you should definitely avoid: plants that are listed as noxious invasive weeds in our area. These include known problem plants such as Scotch broom and pampas grass but also popular garden plants such as English ivy, cotoneaster, holly, periwinkle and even foxglove and butterfly bush. The Humboldt County Weed Management Area team has compiled a helpful booklet detailing why these plants are so problematic, how to identify them and how to get rid of them. You can find the booklet online at

Providing Habitat

Many songbirds, bees, butterflies, frogs, toads and bats are threatened or critically endangered. Sustainable landscaping provides habitats for these creatures. There are abundant sources of information on gardening for wildlife and a common refrain runs through all of them: Avoid insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, grow native plants, utilize a wide variety of plants that bloom throughout the year, provide shelter in the form of rock, brush or wood piles and offer a source of water (for bees and butterflies, even a small patch of moist soil). Remember that when we invite these creatures into our garden we reap the benefit as well as they provide color, sound and movement, literally animating the landscape.

A few bee facts: In addition to honeybees (which are not native) there are 1,600 species of native bees, most of which are solitary bees as opposed to social bees living in colonies. Native bees pollinate about one-third of our vegetable, fruit and nut crops and almost all of our wildflowers. Native bees are hardier than honeybees and can fly at lower temps. A majority, 60 to 70 percent, of native bees are ground nesters, so leave some patches of bare soil in the garden. Researchers from Humboldt State University have tallied 40 native bee species in our coastal dunes and 100 species in the local mountains. And, a University of California study found that California native plants are four times more likely to attract native bees than non-native plants.

Adult butterflies feed on nectar from flowers but butterfly larvae feed on the plants themselves — with roughly 80 percent of the larvae having very specific requirements in terms of what plants they can eat. For example, monarch butterfly larvae feed only on milkweed plants. So, in order to support future generations of butterflies, we need to provide both larval host plants and to tolerate a certain amount of damaged foliage.

Minimizing or Eliminating Nonfunctional Lawn Areas

Lawns offer important play spaces for children and adults and a small lawn can serve as a pleasant visual contrast to a surrounding array of plantings. However, lawns do not promote biodiversity and large areas of lawn that do not serve a functional purpose can be environmentally problematic due to high water usage, hazards from the use of lawn chemicals and fertilizers, and the fossil fuels and noise pollution associated with lawnmowers, edgers and blowers. Consider converting a lawn that isn’t being utilized into a pollinator garden, a woodland sanctuary for birds or a vegetable/fruit garden.

My next column will focus on other important aspects of sustainable landscaping such as water conservation and minimizing the need for fertilizers and pesticides.

Donna Wildearth is the owner of Garden Visions Landscape Design in Eureka. Visit her website at

Article source:

How to care for your houseplants in the winter and properly recycle that Christmas tree

January is the official beginning of the new gardening season. Now is the time to assess the successes and disappointments of last year and make plans as the countdown to spring begins.


Some things to consider:

  • What’s your outdoor space vision: to play, garden or entertain? What’s your time availability to nurture the roses or harvest tomatoes?
  • A low-maintenance succulent dish or pot of basil may be just right for new or small-space gardeners.
  • An easy tweak may be needed (to remove outgrown play equipment, perhaps) for a vegetable garden or patio area.
  • Maybe a landscape face-lift is in order, like replacing water-thirsty plantings with more native and Colorado adapted varieties.
  • Make changes this season, or just get started and stretch it out in phases.
  • Are you a do-it-yourselfer, or do you need a push in the right direction?
  • Getting a site plan drawn out is helpful and can range from DIY tape-measured, sketched squares to expert landscape architectural blue prints.
  • Your landscape planning and completion goals usually depend on your pocketbook and time frame.


  • If hiring a professional landscape designer or installer, interview and secure their services sooner rather than later. The best designers and companies may be filled by March.
  • Match what you want completed with the professional to do the job. A lawn care company may not have the credentials or experience to put in a mortared retaining wall.
  • Check with neighbors and friends for reputable landscape professional recommendations.
  • Or try local trade associations like the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado: Always ask and check references.


  • Pore over mail-delivered seed and plant catalogs, magazines or internet sites for plant and hardscape ideas.
  • Walk or drive through neighborhoods and view winter landscapes—ones that look good now are generally well designed for landscape interest year-round.
  • Area botanic gardens, public garden institutions and garden centers offer low-cost or free garden classes. Check their websites or call them directly for descriptions and dates.
  • Many day-long garden seminars and workshops are offered starting this month. Find out more:
  • If you’re a new resident, a great place to start to learn about our soils, weather and growing seasons is your local Colorado State University county extension office. Find the office nearest you at

Just the facts

  • How did your vegetable crops or plantings fair last growing season? More plant problems have to do with soil quality, drainage and fertility than other issues like insects and diseases.
  • Stop guessing what your soil or turf areas need by adding too much or the wrong compost or fertilizer every season. A soil test prior to the start of outdoor planting is recommended every few years.
  • Soil testing is also recommended after new house builds before the turf or bed plantings are installed.
  • Outdoor soil needs to be unfrozen, so do the test as weather permits up to a couple of weeks prior to outdoor planting (March or later).
  • Inexpensive garden center soil kits are not as thorough as a professional soil test. Check on line for labs in the area or try the CSU soil lab in Fort Collins. Directions for gathering samples and mailing:
  • Each test result comes with recommended suggestions to help with soil quality including drainage or fertility issues.
  • Inventory, test and toss outdated garden seeds. Depending on how they were stored, most seeds may viable for a few years. Read here for seed viability testing using a wet paper towel:
  • Order or shop locally for seeds this month to get a jump on the best selection.
  • Get those decades-old or toxic home and garden chemicals out of your house or garage and dispose of them properly. Start here for information,, or call 3-1-1 in Denver County to set up a once yearly hazardous household pick up for $15.
  • Recycle Christmas trees through your local municipality, or cut the branches and use for additional winter plant protection. Set out trees near garbage bins or dumpsters for pick-up in Denver on Jan. 7 or 14; after this date take your trees to the Cherry Creek Recycling Drop off or Havana Nursery.
  • Denver County tree-cycle information:


  • Keep seasonal amaryllis, Norfolk pine, Christmas cactus and poinsettias watered as needed (when the top inch of soil medium dries); drain any excess water from the tray. Keep plants from cold drafts and near bright light, but not direct sun. Fertilize poinsettias every two weeks, the Norfolk pine every few months.
  • After amaryllis blooms fade, cut them off, but wait to cut down the green stalk until it has turned yellow — this forces energy back in the bulb. Water when the top two inches are dry and fertilize every few weeks. It can be moved outdoors after last frost or kept indoors and treated as a house plant until next fall, when it needs several weeks to rest (in a dark place) before coaxing it back to growth with water and light.
  • Inspect other indoor plants for general health during the winter months. Insects can multiply rapidly if not addressed.
  • The main insect culprits include mealy bugs — waxy, soft-bodied scale insects that suck plant juices. They are usually found where leaves and stems join. They cause leaves to yellow, then drop.
  • The two-spotted spider mite attacks several different indoor plants, causing leaves to look stippled or mottled. Visible spider webs may be present. Washing off the foliage or using horticulture oils (labeled for indoor use) is an effective control for spider mites, scale and other indoor insect pests.
  • Fungus gnats, the bothersome small fruit fly-size pest prefer wet, organic rich soils, so careful not to over water. High numbers can damage plant roots. Attract adults with yellow sticky traps. Toss a thick potato slice on the soil surface to attract the larvae (then throw away after a few days), or use the non-toxic biological product Bt Israelensis strain in pellet or liquid form, sold in garden centers.

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

For large landscaping projects, consider hiring a professional service.
For large landscaping projects, consider hiring a professional service.

Article source:

Going simple: Sustainable gardening aims to have low impact on environment

We hear the term “sustainability” associated with gardening and landscaping a lot these days.

But it is difficult to find a single definition that seems to describe just exactly what the concept is all about. Organic gardeners define it in very strict terms, but other traditional gardeners seem a little more lax in the way they define sustainable gardening.

“In its broadest definition, it means practicing environmental stewardship so that we meet our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” (Susan Littlefield, Learning Library, National Gardening Foundation, 2011). The basic idea is to garden using methods that will not deplete the soil, water and other elements of plant health so that the generations that follow us also will be able to have their gardens as well. In other words, we need to grow our plants without using everything up so that our children can also grow theirs.

Don’t miss out! Get the latest news in your inbox.

There are a few essential steps to sustainable gardening that can be implemented at the backyard level that can carry significant impacts. This is especially true when most of the gardens in a neighborhood are managed using these principles.

» Conserve water: It just makes good sense to protect our water resources. Only irrigate when it is necessary and only use what is really needed by the plants. Apply the water to the roots in gardens by using a drip type system or by pointing the hose to the ground with low pressure instead of using a sprinkler that sprays water into the air where much of it can evaporate. Irrigate in the early morning when air temperatures and evaporation rates are lower. Using a thin layer of mulch will help the soils retain moisture and reduce the need for irrigation.

» Protect soils: Avoid soil erosion and use crop rotation to prevent wearing out the soils. Incorporate organic materials such as compost and manure to improve the structure and provide a healthy place for soil micro-organisms to live. Use mulch to prevent evaporation and keep the soils cool on hot days. Mulch will also help prevent excessive storm water runoff and reduce erosion.

» Reduce energy use: Use gasoline or diesel powered equipment such as mowers and tillers only when needed. Keep the mower blades sharp to the equipment doesn’t need to work so hard. Keep the equipment well maintained so it operates as it should. If accent lighting is wanted in a landscape, use solar powered lights instead of those that run off the electricity you pay for. For holiday lighting, use LED lights that takes less electricity.

» Manage waste: Organic wastes should be composted or otherwise re-used as a mulch or as soil amendments. In a well-managed lawn there is no need to collect grass clippings, these can be left on the lawn to decompose and return nutrients to the soil. Garden wastes can be composted and returned to the soil at a later time to improve the quality of the soil.

» Use the right plants: Select plants that are well suited for growing in this area. This will mean fewer pest problems, less fertilizer and better production from the plants. For permanent landscape plants, choose those with lower requirements for water and fertilizers. Plant a diversity of plants for added interest and to avoid potential pest problems. Include plants that attract pollinators and other beneficial insects.

» Design gardens right: Design and lay out gardens to take advantage of the growing abilities of the plants. Locate tall plants where they will not shade shorter plants. Group plants according to their growth requirements, especially for such things a sunlight, water and fertilizer.

» Maintain gardens properly: A well maintained garden will have fewer plant health problems and will require fewer resources to keep it growing. Weed often, remove dead flowers and rotten fruit often, at least weekly. Irrigate only as needed. Maintain habitats that will encourage predatory insects such as praying mantis and others to keep insect pest populations at a low level and avoid insecticide use.

This has probably been an over simplification of this topic, but the main concept of sustainable gardening and landscaping is to employ those practices that have the lowest impact on the overall environment while meeting the needs and desires of the gardener.

Enjoy your garden.

Article source:

Jackie Power’s gardening tips to start the year with a flourish

Website by CobwebMedia

Article source:

Gardening: Tips for dealing with Florida’s winter months

0) { %

0) { %

0) { %

Article source:

Riggenbach: Tips on editing your flower garden – Omaha World





Article source: