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Archives for January 2017

Turner’s History of Gardens Released in Persian

‘Garden History: Philosophy and Design 2000 BC-2000 AD,’ a chronological exploration into 150 gardens over four millennia of garden design, is now available in Persian.
The publishing house of Rajaee Teacher Training University, based in Tehran, recently released the illustrated book which was completed in 2005 after 30 years by celebrated English landscape architect Tom Turner, 70, IBNA reported.
Turner traces the development of gardens through history and across social, political and philosophical boundaries. With photos, plans and style diagrams, each chapter critically examines a particular type of garden both as part of a wider socio-political context and as an aesthetic entity, asking how the design of each garden reflects the philosophical approach of its creator. 
In the preface of the book, Turner has thanked “my colleagues Professor Mehrdad Shokoohi (Iranian architect and author) for advice on Chapter 4 (West Asian and Islamic Gardens 500 BC-1700 AD), and Michael Lancaster for help over many years and his advice on the drawings and jacket design in the weeks before he died.”

  Pasargad Gardens
In Chapter 9 eclectic gardens 1800-1900, the ancient gardens of Pasargad in the province of Fars are included. In a report on the excavation conducted by the British Institute of Persian Studies from 1961 to 1963, Scottish archaeologist of ancient Iran and Iraq, David Stronach, 86, stated that “Pasargad Persian Gardens provide the earliest known example of the Persian ‘chahar-bagh’ or fourfold garden design.”
“He [Cyrus] would want to have an avenue down the length of his garden, what is often called by garden architects as ‘the vision of power.’ Since we had…two large rectangles, if we divided it with the ‘vision of power’ we would get a fourfold garden or chahar-bagh. In some ways, this is one of those very important Iranian discoveries in design which the world has taken as a model,” Stronach said in his report.
“Cyrus the Great is also referred to as the ‘Good Gardener’ of Persia, as were his successors,” according to French Iranologist Pierre Briant, 76, in his book ‘A History of the Persian Empire,’ published in 2006 by international academic publisher Eisenbrauns, based in the US, specializing in the ancient Near East and biblical studies. 
“Persepolis, Susa and other Persian palace sites continued the garden development of Cyrus.”
Inspirational, reflective and informative, Garden History brings together knowledge and understanding from a diverse range of related interests to add depth and breadth to a fascinating subject.
Readers of the book can use the website to discover more about the history of garden design and landscape architecture.

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Warren Committee reviews potential designs for Wagner Farm pollinator garden





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Design your vegetable garden for success

A well-designed vegetable garden is a wonderful source of fresh produce for the chef, but it can also be a favorite garden destination, a place to retreat to and relax. If you plan it right, a kitchen garden can be the prettiest planting on your property.

Start by choosing a site that meets the requirements of the plants. Vegetables of all kinds flourish in sun, so find a spot that gets a good eight hours of direct sunlight. Your site should be level, on a part of your property that you walk past every day, and convenient to the kitchen. It’s important to have a nearby source of water so you don’t have to drag a hose or carry watering cans too far. These are the basics. After that, let your imagination go.

“Design is often what is missing from the vegetable garden, yet it is the most important element to enjoying the garden,” says Ellen Ecker Ogden, who recommends including a bench, table, pergola or arbor in the design to make it more inviting. “It’s a nice way to say, ‘I like it here. I don’t just come here to work and pull weeds,’” she says.

Ogden, the author of “The Complete Kitchen Garden,” went to art school, but “then I turned into a gardener,” she says. She balanced her interests by becoming a kitchen-garden designer. Her four-square garden in Vermont is as pretty as it is productive, with lettuce and greens growing in sweeping curves, lozenges and circles instead of traditional rows. “It’s really a visual thing for me as much as it is a food thing,” she says.

Most people start with a space that’s too big. “They have an appetite to grow everything,” Ogden says. Instead, pick and choose your crops just as you would at a market. The selection of fresh produce at local markets expands every year, so maybe you don’t need to grow your own eggplant or zucchini. Instead, you might want to concentrate on salad greens, Ogden says, especially if you’re a new gardener. “They grow fast, there are not many pests and they have really high nutrition per square foot,” she says.

Instead of growing six tomato plants, you might decide to make room for just one or two, perhaps a cherry tomato and one other. That leaves room for herbs, such as basil and oregano, to help those tomatoes taste even better.

Color should also play a role in your choices, just as it does in flower beds. Plant a mixture of red and green lettuces, or train golden wax beans up a tepee. Flowers grown right alongside your vegetables not only fill the garden with bright colors, but also attract pollinators and beneficial insects that help manage pests in your vegetable beds. Ogden loves to plant nasturtiums in her kitchen garden. She likes calendulas and marigolds, especially the little signet marigolds called “Lemon Gem.” She also relies on the flowers of some vegetable crops to add a flourish. Scarlet runner beans have bright red blooms that attract hummingbirds. Okra flowers look like sunny yellow hibiscus.

Texture is a big element in interesting gardens, too. Frilly lettuces look like a luxurious ruffled petticoat around the edge of a vegetable garden. Shiny red and green peppers sparkle among the foliage. The feathery tops of carrots and the spiky foliage of onions and leeks give the eye a lot of contrast to enjoy. Herbs of all kinds add still more texture, as well as fragrance.

To give a vegetable garden even more character, build upward. In Ogden’s garden, an arbor lifts pole beans up into the light. Peas, cucumbers and even melons can be grown on a sturdy trellis. Just remember, tall elements should be placed toward the back of the garden (which should be on the north side) so they do not shade out crops in front.

Sprawling plants may need a place of their own. Especially if you have a small garden, pots are a great way to grow more crops without giving up much space in the ground. Ogden plants pumpkins in half a whiskey barrel near her driveway instead of giving them space in her kitchen garden. Last year, she also grew tomatoes, summer squash and potatoes in pots.

Vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, Ogden says. Start small, with beds no more than 4 feet wide. Sketch out a pretty planting plan on paper, and leave plenty of room for generous paths. Make liberal use of steppingstones so you don’t compact your soil while working in your beds. Sow seeds or plant transplants of a good variety of crops you can harvest over a long season. Then, look forward to spending some time in your garden every day, inspecting its progress, thinning and weeding if necessary, and harvesting a few leaves of lettuce or fresh tomatoes for your dinner salad. And don’t forget that garden bench. “Food is important and functional, but it’s important to me to have the garden look nice, too,” Ogden says. In a well-designed kitchen garden, you can count on a bumper crop of satisfaction.

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Fall in love with your home again





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Landscape architect behind Eden Project to revamp Twycross Zoo …

The award-winning landscape architect behind designs at Cornwall’s celebrated Eden Project and Lost Gardens of Heligan will be creating a new vision for grounds at Twycross Zoo.

The zoo has commissioned Dominic Cole to reinvent planting and landscaping across the 88 acre site, improving the experience for visitors as they travel between enclosures to view the animals.

While perhaps not at the forefront of people’s expectations, planting plays an important role in creating a welcoming environment at Twycross as well as providing a suitable environment for the resident animals.

Plants serve a range of functions, from being grown as food, enrichment or bedding for the animals, to helping recreate native habitat and providing a pleasant backdrop for visitors to enjoy.

Dominic brings more than 30 years of experience in the landscape design industry.

Twycross Zoo. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

Twycross Zoo. Picture: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

He said: “It is great to be working with the enthusiastic team at Twycross Zoo to help them realise their vision of changing the feel of the zoo, from looking at animals in artificial environments to creating more natural habitats and settings that feel right for animals and visitors.”

Claire Oldham, director of discovery and learning at Twycross Zoo, added: “There are lots of exciting developments for animals and visitors alike happening at Twycross Zoo.

“We recognise some of our infrastructure, such as the landscaping, needs to change in order to provide visitors with the best possible experience and we are delighted to be working with Dominic to make some of those improvements.”

The landscaping plans will integrate with Twycross Zoo’s £55 million masterplan which aims to transform the zoo over the next 20 years into one of the region’s and the UK’s, leading visitor attractions.

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Vail Landscape Logic column: Finding spring at garden shows

This time of year when we’re in the deep freeze, we need to smell some flowers — and garden shows soon to open statewide can bring the scent of nectar to our nostrils. The 2017 garden-show season officially launches with the opening of the Colorado Garden Home Show at the Colorado Convention Center on Saturday.

If you’re suffering from seasonal color deficit disorder, then the sight of flowers in bloom might help you survive until petunia-planting time. These shows also allow us to preview new trends we might want to bring home to our landscapes, patios and gardens. Here are four tips to help you get the most from your trips to local garden shows.

Avoid being overwhelmed: Walking through the door to see hundreds of exhibitors feels overwhelming — especially if your time is limited. Do your homework online ahead of time, based on what you really want to see. The list of exhibitors by category and show floor plan can help you map out your route so you have a plan when you enter.

Know your needs: Are you attending with a mission in mind? If you are on a hunt to see new trends in outdoor lighting or fire pits, then designate those stops as your top priority. Make these exhibits your first stops because you may end up in lines waiting to speak with someone. While you’re queued up, let their display speak to you. Do they show credentials such as “certified,” list industry affiliations or other third-party endorsements? If their booth conveys a sense of quality, then hold your place; if not, then move on to your next stop.

If you’re suffering from seasonal color deficit disorder, then the sight of flowers in bloom might help you survive until petunia-planting time.

Evaluate the experts: Pay attention to clues that indicate the person with whom you are speaking is the expert he or she claims to be. Do they answer your question with another one to find out more about your needs? Real experts often do that because they know a good answer may depend on several factors. Pat answers can be shallow and not very helpful. If they say, “I don’t know,” that may be a sign of integrity more than stupidity.

Write down the advice you receive from different exhibitors. At the end of the day, it’s likely you won’t remember who said what. When you take a few notes, you will be able to compare and contrast all the advice later, and that will help you decide which companies you want to contact again.

Enjoy the gardens: Before you leave, make sure you’ve taken plenty of time to stroll by the gardens and smell the roses. Enjoy your first drink of spring!

Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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Jacque Tucker: Design tips for a sporty garden

Keep your borders narrow (.5 to 1m) so plants don’t get stomped on to retrieve the ball.  Straight borders make for a better pitch shape.

* Keep planting simple with only 2 or 3 different plants – eg.  a row of the same tree, a shrub and then a groundcover border in front…looks great and can take a hit

* Avoid hunting for cricket balls in the undergrowth – limb up the lower branches of your hedge to give you clear space, then underplant with a low growing groundcover like liriope.  

* Mass planting looks tidy, and if plants get knocked out of shape there are others to fill the gap.  Narrow plants are harder to hit!

* Avoid plants that attract a lot of bees around the main zones of play.

* Low groundcovers make finding stray balls easy – try Selliera radicans, Pratia angulata or green Dichondra…natives that can take being stomped on occasionally.

* Buy larger grade plants – they’re less likely to be crushed to death.

* Grasses are tough enough to take a falling tackle, but are also soft to land on – Lomandra ‘Tanika’, Anemanthele lessoniana, Carex virgata, Carex testacea are good choices.

* Site your productive garden out of harm’s way, or behind a hedge.  


Tough natives include titoki, puka, karaka, hoheria,  kowhai and pohutukawa cultivars. Olive trees, Mexican alder, bangalow and queen palms…

Hedges – Pittosporum ‘Screenmaster’, Photinia, Laurus nobilis (bay tree), Prunus lusitanica, Griselinia, karo, michelia figo, clumping bamboo…

Shrubs – Choisya ternata, Griselinia, flaxes, Muehlenbeckia astonii, Corokia, Coprosma, Artemisia, hebes, Spirea, Osmanthus, Pseudopanax, Brachyglottis greyii…

Flowers/groundcovers – dwarf agapanthus, lavender, daylilies, thyme, Verbenia bonariensis,  Dianella ‘Little Jess’ and ‘Little Rev’, mondo grass, liriope, libertia, Ajuga (shady spots), Osteospermum, Arctotis, cranesbill geraniums,  Pimelea prostrata, Parahebe…

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Heaven scent: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on growing Christmas box in your garden

Spectacle is not everything in the garden and there is one little shrub that I feel very fond of at this time of the year and it in no way deserves to be called spectacular. In fact, if you walked past it in my garden I doubt that you would even notice it – except in the dead of winter.

For a start, it will only come up to your knees. All right, if you are vertically challenged it might make it to your waistline but no more.

It is evergreen, though, which means that it always looks smart and its leaves could well have been coated with varnish, so glossy is their surface. Are you getting slightly interested?

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After the snow: Tips for how to care for your garden: The Pecks

In our recent battle with the white death falling from the sky (some of you might refer to it as “snow”), first came the ah.
Then came the shock.
Then came assessing the damage.
The ah, as in “Ah, isn’t this gorgeous?”
The shock, as in “How am I supposed to drive in this stuff?”
It wasn’t until the ah and shock wore off, that something else struck me; We have a number of succulents and other vulnerable plants  in our garden, and will there be any damage — or worse yet, death — revealed after the snow and ice are gone?
Surprisingly — to me, at least — quite a lot survived, including a beautiful agave out front that I had assumed was a goner, and several others that look deader than a doornail (or flatter than a pancake; pick your cliche) to me, but Marcia reassures me most will come back just fine.
That’s not to say there weren’t casualties caused by our ah-and-shock weather. A large branch snapped off an evergreen magnolia, our ‘Gold Coin’ juniper did some plant version of the splits under the weight of snow and ice, a number of plants got some snow burn and one of our stone lions lost his face, which was a little bit humorous, if you’re not the lion.
On the plus side, after the snow melted it was amazing to see that many plants in our garden were either in bloom or budding, such as camellia sansaqua, hellebore, manzanita and edgeworthia.
On the not-so-plus side, our weeds appeared to enjoy their time spent under a mantle of white, so there’s plenty for us both to do in the garden now.
Weather permitting, of course.

I love the snow — for a few days anyway — especially if it is powder and the temperatures are in the low 30s. Not so much when the temperatures are in the teens and 20s and I can’t feel my face and the words coming out of my frozen mouth sound like I’m visiting from the planet Stardust (Dennis: If we’re going with a “Star Wars” reference here, any true fan knows it should be the ice planet Hoth)! (Marcia: Nerd!)
I usually make a snowman or snow animal, but in what was definitely a first for me, I made what our 3-year-old granddaughter described as a “snow onion.”
I started to make the base for a giant snow dog, but in my defense the snow was so powdery and unpackable and it was getting dark so I called it a day. Since it was a giant, round ball, I decided to add a little Hershey Kiss snow swirl to the top to give it some style while it waited for me to finish it the next day.
I never did finish it, and it sadly sat there for about a week, melted into oblivion and will forever be remembered as the “snow onion.” In spite of that, I did make my annual peace sign in the snow, and there were some really cute snowmen and such around the neighborhood.
The snowy landscape is a great time to assess the bones of your garden. Do you have a balance of evergreens, both coniferous and broadleaf, and how about color peaking out from the snow?
How about the beauty of seed heads from ornamental grasses or perennials such as phlomis? Is your hardscape balanced? Do you have water features that are adding to the sculptural qualities of snow and ice?
And don’t forget the icing on the cake, such as art or screens, which show up even more in the snow than they do during the growing season with that nice white backdrop. It’s the same reason museums and galleries have white walls.
The garden shouldn’t be an empty, frozen wasteland during arctic weather. It should be breathtakingly beautiful, especially since the snow is so ephemeral.
I used to worry about the garden when the temperatures dipped into the 20s, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more Zen about it. Whatever happens, happens.
That’s not to say I won’t be heartbroken if one of my little green friends dies (Dennis: The ones from Stardust?), but a garden is about life and death and transformation.
It’s a creative, dynamic process, and that’s why I love being a landscape designer; it’s not static. Weather is a huge part of that process.
If something dies, it’s an opportunity to plant something new, maybe something that’s even better suited to the space.
Having said that, there are still many things we can do to minimize death and damage.

1. Heavy snow can weigh down branches, especially those on evergreens, and cause them to bend or break. Brush off accumulating snow from vulnerable trees and shrubs with your hands or a broom.
2. Snow can act as an insulator and keep the plant at 32 degrees, so if the temperature is going to drop well below that, keep the snow on your plants unless, of course, the weight will cause them to break.
3. If they are semi-tender, such as phormium, wrap them with frost fabric, which is a white, breathable protective cloth, or an anchored sheet, and mulch heavily. Or do as I do and don’t fuss with your plants and just treat them as long-lived annuals. Some of my phormium live for years when the winters are mild and then die after a cold snap, and I replace them.
4. Pots that are vulnerable should be brought into the garage  or wrapped in a sheet or blanket. Because they are above ground, they are less insulated and more vulnerable to the cold.
5. We always turn the pumps off on our water features if it gets into the 20s for any length of time and then turn them back on after the thaw. We have only had to do it a few times over the last 25 years. However, a few of my clients left their pumps running the whole time with no problem. They just made sure the water was flowing; otherwise, the pump would burn out. In addition, bird bath heaters are a great solution for small water features.
6. If a branch breaks on a shrub or tree, go back and saw or cut off the stub or branch at an angle about an inch from the trunk so that it heals properly. Consult a certified arborist if the job is big. Also, you can check out our column on winter pruning.
7. Our ‘Gold Coin’ juniper decided to do the plant version of the limbo because I overlooked it when I was shaking snow off the other overburdened shrubs. Some plants will bounce back after the thaw, so be patient, but others won’t. Columnar cypress and juniper sometimes need a little help straightening out again. If the damage is minimal, cut off the small crazy sideways branches. If the damage is worse, try staking the plant. If it’s really bad, as a last-ditch effort try tying garden tape or string around it to essentially truss it up and pull it together. I tied garden tape  to the trunk at the bottom of the shrub and wound it up in a spiral, tucking branches in as I went. Tie it to the trunk again at the top. The tape should be hidden in the shrub so that you can’t see it and will last for years. I did this to a columnar Juniperus communis ‘Compressa’ years ago (with fishing line, no less) and you would never know. It was either trussing it up like a turkey or digging it our and throwing it on the compost pile. Years later, it’s still a beautiful specimen in the garden.
8. Some of the less hardy plants or newer growth will get frost burn. This won’t necessarily kill them. Just wait until spring to prune the dead foliage away and they will look as good as new.
9. Don’t walk on frozen groundcover, grass — or any plants, for that matter — it can kill them.
10. With many succulents and drought-tolerant plants, it’s not the cold that kills them, but the moisture. Just make sure when you plant that the soil has good drainage by adding 1/4#10 crushed rock and slightly berm the soil.
11. Be patient in the spring. Wait to see if that plant you are sure froze to death doesn’t send out new shoots. You might be surprised.
12. Most of all, have fun! Remember, it doesn’t snow that often.
Marcia Westcott Peck is a landscape designer ( and Dennis Peck is a senior editor at The Oregonian/OregonLive.

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Design show features projects meant to lift communities | Home and …





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