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Archives for March 22, 2017

Donnie Johnston offers gardening tips





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Spring gardening tips program planned

The Jackson County Public Library will sponsor a program about spring gardening tips at 6 p.m. March 30.

Join Purdue Extension Jackson County director and horticulturalist Richard Beckort to learn how to get organized and plan for a successful garden this summer, beginning with cold-tolerant vegetables. Beckort also will explain methods of planting.

The library is at 303 W. Second St., Seymour.

Registration is required by Monday for this free program by visiting or calling the library at 812-523-4636.

Information: Julie Lingerfelt at 812-405-1833

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Spring gardening tips – WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for …

Caleb Atnip, a Huntsville firefighter who had been battling cancer for two years, has died. He was 26-years-old. 

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Top 10 tips for small gardens

Emmaline Bowman's entry aims to create habitat and get humans in touch with nature. Photo: Supplied

Emmaline Bowman’s entry aims to create habitat and get humans in touch with nature. Photo: Supplied


  1. Assess your location, soil, climate, the needs of local wildlife, what you want to fix and what you want to keep.
  2. Keep the space simple and uncluttered.
  3. Use vertical elements to maximise the space.
  4. If using decking or paving, use smaller boards or pavers to create more detail.
  5. Soft, light colours make a space seem bigger.
  6. Consider the scale of furniture. A table with a glass top or chairs with holes in the pattern can feel less obtrusive.
  7. Create a focal point and frame the garden through planting, art or furniture.
  8. Activate the senses – it’s easier to achieve sensory design in a small area that captures smells, sounds, and temperatures.
  9. If you want a fruit tree, go for a pre-trained, espaliered one.
  10. Engage a designer to help create your design and remember that builders should be registered for projects of more than $5000. Domestic building insurance is needed for work over $16,000.


Many modern homes don’t have much space to spare for a garden; the yard is often just a few paces in each direction. But with thoughtful planning and some imagination, even a courtyard can become a botanic wonderland – and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show has set up the perfect challenge to prove it.

The Boutique Garden Competition challenges landscape architects, designers and students to design a 5×5-metre space. The five finalists will build their gardens at MIFGS, which kicks off on March 29.

Emmaline Bowman, 29, has won a place in the finals just months after setting up her own company, Stem Landscape Design.

Growing up on a farm in East Gippsland, Emmaline developed a passion for revegetating creeks and wildlife corridors. Her master’s degree work won her an award for bringing animals into the landscape, and that has been her focus since.

“Humans have become disconnected from nature, but when we’re stimulated by plants or animals our health improves,” she says.

“I’ve gone into my boutique garden with this concept – mine is an ecosystem. It’s also a very soft and inviting landscape with lots of plants and water. The challenge is keeping it simple and having zones that complement each other – it’s easy to put too much in a small space.”

But Emmaline finds space limitations can help, too. “The benefits are you can create perspective and views more easily. In a little plot, if you frame it well you can capture what it’s all about immediately, whereas in a bigger garden you have to help people find that journey.”

A semi-circular bench was the central feature of Joel Barnett's design for MIFGS 2016. Photo: Supplied

A semi-circular bench was the central feature of Joel Barnett’s design for MIFGS 2016. Photo: Supplied

Another finalist is Joel Barnett, 34, from InStyle Gardens in Geelong. After two years of helping students construct their MIFGS show designs, Joel entered the new Boutique Garden category in his own right last year and came third.

Apart from the logistics of building a temporary garden in an inner-city park with several tree protection zones to work around, Joel says scale is the biggest challenge.

“Scale becomes much more important in such a small area. Last year, I used a curved bench seat that was maybe a bit big for the site. Another lesson is just being more organised and having as much as possible built beforehand.”

Landscapers have nine days to construct their show gardens and, because the Carlton Gardens is a World Heritage Site, nothing is allowed to penetrate the ground.

The theme for Joel’s garden this year is “lush”, inspired by his love of tropical foliage and a desire to create a holiday-type environment at home; a style that is much in demand in the holiday homes he landscapes on the Bellarine Peninsula and Great Ocean Road.

“I love plants with interesting foliage all year round. There is still a big push towards low-maintenance gardens and foliage plants are low-maintenance anyway, much more so than lawns,” he says.

As well as a plunge pool, deck and pergola, Joel’s design features vertical gardens and green walls. He is also keen to make the most of the Gardens by Twilight evening session on Friday, March 31.

“Using lights is an underrated part of garden design – you can play with shadows and it looks completely different to during the day.”

  • The Melbourne International Flower and Garden show is on at the Carlton Gardens, March 29-April 2




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Spring is here! Tips to start your garden right

▪ Now is the time to fertilize roses. Use the slow-release type of fertilizer.

▪ Wait until April 1, at least, before planting summer annuals.

▪ Spring is finally here! And so are the deer — eyeing your garden for their next feast. Spray today!

▪ When planting dogwood trees, remember these tips: Plant in the shade. Do not dig dogwoods from the wild; use nursery-grown trees. There are several new varieties that are resistant to the diseases that plague our native trees. Take a look at the Stellar Series dogwood trees, and Kousa.

▪ Pollen has started falling in thick clouds. Prepare now to protect outdoor furniture with covers. Lawn and leaf bags work well.

▪ Spot kill weeds in beds, on paths, walkways, patios and other areas around the landscape. Do this when the wind is calm and protect nearby plants from herbicide spray.

▪ Summer bulbs add color and interest to the garden and to containers. Plant bulbs such as caladium, canna (dwarf varieties) and dahlia now.

▪ If you are planning to add to an existing azalea bed, now is the time to take a flowering branch to the nursery for an exact match.

▪ Start adding 3 inches of mulch to flower and shrub beds. Mulch will conserve moisture during the hot months and reduce weed populations. I’m all for that!

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These simple gardening tips can drastically improve your garden





These tips from Madison gardening author and educator Megan Cain can help you grow a successful garden this year.
Alison Sherwood / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Madison gardening writer and educator Megan Cain has learned a lot in her 16 years of gardening and farming experience. Her newest book, “Smart Start Garden Planner: Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful Season,” helps gardeners and wannabe gardeners plan for success in their gardens.

RELATED: This book helps even novice gardeners plan and execute an awesome garden

In a phone interview, Cain shared these tips that can help beginner gardeners get off to a good start.

1. Browse seed catalogs instead of running to the hardware store.

Paging through seed catalogs at home, you have plenty of time to think through what seeds you want to purchase and read up on the different varieties available.

“You’re not going to stand there (at the hardware store) for two hours and read every packet,” Cain said. “At the store it’s easy to get overwhelmed and throw things in your basket you haven’t thought through.”

Cain notes in “Smart Start Garden Planner” that big box stores don’t always carry the varieties that will grow well in your region.

“I want to order seeds from the places that the farmers are ordering from,” Cain said. One brand she recommends that is used by farmers is Johnny’s Selected Seeds.

2. Start a garden binder.

Save yourself time each year by keeping simple records of what, where and when you plant everything in your garden.

“You can compare varieties. It helps you repeat successes and build on them year after year,” Cain said. “It helps with timing. If you keep track of dates you know when the right time is to plant every year.”

Draw a simple map of your garden and label what plant or variety you plant in each spot and when you plant it. Keep your planting schedule in your garden binder and any gardening information you want to keep handy.

3. Mulch your garden.

The key to maintaining moisture in your garden? Mulch.

“Bare soil dries out really quickly and grows weeds,” Cain said.

You can use hay, straw, leaves or grass clippings to mulch around your plants. Cain uses marsh hay. Just be sure your mulch does not have weed seeds in it.

4. Get a rain gauge.

Vegetables, once they germinate, need only one inch of water each week. Keep a rain gauge in your garden so you know when you don’t need to water.

“Watering every day can contribute to problems like diseases,” Cain said. She waters her garden once a week unless it rains about an inch, which is usually the case until July and August.

5. Rotate your crops.

Cain said for the health of the soil, you don’t want to plant the same thing in the same spot every year. There’s another reason it’s handy to keep a garden binder tracking where you plant everything.

RELATED: 13 new garden books to inspire, inform and charm you this spring

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