Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for June 3, 2017

Welcome to the jungle

Sip on free Dunkin’ Shaken Iced Coffee while reading the latest news on TOI.

Article source:

Farm to Fork News: Short season gardening tips





Article source:

This week’s gardening tips: prepare trees for hurricane season, Orchid show and sale


This week’s gardening tips: The New Orleans Orchid Society will hold its annual spring show and sale at Lakeside Shopping Center in Metairie Friday and Saturday, June 2-3, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, June 4, from noon to 4:30 p.m. It’s free. In addition to the gorgeous displays of orchids in the show, there will be vendors selling a wide variety of plants and orchid growing products. And friendly orchid society members will be happy to answer questions. For information, check out the society’s website at

Prepare trees for hurricane season by pruning out weak, rotting or dead branches. Remove dead or rotten trees that might blow over in high winds.

High temperatures and high humidity create a high heat index in the summer. Adjust your gardening schedule to take advantage of cooler times of the day. Wear a wide brim hat and sunscreen and put on mosquito repellent. Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after you work.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Article source:

June is peak gardening time: Here are some tips

We’ve reached the part of the garden season where you can set yourself up for a good or bad season. Here is a short list of things to improve your garden for the season:

Plant: Try to get everything in the ground in the next week or so. You want the plants to recover from transplant shock and start establishing roots before the hotter, drier months of July and August. Remember to spread out planting of crops like beans so that you have a longer harvest instead of one huge crop —unless you are preserving/canning/drying that particular crop. Also, remove early spring crops as they stop producing. Replace cool crops like peas with something that loves the heat, like eggplant.

Mulch: Mulch is not necessary, but it can make it easier to keep up with garden chores. It conserves moisture, decreasing the need to water. It covers the bare ground, reducing the amount of weeds that sprout. It keeps the soil temperature steady, protecting plants from high and low temperatures. Chilling temperatures can permanently stunt growth. A hot spell can wilt or even kill off plants.

Prune: Get your pruning done now. This is the time to prune your spring-blooming perennials and shrubs. These plants — lilacs, forsythia and such — form the next year’s flowers a few weeks after the current blooms fades. So cut these plants about two to three weeks after they finish blooming.

Garden Tips: Hate to mow? Leave it to a robot – Tri

While I was at a family gathering, I overheard one of our group wishing that someone would invent a robotic lawn mower that would work like one of the floor cleaning robots.

I let them know that robotic lawn mowers have been available for years. I wonder why they aren’t more popular?

Robotic lawn mowers had limitations when they were first introduced. They were difficult to program and very expensive, especially considering their inferior performance compared to regular mowers.

Time has passed and improvements were made. So, are lawn mowing robots a viable option now?

If you check online you will find several companies making programmable robotic mowers, including Robomow, Husqvarna, WORX, and McCulloch.

First, the “cons.”

The units are still pretty pricey, costing $600 to $3,500.

Negative reviews from users of various units indicate that their robotic mowers did not do a good job of covering the entire lawn evenly and some “touch-up” mowing or trimming was needed.

Also, units often got hung up on uneven terrain and could not handle slopes steeper than 10 to 15 percent, despite promises of being able to handle slopes up to 30 percent.

One frequent negative comment was that the mower setup — including edging lawn boundaries with wire — is time and labor intensive.

Manufacturers indicate that the wire can be staked, but many owners sensibly opt to bury it. This wire edge means that units must be carried across driveways and paved surfaces to separate areas of turf.

Setup also involves establishing an accessible spot for the permanent base station needed for parking and recharging the mower’s battery.

I suppose the biggest and best “pro” for robotic mowers is that it mows your lawn for you.

Robot mowers perform best when asked to “nibble” at the grass, taking a little off the top several times a week, instead of significantly slashing the grass height in one cut.

Another positive is that they run very quietly and release no emissions because they are electric. Another nice feature of most units is a built-in rain sensor that tells them to go back to their base and wait until bad weather passes.

Most also had an easily adjustable blade height. One mower also comes with a phone “app” that lets you direct the mow-bot to the spots it missed with its random path.

Another feature in favor of robot mowers is they perform best when asked to “nibble” at the grass, taking a little off the top several times a week, instead of significantly slashing the grass height in one cut.

A common bad lawn care practice is removing more than one-third of the grass height at one time.

Commonly called “scalping,” lowering the height of a lawn too much at one time weakens the turf, making it more vulnerable to heat and drought damage and to weed invasion.

I am not sure I am ready to buy a robotic mower yet.

When I look at them, they remind me of benign versions of the battling robots competing on television and I am just a teensy worried a mow-bot might go rogue.

I think I will wait until they fine-tune them a bit more.

However, if you really detest mowing, have a smallish, relatively flat lawn and are willing to spend the money, let me know how it works for you.

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

Article source:

Top five gardening tips from Bloom’s big winner –

For large gardens, Mr Schurmann believes it is often beneficial to seek professional consultation, as large areas can seem like a daunting task to cultivate.

“The best things is get a consultant that would have a few ideas, who has the lay of the land, who understands how the garden fits into the landscape, what you want to block out, how you want to create shelter. That’s so individual depending on the actual site.”

4. Longevity

Article source:

Ladew presents ‘Sculpture in the Garden,’ works by Mary Ann Mears

Amateur painter and sculptor Harvey S. Ladew had a keen appreciation of art in many forms — painting, traditional sculpture, garden design and of course, the art of topiary.

Over the years, Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton has welcomed local, national and international artists to the gardens to exhibit and sell their work.

This year, Ladew Gardens is honored to showcase the stunning works of award-winning sculptor Mary Ann Mears in an exhibition at Ladew.

Mears’ sculptures are available for sale. A portion of each sale will be donated to Ladew Gardens’ educational programming.

Her work, “Life Cycle,” was installed along Route 24 at Bel Air’s Tollgate Marketplace in 1999.

Want A Millennium Park Garden Look At Home? Tips From The …

 Lurie Garden Tour

Lurie Garden Tour
View Full Caption

DOWNTOWN — When it opened in 2004, Lurie Garden in Millennium Park represented a departure from the more formal manicured landscapes of Chicago’s other premier public gardens.

Designed by Dutchman Piet Oudolf, who also created the plan for New York City’s much lauded High Line, Lurie Garden is not only wilder and more naturalistic in its layout, but it emphasizes the use of perennials, particularly those native to the Midwest.

No rhododendrons, roses, snapdragons or impatiens for Oudolf. Instead, Lurie is awash in prairie smoke, beardtongue, bee balm and coneflowers.

Prairie Smoke is one of the first plants to bloom in the spring. Its pink buds open to reveal feathery clusters. [All photos DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]

On Saturday, home gardeners will have an opportunity to buy a piece of the Lurie, at the garden’s annual plant sale, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Because garden centers haven’t entirely caught up with Oudolf, the plant sale is one of the few places where gardeners can shop a wide selection of the native species that grow in abundance at Lurie.

In advance of the sale, DNAinfo chatted with Lurie Garden’s head horticulturalist, Laura Ekasetya, who’s been the guardian of Oudolf’s plan since 2011 and was named the garden’s director in 2017.

Where To Start

Lurie Garden director and head horticulturalist Laura Ekasetya.

Oudolf’s approach to landscaping, once considered something of an oddity, has been embraced by many of the city’s amateur gardeners, from the parkways of Pullman to the backyards of Portage Park.

Ekasetya shared her advice on the best ways to achieve the “Lurie look” at home.

Like all well-planned gardens, Lurie is composed of complementary and contrasting plants of varying height, texture and bloom times. The garden’s color palette, however, is notably limited, skewing heavily toward Oudolf’s preferred “calming” shades of pink, purple and blue. Splashes of white, which are visible at night, are also an important feature, given that the garden is open daily until 11 p.m.

Pressed to choose five plants that would form an excellent base for a home version of Lurie, Ekasetya named:

Allium “Summer Beauty” — This tough, versatile plant provides four seasons of interest, with glossy green foliage and clusters of lilac-colored blooms in spring and summer, and golden stalks in fall and winter.

Mountain Mint — Not nearly as invasive as other members of the mint family, Mountain Mint attracts the widest variety of pollinators, Ekasetya said.

Eastern Bee Balm — The colorful blooms are a magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. They also attract hawk moths, which are nicknamed “hummingbird moths” because they beat their wings so quickly. Bonus, this plant will tolerate partial shade.

Prairie Dropseed — This bunch-type grass requires “no maintenance at all,” Ekasetya said, and its “long hair” also smothers weeds. Birds rely on its seeds for food, particularly in the winter.

Pale Coneflower — When the blooms of spring and early summer are spent, coneflowers step into the spotlight.

Eastern bee balm.

When Less Isn’t More

Aside from the paths that staff use for maintenance, there’s no mulch to be found in Lurie Garden. Weeds are controlled instead by the perennials’ dense planting, something Ekasetya advises if it fits with a gardener’s budget.

Grouping multiples of the same plant — as opposed to the one-of-everything approach — not only packs a greater visual punch but it’s an insurance policy against an individual plant’s failure to thrive, she said.

Know When To Go Native, And When Not

The wave of blue and purple that ripples through Lurie Garden in the spring owes its vibrant color to varieties of salvia (aka, meadow sage), which Oudolf deployed to evoke a river, Ekasetya said.

Though it’s one of the garden’s signature plants, salvia isn’t a native species, and that’s A-OK, Ekasetya said.

The point, after all, isn’t to mimic the historic appearance of Chicago’s lakefront, she said.

“If we were to go back, it would be marsh land — we’re not going to recreate that,” said Ekasetya.

Rather, Oudolf’s design provides a guide to the types of benefits gardeners should look for when a plant catches their eye.

Salvia, for example, isn’t just beautiful, it’s also extremely drought tolerant, meaning it doesn’t require constant watering. The plant is also an excellent source of nectar for bees, which aligns with Lurie’s mission to be pollinator-friendly.

Lurie Garden has its own variety of salvia — a variegated pink and purple — which will be for sale Saturday.

Scottish Lovage is another recent favorite of Ekasetya’s. As its name suggests, the plant is an immigrant, but tiny native bees adore it and it performs exceedingly well along the Lurie’s limestone wall, where it gets “cooked,” she said.

Hostas, which Ekasetya said can be overused in gardens, are another low maintenance non-native that, when used judiciously, lend interesting texture to flower beds and are an all-purpose utility player for shade gardens.

Don’t Be A Hoarder

A rare surviving Masterwort, original to Piet Oudolf’s Lurie Garden design. The plant was less successful in practice than theory.

Lurie Garden is a living creature, and as such it’s constantly evolving.

Though Ekasetya remains faithful to the spirit of Oudolf’s design, she also refreshes and rethinks areas of the garden, introducing newcomers and “editing” existing plants — where does she need to fill in bare spots, where does she need to thin.

She encourages all gardeners to do the same.

If a plant isn’t working — perhaps it’s become invasive or is unexpectedly shading a neighboring sun lover — pull it, Ekasetya said.

“It’s OK to rip it out,” Ekasetya said. “Don’t be a plant hoarder.”

Annual Checkup

Perhaps Oudolf’s greatest contribution to landscaping is his focus on perennials. 

Annuals may seem cheaper in the short term and provide an instant fix, but they require so much water  — to say nothing of their replacement from one year to the next — that they’re costlier in the long run, Ekasetya said.

Roses are also antithetical to concepts promoted by Lurie Garden.

They’ve been so over-cultivated at this point, “they provide nothing for wildlife — they have no nectar for bees,” Ekasetya said. “And they’re too much work.”

What To Know Before You Go To The Plant Sale

Lurie Garden’s main entrance is off Monroe Street, across from the Art Institute’s Modern Wing.

Bring your own bags or boxes to transport your plant sale purchases. Costs range from $3-$5 for plants in pint-sized containers to $10 to $12 for gallons. For a list of plants that will be available at the sale, click here.

Honey from the garden’s beehives will also be sold, $10 for a six-ounce jar. The honey was hive-aged over the winter and has an almost caramel flavor, Ekasetya said.

Guided walks in Lurie Garden take place each Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from May through September. Click here for more information.

Lurie Garden director Laura Ekasetya calls this the “Dr. Seuss plant.” It’s actually Phlomis, or Jerusalem Sage.

Lurie Garden’s color palette is a “calming” mix of pink, blue and purple.

Lurie Garden’s design gets visitors to think beyond the bloom and consider the interest provided by a plant’s seeds and foliage.

Article source:

Chatsworth’s first show garden – a preview with designer Sam Ovens

In contrast to Sam’s previous show gardens, which have relied on texture and shades of green, this space is more about colour. There are soft pinks, blues and yellows, punctuated by deep burgundies and reds, highlighted by the dark, copper beech hedges. “I’ve drawn on Wedgwood’s Wonderlust collection – I picked the colours from it that jumped out at me.” The back of the garden will be more muted – an informal mix of grasses including briza and deschampsia, mingled with natives like meadow clary (Salvia pratensis), and wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris). 

Sam sees the garden as a journey. “With show gardens, you can quite ­often see everything in one go – you ­assume you’ve ‘got it’ and move on. But in this garden, with its hedging, walls and the planting, you never get to see too much at once, you have to engage with it.” Not that the public can move through the garden, of course. At just under 240 sq yards, it is the same size as a Chelsea show garden and will be judged accordingly. “The difference is that Chatsworth provides an incredible backdrop. There’s a copse of oak trees just behind the garden and the copper beech hedges echo the trees in the parkland. At this show, you have lots of space around you – that’s very different to Chelsea, where you’re trying to block out your neighbours.” 

Article source:

Summer is a good time for landscape planning – The Daily Advertiser

Landscapes are dynamic creations that are always changing. Plants grow larger, new plants are added along the way, plants die and even trees may be lost in storms. Over the years, a landscape can change radically from its original look.

How your family uses the landscape also changes over time. Kids grow up with no longer a need for a play area. As gardeners grow older, they often have to change a landscape to make it less labor intensive.

And it is common to move into a house that already has an existing landscape. What worked for the previous owners, however, may not work well at all for your family. As a result, you need to redesign or change the landscape to more closely match your needs.

Now is a great time to study your landscape and develop plans for needed changes. Spend the summer refining your ideas, and you will be ready when our prime planting season for trees, shrubs and ground covers arrives in late October.


First, analyze your landscaping needs. Basically, this means sitting down with the family and deciding what the landscape needs to provide.

For instance, determine whether you need to screen unsightly views, remove overgrown shrubs, create shade or privacy, provide an area for children to play, change or enlarge the outdoor living area, give your home a more attractive appearance or whatever else.

Once you’ve decided how you’d like to redesign your landscape, consult landscaping books to help you refine your ideas and then refer to gardening books written for our area to help you select the right plants. Also, talk to knowledgeable people, such as local gardeners you know, LSU AgCenter extension agents, and garden center and nursery staff.

Consider future maintenance requirements of new exterior plantings. Select insect- and disease-resistant plants that are well adapted to our area, and make sure they will not grow too big for the location where you intend to plant them. Remember to choose plants for your landscape that will thrive in the growing conditions of the location where they will be planted. Consider the amount of sun and drainage they will receive, for instance. Remember flower beds are high-maintenance, so don’t overburden yourself.

If you need help developing a design for your yard, landscape professionals can be tremendously useful. If your budget is limited, a professional can help you set priorities and schedule your plan in phases. They can also be as familiar with building codes and deck and swimming pool construction as they are with horticulture and the aesthetics of gardens.

Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations. Your best bet is to select an experienced, well-established firm with a history of completing projects similar to yours. Make sure the company or individual you’re dealing with is properly licensed by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, which is required by law.

A licensed landscape architect has a degree in landscape architecture and can sell you an original design whether they install it or not. Landscape horticulturists may help you develop a design, but only as part of a package that includes the plants and their installation. The primary benefit of using any of these experts is to draw on their knowledge, experience and creativity.

If you feel you’re simply indulging yourself when you purchase trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants for your landscape, here’s some information that will make you feel good.

Landscaping your home brings quite a few economic benefits. A well-landscaped home generally sells more quickly and at a higher price than does a comparable home lacking a nice landscape. There are even TV shows on improving curb appeal, and landscaping is a big part. One reason trees and shrubs add value to a home is that, unlike many purchases, over the years they appreciate in value as they grow larger and more beautiful.

Trees also add economic value to homes by helping to reduce heating and cooling costs. Trees work as nature’s air conditioner and heat pump, providing shade in summer and sheltering your home from cold winds in winter. Now during summer heat is a great time to decide where shade is needed.

Landscaping also benefits the environment. A mature tree removes 26 pounds of carbon dioxide from the air each year and releases approximately 13 pounds of oxygen. Plants such as lawn grasses control water runoff — a major source of water pollution — slow erosion and allow water to be more readily absorbed into the soil. Trees, shrubs and flowers in the landscape also provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife.

It’s nice to add to the value of your property and help the environment, but the most important benefit of landscaping is the personal enjoyment it brings to outdoor living. So go ahead and indulge your love of gardening. It will pay off in many ways in the years to come.

Article source: