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Archives for June 26, 2017

IN THE GARDEN: Tips for a naturally pest-free garden

There’s no greater joy than a garden full of perfect-looking plants.

Many garden pests, however, use our gardens as their own salad bar. With a few simple adjustments, you can stop pest problems before they start. Here are some garden-natural tips to help you this year.

■ Start with quality soil. Tilling in organic matter such as compost will keep your soil “clean” and provide the beneficial elements to keep pests away.

■ Look for disease resistant plants. It’s easier to prevent problems then it is to get rid of them. Many different vegetable and ornamental plant varieties today are bred to be more pest and disease resistant.

■ Thin out plants. Small, weak seedlings are more likely to become diseased and pass on problems to healthy plants. Prune established plants to improve air flow. Provide enough space in between plants to provide good air circulation.

■ Water in the morning. If you water later in the day, the foliage will be damp during the cooler nighttime, which creates an ideal condition for promoting fungus and disease issues.

■ Keep your garden clean. Remove weeds, faded blooms or plant debris which can be breeding grounds for problems. Cut off dead or infected diseased leaves as soon as you see them so that they don’t contaminate the whole plant.

■ Use insect traps. Yellow “sticky” cards are available at garden centers. When placed on the ground or in between plants, they can catch many pests in the garden. These are helpful when catching aphids.

■ Pesticides cannot distinguish between good and bad insects. There can be times when you need to use a pesticide as a last resort. Make sure first you have correctly diagnosed the problem. Read the labels thoroughly and follow application directions carefully.

Visit Cornell’s Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic at plantclinic.cornell.edu or Cornell’s Insect Diagnostic Laboratory at idl.entomology.cornell.edu for fact sheets on different problems and information regarding plant issues.

———

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at www.cceoneida. com.

Article source: http://www.timestelegram.com/news/20170626/in-garden-tips-for-naturally-pest-free-garden

Martyn Wilson, of Wilson Associates Garden Design, Worcester taking stage at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

A WORCESTER garden designer is aiming to highlight the astonishing beauty of Britain’s brownfield sites when he creates a conceptual show garden at the world’s largest flower show next month.

Martyn Wilson, who runs Wilson Associates Garden Design in the city, will present his ‘Brownfield – Metamorphosis’ garden at the famous RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (July 4-9).

His design will take an abstract look at regeneration and demonstrate nature’s ability to succeed against the odds and transform an open space.

This will be the fourth show garden designed by Martyn, a RAF veteran and former town planner with Worcestershire County Council, who also now lectures at the Cotswold Gardening School.

For the past three years he has exhibited at RHS Malvern, winning the prestigious People’s Choice Award in 2016 for his show garden for Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove.

The RHS Hampton garden is being sponsored by St. Modwen, UK expert in developing brownfield sites with Worcester links.

The firm is currently transforming part of the old DEFRA site at Whittington Road into a development of local homes, called Weogoran Park, in addition to business space. Sculptures by Ledbury-based sculptor Simon Probyn will also feature on the garden.

Martyn’s design has been Inspired by the High Line project in New York and successful brownfield regeneration schemes in the UK.

He said: “What interested me initially was the changing nature of urban landscapes which are so often are in state of flux. There’s the process of demolition and reconstruction but between the two, before building work starts, you often find nature moves back in and a new, temporary landscape is created.

“My garden will recreate that moment in time, in a sculpted form, with nods to the past and also the future. We should see these city spaces as opportunities and, whilst appreciating their gritty beauty, look forward to welcoming the communities that will replace them.”

Martyn’s garden will also help raise the profile of cancer charity UCARE (Urology Cancer Research and Education) at the show with volunteers greeting visitors.

Featuring urban art references by renowned street artist Louis Masai on recycled hoardings, the garden will form part of the new ‘gardens for a changing world’ category at RHS Hampton.

Article source: http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/15367551._The_beauty_of_brownfield____Worcester_garden_designer_s_message_to_crowds_at_world_s_largest_flower_show/

Ask the Master Gardener: Educating the gardener’s eye | Home And …

Garden tour time is upon us! Home owners throughout the country have spent months preparing to open their private realm to the public. Often these events benefit a worthy charity.

We visitors are excited to see a variety of places and to experience other garden ideas. Much of the conversation often revolves around plant names, Latin and common. You may also hear discussions such as, “I like this but not that,” or “How much help do you think they have?” or “Why would they put that plant here?” or “Let me tell you where I saw this before.”

All this is well and good. But when you visit a garden site, taking a bit of time to educate your eye will help you analyze why the design was planned as it is and how you can interpret these ideas into your own landscape.

Story continues below video

Let’s start with the most basic layout. Where does the house sit in relationship to the property? Is it off to one side overlooking the yard or a viewpoint or is it showcased on center stage?

As you approach, is it evident where the main entrance is? What factors did the designer use to lead your eye there? If you are lucky enough to have access into the home, notice if certain windows frame specific views.

When outside, look at the exterior materials, e.g., bricks or wood. Do they relate to materials used on the pathways or other structures on the property? Also notice the proportions of the garden beds to the size of the house. Is it pleasing to your eye?

Back out on the property, find north, and orient yourself to the compass points. This will allow you to see how the sun travels across the landscape and help you understand how plant choices were made based on shade and sun exposure. Gardens generally look their best in the morning or late afternoon when direct sun isn’t beating straight down. Factor this into the scheduling of your visit if possible.

Analyze what zone the garden is in. If a property map is available, see if different areas are named. Notice if the garden areas flow from one to the next, whether they are exposed or contained or just pockets in a sea of lawn. How well does the overall plan fit together?

In looking more closely at the garden areas, are they quite similar or does each have an individual personality or function? Perhaps one area is to stroll through while another is a spot to sit, relax and contemplate. One could be in shade, another in full sun.

Sniff the air to see the importance of fragrance in each area. Do you find any area either too large or too confined? Notice the shape of the bed edges. Are they straight or curved? Is it appropriate to the space?

Garden designs incorporate transitions in different ways. A change of pathway direction or materials, a gate or doorway, a hedge opening or staircase can all signal transitions. Do they work smoothly and gracefully?

Are you beckoned to explore all of the spaces? How might you incorporate some of these ideas into your own garden?

As you move through different areas, notice what structures and ornamentation is included. Do they fit into the overall garden scheme or are they randomly placed along the route? Analyze if they add to the pleasure in the garden or distract from it. Are vines used on the structures or do they stand alone? Is this technique effective or happenstance?

Now we can home in on the plants. Some gardens provide plant lists that will make identification much easier. Do the individual plants and plant combinations flow with the overall garden design? Are they well placed in specific areas?

Often gardens are shown at peak bloom time so you might want to imagine what the garden might look like in a different season.

If you analyze the bones of the design, which trees, shrubs or large perennials will add garden interest even in the winter months? What is the dominant color scheme and is the design formal, contemporary, casual or a combination? Are certain design elements repeated or is there a wide variety?

Once you have visited many gardens, you can translate what you have learned to help solve problems in your own garden. Take some photos (ask permission first) and keep a notebook to write down ideas you find that might work for you. Comparing how other designers solved an issue you are experiencing will help you find your own answers.

Beautiful garden designs can be low or high maintenance. Before translating ideas into your landscape, evaluate how much upkeep you are willing to do.

On your visits, please remember garden etiquette. Leave your pets at home unless they are specifically welcomed. Do not take cuttings, seed heads, fruits or berries from the property. Respect the garden beds and stay on the paths. Arrive after opening time and leave by closing.

If you are lucky enough to have the owner or a guide speak to your group, save your side conversations for when the speaker is finished. Ask permission to take photos or set up a camera tripod. Do not take food into the garden without permission and then take your litter with you. Do not ask to use the bathroom facilities in the house.

In short, treat the garden as you would like your garden to be treated. Perhaps next year you will be doing the hosting!

Article source: http://www.goskagit.com/community/home_and_garden/ask-the-master-gardener-educating-the-gardener-s-eye/article_698b4636-0ad3-5949-abab-0cbae676db2f.html

Martyn Wilson, of Wilson Associates Garden Design, Worcester …

A WORCESTER garden designer is aiming to highlight the astonishing beauty of Britain’s brownfield sites when he creates a conceptual show garden at the world’s largest flower show next month.

Martyn Wilson, who runs Wilson Associates Garden Design in the city, will present his ‘Brownfield – Metamorphosis’ garden at the famous RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (July 4-9).

His design will take an abstract look at regeneration and demonstrate nature’s ability to succeed against the odds and transform an open space.

This will be the fourth show garden designed by Martyn, a RAF veteran and former town planner with Worcestershire County Council, who also now lectures at the Cotswold Gardening School.

For the past three years he has exhibited at RHS Malvern, winning the prestigious People’s Choice Award in 2016 for his show garden for Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove.

The RHS Hampton garden is being sponsored by St. Modwen, UK expert in developing brownfield sites with Worcester links.

The firm is currently transforming part of the old DEFRA site at Whittington Road into a development of local homes, called Weogoran Park, in addition to business space. Sculptures by Ledbury-based sculptor Simon Probyn will also feature on the garden.

Martyn’s design has been Inspired by the High Line project in New York and successful brownfield regeneration schemes in the UK.

He said: “What interested me initially was the changing nature of urban landscapes which are so often are in state of flux. There’s the process of demolition and reconstruction but between the two, before building work starts, you often find nature moves back in and a new, temporary landscape is created.

“My garden will recreate that moment in time, in a sculpted form, with nods to the past and also the future. We should see these city spaces as opportunities and, whilst appreciating their gritty beauty, look forward to welcoming the communities that will replace them.”

Martyn’s garden will also help raise the profile of cancer charity UCARE (Urology Cancer Research and Education) at the show with volunteers greeting visitors.

Featuring urban art references by renowned street artist Louis Masai on recycled hoardings, the garden will form part of the new ‘gardens for a changing world’ category at RHS Hampton.

Article source: http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/NEWs/15367551._The_beauty_of_brownfield____Worcester_garden_designer_s_message_to_crowds_at_world_s_largest_flower_show/

Shawn Vestal: 31 ideas to make downtown Spokane even better – The Spokesman

In recent years, there’s been a lot of deservedly happy talk about what’s been added downtown.

From Huntington Park to the Grand Hotel, from West Main to East Sprague, Spokane’s core has been in a period of growth and revitalization, with new construction, businesses and infrastructure improvements everywhere.

But what’s missing? What does downtown Spokane still need to become great? A museum? A ballpark? Another Macklemore video?

I asked a variety of local people with a stake in downtown life what they thought, and here’s a wish list based on their responses:

Add a stadium

Mayor David Condon: “Spokane is the region’s downtown with great shopping, dining and entertainment. The community has overwhelming supported activities hosted in and around downtown, and the city would benefit from another outdoor regional event venue, such as a stadium, to complement the indoor spaces that straddle both sides of Riverfront Park.”

Switch to two-way streets

John Waite, owner of Auntie’s Bookstore and Merylyn’s Comics and Games: “I think we have shown that a slower and more pedestrian friendly Main Street will be good for business and good for the community. It just needs someone at City Hall to push this plan. I think we are close to being able to show that they are great for business, both big and small.”

Fill in the gaps

Kris Dinnison, co-owner of Atticus and Boo Radley’s: “I’d like to see downtown continue to become more pedestrian- and bike-friendly. For me that would mean more street-level businesses, more public art, landscaping, and other things that enhance the pedestrian experience around the downtown core. It would also mean fewer stretches of surface parking lots that chop up the different sections of downtown, making it less interesting and hospitable to walkers. For instance, when I send people from Atticus down to West Main, I have to tell them once they’re past Auntie’s there are basically two long city blocks of parking lots and not much else before they hit the cool block. That’s a deterrent to walking there. We need to create reasons to walk those two blocks.”

Zip across the river

Mark Richard, president of the Downtown Spokane Partnership: “With all of the incredible amenities being added to Riverfront Park, what is lacking in the plan at the moment is something for the adventurer in all of us – something that provides a good, old-fashioned shot of adrenalin. By marrying up our spectacular river with an urban zip line course in or near the park, Downtown Spokane would become ‘the place’ for locals all ages as well as visitors from around the Northwest.”

Celebrate rail history

Ryan Oelrich, chairman of the Spokane Homeless Coalition and founder of Spokane Sidewalk Games: “Downtown Spokane was built on a train yard and has trains running through it. With the exception of Frank’s Diner, we don’t celebrate the role trains have played in shaping our fine city or tie them into our Spokane narrative. Let’s place refurbished train cars in downtown to serve as attractions, event space, and education pieces to help tell our Spokane story. … I’d love to start a historical ‘tour train’ that would transport visitors around downtown to historical points of interest and to some of our most unique shops and eateries.”

Refine the skywalks

Anthony Gill, who writes the urban planning blog Spokane Rising: “I think we desperately need a Skywalk and Pedestrian Master Plan for Downtown Spokane. Many of our downtown buildings were built with skywalks and second-floor retail in mind, but as street-level activity becomes more important and shopping patterns shift, we need to be proactive and strategic about our planning for these tools. I’m not saying we need to go and rip out all of the skywalks. But we should develop a long-term vision for what the skywalk system––or the whole downtown pedestrian system––should look like.”

A downtown department store

This was also John Waite’s suggestion, along with several people who responded to a post on Facebook. Here is Waite’s reasoning: “An Urban Target or some sort of larger shopping opportunity would be nice. I’ve been to the Urban Targets in Seattle and Portland and they are really useful. I love that they have needed household goods while being situated in the urban core.”

Develop a theme

Bob Hemphill, owner of Chikn-N-Mo, said that a more unified approach to attracting people downtown is needed, including a design theme such as Coeur d’Alene has. “We don’t have a theme. … You need to invite people downtown to keep the city growing, to keep the city alive. You’ve got to make it absolutely crazy inviting.”

A people-centered plan

Ginger Ewing, arts impresario and co-founder of Terrain: “Downtown Spokane has a lot of momentum right now. Great local restaurants, a growing cultural scene, investment in parks, increased efforts around affordable housing, large-scale events, transit, etc. There are a lot of organizations doing really impactful things, but these efforts lack a collaborative, shared vision with concrete actions and tangible investment, driving these endeavors forward in a cohesive, substantial and sustainable manner. To this end, I would love to see an action-oriented — and adequately funded – plan, led by the City, empowering the expertise of partnering organizations, to foster the creation of local business, encourage placemaking, and put the health and well-being of all Spokanites at the heart of all decision making.”

A multi-purpose sports complex

Also from Mark Richard: “Across the U.S., we are seeing a resurgence of sports facilities constructed in urban cores. The analysis done by the Spokane Sports commission provides the evidence for what we all know instinctively; we are a major sports destination city with gaps in facilities needed to serve both local athletes and to attract more national tournaments. By building the proposed multipurpose facility adjacent to the Arena, we can host more regional and national sporting competitions in about any sport imaginable and create jobs throughout the entire region as a result.”

Fewer cars

Jim Sheehan, owner of the Community Building and Saranac Commons on West Main: “We need Main Street to be closed to traffic—at least from Lincoln to Washington. Make it just a walkway for pedestrians. Put in flowers, benches and trees and make it inviting. This will make for a completely different atmosphere downtown. Traffic separates us—it’s physical barrier. But we have to do whatever we can to bring people together. We need more connection.”

A museum

Several. While I like the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and it’s current location in Browne’s Addition in many ways, I often wonder what it would be like to have it – or something like it – in the downtown core, adding another option for something to do for visitors and locals alike.

Free parking?

We asked people on Facebook for their suggestions for downtown. Several people mentioned a food truck zone, pedestrian-only streets, a zoo and cheaper (or free) parking. Many mentioned a grocery store – while acknowledging that there’s a new one coming very soon in Kendall Yards. Several other readers emphasized eliminating problems such as crime, homelessness and potholes.

Here are some of the suggestions readers offered:

Karen Mobley: A contemporary art space with regularly scheduled open hours, more stable housing for the poor and indigent, and a cat café

Megan Cuilla: Garbage/recycling/compost bins throughout downtown.

Killian Campbell: A pedestrian-only street (like the one next to Urban Outfitters) but populated with food trucks/vendors, benches and pieces of art

Jenniffer Lynn Cooke: A usable trolley system just for downtown​. Make our city more accessible via fun affordable transportation since parking is so limited and expensive.

Justine McKenzie: You know those “tourist” signs up in Seattle that have a map of the area and destinations marked on it so you can find your way about? Those would be nice.

Nancy Azzopardi: An aquarium, a zoo, a full-sized planetarium….in other words….Golden Gate Park….without Californians.

Tim Christie: Streets without potholes that swallow cars.

Brian Havens: Tasteful landscaping and revitalization of many dilapidated areas in downtown. Everyone sees Spokane while driving on I-90 through the heart of the city and yet our freeway doesn’t have tasteful landscaping at all. Seattle’s freeways are gorgeous. I see it being a good bang for the buck to throw up some simple hardy plants and take pride in our freeway to create a more welcoming image.

Tina Page: Free parking throughout Spokane. That’s the biggest reason I won’t go into Spokane. There is nowhere to park unless you want to pay.

Mary Marr Lenz: Instead of putting a cover on the pavilion in the park, Spokane needs to put small lights all over the whole framework. It will look spectacular at night!

Dario Ré: Contemporary Art Museum! It’s utterly important (especially for a city the size of Spokane) to give our locally based creative practitioners and art enthusiasts opportunities to experience contemporary work and be in dialogue with larger veins of contemporary art.

Erik Nelson: Paid biking corral so families can safely park their bikes downtown without having them stolen. The garage at RPS (River Park Square) should have one.

Audrey Duff Overstreet: Good old-fashioned band shell with greenspace to picnic and listen to live symphonic music or create a mosh pit.

Kim Cameron: A light rail system that goes from Cheney to Couer d’Alene, right through Downtown Spokane.

Damon Aikman: Uhh… a doughnut shop! It is so weird that downtown Spokane does not have one. I think it’s Un-American!

Cody Walters: Twenty-four more trash goats.

Brian Parker: A really complete gun shop.

Mark Kinney: Huge old-school record store.

Article source: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/jun/25/shawn-vestal-31-ideas-to-make-downtown-spokane-eve/

8 Drought-Tolerant Plants a Pro Landscaper Swears By

There are endless reasons for choosing drought-tolerant plants for your outdoor space. Maybe you’re trying to save money on water bills, you live in an area where rain is scarce, or maybe you just don’t have the time to water your plants on a regular basis. But before you give up on your dreams of a gorgeous garden, Amber Freda has some ideas for plants that can offer you the ability to add color while cutting back on the amount of water you use.

Freda is a pro landscaper specializing in high-end, urban, mostly residential gardening in New York City. With 20 years of experience in the landscaping world and a background working in plant nurseries, she knows a thing or two about which plants do best with little water. From container gardening on a city terrace to really stretching your green thumb in a backyard in the suburbs, these are some of Freda’s favorite picks for drought-tolerant plants.

Article source: https://www.popsugar.com/home/Drought-Tolerant-Landscaping-43667823

Garden Club awards 3 Beauty Spots

The Civic Improvements Committee of the Cape Fear Garden Club announced the three Beauty Spot winners during the 2017 National Garden Club Week, June 4-11. Each year an award is presented to a Business, a Neighborhood Entrance, and a Residential homeowner.

Since 2011, it has been an honor that the Cape Fear Garden Club has had the opportunity to recognize the beauty and good works of others.

On June 8, Suzanne Edwards and the Beauty Spot Program Committee delivered framed certificates and outdoor signage to the three locations.

The first stop was at Crossroads Center, owned by Chris Stephens, at the corner of South Kerr Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard. Jerry Freeman Landscaping and The Secret Garden worked on this project. Freeman Landscaping has been part of the Beauty Spot Program on three previous occasions.

The next was at the entrance of Bill Clark Homes for Hanover Lakes, 2013 Castle Hayne Road. The Bill Clark Homes sales team, Robin Campbell, Amber Dunn and Kaitlin Cox, accepted the framed certificate and outdoor signage. Preferred Landscaping and Edge Landscapers were responsible for the creation of the residential entrance. Bill Clark Homes made a concerted effort to have the old oak trees along Castle Hayne Road incorporated into their entrance design.

The last Beauty Spot Award was presented to Martha Thompson as the Residential Winner. Martha Thompson resides at the corner of Swann and McRae streets. Her home was an early Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity house in Wilmington. Her house was built in one week in 1995 by the employees of WECT as the “media house.” Thompson has created these lovely gardens herself. Her sister from Whiteville has given Thompson many of her plants. Thompson’s favorite plant is lantana, because it comes back each year. Martha’s yard is a “beauty spot” to be shared and appreciated by all her neighbors and the children who pass by on their way to and from school.

To learn more about the Cape Fear Garden Club, visit www.capefeargardenclub.org.

Barbara Downing serves as news director for the Cape Fear Garden Club.

StarNews welcomes and will consider publishing Your Voice stories contributed by readers, nonprofits and clubs. They should be 300 words and accompanied by a good-quality photograph. Contact Community News Editor Si Cantwell at 343-2364 or si.cantwell@starnewsonline.com.

Article source: http://www.starnewsonline.com/entertainment/20170625/garden-club-awards-3-beauty-spots

Creating a Garden Oasis in the City

“Outdoor space in New York City is on many buyers’ wish lists, but there just isn’t enough to go around, and a lot of what is available isn’t that usable when you get right down to it,” said Xanthe Tabor, a saleswoman for Halstead Property. “A private roof terrace may seem appealing, but becomes less so after you’ve carried a tray of wineglasses up and down a flight of stairs a few times.”

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Those with the determination — and the wherewithal — to turn a balcony, terrace or backyard into a functional outdoor area, however, say the investment is well worth it for a breath of air in a crowded city. Here is a look at how five homeowners invested in their very different outdoor spaces, from a tiny Upper East Side balcony to a sprawling backyard in Brooklyn.

AN EXPANSIVE BACKYARD Last year, the Kawash-Coopers finally decided it was time to take back the garden. Working with Todd Haiman, a landscape designer, they gut-renovated the 1,600-square-foot space, replacing a deteriorating brick patio with silver tumbled travertine pavers, putting up a new fence with a blue barn door as a folly, adding two fountains and a wall at the back made from salvaged brick.

“Todd brought us the idea of arranging the space into connected rooms, and creating the idea of a journey to move from space to space,” Ms. Kawash said. “The rear is totally inviting now — it’s shady in the hottest part of the day, with the burble of the fountain to drown out all the city noise, and the trees and plantings block out all the other houses.”

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The Sweethome

Patio Furniture Sets for Under $600

Our colleagues at The Sweethome, a New York Times Company, have recommendations for moderately priced patio dining sets.



Closest to the house is the dining area and grill, so it’s easy to run in and out during meals. In the center, there are sofas and chairs for lounging, surrounded by native flowers that draw bees and butterflies — “an unexpected bonus,” Ms. Kawash said. “I’m hoping we can attract even more butterflies this year. There is something incredibly peaceful and life-affirming about surrendering to the rhythms and activities of the insects.”

Of course, none of this was cheap. The pavers alone cost $12,000 installed, said Ms. Kawash, who declined to provide the total cost. Instead, she offered, “I would say, more than we expected, but totally worth it.”

Photo

In Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Sera Rogue created a “flower-filled chill space” with a “boardwalk-style” deck surrounded by blue Mexican pebble stone for Saffron Shelley and Armond Miller.

Credit
Photographs by Robert Deitchler for The New York Times

A LONG, NARROW TERRACE Relaxation was high on the list for Saffron Shelley, a 29-year-old social worker, and her husband, Armond Miller, 32, who works in finance. Last year, the couple hired Sera Rogue, the owner of Red Fern Brooklyn, a garden design firm, to landscape the long, narrow terrace that wraps around the two-bedroom duplex they share with their dog, Wendell, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. “We were immediately drawn to the space because of the potential we saw in the terrace,” Ms. Shelley said, noting the space “was really nothing more than a paved roof” when they bought the apartment in 2015.

To create a “flower-filled chill space,” Ms. Rogue said, she created a “boardwalk-style” deck surrounded by blue Mexican pebble stone and custom planter boxes at varied heights, for their $30,000 budget. “A beachy, Montauk feel led the design,” added Ms. Rogue, who created an intimate coffee space outside the master bedroom, a designated spot for a lounger and a bench outside the kitchen surrounded by flora, to “insulate the space” with color and texture. “We really love the dimension it adds to the rest of the apartment,” Ms. Shelley said.

Photo

A triangular 78-square-foot balcony was maximized on the Upper East Side, with a built-in sofa and a cube with a reversible top. Planters that line the perimeter preserve the river view.



Credit
Robert Deitchler for The New York Times

A TRIANGULAR BALCONY To maximize a small (78-square-foot) terrace with an odd shape (triangular) on the Upper East Side, Amy Wechsler worked with Kim Hoyt, an architect and landscape architect, to create furniture that fit its tight angles. “I wanted a small oasis with plants and a seating area,” said Dr. Wechsler, 47, a dermatologist who lives in a four-bedroom apartment with her two teenage children. A built-in sofa with integrated side tables allows seating for three. A cube with a reversible top (a cushion on one side and a wood surface on the other) can serve as either a coffee table or an extra seat. Planters that line the perimeter preserve the river view. And a synthetic sisal carpet, typically used on boats, was cut to fit the space and hide the concrete floor. While the upfront investment was substantial (about $18,450), the transformation was worth it, Dr. Wechsler said. Before, the terrace was an “ugly, empty space,” she said, but now, “I spend a lot of time sitting out there.”

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A CONCRETE PATIO In 2015, Jaylaan Ahmad-Llewellyn moved into a two-bedroom ground-floor duplex in Park Slope, Brooklyn, largely for its private outdoor patio. But at just under 250 square feet and surrounded by 10-foot concrete walls, it was the opposite of inviting. “To be honest, it looked like what I would think a prison exercise pen would look like,” said Ms. Ahmad-Llewellyn, 38, who is completing a master’s degree in clinical psychology after working in the entertainment industry. “It felt like a concrete box.”

But Ms. Ahmad-Llewellyn knew it had potential. Another plus: “Having small, elderly dogs who were used to warm weather and outdoor space” — Mo and Lala, Ms. Ahmad-Llewellyn’s 17-year-old miniature Dobermans — “the ability to have a safe place for them to go outside off leash when the weather is bad was a major draw.”

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Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/23/realestate/creating-a-garden-oasis-in-the-city.html

Gardening: Pretty vegetables can double as landscaping

Some veggies do more than just taste good; they look good, too.

These multi-talented edibles are too pretty to be relegated to the vegetable-only section of the garden.

“Adding edibles to ornamental beds makes sense in so many gardens,” Michelle Gervais, a horticulturist at John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds (www.kitchengardenseeds.com), said recently by email.

“If you’re a casual vegetable gardener looking to slowly branch out a bit, adding just an eggplant or two to a flower garden or an edging of a dramatic lettuce to the front of a bed gives you an opportunity to explore new veggies without making a huge space commitment.”

Even gardeners in tight quarters can experiment.

“If you’re a gardener with limited space, any small bare spot can be filled with something like Swiss chard or a gorgeous purple basil that will be both beautiful and delicious,” she said.

“Some leafy veggies make wonderful container plants, too.”

Leaf lettuce, for instance, makes a great way to start.

You can grow it easily from seed, raise it in the ground or a container, and start harvesting in a month or two.

Perhaps best of all: Lettuce is available in a range of colors and textures — greens, reds and speckles, and smooth, curled or frilly leaves.

“You might wonder how to harvest lettuces from your ornamental beds without ruining your composition,” Gervais said.

“Loose-leaf lettuces are best for these situations, because you can harvest leaves from here and there in your patch, basically thinning the plants.

“They’ll keep growing for quite a while until they eventually begin to wear out, when you can rip them out and sow a new crop — maybe something new and exciting!”

While gardeners have dozens of choices, she described a few standouts that easily hold their own among annuals and perennials grown solely for looks:

• Chili peppers offer a colorful harvest on bushlike plants that bring zing to the landscape as well as the table.

She suggests a variety called Fish, with “white-variegated leaves and fruits that ripen to fiery red-orange chiles.”

(According to the Kitchen Garden Seeds website, Fish’s moniker was inspired by its traditional use in seafood dishes.)

• Okra, which thrives in heat, produces sculptural pods that reach several inches long.

Cooks pickle it or use it in soups and stews.

• Pole beans grow best on a trellis, making them practical for small spaces and dramatic as vertical accents.

A variety called Carminat Purple sports “velvety, 10-inch purple pods that are perfectly smooth, slender and completely stringless,” the website says.

• Snap peas, which also climb up a support, produce tender, sweet pods.

Gervais recommends Sugar Magnolia, which features “purple flowers followed by dark-purple pea pods.’’

• Swiss chard is a versatile crop that can be eaten raw or cooked, newly sprouted or mature.

For ornamental use, try Peppermint or Bright Lights, whose brilliant stems will give your showiest flowers a run for their money.

 

Diana Lockwood, a freelance writer covering gardening topics, posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrsgardenperson.

Article source: http://www.dispatch.com/entertainmentlife/20170625/gardening-pretty-vegetables-can-double-as-landscaping