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Archives for July 21, 2017

How you can pick up some tips from Gardener of the Year in Glasgow this month

Green-fingered Glaswegians can learn from the best this month as Gardening Scotland’s Gardener of the Year, Sallie Sillars is set to host a lunch and learn session this month.

The gardening lesson will take place on July 25 at The Avenue Shopping Centre to encourage more Glaswegians to get into gardening.

The session will begin with refreshments at 12pm set to be a quarterly event to offer its customers a VIP experience where they can learn valuable skills and meet some new people.

Sallie Sillars will run a demonstration in planting and offer some great tips and tricks on how to make your garden look unique using everyday house hold items.

Sallie said: “Being a top interior and gardening trend, these little plants make a perfect addition to the home. From re-using old teacups and Wine glasses there are so many ways to make succulents stands out.”

Education officer at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Louise Bustard, will join Sallie to give an interactive talk on how to make those crucial plants survive in your garden.

“There are so many benefits to plants including deterring illness, boosting healing and creating natural-fiber clothing,” Louise said.

The Avenue centre manage, Michelle McCabe has said: “Summer is a great time to get into gardening so the launch of our lunch and learn sessions on the avenue is perfect.

“We’re thrilled to have two well respected gardening experts, for our first talk and look forward to rolling out an exciting programme of events for our shoppers.”

Click here for more information.

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Gardening column: Tips for saving tomato and green bean plants …

Q. My tomato plants are struggling with blight and I am wondering if there is a safe spray I can use other than just pruning off the blighted leaves?

A.Garden Safe offers a product that is labeled safe for use in organic gardens; Fungicide 3.

• When using any product such as this, always follow label directions.

• Also take the time to read the list of plants that this product was especially formulated for then do not use them liberally throughout the garden.

• Spray only the plant that has the problem.

• Spray in the evening after the sun has gone down or on a cloudy day—not during the hottest part of the day.

• Continue to monitor the plant and remove any blighted leaves.

• Always water deeply and at the root zone and early morning or late afternoon if you have to.

• Keep the soil clean of blighted leaves and weeds.

• When all else fails, you may need to remove a plant that can’t be saved in order to save the other plants in your garden.

Q.I have bindweed and morning glories coming up everywhere and they have gotten into my green bean bed and are wrapping themselves around the bean vines. This is very upsetting so can you help?

A.Both of these noxious weeds need to be stopped at germination if you are ever to get control of them. Since they have already invaded your garden, sorry to say your only recourse now is to stop them from blooming and setting seed and kill as many of them as possible without harming the beans.

• Find the root of those vines and pull them from the soil.

• They will probably stay locked around the beans but they will die if you do that.

• Also if you are unable to locate the root, remove any upward growth and buds or blooms that you see so they cannot make seed.

• Next spring, when you see germination of either of these plants, before they can invade your garden; you can pull them, use vinegar and as a last resort, go for the Roundup.

Q.I would like to make my own tea from herbs I’m growing this year. Do you have a quick list of what to do so that I can preserve some of them to use.

A.It is fairly easy to dry herbs for teas and also to be used in recipes.

• I’m not sure which herbs you have but some that are used to make teas are peppermint, orange mint, spearmint, lemon balm, chamomile, rose hips and others.

• Some people can have allergic reactions to these herbs so it is a good idea to research the plants you have before making teas with them.

• Teas can be made from fresh leaves or dried.

• Rose hips can be used for tea when they have turned brown.

• Gather the leaves when they are young and healthy, and early in the day right after the dew has dried on the plant.

• Cut long stems of herb leaves, bundle and tie in bunches to be air dried.

• Hang them upside-down in a cool, shady or dark place where there is lots of air movement.

• When the leaves are very dry and crunchy, strip them off the stems, and store them in airtight jars out of sunlight.

• Brew them as you would any other loose tea.

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on “The Plant Medic,” a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

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Tips to get your garden shipshape for spring | Community News Group

WINTER has the misconception of being a time for gardeners to down tools over the slow growth season.

But as the temperature lowers, now is the time to prepare for the warmer months.

Below are tips to maintaining a winter garden and giving it the best possible start to spring.


Broad-leafed weeds can take control of the weakened state of the lawn in winter. As rainfall increases, weeds will begin to appear across the lawn. It is best to remove the weeds before they mature and set seed. For small areas, hand weeding is an effective way to remove weeds. For larger areas, control the weeds using a herbicide.


In winter, because grass grows at a slower rate, there’s no need to mow the lawn often. However, don’t allow the grass to overgrow as this provides an environment for mould and fungal diseases to spread. To avoid creating a lawn thatch layer, switch the lawn mower from the mulch to catch mode. Control the growth of weeds by cutting no more than one third off the blades of grass, giving weeds less sunlight to thrive.


Winter is the ideal time to prune as most plants are finishing their flowering season. Prune deciduous plants to encourage regrowth in the spring. Begin by pruning dead and diseased branches, then remove overgrown foliage and smaller branches. This will increase light and air at the crown of the tree, as well as for any lawn underneath. In mid-winter prune large bush roses, leave only an open framework of three or four main stems. Also, prune shrubs that flower in mid to late summer, such as hydrangeas. Use a hedge trimmer to quickly rejuvenate overgrown hedges and create space in the hedge for air and light.


During winter, after periods of rainfall the soil is often compacted, preventing the circulation of nutrients, oxygen and water. Preparing the soil for a stronger lawn can be achieved through aeration. It is best to aerate the lawn when the soil is moist to achieve better penetration. Tools that can be used to aerate the lawn include a simple fork, spike boots or spike roller.


For most plants, the frequency of fertiliser application can be reduced by half in winter as they grow slower and therefore need fewer nutrients. However, some plants, like bulbs, winter vegetables and spring flowering annuals, maintain their growth rate through winter, so will still require nutrients to thrive. Fertilise citrus plants in late July to promote crop growth moving into spring. For the lawn, it is best to use a slow-release lawn food to develop a strong root system and thicker grass.

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Gardening tips from Master Gardeners – Springfield News

Q. I want to grow honeydew melons. Can you help? – P.D., Springfield, Mo.

Answer by Master Gardener Mark Bernskoetter

In our area, one of the diseases most prevalent is powdery mildew. However, there are some varieties of melon resistant to fungal disease — varieties such as ‘Floridew,’ ‘Morgan,’ ‘Earlidew,’ and ‘Tamdew.’

Other than that, honeydew is grown like any other melon.

About three months after planting, honeydew develops a smooth, evenly colored skin (all white or yellow, depending on variety) to indicate to you it is ripe. Cut the plant from the vine rather than trying to break or tear the stem, because it doesn’t let go as easily as most other melons.

If you pick a melon early, it can ripen at room temperature in a few days. Storing in a bag with an apple will expedite the ripening process.

Ripe melons should keep in the refrigerator for a week, but once you cut it up, it is best to eat it in a couple of days to avoid picking up the smells of other foods from the refrigerator.

Q. My gardenias are not blooming this year. I bring it inside in the fall and put it back outside in the spring for the last three years. What may be the problem? – S.W., Willard

Answer by Master Gardener Mark Bernskoetter

Gardenias have glossy green leaves and sweet-smelling white flowers. Without the aromatic blooms, you are missing the biggest part of the show.

Congratulations on keeping a gardenia growing for multiple years. Unfortunately, any stress to the plant can cause reduced blooming.

Gardenias should be pruned right after they are done blooming in summer but before it has time to set new buds. Fall or spring pruning removes the buds for the following summer.

Gardenias like moist, well-drained, acidic soil. If the soil it too alkaline, it reduces the chances of bloom formation.

If the plant did not get enough morning sun or bright light without too much direct sunlight, it can cause the next generations of buds to dry up or fall off the plant.

Gardenias are susceptible to attacks by spider mites, aphids, scale and mealybugs, and the stress of this infestation can prevent blooming.

Q. After my bearded iris are done blooming in the spring, I clear up the area but would like to have something more to show in that area through the rest of the season. – C.B., Springfield, Mo

Answer by Master Gardener Mark Bernskoetter

Some showy plants that can help fill in around iris to provide a show later in the season include coral bells (heuchera), daylilies, yarrow, sedum, salvia and black-eyed Susan.

You can also add something that will bloom at about the same time as the iris, for a bigger spring display, such as pansy, peony, allium or columbine.

Dianthus would be a flower to consider to span both the spring and summer.

Readers can pose questions or get more information by calling 417-874-2963 and talking to one of the trained volunteers staffing the Mas­ter Gardener Hotline at the University of Missouri Exten­sion Center in Greene County located inside the Botanical Center, 2400 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield, MO 65807.

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Pesticide-free tips during Natural Garden Tour

VANCOUVER, Wash. (KOIN) — Important lessons on how to turn simple landscaping into something that looks nice and won’t pollute your yard with pesticides and chemicals is set for Clark County on Sunday.

The Green Neighbors Natural Garden Tour features 15 natural gardens. The tour is organized by the Clark County Health Department and is intended to give people ideas about garden design without using herbicides or chemicals of any type.

The Natural Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Clark County Green Neighbors — Tour information

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Dacha Revamps 14th Street Beer Garden Plans After Blowback …

Neighbors of the planned Dacha beer garden on 14th Street have lined their yards with “NO DACHA” signs and raised concerns at community meetings about noise, traffic, trash, rats, and public urination.

In response to the push back, Dacha owners Ilya Alter and Dmitri Chekaldin are revamping the beer garden design to enclose nearly two-thirds of the seating, including the side of the property facing S Street. They say they’re tripling their budget for the buildout to $3 million. They’ve also hired a sound-engineering firm, and won’t seek to have live music or DJs—”only low-volume background music typical of other nearby venues.”

The beer garden initially raised some eyebrows for listing a 600-person capacity on its liquor license application. Chekaldin says that number will likely change after they submit their final building plans. “It will not be higher though,” he says.

As for that outdoor playground initially planned? It’s now a “multifunctional recreation space” inside. Whether that translates to monkey bars or something else is TBD, but the general idea is to have a space where kids can play while parents drink beer.

It’s yet to be seen to what extent the area Advisory Neighborhood Commissions might fight the new plans. (A group of neighbors have already hired a lawyer to protest the liquor license.) The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board will ultimately determine the conditions of Dacha’s license, but the ANC is given “great weight.”

During a community meeting in May, some neighbors worried the beer garden would devalue their properties and complained that it wasn’t “an appropriate use” of the space (now a parking lot), especially given that there is already another noisy beer garden (Garden District) across the street. They also raised concerns about Dacha’s track record: In 2015, the liquor board levied one of its largest fines ever against the Shaw beer garden and suspended its liquor license after the business repeatedly packed the space over capacity. Dacha hasn’t received any violations since 2015.

In any case, Dacha is certainly getting organized in its lobbying efforts. It has a new webpage outlining its plans with a form for people to send petitions of support to their councilmembers and ANC commissioners. You can also vote for which female icon should get her own mural at the new location. Marilyn Monroe or Hillary Clinton?

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Animals and angels: garden stone artwork made in Ramona – The San Diego Union

Off the beaten track in Ramona, in a quirky building next to stuccoed single-story office complex, dozens of meditating dogs, owls, Buddhas, angels and other hand-made sculptures crowd the shelves of the Designer Stone Garden Shop.

The store may be small, but the business definitely isn’t. Every day, much of its unique inventory — manufactured in a studio behind the shop — is boxed, shipped and sold around the country to nurseries, garden centers, catalogs or Internet retailers like Wayfair, Uncommon Goods, and Wind Weather.

Buddhas are snatched up by Yoga studios. Angels and other religious items are purchased by people who want to remember a departed loved one with a garden memorial. Tiny frogs and turtles adorn spots in private gardens across the country.

The business began in 1999 in the Pacific Beach garage of Michael and Alisa Gentilucci and, over the years, their company has produced and sold hundreds of thousands of stone collectibles.

Mother Nature isn’t a fan of straight lines, and we shouldn’t be either

There’s been a big trend over the past 25 years to let our landscapes take on a more natural look. But I’m not really sure there’s widespread understanding of what that really means. It’s much more than native plants and xeriscaping. In fact, those may not look really natural in this part of North Texas.

To my eye, a natural-looking landscape is essentially free of straight lines, squares and cubes. Nature works more in curves, clusters and masses, and that’s what I’m going to try to impart here today. I’m going to use my own landscape as my sketchpad. If I do my job right, you might end up with a more pleasing garden design that actually takes a lot less work to maintain. I grew up pruning 100 feet of privet hedge every Saturday. I loved gardening. I loathed trimming privets.

My own garden design is an amalgamation of fine gardens I’ve seen in my life. I’m a garden design thief. We all are. We make note of what looks good — of what we like. And we plan our own gardens accordingly.

I used a garden hose to lay out curved beds across the front of our house, then I separated the bark-mulched beds from our St. Augustine with green baked enamel edging. As a passageway from one “room” to the next I used concrete steppingstones through the bark. That worked well for many years.

I’m a great impulse buyer, however, and one day I was in a wrought-iron sales yard in Frisco and I came across a glorious arch for a crazy low price. I bought it, brought it home and sprayed it with lacquer to keep the rust from rubbing off. It’s been adding more curves to its space ever since — 10 years and counting.

I’ve also replaced the original stones with some that we’ve made using wooden forms filled with concrete ready-mix into which I pressed rock salt and a few dramatic leaves for the “fossilized” look. (I used a rock hammer to knock off the sharp edges of the stones the next day after they were poured and removed from the reusable forms.)

As we carried that walk through to other parts of our garden, I had to build in “notches” to let it bend around corners. I filled them with dwarf mondograss or bark mulch, and I planted clusters of rounded shrubs and informal ground cover alongside. This is actually the third place these stones have called home in our landscape. We made these almost 30 years ago after I stole the idea (another act of thievery) from a Napa Valley winery. As I’ve gotten older and wiser (and considerably less interested in maintaining a huge landscape), I’ve pulled our gardens back in closer to the house, and that gave me the chance to repurpose these stones. I love it when I can create my own patina!

There are a couple of areas in our landscape that date back even further, and they, too, employ pavers and curves. In our back yard we have absolutely no direct sunlight, so shade-tolerant ground covers are an absolute must. I’ve used Persian ivy in the better-drained areas, regular mondograss, liriope, purple wintercreeper euonymus and several other ground covers and a nice mix of hollies and other shade-tolerant shrubs.

For the sake of mobility, since we can’t get grass to grow and since we can’t walk on the ground covers, I was looking for some type of brick pavers. I was driving in a North Texas town one day, and I saw them digging up one of their old streets to lay in new sewer lines. They were taking up fabulous 120-year-old pavers, so I called city hall. They said they’d be willing to sell them, so I bought enough to build a sweeping 150-foot walk through the garden. I laid 10 feet of walk each night until I had the job done. They’re quite heavy to start with, and I laid them on their sides on a 2-inch bed of packed sand. They’re absolutely rock-stable.

And finally, in absolutely the reverse order, when we moved into our home in a rural area of the Metroplex 40 years ago, all the county roads were white rock. There was little reason to pave our driveway, because white caliche rock tracks like glue and deposits all over the ground during wet weather. But once the county paved our road, we were ready for an upgrade. I wanted interlocking concrete pavers. I loved their look, but I couldn’t figure out how to design them into our heavily wooded landscape.

I called on the help of two really good friends, landscape architects of the highest regard and business partners Richard Myrick and Gene Newman. I learned more from them as they did our driveway design than I did in any two of my college horticulture courses combined. Our drive has tens of thousands of pavers, and no two are in straight line with one another. The entire driveway is a constantly flowing curve.

So curves abound at our place and in our plantings. They look natural to my eye, and perhaps they’ll give you some ideas you, too, can steal for your own enjoyment. I’d be flattered if you did.

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91 Outstanding Outdoor Decor Ideas From 26 Top Interior Designers, Decorators, And Landscaping Specialists

We asked 26 top interior designers, decorators, and landscaping specialists to give their best outdoor decor ideas, tips, and tricks. Create the ultimate space on your balcony, patio, deck, or backyard for some sensational summer fun.

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Landscaping expert encourages mix of natural and urban design in flood-prone areas

The Heathcote River flooding over Riverlaw Terrace in St Martins at Easter (file photo).

The Heathcote River flooding over Riverlaw Terrace in St Martins at Easter (file photo).

A visiting expert on landscaping flood-prone city zones recommends Christchurch use natural barriers and water-based construction to deal with rising sea levels.

Landscape architect Kristina Hill, from the University of California, Berkeley, spoke at a public meeting organised by Regenerate Christchurch on Thursday night.

She presented research-based ideas that could be implemented in the city’s planning for flood-prone coastal areas and the residential red zone.

A map of high flood hazard management areas as defined in the Christchurch City Council's proposed district plan.

A map of high flood hazard management areas as defined in the Christchurch City Council’s proposed district plan.

Eastern areas of Christchurch sank in the Canterbury earthquake and the Christchurch City Council has identified many residential zones as prone to flooding and sea level rise over the next 100 years.

Development restricted on flood-prone Christchurch properties
Flood risk looms for new homes in Silverstream subdivision
Four Flockton Basin residents sell flood-prone homes to Christchurch City Council
2700 Waimakariri properties at ‘high risk’ of flood in natural hazards maps
Rising flood risk in a sunken city

Hill encouraged the city to experiment and accept that some ideas might fail.

University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of landscape architecture, environmental planning and urban ...

University of California, Berkeley, associate professor of landscape architecture, environmental planning and urban design Kristina Hill talks about dealing with post-disaster flooding and sea level rises in Christchurch.

“That’s how the Dutch have become the world’s consultants on flooding, through trying things.”

She spoke about different ideas of terraced developments.

One design used in Hamburg, Germany, was multi-level residential buildings with waterproof lower levels.

In extremely high tides the water rises over footpaths and public areas and vehicles are protected in waterproof car parks.

“People don’t evacuate. They stay and they watch the flooding happen with their kids.”

As well as removing the need for costly and disruptive evacuations, Hill said it provided an educational experience.

Another concept was the idea of using wetlands and developed stormwater ponds to hold back the sea. It was simple, Hill said: “Dig hole, make mound.”

Silt dug out from stormwater ponds near the sea would be used to create wetlands, pushing the water back to sea.

Floating houses would be built on the ponds, aimed at the high-end of the market similar to Dutch developments.

The added benefit would be that stormwater would drain from surrounding lower-income areas into the ponds.

Hill called it a “Robin Hood strategy” – getting the rich to pay for wider benefit.

Water would be collected in the city, filter into the ponds, and be released through the wetlands into the sea.

The wetlands would also create habitats for wildlife, she said.

As the sea level rises over time, ponds could be moved further inland, turning the old ponds into more wetland.

“It seems to me that your estuary will be a great place to try some of these wetland terrace ideas,” Hill said.

“We know that this is all really happening to us, so we are trying to take a positive, proactive approach to it.”

 – Stuff

Next The Rebuild story:

Christchurch east frame public space to open early 2018, but where are the houses?

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