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Archives for July 23, 2017

Closet encounters

If you find yourself saying, “I can’t find anything to wear”, not because you don’t have enough clothes but because you have too many – you need to call in a professional. No, not a psychiatrist but a closet specialist. Hiring a professional organiser to clean the closet is par for course now. There has been a rise of closet/kitchen organisers who will clean out your clutter and leave it organised, upgraded and stylised.

Danijela Coha aka the Wardrobe Fairy organises closets for a living. She calls wardrobe decluttering as the first step to wardrobe transformation. Then there’s closet queen Lisa Adams who has designed wardrobes for Eddie Murphy, Derek Fisher, and Billy Crystal. In an interview Adams had said: “People want cleaner closets where they can have a boutique space feeling.”

Declutter my life

Closet organisers are also doubling up as wardrobe consultants telling you what to buy and stock. Take for instance, Hardik Gandhi who designs and declutters wardrobes for men at a starting price of `18,000. He counts some of the prominent CEOs and startup founders among his clientele. “Decluttering or organising closets is daunting for successful, single men. I work with CEOS who want clean spaces that help them decide what they want to wear without any chaos,” he says. His advice to them: create capsule wardrobes with five shirts, two trousers and a suit – invest in classics, and not trends.

Gandhi also advises them on what to stock. His standard MO is to first take stock of the current wardrobe, keep what’s worthy, donate what is “just not right” and then create a customised list of “wardrobe essentials”. He adds, “Don’t keep buying on a whim — online or high street — you are just adding to the clutter.”


Closet cures


Ahmedabad-based closet organiser Sandhya Anantani mentions that the Indian women have a tendency to hoard and keep everything handed down from generations. “Women spend hours in front of their cupboards and can’t find anything to wear. I help them organise their closets after figuring out their lifestyle,” she says. Anantani charges `3,500-5,000 per hour to sort out closets. The closet is separated into categories like work, home, gym, yoga and socialising. “The rules are simple: if you haven’t worn anything for the last two years, you never will. Keep it clean,” she says.

You need a closet organiser if your closet is messy even after cleaning it. Gandhi adds, “Professional closet organisers are full of unique methods to help you get your closet from packed to priceless.” An organiser is like a closet coach who optimises your choices and gives you some great closet therapy.

Article source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/home-garden/closet-encounters/articleshow/59721589.cms

Jacque Tucker: Tips for gardening newbies

New to gardening? You’ve just taken up a hobby that may become an addiction, plus it’s really good for you and it helps makes the world a nicer place.  It can be a bit overwhelming though, so here are some of my top tips for beginner gardeners.

7 TOP TIPS 

  1. It doesn’t have to be brilliant straight away. Pinterest and websites are great for inspiration, but those gardens aren’t always achievable from the get go.  Start small, grow a couple of things from seed or some flower punnets from the garden centre. Let your ambitions grow with your experience!
  2. Read LOTS! There are some really good gardening blogs around, garden magazines and websites full of information, but nothing beats a good book filled with advice. I’ve found googling can turn up contradictory and dodgy advice whereas books tend to be on the money….something about the published word maybe.  The library, TradeMe and second hand book stores are awesome.
  3. It will never be perfect. Because not everything blooms or harvests at the same time there will generally be parts of your garden that look average to rubbish. And that’s OK.
  4. It may not be dead. Or it may not be your fault, at least! Plants have seasons, and some just die back for a bit. Check the label and see what sort of plant it is, or google it – annual plants grown from seed bloom, set seed and die. Not your fault, it’s what they do. Biennials do it over two years, and some perennials will die back for a spell but carry on. If you think it’s really, really dead – gently check the roots. If they look white (or coloured) and healthy, the plant is still alive.  Which leads us on to number 5…
  5. Things dies – embrace your failures! Don’t be disheartened, even the best most experienced gardeners have plants die on them. Do some investigation – if you can figure out what killed it you’ve just learned heaps, and you’ll get it right next time.
  6. You’re probably overwatering it. It’s easier to kill a plant by overwatering than by underwatering. Push your finger into the soil, if it feels moist you generally don’t need to water. Other signs are mouldy soil, mushrooms and a dank smell.
  7. Little green shoots are awesome! Seeing new growth pop out of the soil, new leaves or the first flower bud on something you’ve planted – it is such a buzz.  Nothing beats wandering around the garden checking out all the new things that have happened….and I highly recommend doing it with a glass of wine in hand!

Article source: http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/lifestyle/home-and-garden/jacque-tucker-tips-for-gardening-newbies/

Gardening tips and tricks | News, Sports, Jobs – Weirton Daily Times

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Dear Heloise: Gardening is a relaxing and fun hobby for me. I’ve come up with my favorite gardening hints:

≤ My spade and shovel get a quick spray of silicone lubricant — this allows the dirt to slide right off.

≤ A good way to add nutrients to the soil is with Epsom salts, which are made of magnesium and sulfate. A small amount (less than a tablespoon) mixed in the watering can will do the trick. (Don’t use table salt.)

≤ Ask the neighborhood coffeehouse for some used coffee grounds. They nourish the soil, too — and usually are given away free!

≤ Plastic forks upright in the garden can deter critters.

≤ I can start seedlings in a cloth shoe rack with dirt in each pocket.

≤ I cut the arms off an old sweatshirt and wear the sleeves when I’m pruning the roses. The heavy material protects my arms from thorns.

≤ Compost is always in season: eggshells, veggie clippings, shredded newspaper and cotton fibers.

I hope your readers will find these hints useful! — Helen T. in California

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.)

Article source: https://www.weirtondailytimes.com/news/national-news-apwire/2017/07/gardening-tips-and-tricks/

Gardening tips and tricks

<!–
–>

Dear Heloise: Gardening is a relaxing and fun hobby for me. I’ve come up with my favorite gardening hints:

≤ My spade and shovel get a quick spray of silicone lubricant — this allows the dirt to slide right off.

≤ A good way to add nutrients to the soil is with Epsom salts, which are made of magnesium and sulfate. A small amount (less than a tablespoon) mixed in the watering can will do the trick. (Don’t use table salt.)

≤ Ask the neighborhood coffeehouse for some used coffee grounds. They nourish the soil, too — and usually are given away free!

≤ Plastic forks upright in the garden can deter critters.

≤ I can start seedlings in a cloth shoe rack with dirt in each pocket.

≤ I cut the arms off an old sweatshirt and wear the sleeves when I’m pruning the roses. The heavy material protects my arms from thorns.

≤ Compost is always in season: eggshells, veggie clippings, shredded newspaper and cotton fibers.

I hope your readers will find these hints useful! — Helen T. in California

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: Heloise@Heloise.com.)

Article source: https://www.weirtondailytimes.com/news/national-news-apwire/2017/07/gardening-tips-and-tricks/

Tips for taking better photos of your garden and wildlife

So the garden you planted or enjoy each day is flowering. Birds and animals are busy in your yard or neighborhood. And you’d love to capture all this natural beauty in photos.

It’s easy to pull out a phone and take pictures of anything anytime, but a little time and thought can produce better garden and wildlife photos.

“There’s a big difference between that for-the-record shot that preserves a memory and getting a really nice image,” says Brenda Tharp, author of the new book “Expressive Nature Photography” (The Monacelli Press).

Pause before pressing the shutter, she says, and consider: Is the light right? Can you give your photo a unique point of view by shooting from different angles and levels, moving to the side, crouching or standing on something?

Identify what about the subject matter “stopped you in your tracks,” she says. “It’s really about narrowing down your purpose in making that picture.”

Some tips from Tharp and other nature photographers:

THE RULE OF THIRDS: Resist the temptation to center the subject, says Rob Simpson, an instructor in nature photography at Lord Fairfax Community College in Middletown. Think of your photo as a tic-tac-toe board, and place the subject in one of the off-center thirds of the space. “It’s going to make the photo more pleasing to the eye,” he said. “It gives it balance.”

TEXTURE IS TERRIFIC: One of the most exciting things about photographing flowers and leaves is capturing something that passers-by won’t see — their textures up-close, says Patty Hankins, a floral photographer in Bethesda, Md., who sells her work and offers photography tips at beautifulflowerpictures.com.

A camera’s “macro” setting lets you take an extreme close-up and keep it in focus. “It shows you all these incredible things that people who aren’t stopping to look won’t see,” she says. “It’s about filling the frame with small details.”

STAYING STILL: When using the macro setting, keep the camera as still as possible, Hankins says. “If you’re taking a picture of the Grand Canyon and your hand shakes a little, people aren’t likely to notice,” she said. “But if you’re taking a photo of the center of a sunflower, they’re much more likely to see it.”

A tripod can help. Look for one that is lightweight and can get low to ground, she says. If you don’t own a tripod, find somewhere solid to place the camera or set it on a bean bag or bag of rice on the ground, and use the timer to take the photo. Many cameras also have settings designed to reduce vibrations.

PRACTICE PERIMETER PATROL: Before you shoot, scan the edges of your picture for buildings, outdoor furniture or other things that could distract from your subject.

LIGHT MATTERS: Often, outdoor photos come out better on cloudy days or when the sun is not directly overhead, Simpson says. The soft light that comes through on an overcast day will not cast harsh shadows, and may result in a more even exposure and better details.

“People love sunlight, but it’s not the right light for every subject,” Tharp says. “For intimate views of nature, opt for soft or diffused light.”

For landscape photos, however, sunlight can add drama. Consider shooting in the warm light of early morning or late afternoon when the angle of the sun is low.

THINK 3-D: Having items in a picture’s foreground and background helps put the viewer in the photo and creates a sense of depth, Tharp says. When taking a photo of a meadow or landscape, include objects closer to the camera as well.

Another way to create dimension is to angle the camera downward a bit, emphasizing the foreground and creating that near-far relationship.

ANIMAL ACTION: The best animal photos reveal the subject’s behavior or personality, Tharp says. Take time to observe the animals and wait for the best shot. But be ready to capture the action when it happens. Simpson recommends a fast shutter speed to avoid missing the shot. Keep the animal’s eye in focus.

SHUTTER SELECTIONS, APERTURES: Becoming a better photographer will mean understanding shutter speeds and apertures, Tharp said. The right shutter speed can mean the difference between freezing the motion of a moving animal or ending up with a blur. When photographing something in motion — an animal, bird or waterfall — give precedence to shutter speed over aperture, which is the amount of light being allowed into the lens.

If controlling the sharpness of the background is the goal, prioritize aperture, because it defines the depth of what will be in focus, she said.

“Experimenting with different apertures and shutter speeds on your subject will quickly show the various effects,” Tharp said.

Article source: http://www.richmond.com/ap/lifestyles/tips-for-taking-better-photos-of-your-garden-and-wildlife/article_4e92e047-0d15-56db-8593-eeefa26759fd.html

5 garden tips for the week starting July 22



Spruce up roses

Since rose blossoms don’t like long hot days, take this opportunity to tidy up the plants. Prune out sprawling stems and cut back growth that has become too tall — sort of like giving them a haircut. You may safely remove up to a third of the height and breadth, but retain a good amount of foliage to nurture new growth. Remove rose suckers by tearing them off at the base with a harsh downward and outward tug (and be sure to wear gloves). This usually prevents their return, whereas trimming off the suckers almost always causes more to grow back. And be sure to feed them within the next few weeks to encourage abundant blooms this autumn.

Time for a trim

As fast-growing shrubbery next to walkways and houses grows beyond its proper bounds and gets in the way, trim it back to shape. However, don’t just hedge-sheer or whack indiscriminately; that results in a bundle of sticks rather than a leafy pretty plant. Cut back each offending branch to a leaf or side stem well within the acceptable boundary so there’s room for new sprouts to grow several inches. This way the plants will retain an attractive and more natural appearance and be polite at the same time.

Orchid maintenance

Divide overgrown cymbidium orchids when bulbs fill the container and as soon as flowers wither. Remove the dormant leafless bulbs and separate the rest into clumps of 3 or 4 bulbs with leaves. Dust the cuts with sulfur or powdered charcoal to prevent rotting, then plant them in fresh orchid mix. Clean individual dormant bulbs and let them heal for a week or two, then plant them, remembering to keep the mix moist and feed them every 10-14 days.

For weeds only

Keep string trimmers away from tree trunks. Weed wackers work great on weeds, but many who use them often inadvertently cut away bark and wood near the base of the tree, effectively girdling it. Girdling stunts growth and can eventually kill trees. It’s best to pull weeds away from tree trunks.

Give nature a hand

Corn plants may be showing tassels now. Tassels are the grainlike flowers on the tops of the plants that release masses of pollen in the morning. Silks will soon appear between the leaves and stalks, and they need pollen to develop full ears of corn. Nature handles it fine when corn is planted in great quantities, but in a small home plot, nature may need help to complete pollination and fill up the ears with edible kernels. Using a small paint brush or even your finger, pick up some of the pollen dust from the upper leaves and daub it onto the fresh silks coming out of the tiny ears forming along the sides of each cornstalk. In four to six days you will have nice, plump ears of delicious sweet corn.

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/lifestyle/20170721/5-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-july-22

Gardens galore: Five homes, library on garden tour

People can see his personal plant collection, if you want to call it that, during the Marquette Beautification Restoration Committee Inc.’s 24th annual Garden Tour set for 1 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

The tour, which features Marquette area gardens, is a major fundraiser for the committee, which is in charge of the annual Petunia Pandemonium in the city of Marquette.

Zehnder’s garden at 425 E. Ohio St. won’t be the only one on display. The other spots on the tour are at the homes of Richard and Susan Vanderveen, 812 N. Front St.; Earl Senchuk, 207 W. Arch St.; Debby and Dan Dagenais, 856 W. Bluff St.; and Carol Labine, 6408 U.S. 41 South.

Also to be shown is the children’s garden at the Peter White Public Library, 217 N. Front St., the site of a tour refreshment stop.

Zehnder and his wife, Monica, have lived at the spacious Ohio Street home for about 42 years.

“I’m a plant collector, everything from exotics to whatever,” Marv Zehnder said.

The Zehnder front yard has many plants, to be sure, but it also has two large linden trees that provide a lot of shade.

They also can be a bit noisy. Earlier this year when one tree was in bloom, the honeybees took a liking to it.

“The whole tree was buzzing,” Monica Zehnder said.

The backyard is pretty much solid flowers, with a few small paths leading to spots like a sitting area.

Pat Gruber, a member of the MBRC, called it “very nice.”

That’s putting it mildly.

Growing behind the Zehnder home, which has a greenhouse and a garden shed, are plants like an evergreen amaryllis, a hybrid begonia, a climbing hydrangea and purple poppies. He also has orchids hanging from trees.

“When we moved in here, there was absolutely nothing back here but a sand pit,” Marv Zehnder. “I always have the need to grow something.”

He also has the need to “rescue” plants, which haven’t been purchased at local businesses that have plants that haven’t yet sold during the garden season.

Not only is the Zehnder backyard scenic, it’s pleasant in an audible way with the gentle sound of running water coming from a rill — a small shallow channel.

Tickets for the event, which will take place rain or shine, are $10, with children under 12 admitted free. Tickets are available at Forsberg’s…A New Leaf, Garden Bouquet and Design, FlowerWorks. Lutey’s and the Landmark Inn, all in Marquette; Nagelkirk in Harvey; and All Seasons Floral Design in Ishpeming.

For more information, contact Sue Hefke at (906) 249-5308, or visit mqtbeautification.org.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.

Article source: https://www.miningjournal.net/news/front-page-news/2017/07/gardens-galore-five-homes-library-on-garden-tour/

Wall project to bring together Natrona – Tribune

Updated 24 hours ago

Stevo Sadvary knelt in front of a cement board in the shape of a tomato in Natrona’s Community Garden Tuesday afternoon to demonstrate how volunteers might arrange tiny pieces of red and green ceramic tile on its surface.

Sadvary, a Squirrel Hill-based mosaic artist, is working with the Natrona Comes Together Association and Habitat for Humanity Allegheny Valley to craft a Unification Wall at the community garden in the Natrona section of Harrison.

He has helped with other mosiac projects in the area, so he was more than happy to participate in this one.

“It’s fun,” Sadvary said. “I like my art to be seen by a lot of people.”

The wall, which will surround the garden, will be made of gabions filled with multi-colored bricks, rocks and cement boards cut into garden shapes like flowers, carrots, butterflies and strawberries. The cement boards will be covered in colorful ceramic tiles.

A series of flag poles will be incorporated into the wall, said Bill Godfrey, president of Natrona Comes Together, and garden seating, or benches made of gabions, also are in the works.

“It’s going to be very cool,” Godfrey said of the project, funded through a $30,000 donation from ATI Allegheny Ludlum. “I think it’s going to be very unique to Natrona.”

“It’s going to be more than a wall — it’s almost like an instillation, like a garden design. It’s really going to be an interactive art piece or utilitarian art piece.”

Redland Brick in Cheswick donated the bricks.

“We’re trying to not pollute as much as we can and do recycled things,” Godfrey said.

The purpose of the wall is to keep garden workers safe from ATI trucks that use the road and also add aesthetics to the area. The garden, which sits on the corner of Federal and Greenwich streets in Harrison, is used by people of all ages and is across the street from a truck stop.

“There are a lot of young kids here,” Godfrey said. “We’re just really concerned that maybe a young child would run into the street.”

Retired civil engineer and Habitat for Humanity volunteer Dennis Mialki came up with the idea to use gabions as opposed to something more industrial-looking like a concrete or brick wall.

He used gabions while doing relief work in Nepal in 2015. A village had been struck by an earthquake and ninety-three homes were destroyed, he said.

The destroyed homes were made of stone and mud mortar, Mialki said. Relief workers built the villagers new homes out of brick and concrete, but a bunch of stone was left over when the homes were torn down. Mialki didn’t want to waste the stone, so he used it inside gabions to reinforce a dirt road and expand the village’s parking area.

When approached about the garden wall, Mialki thought gabions would work well there, too.

“It’s a much more organic-looking wall,” he said. “I thought it being such it would be a better solution for a garden.”

Mialki lives in West Tarentum, but grew up in Natrona.

He recognizes that Natrona is a disadvantaged area that needs help, so he hopes the project will bring the community together.

“One of the beauties of using a gabion wall is that it’s very volunteer friendly and it’s very unskilled labor friendly,” he said. “I was able to teach a village of 400 people in Nepal how to put the cages together and fill them and I couldn’t even speak their language.”

Project organizers are searching for volunteers to help with the art and construction of the wall, which should take roughly four weeks to complete. It will be 2 feet deep, 4 feet high and 250 feet long.

Helen Strzesieski, a board member with Natrona Comes Together, will supervise volunteers on the project.

Like Mialki, Strzesieski lives in Tarentum but grew up in Natrona. She said she likes that the project is environmentally safe and thinks it will be beautiful.

“This will be something to catch your eye,” she said.

Madasyn Czebiniak is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4702, mczebiniak@tribweb.com, or on Twitter @maddyczebstrib.

Article source: http://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/12510267-74/wall-project-to-bring-together-natrona

Greenthumbs get a gander at gardens

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In the shady confines of one suburban yard in northwest Bend, a surprising array of plants have flourished with a lot tending, time, water and soul. Pink hibiscus, lavender, rose of Sharon and bluebeard the yard was a garden of color.

It wasnt always like this. When Cameron and Tiffany Clark moved into their home on Delaware Avenue near downtown more than 10 years ago, the property didnt boast the colorful garden it does today.

The backyard was dirt, hops and blackberry bushes, said Cameron Clark, 51.

But the couples garden is now so beautiful that it was one of seven gardens featured Saturday in the High Desert Garden Tour, an annual event put on by the Oregon State University Extension Service as a fundraiser for its horticulture program, which includes the Master Gardener Program. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers educated by OSU Extension Service to share gardening information and education opportunities with the community.

For $10, anyone could purchase a booklet with the list of homes on the garden tour, which featured a range of gardens.

Cameron Clark, owner of C3 Events, was quick to point out that he and his wife arent the masterminds behind their garden. While they help tend it, its largely maintained by Lindene and Maury Douglass, of Bend, owners of Gardens by Design.

Lindene Douglass started working with Cameron Clark 15 years ago when he was undergoing chemotherapy. Cameron Clark had gardened indoors, but wanted to branch into outdoor gardening. She taught him how to build beds, plant bulbs, properly water and more. The experience was therapeutic for Clark, now cancer-free, and Gardens by Design has overseen his familys garden ever since.

Theyve become dear, dear friends, Cameron Clark said, adding that learning to garden was healing for him. It was kind of soul work.

Now in its 24th year, the goal of the High Desert Garden Tour is to offer attendees a peek into their neighbors gardens around Central Oregon. This year, all of the homes were in Bend, but last year, some were in Redmond. The tour also offers a chance for gardeners to learn and connect with one another, and to see how the gardens vary from native plants to vegetables to greenhouse plants.

Standing in the cool grass of his front yard late Saturday morning offered Cameron Clark an opportunity to share the beauty of his yard while he greeted and chatted with attendees.

Shes just poured all of her soul into this garden, he said of Lindene.

While a guitarist played soft melodies out front, other musicians, including a violinist, played separate music in the backyard. Also in the backyard, John Hillmer, an artist who has done some large-scale backdrops for C3 Events, painted on an easel. One of his completed paintings from years ago hung on a nearby fence.

Miniature signs, which were specially made for the event, denoted many of the plants. And one of the more personal touches in the garden were the ancestral plants, Cameron Clark called them a few plants dedicated to family members now gone.

Beneath a tall and blooming early girl tomato plant, a plaque read in memory of our beloved Grandpa Dick. Cameron Clarks father had bought an early girl tomato plant for his mother each year.

Monica Welch, 66, and Priscilla Elder, 65, both of Bend, toured with their friend Ann Hinnen, 65, visiting from Eugene. Welch and Elder attended the event last year and enjoyed it so much they wanted to come out again.

At another house on the tour, located on Awbrey Butte in northwest Bend, Genie McBurnett shared her tips and tricks for living at peace with deer and other creatures who love a good garden snack.

For the most part, McBurnett purposefully chooses plants that deer dont like to nibble on but its taken her several years of research, both by reading and through trial and error, to cultivate a successful garden. While her front yard includes some shade plants, her backyard is mostly native.

McBurnett moved into her Bend home on Summit Drive in 2001 after she retired from her civilian job with the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a team that designed and built sonar systems for submarines. Since then, shes learned a thing or two about gardening with deer, chipmunks, squirrels and bunny rabbits running around.

Her first year in Bend, she remembers realizing her garden was nothing but a salad bar for animals sharing the spot she calls home. Unlike some gardeners, though, shes not mad if deer get to her plants. Its her view that it was her fault for tempting them. Now she knows that to keep the deer at bay, scented, leathery, gray-green, sticky, fuzzy or very fine plants are the way to go.

This garden lives in harmony with a whole lot of critters, McBurnett said.

Back out front of McBurnetts home, Susan Agnew and Judy Alford, both of Bend, admired the waterfall and shade garden. Agnew, who was especially fond of the hummingbird mint, pointed out the plants with pink blooms in a sunnier section of the garden.

We have friends who are Master Gardeners and they said you cant miss this, Alford said of the tour.

Reporter: 541-383-0325, kfisicaro@bendbulletin.com

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In the shady confines of one suburban yard in northwest Bend, a surprising array of plants have flourished with a lot tending, time, water and soul. Pink hibiscus, lavender, rose of Sharon and bluebeard the yard was a garden of color. –><!– valuehere:

It wasnt always like this. When Cameron and Tiffany Clark moved into their home on Delaware Avenue near downtown more than 10 years ago, the property didnt boast the colorful garden it does today. –><!– valuehere:

The backyard was dirt, hops and blackberry bushes, said Cameron Clark, 51. –>
<!– Lead Test:

In the shady confines of one suburban yard in northwest Bend, a surprising array of plants have flourished with a lot tending, time, water and soul. Pink hibiscus, lavender, rose of Sharon and bluebeard the yard was a garden of color.

It wasnt always like this. When Cameron and Tiffany Clark moved into their home on Delaware Avenue near downtown more than 10 years ago, the property didnt boast the colorful garden it does today.

–>

In the shady confines of one suburban yard in northwest Bend, a surprising array of plants have flourished with a lot tending, time, water and “soul.” Pink hibiscus, lavender, rose of Sharon and bluebeard — the yard was a garden of color.

It wasn’t always like this. When Cameron and Tiffany Clark moved into their home on Delaware Avenue near downtown more than 10 years ago, the property didn’t boast the colorful garden it does today.

“The backyard was dirt, hops and blackberry bushes,” said Cameron Clark, 51.

But the couple’s garden is now so beautiful that it was one of seven gardens featured Saturday in the High Desert Garden Tour, an annual event put on by the Oregon State University Extension Service as a fundraiser for its horticulture program, which includes the Master Gardener Program. Master Gardeners are trained volunteers educated by OSU Extension Service to share gardening information and education opportunities with the community.

For $10, anyone could purchase a booklet with the list of homes on the garden tour, which featured a range of gardens.

Cameron Clark, owner of C3 Events, was quick to point out that he and his wife aren’t the masterminds behind their garden. While they help tend it, it’s largely maintained by Lindene and Maury Douglass, of Bend, owners of Gardens by Design.

Lindene Douglass started working with Cameron Clark 15 years ago when he was undergoing chemotherapy. Cameron Clark had gardened indoors, but wanted to branch into outdoor gardening. She taught him how to build beds, plant bulbs, properly water and more. The experience was therapeutic for Clark, now cancer-free, and Gardens by Design has overseen his family’s garden ever since.

“They’ve become dear, dear friends,” Cameron Clark said, adding that learning to garden was healing for him. “It was kind of soul work.”

Now in its 24th year, the goal of the High Desert Garden Tour is to offer attendees a peek into their neighbors’ gardens around Central Oregon. This year, all of the homes were in Bend, but last year, some were in Redmond. The tour also offers a chance for gardeners to learn and connect with one another, and to see how the gardens vary — from native plants to vegetables to greenhouse plants.

Standing in the cool grass of his front yard late Saturday morning offered Cameron Clark an opportunity to share the beauty of his yard while he greeted and chatted with attendees.

“She’s just poured all of her soul into this garden,” he said of Lindene.

While a guitarist played soft melodies out front, other musicians, including a violinist, played separate music in the backyard. Also in the backyard, John Hillmer, an artist who has done some large-scale backdrops for C3 Events, painted on an easel. One of his completed paintings from years ago hung on a nearby fence.

Miniature signs, which were specially made for the event, denoted many of the plants. And one of the more personal touches in the garden were the “ancestral plants,” Cameron Clark called them — a few plants dedicated to family members now gone.

Beneath a tall and blooming early girl tomato plant, a plaque read “in memory of our beloved Grandpa Dick.” Cameron Clark’s father had bought an early girl tomato plant for his mother each year.

Monica Welch, 66, and Priscilla Elder, 65, both of Bend, toured with their friend Ann Hinnen, 65, visiting from Eugene. Welch and Elder attended the event last year and enjoyed it so much they wanted to come out again.

At another house on the tour, located on Awbrey Butte in northwest Bend, Genie McBurnett shared her “tips and tricks” for living at peace with deer and other creatures who love a good garden snack.

For the most part, ­McBurnett purposefully chooses plants that deer don’t like to nibble on — but it’s taken her several years of research, both by reading and through trial and error, to cultivate a successful garden. While her front yard includes some shade plants, her backyard is mostly native.

McBurnett moved into her Bend home on Summit Drive in 2001 after she retired from her civilian job with the U.S. Navy in Washington, D.C., where she worked on a team that designed and built sonar systems for submarines. Since then, she’s learned a thing or two about gardening with deer, chipmunks, squirrels and bunny rabbits running around.

Her first year in Bend, she remembers realizing her garden was nothing but a “salad bar” for animals sharing the spot she calls home. Unlike some gardeners, though, she’s not mad if deer get to her plants. It’s her view that it was her fault for tempting them. Now she knows that to keep the deer at bay, scented, leathery, gray-green, sticky, fuzzy or very fine plants are the way to go.

“This garden lives in harmony with a whole lot of critters,” McBurnett said.

Back out front of McBurnett’s home, Susan Agnew and Judy Alford, both of Bend, admired the waterfall and shade garden. Agnew, who was especially fond of the hummingbird mint, pointed out the plants with pink blooms in a sunnier section of the garden.

“We have friends who are Master Gardeners and they said you can’t miss this,” Alford said of the tour.

— Reporter: 541-383-0325, kfisicaro@bendbulletin.com

Article source: http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/5465444-151/greenthumbs-get-a-gander-at-gardens

Mt. Airy News | Master Gardeners offer fall classes

DOBSON — The Surry County Master Gardener Volunteers are hosting a practical, inspirational and environmentally conscientious lineup of fall gardening classes.

These classes are filled with information designed to help newcomers get started and intermediate gardeners increase productivity, while even offering experts insights into interesting plants and innovative planting methods.

Contrary to popular belief, spring is not the best time to start a garden. For best results in soil preparation, planning and planting perennials, fall is the best time to get a garden growing. Before digging in, save time and money by spending a few evenings gaining insights from the Masters.

Classes are held from 6-8 p.m. on the dates shown below, at the Surry County Extension office located at 210 N. Main St. Dobson, NC 27017. Call (336) 401-8025 to reserve a seat and copies of printed course materials.

Aug. 1

Fall Vegetable Gardening — Surry County weather and climate conditions can be a little unpredictable in fall. But with a conscientious planning, careful plant selection, and good timing, folks can cut their grocery bill by growing nutritious, delicious and fresh vegetables well into winter. Learn what works and how to navigate challenges with expert advice from long-time local gardeners dedicated to growing great edibles.

Aug. 8

Edible Landscaping — Ready to grow beyond the vegetable garden? Consider planting an edible landscape. Learn how to adapt traditional landscape design practices to plan, plant, and grow one’s own exciting and exotic edible paradise. By diverting the garden budget to plants that are both decorative and delicious, people can save money in the long run, create natural habitat for endangered pollinators, and enjoy greater food security and nutritional diversity just outside the door.

Aug. 15

Permaculture 101 — People Care. Earth Care. Fair Share. Do those concepts sound like good living?

Then come find out how growing a garden using powers of observation and some surprisingly simple ideas can help grow many of the resources people need for the good life, such as food, herbs and building materials.

As an added bonus, we’ll talk about how those techniques can enhance ecological restoration and encourage community. We’ll touch on ideas relating to soil erosion control, water management, keyhole gardens, herb spirals, self-renewing fruit tree based plant guilds, and help folks discover how ecological thinking can help cut their dependence on purchased inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers.

Aug. 29

It’s a Wrap: Garden Clean-Up and Cover Crops — As long-time Master Gardener Volunteer Judy Bates says “You’re going to have a cover crop, whether you plant one or not.”

Bare soil is a weed patch waiting to happen. Come learn how to use cover crops to increase the biological life in the soil, prevent erosion, and manage weed and pest problems to maximize a garden’s growing capacity year after year.

Also, hear about best practices related to garden clean-up and tool maintenance to set you up for success next year.

For those ready to take your gardening to the next level, consider becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer. Through a rigorous 40-hour training program, and with the support of a community of fellow volunteers, participants can become a Master Gardener and serve their own communities by helping others to grow more and better.

Become part of a green revolution happening right here in Surry County. Find more details here: https://surry.ces.ncsu.edu/site-surry-1/ or contact the Extension office at (336) 401-8025.

Staff report

Article source: http://mtairynews.com/news/52746/master-gardeners-offer-fall-classes