Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for August 4, 2017

GARDENING WITH THE MASTERS: August tips for fertilizing, pest control and more


♦ Take root cuttings of woody shrubs and evergreens (such as azaleas, holly and hydrangeas) to propagate.

♦ Powdery mildew diseases attack a great many ornamentals, most often in late summer when the days are warm and nights are cool. Some mildews, particularly those on roses, apples and cherries, also are increased by high humidity. Prevention by proper cultural techniques is the first defense. Grow resistant varieties; space and prune plants to improve air flow and reduce shading; water early in the day and at the base rather than on leaves; and reduce nitrogen applications to avoid excessive, late-season growth.

♦ Water shrubs deeply once a week during August. Many plants including Camellias and Rhododendrons, are forming buds for next season’s bloom at this time. Do not prune or you will be removing the flower buds. During hot, dry August days, avoid deep cultivation in your flower beds. Loosening the soil under these conditions reduces water uptake by increasing loss of soil water and damaging surface roots. Plants often look much worse after cultivation than before.

♦ Remember to water roses at least 1 inch of water per week. Remove spent blooms (deadheading) to encourage quicker re-bloom. Cut down into thick canes for largest blooms. Prune 1/4” above an outward facing five-leaflet eye. Watch for spider mites on the underside of the upper leaves. A blast of water from underneath will discourage them.


♦ Remember to continue fertilizing once a month in both August and September.

♦ Strawberries, blueberries and bramble fruits are forming buds for next year’s crop; be sure to keep them watered for better production.

♦ Fertilize strawberries in August. On plants set out this spring, apply 4-6 ounces of ammonium nitrate (33 percent actual nitrogen) or 12-18 oz. of 10-10-10 per 25 feet of row. Spread the fertilizer uniformly in a band 14” wide over the row when foliage (not the ground) is dry. Brush fertilizer off leaves to avoid leaf burn. For plants in the second year of growth, increase application rate to 6-8 oz. ammonium nitrate or 18-24 oz. of 10-10-10 per 25’ of row.

♦ Heavy rains at harvest can dilute the sugars in melons. Watermelons can reconcentrate sugar if left on the vine for a few dry days, but cantaloupes can’t.

♦ Harvest cantaloupes when the melons pull easily from the stem; honeydews when the blossom end is slightly soft or springy; watermelons when there is a hollow sound when thumped and skin loses its shine. Also, run your hand around the middle of the watermelon. When fully ripe, most varieties develop low, longitudinal ridges, rather like flexed calf muscles.

♦ Start seeds of cool weather vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards and lettuce in order to transplant to the garden in early September

♦ White fly may be a serious problem this month on tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and squash. There are no effective preventive measures, so it’s important to control the population before they increase to damaging levels. Hang sticky yellow strips among your plants to trap these pests.

♦ Plant bush beans now for your fall crop. Watch out for insects, such as Mexican Bean Beetle.

Success! An email has been sent with a link to confirm list signup.

Error! There was an error processing your request.

♦ If going on vacation this month, be sure to harvest all your vegetables and then arrange for someone to pick fast maturing crops, such as squash and okra; otherwise, they will become over mature and stop producing.

Spider mites feeding on plant juices. Spider mites leave webs on the underside of leaves and eggs are laid in these webs. The grayish, stifled appearance of leaves infested with spider mites is a result of their feeding on plant juices. 

Special to the Tribune

♦ Spider mites leave webs on the underside of leaves and eggs are laid in these webs. The grayish, stifled appearance of leaves infested with spider mites is a result of their feeding on plant juices. Spider mites thrive in hot, dry weather. For mild infestations, hose the foliage hose the foliage to wash off the mites. For severe problems, spray with an approved chemical according to the label.


♦ Water your plants several hours before applying pesticides, especially during dry weather. Drought-stressed plants have less water in their plant tissues. The chemicals that enter the leaves will be more concentrated and may burn the leaves.

♦ The last two weeks of August is the time to spray Kudzu with a non-selective weed killer or mow all visible foliage, since it is at its weakest at this time.

Article source:

TIM’S TIPS: Routinely fertilize for best results in garden – Eagle

How does your garden grow? It is interesting to talk to customers in our store about how their gardens are doing this season. As we all know, last summer was very dry and many gardens did not do very well. So many plants dried up and died last year. It would appear that this year the plants are doing fine. Some people have complained that some of their vegetable plants are not producing the way that some people had hoped for. Flower gardens appear to be faring much better. Some people have felt that the plants are not blooming as prolifically as in prior years. 

Once I get to talk to people in depth, I have discovered that the people who are happy with their gardens are usually the people who have routinely fertilized their flower and vegetable gardens. The vast majority of the plants that you put into your gardens are hybrid plants. In the case of vegetable plants, the hybrid plants need a steady supply of food for plant growth, flower production, vegetable production and ultimately the ripening of the vegetables. If you do not keep up with fertilizing your vegetable plants, the plants will produce fewer flowers, which ultimately means fewer vegetables. 

Many people have complained that they have healthy tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes, but very few that are producing ripe tomatoes. This could be one of two things happening. Some tomatoes take a long time to ripen. This is usually the larger-sized tomato. If you planted Big Boy tomatoes, they usually don’t ripen until later in August. If you planted some of the early maturing varieties, think Early Girl, and they are not ripening, then the problem is lack of using the proper fertilizer. If your tomatoes are going to ripen, they will need a lot of potassium in the soil. Potassium is the third number of the three numbers listed on your fertilizer package. If your tomatoes are going to ripen and if the rest of your vegetables are going to ripen, make sure that the potassium level is high in your fertilizer. 

Many people have also commented that their annual flowers in their window boxes started off well but the flower production has slowed down substantially. Again, this problem stems from a lack of fertilizer. Most of the varieties of annual flowers that you would buy are hybrid plants that need a lot of fertilizer to successfully produce a lot of flowers. The middle number on your fertilizer package is phosphorous. This is the ingredient that helps in flower bud production. If the phosphorous level is low, you are not going to get a lot of flowers. You also need to keep in mind that as your flowers grow and those containers fill up with plants, you need to fertilize regularly to keep those plants producing. In the case of annuals, you may have fertilized once a month when the plants were young. Now that the plants are full size, they probably need to be fertilized every 7 to 10 days to keep those flowers coming along. 

If you want your gardens to keep producing during the summer months, you need to give your plants the proper fertilizer and you need to do so on a proper schedule. Once you get into the habit of doing so, you will love your gardens even more.

Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week. 


Tim Lamprey is the owner of a North of Boston garden care center. His column appears occasionally in the Gloucester Daily Times.

Article source:

Tips for taking better photos of your garden and wildlife

Tips for taking better photos of your garden and wildlife

August 4, 2017
Updated: August 4, 2017 2:23pm

  • Tommy Kelly shot these rain lilies after a rain shower. Photo: Tommy Kelly




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 so easy these days 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?


Try to identify what it is about the subject matter that “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, suggests Rob Simpson, an instructor in nature photography at Lord Fairfax College in Middletown, Va. 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 says. “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

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

img {
#traductor p {
width: 100%;
#google_translate_element {
border-bottom: 5px solid


To read this article in one of Houston’s most-spoken languages, click on the button below.


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.

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 found in 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 and apertures

Becoming a better photographer will mean understanding shutter speeds and apertures, Tharp says. 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, Tharp says.

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

Article source:

Theodore Decker: Clintonville rain gardens not what residents envisioned

The city never promised them a rose garden. Only rain gardens.

Some residents of Clintonville say that’s still not what they got.

“These are not really ‘rain gardens,'” resident Julie Karovics said, looking at a small piece of the city’s recent handiwork along Glenmont Avenue. “They’re ditches.”

Linda Schellkopf chose another descriptor.

“They’re an eyesore,” she said.

This reaction isn’t what the creators of Blueprint Columbus had in mind. The city’s 20-year plan to combat sewage overflows by going green wasn’t supposed to make its citizens see red.

Yet here city officials are, two years after the project was first announced, trying to quell a clamor they argue is largely misinformed but spreading regardless, passed from neighbor to neighbor on sidewalks and social media.

Critics like Karovics don’t doubt that the city meant well. But they argue that this road to hell is paved with good intentions and riddled with mosquito pits.

The seeds of the controversy were planted as early as 2004, when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency began scolding Columbus for allowing too much sewage to wash into area waterways during heavy rainstorms.

The city has spent a bundle on traditional fixes since then. Blueprint Columbus was hailed in 2015 as a greener alternative. It relies on the citywide construction of hundreds of rain gardens, beginning in Clintonville and Linden, as well as a sump-pump program and other eco-friendlier solutions to lessen storm runoff.

Rain gardens collect and filter rainwater in such a way that it doesn’t overburden the sewers. They are depressions equipped with drains and landscaped with a carefully selected blend of vegetation, rocks, gravel and soil.

That’s what the designers see.

The critics see Columbus’ version as weedy foxholes. Ankle-twisting pedestrian hazards. Cauldrons of West Nile virus. Karovics sees them from the perspective of a landscape architect who used to oversee the on-campus design at Ohio State University.

“Good design, you feel good when you see it,” she said.

The rain gardens make her feel bad. Very bad.

“The details on it are very clumsy and very amateurish,” she said.

She also doesn’t think it’s working. She has visited the gardens during heavy rains. Some were overwhelmed by runoff while others saw none, she said.

The gardens are largely confined to tree lawns, although some required the construction of “bump-outs” that jut into the road. Resident Rich Sprowls fears the bump-outs will impede emergency vehicles, snowplows and school buses.

“They put in an obstacle course,” Karovics said. 

On a street like Glenmont Avenue, one can see her point. It looks like a hodgepodge of bump-outs, orange plastic fencing, and long, netted tubes filled with straw that are meant to prevent erosion of the newly planted gardens.

“This is what we used to call jakey design,” she said.

“If people really wanted them, why aren’t they volunteering to put one in front of their house?” Sprowls said.

John Ivanic, the city’s assistant director of public utilities, said some residents have requested gardens. But Leslie Westerfelt, a public-relations specialist for the city’s office of sustainability, said the locations are chosen based on runoff data and site limitations.

The fencing and straw tubing on Glenmont is only temporary, she said. The city agreed with residents that some of the gardens are too close to the sidewalk edges, and those changes are being made. The plantings will take time to fill in.

She said water won’t sit in the depressions long enough for mosquito larvae to mature, and despite some previously mixed messages, maintenance always will fall to the city, not the residents.

She will detail the project during Thursday’s Clintonville Area Commission meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Clintonville Woman’s Club, 3951 N. High St. 

She said public meetings were held as far back as two years ago but were sparsely attended. She knows that likely won’t be the case tonight.

“There’s so much change going on in Clintonville that it’s making people nervous,” Karovics said.

“You trust the city to do the right thing,” Schellkopf said. “And then all of a sudden, you find out differently.”


Article source:

Flower gardening made easy

SHORELINE A flower garden can brighten up and enliven any landscape. It can turn an ordinary garden into a colorful showcase or create a border that pops. If only one could just wiggle their nose and blink their eyes for a beautiful garden to appear.

For Darlene and Guy Simonian it does. The couple, who enjoy spending time at their home in Madison from late spring to early fall, are greeted with an abundance of color from the moment they see their property from the roadside.

“I absolutely wanted a lot of gorgeous pink, purple and yellow flowers that attract butterflies,” says Darlene Simonian, who is thankful to have everything done and cared for by Sandi and Eric Manna, owners/partners of MM Garden Designs, LLC, an 11-year-old company based in Killingworth with more than 20 years of experience between the two of them.

Working with the design duo since 2015, the Simonians initially contacted them to tackle their front flower beds. “They ripped out a lot of tall grasses and plants too big for their environment, yet kept some hydrangeas that are indicative of the shoreline.”

“We redid their entire gardens in their front and back yards as well as their pool area,” says Sandi Manna. “We plant containers, fertilize, and maintain everything. Whenever they come, it is ready — weed free, disease free and ready to be photographed at any time. They both can look at it and just enjoy it without having to think about what needs to be deadheaded or divided.”

“When Sandi and Eric came to the home, we liked them from the start,” continues Darlene Simonian. “They took the time to really listen. They are very creative people and passionate about what they do.”

Catharine Arnold agrees wholeheartedly, noting that they “have an eye for it.” First hiring them to design a shade garden at their lake home in Hebron, Arnold wanted a couple of flower gardens at her Madison home.

“We tried to grow grass in our front yard, but we just gave up,” says Arnold. “The hill had too much sun, and I was constantly worrying about draining our well to water it, so the grass never grew. Finally, after 25 years of living here, we’re thrilled to see a variety of flowers and bushes that are drought tolerant. They even helped us set up a sprinkler system that works with our well.”

“Neighbors thought we were sprucing up the property to sell it,” laughs Arnold. “Another neighbor, who walks by our house every day, says, ‘It brightens his day!’”

“It makes me happy that Sandi and Eric are so flexible, knowledgeable, and able to make all this happen without using a lot of chemicals,” she continues. “With two dogs, that was very important to me.”

“Sandi is unbelievably responsive in answering questions and clearly knows her plants,” echoes Mike Durham, who’s home in Madison was overgrown with plantings until he found MM Garden Designs.

“When calling other companies, I found that a lot of what they do is cookie cutter,” he says. “I didn’t want someone to just dig holes and line green bushes up in a row. They talked to us and came out to our property a few different times to note how the sun passes through our yard. They even created computer images so that we could see what the plantings would look like in all four seasons.”

“Mike wanted a wow factor,” notes Eric Manna. “He didn’t want a row of arborvitaes or azaleas, but instead shrubs that were specific for a songbird garden. He looked at our website and saw the diversity of what we could do.”

“In fact, Mike started talking about wanting to attract one of his favorite birds, the cedar waxwing, and there just so happens to be a berry-laden shrub that attracts it,” noted Sandi Manna.

“Our home backs up to the salt marsh, so we wanted something in tune with the setting. I wanted to attract birds and butterflies, while my wife wanted fragrant bushes like lilacs and roses,” says Durham. “There is a different flower that pops up every day.”

“We really do think about how the plants will change and stagger bloom times so that no matter where a client looks, there’s something new at every season,” says Sandi Manna. “We love filling beds with color. Our knowledge is extensive with perennials and we enjoy designing songbird gardens, cutting and fragrant gardens. We’ve even done a moonlight garden for a customer with hydrangeas, Oriental lilies, roses, garden phlox and lambs ear to name a few,” notes Eric Manna.

“They were on site when the plants were delivered and acted as our advocate, even sending some plants back,” Durham continues. “Both of them are hands-on and not afraid to get their hands dirty.”

“We’ll do as much as the client wants,” notes Sandi Manna. “We have clients where we maintain their gardens once a week, while a different client likes us there once a month.”

“What I find so charming about working with Sandi and Eric is that they are a husband and wife team,” remarks Darlene Simonian. “They work together so harmoniously.”

The duo make creating an attractive, long-blooming and easy-to-maintain annual and perennial flower garden look easy. For more information visit or call 860-575-3847.

Jennifer Carmichael is a freelance writer, publicist, specializing in landscape and home design. If you have an interesting project to share, she can be reached via email: or call 860-388-7652.

Article source:

Stunning streetscapes are inspiration for gardeners – The San Diego Union

In my travels around the county, I always notice interesting plantings in the public’s view. There are parks, storefront landscapes, streetscapes and other spots one wouldn’t necessarily call a “garden,” but whose beautiful designs and spectacular plant choices are well worth emulating in our home gardens.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Encinitas: Leucadia Boulevard exit from I-5

Exit I-5 heading east on Leucadia Boulevard and you drive through an area that was once all greenhouses and flower fields. In the late 1990s, the city of Encinitas completed a 4-mile-long connection between the freeway and El Camino Real to the east. Nowell and Associates Landscape Architects were contracted to design a streetscape that honored the community’s horticultural heritage. Principal designer Greg Nowell designed the hard surfaces, including the unusual undulating sidewalks, while landscape architect Chris Drayer took the lead for the planting plan and plant palette.

Drayer knew that the streetscape would be experienced at 35 miles per hour. He devised bold plantings that would unfold “like music,” in a composition Drayer describes as “continuous but varies … (it) has recognizable themes and measures. As you go along, the original measure disappears as a theme, new elements are introduced, and then you go back to the original theme … ”

Library prepares for book festival

The Clinton Public Library is excited to host the third annual Clinton Book Festival – A Celebration of Books, Reading, and the Book Arts. The festival will take place on Saturday, Aug. 26, at Clinton Community College from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We are looking forward to offering an educational and fun-filled program with readings, workshops, demonstrations and other activities featuring local and regional writers, artists and organizations. A great selection of activities will be available for book-lovers of all ages.

Book Festival Sponsorship

In order to ensure a quality experience that is a free and open to the entire community, we are seeking sponsors who continually demonstrate their commitment to quality-of-life initiatives in Clinton. There are three levels of sponsorship, each with their own perks: Bookworm ($50-$249): recognition at pre-festival party and admission for two guests, booth/exhibit space on festival grounds, listing on festival webpage and social media; Scholar ($250-$499): recognition at pre-festival party and admission for four guests, booth/exhibit space on festival grounds, listing with logo on festival webpage and social media, inclusion on printed promotional materials including posters, program and advertisements; and bibliophile ($500-$1,000): recognition at pre-festival party and admission for six guests, booth/exhibit space on festival grounds, listing with hyperlinked logo on festival webpage and social media, inclusion on all promotional materials including posters, programs and advertisements (print, radio, television and web). We look forward to sharing our passion for books, reading and the book arts through the Clinton Book Festival and are thrilled at the opportunity to have you as part of this event. For more information on sponsorships, please contact me at 242-8441 or

Genealogy Day at Lyons

Join researchers and staff for Genealogy Day at CPL-Lyons on Saturday, July 29, anytime from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Genealogy Day is a chance to exchange ideas, learn tricks of the trade, and discuss your projects. The cost is $5 per attendee, which includes 50 black-and-white copies. Bring your own lunch. The library will furnish snacks. No reservations are needed. For more information, contact the library by stopping in at 105 Main Ave., emailing or calling CPL-Lyons at 242-5355, Wednesday through Saturday.

Market Music: Andy and Judy Daigle

On Wednesday, Aug. 9, from 4 to 6 p.m., bring your lawn chairs, some money to shop at the Farmer’s Market, and then kick back to listen to some great music. Andy and Judy Daigle are a Boston-area folk duo who perform original, lyric-driven songs that combine their beautiful vocals and instrumentation. Their close harmonies blend Judy’s evocative alto and Andy’s rich baritone on popular folk covers and their growing list of original songs. Clinton Public Library Market Music Concerts coincide with the Lyons Farmer’s Market and are sponsored once again by the Clinton Jaycees.

Taking a Break in August

The following programs are taking a break in August: Afternoon Adventures (Grades 1-5) and Create-and-Connect (Grades 6-12).


Morning storytimes will continue on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Come join the fun with songs, books and puppet shows.


We will be replacing the glass windows and doors at the Lyons branch library because the current windows were put in during the 1950s and 1960s. New energy-efficient windows and doors will be installed late this summer in order to make the building more energy efficient. It will also make it more cost effective to run the building year round. There will be some disturbance to the existing landscaping during the installation so the landscaping will be redone in the fall.

Kendra Evers is the Outreach Services and Teen Services librarian with the Clinton Public Library.

Article source:

TRACES OF SELF-EXILE | Landscape Architecture Magazine

A new biography of James Rose explores his difficult brilliance.


“Words! Can we ever untangle them?” reads James Rose’s opening salvo in Pencil Points. Appearing in the definitive journal of modernist design thought, the landscape designer’s 1939 essay rejects preconceived ideas of formal or informal design and makes the case for an organic and materials-based approach—an argument approaching revelation at a time when Beaux-Arts methodologies held sway.

Reading the text today, Rose’s words cut through the decades, carrying with them equal doses of wit, creativity, and frustration with the status quo. An uncompromising designer from his time in and out of Harvard (he was expelled in 1937, later returned but never graduated) to his death in 1991, Rose is the subject of the latest volume of the Masters of Modern Landscape Design series published in association with the Library of American Landscape History and the University of Georgia Press. It’s the first biography dedicated to the landscape architect, who although a prolific writer throughout his career and author of four of his own books, has yet to receive the kind of canonical recognition bestowed on his Harvard classmates Garrett Eckbo and Dan Kiley.

As director of the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design—a nonprofit located at Rose’s Ridgewood, New Jersey, home—the book’s author, Dean Cardasis, FASLA, is well-placed to untangle the competing forces of Rose’s career. Few of Rose’s works survive in their original form, and a spare eight are presented as illustrated case studies—a fraction of the more than 80 projects produced in his lifetime. Much of the book is devoted to advocating for Rose’s achievements while trying to account for the designer’s disillusionment with the culture of postwar landscape architecture and his eventual self-imposed exile to suburban New Jersey. Although these two threads are not in opposition, they do place a strain on the narrative, suggesting a portrait of a man whose increasing radicalism over the course of decades—from modernism to ad hoc material sensibilities to environmentalism—contributed to his own isolation. “He was a rebel’s rebel from the start, an incisive critic destined to follow his own path,” Cardasis says.

Early in the prologue for the book, Cardasis describes his first encounter with a 76-year-old Rose (just a couple years before his death). The passage is clearly loving, but also disconcerting. A disheveled and mismatched Rose steps out of a “rusty, egg-yolk-colored 1970s VW van,” and Cardasis writes: “An incredibly long, almost wizard-like straw hat grazed his shoulders and shaded his face. As he looked up I could see he was wearing glasses, but one frame was empty, and the remaining one held a tinted sunglass lens. In that instant I had my first silent lesson from the iconoclastic modern landscape architect James Rose: ‘Have no preconceptions.’”

A view nearly without boundaries from inside to out at Rose’s house in Ridgewood, New Jersey. From Progressive Architecture (1954).

It’s from this point that a revolutionary must be nudged into the historical fold. The task isn’t easy, though it is most successful early in Rose’s biography. Cardasis, unpacking Rose’s interest in modernism, finds parallels in the spare poetry of William Carlos Williams and the easy spatial flow of Rudolph Schindler’s Kings Road house, which serves as a precedent for Rose’s home in Ridgewood. In both projects, the use of outdoor rooms and landscape features illustrates Rose’s maxim that “landscape design falls somewhere between architecture and sculpture.”

Indeed, Rose’s own writings referenced modern artists such as Pablo Picasso and the Russian constructivist Naum Gabo. Rose even wrote that a Georges Braque still life and Kurt Schwitters’s Rubbish Construction are “interesting suggestions for gardens.” The book describes that fascination with collage and assemblage, tracking it through Rose’s work, where it appears initially in the model Rose made of his future home while in the navy, the materials scavenged from around his military station, or in the scrap metal fountains he improvised in the 1960s and 1970s. The author continues this line of argument to suggest Rose’s use of recycled railroad ties and asphalt—used for the steps and terraces of the Averett Garden and House in Columbus, Georgia (1959)—as an example of Rose’s affinity for “found objects.”

But later, as modernism gave way to countercultural influences, it is harder to pin Rose down. Cardasis chronicles the designer’s withdrawal from mainstream landscape architecture and, more generally, American culture, citing a growing aversion to the impact of postwar suburban development on the existing landscape as the cause. He quotes from Rose’s 1958 book Creative Gardens as evidence: “The recipe is simple: first, spoil the land by slicing it in particles that will bring the most dollars, add any house that has sufficient selling gimmicks to each slice, and garnish with ‘landscaping.’”

Perhaps as a respite, Rose began traveling regularly to Japan and eventually began practicing Zen Buddhism. “He went to Japan in 1960, and that started a love affair with the country that went on for his whole life,” Cardasis told me by phone. “Rose found inspiration in the Eastern tradition, especially in the attitudes to the natural world.”

Rose and a carpenter confer during roof garden construction in 1970. Courtesy James Rose Center.

Given Rose’s then-radical understanding of landscape architecture as an integration of spatial and natural conditions, the banal blanketing of suburban conventions across the United States would surely account for his retreat; however, Rose was not alone in his critique. Other writers, designers, and artists of the period shared his early environmentalist stirrings, so it is strange to find few references, especially given the wealth of parallels drawn in support of Rose’s embrace of modernism. The book makes brief and tantalizing allusion to significant countercultural figures: Timothy Leary (Rose apparently dropped LSD with him but “wondered what the fuss was all about”) and Alan Watts (Rose studied with him but then renounced Watts’s teachings). It would seem that his cantankerous personality instigated isolation as much as his ideology.

The biography doesn’t hide that Rose was gay, though the narrative doesn’t put emphasis on the designer’s sexuality as an overt source of his outsiderness. “As you know, Rose lived in a time when being gay was extremely difficult, and I can only imagine how that influenced his life and work,” Cardasis said in an e-mail. “Because of this and in deference to his expressed wishes not to belabor the fact, I did not explore the issue further than a simple reference to his sexuality in the book. More (or less), I thought, would be inappropriate.” The result of this tact, however, is that the biography seems a bit closeted—the queerness in Rose’s methods left for others to explore at a later time.

Despite his iconoclasm, there were moments that suggest possible connections between Rose and other practitioners. For the 1960 issue of Progressive Architecture, the editors asked Rose, Lawrence Halprin, and Karl Linn—the environmentalist, activist, and pioneer of urban gardening—to review each other’s work. Rose’s Macht Garden and House in Baltimore from 1956 was subject to strong critique by the others for its expressiveness, particularly what was termed the “incessant” angled terraces. While Cardasis characterizes the grouping of designers as something the magazine “cooked up,” as if it were a bit of a stunt, there was clearly editorial intent here to make alignments between three landscape architects operating outside the conventional mien, with anticipatory ties to social and ecological movements. As Rose’s work reenters the canon, more research is needed to better situate it historically.

Eleanore Pettersen, the architect for the Paley house, brought Rose on to design the garden. The site was a rocky, sloping woodland. Drawn by R. Hruby (1994); Courtesy James Rose Center.

Did Rose deliberately push away his contemporaries and potential allies? It’s likely. He was never shy about getting into arguments with clients, but he also had his defenders. In the 1970s and 1980s, he collaborated with the architect Eleanore Pettersen on some 30 projects. In addition to sharing his design sensibilities in terms of fluid relationships between inside and outside, she often acted as Rose’s advocate, especially when he put off clients and building officials. There seems to be more to explore here between the iconoclastic designer and his champion. Pettersen apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright and was the first woman architect to start her own practice in New Jersey in the early 1950s. One can’t help but wonder why someone who probably had to fight against social norms throughout her career would willingly stand up for the volatile Rose. The answer in the biography points again to Rose’s possessing an irascible genius, the nature of which compelled others to be forbearing. This was a period of his practice when he would meditate in the morning and then go build improvisationally on site without drawings. Pettersen, interviewed in 1992, is quoted in the biography simply telling clients: “It will be worth it.”

Justification for that value is elusive and impressionistic. Because of that lack of documentation, the James Rose foundation has a limited record of projects to refer to for backup. Although he published regularly early in his career, writing essays and three books from the 1930s through the 1960s, Rose’s pace slowed afterward, and he published his last book, The Heavenly Environment: A Landscape Drama in Three Acts with a Backstage Interlude, in 1987. Ultimately, it is Rose’s own home, now the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design, that serves as an interpretative text for understanding the work: handmade, iterative, and as quixotic as its author, with courtyards, roof gardens, and a Zendo, each in various states of repair.

The biography puts forth a belief that understanding Rose’s later oeuvre comes mostly through understanding his singular methodology. Words are left behind to untangle. “You can feel it when you go to the site,” Cardasis says. “As you move through, the garden seems as if it could go on forever. There was no plan as an approach; he just moved through, adjusting things to make people aware of their connectedness to things larger than themselves.”

Mimi Zeiger is a critic and curator based in Los Angeles.

Article source:

On Gardening: Propagating softwood cuttings

I like to know the names of the plants in my garden, partly because I can Google them for information about cultivation and routine care. I also want to know their geographic origin because I have organized my garden in Mediterranean climate zones and want the plants to be in the right zone.

That’s a bit wonky, I know, but that’s how my garden is organized.

Despite that need for plant names, I lost track of the name of a plant in the Australian area of my garden.

By chance, I came upon the plant’s name while searching the Internet for examples of landscape designs for Mediterranean climate gardens. It is a Madeira Germander (Teucrium betonicum), which is from the Madeira Islands, which are in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Canary Islands. That area is within my informal definition of the Mediterranean climate zone.

Other germanders are native to other parts of the Mediterranean area. A popular plant for Mediterranean climate landscapes is the Bush Germander (Teucrium fruticans). My germander is considered “relatively rare,” which I find appealing for some reason.

This plant grows vigorously, rising to just over six feet with evergreen foliage and showy spikes of rose-violet flowers. According to my landscaping plan, however, it is in the wrong place.

I’d like to move the plant to the Mediterranean area of my garden. I might give that a try during the winter months, after it is out of bloom and into dormancy. It might move easily, and survive nicely, or the process might kill it.

I might look for a replacement plant, but I haven’t seen this “relatively rare” plant in local garden centers and a search of mail order sources was unsuccessful.

An alternative approach is to propagate the plant from tip cuttings. This strategy requires time for the new plants to grow to maturity, but it is easy and inexpensive. I could use three specimens in my Mediterranean garden, and growing three new plants would require only slightly more effort than growing one.

As it happens, late spring/early summer the right time of the year to propagate shrubs. The most difficult part of the process is to take cuttings at the right maturity, called softwood. Greenwood cuttings are too young, and woody cuttings are too mature. Softwood snaps when bent, while greenwood bends without snapping and wood does not bend.

Take a softwood cutting that has two or three leaves, and neither bud nor blossom. Cut an inch or so below the bottom leaf, then remove the bottom leaf. This leaves the leaf node from which roots will develop. Treat the leaf node with root hormone (available from garden centers), and insert the cutting in moist potting soil. Press the soil around the cutting to eliminate air pockets, and place the cutting in a warm spot with indirect light. Keep it moist (not wet) for about a month, and test for root growth by tugging gently on the cutting. Once roots have formed, maintain the plant as it grows begin enough for transplanting in the garden.

This outline of softwood propagation shows that the process is not difficult; more detailed descriptions of the process are available in books or on the Internet.

If you haven’t tried propagating a favored shrub from your garden or another’s garden, right now is a good opportunity to try this “real” gardening activity. Propagation is most satisfying when you could use several clones of a plant to develop your garden or to give to friends.

Tom Karwin is past president of the Friends of the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, president of the Monterey Bay Area Cactus Succulent Society, and a Lifetime UC Master Gardener (Certified 1999—2009). Visit for links to information on this subject, and send comments or questions to

Article source:

Native plants on display at Fairgrounds

By Kim Merritt / Fredericksburg Today

There’s a new native plant display at the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds this year.
The Central Rappahannock Natives Plant Display Garden features plants that are originally from this area.
This garden display is the work of several local garden and horticulture businesses and groups, according to Plants Map co-owner Tracy Blevins.
“This is a cooperative effort between Roxbury Farm and Garden Center, the Master Gardener Association of the Central Rappahannock Area and in support of the new Plant Central Rappahannock Natives Campaign, “ Blevins said.
Andy Lynn, manager of Roxbury Farm and Garden Center, is excited about native gardening.
“Native gardening will be the next big thing,” Lynn said.
Laura Westermeier, master gardener and curator of the display at the Fairgrounds, said the benefits of using native plants varies.
“It supports the local wildlife,” Westermeier said. “As long as you pay attention to what the plant’s needs are, then it’ll be the right plant in the right place. And some of them are really pretty and very fragrant. Sometimes, once the plants get established, you don’t really have to water them.”
Lynn said that many times, invasive plants are invasive because they are not native to the area, and without any natural threats or predators, they can become problematic. He says that native plants have more of a natural balance with the local ecosystem and normally don’t become invasive.
“You can expect to see plants that are in some of the younger stages of their life cycle at the Fair, but some of them have already started to bloom,” Westermeier said. “There’s a beautiful purple passion vine on display at the fair.”
She said it started blooming a couple of days ago.
Westermeier is working on the Plant Central Rappahannock Natives Campaign. The campaign’s website has a listing of places (mostly parks) to look for native plants. They also offer a free PDF book with information on many different plants which are native to the Rappahannock area.
You can get a free hardbound version of that book at their display table inside the “Home-Ec” building at the Fredericksburg Fair. If you can’t get to the fair to pick up the book, they also offer it for free at the Stafford Master Gardeners plant clinic on Saturdays through September 15 at the Farmer’s Market in Hurkamp Park in Fredericksburg. In order to get the book for free you must reside in the City of Fredericksburg, Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, Caroline County, or King George County.
Lynn said the display at the fair came together at just the right time. He was contacted by fair officials about putting in a display at the fair around the same time that Westermeier approached him about her involvement in the Plant Central Rappahannock Natives Campaign. Roxbury Farm and Garden Center donated all the plants and ordered plant tags for the display from, and Westermeier is the master gardener who worked to bring the project together.
The tags have QR codes. If you scan the QR codes with your phone, it will navigate to There you will find more information about the plant you have just scanned, complete with images, life cycle information and plant preferences like sun and shade preferences and wet or dry soil preferences.
The exhibit is the second exhibit building on the right, as you go in through the main gate.
If you are thinking of using natives in your own garden or landscaping, Blevins said you still have to understand how it fits in your garden.
“Just because a plant is considered ‘native’ in a very broad sense because it is native to North America, does not mean it will do well in our area,” Blevins said. “Visiting other native gardens in your area and learning what grows well here will help you get a good start. Plants that like full sun will still need sun. Plants that are native still need to be planted in the right spot for their best success.”
If you don’t get a chance you see the display at the fair, Westermeier and her husband will also give a talk about native gardens at Salem Church Library on August 22 at 7pm.

Article source: