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Archives for August 7, 2017

Gardening Tips For This Time Of Year

Although the Vikings have a day off today, one player has kept himself busy for a couple years, in an effort to help three kids find closure following a horrible incident. 

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Tips to save time and wear (on you) when gardening

Here are some tips on how to make gardening easier at any age. This is also good advice for gardeners who are just looking to save time on maintenance.

Sources are horticulturist Zannah Crowe, Master Gardeners volunteer chairwoman Ann Loper and garden blogger Casey Lynn Lawrence.

Do warm-up exercises before you start working.

When working, use larger muscles and joints.

Work from a sitting position to reach the ground or into raised beds.

Maintain upright position for standing tasks.

Switch tasks frequently, and change positions often.

When you kneel, always use a kneeling pad.

Have water with you while you work.

Have a cell phone with you at all times.

Wear sunscreen and/or a hat.

If a pot — or any other object — is too heavy, don’t try to pick it up. Know your limitations and work within them.

Get pots that are light so you can move them easily. Make sure they have drainage holes on the bottom. There are also pots available that are insulated which will let you keep them outside longer.

Put pots on wheels if possible.

Put trellises in your pots for plants to grow upward, making pruning and picking easier.

Locate containers where rain will reach them, saving you the trouble of watering.

When you do water plants, your hose should reach all the way to the area where you need to water. That way you won’t have to haul heavy watering cans.

Use self-watering containers or an irrigation system.

Select plants that don’t have to be pruned often.

Practice vertical gardening, as it decreases stress on the back, hips and knees that comes from bending over. It also reduces the need to weed, and you will have fewer insect problems.

When adding a new garden, start small. Start with pots so you don’t have to dig up large areas of grass.

Stone patios can cause tripping for some individuals. When adding or redoing a patio, consider a flat surface.

Make sure pathways are wide enough for a wheelbarrow to get through, which is also wide enough for a walker or wheelchair. Extra-large gardens should have pathways that can accommodate vehicles if needed.

Weed after watering so the ground is easier to work in.

Use mulch in your gardens to cut down on weeds and preserve water.

Store tools close to your garden.

Always pick up your tools and garden hose after you use them so you don’t trip over them.

Use a cart to haul equipment, and push rather than pull it.

Choose plants that grow naturally in your area because they adapt to your soil, rather than planting something you like that doesn’t fit your soil and will need constant maintenance.

Plant perennials that mound rather than those that spread, as they require less maintenance.

Avoid planting flowers that spread profusely, unless you have an area where you can let them grow wild.

If necessary, consider replacing herbaceous plants (annuals and perennials) with woody plants, as they require less maintenance.

Make sure plants you add to your garden fit the area you put them in. If they end up growing too much, you’ll have to spend time pruning them later.

Consider using a portable workstation. Some are available that let you sit while you deadhead and then flip over to form a kneeling pad. Some even have arms on them to help gardeners stand back up.

Find a pruner that fits your hand. A lot of pruners are too big for a woman’s hand but fine for a man’s hand.

Use watering cans with multiple hand positions for better maneuverability and control. If your watering can is large, fill it half full so it’s not too heavy.

Purchase battery-operated power equipment such as weed whackers and push mowers. These are extra helpful for those with shoulder issues.

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Tim’s Tips: Routinely fertilize for best results in garden

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. 

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5 garden tips for this week, Aug. 5-11

The next harvest

Plant tomatoes now for autumn harvest and prepare a garden spot for winter vegetables. Blend in plenty of homemade compost or other organic matter for best results. Begin planting winter garden vegetables before the end of August. These include beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, celery, kale, leeks, lettuces, peas, radishes and turnips. By the end of September you can add bulbs, such as garlic and onions, and also spinach.

Feeding time

Feed roses within the next few weeks for abundant fall flowering. Use a balanced plant food formula that has all three main ingredients — nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium — indicated in a number formula such as 8-12-4. This tells the percentage of each ingredient in order. For roses use any brand of plant food that has all three numbers, with the middle number highest. Also — but only if you did not get around to applying it in spring — scatter a quarter cup of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) around each plant now to enhance their fall performance.

Sprucing up

Remove spent blooms on hydrangeas. Those huge, colorful “bouquets” on each stem are gorgeous in full bloom, but now they are brown and unattractive. Cut off dead blooms just below the flower heads. Lily-of-the-Nile (Agapanthus) has also finished flowering for the season. Cut back spent flower stalks to the point of origin, or as low as possible without damaging foliage.

Great garden pick

Aloe vera is a succulent perennial valued for its healing effect on burns, wounds and insect bites. It is easy to grow either outdoors or indoors. Pieces of its fleshy leaves may be cut off anytime they are needed. Apply the fresh juice from cut leaves directly to skin ulcers, burns, sunburn, insect bites and even fungal infections. It’s a good plant to have around.

Wash away pests

Still have those nasty giant whiteflies on your hibiscus or other plants? Wash them off the undersides of the leaves two to three times each week with a high-pressure water stream so they give up and go away, at least for a while. It also helps to spread a layer of Worm Gold earthworm castings under the plants. They don’t like it, so they leave.

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Nurture your green thumb with this expandable garden hose


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Greensboro sets public meetings on Downtown Greenway design

Whenever Dawn Kane posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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Garden City man’s ‘ship in a bottle’ to be mass produced by Lego

Late last year after building a real ship in a bottle Jacob Sadovich got the crazy idea to do it again, but this time he wanted to see if he could make one entirely out of Legos.

“I came up with the idea first and I had actually puzzled over it for about a year before I started building it thinking can I do it? Can I not do it?” Sadovich told KIVI when we first spoke to him in December of 2016.

As it turned out, in just three weeks, he did do it.

He got so many compliments on it, people suggested he submit his ship to the Lego Idea’s website.

If people like it, they can vote on it. If it gets 10,000 votes then Lego will review it to make it into an actual set.

Sadovich did submit it, and people did like it. It easily got the votes it needed. Then, late last week Sadovich got the news he has waited for his whole life. 

“My ship in a bottle Lego idea is going to be produced into an actual set,” Sadovich said while smiling. “It’s super awesome. I can’t even explain it really, just very very exciting and very relieving.”

Sadovich said he got an email heads up saying that they were going to reveal whether his design passed or not in the morning. He said the anticipation nearly killed him but it was well worth the wait. 

He said his friends and family won’t stop congratulating him which is entirely surreal, especially because he built it because he lives and breathes Legos. It is his favorite hobby. 

Now he is thrilled and hopes others will enjoy the timeless classic as much as he does. 

“It has such a long history of the craft of ship in the bottle. I mean, hundreds and hundreds of years so it’s a very recognizable art form,” said Sadovich.

His ship in the bottle still has to go through a fine tuning process. They have to make instructions and design the box, but the set is expected to hit the store shelves sometime in 2018. To top it all off Sadovich gets five copies of the set and one percent of the sales. 

What is Sadovich planning on doing with the money? Buying more Legos of course. 

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New Garden Beautifies Breast Cancer Resource Center at D&R Greenway’s Conservation Campus

Cass Macdonald, Ruta Smithson and (far right) Ashley Formento, Contemporary Garden Club of Princeton, with (third right) Linda Mead, DR Greenway Land Trust, and Paula Flory and Judy Hutton, YWCA Breast Cancer Resource Center

Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are dancing outside DR Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center.

“I love coming here, it’s so tranquil,” says Contemporary Garden Club member, Cass Macdonald.

Such tranquility and native pollinators now hover over the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center’s (BCRC) new home on DR Greenway’s Conservation Campus, thanks to the Contemporary Garden Club of Princeton. A new sign, amid the plantings, heralds the presence of the BCRC and its mission of healing, as well as the partnership with DR Greenway, which is leasing the space to the BCRC.

The sign and garden contributes to the overall Conservation Campus signage now in place, from the entrance on Rosedale Road to the Johnson Education Center (JEC).

“The campus vision celebrates conservation in a holistic way, bringing together place and spirit in a cohesive whole,” said DR Greenway President CEO Linda Mead. “Conservation is not just about land, it is about creating places to conserve our physical health and spiritual well-being. The BCRC fits right in to that ethos. Here on our Conservation Campus, the BCRC provides programs that support breast cancer patients, including the opportunity to enjoy the healing effects of nature and the outdoors. From the beginning, we envisioned the JEC and adjacent land as a place where we could inspire a conservation ethic in as many ways as we could think of.”

The Contemporary Garden Club approached the landscaping as an annual community project. Using native plants and flowers in ground, supplemented with annuals and herbs in raised garden beds, volunteers created tranquil gardens around the BCRC entrance and surroundings. Club volunteers planned the gardens with the help of DR Greenway Native Plant Manager Emily Blackman and members of the BCRC. Some of the native plants used were big blue stem, Christmas ferns, summer hill blue leaf rhododendron, butterfly milkweed, bee balm and wild pink.

“This joint venture was inspired by the desire to support women journeying through the various stages of breast cancer by providing the soothing beauty of natural plants in gardens,” said Macdonald who, along with CGC President-Elect Ashley Formento, initiated the idea. “We were both aware there was most likely not a person in the club who had not been personally touched in some way by this illness.”

The raised garden beds were designed to allow women recovering from surgery to participate without having to get down on the ground.

“The BCRC presence on DR Greenway’s Conservation Campus has been a dream come true,” said BCRC Director Paula Flory. “The vision I have continues to come to fruition with each woman who finds her way to us and, in so doing, finds a pathway to hope. The outdoor gardens are spectacular and are so much a part of this exceptional healing environment we continue to create. There has not been one person who has visited our Clubhouse who has not commented on the beauty of our gardens.”

“The Contemporary Garden Club is 55 years old,” said Club President Liza Morehouse. “We have a long history of community projects where members provide their interest, expertise and hands-in-the-dirt investment to beautify and enhance the community landscape. The collaboration between DR Greenway and the staff and volunteers at BCRC was a wonderfully rewarding experience.”

For more than 40 years, the Breast Cancer Resource Center (BCRC) has been providing programs to help women and families through the entire breast cancer journey, from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and survivorship. Widely recognized as the leading breast cancer support facility in the region, the BCRC offers a range of programs and services. Many of the YWCA Princeton Breast Cancer Resource Center staff, support group facilitators and outreach presenters are breast cancer survivors themselves. The Center is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and welcomes new members and visitors.

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From Butterfly Hub to Gardening for Your Dining Table

It’s never too early to grab your calendar and start planning for fall classes at the Arboretum. From Creating Your Own Butterfly Hub and Plant Combinations for Pots to Garden Rocks, Beekeeping: A Symbiotic Relationship, and Gardening for Your Dining Table, the Arboretum offers numerous ways to pump up your garden, all the way to the plate in front of you.

Master Gardener and Hometown Pasadena contributor Yvonne Savio leads a field trip to the marvelous Altadena Community Garden on October 5. Landscape designer Laramee Haynes instructs how to pair a plant with a pot—and what really lasts in pots (key, very key) and folks from CJs Organic Farm comes to share how to urban homestead a small plot of land, and grow enough to feed the whole family.


Plant Information 2017: 1st Wednesdays of the month, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m., Palm Room

Frank McDonough, Instructor
Every first Wednesday of the month at 1:30 p.m., Arboretum Plant Information Consultant Frank McDonough covers current horticultural topics including landscaping, gardening, design, water-saving strategies and other pertinent topics. Frank also highlights the most interesting plant and gardening questions of the hundreds he receives every month and talks about the latest pests and diseases that threaten our gardens and landscapes.

Begins Wednesday, September 6th.

Cost: Free for members / Free for non-members (with Arboretum admission).


Photo credit: LA County Arboretum.


Creating Your Own Butterfly Hub: Saturday, Sept. 30, noon-3 p.m.

Instructor: Arboretum Gardener Bryan Burks
Come check out what kind of butterflies are flying around the Arboretum as we tour our new butterfly hubs. You will also learn how to create a butterfly hub in your own garden.

Cost: $25 Arboretum members / $35 non-members (Includes Arboretum Admission). To register, please call the Education Department at 1.626.821.4623 or pay at the class.


Plant Combinations for Pots: Saturday, Sept. 16; 10 a.m.–noon, Bamboo Room

Instructor: Laramee Haynes
Arranging plants in pots involves the same art and science issues as a large garden. Join Laramee Haynes of Haynes Landscape Design for a fun review of the art of combining plants and what really lasts in pots. Laramee Haynes is a garden designer, landscape contractor and frequent speaker at the Arboretum. Laramee and his company, Haynes Landscape Design, have been designing and building gardens in the Pasadena area for over 15 years.

Cost: $25 Arboretum members / $35 non-members (Includes Arboretum Admission). To register, please call the Education Department at 626.821.4623 or pay at the class.



What’s Happening in the Garden 2017: 8 Thursdays, Sept. 14-Nov. 2 (Sept 14, 21, 28, Oct 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov 2 ), 9:30 a.m.—noon, Palm Room

Hosted by Matt-Dell Rebecca Tufenkian
Each class begins with an open discussion which may or may not include: show tell, current events, culture tips, pest problems, and introductions of new plants. The class will also include lectures or hands-on workshops from the following speakers.

Cost: $140 for the series / $25 per class (includes Arboretum admission.) To register, please call the Education Department at 1.626.821.4623 or pay at the class.

Sept 14, Nancy Bird – Garden Rocks

Colorful rocks go a long way to adding points of interest to your yard. And you can find them for free on Bureau of Land Management property-our land! Guest speaker, Nancy Bird, will have handouts of the rules, maps, and resources. All 3 types of rocks, sedimentary (for instance sandstone), igneous (volcanic), and metamorphic (one that has changed), will be displayed. Nancy started collecting rocks and plants in her 20’s. She is Past President of 2 Gem Mineral Societies and the Year Around Garden Club in Whittier, for which she is in charge of horticulture.

Sept 21, Erika WainDecker  – Beekeeping: A Symbiotic Relationship

As we already know, bees play a significant role in our lives, but the relationship between the beekeep and the ladies is one that is seldom explored. Erika WainDecker, co-owner of Klausesbees, will relate her experience of being a “Guardian of the Bee.”



Sept 28, Christine Anthony – Gardening for your Dining Table

Our guest will offer great tips of fall plant and fruit tree choices with an eye towards cooking delicious fall and winter meals. You may remember Christine Anthony from the Arboretum’s Great Tomato Talk and Sale. She is also the Renee’s Garden Seeds rep to The Arboretum and a UCCE Master Gardener, she shares practical tips learned from life long experience in the garden and the kitchen. Please be prepared to share your recipe ideas and gardening tips with one and all, too.

Oct 5, Field Trip to Altadena Comm. Garden with Yvonne Savio (MUST PREREGISTER!)

The Altadena Community Garden was established on the site of the former Mt. Lowe Military Academy through the cooperation of diverse community interests – homeowners, park devotees, equestrians, tennis advocates, and political leaders. Join us for a tour of this historic garden and then gather with us as we share Fall Planting ideas in the garden with our own Yvonne Savio, former head of the UC Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program.

Oct 12, Sherry Tobin – The Arboretum’s Propagation Greenhouses

Unless you are an Arboretum Volunteer, you may never have met Plant Nursery Worker/Manager/Goddess Sherry Tobin. Join us as she welcomes us to the Arboretum’s Propagation Greenhouses – not open to the public. She will share some of her propagation techniques and plants that are being grown especially for the Arboretum’s collections.



Oct 19, Matt-Dell Tufenkian – Invasion Biology and Other Gardening Philosophies

Invasion biology is a scientific discipline that studies the human transport and introduction of species throughout the world, as well as the subsequent spread of these species and their health, economic, and environmental impacts. This theory has inspired many gardeners to strictly limit their plant choices or change their gardening habits in an effort to be more environmentally correct, but what happens when gardening philosophies clash?

Oct 26, Jose Carrie Hernandez – Urban Homesteading

Our guest speakers for this week run their own Urban Homestead, CJ’s Organic Farm. They will share some of the various techniques they use (composting; worm castings; hydroponics/aquaponics; companion planting; ponds, and hoopoes construction) to make their small plot of land support their family and grow sellable produce that they bring to local farmers markets and CSA boxes.

Nov 2, Nick Hummingbird – Hahamongna Nursery

Hahamongna Cooperative Nursery is an invaluable asset to the Arroyo Seco and Southern California, providing low-cost native plants for restoration, conservation and park uses. Nick Hummingbird is the Hahamongna Nursery Manager. Nick has worked on the Channel Islands doing large-scale habitat restoration with the National Park Service and also received training from Theodore Payne Foundation and Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden in Claremont.


Nick Hummingbird at Hahamongna Nursery; photo via


Separately offered by “What’s Happening in Gardening” hosts:
Thursdays 11/9 11/16, SUCCULENT WREATH CLASSES

Special fee: $45
Pre-registration Required: please call the Education Department at 626.821.4623 or pay at the class
Looking for a new centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table? Come to our class and make your own. Succulent wreaths are fun to make and a beautiful addition to any home decor. During this hands-on class, we will make our own wreaths just in time for them to grow in and look even more lush for the Holidays. (Materials fee is included in the class tuition.)


LA County Arboretum Botanic Garden, 301 N. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia 91007. Ph: 1.626.821.3222.








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No plant is an island: Think of plant groups, not specimens

Are your plants looking lonely, surrounded by small patches of high-maintenance bare soil? If they look like they’re suffering in solitary confinement, maybe they are.

Many plant and landscape experts have begun thinking of plants in terms of communities, instead of as individual specimens. They recommend that home gardeners look to the wild for inspiration.

“Thinking of plants in terms of masses and groupings, as opposed to objects to be placed individually in a sort of specimen garden, is what most young people are really responding to now,” says Brian Sullivan, vice president for landscape, gardens, and outdoor collections at the New York Botanical Garden.

The shift in landscaping toward looking at plants as interrelated species gained prominence almost a decade ago with the opening of the High Line, a public park built along an old elevated rail line in New York City, Sullivan says. In a move considered radical at the time – but replicated in parks and gardens across the country since then – the designers of the High Line went with the wilder look of resembling roadside grasses and wildflowers more than a traditional garden.

Many horticulturalists and landscapers say such gardens – with consideration of how plants benefit each other and birds, insects and other wildlife – look better for more of the year, and are more functional and self-sustaining.

For landscape designer Thomas Rainer, co-author of “Planting for a Post-Wild World: Designing Plant Communities for Resilient Landscapes” with Claudia West (Timber Press, 2015), his epiphany began when he pulled over to the side of a road one day and really looked at what was growing naturally there.

“Looking more carefully at this weedy neglected patch at the side of road, I saw that it was way more biodiverse than I’d ever dreamed. I counted 23 species in just one tiny section. It was kicking my garden’s butt in terms of biodiversity,” says Rainer, who has designed landscapes for the U.S. Capitol grounds, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and the New York Botanical Garden, as well as gardens from Maine to Florida.

“If you look at the way plants grow naturally, it’s completely different from the way they grow in most parks and gardens,” he says. “If you look at functioning communities of plants, they really maintain themselves.”

“We have this peculiarly American habit of adding 2 or 3 inches of mulch a couple times a year, but green mulch – ground cover – happens naturally if we let it,” he says.

He reminds home gardeners that “there’s a huge range of self-spreading, less-sexy plants that create the conditions for stability for the upright plants, and require almost no maintenance whatsoever.”

Aesthetically, too, the right ground cover adds dimension to the more dramatic plants around it, making a landscape visually interesting throughout the year.

Those interested in adopting this approach can start by seeing bare soil as the enemy.

“There isn’t much bare soil at all in the wild,” Rainer says.

“Every inch is covered, and there are various levels of plants all packed in together.”

He recommends getting on your knees and examining your garden from a rabbit’s perspective, then planting the bare patches with groundcover, ideally native, like sedges or even low perennials, many of which do well in the kind of dry, shaded areas that tend to be where the bare patches are found.

“There’s been a huge rise in popularity of sedges, which come in a range of colors like icy blues or apple greens that can really set off the bright pinks of an azalea,” he says.

Sullivan, at the New York Botanical Garden, says that “with the style we’re talking about, the plants are in interconnected masses, so they are functioning communities sharing the same space.”

“One could be a trillium, a spring flower that somebody might see in March or April. When that finishes, somebody might see a fern or a carex,” he says. “Each plant takes the place of another during different seasons, so there’s never an empty moment. When the ephemerals finish, the perennials start to come up, the grasses, the sedges. And something else might come up in the late part of the season. So there’s a sequence. The garden changes but the gardener only does the job once, by the planting.”

Another fun thing to do is to step back and let the plants seed themselves for a season, Sullivan says. “Just watch and see what pops up, as opposed to planting every season.”

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