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Archives for August 8, 2017

Gardening tips to save water in the heat of summer |

CORVALLIS, Ore. – As the heat ratchets up so does water use, costing homeowners money and doing no favors for the environment.

Homeowners can learn to save water and money, however, with help from Oregon WaterWise Gardening, a statewide program of the Oregon State University Extension Service. Its website includes profiles of water-efficient plants.

Amy Jo Detweiler, a horticulturist with OSU Extension, compiled the following tips to help you conserve water and save on summer water bills:

  • When you’re selecting new plants, look for plants that use less water such as native globe mallow, black-eyed Susan, sedums, blanket flower, lavender and coneflower. Once established, these plants require minimal irrigation. Group plants together based on their water use for maximum water conservation. 
  • If you like colorful bedding annuals such as zinnias, marigolds, impatiens and petunias, consider putting them in pots or hanging baskets where you can provide water directly, rather than watering the entire garden.
  • Closely manage your watering. Hand watering and automatic irrigation can be adequate if you are an efficient water manager. Monitor how much water is used and adjust it throughout the season for warmer and cooler periods. Water in morning or late evening to mitigate evaporation. 
  • If using automatic irrigation, consider drip emitters in clay type soils and microsprays in sandy soils. Be sure to provide adequate moisture to the entire root zone of the plant.
  • Soaker hoses are an alternative. Hook them to an automatic timer so you don’t forget to turn off the water. This works for vegetable and ornamental gardens.
  • In western Oregon you can let your lawn go dormant for the summer. It will green up when winter rains begin.
  • In central and eastern Oregon, select more drought-resistant types of turf grass such as tall fescue or blended mixes and place turf only where needed. You will need to continue watering throughout the summer to prevent your lawn from dying.
  • You can find profiles and pictures of water-efficient plants for Oregon’s high desert in a 56-page publication authored by Detweiler, much of which is relevant in other areas of Oregon. Also available are Conserving Water in the Garden, and three infographics: Keys to Water-efficient LandscapesIt Pays to Water Wisely and Landscape Maintenance to Conserve Water.
  • For all of your landscape plants, encourage deep rooted plants by watering deeper less often. You can look for clues to water stress, such as slight wilting or a dull, transparent look of the leaves and adjust your watering accordingly.
  • When you plant new shrubs and trees, provide a long soak from a hose to saturate the soil deeply in the immediate area. You should repeat this process several times, especially during dry periods, to give your new shrubs and trees the resources to grow strong and deep roots that will require less water in the future.

— Kym Pokorny

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Gardening tips, chores for August


August 08. 2017 5:46AM

It’s August, and the tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine, the perennials are rampant and, surprisingly, my spring pansies are still holding on. Weeds, too, are digging their heels in, a constant reminder that the garden doesn’t ever go on autopilot, even if it appears that way. Here are 31 tips and chores to ensure the garden doesn’t look tired by month’s end.

1. Resist the urge to let zucchini grow big; they’re tastier and more tender if picked when small.

2. Sanitation is important for a healthy garden: Clean up fallen fruit from around trees to prevent pest infestations.

3. To help avoid heat wilt, mist leaves of hybrid tea roses with liquid seaweed.

4. Send a photo of yourself with your tomatoes, along with your growing strategy, to The 2017 Tomato Challenge is just two weeks away!

5. For best flavor, harvest herbs in midmorning just after the dew has dried.

6. If you need to relocate evergreens, it’s safe to do so from now through October.

7. When watering the lawn, remember: Less frequent deep waterings trump daily sprinkles on established turf.

8. For a second harvest this fall, plant cool-season crops like lettuce, radishes, spinach and peas now.

9. Keep mower blades set to 3 or more inches. Grass blades are leaves, which need to photosynthesize; cut them too short and they’ll stress.

10. No need to panic if your evergreens’ innermost branches begin to brown. It’s normal for older branches to shed this time of year.

11. Re-edge beds to give a fading garden a face-lift.

12. Harvest rose hips for tea or jam — as long as you haven’t sprayed your plants.

13. Transplant spring-flowering bulbs that are crowded or needed elsewhere in the garden.

14. Turn off pond pumps when electrical storms are in the forecast.

15. If cabbage heads split, harvest immediately or they’ll become inedible.

16. Monitor moisture levels in containers often; potted plants may need to be watered twice a day.

17. Harvest onions when their tops flop over, but let them cure in the sun for a few days before storing indoors.

18. Want free plants next year? Take cuttings of geraniums and wax begonias, and root indoors now. Then care for them as houseplants until spring.

19. Harvest beets when 2 inches wide. You can saute and eat the leaves, too (this is not the case for tomatoes or carrots, which have toxic foliage.)

20. Order spring bulbs now, before the best ones sell out. They’ll be shipped in time for fall planting.

21. Collect seeds from day lilies, spider plants, rose campions and other perennials that produce pods. Store in a paper envelope in the fridge, away from fruit, until spring.

22. This is the best time to renovate the lawn. Remove dead patches, aerate, apply compost and seed. Water deeply once, then sprinkle twice a day until 3 inches tall.

23. Don’t let weeds go to seed; pull them out by their roots.

24. If houseplants kept outdoors for summer have outgrown their containers, repot now.

25. If you can, leave standard and plum tomatoes on the vine until fully ripe; they’ll taste better. Cherry tomatoes ripen just fine on the counter.

26. Divide crowded daylilies after they’ve stopped blooming.

27. Divide and transplant overgrown and crowded peonies, keeping “eyes” no more than an inch or two below the soil surface.

28. Plant a clover cover crop in cleared-out vegetable beds for a burst of natural nitrogen next spring when you turn it over.

29. Shop end-of-season sales for plant deals — but be choosy; they’ve been sitting in pots all season.

30. Move outdoor potted plants into the shade to ease them into a move indoors next month. Water as usual.


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Garden Tips: Elm Seed bugs annoy us — again – Tri

The elm seed bug is being a real pest again this summer in some Mid-Columbia homes.


The folks most likely to be bothered by this little bug are those with an elm tree in their yard or growing nearby.

Because they are flat and small — only 1/3 of an inch — they easily gain access into homes through tiny gaps around windows, doors, vents and plumbing conduits.

Elm seed bugs are primarily a nuisance. They feed on elm seeds and leaves with their piercing-sucking mouthparts. The feeding does not cause any noteworthy damage to the tree.

What “bugs” people is the invasion of their homes by large numbers of elm seed bugs that are trying to escape the summer heat and sun.

They do not infest foods, damage furniture or bite humans. However, they may leave small fecal deposits in the form of brownish spots around window frames.

Inside your home, controlling the bugs is as simple as vacuuming them up and immediately disposing of them in a sealed plastic bag.

It is important to note that elm seed bugs, like many other seed bugs, release a repugnant smell when crushed so I suggest you refrain from squashing them.

The first line of defense should be around windows and doors, especially sliding glass doors and windows which are their favored avenues for coming inside. If scads of bugs are finding their way indoors, consider using caulking, weather stripping or placing removable tape around windows and doors.

If your elm seed bug problem is overwhelming, you might want to control them at the source. Many of the elms growing in this region are Siberian elms (Ulmus pumila) that planted themselves and were allowed to grow.

The Siberian elm is considered a “trash tree” and Michael Dirr, author and professor of horticulture at the University of Georgia, has denounced it as “one of the world’s worst trees.”

It has brittle wood and produces prolific amounts of messy litter, including seeds, branches and leaves. It also grows much too big for the average home lot, reaching 50 to 70 feet at maturity.

In addition to the nuisance elm seed bugs, elm leaf beetles can be a problem. Some years, elm leaf beetles cause significant leaf damage and defoliation when their population explodes. Plus, Siberian elm is prone to infection by the bacterial disease called “slime flux.” This infection causes an unsightly and smelly liquid oozing out of the tree.

If your elm is the undesirable Siberian elm and it is not a critical part of your landscape, you may want to consider removing it.

Mature Siberian elms are massive and removal can be expensive, but so is the alternative of spraying the crown of the tree every year to kill the young nymph seed bugs before they have a chance to mature and become a nuisance mid-summer.

Because of the tree’s large size, spray applications to control the bugs should be done by a licensed control operator with the proper equipment.

The bad news is that the elm seed bug was first found in the U.S. in 2012 in Idaho and it has already become a nuisance pest in parts of Idaho, Utah, Oregon and Washington. The worst news is that it is most likely here to stay and will continue to annoy us.

For more detailed information on the Elm Seed bug go to:

Marianne C. Ophardt is a retired horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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Garden Tips: Setting the record straight on watering myths | Tri-City … – Tri

When summer temperatures climb into the triple digits, gardeners are very mindful of watering their lawns, gardens and container plants. But there are several widespread faulty beliefs that need to be corrected to ensure that you are watering wisely.

False Belief 1: Never water your lawn or garden at night.

The caveat of not watering at night is true in warm, wet, humid areas of the country. In those regions, plants do not dry off quickly, especially during the cooler hours of the night.

This high moisture situation is conducive to numerous plant fungal and bacterial diseases. In these areas, early morning is the best time for watering.

Our local dry climate with its pervasive low relative humidity means plants dry off fairly rapidly whatever time of day or night they are watered.

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Garden tour offers landscaping insights, tips

It is amazing how many gardening phases we travel through when we call ourselves gardeners. Newcomers have the rude realization that our climate doesn’t promote the growth of gardenias, avocados, corn that is knee high by the Fourth of July or heirloom tomatoes that have a maturity date of 120 days. Seasoned gardeners are always anxious to try something new.

We learn our lessons by attending gardening seminars and classes, and listening to the Central Oregon Master Gardeners “Gardening: Get Good At It” on KPOV Radio 88.9 FM every Tuesday morning between 9 and 9:30 a.m. The weekly topics are archived at Recent topics included growing microgreens, deadheading flowering plants and information on the sequoia pitch moth, which is such a problem this year.

The annual OSU High Desert Garden Tour held the third Saturday in July offers more than enough inspiration to tide you over for months to come, especially if you kept notes of what appealed to you. This was the 24th year. I have saved the guide books since 1999 and it has been great fun these past few weeks, going back and reading my notes.

A common theme in many of the garden descriptions over the years was the increased interest and use of ornamental grasses and perennials that are hardy in addition to providing more seasonal interest than annuals.

Many of the gardens were a blank canvas when the owners either built or bought their property. In those cases, the garden biography started with how many loads of rocks were hauled away and how many loads of soil and soil amendments had to be brought in.

I always return home after a day of touring and vowed to change everything in my landscape. Then reality set in. Am I physically or financially capable of accomplishing even half of the beauty I saw? The answer is generally, no. But I can incorporate little bits and pieces that have caught my eye.

Although I didn’t make a yearly notation of it, for years I’ve recognized the fact that my landscape needs some bones, other than juniper trees. I need some focal points. I have previously mentioned that I had to have a grove of four cottonwood trees taken down before they fell across my house. I now have four stumps at different heights, and I know what to do with them since taking the garden tour. Instead of using the faux terra cotta planters placed atop the stumps, I need to make an effort to find out of the ordinary unusual containers that can be recycled into planters. I’ll also create a small garden bed around the grove, making them the center of attention.

Conversations flow wildly on garden tours. How did you___? Where did you find that plant? Did you do all of this yourselves? Some homeowners like to take an active part in offering information and those are the gardens you hate to leave for fear you will miss something.

Maybe you end up in the middle of an ongoing conversation, and no it’s not rude to ask questions and learn. In one long conversation with an industry professional, I found out that gardening with native plants is becoming more and more popular. That’s mainly because of water conservation issues and promoting bee and butterfly environments. I feel fortunate that we live in an area where residents are aware and concerned of the aforementioned issues. That means they will maybe become less obsessed with a perfect lawn. We did choose to live in the high desert and should plan our landscapes accordingly.

If you did miss the OSU High Desert Tour, you can always get a great garden fix by visiting the Hollinshead Community Garden, the NorthWest Crossing Community Garden or the OSU Demo Garden in Redmond.

— Reporter:

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Lego loved this Idaho man’s ‘ship in a bottle’ creation, so now you can build one, too

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 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 Ideas website.

If people like a design, 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 a bottle. I mean, hundreds and hundreds of years, so it’s a very recognizable art form,” said Sadovich.

His ship in a 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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Regional Garden Planning Symposium slated for Sept. 23

The Massachusetts Master Gardener Association will hold its second annual Massachusetts Gardening Symposium, a daylong educational event, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Westford Academy, 30 Patten Road.

With the theme of “Inspiration for Next Year’s Garden,” the program will address the unique needs of gardeners in the Northeast, with an emphasis on thought starters for 2018 garden design and plant selection, through four presentations from gardening/horticulture experts. Gardeners of all levels of experience are welcome.

Tickets cost $90. Registration closes Sept. 16, and space is limited.

For information or to register:

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Local garden designer wins Gold at major horticultural show

Julie Haylock of Sandhurst Garden Design in Yeovil has bagged another Gold for a show garden design, this time at Taunton Flower Show last weekend, where she was also presented with the Western Daily Press cup for Best Show Garden.

The garden was called ‘Homeward Bound’, and told a simple story of an injured bird that had been nursed back to good health and released back into the wild.

The willow figure releasing the bird stood central to the design, surrounded by vibrant planting of orange and purple.

The willow sculpture was made by Elaine Marks of Martock

“All the plants I choose were nectar rich to encourage bees and butterflies into the garden, which it certainly did,” said Julie, who used Agastache, Dahlia, Verbena Bonariensis, Achillea, Crocosmia, Agapanthus, Helenium, Salvia Amistad, Scabious, Nepeta, Heuchera, Bronze Carex and Pheasant’s Tail grass.

Julie won Gold last year for her first ever show garden at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live at the NEC in Birmingham, where she created a “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree” border design.

The willow sculpture was made by Elaine Marks of Martock

She also won the Special Achievement Award for the Best Interpretation of the Theme.

The garden was called Homeward Bound

Julie has a Diploma in Garden Design from Kingston Maurward College.

Garden designer Julie Haylock with the Western Daily Press Cup for Best Show Garden at Taunton Flower Show

She said: “As you can imagine we on cloud nine and thrilled, if not a little tired. The garden build during the week was challenging at times with frequent showers and high winds to contend with.

“Once again I am immensely grateful to Castle Gardens in Sherborne for sponsoring the plants for the show garden. The willow sculpture was made by Elaine Marks of Martock. GJS Landscaping of Yeovil constructed the garden, Allgreen Group of Yeovil kindly donated materials, and of course thanks to Andrew my husband – I could not have done it without all their support”.

As Sandhurst Garden Design, Julie designs planting plans, gardens and landscapes for domestic and commercial clients.

She works in association with GJS Landscapes of Yeovil as their designer, and they have worked together on several projects.

Julie will be running another Border Design and Planting Workshop at Castle Gardens on Wednesday 6th September 10am to 3pm at Castle Gardens in Sherborne. The cost is £75 including lunch. Booking in advance essential on 01935 814633 to secure a place.

Taunton Flower Show is held annually in Vivary Park and has been described as “The Chelsea of the West”, attracting around 24,000 visitors over its two days.

The show was first held in 1866 and apart from during the Second World War, has been held every year since.

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Hamburg family toasts ice cream success at former bar

Imagine trading in shots and beer for ice cream and sprinkles. That’s exactly what JoAnn and Michael Mohler did when they transformed a former Hamburg bar into an ice cream shop. They opened Amsdell Ice Cream (3041 Amsdell Road) three years ago, in August 2014.

JoAnn Mohler, a self-proclaimed ice-cream connoisseur, said the family has no regrets. She shared her thoughts on the family business, food allergies, milkshake trends and creative recipes over a scoop of ice cream, which they carry in 36 flavors.

Question: So you took an old bar and created an ice cream shop. How did you come up with that idea?

Mohler: We ask ourselves that every day. At the time, we had two teen daughters and we enjoy ice cream. We would always go out for ice cream every Sunday. We thought this would be something good for the neighborhood as opposed to a bar.

We made it work with what we had. The whole inside was gutted and redone. We’ve done a lot of work in the yard – paving, picnic tables, landscaping, lighting. People really enjoy sitting back there and eating their ice cream.

Q: What is your best-selling item?

A: Peanut Butter Fudge Sundae or the Sponge Candy Sundae – we advertised that for 716 Day in July, which was also National Ice Cream Day. That was our special and we sold over 50 sundaes that day.

Amsdell’s Cake Batter Milkshake was inspired by expensive, New York City-style milkshakes. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: How do you come up with creative, fun recipes?

A: My daughter loves New York City – people there will stand in line for one hour for a milkshake and pay $10 or $12. We don’t charge that much.

She made a Cake Batter Milkshake and posted it on social media. It’s vanilla ice cream with cake batter and rainbow sprinkles. You roll the rim in frosting and coat it with rainbow sprinkles. Then add whipped cream and more sprinkles.

Both of our daughters, Amanda and Ashley, work here so it’s the four of us and we have great employees. We use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to advertise. We depend on social media. Perry’s made a video about us. It’s on Facebook.

We look at magazines and see different milkshakes – there are fancy, more expensive, elite types of milkshakes. It’s fun to have specials and come up with ideas – people watch for it.

Thirty-six flavors of Perry’s ice cream make choices difficult, especially for this 3-year-old. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News)

Q: What else sets you apart from a typical ice cream stand?

A: Our customer service. And people come to us from all over because we are so particular with allergies. Our kids and the workers are trained to wear rubber gloves and to separate scoopers so it’s nut free. Nothing is cross contaminated. We offer dairy free, nut free, lactose free and gluten free. We accommodate for allergies.

The Dole Whip is very popular – we have pineapple Dole Whip floats –pineapple Dole Whip with pineapple juice, whipped cream and a cherry. People love it. Dole Whip is a dairy free option.

Q: How does it feel to be celebrating your third anniversary?

A: It went by quickly. I can’t believe it’s already August. We are learning every day. We have a good customer base and good handle on it and we offer big portions. We’re heavy handed. We don’t weigh the ice cream or anything.

Q: Have you considered staying open in the winter?

A: We are open March to October. We’re not sure if winter would work. People tell us they will come, but we’re not positive they will actually come. We have 36 flavors of Perry’s ice cream so it would be hard to keep it fresh all winter. We have Dole Whip sundaes with a lot of ingredients. We stick to March to October.




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Before & After: This remodel of a Sunnyvale Eichler turned a Google-employed homeowner into a pro designer

Sometimes you don’t know what you want until it’s right in front of your face.

Pamela Lin and her husband, Erwin Tam, had set out looking for a run-of-the-mill, contemporary cookie cutter home with two stories that they could move into without much renovating. But none of the dozens of homes they toured wowed them. Until they walked inside a home designed by well-known California developer Joseph Eichler.

Seeing the open-sky atrium surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and the open floor plan, Lin and Tam’s style compass completely shifted. Turned out, they weren’t lovers of contemporary style at all; they were midcentury modernists at heart. “Right away we knew this home was for us,” Lin says.

Another thing they soon discovered: Lin is a natural designer. A full-time project manager for Google at the time, she reached out to a few professionals, but her tastes were so particular that she just decided to design the whole house herself, reimagining the kitchen and bathrooms and choosing furnishings, materials and paint colors. Two of her fellow Googlers saw the end result and each hired her to do their homes. Then a neighbor’s friend saw the house, knocked on her door, and hired her. After that, a different neighbor procured her services as well.

With such demand, Lin decided to start her own interior design company, Urbanism Designs.

Houzz at a Glance

Who lives here: Pamela Lin, Erwin Tam and their daughters, Eniko (8 months) and Eliana (4)

Location: Sunnyvale, CA

Size: 1,890 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

(Before Photo, original photo on Houzz)

BEFORE: The front door opens to this atrium, which originally wooed Lin and Tam into buying the house. In their research they saw that many people opted to cover Eichler atriums to add more interior square footage, but they chose to preserve it.

Lin believes a wood wall originally separated the interior and exterior and that a previous homeowner changed it to frosted glass.

Lin researched Eichler homes because she wanted to preserve the Eichler feel but modernize it slightly. Previous owners had already altered a few features — they had removed some original interior wood paneling and painted the ceiling, for example — but she tried to keep the structure as original as possible. “We tried to preserve as much as we could and just modernize things without losing the structure and bones,” Lin says.The exterior form is virtually unchanged apart from new paint. Lin also added frosted glass to the front door sidelight, changed the side fence to ipe wood and added landscaping steps and concrete planter boxes, which she designed based on a photo she saw on Houzz.

The atrium leads to the kitchen, where Lin removed a partial wall that had blocked views inside. With that and the frosted glass removed, this outdoor space has become a focal point.

Despite her nascent venture into design, she says she had a strong first run. “I didn’t return anything; I just based everything off feel,” she says. “Maybe that’s why people are telling me I should do this. It just felt natural to me. Everything in the house is just what we picked. There was no trial and error.”

She originally wanted poured concrete floors, but found textured tiles with a nonslip surface for her two small girls; they helped her stay within her budget and still provide a modern gray tone.

Lin got color, layout and furnishing ideas from Houzz, and also used the site to research Eichler and other midcentury modern designs for inspiration. “Scrolling through photos gave me ideas on how I should do certain things,” she says.

Previous owners had designated the space connected to the kitchen as a dining room, but Lin felt like it was way too much space. She turned the area into a TV room and transformed a spare bedroom off the main living room into a formal dining room.

The Saarinen table and chairs in the dining room are all original. The other chairs are Eames originals, as is the George Nelson Crisscross Bubble Lamp. “If I’m going to buy iconic designs, I want them to be original,” Lin says. “I have to give them credit.”

In both 8-month-old Eniko’s and 4-year-old Eliana’s room, Lin commissioned paintings from artists she found online. “I like to support artists who are trying to make it,” she says.

A bonus room became the kids’ playroom.

// This story was written by Mitchell Parker, and originally published on Houzz.

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