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Archives for August 23, 2017

Fall garden solutions and tips | Garden Life

Every month has its unique crop of gardening problems that people look for solutions. Lately, fungus, mushrooms, and slime mold seem to be the problem de jour. Sometimes a problem in the garden is not really a problem for plants, yet more likely an aesthetic point of view of the homeowner.

From my perspective, mushrooms popping up around the garden or in grass are delightful. Fairy rings in lawns are fun, and come complete with folklore! An artist’s conk is a canvas for an impromptu drawing. And slime mold is simply washed away with water, mowed, or raked. If it comes back, rinse and repeat. However, not everyone agrees with me, especially those who seek perfection in his or her lawn.

Granted an artist’s conk or artist’s fungus (Ganoderma applanatum) is a sign of a wound on a living tree, it also grows on hardwood logs and stumps. If it is growing on a living tree, it is a sign that the tree is declining. If it is growing on a tall tree that can fall on your house, you need to have it assessed for removal. On decaying logs and stumps, artist’s conks won’t harm anything. The top side of this fungus is woody. Under the wood is the white pore surface. When you etch something into the white, it turns brown. Let your children draw, or write a message to the fairies on it.

Fairy ring fungi (Marasmius oreades) occur in rings or arcs in lawns. European folklore made fairy rings the gateway to where the elves gathered and danced. This mushroom species is edible, with several crops in a year. Be sure you properly identify the species before eating them. It can be easily confused with other poisonous mushrooms that also grow in rings.

For some people the unsightliness comes from the fairy ring itself, which is a patch of brown grass that is dying next to an area of darker green grass. The mycelium (the living vegetative part of a fungus) stimulates grass growth, however the dried up mycelial matter inhibits the lawn’s growth inside the ring. You can spray a fungicide on it, but the fungi will return again in two months.

There is a lawn disease named Necrotic ring spot (NRS) that looks similar to fairy ring that appears in late summer to early fall. Prevention and control methods are found online by doing a web search for Washington State University’s handout EB1734 Managing Necrotic Ring Spot on Turfgrass in the PNW. Growing a healthy lawn is the key to prevention. For good lawn management also look for the handouts EB482 Home Lawns and EB1280 Turfgrass: Soil-Water Relationships.

Debbie Teashon photographs and writes about gardening in the maritime Pacific Northwest. Contact her at


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Gardening tips on day to focus on volunteers

BRING the kids and learn something new about gardening at the Woolgoolga Regional Community Garden third annual open day.

There’s garden bed building, a jumping castle, face painting and re-creating the Woopi Garden sign for the kids and learning about plastics, garden tours, bio-dynamic and composting talks for the adults.

Television personality and landscape architect Costa Georgiadis will be the special guest on the day.

“The principle behind this day is to invite as many of the service clubs, charities and not-for-profits to be able to showcase their organisation to the community at large,” a spokesperson for Woolgoolga Regional Community Gardens said.

Woolgoolga Community Gardens open day Robert Watkins

“I think all of us are in awe of the amount of volunteer organisations that are in our area who work to make Woolgoolga and our region a great place to live.”

The opening day will be held on Sunday, August 27 from 10am to 2pm.

For more information, call EJ on 0410 505 178 or visit Woopi community garden on Facebook.

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Gardening: How is your lawn faring during hot weather? These tips can help restore it to health – The Spokesman

September is a great time to restore a lawn. The temperatures have cooled but the soil is still warm and rain should be coming soon. Here are some things to consider.

First, if you are dealing with a thin lawn, why is it thin? Have trees and shrubs grown tall and now shade it too much? Has the soil become compacted by too many feet or the lack of aeration so that air and water can’t get deep into the soil? Have you fertilized and watered properly? Have weeds taken over?

As we get past this hot summer weather, the first thing to do is check that your sprinkler system is operating effectively. Check for broken or plugged heads. Sod can grow over the sprinkler heads and disrupt their spray pattern. Check that rotary sprinklers are turning correctly. I had to replace two heads this summer because they wouldn’t turn and lost some plants.

Are you watering enough to keep the grass in good shape? New research that I was just made aware of indicates that in really hot weather, it is important to water lawns frequently but lightly to keep the roots within 2 inches of the soil moist. These waterings should be in addition to weekly deep waterings to keep deeper roots healthy. If you are using movable sprinklers on a hose, check that you are running them long enough and in a pattern that covers all of the lawn.

Next, if you haven’t aerated your lawn in a while now is the time to do it. Hire or rent an aerator and run over the lawn twice with the second pass at 90 degrees to the first.

Trim back shrubs and trees to open the area to light again. It is the end of the summer so light pruning won’t hurt the plants. If heavy thinning or tree work is needed wait until late fall or early spring when the plants are dormant.

Weeds are a sign that the grass is struggling, so use a broadleaf herbicide to knock them back at least three weeks before you plan to reseed. The herbicide residual will have dissipated by the time you seed.

With this work done, it’s time to choose the best seed for your restoration project. If you have lots of sun, Kentucky bluegrass works well. If you have light to moderate shade for more than half the day, consider a fescue mix, which is much more shade-tolerant than bluegrass. Be willing to pay for quality seed. Rough up the soil surface but don’t rake out the existing grass. Spread the seed and a lawn starter fertilizer in two directions 90 degrees to each other. Rake the seed into the soil surface and then roll with a lawn roller. Spread pelleted mulch over the surface and water well. Water lightly two to three times a day until the grass emerges and then once every day for two to three weeks to get it properly established.

Pat Munts has gardened in the Spokane Valley for over 35 years. She is co-author of Northwest Gardener’s Handbook with Susan Mulvihill. She can be reached at

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Garden tips for the harvest season – By Tom Seymour – Rockland … – Courier

The time is here to harvest a number of garden crops. First, let’s look at garlic.

Pull garlic when three-quarters of the stems have become dry and yellow. It won’t hurt to pull earlier, though, and given the current spate of dry conditions, I pulled my garlic when only the top few inches of stem and leaves had turned yellow. This was because garlic need lots of water, and I preferred to pull the garlic early rather than continue watering.

Now here’s a real helpful tip. Many people try to remove clinging dirt and debris from garlic bulbs by tapping on a hard object. I have done this myself, but last year had to pay the price. My usual practice was to hold the garlic by the stem and with some degree of force, tap the bulb on the wooden frame of a raised bed.

But that’s a risky practice and every so often, garlic so handled will not last through the winter. Indeed, my garlic last season became soft and the bulbs broke apart on their own, no help from me. Also, the individual cloves became mildewed, rendering them unfit for use.

So handle your garlic cloves gently. Remove clinging dirt by rubbing lightly with your fingers. After that, spread your garlic out on a table or something similar and leave in the sun for one or two days. Then bring in and place in a shaded, dry place for the final cure. After the remnant of stem has thoroughly dried, place the bulbs in an onion bag and store in a cool, dry area.

Summer squash

Pick zucchini and yellow summer squash when the fruits are about 6 inches long. Do your best not to allow any individual squashes to grow much larger. And keep ‘em coming. That is, pick as frequently as needed. This will assure continued production right up to frost time.

So what do we do with all those summer squash? Well, I just learned from a friend that the yellow variety (and probably zucchini as well) make excellent pickles. Use a bread-and-butter pickle recipe and substitute summer squash for cucumbers.

I used to slice summer squash into rounds and then sauté them for a minute or so. After that, the squash would be placed on a baking sheet so that none were touching. The sheet, with its complement of squash, then went in the freezer. When fully frozen, the squash slices are easily removed from the baking sheet and placed in a plastic freezer bag for winter storage.

To use, just partially thaw and then sauté as per fresh squash.

Summer squash is tasty when sliced and briefly boiled. One gardener likes to mix cut-up onions with squash slices. It’s easy, then, to parboil summer squash, drain and place in freezer bags for storage in the freezer. To use, just get a slight amount of water boiling in a saucepan and drop in the frozen slices.

And then we have friends, neighbors and food pantries. Where there’s a will there’s a way, so keep picking and enjoying those little squash. And remember, in winter any summer squash we find in the produce aisles will probably be soft and half-gone by. I’d rather have my own frozen product than a wizened squash from the store.

Bush beans

This year I tried a new, for me, bush bean called “Strike.” I give these top rating because they have a fine, delicate taste and remain straight and tender even as they get larger. But it’s best not to let them get too large. Better to pick all beans of a harvestable size than to leave medium-size ones on the vines to become too large.

I like to buy bush beans that continue producing over a long time. The best way to encourage long-term production is to keep the beans picked. Does this sound familiar? It should, because that’s the same way we need to treat our summer squash.

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan on planting Strike bush beans next year, too. They are delicious and worthy of our attention.

Sometimes despite our efforts to keep beans picked, some of them manage to grow to an exceptional size. That’s when I break out my cast-iron bean slicing (Frenching) device. Even the toughest old bean tastes fine and becomes tender after going through a bean-Frenching device.


What goes for summer squash and bush beans also holds true for cucumbers. Try your best to keep eating-size cucumbers picked and the plants will reward you with increased production.

As mentioned in a past column, I grow my cukes on a trellis. This keeps the fruits clean, off the ground and easy to find. My two cucumber types for this season were Summer Dance and Delikatesse. Summer Dance are long and thin, making them great for slicing. Delikatesse is a rather short, thick cucumber that serves equally well for fresh eating (even when rather large) and pickling.

But cucumbers are prone to a debilitating plant disease called bacterial wilt. This occurs when bacteria enter the plant stem through insect-caused wounds. Those yellow-and-black striped cucumber beetles are prime culprits and can transfer bacterial wilt by feeding on the plants. Rotenone works to solve this problem.

But controlling insects represents just part of the cure. The bacteria can linger in the soil, so if your plants become infected, pull them and burn them. Then next year, plant in a different location.

I grow my cucumbers in an EarthBox and have always done well until last year one of my plants developed bacterial wilt. Thinking that I had somehow damaged the plant, I didn’t take remedial measures. But now with the disease confirmed (stems dry and leaves wilt), I must empty the potting soil in my EarthBox and sterilize the inside of the water receptacle. The old soil will be disposed of far from my garden, and before planting next year, I will add new, clean soil. The soil in this EarthBox has served me for more than 10 years, so it’s past time for a change.


Did you plant your Swiss chard so thick that now it only produces lots of little leaves? Well, don’t despair, since chard responds well to thinning. It’s not too late to begin thinning and I suggest leaving at least one foot between plants in a row. So thin now, water, and in only a few days your chard will begin to take on new life. Before too long you will only need one or two leaves for a meal.

Tom’s tips

Do you like how things went with your garden this year? Or does it seem apparent that some things ought to change, perhaps certain plants need to grow in a new location to avoid depleting soil. The best way to remember all of this is to write it down. I like to make line drawings depicting what grew where. This comes in quite handy for future reference.

In addition to taking notes, it helps to take photographs of your garden from different angles. That way, it’s easy to see at a glance just how the garden was set up. Next winter, when snow flies and temperatures plummet, those garden photos will help to relieve winter blues. It works for me, and I’m sure it will do the same for you.

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Michigan teen’s apparel business supports Great Lakes restoration

MUSKEGON, MI – The Great Lakes are “Always fresh. Occasionally frozen.” 

That’s the tag line of a new Muskegon-based apparel company founded in July 2017 by Muskegon Catholic Central High School student Jackson Riegler, 17, of Muskegon. 

He named his company Oshki, which means “fresh” in the Ojibwe language. Ojibwe tribes lived primarily in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ontario, Canada.

Riegler’s passion for the Great Lakes and potential cuts to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative fueled his business plan. He donates 5 percent of Oshki profits to the Alliance for the Great Lakes. 

In March, President Donald Trump sought to cut $50 million from the $300 million in 2017 Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) funds to help pay for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. The 2017 funding was saved, and a U.S. House 2018 budget bill introduced in July included $300 million in GLRI funding. 

$300M for Great Lakes in U.S. House budget bill

Trump doesn’t budge on eliminating Great Lakes cleanup funding

“They don’t know what it’s about or what it means to people around here,” he said of the Trump Administration’s proposed cuts to Great Lakes funding. 

Riegler has made one donation to the Alliance for the Great Lakes so far – after less than a month in business – for $150.

“It’s going really well – better than expected,” he said of his business. “I can’t complain.” 

He visits Lake Michigan every day to “appreciate the blessing we have in these lakes.” 

The soon-to-be high school senior lives near Pere Marquette Park beach in Muskegon. One of his favorite beach activities is early-morning paddle boarding. 

The four Oshki shirt designs pay homage to Lake Michigan with the main logo being a sunset over water enclosed in a circle. The shirts come in uni-sex sizes from small to extra extra large, and range in price from $21.99-$31.99. 

Oshki is currently only available online. Most orders come from the Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Grand Haven areas, with some coming from Chicago, Wisconsin and Traverse City. 

The Great Lakes are “something I’ve always cared about,” Riegler said. 

As a high school freshman, he wanted to be a marine biologist. That year, he interned at the Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute.  

Later, he became interested in business. A business class at Aquinas College inspired him to come up with business ideas that applied to his passions. Oshki was conceived during February 2017. 

Riegler saved money from landscaping and lawn care work throughout the summer to launch Oshki. 

His goal is to attend the University of Michigan to study business administration.

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5 Outdoor Shower Ideas for Your Ultimate Backyard Oasis

Outdoor shower ideas abound these days—this is a backyard trend that’s enjoying a big moment in the sun. If you’re looking for a way to upgrade your home and your life, consider building or buying an outdoor shower. As far as summer-friendly outdoor amenities go, you can’t go wrong with an extra place to rinse off sand or mud with ease.

Deciding that you want to install an outdoor shower is the first step, but now comes the fun part: dreaming up exactly how you want it to look and what you want to put in it.

Check out these ideas and suggestions to help you dream up the ideal outdoor shower.

1. Size it right

Photo by Bill Fry Construction – Wm. H. Fry Const. Co.

Your first consideration for an outdoor shower is sizing.

“If you just want a place to wash dirty feet or scrub a small dog, a 4-foot square should work nicely,” says Craig Jenkins-Sutton, president of Topiarius, a gardening and landscaping company in Chicago.

But if you envision a more relaxing and private retreat with a bench or room for shelves and hooks, you’ll want to plan for a full-length shower about the size of yours at home. Don’t forget to leave extra space for towels and clothes so they won’t be in the path of the water spray.

2. Choose a shower style similar to your home’s aesthetic

Photo by Carlos Delgado Architect

Pick a look that’ll blend well with the overall feel of your home and yard, suggests Tyler Riddell, director of marketing for eSUB Construction Software.

“A rustic approach might include corrugated metal and industrial accents (like the outdoor shower in the photo above), while a beach theme could mean enclosing the shower with a natural-grain wood fence,” he explains.

3. Consider the plumbing

This shower head is about as close to a waterfall as you can get without leaving your backyard.

Lowe’s Home Improvement

The ideal plumbing solution is to attach your shower stall to one side of the house so you can use existing hot and cold water from the inside pipes, says Jenkins-Sutton. If that’s not a viable option because of your home’s layout, you can also install a solar tank that will heat up a cold-water line when the sun hits it. Or install an instantaneous electric water heater.

“Just a cold-water line is required,” says Jenkins-Sutton. “When hot water is needed, the heater warms the water as it flows through.”

And don’t forget drainage: “The shower’s plumbing might need to connect to a sewage line or a greywater reuse drain that flows out to the lawn,” points out Matt Michaels, spokesperson for Lowe’s Home Improvement.

If you’re on a budget, you can go the DIY route and use a garden hose.

“Of course, hose water will be cold, but that’s not always a bad thing on a hot summer day,” says Adam Glovan, field manager for Mr. Rooter Plumbing of Buncombe and Henderson counties in North Carolina.

4. Choose the right materials

Photo by Robert Young Architects

All materials should be appropriate for outdoor use, and you should have ample space to accommodate for a water source and drainage.

“High-quality wood products such as ipe and cumaru are known for their stability and are prized for outdoor construction,” states John Leggett, CEO and founder of On Point Custom Homes of Houston.

Jenkins-Sutton says cedar is another weather-resistant choice.

Wood or lattice can be used to create some privacy on the upper and lower portions of the shower. Millstones or limestone are a nice choice for the floor as they heat up in the sun and can provide warmth while you wash.

If you plan on mounting the shower head on the wall, Glovan recommends adding a tile or stone wall backsplash.

Just be wary of cheap outdoor shower kits, warns Jenkins-Sutton: “Poorly made ones can crack or fall apart, so it’s better to pay more for heavier, quality materials.”

5. Add handy accents

A wooden outdoor medicine cabinet is great to hold all your shower must-haves.

Lowe’s Home Improvement

A simple shelf or more elaborate medicine cabinet can hold toiletries like shampoo, a loofah, razor, or no-fog mirror.

Hooks for towels are smart, but if there’s nowhere to drill in hooks, you can easily toss your robe over the side of the stall.

“A large rain shower is so luxurious, but handheld versions are also popular because you can use them to wash off pets, kids—even golf clubs,” says Leggett.

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Northeast Ohio startups to share nearly $100000 in grants, services aimed at product developers

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A year after India Gill got the idea that everyone should be able to see themselves reflected in toys in the marketplace, a recent contest win from MAGNET is giving the future doll producer hope that she will be able to turn a dream into a reality.

With help from the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, Gill can see turning her handmade cloth doll prototype into a business by the end of the year, targeting multicultural girls. A three-month incubator space and guidance from an advisor is helping her to move forward in creating a line of dolls and activity books aimed at helping young girls understand and adapt to diverse, non-traditional family arrangements. Dolls are expected to eventually reflect  kids of single-parents, blended, and foster families to multi-generational, military, same-sex, and adopted.

After moving to Cleveland four years ago, India Gill met a family with three small children who recently lost their father, and she thought it would be a great idea to create something to show them they weren’t alone.  
“I rely a lot on advisors and mentors, and I’m finally pushing myself,” said Gill, a Case Western Reserve University employee who has a masters in public health.  “I’m at the stage where I’m trying to launch.”

Gill is one of six recent award recipients who participated in an online pitch competition, when MAGNET put out a call for product ideas to inventors, entrepreneurs, tinkerers or anyone with a solid idea. In the last two years, the competition has awarded about $150,000 in grants, and just as important, resources and connections to help take products and ideas to another level.

With more than 270,000 people employed in manufacturing in Northeast Ohio, and another 49,000 anticipated openings in the next 10 years, the competition is just one of the manufacturing organization’s missions to encourage people to create products.

While most pitch competitions involve focusing on pitching skills and product viability, this competition is aimed at helping companies or individuals develop products, by offering resources and funding. Eleven finalists were selected to meet in person with an expert panel of judges that included entrepreneurs, engineers and marketing experts.

The winning entrepreneurs represents Northeast Ohio’s diversity in terms of geography, age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status.  The winners who will receive a combination of interest-free loans, subsidized engineering projects, and direct entrepreneurial coaching include: Holmes Mouthwatering Applesauce, Karis Doll Collection, Smart Mulch, Cleveland Sewing Solutions, Storm Mountain Coffee and Peaceful Fruits.

“Since SmartMulch is still in the development phase, we’re hyper-focused on continuing to validate the concept, refining the prototype and the manufacturing process,” said Mike Dougherty. 

Mike Dougherty, creator SmartMulch, won the grand prize that not only includes incubator space, but also up to $10,000 in matching funds for services at MAGNET. The company is in the process of developing an idea to create an alternative to normal mulch used for landscaping that’s lightweight to transport, easy to install, hassle-free, and comes in zero-waste packaging.Because the mulch is compressed into tiles, they’re packaging is about a third of the size of normal mulch bags.
“Since SmartMulch is still in the development phase, we’re hyper-focused on continuing to validate the concept, refining the prototype and the manufacturing process, refining the product, and scaling the business,” he said. “With MAGNET’s help, we’re still learning and improving every day, but accomplishing these things would equate to success.”

“Entrepreneurship is an essential and irreplaceable component of Northeast Ohio manufacturing, and MAGNET is thrilled to help these individuals and small companies achieve their potential by connecting them to the funding and resources necessary for success in the long term,” said MAGNET President and CEO Ethan Karp.  
Last year’s winners are continuing to grow.
*    Parihug, founded by Xyla Foxlin, won $10,000 through MSpire in 2016. The company recently completed a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $50,000 from 389 funders, landing in the top three percent of Kickstarter campaigns. The company is in the process of reopening pre-sales to the general public.
*    Doug Katz, chief proprietor of Fire restaurant and CEO of Fire Spice Company, said, “We are up 7 percent in total revenues.  I am working with MAGNET on developing brand recognition as well as studying the brand to better target even more customers in the next year.  I am learning so much and owe it to the great people at MAGNET.”
*    Ron Nelson, CEO of, used his $10,000 grant to build a new website and improve his digital marketing. As a result, he said, “Being an MSpire 2016 winner has proven to be very beneficial in a number of ways. Our sales have increased by over 35 percent, with new customers and inquiries from states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Vermont, and more.”
*    In February, RVS Rubber Solutions was selected as a finalist won the 2017 Clean Energy Trust Challenge, securing a $50,000 prize and a chance to compete at the White House for $100,000.
*    Yeu Patch LLC has continued to develop its product and enter the marketplace. According to CEO David Yeu, “After winning the MSpire Competition, we were connected with some of the finest manufacturing and engineering professionals in the Northeast Ohio area that helped complete the design of our product, the U-Patch. Yeu Patch LLC has now sold the U-Patch to some of the largest counties and Ohio and has plans to complete product demonstrations in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Kentucky over this summer.”
*    StudioStick, founded by Brandyn Armstrong, won $10,000; since then, the company has raised more than $35,000 in follow-up funding and is a finalist on the TV show “Steve Harvey’s Funderdome.”

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How landscaping can play a part in improving Exeter’s mental health

Often commerce dictates the architecture of new buildings, particularly in cities. Governments of course need high density housing but residents crave wildlife and greenery.

Weekes Estate Agents in Exeter noticed how many tenants and vendors seek a home with a garden or balcony and decided to dig a little further to find out why it means so much to many people to have that outside space.

Access to green space reduces anxiety and depression

Urban design has an important part to play in our wellbeing with green spaces reducing depression and boosting our immunity and as city populations grow and land becomes more densely built upon the local councils have a growing responsibility to think ahead.

Add pretty flower pots to soften an urban roof top view

Dr Paul Keedwell, author of Headspace: The Psychology of City Living says studies show that interacting with nature through gardening or birdwatching boosts immunity levels: “If you’re stuck in a small flat, having access to green space where you hear birdsong, not noisy buses, reduces anxiety and depression.”

So, it seems that large cost cutting buildings can be detrimental to our health despite how practical and economically viable they might be. Perhaps these finds explain why in recent years we’ve seen an increase in sky gardens, roof terraces and balconies included in development designs.

Exeter council needs to plan ahead

We’re lucky in Devon to have a lot of surrounding coast and countryside and Exeter has parks, greens, the riverside and tree-lined streets which all contribute to the city’s rustic glow.

I do hope however that when developers create the next wave of inner city student housing they take into consideration two things: the skyline and students’ needs for designs that include landscaped areas.

In terms of the skyline, it has always been a boost to be able to see the hills surrounding Exeter from the inner residential areas such as St Leonard’s and Newtown but the taller buildings get, the more we are losing sight of those rolling green hills.

Did you know that bird-watching is growing in popularity especially amongst the younger generation? #ExeterSwifts

TV shows such as Countryfile have been fuelling the interest according to David Lindo, the Urban Birder, a regular on BBC’s Springwatch.

“Birds are everywhere, even in the densest parts of the city,” said Lindo, who wants developers to do more to help nature. “It doesn’t take much to install holes for swifts, house martins and bats to nest, all are dwindling in cities.”

It’s been a joy to see the swifts this summer circling the city centre even if they haven’t yet decided to nest in the £40K tower built on the Western Way roundabout by Jury’s Inn, which has also been planted with pollinating wild flowers.

It goes to show that even the smallest of urban spaces can be utilised. Recorded swift calls are currently being played to attract the migrating birds with the hope that they will re-colonise here within the next few years.

Princesshay’s bee keeping success sets an example

Princesshay’s roof top bee project has been a staggering success

Rooftop bee and butterfly gardens and living walls which all promote good mental health, can still be integrated into the designs where space is a premium.

Five years ago Princesshay introduced 10,000 honey bees, as part of an environmental initiative to our city centre living, to a rooftop garden above the shops (as well as fruit trees and bee-friendly flowering plants) and it’s been a staggering success.

Think of the impact it would make if we all created our own roof top gardens on our home office, garage or shed? There are plenty of easy to install kits now that you can buy at large DIY stores or online from companies such as Treebox.

What could you do?

Brighten up fencing and walls with brightly colour tins filled with your favourite flowers

This summer think about how you can maximise the impact of your city garden or balcony. Why not put up a living wall, vertical allotment or plant a roof garden on your bathroom extension, garage or shed roof?

It will look beautiful and you’ll probably get a lot of enjoyment looking at it each day. If you don’t have any outside space at all you can still put up a cellular frame in your kitchen or bathroom and plant it with moss, herbs or sedum.

Or why not find out what projects are going on in your area and join in. Some of Exeter’s parks have planted community vegetable patches which locals take responsibility for and anyone can come and take herbs or vegetables as needed when they’re cooking.

You can also write to your local councillors regarding plans for the city’s re-development projects and find out what is being proposed to keep the balance with nature.

At Weekes we value our community and are always on the look out for inspiration. For ideas on how to set up a vertical garden or living roof check out our Urban Gardens Pinterest board at

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Former Civic Virtue statue site in Kew Gardens rededicated as new …

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Energize outdoor spaces for Labor Day entertaining

It’s almost Labor Day weekend, and gardens everywhere are gearing up for outdoor parties. The experts at Pike Nurseries, which has several locations in Cobb, have tips for helping green thumbs maximize outdoor spaces and prepare to usher in the first hints of fall. From spicing up color on luscious lawns to ensuring pests stay put, Pike Nurseries has everything needed to prepare for the long weekend’s festivities.

Beautify backyards

♦ “Fall” in love with color

Prepare for garden party guests by adding a variety of color to the garden. Refresh and replace flower beds and container gardens with fall flowers that begin blooming now — and will last until the first frost of the season. To gear up for Labor Day weekend, the experts at Pike Nurseries can help green-thumbs plant magnificent mums as well as echinacea, rudbeckia, zinnias, lantana and more.

♦ Liven up the landscape

Start fresh this fall by boosting curb appeal with new landscaping designs. Homeowners can take advantage of Pike Nurseries’ landscaping services to amplify the charm of the backyard. The landscape experts at Pike Nurseries provide on-site design appointments which can aid in visualizing a lawn’s full potential. A well-designed landscape can boost property value, lower energy costs and assist in reducing noise pollution.

♦ Fruitful Fertilizing

Maximize gardens by fertilizing existing fescue lawns every six weeks from now through mid-April. Homeowners needing to re-seed or seed a new lawn can do so now with fescue. This cool-season grass with an active growing period between fall and early spring, can withstand heavy foot traffic, making it a perfect fit for Labor Day fun on the lawn. Lawns comprised of warm-season grasses like bermuda or zoysia, are entering their dormant period and can forego fertilization.

Keep out

♦ Wave goodbye to weeds

Perfect garden appearances by eliminating weeds. Gardeners can fight off existing weeds from the roots up with Bonide Weed Beater Complete, with visible results in just 24 hours. For weed-free lawns, prevent future weeds with Pike Crabgrass Preventer. Apply this pre-emergent to lawns before seeds have time to germinate, and weeds will be taken care of before they can appear.

♦ Tell outdoor pests to buzz off

Don’t let uninvited guests ruin the Labor Day cook-out. Utilize Thermacell or Bonide Mosquito Beater fogger to ensure optimum results. Lavender and Amazon Lights citronella candles can provide dual action results by working as repellant and serving as Labor Day patio decor. Gardeners can also repel mosquitos with household scents by placing plants and oils such as lemon thyme, rosemary and citrosa (citronella) scented geraniums around gathering areas. Another solution includes Bonide Mosquito Beater water soluble pouches as they will stop the lifecycle by killing mosquito larvae without adding harm to other inhabitants. These pouches can safely be dropped into fish ponds or standing water to create a pest-free garden space.

Pump up the party

♦ Deck out the Patio

Create the perfect, relaxing outdoor space for Labor Day entertaining with patio furniture. Pike Nurseries carries a full selection of quality and durable patio and outdoor furniture from loungers to seating arrangements, to full dining sets in multiple styles. Homeowners can always receive 30-50 percent off patio furniture purchases at Pike Nurseries.

♦ From Garden to Grill

Whether gearing up for kick-off or hosting an end-of-summer soiree, Pike Nurseries offers premium grills for outdoor dining needs. The versatile Kamado Joe ceramic grill functions as a grill, smoker and oven combined. The compact, portable Kamado Joe Jr. allows chefs to take over the tailgate party with the same versatility of the classic Joe. The stainless steel Saber grills use infrared technology to cook more accurately and efficiently — locking in flavorful juices to leave guests wanting seconds.

For more information, visit Pike Nurseries online at Visit Pike Nurseries on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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