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Archives for August 29, 2017

Gardening tips: How to grow orchids indoors

From soft pale to bright hues, orchids are exotic and beautiful. There are hundreds of their varieties.  And these wild orchids also grow well indoors, but the right condition is important. One must keep in mind light, temperature and moisture when growing orchids. Make sure to create the right condition and choose the orchids well taking into consideration the temperature and climate of the place you live in.

Here are a few tips on how to grow them indoors. Have your own orchid garden. Let them bloom in healthy bunch and enhance the beauty of your house.

Temperature: Hot weather may not be suitable. A warm or a cool place is ideal for it to grow well. Some orchids, however, survive under different temperature.

Light: Take care of the light around the plant. Some orchids prefer good sunlight, so keep them facing towards the window.

Moisture: Orchids need good moisture and humid condition. Ensure the soil in the pot is moist and cool, but do not allow too much water in it. Keep it moist and cool enough, but let them dry out before watering again.

Where to grow: If you are growing them indoors, you can grow them in an earthen or plastic container. Orchids grow well without fertiliser, but ensure a good bark mix with a little bit of cow dung.

Where to place them: They can be placed anywhere, but make sure the plants get enough light for a good bloom.

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Topiary tips for your garden – BT

If you’ve visited stately homes and gardens this summer and admired the architectural beauty of evergreen spheres and cones, beautifully clipped mazes, evergreen peacocks and other statuesque shapes, you may be inspired to create your own topiary.

[Read more: 5 steps to creating a colourful autumn barrel in the garden]

This art of training plants into intricate shapes and forms may seem an occupation for the extremely skilled and artistic gardener, but now, as many of us are trimming our hedges, it’s worth considering a few simple tricks of the topiary trade.

You can create a whimsical shape from a plant which will be both eye-catching and a topic of conversation when spotted.

Start with simple shapes

Keep shapes simple at first (Thinkstock/PA)

Balls, pyramids, cones and obelisks are among the easiest shapes to start with, according to the RHS. Choose a young, well-proportioned plant such as box or yew, which can be tightly clipped for detailed work. They are slow-growing, so once their shape is established it should be fairly easy to maintain. You can also use holly, privet and the evergreen honeysuckle Lonicera nitida.

Wire frames are widely available to create the shape you want and flexible young shoots can be tied into the frame to create bushy growth. Sideshoots can be cut regularly back to two or three buds to encourage branching. When the plant is growing, make sure the ties aren’t cutting into the stems. Stems facing downwards will grow the slowest and need to be tied in regularly, while vertical growth is the quickest.

Larger statues need open sites

Larger shapes need open sites (Thinkstock/PA)

Individual specimens can be grown in pots, but if you are after something bigger they will be more likely to succeed in an open sunny site, sheltered from strong winds.

As both box and yew are slow-growing, they only need trimming twice a year once their shape is established, in early summer and early autumn, using sheep shears or single-handed clippers.

If you are starting from scratch, choose a plant that already has the makings of a shape, such as a dome or spire, so all you have to do is exaggerate it.

Make a front door statement (Thinkstock/PA)

Common ivy can easily be trained into formal shapes with, say, the help of sweet pea rings, to grow around metal hoops or arches against a wall. Dwarf conifers can also be used to make effective architectural shapes, while upright varieties are ideal for training into obelisks or spires. Common holly can be used to make into mushroom or sphere shapes.

[Read more: How to feng shui your garden for summer: Tips for improving your wellbeing – and your yard]

Create a lollipop

Topiary trees in lollipop shapes (Thinkstock/PA)

To make a standard box bush, when the plant is around 2ft high gradually shorten the lower branches by half so a stem forms and shape the top into a rough ball shape. A year later, cut all branches from the stem. The lollipop top should be half the stem height and you can then trim it to shape.

As the plant matures, the branches and leaves should become tightly knitted to give a solid appearance. Apply an annual dressing of Growmore and mulch the soil with organic matter in spring.

Shape a sphere

Trim to keep it in shape (Thinkstock/PA)

To make a topiary sphere, stand above the plant and clip a broad band around its waist. Clip from the top middle point to the waist, then upwards from the bottom middle point to the waist. That will give you the outline for your sphere.

These sort of shapes look great in pairs outside front doors to make an impressive entrance, or add structure when put together on a patio.

If you want to make a pyramid or cone, tie three canes together into an extended triangle to use almost as a guideline for shape, tying any long shoots to the cane with twine to form the outer edges and prune the plants to the pyramid template.

Use frames for complex shapes

#watching #greenman #greenknowe #topiary #dyrhampark #nationaltrust

A post shared by karen p (@sky_children_) on

Aug 22, 2017 at 3:49pm PDT

With other shapes, place a wire ‘former’ over the plant and only start clipping once the plant has grown through. Formers, unlike frames, can be removed once the outline of the shape has developed. Use frames of sturdy wire to help with more complex shapes such as spirals, cake stands, arches and animals.


A post shared by AJDouglas (@douglasaudreyj) on

Apr 9, 2017 at 1:32pm PDT

Potted topiary needs watering thoroughly and regularly in summer and the roots need protection from frost in the winter.

Once you have got the hang of the sphere or the pyramid, who knows, before long you may be able to create that grand peacock you’ve been dreaming about.

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Sun worshipper: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on growing salvias

These “new” salvias come with wonderful names. One of the best, I think, is ‘Hot Lips’, which has flowers of red and white. Another favourite is ‘Mr Bumble’, which is a rich wine red.

None of the flowers are huge, neither are they carried in the dense cockade associated with ‘Blaze of Fire’ but the entire plant is peppered with small, lipped flowers, perhaps an inch long, and the great plus is that they are carried from June until the frosts.

The plants themselves grow about 18in high and as much across.

Article source:

Lawn and order: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on tidying up your garden after summer

Then catch up on other jobs in whichever way suits you best. Some people prefer to work their way methodically round the garden, going from end to end, weeding, deadheading, feeding, clipping, staking and tying up so they can see a total transformation as they finish each section.

Others like to do a little of what they fancy, when they fancy, so they might weed the obvious bits at the front of a bed then spend a quiet hour replanting pots on the patio. 

Allocate a bit of regular time, maybe a couple of hours every Saturday afternoon when your other half is watching sport or shopping, and treat it as your time to potter about as you wish. Whatever you do, go for it. The warm glow of pride when you’ve achieved something is wonderful. And you will have every right to feel pleased with yourself.

After all, if it wasn’t for the garden, you might even at this moment be out in a hot sticky car with a damp dog and two carsick  children, stuck in a traffic jam. 

Suddenly, a day in the garden with a trowel, a trug and a glass of wine and picnic lunch looks very appealing. No contest really. 

Bed of roses

l Tidy, trim and weed areas you can see from the house and patio for quick results.

l Improve borders in minutes by pulling out tall weeds and cutting down any summer perennials that have gone over. 

l Empty out old tubs and hanging baskets and replant them with autumn bedding – dwarf chrysanthemums, winter pansies and miniature cyclamen.

l Start a new project. It gives you something to look forward to, even if you just take some cuttings. Plant a small flower bed by the front door. 

l Go shopping. Treat yourself to some new tubs or a special shrub. Find garden centres with end-of-season sales and splash out on something that makes you feel good about the garden.

Article source:

Area News: Aug. 29, 2017

Seats still available on bus to Wellsboro

GILBERTSVILLE —  A day trip to the Grand Canyon of the East in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 26. The trip will include a covered wagon ride into the canyon along the Pine Creek Gorge. Dinner will be at Penn Wells in Wellsboro.  The trip has been organized by Roger Halbert of Butternut Valley Grange. A bus will leave the Grange Hall in Gilbertsville at 7 a.m and return  around 8 p.m. For more information and reservations, which should be made as soon as possible, call Halbert at 783-2691.

Supply lists posted by some schools

Local school supply lists posted as of Aug. 23 on include Milford Central School, Oneonta Middle and High schools and Valleyview Elementary. Parents enter their zip code and select from the list of schools that appear to access supply lists. Parents may purchase what’s needed online from the site’s national retail partners. They include Target, Walmart, or Amazon. Target and Walmart also offer in-store pick-up. Lists include required and requested items, specific notes and clarifications from teachers and school staff. Visit the site for more information.

Root beer floats to mark end of summer

HARTWICK — The Hartwick Historical Society will offer root beer floats for a donation from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at Waro’s Store, across from the Hartwick Fire House on county Route 11, in Hartwick in celebration of the end of summer and the opening of the Hartwick Farmers’ Market.

Sweets and music to kick off weekend

BAINBRIDGE — Labor Day weekend events will begin at 6 p.m. Friday with a Pie and Ice Cream Social by St. Peter’s Episcopal Church followed by the summer’s final Bainbridge Old Time Band concert at 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Village Green in Bainbridge.  In the event of bad weather, both events will be moved to the Town Hall Theater.

Decorated veteran to speak at lunch

COOPERSTOWN — The annual luncheon of Native Daughters of Cooperstown will be at noon on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Otesaga on Lake Street in Cooperstown.

Individuals born in Cooperstown or who have resided within a 15-mile radius of Cooperstown for more than 50 years may attend.

Joshua Ives, native son of native daughter Bonnie Ives, will speak. Ives, a photographer and storyteller who lives in Clinton, was raised in Cooperstown and enlisted in the United States Navy in 1991 at the age of 20. He served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman and was deployed throughout the world, stationed on warships, in hospitals, and clinics, as well as with the United States Marine Corps. In 2012, Ives was deployed to Afghanistan with the Provincial Reconstruction Team Farah, where he served as a medic and photographer. At the close of his one-year tour with the PRT Farah, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his work. Ives retired from the U.S. Navy in 2015.

He is a full-time student at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree major in documentary photography and minoring in anthropology.

His photographs may be found in online and print publications including advertisements, military journals, government publications and the digital editions of Time and Mother Jones. He was named Defense Video Imagery Distribution System’s “Journalist of the Month” in 2013 for his photography in Afghanistan and is a 2016 alumnus of the Eddie Adams Workshop XXIX.

To join the group, make a reservation or for more information, contact JoAnne Hubbell at or Sherlee Rathbone at 547-9334. 

Symposium planned by master gardeners

COOPERSTOWN — Kerry Ann Mendez of Kennebunk, Maine, and Margaret Roach of Copake Falls, will speak at “Color in the Year-Round Northeast Garden,” a symposium to be held from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30. Sponsored by the Master Gardener Volunteers of Otsego County, registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. The cost to attend is $70 person.

According to a media release, Mendez will present “A Thrifty Gardener’s Guide to Luxurious Gardens,” along with tips to make gardening easier and more fool-proof. Since 2015, Mendez has presented more than 200 lectures to more than 20,000 gardeners in 17 states and Canada. She is also the author of four gardening books.

Roach will address “Non-Stop Plants: A Garden for 365 Days.” The talk will focus on garden design to make gardens a visual treat all throughout the year. The author of three gardening books, she also has a weekly podcast and maintains the web page,

In addition to the buffet lunch, there will be a silent art auction of framed nature and garden-inspired artwork.

The symposium is co-sponsored by Harvesting History of Greene, a company that specializes in heirloom plant material and gardening tools.

For more information, call the Master Gardener Volunteer office at 547-2536, ext. 0, or visit the site

Hunger walk event looking for teams

WALTON — The annual Hunger Walk in Walton will be Sunday, Oct. 1. The 5k will take walkers around the village of Walton or around Austin Lincoln Park Trail, which, according to organizers, is slightly less than a mile.

Registration will begin at 2 p.m. at the park pavilion. Music will be provided by Patrick Meredith. A ceremony will take place at 2:45 p.m. and the walk will begin at 3 p.m. All walkers will receive a voucher for a free meal upon their return. Niles Wilson will be barbecuing hamburgers and hot dogs. Non-walkers will be charged $3 charge for the barbecue.

Proceeds from the walk will be divided among several organizations. The Walton Food Bank  will receive 50 percent; Walton Backpack Program for elementary, middle and high school students will receive 20 percent; Walton Soup Meals to the Community offered by a number of the Walton churches, 20 percent; and 10 percent to Compassion International, which helps children overseas.

Call Denise Jackson at (631) 327-3118 for information on sponsoring teams from work places or neighborhoods.

Article source:

Landscape architect opens farm retreat in Fayetteville (With Photo Gallery) – Beckley Register

FAYETTEVILLE — When Pamela Bailey started working on her farm retreat, she paid attention to the details of each room.

She wanted each detail to not only preserve the historical integrity of the building but also have a modern touch that didn’t look out of place with the rest of the house.

What is now the Five Springs Farm Guesthouse in Fayetteville once was an old storage facility that she said was in “decrepit shape.” To the best she could tell by trying to track down courthouse records, she estimates the storage facility was built in the mid- to late 1800s.

“I think it’s so cool to do it,” she said of renovating the house. “There is a real balance when you’re doing historic preservation. How far do you go and still maintain the character without losing it?”

For example, she kept the original old doors leading to the bedrooms. She painted them and installed new hardware. However, the hardware was difficult to find.

“The hardware was difficult because the doors are thinner than modern doors,” she said. “So you couldn’t get them at Lowe’s. I had to go to a store in Lewisburg and found blacksmithed cottage door handles. It’s the little details that really set off the house. I really tried to pay attention to the details.”

She gestured to what is now a modern bathroom, which once was a porch that led to the outhouse. The bathroom includes modern amenities but also has a flair for the past with horseshoes found on the property hanging on the walls.

She started work on the farm retreat last May, finishing at the beginning of May this year. She worked on it every day but even when she took breaks, thoughts of renovations ran in the background of her mind.

“I remember I took a day off and that’s when I found that garage light first,” she said gesturing to the light hanging in the sunroom, noting that this is the first time the house has had electricity in its history. “Then I found the kitchen lights. They were exactly what I was hoping to find. They were barn lights, just the enamel fixtures. That color is the one that I had painted 25 years ago on the cabinets.”

She started hosting guests the second week of May and plans to close the season at the end of October. People can reserve a room in the two-bedroom house through Airbnb. So far, she’s had about 15 guests; she said July and August have been very busy.

She said she moved to West Virginia because she loves the area. A New Englander originally, Bailey had lived in Massachusetts and had worked in Mississippi before settling in West Virginia. She bought the property in Fayetteville in 1992.

“It’s a fantastic area,” she said. “This is where I learned botany, in the Appalachian area. I loved the forests around here.”

She started with animals and a high tunnel for growing various crops. That’s when she came to the third piece — the Airbnb. She said opening the house has allowed her to stabilize her farm’s annual bills.

She retired about a year and a half ago from work as a research botanist. She has her master’s and Ph.D. in botany. She also worked at the National Park Service as a landscape architect for the New River Gorge National River. She learned to love the process of preservation and the restoration of gardens, buildings and landscapes.

She said her experience as a landscape architect helped her see the big picture for the house.

“I have a good spatial ability to see things where most people may not be able to,” she said. “If it means a piece of wood in a campground like the Park Service in Glade Creek or here on the farm. A lot of it is a subconscious process too.”

When designing the house, she said each room fell into place. She didn’t plan it out initially.

“It’s not like I had a design board,” she said. “It just fell into place. I loved that. I love the design process. I think it’s the coolest thing. I think the space works. The detailing is beautiful. I’m really happy with it. It took a lot of work.”

She said she caters the experience to the people who stay at the farm retreat. This is one facet of what she says is her mission statement: “A sustainable farm based on stewardship practices grounded in a reverence for the land and its resources, growing wholesome food, and providing a farm stay experience to share this way of life with others.”

She recalled one time in particular when a family stayed at the farm retreat. The kid, she said, had never been around chickens before. She delighted in seeing the child’s face when she collected the eggs.

She said she also has fresh vegetables or eggs available for her guests, which she said is a highlight for them.

“I strike up conversations and see how their day is going and see what kind of things they have going. I’ll have fresh eggs in the fridge.”

Next year, she hopes to open in April, but opening is dependent on weather. By that time, she said she’s hoping to have the barn finished and animals in the barn. She also hopes to offer classes, in particular classes on herbal plants and garden design.

She said she loves contributing to the energy of the town and wanted to contribute to agri-tourism in the community.

“I love Fayetteville,” she said. “I love the energy in the town. … It’s a vibrant community and it’s a vibrant environment between the rock climbing and boating. That’s what I fell in love with was the energy. I wanted to contribute, and agri-tourism is on the rise. People go to farms as destinations where they can sample food from the farm. I wanted to be in on the start of that movement for West Virginia.”

Email:; follow on Twitter @AndreaLannom

Article source:

Ridgefield Continuing Education to offer gardening classes

New fall gardening classes that will help you prepare for a great yard in the spring are available through Ridgefield Continuing Education.  

Fall Bulb Planting and Prep for Spring (Monday, Sept. 25; $31) focuses on planning your spring bloom garden, along with trees, shrubs, perennials and wildflowers that go well with bulbs, before you plant bulbs this fall.

Landscape Garden Design (Wednesdays, Oct. 4 and 11; $49) looks at your landscape as a series of “rooms” with different functions and covers elements of design, color theory, selection and siting of plants, deer, sun, shade, wet and dry areas, best performing plants for our area, screening, soil preparation, digging, dividing, planting, propagation, insects and diseases, maintenance, budgeting, and more.    
Classes meet from 7 to 9 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School. Tree ID Walk (Saturday, Oct. 21; 1 to 3 p.m.; $31) is also available. Advance registration required. Visit or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

No related posts.

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Framingham: Vacant lot on Irving Street to become new park

FRAMINGHAM — A parking lot south of downtown is set to be transformed into Framingham’s newest public park.

Selectmen last week voted to sponsor a warrant article for the Special Town Meeting in October that will allow the town to formally accept a roughly quarter-acre property at 150 Irving St. from the School Department.

Once the site of the Washington Street School, the vacant property is leased for parking. Staff from several departments are brainstorming ideas to convert it into a “pocket park” — possibly with assistance from developers — adding greenery to a section of town that sorely needs it.

“As you can see in various neighborhoods, just tree-lined streets can change the character of an entire neighborhood,” Planning Board Administrator Amanda Loomis said.

The two-story school building that once occupied the property can be seen in the town’s turn-of-the-century maps. It was erected around 1856 at the corner of Irving and Arlington streets and expanded several years later. Town officials believe it stood until about 1957-1963, when the building was razed.

The site is covered today in reclaimed asphalt and surrounded on three sides by chain link fence. Multi-family houses abut two sides of the property, while another portion borders a commercial building.

The School Committee voted in March to transfer the property to the town. Loomis said building a new park there aligns with the town’s long-term goals of adding open space in the southeast, a densely populated area where homes mix with commercial and industrial sites.

“This is a very walkable area,” she told selectmen earlier this month, adding that the lot is served by a painted crosswalk at the intersection.

Taking ownership from the School Department is beneficial because the town won’t be taking a property off the tax rolls in order to build the park, and it won’t have to clean up the site before it can break ground.

“We don’t have very many opportunities where we get a vacant piece of land that was used just for a school with no contamination on it to be reutilized for open space in the Southside,” Loomis said.

Town officials have yet to develop a formal plan for the site, which measures about 9,000 square feet. While it isn’t big enough for a playing field, the lot could house trees, grass or sitting areas, Loomis said.

Selectman Laurie Lee said the concept meshes with the Open Space Committee’s 10-year plan to create pocket parks on town-owned land downtown. That effort began with a new community garden on Pratt Street, and continues with a new pocket park being developed near Amazing Things Arts Center on Hollis Street, she said.

“This is actually part of a long-term, bigger strategy that we’ve been working on for quite a while,” Lee said, “and the opportunity to come forward with this is really incredible.”

Cynthia Laurora, a Town Meeting member from Precinct 11, said she hopes the initiative will spur the town to spruce up the Arlington Street playground and inspire more landscaping on private properties.

“No one’s respecting that ratio of green space to development,” Laurora said. “They just mow everything down and pave everything over, and that’s why we’re in the situation that we’re in down there. It looks horrendous. So this is the first step.”

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 617-863-7144 or Follow him on Twitter: @JimHaddadin

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A rustic redo: Family’s past brings unique look to outdoorsman’s retreat southwest of Beaver Lake – Omaha World

A 60-pound stuffed beaver isn’t your usual living room décor.

But for outdoorsman Daron Smith, it fits.

His 3,700-square-foot home southwest of Beaver Lake, Nebraska, is a blend of his lifelong passion for the outdoors and his fondness for mementos from his family’s past.

“I really love the rustic feel of my place with the barn wood and, obviously, the animals I’ve acquired over the years,” Smith says. “And I love the history” that’s reflected in the décor.

The hunter and fisherman made the outdoors his first priority upon purchasing the eight-acre property in 2000. He replaced a barn, put in a pond and brought in a half-million pounds of rock, including boulders, to give the landscape a northern Minnesota look and feel.

He planted wildflowers in the woods behind his home and created another acre of wildlife habitat to the west, clearing a lot of trees in the process.

“My career should have been in landscaping and habitat management,” says the 52-year-old former owner of Better Business Equipment Co., as he gazes out on the jewel of his work, a 100-by-80-foot pond.

He has since expanded the original parcel to 50 acres and added a nearby 160-acre farm, which he’s turning into a mix of crops and more wildlife habitat.

Turkey, coyote, raccoon, possum and all kinds of birds are familiar visitors to his home.

“I’m close enough to get to Omaha,” he says, “but I feel like I’m in the middle of the wilderness.”

His focus turned inside after selling the family business in 2015. As with many home remodels, it started small.

He wanted to redo a three-season porch that had paper-thin windows and a leaky roof and walls. But he also liked the idea of opening up the area to the kitchen. Soon, the kitchen was down to its studs.

Three weeks near completion of the four-month project, he remodeled the main-floor bath.

“I just decided to go whole hog,” Smith explains.

He provided 30 percent of the ideas, and gave Libby Pantzlaff of Creative Interiors by Libby credit for the other 70. Mike Sassen of Advance Design and Construction also had creative input.

Smith wanted to feel like he was sitting outside, so he sought a rustic feel in the hearth room, with barn wood walls, slate flooring and a great view of the pond and woods.

Along the way the project took on an historic bent, something he hadn’t originally planned.

A wall and backsplash in his new kitchen feature reclaimed Egyptian pavers used in the 1920s to build the Lincoln Highway, which snaked down Dodge Street on its way from New York to San Francisco. Smith and Pantzlaff spent a day reclaiming them from a brick pile at AR Salvage and Recycling Inc.

The marble counters are done in what Pantzlaff jokingly calls a mossy oak pattern, because it reminds her of camouflage.

“I think it’s just got character,” Smith says.

The frames around the windows in the hearth room and kitchen feature old-growth oak from a western Nebraska barn. Smith estimates the wood could be nearly 200 years old.

In the hearth room, a wall made from reclaimed wood from nearby Murray, Nebraska, has become home to many family heirlooms. Smith points out a log chain and skillet that traveled from Illinois to Kansas in a covered wagon.

“I had a pile of this stuff, and I said, ‘Libby, make it look good.’ ”

The only time Smith balked, then relented, was when Pantzlaff suggested using reclaimed corrugated metal from a barn for the hearth room ceiling. Now he’s glad he went along with the idea.

As an homage to what Smith calls the hunting that runs in his blood, racks from two deer and a 600-pound elk adorn another wall in the hearth room. A spot over the new coat closet is reserved for one of the bobcats that frequents his farm.

The beaver is homegrown, too. It lived in the creek behind his house. When it began killing off many of the smaller trees on the property, Smith trapped it and had it mounted.

It has definitely become a conversation piece with Smith’s guests.

“Most of them are pretty shocked,” Smith says. “Who has a beaver?”

Article source:

Energy Pipeline: Tech Talk — Is your new idea worth pursuing …

Every oil/gas company is constantly looking for new ideas that offer a competitive advantage, especially ones that can be patented.

A sound business practice is to review the patent database to be sure the idea can be implemented without infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. To perform this review, an intellectual property expert would be hired to prepare a Freedom to Operate (FTO) opinion, which would cost at least $20,000 to $30,000 (“Freedom to Operate: Knowing if you will likely infringe a patent”, G. Quinn, IPWatchdog, June 27, 2017).

The FTO opinion is an evaluation of the result of a data mining process and the outcome should provide actionable intelligence. This distinction is addressed in an article ( “IP Landscaping – Creating a Conceptual Fabric of Information”, E.P. Raciti, Intellectual Property Today, June 2014) which states:

“… divorced from context is meaningless. Fitting the data to a story is what transforms it into information. Information properly interpreted become actionable intelligence.”

In 2000, a new, powerful tool (Patent Landscapes) was developed to provide a higher level and broader view than FTO opinions of patents, state of the art, and competitive activity in a particular technical area within a specific geographic region. This output delivered data in a context that included visual relationships among the various patents related to the technical area of interest. The above article describes the utility of this new tool:

“The results of a patent landscape can be used both offensively and defensively to inform early stage research and development decisions, assist with internal patent portfolio strategy, identify third party roadblocks or licensing opportunities, and gauge competitor positioning. But unlike a geographical map, IP landscapes have no counterpart in reality by which to gauge their accuracy. While an error in a road map or GPS database can lead to misinterpretations or errors in execution, a poorly executed IP landscape can lead to faulty choices that could not only be costly, but also require precious months or years to unravel.”

The outcome of the landscaping tool is only as good as the competence of the analyst to formulate the inquiries of big data (i.e., patent databases throughout the world) and understand the details of the subject technical area. Substantial information on patent landscaping and examples of application in many technical areas is available in reports of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and numerous commercial websites (“10 Powerful Simple Patent Landscaping Techniques”, ACCLAIM IP, Patent Search Analytics Software).

Patent Landscape for Driverless Car Technologies

Since most readers are familiar with driverless car technologies, the patent landscape map for this technical area is provided as a simple example in Figure 1 which is from “Patent Landscape Report on Autonomous Car-Control Mechanisms/Driverless Car”, GridLogics, April 13, 2016.

The basics of the presentation are:

» the rectangular base map represents the scope of various mechanisms used in a driverless car.

» the patents represented by dots are colored-coded by company.

» specific technical clusters are positioned near each other based on degree of relevance based on information contained in the patents.

» the colored areas are contours based on number of patents.

A general reading of this patent landscape could conclude: maximum patent activity is related to mechanisms involving wheel speed sensors and stability with cruise control being the next active patent area. Traffic jam assist and blind spot detection are areas of low patent activity.

Mapping of Emerging Trends in Oil and Gas Technologies with Commercial Potential

Recently, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) published a comprehensive report overviewing the patent activity in the shale oil and gas subsector of the oil and gas industry (“Patent Landscape Report. Shale Oil and Gas” CIPO, Innovation, Science, and Economic Development Canada, 2016). For this report, the invention database between 2000 and 2012, which contained over 4,000 published patent families, was analyzed. By convention, a patent family contains all the patents related to a single invention.

This report provided two landscape maps which are combined into a complex map (Figure 2). Two overlays are placed on the basic contour map.

» A dotted line is placed along the valley between the elevated areas of patent clusters related to exploration and development/production.

» Colored ovals enclose highest patent areas by major international companies.

As mentioned above, the results of a patent landscape can be used both offensively and defensively to inform early stage research and development decisions as well as other related business decisions. For example:

» Schlumberger and Halliburton dominate the technologies related to exploration (i.e., drilling and well formation) with direct completion in drilling well formation.

» Idemitsu has a strong presence in two technical areas positioned in development/production with different direct competitors in each area.

If your new idea falls in an elevated area of patent clusters, then the possibility of patent infringement is high and the opportunity for commercialization of your idea may involve an arrangement with companies already holding patents in these technical areas. To a lesser degree, infringement concerns could be present on any of the elevated, non-blue areas.

Conversely, if your area of interest is in the blue area, then there should be opportunities commercialize your patentable idea. As a corollary, the blue areas present opportunities for new ideas. For example, most of the exploration side is nearly covered with elevated landscape due to patent activity while there is a major blue bay in the development/production side along the dotted line that has received little patent interest.

Possible Patent Landscapes for Rocky Mountain Oil Fields

Patent landscapes provide key information on emerging technologies with high commercialization potential and opportunities to create barriers for entry of competitors.

A limited search of patent landscape map found only a few related to the oil/gas industry: shale oil and gas technology (presented in this column) and desalination which could be relevant to produced water treatment technologies.

It would be of interest to prepare patent landscapes for technologies related to key issues in Rocky Mountain oil fields, a specific region. These visualizations could help identify technical areas where: company patents are basically in the same patent family and arrangements could be made to jointly to advance existing technology and where new technology is needed. Candidate technical areas could include:

» technologies for management of drill cuttings.

» technologies for management of produced water.

» technologies for horizontal drilling.

» technologies for remediation of petroleum contaminated soils and waters.

» technologies for treating flowback water.

Obviously, a list of firms in the Rocky Mountain Region with capabilities to prepare patent landscape would be very useful.

— For over 50 years, Gary Beers has worked in numerous fields of environmental science as a consultant, regulator and educator. This career included senior management positions with major consulting, nonprofit and public, organizations. He has founded several successful firms to capture emerging resource management markets. One of the his latest ventures, EnviroScienceINFO, provides content for public media.

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