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Archives for September 8, 2017

Disabled and green-fingered? Try these tips from Mark Lane of Gardeners’ World

Mark has created a successful garden design business and last year joined GW TV, where he highlights, among other things, issues for those with mobility problems. Although born with spina bifida, it hardly affected him until after the accident 16 years ago. “We had to suddenly rethink our lives and my partner, Jasen, said, ‘you know so much about plants why don’t you do something with them?’”  After a garden landscape course, he hasn’t looked back.

His gardens for clients, both with and without mobility problems, avoid a straight-sided, raised-bed, ‘institutionalised’ look, instead he incorporates features like raised tables and uses a long-handled spade to dig holes and a ‘grabber’ to handle plant pots. 

Mark’s biggest bugbear is paths that are too narrow for wheelchairs and a lack of turning spots; and he recommends raised path edging for those with spatial awareness problems. In his own garden, hedges are at a height he can trim himself. “I want the garden to be like a normal garden so there are hedges that are at a ‘teasing’ height for those standing who can see over them. Of course, I can’t, but I can still see a hedge and wonder what is around the corner.” 

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Open and shut case: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on choosing the right gate for your garden

I make no grandiose claims for my garden but a pleasing gateway is a good start. A smooth and effortless entrance to a garden improves your mood in an instant and the gate can be chosen to suit its surroundings.

Choose one to suit your house and aspirations, whether its a traditional, ultra-modern, five-barred or park-style gate of hooped or branded steel. Hang it on sturdy posts securely bedded in concrete and checked to make sure they are perpendicular.

Make sure the gate fits comfortably and is kept oiled at both the hinge and the catch ends. Paint it and maintain it regularly, it will last for donkey’s years and you won’t reach the house or the pavement in a bad temper as you do after being forced to administer the hip flick or swift kick.

Simple? Yes, but surprisingly satisfying, too. And if you can’t do it yourself, get someone to do it for you.

Don’t miss Alan’s gardening column today and Tip Of The Week every weekday in the Daily Express. 

For further information on his range of gardening products, visit

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Gardening: Tips to boost crop production

Labor Day has come and gone. Big yellow buses are slowing traffic twice a day. But it’s not time to give up on gardening and move on to watching football and waiting in a recliner for the maple leaves to turn red. Your gardens still need you. Let’s look at the vegetable garden.

Labor Day has come and gone. Big yellow buses are slowing traffic twice a day. But it’s not time to give up on gardening and move on to watching football and waiting in a recliner for the maple leaves to turn red. Your gardens still need you. Let’s look at the vegetable garden.

My Brussels sprout are the size of peas, very small for the time of year. But I know how to fix that. I just cut off the top cluster of leaves. That will prevent the plant from using its energy to get taller. Instead it will pump up the “sprouts” we love to eat into big, healthy veggies.

Pumpkins and winter squash need the knife, too. They will continue to elongate their stems, growing out of the garden and across the lawn. But a blossom starting now will have little chance of maturing into a potential jack-o’-lantern. So nip off that vine and let the energy from the sun and the minerals from the roots go to the fruits that have some chance of success.

Most tomatoes are what we call “indeterminate”. That means they will continue to grow taller until they are killed by frost. Most Roma-type tomatoes (plum) are determinate, as are a few others used mainly for canning or growing in pots. They reach full size and then concentrate on producing one load of fruit that can be picked and canned. But Big Boys and most heirlooms will continue getting taller, which can be a problem.

I’ve seen tomato plants 30 feet tall in commercial greenhouses. They grow up ropes that can be lowered down for picking. But you probably are not equipped to deal with tomato plants that are even 8 feet tall. So nip off the tips of tall branches.

If you haven’t been paying attention to your tomatoes for a few weeks, you might well have some fruit-laden branches on the ground. These are much more susceptible to rot than fruit that is tied to a stake or cage. Lift the branches and tie them to the outside of the tomato cage. I recently was given some old panty hose that I cut into strips and used to tie up mine. It’s soft and stretchy, and does a great job. String is not perfect for the job as it can cut into the stems. Old bed sheets can be cut into strips for the job instead.

Potatoes are reaching full size for many gardeners. I plant mine later than most (mid-June) and they still have nice green leaves that are turning sunshine, carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates that will keep me plump all winter. But if yours have brown leaves, you can dig them now. Or you can steal a few by reaching under a plant or two and grabbing a spud for dinner, but leaving the plant itself undisturbed.

As with any plant that is susceptible to fungal diseases, I do not toss potato plants onto the compost pile. Squash, tomatoes and potatoes all fall into this category. I carefully dig all the plants (including leaves and roots) and put them on a brush pile I will burn this winter after snow falls. If you don’t have a burn pile, you can put them in household trash or create a separate pile in a far corner of your property. I do that to minimize fungal diseases next year.

Leeks are ready to harvest, but can stay in the ground a few more weeks. I use leeks not only for leek and potato soup, but also as a substitute for onions. And you don’t have to just use the white part of leeks. Commercial growers hill soil over the leeks as they grow, keeping a longer portion white than I do. But most of the green part of the stem is good to use, too. I pick every other one now, thinning them out, and leaving some to get even bigger.

My peppers are pathetic this year. I only planted a few, some Hungarian wax and a few sweet peppers. I got a few of the hot wax peppers early on, but the cool, rainy summer has not encouraged most plants to blossom and produce fruit.

By now my peppers must be scared that winter is coming and they have not produced enough seeds to keep their line of DNA alive. We had one night where the temperature went down to 33 degrees! That should have been a wake-up call. So I am hoping that they will bloom and produce some fruit during the hot Indian summer days that are sure to come.

I am trying an experiment with my peppers this year. On Labor Day I dug up 2 Hungarian hot wax peppers and transplanted them into 8-inch pots. I used potting soil, not garden soil in the pots as it will stay fluffier than garden soil, which tends to compact in a pot. I am keeping them in the garden, but will carry them inside any time the temperature is predicted to go much below 50 degrees. Then I’ll carry them outside again in the morning, sort of like walking the dog. They are wind-pollinated, so being indoors will not be a problem. I’ll let you know if I get some peppers this way.

As a rabid, mad-dog gardener I never stop thinking about my garden. There is always something to try — which keeps me young.

— Henry Homeyer’s blog appears twice a week at Write to him at P.O. Box 364, Cornish Flat, NH 03746. Please include a SASE if you wish a mailed response. Or email

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Award-winning garden designer Kirsty McLean parts with some handy tips

Garden designer, Kirsty McLean, who will be writing about revamping your garden.
Picture by Jim Irvine 28-08-17

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Motherhood saw Kirsty McLean make a major career change and she is now an award-winning garden designer.

From community projects to urban gardens in need of TLC, Kirsty’s expertise means she has also been part of Scotland’s longest-running gardening programme, Beechgrove Garden, for the past 14 years.

She explains why she loves seeing gardens come to life, and also parted with some handy tips.

“Having worked in the oil and gas industry for 18 years, I changed my career direction in 1997 following the birth of our daughter.

“What decided me on becoming a garden designer was quite a logical process for me. I gathered up the skills set achieved in my previous career and married these with my passions.

“I found myself instantly hooked on the subject – it just seemed to be the most natural fit for me.

“Fairly quickly, it became apparent that there was sufficient interest in my abilities to make this a full-time career and I started The Garden Design Company Scotland in 2000, the Millennium.

“In 2001 Beechgrove Garden contacted me and I started working with them on community projects and along with my private work, have continued to do so, which has allowed me access to some of the finest horticultural brains in the UK. As a result I’ve learned such a great deal and I’m so thankful to have had that opportunity.

“In the past 20 years I have designed and developed gardens of all shapes and sizes working closely with a diverse client base, which has included private clients, community projects and commercial clients – all very different where no two projects are the same.

“I would say that most new clients have been recommended to come to me by an existing client but however they arrive at my door, all of these people and their gardens are unique and I treat them so.

“My average day isn’t average at all! I very often start off my day with e-mails and organising logistics for various projects that are all at different stages, followed by new client visits and site meetings for existing builds.

“I make room to research materials and visit wholesalers or garden centre’s to discuss up and coming orders. I have to have a few hours of ‘quiet time’ each day to work on new and existing designs too, which is why this is not a 9-5 job. You have to be passionate about it or you couldn’t sustain the pace.

“Often clients come to me for a two-hour, on-site consultation because they have become ‘stuck’ in their thought process and can’t move forward. A fresh pair of professional eyes, can help to kick-start the process and give them the confidence and motivation to move past this but if hiring a designer isn’t for you then here are some helpful tips:

“The design process is really based on logic and then you add in the aesthetics and styling. Seating areas are positioned where the sun falls, in a private part of the garden that isn’t in a prevailing wind. The bins need to be near enough to the kitchen so you can get to them easily. The rotary dryer needs to be close enough to the utility room to be able to snatch the washing back in when it rains! Paths connect access points and to the various activities within the garden; seating area; shed; clothes line etc.

“So when you come to look at how to make the most out of your garden space and find yourself going blank, start to think about how the garden can be made to function in a practical sense first and this will help to move the process on.

“If you are on a limited budget, hard landscaping such as paving and walling can be expensive.

“Providing that you don’t have to retain levels, lawn and planting borders can create shapes and interest relatively cheaply, to good effect.

“To revive existing gardens, old, tired fences can be painted to give them a new lease of life; existing paving can be cleaned and old lawns can be fed and weeded, aerated and cut regularly to bring them back to life. There is no gain without a little pain!

“Whatever stage your garden is at and however you decide to tackle it, creating a budget and planning how you are going to achieve your goal is a really helpful way to approach it. List all the materials that you will need to create your garden – for instance: fencing/carpentry, sub base, paving, armoured cable for lighting, lights, top soil, compost, turf , plants and get these onto a spreadsheet or write a ‘shopping list’.

“Start to calculate the linear, square metre or volumes of the material concerned then go out and find the best price and source for that material and note it against the materials on your list. Gradually you will build up information: your preferred supplier and a cost against each item on your list which, when added up will provide you with your budget.

“Now you are armed with your garden plan, budget and materials list you can start to explore the fun things that will style your garden such as planters, seating, heating, planting . . . the possibilities are endless! Good Luck!”

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Learn about floral designs for table settings at this Redlands program

The Garden and Floral Arrangers Guild will present a floral design program on “Table Setting Designs and More” 10 a.m. Sept. 9 in the lower level of the Lodge at Plymouth Village retirement community, 945 Salem Drive, Redlands.

The program is free and open to the public.

In anticipation of the holiday season, participants will learn about functional and exhibition table designs and ways to include vintage collectibles in table designs.

There will also be information available about the guild’s table setting flower show, “Great Gatherings and Good Times,”  to be held Sept. 30 at Kendall Place, 120 E. Palm Ave., on the campus of Plymouth Village in Redlands.

The Garden and Floral Arrangers Guild is a Redlands-based 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization that offers programs, floralarranging studies and demonstrations, gardening forums, school workshops, veterans’ projects and more.

The guild is a member of California Garden Club Inc., Palms to Pines District, and National Garden Clubs Inc., Pacific Region. For information, go to or or call 909-453-7682, 909-794-6293 or 951-285-8775.

Source: Garden and Floral Arrangers Guild

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Applications for Longwood Gardens Fellows Program Now Open …

KENNETT SQUARE, Pa., Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – Applications are now available for the Longwood Gardens Fellows Program, a 13-month residential learning experience focused on building the leadership capacity of high-potential public horticulture professionals. Interested individuals should visit for program and application information. Applications are due November 1. 

The program is open to global professionals who hold a bachelor’s degree and possess a strong desire to lead in a public horticulture environment. Masters and doctoral candidates and those who may be transitioning between careers are welcome to apply. The program begins June 2018.

Current public horticulture leaders are also encouraged to nominate individuals who have a commitment to professional excellence, have a deep intellectual curiosity, and have an interest in representing diverse perspectives and backgrounds for admission to the Program. Nominations should be submitted in writing to the Program’s director, Dr. Tamara Fleming, rel=”nofollow” by October 1.

During the 13-month, fully funded, cohort-based residency at Longwood, Fellows delve into topical issues relevant to public horticulture today such as leadership, board relations and governance, communication skills, change management, innovation, and HR/talent management. A two-month domestic or international field placement provides a deeper understanding of these issues, equipping Fellows to lead organizations into a vibrant and sustainable future. Alumni of the Fellows Program join the prestigious Society of Fellows, a global network of public garden professionals.

Online informational sessions will be available September 8, September 21, and October 18. These sessions are hosted by the Fellows and will give prospective students more insight into the program and the application process. To register for an informational session, visit

About Longwood Gardens

In 1906, industrialist Pierre du Pont (1870-1954) purchased a small farm near Kennett Square, PA, to save a collection of historic trees from being sold for lumber. Throughout his life, Mr. du Pont indulged his passion for gardening, turning his farm into a magnificent horticultural showplace. Today, Longwood Gardens is one of the world’s great gardens, encompassing 1,083 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows, fountains, a 10,010-pipe Aeolian organ and a 4-acre conservatory. Longwood continues the mission set forth by Mr. du Pont to inspire people through excellence in garden design, horticulture, education and the arts, through programming that includes exhibitions, musical performances by leading artists, renowned horticulture education programs, horticulture research, environmental stewardship and cultural and community engagement. Details at

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SOURCE Longwood Gardens

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Landscape-materials company remakes first of its 30 stores in …

Littleton, CO, Sept. 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Colorado will be home to the ultimate retail outlet for DIY enthusiasts and landscapers as Pioneer Landscape Centers launches the first of its new homeowner-centric store remodels with the grand re-opening of its Littleton location this weekend.
“Our 6-acre Littleton Landscape Center is the first step in what is an exciting next chapter for one of the nation’s preeminent landscape-supply companies where do-it-yourselfers and professionals will find direct-to-customer savings and the best product selection in the industry,” said CEO Sagi Cohen.
“We will continue to be the first choice for contractors, but we’re really focusing on expanding our offerings for homeowners – we want them to feel comfortable coming in on a weekend with their family, to find inspiration, and to have the time and help to discover exactly what they want,” Cohen said. “This new store concept is dedicated to outdoor living, which includes everything homeowners will need to turn their yard into an outdoor space that can become an extension of their home.”
In addition to a re-imagined retail approach that increases convenience and choice for homeowners and contractors, the transformation includes a name change from Pioneer Sand to Pioneer Landscape Centers, modernized logos and branding featuring bright and vibrant blues and an updated website with increased emphasis on the customer experience.
The grand re-opening of the Littleton Pioneer Landscape Center, 8189 W. Brandon Dr. (south of C-470 off of Santa Fe Dr.), will be Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 9 and 10. Visitors can enter to win a free fire pit, enjoy special discounts , and enter to win concert tickets courtesy of 103.5FM The Fox. The entire family will enjoy a grill out, face-painting, crafts, and many fun-filled activities.
The Littleton Pioneer Landscape Center is the first of 30 Pioneer retail outlets in Colorado and Arizona to undergo a transformation that highlights outdoor-living products and landscaping materials while improving the shopping experience for homeowners and speeding the buying process for contractors.
Product highlights include: decorative rocks, artificial turf, outdoor lighting, paver systems, natural stones, mulch and soil. Homeowners will also discover a nearly 3,000-square foot outdoor Pioneer Marketplace and Inspiration Center featuring the most popular hardscape and landscape products in the area, from decorative rocks and boulders to fire pits and planters, and discounts of up to 50% on some of our most popular products in a Manager’s Special section. And new electric carts allow Pioneer experts to offer their expertise and answer questions while touring homeowners through the distribution center.

Homeowners will also find professional staff whose focus on superior customer service means they are willing to do anything from helping with project ideas to loading customers’ vehicles. 
Changes at the Littleton Pioneer Landscape Center aren’t just for homeowners. A new contractors “Fast Lane” will cut the time to order, pay for, and load materials down from about 25 minutes to 10 minutes or less.
“Contractors know what they want and need to get in and out and get back to work,” Cohen said. “The ‘Fast Lane’ allows the contractors to get what they need in a hurry while homeowners can explore as long as they need to and not feel rushed.”
As the owner and operator of two productions facilities, 23 quarries, and a fleet of nearly 200 trucks, Pioneer eliminates the middle man and provides unmatched choices.
“Restaurants would call what we do ‘Farm to Table,’ and homeowners who visit us are going to discover what the professionals already know: That approach allows us to carry the largest product assortment in the industry — much bigger than any other DIY or big box store,” Cohen said. “Landscape and hardscape is what we do for a living — and we can do it better than anyone else.'” 
Pioneer plans to expand the Marketplace and Inspiration Center concept to each of its stores this fall, starting with outlets  in Colorado Springs (5000 Northpark Dr.) and Chandler, Arizona (1123 E. Willis Rd.).
Established in 1968, Pioneer has become the leading fully integrated manufacturer and distributor of hardscaping materials in the western United States. With 30 retail locations across Arizona and Colorado, 23 quarries, and two production plants, no other landscape materials company is better suited to crafting outdoor lifestyles for everyone — from homeowners to contractors.
Every Pioneer location is tailored such that any person can come away with great ideas to help them imagine and create a personal outdoor paradise of their own. All locations carry over 3000 landscape product materials with an extraordinary variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Our top quality products assist contractors and homeowners tackle any size project.



A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

Curtis Hubbard
Pioneer Landscape Centers

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ASLA panel discusses the elements of security design

Erie Basin Park features elements that control the circulation of vehicles and pedestrians.
Photo: Terrain

The CEO of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Nancy Somerville, hosted an online panel on security design in the landscape on Sept. 5.

The panelists included Len Hopper with Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture, Richard Roark with OLIN and Bernie Alonzo with Gustafson Guthrie Nichol (GGN). The discussion was prompted in the wake of recent terrorist attacks including those in Charlottesville, Barcelona and London.

The main question of discussion was how do landscape architects keep people safe in public places without it looking like an armed camp.

For all three of the panelists, they say that they consider the safety of the public when approaching a project.

“I can’t look at any project without considering the security and the safety of the public,” Hopper said. “We look at the possible threats. We look at the circulation whether it be pedestrian or vehicular. Particularly where public tends to gather in large groups.”

The difficult challenge is that some spaces like college campuses are designed to encourage and foster the intermingling people and sharing of ideas, meaning that security is less on the forefront.

Roark pointed out that because of the recent means of terrorist attacks, people are focusing on that- like how security for airplanes increased after 9/11. Most security measures are concentrating on what is a problem right now instead of long-term solutions.

One of the key problems with terrorists’ latest method of attack is that it targets one of landscape architecture’s main goals: the gathering of people.

“We consider a successful project one that is loved and used by people,” Somerville said.

The evolution to using vehicles as weapons has brought up the question of how to and when to limit areas to vehicles. While the jersey barrier is an obvious choice for temporary means, landscape architects have the task of creating permanent, yet elegant solutions.

The ha-ha is an effective barrier around the Washington Monument.
Photo: Wikiwand

Several examples that the panelists brought up as good security design examples included the Washington Monument, which had a recessed trench known as a ha-ha installed around it. While it minimizes the distraction of a physical barrier, it still serves as a wall and provides seating around the monument. It received the Park/Landscape Award of Merit from ASLA in 2005.

“I use that one as the poster child of good security design,” Somerville said. “Visitors have no idea that that elegant wall is actually a security feature that’s part of it.”

Erie Basin Park in Brooklyn, New York, is another good example of security design that flows seamlessly with the landscape architecture. This dilapidated shipyard was transformed by Terrain and Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architecture in 2008. This project received the 2016 Honor Award from the New York chapter of ASLA.

Hopper explained that by using the history and culture of the site, they were able to create elements that controlled vehicular and pedestrian circulation, but provide amenities to the visitors at the same time by using the topography, boulders and other aspects of the site, all while remaining aesthetically pleasing.

While the landscape architects prefer this method of security design, they all agreed that bollards can be effective if used correctly and can be integrated into a site as well.

“It’s better than a wedge barrier or another obtrusive piece,” Alonzo said. “They are so ubiquitous, people tend not to notice them. As designers we notice them, but for the population they disappear in the background.”

The panelists all agreed when it comes to dealing with the current issue of restricting vehicle access, the pedestrian has to come first.

“Cars are a means to an end,” Roark said. “We should look at pedestrianism first. Our cars are limiting our ability to be pedestrians.”

In their closing thoughts, Alonzo pointed out that landscape architects should be tightly integrated in collaboration on security issues, to avoid miscommunications like the placement of trees in front of security cameras.

Roark believes that while it is a lot to ask for they need to work on building a stronger and more resilient society that can reach the disaffected and understand the things that create the militarized elements of a society.

“It’s the only thing that’s going to pull us together,” he said.

You can view the whole discussion below.

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Maple Falls Landscaping offers free estimates on all landscaping, lawn maintenance and hardscaping projects! Call us …

Maple Falls is a full service lawn care, design and build company. We have been servicing both the commercial and residential market for over 10 years and want to become your preferred, one stop for all of your outdoor needs. Maple Falls is a multifaceted company with experts in general lawn care services, landscape designing, construction, snow and ice removal and customer service.

Do you have an idea for a backyard pond or fire pit? Maple Falls Landscaping offers complimentary consultations for all your hardscaping ideas. If you have a project that you need to talk out with a professional, work with Maple Falls Landscaping on talking out the full plans for your project!

To schedule your zero-obligation, complimentary consultation, call Maple Falls Landscaping today! 406-855-4356

To learn more about Maple Falls Landscaping, click here!

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DAY TRIP: A garden of delight in Bureau County

Photo: Sun streams through Donna Moore’s art glass at her booth during a previous Hornbaker Gardens Artisan Market in rural Princeton. More than 30 fine artists are expected to show their wares during the fifth annual market Sept. 16. (Submitted by the Hornbaker Gardens)

As if choosing from those selections won’t be difficult enough, baked goods also will be available from the family behind the Braker’s Dozen, and you can take home some tasty treats, courtesy of the produce from Coneflower Farms near Princeton.

Something else you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for is the work of rock-balancing artist, Matt Denault of Princeton. He’ll be set up throughout the gardens and waterfalls, and his unique rock art will keep you wondering how it stays in place.

This also is a good time to wander around Hornbaker Gardens and see what they have for sale. According to office manager Marcia Jaggers, many varieties of hydrangeas, trees and grasses will put on a show, and fall annuals will be sold so you can spruce up your gardens or containers for the cooler season ahead.

“Hornbaker Gardens provides a beautiful setting for this fun day of fine artists, live music and delicious food,” she said. “Bring a lawn chair if you plan to sit a spell.”

Just don’t sit too long, or you might miss out on all the fun!

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