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Archives for December 11, 2017

UWF Historic Trust presents new exhibition at TT Wentworth, Jr. Museum

UWF Historic Trust presents new exhibition at T.T. Wentworth, Jr. Museum

University of West Florida |

The University of West Florida Historic Trust announces the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Patios, Pools, the Invention of the American Backyard,” will be on view at its T. T. Wentworth, Jr. Florida State Museum from Dec. 16, 2017 to Jan. 25, 2018. The exhibition will explore the evolution from the front porch to the outdoor living room.

Through rare photographs, historic drawings and period advertisements, “Patios, Pools, the Invention of the American Backyard” explores the mid-century backyard of the 1950s from the rise of the suburbs and tract houses and the beauty of postwar garden design to the birth of the environmental movement. Drawing from the collections and research of the Smithsonian Gardens’ Archives of American Gardens, the exhibition is organized for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, known as SITES.

In the 1950s, America was a nation emerging from the shadow of World War II, searching for ways to enjoy its newfound peace and prosperity. Postwar trends such as the baby boom, a growing middle class, the do-it-yourself concept and a dramatic rise in homeownership remade much of the U.S. and contributed to the development of the suburban backyard. The mid-century backyard became an extension of the house, a room designed for relaxing, recreation and entertaining. Private backyard pools were an affordable luxury for many, and the patio became the perfect place for a backyard grill and patio furniture made with new materials like plastic and aluminum.

Companies produced an increasing number of products designed to lessen the burden of yard work. Imported and hybrid grasses, herbicides and pesticides, automated sprinkler systems, chemical sprayers and newly affordable lawn mowers began to appear in sheds and garages around the nation. Many contemporary backyards still boast the pristine lawn, low-maintenance plantings, patios, outdoor furniture, grills and play equipment that first emerged after World War II.

SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for 65 years. SITES connects Americans to their cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play.

Smithsonian Gardens care for living plant, artifact and archival collections. Its Archives of American Gardens collects and makes available for research use images of and documentation relating to a wide variety of cultivated gardens throughout the U.S. In this way, AAG strives to preserve and highlight a meaningful compendium of significant aspects of gardening in the U.S. for the benefit of researchers and the public today and in the future.

For more information about UWF Historic Trust, visit

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University of West Florida
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paul cocksedge designs 33-metre long canopy inspired by the sun’s movements

paul cocksedge has unveiled plans to build a 33-metre long sculptural shade in one of the world’s largest botanical gardens in oman. the london designer has partnered with engineering firm arup to create the steel structure which is inspired by the sun’s path across the sky.

paul cocksedge botanical garden in oman
the 33-metre long sculptural shade is made out of steel and coloured in a golden hue
images courtesy of paul cocksedge



the canopy was designed using planetary data, and has a figure of eight that refers to the sun’s changing position across the course of a year. it will offer shade to visitors of the soon-to-open oman botanic garden, a 420-hectre garden set to become the largest of its kind within the arabian peninsula. designed by grimshaw architects, in collaboration with arup and haley sharpe design, the garden will be located 35 kilometres outside the capital city muscat in the foothills of the al hajar mountains.


‘it made sense to use the sun, and our perception of its movements as the basis for our design’, says paul cocksedge. ‘there’s so much data, and so many shapes and lines that we could never have imagined ourselves.’

paul cocksedge botanical garden in oman
the canopy was designed using planetary data and will offer shade to visitors of the soon-to-open botanic garden


‘we based the shade on the sun’s shifting position in the sky, which we plotted using an analemma – a diagram that shows the sun as if photographed from the garden at the same time every day for a year’, he explains. ‘every analemma is unique to its location, meaning the canopy’s form is specific to its surroundings’.




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“Splash Pad Urbanism” and 2017’s other notable developments in landscape architecture.

Making good decisions about design and stewardship requires knowledge, and this year saw a bumper crop of books and monographs—essential documentation given the innate ephemerality of works of landscape architecture. Cities and urban planning were examined by a provocative array of authors and editors: Nature and Cities: The Ecological Imperative in Urban Design and Planning, edited by Frederick R. Steiner, George F. Thompson, and Armando Carbonell; Retooling Metropolis: Working Landscapes, Emergent Urbanism, a report from the Fall 2016 studio led by Chris Reed at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design; The New Landscape Declaration, a collection of writings about the role of landscape architecture, based on a 2016 Landscape Architecture Foundation conference; An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands, by Robert Burley; and Landscapes of Modern Architecture: Wright, Mies, Neutra, Aalto, Barragán by Marc Treib. Other books were welcome investigations into landscape typologies, including Grave Landscapes: The Nineteenth-Century Rural Cemetery Movement, by James R. Cothran and Erica Danylchak, and Spaces in Translation Japanese: Gardens and the West, by Christian Tagsold.

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MASTER GARDENERS: Tips to divide perennials



Permian Basin Master Gardeners logo

Permian Basin Master Gardeners logo

We are an educational service organization of volunteers trained by Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service. Visit

Posted: Sunday, December 10, 2017 4:00 am

MASTER GARDENERS: Tips to divide perennials

Carol Siddall
Master Gardeners

Odessa American

Fall is a good time to divide your perennials. They should have probably already been done since we have had a light freeze, but there is still time to divide and get them in the ground so roots can get established before plants go dormant.

Before you start digging, make sure the soil isn’t too wet or dry to dig. If dry, you will have to work quickly to get the divided plants planted before they wilt and suffer. It is best to water the day before you dig and have a place ready to plant or friends ready to take them.

After you dig the plants, divide them. Sometimes you can use your hands to gently pull and break up plants. Loose fibrous or fleshly roots pull apart easily, but woody or large plants may need to be cut with a soil knife or spade. Just make sure each division has at least two or three shoots and healthy roots.

Get your plants back into the ground as soon as you can. That is why it is important to have your new bed ready. If you have to wait a couple of days, you can plant them temporarily in a nursery pot with soil or compost. Be sure and water them. If you have a large area to plant with the divided perennials be sure and add compost and work in. If just a few plants, put a handful of compost into each hole as you plant. Make each hole twice as wide as the diameter of the root ball. Water well. To protect roots through the winter, add a 2- to 3-inch layer of wood mulch.

You do not always have to dig up an entire clump to divide. You can cut away a division while the plant is still in the ground and it will regrow. Loosen the soil and roots a few inches from the base of the plant. Find a space between stems to place the blade of your spade and slice down to cut a clump from the main plant. Lift and remove the division. Use a soil knife, spade, or sharp trowel to cut your clump into smaller divisions. Do as before; add compost to each hole you put a new plant in.

Happy gardening, and don’t forget to share your bounty!

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Sunday, December 10, 2017 4:00 am.

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This week’s gardening tips: Flower seeds to sow now |

Get these bulbs in the ground: Although they should have been planted by now, you can still plant spring-flowering bulbs, such as leucojum, Ipheion, anemones, narcissus, zephyranthes, ranunculus, ornithogalum, daffodils and Spanish bluebells, and expect good results. But, don’t delay.

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Garden calendar | For the week of December 10

Holiday poinsettias: Here are my annual tips to get the most out of your plant.

Keep poinsettias in bright light but slightly cool conditions. Don’t site them near fireplaces, heaters or other areas where warm, dry heat is blowing directly on the plant; this causes leaf drop. Plants that are too dry or too wet also drop leaves, so be careful not to overwater. If the pot is foil-wrapped, punch holes in the bottom of the foil so the water can drain. Set the pot on a saucer — plastic saucers are best — to protect your furniture.

Generally, fertilizer isn’t necessary if you’re only keeping your poinsettia into February. Poinsettias can be kept from year to year and “re-bloomed” but it requires absolute adherence to a schedule that is pretty rigorous.

If you’d like to try it, here is what to do. After the holidays, treat the poinsettia as a houseplant, keeping it evenly moist but not wet and in bright light but not direct sun. In mid-March, cut the flowering stems back to four to six inches tall to promote new, bushy growth. Apply a granular slow-release fertilizer in April. Most of these last three months, so check the label — when three months are up, start using a 15-15-15 water-soluble fertilizer every two weeks to finish out the summer.

In May, repot into a container no more than 2 inches in diameter larger than the old pot. Leave a half-inch to an inch of space between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot to facilitate watering. Place in a sunny window (east or west-facing) until around Memorial Day or after the last frost.

Night temperatures need to be above 60 degrees before the plant can go outside for summer in an area where it gets morning sun or dappled sun all day. Sink the pot into the ground or set/sink the pot in a larger decorative pot so it doesn’t dry out. If needed, rotate the pot often to keep the shape rounded.

In June, start shaping the plant for height and “flowering” branches. For a short, dense plant with many stems bearing flowers, pinch out the top one-quarter inch of the tips of the growing shoots to encourage more branching. Do this every three weeks until but no later than mid-August. Retain two or three large fully expanded leaves below the pinch so you can use their size as a guide for knowing when the shoots are ready for pinching again.

Check the plant periodically throughout summer to see if it needs repotting again—watch for a dense network of roots on top of the soil or a number of roots coming through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If you see either of these, repot by the beginning of August.

As September arrives, bring the plant in before night temperatures fall below 55-60 degrees and place indoors in a sunny location. Continue watering but reduce the fertilizer to once a month and discontinue it in October.

Flower production is stimulated by long nights. Without them, poinsettias won’t flower. If your plant is in a room that is lighted nightly, cover it completely at 5 p.m. every day starting in the middle of September with a box or other light-eliminating cover, or place the plant in a dark closet overnight to get bracts to color up by Christmas. Light should not come in under the door. Dark periods longer than 12 hours are needed for flowering. So, for best results, plants must be in total darkness from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. Poinsettias need light during the day to grow, so pull them out of the box or closet each morning. Once you see the small yellow “true flowers” at the stem tips developing and the bracts (what you may think of as the colorful “petals”) show color, it isn’t as critical to continue with long nights, though it is best to continue until the bracts are almost fully expanded. Keep night temperatures no lower than 55 degrees, and not more than 70 degrees. High night temperatures, coupled with low-light intensity, low nutrition, dry soil or improper photoperiod may delay flowering, so keep an eye on those conditions as well. Good luck with your plant!

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Southwest Yard and Garden: Tips on irrigating in winter – Las Cruces Sun

Question: Now that winter is here in Las Cruces, I’m wondering what the frequency of watering should be and the best time of day or night to have the water come on?

Rob M., Las Cruces, New Mexico

Answer: It seems #itscomplicated is a hashtag I could use every week. Knowing how much water to apply in your landscape is hard enough in the summertime when demands are high, but it can be even more difficult to know the right amount of water needed when many plants are bare and it can be easy to forget.

Most plants need less water in colder months. This is partly because dormant plants are not actively growing. Lower temperatures also reduce transpiration of water through plant tissues. When deciduous plants drop their leaves, photosynthetic rates also drop, as do water requirements.

That does not mean, however, that no water is needed at all. In our high desert climate, warm winter days, along with cold, drying winds, trigger some transpiration, which further dries the soil. Plus, many plants, like rosemary and pine trees, do not lose their “leaves” at all, so they continue to transpire, even if at a slower rate than in hot summer temperatures. Mulch is key! Mulching helps insulate plant roots and maintain soil moisture in both winter and summer. Not to mention, mulch makes a great weed barrier.

The most widespread rule of thumb is to water less frequently in the winter months, but always water to the same depth. If you water landscape plants for, say, 30-minute intervals once a week in the hottest months and then back off to only 10-minute intervals once a week in colder months, roots will die back. This invites stress-related symptoms like insect problems, diseases, diminished performance, and even plant death.

But hold on, there is a caveat. While always watering to the same depth is the best rule for irrigation efficiency, one drawback is the possibility of salt buildup in the root zone, which can be damaging. (Someone please send in a question about salt toxicity and tolerance, so I can cover that another week.)

Judith Phillips, a landscape designer and garden writer in the Albuquerque area, pointed out that plant irrigation needs in winter depend largely on when they were planted. Even desert-adapted plants will need more frequent irrigations if they were installed this summer or fall. The following watering guidelines are from the Arizona New Mexico Getting Started Garden Guide by Mary Irish and Judith Phillips and are geared toward desert-adapted, established plants (more than one year, or three years for trees). December through March, water trees, shrubs, and warm-season grass every 45 to 60 days; groundcovers and vines every 30 to 60 days; cool-season grass every 30 days. Annual plants tend to have smaller root systems, so water every 10 to 14 days during bloom. The recommended watering depths, which should be kept constant throughout the year, are 24 to 36 inches for trees; 18 to 24 inches for shrubs; 8 to 12 inches for groundcovers, vines, and annuals; and 6 to 10 inches for turf.

Determining how long your irrigation system or watering hose needs to be on in order to get the correct moisture depth is up to you. One way to do this is to push a long screwdriver or piece of rebar down into the soil. It will move easily in moist soil and stop when it reaches dry soil.

As far as the best time of day to water in the winter, it seems that the biggest concern is with damage to irrigation systems, which are more likely to freeze overnight if not drained completely. Standing ice is also a hazard issue, and ice violations can be grounds for fines. I hand-water perennials in my garden once every six weeks or so on warmer days by setting a timer and moving the hoses from one planting area to another.

Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden – Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at, or at the Desert Blooms Facebook page (NMDesertBlooms) Please copy your County Extension Agent and indicate your county of residence when you submit your question! For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page at Desert Blooms and the NMSU Horticulture Publications page at

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.

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