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Archives for January 3, 2018

Redesign debate keeps bubbling with second proposal for Hamilton’s Garden Place

Redesign debate keeps bubbling with second proposal for Hamilton’s Garden Place

Architect Brian Squair started the design after significant stakeholders in the central city approached him.

Architect Brian Squair started the design after “significant stakeholders” in the central city approached him.

A design rival has emerged for a controversial remodel of Hamilton’s Garden Place.

The man behind it, Chow:Hill director Brian Squair, says he’s not touting for work but Hamilton could have bigger goals for its central-city square.

Hamilton City Council is proposing an almost $4 million spend on reworking Garden Place, though the deputy mayor says it’s “absolutely not done and dusted”.

Though he's done a design, Chow:Hill's Brian Squair thinks council would be better off spending on Garden Place events ...

Though he’s done a design, Chow:Hill’s Brian Squair thinks council would be better off spending on Garden Place events before doing physical work.

It started with a pitch from local developers Matt Stark and Steve McLennan, and Brian White of Edwards White Architects. 

READ MORE:
Hamilton’s Garden Place makeover proposal to go out to public consultation
Garden Place redevelopment budget almost $4m, Hamilton City councillors told
Private developers pitch plan to remake Hamilton’s Garden Place

The trio put money into plans featuring shared lanes for cars and pedestrians, play equipment, 40 car parks, and new public art.

The design was released to show there could be another way to improve Garden Place, Squair says.

The design was released to show there could be another way to improve Garden Place, Squair says.

But Squair, an architect, has ideas including outdoor cafes and a sculpture trail.

“[The design] is purely to say maybe there’s another way,” he said. “Maybe we need to think a bit more visionary … which then puts a pause button on rushing headlong into spending money.”

 Squair would like council to pause physical works and spend on events to bring people to Garden Place.

This design - from Hamilton property investors Matt Stark, Steve McLennan and architect Brian White - has already been ...

This design – from Hamilton property investors Matt Stark, Steve McLennan and architect Brian White – has already been put to Hamilton City councillors (file photo).

“If it’s a miserable failure, no-one wants to use Garden Place so why spend anything on it after that. I don’t think it will be a failure.”

Squair was approached by “significant stakeholders” in the central city and penned his design mid-2017.

It features curved paths criss-crossing the square, sculptures alongside one, a theatre or movie spot, and more green space – and people told him they didn’t want cars in the square.



Squair is quick to say he respects the developers’ ideas but said he wasn’t convinced the design was “doing anything more than throwing a couple of slip lanes for cars and a few car parks and rearranging stuff”.

He hasn’t put a dollar figure on his own plan but said it could be completed in stages.

Stark, one of the developers behind the original proposal, has talked over both concepts with Squair.

“It’s a public space and it’s for the people,” Stark said, “the more ideas, the better”.

Stark is ambitious but said the plan should be affordable for ratepayers.

You could do a $200m design, he said, “but then it never happens”.

The developers’ plan would cost the ratepayers $3m tops, he said, and they would raise $800,000 to $1mprivately.

Car parking could add revenue.

A playground would draw in part of the population, he said, and good seating would encourage people to eat lunch in the square, as he often does.

In early December, Hamilton City councillors voted 7-5 to put the developers’ idea out for public consultation.

A staff report said it would cost $3.95m in capital expenditure – including a mini destination playground – and $44,500 a year for added operating costs.

The decision was almost overturned near the end of a days-long meeting in December, when councillors tried to slash the proposed rates increase.

Mayor Andrew King hadn’t seen Squair’s design but said the developers had presented a package.

They scoped and priced their plan, offered to provide or raise some money, and to run the project.

“If Brian was prepared to do that, we would certainly look at it.”

Garden Place is broken, King said, and needs more than $2 shops and dairies in the buildings around it.

Auckland used shared spaces – like what the developers proposed for Garden Place – to good effect in the Fort Street area in Auckland, he said.

“We’ve got an opportunity here to do something.”

This is   “absolutely not done and dusted”, Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher said.

He hadn’t seen Squair’s design but knew of his professional reputation.

Gallagher voted to put the current plan out for public consultation but wasn’t giving much away about what he thought.

He’s looking forward to submissions, especially from the business community, and would anticipate “an open process of proposals” if council signs off on money for a remodel.

But Councillor Angela O’Leary doesn’t agree with the revamp.

Until the right retailers surround the square, “you may as well just burn ratepayers’ money”, Councillor Angela O’Leary said.

“It will look a bit prettier but it’s not going to solve the problem.”

Instead, she favours council getting partners to liven up the area up with events, and said she’s discussed that with the Hamilton Central Business Association.


 – Stuff

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Article source: https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/100286753/redesign-debate-keeps-bubbling-with-second-proposal-for-hamiltons-garden-place

Piedmont Park, Atlanta Botanical Garden will see $100M expansion …

The year ended with big news for Atlanta’s most loved park, with outgoing Mayor Kasim Reed unveiling plans for a massive expansion of Piedmont Park.

According to a press release by the city, the park will grow to the north, thanks to acquisition of two large parcels, costing $20 million.

The deal would extend the park northward to the corner of Piedmont Road and Monroe Drive. The sites are currently home to a gas station, HobNob, and a small shopping center, which is (oddly) actively expanding.

While some details are still unclear, conceptual plans indicate the acquisition could also include an old home most recently used as a restaurant.

The conceptual design presented shows new trails snaking around and across Clear Creek, which currently serves as the eastern boundary for the park. Drawings by landscape architecture firm HGOR show two buildings or pavilions in the expansion, as well as an amphitheater.

Final designs will be produced through a public-input process, per city officials.


An aerial view of the proposed expansion of Piedmont Park to Monroe Drive.
City of Atlanta



Additionally, the Atlanta Botanical Garden would expand eastward along Piedmont Road, taking in land which currently has a public storage facility and a few old commercial buildings. The expansion would bring the campus to the edge of the future Beltline corridor.

The released design for the garden’s expansion is still very conceptual.


An overview of the expansion of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
City of Atlanta


Overall, the expansion is expected to cost nearly $100 million—the balance of which will be provided through private funds. So far, a private donor has contributed $2 million for the land purchase.

Article source: https://atlanta.curbed.com/2018/1/2/16835620/piedmont-park-expansion-monroe-drive

Wellington Council OKs design for new park

WELLINGTON — On Tuesday, Mayor Hans Schneider unveiled and Village Council approved the final plans for the park that will be on the site of the old McCormick school.

The plan is an update from one unveiled in September, which Schneider said seemed too “busy” and clashed with his and the committee’s vision of a passive kind of park.

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“This one is nicer and tight, the layout is more user-friendly, so to speak,” Schneider said.

Along Dickson Street the plan shows a fenced-in playground. Near the back of the park along Courtland Street is a bandstand with restrooms and drinking fountains, which was the idea of late Councilman Frederick Alspach, who died last summer. In the center is a larger evergreen tree where seven walkways converge. Additionally, there’s a jogging path that runs along the perimeter.

Looking over the September plans, each member of the committee went around and chose what they did or didn’t like to determine what to change for the final plan. One of the most significant removals included removing the amount of trees in the park, removing an “activity area” on the south section of the layout along Carpenter Street and extending an additional walkway through the center of the park.

The property was acquired when the Wellington school board sold it for $10 in February of last year, according to Schneider. The village held public meetings in 2016 for ideas on what the park should look like after the school was torn down. A committee was then formed to help design the park, along with the help of Eric Brubeck, a landscape architecture and garden designer in Cleveland.

The village will start taking name suggestions for the park through the mayor’s email, hschneider@villageofwellington.com. The names will then be publicly submitted on the village’s Facebook page and the committee will choose one to recommend to Council at the end of March.

The cost of the park is estimated at about $1.6 million, Schneider said, and will be fully covered by fundraising and grants. Though their schedule may change, Schneider hopes to have the groundbreaking and name announcement in June.

“I am very confident that at some point the vision we have today will be a reality in the future,” Schneider said.

The plans will go to the Planning Committee to address any potential concerns and then back to Council for final acceptance.

Contact Bruce Walton at 329-7123 or bwalton@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @BruceWalton.

Article source: http://www.chroniclet.com/Local-News/2018/01/03/Wellington-Council-OKs-design-for-new-park.html

Garden Hotline: Protect your landscape investment


Many homeowners may not realize that their landscape can increase the value of their home by 8 to 12 percent according to a study conducted by Alex X. Niemiera, an Extension Horticulturist in the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech. Results of the survey showed that relatively large landscape expenditures significantly increase perceived home value and will result in a higher selling price than homes with a minimal landscape. While indoor design trends change over time and appliances wear down and cause the value of the home to decrease, a well-tended landscape can balance out the value, even increase it. Having a sophisticated design with a coherent plan, a range of plant sizes and maturity, and diversity of plant life from evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs and perennials and annuals will significantly increase the value of your home.  So what exactly are the benefits of a well-manicured landscape and how do we protect this investment?


Benefits


From “Why Landscape? The Value of Plants and Landscaping,” by Michael and Patti Harrison of Flowering Meadow Nursery, you can learn the many benefits to maintaining a landscape. Here are two of their ideas:

Having large trees can decrease your energy bill by 25 percent by reducing your air conditioning cost

Native plants reduce need for pesticides

Hedges reduce bothersome noise by masking unwanted noises with pleasant sounds such as breezes through the leaves.


Gardening can also be beneficial to our health – from the American Demographics, Roper Report the top reasons people garden; to be outdoors (44 percent), to be around beautiful things (42 percent), relax and escape the pressures of everyday life (39 percent), and stay active and get exercise (35 percent).


Have a Plan


Whether you’re a new homeowner or long term resident, BobVila.com recommends having a coherent plan for your landscape.  Employ a professional landscape designer or create your own, but start by drawing up a master plan of the property. This includes where the house and any permanent structures sit on the property, where utilities are located and what plants are already in your landscape, including lawns.


Having a plan and sticking to it will look less disorganized than a landscape that was thrown together. If you live within the city of Seattle check your eligibility for a RainWise raingarden or cistern rebate project at www.700milliongallons.org. Raingardens and cisterns significantly increase the value of your property – they benefit the environment by reducing toxins in the soil and preventing stormwater overflow.


Maintenance


A landscape that is well cared for prevents insect, weed and disease issues thus reducing the need for using pesticides on your property. This can be financially advantageous and also is good for your health.


For short term more immediate results, follow these tips from “Money” magazine to give the landscape a professional look.


Cut fresh edges around planting beds

Mulch beds with arborist chips or compost

Invest in annuals for splashes of color

Invest in perennials or larger shrubs


Natural Yard Care


Follow the tips for long term care from the Natural Yard Care series found on the Seattle Public Utilities site. Here are some ideas for how to maintain your landscape to protect the value of your investment and the health of your family and the environment.


Natural Lawn Care

Mowing; aim for every 5-7 days and raise your mower blade height to allow you to mow more often.

Trim the lawn edges to give the landscape a professional look.

Aeration can add oxygen to the soil, reduce compaction, and reduce the need for herbicides.

Over-seeding with fresh grass seed reduces the need for herbicides by competing for space with the weeds.

Top-dressing can keep seed moist, add organic matter to the soil and increase the health of the soil. This in turn reduces the need for herbicides.

Fertilizing in the spring with a slow release organic fertilizer reduces the amount of synthetics needed and reduces the need to use herbicides.

Weed control: hand pull weeds for 10 to 15 minutes a week to decrease the amount of weeds in the lawn, the more you pull, the more they weaken. There will be no need for herbicides when you hand pull weeds.


Natural Yard Care

Natural insect management methods reduce the need to use insecticides. Monitor plants often, walk around your landscape and take notes of insect activity. Before you treat anything take photos and send them to the Garden Hotline to help identify any insects you find to make sure they not beneficial insects.

Natural disease management reduces the need for fungicides. Monitor plants often, walk around your landscape and take notes of things that seem out of ordinary.  Take photos to send to the Garden Hotline to help identify the problem. Practice sanitation techniques like raking leaves often from under diseased plants and dispose of the leaves in the curbside compost bin. Do not compost diseased materials in home composting systems.

Natural weed management methods reduce the need for herbicides.  Mulch beds with arborist chips or fine compost to keep weeds from growing.

Use disease free leaves as mulch in the landscape, making sure to uncover smaller plants and keeping too much rom piling up around woody trunked plants.

Prune to maintain airflow in plants that are susceptible to disease.


How to Hire a Landscape Professional


Peruse the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks Solid Waste Division, Natural Yard Care Brochure: How to Choose A Landscape Company. Download the questions with their details and places for notes as a worksheet to ask potential contractors.

https://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/naturalyardcare/documents/Choose_landscaper.pdf

Have a set of questions ready and don’t be afraid to ask them. Hiring a landscaper is like finding the right doctor.  You want to build a good relationship with them.

Article source: http://www.madisonparktimes.com/Content/Real-Estate/Real-Estate/Article/Garden-Hotline-Protect-your-landscape-investment/23/249/31014

Clark County seeks local home hosts for annual Summer Natural Garden Tour

2018 tour to be held Sun., July 15

VANCOUVER — The Clark County Green Neighbors program is seeking hosts for its 2018 Natural Garden Tour on Sun., July 15. To participate, residents should practice environmentally friendly gardening techniques and be willing to offer public tours of their yards and gardens.

The Clark County Green Neighbors program is seeking hosts for its 2018 Natural Garden Tour on Sun., July 15. To participate, residents should practice environmentally friendly gardening techniques and be willing to offer public tours of their yards and gardens.
The Clark County Green Neighbors program is seeking hosts for its 2018 Natural Garden Tour on Sun., July 15. To participate, residents should practice environmentally friendly gardening techniques and be willing to offer public tours of their yards and gardens.

The annual event is a fun way residents can show off their gardens and the Earth-conscious methods they use to make them blossom. The event gives people a chance to learn gardening techniques, get inspiration for home landscaping, and exchange ideas with others.

“I’ve learned that creativity and sustainability are not mutually exclusive when it comes to gardening,” said Sally Fisher, sustainability program coordinator at Clark County Public Health. “Each year, I’m surprised by the variety and beauty of the Natural Garden Tour hosts’ landscaping and the ways people help one another learn about sustainable gardening practices.”

To register to be a Natural Garden Tour host, contact Jill Krumlauf at Public Health at (360) 397-2121 ext. 7342 or jill.krumlauf@clark.wa.gov.

The Natural Garden Tour is sponsored by Clark County’s Green Neighbors program.

To receive the latest Clark County eco-friendly information, sign up for the Green Neighbors newsletter at www.clarkgreenneighbors.org/happenings/newsletter.

Information provided by Clark County Communications.

Subscribe Hockinson Download

Article source: https://www.clarkcountytoday.com/local_news/clark-county-seeks-local-home-hosts-for-annual-summer-natural-garden-tour/

Ugstagram, or Why I Love These Awful Photos of Hideous Gardens

Typical topiary documented by Shit Gardens.

Photo: Shit Gardens

The Instagram that Instagram wants you to see is populated by aspirational gloss. It’s almost-famous models and fitness freaks who know their best angles; travel photographers seeking perfectly staged-but-unstaged photos; and food bloggers consuming as much cheesy food and rainbow whatevers as possible. Like so much of the internet, it ostensibly creates space for unlimited voices, but instead encourages a collapsing aesthetic. It ends up presenting a narrower view of the world.

Then there are accounts like Shit Gardens, which primarily documents the quirky landscaping of Melbourne, Australia’s working-class suburbs. (About 30 percent of its posts aren’t of Melbourne, occasionally veering off into subjects like a newt posed like a go-go dancer pressed up against a glass box.) Through strange topiary, sometimes bizarre and other times silly statues, tree faces, and mailbox-eating sharks, it showcases a particular fusion of more classic elements (Greco-Roman, Zen gardens) with an eccentric sensibility. (And, also somewhat regularly, dinosaurs.) Photos are given clever one-liners for captions. “Sliding into them DMs like …” is paired with a photo of a kid sitting at the top of a slide that’s at a 90-degree angle. Another of a weathered Dolphin statue reads, “If you look closely, there’s some bird shit just above the Dolph’s eye.”

Thanks in large part to its algorithm and popularity-contest format, which, like other social media, encourages the Pursuit of Likes, Instagram is a homogeneous social network. But it also encourages that kind of homogeneity in real life. It’s enforced a sameness to the aesthetic of restaurants — puns written out in neon signs! Colors that pop! — and their food, over-the-top dishes that are not meant to be eaten but snapped. It also facilitates the rapid spread of trends. If you’re running a Western restaurant in Shanghai and want to know what’s cool in New York, you don’t need to book a flight. You just need to click on hashtags. The world might be round, but it’s flattening like a balloon that’s been popped. In a time when you can’t tell the difference between cafés and apartments from Tokyo to Copenhagen to Brooklyn, Shit Gardens celebrates something peculiar, particular, and not particularly distinguished.

“I think we felt that suburban Melbourne and its gardeners had a very unique approach,” says James Hull, an English and history teacher who was roped into starting the page by Bede Brennan, a landscape architect. “We’re not doctorates or anything. We’ve studied a little bit of history, a little bit of philosophy, this and that. There’s a sense of homage to a lot of ancient Greek and Roman cultures, and in front yards it is often quite dramatic. There’s just these interesting narratives that spring up from the gardens.”

The duo approaches, Hull says, these spaces with a good-natured sense of humor. “The tagline on the page has always been ‘a celebration not a condemnation.’ The essence has always been we’re celebrating these gardens, not making fun of people,” Hull says. By Shit Gardens, he elaborates, they don’t literally mean shit, but bizarre, wonderful, and fun to look at it. “It’s about how much these gardens just enrich and liven up our suburbs that can otherwise be a little bit boring.”

Hull and Brennan are childhood friends who moved to Melbourne, and conceived the idea about eight years ago as a joke Tumblr during college. Since then, it’s attracted over 34,000 followers who want to look at photos like one of a laconic dog sitting in an old, round tub of water, or topiary modeled after Oscar the Grouch (“Oscar the misanthropic Pinophyta”); it’s also bled over into the real world, with Hull and Brennan putting on exhibitions at Melbourne galleries and creating a book with independent Australian publisher Knock Knock. The book has seven idiosyncratic chapters, each one focused on a pattern Hull and Brennan have observed. Things like urban Zen, AstroTurf (“It’s very kitsch and Melbourne”), and another devoted to water fixtures. “That’s one of our favorites because you get all sorts of strange ones, most of them not having any water at all,” Hull says.

You could call Shit Gardens part of the broader Internet Ugly aesthetic, but it’s really more specifically part of something native to this app: Ugstagram. It’s a term you can apply to other users, like Chill Wildlife, an aggregator for amateur videos of animals being weird and funny; Ugly Design, which catalogues not-well-designed household objects; and Cooking for Bae, “a sweet dedication to struggle plates” that collects photos of gross and/or poorly cooked food.
Other accounts, like You Did Not Sleep There, poke at Instagram’s aspirational gloss; it specifically collects shots from travel photographers and #vanlifers who post photos of ludicrously impractical but very photogenic campsites on the edges of cliffs, rocky beaches facing mountains, and other locations. Less intentionally, there’s Cacti Explorer, which is just a guy’s watermarked photos of cacti that look like they’d be paired with a botanist’s field notes and are odd and against the grain.

What Instagram is famous for — enough that you might feel shamed out of posting photos, unless you’re a dad, that aren’t good — is that pretty, glossy, FOMO-inducing look. The contrast with accounts like Shit Gardens is as hard; Internet Ugly, the Tumbler look, and old-school glitch art all reference an earlier, shittier-looking stage of the internet. Instagram never went through that; it was born ready for #vanlife. It was always about a world that was artificially nice, and the app’s nature meant that a narrow slice of the world would be presented through it. The content being crammed into our craniums all feels very overengineered, and these accounts feel like a tongue-in-cheek reaction to that, as fuzzier, rougher underground rock in the ’80s was to overproduced, engineered pop music of that time.

The photos they post on Shit Gardens are fine. They don’t look professional, high resolution, or painstakingly framed, more like what you would’ve snapped around the dawn of smart phones. In other words, they don’t glamorize their unglamorous material. It’s something else that Hull says distinguishes Shit Gardens from similarly minded pages devoted to brutalist architecture that he and Brennan follow. In a later email, he cited #BRUT Group and This Brutal House as “both incredible but void of anything in the way of humor.”

“Even the way these pages are set up and done in such a beautiful way. The layout of the page itself is very neat and tidy. With us, it’s about creating an aesthetic that sort of has a bit more self awareness and can actually laugh at itself and thrives off laughing at itself,” Hull says. Later over email he added, “If I had to compare our page with any of the pages that we follow, I’d say that the closest thing to us would be RuralMurals69 [editor’s note: nice] or Kasimir Pillè’s carpet_sample.”

It goes without saying that Instagram wasn’t made for close-up, context-less shots of carpets. Hull and Brennan aren’t driven by algorithms or virality, either, and Shit Gardens doesn’t exist or need to exist for any particular reason other than genuine appreciation. It happens to be a particularly good version of this as well as, probably, the internet’s No. 1 tutorial on how not to do topiary. But it’s exactly the account’s tongue-in-cheek focus on the odd gardening of just one city that gives it a more universal appeal. And there’s nothing shit about Shit Gardens.

Article source: http://nymag.com/selectall/2018/01/shit-gardens-instagram-aspirational-gloss.html

English Gardens closing Ann Arbor store but hopes for new location

ANN ARBOR, MI – English Gardens is closing its Ann Arbor location after the family-owned gardening and landscaping retailer couldn’t renew its lease at Maple Village shopping center.

John Darin, president of English Gardens, said the Ann Arbor location at 155 N. Maple closes Sunday, Jan. 7 after 12 years of business.

2017 was one of the most financially successful years the Ann Arbor location has seen, Darin said, with new tenants like Sierra Trading Post and HomeGoods moving into the former Kmart space.

“Since it’s been redone, it’s been our best year ever,” Darin said. “We’ve been waiting for the center to be redone and the stores to be finished. It finally happened and now we’re leaving.”

Customers first learned English Gardens was seeking a new long-term location in March 2017 after the Maple Village shopping center changed ownership, though rumors started in summer 2016.

The new management company, New York-based Brixmor Property Group, chose not to renew the English Gardens lease, Darin said.

English Gardens to stay at Maple Village in 2017 but needs new location

While he regrets having to leave Ann Arbor, Darin said English Gardens made its mark on the community.

“One of the things that stands out the most is that we are able to take an old tired building and refresh it into an English Gardens store,” Darin said.

Brixmor currently is developing plans to build an LA Fitness on the site, a business Darin said would be able to pay increased lease prices.

LA Fitness looking at second Ann Arbor location in Maple Village

Darin’s father and uncle founded English Gardens in Dearborn in 1954, and the outdoor and gardening company now operates six locations across southeastern Michigan.

The Ann Arbor store was the sixth location for English Gardens and employs around 25 to 30 employees during its peak business time in the spring, Darin said.

“We work very hard to have that kind of a brand that sets us apart from the other big box stores,” Darin said.

Some employees who worked in Ann Arbor, like General Manager Kim Milewski, are transferring to other English Gardens locations, while others plan to keep in contact for future employment, Darin said.

English Gardens is hosting a clearance sale for a majority of the inventory at the Ann Arbor location, as well as opportunities to ask those last-minute gardening questions customers may have, Darin said.

Customers also can sign up for the English Gardens email newsletter and get updates on whether the gardening and landscape retailer may once again operate in Ann Arbor.

The search continues for another Ann Arbor location, Darin said.

“We are continuing to look and see if we can find the right location that’s a right fit for us,” Darin said. “We have not been able to find anything as of now.”

New owners discuss changes for Arborland shopping center

Article source: http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2018/01/english_gardens_closing_ann_ar.html

IN THE GARDEN: How to attract birds in winter – Entertainment …

Migrating birds and the ones that stay in our area appreciate food and shelter this time of year. Birds also need a water source to stay hydrated.

Consider these tips to attract birds this winter.

• Keep water flowing: Give birds a fresh drink. Set out a shallow bowl of clean water at the same time and spot each day, and just bring it back inside when ice forms.

There also are heated birdbaths you can buy and even birdbath heaters.

Never add glycerin or antifreeze to any water source; both can be fatal to birds and other wildlife.

• Cold weather food: Suet is the best food source for winter birds; it provides extra calories for the birds to stay warm.

Suet is composed of mixtures of animal fats and can be purchased or homemade.

A suet cage is a wire basket designed to contain the suet cakes. Suet is

best used in the cold months; warmer temperatures will cause it to go rancid.

You also can give the birds a high energy food boost simply by smearing pine cones with peanut butter and then rolling them in birdseed.

• Warm cover: With trees and shrubs dropping their leaves, birds seek evergreens for warm cover.

Bird houses also will provide shelter.

You also can consider stacking dead twigs, pruned branches and other garden debris in a loose pile. This gives birds such as song sparrows quick cover as they move along the ground.

• Learn to recognize birds and their habits: Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, www.allaboutbirds.org, for more information, including building feeders and nest boxes. If you are serious about birds, consider joining a citizen science program such as Project FeederWatch (www.feederwatch. org), which tracks bird movements in winter.

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extensionof Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at www.cceoneida.com.

Article source: http://www.uticaod.com/entertainmentlife/20180102/in-garden-how-to-attract-birds-in-winter

This guy, John Verdery, wants to help you keep your plants alive this and every winter

Hard to say, it was a slow building interest. My mother’s family is from Hawaii, I spent most summers there which was cool for a city kid. My uncle had a very impressive garden and was even in a Miracle Gro commercial. Neither of us would recommend using their products though haha. There is a new wave of millennials interested in plants and I think my interest is probably similar to everyone else’s. They make your home look nicer, they clean the air, they can feed you, and makes me feel more connected to nature. It started with me taking care of a succulent my girlfriend bought 4 years ago. After that the first plants I bought were a pepper, a mint plant, and some other decorative tropical plants. I was frustrated when plants would die, which made me want to learn more. It’s snowballed now to collecting rare plants, and getting into bonsai.

Article source: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/this-guy-john-verdery-wants-to-help-you-keep-your_us_5a4bf399e4b0df0de8b06d9e

IN THE GARDEN: How to attract birds in winter

Migrating birds and the ones that stay in our area appreciate food and shelter this time of year. Birds also need a water source to stay hydrated.

Consider these tips to attract birds this winter.

• Keep water flowing: Give birds a fresh drink. Set out a shallow bowl of clean water at the same time and spot each day, and just bring it back inside when ice forms.

There also are heated birdbaths you can buy and even birdbath heaters.

Never add glycerin or antifreeze to any water source; both can be fatal to birds and other wildlife.

• Cold weather food: Suet is the best food source for winter birds; it provides extra calories for the birds to stay warm.

Suet is composed of mixtures of animal fats and can be purchased or homemade.

A suet cage is a wire basket designed to contain the suet cakes. Suet is

best used in the cold months; warmer temperatures will cause it to go rancid.

You also can give the birds a high energy food boost simply by smearing pine cones with peanut butter and then rolling them in birdseed.

• Warm cover: With trees and shrubs dropping their leaves, birds seek evergreens for warm cover.

Bird houses also will provide shelter.

You also can consider stacking dead twigs, pruned branches and other garden debris in a loose pile. This gives birds such as song sparrows quick cover as they move along the ground.

• Learn to recognize birds and their habits: Visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, www.allaboutbirds.org, for more information, including building feeders and nest boxes. If you are serious about birds, consider joining a citizen science program such as Project FeederWatch (www.feederwatch. org), which tracks bird movements in winter.

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extensionof Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at www.cceoneida.com.

Article source: http://www.uticaod.com/entertainmentlife/20180102/in-garden-how-to-attract-birds-in-winter