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This week’s gardening tips: harvest herbs, don’t worry about webworms


This week’s gardening tips: Remember to harvest herbs. Mint, basil, rosemary, lemon balm and Mexican tarragon regularly should be harvested to keep the plants shapely and under control. Some herbs, such as thyme, sage and lavender, don’t tolerate heat and rain very well and may be struggling now.

Keep things under control: A long growing season and rapid growth often leads to overgrown beds at this time of year. Trim bedding plants and tropicals to keep them under control. Stake or otherwise support plants that need it.

Don’t worry about webworms: The caterpillars that form tents of webbing at the ends of branches of various trees (especially pecans) look bad but rarely do much damage. If control is needed, spray with a product containing BT (Dipel, Thuricide) or other labeled insecticides. Make sure the caterpillars are actually present in the webs before you spray.

Think before you water: We have been getting regular rainfall this summer. As a result, we’ve not had to do much irrigation to established trees, shrubs, ground covers and lawns. Be sure not to irrigate unless the soil is dry enough to warrant it. Irrigating when not needed often creates problems with fungal diseases.

Keep an eye out for large numbers of small tan moths: This indicates a sod webworm infestation that may damage the lawn. If you see a large number of moths, contact me for information on controlling sod webworms.

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How you can pick up some tips from Gardener of the Year in Glasgow this month

Green-fingered Glaswegians can learn from the best this month as Gardening Scotland’s Gardener of the Year, Sallie Sillars is set to host a lunch and learn session this month.

The gardening lesson will take place on July 25 at The Avenue Shopping Centre to encourage more Glaswegians to get into gardening.

The session will begin with refreshments at 12pm set to be a quarterly event to offer its customers a VIP experience where they can learn valuable skills and meet some new people.

Sallie Sillars will run a demonstration in planting and offer some great tips and tricks on how to make your garden look unique using everyday house hold items.

Sallie said: “Being a top interior and gardening trend, these little plants make a perfect addition to the home. From re-using old teacups and Wine glasses there are so many ways to make succulents stands out.”

Education officer at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Louise Bustard, will join Sallie to give an interactive talk on how to make those crucial plants survive in your garden.

“There are so many benefits to plants including deterring illness, boosting healing and creating natural-fiber clothing,” Louise said.

The Avenue centre manage, Michelle McCabe has said: “Summer is a great time to get into gardening so the launch of our lunch and learn sessions on the avenue is perfect.

“We’re thrilled to have two well respected gardening experts, for our first talk and look forward to rolling out an exciting programme of events for our shoppers.”

Click here for more information.

Read More

Arts, culture and live music in Glasgow

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Gardening column: Tips for saving tomato and green bean plants …

Q. My tomato plants are struggling with blight and I am wondering if there is a safe spray I can use other than just pruning off the blighted leaves?

A.Garden Safe offers a product that is labeled safe for use in organic gardens; Fungicide 3.

• When using any product such as this, always follow label directions.

• Also take the time to read the list of plants that this product was especially formulated for then do not use them liberally throughout the garden.

• Spray only the plant that has the problem.

• Spray in the evening after the sun has gone down or on a cloudy day—not during the hottest part of the day.

• Continue to monitor the plant and remove any blighted leaves.

• Always water deeply and at the root zone and early morning or late afternoon if you have to.

• Keep the soil clean of blighted leaves and weeds.

• When all else fails, you may need to remove a plant that can’t be saved in order to save the other plants in your garden.

Q.I have bindweed and morning glories coming up everywhere and they have gotten into my green bean bed and are wrapping themselves around the bean vines. This is very upsetting so can you help?

A.Both of these noxious weeds need to be stopped at germination if you are ever to get control of them. Since they have already invaded your garden, sorry to say your only recourse now is to stop them from blooming and setting seed and kill as many of them as possible without harming the beans.

• Find the root of those vines and pull them from the soil.

• They will probably stay locked around the beans but they will die if you do that.

• Also if you are unable to locate the root, remove any upward growth and buds or blooms that you see so they cannot make seed.

• Next spring, when you see germination of either of these plants, before they can invade your garden; you can pull them, use vinegar and as a last resort, go for the Roundup.

Q.I would like to make my own tea from herbs I’m growing this year. Do you have a quick list of what to do so that I can preserve some of them to use.

A.It is fairly easy to dry herbs for teas and also to be used in recipes.

• I’m not sure which herbs you have but some that are used to make teas are peppermint, orange mint, spearmint, lemon balm, chamomile, rose hips and others.

• Some people can have allergic reactions to these herbs so it is a good idea to research the plants you have before making teas with them.

• Teas can be made from fresh leaves or dried.

• Rose hips can be used for tea when they have turned brown.

• Gather the leaves when they are young and healthy, and early in the day right after the dew has dried on the plant.

• Cut long stems of herb leaves, bundle and tie in bunches to be air dried.

• Hang them upside-down in a cool, shady or dark place where there is lots of air movement.

• When the leaves are very dry and crunchy, strip them off the stems, and store them in airtight jars out of sunlight.

• Brew them as you would any other loose tea.

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on “The Plant Medic,” a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

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Décor trends you could try

Following decor trends can help you create a stylish, chic and welcoming vibe in your home. There are some styles that are easy to follow and can be quickly adapted to suit the decor needs of your house. Some of these can be modified to reflect the quirky elements of your personality in a seamless manner.

One of the major surface trends this year is the reclaimed, rustic wood. These are cheaper than natural ones and can literally transform your home — be it the kitchen, bedroom or the living area. Using brass finishes for light fixtures, furniture and gadgets, is another trend that is popular.

Cork, an eco-friendly material has shown up in home ware and in home decor accessories. Concrete and cork are being used in unusual ways. Following are a few more trends that you could incorporate in your home…

Bring in the greens

Very few Mumbaiites can actually boast of a garden at home. Well one of the biggest trends this year is about bringing the outside, inside, by creating your tiny garden in a glass container. Terrariums are a cool easy way to green up your homes.

Classical elegance

This is about classical themes and sophistication, with baroque design elements incorporated in home decor, thereby enriching the interiors.

Unpainted, untreated walls

This look is surely not for traditionalists and the faint-hearted. The industrial look of plastered walls looks chic. Exposed brick walls are a big trend.

Cluster lights

Use a cluster of naked lights to get a contemporary look to your home decor.

Nature prints

Add some prints like the palm and Swiss cheese plant to your cushion covers, framed wall hanging to usher in this trend at home.

Tropical calm

Injecting a warm touch of the tropics to your home with large leaf prints on cushion covers, wallpapers, wall decoration, upholstery and other objects will lend a relaxed, fresh feel to your decor. Bringing nature in any form, even digital prints helps in stress reduction and contributes to emotional well-being.

Ethnic yet cool decor elements

Ethnic designs are in focus once again as a global trend. This decor trend plays a key role with textured wallpapers, pattern mixing and wooden furniture. The ambience can be complemented beautifully with valued objects.

The vintage look

The ever popular vintage look takes a delicate, sophisticated turn with much softer colours and a lot of extremely exhaustive patterns. Distressed furniture with an old-worldly look can nail the look.

Going Monochrome

Playful, fun and full of passion —the contemporary decor trend is about using a monochrome palette. Geometric designs rock the interior scene and are being used across objects — be it the carpet, cushion cover, upholstery, wallpaper, wall clock faces and more.

Statement headboard

Upholstered statement headboards are a hot trend in the design world right now. Your bedroom can get the wow factor and this will also add a majestic charm to the decor.

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Home and garden events July 22 and beyond – The Courier


Children in the Dell. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Aug. 26. The classes gives children ages 5-12 a chance to spend some time in the garden. Topics include planting and growing veggies, nature-inspired scavenger hunts and more. Parents must stay on the grounds and are invited to participate in the day’s activities. Preregistration encouraged, drop-ins welcome as space allows. Free with regular admission.

Homearama Poplar Woods. Oldham County, through July 30 (5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday). Nine custom-built homes fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and featuring the latest in building trends, technology and interior design. Visitors can tour the homes and meet the local builders, interior designers and suppliers of the variety of home products featured. Tickets are sold on site at the Homearama entrance tent. $10, $15 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger. For more information,

Fourth Fairy Fun Thursday. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 6 p.m. Thursday, July 27. Hands-on opportunity to get acquainted with fairy garden life and its creatures. Free with regular admission. 502-241-4788.

Superhero Plants Insects: What’s in Your Garden? Louisville Free Public Library, Highlands/Shelby Park Branch, 1250 Bardstown Road, 2 p.m. Friday, July 28. The Jefferson County Master Gardeners will have a show and tell of plants and insects with superhero traits, camouflage, night vision, shape-shifting and more. Participants will also create a simple craft. For ages 5-12. Free. To register call, 502-574-1672.

Planting Seeds Indoors for Fall Louisville Free Public Library, Portland Branch, 3305 Northwestern Parkway, 1 p.m. July 29. Learn about growing seedling plants for a fall garden, the various types of fall crops, their planting dates, containers, lighting, soil and maintenance. Free. 502-574-1744.

In The Garden: Pollinators A Plenty. Jefferson County Master Gardener June Sandercock will describe pollinator behavior, desirable plants and other garden elements to welcome and nurture pollinators, 9 a.m. July 29. After the short program, participants can see many of these plants in her garden. RSVP is required. Call, 216-8950 or email

Superhero Plants Insects: What’s In Your Garden? Louisville Free Public Library, Shawnee Branch, 3912 W. Broadway, 1 p.m. Aug. 1. Join the Jefferson County Master Gardeners for a show and tell of plants and insects with superhero traits. For ages 5-12. Free. 502-574-1722.

Bernheim First Sunday Nature Hike. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 2 p.m. Aug. 6. $5 per car. 502-955-8512.


Gardening at the Shively Library. Louisville Free Public Library, Shively Branch, 3920 Dixie Highway, 9 a.m. July 31. Learn gardening tips and tricks working in raised beds. Topic: how to identify beneficial critters, how to garden without weed and how to get rid of garden pets naturally. Free. 502-574-1730.

Email items to Deadline for next Saturday’s column is noon Tuesday.7

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Master gardening: Deadheading for bonus blooms






A small space doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to gardening. With these tips, all you’ll need is your green thumb! Keleigh Nealon (@keleighnealon) has the story!

Summer may be half over but our flowering annuals and perennials still have a big show to put on.

Deadheading, or removing spent blooms as they fade, is an essential summer chore if you want to keep your garden looking its best. It helps extend the blooming season and directs a plant’s energy into flowers and foliage rather than seed.

MORE: An ideal time for pruning trees

MORE: Blooming isn’t over just yet

A plant’s goal in life is to reproduce itself, and making seeds takes a lot of energy. Simply put, if you remove the faded or dead flowers before they go to seed, new ones are encouraged to grow. By midseason, many of your plants become overgrown, gangly and just plain messy looking. A good cleanup, beginning with a good deadheading, will bring new life to your garden.

Flowering annuals such as zinnias, marigolds, cosmos and petunias respond by pumping out fresh blooms from spring through autumn. The same is true for the flowering period of certain perennial plants like foxglove, columbine, and lavender. Some other perennials that benefit from deadheading are Shasta daisy, bee balm, speedwell, yarrow and coneflower. Not all perennials will continue to bloom after deadheading, but many look better as a result. The single-flowering day lily is just one example.

MORE: Maintaining a mindful lawn

MORE: Butterfly weed is a ‘must-have’

Before you grab your pruners, make sure you know the correct way to deadhead the spent flowers. Proper deadheading removes the entire flower head. Choosing the exact point to make a deadheading cut can seem confusing, since perennials have different flower forms. Because deadheading, like other types of pruning, is species specific, it can be difficult to group plants into categories. For most plants, however, all you need to remember is to prune spent flowers and stems back to a point where there’s a new lateral flower or bud. If no new flower is apparent, prune the stem back to a lateral leaf. If you only snip off the petals but leave the immature seed pod behind, your flowers won’t re-bloom. Just be careful not to remove any flowering side shoots.

Plants that produce tall flowering spikes are some of the most confusing to deadhead. Flowering begins at the bottom of a spike and continues upward over time, leaving a long, mostly bare stem with a few blooms at it’s top. Hollyhock and larkspur are two plants that produce flowering spikes. In order to deadhead their blooms and similar plants’ flowers, pinch off the lower blooms with your thumb and forefinger as they fade, and prune an entire stem to its base when it is about 70 percent bare.

Some plants such as ornamental grasses, astible, clematis, coneflower, liatris, and sedum produce colorful hips, berries or seeds that attract birds. Some just have interesting dried flower heads that will add to your winter garden. You may not want to deadhead these plants, so you can wait until early spring to trim back if you prefer.

MORE: Master gardening: Here are local resources

MORE: Bonding with bonsai

Many gardeners find deadheading enjoyable and relaxing. If you don’t fall into this camp, the best way to keep from feeling overwhelmed is to visit your garden daily and do a little at a time. It also gives you a chance to spot any warning signs of disease on your plants. The waves of blooms in your garden can be extended by weeks or even months.

Rita Potter is a York County Master Gardener. Penn State Master Gardeners are volunteers for Penn State Cooperative Extension. For more information, contact the Master Gardener office at 717-840-7408 or

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Mid-winter gardening tips

Sabrina Hahn list off three of the top jobs to do in the garden this week.

1. Start pruning roses in frost-free areas.

2. Spray all garden beds and plants with a seaweed solution to help improve their vitality over winter.

3. Take out the oldest stems of the May bush (spirea) at the base so that it retains its lovely weeping appearance.

Tip of the week

To prevent rabbits eating newly planted trees on properties, place three tires around the tree.

Do you have a gardening question for Sabrina?

Write to Habitat Ask Sabrina, GPO Box N1025, Perth WA 6843, or email

Please include your full name and suburb.

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Tips for taking better photos of your garden and wildlife – Gardening …

A grilled cheese sandwich is one of life’s simple culinary pleasures. It’s often one of the first things that kids learn to cook for themselves, and it’s always a warm, filling comfort food.

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GARDENING WITH THE MASTERS: Survival tips for the dog days of summer

The dog days of summer are from July 3 through Aug. 11. Many people believe that the phrase, “Dog Days of Summer” is associated with dogs sleeping all the time because of the hot, sultry temperatures, while others say the days are so hot, it causes dogs to go mad.

In reality, it is because the Sun occupies the same region of the sky as Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation Canis Major, the brightest star visible from any part of Earth. Therefore, the heat of summer is due to the Earth’s axis shifting resulting in the Northern Hemisphere being closer to the sun and extending the day light hours.

Now, these extended days may either produce hot sultry days or bring cooler temperatures with a rain shower or two. So far this spring we have had more than our share of rain, and as of this writing we are still getting quite a bit of rain, but more scattered than all day long. Here in Cherokee County, the average high temperature for July is 87 degrees and for August 86 degrees? Nevertheless, the phrase “dog days of summer, with hot, sultry weather was made for all time.”

Now, with all the heat we have to look forward to, we must take some steps to help our plants survive. The first symptoms of water stressed plants are wilting and pale yellow leaves with scorching, leaf cupping and defoliation, and the best time to observe water stressed plants is early in the morning before the heat of the day. Leaves will naturally curl in the intense heat at mid-day, but if they show those signs in the early morning that is when you can truly tell if the plants are water stressed and you will need to water.

Do not fertilize a water-stressed plant because it is one of the worse things you can do. Chemically, fertilizers are salts. They will pull water from the roots, further dehydrating them.

With water stress comes disease and insects such as powdery mildew and aphids.

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Powdery Mildew is a powdery appearance that covers the leaves. The infection can form on the top of the leaf as well as on the backside of the leaf, spreading rapidly over the entire surface, taking nutrients from the host. The affected leaves will turn yellowish or brown and drop from the plant. You can treat them with a baking soda solution, mix one tablespoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dormant oil and one teaspoon of insecticidal or liquid detergent to a gallon of water. Spray on plants every one to two weeks. Use this solution in the early stages or before an outbreak occurs. If you did not treat for powdery mildew in time; apply potassium bicarbonate. It is a fungicide which kills the powdery mildew spores and is approved for use in organic growing.

Aphids are typically found in clusters under and around stems and leaves. They are about 1/12th of an inch long and come in a wide variety of colors including green, yellow, red, brown, black and gray. They are soft-bodied and rarely have wings. Often the first sign of aphids on plants is sticky, shiny spots on lower leaves.

Treatment options: Pull out your hose and simply wash them off the plant with a spray of water. Being soft-bodied, they are easily killed by most insecticides including the milder types such as insecticidal soap and pyrethrins. Repeat the treatment in another three or four days, then monitor the plant closely. The key is to be sure you spray them all, since missing just a few might lead to a substantial re-infestation in just a matter of days.

Once we get regular rainfall and cooler temperatures, then you can apply a phosphorus-based fertilizer, such as Superphosphate, a one-half pound per 100 square feet around stressed trees and shrubs. This procedure will help in rebuilding their root system during the fall and winter while the ground is dormant.

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Tour to offer urban gardening tips

Here’s one garden tour that doesn’t promise you a rose garden. 

A first for Gloucester and Cape Ann, the Incredible Edible Downtown Garden Tour is the brainchild of Lara Lepionka — founder and executive director of Backyard Growers — whose own mothership edible garden is a must-see for anyone taking the tour.

There are 10 gardens altogether on the self-guided itinerary. Some are bursting with berries and veggies, some fragrant with herbs, one buzzing with honey bees, a few cluckling with chickens, and one —the work of urban farmer and Cape Ann Farmers Market Manager Nicole Bogin— blooming with fresh ginger and goji berries, both “superfoods” with known health benefits.

Anna Swanson says the tour has been “on the radar” since she joined Backyard Growers last May. Along with the flagship Lepionka/Brosnihan urban Beacon Street family farm, the tour stops will be a pick of the crop of the 260 raised beds and urban farms now growing in Gloucester’s private, public and community spaces thanks to Backyard Growers.

Swanson, like everyone else involved in Backyard Growers, says what drew her to the soil, was watching what you could grow out of it. “Just watching what you plant grow from seed to fruit to plate.”

“The really cool thing about the tour,” she says, “is to see how the people themselves, all the different ways they’ve developed these niche skills.” 

You learn to grow by growing things, says Swanson. Kale, for instance, was something she had been skeptical about. “But when I learned how it grows in such abundance with such a lengthy growing season, I was like, ‘Yeah, why not?’”

Learning will be a big part of touring this Saturday. Gloucester urban farmers will be out in force to answer questions and share their seasoned tips on a successful harvest.

“A lot of the gardens are in small spaces,” says Swanson, “so you can see how much you can do with just a small patch. You don’t need a lot to grow a lot. And once you start growing, it will grow on you.” 

Backyard Growers, originally an outgrowth of the Cape Ann Farmers Market, has played in integral role in turning Gloucester schoolchildren into avid urban farmers, planting edible raised beds at each of the city’s schools.  Its Salad Days program, which works with the children from seed to salad,just completed its late spring harvest, but one school garden will be available on Saturday’s itinerary.

Not surprisingly, Backyard Growers has attracted tremendous community support, and tour ticket holders can enjoy special deals and discounts offered at Cape Ann Brewery on Rogers Street and a “veggie-themed treat” at Happy Belly restaurant on Duncan Street. Like the tour itself, all proceeds will go right back into keeping Gloucester’s edible gardens incredible. 

Staff writer Joann MacKenzie may be contacted at 978-675-2707, or

If you go

What: Incredible Edible Downtown Garden Tour, a self-guided, walking tour of Gloucester’s edible urban gardens, in backyards, at schools and parks. Finish with discounts on food and drinks at Cape Ann Brewery and Happy Belly. All proceeds benefit Backyard Growers.

When: Saturday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rain date is Sunday, July 16.

Where: Bring your printed ticket or an ID to Backyard Growers headquarters, 271 Main St.,  to receive the map that will take you on the tour. Gardens are grouped for easy walking from the parking locations noted on map.

How much: $15, children under 15 are free, at, or Backyard Growers headquarters, 271 Main St. or 978-281-0480.

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