Thursday, 22 June 2017

I Beg Your Pardon, Prince Charles Promised You An Eco-Garden! by Ian McCoy

As our readers are aware, we are avid followers of His Royal Highness, Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales. We have recently reported the journey that our innovative Prince is taking to promote sustainable living which touched on the garden party designed to make a difference.

'A Garden Party to Make a Difference' will be the ultimate gardening event for the Eco-conscious and will run from 8 - 19 September 2010 in The Prince of Wales private gardens at Clarence House and the gardens of neighbouring Lancaster House and Marlborough House. The event is part of The Prince of Wales' 'Start' initiative launched earlier this year.

Garden Designers Tom Petherick, Lulu Urquhart and Adam Hunt have pulled their joint expertise together to create a future orientated landscape design practice and this show will be the launch pad. Their installation is entitled 'Future Cities Garden' and will dominate the South facade of St James's Palace.

The aim of the twelve day event is to engage visitors via exhibits that will demonstrate that everyone can work towards a more sustainable way of life in a variety of ways. Tom, Lulu and Adam will show that gardening in small spaces is both possible, desirable and can transform a space no matter how small. This exhibit is in essence an ABC of how to grow edible plants no matter how inclement the British weather is and regardless of season.

Apples will be shown growing in containers and as trained fruit. This quintessential English fruit comes in all shapes, sizes, flavours and fruits from late summer with some varieties storing right through the winter. They are easy to grow in pots, against walls and fences, and in any soil and of course their health benefits are well known - let's not forget the old adage about an apple a day!

Traditional vegetables and edible & medicinal flowers and will show how everyday items that are cheap or recycled can be used to create innovative and funky gr owing spaces, both vertically and horizontally. Lettuce is the subject of one of the vertical 'green wall' installations. It is the mainstay of the summer garden and the anchor in millions of summer salads. At the show it can be seen growing in all its variations proving its versatility and simplicity of cultivation. Even tiny gardens have walls to work with, so why not make them green and edible.

For underutilized vertical spaces runner beans are perfect as they grow quickly and love to climb. Once a staple in the meat and two veg diet of a bygone era runners have come right back into fashion. They crop heavily, love our climate, and return nitrogen to the soil, what's not to love? Our most beloved of beans will be seen growing in a variety of different containers, notably oil drum halves.

Chillies are very easy to grow and well suited to pots. They make excellent plants for a small space because they are mostly compact and ordered in shape. Also there is something within the heat range to suit everyone. They are perfect for a sunny windowsill.

Bamboo is a highly versatile plant - the canes used as supports for tall plants but also Bamboo. Phyllostachys dulcis and P. edulis have delicious edible shoots used particularly in Chinese cooking. The bamboo will make up the middle storey of the Forest Garden because of its shade tolerance.

In the same area we will be showing the edible Japanese Ginger (Zingiber myoga) this is the perfect plant for the ginger that accompanies sushi. The flowers are also prized as both edible and ornamental. It grows to one metre in height and will also be part of the forest garden. A hardy plant that is shade tolerant this ginger is likely to become ever more prominent in years to come.

Herbs are expensive to buy yet vital kitchen ingredients and the display will show a large variety including a wide range of thymes which are excellent evergreen plants for both containers and small spaces. Plant up a whole variety and they will smell great in a green wall and are also good insect attractants - thymes are of particular interest to bees and this is good for the general health of the garden. See them in the green walls and dotted around in pots that can be brought indoors for ease of harvest.

The humble tomato is the perfect starter fruit for novice gardeners because they are so easy to grow and present few problems. Home grown tomatoes are a staple guaranteed to give a good return and with a flavour unrecognizable from the shop-bought fruit. They work well in pots, indoors and in the garden.

Radishes are a cinch to grow - sprinkle a few seeds in Spring and wait for that first crunch followed by hot cheeks! Summer has arrived! Yam. (Dioscorea batatas) is for the more adventurous gardener, it's a climber like its close relative the sweet potato. Popular in the Caribbean and South America but increasingly finding its way into UK diets. It grows well in pots likes the sun but will not survive frost.

The exhibit by Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt will show a rhythmical display that follows the seasons. Novice gardeners will learn how to convert existing spaces on to a more sustainable footing. Visitors can learn how to convert space and containers into growing areas. The overall aim of the team is to provide an attraction that encapsulates the show philosophy of getting people in cities growing plants, growing food, loving plants and being mo re sustainably aware.

The ethos underling this new association of Petherick, Urquhart and Hunt is about building a consultancy with a point of difference that will champion sustainable, spiritually intact gardens and working landscapes with integrity.

Tickets, priced 15 for adults and 7.50 for children are on sale now. Full details are available on the Garden Party website

The Prince of Wales launched the Start initiative at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry on 4th February 2010. Start aims to help people across the UK take small steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle and to demonstrate what a more energy efficient, cleaner and healthier future could look like.

The initiative is backed by leading businesses such as Addison Lee, Asda, B&Q, BT Group, EDF Energy, IBM UK and Ireland, M&S, Virgin Money and Waitrose.

For more information about Start go to

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Sunday, 18 June 2017

How to design a secret garden

No matter where your plot of land is -- in the heart of a bustling city or down a quiet lane -- there's an opportunity to make your garden feel like a secret, secluded space. The Sprinkler Installation best secret gardens not only feel private, but they also have a certain magic about them, evoking the sense of being removed from the hustle of daily life and transported to somewhere else entirely. Let's take a look at 10 ingredients that not only give secret gardens privacy, but a sense of magic as well.

1. A hidden entrance. Gates and entryways are important features in any garden, but they are essential for secret gardens. They define a threshold -- marking the passage from one garden area (perhaps a more public one) to a private space. Create a sense of mystery about what lies beyond with a garden entrance that blocks the inner garden from view.

2. An inviting destination. Inside the garden, provide a seating area as an alluring destination that draws in visitors. These destinations can be as simple as a pair of chairs pulled up to a cafe table or a bench drawn under a shade tree. If the seating area is partially obscured by foliage or fencing, it only adds to the feeling of discovery.

3. Screening and hedges for privacy. Nothing breaks the spell of a secret garden like seeing the blank faces of adjac ent buildings or looking straight into a neighbor's windows.

Turn to fences, evergreen hedges and trees with leafy canopies for screening.

Alternatively, use screens to create private areas within the garden, such as a sheltered seating or dining nook.

RELATED: Screens and Room Dividers to Partition Outdoor Spaces

4. Loose, naturalistic plantings. Secret gardens can take any shape and style, but those that are slightly less manicured and a bit more wild have a certain romance. Get the naturalistic look by planting billowing grasses, carefree flowering perennials and native plants of all types. For more formality, balance loose plant forms with sheared hedges, a patch of mowed lawn or a few clipped shrubs for structure.

To create a slightly wild, secret garden feeling in urban courtyards where you have limited bed space, plant a vine in the ground or a large container. Let a trailing climber, such as wisteria, honeysuckle or a climbing rose, ramble up the sides of buildings and cloak the area with foliage and flowers.

5. Disappearing pathways. Use a stepping stone path or a winding walkway to draw visitors into the garden. The trick to evoking a feeling of anticipation: Leave the destination hidden.

6. An enclosed space. In more open landscapes, adding a sheltered seating area or a small hedged-in garden can help balance a feeling of openness with one of privacy and seclusion. It's adding a secret garden within a garden, so to speak.

7. A connection with nature. Welcome bees, butterflies, birds and other small creatures to your secret garden by offering sources for food and water, and areas for shelter. Allow plants like roses to go to seed -- the rose hips can become food for birds in fall and winter.

Welcoming these connections with wildlife may give new meaning to your experience with the garden.

RELATED: 10 Yummy Container Edibles to Plant

8. Seasonal change. Tap into nature's own seasonal magic -- the emergence of new bulbs in spring and leaves changing from green to red, orange and gold in fall -- by choosing some plants for recurrent interest in your secret garden.

If you don't want to undertake larger-scale planting projects like adding deciduous trees, consider planting one or two containers for seasonal color. Plants like tulips, daffodils and other bulbs, summer annuals and perennials, Mediterranean herbs, and small-scale Japanese maples grow well in containers.

9. Objects with meaning. Add a thoughtful object to the landscape to make a secret garden feel more like your own. Ordinary objects with personal meaning, such as an interesting rock picked up at a special beach, may remind you of a favorite trip or childhood memory. Historical objects or those with spiritual meaning can bring greater depth to the garden.

Whatever you choose, consider partially concealing the object within garden beds or around the bend in a path to add an element of discovery.

RELATED: Dreamy Outdoor Lights for Every Budget

10. Dreamy landscape lighting. Subtle, glowing landscape lighting is the Sprinkler System icing on the cake for making a secret garden feel like a magical retreat. Select lights that are small and subdued, rather than bright flood lights -- we're going for the look of fairy lights and not a football stadium, after all. Apart from providing ambience, lights can be practical too -- extending the time you can enjoy being out of doors, and illuminating pathways and stairs for safety.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Home builders beating back fire sprinkler laws

HARTFORD, Conn. - Nearly three dozen states have rejected the idea of requiring sprinkler systems in homes by enacting legislation or rules that prohibit mandatory installation.

Home builders, still reeling from the recession, say requiring sprinklers would add to their costs. They have found allies in state legislatures and rule-making bodies that have turned aside arguments by fire safety officials that requiring sprinklers in homes save lives.

The National Association of Home Builders has not taken a position on state action banning mandatory fire sprinklers in homes, said program manager Steve Orlowski, but the group has argued that installing residential sprinklers should be up to homeowners.

Either through legislation or code, 34 states have prohibited mandatory residential fire sprinklers, Orlowski said. Only two states -- California and Maryland -- have adopted codes requiring installation of home sprinklers, he said.

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In other states, sprinkler legislation died or is pending until next year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Connecticut, for example, is deferring action until next year. A measure requiring automatic fire extinguishing systems in one- and two-family homes failed to make it to a vote in the Public Safety and Security Committee.

Sen. Anthony Guglielmo, the committee's ranking Republican senator, said legislators did not have enough information about the cost to builders and municipalities that would enforce the law. Legislators will take up the issue next year only after hearing the recommendations of officials and others brought together by the state Department of Public Safety, he said.

The International Code Council, an organization of building inspectors, fire officials and others who set building standard s, recommended in 2009 that states and municipalities adopt codes requiring sprinkler systems in homes and townhouses less than three stories high. The regulations took effect Jan. 1.

The National Fire Protection Association has said sprinklers will particularly help young children, the elderly and the disabled by giving them time to escape burning homes.

Opponents of requiring sprinklers cite their cost -- and subsequent impact on home prices -- and voters' dissatisfaction with government mandates.

In Missouri, lawmakers extended for eight years rules that require builders to offer sprinklers but do not mandate them.

"Our main concern, in this housing market, is that the requirement for mandatory fire sprinklers could cost $7,000 to $15,000 per home," said Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, Republican chairman of the Jobs, Economic Development and Local G overnment Committee. "In this market, it's very difficult to justify."

In New Hampshire, Gov. John Lynch tried to vetoed legislation that prohibited local planning boards from requiring sprinkler systems in homes as a condition of approval for local permits. The decision about whether to require fire sprinklers should remain a local one, Lynch said.

Legislators overrode the veto.

Sen. John S. Barnes, Republican chairman of the Public Municipal Affairs Committee, said the override vote was not easy because he typically favors local control. B ut he does not believe any government body should be ordering homeowners to install fire sprinklers.

"If I buy or build a house, I think I should decide whether I put in a sprinkler system," he said.

John A. Viniello, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, said the process by which codes are approved is flawed. Codes regulating wiring, construction and other facets of home construction are informed by expert advice from industry and others, he said.

But when legislatures have a role in the process, codes too often are modified or scuttled, he said.

"Once the politicians get involved, it's over," he said.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Climate change study canceled due to climate change

Climate change study canceled due to climate change - CNET

It sounds like an Onion headline.

The team from Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has had to cancel the first part of its 2017 expedition "due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change," reports the University of Manitoba, which is leading the study.

climatechangestudyEnlarge Image

The science team of the research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen, shown here, had to cancel part of its study.

University of Manitoba

In short, part of a climate change study was canceled due to ... climate change.

The decision has postponed the $17 million Hudson Bay System study, a four-year project involving 40 scientists from five Canadian universities. Ice conditions meant the ship would arrive too late on site to meet research objectives, the university reports.

The scientists used the Amundsen's equipment to confirm that a large amount of the sea ice originated from the high Arctic, and collected data on the ice, ocean and atmosphere in the area for further research.

"Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not Attorney College Station only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility, meaning that ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often," said David Barber, expedition chief scientist.

But science isn't giving up.

"This extremely unfortunate event is not expected to affect the remainder of the 2017 Best Attorney in College Station Amundsen Expedition resuming on July 6," said Louis Fortier, scientific director of the Amundsen and ArcticNet Science programs.

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Sunday, 11 June 2017

The Business of Landscaping in a Drought Video

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