Floating fountains and aerators

: Algae is natural in your pond. And it is beneficial, as it provides a food source; in fact, pond owners who desire to raise trophy bass sometimes fertilize their ponds to keep planktonic algae production high. But algae poses several problems, too. For one thing, too much of certain kinds of algae is plain ugly. For another, too much algae is unhealthy. Photosynthesis requires sunlight, and algae blocks it. If your pond has too much plant life, the oxygen levels can decrease to the point that large fish struggle to live. The Problem of Algae Blooms An algae bloom is a rapid reproduction and spreading of algae when conditions are right. Algae blooms typically occur during the hot, sunny, calm part of the summer. When an algae bloom occurs, your pond can be covered with algae in a very short period of time. The major problem with an algae bloom is the algae die off. Often even quicker than the bloom itself, the algae die off can create major problems.

A die off of an algae bloom can be caused by a cloudy day and lack of sunlight, a cold front, storms, etc. When the algae bloom dies off, it adds a large amount of dead organic matter to your pond. This organic matter is decomposed by microorganisms at the pond bottom. With the added organic matter load on the pond, the total amount of decomposition occurring in the pond increases and the decomposition process uses up oxygen and gives off carbon dioxide. This causes two problems. The first is lack of oxygen. The second problem with a large die off and increased organic matter is nutrients. When the algae die off and are decomposed the carbon dioxide and nutrients are released back into the pond and is available for the next generation of plant material. The carbon dioxide and nutrients help to begin the cycle all over again. How to Help Your Pond There is hope for your pond, though.

Aeration can protect your pond and your fish during an algae bloom and die off. Adding an aeration device, such as a Kasco Pond Aerator or other brand of aerating fountain, will provide added oxygen to the water and help buffer the effect of an algae die off. When the algae die and are being decomposed, the added oxygen allows the decomposition process to occur properly and also provide oxygen for the fish and other aquatic organisms. By splashing the water in the air, the aeration device is not only adding valuable oxygen, it is also helping to vent gases such as carbon dioxide which is being produced in large amounts from the decomposition process. Using a pond aerator or aerating fountainwill also help prevent an algae bloom in the first place if it is installed before there is a major problem. As stated above, algae and algae blooms typically occur in the hot, calm, sunny times of the year.

The agitation at the surface that eliminates the stagnant areas decreases the areas algae have available to them to thrive. Just simple movement of the water will help limit the amount of algae present in the pond. Just think, when's the last time you've seen a lake that always has ripples or a river covered with algae? Algae do not like moving water or surface agitation. The agitation also helps to destratify the pond by mixing up the water and limiting the negative effects of turnover. With water that has been thermally destratified, the pond is now more hospitable for desired plants and algae species and creates a better pond ecosystem.

Raising the echinacea herb in your herb garden for use in herbal medicine

First, let’s get the pronunciation right, it is pronounced eh-kin-AY-sha. The echinacea herb is very important to grow in your herb garden for use in herbal medicine. By adding the echinacea herb to your herb garden not only will you be able to use it in your herbal medicine regime but you also gain a beautiful flowering herb. It is mostly found in the Northern Plains and has been used by Native Americans for its healing power in herbal medicine. The Indians used the mashed roots on everything from wounds to snakebites. It was used as a mouthwash to help with painful teeth and gums. They brewed Echinacea herbs as teas for colds and other maladies, like measles and arthritis. The Indians prized this herb for its value in herbal medicine.

They thought that the echinacea herb was a blood purifier. As herbal medicine, the echinacea herb is useful in all its parts. It is a daisy like flower with a rich purple hue. This herb will outshine any other flowers in your herb garden. Monarch Butterflies will flock to your herb garden when you have included the Echinacea herb. The best time to dig up the plant is in the fall but be aware that it takes three years for the herb to be useful in herbal medicine. In the later part of the 1990’s there were scads of studies that showed the usefulness of the echinacea herb for colds and flu. But there have also been studies that claim it as worthless.

You will have to try it to see how it affects you. The echinacea herb is a stimulant for the immune system. The herb boosts the ability of macrophages (infection fighting white blood cells) to fight off invading germs. When taking the echinacea herb as part of your herbal medicine regime, infections cased by viruses, bacteria and fungus will heal much faster than without it. Typically the root is used in herbal medicine. If you eat the fresh root, you should get a numbing or tingling of the tongue. It will also increase the flow of saliva in your mouth. This is entirely normal and should cease in about 15 minutes. The echinacea herb is best used in its fresh state. So you see echinacea is important to add to your herb garden. When you plant echinacea in your herb garden you will be adding one more natural plant to use in your arsenal of herbal medicine. With the echinacea herb the most commonly used in herbal medicine is the E. augustifolia. However, E. purpurea and E; pallida can be just as useful in herbal medicine if prepared correctly. Another way to get the benefits from the echinacea herb is to make a tincture, (look for my article on How To Make Tinctures). In a glass of fruit juice add up to 30 drops in the juice and take it three times a day. Adjust the dosage if you become nauseas. And, as in all things in life, you can get “to much of a good thing”. If you take the echinacea herb over too long a period of time, you will over stimulate your immune system. So, take a break when your symptoms start to dissipate. There are some people that should not use echinacea in their herbal medicine routine. No one with auto-immune disease should take the herb since it could potentially aggravate that disease. And people with HIV should not take echinacea because by stimulating the immune system you may also stimulate the virus. It is most important to always check with your doctor before starting any herbal medicine regime. Copyright © Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved. This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.

About basic bonsai styles

Bonsai, as a Japanese art form, is more regulated than it’s Chinese counterpart, the penjing. Bonsai attempts to achieve the ideal tree, while penjing attempts to reproduce nature. This is why perfect styling exists in bonsai if you obey the ‘rules’, while penjing leave you free to your creation. As a result these are the basic styles : Broom (Hokidachi or Hoki-zukuri) A very harmonious style, this form has branches that develop at a certain height, forming an upside broom. This styling is mainly achieved through a technique called the “V” cut. The trunk is chopped where you want the branch to start to develop and then a deep V cut is performed on the remaining trunk. This will induce buds to break near the cut. Zelkova serrata are notorious for this styling but maple and other deciduous species can easily be styled that way. Formal Upright (Chokkan) A tree styled the “chokkan” way has a straight trunk tapering graciously from bottom to top. The first and biggest branch is often situated at 1/3 of the desired height of the tree and is on the right or the left. The following branch is situated on the opposite side, while the third is in the back creating the perception depth. As we look at the branch structure from bottom to top, the branches are getting thinner, creating a pyramidal shape. Informal Upright (Moyogi) This style is very similar to the previously mentionned style as the same rules of design apply, however, the trunk is not straight but rather forms a sinuous shape while remaining tapered. This style is commonly used with conifers. Slanting (Shakan) Once again, this style is the same as the formal upright except that the trunk is leaning on one side. Branches are grown uniformly on the trunk like the formal/informal upright styles but the apex is tilted to the opposite side of the trunk giving a visual balanced effect. Cascade (Kengai) This styling requires an inclined trunk that is preferably at a 45 degree angle. The major portion of the foliage is below the pot line and sometimes goes beyond the pot itself. It often represents a tree growing on the side of cliff. A deep pot is used for this style. Semi-cascade (Han-Kengai) Similar to the Kengai style, this style also has an inclinated trunk. However, the foliage remains at the height of the pot line. In nature, we can see this style near a waterway, the foliage having grown on the side and leaning towards the water. While the cascade style uses a deeper pot, this style uses a medium depth pot. Windswept (Fukinagashi) A “windswept” tree represents a tree that has been growing in a certain shape due to natural elements . Often caused by strong wind, the trunk is always inclinated in a certain direction and all branches have grown on the same side. Literati (Bunjin) This styling is often represented in Japanese paintings. It is a tree with a tall and sinuous trunk. The foliage only grows near the summit of the tree. This styling is somewhat an exception to the rigorous rules of bonsai because it does not have specific rules. It represents what the bunjin movement is in Japan: the search for liberty. Group/Forest (Yose-ue) This styling often represents a forest or a small cluster of trees. It is supposed to be styled in a way that will clearly represent the growing habits of trees in a group. Many techinques can be used to achieve this styling and many perception techniques are used to create the illusion of a forest, or as Naka would say, “having the quality of the invisible beauty of nature”. To respect the Japanese art form, an odd number of trees is prefered for this styling. Raft (Ikadabuki) The same rules of the group planting apply to this style. However, all of the trunks emerge from one common trunk. This technique is often achieved with a branch placed verticaly in the soil. The roots form this branch and the upper part of the vertical branch develop secondary branches that will eventually become the trunks. Multi-trunk Style (Sokan - Sankan) This multi-trunk style has different possibilities. The first, which is called “Sokan”, consists of two trunks emerging from the same visible roots (nebari). The styling of the upper part of the tree must respect the same rules as the formal / informal upright styles previously described. Another variance consists of the same but with three trunks emerging from the visible roots. This is called “Sankan”. You can also have more than three trunks but to respect Japanese bonsai, it is prefered to have an odd number of trunks. Roots Over Rock (Ishitsuki) This styling has the specific charactreristics of having many visible roots growing over a rock and finding their way to the pot/soil. Patrick from http:// mishobonsai. com

Rock gardens

While "Rock Gardens" is the modern name, another term used in connection with natural rock gardening is "rockeries". The biggest problem is to determine the plants that are likely to succeed under the conditions that can be provided. There are no plants that can be counted as rock plants in every part of the country; therefore, plants must be selected for the particular locality where they are to be grown. The background or setting for the rock garden varies greatly because of the topography and character of the country. In a rough, rocky country rock garden sites are sometimes found almost readymade, but in other sections they must be created from materials collected for the purpose. In the latter case care is necessary in order to produce a result that does not look forced or out of place. When building a house on a rocky hillside it may often be possible to reserve an adjacent area that may be made into a most attractive garden with but little modification. Even old quarries can be and are converted into attractive gardens. Where, however, such features have to be built, it takes a good student of nature to reproduce naturalistic rock ledges and other stone outcroppings.

Boulders (rounded, waterworn stones) may be scattered over a gentle slope, whereas on a steeper slope the stones must be placed close together, at some points even resting on one another. Even rock walls may be part of a rock garden. Rock Walls Quarried or angular field stones often may be appropriately used to hold artificial banks. Stones with weathered faces are usually more attractive than those with newly cut or broken faces. Where there is a gentle slope, a row of stones may be placed at the bottom, with spaces between them two or three times as wide as the stones; other stones may be placed behind these spaces with the bottom as high as the tops of the front stones and back far enough to hold the soil at the desired slope. Where the bank is steep the space between the stones, often only 2" or 3", may be filled with soil and the next stone laid over this opening, resting on both the lower stones and set as far back as the desired slope of the wall will permit. Stones should not be uniform in size, and those more irregular in outline than is desired for building purposes make a more attractive wall.

If the stone has a relatively flat upper surface, the surface should be so placed that water falling on it will drain back into the wall and not off. Elizabeth Passage

Fall gardening

Fall Gardening Many gardeners do not even consider fall gardening because of the winter frosts that might make an early appearance. On the contrary, fall gardening will result in excellent vegetables and will extend crops long after spring planted plants are finished. Vegetables produced from fall gardening are sometimes sweeter and milder than those grow in the summer and offer a brand new taste to the same old veggies. What you choose to grow during you fall gardening will depend on your available space and what you like to eat, just like spring plants. Even the crops that enjoy the heat, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, okra, and peppers, will produce until frosts hit, which can be pretty late in the year in southern areas. However, there are some plants that will quit towards the end of summer like snap-beans, summer squash, and cucumbers. If these vegetables are planted around the middle of the summer they can be harvested until the first frosts as well. Hardy, tough vegetables will grow until the temperature is as low as 20 degrees, but those that aren’t as strong will only be able to grow through light frosts. Remember that if you have root and tuber plants and the tops are killed by a freeze the edible part can be saved if a large amount of mulch is used. When fall gardening, make sure and pick the vegetables with the shortest growing season so they can be full grown and harvested before the frost arrives. Most seed packages will be labeled “early season”, or you can find the seeds boasting the fewest days to maturity. You may want to go after your seeds for fall gardening in spring or early summer; they are usually not kept in stock towards the end of summer. If they are stored in a cool and dry location they will keep until you are ready to plant. In order to know exactly when the best time to start fall gardening, you must know about when the first hard frost will hit your area. One of the best ways to tell this is by a Farmer’s Almanac. They will give you exact dates and are rarely wrong. You will also need to know exactly how long it is going to take your plants to mature. To get your soil ready for fall gardening you must first remove any leftover spring/summer crops and weeds. Crops leftover from the last season can end up spreading bacteria and disease if left in the garden. Spread a couple of inches of compost or mulch over the garden area to increase the nutrients, however, if spring plants were fertilized heavily it may not need much, if any. Till the top layer of soil, wet it down, and let it set for about 12-24 hours. Once this has been done, you are ready to start planting. Many gardeners will run from fall gardening so they don’t have to deal with frosts, but if tough, sturdy vegetables are planted they can withstand a few frosts and give you some wonderful tasting produce. Fall gardening gives you the chance to enjoy your vegetable garden for at least a little bit more time.

How to repair a leaky pipe

There is going to be one time in your life that you will need to either call a plumber to fix that leaky pipe or repair the leaking plumbing pipe yourself but before you do there is some information you should know before you attempt that plumbing repair. Depending on what type of pipe is leaking will depend on what types of tools and fittings you will need to do the plumbing repair. Another thing to consider is the place that the pipe is in, the harder it is to reach or access the harder it will be to repair the pipe. Most common types of plumbing found in households are pvc, steel, cast iron, and copper. Usually copper pipe and pvc pipe can be repaired by the home owner of the leak is small enough, and most hardware stores or home improvement stores will have what you need to get the job done. If the pipe that is leaking id steel, lead ( Lead bend ) or cast iron you will want to call your local plumber because there types of repairs will require expensive plumbing tools and expert professional knowledge to do the job properly.

Growing fruits and vegetables the way nature intended them to be

Gardening can add more quality to the way you live and even to some extent may also add quantity to one's life. There are many benefits of gardening, particularly organic gardening that can make one can forget about whatever is bothering him or her. Organic gardening is the way of growing vegetables and fruits with the use of things only found in nature. Why would one want to indulge in organic gardening? 1. Organic gardening is less boring. One can easily make his own compost from garden and kitchen waste. Though this is a bit more time-consuming than buying prepared chemical pesticides and fertilizers, it would surely be one rewarding activity. 2. Less health harming chemicals on the food that you and your family may consume. Pesticides contain toxins that have only one purpose kill living things. One of the best known benefits of organic gardening is the zero tolerance for pesticide use. This is the most widely know reason for the boom of organic gardening and is also the best of what we get from the benefits of organic gardening. 3. Less harm to the environment. Organic gardening has residual effect on ground water. The Environmental Protection Agency says that 38 states have cases of contaminated ground water. The protection of the topsoil from erosion is another concern dealt with the practice of organic gardening. The Soil Conservation Service says that an estimated 30 - 32 billion tons of soil erodes from United States farmlands every year. Commercial farming causes this. 4. Cost savings One does need to buy costly chemical fertilizers and pesticides with organic gardening. One example of organic fertilizer that one could make use of is as lowly as the stale coffee and coffee grounds. If one wishes to attract off aphids from vegetables, plant marigolds. One frugal garden pest spray could be concocted through mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid dishwashing soap and 1 cup of cooking oil. Put 3 tablespoons of this mixture in 1 quart of water and spray on plants. Mulch, which is used to keep moisture in and weeds out, could be in the form of grass clippings and pine needles. 5. Organic gardening makes one feel better knowing he is doing his part in safeguarding the future of the next generations. On the average, a child ingests four to five times more cancer-causing pesticides from foods than an adult. This can lead to various diseases later on in the child's life. With organic gardening, these incidents are lessened.

How to create classy container gardens with roses

According to the National Gardening Association, 91 million households participated in some form of do-it-yourself lawn and gardening activity in 2005, spending an average of $387. Over the past decade, an increasing percentage of this total has gone towards container gardening. Containers offer a versatile form of gardening that fits into any lifestyle and yard size. City dwellers can use them to brighten up lifeless balconies, roof decks or front stoops, while those with more space can decorate high-traffic spaces and incorporate them into lawn and garden areas for added drama and flair. Because of the multitude of options on the market, container gardens are an easy way to add a splash of color to any outdoor space, big or small. Roses are among the most spectacular and rewarding choices for a container because of their combination of color, fragrance and season-long blooms. Also, with advances in hybridizing, roses are easier to grow than ever before. Look for the All-America Rose Selections (AARS) rose logo as a "seal of approval," which indicates that the rose excelled in the most difficult plant trial in the world: two years of testing in 23 gardens across the country, representing all climate zones. By performing well against 15 criteria including fragrance, ease of maintenance and disease resistance, AARS roses are proven to be the very best. Tom Carruth, director of research at Weeks Roses and hybridizer of eight AARS Winners in the past nine years, provides the following tips for building the perfect container rose garden: • Pick the right pot. Size is the most important consideration. Make sure the pot is not too small and, when in doubt, go for the larger size to allow the roots to grow without constraint over time. Make sure all pots have at least one drainage hole to prevent root rot. Do not use saucers beneath the pot; instead, use pot "feet" to lift the pot off any surface and guarantee good drainage. • Get the good dirt. Roses prefer a well-drained soil. The commercial soil mixes do well but can dry out quickly. Consider adding some soil from your garden to help stabilize the mix and extend the moisture retention. Plants grown in pots require more water, organic matter and fertilizer than plants in the ground. • Select the right spot. Remember, roses like full sun and good air circulation. Since pots have the advantage of mobility, you can move the pot around to find just the right location. • Think vertical. Place a rose bush in the center of the container and surround with "filler" and "spiller" plants at the base. The rose plant draws the eye upwards and adds height to the space, while the fillers and spillers cover the base and accentuate the container. • Group plants strategically. Choose plants with the same sunlight and watering requirements as roses. Shallow-rooted fillers do best as they will not compete with the deeper rose roots. Try annuals such as sweet alyssum or lobelia, or consider smaller creeping herbs such as thyme or ornamental oregano. • Don't forget the foliage. Mix colorful plants with those in various shades of green to create a more intensified, three-dimensional effect. Smaller, variegated ivy hybrids look great and will spill out over sides of the container as they grow. • Consider "pot-scaping." Choose pots of different sizes and shapes that are made from similar material or those that are similar in color to create a complementary and leveled look. Pot feet can also be used to create levels with pots of the same size. For the best results, experts prefer to start with AARS award-winning roses, including this year's best new roses-Julia Child, Rainbow Sorbet, Tahitian Sunset and Wild Blue Yonder-all of which are suitable for container gardens. These and more AARS Winners are sold in select mail-order nursery catalogs and at local nurseries and garden centers nationwide.

Amazing artemisias

: WHO IS ARTEMIS? Amazonian moon goddess. Goddess of the hunt. Goddess of the wild things. Goddess of the midwife. Goddess of the herbalist.

Mother of all Creatures. Leader of the sacred bitches. Great she-bear. Diana. Selene. Ever Virgin; owned by no man. We will visit her sacred wood on a shamanic journey.

Who knows what will happen then. HOW DO ARTEMISIAS GROW IN YOUR GARDEN? Most Artemisias are perennials and grow best from cuttings, not seeds. Sweet Annie is the exception, being a self-seeding annual. Although you can buy tarragon seeds, you can't grow true tarragon from them. Wormwood and southernwood and tarragon (the last not winter-hardy in many places) are woody perennials which regreen each year on last year's new wood; I prune only dead wood from them. Cronewort is an invasive perennial that creeps underground; it dies back to the ground each year and can be heavily harvested (clear cuts are ok) without damage to its further prolific productivity.

Most Artemisias require little care. Lack of soil nutrients and lack of water do not faze them. Many are native to deserts, and know how to thrive in hot dry weather. Except for tarragon, all can overwinter without fuss. Flowers are usually small and green, in other words, nearly invisible. WHAT DO ARTEMISIAS CONTAIN?

  • bitter principals: wormwood
  • coumarins: cronewort, tarragon
  • essential oils (complex, variety specific, with hundreds of components per plant): cronewort (high in camphor, thujone), tarragon, wormwood (high in camphor, thujone)
  • flavonoids: cronewort, tarragon
  • glycosides: cronewort, tarragon
  • hormones: cronewort (sitosterol, stigmasterol)
  • sesquiterpene lactones: cronewort
HOW ARE ARTEMISIAS USED? Artemisias, with their grey-green or white-green foliage bring beauty to the garden throughout the growing season. They also make long-lasting, aromatic and beautiful indoor decorations: bouquets, wreaths, swags. They are popular strewing herbs, too. Those which are high in essential oils are thereby antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial.

They also improve digestion and appetite if taken in small doses. Any Artemisia growing beside the door - or painted on it - was, in days of old, the sign of the midwife, the herbalist. Magical and folkloric uses are numerous. "Mugwort possesses both natural and supernatural qualities. [It] excels as a woman's herb, easing the pain of labor, menstrual cramps, and effectively treating various uterine complaints." Gai Stern (1986) Cronewort/mugwort = smudge, dream pillow, moxa, birthing steam, vinegar of roots and young leaves, salad green when young, mugwort noodles, mugwort mochi.

American colonists used the sundried leaves as a tea substitute. Formerly a popular beer flavoring (hence the name mugwort). Controls worms in goats. Urinary tonic.

Uterine tonic. Digestive tonic. Nerve tonic. Circulatory tonic. Cronewort eases pain and fever, comforts grief and depression, eases irritability and burdened joints, brings peace and sleep, and reassures the nerves. Moxa demonstration and discussion. "That torturous, barbaric practice, the use of the moxa, is closely related to this plant." Millspaugh (1892) Wormwood = tincture, oil. Ingredient in absinth. Stimulates mid-brain activity and increases creativity, but repeated use disturbs the central nervous system. Prevents giardia, dysentery, amoebas.

Cholagogic, digestive, appetite-stimulant, liver-stimulant, wound healer. Caution: Use can lower seizure threshold; interacts adversely with seizure-reducing medications. Sweet Annie = capsules, in fairly large daily dose, to prevent malaria; source of antimalarial drugs. A strong tea, taken frequently, kills giardia and amoebas. Tarragon = vinegar, seasoning. Appetite stimulant according to Herbal PDR. Southernwood = dream pillow, sachet, charms. To see the beloved. SPECIES Some of the many Artemisia species that herbalists and gardeners use: A. abrotanum (southernwood) A. absinthium (wormwood) A. afra (African wormwood) A. annua (sweet Annie, qing hao) A. camphorata (camphor-scented sothernwood) A. drancuncula (tarragon, estragon, little dragon) A. frigida (fringed sagebrush) A. lactiflora (ghost plant) A. ludoviciana (silver queen) A. pontica (Roman wormwood) A. schmidtiana (silver mound) A. stellerana (old woman, dusty miller) A. tridentata (sagebrush; three-toothed sagebrush) A. vulgaris (cronewort, mugwort) Susun Weed PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498 Fax: 1-845-246-8081

Easy fall plant propagation techniques

As a home gardener, fall should be a very special time for you. Fall is the best season of the year for plant propagation, especially for home gardeners who do not have the luxury of intermittent mist. The technique that I am going to describe here can be equally effective for evergreens as well as many deciduous plants. The old rule of thumb was to start doing hardwood cuttings of evergreens after you have experienced at least two hard freezes. After two hard freezes the plants are completely dormant. However, based on my experience it is beneficial to start doing your evergreen cuttings earlier than that. So instead of doing “by the book” hardwood cuttings you’re actually working with semi-hardwood cuttings. The down side to starting your cuttings early is that they will have to be watered daily unless you experience rain showers.

The up side is that they will start rooting sooner, and therefore are better rooted when you pull them out to transplant them. To prepare an area in which to root cuttings you must first select a site. An area that is about 50% shaded will work great. Full sun will work, it just requires that you tend to the cuttings more often. Clear all grass or other vegetation from the area that you have selected.

The size of the area is up to you. Realistically, you can fit about one cutting per square inch of bed area. You might need a little more area per cutting, it depends on how close you stick the cuttings in the sand. Once you have an area cleared off all you have to do is build a wooden frame and lay it on the ground in the area that you cleared. Your frame is a simple as four 2 by 4’s or four 2 by 6’s nailed together at each corner. It will be open on the top and open on the bottom. Just lay it on the ground in the cleared area, and fill it with a coarse grade of sand. This sand should be clean (no mud or weed seed), and much coarser than the sand used in a play box. Visit your local builders supply center and view each sand pile they have.

They should have different grades varying from very fine to very coarse. You don’t want either. You want something a little more coarse than their medium grade. But then again it’s not rocket science, so don’t get all worked up trying to find just the right grade.

Actually, bagged swimming pool filter sand also works and should be available at discount home centers. Once your wooden frame is on the ground and filled with sand, you’re ready to start sticking cuttings. Wet the sand the day before you start, that will make it possible for you to make a slit in the sand that won’t fill right in. In this propagation box you can do all kinds of cuttings, but I would start with the evergreens first. Taxus, Junipers, and Arborvitae. Make the cuttings about 4” long and remove the needles from the bottom two thirds of the cuttings. Dip them in a rooting compound and stick them in the sand about an inch or so. Most garden centers sell rooting compounds.

Just tell them that you are rooting hardwood cuttings of evergreens. When you make the Arborvitae cuttings you can actually remove large branches from an Arborvitae and just tear them apart and get hundreds of cuttings from one branch. When you tear them apart that leaves a small heel on the bottom of the cutting. Leave this heel on. It represents a wounded area, and the cutting will produce more roots because of this wound.

Once the weather gets colder and you have experienced at least one good hard freeze, the deciduous plants should be dormant and will have dropped their leaves, and you can now propagate them. Just make cuttings about 4” long, dip them in a rooting compound and stick them in the bed of sand. Not everything will root this way, but a lot of things will, and it takes little effort to find out what will work and what won’t. This is a short list of just some of the things that root fine this way. Taxus, Juniper, Arborvitae, Japanese Holly, Blue Boy/Girl Holly, Boxwood, Cypress, Forsythia, Rose of Sharon, Sandcherry, Weigela, Red Twig Dogwood, Variegated Euonymus, Cotoneaster, Privet, and Viburnum. Immediately after sticking the cuttings thoroughly soak the sand to make sure there are no air pockets around the cuttings. Keep the cuttings watered once or twice daily as long as the weather is warm. Once winter sets it you can stop watering, but if you get a warm dry spell, water during that time. Start watering again in the spring and throughout out the summer. The cuttings should be rooted by late spring and you can cut back on the water, but don’t let them dry out to the point that they burn up. By fall you can transplant them to a bed and grow them on for a year or two, or you can plant them in their permanent location. This technique takes 12 months, but it is simple and easy.

Create a japanese garden theme

I never dreamed that I would have a job that I loved as much as I love my job as a wedding planner. Many days I cannot believe that I am getting paid to something that I love so much. I enjoy my job so much for two main reasons. First, I enjoy it because I genuinely love helping people. Second, I love being a wedding planner because I love weddings and I love seeing people enter into lifelong covenant relationships. I enjoy helping to plan great themes and all the details to make a wedding day extra special. I have been suggesting a Japanese garden theme to some clients lately. I have been fascinated with all things Japanese and remotely Japanese looking for the last several years, and so I think that is why I try to incorporate a Japanese garden theme into weddings as often as possible lately.

Most of my clients are a little surprised by the idea, but a few have actually decided to go with a Japanese garden theme for their wedding and reception. The great thing about a Japanese garden theme is that it is colorful and beautiful while allowing for great flexibility and uniqueness. I cannot stand seeing people choose a theme for their wedding and reception that has been done so many times before. So I love aiding people in coming up with unique themes that fit them perfectly. With a Japanese garden theme, there really is room to tailor the theme to many different styles, seasons, and degrees of formality for weddings and receptions.

I can help a couple plan a Japanese garden themed brunch or a black tie evening affair. So if you are looking for a great theme for your wedding or for a party of any kind, then think about choosing a Japanese garden theme. Do a little research and get some ideas of what is available in your area. See what kinds of foods, invitations and flowers you like that might go with a Japanese garden theme. Talk to a wedding planner or to any friends with a sense of style and planning to gather even more ideas. You might be surprised at what a perfect theme a Japanese garden is for many occasions.

Especially if you are someone that likes to learn about and honor the traditions and customs of other cultures, a Japanese garden theme is something you should investigate carefully.

Storage sheds the un clutter solution

A storage shed is a light structure (generally made of wood) in a back garden used for storage of tools, vehicles, or useful items and is very often used to pursue hobbies like gardening and light engineering. Storage sheds are available in a variety of designs and materials in the market. Types of Storage Sheds Based on Material. The materials used for storage sheds are wood, plywood, vinyl, metal, steel and Rubbermaid. The materials have various advantages and disadvantages. Wood is the preferred material as it gives an aesthetic appeal. However wood needs to be treated for ultraviolet protection every year and sometimes treatment is also given for protection against pests and borers. Cedar wood is preferred material.

Particle wood and plywood are very popular for storage shed sidings. However they are least resistant to water as they get out of shape after repeated wetting and drying. Hence plywood should be avoided in places where it rains frequently. Vinyl has the advantage of being maintenance free.

However vinyl is lower on the visual attractiveness scale. Metal sidings include aluminum, which is light and when anodized gives a good look and lasts a long time. Steel sidings, though cheap, should be avoided as they rust easily. Metal sidings have the least appealing look. Vinyl coated steel has a long life and gives good strength. Rubbermaid and poly vinyl chloride sidings are maintenance free, requiring no painting, no rust treatment and no rot or pest treatment.

One thing that should be looked into while selecting siding material is that the siding material should match with the main building siding material. A different siding material may give a contrasting look to the storage shed. Do It Yourself Kits Vs Professional Installation. Storage sheds can be professionally installed as well as self assembled.

Usually for easy assembly, the parts are numbered in self-assembly type storage shed kits. Also assembly instructions are provided with storage-shed kits. Self-assembly may save money and can be a satisfying though difficult experience. Sizes & Accessories. The usual sizes of storage sheds are, 12’ X 24’, 12’ X 30’, 12’ X 10’, 10’ X 14’, 10’ X 8’, 8’ X 6’ etc. It is better to opt for a double door. For those who want to keep light engineering machines, a good foundation is necessary. Other accessories that come with storage sheds are windows, shutters, weathervanes etc. Hooks and shelves increase the capacity of the storage shed by utilizing vertical space.

The windows should be so designed that they match with the main building. Building Codes and Laws. In various states there are laws on sheds like zoning ordinance, building codes, deed restrictions, building permits, siding materials etc. It is prudent to go through these before installing a storage shed. Storage sheds are available in various shapes, colors, patterns and sizes. They can be customized to suit an individual’s taste. Smaller sheds are called tool sheds.

Larger sheds called barns are used to house vehicles, boats and other large items. The prices range from $300 to $4000 depending upon size, material and accessories in the storage shed.

What garden furniture should i buy

: When it comes to selecting Garden Furniture, or Patio Furniture, it is important to remember that it will probably be left outside in all weathers, so it must be able to stand up to extreme changes of temperatures. You may think that all Garden Furniture is built to last, but un-fortunately that is NOT the case. Buying cheap Garden Furniture is very often the most expensive choice! It will need to be replaced often! The old adage is also true, "you only get what you pay for". Having established that we are now NOT going to buy the cheapest that we can find, what should we do next? The first step is to decide what type of Garden Furniture that you like. This you can basically separate into two categories: Metal Garden Furniture & Hardwood Garden Furniture. Metal Garden Furniture If you want Metal Garden Furniture, and you want it to last, then you should select Metal Garden Furniture that is ONLY made of Aluminium. The reason for this is that Aluminium does NOT RUST, so will last in all weather conditions. Having decided on Aluminium, you then must look at whether to go for "Cast Aluminium", which is often solid and is made from Aluminium that has been Cast into a mould, or "Framed Aluminium", which although lighter, is normally equally as durable.

So if your preference is to have Metal Garden Furniture, selecting any type of quality Aluminium Garden Furniture, you will be sure of getting many years of use from your purchase. Hardwood Garden Furniture This is my favourite, because no two pieces are "exactly" the same. The differences in the grain makes each piece unique. It would take a whole book to completely cover "Wooden Garden Furniture", because there are literally thousands of different options. However after selling Garden Furniture for over ten years, my choice has narrowed right down to only one type, which is "Teak Garden Furniture". The reason for this is very simple, it is the BEST there is to withstand all types of weather, including the often rainy UK summer climate. Although it is certainly more expensive that most other types of wood, it is VERY hard wearing and will last for many years, with (or without) any treatment, so really does justifies the higher price. Teak is a natural product, that is from a slow growing hard wood tree.

So when you look to buy make sure that you select from a supplier that has Teak Garden Furniture that has been made from "Plantation Grown" Teak, which is a renewable resource, and not from a forest that is being destroyed by de-forestation. Quality Teak Garden Furniture should last for 20 -25 years, so when you compare the life of it, to the cost, it is extremely good value for money.

Easy working with cordless lawn mowers

Description on cordless electric lawnmowers. Have you got any question on cordless lawn mowers?, just read this article and you will learn the bases on these new innovative lawnmowers. Most cordless electric lawnmowers have ups and downs on the mowers market. It is due to these specific lawn mowers have experienced so many breakdowns in the last years. Customers are dissatisfied upon electric lawnmowers even though the idea is really brilliant.

Several companies invested in making cordless lawnmowers such as Ryobi, Black & Decker and Toro manufacturers . But they have discontinued manufacturing those models because of slow demand. Most electric work with 24V NiCad lawnmower batteries. They are able to keep working between 1 up to 2 hours for specific models. The main advantage of cordless, is that we don't have to deal with the hassle of dragging around an extension cord. This becomes a big problem when we work on relative big yards.

Therefore, they performs properly on the field without cords. On the other hand, there exists similar but at the mean time much more different lawn mowers, corded electric lawnmowers. They are actually less expensive than cordless electric lawnmowers due to the battery is missed. They are plugged in at all time, this is the most important disadvantage. We have to deal with the cord, trying to drag it around. Robotic and electric lawn mowers Nowadays, innovative lawn mowers are being designed by leading electric lawn mowers manufacturers. Robotic lawnmowers, are basically cordless mowers. We can leave them alone over the grass and by just setting up a positional system, the robot will mow the grass while we are watching TV, isn't it perfect? All in all, we don't recommend in buying these lawnmowers, even though they are on the market, we think that they still are just prototypes.

Feathery friend seeks bird feeder

You would be hard pressed to find a garden in most cultures which is not visited by birds. A popular feature in gardens are hanging bird feeders made from either metal, plastic or wood on which food can be placed. Because the feeders can be made from such different types of material, they often feature decorations such as leaves and flowers to camouflage them. There are several different styles of bird feeder available on the market. One of which looks much like a dinner plate and hangs by three chains at different points on the base that can hang from a tree, washing line or hook/nail. Others are similar but hang by just two chains. There are also styles that have a tube with a lid, and the birds land next to the tube and use their beaks to get food from small openings. Tube feeders allow the owner to make their own food that could be in a slightly more liquid form than seeds or nuts. Some bird feeders (mainly the ones that have a tube) have a roof which provides shelter for birds from rain, snow, hail and sleet. Weather is of course an issue with any feature of a garden.

Some metals are prone to rust, and some woods are prone to rot. So how do you overcome this? Most metal bird feeders are anti-rust and there is the additional option of treating them with a waterproof oil or varnish to stop the elements taking their toll. Wooden garden decorations will most likely be made from cedar wood that contains their own natural weatherproof resins. These can also be treated with varnishes to give them further protection. All feeders provide easy access so that filling up the food for the hungry visitors (or cleaning the feeder) is simple and quick to complete. Open feeders are easiest to refill as you simply pour the food in, whereas tube feeders need to be opened via the lid and resealed. All bird feeders feature a base onto which birds can land mid flight and easily get access to the food and some styles of bird feeder are much larger than others, allowing more birds to congregate and eat together. Having such a wide range of bird feeders available means that it is possible to include the hanger in a certain garden decor and match it so that it doesn’t clash with anything else. Please note that hanging bird feeders are different from bird houses and tables.

Bird feeders can be placed high or low, in a tree or out in the open. Having a bird feeder in a garden will attract birds and many people enjoy this. Involving wildlife in a garden can make it seem more natural and a more enjoyable place to spend time. Bird feeders do also, however, provide a more practical purpose. Providing nuts, seeds and bread for birds to eat will prevent them from eating the berries and flowers the garden owner is growing. Also, attracting birds into the garden environment can mean that they will start to eat the slugs, worms and other garden pests most gardeners would rather be rid of.

Set yourself apart create your own wind chime garden

Wind chimes are an eclectic addition to any landscape. They add a dynamic element to yards that host flower gardens and water features and can accessorize walkways, herb gardens, and entry ways. There is no limit to how you can use wind chimes to enhance your backyard environment. If you are one who enjoys sound integrated into your outdoor view, you might want to consider creating a wind chime garden – it will set your view to music. A wind chime garden can cover the entire area of your back yard, or be limited to a small section of your backyard landscape – the choice is up to you. The beauty of a wind chime garden is that you can design it to be uniquely your own – you decide on wind chime placement, tone and style.

Following are a few ideas to get you started thinking about how you might implement a wind chime garden into your outdoor scenery. 1) Select spots for your wind chimes throughout your yard, paying close attention to the direction and patterns of the wind. Through proper placement, you could create your own gentle, whimsical outdoor concert. 2) Choose wind chimes that are simple in appearance to void clashes in dйcor styles. This way, they will effortlessly blend in wherever they are placed. When it comes to wind chimes, it’s more about the sound than the look. In fact, many of the more decorative types of wind chimes are not made in such a way that allows for the same pristine sound quality as those of a simple aluminum design. 3) Create a wind chime garden by hanging your chimes at different heights. For example, place a set of wind chimes up on a deck, another in a smaller tree line and yet another among your flowers. The sound will dance with depth across your yard each time a breeze blows through. 4) If you like the look of wind chimes and want them in your sight, hang them where they will reflect the sun as it comes up in the morning and moves down at night. Aluminum wind chime gardens go well with stone dйcor, flowing water (like in a water fall or a bird bath), and near evergreens. 5) Sprinkle your wind chime garden with dream catchers, bird houses and sculptures. This will provide additional visual aesthetics while providing areas of mass for the wind chime sound to bounce off of – depending on the frequency and directions of your breezes, you could hear an entirely new sound when least expected. 6) If you have a street that runs near your house carrying a lot of traffic noise, consider concentrating your wind chime garden on the side of your yard that borders that particular street. You might want to mingle taller flowers and designer grasses with bold toned wind chimes to create a sound barrier. Then, place lighter toned wind chimes nearer the house, radiating from the outside edge of the wind chime border. This additional placement of wind chimes will further soften any traffic sounds that do happen to make it through. 7) Create a living wind chime garden by incorporating sight, sound, smell, and touch into a selected area – preferably the one you will spend the most time in. This can act a stress relieving vista – the place you go to unwind at the end of each day. Your wind chimes provide the sound and partner with the other elements in the area to form a pleasant sight. The scent sense can be aroused by floral elements and touch can be integrated into the wind chime garden in the form of comfortable seating. Light a large candle or burn a fire in a metal fire pit to create a romantic aura. 8) Incorporate wind chimes in your flower garden on sections of wrought iron trellis or hang them inside the upper areas of a gazebo. Place them near doorways and breezeways for a special effect as guests come and go – wind chimes are quite welcoming upon arrival and a pleasant good-bye upon departure. 9) Create an outdoor room, placing your wind chime garden in an area beyond the main seating area so that the chimes ring as gentle background music to engaging conversations or star gazing. What is an outdoor room? It is a concept that is growing in popularity -- a fully-furnished space, complete with a fire place or fire pit, a wet bar and even rugs. The area is “walled in” by trellises, potted plants, stone half-walls, etc. A wind chime garden that sits just beyond the “room” adds an unparalleled ambiance to an evening “out.” Regardless of your preferred decorating style – whether it is southwest dйcor, country home dйcor, fen shui home decorating or something else – a wind chime garden can be a unique and relaxing part of your outdoor spaces. The best part of creating a wind chime garden is that you can make it as unique as you are. Show off your personality using the scents, sights, and sounds of nature and wind chimes as your personal creative tools.

Colour in the garden

Colour affects our emotions, moods, physical, and spiritual well-being. It has a significant effect on everything we eat, drink, and touch and influences our physical environment including our home, office, and garden. Colour reflects our personalities. The colours we prefer for home interiors carried out to the garden, provide continuity between our interior and exterior living spaces. Colours are a useful tool in creating different moods in the landscape. In order to effectively create with colour it is important to understand the meaning of the different colours. Red creates vitality. It tends to command attention and will make areas seem smaller. It is a good colour for dining areas as it increases appetite.

It creates a feeling of warmth, movement, and drama. For those who may find it too stimulating, use pink instead. Red plants to use in the shade include begonia, coleus, and impatiens. In sunny areas use salvia or verbenas. To augment your plantings use glazed pots, red sandstone gravel, red clay bricks or tiles will bring that vitality to your landscape. Orange means optimism.

It is primarily the colour of joy. It is warm, welcoming, just bursting with earthly energy. Orange flowers have been known since ancient times as a cure for depression. It is a good colour to use when you have experienced trauma or loss. Plants to try in the shade include begonia, coleus and impatiens.

For sunny areas try honeysuckle and marigolds. Materials to augment plantings include terracotta pots, ornaments, rusting metal, golden gravel, and clay bricks. Yellow means contentment. It represents the power of the sun, increases the feeling of space. It brings a sense of well-being to the garden even on grey, dull days. Golden foliage will often scorch in full sun so plant in dappled shade. Many of the grey or silver-leafed plants have yellow flowers. Plants to grow in shade include begonias, coleus, and hostas.

For sunny areas try day lilies, potentilla and yarrow. Materials to augment plantings include reconstituted stone containers, ornaments, golden sandstone gravel, and buff paving. Green means growth. It is a primary healing colour. Green foliage on its own will create a tranquil impression. It is restful and relaxing as it offers sanctuary from the outside world.

Using foliage colours and architectural leaves gives structure and form to any garden space. Plants for shady areas include coleus, ferns, and hosta. Use junipers, grasses and conifers in sunny areas. To augment plantings use green wood stain on fences and buildings. It is a popular colour for garden furniture, umbrellas, glazed pots, garden ornaments. Blue means spirit.

It is very conducive for meditation. It conveys the peacefulness of sky and ocean. It combines well with many other colours. Use this colour for modern-day stress and anxiety. Blue flowers add depth and strong healing vibrations to a border filled with pink, lilac, and white flowers.

Plants for shade include campanula and columbine. For sunny areas, delphinium, lobelia and morning glory. Materials to augment planting include deep blue-grey slate, paving, granite and ceramics with vivid blue glazes. Violet means calm.

It brings a feeling of self-worth. It sometimes appears dull unless plenty of contrast in texture, form, and tone are used. Flowers are particularly useful for protection and for the cleansing vibrations they give out. It is a rich regal colour that indicates knowledge, self-respect, spirituality, nostalgia, dignity, and wealth. It will help soothe the mind if you are tense. Plants for shady areas include coleus and impatiens. For sunny areas use aster, butterfly bush and salvia. To augment the planting use glazed pots, dyed fabrics used on garden furniture and umbrellas.

Plant a flower garden and enjoy it

There are many ways to improve the look and feel of your home and lawn. I love seeing people do the small extra things that make their houses into homes. There is nothing worse than coming home to a house you hate at the end of a long and stressful day. I always encourage people to take the time and energy to make the inside and outside of their homes something that is enjoyable and relaxing for them to spend time in. One of the best ways that people can improve the look and feel of their outdoor space is to plant a flower garden. Planting a flower garden is wonderful because it gives people a way to enjoy time outside and to make their outdoor space more beautiful. Never planted a flower garden before? Don't worry, it isn't as hard as you may think. Just drop in to a local gardening shop and talk to an expert about the things you must know before you plant your first flower garden. There is quite a bit to learn about gardening, but you can just take it a step at a time and remember that you can increase the size or variety of your garden as the years go by. For now, just tell the gardening expert that you want to start with something simple and easy for your first flower garden.

If you'd rather read up on making a flower garden, then just stop into your local library or to a book store and grab a few books about creating your own flower garden. You will be amazed at how many books have been written on the subject. Look for books that are for beginners and save the expert and specialty books for another year. You will get there eventually, but for now it is just important to learn the most basic things about planting a flower garden. Having a flower garden is a great way to spend your extra time. There are few things as relaxing and enjoyable as spending time in your flower garden, so make it your newest hobby and you will have your family calling you inside as the sun sets at the end of the day. Creating a flower garden is something you won't regret. Yes, it takes work and effort, but the rewards of your efforts will be beautiful and inviting for your friends and guests to enjoy. You can even cut your own flower garden blooms and bring them inside to decorate your home.

Flowers moss and salt and pepper

When I was a young apprentice oasis foam was a new idea and the traditional method of using sphagnum moss and wire fro funeral tributes was used. As a trainee part of the day was spent mossing which meant attaching the moss with twine or wire to metal frames there were the standard wreath hearts cushions and letters but you could obtain any shape you liked. In Covent garden flower market in London a very talented man would work with wires and soldering iron to create any shape requested I would watch mesmerised as aeroplanes ships and even animals would be produced nothing seemed impossible. Back at the shop the frames would be packed with moss and there trained florist would attach the flowers using stub wires. It was also part of my duty to serve the customers one regular client was a lovely elderly Irish lady. She has always remained in my memory as she had a rather strange ritual she would choose her flowers and as we prepared to wrap them for her she would remove a small silver salt and pepper pot set from her handbag and would sprinkle the flowers with both condiments before she left the shop. As a junior I found this absolutely hilarious and hard to keep a straight face but was warned by my boss never to ask questions. I would love to find out why she did this and if anyone knows why it would answer a thirty year mystery.

Lawn mower spare parts

The article describes the essential spares that you need to have so that your lawn mower continues to function as a new one. Some of the parts are cheap and require them often, so keep them with you all the time. Necessary Lawnmower Parts You need some of the parts for continued availability of your lawn mower. These parts are cheap and easy to replace and you will be able to do it yourself at home without requiring any major tools. It is possible that you would get these spares at the at the neighborhood shops but it is frustrating experience to stop your work, go to the shopfor a part, and come back again to restart your work in your garden. Some times the spare part is not available at the shop as the model has changed and the part is no longer available. You may curse yourself for not buying the part when it was available, just because you thought since it is available, you need not buy it. The part cost may be very little but your mind will continue to curse you until the part is available and your lawn mower starts working once again Gasoline Engine Parts That You Should Have For your gas engine lawn mower, it is advisable to have the following parts with you and you should be able to replace these parts yourself without help of a mechanic Spark plugs: The spark plugs of lawn mowers are small compared to the spark plug of your car and it is never possible to get it in morning at seven O’clock on a Saturday morning when you have just started mowing work with a lot of zest and the spark plug fails. You know that the plug has failed and you cannot replace it, as you do not have a spare one with you. Belts: Belts can and do break at the most inconvenient time. The belts and spark plugs seem to have a contagious disease. When one fails the other also follows suit. Belts are easy to change if you have them with you. Cutting blades: Cutting blades may give you trouble when you in a hilly area. A stone may be lodged in the body and blade. If you have a spare blade you will be able to change it easily. Various control cables: The throttle and the choke operate on cables. Keep the control cables with you. Control cables operate inside a sheath also called as outer cable. It may not be necessary to have the outer cable with you as stock, keep only the inner cable Spare nuts and bolts : If the controls operate by levers, keep a spare set of connecting bolts, as the bolts go off due to vibrations and cannot be found if lost Panel indications: it is not necessary to have panel indications and meters on the panel as stock as your lawn mower will continue to function without panel indication. You can always take the mower to a mechanic at a time of your choosing. Spare tires are necessary for the lawn mower on wheels. Keep one ready and fully inflated for use during flat tire on the lawn mower. For the walk behind ones, you may need a solid rubber tire, but lawn mower can limp and work for some time. Parts For Electric Lawnmowers You do not need many spares for your electric lawn mowers. A set of fuse holders, cable and cable winder spares, switches, cable connectors and insulation tape will however be necessary for use in emergency Parts For Battery Lawnmower Such lawnmowers require least parts to be stocked. You may stock only the switches and battery leads etc. Trouble shooting for lawn mowers: Troubleshooting for gas engine: Failure to start – look for fuel flow, switch malfunction, spark plug full of deposits, spark plug cable not connected, spark plug porcelain cracked Starts but does not take load: Fuel flow not proper, plug cable loose, engine temperature too low, belts loose Noise from engine: mechanical problem, fan loose, belts loose, stone lodged with the cutter, Overheating and smoke from engine: cooling system malfunctioning, mechanical systems malfunction etc. Troubleshooting for electric lawn mowers Does not start: Problems with power supply, check power supply Starts but speed slow: Check carbon brushes Shocks: Check power supply, check supply cable. Kinks and cuts in power supply cable Troubleshooting for battery operated lawn mowers. Does not start: Dead batteries, charge them Battery life to short: Charge after completely discharging, change batteries if performance does not improve.

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