10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Superstar Dutch Designer Piet Oudolf

Gardenista     By Michelle Slatalla     April 7, 2018

If the world of gardening has rock stars, Piet Oudolf qualifies as Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Prince rolled into one. The Dutch landscape designer—whose work is instantly recognizable for its dreamy romanticism and oft-copied for its emphasis on sustainable, sensible plantings—makes it look so easy. But is it?

We’ve dog-eared Oudolf’s books. Hummelo and Planting: A New Perspective are our two gardening bibles (and we quote from both below). Reading them, you learn that signature Oudolf style calls for drifts of grasses, perfectly appropriate perennials, and garden beds that look beautiful even in the depths of winter. Here are 10 of Piet Oudolf’s best ideas to steal for your own garden.

Continue reading at: https://www.gardenista.com/posts/10-garden-ideas-to-steal-from-superstar-dutch-designer-piet-oudolf/

Photography via Hummelo, courtesy of The Monacelli Press.

5 Tried and Tested Bug Repellents

Serena Flowers/PollenNation

No garden is completely free from pests and disease – fungal infections, caterpillars and beetles are just part and parcel of having a garden.

Fortunately for us green fingered gardeners, we can fight back against these predators without risking our own health (or that of our family and plants). We also don’t need to spend a fortune on nasty chemical insect repellents either.

Simply changing the way we take care of our garden can do the trick. Let’s find out how with theses five tried and tested ways to banish those bugs!

1. Know your plants

Believe it or not, there are certain plants that actually deter insects and pests from the rest of your garden and one of these are marigolds.

Simply plant a row of these beautiful blooms and be sure that your garden of flowers and/or vegetables will be perfectly safe. With their bright and cheery petals, you won’t even mind have them out and about in your garden either.

2. Give them a wash

Soapy water isn’t just great for washing your hands, you can also use it if you’re having an aphid outbreak. All you need to do is cut off infected leaves on your plants and spray the remaining leaves with soapy water – this won’t hurt the plant but it will get rid of any insects you have infesting your blooms.

If snails are your main bugbear then did you know you can use beer to stop them in their slimy tracks? Your other half might not be so happy at sacrificing a few drops of his favourite tipple but leave a few saucers of beer out at night and you’ll find snails head there instead of munching your plants.

Make sure you clear up the saucers during the day though and don’t let kids or pets outside when they might be able to get hold of the alcohol.

3. Use other pests

Lots of nurseries around the UK sell huge packs of ladybugs that you can release into your much loved garden. These little beauties eat the offending insects and pests to ensure your garden stays looking wonderful – giving you a very natural way to tackle those meddlesome bugs.

4. Try copper tape

Get yourself some self-adhesive copper tape and apply it around your pots and containers. This will give slugs and snails a small electric shock to keep them away from your green leaves and bright buds but also adds a touch of “class” and sophistication to your pot. Talk about dual-use decoration!

5. Create barriers

As well as the great bug repellents mentioned above, you should also create barriers in your garden to protect your plants and flowers. The five main types of barrier you can try include:

  • Fences: if you have dogs or rabbits living nearby and they have a tendency of escaping and playing in your beloved patch of plants then why not install a small fence? This will deter them from entering into your garden of loveliness 
  • Row covers: these are lightweight sheets of fabric used to cover plants without smothering them. They allow enough light to pass through to nourish the flowers and while they are most commonly used in commercial nurseries, they can also be used in gardens and are ideal for protecting against cold frosts and pests 
  • Cloches: you may find that you only need to protect one specific plant (or row of plants) from particular pests or bugs in your garden. If this is the case then cloches are the perfect solution. These glass or plastic coverings protect your plants from the cold to help maintain your garden for longer 
  • Cutworm collars: cutworms are night crawling pests that have a tendency to chew through your plants stems at ground level and are particularly fond of broccoli and cauliflower. Simply slip a collar around each plant and push it about an inch into the soil to get the best protection 
  • Chemical barriers: some gardeners prefer to use chemical barriers to protect their plants but that doesn’t always have to been manufactured products. Animal scent products like dried blood or fox urine can deter small animals from ruining your plant display and are a little kinder on the environment and your family

Extra tips for protecting your garden

While the above tips are guaranteed to protect your plants from those pesky bugs and insects, there are a few other little things you can do to keep your garden looking like paradise.

Always remove any visible pests you spot on your plants and make sure you cut away or remove infected or dead areas of the plant too.

Nontoxic sprays and traps can also come in handy if you find you just can’t get rid of a few stubborn pests so why not give them a go once you’ve tried the above?


We Need All the Bees We Can Get

The Late Bloomer   By Kaye Kittrell    November 22, 2014

“We need all the bees we can get,” a commercial beekeeper told me at the California State Beekeepers Association annual convention this week in Valencia, California. I had been invited by CSBA Ladies Auxiliary president Melinda Nelson, a beekeeper I’d met when I spoke at the Orange County Organic Gardening Club in May, to be the guest speaker at the auxiliary luncheon. My charge was to inspire attendees on organic food gardening, which goes hand-in-hand with beekeeping. Since I arrived the night before, I had a chance to learn a lot more about bees.

The convention welcomes commercial beekeepers with thousands of hives, to the hobbyist beekeeper with only a handful. I asked a beekeeper in passing if the hobbyist beekeepers were treated equally, and that’s when he said, “Yes, we need all the bees we can get.” I heard that more than once! Bees are imperiled and though beekeepers are a very friendly bunch, there was an air of concern about what the future holds, for the almond and fruit growers who depend upon bees, to the beekeepers and their ladies...

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Spring may come earlier to North American forests

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.) 1/30/13

Trees in the continental U.S. could send out new spring leaves up to 17 days earlier in the coming century than they did before global temperatures started to rise, according to a new study by Princeton University researchers. These climate-driven changes could lead to changes in the composition of northeastern forests and give a boost to their ability to take up carbon dioxide.

Trees play an important role in taking up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, so researchers led by David Medvigy, assistant professor in Princeton's department of geosciences, wanted to evaluate predictions of spring budburst — when deciduous trees push out new growth after months of winter dormancy — from models that predict how carbon emissions will impact global temperatures.

The date of budburst affects how much carbon dioxide is taken up each year, yet most climate models have used overly simplistic schemes for representing spring budburst, modeling for example a single species of tree to represent all the trees in a geographic region.

In 2012, the Princeton team published a new model that relied on warming temperatures and the waning number of cold days to predict spring budburst. The model, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, proved accurate when compared to data on actual budburst in the northeastern United States.

In the current paper published online in Geophysical Research Letters, Medvigy and his colleagues tested the model against a broader set of observations collected by the USA National Phenology Network, a nation-wide tree ecology monitoring network consisting of federal agencies, educational institutions and citizen scientists. The team incorporated the 2012 model into predictions of future budburst based on four possible climate scenarios used in planning exercises by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The researchers included Su-Jong Jeong, a postdoctoral research associate in Geosciences, along with Elena Shevliakova, a senior climate modeler, and Sergey Malyshev, a professional specialist, both in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and associated with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory.

The team estimated that, compared to the late 20th century, red maple budburst will occur 8 to 40 days earlier, depending on the part of the country, by the year 2100. They found that the northern parts of the United States will have more pronounced changes than the southern parts, with the largest changes occurring in Maine, New York, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

The researchers also evaluated how warming temperatures could affect the budburst date of different species of tree. They found that budburst shifted to earlier in the year in both early-budding trees such as common aspen (Populus tremuloides) and late-budding trees such as red maple (Acer rubrum), but that the effect was greater in the late-budding trees and that over time the differences in budding dates narrowed.

The researchers noted that early budburst may give deciduous trees, such as oaks and maples, a competitive advantage over evergreen trees such as pines and hemlocks. With deciduous trees growing for longer periods of the year, they may begin to outstrip growth of evergreens, leading to lasting changes in forest make-up.

The researchers further predicted that warming will trigger a speed-up of the spring "greenwave," or budburst that moves from south to north across the continent during the spring.

The finding is also interesting from the standpoint of future changes in springtime weather, said Medvigy, because budburst causes an abrupt change in how quickly energy, water and pollutants are exchanged between the land and the atmosphere. Once the leaves come out, energy from the sun is increasingly used to evaporate water from the leaves rather than to heat up the surface. This can lead to changes in daily temperature ranges, surface humidity, streamflow, and even nutrient loss from ecosystems, according to Medvigy.


Jeong, Su-Jong, David Medvigy, Elena Shevliakova, and Sergey Malyshev. 2013. Predicting changes in temperate forest budburst using continental-scale observations and models. Geophysical Research Letters. Article first published online: Jan. 25, 2013. DOI: 10.1029/2012GL054431

Early Blooming Goes with Early Leaf Buds. Hurry Up.

(The following is brought to us by CATCH THE BUZZ (Kim Flottum) Bee Culture, The Magazine of American Beekeeping, published by A.I. Root Company.)  1/30/13

By Alan Harman

Exceptionally warm spring weather in 2010 and 2012 resulted in the earliest flowering times known in 161 years of recorded history at two sites in the eastern United States.

Many plants need a long winter break to undergo physiological changes that make them bloom in the spring.

But Boston University researcher Elizabeth Ellwood says this blooming is occurring earlier than before due to warmer springs caused by climate change.

It’s still not known what affects this will have on plant productivity, pollinators such as bees and ecosystems in general.

Ellwood and her team from Harvard University and the University of Wisconsin report in the journal PLOS ONE that they compared flowering times now with those recorded near Walden Pond in Massachusetts by Henry David Thoreau beginning in 1852 and Aldo Leopold's records of spring flowering in Wisconsin beginning in 1935.

They found many plants flower up to 4.1 days earlier for every degree Celsius rise in mean spring temperatures, but this relationship is linear from Thoreau's time to the present day.

In other words, long-term observations could be used to predict plant response to weather extremes outside of the historical range. The authors explain that though spring rising temperatures are causing record earlier flowering, temperatures have likely not yet reached a point where plants are not able to respond in terms of their flowering times.

“We were amazed that wildflowers in Concord flowered almost a month earlier in 2012 than they did in Thoreau's time or any other recent year, and it turns out the same phenomenon was happening in Wisconsin where Aldo Leopold was recording flowering times” Ellwood says.

“Our data shows that plants keep shifting their flowering times ever earlier as the climate continues to warm.”

Harvard Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Charles Davis says the data shows that the two warmest years on record – 2010 and 2012 – also featured record breaking early spring flowering.

“It appears that many spring plants keep pushing things earlier and earlier,” Davis says.

“The striking finding is that we see the same pattern in Wisconsin as we see in Massachusetts. It's amazing that these areas are so far apart and yet we're seeing the same things–it speaks to a larger phenomenon taking place in the eastern United States.”

Davis says the study provides a tangible example of the potential consequences of climate change.

“The problem of climate change is so massive, the temptation is for people to tune out,” he says. “But I think being aware that this is indeed happening is one step in the right direction of good stewardship of our planet.

“When we talk about future climate change, it can be difficult to grasp. Humans may weather these changes reasonably well in the short-term, but many organisms in the tree of life will not fare nearly as well.”

Plants, Pollinators and UC Davis

 Bug Squad - Happenings in the Insect World By Kathy Keatley Garvey10/12/12 

If you've never been to a UC Davis Arboretum plant sale, you should.

The last plant sale of the year will take place Sunday, Oct. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Arboretum Teaching Nursery on Garrod Drive.

If you're looking for plants that will attract bees, or plants that will attract butterflies, or plants that will attract both, experienced gardeners there can help you. Check out their...

Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey Bug Squad blog at: http://ucanr.org/blogs/bugsquad/

Visit the Kathy Keatley Garvey website at: http://kathygarvey.com/