August 14th, 2014 at 1:00 pm
Although the details of the first garden may forever remain unknown, it’s safe to assume that gardening has been around for hundreds of years. For many, gardening is seen as an art form and an expression of self and home. Gardens can be made to be beautiful, filled with flowers and trees to provide shade on a sunny afternoon, but a garden can also be a source of food and in the past, maybe even survival. Traditionally, gardens were fenced off in some way to provide a barrier of protection against animals. The practice of fencing off a garden led to the art of espalier.
Espalier is the training and pruning of a plant (typically a tree) to grow flat against a barrier such as a wall or fence. This art form can be used in your home garden as an architectural accent. Use it to dress up stone walls or a fence. Try using fruit bearing trees such as apples or pears to add a pop of color to your perimeter.
Some garden centers sell plants that have already been trained, but if you’re looking to train a plant start by planning out your pattern. Common themes include traditional designs that have the plants growing horizontally, vertically or crisscrossed. Once you’ve planned your pattern determine a suitable location and what type of plant you’d like to use. Depending on your pattern, additional equipment may be required such as posts or wires. Consider talking to a local professional at your garden center for additional information and advice on your specific property. Remember, training can take months to years, so be patient and continue to prune as needed!
August 8th, 2014 at 9:00 am
As temperatures start to rise during the summer, so does water consumption. Across the U.S. people water their lawns and run sprinklers in an effort to keep their lawns alive and green. In Southern California this fact is no different; however the continued drought has urged many residents to seek out ways to more effectively conserve water. New regulations prohibit excessive lawn watering – considered excessive if there is runoff onto nearby sidewalks and streets. Understanding your lawn and how much water it needs can go a long way in helping you to conserve water.
A recent article by Brightnest encourages homeowners to first find out what kind of soil is in your area. The type of soil will determine how much water you need, typically between 0.5-1.5 inches. The next thing you’ll want to do is figure out how long it takes to distribute the amount of water your lawn needs. Brightness recommends setting out jars marked with your needed water level throughout your yard. Once the jars reach their mark, stop watering. You can remove the jars as soon as you become accustomed to how much time you should spend watering your lawn. If you use an irrigation system, set out jars and run your system for 15 minutes and adjust your time based on the jar measurements.
Other efficient lawn watering tips include watering your lawn in the morning or later in the evening, never between 10 am and 6 pm. If you use sprinklers, set them on a timer during ideal watering times. Be sure to look at your irrigation system and ensure that you are not watering non-grassy surfaces such as driveways or walkways. Keep your grass mowed to a height of 2.5-3 inches to shade the roots and soil and prevent water loss from evaporation.
July 29th, 2014 at 8:30 am
It’s no secret that California has been experiencing a record breaking drought. In fact San Diego County and parts of Orange County are currently classified as D3 on the drought scale and parts of Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties are classified as D4. According to The National Drought Mitigation Center a D4 is considered the highest drought level possible.
In an effort to conserve water and prevent excessive waste the Governor asked California residents to reduce their water use by 20%; however, that goal remains unmet. To further conservation efforts The State Water Resources Control Board drafted emergency regulations. The new regulations prohibit the following water-related activities.
These regulations come with a fine of up to $500 per day and tickets will be distributed by law enforcement personnel. (more…)
June 5th, 2014 at 10:45 am
Summer is often one of the most anticipated times of the year, when you think warm weather what comes to mind? For many it might be the outdoors and all the activities that go along with being outside; BBQs, hiking, swimming, bike riding, vacations and more. However, although there’s much fun to be had on a beautiful summer afternoon, it’s also important to keep safety in mind. Some of our most beloved summer activities can also be the most dangerous. Take swimming for example, practice the following water safety tips, learn the proper skills, and equip your home with the best tools to keep your loved ones safe in the water this summer.
Water Safety Tips
Water Safety Skills to Know (more…)