Monday, January 21, 2013

Silver quarters

When cleaning up the old house my uncle left behind we found some old silver quarters in the attic. I think they must be worth some money so I’m happy with that. Apart from the silver quarters I didn’t find anything worth keeping. All the furniture were old and broken so they’ll all be thrown out. The house will need some fixing up before we put it on the market.

Tufted Plants

When choosing plants for our gardens, it is usually the flowers that catch our attention, but foliage is also a very attractive feature. Many foliage plants are tufted or clump-forming and there is a huge variety with one to suit almost every environment. Some evolved near rivers and their form allowed the water to flow over them freely, others are shade tolerant and some of the grasses evolved in open plains where they were accustomed to being windswept.

The tufted plants come in a range of different sizes from the huge phormiums to the smaller textured plants that look great in the front of a border. The beautiful Japanese Temple Grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’) looks wonderful in a tub, its foliage is a perfect foil for the container and the colour of the stems picks up the colour of a terracotta pot superbly. There is a phormium for almost every garden situation and one with the correct height and foliage colour to fit into the context of your garden.

Phormiums require little maintenance but when the leaves become tired and dry on the ends, they need to be cut back to the base to make way for the new leaves. With the large vertical types such as Phormium ‘Anna Red’, remove the straggly lower leaves so that the plant maintains its attractive shape. The Golden-leafed SedgeCarex ‘Bowles Golden’ makes a lovely border plant. A good way to identify a sedge from a grass is that sedges have triangular stems, grasses have round ones. Each tufty can be used in different situations. For example, the small hand shaped tufty Libertia peregrinans has beautiful green and bronze foliage, which looks particularly attractive when used with pebble mulch, but ensure that it doesn't become invasive by containing it in some way. Phormium ‘Jester’, is a useful vertical plant with very attractive striped leaves.

Japanese Blood Grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’) likes the full blast of the sun and a quite dry spot. It grows particularly well with Euphorbia rigida, which also likes lots of sun, and not too much water or fertiliser. If you have a shady spot, then Iris foetidissima ‘Variegata’ is the tufty to use. Colour variations are very common in grasses and Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ has beautiful subtle plum tinges to the stem and flowers, but as the season passes, the stems will become tougher and more oat-like in colouring. The plants talked about so far have been exotics, but there is also a host of Australian plants to choose from such as Poa poiformis ‘Lavender’

Contemporary landscape designers often use tufted plants in mass monocultural plantings for effect and contrast. They should be selected not only for their individual qualities but for the way the in which they work with other plants. For example, Fairy’s Fishing Rods (Dierama pulcherrima) have elegant long stems and pretty flowers that look wonderful hanging over lavender.


My music learning son now wants a studio. He’s already taken over my garage where he plays and practice with his band and now he’s asking me to buy him some Sennheiser equipment to use. They are expensive but he is our only son and we want to support him in whatever he pursues. Who knows he might be a great musician one day and wouldn't we be proud.


Australians are lucky because they have so many animals in their gardens. Michele Cotton and her family live in Point Piper, close to the centre of Sydney. They have designed their garden to create a habitat desirable for the wildlife, and in particular the lizards. This has been achieved by: not using poisons, having no pets, as dogs and cats are the worst predators for the lizards, minimal gardening and providing crevices and stones for the lizards to hide in. The garden attracts many bird species including New Holland honeyeaters, Azure kingfisher, silver eyes, willy wagtails, sparrows, lorikeets and ravens, plus flypasts of pelicans, pied cormorants, ibis, seagulls, black and sulphur crested cockatoos and sea eagles. Other inhabitants are brushtail possums, flying foxes and lots of lizards.

One of the most common llizard families found in Australian gardens is the skink. Of the 300 species, about 30 are found in Sydney. These range in size from 6 to 60 cm long. The Common Garden Skink (10cm) and the Delicate Garden Skink (8cm) are the species we usually see in our garden. Skinks are crevice dwellers and will happily survive in suburbia. Dragon lizards aren't usually found in back gardens, only in bushland and national parks. Four out of the 65 species are found in Sydney. They are egg laying, diurnal and eat insects and some fruit. Geckos are in the second largest family after skinks. They are small, nocturnal reptiles that emerge at dusk to hunt for insects. Four of the 100 species are found in Sydney. Geckos are egg layers (1-2 per clutch) and have a fleshy tail that can be dropped. The Southern Leaf Tailed Gecko is really common right across the Sydney sandstone basin. Its light sandy colour blends in perfectly against the sandstone. Some geckos squeak and can bite, but won't unless you pick them up. Michele Cotton, a vet and passionate botanist, doesn't use chemicals or lay traps so the geckos come inside her house and clean up the insects on the ground.

One species of reptile, the Blue Tongued Lizard (BT), prefers to live near people in gardens. It is a large skink, growing up to 45cm. It gives birth to 6-20 live young in summer to early autumn. The young fend for themselves after birth. When threatened it opens its mouth displaying a bright blue tongue and exhaling bursts of air. The eastern variety of the Blue Tongue can give a nasty bite but are quiet and generally harmless. Blue Tongues survive well in suburban gardens because they are very efficient reproducers, are very long lived (up to 30 years old) and are omnivorous (eat both meat and vegetable matter including fruit, berries, snails and insects). You must have specialist knowledge from a herpetologist and a licence to take a lizard as a pet. The Blotch Blue Tongued Lizard is less common in gardens because it prefers cold climates and lives mainly in the upper reaches of the Great Dividing Range. Remember Blue Tongues love strawberries so don't lay snail bait or use netting which they can become tangled in.

Television stands

We’ve just bought a new television; it’s the new 200 MHz 60” led smart tv. We decided to get it because our existing one is dying and prices for new television is dropping like flies everyday. So now we are shopping for television stands that would suit the big screen television we just bought. A friend suggested hanging it on the wall but its too much of a problem I think.


Pebbles are a very versatile material that can be used in both landscapes and buildings. The range of colours and sizes currently available means they are being used much more widely. They can provide a low maintenance surface and if used loose will drain extremely easily. Their great virtue is that they provide a wonderful seamless interface between the built element and the landscape itself.

The range of gravels, pebbles and cobbles available today is extensive. You can choose them in different colours to relate to your paving or house, in different sizes to suit their purpose, and matt or polished, whichever is preferred. The multitude of rocks and pebbles for sale have been taken from quarries and tumbled to give them the weatherworn look and shape they have. Safety issues should be considered in areas where children might be tempted to use them as projectiles. Rocks and pebbles should never be taken from the bush or river edges, because it is illegal and is an unsustainable practice. A 20-kg bag will cost around $50. Of course you will need a lot of 20-kg bags to pave a large surface. Large houses can be dominating in the landscape and can require bold expansive paving in the garden to balance the scale of the house and garden. Large decorative solutions can be very stunning and effective.

When using a variety of colours in a design, together with a patterned area and borders, it is important to use colour integration of the separate areas so that the overall design does not become confusing. Keeping the colour and design simple is usually the most effective for most designs. It is important that the colours and design of the paving works with the colours and style of the architecture. Often there is not enough thought given to putting the "floor" on the garden. It is not necessary to employ a designer. There are always parts of these large design ideas that can be adapted into simple and economical solutions that can give your garden good structure.


I used to smoke cigarettes but had never tried cigars. I’m not sure how cigars are supposed to be smoked so I hope some cigar smokers can shine some light on this topic. I heard that when smoking cigars you’re not supposed to inhale like you do with cigarettes because it would be too strong. So you’re basically blowing smoke and enjoy the aroma of the cigar smoke. True or false?

Hanging Baskets

Gardening with hanging baskets can be one of the most difficult aspects of gardening, but it can be very rewarding. A good place to start is your local nursery. They are great for ideas and inspiration. There are so many options available. Weight is an important consideration when you are buying or making hanging baskets. Wire baskets using pre-formed coconut fibre liners are very light. There are also plastic ones that come in a range of colours, self-watering baskets that have a reservoir that the roots can draw on, or ones with a drip tray. Terracotta baskets are also available. These are heavy of course, and they don't have drainage holes, so put some pebbles in the bottom and place a conventional pot, growing your preferred plant, inside. There is also a huge range of wall mounted baskets. Upside down pots are another interesting alternative.

Coconut fibre liners come pre-formed or as loose material. Other liners that are available are made from recycled tyres. It is thin but porous, breathes and locks in moisture. Sphagnum moss has been an old favourite, but it is not a renewable resource so it is better to find an alternative, and there are many on the market. There is also a lot of paraphernalia for attaching hanging baskets, from simple pergola hooks that fit across overhead beams, to brackets that attach to walls or posts.

When choosing plants for hanging baskets, the conditions that they are going to be growing in must be considered first. Conditions under a roof can be very hot, and if they are outside it can be very windy. They are often exposed to the full range of the elements, and they will dry out very quickly under these conditions. A big mistake many people make is hanging them too high. Unless it is in a high traffic area where hanging baskets can make their presence felt, hang them around eye-level. Hanging baskets need watering every single day. With so much watering a lot of nutrients are going to be lost. Slow release fertiliser is going to have to be applied regularly, as well as liquid plant food.

Fuchsias are made for hanging baskets, with their weeping habit and pendant flowers. They will tolerate quite a lot of shade and will flower for up to nine months. Kalanchoe blossfeldiana is a very tough plant. They have succulent leaves, are sun loving, flower well, and can cope with an occasional drying out. If you want masses of flower in full shade, Impatiens cvs are an ideal choice, and the range is enormous. The double flowered forms look like miniature camellias. 

To make a fragrant flower ball basket, prepare a wire basket with a pre-formed coconut fibre liner. Cut holes about 4 cm in diameter (keeping the disks) in the top half of the basket, and some slits for plant seedlings to be pushed through. Use premium potting mix that contains fertilisers, water crystals and wetting agents. These will make a big difference to the quality of the final product. Soak the plants in water for 20 minutes before planting to minimise stress. To fit plants through the holes, gently remove any soil that will need to be removed from the plant to allow it to fit through the hole in the basket. Wrapping the roots in gladwrap while pushing through minimises any extra damage. Placing the disc over the hole and plant contains the soil in the basket. Push the seedlings through the slits. Pansies and lobelias have been used in the sides of the basket. In the top of the ball Lavandula 'Kew Red' is planted with Brachyscome 'City Lights' and Sweet Alyssum Lobularia maritima which will trail over the edge of the basket. Fill the remainder of the basket with potting soil, leaving about 2 cm for the water to pool and soak into the basket.

Mens outdoor clothing

Going camping and enjoying the great outdoor has to be amongst the favorite things I enjoy. Lord knows I spent lots of money funding my interest over the years. I go through my outdoor clothing very quickly and my wife has problem keeping up. She’s always on the hunt for mens outdoor clothing that are on sale so I can always have a wardrobe full of them.


Rhododendrons are amongst the most beautiful of all flowering plants. There are more than 800 species and thousands of cultivated varieties. The range of flower colours and shapes is truly astonishing. They are nothing more than spectacular trusses of bells, some of them almost waxy, and they are remarkably easy to grow under the right conditions.

The lower slopes of Mount Wellington provide some of the best growing conditions for rhododendrons. In this garden there are over 600 different varieties growing and thriving amongst other plants. The reason they are doing so well here is because the atmosphere is moist with a good rainfall, and the soil is quite acidic. The individual flowers are bell shaped, flared at the ends and often frilled, and are grouped together in clusters. Rhododendron ‘Taurus’ has masses of large clear red trusses covering the bush with large leathery leaves that will tolerate some extreme garden conditions. Azaleas have similar characteristics and also belong to the rhododendron family, including mollis azaleas and the tropical vireya azaleas.

Planting a new rhododendron like Rhododendron ‘Bruce Brechtbill’ is extremely easy. Rhododendrons have a very fine fibrous root system that is quite compact and does not need disturbing before planting. Tease the base gently if necessary. No fertiliser should be used in the planting hole and the root ball should be placed in the hole so that the surrounding soil is level with the soil at the base of the stem. If the stem is buried beneath the soil it can go mouldy and rot. Once planted the soil should be covered with mulch, once again keeping it away from the stem. Spread a handful of blood and bone around the plant, covering it with a layer of coir to seal it and water in well. Seeing how luxuriantly these plants are growing, it is surprising to learn how low their nutritional needs are.

Before Joy Stones and Ted Cutlan established this garden 25 years ago, the land was just a bare paddock. There was one gum tree, one rhododendron and a lot of weeds. The soil has been improved over the years by adding organic matter, fertilising and mulching. All sorts of changes were made to create the garden - plants were dug up, moved, transplanted and more - until a satisfactory arrangement had been achieved. The qualities they are looking for in plants now are more than just the feature of the flowers. They are looking for foliage that is not the normal rhododendron foliage, usually small foliage or with indumentum, which is the coating of felt like hairs found on the bottom or top of the leaf.

Something that is different and interesting that adds to the whole garden experience, not just the colour of spring is what they are looking for in a plant now. They consider that a plant should look good at all times of the year. A plant has to have more than one quality that makes it worth growing. It might be the flowers, it might be the leaves, but if it has more than one attribute - flowers, leaves and maybe fragrance - then it is going to be a better plant in the garden, rather than just having the feature of flowers without having any other outstanding characteristics.

Alcohol treatment san diego

A good friend of ours has an alcoholic problem from an early age. I think it started when his dad passed away and it has gotten worse since. We want to help; we tried talking to him about it, tried intervention and we tried to get him to get alcohol treatment san diego area but to no avail. It’s sad seeing him getting worse everyday, we just don’t know what we can do now.


Mulching not only helps to reduce evaporation, but conserves soil moisture, reduces watering and provides a cooler root-run for the plants, as well as reducing the number of weeds consuming precious water. Water absorbing mulches such as paper, straw or uncomposted lawn clippings can be a problem in a hot dry climate. A mulch of Pinus radiata chips, stained to resemble red gum, has the advantage of not absorbing water.

Mulching also allows a change of watering pattern that can greatly benefit some plants. An example we see is a box hedge, previously dying from the use of bore water. Now mulched, it is recovering well. Mulch material that has not been composted can cause short term nitrogen loss from the soil beneath. As bacterial microbes use available nitrogen to aid in decomposition of the mulch above, nitrogen in the soil is depleted. Composted pinebark mulch does not have this problem. The yellowed leaves of herbaceous plants, caused by nitrogen or a nitrogen deficiency, can be relieved by the use of liquid feed containing nitrogen.

Another good composted mulch is made from wood-fibre waste from the paper-making industry. It can also be made from such things as wood crates or council collected green organic materials. It compacts well, doesn't blow away although it can have an organic odour for a few weeks. When using mulches, or composts, make sure it is kept away from the stems of plants as this can lead to fungal decay. Contrasting colours of mulch can look effective, such as composted wood-fibre spread around plants beside a path of red gum chips, although over time the contrast fades.

Organic mulches have the added benefit of adding life to the soil but can generate humidity. Non organic mulches, like aggregate, are sometimes more suitable, and probably involve less labour. Australian plants, especially dryland species in particular benefit from a reduction in the humidity generated by organic mulches. An aggregate resembling river pebbles, but a by-product of sand mining, is shown around a pool-side box hedge. Any inert aggregate material can be used for mulching. Coloured bricks or broken glass are currently a popular choice, as are river pebbles, but these are now difficult to source. Scoria and marble chips can look dramatic but are quite expensive. Gravel and crushed rock are the cheapest aggregates, however prices and colours can vary.

Patagonia coat here

Thinking of going to Kathmandu? That’s where we’re planning on going next year so we have a lot of planning to do; flight tickets, accommodation, climbing gears and guides..warm clothing is a breeze. I’ll just get my patagonia coat here so I know I’ll be happy with it. No need to do much shopping at all except maybe for the missus. She might buy the whole shop!

Flemington Roses

What would a day at the races be without the champagne and roses for which Flemington is famous. Until the 1960s plants grown at Flemington Racecourse were annuals grown at Flemington's own nursery, but these were labour intensive and costly. Roses were introduced as a cost cutting measure, but now people expect the roses to be flowering on Melbourne Cup Day.

There are over 11,000 roses at Flemington and more are planted every year. They naturally flower through late spring and summer, and some even grace us with a second flowering in autumn. But do the roses at Flemington just happen to be in flower for the first week in November? It is no accident, and Tony Freeman tells us that understanding roses is the key to manipulating their flowering time and this involves pruning, watering, fertilising and pest control. At Flemington these are carried out to a strict regime. They respond well to the extra attention.

Pruning starts in the first week of June for the majority of the Floribundas but the yellow varieties are pruned later since they tend to flower earlier. David Austin’s like 'Graham Thomas' and other old fashioned varieties are pruned later in June; and the standards like 'Manou Meillard' towards the first week of July, again because they flower earlier. Next the hybrid teas are pruned and then towards the end of July the climbers. The last roses pruned are the Rosa'Crépuscule', with hedge clippers in early August. The roses are given two feeds a year of a pelletised organic fertiliser, made of blood and bone, manure and seaweed. This is supplemented with a liquid fish-based fertiliser throughout the year. This is sprayed on the leaves leaving an oily film which has the beneficial side-effect of repelling blackspot fungus. A high potash fertiliser is also used near to Cup time to help manipulate the time of flowering. Any varieties dragging their feet are sprayed up to three times a week to push them along.

Climbing roses produce blind shoots, which want to climb instead of flower. These canes are removed as well as tired or dead blooms. When dead-heading, two or three leaves should be removed, not just the head. Canes are espaliered since horizontal canes produce more laterals, each of which carry a bloom. Vertical canes produce only a few laterals and thus only two or three flowers on a cane. An added bonus at Flemington is the ample quantities of composting materials such as leaves and stable manure and straw, which make top class mulch for the rose gardens.

Perfect phrases for performance reviews

In my line of work in the HR department of my company we have to do a lot or reports on the staff performances. Therefore it is important that we know and can use a lot of different types of perfect phrases for performance reviews in describing staff performance. When I started at HR I had some trouble coming up with the right words but after a while I learn new phrases over time.

Nolina recurvata

The Pony Tail plant makes an ideal plant for a tub specimen. Once known as Beaucarnea recurvata it is now generally accepted as Nolina recurvata. Related to the yuccas, this evergreen small tree has adapted to its dry habitat in Mexico where they thrive for many years as patio specimens on natural water.

In areas of high summer rainfall they do well when given some shelter. They can only be grown in the ground in a frost-free dry climate. Nolina recurvata can be grown as an indoor plant in temperate areas. The main precaution when growing these plants is not to be tempted to over water them. These plants can store up to a years supply of water in their roots. As they age they develop swollen bases with tapering trunks, sprouting long, narrow leaves, often quite pendulous.

These plants need to be provided with well-drained soil and, although they will respond to being watered during summer, they should be kept dry during winter. They are relatively slow growing and are generally purchased as two year old plants in 20 cm pots or eight year olds in 30 cm pots. Their root run is not very extensive so they can remain in a tub for a considerable time. The specimen shown was planted out forty-seven years ago and has more than doubled its girth since then. Propagation is from seed or offsets taken from the parent plant in spring.

Commercial real estate lawyer raleigh nc

My brother’s in the commercial real estates business. They buy and sell real estates everyday so they use a very reputable law firm to help them with all their legal requirements. Last year when we bought our holiday home we asked him for help and he recommended the commercial real estate lawyer raleigh nc that they use. I’m glad for the recommendation because they are very professional and we are very happy with the outcomes.

Feet and Lungs protection

Your feet
Foot protection is essential for many gardening tasks. Rubber boots are great for wet or muddy conditions but reinforced soles are essential if, for example, digging with the spade. Leather boots give great protection against sharp objects, and steel toe-caps give vital protection.

Your lungs
There are various hazards for your lungs in the garden - dust, bacteria in potting mix or sprays. Often a paper mask over your nose and mouth is sufficient, but if dealing with chemicals it's advisable to wear the more expensive and efficient rubber mask. Different cylinders need to be fitted in these depending on the material being used. Your local supplier should be able to give advice about this.

Rotary blades

In our business of apparel pattern making we make a lot of cardboard patterns so meaning we do a lot of cutting. The most basic cutting tool we use is the scissors but we also use other cutting tools, all different kinds with different blades like normal blades or rotary blades for different cutting needs. So we’re always looking for new and improved tools that we can use to help make our work just that much easier and productive.


There are different gloves for different needs, but there are three things to remember when making your selection: durability, dexterity and comfort.

Dexterity - a good sense of touch is important, so gloves need to be flexible and correctly chosen for their purpose.

Durability - Gloves can offer protection from the sun, as well as from cutting implements, thorns, the jarring of tools or nasties lurking in the garden. But they need to be strong to be effective. Rubber gloves protect from chemicals and water, keeping hands comfortable and dry. Gauntlets offer great protection from thorns.

Comfort - since you'll be wearing your gloves a lot, they do need to be comfortable. Ones that breathe are often more comfortable for extended use. Leather gloves need to be wiped with a damp cloth and treated with leather cleaner to keep them soft. Rubber gloves can just be rinsed off, and cotton gloves can go through the wash, then dried before storage.

Exceptional Toontrack

My son has an enthusiastic interest in music and we like to encourage him in whatever he does in life. Apart from the grueling music classes he has to attend he also gets a lot of help from the exceptional Toontrack products he asked us to purchase for him. These products have made a significant improvement in his skill and its money well spent, I think.


Kniphofias bring colour and drama to the garden and have a special style with their sensational flowers and foliage. Although not native themselves, native birds like honeyeaters love them.

The genus Kniphopia was named after Johannes Kniphof, the professor of medicine at Erfot University in Germany in the 18th century. Like many doctors of this time, he was also interested in botany and wrote a 10 volume book called Botanica in Originale containing plant illustrations created by inking plants. This was the first instance of nature printing to be used in nature publication.

There are about 70 species of kniphofia in the wild, most of which are native to southern and eastern Africa, but there is one species from Yemen and one from Madagascar. In their native environment they tend to grow in boggy, wet environments, some even growing in creek lines. However, in the garden they will tolerate a range of conditions and need little supplementary watering except in summer to promote increased flowering. In the wild, the different species are usually separated geographically, making hybrids rare. However, in the garden they hybridise readily and it is possible for people to collect the seed from their own gardens, grow it and look for new hybrids. After flowering, green seed capsules are produced and when they dry, the black seeds can be collected.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Jandy pool light

We’ve just had our pool put in last week. Everything is pretty much done so now it’s just landscaping and safety railings as per the law. For landscaping we need some jandy pool light to light up the area during the night. It’s going to look great for backyard pool party during the warmer months. No more dipping in the public pool with the whole neighborhood anymore this summer!

Mallee Trees

There are between 700 and 900 species of Eucalyptus endemic to Australia. Amazingly, over 50 per cent of them are known as mallees. Instead of just a single trunk, mallees have many stems that rise from a large bulbous woody structure called a lignotuber, or mallee root. Most mallees are slow growing, tough trees which originate from arid and semi arid regions. But they're found from Tasmania to the Tropics and so are iconic Australian trees well worth a closer look.

Built in adulterants

We all accept that drug is a major issue in our schools. Though we have tried so many ways to prevent drugs from infiltrating our schoolyards the battle seems to be on the losing side. We may have to take draconian measures to combat this problem like having armed guards with sniffle dogs and possibly random drug testing with built in adulterants test strips. It seems over board but drastic measures need to be taken now.

Seaweed Fertiliser

Seaweed is a wonderful fertiliser, a great soil builder and an excellent compost activator. All in all, seaweed is terrific stuff for the garden. There's a long tradition of seaweed being used as a fertiliser to improve crop production. For example Celtic and Scandinavian farmers have put it onto their fields for centuries.

Kelp is one of many different types of seaweed. One type is powdered kelp. It is convenient for adding to the garden. And what is it about seaweed that makes it such a good fertiliser? Seaweed contains complex carbohydrates and these really get the soil humming with life. This has two really important functions for the garden. Firstly, it stimulates the microbial fungi in the soil and these assist plants in their uptake of nutrients. They also assist in defending plants from soil borne diseases. So adding seaweed fertiliser helps crop protection, and plant nutrition