Propagate your landscape

first_imgWhen I first moved into my current home 15 years ago, the farm house in the pasture was completely void of any landscaping. I instantly fell in love with the rural paradise, but I had my work cut out to get the vacant landscape looking good.Having spent most of the budget on the 40 acres and house, there was not much left for the landscape. I decided that if I couldn’t afford an instant landscape, I would be patient and grow my own plants through propagation.Propagation can be a wonderful way to acquire new plants at a fraction of the cost of container-grown shrubs.With the small amount of money I had left from the home purchase, I invested in materials to build a small greenhouse. I put together a 12′ x 12′ structure to house my propagated seeds and cuttings. The addition of a crude misting system, ventilation and heating has allowed me to produce 80 percent of my landscape. While my mini-greenhouse has been helpful, you don’t necessarily need one to propagate your own plants.There are many forms of plant duplication including seeding, dividing, layering, grafting and taking cuttings. Taking cuttings can be one of the easiest ways to propagate new shrubs. While many plants can be successfully propagated through cuttings, some may be difficult or impossible to reproduce through this method. Pine species, cedar, redbud, gingko, laurels, Southern magnolia, dogwood and most common shade trees such as oak, elm, pecan and hickory can be a real challenge to grow from cuttings.Taking cuttingsCuttings collected in early summer are called softwood cuttings. Those collected in winter are called hardwood cuttings. Softwood cuttings are taken from the current season’s new growth. Select softwood cuttings in June, July and August.Take cuttings from healthy, disease-free shoots near the top of the plant. The trick is to find new wood that has not fully matured, yet is not too tender. Cuttings should be 4 to 6 inches long. Make a smooth slanting cut with a sharp knife. Cuttings will be inserted 1 to 2 inches deep in the rooting medium, so remove the leaves on the lower half of the stem. Be sure to leave 50 percent of the leaves at the top to manufacture food for the cutting.Dormant or hardwood cuttings are collected the same way, but the cuttings are taken during the winter months. First-time propagators will likely have more success with softwood cuttings.Almost all cuttings respond better when dipped in artificial rooting hormones, which are available at most nurseries as powders, liquids or gels. These hormones will encourage successful rooting.Rooting mediaCuttings are only as good as the soil they have to grow in. Start with a good, sterile medium. A general mix would be half peat moss and half perlite. Ground pine bark is also excellent when mixed with equal parts of perlite. Some folks have had success growing cuttings in pure vermiculite, a soil-less medium that absorbs water yet provides good aeration due to its particle size.Do not use garden soil as a propagation medium. It is too heavy and can contain diseases.Cutting careThe most common cause of failure in cutting propagation is uneven moisture. Never allow the propagation medium to dry out or become waterlogged. Keep relatively high humidity around the leaves at all times. Commercially-made mini-greenhouses are available, or you can make one yourself with wire and plastic to create a humid environment. These structures can range in size from a few feet to something as large as a dog house or bigger. A frame built of wood and plastic can also protect rooted plants in winter.Cuttings housed under plastic need water only once a week. Don’t add any kind of fertilizer to the medium until the cuttings have rooted.After the cuttings have produced a root system 1 inch long, transplant them into a soil mixture in individual pots. Most cuttings form adequate root systems in one to three months. A good soil mixture for potted plants is one-third peat moss, one-third sand and one-third top soil.Use a slow-release fertilizer in container plants and closely monitor water needs. Plants may need to root-out in containers for up to two years before being ready to transplant in the landscape. Some vigorous-growing plants may be ready to plant after one season in the container.While it takes time and effort, it can be satisfying to grow your own landscape. The possibilities are endless and the money you save can help you purchase better propagating structures. Once you get the hang of propagation, it will be hard to walk past plants in other landscapes without sneaking a cutting into your pocket.last_img read more

2014 Hurricane Season Forecast as Normal, Preparedness Still Urged

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York National Weather Service forecasters warned that although they predict the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season starting next month will be normal, coastal residents remain at risk for a potential big storm like Sandy.Officials urged residents of the East Coast, including Long Island, to prepare for the worst and not be lulled into complacency by the “near or below normal” outlook for the hurricane season, which starts June 1 and ends Nov 30. The season peaks in September.“It only takes one destructive storm to make for a very bad season,” Kathryn Sullivan, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), told reporters during a news conference Thursday. “Whatever the probabilities are, one storm can wreak tremendous havoc.”The agency’s meteorologists predicted eight to 13 tropical cyclones, three to six of which may strengthen into hurricanes, with one or two of those reaching major hurricane status—a category-three storm with 111-129 mph sustained winds capable of snapping trees and devastating homes.Experts said that several factors are at play in their seasonal forecast. While the Atlantic is in the midst of a hurricane-prone part of a multi-decadal cycle, the sea-surface warming weather pattern known as El Niño is expected to suppress tropical cyclones from gaining wind speed. They noted that the outlook is of expected hurricane activity, not the impact of predicted storms.That’s why Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials joined forecasters at the press conference to remind residents of hurricane-prone areas that they should heed the lessons of Sandy to have a plan, pack essentials and not ignore orders to evacuate their homes.“There should be no one that doesn’t understand if they’re in a danger zone,” said Joseph Nimmich, FEMA associate administrator for Response and Recovery. “There is not one of us that can withstand the surge and protect their house when it is under attack by nature.”While hurricane categories rank storms on wind speed, it is often the storm surge—hurricanes causing ocean water to rush over land—that claims the most lives. To help local officials and residents better prepare for storm surges, the National Hurricane Center will create the first-ever Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map warning maps this season.“During Sandy, Staten Island, Rockaway and the South Shore of Long Island were slammed with a storm surge that had all the power and fatal results of a tsunami,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said in a news release announcing the new maps. “We all saw the devastating impact a storm surge can have, which is why these new storm surge maps and warning systems that highlight the life-threatening risk of remaining within these vulnerable areas during a storm are so essential.”last_img read more

Police will release evidence in FHP trooper’s death

first_imgThe Martin County Sheriff’s Office will reveal critical evidence on Friday in the case of a Florida Highway Patrol trooper who was shot and killed on Interstate 95 in Martin County earlier this month.UPDATED: Riviera Beach Officer Fatally Shoots Suspect Who Killed FHP Trooper in Martin Co. LIVE: Funeral Procession of Fallen FHP Trooper Joe Bullock Investigators said Trooper Joseph Bullock, 42, was shot and killed on Feb. 5 while trying to help a disabled vehicle in the northbound lanes of I-95. The shooter was identified as 28-year-old Franklin Reed III.On Friday, Martin County Sheriff William Snyder will release a timeline of the events leading up to Trooper Bullock’s tragic death, along with 911 calls and video evidence from the crime.Witness says shooter who killed FHP trooper was allegedly angry about car being towedlast_img read more

Nations Cup team picked for British championship

first_img English champion Kelly Tidy will team up with Georgia Hall and Charley Hull to represent England Golf in the Nations Cup event at the women’s British amateur championship at Carnoustie, from June 26-30. Kelly Tidy, 20, (image © Leaderboard Photography) won the English title earlier this month at her home club, Royal Birkdale, when she beat Georgia Hall, 16, (Remedy Oak) in a play-off. Kelly is a past winner of the British championship. Georgia was also a semi-finalist in this season’s French Lady Junior Championship, has won the Roehampton Gold Cup and shared the honours in the Hampshire Rose. Charley Hull, 16, (Woburn) has been as high as third in the world amateur golf rankings this season. She was fifth in the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open on the Ladies European Tour and had a top 40 finish in the first women’s Major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in California. Kelly, Charley and Nations Cup team reserve Holly Clyburn (Woodhall Spa) are all members of the GB&I Curtis Cup team for the match against the USA at Nairn from June 8-10, while Georgia is a reserve. 29 May 2012 Nations Cup team picked for British championship last_img read more

Harlequin Productions Musical Director Bruce Whitney Talks Twelfth Night

first_imgA Rock’n’Roll Twelfth Night runs through July 20 at Harlequin Productions. Tickets and info available at 360/786/0151 or harlequinproductions.com Facebook4Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Harlequin Productions Harlequin Productions Music Director Bruce Whitney co-wrote A Rock ‘n Roll Twelfth Night and composed the music.Musicals are incredibly complex things. Two or three hours of continuous music, song, dance, and dialogue, combine with costumes, props, and set pieces to create a large and intricate work of art. The concept of sitting down and attempting to create a new musical is a daunting proposition. But in the mid-90s, two brothers in the Olympia theater community did just that.The musical that Bruce and Scot Whitney wrote is currently being produced on stage at Harlequin Productions for the fourth time. I sat down with Harlequin Production’s Musical Director, Bruce Whitney, who composed the music for the show.So how did this all get started?In 1995, Harlequin did a production of The Rocky Horror Show and we had such a great time. I had done some underscoring for Harlequin, but had never musically directed anything before. We decided we wanted to do another rock’n’roll musical and thought it would be fun to try and write it ourselves. Early in 1996, Scot came up with the idea of turning Twelfth Night into a musical. At first I was little dubious. I remember asking Linda what she thought and she thought it was great. So, what the heck? I agreed.Where do you start when trying to do something as complex as this?In April 1996 we went through the Twelfth Night script and picked out which lines or scenes or defining moments could be turned into songs. We came up with twenty-odd songs, and I thought “Whoa! That’s a lot of songs!” We had just started on it when Harlequin (Scot!) announced that they would be producing the show in the summer of 1997 – one year away. What??!! I was bit terrified, I admit, but Scot was, of course, completely confident and excited.What was the writing process like?Mostly the way it worked was he would come up with a song title (usually based on a textual reference) and some possible lyrics. Then I’d fiddle around on the guitar or piano and come up with a melody and sort of the feel of the song. Then we’d get together and talk it over. It was really pretty remarkable, in retrospect, how easily most of the songs came together.Not every song worked that way though. I remember coming up with the melody and title for The Way I Feel Tonight, not having any idea if it would fit into the show. I played it for Scot, and he soon found the perfect place for it – where Orsino and Viola finally unite toward the end.Tell me about the trip to the Condo?That was in February 1997. We probably had about half the show written with only three months before rehearsals would begin. Ouch! We decided we needed to get away for a week to concentrate on it. [Harlequin actor] Andy Gordon’s mother owned a condo just north of Newport, Oregon, and she said to go ahead and use it. Perfect!We arrived there late on a Saturday. I set up my music equipment, guitars, and computer in the living room. He laid out his thesaurus, rhyming dictionary and Shakespeare upstairs in the bedroom. I recorded ideas onto a minidisc player (pretty high tech at the time!), and he’d write lyrics. We’d trade ideas back and forth.We started out pretty excited, but for whatever reason we just weren’t getting much done at first. Not much was really working. By Tuesday we decided something needed to start happening or we’d have to come with a new plan. Bam! That day we wrote 3 or 4 great songs. From then on it was like an assembly line.There was one time I remember we were taking a walk along the beach, and we were leaning on a big log. Scot says, ‘I have an idea for a song for Olivia (modeled after Madonna) where she says “Expose your love to me.’ And the melody and “feel” of the song came to me right away. Very Madonna, very seductive!Another one was “Halleboogaloodaday!” He made up the word for the song, and I thought “Huh?!” But it works! Fun song.Anyway, by the time we left, we only had a couple songs left to do. We still talk about how great that experience was.I know it must feel great whenever you musically direct a show and it’s received well. But how much better does it feel when it’s something you actually wrote?This one means way more. I’m just flabbergasted that we could do it. I feel like we did something special, you know? Anyway, people seem to love it, and that’s VERY satisfying.They certainly do. Popular demand keeps bringing it back again and again.Yeah and every time we do it I love it even more. And there’s yet another chance to make improvements. For instance, Lead Me On was added to the 2003 production (our third). We decided that the wedding scene with Olivia and Sebastian, late in the show, really needed a musical moment. We wrote it just a couple of weeks prior to opening. And it’s funny because that one almost sounds like something you’d hear on the radio. [Laughs] I think it could sell.Looking back, one of my favorite things about creating the show were the backup parts. They’re so much fun. And the backup singers have more work to do than anybody else. Singing and choreography in almost every song. Big accolades and a big thank you!This is a fascinating story and it ends up being an accomplishment between two brothers. How does it feel that you built this incredibly intricate show alongside your brother?The man is brilliant. He and Linda started this company in the early nineties and dragged me along for the ride. For the most part, I’ve written a lot of underscoring for almost all the Shakespeare’s and several of the other plays. Later, beginning with this show, I started adding “music director” to my resume. If it weren’t for him and the whole Harlequin experience, I wouldn’t be nearly as accomplished a composer and musician. And it was his complete confidence and complete faith that we could create this musical that kept us going. Oh, yeah, and check out his lyrics. They’re flippin’ incredible!I love that guy.last_img read more