Monday, September 26, 2011

New Garden Tool Moves Soil With Ease

FNGLA's The Landscape Show is this coming weekend to the Orlando County Convention Center and its always the best place to see the hottest landscape design trends, the newest plants coming to garden centers and the latest in garden gadgets and tools. 

One of the most innovative garden gadgets that I've seen in a few years that will be showcased at The Landscape Show is the LEANLever.  The LEANLever is a flexible attachment for hand tools that uses Archimedes' Law of Leverage. You remember Archimedes?  The philosopher who said: "Give me a place to stand on and I will move the Earth."  Jerry Behar, a top Fortune 500 consultant, learned the hard way that leverage is a gardener's best friend. After hurting his back digging up soil in his yard, Behar received estimates of more than $300 to move the soil off his driveway. He decided to invent a tool that would help him leverage the soil without straining his back.

Behar received a patent for his LEANLever and took the invention to the International New Product Exposition (INPEX 2010) where he won multiple awards, including the Bosch Award
The LEANLever is also being reviewed by NIOSH (National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health) to reduce musculoskeletal disorders (Back pain and Hand Arm vibrations). Device drives jackhammer vibrations into the ground and worker does not have to support a 60 lb tool.
There are many benefits of this contractors tool for the household too:
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Reduces back pain
  • Increases leverage
  • Reduces bending
  • Doubles lifting power
  • Reduces vibrations from motorized tools
  • Supports and controls heavy tools.

You can see the LeanLever at The Landscape Show I'll be interviewing Jerry Behar today about his new garden tool on "In Your Backyard." You will want to pay attention;to the special announcement for My790am listeners!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Art In The Garden Tour

What a great time on Saturday with Leesburg's Center for the Arts fundraiser: "Art in the Garden."   The event hosted a tour of gardens with talented local artists inspired by the surrounding landscape. I was able to hitch a ride with four lovely ladies in proper hats, winners of the "grand tour" which featured driving to each home in a white limousine that had champagne and chocolate wine.

Starting at Simon Seed Nursery in Leesburg,co-sponsor of the "Art in the Garden," the tour visited five homes with birds, creative landscapes, lakefront views, and fabulous paintings.

I tried to take as many photographs as I could even though I was pointing out great plants everyone should have in their gardens as well as naming species.

The highlight was a delicious brunch served at Leesburg's Center for the Arts Gallery on Main Street with special guest, Rosarian extraordinaire Mark Nelson, of Nelson's Roses fame. 

What a great time I had and I'm marking my calendar for next year's Art in the Garden! 

Art in the Garden

Glow In the Dark Mushrooms Rediscovered

Eerie glow-in-the-dark mushrooms have been found again in the Amazon rainforest after not being seen for 170 years.

Although glowing fungi are nothing new to science — there are 71 identified species — this particular species (named Neonothopanus gardneri, after the initial discoverer) is notable for its size and the extraordinary strength of its light.

"It glows more brightly than almost all other luminescent mushrooms," said Dennis Desjardin, a fungi expert at San Francisco State University. "If you were in a dark room and you put one on a newspaper, you'd be able to read the words
I love photographing and looking for mushrooms on my hikes.  Read how these bioluminescent mushrooms were discovered, lost and refound here.

Read more about bioluminescence.
10 Fascinating Bioluminescent Organisms 

Monday, September 05, 2011

No Rest For The Wicked

The wicked plants in your garden are not necessarily turf weeds but exotic invasive trees, ornamentals, and vines that take over ecosystems and spread their havoc far and wide. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council, known as FLEPPC, has a downloadable brochure for your files, maintenance company crew, or your HOA to determine if a plant species should be removed. If a HOA committee is renovating common areas or older landscapes, make sure that these plants are not in the design.

Many of these beautiful and hardy plants were sold and encouraged in previous years so its not anyone's fault that they are in your yard.  But while Category 1 Exotics are not illegal to sell nor mandatory to remove, they are still expanding into Florida's habitats and will for decades to come. Exotic invasives are dangerous because they are easily propagated by seeds and spread by underground roots. Birds and winds from tropical storms help dispurse the seeds increasing their range out of neighborhoods and across the state. As these "Most Unwanted" plants multiply, they compete with native plants for space and resources.
In your landscape, exotic invasives grow very quickly and have little to no pest problems to help decrease their numbers. Exotics, then with water and fertlizer that in their homeland countries would not normally get so their species has no natural controls, and populations explode.

Who are these most wanted wicked plant species? Are they in your backyard? Here are some of the ones I frequently see: