NAME: Tommy Lee Jones
AUDIT: DATE July 17, 2002
EXPERIENCE: 37 films and a notable TV mini-series since 1970
Come on: you're glad there's a Tommy Lee Jones. We're glad there's a Tommy Lee Jones. Everyone's glad there's a Tommy Lee Jones! I jones, you jones, we all jones for Tommy Lee Jones!
Okay, we weren't so glad when we saw him in Volcano or Natural Born Killers or Batman Forever, when he chowed down on the scenery like a contestant on The Glutton Bowl. And if you want to know which movies are actually worth watching, you can check out the latest reviews at Hollywood Insider.
But for the most part, we're glad there's a Tommy Lee Jones. And America, too, is glad, as evidenced by the boffo box-office take of Men in Black II. And don't let Will Smith take all the credit. Sure, when you team Smith with Tommy Lee Jones, crowds snake around the block. But team Smith with Kevin Kline, and crowds sneak around the block, to another theater, to watch another movie that's not called Wild, Wild West.
Yes, the results are in and America is sweet on Tommy Lee Jones. But why is that? Loath as we are to point this out, Jones is no matinee idol. A sampling of actual descriptions from articles on the actor include the phrases "rugged," "craggy" or "not exactly smooth-faced." (Ouch.) Or consider this assessment from Leonard Maltin: "Dark, pockmarked, but handsome in a sinister way." Assumedly, this was meant as a compliment, but it's not exactly something you'd find written in a personals ad: "SWM, professional, handsome in a sinister way."
So what's the appeal of Jones? Study his biggest hits -- Men in Black, The Fugitive, Double Jeopardy -- as we have, and it will become obvious to you, as it has to us. He's America's favourite sidekick. Pair him with Will Smith, Ashley Judd, Harrison Ford, or Wesley Snipes, and he's gold. Leave him on his own, and he's Cobb.
Of course, Jones isn't exactly classic sidekick material. Sidekicks are supposed to be stupid, deferential, and dimwitted: you know, Robin to Batman, Tonto to the Lone Ranger, or Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Jones is the opposite of all that. He's gruff, authoritarian, and stern. He doesn't ask the questions, he answers them. And he's the one making sure that everything goes smoothly and no one gets out of control. Wait a second! He's not America's favourite sidekick at all! He's America's favourite chaperone!
That makes sense, doesn't it? After all, who's always turning up to watch over the cocksure neophytes? Tommy Lee Jones! And who helps steer the wrongfully accused in their foolhardy quests for justice? Tommy Lee Jones! And who videotaped sex with his wife, then beat her up, then gave her a deadly liver disease? Tommy Lee!
Jones isn't an actor; he's a professional voice of reason. There he is, the skeptical mentor, surveying his charges with a cocked eyebrow and a cutting quip. And the people he's paired up with never have a clue as to what they're doing. Sure, Ashley Judd really, really wants to kill her loathsome husband in Double Jeopardy, but she can't get anything accomplished without letting Tommy Lee Jones guide her along with his dulcet drawl. In Men in Black, Smith is a raw recruit whom Jones shepherds into maturity. Even Harrison Ford needs Jones's intercessions in order to complete his mission of holy vengeance. As sidekicks go, Jones isn't Tonto, he's Jiminy Cricket, riding the shoulders of his charges and nudging them along the proper path.
And, clearly, this is how we, the moviegoing public, best appreciate him: not as the hero, or as the villain, but as a comforting force whose presence assures us that things won't go too far off the rails. This also explains why, when they made U.S. Marshals, that strange and unnecessary sequel to The Fugitive, they decided to use the exact same plot as The Fugitive. In U.S. Marshals, Jones also gallops off after a wrongfully accused man, only to recognize the man's innocence and become his ally. This time, though, the man was Wesley Snipes. (At least Die Hard II had the creativity to relocate to an airport. The Fugitive sequel might as well have been called Fugitive II: This Time He's Black. Or U.S. Marshals, Starring Blackison Ford. Or The Fugitive 2: Now With Extra Black Guy!)
This also points out the other interesting thing about Jones: nowadays, he never gets paired up with old white dudes like himself, or Harrison Ford. Now it's always young black guys or crazy, homicidal women. (Okay, there was Space Cowboys, or as we like to call it, Depends in Space. Or Battlestar Adult-Diaperstica. Or Starship Poopers.)
Maybe this is just Hollywood sowing the oats of its demographic appeal as widely as possible: you know, lure in the black people and the white people, the kids and the grown-ups, the rap fans and the fans of cranky old baseball players from the 1920s. But if Jones is there to provide a comforting presence, it's worth asking what anxieties it is that he's comforting us against. A cynic might even suggest that Jones gets partnered with these kind of people -- i.e., crazy women people and lethal black people -- because they are the kinds of people who, in Hollywood's eyes, are most in need of a chaperone. Actually, the cynic might try to suggest that, but we'd beat him and chase him off, for we have no truck with cynics!
You can't blame Jones for gobbling up all the roles of the old white guy who befriends the wronged wife, or rolls his eyes at his young black partner's sassy outbursts. Somebody has to be the vice-principal of Hollywood, keeping an eye on the rowdy kids, and if Jones doesn't do it, Anthony Hopkins will, and not half as well, as he proved in Bad Company. Jones, on the other hand, is really good at that stuff. And if he isn't kept busy, he gets too much time on his hands and breaks into the makeup trailer and greases his hair up all funny and next thing you know it's Natural Born Killers all over again, and nobody wants that.
Current approximate level of fame: Tommy Lee Jones
Deserved approximate level of fame: Tommy Lee Jones
NAME: James Eugene Carrey
AUDIT DATE: May 29, 2003
OCCUPATION: Actor, Oscar Beggar
EXPERIENCE 2: TV series and 28 movies since 1983
WARNING: Contains mild Bruce Almighty spoilers!
Strap in, Jim Carrey, because this Fame Audit has been a long time coming.
A little background: we try to "peg" our content to its subjects' current offerings. And at several points in the life of this site, we have noted Jim Carrey's various projects and mused that it might be time to audit his fame. But there was only one problem: in four years, neither of the site's editors was willing to go see any of Carrey's movies.
Looking back over the movies Carrey has released since FT launched, one hopes our readers can sympathize with our hesitancy or outright refusal to see them. Me, Myself & Irene -- a sub-There's Something About Mary most notable now for (briefly) uniting co-stars Carrey and Renée Zellweger offscreen. Man on the Moon, Carrey's second (after The Truman Show) Oscar-begging embarrassment. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas -- Ron Howard's poorly punctuated 105-minute-long whiz all over Boris Karloff, Chuck Jones, Dr. Seuss, and our childhoods. And finally, The Majestic, failed Oscar bid #3. In every respect other than box office, the past four years have yielded four big disappointments from Carrey.
So, the best thing we can say about Carrey's current film, Bruce Almighty, is that it's the first Jim Carrey movie we've been willing to pay to see since The Truman Show. Unfortunately, we were as wrong about Bruce as we were about Truman. Which, I guess, means we'll be ready to give Jim Carrey another chance 'round about 2028. Because Bruce Almighty isn't...that good. It's not horrendous or anything -- we've certainly seen worse movies this year -- but it's just so generic and unexceptional; it could just as well have been called High-Concept Comedy #842. There are some good parts; they're easy to find because Steve Carell is in all of them. (Surely, that's just a coincidence.) But the rest of the movie is so relentlessly average that one can't help wondering how, on material so uninspired, Carrey has managed to ascend to his current position in the Hollywood pantheon.
Granted, Carrey didn't make his name playing normal guys in standard-issue summer comedies. Carrey first distinguished himself as the breakout star in the sketch-comedy series In Living Color -- a format that allowed him the space to perform a wide range of his manic, over-the-top characters. Carrey projected to the back of the hall, and beyond; his energy was seemingly boundless and apparently unmodulated.
But here's the thing -- and it's a lesson Carrey's comic predecessor Robin Williams also has yet to learn: while scampering around like a chimp with ADD may be charming and fun in a four-minute interview on a late-night talk show, in a full-length movie, it bugs. And in film-acting terms, the opposite of "funny" doesn't necessarily have to be "mawkish." Not only that, it is possible and indeed preferable for a film actor, in a single performance, to exhibit more than one emotion. Like Williams, Carrey has built a CV stacked with two kinds of movies -- ones in which he's wacky and antic, and ones in which he's serious and sentimental, with virtually no overlap between them (except in the case of sentimental movies about real-life people who were often wacky and antic -- like Man on the Moon, or Williams's Good Morning, Vietnam).
Maybe the problems that exist in Carrey's recent movies don't lie entirely with the actor; certainly, as we said above, feeble screenwriting doesn't help. But the question is -- particularly with Carrey's alleged comedies -- why he keeps signing on for movies that, with a few tweaks, would work just as well as vehicles for Rob Schneider. Carrey is not a terrible actor. He is capable of being funny. He just doesn't know when to quit, and has evidently never been directed in his comedies by anyone with the stones to explain to him that screaming catchphrases isn't enough to get the job done. It's as though, like Williams, Carrey has this idea that the way to make a mediocre script work is to overact so hard that the strain shows in his neck veins and the audience fears he may be having a cardiac episode. One of the nicest moments in Bruce Almighty is a fraction of a scene in which Carrey and Morgan Freeman are quietly mopping a floor together, in tandem. The moment has grace and symmetry and, above all, silence. Carrey's movies would be a lot better if there were more of that in them.
(Carrey's movies would also be a lot better if he weren't such a damn hog. Honestly, why even bother casting a talented and deceptively subtle comic actress as Jennifer Aniston as The Girl in Bruce Almighty when she doesn't get to do anything funny except (if you like that sort of thing) press her newly enlarged boobs together? Why take Steve Carell away from The Daily Show so that he can be in, like, a scene and a half? Was there more of Carell and Aniston that had to be cut so that Carrey could wow us with his Clint Eastwood impression? Hey, Jim, we all learned in kindergarten how important it is to share. Why didn't you?)
If we were assessing Jim Carrey's fame five years ago, we would have said he was exactly where he should be. Back then, he had done a respectable number of successful movies, some of which (Dumb & Dumber, The Cable Guy) we really liked, and even held up as examples to our doubting friends that even when he seemed to be acting stupid, Carrey was obviously very clever. Since then, though, he has apparently lost the ability to choose smart (if silly) projects that tested his talents and wouldn't work as well if anyone else had done them. Liar, Liar could have been a Robin Williams movie. How the Grinch Stole Christmas would have worked with Mike Myers in the title role (which we'll see, soon enough, when Myers appears in The Cat in the Hat). Bruce Almighty would have done just as well as a cookie-cutter summer release for Eddie Murphy. Adam Sandler may not take risks very often, but at least he made Punch-Drunk Love last year; if Jim Carrey doesn't start alternating his high-concept comedies with better material that doesn't rely so heavily on all the tics he honed on In Living Color, he's going to evolve from his generation's Robin Williams into the next generation's Chevy Chase.
Current approximate level of fame: Robin Williams
Deserved approximate level of fame: Will Ferrell
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Despite its surprisingly creepy climax, ‘Don’t Say a Word’ manages to simply retain its’ appeal as a finite thriller that does not thrill as much as it over dramatizes. Michael Douglas plays a prominent New York Psychologist who must unravel a 6-digit figure withheld by one of his most difficult patients in an attempt to save his daughter from the clutches of evil kidnappers.
From its promising opening of a botched robbery, the film does take its time to unravel and create some depth all the while making us understand and soaking us in the love this prominent figure has for his wife and his child. Director Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, Impostor) has not had an impact on the thriller genre and must make another attempt at delivering a great thriller. His previous films have been mediocre creations and this thriller is no different. One astounding note in the film pertains to the casting of a young Brittany Murphy (Sidewalks of New York, Summer Catch) as the disillusioned patient who possesses a key secret at getting back what the kidnappers must acquire.
Besides some pretty camera work and the monotonous and formulaic routine of a typical thriller, e.g. the 5 p.m. deadline – or she dies… the film never really seems to lift itself from its’ own mediocrity. Sean Bean plays his typical role as a villain hell-bent on getting what he wants and will go to any length to get it, unfortunately, the audience has already digested this typical villain and he as an actor does not bring anything refreshing to the film.
The film is well done and will pass two hours for a viewer easily, yet as a thriller it fails to thrill the audience. How haunting is it to have one’s daughter in the hands of a stranger? Douglas as our father figure does his best at comforting his bed-stricken wife (Famke Jansen) and taking matters into his own hands. He also manages his typical delivery where he pauses and reflects between each uttered phrase, but even he is getting repetitive at these films. The film does not capture the intensity that such a situation would create.
Douglas seems perfectly cast as the prominent figure as audiences have internally come to associate him with difficult situations. Furthermore, who better to play this role as a pondering, ‘balls out’ Doctor who wants to save his daughter? Director Fleder relies on a formulaic approach in hopes of redeeming a tired and antiquated script. As for the characters that are embedded within the film, it seems to incorporate characters that seem strewn in simply to deter our thought patterns in unravelling this film. Note: was that female Detective really necessary; and did she have to be that mean?
The only promising moment of the film was the climax in which point I could have solidified the labelling the film as a formulaic thriller. An abandoned graveyard and decomposed corpses catalytically launch the film into an area of the formula for all formulaic thrillers. It's only satisfying attribute was the horrible death one of the characters would endure.
The film must be respected for it’s ambitiousness, but it is clear that Director Fleder had made it a point to rely on his inefficient directing skills when tackling this weak script. It definitely had potential but fell apart at the midway point when the audience knew that the film would not deliver the expected thrills promised.
This was an intense one. We have more in-depth articles at Hollywood Insider that you will definitely enjoy, so head over there and check them out.
Rumble your engines, tune up your cars … Ready, Steady … GO! Fast & Furious is here in 2009 with a brand new addition to the series and the action goes back to LA and we have both main characters on screen again Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto and Paul Walker as Brian O’Conner. The movie starts with Dominic’s crazy plans by high jacking liquid money (petrol) in a daring and crazy to say at least scene; with all the gang present there and his lovely Michelle Rodriguez as Letty, the women 20% angel 80% demon who isn’t scared to get her nails dirty. Sadly the fairy tale ends here since the trail on Dominic is hot and a lot of people are looking for him, he decides that everyone on the team should go as far away from him until the heat blows off.
Everything was ok until Dominic gets a phone call saying that Letty was killed; this is about the same time when agent Brian comes to picture with his investigation of a drug lord called Braga. You can imagine that their roads will come across one another’s and there will be a lot of sparks and flames from their encounters.
Vin Diesel playing perfect the role, acting like a loose cannon wanting revenge for his lost girlfriend having no pity or remorse for the one responsible, his meetings with Brian are tense and the lines between them are solid both expressing a unique point of view; Dominic wanting blood, the head of Braga and Brian wanting to bring down the drug cartel by locking up the drug lord and bringing him to justice. The story gets more and more exciting by the minute when both main characters go on a race head on to get a slot in Braga’s elite driving team, in their plan to infiltrate de organization to get to the leader. The race if fanatic and a frenzy settles in because its being held on open streets with the traffic running, no stops, no mercy which makes it even more interesting. The stunts are well made, not top notch because a lot of computer graphics were used and for a refined eye you can tell them apart but it’s enough to keep you on edge of your seat saying “He is not going to make it! He is not going to make it! ”. One more thing I feel that needs to be told is that contrary to Tokyo Drift and the rest of the series it seems the directors since they moved the action to USA wanted to make a more dominant accent of Muscle Cars then the Import ones, so expect to see many old model and new of American made models and a bit also of other firms like Mitsubishi, Honda and Nissan. Like always Dominic finally manages to repair the “beast” from his home, that car being described as “more of a curse then a blessing”.
In conclusion the movie is well made and will appeal to all race and action fans out there since Vin Diesel will never cease to be scary in these kind of movies. Go watch it, it’s a treat!
If you love reading action movie reviews, you can check out Hollywood Insider for more.
Organic liquid fertilizers offer a lot of benefits: they are safer for pets and children, they are more effective than chemical fertilizers, and they are better for the environment. Liquid fertilizers are also very easy to apply through a hose-end sprayer, or even through your sprinkler system. The best (and easiest) way to get the right mix of water and liquid fertilizer is to use a fertigation tank. Never heard of fertigation? Read on….
1. What Is Fertigation? As the name implies, fertigation is a combination of fertilization and irrigation – basically, you can treat your lawn (or garden, or plants) while you water it. Hose bib fertigation tanks connect to your outdoor water faucet so you can apply liquid fertilizer through the garden hose or a sprinkler. In-line systems connect to your built-in sprinkler system.
What Are The Benefits of Fertigation? Combining fertilizing and watering activities into one not only saves you time, but it is better for the plants. Liquid fertilizer is mixed with water, which the plants are readily absorbing into their roots, so they take up a lot more nutrients than they would get with granular fertilizer. This also means you don’t have to over-apply, reducing both fertilizer application and runoff.
How Much Does Fertigation Cost? Fertigation tanks come in different sizes depending on the area you need to cover. In-line systems, which require a different tank due to the increased water pressure, are custom quoted depending on the size of the lawn.
Where Can I Get a Fertigation Tank? You can purchase fertigation tanks online or in some stores. A full list of distributors can be found online.
What Else Can I Put in a Fertigation Tank? You can use pretty much any liquid lawn treatment in a fertigation tank. In fact, you can even combine some products so everything is done in one application.
So, if you’re tired of pushing that fertilizer applicator machine, think about switching to organic liquid lawn care and fertigation. It will save you money in the long run, not to mention all you have to do is pour fertilizer into the tank and watch your sprinkler do all the work! A professional lawn maintenance company like Portland TT can help you with fertilizing and maintaining your garden and lawn.
Even with the green movement in full swing, many cities and most deed restricted developments don't allow a compost pile.
Even if your city or community doesn't allow you to have a compost pile, there is a way of recycling your biodegradable waste into your organic garden simply by using direct composting, also known as trench composting.
How to Direct Compost Your Organic Waste
Direct composting is accomplished by burying your kitchen and other organic waste beneath your garden soil, where it will decompose naturally. Done properly, it is a clean and environmentally friendly organic gardening method, encouraging earthworms to take up residence to aerate and enrich the soil
Acceptable Materials for Direct Composting
You can direct compost whatever would be put into a regular compost pile. All non-toxic organic or biodegradable materials are acceptable for organic gardening. The simplest and most abundant material you can use is fruit and vegetable peels and cores right from your kitchen. Cooked foods can be direct composted, except for meat products or meat-eating animal feces. Bird and fish droppings can be directly composted, as can shredded paper and cardboard.
Two Methods of Direct Composting
The simplest and most popular direct composting method is burying the scraps at least 6 inches under the soil in your garden, around your plants. Covering your organic material with at least 6 inches of soil will keep animals from digging it up, or flies from laying eggs in it.
Another popular method of direct composting is processing the scraps in a food processor or blender with water, and pouring the mixture into a trench around the plants. This method is for feeding rather than soil amendment, and is useful for young plants. Direct composting in this way allows faster decomposition of the organic material. Dig a 6 inch deep trench from the drip line out about three to six inches. This is the area where the feeder roots will be growing out seeking nutrition, and digging out this far will not damage the existing roots.
The Benefits of Direct Composting
Commercial kitchen composters are available, but are expensive, and if the mixture is not kept exactly right, they can have odor problems, as well as breeding fruit flies and maggots. With direct composting there is no need to keep your garbage indoors. Direct composting allows nutrients to be released directly to the plant roots, where they can do the most good.
You can continue direct composting into your organic garden in the winter (if you can dig in your soil) but the needed bacteria are not active in the soil until it reaches the right temperature, so your materials will not begin to break down until the soil warms in the spring.
Direct composting can work for your organic gardening needs whether you have a large plot, or just a few plants in pots. It's free and healthy food for you plants, and keeps garbage out of the landfills. Try it, and you'll be glad you did.
If you need a team of professional experts to provide multiple services for your garden, such as tree trimming or garden maintenance, check out Portland TT.
Container gardening makes a popular hobby accessible to anyone with a pot and a sunny windowsill, but the author of Organic Crops in Pots: How to Grow Your Own Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs wants gardeners to know that it’s also easy to use organic methods in containers. Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell shares several arguments for using organic methods in edible container gardens, including climate change, sustainability concerns, and the toxicity of pesticides. This fully illustrated book is accessible to organic gardening beginners, but it offers inspiration to seasoned gardeners as well.
The chapter on “Getting Started” is an essential read for new organic gardeners, as it covers basics like starting a compost pile, using organic fertilizers, growing plants from seed, and using organic mulch. The section on dealing with pests and diseases is little more than an overview, but gardeners can find specific methods to deal with problems in the individual plant profiles.
The author doesn’t attempt to offer a comprehensive look at growing an organic herb container garden; rather, she shares six ways to create an attractive herb garden that includes some of the most commonly used kitchen herbs. The reader can get a sense for which annual or perennial herbs require the same growing conditions in this chapter.
In the chapter “Leaves and Shoots,” Schneebeli-Morrell offers the reader ideas for container salad gardens that go beyond leaf lettuce in a tub. The organic gardener who creates a container salad garden can have gourmet greens every day of the year if he grows Swiss chard, oriental greens, arugula, and spinach in containers. The containers in this section partner well with their plants. Who knew that one could grow a salad garden in a kitchen colander?
Although many books on container gardening offer recipes, or templates that the gardener can follow to create successful pairings of vegetables in pots, the author places an emphasis on aesthetics for container gardens. Schneebeli-Morrell wants the reader to enjoy looking at the creation that occupies a precious bit of real estate, so she offers creative ways to match vegetables with their container.
If you want your garden to be maintenance or your old trees and lots to be removed, you can’t go wrong with the professional services offered by Portland TT.
Several plants "borrow" the lily name, such as daylilies, Peruvian lilies, and sword lilies. These are all nice plants in their own right, but the true lily is grown from a bulb and belongs to the genus "Lilium".
True lilies produce a single un-branched stem with strap leaved foliage, sometimes winding around the stem. At the top of the flower stem one or more flower buds develop. The flowers may face upwards, horizontal (outwards), or downwards.
Cultivated lilies are classified into eight divisions based upon the number of blooms per stem, shape and presentation, of the individual flowers, and a separate class exists for species lilies.
The two main divisions which are propagated commercially are Asiatics and Orientals (right).
Orientals or Asiatics
Oriental lilies (division 7) are often heralded as the "jewel" of the lilies. They bloom relatively late in the season, July through September, and have large (4-12"), fragrant flowers primarily in colors of pure white, crimson, white blotched with red, and pink. Flower shapes varies from bowl shaped, curving back, to flat faced. Their height, up to 72", makes them appear very regal.
The best known cultivars are Stargazer (red/white) and Casablanca (pure white), but other outstanding cultivars include Le Reve (pink), Acapulco (mauve), and Arena (white/yellow).
Asiatic lilies (Division 1) on the other hand are the flashy, impatient go-getters. They flower in spring from May through June. The individual flowers are usually smaller, 6-8", and usually not fragrant, but they make up for it with the bright colors of yellow, blood red, orange, rose, or peach. Many are frequently streaked or have spots or other markings. Well known cultivars are Monte Negro (blood red), Toscana (Pink), and Elite (Orange). If you are looking for a mental image explaining the differences between Oriental and Asiatic lilies, you can think of the Oriental lily as a soft vanilla ice cream, and the Asiatic lily a juicy fruit pop. If the Oriental lily is a Mercedes Benz, then the Asiatic lily is the Ferrari.
If you like larger, fragrant flowers, or wish to extend the flower season, try Orientals. If you instead like flowers which multiply prolifically, bloom early, and has bright powerful colors, then Asiatics may be for you. Or why not try both? Today many hybrid crosses are also being developed rapidly (combinations between trumpet, Asiatic, and oriental lilies). Most recently re-blooming lilies has been introduced... oh, boy... are we in for a treat? Choices are clearly not the limiting factor today.
The highlighted differences between Asiatics and Orientals are not limited to the flowery show itself. The propagation speed and vigor follow the same pattern. While both lilies can be propagated by gardeners using a technique called scaling, the lilies will also multiply asexually by themselves in the ground by creating offsets: The lilies will form identical clones of themselves in the form of small miniature bulbs.
These bulblets are created automatically with no help required by the gardener. It is as easy as planting a lily bulb, waiting a few years, and you have a group of lilies. Of course, these bulblets can be harvested and replanted in nursery beds for higher yields, if you like.
Oriental Lilies are rather frugal when it comes to natural offsets. It is not uncommon to find only 1 or 2 offsets per year and with a long lead time until flowering. Orientals are thus best propagated by scaling in order to increase stock. Asiatic Lilies on the other hand will develop an abundance of offsets making scaling unnecessary for the home gardener.
Lilies may create bulblets, e.g. miniature offsets, in one of two places. The typical place is by the roots which form by the stem just below soil level. Another method is by the formation of aerial bulblets, called bulbils, in the leaf axis in some varieties of Asiatic Lilies.
Bulbils are small outgrowth-like buds that develop in the leaf axis; where the leaves are attached to the stem. Gradually they turn into brown or black spheres and fully developed bulbils will fall to the ground just as the lily flowers. Typically, the Asiatic Hybrid lilies which have Lilium lancifolium (“The Tiger Lily”) in their parentage will have inherited this ability. Matured bulbils can be harvested just before they fall and can be planted shallowly in small pots. Sometimes, the bulbils develop a leaf while still on lily.
Bulbils can very easily get lost, so check back frequently once the lily flowers. When you notice that the first few bulbils has fallen off the lily, harvest the rest and replant immediately.
Bulblets from stem roots
Particularly in Asiatic Hybrid Lilies, bulblets will develop quite extensively just below soil level. Most Orientals also develop these bulblets, but not as vigorously.
As the lily grows, adventitious roots develop by the stem in the upper soil layers. These roots are primarily responsible for supplying the lily with all the nutrients that the plant and bulb needs for the season. For this reason, Lilies respond very favorably to a fresh layer of aged compost every year and good moisture retentive organic mulch.
After the lily has bloomed, bulblets will develop in this root mass and within a few years a dense clumps of lilies can form. The bulblets can also be harvested and replanted.
Planting the offsets
After the flower stem wither and turn brown in late fall, you can dig down about 4-6” below soil level and cut the flower stem above the bulb but below the stem roots. Upon inspection of the root mass, you may find several pea-sized white or pink miniature bulbs (“bulblets”). Separate them and plant shallowly in pots or nursery beds. Another way would be to plant the entire flower stem horizontally just below the soil surface without disturbing the bulblets and the root mass.
The next year, the lily bulblets or bulbils will send up either a single leaf, called a cotyledon or seed leaf, or even a small wining thin flower stem. Some varieties will develop a single bud and flower, but most varieties take at least 2-3 years to flower from bulblets. The procedure is still faster than scaling since the bulblets are about 1 year ahead in size compared to the tiny scaled bulblets.
Each year after planting, the flower stem of the miniature bulblets grow stronger, taller and sturdier. Once the bulb reaches walnut-size they will flower. Another year and two and the bud count will improve further.
Encouraging more offsets
The asexual propagation is an automatic process by most lilies, but Asiatic Lilies tend to develop more vigorously, and in general, offsets are increased if the lilies are deadheaded after flowering.
As the blooms fade and the petals start to fall, cut the spent flower by severing the small extension which held the flower to the stem. Make sure you also remove the small puffy green buds (seed pods) which may develop where the flower used to be as it encourages more offsets. It is theorized that some stress imposed on the lily, such as an interruption of its normal productive seed cycle, tends to improve the yield of its asexual production. A similar energetic offset production has been noted in potted lilies which have become root bound or exposed to mild draught stress. It is likely that the survival behavior in this case is responsible for the urgency to reproduce, to ensure its own survival. Irrespective the reason, the gardener can benefit from this by harvesting the bulbs and rapidly multiplying the stock.
Care for lilies and offsets
• Dig a hole and cover a lily bulb with at least twice as much soil as the height of the lily bulb.
• Make sure the planting hole is well draining, and improve the growing conditions by mixing in plenty of well aged organic matter, such as compost. Avoid fresh manure.
• Fertilize lilies twice per year: in the spring as they break the surface of the soil, and again as they are about to flower.
• Water well during the growing season to avoid draught stress. This will prolong the flower show and avoid bud drop.
• Bulblets should be planted shallowly in loose friable soil and can initially be spaced very close. Eventually they need to be spaced adequately.
• Deadhead flowering lilies after the petals start to fall. Make sure you also remove the puffy green seed pods which develop unless you wish to harvest the seeds.
• Leave the main flower stem untouched to conduct photosynthesis until it ripens (turn yellow and wither) on it’s own in late summer or fall. Except for deadheading, do not cut or remove the green flower stem.
• In fall, the bulblets can be harvested from the stem roots of the withered flower stem and replanted; Bulbils should be harvested soon after flowering from the leaf axis.
• The next few years, let the immature young lily stems grow and conduct photosynthesis just as you would the mature lily.
If you end up with too many bulblets, you can always send a few my way..
For more information about maintaining your yard, visit Portland TT. They can offer you professional services to make sure your plants are in the best conditions.
Pruning scissors were first invented by Marquis Bertrand de Moleville sometime between the French Revolution and 1815. This early tool was not well favored. According to contemporary reports, these early pruning scissors had a tendency to leave scars on the plant. In fact, many professionals at the time refused to use pruning scissors at all:
“It has the disadvantage of always compressing or slightly crushing one of the sides of the cut. When using this tool, make sure to keep the lower blade above the stem in order to reduce the risk of scarring the plant. Some tree-growers refuse to use this tool, but this seems to me too drastic a measure. I would refuse to use it only on extensions, in which case you should always use a pruning knife (Louis, 1887).”
Cutlery technology improved over time, allowing pruning scissors to become an essential tool for gardeners and wine-growers alike. Still, many professionals remained sceptical. As such, it was not uncommon for cutlers to add a small hatchet or pruning knife to the blades. These rough early tools led to the spread and adaptation of the pruning techniques we used today.
Today’s pruning scissors are made from modern materials, such as cast iron, steel, and even horn. This makes modern pruning scissors more efficient and easier to use compared to older models. You can expect most modern scissors to easily cut stems with a diameter of up to 3cm.
Before you buy your own pair of pruning scissors, you should make sure to try out and compare a few different models. One of the most important things you will have to check for is if the opening angle is comfortable for the size of your hands. This is adjustable for some, but not all, models.
What kind of pruning scissors you choose should also depend on how you plan to use them.
This is the most common type of pruning scissor. It is also known as counter blade pruning scissors, clean cutting pruning scissors, and pulling blades. This type of pruning scissor can be used on both dry and green wood.
“Anvil” pruning scissors are best for cutting hardwood, dry wood, or rose trees. One disadvantage of this type of pruning scissor is that it tends to crush the wood tissue.
Pruning scissors with cogs are the best choice if you have a lot of pruning to do, or can’t exert much force with your hands.
Want to learn more about gardening tools and how you can take care of your garden? Consider hiring a professional tree trimming service. Evergreen Tree Services can help you better understand your plants and what you need to do to keep them healthy.
Ground covers are any variety of plants that grows closely over the ground.
The uses of a ground cover are to stop erosion and drought, and can even limit or eliminate the growth of weeds. Ground covers are mostly used for landscaping, owing to its aesthetic appeal, apart from its practical benefits.
When selecting a ground cover, there are things you should keep in mind. Here are important things to consider when deciding what textures and blooms you should use as ground covers:
There are two main types of ground cover: annual and perennial.
Annual ground covers expire at the end of every growing season. They leave seeds behind that become new ground cover the following year.
Perennial ground covers, on the other hand, do not die at the end of the growing season. Instead, they go into hibernation and revive again after the cold.
Evergreens are a type of perennial ground cover that can beautify your landscape throughout the year.
It’s important to choose ground covers that are well suited for your local climate. Some ground covers are vulnerable to cold weather, for example. They are unable to survive the winter, and simply wither away.
Turfgrass is a popular choice because it can survive in a variety of different climates.
Ground covers can be either practical or aesthetic. Which plant variety you choose will depend on why you want to install ground cover in the first place.
For example, some people use ground covers to prevent erosion in sloped areas. Others install ground covers to emphasize the depth and beauty of their landscapes.
Some ground covers are considered invasive species. This means that they spread rapidly and can be hard to control. You might find them growing into areas of your landscape that you don’t want covered. They can also endanger your other plants.
Some species of ground cover can thrive with very little maintenance. Other species need to be tended to carefully. Choose a ground cover species that is compatible with your commitment level.
Most plant species used for ground cover grow quite close to the ground. Others, however, can grow to great heights. Too high, and the ground cover can overwhelm your other plants.
Determine if a particular plant is safe. There are plants out there that may look nice as ground covers, but may actually be poisonous. If you are having pets with you or if you are in the company of children, then in that case, this consideration assumes a lot of significance.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a ground cover for your home. It can be worthwhile to consult a professional when evaluating which plant species is best for your needs.
There are many ground cover options you can choose from, but the best will be one that serves your needs and landscaping plans.
Now that you have an idea of what ground cover you could use for your garden, the next step is to learn how to take care of your plants. Hire a professional tree care service such as Portland Tree Trimming Services to better understand how to manage and maintain your pants.
If you are an apartment dweller or otherwise have limited space for gardening an indoor garden can be a good choice. Of course space is not the only consideration you will have to take as you must consider lighting as well. Not only is indoor gardening a great way to improve your interior aesthetics, it is a great way to pass the time and it can help you reduce your food costs. With food costs seemingly always on the rise you can choose to plant your own herbs and veggies. Here are some basic tips on how you can start and maintain a flourishing indoor garden.
Indoor gardening also gives you the benefit of planting all year round if you live in a climate where you may not be able to do so outside. Of course there are trees and shrubs that will make it during the winter months so you can plant those outside. If you need help with that aspect we can give you professional advice and we can even come in and plant and maintain the trees for you. Check out our tree care services once you are done learning about how to get your indoor garden going.
1. Choose Your Gardening Space
Where do you have space for gardening? Do you have a window sill you can use for a herb garden? Or do you have unused closet or basement space that can be used with the addition of proper lighting?
2. Hydroponics or Soil
We traditionally grow our plants in soil. But there is also small-scale hydroponics which allows for growing plants without soil. These plants are instead grown in water. A wide variety of plants can be grown hydroponically. If you opt to grow your plants hydroponically then you don't have to worry about having dirt in your house and your plants won’t need a lot of independent space to grow.
3. What to Plant?
What you plant is all dependent on your personal taste and of course the amount of space you are working with. For example if you want to plant cucumbers you will need a lot of space. If you are limited with space you may have to look into vegetable varieties that are suited for small areas or that are available in regular sized varieties as well as dwarf varieties. You will also need to consider temperature requirements and lighting needs when deciding what to plant.
4. Options for Lighting
If you have exposure to light through a southern window you will probably have all the light you need. If you aren’t fortunate enough to have one of these windows you will need to purchase artificial lighting in the form of grow lights. You may be tempted to go with incandescent lights because they can be more affordable to purchase but these will have a bigger impact on your electricity bill.
Consider compact fluorescent lighting, high intensity discharge lights or LED lights.
You can create an indoor garden even with limited space. This way you can have fresh produce. Get started with your very own indoor garden. You may already have everything you need except the seeds or plants to get started. Like with any other project you take up, do your research and make a plan for the process. Find the indoor gardening plan that works best for your home and for your lifestyle.
And if you are lucky enough to have space outside for gardening then have at it! Whether you want to add to the aesthetics of your yard or you want to add food to your table and reduce your food costs. If you need help planning your outdoor spaces let us help you. We can help you choose the trees and plants that are best for your space, your budget and your lifestyle.
Creating your pond from scratch can seem like a very hard task. We can help you create the perfect water feature to enhance your landscape. Here are the steps that will take you through the process of developing a water feature:
1. Location - Where are you going to place your water feature?
2. Digging - How will you create the hole? Will you dig manually, get some buddies to help or rent a machine?
3. Pond Liner - This will prevent your pond water from seeping away.
4. Pumps and Filters - Choose the right ones to match your vision for your pond.
5. Flora and Fauna - Time to make it pretty!
This is the first consideration when thinking about water features. You won’t want to start digging a hole only to find out this isn't an ideal location for a water feature. Your decision regarding location will be impacted by a number of things. You want your Pond Maintenance to be as easy as possible and so you should choose a location that will make that easy to do.
Dig preferably on a flat surface. While a hill may be more attractive this location will require proper stabilization and structuring. Digging will also be harder on a slope and your pond or water feature may not hold up.
Bear in mind the location of your trees when choosing a location for your pond as well. Your pond will be home to leaves and debris if located close to trees. This can cause a number of problems for your pond and will cause an increase in maintenance.
When you have settled on the ideal spot, it is a good idea to mark out the pond. This will help you to work out how much water you will need to fill it. If you will be adding fish, you will need to have a depth of between 18 and 24 inches. If you live in colder weather you will need to go deeper.
You calculate the volume of the pond by length x width x depth and is measured in yards cubed. You then convert this to gallons. You will need to work this out so you can choose the right pump and filter.
The next step is to dig the chosen area. You want to avoid straight edges when digging. Instead create sloped edges so that you will find it easier to plant your marginal plants. This also helps wildlife climb in and out of the pond.
Once you are done digging, be sure to remove any sharp stones at the bottom and place a layer of sand. Your pond liner will be placed on top of this and this will protect it from puncturing or tearing.
This helps to keep the water in your pond. You can find Pond liners at garden stores both locally and online. You want to choose a liner that is a bit bigger than your pond so you can cover over the outside edges.
Once the liner is installed at the bottom of the pond you can place stones and rocks on the edges outside the pond so that it doesn’t slip. You are going to want to get down into the pond with your bare feet or socks to flatten out the liner and ensure there are no air bubbles under there. Once done, add enough water to cover the bottom of the liner and leave this for around an hour or so. This will help you determine if your liner is punctured or not.
These items are necessary for keeping your pond clean. If you have a very small pond you may not need these but if you don’t have them you will need to change water constantly.
When choosing your pump and filter you must consider the volume of water in your pond. Your filter should have a flow rate of 75% of the water volume of your pond. Then your pump should be able to manage your flow rate. If you are pumping water uphill or if you have fish such as Koi, you will want a filter with a higher flow rate than that mentioned and a pump that can handle such.
Plants are necessary elements to your pond ecosystem. You want to introduce plants at least six weeks before you introduce any fish. Planting for a pond is a bit trickier than your typical garden planting. Your pond plants need to look good but they also need to be firm and shouldn’t lose any soil into the water if they are in baskets. So you will need to line your basket with a hessian sheet. Make sure you have at least two inches of soil in each basket before placing it into the pond. Submerge the basket in a bucket of water or drench it with your hose or at your pipe. This will get rid of any air pockets. You don't want these to explode into your pond which can happen if you don't soak the plants beforehand.
When planning your flora and fauna it is important to remember to have a variety of plants to create the best ecosystem for your pond. You can choose deep water plants and marginal oxygenating plants and do a mix. Consider types such as corkscrew rushes, spike rushes and irises. Deep water options are water lettuce, lilies and water hawthorn. These will give shade and will prevent the growth of algae.
Allowing six weeks between planting and adding your fish will allow the development of your pond’s nitrogen and nutrient cycle. Your fish waste can accumulate and become harmful to them if your plants aren’t properly developed. Properly developed plants prevent the buildup of harmful toxins and save your fish.
The most popular choices of fish are Koi or Goldfish. There are other options though such as Rudd, Tench and Orfe. You will need to choose fish that go well with your pond design and specifications. When you purchase your fish, they will likely come in a plastic bag. Place the bag into the pond and leave it for at least 45 minutes. This will allow the temperature to acclimatize. When this is done you can open the bag and let some of the pond water into the bag so the fish can get used to it. In the first few weeks you will want to check on your fish periodically to ensure they are doing well in their new environment.
If you are looking for more tips on how to improve your landscape, give us a call. We have the professionals you need to provide you with a nicely manicured landscape whether commercial or residential.
Gardening can be rewarding, and it is a popular pastime. Many choose to take gardening up as a hobby, and it can also provide a food source. The best part if you are just starting out is that you don't have to have a lot of outdoor space to have a great garden. You also don't need a large garden to have fun gardening. As a matter of fact, you don’t need a traditional garden, and you don’t have to get yourself dirty every time you do a gardening task.
Gardening is a great all round hobby, it is something you can enjoy, something that can yield food, something that can yield beauty, and it can even be part of your daily fitness routine.
When you decide to create a beautiful garden, you can benefit from it in multiple ways. You will have a nice outdoor spot to spend your summer evenings and even entertain friends alfresco. Creating a space for vegetables will help lower your food budget, and will also give you healthier and fresher ingredients to work with in the kitchen. So what do you need to start your garden?
You don’t always have to have your own private garden. Do you have a friend that has a backyard they are not utilizing to its best? Or do you only have a windowsill? Even if you have a large space that can be converted into a garden, we recommend you start with a small plot for your first endeavor into gardening.
Start with the basics. You will need soil and seeds. If you are planting flowers or anything for beautification purposes, you should do your research well. Remember, different plants behave differently in different environments.
If you plan to plant fruits and vegetables, you also need to do your research. Find out what does well in your area, and when to plant and reap from your plants. Some edible plants are easier to grow than others. When starting out, it is best to consider options that are easier to grow.
Topsoil is very important. will give your crops the essential nutrients and minerals to grow. The soil in your garden may not be suitable for your new plants. If you tried gardening before and didn't have any flourish, then maybe your soil isn’t suitable. You can purchase good quality top-soil from your local garden store.
Yes, you will need motivation to stick to gardening. Even if you have just a windowsill garden, you will need to nurture your plants. Just a few days of neglect can mess up their growth. If you are taking on an entire backyard garden, you will need even more motivation. You don’t want to be halfway into your gardening project, only to give up. And if it gets to that, you can always call us for professional help. We can help you plan and maintain your landscape. We offer both residential and commercial services. So when life gets too demanding, you can still have that beautiful garden by availing the landscape maintenance services from Evergreen Tree Services Ltd.
Here are some driveway and patio design ideas and materials tips. The best products aren’t always the most expensive. Look at your neighbour’s drives. Get some catalogues and walk around your local builders merchants for ideas. Let contractors give you prices for different materials so you can compare them.
The popular options for driveway materials are block paving, tarmac/asphalt, pattern imprinted concrete, and standard pressed paving. The average driveway is approx. 50-60sq.M. and at this size block paving and concrete are the most expensive, then tarmac, closely followed by pressed paving. Tarmac can be cheaper from a company specialising in it, but usually its only cheaper for bigger driveways.
Block paving comes in a wide variety of colours, the most popular driveway design is standard (e.g. Driveline Brindle) blocks laid in a herringbone pattern (approx. £15 per sq.M. more than tarmac or pressed paving), or cobble style concrete blocks (e.g. Drivesett Tegula) laid in rows (approx. £25 more than tarmac or paving). Here are some block paved driveway design tips: these blocks are an attractive surface and suit most properties, but a very modern house might look best with the standard style, and most others will look best with cobble style. Bear in mid that there is a lot of cutting around the edges, sometimes blocks can be laid in a different pattern to lessen the cutting costs as pictured right. (For readers in the US, $1 is approximately equal to £0.65)
Tarmac / asphalt is a very simple plain surface, it looks best on a driveway design with a row of block paving as a border. However it can be expensive for smaller driveways. Tarmac is good value on large drives, especially with a very attractive house and garden as it doesn’t detract from the other features of the property. Driveway tips: Most companies will use hard stone tarmac as standard now, this is made with granite stone and keeps its colour, whereas the cheaper limestone based tarmac is the type that fades to grey very quickly. If you would like red tarmac get assurances about its quality as there are issues with it’s strength, a long term written guarantee is absolutely a must with red tarmac!
Standard pressed paving is basic grey flags often laid with a scatter of pink/red ones too. It is a very simple surface but cheap and just as strong as any other option. The main problem is efflorescence, this effects all concrete products and is salts inside the concrete coming out. This happens in very small amounts on most other paving products, but is very common and ugly on standard pressed paving. It is thought this maybe due to the manufacturing process being rushed or the fact that these flags are pressed so are more dense. This varies from batch to batch so you maybe lucky and have a nice smooth coloured surface but you may also have very strong discolouration on these flags, it will eventually disappear leaving a smooth colour but this can take a year or more.
Imprinted concrete: This isn’t as popular because of its relatively high price and fake looks, it is an excellent option though as it is easiest to clean and lasts just as long as any other surface. However a bad job will be very bad as any mistakes are very hard to fix, also if some needs to be dug up in the future (e.g. for fixing underground pipes) its can also be hard to repair.
Concrete patio paving isn’t as strong as pressed paving but can be used on drives with an extra strong concrete foundation- this is a very expensive option and heavy use of cars on these flags will deteriorate their surface in time.
Natural stone paving is recommended on driveways- reclaimed yorkstone flags are very thick and provide an attractive surface but are very expensive and often slippery when wet. Cobbles are a very attractive option but the grout will always crack so its not the most practical option as they are very expensive too. Indian Stone is a very reasonably priced alternative (although it will still be on a par with cobble type block paving like Tegula), these cheap thin flags will need a very good concrete foundation, they look great but will need sealing to avoid tire marks. Indian Stone is the best choice from these other options.
Gravel is the cheapest surface and is excellent for a big driveway design, just bear in mind that its often hard to walk on especially in high heels, wheelie bins and prams are difficult to push over most types of gravel too (chippings will bind better than pea gravel but its still far from a solid surface). Even with a good weed control sheet under the gravel like the plantex weed control sheeting you will eventually have a weed problem with gravel.
Indian Stone is the best product for a patio. It is great value natural stone and very attractive, it is therefore hard wearing so power washing it is not going to ruin the surface or a sealant can be applied to protect it from dirt. This product is too expensive to buy from Marshalls as they need to keep it more expensive than their concrete products for them to prosper, and their stone is ethically mined. However it is still possible to buy ethical Indian Stone from other suppliers (e.g. Bradstone) for a fraction more than the standard prices. Only a third of Indian Stone imported to the UK is ethically mined but it’s worth asking your paving contractor if he uses ethical stone or can provide a separate price for ethical stone if you care about such issues. This makes great patio design ideas.
Concrete paving is attractive and comes in lots of different styles and colours. If you have a particular colour scheme in mind then this is a good option, however it is often as expensive or more expensive than Indian Stone and will never last as long as a natural product.
Block paving collects moss in the joints, which isn’t such a bother on a driveway but not great on a patio, it can also be very expensive as machinery usually can’t be used for the required deeper excavation and patios are smaller areas so the labour intensive edges will bump the price up, as its the edges that take time to do with blocking.
Gravel and tarmac are ridiculous options for a patio. If you have an existing solid surface like plain conrete then decking is an option over the top of it. Its a cheap attractive option but I can’t comment on how well it lasts and I have noticed it can be slippery too.
Many companies combine fencing and surfacing, hence its inclusion on this site. Its worth avoiding designer panels- they cost too much to be worth it most of the time. Most people will go for wanelap or vertical board fencing- its basic and cheap. What most people don’t know is that you can get these cheap panels treated just as well as the designer panels for approx. £1 a panel (although u may pay more due to them being special orders). Just ask your potential contractor for pressure treated or tanalised panels. These standard panels are dipped in rubbish to be honest- the colour will fade immediatley, having them treated properly will make them last much longer- 20 years+, and they will also keep their colour.
If you do want to go for the designer panels check out your local merchant such as Travis Perkins or Builder Centre as they often have special offers, or get a catalogue from a company like Forest Fencing. Don’t buy wanelap or vertical board style panels from these types as they are rubbish- they just do good designer panels. I always stick to the basic panels from local suppliers- easy to get, solid and cheap and most contractors use these as standard. Vertical board looks best with modern houses and costs £10-£15 more per panel then wanelap which is more of a rustic look, wood posts look best but concrete will always last longer and of course be stronger.
Some people assume walls will be cheap for boundaries- wrong! Don’t even consider a wall except possibly across front of house, they cost 3-5 times the price of a fence, much more for a 6ft high one. Instead try adding trellis or having bow topped panels (only advisable with vertical board) for a more attractive fence. Don’t worry too much about fencing- you can always plant a shrub in front of it or nail some trellis to a panel and grow a plant on it. Checklist for driveway design is here.
For more further tips about driveway, check out Fundamental Siteworks now!
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