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Monday
Sep152014

Lace Weeping

Lace Weeping Willow

(Salix babylonica 'Lace')

 

Zone: 3-5

Height: 12M (40F)

Spread: 9M (30ft)

Habit: Upright and Weeping

Exposure: Full Sun

Moisture: Keep Moist

 

Our North American woody plant expert, Dr. Michael Dirr, states that the Weeping Willow (Salix babylonica) is "one of the best-loved and most hated trees in landscape history."

It's beautiful form, with weeping curtain like branches that are magnificent along a lake or pond's shores, which makes this deciduous tree loved. But it drops lots of leaf and twig litter, and it is short-lived and is known for extending its roots anywhere water is available--including pipes, wells and drains.

 

This tree species needs a moist to wet soil to look its best. A fertile soil will sustain the most robust growth as long as it is never too dry; even sandy soils work well (if water is abundant).

Mulch on the soil surface improves the fertility of the soil as well as retaining soil moisture,


Always situate a weeping willow where it will receive abundant sunshine--no less than 8 hours of direct sun rays daily. It grows alright in partially shaded spots, but too little sunlight causes irregularly shaped trees, scrawny limbs, potential infestations from aphids and/or mildew problems.

 

      ---- in the 'normal' heat of our summers!

Sunday
Sep142014

Rose Stripe

Rose Stripe New Day Gazania

(Gazania rigens)

 

Zone:  Treat as Annual
Spread: 15 - 20cm (6 - 8")
Height:  20-25cm  (8-10")
Habit: Upright and  Mounded
Exposure:  Full Sun
Moisture:  Just Moist

 

This is the first stand alone striped New Day variety, and is well-matched to the series.

 

The New Day Gazanias have a more uniform flowering period than the Kiss Gazania Series, and sport a larger flower as well . Being  compact, and sturdy, these beasts will hold better at retail as well. New Day is well-suited to high-density retail packs and small container production.

What I like is they are more drought-tolerant than any previous gazania series, therefore they perform better in containers and baskets,

   --- and excel as a garden edging or ground cover!

Friday
Sep122014

G Mail Break In

Oh sure, your Google Gmail is safe, right?

The bad news is almost five million Coogle Gmail username and password combinations have been dumped online. The good news is a lot of the data appears to be outdated or incorrect.

Hackers posted a database of 4.93 million Google accounts to a Russian-language bitcoin security forum late Tuesday. According to Russian media outlet RIA Novosti, the hackers alleged more than 60 per cent of the information was valid and in use.

But as news spread about the leak, many users reported that the passwords listed in the database were either outdated or were not passwords associated with their Google accounts.

   --- Who cares, a cyber break-in is stil a break-in, is it not?

Thursday
Sep112014

 Fracturing

Hydraulic fracturing is a drilling technique commonly used to extract gas from previously inaccessible 'tight' gas reserves, including gas trapped in shale formations. During this technique between 1.2 and 5 million gallons of water mixed with sand and chemical additives are injected at high pressure into each well to fracture the rock and release the gas.

Typically less than half of the injected water returns to the surface as 'flowback' or, later, as production brine, and in many cases recovery is less than 30 percent. In addition to the chemical additives, flowback water contains natural components of the gas shale including salt, some metals, and radionuclides would impair water quality, if released without proper treatment. While flowback water can be managed and treated at the surface, the fate of the water left in place, called residual treatment water or RTW, was previously uncertain.

Some have suggested that RTW may be able to flow upward along natural pathways, mainly fractures and faults, and contaminate overlying groundwater. Others have proposed that natural leakage is occurring without human assistance through high-permeability fractures connecting directly to the water table and that hydraulic fracturing could worsen this situation.

The researchers report that ground water contamination is not likely because contaminant delivery rate would be too small even if leakage were possible, but more importantly, upward migration of RTW is not plausible due to capillary and osmotic forces that propel RTW into, not out of, the shale. Their study indicates that RTW will be stably retained within the shale formation due to multiphase capillary phenomena.

Capillary forces and coupled diffusion-osmosis processes are the reasons the brines and the RTW are not free to escape from gas shale. Imbibition into gas shale is made possible by the high capillary suction that a fine-grained, water-wet shale matrix can exert on water. As water is wicked into gas shale, the natural gas in the shale is pushed out. The capillary forces that suck the RTW into the gas shale keep it there.

Hey, the the most direct evidence of these forces is the observation that more than half the treatment waters are not recovered. Introducing treatment water causes gas shale to act like a sponge based on the principles of imbibition.

"Imbibition into gas shale is made possible by the high capillary suction that a fine-grained, water-wet shale matrix can exert on water. As water is wicked into gas shale, the natural gas in the shale is pushed out.

--- The capillary forces that suck the RTW into the gas shale keep it there."

Tuesday
Sep022014

Shadbush

Amelanchier, also known as shadbush, shadwood or shadblow, serviceberry or sarvisberry, wild pear, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum or wild-plum, and chuckley pear is a genus of about 20 species of fruit producing shrubs. 

Zone 2-3
Height 1.5M-3M (8-20ft)
Zone: 2-9 Height: 1.5M-3M (8-20Ft)
Spread: 1.5-3M (8-20Ft)
Habit: Upright and Spreading
Moisture: Just Moist, never wet
Exposure: Full Sun

Serviceberry is rare in that it offers interest in every season. It kicks off in spring with beautiful white flowers, which develop into tasty purple berries that attract birds in early summer. Or you chase the birds away and harvest the berries and use them to make delicious jams, jellies, and pies. The plant's bright green or bluish green leaves turn stunning shades of red and orange in fall. You can grow serviceberrys as a large shrub or small tree. What I like is the colourful Fall Foliage and the Spring Blooms. The sub species Amelanchier 'Autumn Brilliance') is a hybrid with exceptional fall colour,

--- ranging from orange to red with gold overtones!

 

Friday
Aug292014

Polar Beer Bust

Tromsø with a population of 70 thousand, is the largest city in northern Norway and the second largest in the world north of the Arctic circle (after Murmansk in Russia). It's located at 69.9 degrees North on the island of Tromsøya, in the Tromsøysundet strait.

Mack brewers, based in Tromsø, produces 'Isbjørn' (“Polar beer”), but a flaw in the manufacturing process created a drink with stomach-churning properties.

It was found that contamination in the bottling system led to a bad odour in many of the beer cans. A build-up of lactic acid in cans led to an unpleasant smell of sulphur and rotten eggs. The contamination was particularly rife when the weather was at its warmest this summer. The Local Newspaper 'Harstad Tidende', reported on Thursday that Mack had sold tens of thousands of cans of the, fart-smelling' drink. "In reaction to complaints, Mack has over the last few weeks tried to withdraw all “Isbjørns” produced on July 21st and 22nd this year.

Mack's director, said, “These bacteria are not dangerous. They are normally used in acidic milk products, such as yoghurt, but can give an unpleasant smell and taste in beer. The smell can be like anything from lemon and vinegar to rotten fish. It is something caused by, among other things, decomposition of the proteins in the beer.” OK, I like a good beer once in a while, but I have to say,

    --- this one is not on my immediate wish list!