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easy on yourself
Taking care of your piece of
the planet shouldn't be all hard work. Rather, it should be
enjoyable, rewarding and pleasurable. Yes, there will be some work
involved, and for most us that is part of what makes it rewarding.
But all work and no play soon makes Jack decide to quit bothering!
It doesn't have to be
When you figure out a
few ways to make your landscaping a little easier to deal with,
you'll be able to reduce the amount of time you spend working on the
less enjoyable chores. And that means you'll have more time to
actually enjoy your landscape!
Here are some idea
starters to help you make it easy on yourself.
Something borrowed, something blue...
Or any other color
for that matter. Low-maintenance landscaping starts in the planning
stage. But there's no need to come up with all the ideas yourself.
There's a lot of free information available on the Internet. You can
start at my nonprofit website
where you'll find a lot of articles and all my former columns. Two
helpful sites are
4005803E.htm, and you can click on direct links when you go to
my website and find this column under "The Plant Man."
But one of the best
ways is to “borrow” ideas from neighbors. Go for a walk in your
neighborhood and see what seems to grow effortlessly in the soil and
weather conditions within a few blocks of your home. If it works for
them, chances are it'll work for you.
You want fries with that?
Now don't laugh, but
a good place to scope out low-maintenance plants and shrubs is at
the landscaping located at places like fast-food restaurants and gas
stations. Why? Because those plants have to survive under fairly
stressful circumstances, surrounded by heat, gas fumes, trash and
blacktop. After circumstances like that, your landscape would
be literally a breath of fresh air. Additionally, it's a pretty good
bet that someone isn't out there every day trimming, pruning and
weeding at those places; and that's another good reason to make some
McNotes while you're out and about!
The director yells, "Cut!"
Wouldn't you like to
cut down on grass cutting? Unless you're a teenager piloting a
riding mower for the first time, mowing the lawn is probably more of
a chore than a joy. Take a look in my archive for previous columns
on lawn maintenance, and then decide how much lawn you REALLY want
to have. Smaller lawn area means less mowing. If you employ a lawn
service, a smaller lawn should -- theoretically -- reduce your cost
lawn areas furthest from your house to remain unmowed, creating a
meadowlike vista and a home for small wildlife. Or think about
replacing part of your lawn with attractive stone or brick pavers.
I'll write a full column on that subject in the near future.
[to top of second column in
"Oh! My aching back!"
Tired of kneeling for
hours and then going indoors to find the Ben-Gay? Think about
building some raised beds where you can plant everything from
veggies and herbs to perennials and more. Additionally, raised beds
allow water to drain more quickly and tend to warm up faster in the
spring than in-ground planting. You can get at a raised bed easily
from all sides, too, so weeding and tending are chores that you're
more likely to actually DO!
Pick trees and shrubs
that are low-maintenance. Obvious? Yes, but often overlooked. Send
me an e-mail
email@example.com if you
have some specific questions about suitable plants for your
landscape. Meanwhile, here are a few quick ideas for low-maintenance
--Sargent crab apple (Malus sargenti)
-- A dwarf flowering variety with pink or white blossoms, it works
well on a lawn too, as it doesn't heavily shade the grass.
Japanese spurge -- A good ground cover, particularly under trees
that (unlike your crabapple) make lawn maintenance difficult or
honeysuckle (Lonicera arnolds red) -- This is one tough plant!
Unless you live in the Okefenokee Swamp, this one will keep growing
without much help from you.
gold) -- A really impressive shrub that can spread out to as much 10
or 12 feet wide… and is almost indestructible. It looks great on
hard-to-mow banks and slopes too!
Look for ways to make your landscape less
labor-intensive and you'll have more time to enjoy it. Do you have
any low-maintenance landscaping tips? Let me know and I'll share
some of the best with our readers!
The Plant Man is here to help. Send your
questions about trees, shrubs and landscaping to
and for resources and additional information, including archived
515 Woodlawn Road
2 p.m. on Sundays &
8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday
P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL 62656
Our staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the
At the corner of Woodlawn and
the most of those post-60 years
One in six Americans
is age 60 or older. If you're in this group, you can take steps to
make these years a satisfying part of your life, said Cammy Seguin,
University of Illinois Extension educator.
Seguin's first tip is to work
hard to maintain a positive attitude. "Positive emotions strengthen
the immune system, and optimism is a resource for healing. People
with a positive attitude and determination don't let daily problems
overwhelm them. They accept responsibility for their lives, remain
flexible and open to change, accept uncertainty, and make changes
when they can," she said.
She also touts the importance
of supportive relationships for people over 60. "Some people need
only a few close relationships, while others need more. Studies show
that positive social relationships give meaning and order to
peoples' lives, provide practical and emotional help in time of
need, provide a buffer from the stress of everyday life and from
major stress-producing events that come along, and help people not
to be continually focused on themselves."
Seguin notes that as people get
older, they often find their important relationships change due to
death, divorce and illness or because friends move away. She
encourages older people to actively form new relationships so they
will continue to have a recreation and support network.
"It's important too to become
involved in meaningful activities. Too much empty time, and you can
become preoccupied with your health. You may become bored, and other
people may find you boring," she said.
[to top of second column in
She added that older Americans
are an enormous resource to our communities. "Americans in this age
group, especially retirees, are some of this country's most valued
volunteers. They're not only making a difference in their
communities, they are also helping themselves, because volunteering
offers very real personal, physical and emotional benefits. It gives
meaning and purpose to their lives," she said.
Perhaps the most important
trait for the over-60 population to have is resiliency, and that's
something that comes from being a survivor in life, she said. Seguin
said resiliency means getting back up when circumstances get you
Instead of coping with problems
by overeating, drinking alcohol excessively, blaming others or
escaping in sleep, resilient people talk to people who can help them
with their problems, share their feelings, make a plan of action and
find ways to compensate for their losses. Resilient people often
rely on their faith and their sense of humor.
it's not too late. Experts think that effective coping skills can be
learned and strengthened in later life, said Seguin. "How you choose
to live will affect the way you age," she said.
of Illinois news release]
Animals for Adoption
April 28, Logan County Animal Control is experimenting for 60 days
with Saturday hours. The new hours are 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on
weekdays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Only registration, payment of
fines and animal pickup can be accomplished on Saturday. Adoptions
must take place during the week.
Logan County Animal Control's hours of operation:
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
NOTE: Beginning April 28, hours will
be 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on weekdays
and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.
Fees for animal
adoption: dogs, $60/male, $65/female; cats, $35/male, $44/female.
The fees include neutering and spaying.
Vickie Loafman, animal control warden
deputy animal control warden
Tammy Langley, part-time assistant
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