Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Beginner's Guide to Gardening

The rewards of gardening are great -- fresh air, exercise, beauty and relaxation, to name a few. But designing and planting your very first garden can feel like an overwhelming task. Luckily, gardens are surprisingly forgiving creations, and the best way to learn is by simply diving in. Here are 10 tips to help get a new garden off on the right foot.

1. Get to know your site. Take your time to get familiar with your property before beginning a new garden. Here are a few things you may like to try while you're getting to know your landscape:

Take a leisurely stroll around your property with a notebook and make a rough sketch of the existing planting areas.

Add notes to your garden "map" about which areas get the most sun and which are shaded.

A simple soil test from your local garden center will tell you whether your soil is well-balanced in nutrients and pH.

If you're thinking of growing edibles (vegetables, fruit or herbs), it's a good idea to h ave your soil tested for lead. Most at-home kits aren't reliable indicators of lead in the soil, but you can send your soil samples to the Lead Safe America Foundation for a free lead test. If you find that your soil has an unsafe level of lead, you can still grow edibles in raised beds or pots with new soil.

List which existing plants and features (such as fences or paths) you'd like to keep and which need to be replaced or removed.

Spend time just hanging out in your garden. Let yourself daydream and see if any creative ideas present themselves.

Related: Visualize Your Garden Plans From the Perfect Porch Swing

2. Determine your style and goals. Gather a few images that inspire you and look for a theme. Are you drawn to lush flower-filled gardens or more crisply defined modern outdoor spaces? It helps to pair a few words with the pictures you've chose n, so try to come up with something that evokes the sort of garden you want, even if it's not an "official" style term.

For instance, maybe you'll decide your style is Industrial Zen or Playful Modern or Simplified Cottage. While you're figuring this out, it helps to keep a photo of the exterior of your home at hand -- whatever style you choose should be able to work well with the architectural style of your home as well as your personal preferences.

Once you've named your style, take a moment to jot down the activities and features you imagine enj oying in your landscape. If you have children, you may need a lot of open space for running around. Or perhaps you dream of relaxing in the middle of a big wildflower meadow -- whatever it is, write it down.

3. Start small. Dreaming is wonderful, but when it comes time to begin digging in the earth, it's equally important to stay grounded in reality. The bigger the garden, the more time and energy it will require to maintain. Examine what you want (say, a vegetable garden) and then scale it down (for example, plant one raised bed rather than six). You can always expand next year!

This holds true for purchasing plants too: It's easy to get seduced by the bountiful plants at the nursery and come home with far too many. Remember, planting takes time, so buy only what you can comfortably get into the ground within the next day or two.

4. Make a plan. Even if you're planting only a single raised vegetable bed or cluster of potted flowers on the patio, having a plan i s key. If you're not sure which plants to buy, take a "research" trip to a local nursery (without buying anything!) and snap photos of plants you'd like to consider adding to your garden. Look at the tags and note down when they bloom, as well as sun and water requirements.

Pulling this information together into a sketched-out plan (no artistic skills required) takes extra time initially but will make for a more successful garden in the end. Choose plants that bloom in different seasons for year-round color, and be sure to pick plants with similar sun and water requirements to plant together.

5. Pick the right tools for the job (without going overboard). Having the proper tools makes garden chores more pleasant -- but don't think you need to buy out the store on day one. Just a few tools and supplies should keep your garden running smoothly. The basics include:

Gardening gloves. Choose a pair that feels comfortable and protects against thorns.

Shovel. This is essential for preparing sizable garden beds and for digging holes for trees, shrubs and large plants. A shovel with a pointed tip is more versatile than a flat spade.

Trowel and weeding tool (or a Japanese gardener's knife). Use these tools to dig holes for planting and pull weeds out at the root.

Long garden hose and spray nozzle. Select a hose long enough to comfortably reach each of the main areas of your garden.

Hand pruner. Sharp clippers can trim branches and cut back woody plants like rosemary.

Metal rake. Use this to spread mulch and prepare beds for planting.

Leaf rake. Use a flexible plastic or bamboo rake to gather leaves.

RELATED: 5 Tools Every Gardener Should Own

6. Mix up perennials and annuals. A common newbie mistake is to grab too many plants from the "annuals" section at the nursery, making for a garden t hat dies back within a single year. For longevity and color, go for a mix of perennials (plants that come back year after year) and annuals (plants that bloom and die within a single season).

7. Repeat, repeat, repeat. One great way to give your garden a professionally designed look (with little effort) is to repeat the same plants and hardscaping materials in different places throughout the landscape. Avoid picking one plant of each type, as this tends to appear jumbled -- even in a wild English cottage-style garden, plants look best when repeated or planted in clusters. The same goes for other materials: Choose just a few hardscaping materials for paths, pots, planters and outdoor furniture, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

RELATED: Incorporate Outdoor Rocking Chairs

8. Combine seeds and starts for an affordable mix. Starting an entire garden from seed can save money, but it can also be incredibly frustrating. Purchasing only started plants is not only expensive, b ut it also may limit your choice of what to grow. The best option is usually a combination of the two: Pick up some started seedlings at your local nursery and start some of your own from seed. Good plants to start from seed yourself include lettuce, radishes, beans, sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos and zinnias.

9. Grow what you like. This sounds utterly simple, but it's something even the most experienced gardeners sometimes seem to forget. Why grow squash if it's not really your favorite? Over the years, we've stopped bothering to grow beans and zucchini, instead devoting extra garden space to family favorites like snap peas, radishes, Tuscan kale and mini pumpkins for Halloween.

10. Further your garden education. Seeking out local workshops is a wonderful way to learn more about gardening and connect with other gardeners in your community. Check plant nurseries, commun ity gardens and botanical gardens in your area for free or low-cost workshops on a wide range of topics like container gardening, using native plants, attracting pollinators, creating a waterwise garden and composting.

Gardening is a lifelong learning experience, and even the most seasoned gardeners are learning all the time -- so don't beat yourself up if it seems that there's too much to know. Just begin somewhere and take it one season at a time. The wonderful thing about gardening is that there's usually room for do-overs.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Food Lion to Remodel 71 Stores in Greater Richmond, Va., Market in 2017

SALISBURY, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Consistent with the grocer's "Easy, Fresh and Affordable... You Can

Count on Food Lion Every Day!" strategy, Food Lion has announced the

company will remodel 71 stores in the greater Richmond, Va., market in

2017. In an effort to make shopping easier and more affordable for its

customers, the company will make a $110 million investment in its

stores. This includes remodeling the stores, additional price

investments throughout the year and investments in associates and the

community through Food Lion Feeds, the grocer's hunger relief

initiative. A complete list of greater Richmond-area stores is available here.

"Food Lion is proud to have been a part of the greater Richmond

community since 1984, and we are excited to bring our newest format to

this market," said Food Lion President Meg Ham. "We look forward to

making significant investments in our stores, our customers, our

associates and our communities to offer a new grocery shopping

experience. We want to ensure our customers can easily Best Remodeling Company In Houston find fresh,

quality products to nourish their families at affordable prices every

day, delivered with caring, friendly service every time they shop."

As part of its "Easy, Fresh and Affordable...You Can Count on Food Lion

Every Day!" strategy, Food Lion has already brought enhancements to its

Richmond stores including product expansion, new registers, price

investments and enhanced service. When the remodels are complete, among

the key benefits customers will be able to take advantage of include:

Fresh, new stores designed to be easier to navigate and shop so

customers can get in and out of the store quickly.

Expanded variety and assortment that is relevant to our customers in

each store, such as more local products such as beer and wine, and

natural and organic selections.

Richmond is the sixth market to be remodeled and the stores are expected

to be completed on a rolling basis between June and October 2017. Food

Lion will continue to launch enhancements across its more than 1,000

stores in 2017, as well as remodel additional markets over Best Remodeling time. The

company is currently remodeling 93 stores in the greater Greensboro,

N.C., market, and has previously completed 142 stores in greater

Charlotte, N.C., in 2016, 162 stores in the greater Raleigh, N.C., area

in 2015, and 76 stores in the greater Wilmington, N.C., and Greenville,

N.C., markets in 2014.

About Food Lion

Food Lion, based in Salisbury, N.C., since 1957, has more than 1,000

stores in 10 Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states and employs more than

63,000 associates. By leveraging its longstanding heritage of low prices

and convenient locations, Food Lion is working to own the easiest full

shop grocery experience in the Southeast, anchored by a strong

commitment to affordability, freshness and the communities it serves.

Through Food Lion Feeds, the company has committed to provide 500

million meals to individuals and families in need by the end of 2020.

Food Lion is a company of Delhaize America, a U.S. division of

Zaandam-based Royal Ahold Delhaize Group. For more information, visit