I live in Fargo, North Dakota with my wife and two children. And there’s a reason my wife’s been humming the melody from an old classic, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore”, sung by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. It’s because I don’t bring her flowers anymore. She put a halt to it. She stated that with the high price of flowers these days, especially her favorite roses, we had to put our money on more practical things.

I know she misses seeing the flower delivery person’s smiling face, though, on Valentine’s Day or her birthday. I don’t want to brag, but I was a bit of a master when choosing just the right arrangement for her. And don’t think I’m talking about just when we were dating either. I continued to bring her flowers long after we said “I do”. The arrangements were always vibrant with her favorite color yellow and had such a lovely fragrance that I know it was difficult for her to give them up.

Then one day I woke up. Even though we live in a climate where we have spring and summer for only about five or six months out of the year, I figured I could still give her a “gift of flowers”, but it would just look a bit different than what she had become accustomed to. I would plant a lovely garden with her favorite flowers in it.

Now, how to get such a project started? I knew that unless I could make it affordable, my wife would still be singing that same old tune when it came to how much it cost.

To this point in my life, I had never grown anything. I was determined I could learn. I started out by planting one of her favorites, Shasta Daisies. I found out the particulars on it this past summer, took a deep breath, and started my garden. Here are the specifics on the flower seed I decided to plant, you need to find out the same information on whatever you decide to plant: *She has a yellow center (maybe only important to my wife, I admit).

*She grows from early spring through September and is known as a perennial (meaning this flower grows back on its own from year to year). Wow; I’m picking up some new vocabulary words already.

*She doesn’t need a lot of water just in case, as a novice, you forget to water her.

*She takes only two weeks to start growing.

*She will stay fresh after you’ve picked her for a big, beautiful bouquet for at least two weeks.

I know it seems silly that I am talking about this plant as if it was a human being but this garden was becoming “my baby”.

And, one more thing; I forgot there were some garden tools I would need, like a hoe and rake. Don’t get your “grubby” clothes on and then remember a trip to the hardware store is needed before you can “break ground”.

It was great fun that first summer watching all my hard work paying off with those beautiful flowers growing in my garden. I presented my wife with a beautiful bouquet for her birthday in July. That felt great! I definitely plan to continue this new hobby of mine. It sure is odd how some of the more negative events in each of our lives end up bringing us the most fun and rewarding experiences.

My husband and I have been growing vegetables and herbs on raised garden beds for more than 30 years now. We have moved a number of times but have recreated the raised garden beds in each location because of the many benefits. Our first home had a concrete backyard and it was the only way we could create a garden, but we appreciated the benefits so much that we have built raised garden beds at each of our subsequent homes. There are more than four benefits but these are the primary ones:

1. More Nutritious Food
The reason that raised garden beds yield more nutritious food is due to the fact that the soil is loose, deep, and rich in nutrients. It is not compacted since the gardener never walks on the soil. Plants benefit from the great drainage and speedy root development that loose soil allows. Earthworms love to call it home. Plants are placed closer together in a staggered or triangular pattern (often called square foot gardening) so that their leaves slightly overlap when they reach maturity. This means the soil stays shaded which inhibits weed growth and maintains moisture. Amendments to the garden beds that enhance the nutrient value cost less because you are not covering the pathways. Compost is added each year, mixed with the soil and peat in the beds, to replace nutrients and beneficial microbes. Healthy soil means healthy plants, which allows us to grow organic food.
2. More Abundance of food
Succession planting is easy with the raised garden. Once you have harvested the spinach, you can plant a crop of green beans in the same bed. It is easy to start a new row of lettuce or spinach each week so you have a continuous supply. Planning is important in an intensive garden like this. Once you understand the growth pattern and spread of the veggies in the garden you can combine more plants together. Spring scallions and radishes can be planted between the broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage, for example, and then harvested before these larger plants grow big enough to shade the entire bed. Keep a garden journal so you can remember where you planted the tomatoes, so that you plant them in a new location the following year and where you planted the beans that fix the nitrogen in the soil. You can also note what plant combinations work well together to control pests.

3. Easy Access
A raised garden bed is best if it is no wider than 4 feet so that the gardener can easily reach to the center of the garden bed. This is the ideal type garden for the person with physical handicaps. The person with arthritis, knee problems, or hip problems has access since they dont have to get to ground level or kneel on a sore joint. I often sit on a five gallon bucket with a seat when working in my garden. A raised bed garden would be accessible to a wheelchair if the pathways were built wide enough and smooth enough. It is easiest to use because of the height of the bed which can be adapted to the person or situation. Our beds have started just 8 inches above the ground but as we have added compost and mulch we have raised them much higher, up to 24 or 36 inches above the ground.
4. Less Maintenance
A raised garden bed is easy to maintain. The only tools required are a trowel and a garden rake. We sometimes use a spade to turn over the top layer but not always. I mentioned earlier that weeding is less since they pull out easier and are inhibited by the close spacing and shading of the veggies in the garden. Simple mulching with grass clippings is usually enough to stop the weeds until the plants are established. Once your organic raised garden is established it is sustained only with compost. Compost can be added from your compost bin in the spring, fall, or just any time if you use it as a mulch layer. Our beds are rich with microbes and earthworms. We have a lot of trees so in the fall we mow over our leaves and put the leaves onto the beds. In the spring they are broken down enough that we just turn them in with a spade or a trowel.
Save yourself time and money gardening on raised garden beds. You need only dig, fertilize, and water the beds, not the paths. You dont need to weed as much when crops grow close together, because weeds cant compete as well. You dont need a tiller because the soil is never compacted.

Iranian architecture displays a class and elegance that cannot be matched with any other style of architecture and design. It is quite distinct from that of Muslim countries. The major features of Iranian architecture are: structural ingenuity basically in vault and dome construction; a skill of decoration with freedom and intricacy incomparable to any other form of architecture.

The pre-Islamic buildings include the remarkable Elamite ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil. Baked brick was used for outer surfaces by the 12th century BC. Most of the greatest buildings were built with a religious purpose, and even in secular buildings religious influences are entirely absent. Palaces were present, and their shapes, sizes and colors varied according to the ruling dynasty.

The first great development of ancient Persian architecture took place under the Achaemenid dynasty during the Persian Empire, from about 550 to 330 BC. There are numerous remains of Achaemenian period, including two palaces, a sacred precinct, a citadel, a tower, and the tomb of Cyrus.

Royal architecture under the Achaemenid also included tombs cut in solid rock, of which the best-known examples are those at Naqshah Rostam near Persepolis. Little is known of the popular building practices of the period, but archaeologists believe that the ordinary dwelling was made of mud brick. After the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great, Greek influence, in its late, Hellenistic phase, was predominant in the arts of Persia. Examples include fragments of bronze sculpture found at Shami, and the Parthian sculptural reliefs at Behistun.

During the Islamic period “mosques” became the major buildings in Iranian architecture. Outstanding examples of early Islamic Iranian architecture include the Mosque of Baghdad built in 764, the Great Mosque at Samarra erected in 847, and the early 10th-century mosque at Nayin.

After the 17th century, Iranian artists copied European paintings and engravings, and the native traditions declined. But Iranian architecture still managed to leave a huge impact on the world.

Restaurant planters or hotel planters are usually large, elegant, and functional. Their unusual sizes are not only for style but for a purpose. They can serve as a boarder or a liner for the restaurant’s outdoor setting. Instead of putting fences or railings, large planters are more trendy and can add beauty to the restaurant.

Large fiberglass planters are the most commonly used planters in commercial establishments. Fiberglass are lightweight and durable which makes them ideal for outdoor settings. Some would even use big planters on casters so that it can easily be moved when they change their outdoor arrangements.

Most restaurant planters today are not only used as an ordinary containers for plants nor a restaurant decoration. Four of the top grade restaurant planters that combine function and style for restaurants today are as follow:

Coronado Premier Planters
These large commercial planters are used by the well-known Hotel Del Coronado, one of the oldest wood hotels. It is 36 inches long and 13 inches wide which are perfect for outdoor dining areas because they won’t occupy too much space. It looks like wood but it is actually made of Premium Cellular PVC.

Good thing about PVC is that guests cannot really tell that the large planters are not real wood. The material is durable compared to real wood because it won’t rot and can withstand bad weather conditions. They can also be painted with any color and can easily be cleaned.

Capri Rectangle Flower Planters
The Capri Rectangle Flower Planters are very simple yet innovative and elegant. They create an illusion of floating slightly above the ground. The compartment of these large planters are larger than the supportive footprint underneath.

The Capri Planters come in a variety of textures, colors, shapes and finishes that compliments any plants, flowers, bushes, and even trees. They are slightly bigger than the Coronado Premier Planters but they can be ordered in custom sizes.

Cairo Vase Planters
The Cairo Vase Planters has long been used in ancient Egyptian time. Their exquisite beauty and elegance perfectly fits in classical themed restaurants or luxurious dining areas. They may not be too functional compared to the Coronado and Capri Planters but with its charming appearance, you can have an unusually large vase as a centerpiece in any indoor or outdoor setting.

Custom planters for the Cairo Vase planters are also available. So they can be made in medium or small sizes which can be placed anywhere as a group to accent restaurant doorways, reception areas, and other spaces.

Valencia Round Fiberglass Planters
These are commercial grade planters that has the classic Mediterranean style that can be refreshing for outdoor restaurant settings. The Valencia Round fiberglass planters are highly durable and resistant to any possible damages like staining, scuffing, or wearing off. These round planters have small circular footprint that can occupy less space in your restaurant.

Large Commercial Planters are of high quality which makes them long lasting. They will be a good investment for any commercial establishments not only in terms of function but also in attracting more clients or customers.

Live aquarium plants can be a beautiful addition to an aquarium, whether you have it stocked with fish or not. But many aquarium owners who have trouble keeping their plants alive finally give up populate their aquarium with artificial plants. But keeping your plants alive and healthy is not really that difficult if you know what they like and need. Here are some of the main reasons that aquarium plants end up dying or not thriving well.

Failing to provide enough light for your plant. Light is extremely important for a plant. You can provide a plant with buckets of food and nutrients, but if you don’t give it enough light, it won’t last long. Now these days, most of the tanks that you find will come with a light attached to the tank top. Alternatively, it will come with pre-drilled holes that have been setup to allow you to install a light relatively easily. If not, most acrylic tanks will allow you to drill your own holes and set up your own lighting. Of course, another perfectly good alternative is simply to place your aquarium on the south side of your apartment or house, near a window where it will be sure to get plenty of light.

Not paying attention to your plant’s roots. If the plant is a new one, the brown leaves may be nothing more than the plant adjusting to it’s new home. Most plants experience some sort of shock when transplanted from one place to another. It’s nothing unusual. Just give it a bit of time to adjust and it should do fine. However, if your plant is an established plant and has been doing fine for a long time but suddenly the leaves start to turn brown and fall off – the roots may simply have come loose from the soil or gravel. It’s not unusual for roots to come loose in aquariums, especially if you have fish that love to dig. In this case, simply replant or reposition the plant making sure that the roots are well covered and secure.

Too many plants for the space. Plants are alive and need room to grow. In the closed confines of an aquarium, it’s easy to have a crowded aquarium. You have too many plants fighting for too few resources. Give your plants plenty of room to grow by providing it with a large enough aquarium to accommodate it’s future growth spurts. If it starts to get a bit unwieldy, it also helps to trim it every once in a while to control it’s growth.

The wrong plant in the wrong environment. Plants are living things. And like all living things they do better in some environments than in others. You may have fallen in love with the most perfect, beautiful tropical plant to your eyes. But, if you live in the northern part of Alaska, chances are your plant is not going to survive. Many times the cause of a dying plant can be traced directly back to it not being right for the environment it has been moved to.

Many times the poor performance of a plant is where it was purchased. It’s not unusual to discover that most animal and fish stores are set up to deal with animals, not plants. To many of them, plants are simply a side line. If you notice that a store has only a few types of plants for sale and a rather small stock, it’s a good guess that they aren’t very knowledgeable about the types of plants that will do well in your environment. Also, if most of the store’s plants are yellowing or brown, or if the plants seem to be not well cared for, it’s probably best to continue to look elsewhere. The last thing that you want to do is to introduce a diseased plant into your aquarium.

The Spanish are well known for their passion for architectural innovation. From the time of the Moors, the country has been home to unique buildings, and today Spains cities showcase the work of architectural geniuses like Antoni Gaudi, Frank Gehri and Norman Foster. But if exploring cutting-edge architecture is your passion, you dont have to settle for a city break. Fuerteventura holidays or a beach break in Lanzarote or Tenerife can also offer the opportunity to immerse yourself in architectural gems while you soak up the sun.

Lanzarote family holidays dont seem like an obvious architecture-spotting opportunity, but thanks to the architect, artist and decorator Csar Manrique, the island is home to stunning and innovative structures that are as interactive as they are beautiful. Manriques passion for melding 20th-century design with remarkable natural features is embodied in the Jameos del Agua. Housed in an ancient tunnel created by molten lava from the Corona volcano, the centres flowing white-painted passageways offer new visual experiences at every turn. Theres a natural salt-water pool, lush tropical gardens, and a huge vaulted space that has been converted into an auditorium offering remarkable acoustics. Manrique also created the Mirador del Rio, a clifftop lookout point to the north of the island, where a balustraded cafe, shop and a viewing platform have been integrated into the natural lava formations, as well as the Farmhouse Museum, where pristine white walls, green doors and spectacular sculpture pay tribute to the islands agricultural heritage.

If youre planning family holidays to Tenerife, a visit to Santiago Calatravas Auditorio de Tenerife is a must. Classed amongst the greatest living architects in the world, Calatrava now operates internationally he is currently designing the future train station at the rebuilt World Trade Center in New York City, which is scheduled to open in 2015. The auditorium, completed in 2003, is home to the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra and is widely regarded as the finest example of modern architecture on the Canary Islands. Its both lauded and criticised for its visual similarities to the Sydney Opera House; both buildings echo their natural surroundings of waves and sails. Looming over the auditorium are the two towers that make up the Torres de Santa Cruz, a residential development comprising the tallest twin towers in Spain. Some might disapprove of their stark modernism, but the towers are considered a symbol of the city.

Fuerteventura holidays have much to offer in the way of innovative architecture from various periods. The small town of La Olivia is home to a mixture of modern and historic buildings, including the Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Candelaria, the Casa de los Coroneles and the Casa Mane Art Centre. But to experience memorable design from within, why not plan a stay at the spectacular Grand Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real? A tribute to Spains Moorish heritage, its opulent dcor, lush vegetation and warm tones create the perfect environment in which to wind down after a hard days sightseeing.

In the ceremony of limpia cleansing the patient may sit on a wooden chair below which is a bowl of smoking copal incense. This will purify the patients body and is relaxing to any spirit intrusions, which are made drowsy by the smoke. As the limpia takes place, the shaman circles the patient, chanting, blowing tobacco smoke over her and stoking her body with flowers. The tobacco smoke eases the passage of the intrusion, which is then caught by and re-housed in the flowers.

Sometimes an offerenda is also made in thanks for the healing – or to the intrusion for leaving – in which case a gift of some kind may be tied up with the flowers. The whole bundle is then taken into nature and buried so the spirit will not be disturbed and others wont be infected by it. Coastal shamans may take the flowers to the sea instead and cast them to the waves so the tide takes them away from the shore.

In the Amazon rainforest, it is not flowers that are used, but the leaves of the chacapa bush. These are approximately nine inches long and, when dried, are tied together to make a medicine tool which is used as a rattle during ceremonies. In a healing, the chacapa is rubbed and rattled over or near the patients body to capture or brush out the spirit intrusion. Once he has it in his chacapa, the shaman then blows through the leaves to disperse the intrusion into the rainforest where the spirits of the plants absorb and discharge its energy.

Another way of dealing with intrusions is the use of cleansing leaf baths, a method practiced in Haiti as much as in Peru. Haitian shaman, Loulou Prince, explains:

There are specific leaves, strong-smelling leaves, which help people who are under spiritual attack. I mix these leaves with rum and sea water to make a bath for the person, then I bathe her and I pray to the leaves to bless her. I sing songs for the spirits and the ancestors as well, and ask them to come help this person.

The rest of the bath that is left over, I put in a green calabash bowl or a bottle, and before the person goes to sleep at night, I have her rub her arms and legs with it. When that is done, no curse can work on that person and the evil is removed.

How this evil comes to infect a patient in the first place has to do with jealousy.

As an example, Loulou was asked to perform a healing for a young child brought to him by a woman who had four children, two of whom had already died through the actions of spirits that came to her house at night to suck the life force from them. The woman was a market trader who had made a little money (a rare commodity in Haiti). Her neighbour was jealous and had sent spirits to kill her children.

I bathed the child to break the bad magic. Then I gave him leaves to make his blood bitter, so it would taste and smell bad to the spirits, and they would go away. After that, the child got better; he got fat and he grew. That boy is a young man now.

Hibiscus, the fascinating flowering tropical plant, had its origin in Asia. It has spread to several parts of the world and is among the most popular garden plants. Hibiscus are also grown for landscaping and as hedges. Today, there are thousands of known varieties of the shrub. Many are hybrids. New types are still being discovered, bred and recorded. Sizes differ from less than 12 inches tall (Hibiscus trionum) to about 40 feet (Lagunaria patersonii). The life span of tropical hibiscus can be up to 50 years. In comparison, the hybrids have a shorter existence, approximately 10 to 15 years.

In the tropics, Hibiscus can be found thriving in the most difficult and desolate terrain. Some plants are dense and bushy, while others are thin and tall. The biggest attraction of the Hibiscus plant is the flower. Hibiscus come in many colors and sizes, and in areas where the temperature is above 70 degrees, it flowers throughout the year.

The leaves are normally elongated or oval shaped and about two to four inches in length. Usually the color of the leaves is dull green, glossy dark green or with a reddish tint.

The many medicinal, cosmetic and gastronomic properties of the Hibiscus go back to ancient times. Modern research has confirmed these properties and continues to reveal new ones. All parts of the plant are considered edible.

Propagation of Hibiscus can be made through cuttings or grafting or by germinating the seeds. Saplings and seeds are available from nurseries and florists. Seed germinated plants are unlikely to have the same characteristics as the parent plant because the pollination may not be from the same source. In fact, it is possible that a packet you buy may contain seeds from different parents and could grow into plants that vary in characteristics. If you have one Hibiscus plant, by using cuttings from that plant, a number of similar plants can be grown.

Given what we know about the Sierra Clubs activism nationwide, it comes as no surprise that the group would oppose a new power plant in Kemper County. After all, the Sierra Club is opposed in principle to the use of coal-fired power, and has even fought the construction of solar power plants and wind farms. Though they claim to be concerned about power customers, the Sierra Clubs opposition to the Kemper County plant is really just an extension of an impractical – and truly radical – philosophy: build nothing, never, nowhere.

Even the national media is becoming aware of the Sierra Clubs duplicity. The Wall Street Journal explained recently that “…having succeeded in banishing traditional coal-fired power from the future electric-power mix, the greens are now trying to scuttle any realistic alternative, even the clean coal they claim to support.”

Sadly, its not just the Sierra Club that is showing a lack of vision about Mississippis energy future. In recent editorial pieces, author and newspaper publisher Wyatt Emerich has criticized the Kemper County plant for costing too much, being too risky, and unfairly distributing the costs to electricity customers in Mississippi. The same criticism has been levied by Bigger Pie Forum Chairman Kelley Williams. Both men wonder aloud – without any real evidence to do so – whether the coal-to-gas technology employed at the new plant will ever work, arguing that Mississippi Power Company should have been forced to construct a natural gas plant instead.

First, there is nothing unproven or untested about the core technology that makes the Kemper County project possible. While its true that the plant will use a combination of technologies that hasnt been utilized together before, the component technologies themselves are working elsewhere, and they will work in Mississippi. Second, the rate increases that customers will pay – about 22% by the end of 2014 – are typical of what happens when a small market adds much-needed new generation. Customers in Mississippi saw similar rate increases, for example, when Plants Daniel and Watson came online more than 30 years ago to meet growing energy demand. Those costs are never welcome by the end consumer, who sees no appreciable difference when flipping the light switch, but they are necessary, especially considering that the Kemper County plant will be the first baseload power facility added to the utilitys fleet in 30 years.

Theres an even more troubling oversight, though, by critics of the Kemper County plant, including Emerich and Williams. They seem to live in a world where natural gas will always remain cheap, while decades of experience prove exactly the opposite. Instead of having Mississippi Power Company diversify its fuel mix, as it is doing with lignite coal in Kemper County, they would force the utility to chain its customers to the long-term price of natural gas. Keep in mind that 75% of the utilitys generation today already comes from natural gas. Instead of pursuing diversity, Emerich and Williams favor doubling down on natural gas. Instead of averting risk with a broader base of fuels, they would have Mississippi Power roll the dice and gamble their customers future with the hope that natural gas prices do what theyve never done: stay put.

You might expect this sort of advice from the Sierra Club, which famously took $25 million from the natural gas industry, but such advice from those who purport to care about customers is puzzling. In fact, following the vision of Emerich, Williams, and the Sierra Club is exactly what you would do if you were trying to create an energy future in Mississippi that created the maximum amount of long-term fuel risk and left customers as vulnerable as possible. Surely that isnt their goal.

Building a new power plant will always have its critics. Consider the case of Entergys Grand Gulf nuclear plant in the 1980s, which encountered the same sort of criticism as the Kemper County plant is enduring today. The price tag seemed high then, too, and the technology unfamiliar. Fortunately, regulators then eschewed the advice of critics by keeping the big picture in mind, instead of taking the easy path. They were visionaries who shared the same philosophy as the Mississippi Public Service Commission does today: that building a diverse portfolio and investing in new technology, as opposed to simply building the cheapest plant at the moment, is the best approach to protecting customers in the long run.

If you are an owner of a house, it probably requires frequent repairing, replacement and modifications that usually require a considerable amount of money. The home improvement loans provides you all the solutions related to the home improvement, you can do everything from worn out carpet to remodeling the entire design of your house by using the home improvement loans. So today peoples are willingly taking these loans for renovations of their homes. As it is obvious, the remodeling and modification of the home increases the property value so these loans are only issued to the home owners for specific purposes. The type of modification that usually peoples do with the home improvement loans are repairs, pool installation, room additions and other renovation projects.

These type of loans are unsecured loans that means there is no collateral involved, these loans re typically designed to pay with in short duration of time. However some of the home owners also consider the home equity loans to do the home improvement. The most attractive thing for the home owner is that the equity is not essential things to get the home improvement loans. As compared to the equity loans these types of the loans require minimum time to process and are readily available to the home owners. Additionally there is flexibility in the interest rate and it also depends upon the duration of the loan that you acquired from the lending agency.

The benefits also include the low monthly payment and it requires almost 3 to 5 years long duration of payment. Some considerations are also there because when you apply for the home improvement loans UK, typically peoples didnt consider the tax deduction on their loans that usually increases the amount of the loan.

The approval procedure of the grant for home improvement is typically easy and simple; here are some instructions that will lead you to avail these types of loans. Figure out what kind of work or improvement you need in your home and also consider either the contractor provide you the authority to make an improvement in to your home or not. Determine total amount that is required on the remodeling of your home. After that you are required to gather all your documentation proof and other things that are required for the home improvement loans. Generally the credit history, employment proofs and any other supplementary proofs are required to apply on these types of loans. Review about the interest rate and the repayment terms of the lender, it is always better to think your primary bank if they are providing such kind of loans. Always chose the reliable lender in order to get the authentic loans terms and conditions.