New York, June 25 (AP/UNB) - All-green gardens are becoming popular again as the centerpieces of monochromatic landscaping. The designs are appealing and restive, driven as they are by massed ferns, moss, leaves, bark, berries, rock and foliage combinations. They serve some practical purposes, too.
“Cool, mossy and damp, small space woodland gardens bring a welcome sense of organic Zen and a respite from digital overload, especially in dense urban areas where they can help to mitigate the effects of pollution,” said Elka Karl, a spokeswoman for Monrovia Nursery Co., based in Azuza, California.
“It’s like bringing ‘forest bathing’ to the city with mixes of ferns, mosses, coral bells, hostas and anemones in high-contrast, almost unnatural places for a garden style that’s gaining ground,” Karl said.
She said the company has seen a marked increase in consumer demand for all types of woodland plants over the last three years.
One of the best attributes of plants with green foliage is that they’re the chameleons of the garden, said Kate Karam, Monrovia’s editorial director.
“A holly, for example, can be left to grow into its natural form for a more woodland look or can be sheared into a tight shape suitable for a formal garden,” Karam said.
Green gardens don’t have to be exclusively green, although foliage dominates.
“Even the greenest of green gardens will likely have something that flowers, such as plants that bloom but are chosen for the foliage,” Karam said. “Grasses, spurges and hostas are good examples. Yes, they flower, but most of us don’t really grow them for that benefit.”
There aren’t many “green flowers” in nature, but varieties like Nicotiana langsdorffii, euphorbia and Green Envy zinnia, among others, can be layered into the foliage, said Karen Chapman, a garden designer and co-author, with Christina Salwitz, of “Gardening With Foliage First” (Timber Press, 2017).
Chapman said the monochromatic palette “can be adapted to create a richly textured, shaded woodland border with a framework of Japanese maples, feathery ferns and bold hosta, or a more traditional design of clipped boxwood hedges and architectural conifers.”
People today are often pinched for time and less able to tend flower gardens, Monrovia’s Karam said.
“They turn to hardworking evergreen or seasonally green plants, especially hedges and shrubs, to give the biggest bang and the longest show,” she said. “Plants like conifers, boxwoods, grasses, laurels, hollies, ferns, rhododendrons, drimys, aralia, green-leafed Japanese maples are some of our best sellers.”
When designing all-green gardens, consider a blend of texture, form and coloration.
Foliage varies in texture from rough to smooth, glossy to lusterless. Shapes and sizes range from plants with huge round leaves to grasses with long feathery blades.
Seek complementary colors. Japanese painted ferns, for example, display attractive blue-green fronds with contrasting deep red ribs and silver edging.
“I would say the benefit for many homeowners would be the opportunity to create an urban oasis; a meditative space where the distractions of life are minimized and one can quietly re-focus,” Chapman said. “An all-green-garden would be an excellent environment in which to practice yoga or mindfulness.”
Pascagoula, Jun 25 (AP/UNB) — A historical marker has been placed near the river where two men in southern Mississippi said they were abducted by aliens in 1973.
News outlets report the city of Pascagoula dedicated the marker Saturday at Lighthouse Park.
Charles Hickson and Calvin Parker said they were on the shores of the Pascagoula River when what appeared to be aliens pulled them onboard a UFO, examined them for about 30 minutes and then returned them to Earth.
Both reported the event to the sheriff’s department and were checked out at a hospital after it happened Oct. 11, 1973. The story has become known worldwide.
Parker published a book about the experience in 2018. Hickson died in 2011. Both said many people doubted their story. A few witnesses have come forward to corroborate some details.
Flagstaff, Jun 25 (AP/UNB) — A recently adopted puppy that disappeared after her owner crashed in Arizona survived 13 days in the mountains and has been reunited with her owner.
The Arizona Daily Sun reports volunteers found Bella, a 4-month-old mixed yellow lab, almost two weeks after driver Michael Crocker rolled over his SUV off the historic Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Crocker was airlifted to a hospital in Phoenix after crashing his GMC Yukon Denali on May 14 but Bella was nowhere to be found. Cocker and Bella were on a cross-country trip from Alabama to Southern California.
A Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team member found the whimpering pup not too far from the crash site of broken glass and car parts.
Officials say Crocker and Bella are recovering together in Southern California.
Dhaka, Jun 25 (UNB) - Women have outperformed their male counterparts in entrance examinations for a medical school in Japan that last year admitted rigging admission procedures to give men an unfair advantage, reports The Guardian.
Juntendo University in Tokyo said that of the 1,679 women who took its medical school entrance exam earlier this year, 139, or 8.28%, had passed. The pass rate among 2,202 male candidates was 7.72%.
It was the first time in seven years that the pass rate among women was higher than among men, the Asahi Shimbun reported.
The university attributed the exam results to its decision to “abolish the unfair treatment of female applicants” after last year’s revelations.
Tokyo medical school 'changed test scores to keep women out'
Juntendo was one of several medical schools that were found to have manipulated exam results to give first-time male applicants an advantage over women and others who had previously failed the exam.
The dean of the medical school, Hiroyuki Daida, initially attempted to justify the practice, saying women matured faster than men and had better communication skills. “In some ways, this was a measure designed to help male applicants,” he told reporters.
The sexist admissions policy drew widespread criticism after the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper revealed in August last year that Tokyo medical college had rigged exam scores for more than a decade to favour male candidates, citing concerns that women who went on to become doctors would leave the profession to have children.
Last month, the medical school said female applicants had performed slightly better than men this year after gender-based anomalies in the admissions procedure were removed.
The pass rate among women at Tokyo medical school was 20.4%, 0.4 percentage points higher than among male candidates, the university said, according to the Japan Times. The success rate the previous year, when the discriminatory marking practice was still in place, was just 2.9 % for women and 9% for men.
In 2016, women accounted for just 21.1% of all doctors in Japan, the lowest level among nations belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Among G7 countries, Britain had the highest proportion, at 47.2%, followed by Germany, France and Canada.
The medical school scandal reinforced claims of institutional sexism in the Japanese workplace and education, frustrating efforts by the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, to create a society “in which women can shine”.
While women’s representation in the workplace is rising, Japan compares poorly with other countries in promoting women to senior positions. Many female employees face discrimination when trying to return to work after giving birth.
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Paris, Jun 25 (AP/UNB) — The sunset had an orange glow. So did the extreme weather warning for Paris.
Meteorologists placed more than half of France, including around the capital, on alert for high temperatures Monday as a heatwave was expected to spread across continental Europe this week.
National weather agency Meteo France predicted the hot weather could produce temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 Ft) across the country just as the summer tourist season shifts into high gear.
The French weather agency set the heat warning level at orange - the second-highest intensity on its four-level categorization system for potentially dangerous conditions requiring public "vigilance."
In Paris, charity organizations patrolled the streets to provide homeless people with water, while local authorities organized air-conditioned public places where people could seek shelter from the heat.
French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, deciding it was too hot to study, ordered national exams taken by students heading to high school postponed from Thursday and Friday to next week.
International soccer federation FIFA could face implementing heat precautions at the Women's World Cup, which France is hosting. The precautions include holding cooling breaks during matches and postponing games if the heat is too intense.
Women's World Cup matches are scheduled every day this week, except Wednesday and Sunday. Luckily, most were set to be played at night.
France introduced a heat watch warning system after a long, deadly heatwave in August 2003. The highest temperatures in more than half a century eventually were estimated to have caused 15,000 heat-related deaths, many of older people left in city apartments and retirement homes without air conditioning.
French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that vigilance was the watchword for the week.
"As you know, at times like these, sick people, pregnant women, infants and elderly people are the most vulnerable. So we must be vigilant with them and have prevention measures in place in order to intervene as quickly as possible," Macron said.
French Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said Monday that "everything is ready" in retirement homes, hospitals and transportation systems.
"Yet when people are fragile, even when everything is organized, there's always a higher mortality rate," she warned.
Meteorologists said hot winds from the Sahara Desert brought the scorching weather to Europe. Similar heat is expected in Belgium, Switzerland and Germany.
In Germany, temperatures above 40 degrees C are possible in some places on Wednesday, topping the country's previous June record of 38.2 degrees Celsius (nearly 100.8 degrees Fahrenheit) set in Frankfurt in 1947.
Rescue services urged people to look out for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems who are at particular risk in high temperatures.
Parts of northeastern Germany are also at high risk for forest fires. Authorities in the eastern state of Brandenburg, which circles Berlin, say the risk of forest fires is at the highest level in the coming days.
Scientists say measurements show that heat waves in Europe are becoming more frequent.
Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said "monthly heat records all over the globe occur five times as often today as they would in a stable climate."
"This increase in heat extremes is just as predicted by climate science as a consequence of global warming caused by the increasing greenhouse gases from burning coal, oil and gas," he added.
Dim Coumou, a scientist at the Free University of Amsterdam, said melting Arctic sea ice is also affecting atmospheric circulation, which in turn makes extreme heat more likely.
"Data analysis shows that the normally eastward travelling summer circulation of the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes has slowed down, including the Jet Stream," he said. "This favors the buildup of hot and dry conditions over the continent, sometimes turning a few sunny days into dangerous heat waves."