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How to handle a wasp infestation

<p>Wasps are common in all regions across Australia. They build nests on buildings away from direct sunlight and cause a lot of damage in the process. While most homeowners might ignore wasps, it is important to appreciate the risk they pose to your home’s occupants and the structure itself.</p> <p>They have an extremely painful sting which contains histamine. This chemical can cause allergic reactions in some people leading to health complications such as anaphylaxis or death. Stings from bees and wasps caused 12,351 admissions and 27 fatalities in Australia. It is for these reasons that you should learn more about <span><a href="https://www.dawsonspest.com.au/pest-library/bees-wasps">wasp nest removal</a></span>.</p> <p>This article highlights a few safe techniques of nest removal from your home or business structure. Read on.</p> <p><strong>Identify a wasp infestation</strong></p> <p>It is easy to find out if your home has a wasp infestation but finding a wasp is another matter altogether. These insects try to hide their nests away from sight where they can live undisturbed. You can check under an overhang where wasps stay away from the rain. They can also build under an awning, wood deck, soffit, railing or large tree branch in your compound.</p> <p>If you have noted wasps buzzing around your compound, it is important to call a licensed pest removal technician who has the skills and equipment to do the job.</p> <p><strong>Stay away from a wasp nest</strong></p> <p>If you happen to notice a wasp nest, it is advisable to stay away from it and remove your pets from the area. Many homeowners have ended up in emergency rooms while trying to locate wasp nests and remove them. It is important to note that wasps won’t attack unless they feel threatened.</p> <p>If you agitate them when trying to remove the nest, you will end up badly hurt or worse. To make matters worse, wasps release chemicals that attract others nearby and this can lead to a fatal situation especially if you have kids around.</p> <p>Once you identify a wasp nest, call a licensed wasp nest removal technician who has the prerequisite skills and equipment to do the job safely.</p> <p><strong>Professional wasp removal</strong></p> <p>The best thing about professional nest removal is that the pest control company knows how to handle the situation. They have experience dealing with different wasps in the area and will know which techniques to use. Without such skills, you might end up making things worse and injuring yourself.</p> <p>The nest removal process begins with a thorough inspection of your property, starting with the area where you spotted the nest. The pest control technicians wear protective gear to avoid injuries, and they use eco-friendly chemicals to eliminate the infestation and remove the wasp nest.</p> <p>When dealing with wasps, you need to appreciate that nest removal is not enough, hence the use of pesticides to get rid of the infestation. The best pest control service carries insurance for your protection and protection of their workers and you will enjoy peace of mind when they work.</p> <p><em><span>Written by Handyman Authors. Republished with permission of </span></em><span><a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/nest-no-more-how-handle-wasp-infestation"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></span></p>

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10 things you didn’t know you could compost

<p><span>As more people aim to lessen their carbon footprint, there’s been a quest to learn about all the things you can upcycle, recycle and compost. And you may be surprised to learn some of the things you can add to your compost bin.</span></p> <ol> <li><strong>Natural-fibre clothes</strong></li> </ol> <p><span>If you have natural-fibre clothing – pure wool, cotton, silk, or linen – that is too old or damaged to donate, then cut it up in chunks so it breaks down faster and add it to your compost pile! If you do compost clothes, be sure that there are no synthetic threads, plastic buttons, metal zippers, or stains from motor oil, paint, wood stain and other non-compostable substances.</span></p> <ol start="2"> <li><strong><span>Latex products</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>The next time you’re cleaning up after a child’s birthday party, throw the popped latex balloon fragments in the compost. Latex is a natural and biodegradable material, but for some reason, most of us usually forget that! Other natural latex products? Compost them next time instead of throwing them in the bin.</span></p> <ol start="3"> <li><strong><span>White glue and masking tape</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>Arts and crafts enthusiasts, rejoice! Your traditional Elmer’s glue and masking tape bits and scraps can all be composted. It makes cleaning up projects just a little bit better knowing it’s not all going in the bin.</span></p> <ol start="4"> <li><strong><span>Wine corks</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>The next time you’re recycling your wine bottles, throw their corks into the compost pile. Corks are a natural product, and although some wineries are now using plastic corks that look a lot like the real thing, remember that you can compost the wine stoppers if they are made of natural cork.</span></p> <ol start="5"> <li><strong><span>Fur, hair and nail clippings</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>If you have a pet pup or cat that sheds more than you like, hopefully you can find at least some solace in the fact that you can compost their fur! You can also clean out your and your family’s hair brushes and add all nail clippings to the compost heap. It may be a little gross but your compost will be happy about it.</span></p> <ol start="6"> <li><strong><span>Small paper rolls</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>While you can always recycle cardboard products, consider throwing the smaller stuff in your compost bin next time. Recycling can be costly and also uses a lot of resources, so compost smaller cardboard instead.</span></p> <ol start="7"> <li><strong>Old pet food</strong></li> </ol> <p><span>If you have some stale kibble on the shelf, just throw it in the compost bin. Be sure your pup can’t smell it though, because chances are if they smell it, they’re going to try to eat it.</span></p> <ol start="8"> <li><strong>Vacuum bag contents</strong></li> </ol> <p><span>Typically, the stuff your vacuum picks up is composed of compostable materials: dust, hair, dirt, etc. In some cases, even the vacuum bag itself can be composted if it’s made from natural products (be sure to check the bag to see what it’s made of). If you have a bagless vacuum, the contents of the dirt collection cup can be dumped directly into your compost pile. So, unless you’re vacuuming up after a glittery birthday party, your vacuum dirt should be okay to compost.</span></p> <ol start="9"> <li><strong><span>Cotton swabs and balls</span></strong></li> </ol> <p><span>Consider adding a tiny compost rubbish bin to your bathroom so you can collect all the compostable bathroom garbage. As long as the cotton swabs you’re using are plastic-free, you can add those to the bin along with cotton balls and toilet paper rolls. Just be sure that the dental floss doesn’t get in there.</span></p> <ol start="10"> <li><strong>Used loofahs and sponges</strong></li> </ol> <p><span>If you’re using a natural loofah, then remember that you can tear that thing up and compost it the next time you’re ready to replace it. If you’re currently using synthetic sponges, consider making the switch to a natural one. Man-made sponges can carry germs and add a ton of waste to the environment if you’re going through them regularly.</span></p>

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Homeless soprano: Overnight fame for street singer after brilliant opera performance captures the world

<p>A homeless Los Angeles woman has achieved instant viral fame, and a potential chance at a professional career after her brilliant opera singing caught the attention of an LAPD officer.</p> <p>Underground the Californian metropolis’ Koreatown district, the unknown woman who had shopping bags and a trolley in tow could be heard belting out a Puccini classic,<span> </span><em>O mio babbino caro</em>.</p> <p>Once she noticed she was being recorded, she continued the performance, as her vocals were heard throughout the Metro station.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet tw-align-center" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">4 million people call LA home. 4 million stories. 4 million voices...sometimes you just have to stop and listen to one, to hear something beautiful. <a href="https://t.co/VzlmA0c6jX">pic.twitter.com/VzlmA0c6jX</a></p> — LAPD HQ (@LAPDHQ) <a href="https://twitter.com/LAPDHQ/status/1177423181679755264?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">27 September 2019</a></blockquote> <p>The woman was later identified as 52-year-old Emily Zamourka, who grew up in Russia and immigrated to America as a 24-year-old classically trained violinist and pianist.</p> <p>But to everyone’s surprise, she’s never had any formal voice coaching.</p> <p>Zamourka says she found it hard to work after dealing with a number of debilitating health problems.</p> <p>She would then busk on LA’s busy streets, until her $10,000 violin was stolen three years ago.</p> <p>“[The violin] was my income. It was my everything to me – I could not actually pay any of my bills and could not pay any more of my rent,” Zamourka told local television networks.</p> <p>“I am sleeping, actually, on the cardboard in the parking lot. I’m sleeping where I can sleep.”</p> <p>The original video has been viewed over 560,000 times with many people trying to get Ellen DeGeneres and<span> </span><em>America’s Got Talent’s<span> </span></em>attention.</p> <p>For Zamourka, she just wants to leave her current circumstances behind.</p> <p>“I will be so grateful to anyone who is trying to help me get off the streets,” she said.</p>

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7 surprising fertilisers for your garden

<div class="page-header clearfix"> <div class="tg-container"> <div class="detailPageHeader"> <div class="postIntro">Feeding your plants shouldn't mean buying a plastic container full of synthetic fertilizer. Often, you can feed your garden with what you have around your home. And with these fertilizers, you're often reusing or recycling some old product to help your garden, making you even greener. Here are seven ways to do just that:</div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="tg-container categorySection detailSection"> <div id="primary" class="contentAreaLeft"> <div class="share-buttons"> <div class="addthis_inline_share_toolbox" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardeing-tips/7-fertilizers-for-your-garden" data-title="7 Surprising Fertilizers for Your Garden | Reader's Digest Australia" data-description="Feeding your plants shouldn't mean buying a plastic container full of synthetic fertilizer. Often, you can feed your garden with what you have around your home. And with these fertilizers, you're often reusing or recycling some old product to help your garden, making you even greener. Here are seven ways to do just that:"> <div id="atstbx" class="at-resp-share-element at-style-responsive addthis-smartlayers addthis-animated at4-show" aria-labelledby="at-b26d7a27-eff5-44ce-81e8-3d02c64ce5ce"> <p><strong>1. Ammonia</strong></p> <p>Give the alkaline-loving flowering plants and vegetables in your garden — such as clematis, lilac, hydrangea, and cucumbers — an occasional special treat with a shower of 1/4 cup ammonia diluted in 1 gallon (3.7 litres) water. They’ll love the boost in nitrogen.</p> <p><strong>2. Baking soda</strong></p> <p>Give your flowering, alkaline-loving plants, such as clematis, delphiniums, and dianthus, an occasional shower in a mild solution of 1 tablespoon baking soda in 2 quarts (2 litres) water. They’ll show their appreciation with fuller, healthier blooms.</p> <p><strong>3. Bananas</strong></p> <p>Banana peels, like the fruit itself, are rich in potassium — an important nutrient for both you and your garden. Dry out banana peels on screens during the winter months. In early spring, grind them up in a food processor or blender and use it as a mulch to give new plants and seedlings a healthy start. Many cultivars of roses and other plants, like staghorn ferns, also benefit from the nutrients found in banana peels; simply cut up some peels and use them as plant food around your established plants.</p> <p><strong>4. Coffee grounds</strong></p> <p>It isn’t the caffeine in coffee grounds that garden plants like azaleas, rosebushes and evergreens love, it’s the acidity and aeration the grounds provide — not to mention nitrogen, phosphorous, and trace minerals. Just be sure to dig the grounds into the soil to keep them from becoming moldy. Dig about ¾ cup of grounds into the soil near the roots, repeating once a month. And don’t overdo it. Fertilizing even acid-loving plants with coffee grounds too frequently could increase soil acidity to undesirable levels.</p> <p><strong>5. Fireplace ashes</strong></p> <p>Hardwood ashes from your fireplace will supply potassium and phosphorous to garden plants. Just make sure not to use wood that has been treated with preservatives or anything else. To fertilize plants, spread a half-inch layer of ashes a few inches from the stem and dig it into the soil. However, if you store ashes outside, protect them from the rain or their nutrients will be depleted, and don’t use ashes around potatoes, since ash can promote potato scab.</p> <p><strong>6. Matchbooks</strong></p> <p>Matchbooks as fertilizer? Yes! But only when you want to add sulfur to the soil to lower the pH for acid-loving plants. Tear out the matches from several matchbooks and toss them into the bottom of planting holes for impatiens, hydrangeas, azaleas, and gardenias.</p> <p><strong>7. Tea</strong></p> <p>Sprinkle new or used tea leaves (loose or in tea bags) around your rosebushes and cover with mulch to give them a midsummer boost. When you water the plants, the nutrients from the tea will be released into the soil, spurring growth. Roses love the tannic acid that occurs naturally in tea. Likewise, schedule an occasional teatime for your ferns and other acid-loving houseplants. Substitute brewed tea when watering the plants. Or work wet tea leaves into the soil around the plants to give them a lush, luxuriant look.</p> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest Editors. </em><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardeing-tips/7-fertilizers-for-your-garden">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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5 houseplants that are near impossible to kill

<p>Some of us may not have the greenest of thumbs, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying all the benefits of houseplants.</p> <p>Not only are there plenty of low-maintenance houseplants to grow, houseplants add living beauty to your space and help purify the air, giving you a boost in both body and spirit.</p> <p>(Though do keep in mind that some houseplants are toxic to pets or children, so check children’s health websites before incorporating houseplants into your home.)</p> <p>hese five hard-to-kill houseplants that will flourish under the care of even the most forgetful gardeners. </p> <p><strong>1. Philodendron</strong></p> <p>Add a subtle touch of burgundy or golden yellow to your living space with the wide, waxy leaves of philodendron. Try the varieties McColley’s Finale or Prince of Orange for colourful philodendron that are low-fuss. This houseplant can grow quickly, though, so keep it well groomed by trimming it back, staking upright types or winding the foliage around itself.</p> <p><strong>Why we love it:</strong> There are two types of philodendron: vining and non-climbing, so it’s a cinch to pick the type that best suits your space. It also accents other plants wonderfully.</p> <p><strong>2. Geranium</strong></p> <p>A reliable and eager bloomer, even in winter, geraniums come in every shade of the rainbow, and then some. If you want to add more than just color to your living space, explore the world of scented-leaf geraniums, which come in fragrances like pine, peppermint, and nutmeg.</p> <p><strong>Why we love it:</strong> Geraniums are best left to their own devices. Water thoroughly, but only as needed, then sit back and enjoy the show</p> <p><strong>3. Hens and chicks</strong></p> <p>Whether it’s a single blooming sempervivum or a whole container of these rosette-shaped succulents, they make for an impressive presentation. These tough little guys need bright light to survive, and just one of these plants will easily propagate many more. This succulent’s only weakness is mealybugs, which can spread to other plants in your home if you’re not careful.</p> <p><strong>Why we love it:</strong> No matter where or how you plant it, hens and chicks will always look orderly and snug in their containers.</p> <p><strong>4. Aloe</strong></p> <p>Want the look of an agave plant on a much smaller scale? Try family-friendly aloe. This funky-looking succulent flourishes in south-facing windowsills where they can get plenty of bright light, but east- and west-facing windows work just as well.</p> <p>Aloe loves company—cluster a few different varieties together in one container for a unique look.</p> <p><strong>Why we love it:</strong> The popular aloe vera doesn’t just look good—it’ll make you feel good, too. The jelly-like pulp inside its leaves is a great home remedy for minor burns and insect bites.</p> <p><strong>5. ZZ plant</strong></p> <p>With no blooms when grown indoors and a slow growth-rate, ZZ plant doesn’t have a lot of frills. But what it lacks in pop, it makes up in polish with its glossy green leaves and vertical, palm-like stems. Splurge a little and buy a mature ZZ plant at the outset and give this slender statement plant its best chance to thrive in the indirect light of an east- or west-facing window.</p> <p><strong>Why we love it:</strong> ZZ plant works with every decorating style, because it looks awesome in any kind of container from a woven basket for a bohemian look to a chic glazed container for a modern space.</p> <p><em>Written by Birds and Blooms. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/10-houseplants-are-near-impossible-kill">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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Gardening tips you should ignore

<p>Here are some gardening tips that you should ignore, despite what you've heard.</p> <p><strong>1. Sweeten tomatoes with sugar:</strong><span> </span>Sugar can actually stunt the growth of plants, so it might be best to add it to a cup of tea rather than to the soil. If you want to grow sweeter tomatoes, look for different tomato varieties.</p> <p><strong>2. Water wilted, yellowing plants:<span> </span></strong>Although it may seem like the natural solution, water isn’t always the answer. Overwatering can also cause plants to wilt or discolour, so unless the soil is dry, it is time to surrender the watering can.</p> <p><strong>3. Bury banana peels and coffee grounds:<span> </span></strong>While burying banana peels can provide your plants with beneficial potassium, it can also suck up nitrogen that they need to grow. Buried coffee grounds nourish the soil but it can benefit some plants and poison others, so make sure you do your research first. If you’re determined to put your discarded peels and coffee grounds to good use, composting them is the best option.</p> <p><strong>4. Fight pests with mothballs and soapy water:<span> </span></strong>You may keep the bugs away, but burying mothballs can spread toxins in the garden and spraying dish soap on your plants can burn them. If you’re determined to try either of these, test them in a small area of the garden first.</p> <p><strong>5. The more fertiliser the better:<span> </span></strong>This is where the “too much of a good thing” rule comes in. While garden fertiliser can do wonders for your plants, going overboard can burn your plants rather than increase their growth. Before emptying the entire bag onto your favourite plant, consult the instructions.</p> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest Editors. </em><em>This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardeing-tips/Gardening-Tips-You-Should-Ignore">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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How to grow artichokes

<p><strong>History has not recorded</strong><span> </span>the adventurous gourmet who discovered that the base of the flower scales of the thistle-like globe artichoke – and the base of the flowers – could be eaten. It was a fine discovery, for their delicate yet unmistakable flavour makes artichokes one of the most prized of all garden vegetables. They are not only delicious but also strikingly beautiful, their silvery grey leaves providing a perfect foil for summer flowers. For this reason, they are often grown in herbaceous borders.</p> <h4>Planning the crop</h4> <p>Globe artichoke plants will not always survive severe winters and it is best to grow them in a sheltered, sunny part of the garden in severe-winter areas. Good soil preparation is well repaid. Loosen the soil to a depth of 60 cm and work through plenty of compost and manure. These plants need excellent drainage, and loams or sandy loams are ideal. Or plant in raised beds. They are tolerant of salt sea breezes. They need a chilling period to flower well.</p> <p><strong>How many to grow:</strong><span> </span>It depends on how popular artichokes are in your household – and how much space you have. Plants need to be set 1 m apart, but if space is tight, you can plant singly at the back of a herbaceous or mixed border. Globe artichokes will grow to a height of 1.2-1.5 m.</p> <p><strong>Varieties:</strong><span> </span>Green Globe and Purple Globe are most widely available. Purple Globe is hardier and best in cooler areas. Now gourmet heirloom varieties are also sought. Deep purple Romagna Violet and purple-tinged Romanesco from Italy and Gros Vert de Laon from France are propagated from seed.</p> <h4>Growing tips</h4> <p>Artichokes will grow and flower for about six years; the heads get smaller and tougher after three or four years. Replace a few plants each year so that you always have new plants maturing and some old ones dying down. To start a crop, buy young plants or suckers in spring and plant in soil to the same depth as they were in the nursery bed or pot.</p> <p>Every year, apply a liberal mulch of manure or compost in spring. During dry periods, especially when plants are growing strongly, make sure that they are well watered. The new plants will provide a few heads by late summer, particularly if well fed with manure and potash to encourage flowering. Frost protection is essential in areas with severe winters. Cut the plant back to about 30 cm above ground.</p> <p>Mound soil around the plant, taking care not to cover the crown. Put a good layer of autumn leaves on top and anchor with a double layer of horticultural fleece. In the second and third years, allow each plant to develop only four to six stems. Leave the flower on the main stem – called the king head – as well as a few other flowers at the end of the lateral shoots. Remove any offshoots around the base as this will help to keep the plant productive.</p> <p><strong>Raising new plants:</strong><span> </span>During spring and late autumn in mild climates, select strong shoots about 25 cm high on plants that are at least three years old. Cut vertically alongside each shoot with a spade or sharp knife, keeping part of the rootstock below. In cold areas prone to frost, pot up offshoots in containers, and plant out in their permanent positions as soon as the danger of frost has passed.</p> <h4>Pests and Diseases</h4> <p>Artichokes are generally pest-free, apart from slugs and snails in damp conditions and aphids. Major diseases are verticillium and fusarium wilt.</p> <h4>Harvesting and Storing</h4> <p>Mature plants produce ripe heads in November and December. Pick them, starting with the king head, when the bracts are still tightly wrapped. Use a sharp knife or secateurs to cut off a head with a 12 cm stem, then cut back each stem to about half its original length. The flower heads on the lateral shoots are best picked when about hen’s-egg size. Very small, young heads can be cooked and eaten whole. You can place the stems in lightly sugared water and store in the refrigerator for a few days.</p> <p><strong>At-a-glance timetable</strong></p> <p><strong>Planting:</strong><span> </span>late autumn or spring</p> <p><strong>Mulching:</strong><span> </span>late spring to early summer</p> <p><strong>Harvesting summer:</strong><span> </span>first year to fourth year</p> <p><strong>Removal of offshoots:</strong><span> </span>late autumn or spring, second year onwards</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Reader's Digest Editors. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-how-to-grow/how-to-grow-artichokes">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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When to prune

<p>Ever wondered when the best time is to prune your garden or to grow fruit? This calendar should help you out.</p> <h4>Pruning calendar</h4> <p><strong>Late winter</strong></p> <p>Dormant-prune deciduous fruit trees such as peach, nectarine, apple, pear (always lightly), cherry and European and Japanese plums.</p> <p>Cut back autumn-fruiting raspberries to within a few centimetres of the ground.</p> <p>Begin pinching back cordons and espaliers and rubbing out unwanted vegetative buds to maintain the desired shape.</p> <p>Prune blueberry bushes from the end of harvest through to the following bud break by removing or cutting back old canes. Late winter pruning is ideal.</p> <p>Cut back canes of any newly planted raspberries and hybrid blackberries.</p> <p><strong>Spring</strong></p> <p>Prune apricots in very early spring and before blossom opens.</p> <p>Prune citrus; remove dead or diseased wood and crossed rubbing branches. Remove one limb every three to four years to improve light penetration (the flower bud loss has little effect on yield).</p> <p>Prune passionfruit vines in mid- to late spring.</p> <p>Continue to shape cordons and espaliers during spring by rubbing out vegetative<br />buds that would form unwanted branches and spoil the established shape.</p> <p>Thin the small fruits on early stone and pome fruit trees to improve harvest quality.</p> <p><strong>Summer</strong></p> <p>In the early part of summer, continue judicious fruit thinning on late-season deciduous fruit varieties.</p> <p>Prune gooseberry bushes and white currants after fruiting has finished.</p> <p>Carry out summer pruning on deciduous fruit trees after harvesting in late summer. Only do dwarfed varieties if necessary.</p> <p>Cut out raspberry canes that have fruited.</p> <p><strong>Autumn</strong></p> <p>Complete any summer pruning of deciduous pome and stone fruit trees in early autumn.</p> <p>Cut down the shoots of blackberry hybrids that have fruited.</p> <p>Complete pruning of white currant and gooseberry bushes, and prune red and blackcurrant bushes.</p> <p><strong>Other</strong></p> <p>Tropical trees are usually pruned immediately after fruiting. In the first year this will simply consist of cutting back the leader to about 1 m high. Thereafter, make one thinning cut annually by removing a single limb; this will keep the tree at a manageable size.</p> <p>Bananas are cut to the ground after fruiting. Each plant will be replaced by an emerging sucker.</p> <p>Avocados are pruned lightly immediately after harvest. In the home garden trim only one side or the top of the tree annually. Rotate the part that you trim each year to maximise fruit production.</p> <p><em>Written by Reader's Digest Editors. This article first appeared in <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardeing-tips/when-to-prune">Reader’s Digest.</a> For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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“It’s all gone”: The moment a building gets destroyed by mistake

<p><span>A Sydney gym owner was left devastated after an excavator smashed through her building in a demolition mishap.</span></p> <p><span>The Booty Parlour in Balgowlah will now have to be flattened after an excavator working on the site next door slipped on a pile of rubble and crashed into the two-storey building, leaving a huge hole in the wall and a sagging roof.</span></p> <p><span>Surrounding buildings on Sydney Road were evacuated over fears that the gym could collapse.</span></p> <p><span>The Booty Parlour’s owner Jessica Zukowski said she had closed the studio to celebrate her birthday when the incident occurred on Tuesday.</span></p> <p><span>“I actually had had champagne with my husband because we were about to celebrate my birthday with my family,” she told <em><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-traffic-building-collapse-leads-to-road-closures-in-balgowlah/b5eee493-8851-47fb-9340-0ddd56b94cce">9News</a></em>. “We got a couple of calls from friends – that’s how we found out.”</span></p> <p><span>She said she lost about $200,000 worth of gym equipment from the accident.</span></p> <p><span>“We’re not allowed in and we won’t be able to retrieve anything from inside, it’s all gone,” Zukowski told the <em><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-04/sydney-booty-parlour-gym-destroyed-by-mistake/11476874">ABC</a></em>.</span></p> <p><span>In a Facebook post, Zukowski said it was a “super sad day”.</span></p> <p><span>“Our beautiful studio has been destroyed by the accident on Sydney Road in Balgowlah. Fortunately no one was in the studio when the accident occurred and everyone is safe,” she wrote on The Booty Parlour’s page.</span></p> <p><span>“We’re so sad to say goodbye to this space but so grateful for the memories. It’s been an amazing two-plus years of operation here.”</span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fthebootyparlour%2Fposts%2F2100277710274961&amp;width=500" width="500" height="821" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the pictures of the building.</p> <p><em>Photo credit: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/manlysocialforlocals/" target="_blank">Manly Social</a></em></p>

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8 things you never knew you could put in your dishwasher

<p>You’d be surprised just how many household items can be given a thorough cleaning in your humble dishwasher.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><strong>1. Small plastic toys</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"> <p>Germs can linger on your kids’ toys for months. Disinfect them by putting them in a mesh lingerie bag on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Then just let the normal cycle run.</p> <p><strong>2. Hairbrushes</strong></p> <p>Your hairbrush can hold almost 3,500 colonies of bacteria, according to University of Arizona research. Remove any stray hairs and drop your brush in the silverware tray for a thorough cleanse. Remember: Only plastic brushes or combs. Wooden or boar-bristle brushes will get ruined.</p> <p><strong>3. Potatoes</strong></p> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Making mashed potatoes for your next big family gathering? Cut your preparation time and wash your spuds on a rinse-only cycle – no detergent! – on the top shelf.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><strong>4. Refrigerator shelves</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"> <p>Between leaking meat juices and spilled food, your fridge can get really gross really fast. Instead of scrubbing every last inch clean, throw those shelves in with your other dishes.</p> <p><strong>5. Penholders</strong></p> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>When it comes to cleaning, common desk items like penholders and trays for scrap paper often get overlooked. If they’re metal or plastic, toss them in your next dishwasher load.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><strong>6. Bathroom stuff</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"> <div id="page10" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Your bathroom is a haven for bacteria, from soap dishes to bathtub drain plugs to toothbrush holders. Luckily, all of them can be cleaned on the top rack with your other dishes.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><strong>7. Nail clippers and tweezers</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"> <div id="page11" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Most cosmetic tools like nail clippers and tweezers are dishwasher safe. You can even wash plastic makeup brushes.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><strong>8. Razors</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"> <div id="page13" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Razors can get dirty from more than just hair. They also pick up the chemicals in your shaving cream and salts from the water. When you wash them in a dishwasher, use liquid detergent. Tablets can leave grit on the metal.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher"><em>Written by Claire Novak. </em><em>This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/13-things-you-never-knew-you-could-put-in-the-dishwasher" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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10 tips on how to help your indoor garden thrive

<p>Plants bring life and colour into the home and require little in the way of maintenance. Follow these simple tips and your plants should flourish.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive"> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive"><strong>1. Position plants carefully</strong></div> <p>Look for the best place in the house for each plant, and don’t be afraid to try different locations until you find the best spot. </p> <p><strong>2. Re-create a forest floor</strong></p> <p>If a room seems too dark to sustain a healthy plant, don’t be fooled. Most indoor plants originate in tropical and subtropical regions, in particular equatorial forests, and they thrive in dim environments and filtered light. The ideal spot is in front of a large window facing east or west, filtered if necessary through a net scrim curtain.</p> <p><strong>3. Sun-lovers face north</strong></p> <p>If you have a plant that thrives on lots of sun, place it on a windowsill facing north or north-east. Check soil moisture levels regularly and inspect the leaves to check they are not being burned. At the slightest sign of withering, move the plant towards the middle of the room.</p> <p><strong>4. Plants for the bathroom</strong></p> <p><span>Ferns and other moisture-loving plants do best in vaporous rooms like bathrooms where they can lap up regular doses of mist.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Water from the bottom</strong></p> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Water poured directly onto the soil may flood, or not reach the pot plant’s roots. Instead, water plants bottom up by standing them in a dish and filling the dish with water. Delicate plants such as fuchsias thrive on this method. For this method to work, all pots should have holes in the bottom through which the water is absorbed.</p> <p><strong>6. Keep away from drafts</strong></p> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>If you don’t want your plant to die of heat or cold, avoid placing it in draughty areas or near ducted heat or air-conditioning outlets.</p> <p><strong>7. Do not over water</strong></p> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Water your plants only when the potting mix feels dry to the touch – over watering is often the cause of indoor plant death. Check by pushing your finger into the soil; if it comes out without any trace of soil on it, start watering. Remember that plants may need more frequent watering in summer.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive"><strong>8. Remember, plants like to be misted</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive"> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Most indoor plants benefit from an occasional misting of water. Make sure the water is at room temperature and use an atomizer or spray bottle. Misting is particularly beneficial if you live in a centrally heated or air-conditioned house as the air can become very dry.</p> <p><strong>9. Apply some fertiliser</strong></p> <p>Feed your plants with small amounts of fertiliser. The fastest and simplest solution is complete liquid fertiliser in the recommended dose, usually every two to four weeks – check the label. </p> <p><strong>10. Use ice cubes</strong></p> <p>An efficient way to water your plants directly at a steady rate is to use ice cubes. Put a couple on top of the pot soil and leave them to melt.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div id="page6" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div id="page7" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div id="page8" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive"> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <div id="page11" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Brenda Schmerl. This article first appeared in <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/gardening-tips/how-help-your-indoor-garden-thrive" target="_blank">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN93V">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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6 things you should never do at home during severe weather

<p>Follow these tips to stay safe in severe weather in your home.</p> <p><strong>1. Never run a generator indoors during a power outage</strong></p> <p>A generator is the best thing to have in a blackout. But it can make<span> </span><em>you</em><span> </span>blackout (or die). Hurricane Katrina led to more than 50 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. Like any internal combustion engine, a generator engine exhausts carbon monoxide gas, which can give you a headache, knock you out, or even kill you. This is easy to avoid, though: Don’t run a generator in your garage or porch, and keep it at least 3 metres from your house.</p> <p><strong>2. Never talk on the phone</strong></p> <p>Your home is probably the safest place to be in an electrical storm. But here’s a safety tip you may not know. Lightning can still get to you through the conductive paths in your house; that means your wiring, your plumbing, and water.</p> <p>Talking on a corded phone, taking a shower or bath, working on your desktop computer, or handling power tools during an electrical storm isn’t much safer than standing outside. It’s best to stay away from all water and appliances until the storm passes.</p> <p><strong>3. Never not be aware of your safe place</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Whether you’re at home or the office, know where you’re going to go during severe weather. If you don’t have access to an underground shelter, move to the interior room or hallway on the lowest floor and get under a sturdy piece of furniture.</p> <p>Take a few minutes and put together a family survival plan. It’ll help keep your loved ones and your home safe. Keep in mind these everyday fixes to survive everything.</p> <p><strong>4. Never board up windows during a storm</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The time to board up your windows is on a calm, sunny day before a storm arrives. If you wait until a tropical system starts bringing wind and rain to the area, you’re endangering yourself. Large boards could be blown out of your hands, becoming a dangerous projectile.</p> <p>Listen to the forecast and make a decision several days in advance whether you’re going to board the windows or not.</p> <p><strong>5. Never look out the window!</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>We all know that windows are dangerous during storms, but what do most people do when they hear a severe weather warning? They run right to the window to see what they can see. In high winds, windows can easily brake sending glass and other debris inside!</p> <p><strong>6. Never get shocked in a flooded home</strong></p> <p>If your home has been inundated over electrical wiring, power outlets, electric hot water systems or other electrical installations (including switchboards), organise a licensed electrical contractor to check the premises as soon as flooding or water has abated. Do not touch them and do not attempt to unplug them or test them in any way.</p> <p>All electrical appliances affected by water should be inspected by a qualified electrician before use. No matter whether the water on an appliance came from a flood, or through general storm damage, never turn on the power to an appliance until it has been checked first.</p> <p class="p1"><em>Written by Elizabeth Flaherty. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/17-things-you-should-never-do-home-during-severe-weather">Handyman</a>.</em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Obama shells out almost $22 million on bizarre island retreat

<p>Barack and Michelle Obama are planning on buying a massive Martha’s Vineyard estate.</p> <p>The Obamas’ are in contract to buy an almost 12-hectare beachfront property, with a massive 640sqm main house.</p> <p>According to the<span> </span><a href="https://nypost.com/2019/08/22/barack-and-michelle-obama-are-buying-15m-estate-in-marthas-vineyard/"><em>NY Post</em></a>, the family were just renting the beachfront house for the summer but quickly fell in love and made an offer.</p> <p>The seven-bedroom, eight-bathroom property certainly has room for everyone and has a living room with vaulted ceilings and a stone fireplace.</p> <p>The home also includes a chef’s kitchen and a formal dining room with giant windows. The home is located in Edgartown, Massachusetts and was formerly owned by Boston Celtics chief Wyc Grousbeck.</p> <p>The master suite has a fireplace and a private sun deck for the power couple to relax in.</p> <p>Outside, there’s a pool with a fireplace as well as a private beach which include a boathouse.</p> <p>The location is known for its classic white-painted New England architecture and is ripe with world-class restaurants where other celebrities frequent, including David Letterman and Amy Schumer.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see inside the Obama’s new home.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.realtor.com/news/" target="_blank">Realtor.com</a></em></p>

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See inside Jackie O’s gorgeous vineyard home that's selling for $65 million

<p>Jackie Kennedy’s stunning Martha Vineyard estate has been listed for an eye watering $65 million. </p> <p>Jackie purchased the expansive 340-acre oceanfront property, known as Red Gate Farm, in 1979. </p> <p>The main residence alone is a whopping 5,456-square foot property and boasts five en-suite bedrooms, two “powder” rooms as well as a chef’s kitchen. </p> <p>The home also included a chef’s kitchen and the property also has a two-story guest home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms. </p> <p>The property has been listed by the celebrity’s oldest daughter, Caroline Kennedy who said: “Forty years ago, my mother fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard.”</p> <p>"When she found Red Gate Farm, it was a perfect expression of her romantic and adventurous spirit. The dunes and ponds and rolling hills of Aquinnah gave her the chance to create a world where she could be so close to nature, close to her family and friends, and, most importantly, close to her beloved books. She even built a fairy treehouse for her grandchildren. </p> <p>“Those grandchildren are grown so now it is time for us to follow my mother’s example and create our own worlds. We hope that a new family will treasure this place as we have for three generations.”</p> <p>The breathtaking property was designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen and was renovated in 2000 by Deborah Bere, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture, </p> <p>Situated on the edge of Squibnocket Pond, the estate has over a mile of the Atlantic beachfront as a glorious view. </p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Jackie Kennedy’s gorgeous home.</p>

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The science is in: Gardening is good for you

<p>As the weather warms and days lengthen, your attention may be turning to that forgotten patch of your backyard. This week we’ve asked our experts to share the science behind gardening. So grab a trowel and your green thumbs, and dig in.</p> <p>“That’s all very well put,” says Candide, in the final line of Voltaire’s novel of the same name, “but we must go and work our garden.”</p> <p>I studied this text at high school before I became a gardener and professional horticulturist. We were taught that Candide’s gardening imperative was metaphorical not literal; a command for finding an authentic vocation, not a call to take up trowels and secateurs.</p> <p>In fact, Voltaire himself really believed that active gardening was a great way to stay sane, healthy and free from stress. That was 300 years ago.</p> <p>As it turns out, the science suggests he was right.</p> <p><strong>The science of therapeutic horticulture</strong></p> <p>Gardens and landscapes have long been designed as sanctuaries and retreats from the stresses of life – from great urban green spaces such as Central Park in New York to the humblest suburban backyard. But beyond the passive enjoyment of a garden or of being in nature more generally, researchers have also studied the role of actively caring for plants as a therapeutic and educational tool.</p> <p>“Therapeutic horticulture” and “horticultural therapy” have become recognised treatments for stress and depression, which have served as a healing aid in settings ranging from prisons and mental health treatment facilities to schools and hospitals.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and school</strong></p> <p>Studies of school gardening programs – which usually centre on growing food – show that students who have worked on designing, creating and maintaining gardens develop more positive attitudes about health, nutrition and the <a href="http://www.kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/HPP_2011_MMR_Sample1.pdf">consumption</a> of <a href="http://search.proquest.com/openview/61a8bb123ec000d6a6348aeb950645fa/1?pq-origsite=gscholar">vegetables</a>.</p> <p>They also <a href="http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/15/3/439.short">score better</a> on science <a href="http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/syllabi/435/Articles/Klemmer.pdf">achievement</a>, have better attitudes about school, and improve their <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15330150701318828">interpersonal skills</a> and <a href="https://food-hub.org/files/resources/Blair_The%20Child%20in%20the%20Garden_J.%20Environ%20Educ_2009.pdf">classroom behaviour</a>.</p> <p>Research on students confirms that gardening leads to higher levels of self-esteem and responsibility. Research suggests that incorporating gardening into a <a href="http://kohalacenter.org/HISGN/pdf/Thechildinthegarden.pdf">school setting</a> can boost group cohesiveness.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and mental health</strong></p> <p>Tailored gardening programs have been shown to increase quality of life for people with <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">chronic mental illnesses</a>, including <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J004v16n01_02">anxiety and depression</a>.</p> <p>Another study on the use of therapeutic horticulture for patients with clinical depression sought to understand why gardening programs were effective in lessening patient experience of depression. They found that structured gardening activities gave patients existential purpose. Put simply, it <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/01612840.2010.528168">gave their lives meaning</a>.</p> <p>In jails and corrective programs, horticultural therapy programs have been used to give inmates positive, purposeful activities that lessen aggression and hostility during and after incarceration.</p> <p>In one detailed study from a San Francisco program, involvement in therapeutic horticulture was particularly effective in <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J076v26n03_10">improving psychosocial functioning</a> across prison populations (although the benefits were not necessarily sustained after release.)</p> <p>Gardening has been shown to help improve the lives of <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jacqueline_Atkinson/publication/265575473_AN_EVALUATION_OF_THE_GARDENING_LEAVE_PROJECT_FOR_EX-MILITARY_PERSONNEL_WITH_PTSD_AND_OTHER_COMBAT_RELATED_MENTAL_HEALTH_PROBLEMS/links/55094b960cf26ff55f852b50.pdf">military veterans</a> and <a href="http://www.joe.org/joe/2007june/iw5p.shtml">homeless people</a>. Various therapeutic horticulture <a href="https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/2930">programs</a> have been used to help people with learning difficulties, asylum seekers, refugees and victims of torture.</p> <p><strong>Gardening and older people</strong></p> <p>As populations in the West age, hands-on gardening programs have been used for older people in nursing homes and related facilities.</p> <p>A systematic review of 22 studies of gardening programs for older adults found that gardening was a powerful <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01924788.2013.784942">health-promoting activity</a> across diverse populations.</p> <p>One <a href="http://journals.lww.com/jcrjournal/Abstract/2005/09000/Effects_of_Horticultural_Therapy_on_Mood_and_Heart.8.aspx">study</a> sought to understand if patients recovering from heart attack might benefit from a horticultural therapy program. It concluded:</p> <p>[Our] findings indicate that horticultural therapy improves mood state, suggesting that it may be a useful tool in reducing stress. Therefore, to the extent that stress contributes to coronary heart disease, these findings support the role of horticultural therapy as an effective component of cardiac rehabilitation.</p> <p>While the literature on the positive effects of gardening, reflecting both qualitative and quantitative studies, is large, most of these studies are from overseas.</p> <p>Investment in horticultural therapy programs in Australia is piecemeal. That said, there are some standout success stories such as the <a href="https://www.kitchengardenfoundation.org.au/">Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation</a>and the work of nurse <a href="https://www.anmfvic.asn.au/membership/member-profiles/steven-wells">Steven Wells at the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre</a> and beyond.</p> <p>Finally, without professionally trained horticulturists none of these programs – in Australia or internationally – can take place.</p> <p><em>Written by Chris Williams. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/the-science-is-in-gardening-is-good-for-you-65251"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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Royal hideaway! See Inside Elton John’s French home

<p>When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex faced a wave of criticism and backlash from the media and public - a long-time friend of Prince Harry’s mother, Elton John, decided to step in. </p> <p>The musician who once said the late Princess Di could wal into a room and make everything “great,” has come to the defense of the royal’s youngest son and wife for taking a private jet to France for a secret getaway with their newborn son, Archie. </p> <p>world-famous celebrity revealed he footed the bill for the private jet - which is reportedly carbon-neutral - and that the family were visiting him at his estate in Nice. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829885/harry-meghan.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/75c49c1403d44c4fbb27e56f5bcf4b0c" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Elton John greeting Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry at the London premier of The </em><em>Lion King on July 14, 2019.</em></p> <p>"After a hectic year continuing their hard work and dedication to charity, David and I wanted the young family to have a private holiday inside the safety and tranquility of our home," John explained in a Twitter thread.</p> <p>The vacation, we are sure, was stuff made of dreams based on the mesmerizing photos of Elton’s stunning French property. </p> <p>The home was built in the 1920’s as an artist’s colony, according to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://people.com/home/all-about-elton-johns-home-in-france-where-meghan-markle-and-prince-harry-recently-vacationed/" target="_blank">People<span> </span></a>magazine, however it was refurbished to suit the singer’s personality. </p> <p>The sprawling property, said John to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/elton-john-homes-old-windsor-london-atlanta-nice-france-article" target="_blank">Architectural Digest</a><span> </span>in 2000, was what “heaven must be like this.”</p> <p>"If Gabriel popped out from behind a tree and said hi, I wouldn’t be surprised. The gates close behind me, and I leave the rest of the world behind."</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see Elton John’s gorgeous French property - where Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan vacationed. </p>

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“They are truly disgusting”: Are you making this mistake while cleaning your kitchen?

<p>One university hygiene expert has warned the public that an item in your kitchen must be avoided at all costs.</p> <p>It’s a single rectangular sponge, and according to Professor Marylouise McLaws, who’s a germ and hygiene expert at the University of New South Wales, this item is “truly disgusting”.</p> <p>She told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/what-the-dirtiest-item-in-your-kitchen-is-075647429.html" target="_blank">Yahoo News Australia</a><span> </span>that people should be more wary of the good old kitchen sponge.</p> <p>“They are truly disgusting. I recommend people don’t use them at all,” Professor McLaws said.</p> <p>“Those sponges are full of water and can contain bacteria that can cause an upset stomach. A small amount of that bacteria in the water can give it the perfect environment to breed in.”</p> <p>Professor McLaws said that a “perfect storm” for bacteria is when the sponge is taken to a kitchen bench that has already been contaminated by regular household items and their germs, such as from bags, animals, backpacks and other items from outside.</p> <p>“I dislike them intensely. They could be used on the floor, but should certainly never be used on dishes after that,” Professor McLaws said.</p> <p>Professor McLaws encourages people to use paper towels with soapy water or mild bleach spray instead of using bacteria-ridden sponges.</p> <p>“You have no idea if the cat has jumped up on it [the kitchen bench], and what kind of things are being brought in on the bottom of shopping bags,” she said.</p> <p>She also reminded people that they should clean “high-touch” areas.</p> <p>“These include places like the fridge handle, the dishwasher and other nobs and handles that are used frequently by multiple people,” she said.</p> <p>A warning is in place for the use of tea towels, as these are breeding grounds for bacteria as well.</p> <p>“Viruses and bacteria can just sit on tea towels. Households wanting to cut down on sick days should use a different towel for hands and dishes,” Professor McLaws said.</p> <p>However, towels in the bathroom are only usually used by one person and can be washed once a week.</p>

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Have you been using a knife and fork wrong?

<p>With the festive season rapidly approaching it would be a good time to start perfecting your table etiquette.</p> <p>Surprisingly, new British research has discovered that 40 per cent of people don’t know how to correctly use a knife and fork.</p> <p>Etiquette expert, Jo Bryant, specialises in table manners and shares the correct ways to hold a knife and fork, when it’s appropriate to use one utensil over another, and finding your way around an elaborate dinner setting.</p> <p>“When it comes to good table manners and etiquette, it is easy to feel daunted. Whether we are trying new cuisines, curbing bad habits, remembering the basics or managing tricky situations, it can seem like there is a lot to get right,” Jo explained.</p> <p>“However, the aim of good table etiquette is simply the essence of good manners: to behave with consideration, thought and respect towards fellow diners – as you would expect them to behave towards you.”</p> <p>Jo revealed the correct way to hold your knife, which involves the index finger resting along the top of the handle. Forks should be held with the tines pointing downwards with your index finger on the handle. Gripping your cutlery with your hands around the centre shows very bad table manners.</p> <p>Jo shared insight into when to ditch your knife explaining, “You should not cut up your food, then put down your knife and fork, or just a fork.”</p> <p>The only occasion it is acceptable to eat with a fork is when eating a meal that only requires a single utensil, such as spaghetti.</p> <p>“In this case, the fork should be held with the tines facing upwards, similar to a spoon,” she continued.</p> <p>If you feel overwhelmed when it comes to elaborate table settings with different sets of cutlery fear no more. Jo revealed the ins and outs of how to work your way around the table.</p> <p>The first rule of thumb is that cutlery is used from the outside inwards, entre cutlery is placed on the outside of the table setting while the main utensils are on the inside next to the plate.</p> <p>If soup is being served as a starter, then the spoon is placed to the right and outside of the main course knife.</p> <p>Dessert cutlery is usually positioned across the top of the place setting, with the bowl of the spoon pointing to the left and the tines of the fork to the right. This rule is broken in extremely formal circumstances, like a banquet with the Queen, where pudding spoons and forks are placed innermost to the knives and forks.</p> <p>Side plates go to the left of the forks, usually with a butter knife and napkin.</p> <p>Wine and water glasses go to the top right of the setting.</p>

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Miraculous find of missing airport cat after 2 days

<p>A cat who went missing on a flight to Cairns has been found safe and sound after a wild adventure from start to finish. </p> <p>Cookie was set to fly with Virgin Australia to Cairns, Queensland on Sunday - however once the plane landed, there was no sight of the beloved pet. </p> <p>Owners Jack and Jessica Thomas are planning to move overseas and were sending Cookie along with their dog to live with family members across states. </p> <p>Several frantic phone calls eventually led to the couple finding out their feline had never made it to Cairns, they told 9News on Monday. </p> <p>At the time, Mr Thomas said he was left “frustrated” by the situation. </p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="/media/7829500/7c16e510-bcf7-11e9-9fd7-3f64e46623c4-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/34802d63c76746b1930fb7fe7c2f6f3b" /></p> <p><em>Jessica and Jack Thomas were left feeling "frustrated" over their missing cat, Cookie. Image: 9News.</em></p> <p>“Nobody seems to be able to give us any answers as to how it happened.”</p> <p>“I just want my cat back,” a tearful Ms Thomas said. </p> <p>Thankfully, after 24 hours of distress for the family, the story can finally have a happy ending. </p> <p>“We are pleased to have found Cookie safe and sound after an extensive search and we look forward to reuniting him with his owners,” a Virgin spokesperson said in a statement, as reported by<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/cat-miraculously-found-alive-after-missing-flight-054815568.html" target="_blank">Yahoo News. </a></p> <p>“We will continue to investigate how this incident occurred and we will review and update our processes accordingly.”</p> <p>Mr and Mrs Thomas took to social media and contacted news organisations in an attempt to spread the word about Cookie, who they feared could be anywhere in the country.</p> <p>However, the cat was reportedly found in the airport. </p> <p>Virgin Australia<span> </span>staff did not comment on the state of the missing feline.</p>

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