Succulents for summer

first_imgBy Bodie PennisiUniversity of GeorgiaThe summer heat and water restrictions seem to affect gardeners and gardens alike: they make us wilt right along with our plants.Naturally, we wish we’d planted more heat- and drought-tolerant plants. If they happen to be winter-hardy too, so much the better.Fortunately, you can find such garden winners among the succulent plants. Good examples are Sedum (stonecrop), Sempervivum (houseleek, hen and chickens), Delosperma (ice plant) and Agave (century plant).Many of these species and other cold-hardy succulents are excellent ornamentals that do well in diverse growing conditions. They’re ideal selections for the low-maintenance home landscape.Most succulents do best when you plant them in full sun to partial shade in well-drained soils. These plants are especially averse to wet places in winter.Water saversAs their name implies, succulents store water in their leaves and stems, so irrigation is seldom necessary after you get them established in their proper planting areas. These plants are naturally very adaptable to extended periods of drought.Succulents aren’t heavy feeders. One to two applications of fertilizer in the spring and early summer are enough to keep it growing and healthy.As a bonus, these plants take on a range of subtle to intense color variations at times, such as during active growth and winter dormancy. These changes just add to their visual appeal.Sedums and sempervivums have many ornamental uses in the garden. They’re wonderful in a rock garden or alpine planting or for bare slopes with poor soil. Besides the appeal of their foliage, many sedum cultivars boast white, yellow, pink, or red flowers.Succulents can be used as edging plants for walkways and front border accents in perennial beds, where they weave their foliage with adjacent plants to add an amazing textural richness.Last, but not least, succulents can grace containers of all sorts and sizes.Many stonecrop and hen and chickens species look very different. Leaf colors range from lime green to burgundy to purple. And size varies from less than quarter of an inch to a foot across. Foliage can be thin and spiky or thick and rounded with a pointed tip.Some winnersThere are some notable hardy Sedum selections. One is Sedum ‘Akebono,’ a low-growing plant with spring flushes of cream-colored new foliage that changes back to green as the season progresses and then flushes again in the fall.Sempervivum ‘Oddity’ is another low-growing succulent with a green, tubular leaves tipped in burgundy.Another succulent species, Echeveria, offers the cultivar, “Topsy Turvy,” with waxy, silver, tubular leaves with an interesting, lengthwise fold. This plant is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture Zone 8.Delosperma cooperii (hardy ice plant) is a low-growing evergreen perennial with small, medium-green leaves. Pink blooms cover the plant from early spring to first frost.And finally, Delosperma nubigenum (yellow ice plant) is an excellent ground cover. It features brilliant yellow flowers and bright green, jellybean foliage spreading to form solid mats.(Bodie Pennisi is a Cooperative Extension floriculturist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)last_img read more

It’s time to rethink tax assessments for real estate valuations

first_imgWhen my wife and I received our tax assessment increase last year, we weren’t thrilled at the idea of paying more property taxes. But, there was a silver lining to receiving the notice in the mail. As a lending industry innovator, the letter sparked my thinking about tax assessments and how it may be time to reimagine the way we determine property value.In Iowa, the state where the LenderClose team and I are developing new lending technology for community lenders, tax assessment values (TAVs) are revisited every other year. Our next assessment is expected in 2021. That’s a long time between assessments. Because TAVs are only updated once every 24 months, credit unions in our state are in danger of falling short on two very important goals: mitigating risk and satisfying borrowers.As we’ve experienced during the past decade, real estate markets shift – sometimes rapidly. Values in a specific zip code or neighborhood sometimes rise and drop based on hyper-local activities. For example, two short sales on the same street are highly likely to drop valuations across the entire neighborhood, as the events are factored into the comparable sales analysis.Or, consider a neighborhood that adds an apartment complex, business, retail shops or a park.  Increased amenities are likely to inflate the value of the properties around them.In today’s fast-paced real estate and development environments, these kinds of activities are happening much more rapidly than in the past. Lenders need access to the most accurate and up-to-date information as they evaluate mortgage and home equity applications. Using assessor data that may not reflect current conditions not only presents unnecessary risks, it carries opportunity costs, as well.Opportunity Costs of TAVsIn recent years, U.S homeowners have been enjoying a sellers’ market. Property values have rebounded since the housing market crash of 2008, and some markets are even seeing increases over pre-recession levels.Many borrowers, when applying for a home equity loan or a refinance, are looking to fully tap into the equity resources their home provides. Relying on potentially outdated tax assessor data could be short-changing both them and the lender because:Borrowers may be unable to maximize the lendable equity in their home.Lenders may be leaving equity on the table, which generates interest income for their financial institution.Lenders risk losing borrowers if they look for other options that better reflect increased home values.Alternatives to TAVsThe good news for lenders is there are now middle-ground options between TAVs and the highly manual and sometimes expensive process of ordering 1004 appraisals. One such option, automated valuation models (AVMs), has proven to be a reliable, efficient, cost-effective and instantaneous alternative to TAVs. AVMs use mathematical models combined with property and transaction data to calculate real estate values based on the most currently available information.In 2010, the NCUA, FDIC and OCC released the Interagency Appraisal and Evaluation Guidelines allowing the use of AVMs for transaction amounts of $250,000 or less. A site visit to the property is still required to satisfy the guidelines, so an AVM should be complemented with a Property Condition or a Property Inspection Report (PCR/PIR). Just this past year, the FDIC and the OCC amended the guidelines by increasing the appraisal threshold for residential real estate loans to $400,000. NCUA achieved a similar evolution of guidelines in the commercial lending arena, taking its threshold from $250,000 to $1,000,000.For lenders that can’t or don’t want to integrate AVMs into their lending processes, there are other evaluation products that involve a site visit, a report on the property and a professional’s valuation based on available data.Why Credit Union Lenders Should Give AVMs a Second LookAVMs are yet another corner of financial services being reshaped by technology. They are not erasing the need for appraisals. Rather, AVMs are providing a powerful complement and new dimension to the traditional approach.Today’s real estate labor market is characterized by a shrinking number of licensed appraisers, which is driving costs well beyond reason in some places. Right now, in the state of Oregon, the average cost of a 1004 appraisal is between $700 and $1,300. The cost can be equally prohibitive in rural markets across the U.S. Contrast that to an AVM or evaluation product that can provide the service for $25 – $250 and also much more quickly, and the value to credit unions and their member borrowers becomes pretty clear.Lenders that want to remain competitive and provide the best borrower experience should reconsider the phrase “We’ve always done it that way.” Real-time data and the technology to process it are creating high-value analytics possibilities for even the smallest lending teams. Those that are open to new possibilities will have the best chance of creating the outstanding borrower experiences, increased efficiency and speed our highly competitive lending landscape demands. 1SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Omar Jordan Omar Jordan is CEO of fintech CUSO LenderClose. With API connections to every vendor it takes to originate a mortgage or HELOC, LenderClose gives loan officers immediate access to a … Web: Detailslast_img read more

Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters Press report

first_img Nizels Golf and Country Club, Hildenborough, again played host to the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters Golf Championship. 112 boys and 23 girls battled it out, in wonderful conditions, over four rounds, with Robert MacIntyre (Scotland) running out Champion and Lauren Horsford (Wimbledon) becoming Girls’ Champion with scores of fifteen under and six under respectively. Brilliant scoring in perfect weather conditions for one, the tournament having had three consecutive wet and cold years previously! “The Henry Cooper” is now recognised as one of the top, best run and prestigious junior tournaments in Europe. It is an R&A World Amateur Golf Ranking event, and an England Golf Order of Merit tournament for both the boys and the girls. Heavily oversubscribed, the places are determined on merit, with the lowest handicaps qualifying. This year the cut-off was 0.2 for the boys and 4.5 for the girls. To give some idea of how eager the youngsters are to play in this tournament, a couple of reserves turned up (without any guarantee of a game), just in case there were last-minute dropouts on the Friday. The conditions over the weekend proved challenging for many players. Although warm, sunny and with little wind, the course itself demands respect from even the best players. Perfect greens, running fast at 11 on the stimp meter, and fairways exquisitely prepared, were bordered by penal rough. If players attacked the greens they very often lost the ball! It was all the more remarkable, therefore, that eighteen players finished the four rounds under par. Our 2013 Girls; Champion is Lauren Horsford from Wimbledon, a total of 6-under – fantastic scoring over 4 rounds – gave her a three-shot winning margin over Sophie Keech from Parkstone. For the boys, Marcus Sewell (Shooters Hill) and Murray Naysmith (Scotland) were joint runners-up at 9-under par and Rob MacInyre (Scotland) our 2014 Champion, with a sensational final round of 66 to finish on 15-under, six shots clear.It was a doubly good day for Scotland – The Henry Cooper Under 16 winner from 2012, Bradley Neil, became the British Amateur Champion at Royal Portrush, Ireland, and as a result will receive invitations to The Open and The Masters amongst other wonderful accolades! Well done Bradley! As always, the standard of golf played and the etiquette of the players was impeccable – one player even bravely disqualifying himself for signing for a wrong score! It could only happen in golf. The Junior-‘Pro’-Am The Junior-‘Pro’/Am, when the best of the Under-18 competitors are teamed with three amateurs, took place on Thursday 19th June and was fully subscribed with 25 teams. A very enjoyable day was had by all and it was a great success, raising well over £6,000 for the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters Charitable Trust. More information: Alan Cheeseman Chairman, Tournament Team and Founding Trustee [email protected] 07725 528241 24 Nov 2014 Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters Press report last_img read more

It’s a title showdown after a day of drama

first_img Tags: County Finals, Dorset, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Senior Men, Sussex 10 Oct 2018 It’s a title showdown after a day of drama Lancashire squeezed into a title showdown with Sussex for the English Senior Men’s County Championship after a dramatic second day’s play at Stanton-on-the-Wolds Golf Club.The Northerners were held to a draw by a resurgent Dorset team, who bounced back in style after a heavy defeat on the opening day. Meanwhile, Sussex kept up their winning ways with a 5.5-3.5 win over the host county, Nottinghamshire.The results so far give Sussex two wins from two matches and means they head into tomorrow’s finale knowing that a halved result will be enough to claim the trophy for the first time. For Lancashire, with one win and one half as they pursue their third title, it’s a simple case of win or fail.Today, Lancashire had to pull out all the stops after Dorset threatened to derail their progress. The South West champions took 2.5 points from the three morning foursomes, claiming the first one comfortably (5/4) and then holding their nerve to win another the last and finally to snatch a half, having been three down after 12.Dorset kept up the pressure in the singles, notably over the front nine, and Lancashire needed all their determination and experience to force the half.The first two singles results were both comfortable wins, with each county in turn taking a point. Then it was time for grit. Lancashire’s Tony Flanagan and Tony Holt both trailed over the front nine, both pulled it back, both edged ahead, and both were finally held to halved results by their Dorset opponents, respectively David Barton and Ashley Beckett (pictured top).It gave Dorset a guaranteed half in the match and Lancashire depended on a strong finish. It was delivered by British Senior Champion Trevor Foster (4/2) and his immediate predecessor, Bryan Hughes, (1up).Team captain Mike Gray commented: “This wasn’t what we wanted but the fightback means we are still in it and nothing has changed: we need to win tomorrow to win the championship.”Dorset captain Phil Addis was delighted with his team’s comeback. “Yesterday we just didn’t get out of the starting block, but today the lads have done us proud and, for a small county like Dorset, this is a great result.”In the other match Sussex continued their impressive progress – both in this championship and in their season as a whole. They’ve reached the finals of two other major senior events which will be played over coming weeks.But their focus tomorrow is Lancashire. Sussex captain Rick Thomas remarked: “It’s all to play for, against tough opposition. It won’t be a walk in the park, but we’re delighted to be part of this and to have this opportunity.”Sussex have looked confident and composed throughout this event, today holding off the challenge of the Nottinghamshire side.They led 2-1 after the foursomes, but were quickly caught in the singles when Nottinghamshire’s Ian Gretton sped off to win 7/6.Sussex edged ahead again with Martin Galway’s 3/2 win, but almost immediately Nottinghamshire’s Charles Banks answered him. Banks continued his unbeaten record with his 2/1 win, which featured an impressive birdie on the very difficult 16th green.But Mark Logan got up and down on the last to grab a half for Sussex and take the pressure off Thomas’s nerves, before the win was confirmed by Steve Graham (pictured above, left) and Malcolm Cawte.“Things felt a lot better after that half,” said Thomas. “All the games were tight and all had moments when they could have gone either way, but we managed to get the points.”Tomorrow’s matches are Dorset v Nottinghamshire and Sussex v Lancashire.Click here for full scoresImages copyright Leaderboard Photographylast_img read more

Steelers CB Gay fined $15,750 for hit on Campbell

first_imgCleveland Browns quarterback Jason Campbell lies near midfield after suffering a concussion in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers in an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013. Pittsburgh won the game 27-11. (AP Photo/David Richard)NEW YORK (AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay has been fined $15,750 by the NFL for his hit last Sunday that gave Browns quarterback Jason Campbell a concussion.Gay was fined Friday for unnecessary roughness because he unnecessarily delivered a forcible blow to the head and neck area of Campbell.Also fined Sunday was Saints defensive end Cam Jordan, docked $10,000 for a hit on Falcons QB Matt Ryan.Lions DT Ndamukong Suh was fined $7,875 for motioning a throat slash in a game with Tampa Bay. Jets DT Kenrick Ellis was fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness when he grabbed Baltimore QB Joe Flacco’s face mask.Bears guard Kyle Long was docked the same amount for unnecessarily striking a Rams opponent during a skirmish involving several players.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.orglast_img read more