How to Grow Anything: Your Best Garden and Landscape in 6 Lessons [TTC Video]
15 February 2017, 02:25
Course No 9711 | WMV, WMV3, 640x360 | WMA, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 6x33 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 2.84GB
Gardening is one of life’s great pleasures. It offers bountiful wonders—flowers, grasses, fruits, vegetables, trees—that bring you closer to the natural world. It allows you to design private and public displays of infinite variety and for numerous purposes. And the best part: Learning how to grow the garden of your dreams is a skill that anyone can learn with relative ease.
Believe it or not, you can create gardens and landscapes in almost any setting, from large rural backyards to tight urban spaces, and in almost any climate. All it takes is a little care, a little patience, and, above all, the knowledge and techniques that professional gardeners and horticulturalists use to cultivate garden spaces that are both beautiful and successful.
In just six engaging and accessible lessons, How to Grow Anything: Your Best Garden Landscape in 6 Lessons offers you the unique chance to learn alongside a master gardening educator with more than 30 years of experience as she reveals the essential skills of gardening. Melinda Myers—an award-winning horticulturist and certified arborist, and a nationally syndicated garden host—guides you step-by-step through the fundamentals, from design to preparation to planting, that any novice gardener needs to know in order to plant and maintain a thriving garden that looks as great as those seen on television and in books and magazines.
And even if you’re someone who has been gardening for years, you’ll find new ideas and tips as the instructor takes you to two test sites across the year—from spring to winter—transforming grassy areas, overgrown beds, and lackluster designs into spectacular gardens.
Get Solutions to Common Gardening Dilemmas
Escorting you from public gardens and garden centers to personal outdoor garden spaces to our in-studio garden, Ms. Myers reveals in a conversational and engaging way solutions to common gardening challenges.
- What plants and flowers are best for your particular space’s light and soil conditions?
- When is the best time to plant, and how can you maximize your harvest? What adjustments can you make as the seasons change?
- How do you protect your garden against common insects and diseases?
- How can you choose the right plants and flowers to make an eye-catching design?
- How do you optimize your vegetable garden or combine edibles and ornamentals in a single space?
According to Ms. Myers, it’s all about following what she calls the “four R’s”: the right plant for the right purpose in the right place to give you the right look. Whether you’re working with a suburban backyard or the window box of an apartment, you’ll rely on this insight to discover just how simple it can be to overcome the most common gardening and landscaping challenges. In addition, you’ll
- get a vibrant visual introduction to dozens of edible and ornamental plant varieties;
- explore the basic science behind how soil, light, and water influence plant growth;
- learn how best to plant, water, weed, prune, and harvest the fruits of your labor; and more.
Learn Tips and Tricks from an Expert Gardener
Your Best Garden Landscape in 6 Lessons is packed with the kind of insider tips and techniques that will not only help you avoid the pitfalls that prohibit many of us from keeping up with a garden, but will help you create and design personal gardens you’ll enjoy maintaining and that are sure to impress your family, friends, and neighbors.
- A simple trick for moving in-ground plants to a new location: Wrap the roots in wet newspaper or place them in plastic grocery bags. This reduces stress on the plant, keeps the roots moist, and avoids prolonged exposure to air.
- When using a total vegetation killer, take a small plastic soda bottle with the bottom removed, use it to cover your weeds, and spray into the neck of the bottle. That way, this spray will kill only the weeds and it won’t get on nearby plants and be absorbed by the plants’ leaves.
- Reduce your workload by matching plants to their specific light, water, and soil requirements (which you can find on their labels). For example, plants that thrive in normal/natural rainfall in your area will need supplemental watering only during extended periods of drought.
- Minimize pruning to a newly planted tree (except for broken, crossing, or damaged branches). The more top growth on your tree, the more energy is produced and the faster your tree will start to get established.
An Unrivaled Introduction to the Essential Skills of Gardening
With more than 30 years of experience in the gardening and horticulture business—and as a twice-tenured professor, author, prolific columnist, and media expert—Ms. Myers knows how to break down the complexities of gardening and make it easier, more fun, and more personally rewarding than you ever imagined.
With How to Grow Anything: Your Best Garden and Landscape in 6 Lessons, you’ll also find that there’s more to be gained from learning alongside this consummate expert and teacher than from what you could get in a book on gardening. You’ll get the unrivaled experience of watching Ms. Myers in action as she designs spaces, shops for plants, maintains the health of her garden spaces, and makes adjustments—just as you will at home. She also takes you through the seasons so you can see how plantings in spring turn out in late summer, or witness how solutions to common garden design challenges prove successful at the end of the planting season. It’s an opportunity to see the entire growing season burst into life right before your eyes.
Above all, these lessons are ones you’ll come back to again and again with each seasonal change. “One of the things I like about gardening is that it’s never finished,” Ms. Myers notes. “You’re always learning more. Best of all, there are always new plants to try. The opportunities are endless.”
The Enlightenment: Invention of the Modern Self [TTC Video]
15 February 2017, 02:10
Course No 4117 | AVI, DivX, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.16GB
You are a product of the Enlightenment. In fact, the philosophy behind so much that has created the modern concept of Self—politics, economics, psychology, science and technology, education, art—was invented as recently as the Enlightenment of the 18th century. In The Enlightenment Invention of the Modern Self, literary scholar Leo Damrosch of Harvard University considers the time when ideas about the self were first considered.
Through the eyes of the Enlightenment's greatest writers, you follow the origin of new ways of thinking—ideas we today take for granted but are startlingly recent—about the individual and society.
You see how these notions emerged in an era of transition from a world dominated by classical thought, institutional religion, and the aristocracy to one that was increasingly secular, scientific, skeptical, and middle class. The 18th century was a crucible for new questions that, among other things:
- Reversed religious notions that human nature and the material world were infected by sin; instead they became beneficial
- Provided a new rationale for the way we obtain and use knowledge
- Coined or redefined words—such as humor, sentiment, and sensibility—to reflect new attitudes about feelings and personality
- Disputed the classical dictum that art should "hold a mirror up to nature" and serve a moral purpose
- Laid the groundwork for theories of the unconscious
- Nurtured the development of the novel, with new ways of understanding psychological and social experience
- Invented the autobiography
- Raised pre-Darwinian ideas about evolution
- Suggested that men and women should be treated as equals.
Understand the Enlightenment through its Great Books
These lectures are essentially about ideas and about books—how great ideas are alive and powerful in the pages of significant written works. The guiding premise is that the best way to appreciate the thinking of a given period is to explore its literature.
You note or discuss at length a range of novels, autobiographies, and biographies from the 1670s to the 1790s, including The Pilgrim's Progress, Candide, The London Journal, The Social Contract, Confessions, and Songs of Innocence and of Experience. If you haven't already done so, this is your opportunity to familiarize yourself with this remarkable collection of works.
Professor Damrosch is the perfect teacher to lead you on this literary tour. He served a five-year term as chairman of Harvard's Department of English, and in 2001 was named a Harvard College Professor in recognition of distinguished teaching. His books that explore Enlightenment themes include Samuel Johnson and the Tragic Sense, Symbol and Truth in Blake's Myth, The Imaginative World of Alexander Pope, and Fictions of Reality in the Age of Hume and Johnson.
Through its literature, and with Professor Damrosch as your guide, you explore key themes and issues of the Enlightenment. One of these is the notion of authenticity. Do we have an authentic self, or are we simply the various roles we play? Is there such a thing as truth, or are our values, and even our motivations, arbitrary and artificial?
You consider these questions in the light of such works by Denis Diderot as D'Alembert's Dream, Rameau's Nephew, and the "antinovel" Jacques the Fatalist. The lectures on Les Liaisons Dangereuses, toward the end of the course, examine the potentially explosive implications of such thinking.
Another central issue was the way the Enlightenment revealed a need for new intellectual tools. For example, its main philosophy, empiricism, had no concept of what we would now call the unconscious. It could not account for feelings of conflict or alienation, or for neuroses or obsessions.
The problems this created can be seen in the biographies of the time. In his Life of Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson describes Pope's physical disability but never considers its psychological effects on Pope's life and work. Similarly, Edward Gibbon, in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, fails to recognize that sadism might be the cause of the emperor Commodus's atrocities. Such blind spots cried out for new intellectual tools to deal with human psychology.
We Talk Like Rousseau, but Live Like Franklin
The Enlightenment identified a psychological conflict that underlies modern life. On the one hand, we have a strong belief in our individual uniqueness and self-sufficiency. On the other hand, we acknowledge that exterior forces—nature and society—have great power to nurture us. One highlight of this course is how Professor Damrosch makes this conflict clear by vividly comparing two highly influential Enlightenment figures: the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and American statesman Benjamin Franklin.
Rousseau was the Enlightenment's most original thinker. His legacy to us is intellectual and inward-looking: about psychology and education, the value we place on introspection, our need to find and fulfill our unique potential, and the framework we use to discuss our feelings of conflict with society at large.
Franklin was action-oriented and outward-focused. He provides the role model for daily life: optimistic, characterized by disciplined work to create tangible accomplishments, and defined by the belief that involvement in society, for the betterment of society, is the optimal way to live.
In Professor Damrosch's opinion, we conduct ourselves and understand our lives along a spectrum that runs from Rousseau to Franklin. In fact, he believes that, in general, "Our culture talks the Rousseau line but lives the Franklin life."
What was, after all, the modern self that the Enlightenment invented? This course suggests that it was a new human insight, one that rejected absolute or easily generalized explanations and embraced the conflict, confusion, and paradox of life. It was a new and dynamic account of human life—one that continues to both benefit and afflict us.
A Partial List of Books You Discuss
This course either takes note of or discusses at length works from the 1670s to the 1790s, including:
- The Pilgrim's Progress (John Bunyan)
- Pensées (Blaise Pascal)
- Discourse on Method (René Descartes)
- Leviathan (Thomas Hobbes)
- Maxims (François, Duc de la Rochefoucauld)
- La Princesse de Clèves (Mme. de Lafayette)
- An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (John Locke)
- A Treatise of Human Nature (David Hume)
- Candide (Voltaire)
- The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon)
- Memoirs of My Life (Edward Gibbon)
- The London Journal (James Boswell)
- Encyclopedia of the Sciences, Arts, and Trades (Denis Diderot)
- Jacques the Fatalist (Denis Diderot)
- D'Alembert's Dream (Denis Diderot)
- Rameau's Nephew (Denis Diderot)
- A Discourse on Inequality (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
- The Social Contract (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
- Reveries of the Solitary Walker (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
- Confessions (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)
- Autobiography (Benjamin Franklin)
- The Theory of Moral Sentiments (Adam Smith)
- The Wealth of Nations (Adam Smith)
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Choderlos de Laclos)
- Songs of Innocence and of Experience (William Blake)
- The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (William Blake)
Famous Romans [TTC Video]
10 February 2017, 15:46
Course No 349 | AVI, XviD, 640x480 | MP3, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.35GB
Like the authors who serve as sources for this course—Livy, Polybius, Suetonius, Tacitus, and above all, Plutarch—Professor J. Rufus Fears believes that individuals, not organizations or social movements, are the primary forces that make history. In this companion course to Famous Greeks, Professor Fears retells the lives of the remarkable individuals—the statesmen, thinkers, warriors, and writers—who shaped the history of the Roman Empire and, by extension, our own history and culture.
Hannibal, he points out, caused the Second Punic War personally, much as Adolf Hitler caused World War II.
All of history would be different if Pompey had been as aggressive as Julius Caesar at the Battle of Pharsalus.
Augustus—beginning at the age of just 19—resolved upon and brilliantly followed a doctrine of ruthless expediency in order to rescue Rome from a century of civil war.
Marcus Aurelius, that most noble and philosophic of rulers, may have hastened the Empire's decline by tolerating the wicked cruelty of his heir.
Professor Fears divides his presentation into three "turning point" epochs in Roman history: Rome's great war with Hannibal (the Second Punic War); Caesar and the end of the Roman Republic; and the imperial era between Augustus and Marcus Aurelius. As he presents the great figures of each period, he makes them seem personal and immediate.
For example, he introduces you to the heroes of the early Republic through an imaginary tour of the Forum as it appeared in 218 B.C. In his discussions on Hannibal, the great Carthaginian general who taught Rome more about warfare than any other enemy, Professor Fears puts you right in the heart of the action. You feel as if you are there, struggling with Hannibal and his war elephants as they force a path through the snowbound Alps in the autumn of 218 B.C.
Roman Versions of the Kennedys and Winston Churchill
In these lectures you will meet or gain greater insight into a succession of individuals who can be considered great and famous not only in Roman history, but in all of history. They include:
- The Roman "Duke of Wellington." Like the Duke of Wellington and U.S. Grant, Publius Cornelius Scipio the Elder (236-183 B.C.) is among the great generals in history. His victory over Hannibal at the North African town of Zama in August, 202 B.C.one of the most decisive battles in history—earned him the title "Africanus," or Conqueror of Africa.
- The Roman "John and Robert Kennedy." Tiberius (163-133 B.C.) and Gaius Gracchus (153-121 B.C.) were both strongly influenced by Stoic philosophy and its teaching that all men are created equal. Each tried to initiate bold reforms designed to counter corruption that resulted from the Roman Republic's growing wealth and power. Like the Kennedys of the 1960s, both were murdered, and their efforts initiated forces that would ultimately end the Republic.
- The Roman "Winston Churchill." First regarded as a "shady" politician, and known as a drinker and womanizer, Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44 B.C.) is perhaps the greatest evidence that individuals make and change history. He proved himself both a military genius—along with Alexander the Great one of the two greatest generals in history—and a man of political vision in his understanding that Rome needed to expand its reach beyond the Mediterranean world. Like Churchill, he was a brilliant writer: his Commentaries on the Gallic Wars is one of antiquity's greatest works of history.
- The greatest statesman in history. The adopted heir of Julius Caesar, Gaius Octavius (63 B.C.-14 A.D.), known to history as Augustus ("The Messiah") rose from a little-known youth of no discernable ability to an unequaled political leader who would best the likes of Cicero, Brutus, and Marc Antony. He saved and regenerated Rome, received the title "Father of His Country" ("Pater Patriae") in 2 B.C., and died at 77, having outlived almost all his contemporaries and detractors.
- A teacher to equal Socrates and Jesus. Stoicism was a philosophy based on the Greek thinkers Zeno and Socrates. It was one of the great intellectual currents of the 2nd century A.D., and Epictetus (c. 50-120 A.D.), the son of a slave, was one of its greatest teachers. He taught that "all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."Thomas Jefferson ranked Epictetus with the New Testament as a source of moral inspiration.
Enduring Lessons About Life and Liberty, Character and Virtue
As you study these and many other significant Romans, Professors Fears uses their stories to probe fundamental questions about the political and cultural history of Rome. What was the impact of Greek civilization on the Romans? Why did the Roman people, at the height of military, political, and economic power, abandon their republican liberty for the dictatorship of Caesar and his successors?
What made the 2nd century A.D. one the most creative periods in world history, worthy of comparison with the Athens of Pericles, Plato, and Sophocles? And why did the central figures of Roman history hold so much appeal for the Founding Fathers of the United States?
Before concluding the course with Marcus Aurelius, whose private Meditations are a wellspring of honesty and humanity but whose standing as a ruler is another story, Professor Fears pays homage to his masters, the great biographers and analysts of vice and virtue Suetonius, Tacitus, and, above all, Plutarch.
Who were they? What did they write, and to what end? Why are their works so inspiring and worthy of study by any people or individuals who wish to preserve liberty and virtue for themselves, their society, and ages yet to come?
This course will teach you specific lessons about life, character, and politics, drawn from the examples of the famous Romans. Professor Fears has his favorite, and will tell you who it is in the last lecture.