Sunday, 25 June 2017

Gardening Blogs UK Top 10

Last updated: 17/05/17.

1.The Blackberry Garden

Alison Levey, the author of The Blackberry Garden, has a rather philosophical take on gardening, in that she believes gardening teaches us patience and careful watchfulness. For Alison it is not just a hobby, it's a daily devotion. Even though she claims to be no expert, she does declare herself to be an obsessional gardener!



2.Veg Plotting

Veg Plotting is authored by Michelle Chapman who offers interesting stories about her garden and allotment as well as covering her travels to France, Little Venice, and around her home town of Chippenham, sharing beautiful photos of various g ardens across the country and beyond.

Want to learn more about this blog? Read our blogger spotlight with Michelle Chapman, author of Veg Plotting.

3.The Patient Gardener

Helen Johnstone is a plant obsessive who loves nothing more than gardening. Her garden is far from ordinary and in fact looks more like a horticultural paradise. Helen uses her blog to document the development of her garden, her visits to gardening festivals, as well as sharing beautiful pictures of nature. wp-image-103245" src="" alt="PatientGardner" width="760" height="417" srcset=" 760w, 300w, 017/05/PatientGardner-705x387.jpg 705w, 450w, 500w" sizes="(max-width: 760px) 100vw, 760px"/>


4.Growing Family

Catherine is a mum, wife, writer and a fan of wellies. She loves exploring, growing things, and uses her blog as a platform to share ideas, like what to plant in May, useful tools to use like grass trimmers, and cage plant protectors. However, Catherine's blog isn't just about gardening as she often shares tips for making the most of busy family life.

5.The Frustrated Gardener

Dan Cooper comes from a long line of gardeners. His grandparents were avid gardeners and imparted much of their wisdom to him. According to Dan, his childhood was defined by plants, experimenting with seeds and tending to his parents' garden, and by the age of fourteen he had acquired a greenhouse. Dan started his blog in 2012 and uses it to talk about his two tropical garden plots, one which is by the seaside in Broadstairs, Kent and another in Highg ate, London.



6.Vertical Veg

Vertical Veg was founded in 2010 by Mark Ridsdill Smith because he wanted to inspire and support others to grow food in the city. Challenging common preconceptions, Mark believes that you do not need a garden to grow food and that it is accessible to everyone. Using his extensive knowledge Mark's blog features informative posts like harvesting the bounty, how to grow chillies in containers and how to grow oyster mushrooms at home.

7.The Middle-Sized Garden

Alexandra Campbell wrote h er first novel on her father's typewriter. Since then she has gone on to write 9 novels and 10 non-fiction books. As the title would suggest, The Middle-Sized Garden fills a niche in the market by offering gardening tips to people who have middle-sized gardens. Drawing on her skills as a writer Alexandra uses her blog to cover everything from how to use a garden fertiliser, growing vegetables, and how to improve your pruning.


Enduring Gardener

8.The Enduring Gardener

Authored by Stephanie Donaldson, who was the Gardens Editor of Country Living Magazine for sixteen years, the Enduring Gardener is an essential blog for gardening enthusiasts. The blog feature s articles like 10 tips for using metals in the garden, how to make a succulent wall planter, and how to grow asparagus.

9.Two Thirsty Gardeners

Authored by Rich Hood and Nick Moyle, Two Thirsty Gardeners offers practical tips on gardening. The pair started working together in 2008 when they began making their own cider. Their blog is a vital resource to those seeking to find a solution to problems such as destructive weeds, unexplained yeast infections and slugs. They also offer creative advice such as how to produce fresh vegetable harvest and turning some of the fruits of their labour into alcohol.

Two Thirsty Gardeners


10.Real Men Sow

Praised by the Guardian and the Daily Mail, Jono Stevens blog, Real Men Sow, has won critical acclaim. Jono's journey into gardening started when he took on a redundant allotment plot and started using it as a space to grow his own food. Although he gave up his allotment some years ago he still concentrates on growing fruit and veg in his back garden.

The fundamentals of working with bloggers are the same as with traditional journalists at traditional media outlets: respect their schedules; take time to read their material to learn their interests; and only contact them if/when they want to be contacted.

Vuelio's blog ranking methodology takes into consideration social sharing, topic-related content and post frequency. Profiles of these gardening blogs and their authors can be found in theVuelioMedia Database.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Many Uses Of Flowers

Flowers are the most widely used species of plants in the world. Flowers are used as a symbol on certain events such as flowers used by the bride in wedding, flowers as a symbol to a girl's transition to womanhood on a debutante ball or the cotillion, as traditional flowers on Valentines Day.

Flowers are also used as a form of a gift on special occasions such as such as mother's day, Christmas, anniversaries, or even birthdays. Flowers can also be used as decorations for parties or gatherings.

The uses of Flowers are not only restricted as decorative and as symbol of celebrations or occasions, flowers can also produce a source of food. Flowers produce nectar, which the bees will extract to store as food on there hives, whereas human extract these nectar from the hives to produce honey, some flowers are also used for medical purposes or for shampoos.

Because of the flower's aVuq0ULck attractiveness and beauty many have decided to make a profit out of these flowers by selling those beautiful flowers and started their own flowers shops. Flower Express, one of the Philippines leading online flower shop; have built an online flower shop as a means for people to easily get hold to a large variety of flowers with just the use of a computer. Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines can provide a means of for people to choose from many variety of flower gift and gifts.

Flower gift Philippines is a branch of Flowers Express that specializes on selling different kinds of flowers. Flower gift Philippines sells many kinds of flowers local or foreign such as Alstroemerias, Carnations, Ecuadorian Roses, Gerberas, High-Style Collection, Lilies, Mixed Bouquets, Orchids, Spring Flowers, Tulips and many more. Flower gift Philippines can also provide their customers special arrangements for special occasions such as Anniversaries, Congratulations, Christmas, Get Well, Love & Romance, Sorry, Thank You, Welcome Home, and Valentines Special.

Gifts Philippines is a branch of Flowers Express that sells different kinds of gifts. Flowers Express doesn't only sell flowers to their customers but also some other gifts with Gifts Philippines. Gifts Philippines sells different kinds of gifts such as Chocolate, Fruit Basket, Gift Baskets, Men's Fragrances, Wines & liquors, and Women's Fragrances.

With Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines, customers are provided with services that lets them buy flowers and gifts with just the help of a computer and an internet. If you want more information on Flowers Express's Flower gift Philippines and Gifts Philippines then visit

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Volvos Polestar is now its own company focused on performance EVs

Volvo's Polestar is now its own company focused on performance EVs | TechCrunch

Volvo tuner Polestar, which the carmaker acquired in 2015 to build its own race-ready Volve cars, is now being set up as its own separate company within the Volvo group, with a new focus on performance electric vehicles. The new Polestar will have its own branding, distinct from Volvo's - though it'll still produce performance versions of Volvo cars in addition to its own models, Slashgear reports.

The new Polestar will build its own EVs, as mentioned, but the focus will still be on making these attractive to those in the market for high-performance vehicles. This could put the new Volvo subsidiary in direct competition with Tesla and its Model S, currently the easy first choice for those looking for a vehicle that has both an all-electric drivetrain and the ability to deliver track-topping speed, acceleration and handling.

We'll find out more about what exactly Polestar has planned for its own vehicles this fall, the company says, which could coincide with a bunch of announcements from Tesla, too, since that's ro ughly when it says it'll reveal its electric semi-truck plans. Musk has been dropping hints that an updated Roadster reveal is in the works, too, and noted that we should expect some surprises at the September truck event, so maybe fall will be a very interesting season for performance EV fans.

Featured Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Saturday, 17 June 2017

New York enjoys rare phenomenon of a corpse flower in bloom

Plant lovers in New York are enjoying a smelly treat with the rare bloom of a corpse flower at the New York Botanical Garden.

The botanical phenomenon, which typically lasts 24 to 36 hours, began on Thursday afternoon. It will likely be several Sprinkler System Installation more years before the flower blooms again, according to the Botanical Garden.

Famous for its highly pungent odor, which has been compared to the smell of rotting meat, the Amorphopallus Titanum, or corpse flower, has a highly unpredictable bloom cycle. Native to Sumatra in Indonesia, a specimen of the flower first bloomed in the Western Hemisphere at the New York Botanical Garden in 1937. A second specimen bloomed at the site in 1939.

The flower, which uses its stench to attract pollinators that feed on dead animals, has been carefully nurtured by Botanical Garden staff for almost a decade.

Horticulturalists noticed that the flower bud had formed July 15. On July 18 the flower was moved from the Botanical Garden's behind-the-scenes Nolen Greenhouses for Living Collections to the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, where it is now on display in the Palms of the World Gallery.

One of the largest flowers in the world, corpse flowers can grow to 12 feet in their natural habitat and 8 feet in cultivation. The Botanical Garden notes that, although the enormous plant resembles one giant flower, it comprises a fleshy central spike called a spadix that holds two rings of male and female flowers, wrapped by a frilly spathe - a modified leaf that looks like a petal.

"During bloom, the spadix self-heats to approximately human body temperature, which helps disseminate odor particles," explained the Botanical Garden, in a statement. "The spathe unfurls during the course of about 36 hours (full bloom) before withering and dying back."

The Botanical Garden is livestreaming the flower on a Corpse Flower Cam.

Plant lovers in the Windy City enjoyed Sprinkler System the rare phenomenon of a corpse flower in bloom when one of the Chicago Botanic Garden's eight corpse flowers, dubbed Alice, began blooming, much to the surprise of horticulturalists.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

House stays in GOP hands

Republicans will command the House for two more years as Donald Trump's astounding White House triumph helped them keep their record-sized majority nearly intact. "He just earned a mandate," said House Speaker Paul Ryan, who now faces working with a president with whom he had a turbulent relationship during the campaign.

Democrats had envisioned that voters repulsed by Trump comments about women and Hispanics could provide potentially big Election Day gains in suburban and ethnically diverse areas. Instead, the Democrats suffered a dispiriting day with just modest pickups, a maximum of nine, as the GOP swept to control of both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

That was well below the 30 seats Democrats needed to capture House control. Republicans currently hold a 247-188 majority, including three vacant seats, the most the GOP has had since their 270 in 1931.

"He turned politics on its head," Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters gathered Wednesday in his hometown of Janesvill e, Wisconsin. Ryan credited the president-elect with helping carry Republicans into Congress and promised to work "hand-in-hand" with him on a GOP agenda.

By Wednesday, Republicans had at least 238 seats - guaranteeing an extension of their six-year run of House control - and just six of their incumbents had lost. The GOP retained seats in Minnesota, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa and Wisconsin that Democrats had coveted.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the two parties "have a responsibility to come together and find common ground." In a written statement, she suggested cooperating with Trump on infrastructure projects and said she will "pray for his success."

It was initially unclear what impact the marginally smaller size of the GOP majority would have on Ryan, who'd angered some Republicans by refusing to campaign for Trump.

While one member of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus was defeated, several newly elected Republican s could bolster it. That would increase conservatives' leverage to demand their way on issues like curbing spending and government regulations.

In Florida, freshman GOP Rep. Carlos Curbelo won a race that underscored the limits of Trump's damage to Republicans. With around 7 in 10 of the Miami-area district's voters Hispanic, Democrats targeted it and the race became one of the country's most expensive with an $18 million price tag. But Curbelo distanced himself from his own party's nominee and prevailed.

Virginia freshman Rep. Barbara Comstock kept her seat in the well-heeled Washington, D.C., suburbs despite Democrats' attempts to lash her to Trump.

Democrats defeated two Florida GOP incumbents, but that seemed due to local circumstances.

Rep. John Mica, 73, a 12-term veteran from the Orlando area, was criticized by GOP strategists for a lackluster campaign and lost to Democrat Stephanie Murphy, a political neophyte. Democrat Charlie Crist, once the sta te's Republican governor, defeated Rep. David Jolly in a St. Petersburg district redrawn to favor Democrats.

Democrats also beat GOP Reps. Scott Garrett, a Freedom Caucus member from New Jersey's New York City suburbs; moderate Bob Dold from outside Chicago; Cresent Hardy of Nevada and New Hampshire's Frank Guinta.

Just one Democratic incumbent had lost by Wednesday, Nebraska's Brad Ashford.

Both parties' candidates and outside groups spent nearly $1.1 billion combined on House campaigns, shy of the $1.2 billion record in 2012, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group. Republicans had only a slight financial edge.

Even with the Ryan-led House GOP's current formidable advantage, work stalled this year on spending bills after hitting objections from conservatives.

Moving into 2017, Congress faces a fresh round of budget legislation plus the need to renew the government's borrowing authority or face an economy-jarring federal default. Those are never easy to pass.

Ryan, 46, has said he wants to be speaker in the new Congress and has expressed confidence in doing so. But he is not immune to ire from the Freedom Caucus, which chased former Speaker John Boehner from Congress last year, and other Republicans upset over his frigid treatment of Trump.

Just a handful of disgruntled conservatives could possibly block Ryan from the 218 votes he'd need to retain his post. That would be an embarrassing setback for the GOP's 2012 vice presidential candidate, who may harbor White House aspirations.

9:10 p.m.ET Winners of competitive House races:

Arizona 1

Arizona 2

California 7

California 10

California 21

California 24

California 25

Colorado 3

Colorado 6

Florida 2 - Neal Dunn (R)

Florida 7

Florida 10 - Val Demings (D)

Florida 13 - Charlie Crist (D)

Florida 18 - Brian Mast (R)

Florida 26

Illinois 10

Indiana 9

Iowa 1

Iowa 3

Kansas 3

Maine 2

Michigan 1

Minnesota 2

Minnesota 3

Minnesota 7

Minnesota 8

Nebraska 2

Nebraska 3

Nevada 4

New Hampshire 1

New Jersey 5

New York 1

New York 21

New York 22

New York 23

New York 24

New York 25

Pennsylvania 8

Pennsylvania 16

Texas 23

Utah 4

Virginia 4

Virginia 5

5:11 p.m. ETHouse Democratic Leader Pelosi said at remarks at the Democratic National Committee that FBI Director Comey became "the leading Republican operative in the country" after sending his initial letter to Committee chairs.

She and DCCC Chair Ben Ray Lujan didn't sound optimistic about picking up a large number of House seats, much less retaking the House. She said they don't intend to lose a single incumbent seat.

-- CBS News' Walt Cronkite.

12:07 p.m. ET Paul Ryan is confident he'll remain speaker of the House next year.

Once Congress returns to Washington next week, House Republicans are slated to hold internal leadership elections -- but Speaker Paul Ryan seems confident his spot as the top House member is secure.

Ryan told a group of reporters Monday in Wisconsin that he is "not worried" about any change in his position.

"I feel very good where I am," Ryan said outside of a local Republican party office, according to Politico. "I've gotten such a great outpouring of support from members. They know I took the job as a sense of duty, that duty is not done, and I plan on continuing doing that duty."

On a Democratic conference call Monday reported by Politico, Democratic leaders blamed FBI Director James Comey for hurting their chances to take back the House.

"We would be in a better place [without the letter] and in the manner he did it," Pelosi reportedly said on the call. "It was out of line, but it helped us in one respect: it brought in small donors. The fact is we had a momentum going with Hillary's campaign."

She noted that in the closing days of the election that Republicans were "coming home anyway, but a couple of points nationwide has an impact on our races." Politico reported that House Democratic aides estimated that Democrats could, as a result of Comey's letter, lose up to 12 seats they'd hoped to pick up.

-- CBS News' Reena Flores

11:40 a.m. ETCBS News is monitoring 47 competitive House races. Bolded names are incumbents.




Arizona 1

Tom O'Halleran

Paul Babeu

Arizona 2

Matt Heinz

Martha McSally

California 10

Michael Eggman

Jeff Denham

California 21

Emilio Huerta

David Valadao

California 24

Salud Carbajal

Justin Fareed

California 25

Bryan Caforio

Steve Knight

California 7

Ami Bera

Scott Jones

Colorado 3

Gail Schwartz

Scott Tipton

Colorado 6

Morgan Carroll

Mike Coffman

Florida 10

Val Demings

Thuy Lowe

Florida 13

Charlie Crist

David Jolly

Florida 18

Randy Perkins

Brian Mast

Florida 2

Walter Dartland

Neal Dunn

Florida 26

Joe Garcia

Curt Curbelo

Florida 7

Stephanie Murphy

John Mica

Illinois 10

Brad Schneider

Robert Dold

Indiana 9

Shelli Yoder

Trey Hollingsworth

Iowa 1

Monica Vernon

Rod Blum

Iowa 3

Jim Mowrer

David Young

Kansas 3

Jay Sidie

Kevin Yoder

Maine 2

Emily Ann Cain

Bill Poliquin

Michigan 1

Lon Johnson

Jack Bergman

Minnesota 2

Angie Craig

Jason Lewis

Minnesota 3

Terri Bonoff

Erik Paulsen

Minnesota 7

Collin Peterson

Dave Hughes

Minnesota 8

Rick Nolan

Stewart Mills

Nebraska 2

Brad Ashford

Don Bacon

Nevada 3

Jacky Rosen

Danny Tark anian

Nevada 4

Ruben Kihuen

Cresent Hardy

New Hampshire 1

Carol Shea-Porter

Frank Guinta

New Jersey 5

Josh Gottheimer

Scott Garrett

New York 1

Anna Throne-Holst

Lee Zeldin

New York 21

Mike Derrick

Elise Stefanik

New York 22

Kim Myers

Claudia Tenney

New York 23

John Plumb

Tom Reed

New York 24

Colleen Deacon

John Katko

New York 25

Louise Slaughter

Mark Assini

New York 3

Tom Suozzi

Jack Martins

New York 19

Zephyr Teachout

John Faso

Pennsylvania 16

Christina Hartman

Lloyd Smucker

Pennsylvania 8

Steve Santarsiero

Brian Fitzpatrick

Texas 23

Pete Gallego

Will Hurd

Utah 4

Doug Owens

Mia Love

Virginia 10

LuAnn Bennett

Barbara Comstock

Virginia 4

Do nald McEachin

Mike Wade

Virginia 5

Jane Dittmar

Tom Garrett

Wisconsin 8

Tom Nelson

Mike Gallagher

-- CBS News' Rebecca Shabad

Friday, 16 June 2017

Lawns Gone Wild | HuffPost

The suburban lawn is extraordinarily expensive, wasteful, and bad for the environment. So why are Americans obsessed with it?2015-01-23-HaysEwing.jpg

Meadow lawn, Stony Point House, Charlottesville, VA. Hays+Ewing Design Studio (architecture) with Siteworks (landscape). Photograph by Prakash Patel.

Because environmental challenges are so complicated, potential solutions are rarely as simple as they seem.

For example, the market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly, outpacing hybrids, although the supply is nowhere near the million EVs President Obama called for in his 2011 State of the Union Address (which might be why he didn't mention the topic this year). Fewer cars running on fossil fuels are a good thing, right? Actually, a new U niversity of Minnesota report finds that EVs can be worse for the environment than gas cars, depending on where they get their electricity. If the utility grid that charges them is powered by coal, EVs can produce nearly four times more deaths from air pollution. Because coal is the single largest source of grid energy in the US (nearly 40 percent), alternative cars could be exacerbating an already enormous problem.

Similarly, conventional wisdom suggests that more plants are always beneficial to the environment, since they produce oxygen and store carbon. But a new study just published in the Journal of Environmental Management shows that closely cropped lawns--the mainstay of suburbia--actually can produce more greenhouse gases than they absorb. The mowers, fertilizers, water, and other resources required to maintain the clean look of a hectare of grass can result in the equivalent emission s of an airplane flying more than halfway around the world. This confirms earlier research estimating that the emissions from lawn maintenance can be four times greater than the amount of carbon stored.

The total area of American lawns is approximately 50 thousand square miles, about the size of New York State. To keep it well watered takes about 200 gallons per person per day, and nearly a third of all residential water use goes toward landscaping, according to the EPA. All that watering, weeding, mowing, and fertilizing is enormously expensive: Americans reportedly spend $40 billion and 3 billion person-hours on lawn care every year. Why? The landscape equivalent of a crew cut, a grass lawn isn't that attractive; in fact, "lawn" stems from an Old French word originally meaning "barren land." So what accounts for our costly, wasteful obsession?

Like the McMansion, which vaguely echoes European manors, the lawn is a status symbol, meant to evoke aristocratic preceden t. Prior to mowing machines and mechanical watering, finely manicured lawns were expensive and labor intensive, the trappings of wealth. They became popular in northern Europe after the Middle Ages, especially in France during the 18th Century, and the gardens at Versailles introduced the thin swath of grass called tapis vert, "green carpet." The effect was intended to be unnatural, an abstraction that seemed to float above the ground plane.

Millions of Americans invest incredible amounts of time and money to conjure up the ghost of Louis XIV.

What are the alternatives? For one, we could replace ornamental grass with edible plants. In Cities and Natural Process (2004), Michael Hough calculates that a typical lawn needs three times more energy (and associated costs) than an alfalfa patch of the same size. In fact, the rate of energy to maintain a given area of residential lawn significantly exceeds the rate for commercial cornfields in the equivalent amount of soil. G arden lawns could become inevitable. Columbia University biologist Dickson Despommier estimates that to feed the expected population in 2050, we'll need about 2.1 billion acres of additional land--roughly the size of Brazil. Yet, today, more than 80 percent of arable land is already in use. If current farming practices continue, in a few decades there simply won't be enough land to feed everyone. We may be forced to begin growing corn in our front yards. For now, the benefits are clear: locally grown produce tastes fresher and saves huge amounts of energy, emissions, waste, transportation, and infrastructure maintenance.

If you don't want to eat your yard, you can just let it return to native meadow. Middlebury College has reduced the area of its regularly mown lawns by 20 acres (26% of the total), letting those spaces become wildflower meadows instead. The plan has cut emissions and costs, including 670 gallons of gas and 1,000 hours of annual labor, and significantly expanded the natural habitat and beauty on the campus. Native meadows, which have deeper roots, also are more drought resistant and produce less pollen than turf grass lawns. Yet, many residential communities not only discourage wild yards through peer pressure--they actually ban them. In Oak Park, Michigan, for example, it's a criminal misdemeanor not to cut your lawn regularly. They've outlawed the little house on the prairie.

Rich with native grasses, herbs, and shrubs, prairies are amazingly fertile and resilient, surviving long droughts a nd torrential rains and protecting soils from erosion. Once they covered the entire MidWest, from Montana to Michigan, all the way down into Texas. Today, only one percent of tallgrass prairie remains. Imagine if all 50 thousand square miles of residential lawns were converted to native meadows and prairie land, springing to life with edible plants that thrive in the local climate with little need for care. In addition to saving an astounding amount of energy, water, labor, and money, we could help resurrect the native state of the continent--right in our front yards.

Architect Lance Hosey is Chief Sustainability Officer with the global design leader RTKL. His latest book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design (2012), has been Amazon's #1 bestseller for sustainable design.

Wake up to the day's most important news. -hosey/lawns-gone-wild_b_6535050.html

Thursday, 15 June 2017

This $250 wifi sprinkler can cut lawn water use 30%

Rachio, a Denver-based start-up, has been selling a "smart sprinkler" for the last year. The device takes the place of a traditional control box on an automated home sprinkler system. It hooks the system up to the Internet -- meaning that you can control it from a smartphone.

It also means the sprinkler system can now check the weather. If it's going to rain or has rained recently, the system holds off on watering. It also automatically adjusts the watering times for each season. And it waters intermittently to allow for maximum absorption -- which also encourages the grass to grow deeper roots and become more drought-resistant. These things alone can cut lawn water use by 30%, according to the company -- no small amount when at least eight Western states are in extreme drought, or worse.

Related: Can these gates protect NYC from the next flood?

The company w as formed after Chris Klein and Franz Garsombke -- two software engineers working for a real estate intelligence firm -- went through the last drought in Colorado in 2012. When fall came and the dryness subsided, the two noticed that sprinklers in the area were still running, even though it was raining.

"We figured there had to be a better way," said Klein.

So the pair started writing code and entered a contest run by the Colorado Innovation Network -- a consortium of businesses, governments and universities that promotes economic development in the state. They won $50,000, quit their jobs, and began building the company. Now they have 18 employees, and sales are on track to quadruple from last year, although Klein would not disclose revenue numbers or units sold.

RachioThe hardware mounts in your home, the software is accessible online.

The device itself looks like a router, and Klein said most people can install it in 20 minutes. (If you still can't, most likely a gardener or electrician can.)

The entire thing -- plastic, electronics, packaging -- is made in Colorado. Klein said it would probably be cheaper to make it abroad, but the company is convinced that U.S. manufacturing costs will fall as more companies decide to build stuff here -- and they want to be part of the force driving that change.

It's compatible with Nest and other smart home systems, and many areas experiencing drought -- including Los Angeles, Fresno and the Santa Clara Valley -- subsidize the $250 retail price, said Klein.

Of course California is the most populous state seeing a historic drought, and Klei n said roughly a third of his sales are in that state, up from about a quarter last year.

Rachio isn't the only company to make these devices -- competitors include Blossom and Skydrop.

CNNMoney (New York) First published May 13, 2015: 6:38 AM ET