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Archives for January 13, 2013

LLCC non-credit courses ‘cover lots of bases’ – The State Journal

What does a woman who “worked on the development of about every land-line telephone feature there is” and has two patents to her credit do upon retirement?

She bakes bread and plants flowers.

Carol Rice of Springfield chose those creative outlets when she retired from ATT Laboratories three years ago, after a 37-year career.  But first, she turned to experts for guidance, taking classes in culinary arts and landscaping through Lincoln Land Community College’s Community Learning, which will once again be offering non-credit personal enrichment classes this spring.

“It was really something to be able to go out and work in my yard instead of having to get a feature ready all the time,” Rice said.

With skills gained by attending landscaping classes at the Illinois Executive Mansion taught by horticulturist Harry Lewis, Rice has created a flower garden covering much of her 1-1/2-acre property and has earned the distinction of being named a master gardener.

“Harry’s a professional landscaper, and he shares ideas of how to make your own yard beautiful,” said Rice, a member of the Springfield Garden Club.  “I’ve really changed my yard.  I hope to be on the garden walk this year.”

According to Lewis, students in his classes are inspired by the grounds of the mansion.

“We have a good venue here,” he said.  “It’s like a living classroom.”

220 classes

Rice has combined her interest in landscaping with her interest in the culinary arts by creating an outdoor kitchen.

“I’m trying to tie the whole thing together by making my yard an enjoyable place to be when I’m in my outdoor kitchen,” she said.

For the spring semester, Rice is enrolled in landscaping classes taught by Lewis, including one on container gardening, and in baking classes taught by such local experts as chef Denise Perry.

But if having a green thumb and learning new recipes are not your cup of tea, LLCC’s Community Learning has a total of 220 classes this spring covering a wide range of topics, according to Judy Wagenblast, director of community education.  Among them are arts and crafts, computers, dance, finance, ornamental welding, business development, photography, upholstery, coffee making, pets and language studies.

“We try to cover lots of bases,” she said.  “Every semester, about 20 percent of the classes are new classes.  We try to keep aware of what people are interested in and go along with what is hot or trendy.”

Upholstery is one of the hot topics that is being introduced in response to requests from students, according to Wagenblast.

Learn new skill

Most classes are held at LLCC’s Springfield campus, but others are offered at the Beardstown, Jacksonville, Litchfield or Taylorville campuses or at off-campus locations like the Executive Mansion.  Classes range from single two-hour sessions to ones that meet weekly for four weeks, with a minimum fee of $15 and “very few more than $50,” Wagenblast said.

One of the first offerings for the spring semester is designed to help attendees “Start the New Year with a New Attitude,” which is the title of the $15 two-hour class.  It is scheduled for Jan. 23 in Litchfield and Jan. 26 in Springfield.

“It’s based on the concept that attitude is a choice and you can explore and learn techniques that will help you have a good attitude and make you feel good, learn a new skill and, hopefully, have fun,” Wagenblast said.

Also part of the personal enrichment classes for adults are trips ranging from one day to four days, according to Wagenblast.  An example is a Valentine-themed day trip Feb. 9 to St. Louis, where participants will attend a jazz concert and visit a chocolate factory and a flower distributor. The cost per person is $67.

“Travel is a great way to learn history and culture and to refresh your perspective on the world,” she said.

Theresa Schieffer can be reached through the metro desk at 788-1517.

Want to know more?

For a complete list of learning opportunities or for online registration, go to  More information also may be obtained by calling 217-786-2432.  To register by phone, call 217-786-2292.

Article source:

Sunday Homes: Modern marvel

It’s easy to entertain in a home with four living areas and plenty of windows to take in the views of the Port Aransas waterfront. This resort-style home, with a modern, eclectic feel, offers two master bedrooms, dining space for a crowd and more than 6,000 square feet of living space.

Why do you love your home? The Coast House is a wonderful home for many reasons. Sitting on a canal with a private and covered boat basin, the water is literally right outside the back door. The home has very large and open living spaces which comfortably handles lots of overnight guests.

Why did you decide on this home: We love the Port Aransas area, living on the water and having very easy access to the Gulf of Mexico for offshore fishing.

One thing I’d change about my house: Perhaps having a second dishwasher for large amounts of guests.

Best home project I’ve completed here and why: The tackle room is fantastic room for organizing and working on all of the fishing equipment.

I get ideas/inspiration for my house by: Previous experiences with building other custom homes.

Something no one knows about my home: There is 103 feet of open room (no walls supporting the ceiling) from the front door to the back door. It creates an amazingly open feeling. The home is highly engineered and built to outlast a hurricane.

I save lots of money on my home by: Incorporating significant energy saving features.

A home item I can’t live without: Walking out the back door to see the water is perfect. You never know what you will find. A school of Black Drum or maybe a sea turtle.

Places where I find home furnishings: Stower’s San Antonio.

If my kitchen walls could talk… they would share all the family memories of homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July as well as other family holidays throughout the year. We have very special family traditions that we celebrate here.

What I like most about my home: With all of the glass windows and doors, the tropical landscape is brought inside the home.

My home’s most complimented feature: We cannot settle on just one thing. We are always getting compliments on the fountain, the game room, the 18 person dining area, or the exercise room.

Favorite room: (The) upstairs master bedroom. It has an outdoor balcony that overlooks a canal and you can watch the sunrise.

A funny story about my home: My husband will have his golf buddies over watching sports and in will walk one of our daughters with 10 of her closest friends. Our home welcomes all and we have a lot of fun.

Favorite home-related magazine: Coastal Living. It’s fun to see houses in other coastal areas and how they are decorated.

Unannounced guests would find my home… Inviting, pleasing to the senses, vibrant and continually interesting.

The most I have ever paid for an item in my home: Our resort landscaping and landscape lighting. Absolutely feels like you are arriving at a tropical resort when you pull up to the house.

This item would never make it through the front door: The 18-person dining table.

I can’t believe I put this in my home: A chandelier with monkeys, giraffes and lions.

Three items homeowners definitely need are: From having a home on the coast perspective: A natural gas generator (natural gas is typically not affected by tropical storms), a swimming pool, a pair of binoculars for bird watching (birds of every type are right outside the door in the yard and canals).

Worst home advice I ever received: You must have a fireplace.

Best home advice I ever received: Keep things low maintenance.

I have an impressive collection of… sports memorabilia.

My prized possession is… my grand piano.

My home can never have too many… windows.

Send home nominations to Eddie Seal at or 688-0887.

Article source:

Coming Home: Bristol DAV making cabin their first home

BRISTOL, Tenn. – From around a curve on crooked Carden Hollow Road waved an American flag. It flapped easy-does-it-style from the porch of a cabin atop a knoll.

Three more flags will soon fly out front of the cabin. Campsites may someday occupy space on up the hill and beyond the cabin.

Call it a work in progress, the cabin and property and veterans involved amid the gradual construction of the new home for Chapter 39 of the Disabled American Veterans. That’s the Bristol, Tenn., chapter. The cabin will be their first brick and mortar, rather wood and mortar, home.

“This is it,” said Larry Barker, 63, Chapter 39’s commander. “This is our home.”

Fellow Vietnam War veteran Ronnie Minnick, 63, set aside some wood on the cabin’s porch.

“Man, this is a Taj Mahal for us,” Minnick said.

Chapter 39 of Disabled American Veterans was established in 1948. Charter members included veterans of World War I and World War II. While they and the 212 current members of the chapter had and have homes to go to, the cabin amounts to a monumental first.

“We’ve been without a place of our own since 1948,” Barker said, “which was when the chapter was formed.”

That means that for the past 64 years, generations of disabled and decorated American veterans based in Bristol staged meetings in whatever venue would have them.

“We met in homes, the National Guard Armory, courthouses – so many different places,” Barker said. “When you don’t have a whole lot of money, you are left out.”

Fate smiled on the chapter last year. An offer to buy about 19 acres of property with a dilapidated cabin and an equally dilapidated trailer included materialized.

“We bought this for a very reasonable price,” Barker said. “We got some great financing.”

Barker declined to quote a purchase price and the source of financing. He said only that a person stepped forth to offer financing at what amounts to a “great” deal.

Freeman Cox, 77, sat in a chair on the cabin’s completed front porch. His membership in Chapter 39 dates to the 1960s.

“I think this cabin means everything to this chapter,” Cox, the man with a gray Lincoln-like beard, said. “Since we purchased it, we’ve gotten a lot of new members. It’ll be great for the community, too.”

But first comes the cabin. It dates to another time long, long ago and a place not quite so far away.

“The cabin originally sat in Indian Springs,” Barker said.

Bob Hogue, the chapter’s historian, stopped stacking boards for a moment to interject on the cool Wednesday morning.

“It dates back to the late 1700s,” Hogue said in his distinctly New York accent. “It was moved in 1976 to here.”

Condition of the cabin upon the chapter’s taking possession in September accurately describes as abysmal. Except for its more prominent chestnut logs, the old gal’s arthritic structure proved as brittle as an ancient woman’s bones.

“That backroom,” Barker said with a wave of his arm, “was basically on the ground.”

It now nears completion and rests above ground, strong and in wait of sheetrock.

“This place was a mess,” Hogue, a Vietnam War veteran who retired from a career in finance and moved from New York to Bristol a year and a half ago, said. “The flooring was basically collapsed. We had to level it, put new flooring in, add a new roof.”

Then came new windows, doors, and one other vital-to-a-log-cabin method for keeping out the cold winds of winter: chinking.

Chinking equates to caulking. Gaps exist between each vertical log of a cabin much like a seam between a wall and appliance upon initial installation of a shower or bathtub in a bathroom. One caulks a seam in a bathroom; one chinks a gap in a log structure.

Material used varies.

“We’re using mud,” Hogue said. “It’s a mixture of lime cement, sand and water.”

Oh, but there was a tiny catch.

Neither Barker nor Hogue nor Cox nor anyone else connected with the restoration of the cabin had experience in chinking a log cabin. So, they turned to a trusty source.

“The Internet,” Barker said. “I read about it on the Internet then learned through trial and error. Just stuff it back in there and smooth it out.”

Cox slapped his knee and laughed. Barker grinned and eased back his DAV cap.

“Until a few days ago,” Barker said, “we knew nothing about it.”

Fortunately for the fellas, chinking proved simple to learn and then apply.

“It’s not a difficult process,” Hogue said, “but it’s an unknown process.”

Barker and his buddies learned quickly, applied their newfound knowledge and made the process work. All of the gaps along the cabin’s front are now filled, thereby adding strength and insulation to the 200-year-old structure.

“I’ll tell you what,” Barker said, “it wasn’t much of a problem.”

Passersby and neighbors have pitched in to help in the restoration of the cabin. Companies including Bristol Metals, Appalachian Structures, Cox Disposal, Blountville Construction, Shoun Trucking, etc. contributed.

“People will drive by and stop and say, ‘do you need this or do you need that?’” Hogue said.

Moments later as if by providence, a Shoun Trucking semi steamed by. Its driver offered a wave and a wail of the truck’s horn. Barker, Cox, Hogue and Minnick waved right back.

“Oh yeah,” Barker said with a neighborly grin, “that happens all the time.”

Siding on the cabin is nearly complete. Its porch and connecting wheelchair ramp appear mostly finished, too.

However, much work remains. Interior detail including sheetrock installment and a variety of other chores couple with exterior landscaping that awaits completion. That opens a door for volunteers.

“We’d love to have some volunteers,” Barker said. “They don’t need to have been veterans, either. Donations would help, too.”

Those interested in donating to the Bristol chapter of the DAV, can do so by mail at: Disabled American Veterans Chapter 39, attention Freeman Cox, P.O. Box 4041, Bristol, Tennessee, 37625.

“We’ll take junk automobiles or scrap metal, too,” Cox, who serves as the chapter’s treasurer, said. “It’s all tax deductible, too.”

The chapter does not currently maintain a phone number.

“Up to now, we’ve not had a place with an address, a phone number that people could call,” Cox said. “We’re trying to eliminate that.”

No official groundbreaking or dedication date has been set.

“We’re hoping to have it done by March,” Cox said.

Barker dipped his trowel into a wheelbarrow, scooped up the wet cement and sand mixture and applied more chinking to the log cabin.

“We might even have it done by February,” he said while smoothing the application.

Benefits to the community should follow soon thereafter. Ideas are mounting within the chapter’s leadership in regards to a variety of ways to welcome the public to use its property.

“We want to open it up for the Boy Scouts and church youth groups to camp,” Barker said. “The property goes out beyond the creek (across Carden Hollow Road) and up the hill behind the cabin.”

When their doors open, members such as Barker will be better equipped to help fellow veterans. For instance, they offer guidance in navigating what can prove to many as a labyrinth of paperwork when applying for benefits through the veterans administration.

For example, many veterans diagnosed with diabetes are unaware that they may qualify for benefits.

“I have diabetes,” Hogue said. “Stress this connection with diabetes. By law, if you have diabetes and were in Vietnam, you are eligible for benefits. Come talk to us. We’ll help you get your benefits.”

Meanwhile, half empty sacks of Quikrete occupy space on the cabin’s porch alongside a stack of boards. A well-used wheelbarrow sits nearby. Two shovels, a hoe and broom lean against a newly chinked log wall.

Rocking chairs will soon replace them. Veterans on foot and in wheelchairs will make way to and fro. They may knock on the door or just come right on in.

After all, they’ll be home. Finally.

“You might say this is our second chance to give back to the community,” Barker said. “We gave with our service to our country and now we’re going to give with our service to our community.”

Tom Netherland is a freelance writer. He may be reached at

To Donate or Volunteer

Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 39

Attn: Freeman Cox, treasurer

P.O. Box 4041

Bristol, TN 37625

Article source:

Changes at the Capitol

At first glance, the 2013 state legislative session, which convenes in Olympia on Monday, might seem like a repeat of last year. Legislators must tackle yet another budget shortfall and a 2018 deadline still looms as they figure out how to comply with a court order to “amply fund” public schools.

But there will be a new governor at the helm, a unique coalition in the Senate that’s poised to give Republicans more power, and talk of a transportation funding package that could go before voters in the fall. What’s more, that package may or may not include roughly $450 million needed for the Columbia River Crossing project to move forward.

Additionally, more than half of Clark County’s legislative delegation is either new to Olympia or taking on a new role in a different chamber. While the area’s delegation might lose some institutional knowledge, state Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, said fresh faces representing Clark County can be a good thing.

“We have some great young talent in our neck of the woods,” Rivers said. “We may not know what we can’t do. … It allows you to try a whole bunch of stuff that people are (otherwise) afraid to try.”

Clark County’s delegation

This legislative session will be Rivers’ first as a senator.

She was elected to the House in 2010, and appointed last summer to succeed Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, who resigned in May. Rivers was elected to the Senate seat in November. She’ll have a seat at the table to discuss education funding, as she’s been tapped to serve on the Senate’s Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, which makes key spending decisions.

Another newbie from Clark County is Sen.-elect Annette Cleveland, D-Vancouver, who replaces Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver.

Cleveland will sit on the K-12 education, health care, and environmental committees.

Cleveland, government affairs director for Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center, said her assignments are “such a perfect fit with my private and nonprofit experience. … We have to consider in everything that we do whether we’re promoting healthy communities” that “consist of access to quality education, to a job, and access to health care. So that’s my starting point.”

Cleveland and Rivers will both have leadership roles in their party caucuses, which will give them more say in the lawmaking process.

In the House, an educator and two small-business owners from the county will embark on their first legislative session. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, is a teaching coach at Evergreen Public Schools who says she’s excited to bring her background to Olympia. She’s also been appointed to serve as vice chair of the House’s committee on K-12 education.

“We have a lot of reforms in the state that have come through that districts haven’t had the time to implement,” Stonier said. “We really need to support the districts in doing that, and doing it right.”

Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Vancouver, helps run his family’s landscaping business and said he’s looking forward to finding ways to increase jobs in Clark County and to help other small business owners. Rep.-elect Liz Pike, R-Camas, who operates a farm in Fern Prairie and owns an advertising agency, said she hopes to take on regulations that can hinder businesses.

In the county’s three major legislative districts, the most senior members are Sen. Don Benton, a Vancouver Republican who’s served in the Legislature since 1995, and Rep. Jim Moeller, a Vancouver Democrat who’s served in the House since 2003.

Benton will be second in command of the Senate Republican leadership, serving as deputy leader. Moeller is speaker pro tempore of the House, meaning he presides over debates on the floor. Moeller also has a seat on the Rules Committee, which decides which bills progress from their committees to the House floor, where bills are debated and voted on.

Benton and Moeller are expected to sit on the transportation committees in their respective chambers.

Major issues for county

No doubt the Columbia River Crossing will be a topic of conversation on those transportation committees. Last year, the Legislature passed a bill that gives the Washington State Department of Transportation the authority to establish tolls to pay for the project. The proposed $3.5 billion CRC project would replace the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River, rebuild freeway interchanges and extend a light rail line from Portland into Vancouver.

This year, proponents of the project will try to secure the roughly $450 million needed from the state’s budget. Without securing at least some of that money this year, the project will have trouble moving forward, supporters say.

But many Republican lawmakers from Clark County want to see the project redesigned to exclude the light rail line. During a recent meeting with the county’s business and industry leaders, Benton outlined an ultimatum on the project: “If the light rail component comes off, then we can talk about funding for the CRC.”

Meanwhile, Moeller’s mantra has been: “the bridge will be built with light rail or not at all.”

Most Democrats from the county say the project must move forward with light rail in order to secure federal money for the project.

Stonier, however, said on the campaign trail that her stance would be determined by the outcome of a vote regarding light rail. In November, voters living in the C-Tran district rejected a measure to raise sales taxes to pay for maintaining and operating light rail in Vancouver.

Stonier said she’s interpreting that election outcome to mean her constituents disapprove of light rail in general, and she will have to vote accordingly in the Legislature.

Pike is working on two pieces of stormwater legislation. One would delay until August 2016 new Department of Ecology standards that require new land development to include pervious pavement, rain gardens and roofs with vegetation on them, Pike said.

The second bill would create a pilot program to test alternatives for protecting the environment against stormwater pollution. Counties that have fallen out of compliance with the Department of Ecology’s stormwater rules could apply to test an alternative program to see how effective it is at protecting the environment, Pike said.

Under the bill, Clark County would be one of a couple counties that qualifies for the pilot program. Clark County commissioners adopted a different ordinance to address stormwater runoff and were put on notice by the state that they were in violation of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. Pike said its unfair to reject the county’s alternative approach to stormwater because the state hasn’t even tested that alternative.

“How do they know that, when they didn’t allow it to be tried?” Pike said.

Up for debate

In addition to debating light rail on the CRC, state lawmakers will have plenty to spar over this session.

Last month, Pike made waves when she said she was considering a bill that would allow public school teachers to carry concealed firearms at school. Teachers would volunteer to participate, and they would pay for their own weapons and mandatory firearms training, Pike said.

Several other Republicans from Clark County have been reluctant to support that idea, but they do say debate is needed in Olympia to address the mass shootings that have taken place recently at the Clackamas Town Center mall in Oregon and at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Cleveland and state Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver, both said state lawmakers should take a close look at gaps in the mental health care system. The recent shootings indicate that there is a disconnect between those programs and the people who need them.

“The biggest problem is how we deal with people who have mental health challenges,” Wylie said. “We have yet to create the community-based system that we should have and the public awareness and tools that we need … . It will never be perfect, but we can do a whole lot better.”

Wylie also said some gun regulations are worth talking about, including tougher rules on assault-style weapons, multiple ammunition rounds and gun shows.

Lawmakers also will debate how to address an estimated $900 million budget shortfall while also complying with a recent state Supreme Court decision that ruled the state wasn’t putting enough money into the education system. Democrats and Republicans have different ideas about how much money is needed to adequately pay for education and exactly where that money should be spent.

“Throwing money at the same education system is not going to work,” said Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver and a former Evergreen Public Schools board member. “We have to educate differently.”

Many legislative Democrats argue that tax increases are necessary to meet this year’s budgetary challenges. Incoming Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee said on the campaign trail that he wouldn’t support general tax increases, and Republicans say they’ll try to make sure he keeps that promise.

Also, Republicans expect to have more power than they did last session. They’ve gained support from two conservative Democrats, giving their unique coalition a 25-24 majority over the rest of the Senate Democrats.

The new coalition has restructured Senate committees, putting conservatives in charge of many of the chamber’s high-stakes policy panels, allowing them to set the agenda in that chamber. If they all vote together, they’ll also have control of which bills pass out of the Senate.

The state House, on the other hand, has a comfortable Democratic majority. In order for bills to move forward, the two chambers will have to hammer out their differences in an efficient way, Vick said, noting that he doesn’t want legislators to be called back for a special session to finish their work.

Citizens “don’t want us wasting money on special sessions,” Vick said. “They want us to get our work done when we’re supposed to get it done.”

Other bills in the works

Benton announced recently that he will introduce legislation to, through a constitutional amendment, protect the two-thirds supermajority requirement for raising taxes, a measure voters approved this fall.

He also said he plans to introduce a measure that would deny driver’s licenses for those living in the state illegally.

“When it comes to the security of driver’s licenses, which are among the most important documents issued by state government, Washington is at the bottom of the list of states,” Benton said in a statement.

Vick is considering a bill that would make it easier for people to get electrician’s licenses in Washington state, even if they left their previous employer on bad terms. Previous employers have to sign off during the licensing process in Washington state, said Vick, who added that he’s still researching how to best address the problem.

One of Vick’s constituents owns an electrical company and “he has problems hiring folks who have transferred to Washington in search of a job,” Vick said. If incoming, experienced electricians can’t get their credentials in Washington, they have to go through the apprenticeship process again, Vick said.

Wylie saw success last session in passing a bill that cracks down on government contract abuses, as well as streamlines the contracting process in a way that makes it easier for small businesses to compete for those contracts. This session, she said she hopes to focus on fixing areas of state spending that are inefficient.

Wylie also will serve as vice chair of the newly created Government Accountability and Oversight Committee, which will help decide just how the state will regulate the sale of marijuana now that voters approved a measure legalizing the substance for recreational use.

Moeller is resurrecting several bills that didn’t pass last session, including one aimed to help business at Kiggins Theatre by allowing alcohol to be served in the auditorium. So far, Moeller has pre-filed more than a dozen bills for the upcoming session, including one to allow a payment plan of sorts for citizens struggling with their property tax bills.

Rivers plans to reintroduce a bill she worked on last year with outgoing state Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, that would make sure students learn about postsecondary options besides attending a four-year university, such as attending a trade school or entering an apprenticeship program. Rivers said the bill has been tweaked so it has a better chance of passing this time around.

Rivers also plans to introduce a bill to eliminate automobile allowances for elected officials at the county level.

“None of the people in my district get paid to drive to work,” Rivers said. “Especially in tough times, that’s simply unacceptable.”

District changes

Clark County now technically includes five of the state’s 49 legislative districts. The 17th, 18th and 49th districts are contained within the county, while the 20th District dips into the northern portion of the county, including Woodland. The 14th District, which includes parts of the Cascades and Yakima, crosses into a sparsely populated eastern portion of the county.

State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, who has served several years in the 18th District, now serves the 20th District. Legislative district boundaries were redrawn last year to adjust to population changes revealed in the 2000 Census.

The 2013 Legislative session is 105 days long, and legislators-elect will be sworn into office on Monday.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

Article source:

TRAVEL: Marriott Palm Beach Gardens has an interesting lost and found …

Ryan the Movie Critic

Ryan Michaels, 14 years old, presents columns, lists, and reviews. He has reviewed over 90 movies since he started writing for our local papers, during summer 2007.

Article source:

Eco-friendly yards promoted


Denise Trowbridge

For The Columbus Dispatch

Sunday January 13, 2013 5:01 AM

If you still cultivate your lawn and garden the way your parents or grandparents did, it might
be time to re-evaluate the habitual use of pesticides, fertilizers and watering hoses. Or, if your
yard and garden look very similar to your neighbors’ — with the same types of trees, flowers and
shrubs — it might also be time to branch out.

As a society, “We need to change the way we maintain our landscapes,” said Peter Lowe, the
native landscape manager at the Dawes Arboretum in Newark. “We sometimes garden the way our parents
did, out of habit, instead of thinking about the impact of what we’re doing. The normal everyday
practices of gardening are becoming harmful, because many gardeners aren’t aware of the
relationship between plants, the environment and the ecosystem. And we’re overusing chemicals.”

Lowe and the arboretum are hoping to change that. The arboretum has launched a sustainable
landscaping certificate program for homeowners consisting of four classes introducing the basics of
sustainable gardening. The classes will take place one Saturday a month from February through May,
beginning Feb. 9. The series costs $80, or $65 for arboretum members.

The classes will cover the basics of sustainable landscaping, such as the benefits of
incorporating more sustainable practices into home-gardening routines, garden-bed maintenance and
preparation, and wiser use of plant material and chemicals. Participants will learn to manage water
more efficiently, via use of rain gardens and rain barrels, and how to find the best plant
materials for their growing conditions. Lowe will also address topics such as composting; managing
garden soil; and the benefits of providing for wildlife.

At the same time, the classes will address big-picture issues such as the importance of
biodiversity in home landscapes. “Home gardens are becoming too much alike,” Lowe said. “We have
cookie-cutter landscapes. “If you look at your street, almost everyone has burning bush, taxus,
boxwood. We’re evolving toward lack of biodiversity, which is bad for wildlife and increases garden
maintenance and populations of garden pests.”

Dawes developed the class at first “out of the increasing need for native plant populations
within home gardens” in Ohio, Lowe said.

The class series is also part of a new focus for the 84-year-old arboretum.“Dawes wants to
become the go-to institution in central and southeast Ohio for native plant and sustainable
gardening information,” Lowe said. “We want people look to us as a resource when they want to make
changes in their lifestyle and need practical advice, plant material and the direction to get them

During the course of the class, Lowe hopes people will learn that having an eco-friendly and
sustainable landscape doesn’t mean your garden is unkempt or wild-looking.“You can have a beautiful
garden, or even the same garden you have now, and just tweak a few things to make it more
sustainable,” he said.

Sustainability isn’t just for the eco-minded.“People think doing things sustainably will cost
more money or be too difficult to do, but the reality is, sustainable is cheaper,” Lowe said.
Gardens that work with nature instead of against it are “lower maintenance, and require less money,
time, water and chemicals to maintain.”

For those who want to learn to revamp their garden or build more permanent structures, the
arboretum has also launched a four-class landscape design certificate program. Brent Pickering, the
arboretum’s ground curator, will teach participants the basics of landscape design, with
information on plants and materials. Participants are encouraged to bring photos and plans of their
yard, so their work in the course can be personalized to their needs. The program will take place
on four Saturdays, starting Feb. 2 and ending March 16. The cost is $80, or $65 for arboretum
members. For more information on courses, call 740-323-2355.

Denise Trowbridge is a Columbus freelance writer who covers garden topics.

Article source:

‘Victory Garden’ TV host to share tips

TOWNSEND — A myriad of labels can be applied to Roger Swain: television host, scientist, gardener, editor, writer, lecturer. But before Swain is anything else, he is an entertainer.

“It’s entertaining; that’s why I do it,” said Swain of his lectures. “I don’t call it a lecture, I call it entertainment and maybe you pick up some things along the way.”

Swain, who is nearly as famous for his cherry suspenders as he is for being the longtime host of “Victory Garden” on PBS, will be guest speaker at the Townsend Public Library on Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. and will lecture about backyard vegetable gardening. And attendees should expect to laugh as much as they learn.

“We have a lot of fun. I try to be humorous, but my lectures are based on almost 50 years of personal experience, so I’ve got a few tricks and I’m happy to share,” said Swain. “That’s the way most of us learned gardening is through other gardeners.”

Backyard gardening has been around since about 1944, said Swain; at the time, 44 percent of vegetables in the United States were being grown by amateur gardeners.

The reason for the boom at the time can likely be attributed to World War II, said Swain. People would grow food to eat themselves, which in turn freed up rations to be sent overseas.

Now, victory gardens are once again coming back in style.

“I’ve been talking about this for 45 years and all of sudden it gets trendy,” said Swain. “Everybody’s doing it, now I’m just encouraging


Swain, who has been backyard gardening since he was 15, said the benefits are innumerable. First and foremost, you’re eating fresh, clean vegetables and you know where they came from. It’s good for the planet and cuts down on the miles that food travels.

Additionally, the hard work and exertion involved provides great physical exercise.

“You don’t need to go to the gym if you have a garden,” said Swain.

Gardening also provides better understanding and awareness of global warming.

“You have your finger on the pulse of nature,” said Swain.

And farmers markets are a great way to build up the community, he said.

“Being a gardener is so easy; it makes you generous and it makes you a lot of friends,” he said.

Whenever he can, Swain said if there’s something he needs, he prefers to buy it at farmers markets. Still, he goes to the grocery store just like anybody else.

“It would be a very boring diet; I would be eating cabbage all winter long,” he said.

Swain spent 15 years hosting 500 episodes of “Victory Garden,” the longest running gardening television show and a sister show to “This Old House”; Swain and host Norm Abram worked on the same property for their shows.

With each episode, the main message Swain wanted to impart was this: “You can do it.”

Although Swain never gives exactly the same lecture twice, he said, he always tries to make it interactive and enjoyable.

“In a good lecture you start talking and you can guess the response from the audience. Then you know you’re on the same page and you’re going to have a good time,” he said. “When you start seeing people taking notes, you know it’s going to be a long hour.”

In addition to the show, Swain was also the science editor of “Horticulture Magazine” for 30 years, he authored several books and essays and he has instructed courses with the master gardeners program with the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. That’s how he became acquainted with Susan McNally and Carolyn Sellars, the two Townsend residents and members of the library’s gardening club who recruited him for the lecture.

“He likes to share what he knows and he likes people, he likes to talk to them,” said McNally. “He’s so entertaining, it’s fun to listen to him even if you’re not gardener.”

The cost is being paid for by local groups, namely the Friends of the Townsend Library and the Amanda Dwight Entertainment Fund.

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TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN – Wild about Design Design in the Dead of … – Jan 11,2013 – TORONTO BOTANICAL GARDEN – Wild about Design: Design in the Dead of Winter

It is the dead of winter and grey, bleak and cold, so you might feel tempted to curl up on the couch with your favourite libation and a stack of nursery catalogues. Instead, why not bundle up and take a walk around your garden with notebook and camera in hand? Without leaves or flowers to distract you it’sthe ideal time to cast a critical eye on your garden.

First, take photos of the whole garden—beds, paths, containers, entrance—both looking towards the back and towards the house. We tend to get into the habit of viewing our gardens from the same vantage point, and a fresh point of view can open up possibilities for a new sitting area, placement of furniture or sculpture, or new plantings. The photos will be the start of a record of the evolution of your garden and a reminder of which plants to buy in the spring.

Look for bare spots and plants that are too close together or have outgrown their space. If the ground is soft enough, use coloured golf tees or chop sticks to mark the plants that need to be moved or divided next spring. Use one colour (or combination of colours) for each one to be transplanted, another for each division and a matching colour showing where each plant will be moved. If the ground is hard frozen, make notes or mark your photos.

Is the garden looking flat, dull or boring? We tend to forget that winter can be five months long here. Canadian gardens need to be designed for FOUR seasons–winter is simply too long to ignore. On your garden walk, note the spots that would benefit from winter foliage, interesting bark, colourful twigs, and textural grasses.

In my opinion, the best remedy for a dull winter garden is conifers. There are so many shapes, sizes, textures and colours from which to choose. They will provide structure and contrast year-round. Particularly interesting is Chamaecyparis spp.—also known as Cypress and False Cypress. These range from 20-metre-tall trees to 80-centimetre-dwarf shrubs, in upright or weeping forms. Their soft, fern-like, lacy foliage can be dark green, blue-green, golden-tipped, silver-blue, golden yellow, or bronze. You can see many dwarf specimens in the TBG President’s Choice Show Garden.

Pines, cedars and yews also provide texture, scent and shelter for birds all year, and can be planted as privacy screens. Broad-leaved evergreens, such as Euonymus and boxwood–whether dark green or variegated–can be clipped and shaped to add form and structure to garden beds.

Everyone is familiar with the red twigs of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) and the bright yellow branches of Yellowtwig Dogwood (Cornus sericea ‘Flaviramea’), but these shrubs tend to get very large and rangy. Keep them shapely by cutting out older branches from the base of the plant. My favourite of the colourful dogwood shrubs is ‘Winter Beauty’ (Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Beauty’) with its yellow, coral and orange twigs

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Prince Harry helps design garden for this summer’s Chelsea Flower Show in …

  • Prince helped to create the garden for his African charity, Sentebale, which was set up in memory of the late Princess Diana
  • The garden will feature his mother’s favourite hearts and crown motif
  • It will also include the ‘William’ plant, in tribute to his brother

Amanda Williams

12:24 EST, 13 January 2013


12:26 EST, 13 January 2013

Prince Harry has helped design a garden for this summer’s Chelsea Flower Show which pays a poignant tribute to his mother. 

The 28-year-old Prince helped to create the garden for his African charity, Sentebale, which was set up in memory of the late Princess Diana.

Sentebale means ‘forget me not’ in Sesotho – the language spoken in Lesotho, where the charity works with victims of extreme poverty and AIDS/HIV victims.

Prince Harry has helped design a garden for this summer's Chelsea flower show which pays a poignant tribute to his mother, Princess Diana

Prince Harry has helped design a garden for this summer’s Chelsea flower show which pays a poignant tribute to his mother, Princess Diana

The main focal point of the garden will be a hearts and crown terrace, based on a blanket design by the late mother of Prince Seeiso of Lesotho (left), who co- founded the charity with Harry (right)

The main focal point of the garden will be a hearts and crown terrace, based on a blanket design by the late mother of Prince Seeiso of Lesotho (left), who co- founded the charity with Harry (centre)

It is believed the garden, which was co-designed by award winning landscape designer Jinny Blom, will feature Princess Diana’s favourite hearts and crown motif, on a stone worked terrace and the Trifolium repens ‘William’ plant, in tribute to his brother.

And at the Prince’s special request the garden will also feature forget-me-nots.

Ms Blom said Harry had been emailing his feedback to her from Camp Bastion, in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he is serving as an Apache helicopter co-pilot.

She told the Sunday Times: ‘He really likes it. He is very keen. He created this charity himself and he got it off the ground, so I really want to do him proud.’

The main focal point of the garden will be a hearts and crown terrace, based on a blanket design by the late mother of Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, who co- founded the charity with Harry, and which was ‘loved’ by the late Princess Diana.

The garden was co-designed by award winning landscape designer Jinny Blom, and will feature Princess Diana's favourite hearts and crown motif, on a stone worked terrace and the Trifolium repens 'William' plant, in tribute to his brother

The garden was co-designed by award winning landscape designer Jinny Blom, and will feature Princess Diana’s favourite hearts and crown motif and the Trifolium repens ‘William’ plant, in tribute to his brother

The garden is being paid for with sponsorship from B Q the home improvements company.

Lesotho is known as the Forgotten Kingdom.

The charity said the overall design of the garden is inspired by traditional features of Lesotho, such as the repetitive circular motif found in the landscape, buildings, hats and blankets made locally.

Sentebale means 'forget me not' in Sesotho - the language spoken in Lesotho, where the charity works

Sentebale means ‘forget me not’ in Sesotho – the language spoken in Lesotho, where the charity works

Ms Blom was awarded a gold medal for her Laurent-Perrier garden at the 2007 Chelsea flower show said: ‘Lesotho has a fascinating landscape and culture that confounds one’s expectations of what makes a country ‘African’.

‘Lesotho’s climate is akin to that of Wales with which it is twinned, cool and damp, hence the need for wearing thick blankets.

‘The garden at Chelsea Flower Show is a contemporary evocation of the mountains, round houses and wonderfully unusual blanket designs that are the national costume. 

‘I am hoping to express not only the beauty and rich culture yet also the inaccessibility and fragility of the country.

‘Some of the native flora, such as Nemesia and Silene fimbriata, will be known to British gardeners.’

Harry’s work through the charity echoes that of his mother who passionately campaigned for Aids victims.

The prince set up the charity in 2006 and it now brings in more than £2m a year.

There are plans to expand it to five countries and quadruple its income. 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Lovely gesture. I’m sure Diana would be very proud.


13/1/2013 22:00

Sorry, but isnt Harry away, on his Military comitments?..


13/1/2013 21:33

I hope Harry donates generously to the charity and does just expect the donations of the poor to keep it going.

Teen Spirit

The Blue Planet,
13/1/2013 21:30

This chap is the future of the monarchy. A very worthy charity indeed.

Fiona Williams

Dundee, Tayside,
13/1/2013 21:23

Harry is a beautiful soul, really. It’s so touching how he loves his brother and remembers his mother. I hope he finds a sweet woman to marry. I think marriage and family will be so good for him.


Florida, United States,
13/1/2013 21:22

Wow! What a guy


13/1/2013 20:59

He has lovely rosy cheeks.


Argyll, Scotland,
13/1/2013 20:48

Wow, Harry congratulations

Teen Spirit

The Blue Planet,
13/1/2013 20:32

Good to see he has so much time on his hands…

Dutch Ovens

Still stuck here…,
13/1/2013 20:26

Oh utterly wonderfully……….I hope its full of the sky blue colour Diana managed to carry off so well.


England, United Kingdom,
13/1/2013 20:18

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