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Archives for January 22, 2013

Public gets first look at library ideas – Galesburg Register

Library and city officials got a first glimpse of possible designs for the new Galesburg Public library at a design competition Monday. Perhaps even more important, however, the prospective architect firms got their first chance to interact with area citizens who will play a large role in the new library no matter which plan or architect is chosen.

Three architect firms traveled to Galesburg and met with about 30 members of the public, including city officials and Galesburg Public Library Board members. The architects brought with them 3-D renderings of their designs, as well as elaborate presentations of what those designs would entail and the thought process behind each decision.

And while the three plans presented Monday required hundreds of man hours to compile, not one feature in those designs is set in stone. The competition, more or less, was a means to open the dialogue on exactly how to make the best library for Galesburg.

That is not to say that the designs presented Monday were transplanted from a standard looking library and dropped onto a computer’s rendering of Main and Academy streets, the site of Galesburg’s next library. Each firm spent time in the city, researched its history and its makeup, as well as topography, which way the wind blows, traffic patterns, sunlight and public transportation routes. One design, that was ultimately not chosen for presentation, featured a library split into sections that mirrored how the rail road lines intersect the city.

“It’s an exercise,” FEH architect Kevin Eipperle said of the design process. “We think we had a lot of good feedback, but we’ll need more. There will be a lot more public input.”

First to present was Engberg Anderson, a Milwaukee-based firm that has worked on 99 libraries. They presented three different building renderings, each with varying degrees of modernity.

Dubuque’s FEH Associates presented a more academic building, with a brick exterior and many smaller windows.

The most forward thinking of the designs came from Cedar Rapids-based OPN Architects. The firm’s design featured a building consisting nearly entirely of glass, with a sloped roof that was taller on the east side to reflect its proximity to downtown and a lower-angled roof on the west to reflect the residential side of town. Nearly all of the building’s Main Street exposure would be glass, with raised landscaping along the east side and a drive-thru coffee shop near the parking lot.

It was a design that garnered praise from some in the audience, but, perhaps foreshadowing it being a tough sell to the greater community, architects said it was only a starting point. Library board members have been vocal about the new library fitting into its surrounding area.

“We wanted to show you what our design capabilities were,” said Bradd Brown, principle-in-charge at OPN.

OPN said that design could be built for around $15 million, the board’s pre-design cost estimate. Engberg Anderson said their plan could be built for around $17-$21 million. FEH’s proposal occurred after The Register-Mail’s deadline.

One feature common through each design was the dedication to energy efficiency and sustainable maintenance costs. Each firm said it could help out with fundraising efforts, and that they have unique ways to reach out and solicit feedback on future designs.

Knowing that some in the community might see spending $15 million on a new library in the digital age as a waste, the presenters were also in agreement on what the role of the building will be for future generations. Rather than a place to consume media, libraries are becoming hubs for the community, and provide resources for community projects and individual interests.

“The library has become a place for doing things. If you want to sew a quilt for returning vets, you come to the library and use their big tables,” said Joe Huberty, partner-in-charge at Engberg Anderson. “Its a place for citizens to collaborate.”

With such a project only available once in a lifetime, it should reflect the future community makeup, Brown said.

“Libraries have really become a community destination point,” he said. “This is the one chance you have to build for future generations. It should be exciting.”

Plans for the new library are still in relatively early stages. An architect will likely be chosen in February, with a decision on a construction manager coming shortly after. The timeline is being expedited to meet an April 16 grant deadline, of which the architects said the would help meet.

The two finalists not chosen for the project will receive $5,000 each for their time and travel.

“We’ve looked at submissions, gone on visits with them and we’ve gotten to know them,” library Director Harriett Zipfel said. “These designs may not and probably won’t be the final designs we go with. These are just examples of what they can do.”

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Ideas, solutions on tap for home show

Days are growing longer. Temperatures are becoming more mild. Spring is right around the corner.

While the prospect of leaving winter behind might be a welcome thought, there’s a bevy of challenges that come with a new season.

Yards across the Pikes Peak region have sat dormant for months, with precious little precipitation having been offered to a landscape desperate for a drink. Another year has passed and the paint on homes throughout the neighborhood has begun to fade. Plus, this is the year you’ve earmarked to build that new, expanded deck with surrounding water features.

Suddenly, another few weeks of winter doesn’t sound so bad.

But you don’t have to take on spring’s challenges alone. The Home and Landscaping Show offers an array of vendors and professionals ready to help simplify your life. Whether indoors or out, construction or design, economical or luxurious, you’re likely to find someone who can lend helpful advice.

The Colorado Springs Event Center will house hundreds of booths next weekend.

Jake Harris, from local company Jake’s Design, believes this is one of the better shows in the region and is looking forward to the landscape competition. Each company will design an area with plants, fire pits, water features, patios and more in hopes of winning The People’s Choice Award, chosen by show attendees.

“You can find any type of vendor here” said Harris, whose company won both first-place awards at last year’s show. “From roofing, home security, windows, carpeting … anything that has to do with a house.”

Headlining the show is celebrity landscaper Jake Moss, host of DIY Network’s hit show “Yardcore!” A California landscape designer and artist, Moss often is recognized by his signature fedora hat and energy. He will be selecting and presenting the second landscaping award.

Katy Linnell, owner of Shelf Genie and Made in the Shade Blinds, has been part of the show for three years and believes it’s a great opportunity for consumers and vendors alike.

“There is such a huge variety of vendors, everyone is sure to find what they need,” she said.

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Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce to hold 4th Annual Home and Garden …

January 22, 2013 |
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Clarksville Chamber of Commerce Home and Garden ShowClarksville, TN – On February 23rd and 24th, the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce will hold the 4th Annual Home and Garden Show sponsored by Furniture Connection.

The show is an excellent opportunity to get a head start on home and garden ideas for the spring.

Last year's Home and Garden Show.

Last year’s Home and Garden Show.

It will offer the chance to meet vendors throughout the industry that can help with landscaping ideas, home improvement projects or tell you all about what is new and fashionable for your home.

The Home and Garden Show will take place at Austin Peay’s Foy Fitness and Recreation Center located at 259 Marion street, Clarksville. Show hours are Saturday, February 23rd from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Sunday, February 24th from noon to 5:00pm

General admission is $5.00 and free for children under 12 and active duty military with valid I.D.

Last year there was 58 Vendors on hand to offer Clarksvillians tips on getting ready for the rapidly approaching spring.

For more information, visit the Chamber of Commerce’s website at




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Middlebury removes invasive trees from Krider Garden

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MIDDLEBURY The front of Krider Garden looks different after the removal of nine large Norway Maple trees on Monday, but town officials say it is an opportunity to improve the park.

The park department and the tree board received an urban forestry grant to pay for the removal of the trees, because if they were left alone, they would destroy the ecosystem of Krider and the surrounding area, said park board president, Jim McKee.

Their seeds spread all over the place, and they outcompete native trees, said parks and recreation manager, Tom Enright. The removal of these trees gives us an opportunity to landscape with native species of trees. We will be able to bring more diversity to this area of the park and plant trees that will add color in the spring and the fall. We will also add shrubs and landscaping to create a nice entrance into Middlebury on C.R. 8.

The ill-fated trees were marked earlier this year with large red Xs.

We waited until the ground was frozen to remove them to minimize damage to the ground and other plants, said McKee.

I am excited that they are down, said tree board president Larry Carlson. They drop a horrendous amount of seed pods, and the other plantings in the park will benefit from their removal.

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Manhattan Beach’s ‘ocean-friendly garden’ on the Strand to lead by example

ocean friendly garden

A digital rendering of Manhattan Beach’s ocean-friendly garden on the Strand, expected to be completed this March. Courtesy of the City of Manhattan Beach

Construction is expected to begin Tuesday for Manhattan Beach’s eco-friendly garden on the Strand.

The project will transform one of the existing planters on Manhattan Beach Boulevard near the pier to a 2,375 square-foot showcase of sustainable gardening practices, said Sona Kalapura, the city’s environmental programs manager.

The Ocean Friendly Garden should be blooming by March.

“It’s the perfect way to show residents how they can build a garden like this on their own,” Kalapura said. “Sustainable landscaping is one initiative we’re really moving forward with.”

Last January, the city secured a grant of $23,000 from the California Department of Water Resources and West Basin Municipal Water District to turn one of the planters on the Strand into an “ocean-friendly garden,” Kalapura said.

“Ideally in the future we could secure some other funding to re-landscape the other side as well,” she added.

The garden is part of West Basin’s “Ocean Friendly Program,” which since 2008 has groomed landscapes into aesthetic gardens that “revolve around conservation, permeability and retention, all with the aim of conserving water,” according to its website.

Although the city already has several examples of sustainable landscape, from the entrance to City Hall to the Nelson parkway off of Aviation Boulevard, this is the city’s first such project with West Basin, Kalapura said.

After awarding the grant to the city, West Basin and G3, the landscape design contractor, conducted site and soil assessments. A community meeting in August solicited design input and feedback from residents, and in September, City Council approved the plans.

Stout Landscape Design-Build, Inc., hired by West Basin earlier this month, will undertake the construction of the garden.

The garden will exclusively feature California-native plants. It will also utilize environmental site grading and allow for rain water to infiltrate the plant root system.

The site, a steeply sloped landscape previously filled with “some native plants, foliage and palm trees,” has been cleared by the Public Works staff to begin construction, Kalapura said.

She added that the walkway near the garden may be intermittently blocked off during construction, but the Strand will remain open and accessible to the public.

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Great Big Home and Garden Show Coming to I-X Center


The Great Big Home and Garden Show will return to the I-X Center Feb. 2-10 with more than 650 exhibitors.

New Features and Attractions:

• A fully-constructed, 4,000-square-foot Idea Home sponsored by Sherwin-Williams and Cleveland Magazine and built by Perrino Builders will inspire visitors with ways to plan and create their dream house.  

• The fully constructed, 2,000-square-foot Dream Basement built by Chagrin Falls-based Custom Remodeling and Design.

• Fine dining at the Cambria Bistro, a full-service, white-tablecloth restaurant.

 “The Good Life” is the theme of the daily cooking sessions presented by local chefs and instructors of the Loretta Paganini School of Cooking. (

Returning Favorites from 2012:

• The Garden Showcase, sponsored by WKYC, WDOK and WQAL, and located in the South Hall. 

• On Feb. 2 at 2 p.m., Architectural Justice will host a fashion show on The Main Stage that combines Haute Couture with interior design. 

• The Celebrity Designer Rooms will be custom-designed by a Northeast Ohio design business or exhibitor with the help of a local radio or television personality. 

• Belgard Hardscapes, Inc. will feature outdoor living spaces created by two of the area’s premier landscapers – Rock Bottom Lawn Landscaping and Friberg Landscaping Construction, LLC.

• At The Petitti Gardening Stage, daily gardening seminars on landscape design, flora and furnishing outdoor rooms will be held by Northeast Ohio landscape experts. 

• The Plant Sale begins after the show closes on Feb. 10 at 6:30 p.m. Get great deals on the products and plant material on display in the gardens just in time for spring.

• Kids can have fun in Playground World’s KidsZone, which features slides, swings, basketball hoops and the world’s safest, fully-enclosed SpringfreeTM Trampoline. 

Home Improvement and Culinary Celebrities:

• Known as the de-cluttering and organization guy, Peter Walsh from the hit TLC show “Clean Sweep” will appear Feb. 2.

• The show will also feature Ohio native Chris Crary, a season nine participant and fan favorite from Bravo’s popular television series “Top Chef,” on Feb. 9.

• Matt Fish, owner and chef of Melt Bar and Grilled will also present on The Main Stage Feb. 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10. 

• Returning as this year’s Main Stage emcee, Matt Fox will offer home improvement knowledge and special educational presentations on Feb. 2, 3 and 5. 

Adult admission is $14 at the box office, but discount tickets are available online, at Home Depot and AAA locations. Seniors 65 and old are $10; kids 6-12 are $5, and kids 5 and under are admitted free.

Check the Great Big Home and Garden Show’s website for more information.

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Feed the birds… Feed the birds

WITH sub-zero temperatures upon us, the RSPB is advising people to make sure their bird feeders and tables are full of high-energy foods. Hannah Stephenson examines what’s on offer

How long is it since you filled your bird feeder or replenished the water in your birdbath? If you haven’t done it for a while, there’s no time like the present.

“The sudden drop in temperatures across the UK will have been a big shock to birds’ systems after spending the past couple of months with few worries in terms of food availability,” says Richard James, RSPB wildlife adviser.

“Thanks to the recent mild weather, many natural food sources have been readily available and water has been easy to come by. Now the snow and ice are here birds will need all the help they can get to survive the winter.”

However, the range of bird seeds, fat balls and other so-called bird-friendly items can leave gardeners baffled as to what’s best for our feathered friends.

The RSPB suggests calorie-rich foods such as mixed seed, nyjer seed, fatballs, suet sprinkles, sunflower seed and good quality peanuts, as well as kitchen scraps such as mild grated cheese, rice and porridge oats.

There are different mixes for feeders and for bird tables and ground feeding. The better mixtures contain plenty of flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules.

Small seeds, such as millet, attract mostly house sparrows, dunnocks, finches, reed buntings and collared doves, while flaked maize is taken readily by blackbirds.

Tits and greenfinches favour peanuts and sunflower seeds. Mixes that contain chunks or whole nuts are suitable for winter feeding only.

Pinhead oatmeal is excellent for many birds. Wheat and barley grains are often included in seed mixtures, but they are really only suitable for pigeons, doves and pheasants, which feed on the ground and rapidly increase in numbers, frequently deterring the smaller species.

Avoid seed mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils as again only the large species can eat them dry. These are added to some cheaper seed mixes to bulk them up. Any mixture containing green or pink lumps should also be avoided as these are dog biscuit, which can only be eaten when soaked.

Don’t feed the birds cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes, because the fat may have blended with meat juices which leaves a mixture prone to smearing, which is not good for the birds’ feathers, and is a breeding ground for bacteria, the charity warns.

Polyunsaturated margarines and vegetable oils are also unsuitable as birds need high levels of saturated fat to retain the high energy to keep warm, and soft fats can be smeared on to feathers, destroying the waterproofing qualities.

Lard and beef suet on their own are fine as they re-solidify after warming and are not as prone to bacteria breeding because they are pure fat.

Never give milk to the birds because it can result in serious stomach upsets or even death. They can, however, digest fermented dairy products such as mild grated cheese, which may attract robins, wrens and dunnocks.

If you want to give the birds coconut, only give them the fresh stuff in the shell, rinsing out any sweet coconut water before hanging it out, to stop black mildew emerging. Desiccated coconut should never be used as it can swell inside the bird, with fatal consequences.

Cooked rice without added salt can be beneficial to birds during severe winter weather, while uncooked porridge oats are fine for many bird species. You can also put out small quantities of dry breakfast cereal .

A supply of water is also essential for bathing and preening. In freezing conditions birds become more dependent on water provided in gardens, since many natural sources are frozen over.

The most effective way to keep the water in your garden from freezing is to pop in a light ball that will be moved by even a gentle breeze – a ping-pong ball is ideal.

Alternatively, pour on hot water to melt the ice to make sure the birds can get to it.

Put out enough food and you may see a wider variety of visitors during the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (Jan 26 and 27), the world’s biggest wildlife survey.

For more information, visit

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Free Ecological Lectures for the Urban Gardener

By Carol Stocker
CAMBRIDGE – As invasive species and habitat loss continue to threaten our native birds and other wildlife, our urban and suburban gardens could become their last refuge. Grow Native Massachusetts, part of the new environmental movement that advocates for the creation of habitat in our own front and backyards, is again offering its free public lecture series “Evenings with the Experts” at the Cambridge Public Library. Now in its fourth year, this series has been well attended by gardeners and gardening enthusiasts of all ages who care about biodiversity and want to make a difference by improving the ecological value of their landscapes. Come. Get inspired. Every garden matters; every landscape counts. Lectures are on the first Wednesday of each month from February through June, and begin at 7:00pm.

Here’s this year’s lineup:

February 6: Managing Invasives at Home and Around Town.

A talk by Eric Olson Josh Ellsworth of Brandeis University. Founder of the Newton Invasive Plant Task Force, Dr. Olson has led substantial volunteer efforts to control invasive species in Newton and Waltham. He will discuss this management challenge, especially the importance of building trust with local Conservation Commissions, and the risks and pleasures of depending entirely upon volunteer labor. Josh Ellsworth will explain the ecology of invasives, along with specific techniques for controlling the species most commonly encountered in Greater Boston.

March 6: Meadowscaping in Urban and Suburban Spaces.

Catherine Zimmerman, founder of the Meadow Project, describes why meadow and prairie habitats are so beneficial, both economically and environmentally. She is passionate about getting Americans to move away from their devotion to a monoculture of pesticide-ridden lawns. Get a step-by-step primer on reducing lawn size and installing a beautiful meadow instead. No space is too small. Join the movement to bring back native habitat! Ms. Zimmerman is the author of “Urban and Suburban Meadows.”

April 3: Landscape Design with the Climate in Mind

Sue Reed, author of “Energy-Wise Landscape Design” discusses how to manage our landscapes to save energy and reduce our carbon footprint—essential actions in this era of climate change. You can: reduce costs for home heating and cooling; save energy on your gardens and grounds; and choose products with lower embedded energy costs. Your property is full of opportunities to conserve, even if you’re not doing a major renovation or landscape redesign. Ms. Reed is an author and landscape architect.

May 1: Go Botany! Plant ID for the 21st Century

Imagine identifying plants in the field with your iPad or smart phone. Go Botany is the new definitive on-line Flora of New England for just that. Botanist Elizabeth Farnsworth will introduce and demonstrate this richly illustrated interactive key to over 3,500 native and naturalized plants of our region. This tool also includes PlantShare for reporting discoveries, exchanging checklists, and more. This evening will equip you to ID and better understand the many plants you encounter.

June 5: The Restoration of Consecration Dell

At the heart of Mount Auburn Cemetery, Consecration Dell is a landscape of great beauty and a hot spot for birding. Yet not long ago, it was overrun by invasive species and worn from erosion. Come hear Dr. Dave Barnett, President of Mount Auburn, describe the Dell’s restoration— requiring decades of work to establish a thriving community of native plants and vital habitat for wildlife. It is complex and intriguing tale, full of lessons about the challenges and rewards of ecological restoration.

For more about Grow Native Massachusetts and the Evenings with Experts lecture series go to

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Get tips for your family’s garden at this weekend’s Flower and Garden Expo

Va. Beach Convention Center


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VIRGINIA BEACH – With Winter here, Spring can’t be far behind.  

It’s never too early to plan your garden and you can get the help you need at this weekend’s 2013 Virginia Flower Garden Expo, which is put on by the Virginia Horticultural Foundation.

“We’re returning to our roots with a focus on pure gardening,” says Laurie Fox, show coordinator. “This is a comprehensive event, promoting horticulture for home gardeners, professionals and anyone in between.”

Experts and knowledgeable professionals will be on hand Friday, Saturday and Sunday to discuss plants, plans, products and practices. More than 100 companies be at the Va. Beach Convention Center.

Children 12 and younger are free and can participate in activities that will educate them about flowers and gardens.

There are $2 discount coupons for the $10 adult tickets.

For more information and the coupon, go to the Virginia Flower Garden Expo Website.

Friday and Saturday (Jan. 25, 26)
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sunday (Jan .27)
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Convention Center is at 1000 19th Street in Va. Beach.

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Ultimate easy vegetable gardening


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Do you skip vegetable gardening in winter because it’s just too much work in bad weather?

My Uncle Henry has a backyard full of the most luscious winter treats that don’t require much work at all. The secret: cylinder gardening.

The benefits are overwhelming:

1. Plants are raised enough to eliminate deep bending for harvesting.

2. You can easily adjust the soil to specific plant requirements since you’re only filling on container.

3.  All watering and fertilizing is done just in the container. Cheaper, and you’re not feeding/watering a bunch of nearby weeds.

4. Speaking of weeds, they’re so much easier to reach and pull out.

5. You can plant a reasonable amount of each variety — just enough for you to collect and eat several times a week.

6. Pots are easily camouflaged in existing gardens if you don’t care for his out-in-the-open landscape design.

Where to get pots?  The five-gallon plastic cans thrown away by grocery stores, paint stores, etc., are ideal.

If you want to get into the Cylinder Gardening developed by the Men’s Garden Club of Houston and promoted by Harris County Master Gardeners, slice off the bottom of the bucket. Then cut the bucket in half, so you have two cylinders.  Set these right on the ground, fill with good soil and plant.

By the time roots grow down into the existing soil, they’ll be strong enough to penetrate it.

What do we plant outside (in at least 6 hours of sunlight) in winter?  Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, radishes, spinach and turnips, to name just a few.

If freezing temperatures are forecast, just throw a sheet over them.  Be sure to take it off the next day.

*  *  *

Brenda’s “LAZY GARDENER’S GUIDE ON CD” is based on her 45+-year Lazy Gardener column in the Houston Chronicle.
Brenda’s book-on-CD is perfect for those new to gardening, those who loves to garden
or those who have to at least maintain a front yard so the neighbors won’t hate you!
Month-by-month, when-to-do-what-in Greater Houston Area Gardens  — plant? prune? fertilize? With 12 garden designs for butterflies, hummingbirds, sun, shade, herbs, antique roses, tropicals . . . you name it.
Mail checks ($20) payable to Brenda Beust Smith to Lazy Gardener’s Guide on CD, 14011 Greenranch Dr., Houston, TX 77039.  (email:

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