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Archives for January 23, 2013

Wildwood Fort is gone but fond memories linger

Photo Courtesy Conejo Recreation and Park District  Wildwood Fort

Copyright 2002

Photo Courtesy Conejo Recreation and Park District
Wildwood Fort

Wildwood Fort.

Paul Hamilton’s face lit up at the memories as a smile spread across his face.

“It was fantastic,” said Hamilton, 51. “That was the prime play place. We grew up with that. We came of age with that.”

Situated on a plateau in Wildwood Neighborhood Park in Thousand Oaks, the fort was the center of the universe for fun and games to many children.

This month marks the four-year anniversary of when the wooden structure — battered with age, considered beyond repair and deemed unsafe — was torn down.

Native landscaping, planted to fill the void as an interim measure approved by the Conejo Recreation and Park District, is long dead.

Wood chips now cover the spot where the fort once stood.

“They should do something with it,” Hamilton said of the site while walking his Boston terrier in the park. “I’d like to see them do something unique.”

Hardware and salvaged wood from the fort are kept in park district storage. Ideas, including a fort-inspired picnic area, were bandied about in the weeks after the condemned structure was torn down. But a district official said the plateau will remain as it is.

“The public didn’t want it,” District Administrator Tom Hare said of the proposed picnic area. “No one could really agree on what they wanted, so we just decided to make it more passive.”

Wildwood Fort was like a local version of the Hollywood sign, a real estate marketing gimmick that became a community touchstone.

Developer William Lyon built the log stilt fort, surrounded by a 12-foot-tall log fence, in 1967 at the park at 650 W. Avenida de los Arboles. Potential homebuyers could gaze out at the picturesque Wildwood Homes neighborhood.

A year later, Lyon donated the fort and 1,250 acres for open space. The park district acquired the fort in 1977.

“I loved the fort,” Valerie Hines Ewald, 48, said while sitting in Wildwood Neighborhood Park with her niece and great-nephew. “It was one of the most fun things to go to as a child.”

Like Hamilton, Hines Ewald grew up in the area.

“When I moved back here, I saw it was condemned,” she said.

A chain-link fence was put around the structure in the early 2000s as the wood, treated with creosote, decayed from rot and termite damage.

People cut through the fence to explore the old fort. Problems arose, with neighbors complaining about people going there to use drugs or have sex.

“It remained an eyesore for at least two or three years,” said Vince Vlasic, who has lived in the area for 35 years. “It provided new hazards. It really didn’t keep away the young folks.”

Vlasic heard the rumble of a bulldozer the morning of January 2009, when the fort was torn down.

He was concerned about the lack of notification because he and others had turned out for two community meetings to discuss what should happen to the site. Ideas ranged from building a skate park to nothing.

A local Rotary Club suggested taking it on as an improvement project, while the park district came up with drawings for a fort-themed picnic area on a concrete pad. About $30,000 was set aside for improvements. The park district board approved an interim landscaping plan, with more community meetings to come.

But nothing happened. The money eventually was redirected.

Officials plan to let Mother Nature creep over the wood chips.

Steve Sublette, who lives near the park, said the area looks better than when it was fenced off. He doesn’t think any additions are needed and noted the park already has two picnic tables.

“I think it’s an improvement over what was there before,” he said. “For me, the way it looks now is fine.”

Vlasic supports the open plateau but would like to see some sort of “gateway” or “plaque” made out of the fort’s timber and hardware as a nod of appreciation to Lyon, the developer who built the fort.

Hines Ewald agreed that something special should go where the fort once stood.

“It was magical for a child in Thousand Oaks,” she said.

Article source:

Bryan City Council considers reducing size of municipal golf course – Bryan

Bryan golf course

Bryan golf course

James Lindsey, 8, hits from a rubber tee while participating in a golf clinic at the Travis B. Bryan Municipal Golf Course in June 2012.

Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:00 am

Updated: 9:41 am, Wed Jan 23, 2013.

Bryan City Council considers reducing size of municipal golf course


The Eagle


The Bryan City Council wants staff and board members to look into reducing the size of the municipal golf course.

The council, led by Mayor Jason Bienski, on Tuesday instructed staff to postpone moving forward with the Travis B. Bryan Golf Course strategic plan that was introduced in September and instead have the parks and recreation advisory board examine other recreational options for the land. Bienski floated the idea of reducing the number of holes from 18 to nine and using the other space for youth baseball fields.

“If rounds are down throughout this United States and fewer people are playing and have time to play it — I love the idea of a nine-hole course. I could probably play that,” Bienski said.

The mayor proposed similar ideas in 2011, after voters overwhelmingly rejected the idea of revoking the course’s parkland designation. City officials had negotiated to sell the land, which is on highly sought-after real estate.

Council examined the future for the golf course during its workshop, which mainly consisted of a financial update from staff and proposals for how to improve the course.

The staff proposals, which council decided not to move forward with, included constructing new bathrooms, improving lighting, renovating the changing rooms, general landscaping improvements and renovating the 10th fairway visible from Villa Maria Road.

City staff is entertaining a request for proposals for a contractor to operate a restaurant and grill at the golf course. Deputy City Manager Hugh Walker said those plans would still move forward.

The last year the golf course made a profit, according to staff reports, was 2009. The city spent $948,000 and took in $664,000 from the golf course in 2012. That gap is projected to widen to $1.2 million in expenses and $736,000 in revenues in 2013.

Still, Bienski said the golf course was a quality-of-life issue and not a revenue generator.

That sentiment was shared by Hugh Seale, a lifelong Bryan resident and golfer at the course. Seale, who was part of the 72 percent of residents who voted to keep the golf course in a 2011 citywide referendum, would like to see the course stay at 18 holes.

“That would be like saying we don’t want a 100-yard football field,” Seale said. “It would be like shutting half the library off.”


Wednesday, January 23, 2013 12:00 am.

Updated: 9:41 am.

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Pamplin to hear Main Street ideas on Tuesday


Staff Writer

Could Downtown Pamplin have more visitors?

Well it could be possible after adding signs leading to Main Street and making other changes.

Drawings reflecting possible changes that aim to make a difference in the make-up of the entryways to downtown will be presented next Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 6 p.m. at the Pamplin Depot located 115 Main St. There will be light refreshments served at the meeting, which is open to the public.

Elizabeth Gilboy, director of the Virginia Tech Design Assistance Center, and other representatives, will present on Tuesday ideas for signs that will direct people into the town.

Gilboy particularly noted that in order to get into Main Street people need to make a sharp left turn.

Signage and other ideas will be presented at a meeting.

“We tried to reflect the character of Downtown Pamplin,” said Gilboy,

Tuesday’s presentation is a follow-up to previous meeting held last January where those in attendance provided their ideas on scenery and other suggestions that encourage growth to revive Main Street.

Gilboy expects Tuesday’s meeting to last an hour with the presentation being about 30 minutes and the second half of the meeting for questions.

One of the last places that the Center did such entryway design work was Chatham.

Gilboy said that with some places they keep in touch and some report that they have implemented some of the changes.

“It would be great to stay in touch with Pamplin,” said Gilboy.

Gilboy said that they like to hear success stories from communities that they have done work for.

The Center typical posts success stories in their newsletter and on their Facebook page.

In January 2012, Virginia Tech’s Community Design Assistance Center representatives solicited input on ideas that would encourage growth on Main Street.

Presently, Main Street has minimal business and features only the Pamplin Depot, a wood yard, a seasonal antique store and vacant storefront buildings.

At that earlier meeting, among ideas voiced citizens stated that they would like to have a train station and assisted living facility on Main Street. In addition scenery ideas included landscaping the area with dogwood trees and butterfly scapes.

In the summer of 2011, through a partnership with the Virginia Department of Forestry, the Design Center offered a Virginia Department of Forestry’s Urban and Community Forestry $5,000 matching grant to develop a conceptual design for each of the two entrance areas into downtown Pamplin.

With the funds, Virginia Tech representatives were able to complete design work for the project.

The grant offer subsequently came after a book co-authored by an employee of Virginia Tech entitled Lost Communities of Virginia was published, which features historical information about Pamplin and other small communities.

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The terrarium makes a comeback

The modern houseplant

Early in 2012 Marten felt that he’d taken flowers as far as he could.
Contemporary statements of glamorous stems in sculptural vases left him
cold. He longed to work with material which was “alive not dying”.

The idea of creating hip terrariums for the modern age had been knocking
around in his mind for a while. In the United States and Australia, indoor
gardens, terrariums and interior landscapes have been coming back into
fashion for a while. Exponents include the artist Paula Hayes, who makes
installations using glass vessels and plants. These, says Marten, “straddle
art, landscaping and product design”, while American companies like Slug
Squirrel make small terrariums from found glass objects.

There are also hints of a revival in Victorian interiors at the moment, with
fossils, natural history specimens and objects of “curiosity” in the mix.
Even “brown” furniture has been rehabilitated. It was hints and cues like
these which brought Hermetica London into being.

However, Marten still has to battle for hearts and minds. For all kinds of
reasons, many of us have given up growing indoor plants. It seems the
Seventies and early Eighties was the last time we thought seriously about
terrariums and houseplants. Back then, everyone aspired to have green plants
in their homes. It was a time of white-painted brick fireplaces with baskets
of ferns inside, or 6ft-high palms beside the open-tread pine staircase.
Large recycled glass demijohns planted with succulents or African violets
were a popular addition to stylish interior shots. Green plants worked with
the newly fashionable “country” look, all that pale wood, macrame pot
holders and Laura Ashley “spriggery”.

Marten’s many trips to Holland as a professional florist had showed him that
fantastic indoor plants are available, but many of them we never see in this
country, so sourcing good material can be hard. The one plant many people do
have indoors is the indestructible phalaenopsis orchid. Trouble is, as their
popularity has soared they have become too familiar. Offerings from the
British wholesale market are often dull, though a few garden centres are
more adventurous. For many gardeners, houseplants can also mean serious
guilt if they die slowly before our eyes, even if they cost less than a
bunch of flowers. We feel more comfortable with cut flowers, knowing that
they are bound to die and can be thrown out.

Marten gardens and knows his plants but he says there is a risk that
horticultural know-how can be inhibiting. “In a way, I need to forget what I
know about gardening and start again from scratch to free up the
possibilities,” he says. He thinks we should all be braver in our plant
choices and resist always buying the easy option: “Buy something beautiful
and delicate and exotic, be prepared for it to die eventually but enjoy it
for the time that you have it. You can always compost it if you feel guilty
when it has to go.”

A glass act

Originally terrariums came from a period when plant hunters transported living
specimens thousands of miles home. They provided a self-sustaining
mini-environment in which moisture created by the plants collected on the
inside surfaces of the glass and dripped down to replenish them. Wardian
cases (named after their inventor the botanist and entomologist Dr Nathaniel
Bagshaw Ward) became a way for wealthy Victorians to display plants indoors,
especially in cities where pollution made gardening difficult. It is
possible, but rare, to find examples of these at fairs and boot sales.

Fortunately, Marten has found a company still able to make glass terrariums.
Conveniently near to London, in Billericay, Essex, Glass from the Past will
be making containers for Marten’s projects and hosting workshops where
people can learn to make a terrarium.

“It’s a cube with a corner missing, basically. You see it as a cube but if you
just tilt it on its side it transforms it. It’s amazing how something so
simple can have such an entirely different effect. We’ll do a 7in cube for
the workshops so it’s easy to take home afterwards when it’s filled with

Marten is also working with a designer to make a contemporary “Wardian case
with a twist”, including LED lighting. He says: “It will function as a table
but there will be a garden beneath you and you’ll be able to place it where
you wouldn’t normally put plants.”

Other ideas come from the possibilities offered by electronics and lighting.
These open the way for some extraordinary effects. Why not make a narrow
vertical display case or vitrine which doesn’t take up much space, planted
and hung on a wall? Ken wants to experiment with displays which shift with
time, slowly and almost imperceptibly, or maybe with faster-growing roots
suspended in a liquid medium that change almost daily. Who isn’t fascinated
by the roots of a hyacinth bulb growing into a glass jar?

Containers don’t have to be made for the job though, you just need an eye to
spot the potential of things you come across. For a recent window display in
London’s West End, Marten used groups of old laboratory glasses, bell jars
and flasks combined with small succulents, skeleton plant stems, fossils and
more, making an extraordinarily detailed still-life. It caused many a
preoccupied pavement-focused walker to stop and look up in wonderment at a
fragile natural world of living green, caught and surviving among the city
glass, steel and concrete.

some of Ken Marten’s terrariums in our gallery

Follow @oscarsinteriors
on Twitter for news of a project with interior design shop Oscars.

Terrariums by Hermetica will be on show at the Garden Museum, London SE1,
from April 8 in the Floriculture exhibition (Feb 14-April 28). Ken Marten
will speak at an evening event on April 12. For tickets see

Article source:

Bestowing Beauty on Connecticut Properties Is New Milford Designer’s Job …



Richard Schipul’s job, one might say, is to bestow upon his clients the gift of beauty.

“I think what I do is giving more pride in home ownership to my customers,” the 47-year-old New Milford resident and owner of Designing Eden said recently as he sat in his home on a 10-acre farm in the rural Merryall section of town. “I want them to enjoy their homes, and I believe they can do that more by having beautiful gardens and landscaping. I know they feel this way after our work is done because I hear from them and we exchange Christmas cards with many of our clients.”

Since he was a young man, Mr. Schipul has had his hands in the good earth, making land come alive with his landscape and garden designs … his life’s work, really. He grew up in Trumbull and loved the outdoors so much that he headed off to the State University of New York in Farmingdale to acquire a degree in horticulture in 1989.

“I was going to get a two-year degree and return home and cut lawns for a living. But during college I took a trip with a friend to The Bayberry nursery on the eastern tip of Long Island and saw the amazing beauty of this property and knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life—making properties beautiful.” So, Mr. Schipul’s dreams turned from cutting lawns to designing the gardens that surround the green oasis. He enrolled in the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Landscape Architecture in 1992.

He shortly thereafter founded Designing Eden, which began as a landscape maintenance business in Trumbull, Conn. As the company developed, Mr. Schipul saw a need for a landscape company that could create memorable outdoor environments by combining creative design solutions with fine craftsmanship. Armed with his training and skills as a horticulturist and landscape architect, he moved Designing Eden into the planning and construction part of the industry, specializing in landscapes for historic houses. His business has been based in New Milford for the past eight years.

“My parents have a summer home on Candlewood Lake and I kept seeing this piece of property being advertised in New Milford,” he recalled. “I kept thinking that I should buy it with an eye on living there someday. So, three months later I did. When my wife (Christine) and I were married we moved to the property and lived in a small house that was on the land. It was 550 square feet and I had all my clothes in a three-drawer dresser,” he adds with laugh.” Along came two children, and the Schipuls built a large home on the property that also serves as a nursery for many of the company’s plantings.

“This is a perfect place for us. It is quiet and beautiful and much of the land around us is preserved as open space.” The property has a renovated barn and carriage house, and the Schipuls are in the process of clearing the land with a plan of building a horticultural showplace to include a design office, growing fields and display gardens to excite the senses.

As Designing Eden’s name indicates, Mr. Schipul’s overriding passion is to create unique and stunning gardens and landscapes for his clients, many of whom live in Litchfield County. He shows his visitor photos of a three-acre wildflower field he created for a client in Kent, as well as a garden for a historic home in Ridgefield center.

“The wildflower field is alive with color throughout the year and works, even though it butts up against the modern design of the home. The Ridgefield project is one of my favorites. The property was without much landscaping when we were hired and we were able to create a small, yet beautiful garden by mixing about 70 percent perennials into the landscape surrounding the house with 30 percent annuals; the latter we replace three times a year. It’s a historic home right on the town’s main street and the owners say they constantly have people coming up to the door and asking about the gardens.”

Although the firm undertakes projects on all types of properties, its specialty and affinity is renovating gardens of period homes, as well as creating old style gardens for new homes meant to look old. Mr. Schipul says his landscape designs are well thought out, environmentally sensitive and highly personalized. The landscape designs are created to complement the architectural style of a home, while also meeting a homeowner’s needs. The designs provide year-round interest by creating plant combinations with contrasting forms, leaf textures, colors and varying bloom times. Designing Eden installs and maintains gardens. Continued…

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Dubai Municipality partners with UAE’s dedicated outdoor and landscaping show

The three-day event arrives as GCC governments step up their efforts to revamp outdoor environments, as new legislation in 2013 is expected to be passed requiring developers and contractors to include a minimum of 25% of ‘green space’ and ‘outdoor landscaping’ in all residential and commercial projects.

Ahmed Abdulkarim, Director of Public Parks Horticulture for Dubai Municipality, welcomed the launch of the show to provide a platform for the industry during legislative change.

He said, “With a flourishing landscaping community in Dubai, we are now in the position to create and maintain unrivalled green communities that offer the best environment for people and businesses that are living and working here.”

“By 2025, the vision of Dubai Municipality is to see a quarter of the emirate covered in green space, spanning some 38,000sqm, while we also plan to have one million trees planted by 2014. “The Outdoor Design Build Supply show will present an arena in which we can share knowledge and find new avenues to take this vision forward,” he added.

Outdoor Design Build Supply will address the use of outdoor space in construction projects, providing support to developers, landscape architects and designers creating outdoor spaces including parks, hotels, private and palace gardens, green areas within urban communities, major residential and commercial projects, sports stadiums, golf courses, and hospitals.

In addition to the Dubai Municipality, the show is supported by Municipality of Abu Dhabi City and Al Ain Municipality, and has already attracted big players such as Fitco Irrigation, Greenworks, The Inout Company, Orient Irrigation, Terraverde, Timberwolf, and Toscana Landscaping.

Thea Skelton, Project Director of Outdoor Design Build Supply said, “Gardening and outdoor landscaping is an integral part of our living spaces, and even more so now that there is a conscious effort to develop a greener and more sustainable outdoor environment.”

“With this first edition of Outdoor Design Build Supply, we can look forward to a booming Middle East outdoor landscaping sector, as regional governments and developers continue to put more emphasis on the sustainable beautification of our outdoors,” he added.

Visitors to Outdoor Design Build Supply will include government and urban planning officials, corporate project managers and horticulture experts who will give exhibitors the opportunity to strengthen existing relationships while putting them in front of a targeted market.

Outdoor Design Build Supply is supported by the largest buyers of outdoor products and services.

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Master Gardeners offer January gardening tips

Mailboxes filled with gardening catalogs signal the beginning of another new gardening season. With gardens blanketed in snow we have time to think about the upcoming year and what changes we want to make in them. A shrub or perennial plant might need to be relocated, you may want to add some new plants to an existing planting, improve lawn health, or increase yields in your vegetable garden. This is a good time to think about these things as well as how your plants grew last year. If you kept a journal reading through it now may offer some insight.

Many who grow vegetables and perennials have problems with plant diseases or insect pests. Keeping notes on what insect pests and plant diseases you have and when they are first detected in your plants can help with future plant maintenance. Before treating plants you should make sure the pest is correctly identified – if pesticides are needed for control it’s important to know the best time to apply them so they are most effective.  

Buying disease resistant varieties when ordering seeds or purchasing plants is another way to reduce your pesticide exposure as well as plant maintenance costs.

Below we have included information about our upcoming events, garden and landscape tips for January, and an article written by one of our Master Gardeners. Should you have questions please call or e-mail.

Upcoming events:

Gardening Hotline: During the winter months we receive many questions about insect pests inside homes, tree and shrub pruning and questions from people who want advice that will help them avoid problems they’ve had in their gardens and landscapes in the past. If you have a question please leave it on our voicemail 331-8415, Ext. 107 or e-mail us at Please leave a daytime phone number where we can reach you with any additional questions we may have.

Master Gardeners are a great resource for new gardeners and for troubleshooting home garden and landscape problems including weeds, lawn issues, wildlife, insect pests and plant diseases along with control recommendations. Plant and insect samples can be brought to the office for identification or diagnostic work. During non-hotline hours you can leave your sample with our secretary or in the drop box at the end of the building. Please put insects in a sealed plastic container (so they won’t get crushed) and plant samples in sealed plastic bags. Remember to label them with your name and daytime phone number where we can reach you. We also offer soil pH testing (cost is $3 per sample) and can help you with soil test interpretation.

Saturday, May 11: CCE Wayne County Master Gardener’s 24th Annual Plant Sale – 8 to 11:30 a.m. Got Turkeys? The New Your State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is looking for landowners to help with a large-scale study of wild turkey movements, survival, and harvest. The DEC will begin a four year study by capturing and banding hens between January and March. For more information contact the DEC at (518) 402-8886 or by e-mailing

Info for woodlot owners: Free Woodlot Visits: Call 331-8415, Ext. 107 to schedule a free woodlot site visit. These free site visits typically last up to 3 hours with our Master Forest Owners providing woodlot management information to Wayne County woodlot owners including best management practices for achieving management goals. During the visit our MFO’s can also provide you with additional sources for assistance and information. For information and webinars on forest health visit
Federal Income Tax on Timber: Tax Tips for the Forest Landowners for their preparation of the 2012 tax returns can be found at

Monthly garden and home grounds tips:

It’s Seed catalog time! Part of an Integrated Pest Management plan is selecting resistant varieties- when ordering seeds you should be able to find this information. Go to for Cornell’s 2013 selected vegetable varieties for NYS. Call or e-mail us for a free “Seed Starting” fact sheet 331-8415 ext. 107 or e-mail Please include your name and mailing address. Test the germination rate of old seeds by placing some in a moist paper towel placed into a plastic bag. Put the bag in a warm place. Check in a few days for germination.

Garden guide for January –By Dave Reville, Master Gardener, CCE Wayne County

Happy Gardening New Year to you and may it be a productive one!   At this time of year we make many lists of things to do. I have assembled some garden tips for you to consider.

Plan the vegetable garden, flower gardens and landscape plantings now and order seeds this month. Make this your year of action and not procrastination! Prepare paper plans and make lists of changes you wish to make in the landscape so you have a blueprint to follow. Check out the new plant varieties in myriad of catalogs that you receive and make a list of the plants you like with attention to hardiness.

It is a good idea to check stored bulbs, tubers and any vegetable produce and discard any that are moldy.

If you have stored potted bulbs in October for forcing, now is a good time to bring them out of cold storage or from sites you buried the pots near your foundation in order to initiate growth and flowering.

Plant Amaryllis bulbs in pots and watch them grow. Expect flowering to occur in about six to eight weeks.

Bulbs that have flowered for Christmas should be watered and fertilized. Allow foliage to grow all summer, and then dry off in the fall.  Give the plant a three-month resting stage then resume watering in January and return to more light.  Plan on repotting every few years.

If you saved coleus and geranium plants from the garden, this is a good time to pinch them so they remain bushy and not tall and spindly.  Monitor then for whitefly outbreaks and take action with organic insecticides for houseplants should you find a large population of insect buildup.

This is a good month to bring spring indoors by forcing small branches of flowering shrubs and trees to bloom inside. Great plants for this include: pussy willow, forsythia, flowering cherry and crab apples and quince as well as others you care to experiment with.

Continue to be miserly with feeding and watering houseplants at this time of year, unless they are flowering. If your houseplants are growing at all now, they’re growing slowly and they require minimal food and water. Too much of either combined with the low light conditions at this time of year can cause problems. Locate your houseplants in a sunny, south window in order to make the most of the light that is available and turn them occasionally to promote even growth. Remember to not place plants directly on cold windowsills  as roots will become chilled and in some cases even frozen. This is especially critical where drapes or blinds can seal off the plants behind them at night.

If you have not already done so, plant your living balled and burlapped Christmas tree as soon as possible. Mulch the tree following planting and stake if necessary in a site that is windy. It is a good idea to wrap the tree in burlap the first year or two, to prevent wind damage, which will cause drying and dying especially on the windward side.

Is your old Christmas tree on the burn pile or at the roadside for pickup?  if so retrieve it and use it as a shield to protect rhododendrons and other broadleaved evergreens from the drying sun and wind. Branches of discarded trees can be used as a protective cover in the perennial bed or over strawberries where it will help trap the snow which is a great insulator. Old trees also make great bird feeding stations as well when a feeder is placed within or near them.

If you need to use de-icing materials, do not use sodium chloride –salt- as it can damage plants, concrete, and pose problems for the water table. Try to use calcium chloride melting products, which are easier on plants and the environment. Read the labels on all the ice melting products and note the caution statements.

As you continue your “arm-chair gardening” at this time of year, visit bookstores and libraries to note what is new in the trade as well as contact the Cornell website at

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Floral design superstar coming for Garden Club

A mega-star in the world of floral design – one of only seven recipients of the American Institute of Floral Designers’ prestigious Design Influence Awards – is coming to Gasparilla Island.

Canadian floral designer Hitomi Gilliam will be the featured speaker at the Boca Grande Garden Club regular meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Boca Grande Community Center.

Hitomi’s friendship with popular 2012 speaker, Els Teunissen led her to accept the invitation to Boca Grande for her presentation “ARTflor: What’s New In Floral Design?”

Article Photos

Canadian floral designer Hitomi Gilliam

Hitomi advocates “thinking to create” design with flower attributes providing the inspiration to showcase the wonder of nature.

Hitomi will show exciting uses of new varieties of flowers and foliages and the latest supplies and accessories.

She will also explain and demonstrate “the newest generation of mechanics and techniques in the field of Floral Design.”

Fact Box

To Go

Who: Canadian floral designer Hitomi Gilliam

What: Boca Grande Garden Club

When: 1 p.m. Feb. 6

Where: Boca Grande Community Center

Why: What’s New In Floral Design?

Cost: $30 for members, RSVPs required

Contact: Kay Ferland at (941) 924-7328

To Go

Who: Canadian floral designer Hitomi Gilliam

What: Boca Grande Garden Club

When: 1 p.m. Feb. 7

Where: Boca Grande Community Center

Why: in-depth workshop on floral design

Cost: $30 for members, RSVPs required

Contact: Gay Darsie at 964-0976

Hitomi, author of six books, founder of the annual New Mexico conference called “Survival of the Creative Minds,” is one of the top floral designers in the world.

She also founded the Design 358 Floral Collective, a group of individuals she selected to focus on sharing knowledge to inspire, educate and grow floral design awareness within the industry and the public. Their conclusions are published in an annual Flower Trend Summit Report.

Her program is free to members and open to the public on a space-available basis for $30. Reservations for non-members can be made by calling Kay Ferland at (941) 924-7328, then mailing check to the club at P.O. Box 1246, Boca Grande FL 33921, or bringing a check to the meeting. Advance reservations for non-members required.

Hitomi will also conduct an in-depth workshop at 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb 7, at the Boca Bay Power House: “Essential Mechanics and Techniques for ARTFlor.” Space is limited. Call Gay Darsie at 964-0976.

Nardozzi plants container garden ideas

Humorous horticulturalist Charlie Nardozzi’s fertile mind offered many ideas on planting and nurturing plants in recycled containers during a Jan. 9 talk with the Boca Grande Garden Club at the Community Center.

He described how flowers and vegetables can be combined, and identified new products for container gardens. He uses edibles in all his containers. One used rosemary, rainbow chard and edible pansies.

Other tips from Nardozzie:

To keep slugs and snails out of containers, put copper strips around the top.

Use earthworm juice as a pesticide.

Mix coconut fibers in potting soil to keep it moist, then fill the bottom of large containers with plastic water bottles with their caps on to create a foundation for water to flow through.

n Use Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Spray, an organic Spinosaid, as a pesticide.

He also demonstrated how to recycle a truck, a bicycle and an old washtub to create unique container gardens and distributed lists of salt-tolerant flowers and vegetables and heat-tolerant flowers and vegetables.

At the tea after the meeting, he took book orders while Linn Berousek of Pomello Park Nursery sold orchids. She donated a large unusual orchid for a raffle won by Maribeth Cunningham.

Vice President Diane Johnson, filling in for absentee President Nora Lea Reefe, appointed a nominating committee to search for new club leaders.

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