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Archives for February 16, 2013

37th Annual Home and Garden Show At CSI Expo Center

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Townsquare Media has been bringing the home and garden show to the College of Southern Idaho Expo Center for 37 years now. With the wide variety of goods and services on display, there’s sure to be something to catch your eye.

Janice Degner, General Manager of Townsquare Media, says, “Each year it’s completely based around everything having to do with the home. How to update your siding, your windows, your doors, maybe get some new landscaping ideas.”

Degner says there are 15 more vendors this year, which is another sign that our local economy continues to recover slowly. The Home and Garden Show is a chance for vendors to see old friends as well as connect with some potential customers.

Ron Reese, owner of Ree-Construction, says, “Typically this show brings in about 15,000 people a year. I think those number have been pretty steady. So we get a chance to shake a lot of hands.”

The 37-th annual Home and Garden Show continues from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Saturday, February 16th, and from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 17th. Admission is $3for adults age 12 and up, while kids under 12 get in for free.

Kathryn Miller, Event Sales for Vertical Gardens, says, “Absolutely! We hope to see lots of people out here at the Home and Garden Show. There are a lot of different products, and we just hope that everybody enjoys the show.”

Feb. 15, 2013.

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Spotlight shines on downtown New Richmond – Richmond

Talk about it

    Several dozen local residents and business people took time out of their busy schedules to help New Richmond plan for the future.

    The third and final “Community Conversation,” dedicated to developing a vision for how the city’s downtown will look in 20 or more years, was conducted at the city-owned WeTEC buiding.

    The City Council, at its July meeting, directed city employees to conduct a “small area study” of the downtown district. The public input for the study was gathered by two Community Conversations (one in August and a second in November), interviews of elected officials and identified stakeholders, and online surveys.

    According to Dan Koski, the study’s project manager and city engineer and street superintendent, residents and business people were asked their opinions on a wide range of topics through the study. One of the primary issues to be resolved by the study is the future of the WeTEC building.

    According to Beth Thompson, economic development specialist, the city is considering three different options for the WeTEC building or site. The City Council will eventually decide the fate of the building, perhaps as early as the end of February.

    Thompson said city officials are considering:

    • Retaining ownership of the building and continuing its operation as an “incubator” building to help nurture small and growing businesses.

    • Selling to the building to a private company.

    • Promoting a mixed-use building on the site, perhaps a mix of housing and retail.

    • Remodeling the building for use as a new public library.

    Thompson said there are pros and cons to each potential option. If the building is sold to a private owner, the facility would go back on the tax rolls and the community would benefit from higher tax revenues. If the structure is sold, a potential con is the loss of space for emerging businesses that provide jobs in the community.

    A strike against the idea of the city keeping ownership of the building is the expected high cost of maintaining and operating the WeTEC building, she noted.

    The majority of the discussion related to the WeTEC building was spent debating the idea of moving the public library to the complex.

    Library Director Scott Vrieze said the idea is being seriously considered, although there are numerous challenges the library would have to overcome if the facility was to move there, including limited parking and unknown renovation costs.

    “The building doesn’t really scream ‘library’ when you drive up to it,” he said.

    The two other sites the Library Board is considering for a new library building are at the current site and near the Community Commons building (the old middle school).

    “We haven’t made any decisions about a site,” Vrieze told the crowd. He noted an architect has been hired and the firm is in the middle of an evaluation process of each potential site.

    On the topic of transportation flow in the downtown district, Parks and Recreation Director Joe Kerlin told the crowd that the city is looking at several enhancements downtown, including improved crosswalks, bumpouts, landscaping, trees and signage.

    One thing the city will probably not pursue is more parking in the downtown, Kerlin reported. According to the study, only about 37 percent of current parking spaces are occupied at any given time of the day.

    Kerlin said there is plenty of parking available for customers and businesspeople, the city just needs to do a better job of educating the public and putting up better signs.

    On the topic of land use and planning, Planning and Community Development Director Robert Barbian said the downtown district amounts to less than 1 percent of the city’s land but it is a key area that fuels the local economy and helps people form a positive perception of the community when they visit.

    On the issue of economic and business, City Clerk Tanya Reigel said resident and business surveys indicated that people would like to see some improvements in the downtown, including outdoor seating, additional flower baskets and more. Some suggestions for new offerings downtown included more outdoor live music and a possible mid-week farmer’s market in Glover Park.

    Koski said the final report from the study team is due by the end of this month. The team will then make recommendations to the City Council about the next steps related to downtown enhancements and redevelopment.

    “One of the things we don’t want to have happen is for this report to be written and then it sits on a shelf somewhere,” Koski told the crowd.

    He said the study will be turned into action steps that will be followed through in the future.

    Koski noted that local residents and business people are invited to send further comments or ideas to the city. Those items will be included in the final report as well.

    new richmond, local government, business

    More from around the web

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    Think design

    It is always reassuring to know that there is another way to achieve the results you are after. So you come up with an idea for your garden – great! You have a clear picture of what needs doing but you are not sure how to turn these ideas into reality and how much it might cost.

    Pricing of landscaping jobs is very complicated as there are many unknown factors that need to be assumed, but there is usually a more economical method of getting the end result.

    When it comes to landscaping each project is typically defined by two criteria – money and time. If you have plenty of either you do not need much of the other.

    Plenty of money will allow the job to be completed quickly and by others to a high standard.

    Plenty of time will allow you to grow the plants you require from seed or from cuttings and your labour can, with the correct skills, construct the hard landscaping in your garden to a high standard.

    But before one starts constructing a garden it is important to get a plan to suit your financial or temporal budget.

    This is where my vision as a designer can be very helpful, saving you significant money or labour.

    This is because there are many options that will create the same effect. For example, you need access down a steep slope. You were thinking steps but I am thinking a gently graduating path running through your garden creating better access while being safer and more economical to install.

    Voila! Huge savings in an instant.

    Perhaps you want something to look unique rather than mass produced.

    Trellis is a good example. Ordinary mass produced trellis looks old and tired as soon as it is out of the shop.

    It is a design no-no in my book.

    It falls apart quickly and looks so out of place anywhere except an old villa garden.

    For the same money but a bit more of your time you could have something really interesting that suits your property. So no cash savings but a sure fire way to add value to your property.

    As a designer I have to think outside the square to make sure that I can create gardens to realistic and affordable budgets. These days many houses look practically the same but their gardens and grounds do not have to suffer this lack of individuality.

    Your garden is the canvas to express yourself.

    All that colour, shape, form and structure that can be used so cleverly to create gorgeous spaces for a surprisingly low budget.

    Every garden is as unique as its owner and it is from my client brief that I can gather all the information I need about you and your garden wish list.

    When I combine this information with my experience, education and skills I can create the perfect garden for you that accounts for all the practicalities of modern living but makes the garden look fabulous.

    If you are going down either of the two routes, “big budget, time poor” or “time rich, low budget” it is worth investing in a phone call to see what a professional designer can do to help you before you embark on what is a challenging and potentially money-wasting exercise if you get it wrong.

    The more thought that goes into a design the better the result for less overall cost.

    There is always another way to achieve the same results – just think about it.

    – The Marlborough Express

    Sponsored links


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    Show Time for Gardeners – Patriot

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    Five shows with blooming gardens are coming up in the next three weeks within day-trip range.


       It’s nirvana for cabin-fevered plant-lovers
    – no fewer than five indoor garden shows coming up in the next three weeks
    within day-trip range of Harrisburg.

       The blooming string kicks off Feb. 22-24
    with the Pennsylvania Garden Expo in Harrisburg and then hands off to the
    Pennsylvania Garden Show of York (March 1-3); the Maryland Home and Garden Show
    in Timonium, Md. (March 2-3 and March 8-9), and the Pennsylvania Home Show in
    Harrisburg and gargantuan Philadelphia International Flower Show (both March

       HGTV’s John Gidding (of Curb Appeal fame) is headlining this year’s Pennsylvania Garden
    Expo at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex. Check out all of the details on this show and its 13 display gardens, 35 talks and 150 exhibitors on

       Here’s a rundown on the others:

    Garden Show of York

       * The
    Takes place in the Toyota Arena of York Expo Center, 334 Carlisle
    Ave., York.

    View full size

    Cross Creek Farm’s display garden at the 2012 York show.


       The format is similar to the Pennsylvania
    Garden Expo with seminars, display gardens built by local landscapers and marketplace
    with more than 100 exhibitors.

       One additional feature: the Garden Club
    Federation’s Floral Rhapsody Flower Show, which moves to the center of the show
    floor this year. Garden clubbers display some of their best plant specimens and

       * 2013
    Author Tovah Martin is doing programs March 1 and 2, including
    a terrarium workshop March 2(extra fee for that). More than 30 talks in all are
    planned ( for the

    Eleven display gardens are on tap this year, and
    a new “Candyland” exhibit has candy growing on trees and Kool Aid flowing over
    landscape rocks.

       The 2013 show theme is “Nature’s Symphony.”

       * What
    Else to See and Do:
    Puppet shows for kids; tea events (extra fee); wine and
    cheese samples; live music; working artists and a fairy garden workshop (March
    3, extra fee).

       * Hours:
    March 1 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; March 2 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; March 3 from 10
    a.m. to 5 p.m.

       * Tickets:
    At the door, $11 for adults; $9 for ages 62 and up; kids 12 and under free.
    Advance tickets $9 ($8 for seniors). See for details.
    Free parking.

       * More
    Information: or 717-848-2596.

    Maryland Home
    and Garden Show

       * The
    Held at the Maryland State Fairgrounds, 2200 York Road, Timonium,
    about a 90-minute drive from Harrisburg.

       As the name suggests, it’s partly
    home-focused and partly garden-focused – kind of a hybrid of the Pennsylvania
    Garden Expo and a builders show.

       This one runs 5 days over two consecutive
    weekends, cutting out the Monday-Thursday between.

       * 2013 Highlights: More than 300
    exhibitors (the majority home improvement) will be on hand this year. Sixteen display
    gardens are being built by northern Maryland landscapers.

       Discovery Channel’s Dr. Lori will appraise
    your flea-market finds March 2 and 3 as part of a lineup of nearly two dozen
    talks and programs.

    2013 theme is “Films in Flowers.”

       * What Else to See and Do: Maryland Orchid
    Society show and sale (March 8-10); bonsai show and sale (March 8-10); more
    than 125 craftspeople in a section called the Maryland Spring Craft Show; a
    “fan cave” built by Dr. Basement.

       * Hours: March 2 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.;
    March 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; March 8 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; March 9 from 10
    a.m. to 9 p.m., and March 10 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

       * Tickets: $12 for adults; $10 for seniors;
    $3 for children ages 6-12; under 6 is free. Free parking.

       * More Information: or

    Home Show

       * The Basics: Sponsored by
    the Homebuilders Association of Metro Harrisburg, this show takes place in the
    Exhibition Hall of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex along Cameron Street,
    Harrisburg. People still call it the “Builder’s Show.”

    View full size

    Crowds milling through the Pa. Home Show.


       It’s primarily geared to builder and
    home-improvements, albeit with a decent outdoor-living presence and several
    display gardens.

       * 2013 Highlights: For gardeners,
    there’s no designated “display garden” area this year, but landscapers such as
    Blouch’s Landscaping, Dreamscapes Watergardens, Hemlock Landscaping and Outdoor
    Expressions are building gardens in several featured areas. Plus several more
    will have smaller gardens at their booths.

       There’s also landscaping around the Showcase
    Home and Log Home Exhibit.

       In addition, this is a good place to talk
    ideas and get estimates on hardscape and other outdoor-living projects from
    specialists in sunrooms, paver patios, fencing, pools, outdoor kitchens, lawn
    care and landscape edging.

       Seminars will include energy savings, birds
    of prey, work-saving tips in the landscape and geothermal heating. The schedule
    is at

       Special events include Senior Day on March 4
    ($5 admission); “A Night to Wine” wine tasting on March 8 from 4 to 8 p.m.;
    Free Parking Day on March 8, and Kids Day on March 9 (clowns, pitching booth
    and a hands-on workshop sponsored by Home Depot).

       * What Else to See and Do: Builders Lane
    and Remodelers Row is loaded with home contractors of all sorts.

       Canstruction pits four teams of designers
    against one another in building structures out of canned goods.

       Five student teams compete to design and
    build an outdoor storage unit for less than $2,000 in the Design It-Build It
    School Challenge.

       New for 2013 is an Art Walk on March 9 and
    10 that displays glasswork, watercolors, oil paintings, photography and other
    focal-point art for home interiors.

       * Hours: Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8
    p.m.; Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; March 4-7 (Monday-Thursday) from noon to
    6 p.m.; Friday, March 8, from noon to 8 p.m.

       * Tickets: $6 for adults. Kids 12 and under
    are free. Parking is $8.

       * More Information: or 717-232-5595.

    International Flower Show

       * The Basics: This one is the
    world’s biggest, oldest indoor flower show (184 years old) and attracts 270,000
    visitors from all over the world. It’s held over 10 sprawling acres inside the
    Pennsylvania Convention Center, 12th and Arch streets, Philadelphia.

    View full size

    The display gardens at the Philadelphia International Flower Show are among the most elaborate anywhere.


       The 40 display gardens are as elaborate as
    any you’ll find anywhere, especially the handful of lead ones right inside the
    main entrance.

       The Marketplace is huge and popular with 180
    vendors at the opposite side of the show floor from the gardens. In the middle
    is a judged horticulture competition with awesome specimen potted plants grown
    by amateurs.

       * 2013 Highlights: The 2013 theme
    is “Brilliant!” focused on British gardening. The main entrance will feel like
    London with palace gates, English roses, a birch allee and even a sculptural
    replica of Big Ben. Other gardens will tip a hat to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,
    rolling British hillsides, foggy London gardens and a manicured cricket club.

       The show adds an extra day in 2013… now
    running two full weekends for a total of 9 days. Also new for 2013 are pre-show
    sneak peek packages to see the show being set up and “The Backyard,” a room
    devoted to decks, patios, grills, fire pits and garden tools.  

       * What Else to See and Do: Large (and
    free) wine-tasting by dozens of wineries, plus an in-show wine and spirits
    shop; scores of talks both in seminar rooms and on the show floor; “British
    Village” offering goods from British vendors; new plant introductions; “make
    and take” workshops to craft your own British fare to take home; cooking
    demonstrations; a Kids Zone to give kids a play break; garden teas (extra fee);
    TV-style floral-arranging contests, and pressed-flower and miniatures displays.
    Philly’s Reading Terminal Market is next door.

    * Hours:
    2 from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; March 3 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; March 4-8 from
    10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; March 9 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and March 10 from 8
    a.m. to 6 p.m.

       * Tickets: $32 for adults and
    $22 for students (ages 17-24) at the door. $28 and $21 in advance on the web site.
    Children ages 2-16 are $17 at the door and $16 in advance. Parking can run
    $15-$20 in surrounding lots.

    Or go
    on one of four bus tours led by Pennlive garden writer George Weigel that drop
    off at the door and include tickets… see for details.

       * More Information: or call
    215-988-8800 or email

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    Landscape Now: Using Rhode Island Native Plants In Your Yard

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    Saturday, February 16, 2013

    The Cardinal flower is one of the most beautiful midsummer blooming perennials, and a native plant to Rhode Island.

    The use of native plants in your gardens, as foundation plantings and for privacy screening needs will benefit your landscape in many ways. Native plants (grown in the New England region) are well adapted to the local soils, thrive in our climate zone and have the best chance of surviving the unpredictable nature of our southern New England weather events. Being able to grow in our native soil, predominately a sandy/loam mix, will afford the new plantings a great start as they spread their roots and adjust to your particular site conditions.

    Make sure plants you choose are hardy for our southern New England region. The USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) establishes a Plant Hardiness Map for the U.S. In 2012 they released their updated version (and yes climate change has brought warmer zones closer to southern New England!). Our R.I. zones are 6a (-10 to -5 F) and 6b (0 to -5 F) although some of our coastal areas fall close to zone 7a (0 to -5 F). Choosing plants with the correct hardiness zone rating will help to prevent disappointment when with a very cold winter you can lose valuable new plantings!

    Native plants will also be able to survive the uncertain weather, particularly sporadic rainfall and storms, that can play havoc with our plants. However, all newly installed plants will need sufficient watering for the first season (infrequent but deep waterings) and supplemental water when experiencing a drough.

    Ten Examples of New England Natives

    Native trees, shrubs and perennials can provide you with excellent choices to give you color, function and texture in the landscape. The following ten examples will give you a starting point for creating a design for your spring landscaping plans:


    Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis): One of the most beautiful midsummer blooming perennials surprises with a spike of cardinal red flowers, particularly in moist areas. It’s natural habitat is along streams and rivers.
    Christmas fern (Polystichum arostichoides): A perfect addition to your shade garden is the Christmas fern with it’s beautiful foliage, adaptability to wet or dry soil conditions and remaining evergreen, even with cold temperatures.
    Wild ginger (Asarum canadense): A medium growing ground cover with green, downy leaves exhibiting considerable heat tolerance in shady, moist conditions. In the spring it has purplish, maroon flowers that are bell-shaped but mostly hidden in the foliage.


    Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia): This native shrub grows in moist areas and blooms in August, serving as a reminder it almost time for students to return to school and summer is over! Choosing a sun/shade location will afford this plant the best success.
    Common Witchazel (Hammamelis virginiana): What a welcome sight to see the yellow flowers of Witchazel beginning in late fall when the medium sized shrub begins to bloom! This multi stemmed small tree has great fall color, grows 10-15’ and the flowers have a light, spicy fragrance.
    Inkberry (Ilex glabra): A very useful evergreen shrub for naturalized plantings, gardens and compact forms for foundation plantings. Requires very little if any trimming, grows in sun and shade conditions and withstands some winds and variable water conditions.
    Swamp azalea (Rhododendron viscosum): A very underutilized, native azalea that blooms along streams, rivers and in wet areas. This white, spicy, clove fragrant midsummer blooming plant has a place in the moist, peripheral areas of the wooded landscape and in your gardens. It attracts butterflies and hummingbirds and puts on a show in the fall with it’s flame red foliage.


    White Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus): An excellent choice where a small tree (15-30’) is required. The Fringe tree has beautiful clusters of white flowers in late spring, with or before the new leaves emerge on the tree. Fall color is an added benefit to this low maintenance, relatively pest-free tree.
    American holly (Ilex opaca): This native holly is evergreen, deer resistant and the female holly has red berries that birds will enjoy during the winter and early spring months. Plant away from the house as it can grow 45-60’ tall!
    Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana): This native, semi-evergreen magnolia is a wonderful small tree for a deck or patio planting. The small, white fragrant flowers fill the area with a pleasant fragrance in June and July.

    Native plants should be your first consideration for adding plantings to your landscape. They will adjust better to your site conditions, grow in our southern New England soils, survive variable weather events and as you have seen offer many wonderful choices for different landscape situations with their colors, fragrance, durability and deer tolerance!

    My next article I will describe several local gardens, arboretums and parks you can visit year-round for landscape ideas, view sample native trees and shrubs, and simply relax being outside!

    Frank Crandall, Horticultural Solutions. Frank, is a RI resident specializing in coastal landscaping, organic land care, small business consulting, writing, speaking and photography will be submitting biweekly articles about Landscape Solutions. With over 40 years in the horticultural field Frank will write about pertinent, seasonal landscape topics including effective solutions. Comments about Frank’s articles are welcome by contacting him at:

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    THE DIRT ON GARDENING; Raised bed gardens can create visual pleasure

    February 15, 2013

    THE DIRT ON GARDENING; Raised bed gardens can create visual pleasure


    The Goshen News

    Fri Feb 15, 2013, 08:00 PM EST

    Are you planning a raised-bed garden this year? Well congratulations — not only for your decision to grow your own but also for incorporating the raised bed design that has become so popular.

    Raised bed gardens are the rave anymore because of the convenience, ease of harvesting and the neatness they provide to a homeowner — especially city dwellers.

    While any garden that is well-maintained creates a visual kind of pleasure, a raised bed that is well placed in a more convenient spot, like outside your back door, will if properly maintained, fit right in to other landscaping and flower gardens.

    A bed of this type doesn’t necessarily have to be the ho-hum garden with the standard vegetables one would ordinarily see in a garden for a food source.

    Try to make your garden interesting by incorporating some unusual twists that separate it from the neighbors.

    Flowers in the vegetable garden — well why not? I always ringed my garden’s outer edges with alyssum (Easter Basket Mix) that gave it a more finished look. I also planted a few marigolds to ward off insects. I filled an end with zinnias one year (the cut-and-come-again variety) just to make the garden a little more eye appealing and cosmos another year.

    There are a number of things that you might do to set your garden off from the same ‘ole, same ’ole. Purchase a teepee style trellis for a vining flower or vegetable. There are simple ones and there are elaborate ones available to choose from and it will give your garden a handsome focal point. When doing this, always keep in mind the size of your garden and don’t overwhelm it with a giant behemoth.

    Incorporate cement figurines for talking points like frogs, toads, turtles, angels or fairies. Place a gazing globe in a corner spot or plant flowers in an old galvanized sprinkling can and place it in a spot that can easily be seen. In other words, make it a fun place for yourself and one that neighbors and visitors will enjoy and comment on.

    One such item, in a previous article of a friend’s garden, was a pair of cupped hands lying flat in the garden that contained a small amount of dirt planted with dragon’s blood sedum — how neat is that? This same cement creation could contain a small amount of bird seed or simply left for water to collect in when you’ve watered the garden. The birds will love you for it.

    When laying out a raised bed (or two or three) keep things in perspective and consider surrounding landscaping and beds — in other words don’t just throw one out there. Make it a part of the whole landscape and design.

    Keep beds level even if it means using more timbers on one end or cutting it into a slope in the lawn. Try to retain equal measurements between beds and use a level when laying them out and a square to keep corners even.

    Raised beds planted on a slope should be cut into the slope to keep them level rather than following the slope of the landscape. It just makes sense for incorporating even watering practices and the prevention of run-off of the soil inside the parameters of the enclosure.

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    Gardener: A tightwad’s tips for equipping a garden

  • Until recently, Ive never really considered how much of what you need to start and maintain a garden can be acquired for free or nearly free. But a few years back I challenged myself to see if I could create an organic garden from scratch on a total budget of $25 or less. The premise was that I was acting as a brand-new gardener, with absolutely no gardening-related equipment in my possession. I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how far you can stretch that almighty dollar when you put your mind to it.
    Take starting seeds, for example. Rather than buying expensive commercial products, I learned to improvise using common household items, like reusing pizza boxes as seed-starting trays. So in celebration of another fast-approaching season of playing in the dirt, here is a partial list of ideas to get you started and keep you on track to your most frugal garden yet.
    Repurpose or recycle: When you start thinking creatively, youll be amazed at the amount of things you discover that can be used in place of store-bought items. For example, I just returned from two grocery stores. Both donated large clear plastic cake domes with a base. These make perfect mini-greenhouses (to fit over those pizza-box seed-starting trays), and theyll last for years. If I purchased the real thing, Id spend about $5 each.
    Social media: Facebook and, especially, Twitter have been a gold mine for me in sourcing goods for my $25 garden. Ive tapped into a vast network of talented, giving people who want to help you succeed (or seed, in my case). Ive had an outpouring of offers from seeds to supplies. One new Twitter friend even provided free hand-painted plant markers! I treasure them still. and These are the coolest online ways to find exactly what you need. Craigslist is like a giant virtual garage sale where you can find just about anything you need, right near where you live. Some things are free but most are for sale at good prices. Freecycle, on the other hand, is all free. Its all based on the idea of keeping things out of the landfill. You post online to give things away and look there for what you need that others are giving away. I have friends who have equipped their entire garden via Freecycle, from hoses and soil to bricks, seeds and plants.
    Garage sales: Just in case youre not a fan of the online world, consider neighborhood garage sales. As much as you need a grow light or nice shovel, someone in your neighborhood is ready to make a deal.
    Local government: Many city, county or other municipalities offer free compost for the taking. Some offer rain barrels and helpful seminars on gardening. These services are almost always free or well within even a cheapskates budget.
    Organize your own swap: Local events provide the ideal opportunity to swap seeds, tools, plants and supplies. Schools, churches and civic groups are great places to organize these events. Not only are you able to trade for free, youll meet some wonderful people and recycle many of those items youre ready to part with.
    Online seed swaps: There are many organizations and groups across the country that facilitate seed-swapping. The National Gardening Association ( has a free online service for this, and is a worthy grass-roots effort that exemplifies the spirit of giving and sharing as it continues to build a network of members. Search online for seed swaps for more options.
    Agricultural bulletins and classifieds by state: Many regions or states have an online and/or printed version of their agricultural news. It includes a classified section that lists people willing to mail you seeds, merely for the price of a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE). The offerings are amazing. Search online using the term agricultural bulletins by state.
    So little space, but so many more ideas to share. What are ways you save money in the garden? Please email me at and let me know. We can continue this conversation soon.
    Joe Lampl, host of Growing a Greener World on PBS, is a master gardener and author. For more information visit For more stories, visit

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    Tips to get your garden up and running

    Want to take the plunge into starting seeds? Here are tips from experts Gail Pothour, Bill Bird and Jenn Hammer:

    Selecting seeds

    • Choose seeds for things you and your family like to eat. No point growing radishes if no one’s going to eat the final product.

    Favorite seed companies cited include Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (www.rareseeds. com); Renee’s Garden Seeds (www. and in some area garden shops); Lockhart Seeds in Stockton; Botanical Interests (; BBB Seed (www.bbbseed. com); Solano County’s Wild Boar Farms (www., which specializes in tomatoes, and Oregon’s Territorial Seed Co. (www.territorialseed. com).

    • Make sure seeds you buy are for the current season – check the date on the envelope. If it’s not dated, write the year on the package for future reference. Leftover seeds usually are good for two or three years.

    • If a seed package does not have a photo of the particular vegetable or flower – some companies put the same picture on all packages – cut one from the catalog or print it off the Internet and attach that to the package. You’ll be glad you did.

    Gathering equipment

    • Use the right medium. Avoid potting soil at this point – it’s too chunky and won’t produce optimum germination. Seed-starting mix can be purchased ready-made at nurseries and home stores or, as Hammer does, you can make it yourself. (She uses one part perlite, one part vermiculite and one part sphagnum moss.) Jiffy pellets, which expand in water, are widely available.

    • Containers can be commercial products or recycled items, but they should be clean and a minimum of 2 inches deep (3 to 4 inches is better) with drainage holes. Pothour warns not to use egg cartons or eggshells – they’re too shallow. Or make your own pots from newspaper (see box on Page 5). A tray or plastic container will catch drips.

    • Have a source of warmth first, for germination, then a source of light for growth. This can be as easy as the top of your refrigerator, a sunny window sill or, after germination, under-cabinet fluorescent lights in the kitchen.

    • To keep warmth and moisture in, use plastic wrap, lids or domes. Lettuce mix containers (the deep ones with flat tops) are ideal mini- greenhouses, as are clean containers from rotisserie chicken.

    Get planting

    • Read the seed label to check the timing. Tomatoes can be started about eight weeks before planting date. Pothour puts her tomatoes in the ground on Sacramento’s unofficial tomato planting day, April 28, which also is “Farmer Fred” Hoffman’s birthday. So she’ll have her tomato seedlings started by the end of February.

    • Certain vegetables, including corn and beans, should not be started indoors – sow them outside when the weather warms up. Root vegetables such as carrots also should be direct-sown, to avoid disturbing the root.

    • Beets and hard-shell seeds often benefit from a couple of hours soaking in water before sowing.

    • Make the labels first. That way you can label as you go and won’t have to try to guess which pellet or plug is which.

    • Put two or three seeds in each pot or cell. And start a few more plants than you’ll think you need, to allow for a less-than-optimal germination rate.

    • Have a small dowel, chopstick or wooden skewer handy to poke holes in the medium and to push down seeds. Pothour marks one with 1/4-inch increments so she can get the right depth.

    • Use painter’s tape to re-close a seed envelope. It won’t rip the package when you want to reopen it later.

    Germination and beyond

    • Keep the soil moist but not too wet, to avoid growth of mold or a fungal condition known as “damping off” that can kill a seedling. A small misting bottle is useful for moistening soil without overwatering.

    • Be sure to remove or loosen the plastic covering to give the plants air.

    • Use a small fan to gently blow on seedlings. That will strengthen them in advance of planting outdoors.

    • Thin seedlings by snipping with scissors or fine clippers at soil level so you don’t harm the roots of the plants you wish to keep.

    • Shop lights are just as effective as fancy “grow lights” and cost much less. If you can’t adjust the height of the light, put seedling flats or trays on piles of cardboard boxes to keep them close to it.

    • Keep a journal or use a calendar to record what you planted when and how. This will be invaluable next year.

    Have questions?

    The Fair Oaks Horticulture Center will hold Open Garden Day 9 a.m. to noon next Saturday. Master gardeners including Gail Pothour will be on hand to talk to visitors. 11549 Fair Oaks Blvd, Fair Oaks.

    – Kathy Morrison

    © Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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    Renowned Garden Designer Jon Carloftis Coming To Chattanooga

    The Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center (CANC) at Reflection Riding announces that nationally-renowned garden designer Jon Carloftis will appear in Chattanooga in April. Mr. Carloftis will present a talk at Chattanooga State in the Humanities Auditorium on April 3, at 7 p.m. 

    “Putting Style into Your Garden,” will outline steps to create gardens with various theme and intentions.  Hardscape materials, plant material, furniture, lighting, decorations, water features, outbuildings, garden decorations – all must complement – not overpower, to achieve a unique style that evokes the personality of the garden and the gardener. Mr. Carloftis will suggest sustainable, earth-friendly garden products dedicated to beautiful and functional outdoor living.

    The Arboretum and Nature Center board has selected Mr. Carloftis – a Kentucky native with strong ties to the land and the dedication to protect it – to design the first Grandmothers Garden in the Southeastern United States to be constructed at Reflection Riding. 

    “I believe that by assisting the Arboretum to highlight the extraordinary beauty of Reflection Riding, I will advance the establishment of educational venues of lasting importance to Chattanooga, and the greater horticultural community at large,” Mr. Carloftis said. “I want the Arboretum to succeed in its mission because it coincides with my own.”

    Mr. Carloftis is a regular contributor to national garden and lifestyle publications, with more than 200 feature stories to his credit. His garden designs and editorials have been featured repeatedly in Architectural Digest, Better Homes Gardens, Country Home, Country Living, Garden Gun, Garden Rooms, House Beautiful, Martha Stewart Living, Metropolitan Home, Oprah at Home, Outdoor Rooms, Renovation Style, Rodale Organic Gardening, Southern Living and Town Country.  

    His career includes appearances on The Style Channel; The Home and Garden (HGTV) Channel (The Secret Gardens of New York); ABC’s Good Morning, America; and Martha Stewart.  He has served on HGTV’s Trend Advisory Board. He has written a wide variety of garden books: First a Garden (2005); Beyond the Windowsill (2007); and Beautiful Gardens of Kentucky (2010).

    Donations are appreciated and will go into the Grandmothers Garden Fund

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    Garden Design – Top Trends For 2013

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    Garden design in 2013 looks set to go along with the prevailing trend of placing a greater emphasis on those things which are local, sustainable and comforting.

    (PRWEB UK) 15 February 2013

    Garden design in 2013 looks set to go along with the prevailing trend of placing a greater emphasis on those things which are local, sustainable and comforting. With budgets still tight, and with the influence of the slow food movement and an increasing general consciousness of ecological issues, all that is natural, native and down to earth looks set to prevail in the coming year. Here are a few key areas that are likely to feature large in the world of garden design in 2013.

    Back to reality

    As beautifully demonstrated by Cleve West’s Best in Show garden design at the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, there is a growing fondness for gardens which look back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras. West’s understated design used topiary and native plants to create a garden that was both reminiscent of a bygone age and accessible to a modern sensibility. West’s garden, and others like it, will likely have a large influence on garden designers this year.

    Along with nostalgia, another important area for gardens is touch. Grasses, reeds and perennials are all likely to feature prominently, as designers seek out those plants that can make a garden more tactile and engaging. The sense that a garden is something to be touched, and not just looked at, is a growing trend that looks set to continue in 2013.

    Do it yourself garden design

    Perennials and grasses can give a garden a very natural look and feel, and the suggestion of meadows and grasslands they provide is a very popular one in the present climate. Last year’s ‘Olympic Meadows’ by Nigel Dunnet at the Olympic Park in Stratford was a big influence in this regard, but so too is the current mood for things which ‘feel’ natural and homely, and suggest authenticity.

    As the trend for gardening itself continues to grow, so will the numbers of people who want to try their hand at designing their own gardens. While this might not be good news for small-scale professional garden designers, it does mean that there is likely to be an increasing awareness of garden design principles and planting.

    Another trend which is likely to flourish in 2013 is for home grown herbs. More and more people use herbs in cooking, and this means many will prefer to grow their own, rather than relying on supermarkets.

    Bringing the outdoors in and the indoors out

    The ‘room outside’ concept of the garden being an extension of the home, first written about by John Brookes forty years ago, has continued to have a tremendous influence on small-scale garden design that has spread to our choices of garden furniture. The idea that having tables and chairs in your garden that might look just as good in your conservatory, or even living room has raised the stakes for furniture designers in recent years, and greatly improved the design standards applied to modern garden furniture.

    An increase in the popularity of innovative and attractive garden furniture sets is certain to continue. Thanks to the usability and attractiveness of the rattan weave, as well as the fact that it can be easily and neatly stored away, rattan cube garden furniture has become very popular, and looks set to be a big trend for the coming year.

    So gardens in 2013 are likely to be soothing and homely, and made up of comparatively muted colours and tones, filled with native plants that can be touched and enjoyed, with innovative and appealing garden furniture sets.

    In terms of garden design, there is plenty to look forward to in the coming year.

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