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Archives for February 18, 2013

Planning Commission to discuss Unified Development Code changes



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CHEYENNE — When they hit the campaign trail last year, the city’s four new council members heard quite a bit about the Unified Development Code.

Residents said they were worried about the costs associated with some of the regulations. Others recommended they do away with the code entirely.

The four have not suggested that the UDC be abolished n though that discussion is on the agenda. Rather, they have made several recommendations for changes that they say are intended to make the code easier on residents and developers.

There are more than 20 items on the agenda for Tuesday’s 6 p.m. Planning Commission meeting to discuss code changes.

Though most came from city staff, four came from a joint submission from Bryan Cook, Mike Luna, Dicky Shanor and Annette Williams. Several others came from residents.

In a letter dated Dec. 28, the council members outline the changes they would like to see:

– More flexibility in landscape requirements for redevelopment.

– A cap on the number of traffic impact studies the city can require for a development.

– Reducing the amount of required open space in new subdivisions.

– Eliminating the cash-in-lieu of open space option.

Cook said what many of the comments they heard while campaigning came down to were concerns that development or expanding a business was cost prohibitive.

“I feel like we need to try to encourage small business and try to help them out,” he said.

Along with the rest of the submissions, those from the council members were separated into three groups by the Critical Path Committee:

– Group 1 is for items that can be implemented easily and are expected to be acted on within three months.

– Group 2 is for items that are more complex, require more public input and will take more time to work on.

– Group 3 is for items it recommend not be implemented.

The Critical Path Committee is made up of city staff and community members, including an architect, members of the Southeast Wyoming Builders Association, a developer and a member of the Historic Preservation Board.

While the committee made recommendations, the Planning Commission isn’t bound to follow them when making its recommendations to the City Council, which will ultimately decide whether to change the UDC.

The new council members’ ideas fall into all three groups.

Their proposal to increase landscaping flexibility for redevelopment is in Group 1; their proposal to limit the number of traffic studies the city can require was included with Group 2.

Both recommendations are intended to reduce the financial burden on small business owners or developers, the four say.

But their recommendations to reduce by half the amount of open space required for new subdivisions and to kill the cash in lieu of open space option were placed in Group 3. That means change is not recommended.

One of the reasons cited for not reducing open space requirements is that of the nine plats and more than 25 site plans approved since the UDC went into effect, there haven’t been any requests for variances from the open space requirement.

The cash in lieu of open space provision lets developers pay with the expectation the money will be used in the city’s park system.

The four council members worry that the latter option could be misused.

“One can only assume that such was included to provide for a potential development that simply could not comply with the open space requirements,” their letter says.

“But allowing this loophole could very well mean cash in lieu becomes the standard operating procedure for the city should the budget become tight …

“That would be a short-sighted solution that may compound an even bigger problem.”

The proposal to reduce open space requirements would “exclude the possibility that applicants develop major areas of the city without open space but provide more flexibility in the process,” the letter states.

Shanor said he intends to attend the meeting and let the Planning Commission go through its process to decide whether to support the change.

He declined to say whether he would vote in favor of the proposed open space change without support from the Critical Path Committee or the Planning Commission.

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Fabick CAT Announces 2013 Landscaping Industry Days


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Region: Midwest Edition | StoryID: 19839 | Published On: 2/16/2013

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Black Hills students go Hollywood

There were boards to cut, backdrops to paint, and plenty of plants and trees that still needed to be purchased. But Black Hills High School advanced horticulture students felt confident last week that their 10-by-10-foot display garden would be ready for the Northwest Flower Garden Show, which opens Wednesday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

“I think it will be pretty good,” said senior Alexis Guy, 17. “I’m hoping we will win.”

The 900-student Tumwater school has brought home numerous first-place ribbons and other awards from the show during the past decade, said horticulture teacher Roger Bessey. It’s usually the only Thurston County school to participate in the show’s high school competition.

Black Hills students designed their display around this year’s show’s Hollywood theme. It includes an old movie projector, some lights, a set of director chairs, and a gazebo that was built in the style of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.

“We’re going to have a red carpet,” said Bessey.

In addition to movie props, the display garden also was set to feature nursery-bought roses, daffodils, kalanchoe and a palm tree.

“It’s Hollywood, you’ve got to have a palm tree,” Bessey said with a laugh.

The garden’s budget was roughly $1,000, he said. Most of the money was raised by the horticulture program’s plant sales, he said.

Some of the garden’s items, including the projector, were loaned to the school for the project; others were picked up at thrift stores.

A lot of the materials were reused from previous projects as well, said Black Hills education assistant Rena Nichols.

In addition to participating in the Northwest Flower Garden Show, advanced horticulture students also work in the school’s organic garden, which raises food for South Sound food banks and the school’s kitchen.

This spring, students also will design and install landscaping in the school’s courtyard, Nichols said.

“They do a lot of hands-on planning and drawing out landscaping ideas,” she said. “They’re learning a lot about scale.”

Advanced horticulture is a one-year class and is part of Black Hills’ Career and Technical Education program. Students can receive science credit for the class, and the goal is to give kids some skills so they can get a job in the landscaping industry right out of high school, if they want to, Bessey said.

Several students said they enjoy the class because they can spend time outside, work with their hands and participate in the flower show.

“It’s actually kind of fun,” said junior Markus Aviles-Vidales, 17. “If you’re working, it goes by really fast.”

See the garden

What: The Northwest Flower Garden Show, featuring display gardens, classes, vendors and entertainment.

When: 9 a.m.–8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, and 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Washington State Convention Center, 800 Convention Place, Seattle.

Tickets at the door: $20 for adults; $5 for ages 13-17; free for 12 and younger.

Information: or 253-756-2121.

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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Master Gardeners present Bonsai gardening

CHAMBERSBURG — Franklin County Master Gardeners are introducing a new feature to their blog — a show-and-tell photo essay.

When someone from the group attends one of its workshops, they plan to post a photo-report on the Master Gardeners’ blog.

The first presentation took place Feb. 16 at the Art of Japanese Landscaping and Bonsai program by Master Gardener Carol Kagan.

The blog post can be accessed at

Here is also a transcript of the report:

On a table at the front of the room were a 24-year-old houseplant and pots and pots of miniature plants, enough to make a small forest. They were examples of plants trained in the art of

bonsai (bones-eye), or literally a “tree in a pot.”

Exports of bonsai trees from Japan have increased significantly, 10 times what they were a decade ago as reported last October by Japan Today, a Tokyo-based online newspaper. The biggest buyers are China, Italy and the United States. The simple, classic style appeals to contemporary designers and the small size fits well in many down-sized homes.

On February 16, 2013 the Master Gardeners of Penn State Extension, Franklin County held a workshop on The Art of Japanese Landscaping and Bonsai. Over 20 people attended to hear about growing and training bonsai and the elements of Japanese landscaping in gardens.

“I’ve been trying for over 15 years to create a bonsai,” said Tisha Corwell,

Chambersburg. The workshop has Corwell ready to “try it again.”

Master Gardener Barbara Petrucci spoke about bonsai, providing information about plant selections, noting that the proportions of the plant and the pot are important. She talked about different styles such as cascading and slanting as well as wiring, re-potting, over-wintering and pruning the plants.

On display was Petrucci’s Schefflera (Umbrella) plant which she began training 24 years ago. She took the opportunity to show how to prune on this plant, eliciting a few gasps from the audience as she snipped off very healthy green growths.

A long-time bonsai enthusiast, Petrucci participated in the workshop hoping to find others interested in establishing an informal bonsai club. “And I wanted to show off my plants,” she laughed.

Gardeners are including elements of Japanese landscape in part because it seeks to capture and celebrate the splendor and variety of the universe in a microcosm, recognizing that everything- plants, people, even inanimate objects like stones and mountains- contain a dynamic, spiritual essence. And each element is symbolic of the whole and a worthy subject of respect and contemplation.

Wrapped in a dragon-embroidered kimono, Master Gardener Sylvia Kremp talked about Japanese inspired landscaping. Her interest grew out of research she did for a program presentation. Kremp said, “The more I researched online the more I was interested” in the elements and symbolism used in this style.

Kremp walked the audience through her home landscape, describing the reasons for placement of certain plants. She described how using Yin and Yang, a Chinese concept describing opposite or contrary forces are really interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, she shaped areas and created focal points.

“I have a Japanese-inspired garden,” said Bonnie Kress, Shippensburg, who came to learn more about this style of gardening. She added that there are non-Japanese elements and agreed that may be more like a Japanese-fusion garden.

“I came primarily for the landscaping,” said Karen Sigler, Mifflintown. She is working to complete a Japanese inspired landscape and has both a weeping cherry tree and Hinoki cypress plants already installed.

Audience members had an opportunity to look over books on display, exhibit boards with photos from different stages of bonsai plants and some were able to take home a few starter-cuttings from Barbara’s quarter-century Schefflera.

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Why Georgie Doesn’t Garden

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Feb 18, 201311:14 AMLV Home Garden

Bob Carey and all things home, all things garden, and some things between.

When’s the last time you rolled your own cigarette, made your own soap, knitted your own sweater or any number of things you know people do?

And why?

Because you just don’t have to. And really, with all the things we do have to do or would rather do, we won’t be gardening anytime soon.  

This isn’t exactly the conclusion that the National Gardening Association (NGA) draws from the data but the bottom line is that the number of households that participate in flower gardening has dropped precipitously in the past six years. I’m going to be so bold to say that folks have really dialed back on veggie gardens and landscaping too.

Jelly Roll Georgie

Surveys reveal that gardeners and non-gardeners alike know and agree about the perceived benefits of having plants around the house.

Most folks with kids or saddled with work and careers desire a low maintenance landscape; big on enjoyment but light on other demands. Time, as I suggested, would seem to a big impediment to working in your garden.

But, while industry analysts are puzzling over all the reasons participation is in decline the reason everybody overlooks is the folks are too fat to garden; too fat to pull themselves out of the chair, too fat to be comfortable in the hot summer sun and likely too fat for the exertion that’s required to knock around in the garden.

For the first time in the history of the world, more people are dying of overconsumption than from lack of food and it’s killing gardening too.

The Biggest Loser

Technology and modern lifestyles have allowed and encouraged us to thumb out nose at Nature until Nature decides to give us a whooping. The issue of obesity is no less catastrophic than the worst weather or tsunami. It’s just a difference of effect/time.

Not too many generations ago folks practiced gardening because they intuitively knew that the soil and its products were part of their heritage and useful to be knowledgeable about.

Today, consumers only get close to agriculture at farm shows and fairs but have little interest in the details and even less knowledge.  In forgetting our heritage we’ve placed ourselves in peril.

In Food Rules by Michael Pollan, there a little tricolon that is both compass and keel to reconnecting with our gardening heritage; “eat food, not too much, mostly plants.”

As simple and intuitive as this statement is, it is a challenge to change our relationship with nature and implicitly, our lifestyles. Gardening, the data shows, still has a toehold in our imaginations.

Time or not, money or not, it’s still a socially acceptable activity that can bring us benefits beyond those of better health. If we can’t remember how to feed ourselves; who’s the biggest loser?

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Flower show coming up

ESSEX JUNCTION — The 2013 Vermont Flower Show will be held March 1-3 at the Champlain Valley Exposition. The event, presented by Green Works/Vermont Nursery and Landscape Association in collaboration with University of Vermont Extension and others, will feature colorful display gardens, a landscaped model garden railway and a flower judging competition, as well as special activities for kids, cooking demonstrations, more than 80 vendors, and a full slate of educational workshops. Hours are Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for seniors (60 and older) and $3 for children (3-17). A weekend pass is $30.

Vermont certified horticulturists will be available throughout the show to answer gardening and landscaping questions. Visitors also can attend seminars to learn about flower, berry and vegetable gardening; landscape design; insect pests; water gardens; ecological landscaping and other horticultural topics from experts from UVM, state agencies, garden centers and nurseries, landscaping firms and other organizations. Keynote speaker Stephanie Cohen, author of the “Perennial Gardener’s Design,” will give talks on colorful, showy perennials for the home garden and perennial garden design. For a full schedule of seminars and workshops along with other show information, visit

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PA Garden Expo: Up your curb appeal with tips from John Gidding – Patriot

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John Gidding, host and star of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal,” will be the featured speaker at the 2013 Pennsylvania Garden Expo.

 Do you look at the front your house and yawn? Or worse – cringe?

Cringe and yawn no more.

John Gidding, host of HGTV’s “Curb Appeal” – a show that documents Gidding’s makeovers of home exteriors – and the featured speaker at this year’s Pennsylvania Garden Expo, shared six quick tips on how to change your home from bleak to chic.

  • Coordinate your front door color with the something in your landscape. “People immediately pick up on that parallel,” Gidding said. “It makes the front of your house look like it’s been considered rather than slapped together.”
  • Have a path from the sidewalk to your front door. Giving pedestrians a route to your house that doesn’t involve them having to navigate the driveway is an easy way to change the feel of the front of your home. “It’s a completely new experience,” Gidding said.
  • Grab outdoor seating. Lawn furniture is not just for the backyard anymore, according to Gidding. “There’s beautiful pieces out there that blend with the landscape,”he said. “Not only that, but people – without even realizing it – start using it despite thinking they wouldn’t have.”
  • Buy a new mailbox. “They’re surprisingly inexpensive,” Gidding said. “For under $100 you can get a brand new mailbox in any style you want. That’s the key, try to find a mailbox that matches the style of your home.”
  • Go chic with house numbers. The sticker house numbers on the mailbox are passé – instead invest in a set that not only carry on the theme of your home, but speak to you. Gidding recommends having numbers on both your mailbox and on your home itself – “the house usually has great opportunities to display them,” he said.
  • Plant some rosemary on your slope. If you want to cover a slope in your yard, rosemary is Gidding’s go-to. “It lives in every environment, people like how it smells and – although it takes over sometimes – it’s definitely good for soil retention,” he said.

Gidding will be taking questions and sharing tips at the Pennsylvania Garden Expo at 2 p.m. on Feb. 24. He will also be participating in a meet and greet with garden expo attendees from 1-2 p.m.

For more information about him and to hire Gidding and his company, Janus Arch, to transform your front yard, visit

The Pennsylvania Garden Expo runs Feb. 22-24 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg and showcases all the latest in the landscape and garden world. Tickets are $13 at the door, weekend passes are $20. For more information about the expo visit

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Vegetables Gardening Tips For Spring

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News from the Farm: February gardening tips

   The temperature outside was 28 degrees when I left my house this morning, but there are several gardening jobs that can be accomplished later in the day after the sun comes up and the temperature rises.

   Here is a list of several gardening jobs that can be done over the next few weeks: 

   Now is an ideal time to transplant trees and shrubs. This should be done before the plants break dormancy. After the new leaves come out, plant survivability is greatly reduced. 

   If you are planning to plant Irish potatoes, now is the time to get the seed potatoes in the ground. Don’t forget to add lettuce, turnips, mustards, collards, cabbage, kale, radishes, English peas and other cool season veggies to your garden spot.

   Now let’s look at the fruit garden. Most nurseries will be stocked in February with a good selection of small and large fruit producing plants. In the small fruit category, try blueberries, figs, pomegranates, blackberries and muscadines. In the large fruit category, try pears, plums, peaches, and apples. 

   Even though they are not a fruit, pecan trees can also be planted now. Make sure that the trees that you buy are grafted trees. All pecan trees grown from seed are seedling trees. That means that a pecan that falls from a Stuart pecan tree and is planted, the new tree will not be a Stuart. It will be an unknown pecan tree that could produce great seedling pecans or the tiny seedlings that are so hard to pick up. 

   Reputable pecan tree nurserymen plant pecans, grow the seedling trees for a year and then graft a bud or stem of a known variety to the seedling. Over the next couple of years they grow the grafted tree to marketable size. The graft is always made above ground and is usually 4 to 8 inches above ground leaving a slight to moderate curve in the trunk. 

   As for the lawn, the only thing to do right now is to control those pesky winter weeds. It is not too late to apply a pre-emergent herbicide to your warm season turfgrasses. You need to do it before the end of February. If you see weeds already up in the lawn, spray them now with a post-emergent herbicide that is labeled for your type of grass.

    You may want to add new shrubs and trees to your landscape. Now is one of the best times to do this.  

   February is the ideal time to prune roses.

   And finally, don’t forget to take soil samples. Soil sampling tells a farmer or gardener how much residual fertilizer is in the soil and helps identify the fertility needs for garden crops and landscape plants. 

   For more information on these and other topics of interest, call the Emanuel County Extension Office at 237-1226 or drop by the office at 129 North Anderson Drive in Swainsboro.

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McCollum Architects: Creating diverse designs with style

McCollum Architects is a Union Pier-based, full-service architecture firm that has designed everything from urban to country homes, condominiums to second home communities, low income to upscale housing, single family to multi-family homes, tiny boutique restaurants to large eateries.

The firm is involved with renovating and creating new housing, amphitheaters, band shells, pavilions, daycare centers, senior housing, and special community development projects designed to create flexible environments; providing dignified alternatives to those often neglected members of society.

McCollum Architects also makes a point of leaving a footprint – in a good way – to his client’s projects and neighborhoods. “Architects have a responsibility to design ‘in scale’ with the surrounding areas,” says Bill McCollum, owner of McCollum Architects. For example, McCollum designed the award winning New Buffalo Township Pavilion to blend in with its setting. “A new design should look like it has always been a part of its neighborhood.” “I am thrilled that the Pavilion structure has been used so actively as an entertainment and meeting place.”

Two recent, very exciting Southwest Michigan projects include the The Stray Dog and Camp Buffalo Cottages, each demonstrating the unique twists in McCollum’s architecture.

Throughout the projects, McCollum is fully dedicated to sustainable energy, environmentally friendly buildings, universal design, and low maintenance costs. Although he has done plenty of elaborate “green” mechanical systems, he mainly focuses on a well-sealed envelope with sensitive placement of high performance windows as well as careful positioning of the home to reduce the solar gain in the summer and provide supplemental heat in the winter. “Simple and practical green solutions can give you more bang for the buck,” McCollum says.

McCollum is licensed in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and, in addition to designing whole structures also provides zoning variances, feasibility studies, additions, and new porches. In fact, Bill McCollum is also a dealer for Sunspace porch enclosures – the porch windows that slide up and down to keep the weather out.

There is always an element of surprise in McCollum’s designs—unexpected old parts given a new life, hidden vistas, bridges to entryways, and customized spaces for personal collections. A sense of arrival is key to any project. McCollum reflects, “With respect for the past and a vision of the future, this office designs and builds community-based projects and homes that enrich the lives of our clients.”

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