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Archives for March 2013

Dardanelle residents working to develop downtown

Residents of Dardanelle have said the city has a lot to offer — friendly people, its location on the river and proximity to Mount Nebo — but not a vibrant downtown. Not yet.

Angie Sims said she founded The Renaissance Front Street Restoration three years ago to improve the downtown area.

It’s slow going, but she and her committee members are determined.

“When I started this, my goal was to fix up Front Street, our downtown, right there on the river, and also to bring more people to Dardanelle and Front Street,” she said.

Sims, who registered the nonprofit organization in February 2011, has spearheaded events such as an art walk, cook-offs, the Dog Daze Festival and a talent show.

The Renaissance Front Street Restoration, which has 15 to 20 active members, has $5,000 in its bank account, Sims said.

Two more fundraisers are scheduled in April.

The third annual Rummage for The Renaissance will be held from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13 on Arkansas 22, and donations are being collected.

Rockin’ on the River, a free outdoor music event, will be held from 5-8 p.m. April 20 in the Front Street gazebo on the river. The Renaissance will sell barbecue dinners, Sims said.

“We’re trying to bring in money to not only fix up Front Street, but to hold events to bring people to Dardanelle, and we can introduce them to our businesses around town,” Sims said.

The downtown was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Sims said the

Renaissance group has gotten support from not only Dardanelle officials, the chamber and civic clubs, but the chambers of commerce of nearby cities, including Russellville.

Dardanelle Mayor Carolyn McGee said residents will soon see improvements in downtown.

She said the city received a federal 80-to-20 matching grant through the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department to improve sidewalks, add lamp posts and install new landscaping.

The highway department is providing $200,000, and the city will chip in $50,000, which was budgeted for the project, McGee said.

She said the highway department has to “sign off on it” first.

The work will begin on Quay Street and continue south on Front Street, she said.

“It’s going to be great to get all that done,” McGee said. “It’s a good atmosphere.”

That’s not all McGee has planned.

The Front Street gazebo grounds, next door to City Hall, were full of blooming jonquils last week.

“We’re going to be revamping all this,” she said, standing in the adjacent parking lot.

McGee said city treasurer Betty Smith drags water hoses across the property to water the plants.

The mayor said the city will pay for the installation of an irrigation system and plant shrubs.

It’s not all about looks, of course. Sims and McGee said more businesses are needed downtown.

Sims owns two buildings, and both are rented, she said.

Debbie Moudy of Dardanelle was eating lunch one day last week at Tarasco’s on Front Street.

She said the downtown could be improved.

“I’ve really enjoyed Savanah’s, and I enjoy this restaurant, and I wish there were more things here,” she said.

Three restaurants on Front Street draw regular crowds. It is home to banks, the post office and other businesses, but most of the buildings are vacant.

More than a half dozen of the downtown buildings are owned by Margie Jones, 79, and her son, Dwight Jones, 38.

Margie operates River Front Antiques on Front Street in one of their buildings, and the space next door is full of antiques, too.

She said her son isn’t interested in selling any of the buildings.

“He wants to fix them up,” she said.

Margie said her son is “slow as Christmas,” adding with a laugh that he was born on Christmas Day.

Dwight said he is committed to restoring the buildings he and his mother own.

“We do have plans for quite a few of them,” he said.

“I have historic people who have looked at them. I’m for a restoration and completely restored downtown area,” Dwight said.

He said he would like the buildings’ architecture to represent the 1880s to 1940, and he wants to use historically appropriate colors.

“I don’t believe in doing anything halfway,” he said.

McGee said most of the family’s buildings are sitting idle, although there have been people interested in buying or leasing them.

Dwight said he will lease his downtown buildings after he renovates them.

“Absolutely,” he said.

Among the businesses he would like to see are boutiques and a bakery shop/cafe.

“To be honest, we need to open up another antique store,” he said.

Dwight said he has been working on the family’s properties.

“I have the Benjamin Franklin store all cleaned up and the old Savanah’s,” he said.

Savanah’s restaurant first opened in one of the Joneses’ buildings, Dwight said.

He said to help get the business off the ground, they gave the original owners a few months’ free rent with their lease.

The restaurant is now on the river side of Front Street.

The Joneses are not members of The Renaissance Front Street Restoration.

“We’ve been busy doing so much stuff,” Dwight said. “We support The Renaissance or any type of club to support this.”

The Joneses said they were glad to hear about the grant the city received.

“[Renovation] takes time, and honestly, some of the things we were waiting on was the streetscapes, the sidewalks.”

In 2012, several of the Joneses’ properties, including downtown buildings, were scheduled for public auction at the Yell County Courthouse because of delinquent taxes. Dwight said he paid the taxes and kept the buildings.

“Really, our heart is into restoring [the downtown property]. I’ve spent a small fortune, … and I will see it through, without a doubt,” he said.

It can’t happen too soon for Sims and her group.

“We encourage people to join us. My main thing, I want to hear their output. I want to hear their input. I want to hear their ideas,” she said.

Meetings of The Renaissance Front Street Restoration, which are open to the public, are held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at City Hall.

“What I say is, ‘Help bring Dardanelle back to life,’” Sims said.

For more information, call Sims at (479) 886-3567.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith
can be reached at 501-327-0370

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Haya Water supports Waste Management Conference

The conference was organized by Muscat Municipality during the period from March 25 to 26.

Haya Water set up a canopy to showcase its initiatives towards water reuse project, practical waste management and the benefits that Haya Water brings to the environment through Kala Compost and treated effluents.

Haya Water’s stall provided a complete overview about the phases of treatment to produce treated effluent for irrigation and landscaping purposes.

Highlighting the importance of convening experts in the field of waste management, Eng. Hussain AbdulHussain, CEO of Haya Water noted, “This is a great opportunity for the waste management sector to come together and share ideas and new technologies that will benefit everyone in the Sultanate and the region in general.”

Eng. Hussain AbdulHussain also added, “Haya Water consistently supports forums such as these and will always promote the projects and progress on initiatives aimed at keeping with its vision of Making Muscat a Better City. The 2nd International Conference For Waste Management organized by Muscat Municipality is one of the major events in this area.”

The event saw sessions on waste management strategies, sustainability, technologies and hazardous waste. Waste management is a sector that has seen a vast increase in the recent times and Oman has made significant progress towards waste management solutions.

Delegates attending the 2 day forum discussed issues including techniques of solid waste management, hazardous waste – its impact and solution, waste to energy or energy from waste, clean development mechanism and effectively managing construction and demolition waste among others concerns specific to the Sultanate.

One of Haya Water’s significant projects towards managing waste is the Kala Composting plant, that is located at Al Multaqa in Amerat, to enable the efficient reuse of sewage biosolids, and green waste to enable their conversion to compost that can be used for agriculture, landscaping and for individual gardens.

Haya Water has often been lauded on the positive environmental impact of their projects. Towards this, the company was awarded the prestigious OER ‘Green Footprint’ award for its Kala Composting Plant. As a result, today 100% of all sewage biosolids generated by the company’s water reuse treatment plants is now treated and converted to compost – instead of being dumped into a landfill site as hand been the practice in the past.

The capacity of the plant to deal with a wide range of other waste also means that other companies are now sending their waste to the Kala Composting Plant instead of dumping it into landfill sites – something that can contribute to creating greenhouse gases – especially methane.

Haya Water’s vision is to enable Muscat to become one of the top cities in the world by building and operating a world class Water Reuse system that connects at least 80% of the residential properties by the year 2018 and brings enormous environmental benefits to the Muscat Governorate area.

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New roundabout and crosswalks among options for improving Ann Arbor’s North …

“It’s got to be one of the top hazardous areas of Ann Arbor,” said George Creswell, an employee at Main Street Motors at the corner of North Main and Depot Street.

Creswell spoke with on Friday after making his way across Main Street without the aid of a crosswalk by doing what many people have to do — wait for a gap in traffic, and go for it.


A map of the area being studied by the city’s citizen-led North Main-Huron River Corridor Vision Task Force.

City of Ann Arbor

“It just makes it difficult for the drivers as well as the pedestrians,” Creswell said, adding he witnesses a lot of close calls along North Main.

The city’s citizen-led North Main-Huron River Corridor Vision Task Force has been meeting for months and is starting to form a conceptual plan for solving those sorts of problems, while at the same time improving access to nearby recreational amenities along the Huron River.

Some of the ideas emerging: new crosswalks and traffic signals, a roundabout for traffic coming off the highway onto North Main, a park-and-ride lot off M-14 to take more cars off the road, bicycle lanes, new sidewalks on both sides of the road, improved lighting and signage, a pedestrian bridge over North Main, and a pedestrian tunnel under the railroad tracks north of Depot Street.

North of Summit Street, there isn’t a single crosswalk along the entire stretch of North Main for roughly three quarters of a mile before it turns into M-14, creating a divide between popular nature areas to the west and riverside recreation amenities to the east.

Another barrier to those amenities is the railroad that runs along the south and west side of the river, with only one legal crossing at Lake Shore Drive — which also is at risk of closing.

Task force members believe the corridor should reflect Ann Arbor’s civic pride in everything from landscaping to road design, complete with wayfinding signs and nonmotorized paths.

Rather than just an automobile-oriented thoroughfare cars race through to get in and out of town, there’s a desire to make North Main a destination and give people a reason to slow down.

“This is not a complete street by any means. This is a highway entrance ramp,” said Doug Allen, a property manager for Peter Allen and Associates, which owns a number of properties along North Main, including the Riverfront Building at 1250 N. Main St.

Allen spoke with outside the Riverfront Building on Friday. He said he’s doing his part to beautify his own properties, including the recent installation of an “art fence” painted different colors with an image of a snake on one side. He also made a galvanized steel sign that lights up at night.

“We’ve got five properties on North Main, and so we’re just trying to do our little bit with our properties, and we totally would enjoy more help from the city in making this a safe, inviting entryway to Ann Arbor,” he said. “I’m trying to do it with art, class, nice buildings and nice architecture lit at night.”


Doug Allen, a property manager for Peter Allen and Associates, which owns a number of properties along North Main, stands in front of the galvanized steel sign he recently made for the Riverfront Building at 1250 N. Main St. “We’ve got five properties on North Main, and so we’re just trying to do our little bit with our properties, and we totally would enjoy more help from the city in making this a safe, inviting entryway to Ann Arbor,” he said.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Allen attended the most recent meeting of the task force where draft reports from four subcommittees were shared. He said he likes a lot of what he hears so far.

There has been mention of a potential tax-increment financing zone to fund some of the improvements along the corridor that the task force is talking about.

One idea aimed at calming traffic on North Main is a new roundabout where M-14 and Huron River Drive become Main Street at the far north end of the corridor.

“We think that might be a good idea,” said City Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, the lone council member on the citizen task force.

Another idea being discussed is a park-and-ride lot at M-14 and Barton Drive, where there’s a highway on- and off-ramp near Bandemer Park. The idea is that buses could pick up commuters and head down Barton Drive toward Pontiac Trail and into town, taking traffic off North Main.

“The goal here is to make bike lanes safe, to provide a better environment for bus service, and to encourage pedestrians to use the sidewalk, which they aren’t right now,” Briere said.

Another idea mentioned at the last task force meeting is a user-activated HAWK signal where Lake Shore Drive meets North Main.

That would allow pedestrians and bicyclists to safely cross North Main, including people going between Bluffs Park to the west and Bandemer Park and the Border-to-Border Trail to the east.

“I love it,” agreed David Santacroce, the task force’s chairman.

Briere’s subcommittee believes the city should create well-defined pedestrian and bike paths through the Bluffs, leading to the proposed crosswalk at North Main at Lake Shore Drive. She said there might even be opportunities to work with the terrain to create vistas of the river.

“You’ve got some great views through the trees,” she said. “It would be possible to emphasize those views as part of how you anticipate the river.”


Task force members fear the Michigan Department of Transportation, which acquired the tracks from Norfolk Southern, could close this at-grade crossing at Lake Shore Drive off North Main when it implements high-speed rail. “The railroad is a big barrier getting people to the amenities,” said David Santacroce, the task force’s chairman. “That’s an important access point.”

Ryan J. Stanton |

Briere said it remains a goal to make sure the at-grade railroad crossing into Bandemer Park at Lake Shore Drive remains open for the foreseeable future.

Task force members fear the Michigan Department of Transportation, which acquired the tracks from Norfolk Southern, could close the crossing when it implements high-speed rail.

“Everything we talked about doing is to funnel bikes and pedestrians somehow to the Lake Shore entrance to the park because we think Lake Shore should remain open,” Briere said, suggesting the crossing could be improved with fencing and gates as the city looks for another solution.

“One long-term solution is to build a pedestrian bridge over Main Street or over Depot and the railroad tracks,” she said. “We also think it’s possible to build a tunnel adjacent to Depot Street.”

Task force member Tamara Burns said her subcommittee, which focused on riverside amenities, likes the idea of trying to keep the Lake Shore Drive crossing open as long as possible, but she said it seems clear it’s definitely going to close at some point.

“And I don’t have any problem with trying again, but I know they’ve been trying and trying to put gates there and have not been successful,” she said.

Burns said the city has wanted to install signals and gates for years, but that would make it an official public crossing.

“If it is an official public crossing, it has to be closed/removed (or another crossing has to be closed) because there can be no net increase in crossings,” her subcommittee report states. “This has still not been solved despite the city’s efforts, and it remains a situation no one wants to touch.”


The task force is discussing widening the Border-to-Border Trail along the Huron River so there’s less conflict between pedestrians and bicycles.

Ryan J. Stanton |

As a short-term solution, the subcommittee recommends allowing access to the rowing center area in Bandemer Park via a new road parallel to the railroad tracks through the park.

It also recommends additional bike racks at the rowing center, rental storage lockers for kayaks/canoes, and annual weed mitigation in the river channel just north of the rowing docks.

Additionally, the report highlights a number of opportunities for improving the Border-to-Border Trail, including adding more trash and recycling receptacles, dog waste stations, a new drinking water station, improved lighting, and benches at scenic overlooks.

Widening the Border-to-Border Trail along the river so there’s less conflict between pedestrians and bicycles also is being discussed.

Another task force subcommittee looked at opportunities for easing traffic congestion at Main and Depot at certain times of day.

“We spent a little more time and effort on the getting-out-of-town part, because that seemed to be the bigger issue,” said Darren McKinnon, a member of that subcommittee.

Traffic on southbound Main Street backs up in the morning for those trying to turn left at Depot. And in the afternoon, westbound Depot backs up for those trying to turn right at Main.

Task force members said the congestion is frustrating for motorists and creates dangerous situations for pedestrians wishing to pass through the intersection during peak times.

McKinnon’s subcommittee recommends installing pedestrian crosswalks across Depot at Fourth Avenue and across Main at Depot to improve safety.

Other short-term solutions include adding a right-turn green arrow for westbound Depot traffic and converting the existing “left turn only” lane on Depot to allow right turns as well, essentially creating a double right-turn lane. Because North Main is a state highway route, the city would have to work with MDOT to implement those kinds of changes.


A truck turns left onto Depot Street from North Main on Friday afternoon. The task force is looking at opportunities for easing traffic congestion at Main and Depot during peak times.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Longer-term solutions include extending the left-turn lane on Main from Depot back to M-14. That would require widening the road and reconstructing the railroad overpass over Main.

McKinnon said the city should consider taking advantage of the vast amount of city-owned property to the west of Main Street to widen the right-of-way.

Task force members have talked about increasing the right-of-way about 15 feet to the west to put in a shared-use bicycle and pedestrian path on the west side of the road. That would require asking some private property owners for use of a portion of their land.

McKinnon’s subcommittee also looked at flooding issues, noting the block bordered by Depot/Main/Summit/Fourth is completely within the floodway.

One idea is to have the city purchase those properties over time as they’re put up for sale by their owners, and demolish the buildings to remove them from the floodway. Once clear, the extra space could be used to reconstruct the Depot/Main intersection.

Briere’s subcommittee recommends the Planning Commission complete a North Main Corridor Improvement Study prior to 2015, so the findings could be used by MDOT in planning improvements along North Main in conjunction with road construction that’s scheduled for 2018. The plan could include added lighting and streetscape improvements for pedestrian and nonmotorized use.

Task force members also are concerned about the condition of some properties along North Main, noting they don’t exactly provide the most attractive entrance to the city.

“We talked about what could be done to improve options in that area, whether it’s looking at the zoning for new construction, whether it’s encouraging the property owners to actually maintain a 360-degree awareness of their property and clean it up from the riverside as well as the Main Street side,” Briere said. “We think all of those are really valuable options in there.”


A runner makes his way up the sidewalk on the east side of North Main on Friday. Installing a sidewalk on the west side of Main and improving the sidewalk on the east side of Main are considered major opportunities.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Installing a sidewalk on the west side of Main and improving the sidewalk on the east side of Main are considered major opportunities. Briere said there also should be a bike and pedestrian path that goes under the M-14 bridge, making it possible to move from Main to Bandemer to Barton, or from Main following Huron River Drive to the Kuebler Langford Nature Area to Barton.

Briere said it could be possible for a path that moves from Main Street through the former Allied Building Products property at 1380 N. Main St. and underneath the bridge.

“There should be a bike and pedestrian path adjacent to the M-14 on-ramp and under the M-14 bridge,” she said. “And we think well-defined bike and pedestrian paths in Bluffs could lead from Sunset to Huronview for access to either Beechwood or Bird Hills also.”

Looking at the bigger picture, task force members see opportunities for new development and economic vitality along the corridor as it undergoes a transformation. And they believe the views of the riverside parks, which they hope to see improved, will be a major selling point.

The task force is working to finalize a set of recommendations that will go to the City Council by July 31. There will be chances to provide input at community meetings on May 22 and June 12 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Community Center.

Article source:

Ideas bloom for spring planting at Bay Landscaping’s annual flower show – The Ann Arbor News


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Superbells Lemon Slice

 BAY CITY, MI — What’s hot in the garden this year?

Ask Pat Seibel, as display garden supervisor for Four Star Greenhouse in Carleton, a partner in Proven Winners, he knows what the best dressed gardens will be wearing this year.

He’s coming to town to share his knowledge when he shows off the new varieties April 4 at Bay Landscaping.

Not only will Seibel talk about new varieties, but offer up advice on care for the plants, the best soil, fertilizer and water.

Like a sneak peak? How about a new variety of Superbell called Lemon Slice in white and yellow.

“It’s one of the first true bi color pinwheels,” he said. “It has a different color in the throat that radiates out from the center of the plant. It’s very bright yellow and very bright white. There is a real difference between the yellow and the white.”

Remember Pretty Much Picasso from a couple years ago? This year check out Picasso in Pink. Part of the Supertunia family, Picasso in Pink is pink in the center with green edges.

Coming out a few years ago, SunPatiens are back this year as well. This Impatien does well in both sun and shade. And, oh those colors.

“We’ve picked up four new flavors,” says Seibel. “A magenta, dark rose, orange and white. I’ve fallen in love with the orange.”

And, adds Seibel, this group isn’t susceptible to the downy mildew.


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Supertunia Picasso In Pink

 Gardening isn’t all about the flowers, don’t forget Coleus, which adds not only color, but texture to the garden.

This year’s hot Coleus is ColorBlaze Marooned.

“It’s a large Coleus bred in Florida,” said Seibel. “It’s a very dark purple and can get about 30 inches tall. It looks like a small shrub.”

Plus, this Coleus doesn’t flower. It stays nice and blushy.

Check out ColorBlaze Keystone Kopper from the Coleus family.

“It’s almost a deep bronze with an orangish, reddish tint in the sun,” said Seibel. It’s a more unique color.

For the deepest color, plant in the shade.

While the rule of thumb is still thriller, spiller and filler, Seibel will be offering up some new ideas for container gardening.

Those attending will also get a jump on the season by ordering favorites that evening. Flowers will be delivered in time for planting.

Reservations are needed by calling 989-893-0000.

If you go:

What: Ideas in Bloom

Who: Pat Seibel, Four Star Greenhouse

When: 6-8 p.m. April 4

Where: Bay Landscaping, 1630 N. Southeast Boutell, Essexville

Info: 989-893-000

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‘The gardens needed me’

In 2004, when Barbara Lechner moved into her lakeside home, she faced a daunting task — remove a mini-backyard golf course and replace it with a thriving garden.

The previous owners of the home on Lakes Edge Drive, Newburgh, left behind a putting green, two tees and a sand trap, which Barbara and her husband, Bob, spent several months tearing up, “just the two of us and our wheel barrows,” she said. Although some artificial turf still is underneath her bird feeders, the couple moved gravel under their dock and incorporated the sand into the flower beds.

“The reason I wanted to buy this house is because the gardens needed me,” she says.

Barbara has been involved with the Southwestern Indiana Master Gardener Association since 2005, and her home was part of the Master Gardener’s Garden Walk in 2009. Her yard is filled with roses, wildflowers, day lilies, irises, liatris, milkweed, phlox, scabiosa, purple coneflowers, monarda, grasses and shrubs.

“It really is peaceful here and the lake really adds to that,” says Barbara Lechner, a former president of the Evansville Rose Society. She is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club. Barbara and her husband, Bob, took what used to be a backyard golf course and turned it into a lovely garden around their Newburgh home.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

“It really is peaceful here and the lake really adds to that,” says Barbara Lechner, a former president of the Evansville Rose Society. She is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club. Barbara and her husband, Bob, took what used to be a backyard golf course and turned it into a lovely garden around their Newburgh home.

JASON CLARK / COURIER  PRESSRoses stand out in the yard of Barbara Lechner. Lechner, a former president of the Evansville Rose Society, is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club. Lechner and her husband Bob took what used to be part of a golf course and turned it into a lovely garden space around their Newburgh home.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

Roses stand out in the yard of Barbara Lechner. Lechner, a former president of the Evansville Rose Society, is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club. Lechner and her husband Bob took what used to be part of a golf course and turned it into a lovely garden space around their Newburgh home.

Barbara Lechner is a former president of the Evansville Rose Society and is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

Barbara Lechner is a former president of the Evansville Rose Society and is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club.

Photographs by JASON CLARK / Evansville WomanBarbara Lechner’s favorite part of the garden is the water feature, which includes a fountain and a pond with fish.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

Photographs by JASON CLARK / Evansville Woman
Barbara Lechner’s favorite part of the garden is the water feature, which includes a fountain and a pond with fish.

Roses stand out in the yard of Barbara Lechner, who has propagated roses herself for four or five years.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

Roses stand out in the yard of Barbara Lechner, who has propagated roses herself for four or five years.

Above: In addition to being home to flourishing flowers, Barbara’s yard is a certified wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation.Opposite page: The roses Barbara propagates now are replanted in her own yard, though sometimes she will give them to friends.

Photo by Jason Clark, 2012 Jason Clark

Above: In addition to being home to flourishing flowers, Barbara’s yard is a certified wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation.
Opposite page: The roses Barbara propagates now are replanted in her own yard, though sometimes she will give them to friends.

Her backyard looks nothing like it once did. The yard slopes downward toward the lake, and the hillside is covered with native plants and some surprises, such as ornamental peaches, which grew there with no help from her. Barbara said she had a pot of the ornamental peaches on her porch, and one day she found them growing in her yard, largely because of animal intervention.

Some of her other plants came from friends and her father-in-law’s garden. She even moved some from her previous residence in Virginia, wrapping them in wet paper towels and packing them in a suitcase.

Animals are a welcome feature in her yard, too. In fact, her garden is a certified wildlife habitat with National Wildlife Federation. This means her landscaping provides food, water, habitat and shelter. Even foxes and baby deer have found their way into her yard, she says. The lake behind her house helps attract animals, too. Besides the typical geese and ducks, she has seen osprey catch fish and once even saw a bald eagle.

“It really is peaceful here and the lake really adds to that,” she says.

Even though she welcomes animals into her yard, she still tries to keep rabbits from eating her young plants, especially because she prefers “to get smaller plants and watch them grow,” she says. When the plants are small, she will cage them with fencing material to enable proper growth.

Barbara says she designed her garden herself, often considering the view from her bay window inside the house and creating “seasonal interest.” Her favorite part of the garden is the water feature, which includes a fountain and a pond with fish, and attracts quite a few butterflies. Bob, an anesthesiologist at The Women’s Hospital, did the landscaping, which included building stairs to the deck.

Another one of Barbara’s gardening successes involves roses, which she has propagated herself for four or five years. She first learned how to do this after watching a demonstration with the Evansville Rose Society.

She decided to try it herself, and “I was surprisingly very successful with it,” she says. The roses she propagates now are replanted in her own yard, though sometimes she will give them to friends. She also has given demonstrations on rose propagation at the University of Evansville rose garden, which the Master Gardeners maintains.

Barbara, a former president of the Evansville Rose Society, is also a member of the Newburgh Garden Club.

But it’s her garden that brings her the most joy, especially the wildlife in her yard.

“There are so many different things that have come here,” she says, adding that she and her husband try to invite animals into their yard through their planting choices. They added a crabapple tree to attract the birds and planted hawthorns, which have berries that mockingbirds and robins eat during the winter. That’s also the same time when she can see how many nests are in her trees, reinforcing to her how many animals value her green thumb.

“That’s all very rewarding,” she says.

“We have a lot of ornamental grasses, and they put out seeds in the winter that the birds can eat,” she says. “It provides good cover for them, too.”

Article source:

Think Spring: Advice For Older Gardeners

In my previous blog post, I shared the insights of Shenandoah Kepler on the lifelong beauty of gardening and gardens. Shenandoah, who in her late 60s writes the blog Fleeting Architecture, continues with practical advice on gardening with age — the timetable, the tools and more.

Why is gardening a year-round enterprise?

Gardening is my passion and, since I retired, it is my life. I know many other gardeners who share my passion and enthusiasm. Thinking about the next growing season is a year-round project. We wait for the seed catalogues that start arriving in January. We start seeds under lights in February. We plant peas and lettuce in March. We plant more seeds that will withstand occasional frosts in April. We put out tomatoes and melon seeds in mid to late May. And so on.

Perennial gardening never ends, either. I keep a notebook with what works (grows well), where and when it is at its peak in flowering, etc. We divide perennials in the early fall, plant divisions, order new plants via mail-order year round and shop nurseries the same. We move stuff that doesn’t work to see if they work somewhere else (before we ditch them altogether).

Then there is the constant weeding, mulching, trimming, composting.

We have had to modify the year-round effort since we started going to Florida (from Maryland) for three months each winter. We now go to the nurseries for annual packs for planting, rather than starting our own seeds, as soon as we get back in April. We go into the garden to start weeding as soon as we get back and sometimes have to call in help to get on top of the weeds since our recent winters have been so mild. We mulch as soon as we get back. Down in Florida, we garden all the time we are there.

How have you adapted your own gardens and gardening practices as you have gotten older?

• Hardscaping first: paving paths, widening paths, getting rid of steps
• Hiring out stuff that was keeping us from what we wanted to do in the garden
• Planning for aging — for example, shifting from perennials to bushes, naturalizing borders to reduce pruning, weeding and general upkeep
• Shifting from high-maintenance to low-maintenance plants, planting and maintenance in general
• Shifting discretionary funds from eating out and taking an occasional cruise to help with yard maintenance

What new things did making those changes open up for you?

• Time to blog about gardening and begin discussions with other suburbanite gardeners (additional socializing)
• Time to keep a better diary about what is working and what is not (organizing, planning, implementing)
• Time to meditate in the gardens and to just enjoy them both

What are your top three recommendations on garden layout for older gardeners?

1. Plan and implement for the future, even just one year in advance, taking notes on what is getting harder to do, less enjoyable to do and what you can do about reducing those things — not just the garden layout but its maintenance.
2. If just getting around is the issue, bring everything closer to you. I started a huge bowl of herbs on the back stoop outside my kitchen and it was a godsend for cooking and maintenance.
3. As I have mentioned earlier, how to get around your garden and how to garden (raised beds for example) are extremely important. Avoiding mistakes in the first place is a long- and short-term priority (see my blog for two posts on this subject).

What are your recommendations for tools for older gardeners?

There just aren’t enough older gardener friendly tools quite yet. There are some wonderful hand diggers, etc. But hand pruners need to be made easier for the arthritic. Ratchet pruners could be made easier to use. I still have to ask my husband to come in with his comparatively greater strength to do what is still light pruning, but the tools are not there for me yet.

Another set of tools are the motorized ones. More and more gasoline-motored tools (too heavy, too hard to start) are becoming easier with electric starts and alternative electric-powered tools, but they still aren’t there yet. And don’t get me started on the lack of garden vehicles for a gardener. There are tractors, zero-turn mowers and all-terrain vehicles, but none are built low enough to the ground for easy entry and very few can take attached motorized dump-and-carry carts to get around with tools, soil, compost, mulch and plants. It’s on my wish list.

Thank you, Shenandoah. Garden-tool manufacturers, take note!

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Design expert to share ideas at Home and Garden Show

Advantage Chiropractic Centers, LLC


Alicia’s Cookie Kitchen


American Precision Powder Coating


American Structures Patios

East Liverpool

Aqway Water Treatment

Grove City

Aunt Carol Gourmet Dips



Ellwood City


Beaver Agway


Beaver County Fair Housing

Beaver Falls

Beaver County Fruit Vegetable Grower’s Assoc.

Ambridge, Beaver, Beaver Falls, New Brighton Chippewa


CPG Windows Plus

New Castle

Ed Cline Appraisals

Beaver Falls

Electric Garage Door Sales, Inc.


ESB Bank

Various locations

Everdry Waterproofing

Evans City

F.D. Strano Sales


Gutter Helmet Systems


Home Depot


Homer Nine Sons, Inc.


Howard Hanna


LeafFilter Gutter Protection

Legacy Remodeling


Lucci Kitchen and Bath Center


Marshall Tree Experts

Ellwood City

Martin Lawn Services, LLC


Mihalinac Construction Inc.

New Galilee

Performance PC, Inc.


Premier Property Management Services

Beaver Falls

Reliant Systems LLC


Remax Select Realty


Renewal By Andersen


Richard Felser Company


R.I. Lampus Company

Aliquippa Yard

Riverside Family Chiropractic


R.J. Beverage

New Brighton

Scentsy Independent Consultant

Cranberry Twp.

Tastefully Simple


The Artistree Studio


Tuma Lawn Service Landscaping, Inc.


Turnbull Construction Remodeling, LLC.

Beaver Falls

Windoweffects Ryan’s Auto Detailing


Windows R Us – North


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Metallica donate to fan’s garden design project

Rockers METALLICA have made a green-fingered fan’s dreams come true by handing out funds to help him develop his garden design for a prestigious British horticultural competition.

Arek Luc’s garden design, inspired by the band’s track I Disappear, was accepted to go on display at the Royal Horticultural Society’s annual flower show at Hampton Court in England in July (13), but the project was in jeopardy due to lack of funding.

The rockers were alerted to Luc’s plight by their manager Peter’s wife, former British politician Louise Mensch, who read about the design in a local publication, and the stars decided to dip into their own pockets to ensure the project went ahead as planned.

Luc tells Britain’s The Times newspaper, “Louise e-mailed me and asked how much I still needed. I couldn’t believe it when they sent me several thousand pounds.”

Mensch adds, “The whole band was tickled pink (delighted) by Arek’s garden. The band does a colossal amount of work for charity but it’s not usually associated with gardens.”

Copyright 2013 World Entertainment News Network. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Winners of Tucson garden-design challenge

A multipurpose living space that looks out on a Zenlike desert garden won the Growdown competition at Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Janis and Phil Van Wyck, owners of Van Wyck Projects, won the judge’s award last Sunday at the gardens’ first such event, subtitled “The Great Tucson Garden Design Challenge.”

Four landscape designers had three days to build gardens based on submitted plans on the theme “Small Gardens, Big Ideas.” Each contestant worked with 300 square feet of space, about the size as two spaces in a parking lot.

The gardens are on exhibit at the botanical gardens at least through April.

Everything in the Van Wycks’ “A Room With a View” entry was made for this garden, including the sloped metal roof of the three-walled “room” and a fountain in which water flows from a small boulder in a trough.

The soil-cement wall exposes embedded rock, while a mature palo verde soars above the “room” to provide shade for agaves and salvias.

A planter inserted into a pony wall sparkles with jewel-toned succulents.

The wood floor and benches with upholstered cushions allow for a variety of uses: yoga, sleeping, relaxing and entertaining.

“We wanted an outdoor, protected space that’s easy to maintain,” Janis Van Wyck says.

Scott Calhoun won the people’s choice award for his colorful border-inspired patio.

The design by the owner of Zona Gardens includes more than 30 ceramic pots filled with silver cacti, rust-colored steel wall panels with circular cutouts and pot shelves, and a matching chiminea with a grill.

He adds vibrant color with tangerine and teal walls and plastic-piping chairs and ottomans, along with old Sonora, Mexico, license plates as hanging artwork.

Here are what the other designers did:

• Ezra Roati of REALM, an Urban Organics Company, flanks a water-harvesting and planted arroyo with a dog play area and edible plants in containers of corrugated panels.

A concrete bench in “An Urban Arroyo” allows a good view of both sides.

• Christine Jeffrey’s “Modern Desert Garden” combines gabion seating, a shade sail, purple dagger yucca and a block wall with shrubs planted in the top bricks.

The designer with LJ Design Consulting adds color with baby blue- and terra cotta-hued tiles forming small squares in the sandy stone floor.

If you go

• What: Growdown exhibit of four small gardens by local landscape designers.

• Where: Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 N. Alvernon Way.

• When: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through April.

• Admission: $13; discounts available.

• Information: 326-9686,

To-do list for April

There’s April work to be done in the yard, according to the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ horticulturists.

• Clean and repair your drip irrigation system and adjust it for warm-weather watering.

• Prune frost-damaged shrubs.

• Finish spring planting and start summer veggies, including melon, squash, cucumber, eggplant and okra.

• Fertilize roses, irises and container flowers.

Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at

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Get ideas for your home at Spring Home Show

As reliable as returning robins and forsythia blossoms, the Lehigh Valley Builders Association Spring Home Show makes its annual appearance, this year with fresh hope in improving attendance.

The economy is slowly improving, with home sales locally and around the country leading the way.

“New home builders are reporting both increased traffic and phone calls,” Lehigh Valley Builders Association Executive Director Chuck Hamilton said. “Remodeling projects have been steady through the downturn but 2013 indicates an increase in projects. These are all good signs that the consumers in our market are becoming more confident in the economy.”

Many of those consumers – 13,000 or so, Hamilton estimated – will make their ways to Stabler Arena Friday through Sunday for a look at all things new and exciting on the home front.


They can attend seminars on a variety of subjects.

Show-goers can get a taste of Hollywood with a look at the Seal Master Chopper, a custom motorcycle that’s been riding the home show and exhibition circuit for years, promoting a line of pavement maintenance products and equipment.

The chopper was designed and built by Orange County Choppers of — the same shop of the reality TV show “American Chopper.”

But the real attraction for most is what’s going on in vendor offerings.


In recent years, remote home control and automation have come within the reach of more consumers as they’ve acquired smart phones and other mobile computing devices.

Glen Hill, president of Current Concepts in Coopersburg, will demonstrate the Elan g! entertainment and control system. With the system backbone installed, users can choose from many remote capabilities: view home video monitor feeds, manage lighting, lock or unlock doors, program entertainment, adjust heating and cooling systems and much more.

All of it is possible, Hill said, “from an iPhone, iPad, Android, laptop or desktop – anywhere in the world.”


Builder Ken Snyder of Spectrum Homes, Whitehall, said his company’s Lifestyle series responds to many buyers’ wishes to arrange more of their living space on one floor.

“People want a single-story ranch, or master-bedroom first-floor arrangement, or an in-law suite,” he said. This kind of structure involves some special considerations.

“We have to comply with local ordinances. If there’s an in-law suite, there has to be a common area with the rest of the home – otherwise it might be considered an apartment building.”

Snyder said these homes are available in many custom designs from 1,500 to 3,500 square feet.


The Western Lehigh Landscaping booth addresses a familiar trend toward outdoor living, with a nod to current style preferences.

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