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Archives for March 1, 2013

Fox Bluff Conservation Area could add trails, river access

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CRYSTAL LAKE –A playscape for small children, trails and increased access to the Fox River are all part of a recommended plan for the Fox Bluff Conservation Area.

The plans – a preferred one and three alternatives – are available for public viewing online and during an open house scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake.

There will be another public viewing before the McHenry County Conservation District Board of Trustees votes on a final version at its June 20 meeting.

Conservation district staff members made their recommendation because they felt the plan best accomplished the district’s main goal of integrating natural and cultural resource preservation with meeting the needs of the public, regional planning initiatives and internal operations, spokeswoman Wendy Kummerer said.

All the plans proposed providing kayak and canoe access at the Fox River along with a paved trail leading to a pier, recognizing the Gillilan farmstead as a historical area, developing a pedestrian trail system and incorporating some elements from the historical original plan for the 20 acres that make up Camp Algonquin.

That plan, dated February 1911, was designed by the well-regarded landscape architect Jens Jenson. It includes 16 buildings, a swimming pool, a council ring, vegetable gardens and native landscaping.

While the recommended plan incorporates many of the elements that appear in the other alternative plans, different emphases are placed and different buildings saved in the various plans.

The alternative labeled option three proposes modifying the parking lot on the northern half of the 279-acre site to accommodate horse trailers and is the only one to provide for horses on a trail.

On the southern part of the property, on which the former Camp Algonquin buildings are located, the preferred plan suggests removing all but the recreation hall. The recreation hall would then be renovated and expanded to accommodate public assembly events for which the building could be rented out.

Another alternative suggests saving the dining hall, a newer two-story structure, and using it for public assembly events as well as education department programming.

The third option proposes saving the dairy barn, which would serve “as a visual feature of the past agrarian landscape,” the plan says.

None of the plans propose saving any of the three dormitories. The district had hired PHN Architects to draw up ideas of how the buildings could be renovated and provide rough cost estimates.

At its Feb. 3 meeting, Andy Dogan, a principal at PHN Architects, walked the board through its ideas for three of the buildings it recommended for further review, one of the dormitories, the recreation hall and the dining hall.

If you go

To see all the details proposed in the preferred and alternative preliminary plans for the Fox Bluff Conservation Area, go to the McHenry County Conservation District’s website, They’ll be available through March 18.

An open house complete with a presentation on the plan and time for public comment is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Prairieview Education Center, 2112 Behan Road, Crystal Lake. Staff presentations will start at 6 and 7 p.m.

A revised version will then be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at its June 20 meeting.


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Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

This home at 4920 Cedar is among six on the 31st annual Bellaire Home Tour March 23-24. Proceeds from the event benefit the Nature Discovery Center.

Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

Bellaire Home Tour chair Betty Bellomy

Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 5:00 am

Bellomy chairing 31st Bellaire Home Tour

By Examiner staff

Houston Community Newspapers

Bellaire resident and Realtor Betty Bellomy will chair the 31st annual Bellaire Home Tour, set for March 23 and 24.

Six of the area’s most unique homes will be open to tour from 1-5 p.m. both days.

“We have a wonderful variety of homes this year – and several absolutely gorgeous yards,” explained Bellomy, with John Daugherty Realtors. “We have been eager to showcase some of the marvelous landscaping in and around Bellaire, and this year we are able to do just that.”

This year the tour will also feature live demonstrations and seminars from chefs, interior decorators and other home experts.

“The Home Tour is a wonderful community event – providing an inside look at diverse decorating and landscaping ideas and supporting a local educational center. We are very fortunate to have Betty and her committee, our generous sponsors, and all the dedicated volunteers who turn out to help guide visitors through the homes,” said Sarah Flournoy, executive director of the Nature Discovery Center.

The Bellaire Home Tour benefits the Nature Discovery Center, a defining community resource that provides hands-on nature and science experiences for children, their families, teachers and scout groups. From programs for playgroups to a monthly lecture series for adults, NDC has something for everyone – and much of it is free.

Discounted advance purchase tickets cost $15 and will be available at the Nature Discovery Center, 7112 Newcastle, and are sold at Belden’s, Bering’s Hardware, Elaine’s Florist, Fioza’s, Magpies, and Whole Foods Market-Bellaire.

During the tour, full price tickets are $20 and may be purchased at any of the homes. Children age 12 and under may tour with an adult for free.

To learn more about sponsorship opportunities and/or advance ticket sales, contact Betty Bellomy at 713-561-6848 or For more information about the Nature Discovery Center, visit or contact Sarah Flournoy at 713-667-6550 or


Friday, March 1, 2013 5:00 am.

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North Iowa Home Improvement and Landscaping Show opens

MASON CITY — The 22nd annual Home and Landscaping Show opens today at the North Iowa Events Center.

More than 120 home, lawn and garden exhibits will give visitors new ideas for the 2013 season; and a full seminar schedule will offer insights into gardening, grilling and other great home improvement ideas.

The show is open today from 3 to 9 p.m.

Hours for the rest of the weekend are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Detailed show information can be found at

— By Deb Nicklay

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Learn how much water your landscape really needs

Before you spend a lot of money on landscaping, you may want to educate yourself on how much you will need to water your yard.

David Rice, conservation program coordinator for the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District, said many times people overwater their plants and then wonder why they didn’t survive.

“Landscape irrigation is overdone by many well-meaning people,” he said. “They will go out and buy a $300 tree and then drown it because they loved it too much.”

Rice said most plants and lawns don’t need as much water as we might think.

“Sprinklers are running too often and too long for what the true need is,” he said. “We offer several free courses to the public and have free programs to help educate them about the amount of water they should be using in their own yards.”

Not only can you take a free class on landscaping and watering, the district will come out to your home and do a free audit on your sprinkling system, Rice said.

“We spend about an hour or so going over your yard and then leave you with a customized watering schedule,” he said. “There are a lot of free educational tools for the public to take advantage of, so they can take responsibility for their own water usage.”

While Weber and Davis districts have a great supply of water, it’s not endless, Rice said. That’s why it’s so important to use it wisely.

“Our nurseries are full of experts who will help you pick out the right plant for your yard and tell you how much water you need to give it,” he said. “There are no good or bad plants out there, but in order to have successful gardens and landscapes we need to know how to give the proper care.”

Rice will be at the Standard-Examiner Spring Home and Garden Show to hand out material and answer questions about water conservation. For a list of classes offered, go to

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34th Annual Home & Garden Show Begins



Video: Home Garden Show opens today – 6:30am interview

GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) — There are still a few more weeks before spring officially arrives, but the annual West Michigan Home and Garden Show kicks off Thursday to get people in the mood early.

“Everyone walks into DeVos place and it is just fantastic. All the indoor gardens all the color smell of the flowers, it is just fantastic,” said Andrew Alt, publicist for ShowSpan Inc.

The event, in its 34th year, is always a big hit for homeowners looking to make indoor and outdoor improvements around the house. However, Alt says the show appeals to the public at large.

“I think certainly home owners are going to benefit. It is the one time of year where homeowners can come in and meet with over 300 different local businesses about all aspects of their home and landscapes in one place,” he said. “They don’t have to drive all over town. They don’t have to make a bunch of phone calls. They can actually talk to people right at the show. It saves a lot of time and a lot of energy.”

The show has more than a dozen indoor gardens, indoor landscapes and vendors offering information on the latest products and techniques for home improvement. The Home and Garden Show also offers seminars, demonstrations and other activities all weekend.

“We have a stage that is staffed by experts from Frederik Meijer Gardens and other places in town. There are all kinds of gardening techniques they can learn. The newest trends in flowers for the year, perennials for the year, all that sort of thing,” said Alt. “The thing that we are real proud of in this show is we have 350 exhibitors. Over 300 of them are local businesses. They are people that live in our community that are interested in doing a good job for the people in our community. So it is a great way to support local business.”

The show times are Thursday, February 28th at 3 pm – 9:00pm; Friday, March 1st at Noon – 9:00pm; Saturday, March 2nd at 10 am – 9:00pm and Sunday, March 3rd 11 am – 6pm.  Ticket prices are  $10 for adults, $4 for children (6-14) and children 5 and under get in free.

Following is a guide to just some of the show’s special features and highlights, as provided by Showspan:

HGTV Star Cari Cucksey – Michigan native Cari Cucksey hosts the HGTV hit show Cash Cari. When she’s not on TV, Cucksey is an “Antiques Matchmaker” who gives dusty relics a new lease on life — she runs RePurpose Estate Services and operates The RePurpose Shop out of Westland Michigan. Come hear her story on the Home Stage, meet her in person, and be inspired to turn that old piece of furniture from your basement into a new treasure.

Joe Lamp’l – Growing a Greener World – Widely known as “Joe Gardener,” Lamp’l is one of the country’s most trusted authorities on gardening and sustainability. He is the host and producer of Public Television’s Growing a Greener World, where his passion for living a more eco-friendly life is evident to his nationwide audience. Join Joe on the Garden Stage to learn about the latest trends in sustainable living, mixed with traditional gardening know-how! Joe Lamp’l is presented by Farm Bureau Insurance.

Keeping It Local – We’re proud that over 300 of our exhibitors are local businesspeople and companies who care about and support our community, and who provide outsanding service to their customers. Come meet them, and feel good knowing they’ll be around to take care of you after the Show is over. The Show is also a proud member of Local First.

Garden and Art Market – A show within the Show!Come browse the most colorful booths in the show, full of unique and inspired garden accessories, plants, decor, art, food and gifts from the area’s best artists and finest local nurseries and garden shops. It’s shopping at its best.

A Garden For Joy – The AGRLP Feature Garden – Led this year by Mike Van Duine of Wabeke Lawn Service, the Association of Grand Rapids Landscape Professionals again creates a fantastic centerpiece for the show! This year’s Feature Garden is a tribute to Mike’s mother, and is an amazing retreat for families, including an infinity edge pool, a lifesize checkerboard, playscape area, and restful fire pit conversation area for when the sun goes down. Get inspired to create your own family retreat!

Saturday is Family Day – The whole family can get involved in activites from cooking and building to bird watching and fairy gardens. Children get in free until noon, and the morning is jam-packed with activitities that will entertain kids so Mom and Dad can spend more time with all the experts they need for their home and garden projects.

Pancake Breakfast – On Saturday, from 9am – 11am, kick off Family Day with all you can eat pancakes, sausage, orange drink and coffee. Cost is just $5, and proceeds benefit The Home Builders Association Foundation. The HBA Foundation builds hope and strengthens community by providing special needs housing for disabled individuals, and granting scholarships to college students in the building-related industries. (Note: the show opens at 10am).

Standard Kitchens Cooking Stage – GREAT GRAINS! – Our popular chef Angus Campbell, from GRCC’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, is presenting delicious foods made with high-fiber and nutritionally-rich grains. Whole grains are loaded with vitamins and minerals and may help fight heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. Plus, they taste delicious! This year’s menu includes Toasted Barley Pilaf, Beluga Lentil Salad, Wild Mushroom and Quinoa Salad, and Millet Crunch.

Over a Dozen Indoor Gardens – Spring is definitely in the air at DeVos Place! In addition to the inspiring Feature Garden by the AGRLP, you’ll find more magnificent indoor landscapes at every turn. Our area’s premier landscapers are here to show off their best work, and the results will wow you. Whether you have acres for your own landscaping, or just a window box to work with, you’re sure to pick up plenty of ideas to take home.

Garden Stage – The Garden Stage is packed with back-to-back seminars starting every half hour all weekend long! Presented by the area’s leaders in gardening, landscaping, soil and tree care, and more, a visit to the garden stage is an opportunity to learn everything you need to know, in one place. Speakers are from Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, Michigan Nursery Landscape Assocation and MSU Extension Horticulture Educators.

Smart Gardening – MSU Extension horticulture educators will be presenting “smart gardening” techniques in a variety of free seminars on the Garden Stage, as well as being onsite throughout the show to talk with visitors in their Smart Garden. Come prepared with all of your toughest questions and stop by their garden, by the Garden Stage, for their expert assistance.

StandardFlower Show – Sponsored by District IV of the Michigan Garden Clubs. The theme of this year’s show is “”Follow the Yellow Brick Road.” Come enjoy stunning entries in the horticulture and design competitions, located at the back of the Grand Gallery.

HBA Pro Pavilion – The place to go for all your building and remodeling needs is the Pro Pavilion! “Start Here” to connect with expert members of the Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids, who are committed to providing quality homes, buildings, renovations, products and services for the entire region through adherence to ethical practices, community involvement, advocacy, and education.

Home Stage – This is the stage to head for if you want new ways to make your home as beautiful and comfortable as it can be! Everyone’s favorite florist J Schwanke is back for Fun With Flowers and J. Great interior design ideas from Leslie Hart-Davidson Design, tips to get your home energy effiecient from the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, and much more!

MadDog and Merrill, known nationwide as The Grilling Buddies, presented by DTE Energy. Their fun-filled seminars will make anyone, pro or novice, a better griller. The duo has been featured on ESPN and The Travel Channel. Their demos include everything from vegetables to roasts to desserts to appetizers, proving their motto, “There’s nothing you can’t cook on a grill!”

Make a Rain Barrel – Using rain barrels is an effective and easy strategy for conserving water, managing community storm water issues, and improving water quality. The West Michigan Environmental Action Council provides low-cost rain barrels to the region as a means of addressing water conservation and pollution issues in West Michigan. WMEAC will have walk-up workshops onsite where you can make your own rain barrel for a minimal cost and take it home with you!

· Full year subscriptions to Better Homes Gardens Magazine included with your online ticket Purchase your tickets to the Show at  Discounted tickets are available at all participating area Home Depot locations. Discount weekday adult admission coupons are available online at

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Gardening in Ascension Parish " Just Keeps Growing!

  • The Ascension Parish Master Gardeners Association, under the direction of the LSU AgCenter, presents a four-part spring series of educational workshops with gardening and landscaping tips geared to both novice and advanced gardeners. These workshops, designed for adults, are hosted by the Ascension Parish Library on the following topics:

    Growing Young Gardeners and Young Minds March 5 at 6:30 p.m. Dutchtown

    Dr. Kiki Fontenot, Professor with the LSU AgCenter, will discuss how gardening with children can be an enjoyable and enriching pastime for both child and adult whether you are a parent, grandparent, or teacher. Discover the many ways gardening can help young minds to grow and learn strategies and activities that can inspire children to become gardeners. Call 673-8699 to register.

    Too Darn Hot – But Not for Tropicals! March 19 at 6:30 p.m. Galvez

    Dr. Jeff Kuehny, Professor with the LSU AgCenter and Director of the Burden Center will explore the use of colorful, dramatic tropicals in the south Louisiana landscape, and learn important information for growing these plants successfully. Don’t dream about lush gardens during the warmer – even HOT – months of the year. You can create your own tropical paradise in your own backyard. Call 622-3339 to register.

    Top Ten Tips for Top-Notch Gardens April 23 at 6 p.m. Donaldsonville

    Janis Poche, Past President of Ascension Parish Master Gardeners assisted by other local master gardeners, will discuss clever gardening tips. Every profession has its “tricks of the trade.” These clever tips and timesavers evolve from our gardening experiences and other gardeners’ discoveries. Learn to minimize maintenance and to maximize enjoyment in your gardens from a successful local gardener, who has quite a few “tricks up her sleeve.” Call 473-8052 to register.

    Dirt Cheap – the Gardener’s Jackpot and Participate in a Plant Swap! April 30 at 6 p.m. Gonzales

    You may think, “It’s only dirt,” but this easy and economical process generates a rich mulch that encourages healthy growth and bountiful harvests. The Ascension Parish Master Gardeners will discuss how to utilize an effective compost pile in your backyard to enrich your gardens and landscape. Also, bring your plants, cuttings, or seeds to exchange with other local gardeners. You will leave with a “jackpot” of new ideas and new plants for your spring garden! Call 647-3955 to register.

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    English pro Adrian Bloom has tips for new gardeners worldwide

    Whether you’re planting a new perennial border this spring or planning to refurbish a tired collection, choosing plants that work well together, provide season-long drama and return from year to year can be a daunting challenge.

    In his 10th book, “Bloom’s Best Perennials and Grasses: Expert Plant Choices and Dramatic Combinations for Year-Round Gardens” (Timber Press $34.95), the English horticultural icon Adrian Bloom takes the mystery out of plant selection and partnering for striking design. This is no classic English perennial border how-to; Bloom features designs that are bold and contemporary.

    He begins with a pictorial tour through his family estate, the famous gardens of Bressingham, focusing on the perennials and grasses in the glorious combinations that carry the garden throughout the year.

    The design chapter takes us around the world from a dry garden in Australia to a thumbnail of Rick Dark’s sustainable woodlot in rural Pennsylvania for options; and containers are a part of the mix.

    Adrian Bloom is a nurseryman as well as a gardener and currently is spokesman for the Blooms of Bressingham brand that introduced so many wonderful plants to the world market. His ambition, in a world overflowing with time constraints, is to get folks gardening. So Bloom selected 12 perennials and grasses that are easy to grow and work well in combinations with themselves and others, including shrubs, and dedicated an entire chapter to their culture and use.

    Bloom stresses the importance of origin when selecting species — plants native to Japan and China usually do well in the Midwest. Those native to New Zealand and Africa, not so much.

    The section on preparation, planting and maintenance walks the gardener through these important steps that play a critical role in keeping the garden healthy and looking good. Timing — when to cut back and divide various plants — is included.

    He provides an encyclopedia of another 240 plants to add to the mix. More detailed descriptions feature information on growth, care and design.

    This is a great reference book for the beginning and weekend gardener. Avid gardeners may find Bloom’s plant selection a bit pass, but his combinations and experience with species make it a worthwhile addition to their library.

    Appearances: Join me at 11 a.m. March 16 at the Baldwin Public Library in Birmingham for my program “Secrets to Growing Great Gardens: New Tools, Tips and Techniques.” The library is at 300 W. Merrill, (248) 554-4650, and the program is free.

    Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and a Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at

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    Gardening tips, tricks to be presented in Louisville

    Green thumbs are invited to an evening of gardening tips and secrets as the Louisville Horticulture and Forestry Advisory Board puts on a presentation by horticulturist Ryan Schmitt, of Botanical Interests.

    The presentation, at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Louisville Public Library, will cover topics such as how to start vegetables and flower seeds, how seeds work, how to get the best germination, and starting seeds indoors and outdoors.

    Attendees will receive free seed packets.

    The event is free, though a donation to benefit Friends of the Louisville Arboretum is requested. The library is located at 951 Spruce St.

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    Pa. DEP display offers energy-saving tips at Pittsburgh Home & Garden Show – Tribune

    By Rachel Weaver

    Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:03 p.m.

    Updated 13 hours ago

    The state Department of Environmental Protection exhibit at the Duquesne Light Pittsburgh Home Garden Show is a life-size replica of a house filled with energy-saving and environmentally friendly ideas.

    The three-room exhibit has a bathroom/laundry area, kitchen and living room showcasing decor, appliances and building materials that help improve energy efficiency, water conservation, radon awareness, air quality and other staples of environmental awareness.

    The exhibit was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program. John Poister, DEP spokesman, says this is the first time for the exhibit at the home show.

    The “house� has a floor made entirely of recycled materials, a radon-venting system, and a rain barrel for recycled water, among other features.

    Show attendees also can ride the exhibit’s bicycle to see the difference between energy required to light an incandescent bulb versus an LED bulb.

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    5 Tips to Prepare for Spring Gardening from an Elk Grove Nursery

    Elk Grove is still a ways away from sunny, 80-degree-plus days, but preparing a vegetable garden, flower bed or front yard for spring can start now.

    In the attached video, Kyle d’Alquen of Big Oak Nursery gives five tips to prepare for the spring gardening season.

    Big Oak Nursery is located at 11071 Grant Line Rd., and can be reached at 916-686-1180.

    What are your favorite gardening tips? What are you planting this season? Tell us in the comments section below.

    Sign up for the free Elk Grove Patch newsletter | Like Elk Grove Patch on Facebook | Follow @ElkGrovePatch on Twitter | Blog for Elk Grove Patch

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