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Archives for March 6, 2013

Local businesses on display at Saturday’s Expo & Home Show

WOONSOCKET – Thirty local businesses will be displaying their products and talking about their services during the first Buy Local Expo and Home Show this Saturday, March 9, at the Holiday Inn Express.

The businesses are all part of the Blackstone Valley Independent Business Alliance of nearly 150 members dedicated to promoting community-based entrepreneurship and sharing the word about “their importance to the local economy, culture and social fabric.”

The Holiday Inn is located at 194 Fortin Drive, off Route 122, near the Cumberland-Woonsocket line.

The show will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mike Cournoyer of Cumberland Landscaping is chairman of this expo and describes it as a family event – for both the businesses involved and consumers who attend.

“This is a real nice, nice group of people,” he says of the exhibitors.

“We all want the small businesses to succeed in our area,” he said. “They lend the personal touch. They’ll share information about how to manage projects, how to fix things, how to save money.

“Come and talk to us and we’ll give you ideas,” he urges.

He notes that the exhibitor list ranges from gift shops, a travel agent and TV store, to the more practical homeowner needs of insurance, lumber and flooring merchants.

There’s no admission charge to the expo but plan to fill out coupons for the raffles that will be offered throughout the day.

Breakfast and lunch will also be available, with the C’est Bon bakery of Woonsocket serving up coffee and pastries in the morning and the Patriot Diner, also of Woonsocket, handling lunch.

Entertainment will be provided by Rick’s Music of Cumberland.

And WNRI radio will be broadcasting from the expo all morning.

Exhibitors will include Cumberland Landscaping, The Valley Breeze, Pepin Lumber, Little General Store, Jr’s Driving School, Roland RV, Annie B’s, C’est Bon, The Tole Booth, Bellingham Electric, Sharon Gevin of Mary Kay, Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce.

Also, T.H. Malloy Sons oil company, Blais Insurance, Rick’s Music, Elizabeth Shoppe, Countertops by Superior, Inferno Audio, Travel Advisors International, Fore Court, Patriot Computer, Patriot Diner, Ameri-Pooch.

Also, Pine Swamp Gifts, Taper Candles, The Woonsocket Call, P.T. Floor Covering, BM Printing, EZ Dump Truck Bodies, American Beauty Signworks, Above Beyond Tree Service.

BVIBA members are part of a nationwide movement to encourage consumers to keep their dollars in the local economy, rather than chain stores, to recycle “a much larger share of revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.”

For more information about the organization, see the website at .

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Spring Cleaning Checklist Starts With Desert Living Home Show

See the latest trends, hear from the experts

The Desert Living Home Show runs March 8-10 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

With spring cleaning season just around the corner, residents and visitors can work on their home projects and shop at the semi-annual Desert Living Home Show, scheduled March 8-10 at the Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros.

The Desert Living Home Show offers the latest trends for in, on and around the home. Experts will provide tips on landscaping, decorating and remodeling for kitchens, baths, pools and spas. The show offers a broad mixture of windows, doors, antique treasures, collectibles and patio furniture. Altius Architecture will feature the “Mini Home of the Future” focusing on eco-friendly building ideas that meet style and functional appeal.

The Marketplace and Gift Pavilion will exhibit cooking gadgets, cleaning products, décor items and handmade treasures including art work. In addition, attendees can take part in complimentary home improvement seminars hosted by the Garrison Foothill Nursery, Cabinets by Kevin and the Desert Contractors Association, and how-to demonstrations throughout the weekend ranging from simple projects to major repairs.

There will be an $8,000 home improvement grand prize giveaway, with products contributed by Basalt Man, Cal Custom Hearth Home Products, Legacy Millworks, Outside/In, Padilla’s Patio Garden Décor, Palm Springs True Value, Ponderiffic Adventures, and The Fly High Helicopter Guy.

The Desert Living Home Show is open  from noon to 7 p.m. March 8,  10 a.m. to 7 p.m. March 9, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 10. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62 and older) and free to those under 18 with a paying adult and military with ID.

For more information, call (949) 361-9142.

Download a $2 Off admission pass at

This article appears in the ONLINE ONLY version of the March 2013 issue of Desert Guide

Did you like what you read here? Subscribe to Palm Springs Life »

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The flow of flowers

Highlands County’s new horticulture agent and Master Gardener coordinator David Austin doesn’t have 20 years of extension office experience under his belt. In fact, when he was hired on in November of 2012, it was his first foray into extension.

What he does have is over 25 years of horticulture and landscape experience, big ideas and a sprinkle of zen.

In 1984, Austin graduated with a horticulture degree from the University of Florida. He began working in a foliage nursery in South Florida, but Hurricane Andrew destroyed the business, so Austin moved back to Highlands County, his home since the age of 15.

He opened up Greenscape in Lake Placid in 1988. “My idea was a wholesale nursery, but I realized I wasn’t making enough money to support myself right off, so I picked up a contractor and started doing landscaping.”

Austin said he is self-taught in landscaping and design, and that the aesthetic side just comes naturally to him. He also opened Rustic House Pottery Store and expanded into hardscape design like ponds and pavers.

In his role at extension, Austin now finds himself training a new crop of 16 Master Gardener volunteers, who will join approximately 31 active members in teaching Florida-friendly practices to the public, answering gardening questions and doing community outreach.

Austin is putting a heavy emphasis on plant identification and concepts like water conservation and right plant/right place. But teaching is not new to him. He taught a college-level landscaping course at SFSC to a small class. “I found out I was kind of a tough grader. No one got an A,” he said.

Of course, managing a group of volunteers is something new to him, but Austin said he enjoys working with people, especially his Master Gardener volunteers. “We all have a common goal as Master Gardeners, with common projects and outreaches we’re getting ready to get into,” said Austin.

One of those projects includes a community garden at the Sebring Boys and Girls Club. Similar to the Avon Park Housing Authority’s community garden, which is done in cooperation with the Master Gardeners, Austin is in talks with Boys and Girls Club executive director Woodraun Wright to bring horticulture to the after-school program.

In fact, the club already has a “good start” for a garden, but “I could see they were struggling,” said Austin. “There were some small corn plants with little ears on them.”

While visiting the club to talk about the project, Austin said he was very surprised at the large number of children using the Boys and Girls club services. He expected to see 20 or so kids in the after-school program, but said there were about 100 present that day.

The project is very much in the planning stages, but Austin said there are many exciting ideas being passed around the table. “We were talking about sending kids home with vegetables and a recipe. Vegetables are easy. A parent can cook them in minutes and have something healthy on the table.”

That appeals to this dad of a 3-year-old son, whom he hopes to eventually take with him to karate classes, another passion of his.

“I like the health aspect of (martial arts) and the way of treating people and things in your life rather than being aggressive and reactive,” said Austin, who considers himself “totally high strung.”

“It’s a kind of zen,” he added.

Another big project on the horizon is the spring Master Gardener plant sale. It will be held March 9 at the Bert J. Harris Jr. Agricultural Center, located at 4509 George Blvd in Sebring. Proceeds go to scholarships, and the plants available will come from Master Gardeners, Austin’s own stock of butterfly plant cuttings, and donations from local nurseries.

There also will be square-foot gardening boxes available for sale, as well as a number of seedling vegetables including tomatoes, cabbages, collards, eggplants, peppers, beans and more.

If you’re lucky, you might also get some free landscaping advice from Austin himself.

“You need to design for low maintenance; not have an inside corner where you can’t get a mower,” he recommended, adding, “Do long, sweeping curves. It looks better. You can flow plants and everything blends together better.”

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Gardens, decks and more on display at Spring Atlanta Home Show

The Spring Atlanta Home Show literally brings the outdoors in by having decks and other landscaping, lawn and outdoor products and services on display inside the Cobb Galleria Centre.

A number of the 350-plus exhibitors at the show, held March 22-24, represent the landscaping industry. Here is a look at three things you could see, do and discover at the event.

Redoing the deck

The 3,000-square-foot “See-Thru House” won’t just display the interior of a home, but will also feature a deck. The deck is often a major safety hazard for homeowners, said home inspector Stan Garnet, a Home Show speaker and founder of, an organization of Atlanta area service providers who educate consumers on home construction and repairs. The “See-Thru House” will be staffed by plumbers, electricians, carpenters, general contractors and other experts with

Existing or new decks often don’t meet building code requirements, he said. Factors that make decks a hazard range from what’s on the deck, such as a grill, to how the deck is attached to the house. For example, if your deck moves when you walk onto it, there’s a problem, Garnet said.

“If I can get one person to pay attention and not have a deck fail on them and cause injury, then we’ve done a good job,” he said.

Cooling the outdoors

Patios and decks may have cozy seating and other amenities, but hot and humid temperatures could steal the enjoyment of outdoor living. Misting fans can cool people and extend the amount of time enjoying the outdoors.

Joape, a Brazilian manufacturer and green technology company, has created a line of misting fans that it says can reduce the temperature in the area by 10 to 20 degrees.

The cloud of mist is so fine that it keeps people from getting wet and keeps puddles from forming, said Susan Hobbs, president/CEO of Atlanta-based Longview Products, a Joape distributor.

“It builds this cloud of cool,” she said.

The misting fans, which come in tabletop (cooling up to 400 square feet) and larger versions (cooling up to 1,500 square feet), are quiet enough that they won’t drown out conversation, Hobbs said. The fans use tap water and are portable, but you need access to a 110-volt electrical outlet.

Entertaining while educating

The show’s Backyard Beer Garden, designed by Bruce Holliday of Landscape Plans Plus, will have experts available to discuss outdoor areas such as patios and walkways, as well as outdoor products ranging from fire pits to flowers to water features. The garden is a gathering spot, as Red Hare Brewing Co. will offer beer tastings for attendees age 21 and older (the $5 charge will benefit Hope Atlanta, the programs of Travelers Aid).

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Garden walks to boost school

Should all dog owners carry bags to collect their dog’s poo?

Related story: Poo raises a bit of a stink

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‘Prairie Yard and Garden’ begins new season

The 26th season of Prairie Yard and Garden (PYG) continues on Thursday, March 7. Larry Zilliox, former University of Minnesota Extension educator from Alexandria, hosts the 30-minute program. PYG airs Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m. on Pioneer Public Television.

Each season, PYG travels the state to confer with researchers, gardening and nursery professionals, educators and backyard gardeners about their expertise in horticulture, landscaping and other gardening topics.

Following is a list of scheduled shows:

Thursday, March 7: Zilliox will meet with Lee and Kris Grinager of New London and view their gardens, which include a water feature and memory garden.

Thursday, March 14: Zilliox will visit the University of Minnesota Morris’ student-grown Native American Garden.

Thursday, March 21: Pat Sotak, landscape gardener at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, will discuss with Zilliox the varieties of mums and dahlias that thrive in Minnesota.

Thursday, March 28: Doug and Robin Trott of Prairie Garden Farm near Starbuck will discuss with Zilliox the process of growing flowers for the cut-flower industry.

Thursday, April 4: Zilliox will talk with Dave Bedford, apple breeder with the University of Minnesota Horticulture Research Center, about the history of apple development in Minnesota.

Thursday, April 11: Zilliox will travel to Blomkest and take a garden tour of Bill and Helene Dykstra’s rural home and gardens.

country, gardening, tv, yards

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Senior center offers tax-aid, gardening tips

Laurel Senior Center will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Friday, March 15, and Easter Thursday, March 28. Make St. Patrick’s meal reservations by March 8, and Easter reservations by March 22.

The AARP Tax-aide program is available Tuesday, March 12, from 9 am. to 2 pm. and Saturdays 9 am. to 2 pm. To schedule an appointment for this free service, call 629-7571.

Gardening season is coming soon. On Monday, March 25, at 12:45 pm., the County Extension Office of Yellowstone County will offer tips on how to garden without much bending.

The center has its board meeting and general meeting Thursday, March 7, at 10 and 11:50 am., respectively. Friday, March 8, is a blood pressure check before lunch. The bookmobile will be at the center Monday, March 18, from 11:30 am. to 1 pm. Jeanie Voorhis will offer foot care Wednesday, March 20, from 9 am. to 1 pm. Call 855-7014 to make a foot appointment.

Regularly scheduled activities are Mondays, pinochle at 10 am. and bingo at 1 pm.; Thursdays, pinochle at 1 pm.; and Fridays, bingo at 1 pm. Sunday activities scheduled for March are Pinochle March 10 and 24 with snacks at 12:30 pm. and cards at 1:30 pm., bridge March 17 at 1:30 pm. with snacks.

The Laurel Transportation program runs Monday – Friday 10 am. to 4 pm. Transportation to Billings is available the first and third Tuesday afternoons. Call 628-4796 to reserve a ride.

Please make meal reservations at least one day in advance by calling 628-7571.

Menu for March 6 – 13:

Wednesday, March 6 — Porcupine meatballs, mashed potatoes, three-bean salad and apricot bar

Thursday, March 7 — Pennsylvania Dutch Ragout, biscuit, cottage cheese and fruit

Friday, March 8 — Veal Parmesan, noodles, mixed vegetables, broccoli salad and Spumoni ice cream

Monday, March 11 — Hot hamburger sandwich, mashed potatoes, vegetable, fruit and cookie

Tuesday, March 12 — Sausage pasta, vegetable, cherries and magic bar

Wednesday, March 13 — Salisbury steak/gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable, fruit and blueberry streusel cake

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Spring Garden Planting Tips

JOPLIN, MO.— As spring gets closer, most of us want to add color to the yard, but mother nature can throw a wrench in our plans. Before you spring into digging and gardening, you may want to rethink what you can do with your green thumb.

“Certain crops you’re going to have to cover, whether it be with milk jugs, sheets, or some kind of protection. It’d be a great time right now to start to raise your garden, where it can be above ground,” states Rusty Boucher, Joplin Greenhouse Employee.

Although it’s easy to get caught up in the “pretty and pink” aisle, try going green right now.

“Spring time is a great time to plant trees, shrubs,” says Boucher.

If you just can’t resist the temptation to brighten your yard, add Petunias to that list. This years garden trends are organic plants and fairy gardens. With St. Patrick’s Day around the corner, you can add a little luck to your gardening spread.

“For those of you with Irish blood, we do have Shamrocks,” says Boucher.

Employees at The Greenhouse tell us planting seeds deep in the soil is key to a successful bloom.

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Gardening & More: Tips for starting seeds; Plantasia is coming

SPRINGVILLE — During this time of year, I get antsy to do some gardening. Unfortunately, the ground is frozen and it is still too early to start seeds, inside.

The solution? Make a mini greenhouse and you can start hardy annual seeds right now – outside!

I will share this tip and 44 others, during a talk called “45 Gardening Tips in 45 Minutes,” scheduled for Friday, March 23 at 2 p.m., during Plantasia, a garden and landscape show. This event will be held at the Hamburg Fairgrounds event center and exposition hall, located at 5820 South Park Ave. in Hamburg.

Plantasia will begin with a preview night, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m., on Wednesday, March 20.

The event will continue from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Thursday – Saturday, March 21 – 23, and from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 24.

Seminars about gardening and landscaping will be given, every hour, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Thursday; from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Sunday. All of the talks are included, with the price of admission.

General admission is $9. Discount coupons for $8 admission are available, on the Plantasia website.

Look for the flower show, presented by District 8 Federated Clubs of New York state.

Kids will enjoy the Aurora Waldorf School Children’s Garden. Vendors will offer new gardening products and services.

While you are waiting for Plantasia to begin, make a mini greenhouse from a milk jug. This idea came from Horticulturist David Clark of Hamburg. It is so simple and it works!

Utilize seeds from cold-hardy annuals, which are tolerant of colder temperatures and are capable of reseeding in most gardens. Use plants that might sprout up on their own, in your compost pile.

Vegetables include tomatoes, squash and cantaloupe. Flowers include alyssum, cosmos, cornflower, larkspur or delphinium, lupine, marigold and zinnia.

Start with a 1-gallon plastic milk jug. Rinse it out and throw away the cap.

Poke holes in the bottom, for drainage, if you would like. I didn’t, and my plants did well, but we had a dry spring, last year.

Using a sharp knife or box cutter, make a horizontal cut, almost all the way around the jug. The uncut part will act as a hinge.

Poke two small holes in the jug, opposite the hinge: one hole in the top half and one hole in the bottom half. I used a tiny screwdriver, to poke the holes.

Fill the bottom with your potting medium. Clark recommended using a soil-less potting mix. I used potting soil. Moisten your medium.

Plant your seeds.

Use a twist-tie to close the two halves. I twisted two ties together, to make one long tie.

Use a permanent marker, to label your mini greenhouse with the name of what you planted.

Place your greenhouse outside, in a sheltered spot. When the weather gets warm enough, your seeds will start to sprout. They will know when it is time to grow.

Enough rain or snow should get in, through the open top, to keep the potting mixture moist. The milk jug will keep your seedlings protected from rabbits, deer and other critters.

When the seedlings are large enough, transplant them into your garden.

Make this mini greenhouse now, to get your plants started for spring. Then, come to Plantasia, to see everything that is new for spring, in gardening.

Connie Oswald Stofko is the publisher of, the online gardening magazine for Western New York. Email

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Gardening Tips For Summer

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