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Archives for March 7, 2013

Lilja Fund continues beautification work at Iron Mountain Chapin Pit


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – Work is continuing on a gazebo-picnic area located at the northwest side of the East Chapin Pit by the Lilja Fund.

Article Photos

Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo
Smith Metal Structures Inc. employees Jason Cargo, left, and Erv Aittelson, both of Iron Mountain, add some finishing touches on the gazebo-picnic area at the Chapin Pit.

“Though budding trees and spring flowers seem far in the distance, the August Lilja Memorial Trust Fund Committee is at work on the gazebo/picnic area at the Chapin Pit,” reports Marsha Bonicatto, chairperson of the Lilja Fund.

Smith Metal Structures Inc. of Iron Mountain, which has been contracted to build the gazebo, is adding some finishing touches to the structure.

The gazebo, designed by Coleman Engineering of Iron Mountain, using sketches and old photos provided by Bonicatto, is meant to suggest a mine shaft entrance.

Smith Metals is adding some siding, windows, and a pulley to the structure and also placing an old ore car and tracks on the grounds for added interest.

The pulley and ore car have been donated by the Menominee Range Historical Foundation.

The gazebo-picnic area is being constructed on a piece of city property where there is already a slab of concrete poured near the Hardee’s Restaurant at East Chapin Pit.

Once completed, an opening ceremony is being planned.

The August Lilja Memorial Trust Fund was established in 1999 by a generous donation of Madge Lilja in memory of her husband August Lilja.

The committee consists of three members from three local churches: Trinity United Methodist, First Covenant, and First Lutheran as stipulated by Madge Lilja. Committee members are Ruth Larson, Al Mendini, and Bonicatto.

Carol Dubuque of Livonia, niece of Madge Lilja, is also a consultant.

Since its inception, the fund has expended more than $400,000 toward various beautification projects in the city of Iron Mountain, none at taxpayers’ expense.

Some of the projects include restoration of the fountain at Cemetery Park, the statue at the south side of the Dickinson County Library, the sign, watering system, and landscaping at the entrance and exit of City Park, many landscaping enhancements at Iron Mountain Schools, including the concrete containers and benches; the maple trees on the Eastside playground, the lights for the Northside ball field, and currently the Chapin Pit cleanup and landscaping.

The Lilja Trust is also a major contributor to the bat cave walking trail.

“The Trust will continue for some years to work on the Chapin Pit area, but is happy to take suggestions from the people of Iron Mountain for future projects,” Bonicatto said. “Written ideas can be left at the city offices or with City Manager Jordan Stanchina.”

Theresa Peterson’s e-mail address is

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Homes calendar

Homes calendar of events for the week of March 2 to 8.

OTTAWA — Homes calendar of events for the week of March 2 to 8.

This weekend

Home show: Gatineau’s version of the home show, called Expohabitat Outaouais, takes place this weekend at the Hilton Lac Leamy. More than 100 exhibitors will share construction, renovation, decor and landscaping ideas and products. There’s also a draw for a $10,000 landscaping prize and a silent auction of a $249,000 condo. Hours are 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors and free for those 12 and under. For details, visit (in French only).


Home buying seminar: Confused by all the recent mortgage changes? Wondering if this is the right time to buy? Then check out a free seminar by Concierge Mortgage Group, Jane Scott of Re/Max and Ken Hoy Law, March 20 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Best Western Macies Hotel, 1274 Carling Ave. Register with Kathleen at 613-274-0762.

Studios maple syrup: Just in time to catch the sap running in Lanark County, the Maple Run Studio Tour takes place March 23 and 24. Check out the works of almost two dozen artists at nine studios in and around Pakenham. Works include photography, metal, ceramics, paintings, textiles and more. Studios are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the self-guided tour. Download a map and studio descriptions at or grab a brochure at stops along the way, including Fulton’s Sugar Bush, 291 6th Concession Rd., and the Pakenham General Store, 2524 County Road 29. For details, you can also call 613-624-2062.

Email information about homes-related events to

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Major Wynberg Park upgrade


Residents have been asked to come up with ideas for the citys planned upgrade to Wynberg Park. Some of the plans include upgraded walkways, additional parking and landscaping improvements. Photo: Courtney Africa

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer

A MAJOR upgrade for Wynberg Park is on the cards – and the city is asking residents to submit ideas for a “master plan” for the park.

Several other parks on the Cape Flats are also going to be upgraded. Skateparks, an outdoor gym, an amphitheatre and a BMX track are among the features envisaged.

Wynberg Park was established more than a century ago and has become a popular setting for picnics, braais and film shoots.

The public participation process for Wynberg Park has been opened and will run until March 28. The proposed upgrades include new surfaced pathways, more parking areas, additional lighting and landscaping.

The first of two public meetings is to be held at the Simon van der Stel Primary School on Thursday.

The city said yesterday it was developing a master plan that would guide the development of Wynberg Park.

Improvements were made to the park recently, with ramps being built for wheelchairs to get to the public toilets, the playground revamped and the parking area extended.

Mayco member for community services Belinda Walker said: “Wynberg Park is a beautiful and significant space and has immense value as a place for recreation and relaxation for our city.

“We call on residents and visitors to attend this public meeting to provide input into the Wynberg Park Master Plan process.

“This is the only way that the city can ensure our parks and facilities are designed by the community, for the community.”

A budget had not yet been allocated for the upgrades.

“We are asking the community to give their ideas, at the moment the budget just covers general maintenance, but if we are going to plan a major upgrade then we will attach a budget to it,” Walker said.

The city is also to upgrade other public spaces, including the Khayelitsha Wetlands Park, for which R500 000 has been set aside to upgrade ablution facilities, as well as for the installation of a spray fountain and additional park equipment and landscaping.

The city said that over seven years, R10.5 million had been spent on this park.

The Surran Road Park in Hanover Park is to be upgraded to host weddings and children’s parties. Improvements include a skatepark, a children’s play area, lawns, and an amphitheatre. The city is to spend R2.3m on this park.

In a R32m project, the park in Valhalla Park is to be given a full-size synthetic soccer pitch, a clubhouse, a BMX track, playgrounds, and an outdoor gym.

Comments on the Wynberg Park upgrade may be sent by fax to 086 295 5668, e-mail to or post to Earthworks Landscape Architects, Unit 2, The Space, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town.

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Kidron Bethel plans garden, park

  • Newton Kansan

    Kidron Bethel Village will start a new growth project though this project is not about adding on to the retirement community to house more people. This one is about growing plants and adding a new garden and playground to the campus.

    “Everyone is excited about this opportunity. I have gotten a lot of responses back asking how people can help,” saidKevin Geraci, Kidron Bethels executive director of independent living and fund advancement.

    Kidron Bethel Village is launching a fundraising campaign to develop “Kinder Peace Gardens.” The gardens are being designed to welcome visitors and families from the area, as well as to provide intergenerational interaction with Kidron Bethel residents.

    The first phase of the project is expected to cost $150,000 and be located on the west side of Ivy Drive, just north of Bluestem. It will include seating areas, fire and water features, and flowers and plantings.

    “We will have a covered area that will house 15 to 20 people,” Geraci said. “It will be there for prayer groups, or groups to picnic on the campus.”

    Geraci said the final plans are not complete, but maintenance and landscaping staff will design a garden area with an eye on keeping maintenance to a minimum. Volunteers will be used to assist in the planting process, which is expected to begin in spring of 2014.

    The second phase, “Kinder Gardens and Playground,” will be just west of Phase I. The second phase will incorporate playground equipment and programming geared toward children and adults exploring the natural world together. Plans for involving children from ages 3 through fifth-grade include imaginative, hands-on art and learning projects, story times and play dates. Instructional topics will be related to thematic elements of the gardens plant and animal life.

    “It’s designed around education. We want to have a presence of people who have horticultural and agricultural backgrounds to be part of this. When we introduce this to the kids, it will not be just a playground or park it will have an educational component with it,” Geraci said.

    Several clubs also are planned in conjunction with the Kinder Peace Garden, and membership is open to the public. The Garden Club will provide support for garden maintenance, and there will be opportunities for members to assist with weeding and other tasks. An Educational Club will incorporate learning activities led by Kidron Bethel Village residents and other volunteers.

    The Kinder Fund will support playground maintenance and intergenerational learning. Maintenance and overall expenses for the gardens will be provided by the Bluestem Society membership fund.

    “Im looking forward to sharing this beautiful garden with the greater community,” said Kidron Bethel Village resident and Master Gardener Rosie Goering Brandt, “and to having families visit our campus to experience this imaginative garden setting. It also will be a place of meditation, to feel the strength and the power of God.”

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    How Does Your Garden Grow?—"Is it Spring yet?"


    This is a new column for Topanga’s gardeners or those who think they might like to garden in Topanga. The information is based on Sarah Priest’s extensive knowledge, expertise and love of creating gardens and landscapes.

    In typical Topanga fashion, not everything is blooming on the same timetable. The Coffeeberries, aka Buckthorns, have been blooming since early February, icing the local mountains like cupcakes with thousands of sweet-smelling native shrubs. As the Buckthorns go to seed, the Ceanothus (also known as Wild Lilacs) will be the next to explode with clouds of fragrant blue, purple and white blooms.

    Although we have had a dry year so far, it is still not too late to plant wildflowers and shrubs. The wildflowers—look for California poppies in seed or in small sprouted “six-packs” in local nurseries—will need water only this spring, while newly planted native plants and shrubs will need watering for the first year. After that, they usually don’t need and don’t want supplemental water, making them a smart landscaping choice as water costs soar.

    Ornamental gardeners should be done pruning roses and planting bare root roses. Cool weather gives us a last chance for this through the middle of March or so. Don’t buy bare root roses that are dried out or have lots of sprouts on them. It’s still okay to prune fruit trees that have started to bloom out. The cut blooming branches look spectacular in a vase in the house.

    Deciduous Magnolias and New Zealand Tea Trees are blooming now and a good selection is available in local nurseries. As with most plants, the nurseries have the best selection when any particular plant is in bloom. Brighten things up with primroses and pansies which should give you flowers right into summer. Be aware that primroses like the shade; pansies need sun.

    We are right in the middle of azalea and camellia season and they will flower into June or so. Depending on the variety, most can take some shade and prefer an acidic soil. Add soil amendments if you have clay-like soil. Azaleas need regular, but not too much water, while camellias can become pretty tough and tree-like over time, and may need little water.


    Through the years, so many Topanga clients have asked me to create a wonderful vegetable garden for them. Many of us (including me) are in love with the idea of harvesting organic fresh veggies and bringing them right in to prepare healthy foods. The thought of saving big market bills by having “free” foods we grow is equally appealing.

    This can be tremendously challenging in Topanga because in most areas of the Santa Monica Mountains everything that digs, crawls, flies, jumps or has a mouth is eventually going to plot to munch all of the food in our green and luscious gardens that we lovingly and arduously planned, built and grew, especially so as local hillsides dry out.

    Some hints for making it work would be to have the whole “floor” of the garden completely covered with hardware mesh (chicken wire won’t do) for raised beds, or dug into the ground underneath, so our friends that live under the soil won’t pop up to munch or drag our vegetables under to consume in privacy. Once that is accomplished, pull the wire up the sides to about six feet or so to prevent deer from jumping in for a quick meal. Oh, and the top has to be covered, too, or the birds will come in for their share.

    There’s not too much to do about munching insects unless the whole structure also has insect screening. Crazy as it sounds, many Topanga gardeners do go ahead with all of this, so strong is their desire for fresh foods. Check out the gardens at the Topanga Community House for a good example.

    Once we add in the costs of sometimes daily watering, seeds and bedding plants, plus the many, albeit highly satisfying hours of soil preparation, building raised beds, planting, weeding and other necessary maintenance that all “farmers” must perform, the disappointing news is that dollar for dollar it may be a lot less costly just to patronize the Topanga Farmers Market or the organic bins at grocery and health food stores.

    Fruit trees have plenty of wild fans, so keep a sharp eye out for the day everything ripens and get out there immediately or even preemptively to get the best of your harvest. Citrus does really well in our sunny climate and are less likely to be “harvested” without permission. Good drainage, some fertilizing, and protection from frost is about all you need for abundant harvests of these sunny fruits.

    Please remember to respect our local wildlife. Everyone knows that without birds and bees, our gardens and the world won’t survive, so killing and poisons are not smart options for “control.”

    And yes, it is the beginning of spring in Topanga. Enjoy the wildflowers, plant some natives, take a walk in the State Park and watch for the next column for more hints on late Spring gardens.

    Sarah Priest melds her love of interior design, home staging and landscaping through her business Sarah Priest Estate Staging. She is available to assist Topanga homeowners add value and beauty to the inside or outside of their home whether they are selling or staying. Contact her at (310) 455-3547;; or through

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    Proposals would create ‘edible landscapes’ on city terraces, land

    Madison Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway and others want to make it easier to have gardens on city terraces and plant gardens and other food-producing plants — fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts — on more city-owned lands.

    The proposals, introduced to the City Council and now under review by committees, are intended to support the growing interest of residents and groups in urban agriculture and “edible landscapes,” said Rhodes-Conway, 12th District.

    Rhodes-Conway started working on proposals about three years ago and is pushing forward now as a result of talks at the city’s Food Policy Council.

    “It’s a symbolic way for the city to say, ‘We support people who want to grow their own food,'” she said. “I hope it becomes a positive difference for neighborhoods.”

    Bill Barker, a city Parks Commission member, said the proposals can help the city address so-called “food deserts” where residents lack nearby access to nutritious food and also help build a sense of community.

    “It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

    The city currently allows planting on terraces, but with restrictions including distance from sidewalk and curb and a maximum 24-inch height.

    “This is going on today without harmful effect to anyone,” Rhodes-Conway said, noting the proposed change would likely loosen the height rule.

    The proposal would let residents have plantings commonly found in flower or vegetable gardens and landscaping — but not trees or shrubs — in the terrace next to their homes.

    It would permit landscaping features like mulch, small rocks, temporary wire fencing, lattices, and vegetable cages, but not pots, railroad ties or some other fixtures.

    A new terrace policy would regulate where plantings and features could be placed and include criteria for permanent fixtures and standards for use of chemicals.

    All plantings would have to be maintained to be safe and orderly and not obstruct the public’s use of the street or sidewalk. Plantings could be removed by the city at any time without compensation.

    The proposal has at least eight co-sponsors.

    The city in 2012 allowed the planting of edible landscape with permission in some areas of parks. Rhodes-Conway also is proposing to expand the planting of edible landscape — with permission — to other city-owned land held by other agencies such as the Water Utility or Engineering, or around public housing. The proposal has at least four co-sponsors.

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    Tips to prepare for Spring gardening

    ALBANY, GA —
    In our Facebook story of the day you wanted to know what some tips are to help you start preparing for Spring gardening.

    FOX 31 spoke to Brian Wright, the manager of Mark’s Greenhouse Nursery Landscaping, who said we’re still about 15 days out from when you should start really thinking about starting your Spring garden.

    Wright said in the meantime, some things you could be doing are getting rid of weeds and getting the ground and soil prepped. Wright also said make sure before you start gardening there will be no chance of frost.

    Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!

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    Video: Windsor Park and Rec offers gardening tips

    Wanda Letourneau, with Windsor Parks and Recreation, offers spring gardening tips on Wednesday, March 6, 2013.

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    How to grow veg, even in a small plot

    THINKING of growing veg in containers this year? The One Show gardening expert Christine Walkden offers down-to-earth advice on growing a variety of visually pleasing edibles, even in a small garden

    Growing veg on your patio couldn’t be easier – you can control the soil type, the situation and the watering, often providing shelter near the house when it’s needed.

    Yet some gardeners are put off by the idea of unsightly veg taking up valuable flower space in pots on the patio.

    But they shouldn’t worry, says TV and radio gardening expert Christine Walkden.

    Walkden may be the wrong person to ask about pretty veg because she finds all veg plants beautiful, she admits.

    “I see beauty in a cabbage! A beautiful dense cabbage head in a classic terracotta pot is just as attractive as the non-edible ornamental sorts.”

    Some of her patio planting ideas are featured in her new book, Christine Walkden’s No-nonsense Container Gardening.

    In it, she features fabulously ornamental purple kale in brightly coloured plastic trugs, lime-green lettuce in a bubblegum pink metal bucket, leafy veg in wooden crates and a hanging basket made out of an old metal colander.

    There are colourful flowers in old food tins and shopping baskets, a rock garden planted inside a vintage pram and other quirky ideas.

    But veg also win a place in the looks department, she says.

    “Kale is a hardy brassica that you can go on picking right through winter and it looks great in containers. Striking red stems and leaf veins make beetroot plants attractive enough to grow in among flowers.”

    For those who love colour, you can’t go far wrong with beans, she says.

    “Runner beans are ideal because you’ve got all the different flowers, the whites, the bi-colours and the pinks.

    “Black Tuscany kale is great to grow to add interest in the winter, and ferny-leaved and coloured-leaved lettuces are also great.

    “Now, we have so much diversity in leaf shape in salads, from the spoon-shapes of lamb’s ears to the really frizzy stuff that’s available. It’s breathtaking.”

    Lettuce can be grown in any pot, but where it really scores is in shallow, saucer-shaped troughs, where other veg would need deeper soil to survive.

    Walkden grows lettuces all year round in seed trays, because that’s all the soil which is required, she says.

    “As long as you’ve got 2in of soil, you can grow cut-and-come-again salad leaves. A lot of gardeners hate shallow containers because they dry out so quickly, but lettuce will cope with the occasional drought. They will tolerate the heat generated in the container and the root run.”

    To make a window box containing edibles look pretty, plant lettuces, radishes (place them behind because they have pretty foliage), spring onions or chives, and small beetroot such as ‘Boltardi’, with its spectacular red foliage, she suggests.

    Climbing beans have long been grown around wigwams but you can grow dwarf varieties in regular plant pots.

    “There are a lot of good varieties now that you can grow in window boxes and containers,” says Walkden, who will be mentor to the winning amateur designer of a BBC and RHS competition to create The One Show family garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.

    “Mix veg in with your flowers as well,” she suggests.

    “The ferny leaves of carrots make a fantastic edging to a container. We tend to categorise things, but at the end of the day, they are all just plants.”

    Walkden believes that great plant companions are those which contrast well.

    “I go for things like chives, with vertical growth, contrasting well with the dark reds of kales and beetroot.

    “Daisy-like flowers including osteospermums, argyranthemums, coreopsis and calendulas all contrast well with veg.”

    Nasturtiums, in shades of orange, yellow and red, are often grown as a sacrificial crop to lure blackfly away from more precious plants, but the flowers make a colourful, faintly spicy addition to salads and look wonderful draping over the edge of containers in front of taller plants.

    Follow her advice and soon enough you could have patio plants which not only look good but taste good too.

    :: Christine Walkden’s No-nonsense Container Gardening is published by Simon Schuster, priced £20. Available now

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    Tips to Save Time on Lawn Maintenance

    Tips to Save Time on Lawn Maintenance

    Tips to Save Time on Lawn Maintenance

    Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:00 am

    Updated: 3:35 am, Thu Mar 7, 2013.

    Tips to Save Time on Lawn Maintenance


    (StatePoint) If it feels as though your entire weekends are spent mowing, trimming and watering your lawn, there are steps you can take to speed up your lawn care routine. 


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    Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:00 am.

    Updated: 3:35 am.

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