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Archives for March 8, 2013

Fairview Park’s Master Plan unveiled

Fairview Park Alex Pesta on 2013 Master Plang

Architect Alex Pesta explains the reasoning behind Fairview Park’s Master Plan.


FAIRVIEW PARK After several months of collaboration, city officials revealed the city’s updated Master Plan at a public meeting March 4.

It is the third edition of the plan, which was first developed in 1999 and updated in 2005. A Master Plan Steering Committee — comprised of 19 residents that Jim Kennedy, director of service and development, told the audience came “from every walk of life” — studied the city’s appearance and public perception to come up with the current edition.

It will be “the little things,” maintained architect Alex Pesta, that will help transform Fairview as people travel through the community. His company assisted the city with the Master Plan through a grant obtained from the Cuyahoga County Department of Development.

“You want to build an identity, a sense of place,” Pesta said. “It’s the little moments that can redefine the experience (for people coming into the city). Fairview is a very walkable community, and we need to do things to make it feel like a walkable community.”

Inexpensive ways to do that, he explained, include “implementable initiatives” such as specially constructed crosswalks, articulated paving and brickwork, benches, aesthetically pleasing trash cans, bike racks, shared bike lanes, and coordinated signage to create a unified, pedestrian-friendly look.

One example he gave was as simple as landscaping the concrete island at the intersection of Mastick Road and West 210th Street. Gateways at the northern, southern, eastern and western borders of Fairview can all create a pleasing public perception, he said.

Pesta also recommended improving the visibility of the Gemini Center as viewed from Lorain Road. Because the center was recognized as one of the city’s greatest assets in a public survey conducted last year, Pesta said the facility needs to exhibit the “civic command” it deserves. That can be done with landscaping improvements and changes to the look of the parking lot entrance at Lorain Road.

An audience member asked about a timeline for implementing the Master Plan initiatives. Kennedy described the document as “a blueprint of future activity” — but one, unfortunately, that requires funding to bring those ideas to fruition.

“A lot of this stuff is a money issue,” Kennedy said. “A lot of what will be used in the way of finances will probably come from outside sources (i.e., grants), and we have plans for that going forward. A lot of the priorities will be dictated by funding. It takes time and money and effort to do that.”

He added that small initiatives are already under way at the western gateway, where North Olmsted ends and Fairview begins. That city border was noted in the survey as the one most in need of attention. Pesta stressed that the number of vacant commercial storefronts is not as high as the public tends to believe, and Mayor Eileen Patton mentioned how a marketing campaign could soon emerge.

“One thing we’ve discovered as we’ve done an inventory is that within a small walking distance of three blocks, there are so many stores in that area that market to getting married (a dress shop, jewelry store, bakery, floral shop, etc.),” Patton said as a means of conveying one possible shopping theme. “This can be the beginning of our marketing campaign that we’re trying to create in Fairview Park. We would love to start implementing these (ideas), but everything costs money.”

Funding issues aside, the mayor expressed her enthusiasm for what lies ahead.

“This has been a fun process,” Patton said. “It’s been pretty exciting.”

For more information about the Master Plan, go to

See more Fairview Park news at

Mlady is a freelancer from Parma. Contact her at

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Room for improvement

The 41st annual Home and Garden show opens its doors at noon today at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.

The show put on by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association is all about how to improve living space, both indoor and outdoor. It features project ideas ranging from landscaping and masonry to bathroom remodels and home design.

Larry Taylor of Taylor Made Landscaping in Rathdrum oversaw the construction of the show’s featured display, an exhibit filling the space of four booths.

It was half complete by late morning Thursday and already featured a running fountain, three young trees and patio paving, giving the effects of standing in someone’s backyard.

Taylor said building the display had so far taken three days with more work to go. He said the display cost about $7,000, but it is worth the price.

“The NIBCA, I feel, has given us a really good opportunity for some exposure,” Taylor said. “I think it’s good for the community. This is a good show. There are a lot of quality vendors here, besides myself. I just think this is a neat deal.”

Area professionals are presenting goods and services to assist homeowners, potential homeowners and weekend warriors in creating and maintaining their dream homes.

The show is being held in the Jacklin Building, rather than splitting into multiple buildings as in previous years.

“The biggest thing is our change of venue this year,” said Lisa Gwaltney, Home and Garden chair for the NIBCA, as she checked participants in Thursday. “We decided to get everybody under one roof this year because the fair put in heat, upgraded all the lighting and put in electric for us.”

Gwaltney has been affiliated with the Home and Garden Show for about eight years. She said the Home and Garden Committee has been working to organize the show, the main fundraiser for the NICBCA, since about November.

Between 2,000 and 4,000 people usually attend the show, and committee members are hoping to see at least that many people again this year.

Kris Owens, administrative manager for the NICBCA, walked the premises as vendors set up their displays. She kept a watchful eye to ensure that everyone had filed their paperwork, and, more importantly, that everyone was happy.

Owens said she is looking forward to “a great attendance, helping the exhibitors promote their businesses, and just having a nice show.”

The new building is a positive change because, according to Owens, the buildings where the show was previously housed would sometimes leak and “it was hard for people to kind of weave their way through,” she said. “We’re hoping that this will flow really nice.”

The show will be introducing some new food vendors, as well. Owens said the “Taste of Spring” portion of the show will help create a comfortable atmosphere for people to munch, mingle and stay a while.

Taylor said the show is a good opportunity even for competitors to check out what other businesses are doing.

Taylor Made Landscaping and Mutual Materials are sponsoring a scavenger hunt where one lucky winner will receive a “Home Spruce-Up Package” valued at $2,250.

Taylor is also raffling off three subalpine fir trees, including installation, and donating all proceeds to the Panhandle Autism Society.

An abundance of vendors, displays, booths and inspiration will be present at the Home and Garden Show this weekend. It is open until 6 tonight.

The show is sponsored by Frontier Communications.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5.

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Home and Garden Show offers inspiration and know-how

The talking points for this year’s Everett Home Garden Show are engagement and entertainment.

The Everett Home Garden Show is Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Comcast Arena.

Home show producer Jim Ashe really wants to go beyond the myriad booths and speakers that are standard fare at these types of events.

He wants visitors to be engaged and entertained.

To help do that, there’s a wine-tasting event Friday to kick off the show. Visitors will experience two showcase interactive exhibits that will give them landscaping ideas.

Throw in free parking and a daylight-saving time special (we spring forward Sunday) and this home show may have it all.

“What we are trying to do is engage the public,” Ashe said.

One of the biggest interactive exhibits this year is presented by Whispering Pines Custom Landscapes of Everett who have put together a 30- by 40-foot display that includes water features, stunning original artwork and hand-built rustic furniture.

With this exhibit, Ashe said, the home show gives visitors a large scale experience while also offering smaller, individual ideas that any homeowner can take on.

“There will be one or two people who will walk through and have the money to say, ‘I’ll buy it,’ but for you and me, we’ll walk through and we might see a nice little water feature and say, ‘That is something I can manage,'” Ashe said.

Another entertaining and engaging exhibit will be the one put on by the Washington Association of Landscape Professionals, who will have a terrific display set up on the concourse level, the area that circles the main arena.

WALP has had exhibits in the past where people have just stopped in their tracks and said, “Wow,” Ashe said.

In addition to booths and exhibits, the home show has a list of engaging speakers including Bob Barca, who has a garden in Freeland where he brings in plants from all over the world to see how they’ll grow.

“He’s into all kinds of exotic stuff,” Ashe said.

Barca will be speaking on “March Garden Activities,” “Growing Berries in the Northwest” and “Hummingbird Butterfly Sanctuaries.”

Also speaking is Dave Pehling from the Washington State University Extension office who will talk about “The Dilemmas of Mole Vole Management in the Garden.”

The WSU extension office also puts on a garden flower clinic every year where master gardeners will answer questions.

Also this year, the WSU extension will offer a rain garden clinic, Ashe said.

Another speaker is Erick Teegarden of Northwest Wind and Solar. Ashe said Teegarden knows his stuff about renewable energy and will talk on “The Many Benefits of Renewable Energy.”

Ashe said there’s not too much in the way of kids’ activities as the spring home show focuses more on the homeowners; there are more kid-friendly offerings at the fall show.

There will, however, be face-painting Saturday and Sunday.

New this year is free parking Saturday and Sunday at the Snohomish County garage.

And Sunday, that daylight-saving time special means visitors who arrive at Comcast between 10 and 11 a.m. will get in free. Of course, you’ll have to remember to set your clocks ahead an hour.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424;

11th Annual Everett Home Garden Show

When: Noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Where: Comcast Everett Events Center, 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett.

Admission: $6.25 to $6.75 Free for youths 16 and under.

For more information go to

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Alrie Middlebrook has added sustainability education to her landscaping …

Click photo to enlarge

Alrie Middlebrook’s affinity for growing things combined with her appreciation of nature’s original plans has resulted in one successful career and has her heading toward a second one.

“I became interested in native plants about 22 years ago,” Middlebrook says.

Taking her success with an indoor outdoor landscaping company, she created a butterfly garden at Community Hospital of Los Gatos in the mid 1990s, and in 1998 she created the Healing Garden for the Women’s Cancer Care Center there.

In 2001 she founded Middlebrook Gardens at 76 Race St., a design/build landscaping company.

In 2004 she cofounded the California Native Garden Foundation, which is headquartered at her place of business. She remains president and director of the foundation.

In 2007 she published Designing California Native Gardens, a 342-page book she coauthored with botonist Glenn Keator. The book sold more than 20,000 copies and is used across the state.

“That established me as an expert in the field,” she says, adding, “As I get older, I see the need for doing things for the next generation.”

Her response to that need was establishing the Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education, known as ELSEE.

“ELSEE came about because my landlord had gotten a zoning change and put these plans together to put in a mini mall,” she says, referring to her business at Race Street and Garland Avenue.


been developing this land as an example of what people could do on their home property to create a sustainable garden, to keep their rainfall on site, to encourage pollinators and biodiversity. When I found out I might have to move, I thought, now is the time for me to reach out and see if we can start teaching the kids next door about their environment, growing your own urban food and protecting pollinators.”

(The Los Altos owner of the 0.38-acre lot got his zoning change in 2010, but thus far has made no move to develop the property.)

Middlebrook’s invitation to students at St. Leo the Great School next door to join her in her garden is now in its third year. Some 165 students from St. Leo’s meet there for an hour every other week.

“We teach them to science standards; we’re complementing what their teachers are doing,” Middlebrook says.

“It’s been a great program,” says Marie Bordelau, St. Leo’s principal. “It’s a way for some of the science they do in the classroom to come alive, although it’s not necessarily tied specifically to the science they’re doing in the classroom. It’s more the ecological curriculum.”

She says that as a Catholic school they’re teaching children about being good stewards of the earth, and the program ties in with that goal.

As second-graders came over on Feb. 28, they shared their day’s lesson with Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, who had heard about the program and came from Sacramento to see it in action.

The 17 students listened to Middlebrook talk about ELSEE’s food towers growing “super foods,” which she defined as “the foods that are really, really good for us–they’re super.”

Students were invited to name super foods, correctly identifying the arugula and kale, growing in the towers; they also named spinach and broccoli, which are not in the towers.

For the day’s exercise, students were given a sheet with colored photos of butterflies and the plants that support them.

Divided into four groups, they set off to find the plants and maybe spot a butterfly.

“It’s pretty good,” says Giovanni Caruso, 7, of the ELSEE classes. “We get to learn about plants, and we get to be outside. Last week we ate watercress. It’s kind of spicy, but it’s good.”

Seeing the worms in the worm bin has been a highlight of this year’s classes for Genesis Huether, 7; Chloe Bombaci, “almost 8”; and Genesis Ortiz, 8.

Brooke Garcia, 8, says, “I like eating new things and growing plants.”

At the end of the lesson, Middlebrook talked about chia seeds as “a super food that native people ate, and it kept them going.”

She gave the students chia seeds to eat and then passed out miniature chia lemon cupcakes for the children to enjoy.

Although her longest relationship has been with St. Leo’s, Middlebrook has also reached out to other schools in San Jose, including Bellarmine College Preparatory, Downtown College Prep and both Lincoln and Willow Glen High schools, as well as elementary school students at Trace and River Glen. One of her most recent collaborations is with St. Andrew’s School in Saratoga.

Middlebrook has shared the ELSEE approach with schools throughout California.

“We believe you can raise science scores and instill a love of science by going into the garden with a hands-on approach. We want to raise the California science scores,” she says.

She says all 50 states have voted, or are in the process of voting, that children in grades K-12 should be taught environmental science. “California is leading the country, and our lessons are based on that,” she says.

Middlebrook is a firm believer in moving beyond theory into practice, and she views schools as the perfect place to do that.

“We have 10,000 public schools in California, and most are in a sea of concrete with parking lots, sports fields and underutilized land that could be used to teach science, environmental education and food production.”

Middlebrook sees ELSEE as the model the rest of the state should follow, and she’s hoping Ross’ visit will help that happen.

“I love all the energy of the students,” Ross says. “I love how you can integrate what they’re learning in the classroom with hands-on in the garden.”

Ross believes it’s important that children realize where food comes from and that they have access to good healthy food.

One surprising thing about ELSEE is that it is staffed by volunteers, including, since February, some 15 interns from San Jose State University, Santa Clara University, UC-Berkeley Extension and Foothill College.

“We’re an all volunteer organization fed by young people in their 20s and 30s, They really want to see protection of the environment in the cities,” Middlebrook says.

“A lot of organizations have older people, but I try and attract young people. We want to make jobs for these young people.”

For more information, visit

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3-minute interview: Nancy Schriver, Co-owner and manager, Flowers Cut 4 U … – Patriot

3-minute interview: Nancy Schriver, Co-owner and manager, Flowers Cut 4 U, Palmyra.

Q. Tell us about Flowers Cut 4 U.

Nancy Schriver

Nancy Schriver


A. Our company name is Flowers Cut 4 U. We are a husband and wife team. We work out of our home in Palmyra. We provide all of your landscaping needs. We design, plan, plant, edge, mulch, weed, trim, prune, spray (licensed and certified spray applicators) for ornamentals and trees as well as lawn and turf. We provide weekly, monthly or annual flower bed maintenance as requested. We provide flowers for special events. We use locally grown in-season flowers when possible.

Q. How did you get interested in landscaping and gardening?

A. I was raised on a farm in Pine Grove and have always enjoyed flowers and gardening. I am a Master Gardener for Lebanon County.

Q. What made you decide to open a landscaping business?

A. In 2004 one of my co-workers got married so I and four of my co-workers organized a reception for her. I volunteered to donate and arrange the flowers from my own garden. The party was a success and I enjoyed creating the floral designs so much that I started Flowers Cut 4 U. I ran the business part-time until April 1, 2007. I went full-time after taking early retirement. I was feeling a little bored one day when the floral design end of the business was slow so decided to spend some time cleaning my own flowerbeds. My husband suggested that maybe other people could use help cleaning their gardens and flowerbeds as well. His suggestion resulted in us placing a classified ad in a local newspaper. The phone has not stopped ringing. In August 2012, my husband took severance pay from his job so he could help with the business full-time.

Nancy and Randy Schriver

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Nancy and Randy Schriver, Co-Owners of Flowers Cut 4 U


Q. Do you have any tips for other prospective entrepreneurs looking to start similar businesses that provide services mostly to customers at their homes in terms of where to start and how to begin finding clients?

A. Our tip to anyone starting out is to grow your business slowly by not spending over your head. Continue learning and educating yourself in your field. Work as hard and as long as you possibly can each day. Stay focused on meeting each client’s needs as timely as possible. Let the market dictate the direction your business goes in. It will change and evolve as you go. Make every client happy as word of mouth is your best advertisement.

Q. What is the most fun part of your job?

A. The most fun part of the job is meeting new people and working in their gardens. We learn something from each client. We love working outside in nature and being our own boss.

If you would like to be considered for a 3-minute interview
and answer a few questions about your experiences and insights as a
business leader, please send  an e-mail to and in the subject area please include “3-minute interview.”

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Gardening Green Expo will take place March 23 and 24

Gardening Green Expo will bring workshops, experts, and demonstrations about green gardening to Kennedy’s Country Gardens, 85 Chief Justice Cushing Hwy., Route 3A, Scituate, on Saturday, March 23, and Sunday, March 24, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The event is free, and perfect for the family. The expo is sponsored by Greenscapes, a program at North and South Rivers Watershed Association, and Kennedy’s Country Gardens.

“This weekend will be chock full of information to help folks achieve beautiful, healthy yards that require fewer chemicals, and less water,” said Debbie Cook, Greenscapes manager. “ Everyone I talk to seems to be eager to find out how to make their yards safe for children and pets, and we will have plenty of experts to advise them.”

The expo will feature lectures on xeriscaping (water-saving landscaping), transitioning to organic lawn care, natural lawn care products, how to create healthy soils, native plants and heirloom vegetables and more. Workshops will include: Composting and compost tea, selecting grass seed and seeding techniques, creating bird and butterfly gardens, soil testing and fertilizing techniques, and more. Products, such as rain barrels and water sensors for irrigation systems will be available for purchase from local companies.

“According to the EPA, 80 percent of the synthetic fertilizers and pesticides we put on our yards wash away into our rivers and ponds. I am so encouraged to see people becoming more interested in natural products which not only tend to stay put in our yards, they also contribute to the health of our soils,” said Cook.

Chris Kennedy, owner of Kennedy’s Country Gardens, and former president of the Mass Nursery and Landscape Association, agreed, saying “After years in the nursery business, I have seen over and over how natural products contribute to making healthy soils, which in turn support healthy plants.”

Kennedy recently had Kennedy’s Country Gardens nursery grounds certified by the National Wildlife Federation as a natural wildlife habitat, and tours will be given throughout the weekend, explaining how people can make their own yards a certified wildlife habitat.

For more information about the event, visit or email Cook at

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Gardening Tips: Your gardening questions answered

Posted: Friday, March 8, 2013 12:21 pm

Gardening Tips: Your gardening questions answered

By Matthew Stevens

RR Daily Herald


Recently I’ve mentioned in my columns controlling winter weeds, such as henbit and wild garlic. It looks like we are heading into a warm stretch over the next week, so now would be a good time to try to control many winter weeds. With that said, let me take some time to tie up a few other loose ends with a quick gardening Q and A.

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Tips for creating a greener outdoor living space

(BPT) – Outdoor living spaces remain a popular home improvement, but while you’re planning your patio or prepping your planting beds do you consider the impact these improvements might have on the environment? Creating a great outdoor space can be even more satisfying when you take steps to make your project as “green” as possible.

If your spring to-do list includes backyard projects such as building a patio or decorative landscaping, here are some eco-friendly ways to accomplish your goals:

Choose greener materials

Long gone are the days when it was difficult to find building materials created with sustainable manufacturing processes. Today, you can find products such as pavers and even paver base – used in patio-building – that are not only made from recycled materials, but also are 100 percent recyclable.

For example, to build a greener patio, start with Brock PaverBase, which holds the coveted “Cradle to Cradle” certification that recognizes a product’s safety for people and the environment, and design for future life cycles. The overlapping panel system makes prepping the ground for patio pavers quick and easy, eliminating more of the time-consuming and labor-intensive aspects of traditional patio-building – all while delivering a better looking, professional-quality result. You can learn more at

When building products made from recycled materials aren’t available, consider ones that are naturally sustainable. Such products can also provide a unique look. Bamboo, for example, is gaining popularity as a fencing and decking material and it’s eco-friendly because it’s fast-growing and durable. Cedar is another decking and fence product that is naturally “green,” because it is naturally resistant to moisture – making it more durable. It also contains natural oils that prevent rot without the chemical treatments needed by other woods such as pine, and it can be recycled and used for other building projects.

Responsible accessories

Energy and water consumption are also important considerations when greening your backyard environment. Opting for solar-powered pathway, deck and accent lighting – rather than traditional electric lights – is a great way to reduce the environmental impact of your outdoor living space, while saving money on your utility bill. It’s easy to find a wide variety of solar lighting styles, whether you look online or at your local home improvement store.

Reducing water waste is also important for the environment and your wallet. If you have a lawn sprinkler system, be sure to avoid watering during the hottest hours of the day when water will evaporate off the grass before it had time to sink into the soil. Timers on a sprinkler system can also help conserve water. You can also recycle rainwater to irrigate backyard flowerbeds. Simply set up a rain barrel to collect water.

Finally, think about the furnishings you’ll use on your patio or deck. While plastic may seem durable – and cheapest to buy – consider what will happen to the furniture once it’s no longer usable. Furnishings made from recyclable materials like wood or iron may be kinder to the environment in the long run. You can also look for furniture made from recycled products. Or, visit garage sales and give old wood or metal lawn furniture a fresh coat of paint, some new cushions – and a new life in your environmentally friendly outdoor space.

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Garden tips for March

Time to tidy. The advent of a warmer weekend may send your housebound self outside where there’s plenty to do. Winter debris should be raked up, broken branches carted off and the places they tore away cleanly pruned. But step and rake and prune gingerly around new growth. This garden debris can start your new compost pile.
Spring in. When you’re outside with pruners, you may wish to take a few sprigs from your spring-flowering shrubs like forsythia to bring indoors for forced blooms. Only take a few that won’t be missed. Save your real pruning for after flowering. Choose branches with plump buds. Smash the bottoms of the stem to help them take up more water.
Heavy-handed. Butterfly bushes are another matter. You can cut back these unruly shrubs heartily. It’s also time to cut back grasses, as well as fruit trees like apples and pears. Delay pruning stone fruits until we have warmer temperatures, typically at the end of the month.
Peas, please. Mid-month is the traditional time to plant this spring crop. Use your judgement before planting though. If the soil is icy and sodden, it won’t hurt to wait a few weeks more.

Test to save. Before you rush out to buy fertilizers, find out what you really need. It’s time to take a soil test of your lawn and garden beds. Accurately determining the true nutrient needs saves you cash and keeps excess nutrients from polluting our waterways. Don’t let your money wash down the drain.
Tool prep. It’s time to ready your tools for the season ahead. Sharp blades make for cleaner cuts, preventing disease problems in your turf and plants. Beat the spring rush and get your mower blade sharpened now.
Bulb boost. Now’s a great time to scratch some fertilizer around your emerging bulbs.

Start right. Before starting your packs of seeds, be sure to begin with sterile soil and containers to prevent weeds and diseases. If you are using pots from last year, be sure to wash them well, dip them in a 10 percent bleach solution, and let them dry thoroughly. Plant each seed at the proper depth indicated on the package. To save extras for next year, reseal the packet and store in a cool, dry place.
Get growing. To speed seed germination keep them warm, preferably at 70 degrees. The soil must stay evenly moist, but not saturated. Cover the pots with plastic to keep moisture in. After germination, keep them in as much light as possible.
Tiny trees, big savings. Pick up a brochure from the Lancaster County Conservation District’s 39th annual tree seedling sale. While seedlings require patience, the upside is that most offerings cost less than a dollar. The order deadline is Monday, with pickup April 11 at the Farm and Home Center. Information: 299-5361.
Educational opportunities: Learn from the experts:
Landis Valley: The Backyard Fruit Growers will offer their annual grafting workshop at Landis Valley Farm Museum on March 23 from 12:30-3 p.m. Learn how to create your own “antique” fruit trees for a fee of $25. Register: 569-0401, ext. 204.

Penn State Master Gardeners: The 21st annual gardening symposium will be held April 6, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at DoubleTree Resort at Willow Valley. Speakers will address a variety of gardening topics including fallscaping, creating backyard habitats, gardening with changing climate trends, and new and underused perennials. Local vendors will offer plant and tool selections, as well as a goodie bag for each attendee and door prizes.

The cost is $65 and includes a continental breakfast and lunch. Registration is limited and will be accepted on a first-come basis. Register: 394-6851.
Minimum Space, Maximum Yield: Permaculture enthusiasts and biodynamic gardeners Wilson and Natasha Alvarez are offering a workshop teaching participants to “grow more food than you ever thought possible in your own backyard.” using permaculture principles and biodynamic growing techniques. The class will be held April 6 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 11 Edgehill Drive. The cost is a sliding scale from $60 to $35. Class space is limited. To register and for more information, call 203-6735.

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Garden Tips: Prune peach trees annually for best health, fruit output

Peach trees should be pruned annually. If they are not pruned, the trees may become weak and open to disease and insects.

The best time to prune peach trees is late March or early April. Avoid pruning within several days of predicted freezing weather. It’s OK to prune peach trees while they are blooming. It will not affect the production of fruit.

The main reasons for pruning peach trees:

To strengthen the tree.

To maintain an open center for adequate sunlight for fruit production.

To remove broken or diseased limbs.

To maintain tree height.

To keep the tree from having too many small fruits.

Remove all suckers and water sprouts growing at the base of the tree. When you are selecting a site for peach trees:

Avoid poorly drained soil.

Pick areas that receive full sunlight.

Avoid areas shaded by tall trees, houses or other buildings.

Young peach trees are normally shipped bare root, with the roots wrapped in moist sawdust. Plant the trees as soon as possible after you receive them. When you are planting, dig a hole twice the size of the root system. Cut off any damaged roots at the point of injury. After you have filled the hole, be sure to water the plant well.

Most peach trees grow best at a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.5. A soil test can determine this.

E-mail your gardening questions to and I will answer them in future columns. Include your name and the area where you live. For more gardening information, call the Tipton County Extension office at (901)476-0231 or the Shelby County Extension office at (901)752-1207. Booker T. Leigh is extension director.

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