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Archives for March 10, 2013

Stage a Garden Revival

Gardeners, for the most part, are optimistic people, according to Melinda Myers, gardening expert and author.

“There’s just something about digging around in the dirt that puts life in perspective a little bit,” Myers said.

Even such positive thinkers, however, were frustrated by the effects of last year’s drought on their gardens and yards, said Myers, who meets with thousands of gardeners as she travels throughout Wisconsin and around the country for speaking engagements.

“I’ve run into a lot of frustrated gardeners, but they are not giving up,” she said.

Instead, they are looking for solutions and are eager to find out what they can do to revitalize their landscapes, Myers said. And, on Friday, she will share such information with those in Racine County and the surrounding area at her presentation on “Garden Revival” at the 2013 Home Expo.

“My goal is to help people fix what they can, replace what they can’t, and keep them gardening,” Myers said. “Gardening is so good for the mind, body and spirit.”

No one wants to see plants die, she said. But, instead of lamenting those that were lost to the drought, gardeners can view this year as a chance to start over. “It gives us the opportunity to fix any problems we might have had in the past, and to make better choices down the road.”

Soil preparation and patience are some of the keys to creating a good foundation for growth in the coming season, Myers said. Her seminar will include tips for improving garden soil, as well as what to consider when choosing plants for your garden. While some people love spending hours in the garden, deadheading and watering, many others just don’t have that kind of time and need plants that will tolerate their “benign neglect” style of gardening, she said.

“You want to not only select plants that are tough enough for our growing conditions, but ones that fit your maintenance style.”

Myers’ Friday evening presentation will also include tips for repairing damaged lawns and aiding struggling trees and shrubs.

It is one of eight special seminars offered throughout the Home Expo, which will run March 15 through 17 at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. Others topics offered include basics of trimming shrubs and bushes; trends in window coverings; historic preservation and landmark designation; and “Before Perennials Ruled the Earth.”

The 29th annual Home Expo will also feature exhibits and demonstrations about topics ranging from home improvement and energy-saving products/services to ideas for interior design, landscaping, sunrooms and patios, flooring, bathrooms, kitchens, windows, doors and more.

Prizes will also be given away throughout the weekend, including Home Depot gift cards and family packs of Racine Raiders tickets, both of which will be distributed randomly each hour. Food, provided by Danny’s Meats, will be available for sale.

Sunday will be Kids’ Day at the Expo and will include a Kids’ Workshop from noon to 1 p.m. Visitors that day will also have access to the SafeAssured-ID program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presented in partnership with the Volunteer Center of Racine County, SafeAssured is an identification program used to aid in the search for missing individuals.

This service will be offered for free to Racine County residents ages 17 and younger, as well as those 55 and older, during the Expo. For more on this, go to

Other kids’ activities will include free face painting and balloon creations with Loli Pop the Clown.

 About Melinda Myers

Melinda Myers’ career in the horticulture industry spans more than 30 years and includes work in both hands-on and instructional settings, as well as media work designed to inspire and educate. A certified arborist, she holds a master’s degree in horticulture and taught for many years at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and with the University of Wisconsin-Extension.

Myers began Milwaukee County’s Master Gardener Program and served as Milwaukee’s assistant city forester. She has also written more than 20 gardening books; served as “The Plant Doctor” on Newsradio 620 WTMJ for more than 20 years; and hosted seven seasons of “Great Lakes Gardener” on PBS television. Her nationally syndicated “Melinda’s Garden Moment” segments air on more than 115 television and radio stations throughout the country.

Most recently, Myers became the first woman to be inducted into the Wisconsin Green Industry Federation Hall of Fame in October, 2012. For more on this, go to

 If You Go

WHAT: “Garden Revival,” a seminar by gardening expert Melinda Myers

WHEN: 6 to 7 p.m. Friday. A question-and-answer session with Myers will follow her program.

WHERE: Racine Home Expo at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St.

COST: This seminar is included with admission to the Home Expo (see separate box for details).

INFO: Go to

 Home Expo Details

WHAT: 2013 Home Expo

WHERE: Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St.

WHEN: 2 to 8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 17.

COST: Admission is $3 for adults and free for kids ages 17 and younger.

INFO: Go to

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Home and Garden Show continues Sunday at Convention Center – Las Cruces Sun

Click photo to enlarge

LAS CRUCES —Spring is officially just 10 days away, and many are already in the mood for home spruce-up projects and a little gardening.

They braved fierce Saturday windstorms to attend the 2013 Las Cruces Home and Garden Show, continuing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

“I come every year. It’s great,” said Norma Hood of Las Cruces.

“I’ve just moved here and I’m looking for a new home. I’m getting lots of ideas,” said Mary Prather.

“I just bought a house. I’m interested in solar, and I’ve been looking at windows,” said John Vigil.

Throughout the weekend, thousands are expected to attend the show, presented by the Las Cruces Home Builders Association (LCHMA).

“We have about 70 venders, a few more than we had last year, along with seminars and Master Gardeners and things going on all day,” said Steve Chavira, managing director of the LCHMA.

“We’re rebuilding a HUD house and we have a lot to do. We’re looking for house and landscaping ideas,” said Lois Waid, checking out the show with her husband Rambert, who said he found tiles he had been looking for.

Several vendors offered raffles, chances at prizes, discounts and invitations to seminars.

“I’m the show chairman this year, and we’re working to expand the garden portion of the home and garden show,” said Steve Bower of Red Mesa Landscaping and Design, who worked with volunteers for “two full days” and cooperated with purveyors of outdoor

furnishings and garden accessories to create a large, lush interior landscape of trees, bushes and pots of flowers.

“We’re getting a lot of new people this year asking questions. When you come from someplace like California, you bring your gardening instincts with you, but when you come to the Southwest, you have to adapt to Mother Nature,” said Maryann Pribillo with the Master Gardeners Program.

“I consider myself an intern. I’ve just taken a class and I’ve learned a lot about what grows here,” said Velma Noland, a volunteer at the Master Gardeners booth.

Greeting visitors within a grove of white-blossomed green and purple shamrock plants, volunteers handed out free pamphlets on growing chile, water conservation, nutrition and New Mexico State University Extension Service programs. Other handouts showcased favorite Mesilla Valley home-grown produce, with recipes for treats like “Cheesy Chile Pecan Bread,” “Pecan Pepper Poppers” and “Pecan Cheesecake with Green Chile Marmalade.”

The annual show is a good way for vendors to introduce new products and services to the public, said Gary A. Mook of Sutherlands, whose booth included eclectic items like a compact, expandable hose, a stylish Western handbag and a sampling of live plants the store is again selling, after a brief hiatus.

Visitors strolled though aisles of booths offering everything from compact ponds and swimming pools to roofing, cabinet and bathroom remodeling options, real estate and home mortgage information.

A few nonprofits used the occasion to promote upcoming events. Las Cruces Rodrunners displayed some vintage cars and distributed invitations to their 2013 Wheels of Dreams Car Show March 23 at the Las Cruces Field of Dreams.

Las Cruces Home Garden Show admission is $5 and free for kids 12 and under. For information, visit online at

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450

If you go

What: 2013 Las Cruces Home and Garden Show

Sponsor: Las Cruces Home Builders Association

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Las Cruces Convention Center, 680 E. University Ave.

How much: $5, under 12 free


Sunday talks:

11 a.m.: Container Gardening

Noon: Harvesting Rainwater for Gardens

1 p.m.: Creating Hummingbird Habitats

2 p.m.: Tree Selections for Southern New Mexico

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Natural Gas In NW Georgia Hills Coud Be Tapped

georgia-hill-landscaping-ideas-1.1-800x800Trillions of cubic feet of natural gas believed to lie below the hills of northwest Georgia have remained virtually untouched and unwanted — until now.

Shale gas drilling is slowing across the country, but a handful of companies are poking around this corner of the state looking for the next natural gas “play.” If they succeed, Georgia could join the ranks of states reaping jobs, revenue and fears of environmental damage from energy production, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

It has been at least 30 years since Georgia — which has never produced a drop of oil or natural gas — has seen as much exploratory activity.

An Oklahoma-based company that leased 7,500 acres of land outside Dalton has two test wells in place and plans another nearby. Seventy miles away, near Cave Spring, a Texas oil, gas and development conglomerate plans a deeper well.

At least three other companies have recently researched the so-called Conasauga shale field, a 20-by-100 mile swath of farm and forest that runs from Alabama across Georgia and into Tennessee.

Georgia joins Tennessee and North Carolina as Southern states newly popular with wildcatters and major gas and oil companies.

“They know that there’s gas here,” said Rick Huggins, whose mineral rights lease outside Dalton was recently re-upped by the Oklahoma explorers. “But it’s all speculation. It’s like old Forrest Gump said, ‘You don’t know what you got until you open up that box of chocolates,”

The timing is odd. A gas glut and low prices make extraction economically unfeasible in many parts of the country. Production has throttled down in Pennsylvania, Texas and Kentucky.

Northeast Alabama raged with gas fever until 2010 when low prices and technological hurdles cooled the interest. Georgia doesn’t have the infrastructure — the trucks, tanks, pipes and refineries — needed to transform a liquid into a fuel to heat homes and cook food.

Oil and gas men are gamblers, though, looking months or years ahead. Energy analysts predict natural gas prices will rise again as it increasingly replaces coal and other petroleum products. And where there’s gas, there’s usually oil and other money-making liquids nearby.

Read more: AJC

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Home & garden show continues on Sunday

For $650 and a trip to Quality DesignWorks, you can. The Brizo faucet is a show stopper at this weekend’s North Central Florida Home Garden Show, which continues Sunday at the O’Connell Center.

“It’s more high-end. It’s mostly new-construction buyers that would go for something like this,” said Quality’s Heather Nazworth, noting that the firm also has Delta and other more familiar brands.

The 14th annual home show presented by the Builders Association of North Central Florida and The Gainesville Sun is the place to go for services or ideas on landscaping, home renovations, solar energy, roofing, decorating, gardening and everything else domestically-related. Seminars and demonstrations are also held.

While the economy is coming to life after five years of doldrums and new home construction is on the upswing, vendors said the trend is still for people to stay put in their existing homes and to remodel or spruce them up.

Aaron Wilbur, a designer with Cottage Gardens, said the landscape business has been busy with homeowners looking to cut the amount of grass in their yards and and replace it with drought-tolerant plants.

Wilbur said he designed the newly landscaped medians with curvy decorative walls and Florida-friendly plants on Southwest 13th Street from the University of Florida to the double helix Depot Trail overpass — a project that shows the beauty of the plants and the landscaping.

“People want less lawn. There are a lot of lower-maintenance plantings you can do that busy people don’t have to worry about. They can come home to nice landscapes and not have to worry about it,” Wilbur said. “The words out of everybody’s mouths are drought tolerant and low maintenance. That’s what everybody is looking for.”

Almost as eye-catching as the crystal knob was a hanging light in shades of orange and white custom-built by David Strickland of Gainesville Lighting.

It is composed of many pieces of blown glass hooked to a fixture to resemble an upside-down Hydra or group of octopuses.

Elizabeth LeBrie of Lake City couldn’t get enough of it.

“I love it,” she said. “I love the colors, I love the shape.”

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The growing roof, wall garden business – U

If you’re over the potted-plant look and have some tax money to spend on your home or business, one thing to consider is a wall garden or green roof.

This special niche in the landscaping world remains relatively unknown but has in recent years attracted big-time clients like celeb chef Mario Batali, SDGE and Fashion Valley Mall in Mission Valley, a major regional mall in Southern California.

The firm that served those clients and many more is Good Earth Plants, which evolved from a downtown San Diego plant kiosk to a warehouse space in Kearny Mesa. It also birthed sister company Greenscaped Buildings.

Most of Good Earth Plants’ work is plant landscaping, but its green roof-living wall portion of business is nearing 50 percent, said president and founder Jim Mumford. Two years ago, it was non-existent.

“I’m not going to get rich on it,” said Mumford, referring to his specialty installations. “It gives us steady work. It’s a very niche part of the landscaping world.”

The U-T San Diego talked to Mumford about the growth of his business and why someone would want to install one of his alternative gardens.

Q: You gradually entered this niche market over the course of many years. How did that go?

A: It was 1994. I sold off all my flower shops. I had three retail locations. I wanted to focus on just plant service. An architectural convention came to town in 2003. I saw a sheet of a green-roof module tray. I didn’t understand it. But I was intrigued. Also, it was 2003, and the Cedar Fire came. It burned down my house. I lived by Barona. I had two little kids and I was rebuilding my house. I started looking for what was different. I talked to a colleague who heard about the green-roof thing.

Q: Then what happened?

A: I said ‘Gee, no one is doing green roofs here. What do I do?’ I had buildings. I said, ‘Let’s do one of them.’ … In March 2007, I did engineering and put a new roof down with three inches of soil in the current office building in Kearny Mesa. It was the first green roof on an occupied commercial building in San Diego.

Q: Why do people do green roofs and living walls?

A: Sometime for the environmental benefit. Many times, the view. The main one is how they cool your house down. Also, the codes have changed. When rain hits your house and it goes down, it’s bad because of runoff. So a green roof can mitigate that. They hold onto 60 percent to 80 percent of rainfall when it rains on buildings. Other benefits for both include biodiversity. It’s a habitat for birds, bees and critters.

Q: What’s the demand been like?

A: It didn’t even exist a few years ago. There’s been a tremendous amount of inquiries. But when you get into costs, reality starts to set in and the percentage of clients going forward diminishes greatly.

Q: What kind of costs are we looking at?

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Baguio flower fest’s vertical gardens draw business interest

Colorful ornamental flowers enhance the design of vertical gardens in this year’s Flower Festival Market Encounter.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines—Vertical gardens mounted on simulated building walls have been part of the landscape of Burnham Park, the second year this flower carpet technique has been promoted by organizers of the Baguio Flower Festival.

But local landscape artists say real estate developers have noticed the festival’s latest advocacy and some building owners have started to incorporate vertical gardens in their projects.

Lawyer Damaso Bangaoet, Baguio Flower Festival founder, pushed for vertical garden landscapes in the annual Flower Festival Market Encounter (renamed Blooming Odyssey), hoping to popularize a green building philosophy in Baguio and in areas from where the festival’s annual visitors come.

Cordelia Lacsamana, city environment officer, says the summer capital promotes green architecture and has been encouraging buildings to develop open air rooftop gardens to help reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

She says vertical gardens are innovations of the traditional landscape garden, which are mounted on interior building walls.

Lacsaman says vertical gardens can also be installed on the outdoor wall space available in high-rise buildings.

John Kimo and his bonsai worth P70,000

Agriculturists and scientists believe this technique can be harnessed in the future so vertical gardens can be mounted on the walls of buildings, to augment the food supply of big cities, she adds.

Vertical farming is still a theory, but vertical gardens are feasible options for building owners, who are willing to spend up to P2 million to grow seedlings of flowering plants or small fruit-bearing trees that thrive on rooftops and on building walls, according to Alexander Bangsoy, president of real estate developer, Goshen Land Capital Inc.

Bangsoy says developers are taking advantage of the skills available in Baguio.

Twelve members of the Panagbenga Landscapers Association take traditional and vertical landscaping assignments in Guam, Canada and Ireland, says Jonalyn Viloria, the association secretary.

“We have members, who earned as much as P5 million in net revenues last year … and their only training came from their work as gardeners and from landscape competitions like Panagbenga,” she says.

Viloria adds she learned about vertical landscaping from an American friend in 2007, but was only able to apply its principles when Bangaoet introduced it for the competition.

Local tourists enjoy the Flower Festival

The very first vertical landscape competition was won by John Kimo, 34, the group’s president. Kimo is a Kalanguya from Tinoc, Ifugao, who has an agriculture degree and who earned his stripes producing landscape gardens for the Baguio Country Club.

Unlike other countries, the Philippines is rich with natural landscaping resources, such as sea stones in the Ilocos coastline, which make homegrown gardens unique, he says.

He says landscapers charge P100,000 for a 10-square meter garden, but the price can sometimes shoot up to P1 million.—Reports from EV Espiritu and Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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Home & Garden Show gives tips on DIY parties

Elaborate displays welcomed visitors to the 2011 Home and Garden Show.

Gary Porter

Elaborate displays welcomed visitors to the 2011 Home and Garden Show.

If you’re searching for tips on landscaping, cooking, remodeling, and even how to host a “DIY Party,” all the information you need is corralled in one place: The 2013 Realtor’s Home Garden Show at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis.

This year, Waukesha native Carmen De La Paz of HGTV fame stars at the show, bringing years of her carpentry, design and catering experience. She’ll even share advice on how to create the perfect “DIY Party” from meal portions to recipes.

To heal the Milwaukee winter blues, the show offers visions of spring gardening, with ideas on how to plant and water fresh landscaping projects.

Experts will also reveal “The Power of Painting” along with other remodeling secrets at show seminars

The event runs from March 15 through 24; the event is closed March 18 and 19. Admission is $8 for adults, free for active military personnel and children 12 and younger. For more information, including daily admission hours, call (414) 778-4929 or visit

© 2013, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

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Spring gardening tips from joint garden club meeting

The Hopkinton and Ashland garden clubs will hold a joint event March 19, 7 p.m., in the Faith Community Church at 146 East Main Street, Hopkinton.

The clubs will present Suzanne Mahler, who will show attendees a “dazzling photographic display” called Perennial Color, Spring through Fall. The program will focus on new perennials, as well as “tried and true” flowers, plus advice on how to make this spring “your best gardening season ever.” Detailed handouts are expected.

Mahler Gardens was formerly designated as a National Display Garden for the American Daylily Society, and is open to the public, according to the garden club press release. Mahler also writes a weekly gardening column called “green Thumbs Up” that prints in Gatehouse Media newspapers.

For more information, please contact the Ashland Garden Club at:

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Accomplished gardening expert Pat Welsh to speak in Del Mar on March 25

Pat Welsh

By Karen Vander Vorst

Emmy Award winner Pat Welsh, a Del Mar resident for 57 years, will speak on how to “Grow Great Organic Vegetables Year-Round,” at the Del Mar Powerhouse, Monday, March 25, at 9:30 a.m. In her talk, Welsh will explain how to choose, plant, harvest, and grow popular vegetables, and to control pests and diseases without synthetic fertilizers or dangerous pesticides. Her slide presentation will demonstrate growing crops in raised beds or in the ground.  She will fill you with tips, hints, garden timing, new techniques, and old-time secrets culled from a lifetime of growing edible crops.

The public is invited to attend this free presentation sponsored by the Del Mar Garden Club. Following her talk, Welsh will sign and personalize three of her published books.

Born in Halifax, Yorkshire, England, Welsh immigrated to the United States in 1939. Through the war years, her family lived on an organic farm in Bucks County, Penn. This experience and the wonderful gardens of her grandparents in England planted the gardening seeds in Welsh. She earned a B.A. in English Literature at Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., where she also studied painting, ceramics and design.

Welsh is the widow of Superior Court Judge Louis M. Welsh. She has two daughters, Francesca Filanc and Wendy Woolf, five grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren. Her home in Del Mar was designed by her father-in-law John Lloyd Wright, son of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Welsh’s career highlights include being the first Garden Editor of San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles Magazine, from 1979 to 1983; host of the twice-weekly gardening segment, “The Resident Gardener,” on the local evening news of KNSD-TV, from 1981 to 1987; host of videos for Better Homes Gardens, HGTV, and infomercials since 1990. She is currently a public speaker and lecturer on gardening.

Also a lifelong painter and sculptor, in 2002 Welsh designed and built, with Betsy Schulz and 80 volunteers, the 92-foot-long, mixed-media mural in front of the Del Mar Public Library on Old 101 in Del Mar. Out of this tribute to beautiful Del Mar came the inspiration to write “The Magic Mural and How it Got Built: A Fable for All Ages (2005).”

Welsh’s other books include: Pat Welsh’s Southern California Gardening: A Month-By-Month Guide (1991, revised 2001); All My Edens: A Gardener’s Memoir (1996); The American Horticultural Society Southwest Smart Garden™ Regional Guide (2004); and Pat Welsh’s Southern California Organic Gardening (2010). All these books can be found on

Recognized for the contributions she has made to the world of gardening and garden design, Welsh has received numerous awards, including: San Diego Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement, Performer/News, 1985; San Diego Press Club Award, 1986; three “Quill and Trowel” Awards from the Garden Writers Association; Cuyamaca College Botanical Society Horticulturist of the Year, 2001; San Diego Botanic Garden Lifetime Achievement Award, 1996; and Honorary San Diego County Master Gardener (2003).

The Del Mar Garden Club invites you to hear Pat Welsh speak on Monday, March 25, at the Del Mar Powerhouse at 9:30 a.m. You can also visit Welsh and join her blog on her website:

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on Mar 9, 2013. Filed under Community, Events, Life, Outdoors.
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