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Archives for March 24, 2013

Spring splash teaches water wisdom – U

— For most people, water’s something to drink and bathe in. They don’t think much about it past the faucet and flush handle. But on Saturday, several hundred folks got a glimpse of what goes on after the water hits the drain.

The Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District held its second-ever Splash into Spring event, offering water patrons and the public a chance to tour the wastewater treatment plant, learn about conservation and drought-resistant landscaping, view plant displays, and take part in activities for adults and children alike.

“We open up our facility each year to our customers to get a hands-on education on what we do here,” said district spokesman Greg Morrison. At last year’s event, about 450 people showed up. This year, Morrison said, upward of 1,000 were expected to visit the plant.

Why the popularity?

“This is fascinating for a lot of people,” he said, adding that there’s typically a wait for the 20-minute facility tour. “This gives them a fresh perspective on what happens to their water.”

Lake Elsinore resident Rachel Mendez brought along her 5-year-old daughter Angelina Divine to see the plant and take part in activities that included a scavenger hunt.

“This is great,” she said. “It teaches the kids about water and where it comes from and what it takes to keep things running.”

Jeff Hitch and his 7-year-old son Timothy were at the entrance, near a wide arch of balloons. Hitch, who lives in Temecula, said he heard about the event through his son’s Boy Scout troop and that his son, and the many other Boy Scouts at the event, would collect Water Explorer badges.

“This is a great event for a boy his age, to see what happens to the water after you flush,” he said, adding that kids are naturally curious about things like that.

In addition to the conservation table, where attendees could collect a free hose nozzle or shower head, Morrison said the water district’s own garden was a popular attraction. The garden shows visitors that a California native landscape can be more than dirt, rocks, and cactuses.

Close to the main entrance were clusters of vibrant orange and yellow African daisies, purple and green patches of leafy plants such as Santa Barbara Mexican bush sage, and delicate lamb’s ears, and rows of whimsical and fat-leafed succulents, some in the shape of butter-pat roses.

Roy Guillen, a conservation intern who designed the garden, said the display surprises many visitors.

“It’s very beautiful as far as color goes,” he said. “People have come here with ideas of what California native should look like. They see this and they get ideas for things that can do at home.”

Lisa Ritchie of Alta Loma said that despite running a landscaping business for years, Saturday’s event taught her something more about native plants.

“I have a lot of these in my garden at home,” she said, pointing to the garden, adding that she understands how people can think of native gardens as dark and dead-looking. “A lot of people don’t think that a native garden can be colorful. They think rocks and cacti.”

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Spring fever comes to Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna



Jeremy Chavis from Faribault Vacuum and Sewing Center gives a demonstration of a handheld vacuum on Saturday during the KOWZ Home and Recreation Show at the Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna. (Al Strain/People’s Press)

Posted: Saturday, March 23, 2013 6:00 pm

Spring fever comes to Four Seasons Centre in Owatonna




OWATONNA — Cars lined the parking lot at the Steele County Fairgrounds on Saturday, making for a long walk for some people to get to their destinations inside the Four Seasons Centre.

Though it may have been a trek for some, inside they were likely to find something that grabbed their attention, thanks to 230 vendor booths that lined the floor of the building for the annual KOWZ/KORN Home and Recreation Show.

Visitors had the opportunity to see a variety of products to prepare for the coming of spring. There were home-based businesses, landscaping ideas, lawn care equipment, home-renovation materials and even boats.

Jeff Honsey, boat sales manager at Cabela’s in Owatonna, said while there may not be many sales made at the show this weekend, it’s good for people to come in and see the boats for later.

“It’s a public awareness thing to let them know that we do have a service shop, that we do sell boats out there, and that we’re kind of the community boat dealer,” Honsey said. “It’s kind of planting the seed for sales. We usually see in the middle of summer, we start to see people from the boat show asking if we still have them. That’s when we really start to see the sales and benefits from the show.”

Jim Currier of Turtle Creek Nursery in Owatonna said the show is beneficial because it gives him the opportunity to talk to people and answer questions.

“People always have that little gardening fever,” Currier said. “This year I think people are a little more antsy because you’ve got that old wives’ tale that says you’re supposed spuds in the ground by Good Friday, and that’s not going to happen this year.”

For those in attendance at the show, it was clear that many of them were looking for ideas on what to do when the warm weather comes. For some, it can’t come soon enough.

“It was something to do to get out of the house,” said Allison Peake, who looked at landscaping and boats, among other things. “This weather has been too bad over the winter. I am ready to get out.”

The Home and Recreation Show will continue on Sunday after kicking off on Friday afternoon. Doors open on Sunday at 11 a.m. and the event shuts down at 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on

© 2013 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about Kowz

  • ARTICLE: KOWZ set to host annual home and recreation show in Owatonna
  • ARTICLE: 2013 kicks off with plenty of things to do in Owatonna
  • ARTICLE: Local food shelf looks for help during holidays
  • ARTICLE: Owatonna hosts women’s expo

More about Recreation

  • ARTICLE: KOWZ set to host annual home and recreation show in Owatonna
  • ARTICLE: Record number of participants turn out for annual Youth Ice Fishing Contest on French Lake near Faribault
  • ARTICLE: Owatonna Christmas Bird Count breaks local records
  • ARTICLE: Annual Winter Daze Retreat at Camp Omega in Waterville


Saturday, March 23, 2013 6:00 pm.

| Tags:


Four Seasons Centre,



Jeff Honsey,

Lawn Care Equipment,

Cabela S,

Owatonna Minnesota,

Jim Currier,

Allison Peake,

Home And Recreation Show

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Dozens of ideas to imbue your home and yard with the colors of spring


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Load up your porch with potted tulips for quick spring color


Looking for ideas to embrace spring? Here are a plethora of ideas on bringing in the color, perking up your home with clever ideas (some Easter related) and looking at your landscape now and for the coming months.

Better Homes and Gardens “Inspired Spring Decor” is just that. Lots of great ideas, like using egg cups as desk organizers, filling vases with ferns and framing decorative paper liven things up without spending a lot of time or cash.

House Beautiful also has “Spring-inspired Spaces” with more than 60 pretty photos of interiors in shades straight out of an Easter egg kit.

Edible landscaping is still hot in gardens. Rosalind Creasy’s “Edible Landscaping” book has ideas that are gorgeous and mouth-watering at the same time.

Tulip blooms are synonymous with spring and “the beautiful bulb has a history of intrigue, thievery and heartbreak, plus a Tulipomania economic bubble and bust 1636-’37, according to bulb history experts,” Kathy Van Mullekom wrote in a story about the spring flower for Daily Press. Didn’t plant any in the fall? Load up on potted ones and cluster them where you can enjoy the color. The story includes tips on care and replanting.

Many of Houzz’s holiday inspired wreaths
(including an Easter one with felted bunny) bring green to the
forefront, like the one made of succulents or the live eucalyptus and
berries. The mirror made of bits of driftwood has me thinking of a door
wreath in a similar vein.

— Peggy McMullen



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Rain gardens in the backyard

Belfast — On Tuesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. Rebecca Jacobs from the Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District will present a slide show and talk on Rain Gardens in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Fee Library.

This program is the last in the series of three evening presentations co-sponsored by the Belfast Garden Club and the Belfast Free Library on the topic Water in the Home Landscape for Beauty and Conservation.

Rain gardens are shallow gardens which contain flowering plants and grasses that can survive in soil soaked with water from rainstorms. They help reduce the rapid flow of storm water, and thus protect lakes and other bodies of water from pollutants washed from roofs and paved areas. They are not permanent ponds, but act as filters and temporary holding areas for the infiltration of storm water into the soil, while providing attractive landscaping and increased habitat for butterflies, birds and beneficial insects. Jacobs will discuss how to design, choose the best plants for and maintain a rain garden in one’s own landscape.

Jacobs comes to Knox-Lincoln SWCD with a wide range of experience in the field of conservation. Moving to Maine in 2006, Jacobs was able to share her love of horticulture and all things outdoors in her role as education coordinator for the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Since that time she has moved on dividing her time professionally with her own business in landscape design and horticultural services, Gabriella’s Gardens, and as education/outreach coordinator for Knox-Lincoln SWCD.

Belfast Free Library is located at 106 High St., Belfast. The talk is free and the public is encouraged to attend, light refreshments will be served.

The Belfast Garden Club is committed to promoting both beauty and the conservation of natural resources in public spaces and home gardens. For more information contact Ann Mullen, 207-338-9125 or, or the Belfast Free Library at 338-3884 ext.10.

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Plant symposium set for Tifton

In this undated photo, a Piedmont Azalea is shown growing in the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum on the Tifton campus of the University of Georgia.

In this undated photo, a Piedmont Azalea is shown growing in the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum on the Tifton campus of the University of Georgia.

TIFTON, Ga. — The South Georgia Native Plant and Wildflower Symposium has blossomed into a must-see event for gardening enthusiasts.

The annual symposium brings together people with a desire to learn more about landscaping with native plants and wildflowers and native plant experts from across the Southeast.

This year’s event will be held Wednesday at UGA’s Tifton Campus Conference Center.

“Many people aren’t aware of the plants that are native to this area, or to the South. That’s what this conference is all about,” said Amy Carter, agricultural research coordinator for the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on the Tifton Campus. “Many of those attending have been here almost every year since the first symposium in 2001. Their gardens are their passion.”

As part of Carter’s work at UGA, she manages the Coastal Plain Research Arboretum. At the conclusion of the event, she will lead a walking tour of the arboretum.

Among the native plants to see in the arboretum are azalea, elysium, viburnum, buckeye and holly.

The daylong event will feature six speakers, including Jenny Cruse Sanders, the vice president for science and conservation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Sanders will discuss the Atlanta garden’s native plant conservation program. Kris Braman, a professor of entomology at the UGA-Griffin Campus, will speak on beneficial insects and their importance to a garden.

“Not all insects are bad,” Carter said. “Many people are tempted to go into their gardens and kill every insect they find. Some of those insects are probably helping. I’m really excited to hear what Dr. Braman can teach us about that.”

Landscape architect Rick Huffman, of Greenville, S.C., will kick off the event. He will speak on his life’s work: creating ecologically-sound landscape designs. Dan Miller will finish the day with his presentation on “Growing Native Azaleas from Seed.”

The symposium will last from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. For more information, go to the website or call (229) 391-6868.

Clint Thompson is information coordinator for the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

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Early Bloomers

Despite a layer of snow blanketing the ground, a myriad of various types of flora were springing up at the Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center.

On Saturday, the second annual Grow Jamestown Garden Fair was held at the Center, providing area residents with a much-needed glimpse into what spring has in store for the community.

The event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., was coordinated by the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation and several of its partners, including Cornell Cooperative Extension and volunteers from Lutheran Social Services. According to Peter Lombardi, executive director of the JRC, the garden fair is intended to teach the benefits of gardening from a personal and public standpoint.

Article Photos

The second annual Grow Jamestown Garden Fair featured several displays with information for private and public gardeners.
P-J photos by Gavin Paterniti

“The purpose of the event is to number one, provide education through workshops,” said Lombardi. “It’s a combination of businesses that have something to do with gardening and landscaping, and organizations that are trying to promote it as a public interest. I think anyone who comes here can, from the businesses, learn about how they can improve their own gardens, and talk to landscapers about how to improve the appearance of their homes-which is really important to neighborhood revitalization in Jamestown. And then, from the non-profit organizations, they can learn about (a variety of) food- and gardening-related projects in the community and how they can get involved with them.”

Lombardi said that the idea to host a garden fair in Jamestown came from a similar event, which was held in Warren.

“Sharon Reed, from Cornell Cooperative Extension’s master gardeners program, had talked about how Warren’s cooperative extension had a program similar to this,” he said. “And there was a desire to have something similar to that in Jamestown. So this is sort of loosely modeled after that Warren County event, although I think it’s grown bigger. We’ve surpassed last year-and we have twice as many workshops and definitely more vendors.”

There were a total of eight individually-themed workshops, running from 10:30 a.m to 1:15 p.m. The workshops were provided by: Chautauqua County Master Gardeners; Bruce Robinson; Dan Stone; The Home Depot; JRC; and Creating Healthy Spaces.

According to Mary Maxwell, JRC’s neighborhood project associate, the workshops were designed to teach the dynamic nature of gardening.

“I don’t want people to think that gardening is something they can do for two months and be done,” said Maxwell. “It’s a piece of art that, for me, has been a lifelong process.”

Lombardi said that the garden fair has the material to appeal to gardeners of all ages and skill levels.

“(Gardening) is a multi-generational, multi-skill level activity,” he said. “And I think you can see that on display at an event like this. It’s a good way of getting people to connect with each other at an event like this or in the community.”

Due to the success of the garden fair’s inaugural year, which attracted approximately 300 people, more businesses, vendors and organizations have signed on to participate in this year’s event.

Participating businesses included: Big Tree Landscaping Nursery; Bloomquist’s Landscaping; Marlinski Landscape Stonework; Mike’s Nursery; Roberts Nursery; and The Home Depot. Food and crafts were made available by: Downtown Jamestown Farmers Market, including the Busti Cider Mill and Small Meadows Farm; Bruce J. Robinson Photography; Evergreen Forge; Frederes World of Woodcraft; Paula Coats Pottery; Recreations by Deb; and Planet Earth Catering, which catered the event.

The event was supported by organizations including: BOCES’ Work Experience Program; Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy; City of Jamestown Parks Department; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Chautauqua County; Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work Play; JCC Community Garden; Jamestown Audubon Society; Jamestown High School’s “Gardeners of Weedin'” club; Jamestown Renaissance Corporation; James Prendergast Library; St. Susan Center’s Giving Garden; and The Resource Center.

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Gardening tips at Derrington Village Hall

GARDENING tips to put a spring in your step are on offer at Derrington Village Hall on Saturday.

Fruit and veg growing lessons, a panel of experts to quiz and an interactive workshop on designing your own garden are just some of the activities at the spring gardening event being hosted by Derrington Way Ahead from 2pm to 4.30pm.

There will also be gardening giveaways and tea and cakes provided by Derrington WI. Admission is free.

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garden designer lands prestigious flower show exhibit

Beaconsfield garden designer lands prestigious flower show exhibit

Mr Ryan’s garden ‘I have a dream’

A BEACONSFIELD garden designer is celebrating after earning the chance to feature his creation at the world’s largest annual flower show.

Stephen Ryan will display his garden at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Flower Show in July.

Entitled ‘I have a dream’, the design commemorates the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous speech, and Mr Ryan is excited at the prospect.

“I actually trained in the gardens of Hampton Court so it’ll be great to be back with a show garden,” he said. “It’s a huge show so it’s a real achievement for me.”

Mr Ryan studied under garden design guru John Brookes, who received an MBE in 2004 for his work in horticulture, and it is the first time the Beaconsfield-based designer’s work has been featured at the event.

The garden features segregated black and white planting and an area of harmonious mixed planting.

It has a calming feel with water playing a large part, with the backdrop inspired by the Lincoln memorial in Washington where the speech was held in August 1963.

He is currently hunting a main sponsor for the design, and hopes extra money can be raised for anti-racism charities by auctioning the wooden message obelisks bearing engravings from the speech.

Hampton Court Flower Show attracts around 160,000 visitors each year, with coverage in national newspapers as well as on the BBC.

The show runs from July 9 to 14. For tickets to see Mr Ryan’s creation and hundreds of other gardens of all shapes and sizes, visit

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