Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for March 29, 2013

Kevin Foster

Tell us the basics: Who are you, what’s your company’s name, and how long have you been at this company?

I’m Kevin Foster, sales director for RSG Landscaping Lawn Care, Inc. I have been in this role with RSG for over a year. I am responsible for all sales activities, value adds, and relationship management within the footprint of RSG (offices in Concord, Roanoke, and Charleston WV). I manage quality and consistency of our products and corresponding service delivery. The market areas I represent are researched and analyzed to ensure RSG is proven to be a quality, competitive service provider along with soliciting our professional line of services for work to bid offers with our competitive pricing.

Describe your business — what do you do?

RSG Landscaping Lawn Care is a full service, commercial landscaping firm with a presence throughout the Mid-Atlantic with headquarters in Concord, VA. We specialize in grounds maintenance, landscaping, hardscaping and design/build projects for multiple segments of business, including municipalities, school systems, private schools, health care, higher education, professional centers, office suites, retail centers, hospitality, apartment communities, HOAs and commercial properties.

RSG Landscaping Lawn Care, Inc is a Small Business Certified, Class A contractor that offers services including: hydro-seeding, erosion control, bio-retention filters, Filtrexx Soxx installations, playground certifications and audits, green roofs, landscape installation, pavers, retaining walls, water feature installation, irrigation installation, grounds maintenance, wetland restoration/installation, snow removal, landscape maintenance for small and large facilities, and athletic field construction and maintenance. 

How did you get into this business? 

I’ve been a sales professional with a proven track record of exceeding company revenue metrics, new business development, incremental growth from existing account relationships – from both an individual and team management perspective. My goals were to elevate my skills and abilities through broader-based management responsibilities and results and RSG Landscaping Lawn Care, Inc brought that in my role. Their culture of urgency and efficiency directly correlated with what I wanted in a new role.

What’s the market like for your business?

The market for large commercial landscaping is extremely competitive. By keying on our differentiators, we are able to bridge that economic gap and focus on collaborating and developing a plan of action with the customer that exceeds their expectations.

What’s a lesson you’ve learned during the recession? 

Through this recession, it’s always important to realize your customers don’t need you – you need them. In times of economic distress, that is the time to ensure you have solid partnerships with your clients. If you aren’t offering value and “fit” with their needs, then you’re just a simple commodity.

Is there a secret to your personal success? Perhaps a piece of advice you’ve always remembered?

Don’t be afraid to fail. If you failed, you tried. The true failure is not trying.

Don’t be afraid to tell people/businesses “No”. If you can’t do it, be honest. Sometimes business find more value in your honesty with you can really provide and not waste their time. It may sting to lose an opportunity, but in the long run, your honesty will pay off in the future with that prospect.

Truly find out who your customers are. Not just business “talk”, but find out who they are as people!

What’s coming up in the next year for you and your company? What about in the next five years? 

The next year holds a tremendous amount of potential for RSG. We have had a fast start since January, with no signs of slowing. We have initiated some new incentive programs for our teams while out in the field, revitalized our organizational culture, and set fiscal goals for 2013 which we are on pace to exceed, along with 3 and 5 year goals.

In the next 5 years, it is our goal to have expanded our relationships with our current customers throughout the mid-Atlantic region to the point where strategic placement of new offices are a necessity to keep up with their growing needs.

What’s the part of your job you dread the most? 

What’s the part of your job that excites you the most, the thing that makes you want to hurry to work? 

The first is working alongside a group of professionals who are the top of their respective areas. Whether it be maintenance, irrigation, landscaping, or athletic fields, I know we have the answers, ideas, and solutions to help our clients solve an issue, or bring a plan to life.

The second is the dynamic environment: any given day can bring a different schedule than you had planned. We are known for being nimble and that keeps us on our toes.

The third is pride. I am proud to work for a leader in this industry and know that when I am meeting with a customer for the first or 100th time, that they will get the best solutions, ideas, and results they could ask for.

If you weren’t in this career, what would you do for a living?

Article source:

Does Main Street in Watertown Need Changes, Upgrades?


What would you change about Watertown’s Main Street? That is one of the areas which residents commented about during last week’s Comprehensive Plan Workshop.

Some said the street is too sleepy, especially toward the west end, and most agreed that traffic is a problem on the thoroughfare.

The street should have more enticing stores, people said, including boutique clothing stores, an ice cream shop, more high-end restaurants and coffee shops.

Parking can be hard to find in near the businesses close to Watertown Square, residents said. 

The street is not pedestrian friendly and it is tough to bicycle along Main Street, people told consultants working for the town to put together the plan.

The street should have more trees and landscaping, some said.

Do you have ideas for improving Main Street? What could be done to make it more attractive to shoppers? Share in the comment section below.

Article source:

Turf wars: Which grass is best for the Texas summer?

DALLAS — You want the perfect turf; the kind that makes your neighbors green with envy.

The problem is, “We have a shortage of water resources in Texas,” said Patrick Dickinson, who coordinates the urban water program at Texas AM Agrilife Research Center in North Dallas.

The center includes a model home that shows environmentally-friendly landscaping ideas. Just as they recommend you do, they ripped out two-thirds of the grass at the model home and replaced it with less thirsty alternatives.

“More natives and plants that are blooming,” Dickinson said.

And where there is grass, you won’t find a single blade of St. Augustine.

“St. Augustine has a reputation as a water hog, and it is,” Dickinson said.

In fact, he said in the summer, St. Augustine drinks more than double what Zoysia or Bermuda grass varieties do. Buffalo grass drinks even less than those varieties.

Homeowner David Wysinger is re-sodding with Bermuda.

“It’s Texas, and it’s going to get hot,” said homeowner David Wysinger.

He’s resodding with Bermuda, but he admits, he thought about St. Augustine.

“I considered it,” he said. “My parents have St. Augustine. But it’s high-maintenance.”

Wysinger’s lawn has suffered through the drought in recent years. “Bald spots and dead areas,” he said. And he was limited in what he could do about it. Because of strict watering restrictions, he quit trying.

Wysinger hopes this year he can abide by strict water restrictions, and that somehow his new grass will be greener on the other side of the next few months.

Tip: Experts say if you don’t have a sprinkler or rainwater measuring device, you can put an empty tuna can in your yard when you water.  When it fills up, they say that is as much water as your lawn should use in an entire week.


Article source:

Steps to avoid landscaping problems

New Home Landscaping

By: Patrick Breen

Let’s hope that the economic indicators are correct and the new home construction trend continues to rise.

But, just because you are in a new house doesn’t mean your home-maintenance routine can be forgotten. As a home inspector and former contractor, I know the challenges of a new building site and have seen the results of believing a new home is maintenance-free.

One of the biggest factors in caring for a home is the landscaping.

Depending on the type of soil and the precautions taken in backfilling around the foundation, most new homes will undergo some degree of settling around the structure. The full compaction can sometimes take a couple years or more, so compensate by raising the level of dirt within the first couple feet or periodically evaluate for developing low areas. A good rule of thumb is to try and always have one inch of slope per foot away from the foundation, extending out at least six to 10 feet.

Downspout extensions are meant to be unrolled and directed away from the structure. Those handy straps or Velcro tabs for keeping the extensions in the upright position are for lawn-care purposes only. When you’re not mowing the lawn, keep the extensions down. Nothing saddens me more than inspecting a fairly new home and finding stress cracks in the foundation because the backfill has settled, the downspout extensions are up so the children don’t crush them, and moisture from the roof is draining down next to the foundation.

Stress cracks in driveways and walkways also can be avoided by channeling moisture away from concrete or, at least, over the surface. The No. 1 cause for cracking concrete is from moisture underneath causing the soild to heave.

To help mitigate this from happening, seal the crack between the driveway and garage slab, and the cracks between walkways and the foundation. Even if the walkways have neutral, or a slightly positive slope, moisture can get into cracks and expand the underlying soil.

To help save on costs many new homeowners will do the finished landscaping themselves. Lawn edging is very popular but many installations don’t accommodate for weep holes that will migrate water out into the lawn and away from the foundation. Always keep a positive slope away from the foundation, even inside your hedge and flower gardens, and give any trapped moisture an exit path out and away.

Leave small gaps strategically spaced in concrete and brick, or drill holes through wood or plastic edging. In this zone, it is not necessarily rain that might cause foundation and basement water problems, but snow drifts that slowly melt and have no place for the water to go but down to the foundation. So, pay special attention to where blowing snow is likely to drift.

Follow these steps and you may avoid a problem later caused by your landscaping.

Article source:

Going native in the garden


  • Story
  • Comments
  • Image (2)


Create a hardcopy of this page

Font Size:

Default font size

Larger font size



Sialia sialis, or the Eastern bluebird, is native to Maryland and uses the small, bright red berries of the Cornus Florida, or dogwood, another Maryland native species, as a source of food in the winter.



The cornus florida, or dogwood, has character in all four seasons, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. They said it is excellent as specimen tree or used on the corner of a house. Bright red berries are an important food source for songbirds including evening grosbeak, cardinals, robins and cedar waxwings.

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:15 pm

Going native in the garden


The Star Democrat

RIDGLEY — As the temperature of earth and air rise with the approaching spring season, the time is ripe for those wishing to plan home gardens and landscape embellishments that compliment not only residential surroundings but local ecosystems, as well.

According to the Maryland Cooperative Extension for the University of Maryland College of Agricultural and Natural Resources, using native plants in gardens and lawn landscaping has many short- and long-term benefits.

Subscription Required

An online service is needed to view this article in its entirety.

You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
linked account:

Choose an online service.

Current print subscribers

You must login to view the full content on this page.

Or, use your
linked account:

Thank you for reading 10 free articles on our site. You can come back at the end of your 30-day period for another 10 free articles, or you can purchase a subscription at this time and continue to enjoy valuable local news and information. If you need help, please contact our office at (410) 822-1500.

You need an online service to view this article in its entirety.

Have an online subscription?

Login Now

Need an online subscription?



Or, use your
linked account:

Choose an online service.

Current print subscribers

More about Gardens

  • ARTICLE: Galvin to speak on CBMM gardens
  • ARTICLE: History comes alive daily with vibrant landscape
  • ARTICLE: ‘Magic in the Meadow’ tickets available


Thursday, March 28, 2013 10:15 pm.

| Tags:


Adkins Arboretum,

Robyn Affron,

Native Plants,

Star Democrat

  • Comments
  • Facebook


Welcome to the discussion.

Or, use your
linked account:

    Do you support the assault weapons ban currently being considered by the Maryland General Assembly?

    Total Votes: 1539

    • Latest Headlines

      Subscribe to this newsletter to have the latest headlines delivered to your inbox in a Morning Edition at 6 a.m. and an Afternoon Update at 3:30 p.m.

    • Weekend Entertainment Guide

      Looking for something to do this weekend? Subscribe to this weekly entertainment guide and get the details on local events and activities delivered at 5 p.m. each Thursday.

    Manage Your Lists

    Contact us

    The Star Democrat
    29088 Airpark Dr
    Easton, MD 21601
    (410) 822-1500


    This is a publication of:

    Or, use your
    linked account:


    Article source:

    Home and garden show at Rupp will be full of ideas and contractors

    Spring has dawdled in getting to Central Kentucky, but expect it to be in full bloom when the Central Kentucky Home, Garden and Flower Show opens Thursday.

    This year, the home improvement displays at Heritage Hall and Rupp Arena will be segmented into major categories, which consulting show manager Doug Hart said “could be a weekend show in itself.”

    “We felt we better needed to target our audience: homeowners needing to landscape or remodel,” Hart said.

    The segmenting of the show “just gives much more depth and variety,” Hart said. “It forces us to be more organized, and offer a better product to the visitors.”

    The segments include:

    ■ “The Remodeling Showcase,” sponsored by LGE/KU, which includes painting tips, deck and skylight installation and other remodeling projects.

    ■ “Small Space Gardens,” presented by Meade Concrete Products, will offer landscaping advice, products and design ideas.

    ■ “Kitchen and Bath Showcase” will display trends in lighting, cabinets and energy-saving appliances.

    ■ The “Green Zone,” presented by GreenGuide Sustainable Living in the Bluegrass, will showcase green and environmentally friendly products.

    ■ “Outdoor Living Market” will feature producers from the Lexington Farmers Market as well as gardening tools, outdoor products such as Kentucky bourbon barrels and plants and landscape offerings from Springhouse Gardens.

    ■ “What’s Up in Rupp,” presented by the Better Business Bureau, includes silent auction items donated by BBB-accredited businesses. Stonemasons from the Dry Stone Conservancy will build a dry-laid stone pillar during the show. Students and faculty from the University of Kentucky’s department of landscape architecture will exhibit an “urban environment” landscape.

    Jane Wooley, executive director of the Dry Stone Conservancy, said that dry stone masons will be on site throughout the show “building features that are typical of early Kentucky, which includes a pillar often found at the entrance to farms. We’ll also be building a sitting wall … and some other segments of free-standing rock fence of the different types that are found in Kentucky.”

    The Dry Stone Conservancy is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving dry-laid stone structures and to promoting the craft.

    ■ “Outdoor Living Showcase” includes a 2,400-square-foot display from Nature’s Expressions.

    Hart said that one of the best things about a home and garden show is that people get to talk to business owners and contractors face to face.

    “The great thing about a show … is that you’re pretty much assured of meeting the owner of a business,” he said. “There’s a lot of trust that goes into hiring a contractor. You can start at a show.”


    Central Kentucky Home, Garden Flower Show

    When: April 4-7

    Hours: 5-9:30 p.m. April 4-5; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. April 6; noon-6 p.m. April 7

    Where: Lexington Center, 430 W. Vine St.

    Admission: $8 at the door, free for children 14 and younger with paid adult admission. Coupons for a $2 discount are offered online at (click on “Visitors”), on the front of the home show’s insert in the March 31 edition of the Herald-Leader and on the front page of the April 5 edition of the Herald-Leader.

    Learn more:

    Cheryl Truman: (859)231-3202. Twitter: @CherylTruman.

    Article source:

    Some tips when seeking online gardening help

    Do you remember when researching a topic meant going to the library and picking up a few reference books or leafing through an encyclopedia volume or two? If you’re under 30, I suspect not. But in my day …

    Today we’re in the electronic age of information, with facts literally at your fingertips. I am no exception. I write from experience, but about 20 per cent – the fine details like Latin names, mature size and new introductions – comes from the Internet.

    The downfall of all that freely-available gardening information is that sometimes it’s contradictory, incomplete or just plain wrong. And rarely is it written by anyone in our growing area. So I concentrate on Canadian websites, prairie ones if I can find them, and after that, information sources originating in the northern United States. And I don’t rely on just one source – I compare information from as many sites as I can find until I think I have some agreement.

    While I look for factual material when I’m researching an article, for enjoyment I read garden blogs. Blog is short for ‘web log’ and is the personal account of professionals and amateurs alike. This is sometimes the best source of information, as they tell it like it is: what works, the trials and tribulations, tips and tricks they’ve learned along the way, the drawn-out mourning for their dead perennials or poetic odes to their favourites, from the common-sense to the outrageous, and more.

    Along the way, you’ll find really entertaining ones in which the authors reveals facets of their lives among the stories they tell about their gardening adventures. Also, good bloggers are about more than just themselves: they list links to blogs they themselves follow.

    So, here’s a short reading list of non-profit and commercial horticulture websites and blogs:

    Saskatchewan Perennial Society: This site was recently updated with a fresh and appealing look. You’ll find information on upcoming garden events like their winter speaker series or summer garden tours, as well as informative articles.

    I Can Garden (www.icangarden. com), based out of St. Albert, Alta., has matured over the last 20 years. It lists events and links to garden societies across the prairies, and has a huge archive of articles written by local garden experts, as well as book reviews, pictures and so much more.

    Want to learn more about lilies? Here are two sites: South Saskatchewan Lily Society: www.sasklilysociety. org and Canadian Prairie Lily Society: They include articles on lily culture and care, great descriptions and images, upcoming events, and dates for their sales.

    There are innumerable garden bloggers out there. You might recognize Lyndon Penner from Calgary, who speaks occasionally on CBC’s Morning Edition. You may also have met him at one of the courses he occasionally teaches at the University of Saskatchewan for the Master Gardener program (http: //ccde.usask. ca/mastergardener). His blog can be found at Like him, his blog is eclectic and vastly entertaining, but most importantly informative.

    Article source:

    Edible gardening online chat brings up tips on Wall ‘o Water tomato protectors

    harry tomato.jpg

    View full size

    For tomatoes to ripen don’t plant until soil gets warm or use some sort of protection, such as Walls o’ Water.


    Edible gardening was the topic of an online chat I did Monday. We covered a lot of ground. Read the whole conversation for lots of info and tips.

    Someone asked about whether I think Walls ‘o Water (plastic cones filled with that wrap around the plants) work. I am a fan. They’re relatively cheap (about $10 to $20 for a three-pack) and keep the young tomato plants toasty enough to grow before in-ground tomatoes do.

    Here’s why we need them: Gardeners are dead set (me included) to get going on tomatoes as soon as there is a sunny period in spring. But tomatoes need soil to be 60 degrees before they’ll grow. If they’re planted when it is still chilly, the plants will just sit there and get stressed. Stressed plants will never fully recover and be stunted and more susceptible to diseases and pests.

    Wall o’ Water and similar products protect young plants down to at least 28 degrees. Some people leave the “teepees” on all season. I don’t. I take mine off once the plant grows up and out of the top. More instructions are included with the Wall o’ Water, which is widely available at garden centers and online.

    Audrey, who joined the online conversation, indicated she’s also had luck with Walls o’ Water and she also uses plastic bags wrapped around the tomato cage held on with clothespins.

    — Kym Pokorny


    Article source:

    A Garden of Delights, Mapped Out in Your Hand

    Garden Pro, a $4 iOS app, is a reference app that can help you plan and manage your garden. Its main interface is an exhaustive list of flowers, herbs and vegetables, giving for each the common name, the botanical name and icons that indicate when the plant blooms and what type of water and light conditions it prefers.

    Tapping on a plant takes you to a page with more information, including what type of soil it prefers and some basic care instructions. You can add the plant to a list of your preferred plants, which is a separate section of the app. In this section, you can program the app to remind you to do things like water — a reminder will pop up when a particular plant is due for a drink.

    A To Do section in the app can log events like fertilizing your garden or buying compost. A Journal section lets you enter text and photo notes as your garden grows. It’s a great app for more experienced gardeners, and even beginners can use it as a learning resource. But some menu designs are confusing, such as having to go to the separate Plants menu to add a new species to your list, instead of being able to do this in the main plant database.

    Landscaper’s Companion, $5 iOS and Android app, is slightly more professional in terms of detailed data, and a bit better organized. The plant database is arranged in classes like annuals, grasses, herbs and so on. Each plant’s entry includes a short description, typical size, cultivation advice and pictures. But this app is more useful for experienced gardeners, and to add your own data and photos will cost an additional $7 via an in-app purchase. Its database can also be patchy, so you may not find the exact data you need.

    If you’re new to gardening and have an Android device, you may like the Beginners Gardening Guide. It’s a free text-based app, jammed with useful information and imagery. The app starts with advice about good soil management, then talks about composting. It also offers more detailed information about garden design and on growing vegetable or flower gardens. Its design is basic, and finding data like “plant nutrients” hidden with a lot of other functions under the “more” icon is a little surprising. But it’s pleasant to read, and you could consider it a digital reference book.

    Garden Tracker, a $2 iPhone app, will be useful if you already have some idea about what plants you want in your garden. A square grid represents your garden plot. Tapping part of the grid and then selecting a plant from a long scrolling list tells the app what crop or flower you want to plant in that part of your garden. The list has both a description of the plant and a picture.

    If you can’t find the plant you want, you can add an entry with details like the kind of conditions the plant prefers, and even a photo. When you’ve built your garden “map,” perhaps symbolically representing your own garden, you can tell the app when you have watered, fed or harvested a particular plant.

    Gardens are a place where you’ll also find bugs. And if you want to know whether a particular insect you’ve spotted is good or bad for plants, there’s the app Bugs In The Garden, $1 on Android, which has photos of some common insects. The $1 iOS and Android app Garden Bugs is similar, with a more comprehensive list of insects and also lists of plant diseases, including advice on treatment.

    Quick Call

    Reuters has released a free iOS news app that delivers the latest news reports and extras like photos, video and background commentary. It’s free on iTunes for iPhones and iPads.

    Article source:

    App Smart Extra: For the Garden

    This week, App Smart was all about gardening because spring has sprung, or is about to. There are many apps that can help you in the garden, like plant reference guides or advice about garden bugs, and even apps that can help you manage your garden and its plants over time.

    A useful reference is the free Android app Garden Plants Growing Guide. Unlike some of its peers, this app is a little pedestrian in design because of its plain lists of plants and simple pages full of text. But it contains an impressive database of flowers, vegetables and herbs — with more of an emphasis on flowers — and each entry has a photo and detailed advice on when to sow a plant and how to take care of it. You’ll have to know the Latin name for many of the flowers, though, because that is how the app lists them and there are no thumbnail photos in the flowers list to help identify them.

    Fruit Garden is a slightly similar $0.99 Android and $1.99 iOS app with a focus on fruit plants. It’s a list of common varieties, with details on each to help you understand how to best plant and grow them. The app lacks useful extras like garden management facilities, and its list of plants is not exhaustive. But it has taught me how to better feed the orange trees in my garden.

    The Gardening Guide is a much more detailed app that has lots of advice about planting and tending your garden. It’s aimed more at vegetable gardening than flower gardening, but each entry is well written and has comprehensive advice on each crop. For example, I learned that it’s a good idea to harvest lettuce in the morning, after the leaves have plumped with water overnight. It’s listed as The Gardening Guide From Mother Earth News on iTunes, and as Garden Guide in Google’s app store.

    If you’re planning a bit of a spring garden redesign, the aptly named Garden Design Ideas, free on Android, may help. It’s a large list of photos of gardens, with no extra details or data on plants and so on because it’s all about a garden’s visuals. It shows all sorts of gardens, like modern ones or Japanese-style ones. This app is fairly simple, but it may frustrate you if you fixate on a particular design and want to know more about it.

    Quick call

    Pandora, one of the hottest music streaming apps out there, is finally available as a free Windows Phone 8 app — and as a sweetener, the app has no ads and no monthly streaming limit through the rest of this year.

    Article source: