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Archives for April 12, 2013

Kansas City Homes & Gardens Launches New Web Site Introducing Enhanced …

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LENEXA, Kan., April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Kansas City Homes Gardens, the definitive home design resource for the region, has launched its newly re-designed site,, to enhance the user experience for both local home design businesses and homeowners. With a streamlined design, improved search functionality and rich multi-media content, the new makes it easier for consumers to find home design ideas, resources and professionals.


“We are excited to launch the next-generation Kansas City Homes Gardens site to connect affluent, engaged homeowners and shoppers with our clients, faster and more easily,” said Renee Demott , publisher of Kansas City Homes Gardens. “More than ever, we’re empowering local and home design professionals to strengthen their online brand presence in the marketplace to attract shoppers, drive increased business, and generate more ways to interact with qualified consumers.”

“When a consumer comes to the new for home design ideas, they will find even more relevant content for inspiration, and easy connections to the resources and professionals who can make their dream home happen,” adds Kansas City Homes Gardens Editor in Chief Brooke McGrath . For advertisers, the new site offers a stronger web presence, more lead capturing, enhanced traffic from organic and referral search, and increased opportunities to reach prospective customers.

Key site features include:

  • Premier Showcase, a 400-word story highlighting a local business’s work. Limited to 24 total profiles with prime placement on the home page and all subsequent landing pages in rotations of six, each Premier Showcase listing features unlimited photos,a 250-word company description or story, logo, contact information, website link, “Ask A Question/Get A Quote” functionality, social media connections to Facebook and Twitter accounts, and video upload capability.
  • Design Resources, an online design center and go-to source for visitors searching for products, services and professionals. Featured prominently on the home page and subsequent landing pages, searchable by category or alphabetical listings, the Design Resources features a custom page for every listing that includes 20 photos, a 250-word description, logo, contact information, website link, and “Ask A Question/Get A Quote” functionality.
  • Run-of-Site Digital Display Ads offering exclusivity as one of only 16 advertisers rotating through 4 positions on the site, every landing page, every blog page, every day for one year.
  • Videos custom-produced by Kansas City Homes Gardens that are featured on the site and YouTube for one year. Included is social media announcement, two-week promotion on the home page, and video archived at      

For 26 years, Kansas City Homes Gardens has been the definitive home design resource for the region, delivering building, remodeling, designing and landscaping ideas and information that affluent consumers trust to make their homes practical, functional and inviting. Through its 9 times yearly full-color glossy magazine, web site, blog and social media channels, Kansas City Homes Lifestyles delivers an audience affluent homeowners who are actively searching for home design products and services and connects them with advertisers, some of the most respected businesses in the region’s marketplace.

About Kansas City Homes Gardens
Kansas City Homes Gardens is a part of Network Communications, Inc., a leading local media company providing lead generation, advertising and Internet marketing services to the luxury and multi-family segments of the housing industry. The Company’s leading brands are Apartment Finder, DigitalSherpa, Unique Homes, New England Home and Atlanta Homes Lifestyles. The Company’s strategy focuses on providing high-quality and measurable marketing solutions to local clients by leveraging its proprietary prospect-focused distribution, social media and online franchises, and content management infrastructure.

SOURCE Network Communications, Inc.


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Big bang theory for homes – U

When Jim Holland bought his current house, the former engineer and do-it-yourselfer quickly made a mental list of the home-improvement projects he wanted to tackle.

At the top was a new garage door.

That might not be as flashy as a remodeled kitchen or a new deck — you’re unlikely to see a photo spread on garage doors in the next issue of Better Homes and Gardens — but Holland, as a longtime Realtor and broker in La Jolla, knows the value of curb appeal.

First, he wanted his new home to look good, and pulling into the driveway each day just felt better once the new door was up. But second, Holland has learned that improving the home’s exterior is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to increase its value.


“It made a major, dramatic change to the front of the house, and I got comments all the time from people,” says Holland of the neighbors he soon met. “ ‘Oh, you’re the guy with the nice garage door, right?’ They didn’t know my name, but I was known.”

Holland estimates the custom garage door cost about $5,000, which he says “is a lot of money to spend.” But he calls it a great investment when combined with a later re-stuccoing project to the front of the house that gave it a complete makeover and a significant upgrade in value.

To Holland and others with experience in San Diego real estate, it’s sometimes the smaller projects, a few cans of paint or an upgrade in appliances and landscaping that can not only make homes more livable but more valuable in the long run.

“Granite countertops, brand new cabinets, new fixtures, that sort of stuff is great, and it absolutely helps your property sell quicker and for more money,” says Seth O’Byrne, a San Diego Realtor. “But as far as bang for your buck, it’s really hard to compete with the value of improving the paint and flooring and staging the property well.”

With the help of five longtime county Realtors and some national experts, we offer some of their best bang-for-the-buck ideas for improving the value of your San Diego home.

It’s what’s out front that counts

Paint your house. It’s the best, most cost-effective improvement an owner can make. Because many houses in San Diego have stucco exteriors, re-stuccoing also can make a dramatic change; a $2,000-$5,000 investment might bring a fourfold return in value in today’s market. Or, have the outside walls power washed. Sometimes that’s a less-expensive way to keep the house looking bright and attractive. Resurface the driveway to eliminate cracks and oil stains that make the house appear to have deferred-maintenance issues. Also, good landscaping should be maintained and there should never be a buildup of visible clutter. Barbara Corcoran, a real estate contributor on NBC’s “Today” show, says investing in a new front door always pays off.

One caution: Don’t go crazy on the exterior. Says San Diego Realtor Peter Toner: “Don’t over-improve for the street. The maxim is, always find the worst house on the street and bring it up to the standard of the rest, but don’t go making it the best on the street because you’ll never get your money back.”

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North End group calls for improved landscaping in Greenway parks

Swain, a North End resident since 2000, said he had participated in early planning sessions for the parks, and at that time the design for the park’s boxwood beds seemed sufficient. “Anything was better than the highway” that stood there before, he said, referring to the elevated Central Artery dismantled during the Big Dig.

But having lived with the parks for several years, he said, he believed the time had come to raise expectations.

“We love the fountains. We love the pathways. We love the lawn. The pergola could use some work, but it is what it is,” he said. “Everyone seems to enjoy the space, and the horticulture — it’s nice but it could definitely use a little bit more.”

Georgia Murray, president of the board, said the conservancy wants to work with friends groups and has partnered with groups in other neighborhoods adjacent to the Greenway. She cautioned, though, that it is “a huge undertaking to redo the boxwood beds. … To do that, we need to figure out if we can make that commitment to really get the design right and really done.”

The open pergolas, which stand along the northeastern edges of both parks and provide structure but not shade, were another issue raised last week at the North End community forum, and at earlier meetings. On Tuesday, Murray announced that the conservancy will allocate $15,000 for the purchase of about 11 umbrellas to provide shade at tables set up along the pergolas.

The umbrellas should arrive by June, according to Linda Jonash, director of planning and design for the conservancy.

A discussion of other potential park improvements took up much of the meeting, as board members brainstormed ideas for drawing more visitors to the park, especially during the winter months.

Murray said creating an ice-skating rink at Dewey Square had been a previous suggestion, and that she had long wanted to see a greenhouse constructed that could be used to teach young people about sustainable agriculture.

Other ideas included bicycling and jogging paths; partnering for events with other organizations statewide, such as the Tanglewood music festival; building upon an existing relationship with the Berklee College of Music to bring more live performances to the Greenway; and more athletic events, such as a volleyball tournament.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at
Follow him on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow the North End on Twitter: @YourNorthEnd.
Follow Downtown on Twitter: @YTDowntown.

Jeremy C. Fox for

Nate Swain, president of the Friends of the North End Parks, addressed the board of the directors of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy at its meeting Tuesday night.

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Finding Garden Jewels on Eureka’s E Street – Times

Click photo to enlarge

EUREKA — The committee of the Eureka Sequoia Garden Club recently announced eight winners of the “Garden Jewels on E Street” award. This monthly series honors the front yards of properties in Eureka. The contest has viewed 1,552 buildings and presented 76 certificates during the last eight months.

This month, flowering trees are evident in most of these gardens. The cascading form of the flowering cherry must have been popular 20 years ago. Recently you’ll see those trees presented in their natural forms. Azaleas and rhododendrons continue to grow well in Eureka gardens and are beginning to color all of the neighborhoods.

The public is invited to attend the Eureka Sequoia Garden Club meeting on April 19 at 11 a.m. at First Covenant Church, 2526 J St., to enjoy the program presented by Gary Todoroff, garden photographer. The certificates will be presented at noon.

This month’s jewels are:

Madalenne Smith lives at 1506 E St. She enjoys her flowering cherry tree that looks like an umbrella in the spring. The corner garden lot features primroses, marguerite daisies, daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and forget-me-nots. The gold euonymus frames the front door. The hydrangea, azalea and rhododendrons will bloom later this month. A garden on the side of the house repeats these same favorite bulbs and shrubs. The new trees from the Keep Eureka Beautiful project are just starting to show their leaves.

Mature shrubs and trees give a peaceful theme to

the commercial building located at the corner of Wabash and E streets. Signs help identify it as the California State and Federal Employees Credit Union. Rhododendrons and azaleas provide color, and flowering plum trees sparkle in the spring. The parking lot and entrance are well-marked and the landscaping is well-pruned for good growth. Denise Rogers is the CEO.

The front yard of Philip and Kristi Holland at 2333 E St. has a holly hedge to identify the space and includes a pair of junipers on each side of the front windows. A flowering cherry tree, Australian tea tree and a large cedar tree give height to accent the two-story home. A meandering walkway from the front door to the backyard leaves space for rhododendrons, azaleas, shrub roses and hydrangea, to give color to the landscape.

The three-story late Queen Anne home at 2436 E St. has a tower at the corner, which has garlands of ribbons that are matched by the landscaping. Dr. Rodney and Linda Cade enjoy the magnolia grandiflora trees, which bloom early in the spring. The yard is edged with a low boxwood hedge fronted by tulips, azaleas and lavender. Rhododendrons on each side of the front steps are magnificent and compete with the bergenia, hydrangeas and the holly tree for attention. Sue Natzler was the landscape designer.

Darryl and Beatrice Aberbom live at 2712 E St. The raised beds of timber posts and rails create the border for the landscaping, which is filled with primroses and azaleas. The two-story home is framed by Japanese maples, while podocarpus frame the front door and brick porch. The manicured lawn complements the helleborus, ornamental grasses, hydrangeas, euphorbia, ferns, photinia and pieris. The focal point is the junipers shaped in a cloud formation. Darryl is the plant manager at Shafer’s Garden Center.

The Umpqua Bank branch in Henderson Center, located at 2861 E St., is a commercial building built in the Craftsman style to blend into the Henderson Center neighborhood. Flowering cherry trees in the sidewalk greet the visitors, who can also sit on the wooden bench on the west side of the building.

Rain from the roof lets water travel on the chain downspouts to help keep the turf green. The stone facade is accented by magnolia trees, which add spring color to the collection of azaleas, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, pieris and aralias. Additional color comes from the purple cinerea, miniature agapanthus, zebra grass and bergenia. This is a very well-designed public building.

The ranch-style home with a red brick facade is the home of Scott and Marilyn Ostrom located at 3474 E St. It features purple wisteria hanging from the eaves. Japanese maples frame the property. Low, wrought-iron edging along the sidewalk contains the bright red heather, and the red brick edges the walkway to the front porch. Native stones accent the raised beds of lavender, rhododendrons, beach pine and azaleas. The scene is completed with a rattan swinging bench on the front porch.

The garden located at 3828 E St. is “bee friendly.” Joy Thomas and Stephan Sottong asked Two Green Thumbs garden design company to design the area without any lawn. Gisela Rohde and Julia Graham-Whitt selected flowering currant, lambs ear, fleabane, lavender, violets, bergenia and succulents. A picket fence matches the color of the home and includes an arbor and gate to enter the garden. Bulbs, roses, New Zealand flax, Japanese maples and boxwood give structure to the garden. This is a landscape for a special need (the bees).

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Denver Post Garden Calendar, 4/12/2013


City of Lafayette

Saturday and April 20: Mulch Giveaway Program for Lafayette residents and landscapers, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. City of Lafayette Service Center, 1700 Avalon Ave., Lafayette,

The Center for ReSource Conservation

Visit the website and click on the “2013 Gardens on Sale Now” link for various Garden-in-a-Box options. Kits include plants along with planting and care instructions. Water-efficient gardening and landscaping products and services are also included. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit founded in 1976 to conserve natural resources.

Colorado Water Garden Society

Thursday: Presents “Get Wet: Water Gardening Fun in 2013!,” 6:30-9 p.m. This year’s theme is “Bring the Tropics to Your Backyard Pond: Spectacular Tropical Waterlilies, Marginals and other Water Plants.” Participants will also learn about lighting, fish and fountains. Society members will be on hand to answer questions; staff from local water garden centers and pond businesses will offer mini presentations. Tamara Kilbane with the Denver Botanic Gardens will share information on the IWGS New Waterlily Competition. Door prizes and refreshments included. Free, use the “After Hours” entrance. Gates Hall, Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., 303-843-9619,

Denver Botanic Gardens Library

Tuesday and Saturday: Colorado Master Gardeners are available to answer gardening questions noon -4 p.m. every Tuesday and Saturday in April. 1007 York St., 720-865-3575, e-mail gardeninghelp@;

Echter’s Garden Center: Party with a Purpose

Thursday: Breast Cancer benefit includes refreshments, music, giveaways and shopping of jewelry, handbags, accessories, cooking supplies and body care products, 5-8 p.m., to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. Tickets are $20, $10 is donated to the Foundation. Reservations required, call 303-424-7979. 5150 Garrison St., Arvada,,

Growing Gardens’ Greenhouse

Saturday: The 13th annual Community Plant Sale, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Rain date: April 20. Also holding plant sales the first three weekends in May, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. 1630 Hawthorne Ave., Boulder, 303-443-9952 ext. 2, e-mail,


City of Lafayette

Monday: “Xeriscaping for Beginners Seminar,” 6-8 p.m.; “Backyard Composting Workshop,” 6-8 p.m., call 720-564-2226 for reservations; Wednesday: “EnergySmart Community Workshop,” 6:30-8 p.m., visit for reservations; Thursday: “Converting Existing Landscape to Xeriscape Seminar,” 6-8 p.m. All programs are free. Lafayette Public Library, 775 W. Baseline Road, Lafayette,

Colorado Agriculture Leadership Foundation

Saturday: CALF has partnered with CSU Extension/Douglas County Master Gardeners for a series of gardening classes including “Choosing Soil Amendments,” 8-10 a.m. $5. CALF’s Ag Barn, 2330 S. I-25, Castle Rock, 303-748-6748,,

Denver Botanic Gardens

Saturday: “Hardy Bulbs for Colorado,” 1-6 p.m. $60, $54 members; April 20: “Backyard Chicken Keeping,” 2-5 p.m. $35; April 20 and 27: “Building My First Vegetable/Kitchen Garden,” 9 a.m.-2 p.m. $156, $130 members. Reservations required. 1007 York St., 720-865-3585,


Saturday: Continues its Community Links Series with a “Natural Beekeeping Workshop,” 10 a.m. Learn the basics of a natural, holistic approach to beekeeping, plus local honey taste test. $5-$20 suggested donation. Lunch and an open house follow. 2828 Larimer St.,

Echter’s Garden Center

Saturday:“Vegetable Gardening Know How,” 9:30-11 a.m.; “Selecting the Best Trees and Shrubs for Colorado Gardens,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme … and many more,” 3-4:30 p.m.; Sunday: “Gardens That Inspire and Transform,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Pond 101 — Get Your Feet Wet,” 3-4:30 p.m.; Monday: “Pond in a Pot,” 6-7:30 p.m.; Tuesday: “Living Wall Planter Workshop,” 6-7:30 p.m. $100 materials fee, reservations required; Wednesday: “Selecting Perennials for Lower Maintenance,” 6-7:30 p.m.; April 20: “Beautiful by Design: The Advantages of Xeriscape Gardening,” 9:30-11 a.m.; “High Fashion Meets Horticulture,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Hanging Basket Demonstration,” 3-4:30 p.m.; April 21: “Ornamental Grasses – Catch the Wave,” 1-2:30 p.m.; “Roses – America’s Favorite Flower,” 3-4:30 p.m. 5150 Garrison St., Arvada, 303-424-7979,

The Gardens on Spring Creek

Saturday: “Succession Planting,” 1-2 p.m. $12, $10 members; “Growing Great Greens,” 2:30-3:30 p.m. $12, $10 members; “Using Chickens for Pest Control,” 4-5 p.m. $12, $10 members; April 20: “The Botany of Beer,” 1-3 p.m. $18, $15 members. Reservations required. 2145 Centre Ave., Fort Collins, 970-416-2486,

Jared’s Nursery, Gift and Garden

Saturday:“Attracting Hummingbirds” with Tom Bush of Front Range Birding Company, 10 a.m.; Sunday: “Ponds,” with Andy Humphrey, 1 p.m.; “Lily Ponds vs. Koi Ponds” with the Rocky Mountain Koi Club, 2 p.m. 10500 W. Bowles Ave., Littleton, 303-979-6022,

Nick’s Garden Center Farm Market

Saturday: “Getting Started with Indoor Gardening and Hydroponics,” 10:30 a.m.-noon. Free; April 20: “Nick’s Build a Pond Day,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $15, lunch and snack provided; April 21: “Nick’s Build a Pond-less Waterfall,” 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $15, lunch and snacks provided. Reservations required. 2001 S. Chambers Road, Aurora, 303-696-6657,

Paulino Gardens

Saturday: “Beautiful Easy Herbs for the Garden” with Betty Cahill, 10 a.m. Free; April 20: “Rose Problem Solving” with Dave Ingram from the Denver Rose Society, 10 a.m. Free. Reservations required. 6300 N. Broadway, 303-429-8062,

Ross Cherry Creek Library

Saturday: “Add Whimsy to Your Garden for Next to Nothing,” 1 p.m. 305 Milwaukee St., 720-865-0120

Schlessman Family Library

Sunday: “12 Gorgeous Groundcovers for Preventing Weeds,” 2 p.m. 100 Poplar St., 720-865-0000

Tagawa Gardens

Saturday and Sunday: Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists Show and Sale, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday: “Getting Your Pond Ready for Spring,” 9:30-11:30 a.m.; “Save Money Create a Healthier Landscape,” noon-1 p.m.; Sunday: “All-Natural Skin Care,” 1-3 p.m. $25, reservations required; April 19: “Night of Wine Roses,” discounts, wine tastings, appetizers, raffles and more, 4-7 p.m.; April 20: “Great Fix-Up Tips for Your Landscape at Less Than $250,” 10-11 a.m.; “Blueberries for the pH Challenged,” noon-1 p.m.; April 21: “Mile High Rose Gardening,” 11 a.m.-noon; “Charity Garden Party,” plant a hanging basket, 1-3 p.m. $89 materials fee, $50 for additional baskets, reservations required . 7711 S. Parker Road, Centennial, 303-690-4722,

Timberline Gardens

Saturday: “What To Do, When,” 9-11 a.m. $10;

“Permaculture,” noon-2 p.m. $10; Sunday: “Aromatherapy,” noon-3 p.m. $12, includes materials for one herbal remedy, $7 for each additional remedy; April 20: “Vines: Inglorious Beasts and Gorgeous Treats,” 9-11 a.m. $10; “The Grass Class,” noon-2 p.m. $10; April 21: “Bulbs 101,” 10 a.m.-noon, $10. Reservations required. 11700 W. 58th Ave., Arvada, 303-420-4060,


Denver Botanic Gardens

Through May 12: “Coleoptera Friends: Paintings by Robert Spellman” in the Gates Garden Court Gallery. 1007 York St.,720-865-3580,


Jefferson County CSU Extension

April 20-May 11: “Lessons From the Demonstration Garden,” a four-class series 9-11 a.m. Saturdays. Topics include “Seed Starting” April 20, “Soils and Amendments” April 27, “Irrigation and Mapping” May 4 and “Planting Techniques and Season Protection” May 11. $70 for entire series, $20 per class. Meet in the Horticulture Demonstration Garden. Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 15200 W. 6th Ave., Golden,

Aurora’s Green Revolution Arbor Day Festival Plant Sale

April 20: Family “green” festival includes xeriscaping exhibits, artist demonstrations, crafts for children, a tree and plant sale and more, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Free. The program is included in the “2013: Power of One: Green Revolution” year-long series of events that includes concerts, programs, films, lectures and special events. Aurora Municipal Center, 15151 E. Alameda Parkway, 303-739-7473

Mail info 10-14 days in advance to Garden Calendar, The Denver Post, 101 W. Colfax Ave., Suite 600, Denver, CO 80202; fax 303-954-1679; e-mail

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Garden Tour: Landscaping has English and Mediterranean feel – Enterprise

Click photo to enlargeIn 1992, Rick and Gayle Leland moved to Durham from the Bay Area. Built by Gary Lee of Chico, their home was designed by Jared Polsky of Larkspur, who described the style as “modern Mediterranean.” The property was a dying almond orchard, providing a clean slate for the Leland’s plant collection.

(Please park in the horse riding area and proceed East to the ticket takers.)

To the east from the parking area is an area of palm trees, citrus, lilacs, yucca and Mexican primrose. The south lawn (fescue and encroaching bermuda) is a woodland theme with a pomegranate tree, a number of redwoods, a Deodar cedar, forsythia, azalea, crape myrtles, Russian sage and lilacs.

A simple rectangular form, the pool was built by Bill Beamer. Near the pool house is a kumquat tree.

Around the swimming pool are four beds with Mediterranean fan palms, knifofia, flax, pineapple guava and agapanthus. Notice the chicken coop behind the pool house.

The east lawn is Bermuda grass to accommodate the family’s many sports activities. Separating the east lawn from the horse pasture is a walkway with English garden plants, including a magnolia tree, hollyhocks, roses, eureops, pyracantha, geum, quince, viburnum and two flame euonamous “alata compacta.”

The walkway to the service area has raspberries and a currant on the

right and strawberries on the left.

The garden area also has a three-part compost bin and a nursery area for storing plants awaiting propagation or installation.

The road from the service area to the house has a number of fruit trees designed to produce from May to October: grapes, plums, apples, apricots, cherries, hazelnuts, fuyu persimmon, pistachio nuts, and nectarines. The garden area also has seven raised beds for winter vegetables and a small Quonset hut propagation bed for starting and hardening off.

As you continue on, you may count the 64 rose bushes in the four beds edged in boxwood surrounded by high hedges of cherry laurel. A traditional sundial is in the center. Near the house is an herb garden made up of four beds embedded in the patio.

A wisteria under which are Daphne, gardenias and agapanthus dominates the rock garden. The rock garden has creeping phlox, miniature daffodils, asters, lavender Harlequin Flower, and a “Tiny Rubies” carnation.

The driveway has arid plants with olive trees, New Zealand Flax (Phormium), Fortnight Lily (deities) and crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia Indica), ceanothus, eureops and toyon. Also from Australia is an unusual “drumstick” plant (crassedia globosa).

The auto court area is dominated by a center arrangement with a fountain and a fruitless olive tree. Around the circle are three Chinese pagoda trees (sophora japonica) providing shade for cars. Shrubs include a peony, abelia, ralpholopsis, sage, nandina and agapanthus. Near the corner of the house is a small cactus garden with aloes. Providing a lovely fragrance in this area is a viburnum tinus, a wintersweet (chimonanthus) and a number of citrus.

St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church’s 30th annual Garden Tour is planned for Saturday, May 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Chico. It will feature five unique gardens.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 on tour day. The price includes five gardens, luncheon and a plant boutique. Garden locations and a map are printed on the tickets. (Some gardens may not be suitable for the mobility impaired.)

Tickets may be purchased at:

* Christian and Johnson, 250 Vallombrosa Avenue, Chico

* Little Red Hen Gift Shop, 897 E. 20th Street, Chico

* Little Red Hen Therapeutic Plant Nursery, 8th and Wall streets, Chico

* Little Red Hen Kids and Kitchens, 959 East Avenue, Chico

* Magnolia Gift and Garden, 1367 East Avenue, Chico

* Zucchini and Vine, 2nd and Main streets, Chico

* TJ’s Nursery and Gifts, 2107 Kennedy Avenue, Chico

* The Plant Barn and Gift Shop, 406 Entler Ave., Chico

* Mendon’s Nursery, 5424 Foster Road, Paradise

* Hodge’s Nursery and Gifts, 9681 Midway, Durham

* St. John’s Church office, 2341 Floral Avenue, Chico.

NOTE: St. John’s Church office will be the only location selling tickets after 3 p.m. on Friday, May 3. For more information, contact St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church at 894-1971. Or visit the church website at

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Gardening event and some lawn tips

Make plans to attend Celebrate Spring Gardening. This event is being offered by CCC-Columbus with help from UNL Extension Master Gardeners.

The event will be held April 19 from 4-7:30 p.m. at Highland Park Church. For information, call Karen Moroczek at (402) 562-1249.

At the event, learn about gardening and do a little shopping. A variety of garden sessions, such as new Proven Winners, growing great tomatoes, and perennials that thrive in the sun will be offered, along with sessions on gardening photography, backyard bird feeding and flower arranging.

A garden market will be set up, and a box lunch will be part of your $20 registration.

Is it time to? This is the most common question I hear in spring. Here’s the answer to two of the most common lawn related questions.

The No. 1 question is about applying preemergence herbicide for crabgrass. Last week soil temperatures in Platte County averaged 45 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a good 10 degrees colder than the majority of crabgrass seed will even begin to germinate.

If you apply your own preemergence herbicide for crabgrass, wait until late April or early May to apply. By waiting, one application will provide effective control. While professional lawn care services have been applying these products, in most cases they make two applications during the season.

A benefit to applying your own is one application can be made at the best time for controlling crabgrass and at the best time for fertilizing. Money is saved and less pesticide is used. Since most crabgrass herbicides are sold as part of fertilizers, waiting until after soil temperatures have warmed to apply promotes a healthier turf less prone to disease.

If you have or will be seeding or overseeding the lawn, preemergence herbicides for crabgrass control cannot be applied to the area. These products will kill young turfgrass seedlings as well as crabgrass seedlings.

The second most common lawn question is about power raking and aerating. April is the month to do both. They can also be done in September.

Aeration is a practice that can be done as often as possible. The soil does need to be moist, but not wet, for effective core aeration.

Core aeration removes plugs of soil. This relieves soil compaction and promotes root and rhizome growth. It increases infiltration of rain and irrigation water and fertilizer into soil. When overseeding, it provides holes for seed to fall into for seed to soil contact.

Power raking removes thatch. This practice is hard on turfgrass and can stir up weed seeds. We only recommend power raking when the true thatch layer exceeds one-half inch. Thatch is a reddish brown mat-like layer found between the soil and green grass. It is made up of dead roots and rhizomes and is most common on highly maintained lawns.

A half-inch thatch layer is beneficial for turfgrass. It protects the plant crown from traffic and temperature extremes. Excessive power raking could prevent this half-inch layer from developing, creating stress for the lawn. However, once true thatch exceeds one-half inch, power raking is the only way to reduce it.

Some homeowners lightly power rake to clean up the lawn in spring. This makes the homeowner feel better, more than it helps the lawn. It is fine to do; however, be sure that core aeration is also practiced. If you only have time or money for one of these practices, core aeration is the one to go with.

Kelly Feehan is a UNL extension educator-horticulture. She can be reached at (402) 563-4901 or by email at either or


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Grow Your Own Food: 5 Gardening Tips For Early Spring

Sprouts are just beginning to pop up – time to start garden planning! Photo by Sara B.

Over the last few seasons, we’ve become avid gardeners, both in a community garden plot and on our porch. This season, with the help of an expert, we’re going to take it to the next level. No more tiny window boxes of flowers for us — now it’s time to see how much food we can pack into our small urban spaces.

If you look outside right now, you won’t see a lot of food growing, unless there is some sort of new variety of grey squash that is blending in with the sky. But that doesn’t mean a home gardener has nothing to do. Beds need to be cleaned out, seeds and starts need to be ordered, and a lot of decisions need to be made. What can you grow in a container? What is best saved for a garden plot or bought at the farmers market?

To get answers to these questions (and tons more throughout the season) we turned to gardener extraordinaire Sara Gasbarra. Gasbarra is the owner of Verdura, a company that designs and maintains restaurant and residential gardens. We aren’t talking ornamental shrubbery — this woman grows food. She graciously agreed to help us through the growing seasons of 2013. To begin, here are some tips to get you through that early spring, pre-planting time when most of us are itching to get in the garden if only it would stop raining.

1.) Make sure you know which plants to start early and which can wait, and start planning now.

Not everything gets planted at the same time. This was a rude awakening to us the first time we tried to plant a garden. We assumed we could just plant tomato seeds and lettuce seeds next to each other on the same day in June and everything would just … work out. Gasbarra puts us right:

“Home gardeners need to consider the plant and veggies that are “long term” and those that are “short term” — and in this case, we’re talking days to maturity. If you are growing radishes, the days to maturity is about 25 days, so you can plant these early in the season (as soon as April, they do well in cool weather), but if you get a late start (say June/July), you’ll be okay too, because their growing cycle is so short.

“The varieties you need to be wary of as far as timing goes are the long-term veggies: the ones you plant in the spring that stay put all season long: tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, summer and winter squash, cauliflower, etc. These guys need the entire season, so you want to get them in the soil as early as you can. For brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts) — they can handle cool weather, so mid-late April is best. For the rest, mid- to late-May. You can plant these guys in June, but it’s already risky. If you get a very late start on your garden, say July — I’d skip the long-term plants and just grow root crops, greens and herbs.

Also be sure to distinguish which plants can grow from seed in the garden and which need to be started indoors/bought from a store. If you’re a fan of technology, there are plenty of online apps to plan your garden that come with all of this information built-in. We’ve been playing with Smart Gardener, but there are plenty of others.

2.) Some things just might not be worth growing in your urban garden.

When we first started gardening, we used the “square foot” method — you break the garden plot into squares and divide the crop up that way. The upside: it seems like you have so much space! The downside: one head of cauliflower or broccoli is a whole square, and it takes all season to grow. This goes double for container gardeners, who have even more limited space. Are there some things that are best to leave to farmers with more land?

“Some big stuff takes up lots of space and has a very long growing life — cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, pumpkins, summer and winter squash. If you have the space for them — go ahead! But these guys require a ton of space. In addition, summer squash and winter squash are more prone to disease (powdery mildew) and pests (squash vine borer insect) — you’ve got precious real estate in the garden, these plants take up tons of space and if a plant becomes infected and eventually dies — you’ve now wasted lots of space.

Our tip? Support your local farmers who know what they are doing and maximize your own land to grow the things you can grow well.

3.) Some plants are better for porch gardens than others.

We’re lucky enough to have a beautiful garden plot with the Peterson Garden Project where we will be growing our tomatoes and cucumbers. But we also have a porch, and many of our garden buds have nothing but a porch. Should we just throw any old plant in a pot on the porch and see what happens?

“You want to stick to plant varieties that stay small. In the spring I like growing baby greens from seed (arugula, mache, broccoli raab, mustard), non-trellising snap peas, radishes and scallions. In the summer, I then include tomatoes, herbs (basil, tarragon, thyme, mint, lemon verbena, anise hyssop, rose geranium, savory, rosemary and sage are my favorites!) and chile peppers.”

You can always be ambitious (this year, we’re going to try to trellis cucumbers on our porch railing) but don’t try anything too crazy, or it’ll just end in tears and wasted space.

4.) Make sure you get the right containers.

The first time we tried growing things on our porch, we just bought random pots from Home Depot and lined them up. Things grew, but we didn’t really maximize our yields — and the shallow depth of the soil combined with the crazy heat of last summer meant that our plants had to be watered practically every 20 minutes. Gasbarra plants in hundreds of containers per year, so she knows what to buy.

Earthboxes are great — they are extremely lightweight and have a water reservoir in the bottom of the container that helps feed the plants from the bottom, in addition to being watered from the top. I recently came across a company called Gronomics based out of Minnesota which has a great selection of easy to install/construct cedar boxes, which are very attractive.”

5.) Buy seeds and transplants from reputable sources.

We have nothing against your neighborhood hardware store, but if you’re looking for heirloom varieties, organic seedlings or other specialized plants, you have to know where to buy them. We buy all of our tomato and pepper seedlings straight from Seed Savers Exchange (they ship them live) and Gasbarra has some favorite sources of her own.

“I buy most of my veggie starts at Green City Market. The farmers who sell starts in May and June have some really cool stuff and unique, unsual varieties in addition to the more popular, common stuff. Leaning Shed Farm, Radical Root, Tomato Mountain, Genesis Growers, Growing Power, Nichols Farm and Orchard and Smits Farm all have wonderful starts.

As added bonus from buying starts at the market, if you run into an issue mid-season, you have a whole bunch of “experts” you can reach out to or visit on Wednesdays and Saturdays to get advice! The farmers are happy to answer questions. In addition to GCM, I love Anton’s Greenhouse in Evanston — its a funky little place tucked away in a residential neighborhood in southwest Evanston with a beautiful selection of plants (ornamental and edible) and they are extremely friendly and helpful.”

In addition to these locations, Gasbarra suggests Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange and Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company as good sources for seeds.

Start planning your garden now! A few hours of planning on a rainy Saturday can go a long way towards sating your garden urges.

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