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Archives for April 21, 2013

Friendscaping: Garden planted with love

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The idea struck Sallye Clark when dropped her dear friend Kathy King off at her house and King lamented the landscaping chores she’d neglected during a serious, enervating illness.

Although she enjoyed working in the yard, King didn’t have the stamina to landscape the house she and her husband, Jim, had purchased the previous year on a quiet South Hills street.

“I suggested we get a team together. It’ll be like back in the day when we’re all young and poor and got together and worked on a project. Kathy didn’t want to put people out,” said Clark, who first met Kathy at church about 25 years ago.

An upcoming vacation for the Kings provided the tenacious Clark with a narrow window of opportunity. She called friends, who called friends, including landscape architect Beth Loflin, and developed an ambitious action plan within a week.

When the Kings left the following week, the heavy equipment arrived along with crews of volunteers wielding shovels and rakes. As preparation for the garden installation, they jackhammered and removed a sidewalk, dug out a water well and excavated a courtyard area in preparation for a flagstone patio. Trucks arrived with loads of trees, shrubs, plants and mulch — lots of mulch.

Clark had consulted Jim King and the Kings’ daughter Jane about the project before they left for their trip, but Kathy had no idea about the transformation that was happening in her absence.

“Once Sallye gets an idea, you better just get out of the way. I was just taking orders at this point,” said Jim, who made whatever surreptitious preparations he could before they left.

The Kings had consulted with Loflin about a landscape plan in the past. She’d sketched some ideas, so she already had a good idea of what landscape concepts they liked. “We were going to go forward with the plan at some point, but it probably wouldn’t have done it all ourselves for three or four years. This came together in a couple of weeks,” said Jim King.

When the Kings returned home April 8, the extent of grounds’ metamorphosis surprised Jim — but it stunned Kathy, who was initially speechless, then tearful as she walked the property and took in the makeover.

“I was so totally overwhelmed as we drove up. It’s not so much the look, which was wonderful, but the idea that so many people came together and did this,” Kathy said.

Martha Hannah, another longtime friend who helped Clark marshal volunteers, said many more people wanted to help but were out of town for spring break. She thought they might have made financial contributions.

Kathy confirmed that people had contributed, but they don’t know who made donations. All they know is that when Jim went to Green’s Feed Seed to settle the bill for materials, he was told that the account had a balance of zero.

At first, the unassuming Kathy felt uncomfortable that so many people, some of whom she didn’t even know, had given so much for the impressive project. Hannah helped her gain perspective.

“I have a hard time accepting help. Then Martha told me that they had so much fun doing this. She told me that it was as much a blessing to them as it was to me,” Kathy said. “I learned that if I don’t accept help from others, it’s an ego issue.”

Volunteers poured in from the ranks of people who knew the Kings through Christ Church United Methodist, tennis and WVU tailgating parties. Colleagues joined in. She is a nurse anesthetist at Cabell Huntington Hospital, and he is an architect with the Higher Education Policy Commission.

Neither Hannah nor Clark was surprised at the enthusiastic response.

“To me, it’s a testament to the type of people Jim and Kathy are,” Hannah said.

In addition to friends who provided labor, George Washington High School instructor Col. Monty Warner brought several JROTC students to lend a hand. The students toiled in cold, rainy weather to break up the sidewalk and cut down existing trees and undergrowth. Clark, who previously taught English at GW, recruited Warner’s assistance for the project.

The students and volunteers tossed discarded materials into a bin loaned to the site by a friend who owns a waste management company.

In all, about 40 people worked on the project. Hannah, Loflin and Clark said they enjoyed the project so much, many people told them they didn’t want it to end.

“Everyone was smiling and laughing. It brought people together who had no other common thread,” said Loflin. Hannah added that she had the chance to meet Kathy’s friends she’d never met, but often heard her friend speak about.

Freely given labor and donated materials, equipment and services brought the cost of the renovation to about a fifth of its actual value, Loflin said.

Hannah offered some bricks leftover from an addition to her home for the project, and Loflin worked them into seating areas along the circular courtyard. Gardening friends added another personal touch.

“Some people divided plants from their own yards. This is really a garden of love,” Hannah said.

Star magnolia, dwarf nectarine and espaliered crabapple trees join low-care perennials and planters of brightly colored annuals to rim the patio’s peaceful seating area. Potted herbs are within easy reach to clip for culinary use. The area is softly lighted for evening relaxation.

“The patio is my favorite part of the project,” Kathy said. The Kings also enjoy sitting on their front porch. Their former neighbor Jane Hammett sorted through her extensive collection of fabrics and picked colorful fabrics she used to re-cover the cushions.

Newly planted and mulched beds hug the house’s foundation, while a stand-alone vegetable and fruit garden stands in the back yard, already planted with blueberry bushes and a peach tree. This garden will provide physical sustenance to bolster the sensory pleasure offered in the front yard.

“I think all of us hope that Kathy finds comfort, joy and relaxation as she undergoes further treatment,” Clark said. “Kathy is so giving and kind. I think this says that there are many more good people than bad in the world when they come together for something like this.”

Reach Julie Robinson at jul… or 304-348-1230.

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How to create an edible landscape in your yard – RiverheadLOCAL

Written by Laurie Nigro

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Learn how you can eliminate turf grass and the chemical pesticides and fertilizers it requires by replacing turf with attractive edibles.

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Natural Living badgeLast week I wrote about reducing or, preferably, eliminating the use of pesticides and fertilizers in lawn care and management. I said that this week, I’d talk about ways to have an edible lawn. I’ll get into that, but first I need you to now that I will barely be able to scrape the tip of the iceberg on this topic.

Entire books can be (and have been) written about food lawns. Groups are dedicated to the cause and people with much more knowledge of the process than myself, have written very succinctly about its applications. So, I’ll try to proffer a few ideas and then I’ll include as many resources as I can to get you started.

The biggest step is making the decision to grow food. It doesn’t have to be a massive, all-in-one overhaul where you rip out all your grass and start from scratch. Of course, you can certainly take that approach if it suits you, but most people like to start small and see how it goes.

Choosing to grow an herb garden is a good place to start. Choose a small area of turf, one that gets ample sun, and remove the grass. You can also take over a flower bed or other cleared area. Decide which herbs you use most. Many people start with basil, cilantro, oregano, thyme, mint, parsley or some combination. The first two are annuals, the next three are perennials and parsley is a biennial. Mint is extremely invasive so it’s best to keep it in a pot. If you’d like to put it in the ground, you can leave it in the pot when planting. Unless, of course, you want the mint to take over.

Most herbs are fairly low maintenance and are easy to harvest. I often run out to my herb bed for something fresh to throw in a salad, soup or sauce. As the season comes to an end, I either freeze the last bounty or dry it, for use throughout the colder months.

Another way to gradually incorporate edible or medicinal plants into your yard is with flowers. Nasturtium is a vining plant that produces beautiful yellow and orange flowers. They look fabulous in a salad and have a slightly sweet, very peppery flavor. Nasturtium tolerate poor soil and are easy to grow from seed.

Calendula is another edible flower that also has great medicinal value. Add the flower as a garnish on a brunch plate or top a fresh garden salad. The dried flowers can be used as a tea or seeped in oil for topical use. Calendula is a wonderful ointment that I’ve been using for years to soothe skin irritations.

Coneflower, or echinacea, is also a medicinal plant. Additionally, it is quite pretty and
fits well in most flower beds. It does get tall though, and is a perennial, so take care when choosing a location for planting. I’ve seen the daisy-like flowers sprout in purple, pink, red, orange and even white. The root is often dried and made into a tea to boost the immune system.

Chives are one of my favorite plants. They are among the first to come up in the spring, with thick, tall, grass-like clumps that make an excellent addition to any dish requiring a little oniony zest. As the season progresses, the plant sprouts purple, spiked, ball-like flowers that share that onion essence. They are another edible flower. Chives require almost no maintenance and get larger each year. They also stay green far into the fall. If the plant gets too big for the space it’s in, you can split it and plant some more in another area of your yard, or share it with a friend.

As I’ve said, whole books have been written about edible landscaping. Apparently, I have even more to say about it than I thought. I’ll continue with the topic next week but I’ll focus on vegetables. Vegetable plants can also be incorporated into a beautiful yard and I’ll offer some suggestions about how to accomplish just that.

If you want to get started right away, check out and or stop in at the Riverhead Library. They have a fairly large and comprehensive selection of gardening titles. I highly recommend “This Organic Life,” by Joan Gussow or this great article by Michael Pollan: “Why Mow? The Case Against Lawns.”

If you already have chives sprouting and want to incorporate some into your cooking, try mixing the chopped greens in a little sour cream for the top of your taco, or put some in an omelet. Fresh eggs are also in abundance this time of year. Look for them at your local farm stand or coyly mention to a chicken-owning friend how much you love eggs. I can almost guarantee they will happily hand over a half dozen or so.

Cream Cheese Chive Omelet


1 tablespoon non-GMO oil
4 eggs
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
pepper, to taste
2 ounces cream cheese, cubed

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat. Whisk together the eggs, chives, milk, salt and pepper. Add egg mixture to skillet. When the eggs are set, sprinkle cream cheese on one side; fold other side over filling. Slide omelet onto a plate.

What herbs are you growing this year? Do you plan to incorporate any elements of edible landscaping? Let me know at

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Nigro laurie
Laurie Nigro
, a mother of two, is passionate about natural living. Laurie resides in downtown Riverhead and is co-founder of the River and Roots Community Garden on West Main Street. Contact her by email to



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9 Weekend DIY Ideas That Will Inspire Your Inner Landscaper (PHOTOS)

We’re always excited to learn useful tips from gardening experts. But maintaining an impressive lawn takes more than a deeper knowledge of caring for plants.

For example, pretty accents like stone pathways and water features can enhance an outdoor space. In our slideshow below, you’ll find nine great landscaping projects that can improve your backyard’s scenery in just one weekend. Go on and get started. And if you have another idea we haven’t already listed, be sure to let us know in the comments below.

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  • Build A Stepping Stone Path

    Create a stepping stone path through your lawn or garden by mapping out the path, driving stakes at each end of its destination and attaching string to create an outline. Measure out the stones so there’s one under foot for each step. Use a half-moon edger to remove the earth from beneath where your stones will lay and add stone dust to give the stones a stable base. For the full tutorial, visit a href=”,,20588294_21148320,00.html” target=”_blank”This Old House/a.

  • Build A Wood Slat Compost Bin

    Compost has great benefits for your garden, so if you have a green thumb, building a compost bin is a great idea. First, purchase waterproof and rot-resistant wood that will survive the elements. You’ll want 1×4 lumber to make 24 horizontal slats: 8 slats will make up the lid, 8 slats for the back and cover, plus 8 for legs. For the back, lay down six slats of wood with a 3/4 inch gap between them. Then lay slats perpendicularly over both ends and nail securely. Do the same thing to make the sides of the bin. After making all the sides and back, secure them by glueing and screwing the corners together. Lastly, to make the lid, attach battens to four slats that are 2 1/2 inches shorter than the slats when put together. This makes one half of the lid (Repeat this for the other half).

  • Build A Trellis

    If you’re looking to spruce up your garden or an outdoor wall a bit, a trellis is the perfect way. To make your own, first decide what size you’d like and purchase the amount of lattice and ply wood (this will be the frame) based on the a href=”,,20269959,00.html” target=”_blank”those measurements/a. Next, you’ll want to make notches where the frame will come together and then begin to assemble it. Then, use a power drill and screws to secure the frame together. Afterwards, lay the frame on the ground and place the lattice on it. The lattice should rest on a notch in between your frame, so it is important to get the measurements correct. Then, use the drill to secure the lattice to the frame and a href=”,,20269959_20604021,00.html” target=”_blank”attach back-stops to keep it in place/a. Next, install the caps (the top portion of the trellis), using a drill. Then, dig holes where the lattice will be placed, install the trellis and fill the holes with gravel and soil to keep it in place.

    For a full tutorial, head over to a href=”,,20269959_20604031,00.html” target=”_blank”This Old House/a.

  • Create An Outdoor Water Feature

    A water feature can make a backyard feel like an oasis. To install a lovely fountain, choose a waterproof container such as a large garden pot and using a drill, make a hole through the bottom. Buy a a href=”” target=”_blank”pump/a at your local big box store and place it inside, running the electrical cord out through the hole. Use a silicone sealant to seal the hole around the cord. Fill your container with water, and make sure to add a couple of tablespoons of bleach periodically so algae does not grow.

    For a more elaborate fountain tutorial go to a href=”,,20050351,00.html” target=”_blank”This Old House/a.

  • Build A Mini Greenhouse

    Prepare your plants for the cooler weather ahead with a mini greenhouse. You’ll need a few different types of a href=”” target=”_blank”PVC piping/a (along with primer and cement) to assemble and secure the frame and plastic sheeting to cover the top. Choose the sizes according to how many plants you want to keep inside and what will fit in your yard.

    Check out the full tutorial at a href=”” target=”_blank”

  • Re-Mulch Your Garden

    Adding some fresh mulch to your garden will help prepare and protect plants against the colder months ahead. Choose the right type of mulch (straw, leaf or pine needles) depending on the type of plants you have, and then get to work before it starts to get too cold.

    To learn what type of mulch to use and how to properly apply each, visit a href=”” target=”_blank”Weekend Gardener/a.

  • Edge Your Garden

    Last year’s many run-ins with a lawn mower plus the proceeding months of weather means that last year’s garden edging is likely worse for the wear. But thankfully, it’s easy to replace. We love the look of stone or sculpted cement edging, but honestly, a href=”” target=”_blank”forged iron/a is the easiest to deal with (involving little more than staking the edging into ground). But for a guide to laying edging blocks into your garden, visit a href=”” target=”_blank”Ron Hazelton/a.

  • No More Bare Lawn Patches

    It’ll take a little time, but you can fill in those thin spots in your lawn made by frequent foot traffic, shade, or…well…dogs. (Dog owners will know what we’re referring to.) A good grass seed carefully sprinkled into the area now, will fill in before the summer heat begins later on. For the full details on seeding bare spots in the lawn, visit a href=”” target=”_blank”Life And Lawns/a.

  • Re-Gravel The Driveway

    Because gravel driveways and paths can get “potholes” too. The good news is that all you’ll need are a few bags of gravel, a 2×4 (or something to “tamp” the gravel into place) and, if on a driveway, a car. Simply fill, tamp and then run over the filled-in spot. For a more detailed how-to, visit a href=”” target=”_blank”TLC/a.

Have something to say? Check out HuffPost Home on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.


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Designer leaves no stone unturned

Enabling Cookies in Internet Explorer 7, 8 9

  1. Open the Internet Browser
  2. Click Tools Internet OptionsPrivacyAdvanced
  3. Check Override automatic cookie handling
  4. For First-party Cookies and Third-party Cookies click Accept
  5. Click OK and OK

Enabling Cookies in Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox browser
  2. Click ToolsOptionsPrivacyUse custom settings for history
  3. Check Accept cookies from sites
  4. Check Accept third party cookies
  5. Select Keep until: they expire
  6. Click OK

Enabling Cookies in Google Chrome

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser
  2. Click Tools iconOptionsUnder the HoodContent Settings
  3. Check Allow local data to be set
  4. Uncheck Block third-party cookies from being set
  5. Uncheck Clear cookies
  6. Close all

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Boulder Landscaping Company to Host Earth Day Workshop in Broomfield on …

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Boulder landscape designer Bill Melvin to host Earth Day workshop in Broomfield, CO.

Take the time to look at the drought and watering restrictions as an opportunity or catalyst for change.

Boulder, CO (PRWEB) April 20, 2013

Ecoscape Environmental Design, a landscaping company from Boulder, CO, will host an educational workshop on xeriscaping on Sunday, April 21st in Broomfield in celebration of Earth Day.

The workshop, which will take place at 3pm this Sunday at 16151 Lowell Blvd, Broomfield, CO, is intended to educate audiences of varying skill sets on the topics of xeriscape gardens, edible gardens, and even fruits and vegetables.

“We’ve designed the workshop material for homeowners looking to transform their lawn to xeriscape gardens, install a vegetable garden, or incorporate fruits, berries, and herbs into their landscapes,” Ecoscape Environmental Design owner and Boulder landscape designer Bill Melvin said. “We will also cover more advanced material for the avid gardener looking for new species to integrate into their land, the curious gardener wanting to know what type of fruits can grow well in this climate, and even the beginning gardener who will find fascination in colorful photos of what is possible in our semi-arid environment.”

Workshop: Xeriscaping in our Arid West

Date: Sun. April 21, 2013

Location: 16151 Lowell Blvd, Broomfield, CO 80023

Time: 3-4pm

For more info, contact Ecoscape at 303.447.2282

For Melvin, Earth Day is something he has celebrated since he was just a kid.

“Ever since I was a kid I thought it was so wonderful to have one day out of the year where people actually pay tribute to this cosmic ecosystem we call home,” he said. “For many, thankfully, Earth Day is acknowledged every day of the year, but April 22 is a great opportunity to bring community together for conscious recognition of how vital the livings systems all around us are.”

With recent changes to water laws in Boulder County that will now allow residents to use roof water catchment of rain water and snow melt, Melvin will show people how to lower their water bills in his presentation of “Xeriscaping in our Arid West.”

“Take the time to look at the drought and watering restrictions as an opportunity or catalyst for change. There are so many little ways you can proactively save water. It is a wonderful time to tear up that lawn you are tired of caring for and watering excessively,” Melvin said. “In a semi-arid desert, isn’t it just silly that engineers design developed land to shed water into the sewer? Why not capture it and use it?”

Gray water can now be utilized for flushing of toilets and sub surface drip irrigation, Melvin said. These changes are not very feasible for many as the city requires separately plumbed lines for the gray water making the investment cost prohibitive to most.

“In the not too distant future, I believe we will see big changes to Colorado water laws,” Melvin said. “It was after all not too long ago that the mayor of Denver was advising people to catch their shower water for use in their landscapes.”

Call the Ecoscape Environmental Design office at 303.447.2282 to learn more about the Earth Day Workshops. Learn more about Ecoscape’s landscaping design and maintenance services at

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Garden guide: Cabin fever out, spring fever in

It’s been a long, long winter. But warmer weather will arrive eventually and then things will start to pop — maybe even bloom. Garden shops are eager to roll out the floral carpet for the growing season. Use this guide of garden centers’ descriptions and locations to get started. Please note that season openings and hours vary and change. Check websites or call for the most up-to-date information.

Abrahamson Nurseries. All three garden centers — in Stillwater, Scandia and St. Croix Falls — offer plenty of things in bloom as well as gardening supplies and accessories. Be sure to check out the garden-themed gifts while there. Delivery and landscape services are available at each site. (2100 Tower Drive, Stillwater; 651-433-2140;

20021 St. Croix Trail N., Scandia; 651-433-2431; 1257 State Road 35, St. Croix Falls, Wis.; 715-483-3040;

Bergmann’s Greenhouses and Farm Market. A destination in the St. Croix River Valley for scoring lush bedding plants and overflowing floral hanging baskets for gifts. (12239 62nd St. N., Stillwater; 651-439-9577)

Country Sun Farm in Stillwater. In 35 years, this family-owned institution has blossomed into greenhouses and a retail garden center where visitors can stock up on a colorful variety of flowers and plants. (11211 N. 60th St., Lake Elmo; 651-439-4156;

Camrose Hill Shop. From elegant roses to colorful wildflowers, floral designer Cindie Sinclair’s love affair with nature and country living come across in her garden-fresh-style bouquets. Former farm fields have been turned into sprawling gardens for a place to take a stroll and smell the roses. Events also are offered on the property. (233 S. Second St., Stillwater; 651-351-9631;

Dege Garden Center. For more than 100 years, fans have

come from all over for Dege’s large selection of flower and vegetable seeds. During the season, George Dege, or “Mr. Lawn,” passes along his extensive gardening knowledge Saturday mornings on a national call-in talk show on 1220 AM Radio. (831 N. Century Ave., St. Paul; 651-739-5296;

Fleur de Lis. This quaint florist shop on Cathedral Hill has something to suit a variety of styles. Potted plants and floral arrangements come in themes ranging from tropical to country living. The gift shop with pottery and jewelry from local artists also stands out. (516 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-292-9562;

Funkie Gardens. Nursery near William O’Brien State Park is a place to enjoy nature’s bounty while stocking up on the center’s unique offerings, such as Martagon lilies and lady’s slipper orchids. More than 300 perennials and 400 hosta varieties offered. (19713 Quinnell Ave., Marine on St. Croix; 651-433-4599;

Garden Safari Gifts. Among the unique offerings at the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park’s gift shop are bonsais and bonsai supplies. Garden-themed gifts, such as outdoor nightlights and nature-inspired jewelry, also are part of the stockpile. (1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; 651-487-8222;

Gray Gardens. Visitors come to this garden and landscape center on Victorian grounds for decorating ideas both indoors and out. The home store features shrubs and flowers as well as an elaborate selection of garden gifts and accessories, plus gazebos, fountains and statuary. (366 Water St., Excelsior; 952-474-9150;

Hermes Floral Greenhouses. For three generations, this family-run institution has grown flowers and plants to sell at its floral, garden and gift shop. Bouquets range from classic to contemporary, simple to lavish. (1639 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; 651-646-7135;

Highland Nursery. More than 60 years

since opening in Highland Village, this St. Paul family-owned nursery now on West Seventh Street has blossomed into a lush selection of herbs, heirloom vegetables and unique plants. Statuary and other garden accents also are available. While strolling the grounds, be sure to check out the elaborate Bur Oak tree sculpture paying a tribute to John Smith and Elizabeth Ryan Smith, who homesteaded the site in 1850. (1742 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-698-1708;

Humble Acres. Owner Diane Reszka grows on three acres of western Wisconsin countryside, and her store emphasizes unique perennials friendly to Midwest climates as can be seen in the more than 400 varieties, including native species, rain garden plants and butterfly flowers. (433 East Cove Road, Hudson, Wis.; 612-290-5004;

Leitner’s. Deck out your patio and garden with finds from this St. Paul institution, especially known for its custom potting plants and more than 100 varieties of herbs. The center recently expanded its Asian and heirloom vegetables. Fruiting plants and original garden art also are available. (945 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-2655;

Lilydale Garden Center. This garden design and installation spot is a favorite stop for garden-style arrangements. Fans also like it for the wide variety of flowering shrubs and tropical houseplants as well as fruiting and ornamental shade trees. The gift shop includes botanical and garden accessories, ranging from soaps to wind chimes. Purchases come with complimentary gift-wrapping. (941 Sibley Memorial Highway, St. Paul; 651-457-6040;

Mother Earth Gardens. Organic, sustainable and local are key philosophies at this independently owned spot where a variety of seeds, vegetables, herbs, annuals, perennials and native trees can be found. The gift store offers a selection of eco-friendly, local and handmade gifts plus garden decor. Besides the Longfellow spot, Mother Earth Gardens plans to open a second site in Northeast Minneapolis (2318 N.E. Lowry Ave.) by month’s end. (3738 42nd Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-724-2296;

My Sister’s Garden. This western Wisconsin spot features a wide variety of annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, plants and gift items. Especially known for its perennials and design, it also offers gardening workshops and floral and landscaping services. (850 Kelly Road off Highway 12, Hudson, Wis..; 715-386-4111;

Petunia’s. Flying pig statues are part of the shop’s eclectic assortment of vintage and contemporary home and garden accessories. Upholstered furniture, throw pillows, French country decor, garden statuary, Chinese lanterns and benches are part of the mix. (421 Third St., Excelsior; 952-474-0461;

Savory’s Gardens. For about 70 years, Savory’s has flourished, growing into a mail-order business specializing in hostas. On-site sales are offered during the growing season. Besides hostas, look for other perennials at the garden store. More than three dozen new flower varieties will be offered in 2013. The store opens May 1 and the display garden on June 1. (5300 Whiting Ave., Edina; 952-941-8755;

Sam Kedem Nursery. Smell the roses as well as ornamental shrubs, fruit and shade trees at this nursery that emphasizes certified organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables. The spot is popular for its pick- your-own fruit offerings and a garden-themed gift shop featuring flower baskets, homemade jam and more. (12414 191st St. E., Hastings; 651-437-7516;

Squire House Gardens. A nursery and display garden are located in a charming renovated 1875 home along the St. Croix River Valley. Among the garden center’s specialties are offering perennials and woody plants tough enough to survive extreme Midwest climates. Annuals, herbs, trees and shrubs are available. The gift shop, with every-thing from jewelry to skin-care products and home decor to garden tools, is a must-see. Landscape design services are available. (3390 St. Croix Trail S., Afton; 651-436-8080;

Tangletown Gardens. This eclectic spot is a place for gardeners and others alike. Growers will have plenty to choose from, including a large assortment of heirloom vegetables, aquatic plants and more than 3,000 perennial varieties. The shop carries gardening tools, outdoor accessories, artisan jewelry and gifts. During the growing season, regulars also come for the daily farmers’ market and to buy CSA shares from Tangletown’s own farm. If that weren’t enough, Tangletown also offers landscape services. (5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-822-4769;

Terrace Horticultural Books. Green-thumb enthusiast Kent Petterson collects one of the largest stocks of books on planting and gardening for others to thumb through. Rare books, seed and plant catalogs and periodicals have made even Martha Stewart a fan. Be sure to check out the display gardens and try to time your visit during one of the “tea at the terrace” receptions held several times a day. (503 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-5536)

Twiggs Home Garden. This Linden Hills shop is a destination for both landscapers and home interior designers looking for inspiration and decorating ideas both indoors and out. Along with flowers and plants, the shop offers a mix of classic and contemporary garden gadgets and furniture. Home accessories, botanicals, jewelry and other gift items are sourced locally and from around the world. The neighborhood spot also hosts workshops. (4301 Uptown Ave. S.; Mpls.; 612-823-8944;

Twin City Nursery. Just look for the trademark concrete polar bear statues stationed outside — yes, they’re for sale — and you’re there. The beloved family-owned nursery in White Bear Lake also features a large variety of seeds, annuals, evergreen perennials, ornamental shrubs, pines, firs and spruces. (4941 Long Ave., White Bear Lake; 651-429-0144;

Two Oaks. The retail arm of Prairie Restorations landscape and design features native plants that include grasses, trees and shrubs, not to mention flowers and seed mixes. Nature-related gift items, such as books and pottery from local artists, are offered. Prairie Restorations plans to expand its Native Plant Center in Princeton to include a larger retail area. (Hawkinson Business Park, 21120 Ozark Court N., Scandia, 651-433-1437; and 31646 128th St., Princeton, 763-389-4342;

Whispering Gardens. What started as a small greenhouse has grown to include a full-service garden featuring perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs from this family-owned operation. Hanging baskets, unique hostas and tomato varieties are top sellers. The gift store is a one-stop shop for everything from garden art to cabin gifts and jewelry to botanicals. While there, be sure to check out the 1.5-acre landscaped perennial garden popular for special events. (11180 70th St. S., Cottage Grove; 651-459-8080


Bachman’s Floral, Home Garden centers: The 128-year-old local, family-owned enterprise is famous for those purple trucks and for boasting some of the largest garden centers around. The centers offer everything: annuals, perennials, garden accessories, patio furniture, gift items and more.

Those looking at landscaping also might like the Lyndale location’s new Hardscape Center, which includes a large selection of pavers, mulches and boulders.

Bachman’s Lyndale (flagship location), 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-861-7600

Maplewood, 2600 White Bear Ave.; 651-770-0531

Apple Valley, 7955 W. 150th St.; 952-431-2242

Plymouth, 10050 Sixth Ave. N.; 763-541-1188

Eden Prairie, 770 Prairie Center Drive; 952-941-7700

Fridley, 8200 University Ave. N.E.; 763-786-8200

Gertens: With the motto “Buy from the grower,” this third-generation family-owned establishment has grown into a sprawling business. The supermarket-size garden center is known for its large selection of roses, not to mention other annuals and perennials. A “grill zone,” gift shop, water garden and outdoor living space are among themed areas that take up more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. A huge landscape supply yard and year-round seminars and clinics also attract visitors. (5500 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights; 651-450-1501;

Linder’s Garden Center: For three generations, families have come from all over to this popular shopping stop for all things in bloom. The third-generation, family-owned St. Paul spot — with main store, greenhouses and outdoor display gardens — carries bedding plants, perennials, annuals, shrubs, gardening supplies and more. Landscape services and seminars are available. (270 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; 651-488-1927;

Nancy Ngo can be reached at 651-228-5172. Follow her at and

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Container gardening tips available in library’s stacks

SALISBURY — Imagine stepping out onto your patio and finding all you need to make a fresh green salad for your dinner: tender mesclun, luscious grape tomatoes, crisp sweet carrots, a little fresh dill and some peppery nasturtium blossoms for a bright garnish.

All of these plants can be grown successfully in containers, so even apartment dwellers can enjoy growing their own produce. Even if you have plenty of space, you may not have enough time to take care of a large garden, or perhaps you find the hard clay in your yard too difficult to work. Container gardening can be the perfect solution for the frustrated gardener.

A great place to start your gardening venture is at Rowan Public Library, where you can find books to instruct and inspire you. A personal favorite is “The Bountiful Container” by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey.

This practical guide will help you create container gardens of vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers. Care is given to ensure that these gardens are attractive as well as productive. With a down-to-earth style and plenty of practical advice, the authors will take you from seed to harvest in no time.

You may want to try one of the creative “Theme Gardens,” such as “The Lemonade Party” which includes Meyer lemons, lemon verbena and Mabel Gray scented geranium with its lemon-scented leaves. The authors also include recipes, including “Rose Geranium Tea Cake,” “Herbed Baked Apples” and “Mardi Gras Salad.”

Perhaps you aren’t interested in growing produce; you just want some pretty blooms to brighten up your patio or deck. One large container planted with a variety of ornamentals can really make a statement, and it gives you the opportunity to be creative and design your own miniature landscape.

For design ideas that will look like those expensive containers you see at the garden centers, check out “P. Allen Smith’s Container Gardens.” He offers design ideas for each season; using annuals, perennials, bulbs, vines, ornamental grasses and even shrubs. Beautiful full-page photographs highlight the color schemes and textures of his designs.

The accompanying detailed instructions, plant lists and diagrams allow you to replicate these ideas at home, and will inspire you to create custom containers tailored to your home and personal preferences.

If you’re tired of the standard geraniums and petunias, and want to grow something really unusual in your containers, take some time to peruse “Logee’s Greenhouses Spectacular Container Plants: How to Grow Dramatic Flowers for Your Patio, Sunroom, Windowsill, and Outdoor Spaces.”

Written by Byron and Laurelyn Martin, third-generation owners of the renowned Logee’s Greenhouses, this beautiful book will introduce you to such exotic tropicals as Cantua, the “Sacred Flower of the Incas,” with its flaring red flowers; Dalechampia, also known as Winged Beauty; and Punica, the Dwarf Pomegranate. The authors take the mystery out of caring for these unusual plants, and, guided by their expertise, you can successfully grow beautiful, healthy plants.

Look for these books and more container gardening resources at Rowan Public Library.

Children’s Storytime: Weekly through April 26. For more information, call 704-216-8234.

Headquarters — Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time (18- to 35-month-olds); Wednesday, 11 a.m., Baby Time (6- to 23-month-olds); Thursday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time (3- to 5-year-olds); Thursday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead (4- to 8-years-olds.)

South — Monday, 4 p.m., Noodlehead; Tuesday, 10:30 a.m., Baby Time; 1:30 p.m., Preschool Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Toddler Time.

East — Monday, 10 a.m., Baby Time; Monday, 11 a.m., Toddler Time; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., Preschool Time.

Children’s art in the afternoon: Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m., grades kindergarten-five. Join Miss Jennifer to learn basic art techniques such as printing, sculpting and painting using various art mediums. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Get Money Smart at the Library: Headquarters. April 20-27 is Money Smart Week at libraries all over the country. Our library is planning the following events to help you save money. For more information call 704-216-8229.

• April 22 — 6:30 p.m., Grow Green, Save Green; learn how to garden smarter.

• April 23 — 2 p.m., Building Wealth Seminar; learn how to set money goals and understand credit scores and reports.

Teen poetry slam: Headquarters, Tuesday, 5:30-7 p.m. N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will be the special master of ceremonies for the evening. Each teen will be able to perform three original poems in three rounds. Winners will receive cash prizes; registration is required. For a list of rules and to register, visit or call 704-216-8234.

PAC Club: Headquarters, April 27, 1 p.m. Do you like mysteries? If so come to the library to discuss “A to Z Mysteries” and enjoy related activities and craft. Call 704-216-8234 for more information.

Book Bites Club: South (only), April 30, 6:30 p.m., “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Displays for April: headquarters, Doll Society; South, student art from Carson High; East, gems and artifacts by Sonia Neville.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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What we love: Ride for Life, Healthy Kids and gardening tips

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Garden Detective: Tips for starting seeds – Newsday

It's always best to water seedlings from the

Photo credit: AP | It’s always best to water seedlings from the bottom.

Jessica Damiano

Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnistJessica Damiano

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more

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Jessica Damiano demonstrates how to repot a houseplant.
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Yaaaaaaaaay! The first of my approx 250 crocuses
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Blog: Garden Detective

DEAR JESSICA: I am starting zinnia seeds indoors in seed-starter medium in clear plastic egg cartons. There is a hole in each compartment for drainage. My question: Should the container be covered with clear plastic or left uncovered? These egg cartons can be covered with a second egg carton, so the cover leaves room to grow for a while, but the material is thicker than Saran Wrap. Also, how much…

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Garden Tip: Tips for taking care of your tomatoes

Garden Tip

Tips for caring for tomatoes

Time to buy and plant tomatoes!

There are many varieties to choose from, including heirloom tomatoes. Choose disease-resistant plants marked with the symbols V, F, N and T. You don’t want Verticulum wilt, Fusarium fungus, Nematode worms or Tobacco mosaic virus, do you?

Tomatoes need six to eight hours of sun each day. Be sure to set the seedling deep in the soil — above the first set of leaves. Water regularly and add mulch to keep the soil from drying out between waterings. You may want to cover the tomatoes with floating row covers to protect them on cold nights.

— Katie Martin, UC Marin Master Gardener

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