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Archives for April 26, 2013

Realtor: Homes are moving

In Holiday Shores there is one sign of spring that you will not see pop up with the daffodils – home for sale signs.


Although open house signs are only allowed on the Saturday or Sunday of the home’s showing in the community, it appears that interest in selling and buying is up.

The Southwestern Illinois Regional Multiple Listing Service first quarter report indicates that 10 homes have sold since Jan. 1 and that 37 homes and 72 lots are currently up for sale in the lake community.  

According to broker/realtor Bev George of Bev George Associates, “Housing experts around the country and our neighborhoods all agree that the housing market  ‘appears’ to have turned the corner; at least edging around the bend so to speak.  Prices are up slightly from the past several years throughout Madison County.  Edwardsville is fairing well and homes are moving.”

Today’s buyers and sellers can tap into plenty of information on a realtor’s website or on television to aid in the research of what style of home or location, strikes your fancy before contacting a realtor.  

 “The good news is that homebuyers within the last 10 years have better statistics and access to the housing market, featured listings and online advice,” said George. “Often, our referrals come to us with a list of homes they want to see.  We still have the education and experience to make sure their needs and their housing expectations and investments are met.”  

Although watching the popular home selling and buying television shows will not qualify you for a realtor’s license, those types of programs may provide you with many visual opportunities to nail down specific features you desire in your next property purchase.  

“The plethora of real estate reality shows such as ‘House Hunters,’ ‘Designed to Sell,’ etc. have both helped and hindered our home sellers, at least in this area,” George said.  “I’m not sure that realistic expectations are shared with some of our homeowners; a new granite counter will not double the price of your home, but the process of de-cluttering, cleaning and simplifying may go a long way to increasing the marketability of their homes.”

De-cluttering and spring cleaning are musts when preparing your home for show to prospective buyers.

Pam Maibaum, who is an accredited staging professional, takes properties for sale to an even higher level of de-cluttering – staged.

 “You must put your best foot forward before you list for the greatest financial impact,” said Maibaum.

“The purpose of staging your home is to make sure you are introducing your biggest asset, your home, to buyers in the best possible light. Most buyers start their home search on the web.  Making sure yours is staged properly ensures your on-line photos represent the highest value and benefits of your home to get more showings, which ultimately lead to a faster sale.”

Staging takes into account furniture placement, landscaping, lighting, paint colors and odor elimination for starters.

Maibaum’s website, www.HomeStaginSvcs.com offers tips and ideas to home sellers who want to preserve their home equity and turn over their property as quickly as possible.

Your Internet research may also include exploring property values.

George, who has an office on Main Street in Edwardsville, cautions buyers and sellers when researching property values on websites such as zillow.com or eppraisal.com.

“Unfortunately, some homebuyers have relied solely on web-based home value estimator sites which are at best sketchy and designed to gather information for advertisers, simply generalizing some standardized information,” she said. “Nonetheless, I find that our buyer clients have carefully done their research before setting off with our help and counsel.”

The increase in home sales activity resurrects the age old question – are we in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?

“The jury is out as to whether or not we are in a buyer or seller market,” George said. “More homes are selling, prices have yet to adjust to what may have previously been market value and buyers are generally getting good investments on price and interest rates/loan terms.  The bottom line is that we’re seeing more homes listed and infinitely more buyers for them.  Houses are selling, families are moving and with any luck the housing market will continue to increase to a totally win/win situation for all parties.”

Article source: http://www.theintelligencer.com/local_news/article_cd3f7738-ae92-11e2-bd91-0019bb2963f4.html

The Exquisite and the Abject: The ‘Second Life’ of Lisa Adams

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The Principal of Competitive Exclusion, 2012, 60″ x 48″, Oil on panel, Courtesy Lisa Adams CB1 Gallery

“Second Life,” is the title of Lisa Adams’ show of new work at CB1 Gallery. The ambiguity between the show’s title and the imagery in the paintings is no coincidence. Second Life is actually the name of an online virtual world, where users, aka avatars or Residents, interact with each other in different social settings. In other words, Second Life is the personal fantasy world you build, where you include and exclude whatever you desire. Adams’ “Second Life,” is it’s own kind of virtual world. Adams has a voracious appetite for images and ideas, and she satiates this hunger with an agglomeration of film viewing, imagery perusal online, top watched video on Youtube, treks to the LA River and Angeles National Forest and taking snapshots. Adams is as easily fascinated by Werner Herzog’s Lessons of Darkness as Jon Rafman’s “9-Eyes.” She admits to spending hours online researching, where a single thread of an idea leads to another and then another. She is constantly on the hunt for images that represent her definition of beauty, an intriguing combination of the exquisite and the abject.

I got a clear idea of Adams’ notion of beauty as we walked towards the coffee shop in downtown Los Angeles, where we would continue our discussion of her work. As we talked, a guy passed us by covered in chains and tattoos. Adams quickly pointed him out and said, “Don’t you love that?” On another block we saw a long line of small tents that the homeless were sleeping in. Adams talked about how many people are fearful when they are in this part of town but that it energizes her. She has lived in downtown LA on and off for a total of 15 years and told me that every city she’s lived in has a neighborhood that is comprised of this dense urban living, which she prefers. This is another of numerous contradictions in Adams’ life and work, because many of her paintings contain renderings of delicate plant life. Perhaps it is because Adams’ knows this incongruity exists in each of us.

Adams told me:

I think everybody is more or less like me, meaning that they are comprised of a mosaic of different ideas and backgrounds. I just think the difference is that most people don’t embrace it because it’s too complex and too confusing. It’s easier to identify with one basic way of being, one basic set of ideas, with of course some variation a few degrees off center. It’s like when I used to paint abstractly everybody I knew identified exclusively with being an abstractionist and I did not. And they would all go on to continue to do abstraction with the exception of one. When I started changing none of them could understand why I would do such a thing.

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The Reality Breakdown, 2013, 48″ x 60″, Oil and spray paint on panel, Courtesy Lisa Adams CB1 Gallery

There has been a lot of discussion about the real world collision of how Adams’ external vision was impeded by the impairment of her physical vision. In August of last year, Adams was required to have emergency surgery to repair a detached and torn retina in her right eye. What could be more terrifying to a visual artist than to have her sight threatened? Much has been made of the intense drive that would come about after such an event, but the truth is, Adams has had the impetus to make art for as long as she can remember. It is the desire to experience and explore her own interior landscaping that has impassioned her since she could hold a crayon. As she explained it to me, her internal investigations are the places in which she prefers to live and the recreation of them in painting is akin to complex problem solving. Adams is more than a little like an architect who imagines, drafts and then fabricates.

Unlike most recent art grads, after Adams received her MFA from Claremont Graduate University, she did not immediately apply for teaching positions. Instead she went straight into a full time studio practice, which included four years in New York, where she made great headway in carving out a personal practice and style. After much success, which included gallery and museum shows in and around LA, a Brody award and a Fulbright Scholarship, Adams made a tough decision. To continue to be personally rewarded by her work, she needed to make a drastic change in her artistic explorations. In a move akin to Alice Neel — who ignored the current trends of her time, like Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, she continued her particular style of portraiture — Adams decided to move from abstract work to recognizable imagery and the surreal. Because Adams is so driven to satisfy her own standards and goals, trends and movements have never been considerations in her work.

Adams’ describes the internal pull that drove her to change her work so drastically:

I thought to myself, what do I feel is missing from my authentic interests? It was my true love of Surrealism since I was a child and what did that mean to me as an adult? The word “contemplative” came to mind and so I thought I would delve into my mind and emotions in a way that were more direct and also explore the world of representation which I had never done before. So I started the LONG (didn’t know it would be that long) journey of going to the “other side.” It took a good ten years to really start to find a voice/vision in this other world and to my surprise I was subconsciously bringing with me moves from the abstract work and using them along with recognizable imagery. It was really my internal world I wanted to focus on and as a result it’s made me much more internal in real life, with a deeper need for privacy and seclusion. My art practice has always instructed my real life for better or worse, not the other way around.

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Almost A Forest, 2012, 40″ x 48″, Oil on panel, Image Courtesy Lisa Adams CB1 Gallery

Adams’ work exists in a crack. Her work cannot be classified as one particular style because she incorporates abstract elements with recognizable ones, a pop sensibility with graffiti spray paint and a hint of abject expressionism. On top of that, there is a subtly implied askew narrative:

It’s a weird space to be in between abstraction and representation but I like it. For me it’s like being fluent in two languages and I have always admired that kind of flexibility. Being bilingual gives you an insight into each culture more fully.

Narrative is something I share with film and maybe that is why I take such inspiration from film. “Story-telling” is NOT a bad word in film, and in fact there really is no other basis to film then story telling. I mean what are you going to make, an abstract film? Yes of course such films have been made by artists, but they are not really part of film’s history. From what I can tell a filmmaker is always looking for a good story.

Adams’ The Principal of Competitive Exclusion, is the perfect example of her many internal worlds meeting physical manifestation. Here we are faced with a torn construct, leaving an aperture that leads us into total darkness. The pink molded form is part barrier and part broken body. It’s top half torn off, bends onto another plane and forces you into a chasm that is surrounded by a wall with a fragmented vision, like looking through a prism. The chartreuse green is an amped up grid of color that is both a screaming green light to go or a call to nature. The entire form is so off kilter that it’s dizzying, like the way you would feel climbing a narrow lopsided staircase. The magnetic pull and the contorting push, beg you to enter an unknown dimension that is akin to a black hole. This twilight zone schism is derived from the foam face piece Adams used in her required face down positioning, post surgery. It isn’t so much that she wants to make a personal statement about the trauma of her malady as much as this once useful piece of medical equipment has now become a part of her visual circumference and is incorporated with the same kind of fascination that a vine, school house, rose or birch tree might be.

Adams lives in an intimate interior and it is the communication of this private real estate, the place where she discovers her personal zeitgeist, which she flushes out in her paintings.

Loading Slideshow

  • The Mire of Epiphany

    emThe Mire of Epiphany/em, 2013
    48″ x 60″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • Cynosure

    emCynosure/em, 2012
    24″ x 20″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • A Recondite World

    emA Recondite World/em, 2012
    40″ x 48″
    Oil and spray paint on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • Vale of Life

    emVale of Life/em, 2013
    32″ x 24″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • Almost A Forest

    emAlmost A Forest/em, 2012
    40″ x 48″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • And The World Shall Remain Silent

    emAnd The World Shall Remain Silent/em, 2012
    36″ x 30″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • Sandy Says So

    emSandy Says So/em, 2012
    48″ x 60″
    Oil and spray paint on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • Spawned A Race Of Titans

    emSpawned A Race Of Titans/em, 2012
    24″ x 30″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • The Principal of Competitive Exclusion

    emThe Principal of Competitive Exclusion/em, 2012
    60″ x 48″
    Oil on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery

  • The Reality Breakdown

    emThe Reality Breakdown/em, 2013
    48″ x 60″
    Oil and spray paint on panel
    Courtesy Lisa Adams and CB1 Gallery


Lisa Adams’ Second Life runs through May 12th at CB1 Gallery

Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracey-harnish/the-exquisite-and-the-abject-second-life_b_3160327.html?utm_hp_ref=arts

10 Energy-Saving Ideas for Spring – InArkansas.com

Spring is the perfect time to get started on those outdoor projects you have been planning and to get your house in shape for summer. It is also a good time to look into new ways to save energy and reduce your environmental impact. While energy conservation is a year-round commitment, the warmer days of spring present a unique opportunity to make home improvements and lifestyle changes that will lower your utility costs.

  1. Spring cleaning. While chasing those dust bunnies around, look for ways to make your home more energy efficient. Cleaning under and behind your refrigerator will improve operating efficiency, and dusting light bulbs will increase light output. When cleaning windows, check to make sure they are sealed properly.
  2. Check your air conditioner. Clean or replace the system’s filter and adjust thermostat settings for warmer weather. Have your system cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional. Outdoors, trim back any plants or vines growing around the unit.
  3. Change direction. As the temperature rises, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. In summer, they should be set counterclockwise to create a downward airflow that will make rooms feel cooler.
  4. Let it slide. If you have a sliding door, make sure the track is clean. Dirt buildup from foot traffic in winter and early spring can damage the door seal and create gaps where cool air can escape.
  5. Stay cool with attic ventilation. Attic ventilation systems draw cool air up through the house, providing the same level of comfort as an air conditioner, but at a much lower cost.
  6. Window treatments. If you are redecorating, consider installing insulated, thermal-backed drapes. When closed on south- and west-facing windows, they help block out the sun, keeping your home cooler on hot summer days.
  7. Plant some shade. Arbor Day is coming, celebrate by planting a shade tree along the south- or west-facing side of your home. Trees will help to shield your home from the sun in summer, keeping you cool and reducing your energy bill. They are good for the environment as well. Call before you dig and consider the mature height of trees; do not select a location that will interfere with power lines when trees reach their full height.
  8. Air dry laundry. Now that warm weather is here, why not install a clothesline and dry your laundry in the sun? Air drying saves on energy costs and it is gentler on your clothes, helping them last longer.
  9. Shake a leg. Whenever possible, save energy and help the environment by walking or riding a bike. Public transportation and ride sharing are green options for getting to and from work.
  10. Go green. Start a compost bin for recycling kitchen and yard waste. Install a rain barrel to conserve water for use in outdoor landscaping. The idea is to reduce, reuse and recycle whatever you can.

Article source: http://www.inarkansas.com/92117/10-energy-saving-ideas-for-spring

Enchanted by a billabong

Enabling Cookies in Internet Explorer 7, 8 9

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  2. Click Tools Internet OptionsPrivacyAdvanced
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  4. For First-party Cookies and Third-party Cookies click Accept
  5. Click OK and OK

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  5. Select Keep until: they expire
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Enabling Cookies in Google Chrome

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Article source: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/life/maserati/enchanted-by-a-billabong/story-fnfrq2so-1226629557250

New touches for Spring Backyard Garden Tour

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0424_GARDEN_201_Greenwood_1.jpg

201 GREENWOOD AVE.: This house and property were developed approximately five years ago. Special consideration was given to slope, privacy, and relatively care-free plantings. Of interest is the stamped-concrete patio, which slants slightly toward the backside of the house, at which point a French drain helps with water drainage. A great feature in the patio area is a set-in fountain area surrounded by ferns and a ground cover. Privacy is accomplished by an interesting wooden fence and gates interspersed with brick columns. Plantings on the property include hydrangeas, azaleas, holly ferns, autumn ferns, boxwoods, fatsias, loropetalum, and knock-out roses.

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THE TRIANGLE – WOODLAND/LAW/PRESTWOOD: In 2012, this area was cleared and the present design implemented. White roses fill the “triangles” within the main Triangle and are bordered by low evergreen hedges intersected by gravel paths. An antique olive jar with an evergreen planting gives the center a stunning focal point. Seasonal plantings surround the olive jar, and the entire bed is enclosed by a variegated border. This landscape in the much traveled area of Prestwood Lake has been tended by the Pine and Lake Garden Club for more than 50 years.

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0424_GARDEN_310_Law_1.jpg

310 LAW STREET: This garden was designed around two home renovations about ten years ago. It features two front terraces with a winding stone path through the garden leading to a back terrace. Various hardscapes are used throughout. These outdoor spaces make for perfect entertaining, whether for a large oyster roast, intimate dinner, afternoon wine, or morning coffee. Plants include a large, old crepe myrtle tree complemented by newer additions, including hydrangeas, fatsias, camellias, ferns, encore azaleas, white nandinas, and palmetto trees. The casual nature of the garden lends itself to adding new plants sporadically, making it an enjoyable “work in progress.” Many birdfeeders along with the natural plantings make it a haven for a variety of birds as well.

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0424_GARDEN_510_Woodland_1.jpg

510 WOODLAND DRIVE: The garden overlooking Prestwood Lake is an old established one first begun in 1934 when the house was built. Azaleas, camellias, and Japanese quince bushes were among the plantings that accompanied the many loads of topsoil our family brought in. In 1942, Loutrel Briggs, a landscape gardener noted for his many Charleston gardens, was asked to draw up a design for the nine-acre property. This he did, and so the garden has what some gardeners call “good bones.” Old gardens have many challenges that new ones don’t, such as overgrowing shrubs and vines, as well as loss of old trees and borrowed “background.” We have tried to maintain the “good bones” and to add our own touches. The view of the lake from our front terrace is one of the prettiest in Hartsville.

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551 LAKESHORE DRIVE: How boring our world would be without a touch of whimsy! Come explore an eclectic lakeside cottage designed with sprinkles of creativity. Meet the characters in the petite traveling vegetable garden; discover the hidden pirate’s treasure cove and catch sight of the bird abode. With a bit of this and a dab of that, make room for imagination in the playful garden pleasures planted simply to delight.

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0424_GARDEN_552_Redfearn.jpg

552 REDFEARN LANE: The garden is composed of a variety of plants, so that there is something blooming most of the year. Several varieties of azaleas of assorted colors along with flowering plants follow the natural terrain of the yard. Gardenias and other natural looking plants are mixed in throughout the beds, whose informal design complement the exterior of the house. The yard is easy to maintain and does not require a lot of care.

0424_GARDEN_557_Redfearn.jpg

0424_GARDEN_557_Redfearn.jpg

557 REDFEARN LANE: The bones of the hillside garden are clearly defined with a ligustrum hedge forming a wall around the exterior yard. Slender crepe myrtles planted throughout the garden create a tall, soft frame, lending shade and color throughout the spring and summer. From the patio, we enjoy an abundance of graceful mop head hydrangeas surrounded by white Formosa azaleas. The upper and lower terrace areas are formal, but inviting. Backyard garden areas offer botanical variety and seasonal character, but each with its own separate space and identity. Symmetry and direction is created with containers, walkways, and evergreen plants, which flank entrances to the garden from the front yard and patio area.

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0424_GARDEN_910_Prestwood.JPG

910 PRESTWOOD DRIVE: This family has truly enjoyed dreaming, planting, and nurturing its garden since moving back to Hartsville eight years ago. There have been many green thumbs responsible for its beauty. The yard boasts of wrought iron gates, stucco walls, and dribbling fountains as well as a private garden. But not even the lion head fountain or the stone fire pit can rival the beauty of a perfect reflection across the lake on a still autumn morning.

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0424_GARDEN_Kalmia_Gardens.jpg

KALMIA GARDEN: The Discovery Garden is located at the Joslin Education Center of Kalmia Gardens. This area is an interactive garden for all ages and is handicap accessible and family friendly. Our areas of emphasis are reconnecting children with nature, conservation of natural resources, and gardening for wildlife. Recent additions to the education center are a Human Sunclock, a SC Fence Garden, and Chimney Swift towers.

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0424_GARDEN_Lawton_Park_1.jpg

LAWTON PARK: Lawton Park, on the shore of Prestwood Lake, is listed on the South Carolina Registry of Historic Places. The park’s pavilion was built in 1938 by the city of Hartsville on land donated by J.J. Lawton and using funds from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a United States Government agency established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 2008, the city of Hartsville celebrated the $500,000 completion of the renovation of the pavilion and the new landscaping necessitated by the addition of a parking area. The antique wrought iron front gate was donated by all garden clubs in Hartsville.




Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 1:31 pm


New touches for Spring Backyard Garden Tour

BARB STEADMAN
Special to The Hartsville Messenger

Morning News

HARTSVILLE, S.C. _ The Spring Backyard Garden Tour on Saturday will reveal new touches in addition to the eight private gardens and two public gardens on the tour.


The garden tour begins at 10 a.m. and continues through 3 p.m. The tour starts at Lawton Park where guests will receive an event booklet and be able to board buses for the tour. Tickets are available for a $10 donation at Lawton Park on the day of the tour, at downtown stores or at Brown and Coker Realty. All proceeds will go to the Hartsville Boys and Girls Club.

“Our president, Lee Hicks, has secured some treats for the ears, not just the eyes, during tours of the gardens,” said Judy Jacobs, chairperson of the The Pine and Lake Garden Club Tour. “Weather permitting, entertainment will be at selected gardens.”

At the West garden, Grace Driggers, violinist, and Kemmy Windham, harpist, will perform from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hartsville’s Jim Money will serve as a wandering madrigal as he serenades visitors off and on during the day. Students from the Boys and Girls Club will perform at Lawton Park. Guests at the Peels’ house will hear lovely piano music played by Sarah Timmons from 1 to 3 p.m.

At the home of Flossie Hopkins, students from the Darlington County Institute of Technology will show off their expertise in metal work, wooden Adirondack chairs, and plants, all of which will be available for purchase at Lawton Park. A portion of the sales will benefit the Boys and Girls Club.

A silent auction of garden-related items donated by businesses in Hartsville is also schedule. Such things as a bird feeder with bird food, a fairy garden, butterfly note cards, framed pictures of Gates and Gardens, a National Geographic Bible of Birds, colorful metal butterflies, a straw beach bag and gift certificates will be on display for bidding.

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

on

Friday, April 26, 2013 1:31 pm.

Article source: http://www.scnow.com/messenger/lifestyles/article_1a8abc1a-ae97-11e2-883f-0019bb30f31a.html

Benefits to hiring a landscaping service


The desire to have a pristine, well-manicured landscape leads many homeowners to toil outdoors for hours every weekend. Hiring a professional landscaper can free up homeowners’ time and help them ensure their yards are cared for properly.

One of the benefits of hiring a landscaper is the time savings. Landscapers typically have commercial-grade equipment that can dramatically reduce the time it takes to mow and perform other maintenance tasks around your property. Furthermore, some services have multiple employees working concurrently, enabling them to tackle several projects at the same time and complete them in a fraction of the time it would take a homeowner working on his or her own.

Landscapers familiar with botany and landscape design understand how to properly care for plants and trees on your property, while novice green thumbers may be unaware about when to prune trees and shrubs, at what height to cut the lawn and which plants will thrive in particular locations. Such do-it-yourself maintenance may even cost more money than leaving it to a professional.

Hiring a professional landscaper is, in many instances, more economical. For a certain weekly or monthly fee, homeowners receive the benefit of professional knowledge and execution. Also, homeowners will not have the expense of purchasing the various tools and equipment necessary for lawn and garden maintenance, tools and equipment that include lawnmowers, string weeders, edgers, fertilizer, grass seed, leaf blowers, and shovels.Another benefit is the lawn will continue to be mowed whether a homeowner is home or not. During the spring and summer vacation season, it’s easy for homeowners to overlook their lawn and garden in favor of recreation and leisure activities. Without proper watering and maintenance, lawns and gardens can brown or overgrowth can occur. But hiring a landscaping service allows homeowners to rest assured that their yards will be maintained whether they’re home or not.

Hiring a local landscaping service will not only benefit homeowners, but also it will benefit the local economy. Residents can feel comfortable knowing their lawn service will be available for calls when needed and will be familiar with the community. Also, local contractors may go the extra mile to earn your business recommendation.

Hiring a landscaping service can be advantageous to homeowners who want to free up time and still enjoy a well-maintained landscape.

– Source: MetroCreative


Article source: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/26/4806863/benefits-to-hiring-a-landscaping.html

Gardening Tips: Miner bees not aggressive, help pollination


Posted: Friday, April 26, 2013 11:15 am
|


Updated: 11:17 am, Fri Apr 26, 2013.


Gardening Tips: Miner bees not aggressive, help pollination

By Matthew Stevens

RR Daily Herald

|
0 comments

Over the past 10 days, I’ve had more phone calls than I can ever recall about ground bees.

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Friday, April 26, 2013 11:15 am.

Updated: 11:17 am.

Article source: http://www.rrdailyherald.com/opinion/columns/gardening-tips-miner-bees-not-aggressive-help-pollination/article_15e8c5f2-ae84-11e2-bdf1-0019bb2963f4.html

Dig out Your Best Tips for Virginia Hayward’s Gardening Advice Competition

  • Email a friend

(PRWEB UK) 26 April 2013

The competition, focused around sharing top growing tips with Virginia Hayward, invites customers and Facebook fans to share their top vegetable growing tip. The competition will be independently judged and the lucky winner will receive a ‘Treats from the Garden’ Gift which is a collection of delicious garden-themed treats beautifully presented in a Gooseberry-coloured garden trug.

As Virginia Hayward works to source its quality products which include jams, sauces, biscuits and juices from local suppliers, it was a simple decision to create a competition based on growing beautiful and fresh foods whilst giving something back to gardening enthusiasts across the UK. Justin Walmsley discusses the competition: “We’re passionate about sourcing the best quality products for our customers. It made sense to us to combine our love of the best products with our desire to encourage our customers to share their unique hints, tips and advice with us and fellow spring-inspired gardeners.”

Justin continued, “As a company, we’re focussed on giving our customers the best service we can. However, it’s also very important for us to create a channel in which garden lovers can connect, engage and share passions and information alike. The entries so far provide a hot-bed of gardening and growing tips – some of which we have never heard of or seen before. The competition is also inspiring our Virginia Hayward customer community to turn their attention to their own gardens and encouraged them to try new vegetable growing techniques.”

Please visit https://www.facebook.com/virginiahaywardhampers for more information on the competition which is open until midnight on 28th April, 2013.

Delicious Prize

The prize for the competition is a ‘Treats from the Garden’ Gift, which includes Claire’s Piccalilli and Raspberry Jam, Frank’s Shortbread, Owlet Apple Elderflower Juice, and James’ Chocolate Frogs. The products are presented in an oval garden trug to reflect the garden theme of the competition. The winner will be chosen by an independent judge based on the most unusual and innovative vegetable growing tip.

Justin said: “We’re excited to have launched this competition during National Gardening Week. As we are nestled in the heart of the beautiful Dorset countryside we are naturally passionate about the environment and keen to encourage and inspire people to care for their own garden.”

Taking Inspiration from National Gardening Week

National Gardening Week occurs annually, and this year ran from the 15th to the 21st of April. The event was established by the Royal Horticultural Society to promote gardening to a wide audience, including young people and those who are not familiar with the skills involved in cultivating a healthy, varied garden.

As a luxury business in a niche industry, Virginia Hayward is demonstrating that by connecting with customers and fans on a more personal level, the reach they have can be broadened. Furthermore, asking people to participate and share knowledge is an effective way of creating a dialogue with customers.

Company Information

Virginia Hayward Ltd. was established by the Hayward family in 1984 and is still a family-run business today. Based in the beautiful Dorset countryside, the company creates hampers for gift-givers looking for pre-packed occasion-themed hampers, as well as bespoke and personalised hampers and gifts for corporate clients. They also provide speciality diet hampers for diabetics, vegans and coeliacs.

For more information visit Virginia Hayward online at http://www.virginiahayward.com. The competition is currently running on the official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/virginiahaywardhampers.

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Article source: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/4/prweb10672040.htm

Spring gardening tips from expert gardener Mark Cullen

COLD HARDY COLOUR As with most things in life, there are lots of exceptions to every rule. Take annual flowers, for instance. While the rest of the world waits patiently for the May 24th planting weekend, you can get a head start by planting pansies, violas, ranunculus, violets and primulas. While none of these technically are annuals, they are treated that way by most gardeners. All of them will tolerate some frost.

Article source: http://www.thestar.com/life/homes/outdoor_living/2013/04/26/spring_gardening_tips_from_expert_gardener_mark_cullen.html

How to breed plants, and other home and garden tips

Wish you could find a disease- resistant rose in just the right shade of pink?

Make one.

Joseph Tychonievich leads readers through the process of breeding new plant varieties in “Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener: How to Create Unique Vegetables Flowers.”

Tychonievich, an avid plant breeder and a garden center nursery manager, encourages his readers to try developing breeds that are suited to their climates and their needs, not the needs of a commercial breeder. He instructs them on cross pollination and selecting out the best offspring, teaches advanced breeding techniques and a little genetics, and offers instructions for specific plants.

“Plant Breeding for the Home Gardener” is published by Timber Press and sells for $19.95 in paperback.

· Organic lawn-care system delivered to doorstep: The makers of Safer lawn and garden products are making it easier for do-it-yourselfers to treat their lawns organically.

The company is marketing a four-step organic lawn-care program that’s shipped free to the user. The system involves three applications of a slow-release fertilizer and one application of a weed preventer.

The fertilizer, Ringer Lawn Restore, is made of ingredients including poultry feather meal, bone meal and soybean meal but no manure. It contains no phosphorus, which is often found in excess in soil and can run off into waterways.

The weed preventer, Concern Weed Prevention Plus, is based on corn gluten meal. A soil thermometer

is included so users can apply the preventer at the correct soil temperature.

The system costs $250 at www.sendmesafer.com, but it’s on sale this spring and summer for $199.99.

· Repairing a DVD: Q: I have a DVD that jumps and stops at a certain point. It appears to have some scratches. How can I get rid of them?

A: Try cleaning the DVD first. Netflix says you can use Windex and a paper towel, although I’d probably use a soft cloth. Wipe in straight lines from the center to the outer edge, not in a circular motion.

If the DVD still gives you trouble, try working a little toothpaste or wax into the scratches, or use a liquid made for repairing CDs and DVDs, the technology website Digital Trends recommends. Use several thin layers, and let the disc dry a little while. Then buff it lightly, again working in straight lines from the center to the edge.

Article source: http://www.montereyherald.com/living/ci_23115067/how-breed-plants-and-other-home-and-garden