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Archives for April 2013

Vintage home freshens up – Quad-City Times

Project by project, a two-bedroom, circa-1927 house across from Davenport’s Garfield School is getting a fresh look.

While retaining the charm and character of an older house — arched entryways, hardwood floors and an open front porch with Craftsman-style pillars — Ryan and Amy Orr are giving their home a fresh look, with new colors, landscaping and a total re-do of their galley kitchen.

Anyone who’s ever lived with a galley kitchen — a relatively small rectangle — knows that space is limited. But working with Dan Marine of Oak Tree Homes in Wilton, Iowa, the Orrs made the absolute most of what they had, gaining about six square feet of counter space and additional cabinet space compared with what they had, which was a remodeled space from the 1990s.

In addition, they now have all-new everything: stainless-steel appliances, custom Mission/Craftsman quarter-sawn oak cabinets and black granite countertops. The only original feature is the oak floor that Ryan “revealed” one weekend when Amy was at a conference, pulling up the carpet that had been glued to a type of subfloor that had to be removed with a plane.

The capstone, though, is how the space was reconfigured. “There was no option of adding on (or tearing down walls), so we wanted to get as much function into (it) as we could, with a new look,” Ryan said.

On the south wall, they put back a window over the sink that had been covered up in the previous remodel. And in a corner where there were two windows, they moved one window to center it in the wall, and they covered the other with a floor-to-ceiling, multipurpose, built-in cabinet.

They like to call this built-in a “mini mud room.” It has a bench that gives them a place to sit down and take off their shoes. The space below stores shoes and dog food. Hooks hold sweaters, and the shelves above display Amy’s cookbooks and decorative glassware.

The built-in is highly usable, but they debated considerably before going ahead with it. Amy didn’t like losing a window and the light it provided, but the promise of a place for her cookbooks eventually won out.

The north side of the kitchen was another challenge. Because the home had a wall-mounted heat register, previous owners kept the space between the floor and the countertop open — “wasted space” for the sake of air circulation.

Marine moved the register to the floor, with circulation through the kick plate area, and filled in the “wasted space” with cabinetry topped by several more feet of countertop. All cabinets were custom-made by Pearl City Wood Products of Muscatine.

At the other end of the north wall was a pantry closet that was so high  it was difficult for even Ryan to reach. The Orrs removed that, replacing it with a half-wall below and a pot rack (think more storage) above.

The focal point of the kitchen is the five-burner gas stove, topped with a stainless-steel range hood from Ikea and a backsplash made of 30 brown/gray/rust slate tiles.

“We sat in the aisle at Lowe’s and went through four boxes (of tiles) to get just the colors we wanted,” Ryan said.

The Orrs recommend talking with professionals before embarking on a remodel. They had about 95 percent of their ideas before they met Marine at a home show, but he helped them in ways they didn’t anticipate because he knows what’s available in the trade and has experience with what works and what doesn’t, they said.

Article source:

New website combines design and space

BEIRUT: When listening to Tamara Zantout explain what her new website is all about, one would be forgiven for wondering how The Urban Fusion would be able to encompass all these topics: furniture, fashion, real estate, architecture, landscaping.“Everything urban,” she said.

The Urban Fusion launched its beta website last week at an event in Downtown’s Saifi Village. And though the breadth of the website was at first difficult to comprehend, the outdoor party attended by designers, artists and lovers of both art and design was in many ways a physical example of what the website would entail.

Simply put, is a gathering for all those interested in design with an urban flair.

Designers, from contemporary artists to furniture makers, can promote and sell their products through the website. Pages highlight the work of interior designers, urban planners and architects. Buyers interested in mind-blowing real estate can skim through luxury apartments located in Beirut or anywhere else in the world.

And people with a passion for contemporary design can gawk at avant-garde nargileh pipes, modern stretch-canvas paintings and conceptual lighting fixtures.

A subsection of the website is also dedicated to book authors who’ve written about such topics mentioned above.

So what is the unifying element between a landscape architect and a funky rocking chair? Space. They both affect space: One builds our outdoor space while the other completes our interior space.

That is the whole purpose of the website, to bring all of these somewhat disparate design categories together on one platform in order to incite collaboration and inspiration, Zantout said.

“Form in its integrity has shaped the world, whether through architecture, urban planning or industrial design,” said a statement released at the website’s launch party. “That is why we have chosen to create a space, where these fields can interact, and become one.”

Indeed the idea for The Urban Fusion was born when Zantout took a trip abroad about a year ago. She was looking for a website to sell some of her furniture wares and decided all of them were too narrow, focusing exclusively on either fashion, architecture or furniture.

The launch party offered a taste of the interaction she envisions.

A handful of designers and artists already featured on The Urban Fusion presented their work in a small outdoor gallery, compiling the mixed-media artwork of Nayla Kai Saroufim, the abstract fantasy painting “Book of Life” by Sari al-Khazen and a pair of designer stools by Zantout, among others.

Art dealers could meet artists; fashion designers could find inspiration in Arabesque art; architects and furniture designers could discuss collaborations. “The sky is the limit,” Zantout said.

Just as last week’s opening drew design-minded people from around the city, The Urban Fusion will host events to bring designers together not only online, but in the flesh, to trade ideas.

Only a small team spread out in Beirut, London and Dubai runs the website now. For now the site focuses on those three locations, as well as the rest of the Middle East.

The site has also teamed up with the American University of Beirut and the the American University Sharjah, whose design faculties are also interested in creative collaborations.

“I want to become the hub of everything urban,” Zantout said. “Urban Fusion is everything encompassing the city and the art within it.”

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Plan for University of Kentucky could bring road closures, new buildings

The University of Kentucky is an urban, landlocked campus where every decision about building or planning can ripple into the community for years to come.

So as UK planners work on a new master plan to guide campus growth in the coming decade, the questions are both general and specific: How can UK protect and expand green space while constructing more buildings? How will new student housing patterns affect Lexington traffic? What if Rose Street were closed and turned into a pedestrian space?

See also:

UK master plan weighs renovation vs. demolition

Tom Eblen: UK’s Modernist buildings worth saving

“We focused to a large extent on UK within the broader community,” said Bob Wiseman, UK’s vice president for facilities.

UK hired Sasaki and Associates, an architecture firm from Boston that has worked on master planning at campuses all over the country. They called UK’s issues particularly complicated, given its location in central Lexington.

“It’s been a very complex plan because there are so many different components,” said Mary Anne Ocampo, an urban designer with Sasaki, who got her undergraduate architecture degree at UK.

The master plan, which still includes a variety of options and alternatives, is posted online and will continue to change in coming months. Administrators hope to bring most of its major ideas to the UK Board of Trustees this fall, presenting a blueprint that focuses on new construction, new green space and opportunities to save many old buildings rather than tear them down.

The proposals incorporate building plans already underway, such as new dorms on Cooperstown Drive, Euclid Avenue and Huguelet Drive; a renovated business school; and a new science building on Rose Street. Those projects have been financed and are either under construction or in design phases.

Other proposed ideas include:

■ Closing or restricting traffic on Rose, which dead ends just short of South Limestone and gets a great deal of foot traffic from students.

The plan also looks at significantly slowing traffic on South Upper as it merges into South Limestone, possibly by closing part of South Upper near where the future Newtown Park Extension will connect with South Limestone.

■ Enhancing pedestrian pathways that already naturally exist on campus. For example, Ocampo pointed out a natural but unmarked corridor through campus between Memorial Coliseum and Funkhouser Hall, both buildings designed by Ernst Johnson, the UK architect who designed many of the school’s most iconic buildings between 1938 and 1950.

“It is a walkway that could be strengthened” with trees and other low-cost landscaping, she said.

Another pedestrian walkway could be created between Memorial Hall and the W.T. Young Library, turning a small parking lot into green space.

■ Accommodating fewer surface parking lots with expanded bus service and a new transit center at Commonwealth Stadium, where many students and employees already park.

■ Creating a new road that would skirt a new complex of student housing known as Cooperstown. The road would start at Woodland Avenue near Columbia Avenue, curve around the housing complex, and empty onto Cooper Drive by some of the athletic facilities, or possibly continue behind Commonwealth Stadium to Alumni Drive. This would allow the university to reduce or eliminate traffic on Woodland and Hilltop Avenue in front of the library.

■ Replacing fraternities on Hilltop with a south campus student center. A new “Greek Park” could be located on Rose Lane, which is already home to many fraternities and sororities.

“We love the concept,” said Woodford Hoagland, vice president of the UK Interfraternity Council. “We want to see it happen because a lot of fraternities that deserve houses don’t have them, and it would be more centralized, with people in a community. Moving closer together would be a perfect solution to everything.”

■ Building a new high school, possibly behind the Taylor Education School near the intersection of Upper and Limestone. Plans are already under way for the school, a joint venture between UK and the Fayette County Public Schools.

“We have been looking for a home for the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) on or adjacent to the campus for several months and had asked for this to be put on the UK plan as a possibility depending on the outcome of our search,” said Fayette schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall. “We appreciate UK setting aside land in the master planning process for our exciting new partnership. We are still in the very early stages of planning and determining a permanent location.”

The school district would pay for construction.

■ Extending campus farther north of Euclid closer to downtown. The proposal shows new housing, retail and other developments stretching along South Limestone from Maxwell Street to High Street. For example, a hotel and conference center might someday occupy the land where Good Samaritan Hospital now sits, but not until construction of UK’s new medical complex is finished.

“We want to keep Limestone active from UK all the way to downtown,” Wiseman said.

Last year, the city commissioned urban planner Omar Blaik to do a study of town-gown possibilities, focusing on commercial corridors that link downtown with UK, Transylvania University and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College, which is moving to the old Eastern State Hospital site at Fourth Street and Newtown Pike.

UK declined to hire Blaik for its master plan, but Sasaki’s plan would move UK’s growth further north into downtown, a key recommendation made by Blaik.

Derek Paulsen, the city’s commissioner of planning, said he has put money into his budget to bring Blaik back to further study the best ways to accommodate students and residents along Limestone and Euclid.

A major strength of those streets is that businesses along them are supported by townspeople when students leave for the summer, Paulsen said.

“For the Limestone and Euclid corridors, if they’re going to survive they have to work for neighborhoods and students,” Paulsen said. “That’s not in UK’s expertise, and that’s what we want to get Omar to talk about.”

Neighborhood tension

Given constant tensions between UK and its nearby neighborhoods, UK administrators have tried in recent months to include a wide variety of perspectives in the master plan process. They have held 50 meetings so far with neighborhood associations and other interested groups, in addition to conducting a survey of the UK community.

“UK is making an unprecedented effort to reach out to the public and incorporate public opinion,” said Dan Rowland, a retired UK faculty member and longtime neighborhood activist. “That’s a step forward.”

City officials also have played an active role in the process.

“I am at least happy they’ve given us a seat at the table,” Paulsen said. “We’re so close together, there’s a lot of potential that hasn’t been tapped.”

Regarding ideas within the plan, Paulsen said any road closures would have to be studied and discussed by city traffic engineers before they could be enacted.

“I think closing Rose makes a lot of sense, it’s so heavily trafficked with students,” Paulsen said. “The one that would be more interesting would be Woodland,” which many people use as a cut-through across UK’s campus.

As for a new road around Cooperstown, “it’s a big jog around, and a bigger discussion, but we will be happy to talk.”

Hollywood Terrace resident Amy Clark is not so sanguine.

She said the university should not approve a “massive increase” in the number of students living along Cooperstown without first working with city traffic planners to make the area safer for pedestrians.

“My neighbors and I are very concerned about the Cooperstown Bypass,” said Clark, noting that the road would empty onto Woodland near an existing stoplight at Columbia.

It is “hard to picture how you could safely have two intersections and all their turning options there with the many pedestrians and cyclists,” she said.

Clark and others also are concerned about student housing in general, which has always been a big issue at UK. With limited student housing on campus, many surrounding neighborhoods have transformed as student renters replace families.

UK is trying to address that issue by increasing the number of beds on campus from 5,000 to 9,000. But Clark is concerned that newly built dorms will be too expensive, sending more students into neighborhoods.

“Tearing down our older dorms to build new is too expensive,” she said. “Only affordable campus housing will relieve overcrowding in the neighborhoods nearest UK.”

Next school year, a room in a newly built dorm will cost from $3,325 to $4,988 per semester, the same as other “premium” dorms. Annual rate increases in the new dorms would be limited to 3 percent.

Wiseman said community meetings on the plan will continue through the spring and summer; for example, he’s doing a walking tour of campus with a group of historic preservationists next week.

Learn more

Information on the process and the plan can be found at

Linda Blackford: (859) 231-1359.Twitter: @lbblackford.

Article source:

Garden Nature Calendar

Send items for this column to Sharon Dargay at

Livonia Garden Club

Learn about fairy gardens at the club’s next meeting, 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 7, at the Livonia Senior Center, located at Five Mile and Farmington Road, in Livonia. Laura Wright, president of the Gillette

Nature Association at PJ Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon, will present a brief overview of the history of fairies and explain how to add excitement and imagination to the garden;

Plant sharing

  • Livonia Garden Club’s annual plant share is 9-11 a.m. — rain or shine — Saturday, May 11, Greenmead Historical Park, 20501 Newburgh, Livonia; (248) 477-7375. Divide, pot up and label plants. Include common and botanical name, (if known). Also, please indicate if it’s a sun or shade plant. House plants are welcome, too.

  • Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County plan a plant exchange and heirloom tomato plant sale, 9-11 a.m. Saturday, May 11, in the parking lot at the News Herald, 1 Heritage Pl., Southgate. Proceeds fund grants, scholarships and special projects for local communities. or e-mail to

    Heirloom tomato plants

    Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County will sell more than 35 varieties of heirloom tomato plants, as well as herbs, flowers and peppers, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. May 18, at the RESA/MSU Extension office, 5454 Venoy, Wayne. Proceeds fund grants, scholarships and special projects for local communities. For a description of our heirloom tomato plants visit Questions? E-mail to Fundraiser

    Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County presents its third annual Mother’s Day Weekend Flower Plant Sale 3-8 p.m. May 10-11 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. May 11 at its headquarters, 150 Osmun, in Pontiac. The event features free landscaping/gardening sessions open to the public, discounted plants and Mother’s Day flowers. Master gardeners will be on hand to offer planting advice. During the second day of the event, master gardeners will conduct presentations on basic landscaping and design, curb appeal and gardening on a budget. Along with selling plants at affordable prices, the educational opportunities are geared towards homeowners learning to landscape on a budget, as part of Habitat’s ongoing support to “green” (or inexperienced) partner families. Learn more at

    In the moonlight

    Listen for nocturnal animals, observe the night sky, and heighten your senses during a Full Moon Friday Night Hike in Heritage Park, located at 24915 Farmington Road, between 10 and 11 Mile Roads, Farmington Hills. The hikes are from 9-10 p.m. May 24 and Aug. 23, and 9:30-10:30 p.m. June 21 and July 19. Hikes are designed for families and children, 5 and up. No flashlights are needed. Hikes will meet at the Nature Center in the park. Cost is $3 per person. Pre-register for the hike at You also can pay at the event, however space is limited. In case of inclement weather, the hike will be canceled and refunds will be given. The Nature Center also will offer a campfire from 7-9 p.m. on Friday from June 21-Aug. 23. Marshmallows, s’mores and beverages will be sold. For more information, call the Nature Center at (248) 477-1135.

  • Article source:

    Gardens of beauty

    Swords from the Civil War, furniture made by Thomas Day and a dress worn by Hollywood child star Shirley Temple — all of these items are on display at the Alamance County Historical Museum in Burlington.
    “There are so many wonderful artifacts out there,” said Julie Monroe, one of the committee members for the upcoming Alamance County Historical Museum’s Garden Tour Party in the Park, a fundraiser for the museum.
    The property on N.C. 62 South in Burlington was once part of a 1,693-acre farm called Oak Grove Plantation and has served as the Alamance County Historical Museum since 1977. It is open for public and private tours and parties.
    “It really is a treasure,” Lynne Taylor, also a committee member, said of the museum.
    The self-guided garden tour not only raises funds for the museum, but it gives participants a chance to get landscaping ideas they could possibly adopt in their own backyards.
    The 10th annual event will be from noon to 4 p.m. May 4 at five participating Burlington gardens. A party at the gazebo at Willowbrook Park, West Willowbrook Drive in Burlington, will follow from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with hors d’ouevres, wine and lemonade and Grammy and Dove award winner Elijah Chester will perform Broadway hits. Orchids, geraniums and Boston ferns also will be for sale. Cost is $30 in advance and $35 the day of the event. Proceeds will go toward programs/exhibits held at the museum.
    Gardens on the tour include:
    • The Wall garden, Mayor Ronnie and Susie Wall, 613 Meadowood Drive, Burlington — Previous homeowners Pete and Beth Glidewell originally established the garden and the Walls added crape myrtles, the water garden and expanded the perennial garden, as well. A water garden is the focal point of the backyard.   
    • The Schaller garden, Bob and Nan Schaller, 1532 York Place, Burlington — The landscape is constantly evolving, from perennials to bulbs and flowering shrubs and trees. Four-foot-tall poppies, hellebores, a lilac tree, a pearl tree, peonies and weigela can be found in the garden. Birdhouses and vintage containers add interest and color to the outdoor space. 
    • The Harman garden, Pat and Phoebe Harman, 806 Tarleton Avenue, Burlington — Original owners Bill and Hazel Sellers commissioned Herman Biberstein, a Charlotte architect, to design the house in 1935. The Harmans purchased the home in 2003 and have restored and renovated both the home and gardens. They also have added a terrace and fountain adjacent to the sun room at the rear of the house.
    • The Hood garden, Frank and Elizabeth Hood, 1011 West Davis St., Burlington — The 1925 Georgian Revival-style home was built by Edwin C. Holt and owned by James H. Holt McEwen and Iris until her death in 1984. The Hoods recently completed extensive landscaping, including a formal garden. Sculptures and brickwork accent the garden.
    • The Trotter garden, the Rev. Al and Gaye Trotter, 427 Glenwood Avenue, Burlington — Their home was built in 1938 and densely planted beds provide a rotation of annuals throughout the seasons. A variety of unique plants, gathered from around the country, can also be found here.
    Tickets can be purchased on the phone for pickup at any of the gardens or at Willowbrook Park the day of the event and are also available at the museum, 4777 N.C. 62 South, Burlington, or from board members. You also can call ahead to purchase orchids, ferns or geraniums for pickup that day. For more details, visit or call (336) 226-8254.

    Article source:

    Janet Laminack: Landscapes that use less water can be done

    In the
    summer months, our landscapes drink up a lot of our good, clean water.

    bristle when this fact gets mentioned. “Please don’t make me turn my beautiful
    lawn into gravel,” they are thinking. Many people even tell me, “I don’t like
    cactus and I’m not going to do zeroscape.”

    I’m a
    horticulturist, so that means I like plants, not gravel. And the term is
    actually xeriscape, not zeroscape, but the point has been well taken. We
    misunderstand what drought-tolerant and water-conserving landscapes are, and we
    don’t want them besides.

    We are
    getting away from the confusing and scary term xeriscape and moving into terms
    such as “smartscape,” “water smart” and Earth-Kind. These are all approaches to
    gardening and landscaping, practices that focus on healthy and beautiful lawns
    and flower beds.

    Did you
    know that the recommendation for a water conserving landscape is actually
    one-third lawn area, one-third hardscape and one-third perennials and shrub
    beds? Hardscape refers to non-living areas such as sidewalks, decks, patios
    and, yes, fields of gravel if that’s your thing.

    best management practices include adding a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch to all
    your shrubs, trees and flowering plants. Mulch helps insulate the soil, reduces
    erosion, reduces competition from weeds and slows water loss from soils. If you
    use an organic material such as wood chips, they break down over time,
    improving your soil. It’s like a slow-release fertilizer.

    selection is also important. Picking plants that enjoy our hot summers and can
    survive on minimal supplemental irrigation is important. Indulging in a few
    high-maintenance favorites is allowed, but don’t water your entire landscape
    just to give those few plants enough water. Group or zone plants according to
    water requirement and set your irrigation timer accordingly.

    You might
    be surprised at the quantity of beautiful, lush and “non-cactus looking” plants
    that are drought tolerant. To see some of our recommendations, check out the
    links on Other great resources for plant selection can be found
    at and

    To hear
    more about some of my favorite plants for our area, join me at 6:30 p.m. May 7
    at the city of Lewisville Water-Saving Landscape class. I’ll be speaking on
    plant choices and Earth-Kind landscaping principles. The class will be at the
    city’s Kealy Operations Center, 1100 N. Kealy St., Suite D. To register for
    this free class, contact or call 972-219-3504. This
    is open to non-residents as well.

    If you
    need even more convincing, come see plants in action at the Denton County
    Master Gardener Spring Tour on May 11. You will see beautiful home gardens and
    get great ideas on what you can incorporate in your own landscape.

    This event is the Master Gardener annual fundraiser. Advance tickets
    are $10 and $12 on tour day. For more information call 940-349-2892, e-mail or buy tickets online at Call
    ahead if you have mobility concerns because not all gardens may be accessible.

    horticulture county extension agent with Texas AM AgriLife Extension. She
    can be reached at 940-349-2883. Her e-mail is .


    Article source:

    5 Tips for the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Cherry Blossom Festival

    If you’re heading out to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival, here are some tips to may your trip as enjoyable as possible:

    1. Buy your tickets online. Doing so will allow you to skip long entry lines, which can last more than an hour. Buy tickets here. Members also get in free and can be purchased here. In either case, you’ll need to print out the tickets/e-mail confirmation to bring with you. There area also membership table near the BBG’s entrances where you can sign up last-minute.

    2. Come early. According to organizers, the least crowded time is Sunday morning. The garden opens at 10. 

    3. Do not drive. Streets around the garden are full of traffic and the wait to get into the garden’s small parking lot is usually quite long. Street parking is hard to find. If you are coming from outside of NYC, park a 1/2 mile or so away and either take the subway or walk there. The Q, 2/3/4/5 and Franklin Avenue Shuttle all stop nearby. Travel directions and subway and bus information. 

    4. Eat before you go. You can buy Japanese food under the tent in the Cherry Esplanade and American food at the Terrace Cafe, next to the Steinhardt Conservatory, but lines are usually long there, too, and the costs add up quickly. You’re not allowed to picnic in the garden so best just to eat beforehand. 

    5. Plan your visit. There are more than 60 events in three separate areas, so take a look at the schedule before you go so you don’t miss something of particular interest to you.

    See Also:

    Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Blossom Festival Begins 

    Photos: Sneak Peak at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Cherry Blossom Festival

    Video: Japanese Folk Dancers

    Video: Introducing the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Parasol Society

    Article source:

    Grangetto’s Gardening Tips: May

    Our gardens are in full swing now or at least ready to be filled with plants! As with last month, regular maintenance and care is required for those plants you have already put in the earth or potted. This is the month that when planted; they take off really fast due to such warm temperatures.

    What to Plant

    May is a great month for planting new trees and shrubs. Use Gardner Bloome Worm-Gro when planting. Use DeWitt 12-year Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric to prevent weeds from coming up in your garden beds.

    Plant irises, canned roses, tropicals and tuberoses

    Continue to plant dahlias, begonias–and get in the gladiolus bulbs. Add some Dr. Earth Bone Meal to the planting hole for great root development and beautiful blooms!

    Prepare to plant a giant pumpkin in early June for Halloween.

    Transplant potted bulbs into the ground.

    Plant zinnias, morning glories and other heat loving flowers. Replace cool-season bedding flowers with summer-season flowers.

    Plant warm-season lawns such as Tigreen Hybrid Bermuda or Performance St. Augustine.  

    Plant vegetables and herbs — It’s time to plant warm-season crops like tomatoes, squash, peppers, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, melons, okra and corn. Also plant basil, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme and other heat-lovers. Consider using Superthrive for healthier, fast growing plants. Superthrive is excellent for reducing transplant shock and reviving stressed plants. You can also plant a pumpkin this month or wait until June.

    Plant seeds or seedlings for corn, green beans, melons, squash, cucumbers, okra, sweet potatoes and other heat-lovers. We carry a large selection of Quality STOVER seeds and Do Rights Vegetable, Herb and Flower Packs.

    Continue to purchase, plant, and transplant succulents.

    Purchase epiphyllums.

    Plant petunias. Pinch them back when you plant them.

    Viewer Gallery: Spring blooms around San Diego

    Upload photos of your garden

    Harvest Time

    Harvest your summer vegetables as soon as they are ready. Don’t let them rot and drop to the ground. This can bring insects and disease. See the Grangetto’s harvest guide.

    Feeding and Maintenance


    Fertilize both cool season (fescue) and warm season (Bermuda St. Augustine) lawns using Grangetto’s exclusive formulas from Best – Iron Supreme 16-4-4 (a fast acting fertilizer with 3 percent iron for a deep green which lasts up to 8 weeks) or Best Turf Plus 24-4-4 (a slow release fertilizer which lasts for up to 12 weeks for a longer green and less mowing! ). For those Organic Gardeners use Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer Is an excellent organic option to keep your lawn healthy.  For convenience in small areas use a Hand-Held spreader. For larger areas use a Broadcast Spreader.

    Mow cool season lawns long and warm season lawns short.

    Plants, Trees and Shrubs

    BENEFICIAL INSECTS – Beneficial insects such as the almost microscopic parasitic wasps, praymantis, ladybugs, etc. keep other insect pests away from your vegetable gardens by eating aphids, scale, and other annoying intruders. You can use beautiful flowers to tempt these garden friends into your garden. Try putting some of these flowers near to your rose garden for aphid control!

    VEGETABLES – Keep planting warm season crops.  Stop watering onions and garlic grown for bulbs when leaves being to turn yellow. Dig bulbs when tops have fallen over and place in a shady, well ventilated area to cure. Fertilizer warm season crops to promote growth. Try Dr. Earth Tomato and Vegetable Food. Fertilize peppers when flowers first show. Check for pests. Use a pest control product made for use on vegetables. Continue to tie up and sucker tomatoes.

    HERBS – Pull out spend winter annuals such calendula. Prune back perennial herbs like rosemary. Continue to harvest Yerba mansa, mint, elderberry flowers and lavender blossoms.

    FRUIT TREES VINES – Continue to feed avocado and citrus trees. Use a good all around fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Fertilizer or contact us to learn of other conventional and organic fertilizers that will fit your growing needs best!  Check citrus for pests and diseases. Irrigate as needed to maintain adequate soil moisture. Apply enough water to wet the soil at least two feet deep. Only apply water about 3 inches deep in loam soil.  Watch for chlorosis on your citrus. This yellowing of the leaves between the veins is a sign of iron deficiency for the plant. Feed with a good iron supplement such as Ironite Mineral Supplement.

    Wash fruit trees periodically with a forceful spray of water to remove dust, honeydew and pests like aphids, whiteflies and spider mites. Control ants. Use Tanglefoot or AntPro Liquid Bait and Bait Stations.

    DECIDUOUS FRUIT – Continue to thin out fruit on apples, pears and stone fruits when they are about one-half inch in size.  Space fruit four to six inches apart. Leave one fruit per spur.

    ROSES – Deadhead stems and canes when blooms are spent. Deadheading fading flower blossoms will keep your garden neater and flowering better longer. Water well as heat increases. Roses need one inch of water twice a week during the warm season. Potted roses need even more. Spray wash the bushes with water daily in the early morning to control powdery mildew or spray with a fungicide according the label directions.  Watch for Blossom rot; a fungus that shows up as red spots on white and yellow petals and brown spots on petals of other colors.  Remove affected blooms.  

    Feed roses based on the recommended schedule for your chosen fertilizer. Some good options are Dr. Earth Rose Flower Food, Gro Power Flower N’ Bloom orBayer Advanced combination control Rose Foods.

    BEGONIAS – Check tuberous begonias to repot or add fresh soil. Stake if needed. Wash insects off with water. Pinch back once or twice and fertilize for more blooms and bushier canes.

    FUCHSIAS – Continue to water regularly.  Use a liquid fertilizer when watering during their growth period (April through September).  Stop pinching back fuchsias. Remove berries (seed pods) from fuchsias after flowers fall.

    CAMELLIAS – Feed your camellias as part of your annual fertilizer program. A good schedule of feeding is three times a year. March should have been your first feeding. Feed again in May and again in July. The rule of thumb is to feed camellias six to eight weeks after the last blooms fall. Feed again six to eight weeks later, then one more feeding six to eight weeks after the last. Continue using the fertilizer of your choice. Suggestions are a pre-made mix such as Dr. Earth or Lilly Miller Camellia and Azalea Food. They like acid food. Watch for aphids and hose them off with a spray of water. Keep well watered, but not soggy. Prune unwanted new growth.

    TROPICALS – Continue with a fertilizer schedule for your tropical plants. Tropicals do best when feed during the growing season (spring through fall). This will depend on your schedule and type of fertilizer used. We suggest with Gro-Power Premium Palm Tropical Plant Food 9-3-9 or Apex 13-4-12 Palm K. Remove only dead and dying foliage from date palms

    CACTUS SUCCULENTS – Feed all container-grown succulents with a well-diluted complete liquid fertilizer such as Shultz 10-15-10 Plant Food. Water well. Make sure drainage is good in all container plants. Now is the for winter/spring growers such as aeoniums, dudleys and senecios. Take cuttings for propagation.

    DAHLIAS – Feed dahlias with a balanced nitrogen fertilizer. Spray as necessary to control insects. Watch for leaf miners, thrips and aphids. Try using a systemic. If spraying, use a weak solution on new foliage. Water when top of soil is dry. Soak deeply and often when buds are forming. Pinch out center of plants when two or three sets of leaves have developed. Plant tubers now when soil is warm. Tubers should be planted four to six inches down and planted with “eye” up. Stake at this time. Keep moist but not too wet. Protect from harsh sun. Protect from snails and slugs.

    PELARGONIUMS – Avoid pruning or cutting. Remove dead or damaged leaves to prevent molds and fungus. Watch for geranium rust. Use Immunox to treat. Immunox is a non-sulfur based product. Keep the soil moist and the foliage dry.  Fertilize with an all purpose plant food every two to -three weeks. Protect against whitefly, budworm and aphids. Use a product that contains both an insecticide and fungicide.

    ORCHIDS – Protect plants from sun damage as temperatures start to rise. Finish repotting. Be sure to soak first this late in the season. Water more as plants increase their growth rate. Bring some indoor plants outside for the summer.  Watch and protect from insect infestations. Divide and repot cymbidiums that have outgrown their containers. Cut off bloom spikes from cymbidiums after flowers fade.

    EPIPHYLLUMS – Prune plants to shape. Plant cuttings after they flower. Bait for snails and slugs. Use horticultural oil for scale. Keep soil damp. Protect from hot summer sun.

    IRIS – Prepare beds for planting. Work in humus, soil sulfur and decomposed manure. Allow cut surfaces of rhizomes to dry and be exposed to sunlight before planting or give a light dusting of soil sulfur.

    BROMELIADS – Water throughout the summer by spraying. Bromeliads absorb moisture and nutrients through their leaves. They do not like soggy roots so don’t over-water. Be sure to protect from sun. Use shade-cloth for protection if needed.

    PLUMERIA – Potted plumeria should be moved from protected areas to full sun. Continue fertilizing with a low nitrogen fertilizer such as Gro Power Flower N’ Bloome 3-12-12. Plant new or repot plants to replace old soil with a fresh mix. Use one-half cactus mix such as Kellogg Palm Cactus Mix and one-fourth perlite and one-fourth Worm Gold Max. Keep soil at the same level as before.

    FERNS – Divide and mount staghorn ferns. Remove old dead fronds. Keep humidity up. Most ferns are starting full growth now. Water frequently and fertilize with half-strength, slow release fertilizer such as Dr. Earth Palm Tropical.

    IRON DEFICIENCY? – Many have asked us what is causing yellowing in the leaves of their citrus, camellias, and gardenias. Iron deficiency. Do the leaves near the top of the plant have green veins but yellow in between the veins? Time for either a foliar spray or a soil drench such as Grow More Iron Chelate or Ironite Mineral Supplement. This will help return those leaves to green!

    TREES SHRUBS – Continue your fertilizer routine. There are many products available in both organic and conventional style feeding.  Continue to prune your ornamental shrubs for hedges.

    PRUNE – Prune winter and spring-flowering vines, shrubs, trees and ground covers after they finish blooming.

    NATIVE PLANTS – Most native plants can go three to four weeks between watering, but Riparian natives need to be watered once or twice a week. Wash the dust off shrubs and trees once a month. Harvest wildflower seeds. Pull out wildflowers after they dry. Keep planting at a minimum until fall. If you do plant, make sure to water 3 – 5 times for most new plantings. Then they can generally make it with little water through summer.

    ATTRACT BIRDS – Attract a variety of birds to your yard with KAYTEE Brand Bird Seed and bird feeders. Place some hummingbird feeders around your yard to keep them coming back. Then relax and listen to the birds.

    MULCH, MULCH, MULCH – If you haven’t already, apply a layer of mulch on flower beds and around trees and shrubs 2-3 inches around the base of plants. It reduces weeds, conserves moisture, and prevents disease. Great stuff!


    Reset your irrigation timer to water more frequently as the weather starts to warm up. Adjust as needed if we get adequate rain fall.

    Water gardens – Check irrigation systems. Fix clogs and broken sprinklers. Adjust spray heads. Begin watering as weather warms. Apply a fresh layer of organic mulch to conserve moisture.

    Apply at least one inch of water twice per week to keep roses well hydrated.

    Taper off watering those California native plants that do not accept summer water. Most native plants can go three to four weeks between watering, but Riparian natives need to be watered once or twice a week. Also make sure to water three to five times for most new plantings. Then they can generally make it with little water through summer.

    As the weather becomes drier, keep up with watering. Even highly drought-tolerant plants need irrigation. Water large cacti, for example, once a month and agave and yuccas every three weeks. Be sure to water most garden plants regularly. Try using a Rain Wand for easy watering. Pair it with a Gilmour Flexogen Hose for maximum kink resistance.

    Water lawns – Check irrigation systems. Fix clogs and broken sprinklers. Adjust spray heads. Begin watering if weather warms but only after soil has partially dried. Check with your local water department or cooperative extension service for lawn watering guidelines.

    Now is a perfect time to start planning on how you are going to save water in your landscape, if you haven’t already.  Installing or retrofitting an existing irrigation system to utilize the most up-to-date technology will help you save water. Here are some water saving devices

    Did you know that you could SAVE up to 30 percent on Your WATER BILL? Consider replacing old irrigation systems with updated water efficient weather based systems from HUNTER Irrigation. Replace your old outdated nozzles with HUNTER MP Rotators.

    Be sure to follow your local watering restrictions and guidelines

    Pests to Watch For

    Control indoor and outdoor pests – To control insects like spiders, fleas and ants, use Spectracide Triazicide Once Done, which provides up to 12 months of insect protection. It controls insects in lawns around homes so they don’t come inside.

    Animals – Warmer weather brings out animals such as skunks, raccoons and opossums.  Trap them with Havahart Traps.  We carry a large supply and they are very effective.

    Squirrels – Use Havahart Traps, Protecta Bait Stations, Wilco Squirrel Bait and Station or Squirrelinator Multi-Trap.

    Control mosquitoes – Use Mosquito Dunks in ponds or standing water to help control mosquitoes.

    Rabbits – protect your vegetables and herbs from foraging rabbits! Use Rabbit Scram Repellent to keep rabbits away. This repellent is natural and organic and works as a barrier so it never has to touch your plants.

    Snails Slugs – Use Organic Gro Power Slug N Snail, Organic Sluggo Plus, Original Sluggo or Corry’s Snail Slug Meal or Pellets.

    Aphids – Control aphids with insecticidal soap and beneficial insects.  Safer Insect Killing soap is a good organic choice.

    Thrips – Wash foliage with water from a garden hose. For stronger infestations use Bayer Advanced Tree and shrub Insect Control. This is a systemic that gives 12 months of control.

    Coddling moth larvae – Spray walnuts with Sevin when nuts are about the size of a nickel and again three weeks later to control coddling moth larvae.

    Scale – Use Lilly Miller Superior Type Spray Oil or Ortho Volck Oil Spray to control crawlers. 

    Lawn pests – Use Bayer Multi-Insect Killer or Spectracide Triazicide

    Vegetable Pests – Use Green Light Lawn Garden Spray with Spinosad or Dr. Earth Fruit Tree Vegetable Spray.

    Juniper moths – Spray junipers and Italian cypress for juniper moths.

    Rats Mice – Use Just One Bite Rodent Bait.

    Gophers – Use Wilco Gopher Getter or Cooke Quick Action Gopher Mix to rid your yard of gophers. Use ZP Bait in and around garden beds.

    Caterpillars – Use Safer Caterpillar Killer, Monterey Garden Insect Spray or Green Light Lawn Garden Spray with Spinosad. Look these pests on your broccoli and cabbage.

    Rose Pests – Use Bayer All-in-One Rose Flower Care, Bayer 3-in-1 Insect Disease and Mite Control or Green Light Rose Defense (organic).

    Powdery Mildew – Especially near the coast, this is the time we begin to see powdery mildew on our rose foliage (and other plants too). There are several different foliar fungicidal sprays to that can help.  Consider Bayer Insect Disease and Mite Control or Ortho Rose Pride are good conventional use products. Use Monterey E-Rase for organic growing.

    Powdery Mildew on Grapes – Apply a sulfur spray such as Safer Garden Fungicide.

    Fruit Tree Pests – Use Monterey Garden Insect Spray to combat caterpillars and other listed pests on fruit trees, vegetables and ornamentals. It is OMRI listed for Organic Use too. For synthetic control use Bayer Fruit, Citrus and Vegetable Insect Control.

    Lawn Weeds – To control weeds in lawns while giving them a good feeding use Lilly Miller Ultra Green 28-2-3 Weed Feed.

    Weeds – Use Bonide Crabgrass Preventer or Bayer Season Long Weed Control in lawns. Use Green Light Amaze in ornamentals flower beds.  For non-selective areas, use Roundup or QuickPro products. Be sure to use a good sprayer such as Hudson Sprayers. DeWitt Weed Barrier Landscape Fabric prevents weeds without chemicals. It still allows air, water and nutrients to go through. Lay this fabric down before planting your gardens.

    For more green thumb advice, check out Grangetto’s in the Gardening section of the Marketplace.

    Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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    Landscape designers can turn your yard into art

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    Never underestimate the value of professional landscape designers.

    Trained to know what plants work best and what designs function best, they can save you time, money and heartache.

    “There is much more to landscaping than popping shrubs around a house,” says Peggy Krapf, a member of the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers.

    “Good landscaping has a real artistic component — integrating architecture, plants and functionality — similar to interior decorating.”

    Here’s what Krapf and two other Virginia landscape designers say about good garden design:

    Consider your architecture

    “I love to bring the architecture of the house into the garden.”

    “Connecting them with fencing is a wonderful way to enclose the garden — making it feel like an extension of the house. Be sure to use compatible materials and colors in the outdoor spaces. If your home has a brick foundation, be sure to choose a matching or blending color for walks and pathways. Pick out paint colors for fencing, furniture and sheds that echo the accent or trim colors on the house. Choose a favorite flower color and repeat it around the garden for a cohesive look.” — Krapf

    Develop your plan

    “Develop a plan, make your wish list, set your budget, know the local climate and imagine how you will use the space.

    “Also, consider maintenance. Do you enjoy the garden? How much time do you have to spend?

    “Do not restrict your landscape to only plants. Decks and patios transition your home from the inside out. If you have a patio, consider a pergola or arbor. If you have a garden path, consider a gate.

    “This adds another unique piece to your garden design.”

    — Eric Bailey of Landscapes by Eric Bailey in Newport News, Va.

    Evaluate your curb appeal

    “Always stand at the curb in front of your home and look at any issues that steal attention from the front door. Block unattractive neighboring views with trees and shrubs to keep the eye on your property.

    “Hide trash and recycle cans from view.

    “Always consider the colors and architectural design style of the house when choosing plants, flowers, paving materials and pots for front yards. Ideally paving materials should reflect the same color as the roof.

    “Placing a tree between the curb and the house gives a sense of added depth to the front yard; 90 percent of front yard shrubs should be evergreen.

    “Keep your house numbers and front porch well lit, visible and clean because this is the first place an arriving guest will see.

    “Keep shrubs well below windows and clear from paths to avoid an unmaintained look.

    “Brown is the most natural looking mulch color and works well with green plants.”

    — Tami Eilers of McDonald Garden Center in Hampton, Va.

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    Designing a small garden to yield big results – Sioux City Journal

    I recently moved to a home with acreage, but quickly realized that even large lots have small or quirky outdoor spaces that must be designed carefully and thoughtfully.

    Fortunately, with attention to appropriate plant and variety choices, just about anything that can be done to dress up a larger space can be done on a smaller scale with equal success.

    Even the smallest spaces can be made to appear larger with a few design tricks that fool the eye into thinking the space is bigger than it actually is.

    Some ideas:

    — Garden in layers. Layers give the illusion of more space than you really have. “Garden Up,” a book by California landscape designers Rebecca Sweet and Susan Morrison, recommends that we think in terms of three layers: top, middle and bottom. For the tallest layer, choose vines that naturally grow flat against a wall, vase-shaped plants or trees you can train or shape to allow plenty of room for planting beneath them.

    In the middle layer, select plants that are 3-4 feet tall, with a vertical, light, open habit, such as perennials with tall flower stalks or finely textured ornamental grasses. The reason is how our eyes perceive depth. If we can see several things at once where we might otherwise only see one, it tricks the eye into thinking the space is bigger than it is, and gives the area a more overall lush feel.

    The bottom layer should fill in the gaps and can offer multiseason interest. Select small-scale grasses, ground-hugging shrubs and compact perennials to visually anchor the bottom.

    — Introduce color with non-plant selections. Depending on flower color to provide accent and impact in your design can be risky in a small space. Since every inch must count, a potentially underperforming flower display can diminish the impact, and even the most accomplished plant experts struggle here. Instead, bring in color through other objects, such as brightly painted furniture, accessories, wall objects or garden art.

    — Ditch the dirt. With limited overall space, yielding some of that to a patch of dirt for planting may seem impractical, and it often is. Instead, consider making a limited outdoor space feel like a continuation of the indoors. That may include replacing dirt for brick pavers, tile or concrete. Then add an all-weather area rug to give the feel of another room. Add attractive planting containers of different shapes and sizes and fill them with a variety of plants and trees. You’ll have an instant garden, and another room to extend the living space.

    — Maximize usable space. The recurring theme by all designers when it comes to making a small area look its best is to take advantage of every inch of space, especially vertical opportunities.

    In just a glance, visitors may get the sense that they’ve seen all there is to see in a small garden. That can be disappointing. So keep it interesting and mysterious. Add other objects like a small water feature, or even a mirror to give the illusion the space continues. Tuck in a few surprises that require a more lingering stroll through the garden. Containers work very well, either as a focal point or when tucked discreetly in the back of a bed where they aren’t immediately on display. Other tricks include a garden path that leads beyond the field of view, even if it stops just around the corner. The eye is again tricked to thinking there is more than there actually is.

    (Joe Lamp’l, host and executive producer of “Growing a Greener World” on PBS, is an author and a paid spokesman for the Mulch and Soil Council. Contact him at For more information, visit For more stories, visit

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