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Archives for June 6, 2013

Junior Gardeners

Byhalia Middle School Junior Gardeners Makyria Sanders (front row, left), Brittney Bronson, Chakissa Sanders; Hailey Edwards (second row, left), Paige Landry, Zaida Lugo; Arlesha Johnson (third row, left), Shaquala Norman, Toni Mitchell; amd Makayla Curry (fourth row) enjoyed a recent field trip to the home of Representative Bill Kinkade and his wife, Debbie (back row).

Byhalia Middle School Junior Gardeners Makyria Sanders (front row, left), Brittney Bronson, Chakissa Sanders; Hailey Edwards (second row, left), Paige Landry, Zaida Lugo; Arlesha Johnson (third row, left), Shaquala Norman, Toni Mitchell; amd Makayla Curry (fourth row) enjoyed a recent field trip to the home of Representative Bill Kinkade and his wife, Debbie (back row).

The Bluejays Junior Gardeners from Byhalia Middle School recently enjoyed a field trip to the home of Mississippi State Representative Bill Kinkade and his wife, Debbie, in ???.

The students learned landscaping techniques and saw firsthand an example of naturalist landscaping. They were able to view many different types of azaleas and plants in the Kinkade gardens, gathering ideas on landscaping small areas, as well as large ones. After the tour, the group was treated to refreshments in the Kinkade home.

Sarah Sawyer is executive director of the Byhalia Area Chamber of Commerce.

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Duluth workshops focus on climate-enhanced flooding

As the one-year anniversary of the Twin Ports area’s worst flooding approaches, two conservation groups are sponsoring workshops in Duluth on how the Northland can adapt to increased floods spurred by a warmer climate.

The St. Louis River Alliance and W.J. McCabe Chapter of the Izaak Walton League are holding climate-change adaption workshops June 19 and 20 in Duluth.

The official title, “A Flood of Options: Adapting to a Changing Climate,” is a nod to climate and engineering experts who say that changes that already have occurred in our weather patterns — more large storms interspersed by more dry periods, all with gradually warmer temperatures and more water vapor — create a need to change how we deal with rainwater.

The free workshop is set for 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 19 at the EPA’s Mid-Continent Ecology Division laboratory at 6201 Congdon Blvd. and will be repeated 1-3:30 p.m. June 20 at the Lincoln Park Middle School near West Third Street at 32nd Avenue West.

The workshops will give an overview of recent changes to local and regional climate, impacts upon local waterways and ideas on how residents can help protect area streams and the St. Louis River during extreme weather events.

Featured speakers include Mark Seeley, University of Minnesota climatologist and a Minnesota climate history and climate-change expert; and Chris Kleist, city of Duluth stormwater and stream restoration program coordinator.

And while engineers are working to make public infrastructure to increased flooding — culverts, roads, bridges, etc. — people also can take action in their own yards to help local streams handle the bigger load.

Julene Boe, executive director of the St. Louis River Alliance, said that while the exact implications of future climate change may remain uncertain, the Northland already has seen documented changes in its average temperatures and precipitation patterns.

“There are some people who are skeptical, who think this is just happening by chance. But for people who had a wakeup call with the flood last year and who may want to do something to help — we want to give them the tools to do that,” Boe told the News Tribune. “People can take a look at their own property and the impact it has on the watershed they live in, and maybe they want to do something to keep the water on that property, to slow the turnoff and mitigate flooding, things like planting trees or creating rain gardens, landscaping techniques that all of us can do.”

Participants will have an opportunity to sign up for follow-up workshops that will assist interested residents in taking future actions towards climate-change adaptation in their communities. In addition, the Regional Stormwater Protection Team will have a display and materials to share. Attendees at each workshop will be able to register for a free drawing, which will include a rain barrel to capture rainwater for gardening use.

The workshops are funded by grants from the Coastal Management Act, by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, in conjunction with Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program and Climate Change Adaptation grants from Freshwater Future.

People are encouraged, but not required, to RSVP at or by calling (218) 733-9520.

news, weather, environment, flood, updates

More from around the web

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Sean Parker Says His $2.5 Million Nature Disaster of a Wedding Wasn’t ‘Tasteless’

After the Internet rightfully ridiculed Sean Parker for destroying the beautiful nature in San Francisco’s famed Redwood Forest, the Internet entrepreneur has come out defending his nerd costume wedding because, among other things, he claims it was tasteful. “You mention that what we did was ‘extravagant’ yet none of the usual tasteless crap that rich people do at their weddings was present here — no ice sculptures, no caviar, no pop stars hired to sing their hits songs, etc,” Parker writes in an email to The Atlantic‘s Alexis Madrigal, who had first revealed the California Coastal Commission report that forced Parker to pay $2.5 million for his ecological disaster of a reception. “This is why your article and so many other articles have been so deeply offensive.” The classiness of the affair, which featured a fairy bride, is up for debate. And, according to the New York Post, Sting sang to the couple — so he did have a “pop star to sing their hit songs.” But that’s all besides the point: Your wedding’s cool factor has nothing to do with how terrible it was for the environment. 

Parker, off course, has more defenses than taste, telling Madrigal he “consulted informally” with the Save the Redwoods League before the event — and that his event made the forest nicer. This “before” picture below, Parker alleges, was “probably” an after shot, showing how Parker’s voluntary $2.5 million cleaned up a paved over spot in the area:

Parker continues: “When we found the Ventana campground site it was not exactly in pristine shape — the natural ground cover was gone and it had been paved over with black asphalt!” In fact, Parker insists, the couple did everything to ensure his ceremony disturbed as little as possible:

We want to crazy lengths to ensure that nothing in the forest was harmed during the construction process. We used fabric liners to protect the ground from our landscaping work. We avoided planting directly in the soil, instead we brought in potted plants. Contrary to media reports, no redwood trees were harmed by the wedding or construction. (At least none that I’m aware of.)

While all of this certainly takes some of the sting away, there is one caveat that even Parker admits: “While we made some mistakes… Of course it’s impossible to get everything exactly right at a production of this scale.” Perhaps that the larger point is inadmissible  If you really cared about the forest, maybe you would have just donated the money to the area in the first place — and have your multi-million dollar wedding elsewhere. 

Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments
or send an email to the author at
rgreenfield at theatlantic dot com.

You can share ideas for stories on the Open Wire.

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A University Park home that blooms

Welcome to the warmth and charm of 3900 Centenary Dr., located on a large, corner lot in the “Fairway” of University Park. Just two blocks from coveted Hyer Elementary, the current owners extensively renovated the property to work beautifully with today’s lifestyle.

Filled with exceptional details such as warm hardwoods, French beams, rich moldings, tall ceilings and three hand-cut Lueders limestone fireplaces, this home is as comfortable as it is inviting.

The cook’s kitchen, modeled after Julia Child’s own, is the centerpiece of the home. Special features include custom white cabinetry with maple interiors, honed black granite counters, Viking range, Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer and more. Seating includes a large central kitchen table and separate morning area (that also serves as an additional living area) overlooking the outdoor pool and spa and a spectacular shade garden reminiscent of the gardens of Provence with its hollies, yews and crushed pea gravel path.

With large rooms and outdoor spaces that welcome entertaining, this home was also created to meet the demands of day-to-day life. It boasts four ensuite bedrooms, including a large master with fireplace, sitting area and Juliette balconies. A carpeted third floor with full bath could be a fifth bedroom, and quarters above the garage are just the right size for out-of-town guests to feel right at home.

Outside, exceptional gardens and landscaping include 300 linear feet of New England stacked stone which surrounds the English border garden, with 72 rose bushes in bloom from March through October, plus salvia, foxgloves, rosemary, thyme and other perennials. Pool landscaping was inspired by the Four Seasons in Las Colinas. Listed by Malinda Arvesen for $2,050,000.

Extraordinary homes and extraordinary people create great neighborhoods. Go to to see luxury homes for sale in the DFW area. CEO Robbie Briggs independently owns and operates Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty.

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Garden Calendar: Check out winning daylilies at show

GARDEN ART:See how Paula Splatter creates glass totems for the garden at the Collin County Rose Society meeting. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Collin College, B-124, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. Free. 214-707-8987.

SUMMER PLANT OPTIONS:Learn which plants will thrive in your landscape despite the North Texas

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A South Street garden of earthly delights, and others at Needham Garden Tour

Helen Peters doesn’t own your run-of-the-mill garden.

Her Old Colonial house on South Street is surrounded with birches, peonies, foxgloves, tiger lilies, stone paths, stone walls and a manmade waterfall that leads to a pond inhabited by frogs and koi.

The English country-style landscape was the result of five years of work. It’ll be one of six gardens featured in the 2013 Needham Garden Tour, hosted by the Needham Women’s Club and taking place from noon to 4 p.m. on June 9; tickets are available at Roche Bros./Sudbury Farms, Volante Farms, Babel’s Paint Decorating, Home Trends, Dedham Savings Bank, Prudential Advantage Real Estate and online at

“The whole property was very different before we moved in. It was as a sleeping beauty that was still sleeping,” said Peters, who lives on South Street with her husband, her dog, and her foster daughter from Sudan.

Peters’ home sits atop a hill overlooking South Street. The garden is expansive, with walking trails running up the hill behind the house and down the hill to the street. The walls and steps consist of stone slabs that blend with the numerous flowerbeds to form a natural landscape.

She bought the home 20 years ago—the address won’t be revealed until the day of the garden tour—and found herself surrounded by steep hills and trees.

“I was in love with the house with all its nooks and crannies,” she said. “But we said to ourselves, ‘let’s do something with it.’”

Peters compared part of the process of transforming her untended yards into a landscaping achievement to an archeological dig. Workers were building raised garden walls, and as they dug they discovered garden walls and even a manmade pond underground, which Peters later renovated to the existing pond.

The most recent homeowner had had parts of the surrounding yards covered over. These buried “archeological” pieces were remnants of an old garden from a previous homeowner.

“This yard used to be spectacular,” said Peters.

Now, after five years of work, there’s more than enough to make a visitor stop and smell the roses.

Organizers hope those who see Peters’ garden may try something new in their own homes.

Susan Opton, who owns the Needham-based company Terrascapes Landscape Design, designed Peters’ garden and will be attending the Garden Tour to talk to visitors. A sharp observer may notice photos of Peters’ front and back gardens on the front page of Opton’s website,

Of course, “every garden should fit the shape of the property,” said organizer Kate Maguire. Maguire added that local community organizations will also be participating by having individual planters on display. 

“We want the event to be more than just a tour,” said Maguire.

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Master gardener to share monthly tips

Master gardener to share monthly tips


TOLARSVILLE — Joanne Madore, before a tour of her garden, warns that it’s not pretty.

Rows are not clearly defined. The bushes are a little wild. And there are more weeds than she would like — but the clusters of flowering roses, daylilies and foxgloves speak for themselves.

As do her blueberry bushes. She’ll need a ladder, and a few extra days, to harvest their fruit to sell at the St. Pauls Farmers Market. She’ll be selling her flowers and vegetables there, too, as they become available, under the moniker “Granny’s Great Garden.” Madore’s first gardening column, which she’ll be writing monthly, can be viewed on this week’s opinion page.

Madore received her Master Gardener designation in Johnston County, and has taken gardening classes at Robeson Community College. Moving through tilled areas reserved for a special vegetable, she points out sprigs of green, “babies that said ‘yes, I think I’ll stick around.’”

Always interested in growing things, it’s a hobby that the retiree dreams of becoming a second career. She worked for the federal government for 12 years, and taught at American Indian reservations in Arizona. Madore moved to a little yellow house in the Tolarsville area, on the outskirts of St. Pauls, six years ago, and her garden has been thriving ever since.

“I have more than enough flowers, I just hope people like to buy them,” she said.

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Green thumbs unite at gardening extravaganza plus bonus citrus tips

Queensland Gardening ExpoGardeners across Australia and New Zealand are once again counting down to one of the country’s most impressive gardening events which will see over 30,000 visitors converge on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast for the 29th Queensland Garden Expo from 5-7 July 2013.

The event, which attracts both the most avid and the most amateur gardeners, offers a jam-packed program including free lectures and demonstrations on a diverse range of gardening topics as well as the wares of over 360 exhibitors and more than 55 nurseries selling over 40,000 plants per day.

Queensland Garden Expo Event Manager, Marion Beazley believes this year’s event will once again raise the bar offering visitors the latest in gardening tools, accessories, garden art, plant clinic advice and more.

“Gardening continues be one of the most popular past-times in Australia.  We love to grow things, whether we have an interest in growing our own fruit and vegetables, cultivating a beautiful rose garden or surrounding ourselves with pot plants to create a more natural and beautiful environment,” Ms Beazley said.

“The Queensland Garden Expo offers some of the country’s most knowledgeable experts as speakers and provides an exceptional range of exhibitors to meet your every need.  Those coming to the Expo tell us the reason our visitor numbers keep growing is because they keep coming back year after year and they keep telling others about what’s on offer – we are proud to offer our visitors something new every year to meet their ever-changing gardening needs.

The speaker program is offered across eight live stages and includes many high profile gardening experts such as Costa Georgiadis of ABC Gardening Australia fame who is always very popular, ABC Radio Host Annette McFarlane, Garden Guru Phil Dudman,  4BC Gardening Talkback host, Clair Levander and Jerry Colby-Williams also regular Gardening Australia presenter, to name but a few.  The Expo will also welcome a new speaker to this year’s with Angus Stewart from Gardening Australia sharing his vast knowledge of Australian native plants which has become an increasingly popular topic over the years.

A new addition to the Garden Expo weekend this year is the Gardeners and Gourmets Celebrity Dinner which will be held on the evening of Saturday, July 6 at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort.  The ticketed event will offer guests the opportunity to hear their favourite gardening presenters and to speak to leading gardening experts while enjoying the great local produce on offer as well as entertainment and giveaways.

“We come from humble beginnings.  When the Expo started in 1984 as a half-day event with only 30 exhibitors, five workshops and a plant clinic it attracted around 300 locals so it’s fantastic that 29 years later we are so highly regarded and placed amongst the top gardening events in the country,” said Marion.

“Our commitment to offering great products across all areas of gardening as well as a wealth of information from an excellent selection of gardening experts makes the Expo a one-stop shop, whether you’re coming along to get the first look at new release plants being launched by the nurseries or you’re wanting to know how to get started with your first vegie patch. There’s something for everyone and the Expo provides a great day out for the whole family.”

Other highlights include the Giant Kitchen Garden which is once again expected to prove popular with more people wanting to grow their own food, the Living Backyard feature which demonstrates how you can create a biodiverse environment in your own back yard and the brand new Gardeners and Gourmets stage which will give visitors great tips on growing their own produce and turning it into delicious gourmet meals.  As always, the children’s playground and the multitude of food stalls and entertainers ensure the Expo is a great day out for the whole family.

The Queensland Garden Expo is held at the Nambour Showgrounds, Coronation Avenue, Nambour.  For more information please visit

Getting great advice is a big drawcard at the Expo, here’s some great tips on successfully growing citrus.

EXPO EXTRA:  Top Ten Tips for Growing Successful Citrus in the backyard – by Peter Young, Birdwood Nursery

  1. Grow the fruit you want to eat. If you like to eat what you’re growing you’ll look after it better.
  2. Choose a variety that will grow well in our climate. Some citrus varieties that come from colder climates are susceptible to brown spot disease, so make sure you pick something that can survive a Queensland summer such as Imperial or Emperor Mandarins.
  3. Want more than one type of fruit but don’t have space for more trees? Try planting four trees in the one planting hole and they’ll grow as one tree with four separate trunks. Choose types that mature at different times so you can pick fruit all year round!
  4. Fruitscape… or at least don’t plant everything in the one spot. When you concentrate everything in the one spot, all the pests come to that spot as well so spread fruit trees throughout your garden.
  5. Fertilise citrus in June, August and November.   If you fertilise during the rainy months, the nutrients will promptly be washed away.
  6. Fertilise the whole root area. So many people only fertilise the drip line but you need to spread fertiliser from the stem to the outside branches.
  7. Plant when the weather becomes cooler.  From May to September is the best time to plant in Queensland because the Citrus Leaf Miners are dormant.
  8. Select the right root stock. There are seven different root stocks commonly used for citrus and the secret is to get the right one for your plant. Make sure you are buying from a reputable source so you can get good advice and your tree can live for 60 plus years!
  9. Another great alternative for those with limited space is a Dwarf Citrus Tree. Use either Trifoliata or Flying Dragon root stock for these varieties for tubs or in the garden.
  10. Build up, not down! If you plant too deeply, the tree will get Collar Rot. Don’t dig  a big hole and fill it up with better soil and fertiliser, instead mound up on top of the ground and then plant.

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Free Miami Middletown lecture has gardening tips

Miami University Middletown’s Verity Traditions will host “Square Foot and Pallet Gardening Made Easy” with Alfred Hall from 6 to 7:30 p.m. June 11 at Verity Lodge, 4200 N. University Blvd.

Participants will learn to grow fresh, natural, organic vegetables in a fraction of the space it takes in a row and hoe garden. Square foot and pallet gardening is easy, can be done on a patio, rooftop, or in a small area of a yard with no weeding, hoeing, plowing or tilling.

Organic and naturally grown herbs and vegetable plants will also be available for purchase at the program.

The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Alfred Hall is the owner/operator of Terrapin Farms and Eden (Urban Gardening Center) and is a board member of Hamilton Urban Garden System Foundation (HUGS).

For more information, call 513-727-3472 or visit

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Gardening with a conscience – tips from expert George Long

Gardening with a conscience – tips from expert George Long

By George Daniel Long

Gardening with a conscience – tips from expert George Long

VIBE’S garden guru George Long, of Well Grounded Gardens, shares his tips for gardening with a conscience.

Ethical gardening can divide the horticultural community – on a small scale it can be effective and easy, but on a larger scale it can be impractical and take a lot of man power.

Wherever possible it is good to try and be environmentally friendly, for example; sourcing local products. Kentish Ragstone is quarried locally so you could use that as opposed to Cotswold Stone or Welsh Pennant.

Managing your garden organically can also be achieved. I have been asked many times recently how to tackle weeds and insects organically, so here are a few useful tips:


You can buy insecticidal soap like Savona but you can also make it yourself. Take three tablespoons of liquid, one tablespoon of vinegar and four litres of water and mix in a spray bottle. You can also use old bathroom soap and dissolve it in hot water but spray it on cold.

Companion Planting

Use companion plants which repel or distract pest next to ones you want to protect.
Tanacetum vulgare, Borage, Chives, Cabbage and French Marigolds repel certain pests and Yarrow attracts Hoverflies, Ladybirds and parasitic wasps which eat aphids.
If you have a snails or slugs, planting something like Hosta in a shaded corner will attract them and hopefully save other plants.


Nematodes are microscopic worms which feed on pests.

They are usually applied by adding to water and sprayed over damp soil. Nematodes will generally keep eating until they have exhausted their food source.

Various different nematodes are available that kill pests including: Slugs, Ants, Caterpillars and Vine Weevil.


Weeds can be smothered with old News Shoppers, weed block or carpet.

Vinegar is a cheap and effective spray, It will not kill roots but some roots will not regenerate after the leaves are dead.

As with all weed killers, be careful: vinegar is not selective and may kill other plants it comes into contact with. Japanese Knotweed or Ground Elder as these are weeds that rapidly grow out of control and need more serious intervention.

Seasonal tips for June/July

  • Last chance to plant before summer heats up.
  • Water young plants well.
  • Dead head flowers to prolong display.
  • Feed lawns and mow regularly.
  • Cut down faded foliage of bulbs.
  • Leave water out for birds.

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