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Archives for June 23, 2013

Overton Square’s long path back not yet complete

Overton Square concept drawings from Madison Avenue by LRK

Overton Square concept drawings from Madison Avenue by LRK

Andy Ashby
Staff writer- Memphis Business Journal

 | Twitter

While Overton Square appears well on its way to a full economic recovery, its redevelopment path has been a fairly long one.

Click here to see concept drawings for a revitalized Overton Square

Rob Norcross, a partner with Looney Ricks Kiss, outlined some of the history and challenges to the project at an AIA Memphis luncheon Thursday. He also talked about how the public and private project enhanced the area’s pedestrian experience, a key in its redevelopment.

Overton Square was born Nov. 25, 1969 when Memphis voters approved selling liquor by the drink there.

It gained steam as an entertainment district in the 1970s, but its decline started in 1983 when the first club on Beale Street opened. As Beale Street drew people away from Midtown, Overton Square started a decline in the 1980s.

Redevelopment studies started in 2010 with Loeb Properties Inc. working with the city of Memphis. The team included Looney Ricks Kiss, Tetra Tech, Montgomery Martin and others.

After years of failed plans before, the group focused on a strong arts scene, stable residential areas and deficient retail options. The area has five theaters with an annual attendance of more than 239,000 people.

As real estate developer Henry Turley told the group years ago, “It’s the theater arts district. What else you got?”

A parking demand study by consultant Carl Walker showed 1,772 parking spaces available in the area as of September 2011, 1,411 off-street and 361 on-street.

The study showed 859 occupied spots and 913 unoccupied on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011.

However, there was an estimated parking demand for 1,261 spaces if the area was redeveloped.

A study of Lick Creek by Tetra Tech showed the waterway drained 4,490 acres in Midtown and the retention part of the Overton Square parking garage was seen as a way to help alleviate that.

When designing a master plan for Overton Square, the development team looked hard at the spaces between buildings.

Trimble Street, for example, is owned by the city and could be used as a festival street after being closed off.

A 2012 charrette gave ideas like an elevated patio area between Boscos and what is now Local Gastropub or a tree-lined park setting next to Le Chardonnay. While these projects would probably never happen, it showed what could be done with repaving and landscaping.

Overton Square has been bolstered by art throughout the redevelopment project, most of which Loeb has paid for.

The district’s empty bays and open spaces have given pop-up retail opportunities for more activity and testing the market without investing a lot of money.

Norcross said there has been some interest in the old French Quarter Inn and Suites, although it would probably have to be torn down and rebuilt as it is outdated.

“Midtown is ready for a hotel,” he said.

If the property is bought from the current owners and a hotel built, it would probably be constructed closer to the street to tap into the district’s activity.

Loeb Properties doesn’t want to be the primary investor in the project, but has been reaching out to others.

Overton Square has gained on-street parking and more pedestrian activity as bike lanes were painted on Madison Avenue. This could continue once bike lanes and on-street parking are added to Cooper Street, a project which should start once the parking garage is completed in October.

Andy Ashby covers commercial real estate; transportation and logistics; construction; and Downtown Memphis. Contact him at

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Inos pushes Garapan public market project

GOVERNOR Eloy S. Inos yesterday urged the Department of Land and Natural Resources to fast-track the public market project at the Garapan Fishing Base.

“Hopefully this facility will allow more local people to get into backyard farming or fishing,” he said.

Inos and other government officials participated in a ceremony marking the turnover from the Department of Public Lands to DLNR of some 14,000 square meters of property for the development and management of a permanent public market complex.

The project, Inos said, will also be good for the tourist industry.

“I am hoping the DLNR secretary will turn this place into a new attraction,” he added.

DLNR Secretary Arnold I. Palacios said the challenge right now is funding.

He noted that U.S. Congressman Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan was able to secure $200,000 in federal money but it won’t be enough as the project also involves landscaping and the development of the shoreline.

“This is everybody’s project and I hope everybody will give us ideas and encouragement as well as help us [secure more funding],” Palacios said, adding that there’s a lot of pieces they need to put together.

DPL Secretary Pete A. Tenorio said Palacios assured him that the governor will use some of the CNMI’s federal capital improvement project funds for the completion of the public market.

“Whenever [DPL] conveys a piece of public property to a government agency, I would like to think we mean business and that there is money for the project, and that they have a plan,” Tenorio said. “In this case Arnold assured me that they will have the funds.”

He said the government should start spending federal funds allocated to the CNMI for CIP’s.

Senate President Ralph DLG. Torres said farmers, ranchers and other members of the community should work together to support the project.

In order to ensure the public market’s success, he added, the community should patronize it and purchase local produce.

In a separate interview, Sid Cabrera, a former agriculture consultant and one of those involved in the planning of the public market facility, said then- Gov. Benigno R. Fitial abandoned the project.

“There was $800,000 in funding and everything was complete including the architectural design, the selection of the contractor, and the schedule for groundbreaking but Fitial just scrapped the project,” he said.

Fitial said the site was reserved for an Ohio-based investor who wanted to build a floating hotel on Saipan, but that project never materialized.

Ramon B. Camacho, Sabalu Farmers Market Inc. president, said the public marker project will definitely benefit farmers and ranchers.

“This is an outstanding project and it’s long overdue,” he said, adding that it will fulfill the vision of the late Anthony Pellegrino who wanted to export the island’s local produce.

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The public may not be able to see evidence of it yet, but some of the ideas championed during the Ignite High Point initiative last month are beginning to move from the abstract to the real.
High Point officials, along with representatives of The City Project, say they want to make sure the momentum generated by the revitalization ideas of Miami-based urban architect Andres Duany and his team of planners, engineers and other professionals isn’t lost.
“(City) Council and the (city) manager have been very cooperative in trying to help us move this thing forward,” said Aaron Clinard, immediate past chairman of The City Project, the city-funded nonprofit that is charged with revitalizing older neighborhoods.
The group raised nearly $400,000 to hire Duany and his team to produce a master plan for three parts of the city: Uptowne, the High Point University area and the furniture market district.
The final plan is not finished yet, but three general priorities have been identified for further steps:
• Converting “the pit” — a vacant parking lot on W. High Avenue across from the High Point Depot — into a usable space for public events.
• “Dieting” a portion of N. Main Street to one lane of traffic in each direction to convert it from a thoroughfare to a “neighborhood street.”
• Landscaping the area in front of the High Point Neal F. Austin Public Library into a public gathering place.  
City officials stress that they haven’t committed to any of these ideas.
They are gathering information about what would be required for each project to be included in requests for proposals to be sent out to firms that could do the work. The responses would give a clearer picture of the construction costs of any projects, which is where the bulk of the expense to the city would lie. They plan to report their progress to council in July.
“Everybody has been supportive, but now let’s see what the details are, because the details are going to be where the cost is going to be,” said City Manager Strib Boynton.
The most substantive development to date is a decision by city officials to engage the services of High Point architect Peter Freeman to develop a schematic design for the pit at a cost of $15,000. The money is coming out of city funds already budgeted for The City Project, so no additional expenditures are required.
The area, most of which is owned by the city, drew attention during Duany’s visit as a potential spot for parties and other types of gatherings to draw more activity downtown.
“We want to get an idea of what it could look like and what it might cost,” said Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall. “Assuming that it’s safe, lighting would probably help that situation. It needs to be cleaned up. Obviously, it’s not the most attractive part of the city. But, with a little effort, it could probably be made to be an attractive area.”
Clinard said making the pit a central point for events could be one way to lure more young people to High Point, a key goal of the Duany initiative. About 10 artists and creative professionals have been invited to work with Freeman on potential designs for the area.
“I just think Duany was such a visionary in so many ways, and none of us had ever paid any attention to that site location. Here it is, city-owned, that has great potential,” he said.
City Project Executive Director Wendy Fuscoe said the idea of the library redesign would be “to green it up. Basically, to make it more of a gathering place where, for example, we could have the beach blast, where we could have Uptowne events. Right now, we’re putting them in parking lots — not the most attractive of meeting areas or gathering areas. So this would be civic gathering area for Uptowne.”

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Sun, Jun 23 2013, 12:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

The La Porte City FFA Historical and Ag Museum will sponsor the “Be Inspired” garden walk from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. June 23.

Visitors will be treated to five individual gardens as well as view one business in the process of completing a major landscaping and renovation project.

Gardens featured on the tour are:

Gary and Sherry Sheffler, featuring spacious lawns and gardens and lots of rustic elements.

David and Marcia Snook, featuring an historic porch and cottage garden.

Steve and Deb Wilson, featuring themed gardens and more than 200 varieties of hostas and 250 varieties of day lilies.

Patrick and Brenda Gardner, gardens include mature specimens surrounded by architectural elements repurposed.

Nancy Olson, featuring a pond and grasses.

La Porte City Golf Club, recently purchased by Wally Markham. Guests will be treated to all new landscaping around the Club house and tee boxes as well as improvements inside. Participants may finish the day here and enjoy free hors d’oeuvres from 3 to 5 p.m. and drink specials. A drawing for a door prize will take place at 5 p.m.

Advance tickets are available at Laurie’s Boutique, You’re Look’n Good, LPC Bakery, and the museum. Tickets accompanied by a guide and maps may be purchased the day of the garden walk at the museum, 408 Main St., or Patrick and Brenda Gardner’s garden at 1641 55th St. Tickets are $5 each with all proceeds benefiting the museum.

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Emporia Garden Tour returns Saturday

Emporia’s annual garden tour, sponsored by Lyon County Extension Master Gardener volunteers, has been scheduled for Saturday. There are six gardens on this year’s tour; five private and one public garden all of which will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. After a hiatus in 2012, area master gardeners have worked diligently to arrange a strong comeback for 2013.

Ben and Jessie Stallings
, 1301 State

When Ben and Jessie Stallings moved to Emporia in 2008, Ben Stallings was looking for a place to practice the permaculture principles he had learned while visiting eco-villages all over the country.  Permaculture is a landscape design system that emphasizes the ecological connection among plants and animals, while producing food and other useful products for people. 

None of the ground has been tilled. Stallings uses a technique called “sheet mulching” to prepare the soil for gardening, using cardboard and large amounts of organic matter, and soil fertility is maintained by top-dressing with compost and mulch.

The garden is dominated by a young pear tree, raspberries, strawberries, and chocolate mint. All these perennials were planted the first year along with annual vegetable crops, and no additional planting has taken place since; the perennials have spread under their own initiative.

The other front garden features a grafted English walnut tree and a variety of plants that tolerate the juglone that walnuts produce. At the front of the yard is an experiment involving two ash trees which were susceptible to pests last year; this year one is surrounded by mulch and beneficial plants while the other remains unprotected.

The side yard features three grape vines and two hardy kiwi vines, along with decorative plants, primarily irises.

In the back yard, a convertible greenhouse grows annual vegetables year-round, primarily greens.  In the winter it is covered in plastic; in the summer its fencing supports peas and pole beans.  The permanent greenhouse frame is not an obstacle since the ground is never tilled. The strawberry pyramid is a work in progress. The raised bed in the backyard is growing asparagus and rhubarb as well as a variety of beneficial herbs and some potatoes that have gone native!

Composting and storage of mulch (last year’s leaves) takes place along the north face of the neighbors’ fence, where little will grow due to the frost shadow.

West of the garage are black raspberries, hazelnuts and sunchokes. Stallings also maintains a tomato garden for a neighbor two doors to the north, along the alley.

John Doreen King
, 824 Rural

John and Doreen King purchased the house at 824 Rural the summer of 1986. Lots of work was needed before their family could move in. It took a few years before attention could be turned to landscaping. Each season a project would be started as time and money was available.

John King built a front porch with flower beds on either side of the steps. The area was in deep shade so landscaping began in large ceramic pots. Container gardens are the backbone of their yard as color may be moved where needed as the seasons change. A French drain on the north side of the yard provides better drainage. Tree removal allowed more sun, and a visitor can enjoy clematis, roses, golden aster, crapemyrtle, iris, yarrow. Knockout roses and variegated liriope. Native stone has been put down for walking paths.

The backyard is very small and has been transformed to an oasis. There are rain barrels, a compost barrel, and four raised vegetable beds. A beautiful raised bed with two 8-foot spiral junipers and flowers is along the garage. A wood deck with awning and a cobblestone patio both provide seating. The oasis has hostas and ferns in a secret garden with a clematis covered arbor, yellow climbing roses on a trellis, jasmine, a butterfly bush, Japanese maples, hibiscus and lots of geraniums. Doreen King has a love of taking cuttings from her hanging baskets so there are many Swedish ivy, sprengeri fern, airplane plants and wandering Jew plants.

The herb garden is well established and the scent of rosemary is a favorite. Both the front and backyard have a large variety of plants both annual and perennial. Nothing is wasted in this yard; if it is standing still there may be a plant in it.

Angela Courtney 
, 413 Union

Step back into time as one pulls up to 413 Union Street owned by Angela and Courtney Perry-Smith. The home is 134 years old and contains many of the original features. The yard has always consisted of two lots, which makes the property fairly spacious. A detached garage that was added on to accommodate bigger vehicles and a small stable is on the property, which has the original features and is currently used as a gardening shed.

When the home was purchased in 1996, it had been a rental home for several years and was in need of TLC. The Perry-Smiths love to renovate homes and own a lawn mowing and landscaping business so the home has received an entire makeover, inside and out.

After some major repair work was completed on the inside of the home, work began on the outside. The property has huge oak and maple trees and the front yard has a Bradford pear tree. Narrow beds surround the house utilizing both perennials and annuals. The color and texture of plants continues along the fence. The above-ground pool in the backyard reflects Angela Perry-Smith’s work ethic, as she completed the work by hauling and leveling the sand, chat, and stone. Small flower beds have been added throughout the yard.

In 2010, a patio was added using some of the original sidewalk. A sandbox was added on the south side of the pool. In 2011, flowerbeds were placed on the north side of the house. In 2012, the flower ring and windmill and in 2013 flowerbeds and a eco-friendly garden was added to the side back yard. The Perry-Smiths have filled the beds and containers with roses, geraniums, irises, hostas, petunias and a variety of perennials. All the beds are outlined and contain native stone.

The next project will be to enlarge the garden, using eco-friendly techniques and the beds will continue to grow with flowers of yesterday.

Gary Rita Romine, 
2415 Westview Drive

Gary and Rita Romine moved to this location in 1992. The peonies along the north had never bloomed. They transplanted them and with a little TLC they bloom each year. A pine, globe locust, and two Bradford pear trees are located in the front yard. St. John’s wort and Knockout rose bushes align the front of the house. Several annuals are planted in planters to add color.

In 2004 a room was added on and the following year the courtyard was landscaped with addition of a water feature that is stocked with koi. Fountain grass, a dwarf lilac bush and liriope surrounds the water feature. Accent lights and a moon light in the tree accent the waterfall. Hostas, daylilies, clematis, coneflowers, and annuals align the patio and deck. Birdhouses, rabbit stepping stones and bird feeders decorate the courtyard. Annuals are planted throughout the courtyard to add color. The huge cottonwood tree provides a home for a Balitmore Oriole. Gary Romine built a pergola swing stand. The patio is an area that is quiet with the sounds of a waterfall and birds singing. The flowers and plants add to the serenity of the area. It is a great place for morning coffee.

Last year a dry creek was added along the south fence. Hostas, fountain grass, liriope, and a yard bench with begonias are scattered among the rocks. A butterfly bush, forsythia bushes, Rose of Sharon bushes, a burning bush and a snowball bush provide color during different times in the backyard. Planters with annuals and yard decorations are scattered about the yard.

Gary Romine built two raised garden bed and tends the vegetable garden.

John Gail Weakley, 
616 West St

John and Gail Weakley purchased their home nearly 30 years ago, October of 1984. The yard had been neglected with dead shrubs and grass so the first month was spent tearing out and getting ready for winter. The next spring only a few trees were planted, one being the cedar that is still in the front yard, and new grass. When their middle son was approaching High School graduation the deck and patios were added to the back of the house with flower beds and a privacy fence.

That same year, Gail Weakley had traveled to Tennessee and stayed at a bed and breakfast with a formal English Garden. She fell in love with the look and came home with plans of creating a similar space in their back yard. Bricks from the old Olpe State Bank were retrieved from a field and used to create a path to the water fountain. Lots of hard work gave them the look they were after with the use boxwoods around the water fountain.

In 2007 the Weakley’s had two new grandchildren and Gail Weakley decided she wanted a flower and vegetable garden that the grandchildren could get their hands in and dig. To keep the formal look, boxwoods were planted along one edge and an arbor on the other side. Sitting in this garden, it gives you another perspective of the yard, allowing the grandchildren to plant, weed and take an interest in the ground.

Many friends and family have been generous over the years in sharing their knowledge and plants to the Weakley yard. Gail Weakley enjoys the perennials as well as the annuals for summer color, and different shrubs (crapemyrtle, Rose of Sharon, and burning bush).

The back yard especially has been a place of gatherings with family and friends, so it is fitting to have a pineapple, (meaning hospitality) placed on top of their water fountain.

Master Gardener Demonstration 

The K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Demonstration Garden on the Lyon County Fair Grounds was built in 1998 by Master Gardener volunteers with the help of many local businesses. The garden consisted of beds made out of different materials to demonstrate various possibilities for constructing landscape or garden beds. An elevated bed was established to allow accessibility for gardeners with physical impairments.

Like most gardens, this one had its challenges. It was established in a drainage area and consequently stayed very wet. Also, being on the corner of the arena, livestock would occasionally walk through the gardens causing considerable damage. In 2005, Master Gardener volunteers made many improvements to the gardens. A drainage area was created at the back of the gardens, a split rail fence was constructed around the perimeter, and soil was amended.

The gardens now serve as demonstration plots for herbs, Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom flowers and ornamental grasses. Prairie Star annual flowers and Prairie Bloom perennial flowers are ones that have been tested across the state and have proven to perform well in the challenging Kansas climate. Lists of these flowers are available at the Extension office,, or

Tour proceeds are used for horticulture education events in Lyon County. Tickets are $5 and available from any Master Gardener volunteer, K-State Research and Extension office or can be purchased the day of the tour at all tour sites.

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18th Annual Newport Flower Show Thru Sunday

Brings Asian Traditions to Opening Night Party
by Carol Stocker
On Friday, June 21, Newport’s summer season will officially begin with the 18th annual Newport Flower Show Opening Night Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This year’s theme, Jade: Eastern Obsession will blend gardens, Eastern treasures and traditions at Rosecliff, capturing the simple yet stunning beauty of this exotic part of the world.

The Opening Night Party will offer guests an opportunity to discover the mysteries of the East through “Zen-full” floral, horticultural and garden displays. While enjoying Asian-inspired food, guests can roam freely through the Oceanside Boutiques and Gardeners’ Marketplace. The evening will be filled with entertaining surprises including Asian music and dancing.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday with floral exhibits, horticultural entries, photography and children’s programs, displayed throughout the rooms and on the grounds of Rosecliff, as well as expansive front lawn garden designs. The free lecture series returns as well, offering advice and demonstrations by noted plant experts.

This year’s special guests headlining Luncheon Lectures on Friday and Saturday of the Newport Flower Show include floral designer Hitomi Gilliam, showcasing her designs inspired by Ikebana and the Zen appreciation of nature; and landscape architect Harriet Henderson, sharing her experiences in the Far East and how Western gardens are influenced by Eastern designs. These two Luncheon Lectures are separately ticketed events requiring advance reservations. Tickets for the Luncheon are $80 per person. Lecture-only tickets are available for $40. The Lecture Luncheon series is sponsored by National Trust Insurance Services.

The Newport Flower Show will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, June 22 23. Advance sale and Preservation Society member admission tickets are $18 per person. Tickets sold at the door will be $25 on Friday, $23 on Saturday or Sunday.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Newport Flower Show, visit, or call (401) 847-1000.

Bartlett Tree Experts returns as Presenting Sponsor of the Newport Flower Show, which benefits The Preservation Society of Newport County. The show is also sponsored by National Trust Insurance Services, Brooks Brothers, Porsche of Warwick, Northern Trust, BankNewport, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southern New England, Atria Senior Living, United Airlines, Aardvark Antiques Restoration, East Coast Wholesale Flowers, Water’s Edge Flowers and Four Roses Bourbon.

All proceeds from the Newport Flower Show benefit the ongoing landscape restoration efforts of The Preservation Society of Newport County, a private non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

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Lou Manfredini and 3M TEKK Protection Brand Offer Top Five Safety Tips for …

Lou Manfredini and 3M TEKK Protection Brand Offer Top Five Safety Tips for Lawn and Garden Projects

ST. PAUL, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– With warmer weather upon us, millions of American DIYers will be dusting off their lawn mowers to get their lawns and gardens looking lush and beautiful. According to a new survey by 3M™ TEKK Protection™ Brand and the National Safety Council*, many may not be aware of the dangers that are lurking each time they rev up those small engines.

In fact, more than one in three DIYers (39 percent) report injuries from using a lawn mower with eye and ear injuries topping the list. Yet while 45 percent say they are concerned about getting injured, 57 percent never wear ear protection and 43 percent never protect their eyes.

“Smart preparation can make all the difference when you’re taking on outdoor projects this season,” said Manfredini, host of HouseSmarts TV and home improvement contributor on NBC’s The Today Show. “Whether you’re doing routine tasks like mowing the lawn or spreading fertilizer, it’s important to protect yourself with the proper safety gear.”

Manfredini provides these tips to help keep outdoor DIYers safe and protected this lawn and garden season.

  1. Before you mow your lawn, take time to walk the yard quickly to inspect for items that may be lying on the ground. Sticks and stones can break your bones – particularly, if the blade of the mower picks it up and throws it at high speed from under the mower’s deck.

    In fact, the blades of a power mower can hurl objects such as rocks and twigs at fast speeds, turning them into dangerous projectiles. Be sure to help protect your eyes with safety eyewear like 3MTM TEKK ProtectionTM ForceFlexTM MAX Flexible Safety Eyewear.

  2. There is nothing better than digging in the dirt but for most of us it’s a great way to tear up our hands. A good pair of gloves that fit well will give you added protection and help keep you working longer in the garden.
  3. Lawn and garden power tools make your outdoor chores go much more quickly. But the noise that they make can harm your hearing even if you are only exposed for a short amount of time. Make sure you are wearing ear protection. It comes in many varieties —from disposable foam ear plugs to high quality ear muffs, and even ones that will play music while you work like 3MTM TEKK ProtectionTM WorkTunesTM Hearing Protector.
  4. Spreading fertilizers around your lawn and garden will help control weeds and green things up but you do not want to inhale the fumes from those chemicals. Help protect your lungs by wearing a respirator when applying these products. A 3MTM TEKK ProtectionTM Sanding and Fiberglass Valved Respirator can help protect you and help keep you comfortable and cool with its unique, patented Cool FlowTM Valve technology.
  5. No matter what project you are doing outside, wearing eye protection is a must. Each year, more than 2.5 million eye injuries occur and more than half of all reported injuries occur within the home.** Protective eyewear has come a long way and offers styles that are comfortable and stylish, and designed to help keep your eyes protected from projectiles and contaminants.

To help create your safety shopping list, visit and check out the Product Selector and instructional videos to choose the right protection for your project.

About 3M

3M TEKK Protection offers a full line of innovative respiratory, eyewear and hearing products designed to help keep DIYers and professionals safe when completing projects around the home. 3M TEKK Protection products can be found at home improvement and hardware stores across the U.S. For additional information, go to

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion in sales, 3M employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit or follow @3MNews on Twitter.

* National Safety Council/3M TEKK Protection Brand DIY Safety Survey conducted by Kelton, April 2013. An online survey of 604 Americans ages 35-54 who own a home and have completed a DIY home improvement project.

** American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Injury Snapshot, 2010

3M, 3M TEKK Protection, ForceFlex, WorkTunes and Cool Flow are trademarks of 3M

Media Contact:
3M Public Relations
Robert Brittain, 651-733-7034
Cohn Wolfe
Dana Simone, 212-798-9708

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Minnesota


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Monthly garden/home grounds tips from CCE Master Gardeners

We certainly haven’t needed to water lately. After the soil has had a chance to dry out a bit you may want to take a few minutes and pull any weeds before they go to seed. A few minutes now will save you hours later.

We’re pleased that so many of you have called our home garden and landscape hotline with questions. We hit an all-time high in May for the most calls responded to within a one month period. Keep your questions coming!

I know it’s a busy time of the year for many of us, but I hope you have time to attend our upcoming garden tour (information below). Garden owners and our Master Gardeners will be available to answer questions.

Below we have included information about our upcoming events, garden and landscape tips for June, an article on how to harvest and dry herbs, and some additional information that may be of interest to you.

Monthly tips:

* A thick (3 to 4-inch) layer of mulch over the root zone helps maintain moisture and controls weeds. Keep mulch away from direct contact with stems. However, a thick layer of mulch around the base of fruit trees can create a wonderful home for mice and voles, which can damage bark and girdle the tree during winter. Apply a thinner layer of a light mulch such as grass clippings around fruit trees instead.

* Prune off and destroy the pineapple-shaped galls on spruce while green and before they open, to help control spruce gall adelgids.

* Attract beneficial insects to your garden by planting a diversity of herbs, flowers, and vegetables, providing shrubs for hiding, and a nearby water source.

Pest Control:

* Handpicking and/or crushing insect pests works well on small plantings. Depending on the pest, you may be picking adults, crushing larvae, or squishing eggs, especially on the leaf undersides.

* To kill borers, poke into their holes with a piece of wire to pierce them.

* A jet of water from a garden hose will often dislodge aphids. Once off the plant, they tend not to climb back on.

* Japanese beetles can be knocked into a can of soapy water, especially in early morning or late evening when they are more sluggish. Large plants and severe infestations may require insecticide treatment. Some plants and varieties are less damaged than others.

* Tomato hornworms can eat a lot of foliage in a day. They are sometimes difficult to detect because their color so closely matches that of the tomato plant so look in areas near missing foliage. When you find hornworms on a plant, simply hand pick and crush them (gloves are recommended). Occasionally the hornworm will have small, white cocoons protruding from its body. By the time these cocoons are present, the hornworm is no longer able to feed. These are cocoons for a braconid wasp parasite, which is an important natural enemy. Leave these infested larvae in the garden and do not destroy them; the parasites released from the cocoons should be allowed to develop.

* Four-lined plant bugs are common pests in gardens and landscapes this time of year. Feeding injury from these insects appears as small (1/16-inch) sunken round spots on young foliage of many herbaceous and woody plants. These spots may be brown to translucent and may drop out of the leaf, leaving a shot-hole appearance. Often injured leaves become distorted and curled. Feeding injury from four-lined plant bugs is often mistaken for a leaf spot disease. However, these spots are almost perfectly uniform and similar in size, unlike spots caused by fungi and bacteria. These insects scamper quickly when the plant they are on is disturbed. Contact our hotline for control options.

* Hollyhock Rust: When plants are dry, pick off and destroy any leaves or other plant parts as soon as signs of rust infection are noticed during the growing season. Avoid crowding plants and water early in the day so the above ground plant parts will dry quickly. If found in the vicinity the weed mallow should be removed and destroyed. For fungicide recommendations contact the gardening hotline 331-8415 ext. 107.

* Tomato blights, wilts and leaf spot diseases are promoted by wet weather and high humidity. Remove affected foliage and discard in the trash; do not compost or leave in the garden. Thin plants by removing sucker growth to improve air circulation. Cover the soil with an organic or synthetic mulch to prevent splashing of infected soil onto the leaves, and avoid overhead watering. If disease is a problem this year, consider rotating tomatoes to a different part of the garden next year, and plant disease-resistant varieties.

Harvesting Herbs:

* Without much fuss you can extend the summer herb season by preserving herbs to enjoy year round. There are several ways to dry herbs for future use. The easiest and least expensive of these methods is air drying.

* Perennial herbs can be harvested monthly from June through early September when leaves should be left to prepare the plant for winter. The top third of most perennial herbs can be cut back. This also tidies up your herb bed. Annual herbs can be harvested when full grown until frost.

* The key to good flavor is timing.  The essential oil level that provides flavor and fragrance is best just before the plant blooms.  Check swelling buds daily. After the dew has evaporated and before the sun is too high collect the young tender stems and avoid older ones. Clean stems and towel or line dry, depending upon stem size.

* After harvesting and cleaning hang herbs upside down in small bunches in a warm, dark, airy, dust free location to dry. Temperature and humidity determine the length of time needed.

* If drying more than one kind be sure to label them. You may wish to use racks or screens laying stems singly on them. To keep dust free, cover them with sheer fabric or put stems through a hole in the bottom of an upside down paper bag and hang by stems. Seed heads may be dried in a paper bag, tied shut. Add holes for ventilation.

* When leaves are crispy, strip them from stems and store them in a cool dark location. Dark glass jars are best. Oils and flavors are better if leaves are crushed right before use. Remember to use them within a year. To retain better color of parsley, dill weed, and celery leaves wash, pat dry and freeze in plastic freezer bags.

* Other drying methods include ovens and dehydrators. Microwave one layer of herbs between two paper towels for 2 to 3 minutes. If necessary add 30 second shots until crispy. You can dry herbs in a conventional oven set at 100 degrees or a food dehydrator. Storage methods are the same as for air drying.

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Garden Tips: Aphids not shy about garden takeovers

What’s bugging you? Our mild winter and extraordinarily cool weather this spring has allowed some garden insect pests to thrive. One group of these pests is what I call “nasty little suckers,” or aphids.

The thing that makes aphids so insidious is that most are ready and waiting to attack as soon as new growth emerges. Plus, they have an extraordinary capacity to multiply quickly. If gardeners aren’t vigilant, a small population of aphids quickly can get out of control.

Identifying aphids isn’t as easy as you might think, since their appearance varies. Many gardeners are familiar with green aphids and are surprised to find that there also are black, pink, yellow, blue-gray and whitish aphids. Aphids have pear-shaped, soft bodies and usually are less than 1/8 inch in length. Most aphids don’t have wings unless their population becomes crowded and they need to find a new feeding site.

Aphids have piercing-sucking mouthparts that allow them to tap into and suck out plant sap. They often excrete a sugary liquid called honeydew, leaving sticky, shiny spots on lower leaves and objects.

When checking for aphids, examine the stems and leaf undersides of new growth. Aphids don’t scurry away like other insects; they just keep sucking away.

Besides the bother of honeydew, aphid feeding can injure plants if an infestation is severe, making leaves turn yellow. Many aphids also inject saliva into the plant causing curling, stunting, puckering and distortion. Aphids also damage some plants by transmitting viruses.

What can you do?

1. A forceful spray of water will knock aphids off a plant. Those knocked off will not go back to the plant.

2. Work with nature by encouraging natural predators like ladybugs and their larvae and not using pesticides harmful to beneficial insects.

3. Aphids are fairly easy to kill, but many softer or organic insecticides such as insecticidal soap only work when it directly contacts the bodies. When using these materials, it’s important to apply them where the aphids are found. If aphid-feeding already has caused leaf distortion, the aphids stay protected inside the curled leaves, leaving insecticides ineffective.

4. There are systemic insecticides available, applied as sprays to the leaves or as drenches to the roots, that get into the plant sap and kill the aphids. This is the only way to kill aphids protected by curled leaves. However, most of these products are only labeled for use on ornamental plants, not fruits or vegetables.

5. If the aphids are on a woody plant, consider applying a delayed dormant oil spray early in the spring just before the buds open. This can kill overwintering aphids before they get a chance to start feeding or multiplying.

— Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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Garden rebrands Sainsbury’s Tu range

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