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Archives for July 16, 2013

Hawaii Teacher: Ideas to Educate Kids and Create Well-Rounded Adults

Flickr: Lee Fenner

I attended a Vision of Excellence tour of top-notch schools in the Bay Area last spring. On the last day, we talked with the executive director of New Leaders Academy, a program that specializes in training principals to turn around struggling schools. We talked at length about his philosophy and experience being a leader. Most of it boiled down to vision, flexibility, and self-efficacy.

We had dinner at Delancey Street, a self-contained campus on the edge of the Embarcadero. On Delancey Street, there is a moving business, a trucking company, a café, a restaurant, a catering company, a digital printing company, and a landscaping company, all of which are managed and staffed entirely by former drug addicts, convicts, and felons who live on the campus.

Some of the residents gave us a tour. They explained the history of the enterprise and the joy that it has brought them to be able to give back to society. Their professionalism, positivity, and care for one another showed in their eyes, and was infectious.


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Home Gardening Display at the State Fair Offers Ideas for Urban Farmers …

market study
done by the Scarborough firm
. Sacramento tied 4th in US cities in Top Local Market
for Home Gardening, reporting 58% of Sacramento home owners had gardened within
the previous 12-months. The national average was 49%.

The State Fair took note, recognizing a strong, community-wide desire
to grow their own food, while acknowledging space can be limited, adding an
exhibit called Urban Farming to The Farm this year.

As you walk beneath the trellised squash, you are surrounded
by displays of square-foot gardening, vertical vegetables, meal specific
groupings such as salsa or spaghetti, edible landscaping, companion planting
and more. Each with detailed instructions, volunteers happy to explain, and a
smartphone scanner for easy recall access when you get home.

You can learn tips on drought tolerant herbs from the water-wise-guys in the Save Our Water tent and get hands on cooking lessons in the
daily, Dirt to Dish demonstration on the Bring the Farm Home

Click here for water-wise irrigation tips. 

Click here for demonstration schedules.

For more garden tips from The Farm click here. 

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Ask a Master Gardener: Day-trip Gardens – Times

Q.: Can you tell me about some of the public gardens that are located in the West Georgia/Metro Atlanta area, close enough for a day trip?

A.: There are quite a few lovely gardens that are open to the public within a couple hours’ drive from Carrollton. I will list some here, and you can find many more by doing an Internet search for “public gardens in Georgia.” Most do charge an admission fee, and it is well worth every penny. Some of the gardens have cafes, some have picnic areas. Smaller gardens may not have either, so it’s best to check their websites before going to the gardens to plan your lunch and snacks for the day.

Smith-Gilbert Gardens in Kennesaw (2382 Pine Mountain Rd., Kennesaw) covers 16 acres with more than 3,000 plants. Smith-Gilbert features Bonsai, rose and perennial gardens, along with an apiary (beekeeping), conifers, hostas and Japanese maples. There is a sculpture garden, and they have many other delights to see. They also host fascinating children’s programs throughout the years, so if you’re taking the family, look at their online calendar to see what’s coming up. Go to for directions and more information on the gardens. Plan on a little over an hour’s drive from Carrollton to Smith-Gilbert Gardens.

In Atlanta, of course, are the Atlanta Botanical Gardens (1345 Piedmont Avenue NE, Atlanta), which feature so many wonderful displays summer and winter. Currently, they are showing huge sculptures made entirely of plants. There’s a unicorn, a pair of cobras, rabbits and butterflies, and a garden goddess – up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide! The grounds include water gardens, a desert conservatory, orchid and tropical plant houses, rose, hydrangea, summer annual gardens and a children’s garden. Many more horticultural displays are listed on their website, so take a look before you go.  ABC is located on 30 acres in Midtown Atlanta, and was recently ranked as one of the top 10 botanical gardens in the United States, according to their website  Your day trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens near Piedmont Park will take about an hour to drive each way.

UGA’s own State Botanical Garden of Georgia (2450 S. Milledge Avenue, Athens) is free to the public, and showcases a Heritage Garden, flower gardens, and shade and trail gardens. According to their website at, the Garden contains a number of specialized (theme) gardens and collections, over five miles of nature trails, and four major facilities, including a tropical conservatory. The gardens, not far from UGA’s campus, encompass a 313 acre preserve set aside as an educational and display center for the University.  The State Botanical Garden also offers tours and classes for adults and children, along with family festivals and summer camps. Leave early for this day trip – it’s a little over a 2 hour drive from Carrollton to Athens.

One of Georgia’s newest privately owned residential gardens that has recently opened to the public is Gibbs Gardens in Ball Ground (1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground). The property covers 292 acres of wooded hills, with 220 acres cultivated and landscaped by the owner. There are garden rooms, ponds, bridges and waterfalls.  Featured at Gibbs Gardens are the Manor House gardens that surround the owner’s home, the lovely and serene Japanese gardens and the Water Lily gardens. Gibbs Gardens aren’t study gardens, these plantings are simply for pleasure and beauty. If you’re looking for ideas for your own home landscaping, this is the place to go. Of course, we don’t all have 220 acres to plant, but for inspiration in hardscaping and planting, you’ll find it here. Before going, check their website at for information about admission fees and lunch options. Plan on a good 2 hour car ride from Carrollton to Gibbs Gardens.

Last, and most beloved by our local Master Gardeners, is the Buffalo Creek Demonstration Gardens here in Carrollton (900 Newnan Rd. Carrollton). According to David Weiner, our Carroll County Master Gardener Association’s Education Committee Chair, “My favorite local garden is the Demonstration Garden of the Carroll County Master Gardener Volunteers located next to the Ag Center on Newnan Rd. It is truly a hidden gem with many different kinds of plantings and features to delight the eyes, ears and noses of those fortunate enough to visit. From the rose garden to the fragrance garden, from the waterfall to the fruit trees, it is a wonderful tour though the natural beauties that abound in our area.”

McArthur is the CCMGA Vice President and a UGA Extension Master Gardener. For more information on all of your horticulture questions, contact a Carroll County Master Gardener volunteer at 770-836-8546, via e-mail at or visit our office located at 900 Newnan Rd. in Carrollton.

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Like the slow food movement, slow gardening celebrates process

If you’ve followed the many gardening movements over the years, you know that there is “something” for everybody. I’ve had time to “revisit” some gardening trends that have had some impact on nature enthusiasts, as I wait for my hip surgery in August.

Popular movements remembered were “organic gardening,” “permaculture,” “biodynamic/ French intensive” and “sustainable gardening.”

Trends like, “community gardens,” “square-foot gardens,” “urban gardens” and “edible landscaping” are popular.

All movements in gardening have one thing in common. They encourage respect for the environment and encourage “stepping lightly” on our precious earth.

Always looking for ways to simplify gardening techniques, the “slow gardening” movement from the ’80s has some things to offer those of us who want to get more pleasure (and less pain) from our hobby. The “slow food” movement, founded by Carlo Petrini in the 1980s, inspired the “slow gardening” movement.

“Slow gardening” was started by American horticulturalist Felder Rushing. At its deepest level, “slow gardening” has been described as an attitude rather than a “to do” checklist. Pleasure is in the process, being patient, and taking time to identify the needs of each plant. Think of gardening as a pleasant pastime and avoid putting your garden on a “fast track.”

When designing your garden on the principles of “slow gardening,” what you plant where is of importance.

Choose plants that thrive in your garden or you’ll be fighting an uphill battle. Plants grow better when they have similiar conditions to that of their natural habitat. Read labels. Find out where your plants originated.

Plants from the Mediterranean, Australia, some parts of Chile and South Africa thrive in California. By growing plants that are suited to your garden’s microclimate, less work, feeding and watering will be required to get the best results.

As in all gardening movements, composting and water conservation and a thrifty approach to using water is integral to their philosophies. Collecting rain to use during the growing season and grouping plants according to their needs is featured in “slow gardens.” Composting can simply be a pile of leaves, kept moist, or a container in a corner of your yard. Slow gardening is about patience. Making your own compost is worth the wait.

Growing your own food does not have to be done on a grand scale. Even a few pots of greens and a few cherry tomatoes will keep you in touch with the seasons, providing you with the smell and taste of fresh produce.

Slow gardening reminds us to stop and smell the roses. Pluck and taste a leafy green. Build in some time to slow up, slow down and “sit a spell.” Appreciate the magic you are creating in design, color, and fragrance.

Lee Oliphant’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at; read her blog at

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10 tips for organic gardening via Stonyfield Farm – The Birmingham News

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