Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for August 4, 2013

North Anthony Living new life

– Nearby residents called it the ugliest stretch of road in the city. It looked more like an airport tarmac lined with nondescript outbuildings than a business district.

But neighbors and business owners thought North Anthony Boulevard between Crescent Avenue and St. Joe River Drive could be more – much more – and pushed city officials to make changes so it could achieve its potential.

“I was told they used this area as an example of what not to do in urban planning,” said Mo Palmer, who lives nearby and owns Cultured Gardens landscaping firm. “But I just knew it could be so much more.”

It was hard to see how: North Anthony widened to six lanes of traffic, with three lanes in one direction, two in another and a center left-turn lane. There were 24 curb cuts in one block, few if any trees, and no character.

“It was just designed for traffic – as much and as fast as you could do,” Palmer said.

But that changed dramatically in 2009, when city officials spent about $700,000 to remove one lane from the street, install an 8-foot-wide trail, plant trees and install planted medians where the left-turn lane wasn’t needed. Since then, a half-dozen businesses have received facade grants, in which city money helps business owners make improvements to the exterior of their properties, fixing up amenities such as lighting, signage, awnings, parking and fencing.

Today, there are several new businesses, and new ones seem to keep appearing, despite the closure of the Scott’s grocery store that anchored the area. Many feared the closure would hurt the corridor, but it continues to thrive.

“The improvements that have been made to the corridor have definitely helped the area,” said Sandra Wharton, co-owner of Vanilla Bean Unique Cookies and Cupcakes, which opened after the project was complete. “I’d describe it now as the Broadripple of Fort Wayne – it’s more like an artsy, collegey area.”

Palmer said residents didn’t want to change the area’s identity, they wanted to find it and embrace it. That can be easier in classic, older areas like Wells Street, she said.

“But this has funky, funked-up architecture and a big cow (on the Jameson’s Meats sign),” she said. “It’s some weird, eclectic stuff.”

City officials said having neighbors willing to work for what they wanted, and who wanted things that were reasonable, made the project happen.

“The residents in the area really wanted to improve what they considered their neighborhood commercial area. This was a place they wanted to spend their money and time,” said Pam Holocher, the city’s deputy director of planning and policy. “They had a lot of ideas and sweat equity.”

Among the ideas was turning abandoned playground equipment into works of art. The old, painted concrete turtle, helix and dolphin had been pulled out of playgrounds years before and were languishing in a maintenance storage area of Franke Park when Palmer saw them and thought they’d perfectly match the 1970s-era vibe of the buildings on North Anthony. When the trail was built, they were installed along it like public art.

Now, those sculptures are becoming real works of art: The helix and turtle have been removed so they can be sandblasted and painted white, and the helix, which sits in front of Belmont Beverages, will be decorated in Sharpie Art by local artist and Memorial Park Middle School art teacher Amy Clark. Sharpie Art uses permanent markers to decorate objects; the helix will get a grapevines and wine theme, with Clark’s time and materials paid for by Belmont.

“I think it will be perfect for this area because it’s really eye-catching,” Clark said. The turtle is being prepped now but will be decorated at some point in the future.

Businesses have been key to much of what has happened: When officials proposed dramatically reducing the number of driveways, business owners balked at losing direct access.

“It took time to negotiate with businesses – we had to work with them to realize the value in creating a sense of place,” the city’s Holocher said. “But after we spruced up that corridor, they really responded by investing in their buildings.”

Mike Vorndran, the former president of the North Anthony Neighborhood Association and now the group’s treasurer, said the project shows that a relatively small investment can create huge improvements in the quality of life.

“It’s not a crutch, it’s just a little help,” Vorndran said. “The bike path along there has really helped … you can get places without risking your life now. I see a lot of young people over there walking, shopping and catching the bus, and I love it.”

dstockman@jg.net

Article source: http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130804/LOCAL/308049930/1002/LOCAL

Bridge model generates public interest

More than 1,500 people have taken a look at the Grand Avenue Bridge scale model since it was unveiled earlier this summer, according to Colorado Department of Transportation bridge project planners.

The model has been on public display at Strawberry Days, the Tuesday Night Markets and at Glenwood City Hall, generating numerous comments and ideas on what the project should look like and allowing an opportunity for questions about the process.

“The response has been fantastic,” said Joe Elsen, CDOT’s Region 3 East Program Engineer, in a recent press release. “There is a wide range of opinions, and we’ve answered many questions.”

Since the planning for a new bridge began in late 2011, the project team has developed a so-called “build alternative” that is currently being evaluated through a formal Environmental Assessment (EA) process. The full EA is expected to be released for public review in December or January, Elsen said.

The new bridge being studied would follow a new alignment from Grand Avenue on the south, curving west to a reconfigured interchange at Interstate 70 Exit 116 and Sixth and Laurel streets. Sixth Street would no longer carry State Highway 82 traffic, as it does now.

In addition, a new pedestrian bridge would be built, which is needed to carry utility lines and improve pedestrian connections between the Hot Springs Pool area north of the Colorado River and the main part of downtown Glenwood Springs south of the river.

The EA will include a “preferred alternative” and construction mitigation commitments to be considered for final approval by CDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) by mid-2014.

Construction on the new $60 million bridge could begin by late 2014, following design and right-of-way purchase, and will likely take about two years, according to CDOT officials. The project is using money designated from the special Colorado Bridge Enterprise fund.

Over the next several months CDOT will be requesting input from the City on landscaping, urban design and other architectural elements of the project.

“While decisions on these elements rely on approval by FHWA and the Colorado Bridge Enterprise, this input will help the project team better match the needs of the project with the context of Glenwood Springs,” Elsen said.

The bridge model continues to be on display in the lobby at Glenwood Springs City Hall, 101 West 8th Street, and will also be at the Tuesday Night Market in Centennial Park every other week from 4-8 p.m.


Article source: http://www.postindependent.com/news/7575580-113/bridge-project-colorado-glenwood

City of Brawley determined to restore downtown area

BRAWLEY — City officials here are looking to the future and revitalization of the downtown area now that the dust of the most recent fire to hit the locale has settled.

While correcting much of the fire-related damages in the area rests on the shoulders of the privately owned and fire-affected businesses, City Manager Rosanna Bayon Moore assures the city is doing what it can to rebuild “the heart of the city.”

Progress reports documenting what steps businesses have taken since the string of fires are presented to City Council members on a weekly basis and the city continues to pressure for cleanup, Moore said.

“When it’s a hazard we’re in the mode of contact, follow-up and addressing,” she said. “We want to maintain cleanup efforts.”

Despite the challenging economic times, Moore said the city is optimistic about the future of the downtown area and will continue to invest in improvements to facilities.

Also, Moore said the city is “very open to combining with the private sector to see what is possible and viable in the downtown area.”

“It’s a challenging chapter in the city’s history to be certain,” Moore said. “We hope we can continue to be an anchor in the downtown along with a few of the other agencies and businesses that are our core presence. As the economic times improve we’re hopeful that people will not forget that the downtown is the core of the city and we’re not ready to abandon it.”

In an effort to renew and bring focus back to the area, the city is looking to bring items and events to downtown that would otherwise be held at different locations.

Recently, the downtown area played host to the “Taking Back Main Street” event and could potentially be the site of other events in the near future, Moore said.

“Every time we have the chance to use downtown as a venue we will,” she said. “We hope we can continue to feature the attractive part of downtown as a place for convening and enjoying being in the city of Brawley.”

Beginning in the fall, downtown will host a series of farmers markets complete with vendors, produce and a beer garden, said Keira Sparks-Jacques, Brawley Chamber of Commerce administrative assistant.

“There will also be entertainment and a kids’ fun zone and this will tentatively be located at the south plaza in downtown Brawley,” Sparks-Jacques said.

The farmers market will hopefully begin in October and will be held on the second Saturday of each month for six months and is a joint project between the chamber and the local Boys and Girls Club, Sparks-Jacques said.

The chamber is also doing what it can to help the area progress and is working with the Brawley Community Foundation to restore parts of downtown.

“We’re working to revitalize the Brawley theater and bring back the feeling that it had in the past,” Sparks-Jacques said. “We’re bringing back some of the people who went there so they can get involved or help or volunteer.”

Mayor Sam Couchman added the city is also hoping to bring certain Cattle Call and other city events to downtown in order to limit the Cattle Call Arena and Wiest Field to equestrian events and baseball games, respectively.

Ultimately, Couchman said the purpose of harnessing focus to downtown was a way to revitalize, recover and progress.

With the recent addition of the Transit Transfer Station to the area, Couchman said he hoped it would create more pedestrian traffic and in turn benefit the businesses there.

“The (transit transfer) station was very beautifully done,” Couchman said. “It has a very nice set up and we’ll maintain to keep it that way so it can be a positive attraction in the downtown area.”

In addition to trying to bring more pedestrian traffic to the area Couchman said the city is also looking into parking to create a better and easier flow of vehicular traffic.

“We want to maximize the amount of parking down there and we’re looking at safe ways to do that,” Couchman said. “We’ve discussed diagonal parking and how that might impact the area.”

Also, the city is looking into lighting for the area and perhaps encouraging businesses to have two entrances.

“With limited funding we will do what we can and do our best to work with the private sector businesses,” he said.

In addition to working with the local businesses, Couchman said the council is also open to hearing ideas from the public regarding beautification, landscaping or parking.

“Historically things are highly resistant to change and I think it’s important to be more open to experimentation,” Couchman said. “We look at downtown and we are encouraging innovative ideas to enhance economic development and too see how we can make it better off. We encourage the community to continue to support the downtown area because we still have viable businesses there.”

Staff Writer Karina Lopez can be reached at 760-337-3439 or klopez@ivpressonline.com

Article source: http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/ivp-city-of-brawley-determined-to-restore-downtown-area-20130804,0,3100633.story

Charm and whimsy grow in specialty gardens


Kristi Koeller Magnani kicks back in an old clawfoot tub that is among the many repurposed items in her back yard. It's one of two that serve as beverage coolers during parties. (BETH SCHLANKER / The Press Democrat)

Kristi Koeller Magnani kicks back in an old claw-foot tub that is among the many repurposed items in her back yard. It’s one of two that serve as beverage coolers during parties. (BETH SCHLANKER / The Press Democrat)

By DIANNE REBER HART / Sonoma Valley Correspondent

Things aren’t always what they seem – or even what they used to be.

The colorful flowers blooming in MaryJane Welch’s field on south Broadway aren’t flowers at all.

MaryJane Welch crafted flowers by warping old record albums in the sun. (Dianne Reber Hart)

MaryJane Welch crafted flowers by warping old record albums in the sun.

And across town in Golly McGinty’s yard on rural Gehricke Road, wispy asparagus ferns and spider plants are spilling over where water once splashed in a three-tier fountain.

Landscaping isn’t just for professional designers – those with a creative eye and even without a green thumb are finding unique ways to create fanciful gardens with repurposed items.

Welch, an artist and preschool administrator, tosses old vinyl record albums into the hot sunshine to warp before she crafts them into flowers hardier than any time-tested perennial. Yesterday’s “Thriller” is today’s acrylic poppy.

McGinty, a real estate agent, repurposes just about everything into yard art – from her broken water fountain to the old Wedgewood stove once used by her late grandparents Lud and Pauline Ghiggioli.

A succulent called hen and chicks is thriving in an old tea kettle. (Dianne Reber Hart)

A succulent called hen and chicks is thriving in an old tea kettle.

At Kristi Koeller Magnani’s home on Grove Street in El Verano, her lush and spacious back yard is a tribute to her heritage. Rusted items from the family chicken ranch of generations ago now artfully surround the swimming pool, volleyball court, pool house and multiple seating areas.

“I’m a real sentimental person and I just love the family’s old stuff,” says Magnani, 54, a retired telephone company service representative. “I love knowing that people who are not with us anymore that the things in their life are with us here.”

During the summer, deep lavender and blue morning glory flowers and vines nearly hide the wrought-iron headboard anchored above a planter box in Magnani’s yard. Once part of her late grandmother Thelma Pellandini’s childhood bed, it’s now a garden trellis. The curlicues of the vintage headboard become yard art when the morning glory dies for the season.

Kristi Koeller Magnani and her father Paul Koeller made this cart using repurposed items, including the axle from a Model T. (Dianne Reber Hart)

Kristi Koeller Magnani and her father Paul Koeller made this cart using repurposed items, including the axle from a Model T.

The headboard is just one of many repurposed items tucked into Magnani’s landscape.

A rusted old hand pump is now part of a filtering system for a small two-level pond housing tiny fish and a pair of turtles. A set of claw-foot bathtubs from her grandparents’ house was twice repurposed; first as watering troughs for the family horses then moved into the landscaping as soda and beer coolers for parties and get-togethers.

Like Magnani, McGinty, 51, knows the history of every item within her landscape. Feeding troughs, antiquated tools and a rusty scraper bucket are among many pieces given to her by family friend Ben Pedranzini from his family’s old chicken ranch on Broadway.

Weathered by time, a milk bucket and wine barrel now add interest to Golly McGinty's garden.

Weathered by time, a milk bucket and wine barrel now add interest to Golly McGinty’s garden.

An old cast iron tea pot is now planted with hen and chicks, a succulent that’s thriving in the rusty container. Across the driveway on McGinty’s terraced one-acre site, an old-fashioned milk can rests near a wine barrel, both weathered by time and topped with plants.

“I always get, ‘What a beautiful yard. Your place is beautiful,’ ” McGinty says of guests’ response to her landscaping.

Even passersby can’t resist McGinty’s yard. A 1910 tractor by her driveway is especially popular with tourists heading to the nearby Ravenswood Winery.  They stop for photos, often with their kids or their wine bottles posed on the old tractor.

From trash to treasure: flowers made from aluminum cans. (Dianne Reber Hart)

From trash to treasure: flowers made from aluminum cans.

“I just sit here (in the house) and I just laugh,” McGinty says. “I swear to god, it gets a picture taken at least once a day. It’s just a piece of junk drug up here on a flatbed trailer.”

Welch, 59, also draws in fans.  Not only does she decorate her yard with flowers made from old albums and beverage cans, she also sells them online and at the Tuesday night farmers market in the Sonoma Plaza.

Bright and whimsical, the flowers guarantee a colorful garden even in the dreariest of winter months.

A cornice turned upside-down is now a planter box filled with live and handcrafted flowers. (Dianne Reber Hart)

A cornice turned upside-down is now a planter box filled with live and handcrafted flowers.

“My dream is to see them, especially my record flowers, out all over Sonoma,” says Welch.

She credits her son Adam with unwittingly giving her flower power. At 20-something, he hosted a party while housesitting for his parents and went to bed before cleaning up the beer cans, only for his parents to arrive home earlier than expected.

Welch was furious at both the mess and the waste of the aluminum cans when she sparked an idea to create something beautiful from the castoffs.

“An hour later I was making flowers,” she recalls. “It just delights me to turn trash into a treasure.”

Welch repurposes other items as well. A scalloped window box planted with both live blooms and her handcrafted aluminum-can flowers was once a window cornice.

Headboards add humor and whimsy to a pair of garden beds. (Dianne Reber Hart)

Headboards add humor and whimsy to a pair of garden beds. (Dianne Reber Hart)

Out in her vegetable garden, two raised beds have been transformed into conversation pieces. Welch attached old metal headboards and footboards to each of the raised wooden boxes, adding a bit of whimsy and a place for vines to grow.Welch, Magnani and McGinty see old things in new ways, adding interest to their outdoor spaces by redefining “junk.”

For more information about MaryJane Welch’s designs, visit MaryJanesArtFarm.com or stop by the Tuesday night farmers market in the Sonoma Plaza.

(Landscape photos by Dianne Reber Hart)

Once used on the Kiser Ranch, this 1910 tractor greets visitors to Golly McGinty's house on Gehricke Road. She spots people taking photos of it every day. (Dianne Reber Hart)

Once used on the Kiser Ranch, this 1910 tractor greets visitors to Golly McGinty’s house on Gehricke Road. She spots people taking photos of it every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article source: http://sonoma.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2013/08/news/character-charm-and-whimsy-grow-in-specialty-gardens/

Horticulture News: With these tips, you could have your own herb garden – State

Historically, herbs and spices have held interesting roles in medicine, economics, society and culinary arts. After all, let’s not forget that our country was “accidentally” discovered in a quest by Christopher Columbus who sought quicker trade transport for Oriental spices such as cinnamon and black pepper.

Also, herbs have had interesting uses including: mint used for water purification of stale water on ocean voyages; chives fed to cows for chive-flavored milk and celery used to fill ancient pillows.

Today, our herbs continue to have a significant role.

In an age of conscious cooking we desire moderate use of sugar and sodium; therefore, herbs and spices provide a healthier alternative to flavoring foods. Many culinary herbs can be grown at home in edible landscaping or container gardening.

Here are some helpful tips to maintain your already existing herb gardens through the summer.

Practice proper watering. Whether your herbs are planted in the ground or in a container, monitor soil moisture consistently. Only water when the soil is clearly almost dry. This is best determined by touch, preferably several inches down.

Watering too frequently can create a favorable environment for disease problems and drown out roots. Herbs planted in the ground usually need less frequent watering compared to those in containers. Herbs in containers may need to be watered every day or every other day, but it is important to check soil moisture first.

When watering containers, water until about 10 percent of the water drains from the container to ensure that all of the roots have access to moisture, not just the top portion. If using a self-watering container, try to spill or remove some of the drained water to reduce root disease organisms that may potentially harm your plant.

Trim herbs regularly to promote plant vigor and control plant size. To harvest, use hand pruners or sharp scissors. It is best to harvest in the morning after dew has dried but before the sun is too hot in order to preserve the flavorful oils. Be sure to wash the leaves thoroughly before using.  Try soaking them in slightly salted water in order to kill any insect pests that may be on the leaves. Most herbs can be frozen or dried for winter use. 

Be cautious with fertilizing and only when necessary as some researchers claim that over-fertilizing herbs may affect flavor. Completing a soil test will help identify the nutrients available to the plant. Consider adding an appropriate fertilizer if a plant shows nutrient deficiencies even several weeks after harvesting. If planted in a container, most potting mixes have slow-release fertilizers added in, and they are usually sufficient.

So, enjoy the bountiful harvest from your herb gardens this summer as you create wonderful and healthy meals for your family. Below is a recipe just for you!

If along the way you have questions about how to care for your herbs, feel free to call me at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Service which can be reached at 502-695-9035 or email me at lora.bailey@uky.edu. For more information on herb gardening visit: http://www.wvu.edu/~agexten/hortcult/herbs/ne208hrb.htm 

Cilantro Presto

1 bunch fresh cilantro 

5 cloves garlic, minced 

1 T white wine vinegar or lime juice, lemon juice, or Italian salad dressing 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper 

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans 

Salt, to taste 

1/2 cup olive oil 

In an electric food processor or blender, blend cilantro, garlic, vinegar, Parmesan cheese, cayenne pepper, nuts and salt. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil and blend the pesto. Add more olive oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency.

Article source: http://www.state-journal.com/spectrum/2013/08/03/horticulture-news-with-these-tips-you-could-have-your-own-herb-garden

Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings




Posted: Thursday, August 1, 2013 6:00 pm
|


Updated: 2:33 am, Sat Aug 3, 2013.


Autumn edibles: Tips for fall gardening and second plantings

Brandpoint

Idaho State Journal

|
0 comments

(BPT) – People choose to garden for many reasons: Food is fresher and tastes better. It’s a healthy hobby that exercises the body. It saves money. Numerous reports show an increasing number of homeowners are growing their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.


As summer’s end nears, you may think gardening season is over. The good news is with a few strategic tips, you can keep your green thumb going and enjoy a plethora of autumn edibles for months to come.  

Step 1: Select second plantings

Second plantings are the plants you use for the latter part of the gardening season. Late summer is typically the best time to plant these varieties. Call your local extension offices or access information online to find regionalized planting schedules and recommended plant varieties.

The length of the fall season and when the first frost will likely hit are important considerations when selecting second plantings. Keep in mind that fast-maturing vegetables are ideal for fall gardening and they should be planted early enough to reach maturity before the first frost arrives.

Popular second plantings that yield a delicious late fall/early winter harvest include broccoli, lettuce, turnips, collards, carrots, peas, radish, spinach, leeks and beets. Some people even claim root vegetables and cole crops like kale and turnips taste better after the first frost.

Step 2: Prepare your garden space

If you plan to use your current garden space for second plantings, remove the early-season plants that are done producing. Add those plants to your current compost bin or create a new compost pile with easy-to-use, stylish options from Outdoor Essentials. Wood-slate bins blend well with the outdoor aesthetic and the design allows oxygen to circulate and facilitate the composting process.

Next, prepare your garden space. Elevated garden beds are growing in popularity because they look great anywhere in your yard or on your patio, and are easy to move if necessary. Raised garden beds from Outdoor Essentials elevate the plants so gardeners don’t have to bend over and risk injury. They are ideal for fall because gardeners can regulate the temperature of raised beds with ease. On hot days, move or add a shade netting to protect plants from the heat; when frost is a threat, cover the entire bed for protection.

While you’re getting your hands dirty, fall is the perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs. A little outdoor work now and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful flowers when spring arrives next year.

Step 3: Enjoy the harvest

Tend your garden daily for the best results – it may just need a quick check for pests and proper soil moisture. Typical benefits of late-season gardening include fewer bothersome bugs and the soil has better water retention.

As plants grow, pick the fruits and vegetables and enjoy Mother Nature’s bounty. If your plants become crowded, pluck a few out to help remaining plants grow roots and increase the harvest yield. You may be surprised just how many cool months your plants provide you with fresh, delicious produce.

Fall is a great opportunity to keep gardening momentum alive. So get started and decide what second plantings are best for your space. In as little as 30 days you could be eating the freshest, most flavorful vegetables you’ve ever had, all while under the gorgeous autumn sun.

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

on

Thursday, August 1, 2013 6:00 pm.

Updated: 2:33 am.

The Idaho State Journal invites you to take part in the community conversation. But those who don’t play nice may be uninvited. Don’t post comments that are off topic, defamatory, libelous, obscene, racist, abusive, threatening or an invasion of privacy. We may remove any comment for any reason or no reason. We encourage you to report abuse, but the decision to delete is ours. Commenters have no expectation of privacy and may be held accountable for their comments.

Comments are opinions of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Idaho State Journal.

View Our Terms of Service

Article source: http://www.idahostatejournal.com/vac/lawn_and_garden/article_94f48178-ff83-5365-9f64-3d09072ffecc.html

AARP Bulletin’s money-saving garden tips

I was thumbing through the July/August 2013 AARP Bulletin (yeah, I am “of that age”) and I came across the publication’s fourth annual “99 Great Ways to Save” list.

A 'rotten-egg' spray to deter deer is a questionable idea.

The list offers a bunch of imaginative, creative ways to save money in finance, shopping, cleaning, home, beauty, health, travel, food, entertainment, car/gas, “your favorites” and garden.

After reading their tips, I must say that I don’t agree with all of their ideas for saving money in the garden.

Here are their “green” suggestions — and my thoughts in parentheses:

* Keep deer away: Pouring or spraying a “rotten egg” cocktail around plants will keep deer from eating them. Just mix six raw eggs in two gallons of water. (It might work, but there are a lot of “smelly” anti-deer products for sale that work, though I will say that they are pretty pricey. Also, I don’t like taking a chance on spraying raw eggs around the yard.)

* Bugs be gone: Forget bug zappers and pesticides. Hang a fabric softener sheet adjacent to – but not touching — outdoor light fixtures to keep flying insects away. (There are thoughts that fabric softener sheets will keep pests away. I’ve never heard about putting them near lights, however. Be careful to not put them too close.)

* Mow it yourself: Use a manual lawn mower instead of a power mower or hiring someone to do the work. (I agree that a manual mower is a great idea. It would cut down on gas usage, as well as noise and air pollution. Just make sure you are healthy enough to cut your lawn “by hand” and that your plot is not too big to take on.)

* Mooch off mulch: Ask garden crews clearing trees and brush if they’ll dump their payload of wood chips at your place. (If I don’t know where mulch came from, I don’t trust it. Crew mulches, like free town mulches, can have just about any seeds mixed in — weeds, invasives, poison ivy … you name it. For me, it’s not worth the risk.)

* Cover up weeds: Save money on weed killers by spreading several layers of newspaper (old “From the Ground Up” columns, perhaps?) on the soil before mulching. Avoid expensive and toxic weed killers by dousing weeds with scalding water or a white vinegar/liquid dish soap spray. (I agree, great alternatives.)

* Fall planting: People get the urge to plant in spring, but in most climates the best time is the late summer or fall, when new plants’ chances of survival are better and when they’re often marked down at nurseries. (I concur, the cool temperatures of early fall are ideal for new plant/root establishment, as well as dividing. It’s also a great time to pick up season-ending perennial deals at local nurseries.)

Email: edel@northjersey.com. For the latest in gardening news, head to Ray’s garden blog at northjersey.com/compostings or follow him @ twitter.com/njgardening.

Article source: http://www.northjersey.com/community/house_gardening/edel/218192702_AARP_Bulletin_s_money-saving_garden_tips_money-saving_garden_tips.html

Capel Manor garden design student wins Provender Garden competition

By Sarah Cosgrove
Thursday, 01 August 2013

A garden design student has won a Provender Nurseries-sponsored competition to design a show garden at Capel Manor College.

Second year Capel Manor diploma student Esra Parr has been will now revamp one of the 60 show gardens at the specialist college and visitor attraction in Enfield north London.

The competition brief specified that the planting must only involve varieties not already grown at Capel Manor and be vibrant and interesting, with a strong focal point or centre piece.

Students could only select plants starting with eight letters of the alphabet: A, E, L, S, T, V, W and Y.

Judges from Capel Manor and Provender Nurseries chose Parr’s design because of “the rhythm created via planting throughout the garden and the innovative, interesting and varied plant palette.”

Parr, who previously worked in television and has started a garden design business since her studies began, said: “The knowledge I’ve gained from the training is what’s given me the confidence to open my own business. It’s been a steep learning curve, despite my background in design and so winning the competition has cemented my belief in my abilities. I feel like I am a great advert for the saying that it’s never too late.”

Once Parr’s Provender Garden is planted it will remain at the site for the next three years.

Capel Manor Gardens attracts around 60,000 visitors per year.

Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/News/1193811/Capel-Manor-garden-design-student-wins-Provender-Garden-competition/