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Archives for September 5, 2013

Roots and Shoots: Labor-Saving Tips for the Garden

September 5, 2013

By Pamela Doan

Sometimes the temptation to peg a news story to a theme is too much to resist. With Labor Day’s spirit of celebrating the American worker, I mean, a good day for an end of season barbecue, what better time to acknowledge that since we are working more hours than ever, making time for the garden can be a challenge?


A layer of shredded leaves surrounds foamflowers, keeping moisture in and weeds out. Photo by P. Doan

Gardening doesn’t have to be just another demand during a packed day; it can be accomplished in whatever time you’ve got available. Maybe after you start modestly and grow a few nice flowering plants or harvest your own tomatoes or lettuce, you’ll even discover that more time becomes available because you like the results, too.

Two of the biggest landscape time-drains are weeding and lawn care and neither task is all that satisfying. In my mind, mowing is like vacuuming. Although you see an immediate result and it’s necessary, both are boring and need to be done weekly. For your entire life.

Time spent weeding and mowing can be cut back and diverted to other more interesting and pleasant tasks by meeting the same basic fundamentals – paying attention to soil, mulch and water. Let’s start with weeding. Of course since you tested the soil pH before planting, and chose the best plants for the site or amended the soil to balance the pH for the proposed plants, the desirable plants can thrive. That healthy soil isn’t going to discriminate against interlopers, though.

The answer is mulch. Mulch creates a protective layer over the top of the soil to prevent weeds from popping up. Spread it in the spaces around plants, shrubs and trees, leaving room for the roots. (Don’t pile it thickly near stems or stalks, though.) Mulch is your best friend when it comes to weeds and also saves time because you don’t need to till or dig in the ground. Actually, tilling can contribute to weed growth by turning the weed seeds that are on top of the soil into the ground, giving them a better chance to grow.

For many garden issues, mulch is the answer and it’s a way to reuse the natural resources in your yard and kitchen. Compost grass clippings, shredded leaves, plant material, and vegetable and fruit scraps to create a rich organic matter to layer in beds. Or use shredded leaves and wood chips that have been aged at least a year and add it directly to the beds. Spend a couple of hours mulching and then less time weeding for the rest of the season.

When it comes to lawn care, healthy soil is again the best first line of defense. Aerated, well-balanced soil with a pH level between 6.0-7.0 makes for the best base for grass. Fill in bare areas with a mix of grass seed that is most compatible with your growing conditions, taking sunlight, shade, and use into consideration. Determine a level and type of weeds you can tolerate in your yard. Clover is soft and bees love the flowers. It doesn’t spread or take over like crabgrass does, for example.

Once you’ve established a healthy lawn, consider altering mowing practices that can suck up time. By mowing with sharp blades set at a cutting height of three inches, the grass will be torn off neatly, avoiding damage to roots and you won’t have to mow as frequently to keep it the same length. I watch my neighbor’s lawn service show up on the same day every week, whether the grass has grown much or not.

It’s a waste of energy and an unnecessary pollutant to set up a mindless schedule that doesn’t account for the actual needs of the lawn. Keep in mind that one hour of mowing contributes the same amount of exhaust as driving a car for 20 miles. Cutting back on mowing not only gives you more time during the week, but is also better for the planet. And those clippings? Leave them on the lawn. We’re back to mulch again. The clippings provide a nice layer of mulch to help feed the lawn as they decompose and hold in water.

Now with that extra time, you’ve got a few more minutes to spend reading The Paper!

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Some tips for summer gardening

Late summer is a hard time to get inspired about working in the garden.  It’s really an in-between season too late for summer flowers, and too early for winter varieties.  But most of all, it’s just too hot to spend much time working outdoors.  However, there are plenty of easy jobs in the garden that really need to be done at this time.  My tips on late summer gardening was provided by Emeritus Extension Horticulture Specialist Dr. Robert Black, of the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

If you’re growing roses, it’s a good idea to prune them late in August.  Remove the healthy top growth, as well as the dead twigs and branches, and any diseased, injured, thin, or spindly growth.  Shorten the main canes and lateral branches.  Leave at least half the length of each main cane that’s one to three years old.  If you follow these pruning recommendations the first flowers can be expected in eight or nine weeks.  These flowers will be larger than they could have grown without the pruning.

If you’re growing mums or poinsettias, this is the last month that should pinch these plants to increase blooms we’ve talked about this before, so you may remember that pinching back the stem tips will increase branching, and promote heavier flowering in the late fall.  But don’t wait too long before you do this.  Otherwise you’ll be pinching off the flower buds instead of the stem tips and this will reduce the number of flowers that bloom in the fall.  August is also the time to pinch off some the buds on our camellias.  As soon as you can distinguish the rounded flower buds from the pointed vegetative bud, twist off all but one of the flower buds at each tip.  The remaining bud should develop into a large flower, so be very careful not to injure it.

Some flowers, such as Sasanquas and Japonicas, are valued for their large number of blooms and don’t need to be pinched.

Many common ornamental, such as Oleander, Hydrangeas, and Azaleas can be propagated by cuttings this time of year.  For Azaleas, take tip cuttings, three to five inches long, with several leaves still attached.  Place the cutting in a rooting medium, and keep them moist by covering them with a plastic bag, or using a mist system.

Many rooting mediums can be used.  The most common are sand, and mixtures of peat and perlite.  You may want to use a rooting hormone to hasten root growth.

If you have any cold sensitive ornamentals in your landscape, you might think about rooting a few cuttings before winter, and keeping the young plants in a protected place.  That way, if your ornamental plant freezes, you’ll have replacement for the spring.

If you want to plant things during August or early September, you might try bulbs of Louisiana Iris, Ginger, Crinums, Daylilies, Amaryllis, and Zephyr Lilies.  You can still plant wood ornamentals as well, but hurry up so that they’ll have a chance to become well established before the winter comes.

Now is also the time to plan for your winter annuals, such as baby’s breath, calendulas, and pansies.  Start ordering your seeds and preparing the flower beds.

Keep a careful watch for insect on your lawn and shrubbery.  Late summer is when chinch bugs and mole crickets are very active on lawns, and white flies, scales, aphids, and caterpillars are damaging ornamentals.

For more information on late summer tips contact the Gulf County Extension Service @ 639-3200 or visit our website  

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Garden Tips: No time to slack during fall gardening

As the garden season winds down, many may think it is time to relax. But now is the time to make a checklist of fall gardening chores.

First, fertilize the lawn. Early September and late October are the most important times to do this.

During the hot part of summer, cool-season grasses become stressed. Grass shoot and root growth slows to a stop. But as the weather cools, the grass begins to grow again, establishing new roots increasing lawn thickness. Nitrogen applied in the fall helps the grass recover from the summer stresses.

Washington State University recommends using a quality fertilizer that contains slow-release or controlled-release nitrogen, such as IBDU, sulfur-coated urea or urea formaldehyde. These fertilizers release nitrogen over an extended period of time. Fertilizers with soluble nitrogen, such as ammonium sulfate or urea, are best for late fall fertilization.

Next, take care of weeds. If you just have a few weeds, take them out with a weed digger. If the problem is serious, consider broadleaf weed killers.

For weeds like black medic, bindweed, mallow, dandelions, plantain and clover, use a combination herbicide product containing 2,4 D and MCPP. A lawn product containing triclopyr will help with tough-to-control broadleaf weeds, like oxalis, prostrate spurge, henbit, ground ivy and lawn violets.

It also is a good time to buy spring flower bulbs for planting next month after the weather cools. Keep in mind that more expensive bulbs produce bigger flowers. If your bulbs are packaged in a plastic or closed paper bag, place them in an open, well-ventilated tray in a cool (50 to 60 degrees) spot.

Wait to plant the bulbs until the soil temperature drops below 60 degrees. This temperature allows for root growth without stimulating leaf growth. Don’t forget to water after planting and whenever needed during mild fall and winter weather to keep the soil slightly moist.

Other tasks include:

— raking leaves.

— build a compost pile.

— divide spring and early summer flowering perennials that have become crowded.

— cut to the ground the dead tops of perennial flowers.

— weed and clean away plant refuse in garden and landscape beds.

— aerate lawn if the soil is compacted.

— give all trees, shrubs and perennials a deep watering before the water is shut off.

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

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THE FRAGRANT GARDEN: More common landscape design mistakes – Austin American

This week, I will continue with my treatise on common landscape design mistakes. In addition to not having a well thought out plan for the landscape, not considering views both into and out of the defined space, and under-sizing various spaces within (patios, walkways, etc.), too often homeowners make the mistake of mismatched style. Old-fashioned homes with bilateral symmetry usually dictate a more formal style in the landscape. The exception to this might be the use of cottage garden style, with an abundance of flowering plants enclosed by a wooden fence of some sort. Ranch homes often look best with an informal and curvilinear layout and simple foundation plantings, island beds and swathes of lawn between. Modernist houses call for uncomplicated design with clean lines and architectural plantings.

More recently, the desire to contrast landscape with urban life in general has brought a more natural and wild feeling to the modernist residential garden. Limiting hardscape materials to three different treatments at most and choosing existing building materials from the structure itself (i.e. brick, stone, etc) can also help to connect the style of the home with the surrounding landscape.

Failing to plan for landscaping that is energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable is another common problem. Planting large trees that will shade the southern and western exposures, screening large windows from afternoon sun and planting evergreen hedges that will diffuse cold winds out of the northwest are all ways of using landscape plantings to temper harsh environments and save energy overall. Choosing plants that are well adapted to the climate, as far as both temperature extremes and water requirements, will also create a landscape that requires far less maintenance while still providing beauty and interest over time. Less maintenance allows for more time spent relaxing in the garden.

Many homeowners forget to consider adapting their landscapes to children, pets and wildlife, as well. Choosing plants that are not poisonous to humans and animals, organizing the garden in layers that provide cover and nesting places for birds and other fauna (and hiding places for children), choosing plants that are less often eaten by deer (in the suburban and country setting) and providing a safe water source for wildlife without the depth that could lead to a child drowning might all be considered in the design.

Another common mistake is impulse buying at the nursery and then bringing home plants without thought for where they will best succeed in the garden. This can also lead to too much variety in plantings and a sense of confusion rather than a sense of order and serenity. Planting specimens too close together, too close to the structure and too large for the space in general also happens too often. Park-like trees in a small town garden may shade the entire lot and planted too close to the house may, with time, encroach on a roof-line or exterior wall. Planting trees, shrubs and perennials too close to each other sets the homeowner up for a lifetime of unnecessary pruning and potential problems that result from poor air circulation, such as fungal diseases. Planting trees and shrubs too deeply can also cause death of a plant in the long run.

Many homeowners don’t consider designing for interest in all four seasons. Choosing plants that will provide a sequence of bloom from spring to summer and then into fall and winter makes for a much more interesting garden. Plants that not only flower, but provide fall leaf color, berries and seed pods, add to the charm of a well-planned landscape and also provide food for wildlife. The bark of trees such as sycamores and crepe myrtles bring beauty to the garden when little other color or texture is apparent.

A garden need not be developed all at once, but spending time and money to develop a plan in the beginning will save money and mistakes in the long term. One can hire a landscape designer to assist in the planning or attempt to design on your own, with the help of books and information from the internet. Either way, the results will be much more sustainable and pleasing than the “plant as you go” method taken by many homeowners.

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What You Can Learn From Donald Trump About Public Relations

Just the other week, New York’s attorney general filed a civil lawsuit against Donald Trump and accused him and his Trump University of engaging in “persistent fraudulent, illegal, and deceptive conduct.” According to The New York Times, the suit seeks restitution of at least $40 million for the 5,000 people across the country (600 New Yorkers among them) who were coaxed into “paying for a series of expensive courses that did not deliver on their promises.” Trump, of course, denied all the allegations, and, according to the Times, accused the attorney general of being a “political hack looking to get publicity.”

So is Donald Trump a crook? Did he really dupe 5,000 people out of their money? I don’t know the man personally. But I’d take a guess that he is no more a crook than any other businessman, big or small. Either way, he is definitely getting what he deserves: attention. Donald Trump loves publicity even if it means doing outlandish things–like supporting Miley Cyrus. He is not afraid of giving his opinion. He welcomes conflict and invites his enemies to attack him so he can attack back. This is a big part of his fame, his notoriety, his business model.

Smaller-Scale Owners Make Convictions Part of Their Business Model Too

I have a client who runs a landscaping business. He is also Catholic and proud of it. How do I know? Oh, there’s a giant crucifix hanging on the wall in his reception area. And as you walk around his office, it’s hard not to also notice certain religious placards and signs hanging from the walls reminding you that “Jesus died for your sins,’ or that “He is coming.” Spend more than 10 minutes in conversation and you’ll inevitably find him referring to his church or the Lord. He is a good man and proud of his beliefs. I envy his conviction and his purpose. But is this the right kind of behavior in the workplace? For a landscaper?

In my neighborhood there is a well-known delicatessen. The owner, a family man in his early 40s, recently campaigned to fill an open spot on the township’s board of commissioners. He is a Republican. We are in a heavily Democratic district. His face was on billboards and in the local newspaper. He tirelessly spoke to community groups. Everyone of course knew that he was the owner of the popular deli; in fact, he spoke proudly of his business and his experience as assets that would help him do a good job on the board. Campaign signs hung prominently behind the cash register. But the deli owner narrowly lost the election. And he also lost business. I know this for a fact. I overheard the conversations from others who refused to eat there anymore because they disagreed with his political ideas. (In my opinion, the overcooked roast beef would’ve been enough of a reason.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if my Catholic friend also turned off a few customers. I’m sure there are people who would prefer not to do business with someone who makes his religion such a prominent part of his persona.

Which brings me back to Donald Trump. He’s a character for sure. But I personally don’t think he’s a crook. He is, that said, guilty of having opinions. Maybe it’s purely for political reasons. Maybe it’s to feed his ego. But having controversial opinions has certainly garnered him national attention. It’s added to his brand. It’s increased the value of his assets. And I’m certain his prestige, fame, and rich reputation have helped him get in doors, negotiate better deals, or at least get him better seats at baseball games. So why don’t we all do the same? Why don’t you, as business people, project your opinions and your personal beliefs onto your businesses more often–like my landscaper friend and the deli owner?

How Personal Beliefs Mix With Business

There can be many upsides for doing this. If potential customers agree with your points of view then you may very well create stronger bonds with them. You know, peas in a pod stick together or something like that. And even if a customer doesn’t entirely agree with you, he may still be won over by your tenacity, devotion, and dedication to what you believe in. And who’s going to argue with someone who stands by his commitment to his religion, God, the American way, apple pie, moral values, or hard work? “Anyone with this kind of value system in his personal life must be a good person to do business with too,” one might say.

In a world where consumers are buried in noise from advertisers and big companies, isn’t it nice to find someone who stands out? Why would I not do business with this guy? I may not completely agree with his religion or his politics but I like his style. I like his confidence.  I like his willingness to put himself out there for what he believes. I bet the deli owner and the Catholic guy have won over many new customers because of this. They’ve created their own personas in their own little world, just like Donald Trump has been doing on a larger scale.

However, this type of behavior is not without its drawbacks. Donald Trump has been accused of being a crook by New York’s attorney general. He also takes a hell of a lot of abuse from late night comedians, bloggers, Rosie O’Donnell, pundits, and anyone else who opposes him (or at least wants to piggy back off his fame). And I’m sure, like the deli owner, this has cost him business. And I’m sure his attitude has probably cost him another asset: people. There are likely many smart, productive, and potentially profitable people that would be loathe to work for him. I doubt Barbara Streisand, for example, would perform at a Trump venue. I don’t think Donald Trump could count on George Soros as a potential investor in a future endeavor. On a smaller scale, I know for a fact that my Catholic business-owner-friend has lost a few employees because they were uncomfortable with his “open-invitation” prayer meetings he held in the office every morning, or his pleas to contribute to his Catholic charities, deserving as they may be.

When Your Personal Belief System Should Overlap With Your Professional Life

Should you be like Donald Trump? The landscaper? The deli-owner? I think the answer is easy. 

If your business sells products and provides services that are visibly connected to your belief system then by all means, go for it. If your products are all about the environment, then it makes sense for you to push your environmental agenda. If you legally sell marijuana in Colorado then why not be all about a national campaign to legalize it? If you own a chain of gun shops, then by all means join the N.R.A. and lobby enthusiastically for your industry. Your business is you. Your customers and the public know what to expect even before they walk in the door. That’s OK.

But if you’re a deli owner? A landscaper? A property developer? Or, like me, a seller of technology? Those companies, like most companies, are not built around a belief system. They’re built around providing some other type of product or service and creating value and profits. If you’re running a company like that, then you probably want to keep your personal beliefs, um, personal. If you choose not to, then prepare to suffer the consequences. Prepare to have enemies. Prepare to be accused of being a crook. And I can only hope you have a very thick skin, and pockets as deep as Donald Trump.

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Improvements being made to Downtown portion of Centennial Trail

From Spokane Public Facilities District:


Major improvements to a portion of downtown Spokane’s Centennial Trail, adjacent to the Spokane Convention Center, are set to begin in mid-September. The trail section from the east side of the Division Street Bridge west to the King Cole Bridge in Riverfront Park will see extensive Spokane River shoreline improvements, restorative landscaping, upgraded infrastructure and a new trail surface when work is completed.

Spokane Public Facilities District CEO Kevin Twohig says the trail improvement effort is an important part of the larger $55 million voter-approved Spokane Convention Center Completion Project and will greatly enhance the experience of all trail users. “We’ve worked closely over the past years with our stakeholders, Spokane River advocates and government agencies to ensure that the best ideas and designs are incorporated,” he says. “The District clearly understands the importance of the Centennial Trail and the river. We’re confident that the improvements will be of the highest caliber and will be enjoyed everyone.”

The District says the Centennial Trail shoreline work will be a model restoration project as prescribed by the City of Spokane’s Shoreline Master Program. Specific improvements include repairing several portions of damaged and eroded riverbank, and the removal of invasive and non-native plants such as blackberry bushes and other noxious weeds. Selected willow trees, which are structurally damaged, diseased or are causing harm to the Centennial Trail, will be removed and the remaining willows pruned. The restored shoreline will encompass more than 75 new trees including ponderosas, aspens and cottonwoods, along with some 1,300 smaller plants; creating almost 20,000 square feet of restored, naturalized habitat. In addition, some 800 feet of new sewer line will be installed and the trail will receive a new asphalt surface.

“We are very aware of the community need for access to the river and the trail, and we will make every attempt to minimize the impacts of our construction projects,” says District board chairman Mick McDowell. “We are also keenly aware of our responsibility to the region’s tax payers who are allowing us to undertake this important effort. The District will always work hard to ensure that the public’s trust is well founded and that this continues to be a first class project that will make everyone proud.”

Work on the 1000 foot section of riverbank and trail begins September 16, 2013 with the trail set to reopen on November 21, 2013. Signs advising of the temporary closure as well as directional signage for the easily accessible detour route which has been established will be posted by September 9, 2013.

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Concord To Fence In Todos Santos Plaza

Concord City Council meeting.

Councilmember Laura Hoffmeister acknowledged his
position and said the fences would be “a great enhancement.”

Mayor Dan Helix also supported the fences. 

“Robert Frost says ‘good fences make good neighbors,’” Helix said, highlighting
that the physical barrier would be good for the children who visit downtown. “Sometimes children get away from their parents and they go wandering. During
concerts, cars on Willow Pass Road don’t slow down very much,” he said.

Foster, member of the Downtown Specific Plan Steering
Committee, offered an alternative to the fences.  “Landscaping or bushes is an alternative that wouldn’t be as permanent,” he

Councilmember Hoffmeister disagreed with the notion
of replacing the fences with shrubbery. “I know it would take a while to mature and grow and it’s not a permanent
barrier,” Hoffmeister said. “I’d hate to
think of the kid who goes through a gap in the shrubbery and ends up on the
street. Then the person sitting in the park can’t see that their kid is out on
Willow Pass Road,” she said.

Ultimately the Council decided to move
forward with placing the fence at the edge of Todos Santos Plaza along Willow Pass
Road between Grant and Mount Diablo Streets. Two archways will be installed. One will be placed over the entrance at Mount
Diablo Street and Willow Pass Road. The
other will be placed at the entrance located at Grant Street and Willow Pass
Road, according to artists’ rendition of the project.

Contractors can start bidding on the project in about two weeks, according to a
city staff report. Construction on the
fences is scheduled to start in January 2014. The arches are scheduled for installation in February 2014. City staff says that the entire project should
conclude before the start of the 2014 downtown events.  

To see the archway designs and fence, look at the photos attached to these

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Hutto gears up for Day of Caring

The United Way of Williamson County is gearing up for its annual Day of Caring—an opportunity to give back to the community through a morning of helping at various nonprofits, schools and county parks in Williamson County—on Friday, Sept. 20.

More than 300 volunteers are needed for the more than 20 project sites in Hutto, Taylor, Round Rock, Georgetown and Leander.

After a kick-off rally and free breakfast at Dell Diamond, teams of volunteers will leave for work sites throughout the county, to complete much needed projects such as painting, landscaping, gardening, sorting donations of food and clothes and spending time with senior citizens.

This year, the Hutto community is hosting three projects—at the Peterson Community Gardens, Cottonwood Creek and Hutto Lake Park.

Volunteers will participate in a trash pick-up from Fritz Park to Creekside Park and are asked to bring work gloves, wear closed-toe shoes and dress appropriately for walking through tall grass and possibly water. The minimum age for this and the other two Hutto projects is 18. Volunteers will meet at 400 Park St.

The Hutto Lake Park project will feature volunteers who will install plants. They are also asked to bring work gloves, wear closed-toe shoes and dress appropriately for walking through tall grass and possibly water.

At the Peterson Community Gardens site, volunteers will participate in building walkways and raised beds along with other maintenance projects.

They are asked to bring work gloves and wear closed-toe shoes.

Will Guerin, director of development services for Hutto, is the team leader on the landscaping project at Hutto Lake Park. He said other members of the Employee Green Committee will help out, as will some of the Parks and Recreation Department staff.

“The details haven’t been set in stone yet, as we are meeting soon to discuss it further, but we generally plan to add some native plants around the pavilion at Hutto Lake Park,” Guerin said.

“This event is a great opportunity for those in the community to do something positive and lasting, however large or small the project might be. I look forward to the landscaping project so we can really spruce up the pavilion area for our citizens.”

Marcus Bigott, pastor of Hutto Lutheran Church, is the team leader for the community garden project.

“The main focus of the project is the storage shed that has been built out there. We are going to be painting that storage shed and getting it up to date with all the Historic Preservation Commission requirements. We are building two walkways the length of the garden and we’re planting what will be the native plant garden,” Bigott explained.

“We’re going to put some mulch up and lay some timber and have dumpsters dump mulch and spread it fairly thick into walkways for more beds and things like that. We’re going to move mulch and spread it around the storage shed that we will be painting to keep grass from growing too much.”

Bigott said there is a good chance the project will not be completed during Day of Caring but it gives the city a significant head start.

“Whatever we don’t finish, as long as we have the ground set, that’s where we pick up next time around.”

To register and be part of Day of Caring, go to https:// uwwcdayofcaring2013.eventbrite. com/. Then select one of Hutto’s projects.

Day of Caring is from 9 a.m. to noon.

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A trend is growing in Ross

A trend is growing in Ross

A trend is growing in Ross

All in a garden: Novato-based Rayner Landscaping is helping construct an edible garden at, of all places, the Marin Art Garden Center in Ross. Courtesy photo

Posted: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:27 pm

Updated: 12:35 pm, Wed Sep 4, 2013.

A trend is growing in Ross

By Joe Wolfcale


A Novato-based landscaping company and the Marin Art Garden Center are collaborating on an edible garden which should be open by the end of this month.

Rayner Landscaping has plans to build a 30-by-50 foot garden at MAGC in Ross.

The Ross Recreation Auxiliary – a group of residents who raise money for good, local causes, helped raise funds to construct the project.

MAGC board member Jessica Fairchild designed the garden where vegetables and fruit beds of varying heights will make the garden accessible for people of all heights, ages and abilities. It will be complaint with American with Disabilities Act guidelines.

“Edible gardens are at the intersection of several movements,” said Eric Rayner, owner of the Novato landscaping business doing the work.

“With people paying more attention to where their food comes from, and the health properties of what they eat, edible gardens, check all the boxes.”

In order to provide food safety, the entire garden project will be made out of redwood, forgoing any pressurized or treated wood.

The vegetable mix soil is being sourced from American Soil Stone based in San Rafael.

“Edible gardens are a growth field,” Rayner said, no pun intended.

“I can’t wait until people get to see the vegetables and fruit trees that will grow here. And, of course, some folks just like connecting with the earth while shaving a few bucks off the old grocery bill.”

Rayner Landscaping has done extensive work in Ross, especially on MAGC grounds and a few projects on Shady Lane.

Rayner Landscaping was founded in 2002. Twice the company was recognized as Small Business of the Year, in 2012 by the city of San Rafael and in 2008 by the city of Novato.

The business is certified by the Marin Municipal Water District for water efficient landscaping.

Contact Joe Wolfcale at


Wednesday, September 4, 2013 12:27 pm.

Updated: 12:35 pm.

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Chemical-free gardening seminar

Cape Fear River Watch will be holding its monthly First Saturday seminar on Sept. 7 at its office located at 617 Surry St. in Wilmington. The seminars, which include a free pancake breakfast for those in attendance, feature a new guest speaker each month. September’s speaker is Evan Folds, president of Progressive Gardens and an expert on organic gardening. Folds’ seminar, entitled Grow the Best Garden and Landscape of Your Life Without Chemicals, will discuss methods of pest and weed control that don’t include chemical treatments. 

Folds stated that gardening and landscaping without chemicals is not necessarily difficult. By implementing a “business through education” strategy at Progressive Gardens, he and his associates strive to connect people to how they’re growing, and help them maintain focus on balancing the natural systems at work in their gardens. 

“Every sick person goes to the doctor, who prescribes the same pill to everyone. The pill treats the symptoms but shouldn’t we find the root of the problem?” Folds said. “Gardening without chemicals is about treating the root of the problem, rather than just managing the symptoms.”

Folds believes the methods he proposes are similar to a doctor prescribing diet change, rather than medications that only disguise an unhealthy person’s symptoms. 

“Nature works in chaos and spirals. Design is counter-intuitive to nature and I recommend products and methods that reinforce that,” Folds said, stressing a natural and preventative approach to gardening.

The pancake breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. Folds’ talk begins around 9 a.m. The seminar will conclude around 10:15 a.m.

Cape Fear River Watch Executive Director Kemp Burdette stated, “You don’t have to be a member, there are no obligations and the seminar and breakfast are free. These seminars are purely learning experiences.”

For further information about Cape Fear River Watch and its First Saturday seminars, visit its website at  

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