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Archives for September 26, 2013

Craven groups strike gold in Yorkshire in Bloom contest

Craven groups strike gold in Yorkshire in Bloom contest

Mike Myers, Sue Warburton, Robert Heseltine and Jenny Pratt in the town’s award-winning Diamond Jubilee Garden

Skipton’s Diamond Jubilee Community Garden won a special award in this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom competition.

And it was one of many successes in the town – with gold awards going to the town itself, the local Stepping Stones project and Holy Trinity Church.

Craven College achieved silver, with the judges commenting that while the grounds had a varied range of habitats and landscape features, financial constraints were having an impact on the overall standards.

Away from Skipton, there were gold awards for Addingham and Parcevall Hall Gardens at Skyreholme and silver gilts for Grassington and Airedale Hospital, Steeton.

“The In Bloom groups have made a real and lasting difference to the places we work in, live in and visit,” said Yorkshire in Bloom chairman Brendan Mowforth.

His comments were echoed by the chairman of Skipton in Bloom, Coun Robert Heseltine.

He said: “These fantastic results have been achieved by hard work, enthusiasm and commitment from a wide range of people in Skipton.”

The list of Skipton prizewinners was headed by the Diamond Jubilee Garden, on Newmarket Street, a joint project between Skipton in Bloom and Craven College. It won a discretionary award for permanent landscaping, with the judges describing it as a gem.

The judges also praised Skipton as a whole, saying the In Bloom group had a clear vision of what it wanted to achieve.

There was special mention of the “well laid out superb grounds” of Stepping Stones II at the entrance to Airedale Park, the narrowboat planters and barrel clusters in various areas of the town and the attractive and the excellently maintained grounds of Holy Trinity Church.

Stepping Stones’ team leader Dawn Barrett said members of the project – which supports adults with learning needs – were over the moon with their second gold award in two years.

“A lot of hard work has gone into it,” she said. “The group thoroughly deserves it.

“The gold award gives us the motivation to continue and we have some good ideas for next year, based on the Tour De France coming to Craven.”

Graham Huntrods, who collected Holy Trinity’s gold award, said the team was proud to receive the honour.

“Over 500 people pass through the garden daily and it is for them, as well as the parishioners and those people who previously cared for the garden and laid its foundations, that we work to keep it attractive,” he said.

The judges also praised the “ingenious array of colourful features” at Skipton Auto Services and the outstanding floral displays at the Castle Inn and Emporio Italia.

In Addingham, the judges said every single community garden was good, with well thought out, sustainable and colourful planting.

“The group have clearly gained from their experience in the national competition last year and are a worthy Yorkshire in Bloom Gold winner,” they added.

Another gold winner was the 24-acre Parcevall Hall Gardens, which, the judges said, were a delight to visit.

“Great credit must be given to every member of the garden team for their dedication and hard work in maintaining such consistently high standards,” said head gardener Phil Nelson. “To see Parcevall Hall Gardens recognised as one of the finest in Yorkshire is very pleasing.”

Nearby Grassington was awarded a silver gilt “The village was awash with colour and vibrant planting schemes,” said the judges. “Shops, hotels and private houses alike were involved in the excellent display and from the co-ordination of colour schemes it was evident there had been a great deal of co-operation.”

Also receiving a silver gilt award was Airedale Hospital.

The judges said: “The garden team have an impressive knowledge and set a high standard in all they do.

“The variety and colour of the rich planting was really impressive. Together with seating, this planting will do lots to soothe and raise the spirits of patients and visitors.”

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Penetanguishene’s history front and centre

Midland Mirror

PENETANGUISHENE – A town square and plaza, amphitheatre, observation deck, and a Wendat “gathering circle” and longhouse are a few of the features proposed for the redevelopment of Penetanguishene’s Rotary Park.

Town officials anticipate the park will be one of the most historic and educational in the province, telling the story of the town and French explorer Samuel de Champlain.

Designs were developed by a group of University of Guelph architectural landscaping students last spring.

Stefan Bolliger, a professor at the school, was subsequently hired to select a design to recommend to the municipality, Mayor Gerry Marshall explained at a public consultation session last week.

The centrepiece of the site will be a new pier lookout and large statue of Champlain with Wendat Chief Aenons.

“There’s a real enthusiasm about the next steps,” said Bolliger. “The students came up with some really great ideas, but a lot of them are not implementable, so it was our task to create a design that is feasible. What I didn’t want to lose in the design process is that tapestry of cultures.”

Resident Bill Waters voiced concern about the park becoming a tourist destination.

“Rotary Park really should be there for the community,” he said, adding he doesn’t want Penetanguishene to resemble Wasaga Beach. “I enjoy it as a smaller, quieter community.”

CAO Holly Bryce insisted the intent is to enhance the park for both residents and visitors.

“It will be kept in a natural form in order for residents to enjoy it in its current state, with some enhancements that will make it more enjoyable,” she said. “Will it attract some tourists? I think it already does that. It may attract some more in terms of the recognition of Champlain.”

Coun. Debbie Levy cautioned anything requiring footings in the ground – such as largescale monuments – would require extra funds given the landscape.

“Everything that’s ever been done down there has cost us pretty much double,” she said, adding she is also concerned about sightlines. “Seniors, children, women on their own jogging … I’d hate to think some people won’t be able to use it because there’s too much blocking the view. It’s fairly wide open now.”

Bolliger noted that issue has already been taken into consideration and money set aside in the budget for that purpose.

Increased traffic and lack of parking were key concerns for resident Moreland Lynn.

“If it does what we think it’s going to do and bring more people into the town, you’re going to have cars … and buses. What do we do with them?” he asked.

Bryce noted the town is working on the redevelopment of Main Street, which also includes a portion of Robert Street. As that project moves forward, she said, parking in the downtown area will be addressed. The parking lot at the town dock will also be made more efficient.

The proposed amphitheatre, she added, would offer a great place for visitors to the park to relax, as well as a possible location for summer weddings, concerts or other events.

Next up in the process is for council to get citizen feedback on the design presented at the Sept. 18 meeting. The renderings are available for viewing at town hall and on the town’s website.

Tropical Landscaping Services and Contractors – PR

Landscaping ContractorsOne of the first things a visitor or passerby sees of your property is the landscape. The landscape is like the clothes and accessories you wear – it characterizes you and defines your status in society. Landscaping your property has a similar effect. Haphazard landscaping says you “don’t care” how your property looks which in all probability sends out a wrong signal to your friends and neighbours.

A well implemented landscape design also increases your property value. So if you’re thinking of selling or leasing out your property anytime in the near future and don’t currently have a good landscape, then budget willing, you need to think in that direction.

Landscape begins with a theme

Before you even look up the net for the right landscaping service provider or Residential landscape designer, you should think in terms of a landscaping theme. A landscape theme can be anything from “Japanese garden” to “Amazon garden” and everything in between.

The Tropical landscaping theme

One of the most popular Native garden landscaping themes however, is the tropical garden theme. Folks love it because a tropical garden has lots of multi-coloured flowers. Flowers bring in butterflies and bees which in turn bring in birds and everyone loves birds.

The tropical garden theme is soothing to the nerves and serves as a stress reliever. The abundance of greenery, large leaves, grass, plants, flowers, fountains, streams, mini waterfalls, etc. creates a mini environment that has a soothing effect on humans.

Select Service providers and Contractors with care

When it comes to Lawn and Garden maintenance – any landscaping, experience is a must. Most people do not have the luxury of being able to experiment. It is simply too expensive to contemplate. Choose with care, landscaping service providers or contractors who have successfully implemented landscaping designs, have been in business for a while and come highly recommended.

Visit sites such as and search for landscaping services and contractors. Start with those in your neighbourhood. Talk to them to get a grip on their knowledge and experience. Short-list a few and invite them to survey your place. Listen to what they have to say and you will form a better opinion on them and be in a position to select the best landscaping services and Landscape features experts. While talking to them always mention the ideas you have in mind – there’s a huge gap between an idea or theme for a landscape and its implementation. Sometimes, you may be told that the cost would be too high (your Landscape design experts is in a good position to calculate hidden costs or judge practicality of the idea or theme).

Crystallize the theme

If your landscape contractor or landscape service provider says the theme is implementable, crystallize the landscape theme by putting it on paper. You might need the services of an architect who also knows local laws.

Sign a Contract

Once you’ve crystallized the theme and selected a landscaping service provider or Landscape design consultants to work with, ink the deal and sign a contract. It is always better to have a contract covering the Commercial landscaping services you shall receive, payments you shall make, standards to be followed and warranties provided.

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SECU Landscaping Goes Native

The $27 billion State Employees’ Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C., has partnered with the North Carolina Botanical Gardens and architects O’Brien Atkins to develop landscaping templates for SECU branches using only North Carolina native plants. 

The idea was suggested by SECU member Tom Earnhardt, who is also the mastermind behind the award-winning program, Exploring North Carolina, which airs on local Raleigh PBS station WUNC-TV.

“Few places on this planet have the extraordinary diversity of plants found here in North Carolina, from the spruce-fir forests in our mountains to live oaks and palm trees on our Southeastern coast,” Earnhardt said. “It’s always seemed strange to me that some businesses, and even towns, often plant the same non-native trees over and over again. As a member of State Employees’ Credit Union, I was not at all surprised when the financial institution with the best member service in the state also agreed that it should look like North Carolina. Kudos to SECU for showcasing native trees, shrubs and flowers found in the regions where its branches are located. This is just another way in which SECU is leading the way.”

Vegetation native to North Carolina include plants such as black cohosh, trailing wolfsbane, yellow buckeye and pussy toes.

SECU representatives recently met with Earnhardt and officials from O’Brien Atkins and the botanical gardens to discuss the initiative, which will include demonstration projects at new SECU branches in each of North Carolina’s three geographical regions—mountains, piedmont and coastal plains.

“As a North Carolina cooperative, we look to promote and encourage projects that benefit our State and its citizens,” said David King, a director on SECU’s board. “This initiative will allow SECU to help NC-based nurseries, while stimulating local jobs and the economy. We look forward to working with our partner groups to go native with the SECU landscape.”

Dot Hinton, senior vice president of facilities services, said in addition to supporting locally-based businesses, the use of native landscapes will provide a greater chance of plant survival, thus reducing the costs of landscaping maintenance. 

“We appreciate Mr. Earnhardt for suggesting this idea. The positive effects of this effort will be seen and felt statewide,” Hinton said.

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Springs Preserve offers cultural, educational experience – Las Vegas Review

Located just minutes from downtown Las Vegas, the Springs Preserve is considered the “birthplace of Las Vegas.” Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978, the Springs Preserve is the site of the original artesian springs which provided water to the Las Vegas Valley in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Today, it is an educational and cultural complex encompassing more than 180 acres and features museums, galleries, hiking and biking trails and other amenities.

At its heart, the Botanical Gardens at the Springs Preserve comprise 110 acres and are home to a large collection of Mojave Desert cacti and succulent plants. It also features display gardens, natural gardens, wildlife habitats and educational resources for kids and adults alike.

Inside the Gardens, visitors will find more than 1,200 species of native and desert-adapted plants. More than 400 mature trees and plants, some 20 years old and more than 30 feet tall, were transplanted to the Gardens and throughout the Springs Preserve.

The Mojave native plants on display were grown from seed collected in the Las Vegas Valley, making the plants genetically true and better adapted to the climate. Almost all of the native cactus and yucca species were salvaged from local lands that were being developed for residential or commercial use.

Springs Preserve staff members are pursuing various conservation efforts to ensure the survival of plant species found in the Mojave Desert. Among these is a cactus salvage program, which has saved cactus species which were declining in number because of new development.

In addition, Springs Preserve staff are actively studying and preserving other native plant species, including the endangered Las Vegas bearpoppy, the Blue Diamond cholla (a compact cactus that grows only in the Blue Diamond hills of the nearby Spring Mountains), and the rare Las Vegas buckwheat, a shrub which grows at elevations of 1,900 to 3,900 feet and is only found in Southern Nevada.

As a creative, innovative learning environment, the Gardens enables visitors to explore native and nonnative desert-adapted plant life through interpretive stations, hands-on workshops, guided tours, and more. As well, guests can learn about landscaping techniques and different ways to enhance outdoor space with water-smart landscaping.

Guests also can go on weekly guided walks through the Gardens and participate in workshops focusing on desert gardening and cooking. Creative programs led by local experts in photography, sculpture, painting and other artistic disciplines enhance the Gardens experience; the Gardens often display works by local artists who use the natural landscape of the Botanical Gardens as both the palette and the venue for their vision.

In 2012, the Botanical Gardens at the Springs Preserve received the Horticulture Magazine Award for Garden Excellence, which honors public gardens that best exemplify the highest standards of horticultural practices. In addition, the American Public Gardens Association at its annual conference recognized the Gardens for outstanding horticultural displays, regionally inspired gardens, environmentally friendly gardening practices and commitment to teaching and encouraging home gardeners and students at all levels.

Also, the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association and the Canadian Garden Tourism Council in 2012 recognized the Botanical Gardens at the Springs Preserve as one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For.”

The Botanical Gardens at the Springs Preserve are at 333 S. Valley View Blvd., between U.S. Highway 95 and Alta Drive. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily; Springs Preserve members and local residents get early morning entry to the Gardens and Trails beginning at 8 a.m.

For more information, call 702-822-770 or visit

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Saco Bay Gardening Club celebrates with barbecue – Biddeford – Saco

The Saco Bay Gardening Club was founded in 2001 by a group of residents to promote and inspire home gardening. This year’s annual barbecue was held at the home of Cynthia and Jim Granger. The celebration began with a walking tour of the beautiful gardens surrounding their home. The Grangers joined the garden club six years ago and at that time they had no gardens and little knowledge about plants. With the help and support of club members, and plenty of work on their part, they have created a magnificent yard. That’s just one of the many benefits of being a club member.

The mission of the club also includes volunteer work and charitable contributions to gardeningrelated causes such as providing scholarships to horticultural students at Southern Maine Community College and purchasing farm shares for local elderly citizens who find it difficult to purchase fresh produce. Some members regularly give their time, working to beautify the community. Some of the community areas supported by the club include Saco City Hall, the property around Dyer Library and Saco Museum, MacArthur Public Library in Biddeford and the Transportation Center in Saco. Other members cannot afford the time to work on the community beautifying projects and simply attend the meetings. Growing every year, club membership encompasses all age groups, ranging from beginners looking for information on starting their first garden to master gardeners happy to share their knowledge.

The club has an annual garden sale each spring, held at Dyer Library. Healthy plants are available at great prices and proceeds support the club’s volunteer projects and charity work.

Plans for the highly anticipated biennial garden tour are underway. It will take place Saturday, July 12. Cathleen Fejedelem is chairman of the 2014 Garden Tour Committee. Anyone interested in having their gardens considered for display on the tour are welcome to contact Cathleen at 286-2711 or

The club meets the first Thursday of each month in the Deering Room at Dyer Library in Saco at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Meeting agendas include guest speakers presenting a gardening-related topic, roundtable discussions, seasonal craft workshops and plant swaps. During summer, most meetings are held outdoors at a members’ garden. This is an enjoyable experience that also provides participants with great gardening and landscaping ideas.

The program committee has prepared a wonderful calendar for the upcoming year. Topics include, “Vertical Gardening” presented by Jason Spinney from University of New England; “Flower Design and Arrangement” by Janet Johnson, owner of Maine Street Florist in Buxton; “Low Impact Gardening for Aging” presented by Horticultural Therapist Irene Barber from Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens; and “Identification and Treatment of Insects Pests in the Garden Landscape” given by Clay Kirby from the University of Maine Extension Service

Year-round or part-time residents from Saco, Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach and surrounding areas are welcome to join the club. Anyone interested can just attend a meeting as a guest. For more information, go to

Nancy Bancroft is secretary at Saco Bay Gardening Club.

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Your Garden Guy: Tips for early fall plants, yards

• Are you looking for a tough, hardy fall perennial? Try Montauk daisy. This classic white daisy flower perennial is blooming now in Middle Georgia gardens. Plant in mass groups of seven or more in full sun.

• Fall is show time for ornamental grasses. So if you see a variety you like, plant it in your landscape. I love pink Muhly grass. It’s low care, 24 inches tall, and very easy to grow in full sun.

• Yellow jacket nests are at their most populous point during autumn.

These aggressive wasps build nests underground and are often undetected until disturbed by humans, when they will quickly swarm and sting.

Use an appropriate insecticide to destroy the nest. Don’t pour gasoline down the nest opening!

• Now is a good time to buy mums. Pick plants with the buds closed to extend the bloom time.

• Watch for seasonal sales on lawn equipment, plants and outdoor furniture.

• It’s time to spray plants to repel the deer and rabbits.

Todd Goulding provides landscape design consultations and can be reached at

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Beautification Awards recognize excellence in gardening, design

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Members of the Farmington Beautification Commission did what they do every year — picked the winners of its annual awards that recognize excellent landscaping and design.

The theme, chosen by Larry Kilner, commission chair, for the annual awards program was driven by an Abraham Lincoln quote: “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives and I like to see a man live so that his place is proud of him.”

This year’s awards ceremony was held at the Gov. Warner Mansion on Sept. 19. Each year the Farmington Beautification Committee hands out the coveted bronze award plaque to one household for each voter precinct.

First and second place awards are given out also. The awards are judged on street curb appeal only. Backyards cannot be considered as that is the role of the Farmington Garden Club. They also give an award for one business and the Greater Farmington Chamber of Commerce, represented by Mary Engleman, gave an award to one business which meets its qualifications.

Mayor Tom Buck opened the ceremony and noted that CNN Money Magazine recently placed Farmington as number 27 on their “best city to live in” roster. He added that residents who were in attendance to receive beautification awards played a role in Farmington achieving that honor.

This year’s recipients were surprised and grateful to receive the awards. After receiving their award, each gardener was asked to give a brief description of what inspired them to attain such an honor. Some of the winners’ comments were truly poignant, Kilner said.

One recipient gave an emotional response that her landscape design was in memory of her grandmother. Another contestant, who used bowling balls in her landscape, said that her first bowling ball was her father’s and then her friends donated the rest of them after they tired of the game.

In another instance it was a family member who motivated them to take an interest in landscaping. Kilner commented that when he received the award, it was his personal goal to win the award, and it took it 10 years to achieve it.

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Susan McNeese presents floral design program to garden club members

At a joint meeting of Bogalusa Garden Guild and Northeast Garden Club held recently at the Bogalusa Senior Center, Susan McNeese, a member of Mt. Hermon Garden Club and an accredited garden club judge, presented a program on floral design. Hostesses were Sydney Hughes and Rosemary Earles from Bogalusa Garden Guild and Cidette Rayburn and Pris Sampson from Northeast Garden Club.

McNeese, a very knowledgeable horticulturist, said that this year’s theme of the Flower House at the Washington Parish Fair is “Flowers on Parade.” In addition, Garden Club exhibitors will be making designs called “Dancing with the Stars,” “Reaching for a Star” and “A Falling Star.” These special designs, she said, will be reflective, underwater and stretch.

To demonstrate the underwater design McNeese used a square glass container placed on a heavy base. She emphasized that a portion of the arrangement, as well as the flower or flowers, must be ulderwater. She suggested that flowers that do well under water are mums, roses, gerber daisies, ginger or bird of paradise. She said to secure the flowers well to prevent floating and to use a bottle of spring water to prevent clouding.

She continued saying that the container for a reflective design needs to reflect light, and suggested using silver, gold or a copper container. In addition, she said, the weight of the greenery must complement the weight of the container, and the flower selected needs to sparkle or give off a starburst effect.

McNeese demonstrated the stretch design by using two black containers of different heights. A needlepoint frog held the line material and flowers for the container. A stretch design requires the containers to be tied together, she said, and deomonstrated by using a large grape vine which had been dried. She used different colored back drops to show her audience how important the selection is, and how the addition of a back drop can make or break an arrangement.

In closing, McNeese reminded members that the District VI meeting will be held at The Castle in Franklinton.

Following the floral presentation, Vice President Lee Mizell presented McNeese a gift from the two clubs.She noted that on Friday, Oct. 1, hostesses will be Washington Parish Garden Club Council: Bogalusa Garden Guild, Franklinton Garden Club, Home and Garden Club, Mt. Hermon Garden Club, Northeast Garden Club and Southeast Garden Clippers.

A brief business meeting followed and Linda Pope, yard judging chairman, announced that the yard of the month for September was Billy and Sue Magee, 1502 Lynwood, first place; Joe and Shirley Saltaformaggio, 1510 Military Road, second place; and Donnie and Donna Crain, 224 Bankston Drive, honorable mention.

Members present were: Mary Anthony, Sharon Ball, Jolene Black, guest Justin Black, Evelyn Blair, Jenene Bracey, Rita Clayton, Earles, Fran Harry, Hughes, Regina Hunt, Bertie Lee, Shirley Lewis, Susan Lewis, Annette Magee, Mizell, Martha Pierce, Linda Pope, Rayburn, Marcy Regan, Alice Rushing, Margaret Ryals, Sampson, Brenda Simon, Patty Sue Stevenson, Ellen Taylor and Nelda Woodward.

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