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Archives for October 17, 2013

GHBA Remodelers Council: Remodel now in time for holidays

Contractors already are lining up projects that must be completed before holiday guests come knocking. So, if visions of renovations in time for the holidays are dancing in your head, the time to get started is now.

Jim Nowlin, president of the GHBA Remodelers Council and owner of Remodeling Concepts Inc., said the process should begin as soon as possible.

“We always see an uptick for the holidays. Sometimes it’s a big project and other times it’s a spruce-up,” Nowlin said.

As far as construction timelines go, the holidays are just around the corner, said John Gillette, owner of Craftsmanship by John Inc.

“Everyone has projects they want to be finished in time to welcome their visitors,” he said.

Gillette said homeowners also can opt to remodel while they are on vacation.

“Those who plan on being out of town during the holidays may want to have the house remodeled while they’re away,” Gillette said.

If they want to do minor work, such as paint a room, they can delay the work until November or first part of December.

For major projects and tight deadlines, however, it is time to hit the drawing table.

“If you don’t have a plan ready by early fall, you probably don’t have time to pull it together,” Nowlin said.

Both contractors agreed kitchens and bathrooms are the most common remodels for the holidays. Other homeowners are focusing on landscaping after last year’s drought. Some are making their homes more energy efficient or preparing to weather unpredictable winters and springtime rains by repairing roofs, upgrading insulation and installing storm windows.

Homeowners need to have a realistic timeline, Gillette said. He recommended allowing two to three months for a kitchen remodel, and one to two months for a bathroom.

Nowlin said the most important thing homeowners need to do is create a specific scope of work.

“They need to know exactly what they want to get done. The more developed the plan, the smoother the process will go,” he said.

A detailed plan also helps in obtaining accurate bids, Nowlin said.

“You want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Different contractors may be bidding on their own interpretations of your ideas, if you aren’t clear enough with your specifications,” Nowlin said.

Gillette said the design process can take more time than expected.

“Start meeting with someone and discussing the process,” he said. “It can take a while just talking about ideas. Be prepared with pictures of what you have in mind. Also, have selections of the products you want, like tile and plumbing fixtures for the bathroom.”

Nowlin agreed.

“If you don’t know what you want or start changing your mind, it can add weeks to the timeline,” he said.

Homeowners also should be up front about their budgets, Nowlin said.

“They need to research projects to see if their budgets are realistic,” he added.

The next step is choosing the right contractor.

“Taking the lowest bid doesn’t always pay off,” Gillette said. “It can be extremely important to work with a well-established firm.”

Nowlin recommended doing background checks on potential contractors. He said to ask for references and check them.

“Find someone you feel comfortable with, because they are going to be in your home,” he said. “It’s like a marriage. “You’ve got to be able to communicate.”

The GHBA and Remodelers Council can be a helpful resource for finding remodeling professionals, Gillette said.

“Members in a professional organization like the Remodelers Council are striving to do professional work,” he said. “They also know the latest regulations and laws.”

“The council helps everyone stay up to date on codes, and members share information needed for our industry,” Nowlin said.

Homeowners not ready to start a project can still begin the process by paying attention during the holiday season.

The holidays are great times to evaluate how well a home accommodates guests – to see if there are enough spare bedrooms and bathrooms, to find out if a kitchen is efficient when cooking and serving food. Take notes to see what works and what does not, and then start planning for next year.

“Time is of the essence,” Nowlin said. “It’s never too soon to start planning your remodeling project.”

To find a remodeler or for more information about the GHBA Remodelers Council, call 281-970-8970 or visit

The Remodelers Council of the Greater Houston Builders Association is an organization of remodelers and industry associates who are dedicated to the promotion of excellence and professionalism within, and public awareness of, the Remodelers Council.

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TV highlights: ‘What Not to Wear’ says farewell

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A taste of the tropics for Tennessee lawns

A canary date palm towers over the front lawn of a home in Bellevue. The date palm can withstand temperatures to about 16-18 degrees Fahrenheit.

— Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger

Tropics-loving Nashvillians suffering painful cases of beach-envy will be sorry to learn it’s too late to plant palm trees in the yard this year.

“The planting season for palm trees here is from April until the end of September,” says Jonathan Howlett, 31, Music City’s Johnny Appleseed, of sorts, of the palm tree.

Most avid weekend landscapers probably thought there never was a right time to plant those towering, coastal gems in and around Music City.

It’s not only possible, largely thanks to Howlett, it’s become less unusual to see green fronds swaying in the Tennessee wind as the gentle bite of early autumn forces other trees to begin shedding foliage.

All it takes is a little faith, which is precisely what led this former Virginia Tech Hokie outfielder to launch Nashville Palms – the palm-planting, frond-tending arm of his 4-year-old Covenant Landscaping – in mid-summer.

“I owe everything to God,” says the young man whose faith finds him tending to the soil in Middle Tennessee rather than following his youthful aspirations and skills on major league baseball’s well-cropped, emerald-hued diamonds.

“I had the speed. I had the arm. I had the power. I had the tools and stuff,” he says, reflecting back on his Hokie days.

He also has no regrets that thanks to his own religious convictions and the prayers of his mom, palm-planting rather than the proverbial “cup of coffee” in the bigs became his destiny.

“My mom was praying for me. She thought baseball wasn’t for me,” even when he was winning accolades on the fields of dreams.

This man of deep faith says his mom’s prayers worked and helped, eventually, to point him to the field he’s in now. Fields, plural, really: Middle Tennessee plantations, posh pastures and pool-side patios, where he’s spreading the gospel of palm trees by inserting them into landscaping plans, one frond at a time.

By popular reckoning, a guy would have to possess more than faith to plant tropical trees in Music City USA, where ice storms and even a bit of snow and temperatures in the teens are expected every year, often crippling the city for a week beneath a quarter-inch of snow.

Palms purchased at the warehouse home stores for use on summer decks and patios are discarded after the first burn of frost.

Howlett, though, not only has the passion for palms, he has schooled himself in the types that can grow here, year-after-year, adding touches of tropics to the hardwood-covered landscapes of his Brentwood and Williamson County clientele.

“I just like the beach,” says Howlett, who grew up in the Virginia Beach area, by way of explaining his interest in these trees whose fronds have symbolized victory and even immortality back to ancient times and in religions preceding his own.

For Howlett, each tree that stands firm – or, more likely, sways – in gentle Nashville winds, represents victory and perhaps at least a dash of immortality by carrying touches of summer and tropical hope through long, cold, lonely winters of discontent and death.

“I started in the landscape business four years ago in Nashville, Covenant Landscaping. I started doing some research on palm trees at about the same time.”

What inspired him in his research is what he’d seen back home.

“There’s a guy in Virginia Beach who has been (planting palms) for 14 years. They have the same weather conditions there, except they are on the coast.”

He does admit that coastal planting conditions are better, for the sandy, easily drained soil near the seas must be duplicated here – replacing the generally dense clay and rock beneath Middle Tennessee’s topsoil with a concoction mimicking those coastal soil properties – if a palm is expected to survive.

During his research, he was further encouraged by finding landscapers successfully nurturing palms all the way across the country and as far north as Vancouver, B.C.

“We’ve got a lot of people who are doing it in the Northern Hemisphere now,” he says.

While pondering this puzzling palm proliferation, Howlett decided it was time to branch out from the more mundane, or at least expected, landscaping ideas.

Jonathan Howlett of Nashville Palms describes how to care for a pindo palm, one of several able to survive Tennessee winters and temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

— Lyle Graves | Nashville Ledger

“I love palm trees. I thought it was a good idea. I thought: ‘Man, if they can live there (in Canada and Virginia), they can live here. I know if people knew about it, people would like to get them.’

“It gives a different appeal to the landscape. I love them all year long. They stay green all year long. They don’t get brown, like all the other trees, except the evergreens. I thought it would be neat to bring them to Nashville.”

It was another step in his journey of faith, so this year he began proselytizing how a palm or palms would add to the yards of his Covenant Landscaping clientele.

“We’re a full-service landscaping company,” he says of his business located near Lennox Village out toward Nolensville, near the neighborhood where he lives. “We do everything except spray. We leave that to the companies with the big trucks and equipment.”

He and his two-man crew “mainly work in Brentwood and Franklin. We take care of trees, plant, design and installation, lawn maintenance, edging, trimming. We do full-scale landscaping.”

He’d gone into landscaping four years ago, when he realized how unhappy he was in the world of real estate property management and sales, for which he had trained when not roaming the outfields for the Hokies.

Like so many transplants, his guitar and his interest in songwriting helped draw him here. The role of a songwriting troubadour – he writes worship and secular (but “not vulgar”) songs he hopes help heal the soul – is something he’d eventually like to add to his resume.

But he also knows that carhops, waitresses, valet-car jockeys and landscapers before him all have proven that musical success in Nashville, as the great late-20th Century British poet Ringo Starr sang, “don’t come easy.”

Real estate salesman Howlett may not have been in the right profession when he came to Nashville, but he knew quickly he was in the right place.

Not only did his guitar help him feel at home, but the first time he visited church here “a guy I played baseball with in college was there. And a girl I had class in college with was there. … I knew God placed me here, I knew once I encountered them, God had me right where I was supposed to be.”

He rather quickly realized his future was in soil, not sales.

His landscaping business was up and running and successful when he began to see signs that indicated it was time to take the leap of faith that would be necessary if he was going to convince people that palms fit snugly among the area’s hardwoods and hackberries, the magnolias – steel or otherwise – and the maples.

“I’d been wanting to start the palm tree thing. Been researching it, learning about palm trees, talking to people in Florida and Virginia.

“I went to Paris, France, this past winter on a mission trip and they have palm trees there. I’d go online and I’d see a bunch,” Howlett says.

“I kept on seeing palm trees everywhere I went. Didn’t matter if I was in the grocery store, seeing a sign, seeing a card. I would see palm trees. I knew I was supposed to start it. Sometimes you keep on getting hints about what you should do. You’ve got to eventually step out and face it. And that’s what I did in mid-summer.”

The first step was to get people to even imagine that palm trees could thrive here. By way of advertising, he and his crew planted a palm in the front yard of one of his favorite clients, whose yard faces Old Hickory Boulevard, precisely where Brentwood looks across the street at Forrest Hills.

It’s a highly traveled, low-speed, traffic-choked stretch of highway and the palm is almost impossible to miss. Beneath it is a sign advertising “Nashville Palms.”

“I’ve been doing landscaping for them for four years. They are super-good people and told me I could plant one there. That was kind of a blessing, my first big leap of visibility for Nashville Palms.”

He does not think this leap was accidental: “I’m a Christian. I give God all the glory for all he’s done.”

That simple bit of advertising has been successful.

“It’s been going good. I’ve gotten a ton of phone calls, left and right. A lot of people have been kind of shocked seeing a palm tree in Nashville. A lot of people are very interested. I haven’t sold a ton, but I’ve sold many.”

He expects that this year’s foray into the palm-planting profession – and the subsequent winterizing he recommends for most of the trees — will lead to more success next year, when “God will bless us and it will be really good. You’ve just got to trust God and make sure it works and follow through.”

Of course, he hopes his faith in fronds will help fulfill his own dreams as well as those of some of his beach-loving customers.

“When I think of the palm tree, I think of when Jesus was on earth, when they were waving palms. It’s an awesome tree.”

So instead of waiting until that next trip to Orange Beach or the Florida panhandle for the psychological lift bestowed by that first glimpse of a palm, Howlett recommends Nashvillians insert bits of the beach in their own front yards, where fronds will flourish through gray winters and into bright summers to come.

As Tug McGraw, a great poet of summer’s hope, once said: “Ya gotta believe.”

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The Good-for-Nothing Garden

“Use implies something utilitarian,” he said on a recent weekday after a rain had doused the yard. “I don’t want it for anything utilitarian at all.”

Mr. Golden does not grow vegetables. He leaves the farming to the farmers. If he wants to cook or dine, he’ll do it in the house. And although he is 68 and seemingly into his hammock years, he doesn’t maintain a lawn for sitting. There is no tetherball pole. He leaves the entertaining to the entertainers.

But useless is not the same as meaningless. Mr. Golden was puttering around the mahogany-paneled parlor, looking for one of his favorite books, by the designer Rory Stuart, titled “What Are Gardens For?” Though the garden, called Federal Twist, is at the center of Mr. Golden’s life, he admits that he has trouble formulating an answer.

“I would say the main purpose of this garden is aesthetic, ornamental, even emotional,” he said. “And I don’t think most Americans think of gardens in those terms at all.”

This Saturday, Mr. Golden invites the curious public to visit as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. (Tickets are $5.) Agnostics can inhale the fragrance of the JPEGs on his blog, View From Federal Twist.

Taking in the scene evokes the breathless rush through the fabric store Mood on “Project Runway.” Like the endless bolts of cloth, there are grasses here that shimmer and grasses that undulate, grasses that you’d like to feel caressing your neck and grasses you might don as a hair shirt. (Mr. Golden also maintains a judicial list of fashion crimes; for years, he rejected all yellow blooms as “brash.”)

The grass is a hint: The garden at Federal Twist is meant to be a prairie — or a prairie masquerade. It is an ecosystem that most likely never existed here on the edge of a shaded woodland.

Mr. Golden has sowed native plants by the thousands. But he is not restoring a pristine habitat. When he started landscaping here, eight years ago, he cleared 80 scrub cedars to bring in light. A good part of the garden grows over his septic field.

The plants he prizes bear the oversize, fantasy foliage of a Maurice Sendak dreamscape. “I don’t care that much about flowering,” he said. “I’m much more into dead plants and seed pods” — or rattling calyxes that look as if they might contain goblin teeth. If this is a prairie, it is a prairie of the imagination.

A garden, Mr. Golden said, should be a place “to sit in, think about, look at the sky in, live in. In my case, it’s sort of a psychological exploration of the hidden, the part of myself that never got expressed because I was such a timid, shy little boy. I learned to adapt over the years to living in the world. On sunny days, when the garden is in full growth, it’s quite exuberant and in-your-face. It’s pretty much the opposite of my personality.”

In other words, Mr. Golden’s garden is useless, except as an all-encompassing creation that fills his days and reveals his innermost feelings to the world.

And the world, for once, is listening. William Martin, an iconoclastic gardener and lecturer in rural Australia, discovered the Federal Twist blog and now counts himself among an international fan club. “It’s not really about horticulture,” he said of Federal Twist. (“Haughty-culture,” is the way Mr. Martin pronounces it, although this could be an accident of his Scottish and Australian upbringing.)

Though his own dry-climate garden, Wigandia, showcases vastly different plants, Mr. Martin reports that the two often correspond about “gardens as places for the mind instead of places for shovel and spade.”

Mr. Golden claims no formal training in haughty-culture. “I didn’t grow up seeing many pretty gardens,” he said. “The closest I came was the cemetery in Canton, Mississippi. I used to play there.” His favorite spot was the old brick columbarium, built for the casualties of a yellow fever epidemic.

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RS Walsh Landscaping Donates Fruit Trees to Historical Museum and Village

R.S. Walsh Landscaping recently donated and planted grapefruit and tangerine trees in the garden at the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village. The mission of the Museum and Village is to preserve, protect and share the island’s history. The story of Sanibel is told from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled on the island in the 1800s. Nearly 10,000 guests visit the Museum and Village each year.

“The purpose of the garden is to demonstrate to visitors how Sanibel pioneers kept ‘truck gardens’ to help feed their families,” said museum manager Emilie Alfino. It’s a beautiful addition to our picturesque village and the trees provide much-needed shade for the garden.”

“We have been providing landscape design and installation services in Southwest Florida for 30 years,” said Robert Walsh, president of R.S. Walsh Landscaping. “Our company feels a great responsibility to make a positive contribution in the community where we live and work. We support The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village because of their important role of preserving and sharing Sanibel’s history.”

R.S. Walsh Landscaping is a family-owned and operated, full-service landscape design-build Company specializing in landscape design, installation, and maintenance. For 30 years, R.S. Walsh has been committed to superior workmanship, the highest standard of materials and the constant pursuit of excellence. R.S. Walsh Garden Center Outdoor Showroom is located at 3889 Sanibel Captiva Road, across from the Sanibel School. For more information call (239) 768-5655 or visit

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Edible landscaping: A potential in Concordia’s future?

Proposals to create more productive landscaping are underway

This time next year, Concordia students could be celebrating fall with fresh produce from campus bushes. Landscaping on Concordia’s campus could become edible if a Concordia garden intern’s proposals are accepted.

John Stelter, a garden intern from this past summer, believes the landscaping on campus would be more productive if it yielded edible produce. As part of his internship he wrote a paper describing his research and conclusions, which he passed on to President’s Sustainability Council Chair Ken Foster at the end of summer. Stelter hopes the paper will eventually help influence the PSC to add edible landscaping – or permaculture – to the landscaping agenda.

Foster and the PSC will let the campus know when they have formed an opinion of permaculture. It is also likely permaculture will be a topic in Concordia’s sustainability action plan that comes out at the end of the year, according to Foster.

Foster said the PSC hopes to have permaculture incorporated into campus landscaping by next summer. To do this, the native and organic plants that now thrive throughout campus would be replaced with native plants that produce food.

Depending on the plants, such a change may allow students to grab food from the bushes as they walk across campus.

Stelter hopes Concordia will modify examples set by the campuses of Carleton College, Luther College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Landscaping at these campuses include berry bushes, which students are free to take from.

While these campuses mainly reside in rural settings, Stelter believes they could be adapted to a more urban setting like Concordia’s.

Stelter believes landscaping on campus could be designed to use space more productively. He hopes marginalized spaces could be made productive. The 10 feet of grass between the edge of the science buildings and the sidewalk or the dead grass under pine trees could ultimately be transformed into edible landscaping.

Edible landscaping also has the potential to provide food for Dining Services. Luther and Amherst specifically have gardens that provide food for the campus dining centers. According to Stelter, their example could be replicated at Concordia.

The edible landscaping preliminary research was given not only to the PSC but also the landscape coordinator.

“They seemed interested and hesitant,” Stelter said. “As they should.”

Foster believes adding permaculture to campus is a real possibility. He said the PSC is currently working with facilities and other staff to decide where to incorporate edible landscaping.

“John’s paper is helpful in providing some initial information and ideas,” Foster wrote in an email.

He said the PSC hopes to have the landscaping updated in time for the 2014 Symposium, as it will be focused on sustainability.

Edible landscaping would help spread the image of the campus garden, according to another summer garden intern, Maddie Hyde. Hyde also believes it would spread a message of sustainability.

Stelter agrees that the campus garden should be a more integral part of campus. Still, he pointed out that the campus garden and landscaping are different projects and does not want them to be confused, as they have different purposes. The point of having edible landscaping on campus is to have productive space, he said.

Before a recommendation can be sent to decision makers, more research needs to be done to determine which edible plants would work well as part of campus landscaping, Foster said. He hopes either Stelter or other students will continue to show interest in permaculture research on Concordia’s campus. Stelter said some of the research would be to decide which plants to use, as the plants would need to be native and ripe while students are on campus.

“A lot of these plants are ripe in summer and early fall,” Stelter said. He suggests that plants ripening in fall are the best choice. Some options Stelter pointed out include everbearing strawberries, raspberries, pumpkins or apple trees.

Foster agrees with Stelter that native, edible plants are important. He pushed that the presence of native, edible plants reinforces both the need for natural foods and that our area is a place where important plants thrive. Instead of simply planting traditional landscaping,we can better utilize the resources we have on campus, according to Foster and Stelter. One way to do this is to focus on planting productive greenery.

“There’s an opportunity cost for there just being grass,” Stelter said.

Britt Bublitz

Britt Bublitz, 2016, is a News Writer for the Concordian. Originally from Centuria, Wisconsin, this sophomore has declared a psychology and English writing double major. She is also involved in the Jazz band and Tri-College Swing Dance Club.

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Contact Britt Bublitz at

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With gardening season over, time to settle in for winter reading

This is the time of year when folks suddenly realize that it really is over. There will be no more outdoor gardening for nine whole months. What to do in that void? Obviously, indoor growing should be considered. And, it seems to me that in these dark months it’s worthwhile to catch up on reading. This is a great time to get into some gardening magazines.

I know we all have iPads and computers and get a lot of our gardening information from the Internet, but there is something about a print magazine, especially a gardening or horticultural one, that makes it important to keep them around. I note this because earlier this year the entire staff of Garden Design magazine, one of the few magazines left, were summarily dismissed as the mag went out of publication. Personally, that is a shame. There is a place for these publications in the garden world, even if there may not be in the news world. Gardeners really should support them lest they all disappear. Here are a few suggestions.

Let’s start with one I always push because it is so unique. “Green Prints” ( is the only monthly compilation of what I call “Hort Lit.” This consists of horticultural stories and writings rather than the “how-to” stuff that you find in all the other gardening magazines. This is a thick — 75 or so pages — “Readers Digest-size” monthly compilation of the best of what editor (and my good friend) Pat Stone can find amongst all the garden print. (He must read a lot!) In any case, you will find funny stories, poignant stories, children’s stories and more. As an added inducement to subscribe to Green Prints, I would mention it won the Best Garden Magazine Award from the Garden Writers Association.

Next is Rodale Press’ “Organic Gardening” ( Yup, this is the successor title to the original Organic Farming and Gardening, still going strong after all these years. It keeps reinventing itself, which means it is always changing. If that sounds bad, it isn’t. It keeps the magazine fresher (and trying harder) than some of the others. If you are not an organic gardener as a result of reading this column, perhaps Rodale Press will convince you of how easy it is to drop the chemicals.

“Garden Gate” ( magazine comes out every two months. It is a glossy full of gorgeous pictures and fact-filled articles on all aspects of gardening. The folks who publish it are so sure you will want to subscribe, they are willing to send you a free issue to try. What have you to lose?

“The English Garden” ( is, as you have already guessed, a publication out of England. It is full of fantastic garden pictures and interviews with gardeners who design, build or maintain them. Yes, it is all about gardening in Great Britain and reviews their stuff and people, not ours, but hey, it’s winter here so what does that matter?

“Gardens Illustrated” is another garden magazine from England ( Get ready to do some drooling. This one is full of beautiful pictures of gardens, English gardening advice, and articles about plants worldwide.

“Fine Gardening” ( bills itself as a garden design magazine. It is probably the American equivalent of a high-brow English magazine, and I mean that in a positive way. It has fantastic photography and writing. You won’t just read this in a couple of minutes. If you want you can purchase one month at a time. People use words like “breathtaking” when describing some of the gardens covered, and there is no question yours might seem a bit pale in comparison. Nonetheless, there is always something inspiring as well. Besides, aren’t Alaskan winters for dreaming a bit?

There are other magazines, horticulturally oriented and otherwise, which always devote a portion of their print pages to gardening and gardens. If you have one worthy of note, let me know at It’s a long winter, climate change or not. We have plenty of time to read.

Jeff Lowenfels’ bestselling books are available at and

Garden calendar





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Garden club refines skills

Flower Show

Flower Show

Barb Macbeth, Betsy Ray and Marcia Deiss won for the best representation of the selected theme.

Flower Show

Flower Show

Jan Murray, Karen O’Connor and Brenda Strange were awarded best floral design.

Flower Show

Flower Show

Kathy Aquilla and Mackey Dutton won best overall design.

Flower Show

Flower Show

Nora Carey, Sandy Griffin and Karin Cowperthwait were awarded most creative design.

Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:00 am

Updated: 5:48 pm, Wed Oct 16, 2013.

Garden club refines skills

CHESTERTOWN — The Chestertown Garden Club had its second meeting of the season Oct. 1 at Emmanuel Church. The program, Chestertown Flower Show 2013, was devoted to enhancing members’ floral design abilities.

Members were divided into small groups and designed an informal table selected from six themes: Mums the Word!, Gourd Gracious!, Summer’s Last Hurrah, Autumn Leaves are Falling, Apples Spice, and From the Pumpkin Patch. Members could meet and plan their table arrangements, but tables had to be arranged on the day of the meeting. Judging was done by secret ballots submitted by members of the club in the following categories: best floral design, best overall design, most creative design, and the design that best represents the selected theme.

The individual tabletop designs were used by each group to eat lunch. The exercise helped the club members to enhance their arranging skills and to understand judging parameters at garden shows.

The winners were: best floral design – Brenda Strange, Karen O’Connor and Jan Murphy for Autumn Leaves are Falling; best overall design – Kathy Aquilla, Mackey Dutton and Chris Kirk for Gourd Gracious!; most creative design – Nora Carey, Sandy Griffin and Karin Cowperthwait; and the design that best represents the selected theme – Betsy Ray, Barb Macbeth and Marcia Deiss.

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More about Garden Club

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:00 am.

Updated: 5:48 pm.

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Home and garden briefs: Designers transform house at Krug Winery

Traditional Home Magazine has chosen top designers from the Wine Country and beyond to transform an old guest house at the historic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena into a surprisingly sleek and ultramodern interior showcase.

The Napa Valley Showhouse, open through Nov. 17, is a window into how the now classic modernist design of the mid-20th century has matured into the 21st century, with eclectic mixes of contemporary and antique elements, machine-made and natural surfaces, retro and up-to-the-minute trends.

Among the 10 design firms tapped to bedazzle visitors with fresh ideas, fabulous product finds and the latest design ideas is Jacques St. Dizier, the Louisiana-born designer with headquarters on the Healdsburg Plaza.

The showcase will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. It will be closed the afternoon of Nov. 8 and all day Nov. 10. The $40 admission includes wine tasting. Advance registration is recommended.

The winery, which has just undergone a major renovation of the original 1872 Redwood Cellar by renowned Napa Valley architect Howard Backen, is located at 2800 Main St./St. Helena Highway 29. For information, visit or

ROHNERT PARK: Pearson to discuss sustainability

It’s a word that is thrown around a lot, but just what defines “sustainability”?

Master Gardener Kim Pearson will discuss the concept, and why it’s important for the future to employ sustainable practices in our own gardens right now, during a free talk Oct. 26 at the Rohnert Park-Cotati Library. Using the example of a small garden, she will suggest projects that could transform a typical yard into a more environmentally friendly space that is both beautiful and enjoyable. 6250 Lynn Conde Way, Rohnert Park. For information, visit

KENWOOD: Free autumn walk at Wildwood Nursery

Sara Monte, the owner of Wildwood Nursery in Kenwood, will lead a search for gold in her own garden at 2 p.m. Oct. 26. The free autumn walk through the nursery’s garden will focus on trees whose foliage provides rich golden tones in the fall. 10300 Sonoma Highway., Kenwood. For information, call 833-1161.

SONOMA: Olive expert Landis offers free tips

Make the best of your olive harvest, whether you have one tree or an orchard, using tips from Don Landis, the olive man.

Landis will give a comprehensive talk Oct. 27, beginning with the history of the olive and focusing on ways to debitter this winter fruit, making it edible without using lye. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free, but RSVP required; call 940-4025. Held at Cline Cellars, 24737 Arnold Drive, Sonoma.

SANTA ROSA: Garden Club selling ‘Christmas Rose’

Tired of decorating with the same pedestrian poinsettias for Christmas? The Santa Rosa Garden Club is selling two awesome alternatives for holiday decor or gift-giving.

As a fundraiser, the club is selling a “Christmas Rose” hellebore with snow-white petals and bright yellow centers on flowers that pertly look up, rather than drooping down like most hellebores. A Christmas Rose can jazz up your late-winter garden after you have enjoyed its beauty indoors. It is drought-tolerant and likes shade with morning sun.

The club is also featuring the Shooting Star hydrangea, with brilliant white multi-petaled stars that shoot out like fireworks. It’s the longest-lasting of the lace cap hydrangeas and thrives both indoors and outdoors.

Cost for either plant is $21. Proceeds benefit the club’s scholarship program for horticulture students at Santa Rosa Junior College. Deadline to order is Oct. 31, with plants available for delivery on Nov. 22 in Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Sonoma and Marin. They can also be picked up between noon and 3 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Luther Burbank Art Garden Center in Santa Rosa.

Checks can be made payable to Santa Rosa Garden Club and sent c/o Sharon Whitten, 8001 River Road, Forestville, 95436. For information, call 537-6885 or email

SANTA ROSA: Hands-on workshop on propagating plants

Garden designer Gail Fanning will demonstrate how to propagate plants during a hands-on workshop Oct. 19 at the Harvest for the Hungry Garden in Santa Rosa.

Fanning will show how to create new plants from perennials and shrubs such as rosemary and roses, using soft wood cuttings. The free workshop will be from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at 1717 Yulupa Ave., Santa Rosa. For information, call 484-3613.

SANTA ROSA: Bargains on plants at Willowside School

Willowside School’s nursery offers good bargains on a wide selection of plants suitable for fall planting.

The student nursery will hold its next Saturday sale Oct. 19, featuring perennials, roses, grasses, trees, succulents and more, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 5299 Hall Road (corner of Hall and Willowside Road) in Santa Rosa. For information, call 569-4724.

HEALDSBURG: End-of-season fest at Russian River Rose

The Russian River Rose Company celebrates the end of the season Oct. 19 and 20 with a Russian Tea Fragrance Festival inspired by the region’s early Russian settlers and the Russian heritage of owner Mike Tolmasoff.

The festivities include live folk, Slavic and gypsy music, tea leaf readings, rose tea samplings, rosewater-infused nibbles by Chef Jake Martin of Restaurant Charcuterie of Healdsburg, and cups of Russian “Sweee-touch-nee Tea” prepared in antique Russian samovars. Visitors are invited to stroll the gardens, still colorful with late blooming roses.

Cost is $5. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 1685 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg. Information: 433-7455 or

You can direct Home and Garden news to Meg McConahey at or 521-5204.

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