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Archives for October 19, 2013

Hughenden Improvements

A NEW full size rugby league field with lighting and automatic irrigation is the key feature of the new Hughenden Showgrounds Concept Master Plan.

The Plan, which was prepared by CPR Group after community consultation in August, was presented to Flinders Shire Council to receive councillor feedback on October 9.

Almost 20 people attended the Hughenden Showgrounds Master Plan Public Meeting at the Diggers Entertainment Centre in August, with all community groups who use the facility represented.

Council representatives who were at the meeting described it as one of the best public meetings yet, with a lot of new fresh ideas and a willing group to tackle the issues of conflict.

The Master Plan will guide projects and improvements that happen at the Showgrounds during the next 10 years, with a similar plan also prepared for the Hughenden Memorial Swimming Pool.

As well as a new 25m, 1.7m deep new heated undercover pool, the Swimming Pool Master Plan includes a new administration building with gym, canteen and coffee shop, a new shaded playground area and an upgraded recreational area, including umbrella, shade trees, covered BBQ and picnic tables, seating, landscaping and new turfed areas.

CPR Group Consultant Michael Connelly said he had wanted to retain the character of both precincts, while making changes to accommodate the community needs and wants into the future.

“The level of information that user groups were able to bring back (at the initial community consultations) was fantastic,” Mr Connelly said.

“Hopefully (both master plans) are a good reflection of what people have told us,” he said.

Public meetings were held at the Hughenden Memorial Swimming Pool on Monday October 14 and at the Diggers Entertainment Centre on Tuesday October 15 to discuss the draft master plans.

Both consultation meetings were well attended with the community making a fantastic contribution to both plans.

There were no major issues with the plans and all suggestions made have led to further refinement and improvements.

The showgrounds users progressed towards prioritising some of the projects within the plan and making sure that projects can occur in the correct order to get the best and most cost effective outcome.

The next stage is for the plans to be adopted by Council in late November. Once they are adopted then the community groups and Council will combine forces to source funding for the project.

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Colors of fall

 Posted on Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 10:32 am

Fall ColorsThis past Saturday the colors of fall were the perfect setting for the annual Chestnut Roast held at Forrest Keeling Nursery in Elsberry.

Great food and amazing music filled the air as patrons perused the numerous booths and enjoyed roasted chestnuts. Those in attendance were given the opportunity to learn about many different fall landscaping ideas and much more.

This Saturday event has become one of the Forrest Keeling’s largest and most well attended event.

For more on this and other stories pick up your copy of The Elsberry Democrat today  from one of our several locations.  You can also sign up for the online edition by visiting and clicking on Subscribe …

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Top 5 things to do in Muskegon area this week: ‘Bernhardt on Broadway’ and more

1 – ‘Bernhardt on
Broadway’ at the Muskegon Museum of Art

BernhardtByZoppi.jpgAntonio Zoppi Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt (in costume for Mary Queen of Scots)
1884, oil on canvas
In memory of Edward B. Rhodes, gift of his wife, Catherine Muskegon Museum of Art, 1992.249. Carol Dunitz will perform as Bernhardt in a one-woman show on Oct. 24 at the Muskegon Museum of Art.

“Bernhardt on Broadway,” a one-woman show about late 19th-century
actress Sarah Bernhardt, will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 24 at the
Muskegon Museum of Art, 296 W. Webster Ave.

The musical covers Bernhardt’s professional and personal
life, and will include 12 songs. The show stars Carol Dunitz, a
professional writer and speaker who wrote the music, book and lyrics.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The event includes French-style refreshments by the Cheese Lady.

The museum is hosting the event in conjunction with one of
its latest exhibits, “The French Connection: Nineteenth-Century French Art from
the Tabler Collection and Related American Art from the Baker/Pisano

Tickets are $35 each and are available at the MMA’s gift
store, at the door or by calling (231) 720-2580. For more information about the
show, visit

2 – Free native
landscaping gardening session at Lakeshore Museum

The Lakeshore Museum Center, 430 W. Clay Ave. in downtown
Muskegon, will cover native landscaping during a free gardening workshop at 6
p.m. on Oct. 24.

Chad and Christina Hipshier will discuss using native plants
for landscaping and the benefits gardeners can expect to see. Chat Hipshier is
a project manager for the Muskegon Conservation District and Christina Hipshier
is a lead grower for Hortech Inc. in Spring Lake.

The gardening session is being held in conjunction with the
museum’s “Naturally…Peanuts” exhibit. Registration for the event is requested.
To register or to learn more about the program, contact the museum at (231) 722-0278
or visit

3 – Philosophy on Tap
at Hennessy’s Irish Pub and Restaurant

The Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival will host a
philosophical discussion over beer at 7 p.m. on Oct. 23 at Hennessy’s Irish Pub
and Restaurant, located at 855 Jefferson St. in Muskegon.

The free Philosophy on Tap event, a new addition to the
festival, will follow in the tradition of history’s greatest thinkers and
discuss the ideas surrounding the festival’s theme “faith and reason” over food
and drink.

The discussion will be led by Muskegon Community College
professor Conor Rody. Participants are also encouraged to read “Letter to a
Christian Nation” by Sam Harris before attending.

For more information about the event, visit

4 – ‘Between the
Reeds’ at the Nuveen Community Center for the Arts

Pintail Drake by Rocky Freed.jpgPintail Drake carved and painted by Rocky Freed. His work will be on display at the Nuveen Community Center for the Arts through Nov. 2.

Hand-carved wooden duck decoys and the birds that live in
and around the water’s edge are the focus of the Nuveen Community Center for
the Arts’ latest exhibition, “Between the Reeds.”

“Between the Reeds” will showcase work by award-winning West
Michigan carvers Rocky Freed, Clare Stephens and Merle Lemmon. The Nuveen Center
has also displayed paintings, photographs and other two-dimensional artwork by
professional local artists to round out the display.

The exhibit will run through Nov. 2 and will be open from
noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays through Fridays. The Nuveen Center is located at
8697 Ferry St. in Montague. For more information about the exhibit, visit or call (231) 894-2787.

5 – Herbal butter how-to session
at Walker Memorial Library

Walker Memorial Library, 1522 Ruddiman Drive in North
Muskegon, will host herbalist Marcia Willbrandt at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 22.
Willbrandt will show attendees how to create their own herb butters, cheese
spreads and salad dressings. Attendees will also take home recipes to share
with family and friends.

The event is free and open to the public. For more
information, visit or call (231)

Lisha Arino covers arts and entertainment, as well as other
topics, as needed, for MLive/Muskegon Chronicle. Email her at
or follow her on
Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

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Community garden opens

Jeff Copson helps build  a bio-dome he designed for  the South Dunedin Community Garden. His son Graham is the garden's project manager. Photo by Dan Hutchison.

Plant one idea, pile on a mountain of manure, add a
”snowball of enthusiasm” and Dunedin’s latest community
garden is born.

The Bathgate Park School Community Garden will open on
Saturday after 14 months of planning and building.

Project manager Graham Copson said he was looking forward to
getting into his own back yard after spending almost all his
spare time over the last year developing the garden.

Now that a lot of the hard work has been done – building
raised beds, landscaping and a large bio-dome (glasshouse) –
it was time for others to get gardening, Mr Copson said.

Anyone will be able to contribute to the final design of the
garden, get involved in the fortnightly ”social gardening”
sessions and share in the food produced.

Support has come from community garden organisation
GrowSouth, the Dunedin South Rotary Club, Bathgate School and
businesses donating materials.

Mr Copson said there had been a snowball effect of enthusiasm
as the project progressed, including a generous contribution
of 50 cubic metres of horse manure from a local stables,
amassed over 30 years.

The open day is from 10am to noon on Saturday at the rear of
Bathgate School in Macandrew Rd.



Community gardens are springing up like wildfire in Dunedin,
so much so, that two organisations have been set up to
nurture some mutual benefits.

GrowSouth’s aim is to increase the number of community
gardens in Dunedin. Spokesman Graham Copson said it wanted to
provide support and develop a pool of resources for schools
and others with a similar idea.

Another group called the Local Food Network aimed to bring
all the community gardens closer together.

A member of that group, Jon Foote, said there were a lot of
community and school gardens in Dunedin but they were not
very well connected.

A website would be set up and events held to link the groups.

The Star wants to know more about your city’s
community gardens. Contact

 – Dan Hutchison

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Northeastern Junior College holds 3rd Botanical Walk – Journal

STERLING — — Guests at Northeastern Junior College didn’t let the cooler temperature keep them from enjoying the beautiful plants and trees around campus during the college’s third annual Botanical Walk on Thursday.

Kimberly Harford, a licensed landscape architect with Country Gardens Nursery who designed the various landscape plans on campus, conducted the tour.

The tour included a look at the newest beautification effort to be completed, the area between Phillips-Whyman and Poole halls. Funding for this part of the beautification project came from the Alumni Association. Vegetation in this area is similar to that at the belltower promenade, with skyline honeylocust trees, sunny igloo fall mums and Eldorado calamagrostis grass.

During the tour Harford provided some winterizing tips.

“After everything freezes is a great time to get in your garden and do some work,” she told the group.

One of her first tips is to always cut grasses back in the fall after they’ve gone dormant.

She also pointed out fall is a great time for planting, because then the plants don’t have to withstand the hot temperatures of the summer. However, one thing that should never be planted in the fall is evergreen trees; April to August is the best time to plant those.

Additionally, Harford gave some pruning tips. She pointed out that it’s important to consider the bloom time of the shrub you’re pruning, because if you prune it at the wrong time you won’t get any flowers. Pruning stimulates growth, which you don’t want to do if the plant is about to go dormant.

Hardford said the fall is the best time to prune any spring blooming shrubs. She suggested waiting until the plant is completely brown before pruning it.

She also talked about using liquid iron to help improve the health of plants. If a plant is yellow, Hartford recommended putting liquid iron on it once a week, from April 1 through Memorial Day.

Contact Journal-Advocate staff writer Callie Jones at 970-526-9286 or

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Fall gardening inspiration in print and in person

Autumn is the perfect time for a little garden reflection and renewal. Lectures and a good book might provide a bit of insight as you finish this summer’s harvest and begin planning for next year.

A good read

Released Oct. 1, Elizabeth Gilbert’s The Signature of All Things (Viking, $28.95) is a thought- provoking novel overflowing with botanical and natural history that many gardeners will find fascinating. Gilbert, whose 2006 memoir Eat, Pray, Love, became a best-seller, weaves themes of evolutionary biology and natural selection so smoothly with the life of character Alma Whittaker that they merge seamlessly into a world where readers will lose track of time.

This mesmerizing story is set from the mid-18th century into the late-19th century against a backdrop of horticultural meccas like London’s Kew Royal Botanic Gardens and Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam, and excursions around the globe to places like Tahiti and the mountains of Peru.

Near Philadelphia, the fictional Whittaker estate, White Acre, founded on a family fortune gleaned from sales of botanically derived medical treatments, reflects an intensely passionate interest in horticulture. Here, Alma devotes much of her life to studying mosses, relatively unclassified at the time, yet upon taking a close look, intriguing.

Gilbert intersects the paths of actual explorers, plant collectors and theorists such as Joseph Banks, Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin, with Alma’s, filling in details and issues of the time with precise, enlightened dialogue and vocabulary. How did quinine come to be used? What does it take to grow the vanilla orchid? We gardeners can learn a lot here.

Gilbert also builds a powerful emotional statement about the meaning of life-force into not only the study of evolution and survival of species, but of Alma’s own realization of a deeper meaning in her experience of what life is all about. Like-minded tree huggers and plant geeks might need a bit of quiet reflection to soak in that essential truth, or signature, of all things.

’50 Shades of Green’

Join The Arboretum’s curator of native plants, Todd Rounsaville, as he spotlights some of the diverse strategies plants have developed to reproduce themselves. If you know what to look for, you can find them everywhere. Rounsaville points out, “For every conceivable life- supporting niche on the planet, there are plants. Flowering is the pinnacle of their existence, and they all do it in fascinatingly strange ways depending on the e nvironment.” And yes, there will be photos.

Just a couple examples: our native Jack-in-the-pulpit, which can be male or female, changing sex back and forth depending on the age and size of the individuals; and native mountain laurel, which has stamens that are spring-loaded like a bear trap to smack pollen onto insects. Some flowers imitate bees, while others produce heat.

Delve deeper into the wonders of the plant world with this fun and fascinating topic, which will be presented at 6 p.m. Nov. 12 at The Arboretum’s visitor center, 500 Alumni Drive. Admission is $5 for the general public; $4 for members of Friends of The Arboretum. Pre- registration is required by calling (859) 257-6955 or emailing

Perennials workshop

Here’s a chance to observe and interact with Richard Weber and John Michler, two of Central Kentucky’s great garden designers, as they collaborate to demystify the process of perennial garden design in a start-to-finish planting of an actual garden bed. Site analysis, bed preparation, plant features, design considerations and planting specifics will be covered.

Michler, a well-known Lexington designer and co-owner of Michler’s Florist, Greenhouses and Garden Design, and Weber, resident landscape architect at Springhouse Gardens, are sure to offer great ideas and advice during this presentation. Go dressed for outdoor weather, rain or shine.

The program is 10 a.m. to noon Oct. 26 at Springhouse Gardens, 185 West Catnip Hill Road, Nicholasville. Admission is $15. For information, and the required reservation and prepayment, call Julie at (859) 224-0033, email or go to the events page at

Beautiful landscapes

This year’s special Gardeners’ Lecture Series speaker, presented by the Fayette County Master Gardeners and Friends of The Arboretum, will be Katy Moss Warner, American Horticulture Society president emeritus and former director of Disney’s horticulture and environmental initiatives.

An advocate for the many benefits beautiful landscaping provides to communities, ranging from improved business and economic sustainability to general public satisfaction, Warner is an engaging speaker willing to share ideas backed up with statistics and stories. She lists a few key ideas to use: “Beautiful planted flower pots, particularly flowers in hanging baskets, announce that a city takes care of its plants — and its people,” Warner says. “Well- maintained beautiful landscaped areas deter litter, graffiti and crime, making neighborhoods safer and cleaner,” and “Beautiful landscapes motivate tourists to return, businesses to want to locate there, and residents to be proud of their city.”

Vice Mayor Linda Gorton agrees that this idea is one from which our community could benefit; the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council has given a small grant from its neighborhood development funds in support. “We’re going to figure out how to become even more beautiful than we are now” Gorton says.

In addition to the lecture, Warner will facilitate a separate discussion among interested public and civic leaders about America in Bloom, a nonprofit organization that offers a structured program for organizations wanting to participate in a contest where landscape enhancements are evaluated and awarded commendations while picking up some expert advice. For a closer look, America in Bloom judge Evelyn Alemanni has created an information-packed booklet, Discover Plants, which discusses the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of quality landscaping. It is available at

The lecture will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the University of Kentucky HealthCare Pavilion in Albert B. Chandler Hospital, 1000 South Limestone, with free parking in the hospital parking structure across the street. Admission is $10, $5 students. For lecture information, call (859) 257-6955. To inquire about the America in Bloom discussion on Thursday, email

Susan Smith-Durisek is a master gardener and writer from Lexington. Email: Blog:

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Gardening basics: Compost pile tips

As you recycle autumn leaves into compost this fall, consider the science that transforms waste into “black gold” for your soil.

“There are more microorganisms in a teaspoon of topsoil than there are people on planet Earth,” said Nick Andrews, small farms specialist and compost expert for the Oregon State University Extension Service. “Compost is similar. It’s teeming with billions of microorganisms for each ounce of compost.”

Those billions of microorganisms aren’t sitting still. Their metabolism works hard to convert organic material into fuel – activity that heats up compost. Compost must reach 130 to 135 degrees to kill weed seeds and pathogens, Andrews said.

Turn the pile after its first three to five weeks with a garden fork to add air and break up clumps of material. If the pile is big enough – one-half to one cubic yard – and well-built with a good carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, moisture content and porosity, it should heat up within a week and stay hot long enough for you to turn the pile and “process” the raw material to kill pathogens and weed seeds.    

If compost just isn’t happening, Andrews offered these troubleshooting tips.

Problem: It isn’t heating up because the pile is too small.

For a continuous fuel source, microorganisms need at least one-half cubic yard to one cubic yard of fresh organic material, Andrews said. During harvest time in August and September, that’s realistic for most gardeners.

Solution: Make sure you have a steady source of fresh material. If you don’t, you could cool-compost the rest of the year, or build a worm bin, using earthworms to decompose food waste and organic matter.

“Adjust your expectations,” Andrews said. “If the pile isn’t heating up, allow it to decompose over a longer time period, and wait long enough for the raw material to look fully decomposed, like ‘black gold.’ It’s the ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ approach.”

Problem: It stinks like rotten eggs.

Healthy compost should emit a rich, earthy odor. But a stinky compost pile might not have enough air and could be too wet. Compost piles thrive on a good balance of air and moisture and should contain 60 to 65 percent moisture, Andrews said.

Solution: Add dry material like straw, dry leaves or shredded paper. Turn the pile with a fork as you incorporate these materials. To keep out rainwater, cover the pile with plastic tarp or enclose your bin with a roof made out of scrap material.

Problem: It attracts raccoons, mice, rats or other critters.

Material that invites varmints includes meat, poultry, fish, fat, oil, dairy products, bread, grains and bones.

Solution: If this is a problem for you, avoid composting food that attracts unwanted critters. The more actively you manage and turn your pile during early decomposition, the less likely you will have problems.

You can also build your composting pile to exclude mammalian pests — for example, line it with hardware cloth. Your goal is to prevent animals from nesting or feeding from your compost pile.

Grass clippings, leaves, plant stalks, vines, weeds without seeds, healthy fruit and vegetable scraps, livestock manure and straw don’t attract pests. Wood chips, nut shells, twigs, acorns and egg shells are also compostable, but these materials are slower to decompose.

To learn more about composting, see the OSU Extension guides “Gardening with Composts, Mulches and Row Covers” at  and “Composting with Worms.”

— Denise Ruttan

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Donna Stiles: Tips to protect your garden from wind and flooding – Record

With gardeners getting their winter gardens established, I thought today I’d share how to protect your plants from flooding and high winds.

I’ll also share some history about growing up on Granny’s farm and why my dream was to be just like her when I grew up and how at 50 I was able to make my lifelong dream a reality.

First, the hints on protecting plants from harsh weather conditions.

1. If flooding becomes a problem in a area where you have planted your winter garden, all you need to do is dig drainage ditches alongside your garden. They do not have to be very deep and they should start before the planted area and end a little ways after it with the end running off to a direction away from the garden, preferably on to a rocky or cement type area to avoid erosion.

2. High winds have been a real issue for me here on my mountain. They come roaring through the valley and up to my place like a freight train. Since I have only been here for five years, the more than 20 trees I’ve planted are not big enough to easily weather the gusts. After doing some research on this, I have found works for me. I learned that the most effective wind breaks are not solid walls but a fence or line of trees that lets some air pass through. Low pressure develops on the sheltered side of a wind break and actually sucks air coming over the barrier downward, creating swirling turbulence in the area you want to protect. By letting air through a wind break, the low pressure is reduced and the wind you are blocking stays up where it can blow over your garden instead of dropping down into it. So consider planting your winter garden around a group of trees or a hedge to effectively block the wind. Remember there will be little to no need for watering, which may give you options of planting in areas you may have not thought about before.

If you have any questions about other winter garden concerns, please email me and I will try and answer them for you.

How I became a farmer

Since about the age of 2 I spent every free minute I could with my grandmother on her small farm in Willits. She had a little over 10 acres in what the locals called the valley. It was a very flat area that had a lot of horses and livestock on it. My grandmother was always called Granny from the time I was born and before. She was a tough lady born Oma, Okla. Some of you older readers will recognize the name but most of the younger ones have probably never heard of it.

She was the oldest of 16 brothers and sisters and she grew up on a farm in Oklahoma where she told me she would get a new pair of shoes once a year along with a new coat. Being the oldest she never had to wear hand-me-downs and she said that was all she could think of that was good about being the oldest. Whatever hardships she endured while growing up they turned my granny into a tough but very sweet lady who loved life and always found the good in any situation.

She never wasted anything and as you have read in my other columns, she found a use for just about everything after it had served its original purpose.

She taught me so many things — not just about farming. But what she taught me all I knew about farming until I started my trial and error learning after I bought our place. I have dozens of fun times and stories I look forward to sharing with you in future columns.

Donna Stiles is owner of Donna’s Dam Seeds in Shasta Lake. She can be reached at

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Interiors: The year’s best design trends

This year we have seen some interesting trends in interior design. Let’s review some of them to see where our homes stand in comparison.

Following the masses is not always the way to go, so if your home doesn’t fit in any of the following trend categories, you are probably following your own drummer – and that drummer probably has a special personal beat.

A relaxed look is popular. Every room in the house should be a space that you can actually live in, which means no ultra-formal rooms with a “don’t touch” atmosphere. OK, so the relaxed look works nicely, particularly with a family. But let’s get down to some specifics.

Gilded glass: Gilded glass is a finish where glass is enhanced with gold or metal leaf on the back. Even though simplicity is popular, a little bit of glamour is always welcome. This gilded glass is like jewelry for a room. Perhaps the living room or dining room would be a good place to try it. Remember that brass, gold and silver have topped the popularity list this year. Gilded glass is right in line with that.

Brassy accents: Brass – including antique brass – has had a comeback in hardware such as faucets and knobs.

Bleached wood: Wood flooring is always popular, and with good reason. It gives a rich and inviting feeling to any home. The bleached floor – that is, lighter wood – has made its mark this year. That same bleached-wood look has been popular as a treatment for kitchen and bathroom cabinets.

Color splash: Blue has been strong this year in all aspects of interior design, from wall colors to upholstery to accessories. Navy and royal blue have been making quite an appearance. But blue isn’t the only popular color. Emerald green, named color of the year by Pantone, has also been a hit in interior design.

Patterns that pop: Last year’s pattern was all about flowers; this year has been all about stripes and geometrics. The geometrics have included angles and diagonals, and this trend has been seen in fabric and wallpaper designs. I’ve even seen geometrics papered onto ceilings. That can get dizzying in some cases, but to each his own, right?

I wonder what trends 2014 will bring.


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