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Archives for December 12, 2013

This week’s gardening tips: gift ideas for the gardeners on your list

Do you still need a present for a gardener on your list? Gardeners often skimp when buying themselves basic tools such as garden forks, shovels, spades, hoses, trowels or hand pruners.

Try giving a quality tool that makes work easier. Don’t overlook carts, knee pads or a fine pair of gloves. Stocking stuffers — packs of seed, rain gauges, small packages of fertilizer, water nozzles and plant labels — are inexpensive and useful. Books make super gifts. Or, spend some time browsing at your local nursery or garden center (some offer gift certificates) for many other ideas waiting to be discovered.

  • Don’t forget the LSU AgCenter’s 2014 “Get It Growing” calendar is available online and at some local nurseries. Featuring monthly gardening tips, beautiful photographs by Louisiana gardeners, information on roses and composting and lots more useful information, it’s a wonderful gift for your gardener friends. It costs $11.95; proceeds support horticulture scholarships and research.
  • Tropical container plants moved indoors for the winter generally do
    not need fertilizer, since growth is slow at best. Most problems with
    these plants come from reduced light and dry air — conditions
    fertilizer can’t help. Provide as much light as possible, and locate
    plants where hot air vents do not blow directly on them.

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Tips on how to give Milton Keynes gardens some TLC this Christmas

James Frost

IF THE weather stays mild for this month (five degrees centigrade and above), your lawn will actually continue to grow.

So make sure you give it a trim, but when frosty keep off the lawn as this will damage the grass.

By all means continue your harvesting – leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage and some of those famous Christmas sprouts! Rhubarb can also now be forced ready for those delicious sweet pink stems in spring.

In the ornamental garden it is time to prune acer (maples) and betula (birch) before Christmas to ensure they do not bleed sap from their stems when they are cut, however avoid pruning evergreen and tender shrubs until the spring.

Many houseplants are bought at this time of year as presents. Poinsettias must be kept in a warm light room away from draughts. Cut down watering on most indoor plants – apart from azaleas as they like watering and a cool room.

And remember, if your Christmas cacti is not getting flower buds it may be getting too much artificial light after dark.

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David Grace, Pippa Robinson and Ian Drummond

  • Ian Drummond At that point, Ed stepped back from an operational role and we were pretty much running things. That incentivised us to have the confidence to buy the remainder of the company in January 2013 when Ed and Brita retired.

    Pippa Robinson Ed didn’t want us swallowed up by a multinational, he wanted the legacy of high-quality service to continue. The business still has a family feel to it and I think there was an element of relief among staff that we took over.

    David Grace During the discussions that we held around the management buy-out Ed wanted to hold on to a small shareholding but it wouldn’t have allowed us the freedom to do what we want with the business. Our visions are different than Ed’s vision. We’ve moved into areas that perhaps he was less comfortable working in.

    Ian Drummond We were doing them anyway. Hotels and restaurants were areas we never used to touch. They are run quite differently to the rest of the business.

    Pippa Robinson Most of our work is concentrated inside the M25, although we reach Edinburgh, Glasgow and north-west and eastern England. I see us expanding geographically, taking on more staff and looking after high-end private clients.

    David Grace We run the business by consensus decision. There are advantages of working that way and sometimes slight disadvantages because perhaps we don’t move ahead as quickly as maybe we might want to. But we all need to be comfortable in decisions we are making.

    Pippa Robinson We all love horticulture and getting our hands dirty. There is a lot of crossover between our roles but as joint managing director [with Grace] I oversee client liaison for the interiors operations, health and safety, and HR.

    David Grace I’m responsible for the finance, day-to-day running, exterior elements of the business and installations like atriums.

    Ian Drummond My role as creative director revolves around sales, marketing and landscaping. I oversee our Christmas designs, visual merchandising for Harrods and Selfridges, and landscape events such as Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball and a [RHS silver medal-winning] garden at the Chelsea Flower Show.

    Pippa Robinson We have fallen into the areas we are most comfortable dealing with. That is why we work so well as a team. The penny dropped at a training session many years ago. In each corner of the room was a list of different skills. When asked to stand in a corner that best represented ours we all stood in different corners.

    Ian Drummond The 2009 recession hit us like a sledgehammer. Turnover dropped but we didn’t make any of our 47 staff redundant. The number has increased year-on-year.

    David Grace Last year, we grew by almost four per cent and the previous year by almost eight per cent. Our turnover is £2.75m. When we bought the company our plan was to double its size and increase its profitability proportionally. In five years’ time, we’d like a turnover of around £5m.

    Pippa Robinson Prior to the recession we were achieving 10 per cent annual growth. Some clients have cut back on interior landscaping while continuing with exterior landscaping. We haven’t lost any of them.

    David Grace Cutting back on plants might look like an easy cost saving for a client to make but research shows that interior landscaping increases productivity, delivers health benefits to employees and cuts down on absenteeism. We’re working hard to get that message out.

  • Article source:

    Design & Beyond symposium set for Jan. 18

    12/12/2013 – West Side Leader

    By Staff Writer

    David Culp

    Debra Knapke

    Jim McCormac

    Danae Wolfe
    Photos courtesy of Master Gardeners of Summit County

    WEST AKRON — Master Gardeners of Summit County, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization affiliated with The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension, has announced its annual Design Beyond 2014 symposium taking place Jan. 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Zwisler Hall at St. Sebastian Church, 348 Elmdale Ave.

    The cost for the day, including a continental breakfast, lunch and materials, is $40 for all and is open to the public. During the event, attendees will be able to purchase books and have them signed.

    Presenters will be:

    • David Culp, the creator of the gardens at Brandywine Cottage in Downingtown, Pa. His articles have appeared in Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Fine Gardening, Green Scene and other publications. He is author of the book “The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty From Brandywine Cottage.” He is a former contributing editor to Horticulture magazine and served as chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Hardy Plant Society.
      Culp is vice president for Sunny Border Nurseries in Connecticut. He is an herbaceous perennials instructor at Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pa. He has developed the Brandywine Hybrid strain of hellebores, and was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal for his expertise on snowdrops. His garden has been featured several times in Martha Stewart Living and on HGTV.
      Culp is a recipient of the Distinguished Garden Award from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He has also been awarded the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Award of Merit. He serves on the Pennsylvania Horticultural Societies Gold Medal Plant Selection Committee.
      In his presentation “The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty From Brandywine Cottage,” Culp will show how to recreate the display of his 2-acre Pennsylvania garden, Brandywine Cottage. It contains a basic lesson in layering — how to choose the correct plants by understanding how they grow and change throughout the seasons, how to design a layered garden and tips on maintaining it. To illustrate how layering works, Culp will present a virtual tour through each part of his garden: the woodland garden, perennial border, kitchen garden, shrubbery and the walled garden. The lecture culminates with his signature plants for all four seasons. His second presentation will be “50 Perennials I Cannot Live Without.”
    • Debra Knapke turned her avocation of plant study and gardening into her full-time career in 1992 after two other careers. Knapke is passionate about gardening and the natural world and enjoys sharing knowledge through her books, magazine and newsletter articles, guest appearances on the radio program “All Sides” with Ann Fisher, and teaching in the Landscape Design and Management Program at Columbus State Community College.
      She was one of the founding members of the Stewards of Metro Parks, an organization that supports the mission and work of the Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District. Another passion is sustainable garden design and the history of gardening. In addition to her many private clients, Knapke has been involved in public garden design in the Central Ohio area. She was on the Design Committee for The Sister’s Garden at Inniswood Metro Gardens, which is a children’s garden that combines cultivated gardens with natural spaces. Currently she is involved with the design of Flint Cemetery in Worthington.
      Her books, written with Allison Beck, include: “Perennials for Ohio,” “Annuals for Ohio,” “Gardening Month by Month in Ohio,” “Best Garden Plants for Ohio” and “Herb Gardening for the Midwest,” written with Laura Peters.
      Knapke will present “Simplifying Your Garden Without Diminishing Your Joy.” According to Knapke, true success in simplifying your garden depends on understanding its parts and how they fit within the bigger picture, and the way to find joy in your garden is to know what you want from it and not going crazy trying to achieve it. Knapke will use her own garden and others to provide inspiration for the creation of a simpler, blissful garden.
    • Jim McCormac works for the Ohio Division of Wildlife, specializing in nongame wildlife diversity issues, especially birds. Prior to that, he was a botanist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. He was inaugural president of the Ohio Ornithological Society and was the 2009 recipient of the Ludlow Griscom award, given annually by the American Birding Association to individuals who have made significant regional contributions to ornithology.
      He is author of “Birds of Ohio,” “The Great Lakes Nature Guide” and “Wild Ohio: The Best of Our Natural Heritage,” which won the 2010 Ohioana Book award. McCormac writes a column called “Nature” for the Columbus Dispatch, has authored or co-authored more than 100 scientific and popular articles in a variety of publications and has delivered hundreds of presentations throughout the eastern United States. He is at work on a book about wood-warblers, which is slated for release in 2014.
      McCormac will share a presentation on butterflies and moths. Many species of butterflies can be drawn to a garden by planting appropriate host and nectar plants. Most moths are nocturnal, but they are arguably even more important than showy butterflies, according to McCormac. This program will explore the four-part life cycle of butterflies and moths, their ecological roles in the environment and practical ways to support them.
    • Danae Wolfe started with the OSU Extension in June 2012 as Summit County’s agriculture and natural resources extension educator. Before coming to the Extension, Danae worked for the National Park Service as an interpretive park ranger in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. As a park ranger, her primary role was to educate the public about the threat of invasive plants. Danae has continued educating the public about invasive plants in her new role as an extension educator. She has also begun teaching the community about the importance of sustainable gardening and incorporating native plants in the home landscape. In her free time, Danae is an avid macro nature photographer. As part of her OSU Extension program, she teaches photography workshops as a way to increase environmental awareness and stewardship.
      Last year, Wolfe gave a crash course in identifying and removing invasive plants from a home landscape. This year, she will follow up with a short presentation about native gardening that will explore the benefits of incorporating native plants into a garden and teach about a new way of designing a home landscape.

    For additional information, including costs and registration, visit the website


    Article source:

    Kate hopes to blossom into garden design

    A YOUNG woman has won the opportunity to help develop an entry into the UK’s most famous flower show.

    Kate Savill, 25, who works for Homebase, in Truro, has won a place in the company’s Garden Academy. She will work alongside award-winning horticultural designer Adam Frost on creating a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

    1. Kate Savill with garden designer Adam Frost.

      Kate Savill with garden designer Adam Frost.

    This will see Kate develop her garden planning and design through working with Mr Frost, who has created five RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal-winning gardens.

    She will help him to build The Homebase Garden – Time to Reflect – in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society at next year’s show.

    Main image for Golden Lion Inn  Restaurant Stithians Lake

    Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef Wellington

    Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
    Mon-fri 12-2pm
    Mon- Thur 6-9pm
    Saturday 12-5pm
    Sunday 3-9pm

    Contact: 01209 700617

    Valid until: Saturday, December 21 2013

    She said: “I have just completed a course in garden design, and I’m hoping that by joining the garden academy and gaining further experience, it will enable me to achieve my dream of being a garden designer.”

    As Kate trains for her RHS level 1 award, she will continue to work at her local Homebase store helping customers with their gardening dilemmas.

    The academy aims to help raise the profile of gardening as a career when there are concerns over a shortage of young, skilled gardeners in the UK.

    Article source:

    Downers Grove to present traffic study of Fairview and Maple avenues intersection

    Comments ()

    DOWNERS GROVE – The village’s Transportation and Parking Commission will present a study Wednesday that looks at improving traffic at the intersection of Fairview and Maple avenues and prepare the area for redevelopment.

    The study, available on the village website, analyzes traffic flow at the intersection and offers several recommendations for how the village could reconstruct Maple Avenue between Fairview Avenue and Cumnor Road. It also provides ideas for how the area could be better organized for future “transit-orientated” redevelopment based around the Metra station at the intersection.

    The study found that half of the peak morning traffic heading southwest on Maple Avenue was through traffic. The study also found that two-thirds of all evening traffic on the road between Fairview Avenue and Main Street was also through traffic. To discourage through traffic and increase the “local roadway feel” of Maple Avenue, the study recommended possibly adding “Village Downtown” gateway features and additional landscaping to the area.

    The study also recommended adding 4-foot bike lanes along the existing bike route on Maple Avenue between Cumnor Road and Fairview Avenue.

    “It is notable that the much of the congestion that occurs along Fairview Avenue between Second Street and Maple Avenue south of Maple is related to commuter train operations and not intersection deficiencies,” according to an executive summary of a report on the village’s website.

    There are also three options for various reconfiguring of the area’s roads, including one where Maple Avenue would be one-way eastbound from Burlington Avenue to Rogers Street.

    A second option would make Maple Avenue a two-lane roadway north to Rogers Street and east to Fairview Avenue. The third option would make both Maple and Burlington avenues one-way streets near the intersection.

    The study endorsed the second option, and stated it aligns the closest with the village’s long-term redevelopment hopes for the area.

    Itasca-based Civiltech conducted the study.

    The Transportation and Parking Commission meets at 7 p.m. Wednesday at village hall.


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    ‘Ribbon sliding’ to re-open Carlisle park

    CARLISLE — The South of South Street Association will cap off nearly two years of work with the grand re-opening of the Butcher Family Tot Lot Saturday.

    Rather than a traditional ribbon cutting, children will slide down the new 9-foot sliding board to cut the ribbon, said Annie Oiler, one of the coordinators of the project.

    The ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Butcher Family Tot Lot, located at 46 Chestnut Ave., in the block between South Hanover and South Pitt streets and Walnut and Chestnut streets.

    “We’re just really excited that it’s all come together,” Oiler said.

    Perhaps the most visible work happened during the month of November when borough crews removed the old equipment and started installing the new equipment. About a dozen neighbors also gathered for a work day, during which they cleared the brush and repainted the fence and the swing sets, Oiler said.

    Along with the playground equipment, the basketball pad was extended by five feet, a new fence was installed along Chestnut Avenue, and four additional benches will be installed.

    “Families won’t outgrow the park as quick as they would before,” Oiler said.

    Carlisle Recreation and Parks Director Andrea Crouse said it’s exciting to listen to ideas from the neighborhood groups and then see them come to fruition.

    “Just like the neighborhoods within the borough, the needs of each park project is different,” she said. “I think the neighborhood associations have done an outstanding job of capturing the needs and wants of their neighborhoods.”

    The department often provides technical assistance for park planning and grant writing, Crouse said. It also helps coordinate the installation of the equipment and amenities.

    There is still work to be done. Oiler said the landscaping will be done in the spring since it had to wait until after the equipment was installed. The neighborhood association has also adopted the park, and will keep an eye on it to monitor it for future maintenance needs.

    “We’re not actively fundraising, but if anyone wants to donate, we’ll take it,” Oiler said.

    In April, the borough received a $19,000 grant from Cumberland County’s Land Partnership Program specifically for the project’s playground equipment.

    “That was a matching grant, so we had to have that in our funds,” Oiler said.

    The association also received a $5,000 grant from Partnership for Better Health, and a $1,000 donation from the Carlisle Walmart to add to the funds donated by local businesses and residents, Oiler said.

    Bimbo Bakeries also purchased a piece of equipment worth about $5,000, she said.

    Email Tammie Gitt at or follow her on Twitter @SentinelGitt

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    Back to the drawing board on Mequon’s gateway

    Mequon — It was design by committee Tuesday evening when the Mequon Common Council, convening as a Committee of the Whole, weighed in on the design of a landscaping and gateway project of the riverside park at Mequon and Cedarburg roads.

    The preliminary design, completed pro bono by Mequon landscape architect Kerry Mattingly, includes a limestone plaza, wrought-iron fencing, amphitheater, and “Mequon Thiensville” overhead arch leading into the park space alongside the river.

    Though the design won widespread acclaim among the council, Alderman Dale Mayr wasn’t impressed.

    “I’m not really enamored with this, with a great big archway that says ‘Mequon Thiensville’ across it,” Mayr said, adding that he preferred Mattingly’s work at nearby Cardinal Stritch University and that the park design doesn’t give “enough statement.”

    Although Alderwoman Pam Adams said she did like the overall design, she thought the concept was “a little Victorian, a little 1800s,” and should be either more contemporary or designed in the same art deco style as Mequon City Hall.

    Other Aldermen commented that they liked the design and Mattingly’s vision for the space.

    Yet, as the discussion wore on, the list of potential design features grew as each of the aldermen weighed in.

    On their minds were: pergolas, features to emphasize the river, a curved facade for the limestone plaza wall, places within the park for park goers to congregate, water fountains, and gazebos.

    Mattingly and Community Development Director Kim Tollefson said they would review the council’s ideas and come back with updated design options.

    Regardless of what the final design ends up looking like, the council will likely be interested in some level of private funding and construction phasing to help the city bear the cost.

    “I would think that a great deign implemented over a long period of time is better than a poor design implemented immediately,” Alderman Ken Zganjar said.

    Article source:

    Dear Monty: Water management issues can be dicey with neighbors

    Reader question: The neighbors recently have installed five drainage hoses aimed at our house. One is from the neighbor on the other side of them. We tried calling the city and the calls have not been returned. Can we do anything to stop them? — Mary P.

    Monty’s answer: Hello Mary, and thanks for the question. Water runoff is an issue that requires attention most everywhere. Mother Nature is very hard to predict and control. There are a number of answers that would be helpful in determining the best potential solutions.

    Some important questions:

    Are these properties located in a new or newer subdivision? The word “recently” was mentioned. What caused the neighbors to take the action recently? What is the source of the water reaching your yard? Are the neighbors new residents? Why has there been no water (or drainage hoses) before now? Does your municipality have a storm sewer system? Was there a new home built, a parking lot created or some other event that has triggered the flow of water to your neighbors’ homes? Is the source of water from a basement sump pump? Are there water runoff regulations in the state, county or town?

    Some governmental units have established standards in grading subdivisions where water abatement or runoff procedures were defined.

    Required research

    A little detective work to understand the situation and understanding the law will help decide an approach to a solution. After the questions have been answered, begin to outline a plan that is most likely to keep all the neighbors friendly in the future.

    Here are a number of potential steps to consider:

    The five steps

    1. Gather several opinions from contractors experienced in handling water runoff and landscaping methods. Landscapers, grading contractors, home builders and others will have first-hand experience and will add their opinions in the hope of gaining new business. The suggested solutions involving water may be quite different with varying cost estimates on the best way to eliminate the issue. Which solution makes the most sense?

    2. If it is a newer subdivision, check the courthouse records for restrictive covenants that developers may be required to record with the plat of survey. These documents may establish grading and water runoff standards.

    3. In your question you mentioned the word “city.” “Cities” often have aldermen, ward captains or councilmen with certain delineated territories. Part of their job is to act as a liaison between taxpayers and the municipality. They may be accustomed to dealing with water runoff and drainage issues. Contact your representative for assistance. They can be very helpful.

    4. Organize a meeting with the affected neighbors. The research completed to this point may be new information for them. Explain what has been learned and suggest that while the drainage hoses may temporarily solve the problem for them, it is not a good long-term solution for the neighborhood. Be prepared to negotiate.

    5. If an agreement cannot be negotiated with the neighbors, then you may have to seek other alternative solutions. If the municipality is large enough to offer services, check to see if there are storm sewers in your street. Storm sewers serve multiple functions for communities and are a potential line of defense. The basic solution here is to install a permeable drainpipe between the lots that pitches toward the street and connects to the storm sewer. This solution will depend on the grade/slope of the property and the policy of the municipality. Berms, swales, ditches and vegetable gardens or flower beds with permeable soils may also offer a solution.

    The three water management theories

    One of the theories described below is most likely being relied upon in your state.

    • The common enemy — the water is the common enemy, and each property owner must protect himself or herself from it. The lower property owner is at risk.

    • The reasonableness rule — if the party that altered the land was unreasonable they may be liable for damages if damages can be proven.

    • The civil law solution — the upper landowners are responsible for damage to lower landowners. The higher property owner is at risk.

    Each state develops twists to these theories. An attorney should be consulted before rattling any sabers. The research above will be helpful in determining the strength of your position should a legal solution to be pursued.

    Richard Montgomery gives no-nonsense real estate advice to readers most pressing questions. He is a real estate industry veteran who has championed industry reform for over a quarter century. You can ask him questions at

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    Stuart Rattle’s partner Michael O’Neill charged with the leading interior …

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