Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for December 27, 2013

‘THE CREATIVE PROCESS’: Plymouth Garden Club blue ribbons

At the recent flower show, “ The Creative Process,” put on by the South Eastern District Design and Study Group at Heritage Museum and Gardens in Sandwich, Gerri Williams and Joanne Nikitas, members of the Plymouth Garden Club, were blue ribbon winners.

Williams won for her decorated birdhouse, and her illuminary design won a Designers Choice award. Nikitas won for her freestanding topiary design.

Article source:

Beautiful Garden Design Ideas for a Beautiful Home Can Increase Its Market Value

Steve Kaplan
Email | Web

Follow jimsmowing:

Article source:

Madison County news and events for the week of Dec. 26

Local blood drives set

The American Red Cross is seeking eligible blood donors. The Red Cross encourages eligible donors to make an appointment to give during National Blood Donor Month by visiting or calling 1-800-RED-CROSS.

Upcoming opportunities include:

  • Dec. 26, 2-6 p.m. at Wood River Public Library, 326 E. Ferguson, Wood River.
  • Dec. 26, 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. at Alton Memorial Hospital, 1 Memorial Drive, Alton.
  • Jan. 3, 3-6 p.m. at Revive, 1105 W. Beltline Road in Collinsville;
  • Jan. 6, 2:30-6:30 p.m. at Highland Hope United Methodist Church, 12846 Daiber in Highland;
  • Jan. 8, 2-7 p.m. at Alton Wood River Sportsmen’s Club, 3109 Godfrey Road in Godfrey.

Kids’ activities available at First Night 2014

The 19th annual First Night River Bend will offer a host of activities for children of all ages on New Year’s Eve at the Godfrey campus of Lewis and Clark Community College. Family-friendly entertainment will run from 3-7 p.m. in the newly renovated Hatheway Cultural Center. First Night concludes with a firework show at 7 p.m.

First Night buttons will are on sale at Party Magic and all Liberty Bank locations. Buttons are $10. Children 5 and under are admitted free.

For a complete schedule of entertainers and events, visit

SIUE offers tour of Cuba

The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Photographers Tour of Cuba is scheduled for March 9-15, 2014. It is the first tour to Cuba available to people in the greater St. Louis area. Travelers will experience a rare opportunity to explore Cuba from a photographer’s perspective. A tour guide and translator will lead the group. Highlights will include the Hotel Plaza in Old Havana, exploring Havana and the Morro-Cabanas complex, traveling to Cojimar, Regla and Fototeca (the Cuban photo archives). More information is available at

Prices are based on a Miami departure. Travelers must make their own arrangements to get to Miami for the flight to Havana, which leaves at 1 p.m. March 9. All prices are based on double occupancy: $3,000 for general community members; $2,800 for SIUE alumni basic members or SIUE faculty/staff; and $2,600 for SIUE alumni premium members or SIUE students. A $500 nonrefundable deposit is due Jan. 9 to reserve a spot. Final payment is due Feb. 7. Payment should be made to SIUE Office of Educational Outreach. The trip is restricted to those 18 years old and older. The trip is offered through a partnership between the SIUE Alumni Association and the SIUE Office of Educational Outreach.

Call Cathy McNeese ( at 618-650-3208 in the SIUE Office of Educational Outreach or Photographers Tour of Cuba Coordinator C. Otis Sweezey ( at 618-650-2360.

Blood Center holding drives

The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is holding several upcoming blood drives, including: 

  • Dec. 26, Scott Credit Union, 501 Edwardsville Road, Troy, 1-5 p.m.
  • Dec. 27, Scott Credit Union, 1067 Illinois Route 157, Edwardsville, 2-5 p.m.


MCT announces holiday hours

MCT bus service’s holiday hours are: 

  • Dec. 26: normal bus service.
  • Dec. 31: normal bus service.
  • Jan. 1: no bus service. 
  • Jan. 2: normal bus service.

Call 6180797-4636, or e-mail

Green industry conference announced

The Gateway Green Industry Conference will be held Jan. 14-15 at the Gateway Convention Center, Collinsville. The educational program has a track for sports turf, golf, landscape, arborist, plantscape, parks and recreation as well as green industry. Those who work in lawn care, landscaping, nursery, a garden center, golf course or any other grounds-related industry, can get new ideas and research-based information at the conference. Registration for the two days is $100 or $80 for one day if completed by Jan. 3. The fee includes lunch. Registration fees increase after Jan. 3. There is also a trade show featuring many local businesses that is free to the public.

To obtain a copy of the Gateway Green Industry Conference brochure and registration form, contact U of I Extension office at 618-344-4230 or Online registration is available. 

Gardener program accepting applicants

Area lawn and garden enthusiasts can get intensive horticulture training in exchange for volunteer hours through University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardener program. The training program consists of weekly sessions that run from January through April. Participants get more than 60 hours of in-depth instruction on such topics as soils; botany; insect and disease control; flowers, trees, shrubs and other ornamentals; fruit and vegetable production; turf grass; basic landscaping and a wide range of other topics. An internship of 60 hours of volunteer horticulture-related service completes the training requirements. Some Master Gardeners answer lawn and garden questions from homeowners. Others help design and operate demonstration gardens for the public and some make presentations to local schools and civic groups. The Master Gardener training will be held on Tuesdays, Jan. 7, through April 15, and rotates between Madison and Monroe counties. At all locations, classes run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration for the program is $225, which includes a copy of the Illinois Master Gardener manual.

Call Sarah Ruth at the Madison-Monroe-St. Clair Extension Unit at 618-939-3434 or 618-344-4230; or visit

Volunteers needed to help with taxes

It may not be tax season yet, but the time to sign up to volunteer to help with tax assistance is now. United Way of Greater St. Louis’ tax coalition partners want to pair volunteers with low-income and elderly residents for tax assistance from late January through April 15 at various locations in the region.

Trainings take place during January 2014 at various times and locations in Madison and St. Clair counties. Volunteers must attend one or more certification trainings in order to greet, interview or prepare taxes. Previous tax assistance experience is not required. Registration in advance is required; contact the Gateway EITC Community Coalition at 314-539-4062 or; Friendly Community Tax Coalition at 314-691-9500 or visit There are various volunteer positions available, with varying degrees of tax knowledge necessary. 

The purpose of the coalitions is to offer free Earned Income Tax Credit preparation and education to low-income residents.

County offers help for energy bills

Madison County has obtained funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development to assist low-income county residents with the cost of home energy bills. Applications will be taken through May 31, 2014, or until funds are depleted.

The Madison County Community Development Energy Assistance Office administers the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program and can help residents with the application process.

Call 618-296-6485 to get information about local offices where applications can be filled out.

Article source:

News and Notes from the City of Canyon Lake

Discharge of Firearms

Recently, the City has seen evidence of people discharging firearms within the City. Canyon Lake Municipal Code Section 11.01 prohibits the discharge of firearms within all areas of the City limits and the Bureau of Land Management. This type of activity is a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. This includes the use of setting up a target range and hunting of wildlife. If anyone has questions or wants to report this type of activity, we encourage them to contact City Hall at 951-244-2955.

Library Donations Needed

The Canyon Lake Library reaches many citizens, from preschoolers to the very elderly. Library Manager Sandra Brautigan has asked for large-print books to enable those with visual challenges to continue to enjoy the ability to read fiction and non-fiction.

Nancy Horton will be asking clubs and organizations to help with the cost of purchasing large-print books for the Library, saying, “What better way to honor a loved one or remember a friend than to give the gift of a large print book to the Library?” Checks for the Large-Print Book Fund may be dropped off at the LIbrary or mailed to City Hall at 31516 Railroad Canyon Rd., Canyon Lake, CA 92587.

Coming up at City Hall

• Administration and Finance Committee Meeting – Tuesday, January 7, 8 a.m., City Multi-Purpose Room

• City Council Meeting – Wednesday, January 8, 6:30 p.m., Municipal Building

• Public Safety Committee Meeting – Tuesday, January 21, 6:30 p.m., City Multi-purpose Room

• Coffee with Councilwoman Horton – Tuesday, January 28, 10 a.m. The Sports Stop

Party Permit Update

The City of Canyon Lake would like to remind residents that any time they plan a large party or event at either their home or one of the community’s parks and 50 people or more are expected, a Special Event Permit must be filed with the City. This is a separate requirement from any the POA may impose for the same event. Special Event Permits are $25 and must be filed no later than 30 days prior to the planned event or party. Please contact City Hall at 244-2955 for more information or to find out if your party or event qualifies for Special Event Permit filing.

City Finances

Did you know the City provides a complete listing of financial claims and demands each month in the City Council agenda? Residents can see where their tax dollars are spent, thanks to the reporting of Accounting Specialist Nancy Greenhalgh. To see the City Council agenda and the List of Demands, visit

Calling About Power Outages

Southern California Edison encourages residents to call the SCE 24 hour emergency hotline at 800-611-1911 to report an unscheduled outage. It is the primary way SCE to know there is a problem so crews can be deployed.

Residents who experience outages can check the “Outage Center” at to learn what time they can expect power to be restored.

RTA News

The Riverside Transit Agency has a fare policy that allows all military veterans to ride at a discounted rate, and active duty military, police and fire personnel to ride for free. Until recently only disabled military veterans received the discounted fare. In honor of their service, RTA has extended the discounted fare to all veterans, disabled or not, who carry proper ID.

View Municipal Code

Canyon Lakers can go to to view the Canyon Lake Code of Ordinances. On the home page, click on “Departments” and select “City Clerk.” On the far right column there is a list of links that includes the “Canyon Lake Code of Ordinances.”

Call vector control

The Northwest Mosquito Vector Control District provides vector control services (mosquitoes, flies, rats, Africanized honeybees, black flies and midges) in Canyon Lake. Residents experiencing vector control problems in the community should contact the District at 951-340-9792 or visit

Landscape water efficiency

City Hall encourages water efficiency. Anyone planning to rehabilitate landscaping or irrigation, and the project cumulatively exceeds 1,500 square feet in size, needs to submit plans to City Hall. A list of drought tolerant plants can be found by visiting

Building permits

A building permit is required when any owner or authorized agent who intends to erect, install, enlarge, alter, repair, remove, convert or replace any electrical, gas, mechanical or plumbing system, the installation of which is regulated by this code, or to cause any such work to be done, shall first make application to the building official and obtain the required permit. The building official can also provide information on work exempt from a permit.

Office hours of the Building and Safety Department are Tuesday and Thursday, 8 to 10 a.m. To reach Building Official Ronald Espalin, P.E. by phone, call 909-386-0204.

Hiring a contractor

City Hall encourages residents to check whether the contractor they are hiring has a Canyon Lake business license. If the job exceeds $500, also ask to see a contractor’s license.

Housing-related fraud

The Friday Flyer regularly publishes market updates from Gene Wunderlich, director of government affairs for the Southwest Riverside County Association of Realtors. Mr. Wunderlich is part of a Fraud and Risk Management task force and recently provided the following reminder and e-mail address if people see something fishy or have concerns about a housing-related issue. Contact

Only rain in the drain

Disposing of pollutants into the street, gutters, storm drains or Lake is prohibited by law and can result in stiff penalties. Storm drains are not connected to sanitary sewer systems and treatment plants. The primary purpose of storm drains is to carry rainwater away from developed areas to prevent flooding.

Pollutants discharged to the storm drains are transported directly into the Lake. Capture and dispose of wastewater and chemicals properly. Remember, storm drains are for receiving rainwater runoff only.

For more information or to report illegal discharges, call Canyon Lake Code Enforcement at 746-7978.

Veterans Memorial bricks

The City of Canyon Lake is perpetually selling bricks to honor veterans and active duty military at the Veterans Memorial. The applications are available at City Hall or at  

Passport services

The nearest facility for passport services is Sun City Main Post Office, 26822 Cherry Hills Blvd. in Menifee. The phone number is 301-3657.

The City of Canyon Lake has launched, an interactive virtual “town hall” website dedicated to soliciting ideas and feedback from residents about a broad variety of engaging community issues. Sign up at and join the discussions!

Code Red options

The City of Canyon Lake has instituted the Code Red Emergency Notification System – an ultra high-speed telephone communication service for emergency notifications. This system allows City officials to telephone all or targeted areas of the City in case of an emergency situation that requires immediate action (such as a boil-water notice, missing child or evacuation notices). 

The City’s Code Red system has received software allowing residents to choose which call lists they would like to have phone numbers assigned to. The “Emergency Call” list is automatic for those who enter their phone number on the website. The “General Notification” list is optional. Log into to update lists and choose either just the emergency calling list or both lists. 

Dial 211 for info

The City of Canyon Lake entered into an annual service agreement with 211 Riverside County, a nonprofit agency, to provide residents with toll-free local information and referrals to social services.

Canyon Lake residents in need of a link to social services can dial 2-1-1 free of charge, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The 211 operators provide callers with contact information and referrals to local nonprofit agencies and programs best matching the caller’s needs.

City Council meetings

The City Council holds meetings the first Wednesday of the month in the Municipal Building. Canyon Lake City Council meetings stream live at and are televised live at Time Warner Channel 29 and Verizon Channel 39.

Any person wishing to address the City Council at its monthly meeting on any matter within the jurisdiction of the City, whether or not it appears on the monthly agenda, is asked to complete a “Speaker Request Form” available on the back counter.

The completed form is to be submitted to the City Clerk prior to an individual being heard by the City Council. The City Council has adopted a time limitation of three minutes per person. If commenting on an agenda item, comments will be heard at the time that particular item is scheduled on the agenda.

Please note that, for anyone addressing the City Council on items not on the agenda, the Brown Act does not allow discussion of such items. Therefore, the City Council may only do the following; refer the matter to staff, ask for additional information or request a report back, or give a very limited factual response.

Article source:

The Marsh Book uses nature instead of words to tell its story

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Ray-GriggQUATHIASKI COVE, BC, Dec 26, 2013/ Troy Media/ – A unique kind of book is being written at Edgewood Blue in British Columbia’s Upper Clearwater Valley. Instead of using words, paragraphs and pages, Trevor Goward has been using water, soil and plants. His ideas are not expressed in phrases, sentences or punctuation but in channels, islands and stones.

Goward’s book, to explain, is the painstaking restoration of a dying marsh, a meticulous and loving effort to return an incredibly rich ecological feature to its former biological glory. This lifetime of work is his marsh book.

His marsh book, of course, will never become a published manuscript. Neither will it be completed. Changes will write themselves. Refinements will continue indefinitely. New characters will arrive and interact in surprising and innovative ways. More chapters will unfold as time passes. The plot that Goward has relinquished to nature will always be thickening and deepening in complexity and beauty, forever playing with the unfolding elements of weather, light and seasons.

Goward is known for other things besides his marsh book. For many years he has been a naturalist with an intimate knowledge of the flora and fauna of nearby Wells Gray Provincial Park. He is an internationally-known lichenologist with sophisticated knowledge, rare insights and published scientific papers about this most amazing botanical phenomenon. But the other passion in his life is Edgewood Blue, a four hectare property where, for nearly 30 years, he has been turning a marginal landscape into a vital and living paradise.

His project has been audacious, a creative and bold exercise in gentle biological engineering that has been both sensitive and brave. Working always with the belief that enhancing biodiversity is preferable to lessening it, he brought in excavators to re-establish the open water as the marsh’s principal aquatic component, stacking the dredgings in heaps that would eventually become 11 islands. The pond and connecting channels had to be deep enough to prevent re-occupation by plants such as sedges and cattails, yet shallow enough for other vegetation to nourish the diverse life so characteristic of such a rich and vital place.

Trevor Goward

Trevor Goward

The heavy and monstrous excavators must have caused initial havoc. When the basic structure of the new marsh was established and the land had dried sufficiently for the excavators to return, they began their final strategic task of carefully landscaping and contouring the planned details as they retreated. Attention to the particular was remarkable. Elevations were kept low so native bushes and vegetation could flourish. A few of the islands were mounded high enough to grow trees, providing nesting habitat for such birds as warblers and vireos. An occasional flat stone was even placed carefully at the water’s edge – Goward’s attention to punctuation – so visiting ducks and geese could shuffle out for preening and sleeping.

Today, Edgewood Blue’s marsh looks as if it had always been there. Except for the occasional walkway and the boulders and benches of Story Island, nature has softened every trace of human influence. The marsh now comes alive each spring with plants and animals native to the area. The expanse of Sky Pond is a prime landing area for the approximately 20 species of waterfowl that now arrive seasonally for food, nesting and resting. Visiting ducks and geese commonly paddle the passages. Elusive sandhill cranes breed here and can be seen strolling the levees. Muskrats busy themselves with eating and digging. Dragonflies patrol for insect prey. Frogs and toads of four species squat serenely on lily pads or wait patiently among the sedges for unsuspecting meals. The bird count at Edgewood Blue is 155 different species, making it the most biologically diverse ecology in the area, including nearby Wells Gray Provincial Park.

Goward’s property is also on the migration path of moose and wolves, deer and cougar, black bear and grizzly, all travelling seasonally between the mountains to the east and the lowlands to the west – both protected within Wells Grey Provincial Park. For their passage through the wetlands and beside the marsh, he has considerately provided a trail complete with a stretch of sand that records their footprints – it’s raked every morning to become, as Goward playfully calls it, “The Daily News”.

Goward’s project has been huge, complex and ambitious. Edgewood Blue has been blessed with a naturalist’s rare combination of exceptional knowledge and remarkable perseverance, together with a remembered ambition to transform this place, as Goward notes, into a kind of “biological storybook“ where naturalists young and old can learn to read and enjoy tales from “the green living world”. Lately he has begun to invite teachers, community leaders, parents and others to Edgewood Blue so they can encourage young people to reconnect with the land.

Edgewood Blue is exceptional. But it is also instructive. No one needs to be as ambitious as Trevor Goward. His decades of considered and caring effort to write his marsh book represents more dedication than most of us can muster. However, we can each write a page, a paragraph, a sentence or a few words – perhaps just a brief note of appreciation to a planet that needs all the love it can get.

Ray Grigg is the author of seven internationally published books on Oriental philosophy, specifically Zen and Taoism.

Read more Shades of Green

Follow Shades of Green via RSS

Purchase this column for your publication or website. 871 words. FREE registration required.

© Troy Media


Article source:

Christmas Angels: Memory Gardens ladies

Print this Article   
Email this Article

Buy This Photo

aryZooms[imgCounter] = “javascript: NewWindow(870,625,window.document.location+zTemplate+’img=”+imgCounter+”‘)”;
var ap = /AP/.test(“Jennifer Feals photo”);
var courtesy = /COURTESY/.test(“JENNIFER FEALS PHOTO”);
var nfs = /NFS/.test(“JENNIFER FEALS PHOTO”);
if (ap==true || courtesy==true || nfs==true || “Jennifer Feals photo”==””){
document.getElementById(‘purchasePhoto’).style.display = “none”;

document.getElementById(‘premiumMsg’).innerHTML = contentStr;
document.getElementById(‘premiumMsg’).style.display = “block”;
} else if (userSingleSale == “Reguser”) {
contentStr = “”;
document.getElementById(‘premiumMsg’).innerHTML = contentStr;
document.getElementById(‘premiumMsg’).style.display = “block”;
} else if (userSingleSale == “PREMIUM01”) {
document.getElementById(‘premiumMsg’).style.display = “none”;

KENNEBUNK — With the help of these Christmas Angels, Kennebunk’s downtown and Lower Village have the finishing touch that they need to pop.

“I like a lot of color,” said Joanna Sylvester of Memory Gardens, who with Julie Dunlap works through the spring, summer and fall to landscape and line the downtown with colorful, vibrant plantings throughout the seasons. “Even if they’re not flower people, they respond to color and I think it’s done the job. We’re just lucky to be a part of it.”

This is Memory Gardens’ second season beautifying the downtown. The company started as a retail greenhouse and transformed into landscaping, planting, pruning and otherwise beautifying local businesses and residences, Sylvester said. She has been doing the landscaping for Kennebunk Savings for the past 12 years, Sylvester said, before taking on Main Street, under a long-term contract with the town.

The ladies also fill the dories in Lower Village and plant flowers along the Mathew J. Lanigan Bridge. This fall, the women planted the flowers along the bridge three times after they were vandalized. An anonymous donor paid for the flowers.

“For me, it’s a dream job. A lot of people probably think I’m crazy,” Sylvester said.

In the spring, summer and fall, Sylvester and Dunlap can be found on Main Street from the all-too-early morning to late afternoon, rain or shine, working to keep the finishing touches of the downtown perfect. In Lower Village, they work between 4 and 6 a.m. to beat the traffic.

Sylvester said passerbys often honk and wave in support of their work.

“One woman said I used to walk down on the beach, now I walk down Main Street,” Sylvester said. “I consider it an honor. It makes me want to work even harder. It inspires you.”

Linda Johnson of the Kennebunk Downtown Committee said, “all we get is compliments” about the landscaping work.

“The timing worked well with the revitalization of the downtown,” she said. “It was a no-brainer adding Joanna and Julie to the mix of the downtown. They make it look so easy. It’s a seamless process and we don’t even have any snags.”

Looking at the revitalization of the downtown, Johnson said the landscaping and plants add the finishing touch and that she “couldn’t be more proud.”

“Downtown is everything to me, and this just adds a whole new level,” she said.


We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.

Print this Article   

Email this Article

Sign Up for Text Alerts

Sign Up for News by Email

Article source:

B&D Rockeries Releases New 10-Step Guide to Landscaping with Rock Gardens

  • Email a friend


Rock gardens are an easy and creative way to add texture to any yard scene.

Rock gardens have increased in popularity as a creative landscaping tool due to the character and texture they contribute to a yard scene.

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) December 26, 2013

Rock gardens have increased in popularity as a creative landscaping tool due to the character and texture they contribute to a yard scene. Installation is simple, materials are readily available, and maintenance is minimal. BD Rockeries recently published a 10-step guide to landscaping with rock gardens that is providing tips to homeowners and gardeners. To view the article, click here.

Rock gardens are a clever and cost-effective option that will enhance a monotonous or mundane yard setting. These simple, picturesque rock gardens are composed of various sized rocks artistically arranged on a plot of ground and accented by plants and small flowers.

The BD Rockeries article emphasizes how installing a rock garden is conveniently simple. The best place to build one is on a patch of ground on a slight slope, either natural or built using small retaining walls. The foundation below the rocks is composed of various mineral layers in order to provide enough water drainage, and topsoil is selected specifically for the greenery and flowers that will be planted among the rocks.

The rock garden should look natural in order to compliment the landscape scene. Typically, it is best to select rocks from the yard itself. BD Rockeries suggests that the rocks be arranged in an ordinary manner; avoid symmetrical formations that look unnatural. After the rocks are placed, let the garden sit for a couple of weeks, giving the formation time to settle into the soil before the flowers and greenery are planted.

Rock gardens are a versatile landscaping tool that can be customized to fit the needs of any yard scene. Each one is unique and can contribute aesthetically to any landscape by adding personality a lonesome flower garden cannot offer on its own.

About BD Rockeries:

BD Rockeries has been serving in the Snohomish and King county areas for over 35 years. Owner, Neil Eneix, has a capable and skilled knowledge of rock retaining wall development that will help you accomplish any rock garden design that you need. Whether you’re looking for rocks or blocks, Neil has been helping homeowners carefully plot out their landscaping projects for years.

1249 NE 145th St

Seattle, WA 98125


Email a friend



Article source:

Garden Calendar: Learn to use native plants in landscaping

LANDSCAPING WITH NATIVES: The course will explore native trees, shrubs and perennials. Participants will learn how to use drought-tolerant plants to add interest and color in the landscape year-round. 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays Jan. 14-23. Collin College Courtyard Center, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano. $59. Register at 214-740-6252 or 972-985-3711.

MASTER NATURALISTS: The Indian Trail Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will hold its annual training classes next spring. Classes will meet 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays Feb. 25 to May 27. First United Methodist Church, 505 W. Marvin Ave., Waxahachie. Applications are due Feb.

Event details are due at least 14 days before the Thursday publication date. Send to

Article source: