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Archives for February 10, 2014

Hitting home

By Romi Herron
For Sun-Times Media

February 9, 2014 4:54PM

Live plants were part of the display Saturday for Great Impressions Integrated Landscape Design of Naperville. The exhibit was one of more than 200 during the three-day Old House New House Home Show at Pheasant Run. | Romi Herron ~ For Sun-Times Media


Updated: February 10, 2014 11:47AM

As snow fell steadily Saturday, hundreds of visitors checked out the four-season project ideas at the Old House New House Home Show at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

The production opened Friday and continued through Sunday, with more than 200 attractions including kitchen demonstrations, workshops and retail displays.

In Saturday’s home improvement workshop, called “Enhancing Curb Appeal,” Michael Pudlik of Legacy Design Construction Inc. and Ben Ubben, design manager with Ryco Landscaping, shared their insights.

Pudlik said homeowners have many options when they set out to improve the attractiveness of their property’s exterior. Among his suggestions were to add a “pleasing color scheme; change building material textures such as windows, entry doors, brick and roofing”; and enhance the height of the home with features that include “porches, balconies, gables and dormers.”

More than 50 guests attended the workshop, and several actual case studies with before-and-after photos were highlighted.

Ubben gave guests ideas on ways to improve curb appeal with landscaping choices. He said balance, layering, emphasis and color are the key factors.

Sometimes, the first step is looking at the property from the perspective of a passerby, he noted.

“If you step back from your house and look at it, there is usually one thing that stands out,” Ubben said. “Usually it’s the garage door … . Typically, you want to create some mass or weight on the opposite corner of the home to balance it.”

When selecting plants, Ubben emphasized layering, with various heights, widths and textures to create depth and interest.

“A straight line of something doesn’t really do it,” he said.

Hardscape surfaces, plant material and accent elements can be used together to create a welcoming experience, he explained.

“Emphasize the entrance and arriving to the house,” he said. “Symmetry feels good to us naturally, psychologically, so even a pair of concrete urns with flowers at the entry path can provide that same feeling.”

To keep seasonal interest, Ubben suggested a plant palette with colors and textures that will create interest and depth year-round.

“Hostas provide nice splashes of yellow, and fall color is a fairly easy thing to incorporate into the landscape,” he said.

When taking on a landscape project, Ubben said key questions can help get the process going.

“Does the house feel anchored in the landscape, or is it floating? Is the front door the focal point, or is it the garage door?” he asked.

Quick fixes to spruce up curb appeal include painting the entry door a bright color, placing two matching planters at the entrance for symmetry, and replacing old hardware or pieces such as handrails, doorknobs and the mailbox.

In addition, Ubben also said it’s important to maintain the property’s existing landscaping with pruning, weeding, edging and mulching.

Article source: http://couriernews.suntimes.com/news/25449342-418/hitting-home.html

Steal landscaping ideas for your 2014 yard – The Patriot

You
could try to improve your lousy landscape by doing a lot of research, spending
weekends scratching out ideas on paper and trying to come up with a game plan
from scratch.

Or
you could simply “borrow” ideas from others who already have great-looking
yards.

That’s
the gist of a free program I’m doing Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Hershey
Library, 701 Cocoa Ave.

“Landscape
Ideas Worth Stealing” will show pictures and offer all sorts of landscape
spruce-up improvements made by people who know what they’re doing.

Think
of it as “complimenting by copying.”

There’s
no charge, but the library asks that you let them know you’re coming by calling
717-533-6555, extension 3717, or by emailing jebrnik@derrytownship.org.

Online
registration also can be done on the library’s web site.

Handouts
and a door prize are included.

Article source: http://blog.pennlive.com/gardening/2014/02/steal_landscaping_ideas_for_yo.html

Bright ideas to transform dull Piccadilly Gardens

From statue-strewn traditional gardens, to an open-air movie theatre or a showcase for homegrown artists – Your ideas to restore pride in Piccadilly Gardens have been coming in thick and fast.

The M.E.N asked readers for their views on how the city centre site should be transformed after it emerged as Manchester’s most loathed attraction on Tripadvisor.

And we received more than 100 responses.

Dubbed the Berlin Wall by critics, the travel ratings website described the area as ‘dirty’, ‘depressing’ and a ‘big slab of ‘concrete’.

‘Dirty’ and ‘depressing’: Piccadilly Gardens is Manchester’s worst attraction 

Town hall bosses say they are looking into sprucing up the landmark – and they may want to review the great ideas sent into our website.

They include using the wall as a ‘canvas for local artists’, a greater police presence, more seating, an outdoor movie theatre and museums.


Workers sunbathing in Piccadilly Gardens

 

Sarah Hallan, 35, from Collyhurst, said it should be used as a ‘gateway’ to advertise the rest of the city centre. She also suggested outdoor movie nights.

The mum of three said: “It should be used to get people into Manchester. There should be a 24-hour big screen telling people about where they can shop, what events are on and when sales are on.


People enjoy the summery weather in July by the fountains in Piccadilly Gardens

“There should be movie nights with benches carved out of wood that are made to look like cars.

“There should be lots of landscaping and trees. It’s about gripping people and getting them to stay in the city centre. That will bring in business and money.


Old postcard picture of Piccadilly Gardens

 

She added: “There should be an area and activities for children too.”

Emma Minott, 28, from Stretford, said: “Basically everything needs doing – it needs a load of flowers. When you visit it should feel like there’s something amazing there. It should be restored to how it used to be. They should have really good gardens and there should be more benches near the coffee shops in a circle to bring people together.”


Piccadilly Gardens Wheel and fountain lit up

 

The gardens were revamped in 2002 by internationally-renowned Japanese architect Tadao Ando. He won a council competition to redesign the area after the 1996 IRA bomb destroyed large parts of the city centre

More news from the Manchester Evening News        

Find out what’s happening where you live with our In Your Area section                      

Read the Manchester Evening News on your phone – download the Apple MEN App  here  and the Android MEN App  here  – and get the paper as an e-edition every morning  by subscribing here

Article source: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/bright-ideas-transform-dull-piccadilly-6688926

Flower gardens, Idea Home and waterfalls await visitors to Great Big Home and …

H16HOMESHOWART.JPGView full sizeVisitors to Unique Concrete and Landscaping’s Sicily garden enter through a stone archway at right at The Great Big Home and Garden Show held at the I-X Center. The show runs through Feb. 16.

I learned how to make hydrangeas change from pink to blue, got tons of ideas for cool water features, toured a custom home and learned about home elevators – all in a few hours at the Great Big Home and Garden Show at the I-X Center.

I was there for opening day on Saturday, Feb. 8, when the flowers in the garden showcase were still fresh and the booth salesmen were still smiling . I wanted to see the The Idea Home, sponsored by Perrino Custom Builders, which shows off trends for building, remodeling and decorating; and the Garden Showcase featuring international-themed gardens created by some of the area’s top landscapers.

I stood in line to see the Dream Basement, a showcase of an audio visual theater designed by Xtend Technologies; it included heated theater chairs and a 65-inch television hooked up to $12,000 worth of speakers. The Celebrity Designer Rooms, custom-designed by a local interior designer, included a beach-themed dining room for WKYC Channel 3 meteorologist Hollie Strano, and a sleek, modern and mirrored space for WOIO Channel 19 anchor Denise Dufala.

The Great Big Home and Garden Show continues through Sunday, Feb. 16. Frank Fritz of the History Channel’s “American Pickers,” appears on Saturday, Feb. 15.

Here are a few of the things I learned during my day at the Great Big Home and Garden Show.

Think greenhouse: It’s a misconception that glass greenhouses are expensive to heat through the winter, said Paul Kenyon manager of Arcadia GlassHouse in Painesville. Plants grow in temperatures over 50 degrees, and sunlight will heat the interior of a glasshouse to close to that temperature on many days. “It’s not as inefficient as people think,” Kenyon said.

Another plus to growing flowers, fruits and vegetables in a greenhouse is that deer can’t munch your crops. Arcadia glasshouses have glass sides and roofs made of a polycarbonate material that is shatter-proof and is better insulation than glass, in an aluminum frame, he said.

Arcadia was offering a home show special price of $5,000 for a 10 by 16 glasshouse.

Bigger outdoor space: Think about how large mature plantings will be before you install landscaping, said Mike Mireiter, owner and principle designer of Unique Concrete and Landscaping. He designed a garden inspired by Sicily, complete with a 6-foot waterfall and suspended bridge over a creek, for the international-themed Garden Showcase.

Many of his clients also don’t realize that their outdoor kitchen or deck will need more space than they initially planned, Mireiter said. You’ll need space to create different outdoor rooms and conversation groupings.

Hydrangeas demystified: Big-leaf, panicle, oakleaf, climbing – all of these are species of hydrandreas, said Stacey Hirvela, shrub specialist for the plant brand Proven Winners, said during her talk. Her goal was to explain many of the misconceptions surrounding hydrangeas; for instance, mulching aluminum foil into your soil, or adding pennies or nails, will not make your hydrangeas change colors. It’s not soil pH that prompts the shrub to change bloom color, but aluminum in the soil.

Hydrangeas don’t need pruning; they will grow and flower with just headheading and removal of dead wood in the spring. “If in doubt, just don’t prune them,” Hirvela said.

All hydrangeas need moist but well-drained soil, at least four hours of sun each day and plenty of water reaching their shallow roots.

Inside out: When you’re planning an outdoor kitchen or living space, choose a site that will look pleasing when viewed from inside the house, said Rich Kanary of Green Impressions of Sheffield Village. Green Impressions created a sunken outdoor living space with a water feature and pergola, leading to an upper level with an outdoor kitchen and fire pit, for its contribution to the international-themed Garden Showcase.

“The key thing is from the inside looking out,” Kanary said, reminding us that we’ll be gazing longingly at our outdoor fireplace for at least six months of the year. He offered another tip: site the grill close to a door leading to the indoor kitchen to minimize the amount of to-and-fro walking you have to do in order to serve dinner outside.

Home trends: The Idea Home, built by Perrino Custom Builders, demonstrates several trends in custom homes, said vice president Pat Perrino. As home show visitors streamed through the home’s living room, kitchen and children’s bedrooms, Perrino pointed to the kitchen’s island that doubles as a table. “Instead of looking at the cabinets, look at each other,” he said.

The Idea Home has 12-foot ceilings for a feeling of openness, a flex room that can be used as a study or bedroom, and a covered patio with a fireplace. Many of the home’s unusual light fixtures, such as the one shaped like a hot-air balloon in the nursery, were custom built by hand, Perrino said.

Aging in place: If climbing stairs is becoming difficult for you or a loved one, consider installing a chair elevator. Gable Elevator in Twinsburg can install a chair elevator that glides on a set of rails for about $2,900, said estimator John Festa.

The chair elevator is battery operated in case of electric-grid power failures, the chair swivels to allow the rider to put his or her feet on the landing, and there’s a seat belt and a fail-safe that shuts off the chair if the rider takes his or her hand off the armrests.

“They’ve thought of everything,” Festa said. “It’s probably the best thing for the elderly.”

If You Go

The Great Big Home and Garden Show,

Home improvement inspiration with international-themed garden showcase, Idea Home, cooking stage, special guests and more.

Now through Sunday, Feb. 16 at the I-X Center

Show times:

11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, Feb. 10-14

10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16.

Adult admission $14, seniors $10 (Monday-Thursday only) Children 5 and under free.

Contact: www.greatbighomeandgarden.com/‎

 

Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2014/02/flower_gardens_idea_home_and_w.html

Garden Views: Consider adding edibles to your garden’s landscape

As I look out the window and see the thermometer at minus 25, I start wishing for spring, still a long way off.

Seed catalogs and tree order forms can take your mind to a warmer time. As you browse and make your lists think about adding some edibles to your landscape. Edible landscapes have become more popular recently, but this is far from a new idea. Many of the ancient gardens of Babylonia, Egypt or medieval cloistered gardens used edible plants for their gardens.

Edible landscaping doesn’t mean turning your whole yard into a vegetable garden. By using the same principles of landscaping such as balance, unity, pattern and inter connection you can include an assortment of edible plants into your landscape. You can have an attractive and productive landscape.

There is a large selection of plants or seeds to use in your edible landscape, including both annual and perennial plants. Many of the trees and shrubs in the catalog are natives which typically have the advantage of less watering and maintenance.

The following plants and seeds are usually readily available. Check those seed catalogs or the Internet for more. Now is a good time to order seeds so you have them in time to give them a head start under lights.

Rainbow chards, colorful kales can easily be incorporated into a flower bed and provide greens for tasty and nutritious salads. Herbs like chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley are all easy to grow and very good in the kitchen. Creeping thyme, chamomile and strawberry can be used as ground covers. Sweet or hot peppers are also available in many colorful varieties but be careful with children, touching hot peppers and then your eyes can be quite painful.

Shrubs with edible fruit such as raspberry, high-bush cranberry, serviceberry or hazelnut could be used as a hedge or a divider. If you don’t pick the fruit the wildlife will love to pick it for you. Apple trees, flowering crab, wild plum and sand cherry can be used in the landscape. If you plant an apple tree, remember they are not self-pollinating so you will need two varieties. A neighbor’s tree will work well.

Many of these trees and shrubs are available quite reasonably at your Soil and Water Conservation District sales. They are usually sold in bundles of 25. If 25 trees are more than you need, talk to your friends and neighbors and share a few selections. Anoka, Isanti and Ramsey counties all have annual spring tree sales. For now, let’s stay warm, dream and plan. Then we will be ready when spring comes.

The Anoka County master gardeners invite you to visit our web page http://anokamastergardeners.org/ Go to hot topics for information on the Home Landscaping and Garden Fair, plant sale and the plant diagnostic clinics.

Bob Vaughn is an Anoka County Master Gardener.

Article source: http://abcnewspapers.com/2014/02/10/garden-views-consider-adding-edibles-to-your-gardens-landscape/

DEARBORN: Garden workshops focus on native wildflowers

News







DEARBORN — Friends of the Rouge and the Alliance of Rouge Communities have teamed up to offer native garden design workshops to teach residents in the Rouge River drainage area how to garden with native wildflowers. Workshops will take place this spring in Novi, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Dearborn Heights.

“Water is a precious resource that is in high demand,” said Cyndi Ross, river restoration program manager for Friends of the Rouge. “Michigan residents sometimes forget how scarce freshwater is for many around the world. We are the keepers of roughly 20 percent of all freshwater on Earth. It is our duty to ensure this resource, essential for all life, is available for us and future generations and to preserve the economic and recreational value the Great Lakes water provides to Michigan.”

One of the biggest threats to water quality in the Rouge River and the Great Lakes is contaminated stormwater run-off. This is a result of the large amount of impervious land cover. Rain water falling on homes, parking lots and roads is not able to soak into the ground as nature intended, so it is collected in storm drains and piped to the nearest lake or stream to prevent flooding. Rain water carries oil, road salt, lawn care chemicals, bacteria from pet waste and other pollutants from the land directly to the river.

More devastating to the river’s health is the amount of water that rushes to the river with even a small rainfall. Rivers rise rapidly and overflow their banks. Streambanks erode and sediment fills the water and clogs the gills of fish.

What can be done? One simple thing homeowners can do is to reduce the amount of rain water that flows from their property. This may sound challenging, but the solution is simple and attractive — grow native wildflowers and reduce the amount of lawn you mow.

Many people believe lawns need a great deal of water. The truth is, turf grass has very short root systems that become saturated quickly and water flows off turf at a rate similar to that of asphalt. Deep roots of native wildflowers and grasses foster infiltration of rainwater into the ground.

Friends of the Rouge is asking residents to reduce water runoff and create a small native garden. Learn how by attending a free public workshop. Four “Naturalizing the Home Garden: A Native Garden Design” workshops will be held across the Rouge River watershed to teach people how to select native plants that are right for the conditions in their yard and offer design tips for creating attractive gardens that are appealing, reduce rainwater runoff and provide nectar for birds and butterflies.

Optional expert assistance is available for a limited number of workshop attendees immediately following the workshop. Interested persons are encouraged to register early as space is limited. Registration is required for expert assistance. Registration is available online, or by calling 1-313-792-9621.

Workshop dates and locations:

• Wed. Feb. 19, 6–7:15 p.m. – Novi Civic Center, 47175 W. 10 Mile Road, Novi Continued…

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• Wed. March 5, 6–7:15 p.m. – Livonia Civic Center Library, 32777 5 Mile Road, Livonia

• Mon. March 31, 6 to 7:15 p.m. – Cranbrook Institute of Science, 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills

• Tues. April 15, 6 to 7:15 p.m. – Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George Ave, Dearborn Heights

“We all contribute to the stormwater problem, now is the time for each of us to be part of the solution,” Ross said. “Native gardening is fun and rewarding and are beautiful additions to any landscape.”

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  • See Full Story

DEARBORN — Friends of the Rouge and the Alliance of Rouge Communities have teamed up to offer native garden design workshops to teach residents in the Rouge River drainage area how to garden with native wildflowers. Workshops will take place this spring in Novi, Bloomfield Hills, Livonia and Dearborn Heights.

“Water is a precious resource that is in high demand,” said Cyndi Ross, river restoration program manager for Friends of the Rouge. “Michigan residents sometimes forget how scarce freshwater is for many around the world. We are the keepers of roughly 20 percent of all freshwater on Earth. It is our duty to ensure this resource, essential for all life, is available for us and future generations and to preserve the economic and recreational value the Great Lakes water provides to Michigan.”

One of the biggest threats to water quality in the Rouge River and the Great Lakes is contaminated stormwater run-off. This is a result of the large amount of impervious land cover. Rain water falling on homes, parking lots and roads is not able to soak into the ground as nature intended, so it is collected in storm drains and piped to the nearest lake or stream to prevent flooding. Rain water carries oil, road salt, lawn care chemicals, bacteria from pet waste and other pollutants from the land directly to the river.

More devastating to the river’s health is the amount of water that rushes to the river with even a small rainfall. Rivers rise rapidly and overflow their banks. Streambanks erode and sediment fills the water and clogs the gills of fish.

What can be done? One simple thing homeowners can do is to reduce the amount of rain water that flows from their property. This may sound challenging, but the solution is simple and attractive — grow native wildflowers and reduce the amount of lawn you mow.

Many people believe lawns need a great deal of water. The truth is, turf grass has very short root systems that become saturated quickly and water flows off turf at a rate similar to that of asphalt. Deep roots of native wildflowers and grasses foster infiltration of rainwater into the ground.

Friends of the Rouge is asking residents to reduce water runoff and create a small native garden. Learn how by attending a free public workshop. Four “Naturalizing the Home Garden: A Native Garden Design” workshops will be held across the Rouge River watershed to teach people how to select native plants that are right for the conditions in their yard and offer design tips for creating attractive gardens that are appealing, reduce rainwater runoff and provide nectar for birds and butterflies.

Optional expert assistance is available for a limited number of workshop attendees immediately following the workshop. Interested persons are encouraged to register early as space is limited. Registration is required for expert assistance. Registration is available online, or by calling 1-313-792-9621.

Workshop dates and locations:

• Wed. Feb. 19, 6–7:15 p.m. – Novi Civic Center, 47175 W. 10 Mile Road, Novi

• Wed. March 5, 6–7:15 p.m. – Livonia Civic Center Library, 32777 5 Mile Road, Livonia

• Mon. March 31, 6 to 7:15 p.m. – Cranbrook Institute of Science, 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills

• Tues. April 15, 6 to 7:15 p.m. – Caroline Kennedy Library, 24590 George Ave, Dearborn Heights

“We all contribute to the stormwater problem, now is the time for each of us to be part of the solution,” Ross said. “Native gardening is fun and rewarding and are beautiful additions to any landscape.”

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Article source: http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2014/02/09/news/doc52f5585cc9b13729543522.txt

Revive your garden this winter with tips from the Plant Doctor

Revive your garden this winter with tips from the Plant Doctor

Revive your garden this winter with tips from the Plant Doctor

Does your garden need some livening up during the short days of late winter?

If so then the Plant Doctor Mark Reeve, of Coolings Garden Centre, has lots of ideas for you, especially if you have an awkward shady spot where nothing seems to thrive.

Bulbs such as winter aconite that have green ruffled yellow flowers will cheer up the garden in February.

Snowdrops come in a range of flower forms as well as the single flowered variety. There is an attractive double form and varieties such as elwesii and ikariae have larger flowers and leaves. Some have a faint honey-scent but you have to crouch down to appreciate it.

Cyclamen Coum come in a range of shades of pink and white, with some having attractive marbled leaves. They shine out from the base of trees and shrubs like little beacons during the winter. You will find they grow in dry shade which is one of the most awkward spots when it comes to finding a plant that’s at home there.

Speaking of shade, one plant that will revel in it is the glorious hellebore that comes in a fantastic array of colours. Varieties such as Cinnamon Snow, Jacob Royal, Joel, Josef Lemper and Shooting Star have white or pink-tinged flowers.

The Harvington Hybrids bred in the Vale of Evesham come in a range of colours and flower forms.

There is also a range with names too such as Conny, Charlotte, Elly, Frilly Kitty, Mary-Lou, Rachel, Roxanne, Sally and Valerie. Many have been bred in recent years and they have often overcome the habit of the old varieties ‘hanging their heads’ so that you can’t see the lovely markings inside.

The white varieties especially hold the flowers upwards so you can see their full beauty. All they require is a soil in shade that doesn’t dry out too much.

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Article source: http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/leisure/latest/10998800.Revive_your_garden_this_winter_with_tips_from_the_Plant_Doctor/