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Archives for March 20, 2014

• Tips to improve your gardening in spring (158 views)


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Tips for spring gardening

It’s the time when gardeners begin quickly clearing winter’s debris before lawn-mowing starts – and suddenly composters seem far too small.
But people with compost boxes can use those blown twigs and snipped-up shrub prunings as an aerating layer between the weeds and kitchen waste or as a good base in new compost areas.
Winter mulches should be removed to make room for planting. Also the slug eggs underneath need to be exposed to birds. The leafy and grass-clipping mulches (plus baby slugs) are best put on the compost. This is the one place where slugs belong – these critters are very good at breaking down green material.
Outside, it’s time to plant peas, broad beans, arugula, corn salad and radishes. Inside, you can start broccoli, cabbage, kale, celery, lettuce and sweet onions. A heat mat is useful for speeding up germination, but the top of a refrigerator is also a useful warm spot.
Peppers need to be started early inside because they’re not fast growers. Tomatoes, zucchini and squash are. That’s why their timing is a gamble. Because they germinate quickly and grow fast, it’s not hard to get into a situation where they’ve got so huge you have to do something, but it’s too cold to put them outside.
Heavy feeders like squash, zucchini, tomatoes and corn benefit from beds topped up with nutrients, which could be organic fertilizer or compost or manure. Compost is also a good mulch for flower beds. Some gardeners fertilize flower beds every year or two and top with bark mulch to deter weeds.
Hardy annuals that can be sown outside now include calendulas, annual poppies, Nigella, larkspur, and alyssum. As soon as we can be sure frost won’t return, nasturtiums, cosmos and phacelia can follow them.
Trees and shrubs can still be planted, but with spring plantings, it’s important to be sure you can water them regularly through hot summers. These new plantings need extra water for at least the first year.
Most potted spring-blooming bulbs can now be planted out in the garden. Hyacinths are especially useful since they are reliable bloomers and can handle shade. By now snowdrops will have finished flowering and if they’re due to be transplanted (or potted up for plant sales) this is the ideal time.
News flash: The Alpine Garden Club of B.C.’s spring show and sale will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 6 in the Floral Hall, VanDusen Gardens, 5251 Oak St., Vancouver. Free admission. Sales are cash or cheque only.
Send garden questions to

© Royal City Record

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Tips on gardening for your health

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate healthy living into your routine, look no further than the garden. Gardening for your health combines cooking, gardening and being active into a happy trio that can benefit you for years to come. Ready? Let’s go!

Start off simple. Growing your own vegetables is one of the best ways to kick off a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to get fancy. Even the most basic tomato plant will produce fruit that is 10 times better than what you’ll get in the store.

Try heirloom veggies. Heirlooms have been around for decades. They might not have the same commercial look as other veggies (odd-shaped tomatoes or weird colors of carrots), but they are delicious and good for you.

Enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor. Maybe growing your own veggies isn’t quite in the cards. By signing up for a community supported agriculture group (CSA), you’ll be guaranteed fresh produce all summer long. Here’s how it works. At the start of a growing season, you commit to either weekly or biweekly deliveries for a set price. During delivery week, expect to pick up a box of fresh farm-grown vegetables. To search for local farms that offer CSAs in your area, visit Also check out, a nonprofit member-supported association that helps educate consumers on the impact of their food choices.

Try something different. Next time you’re hesitant about a specific veggie, bring it on home. Research it, cook with it, have fun with it. You never know what you’ll end up absolutely loving.

Explore the farmers market. Wake up early on a Saturday morning and, coffee in hand or pup in tow, discover your local farmers market. Chat with the local farmer about why his produce is truly the best, and get cooking inspiration from those around you.

Head outside to get moving. Cooking and gardening definitely go hand in hand, but don’t forget the third component: staying active. Walk or bike to your local farmers market. Or just make it a point to get out in your garden on a regular basis. A few examples of the approximate number of calories you burn per half hour while gardening: general gardening: 170 calories; planting seedlings: 150 calories; weeding a garden: 170 calories; laying sod: 170 calories; raking: 130 calories; bagging leaves: 130 calories; and digging and spading dirt: 190 calories

Danielle Calkins is a writer with Birds Blooms. This article is excerpted from a longer one. For more information or to sign up for a free email newsletter, go to

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5 Tips for Spring Gardening Success

Warmer days are on their way, finally, which means it’s time to start thinking about cleaning up your yard and getting ready for the coming spring gardening season.

If you’re serious about having a great garden and want to top last year’s, getting things ready early in the season will help put you on the right path to having the best garden in the neighborhood.

Planning Is Key

Before you start flinging soil like there’s no tomorrow, set out your vision for the season. What do you want to plant, and where should you plant it? Do you want to start growing more vegetables? Write it all down so you don’t forget your goals as the summer passes.

Tool Time

Prepping for spring gardening gives you the perfect excuse to hang out in the shop and get all your tools ready for the season. Use boiled linseed oil to treat and protect wood handles, and use a wire brush to clean any rust from the metal parts. Clean any tools that have moving parts by using turpentine and then denatured alcohol to get rid of the turpentine residue. Finally, use a file to sharpen any blades, and grease or oil any moving parts to keep them working their best.

Bring in the Cleanup Crew

Spring is the time to set the right conditions so your garden can take off as soon as the weather warms up. One of the most important things you can do for your garden now is tidy up any debris left over from the winter. Clear any leaves or other debris from your perennial gardens, because that can choke out your flowers before they get a chance to bloom. Also, get rid of any branches or stems on shrubs and plants that may have been damaged over the winter. Leaving these on can make it harder for your plants to get started.

It’s also a good idea to lay down mulch on your perennial beds in the spring. A layer of aged pine, hardwood, or hemlock mulch will help keep a consistent soil temperature, regulate moisture, ward off weeds, and add nutrients to your soil as the mulch decomposes.

It’s best to prune most trees when they’re still in the dormant phase, before they start to sprout leaves or flowers. You can do this in winter, but at the very latest it should be part of your spring gardening routine. Pruning your trees regularly is important because it will help them produce more flowers and fruits while also helping ward off pests and diseases.

Prep Your Soil

Winter weeds probably will be poking their heads up in your garden soil already, so pull them as soon as possible and move them far away. If you leave them too long, they will flower, produce seeds, and multiply.

After you’ve waded through the weeds, add some fertilizer and mix it into the soil. Get more info here.

Get Planting

If you have a vegetable garden, it’s time to get those beds in shape and put your spring crops in. Foods such as spinach, leeks, onions, and parsley can be planted as soon as the frosts are over, which is usually by April in northern climates.

Putting some time in up front can make things a lot easier down the road and set you up for a successful gardening season. So spend some time following these spring gardening tips, and you’ll see the results all year long.

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The One Show Launches Garden Design Competition for RHS Hampton Court …

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Calling all amateur gardeners and aspiring garden designers – how would you celebrate Bristol at UK’s largest gardening event?

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and BBC Television’s The One Show are once again joining forces and launching a competition to design a garden for Britain’s Great Garden Festival, RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (8-13 July 2014).

Launched on BBC One on The One Show on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, this year the competition is asking amateur gardeners and aspiring garden designers of Bristol to create a design for a 12m by 12m garden, which celebrates their community. Entrants will need to think of ways to reflect the area’s heritage, buildings, foods, people or plants, or other aspects of their local life. Whether it’s Kings Weston House or the city’s illustrious cultural scene, we want to see what the city means to you, with Judges looking specifically at originality and good use of plants.

The closing date for entries is midday on March, 24, 2014. Judges will select the three most promising amateur designers from various locations around the UK, who will then compete against each other for the grand prize – an opportunity to work with professional mentors to create their garden in time for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.

The two mentors, The One Show gardener Christine Walkden and RHS Chelsea Flower Show Gold medal-winning designer Adam Frost, will take the winner on an action-packed journey learning about plants, garden design and landscaping. In the final weeks of build-up, Christine and Adam will be on hand to help the winning amateur designer create The One Show Garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

Dave Green, Show Manager for RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for someone passionate about gardening and design to learn from one of the UK’s top garden designers and best loved plantswomen. The winner’s journey to bring the garden to life at one of Britain’s most popular gardening shows will be challenging, inspirational and rewarding.”

The One Show’s Deputy Editor Michael Armit said: “Last year our viewers sent in hundreds of great garden designs. We’re really looking forward to seeing how this year’s entries reflect and celebrate places and communities around the UK. The garden has also more than doubled in size so the stakes are even higher. The judges are going to be looking for something very special to create impact and make the best use of the larger space.”

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Eye of the Day Garden Design Center Sponsoring the San Francisco Flower …

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Eye of the Day’s booth at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show.

Eye of the Day is so excited to be sponsoring this highly respected show, especially since our containers are part of the entry area.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 20, 2014

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center was recently asked to sponsor the entry display at the San Francisco Flower Garden Show (SFFGS), held at the San Mateo Event Center from March 19 to March 23. Eye of the Day is also showcasing items from its first-ever Fermob U.S. “Shop in Shop” in their booth at the show, and is hosting consumer giveaways throughout the show.

The San Francisco Flower Garden Show is a mainstream event for florists, gardeners, landscape architects, and anyone else interested in exactly that – flowers and gardens – and draws in crowds with a wide variety of backgrounds. According to the event website, the gardens at the show use more than 1,200 cubic yards of sawdust and mulch, as well as 280,000 pounds of rock for the displays. Exhibits and vendors from all over the state compose juried garden displays, and the event also hosts seminars for educational purposes.

“Eye of the Day is so excited to be sponsoring this highly respected show, especially since our containers are part of the entry area,” said owner Brent Freitas. “We are welcoming attendees with displays showcasing our European clay and terracotta pottery, and we also have a booth on the main floor as well.”

Eye of the Day, which recently updated its website, works with top manufacturers and distributors from all over the world, collecting fine pottery from Italy, Greece, and France. Collections include those of the classic and colorful Gladding McBean, as well as Greek pithari, Mediterranean oil jars, and more. Eye of the Day works with the individual residential consumer, as well as with landscape architects for commercial use, such as Ralph Lauren and Tommy Bahama — both past clients.

“If you’re in the area,” said Freitas. “Drop by and say hello to us! We’ll also be giving away items, so there’s a chance you’ll be leaving with an unexpected gift or two. Also, come by and learn how to cultivate your garden with tips of the trade, like how to deal with the regional San Francisco weather.”

About Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is a retail showroom that features more than an acre of high quality garden landscape products, including Italian terracotta pottery and fountains, Greek terracotta pottery, French Anduze pottery, and garden product manufacturers from America’s premier concrete garden pottery and decoration manufacturers. Eye of the Day is a leading importer and distributor of fine European garden pottery, and caters to private consumers, as well as landscape design and architecture firms from around the world.

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Show features outdoor living trends, storm shelters

According to national data reported in the Residential Landscape Architecture Trends survey, the trend of outdoor living space is continuing to grow in popularity among homeowners. This Friday through Sunday, Oklahomans will have the opportunity to have their outdoor living questions answered by experts in landscaping, remodeling, cooking and design at the OKC Home Outdoor Living Show at Oklahoma State Fair Park.

With more than 250 exhibitors expected, the show will help inspire homeowners with new, money-saving ideas and trends. Twenty-three of those exhibitors are Edmond businesses.

Some of this year’s show features include:

• HGTV’s Justin Cave, star of HGTV’s “Groundbreakers,” will present the top ways to upgrade an outdoor space as well as ideas for low-cost gardening and landscaping. He also will demonstrate how to create show-stopping container gardens, one of his easiest tricks for adding big impact to outdoor spaces.

• Storm Shelter Feature will present nearly 20 storm shelter companies allowing Oklahomans to shop and compare in one location. A storm shelter scavenger hunt will make comparing entertaining and will offer shelter accessories and safety items as prizes.

•  Butterfly House and Pocket Prairie Garden will allow visitors to experience more than 500 butterflies in the Butterfly House, a glass structure with a walkthrough for attendees to observe a variety of butterfly species. Additionally, the house will be surrounded by a pocket prairie garden designed by Olthia. The pocket prairie garden concept incorporates plants indigenous to the state including native grasses and wildflowers that thrive in Oklahoma’s harsh weather conditions. Prairie gardens are less expensive than a typical landscape design because they start with seeds instead of fully developed plants, grow quickly and require little to no maintenance or watering.

• Show attendees also can learn how to build a disaster preparedness kit and develop an action plan for their family by taking part in the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma’s disaster preparedness education. Activities will be offered to help make disaster training enjoyable and less intimidating for children. The Red Cross also will provide information about storm shelter grants and funding for homeowners trying to rebuild from the 2013 storms.

• Pergola Supreme will offer landscape inspiration with two outdoor kitchens, a custom pergola and pavilion, waterfalls, fire pits and a stained concrete farmhouse table. Additionally, Tony’s Tree Plantation will offer education on trees native to Oklahoma in their feature landscape exhibit.

• The outdoor kitchen stage will feature live cooking demonstrations using the latest in grilling technology. Chefs will share recipes for quick and easy family meals as well as demonstrate how to use the Green Egg and pellet grills to cook traditional grilled foods and non-traditional fare like grilled pizzas and pies. Attendees can sample the meals as they learn tips to make their next outdoor barbeque a hit.

• The outdoor plaza will include a variety of entertainment including wine tastings, live music, a children’s playground and plant sale.

To help storm victims in their efforts to rebuild, Moore residents will receive free admission to the OKC Home Outdoor Living Show all weekend with a valid Oklahoma driver’s license with a Moore address. All Oklahoma teachers will receive free admission to the show on Friday only with a valid school ID.

The OKC Home Outdoor Living Show is a three-day event this weekend that will showcase ideas for remodeling, home improvement and outdoor living. Adult admission is $9, and admission for children ages 12 and under is free. For a $2 discount, tickets can be purchased online at or at the customer service desk at Buy for Less stores. Show hours are Friday noon to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about the event, visit the website or call 800-395-1350.

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The kitchen is closed

Four easy steps

Steven Cesare provides advice on keeping things simple when designing training programs.

Davey Tree opens new branches

The company is opening seven branches in major U.S. cities.

California company wins statewide award

Waterscape Creations won the First Place Trophy Award in the water features category.

Noon Turf Care opens service center

The company opened a service center branch in Tewksbury, Mass.

John Deere’s spring mowing tips

With spring mowing season around the corner, here are some tips for commercial mowers.

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Mission Avenue road improvements halfway done

OCEANSIDE — By March 31 phase I of the Mission Avenue improvement project will be halfway completed and the north side of the street will be fully open for pedestrian use.

“March 31 is a big milestone,” Terry Jones, principal with Arcadis Company, said. “We’ll be halfway done. People can use the sidewalk and enjoy it.”

Currently a narrow fenced-in walkway is open to pedestrians on the north side of the street, as roadwork and sidewalk replacement is under way.

Businesses have done their best to endure the roadwork, which began in November, to improve the road from Clementine Street to Coast Highway 101.

During initial roadwork Jones said businesses reported sales had dropped by half. At that time roadwork was under way between Clementine Street and Ditmar Street. Most businesses along that section of Mission Avenue have side street entrances.

“In the beginning I heard disastrous numbers of over 50 percent,” Jones said. “Businesses were upset. Now, after time, people know it’s not as bad as they were first commenting.”

During the last two months, in stage two of the phase I project, impacted businesses included restaurants with street front patio seating and stores with only front entrances.

Alyce Solomon, 20-year owner of North County Trophies, said the roadwork has had a significant impact.

“Even regular customers are having a hard time finding us,” Solomon said.

Solomon said she is not looking forward to road changes that will require customers to reverse angle park.

Businesses along Mission Avenue work to attract customers during construction. Reduced business access and distant parking are challenges. Photo by Promise Yee

Businesses along Mission Avenue work to attract customers during construction. Reduced business access and distant parking are challenges. Photo by Promise Yee

Others business owners said they are willing to wait through road and sidewalk improvements with the hope changes will have a positive impact on business.

“Everyone is looking forward to the project being completed,” Nathan Mertz, city project manager, said.

“The street has been the same way for decades. Initially there was shock.”

During roadwork, building renovations to prepare for the opening of Mission Ave Bar and Grill have moved forward.

The new business on the 700 block of Mission Avenue is expected to open while work on the street and sidewalk is still in progress, possibly right outside the business’ front door.

Accommodations have been made to ensure customer access during construction.

“Two guys are opening a bar and grill on Mission Avenue,” Jones said. “Construction will be right in front of the new store. They’re real positive with it.”

Business owners said the contractor has been very receptive to business concerns.

The city and contractor have kept businesses informed of the project timeline, and discussed next steps at MainStreet Oceanside monthly meetings.

Jones said rapport has improved as businesses gain understanding of the process and business concerns have been addressed.

“We managed the project with business owners in mind and have taken into account their ideas and feedback.”

Business owners who attended the last MainStreet meeting said they are pleased with the way the contractor and city have moved through process.

During the project additional traffic and pedestrian access signage has been added, a private parking lot was open to the public, and safety fencing was lowered and lit for greater visibility.

Starting April 1 improvements will continue on the south side of the street. Work includes putting in a new traffic light and conduits on Coast Highway 101.

“We have a lot of work to do still,” Mertz said.

Completion on the roadwork and landscaping is expected by June 19.



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Garden calendar: Learn rose basics and beyond

AFRICAN VIOLETS: Three North Texas African violet clubs will host a judged show and sale. The sale will feature many type of gesneriads and designs using African violets. Hundreds of violets and growing supplies will be available for purchase. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. Free.

GARDEN SHOW: Learn about North Texas gardening and Earth-Kind principles at the Garden Show, presented by the Collin County Master Gardeners Association. The event will feature 80 vendors as well as lectures by Steve Huddleston, senior horticulturist at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, and Neil Sperry, noted horticulturist and publisher. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Myers Park and Event Center, 7117 County Road 166, McKinney. $2. /thegardenshow.

ROSES: A free clinic will cover rose gardening and care including plant selection, proper feeding, pruning and pest control. 10:15 a.m. Saturday. All Calloway’s Nursery locations. Free.

AZALEAS: Jim Speight will discuss how to grow azaleas successfully. 10 a.m. Saturday. Ruibal’s Rosemeade Market, 3646 Rosemeade Parkway, Carrollton. $10 materials fee. Reservations required. 972-306-2899.

SAVE MONEY AND WATER: Dallas Water Utilities has scheduled two free landscaping seminars offering water- and money-saving techniques. Courses will be led by Dallas landscape designer and author Bonnie Reese. Participants will receive a copy of her book, Common Sense Landscaping. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Free, but advance registration required. 214-670-3155.

HERB-INFUSED OILS AND VINEGARS: Master gardener Barbara Gollman, author of The Phytopia Cookbook: A World of Plant-Centered Cuisine, will lead a workshop on using fresh herbs to make flavored olive oils, vinegars and butters. Participants will take home an herb plant, coupon for a free 1-gallon plant at Texas Discovery Gardens’ butterfly plant sale, and a sample of herb-infused oil made in class. 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. $25. Advance registration requested.

SMALL-SCALE GARDENING: Learn how to have a thriving garden in containers. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. Biodiversity Education Center, 367 Freeport Parkway, Coppell.

PLANT SALE: Locally grown organic vegetables, blackberries and perennials will be for sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Coppell Farmers Market, 793 S. Coppell Road, Coppell.

LANDSCAPING LESSONS: Keith Hansen, TAMU AgriLife Extension agent for Smith County, will discuss selecting the right plants for long-term success. Landscape designers will be on hand to answer participants’ questions. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Tyler Rose Garden Center, 420 S. Rose Park Drive, Tyler. $15. 903-590-2980.

GARDEN EDUCATION: North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, offers the following events.

Design consults with Roundtree Landscaping. 45-minute consultation is $65. Advance reservations required. 214-363-5316.

Perennials for sun, 10 a.m. Saturday. Free

Perennials for shade, 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Free

Spring color containers, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free

Direct-seed veggies, 1 p.m. Sunday. Free

AZALEA TRAIL: Tyler’s 55th annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail showcases 10 miles of azaleas, dogwoods and more spring flowers. The trail is open Friday through April 6. Free. For a complete list of events and a map of the trail, go to

FORAGING FOR EDIBLE NATIVES: Bob Richie will lead members of the Native Plant Society of Texas on a foraging walk through Spring Creek Preserve. A cooking demonstration featuring items gathered on the walk will follow. 3 p.m. Sunday. Meet in the parking lot at 1770 Holford Road, Garland. Free.

NATIVE ORCHIDS: Learn about the native orchids of Ellis and Navarro counties. 6 p.m. Monday. First United Methodist Church, 505 W. Marvin Ave., Waxahachie. Free.

ROSES: The Dallas Area Historical Rose Society’s meeting will include a presentation on taking photos with a cellphone. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Farmers Branch Recreational Center, 14050 Heartside Place, Farmers Branch. Free. 972-620-1131.

DECORATIVE ACCENTS: European items, mossy pots, furniture, plant stands and vintage tools. 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Patina Green Home and Market, 118 N. Tennessee St., McKinney. patinagreenhomeandmarket .com.

SPRING LANDSCAPING: Learn the fundamentals of spring landscaping in a green seminar offered by the city of McKinney. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. John and Judy Gay Library, 6861 W. Eldorado Parkway, McKinney. Free. Registration requested. 972-547-7335.

Send event details at least 14 days before publication to garden

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