Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for April 2, 2014

Highland Park aims to spread message of water conservation

Fewer azaleas will bloom this year in Highland Park as the town aims to reduce water use.

Parks staff swapped out some of Highland Park’s signature plants — which are not native to the area — for more drought-resistant options. They’ve also installed precision nozzle sprinkling systems, attended conservation seminars and adopted waterwise landscaping techniques in town parks.

The next step is spreading the message of water conservation to residents, said Ronnie Brown, director of town services.

Highland Park is drafting a water conservation plan that may be adopted by Town Council in April. The plan, which sets goals for water savings, is required by the state and must be updated every five years.

About 96 percent of the town’s water consumption is by residents, Brown said. Half of that is used for irrigation.

“Before we tell someone else what to do, we felt like we had to get our own house in order,” he said.

The town fell short of its 2009 water conservation goal of reducing water consumption 1 percent each year. In the new plan, the staff recommends a 0.8 percent reduction goal per year. That would add up to a 4 percent reduction by 2018.

The staff plans to notify the town’s top 25 water users this summer and work with them to reduce use. It will also work with Highland Park ISD’s student environmental club, review the town’s plumbing and irrigation ordinances, offer free sprinkler inspections and host free water conservation seminars, among other ideas.

New Highland Park homes reduce outdoor water use, since most homeowners install modern, efficient sprinkling systems, he said.

“Everybody wants to have an attractive lawn,” Brown said. “Can we do that and save water? And I say we can.”

Mayor Joel Williams acknowledged at a recent council meeting that watering — and water restrictions — is a hot button issue in a town known for large, green lawns. He said he’d prefer to encourage change through carrots, not sticks.

He said he’ll ask the new Town Council, which will be sworn in this spring, to “roll up our sleeves.” Williams, who is uncontested, will serve another term.

Last year, the parks staff encouraged residents to survey their properties for stagnant water and monitor water use to minimize the number of mosquitoes and decrease the chance of West Nile virus. Highland Park had the highest rate of West Nile virus in Dallas County in 2012, according to Dallas County Health and Human Services.

The town also has one of the highest residential water use rates in North Texas, according to 2011 regional data collected by The Dallas Morning News. Highland Park residents used an average of 364 gallons per day in 2011, roughly three times more water per person than in Dallas that year.

Town rules require residents to have rain-sensing devices and freeze gauges on their sprinklers. Residents and their landscapers cannot water the lawn with irrigation systems between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. from April 1 to Oct. 31, according to a town ordinance.

The water regulations were accidentally deleted when Highland Park updated its plumbing code in 2008 but were reimplemented at a March 24 council meeting.

Town employees usually notify residents with door hangers if they see yard runoff or sprinklers running in freezing temperatures, Brown said. He said he prefers to educate residents, rather than write them tickets.

As for azaleas, they’ll continue to be part of Highland Park landscaping — but as accents, not anchors. Highland Park’s new town hall, which opens in the spring, will have about 75 percent fewer azaleas, Brown said.

Residents, he said, will still be surprised by its beauty.

Follow Melissa Repko on Twitter at @melissa_repko.

Article source:

Edmonds businesses: Free publicity for your landscaping product or service

landscapingMy Edmonds News is looking for products or services to feature in April to help residents spruce up their spruce trees and prune their plum trees. If you are a local business with a landscaping or gardening angle — and you would like free publicity — email janette “at” to be featured as our “Gardening Idea of the Week.”

Up to four landscaping businesses and ideas will be chosen and featured for the month.

Article source:

Southview Design Offers Easy Landscaping Ideas to Increase Curb Appeal – Virtual

Whether you’re selling a home or staying put, ramping up the curb appeal can increase the home’s value.

Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) March 31, 2014

With spring-like weather on its way, Southview Design has several easy landscaping ideas for homeowners who want to increase their home’s curb appeal.

“Whether you’re planning on selling a home or staying put, putting time and money into the front landscaping is a great investment,” said Karen Filloon, a landscape designer with Southview Design. “First impressions are everything, especially if you’re thinking about selling. It can determine whether your home is a drive-by or a must-see.”

According to the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® (MAAR), the Twin Cities is in a seller’s market, because the demand for homes far outstrips the supply of homes currently for sale. In fact, MAAR reports that the inventory of homes for sale is at an 11-year low. Although the average sale price of a home in the Twin Cities area is up 12.6 percent over last year, homes that are in “move-in” condition tend to sell faster and for more than those that need a lot of work, according to real estate professionals.

Filloon said that early spring is the best time to take a good look at your front yard from across the street to see the big picture. Do the exterior and/or front door need to be painted? Are the driveway, front walk and steps in good repair? Are the front walkway and doorway well lit and inviting?

After you take care of the hardscape basics, it’s time to address your home’s front landscaping. Filloon has three key tips for using landscaping to increase the curb appeal of your home:

1. Replace overgrown or badly pruned shrubs and small ornamental trees.

2. Top-dress the plant beds with a fresh inch of hardwood mulch.

3. Add ‘pops’ of seasonal color in the front beds or container gardens near the front door.

“Of course, taking care of your lawn is a must,” Filloon said. “Avoid the temptation to irrigate in the spring just to get the grass growing. Allow it to green up naturally. Mow frequently but avoid scalping, and don’t start to irrigate until the dry conditions of early summer cause turf wilt.”

Filloon also said that if the lawn is beyond repair, the fastest way to fix it is to start over again with fresh sod. However, she said that fresh sod or a freshly seeded lawn may take several weeks of special care before it’s well established, so it’s important to get that started well before putting the home on the market.

For photos and front yard landscaping ideas, visit and the section on how to enhance the curb appeal of your home.

One of the largest and fastest growing landscaping companies in MN, Southview Design is expert in residential and commercial landscape planning, construction and design. Founded in 1978, Southview has completed over 5,000 landscaping projects. Listed among the top 25 fastest growing landscape firms in the U.S., Southview’s landscape designs have garnered awards from the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association and the Minnesota Chapter of NARI. For more information, visit

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

Article source:

Rockland earns $100K turning sewage sludge into compost


What goes in, must go out, right? But then what?

For 15 years, the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority has been providing a clever—and valuable—answer: biosolids-based compost. Sludge from the county’s six wastewater treatment plants is mixed with wood chips to produce nutrient-rich compost. The compost is then sold to landscapers and others looking to improve the quality of their soil. It is not offered directly to the general public.

Profiting from waste: “We create this product that can be sold to offset the costs of what the residents of Rockland County flush down their toilets,” John Klos, the authority’s operations manager, said. “Most people don’t think of that. When you flush it, you don’t care, you don’t know where it goes and don’t care, but eventually a product is made that can be sold.” Klos calls it “black gold.” He said more than $100,000 worth of the stuff is sold per year.

Veggies a no-go: The product — dark, loamy stuff that carries none of the odor of its source material — can be used in the building of athletic fields, roadside berms and yards. New York does not permit its use in vegetable gardens, but 49 other states do. Charles Duprey, sales manager for WeCare Organics, the contractor that runs the biosolid composting program in Rockland and elsewhere, said, “It’s an archaic holdover in New York State.”

Tested and approved: After a 50-day process in which the material is mixed and cured, it is tested weekly for anything that could pose a health risk. “There’s nothing in there that’s any different than what’s in your back yard,” Brian Fleury, senior vice president at WeCare Organics, said.

Locally unique: Typically, wastewater sludge—the solids remaining at the end of the sewage-treatment process—is either buried in a landfill or incinerated. Neither Putnam nor Westchester has a similar county-wide policy for the disposal of biosolids. Yonkers’ sludge, for example, is dried and trucked to Pennsylvania, where it is composted. Mamaroneck and New Rochelle send their sludge to Connecticut, where it is burned to make electricity.

Saving space: All of Rockland County’s sludge is trucked to the authority’s facility in Hillburn. There’s no shortage of it: 100 tons a day, five days a week. “There is an absolute need for more organic matter in our soils,” Fleury said, “and an absolute need to bury less material in our landfills.”

Gone, baby, gone: In the parlance of sustainability, reusing the sludge helps “close the loop.” And it’s popular. Fleury said they produce about 25,000 cubic yards of biosolid compost a year, and every year they sell out.

Twitter: @NPRauch

Article source:

Louisville landscaping company opening nursery

Honolulu Museum of Art big pots plants

The Henry | McGalliard nursery will focus on plants and other elements used specifically in urban gardens.

Caitlin Bowling
Reporter- Business First


Henry | McGalliard Design Associates LLC, a landscape design business, is growing.

The Louisville company already offers landscape design, site construction, garden installation and maintenance services. On Thursday, April 3, Henry | McGalliard Landscape will open a nursery. The Henry | McGalliard Gardens will be located at 711 Brent St., near the Louisville Stoneware factory, according to a news release.

The Henry | McGalliard nursery will focus on plants and other elements used specifically in urban gardens. The store will have both large and small trees as well as a selection of perennials, herbs and native plants.

“This unique nursery will provide everyone with the same high-end plants, great plant material and interesting garden elements that we offer to our design clients. We also envision this as a space for events, gatherings and workshops.” partner and designer Patrick Henry said in the release.

Hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Caitlin Bowling covers these beats: Restaurants, retail, human resources, and women minority affairs.

Article source:

Tampa Garden Club offers tour of private yards, landscapes

BALLAST POINT – Ken Jewett calls the hidden home he shares with his partner, Tom Hall, a “controlled jungle.”

Jewett constantly is trimming bamboo, bougainvillea, jasmine and other plants as well as separating and giving away hundreds of bromeliads that grow on the property near the Tampa Yacht Club.

“If you let everything grow, they will kill each other,” said Jewett, whose gardens will be one of the six private gardens featured on the April 13 Earthly Paradise Garden Tour.

Thus the bougainvillea grows along the side of the house and the jasmine covers a trellis above one entrance to the house. And never shall they be allowed to overlap.

The home, on four lots, appears as two houses combined but it is an original house and an addition. The original house was built about 25 years ago and the expansion made about 10 years ago. The home is filled with original art, collectibles, antiques, vintage furniture and pieces from around the world.

Hall, of Tucker-Hall Public Relations and Strategic Communications as well as a Broadway producer, is from Lakeland. The house is named Miromar, which was his family’s home. Jewett, who grew up in the Bay Crest area of Tampa, owns a real estate company and works for a federal benefits processing firm.

“We needed the house for all the art and the yard for my plants,” Jewett said. “We just designed all this. We like the oak arms; they hide the house.”

Twelve oaks are on the property, which also includes an Australian tree fern, gardenias and more. A single croton bush is all that remains from the landscaping on the part of the property they purchased in 2002 for the expansion.

One can walk completely around the property on a walkway, much of it made of crushed granite. Outdoor LED lighting is throughout, highlighting the pool area, statues and other pieces in the gardens. They bring in as many as 300 new plants each year – some of which are annuals – to change with the seasons.

“I love doing the plants – and Tom likes doing the fertilizing and the lights,” Jewett said. When in town, Jewett works about 30 a week on the garden.

A neighbor, who is a member of Rose Circle, the tour’s sponsors, asked them to participate.

“I took it as a compliment. I don’t think of it as anything special,” Jewett said.

Tour chairwoman Laura Gauthier disagrees.

“What I love is he has taken every part of this yard and turned it into something special,” she said. “You wouldn’t know it (the house) is even here.”

Other sites on the self-guided tour include homes in Bayshore Beautiful, Golfview and Beach Park. The tour also includes a musical tea party in Fred Ball Park on Bayshore Boulevard.

“There are so many different types of gardens – tiny, traditional, tropical and one with a family,” Gauthier said.

Tour proceeds will assist with the upkeep of Tampa Garden Club and Fred Ball Park and the circle’s community projects. Tickets are available by clicking here.

Article source:

Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

MISSION, KS–(Marketwired – Mar 31, 2014) – (Family Features) The benefits of having your own backyard vegetable garden are plentiful, and can include significant lifestyle impacts, such as healthier eating habits, money saving perks and more.

A Relaxing, Healthful Hobby
Looking for a hobby that allows you to contribute to the health of your family? Take up gardening. Beyond producing nutritious foods, it can help you teach your family about local agriculture, all while basking in the tranquility of the great outdoors. Though starting your own home garden can be intimidating, there are a few simple steps to get you started. Once developed, it can yield fruits and vegetables from early spring and into the fall.

1) Do Some Research
Find out what vegetables grow best in your area and when is the right time to plant and harvest. Many local university extension programs have this information readily available online. For each plant, consider the amount of water needed, how much sunlight is required and if it should be started from seed or a transplanted seedling.

2) Choose a Good Spot
Keep in mind vegetables need at least six hours of sun each day, so plant away from the shade of buildings, trees and shrubs. Planting close to your house may make you more likely to bring your harvest right into your kitchen, and will help you remember to weed and water. Including rain and irrigation, your garden needs at least one inch of water per week. Make sure you can easily access a water supply nearby. Some products, such as an Ames NeverLeak hose reel, provide convenient hose storage and can easily reach all parts of your yard. Be sure to choose a level area of your yard so when watering it will not pool in lower areas.

3) Clear the Area
Use your garden hose or a string to mark the area for proper placement of your garden. Use a sod lifter or garden spade, keeping the area level and removing as little topsoil as possible. Next, use a round point shovel, such as the True Temper True American Round-Point Shovel, to dig into the soil about 12 inches, breaking it up and removing clumps. To encourage proper drainage and escape light freezes in early spring and fall, construct a raised bed by creating a border with wood slats and filling in with soil.

4) Prepare the Soil
Use a rake to create a smooth finish and remove debris or stones on the surface. You may want to add manure, compost or soil additives to provide additional nutrients in the soil.

5) Plant Your Seeds
Determine if you will be starting your plants from seeds or transplanting small seedlings. Be sure to research how much room each plant will need and plot the layout of your garden. Dig V-shaped furrows using a warren hoe or the edge of a garden hoe. Carefully distribute the seeds in the furrows evenly and in accordance with the instructions on the seed packet. Cover the seeds and pat down gently, then water thoroughly.

Use this information for a fruitful harvest this gardening season. For more tips, visit or

About Family Features Editorial Syndicate
This and other food and lifestyle content can be found at Family Features is a leading provider of free food and lifestyle content for use in print and online publications. Register with no obligation to access a variety of formatted and unformatted features, accompanying photos, and automatically updating Web content solutions.

Article source:

Solana Beach gardener shares tips with all ages

Andi MacLeod in the garden at the Boys Girls Clubs of San Dieguito’s La Colonia Branch. Photo/Kristina Houck

By Kristina Houck

A former art instructor and high school teacher, Andi MacLeod has always enjoyed teaching others. From children at the Boys Girls Clubs of San Dieguito to her peers in the Solana Beach Garden Club, today MacLeod spends her time teaching others about gardening.

“I love the feeling of sharing knowledge,” said MacLeod, a resident of Solana Beach for 27 years. “I wouldn’t call it imparting knowledge so much because someone always comes up with something that adds to the day for me.”

Although she always had a passion for gardening, MacLeod didn’t truly learn the tricks of the trade until she took a compost class at the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation five years ago.

“I learned so much,” she said. “When I learned how easy it was, I got all excited.”

MacLeod shared her excitement with Katie Pelisek, president of Seaweeders, the local garden club. Also the landscape architect behind the Boys Girls Clubs of San Dieguito’s Center for a Healthy Lifestyle, Pelisek encouraged MacLeod to share her gardening skills with children at the facility.

“A week later she had a row of kids in front of me,” MacLeod said. “That’s the way it’s been ever since.”

Opened in April 2009, the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle at the Harper Branch features a teaching kitchen, classroom space and an interactive garden, offering after-school programming and summer camps for children, as well as classes for adults. MacLeod spearheaded “Garden Ambassadors,” an intensive six-week organic gardening program for children in second through sixth grade at the center.

“Kids come to the garden for different reasons,” said MacLeod, who served as garden education coordinator at the center. “Some come in because it’s beauty and that’s what they want in their lives. Some come in because they’re like junior scientists and they study the bugs. Some come in because they’re excited about the food. They’re all excited about growing things. It’s still that fresh miracle for them.”

After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis last year, MacLeod shifted gears. She is now an active volunteer at the Boys Girls Clubs of San Dieguito’s La Colonia Branch, which opened its own garden in November 2012.

“Ever since I helped put the garden in here, I have just been pulled in this direction,” she said. “It’s an adorable design, and it’s very easy to use and manage for someone who is recovering from something.”

From an hour or two to several, MacLeod spends five days each week tending to the garden. She works alongside children of all ages, who plant fruits and vegetables, which they get to eat during Garden Snack Wednesdays.

“When the kids built it, I was just awestruck,” she said. “There were kids of all ages who built these beds. They did it themselves.”

The Garden Ambassadors program has since been incorporated into the branch’s leadership program. Through the program, older kids develop their green thumbs and share their knowledge with younger kids.

“It’s a natural for kids who are already looking for ways to take charge and make a difference in their community,” MacLeod said.

When she’s not volunteering at the La Colonia Branch or working in her own garden, MacLeod is often beautifying Solana Beach with her friends and fellow members of Seaweeders. The club, which reformed in May 2012, enables members to share information, hold garden tours and collaborate on beautification projects in the city.

The club’s next meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. April 2 at the Center for a Healthy Lifestyle, located at 533 Lomas Santa Fe Drive in Solana Beach. MacLeod will talk about “Vegetable Gardening with Water-Saving Strategies” and answer questions from attendees. The meeting is open to the public.

“People have fun in the garden,” MacLeod said. “It’s a chance to laugh, share ideas and know you’re making a difference.”

For more information about the Boys Girls Clubs of San Dieguito, visit

For more information about Seaweeders, visit

Related posts:

  1. ‘Vegetable Gardening with Water-Saving Strategies’ topic of SeaWeeders Garden Club meeting in Solana Beach
  2. Solana Beach center turning kids into ‘Garden Ambassadors’
  3. Center for a Healthy Lifestyle to start hosting field trips for Solana Beach students
  4. ‘Gardenporium’ plant sale, open house at Solana Beach center
  5. Solana Beach Center offers after-school gardening classes for students

Short URL:

Posted by Staff
on Apr 1, 2014. Filed under Life, North Coast Life.
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Article source:

Designing Outdoor Spaces To Fit Specific Patient Populations

It’s been 30 years since the publication of Roger Ulrich’s seminal article “View Through the Window May Influence Recovery from Surgery,” which kick-started the incorporation of access to nature as an essential component of the healing environment. Much has happened in these three decades. Gardens are now less likely to be seen as cosmetic extras and eliminated through value-engineering.

Award-winning projects in Healthcare Design magazine and elsewhere frequently feature “healing gardens” and/or views to nature. The Chicago Botanic Garden offers a certification course on healthcare garden design, and the American Society of Landscape Architects’ annual conference includes sessions on healthcare design research and practice, as well as field trips to local exemplary sites. And a growing number of researchers are studying the effects of contact with nature on human health and well-being.

Useful and practical guidelines, many based on empirical research and best practices from the industry as a whole, can help designers make educated decisions with their healthcare clients. So much is now known about the needs of patients, staff, and visitors in outdoor healthcare spaces that it’s incumbent upon decision makers to focus attention on who, exactly, is likely to use that space.

While landscape designers must follow general design guidelines for all healthcare garden users, specific populations often need specific design considerations. Below, we outline design practices that are important for all populations, as well as those that address the needs of three specific patient types: the frail elderly, people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and people with mental and behavioral health disorders.

Acute care hospitals
In acute care hospitals, the patient population is incredibly varied, including people who may also be treated at more specialized facilities. Thus, design must accommodate a wide range of users, with the needs of the most vulnerable patients coming first. Patients using the garden could include a person awaiting minor surgery; someone recovering from a hip replacement who is urged to walk and seeks smooth pathways with frequent places to stop and rest; a person who has received outpatient chemotherapy and needs to recuperate—in the shade—before driving home; or a sick child being wheeled through a garden as respite from frightening medical procedures.

Overarching considerations for gardens in all healthcare facilities include safety, security, and privacy, visual and physical accessibility to and within the garden, physical and emotional comfort, and proper maintenance. It should go without saying that gardens must feel like gardens, with a high ratio of greenery to hardscape and a great variety of vegetation appealing to all the senses. Other important design elements include plenty of choices as to where to walk, sit, or look at a view; places to sit with a family group, and places to be alone; ample shade for those who need to stay out of the sun; and walking paths of varying lengths. All of these requirements also apply to visitors and staff using the garden, the latter often being the largest group present. Unless the designer takes into account these pragmatic needs, and avoids the temptation to push the envelope with flashy design statements, the garden may fail to meet the needs of those it could help most.

Article source:

Moulton College joins forces with medical centre to design holistic garden

Moulton College is joining forces with a new medical centre to provide its horticultural degree students with an opportunity to get some real-life experience by entering a competition to design a holistic garden.

The college delivers the degree course covering horticulture and garden design and has worked with Linford Wood Medical Centre to create guidelines and points for students to consider.

Linford Wood Medical Centre opened in Milton Keynes at the end of last year, and provides a range of diagnostic and outpatient procedures as well as an integrated oncology unit providing non-surgical cancer treatments including advanced, image guided radiotherapy. The garden is adjacent to the chemotherapy unit which will be opened later this year.

Senior horticultural lecturer at Moulton College, Adrian Stockdale, said: “We are thrilled to get involved and enable our students to work with a real brief rather than just hypothetical ones. They have the reality of budget limits and timelines to adhere to, as well as the need to really think about how the garden is going to be used.

“The garden can be seen from various areas within the centre – including many windows looking out to it from the chemotherapy unit. These viewpoints need to be considered. Our students will also take into account the needs of all patients visiting the centre – but particularly its cancer patients. This makes it a challenging and very interesting project. It has certainly got the students thinking outside of the box.”

Linford Wood Medical Centre manager, Stuart Southgate, added: “In the centre we’ve created an environment which offers high tech and advanced treatments, but in a calm environment. Patients want to have convenient access to treatment in a comfortable environment that doesn’t constantly remind them they are ill, but inspires a feeling of wellness.

“We want to extend this holistic approach beyond the building too, and are delighted to enlist the help of Moulton College to come up with a plan for the garden.”

Linford Wood’s oncology patients have access to its Living Well suite which is run by Penny Brohn Cancer Care, a charity which uses a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual support to help people to ‘live well’ with cancer.

Stuart added: “Penny Brohn’s national centre in Bristol has fantastic organic, sensory gardens which the students could seek inspiration from.”

Some of the students attended a site visit where they took measurements, pictures and gained an understanding of the centre’s ethos and its patients’ needs.

Robert Stratford, a first year student, said: “This is an exciting and interesting project. It is nice to bring health ideas into a garden design, which opens up all kinds of opportunities.”

Georgina Kirkpatrick who is in her second year, added: “Personally, I see this garden as being an extension from the chemotherapy unit – and will do my best to bring the warmth, space and curvaceous interior into the garden space. It’ll be interesting to investigate plants that will offer the right colour and possibly even calming qualities.”

The judging panel will include representatives from Linford Wood Medical Centre, Cancer Partners UK which runs the centre, Penny Brohn Cancer Care and Thomas Redding Garden Services. The winning student will receive VIP tickets to attend the Royal Horticultural Society’s Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July.

Article source: