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Archives for April 23, 2014

Youth to pitch business ideas

Hamilton Spectator

Inner-city youth eager to start their own businesses will make their pitches Wednesday.

Mentors in Greater Hamilton Teaching Youth (MIGHTY) is a partnership between the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton and Innovation Factory.

About a dozen students from Cathedral High School, Parkview, Delta and the Strengthening Hamilton Aboriginal Youth program will pitch their business concepts to a panel of judges.

Among the business ideas are photography services, an organic body scrub, landscaping and a mobile car-detailing operation.

The panel will make a choice and attendees at the by-invitation event will also make a people’s choice, said Cesare DiDonato, executive director of the IEC. The hope is that more community members will offer mentorship to the students, he said.

During about 13 weeks of the program, participants were taught the basics of starting their own business through a series of workshops with alumni of McMaster, Mohawk and Redeemer and IEC staff.

All the participants have applied to the provincial government’s Summer Company program.

This was the first year for the program, which is meant to encourage inner-city youth to explore entrepreneurship as a viable career option. The IEC has received provincial funding to run the program again next year.

The Hamilton Spectator

South Bend City Cemetery preservation project gaining momentum – WSBT

There’s a renewed effort to clean up South Bend’s City Cemetery, one of the most historic sites in Michiana.

The headstones are engraved with familiar names, like Studebaker, Sample, and Colfax, people who helped create the South Bend we know today.

But look closer and you might think their contributions have been forgotten.

Many headstones are toppled over and parts of the cemetery are in disrepair, but a growing group of volunteers, genealogy geeks, history buffs, and people who just want to see a change are hammering out a plan to restore dignity to City Cemetery.

They have a lot of work to do as evidenced when someone asked during a preservation project group meeting Tuesday night if the cemetery is even safe to visit.

“I think you need to be cautious,” said Steve Nemeth, who oversees the cemetery for the South Bend Parks Dept., “I would recommend you go with another person, but I don’t think it’s horrible.”

Their goal is to someday treat the space like a park. Yes there are graves, but it’s one of the larger green-spaces in town.

They envision new trails, plaques, benches, and nicer landscaping, among other ideas.

“It will help revitalize that area,” said Oliver Davis, South Bend Common Council member, “using the graveyard to bring back life to the whole area is a very interesting concept, but it really does.”

Right now they’re just trying to figure out what needs to be done and how much it’ll cost.

Ultimately much of the work will fall on the shoulders of volunteers and donors who see so much potential in South Bend’s past.

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What’s Appening: iScape


Want to do some new landscaping around your home? The landscaping design app iScape can help.

Here’s how it works: You simply take a picture of your house or yard. The app then lets you place pictures of various plants, trees or landscaping features on top of your own picture.

You can see what all your landscape ideas would look like before you ever dig a hole or even buy a plant. The lite version of iScape is free for Apple and Android devices.

If you like it, you can buy additional packages that give you more options.

Copyright 2014 WBRC. All rights reserved.


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Gardening: A metaphor for churches

By Bill Wilson

In recent years, I’ve been giving a good deal of thought to metaphors that communicate clearly what a healthy church or minister is like. There are many of them, but the one that I keep returning to is that of the garden. As a gardener who finds personal renewal and energy in the rhythm and mystery of gardening and landscaping, I am drawn to this mindset as I engage congregations and clergy. I come from a long line of gardeners and ministers, and find the overlap more than coincidence.

The garden is a powerful biblical theme that resonates deeply with me and with the way I approach ministry.

Over the course of three consecutive columns, I want to explore some of the ways I believe this metaphor is critical to the future of all of us.

From beginning —“The Lord planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he formed.” (Gen 2:8) — to end —“On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Rev. 22:2) — the Bible speaks of gardens, gardeners and growing things.

Jesus taught many lessons involving plants, growth, agriculture and gardening. He invoked images of fig trees, soils, sowers, seeds, fruit, mustard seeds and vineyards to drive home his teachings.

There are profound implications for us from the world of gardens, gardeners and plants as we seek to bring hope, help and healing to churches and clergy in the spirit of Christ.



The power of the seasons is never far from the mind of the gardener. At the heart of any issue or project in the garden lies a central question: what season is it? No season is unimportant, and each season is indispensible for a healthy garden.

We are currently enjoying the new life of spring after an especially intense winter. The wise gardener knows that spring will soon fade into summer, and prepares accordingly. Understanding the life cycle of a garden is critical to creating and sustaining a healthy growing environment.

In churches, our lack of understanding of life cycle seasons may blind us to deeper causes than what the prevailing symptoms may suggest. Congregational life cycles are undeniable. Proactive renewal and re-imagining take place when leadership recognizes the need for innovation and a fresh vision for ministry.

Just as a gardener knows the symptoms of decline, decay, renewal and new growth in the garden, so too the congregation leader keeps one eye on today and one eye on tomorrow. Healthy churches know to anticipate and plan for what is coming, not to simply live in the moment.

Good soil

Healthy soil is a prerequisite to healthy plants. Gardeners spend much energy and expense amending and improving the soil of their gardens. Doing so creates an environment conducive to vibrant growth.

Plants and gardens need food to survive. Light, water, nourishment and nutrients combine to provide the building blocks of growth for a plant or garden. Churches that thrive are constantly seeking ways to feed spiritual truth and insight to people. Using a wide array of learning vehicles, combined with sensitivity to learning styles, they constantly innovate and create rich learning and growth opportunities for their communities.

Healthy churches know that sustainable Christians and churches require deep, rich soil. The parable of the sower reminds us of the folly of expecting rocky or shallow soil to produce mature believers. Many churches need to consider what it would look like to think about going “deeper” and not simply “wider” in their approach to ministry.


Context matters. Plants that may thrive in a rain forest die quickly in the desert, and vice versa. Each plant adapts to its environment and either finds a way to survive and thrive, or it must be moved to a setting more aligned with its DNA. The wise gardener knows to pay attention to climate zones, sun and shade tolerance, water requirements, etc.

While some aspects of gardening are transferable to any setting, most gardens must be custom-designed to their context.

Healthy churches are students of their setting and context. They understand that their unique location and culture is a defining component of their ministry. Ignoring it is inviting disaster.

Ministry has common components no matter where it takes place. However, there are methods and approaches that are germane to your city, county, neighborhood or region that differentiate you from all other congregations. Learning those distinctives and deliberately building a congregation that is congruent with them is essential for long-term health.

Next week: The gardener

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Mainline Gardens announces purchase of Waterloo Gardens brand


The Save Ardmore Coalition

SAC is a grassroots organization dedicated to the revitalization of Ardmore, Pennsylvania’s business district based on community input, consensus building, sound and comprehensive planning, and the preservation of our architectural heritage.


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Local photographer offers tips to Four Season Garden Club

John Bamber with the Four Seasons Garden Club

John Bamber with the Four Seasons Garden Club

Local photographer John Bamber explains smartphone techniques to Four Seasons Garden Club members during their April meeting.

Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 1:22 pm

Updated: 1:26 pm, Tue Apr 22, 2014.

Local photographer offers tips to Four Season Garden Club

With a program entitled “Nature Photography: Photographing Birds, Bees and Butterflies and Goodbye Digital Camera, Hello Smartphone” local professional photographer John Bamber held the attention of the Four Seasons Garden Club on Tuesday, April 8, as he shared his knowledge about the latest technology in his field. Fourteen club members and two guests, most holding smartphones or other cameras, gathered around the garden area in front of the Rhea County Courthouse where the club maintains the plantings. He explained features of the cameras and used tulips that happened to be in bloom to show various shooting techniques. Some of his tips follow:

• Remember that the camera is not in the center of the phone’s back but in the upper left corner, along with the flash and exposure sensor. The camera can be used even when the phone is in lock mode by swiping up on the camera icon on the screen. The phone’s volume up button is the point and shoot button for the camera.

• A square appears in the view screen where the camera will automatically focus; to change the focal point put a finger on another area. There is a tic-tac-toe square grid available for use in composing the shot and aligning horizontals or verticals. The most interesting picture composition uses the “rule of thirds,” placing the subject near the intersection of two grid lines, not in the center, thus causing the eye to move around the image.

• There are edit buttons used to crop, adjust red-eye and auto-enhance the image. There are also filter effects which can be applied either at the time of shooting or afterwards. In HDR (High Dynamic Range) setting, the camera makes three exposures simultaneously and merges them, resulting in better detail in a high contrast scene.

• For wide angle shots hold the phone horizontally. Panorama mode allows the photographer to pan up to 240º around a scene and include the entire area in a single image. Macro, or close-up, mode is ideal for photographing flowers, as Bamber demonstrated by shooting the tulips. When using macro be aware of the background and emphasize the subject by keeping the background out of focus.

• Remember to Save!

Bamber also demonstrated shooting with a “traditional” digital camera which, although not quite as convenient, provides better photo quality, especially in low light situations, because the sensor is larger — reading more detail.

By using the display screen rather than the view finder on a traditional camera, unusual shots can be achieved by positioning the camera on the ground or other support; the photographer can frame the subject without needing to hold the camera near the face.

For extra convenience an Eye-Fi SD storage card can transfer photos wirelessly from the camera to a computer, phone or tablet. The AirDrop app from Apple allows wireless sharing of photos with other phones or iPads nearby.

When the photographers lost the late afternoon light everyone regrouped at Cafe Pascal where Bamber continued his instruction. On his iPad, he showed images of tulips which he had just photographed minutes earlier and transferred via EyeFi. He encouraged everyone to take the time to experiment, try unusual angles, learn from mistakes and have fun. He recommended Instagram as a good social site for the garden club to share photos — it allows for a closed group, if desired.

Reliable print labs include Millers Professional Imaging ( and Apple (order directly from iPhoto on the Mac). Bamber has a fondness for traditional film photography and prints and said that a carefully handprinted black and white print will outlast any other print.

Bamber received hearty applause for sharing his expertise with Four Seasons. An assortment of Pascal’s delicious desserts and a brief business meeting brought the evening to a close.

Hostesses for the meeting were Linda Blevins, Kathy Griffin, Katie Trotter and Faith Young.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014 1:22 pm.

Updated: 1:26 pm.

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Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden

Hispanic mother and son gardening

Posted: Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:00 pm

Updated: 1:13 pm, Tue Apr 22, 2014.

Tips for a Bountiful Backyard Garden


(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

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Mother and Son)

© 2014 Idaho State Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:00 pm.

Updated: 1:13 pm.

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Chef Symon’s 7 Tips to Help You Start Gardening This Earth Day

By Joshua Cohan

GTY Chef Michael Symon mar 140422 16x9 608 Chef Symons 7 Tips to Help You Start Gardening This Earth Day

Chef Michael Symon. Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Food Network SoBe Wine Food Festival

You know Chef Michael Symon as the co-host of ABC’s “The Chew.” But what you may not know on this Earth Day is that Symon comes from a long line of gardeners.

“My grandfather had his own garden, my father had his own garden, and I’ve had my own garden for over 20 years,” Symon said in an interview for a special edition of the ABC News Radio show “Perspective.”

“There’s something so soothing about digging in the dirt,” he said. “With the stress we all have in our day-to-day lives, there’s nothing better to me than going out in the morning with a cup of coffee and putzin’ around in my garden.”

Symon’s garden includes multiple varieties of heirloom tomatoes and chilies, eggplants and “every herb under the sun that you could fathom.”

Here are seven tips from Chef Symon that will have you gardening — and eating! — in no time:

Take a cue from the sun.
“You always need sun. The best sun is morning sun,” he said. “So when you’re planning on where to put your garden in your yard, stand outside and look where you’re getting the best morning sun. And that’s a very good place to start.”

Mix it up!
Never plant something in the same place two years in a row, Symon said. “Tomatoes take certain nutrients out of the soil that peppers may not, so you want to keep moving things around your garden. There are even parts of my garden that I leave dormant for a year or two to kind of rejuvenate the soil.”

Keep them close.
“Plants are like people. If you crowd them a little bit and they actually touch as they’re growing, they tend to grow better. You know, they’re happier. You need less water. You need less fertilizer.  And you could grow more in a compact space.”

Consider composting.
“We always keep a big compost at our house,” Symon said. “We’re using coffee grounds” and other things to create and maintain healthy soil.

Get to know Mother Nature.
“Understand what bugs eliminate other bugs,” he said. For instance, “If you have a lot of slugs (in your garden), let ladybugs in. They’re typically going to eliminate a good amount of those. Eliminate certain pests by adding other pests.”

Get the kids involved.
“It’ll make them less-picky eaters because they’ll always want to try to cook things that they’ve grown.”

Use your taste buds.
“Things that taste good together typically grow well together,” Symon said. “Next to my tomatoes will be basil or peppers or eggplant.”

Hear the full segment below:

* Note that some responses have been edited for brevity.

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Oswestry Garden Designer prepares for top RHS Show

One of Oswestry’s top garden designers is hoping for an RHS Gold medal this year with her garden creation for this year’s show.

Teresa Rham

Teresa Rham from Groundesigns

The countdown has begun for Teresa Rham, from Groundesigns in Shropshire, who next month will be displaying a wow-factor Show Garden at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

Teresa’s creation has been entitled “Ooooh…..It Makes Me Wonder.” It will sit alongside eight other show gardens at the highly anticipated four-day event that takes place from May 8 until May 11 at the Three Counties Showground, in Malvern, Worcestershire. Organisers of the RHS Malvern Spring Festival promise a horticultural banquet like never before with visitors being treated to an abundance of beautifully designed spaces and perfect planting schemes.

Nina Acton, Show Development Officer for RHS Malvern, said:

“We are really excited about the Show Gardens this year.  With a record number, we will be awash with beautiful plants and inspirational designs.”

The Groundesigns show garden will represent a physical manifestation of Teresa’s thoughts on what we might experience as our consciousness moves to a more ethereal state when our physical existence ends.

Describing her inspiration, she said:

“The garden is inspired by the title of the classic Led Zeppelin song Stairway to Heaven and the Giant’s Causeway rock formation.

“The hard landscaping features four gently inclined pathways that take the traveller on towards their next destination, with seats along the way to pause and reflect. The planting scheme includes dark flowers and foliage in the corners of the garden and becomes brighter and lighter as the traveller continues on their journey. References to accepted religious symbolism and beliefs are not featured in order for the garden to be inclusive.

“All beings on Earth have two things in common – the biological fact of our birth and death. With political, religious, racial and territorial conflict occurring across the world, perhaps by acknowledging these shared experiences we can become less concerned with our differences.”

There are three show garden categories this year at RHS Malvern.  These include the professional Show Gardens plus The Festival Gardens and The School Gardens.

The Festival Gardens is a new category for 2014.  RHS Malvern, in conjunction with The Cotswold Gardening School, offered up-and-coming amateur garden designers the chance to build their first show garden.  Similar to The Fresh Gardens category at RHS Chelsea, this competition seeks to bring cutting edge design and innovation to the show.  Four designs have been selected and the winning designers all received a £3,000 bursary and expert tuition from horticultural and design professionals.

The School Gardens Challenge, supported by BAM Construct UK and BBC Blue Peter Gardener Chris Collins, has seen a record number of applications with 21 educational establishments taking part.  The entrants range from play groups to home schooled groups to 6th form colleges and in age from pre-schoolers to school leavers.

RHS Malvern is the first major gardening show of the season and over the past few years has become renowned for showcasing the hottest new trends in garden design and planting.  Many big names in the garden design world took their first steps at RHS Malvern, including Chris Beardshaw, Paul Hervey-Brookes and Diarmuid Gavin to name but a few.

Posted on April 22nd, 2014 by

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Designing a dream garden

Placing a water feature in a garden is a good way to get people to use the garden, said Rick Perry, owner of Falling Water Designs and Falling Water Gardens, a regular exhibitor at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where this garden won a silver medal in February.

Placing a water feature in a garden is a good way to get people to use the garden, said Rick Perry, owner of Falling Water Designs and Falling Water Gardens, a regular exhibitor at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where this garden won a silver medal in February.

When it comes to creating a dream garden, Judith Jones and Rick Perry probably are the Sky Valley’s most qualified experts.

Both own garden and landscaping businesses; Jones owns Fancy Fronds, a specialist fern nursery in Gold Bar, and Perry owns Falling Water Designs, a landscape and water-feature supplier in Monroe.

Both are also regular exhibitors—and award winners—at the exclusive Northwest Flower and Garden Show, at which this year each won medals for their elaborate gardens built in the Washington State Convention Center for the duration of the show.

Planning any landscape requires some thought; planning an exhibit at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show can take a year or more of preparation, including forcing entire trees to bloom before transplanting them, roots and all, into the Convention Center, then adding entire ponds or streams, patios, greenhouses and hundreds of plants and shrubs.

Jones and Perry have a lifetime of experience building spectacular garden-scapes, but there are some basic principles that go into garden design, and anyone can use them. Here are top tips from the Sky Valley’s top garden designers:

Widen the frame  A typical Pacific Northwest home has a yard shaped like a rectangle, bordered by a picture-frame bed in which there are some shrubs, roses or flowers all planted in a line against a fence, wall or sidewalk.

There are several easy ways to make that sort of yard a whole lot more interesting, said Perry, whose art-inspired garden “Monet Dreamed Here,” created in partnership with McAuliffe’s Valley Nursery and Under the Arbor Landscape Design, won a silver medal at this year’s garden show.

“For one thing, three feet is never wide enough for a planting bed,” he said. “That’s only one shrub.”

People tend to think that the border beds are going to be a lot more labor intensive than the lawn in the middle, but that’s just not the case, said Perry.

“It’s just the opposite,” he said. “Lawns are what take all the work.”

A six-foot wide bed offers a lot of room for creativity. “That is much more practical for creating layers,” he said.

“You can put plants that are four feet high and three feet wide in the back, then place plants two feet high and two feet wide in the middle and foot-tall plants in the front. That’s how quickly you can fill a six-foot bed,” said Perry.

Think outside the box

Most lawns have corners. But not only is that boring, it’s unnecessarily difficult to mow, said Perry.

“Let your borders curve,” he said. “We try to make lawns and take away the corners, so you don’t have to push a mower in and then pull it back out and turn. Instead you just mow in concentric circles, moving in the center.”

Unless you really want a formal look or like a geometric, angular design, a curvy edge to your landscape softens lines and adds interest, he said.

Plant densely All too often, gardeners plant shrubs spaced widely apart and cover the ground in between with beauty bark. While tidy enough, a garden like that is missing out on a lot of potential, and a lot less work.

Plant things so their edges meet. That allows you a lot more color, variety and interest, and allows for a lot less weeding. “You don’t want too much open space,” said Perry. “Where you don’t have plants, you’ll have weeds.”

Create a better backdrop

When stuck with an unattractive backdrop, distract the eye with flags, such as these used by Judith Jones, owner of Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, who won a gold medal for her garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

When stuck with an unattractive backdrop, distract the eye with flags, such as these used by Judith Jones, owner of Fancy Fronds Nursery in Gold Bar, who won a gold medal for her garden at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show.

In urban environments, chances are you don’t get to choose what makes the backdrop for your garden. A neighbor’s fence, a blank brick wall, or a scraggly hedge can make it difficult for you to create your perfect space.

That certainly was a challenge for Judith Jones at the Northwest Flower and Garden Show, where the space she was given to create her gold medal-winning garden “The Art of Upcycling” was at the edge of the convention center and backed up to an enormous wall of corrugated grey metal.

She solved the problem by building a low wooden fence in front of it, placing shrubs behind the fence that were tall enough to peek over, then affixing bright, gaudy, six-foot-tall flags to the top of fence, thus creating enough visual interest in front of the wall as to draw the eye completely away from the unattractive backdrop.

Create focal points

Focal points such as this school of ceramic fish chosen by Perry in his art-themed garden can balance a larger focal point elsewhere in a garden.

Focal points such as this school of ceramic fish chosen by Perry in his art-themed garden can balance a larger focal point elsewhere in a garden.

A long row of rhododendrons, perhaps interspersed with some juniper shrubs, is a ubiquitous sight in Pacific Northwest neighborhoods.

But a much more interesting alternative is to instead place one large item of interest at a prominent point in the yard, and then pull the theme through the rest of the space.

“Say you have a fabulous focal point tree, and it has yellow leaves,” said Perry. “You can repeat the yellow in other ways throughout.”

A giant rhododendron with purple blooms could be repeated with mountain lupine elsewhere in the garden, or a snowy white cherry tree could be reflected with sweet alyssum or andromeda at two or three other points in the landscape.

Other focal points could include a large tree stump, a granite boulder or a piece of art such as a sculpture.

If you have more than one such focal point, don’t stick them all in the same place, said Perry. For example, don’t put a columnar basalt fountain right next to your largest flowering tree.

Instead, look for opportunities to give each one its own area of interest.

In Jones’ garden, a rainbow-hued bench that reflected the colors of the flags lining the fence rested at one corner of the garden, while a whimsical yellow greenhouse with a small patio set rested at the other. In between were several small works of art, including a glass sculpture and a ceramic snail.

And in Perry’s garden, which was dominated by a grass-framed pond and a patio, at a far edge a school of sculpted fish swam over densely-planted beds of grasses and low shrubs.

“You need balance,” said Perry. “Don’t cluster all your gorgeous things in one place.”

But clustering things that are not focal points can look great, he went on. Instead of one cyprus shrub in a corner, try putting three or five together. And if you have room, three small trees in a group creates a visual event.

“That way, as you move through the garden, there is always something to see,” said Perry.

Pick two or three colors  

There are so many hues of flowers and plants that it’s tempting to try to include them all in your garden. But it’s generally a lot more restful to the eye and spirit to hold to just two or three colors, said Perry.

“It’s just like interior design,” he said. “Pick the colors and repeat them in different ways, large and small.”

As you choose your plants, do be aware of what they look like throughout the year. When planting a plant that dies off in the fall, make sure there’s something behind it so that autumn doesn’t leave you with a gaping hole in the landscape.

And be sure to include plants that look great in the winter, such as shrubs with red bark, or interesting evergreens.

Add a water feature  

Gardens are best when kids can play in them, said Jones, who added a child-friendly water feature to her garden that allows for wading.  Photos by Polly Keary

Gardens are best when kids can play in them, said Jones, who added a child-friendly water feature to her garden that allows for wading.
Photos by Polly Keary

Both Jones and Perry included water features in their award-winning gardens, and that’s because there’s hardly anything more inviting.

Many homes have a second-floor patio with stairs down to a backyard, Perry said.

“People almost never go down the stairs,” he said.

But if you place a water feature such as a koi pond with “spitters,” or small fountains, that appeared in his display garden, somewhere in the backyard, suddenly the backyard will get a lot more visits.

“Put the feature from where you can see it from the deck,” he said. “Then maybe put a second little patio next to it; maybe with a bench where you can sit with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and look at your fish.”

Given that the weather of the Pacific Northwest isn’t terribly inviting half the year at least, also make sure you put your water feature, which could well be the biggest investment you’ll make in your yard, somewhere you can see it from the house.

And for Jones’ ideal garden, a water feature should invite play, especially for children. The water feature in her garden was a shallow stream that ran over a bed of river rock and made a shallow little wading spot.

After all, she noted, the purpose of a garden is more than simply to plant pretty flowers. A garden, she said, should be created to be enjoyed.

Falling Water Gardens, the Monroe branch of the Falling Water Company, is holding a special Mother’s Day event Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 10 and 11 at 17512 SR 203 in Monroe. Mothers get free flowers, as well as a plant in a four inch pot, and there will be refreshments served.

For more information see

To learn more about Fancy Fronds, visit

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