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Archives for May 6, 2014

City restores pond after decade of neglect

Bob Harris remembers the finer days of Windcrest’s Takas Park pond.

“The pond was nice when we moved in,” said Harris, whose home on Windy Hollow backs up against the pond. “But they started having trouble with the pump, and then the drought really hit it hard.

“One Saturday, about four or five years ago,” he said, “I came home from shopping, and all the fish were over here on this end, dead. And what a smell. We haven’t had any fish in here since.”

Windcrest city officials made the revitalization of the pond a priority last year, and set out to restore the pond to its beauty “back in the day,” according to Tom Pittman.

“I’ve been going to that pond for 27 some years, since I live here. But I haven’t been going down there for five, 10, 15 years.” Pittman said. “I wouldn’t even let my dogs go in there.”

Windcrest City Councilman John Gretz lives on Winding Ridge, which backs up against the pond. He is celebrating the city’s decision to revamp the park, which had fallen into disarray in the recent past.

“We used to walk our dogs when there were water moccasins lying on the sidewalk. Ten, 12, 14 of them. And big ones, too. They would come up out of the pond, out of the weeds,” Gretz said.

The effort to restore the pond began last spring when the existing pond was drained, scraped clean and set up to be fitted with a liner.

J3, a street and utility contractor, was removing dirt and fill from the Rackspace Hosting Racker Road project, and was allowed to dump the tons of haul at the corner of Crestway and Jim Seal Drive, leveling out a portion of what had been a sloping landscape. As part of the company’s agreement, the city had J3 excavate the pond after it had been drained.“The pond was dredged last spring by J3,” Mayor Alan Baxter said. “By involving them, we saved probably $1 million by thinking this all through.”

The city had set aside $350,000 for the work, and it turned to its parks and recreation members for guidance on what its residents wanted, and did not want, in a renovated pond.

“They vetted all those ideas. They met with citizens, and they met with landscapers,” Baxter said. “Jan Leaders took the lead and went through the whole process of gathering all the input and picking out the best design and amenities for this project.”

Harris, with a front-row seat to the goings-on just yards from his back yard, watched as crews began the excavation and then came in and started to address the landscaping.

“When they first started digging it out, we heard rumors that they were just going to put a liner in it, and fill it back up,” Harris said. “But this is a pleasant, pleasant surprise, seeing how it’s turned out. We didn’t know they were going to do this extensive landscaping when they started.”

Takas Park “hadn’t been worked on, I bet, in over 30 years. It used to be a centerpiece of the community.” Baxter said. “People stopped going there. It’s an amenity for our city; we have to be able to have attractive commons areas for our residents.”

The park remains closed for now, as grass and sod takes hold along the pond’s banks. When the city officially reopens the park, its visitors will find a pond with new growth, a restored island, encircled by a 5-foot-wide sidewalk — complete with new benches, trash bins and lighting. The city plans to use the lighting and bench designs as a standard for all future park upgrades, in order to create some uniformity throughout the city’s park system.

Gretz said the city will soon announce the date of the park’s reopening and hold a ceremony marking its rededication.

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Billings leaders tour Sioux Falls to get ideas, inspriation

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — With the goal of opening hearts and minds to new ideas, 25 Billings business, hospitality and civic leaders are in Sioux Falls Monday through Wednesday on a Chamber of Commerce journey being billed as an “aspirational” city visit.

It’s not so much that Billings aspires to be Sioux Falls, organizers say. But the economies of both communities, as speakers Monday pointed out, have a lot in common, including agriculture, regionally significant health care systems, destination shopping, tourism — and the challenges that can come with sustained growth.

Billings Chamber of Commerce president and CEO John Brewer quoted Mark Twain on what the visit may well accomplish: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

Sioux Falls Mayor Mike Huether boiled his community’s rapid

growth down to four words:

“It’s all about confidence.”

“We even tackled pension reform, because we had the guts to take it on,” he said, and 80 percent of the city’s unionized workforce voted in favor of a reform plan the mayor said will save taxpayers $300 million over 25 years.

Huether, who was re-elected to a second four-year term last month, said he believes medical researchers in Sioux Falls are so talented that South Dakota’s largest city will be the site of the discovery of cures for both juvenile diabetes and breast cancer. “It’s about competing with the big boys and the big girls,” he said.

At 3.7 percent, the city’s unemployment rate remains far lower than that of most other cities. Sioux Falls added 3,000 jobs in 2013 and saw $588 million in construction, a record. The job growth rate nearly matched the 3,500 new residents who moved to Sioux Falls in 2013.

Every Sioux Falls resident lives within one-half mile of a city park, the mayor said. Sixteen percent of the city budget is spent on cultural or recreational events. A major downtown shopping street, Phillips Avenue, is dotted with public art that’s swapped out annually.

“We’ve been called America’s next boom town, and we’re not done,” Huether said.

Mike Cooper, the city’s planning director, took the group through a primer on Sioux Falls city government. With the mayor-council form of government, Sioux Falls — unlike Billings — has no city administrator.

Sioux Falls has one funding mechanism not available to any community in Montana — the sales tax. City government receives 2 cents on every dollar of taxable purchases. One penny helps fund city government; the other pays for capital improvements.

Sales tax revenue grew 8 percent last year; city leaders expected it to grow only 5 percent.

Billings leaders said they were very interested in learning more about Sioux Falls’ success as well as hearing ideas about what works.

“We are here to learn more about the spark you folks have that we can take back,” Yellowstone County Commissioner Bill Kennedy said. “What we learn, we are going to take home — and I suspect we have something to teach you, too.”

“I’ve been here about seven hours, and my head is already spinning with ideas,” said Ron Yates, a partner with the Eide Bailly accounting firm, the trip’s main sponsor.

Upon their arrival Monday, the Billings contingent was met with a lunchtime presentation by Dan Letellier, director of the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

A 2010 study showed that 40 percent of Sioux Falls-area travelers were driving three hours to Omaha or four hours to Minneapolis to save money on their plane tickets. An advertising campaign and $23 million in airport renovations and additions helped drop that leakage rate to 19 percent, Letellier said.

While bigger than Billings Logan International Airport, the Sioux Falls airport is similar, he said: both have regional draws, although about 800,000 people live within two hours of Sioux Falls, far more than the population Billings draws from. Both airports serve similar business clients, including the energy and medical sectors of the economy.

“It’s been a while since I was at the Billings airport,” he said, “but my impression is a positive one.”

Cooper, the planning director, led a bus tour highlighting some of the city’s eight industrial parks. Cooper pointed out to the visitors the handsome industrial parks — brick and mortar buildings, landscaping and sidewalks — as well as older parks with metal siding and businesses not usually high on chamber visit agendas, including a junk yard.

Even the junk yard, Cooper noted, is “important to economic development.”

Included on the drive-by tour were two of Sioux Falls’ largest employers, Citibank and John Morrell Co., each of which has more than 3,000 workers.

At the latter plant, a diverse workforce speaks more than 60 languages, Cooper said.

Ten acres of rail line are being removed in the downtown railroad switching yard in the next two years, Cooper said, and officials hope the property will be redeveloped.

Also being developed is the look of the city’s front door, the route between the airport and the downtown region.

“We are always concerned,” the 28-year city veteran said, “about people’s first impressions.”

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Advertorial – Local gardeners, fresh off the excitement of the Azalea Festival …

The outdoor plant specialists at Tinga Nursery, located between Castle Hayne and Wilmington on Hwy. 133 have the answers to all your landscaping questions. With over 100 years in business, the staff at Tinga has a unique understanding of what it takes to plan, plant and maintain the kind of garden this area is famous for.

Owner Eelco Tinga, Jr. and his son Eelco Tinga, III are the third and fourth generations to operate this family run nursery and are proud to carry on the legacy of Eelco I. Tinga, who started the business in 1913. Still located on the same piece of land and making use of some of the original buildings, Tinga Nursery carries on the tradition of excellence by offering customers the kind of service and knowledge more common in days gone by.

Situated on over 30 acres of land just minutes from downtown Wilmington, Tinga Nursery makes good use of its space by growing nearly all plants on site. Tinga III noted a number of advantages to growing their own plants from seed or cuttings, most importantly, locally grown plants are acclimated to our climate. Another benefit is the year round availability of plants. In many garden centers a plant will only be available for a few short weeks during the year. Tinga is able to keep all of their products in stock year round.

Many family run companies benefit from the accumulated knowledge of years in the business and Tinga is no exception. The staff at Tinga are all North Carolina Certified Plant Professionals, ensuring they are well prepared to answer any customer’s questions. By taking the time to talk with customers, the staff learns about the sun, soil and moisture present in a customers yard ensuring “they can help find the right plant for the right place,” in Tinga Jr.’s words.

Finding the right plant couldn’t be easier at Tinga. The superb selections of plants are arranged in easy to navigate rows clearly labeled with the plants name, potential size and advice on the best growing conditions for the plant. This kind of organization is vital when dealing with the variety available at Tinga. From flowering shrubs like azaleas, hydrangeas and knock out roses, to edible plants like grapes, figs and blueberries. Tinga also carries a wide range of ornamental trees, shrubs, perennials and palms.

Armed with all of the information and plants needed for any project, but don’t forget to pick up pine straw, fertilizer and mulch to keep your new plants healthy and looking great. With delivery service available for large orders, Tinga is a one-stop shop for landscaping projects large and small.

Tinga Nursery is less than 10 minutes from downtown Wilmington, just 3 miles north on Hwy. 133, and is easily accessible from both Martin Luther King Jr. Pkwy. and I-140. For more information or any questions call 910-762-1975, email or visit Tinga’s web site,

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Caption Chinese Garden at the Huntington

Spring seems only around the corner at Liu Fang Yuan, or the Garden of Flowing Fragrance, at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino. Delicate pink cherry blossoms have begun to appear on trees, and dappled sunlight warms the stone walkways.

There are other changes in the air at the Chinese Garden, as it is more informally known. Workers are putting finishing touches on new pavilions, walkways and landscaping as the newest garden in the Huntington’s collection of more than a dozen readies its first expansion since its 2008 opening.

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On March 8 (March 7 for members), the Chinese Garden premieres three major new architectural elements as part of its second-phase expansion: two pavilions and a rock grotto with a waterfall that visitors can walk under. Still to come for the planned 12-acre site are a small gallery for Chinese art, a hillside pavilion and a penjing (a style of horticulture similar to Japanese bonsai) court. About half the $22 million needed to complete the project has been raised so far.

PHOTOS: Huntington expands its Chinese Garden

The Chinese Garden’s curator, June Li, leads a visitor around the 1.5-acre lake that forms the centerpiece of the Suzhou-style garden, which is modeled after the scholars gardens that thrived during the 16th and 17th century Ming dynasty. Li has helped oversee the creation of the garden since her arrival in 2004, and she also organizes exhibitions of Chinese art.

The path around the lake from the garden’s main entrance is lined with craggy limestone rocks from Lake Tai in China. A small bridge separates the older buildings from the new.

First up after the bridge is a pavilion with open sides, intricate woodwork and a tiled roof with ends that sweep jauntily upward. Li says that this pavilion is designed for visitors to linger in, rest and enjoy the views across the lake; built-in benches along the sides have curved backs.

The space is also designed for performances — music, plays and operas — and once the courtyard is completed, there will be seating for about 350. It’s called the Clear and Transcendent Pavilion, or Qing Yue Tai, to evoke the pureness of music floating over the water. The Huntington has already engaged its first musician in residence, noted pipa player Wu Man, who is composing a piece to premiere in June.

Inside the pavilion is a wide screen made of blond gingko wood. The north-facing upper panels show scenes from the classic Chinese play by Tang Xianzu, “The Peony Pavilion,” a 16th century love story that takes place in a garden. On the other side, facing the lake, the panels show four classic Chinese musical instruments, including the lute-like pipa.

“The garden fosters two major modes of enjoyment: solitude and society,” Wang-go Weng, Chinese scholar and advisor to the garden, has written. “It soothes worldly cares and anxieties and stimulates poetic and artistic sensibilities.”

Most of the visible man-made elements in the garden — columns, rafters, woodwork, tiles and granite bridges — were shipped from China, then assembled by 23 Suzhou workmen who were on site for four months.

“We really needed the Chinese craftsmen because they’re trained in the Chinese traditions of woodwork, roof tiles, laying out the paving,” Li says. “It’s as if we’re preserving the skills here in these buildings.”

Next on the winding path around the lake is the rock grotto — the Lingering Clouds Peak (Liu Yun Xiu). It’s a stack of Taihu rocks through which you can walk and enjoy a thunderous waterfall cascading over you.

“Traditionally they would just pile the rocks together, and they would be held by gravity and mortar,” Li says. However, due to California construction codes, the rocks have been reinforced in place. “In this case, all of these rocks in the ceiling and sides are secured to a cement frame.”

A little farther along is the Waveless Boat Pavilion (Bu Bo Xiao Ting), a pavilion shaped like a leisure boat that provides another spot for gatherings and for gazing at scenery. Everything in the Chinese Garden is designed for poetic and philosophical significance.

In Taoist and Confucian thought, mountains and rocks denote stability and endurance, while water is ever-changing but powerful. All the names of garden features suggest the beautiful or the auspicious. “Waveless” is a literary allusion to a calm and tranquil state of being — in other words, smooth sailing.

‘Cracked ice’ motif in the Huntington’s Chinese Garden

One of the many traditional elements woven into the new section of the Huntington’s Chinese Garden is a “cracked ice” pattern. In this case the diagonal lines are interspersed with a plum blossom design. The motif is seen in handmade gingko wood latticework around the moon gate entrances to the Clear and Transcendent Pavilion and in stone-and-ceramic pathways that link the new pavilions and the rock grotto. It also appears on the nearby Pavilion of the Three Friends, one of the original buildings.

The two symbols “often go together in the decorative arts,” says June Li, curator of the Chinese Garden. “Plum blossoms represent early spring when it’s still really cold, and thawing begins and the ice begins to crack.”

Li says the cracked ice pattern, which has been recorded since the 17th century but is probably older, looks modern to her eye. “I think of the Amish quilts. If you look at crazy quilts, it’s very random but it’s also very planned. And in a way that’s how the cracked ice pattern can develop. It makes for a very nice asymmetrical design.”


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Sinnissippi renovation receives landscape award

By Rockford Register Star

Posted May. 5, 2014 @ 1:24 pm
Updated May 5, 2014 at 1:25 PM

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Croton Landscaper Lectures On Good Gardens

CROTON-ON-Hudson, N.Y. — Croton-On-Hudson resident and landscaper Jan Johnsen knows what makes a garden inviting and tranquil.

As part of the Croton Village Garden Club’s Green Living series, Johnsen gave a talk based on her new book “Heaven is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflect”.

Johnsen’s talk featured a slideshow of various gardens, many of which are in Northern Westchester. 

“This is wonderful,” Johnsen said at the talk. “We need gardens. We need serenity and to be unplugged. We need that outdoor space.”

The characteristics of a serene garden include simplicity and sanctuary, she said. 

“There are spots that are sheltered and protected,” Johnsen said. “It feels cozy. It gives you delight.”

Johnsen quoted Luis Barragan who said, “A garden must combine the poetic and mysterious with the feeling of serenity and joy.”

Gardens should have a power spot and something at the high point of the garden.

“It’s a destination,” Johnsen said. “It works all the time. Make the journey to the high point part of the fun.”

Johnsen also recommended putting columns in the backyard because they are nice to look at.

“They are a nice counter punch to the softness,” Johnsen said.

When it comes to gardens, direction is key. The northern part should be contemplative, while the southern part should be open and expansive with sunflowers and petunias.

The eastern part should be the most auspicious while the western part should be shaded and the place to end the day.

“People like to get together and talk here,”  Johnsen said. 

Color is also an important part of a garden. Johnsen said yellow cheers us up and stimulates while orange is the color of conversation, flamboyance and vitality.

“Red is excitement, power and luck,” Johnsen said. “It really sparks up a garden. Blue induces calm. Green is the most relaxing color.”

Johnsen said gardens help people return to a kinship of nature.

“We can quiet our thoughts and we can reflect, recharge, reconnect, realign and remember,” Johnsen said.

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For master gardeners, it’s all about sharing tips, ideas and, most of all …

When Lou Horton retired from a career in education, he promised himself he’d learn about gardening and share that knowledge with others.

The West Chicago man has kept that promise. Now in his 13th year as a University of Illinois Extension master gardener, he works at the DuPage County office’s help desk and at events fielding questions about everything from the emerald ash borer and garden pests, to when to plant vegetables in the spring and whether the harsh winter did permanent damage to lawns and trees.

Master Gardener Help Desks

The DuPage County Master Garden Help Desk is at 1100 E. Warrenville Road, Naperville, and is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, May through October. Gardeners may come with their questions, call (630) 955-1123 or email

During May, mobile Help Desks will also be at the following locations:

• Naperville Community Gardeners Plant Sale in Naperville, 7 a.m. to noon May 10

• SCARCE Get Your Garden Growing event in Glen Ellyn, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 10

• West Chicago’s Blooming Fest in downtown West Chicago, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 17

• Lake View Nature Center worm display in Oakbrook Terrace, noon to 4 p.m. May 17

• Roselle Park District Garden Club Plant Sale in Roselle, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17

• Itasca Public Library in Itasca, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 24

“I love to talk and think about gardening,” Horton said. “I thoroughly enjoy sharing information and exchanging ideas with other gardeners.”

It’s a sentiment shared by DuPage County’s 123 master gardeners, who go through rigorous training and then volunteer their time helping others.

“My master gardeners amaze me, the amount of time they give and their enthusiasm,” said Sarah Navrotski, program coordinator for the The DuPage County Master Gardener program. “It’s a really popular program.”

Still, many people don’t understand what master gardeners do, Navrotski said. Sure, they know a lot about plants, but they’re not people just acquiring knowledge for themselves, she said. Volunteering their expertise to the community is a required part of the master gardener title.

“I have a love of gardening and I like to volunteer. It seemed like a really good fit to serve the community in a different way,” said Deb Hornell of Glen Ellyn, now in her sixth year as a master gardener.

Training to volunteer

Those who apply to be master gardeners go through an interview process before being accepted into training.

“Some gardening background is nice, but it’s not absolutely required,” Navrotski said.

Those accepted in the program go through 12 weeks of training — learning about everything from soil to botany — in classes taught by University of Illinois educators from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. once a week. The training costs $250.

The next unit training for DuPage, Kane and Kendall counties will be in the fall in the DuPage office, 1100 E. Warrenville Road, Naperville.

During the first year, the master gardener interns must do 60 hours of volunteer work. After the first year, master gardeners are required to put in 30 hours of volunteer work and take 10 hours of continuing education annually.

Spring and summer are the busy season for master gardeners, but the volunteer opportunities are far-ranging and some continue year-round.

In addition to the help desk open at the extension office from spring through fall, master gardeners may staff mobile help desks at libraries and community events, give presentations, serve on a speakers bureau and teach a program on worms in third-grade classrooms.

They work in community gardens in Naperville and Downers Grove to grow vegetables for food pantries and work with special-needs children and students through NEDSRA, Downers Grove North High School and Easter Seals.

Master gardeners also help maintain gardens and grow crops in public areas, such as Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Graue Mill Museum in Oak Brook and the Clock Garden in Wood Dale.

Another place to volunteer is the DuPage Convalescent Center, where master gardeners help elderly and disabled residents grow produce in raised beds and help beautify the grounds. Gail Sanders, a second-year master gardener from Carol Stream, said that’s her favorite spot to volunteer.

“Volunteering at the DuPage Convalescent Center is very rewarding because you are working directly with residents a lot of the time,” Sanders said. “They’re very appreciative.”

All sorts of questions

Like all master garden interns, Sanders worked at the help desk at the extension office her first year, but said she found it challenging.

“There’s so much to know about gardening, and you have no idea what people are going to come and ask,” she said.

Hornell said she gets stumped at the help desk “all the time,” but that’s when she turns to the extension’s reference library.

“We’ve been trained to ask a lot of questions and not to feel we have the answer immediately,” she said. “I love those conversations we have with people about what they’re trying to do in their garden.”

Hornell said she gets a lot of questions about lawns, pest management, vegetables, perennials, trees and shrubs.

This year, because of the harsh winter, she and other master gardeners are hearing concerns about snow mold on grass (a fungus that makes the grass look dead), and the survival of other plants and trees.

But the plants may just need more time because spring is about three weeks later than usual, Navrotski said. In many cases, the snow actually acted as a protective cover for the garden.

“I think people worried about losing a lot over the winter are going to be pleasantly surprised,” he said.

Over the years, Horton said he has seen increased interest in growing vegetables and in gardening itself.

“I suspect it’s the fastest growing hobby in the country,” he said.

Concerns about safe food and use of pesticides have added to the interest. People want to know what plants to grow in the right places, Navrotski said.

“There’s a push for sustainability,” she said. “People are thinking more environmentally.”

Master gardeners get some unusual questions as well. Horton recalled a man who brought in a piece of treated lumber that had what appeared to be a drill hole in it. The hole was made by carpenter bees.

“He couldn’t understand why the bees could do that,” he said.

Gardeners are welcome to bring plant samples or insects to the help desk at the extension office, but they’re also welcome to email photos to or call the help desk at (630) 955-1123.

Help desk hours for the rest of the growing season, May through October, are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Messages may be left at other times and a master gardener will get back to the caller.

Information about gardening and how to become a master gardener also is on the website at

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Gardening tips from Sprouts Greenhouse: How to grow the perfect strawberries

(Lander, Wyo.) – Who doesn’t like fresh strawberries? Or strawberry-rhubarb pie? Or strawberries in your smoothie? Or strawberry preserves on toast? Strawberries start to show up in large quantities at the grocery store this time of year, but it’s not hard to create your own strawberry patch.

If you’ve read previous articles, you’ve already heard the rallying cry of adding organic material to your garden. But really, for strawberries, go crazy. They do best in rich, loamy soil and hefty additions of compost are key. In preparing your site, be sure to add plenty prior to planting. Also add a 1-2” layer in the each year in the fall over the plants.


First though, you’ll have to make a choice on where to plant. All varieties need at least 8 hours of full sun daily to produce at their best. Then decide on what form you’ll plant, such as a clump or in rows, or perhaps using a fancy form available commercially. A word to the wise: the best way to keep your patch productive for many years is being able to control the runners and thin them out periodically. This may influence how you decide to plant.

As far as what kind to plant, it’s decision time again. There are two main groupings for perennial strawberries: June-bearing and everbearing. As you’ve likely guessed, June-bearing has a short production season, lasting 2-3 weeks early in the summer. This is helpful if you plan on making batches of preserves and want a hefty amount in a short time period. Everbearing will produce steadily from early summer until the first fall frost. That works well if you want a few to add to your morning bowl of cereal throughout the summer.

If you don’t have access to a yard, you can still have fresh strawberries all summer long. The ‘berri basket’ variety was cultivated to excel in pots. They are compact plants with vigorous production. Planting them in hanging pots makes for very easy harvesting- no bending over!


General tips for keeping your patch healthy and productive:

  • Birds love strawberries too, so put netting over your plants to keep them away. If you don’t, rest assured that you won’t get any of the fruits of your labor. Boo!
  • Help the plants be stronger by pinching off the blossoms for the first season. That way the plant turns its energy into producing roots instead of fruit.
  • Pick rotted fruit- otherwise makes it possible for nematodes and other insects as well as diseases to take root.
  • It’s not that plants get too old, it’s that the plants are heavy feeders and also heavy producers of runners that create more plants. If runners aren’t controlled, what started as well-spaced area transitions into a mat of plants competing for nutrients.
  • Planting in rows makes for easier control in the long run. Here is a great video on revitalizing an older, overgrown strawberry patch planted in rows.

There you have it! This time of year is perfect for establishing a strawberry patch, as most varieties are very tolerant of frost. Get them in the ground soon, and you could be making pies this summer.

We at Sprouts love growing plants, and want to share our love of gardening with you. We hope that these tips help you learn, solve problems, and grow. Our intention is to address basic issues, and provide references for additional information.

You can expect a new tip from us each week on! We don’t intend for the tips to be the end-all, be-all of the gardening world.

8591 Wyoming 789, Lander, WY 82520

(307) 332-3572.

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May garden tips

Spring is officially here! As we move to working in our yards and gardens here are a few May lawn and garden tips from N.C. Cooperative Extension:

Plants in Flower

• Southern Magnolia, Golden Chain Tree, Kousa Dogwood, Hybrid Rhododendron, Mountain Laurel, Satsuki Azalea, Scotch Broom, Deutzia, Beauty Bush, Weigela, Gumpo Azalea, Roses, Clematis, Honeysuckle, Dianthus, Sweet William, Candytuft, Beadered Iris, Peony, Coreopsis, Poppy, Lady Slipper and Summer Annuals


• Fertilize summer flowering plants like crape myrtle and rose- of-Sharon this month.

• Do not forget to sidedress or fertilize your vegetable six to eight weeks after germination.


• Plant gladioli bulbs (corms) this month.

• Plant summer annuals like begonia, geranium, marigold, petunia and zinnia this month.

• The following vegetable plants can be set out this month: eggplant, pepper, tomato and sweet potato.

• The following vegetables can be planted this month: beans, lima beans, cantaloupe, corn, cucumbers, okra, southern peas, pumpkin, squash and watermelon.


• Prune your hybrid rhododendron after they finish flowering.

• Prune any hedges that have outgrown their desired shape.

• Begin pinching your chrysanthemums and continue through early July.

• Pick off azalea leaf galls as they form.

• Do not cut back spring bulb foliage until it turns yellow and brown.


• Spray the following landscape shrubs for the following insect pests: arborvitae-bag worm, azalea-lace bug, boxwood-leaf miner, euonymus-scale, hemlock and juniper-spruce mites, pyracantha-lace bug and hybrid rhododendron borer.

• Spray iris beds for iris borers.

• Spray the following vegetables if insects are observed: cucumber (cucumber beetle), squash (squash borer and aphids, tomato and eggplant (flea beetle), broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower (worms).

• Weekly sprays on red-tip photinia if leaf spot is observed.

• Continue with rose spray program.

• Keep spraying your tree fruits and bunch grapes with a fungicide program.

• Use pesticides sparingly. Spray only when needed.

Lawn Care

• Fertilize zoysia this month after it has greened up. Do NOT fertilize tall fescue now.

• Start warm season lawns like zoysia in May.

• Mowing heights for your lawn are important. Cut tall fescue and bluegrass at three inches, zoysia at one inch.


• Take softwood cuttings of plants like azalea, rhododendron, forsythia, clematis, chrysanthemum and geranium in late May if you have a misting system.

Specific Chores

• Purchase locally grown strawberries.

• Move houseplants outside if desired.

• If weather has been dry, give favorite plants a good soaking once a week.

For more garden tips feel free to visit the Vance County Cooperative Extension Center at 305 Young Street in Henderson.

Tips provided by NC Cooperative Extension

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Farah opens flagship in Covent Garden

Menswear brand Farah has chosen Seven Dials in Covent Garden, London as the location for their first UK flagship store.

Located on Earlham Street, the 764 square foot flagship opened this weekend and marks a new chapter for the brand, and aims to complement its existing store within the Boxpark in Shoreditch and its e-commerce site.

The flagship houses all the Farah collections, covering both the mainline and the younger Farah Vintage line.

Francisco Gonzalez-Meza Hoffmann, managing director of Farah owner Perry Ellis Europe, said: “We wanted a central London location with a strong heritage of its own for our Farah flagship store. The retail mix and atmosphere of Seven Dials is perfect. We will be in great company in one of the most thriving destinations for fashion in London.”

Sam Bain-Mollison, head of group retail strategy and letting at Shaftesbury, added: “Farah is a great fit for Seven Dials, which is a thriving, cosmopolitan destination with a unique mix of retailers and restaurants. Farah adds to the iconic international fashion offer that sets Seven Dials apart.”

Farah is the latest fashion name to open in the area, over the past few months other fashion retailers including Franklin Marshall, Peter Werth and Le Coq Sportif have chosen the Seven Dials area.

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