Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for June 8, 2014

9 holes with David Durbala: Buffalo Run back on track with new ownership

NORA SPRINGS | No one was particularly surprised when Nate Lindsay returned to the Nora Springs area to operate the golf course just west of town., least of all, his wife Katie.

“Our second date was out here,” Katie said.

In those days – just prior to the 2013 season – the course was called West Hills.

It has since been rechristened as Buffalo Run, and the Lindsays are giving the course a facelift.

Lindsay does not enter the venture without a solid background as he earned a turf grass/management degree from Iowa State University.

Buffalo Run is a relatively short nine-hole course that does feature some unique characteristics that help make it interesting.

First is a layout that features three par-5s and three par-3s and an overall length of 3,170 yards from the championship tees.

The regular tees list at 2,865 yards while the ladies tees lists at a modest 2,542 yards.

For golfers looking to score, the par fives all offer great opportunities for birdie.

Depending on the wind, they all can be reached in two good shots by longer hitters, and average players will have short irons in for the third shot.

The fairways are generous and have virtually no areas of clover, crabgrass or other weeds that haunt some courses.

Should a player stray, most of the rough is of moderate length and quite playable, although the course does feature several large areas of unmown rough in which Mother Nature pretty much has total control.

With the course nearly 20 years old, the trees are starting to mature, although there are not large quantities of them.

A large pond separates the first and ninth holes, although realistically, it is more decorative than it impacts play.

The greens are quite large for a course of this length.

The greens tend to be a little on the firm side and are an average rate of speed, although the lack of any poa means that well-struck putts roll true.

Lindsay has undertaken an aggressive maintenance plan for the greens. The greens still showed some evidence of an early May spiking, although that should be largely gone within a couple of weeks.

One of the first major projects that Lindsay has undertaken is the installation a drainage system to alleviate some traditional wet areas.

For those of us who remember the course from the past, the areas on the north side near holes 3, 7 and 8 retained quite a bit of water, which made cart traffic difficult at times.

Much of the earth moving has been done at this point, although work still remains to remove the excess dirt and finish the project, but the drainage areas are having the desired effect already.

The Lindsays are also soliciting members for landscaping ideas and have incorporated an adopt-a-tee program to help improve the aesthetic quality of Buffalo Run.

The long-term goal the Lindsays have for Buffalo Run is to turn the club into a family-friendly environment.

Beginning this week, Thursdays will be dedicated family nights with green fees reduced to one dollar for children

Thursdays will also feature family-friendly food specials in the clubhouse.

I have played Buffalo Run a couple of times in years past.

Every time I have played it in the past, I have walked off the course with a feeling like I should have scored better, although missing greens on this course generally means ticklish chip shots.

This time was no exception.

I missed a couple of short par putts on holes 2 and 3, birdied the par-five sixth but stumbled again with a poor tee shot at the eighth to end with a round of 39.

For those people looking to play Buffalo Run in the near future, remember to be patient since Lindsay is putting a tremendous effort into improving the course.

It is very playable at this point in time, and it is going to be fun to watch its continued evolution.

Rates at Buffalo Run are $12 for nine holes and $18 for 18.

Carts are available to rent, or you may pay a trail fee of $5 for your own.

If you are looking for some great family time on the course, or just a quick round on a course designed to make you feel good about your game, Buffalo Run would be one of the better options around.

For more information about the course, call (641) 749-5522 or go to

Article source:

Cool jobs: Republic Airways chief pilot overcame a fear of flying

Most people, especially kids, are intrigued by airplanes. Many dream of becoming pilots. Jeff Rouse didn’t dream it, he did it.

As a child, Rouse didn’t thinking of piloting as a cool job. In fact, the now captain and chief pilot at Republic Airways had a fear of flying.

“I quickly realized that I needed to get over the fear of flying or give up the job (in the banking industry), so I began to take lessons. It was very rough on me at first but soon I fell in love with aviation,” he said.

Hovering above 35,000 feet at a speed of nearly 500 miles per hour Rouse’s cool job gives him views that many can only dream of.

“There is nothing more beautiful than flying west across the U.S. and chasing the sunset or watching the sun rise early in the morning as you fly east. Flying along the backside of a line of thunderstorms on the leading edge of a fast-moving cold front can provide a lightning show that no man can rival,” he said, “It has given me a true appreciation for both the power and beauty of Mother Nature and of this beautiful world we live in today.”

Question: Describe your job?

Answer: At times, we work very long days (up to 16 hours duty/9 hours flight) in a high stress work environment. At other times, we may have a light day with beautiful weather. Very rarely is there ever two days alike, and many times within just a couple of hours the day could change dramatically. Late fall and early spring it is not uncommon to depart Chicago in a snow storm and be landing in Miami within a couple of hours in 80-degree weather and beautiful sunshine!

Q: What do you like best?

A: What I like best about the job is that it can be very rewarding and challenging. Although I know how an airplane flies, it still amazes me that man has developed a jet that man can take off from one spot in the world and land at another spot and never see the ground! The equipment that has been developed that is installed on modern aircraft is amazing. Weather radar, GPS and auto-flight systems are such sophisticated equipment and being able to operate these machines is exciting. Probably what is most rewarding though, are the people I have had the opportunity to meet. I fly with crew members from all over the world and from all walks of life. It has given me a great appreciation for the many different people and the many different ideas that exist in this world.

Q: What do you like least?

A: What I like least about the job is that we fly airplanes almost 24 hours a day and 365 days per year. There are no holidays for people in the airline industry. Schedules are based on seniority, and many times our job takes us away from home at the least opportune times. Pilots miss many important days in the lives of our families. I have missed school events, baseball games, holidays, birthday parties, family reunions, etc. Our families have to be very understanding as holidays are the busiest time of the year for air travel.

In addition, the airline industry is risky business. The last decade airline employees have been hit hard as companies have struggled. September 11, 2001, kicked it off. Then the economic downtown, the war in Iraq, and the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots changing from age 60 to 65 wreaked havoc on pilots’ career progression. Suddenly pilots were standing on street corners begging for jobs and most had student loans. The glut of well qualified pilots paired with fewer jobs available left many having to go back to school and change careers. Others have held on, but career progression has been relatively stagnant and incomes have been frozen at very low wages. The good news; however, is that the next decade should be an opportune time as airlines are experiencing difficulty in staffing their organizations with well-qualified pilots. In my opinion, this will put upward pressure on wages as it is simply a function of “supply and demand.” If anyone has dreams of becoming airline pilots, I personally believe now is an opportune time to pursue the career.

5. What makes a good pilot?

First, great airline pilots are “people” persons. They should have a general appreciation for all types of people and be able to adapt to them. We come into contact with many people from many different backgrounds and parts of this world. As pilots, we need to be able to appreciate these differences in people so that we can work well together.

In addition to this, pilots must be people that pay attention to detail. Whether reading weather reports or information about aircraft performance, we must be able to catch these details and make adjustments to ensure the highest level of safety at all times.

Also, good pilots are people that are able to stay calm under pressure. Although we are well-trained, nothing can prepare you for the real emergency that may be encountered at any given time during a flight. Good decisions are made by people that stay calm.

Q: What advice can you give to someone who would like becoming a commercial pilot?

A: My advice for someone pursuing a career in aviation is to get a college degree in something else that interests you. While you are working on that degree, begin working on your licenses. Most airlines require a college degree but really do not have preference on type of degree. As I stated earlier, an aviation career can be risky and this would give you a backup plan.

Multiple sources of income are the key to any type of stability in today’s career environment. One advantage of aviation is that you do have some time to supplement your income with other ventures and I highly recommend that you do that. Whether it be in landscaping, building cabinets, rehabbing or building homes, there are many other industries in which you could supplement your income. It is also something to fall back on if there should be hiccups in your aviation career from a downturn in the industry. I have always been thankful that I had different sources of income!

To recommend someone for this feature, call Jill Phillips at (317) 444-6246 or email her at Follow her on Twitter: @JillPhillips05.

More about Jeff Rouse

Age: 44.

Title: Captain and chief pilot at Republic Airlines

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky. He flight certifications from the Flight Safety Academy.

Prior: He previously worked for Mid America Jet in Owensboro, Ky. Prior to that, he worked in the banking industry.

Favorite Quote: “To Add Growth, Lead Followers-To Multiply, Lead Leaders”-John Maxwell

Article source:

3rd Annual Woodland Water-Wise Landscape Tour offers money-saving ideas

There isn’t that much heather at the home of Andy and Vivian Walker on Heather Place in Woodland, but their front yard is still a mix of native and exotic plants that pulls in bees and hummingbirds.

The Walker’s residence was one of 10 stops on the City of Woodland’s third free Water-Wise Landscape Tour Saturday, offered to explore attractive, water-efficient landscapes.

“Water-wise landscapes not only reduce water consumption and reduce potential of pollution discharges into the storm water system, they can also beautify a home, lower maintenance, and provide welcome habitat for beneficial insects and birds,” according to Wayne Blanchard, water conservation coordinator for the city’s Public Works Department.

The Walker’s agreed.

Andy, a professor of viticulture at UC Davis, said the front yard of their home on the quiet cul de sac has gone through many iterations over the past decades, but its present mix is both attractive and water smart.

The couple have lived in the home for 24 years, and Andy said there was no definitive plan on how to go about building the yard itself.

“It’s been a lot of work, and I’ll work on it now every couple of months, putting in little bits and pieces,” Walker explained as people started arriving to check out the home.

There were around 100 people who signed up for the tour this year, about the same as in previous years, city officials explained.

“During warm weather months residential customers with traditional lawn landscapes allocate, sometimes unknowingly, about 50 percent of their water use to landscape irrigation,” Blanchard said earlier as a reason for the tour. “A properly designed water-wise landscape can easily cut outdoor water consumption in half during those warm months.”

The Walker’s home was one of 10 sites to be visited. The example landscapes represented a wide variety of settings, approaches and features, including an excellent before-and-after example at 829 Lewis Ave., where owner Sandra Jennings-Jones was able to work around an existing redwood tree and a birch tree grove in this medium-sized front yard.

The landscaping incorporated a dry creek bed to reduce runoff, a flagstone walkway, mounded plantings of drought-tolerant plants, and a seating area for enjoying the results.

Jennings-Jones said, “After installing a water-wise garden, I spend less time maintaining the yard and more time enjoying the view.”

Blanchard said the inspiration for the tour came from residents’ interest in learning first-hand about successful water-wise landscaping in Woodland, including plant selections, designs and landscaping techniques.

Andy Walker, who noted that this was the second time the home was featured, said he loves plants. But he also offered that the “tricky part” was getting the right plants in place that could compliment one another.

He noted that local wildlife seem to enjoy the front yard. There is a constant stream of bees and hummingbirds, seeking out pollen and nectar from the different species of plants.

The homes were selected over the past year by a city intern, who does code enforcement work to make sure people are not overwatering their yards. If the intern spots a “water-wise” home, an invitation will be made to be part of an upcoming tour.

Blanchard said the program is expected to continue.

“We plan on offering this series again in 2015,” he said earlier. “The workshop has been well received the last three years and allows those on the verge of doing this sort of transformation an opportunity to study issues in more depth.”

The self-guided tour continued until early afternoon, and demonstrated how homeowners often removed existing plant material, prepared the sites, addressed challenges and set up irrigation systems.

Homeowners volunteers with Yolo County Master Gardener Program served as tour guides.

Article source:

Living History Home and Garden Tour – State

The eighth annual Living in History Home and Garden Tour, sponsored by The Garden Club of Frankfort and the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism Commission, will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.

Also included in the day’s events are a luncheon, and a boutique and antique appraisal fair, at the Frankfort Country Club. The luncheon is from 11-2 and the boutique and antique appraisal from 10-3.

The proceeds from these three events go to help fund Frankfort beautification projects, such as the Wilkinson Boulevard median improvements and the Frankfort Cemetery Chapel.

Tickets for the tour of homes and gardens are $15 and the lunch is $15. They are available at any of the homes, the country club, or at the Frankfort Tourism Center.

Here’s a look at the homes and gardens on the tour.

301 West Third Street

Susan Turner’s Queen-Anne-style home was built in 1892. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is two and a half stories with a mix of clapboard and shingle siding. The property is known locally as The Jillson House.

Jillson was director of the Kentucky Geological Survey in the 1920s and ’30s and served as the first commissioner of Kentucky State Parks.

As a geologist and historian he wrote more than 60 books and 500 articles — many of them while working from his office in the attic of this home. There is still to be seen the original elaborately carved oak woodwork said to have been produced in Battlecreek, Mich., and shipped by boat to Frankfort. It includes massive oak doors, coal-burning fireplaces and many stained glass panels original to the home. 

115 Shelby Street

Susan Coblin’s two-and-a-half story weatherboard Colonial Revival-style home is on a tree-lined street along the Kentucky River. Flooded repeatedly in the past it is now protected by a floodwall. The family presently living here represents the fifth generation in residence and the many flood stories have become a part of the family tradition.

The home is bright and airy with many windows and a spacious floor plan. The current owner’s grandfather was an architect and had a special fondness for stonework and arches. One of the unique features in the home is his design of the freestanding fireplace in the family room.

The walls are adorned with paintings from well-known local artists as well as family members. Visitors will also be interested in studying the landscaping blueprint plan for the back garden as it begins to take shape.

3 Weehawken

Marcey and John Paul Broderson’s home is located in a secluded cul-de-sac just outside the entrance to the Frankfort Country Club. This small neighborhood of homes is on land once part of a large estate known as Weehawken.

The Brodersons’ traditional American-style brick ranch was built by Lawrence W. Wetherby, governor of Kentucky from l950 to 1955. When his term expired he had this house built for his family. The current owners also moved into the house after they retired from active careers.

Visitors will view from the glass-enclosed porch the playhouse for the grandchildren, a fishpond with Koi, beehives and a variety of plants that attest to the owners’ interest in nature and the environment. 

103 Hay Avenue

Don Yancey has been gardening at his home for 25 years. His backyard landscape reflects his enthusiasm for growing things and creating welcoming spaces. Visitors will follow a path leading them past white trellises decorated with a selection of clematis and through a gate into a charming world of color and variety.

The centerpiece is a large Koi pond fed by rainwater that is brought from the home’s gutter and downspout system to a fountain and then channeled under a small bridge to finally arrive at the pond. The many containers accenting the separate areas utilize begonias, mandevillas and other flowering annuals to bloom all summer while the flowering focus of the perennial beds varies from week to week.

503 Murray Street

Marie and Bill Cull’s home in the South Frankfort Historic District was originally built by Circuit Judge Ben G. Williams in 1905. That home was in the Queen Anne style and was three stories.

It burned in 1933 and was restored to a one-story Colonial revival home after a complete redesign by Leo Oberwarth Architects. The four tall chimneys remain as a reminder of the height of the original home. Since they’ve owned the home the Culls have, among other things, opened the second floor, enlarged the kitchen, enclosed the sleeping porch, added a deck and continued the gardening efforts of previous owners.

221-223 St. Clair Street

Amy and Craig Potts purchased the Duvall Building in 2010. This commercial building was constructed in 1889 in the Italianate style. The building’s façade retains many of the hallmarks of Italianate design including a bracketed cornice with decorative pediment, ornate window hoods and one largely intact storefront with period details such as prismatic glass transom windows.

The upstairs had been the offices of the public defender for a long time. In the rehabilitation those offices were moved to the first floor and the upstairs was redesigned into a spacious two-bedroom residence for a family of four.

The results are a marvel of ingenuity, artistry and practicality reflecting the owners’ vision. Features include an open concept living room and kitchen, a rear porch addition and rooftop gathering space, hardwood and marble floors, decorative trim work and 9-foot façade windows that provide outstanding views of the Franklin County Courthouse.

Period details have been preserved as part of a thoroughly modern reinterpretation of space that accommodates modern living with the convenience of urban life.

505 Murray Street

The imposing home of Brig. Gen. (ret.) Jim and Stacey Shane was built in 1905 by Cornelius E. Collins, a co-owner with a brother of a saloon and hardware store in downtown Frankfort. Located about two blocks from the Governor’s Mansion, its backyard overlooks the Kentucky River and has a view of the Frankfort Cemetery.

The old home was left vacant for several years until 1988 when it was purchased by David and Sharma Klee. The new owners undertook a monumental restoration effort to renovate it back to its original state. Large, multiple porches, high paneled ceilings, wooden pocket doors and spacious rooms all speak of the designs popular in the early 1900s.

100 Old Georgetown Road

Andrea and Mike Mueller’s home is on 20 acres of land that originally belonged to one of the owners’ grandparents. The current owners maintain their business (Inside Out Landscape Hardscape Design) as well as their home here. The business itself is part of the family legacy as the owner is the daughter of Charlie Wilson, who started Wilson Nurseries more than 30 years ago.

The split-level contemporary home, landscape and nearby office building reflect the owners’ commitment to the philosophy of sustainability and attention to the environment. The home features concrete floors, high ceilings and soaring windows. The use of natural materials such as cork, maple, beech, walnut and cherry wood give the interior a feeling of warmth.

The earth-berm office building features a vegetative roof, solar panels, geothermal heating and reclaimed and repurposed interior furnishings. Outside, young plantings of native grasses, perennials, sedums, and succulents, provide a natural, yet modern landscape.

The driveway is of permeable pavers. There is also a green-roofed hen house, a small section of raised vegetable beds and an establishing blackberry and grape tunnel as the family works to provide their own food.

Article source:

East Campus area garden tour and outdoor classroom

Several gardens will be open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. as part of the East Campus Community Organization (ECCO) tour.

The 1.7-mile loop through the neighborhood features seven home gardens and the Varner Trial Nursery.

In addition to that, there will be outdoor 30-minute classes with Master Gardeners at 1420 N. 37th St. If it’s rainy the sessions will move indoors to the garage.

Times and class topics are:

* 9:30 a.m. Composting for a healthier garden

* 10:30 a.m. Making amazing container gardens

* 11:30 a.m. Perennial selections for your yard

* 12:30 p.m. Tree care

The $5 fee for the tour and classes will be used for tree planting in the neighborhood. Tickets can be purchased at any stop on the tour.

The sites are:

Varner Trial Nursery, 3835 Holdrege St. — This site has been used by UNL Landscape Services as a perennial plant trial area for over 25 years. The nursery is also used as an educational tool for UNL students and the general public. All the plants are labeled and arranged in easily accessible rows.

Paul and Sherri Johnson, The Johnson Guest House, 4027 Holdrege St. — Built in 1918, it was purchased by the Johnsons in 2009. Landscaping was included in the renovation project. The front garden area incorporates a rain garden. The landscape design emphasizes low-maintenance native grasses drought-tolerant plants. Wood mulch is used to reduce weeds and water loss. Landscape boulders that were unearthed from previous owners’ landscaping are reused as borders. The back yard was regraded for proper drainage and reseeded with low-maintenance turf grasses.

Janet Buck and Roger Hansen, 4105 Y St. — Purchased by the Hansens in 2003, the second lot of the property contained only grass, a peony bush and a clump of yucca. The emphasis is on native perennials; herbs and vegetables are interspersed. There also have some fruits, including rhubarb, strawberries and black raspberries. One of the newest areas of the yard is west of the house, where they have planted nut and fruit-bearing shrubs and trees: hazelnuts, gooseberries and an elderberry.

Sue and Larry Dawson, 3750 W St. — In 1998, the family moved into the house at 38th and W streets, where Larry Dawson grew up. In 2011, after losing a maple tree in the front yard, they planted mostly native plants. The yard is a Monarch Waystation and a Pollinator Habitat, with several kinds of milkweeds for the caterpillars. Only organic fertilizers and no pesticides are used in the flowerbeds.

Shirley Anderson, 3710 W St. — The home was purchased in 1992, in part, because of the large trees and birds in the neighborhood. A bald cypress, Japanese mountain ash, magnolia and redbud are in the front garden. There are nine separate small gardens in the front. Grass has been replaced by flowers over time, and a recent count of 40 different flowers bloom at their appointed time. There are three treehouses in the backyard.

Lora Black, 1221 N. 37th St. — In the south garden are plants that attract butterflies and bees. Black Knight buddleia and the Miss Kim lilacs and lantana attract swallowtails and monarchs. Past the arbor at the back of the house, columnar yews stand as a living fence on the back lot line, allowing for nesting and hiding locations for birds and squirrels. Fruit shrubs, such as the black chokeberry and the porcelain berry vine on the gazebo, also provide food for the wildlife. Lilacs, purple spirea, Red Cardinal and Purple Weigela, and a smoke tree make up the natural fence on the west.

Lynn Frankowski and Mark Lynott, 1231 N. 37th St. — Since 1989, the owners have shifted from largely bluegrass lawns to a variety of different shrubs, trees and perennials that are waterwise, can withstand harsh Nebraska weather and provide food, water and shelter for wildlife. The garden is also designed in cooperation with the neighbors on the north and south and is intended to flow between the different yards.

Susan Nichols, 1245 N. 37th St. — Most of the plants have come from friends and neighbors. The lot is surrounded by large shade trees, so you will see hostas, ferns, heuchera, Solomon seal, hellebore, bleeding heart, brunnera, and columbine. Ground covers include vinca, lamb’s ear, sweet woodruff, ivy, pachysandra, ajuga, wild ginger and liriope. The shrubs in the front of the house are boxwood and dwarf oakleaf hydrangea. The garden west of the fence in the back started out as a sun garden, but is now shade.

Article source:

Healing Garden back in top form for summer

SANDPOINT — You’ll find them wandering quietly around just after sunrise, when the sun pours over the Cabinet Mountains and begins to bathe the pathways in light.

Their minds are elsewhere, but their hearts are as surely rooted in this place as the flowers and trees that thrive here.

They come because of the beauty and the sweet memories it evokes. Mostly, though, they come for the healing.

“That’s why we built the garden, to give people a place to walk around or just sit and reflect,” said Linda Plaster, one of the volunteer committee members who care for the Healing Garden at Bonner General Health. “It’s such a peaceful place. So many people tell us that they feel the spirit here.”

Now 12 years old, the gardens have matured to the point where trees have to be relocated and, in the case of the centerpiece waterfall, major repairs have had to be made. The water feature, which dominates the top of the gardens and spills into a stream that meanders downhill toward Sand Creek, was riddled with problems last fall when Dave and Tom Bangle of Sandpoint Power Pump came to the rescue.

“Dave was really grateful for the Healing Garden,” said Plaster, adding that Bonner Community Hospice had cared for his wife. “He looked at the waterfall and said, ‘We can fix that.’ And they took care of it all winter.”

Supported by a $7,500 grant from TransCanada Corp., the Bangles volunteered their time this spring to do major renovations to the water feature.

“Now, they’ve added a big, 5-foot well at the bottom to hold enough water to pump all the way back to the top,” said Plaster.

The volunteer effort also included the help of Chris Scarlett of Aspen Ridge Landscaping in Clark Fork, who jumped in to get the stream running again. The Home Depot joined in the cause when it called out of the blue to donate almost three tons of pebbles for the streambed.

Such donations have kept the Healing Garden alive from the beginning, according to Plaster. When the gardens were still in the planning stages, Bonner General Health CEO Sheryl Rickard pledged a loan for the initial construction costs, which was paid back through community donations within two years.

TransCanada was a major donor in those early stages, providing $25,000 to get the gardens up and running. Coldwater Creek, too, weighed in heavily for the project’s success, donating $10,000 to help cover construction and landscaping costs.

“We haven’t forgotten Coldwater Creek,” said Plaster. “We’re so grateful to them and we’re going to miss them in every way you can think of.”

The loss of Coldwater Creek as a large employer and a generous donor to local organizations leaves a gap in the funding network, but with smaller companies like Sandpoint Power Pump and Aspen Ridge Landscaping stepping up, the Healing Garden has managed to keep growing. Add to that the support from larger firms such as TransCanada and the future still has a rosy glow for the project.

“It’s the community that has supported us and given us the money that allowed us to carry on,” the committee member said.

It would be easy to point out that Linda’s son, John Plaster, is the Northern Area Manager for TransCanada and come to the conclusion that the Healing Garden benefits from that familial connection. The truth, however, is that TransCanada has been spreading its largesse far and wide in the community for years now, including buying library books for Northside and Southside elementary schools, purchasing emergency equipment for first responder departments in North Idaho, donating to the construction fund for the Hall Mountain Fire Department, funding Bull Trout restoration through Idaho Fish Game, sending checks to the Bonner Community Food Bank and providing financial support for events such as the Long Bridge Swim and the Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club Fishing Derby.

“Our organization and our employees feel very strongly about being active, positive members of the communities we live and work within,” John Plaster said. “There is nothing better than being in a position to give back to the people and communities that partner in helping you be successful — this is our opportunity to make a difference.”

Recognition of the garden’s importance doesn’t stop with grant monies and local support. In a Northwest regional competition for the Sonoma Award, the Healing Garden at Bonner General Health became the only entry ever to receive a unanimous vote for approval when that committee gave it the award a couple of years ago.

“We were in the running with some amazing projects, including Philipsburg, Mont., where they completely redid their whole town,” Linda Plaster said.

Along with the rose gardens, flowerbeds and trees that line the walkways of the Healing Garden, the space is dotted with whimsical sculptures by area artists. The most recent, unveiled last Saturday, is called Marsha the Magnificent Monarch – a 5-foot, painted wood Monarch butterfly sculpture in the Children’s Garden, placed there in the memory of Marsha Ogilvie, former Sandpoint mayor and founder of community mainstays such as Kinderhaven and the Women of Wisdom group.

“Our garden art is just a delight to people,” Plaster said. “That’s what we wanted to create — all of this beauty that smells good and then, you turn a corner and find something that puts a smile on your face.”

Keeping the gardens in good shape — never mind the unexpected costs of major repairs — runs about $20,000 a year. Committee members remain confident that community support will keep the money flowing in to cover that amount. A bigger concern, they say, is attracting new blood to join them in their all-volunteer mission to keep up a space that now touches the hearts of so many.

“We’re planning for the future and looking for volunteers who are going to keep it going when us old gals are gone,” joked Plaster, who pointed out that the current committee members were in their 50s and 60s when the gardens got their start 12 years ago.

“We’re always looking for young people who have a passion for gardens and for making life better for other people.”

To learn more about the Healing Garden at Bonner General Health or to volunteer in the gardens, contact Linda Plaster at (208) 290-6929

For those who haven’t yet visited the space, a video tour by master landscaper, musician and videographer Dan Eskelson can be viewed online at:

Article source:

Tips from Toby: It’s not too late to get gardening with your kids

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Have you seen the prices of vegetables lately? I guarantee when you grow vegetables yourself, you won’t have to pay that much and they’re going to taste a whole lot better! Here’s a great way to let your kids play in the dirt and develop some tasty knowledge all at the same time.

“Once they plant the seed, yeah they’re really willing to try it,” said Keith Farrand of Farrand Farms Greenhouse. “Things that you’d put on their plate, maybe not. But the great experience is watching the plant grow and produce food. That’s what makes it fun.”

Farrand says the biggest mistake people make is forgetting that their herbs, fruits and veggies need to be fed too.

“If you’re using liquids, fertilize a lot more often because water dilutes it more quickly than you might think. Granulars, once we very six weeks.”

We all know what we can do with some delicious strawberries. Or you can plant some fantastic herbs, beautiful flowers, tomatoes, peppers and much more. You’ll be saving on grocery bills and introducing some new flavors to your menu!

“Kids and family, that’s essential. Kids today don’t know where food comes from other than the grocery store. When they’re four to ten years old, they love to play in the soil and help Mom, help Dad and help Grandma or Grandpa.”

The plants you can buy through local nurseries are tested to perform better in our local climate, plus they are grown locally. Instead of doing all the work of starting from seed, they’ve done the tough stuff for you. That means you will be enjoying great flavors and all you need are just a few pots, some good quality soil, a little feeding T.L.C. and some sunshine and you might actually get those little ones to enjoy eating their veggies and a whole lot more!

I just love buying from local growers. You’re going to get better quality, better service and better results.

Article source:

Melinda Myers’ tips for making your own garden paradise in a pot

Published June 7, 2014 at 11:06 a.m.

Create a backyard escape with the help of container gardens. Whether you’re looking for a visit to the desert, an English garden or tropical paradise, a few planters can help create the mood.

Reduce your workload and increase your enjoyment with a bit of planning and proper planting.

Select a container with drainage holes, as well as one that mimics the color and feel of the location you are trying to recreate. Use troughs, stone or other containers made from neutral colors when growing succulents. The container should complement, but not overpower, the simple beauty of the desert plants.

If you’re going for a more tropical feel, keep things warm and natural. Wicker, bamboo and other natural materials work well with the lush foliage and vibrant colors of tropical plants.

On the other hand, when creating an English cottage setting, add a few terra cotta, metal and basket type containers. Set them on your patio, steps or in the garden to create a focal point.

Keep your plants looking good throughout the season with the proper planting mix. Look for potting mixes with good drainage and water holding abilities, like Schultz Potting Soil Plus ( Check the label as some mixes contain enough fertilizer to last the entire season and water-retaining crystals to reduce the need to water.

To provide the perfect growing conditions for cacti and succulents, use a cactus mix. The potting mix should retain the moisture and nutrients the plants need while also providing the excellent drainage that is a must for these plants.

Plant any orchids added to your backyard tropical paradise in a potting mix designed for these plants. Use an orchid mix that has excellent drainage and aeration, yet retains the moisture and nutrients these beauties need to thrive.

Check your planters daily and water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. Allow cacti and succulents to go a bit drier.

Mulch the soil in tropical, herb, vegetable and annual container gardens. Spread a thin layer of shredded leaves, evergreen needles or twice shredded bark over the soil surface. Use fine pebbles for cacti and succulents that like things hot and dry.

And don’t forget about garden accents. A wattle fence and arbor of twigs and branches work well for an English garden setting, while a water feature can enhance a tropical paradise themed garden. Meanwhile, some southwest garden art can complete the desert scene you’re going for.

So start your vacation this year with a trip to the garden center. Invest in a few containers, the right potting mix and plants. Then plant your way to the retreat of your dreams.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hostsThe Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site,, offers gardening videos and tips.

Article source:

Nellie Neal offers best tips for summer

June is the test of a gardener’s mettle, not to mention sunscreen and insect repellant. It’s a fine time to harvest some tips from the pros. They’re the hard working folks that keep the markets full of fresh produce all summer long. You can pick up lots of tips to keep your garden going and get ready for the fall garden, or add to your list of reasons not to!

As Rick Snyder says, “Summer gardening is all about water and fertilizer. The plants need both to keep growing in the heat of July and August.”

Snyder is professor and vegetable specialist with Mississippi State University Extension Service based at MSU’s Truck Crops Branch Experiment Station in Crystal Springs. He should know, based on his extensive experience growing the huge vegetable plots at the Station.

They are the showpiece of Fall Flower and Garden Fest, held annually in October when about 6,000 guests visit in two days. A trial garden which includes All America Selections (seeds) and Mississippi Medallion plants, the Experiment Station puts hundreds of varieties to the test.

Planting everything from radishes to tomatoes and broccoli to beans is not ever easy, but starting them all in summer? Meet me at the Fest this October — I’ll be doing a program both days and signing books. It’s free and you’ll learn a lot.

To bring water to any garden space efficiently can be a challenge if you rely on traditional hoses and sprinklers alone. If you water vegetable plants in beds or pots by hand, take more time. The plants are larger and dry out faster, but a hose with a fan spray or other water breaker attached can do the job.

Stand over each plant with water raining steadily over it and count to 20 before moving on to the next plant. Ideally, plants in beds will be surrounded but water will soak in almost immediately. In pots, this process should fill a 15-gallon pot once and almost top it again. If not, slow your counting. Farmers use more drip irrigation these days, and simple do-it-yourself systems are widely available.

The insect populations build up to fever pitch in July, and so can fungus diseases if the weather is rainy. Growers who use hoop structures covered in plastic during the winter often replace that plastic with shade cloth for summer growing. The shade cuts down on the sun’s rays by 30 percent or more and excludes flying insects, birds and mammals. In the home garden, a lower-profile hoop covered with window screen works for the same purpose and can be built from plastic pipe attached to a 2×4 frame with staples.

Leave spaces for access at each end and in the middle; tuck those closed when not in use. As the plants outgrow a low hoop, keep a close eye on them for signs of trouble — pale leaves, holes or shredded sections. Some gardeners spray regularly to combat aphids and flea beetles that attack eggplant and tomato plants. Others, like me, pay children to pluck off the 2-inch long tomato ‘worms’ that can devour a branch overnight.

Ray Tyler of Rose Creek Farms markets his produce in Tennessee and north Mississippi. “I have a 2-acre orchard, and an acre of intense close space planting. We have one greenhouse and 1 unheated high tunnel that we use year round,” he says, before listing summer’s usual harvest: tomatoes, peppers, cukes, squash, zucchini, raspberries, blueberries, plums, peaches, basil, potatoes, and kale. In the next two months, he’ll be planting many of these crops again, plus lettuce and greens, a variety of herbs and gourds for fall decorating. You can, too, which is good to know after such a trying winter and spring.

Tyler grows organically, but his biggest challenges are the same as every grower’s: bugs and weeds. His approach is to prevent them, as by using the high tunnel. But for those who want to start a garden, he advises one of my favorite ideas, solarization. Tyler explains, “Till up a plot of garden space, soak it until very wet, then lay a piece of clear plastic (6 ml). Seal the ends with dirt and let it cook for four to six weeks. The soil will cook to 160 degrees and (that) will kill all weed seeds and any soil diseases in that area for a few years, with the exception of Johnson grass.” He advises turning the hogs loose to eat the Johnson grass, but you’ll probably want to dig it out.

“Garden Mama” Nellie Neal is a garden writer, photographer and radio host. Reach her at

Article source:

Plant ‘A Garden to Dye For” with tips from garden expert, Chris McLaughlin – The Grand Rapids Press

Crafters who want to harvest natural dyeing materials straight from their yards can learn how by reading “A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers” by garden expert Chris McLaughlin. 

Artists and crafters tending flower or vegetable gardens can harvest so much more than blooms and veggies this summer. We can harvest color, folks – and lots of it.

In her new book, “A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers,” (142 pages, $17.95) California garden expert Chris McLaughlin takes a gardener’s approach to natural dyeing. And while I’ve experimented a bit with natural dyeing methods outlined in dyeing books written for fiber artists, I appreciate McLaughlin’s low-key approach.

“As a hand spinner I’m aware of all the dye books,” said McLaughlin, 50, adding that she was surprised to find out that her gardening colleagues were “not using the plants in this way.”

And because she knows that gardeners are always looking for more reasons to grow things, she decide to explore natural dyeing from a gardener’s perspective.

“I thought I’d like to bridge that gap between these fiber artists knowing all about this already and the gardeners who are actually growing the plants,” she said.

And don’t feel bad if you don’t know all about natural dyeing or gardening. McLaughlin helps readers learn what they need to grow the plants and then dye with them after the harvest.

While other books on the topic tend to be more scientific and a bit more complicated, McLaughlin focuses on outlining the basics from dye material collection to fabric and fiber prep. She then walks readers through the process of heating the plant material to release the color and then transferring that color to silk scarves, yarn and even playdough. She also includes instructions for making watercolor dye paints out of a variety of plant life, including berries, herbs, beets and onion skins.

For those who really get into natural dyeing, McLaughlin’s book including plans for four kinds of dye gardens, including edible and cutting options.

In her new book, “A Garden to Dye For: How to Use Plants from the Garden to Create Natural Colors for Fabrics and Fibers,” California garden expert Chris McLaughlin takes a gardener’s approach to natural dyeing. 

“You don’t have to be be a major gardener to do it,” McLaughlin said. “I just wrote it from the heart of a gardener. We’re the ones who love the plants.”

McLaughlin resides on a five-acre hobby farm where she maintains several gardens and raises a handful of fiber-producing animals, too. Her farm life is the realization of a childhood dream.

“I always laugh because I’m sort of this farmer internally who was brought into this IBM family,” McLaughlin said, about growing up with a traditional backyard and a father who worked for IBM.

But it was in that back yard that McLaughlin caught the gardening bug at age 10 when she decided to dig up seedlings and pot them in bathroom-sized Dixie cups. She loaded the seedlings into her brother’s wagon and sold them door-to-door for 10 cents per plant.

She went on to work for a florist at age 16 and then kept planting gardens when she got a place of her own.

“I got older and started writing about them,” she said.

It was a magazine article she read 20 years ago about using plants to dye Easter eggs that led her to to start experimenting with natural dyes.

Many of the artists and crafters I know are also avid gardeners, so “A Garden to Dye For” is likely to strike a cord with creative types.

McLaughlin recommends dying silk scarves with onion skins or marigold flowers for those looking for a satisfying first foray into natural dyeing.

Keep in mind that spent marigolds can be deadheaded and collected for dyeing, so there’s no need to waste colorful blooms. Likewise onion skins are readily available at your local grocery store. (Ask before you start collecting, but chances are good that most produce managers will be okay with you helping them clear out the onion skins that are otherwise discarded.)

McLaughlin also covers how to dye with coffee and tea bags that you can collect and freeze until you have enough to create a colorful dye bath.

“The experiments never end,” she said. “There’s just so much to dye.”

Email Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood at or send story ideas to P.O. Box 888192, Grand Rapids, MI 49588. Read Jennifer’s blog at Follow @CraftSanity on Twitter and Instagram and check out the latest edition of CraftSanity Magazine available for download at

Article source: