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Archives for June 19, 2014

Everything for your best summer ever at Sawyer Garden Center

Summer is lush and wonderful at Sawyer Garden Center, where it’s one stop for all the fun accents and flavors for the season.

Every day during the local growing season, owner Barry Patejdl goes in search of the fresh-from-the-farm fruits and produce from southwestern Michigan’s local growers. “The selection is awesome,” says Sawyer Garden Center’s Meagen McReynolds. “We really work hard to have all the local produce that’s available.”

Aisle after aisle is a treat of crisp produce, plump tomatoes—all the nutritious and mouth-watering abundance of Michigan’s vigorous agriculture.

Browse the bakery section for decadent and delicious gourmet items, like the Elegant Farmer pies, baked in a brown paper bag and packaged fresh into boxes ready for you to serve to delighted family and guests. “The pies are phenomenal,” says McReynolds, adding they can be frozen upon request, for you to pop into the oven at home. Popular Bit of Swiss breads in several varieties are delivered fresh daily.

Grilling gets more fun when you select gourmet spices and specialty jarred sauces to ramp up the flavor profiles of your favorite dishes. Then try to decide amongst the luscious cheeses and snacking foods for truly tasteful appetizers. Kitchen gadgets for every task and exciting colors make kitchen duty a pleasure, from handy small fruit hullers to cooking helpers you can really get a grip on. They fill a whole room, along with colorful dinnerware and cookware to meet your every cooking need.

The greenhouse is bursting with flowers, foliage, shrubs and trees to fulfill your sweetest visions of a welcoming landscape. Our newly expanded Nursery Section carries unique nursery stock to make your landscaping project stand out as truly your own. Sawyer Garden Center continues to have one of the largest selections in the region, and our gardening experts are always happy to help you with questions and ideas. We stock everything you need in garden supplies to keep your lawn and garden looking their best. You’ll also find art and whimsy in decorative garden statuary, wind chimes, and more. Brighten patios and sun rooms with colorful home accents and add a glow with almost any fragrance and color you can imagine in candles.

Planning convivial gatherings is fun when you can browse an entire room of 450 different wines and intriguing craft beers. You’re welcome to join us for our weekend wine tastings, a great way to sample and choose your favorites.

You’ll want to return to Sawyer Garden Center again and again for gift items—unique treasures friends and family won’t find just anywhere.

Come to Sawyer Garden Center for the fun of it and leave happy and ready for your best summer ever!

Sawyer Garden Center

5865 Sawyer Rd

Sawyer, Mich.


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Garden Walk scheduled for June 22

Now in its 22nd year, The Garden Walk is a great opportunity for the public to see how their neighbors have landscaped their homes and also support Theatre West.

Judy Chaloupka, who started the Theatre West summer reparatory program 25 years ago, thought a Garden Walk would be a great idea to support the program. And it’s grown into their major fundraising program during the summer.

This year’s co-chairs are Mary Winn and Becki Thomlison, both of Gering. Becki’s home was featured in one of the event’s early years.

“It’s grown a lot over the years,” Becki said. “One of the years when we were on the Garden Walk, we had more than 300 people visit.”

During the summer months, Garden Walk members watch for Golden Spade winners, listen to recommendations and look at yards that might work for next year’s event.

The 2014 Garden Walk is scheduled for Sunday, June 22 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. The self-guided tour showcases six homes in Scottsbluff and Gering.

“There are large yards, small yards and unique yards so people can get ideas for their own landscaping projects,” Becki said. “We’re looking for yards where the homeowners have done most of the work themselves. That way, they can share their experience with visitors.”

Garden Walk tickets are available at Total Landscape Concepts, ABC Nursery and the Emporium in Scottsbluff, Gering Garden Center and Great Gardens in Torrington, Wyo. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 on Sunday at the garden sites.

Included with tickets is a map showing all the garden sites, so people can start and end their tour where they choose.

Tickets also contain seven forms for prize drawings and people can deposit their entries at any of the garden sites. Some of the prizeS include a Fairy Garden, gift cards and baskets and rose food. The ticket also includes a $5 coupon for lunch at the Emporium.

“People love the Garden Walk,” Mary said. “People who enjoy gardening are always looking forward to the event.”

Also, the event is popular with the garden centers because they can find out what people like, from plants to lawn ornaments – and they can order more of what people want. One example is yard art, which wasn’t very popular 15 years ago, but has made a big comeback in recent years.

“Everyone has their own unique style of decorating their yards,” Becki said. “A lot of men are now coming on the Garden Walk to get ideas for sheds, fences and man cave ideas.”

Scottsbluff residences featured in this year’s Garden Walk are the homes of Ryan and Tracie Barrett, Karen Helling and Jim and Deb Smith. Featured Gering homes are Roger and Ruth Beitel, Tom and Mary Winn and Paul and Jana Richard.

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New Schaeffer festival to feature The Roots, 2 ‘American Idol’ winners at … – The Huntsville Times

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — More changes are in the works for the annual music festival formerly known as the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil

Organizer Jack Schaeffer today announced a new name for the July 26 event — Schaeffer Eye Center CityFest — and said he’ll move the festival from downtown Birmingham to Railroad Park in Southside. 

Schaeffer also confirmed The Roots as the music headliner for the single stage. Birmingham’s two “American Idol” winners, Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard, are on the lineup, as well. 

“This event is about our city and our people,” Schaeffer said during a phone interview. “I want to make this look and feel like Birmingham.”

The free, daylong festival will stretch across the 19-acre park, which runs along First Avenue South between 14th and 18th streets. CityFest will combine live music with four other components: food trucks and vendors, a Beerfest with craft brews, an artists’ marketplace and a children’s zone. 

“This festival is not just about music anymore,” Schaeffer said. “It’s really a showcase of what’s happening in Birmingham.” 

Previously, Schaeffer had intended to morph the venerable Crawfish Boil into an event called Uptown Live, setting up shop in the entertainment district near the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex.

His ideas for the new festival stayed the same, Schaeffer said, but the location needed to switch, partly because the BJCC is busy with three other events that weekend. The “American Idol” Season 13 tour stops at the BJCC Concert Hall on July 26, bracketed by two other shows featuring Tank (July 25) and Steely Dan (July 27). 

“I thought it would be too much chaos,” Schaeffer said. “This opened up the opportunity for us to have it at Railroad Park.”

The Crawfish Boil actually has ties to Railroad Park, and Schaeffer said the park was designed to accommodate a festival like this one.

“We’re extremely excited that we’re back at the park,” he said, pointing to the Boil’s five-year tenure in that location. 

The Crawfish Boil, founded in 1985, went through several incarnations and location changes during its 28-year history. From 2003 to 2007, the festival settled into an empty lot at First Avenue South and 18th Street. This area later would be transformed into Railroad Park. 

Schaeffer’s festival moved in 2008 to make way for the park’s initial landscaping and construction. The Crawfish Boil found its new home at the BJCC — in a parking lot on Richard Arrington Jr. Boulevard North between 22nd and 24th streets — and stayed there through 2013. 

With CityFest, Schaeffer is hoping for another long run, making a break with the past but maintaining his commitment to an annual festival in Birmingham. 

“Birmingham needs a festival, and everybody knows that,” Schaeffer said. “For Birmingham to grow, we have to keep our youth. When they’re 24 and graduating, deciding where they want to live, we have to give them something to do. We also want to show that Birmingham supports the arts. … Personally, I feel an obligation to the city of Birmingham. As long as people continue to show up at the festival, we will continue to do it.” 

Sticking to the basic blueprint he announced in April, Schaeffer will partner with concert promoter Live Nation and the City of Birmingham for the new CityFest. The lineup isn’t complete; look for one or two more acts with national reputations, Schaeffer said. 

Corporate sponsorships, sales of VIP tickets and food and beverage sales will fund the festival, Schaeffer said. Prices for VIP tickets haven’t been announced, but these passes will include the usual perks, such as separate areas for stage viewing and socializing. 

A nonprofit organization, the Schaeffer Foundation (formerly called the Southern Cultural Heritage Foundation), is linked to CityFest, as it was for the Crawfish Boil. Under Schaeffer’s guidance, the foundation has been a longtime supporter of charities such as Camp Smile-A-Mile. The foundation also partners with Miles College, providing scholarships for students suffering from financial hardships. 

CityFest is likely to take over Railroad Park from about 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. this year, Schaeffer said. The timeline isn’t nailed down yet, but The Roots, as the headliner, will perform a 90-minute show that starts at 9:30 p.m.

Schaeffer estimated the potential crowd size at 10,000-20,000 people. 

“Anything over 10,000 people would be a tremendous success,” he said. “If we have nice weather and people turn out … It should be a magical day in the Magic City.”

More from entertainment reporter Mary Colurso: Features, reviews, columns and news items, November 2006 – present.

More Birmingham entertainment: News and features on music, dining, movies, TV, visual arts, books, living and fashion.

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Farming will replace parking on the Mall

Public Spaces

Farming will replace parking on the Mall

What’s now an ad hoc landscape of parking lots and scruffy lawns could transform into the latest attraction on the National Mall. The US Department of Agriculture is planning to convert its grounds into an outdoor museum of cultivation.

Rendering of the teaching garden and market shelter. Image by OLBN via NCPC.

One hundred years ago, the US Department of Agriculture maintained a world-class arboretum on the Mall. Before the McMillan plan, USDA split the grounds of the National Mall with the the Smithsonian and the Botanic Gardens. Well-loved by local residents, the arboretum was one of Washington’s must-see tourist attractions in the 1890s.

The Arboretum in transition on the National Mall in 1906. The half-finished Whitten Building is at the right.

After a big fight, all that remains from the period is USDA’s headquarters, the James Whitten Building. The 1908 building is the only office building on the Mall. It’s a big monumental edifice that’s closed to the public. It’s surrounded by a motor court, parking lots, and unexciting plantings. It’s a dull spot on “America’s Front Yard.”

That could change if USDA goes ahead with a plan to turn its grounds into a public place of of interpretation and outreach.

The Whitten Building site plan. The Mall is at the top (north). The bottom is Independence Ave. Image by OLBN via NCPC.

Along the Mall, new landscaping by OLBN will make the ceremonial entrance more attractive. On the west side, a garden of heirloom plants for pollinating insects will surround a future memorial to black patriots. On the east side of the building, a new landscaping will expand the demonstration garden added in 2009.

Near the Smithsonian Metro station, the design proposes a market shelter clad in wood and bronze, on axis with the Beaux-arts building. Already, a farmer’s market takes over the eastern parking lot on weekends. With the renovation, the space will become a permanent garden plaza.

Other parking lots along Independence Avenue will be repaved with attractive materials that allow water to percolate into the ground. Over time, the department says it will use these more and more for events like farm equipment display.

Independence Ave. street section, with improvements to keep trees healthy. Image by OLBN via NCPC.

All of the sidewalks will see reconstruction to green public spaces. Stabilized ground, new permeable surfaces, and stormwater retention cells will make growing trees in the area possible again. Along C Street SW, the project will create a timeline of agricultural technologies. A similar exhibit runs around the the Department of Transportation’s headquarters at the Navy Yard.

The security plan. Red is a vehicle barrier built into benches, hedges, and walls. Image by OLBN via NCPC.

The interpretive gardens are one aspect. Security is another reason for the renovation. Thankfully, the design tightly wraps attractive security barriers and fences close to the building. Rather than try to expand the security perimeter by absorbing the city around it, USDA secured a Level IV facility in a way that’s not just friendly, it attracts the right kind of activity.

Washington’s various design review boards have approved the design with minor improvements, specifically, eliminating parking spaces from the formal entrance on the Mall side and adding street trees.

The design is an excellent effort to create an inviting public realm while meeting the needs of federal agencies. Culturally, it brings the bureaucratic mission of the department into contact with the daily life of city folks. As the Southwest Ecodistrict develops and nearby properties change hands, the quality of these spaces will become more and more important to city life.

The USDA knows that biodiversity makes healthier crops than monocultures. This plan shows that USDA understands that the same rules apply to urban spaces. Hopefully, Washington will see more of this line of thought as agencies rebuild.

Neil Flanagan grew up in Ward 3 before graduating from the Yale School of Architecture. He is pursuing an architecture license. He writes on architecture and Russia at цarьchitect

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Summer Solstice Garden Celebration planned at the Kentucky Governor’s Mansion

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — Kentucky’s Governor’s Mansion is celebrating the arrival of summer by spending a day in the garden. The historic home celebrates its centennial this year, and the Summer Solstice Garden Celebration features experts from around the country sharing their insight about gardening, entertaining and food.

Governor’s Mansion executive director Ann Evans and Jon Carloftis from Jon Carloftis Fine Gardens explain the highlights of the events and share some secrets to the beautiful floral decorations inside and outside the mansion.

The Summer SolsSolsticeden Celebration features breakfast and lunch as well as regionally and nationally known experts including Stacy Hirvela, the former Martha Stewart Living Garden Editor and the mansion’s landcape and floral experts.

Attendees may choose any session. Each session repeats four times. Topics covered include floral design, fine gardens, greenhouses, landscaping, tablescapes, edible plants and container gardening.

Summer Solstice Garden Celebration
Saturday, June 21, 2014
9 A.M. TO 4 P.M.
Governor’s Mansion
704 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Tickets are $100 per person for the entire day and can be ordered online.  A portion of the ticket price for this event is tax-deductible as a contribution to the Kentucky Executive Mansions Foundation, Inc.
About the Kentucky Executive Mansion Foundation:

KEMFI joins the Commonwealth in celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Governor’s Mansion. The “people’s house” reached an historic milestone this year, turning 100 years old on January 20. This national landmark has been home to twenty-five Kentucky governors and has served as an impressive setting for welcoming dignitaries from across the globe as well as the citizens of the Commonwealth.

To follow the Kentucky Executive Mansion on Facebook, CLICK HERE.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.

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Moravia Garden Tour June 28

June 19, 2014

Moravia Garden Tour June 28


Ottumwa Courier
The Ottumwa Courier

Thu Jun 19, 2014, 04:38 PM CDT

MORAVIA — The Moravia Area Historical Society will hold the second annual Garden Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 28

The tour will showcase four local homes, each with unique and colorful gardens and landscaping.

Tickets for the tour will be available for a cost at the Depot Museum Complex, 800 W. North St. in Moravia, at 9 a.m. that morning. The various historical structures at the complex will be open for visitors, and a variety of vendors will have booths set up on the grounds as well. All proceeds will be used for restoration and upkeep of the historical buildings.

In addition, the Fall Festival Scholarship committee will sponsor a luncheon, which will be held in the new Fellowship Hall at Grace United Methodist Church on East North Street. Doors will be open the same hours as the Garden Tour. Lunch will be served for a freewill donation, and there will be door prizes. All proceeds from the luncheon will go toward the Miss Moravia Scholarship Fund.

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Tips to keep away ticks and Lyme disease

My son has had Lyme disease twice — serious infections requiring intravenous antibiotics. How can I keep ticks out of my yard? He plays in our wooded lot every day, and I’m at my wit’s end!

Ticks like to hang on branch tips and grab a ride when we brush by. Establish wide paths. Remove non-native invasive plants to encourage a functioning native ecosystem, which includes predators for the white-footed mice that are deer ticks’ main host. Ticks are native and also have native predators, usually insects, that keep their numbers down. Research shows that barberry, a foreign invasive plant used in landscapes but is spreading to parks and woodlands, causes more ticks — especially those carrying Lyme disease. Removing barberry can reduce Lyme-infected ticks by 80 percent. It will also reduce the number of white-footed mice with infected ticks. Keep your lawn mowed, use tick repellent as needed and do tick checks at bedtime. For more resources about ticks and Lyme disease, go to the Home and Garden Information Center website.

I want to put a systemic drench on my roses. Will that harm bees and pollinating insects? Would just spraying a fungicide be better?

Systemic plant products are absorbed into the entire system of the plants, including flowers and pollen. Ingredients in some of these have been implicated as a factor harming bee populations. Check the label for neonicotinoid insecticides such as imidacloprid — they stay in the plant a very long time. Never use pesticides for incidental plant damage. Fungicides were once believed to not harm insects, but the latest research shows that they may have toxic effects on bees. If a fungicide must be used, spray late in the day when pollinators are not as active. There are so many excellent disease- and pest-resistant varieties of plants on the market today, as well as tough native plants, so we recommend replacing problem plants with natives and resistant varieties and avoiding spraying at all.

My vegetable garden is situated so that bad apples and peaches fall into it, along with dying leaves from my cherry tree. I’m afraid they will infect the vegetables. Do I have to pick up all those little fruit and leaves?

Diseases and pests are usually specialists. For example, what infects an apple won’t infect a tomato or squash, so your vegetable garden is safe. However, controlling fruit diseases and insects often requires garden sanitation. This means collecting infected plant material and disposing of it off site. Also, you should contact an expert to help diagnose what is ruining your fruit crop so you can take steps to save it.

University of Maryland Extension’s Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to its website at

Plant of the week

Coral honeysuckle

Lonicera sempervirens

Enjoy hummingbirds sipping nectar from the coral honeysuckle’s tubular flowers after you grow this showy native vine. Clusters of blooms appear in spring and continue for weeks. Each 1- to 2-inch flower blends coral, pink and yellow tones that are fun to match with other flowers. Its blue-green leaves encircle and hug the stems in an interesting way, and red berries add a little late-season bonus. This woody vine is not too heavy to adorn a mailbox. It could also thrive in a trellis in sun or very light shade, as well as in average soils. Don’t confuse it with invasive Japanese honeysuckle. This native beauty is earning more fans all the time.

—Ellen Nibali

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Your Garden Guy: Tips for maintaining healthy azaleas

• It’s time to start pruning azaleas. On larger specimens, try “limbing them up,” by removing the lower branches up to about 4 feet. It creates a great look!

• Check for lacebugs on azaleas. The top of the leaf will have speckling. The underside will appear to have brown dirt on it, which is actually the eggs. Spray with Orthene. Azaleas are a shade shrub; those grown in sun will have more disease and insect problems.

• Do you have stumps from shrubs and trees that keep sprouting? Try this. Remove the growth back to the stump. When new growth appears, spray with Roundup or a similar product formula that is extra strength. Thoroughly cover the leaves with the herbicide. Keep the spray close to the leaves to avoid overspray and death of nearby plants.

• Summer sun can be dangerous! Be sure to use sunscreen with at least an SPF50.

• Hats with a wide brim work well to keep the sun off of your face, neck and ears.

• Look cool and protect your eyes, wear sunglasses.

• Wear light colored clothes. Light colors reflect the sun’s rays, and keep you cooler.

• Drink plenty of fluids while you are working in the garden. Like an athlete, you will perspire. Replace those lost fluids.

Todd Goulding provides residential landscape design and consultations. Contact him online at

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Learn about gardening and design on the Garden Tour – Vashon

Time to put on your sensible walking shoes to stroll through five exceptional landscapes selected for Vashon Allied Arts’ 24th Annual Garden Tour.

The tour, slated for Saturday and Sunday, will feature island gardens plus artwork by island artists. Billed as a feast for the senses, the tour opens the doors to gardens filled with beautiful vistas and fragrant blooming plants that are sure to delight many tour visitors.

Throughout the weekend, specialists will share their gardening expertise at various locations in more than 15 talks . Subjects of the talks include tips on incorporating stones into landscapes, how to create a modern-day stumpery, ways to capture gorgeous flora on film, insights about eating and growing the most nutritious food, information about the birds of Vashon and the art of vertical gardening.

Art exhibited in the gardens will be for sale on-site and include works by David Blad, Brian Brenno, Shannon Buckner, Mary Lynn Buss, Penny Grist, Larry Halvosen, Gunter Reimnitz, Rodger Squirrell and Barbara Wells.

Work by other Vashon and regional artists and craftspeople will be for sale in the Garden Art Market and will include garden sculpture, tile work, glass, soaps, garden tools and more.

Enjoy a weekend full of gardening seminars, music, artwork and of course, the five gardens on this year’s tour.

Jo Robinson and Rick Mellen

Jo Robinson and Rick Mellen’s edible garden offers stunning views of Puget Sound and Mount Rainier. Robinson is the author of The New York Times bestseller “Eating on the Wild Side.” Ten years ago Robinson began researching the phytonutrient content of edible plants and discovered that  many of the fruits and vegetables we eat have low nutritional value. Robinson and Mellen’s garden is a showcase for an impressive collection of some of the Northwest’s most nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables. Robinson’s work has been featured by The New York Times, The Seattle Times, NPR and CBS.

Pat and Walt Riehl

Tour organizers have billed Pat and Walt Riehl’s garden as the “largest privately owned stumpery in the United States, a garden of fairy tale magic, rich in pre-historic plants with oversized leaves and bold textures.” A popular garden design in England from 1840 to 1890, stumperies were brought back in vogue by Prince Charles and his Highgrove Garden. In 2007, British fern expert Martin Rickard designed the Riehls’ 10,000-square-foot ravine garden that features 155 stumps rescued from local construction sites, over 1,000 ferns and 13 tree ferns. The Seattle Times called the Riehls’ stumpery “a deep green curiosity of a place.”

Steve Paschall and Katy Jo Steward

The west-side farmland grounds of Steve Paschall and Katy Jo Steward offer an array of colorful and textural gardens.There is an aromatic, mini lavender farm, an enclosed rose garden with many varieties of roses in bloom and a meandering brook lined with stream-side plants. Other elements include formal gardens surrounding the couple’s residence, a vegetable patch, custom rock walls and a new plunge pool designed by Terry Welch. Trails landscaped with woodland plants lead to the beach along Colvos Passage with views of the Olympic Mountains beyond.

Brad and Lori Kittredge

Tucked behind the Dockton home and art studio of Brad and Lori Kittredge is a peaceful backyard sanctuary. Cobblestone paths, trellises wrapped in wisteria vines, lush beds of local and exotic plants, a wide variety of ornamental shrubs and Japanese maples, and an array of fruits and vegetables fill out the Kittredge gardens. The landscaping and construction were done entirely by the Kittredges over the past 15 years.

Hope and Anthony Bloesch

The hillside gardens of Hope and Anthony Bloesch’s Gypsy Dream Farm include a broad assortment of dahlias, lilies and annuals, many of which are cut to become bouquets sold from their Gypsy Wagon. The farm also has a shaded woodland garden of rhododendrons, Japanese maples and mixed perennials. Originally from Australia, Hope prides herself on breaking gardening rules with her unique and creative arrangements of companion planting in the sloping beds of her garden. She describes Gypsy Dream Farm as an Australian’s interpretation of an English garden in America.

Garden Tour

The Garden Tour runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets, $25, include admission to all gardens and talks on both days. Tickets can be purchased at Vashon Alllied Arts, Heron’s Nest, many island businesses and Complete Garden Tour information is available at

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