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Archives for July 3, 2014

Tips for taking garden photos

Photographing flowers can be as simple as the click of a camera, but a few tips can make those photos really blossom.

“Blurry pictures are the bane of amateur photographers,” said John Keller, Master Gardener and adjunct professor of photography at Doane College.

A shutter speed that is too low and not holding the camera still are the main culprits in blurry photos. Whether you are shooting with a digital camera, a cellphone or a tablet, using a tripod or some other kind of supportive device will keep the camera steady, he said.

Keller has some other tips to create good pictures of flowers:

* Know your flowers. Pay attention to the time of year, the time of day and the length of time a plant blooms. For example, spiderwort flowers open in the morning and close at night; rhododendron bloom for about only one or two weeks in spring.

* If possible, avoid shooting photos outdoors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The bright midday light creates harsh contrast and harsh shadows. Early morning light works beautifully for flower photos, and a cloudy day is ideal.

* Determine the focal point of the photo and crop the photo tight.

* Try photographing flowers from different angles.

* If you are using a digital camera that has different settings, the landscape or vivid setting will produce the best photos of flowers.

* Spraying flowers with water from an atomizer or a small spray bottle will create droplets that can enhance the beauty of the flowers.

Dan Moser, an amateur photographer who enjoys taking photos of flowers in his backyard, has these additional suggestions:

* Keep a camera or smartphone with you at all times when you’re in your yard. You never know when you might come across something worth shooting.

* Don’t let a day go by without wandering around and seeing what’s up. It’s easy to spot a plant in bloom, but sometimes there’s just as much of interest before or after.

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July yard and Garden Tips

Watch out for

• Flowers

Japanese beetles— these pests will defoliate plants in short order. Keep a sharp lookout for them. If you find an infestation, use carbaryl (Sevin, etc.), which is very effective. Observe all label precautions on mixing and use. Do not use dusts due to the problem with application—a spray made using the liquid form of the product will work fine. • Fruits

Fireblight—inspect fruit trees for fireblight. If you had problems with fireblight last year, you will need to spray your blooms this year to prevent the spread. The best defense is a fireblightresistant variety. • Lawns

Lawn diseases— continue watching for problems with brown patch and dollar spot in warm season grasses, especially if you had problems with one of them last year.

Chinch bugs—watch for chinch bugs in your warm season lawn.

White grubs—the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis does a nice job on them, but it does take a little time to build up in the soil.

Mole crickets—inspect warm season lawns for mole crickets this month. Eliminating these critters requires diligent work in June, July, and early August. • Trees and Shrubs

Bag worms—bag worms can kill a tree if it is heavily infested. Inspect your trees periodically. Bagworms seem to like juniper, arborvitae, and pines, but they will attack many broadleaf shrubs and trees such as rose, sycamore, maple, elm, and black locust.. Handpicking light infestations works well; applying the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis will also take care of the problem. • Vegetables

Garden insects— keep an eye out for corn earworm, cucumber beetle, and squash vine borer in the garden.

Blossom end rot— check your tomatoes for blossom end rot on the fruit as it begins to form. This is usually an indication of a calcium deficiency. Place a handful of gypsum (land plaster) in the soil beside the tomato at planting (or later) to prevent this. Foliar sprays such as blossom end rot spray will also help alleviate the problem. Nothing will “heal” the fruit with rot on it, so remove and discard them.

Things to do

• Fruits

Spray fruit trees— continue spraying your fruit trees with a fungicide (Captan, etc.) every 7 to 10 days to provide the beautiful fruit you look forward to. Do not use any insecticides on the trees until less than 10% of the blooms remain—you certainly do not want to hurt your bee pollinators. The fungicide will have no effect on them. After the blooms have fallen, you may begin to also spray malathion insecticide. • Trees and Shrubs

Pruning—now is another good time to prune most trees and shrubs. July and August are the months to prune azalea, dogwood, forsythia, redbud, and rhododendron. They should be pruned after they bloom, but before bloom set in the fall. Oakleaf hydrangea and late-flowering azalea cultivars might also be considered now. Avoid any pruning in the spring and fall if at all possible.

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Inside look at Olive Garden’s refreshed design

Olive Garden's new Revitalia retaurant design starts with a revamped exterior displaying the new logo.

Olive Garden’s new Revitalia retaurant design starts with a revamped exterior displaying the new logo.

Anjali Fluker
Senior Staff Writer- Orlando Business Journal


Darden Restaurants Inc. has brought its Olive Garden “reimaging” plan to Central Florida, debuting one redesigned eatery in Winter Park. And it plans to revamp a second one near Orlando Fashion Square mall.

The Orlando-based restaurant chain (NYSE: DRI) will invest up to $180 million into transforming 300 Olive Garden restaurants into its new Revitalia restaurant concept by its fiscal 2017.

Darden — one of Central Florida’s largest employers and one of just two Fortune 500 companies in Central Florida— first laid out its plans for what Olive Garden’s “brand renaissance” will entail during the firm’s fourth-quarter/fiscal-2014 conference call last month. The new design includes more natural, up-to-date elements, along with new plates, silverware, service utensils and more contemporary music, according to Gene Lee, Darden president and chief operating officer.

The company at the time had completed a prototype revamp of a store in Fort Walton Beach and since then, has rolled the design out to its eatery on U.S. Highway 17-92 in Winter Park.

Check out the slideshow to see photos of the redesign at the prototype in Fort Walton Beach.

And here’s a quick look at some other facts and figures regarding Olive Garden:

  • 75 store revamps are planned for Darden’s fiscal 2015, which started last month, ranging from $37.5 million-$45 million
  • All other restaurants — ones that were revamped into Darden’s former Tuscan Farmhouse design — will get new signage and plateware when eateries in their markets are remodeled
  • About 400 restaurants were converted to the Tuscan Farmhouse design as of fall 2012
  • Olive Garden sales accounted for $3.64 billion of Darden’s $8.8 billion in fiscal 2014 sales, or 41 percent
  • Simplified recipes and more efficient production at Olive Garden captured about $20 million in savings for Darden’s fiscal 2014

Read more of Orlando Business Journal’s continuing coverage of Darden Restaurants.

Covers real estate, retail, restaurants and rail

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Award-winning garden designer Elspeth adds to RHS medal haul

An award-winning garden designer has spoken of her delight after winning her latest prestigious medal at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show.

Elspeth Stockwell Garden Design, which is based in Harby, was awarded a Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Silver Gilt medal for its show garden which was designed by Elspeth.

Her company received sponsorship from the RHS, Bradstone and Hoby-based Miles Nurseries Ltd to build their show garden at this year’s event – hosted by BBC TV presenters and the RHS.

In the five years Elspeth’s business has been up and running, she has won a Gold, Silver Gilt and Best in Category.

She said: “This award means such a lot to us and we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to add another prestigious medal to our growing collection.”

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Eye of the Day Garden Design Center Launches Its first Brand Book

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center Launches Its first Brand Book

PRWEB.COM Newswire

PRWEB.COM NewswireCarpinteria, CA (PRWEB) July 02, 2014

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center, based in Carpinteria, announces the launch of its recent Brand Book ( The interactive book, 57 pages in length, showcases the visual appeal of Eye of the Day’s products with color photos and in-depth product descriptions.

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center (, as showcased on the DIY Network, recently launched its latest Brand Book ( . The interactive, clickable book is 57 pages and reveals the stories behind its carefully selected product lines that include:

  • Terrecotte San Rocco
  • Gladding McBean
  • Fermob (outdoor furnishings)
  • Greek Terro Cotta
  • French Anduze

The Brand Book features the classic styles Eye of the Day has become well known for, as well as their growing inventory of modern and contemporary pieces. Because landscape architects in California and beyond rely on Eye of the Day as their go-to course for garden decor, the Brand Book includes photo spreads of garden designs by Carol Puck Erickson, Adan Venegas, Stacy Fausset, and Rick Button that incorporate these elements.

The digital book also goes behind the scenes of the Eye of the Day brand with quotes form and pots of Brent Freitas and his wife, Suzi Freitas on their European buying trips. Together, the couple established Eye of the Day and have been traveling the world to select the finest, hand-picked pieces ever since.

Interested in more, and want a peek of our Brand Book? Visit

About Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is a retail showroom that features more than an acre of high quality garden landscape products, including Italian terracotta pottery and fountains, Greek terracotta pottery, French Anduze pottery, and garden product manufacturers from America’s premier concrete garden pottery and decoration manufacturers. Eye of the Day is a leading importer and distributor of fine European garden pottery, and caters to private consumers, as well as landscape design and architecture firms from around the world.

For more information, please visit Eye of the Day Garden Design Center at

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PBS’ ‘This Old House’ Expert Warns Water Prices Will Skyrocket

The landscaping expert for PBS’ home-improvement franchise This Old House predicts water will be $4 a gallon in order to “cut down on consumption.”

This may sound alarmist, but PBS star Roger Cooke is dead serious. Some of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. are in the Southwest and far West, in areas that are becoming unable to support residents in the style to which they’ve become accustomed–fountains, pools, lush green lawns and all.

Since 1978, This Old House (airs new episodes Thursdays on PBS–check local listings for date and time in your area) as been covering every topic imaginable facing homeowners while renovating residences in its home area of Boston and around the country.

Its companion show, Ask This Old House, lets viewers get answers to specific questions. But for its upcoming 13th season, Ask is doing something special to see just how thirsty the West really is, with the help of Cooke, TOH host Kevin O’Connor, and plumbing and HVAC expert Richard Trethewey

Explains producer Heath Racela, in an exclusive note sent to Breitbart News:

We are planning a special, themed episode to begin airing nationally on October 23 on PBS (it will be the fourth episode of our new season). The episode will focus on the Western drought that is affecting homeowners in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and many other states. As always, we offer low-cost, practical solutions for homeowners that can make a big impact in this dry region.

The episode opens with Kevin and Richard touring Lake Mead (in Nevada), which is the largest man-made reservoir in the country, but is only at 40% capacity now! Richard discusses the challenge for drinking water and also hydropower generated at Hoover Dam, as the water levels continue to fall. Water conservation is a huge part of the solution and our experts spend this episode showing some key ways to conserve water.

Irrigation can be 60% of a Western homeowner’s water bill, so Roger tackles the biggest offender — lawns in the desert. Working with a local landscaper, Roger removes a water-guzzling lawn with a more desert-appropriate landscape, and he learns that gardening in the desert isn’t just about cacti and succulents.

In our barn (headquarters), Kevin meets with Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore to learn more about origins of the drought and if this is a short-term or long-term problem.

In Los Angeles last month for the Daytime Emmy Awards, O’Connor and Trethewey sat down with Breitbart News at a diner in West Hollywood to discuss what they found when they visited Lake Mead. It supplies 90 percent of the water in Las Vegas, which is now paying the price for making the desert bloom.

“The whole issue in the West is no water,” says Trethewy. “We saw Lake Mead down 60 to 100 feet.”

According to a recent report from Las Vegas station KLAS-TV, the lake may soon drop below the current lowest level of 1,081 feet, which happened in 2010.

“It’s predicted,” the article says, “the lake could drop to 1,075 in April 2015.”

And this is not just Nevada’s problem.

“It’s the same water source for a lot of places,” says O’Connor. “It’s a huge supplier for California, Nevada. Roger’s story is tearing out the lawn, a huge consumer of water.

While Las Vegas is attempting to reduce water usage, Trethewey found that San Francisco is actually making it happen.

“It’s all the same watershed,” he says. “(In San Francisco), they’re down to using 40 gallons per person per day, where the average is probably 65 to 80. They’re down by half already, and with water restrictions.”

Even so, a May 19 report in the San Francisco Examiner says, “…The City is edging closer to mandatory water rationing in the coming months.”

This could mean no watering of outside plants, and a lot of sad-looking yards. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Calling in from the current job site in Massachusetts, Cooke has common sense suggestions to help homeowners lower water bills and consumption.

“The first is to water smartly,” he says. “If you’re going to water, that means not in the middle of the day, when it’s going to evaporate, or in such a fashion where there’s more water running down the curb than there is going to your lawn or your plants.”

He suggests using xeriscaping techniques, employing stone and gravel with ground covers, native plants, succulents, etc., that use less water and are more hardy in dry conditions.

As part of its Cash for Grass Rebate Program, Los Angeles County will pay homeowners $1 for every square foot of grass they remove, up to 5,000 square feet. Its tag line is “Take back your Saturday,” and that’s something Cooke agrees with.

“Grass is a great thing when you have a family,” he says, “but really, the most time you spend out on your lawn is when you’re cutting it.”

Westerners with visions of landscaping more suited to the Northeast or Southeast may have to abandon the ideal of the perfect lawn, along with getting used to some other unappealing ideas.

A recent article in Slate on the current California debate over desalinization vs. purification came down financially and energy-wise on the side of purification, saying, “The conclusion here is easy: If drinking purified pee weirds you out, don’t live in a desert.”

If that came to pass, Trethewey assures Breitbart News that it’s not that bad.

“At our Essex House project,” he says, “I didn’t do it on-camera, but I drank the water that had just come out of a self-contained sewage-treatment plant on site. It was like Perrier, just cheaper than Perrier.

“Didn’t have as much fizz.”

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An Uptown couple transforms a classic New Orleans home into a comfortable … – The Times

When Jenny and Bumpy Triche began searching for a new home 2 1/2 years ago, they knew what they wanted: a comfortable house where they could surround themselves with friends and family and “a space that would make people walk in and feel right at home,” Jenny said.

The couple and their now 14-year-old daughter Mary Catherine had been living for nearly seven years in a two-bedroom condominium in the Audubon neighborhood Uptown.

The tree-lined area was family friendly, close to downtown, their daughter’s school and Magazine Street. They wanted to stay.

But then reality hit. The Uptown real estate market was tough. By July 2012, the Triches had already looked off and on for several years, then spent six months actively searching real estate listings, and had lost several bidding wars, Bumpy said.

Then one day, while walking Napoleon, the family dog, Jenny spotted a vacated house on an unusually large lot.

At the homeowner’s invitation, the Triches stopped by for a look. Then they stopped by again — and again — and bought the house before it went to market.
Then they made the decision to renovate — everything — in one fell swoop.

An ideal home
The Triches loved the home’s spacious front porch, generous yard, arched bookcases and soaring ceilings. Built in the Victorian and Queen Anne styles, the more-than-century-old property still had a large parlor or ballroom and a ringer for servants in the dining room floor.

To accommodate a modern family’s needs, though, the space and flow would need to be updated and reconfigured, and the couple also wanted a fresh, clean look.

They assembled a team: architect William Sonner of William Sonner Designs; Billy Goliwas of Protocol Construction; Reid Richardson of Gulf South Pools; and Eric Nemeth of E.N.C. Landscaping. From the beginning, Bumpy said, they knew they needed “a trained eye” to guide them. Jeanne Barousse of Jeanne Barousse Designs filled that role, helping coordinate the team, minimize disruption and choose elements from flooring to furniture.

The project lasted 13 months. “We had never done a renovation before,” Jenny said. “Hopefully, this is our one and only, and we wanted to get it right.”

Fulfilling a vision
Driving their decision to renovate everything at once was the fact that Mary Catherine will be off to college in four short years, Bumpy said. The family wanted time to enjoy their dream home together.

So everyone weighed in on the design. Jenny had a binder full of ideas, Barousse said. Mary Catherine wanted a place to hang out with her friends. Bumpy wanted “a great flow, an open feel” and “a lot of natural light.”

Some items from their apartment would make the move: two dark brown leather sofas; Jenny’s grandmother’s dining room table; two key-shaped lamps and a Singer sewing machine table from Jenny’s late mother; an antique buffet; a cypress console; dressers that once belonged to Bumpy’s great aunt; a velvet sofa; and the couple’s bed, a wedding gift from Jenny’s father.

The first floor was reworked and reshaped. In moving and rebuilding the kitchen, contractors removed a fireplace and load-bearing wall, raised the ceiling and added new supporting structural beams.

The result was a beamed ceiling in a box design painted dark gray to provide depth and contrast to walls throughout the home painted Sherwin-Williams’ White Heron.
The light and dark color combination is “very cool, it’s very soothing, and it helps pull in the different elements,” Barousse said. “We have light and dark in the room. The sofas are dark, the floors are dark, and yet we have light walls, light furniture, light draperies.”

The combination is repeated throughout the house, including upstairs, where calacatta marble floors brighten three bathrooms, and light draperies in the master bedroom create a peaceful atmosphere.

“It’s the kind of place where we can entertain and bring our friends in our home,” Bumpy said. “And I’m happy, they’re happy, everyone’s happy.”

‘Sunday entertainers’
Bumpy, who serves as area president and a practice managing director for Arthur J. Gallagher Co., an insurance brokerage and risk management services firm, travels a lot for work and likes to decelerate after a long week.

Self-described “Sunday entertainers,” the couple enjoys relaxing at home with friends and family.

To create separate living and dining spaces, the Triches installed columns midway through the long parlor, where a multi-armed Italianate chandelier over the dining room table, hand-painted dining chairs and two distressed leather Louis XVI chairs purchased on Magazine Street set the tone as “shabby chic.”

Matching diamond sisal carpets tie together the two spaces, which are filled with a mix of antiques, modern furnishings and natural elements. Work by Louisiana artists Karen Stastny and Bill Iles and Houston-based artist Michelle Y Williams add intrigue and color.

In the library, a painting by Louisiana artist Martin LaBorde features the artist’s signature character Bodo wearing a Napoleon hat and riding the back of an alligator through a cypress swamp in the moonlight, carrying two cocktail glasses. The painting, created for them, is a reference to Napoleonville, the couple’s hometown, and features a small dog that resembles the family’s Yorkie.

A place to put your feet up
When work began in the backyard,  Bumpy promised he would go to war to save a giant oak tree, two magnolias, azaleas and sweet olive trees in the existing garden. Other than that, he and Jenny gave the landscaper complete freedom.

“I really wanted to make it where you could put your feet up kind of thing,” said Nemeth, who designed the front and backyard to resemble a small park and aimed for “a vacation-like feel.” Using the huge Eagleston hollyedge around the perimeter of the property as a picture frame, he planted small Japanese red maples for balance and added sasanquas, sweet olives, cleyera and fig ivy. “I think sometimes formal gardens make people act a certain way, just like a stuffy home,” he said.

Renovations can be a long drawn-out, stressful process, Bumpy said, recalling new gas lines, water lines, walls, windows, doors and floors. But it’s worth it, he believes.

Jenny said she didn’t sleep properly for a year, but then everything came together in a rush. “It was fun.”

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Community Briefs

Landscape designer discusses drought

Landscape designer Deva Luna is scheduled to discuss “Your Lawn Is Dead, Now What?” 7 p.m. July 9 in the Program Room of the Los Altos main library, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

Luna will address how to survive the drought and create a water-wise garden via a variety of no-lawn landscaping styles and ideas. Her presentation will cover removing a lawn, selecting climate-adapted native plants and qualifying for landscape rebates.

Luna is a master gardener and sustainable and Bay Friendly-certified landscape designer who has taught horticulture for 15 years. She earned a degree in plants and art from UC Davis and works at EarthCare Landscaping in Cupertino.

For more information, call 948-7683 or visit

Benefit concert set for July 12

“Be Part of the Cure,” a concert benefiting the American Diabetes Society, is scheduled 7 p.m. July 12 in the Garden House at Shoup Park, 400 University Ave., Los Altos.

The Manoukian family organized the concert, now in its second year, to increase awareness of and support for diabetes research. This year’s performers include young local musicians currently attending music schools around the country, including some musicians with diabetes.

Tickets are $30 adult and $10 student. For more information, call 814-3085.

Save the date for Arts Wine Festival

The Los Altos Arts Wine Festival returns next week, scheduled 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. July 12 and 13 in downtown Los Altos.

The Los Altos Village Association-sponsored event features arts and crafts, food, beverages and live entertainment.

For more information, visit

CSMA hosts U.S.-Japan concert

The Community School of Music and Arts has scheduled the “U.S.-Japan Friendship Special Music Concert” July 13 to celebrate musicians with autism.

The event includes two concert performances – a family concert at 1:30 p.m. and a formal recital at 3:30 p.m. – at Tateuchi Hall on the CSMA campus, 230 San Antonio Circle, Mountain View.

Tickets are $50 VIP and $20 general admission.

To purchase tickets, visit or

For more information on CSMA, visit

City hosts emergency training

The city of Los Altos has scheduled free Personal Emergency Preparedness courses this summer for residents 6-9 p.m. July 14 at Hillview Community Center, Room 16, 97 Hillview Ave.; and Aug. 19 at Grant Park, Room 2, 1575 Holt Ave.

Santa Clara County Fire Department personnel teach the courses.

To register and for more information, visit

BAT training scheduled

A Block Action Team (BAT) training session is scheduled 6-9 p.m. July 29 in the El Camino Hospital conference rooms, 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View.

The mission of BAT, a program of the Los Altos Community Foundation, is to help local residents organize neighborhoods to respond in the event of an emergency, prevent crime, assist seniors and organize social events.

To register and for more information, call 949-5908, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or visit

Knitters, crocheters gather at main library

The Los Altos main library hosts a Knitting and Crocheting Circle the first and third Tuesdays of the month in the Program Room, 13 S. San Antonio Road.

Participants should bring their own needles and yarn to start new projects or receive help to finish older ones. Knitters and crocheters of all ages are welcome (under 10 must be accompanied by an adult). This is not a class – group members offer their wisdom, but there is no instructor.

For more information, call 948-7683 or visit

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Gregory Gardens opens new greenhouse

Gregory Gardens in Sault Ste. Marie hosted a new greenhouse opening recently. 

In conjunction with the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce, the new greenhouse was toasted at a grand opening celebration at Gregory Gardens, at 3290 East 9 Mile Road. 

Gregory Gardens has been growing in the area since 1993, starting as a plant nursery for landscaping. The greenhouses came along later in the 90s, and retail sales grew it into the residential and commercial plant market it is today. 

It offers locally-grown, high-quality and Northern-hardy plants, as well as landscaping services through K-Woz Landscaping, also from owner Kevin Wozniak. The nursery and greenhouses are open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through August, with reduced hours in September.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Gregory Gardens

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Cape garden tour dazzles, inspires

CAPE ELIZABETH – About 570 garden enthusiasts explored a variety of home-based gardens in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday during the fourth annual Maine Home + Design Garden Tour, where visitors said they were “impressed” and “inspired” by each garden’s unique beauty.   

Proceeds raised during the tour benefit landscaping and historic preservation projects at Fort Williams Park on Shore Road, an initiative spearheaded by the Fort Williams Park Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and enhance the park’s natural resources for future generations.  

The first stop of the tour was located at 56 Cottage Farms Road, where the home of Nancy and Tom Witwicki boasted a lush magnolia tree surrounded by mountain laurel, rhododendrons and a variety of other mature plants. 

A brick-lined pathway led to the back yard, where visitors explored a vegetable garden. The couple’s yard also included herbs and berry bushes, and a small pond with bright pink water lilies surrounded by daylilies and irises. Also on the property were a birch tree grove, a peach tree and a 20-year-old honey locust tree that provides shade for the Witwickis on their brick patio. 

“We love gardens,” said Cape Elizabeth resident Nancy Jordan, who navigated Saturday’s Garden Tour with her friend, Barbara Vaughan, a Portland native living in California. 

“My dream was to be a master gardener,” Vaughan said. “I love learning about all the different kinds of flowers.” 

Nancy Witwicki, who stood in the vegetable garden during the tour, said her advice to other gardeners is “don’t take on too much when you first start.” The trick, she said, is to “start small and space things far apart. You can get so discouraged if you get overwhelmed,” she said. 

“They all have inspirations and great ideas,” said Melanie Ness, from Auburn, of the garden tour. “It’s gorgeous.” 

The event gave people who have gardens, or those who would like to start one, the opportunity to take a self-guided tour through some of Cape Elizabeth’s most enchanting gardens and to speak to some of the owners about what makes each property unique. 

According to James McCain, director of the Fort Williams Park arboretum project, the first two phases of the park project have been completed – the first phase, known as the Cliffside site, wrapped up mid-summer of 2012. 

Through the years, Fort Williams, a 90-acre public oceanfront park on Casco Bay, had become overrun with invasive plants that have impacted access to the park and its beauty, McCain said. 

“At the northern end of the cliff walk, above Ship Cove, there is a 1-acre site that had previously been a dense jungle of invasive plants. You couldn’t walk through it or see through it,” McCain said. “It blocked a huge chunk of ocean views from across the way from the parade grounds. We used a lot of volunteers in late 2011 to clear (invasive plants) by hand to get a survey done.” 

Along with preserving dozens of native trees and the removal of invasive exotic plants, work at the Cliffside site also included creating pathways to improve accessibility and building a garden amphitheater, where social gatherings are held. 

The second phase of the project, known as the Lighthouse View site, adjacent to the Portland Headlight, was completed in June, said McCain. Depending on the foundation’s fundraising efforts, another project, a 2-acre Children’s Garden, which will be located on the site of a historic children’s camp, could begin next spring, McCain said. 

Landscaping and preservation projects at Fort Williams are intended to “highlight native flora and improve views in the area,” he said.  

Goals of the arboretum project include reversing damage done by invasive species and restoring sustainable landscapes and native wildlife habitat, said McCain. In addition, it aims to create open space and views, enhance the outdoor experience at Fort Williams Park, and to foster education resources and opportunities at the park. 

On average, between 400-500 tickets are sold each year for the Cape Elizabeth Garden Tour, McCain said. Saturday’s tour was a first for McCain, as well as for many local residents, tourists and volunteers, who spent the afternoon visiting 11 different landscapes that each displayed an array of flowers, vegetables, fruits and intricate garden ornaments. 

At another stop on the Garden Tour, at 1 Lydon Lane, visitors walked the property of the 250-year-old home of Will Tanner and Thom Sacco, where they were greeted in the dooryard by a colorful garden lush with shrubs, perennials and annuals. A brick path led to a tall wooden gate that separated the entrance garden with a patio made of bluestone and cobblestone, which included a swimming pool surrounded by a barn-like guesthouse and clusters of potted plants. The property also included an herb garden and several raised vegetable beds. 

When it comes to maintaining a garden, “I think the most important thing is composting and fertilizer, and a lot of watering,” said Tanner. “Some people are frugal with their water, but I water fairly regularly.” 

For June McClean of Scarborough attending the tour was a simple decision. The garden tour was a chance for her to find inspiration for her own garden, she said. 

McClean said 35 Littlejohn Road in Cape Elizabeth particularly impressed her, where the gardens incorporated many structural elements, including stone paths, courtyards, trellises, water features and just about every type of plant – whether a flower, fruit, vegetable or herb – one can imagine.  

“I love gardens, and I love to see what other people do,” said McClean, who planned on seeing all 11 gardens on the tour. “People can expect to see what works in this area and what doesn’t. They might be inspired to try something different.”

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