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Archives for July 4, 2014

What’s Hot In Gardening This July? : July Gardening Tips


Pruning tomatoes and fertilising containers are among the most desired activities for July.

Gardening Tips For July

In order to enable the tomato plant to grow impressively, it is essential that you prune off the vines that contain flowers. For a start, tomato is fruit, that is if you already didn’t know about it. Also necessary is to keep the level of moisture evenly distributed in order to allow the plant to grow healthily. Renewing the mulch is equally necessary.

Next up is strawberries. Plants that are close to or attached to the main one will reproduce. It is important to keep the runners (plants that attach themselves to the main one) away in order to provide way for fruit to take birth. Once the fruits have grown, refrigerate them. Apart from strawberries, even raspberries and other berries can be grown. The same procedure has to be followed.

Other vegetables that can be grown during July in your garden include cucumbers, lettuce and green salads. It is important to know that most vegetables including onions need some degree of blanching before they are frozen. This helps in killing the bacteria. Moreover, in places around the world when the summer heat of July can be unbearable, blanching is extremely essential in order to preclude rotting and spoilage of food.

Another important factor that needs to be understood is that although some crops may wilt, with an even degree of moisture, they’ll come back.

These few gardening tips can be kept in mind. Incorporating these tips will espouse healthy plant growth.

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Garden Tip: 7 tips for planting all season

By Drew Effron

July 3, 2014 3:58PM

With a little extra care you can successfully plant now and throughout the summer. | Submitted

Spring and fall might be prime times for planting trees and shrubs grown in containers and balled and burlapped (BB), but with a little extra care you can successfully plant throughout the summer.

Whether you’re installing plants grown in containers or BB in spring, summer or fall, the same fundamentals apply: determining the proper planting depth, and making sure plants get adequate water at time of installation and throughout the first several months in your garden.

Here are seven tips for success:

Don’t plant a tree or shrub any deeper than it was in its original pot or burlap wrap. This becomes your new soil line.

Dig the hole two to three times wider than the root ball. To prevent the plant from settling too deep in the hole, don’t put loose soil in the bottom.

Remove a container-grown plant from the pot and loosen the roots, cut any that are circling.

Center the plant in the hole; partially fill the hole with loose soil, tamp (for BB cut away and remove twine, burlap and wire) fill the hole with water, let it drain; firmly pack with soil to the soil line.

Create a soil-edged basin around the outside of the planting hole. Fill the basin with water and let it drain several times.

Add 2 inches of mulch around but not touching the trunk to help retain moisture. It will also look nice.

Monitor soil moisture and water new plantings generously every two to three days throughout the summer and fall.

With just a little extra care, summer is for planting, too.

Garden Tip is courtesy of The Growing Place, 630-355-4000.

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Hillstown Grange offers garden tips and two contests

After enjoying a salad of fresh greens and other vegetables from Hillstown Grange members’ gardens, talk at the group’s recent meeting turned to the benefits of growing your own food and the best methods for doing so. The Hillstown Grange 87 in East Hartford hosted a “Garden Show-and-Tell” on June 26, led by longtime gardener Curt Upton. The program was the first of a series, with the next one tentatively focusing on canning and preserving, at the end of the summer.

Grange Master Frank Forrest asked members to look for canning jars (which will get new sealed lids) at tag sales and flea markets to “stockpile” them for a workshop. Forrest also talked about the grange’s two gardening contests now underway: who can grow the longest cucumber, and who can grow the tallest plume of this year’s featured plant, amaranth. Potted seedlings of this ancient grain were available at the talk.

Forrest would also like to see the Hillstown Grange compete with other state granges in a contest to see who can grow and donate the most produce. Since this would be their first shot at it, Forrest said, Hillstown Grange could set a goal of 2,000 pounds. Last year, one grange donated two tons, he said.

Forrest and Grange Steward Deb Dubitsky encouraged others to grow at least one unfamiliar vegetable each season. For example, Forrest is growing Armenian cucumbers – which aren’t actually cucumbers, but can grow as long as 36 inches. As for amaranth, once the staple food of the Aztecs, Forrest said this ended up in his garden as a “happy accident,” given to him in a packet of unlabeled seeds.

In response to questions about the pros and cons of growing in raised beds or containers versus straight into a tilled garden, Upton said, “I’m too lazy. I don’t want to go to the effort of a raised bed.”

Dubitsky replied, “I’m lazy in a different way. I don’t want to bend down to the ground – I’d rather harvest up here [indicating waist level].”

Gardens can be planted in all kinds of containers, she added, and without spending a lot of money. For example, a (clean) oil drum cut in half lengthwise makes a good container, she said.

Asked if soil in raised beds needs to be changed each season, Dubitsky said all that’s needed is addition of more enriched material, such as composted manure.

Upton added that people often think they need to plant a huge garden in order to grow enough food to preserve for the rest of the year. “My garden is 10 by 16 feet. I grow 12 feet of lettuce, as well as spinach, radishes, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peas, green beans, beets, zucchini, cucumbers and even celery,” he said. Upton said that homegrown vegetables are usually much more flavorful than what’s commonly sold in stores.

Upton also shared a tip on growing potatoes from the ones you’ve neglected in the pantry. “A ‘seed potato’ is any potato with sprouting ‘eyes.’ Don’t cut it up into more than halves because the potato is the food for the new plants,” he said.

The Hillstown Grange welcomes new members. To learn more about upcoming events, contact Frank Forrest at at 860-690-2845 or

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Hampton Court Flower Show 2014: gorgeous gardens to inspire you

First-timers: Sara Jane Rothwell and Joan Ma Roig, who have designed one
of the conceptual gardens

Inventive use of recycled and upcycled materials is a recurring theme. It is
exemplified in the wooden pallets that form the main structure and the
containers for a diverse range of plants in John Warland’s World Vision
Garden (IN44) and the industrial metals that make a pavilion and stage in
Jeni Cairns’s teenage-friendly A Space to Connect Grow garden

The riskiest part of this year’s show is the cluster of turf sculptures,
located next to the Allium restaurant, which is the brainwave of maverick
Tony Smith. Last year he pitched to the RHS the idea of giving a number of
gardeners and artists free rein to express themselves using only soil and
turf – and to his delight he was given the green light.

“This is the first time the RHS has allowed a show feature without seeing any
plans. They’ve no idea what we’ll be making. Everyone has a pile of soil and
a pile of turf. The only difference is their imaginations,” he says.

The five invited participants, who include Adam Frost, Matthew Biggs and RA
sculptor John Humphreys, have been given two days to create their 16 x 16ft
(5 x 5m) sculptures around Tony’s angular grassy mountainscape and the
public will vote for their favourite. The wild card, Tony says, is Gavin
Hardy, head gardener at Tottenham Hotspur, who’ll surely produce the most
immaculate finish.


Australia comes to Hampton for the first time with a garden designed by
Chelsea veteran Jim Fogarty (E161). It takes its inspiration from the
landscape of Victoria and the Northern Territory, and should be a contender
for gold and Best in Show.

Chelsea veteran: Jim Fogarty (CLARA MOLDEN)

The choice of red gravelly sand echoes the Australia Garden at Melbourne’s
Royal Botanic Garden (see page 9 for Joe Swift’s account), while the
serpent-shaped deck path that cuts through the red and yellow native
planting suggests the Rainbow Serpent credited in aboriginal dreamtime
stories with forming the peaks and troughs of the landscape.

Eucalyptus gunnii and pendulous willow myrtle Agonis flexuosa provide shade
and red-stemmed Syzygium paniculatum ‘Newport’, a shrub in the myrtle family
whose red berries make a delicious addition to salads, forms the boundary
hedge. The shape of the timber building, made from sustainably grown
heat-treated pine, evokes Northern Territory’s flat-topped rock formations
such as Uluru (Ayers Rock).

In the Summer Gardens category (E4), former GP turned designer Peter Reader,
whose Persian courtyard design was last year’s People’s Choice, has come up
with what looks like another highly desirable garden which elegantly
combines all the elements that a small plot can deliver: beautiful planting,
water, shade, seating, height and a structure that creates a journey along
blue limestone paving through the 26 x 20ft (8 x 6m) space. The central
pillar, made of rendered brickwork, is an ingenious feature that makes use
of all four facades.

Elegant: Peter Reader’s garden

The log-burning stove (the log stack is inset into the adjoining wall)
provides warmth for evening meals; the galvanised steel water chute creates
the calming sound of falling water; and the wall sculpture by Nick Moran
adds a focal point. The Mediterranean planting in purples, whites and greys
will work for sheltered gardens.

The theme for this year’s Conceptual Gardens is the Seven Deadly Sins, which
has been enthusiastically interpreted by eight designers, including Hampton
novices Sara Jane Rothwell and Joan Ma Roig (IN13). They invite showgoers to
kneel on an elongated prie-dieu, surely a show garden first, to study their
Dichotomy Garden that addresses the sin of greed with a depiction of the
religious confessional. There’s a grille in the 7ft (2m)-high central
partition between the “Sinner” side, which is filled with nutrient-poor
wildflower turf against a backdrop of hornbeam, and the “Confessor” side
where an ornate ecclesiastical chair is framed in concentric layers of
clipped box with clipped Prunus lusitanica as backdrop. It’s up to the
viewer to decide which side is really guilty of the sin of greed.

The Dichotomy garden from Sara Jane Rothwell and Joan Ma Roig

Other interpretations include a plant brothel (Lust, Rachel Parker Soden),
monumental soup and sardine tins (Gluttony, Katerina Rafaj) and a smoking
volcano (Anger, Nilufer Danis).


One Show garden

Alexandra Noble, the winner of this year’s amateur competition, has been
inspired by the Roman baths at Bath, where she is finishing a Masters in
architecture, to create this sunken garden of nine square reflective pools,
interleaved with strips of multilayered planting. The garden’s not in
competition but promises to have all the requisites for a gold medal.

Britain in Bloom

It will be hard to miss this celebration of 50 years of Britain in Bloom,
designed by Jon Wheatley whose ambition is to inspire children and young
people to garden. Many have been involved in growing the dazzling blocks of
sunflowers which include new cultivars ‘Ms Mars’ and ‘Giraffe’, flagged up
by a 44ft (13.5m) gold-painted giraffe. There is also an edible bus stop, a
section for pollinating insects and nine specimen trees for shade.

Hands On

Head for the Society of Garden Designers stand where leading designers
including Cleve West, Fiona Stephenson and Juliet Sargeant are among a team
of SGD members who will show how hand-drawn and computer aided visuals can
help in the design process. They’ll also suggest solutions for your design

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

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Eye of the Day Brand Book

Carpinteria, 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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Main Street vision

Posted: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:24 am

Main Street vision

When it comes to city government in Hutchinson, road and traffic changes might be the most controversial of policy-making. That’s mainly because of people’s inherent aversion to change.

When it comes to city government in Hutchinson, road and traffic changes might be the most controversial of policy-making. That’s mainly because of people’s inherent aversion to change.

So here we go with some ideas to change up the design of Main Street when the city rebuilds the roadway from 30th Avenue south to Seventh. A plan floated for feedback at a public meeting last month proposes what for some people are dramatic changes. But with a little perspective and open-mindedness, the concepts are intriguing.

First of all, design consultants propose narrowing the street some and reducing it from four lanes plus a center turning lane to two and a turning lane. This would make parallel parking safer and create room for some bulb-outs and landscaping.

The plan also proposes removing some stoplights to improve traffic flow. While this always elicits reaction in Hutch, stoplights at 9th and at 13th avenues seemingly are unnecessary.

Other key concepts include a cul-de-sac at the west end of Crescent Boulevard to eliminate an awkward five-way intersection where Crescent comes into 17th Avenue at Main. And of course no good traffic controversy in Hutch would be missing a roundabout, which is suggested at 30th and Main.

While these may seem like big changes, none of them should be rejected out of hand.

For starters, traffic volume doesn’t support the necessity of a four-lane configuration on Main, though if the city was going to narrow Main anywhere it should have done so when it did the streetscape project downtown between Third and Avenue A.

And Hutch has more stoplights than it needs, Main Street included.

Living on a cul-de-sac usually is coveted, because it creates a quiet, low-traffic neighborhood. So, the opposition of at least some residents on Crescent is puzzling.

Finally, while roundabouts always seem to create controversy, surely most people can admit they have worked well where Hutchinson has tried them so far, such as at 23rd and Severance and at 56th and Plum. They keep traffic moving without requiring a stoplight or four-way stop and at the same time retain safety. It just takes a while for drivers to get used to them. They are predominant in Europe and other parts of the world.

We think the city is wise to consider the possibilities for North Main and a vision beyond just five lanes of asphalt and markings. Surely some of these new ideas are good ones.

By John D. Montgomery

Hutchinson News editorial board

More about Main Street

  • ARTICLE: Main Street design meeting elicits strong opinions
  • ARTICLE: Public invited to meeting on Main Street design concepts
  • ARTICLE: City seeks public comment on bicycle master plan and Main Street

More about Hutchinson

  • ARTICLE: Safe and sane
  • ARTICLE: Ask Hutch: Owner cracks mystery of chicken near Grandview Park
  • ARTICLE: Delos V. Smith Senior Center offers activities and companionship
  • ARTICLE: Investigation into fire continues; firefighters praised


Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:24 am.

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Main Street,




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Private Use of Public Land: Small Battles Foretell Coming War

It was this principle, decided by the Canal Commission in 1836 while drawing plans for the IM canal, and carried through history by Daniel Burnham, A. Montgomery Ward, and countless city and park planners since, that has allowed the creation and preservation of Grant Park and the lakefront as a public space belonging to the people, rather than private development. It’s why there’s no private beaches on Lake Michigan within the city, nor any tall hotels or condos straddling Lake Shore Drive to offer private dwellers so-close-you-can-touch-it views of the lake. Consider Niagara Falls, for instance, one of North America’s most amazing natural wonders, and how it is now completely ensconced with hotel towers lit with neon signage like architectural graffiti detracting from the natural spectacle of the very falls for which they clamber above each other to offer superior views. Imagine if Niagara had the same preservationist attitude that Chicago has.

But despite being a decision made before Edison patented the light bulb, Chicago’s lakefront and park protectionism isn’t simply a matter of course any more than is America’s idea of individual liberties or a free press. Rather, these are ideas that are fought over on a daily basis to redefine what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Retail and mail-order magnate A. Montgomery Ward is considered to be responsible for the preservation of Grant Park as it exists today because he fought fiercely in court to prevent the city from building new structures on the park land. Daniel Burnham had a vision of a Grant Park filled with regal, neo-classical museums and a victorian promenade connecting them all, an echo of his White City at the World’s Columbian Exhibition he oversaw earlier. Because of Ward’s legal blockade, the Field Museum was built south of the park, on what is now known as Museum Campus due to the Shedd and Adler built around it.

Even today, small battles are being fought around what is acceptable use of public land.

[photo by Jim Borman for Chicago Now]

Since late Spring, a small “pop-up bank” operated by PNC Bank has sat in Grant Park. It’s a bright orange and blue shipping container with doors and windows and an ATM. The park district earns $120,000 annually from the small structure, but many folks are not happy with its location in the park. DNAInfo has reports of numerous complaints about the very idea of a bank opening “It seems to go against the nature of the park itself,” a citizen tells DNAInfo.

The Park District is okay with it, obviously, in part because of the payola but also because, according to them, it’s not a permanent structure. In their mind, it’s a temporary vendor like you might find several dozen of in the park during Taste of Chicago. But is it the same? And where are the limits? What if Starbucks wants to open a mini-cafe right next to the PNC to capture the millions of visitors Grant Park will receive this summer? Why wouldn’t they?

[photo via Argo Tea]

And consider Connors Park, to the north of downtown a few blocks from John Hancock tower. The squat little park is now home to an Argo Tea pavilion which just celebrated its one year anniversary of the location. Initially there was confusion about whether the park was still a park, and if it was okay to sit and enjoy the park without buying a tea. At a celebration for the one year anniversary, staff told us that with recent changes to the signage that confusion has dissipated and that neighbors know they’re welcome.

To its credit, Argo Tea is a local company and now pays for the landscaping and upkeep of the park itself and their beautiful and custom-designed pavilion. But it makes one wonder too where the line is. Is the Argo Tea in Connors Park a special circumstance where tight integration into the park and community makes a one-time exception to the well-held belief that public parks should be public? If Al’s Beef wanted to take over a park in the same way, would we let them? Like all things, time will tell.

But the fact that these two issues are even issues at all speaks to the city’s constant vigilance against abuse of the parks, and it explains why despite being a seeming “slam dunk,” the Soldier Field parking lot location chosen for the Lucas Museum won’t come without a fight. This isn’t a quarter-block tea house or a 160 square-foot mini-bank, it’s a massive, multi-million-dollar development that has already captured the attention of the nation. As Chicagoist puts it, The Debate Over The Lucas Museum Has Only Started.

Agree or disagree with the location, it’s a good sign that Chicago is paying attention, and hopefully always will.

·Previous Grant Park coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·Previous Lucas Museum coverage [Curbed Chicago]
·All previous Parks Rec coverage [Curbed Chicago]

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Cedar Wood Structures Inc., Toronto’s Leading Provider of Custom Pool …

Cedar Wood Structures Inc., Toronto’s Leading Provider of Custom Pool Cabanas and Outdoor Living Structures, Gives Top 3 Backyard Landscaping Ideas

PRWEB.COM Newswire

PRWEB.COM NewswireToronto, Canada (PRWEB) July 03, 2014

Cedar Wood Structures Inc. (, the Greater Toronto Area’s leading provider of custom outdoor living structures, custom cabanas, and residential renovation and condominium improvements, is announcing its top landscaping ideas to provide homeowners with potential concepts that could elevate a backyard’s aesthetic.

“Sometimes the problem isn’t that homeowners don’t want to upgrade the look of their backyard; it’s that they don’t know what to do,” says Val Dumitriu, owner of Cedar Wood Structures Inc. “That’s why we’ve come up with a few suggestions that hopefully gives homeowners some ideas regarding what they can do with their own backyards.”

Dumitriu explains that simple landscaping projects can sometimes have a definite impact. One relatively simple landscaping idea homeowners can implement is to make an entrance. Creating a clear, cleverly decorated walkway to the backyard is both functional and visually appealing, with stone usually being a good choice.

“Another simple landscaping venture would be to incorporate mixed greenery, thereby adding colour,” he adds. “The overall amount of colour is, of course, up to the homeowner, but some colour variations are certainly suggested to give the yard some personality.”

For more courageous homeowners, Dumitriu suggests installing a custom pool cabana and jazzing it up with an outdoor bar enclosure. Custom pool cabanas in Toronto in particular are becoming more popular, as homeowners want to spend as much time outside as possible during what is a short summer season.

“And if homeowners really want to take their backyard to the next level, then a custom pool cabana is the way to go,” Dumitriu concludes. “Adding an outdoor bar enclosure to go along with the pool cabana means homeowners can invite friends over and have a good time without ever leaving home.”

Cedar Wood Structures Inc. specializes in designing, building, and delivering quality custom pool cabanas, gazebos, garden sheds, studios, outdoor bars and kitchens, pergolas and trellises, custom decks, and other outdoor living structures. Cedar Wood Structures Inc. also specializes in residential renovation, condominium improvements, and general contracting. With over 20 years of construction experience, company owner/operator Val Dumitriu holds a master’s degree in civil engineering and is a certified building inspector. Cedar Wood Structures Inc. serves the Greater Toronto Area, including Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Vaughan, Markham, Newmarket, Aurora, Oakville, Burlington, Milton, Richmond Hill, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa. To learn more about Cedar Wood Structures Inc., visit the company’s website at or contact Cedar Wood Structures Inc. at or toll-free at 1-888-993-8855.

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Garden Tips: You don’t need pricy soil for raised-bed gardens

Today’s homeowners have smaller yards and less space for vegetable gardening. Many have opted to use raised beds as a way to maximize space and minimize garden maintenance.

“Square-foot” gardening is a raised-bed system for optimizing garden production promoted by Mel Bartholemew. His system includes using a potting mix that he calls Mel’s Mix. It contains compost, peat moss and coarse vermiculite. It can be pricy, especially when filling numerous beds.

Gardeners wanting to grow vegetables in raised beds do not need to invest in an expensive soil or potting mix. They can use their own soil in low-sided raised beds.

First, after setting up the beds, take the native soil in the pathways around the beds and mix it with good quality compost (no more than 10 percent by volume).

If there is not enough soil to fill the beds, bring in topsoil. True topsoil is natural surface soil scraped up and transported to a site. Topsoil in many regions is more desirable than the subsoil (the soil layer beneath the topsoil) because natural processes have created a crumbly soil structure that is conducive to good plant growth. However, digging and transporting topsoil generally destroys this crumbly structure and nullifies its benefits.

Dr. Craig Cogger, Washington State University Extension soil specialist, recommends sandy landscaping fill as a compromise, but notes that it will hold little water and dry quickly. (True topsoil in our region generally lacks the crumbly structure found in areas with more rainfall.)

Sandy landscaping fill is sandy soil mixed with organic matter. Probably much of what is sold commercially as topsoil in our region is sandy landscaping fill. If you decide to buy this kind, ask where the soil came from and what it contains.

Buy soil or fill from a reputable company. Not all soils sold as topsoil should be used in raised-bed gardens. It can contain broken glass, too many rocks, wood waste and other debris. Inspect the topsoil before you buy and before accepting delivery. You also do not want soil that might have come from an area that was treated with long-term residual herbicides or other chemicals.

Ask if the company has had the topsoil tested or knows how much organic matter it contains. If the topsoil or landscape fill already contains 10 percent or more organic matter by volume (5 percent by weight), you do not need to add compost or other organic matter.

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott, WSU Extension horticulturist, says that 10 percent organic matter is adequate from a fertility perspective. Adding substantially more of it to soil contributes to high nutrient levels that can lead to plant health problems. Chalker-Scott recommends having the soil tested to determine the organic matter content and nutrient levels.

Finally, if the soil is distinctly different from the native soil beneath, it can impede drainage. Cogger recommends mixing the introduced soil with native soil as the bed is built to create a textural gradient that will allow for better drainage.

For more information, read the WSU Extension Fact Sheet on raised beds at

— Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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Westporter draws fine line between painting, landscape design

There is something about colors, textures, shapes and patterns that appeals to Jay Petrow, whether they are dancing before him on a canvas or growing from the soil in a garden.

Petrow is an award-winning Westport artist who uses paint and plants to create works of art, some that are confined to an area as small as a 2-by-2-foot canvas and some that cover acres of a residential property.

The former art director, senior art director and international art director for Business Week magazine, and layout designer for Time and Sports Illustrated magazines, now is the owner and chief landscape designer of PetrowGardens Landscape Design in Westport.

While it would be a challenge to curate a show of his living art — he has designed the landscaping for properties throughout Fairfield and Westchester counties and the Hamptons on Long Island, the public is invited to view his work on display in his first solo art exhibit, “Painted Abstractions,” at the Westport Library through Sept. 26.

“I love the colors. They’re my kind of colors. The Impressionism is just thrilling. They’re upbeat,” is the way Joan Beer of Westport described Petrow’s paintings as she walked through the Great Hall while members of the library’s art-hanging committee recently were installing the exhibit.

Ellen Naftalin, a member of the committee, said the Great Hall lends itself to work like Petrow’s because it is a large space that allows the viewers to step back and take in the paintings as they should be.

A reception is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, July 11. The exhibit includes 17 Petrow paintings, which he said are unlike his early work. He used to paint representational portraits, landscapes and still lifes, but two years ago began experimenting with abstracts.

“I was tired of the constraints of trying to represent reality and wanted the freedom to express myself with color and brush strokes and see where that led me,” said Petrow, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in studio art (painting) and biology at Middlebury College in Vermont.

He thought he would return to painting in retirement but realized life is too short to put off anything when his wife Nancy’s sister died. She was only 54. “Better do it while you can,” he said.

He also always had an interest in landscaping and visualized colors and textures in living plants. “When you look at nature there are so many details in the landscape. As a landscape designer I’ve got to be inspired by that but abstract it to its core essence,” Petrow said, explaining that his representational landscape design work is not really all that far removed from his abstract art on canvas.

Looking for a career change in the summer of 2006, Petrow studied landscape design at the New York Botanical Garden. The following May he established his landscape design company.

“Landscape designing combines so many of my talents, skills and interests,” he said. “When I design a garden I think about massed plants of one kind to create an area of a certain color and texture. I’m piecing together in my mind a composition. When you stare at a blank space you have to imagine where it can go. It’s a journey, an exploration,” he said.

“I use a similar process in painting as well as in landscape design,” said Petrow, who does not just design the gardens. He does the planting, too. “I need to see all the plants in place and move them around.” He did the same at the library, moving his paintings around to find the optimal spot to display each one in relation to the other.

“When you’re in a space or a garden, it’s very different than on paper,” Petrow said.

“As I’m painting I’m constantly flipping the painting around so the composition and colors work from many vantage points,” he said. “I’ll stare at a painting for a while and let it talk to me.”

In the full, creative process he works fast and says he’s not thinking. He’s just doing. “When I’m in the process of painting I throw it on the canvas, I drip it on, I brush it on, I use my fingers to create texture, I use a palette knife. And I’m exploring new tools to use,” Petrow said.

To see Petrow’s paintings, visit

To view his landscape work, visit

To view his graphic design and art direction work, visit

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