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Archives for July 14, 2014

Midday Fix: Chalet Nursery’s Tony Fulmer with tips for waterlogged gardens

Chalet Landscape, Nursery Garden Center
3132 Lake Avenue

The Ultimate Butterfly Garden
Thursday, July 17 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Friday, July 18 – 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Tony’s Tips:

Because many perennial plants are already large because of the rains, stake them now to prevent them from flopping over when they open up fully in the center.

Empty standing water from saucers and hanging baskets, using saucers, to protect plant and avoid mosquitoes.

Replace nutrients in pots in which soil may have washed away after heavy rains.

Check downspouts that drain into garden beds or plants, and consider downspout extenders to avoid oversaturation.

Article source:

4 Tips For The Perfect Indoor Garden


4 Tips For The Perfect Indoor Garden

Here are 4 tips for a perfect indoor garden. Read on to know further…

Tip 1: Choose Planters:

It is important to choose the right size of planters depending on the plant you wish to grow. A good thing about planters is that you can customize them the way you wish. Choose a planter that isn’t too big or too small. While purchasing your planter, keep in mind the size your plant is capable of growing and make a purchase on the basis of that.

Tip 2: Choosing The Soil:

Remember not to use garden soil to grow you plants indoors. This is an important tip that has to be taken into account. Garden Soil if used in pots indoors, owing to its high density and weight, disallows adequate oxygen from nourishing it. The plants therefore don’t grow appropriately. Also, try not to incorporate prepared mixes. They usually squeeze out oxygen from the soil, thereby hindering healthy plant growth. Use humus and perlite in the ratio 4:1 for best results.

Tip 3: Don’t Follow A Predetermined Watering Cycle:

Yes, it is a fact that experts advise watering of plants once a week. Actually, that wouldn’t be the accurate method you’d have to follow. You’ll have to water your plants as and when it is required. Maybe twice a week sometimes. Keep this in mind. The frequency of watering is dependent on the type of soil, the plant and the weather.

Tip 4: Know The Moisture Content:

Depending on you plant, you’ll have to keep a tab on the moisture content. Know this for a fact- the average moisture content in a home during winter is equivalent to the level in the Sahara desert. You can consider clustering plants together in order to ward off the ill effects of excess moisture.

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Little green fingers: Get the children into gardening with Alan Titchmarsh’s tips

As the school holidays start, a good many parents and grandparents will be keen to see children taking up gardening. The trick is not badgering them to help with routine chores, as they’ll soon get bored, but instead to give them free rein in a patch of their own.

Finding the plot

Don’t fob children off with a patch of wasteland full of weeds at the end of the garden – find them a plot they’ll be proud of, in a prime, sunny site with good, fertile soil. Don’t make it too big, so it takes too much work, or too small, so it lacks creative potential.

Anything from one to four square metres is about right. Have it cleared and dug over so it’s ready to go at the start of the holidays or as soon as they show an interest.

Starting off

Children approach gardening with a completely open mind, and their plans may surprise you. Some will want to create a fairly traditional layout to grow flowers and/or edible crops, but others may want to major on hard landscaping, outdoor arts and crafts, nature and wildlife. 

Or perhaps they’ll design landscapes for a model riding school, zoo or mini Jurassic Park, or create an enclosure to keep hens, rabbits or guinea pigs. Some budding entrepreneurs might like to create their own mini garden centreor nursery.

Try to discover where their interests lie, provide (or help them choose) suitable materials, and give any help and advice that’s needed. But avoid taking over – let them do it for themselves.

Get hard landscaping done first – a path of some sort through or all round the plot is a good idea. Save up spare building, decorating or gardening materials such as tiles, split canes, string, pots etc for the child to use as small-scale versions of full-sized garden accessories, or for making craft items such as rustic fencing or containers.

Large plant saucers or round plastic trugs are handy to sink into the ground as miniature ponds.

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How Doth the Garden Grow: Radical Rehabs, Before and After


If the aim of good landscaping is to make a space look “natural,” to bring out the best in the great outdoors without making them appear too sculpted or fiddled-with, then a set of before and after photos will inevitably make that fantasy a little harder to sustain. Still, there’s no better way to take stock of all that goes into a well-rehabbed backyard. Below, break down the metaphorical fourth wall of a dozen eye-popping contemporary garden projects, from the so-called “outdoor rooms” of Northern California to the backyard sanctuaries of Brownstone Brooklyn:

Photos via Houzz
↑ Looking for a landscape designer whose “portfolio lent itself to the contemporary aesthetic” of their new house, one Washington couple went with Lisa Port, who made the centerpiece of their backyard a curved steel wall wrapped around one end of an in-ground hot tub.

Photos via Gardenista
↑ This double-wide lot behind a brownstone in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn was turned around by Kim Hoyt Architecture. Now, to reach the backyard garden, one passes through an ipe wood gate and under a trellis connecting two matching sheds.

Photos via Architectural Digest
↑ Upon moving to New York City in 1995, actress, singer, activist, and fabulous penthouse owner Bette Midler founded the New York Restoration Project, which has since acquired over 50 community gardens in underserved communities and rehabbed nearly half of them. Pictured above is Bed-Stuy’s Garden of Hope, which was adopted in 2006 by interior designer Ellie Cullman and reopened in May 2008 after a redesign that brought in travertine pavers, hedges of espaliered Euonymus, and a gazebo surrounded by sculptural concrete globes.

Photos via Architectural Digest
↑ Redone in 2003 by the NYRP with funding from a grant provided by the Tiffany Co. Foundation, Harlem’s Family Garden was reimagined by Tiffany Co. design director John Loring with a number of features referencing nearby Thomas Jefferson Park: cut-metal silhouettes of founding fathers, traditional brick planters with wide limestone caps, and a wrought-iron entry gate based on the facade of Jefferson’s Virginia home, Monticello.

Photos via Architectural Digest
↑ Harlem’s Los Amigos Community Garden got revised by the NYRP in 2010, with the installation of weathered Cor-Ten steel planting beds and a new front gate lined with rows of wild grasses. A plum tree planted by one of the garden’s original members was preserved.

Photos via Architectural Digest
↑ The NYRP design team redid Bushwick’s Cooper Street Community Garden in 2012, clearing away a long stretch of broken concrete and adding in 19 new planting beds, a pergola, and a perimeter of vertical frames for climbing vines.

Photos via Apartment Therapy
Paxton Gate, a San Francisco-based garden store run by two landscape designers, turned around this unkempt backyard by adding in raised sections of concrete and wood.

Photos via Apartment Therapy
↑ Another unruly Bay Area backyard reigned in by Paxton Gate, this time with the addition of dark stone pavers and wooden platforms.

Photos via Houzz
↑ Husband-and-wife landscaping firm Outside Space NYC reworked a quarry-like sunken backyard area in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood with a waterfall running down the wall, polished concrete planters that keep with the aesthetic, and a circular lawn of artificial turf in the center.

Photos via Gardenista
↑ San Francisco-based Growsgreen Landscape Design turned this backyard into an “outdoor room” by situating a wooden patio at the same level as the threshold of the house.

Photos via Houzz
↑ After their front yard was “all but drowned” in Hurricane Sandy, one couple in Redhook, Brooklyn, hired landscape designers Sean Lewis and Jesse Terzi to turn it into a low-maintenance entertaining space capable of riding out another storm, with a lounge area paved in irregular flagstone and a spacious outdoor kitchen.

Photos via Gardenista
↑ Bay Area-based Pedersen Associates carved this “classic Northern California” outdoor room into a Marin County hillside while still leaving room for their client’s “beloved agave.”

· From Concrete ‘Jail Yard’ to Lush Escape in Brooklyn [Houzz]
· Before After: A Brooklyn Townhouse with a Double-Wide Garden [Gardenista]
· Bette Midler’s Green Thumb Revitalizes Community Gardens [Architectural Digest]
· Before After: 5 Gardens by Paxton Gate [Apartment Therapy]
· Divine Proportions Make for a Dream Landscape [Houzz]
· Before and After: 5 Favorite Garden Rehabs [Gardenista]
· A Front Yard Regrows in Brooklyn [Houzz]
· All Outdoors Week 2014 posts [Curbed National]

Article source:

Australia’s first Landscape Architecture Festival announces 2014 program [Video]

Australias first Landscape Architecture Festival announces 2014 program [Video]

Forecast—the inaugural Festival of Landscape Architecture has announced its program for 2014, with walking tours, radio broadcasts and keynote speakers from 16 October in Brisbane.

Hosted by the Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA), Forecast brings together designers, thinkers, collaborators and innovators of the landscaping field for three days of participatory events at the State Library of Queensland.

Outcomes through discourse and debate is the philosophy that informs the program, Creative Directors Sharon Mackay and Di Snape say that engagement and the exchange of ideas can lead to real systemic change.

“In the course of our diverse experiences, both on projects we’ve done together and in our own practice, we have been testing ways to curate engaging conversation that enables genuine exchange of ideas,” they said.

“The outcomes are always diverse, they are often unpredictable, they usually involve having a lot of fun, and they inevitably lead us immediately to devising the next project so we can continue the conversation. Occasionally they lead to real and systemic change. Forecast brings these experiences together to reimagine the conference for Landscape Architecture.”

The festival website lists 16 festival events which include an opening party, speaker sessions and the 2014 AILA National Awards, and will run over the course of the event.

See the Video below:

Program Highlights:

KEY CONVERSATION 6: Big Projects – Infrastructure and Procurement,  Saturday 18 October 11.00am – 12.30pm

  • The conversation will discuss the idea that Landscape Architects need to acknowledge, capture and incorporate the complexity of big projects and infrastructure. Image: John Gollings.

KEY CONVERSATION 1: Speculation and Research on Friday 17 October 8.45am – 10.00am

  • This session explores the relationship between data, design as research and how Landscape Architects can address complex contemporary urban challenges. Image: Peter Bennetts.

BROADCAST: The Interviews Various times and locations

  • Forecast brings media colleagues from ‘The Plan’ and ‘The Architects’ into the conversation to discuss their role in creating and curating the way that Landscape Architecture is profiled. Image: Tania Davidge.

EAT THE CITY: Long Table Dinner + 2014 AILA National Awards on Friday 17 October 5.00pm – 9.00pm.

Key Note Speakers:

  • Matt Baida from WAX Design, SA
  • Daniel Bennett, Adelaide City Council, SA
  • Pamille Berg OA, Pamille Berg Consulting, ACT
  • Cameron Bruhn, Architecture Media, Vic
  • Amy Grey, Meter Design, Qld
  • Penny Hall, Arup
  • Stuart Harrison, Harrison and White  The Architects 3RRR, Vic
  • James Hayter, Oxigen, SA
  • Timothy Horton, Architects Registration Board, NSW
  • Anton James, JMD Design, NSW
  • Perry Lethlean, Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Vic
  • Matthew Mackay, Hassell, Vic
  • Dr Jo Russell-Clarke, University of Adelaide  The Plan Radio, SA
  • Andy Sharp,Curtin University, PLACE Laboratory, WA
  • Rachel Smith, AECOM, Qld
  • Malcolm Snow, National Capital Authority, ACT
  • Yen Trihn, Queensland Museum, Qld

Visit to learn more and to register for the event.

Article source:

Millennium Park built ‘the Chicago Way’

Ten years after it opened, Millennium Park stands not only as the crown jewel of downtown Chicago, but emblematic of how Richard M. Daley got things done as mayor.

The story behind its construction involved Daley’s vision for the city, the well-heeled philanthropists who backed him, mayoral friends who benefited financially and people going to prison. And it was built with money the city didn’t have, leaving a debt that lingers today.

In the end, Daley’s relatively modest proposal to commemorate the millennium with a new park that was mostly open green space for $150 million “at no cost to taxpayers” resulted in a world-renowned, multifaceted destination completed in 2004 with a price tag that eventually topped $490 million, including at least $95 million in tax money. The rest of the tab was covered with $225 million in private donations, some cash from parking fees and the eventual sale of four city and Chicago Park District parking garages for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Once it was built, the city found it did not even have enough money to operate the park, despite help from the private sector, so Daley borrowed nearly $30 million just to keep it running — loans taxpayers continue to pay back.

That’s not the only ongoing financial burden related to Millennium Park, which officially opened 10 years ago Wednesday. Taxpayers also could be on the hook for $58 million related to the lease of those parking garages because of how the Daley administration put together the deal.

Meanwhile, the city is paying a team of lawyers as it tries to back out of a sweetheart deal with the operators of Park Grill, a restaurant at the park. Investors included a Daley friend and a city contractor. The restaurant pays $250,000 a year in rent, while getting free garbage pickup, water and gas. It also pays no property taxes. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is battling in court to void that deal.

In classic Chicago fashion, there also was a contract that led to prison terms for three people: a Park District official who pleaded guilty to taking bribes for $8 million in landscaping work at the park and other district properties, the company owner who bribed her and a company executive.

It was all vintage Daley: The goal was laudable, but the execution was messy, said Dick Simpson, a former alderman who now is a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

“There was a lot that in the Daley administration — a lot of the ideas were good ideas, but they were implemented in what’s called the Chicago Way,” said Simpson, who cited as another example Daley’s bulldozing of Meigs Field in the middle of the night to create a nature park. “There were insiders, there was clout, there was corruption. And it was done in a way that cost more than it should have.”

Jacquelyn Heard, a spokeswoman for Daley, declined comment for this story.

As he approached the end of his first decade in office, Daley announced that he wanted to transform a derelict railroad yard considered a blot on the downtown he had worked to beautify into a 24-acre park with an outdoor stage facing a “great lawn.” The plan included a 300-seat indoor theater and a reflecting pool that would double as an ice rink in winter.

At the time, Daley said $120 million of the projected $150 million cost would be covered by parking fees from a new below-ground garage. Private donations would take care of the rest.

As construction began, costs soared as the plans expanded and the work proved far more complex than anticipated. The host of add-ons included the famous Cloud Gate sculpture known as The Bean and an innovative fountain with video sculptures.

Within 15 months of his 1998 announcement, Daley’s City Hall had issued $170 million in bonds. Three months later, all of that money was spent.

As costs soared, Daley’s City Hall drew down funds from a special property tax district adjacent to the park, despite his pledge to put no tax money into the park. Eventually, more than $95 million in tax increment finance district funds went to pay for Millennium Park.

By 2004, the wealthy financial backers Daley enlisted had pumped $200 million into the park’s construction and put in another $20 million for an endowment to help maintain the park.

The money Daley borrowed was supposed to be repaid with fees from the garage beneath the park. By 2006, it was clear they would not cover the cost — the city had paid nearly $10 million from a reserve fund to cover the difference.

Faced with a large debt on his signature project, Daley leased the garage beneath the park and three other Park District-owned downtown parking garages to a Morgan Stanley investment company for 99 years. Morgan Stanley was then free to raise parking rates as high as it saw fit. In exchange, the city got a onetime payment of $563 million.

Daley took nearly $208 million out of that windfall to pay off the bonds issued to build the garage and part of the park. The rest went to the Park District.

As part of the 2006 lease, the city agreed to not allow public parking in the surrounding area. But three years later, it granted Standard Parking a public garage license beneath the Aqua tower, which led to a $57.8 million arbitration judgment against the city that was later upheld in court. The city is appealing.

Article source:,0,3021662.story

Water gardeners show off creations in annual tour – Springfield News

On the first day of the water garden tour, Brady Burns was a spectator. He traveled around to see some of the Ozarks’ most beautiful outdoor creations.

On Sunday, he got to show off his own masterpiece.

“The creativity is what I love most about it,” Burns said. “There’s nothing with more detail per square inch than a koi pond.”

Burns is a landscaper by trade, mowing lawns since he was 14 before eventually getting a degree from Ozarks Technical Community College in turf and landscaping. This is his first year on the Southwest Missouri Water Garden Association’s tour.

His own pond in southeast Springfield is two years old. Water, surrounded by rocks and plant life, gently flows down a hill in his yard. Fish and a soft-shell turtle call the water garden home.

His company, Green Leaf Landscaping, has become specialized in installing waterscapes and koi ponds, he said.

He spent Saturday touring other homes on the tour, getting ideas and looking for inspiration. He wants to continue learning, he said, and building better waterscapes.

“I want to create Mandalay Bay at the next Mandalay Bay,” he said. “That’s the dream.”

Burns’ garden was one of 15 on the tour, which was held Saturday and Sunday and featured stops in Springfield, Ozark, Nixa, Willard, Marionville and elsewhere.

Proceeds from tickets benefited the Humane Society of Southwest Missouri.

Farther south, in Nixa, is Steve Louallen’s handmade creation.

“I built it all myself,” he said.

That includes carefully placed stones and plants around flowing water. Even the deck chairs are homemade from wood Louallen picked up from a job.

In fact, many of the pieces of his garden are recycled to some extent — though he notes “free rocks” aren’t really that free when you consider the equipment it takes to move them.

Louallen is somewhat of a veteran water garden landscaper. He started when he was still in high school after his grandma asked him to build a water garden at her home.

He realized how much he enjoyed it, even getting permission to install a water garden in his apartment when he was 18.

Since then, he’s built two more at his own homes, making his Nixa waterscape his fourth.

His wife, Becky Louallen, said visitors on the tour loved the garden, especially appreciating that Steve had built it all by hand.

“They say it’s their favorite garden on the tour,” Becky Louallen said.

Steve Louallen smiled and tried to qualify that statement.

“They probably say that to everyone.”

Article source:

Seneca Nation commits to native-only landscaping

— The Seneca Indian Nation is strengthening its roots to the land with a new commitment to use only indigenous plants and trees in public landscaping.

The western New York tribe is believed to be the first to formalize a practice that tribes throughout the country are embracing as a way to preserve Native American culture and the environment.

From now on, instead of Austrian pines, Japanese maples and other foreign species, there will be native balsam firs, sugar maples and white ash trees outside Seneca schools, office buildings and casinos. Wild bee balm, cinnamon fern and butterfly weed that grew in abundance on their own will take the place of the Dutch bulbs and other non-native flowers and shrubbery that have become typical in commercial landscaping.

The planting policy approved by the Seneca Tribal Council this spring is an offshoot of the tribe’s “Food is our Medicine” gardening program launched last year with the goal of reducing diabetes by reconnecting members with the earth and the healthy fruits and vegetables they once relied on.

Tribal leaders said the notion that the land would provide food, remedies, building materials and fibers was becoming lost in modern times.

“The lawn is a European concept. Grass does not serve any function,” noted Ken Parker, the nation’s native plant consultant. “There’s no habitat for wildlife. It doesn’t feed any butterflies or do anything for the bees.”

Now, where manicured grass used to grow outside the William Seneca administration building, high-bush blueberries, yellow honeysuckle, sweet fern and St. John’s wort thrive.

“People plant plants around because they look nice and don’t care where they’re from,” Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. said. “We were starting to lose that part we had centuries ago when the natives were here and they had all these things in front of them.”

Tribal leaders decided that bringing them back would start with using exclusively indigenous species around public buildings and educating the public with the hope members will embrace the idea at home.

The Senecas already have reintroduced more than 25 native species on their Cattaraugus and Allegany territories. They are considering opening a nursery to maintain supply, something numerous tribes throughout the country already have done to combat declines in native plants brought on by development, grazing, mining and invasive species.

On the Hopi Reservation in northern Arizona, invasive salt cedar and Russian olive trees are being replaced with native willows and cottonwoods as part of efforts to restore wetlands: Each salt cedar alone absorbs up to 20 gallons of water a day.

In California, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians’ nursery was begun to revitalize the relationship between the tribe and its aboriginal land and the Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indians’ Four Seasons Native Plant Nursery pays homage to the ancestral practice of relying on whichever plants are in season throughout the year.

The juneberries growing now on Seneca land can be cooked into jam, the witch hazel used as an antiseptic. Waxy bayberries can be harvested for candles, and New Jersey tea, a white flowering shrub, may be dried and brewed — just as it was by colonists seeking substitutes for the British imports scarce after the Boston Tea Party.

“When we drive on the highway, we should see the flora of the region,” Parker said. “We don’t. We do Colorado spruce here in New York state because it’s salt tolerant. It works here, but it doesn’t belong here. We need to show our regional look. We need to educate our children about what is the look of the region.”

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Blooming and beautiful

Nurturing and cultivating a plant into full bloom, savoring the elemental joy of digging in the dirt and the willingness to give long hours of physical labor – these are the traits that mark a passionate gardener.

Like an artist with his brush, these gardeners create masterpieces of beauty, color and form that are rooted in the earth itself. 

To celebrate and honor some of the best local gardens, the Saco Bay Gardening Club is hosting a garden tour on Saturday, July 12, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

The tour features 12 gardens, including those of Cindy Laprise in Biddeford Pool and those at the in-town Saco home of Dan Bennett and Normand Boisvert. The tour will also feature gardens in Old Orchard Beach.

Laprise, who is not a member of the garden club, said it was “nice to be chosen” for this year’s tour. She’s been working on her gardens for about 20 years and has mostly flowerbeds with other vegetation.

What Laprise most enjoys about gardening, she said, “is watching everything grow   – it’s absolutely beautiful.” Her favorite flower is the pink foxglove, but she also likes poppies and clematis, among others.

When she and her husband moved to their home off Old Pool Road, Laprise said the back yard was almost completely wild. She and her husband never planned to become avid gardeners, but found that they “loved working in the dirt, making things beautiful.”

Laprise said she “easily” spends between 25 and 30 hours a week in her gardens during the summer season.

“We don’t go away in the summer. We stay right here and watch nature grow,” she said.

She said the most frustrating thing about gardening is that “what flourishes is dependent on the weather,” and she never knows what will make some plants grow strong and beautiful or make others sickly.

Laprise has gone on garden tours before and hopes the upcoming one sponsored by the Saco Bay Gardening Club is “a day of enjoyment and fun.”

Bennett said he and Boisvert have been working on their gardens for about 10 years. He said Boisvert does most of the hard work of getting the gardens ready in the spring, and then it’s Bennett’s turn to keep everything looking good.

Their landscaping includes a variety of water elements, including fountains, a small in-ground pool and raised vegetable plots where Bennett grows sweet corn, a variety of potatoes, beets and more.

In addition, Bennett and Boisvert have a grape arbor. But they leave the harvesting and preserving to a neighbor, who always gifts them with jams and jellies she makes in return.

Bennett can spend as many as four to six hours in the garden every day during the summer, but said he loves being out in the sunshine and helping make things grow.

He said simply watering the gardens can take up to 1½ hours. He also fertilizes, trims the bushes and deadheads the flowers. 

“The gardens need constant care and maintenance,” Bennett said.

His favorite flower is the Siberian iris, while for Boisvert it is the pink bleeding heart. 

“He just loves them,” Bennett said. “They take easily and will bloom almost all summer.”

Bennett and Boisvert have mostly perennials, but also add annuals each year for color and variety. In addition to the planted beds, Bennett also has a number of potted plants.

Despite the hard work involved in gardening, Bennett said he and Boisvert are “just happy to have created a nice space for ourselves.”

Cathleen Fejedelem, who founded the Saco Bay Gardening Club and is a past president, is the chairwoman of this year’s garden tour committee.

She said this is the sixth biennial tour offered by the garden club, which boasts more than 60 members from Biddeford, Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Scarborough, Dayton and Buxton.

Fejedelem said the garden club was “very fortunate this year in that we were able to find 12 outstanding gardens that have never been on the tour before.”

She said some members of the tour committee had a few gardens in mind, others were selected by word of mouth and some gardens were chosen when the committee simply drove by.

“We found a few by accident that we didn’t know existed,” Fejedelem said. “We approached all these owners and were delighted that they all said yes. None of the gardens on the tour this year are garden club members except one.”

She said the garden tour is a fundraiser for the Saco Bay Gardening Club’s horticultural education projects and local beautification activities.  In addition, it gives the gardeners a chance to “show off their gardens, share tips and advice and talk about favorite plants.”

Those who go on the tour will get to “view all kinds of different designs, plants they may not know about, what I call garden accoutrements, such as sculptures and other accessories, and maybe get ideas of what they can incorporate into their own gardens at home,” Fejedelem added.

“Every garden is different,” she said, “I think some people attend the tours because of the wow factor. But many serious gardeners just love to see all the gardens they can because they all have individual beauty.”

As for her own gardening Fejedelem said, “I love discovering good flower combinations that work. I also love planting vegetable seeds and seeing them come to fruition. I love the satisfaction of a new acquisition and planting it and waiting to see how it performs. I love finding something a little unusual that not many other people have.”

She added, “Every gardener I know will say that a garden is never finished. There’s always a new idea that comes along – an opportunity to change things around, to add another bed, to replace a plant with something else. Having a garden is like having a project you love working on that you never finish.”

Fejedelem said the gardens on the upcoming tour include oceanfront gardens with beach roses, a landscape and garden dug into a slope and “a small rock wall garden that is just lovely and tranquil.”  

She said garden club members would be on hand at each of the gardens on the tour to greet the guests and answer questions. However, it is a self-guided tour, which allows people to make their own itinerary.

Overall, Fejedelem said, what gives a gardener the most joy is “the colors, scents and textures that their garden brings them each season.” 

Article source:

Randolph Resident Tina Yotka, Owner of Demeter Designs, Brings Gardens …

RANDOLPH, NJ- Now that summer has arrived, many people are interested in a new and sustainable look for their yard. If so, longtime Randolph resident Tina Yotka is the woman to go to. Tina is a horticulturist who specializes in organic interior and exterior sustainable plant scapes, design, and care. 

Tina is the independent owner of Demeter Designs, LLC based in Randolph. She always had a niche for gardening, and would do her own small projects in her yard. She found herself wanting more, so when her kids grew older she decided to go back to school.  Yotka graduated from the County College of Morris with a degree in landscape and horticultural technology, and shortly after started her business, Demeter Designs in 2009.

Demeter Designs, LLC is not your typical landscaping company. The services Tina offers go beyond the appearance of a yard, and into the actual science of maintaining the proper plantscape for each individual space. What many don’t understand is that there is a lot involved in maintaining healthy plant space.  As a horticulturalist, Tina has studied and been educated in all plant material, and has intimate knowledge of what plants to place where, and what they need to thrive.

Things as simple as weeding, plant placement, mulching and watering all affect the health of a garden. A common belief is that once a landscape is completed, natural sunlight, water, and some occasional weed-whacking is all it needs to stay up to par, but that’s not always the case. A lot of people get landscape designs as a one-time thing with no follow up care, and shortly after all the work has gone to waste. With all of her clients, Tina goes through a process of interviewing the client to find out their desires and needs. She then surveys the space and comes up with a detailed portfolio.  Her service includes follow up support to ensure the job stands the test of time; she doesn’t just leave once the job is complete.

 “I like to be there to “grow” with the garden that I created for them, to preserve it, and to keep the clients happy as well,” said Tina. 

Tina’s services are not only beneficial to her customers; they are friendly and advantageous to the environment as well. Almost all the products Tina uses are organic, many of which she tests at home in her own garden before using with clients. She’s also certified by Rutgers University in design, installation and maintenance of rain gardens. Yotka can maintain green roofs, which she has done in the past for Princeton University, Rutgers University in Newark and locally in Morristown.

Demeter helps homeowners improve their curb appeal, designing small and large decorative plats, and arranging small container vignettes or cut flower arrangements that can be used for inside or out. They also provide event decorations, outdoor living space designs, and help homeowners spruce up a house before selling.  Tina’s busy season is spring through fall, where she can assist with plant winterizing and holiday containers.  Yotka stays busy in the winter months hosting and attending lectures in her industry.

For the most part, Tina works throughout all of Morris County, and is always looking for new clients. “Finding new clients is the hardest aspect of being a self-owned business” she said, but that hasn’t stopped her. With her business becoming more popular, she hopes to find help so she can expand her business and take a back seat out of some of the intense labor. “I don’t want to completely remove myself out of the gardening aspect because I enjoy it so much, and I don’t expect to for some time. Looking forward I’d like to expand more into lectures and writing and take the business in another direction,” she said. She plans to start a gardening blog in the future and possibly write a couple of books. 

“Satisfaction of a job well done and compliments from the client when you see their faces when it’s all complete make me feel great.  Sometimes when you try to explain your visions to them, they don’t have a clue what you’re talking about and that’s okay. But when they see the end result, and they turn and look at you saying ‘wow it’s beautiful’, or I hear them telling their friends how lovely everything is, that’s the greatest accolade,” she said. 

You can find more information, and view photos by visiting Demeter Designs website at or follow them on Facebook. For any questions or inquiries you can contact Tina by phone at


Demeter Designs is a paid advertiser for Tap into Randolph. If you are interested in advertising, please contact TAP at 201-725-2670.

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