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Archives for July 23, 2014

Free seminars offer gardening tips

The Chesterfield County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a series of free gardening seminars this summer and fall:

• Fall Vegetable Gardening – By planning and planting a fall vegetable garden, it’s possible to have fresh vegetables up to and even past the first frost. Learn how to take care of summer veggies and when and how to plant fall crops to extend the enjoyment of your garden. Saturday, July 26, 10:30 a.m., Meadowdale Library.

• Fall Lawn Care – Late summer through early fall is the best time to sow grass seed and perform lawn renovation. Learn how to select the best type of grass for different lawn conditions, renovation or repair options, crabgrass and grub control, fertilizer selection and application timing. The focus of this seminar is on turf-management practices that are environmentally sound. Wednesday, Aug. 13, 6 p.m., Central Library.

• Weeds – Fall and even some of the milder weather of early winter present great possibilities in weed control. Many of our area’s most problematic weeds are cool-season broadleaf perennials, and fall is a time when they are actively growing. Participants can bring samples of weeds for identification. Tuesday, Aug. 19, 6 p.m., Chester Library.

• Selecting and Planting Shrubs Correctly – Fall can be a great time to spruce up landscapes with new shrubs. The best time of year to plant is during the fall. Learn how to choose the right shrubs for the right location and how to plant them correctly. Wednesday, Aug. 20, 6 p.m., Midlothian Library, and Wednesday, Sept. 10, 4 p.m., Clover Hill Library.

For more information or to register, call 751-4401.

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Dannevirke: Garden guru shares tips

Jackie Lynch (left) of EIT in the Hawke's Bay, with Tamai Nicholson of Te Awanga Tamaki Nui A Rua on Monday at a powhiri for supporters and students of a new horticultural course in Dannevirke. Photo/Christine McKay
Jackie Lynch (left) of EIT in the Hawke’s Bay, with Tamai Nicholson of Te Awanga Tamaki Nui A Rua on Monday at a powhiri for supporters and students of a new horticultural course in Dannevirke. Photo/Christine McKay

Kai, it’s vital for us all and if we can grow some of our own, then it’s good for our pockets too.

With the first 20-week horticultural course beginning at Te Awanga Tamaki Nui A Rua in Dannevirke this week, participants will be helping to reduce the food bill for their whanau, says tutor Jackie Lynch of EIT in the Hawke’s Bay.

“We teach this course from Hicks Bay to Dannevirke now, at marae and churches,” she said. “Gardening is my thing and I love it.

“This is a fabulous course and not only are we planting a community garden here, participants will be creating home gardens as well. It’s about having accessible food.”

Ms Lynch has been running the course, which has 11 unit standards as part of a Level 1 certificate in horticulture, at Maeranui in Napier for two years.

This week, the Dannevirke participants were planting garlic, onions and daffodils.

“This is about being sustainable and people learn plant propagation, weed control, small machine maintenance and so much more,” Ms Lynch said.

The idea of a community garden is a wonderful concept, says Charlie Timu, of the Ruahine Maori Wardens.

“There are a lot of people who have no idea how to grow things and teaching people to develop their home gardens is great because there are a lot of needy whanau out there.”

Tamai Nicholson, of Te Awanga Tamaki Nui A Rua, said the 20-week course in Dannevirke was a great concept.

“To have my mother, (Nanny Noa Nicholson), here to welcome everyone is special.

“She is a rock for our family.”


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Gardening tips for late summer

In August flower gardeners reap rewards from the hard work they did in spring and can relax knowing that most of the ornamental garden work can be left until weather cools in September.

Even dead-heading flowers is an option. People who want a second crop of shrub and perennial flowers will get busy shearing back roses, buddleia, phloxes, lavenders, globe thistles, anchusa, penstemons, yarrows and toadflaxes But people who hope for rose hips or seed for future planting don’t even have to do that.

In August petunias often start to grow long and lanky. It’s fine to shorten them. They’ll be pathetic stumps at first, but before long they’ll be shooting back, budding and flowering.

Soon Autumn crocus (Colchicum) bulbs will be in nurseries. These aren’t cheap, but they’re such good value because they’re pest-free and spread and flower reliably in sun with very large pink-purple crocus-type blooms.

Gardeners who keep their garden mulched can relax the frequency of watering except for moisture-loving plants such as hellebores or mints. There’s no problem either in abandoning lawn watering for a couple of months. Lawns green up fast when rain arrives.
Any water saved from the lawn, will be needed in the vegetable garden because moisture is needed to help beans, zucchinis, squash and tomatoes root and leafy crops get larger. Any crop that’s partly self-pollinated, such as beans, will also benefit from a swoosh of the hose over the plants to get their pollen moving around.

Tomatoes grown under cover also need a good shake for pollination. These are greedy feeders and moisture lovers. So are squash. Bush squash need very rich nourishment especially if they’re in a big container – fish fertilizer, sea soil or a balanced (all numbers the same) organic fertilizer are all suitable.

Rural gardeners often have space for vining squash, which seek out their own food if allowed to run because auxiliary roots form on the wandering stems. The leaves are quite beautiful, like huge earthbound water lilies. Heirloom squash are often vining. Fruit of some kinds can be large and very heavy.

Garlic doesn’t need watering now, nor do shallots because both are in the run-up to harvesting. August is good timing to harvest these, especially before the stems dry and disappear. Invisible stems mean a few root clusters also vanish. In spring they reappear in inconvenient places.

With some crops, harvesting fits nicely with composting unusable plant bits. Every time a broad bean plant is stripped of its last beans, it’s easy to pull the plant and pile it ready for compost. If you’re armed with a pruner, the last crop of summer raspberries can dovetail with cutting fruited stems.

It’s not too late to sow seeds of a few things: arugula and corn salad are especially useful because they mature very fast and are fairly slug resistant. Green onions, radishes and spinach can also be sown now.
My father, who gardened in South Surrey, used to plant peas in the last two weeks of July, calling it his “silly” crop because whether it ever matured was always dicey. But planting pod pea seed gives you a harvest a week earlier than shelling peas do.

Anne Marrison is happy to answer garden questions. Send them to her via  It helps if you add your city or region.

© Burnaby Now

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Armstrong Garden Center Offers Tips on Conserving Water

drought in California is so severe that the state is implementing an
emergency water conservation regulation and will fine those who waste it
starting on Aug. 1, 2014. Now more than ever, it is critical for Californians to be mindful
of water usage.

shows that Californians use up to 50 percent more water than they need to
maintain healthy, beautiful gardens. In fact, Armstrong Garden Centers
experts suggest that gardens and
landscapes would actually be healthier if they were watered less, but
more effectively.

don’t necessarily need to change their gardens drastically in order to
save money and water during the drought,” said Eric Asakawa, Regional
Manager of Armstrong Garden
Centers. “Instead, homeowners can change the way they water.” 

Armstrong Garden Centers suggests its top ten tips for saving water during the drought:

Water early in the morning.
Making sure sprinklers stop running by 8:00 a.m.
will reduce evaporation and lessen the likelihood of water waste caused
by wind interference. Another perk – watering early reduces plant
disease and water damage.

Mulch. Placing a 2-inch to 3-inch layer of organic mulch on the soil surface around plants can save hundreds of gallons of water every year.

Repair and adjust sprinklers. Fixing damaged sprinklers immediately and checking pipes for leaks can save as much as 500 gallons of water per year.

Water deeper, but less often. Most gardens in California on automatic sprinklers are overwatered. Homeowners should change sprinkler systems to water
every other day or every third day, while increasing watering times by only 50-75 percent.
Consult your local municipality for appropriate watering guidelines.

Change watering times with the seasons.
Homeowners can save huge
amounts of water by adjusting automatic systems at least three times a
year, according to the season. During periods of rain, it is vital to
turn automatic systems off.

Use trigger sprayers when hand watering.
Trigger sprayers help ensure that water is not wasted while watering gardens.

Minimize water loss in plants. Use water-retentive potting soils in all container gardens.

Add compost to soil. Adding store-bought or homemade compost to planting beds and pots will decrease the amount of water needed.

Use organic fertilizers. These fertilizers slowly release nutrients into the soil at a natural rate that matches a plant’s needs, so plants need less
water when fed organically.

Install a smart sprinkler controller.
The latest technology
dramatically reduces water use and water bills. Wireless “smart
controllers” activate automatic sprinklers via computer-based weather
data and information about specifics of gardens. These “smart
controllers” can save over 40 gallons of water each watering day.

For more information on saving water or to find Armstrong Garden Centers landscaping experts throughout California, visit


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Garden Ridge gets new name, design – KCBD

Garden Ridge is investing $20 million in a rebranding project. 

The orange Garden Ridge sign at the Lubbock store has been replaced with an “At Home” sign. Garden Ridge hopes the rebranding will clear up any confusion customers may have about the products they sell.

“When I saw Garden Ridge here in town, I just assumed it was all outdoor patio things and stuff of that nature,” said Barbara Padron. 

She said since she was not in the market for patio furniture, she never bothered checking out the store. However, Padron said she was in the Corpus Christi area a few weeks ago, and visited an At Home.

“I went in and they have all kinds of stuff from canvas artwork to patio sets, iron, a lot of homedecorr,” Padron said. That’s when she noticed a few labels that said Garden Ridge. It’s then that she realized they had a Lubbock location. 

The rebranding brought Padron into the store, which is exactly what Garden Ridge hoped would happen. 

They are reportedly rebranding their entire fleet, just in time for holiday shopping.

Stacey Sullivan, a Red Raider, who is now the Director of Public Relations and Communications for Garden Ridge, says the company operates 71 stores across 21 states and will have 80 stores by this holiday season.  

The store was founded in Garden Ridge, Texas just outside of San Antonio back in 1979.

“I never really thought of it as a garden store though because I guess I went to the original and knew that they had a little bit of everything. I was excited that they’re in Lubbock,” said Madelyn Neel.

While Neel knew what to expect, Garden Ridge said the name did not have much equity with shoppers outside Texas borders.

“I had shopped at an At Home in Tucson, so I was excited it had came,” said customer Colene Perry.

Sullivan said along with this name change comes an increased assortment of items along with new in-store vignettes that will showcase how their products could be put together.  

Sullivan said they are also making departmental changes throughout the stores to make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for.

Now they hope At Home will better reflect their large assortment of homedecorr products, available for not just the backyard, but for every room.  

Garden Ridge confirmed there is no change in ownership, this is a rebrand designed to drive relevance with the customers as they continue their growth in new and existing markets. 

Copyright 2014 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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Manchester school students dig up history with their garden design for the …

By Matthew Appleby
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

A group of Manchester school students have won the chance to have their historical garden design featured in the Tatton Park flower show.

Tatton Park

Tatton Park

The year 4 pupils from Crowcroft Park Primary School were inspired by aerial images from English Heritage’s Britain From Above project. Their garden will take visitors back in time and across the world, with design features that recall Manchester’s past and plants that reflect the diverse cultures of the school. 

The children, who had been studying aerial photos of Levenshulme and its surrounding area in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s wanted to reflect the area’s history in their design. Retro features of their garden include a path inscribed with the names of Crowcroft Park pupils from the 1920s to the present day, and model houses that recall Manchester’s infamous back-to-back terraces. 

The garden design also celebrates the diverse backgrounds of Crowcroft Park’s students and staff. Pupils interviewed members of the school community of different nationalities about the kinds of plants, fruit and vegetables that they used to grow in their home countries, and included some of these in their garden.  

Head Lizzie Wray said: “We have a garden at school that the children take pride in, but this shows how exciting and creative gardening can be. The whole school has been involved and children and their parents will be visiting the Tatton Park Flower show for the first time this year.” 

Sandra Brauer, of English Heritage’s Britain From Above project, said: “Britain From Above has been working with communities across England, Scotland and Wales over the past two years to make Aerofilms’ fantastic aerial photographs come alive but we never would have imagined that the collection would inspire a garden. The students and teachers of Crowcroft Park Primary School and Angie Turner designs have turned the stories hidden in the images into a wonderful garden presenting the area’s past and present for everybody to enjoy.”

Britain From Above is a four year Heritage Lottery funded project that is conserving and displaying 95,000 of the earliest and more fragile aerial photographs online. The school was also supported by the RHS campaign for school gardening. 

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Pittsfield: Cottage garden design class offered

Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners will be conducting a gardening class at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 26, at Springside Park, 874 North St., at the demonstration gardens behind Springside House.

The class, “Designing a Cottage Garden,” is free and lasts from one to two hours.

To register or for more information, contact Mary Ann Emery, (413) 743-4284 or, or Jim McCarthy, (413) 637-2940 or

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Rising Lake Road traffic triggers calls for action in Far Hills

FAR HILLS – Its shaded, winding route along Ravine Lake has admirers in the borough and far beyond, but Lake Road is not entirely immune to traffic and safety concerns.

A question of how to address those concerns drew about 30 people to the Borough Council meeting recently, with residents voicing a variety of views on the best solutions.

Key complaints were that Lake Road is drawing a growing number of commercial contractors who provide landscaping and other home services, and that it’s used as a shortcut between Route 202 and Peapack-Gladstone or the Bernardsville Mountain.

There were suggestions to make the road one-way, add speed humps or even close it, but most of the audience preferred less dramatic measures like commercial truck restrictions, lowering the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit or increased police enforcement.

But borough officials said even the lesser measures carry consequences.

Mayor Paul Vallone said traffic enforcement, as an example, could allow no “exceptions.”

“It means if someone’s wife, if someone’s children are speeding, they’re getting a ticket,” he said.

Although council members said they were merely looking for public input, Vallone noted that changes could occur next year when Lake Road is scheduled for paving and drainage work.

“I want to assure all the residents – I and the Borough Council are not going to do anything drastic,” he told the crowd. “We all agree on a gradual approach. It’s a question of what that gradual approach should be.”

Lake Road had been closed since late June as an emergency measure to ensure it doesn’t get detour traffic from the nearby closing of a Route 202 bridge. The new bridge is expected to be done by September, and when it reopens, so will Lake Road.

Ed and Debbie Coury of 100 Lake Road called for the road to remain closed. They said the last several weeks have brought peace and safety.

But Borough Attorney Joseph Sordillo said legally, a public road can’t be limited to local traffic.

Casey Lister of 100 Spring Hollow Road opposed a closing, saying better alternatives include one-way traffic, a lower speed limit or speed bumps.

Marvette Jebarra of 199 Lake Road saw benefits to one-way traffic. She said that when she and her friends have gone walking, “we have had to jump off the road as cars go by us.”

But several residents opposed a one-way restriction.

A letter from Alan Fournier of 11 Spring Hollow Road, read aloud by Vallone, warned that one-way traffic would trigger increased speeding because motorists would no longer need to worry about vehicles coming the other way.

Paul Binder of 410 Lake Road said that since the closing, his driveway was one of three that have become “a turnaround.”

“Closing (the road), making it one-way, would be a disaster for us,” he said. “Turnarounds would take place all day long.”

Attorney Michael Osterman, representing the Somerset Lake and Game Club, said a one-way restriction would be a “huge” inconvenience for its 150 families.

Township Engineer Paul Ferriero said any change would require approval from the state Department of Transportation (DOT), and that some ideas were not as simple as they seemed.

Weight limits can be imposed for trucks but local deliveries of products like oil can’t be stopped, he said. As for speed humps, he said they would slow vehicles for only a few feet while increasing truck noise.

Other ideas were mentioned. Police Chief Kenneth Hartman said the road could have “cutouts” to help vehicles pass each other. Vallone said commercial vehicles could be required to park on their client’s property and not in the road.

Dr. George Mellendick of 260 Lake Road said he preferred not to see any widening of the road because of the impact to trees.

Ferriero said before any action is taken, the borough should conduct a traffic study to measure vehicle counts and speeds.

Chief Hartman said that in the meantime, residents should spread the word that police will not tolerate speeding on Lake Road.

‘Pride Of New Jersey’

Amidst the talk of problems and solutions, there was praise for the road’s beauty.

“The road is not only the pride of this region, but of New Jersey,” said Christian Kubick of 250 Lake Road.

Bill Ruddick of Boonton told the council he was among many avid cyclists in the region who traverse Lake Road. He said a cycling web site lists 1,000 cyclists who regularly ride on the road from Route 202 to Campbell Road, and 1,400 who do so the other way – far more than other roads.

“From a cyclists’ perspective, you guys have a treasure,” Ruddick said.

– Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Charlie Zavalick at or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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Our View: Reading the new blueprint

It was great to see in The High Point Enterprise last weekend that a revised plan for creating a public gathering place outside the High Point Neal F. Austin Public Library is getting a better reception than did an earlier proposal.
City officials and other community leaders have looked recently at a modified plan for changes to parking areas in front of the library. And a comment by City Councilwoman Judy Mendenhall captures the change in how this plan is being received:
“I think it enhances and beautifies and retains the dignity of what a library is,” Mendenhall told the Enterprise.
That, folks, is pretty much a 180-degree turn in how that member of City Council felt about the original proposal for transforming the library’s parking area into a public gathering space as well as parking place. Most of City Council, and many members of the general public, didn’t like the original proposal, with opposition focusing on its elimination of a significant number of parking spaces.
This revised plan, drawn by High Point Architect Peter Freeman,  would keep the library’s 178 parking spaces but add trees and landscaping. It also would modify the configuration of parking spaces and traffic patterns to incorporate open space that would allow public gatherings. They would not be huge events, mind you, but activities that could accent the library’s mission as well as aid efforts to redevelop that area of the city and make it more pedestrian-friendly. City officials now are seeking estimated costs of the work.
Positive reaction to Freeman’s revised plan reminds us that good things can be accomplished when a spirit of compromise and cooperation prevails instead of battle lines being drawn — as it initially appeared in this matter and as it too often happens regarding others.
Most of us agree that revitalization efforts are needed in several areas of the city. And most of us have our own ideas about what should be done, how they should be carried out and which areas should get priority.
Vital to this is that we all talk about ideas, proposals and plans as they arise, remembering that compromise and cooperation get things done.

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Martis Camp Home Tour to support education, community

Spend an afternoon exploring six, one-of-a-kind custom homes in Truckee’s Martis Camp and help raise money to benefit local schools. The sixth annual Excellence in Education Home Tour is slated for Sunday, Aug. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Excellence in Education partners with the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors for this unique event that presents a group of distinct homes. Discover recent trends and creative ideas in luxury home building, as envisioned and executed by a handful of the region’s premiere architects, builders, designers and landscapers.

“Each home is unique and beautiful and has extraordinary things to offer,” said Fawn Chang, Excellence in Education board member and Home Tour chair. “Anyone joining us for the Home Tour will enjoy a day of beautiful architecture designed to fit seamlessly into everything we all love about living in Truckee, as well as have the satisfaction of making a difference in the lives of thousands of children.”

The tour offers examples of cutting edge architecture and building, providing guests a glimpse of creative and contemporary interior design and landscaping ideas. View open outdoor living areas featuring fire pits, outdoor kitchens and heated patios; furniture built-ins that masterfully seclude the kitchen appliances; SmartHome Technology; and a separate garage storage space with outside entry for outdoor sports equipment.

Each home blends modern design and rustic raw materials and each is carefully designed to interact with the outdoor spaces.

Proceeds from the Home Tour benefit quality public education within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Money raised goes directly into the school district via Excellence in Education Foundation’s grant programs and the Martis Camp’s Community Foundation.

Tickets for the tour are $40 per person in advance, $45 day of event and may be purchased at Dickson Realty, Tahoe Mountain Resorts, Carr Long Real Estate, Better Homes and Gardens (Tahoe City office), North Tahoe Visitor Center, Ritz Carlton, Lake Tahoe, California Welcome Center in Truckee and at Tickets purchased online will be held at will call.

Hours for the tour are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; arrive by 2 p.m. to complete the full tour.

Food and beverages will be available at the Park Pavilion for purchase after the Tour.

Martis Camp is located near the Truckee Tahoe Airport, off Highway 267 at the end of Schaffer Mill Road. Follow the event signs to Martis Camp where guests will be directed to a designated parking area. Guests will take a shuttle bus to each tour home.

For more information or to volunteer call 530-550-7984 or visit

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