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Archives for September 4, 2014

Flea’s Music School Trying to Stop Sunset Junction Mixed-Users


The massive, three-building mixed-use project of Sunset Junction has been moving forward doggedly for more than two years, even though it’s really unpopular with the neighborhood. (Developer Frost/Chaddock wants to add 310 units and 16,000 square feet of retail, plus a public plaza on three non-contiguous sites along Sunset.) But a press release from Save Sunset Junction, a group of community activists working to “scale back” the project, has shared that the neighboring Silverlake Conservatory of Music, which was cofounded by Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, is making “an above-market-rate offer” to buy part of the land that F/C plans to build on, so that F/C would have to shrink their project back.

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Canalside wraps up most successful summer season ever

than 1 million visitors made their way to Buffalo’s waterfront

Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. has
announced this summer exceeded all expectations, with more than 1 million
visitors making their way down to Canalside for festivals, activities for
children, concerts, arts and culture, fitness and more. This year, ECHDC was
pleased to provide 30 percent more events and activities than what was offered
in past seasons. There was something to do every single day this summer at

“Food, fun, music, games, exercise,
relaxation and history all played a role in Canalside’s growing success this
summer,” said ECHDC Chairman Robert Gioia. “I applaud the Canalside staff for
making the site and the daily activities so enjoyable for visitors and
residents. Now we can look forward to our fall events and skating on the

Some of the positive feedback received
via the Canalside Facebook page:

“I think it’s great that you’re still
keeping free concerts!! Love that!”

“Buffalo’s got it going on! So exciting
to see all the fun ideas on the waterfront and the crowds are overwhelming!”

“I feel like a visitor in my own

New offerings this year included an
expanded Clinton’s Dish with an innovative menu, additional seating and a beer
garden; Patty’s People Buffalo picture, music and dance series; World Cup
viewing parties; WNY Bike Rentals and daily tours to learn the story of
Buffalo. For the kids, there were daily family activities, including F BITES
with chef Bobby Anderson from the television show “Hell’s Kitchen,” which got
hundreds of kids cooking their own tasty dishes.

Old favorites, including Zumba, Pilates,
“power yoga,” boot camp, yoga, the Saturday artisan market and children’s
programming with Explore and More Children’s Museum, the Buffalo Erie
County Library and Young Audiences of WNY, continued to be successful. Amenities
such as table games/game rentals, a reading room, QR code tours, BFLO Kayak
tours/rentals, water bike rentals, Queen City Water Ferry, Buffalo River
history tours and Spirit of Buffalo rides also were available throughout the

“It has been a summer to remember at
Canalside,” said Ryan Coate, Global Spectrum general manager at Canalside. “Like
our over-the-top July 4 celebration, this season has been an explosion of music,
color, crowds and, most of all, fun. I want to thank everyone whom supported
Canalside, and all of the staff members that kept the site buzzing with
activities and looking beautiful for people to enjoy. We look forward to our
autumn events and gliding along the canals on skates this winter.”

Ascetically, Canalside added additional
seating, expanded garden areas and landscaping. An array of artwork also added
to the visual excitement on the waterfront. Albright Knox brought the popular “Shark
Girl” sculpture, drawing hundreds of people anxious see what the buzz was as they
lined up to take selfies of their own. The “MirrorMirror” exhibit reflected the
beauty of Canalside from all angles. In addition, the echo Art Fair brought
three site-specific art installations to Canalside. The public has until Sept.
5 to vote at the information booth at Canalside for their favorite echo
installation. The winner of the People’s Choice Prize will be announced at the
fourth annual echo Art Fair, which takes place at the downtown Buffalo and Erie
County Public Library Sept. 6-7.

Buffalo Spree Magazine recognized
Canalside for “Best New Workout Spot” and “Best Outdoor Concert” in its
Best of WNY Awards. Canalside also was proud to be nominated in three Artvoice Best
of Buffalo Awards categories: Most Inspiring Place, Best Place to Watch a
Sunset and Best People Watching.

Just because sandals and sun hats are
packed away doesn’t mean the fun is done at Canalside. “Buffalo’s Biggest
Football Pep Rally” is Friday, with free admission and live music from Nik and
the Nice Guys; the last paid concert of the season, featuring Foster the
People, is Sept. 11; the Buffalo Maritime Festival runs Sept. 19-21; and the
Saturday artisan market continues through October.

There will be ice skating on the
historically aligned canals on the site of the former Memorial Auditorium. The
ice is expected to be ready by Thanksgiving.

For more information, visit

Canalside is a growing regional
destination and entertainment district, situated on 21 historic acres along
downtown Buffalo’s emerging waterfront on the Buffalo River. For more
information, visit

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Ideas@50+ draws huge stars to San Diego

SAN DIEGO – AARP is launching its first ever Ideas@50+ National Event and Expo at the San Diego Convention Center this week.

The three-day event, designed to foster engagement and interaction between innovative thinkers and experts in various fields, runs Thursday through Saturday. It will feature talks from dozens of celebrities, including Martha Stewart, Kevin Spacey, Dan Marino, Julia Louis Dreyfus, Arianna Huffington, LeVar Burton, Joan Lunden and Jennifer Ashton.

The speakers are divided into four areas of focus: Health and Wellness, Money and Work, Technology and Innovation and Travel and Lifestyle.

On Friday night, there will be the Boomer Superstar Contest, hosted by American Idol’s Randy Jackson and featuring Taylor Hicks, Emilio Estefan and Patti Austin.

On Saturday night John Mellencamp, Los Lobos and Mavis Staples will perform.

Thursday’s events will kick off at 8 a.m. with a Community Day of Service, in which hundreds of AARP volunteers will hit San Diego neighborhoods for a variety of projects, ranging from home refurbishing, landscaping, mentoring, green projects, construction of community gardens and senior community center revitalization.

Online registration is closed. Anyone wanting to attend must register in person at the Convention Center beginning at noon on Wednesday.

Click here for a schedule of events. Hotel shuttle service will also be provided.

Article source:

Improving your garden’s ecology

In an age of environmental woe — climate change, habitat loss, threats to beloved pollinators — should we change the role and the look of our gardens?

You won’t have to read many pages of a new book, “The Living Landscape,” to get your answer. Authors Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy argue that our residential landscapes are surprisingly barren places that could be transformed into oases for plants, animals and, ultimately, ourselves.

Chat with Adrian Thursday, Sept. 4 at noon

Darke is a well-known garden writer and ecologically minded plantsman, and Tallamy is an entomologist whose influential 2007 book “Bringing Nature Home” established the utility of native plants in a greater biosphere.

The new book is not simply another call to use native plants, although it leans heavily on indigenous flora. It is rather a manifesto for increasing the diversity of plants we grow.

As we enter the prime season for reworking the garden and planting afresh, this is a timely issue. Darke and Tallamy argue that with a sufficiently rich mixture of plant species comes an interconnected world of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and insects — a spider’s web of life spun by the gardener.

Why should we care?

Darke’s aerial photographs bring home what may not be obvious at ground level. Development patterns squeeze out life: The city is a canvas of asphalt, concrete and flat roofs. New housing subdivisions in outer suburban and rural areas are bereft of much plant life and are more likely to feature oceans of lawn and rows of arborvitae. Even the older, leafy inner suburbs could be so much more.

Home gardens, once thought of by ecologists as a way to provide corridors for fauna between habitats, now must become contained habitats themselves, Tallamy says.

“Why do residential landscapes suddenly have to shoulder this new ecological responsibility?” Tallamy writes. “Quite simply, the natural world is now so fragmented that any given piece is no longer large enough to sustain most of the species within it for very long.”

In an interview, he said the idea of ecological gardening has taken off because it offers a tangible way for people to address wide-ranging environmental crises. “People love to feel empowered,” he said. “If you put an oak tree in your yard, you see the difference.”

Flora in natural areas fill their own niches — shade trees form part of the canopy over lower-growing trees and shrubs, and the understory plants, in turn, shelter an herbaceous level of such things as ferns, bluebells, trilliums and may apples. All this vegetation feeds the living soil — if the fallen leaves are not neatly removed. This natural layering cries out to be replicated in the home garden, Darke says.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I would add, it’s clear that most gardens do not reach their potential. We do not plant intensively enough or paint the ground with bold sweeps of plants. There are few residential landscapes that couldn’t accommodate more plants, and many established gardens — including my own — have corners where overgrown shrubs and the like could be removed to create a fresh montage that would be more attractive and more welcoming to other living things.

As Darke points out, we have too much area given over to lawn and too many garden beds covered in mulch rather than in plants.

“Everybody is on this kick with mulch, and with mulch you don’t have a lot of biological processes going on,” he said in an interview.

After reading the book, I have an urge to bring more ground covers into my mostly shaded garden, particularly woodland phlox and creeping phlox, white wood aster, maidenhair and Christmas ferns, and the much underused woodland stonecrop, Sedum ternatum. Darke suggests interplanting the stonecrop with Virginia bluebells, which put on a fine show in April and then recede as the stonecrop fills in.

The knack is to plant in sufficient numbers to form bold drifts whose leaf colors and textures create a visual structure and, as such, are more important artistically than fleeting blooms.

How do you pay for all these plantings? This isn’t a central question of the book, but the authors answer it in a roundabout way. I’ll add my take on it: You buy the smallest plants you can find — perennials in four-inch pots rather than one-gallon containers, shrubs two to four feet instead of six to eight feet, and one-inch-caliper trees instead of three-inch monsters. Given the correct soil and light conditions, small plants establish better than bigger ones and soon catch up in their growth rates. The payment for this thrift is patience, but you don’t have to wait as long as you might think to see results. Tallamy planted the acorn of a white oak in the driveway circle of his 10-acre property in Oxford, Pa. In 13 years, the tree grew to 20 feet. (Start acorns in pots away from friendly squirrels.)

Another way to spend your garden budget on plants rather than hardscape is to stop paving over paradise. Upgraded landscapes today seem to be measured in how many pavers you can install, for driveways, patios and walls. Darke urges a return to softer, greener spaces that are delineated by plants rather than concrete.

In his own 1.5-acre garden in Landenberg, Pa., Darke’s outdoor spaces have been composed with carbon-based life forms. “Dry-laid stone is employed for areas that must withstand very heavy use and a few low wooden screens have been built for privacy,” he writes, “but all other paths, surfaces and spaces have been constructed entirely with living materials: grass, moss herbs, shrubs and trees.”

Environmentally, such a landscape is going to be better at slowing storm water, filtering pollutants, cleaning the air and shading our living spaces.

Tallamy said that if you regard your landscape creation as a long-term hobby rather than an instant installation, you can plant at your pace using small plants or even seeds. “You can do it for practically free.”

Not all plants, even native ones, are as effective as others in sustaining wildlife. For Tallamy, a key attribute is the plant’s attractiveness to caterpillar species. The more caterpillar types that live in a tree, the more species of bird they feed. As iconic as the flowering dogwood is, other dogwoods do more for wildlife; namely, the alternate-leaf dogwood and the shrubby gray and silky dogwoods. The standout tree species is the oak, for its caterpillar habitat (an amazing 557 species) and acorns for mammals and birds. Tallamy commends 11 oak species for our region, including the swamp white oak — perfect for poorly drained sites — and the chestnut oak, which Darke particularly likes.

“By planting our landscapes with productive plants, we can create diverse, stable and balanced food webs that meet our own ecological and cultural needs while enabling life around us,” Tallamy writes. Who would argue with that?

Six underused plants that will give long-term enjoyment to gardeners in the Mid-Atlantic:

Layering plants — putting them in their natural order with other plants — is essential to creating a garden of interest to people and of value to wildlife, says ecological landscape designer Rick Darke.

We asked him to suggest half a dozen underused plants that with a little care and correct placement will give years of easy enjoyment to gardeners in the Mid-Atlantic region.

1. Common witch hazel

Asian hybrids are more commonly planted for their garden traits, but the native witch hazel (Hamamelis virginia) forms a large, multi-stemmed shrub that regenerates from suckers. Asian witch hazels bloom in late winter, but the native species displays its yellow flowers in late fall, sometimes before leaf drop.

Although it can grow to 15 feet untamed, the witch hazel’s suckering habit allows the gardener to remove older stems to keep the shrub at a smaller height and breadth.

Darke: “It’ll take extremes of dryness and saturated soil; it’s free of pests and reliably vase-shaped, which makes it the perfect choice for creating light shade in a sitting area.”

Sources: Forest Farm (541-846-7269,, Hill House Farm Nursery (540-937-1798

2. Pawpaw

Pawpaw is an attractive fruiting large shrub or tree and is the host plant of the zebra swallowtail.

It can work in many roles, although fruit production falls off in shadier locations. Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) can be used as an understory shrub in the woods, as an edge plant between shady and sunny beds or as a freestanding tree in the lawn. You need at least two for fruit production. Varieties have been developed for better fruit quality.

Darke: “You could even use them to line walkways almost as an allée. The fall color [golden yellow] is outrageous.”

Sources: Edible Landscaping (434-361-9134, www.ediblelandscaping.
), Forest Farm, Hill House Farm Nursery.

3. White wood aster

Unlike the late-summer asters of the meadow, the white wood aster (Aster divaricatus) is a low-growing shade plant that makes a beautifully textured ground cover. It blooms white in late spring, although its real value is its dense green foliage. Use it instead of mulch.

Darke: “It’s a living, weed-suppressing ground cover that is deer-proof, durable and versatile.”

Sources: Niche Gardens, Forest Farm, Hill House Farm Nursery.

4. Christmas fern

This is a medium-size native fern that remains green in winter, when its fronds lie flat. This is a useful, highly textural and deer-proof ground cover for areas of dry shade. It’s known botanically as Polystichum acrostichoides.

Darke: “Use it to define pathways. It’s a fern with seasonality; in the spring the new fronds are chartreuse. Also, it’s a plant that will outlive you.”

Sources: Watermark Woods (540-441-7443, www.watermarkwoods.
), Niche Gardens (919-967-0078,, Hill House Farm Nursery.

5. Mountain mint

This perennial grows in partial shade or sunny conditions and when massed provides a striking and aromatic block of color and texture. Several species are gaining in popularity, but Darke commends the more assertive mountain mint species Pycnanthemum muticum for new plantings in disturbed soil, to squeeze out weeds and invasives. The foliage is gray and topped in summer with white blooms.

Darke: “A fabulous plant for pollen and nectar services: loaded with all kinds of butterflies and hynoptera.”

Sources: Watermark Woods, Hill House Farm Nursery.

6. Pinkroot

Firmly in the realm of nerd plants, the pinkroot is a native perennial (Spigelia marilandica) with showy, upright clusters of red tubular flowers that draw hummingbirds in early summer.

It is also one of those plants that resents disturbance and doesn’t lend itself to conventional container planting. It is best grown from seed or as a young plant, and, once established, it will spread by highly scattered seed. The gardener, at that point, merely removes plants from unwanted spots.

Darke: “It’s promoted as a rarity that needs shade and moisture. We have seen that it is easy to naturalize.”

Sources: Plant Delights Nursery (919-772-4794,, Niche Gardens, Watermark Woods, Hill House Farm Nursery.

More from The Washington Post:

Gardening lessons learned from the farm

Where have all the butterflies gone?

The U.S. National Arboretum is breathing new life into an old plant

@adrian_higgins on Twitter

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Water works: rain gardens are a beautiful way to fight street flooding – The Times-Picayune

John P. Klingman has become accustomed to living on a street that floods. During the summer, stormwater can rise on the road in front of his Garden District home as often as once a week. Getting up to move his car in the middle of the night is particularly irritating.

Rather than just grouse about the flooding, though, Klingman decided to turn his Harmony Street yard into a beachhead in the war against stormwater runoff.

In other words, he installed a rain garden.

The yard is a picturesque landscape, with a frog pond rimmed in Louisiana irises. Water grasses and ferns fill in the shallow, shady spaces on the side of his 1898 home, and rice paper plants (Tetrapanax papyrifer) create a leafy threshold between the frog pond and the front garden.

The landscape’s key attraction, though, is primarily below ground: a 19th-century, brick-lined cistern Klingman found buried in the yard and had excavated by Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture, which also designed the rain garden.

At least 6 feet deep and about 6 feet across at its underground base, the cistern’s circular rim sits just below the iris beds at the corner of the pond. A bubbling fountain creates a focal point in the center.

When the rain comes now, water flows from the gently sloping iris beds into the cistern.

“However many gallons of water that cistern holds is that many gallons not running out into the street,” said Klingman, a Tulane University architecture professor whose work focuses on architectural design and “water engagement.”

“If more people started holding stormwater in places that are OK on their property, the city would be safer (from flooding),” he said. “And one of those places that’s OK is in the garden.”

While Klingman’s garden hasn’t saved his street from flooding, he believes it’s making a small dent.

Even better, when the rain stops, the water in the cavernous cistern slowly seeps out into the surrounding soil. The cistern’s water level drops about two feet a day, he said.

Rain gardens like Klingman’s are more than just pretty landscapes. They’re designed to direct stormwater running off of roofs, concrete and other impervious surfaces into shallow, plant-filled low areas, reducing the amount of water — and pollutants — that funnels into the city’s drains.

“Rain gardens allow water to percolate back into the ground, recharging the water table,” according to “The Joy of Water,” a soft-copy illustrated book that explains in easy steps how homeowners can better manage their properties’ drainage. “By allowing water to flow through layers of porous, permeable material — such as sand, gravel and soil — pollutants, heavy metals, oil and grease are filtered out.” (The “Joy of Water” was produced by Global Green USA, Water Works, Dana Brown Associates and Longvue House Gardens. To request a copy, call Global Green at 504.525.2121). 

Such “green infrastructure” will be the focus of Green Keepers, a new educational series beginning Tuesday, hosted by Parkway Partners and funded by a grant from the New Orleans Sewerage Water Board. Classes will teach New Orleans residents ways they can make a difference in the fight against flooding in a city that sees an average annual rainfall of 62 inches.

The five-class series will cover topics such as vertical and rooftop gardens; small- and large-scale water catchments; bioswales and rain gardens; plants for green infrastructure; concrete and permeability. The program includes field trips to see the infrastructure in action.

Joe Evans III, horticulturist and permaculturist with Evans + Lighter Landscape Architecture, will lead two of the lectures.

The concept of catching rainwater and holding it on your property may seem counterintuitive: Wouldn’t you want floodwater to stay as far away from your home as possible?

“The idea is to control where the water goes instead of just letting it go into the street or into your house,” said Klingman, who discovered his underground cistern when he was digging around in his yard not long after he moved into his house in 1990.

The cistern was buried when he found it. Evans cleared the structure, jumping inside as he removed decades’ worth of mud and debris.

Klingman isn’t sure of the cistern’s original purpose. It may have been used to collect rainwater; in the 19th century, cisterns were common in New Orleans, he said, though many were above ground.

After Hurricane Katrina, Klingman said his eyes were opened to the ways in which water can be an asset rather than a problem. He met Dutch water management experts while they were working with New Orleans-based Waggonner Ball Architects and other locals in developing the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan.

“The Dutch view water as a positive,” he said.

Local soils shrink and swell with groundwater fluctuations, so drying out the soil can contribute to subsidence, a serious problem in south Louisiana.

“Stormwater pipes and canals continually drain groundwater from the soil,” architect Ramiro Diaz said last week in an emailed response to the question: Why should the average homeowner care about stormwater management? Diaz, who works with Waggonner Ball, recently installed a rain garden at his own home in the Garden District.

As  groundwater is removed, soil contracts and “organic matter oxidizes, resulting in subsidence,” Diaz said. “Both of these processes result in damage to our streets and over time to building foundations and pilings.”

Diaz and his wife live in a circa 1840s brick property on St. Mary Street. Living quarters are upstairs, commercial spaces are downstairs and a courtyard is in back.
Before the rain garden was installed this summer, “the whole courtyard would fill up in a storm,” Diaz said.

Working with Evans and landscape architect Barney Lighter, they came up with a sharp-angled, eye-catching approach to rainwater management: a cascading landscape with swimming-pool-sized steel cisterns filled with floating marsh (made of driftwood, equisetum, three-square bulrush plants, cattails and mosquito-eating fish).

The cisterns catch rainwater and filter it into an oyster-shell bed and then into a low wetlands garden with a reflecting pool. Like sand through an hour glass, water slowly moves through the graduated system.

The cisterns sit on a raised Bermuda turf bed, which also soaks up water, while the wetlands garden is filled with “thirsty plants,” such as small cypress trees, swamp sunflowers, palmetto palms and Gulf muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris).

“This yard will (intercept) 5,000 gallons of stormwater,” Evans said. The buildings’ downspouts will eventually be funneled into the cisterns as well.

Diaz got to see the system in action during a hard downpour last weekend, describing the storm as “incredible.”  

“Even without the downspouts connected to the system, I got a preview of how the rain garden will work. It had about 3 or 4 inches of water … Looked absolutely beautiful. The water infiltrated very quickly after the rain passed.”

Perched on the edge of the reflecting pool, watching over the landscape, is a statue of Saraswati, the Hindu goddess of wisdom, art and music. She was a recent find, Diaz said.

“She’s always associated with flowing water,” he said, “so she was perfect.”

Article source:

Garden calendar: Get your landscape ready for fall’s cooler temps

ROSES: Learn what’s next for the Farmers Branch Rose Gardens at the monthly meeting of the Collin County Rose Society. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Room B-124 at Collin College, 2800 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. Free.

IRIS SALE: A collection of reblooming irises, tall bearded and medians from the Iris Society of Dallas will be available for purchase. The irises are freshly dug divisions from new hybrids planted in trial gardens for American Iris Society conventions. 9 a.m. until sell-out Saturday. Les Lacs Linear Park, 3901 Beltway Drive, Addison.

FALL PLANTING: Fall’s cooler temperatures make it the ideal season to plant shrubs and trees. Discover new varieties and old favorites and get landscaping tips at a free workshop. 10:15 a.m. Saturday. All Calloway’s Nursery locations.

GARDEN ED: North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, offers these events.

Landscape gardening for beginners, 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, $35; Advance registration required,214-363-5316

Bearded irises, 10 a.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday. Free

Fall rose care, 11 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday. Free

Attract hummingbirds, 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Free

Amending, fertilizing and mulching, 1 p.m. Sunday. Free

BONSAI: The Bonsai Society of Dallas welcomes Peter Tea, who will show ideas for using Japanese black pines. 9 a.m. Saturday. North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. Free. 903-776-2910 or 972-679-8861.

ORCHIDS: The Greater North Texas Orchid Society will offer a program on Brazil’s rock-dwelling orchids at its monthly meeting. 3 p.m. Sunday, North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. Free. 214-328-2684.

WATER-WISE SEMINARS: Dallas Water Utilities presents two seminarsWater-Wise Landscape Design 101 and Fantastic Plants for North Texas — taught by landscape designer Bonnie Reese of Beautiful Landscapes. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 13. Mountain View College Performance Hall, 4849 W. Illinois Ave., Dallas. Free. Registration required. 214-670-3155.

BUTTERFLY GARDENS: Dallas Zoo horticulturist Randy Johnson will explain butterfly gardening and the role milkweed plays for monarchs. He is a native-plant expert and is growing multiple species of native milkweeds. 10 a.m.-noon Sept. 13. Gecko Hardware, 10233 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas. Reservations required; limited seating. $20 fee includes milkweed plant to take home.

Send event details at least 14 days before publication to

Article source:

September tips for area gardeners

Here are some things gardeners need to be considering for September:

• Horticulture entries being sought for the Baxter County Fair set for Sept. 9-13 at Baxter County Fairgrounds. Entries include all types of vegetables, fruits, flowers, plants and field crops. Entries will be accepted from 2-7 p.m. Sept. 9. Visit for complete details

• Applications are underway for Master Gardener training set for Oct. 21, Oct. 28, Nov. 10, Nov. 18, and Nov. 24. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Cost is $70. For information, call 425-2335

• Homeowners should check lawns — especially bermudagrass — for fall armyworms. Heavy populations are capable of causing damage to lawns which resembles scalping with a mower. To check areas for armyworms, use a soap flush — 2 tablespoons of lemon-scented dishwashing soap in a gallon of water — to bring larvae to the top of the sod. Some insecticides labeled to control armyworms in lawns are Sevin, bifenthrin, trichlorfon, spinosad, cyfluthrin, Bacillus thuringiensis, gamma cyhalothrin, lambda cyhalothrin, and permethrin. Following application, wait one to three days before mowing

• September is the beginning of the cool-season lawn establishment period. Turf type tall fescues are best established from September to mid-October with late February through March as a poor second choice. Late-seeded lawns will not be strong enough to survive the first summer. Prepare a good seed bed by tilling and bring a pint of soil to the Extension office to determine nutrient needs. Sow 8-10 pounds of seed per 1,000 square feet for establishment. If you just need to thicken up your fescue lawn, overseed with 4-5 pounds per 1,000 square feet

• To get the most out of a pre-emergent herbicide program for winter annual weed control, make the application now or at least by Sept.15. Applications made in late September or thereafter often miss the beginning of germination of winter annual grasses and broadleaves. Remember after applying the pre-emergent herbicide, it needs to be watered in within a few days to activate it. Don’t apply a pre-emergent to a lawn to be overseeded or a newly seeded lawn

• Don’t fertilize or severely prune shrubs now because this will encourage rapid regrowth, and the new growth won’t have time to harden off before cold weather arrives

• Now’s a good time to collect soil samples for your lawn, gardens, and shrubs and have them analyzed by the University of Arkansas. Your soil sample report should be back within two weeks. If the report calls for lime to reduce soil acidity, apply it in the fall. The lime will have several months to work before spring growth begins

• Dig and divide spring blooming perennials

• Save seeds from annuals and perennials for next year’s planting

• Replenish mulch around trees and shrubs

• This month bring life back to your landscape by planting pansies, ornamental cabbage or kale, snapdragons, dusty miller and dianthus as the temperatures begin to cool. Pansies planted by mid-October survive winters best and will put on a tremendous show this fall

• Christmas cactus initiate flower buds by being exposed to cool night temperatures similar to local outside night temperatures beginning in September. Moving cactus outdoors in an area with plenty of indirect sunlight and giving it one more feeding of houseplant fertilizer later this month will cause your cactus to bloom late fall or early winter. While outdoors, limiting water will encourage flowerbuds to open at the same time. Naturally, you will bring the cactus indoors when danger of frost is predicted and place in a well lit area until buds are about to pop

• Twig girdler insects should be making appearances this month. Small branches of pecan, hickory or elm uniformly are girdled from the tree and fall to the ground. The fallen twigs have eggs deposited in them, so dispose of them immediately to control the twig girdler. This will reduce next year’s problem

For information on any of the above points, call the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension office at 425-2335.

Article source:

Five tips for a good garden tune-up

Pull out your sharpest shears and give the garden a good trim. Start with the messiest looking plants: perennials and annuals with dry, blackened stems and leaves, and perennials that are overgrown.

If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of tackling a big garden cleanup, deal with one plant at a time to make the job more manageable. I start with one plant, like echinacea, and trim all the echinacea in a given bed.

Echinacea will continue to bloom into the fall, so cut back any blackened stems and unsightly seed heads, leave any fresh-looking cones in place, gold finches and sparrows will eat the seed as it matures.

Catmint, butterfly bush, lady’s mantle and cranesbill will all look better after a good trim.

Most hosta have finished blooming and the spent flower scapes can be cut back below the leaf line. Remove any discoloured or tattered leaves. By the end of the summer, hosta foliage is often caked with a sticky residue and debris, leaving the leaves dull and drab. I like to finish this job by washing down the hosta leaves with the spray nozzle on the hose.

Next, deadhead any annuals in the garden, remove any discoloured or dry leaves.

If the plants are beyond repair, pull them up and discard them. You can fill any empty spaces with fall blooming mums or ornamental kale.

2. Feed your plants

Repeat bloomers such as certain daylilies, echinacea, and catmint will appreciate a long drink of water laced with water-soluble fertilizer, as we head into September. They will reward your efforts with a fresh growth and a crop of new flowers.

Continue feeding annuals such as geraniums, salvia, snapdragons, marigolds, rudbeckia hirta, sunflowers and zinnias, which will continue to bloom well into the autumn. Ornamental grasses are coming into their best season, they do not need feeding, just sit back and enjoy them.

3. Plant cool season edibles

September is the ideal time to plant cool season edibles such as spinach, baby salad greens and arugula for late season salads. If you want to try your hand at growing garlic, this is the time to purchase garlic for fall planting.

If you are short of garden space, sow the baby salad greens in containers and grow them in a sunny spot on your deck, patio or balcony. Frilly green and red leaf lettuce looks pretty on it’s own, or use the plants as fillers in containers with flowers.

Last fall, I planted lettuce and baby spinach in my cold frame, just to see how they would fare. The frame offered enough protection to keep the crop from freezing until early December. It was very rewarding to be able to slip outside and snip a bowlful of tender lettuce so late in the season.

4. Water

Watering the garden is such a simple task that sometimes we overlook it.

If the season is dry, a simple, deep drink of water will really improve the health and vigour of your plants.

Containers are particularly vulnerable to drought at this time of the year. Mature plants have lush foliage and plenty of flowers, they often spill out of the containers. The planter soil is packed with fibrous roots and dries out very quickly. Hot sun and wind exacerbate the crowding problem and plants show their distress by wilting, sometimes just hours after they were watered. Planters and hanging baskets may need watering twice a day to look their best. Add a thin solution (1/2 the recommended strength) of water soluble fertilizer to the watering can twice a week, to keep the flowers coming. 

Do not assume that rain will water your planters. Mature planters have large leaves that act as umbrellas redirecting the water to the ground around the container. To check if a container needs water, push your finger deeply into the soil, if the soil feels dry, the plant needs water.

Water trees and shrubs deeply in the fall if there is not adequate rainfall. They will need this water to survive the long winter drought.

5. Replace stressed out annuals

My hanging baskets included blue lobelia, which does not fare well in the hot, dry weather.

I’m looking forward to choosing something fresh (and alive) to fill the gaps left by the lobelia. You don’t have to replace the whole container if one or two plants have died, just plant something fresh in their place, add a shake or two of slow-release fertilizer and water the container. 

Hot dry weather, summer holiday time away from home and undersized containers each put a strain on planter gardens. If your containers look sad, they may be beyond redemption.

Do yourself a favour and tip them in the compost pile and treat yourself to a few new planters: a virtual rainbow of chrysanthemums, asters, purple fountain grass and ornamental kale cabbage are ready for fall planting from your local garden centre.

Theresa Forte is a local garden writer, photographer and speaker. You can reach her by calling 905-351-7540 or by


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Get tips on planting fall veggie garden from the experts

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences/Marion County Extension Service and Marion County Master Gardeners will present the Vegetable Garden Expo from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the auditorium of the extension service, 2232 N.E. Jacksonville Road, Ocala.

The one-stop garden shop will feature garden accessories, supplies and seedlings. There also will be seminars and guided vegetable and herb garden tours.

Admission is free.

  • Topics

  • Gardening
  • Maps
  • 2232 NE Jacksonville Rd, Ocala, FL, 34470, United States

Details: 352-671-8400 or


• The Alliance to Protect Water Resources will have a brief business meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at Clermont’s Historic Village, 490 West Ave. There also will be a meet-and-greet with invited local candidates running for School Board, County Commission, Water Authority and local City Councils.

Details: Peggy Cox, 352-429-2403.

• The Peripheral Neuropathy support group will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday in the card room in the lodge at Waterman Village, 445 Waterman Ave., Mount Dora.

Peripheral neuropathy affects nerves that run from the brain or the spine to the arms, hands, legs and feet by breaking down the sheath that covers and protects nerve endings.

Details: Jack Koehler, 352-735-2077.

Bilingual story time

Leesburg Public Library, 100 E. Main St., is offering bilingual story time at 1 p.m. every Thursday.

The interactive story time is for speakers of Spanish, English or both featuring stories, songs, fingerplays, and make a craft to take home.

All ages are welcome, but story time is geared to children ages 2 through 6.

The event is free. Children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver

Registration isn’t required.

For more information, call 352-728-9790 or email

Unwanted furniture, electronics

Marion County residents can get rid of unwanted furniture at recycling centers. Marion County Solid Waste Department monthly furniture collection for September is 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations:

Sept. 13 at 17780 N.E. 19th Court, Citra. S

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Thompson Park garden earns national acclaim

A Thompson Park garden established to memorialize three Upper Arlington residents has earned a national landscape design award.

At an Aug. 1 symposium held in Cincinnati, the National Perennial Plant Association, based in Hilliard, honored the Thompson Perennial Garden with its Merit Award for Landscape Design.

Award recipients were chosen from entries from the PPA’s seven regions, which span the U.S. and include Canada.

The Merit Award for Landscape Design annually recognizes exemplary use of herbaceous perennials to help create balanced and beautiful landscapes.

“I was thrilled to see Thompson Garden win the Merit Award from the Perennial Plant Association 2014 Landscape Design Contest,” city horticulturalist Lisa Metcalf said. “I’m humbled and proud. It’s quite an honor.

“While our sponsorship-based beautification program has received numerous grants, this is the first time I’ve entered one of our city gardens in the PPA design contest,” she said. “Therefore, this is our first garden design award of its kind.”

The Thompson Perennial Garden was established at the park in 2008. It was the dream of Jenny Lou Renkert, and honors her late husband, George F. Renkert, and Jane and Jack Heintz, former Upper Arlington residents who died in 2006 and 2003, respectively.

The garden was funded by the George F. Renkert Memorial Fund of the Upper Arlington Community Foundation.

Situated in the southwest corner of Thompson Park, near the intersection of Woodbridge and McCoy roads, the garden was designed around the wishes of Jenny Lou Renkert, Metcalf said.

It features 11 species of long-blooming perennials that are massed and repeated “for maximum drive-by appeal,” Metcalf added.

“Many species in the garden have fragrant flowers or foliage as well as superior textural elements,” she said. “(The city’s) Parks and Forestry (Division) installed much of the garden, bench, boulders and limestone wall.

“A landscape contractor was hired to install the paver patio and path. The garden was installed and dedicated in 2008. The garden is a favorite of park visitors and a colorful highlight for the busy intersection.”

After its installation, the garden was maintained by the parks and forestry staff.

However, the division’s staff has been reduced by 60 percent over recent years and now the garden is cared for as part of a yearly maintenance contract the city finances.

“I handle contract specifications and supervision for private landscape contractors that now do a bulk of the maintenance,” Metcalf said. “The most time-consuming garden chores occur in early spring, when all the perennials are cut to the ground.

“Some time is spent cleaning up and rejuvenating perennials mid-summer,” she added. “Supplemental watering is only necessary in very dry weather. Otherwise, weeding is the main maintenance task.”

While Metcalf has long envisioned entering the Thompson Perennial Garden in the PPA contest, she noted it took several years for its flowers to fully grow and bloom in order to compete with gardens around the U.S. and Canada.

She said the PPA award is special because it confirms the quality of the design that she and Jenny Lou Renkert developed, and she hopes it’s the first of many awards Upper Arlington’s city gardens receive in the future.

“It’s great recognition for the city, Parks and Recreation and our beautification program,” she said.

The public is invited to celebrate the garden and its PPA award during a Sept. 8 Garden Party, slated for 4:30 p.m. at Thompson Perennial Garden. Light refreshments will be served.

“The upcoming garden party is a fabulous way to celebrate the success of the garden,” she said. “Jenny Lou Renkert is not just the sponsor of the garden, she was the visionary and she is very proud of the award.

“Those that enjoy the garden and even those that have never seen it should attend the party and get to know our quaint little garden at the southwest corner of Thompson Park.”

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