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Archives for September 11, 2014

Neighborhood groups direct beautification efforts

A wide variety of neighborhood beautification projects will be implemented this fall as more east side neighborhood associations begin to mature.

Neighborhood associations covering Middle Village, River East, Millers Bay, Stevens Park and the North Shore area will all see benefits from $155,000 in projects that the Oshkosh Common Council funded on Aug. 26.

The projects include $5,000 to plan a redesign William Waters Plaza, at Washington Avenue and State Street; $25,000 for historic street signs and markers in several neighborhoods and $40,000 to update landscaping and pedestrian access to Emmeline Cook Elementary School. The council also approved $25,000 for terrace tree plantings in various neighborhoods and $60,000 to landscape and enhance a pocket park and community garden in the Middle Village Neighborhood west of North Main Street.

The projects tap the latest round of about $600,000 in great neighborhoods capital funding that planners have borrowed through Oshkosh’s annual Capital Improvement Program since 2011, Oshkosh Assistant Planner Elizabeth Williams said.

She said prior projects have included decorative signs for historic districts throughout the city, improvements to athletic equipment in Stevens Park, landscaping for the triangle at Bowen Street and Waugoo Avenue, new playground equipment for Teichmiller Park, terrace tree plantings and support for a downtown community garden.

“As ideas are generated through neighborhood groups and engagement, we’ll work with residents to implement their vision,” Williams said. “It’s really driven by resident engagement and involvement.”

Kathy Webb, John Scheelk and Rich Peerenboom, of the River East Neighborhood Association, said they opted to start with Waters Plaza, located at State Street and Washington Avenue, because of its visibility and the need to set the example in the neighborhood bordered by Washington, North Main Street, the Fox River and Bowen Street.

“We’re trying to build a neighborhood community and a sense of pride,” Webb said. “We’re trying to reach out farther and get to know our neighbors. We felt this is where we could start to make it right.”

But Webb and Peerenboom also said River East didn’t organize just out of a desire to direct beautification efforts in River East.

“I’ve seen everything wrong with the neighborhood and I’d like to see it cleaned up,” Peerenboom said. “We’d like to see more accessibility to Riverside Park for residents and a space for families in the neighborhood to have picnics and other events. We’d like to see homes cleaned up and looking nice.”

Peerenboom and Scheelk both said residents have identified other public and private sites to address as the association moves beyond its developing stages. They said everything from landlord and renter issues to crime to deteriorating property conditions have come up repeatedly.

Millers Bay Neighborhood Association President Reni Lynch said the group has focused on much more than just beautification since forming in October 2012. She said residents have formed five subcommittees to address a range of issues in the area bounded by Hazel Street, Murdock Avenue, Lake Winnebago and Menominee Drive.

“Our safety committee has worked on speeding issues, getting speed limits lowered in the area,” Ly

nch said. “And we recently completed our neighborhood plan, too, so that should give our committees more direction in what to focus on when it comes to improvements.”

Millers Bay beautification subcommittee chairwoman Ruth McGinley said the group’s beautification projects will accomplish more than just putting a pretty veneer on the area.

“Part of the mission of our neighborhood association is to enhance home values,” McGinley said. “These beautification projects will hopefully enhance home values in addition to being a good thing for the city. And we know that people choose neighborhoods based on quality schools. We hope by next summer we’ll have something very special for our neighborhood.”

Williams said new neighborhood associations will continue to come online throughout the city as the existing ones continue to progress. She said three new associations covering areas south of Menominee Park, north of Murdock Avenue and east of North Sawyer Street are in early organizing stages or will hold their first meetings by the end of September.

Jeff Bollier: (920) 426-6688 or

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Feng Shui Leads to Better Landscaping

Steve Boehme

Regular readers of this column know that we are hard-headed realists when it comes to landscape design. “Form follows function” is our guiding principle. “Less is more” is equally important. So is “paint with the big brush first”. These are well-known design clichés that help us decide what to do (and NOT to do) in landscaping. We believe that if you focus on practical, common-sense solutions, beauty will fall into place almost automatically.

So, it might surprise you that over the years we’ve adopted many principles and ideas from the ancient oriental discipline of Feng Shui.

Wikipedia defines feng shui (pronounced “fung shway”) as “a Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English.” Feng shui explains “invisible forces” that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together. A goal of feng shui in design is to harness positive life force called Qi, (“chi” in English). Feng shui ideas in landscape design help create a peaceful and serene place where positive chi will flow freely.

Historically, feng shui was widely used to decide where and how to place buildings in the most favorable way, based on local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. For example, feng shui might suggest placing a home on a sunny south-facing slope with a hill behind it for protection from the north wind.

Using feng shui helps balance natural elements such as wood, water, metal, fire and earth in your overall landscape design. In your garden, the five elements of feng shui are represented by various plants and objects. Earth; soil, rocks and boulders, pottery. Wood; arbors, planting boxes, benches. Water; fountains, birdbaths, ponds and waterfalls. Fire; lights, lanterns, fire pits. Metal; wind chimes, arbors, and planters.

Feng shui gardens must be free of clutter so positive chi can circulate freely. Everything should have a specific purpose and place. Each tree, plant and object is there to balance the five feng shui elements. Disorder, disarray and clutter disrupt the flow of chi and lower the energy level of the area.

Our favorite feng shui concept is focusing your landscape on the main entrance door of your home. We use landscaping to direct attention to the front door, thus “funneling” positive energy into your home. Feng shui holds that directing attention to the entrance will bring prosperity into your home, and we’ve actually seen it work. Entrances that are hidden from the street, driveway or parking area actually block chi, depriving the home of positive energy.

Using plants and paving creatively to frame the entrance is just one way to harness the ancient discipline of feng shui to improve your mood and make your home more welcoming. Entering your home should uplift and inspire you with positive energy, and should have the same effect on your guests. Just a brief look into feng shui as a design tool will quickly open your eyes to many ways that positive and negative energy can affect your living space.

Steve Boehme and his wife Marjorie own GoodSeed Nursery Landscape, located near Winchester, Ohio at 9736 Tri-County Highway. More information is available at or call (937) 587-7021.

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Baptism by Fire Pit

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Subdivision entrances turn into gardens, source of pride

The money started coming in $10 and $20 bills at first.

Neighbors and commuters driving through Heritage Park on their way home from work or passing through to the Pike Creek valley would stop the lone gardener working in the island beds at the entrance to the development and hand him money. Take this, they’d say, toward the flowers.

The flowers were plantings of annuals, vines and evergreens surrounding the sign, lamp posts and mailbox in the island beds at the entrance to the development off Milltown Road.

David Resende, a lifelong neighborhood resident, began a beautification project there in 2010 after becoming involved with the Heritage Grendon Civic Association. Initially, using his own money and labor, he transformed the previously drab expanse at Grendon Drive into an inviting, colorful gateway that was so popular it literally stopped traffic.

The first donations from those early years have blossomed into a “flower fund” that now covers all costs of planting and maintaining the entryway gardens at not only Grendon Drive, but also the Heritage Farms and Grendon Farms entrances as well.

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“One of the things that stuck in my craw was the entryway; you can see how hideous it was,” Resende says, pointing to older photographs of a barren stretch littered with garbage. “We started small, with one end of the island that runs up the middle of the main road coming into the development.”

After pulling out the existing shrubs by hand, extracting mountains of rocks, and rototilling in compost, mushroom soil and coarse sand to enrich the hard clay, Resende decided on a simple plan of evergreens and annuals, a design that still works today.

Guided by a lifelong love of gardening and experience with dependable plants, he used upright arborvitae and boxwood, and a collection of popular annuals in the initial garden.

“They turned out to be good choices,” he says. The “Emerald Green” boxwood is easy to prune, as are the arborvitae, and annuals like begonias, zinnias, vinca and ageratum provide a welcome shot of color to everyone driving and walking by.

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Each year, he has converted more open space to gardens and expanded his plant palette, adding not only plants like yellow Knockout roses, canna lilies and crape myrtles, but features like the hand-made trellises where pink mandevilla clambers upward.

To maintain the gardens, Resende, a physical therapist with Christiana Care, works on evenings and weekends. Resende bought a tow-behind trailer and the homeowner’s association purchased a 200-gallon tank with an electric pump to simplify watering the plants. Because he plants so densely, weeding requires less effort as the plants fill in and a single application of mulch lasts the year.

“Everything is seasonal, so there are few perennials outside the daylilies around the lamp posts,” says Resende.

Soon, he will replace the annuals with fall mums and in October, he and partner Richard Brion, and some of the local teens will plant 4,000 tulips for next spring’s garden, doubling the amount from last year.

“Tulips are my favorite part of the display,” Resende admits, who promises a remarkable show next spring.

Two of the neighborhood teens helping with the project are Mickey McKenney and Noah Matylewicz, 13-year-olds at Skyline Middle School, who became involved in the project through an advertisement in the civic association newsletter. By working with Resende and Brion at their home garden as well as in the entryway gardens, they gained enough experience to start their own business, M M Landscaping.

“We kept busy all summer mowing four lawns a week,” says McKenney, who adds that besides cutting lawns, they also mulch, weed, water and trim shrubs for clients. In addition, both boys built raised beds in their own yards for planting vegetables and have adapted trash bins for composting.

“My dad wants me to do some more boxes next year,” says Matylewicz, referring to the 6- by 8-foot structures in which he grew corn, tomatoes and cucumbers. The best part of their involvement, they say, besides earning enough money to buy new bikes, has been getting to know more people in the neighborhood.

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Resende’s beautification efforts have had a ripple effect in the local community.

“Virtually everyone in the neighborhood has contributed to flowers and it’s rare that (civic association) dues money doesn’t also include a donation toward the flower fund. It has brought a lot of pride,” he says.

The garden was entered in the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Gardening and Greening Contest; results will be announced in October. In addition, he has fielded inquiries from surrounding communities about how they might also improve their entryways.

“The response has been overwhelming. I’d be down there tinkering and cars would stop and say how much they loved it. I didn’t expect that; I just wanted to prove it would be OK to plant a few things,” says Resende.

Moira Sheridan is a Wilmington freelance writer and gardener. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Master Gardener program. Reach her at

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Authentic Florida landscapes

I f it’s planted with Asian azaleas, crape myrtles and a flower sequence of impatiens, begonias, mums and pansies, then it could be most anywhere except the most northern parts of the country. Maybe it’s time for some of “The Real Florida” in your yard – replace those alien plants with authentic Florida natives. The birds and the butterflies will thank you.

Landscaping with native plants saves water, time, and money, enhances the water quality, and provides food and habitat for local wildlife. When purchasing natives, it’s best to do business with a nursery that specializes in native plants, because you’re unlikely to find many natives in the local big box store. The plants offered there are grown to look good on the shelf, not necessarily so they’ll be successful in your garden. Find a local native nursery on The Association of Florida Native Nurseries website: www.plantrealflorida. org and join a local chapter of Florida Native Plant Society to learn more about native plants and Florida’s native ecosystems.

Using more natives provides more diversity

A native plant is one that grew here before Europeans arrived. They provide more variety in our gardens by offering myriad alternatives to the oh-so-common cultivars and aliens. The biggest advantage to gardeners, though, is that natives simply grow better here if you’ve planted them in an appropriate location. They are adapted to our soil and climate, the heat and our wet and dry seasons.

Florida’s native plants provide habitat for butterflies, birds and other wildlife. Far too many of our wild areas have been destroyed. This is a huge issue, so what difference can gardeners make? Little by little, yard-by-yard, we have the power to effect dramatic results. We can enhance the diversity in our own neighborhoods by:

•selecting a wide variety of native plants for our landscaping needs and requesting native species when we deal with nurseries.

•choosing plants suitable for the various microclimates on our properties so we use fewer resources, especially water, to maintain them.

•creating wild or near wild spaces on our properties.

•encouraging neighbors to do the same.

Planning for planting

Plant native shrubs in groups to create thickets in open areas or understory layers beneath tall trees. Either way they provide cover for wildlife, interest in your landscape, and ultimately, create large spaces that don’t need mowing or weeding. You’ll also want to plan for different textures in your plantings. This means that you’ll look for different sized and shaped plants and those with various types of leaves. Do your research so you know which plants grow well together, and how plants will look in each season.

Combine plants that bloom at different times in the year and plan for some plants with showy fruits. Plantings of all types look best in non-linear, odd-numbered groupings and plant them with enough space between them to provide for their mature size. After all your shrubs are planted, mulch the whole grouping with a two-inch thick layer, but don’t lean the mulch directly against the stems or trunks. Ongoing maintenance will be reduced after they are established because the shrubs will re-mulch themselves as their leaves drop.

If you have existing mature trees already in place, think of ways to form planting areas for your new native shrubs around the trees. For example, under tall pine trees in a dry area where grass is struggling, stop raking up the pine needles, and create an acid-loving understory layer around the trees, but not too close. If you run into a major tree root as you’re digging a planting hole, move to another location. Plant acid-loving, drought-tolerant plants such as a native azalea, inkberry, coontie, wax myrtle, Walter’s viburnum, or saw palmetto.

If the proposed planting space is in a low-lying area where water sits for a few days after a rain or if it’s next to a pond, your shrubs could include: button bush, scarlet hibiscus, beautyberry, or saw palmetto. It’s much better to have these shrubs absorbing the water in that swale or rain garden than to let it run off into the stormwater system.

Easy-to-grow native shrubs for Clay County

A few suggestions for native shrubs (the number is the full-grown height.): (All of these shrubs are listed in Gil Nelson’s book, “Florida’s Best Native Landscape Plants: 200 Readily Available Species for Homeowners and Professionals” published by University Press of Florida. This is a great reference because it provides growing conditions, companion plants, and the best and worst features of each plant.) Also, there is a tool on the FNPS website where you can get a listing of recommended natives for your county.

•Azalea (Rhododrendron spp.) 4 foot to 8 foot There are several species of native azalea most are deciduous and have pink, orange, or yellow flowers. They are more delicate than the Asian azaleas, but just as beautiful and they blend well with other natives.

•Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) 8 foot is a deciduous, medium-sized bush with unbelievably vibrant magenta berries for damp or dry areas in partial or full shade. Its small pink flowers attract butterflies. Grows quickly, but may be trimmed back, if needed, after the berries have been eaten.

• Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) 10 foot is a large, deciduous shrub with one-inch, white globular flowers for damp areas. Attracts butterflies. Will spread in reliably damp conditions.

• Coontie (Zamia integrifolia) 3 foot is a relative of the Japanese sagos and is our only native Cycad. This small slow-growing shrub has fern-like leaves and tolerates a variety of conditions. Is salt-tolerant and drought-tolerant. Once established, it’s a carefree addition to your landscape. Coontie is also known as Seminole bread because the Seminoles used its tuberous roots to make flour for bread.

•Inkberry (Ilex glabra) 10 foot is an evergreen shrub–a holly with black berries. It occurs naturally in damp, acidic soil at the edge of wooded areas, but will also grow in full sun. Grows into dense colonies. The small white flowers are insignifi cant, but the black berries are noticeable, if you see them before birds do. It’s dioecious with male and female flowers on separate plants.

•Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens), 6 foot is an evergreen, shrubby palm. It’s durable in all types of terrain and if you have these, they are hard to get rid of, but are difficult to transplant. There’s nothing like a palm or palmetto to add a bold, tropical touch to your landscape. Blue palmetto (Sabal minor) is another good choice.

•Scarlet hibiscus (Hibiscus coccinea) 6 foot is a deciduous shrub that does best in damp, partially shaded areas. It will die back after a cold winter, but comes back each year larger than before. Its brilliant large red flowers and deeply divided, palmate leaves make quite a show in your waterside garden.

•Walter’s viburnum (Viburnum obovatum) 30 foot is a semi-evergreen thick tall shrub. Takes to trimming. Produces white, clustered flowers in February and seeds that are excellent bird food. Grows well in a variety of conditions. Have fun going native. Make it an adventure for the whole family to see how many more birds and butterflies visit your landscape.

Ginny Stibolt is a botanist and garden writer who lives in Clay County. She’s written “Sustainable Gardening for Florida” and “Organic Methods for Vegetable Gardening in Florida.” Check out her blog,

Meet Ginny at a native plant sale

October 25, the Jacksonville chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society will have a booth with more than 400 native plants at the Riverside Arts Market 10am ‘til 4pm. 715 Riverside Avenue Jacksonville, FL 32206

Beauty Berry


Saw palmetto

Scarlet hibiscus

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16 Curb Appeal winner visits Linton’s Enchanted Gardens – WNDU

New shrubs and flowers will make a big difference in our 16 Curb Appeal project in Mishawaka, and so will a new flag and flagpole for our winner. Staff Sergeant Jordan Willsey recently visited the garden center at Linton

New shrubs and flowers will make a big difference in our 16 Curb Appeal project in Mishawaka, and so will a new flag and flagpole for our winner.

Staff Sergeant Jordan Willsey is not only in the army, he’s a Goshen High School teacher. This busy guy is looking forward to landscaping that is attractive and easy to maintain.

He recently visited the garden center at Linton’s Enchanted Gardens to get some ideas.

For the tour of planting possibilities, he brought along his girlfriend Chelsey Cochran and their parents for support.

From his vast garden center selection, Mark Linton found some perennial favorites, like a blue star juniper, white mums, and a red drift rose.

Bright yellow is a common color you’ll find in the Stella D’oro day lily, and birds and butterflies have an open invitation to the landscaping with coral bells.

“These are hummingbird magnets for spring and early summertime,” Linton explains.

There will also be butterfly bushes.

“We’ve got a dwarf butterfly bush; it’s called Lo Behold. The reason it’s called Lo Behold is that it’s a dwarf compact one,” Linton explains. “Stays low, unlike the old-fashioned butterfly bushes that get five to six feet tall.”

For blooms up high, a tree hydrangea will do the trick.

“A large majority of flowering trees bloom in the springtime. It’s kind of unique and unusual to get one that’s blooming in the summertime, and then this continues to bloom into the fall,” Linton says.

Jordan and Chelsey loved it all.

“Very cool selection,” Chelsey said. “I like the colors, the pop of colors that he had. Everything just went really well together.”

“Just really excited to see the ‘after.’ We see the ‘before’ every day,” Jordan explains. “I’m really excited for it.”

Next, we’ll see where Mark Linton plans to put those plants, trees and shrubs when we view the blueprints for Jordan’s landscaping.

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Gardening Tips: Roanoke Valley Q&As in the garden

Matthew Stevens

Matthew Stevens

Posted: Friday, September 5, 2014 11:39 am

Gardening Tips: Roanoke Valley QAs in the garden

By Matthew Stevens

The Daily Herald, Roanoke Rapids, NC


Here are a few of the questions on the minds of Roanoke Valley gardeners over the past week or so.

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Friday, September 5, 2014 11:39 am.

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Home and garden tips: Preserve the Harvest for Winter Meals and Holiday Gifts

The cucumbers have filled the vegetable drawer, you’ve run out of cabbage recipes and your family is refusing to eat one more BLT. Or maybe you just couldn’t resist that special deal on a bushel of tomatoes, potatoes or apples at the farmer’s market. So what is a gardener or shopper to do with all that produce?

Since properly stored vegetables will hold their flavor and nutritional value longer than those left in a plastic bag or set on the sunny kitchen counter, consider preserving some for the long winter ahead using one of several methods.

Storage orchard racks and slatted crates placed in a cool dark location have long been used to store squash, onions and potatoes. The stackable nature of drawers provide ample storage space, so fruits and vegetables do not touch. Keeping stored fruit separated prevents rot from spreading from one fruit to the next.

Try a root vegetable storage bin. The root crops, carrots or parsnips for example, are layered in sand or sawdust and placed in a cool dark location. Just remove and use as needed.

Drying is one of the oldest food preservation techniques. Most of us have grabbed a few bundles of herbs to hang and dry. Expand your drying endeavors to include fruits and vegetables. The goal is to quickly remove moisture without cooking the food. You can make your own dehydrator or purchase one. Research has shown that blanching vegetables and fruit before drying helps destroy harmful bacteria. Blanching involves a steam or boiling water bath followed by a cold water bath. Timing varies with the fruit or vegetable you are preparing.

Another ancient food preservation technique, fermentation, is experiencing a comeback. Fermenting cucumbers into pickles, cabbage into sauerkraut, and berries into preserves are just a few options. The ingredients can be as simple as water, salt, and spices. All you need is a vessel, vegetables and fermenting culture. You can jump-start your efforts with a fermentation crock kit ( which includes the crock, cover and weights to make sure your veggies stay safely submerged in water.

Or quickly lock in the flavor and nutrition of your fruits and vegetables with freezing. You’ll need airtight containers or bags that are durable, don’t leak and won’t become brittle in cold temperatures. Some produce does not freeze well and others may need to be blanched before they are packed in the freezer bag or container. But frozen items can easily be retrieved from the freezer and included in your winter meals.

Canning is a bit more involved, but can be lots of fun. This process preserves the food and keeps it safe by preventing the growth of undesirable bacteria, yeast and mold. The sealed jars keep the flavor in and bad microorganisms out. So gather your produce, jars, pressure cooker, canner and friends to create tomato sauce, salsa, jams and jellies to enjoy or give as gifts.

Whatever method you choose, do a bit of research before you start. You’ll have greater success and a lot more fun. The National Center for Home Food Preservation website,, provides all the basic information for storage and food preservation.

Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books, including “Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening.” Go to for gardening videos and tips.

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Classes in plumbing and heating, design help at Ohio Design Centre in … – The Plain Dealer

View full sizeLearn to do bathroom repairs at the Home Repair Resource Center. 

DISCOUNT ON PLUMBING CLASSES: Register by Friday, Sept. 5 for women’s plumbing and heating classes at the Home Repair Resource Center, and get a $20 early-bird discount off of the regular tuition.

 The “Plumbing Heating” module will include classes on plumbing, toilets, faucets, drains, copper and plastic water lines, water heaters, furnaces and more.

The plumbing and heating classes run weekly from 7 to 9 p.m. starting Wednesday, Oct. 1 through Wednesday, Nov. 19. Classes meet at the HRRC’s Teaching Center, 2520 Noble Road, Cleveland Heights. Regular tuition is $120 for Cleveland Heights residents and $150 for non-residents, with reduced rates for low-income participants.

 DESIGN HELP AT DESIGN CENTER: The Ohio Design Centre in Beachwood, which houses the showrooms of luxury home furnishing brands from more than 400 manufacturers, offers complimentary, 30-minute professional designer consultations and personalized tours of the design centre by appointment.

Call 216-831-1245. The center is located at 23533 Mercantile Road.

GARDEN DESIGN BOOK: Start planning now ways to fit more edibles in next year’s garden. “Jamie Durie’s Edible Garden Design: Delicious Designs from the Ground Up” (Harper Design, pp 208, $29.99) is full of information and inspiration about ways to plant and maintain an edible garden in all types of spaces.

The book offers garden design ideas that can be adapted to your own space and commitment level, and prove that vegetables can be grown almost anywhere. Think window boxes, plantings on roofs, indoor container gardens and vertical gardens.

Durie’s book contains practical growing advice, but it’s much more than a how-to. It’s also part travelogue, as the author takes us on a journey to gather stories from gardeners, architects, chefs and communities from all over the world, and illustrates them with gorgeous, full-page photography.

“Connect your space inside and out, then integrate edible plants you can grow, smell, touch, eat and share,” writes Durie, a horticulturalist and award-winning landscape designer. “With a few simple guidelines you can design an edible garden that not only tastes delicious but also looks incredible.”

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Aging in place: Universal Design ideas on the Accessible Garden Tour of SE … – The Oregonian

Five gardens will be open to the public during the free, self-guided Accessible Garden Tour of SE Portland from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13. Each of the sustainable gardens accommodates gardeners and visitors with physical injuries or disabilities. There are smooth, wide paths, sturdy railings and high raised beds that don’t require kneeling or bending to reach.

Raised beds designed for accessibility were just one of the features Becky Luening and Brian Willson installed after moving into their corner-lot house in the Woodstock Neighborhood six years ago.

With the help of landscaper Padraig McCrory, they replaced most of the lawn with permaculture and natives, and added a kiwi trellis, an extensive rainwater collection system and an attractive wooden fence with recycled windows.

Nearby, Willow Teegarden and John Davis’ 12-year labor of floral love has a waterfall and plants selected specifically to attract wildlife.

A few streets away, the residents of the Foster Village garden community tend to perennial gardens, chickens, ducks, cats and bees on nearly one-third of an acre. Visitors might also enjoy seeing the straw-bale home and two century-old houses.

In the Sunnyside Neighborhood, Tali and Max Woodbury worked with a landscape designer to create an outdoor living space that is universally accessible. Although not easiest to traverse in a wheelchair, gravel pathways were installed here for improved water drainage.

Tour organizer Larry Cross used recycled materials, rescue plants and ingenuity to add water features, vines and art around his house in the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood.

There are 60 feet of ramps that weave from the front gate up to the entry of the house, past red flowering current, lavender and wisteria, and under an arch ribboned with yellow-orange honeysuckle. Cross calls this his fragrant Matisse sculpture park.

–Janet Eastman

Join the conversation at Homes Gardens of the Northwest on Facebook or in the comment section below at

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