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Archives for December 20, 2014

This week’s gardening tips: ornamental grass, camellias, heating greenhouses

Most ornamental grasses, other than pampas grass, turn brown and go dormant for the winter. Feel free to cut them back hard when the foliage is no longer attractive. On the other hand, many gardeners like the way these dormant grasses look, with their flower plumes and graceful foliage. So leave them if you like. Make sure to cut them back by early March at the latest, however, to make way for new growth.

Open flowers of camellias can be damaged by temperatures below freezing, but the buds are generally not damaged. They will bloom normally later on.

Be extra careful when using electric space heaters to warm home greenhouses and plants in garages or sheds. Plants — and any flammable materials — should be located well away from the heaters. Use heavy-duty extension cords that are free from damage. Use caution when watering plants. Electric heaters must be unplugged and not plugged back in until the area is dry. The heat generated by electric heaters is much more effective when it’s circulated, so it’s a good idea to have a fan running to move the air and heat around.

Varieties of certain shrubs, such as azaleas, nandinas and junipers, will develop a purplish or burgundy tint to their foliage during cold weather. This is natural and no cause for worry. They will turn green again in the spring.

December and January are ideal months for planting hardy fruit trees, bushes and vines such as apples, pears, plums, peaches, grapes, blueberries, persimmons and others.

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A gift for the birds and other holiday garden tips

Wrens and other birds who don’t mind the cold

Cheryl in Northwest D.C. writes: “A wren has built its nest in a corner of my porch. I don’t mind it being there; I even put something down to catch the droppings. But I’m concerned that there isn’t much shelter in the chosen area, and that as it gets colder the bird will not be able to keep itself warm enough. What can or should I do to help the bird get through the winter?”

The short answer is nothing, Cheryl. Although small, wrens are tough little birds that live here year-round; and they love to live near people—I have wrens nesting on top of a 90 degree turn on one of my house gutters. Cute little chickadees also love to nest near people.

These birds use the protection of their nests and their high metabolisms to keep warm naturally, but you can make them super-happy by providing fresh water and suet feeders.

The best gifts for wild birds

Special thanks to Cheryl in Northwest D.C. who noticed a wren nesting on her porch and thus got us talking about the important topic of wild bird care in winter.

Now, although wild birds don’t need to be fed by us, they would greatly enjoy the easy and highly nutritious food that suet feeders provide in winter. These little cages filled with cakes of suet (rendered fat, often with seeds and nuts mixed in) are a high-energy treat for birds that mimics their typical diet of pest insects. And it’s great fun to watch your featured friends as they hang onto the cages and slowly peck away — giving you a much longer look at these winged wonders than you get with other types of feeders.

Important: Never  feed bread, cake or other low-energy leftovers to wild birds. It fills them up without providing the concentrated nutrition that they need.

Birdseed? I haven’t offered any in years and have more birds than ever.

Most packaged mixes aren’t nearly as nutritious as suet cakes, and seed feeders attract Evil Squirrels, mice, rats and voles to feast on all that spilled seed at the base. If feed with seed you must, make it oilseed sunflower, which is a highly concentrated source of nutrition. And make sure the feeder is designed to catch any overflow to prevent vermin prowling below.

Oh and good luck with the Evil Squirrel part….


And the birds will pay you back

The list of birds that spend winter right here in our area is long. But my  favorites are woodpeckers, wrens, the chickadee, titmouse and nuthatch.  These mostly meat-eating birds are among nature’s greatest natural pest controllers. Insects make up 90 percent or more of their diet, especially in the spring when they’re raising their young (and when overwintering pest insects are just waking up).

To tap into this great natural resource, put up a bunch of suet feeders right now The high-energy suet cakes directly attract the birds that are best at eating your insect pests. Replenish the suet all winter, but stop feeding when the weather starts to warm. The birds will naturally migrate from the suet you’ve provided to the insect pests that would have threatened your plants.

For the best results, you must stop feeding in warm weather. There’s abundant natural food at that time of year. And what your birds really need then is a reliable source of fresh, clean water — especially in the summer, when creeks and streams often dry up.

“I say cambrium; you say xylem…”

Last week, I warned you not to remove any bark to make a big cut Christmas tree fit into a too-small stand because “trees can only transport water through a specialized layer of cells on the underside of the bark”.

Well, the intrepid research team here at WTOP has called me out on my scientific shorthand.

The bark their sources explain, transports nutrients back down to the roots from the leaves or needles of a tree. Underneath that bark is a very thin layer called the cambrium (that we don’t have time for). Then you have your xylem (or sapwood) in the trunk which actually  brings the water up. I humbly apologize for not previously delivering a full and complete botany lecture in 50 seconds.

Now: Don’t remove any of the bark or you’ll get a floor full of dropped needles and it’ll be a big mess. Oy.


Your WTOP holiday-plant-tip-in-a-minute plot thing:

  • Keep the reservoirs of cut Christmas trees filled.
  • Don’t remove any bark to make a tree fit in its stand.
  • Keep truly live trees (with their roots intact and in soil) in the house the shortest possible time; bring them indoors gradually, move them back outside gradually and dig the planting hole before the soil frees hard.
  • Give amaryllis bright light until the flowers open; then move to ambient light.
  • Keep poinsettia and so-called Norfolk pines indoors; they hate the cold.
  • Keep real mistletoe away from children and pets; the berries are toxic.
  • And finally, you can keep those stinky paperwhite narcissus from getting too tall and flopping over by giving them a drink. Instead of forcing the little bulbs in water and pebbles alone, use one part 80-proof booze to nine parts water. Unlike humans, alcohol keeps them (And yes, this is absolutely horticultural-journal serious. And you can use any 80 proof libation, but not beer or wine; for some reason they kill the plants.)
  • And yes, paperwhites are Merry Christmas anyway.


Follow @WTOP on Twitter and WTOP on Facebook.

© 2014 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

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Log on and dig in: gardening lessons online

A trip around the Internet can help you find information about gardening in Tucson.

We poked around and found videos, documents and databases that provide gardening tips for both ornamentals and edibles that address specific Sonoran Desert conditions.

UA Cooperative Extension

The biggest local source of gardening information is the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension website.

“Our explicit mission is that we bring science to bear on practical problems,” says Jeffrey C. Silvertooth, director of extension and economic development within the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

“We also bring the University of Arizona to the public beyond our campus,” Silvertooth adds.

Arizona’s cooperative extension, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has offices and programs, including gardening, in every county. Researchers, professors and specially trained gardening educators present talks, classes and workshops on all sorts of landscape topics.

The cooperative extension has two demonstration gardens, one in north Tucson and one in Green Valley, that allow visitors to examine landscape techniques and plant selection.

The cooperative extension has been building its Internet presence for several years.

“That’s just a new, modern tool of communication to the public,” says Silvertooth.

The university’s extensive list of online publications, magazines, brochures and reports are generated by the college and the cooperative extension county offices.

Video is the next resource that the program wants to expand. “We just hired a videographer,” Silvertooth says. “We have a list of stuff we want to do.”

Already on YouTube are 10 short videos produced by the extension office in Maricopa County. “10 Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden” replicates a print publication by the same title and covers garden design, soil preparation, planting, irrigation and pest management.

“Not everybody likes to read,” says Kelly Young, a Maricopa County extension agent. “They like to see things in action.”

Produced by Arizona State University students, the video presents strategies for edible gardening that apply anywhere in the state, Young says.

Here are some links to UA Cooperative Extension resources about gardening.

  • “10 Steps to a Successful Vegetable Garden,” a series of videos:
  • “Arizona Master Gardener Manual,” a searchable edition of the textbook used to train gardening educators called master gardeners:
  • Gardening publications:
  • UA Campus Repository for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences:
  • Cooperative extension publication search engine:

Several other videos dealing specifically with Arizona gardening can be found on the internet.

“Growing Food in the Desert” is a 12-minute presentation on the basics of edible gardening in Tucson.

Produced by the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, it’s available in English and Spanish.

“It is a stretch for some folks to get down here for our classes,” says Melissa Mundt, the organization’s food production education coordinator. “This is one more way people can get this basic information.”

To find the video in English, go to

For Spanish,

Tree care videos by the Arizona Community Tree Council Inc. cover planting, irrigation and pruning of desert-grown species:

“5-Minute Gardener” was a series of interviews with Harlow Gardens’ Debbie Mounce, who talked about gardening on KVOA’s News 4 Tucson. The 58 videos reside on the Harlow website and cover seasonal issues as well as gardening ideas:


These lists of plants help you learn about specific species or suggest plants that function well in your yards.

The UA Arboretum encompasses all of the woody plants and cacti on the main campus. More than half of the 580 species from around the world are cataloged in a searchable database.

You can search by scientific or common name for a specific plant. You also can get a list of plants based on size, flower color, function or nine other characteristics.

Each entry includes a description of the plant and how it can be used in your landscape. If you want to examine it closely, you can find out on a map where it’s located on campus.

While the database primarily is used to maintain an inventory of the arboretum, “the second benefit is that anyone who wants to come see what that plant looks like is going to be able to find out,” says UA Arboretum director Tanya Quist.

That’s especially important when determining the size of a mature tree, Quist says. “On the original 40 acres of the campus, most of those trees are nearing 100 years old.”

Undergraduate student interns have spent the last two years researching and creating description pages for 315 species, and work continues to describe the rest:

Tohono Chul Park has a database of desert-adapted and low water-use plants. You can do an advanced search by characteristics or search by name. It also has one list of native plants and another list of plants shown at the park. Each entry summarizes the plant’s characteristics, its cold-hardiness and water needs:

Tucson Cactus Succulent Society’s online “Common Cactus and Succulents found or grown in the Tucson, Arizona area” gives you several ways to search for species: by shape, name, habitat, flowers and other characteristics. There also are charts that divide plants by flower color, flowering times and mature plant size:

Desert Survivors Nursery provides lists of plants that attract birds, hummingbirds and butterflies, as well as lists of native trees and grasses:

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Franklin Park advocates seek improvements

While supporters and critics of a Boston Olympics debate the Games’ possible impact on Franklin Park, the advocates who care for the park spent Dec. 12 looking at smaller, more immediate concerns.

That day, the Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) and the Egleston Square Neighborhood Association held a park walk-through, looking at issues of erosion, disuse and invasive species. They invited Boston Parks Commissioner Chris Cook, but got community liaison Marchelle Jacque-Yarde.

The Olympics were barely mentioned. But the City’s tight parks budget was talked about.

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FPC Executive Director Christine Poff later told the Gazette that, with no information from the Olympic bidders and its 10-year timeframe, park advocates are more focused on the present than that “distant possibility.”

“We just have no idea what the plan is for the Olympics, except that the park may be used for the equestrian events. It’s hard to think of improvements…especially so far away—2024!” Poff said in an email. “If the Olympics comes closer to reality, I think FPC will have to look at the impact equestrian events have had on other locations and what the plans are for the park…”

About a dozen neighborhood residents, plus about 15 students and teachers from the nearby Neighborhood School, escorted Jacque-Yarde on an hour-long tour of the western, Jamaica Plain-area boundary of Franklin Park.

The group observed flooded areas and deep gouges in gravel paths left behind by heavy rain earlier last week, as well as disused areas of the park such as picnic tables and the century-old Bear Dens.

“The point is to connect in people’s minds that the park is here,” ESNA member Lina Stoia told the Gazette during that tour.

Lee Glenn, a resident of nearby Park Lane, said that the park “doesn’t need improvements. It needs maintenance.”

The group also covered areas that the FPC has worked on improving in the last year, clearing invasive species and planting bulbs and other ecosystem-supportive plants.

Poff noted that FPC offers free training on invasive plant maintenance and other landscaping skills used in the park.

Jacque-Yarde replied that Commissioner Cook “is all about professional development,” especially if the cost is affordable. She said she would convey to him the idea of training more Parks Department staff in identifying invasives.

A wrap-up conversation, held in the home of walk organizer Martha Karchere, saw the community members agreeing to petition city councilors for a higher parks budget.

Franklin Park Coalition Executive Director Christine Poff asks students from the Neighborhood School for their ideas on how to improve Franklin Park during a neighborhood tour on Dec. 12. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

Franklin Park Coalition Executive Director Christine Poff asks students from the Neighborhood School for their ideas on how to improve Franklin Park during a neighborhood tour on Dec. 12. (Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira)

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Master gardener: Still shopping for holiday gifts?

This holiday season, consider buying local to support community businesses and the local economy. Gardeners can visit one of the area’s locally owned outdoor garden and landscaping companies. They still have an amazing assortment of last-minute gift items.

Here on the valley floor, most soils are not frozen, so planting is still possible. You or a loved one forgot to plant onions, garlic or spring blooming bulbs? Many garden centers still have these items available, and they can be planted for spring color or fall harvest. In addition to live Christmas trees, many of our local garden centers have trees and shrubs available for planting. Be sure to water and mulch around trees and shrubs to give them the best chance of overwintering successfully.

If you live at higher elevations around the Truckee Meadows, it’s not really planting season, but our local garden centers have a wealth of other gift ideas for the holidays.

Blooming indoor plants are a welcome gift during the holiday season and can help relieve the winter doldrums in January and February, when we start to get lonesome for spring. Besides poinsettia, there are cyclamen, Christmas cactus, hydrangea, orchid, African violet, gardenia and other beautiful house plants sure to bring a smile to their recipient. For those on your list with a green thumb, there are flower bulb kits, such as paper white narcissus and amaryllis. Many garden centers offer terrariums, pre-planted or build-your-own. Avid gardeners and gourmet cooks might enjoy a mushroom growing kit, a sprout growing kit or herb garden kit. Seeds for microgreens and sprouts are also available.

Our local nurseries and garden centers carry more than just plants this time of year. They generally have a great selection of holiday decorations, for the yard and the home. Many of these items are unique and may really please the tough-to-buy-for on your holiday list.

Yard décor is not limited to Christmas or other holiday themes. Many of our local garden centers carry pottery, patio furniture and accessories, outdoor lights, fountains, wind socks and flags, wind chimes, and even weather vanes for your yard. For the home, you might find plant pots, garden-themed art, candles and candle holders, serve ware and glassware, indoor grow lights and plant stands. Some also carry specialty soaps and lotions.

What about the living creatures in our landscapes? Many locally owned garden centers have a great selection of bird feeders and bird baths. Some carry native bee nest site kits, bird and bat houses, butterfly feeders, and hummingbird feeders.

For those on your list who love to garden, seed starting equipment, garden tools, gloves and other specialty gardening supplies are available. Many of these stores also carry a great selection of gardening how-to books, specialty books on growing specific plants, and cutting-edge books on new gardening techniques and philosophies. Some garden centers also carry weather stations, outdoor thermometers and rain gauges. For the young gardeners, kid-sized tools and garden kits are available.

Or, if you’re not sure what the gardener on your list would like, all of our local nurseries sell gift certificates, so your friend or family member can pick out something new and wonderful for their home or landscape at a later date.

Melody Hefner is the Urban IPM and Pesticide Safety Education program coordinator. For questions about your plants, contact a master gardener at 775-336-0265 or or visit

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Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park – Omaha World

Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park

Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park

Papillion Mayor David Black speaks at a fundraising event at Twisted Vine on Dec. 9. The event was to kick-off fundraising for improvements at Veterans Park.

Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park

Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park

Brian Bianco, a board member for the Papillion Community Foundation, speaks at a fundraising event at Twisted Vine on Dec. 9. The event was to kick-off fundraising for improvements at Veterans Park.

Posted: Friday, December 19, 2014 1:00 am

Fundraising kicks off for Veterans Park

By Kelsey Stewart / Times Staff Writer

The Omaha World-Herald

What started with a small planter has grown to become an even larger vision.

Veterans Park, formerly Triangle Park, has grown from having a small planter to getting a flagpole and a Blue Star Memorial.

Now, the City of Papillion along with the Papillion Community Foundation and American Legion Post 32 are fundraising for more improvements.

The Papillion Community Foundation hosted an event at Twisted Vine in downtown Papillion Dec. 9 to kick off fundraising efforts.

“It’s our first event,” said Ann Ames, executive director of the Papillion Community Foundation. “We want to introduce it to the community. We’re just excited about it.”

Some of the $78,000 allotted in the city budget for improvements at the park are underway. Moving a water line was the first step. Other improvements will include placing sidewalks, as well as moving and replacing equipment.

Further ideas include an entrance gateway, landscaping, a shelter, plaza, reflecting pool, timeline of military events and a U.S.-themed playground.

No tax dollars are involved in the park’s improvements. Work has been completed through donations and community betterment funds.

The improvements don’t need to be completed all at once, said Papillion Mayor David Black.

“It’s just a vision,” Black said. “Papillion likes to do things high quality. We don’t go small. We need to keep the quality and make it special.”

Community partnerships will be key to finishing the park.

“I know how important this is to the community,” said Ron Ingram with the American Legion. “It’s something where we can all go and reflect on our time.

“This has been a big project, and I guarantee it will get done because this is the type of community we live in.”

City Councilman Steve Engberg also said community partnerships will make the project happen.

Engberg proposed the park’s name change. He came up with the idea after walking through the park with his grandson and looking at the park’s Blue Star Memorial.

“This city has been one where it’s always been OK to have big ideas,” Engberg said.

Slowly but surely, the park is serving its purpose. Multiple events relating to veterans have been held in the park since its renaming last year.

“I want to be able to see veterans in that park,” Engberg said.

“I want to see veterans and their families using that park.”

To contribute, visit or call 402-331-3917.

Copyright ©2014 Omaha World-Herald. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, displayed or redistributed for any purpose without permission from the Omaha World-Herald.
To purchase rights to republish this article, please contact The World-Herald Store.


Friday, December 19, 2014 1:00 am.

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Carroll: Hiding the "wart" at the Denver Zoo

The Denver Zoo is planning to use a high-temperature gasification process mdash; on site mdash; to transform hundreds of tons of zoo waste into a

The Denver Zoo’s waste-to-energy plant really does seem almost as nifty and forward-thinking as zoo officials claim — which is no small distinction given the daily drumbeat of hype we endure on matters large and small.

The facility will use a high-temperature gasification process — don’t say incineration; they’ll correct you — to transform hundreds of tons of zoo waste, including plenty of animal excrement, into a combustible gas that will reduce the zoo’s energy needs by 20 percent.

No wonder a unanimous City Council gave its initial green light Monday to firing up the facility, which is already built, over the coming year.

Who would vote against the zoo’s “zero-waste” future, scheduled for arrival by 2025?

But last-minute lobbying by nearby residents did give some council members pause, as it should have, on at least one issue. To put it politely, the zoo’s south side at the site of the energy plant is an aesthetic failure. Or, to borrow the blunt language of a City Park West resident, the industrial facility “sits as a wart on the landscape, a permanent defacement of City Park, planted in the very midst of its most historic and heavily used areas.”

Strong words, but not too far beyond the truth. And the zoo buildings to the west of the facility are no sight for sore eyes, either.

Adding to the irritation of nearby residents, as a number of them pointed out in a letter to council members, is that “the zoo took care to shield their visitors from this industrial section of their facility, inflicting it instead on people using City Park.”

Some residents also are raising questions about possible noise and stench from the waste-to-energy process, but it is a bit late for that debate. Zoo officials told the council — as they told me several days earlier — that they received essentially no complaints about the project or siting until the past few weeks, despite multiple public presentations and news stories over several years.

Still, it was striking to see how incurious council members were about such matters. You’d have thought zoo officials would have been fielding questions Monday about decibels, odors and the nature of emissions, for example, but that was not the case.

A “green” industrial project seems to inoculate the developer from such inquiry.

For the record, the need for an air permit was triggered by expected carbon monoxide emissions, according to Jennifer Hale, the zoo’s director of safety and sustainability. Those emissions should be well below limits allowed by the “minor source” permit, she told me, and plastics will be sorted out to reduce the possibility of toxic releases.

Still, there remains the issue of the zoo’s unappealing face to the park. In the zoo’s defense, it didn’t choose the site just because its patrons wouldn’t see it. That’s where the zoo has handled waste for decades— much of it then trucked away. And the zoo has spent about $700,000 in landscaping and other improvements on its southern perimeter, including dredging Duck Lake.

But it needs to do more. And zoo officials, who seem taken aback by the controversy, say they will regroup and do so. George Pond, a zoo vice president, told me a “green wall” like the one at the Botanic Gardens could be difficult because it might be “fried” by the southern exposure. But Tiffany Barnhart, the zoo’s communications director, said they will put current plans to finish the exterior on hold and go “back to the drawing board,” with neighborhood groups, to select an architectural option.

Their mission: hide the wart.

E-mail Vincent Carroll at Follow him on Twitter @vcarrollDP

To send a letter to the editor about this article, submit online or check out our guidelines for how to submit by e-mail or mail.

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55-and-older housing complex opens in Costa Mesa

Operators of a recently opened senior living complex in Costa Mesa are hoping their new residents will live as if on vacation every day. After all, the place offers cool breezes, a saltwater pool, organic gardens and a two-story clubhouse.

The 215-unit Azulón at Mesa Verde, at 1500 Mesa Verde Drive East, is one of two 55-and-older housing facilities to open in the city in recent years.

During a recent tour of the campus, Anton Segerstrom of Mesa Verde Partners, owner of the facility, noted that the open-air corridors allow breezes to sweep through, giving it a Santa Barbara resort feel.

“It was a great opportunity to take advantage of that,” Segerstrom said. “There’s always a breeze in Costa Mesa.”

Segerstrom, son of South Coast Plaza founder Henry Segerstrom, said Azulón took its design cues from Spanish Colonial architecture and even the historic Diego Sepúlveda Adobe down the street.

“Instead of trying to be Italian or French, we thought, ‘Why not celebrate Costa Mesa’s roots?'” he said.

Segerstrom, who was personally involved in the designing and planning of the property, said he’s particularly proud of Azulón’s landscaping and how lush it looks, even in its early stages. Dozens of mature trees were replanted on the property.

“I spend most of my time in the retail world,” he said, “but this was something the family wanted to do. They asked me if I wanted to help spearhead it.”

The complex has 11 one- and two-bedroom floor plans. Units range from 736 square feet to 1,230 square feet. Monthly rents start at $1,630. The units contain various touches, such as arched doorways, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops, as well as in-unit washers and dryers.

The 7.5-acre campus, which once housed a movie theater, ice rink and the Kona Lanes bowling alley, contains about 40% open space.

The City Council approved development there in 2010.

Azulón is separated from the Mesa Verde Center, which is anchored by Vons, by a public pedestrian pathway that planners are calling the Paseo. Once complete, it will feature an outdoor cafe.

“It’s all interconnected,” Segerstrom said. “You can sit out here and meet your friends for coffee or a glass of wine in the evening.”

In addition to the pool, Azulón has a saltwater spa, a gym, outdoor barbecues, cabanas and a yoga studio. Residents can work in the development’s four organic gardening beds, which also are maintained by professional gardeners.

Produce grown there will be used in the demonstration kitchen, located in the 8,300-square-foot clubhouse.

Segerstrom pointed to the citrus garden, which contains trees that yield blood oranges, Meyer lemons and kumquats.

Susan Sirota, representing Legacy Partners Residential, Azulón’s management company, described little touches throughout the property, like the hand-painted artist tiles along the pool and Spanish light posts. And each floor has a different style of balcony railings, she said.

The bottom floors have patios.

A lighting director from South Coast Repertory did work for Azulón, Segerstrom noted.

“We are long-term residents of Costa Mesa,” he added. “We’ve been here over 100 years. We want something the city can be proud of, and we’re very proud of it. It’s been a joy to put this together.”

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Grow your landscaping skills at Wicker Park workshop

Landscaping can seem like such an intimidating endeavor that many gardeners hand over the reins to professionals. Or just plop down plants, shrubs and trees, hoping for the best.

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But learning the skills not only saves money, it also ensures a yard or deck that bears a gardener’s personal stamp. And isn’t pride of place one of gardening’s key charms?

While winter is keeping everybody away from their favorite hobby, it’s a good time to consider enrolling in the eight-week series offered by the Wicker Park Garden Club. Design professionals and veteran gardeners will lead the weekly workshops, to be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays from Jan. 10 to Feb. 28 at the Wicker Park Field House, 1425 N. Damen Ave.

This year’s workshop is co-sponsored with the Wicker Park Advisory Council, in collaboration with the Chicago Park District. Instructors include professional landscape designers Ellen Moderhack, MODE Landscape Design; Sam Marts, Sam Marts Architects Planners, and Julie Siegel of J. Siegel Designs.

Participants will learn how to create their own landscape designs for in-ground gardens as well as container gardens. The series will take students through the process of design — through lectures and hands-on design projects (yes, there’s homework!) — to create a site plan, determine usage and bed areas, use architectural influences of the home, as well as hardscape options. Plant choices, with consideration to light and moisture conditions, as well as how to incorporate native and sustainable varieties, will be part of the program too.

The series is open to anyone in the city or suburbs, but attendance is limited. Cost is $110 (students pay at the first class).

For information, go to To register, email

Copyright © 2014, Chicago Tribune

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