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Archives for February 3, 2015

Marblehead Chamber Seeking Home Show Participants

The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce is gearing up for the 18th Annual Marblehead Home Show March 14-15.

show connects homeowners with the people and businesses that can benefit them, including “Painting, heating and cooling, windows [and] doors, countertops, landscaping, home security, cleaning, financing, insurance, entertainment, decorating, boating and so many other ideas and solutions,” according to a
press release.

The Chamber is now seeking business owners and service providers to participate in the show.

“If you offer a service that benefits home owners, this show is for you!” the press release reads.

The home show is geared toward residents from throughout the region and the Chamber is estimating as many as 1,000 attendees for this year’s show March 14 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and March 15 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Marblehead High School.

To register as a participant, email for a registration form or
download the form online.

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Town hall slated for north Merced – Merced Sun

The Merced City Council plans to hold its final town hall-style meeting of the year Tuesday, when residents can address the council in a back-and-forth dialogue.

Crime, youth services and new ideas are typical topics and are likely to be discussed when the two-hour meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Rivera Middle School, 945 Buena Vista Drive.

The first meeting this year took place in south Merced, and the condition of McNamara Park dominated the conversation. Some of the problems at the park are ongoing, but others brought up by residents were new to the council and even to the city staff.

“Listening to those kind of issues completely justifies town halls,” Mayor Stan Thurston said. “Because, obviously, we don’t hear about those any other place.”

Some of the issues raised at the south Merced meeting are already being addressed.

Since the meeting, a couple of local businesses have committed to donating trees and other materials to improve the landscaping and sidewalks around McNamara Park, according to Jennifer Krumm, chief operating officer of the Greater Merced Chamber of Commerce. Krumm, who was at the south Merced meeting, said the amount of materials to be donated remains unclear.

The council has scheduled two town hall meetings every year since 2012. The city’s charter encourages those meetings, which allow for a more casual discussion between the council and residents compared with the more stringent meetings at City Hall.

The north Merced meetings, in contrast with the ones in the southern part of town, traditionally draw fewer people from the community.

Last year’s meeting at Rivera Middle School had the council taking questions from the public and hearing concerns over police policy, the marketing of the city and sidewalk upkeep.

City staff members will be on hand to provide information on the committee that will draw up districts for local elections, as well as local Neighborhood Watch, and volunteer and Explorer programs with Merced police.

Interpreter services are available for Hmong and Spanish speakers.

The meeting will be streamed live on the Internet. A link to the meeting is on the city’s website, The meeting will be shown on Channel 96 on Comcast as well.

Sun-Star staff writer Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or

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Sauk County Gardener: Choose nutrient-rich vegetables

“In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.”

– William Blake

As most of you know, I am a big-time animal lover, both domestic and wild. This was reinforced to me in the last couple of weeks.

Recently, my daughter’s house caught on fire and even before the smoke alarms went off, her dogs woke the family up. They were running back and forth between the bedrooms barking. The family got out of the house in time with the dogs; however, the cat wasn’t so lucky.

This labrador and Boston terrier are the real life-saving heroes. Thank you, Nellie and Rocky. Also, thank you wonderful friends and neighbors who offered help, clothes, money and more to help them get back on their feet. There is something to say about the generosity of our small towns in Wisconsin.

When choosing vegetable seeds for your gardens this year, try some of the more nutrient-rich varieties. Some of the most nutrient-rich foods can be found in supermarkets, but demand a high price. Home gardeners have the choice to grow phytonutrient-rich foods at home. Phytonutrients are powerful antioxidants that protect us from “free radicals” that cause cancer and heart disease and which can destroy our brains and many other problems with our health.

Some phytonutrients do much more; one phytonutrient called quercetin is found in apples and onions. This helps kill the flu virus. The lycopene in tomatoes improves fertility; green tea and chocolate contain catechins which help control insulin and help reduce obesity. Color is a clue to phytonutrients; the darker the vegetable, the better, but which variety you choose matters. Two varieties of spinach tested were spinner and springer; after three months, spinner was noted to help control macular degeneration.

Some varieties recommended are Spanish roja garlic; red onions; northern spy apples; Jersey knight and purple passion asparagus. For blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and almost any dark berry — the smaller, the better because the skin has the most nutrients. Also recommended are purple carrots, ruby queen corn, purple cauliflower, purple broccoli, red cabbage, red lettuce, concord grapes, French fingerling potatoes, blue potatoes, purple potatoes, and cherry and plum tomatoes. These tomatoes are the highest in lycopene.

So why not try a few of these vegetables this year? Your health will get a big boost.

Wisconsin Public Television’s Garden Expo is a midwinter oasis for people ready to venture out and dig their hands in the dirt. Now in its 22nd year, this three-day event celebrates the latest trends in gardening, landscaping and edibles. Join other gardening enthusiasts to share ideas, gain inspiration and create something new Feb. 13-15 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

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Arboretum prepares for Olmsted statue, expected in fall – Asheville Citizen

The father of modern landscape architecture, whose masterworks began with New York City’s Central Park and ended with the Biltmore Estate, is being reimagined in bronze so he might again grace a Blue Ridge landscape.

The North Carolina Arboretum is preparing a new exhibit that will feature a commissioned statue of Frederick Law Olmsted, renowned for designing some of the country’s best known parks and parkways.

Olmsted’s likeness will be sculpted by Zenos Frudakis, whose art is featured in gardens and public spaces worldwide, including in both Carolinas. In preparation for the unveiling, tentatively expected in autumn, arboretum workers are removing a miniaturized American beech tree from an area known as the Blue Ridge Court, where the Olmsted exhibit will be housed.

The project serves two goals, said George Briggs, executive director of the arboretum.

Horticulturalists suspect the roots of the beech tree have escaped their container, causing vigorous growth that requires harsh pruning to maintain its shape, he said. The tree will be moved to a more appropriate container and is expected to be a prize specimen in the arboretum’s bonsai collection.

“The beech tree was planted in 1996 in a container that is about ten feet in diameter, and that tree is coming to a crossroads. If we want to get it through the intersection, we need to take some measures now,” Briggs said. “Asheville already has the great piece of Olmsted art. The Biltmore Estate owns the portrait painted by John Singer Sargent. We are hoping when this statue is complete, Asheville will have the two great works of art featuring Olmsted.”

The Olmsted statue pays homage to an unfulfilled dream, Briggs said. The giant of landscaping had hoped to establish a research arboretum on the Biltmore Estate.

Olmsted died in 1903, and many of the more than 500 landscapes designed by his firm continue to be revered as natural escapes from city life. But he created a philosophy more fundamental than even the projects themselves. He championed an idea, now commonplace, that green spaces are as valuable to a city as business and skyscrapers and in thoughtful designs, promoted how people interacted with those natural areas.

“People think of Olmsted’s projects, but I think of him as creating a process valuable to me as a landscape architect, for all of landscape architecture, and if we do our jobs well, there will be a product that fits the needs of the people who are going to be using it,” Briggs said.

The statue will likely be about eight feet tall, capturing Olmsted around age 60. By then, his work on Niagara Falls State Reserve lay behind him, his plans for Boston’s linked parks known as the Emerald Necklace were underway, and his landscapes for the 1898 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition were still a decade off.

Frudakis, the artist, created “Freedom” in Philadelphia, a celebrated work depicts a series of four figures, the first imprisoned within a wall, the last escaping with victorious joy. He is also known for historical and sports figures, including his memorialization of golfer Payne Stewart at North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort.

The Stewart statue captures one of golf’s most iconic and joyful victories. The giddy golfer balances on his left leg, his right kicked out behind him, while his right fist punches in the air. It was 1999, and the man known as much for his trademark knickerbockers as his game had just taken the U.S. Open at Pinehurst. Months later, he would die in a plane crash.

That work is one of three golf icons Fradakis has memorialized in bronze at Pinehurst. The Brookgreen Gardens near South Carolina’s coast features a wolf and an Irish wolfhound by the artist.

The Olmsted work is made possible with the support of John and Muriel Siddall. John Siddall died in March and the couple long supported the Arboretum. Landscape Architect Robert Hayter of LKC Engineering is consulting on site development of the project.

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Grove Chamber’s 17th Annual Home, Garden Show Feb. 13-15

Goin' fishing at the Home  Garden Show

Goin’ fishing at the Home Garden Show

Kaci Stephenson goes “fishing” for a goldfish on display at the RD Lawn Care and Landscaping booth during the 2014 Home and Garden Show, sponsored by the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce. The Seneca, Mo., business was one of the many home and garden vendors showcasing its wares during the three-day event. This year’s event kicks off on Friday, Feb. 13, at the Grove Civic Center, 1702 South Main, Grove.

Posted: Monday, February 2, 2015 8:36 am

Grove Chamber’s 17th Annual Home, Garden Show Feb. 13-15

Staff Reports Grove Sun Delaware County Journal

Homeowners will have a chance to turn home and garden dreams into reality with the help of vendors taking part in the 17th Annual Home and Garden Show, sponsored by the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.

The event, scheduled for Feb. 13 to 15, at the Grove Civic Center, according to Lisa Freidan, chamber president, is designed to give participants a chance to see “ways to refresh and renew their homes” as well as seek out vendors ready to “deliver with expert solutions.”

The show’s public hours are:

3 to 7 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, 

11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 15

Admission is $3 per person or $5 for a weekend pass. Children 12 and under are admitted free, when accompanied by an adult. 

“The gorgeous displays our vendors build will inspire, amaze and allow those wanting an expert’s touch to find the pros to make the difference,” said Kathy Hensley, chairman of the Home Garden Show.

Friden agreed.

“Consumers that attend this event will find aisles of great products and services that will help create their dream home and garden – from the front door to the back yard,” she said. “The aisles are always packed with the very latest ideas and trends in home building, remodeling, gardening, landscaping and decorating.”

This year’s center court displays will include Hollytree Landscaping and Garden Décor, R D Landscaping and The Homestead Furnishings. Freiden said these showcase gardens and room displays should not be missed.

The event is sponsored by AEP Public Service Company of Oklahoma, Arvest Bank, First National Bank, Grand River Abstract, Grand Savings Bank, Harp’s, Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative, Suddenlink and the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, persons interested may contact the chamber office at 918-786-9079 or email

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Monday, February 2, 2015 8:36 am.

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Grove Area Chamber Of Commerce,

Grove Ok,

Grand Lake,,

Home And Garden Show

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Keep Your Landscape Looking Its Best Fixes for winter damage to your lawn and …

Winter is hard on gardens. It’s a time of severe weather — storms, snow, hail, and wind. Couple that with sudden unexpected thaws and you’ve got a recipe for garden damage. The good news is that February is the ideal time to make a landscape damage survival plan. Here’s how to deal with winter’s effects on your lawn and garden.

Repair for a Winter-Damaged Lawn

Start planning now for a fuller, healthier lawn this summer … even in that annoying “bald patch” where grass just doesn’t seem to grow. Aerate and dethatch your lawn to promote oxygen penetration and healthy growth. You may also need to reseed, repair turf, or completely re-sod. A helpful method of landscape repair is the application of black dirt, which is known to be excellent at both drainage and water retention. It is the richest soil in nutrients available and will improve the health of all your plantings, whether lawn, flowers, vegetable gardens, or landscaping.

Alternatively, you may decide that this is the year you’d like to go with xeriscaping, a new method of gardening which will significantly reduce your garden water consumption.

Treatment of Trees

One of the most difficult aspects of winter affecting your trees and other plants is the severe fluctuations in temperature and rapid transitions from freeze to thaw and back again. This can cause two common types of distress to the bark of trees on your property — sunscald and frost cracking. The best way to treat these conditions is by removing injured bark with a sterilized knife and keeping the wound clean. Do not apply any type of tree wound tar, paint, or sealant but leave the wound exposed to the air to let it heal more rapidly. In future, cover the trunk in tree wrap to protect it during the coldest part of the winter.

Branches and even entire trees may have been felled by winter storms. Have any broken branches pruned as soon as possible, since they are hazardous to human beings and property. (Winter is the ideal time for trimming, as this is less traumatic to trees in their dormant season.) Be especially cautious if branches are in danger of contact with electrical power lines. Pruning and cutting up deadwood is a tricky job, best left to professionals.

Care for Damaged Plants

Frost heave, which is due to cycles of freezing and thawing of the garden soil, can push small plants from the ground. Cover the roots and replant as soon as the soil is soft enough.

In addition, plants may be affected by salt burn from deicing agents. When the weather begins to warm, lightly spray their leaves to remove salt; then flush the root systems with larger quantities of water come spring. Application of gypsum can help to amend the excessive saltiness of the soil. Gently trim brown or spongy parts of herbaceous perennials suffering from desiccation or frost damage.

Renew your mulch every year or two. This will help protect your plants, keep weeds under control, and improve the appearance of your garden beds.

Maintain Hardscape and Equipment

Another important garden maintenance task is repairing your hardscape and equipment. As soon as the weather permits, mend garden structures such as retaining walls, paths, patios, statuary, trellises, fencing, or solar panels and other lighting systems that have been harmed by harsh winter conditions. Make sure your irrigation system is in top shape and ready for the spring season. Check tools such as your lawn mower to see whether they are in good working order. Tune up if necessary and make a shopping list of any equipment you may need to purchase or rent to help you in your landscape repair work.


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Society of Garden Designers award winners announced

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Design students’ buzzing plans for garden project

DESIGN students in Dorchester are helping to transform the bowling green in the town’s Borough Gardens.

Garden Design students from Kingston Maurward College are helping to shape Dorchester’s heritage in a college competition to redesign the defunct bowling green in the town’s Borough Gardens.

The year-long project was initiated last spring by the Friends of Borough Gardens who contacted Dorset Wildlife Trust about planting a wildflower meadow.

However, although a meadow can be a worthwhile and ecological contribution to the local environment, they can also unfortunately often become overgrown and untidy.

In view of the proposed site Dorset Wildlife Trust suggested a more visually pleasing, and more worthy alternative, of a grass-free lawn.

This simple solution is low growing, comprises more than 20 plant species and, most importantly, is fifty times more effective to pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, than the more traditional wildflower meadow. This lawn would be grown in individual dense live ‘mats’ off site then laid in situ in a patchwork pattern for optimum visual impact.

The proposal was presented to a committee from Dorchester Town Council, who were so impressed that the project was adopted by Dorchester Town Mayor Peter Mann Kingston Maurward part-time Garden Design students and tutor Michelle Brown were approached in October and tasked with the design, a challenge they embraced, despite having only been studying Garden Design for two months.

The Garden Design students have been given professional feedback throughout the process, benefitting them with valuable experience in a live project, and whilst the winning design may not be able to be used in its entirety due to cost restrictions, elements will be worked in to the Borough Gardens project.

In a prize-giving ceremony at Kingston Maurward College, the winning ammonite inspired design was by practising GP Alison Blakeway, with runners up Vicky Saines, Stella Welch and Bridget Foster.

Winner Alison said: “I’m delighted to win, it was really good to work on such an interesting project, and a complete change from what I’m used to.

“Michelle is inspirational. I did the five-week introduction course and enjoyed it so much that I decided to do the year-long course afterwards. I love it.”

Mayor Peter Mann said: “Thank you to you all from Dorchester Town Council. I can hardly believe you are within twelve weeks of starting this course. We are bowled over by the presentation and sheer amount of thinking that went into the project.”

The project was funded by a grant provided by the Stanley Smith Horticulture Trust which provided seed trays, compost and plants. Dorset County Council will supply signage for the new gardens. The grand launch will take place on Easter Monday, April 6, when the lawn mats will be planted.

The event is being supported by the Bumble Bee Trust, Dorset Bee Keepers Association and Butterfly Conservation.

Members of the public are welcome to attend and kits will be available for people to create grass-free lawns in their own back gardens.

Dorset Wildlife Trust Officer, Joy Wallis, said: “I am really, really impressed with what was submitted, way better than I expected, brilliant!”

She added: “The students should be very proud.”

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Is This Sky Garden The Workplace Of The Future?

The way we work is changing. Most people don’t need to show up for work at a stodgy office building at 9 a.m. anymore. We work in coffee shops. We work from home at odd hours. We stand up while we work. And if interior designers Sean Cassidy and Joe Wilson have their way, we’ll grow our own food at work, too.

Cassidy and Wilson envision the future of the workplace as a health-conscious, easy adaptable space where employees’ needs come first. Their winning design for the Metropolis Workplace of the Future design competition (presented in conjunction with Business Interiors by Staples), Organic Grid+, is a high-rise sky garden.

The walls, desks, and meeting rooms of the office are designed to be customized and adapted by their users, and garden stations throughout provide places for employees to grow and harvest their own food. The plants would help workers reduce stress and double as indoor climate control, reducing the need for a hefty cooling system.

“If we spend one-third of our lives at work, then we should create a greater cohesive relationship between the employee and the workspace,” Cassidy told Metropolis. Granted, forcing employees to grow their own food desk-side could be just another corporate ploy to keep workers from leaving the office, but hey, at least you’ll get a relaxing garden view!

Check out the Organic Grid+ proposal and more here.

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