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Archives for February 24, 2015

City focuses more on ‘big picture’ items in goal setting session

In their annual goal setting retreat on Monday, the Garden City Commission focused more on big picture issues than they have in the past to come up with a set of six “Big Hairy Audacious Goals” to pursue over the next year and a half.

Some of the priorities over the next 18 months include developing more industrial sites, putting the “regional” in regional airport, implementing a multi-year fire services development plan, and pressing ahead with the proposed Sporting Kansas City STAR Bond project.

“They were really careful to say these are the things we need to care about or the ball doesn’t advance on these issues,” City Manager Matt Allen said.

Each year around this time, the commission holds a day-long retreat to review progress from the previous year, and brainstorm ideas that are turned into goals for the next 12 to 18 months. The commission, city manager and department heads review the five-year capital improvement plan and city finances before talking about various city needs and potential projects.

The goals are designed to aid preparation of the 2016 budget and help narrow the focus on things the commission would like city staff to research in the coming year. The objectives themselves are not binding.

Mayor Roy Cessna said that this year, the commission’s focus is on big goals, big ideas, designed to fulfill the vision of moving Garden City forward, rather than getting bogged down on smaller goals that are more related to day-to-day operations.

“This gives us an idea of, for the next 12 to 18 months, telling staff and management to move this direction. We came up with these six ideas. We all decided these are the six big goals we want to keep moving on into the future. This will give us a good foundation for the next two years, but also further out,” Cessna said.

Here’s a closer look at the six goals commissioners expect to ratify at their March 3 meeting:

• Develop industrial property: Commissioners want to examine the existing inventory of industrial land and identify/remedy what may lack in infrastructure improvements or price-certainty, identify infill properties that would be candidates for industrial development, and identify, in conjunction with Finney County, future industrial locations.

• Develop STAR Bond project: Commissioners want to work with developers to establish a detailed project plan, conduct a feasibility study and gain authorization to proceed on a feasible project.

Last December, Sporting Kansas City, Kansas City’s professional soccer franchise, proposed developing a soccer training center in Garden City using the state’s sales tax financing tool. The project includes building state of the art facilities necessary to bring the major league soccer club’s youth development system here, as well as a semi-professional soccer franchise.

• Achieve independence for the electric utility to maximize the benefit to existing and prospective customers: Commissioners plan to investigate and analyze power delivery options through the Southwest Power Pool transmission delivery system; acquire a reliable, low cost energy supply; and develop operating plans for the Jameson Energy Center in conjunction with the SPP in a manner that will maximize savings.

Generally, the commission seeks to continue progress made over the past couple of years in changing to a less expensive power supplier and intends to explore additional alternatives to seek competitive pricing.

• Address water regionally in a manner that preserves the quality and quantity of the resource: Commissioners wan to remain active in regional and statewide water policy discussions, develop existing city water rights, reduce water use by city departments and model next generation landscaping in the community.

• Expand Garden City Regional Airport: Establish a master plan for future development of airport property that reflects a regional airport, and design terminal alternatives to service regional commercial air service.

• Implement a multi-year fire department development plan: Commissioners hope to identify a plan reflecting the recommendations of the fire service study that was completed last year, design fire station No. 1 remodel in 2015, and build fire station No. 1 remodel in 2016.

The intent is to implement recommendations of a fire services study conducted last year that looked at facilities, staffing and equipment needs for the future. Instead of including a goal of building a third fire station, the commission’s goal is to develop a plan that improves fire services for the community progressively.

Commissioner Chris Law said some of the goals will take years to fully accomplish, and some may require significant funding. Most will involve more study and doing preliminary work to determine feasibility.

In the past, Law said, there may have been more things on the list of goals, some of which have yet to be realized. But the commission is still working on some of those things, even if they aren’t included on a current list.

“They’re just not the ‘big hairy audacious goals’ as is the terminology we’re using now. These are just some bigger ideas that could change over time. But today, this is what we see out there, somewhat long term, and here’s some things we want to see happen in the near term,” he said.

Some of the ongoing issues the commission continues to work on include housing and improving downtown, to name two.

Some of last year’s goals included: studying the feasibility of a convention center/indoor entertainment facility; continuing to pursue retail, commercial and industrial growth; improving housing; and supporting water quality, quantity and stewardship policies.

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Cottage & Lakefront Living/Outdoorama this weekend

The Cottage Lakefront Living Show and Outdoorama will be at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi from Thursday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 1, 2015.
Courtesy Cottage Lakefront Living Show

Log and Timber Frame Showcase, sandcastles, the Antique and Classic Boat Society, Cottage Fine Art Show, landscaping ideas, boats, sporting gear and more are at the eighth annual Cottage Lakefront Living Show and Outdoorama running through the weekend, Thursday, Feb. 26 through Sunday, March 1, at Suburban Collection Showplace at 46100 Grand River Ave., Novi. Show hours are 3-9:30 p.m. Thursday; Noon-9:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission for both shows is $10; $4 for children 6-14; free for children 5 and younger. On-site parking available for a fee. For more information, visit,, or call 800-328-6550.

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Outdoor living awards: Take-away ideas from pricey Portland Home and Garden …

The big trees are being taken away. The arbors dismantled and readied for shipping. The bright lights turned off in the Portland Expo Center. Another Portland Home and Garden Show — the 68th — ended Sunday.

What remains for show goers are newly purchased orchids to be planted as instructed by members of the Portland Orchid Society. DIY ideas to be implemented and maybe a savings account established for future home improvements. Some of the landscapes displayed would cost $20,000 or more to duplicate.

Saying goodbye, too, are the design and construction teams who created outliving living environments for the Excellence in Landscaping competition.

All 14 of the displays were eye-catching. Marina Wynton of Olivine Land created a compact, but colorful urban garden, called Sienna Terrace, with a lushly lined patio entry adjacent to a carport. Parked on pavers was a fabulously small Fiat.

A gallery of her landscape entry — a testament to getting big wows out of a small space — are attached with this story. But photographer Michael Lloyd captured hundreds of other images of the show. To see them, follow the links.

Here are the winners of the Portland Home and Garden Show’s Excellence in Landscape competition, along with a description of the displays and tips you can take home for easy outdoor living:


Autumn Leaf Landscaping – Designer Matt Hammack installed side-by-side, contemporary arbors to define spaces for activity and relaxation in an outdoor environment that is Truly Hip, Truly PDX, as the name implies. Joining both is a steel-and-wood water feature ($5,500). The self-contained, custom piece provides a visual centerpiece to the outdoor space as well as soothing sounds.

Association of Northwest Landscape Designers – A tiny house on wheels, built by Portland-based Shelter Wise, is a compact 96 square feet but it has everything a homeowner would need: queen-size bed, bookshelves, bath and kitchen. Look up at the little living roof over the porch. The price: $22,500. Patrick Hughes of Wheel Barrow Landscapes designed and installed the outdoor living environment with Dana Dokken of Bridge City Arbors and Stacey Bower of Eden’s Gate Design to represent the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers. The name of the display? Hot Summer Night.

Cornerstone Hardscapes with Creative Garden Spaces Too often, outdoor kitchens look like ones you’d find in a busy restaurant: all business, no style. Shiny metal appliances are lined up for efficiency; cooking utensils dangle off rods within easy reach. But this outdoor living space, called Northwest Garden Adventure, was dressed up to look less machine-driven and more like an extension of the home

Gregg Ellis Landscape Design – Contrasts like mossy concrete forms paired with new splashy art were part of the concepts executed by Christine Ellis and Carolyn Gregg of Gregg Ellis Landscape Design with Randy Wooley of Cedarscapes. In the landscape, called Modern Semblance, new arbors and reclaimed wood divided spaces. Catching attention too was a turquoise sculpture Ellis made from twisting and painting scrap metal.

JP Stone Contractors with Linda Meyers


American Rhododendron Society – Dick Cavender of the ARS Portland chapter reminds us that Lace Bugs can be controlled with some of the same approved methods used on roses. Rhododendrons with indumentum, the fuzz on the back of the leaves, are resistant to Lace Bug. Select the right plant for the location. Don’t plant a large, fast-growing variety under a window. Rhododendrons can and should be pruned. See more information at

Drake’s 7 Dees – Fans of “Outlander,” the sexy time-travel series on Starz TV, recognized the clues instantly: the fur-covered bed, the roaring fire, the words “Da mi basia mille” (“Give me a thousand kisses”) inscribed in bark. Others passing by the Outlander Garden saw something that might work in their backyard: A lawn-free yard.

Healing Arts Resource Project – Eagle Log Cabins’ narrow tiny house was surrounded by landscaping created by HARP Farms Nursery and Design.

New Beginnings Landscape – Colby Weathers of Native Landscape Design and New Beginnings Landscape has a different take on affordable living. He had ocean containers cut in half and placed in the middle of his landscape design.

Northwest Outdoor Living Landscapes – The large boulders used in the display, called Pacific Paradise, are a perfect height — 7 inches — to be comfortable steps. Other large stones are used to form a fire pit and elevate a curved, cushioned bench that can hold a dozen people. The sides of the stones are irregular, as in nature, and yet they fit together like puzzle pieces.

Olivine Land – Marina Wynton of Olivine Land, who created Sienna Terrace, says if space is tight on the ground, look up: Install an eco-roof structure. And don’t forget to provide wildlife habitats with careful plant selection and sustainable design.

OSU Department of Horticulture

The Wall with Borlin Landscape Services Rick McCutcheon of The Wall and Larry Borlin of Borlin Landscape Services want to hear about your steep slope, your unstable ridge, your unusable yard space. In their display, called Northwest Comfortable, they incorporated patio, walkway and arbor with beautiful landscaping, and showed how retaining walls can solve terrain challenges.


Southwest Landscapes – In the 30-foot-square display space, Don H. Roberts II of Southwest Landscape installed a dining area, fire pit zone, water wall and a patch of grass for a croquet course. “More clients are spending their money at home on outdoor living, hosting parties, mini ‘vaca,'” he says. “Getting the kids outside for an hour a day, staying in shape. Making your landscape part of your home and your healthy lifestyle.”

— Janet Eastman

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Shelton Garden Club March Meeting

The next meeting of the Olde Ripton Garden Club of Shelton will be held on Monday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at the Plumb Memorial Library, 65 Wooster St. downtown Shelton.

The public is invited to attend for a $5 donation.

The Club will be hosting renowned landscape designer, Brid Craddock as a speaker. Brid is the lead designer for Growing Solutions, an all organic design and construction firm located in Fairfield County. She will be presenting a lively presentation on “Flowering Shrubs for an Easy Care Garden”. She holds a degree in interior design and certificates in horticulture and landscape design. She is a Connecticut Master Gardener and founding member of the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. She is well known for her personal collection of unusual perennials, shrubs and trees.

The Olde Ripton Garden Club seeks to provide knowledge in the horticulture of plants, artistic design, landscaping, conservation and garden planning. Their purpose is to promote protection of the environment and to assist in beautifying streets, highways and grounds around public buildings. Those interested in gardening are encouraged to join and volunteers who want to assist in refurbishing and updating gardens at community locations throughout Shelton are welcome.

Meetings are open to the public and refreshments are provided. Members display artistic and horticulture specimens at each meeting for review and discussion.

For more info call Renee Protomastro at 203 775-6645 or visit

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Home Help: Low-maintenance landscaping ideas

Posted Feb. 23, 2015 at 2:01 AM

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Tips to get your vegetable garden started early

Tips to get your vegetable garden started early

Start leeks before the last frost date, then plant the seedlings deeply.

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Messing around with your garden beds in late winter is a risky business. Saturated soil that is disturbed or compacted has a habit of forming tough clods that retain the texture and growing capacity of concrete for months. Do your early season gardening in pots.

Here is some advice adapted from my garden manual and cookbook Grow What You Eat.

• Plant seeds indoors for transplanting. Sure you could wait until May and buy professionally grown transplants at the nursery — I always end up buying a few — but if you are itching to grow something this is a good time to start a few cold-hardy onions, mustards and herbs.

I have a greenhouse in the garden that protects seedlings from frost damage and heats up very nicely when the sun comes out. But a south-facing window will work just as well and without the cold nights my greenhouse pals endure. Use sterile potting soil and choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day.

• The date of the last frost in southwestern B.C. varies quite a bit, from about March 28 in Vancouver to late April further inland and early May in the Okanagan. Mustard greens, kale and mizuna can be started about six weeks before the last frost for transplanting about two weeks after your frost date. Flat-leaf parsley — which I use in great bunches to finish soups and stews and in green sauces and salads — can be seeded in pots eight weeks before the last frost of spring.

• Plant green onions, about ten seeds to a four-inch pot and take care to space them out. I don’t separate the seedlings for transplanting, rather I pull the entire bunch out of the pot, soil and all, and put it straight into the ground as a block. It’s much easier, less stressful to the plants and allows you to pull the onions in bunches when they are ready to harvest. Start one pot each week through the late winter and early spring and you will never be without green onions. The seeds are about a penny apiece or less, which is a great saving over the grocery store price.

• Leeks can be seeded in pots about eight weeks before the last frost and should be grown to at least the thickness of a wooden match before transplanting, so seed about six to a pot. When it is safe to move the pots outside for hardening off — right around the last frost date is fine — feed the seedlings with liquid fish fertilizer (don’t use it in the house) or a high nitrogen organic fertilizer to accelerate their growth. Leeks can be transplanted in April to a raised bed with plenty of light airy organic matter and complete organic fertilizer. When you transplant, use a trowel to ensure that the root ball is 10 to 15 centimetres below the surface of the soil.

• Compacted soil is virtually glued together by living organisms and their excreta into an airless block. Sometimes a little moisture and the natural warmth of the sun will allow you to break up the soil with a fork and reintroduce the air required for healthy soil. If not, a quick crop of green manure may do the trick. The fine roots from a spring cover crop should help restore the soil. I like buckwheat or oats in a spring cover crop, because they are easy to kill. Grasses, such as fall rye, and clovers may survive after light tilling and interfere with your veggies through the summer.

Feel free to email questions and comments to

• Randy Shore is the author of Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow, a cookbook for gardeners and a gardening manual for lovers of whole fresh foods.


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Peckerwood Garden created with the eye of an artist

The brilliant blooms Trichocereus cactuses punctuate a dry garden at Peckerwood.nbsp;

The brilliant blooms Trichocereus cactuses punctuate a dry garden at Peckerwood. 

The brilliant blooms Trichocereus cactuses punctuate a dry garden…

After more than four decades, John Fairey sees no end to the planting at Peckerwood Garden, his legendary living laboratory near Hempstead.

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Berlin Company Earns Garden Design Award

A Berlin landscaping company received the Best Design Award for its live garden display created for the 2015 Connecticut Flower Garden Show held in Hartford this weekend.

More than two dozen design awards were presented by Kristie Gonsalves, president of North East Expos, organizer of the 34th annual show held at the Connecticut Convention Center. A panel of horticulture and landscape design experts judged strolled the gardens and selected the winners.

The Best Design Award was presented to Hillside Landscaping Co. of Berlin.

Also receiving awards were:

· Best of Show to Creative Contour Landscape Design of Middletown;

· Best Horticulture Award was presented to Pondering Creations of Terryville (landscape #13); and

To sign up for breaking Berlin news alerts and more, click here.

Contributed photo: Hillside Landscaping Company’s garden display.

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