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Archives for March 11, 2015

Spring blooms early at Medina County Home and Garden Show

Genmarie Stiber, owner of Roots Plant Rooters, in Cleveland, sat behind rows of hanging plants in her booth Saturday during the Medina County Home and Garden show Saturday at the Medina County Community Center, 735 W. Lafayette Road, Medina. KATIE ANDERSON / GAZETTE

Genmarie Stiber, owner of Roots Plant Rooters, in Cleveland, sat behind rows of hanging plants in her booth Saturday during the Medina County Home and Garden show Saturday at the Medina County Community Center, 735 W. Lafayette Road, Medina. (KATIE ANDERSON / GAZETTE)

Hundreds flocked to the Medina County Community Center on Saturday and Sunday for a taste of spring.

The Medina County Home and Garden Show opened Saturday with about 135 vendors — from kitchen designers to landscapers, crafters and farmers — filling the Medina County Community Center.

Upon walking into the center, people heard live piano playing by Duane Carlson of Fairlawn, and saw an array of spring flowers, plants and trees as part of a large landscaping display designed by Mike Biskup, of Medina.

Biskup runs Greenkeepers Lawn Service and Landscaping out of Medina and has been designing the landscape display for the show for the past 14 years, he said.

“All you see is snow all winter,” he said. “Even if they see snow outside today, they can still think spring when they come in here.”

Biskup said some people come to the show with a purpose or a home project in mind, while others come in to get out of their house and into the spring spirit.

That’s why Linda Pelka, of Medina, went Saturday with her 3-year-old granddaughter, Avery James.

“We wanted to get some landscaping ideas,” she said. “Then you look outside and it’s snowing.”

Lisa Bertok, of Brunswick, said she goes to the show every year, and since it was snowing Saturday, she “just had to get out of the house.”

The show this year was also good for business.

Jesse Howell, yard manager for Smith Brothers Inc., a mulch production company in Medina, said the show brought in “a lot of new customers.”

His co-worker, Patty Andrie, a sales associate, said the Medina County Home and Garden Show is one of the best shows they go to in Northeast Ohio. It is “more centralized to our customers because it’s right in our backyard,” she said.

Fred Haun, owner of Deck Creator in North Royalton, was showcasing grills. He said his company, which specializes in decks, gazebos, patios and fire pits, has participated in the show a few years in a row.

“This show’s been very good for us,” he said. “You just never know what the weather’s going to be like or what people are coming in for.”

After the show ended Sunday, coordinator Linda Loveless said about two-thirds of the display plants and flowers were sold and between 70 and 80 plants and flowers, in addition to three birch trees and a crabapple tree, were donated to Medina Creative Housing, a nonprofit that provides housing and services for people with disabilities in the county.

Contact reporter Katie Anderson at (330) 721-4012 or

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Morris County briefs and events


The Board of Education has scheduled a meeting for Thursday that will begin in closed session at 6 p.m,. and proceed to a work session at 6:30 p.m.

The meeting will take place in the Board of Education Building, 292 Parsippany Road.

By: Heather McDermott (860) 978-4069, March 5, 2015


Superhero Events, in partnership with NJ Races and the Morristown Running Co., will hold the eleventh annual Farmers St. Paddy’s Day 5K, a five kilometer running race held on Saturday.

The race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at Ginty Field, according to race organizers, who said that packet pickup (official race t-shirt, bib, etc.) can be done at the Morristown Running Co. on Thursday and Friday. The cost is $25 now through Friday and $30 on race day.


The Randolph Twp. Library will host “Is Solar Energy Right for My Home?” at 7 p.m. today at the library, located at 28 Calais Road in Randolph.

For more information or to register, call 973-895-3556 or visit


The Career Center at Centenary College will host a Career Fair from 2-5 p.m. today at the David and Carol Lackland Center at Centenary College, located at 715 Grand Ave.

Fifty-seven local, regional and national employers are planning to attend. Job seekers will be able to establish direct connections with the various companies represented. This opportunity is available to students of the local community colleges, as well as the general public. Professional attire is required.

For more information about the event, contact Walker at 908-852-1400, ext. 2363 or


The Mendham Borough Library will host a “Social Security Benefits” workshop from 7-8 p.m. today at the library, located at 10 Hilltop Road.

The program will be presented by Patric Wallace, an investment advisor with The Wallace Group. His talk is designed to help people decide which Social Security collection strategy is best for an individual.

RSVP by calling The Mendham Borough Library at 973 543-4152.


The Black Maria Film Festival tour is coming to Centenary College at 7 p.m. today in the Sitnik Theatre in the David and Carol Lackland Center.

Jane Steuerwald, director of Black Maria Film Festival, will introduce the films along with Boris Gavrilovic, assistant professor of communication at Centenary College. The showing is part of the 34th Annual Black Maria Film Festival, but will be the first time it is held at the college. This screening will include some animated, experimental, and documentary films. Funding for this event was made possible in part by the Warren County Cultural and Heritage Commission.

This event is open to members of the College and community at no cost for attendees.

The Black Maria Film Festival is named for Thomas Edison’s own film studio. The event will hold screenings of seven award-winning films by producers worldwide. The films include “Umbrella House” by Catalina Santamaria, “Ideas that are Grand” by Jose Enrique Rivera Rivera, “Return to Dak To” by Christopher Upham, “Prodigal” by Livia Ungur and Sherng-Lee Huang, “Fishwife” by Luke Jaeger, “A Thousand Miles from The Sea” by Martha Renzi and Mario by Tess Martin.

For more information, contact Professor Boris Gavrilovic at 908-852-1400 or by email,


Whippany Park High School’s Project Graduation 2015 will host their annual Tricky Tray/Fashion Show basket benefit on Thursday at the Hanover Manor, located on Eagle Rock Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the dinner/fashion show will start at 7 p.m.

Seating is limited. General admission is $50 which includes a sit-down dinner, dessert and coffee.

Close to 50 Senior Class Fashion models will strut their stuff on the “R15ing Stars” runway. Local vendors have donated their formal fashion wear along with casual wear and prom weekend wear.

Nearly 150 gift baskets and prizes were donated by parents and area businesses. There will be three different basket categories, including one for premium items, which are usually valued at more than $150 and Super Grand prizes values at $500 and more. Raffle items and baskets include Flat Screen TV, Apple iPad, Michael Korrs, Vera Bradley, Tory Burch and more. The Super Grand Prize is a four-night, all-inclusive stay for two adults at El Dorado Royale Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico. The total value of the prize is approximately $1800.

Contact Mary D’Altrui at 973-985-8329 for ticket reservation information.


The Mount Tabor Historical Society will host Gary Saretzky, archivist, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, at the Bethel in Mount Tabor.

Saretzky will present a slide lecture identifying the leading photographers in the state before 1900, with numerous examples of portraits and views taken by both men and women. The free presentation includes the largest cities and selected towns from around the state but will focus on Morris County. Refreshments will be served starting at 7 p.m.

For more information, call 973-975-0001 or visit


The Morristown Morris Twp. Library will host “The Challenges of Writing Social Satire after Jane Austen” featuring Author and Professor of English, Paula Marantz Cohen at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the library, located at 1 Miller Place in Morristown.

Cohen will discuss her books and the challenges of writing fiction but with a strong knowledge of great literature as expected of a tenured professor of English.

For more information, call 973-538-6161 or visit


The Mendham Twp. Library will host “The History of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge” at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the library, located at 2 W. Main St. in Brookside. The program is free and open to the public.

To register or for more information, call 973-543-4018, email to or visit the library.


The 19th Annual Springfest Garden Show will be held from Thursday through Sunday at the Sussex County Fairgrounds, located at 37 Plains Road in Augusta.

Cost is $12 for adults, $9 for seniors, children under age 15 are free.

The event will feature ddemonstrations and lectures, along with garden exhibits, great garden shopping and landscaping ideas, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

For more information, call 973-948-9448 or visit


The Mendham Twp. Library will host Community Family Night from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday at the Brookside Community Church. Suggested donation is $5 per family.

Games and team building competitions have been planned to make the night fun and exciting. Pizza and drinks will be served.

To register or for more information, call 973-543-4018, email to or visit the library.


The Sussex County Miners will hold pre-season exhibition games in May to benefit local non-profit groups.

The Miners will offer non-profits the opportunity to purchase blocks of tickets for just $5 per ticket, and sell the tickets for $10 to benefit their organizations. The benefit games will be held on May 16 against the New Jersey Jackals and on May 17 against the Rockland Boulders, at Skylands Stadium in Augusta.

Organizations interested in purchasing block tickets for the home games, for $5 per ticket, can email or visit; select Tickets, then Group Tickets on navigation bar.

To view a complete schedule for the 2015 Sussex County Miners season, or to get additional ticket information, visit


Due to snow cover, the annual curb side brush collection scheduled to start Monday has been postponed until March 23.

The Department of Public Works will be making the curb side collection starting at 7:30 a.m. and they will collect only brush; limbs should be tied in a bundle with twine and not exceed 4 feet long and 4 inches in diameter.

No yard waste, tree stumps, leaves, grass, plants or shrubs will be collected. Likewise, no Plastic or Brown Leaf Bags will be collected during this program.

Leaves and other yard waste can be brought to the mulch area starting Saturday. The site will be opened from 12 noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday.

Starting Wednesday, the site is open to residents from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 973-635-5242.


The Township Committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday in the municipal building, 1000 Route 10.

The regular meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in order to continue the public hearing on the liquor license applications for Shop Rite Supermarket. Following the public hearing, the Township Committee will consider its usual agenda.


The Mendham Township Library, located at 2 West Main St., is looking for new trustees.

The Mendham Township Library Board of Trustees is seeking township residents to fill the seats of board members whose terms expired at the end of 2014. Trustees have the responsibility to hire a director, set policy, develop and monitor the annual budget and define goals and strategies for fundraising and community support..

For questions or for more information, please email Applications must be received by March 17 and interviews will begin in April. Send information to Board of Trustees, Mendham Township Library, PO Box 500, Brookside, NJ 07926 or e-mail to


The Frelinghuysen Arboretum will host a ‘Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt’ that encourages children and adults to get outdoors, explore the grounds of the Arboretum, and observe seasonal changes.

People are invited to go to the Haggerty Education Center where they will be given a list of items, both living and non-living, to find and photograph.

“Families can enjoy this as a competitive sport, or as a team endeavor,” said Gwen Montgomery, Senior Horticultural Program Specialist at the Arboretum. The hunt concludes when you and your family return to the Haggerty Education Center and shows what they have found on the list. This Spring Break, the prize is a something special to help birds make their spring nests.

The cost of ‘Spring Break Photo Scavenger Hunt’ is $10 per family. Reservations are not required. The Hunt is daily, Saturday, March 28 to Saturday, April 4, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


The Suburbanites of Morris County will have a luncheon meeting at the Hanover Manor, 16 Eagle Rock Ave. on March 19 at noon.

The program will be a celebration of 350 years of New Jersey history. A timeline will be presented by Walter Choroszewski.

The price of the luncheon is $18 for members and $20 for non-members. For reservations and further information call Judy Forbes at 973-377-1208.


The Patio Flower Home Remodeling Show will be held on March 20, 21, 22 at the National Guard Armory, 430 Western Ave.

The show will run from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.


The Friends Annual Book Sale to benefit the Riverdale Public Library is scheduled for March 27, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.; March 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and March 29 from noon to 3 p.m. at the Riverdale Community Center, 57 Loy Ave.

For more information, call the library at (973) 835-5044 or check our website at


The Madison Chamber of Commerce has scheduled its Annual Easter Fun Fest for March 28 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Children and their parents are invited to bring their Easter baskets and visit participating downtown businesses to collect candy and toy-filled eggs. The event is free of charge.

Children can visit with the roaming Easter Bunny and enter to win a new bicycle donated by Peter Daniele of Rose City Collision, 291 Main St., and provided by the Madison Bicycle Store, 182 Ridgedale Ave. Florham Park.

There will also be a “Count the Jelly Beans” contest with prizes additional prizes to be won. The Chamber of Commerce will also raffle off special gifts provided by Madison businesses. The gifts will be displayed at the Chamber booth on the corner of Waverly Place and Main Street.

Participating businesses will feature balloons on their doors denoting participation. For more information please contact Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Giambra at or at 973-377-7830. Also visit the Chamber website at www.MadisonNJChamber

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City hears ideas for East Main Street

Rochester officials have carried out no shortage of studies over the years on how to strengthen city neighborhoods just east of downtown.

But a new city effort to improve the area looks at it differently — as a single district encompassing sections of several neighborhoods, as well as popular destinations like the Public Market, the Hungerford building and the Village Gate complex.

Through the middle of it all runs East Main Street — a wide, busy corridor often regarded as a barrier more than an asset to nearby neighborhoods.

“There’s never been this look at giving East Main Street itself an identity,” said Erik Frisch, a transportation specialist for the city.

A crowd of residents showed up to a city-sponsored open house Tuesday night at School of the Arts to offer their ideas for what that identity might look like.

The city is considering ways to make the area more pedestrian- and bike-friendly, better connect attractions there, encourage more business and create housing opportunities in surrounding residential areas.

City planners have dubbed this territory the East Main Arts and Market District. It stretches along East Main from the Inner Loop nearly a mile east, just past Hungerford and Rochester Greenovation buildings. It also incorporates parts of Neighborhood of the Arts, Beechwood, Marketview Heights and other neighborhoods.

The city sees opportunities for improvement with several major projects or investments already in the works in this area, ranging from plans to convert the former Eastman Dental Dispensary into apartments to plans to resurface a section of East Main Street.

Tuesday’s open house was a first step to gather ideas. Residents offered plenty, including a protected bike lane along East Main, new landscaping or green space along the corridor and a pedestrian bridge to connect neighborhoods on either side of the main drag.

Many focused on making what is now a wide swath of asphalt a more attractive and safe place to walk or bike.

City data presented Tuesday supports this concern — of traffic crashes involving pedestrians over the past three years in the area of focus, nearly two-thirds happened on East Main.

Scott Wagner, a bike commuter and cycling advocate, said the city has a chance to create a bike lane separated from car traffic and a pedestrian mall along East Main. Other cities have done the same, like Boulder, Colorado, and Montreal, he said.

Leo Rhodes, housing administrator for North East Area Development, said he’d like to see more businesses that provide services to nearby residents, like a small supermarket or a dry cleaner.

“Make it a more friendly community, where people feel more comfortable and proud coming out on a Saturday morning,” he said.

Judy Douglas, a Marketview Heights resident for over 30 years and a member of the Marketview Heights Collective Action Project, said her group helped push for recent improvements to Union Street, which runs past the Public Market. These changes included planters, new street lighting and enhanced parking, she said.

Douglas would like to see similar upgrades to Scio Street, which runs parallel to Union.

Frisch said the city hopes to hold a second public forum in the summer to present potential improvements and wrap up short- and long-term recommendations by the fall.

People can submit ideas by email to Frisch at by Friday, March 20.

Video: Remaking Rochester’s Inner Loop



Filling in the Inner Loop’s eastern segment and consolidating the roadways to a single boulevard will open six acres for development and transform that part of the city.
Video by Brian Sharp

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Laurel offers plenty of variety for the home garden

One way you can tell for how many centuries a plant name has been part of the common vernacular is to realize just how often that name has been used, and the widely disparate types of plants that a common name will refer to.

For instance, last week we discussed the different types of plants that were named myrtle. To some folks, myrtle is periwinkle or Vinca minor – a groundcover. To others it is a tree – crape myrtle or Lagerstroemia indica, and to others it is a large shrub – wax myrtle or Myrica cerifera.

Ivy can refer to English Ivy, grape ivy, Boston ivy or mountain laurel (the North Carolina town named Forks of Ivy located west of Asheville is named after mountain laurel, not English ivy).

Speaking of mountain laurel, the name laurel is perhaps used for more different types of plants than any other. In fact, “laurel” can refer to as many as 40 different plants. That tells you something about that name. Its use began in very ancient times.

The ancient laurel that the Greeks and Romans made great use of, and is referenced in the Bible, is Laurus nobilis. The common names for this plant are true laurel, bay laurel or simply bay. To many, this plant is best known for its use in seasoning in Greek and Italian cuisine.

Bay is a wonderful evergreen plant with large, lustrous, aromatic leaves. If you like to grow herbs for seasoning, you would do well to be able to find a spot to plant a bay tree. However, you will need a lot of room. Bay will grow about 15’ tall, but does not do very well in the Piedmont unless it is planted in a protected area. The Piedmont is the northernmost range of this plant.

The laurel crowns that Greek athletes wore after they won Olympic events were made from bay. Bay – along with boxwood, English ivy, olive trees and Italian cypress – were the main plants used in Roman gardens. Bay has remained a primary staple of Mediterranean gardens for centuries, and if ever you have a chance to use this plant in a formal landscape arrangement, take advantage of it.

Another species of plants that is referred to as laurel is found in the genus Prunus. Prunus is a very large genus that contains almonds, apricots, cherries, peaches and plums. This is a rather cut and dried classification and easy to see how all these different types of fruit trees are related.

What is not at all obvious to me is how the cultivars of Prunus laurocerasus are related to cherries, almonds, apricots, etc. These cultivars are referred to as the cherry laurels, and Otto Luyken laurel, English laurel and Carolina cherry laurel (among dozens of other laurels) belong to this group. To me, these laurels have very few obvious characteristics in common with the rest of the Prunus genus.

Linnaeus, in his infinite wisdom, classified plants not according to their leaf shape, place of origination, height, etc. Linnaeus classified plants according to their sexual morphology. If they bloomed the same way and had the same type of fruit, then he placed them in the same genus.

You know all about the fruit trees in the genus Prunus. You know they are deciduous, what their flowers look like and how their fruits taste. Equating evergreen laurel shrubs with almonds and peaches seems to be a stretch.

Cherry laurels bloom with white flowers on elongated stalks. The rest of Prunus doesn’t do this. However, the fruit of these laurels does remotely resemble a cherry, and I suppose this is the reason these laurels are classified in the genus Prunus. Someone much smarter than me figured this out a long time ago.

The cherry laurels have some very interesting characteristics, and are widely used in the landscape. Carolina cherry laurel is native to the South Carolina coastal plain. There, it is considered a nuisance at times. Much to the consternation of native plant lovers, it is an “invasive native”. However, Carolina cherry laurel is much desired in England, where it apparently behaves itself.

English laurel, which is a great plant to use in the Piedmont, is an invasive plant in the Northwest, where it is listed as a noxious weed. I have never seen an English laurel escape cultivation in the Piedmont. However, its use is banned in some Washington state counties.

It’s ironic how some plants can be noxious and invasive in some situations, and highly desired on others. It shows how varying growing conditions can lead to a rapid and undesired distribution of certain plants.

Otto Luyken laurel is the most popular cherry laurel used for landscaping in the Piedmont. Ironically, few Otto Luyken laurel are actually grown in the south. They are planted at will, but they are grown in the Northwest where the low humidity reduces the chance of shotgun hole fungus developing. Because of the freight involved in importing this plant from the west coast, Otto Luyken laurel costs twice as much as other plants.

Two other plants used in the Piedmont landscape that are called laurel are mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) and Alexander, or poet’s laurel (Danae racemosa). You can tell from the botanical names that they are not related to any of the other plants that use laurel as a common name.

One common characteristic that all of these laurels have is that they have rich, shiny lustrous leaves. In the plant world, it must surely an honor to be considered a laurel. It is a name that has survived the ravages of history and the test of time.

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Q&A with Sarah Herman, Berkeley landscape designer

  • Herman worked with the natural slope of this Piedmont lot to craft a verdant landscape studded with large stones and mature trees Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman



Herman worked with the natural slope of this Piedmont lot to craft a verdant landscape studded with large stones and mature trees

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Sarah Herman

The neutral tones of the stacked stone planter beds and slate paving stones play off the vibrant purple and yellow hues in this Alameda garden.

Photo: Photography By Jeff Ward

A stacked stone planting bed at knee-level sits beneath this fence in Oakland

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Herman looks to incorporate existing plantings into her designs. In this Piedmont backyard she worked around an existing evergreen.Ê

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

To create a forest-like landscape at this Piedmont home, Herman paired ferns and grasses with boulders to complement existing plantings.

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Herman gravitates toward drought-tolerant plantings to conserve water. This Berkeley garden includes poppies and snapdragons.

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Drought-tolerant plants sprout from slate beds in this terraced backyard in Berkeley.

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Drought-tolerant grasses sprout from terraced planting bedsÊ in this Crocker Highlands backyard.

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Japanese maple trees sprout from the terraced planting beds in this Crocker Highlands backyard.

Photo: Photography By Sarah Herman

Sarah Herman’s adaptability and diverse skill set enable her to create dream landscapes for her clients.

Originally a clinical social worker, Herman later studied architecture and landscape design and now operates a Berkeley landscape design firm that shares her name. She believes the communication skills she learned from her previous career combined with an eye for design allow her to give her clients what they want.

“I really enjoy talking with my clients and letting them use me as a sounding board,” she said. “It allows me to really learn what they want and translate their hopes and dreams for the landscape into a reality.”

Before starting her landscape design firm, the Southern California native earned a master’s degree in social work from New York University and spent a decade as a clinical social worker in New York, Boston and San Francisco.

A desire to change careers inspired Herman to study architecture at Oakland’s Laney College. She noticed her interests gravitated toward exterior spaces and entered Merritt College. Herman earned a certificate in landscape design and worked for a local designer after graduation.

She opened Sarah Herman Landscape Design in 2002. Previously Herman sat on the board of directors for the East Bay chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. She is also a Bay Friendly Qualified Landscape Designer.

The Berkeley resident unwinds by hiking around the Bay Area with husband Joel Bashevkin. The two have been married since 1991 and have a son, Noah Bashevkin, and daughter Hannah Bashevkin.

In this interview with SFisHomes, Herman talks water conservation, her favorite tool and the one simple thing a client can do to break her heart.

Q: How did you get involved with landscape design?

A: Like many landscape designers, I was an avid home gardener and outdoor enthusiast before I entertained the thought of working with plants professionally. But what really drew me to the field was my love of architecture. While taking architecture classes at Laney College, I mentioned my interest in plants and natural landscapes to my professor, and he directed me toward the Landscape Design program at Merritt College. I subsequently enrolled at Merritt and studied with Chris Grampp, a dynamic teacher and my mentor. My experience at Merritt solidified my decision to become a professional landscape designer.

Q: What is your favorite Bay Area neighborhood to work in and why?

A: For many reasons, my favorite place to work is in my own community: Berkeley. Our Mediterranean climate — short, mild, rainy winters and warm-hot, long, dry summers — lets us to grow incredible plants from regions with a similar climate. We can grow plants that thrive in southern and western Australia, central Chile, the western Cape Province of South Africa and the region surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. All that is on top of our own beautiful California natives. Berkeley is diverse geographically and provides interesting design challenges from the hills to the flats. I especially love the fact that Berkeley is home to some of the most creative and passionate people in the world- my clients and colleagues are always inspiring me.

Q: What is your favorite/least favorite design trends in regards to landscaping?

A: Some of the most exciting landscape design trends have been inspired by necessity – namely, our need to conserve water in California. We’re seeing more and more gardens that gracefully incorporate more natural hardscape materials like large boulders and Corten steel features. People are also using low-water plants like succulents and grasses. I admire the aesthetics of this approach. A harmonious balance can be achieved by contrasting the durability and stability of rock and metal with the more ephemeral nature of plants. While I appreciate the trend toward edible landscapes, I’m wary of the fact that annual vegetable gardens require a lot of water. Fruiting trees and shrubs provide delicious food and typically need less water than most annuals.

Q: What is a tool you couldn’t live without?

A: I have a Japanese Hori Hori trowel from Hida Tool Hardware in Berkeley that works wonders on breaking up hard clay soil, removing oxalis bulbs and planting. I also couldn’t live without my Felco 2 pruner.

Q: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

A: I always love working closely with clients in order to develop personal landscapes that are highly functional, beautiful and sustainable. I find that a more collaborative approach to the design process results in a garden that truly resonates with my clients and will provide years of enjoyment.

Q: What’s the most challenging aspect?

A: Without a doubt, the most challenging aspect of being a landscape designer is witnessing a landscape installation deteriorate over time without the proper maintenance. We are all accustomed to paying for lower-cost garden care, but actually the higher price of skilled gardening services is worth it. Proper maintenance — pruning, composting, and treating diseases — sustains a beautiful, healthy garden.


Sarah Herman

Landscape Garden



(510) 558-4069

www.sarahscapedesign .com

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Lafitte Senior Center gets makeover from Academy of Our Lady students

Just in time for spring, the Lafitte senior center got a makeover to add to its curb appeal. Twenty-seven students from Academy of Our Lady in Marrero, accompanied by teacher Shelia Walsh, gave the gardens and landscaping at the senior center a major clean-up.

The local Lafitte garden club, The Better Swamps and Garden Club, coordinated with Academy of Our Lady to get the senior center ready for the upcoming cleanest city contest at the end of March. Lafitte has won the title for their division for four years in a row and is gunning for five.

“We were thrilled to get the additional help from these young ladies,” garden club president Joe Baucum said.

The garden club spent a couple of days preparing for the girls’ assistance so that they wouldn’t be overwhelmed by the enormity of the job, but would still have significant tasks to accomplish.

“We thought we had enough work to keep them busy most of the day, but they were such dedicated workers that they had absolutely everything done in only two hours,” Baucum said.

Working with a seemingly endless reservoir of energy, the girls went to work trimming trees and bushes, weeding flower beds, clearing out dead vegetation, and carrying all of the debris across the street to a dumpster. They also planted new trees and put out a fresh layer of pine straw mulch.

“Between the members of the garden club and the academy girls, the whole landscape has been brought to a fresh, high sheen,” Cheryl Thompson, senior center coordinator said, expressing her appreciation for their efforts.

Lafitte Mayor Timothy Kerner said that the town just doesn’t have enough manpower to do all of the additional beautification needed.

“We do a great job of keeping the town clean, and the Better Swamps and Garden Club have so many little areas of beautification, but we still can’t do it all. Having extra hands on deck helps so much, and we really appreciate these girls taking their time to come out and help not only our seniors, but our town as well,” Kerner said.

Baucum said they couldn’t have been more pleased, and that the girls were extremely well-behaved and truly seemed to enjoy the community service.

Since they finished up early, Baucum and other garden club members elected to take the girls on a nature walk in the Town of Jean Lafitte Nature Study Park located behind the elementary school and public library, ending the day by showing the girls some of what Lafitte has to offer in getting closer to nature.

To reach Lafitte Lagniappe Columnist Lara L. Arceneaux email, or text/call 225-276-1559.

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Gardening Tips For Wet Soil

Gardening though sounds very easy but it is a very technical and demanding hobby/profession. To be successful in doing up your garden beautifully, it is essential to have a vast knowledge base with respect to the kind of soil that your land has, suitable plants that can grow in that particular type of soil and necessary precautions that one should take for enriching your land and last but not the least how to take care of your plants along with protecting them. Follow few tips for wet soil for a good harvest.

5 Best Gardening Tips For Planting Seeds

The first and the foremost thing to be aware about is the kind of soil your land has, essentially is it wet or not? Around 25% air and 25% water retaining ability is required for any type of soil to support good plantation.

Excess of water as in the case of wet soil is due to poor drainage and high water retention capabilities of the soil. This property make it unsuitable for plantation as it leads to water related problems in plants due to excessive water. Eg. of this kind of soil is clay.

No retention of water as in the case of sand is also an undesirable attribute for good health of plants as this kind of soil is not able to fulfill even the basic needs of water with respect to most of the plants.

One can easily test for wet soil by digging a 2 feet deep pit, filling it up with water, covering it and then letting it remain like that overnight. If in the morning you find that more than half of the pit is still filled with water, then you can be sure that it is wet soil which will need immediate attention before you can pursue your beloved hobby/ profession of gardening.

How to treat wet soil?

Organic Treatment:
Put around one barrow of organic material in one meter square of wet soil to make it suitable for plantation.

Artificial Drainage: You can install pipes underground to ensure drainage of excess water from the wet soil.

Sand Treatment: Add dry sand in half the proportion of clay to make your wet soil more porous.

Gypsum Treatment: Adding gypsum will open up your wet soil allowing more effective drainage.

Raised Garden: Get an earth mover and elevate your garden from the surroundings to ensure better drainage and minimum clogging.

Suitable Plants For Wet Soil – If you still can’t get over the problem, then it is suggested and recommended to use plants which love water and can flourish in the same. Cue can be taken from the under mentioned varieties which are not tough to find.


Blue Flag (Iris Vericolor).

Bog Arum (Calla Palustris).

Flowering Rush (Butomus mbellatus).

Golden Club (Orontium Aquaticum).


Button Bush (Cephalanthus Occidentalis ).

Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus Sericea ).

Winterberry (IlexVverticillata).

Yaupon Holly (Ilex Vomitoria).


Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Black Ash (Fraxinus Nigra).

Green Ash (Fraxinus Pennsylvanica).

Pear (Pyrus Spp).

Pin Oak (Quercus Palustris).

Red Maple (Acer Rubrum).

Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia Virginiana).

Water Tupelo (Nyssa Aquatica).

Though a bit difficult, but some amount of wet soil should not prevent anyone from the hobby/ profession of gardening. Happy gardening to all!

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Gardening: Three Tips for Growing a Chemical-Free Garden…

James Zahn

About James: A work-from-home Dad with a pair of daughters (Released in 2009 and 2012) – James Zahn is THE ROCK FATHER™. 

Bringing over two decades of experience in the entertainment industry into the family realm, Zahn is an Illinois-based Entertainment Writer, Media Personality and Commentator.

He serves as a PBS KIDS VIP (Very Involved Parent), has made guest appearances as a member of the Sprout Kindness Crew, was featured in the Father’s Day issue of Lake County Magazine, and is a former contributor to Chicago Parent.

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for the likes of FEAR FACTORY, DIRGE WITHIN, PRODUCT OF HATE, ARCANIUM and others, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Blogcritics, Fangoria, Starlog, The River Cities’ Reader. Slowfish, Oil, and more. He’s appeared as a music expert on CNN’s AC360, and in 2013 he’s been quoted on CNN, Babble, The Huffington Post, and The Good Men Project, in addition to making appearances on ABC News and WGN.

Learn more here. 

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.


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Eye Of The Day Garden Design Center’s Art In The Garden & Water … – Virtual

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center hosts showcase for sculptor Bobbie Carlyle along with Verdure and the Grand Opening of their synthetic turf display. Additional speakers on eco-friendly practices for the garden will answer questions for professionals and homeowners.

Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) March 10, 2015

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is hosting an Art in the Garden and Water Conservation Weekend. As homeowners, landscapers, and designers alike prepare gardens for the season, Eye of the Day will be holding a three-day event Thursday-Saturday, March 19-21, illustrating the ways to add new life to your home or garden.

Known for their inventory of beautiful and classic European and American pottery, Eye of the Day also carries an extensive collection of statuary. This includes pieces by internationally recognized sculptor Bobbie Carlyle who casts her pieces in bronze and executes strong and bold designs with “subjects [that] range from figurative to liturgical, wildlife to western, in sizes from maquette to monumental.” Carlyle’s work is displayed in both private and public collections; her most recognizable work is ‘Self Made Man’—a figure carving himself out of stone. She recently installed a piece in Los Angeles called ‘Seaswept’ at one of the entrances of the new Robert F. Kennedy Inspiration Park, the former site of the Ambassador Hotel. Carlyle will be sculpting a new piece over the course of the three-day event at Eye of the Day.

As the drought continues in California, sustainable alternatives to water-thirsty lawns become more important. Founded by Thierry Fraye, landscape services company Paysage Inc. has recently introduced Verdure, a beautiful line of artificial grass products. Durable and requiring low maintenance, this lush and realistic grass substitute is a new option for homeowners and designers wanting to keep the look of a lawn but conserve water. Fraye and his team will be at the event to answer questions about the permanent display of synthetic turf that was recently installed at Eye of the Day.

The Art in the Garden Water Conservation Weekend will feature additional speakers on eco-friendly practices for the garden and raffles for gift certificates and outdoor patio furniture. This will be a perfect opportunity to learn about the artists and professionals that work with Eye of the Day and possibly bring something new to your landscape.

About Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is a retail showroom that features more than an acre of high quality garden landscape products, including Italian terracotta pottery and fountains, Greek terracotta pottery, French Anduze pottery, and garden product manufacturers from America’s premier concrete garden pottery and decoration manufacturers. Eye of the Day is a leading importer and distributor of fine European garden pottery, and caters to private consumers, as well as landscape, design, and architecture firms from around the world.

For more information, please visit Eye of the Day Garden Design Center at or call 805-566-6500.

For the original version on PRWeb visit:

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Design for garden project near The Plunge set to be unveiled Sunday

Last summer, we told you about a super cool garden project near The Plunge, a residents-led effort that came about following the renovation of one of the property’s tennis courts.

This week, the nonprofit For Richmond tipped us off to the project’s progress. On Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Richmond residents are invited to The Plunge Garden Design Reception at the Richmond Art Center, 2540 Barrett Ave.

The event will unveil an artistic rendering of the new garden landscape design from local resident Julie Lienert.

Lienert created the design by combining the best ideas from students at Merritt College’s Planting Design class. The students had been assigned to create their own individual designs for The Plunge’s back garden.

Artistic local residents have designed a garden to be installed next to the Richmond Plunge and have now started an IndieGoGo campaign to help fund it.

Photo of the garden site location from last summer.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt is expected to attend Sunday’s design unveiling, and live music, refreshments and a raffle will be included.

The garden project is being done as a tribute to the late Point Richmond resident Margaret Imrie, known for loving gardening, music, children and life. Imrie had inspired neighborhood advocates to adopt the park and make it a peaceful resting spot where loved ones could be remembered and new memories could unfold.

Included in the project plans are picnic tables and benches for gatherings, fencing, a drinking fountain, second tennis court, native plants and trees, according to For Richmond.

The project needs additional funding, with the hope that it will be completed by the end of this summer.

Donations to the project can be made at Sunday’s reception and are also accepted online here. For more information, contact Maryn Hurlbut at 510.237.6880 or

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