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Archives for March 13, 2015

Home Expo a sign of spring, sprucing up

Susie and Rick Pidsosny of Canton were glad to get out of the house Saturday. The occasion was the Canton Home Improvement Expo at the Summit on the Park.

“Nice day,” Susie Pidsosny said of their attendance. “Looking for some landscaping ideas and insulation.”

The couple’s Canton home is 38 years old. “We’ve pretty much done everything that needs to be done,” she said. “Just want to freshen up the landscaping.”

Also attending were Renee and Corey Hill of Canton, who brought kids Kayla, 8, and Cameron, 11, to the Summit. “We bought a house almost two years ago,” Renee Hill said. “We need some ideas on things.”

Their Canton home is about 20 years old; the Hills got a couple of quotes on jobs Saturday. “Absolutely. Very convenient,” she said of the nearby expo. The kids weren’t super-enthused, but liked the treats once they got there.

“It keeps them interested,” she said, noting the Home Depot workshops for children. “They’re happy now.”

Rob Creamer, Canton’s building official, was pleased Saturday afternoon. “It’s going good so far,” Creamer said of his first expo. He’s relocating to Canton after starting his township job last May.

There were about 90 vendors at the expo, sponsored by Canton Township, the Canton Chamber of Commerce and OE Media. Some 120 vendors were in the show last year, Creamer said, adding changes were made to accommodate Summit recreational users and other visitors.

“The vendors that are here are very happy,” Creamer said. “We’re always looking to improve.”

This is the 15th year for the expo and, of vendors, Creamer said, “They really want to have it next year.” The show will be analyzed and visitor comments studied for improvements.

“It’s been a long couple of winters,” said Creamer, who like many expo visitors has been eager to do work around the house.

He said about 10 years ago Canton had a big building spike and those homes now need some renovation. “White is back in the kitchens,” Creamer said of model homes he’s seen. “And there’s always new technology coming out.”

A hallway booth for Canton Newcomers Neighbors was popular, with Kristina Wittner of Canton, a co-vice president, noting the group has been around for more than 40 years with around 125 people involved, mostly women.

“We’re a social and charitable organization,” said Wittner, who also works for the Canton Chamber of Commerce. The Newcomers Neighbors have supported Camp A.B.L.E. for disabled kids and helped with a recent benefit for WSDP-FM (88.1), the student radio station at Plymouth-Canton Educational Park.

“I just recently joined,” Beth Marshall said. “I’ve been in Canton 10 years. I just discovered it. I love it, it’s a ball.”

Also at their booth was member Kristy Wilson of Livonia, who works in Canton and noted Canton residency isn’t required to join.

“We usually get a number of members after this event,” Wittner said of the expo. Canton Newcomers Neighbors is online at

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Home Show returns to Hobart this weekend

MIAMI COUNTY — This weekend’s 2015 Miami County Home and Garden Show has more than 80 vendors who can outfit your home from the basement to your backyard.

Beginning Friday, the Western Ohio Home Builders Association will host its annual Miami County Home Show at Hobart Arena, 255 Adams St., Troy.

Donna Cook, executive director of the HBA, said the show had more than 2,000 people its first year with the venue change and hopes to double the number of attendees this weekend.

“We are at capacity for vendors this year,” Cook said. “We have a huge variety this year — anything and everything you can think of for your home will be here.”

Cook said with the economy improving, people who may have delayed home projects can come out and see what is new in home improvements from new kitchen designs, landscaping ideas, window treatments and blinds and other home options.

Food vendors will be on hand giving out samples such as Fire Pie Oven Company and Winan’s Chocolate and Coffee.

Also, Cook said vendors have provided gift baskets, laptops, landscaping and even a garage door installation to its list of daily door prizes.

Miami County’s Habitat for Humanity will also collect donations to purchase carbon monoxide detectors in honor of the Bishop family.

The annual home show returns for its second year at Hobart Arena after it moved from the Miami Valley Centre Mall.

Cook said the HBA enjoyed the home show at the mall for two decades, but had a hard time deciphering shoppers from home show attendees.

“We had a good relationship at the mall, but it was really nice to move to an arena setting,” Cook said. “We know the people who come are here to see a home show so it really helps the exhibitors and the HBA gauge how many people are coming to the show.”

The Miami County Home and Garden Show will be held from 2-7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Parking is free at Hobart Arena.

For more information, visit

Melanie Yingst can be reached at or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews

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St. Joseph designer turns wood into functional art

This time of year, Steve’s Landscaping Services remains dormant. But owner Steve Heymans, 57, is not waiting until the spring thaw to stretch his creativity.

During the winter months, Heymans trades his lawn tractor for a sewing machine, his trowel for wood glue, and his prairie restoration projects for customized furniture.

Heymans Design, a custom furniture shop outside of St. Joseph, started about five years ago as a hobby. But, as Heymans soon discovered, this passion for modern artistic expression and design could be turned into a business to supplement his landscaping services during the winter.

“I’ve always liked design, architecture, furniture and art,” Heymans said. “That came from my parents.”

Because his mother was a decorator and an artist and his father had a great appreciation for architecture, Heymans said he naturally became interested in artistic design.

And it helped owning an old home in which to foster his creativity.

A few years ago Heymans said he began to remodel the old farm house he and his wife have lived in for 26 years.

“I had a lot of projects around here,” Heymans said.

Using the layout of his home as inspiration, Heymans said, ideas began popping into his head about how to make his furniture more functional for his family.

“I thought that the perfect table would have this (certain) type of shape,” he said. And with time and determination, Heymans made his ideas a reality.

From wood to art

Most days during the winter one can find Heymans making the short trek to his shop, a former pig barn on the 80-acre property he shares with his siblings.

“I used to be a graphic designer, but that just doesn’t compare. Nothing is like designing something in the material world,” Heymans said.

Heymans said he spends quite a bit of time on the design, then sketches it with the dimensions prior to getting started with the medium.

Heymans receives most of his lumber from local sawyers. His favorite is red oak given the abundance in this area.

“Red oak is really great wood and it’s very affordable,” he said.

Because the wood comes directly from the sawyer, Heymans has to spend quite a bit of time with each piece — running it through a machine called a jointer to make sure it is level.

“There’s a lot of time just prepping the wood,” he said.

Each piece is then glued one at a time to each other to create a larger slab of wood to work with.

“It takes a lot of wood. And with hard wood, it’s slow going, especially when it comes to getting the joints true and tight,” Heymans said.

Once the slabs are the desired length, Heymans spends time cutting, sanding and shaping them into a finished product.

“It’s all about experimenting,” Heymans said. “I want things that are interesting and that look unique.”

Heymans avoids the ornate details that sometimes appeal to woodworkers.

“I’m not that. I love the look of things. I like the simplicity.”

For Heymans, wood can provide an elegance that no other material can. With a lot of furniture built ready for shipping and assembly, he sees modern designers using rubber and steel to create works for mass production. However, his work is customized to the client.

Priced from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, each piece is handcrafted and meant to be unique. Heymans’ products are available for purchase online at

Keeping it functional

Some of Heymans’ inspiration comes from designs he sees online; however, functionality in his own home has left him with the need to create.

A rectangular kitchen table seemed to cut off access to a door. Drafting different ideas, he was able to come up with the current design for his table, an egg-shaped design supported by three legs. He subsequently designed and built six matching upholstered chairs.

In addition to the kitchen furniture, Heymans specializes in making coffee tables, sofas, lounge chairs and benches.

“You have got to make a piece and live with it for a while,” he said. And his family has been an excellent source of feedback.

Heymans said his kids would critique the pieces he makes. If they would stub their toes on a piece or if it was not comfortable enough Heymans said he would take that into consideration and work on improvements.

By living with the piece, Heymans is able to get an idea of what works, what does not and how to make things better in the future, which gives him the idea to keep drafting and designing.

“You are seeing things brought to creation. And it’s all challenging.”

The furniture business

Heymans says his sales have not been where he would like them, but he is working on changing that.

Heymans is slowly starting to develop a marketing plan for his business, including attending a few art shows and making his website known. Right now he does not have plans to make it a full-time business.

By converting the pig barn on his property to a shop and purchasing a majority of his tools on online sites such as Craigslist, he has been able to keep the costs under control. Purchasing his wood directly from sawyers lets him get the raw materials at low rates.

“You don’t make a lot of money and it takes a lot of time to make a go of it,” Heymans said.

Heymans understands his style may not be for everyone. Looking at the market for his products in Central Minnesota, Heymans realizes the modern style may not be conducive. You see a lot of this type of design in homes on the East and West coast where there is a bigger population, he said.

But for him, the thrill of creative design keeps Heymans heading down to the shop during the winter.

“At the end of the day, I’m a designer. I do art and furniture. I like to create things,” he said. “I love doing this. This is something I’ll be doing more and more and let it grow organically.”

Follow Vicki Ikeogu on Twitter @VickiSCTimes or call her at 259-3662.

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Course On Landscaping For Life Offered At Highfield Hall

Posted: Wednesday, March 11, 2015 5:36 pm

Course On Landscaping For Life Offered At Highfield Hall



Highfield Hall Gardens will host a Landscape for Life Sustainable Landscaping course beginning March 28 and running each Saturday from 9:30 to 11:30 AM through April 25. The course will be taught by Barbara Conolly, a Landscape for Life trainer and owner of her own landscape design, installation, and management firm.

Based upon the principles of the Sustainable Sites Initiative Program, the Landscape For Life curriculum is designed to teach students how to plant and maintain sustainable gardens, whether in a city or on a suburban lot, a 20–acre farm, or the common area of a condominium. Based on the premise that conventional gardens often work against nature and can compromise the environment’s health, the Landscape for Life curriculum assists the home gardener in creating a garden and landscape that is aesthetically pleasing, healthy for the environment, and that ultimately saves time and money.

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      Wednesday, March 11, 2015 5:36 pm.


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      BVH Slater Sings on Broadway, NR Decesare Landscape Contest, Theater, and …

      Ingrid Schaefer Sprague 

      Talented, local singer Kayla Slater, 13, is holding a CD release party to support her travels to New York City to perform on Broadway. The CD release party will be held 2-4 p.m., Sunday, March 22, at Z’s Cream and Bean, 2706 Boston Rd., in Hinckley. Kayla, of Broadview Heights, is a 7th grader at Assumption Academy and has been actively pursuing a Broadway and film career, said her mother Juliana Slater. “In New York, Kayla has participated in ‘This Way to Broadway’ with

      Kayla Slater, of Broadview Heights, will hold a CD party March 22 to raise funds for her trips to New York to perform on Broadway. 

      Choreographer Thommie Retter and ‘Destination Broadway’ with music director Michael Rafter,” said Slater. “She will go to New York City next month to perform on Broadway at ‘This Way to Broadway’ and A Time to Shine Teen Cabaret Kayla won Brecksville Entertainer of the Year in 2014, and has performed locally and regionally in musical theater productions. CD cost is $10. For more information please email
      North Royalton Tri-C Student in Landscape Competition
      Tri-C Student Robert Decesare, of North Royalton, is currently competing March 12-15 at Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) Student Career Days, a national collegiate landscaping competition at North Carolina State University. More than 850 students from across the nation are competing in 28 events, including 3-D landscape design, irrigation techniques, plant identification, and hardscape installation. Decesare is among the 16 students competing for Cuyahoga Community College at this year’s “Olympics of Landscaping.” Good luck, Robert!
      BTOTS Steel Magnolias
      Brecksville Theater on the Square proudly presents “Steel Magnolias”, a classic drama/comedy written by Robert Harling, set in a Louisiana beauty salon. The production runs March 13-15 and March 20-22. Friday and Saturday shows are at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. at the Old Town Hall theater on Public Square in Brecksville. The theater is handicapped-accessible. Tickets are $14 available online at BTOTS or at the door.

      Also, “Wiley and the Hairy Man” will appear in a special BTOTS production at the Brecksville Branch of the Cuyahoga County Library. Children ages 4-10 will enjoy this spine-tingling, one act play sponsored by the Friends of the Brecksville Branch Library. Register at (440) 526-1102 or online under events at the Brecksville branch of the Cuyahoga County Library.
      CVNP Hey Mavis’ CD Release Concert
      Americana band Hey Mavis performs at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 15, in Cuyahoga Valley National Park to celebrate their new CD project. The performance will be held at Happy Days Lodge as part of the Cuyahoga Valley Heritage Series. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The heritage series is presented by the National Park Service and Conservancy for CVNP, celebrating the cultural legacy of the Cuyahoga Valley. Admission is $12 for all adults, and $5 children ages 3-12. Advance sales are available by calling (330) 657-2909 (option 4) or purchasing online at Conservancy for CVNP. Click on events for listings and registration links. On lecture days, call the Cultural Arts Hotline at 330-650-4636 ext. 228 after 2 p.m. for up-to-date ticket availability and severe weather cancellations. Happy Days Lodge, 500 West Streetsboro Road (SR 303), 1 mile west of SR 8, in Peninsula.
      BUMC “The Gray Havens” Concert

      Enjoy husband and wife musical artists The Gray Havens at 7:30 p.m., on Friday, March 20, at Brecksville United Methodist Church. David and Licia Radford perform original narrative-folk-pop music and their latest album is entitled “Fire and Stone.” A sample of their music can be enjoyed at Gray Havens Music. As part of the church’s concert series, the concert is free and open to the public. Brecksville United Methodist Church, 65 Public Square, in Brecksville. For more information call (440) 526-8938 or visit BUMC
      Lupus New Patient Education
      The Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter will hold its monthly new patient education class from 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on Saturday, March 21, in the LFA Meeting Room, 12930 Chippewa Rd., in Brecksville. The class will offer basic information about managing lupus and living well. Registration is required at (440) 717-0183 or visit Lupus Foundation of America, Greater Ohio Chapter.
      Coffee with NR Ward 3 Councilman
      If you are a constituent living in North Royalton Ward 3, you are invited to attend Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw’s next monthly chat and coffee at 10 a.m., March 21, at Subway Restaurant, 5660 Wallings Rd. Langshaw welcomes fellow residents to stay in touch with him with their thoughts and concerns. You may also contact Dan Langshaw at or call (440) 785-4240.

      Brecksville Women’s Club
      The next Brecksville Women’s Club meeting will be 11:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 24 at St. Michael’s Woodside. The program will feature musical entertainment by Linda Hamski to keep that St. Patrick’s Day mood. The cost is $18. Prospective members and guests are welcome. Please call Becky at (440) 885-0104 by March 17 for your reservation. St. Michael Woodside, 5025 E. Mill Rd., Broadview Heights.
      Chippewa Garden Club
      Bob Rensel from the Cleveland Botanical Garden will present “Healing Gardens: the Therapeutic Value of Nature” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, at the Chippewa Garden Club meeting. Rensel will discuss research that shows why spending time gardening or in nature itself is beneficial to our health, enhances our mental state, and influences behavior. The meeting will be held in Activity Room A in the Brecksville Human Service Building at 2 Community Drive, Brecksville. For more information visit the or contact Noreen at (440) 740-0018 or

      CVNP Summer Teacher Program
      The National Park Service is seeking qualified teachers who would like to participate in this summer’s Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) program in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). The TRT program offers teachers eight weeks of immersion in national parks across the country and developing lessons to connect their students to the park during the following school year. Teachers can earn free graduate credit for the experience. They present park-related lessons throughout the following school year and during National Park Week in April 2016.
      For more information and application materials call Pamela Barnes, Education Specialist at (330) 657-2796, ext. 113, or visit CVNP TRT. The deadline to apply is April 1.

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      Got spring fever? Our garden guide is the cure –

      (Pioneer Press: Kirk Lyttle)

      This winter’s roller-coaster temperatures may translate into a wild ride for spring growth.

      All that freezing and thawing means some less-hardy plants may be more susceptible this growing season, says Sue Hustings, president of Highland Nursery in St. Paul. More sensitive plants like lavender, magnolias, roses, Echinacea and other cone flowers might need extra love and care.

      Still, that’s not to say such garden favorites won’t do well. How they flourish will be influenced by what spring and summer have in store.

      “It really depends what happens with the weather going forward,” Hustings says.

      As far as the warning to wait until after Memorial Day weekend to start planting in Minnesota, Hustings says it depends: “Some things you can plant before this date. But we always say to look to (May) 15th as the last average frost date in Minnesota. If it looks like it’s going to stay warm, you can start planting.

      “But if the temps look like they’re going to start dipping, hold off.”

      To get ready for the growing season, garden centers and shops have been stocking up on annuals, perennials, garden art and more. We’ve compiled a list of garden spots and their expertise. Keep in mind that several have seasonal hours, so call ahead.


      With three garden centers — in Stillwater, Scandia and St. Croix Falls — this grower offers a wide selection of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and more for your landscaping needs. Garden decor, garden-themed gifts and supplies are also in stock. Design and landscape services are available at each site. (2100 Tower Drive, Stillwater; 651-439-2140; 20021 St. Croix Trail N., Scandia; 651-433-2431; 1257 State Road 35, St. Croix Falls, Wis.; 715-483-3040;


      Stroll through the lush greenhouse and grab some bedding plants and overflowing hanging baskets at this popular St. Croix River Valley destination. (12239 62nd St. N., Stillwater; 651-439-9577)


      This St. Croix Valley family-owned garden center has been offering a large selection of annuals and perennials — including unusual tomato and pepper varieties — for more than three decades. You might even be greeted by the two resident dogs or cat. (15743 Hudson Road, Lakeland; 651-436-6799;


      Small local greenhouse with unique items hard to come by anywhere else makes it a favorite for green thumbs. (W10041 Wisconsin 29, River Falls, Wis.; 715-426-1831;


      This multigenerational, family-owned operation has grown tremendously since planting its first seeds as a wholesale business. These days, the retail operation housing greenhouses and a garden center — filled with a colorful variety of flowers and plants — is as much of a draw. (11211 N. 60th St., Lake Elmo; 651-439-4156;


      A former dairy field is now home to sprawling gardens of roses and wildflowers. From bridal bouquets to centerpieces, floral arrangements are always elegant and garden fresh. New this year is the addition of the “Fairy Glen,” a landscaped gathering spot for events such as weddings. (233 S. Second St., Stillwater; 651-351-9631;


      Quaint, European-style floral shop on Cathedral Hill offers gorgeous seasonal and themed bouquets. The gift shop also is worth a stop for pottery and jewelry from local artists. (516 Selby Ave., St. Paul; 651-292-9562;


      Regulars flock to this nursery to roam among nature’s bounty while stocking up on the center’s rare offerings, such as Martagon lilies and woodland plants. A sizable and varied selection of perennials, hostas, vines, roses, trees and shrubs also make this spot near William O’Brien State Park popular. (19713 Quinnell Ave., Marine on St. Croix; 651-433-4599;


      Garden and gift shop with an eye on design. Expect plenty of garden art and decor as well as design inspiration such as arranging a centerpiece. (N7789 State Road 65, River Falls, Wis.; 715-222-0436)


      Inside the Como Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, this shop is one of the few in the area to offer bonsai plants and supplies. It also has garden-themed gifts such as botanical beauty products, nature-inspired jewelry, interactive children’s gifts and stuffed animals. While on campus, get planting inspiration by visiting the various themed gardens, from the tropical to the edible garden. (1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul; 651-487-8222;


      Stroll the charming Victorian grounds while taking in gardening and landscape inspiration indoors and out. In addition to trees, shrubs, plants and flowers, Gray Gardens stocks gazebos, fountains, arbors, birdbaths and more. Gifts and home accessories also abound. (464 Second St., Excelsior; 952-474-7180;


      For three generations, this family-run neighborhood spot has cultivated lush flowers and plants for the floral, garden and gift shop. Design-savvy bouquets range from classic to contemporary, simple to lavish and suit a variety of occasions. (1639 W. Larpenteur Ave., St. Paul; 651-646-7135 or 800-547-6334;


      This more than 60-year-old family-run institution has come a long way since Lois and Henry Harich started with a borrowed tent for a shop and a cigar box for a cash register. Now on West Seventh Street, Highland Nursery touts a shop and attached greenhouse featuring a mix of herbs, heirloom vegetables and unique plants. Statuary and other garden accents are available. While strolling the grounds, check out the elaborate Bur Oak tree sculpture paying tribute to John Smith and Elizabeth Ryan Smith, Irish immigrants who homesteaded the site in 1850. (1742 W. Seventh St., St. Paul; 651-698-1708;


      From zinnias to peonies — including more than 100 hosta varieties — this quaint, family-owned destination emphasizes flowers and greenery friendly to our Upper Midwest climate. A wood shop offering made-to-order pieces is also housed on site. (433 E. Cove Road, Hudson, Wis.; 612-290-5004;


      Nursery specializes in native prairie plants, including more than 110 species of plants friendly to the St. Croix River Valley and local climate. (235 State Road 65, River Falls, Wis.; 715-425-7605;


      This local and independently owned nursery emphasizes annuals, perennials, fruiting plants and shrubs for your patio and garden. Custom potting plants and original garden art are also a draw. (945 Randolph Ave., St. Paul; 651-291-2655;


      A place for green thumbs to stock up on annuals, perennials, shrubs, evergreens and fruit trees as well as outdoor accessories such as birdfeeders, wind chimes, lanterns and statuary. Or browse gift items such as soaps, lotions, candles, paper products and home decor pieces. Purchases come with complimentary gift-wrapping. Garden-style arrangements and design services are offered. (941 Sibley Memorial Highway, St. Paul; 651-457-6040;


      Local, organic, sustainable and independently owned are key philosophies in the selection of seeds, vegetables, herbs, annuals and perennials. When it comes to gifts and garden-decor, eco-friendly, local and handmade items are the emphasis. (3738 42nd Ave. S., Minneapolis, 612-724-2296; and 2318 N.E. Lowry Ave., Minneapolis, 612-789-0796;


      This western Wisconsin spot specializes in perennials, but it’s also a destination for annuals, herbs, vegetables, garden decor and gifts. Floral arrangements, landscaping services and gardening workshops are also available. (850 Kelly Road off Wisconsin 12, Hudson, Wis.; 715-386-4111;


      Zinnias, hibiscus, palms, herbs and tomatoes are the many things offered here. The spot boasts a large selection of pottery and outdoor decor too. Fountains, birdbaths and statuary should impress. During the summer, shop offers produce such as sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelon and berries picked daily. Services include a Community Supported Agriculture program and landscaping. (6885 160th St. W., Apple Valley; 952-431-4345;


      In a shared retail spot called Shop 501, Petunia’s carries an eclectic mix of accessories emphasizing vintage, including themed miniature gardens. (501 Chestnut St., Chaska; 763-300-8398)


      Native plant restoration experts with various locations offers two retail spots in the metro for seeds, plants shrubs and trees. Don’t miss the gift shop, a gem for the unique and quality selection of garden accessories and nature-themed items such as kids’ gifts, books, botanicals and local art. (31646 128th St., Princeton, 763-389-4342; and 21120 Ozark Court N., Scandia, 651-433-1437;


      For more than 30 years, this floral shop and greenhouse has been outfitting gardens with annuals, perennials, hanging baskets and more. Home decor for inside and out includes pieces for that terrarium or fairy garden. (14298 60th St., Stillwater; 651-439-3765 or 1-800-272-0715;


      For generations, this family-owned nursery and landscape design spot has been a place to stock up on things like perennials as well as garden decor such as metal art and arbors. While there, check out the display gardens that are an ode to nature. (12811 Norell Road S., Hastings; 651-470-1175;


      Hardy, specialty roses shine here. Also a favorite for shrubs, perennials, vegetables, fruit and shade trees with an emphasis on certified organic and locally grown. In addition to the horticultural offerings, pick-your-own fruits — from gooseberries and cherries to plums and apples — draw crowds. A garden-themed gift shop stocks things like flower baskets, honey and homemade jam. (12414 191st St. E., Hastings; 651-437-7516;


      During its 70 years, Savory’s has developed into a mail-order business specializing in hostas. During the growing season, shop on-site not only for hostas but also for other plants available at the garden store. (5300 Whiting Ave., Edina; 952-941-8755;


      Plants and supplies for your garden and pond are the specialty here. The shop also carries a large selection of koi. In addition to the one in River Falls, a Hudson location has been added. (148 County Road F, River Falls, Wis., and 595 Hermes Road, Hudson, Wis.; 715-425-1468;


      Meander the grounds of this charming renovated 1875 home along the St. Croix River Valley and stock up on annuals, perennials, herbs, trees and shrubs hardy enough to survive extreme Upper Midwest climates. In addition to a display garden and nursery, check out the gift shop with jewelry, handbags, wallets, body care, home decor items and more. Landscape design services are available, too. (3390 St. Croix Trail S., Afton; 651-436-8080;


      Garden enthusiasts come for the large assortment of heirloom vegetables, aquatic and tropical plants, annuals and more than 3,000 perennial varieties. In the shop, look for a unique assortment of gardening tools, garden art, pottery, artisan jewelry and gifts. During the growing season, regulars come to shop the daily farmers’ market as well as buy CSA shares with items from Tangletown’s own farm. (5353 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-822-4769;


      Green thumbs and bookworms will appreciate this gem for one of the area’s largest stocks of books on planting, gardening and natural history. Rare and out-of-print books, seed and plant catalogs and periodicals are among the bookstore’s vast collection. The grounds feature display gardens, and if your timing is right, you might catch a “tea at the terrace” reception held several times a day. (503 St. Clair Ave., St. Paul; 651-222-5536;


      Along with flowers and plants, design-savvy home pieces for both interiors and exteriors attract both landscapers and home interior designers alike. Apothecary, jewelry, home and gift items are sourced locally and from around the world. (4301 Uptown Ave. S.; Mpls.; 612-823-8944;


      A multigenerational, family-owned operation that started as a small greenhouse with perennials has blossomed into a design service and full-service garden center that includes annuals, trees and shrubs. Hanging baskets, unique hostas and a long list of tomato varieties are among the top sellers. The gift store offers water features, garden art as well as cabin gifts, jewelry and botanicals. Be sure to wander the 1.5-acre landscaped display and event garden with perennials, gazebo and large waterfall. (11180 70th St. S., Cottage Grove; 651-459-8080;



      The 130-year-old family-owned local enterprise has come a long way since founder Henry Bachman Sr. planted potatoes, lettuce, onions and squash in 1885 on a piece of land in South Minneapolis. That spot is now Bachman’s headquarters, as well as one of six retail centers, and it has become one of the largest garden centers and nurseries around. Famous for those purple delivery trucks, Bachman’s offers annuals, perennials, garden accessories, patio furniture, gift items and more. Landscape services are also offered here.

      — Lyndale flagship location, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Mpls.; 612-861-7600;

      — Apple Valley, 7955 W. 150th St.; 952-431-2242

      — Eden Prairie, 770 Prairie Center Drive; 952-941-7700

      — Fridley, 8200 University Ave. N.E.; 763-786-8200

      — Maplewood, 2600 White Bear Ave., 651-770-0531

      — Plymouth, 10050 Sixth Ave. N.; 763-541-1188


      With the motto “Buy from the grower,” this third-generation family-owned establishment sports a sprawling garden center with a large selection of annuals, roses and other perennials, plus trees and shrubs of all sizes and shapes. A “grill zone,” gift shop, water garden and an outdoor living space are among themed areas that take up more than 40,000 square feet of retail space. A large landscape supply yard, hobby greenhouses and year-round seminars and clinics also attract visitors. A state-of-the-art automated greenhouse is part of the main campus.

      5500 Blaine Ave., Inver Grove Heights; 651-450-1501;

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      Program will include tips on vegetable gardening

      The University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Lake County is hosting “Vegetable Garden Pests, Diseases and Other Problems” at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Lake County Agricultural Center, 1951 Woodlea Road, Tavares.

      The class is part of the “Saturday in the Garden” speaker series and will be presented by Brooke Moffis, extension agent.

      Registration for the class is available for $5 online for adults at Cost is $6 at the door. Children younger than 16 may attend free.

      Participants also may explore Discovery Gardens, a 3.5-acre habitat next to the center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Class participation is not necessary for entry into the gardens.

      For more information about this program or for questions regarding gardening, call the extension service in Lake County at 352-343-4101.

      Book fair

      The Friends of the Astor Library will have its semi-annual book fair from 8 a.m. to noon March 21 at the library, 54905 Alco Road.

      There also will be a bake sale, plants, yard sale and T-shirts. There will be a drawing for a 32-inch television and a Kindle Fire HD 7.

      Vendor spaces for the yard sale are available for $5. To reserve a space, call Sue Pierce at 352-759-2620.

      Details: 352-759-9913.

      Quit Tobacco

      The Florida Department of Health in Lake County in conjunction with the Florida Area Health Education Center Network is sponsoring free six-week Quit Tobacco classes (all forms of tobacco), which includes free nicotine-replacement-therapy patches and classroom materials.

      The class will meet from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays starting March 24 at Leesburg Community Health Center, 225 N. First St., and from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Mondays beginning April 6 at LiveWell Fitness Center, 1935 Don Wickham Drive in Clermont.

      Advance registration is required by calling 1-877-252-6094.

      Guardian ad litem training

      Volunteers are needed for the 5th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem program, which is responsible for recruiting and training court-appointed advocates in the foster-care system.

      The advocates serve as volunteers to speak for the best interests of abused, abandoned and neglected children in foster care. Through volunteers and staff advocates, the foster children of Lake, Sumter, Marion, Hernando and Citrus counties are able to have their voices heard in court.

      The volunteer works as part of a team with a volunteer supervisor and program attorney.

      Cases usually last 10 months, and volunteers typically donate 5 to 10 hours a month.

      The program is offering a 30-hour training class beginning March 26.The class will meet from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 26, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 27 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 28 at the Ocala Police Department, 402 S. Pine Ave.

      Applicants must be at least 21 years old (adults between 19 and 21 years are also eligible to work alongside a certified volunteer GAL) and pass a criminal background check.

      For more information, call Sarah Jay at 352-274-5231 or email


      Take a hike

      The Lake County Water Authority naturalists will sponsor a hike (strenuous) of Hidden Waters Preserve, a scenic parcel off Country Club Road in Eustis, at 9 a.m. March 21. The 90-acre preserve features uplands, ravine, creek and natural sinkhole, which contains Lake Alfred.

      The free program is limited to 15 people. To reserve a spot, call 352-343-3777, ext. 0.

      Wine and Seafood Festival

      Lakeridge Winery Vineyards will have its seventh annual Wine and Seafood Festival March 20 through the 22 at the winery, 19239 U.S. Highway 27 north of Clermont.

      The three-day outdoor event will include more than 70 local artists and crafters featuring precious stone jewelry, woodworks, paintings and more. There also will be winery tours and wine tastings. Wine, beer, a variety of seafood and food will be available for purchase.

      Old Skool will entertain from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. March 20 and the Nightly Blues from 2 to 5 p.m.; March 21’s performances will be The Ladyz The Boyz from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Blue Train from 2 to 5 p.m.; and March 22’s performances will include Airtight from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Baby Blues from 2 to 5 p.m.

      Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 20 and March 21 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. March 22.

      Admission is a $2 donation to benefit the Autism Society of Greater Orlando. Parking is free. Seating is limited; patrons can bring a lawn chair or blanket.

      Details: 352-394-8627 or

      Copyright © 2015, Orlando Sentinel

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      Spring Gardening Tips for the Bay Area

      Fri, Mar 13, 2015 — 10:00 AM

      Spring Gardening Tips for the Bay Area

      Audio currently not available for this program.

      The first day of spring falls on March 20 this year, but the balmy winter has many of us itching to get in the garden. Are you confused about when to plant your perennials? Or trying to start an edible garden? Wondering how to maintain your garden while keeping your water use down? We’ll get answers and advice from a panel of local gardening experts.

      Host: Mina Kim


      More info:

      Article source:

      Top three gardening tips for the weekend

      1. It’s the last chance to prune your plums 

      GET PRUNING: Plum trees need to be pruned now to ensure plenty of fruit next season.

      The best time to tame your plum trees (excluding damsons, prunes and gages) is before leaf fall.

      Plum trees can be hugely vigorous and, unless kept in line, can become unmanageable and unproductive.

      When pruning is carried out at this time of year, the tree’s replacement of canopy and foliage is stopped in its tracks by winter and doesn’t resume with the same vigour in spring. Instead, energy is devoted to flowering and fruit formation.

      The trick with plums is to thin and lower the canopy without losing all of the current season’s growth, which carries next year’s blossom buds. The most expendable growth are the long, whippy canes that arise near previous pruning sites.

      If your tree has got away on you, you can safely cut most plums right back, removing the entire canopy.

      You’ll miss out on fruit but such is their vigour that they’ll have formed a dense thicket by this time next year, which means they can then be sculpted back into good form.

      This sort of drastic renovation should only be done in winter and requires plenty of pruning paste to prevent disease and excess bleeding when the sap starts to rise.

      2. Grow some rhubarb

      IN A STEW: Plant rhubarb now for delicious desserts and cakes in future.

      Planted now, while the soil is still warm but increasingly moist, rhubarb will take off in earnest, forming a healthy, deep root system and perhaps even some harvestable stems by late spring. This sounds like a slow and low return I know, but a bit like asparagus, rhubarb is a long-term investment.

      While rhubarb plants take a couple of seasons to reach peak production, once established they will continue to deliver the goods for years.

      Rhubarb likes deep soil, constant moisture, plenty of sunshine and as much nitrogenous fertiliser as you can throw at it. It has a particular love of chook manure but pretty much anything expelled from the rear end of a land animal will do.

      Stem colour, or lack of it, causes much concern among rhubarb growers and there are a couple of possible causes of green stems in rhubarb.

      Neither of the main cultivars available in New Zealand (‘Glaskin’s 02 Perpetual’ and ‘Victoria’) are especially pigmented.

      Seedling-grown plants (excluding F1 hybrids) are even less reliable in this regard as green stems seem to be something of a genetic default.

      Recently though, a clutch of rosy-stemmed rhubarb cultivars – ‘Moulin Rouge’, ‘Grandad’s Favourite’ and ‘Cherry Red F1’ have been released.

      All three appear to colour up nicely regardless of local conditions and offer excellent flavour and minimal fibre.

      Green rhubarb tastes as good as red but it cooks down to an unappetising sludge-green, so from an aesthetic perspective it might be worth replacing off-colour clumps with one of these newbies – especially if you’re hoping to coax your children into eating it.

      Rhubarb is ready for harvesting  whenever it looks, well, ready for picking. There is no ripe stage to speak of; it’s all just a matter of size and crispness. Bendy baby stems tend to be all fibre and no pulp whereas very large stalks are meaty but the fibrous outer is usually tough and may even need peeling.

      Rhubarb leaves are toxic to humans but being foul-tasting, are unlikely to pass many lips by accident.

      Rhubarb clumps eventually become tangled thickets and require periodic splitting. Do this task in winter when growth and transpiration have slowed. Simply cut and prise apart separate crowns with a sharp spade and plant elsewhere or give away.

      To avoid root rot, make sure the crowns are not completely buried when planted. Overcrowded clumps produce scrawny stems and excess flower heads, which can further weaken and starve the roots.

      Remove any flower spikes when they appear. While flowering doesn’t kill or seriously damage rhubarb, it serves no real purpose to home gardeners unless you want to collect a large volume of seed.

      Regularly remove dead leaves and always harvest rhubarb by pulling stems free from the plant, rather than cutting or snapping, which can lead to fungal problems in cool wet weather.

      3. Order your spring bulbs now

      TULIP FEVER: Order your bulbs now for spring colour.

      There’s more to one’s outdoor spaces than just food crops. Spring bulb catalogues are out now (for example, and bursting with delightful options that will set your garden on fire with lavish colour.

      Plant up a patch with anemones, ranunculus, freesias or whatever takes your fancy.

      If you’d like seasonal gardening tips delivered direct to your inbox, sign up for our free weekly Get Growing ezine. Simply send your name and email to

       – NZ Gardener

      Next NZ Gardener story:

      Lynda Hallinan on: Basil

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      Growing vegetables: top tips for first-time kitchen gardeners

      Unike most of us, Joe has the advantage of being a professional at Kew. “I’m trained as a gardener, but to become a vegetable gardener especially for a thing like this was still starting in the deep end,” he says.

      Joe rapidly realised that Raymond Blanc, the man behind Les Quat’Saisons, a restaurant known for using seasonal ingredients grown in its own garden, has exacting standards.

      “Raymond is quite particular about what he wants, he wants it a perfect size and for it to be perfectly right down to each individual vegetable.”

      Raymond Blanc Joe Archer enjoy seasonal delights from the garden (BBC/Lion Television Ltd/Laura Rawlinson)

      Here, Joe shares what he learned with his top tips for novice kitchen gardeners.

      Get to know the garden

      With any new garden, especially when you’re growing food, you have to work out the character. Each one will have its own pests and will be exposed to different amounts of sunlight, determining what you can grow.

      Grow what you enjoy

      It sounds obvious, but for a new starter grow what you like to eat. You could grow a whole lot of beetroot, but if it’s not a favourite, are you going to use it? Probably not.

      •James Wong on how to grow the best tasting beetroot

      Start small

      People get an allotment and get carried away. There’s a lot of space, but most people have to work during the week. People come up to me at Kew and ask how do you keep it so weed free? Well, I’m at it eight hours a day.

      It’s really important that when you get that allotment to cut it down by half and start small. Do your best on a few smaller crops.

      It’s easier to keep a garden tidy when you start on a smaller scale (Alamy)+

      Read a book

      Get a good vegetable growing book, my bible is a book by Joy Larkin, “Grow Your Own Vegetables”. It’s important not to take everything you read literally, but use it as a guide.


      If you’re going to grow a potato get a few varieties and try them out. You soon realise there’s a massive scale of flavour. I recommend you experiment and most importantly, enjoy it.

      •Our guide to starting a veg garden

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