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Archives for March 19, 2015

OC condo, arts show rings in spring

They say April showers bring May flowers but this springtime, the Ocean City Home, Condo and Outdoor Show will bring new life to your home or condominium.

Myriad companies and professionals will be in attendance as they offer advice and ideas to decorate, remodel and accessorize any living space. There will also be an arts and crafts show that many people like to attend in order to bring beautiful masterpieces to the comforts of their home.

“The (vendors) have their best foot forward and they’re catering to the people at the show,” Event Promoter Mike Wicklein said.

The show involves anything pertaining to the interior or exterior of the home. For those that go, some people make contacts with the companies and professionals there.

According to Wicklein, the show offers opportunities that many home and condominium owners couldn’t get elsewhere.

“People can go under one roof and leisurely, learn, shop and get bargains,” he said. “For example, if people are looking for HVAC services, they won’t have to go to four different stores, there’ll be four different vendors at the show. There’s going to be a nice variety and a nice mix (of vendors).”

Some of the vendors in this year’s lineup include American Cabinet Refacers, Bath Fitter, Ferguson Landscaping, Ultra Solar and Window Genie. For the art show, patrons can peruse a variety of crafts and art pieces made by Colorful Creations LLC, Jewelry by Pamela, Scentsy Wickless Candles and Victoria’s Quilts.

The show has been going on now for 31 years and has attracted 3,000 to 12,000 people each year. Last year, the professionals and their displays garnered 7,000 attendees.

As a side note, Wicklein mentioned that the art show is a great place to get any mother a special Mother’s Day gift, for those who may have forgotten, Mother’s Day is on May 10.

If You Go

31st Annual Home, Condo and Outdoor Show with Arts and Crafts Fair

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Friday, March 20; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 21; 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 22

Where: Roland E. Powell Convention Center, Ocean City

Cost: $7 for adults; $5 for seniors (55 and up) and students (14-22); free for ages 13 and under; free for Military, Police and Fire with ID


Article source:

Officials consider Wilson Park landscaping

Officials mull park's landscape

Officials mull park’s landscape

Florence officials said landscape improvements are needed at downtown Wilson Park. The park’s electrical system also is considered outdated for all the events held there throughout the year.

Park landscape could get facelift

Park landscape could get facelift

Benches surrounding Wilson Park’s fountain are a popular resting place in warm weather.

Posted: Monday, March 16, 2015 11:00 pm

Officials consider Wilson Park landscaping

By Robert Palmer
Staff Writer


FLORENCE — Wilson Park could be getting a brighter face later this year.

“Several years ago, we budgeted capital funds for improvements,” City Council President Dick Jordan said. “We’re mainly looking at landscaping at the entrances, replacing some benches, and we’re looking at some of the overhead lights. I would like to match them with those in the downtown streetscape.”

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      Monday, March 16, 2015 11:00 pm.

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      Wilson Park

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      Landscaping for real life

      Properly designed and professionally installed landscaping can play a fundamental role in making your house a home. More than simply solving problems with drainage, land grade, wind control, screening or privacy, landscaping is an opportunity to build upon the existing look and character of your home and extend your family’s living space exponentially, and this in high demand among today’s homeowners.

      “We are seeing an increase in the desire for indoor/outdoor living spaces,” says Richard Dorr, personal builder at Veridian Homes. “The addition of a deck, patio or screened porch extends the livable space of your home, ensuring that you get the most out of those long-sought-after warm summer days.”

      While landscaping a big bare backyard can seem a daunting prospect at first, Dorr says it’s important to think of the big picture and begin working toward a plan—even if you have to break it up into several smaller projects to accommodate budget and timelines. Knowing what you want and where you’re going will make the project fun, particularly when you’ve got professional guidance to help you uncover your home’s unique challenges, needs and vision.

      “People can be overwhelmed by what they watch on television or [by] choosing products at a big-box store or nursery. There are so many decisions to think through: ‘What colors do I use? Will this plant thrive within my yard? What amount of maintenance will this require?’” says Dorr. “If in doubt, it is always a good idea to enlist the help of professionals to reduce stress and ensure a flawless design.”

      Edible landscapes

      “A lot of people are deciding to stay in their homes and create their own oasis in their backyard, rather than going for that vacation house,” says Eric Seidl of McKay Nursery. “With that comes another trend we’re seeing lately, which is a focus on local food and, with that, edible landscapes. You spend so much time around your home, why not make it work for you?”

      Moving away from the traditional raised wooden garden-beds for cultivating vegetables, homeowners are now integrating perennial herb, fruit and vegetable plants into existing flowerbeds and landscape designs. Blueberries or Aronia (black chokeberries) add fall color, strawberry plants double as ground cover, and grapes grow well along any pergola or arbor. Rhubarb, with its big leaf and need for partial shade, is a nice substitute for hosta, and pepper plants provide changing color and a strong vertical interest. Small fruit trees, such as apples, are also growing in popularity; because you need at least two apple trees to cross-pollinate, McKay offers a new variety called Doubledown, which is Cortland and Honeycrisp in one pot. The nursery has also recently incorporated twelve acres of Aronia, honeybees on site, and Tillage Radishes.

      “People want to know where their food comes from, and they’re focused on sustainability,” says McKay, adding that integrated landscapes appeal to people who don’t want to commit to a full-blown vegetable garden. McKay advises easing into integrated landscaping by planting a handful of things you like to eat, which will add interest, texture and color to your landscaping as a bonus. “This is an easy introduction to growing food crops, and it also helps people step up to the plate to help bees and other pollinators.”

      Extending the kitchen

      Outdoor kitchens are an increasingly popular choice for Wisconsinites who want to make the most out of both their living spaces and their precious warm-weather months. The kitchen is where the family gathers to eat, talk, work or just hang out, and these same principles apply to creating outdoor living spaces.

      “It could be as simple as allocating a space for your grill, to a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with the same amenities you’d find in an indoor kitchen, such as countertops, a sink, refrigerators, cabinet space, and electrical plug-ins,” says Steven Swenson, landscape architect at The Bruce Company. “Most projects in the Midwest climate are some variation of something in between, depending on the clients’ needs, budget, and how they’re going to use the space.”

      Swenson suggests starting with the grill space, then building from there. Using precast concrete walls topped with natural stone or synthetic countertops, homeowners can create entry-level food-prep and storage space that includes built-in cabinets and drawers, or even a sink. Other options include: conventionally treated lumber, covered with a veneer, cultured stone, or tile; custom block and masonry; or even pre-constructed kitchens ready-made from suppliers who produce stainless steel cabinetry for outdoor use. A seating or bar area with stools fills out the kitchen feel, and outdoor lighting can create both a mood and a “ceiling” of sorts to make an outdoor space feel complete.

      “There are so many amenities that can be added to fit your lifestyle,” says Swenson.

      Fire pits

      Fire pits from basic to breathtaking can supplement or provide alternatives to full outdoor kitchens as a gathering space.

      “Fire features can bring beauty and visual interest, both from the warm glow of the fire itself and the interesting hardscape design, and it has been estimated that landscape features add up to twenty percent value to homes,” says Sandy Stoffel of Anchor Block Company, a manufacturer of concrete landscape products. “They can add function by adding a place to gather and, in some cases, even a way to prepare food. Plus, here in the Midwest, a fire feature can extend the time spent outdoors and can even be used to warm up after winter activities.”

      Fire pits come in a range of sizes and styles to fit every landscape and budget. Portable fire pits are most affordable (often under seventy-five dollars) and require less commitment in terms of installation. More-permanent fire pits still offer versatility; they can be placed in-ground or above-ground, created in the circular or angular shape you desire, and don’t necessarily require professional installation—especially with do-it-yourself fire pit kits, such as those featuring the Fresco™ wall system. Outdoor fireplaces, grill surrounds, or pizza ovens are a bigger investment, but they also essentially add another room to the house.

      “Fire tables are especially becoming popular because they combine the warmth and ambiance of a fire with a surface for serving food and drinks,” says Stoffel. “Homeowners are definitely starting to see the value and purpose of fire features, beyond just adding beauty to their landscape.”

      Call before you dig

      Before you get swept up in inspiration and ideas, it’s crucial for do-it-yourselfers and professionals alike to put safety first. While having a plan will save time, money and headaches, calling Diggers Hotline could save your life. The complimentary service, offered by Madison Gas and Electric, provides a trained professional who comes to your house, determines where the invisible electrical and gas lines lie beneath the ground, and uses paint and flags to mark the  spots you should avoid.

      “You could get hurt, cause damage, or rack up some hefty fees if you don’t call first, and then hit lines while digging,” says Scott Nelson, MGE’s system forester. “The service is free, and lines are flagged within three business days, so it’s well worth the wait to avoid the risks.”

      MGE spends hundreds of hours each year removing trees and shrubs that have been planted too close to pad-mounted transformers, because that impedes with the company’s ability to respond in an emergency or perform system maintenance safely. They trim and prune trees along power lines as best they can but, when trees are planted too close, sometimes removal is the only option. Free services such as Diggers Hotline and the Tree Choice and Care online database help you do it right in the first place, based on purpose, size, conflicts, seasonal interest, maintenance and disease-resistant plantings, along with safety issues, potential fines and other practical considerations.

      “Our arborists and crews come across many well-intended, poorly placed trees and shrubs,” says Nelson. “A simple adjustment prior to planting can make a big difference.”

      Article source:

      Calendar: Soil solutions, Collin County garden show

      SOIL SOLUTIONS: Learn about the complex system of microorganisms that create and sustain healthy, fertile soil. 9 a.m. March 20. Free. A full-day workshop delves deeper into the soil food web, compost and technology. Learn how to analyze and improve soil and how to make composts and organic extracts to strengthen the soil food web. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday. Cedar Valley College, rooms M121-M122, 3030 N. Dallas Ave., Lancaster. $99. For more information and to register, visit or call 469-554-9202.

      DRIP IRRIGATION: Learn how to save money and water with drip irrigation. 10:15 a.m. Saturday. All Calloway’s Nursery locations. Free.

      GARDEN SHOW: The Collin County Master Gardener Association’s annual event will feature gardening ideas, vendors, demonstrations and children’s activities. East Texas bulb hunter and author Chris Wiesinger will talk about his heirloom bulb operation in Wood County and McKinney horticulturist and publisher Neil Sperry will be the keynote speaker on Sunday. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Myers Park, 7117 County Road 166, McKinney. $2 donation per person. 972-548-4232. See for a complete schedule.

      WATER-WISE LANDSCAPING: Learn how to save water and money with common-sense landscaping with landscape designer Bonnie Reese, who will teach Water-Wise Landscaping 101 and Fantastic Plants for North Texas. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Texas AM AgriLife Research Extension Center, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. Free. 214-670-3155.

      BACKYARD HENS: Bill Dougherty, co-owner of Trinity Haymarket, will teach basics of backyard chickens, including recommended breeds, proper housing, nutrition and care. 10 a.m. Saturday. 1715 Market Center Blvd., Dallas. Free,but reservations required. 214-202-2163, info@trinityhay

      WILDFLOWER WALK: The Indian Trail Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will lead a wildflower walk through Mockingbird Nature Park. Kids are welcome on the half-mile stroll. 9 a.m. Saturday. 1361 Onward Road, Midlothian. Free. Canceled if raining.

      GARDEN ED: North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, offers these events.; 214-363-5316. Soil prep for spring, 10 a.m. Saturday. Free Bulbs for summer blooms, 12:30 p.m Sunday. Free Shade gardening, 1 p.m. Sunday. Free

      DAYLILIES: The Daylily Growers of Dallas’ monthly meeting will be about polymorphous daylily forms. 11 a.m. Saturday. North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. Free. 214-244-1989

      GOING ORGANIC: Learn about organic gardening. An afternoon session will focus on irrigation and running drip lines from rain barrels. 10 a.m.-noon and noon-2 p.m. Saturday. Gecko Hardware, 10233 E. Northwest Highway, Dallas. $10. Advance registration requested.

      TOMATO GRAFTING: The Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service and Kilgore College will host a strawberry field day and a tomato grafting workshop. Following the tour, a workshop will teach participants how and why to graft heirloom tomatoes to modern hybrid rootstock. 8:30 a.m. Saturday. Kilgore College Demonstration Farm, 2211 Texas Highway 135, Overton. Tour is free, but workshop is $25. Advance registration requested. 903-657-0376.

      HOME SHOW: In addition to vendors and exhibits on remodeling and interior projects, the Plano New Home Remodeling Show will feature ideas for the garden. Discussions and workshops are planned on growing tomatoes as well as backyard chickens. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Plano Centre, 2000 E. Spring Creek Parkway, Plano. $9. Find discount coupons and a complete schedule at

      GROWING VEGGIES: Learn how to grow your favorite edibles, whether in the ground, in raised beds or containers. Workshop will cover seed starting, transplanting, fertilization and harvesting, as well as disease and insect controls. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Marshall Grain Co., 2224 E. Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth; 1 p.m. Saturday, 3525 William D. Tate Ave., Grapevine. Free.

      PEST MANAGEMENT: The Greater Dallas Organic Gardening Club will discuss integrated pest management at its monthly meeting with Randy Johnson, director of horticulture at the Dallas Zoo. 3 p.m. Sunday. North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas. Free.

      LAWN CARE: Program will cover the basics of lawn maintenance and how to select the right turf grass to improve the health and longevity of your landscape. 6:30 p.m. Monday. Flower Mound Public Library, 3030 Broadmoor Lane. Free, but registration requested.

      BUTTERFLIES: The Indian Trail chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists will discuss common butterflies at its meeting. 6 p.m. Monday. First United Methodist Church, 505 W. Marvin Ave., Waxahachie. Free.

      MORE DAYLILIES: The Grapevine Garden Club will discuss how to grow daylilies at its monthly meeting. 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. Grapevine Convention Center, 1209 S. Main Street, Grapevine. Free.

      ESSENTIAL OILS: The Dallas Area Historical Rose Society’s monthly meeting will include a presentation on essential oils. 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Farmers Branch Recreation Center, 14050 Heartside Place, Farmers Branch. Free. 214-244-1989.

      ROSE DISEASE: Learn about rose rosette disease. The workshop will provide the basics on the viral disease, symptoms and how to control it. 9 a.m. March 28. Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive, Allen. Free, but advance registration is required. 972-574-4233.

      SCHOLARSHIP: The Collin County Master Gardeners Association will award a $1,000 scholarship for a student interested in the study of horticulture-related fields. The scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors who are Collin County residents. Applications must include a 400-word essay describing the applicants’ college goals, and two teacher references. Applications are due April 15. Send to Dr. Greg Church, Collin County Extension Agent for Horticulture, Texas AM AgriLife Extension Service — Collin County, 825 McDonald St., Suite 150, McKinney, TX 75069.

      Applications are available at

      Send event details at least 14 days before publication to

      Article source:

      First stage of Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s $150 million expansion …

      CLEVELAND, Ohio — A city design review committee unanimously and enthusiastically approved the first segment of plans for the five-year, $150 million expansion of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History Thursday morning.

      Simultaneously, a crew with chainsaws was already at work on the museum’s Wade Oval site in University Circle removing diseased, dying or non-native trees as a prelude to heavier work.

      “This is a very fast-track project,” landscape architect Sonia Jakse Barone of AECOM, the lead local design firm working on the project, said in a meeting of the Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee at the Agora.

      She and other members of the design team requested and received approval from the committee for site grading and utility work needed to relocate the museum’s Perkins Wildlife Center from the north side of the museum complex to the south side.

      The committee’s action constituted a recommendation to the city’s Planning Commission, which will consider the project Friday, and whose approval is required for a construction permit.

      The new location of the center, which acts as an open-air zoo for rescued birds and animals native to Ohio, will face south across Jeptha Drive to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s parking garage. Portions of the new center will also be visible from the west along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and from the east along Wade Oval Drive.

      “Steggie,” the museum’s beloved outdoor sculpture of a stegosaurus, will be relocated as part of the plan, Barone and other designers said.

      In a presentation about the project, the designers revealed new renderings showing what the Perkins Center will look like from surrounding streets.

      The general thrust was that a combination of wrought iron and custom-designed wood fences would surround the new wildlife center and would be partially or substantially concealed by new greenery.

      Architect Bill Mason of AECOM, formerly URS, described how visitors would be able to explore the new Perkins center on elevated or ground-level walkways enabling them to see rescued wild creatures including owls, a bald eagle, a porcupine, otters, foxes, raccoons and coyotes.

      “It’s an outdoor exhibit that hosts native plant habitats and live animals,” he said. “It has a mission based on conservation, restoration and stewardship.”

      Renderings of the project displayed during the presentation included schematic, stripped-down views of the landscaped site with walls and fences fully exposed for clarity of understanding.

      The renderings also included realistic images of the final state of the project with full greenery, indicating the intention to strive for a rich, lush appearance. (See the full presentation at the bottom of this post.)

      Mason stressed that views around the rear side of the museum’s complex, which now present a hard, brutal-looking functional appearance along MLK Drive would be vastly improved with new design elements and landscaping.

      “Right now, you see scruffy woods and a giant loading door,” he said, adding that the door “will be a lot smaller” in the future and that both sides of the approach drive would be reconfigured with a new West Garden treated as an extension of the city’s Cultural Gardens, with new outdoor artwork.

      “This provides a great salutation to those coming down MLK, coming down Opportunity Corridor, coming from Glenville,” he said. “This is a whole new day. We’re no longer turning out backs on people. We’re going to welcome them.”

      The committee members liked what they saw.

      “I think it’s a really impressive design,” said committee member Jeffrey Strean, director of design and architecture at the neighboring Cleveland Museum of Art.

      The initial segment of the project presented to the design review body Thursday is part of the first phase of the museum’s three-phase project.

      The overall thrust is to give the nationally respected institution a sustainable, light-filled, high-tech home better suited to its mission and collections than the largely outdated and architecturally dull complex it now occupies, which is the end result of numerous ad hoc expansions since the institution moved to Wade Oval in 1958.

      Designed by the nationally respected Denver architecture firm of Fentress Architects, with AECOM and other consultants on exhibits, sustainability and other specialties, the project will involve tearing down about a fifth of the museum’s existing, 230,000-square-foot complex, and then rebuilding and expanding the footprint.

      The completed facility will encompass roughly 300,000 square feet. The museum intends to remain at least partially open throughout the construction process.

      The institution has raised about $50 million of the needed money in cash and pledges so far.

      The project is aiming for Gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program, short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

      The finished facility will include new features including a permanent exhibit and laboratory area on the north side of its complex, plus a multipurpose assembly hall capable of seating 500, along with an Ohio Gallery on the region’s natural history, connected to the relocated Perkins Wildlife Center.

      After Thursday’s meeting, members of the design team said that all trees removed from the museum’s property would be recycled either as mulch to be used on-site in future landscaping, or as habitat elements for wildlife or raw material for furniture to be used inside the museum.

      They said that none of the trees removed from the site would go to a landfill.

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      Save the Date! Back Mountain Bloomers 2015 Garden Tour

      Save the date! The Back Mountain Bloomers Garden Club has announced that the organization’s 2015 ‘Tour of Back Mountain Gardens’ will be held Saturday, June 27, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., rain or shine.  The tour will include at least five beautiful private gardens in Shavertown and Trucksville, Pa., two neighborhoods in the area known as the Back Mountain of Luzerne County.


      The gardens include a variety of styles and themes including a garden where old and new world flowers and shrubs encircle a 1930’s home with delightful results. The Back Mountain Bloomers will offer table designs at each garden, as well as a large display of miniature floral designs at one location.


      A full slate of garden, nature, container and landscaping presentations is planned. The presenting organizations include Anthracite Scenic Trails Association, Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge, Edward’s Garden Center, Fetching Fido Fotography, Master Gardeners of Penn State Extension, Table and Miniature Flower Designs by the Back Mountain Bloomers, NEPA Bonsai Society, Perennial Point Garden Center, Wild Birds Unlimited and Wyoming Valley Art League. Members of the Wyoming Valley Art League will paint and draw at different gardens throughout the day. Their collective works will go on display at a date to be announced later in the year.


      All proceeds from the Garden Tour will benefit the Anthracite Scenic Trails Association (ASTA), an organization developing and maintaining the Back Mountain Trail, a 14-mile former railroad bed that is under development and being transformed into a recreational trail for hiking and biking from Luzerne Borough in the Wyoming Valley to Ricketts Glen State Park. To date, 4.5 miles of the trail is developed.


      Tickets for the ‘Tour of Back Mountain Gardens’ are $25.00 per person. To request a Garden Tour Brochure and registration form, contact Angela Vitkoski by email at, or by phone at (570) 718-6507. The completed registration form and payment should be mailed to Anthracite Scenic Trails Association, P.O. Box 212, Dallas, PA 18612. Additional tour information is available online at


      Tickets will also be available at select retail outlets in early April, including the Back Mountain Library, 96 Huntsville Road, Dallas; Creekside Gardens, 4 Church Drive, Tunkhannock; George Burger Sons Garden Center, 429 South Mountain Blvd., Mountain Top; Perennial Point Garden Center, 1158 River Rd., Plains; and Wild Birds Unlimited, Dallas Shopping Center, Dallas.  Tickets will also be available for purchase during the time of check in for the garden tour at Back Mountain Harvest Assembly, 340 Carverton Rd., Trucksville, on Friday, June 26, from 2-6 p.m., and Saturday June 27, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.  Free garden tour tote bags will be given to the first 500 participants at check in.

      (Information from

      Marianne Tucker Puhalla)

      Article source:

      Gardening tips: Growing your own ginger is easy!

      Gardening tips: Growing your own ginger is easy!

      19/03/2015 , 3:15 PM by Oshaughnessy Gillian

      GingerGardening expert Steve Wood explains how to grow your own ginger plant at home, with just a small piece of ginger root bought from your greengrocer.

      Growing your own ginger root could not be easier, according to gardening expert, Steve Wood on 720 Afternoons in response to a listener query.

      “The secret is all in the timing,” he said.

      Typically ginger is grown in the tropics so you need to plant in spring, towards the end of September when it’s hot.

      Just buy a small piece of ginger root from the greengrocer and plant in rich soil. It will grow well in a pot.

      Your new ginger plant should throw up green shoots in about 14 days.

      Put it where it will get morning sun and afternoon shade, and water at least every two days in the heat of summer.

      “They will thrive,” said Mr Wood.

      Harvest in April.

      Steve Wood says ginger crops also freeze well for up to six months. He freezes whole roots, and grates them directly into food while still frozen.

      Listen to Steve talk it through with Gillian O’Shaughnessy,


      You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

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      Spring Gardening Tips From Cliff Ave Greenhouse

      SIOUX FALLS. S.D. –

      With spring just around the corner, many are likely preparing to start their gardens. However, many plants must be started indoors first, especially with a chilly South Dakota spring.

      Cliff Avenue Greenhouse and Garden Center owner Heidi Teal says starting plants indoors is simple. She says this is the right time of year to begin planting indoors because you should start planting seed about five to six weeks before the last frost of the season, which is typically around mid-May. After that, you can begin moving things outdoors.

      Heidi says the first step is to have the right tools. Choose some small pots to start off with, and make sure you have good lighting, and a heating mat is useful for quicker growing. You should also begin your seeds in “seed starting mix”—not black topsoil. Seed starting mix is a sterile, light soil that will help your plants grow well.

      Plants that are easy to start off indoors are vegetables like peppers, tomatoes, herbs, and flowering bulbs. Annuals like impatients, marigolds, violas, pansies, and petunias are also good to start inside.

      Heidi says a key to having a green thumb is making sure you are not overwatering your plants. Keep them moist, but not sopping wet. Check the soil by sticking your finger in the dirt; if it feels dry and sandy, spray it lightly with water from a spray bottle.

      Most seed packets will have directions on the back that you can follow. Heidi says to fill your small pots with starting seed mix all the way to the top, then pack it down either with a wood block or with your hands (think packed brown sugar). Spread your seeds over your packed starting seed mix. Top it with vermiculite, a soil amendment that covers seeds without suffocating them and allows light and water to get through to the seeds. Spritz with some water from a water bottle—moist, not sopping wet!

      Many seeds will begin to germinate, or break the soil, within eight to ten days. Keep them in their pots for about five to six weeks, then you can begin transferring them to bigger pots before taking them outdoors.

      To transfer, use the same packing process in your larger pot, and poke a hole into the soil with either a dowel or your finger. Take your plant, roots intact, and move it into the hole in your larger pot, scooping some soil around the base of the plant. For some vegetables like tomatoes with longer stems, you will see small hairs near the base of the plant—those should be buried into the soil, as they will root out as they grow. Keep them in the larger pot for another four weeks until they are ready to be transferred outdoors.

      For more tips and gardening advice, you can visit Heidi at the Cliff Ave Greenhouse and Garden Center located on 26th St. and 41st St.

      Article source:

      This week’s gardening tips: remove faded flowers, increase watering, don’t …

      It should be safe to plant tender bedding plants now such as marigolds, zinnias, blue daze, pentas, celosia, salvia, portulaca, purslane, lantana and others. Try to wait until the weather is hotter in April to plant periwinkles to minimize the chance of disease problems.

      Cool-season bedding plants are currently putting on an outstanding display, and will continue to do so through next month. Enjoy them until they begin to play out in late April or May. At that time, remove the old cool season bedding plants and plant your warm season bedding plants into those beds.
      Remove faded flowers and developing seed pods from spring flowering bulbs that are to be kept for bloom next year. Do not remove any of the green foliage, and fertilize them if you did not do so last month. Those spring flowering bulbs being grown as annuals can be pulled up and discarded any time after flowering. Chop them up and put them in your compost pile.
      Don’t miss the Northshore Spring Garden Show and Plant Sale taking place Friday and Saturday, March 20-21, in the Bobby Fletcher Agriculture Center at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds in Covington. The show will be from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. each day. Admission is $5 per person and children 12 and under can enter free.
      Warmer temperatures and active growth make watering increasingly important if regular rainfall does not occur. New plantings of vegetables and bedding plant transplants need the most attention. They are vulnerable to drying out until the plants have a chance to grow a strong root system into the surrounding soil. You may need to thoroughly water new plantings twice a week, or as needed, especially those in full sun.

      Article source:

      Fresh trends and tips for spring gardening

      TORONTO – Gardening enthusiasts may be anxious to dig in as the weather warms up, but after a tough winter across much of Canada, outdoor green space may be in need of a little extra TLC.

      Denis Flanagan said homeowners should be surveying their property for any damage as a result of heavy snow and ice.

      “It tends to tear the bark where it joins the trunk and the sooner you can clean off that damaged branch … the less likelihood is that pests and diseases are going to get into that plant,” said Flanagan, public relations manager of Landscape Ontario, co-founder of Canada Blooms, the country’s largest flower and garden festival which concludes Sunday in Toronto.

      Fresh trends and tips for spring gardening

      Landscape Ontario public relations manager Denis Flanagan is seen in this undated handout photo.

      THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Landscape Ontario


      Global News

      Depending on soil conditions due to the volume of accumulated snow, gardens are going to be a bit wet this spring, Flanagan noted. He advised not to go out in gardens too early since treading on damp soil will compact it — “which is a bad thing.”

      As the ground freezes and thaws, Flanagan said the crown, or centre, of perennials tends to get pushed up from beneath the soil. “Then we get some drying winds and it dries it out.”

      He recommended checking plants and adding 2.5 to five centimetres (an inch or two) of mulch around them to protect them.

      “When we’ve had late, cold rains and gardens flood and that perennial is sitting in cold frozen water, they can actually rot off and get damaged. That is possible.

      “You’re not going to know that till early spring until you poke around and see some green shoots coming up.”

      Sometimes after a long winter some plants aren’t killed but are delayed — a prime example being the rose of Sharon.

      “It looks dead and people panic and dig it up.”

      He suggested using a thumbnail to scratch below the bark.

      “If it’s green below the bark you know that that is eventually going to come. It might just be a few weeks later than what you normally would see.”

      For novices seeking to flex their green thumbs, Flanagan recommends starting with more manageable container gardening.

      “You can have it close to the back door. You don’t have to march down to the garden to look after it.

      “I always believe your first attempt at a garden should be a successful one so that encourages you to move on the following year — and that’s why I think container gardening is such a good way to start off.”

      Raised-bed gardening may be another option.

      “Instead of actually digging down into the ground, you’re getting some timber or some stones and building a bed up to 10, 15 inches (25 to 38 centimetres) high, filling it with brand-new soil.

      “You’ve got a fresh start and it makes gardening a lot easier.”

      For gardeners keen to add some fresh blooms for the warmer months, here are a few of Flanagan’s recommendations.

      BrazelBerries: The new forms of blueberries and raspberries are hybrid plants, which tend to be on the more compact side, making them ideal to fit into small spaces.

      Haskap: Flanagan said the deciduous shrub bears the fruit of a honeysuckle which can be used for cooking.

      L.A. Dreamin’ and Red Diamond: Flanagan said the new varieties of hydrangeas are “absolutely stunning.”

      “The colours on these are just magnificent, and the blooms tend to last most of the summer; so those are going to be very, very hot.

      Oh So Orange: Flanagan said bold orange colours will be big in blooms this year and foresees this citrus-hued geranium being among them.

      © The Canadian Press, 2015

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