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Archives for March 21, 2015

First home, remodeling show in 4 years to offer 250 booths

To say you get what you pay for usually isn’t meant in a positive way.

That’s not the case next weekend.

The Rio Rancho Home Remodeling Show at Santa Ana Star Center features free admission for the first hour each day, 10-11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, March 28 and 29 – and kids under 12 are admitted free the whole time.

For that free entry fee, with a matching cost to park, show-goers can see the latest home products and services, and return home with some home improvement ideas.

More than 150 home remodeling, furnishings and product professionals amounting to about 250 booths will be on hand to provide the public with home improvement ideas, some with special savings offered only at the event.

“It is a great opportunity for residents to get an early jump start on their spring home improvement plans while enjoying another great event at Santa Ana Star center,” said Rio Rancho Mayor Gregg Hull. “I encourage local Rio Rancho businesses to participate and invite people from across the metro to attend.”

“We’re part of the mayor’s small-business initiative – and we’re proud to be,” said show marketer David Griffin. “It’s a heck of a good effort the mayor’s bringing to the people of New Mexico. We’re members of the chamber and we support small business. We were out talking small business (recently).”

Although the first home show in Rio Rancho was held at the Star Center in its first year of operation (2006-07), there hasn’t been a home show there for four years. To illustrate how much the city has changed in less than a decade, at that first show “America’s Master Handyman,” Glenn Haege, told people his GPS couldn’t locate what was then a brand-new arena.

“In recent years, we’ve made our home shows more valuable for homeowners by including companies that are great at what they do and offer significant deals to our attendees,” said John Provato, president of Interact Productions, the event producer.

“Whether it’s remodeling, landscaping, home décor, furnishings, solar energy experts – whatever the homeowner might need to make the home more valuable and beautiful – we’ve brought the best to our show: the best companies, the best values.”

The show runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 29. Admission after the first hour is $5.

Saving money, of course, is always an incentive.

“The economy took a hell of a toll on Rio Rancho and everybody in the United States,” Griffin said. “I know businesses want to reach out for growth. The show is gonna do great; we’re doing a tremendous amount of promotion all over the place.”

Griffin said a home show at Expo New Mexico in mid-January drew 11,500 attendees.

Among the vendors who signed on early were Waste Management, Affordable Service, Amtek Builders, BBVA Compass Bank, Birkshire Hathaway, Blackford Solar Screens, Budget Blinds, Calles Magnetic Solutions, Krysia Designs, Landscape Solutions, Pure Water Solutions, Rio Rancho Garage Door and The Pampered Chef.

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Garden fresh ideas

You’ve heard the phrase “farm to table.” By now you’re probably familiar with “garden to table” – the movement toward growing your own delicious, healthy food – whether it’s in pots, raised beds or large lots.

With planting season not far off, inspiration for this and more can be found at Plantasia at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall in Hamburg – from the organic-blueberry stand display built by Buffalo Tree House to the exhibit created by students from the Niagara County Community College (NCCC) horticulture program and McKinley High School continuing-education program.

But why stop there? With all this enthusiasm for planting vegetables, fruits and herbs, outdoor kitchens continue to be a hot topic, said Mike Frank, owner of Chevalier Outdoor Living. His display includes a backyard pizza oven, with a well-accessorized dining table nearby.

“I wanted to create a semi-sophisticated pizza party,” said his wife Sue, who chose a black-and-white diamond-patterned tablecloth as the base for her tablescape.

Now in its 15th year, the four-day Plantasia – dubbed “Western New York’s Premier Garden and Landscape Show” – runs through Sunday. It’s here you’ll find landscaped beds with flowers, shrubs and trees; water features; garden furniture, art and accessories; hardscaping ideas (paths, pergolas, etc.); grills; garden-inspired jewelry and more, as well as a lineup of seminars given by Certified Nursery Landscape Professionals (CNLPs) and garden experts.

This year’s theme: Every Garden Tells a Story. Think fairy tales, romance novels and such.

A few other trends:

• Succulents, succulents and more succulents: You will find them throughout – in everything from small burlap-wrapped pots to mega-size containers. They even are the inspiration for decorative items such as candle bases.

• Garden illumination. “Lighting seems to be getting bigger every year,” said Chris Zeisz, show chairman and owner of Snyder Ridge Landscaping. He pointed out a multicolored sparkling lighting system installed behind a round wall of ivy topiary in a featured display.

• Into the woods: Menne Nursery Garden Artistry designed a backyard space with plenty of privacy. “We tried to make it natural and woodsy – and more enclosed. We brought in a lot of woodland plants – weeping Japanese maple, a variety of hostas, rhododendrons for spring flowers and hydrangeas for summer flowers,” said Guy T. Berberich, home and garden decor manager. Furniture crafted from ipe hardwood enhances the look.

• Cheerful brights: Outdoor accessories such as generously proportioned pillows, wall clocks and hammock chairs add a fun punch of color to porches and other outdoor spaces, said MJ Brown, owner of Tangled Twigs in Ellicottville. At the same time she sees vintage accessories as a good fit for gardens; she designs garden stakes with tops crafted from vintage china, for example. She also sees a continued interest in subdued, Zen-inspired gardens. “They’re so soothing,” she said.

What to know: Plantasia, which opened Thursday, continues through Sunday at the Fairgrounds Event Center and Artisan Hall, 5820 South Park Ave., Hamburg. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are available during show hours at the Event Center’s Box Office. General adult admission, $9; senior citizens, $7 (age 60 and older; no other discounts apply). Children age 12 and younger are free. See for lists of educational seminars, exhibitors, vendors, events, general admission discount coupon, directions and the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens’ daily schedule of happenings at the Adventure to the Lonely Mountain children’s garden. Parking is free.


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Getting a Taste of the REALTORS® Home & Garden Show

Spring is officially here and the REALTORS® Home Garden Show presented by Unilock is up and running at State Fair Park. Now through March 29, homeowners can gather the latest tips and trends in renovating, landscaping, decorating and entertaining. It’s ground zero for home and garden advice with over 350 professionals all under one roof.

Whether you’re planning a home improvement project or looking to host a dinner party for eight, find your niche by visiting the expo’s many free workshops.

Showcasing Milwaukee’s top chefs and baristas, The Fresh Cooking Patio sponsored by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel lets budding chefs grow their appetite for inventive menus and drinks. Guests may sample the morsels of goodness at the conclusion of demos.

On March 22 at 11 am, Valentine Coffee Roasters will perk up the crowd with best practices for brewing coffee, followed by Micah Kaufman from Café Calatrava at 1 pm and Kyle Cherek, host of Wisconsin Foodie, at 3 pm with at-home cooking tips.

Andrew Muraski from The Grain Exchange will visit on March 25 with simple techniques to elevate your food with fresh herbs and Karen Gill of Down to Earth Chef will present “Different Meals, Same Ingredients” on March 26. Both sessions start at 6 pm.

On March 27, Dave Norris from University Club, 12 pm, Andrew Ruiz from Joey Gerard’s, 2 pm, Zach Espinosa from Harbor House, 4 pm, and Bradford Shovlin from Smyth, 5:30 pm, will talk seafood, supper clubs and cooking with local, seasonal ingredients.

Following them on March 28 is Jennifer Streicher and Chris Green from Black Sheep at 11 am. Christian Schroeder from Nourri at 1 pm, Matt Kerley from University Club at 3 pm, Justin Fuhrman from Café Benelux at 5 pm and Betty Holloway from NuGenesis Farm at 6:30 pm, teaching attendees how to maximize the nutritional value of the foods you eat.

Closing out the show on March 29, is Valentine Coffee Roasters at 11 am, Andrew Muraski from The Grain Exchange at 1 pm and Cole Ersel from Wolf Peach at 3 pm, presenting “Country Pork Pate with House Made Beer Mustard.”

Tour the Garden Promenade and Enter to Win an iPad
Aside from do-it-yourself workshops and cooking demos, the show’s Garden Promenade plants more ideas for recharging yards and patios. Featuring 12 landscaped living spaces, each garden combines plantings, water features and hardscapes with creature comforts like outdoor kitchens, sound systems and fire pits, creating a haven for relaxing or entertaining.

The 12 gardens at the show are designed by by Aquatica, Breezy Hill Nursery, Brennan Landscaping, Inc., Exteriors Unlimited Landscape Contractors, Inc., Extreme Exteriors, Ground Affects Landscaping, Inc., Innovative Exteriors Landscape, Kelly’s Greenscapes, LLC, La Rosa Landscape, MJS Landscaping Services, Quality Landscaping and Landscape Master LLC. Attendees can choose their favorite garden design for the People’s Choice Award and enter to win an iPad. Pick up a People’s Choice ballot at the show’s entrance where a sculpture garden and new interactive water feature is displayed.

Returning by popular demand, four prominent Midwest artists will showcase 20 works of welcoming sculptural art, each inspired by natural and contemporary elements. The 2015 participating artists include Bruce Niemi (, Don Rambadt (, Peter Flanary ( and Bernard Roberts ( Playjet, a new interactive fountain game supplied by Reinders Inc. and designed by Claas WaterWorx challenges attendees to hit moving light targets with a joystick-controlled water jet.

Discover Sustainable Solutions
Solutions Stage seminar attendees will learn about the latest gardening trends and gain fresh design ideas while being surrounded by trees and plantings in Breckenridge Landscape Park. The ambient nature sounds create a spring feeling while the hourly rainstorm complete with thunder and lightning sound effects remind attendees that May flowers are just around the corner.

Visitors can also tour the latest energy-saving concepts and environmentally friendly landscaping ideas at the Sustainable Solutions Idea Center, designed and built by Breckenridge Landscape. This unique environment showcase inspires with the addition of a new trademarked Breckenridge designed fire-water feature ideal for any size space.

Shop the Garden Market MPTV Great TV Auction Preview
If larger projects aren’t on your agenda, lawn ornaments, patio accessories and gardening tools at the Garden Market. In addition, more than 1,000 pieces of art, antiques and collectibles are displayed as part of the MPTV Great TV Auction (Apr 24-May 2). Pre-bids will be accepted on all items at the show.

If you go
The 91st REALTORS® Home Garden Show presented by Unilock is at State Fair Park from now through March 29 (Closed March 23 24). Show hours are Friday and Saturday 10 am to 8 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, and Wednesday and Thursday 4 pm to 8 pm. Tickets are $8 for adults, free for children 12 and younger and free for active military with ID. The first 500 cars receive free parking, compliments of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, beginning at 5 pm on March 25 and 26. Visit or call (414) 443-2109 for more information.

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Trowel & Glove: Marin garden calendar for the week of March 21, 2015


Workshops and seminars: Sloat Garden Center has five Marin County locations that offer gardening workshops and seminars on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: The Marin Master Gardeners present a variety of how-to workshops, seminars and special events throughout Marin County on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Gardening volunteers: The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 415-899-8296.

Nursery volunteers: Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, or 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Marin Headlands Nursery; or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Muir Beach, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 415-561-3077 or go to

Nursery days: The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 415-663-8590, ext. 114, or email to register and for directions. Go to for more information.

Garden visits: Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 415-473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

Garden volunteers: Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to or email

Harvesting volunteers: The Marin Organic Glean Team seeks volunteers to harvest extras from the fields at various farms for the organic school lunch and gleaning program. Call 415-663-9667 or go to

Around the bay

Landscape garden: Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to

Olive ranch: McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tours, workshops and special events. Call 707-769-4123 or go to

Botanical garden: Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to

— Compiled by Adrian Rodriguez

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 2 megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

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From The Ground Up: Gardening books help grow your ideas

If you are like me, you read as many gardening books in the winter months as you can.

From edible landscaping and essential perennials to topics I doubt I will ever attempt (such as topiary and the green smoothie garden) — I read ’em all with the confidence that I will absorb at least some of what is written.

I am also hoping that before the digging up of earthworms, being a bookworm will help prepare me with garden ideas, as well as solutions to problems that may crop up during the year.

Here are some books that I have perused in the last couple months:

“The Allergy-Fighting Garden” by Thomas Leo Ogren (Ten Speed Press, $22.99) — An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from asthma and allergies. For those people who like to garden, this book shows how to avoid plants that trigger allergies and how to create a garden that will protect you by trapping pollen and cleaning the air around your yard.

“Epic Tomatoes” by Craig LeHoullier (Storey Publishing, $21.74) — LeHoullier, tomato adviser for Seed Savers Exchange, offers everything a tomato devotee needs to know about growing more than 200 varieties of tomatoes — from sowing seeds and planting to cultivating and collecting seeds.

“Essential Perennials” by Ruth Rogers Clausen and Thomas Christopher (Timber Press, $39.95) — These year-after-year plants are the bastion of any garden. For each plant, readers will find information on color, bloom season, foliage characteristics, width and height, light requirements, hardiness and heat sensitivity.

“Garden Inspirations” by Charlotte Moss (Rizzoli, to be released in April, $50) — An interior designer shows the ways the garden can influence and provide inspiration every day — indoors and outdoors.

“Garden-Pedia: An A-to-Z guide to Gardening Terms” by Pamela Bennett and Maria Zampini (St. Lynn’s Press, $16.95) – What’s the difference between a cold frame and cloche? A native from a navitar? Even the most educated garden folk have trouble keeping all terms straight. This 160-page paperback explains, in simple English, 275 of the most common terms.

“How to Mulch” by Stu Campbell and Jennifer Kujawski (Storey Publishing, $8.95) — Mulching is a basic gardening technique that makes gardens more attractive, but there are many other benefits. With this 96-page paperback, readers will learn how to mulch properly and avoid potential water deficiencies.

“Old Farmer’s Almanac Garden Guide” (Yankee Publishing, $4.99) — The annual publication is a welcome harbinger of spring. This year’s guide features tips on how to incorporate more edibles into the garden, as well as recipes made from home-grown ingredients. Information:

“The Nonstop Color Garden” by Nellie Neal (Cool Springs Press, $24.99) — Color is one of the most important parts of garden design. In this 192-page paperback, Neal offers plant suggestions for year-round color using flowers, groundcovers, shrubs and trees.

“The Right-Size Flower Garden” by Kerry Ann Mendez (St. Lynn’s Press, $18.95) — Not everyone has the time or energy to tend to a big garden or space. Landscape company owner Mendez tells readers how to embrace the “small” garden with tips, “plant this not that” lists and shortcuts.

“Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt” by Kate Messner, art by Christopher Silas Neal (Chronicle Books, $16.99) – Written for children ages 5-8, this 52-page hardcover is Messner’s follow-up to “Over and Under the Snow.”


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Realtors Home & Garden Show

The Realtors Home Garden Show features more than 10,000 square feet of garden, nursery, landscaping, sculpture and fountain displays from the area’s top professionals. This year’s show includes 12 showcase gardens. The show at the Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, runs through Sunday, March 29, 2015.

© 2015, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved.

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Gardening tips for the advent of spring

Annual wildflower walks, blooming forsythia and daffodils all herald the upcoming spring season.

Here are some garden tips for March from the Nevada County Master Gardeners:

— Germinate seeds indoors/ You can start a variety of vegetables inside using full spectrum florescent lights or a sunny window. A heating mat is also an option for starting seeds inside.

Use sterile seed starting mix and seed trays or containers with holes in the bottom for drainage. Choose your seeds and read the label closely, especially the depth of planting and germination time. And remember to label the seed trays.

— Transplant seedlings when roots start to grow out drain holes in bottom of seedling trays. Seedlings can then be planted in larger pots using potting mix, being careful not to damage fragile stems and roots as you transplant the seedlings.

— Check the temperature of your garden soil. Seed germination for many cool-weather crops will not occur when soil temperatures are below 40 degrees. Lettuce, onions, spinach and parsnips will geminate at 35 degrees.

Warm weather crops require at least 60 degree soil temperatures for best germination.

With our warm winter and early spring, the soil may be warm enough to start seeds outside, but beware of frost that could happen anytime.

Climate charts can be found in the Master Gardener’s Western Nevada County Gardening Guide, or from online sites.

— During drought conditions, plan to make the best use of available water. Proper timing and amount of water for each type of plant will make a difference.

Start planning your irrigation system now, before the plants start to produce. In heavy clay soil, the addition of organic matter such as compost, aged sawdust or rice hulls will help hold moisture.

— Consider the Monarch butterfly. The Monarch population is in serious jeopardy and these beautiful insects require the milkweed plant for their survival.

Monarchs lay their eggs on and eat the leaves of the milkweed plant. There are four types of milkweed native to Nevada County. Look for plants or seeds of the Asclepias speciosa (Showy milkweed) a. cordifolia, a. eriocarpa, or a. fasicularis (narrow leaf milkweed).

Plan to attend a Master Gardener workshop. Coming up are two workshops focusing on vegetable gardening in the foothills.

“Strategies for Dealing with Poor Soil, Weeds and Other Realities in the Vegetable Garden” will be presented today; “Foothill Vegetable Gardening: Ready, Set, Grow” will be offered April 4.

These workshops will take place in the lower level of the Grass Valley Elks Club, 109 S. School St.

On March 28, “Irrigation Logic” will be offered at the NID business grounds, 1036 W. Main St. in Grass Valley. Workshops are free and are from 10 a.m. to noon.

For more information, visit the Master Gardener website at

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Top tips for tending your garden safely

With the astronomical season of spring beginning yesterday, casualty departments up and down the country will fill up with hapless gardeners.

Gardening injuries normally happen in the spring. The first sunny day of the year inspires hours of weeding, pruning and digging after a winter of sitting on the sofa eating pies. Long winter days are but a distant memory now that we’ve had the first sniff of spring and out we all rush, full of enthusiasm, to dig up the neglected borders or mow that soggy lawn.

Much as I like to encourage people to get out and garden because it’s therapeutic in so many ways, I would also add a caution; it can actually be quite hazardous.

Last weekend my garden was invaded by that most dangerous of species – a man with a mower.

Like most of the fairer sex, I view a garden as a peaceful haven of tranquility, to be pottered around in with a trowel in one hand and a glass of lemonade in the other.

Not so my husband, who, like most of the male species, likes nothing better than to rush about making as much disruption as possible with every conceivable noisy piece of garden equipment that was ever invented.

I fear we have become the classic ‘nuisance neighbour.’ According to figures published by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, roughly 87,000 of us each year will require hospital attention for accidents sustained through gardening or carrying out DIY jobs in the garden.

A staggering 6,500 people a year are injured by lawnmowers and many of these accidents happen when ‘people’ cut themselves cleaning the blades.

By ‘people’ we’re talking mostly men, not women, who have the most injuries in the garden.

Rushing back into the garden in spring is like a professional footballer rushing back on to the pitch after his summer holiday.

So to avoid injury, guys, please take it easy at first and take regular breaks from repetitive tasks which can cause muscle strain.

I would also advise those amongst us who have a less than full head of hair to put on a hat while gardening in the sun; I understand that a sunburnt scalp can be very, very painful.

while there are perils of injury from garden implements, plants themselves are often culprits.

Apart from the obvious thorns and spikes on many garden plants, there’s a very common, innocuously innocent looking plant called a ‘Euphorbia,’ which just one drop of its sap on your skin can cause a severe rash.

If the white, milky latex touches a cut or sore or squirts into your eyes, you are courting trouble of major proportions.

Another common cause of garden accident is from eating poisonous plants.

The list is almost endless so I guess that common sense has to prevail.

After all, you wouldn’t eat a strange mushroom or toadstool unless you knew for sure that they are edible.

If you’ve never seen it served as a food or a garnish, like violas or nasturtiums in a salad, don’t eat it.

Whether you’re an active gardener, or just like nosing over the fence at other people’s gardens, take some time to enjoy your outside room – safely.

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Spring Home & Garden Tips



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Early Spring Gardening Tips From Cliff Ave Greenhouse

Co-owner Heidi Teal gives a few pointers on getting your yard ready for Spring season.

It’s officially Spring and that may have some thinking about that lawn and garden makeover. However, if you are thinking about planting, that is going to have to start indoors first.

Heidi Teal, co-owner and manager at Cliff Ave Greenhouse says if you want to get a jump start on planing you can start indoors. She says plants you can start now are vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, onions and herbs. You can also start annuals such as begonias, pansies, marigolds and impatiens inside as well.

The time to take your plants outside is after the last frost, which is around mid-May. Though Heidi says you can start hardening off your plants by taking them outside during the warmer days in the spring and bringing them in at night. This will toughen the plant up and they will start to tolerate cooler weather.

But if you are looking to get outside now you can work at cleaning up your lawn. Power raking is a good way to clear out all the dead leaves and grass. You can also prune late blooming shrubs and perennials as well.

Fertilizer can also be be laid down around this time too, but you have to watch. You really need a good rain or another water source to allow for the fertilizer to soak in. Other wise is is just going to sit there and not work for you. Heidi says you should hold off on the grass seed for now.

If you have evergreen trees that are brown on either the north or west side of the tree, that is called winter-burn. That is when cooler temperatures and wind hits the tree and pull moisture out. You normally see it when we get a warm-up, which we’ve had the past few weeks. If you touch the needles and they fall apart, that part is dead and you can prune that out. If its light green you can mix up fertilizer called mere-acid and toss it on the trees.

Heidi says you can also air-rate your yard, but that can also be done in the fall. If you get it professionally done they can check to see if you yard needs it or not.

For more lawn and garden tips you can visit Heidi at Cliff Ave Greenhouse and Garden Center on 26th and 41st streets.

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