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Archives for March 26, 2015

Former landscaper offers outdoor design showroom in Medford

Posted Mar. 25, 2015 at 6:37 PM
Updated at 6:55 AM

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Home and Builders Show aims to put spring in air, fill honey-do jars

Pay no attention to the snowflakes that have lurked behind curtains of clouds this week: Spring’s greenery soon will replace the brown landscape to put bounce in your step and spark ideas to fill honey-do jars.

A harbinger of spring lands this weekend in the guise of the 35th annual Greater La Crosse Home and Builders Show, which will feature about 115 vendors at the La Crosse Center, showcasing ways to sweep away the winter blues.

The vendors will tout remodeling materials, interior decorations, landscaping ideas, kitchen items, appliances, flooring, garage doors, siding, windows, water-conditioning systems, home theaters and more, said Bill Jackson, producer of the show and president of West Des Moines-headquartered Jackson Expo Group.

After a partly sunny (or partly cloudy, depending on your outlook on life) forecast for today, the clouds will part Friday for a sunny run-up to the show’s opening at 5 p.m.

The La Crosse Builders Exchange sponsors the show through Sunday, which will include seminars spanning topics such as green heating with geothermal technology or renewable pellets, paint palettes palatable for your palace, home brewing and installing tile backsplashes.

Greenery also will sprout in daily seminars titled “Good, Bad and Beautiful” presented by Mic Armstrong, a McKay Nursery representative who operates Armstrong Landscaping in Sparta.

The presentations will include examples of good landscaping, bad plants and beautiful foliage, Armstrong said.

“I will show nice new designs I’ve done where I took out old sidewalks that didn’t make any sense and added plants to make it more appealing for visitors,” he said.

“I also will talk about the importance of having a plan instead of just plunking plants down,” Armstrong said.

Armstrong will detail the potential peril from invasive plants such as giant hogweed, a federally listed noxious weed because its sap can cause severe skin and eye irritation, painful blistering, permanent scarring and blindness, and Japanese knotweed, which behaves rudely to crowd out native species.

And he will explain the advantages of including edible plants in flower beds.

“Kale, asparagus and rhubarb all add a nice texture to beds,” he said.

On the beauty side, Armstrong will introduce varieties of plants such as spirea, butterfly bush, dogwood and hydrangeas.

Attendance at five other shows that Jackson Expo Group has produced recently increased from previous years, Jackson said.

“During the long winter months, homeowners start planning the projects they want to take on once spring arrives,” he said.

“There is a lot more interest this year from the public wanting to get out and get things going,” he said.

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Home Help: Low-maintenance landscaping ideas

Posted Feb. 23, 2015 at 2:01 AM

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Bring nature to the yard… strive for a sustainable landscape

By Shari Friedel Tribune Staff

Spring is the time when most homeowners turn their attention to the outdoors.
Those who want to save time, energy and water, lower dependency on chemicals and increase curb appeal may want to consider a shift toward a “sustainable” yard.
One aspect of sustainable landscaping is choosing the right plant, and putting it in the right place, a concept promoted by Plant Select® a non-profit collaboration of Colorado State University, Denver Botanic Gardens and landscape professionals in the Rocky Mountain area.
To many people, a flawless green carpet of Kentucky bluegrass is a beautiful sight, but where water conservation is an issue, it comes at a price—to the homeowner and the environment. A large lawn requires a lot of time, energy, water and chemicals just to keep it alive, trimmed and weed-free.
Grant averages 19 inches of rain per year. Most traditional lawns require an inch of water per week to thrive and look their best. With approximately 30 weeks in the growing season, that translates to a whole lot of watering if rainfall is scarce.
“People  need to change their thinking—less inputs with water, fertilizer and pesticides should be the overall focus, using native plants, rebuilding our ecosystems and doing it in a safe manner with the principles of water-wise and fire-wise techniques,” said Linda Langelo, Horticulture Program Associate for Golden Plains Area Extension at Sedgwick County., Colo.
Another goal of sustainable landscaping is the creation of habitat for wildlife.
Several varieties of desirable insects such as monarch butterflies and honeybees have experienced dramatic decreases in their populations, due in part by decreased habitat and increased pesticide use.
In describing simple steps homeowners can take to support insects and pollinators, University of Delaware professor and author of ‘Bringing Nature  Home,’ Doug Tallamy, said, “Abandon the age-old concept that humans live here and nature is somewhere else, and embrace the concept that we need to share our spaces with nature.”
“Research has shown that spending time in nature is the best way to recharge your attention span and deal with the stresses of life. Living with nature is a healthy necessity, not a sacrifice we must endure.
“There are 45.6 million acres of lawn in the U.S. and it is growing by 500 square miles a year. That’s an area eight times the size of New Jersey from which the species that run our ecosystems have been removed.
“Lawn should not be our default landscaping practice,” Tallamy said. “ If we cut the area of lawn in half, we could create the equivalent of a new national park that is 20 million acres in size. That alone would create the biggest natural area in the nation, bigger that most of our national parks combined.”
Sustainable landscaping and habitat building practices can be incorporated by any homeowner with a few steps.
Xeriscaping is a concept developed by the Denver Water Dept. and roughly translates to “dry scaping,” or making use of plants with low water requirements.
The practice usually involves the reduction of turf area, and incorporation of native plants. According to “Eartheasy: solutions for sustainable living,” xeriscaping reduces landscape water use by 50-75 percent; reduces maintenance, fertilizers and pesticides; improves property value; reduces pollution and creates wildlife habitat.
Homeowners may be surprised at the variety of fascinating and beautiful flowers  and plants that thrive in hot, dry locations.
Where turf is removed, a layer of gravel mulch is incorporated. This look may take some getting used to, but if a homeowner is committed to the concept of water conservation, it can be done. The starkness of the gravel is offset by clumps of native grass, shrubs, flowers and ground cover that have year-round visual interest.
Alternative grasses such as buffalo grass may also be considered for turf areas. Buffalo grass needs minimal watering and infrequent, if any, mowing to maintain.
A good place to start is on an area furthest from your water source, or a small section of lawn bordered by a sidewalk that is inconvenient to keep mowed. Incorporate gravel or rock and plant material that can survive on a small amount of water once established, but keep in mind that establishment takes one-three years, and extra watering will be required initially.
With a little extra effort now, the rewards will pay off later with a more interesting, earth-friendly environment.
Access the website for specific information on recommended plants and their care.

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Cleveland Museum of Art plans new maintenance building plus improvements to …

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A new maintenance building for the Cleveland Museum of Art may sound like a small and unglamorous project, but it’s also a prelude to improvements on museum-controlled land along Doan Brook in the city’s beloved Rockefeller Park.

The museum has announced it will add a new $2 million maintenance facility alongside its new West Wing and demolish an aging and ugly maintenance building it now uses along Doan Brook east of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

After the new facility is finished at the end of the year, the museum will embark on fresh landscaping for the site occupied by the older building, a 7.5-acre swath of land along the brook, downhill and west of the museum.

The initial concept is to treat the property along the brook, which the museum controls under a 100-year lease with the city of Cleveland that began in 2004, as an extension of Rockefeller Park and the Cultural Gardens.

“Honestly, I think it’s a great project,” William Griswold, the museum’s director, said in an interview Wednesday.

“From a purely practical standpoint, this will represent a substantial improvement over what we have, and from an aesthetic viewpoint, it will be a huge improvement,” he said.

The project “will allow us to take down the other [existing] building and rehabilitate a part of University Circle that is currently underutilized and which frankly looks pretty terrible now,” he said.

Plans for the land along Doan Brook have not yet crystallized, but Griswold said: “We’re going to create parkland and space the community and the museum can use.”

Jeffrey Strean, the museum’s director of design and architecture, said the project represents the next step in the museum’s effort to open up the west side of its campus to adjacent neighborhoods, particularly Hough, from which it has long seemed to be walled off.

Strean also said the new maintenance facility would allow the museum to create a more finished look for the service area at the northwest corner of its expanded complex.

Today, for example, he said that Dumpsters are visible from a dining room in the museum’s Provenance restaurant. When they new facility is built, the Dumpsters will be enclosed.

Designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Massachusetts, the new building will appear to burrow into the hillside just west of the granite pinstripe facades of the museum’s new West Wing. (A brief presentation about the facility is included at the bottom of this post.)

The 5,400-square-foot facility will include glassy garage doors and parking bays for landscaping machinery including Bobcats that the museum uses on its grounds.

The new building will be topped by an earthen roof planted with grass so it resembles a natural extension of the landscaping along the west face of the museum.

Strean said the museum leased the land along the brook and the existing maintenance building to provide space for a construction office during its expansion and renovation, plus “lay-down” space for construction materials and parking for workers.

He said the older maintenance building dates back to the 1950s and originally included public restrooms. He also said the 7.5-acre site shows signs of having once hosted courts for lawn bowling or bocce.

In addition to the land along the brook, the museum owns its own four-acre site and co-manages the 10-acre Fine Arts Garden and Wade Lagoon with the city through the Fine Arts Garden Commission.

The museum will also share ownership of 4.1 acres sold to it and Case Western Reserve University by the Cleveland Institute of Art at 11141 East Blvd., which is consolidating its operations at its Uptown campus.

Strean said plans for the maintenance project would be presented soon to the city’s Euclid Corridor Design Review Committee and the City Planning Commission for approval.

“This is unfinished business for me,” Strean said of the $2 million project. “It killed me when we had to leave the existing maintenance building up. That area deserves better.”

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Eden Prairie Garden Expo gives glimpse at spring

Despite the recent snowfall, Eden Prairie residents are ready for spring.

Nearly 105 exhibitors offered advice and insider tips on how to maintain gardens, windows, wood furnishings and more at the 13th annual Home, Landscape Garden Expo on March 21 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.

Visitors browse more than 100 exhibitors at the Home, Landscape and Garden Expo March 21 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie.

“We’ve increased the number of exhibitor tables this year, and our experts [focused] on year-round maintenance,” said Audrianna Schenck, membership and events manager for the Eden Prairie Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s show featured tips for Do-It-Yourself projects, finding the right contractor, protecting outdoor wooden finishes and more. Chamber members were especially excited to announce that former Minnesota Vikings player Matt Blair appeared at the event.

“We wanted to draw in a new and even larger audience,” Schenck said.

Attendance in past years has ranged from 1,500 to more than 2,000 people, and according to Cory Whitmer, design manager at The Mustard Seed Landscaping Garden Center, this year’s expo drew in a sizeable crowd, as well.

Visitors explore the Mustard Seed Landscaping Garden Center at the Home, Landscape and Garden Expo March 21 at Grace Church in Eden Prairie. (Sun Current staff photo by Michelle Doeden)

“We had good traffic flow, which is nice because we get to see our regular customers along with new customers,” Whitmer said.

Exhibitors also presented seminars all day in topics ranging from organic gardening to kitchen remodeling to pest removal.

“I’ve given seminars here for six years, and it’s always nice to see a boost in business afterwards,” Whitmer said.

While the event may seem exclusive to home and outdoor maintenance, other companies such as Anytime Fitness, Envy Skin Clinic and i9 Sports made appearances.

Additionally, environmental groups such as the Eden Prairie Conservation Commission, Lower MN Watershed District and Minnesota Renewable Energy Society educated visitors on their current efforts.

“We’re going to have quite a solar industry here in Minnesota,” said Doug Shoemaker, Minnesota Renewable Energy Society volunteer.

The event also featured local family-owned and operated landscaping company Pudas Landscape and Construction for their 13th year.

“It’s great to see the people we’ve done work with, and it’s just as important that we let people know about us,” Designer Richard Pudas said.

Contact Michelle Doeden at [email protected]

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Gardening tips to help ease your Central Coast allergies

Thomas Ogren considers himself a life-long plant geek. He’s been gardening since age five, and by age seven, he began grafting trees.

The San Luis Obispo resident continued with his passion for horticulture as a professor for more than 20 years.

When Orgen and his wife moved to the Central Coast, he says he wanted to make their yard allergy-friendly, to help with her allergies. His many years of research on that front eventually led to his new book The Allergy-Fighting Garden.

Ogren explains ways to audit your garden’s allergens and make your garden ‘allergy-fighting.’ He also believes cities can do more to make the surrounding air better for residents.

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Fertilize roses now, check for buck moth caterpillars: this week’s gardening tips

NOTE: The new database does not replace the weekly real estate transfers published on Fridays in The Times-Picayune’s InsideOut home and garden section

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TIMELY GARDENING TIPS – from the Gardening Professionals at Plants Unlimited – Courier

Timely Gardening Tips

Week of March 29th – April 4th

From the Gardening Professionals at Plants Unlimited



Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a broken limb!

The early November Snow storm brought havoc to the area and many trees. Inspect  trees now before the leaves emerge for broken branches that might be “hanging by a thread”. We strongly recommend that you hire a tree expert to remove larger and taller broken limbs. This is often a dangerous job for the average homeowner. You certainly don’t want another “broken limb” in your yard! Or worse… Let us recommend a professional for you. We work with many of the best local companies!

Stay OFF the Grass!

The snow is slowly receding and your gardens and lawns are beginning to emerge. Try to avoid walking on wet grass or gardens. You will compact the soil (mud) and the soil becomes clumpy. A few windy spring days will help dry your yard

Plant Pansies! Eat Pansies! We have hundreds of Blooming Pansies!

This delicate flower is a pretty tough character! Plant them in containers or window boxes now.

Pansies protect themselves by allowing moisture to escape their leaves as temperatures fall. Other plants cannot do this, so when the temperature goes below freezing the water in their cells freezes and ruptures the cell walls. That’s what happens when you leave a houseplant on the patio during a freeze. Dry cells, though, can’t rupture. They just go limp. It is normal to see pansy leaves completely wilted at dawn but green and perky by noon. That’s why it is important to keep the soil in pansy beds moist after a freeze…. so their roots can re-hydrate the leaves.

Generally, they can freeze to 25 degrees or so without damage. If it looks colder, put the container under cover or cover with a blanket or some other material.


Early Blooming Shrubs are Here!

Sure, it’s too early to dig in the garden and plant, but we like to get our early blooming Forsythia and Magnolias in before they leaf out and flower. You’ll be amazed at how much we have in already! Need an April Birthday Gift, Anniversary or Thank You?

Seeds to start in April?

Here’sa complete chart of seeds to start and germination timing.

Johnny’s Seeds – We special order. Same price as them and no shipping cost if you can pick up at Plants Unlimited. We order every Monday

Certified Organic Vegetables for 2015?

Oh My Deer!

They’re out and they’re hungry! Apply deer repellents NOW and keep apply as Spring rains begin. This is the time of the year when we see the most deer damage on ornamental shrubs. We have a complete selection of repellents and deer netting.

Pot Plants!

Yes, it’s time to re-pot your houseplants. They’re starting to grow again and many need larger pots and most need fertilizer. On smaller plants, increase the pot width about 2 inches. Larger plants- 2-4 inches.

Just arrived – New pottery for 2015!

It’s time to Plan !

Do you have a specific landscape project in mind? Here are a few things to consider in Spring 2015.

Larger Trees and Shrubs – Availability is at a 10 year low on larger plants. Growers grew less during the recession and now supply is rapidly dwindling. It will take a few years to ‘catch up”. NOW is the time to talk to us if you’re looking for larger specimens.

Quotes – Let us quote your landscape plan

Do you need a landscape or lawn care professional? Let us recommend local companies to you.

Do you want to do the job yourself, but need help planning? We offer Landscape Consultation.

Spotlight on Natures Gallery

New for 2015

These dogs, cats and other animals are so realistic you can almost hear them breathe.

Lots of breeds available. (especially Labradors – Maine’s Unofficial Dog)

Save 20% on all your Spring Gardening Purchases – Before April 15th

Buy MAY BONDS for Birthdays, Mother’s Day, or any other event for gardeners or yourself!

Spend $40.00 each before April 15. They’re worth $50.00 starting May 1st! Learn more and purchase online or at the shop!

This message has been sent to 4905 gardeners –If you have a gardening friend and you enjoy our email – why not forward this to them! Join our email? – click here! Opt out? Click here

OPEN 10 am -4 pm Tuesday through Saturday

OPEN 8:30 am to 5:00 pm beginning Sunday March 1st!

PO Box 374 – 629 Commercial Street (Route1)
Rockport, Maine 04856
207-594-7754  fax 207-594-8510



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Garden calendar: Learn tips for rose success

ANTS: Learn about their role in local ecology at the monthly meeting of the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas. 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Ann Stuart Science Complex, Texas Woman’s University, 304 Administration Drive, Denton. Free.

KEEPING ROSES HEALTHY: Claude Graves of Richardson, a master rosarian, will discuss rose diseases at the monthly meeting of the Dallas Rose Society. 6:30 p.m. Friday. Farmers Branch Recreational Center, 14050 Heartside Place, Farmers Branch. Free. 214-244-1989.

ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE: Learn about rose rosette disease, its symptoms and how to control it. 9 a.m. Saturday. Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Drive. Free, but advance registration is required. 972-574-4233.

CACTUS, SUCCULENTS AND AGAVES: Learn how to use these drought-tolerant plants in landscapes and containers. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Redenta’s, 5111 W. Arkansas Lane, Arlington, and 2001 Skillman St., Dallas. Free.

RAINWATER COLLECTION: Learn basic water-harvesting strategies, how to calculate how much water you can capture and construct a rain barrel to take home. 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. $75. Advance registration requested. texasdiscovery

MORE ROSES: Learn which roses will thrive in North Texas. The workshop also will explore the latest in rose varieties and care techniques. 10:15 a.m. Saturday. All Calloway’s Nursery locations. Free.

NATIVE PLANTS: Discover plants for your garden and learn about North Texas’ special ecosystem requirements. Participants will receive one native plant. 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Texas Discovery Gardens, 3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Dallas. $25. Advance registration requested.

COMPOSTING: Workshop on composting will include a lecture as well as time in the garden for hands-on experience. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday. Meet at Fire Station 3, 233 Parkway Blvd., Coppell. Free.

GARDEN ED: North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, offers these events. 214-363-5316.

African violet show and sale, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Free

Bulbs for summer, 10 a.m. Saturday. Free

Herb Society of America, 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturday. Plant trials at Dallas Arboretum. Free

Tomato success, 1-2 p.m. Saturday. Free

Composting basics, 3-4 p.m. Saturday. Free

Tomato tour, 1 p.m. Sunday. Take a guided walk through the tomato transplant aisles. Free

Lawn rejuvenation, 2 p.m. Sunday. Free

Garden Masters Inc. meeting, 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. Bokashi, Japanese method of composting.

COPING WITH WATER RESTRICTIONS: Learn how to adapt your garden to drought conditions by converting to organic methods and using smart watering techniques and native plants. 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.

CONTAINER GARDENING: Create a container garden in any available space using a variety of containers. Enjoy the benefits of good food or beauty with just a few hours of sunlight each day. Learn what is necessary to plan, establish and care for a container garden.7-9 p.m. Wednesdays April 1 to 22. Collin College Courtyard Center, 4800 Preston Park Blvd., Plano. $59. Register at

AZALEA TRAIL: Tyler is celebrating its annual Azalea and Spring Flower Trail. Events include art shows, festivals, tours and more. Through April 5. For a complete list of events, a map of the trail and a progress report on the blooms, go to

RAINWATER UNIVERSITY: Individuals and industry professionals are invited to attend Rainwater University 2015, an instructional series on the latest techniques and industry standards for effective collection, storage and use of rainwater. April 7-9. Texas AM AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 17360 Coit Road, Dallas. $150. For a complete schedule or to register, visit

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

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