Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 14, 2015

A Few Helpful Design Tips

Cape Shore

A hot color and interesting flower shape.

Posted: Monday, September 14, 2015 2:30 pm

A Few Helpful Design Tips

Sponsored Content

Fall is for planting, right? Maybe there’s an area in your garden you’ve been wanting to re-design, an overgrown tree or shrub that needs to be taken out or a tree that got cut down and changed your shade garden to a sunny environment. Either way, you need some help in the design process. 

One of the first things to do is figure out what you want and what you have. This will include creating a wishlist so your mind gets thinking and eyes start looking. Look at the architecture of your home for inspiration, and how it’s designed on the inside as well– is it more cottage, Victorian, beachy, contemporary, formal or rustic? This can help figure out your individual style so rooms inside the home complement and flow with what we call the outdoor living space. Peruse garden design magazine and books and cut out plants you like, visit garden centers for what’s likely available, drive around the neighborhood and look at interior design magazines for color ideas.

Take a good look at your proposed garden area as well – where does the sun reach, are there any grading issues, wet areas, dry areas, windy areas, sandy or clay soil? Bad soil will mean less diversity of plants will thrive. Many locally native plants do well in poor soils and actually prefer it, but if you want to increase the diversity of plants it would be best to get the soil tested through the local extension agency if you’re unsure or have a troublesome area.

Now color, one of the most important and thrilling aspects of gardening, is next on the punch-list. Color is broken up by either hot or cool colors. Cool colors have a calming effect and are a bit easier for first time designers to combine. These colors typically include greens, blues and purples. The hot or warm colors consist of yellows, reds and oranges – the kind of colors that add a little bit of spice into the garden! With color, it’s best to keep a theme whether one garden bed has all hot colors or all cool; 90% cool colors and 10% warm colors or vice versa; or a monochromatic color palette. There are a number of combinations not only with flowers but with foliage, too such as Boxwood and other evergreens, Heuchera, Yucca, many grasses, Hostas, Oakleaf hydrangea, Mahonia and so on. A lot of combinations have been tried and site requirements will help weed out the best ones for your garden.

Books upon books have been written about garden design, and some of the best tips I have been given are to take pictures of the garden area in black and white, buy trace paper and draw on top of it various designs and cut plants out of magazines for combinations. Another is to make a bouquet out of plants you like, flowers, foliage and all, to help create a color palette that on paper you may not have thought of. All of this comes from trial and error, but for more trusted opinion visit Cape Shore Gardens where nursery staff can assist you in the right plant choices.

Written by Lauren Popper, horticulturist at Cape Shore Gardens and graduate of Temple University’s School of Environmental Design.

More about Cape Shore Gardens

  • ARTICLE: Grasses You Should Be Planting Now
  • ARTICLE: A Taste of Plants

More about Cape May Court House

  • ARTICLE: Christopher Shoemaker Obtains MBA
  • Pa. Dentist Gets Four Years Probation and $100,000 Fine
  • ARTICLE: Pa. Dentist Gets Four Years Probation and $100,000 Fine
  • Wildwood Man Pleads Guilty In Death of Woodbine Toddler


Monday, September 14, 2015 2:30 pm.

| Tags:

Cape Shore Gardens,

Cape May Court House

Article source:

Garden tour set for Sept. 19

Sandwich Chapter FO of the Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Sisterhood and Redbud Creek Farm will sponsor a Fall Garden Tour and Craft Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 19, rain or shine.

Explore four gardens and look for ideas on plants, water features, art and kid-friendly design elements.

One of the featured gardens on the tour will be the Smario garden. Inspired by several trips to Italy, the couple decided to make statues and water features the focus of their garden design.

Tickets cost $10 and are available from P.E.O. members, at Redbud Creek Farm-Sheridan and at each of the following gardens on tour day: Emily G. Johns School, 430 N. Mitchel Drive, Plano; Smario, 15326 Millhurst Road, Newark (Millbrook); Mueller, 9050 N. Stonewall Drive, Newark (Millbrook); Hoorelbek, 9090 N. Stonewall Drive, Newark (Millbrook).

Unique plants, specialty and gift items and a variety of crafts will be for sale at Redbud Creek Farm. A homemade lunch and dessert will be available at Redbud Creek Farm from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For information or tickets, call 815-695-5821.

P.E.O. promotes continuing education and well-being for women. There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly 240,000 active members. Chapter FO was organized in Sandwich in 1941.

Proceeds from the garden tour will be used to fund six educational projects for women.

Article source:

Why Latinos — and Other Americans — Are Fearful of Donald Trump’s Crazy Talk

Schedule a gardening program for your group

Save the date

• Fall Victoria Garden Tour

• Seven area gardens

• Oct. 24-25

• Look for more information in this column

2015 VCMGA Educational Programs

Go to for contact information to schedule a program for your group.

• African Violets

• Backyard Habitats

• Basic Landscaping

• Blackberries

• Butterfly Gardening

• Cacti

• Citrus Gardening

• Composting

• CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network)

• Container Gardening

• Crepe Myrtles

• Day Lilies

• Drip Irrigation

• Drought Resistant Landscapes

• EarthKind Landscaping

• Fairy Gardens

• Fire Wise Gardening

• Fruit Trees

• Hay Bale Gardening

• Herbs

• Propagation

The Master Gardener Program

• Helpful/Harmful Insects

• Moths and Butterflies

• Native Plants

• Pizza Gardening

• Planning and Preparing a Garden

• Rainwater Harvesting

• Roses

• Texas Superstars

• Tree Pruning

• Vegetable Gardening

• Water Gardens/Features

• Wild Flowers

• Wild Scapes

• Xeriscaping

• Year Round Vegetable Gardening

Presented at Lunch and Learn with the Masters and to various clubs/groups at Victoria Educational Gardens or at meeting locations.

“Victoria County Master Gardeners” – what do you think of when you hear that phrase? A bunch of people with big floppy hats, shovels in gloved hands, carrying nursery pots full of beautiful Texas Superstar plants, looking for a bare place to dig and put a plant in the soil?

Well, that is not all the Master Gardeners do in Victoria County. Yes, they do truly enjoy their big, floppy hats and their worn leather gloves and being able to fill a lonely spot with a beautiful plant that is a joy to be experienced by many. But there is more: educational presentations that are offered to the community.

Various programs presented to various groups

In the last year, the Victoria County Master Gardeners have presented more than 20 programs to groups, such as The Victoria Garden Club, Hallettsville Garden Club, The Goliad Garden Club, The Victoria Home and Outdoor Show, Yorktown Lions Club, a diabetic support group and The Bronte Club, to list just a few.

At various locations

Our experienced and well-trained members have prepared nearly 45 different programs that include topics from “Backyard Habitats” to “Year-Round Vegetable Gardening.” The programs can be presented at the Master Gardener Victoria Educational Gardens (VEG) located at Victoria Regional Airport or our members are very willing to come to your meeting place.

At no charge

Since the Master Gardener program is a volunteer extension of Texas AM University there is no charge for the speakers. Honorariums are always appreciated but not required for the knowledge shared and efforts expended.

Home gardening topics

Some of the most popular programs have to do with home gardening.

Basic landscaping is a program that provides ideas and suggestions for the new homeowner or for someone who wants to spruce up an existing yard.

Butterfly gardens are become increasingly popular. We are realizing the importance of butterflies as pollinators. Gardens that are butterfly friendly provide protection for butterflies and moths throughout their life stages.

Container gardening is the new thing in gardening circles today. It has shown an upswing in the last five years. Novice gardeners, first-time gardeners and children benefit from this program. The smallest space can be enhanced with a beautiful pot of flowers or a healthy tomato plant covered in juicy, red tomatoes.

Drought-resistant/EarthKind landscaping programs address common sense approaches to gardening in South Texas. We’ve enjoyed rain lately and have endured the lack of rain the last few weeks. These programs give suggestions how to make your landscape more drought-tolerant and help you conserve water.

The drip irrigation program shows how homeowners are now taking advantage of this efficient watering method. One of the benefits of drip irrigation in your home garden is it prevents diseases in plants by minimizing water contact with the stem, leaves and fruit.

Fairy gardens have taken on a life of their own. This kid-friendly garden project is both entertaining and enchanting. Most garden centers have sections devoted to the hobby of fairy gardens. This program will help you choose plants, fairy houses and in planning of your own fairy garden.

Fire wise gardening is just what the title relays. The program is based on the idea of creating a space around your home and property that is a safety zone from grass and wild fires.

The program on helpful/harmful insects is an especially interesting one. As home gardeners, we many times think that if there is a bug on our begonia it has to be a harmful bug. This program carefully explains the importance of beneficial insects and how they combat predators in your garden.

Propagation of plants is a program that is hands-on. Propagating plants is an inexpensive and easy way to get new plants from those you or a friend already has.

You may have heard of the Texas Superstar plants. These are plants that have been tested by Texas AM AgriLife Research for their performance in landscapes all over Texas.

This is just a sample of the programs offered by the Victoria County Master Gardeners.

Go to website to schedule a program

Members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association (VCMGA) are a group of experienced and very knowledgeable people that are passionate about what they do. All of the presenters enjoy sharing their love of gardening and welcome sharing ideas with fellow gardeners.

Go to for contact information to schedule a program for your group or club.

The Gardeners’ Dirt is written by members of the Victoria County Master Gardener Association, an educational outreach of Texas AM AgriLife Extension – Victoria County. Mail your questions in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77901; or


Article source:

No beating this Retreat: Will new student housing complex reshape Corvallis …

How big is The Retreat, the massive new student housing complex set to open this week at the corner of Southwest Western Boulevard and 35th Street?

Well, you could take 7th Street Station, The Union and the Tyler Townhomes, three recently built large-scale projects, plop them onto The Retreat property and still have room for a brewpub, a coffee shop and a convenience store. And probably a dog park.

The Retreat is big, as in 330-unit big, with room for 1,016 tenants (Seventh Street, the Union and the Tyler Townhomes combined have room for 745). Construction crews were finishing off final touches when the Gazette-Times toured the Retreat earlier this month, with the official move-in date set for Saturday.

“We’re waiting for final approvals to come through with the city,” said Vanessa Pacifico, leasing and market specialist for the Retreat. “We’re technically ready. If we get approvals from the city people might be able to move in before the 19th.”

How big is The Retreat? Well, the city of Corvallis conducted more than 2,500 inspections at the site from its groundbreaking in June of 2014 through Aug. 18, said Kevin Russell, project manager with the city’s development services division.

Russell said the inspections addressed building, plumbing, electrical, mechanical and land development code issues. Russell also noted that in all of 2014 the city conducted a total of about 15,000 inspections citywide.

“The size and scope of this project (not to mention the timeline) required constant communication,” Russell said. “The city continues to meet regularly with the developer to answer questions and provide direction to resolve issues as the arise.”

The day the Gazette-Times visited, Corvallis Fire Department officials were on site conducting inspections.

How big is The Retreat? Well, five new streets have been added to the Corvallis grid. There are 895 parking spaces spread across five lots plus 764 bicycle parking spaces, including 380 covered ones.

And there’s a ceiling fan in every one of The Retreat’s bedrooms.

All 1,016 of them.

Sather property

The Retreat, which was built by Landmark Properties, a student housing development firm in Athens, Georgia, was constructed on the Sather property, a 33-acre swath of gently rolling hills and oak trees. The parcel was annexed by the voters in November of 2012.

The vote was close, with 51.7 percent voting yes and 48.3 percent voting no. Opponents were concerned about traffic issues and whether student housing was the best use for the property.

Backers of the project, who outspent opponents 14-1. cited research suggesting that Corvallis needed more rental housing and noted how close the Sather property was to the Oregon State University campus.

Indeed, proximity would seem to be one of The Retreat’s strongest selling points. Students can easily walk or bike to the campus, although nearby residents have expressed concerns about bicycle and pedestrian safety on 35th Street, which represents the most direct route to OSU.

Pacifico told the Gazette-Times that just more than 400 tenants (and the facility had already leased more than 95 percent of its 1,000-plus bedrooms as of Sept. 1) had signed up for the $20 per month on-site parking permits, although she said that she expected more tenants to buy permits as the school year wears on.

High-end goodies

Amenities also played a huge role in The Retreat’s marketing. The facility has washers and dryers in each unit, flat-screen TVs come with each furnished unit (bedroom and common area furniture adds $35 to the monthly rent for each individual lease), pets are allowed, the landscaping has been in for months, community garden beds are ready for planting, and the clubhouse includes a golf simulator, a two-story fitness center and twin tanning salons.

There is even a “package room” in the clubhouse to protect mailed parcels from the Oregon rain and a shuttle bus that will run routes through the downtown and Monroe Avenue areas on the weekends, offering residents a ride home.

The complex offers cottages, flats and townhouses ranging in size from one bedroom to five bedrooms and prices from $680 per bedroom in a five-bedroom unit up to $1,255 for one of the 12 one-bedroom flats overlooking the pool. The poolside flats sold out in January.

“We are trying to create an experience to enhance your college experience,” said community manager Travis Jamison. “Every day when we get up we try to come up with ideas to make it better.”

The Retreat has three full-time on-site employees: Jamison, Pacifico and an operations manager. They will be supplemented by six to nine part-time leasing ambassadors. Landscaping and maintenance are handled by a five-person staff hired by Landmark.

The complex plans to have on-site security, but Jamison said it wasn’t clear yet how many folks will be hired and how the team will be structured.

“We will do what we need to do to be successful,” Jamison said.

Pacifico noted that “leases are written with conduct protocols. We are aware of Corvallis ordinances and our leases reflect that.”

The Retreat has a “three strikes” policy in which a first violation results in a written warning, a second violation includes a fine and a third strike can include another fine or possible eviction.

“We have a range of (penalties) that we can hold our residents accountable to,” Pacifico said.

Vacancy rate

The sheer size of The Retreat also means it has the potential to alter the city’s rental housing landscape. Adding 1,000 bedrooms could mean higher vacancy rates in town and, perhaps, lower rents.

Bob Loewen, the city of Corvallis housing specialist who tracks rental vacancy rates, said that as of Aug. 31 he estimated the vacancy rate at 2.2 percent, although he emphasized that his numbers did not factor in The Retreat because it was not yet occupied.

So what will happen to the market when The Retreat opens? Area property managers offered a wide range of views.

“So far, I have not seen any impact,” said property manager Alan Gustafson, whose family has been in the rental business in Corvallis for decades. “(My) two most recent vacancies had lots of applicants to choose from. “I tend to think the rentals within close walking or biking distance of campus will continue to be in high demand. But that might be part wishful thinking. Time will tell.”

John Corden, a property manager and builder who, like Gustafson has decades of experience in town, voiced concerns about the ability of the market to absorb units as pricey as The Retreat.

“I have all of the same questions,” Corden said. “There are all of these high-end places being built, and I’m seeing ‘for rent’ signs at places I thought would be rented by now. There still is a demand for affordable housing even with that vacancy rate.

“Are (students) going to want to pay that $680? I don’t know how many of the students are going to be able to afford that. A lot of my tenants are working. That (extra) $150 a month (for The Retreat) can make a difference.”

Chris Saltveit, a veteran property manager and builder with Preferred Properties Northwest, said it is too early to tell what the effects of The Retreat might be.

“I don’t think we will know the complete impact until next year,” Saltveit said. “It will definitely have an impact. To what extent, I don’t know.”

Loewen, meanwhile, noted that his data analysis shows that rental prices actually have increased.

“I have heard from some landlords that raised their rates but kept them below the level of The Retreat,” Loewen said.

Corden and Salveit also noted that the 7th Street Station has been offering lease-signing incentives, perhaps a sign of the impact of the Retreat.

A 7th Street Station official confirmed the incentives and noted that the complex has been promoting “rates as low as $601 (per month)” and that it is 93 percent full.

Campus Crest

Meanwhile, The Retreat may not be the only big-deal student housing project on the horizon in the Corvallis rental market: The proposed Campus Crest project at Witham Oaks could add another 900 bedrooms.

The project has spent a bruising couple of years before the Planning Commission, the City Council, the state Land Use Board of Appeals and the state Court of Appeals. Depending on what happens with those appeals, Loewen, Gustafson, Saltveit and Corden may well have to upload Campus Crest data into their calculators.

Campus Crest officials believe there is enough demand in Corvallis to make their project pencil out.

“Campus Creset remains confident in the student housing rental market in Corvallis,” said Alex Eyssen, vice president of development for the Charlotte, North Carolina, student housing development company.

“There continues to be relatively low vacancy rates, strong demand and competitive rental rates. Coupled with the various high barriers to entry for future developments, Corvallis will continue to attract the interest of student housing developers for several more years.”

Core Campus, a Chicago-based student housing firm, submitted an application to build an 800-resident complex on Timberhill, but the application was pulled in April amid strong neighborhood opposition and an unfavorable report on the project from city staff.

Core Campus officials did not respond to a request from the Gazette-Times for an update on the status of the project.

Article source:

Blair Street Gardens to undergo major renovations beginning this fall

The Blair Street Gardens, a community space located at the intersection of Williamson St., E. Wilson St. and S. Blair St., across from Machinery Row, will begin undergoing a major makeover this fall.

“We’re trying to create a natural landscape for people to enjoy that uses less volunteer time and less water,” said Ellen Henningsen, president of the Blair Street Gardens Committee Inc., which began caring for the space in 1987. “We wanted it to be a place in the busy city where people can pause and enjoy the beauty of Madison.”

Henningsen said the committee decided to overhaul the space about a year ago, when volunteers were straining under the number of hours required to maintain the space and its current landscape design, which is heavy with water-hungry foliage and annuals.

The current Blair Street Garden consists of trees, evergreens, perennials and a long, curved bed of spring bulbs and summer annuals. The renovated garden will feature native plants that require less water and maintenance. Henningsen estimated those changes would cut volunteer time by 75 percent.

In addition to adding the new native grasses, perennials, shrubs and trees, renovation work will include re-grading the area, building retaining walls, walkways and seating areas with benches and removing ash trees and low evergreens.

Henningsen estimated the cost of the project to be around $40,000.

The Blair Street Gardens Committee hopes to meet that goal through a combination of public and private funding. The group received a $5,000 Community Enhancement Program Grant from the City of Madison in May, and is working to raise more funds from community donations and in-kind contributions of materials and services from local businesses.

Avant Gardening Landscaping has volunteered to be the primary provider of in-kind products and services for the renovation.

“I have, for the longest time, wanted to be involved in the design of the little park,” said Liza Lightfoot, president and landscape architect at Avant, which is celebrating 30 years of business in Madison this year. “It’s such a great little park, and it’s part of my neighborhood. We just want to give back a little bit.”

Lightfoot said the design concept for the space, which Avant spearheaded, draws on the history of that area of Madison.

“We wanted it to have a historical context,” she said. “The history of that area is very interesting — it’s kind of like the history of Madison.”

She said the space will pay homage to the agricultural roots of Madison in particular with a sculpture. The piece has yet to be commissioned, she said, but Avant is in the process of identifying an artist.

Henningsen said the Blair Street Garden Committee is still working to secure the necessary permits and confirm a few more donations.

They hope to begin renovations later this month.

Article source: