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Archives for October 1, 2015

New plan for Yarmouth drive-in site takes shape

Posted Oct. 1, 2015 at 5:00 AM

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Home and Patio show heads back to Jax

City officials are gearing up for the return of the Home and Patio Show downtown which will transform the Prime Osborn Convention Center starting Thursday.

The annual show fills every inch of the facility with the hottest new products in landscaping, outdoor projects, home improvement ideas and more.

The show runs from Oct.1 through 4.

Admission at the door is $11 for adults and $5 for students age 6 to 18.

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Switching to meter? Look at water bill, not landscaping

If you are one of the flat-rate users who switched to metered rates for your water usage starting Oct. 1, should you start making landscaping changes to prepare for possibly higher bills?

•Short answer: At this point, there is not much you should do to make significant changes regarding your landscape’s water use, but it is a perfect time to analyze whether you can afford to maintain your yard in the way to which it has become accustomed.

Full question

After many delays, Truckee Meadows Water Authority customers who have been paying a flat rate for water will be charged based on how much they use starting Oct. 1.

Changing to metered rates is expected to lead to big water savings throughout Reno-Sparks.

RGJ environmental reporter Jeff DeLong wrote earlier this summer, “Flat-rate customers typically use twice as much water as those on meters — 281,000 gallons on average compared to 121,000 gallons in 2014.”

Some flat-rate users might not change their habits until fiscal constraints force them to.

This is not meant as a slight. Many have lived here for decades on a flat rate and old habits die hard. Plus conversion to xeriscaping can be cost prohibitive. They are caught between competing forces, and at this point in life, some are on fixed incomes, further complicating the picture.

So I wanted to find out what they could do now with their landscaping — the No. 1 water use — to prepare for potentially rising water bills. (Some customers are expected to pay less with metered rates.)

Full response

Wendy Mazet, a horticulturalist with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said she would not recommend former flat-rate customers do anything with their landscaping now. Instead, she suggested they use this time to go back over how much they used during the past year.

Many of “these people on a flat rate going to a meter have no idea what their usage was to begin with, so to make changes now is not going to make sense,” she said by phone. “They have no idea if they’re going to be able to afford their landscape until they get their first bill.”

Upcoming water bills offer an opportunity to aid this assessment.

“Winter is a great time for reflection — ‘This is how much water we’re using just for the household items, so that gives a good idea how much we’re using without outside, so how are we going to maintain this beautiful landscape if our water bill is going to double?’ ” Mazet said.

Kim Mazeres, TMWA’s director of customer relations, said that each water bill for flat-rate users shows how much they would have paid if they’d been on a metered rate. If past bills have been tossed in the garbage, they can be viewed by logging onto your TMWA account online or by calling customer service at 775-834-8080 to learn what you would have paid.

For those who started reducing water this summer in preparation for the switch, Mazet said, it also might be useful to think about which parts of the yard were difficult to maintain with less water.

“Would that area be better off with perennials or shrubs because they take less water and don’t need mowing each week?” she said.

The biggest problem people are likely to have is that they are overwatering and don’t know it, she said.

The cooperative extension has no more classes for the year but its horticulturalists and master gardeners are available to answer questions and vet landscaping ideas.

“They can call, email pictures, bring in pictures — now is a good time to bounce around ideas,” Mazet said.

You can reach the cooperative extension by calling 775-784-4848, emailing, or visiting 4955 Energy Way in Reno between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Read more stories by Mark Robison here.

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Local landscaping company tracks stolen mowers in Miami

– A landscape company recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property thanks to a GPS unit installed in the truck the thieves drove to Miami.

Sunday around 7:00 p.m., a group of men cut a hole in a chain-linked fence bordering ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance Design.

Surveillance video captured the crew pulling on landscaping truck doors and looking for a way inside.

With an axe, they busted through a cinderblock wall and disabled the alarm and phone lines.

For more than two hours, the group loaded up 50 pieces of equipment – valued at $80,500 – into a panel van then fled in a stolen work truck.

“Rooms that are usually full of equipment were empty,” Account Manager Jeremy Lepper said. “Mowers, edgers, blowers, weed eaters and trimmers had been stolen.”

As they called the sheriff’s office, Jeremy got a hunch to check the GPS unit inside the stolen truck, and sure enough, he saw the truck parked in a Miami Gardens neighborhood.

“We had the truck located, and we were able to tell that the truck had been moved and stopped at a location in Miami,” Jeremy explained.

He relayed that information to Sarasota detectives who then asked Miami authorities for assistance.

Police matched serial numbers to the missing mowers and arrested Rauniel Quintero, 32, and charged him with dealing with stolen property.

Within 24 hours, the stolen mowers were back in the garage and ready for use, and Jeremy said the GPS system was invaluable.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is actively investigating this case, and there could be more arrests.

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CU-Boulder pollinator gardens prove to be pretty and problem-solving

The recent addition of specialized landscaping on the University of Colorado Boulder campus has solved some logistical matters. And pollinator species — from butterflies to bees — seem to be buzzing their approval.

The project, approved by the CU Student Government and administered by the CU Environmental Center in collaboration with CU-Boulder Facilities Management, was most recently expanded to an area near Colorado Avenue along 28th Street in Boulder. The landscaping includes such perennials as lavender, catmint and yarrow — plants that can tolerate rough roadside conditions and heavy heat with minimal water.

Most importantly, though, the plants benefit pollinators, which are in decline.

“The Environmental Center has worked to support CU-Boulder operational initiatives to reduce water use and continue pesticide-free practices,” said Marianne Moulton Martin, associate director of the E-Center. “This project supports these sustainability goals plus creates a habitat for pollinator species and educates the campus community about the importance of pollinators.”

Martin says educational signage is slated for installation this fall near the landscaping including at the first location, which was planted in the summer of 2014. The first garden is located along Broadway between Regent Drive and 18th Street in Boulder, a heavy pedestrian area.

“Pollinator species were immediately attracted to the Broadway landscape and many regular commuters along that stretch took notice of the streetscape improvement,” said Martin. “Once we get the interpretive signs installed, we hope more pedestrians will understand the purpose and notice the activity.”

The specialized landscaping across campus, which totals about 10,000 square feet of land, is pollinator-friendly because it incorporates a wide variety of plants that bloom from early spring to late fall; is arranged in dense clumps of species rather than many single species; includes native plants or those that are well-suited to the Front Range; and requires no chemical treatment.

Other pollinator species include hummingbirds and bats, according to the city of Boulder, which currently is celebrating Pollinator Appreciation Month.

Involved in the CU-Boulder project have been students from the E-Center as well as an Environmental Studies permaculture class last May. Campus landscape architect Richelle Reilly designed the gardens with support for the sourcing of neonicotinoid-free plants. Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of systemic insecticides that potentially pose threats to pollinators.

The project is funded by Sustainable CU, an improvement initiative passed by students in 2005 that allocates a portion of student fees to campus projects that incorporate renewable energy, energy efficiency, recycling and waste reduction and other innovations that reduce CU-Boulder’s footprint on the environment.

CU-Boulder’s pollinator-friendly landscaping will be included in the optional sustainability tour during Family Weekend on campus Oct. 1-4. It also will be featured during the Western Apicultural Society conference in Boulder Oct. 1-3.

For more information about the pollinator gardens visit


Marianne Moulton Martin, CU Environmental Center, 303-492-8308 
Elizabeth Lock, CU-Boulder media relations, 303-492-3117

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New Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden

New Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Garden will Help Duarte Lead the Way in Outdoor Water Conservation!

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District and the City of Duarte are pleased to announce the completion of a new water-wise, landscape demonstration garden located on the corner of Buena Vista Street and Village Road on the City of Hope campus. A ribbon cutting ceremony with be held for the Duarte community on Thursday, October 8 at 6:00 pm.

Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests will be able to tour the garden area and enjoy light refreshments. Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the project site and guests are encouraged to wear comfortable shoes.

The garden is part of Upper District’s Sustainable Landscape Demonstration Program, a community-based conservation program that provides grant funding to cities as a means to convert high-water use landscapes to low-impact, drought tolerant gardens. For this project, Upper District was pleased to partner with the local water retailer, California American Water, who provided additional grant funding for the project. Additionally, the project was supported through the partnership of City of Hope, where the garden is located, and Burrtec Services.

“With California experiencing a severe drought, we wanted to select a site that would provide optimum visibility to the community and we are very pleased with the location and community partners that stepped up to the table,” said Director Bryan Urias, representing Division 5 of Upper District’s service area. “This location will provide community members with a great example of sustainable landscaping; drawing further attention and interest to water efficient gardening practices.”

Now completed, the sustainable landscape demonstration garden in Duarte will significantly reduce the site’s existing water footprint through the installation of high-efficiency irrigation systems, low-water-use plants, and on-site stormwater retention and capture.

The approximately 2,000 square foot demonstration project was constructed by EcoTech Services, Inc. and showcases a variety of California native plants, including sage, toyon, yucca and other colorful plants.

“We are pleased to partner with Upper District, Cal American Water and the City of Hope on this wonderful project,” stated Duarte Mayor Tzeitel Paras Caracci. “Now that the garden is complete, our Duarte residents and the many visitors coming to City of Hope will see how beautiful and efficient these sustainable landscapes can be.”

Outdoor landscaping accounts for the highest percentage of regional water usage and grass turf is one of the most commonly used, water-thirsty plants. Thus, it is also one of the most promising targets for future water savings.

Upper District encourages residents and businesses throughout the San Gabriel Valley to consider using sustainable landscaping on their own properties as a means to significantly reduce their overall water use. For more information on removing grass turf, drought tolerant landscaping ideas, and other water-saving tips, please visit: and

The City of Duarte was incorporated on August 22, 1957. With integrity and transparency, the City provides exemplary public services in a caring and fiscally responsible manner with a commitment to our community’s future.

For more information visit or call (626) 357-7931. Follow the City of Duarte on Facebook at facebook. com/duartecommunity; Twitter @CityofDuarte; Instagram @ city_of_duarte and LinkedIn.

Upper District’s mission is to provide a reliable, sustainable, diversifi ed and affordable portfolio of high quality water supplies to the San Gabriel Valley; including water conservation, recycled water, storm water capture, storage, water transfers and imported water. Upper District services nearly one million people in its 144 square mile service territory. Governed by a five member elected board of directors, Upper District is a member agency of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Annually, more than 78 billion gallons of water is used in Upper District’s service area. For more information about Upper District, please visit our website or call 626-443-2297.



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Gardening tips: How to treat your lawn in the fall

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Tips for improving your garden soil

A lot of research is being done these days on soil science – the study of the dirt under our feet. It’s becoming quite clear that the condition of the soil in our gardens has a tremendous effect on the vigor and health of the plants grown.

Organic matter makes up about 1 percent to 6 percent of soils’ components, but organic matter and the fungi and bacteria that feed on organic matter have the greatest influence in how well soil can hold water, how soil particles bind together, and how soil makes inorganic elements such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium and sulfur available to plants’ roots.

We can alter and improve the condition of our garden soil by adding organic matter. Compost, either homemade or store-bought, is a tremendous source of beneficial microorganisms, fungi and bacteria that improve the soil’s texture and condition. It’s the best type of soil conditioner. When compost has fully decomposed it becomes humus, the dark brown end product of decomposition. Seed-free straw and seed-free alfalfa hay, sawdust, autumn leaves (from disease and pest insect-free trees), lawn grass clippings, annual ryegrass, and weed-seed-free sterilized manures are other types of organic matter that can be added to garden soil.

Most types of organic matter must be tilled or turned into the soil – not an easy job. Some recent studies have shown that beneficial microorganisms from a top layer of organic matter used as mulch penetrate into the soil below. After several months as mulch, the amount of organic matter will have reduced significantly, making the job of tilling it in much easier.

Many cool-season lawn grasses (fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, annual rye) are completely dead now. (Bermuda grasses are like zombies; even extreme drought, extreme heat and several applications of herbicides won’t always kill off bermuda grasses). Consider covering what used to be your cool-season lawn area with a 3- to 4-inch layer of organic material this fall. Or fill the spaces between your roses in the planting beds with a layer of organic material. Fill your raised planting beds with organic matter as well. When used as mulch, the materials will also keep weeds down.

The easiest type of organic mulch/material to lay down evenly is the fallen leaves from your trees. A last mowing or scalping of dead cool-season grasses can be left on the soil surface to decompose. Straws and hay look a little shaggy when piled on the soil and they take longer to decompose than some other finer materials. The spiky pieces also tend to clump together when turned into the soil. We’re accustomed to over seeding our lawns with winter rye and then covering the seed with manures. Smelly manures attract the neighbors‘ cats and dogs, but they are great sources of beneficial fungi and bacteria. The very hardy seeds of last season’s winter rye often re-sprout the next fall; let’s hope that winter rains keep any re-sprouted ryegrass alive so that it can be tilled into the soil in spring.

Source: University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension, 1998, (reprinted 2014). Authors; E.E. Schulte and K. A. Kelling

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A-List Mixologist Adam Seger Shares Tips & Tricks for Garden-Inspired Cocktails

In today’s farm-to-table dining craze, some of the world’s leading bartenders – like Adam Seger, award-winning Advanced Mixologist and Master Sommelier of iPic Entertainment – are taking note. Gaining an international reputation for his unique mixing style, Adam was the mastermind behind the bar at some of the entertainment world’s largest events; creating the welcome drink for the 84th Academy Awards Governor’s Ball, as well as a menu of HUM-centric ‘The Color Purple’-inspired cocktails for Colin Cowie’s “Oprah 25” party. His chef’s approach to the bar has earned him a range of accolades, including being called ‘The Charlie Trotter of Cocktails’ by New City, a ‘Spirits Guru’ by Food Wine and Fast Company Magazines, and ‘Chicago’s Godfather of Craft Cocktails’ by TimeOut. Now, with the farm-to-table trend in full swing, he is working on his first book: ‘Drink Like You Eat: 40 Cocktails from the Garden to the Glass.’

Having gained so much success already, we took a moment to catch up with this authority on “what’s hot and what’s not” in the drink world to learn about his tips and tricks for garden-inspired cocktails. Here’s what we learned:

  • Keep your mint and basil sprigs in ice water to keep them fresh and bright.
  • Smell fruit before you buy it – if it smells good, it will taste good.
  • Keep mint leaves in a container in the fridge, covered by a damp paper towel, to keep them fresh.
  • Need a fresh garnish? Let your nose be your guide. Just like the fruit that goes in your cocktails, smell the herbs to make sure they’re fresh.
  • Keep it seasonal and keep it local – no matter what you’re making, seasonal and local produce always tastes better.

To try Adam Seger’s garden-inspired cocktails for yourself, head to Tanzy Boca and order his personal favorite – the “Strawberry Basil Balsamic Mojito,” an Italian, basil-inspired twist on the traditional mojito.

Tanzy Boca is located in Mizner Park, at 301 Plaza Real.

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DALY: Landscape architect, designer and contractor: What is the difference?

When homeowners seek professionals to enhance the quality of their home landscapes, confusion often arises as to what type of landscape professional to use. There are three general categories: landscape architects, landscape designers, and landscape contractors. Each has their own unique specialization as to the type of work they perform.

Landscape architects are professionals who analyze, plan, design, and manage the stewardship of natural environments, developed areas, and the relationships between the two. Examples of their work include designing public parks, planning residential and commercial sites, designing the layout of new developments, garden design, and historical preservation. Landscape architects have advanced education, professional training and, in most states, have to have a license to practice. Usually they have five years undergraduate studies to get their degrees and frequently have advanced degrees as well. They study engineering, architecture, design and horticulture. The scope of their work is usually larger projects.

Landscape designers are generally more focused on garden design for residential properties. Their services are less involved than landscape architects. Some are self-taught but many have taken courses through colleges or technical schools although there are no there are no educational or experience requirements. Landscape designers are not required to be licensed or certified by the state. They tend to be more knowledgeable on plant material and garden design than landscape architects, who focus on larger scale developments. Many garden centers employ landscape designers who are skilled at consulting with homeowners.

Landscape contractors are businesses that focus on the installation and maintenance of plant materials and hardscaping, such as brick and stone walls, small fountains, paved walkways, and other similar structures. Some companies are quite large while others are small, consisting of only a few people. Persons employed as contactors have varying degrees of education and experience. Landscape designers are often employed contractors. By working with both, you can have a custom-made design for your home landscape and the contractor who will perform the work for you.

Landscape architects, landscape designers and landscape contractors have many differences in regarding the services they offer. You need to see which one would be of greatest help with your home landscaping projects. To find qualified professionals, please refer to the website of the Urban Agriculture Council of Georgia at: On the upper right corner, click on ‘Consumers’, and then on the next page, under ‘Connect’, click on ‘Find a landscape professional’.

Deer can be troublesome to any landscape. They love to feast on your garden plants, thus threatening your investment. On Oct. 8, Gwinnett County Extension will have a class on controlling deer in the home landscape. It will be held from noon to 1 p.m. in the second-floor conference room of the Gwinnett County Government Annex Building, 750 South Perry St. Lawrenceville, GA 30046. The classes are free, but pre-registration is required by contacting the Extension office.

Timothy Daly is an Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent with Gwinnett County Cooperative Extension. He can be reached at 678-377-4010 or

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