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Archives for October 28, 2015

Arts Visalia gets water wise with ARTSCAPES – Visalia Times

If you have been looking at your yard and thinking about what can be done to make your brown the new green, I think we may have something for you.

Arts Visalia is presenting the first ever self-guided yard tour that combines drought-tolerant yards and art work for ARTSCAPES: for a changing water-wise Visalia. It is a one day tour of five different approaches to the problems of our four-year-long drought.

Saturday, Nov. 14 is the day that will hopefully open your eyes to new visions for our yards.

How the Day will proceed: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Please check out the backyard of Arts Visalia and visit our Guest Nurseries and information booths. You will have an opportunity to ask questions about the water situation and what you can do to help.

On hand will be the Sequoia Riverlands Trust’s Dry Creek Preserve specialist to guide you to their unique Native Plant Nursery. It is unique because it is one of the few local nurseries specializing in native and drought-tolerant landscape plants. Such plants can help us beautify our home and garden environments while assisting our communities with the critical areas of water resource conservation and management.

Also, UCCE Master Gardener volunteers will be available to answer questions regarding the removal of turf, as well as appropriate drought tolerant plants along and any other gardening questions one may need to be answered.

Cal Water wants you to know that conserving water is easy and they will share ways to help you do that.

Please come and learn about water-efficient landscaping and gardening, residential water-use evaluations, rebates for water-efficient appliances and irrigation devices, and how you can save water in your daily life.

We will also have Luis’ Nursery and Mid Valley Trees represented to answer questions on yard design, plant selection, and any other questions that you may have regarding making the optimal changes to drought-tolerant plants that match your design ideas.

From 9 a.m. to noon at Arts Visalia — we will be serving treats by Mel’s Famous Bake Shop for each participant of the Artscape Tour.

From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. self-guided Home tour: You will be able to purchase artwork from each of the artists at the home where they are exhibiting their work. You also could commission work that might work better for you and your home needs. Artists include:

•Erik Gonzalez — Spray Paint, aerosol artist,

•Joe Morel — sculptural works in glass and metal,

•Todd Mackey — Tropics by Design – Interior Plantscaper,

•Greg Halliwill — Photographer,

• Mike Perez — Metal Sculpture,

•Richard Arenas — Specializes in Bronze Sculpture,

• John Waite Primal Metal — creative designs in metal,

• Antonio Cuellar — Ceramic,

•Dave Griswold — Creates replicas of building as Birdhouses and Feeders,

•Jenny Zeeb — Mosaics/Jewelry for the Yard,

•Shirley Keller — Clay, photography, mixed media Recycled Art,

• Joan Seibel and Sherley Tucker — Ceramics,

•Tom Anderson — Red Duck Stained Glass,

•Mark Alhstrand — Hand-built ceramic pieces of slab or coil construction,

•Deanna Saldana Habitat for Humanity ReStores — repurposed recycled reused reclaimed restored.

Also, we would like to introduce you to St. John’s River Botanical Garden, which is located along the St. John’s River Trail between Dinuba Boulevard and Ben Maddox Way. This garden uses approximately 30 different varieties of California native plants.

From 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Arts Visalia: The Gallery will be open for your convenience.You will also be able to buy a ticket for raffle items to be given away at Arts Visalia. Artwork and a backyard design by The Gardens at Cal Turf (They have four designs to choose from) and a gift package from Luis’ Nursery to name a few items.

This day will have something for art and plant lovers. The five homes on the tour each has a different approach to the vision of water wise. This day will educate, inspire and help you think of the new landscape for our future in the Central Valley.

Tickets are available at Arts Visalia – Wednesday – Saturday noon to 5:30 p.m. or at Arts or call 559-739-0905 Visalia’s website: Tickets are $20

Mary Jo is a member of the Arts Consortium.

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City of Hartsville Parks Committee invites residents to give input on parks at … – WBTW

Playground at Lawton Park in Hartsville

HARTSVILLE, SC – Hartsville residents will get a chance to shape the future of the City of Hartsville’s parks Thursday, Nov. 12 as the City’s Parks Committee hosts a public planning meeting for park development. The meeting will begin at 12 p.m. in the Hartsville City Hall Council Chambers, found at 100 E. Carolina Ave. The meeting will take place at noon to allow participants to attend during their lunch break, and all attendees are welcome to bring a bag lunch.

At the meeting, residents will be invited to give their ideas for developing and enhancing recreation opportunities and addressing concerns at all City of Hartsville parks, including Burry Park, the Byerly Park Recreation Complex, Lawton Park, Pride Park, as well as the Vista on Railroad Avenue. The Parks Committee, which makes recommendations to Hartsville City Council on parks management, will then incorporate these ideas into a new master plan of potential future priorities for Parks and Recreation Department projects.

In recent years, the Parks Committee has advocated for major projects including the renovation of the Lawton Park Pavilion as well as the construction of a new stage and renovations of landscaping and playground equipment at South Hartsville’s Pride Park. The committee also encouraged the construction of the Piratesville Splash Pad, the popular children’s water play attraction at Byerly Park.

Those who are unable to attend the meeting but who wish to submit ideas or feedback may do so by emailing or by mailing City of Hartsville, attn.: Russell Cox, P.O. Drawer 2497, Hartsville, SC, 29551.

-This information is from a Press Release.


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17-acre development poised to start in American Canyon

AMERICAN CANYON — A decade in the making, Napa Junction Phase III has begun site work on the north end of American Canyon where a mixture of apartments, dining, retail and even a farming supply business is being developed.

Grading has begun on the 17-acre lot located next to Highway 29, just north of the Napa Junction Shopping Center featuring the Walmart Supercenter, while the developers finish getting their final approvals from the city’s Planning Commission.

Napa Junction III will consist of commercial businesses along the northbound side of 29, with a 148-unit apartment complex, known as Canyon Ridge, set further back from the highway.

In a town dominated by single-family homes, the inclusion of apartments was welcomed by city leaders after the developer, Lake Street Ventures, gave up on earlier ideas of Napa Junction III being solely focused on commercial opportunities, including big-box retail, and possibly office buildings.

The apartment complex will feature three-story buildings with one- and two-bedroom units, some of which will have attached garages.

Canyon Ridge also will feature “really nice recreational facilities,” according to Community Development Director Brent Cooper, as well as rents based on dynamic pricing, which can adjust depending on the local real estate market.

Cooper also said that 5 percent of the units will be set aside for low-income renters.

An official groundbreaking ceremony for Canyon Ridge is scheduled for Nov. 4 that is expected to include officials from Lake Street Ventures and its partner on the apartments, The Reliant Group of San Francisco, as well as others from the community and City Hall.

The developers will pay for the city to extend a pipeline down along the east side of the highway in order to provide recycled water for landscaping not only at Napa Junction III but also for landscaping already in place at the Napa Junction shopping center, The Lodge apartments complex and the Holiday Inn Express, which originally represented the first two phases of the Napa Junction project.

These earlier developments currently use potable water for landscaping.

By switching to recycled water for the watering of plants, as well as the toilets going in at Canyon Ridge, the project will save water to use for drinking and bathing in the new complex and stay in compliance with American Canyon’s zero water footprint policy, according to Cooper.

In addition to Canyon Ridge, Napa Junction III will bring new businesses to the city. Cooper says it is too early to know which new companies will occupy the commercial section of the project.

However, the community development director’s office has received an application from Tractor Supply Co., “a large retail chain of stores that offers products for home improvement, agriculture, lawn and garden maintenance, and livestock, equine and pet care,” according to the company’s website.

Cooper says one of the other commercial spaces for Napa Junction III has been designed to accommodate a fast-food franchise, while another pad could wind up housing a bank or a sit-down restaurant. A third pad may be developed into a building housing multiple retail operators.

The commercial buildings will feature the same architectural stylings as those in Napa Junction Shopping Center that houses Starbucks, GNC and other businesses, said Cooper.

The commercial area will have 150 parking spaces, while the apartment complex is expected to generate more than 3,200 daily automobile trips, according to a traffic study conducted for the project.

“What’s nice about a mixed-use project,” said Cooper, is ‘in the morning cars leave the site and come back at night.” In the meantime, traffic generated by the commercial section won’t start until later in the morning, usually beginning around 10 a.m. when some businesses tend to open, he said.

“It tends to help balance things,” said Cooper about the pairing of residential and business in one development.

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Outside: Those late-blooming flowers are key to pollinator’s survival

Islands of late-blooming flowers in October are the last refuge for honeybees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies in search of food to help them finish reproducing or, in some cases, survive through the cold winter weather ahead.

Wild asters are the main wildflowers in bloom now, and their billowy mounds of white, pale blue and purple flowers are obvious along the edges of fields and in untended lots right now. Many call them weeds, but they aren’t really. A weed is a plant that grows where people don’t want it. Late asters are just filling in the cracks and holes left in our neat and tidy human-designed landscapes, and in doing so, they are an important part of the natural world.

No plant is intrinsically a weed; there is a place in the world for every plant. Unfortunately, many plants we consider weedy are not from this continent. Most were brought here, either accidentally or on purpose, by human activity. They are weeds here, unless planted on purpose, but wildflowers in their native land.

Native plants -those that have been in eastern North America since before 1492 – are adapted to the climate, the animals and other plants of the area. They should be growing here, and many favored and lovely insects, birds and mammals depend on them for survival.

We have replaced much of the natural habitat of our area with developments (industrial, residential and commercial) sorely lacking resources for pollinating insects and other animals. When we plant flowers, bushes and trees, they are kinds that look neat and pretty, not necessarily those that will fit into the web of life as replacements for what we have bulldozed, trimmed and mowed down.

The style in most gardens these days is to grow tidy little mounds of solid color, the fall chrysanthemums for sale at the time of year are an excellent example. A few varieties of native asters, such as Purple Mound, a variety of New England aster, are available in nurseries, but we don’t know if they are as useful and well liked by bees and butterflies as the wild varieties. The breeders who develop and patent new varieties of garden flowers and the wholesale nurseries that grow them are looking for plants with curb appeal that people will buy. Attributes, such as good pollen and nectar production, availability and fragrance are not a part of their thinking.

Researchers from the University of Delaware, along with the Mount Cuba Center in Hockessin, Del., are studying and comparing cultivated varieties of native plants to answer the question: “Are wild forms of native plants better for pollinators than cultivars?” And if only some are good and well used, which ones are the best to plant in your garden to attract pollinating insects and support their populations? This project is being led by Dr. Douglas Tallamy, author of one of my favorite books, “Bringing Nature Home.” In the book, Tallamy examines in detail how non-native plants don’t fit in to the natural ecological system and aren’t good substitutes for natives.

When I get home from work on a sunny day this time of year, I walk our yard to see what insects are visiting our way stations of aster flowers. I enjoy seeing the latest migrating monarchs and painted lady butterflies, as well as the busy honeybees and bumblebees, and feel a great satisfaction in knowing that the landscaping in our yard is helping these fine creatures.

I am still interested in hearing your reports about any butterflies or hummingbirds you see visiting your garden. Please email me or post in the Facebook group about insects in the Berks area at

Mike Slater is a naturalist who lives in Brecknock Township, where he is an active member of the Mengel Natural History Society of Berks County and the Muhlenberg Botanic Society of Lancaster. He is also a member of the Baird Ornithological Club. Reach him at

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An Old Barn Gets a New Life as The Wells Barn at the Franklin Park Conservatory

It’s a big week for cultural institutions in Columbus. First, the Columbus Museum of Art celebrated the opening of their new wing, and now, Franklin Park Conservatory is opening The Wells Barn, an outreach and education facility. It’s the first project of the Franklin Park Conservatory’s Master Plan 2.0, and there will be grand opening celebrations all week.

“Opening The Wells Barn has given us a lot of doors to expand in a way that people want us to,” says Lori Kingston, Director of Marketing and Visitor Experience for the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. “It allows us to offer more participatory class space, and to host more groups.”

Interest in the cooking and plant education classes offered by the Franklin Park Conservatory continues to grow, while the space to accommodate those classes has not.

Executive Director Bruce Harkey notes the opening of The Wells Barn as a “pivotal moment for the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens,” saying “the community’s interest in our programs has grown so exponentially that we must now dedicate our second largest structure to outreach and education.”

Hidden doors raise to unveil a full bar and food service area.

The view looking toward the ScottsMiracle-Gro Community Garden Campus.

The new barn will provide 12,000 square feet of space, over two levels. The first floor serves as a large event space, and the lower level is split into several classroom and meeting spaces and a guest/bridal suite.

“We had a couple book the space for their wedding based on seeing the renderings alone,” says Kingston. The Franklin Park Conservatory hosts about 180 wedding ceremonies and receptions each year across their venues. With the barn, there are now five venue options. The barn’s rustic charm and historical look adds a new option unique to the inner city location.

Doug Morgan, owner of the Mount Vernon Barn Company -a company dedicated to saving and bringing new life to Ohio’s barns and early log houses- pegs the barn at around 200 years old.

“These old barns are obsolete for modern farming,” says Morgan. “Many times, insurance companies will no longer insure the farmers who own these properties.”

Morgan receives so many calls and requests to take down old barns that his company has enough inventory for several years of preservation projects. Most farmers do not have the means to keep up with the maintenance and repairs that these old barns require, and many fall into disrepair. Although there are some that are able to restore their barns.

“I always thought a big barn could serve a lot of purpose here,” says Morgan of the Franklin Park Conservatory site.

The barn in its original location. Photo by Lori Kingston.

Another view of the barn how it once stood in Richland County, Ohio. Photo by Lori Kingston.

The barn chosen for the Franklin Park Conservatory project came from the Garber Family, located in Richland County. The triple stacked tie beams is a building style that Morgan had not seen before, and he has seen many of Ohio’s old structures, estimating there are about 25,000 old barns remaining around the state.

“There are a lot of unique features in this barn,” says Morgan.

The barn is built using precise mortise-and-tenon joints, each beam scribed with glyphs to indicate its position in the framework. Quite a few varieties of wood -oak, chestnut, beech, walnut, cherry, and red elm- showcase what the surrounding forests would have been like during the time the barn was built. The substantial beams, exposed for all to see, show off the craftsmanship of precise and careful builders. The structure of soaring height could withstand hundreds of years of heavy use.

“It’s that workmanship that makes it remarkable,” he says.

The $5.7 million project included all of the work with the barn, the worksite, utilities, gardens, and landscaping. The barn was reconstructed as it originally was built, giving the Franklin Park Conservatory the chance to educate patrons on early barn construction throughout Ohio. Kingston had a chance to pound in one of the pegs, which she described as an exhilarating experience. An extension was added to each end, one to provide storage space, and the other to add a classroom sized kitchen, as well as an elevator to make the barn ADA compliant. A cupola was added in the center that provides architectural interest and adds light. The flooring was cut from old heart pine timbers.

Inside the barn, in addition to the kitchen, there is a floor to ceiling fireplace, a bar and food service area, chandeliers, and ceiling fans. Technology was included as well, with a couple of televisions installed tastefully along the kitchen wall, and a projector and screen available for use. Doors open onto a wide porch, leading onto the ScottsMiracle-Gro Community Garden Campus.

A closeup of the craftsmanship.

“Adding this barn really tied the spaces together,” says Kingston referring to the main building, the ScottsMiracle-Gro Community Garden Campus, and AEP Foundation Education Pavilion.

The landscaping around the barn is a collection of 80% native plants selected by Amanda Bettin, the Horticulture and Design Supervisor at Franklin Park Conservatory. She worked with Karen McCoy, Principal at landscape architecture firm MKSK, on the designs. Miles-McClellan Construction served as the general contractor and DesignGroup served as the architecture firm. Splash blocks for the downspouts were hand cut by Mount Vernon Barn Company from old stones.

On Saturday, October 31, the first class will be held at The Wells Barn, a fall harvest-themed demonstration and dinner led by Chef Doug Miller ($65/$55, pre-registration required, call 614-715-8022). The Conservatory is also hosting a community open house this weekend, October 31 and November 1, where the public is welcome to tour the building and sample the programs and activities that will be housed in the new barn. Activities include cooking demonstrations, a family activity, garden tours, and presentations by Ohio Wildlife Center, Ohio History Connection, and Doug Morgan from the Mt. Vernon Barn Company.

For information, visit

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Online gardener speaks on putting the garden to bed



Though winter can feel like a death sentence, not everything has to perish in its chill.

“There’s nothing more rewarding and satisfying than eating a meal you grew. It’s a special experience,” said Max Apton, a Westchester native who manages Amawalk Farm and owns the online vegetable gardening service The Farmer’s Garden.

And there’s no reason people can’t keep doing that in the winter, he said.

The Garden Education Center will be hosting Apton as guest speaker from 10 to 11 a.m. Nov. 3 at the center, 130 Bible St., Cos Cob. Tickets cost $35 for members and $45 for non-members.

“We’ll be talking about how to put your garden to bed, things that can really grow over the winter and ways you can extend the growing season,” said Apton.

Apton was a journalist in Wisconsin before he quit his job to get more in touch with nature, he said.

“I think all forms of gardening are really important to the human spirit. I think there’s something special about spending time in the garden and working with plants – being close to nature and the soil,” he said.

He said one of the biggest misconceptions about gardening is that it’s expensive to maintain. He said year one usually costs the most, but it pays off in the long run.

“A garden will continue to give as long as you work it,” he said.

Plus, people shouldn’t invest in gardens because of money, he said, people should “invest in gardening because it’s something you love, it’s peaceful and it gives back to the environment.”

Apton will also be able to give people tips on landscaping — he’s currently enrolled in a landscape design program at the New York Botanical Garden.

He said the biggest appeal to gardening is how “meditative and peaceful” it is. Those interested in learning more about The Farmer’s Garden can contact him through his website; @SilviaElenaFF

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My vegetable garden review

Posted: Sunday, October 25, 2015 12:30 am

My vegetable garden review

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

Last weekend’s hard freeze brought an end to the 2015 vegetable garden season for most of the crops in my raised beds. I still have a few things growing such as Leeks, Brussels sprouts and beets, but everything else is finished.

As I look back over the season, it seems like every year there are successes and failures. I really should reread this column next May to avoid some of the mistakes I seem to make each year.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015 12:30 am.

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Malcolm CampbellMessenger Community News

Invest in some chlorflurifos to keep black beetles in your lawn under control.

Black lawn beetle controls

WHILE there are no controls in your lawn for the black lawn beetle, we can control their larvae if you act now. Their creamy curl-grub like witchetty grubs eat the roots of your lawn and vegetables, so they lose vigour and die off in patches. The most common ingredient for control products is chlorflurifos sold in a granular or liquid form. Apply to your lawn and water it in. Keep pets off it for two days (in my opinion) and, as the vapours sink into the lawn, it suffocates the larvae — they surface and magpies and mudlarks clean them up, safely.

Herb Day

Pick up some rare herbs in Fullarton on Sunday.Source:Supplied

SUNDAY, November 1 is Herb Day for all the keen herb growers. A day when there is a chance of buying a herb that you will never see at your local gardening centre. Plants like the perennial basil, Ocimum gratissimum or maybe the Vietnamese Mong to-e, which is Basella rubra. With more than 20 stalls, potted plants and produce for sale it is the closest I have seen to the classic English county plant sale. It’s on at the Fullarton Community Centre, corner of Fisher St and Fullarton Rd, 10am-3pm — but be early!


FOR folk who are aiming to establish espaliered fruit and nut trees along thin frame or wire support, it is at first difficult to realise that, apart from winter hard pruning, they need training almost all the time. There will be occasions when no shoots seem to appear where you want them to, so take a nick above a bud with a sharp knife and that will set in train the emerging limb you seek. A nick under a bud retards its spread. Stone fruits and quince are easy but citrus really are a challenge!

Vermi-liquid benefits

It’s time to partly empty your worm farm.Source:Supplied

AS the nutrients of spring get used up in your vegetable garden, it will be time to resort to emptying out the worm farm in part. These are compost making worms and will not survive in your garden, where earth workers are the main worm. Don’t fret over the loss, see it as protein enrichment. The vermin-caste is rich with all sorts of microorganisms that assist your plants. Even if you need to buy work liquid, there are lots of eggs and spore in that which will benefit your garden too.

Mandevilla climbers

Mandevilla laxa gives off fragrance at night.Source:Supplied

THE Chilean jasmine is Mandevilla laxa and it has the most delightfully fragrant white tubular flowers in summer and autumn. In common with petunias, they are more fragrant at night, so that might give you a clue as to where to plant some to best effect. It makes a light twining vine that only needs a wire support. While other Mandevilla cultivars come in a wide range of pink, red and maroon coloured flowers, they are not the equal for fragrance. The coloured hybrids are also more prone to fungal diseases in winter and spring.

Whiteflies in your hackberries?

Keep a look out for whiteflies in your Hackberries..Source:Supplied

THE streets of North Adelaide and the city are riddled with whiteflies that infest the leafy canopies of the Hackberries and some ash trees in their streetscapes and secrete a sticky substance that stains all it falls onto. I don’t know why they put up with it? The Confidor plant tablets (containing a systemic insecticide) are an effective control, when inserted 200mm deep with a jemmy bar at 3m spaces around the edge of the canopy, that mostly falls in private property anyhow. Of course, yellow sticky traps hung in trees work too, but they’re not so easy to erect.

Lady fingers (Okra)

THE okra fruits area great favourite in warm climes from South Asia right through the Middle East to southern states of the USA; the reason being that they make a great addition to stews curries and other watery dishes, without a flavour overload.

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Fall gardening tips – WISH

It may be turning colder, but it’s time to start thinking about next year’s garden! That’s what Irvin Etienne, the horticultural display coordinator at the IMA, is telling us! He chats with Tracy about what to know if you’re planning next year’s spring blooming bulbs, which are the easiest to grow and what type of equipment you’ll need!

Right now, the IMA is selling bulbs in their greenhouse, such as tulips, lilies and alliums (all bulbs are currently 30% off!) You can come view Irvin’s handiwork in the IMA gardens, included with your general admission ticket ($18 adults, $10 children 6-17, free for children 5 and under)!

To learn more, visit


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Get Growing: Winter’s coming and Gloria has tips for getting your garden ready …

There was definitely frost on the pumpkin last week. Ghostlike sheets and row covers were visible everywhere to protect Swiss chard, herbs and ornamental peppers on the cooler nights.

Are you ready for November and beyond? Some chores can be put off longer than others. Here are a few year-end recommendations.

Herbs: Rosemary will do well indoors in a bright, yet cool, location given frequent misting. I’ve kept my plant for three years near a patio door with the heat in the low 60s. Indoors, parsley and basil-like full sun (or a grow light) and plenty of moisture.

Curry, sage, thyme and oregano will winter over outside. Dill, bronze fennel and cilantro (coriander) will reseed in the garden.

Rain barrels: Begin draining those barrels and get ready to store them or turn them over to avoid cracking. Unhook downspout connections.

Recycle nursery pots: Many greenhouses and nurseries recycle and reuse their own pots. Return them or place into curbside recycling for pickup.

Birdhouses: Clean out old nests to make room for winter roosting. Resecure houses to sturdy posts or relocate away from trees that have outgrown the distance.

Stock up on bird food during pre-order sales and purchase a critter-proof container for storage. Add a heated birdbath to your garden, placed for prime-time viewing from indoors.

Leaves: Did I mention raking leaves? Better yet, shred them with the mower and then bag and let them decompose on your own property. Finely shredded leaves make excellent mulch under trees or in shade gardens or find a spot to pile them up. In a week they will settle to half the original height.

Keep piling and in spring you will have the start of good compost. Many insects overwinter in leaves, which is an added bonus to the natural habitat.

Woodpiles: Stacked neatly or otherwise, the chipmunks don’t care. Heating season is here. Make wood accessible to the door; it’s going to get cold and windy sooner than you think. Invest in a sturdy tarp to cover the wood stack, preferably brown or dark green for the best camouflage.

Hoses: Less watering is needed with cooler temperatures. After you have given newly planted or transplanted trees, shrubs, and perennials a good soaking, drain and store hoses out of the weather if possible. Detach connections, remove water shut-offs and place freeze protection on the spigot.

Wilt-Pruf: Give the evergreens a thorough coating of Wilt-Pruf to protect from moisture loss. Winter winds are brutal and often the cause of browning of the tips of leaves. Rhododendrons, azaleas, osmanthus, hollies, camelias and hellebores all appreciate the extra care before going into the deep freeze.

Lawn mowers: Clean and sharpen the blades, empty gas and change the filters and spark plugs. You will be ahead of the season and all those waiting for service to begin mowing in 2016.

Tools: Clean, sharpen and oil pruners, loppers, shovels and trimmers now, at the end of the season. Replace broken handles and blades. Put new gloves and the most-wanted tools on your gardener’s gift list.

Driveway markers: Retrieve the orange poles from the back corner of the garage and get ready to sink them at the driveway edge before the ground freezes. They definitely aren’t sturdy enough to pound into the hard ground.

Christmas trees: Dig the hole for the live tree. Place a board over the excavation and store the soil in a freeze- proof area. The last thing you need is a frozen pile of soil on Jan. 1, when you attempt to plant the tree.

Wreaths: Cut a variety of evergreens and condition them with Wilt-Pruf. They will last a month longer, possibly the entire winter without falling apart due to dryness. Tie with twine into bouquets for wreath-making or swags. Store the greens in a box out of the weather. You will be ready to grab a bouquet and make the wreath indoors when the snow starts to fall and puts you in the mood.

The holidays will be here before we know it. And then the seed catalogs arrive to inspire or torture us, whichever perspective we choose.

There is no rest for the weary gardener, at least until January.

Gloria Day is president of Pretty Dirty Ladies Inc. Garden Design Maintenance; a member of Gardenwriters and the Pennsylvania Landscape Nursery Association; and serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence Horticultural Advisory Committee. She lives in Berks County and can be reached at

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