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Archives for January 18, 2016

Philly Home & Garden Show debuts in Oaks


Gary Puleo Jason Turpin of Turpin Landscaping, Inc. created a lush, award-winning oasis at the Philly Home and Garden Show that showcased everything his family-owned business can accomplish in a backyard.




UPPER PROVIDENCE Without the magnet of home improvement stars drawing crowds on Sunday, the Philly Home and Garden show still wound down its three-day stay at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks in rousing fashion, with hundreds of vendors taking the spotlight.

TV’s Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott and Chip Wade — who appeared on Friday and Saturday — may have exerted their star power at the box office, but folks were clearly taking the inspiration they gleaned from the home improvement gurus straight to the show floor to take their ideas to the next level.

“The show was packed all day long yesterday, and people were walking the show the whole day, which shows that we have really quality exhibitors here and people are shopping for their homes and their projects,” noted show manager Alyson Caplan of presenter MarketPlace Events. “So it’s not just the star power of the celebrities, it was the show itself as well.”

The Expo Center show is the first rural local production for MarketPlace Events, a company that produces 39 consumer shows across the US and Canada, including the Philly Home Show for the past 35 years in Center City. (This year’s Philly Home Show is set for Feb. 12, 13 and 14 and 19, 20, 21 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.)

“They have expanded to a second show in the Philadelphia region this year based on the value the company sees in the market,” noted Jeff Cronin of publicists DDC Works, who added that the show “is not affiliated with the Suburban Home and Garden Show that previously occupied the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks.”

Adding the element of “garden” to the suburban show’s title did not imply that the outdoor aspect was secondary, he allowed.

“We’re kind of catering toward the suburban market outside of the city and we have the space to focus on the outdoor living space too, so you’ll see experts on site dealing with landscaping. The outdoor oasis is a huge thing now, so you’ll see a lot of that there. We’ll actually have six gardens that will be built inside the Expo Center.”

With half a dozen businesses tapped to showcase their landscaping magic, Caplan said that the garden element will evolve even more dramatically as an outdoor-oriented production.

“We’ll always have the interior and design as well,” she pointed out. “Our focus in the city and the suburbs is to reach a wide variety of people with everything.”

On Friday, Caplan and her staff had awarded the Best in Show, Landscaping division, title to family owned Turpin Landscaping, Inc. of Chester County, and it was clear to see why.

Owner Jason Turpin had transformed his corner space into a lavish backyard oasis that played to every aspect of his company’s strengths, from gushing waterfalls and ponds to masonry, lighting, fire pits and landscaping.

“They gave me pretty much free reign here,” he said. “They said they wanted it to be inviting. More than anything, we’re trying to simulate what it would be like sitting in your backyard, relaxing and just looking at the fish in the pond.”

Lush touches like Southern magnolia bushes and colorful primrose flowers along the pathway were provided by Turpin’s mom, Becky Turpin, with his brother and partner, Chad Turpin, creating the stone handiwork all around.

“We wanted to show those who came to the home show that’s it’s pretty neat to be able to achieve this lifestyle right in your own backyard,” Turpin said.

A discreet standalone water feature, the Spillway Bowl, can create an instant waterfall in even a smaller space, Turpin noted.

“That’s a good option when somebody doesn’t have room for some of the bigger features,” he said.

Designer Deanna Lorenti of Deanna’s Interior Designs in Horsham had embraced many of the hottest decorating trends of the design world in the model “smart home” — complete with living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and even a backyard — she’d been asked to create for MarketPlace Events as the centerpiece of the show.

The home not only gets its smartness from Xfinity, it’s also green, incorporating many of Lorenti’s environmentally conscious features into the mix.

“Almost everything is eco-friendly, like the flooring, the reclaimed wood, the appliances. If you want to save money, save the enivironment and save energy, this is the right home,” said Lorenti, who called the design style of the home, built by Rudloff Custom Builders, “transitional,” combining rustic and contemporary elements.

“We have a lot of the rustic in all the reclaimed wood, which has been a very hot trend for interiors for the last three years and keeps getting stronger.”

The dining room table had been fashioned from a rough-hewn walnut slab by Stable Tables of Flourtown, just one of many customized aesthetic touches highlighting Lorenti’s theme.

The “vanity” that anchored the white concrete sink made by Liquid Stone Concrete Designs LLC of Warminster — which enhances concrete on a variety of projects using stamps, acid stains, and coloring — was also crafted by Stable Tables, from old barn beams.

Lorenti added a personal touch by using a repurposed door from Habitat for Humanity to work as a hanging backdrop for black and white photos.

“Using furniture made from reclaimed wood means that more trees weren’t knocked down in the process,” she said.

Striking vinyl flooring that resembled hardwood was provided by Avalon Flooring and Lorenti also used Hunter Douglas shades from the company in her design.

“Automated shades can be programmed to move during different times of the day to let in or block out sun, which can reduce your heating or cooling costs,” she noted.

Lorenti was hopeful that her mixing of the metals in the kitchen and on light fixtures — provided by Bright Light Design Center of King of Prussia — throughout the home would give visitors some non-traditional ideas.

“People usually think they have to stick with brushed nickel throughout the whole house and they don’t. We have stainless steel in the kitchen and the fixtures are more of a gold bronze.”

The entire home made a statement of how rustic and contemporary influences can work together, Lorenti said.

“It was really a collaboration of a lot of companies working together to make the house beautiful and smart.”

Article source: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20160118/philly-home-garden-show-debuts-in-oaks

Kids able to create their own gardens

The cold might have gotten the best of the trees outside Sycamore’s Blumen Gardens – but inside, the business was overflowing with rich green potted plants and soft peat moss.

Supplied with all things miniature: plants, pots, and ceramic animals – and magical: fairy statues and sparkly wands –the garden’s terrarium workshop Sunday was a child’s dream come true, said local mom, Dawn Paul.

“I saw it advertised, and she just loves little things,” she said. “This is like dream stuff for little girls. It just looked like a fun thing to do.”

Families registered ahead of time and paid $10 for the class, which gave step-by-step instructions on how to make their own miniature, decorated gardens.

Blumen Gardens, a Sycamore-based landscaping and garden maintenance company, provided plants, pots and decorations.

“I think, for the parents and the kids, it’s a good time for them to spend together,” said the workshop’s director, Laura O’Loughlin. “I know my daughter – she’s 5 – she would like to do this.”

Some children, such as 4-year-old Dreyah Poe, built their own “fairy gardens” to attract their favorite mystical creatures.

“She was excited when I told her that we’re going to go build a fairy garden and have fairies come to our house,” said Dreyah’s mom, Shonnah Poe.

Blumen Gardens regularly hosts adult workshops on activities such as terrarium building and houseplant repotting.

Sunday’s class was one of the first meant specifically for children, and likely won’t be the last, O’Loughlin said.

Reagan Mann, 9, couldn’t wait to put her garden in the window sill, where it would be easiest to see. Her grandma, Terri Mann-Lamb, said this workshop was tailor-made for Reagan.

“When she was about 1 or 2 years old, she used to talk about fairies all the time,” Mann-Lamb said. “She used to sing songs about fairies.”

Blumen Gardens’ next event will be a gardening question-and-answer session Wednesday with owner Joel Barczak.

Article source: http://www.daily-chronicle.com/2016/01/17/kids-able-to-create-their-own-gardens/akv4rby/

Monet’s ‘other’ masterpiece: His gardens at Giverny

It seems appropriate that to get to Claude Monet’s home at Giverny, I’m leaving Paris from the Saint-Lazare train station. In a famous series of paintings, the impressionist master captured the busy energy of this station, an in-between space of hurried, blurred figures, with clouds of steam from approaching locomotives billowing under its iron-and-glass arched roofs.

But it was his outdoor paintings that Monet is best known for, including those of his gardens in Giverny, about 64 kilometres northwest of Paris.

Monet moved to Giverny in 1883, middle-aged and nearly penniless. Nine years earlier, he had exhibited “Impression: Sunrise,” the painting attributed with giving the impressionist movement its name. Yet true artistic success and financial stability would be years away. During the 43 years that Monet lived in Giverny, he came to be regarded as one of the world’s greatest artists, attaining international fame and a considerable personal fortune, much of which he funneled into his other passion, horticulture.

He spent years designing and landscaping the property he acquired here, working – with the assistance of his team of gardeners and small children – with the specific intention of creating spaces that he could paint. The gardens he created have come to be called his “other” masterpiece.

ivoha13/Fotolia

Only 45 minutes after leaving Paris, my train pulls into the town of Vernon, just inside the region of Normandy. Giverny lies a few kilometres away, but with a population hovering around 500, it’s not on the main line. From here, I’ll have to make my own way.

Walking out of the station, I bypass the little motorized train and the air-conditioned shuttle bus, either of which would take me the six kilometres to Giverny. Instead, for the equivalent of about $15, I rent an old 10-speed bicycle for the day from the cafe directly opposite. It’s perfect. The waitress/bike-renter offers me a home-made map highlighting an easy cycle path to my destination. She pumps air in the tires and comments on the perfect conditions. The sun is rising quickly, the heat beginning to prickle the skin on the back of my neck.

When do I need to bring the bike back?

“Take your time!” she waves me off cheerily and turns to serve another customer.

Laris Karklis/The Washington Post

It’s mid-August, so Vernon, like villages all over France, is quiet, with bakeries, pharmacies and hairdressers alike displaying hand-scrawled signs saying “Closed for summer.” I cruise down the almost empty main street toward the river, detouring past the leering gargoyles of the church Notre-Dame de Vernon.

Crossing the Clemenceau Bridge, I take stock of the drowsy Seine – hard to recognize as the same river that flows through Paris. The banks here are natural, with grass and trees growing down to the water, and a cacophony of swans, geese and ducks gathering in the muddy shallows beside a dilapidated 16th-century mill. Here begins the André Toufler path, an old train line converted into a bike-friendly path. On my left, grapevines scramble among yellow dandelion flowers, and trees covered with creepers create a dense, green curtain that climbs up the hillside. On my right, I see into well-tended back yards beside neat houses. I ride through a cloud of sweet rose perfume. Beyond the houses, the land opens up to cornfields, pastures of sturdy grazing Maine-Anjou cows, and the steep roofs of houses, as white as the chalk in the hills beside me.

I’m a bit sad to see the path end at the main road, Rue Claude Monet. This must be Giverny. As I ride up a slight hill, the prevailing theme in town appears to be flowers: Every single garden is abundantly, gorgeously cultivated in a kind of anticipatory tribute to the famous property beyond. Do people move here because they love to garden? I wonder. Or is it the result of some town decree?

Anna Hartley

One last rise, and I’m greeted with a friendly sight: the warm, rose-pink facade of the Ancien Hôtel Baudy, the restaurant where I’ve planned to have lunch. The large terrace is already starting to fill up with the midday crowd. Old, coppiced plane trees create a thick green roof over faded red umbrellas and pastel metal tables.

In its heyday, from the late 1880s until the beginning of the Great War, the Hôtel Baudy was the centre of the village’s thriving social scene. Originally a tiny canteen and general store, it expanded thanks to the sudden influx of American and international artists. Attracted to the region for the beautiful landscapes, the cheap rent and the tantalizing proximity of Monet himself, they came by train from Paris, sometimes intending to stay for a few days and leaving years later.

The American artist William Metcalf is attributed with “discovering” Giverny in 1886, and the likes of John Singer Sargent, Paul Cézanne, Theodore Robinson, and Mary and Frederick MacMonnies are among the better-known painters who patronized the Baudy. Of course, not all of the artists who stayed there found fame and fortune, and some original artworks, traded in lieu of room payment, still hang behind the wooden bar.

I lock up my bike next to a large patch of lawn that was once a tennis court and approach the terrace.

“One for lunch, please.” A glass of rosé arrives quickly, closely followed by l’assiete du soleil, a huge plate of roasted summer vegetables, parmesan and cured ham. The sound of gravel crunching underfoot as waitresses flit between the tables mingles with the bright chatter of the polyglot lunch crowd.

jovannig/Fotolia

Afterward, I wander around the restaurant’s back garden, poking about the sunny atelier, which was built in 1887 to accommodate the many artists-inresidence. Dust specks drift in the air, and the cobwebs are thick. Pots and brushes lie about, and an unfinished painting rests on an easel. It feels like the last artist simply put down his brush and walked away.

As I had feared, a long line of visitors are waiting to enter Monet’s home, snaking a few hundred yards up the road, so I turn instead to the many art galleries that pepper the main street.

There seems to be something for everyone here, from surprising modern street-art-inspired canvases to cloying pastoral scenes.

Modern-looking Espace 87 catches my eye, and, wandering in, I chat with the personable gallery manager and sculptor Alain Brieu. I remark upon the high number of galleries for such a small town. Brieu points out that the town naturally attracts art lovers; even if only a fraction of the half a million or so that arrive every year actually buy something, it is enough for many businesses to flourish.

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“Are there any impressionist artists here now?” I ask.

“Impressionist painters don’t exist anymore, there are only imitators,” he declares, in a way I’ve come to see as distinctly French. There are certainly plenty of those around. Brieu shrugs. “Nobody can afford to buy real impressionist art now.”

Well, not in the medium the artist originally intended. But Monet’s works are emblazoned on everything from umbrellas to mugs to tea towels on sale in the gift shops. “It’s dreadful! Truly dreadful!” Brieu says. “The only things that aren’t dreadful are the prints, but why not buy an original piece of art instead?” With a smile, he gestures to those hanging on his walls.

Fotomicar/Fotolia

I arrive at Monet’s house just after 4 p.m. As I enter the famous gardens, I take a deep breath and brace myself for a seething mass of tourists. But to my surprise, it is calm. People wander here and there among the flowers or rest on benches.

Flowers of every colour fill my field of view, seeming to crowd in, nodding slightly in the breeze. It looks like a paint factory has exploded. Divided into rows, dominated by a wide central path leading to the front door of his home, the garden called Clos Normand is structured quite traditionally, yet it feels overgrown in a pleasing, messy, impressionist kind of way.

As I take a few photographs, it strikes me how difficult it is to find perspective here. The density of plant life in all of its colours makes judging distances difficult, and I’m surprised to see a small girl walk by me, only about two feet away, on a parallel path utterly hidden from my view. Bees buzz. Children pose for their parents in the warm sunshine.

Then I come to the road.

Rumbling with trucks and local traffic, it literally cuts Monet’s gardens in half. Visitors are protected by an underpass, and high walls hide it from view. But as I approach the bottom of the garden it’s impossible to miss, and I’m surprised that it has never been diverted.

Emerging moments later on the other side, I find the landscape radically changed. A lush oasis of clear pools, huge ferns and a forest of tall green bamboo as thick as my wrist constitute Monet’s famous Water Garden.

Branches of huge weeping willows brush the surface of the still water, creating ripples. A brilliant blue dragonfly perches beside a shaded stream, so still I think it might be asleep. The famous arching green bridge is held tight with densely winding purple wisteria. The subject of countless paintings and photographs, it is now crowded with picture takers: In their bright summer clothes, from a distance, they look a bit like flowers themselves.

JMP de Nieuwburgh/Fotolia

It’s calm here, and I sit on one of the many benches. An elderly couple walks past, quietly discussing the lilies in knowledgeable terms.

A big red truck goes by, the top of its cabin visible over the garden wall.

Eventually I make my way up to the house itself. Rose-pink with green shutters on the outside, and vibrantly painted inside, it is undoubtedly an artist’s home. Each room seems to have its own character, and strong, well-balanced colours give it a strangely modern feeling. Most surprising of all are hundreds of original Japanese wood block prints that were in Monet’s private collection. I recognize the name Hokusai, and I do a double-take to see a print of his unmistakable “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” hanging on the wall.

Leaving the home through its sunny dining room and adjoining china-blue kitchen, I look at my watch and get a shock; I’ve got exactly 33 minutes before my train departs. Exiting through the enormous gift shop, actually the studio in which Monet painted his famous “Water Lilies” series for the Orangerie Museum in Paris, I get on my bike and ride.

Zooming down Rue Claude Monet, past the galleries, past the Impressionist Museum, past the Hôtel Baudy, I pause briefly at the church of Sainte-Radegonde de Giverny to pay my respects at Monet’s grave.

Half a lifetime away from the man who trailed into Giverny poor and with an uncertain future, the successful and prosperous artist succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 86. Rejecting the pomp of a state funeral, he was buried in this local graveyard with only family and close friends in attendance. Right at the end of the ceremony, in a moment that reads as if from a play, Monet’s longtime friend Georges Clemenceau, the former French prime minister, ripped off the black cloth that draped his coffin, declaring: “No! No black for Monet! Black is not a colour!”

Today, the extended Monet family plot is covered in flowers.

PackShot/Fotolia

IF YOU GO

Where to stay:
Les Rouges Gorges: 6 Rue Aux Juifs; 011-33-232-51-02-96, lesrougesgorges.com.
A village within a village. Cute timber and stone cottages placed around a paved courtyard overgrown with flowers and greenery make this a welcome BB stay in the medieval centre of Giverny. Rooms from about $60.

Les Arceaux: 49 Rue Claude Monet; 011-33-232-21-61-17, giverny.fr.
A spacious and stylish two-story home with a large garden, terrace and patio. A couple of minutes’ walk from the Claude Monet Museum. Rooms from about $140.

Where to eat:
L’Ancien Hôtel Baudy: 81 Rue Claude Monet; 011-33-232-21-10-03, restaurantbaudy.com.
The canteen-turned-hotel that housed famous French and American artists in Giverny’s heyday. Take lunch under the dappled shade of the terrace. Entrees start at about $18.

Le Petit Giverny: 41 Chemin du Roy; 011-33-232-51-05-07, lepetitgiverny.com.
Hidden a street away from the relatively busy Rue Claude Monet, this brasserie-grill serves up tasty steaks and fresh regional produce. Entrees start at about $16.

What to do:
Fondation Claude Monet: 84 Rue Claude Monet; 011-33-232-51-28-21, fondation-monet.com.
Visit the home where impressionist painter Claude Monet spent half of his life and the gardens that inspired some of his masterpieces. Open daily from March 28-Nov. 1, 9:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Last admission 5:30 p.m. $10, children ages 7 to 17 and students about $6, younger free.

Information:
giverny.org

Article source: http://news.nationalpost.com/life/travel/monets-other-masterpiece-his-gardens-at-giverny

Jack Christensen’s garden tips for the week starting Jan. 9



1 Planting time: Now is the best time to buy and put in a surprising variety of plants. These include bare-root roses, berries, fruit and shade trees, vines and perennial vegetables, such as artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb. Also, choose azaleas, camellias, cymbidium orchids, primroses and other winter flowers while they are in bloom, and don’t overlook the winter-flowering succulents and cacti. Be sure to water them in well after you plant them.

2 Daylily maintenance: Clean up daylilies and start new plants by snipping off the leafy little plantlets that developed on old flower stems. Leave a couple of inches of the flower stalk attached to the sprouts to anchor them in the ground, and trim the leaves of the plantlets down to two or three inches in length. Bury the bottom of the plantlet only a half-inch or so deep with the length of flower stalk deeper to hold it in place. Water lightly and do not feed until early spring.

3 Remove old flowers: Deadhead azaleas and camellias as flowers fade. Deadheading is the removal of old flowers. This is necessary on azaleas, because dead azalea flowers hang on and look ugly. It’s necessary on camellias to prevent spreading of petal blight, a fungus disease that rots camellia flowers and turns them brown and mushy.

4 Be water-thrifty: Check for broken sprinkler heads and repair them. Also, with cooler weather, plants don’t need as much moisture. In fact, for some types of plants, too much moisture during cool weather can damage roots and even kill entire plants. For most of us, automatic sprinklers can safely be turned off until spring except for windy or warm spells. No sense wasting our precious water — or your precious money to pay for unneeded irrigation.

5 Still time to harvest: Continue harvesting winter vegetables as they mature. Peas will produce more if you harvest every day or two, and broccoli and cauliflower will yield additional edible sprouts from remaining stems after the main heads are cut. Add a little plant food to all winter vegetables to encourage continued production. Replant as needed to replace cabbages, beets, etc., where harvesting includes the whole plant.

— Jack E. Christensen

Article source: http://www.dailynews.com/lifestyle/20160115/jack-christensens-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-jan-9

Your garden in January: Sean Murray’s latest tips for North East gardeners

In winter, trees and shrubs that have interesting or colourful stems and bark can bring real joy and a sense of theatre to what otherwise can appear to be a dull time of year in the garden.

Your garden can be an ever-unfolding carpet of exploding colour, texture and form from the careful addition of shrubs and trees that perform well whilst we are huddled indoors.

If you have room, consider Prunus Serrula, eventually growing 10 x 10m, its coppery-glowing, peeling bark gives way to a shiny stem.

It has bright yellow leaves in autumn which adds to its value. The under bark reminds me of my late Dad’s tan brogues, which I’m still wearing, polished within an inch of their lives.

Betula Utilis Jacquemontii has sheer wow factor, eventually a 18m tree with glowing white stems and delicate branch formation.

Planted singularly or in a small woodland they are guaranteed to stop you in your tracks.

Give the stems a clean with a damp cloth and they come up as white as a celebrity’s smile.

Cornus Alba or dogwood is a large deciduous shrub 3 x 3mtrs which earns its place with its bright red stems.

Cut it back hard in late spring and it will reward you with a powerful display the following winter.

Prunus Serrula has bright yellow leaves in autumn
Prunus Serrula has bright yellow leaves in autumn

Cornus Sericea (Flaviramea) has lime green stems and looks equally good. Both are easy to propagate from hardwood cuttings.

As a flower arranger my winter garden wouldn’t be complete without those eccentric wonders of nature, Corylus Avellana, the Corkscrew Hazel and the much faster growing Salix Babylonica Tortuosa.

Both have contorted twisting stems which are great for cutting and bringing indoors to give your winter arrangements some movement and flair.

Corylus Avellana, although amazing in winter complete with catkins, looks pretty hideous in summer with its dull crinkly leaves.

It’s also prone to suckering so you need to keep on top of it. All said, it’s still an interesting addition, just grow something not too rampant over it in the summer like a clematis.

I’ve recently discovered Rubus Cocksburnianus, a deciduous shrub with spectacular ghostly white prickly stems.

It’s related to the bramble and forms a thicket of dramatic, arching 2.5m stems. It prefers sun and moist soil and in summer its dark green leaves and black inedible fruits are interesting too.

It’s a great all-rounder and guaranteed to add a theatrical air to your planting. I have underplanted mine with Tulipa Prinses Irene – a bold orange – and can’t wait to see the unfolding combination of stems and colour this spring.

I am wary of planting many of the bamboos due to their invasive nature, however Phyllostachys Nigra with its black stems is clump forming. With up to 8m stems it’s a definite showstopper, especially when the lower side stems are removed to focus the eye on its sculptural form.

Cornus Alba makes a powerful display says Sean Murray
Cornus Alba makes a powerful display says Sean Murray

If you would like to see amazing winter gardens in action visit RHS Harlow Carr near Harrogate or RHS Wisley in Surrey for inspirational ideas.

From my own experience they never fail in firing up my creative juices to start winter planting.

Plants that can’t wait to shed their leaves, full of naked ambition with their dramatic stems and bark are priceless at this time of year. Think about adding a couple to your garden for some real winter pizazz.

Sean Murray runs a garden design company based in Ashington, Northumberland, www. gardennarratives.co.uk

Article source: http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/property-news/your-garden-january-sean-murrays-10753418

Jack Christensen’s garden tips for the week starting Jan. 2



1 Defense against borers: Protect stone fruit trees from borers (moth larvae that feed inside tree branches, causing bark to flake off on the upper side, seriously weakening or even killing the trees). Cut out severely damaged branches, if necessary, then spray the leafless tree with any available “dormant spray” product. This will kill any larvae or pupae that are inside your tree. Prevent new springtime infestations from neighborhood borers with three applications of Malathion, seven to 10 days apart, in May, as new larvae hatch and try to get a foothold. Apply on the ground around the trunk, then up the trunk and over all the supporting branches.

2 Bare necessities: Buy and plant bare-root stock, being careful to choose plants with plump unwrinkled stems that are still dormant and unsprouted. Be sure to cut back the tops of bare-root roses, cane berries and grapes, and even mound extra soil over the branches of rose bushes for two weeks to ensure a good “take.” Plant blueberries in containers with an acid soil mix, such as “leaf mold” or composted wood and well-moistened peat moss. Trim side branches off bare-root fruit trees, forcing them to develop stronger new stems.

3 Fruit tree care: Prune and feed deciduous fruit trees. Cut back the top at whatever height you want down to 8 feet, and thin out branches from the middle of the tree so sunlight can filter through. Leave short “spurs” along the branches of plums, prunes, apricots and apples, but cut back the long branches. Leave long “hangers” on peaches and nectarines, but cut off the short stubby stems. Feed with a balanced plant food and apply a cup of Epsom salts around the drip line — the outside margin of the leaf canopy.

4 Give ’em a soaking: When planting bare-root roses, soak plants overnight so their stems are plump. Cut back tops to 8 inches and trim off any leaves or sprouts. Plant so the crown of branches is at soil level then cover all the stems with excess soil for two weeks to insulate against drying out. After two weeks remove the excess soil, and feed when new pea-size flower buds first appear.

5 Grasses to cut, not cut: Mow cool-season lawns, such as bentgrass, bluegrasses, fescues and ryegrasses, regularly — this is the season when they look their best. Prevent orangey rust diseases on these turfs by feeding and mowing them regularly. Irrigate dichondra lawns if we don’t get enough rain. Do not mow warm-season lawns, such as bahiagrass, bermudagrass, carpetgrass, centipede grass and zoysiagrass. Although St. Augustine grass is also a warm-season lawn, it may keep growing during mild winters; in this case, it will need to be mowed.

— Jack E. Christensen

Article source: http://www.sgvtribune.com/lifestyle/20160115/jack-christensens-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-jan-2

Cornish garden design student shortlisted for top national award

A Cornish garden designer has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award, after impressing judges from the Society of Garden Designers (SGD).

Alex Hobbs, aged 20 and from Truro, has been shortlisted in this year’s Student of the Year award, after graduating from Duchy College Rosewarne last June. This is considered the top award in the country for students and is open to anyone studying garden and landscape design at further or higher education level.

Programme manager for the HND garden and landscape design course, Matt James, said: “It is fantastic news for Alex and we are absolutely delighted for him, because it takes a lot of hard work to get to this stage. For us it’s a double celebration as it’s the second year in a row that we have had students recognised for this award, with Jo Midwinter taking the title last January.”

The SGD has been championing excellence in garden design for over 30 years. It is the only professional association for garden designers in the UK and counts some of the UK’s leading garden and landscape designers among its growing membership.

Jo Midwinter, last year’s winner, has been shortlisted for one of the professional design awards in only her first year of real practice. Matt added: “The HND garden and landscape design programme has only been running for three years, which makes the achievements of Alex and Jo all the more thrilling and we will be there to support them at the awards evening.”

The garden design programme is quickly becoming one of the most successful in the country with graduates going on to win countless awards from organisation such as the Royal Horticultural Society. The HND is now run at the Eden Project and is one of the flagship courses of the partnership between the Cornwall College Group and the Eden Project.

Head of Rural Economy for The Cornwall College Group, Dr Phil Le Grice, said: “I am delighted for Alex; this is a prestigious award and something that he truly deserves – and I’d like to wish him all the luck for the final. We have some of the best garden design tutors in the country at Duchy College; the sheer number of awards and nominations for their former students is testament to that.”

Article source: http://www.falmouthpacket.co.uk/news/14210444.Cornish_garden_design_student_shortlisted_for_top_national_award/

State sets goal: 1000 fewer inmates by ’17

COMMENTARY

Peer mentors teach prisoners life skills

GRAFTON, Ohio — With a violent criminal record and two prison sentences, Howard Boyd, a former gang leader and drug dealer, has become a better man in prison than he was on the streets.

“I was everything but the right thing,” he told me in Lorain Correctional Institution, where he has three years left on a seven-year sentence for multiple counts of assault and aggravated assault.

Boyd, 44, of Cleveland, is one of more than 20 trained peer mentors in the Ohio prison system. 

Having turned their lives around, they have the credibility, insight, and street knowledge to help other inmates. Boyd conducts a “Thinking Matters!” class at Lorain, a reception center that evaluates some of the 20,000 offenders a year who enter Ohio’s mammoth prison system.

Peer mentoring is one of dozens of new initiatives the state is counting on to help reduce the population of Ohio’s crowded prisons by 1,000 inmates over the next year.

By influencing their peers in a positive way, offenders and ex-offenders can help reverse the pernicious effects of the race to incarcerate. The shortsighted criminal justice policies that fueled it over the last 40 years have made the United States the world’s leading jailer. Ohio alone holds more prisoners than the entire country of Canada.

With more than 50,500 inmates, Ohio’s prison population has increased more than six-fold in the last four decades. Its 27 prisons are 30 percent over capacity. Nearly one in four Ohio state employees work for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. DRC’s annual budget exceeds $1.6 billion.

DRC Director Gary Mohr has, rightly, refused to build more prisons. Instead, he told me last week that he has committed the state to lowering its prison population by 2 percent by January, 2017.

Ohio is likely the nation’s first state to set specific targets for reducing incarceration, pushing the state to the front of a national movement for criminal justice and prison reform. It’s the right thing to do: Any tough task needs targets and benchmarks to succeed.






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With nearly 6,000 nonviolent offenders in Ohio’s prisons — many of them struggling with addiction and mental health problems — reducing the population by 1,000 is only a modest start.

When Mr. Mohr started his corrections career as an assistant teacher in 1974, Ohio had seven prisons and fewer than 8,300 inmates. Crime rates were about the same then as they are today. There’s no rational reason for Ohio to lock up substantially more people now than it did then.

These days, Mr. Mohr, an appointee of Gov. John Kasich, sounds like a man on a mission. He speaks with a rapid-fire, almost religious zeal — and not like a guy who runs one of the nation’s largest prison systems. He talks about a state that doesn’t need to spend nearly $25,000 a year to lock someone up, because it spent some of that money earlier, when it mattered most.

“2016 will be a year of difference,” he told me. “Instead of giving more money to Gary Mohr, I want us to start talking about spending money earlier in people’s lives. I would rather the money go to my child’s or your child’s education, or to help another child deal with a mental health issue.”

Most important, Mr. Mohr talks about a belief in people’s ability to change.

A wake-up call

For Boyd, the journey to change started in prison, where he couldn’t see his four children, except in a prison visiting room. He realized that he had hurt not only his victims but also his family and himself. “I hated the fact that I wasn’t a father to my children,” he said.

Boyd decided that, if he couldn’t help his children more, he could still help some of the lost young men entering prison in their teens and early 20s.

“I get the knuckleheads and gang-bangers, because I can relate to all that,” Boyd said. “I’m giving them a hug in the morning, saying, ‘Man, I love you. I want to see you change and I know you can. I see it in you.’

“That’s what brings forth the growth in those young guys. They didn’t get it out there because we, as fathers, are in here doing time. As men, we have all these kids and just leave them out there.”

As a trained peer mentor, Boyd can do even more. More than 95 percent of those in prison will eventually go home. But more than one in four of the 20,000 people a year who leave Ohio state prisons will return within three years, either because they violated the terms of parole or committed a new crime. Boyd can keep more men from coming back to prison by showing them how to think critically while they’re here.

Overlooking the prison yard, Boyd’s drab concrete classroom, with two windows framing thick green bars, looks like a crowded closet — except for the chalkboard in front. It’s covered with thought-provoking words, such as “attitude,” “belief,” “blame,” “situation,” and “feeling.” Many inmates have never connected these words and ideas before.

Typically, prisoners stay in a reception center for 60 to 90 days before transferring to a so-called parent prison. While they’re at Lorain, Boyd, in four 90-minute sessions, helps them examine the thinking, feelings, and choices that brought them here, using workbooks, writing, and discussion.

The class I attended consisted of five white and five African-American inmates — a ratio similar to the entire prison population. Most were in their 20s or 30s. Crime is mainly a young man’s game.

Boyd challenged his students as they talked about their pasts, and some prisoners challenged him. It’s not always on you, one prisoner said, arguing that circumstances can dictate split-second decisions.

Boyd nodded and paused. “I’m with you,” he said, “but check this out. Who put you in that circumstance in the first place? Why did you allow that person into your life? Why did you allow him to dictate your thoughts and feelings?

“People are influenced by others because they don’t have the backbone to say, ‘You know what? I’m cool. I’m about to go to college or learn this trade. I don’t need what you’re offering.’ ”

Darell Wilson, 38, of Cleveland, just returned to prison for his fourth bit. Previously locked up on drug possession and trafficking charges, he is serving a 15-month sentence for carrying a concealed weapon. A cop found the gun while talking to Wilson on Wilson’s front porch.

This is the first time he took “Thinking Matters!” Wilson believes that the changes the class put him through — one session brought him to tears — will make a difference.

Carrying a gun for protection is common in Wilson’s hardknock neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side. Still, Wilson knows it was a jack move. He had a packaging job at a warehouse that paid $9.50 an hour. His four children, including a son in college, need him.

“With three prior felonies, I know I’m not supposed to have a gun,” Boyd said. “This all could have been prevented with a little thought. … It’s better to do without, than to start thinking about going out there and hustling to get some extra change.”

Wilson is grateful. His old boss likes him and will take him back. Eventually, he wants to run his own construction or landscaping business.

Another student, Shevan Rowland, 23, of Richland County, is serving a one-year sentence for theft. It’s his first and — Rowland said — last trip to prison.

Like nearly 30 percent of those entering Ohio’s prisons, Rowland has never been convicted of a violent crime. More than 40 percent of the men and women admitted to prison last year have, like Rowland, one year or less to serve.

Rowland stole more than $1,000 worth of property from an acquaintance, planning to fence the goods to help his family. Now, Boyd is giving him the guidance his father never did. Rowland worked as a television repairman. Now he’s thinking about his future. He wants to go to college, though he’s not sure what he wants to study.

“This is a wake-up call,” Rowland said. “He (Boyd) talks about taking responsibility and using the opportunities you have. That’s what I plan to do.”

In mentoring, Boyd may have found his calling. After his release, he plans to renovate an old building in Cleveland, and start a nonprofit that would “take kids off the street and teach them how to be men.”

“I think I deserve the opportunity to try to give back to society,” he said.

Challenge to be better

Over the past four decades, the number of state and federal prisoners across the country rose nearly eightfold — from 218,000 to more than 1.6 million. Including prisoners in county jails and local lockups, roughly 2.3 million Americans are incarcerated — 25 percent of the world’s prisoners — at an annual cost of at least $80 billion. Another 5 million people are under community supervision.

Crime rates have moved up and down over the past four decades, while incarceration rates, until 2007, skyrocketed, especially during the 1980s and 1990s. Today, crime rates are roughly the same as they were four decades ago, when Ohio and the rest of the nation started a prison building boom.

Reversing the damage of the last four decades will take policy changes that not only get the addicted and mentally ill out of prison and into treatment but also shorten the prison terms of some people who have committed violent crimes but are no longer a risk to society.

Numerous studies have shown no correlation between an offender’s time served and his or her chances of reoffending after release. People tend to age out of crime. As a society, we need to decide whether we are holding someone for our protection, or simply for vengeance. When is enough, enough?

As peer mentor programs show, those who committed serious crimes can contribute. They can’t undo what they have done. But in helping others, they can give back, at least partly redeem themselves, and achieve a measure of restorative justice.

In visiting dozens of prisons across the country and speaking to hundreds of prisoners and ex-prisoners, I have seen moving examples. At Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit, for example, 11 inmates — most of them serving life sentences for murder — created a nationally renowned Youth Deterrent Program that has helped thousands of troubled young men, including dozens in Toledo.

Mass incarceration has made us less safe by making prison a norm in some poor, central-city neighborhoods. It has torn the fabric of communities, made millions of men practically unemployable, and left millions of children with an incarcerated parent, making them six times more likely to go to prison themselves.

A commitment to public safety and clear-eyed accountability in human behavior must guide Ohio’s efforts to to reverse mass incarceration — but so must reason, empathy, and an unyielding belief in people’s ability to change.

The changes needed to reverse the costly and cancerous criminal justice policies of the last four decades will challenge all of us to do better.

Contact Jeff Gerritt at: jgerritt@theblade.com, 419-724-6467, or follow him on Twitter @jeffgerritt.

Article source: http://www.toledoblade.com/JeffGerritt/2016/01/17/State-sets-goal-1-000-fewer-inmates-by-17.html

Philly Home & Garden Show debuts in Oaks


Gary Puleo Jason Turpin of Turpin Landscaping, Inc. created a lush, award-winning oasis at the Philly Home and Garden Show that showcased everything his family-owned business can accomplish in a backyard.




UPPER PROVIDENCE Without the magnet of home improvement stars drawing crowds on Sunday, the Philly Home and Garden show still wound down its three-day stay at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks in rousing fashion, with hundreds of vendors taking the spotlight.

TV’s Property Brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott and Chip Wade — who appeared on Friday and Saturday — may have exerted their star power at the box office, but folks were clearly taking the inspiration they gleaned from the home improvement gurus straight to the show floor to take their ideas to the next level.

“The show was packed all day long yesterday, and people were walking the show the whole day, which shows that we have really quality exhibitors here and people are shopping for their homes and their projects,” noted show manager Alyson Caplan of presenter MarketPlace Events. “So it’s not just the star power of the celebrities, it was the show itself as well.”

The Expo Center show is the first rural local production for MarketPlace Events, a company that produces 39 consumer shows across the US and Canada, including the Philly Home Show for the past 35 years in Center City. (This year’s Philly Home Show is set for Feb. 12, 13 and 14 and 19, 20, 21 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.)

“They have expanded to a second show in the Philadelphia region this year based on the value the company sees in the market,” noted Jeff Cronin of publicists DDC Works, who added that the show “is not affiliated with the Suburban Home and Garden Show that previously occupied the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks.”

Adding the element of “garden” to the suburban show’s title did not imply that the outdoor aspect was secondary, he allowed.

“We’re kind of catering toward the suburban market outside of the city and we have the space to focus on the outdoor living space too, so you’ll see experts on site dealing with landscaping. The outdoor oasis is a huge thing now, so you’ll see a lot of that there. We’ll actually have six gardens that will be built inside the Expo Center.”

With half a dozen businesses tapped to showcase their landscaping magic, Caplan said that the garden element will evolve even more dramatically as an outdoor-oriented production.

“We’ll always have the interior and design as well,” she pointed out. “Our focus in the city and the suburbs is to reach a wide variety of people with everything.”

On Friday, Caplan and her staff had awarded the Best in Show, Landscaping division, title to family owned Turpin Landscaping, Inc. of Chester County, and it was clear to see why.

Owner Jason Turpin had transformed his corner space into a lavish backyard oasis that played to every aspect of his company’s strengths, from gushing waterfalls and ponds to masonry, lighting, fire pits and landscaping.

“They gave me pretty much free reign here,” he said. “They said they wanted it to be inviting. More than anything, we’re trying to simulate what it would be like sitting in your backyard, relaxing and just looking at the fish in the pond.”

Lush touches like Southern magnolia bushes and colorful primrose flowers along the pathway were provided by Turpin’s mom, Becky Turpin, with his brother and partner, Chad Turpin, creating the stone handiwork all around.

“We wanted to show those who came to the home show that’s it’s pretty neat to be able to achieve this lifestyle right in your own backyard,” Turpin said.

A discreet standalone water feature, the Spillway Bowl, can create an instant waterfall in even a smaller space, Turpin noted.

“That’s a good option when somebody doesn’t have room for some of the bigger features,” he said.

Designer Deanna Lorenti of Deanna’s Interior Designs in Horsham had embraced many of the hottest decorating trends of the design world in the model “smart home” — complete with living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and even a backyard — she’d been asked to create for MarketPlace Events as the centerpiece of the show.

The home not only gets its smartness from Xfinity, it’s also green, incorporating many of Lorenti’s environmentally conscious features into the mix.

“Almost everything is eco-friendly, like the flooring, the reclaimed wood, the appliances. If you want to save money, save the enivironment and save energy, this is the right home,” said Lorenti, who called the design style of the home, built by Rudloff Custom Builders, “transitional,” combining rustic and contemporary elements.

“We have a lot of the rustic in all the reclaimed wood, which has been a very hot trend for interiors for the last three years and keeps getting stronger.”

The dining room table had been fashioned from a rough-hewn walnut slab by Stable Tables of Flourtown, just one of many customized aesthetic touches highlighting Lorenti’s theme.

The “vanity” that anchored the white concrete sink made by Liquid Stone Concrete Designs LLC of Warminster — which enhances concrete on a variety of projects using stamps, acid stains, and coloring — was also crafted by Stable Tables, from old barn beams.

Lorenti added a personal touch by using a repurposed door from Habitat for Humanity to work as a hanging backdrop for black and white photos.

“Using furniture made from reclaimed wood means that more trees weren’t knocked down in the process,” she said.

Striking vinyl flooring that resembled hardwood was provided by Avalon Flooring and Lorenti also used Hunter Douglas shades from the company in her design.

“Automated shades can be programmed to move during different times of the day to let in or block out sun, which can reduce your heating or cooling costs,” she noted.

Lorenti was hopeful that her mixing of the metals in the kitchen and on light fixtures — provided by Bright Light Design Center of King of Prussia — throughout the home would give visitors some non-traditional ideas.

“People usually think they have to stick with brushed nickel throughout the whole house and they don’t. We have stainless steel in the kitchen and the fixtures are more of a gold bronze.”

The entire home made a statement of how rustic and contemporary influences can work together, Lorenti said.

“It was really a collaboration of a lot of companies working together to make the house beautiful and smart.”

Article source: http://www.timesherald.com/lifestyle/20160117/philly-home-garden-show-debuts-in-oaks

Condo complex transforming face of downtown Bonita Springs – The News

The meetings began in the early 1990’s before Bonita Springs was even a city. Business people of the small town discussed their visions of an Old US 41 full of homes, little shops, restaurants, stone walkways and decorative landscaping and lighting. For decades these plans were just visions on paper, but now that vision is becoming a reality.

EBL Partners has become the first major builder to sink big money into a project and construct a condo complex styled after the buildings of Key West.

“It is something we have been working on for the last two years and now the cats out of the bag,” said EBL owner Paul Benson.

Benson said it was the city’s investment in road work that made him sure that this was the right move for his first big project. The city committed $17.5 million for road work and landscaping that is now underway.

“That is a huge investment,” Benson said.

Benson also points to the city’s investment in keeping the Everglades Wonder Gardens open and plans for the city’s main library to be built in that downtown area as other incentives for builders to look at this corridor that has for a long time been viewed as a blighted area.

“In Naples before 1997 5th Avenue was nothing and look at it today,” Benson said. “It is just a matter of time.”

The new condo complex is called Longitude named after the fact that it is located in about the same longitude as Key West. It’s that Key West flavor that Benson hopes to inject into the complex.

“It’s taking key elements of Key West architecture,” Benson said. “We are bringing that tropical feel to it.”

Longitude will have two buildings with four floors of living space. Each building will have 24 one and two bedroom units for a total of 48 front doors. Condos range in size from 820-1520 square feet under air and will cost $289,000 to $589,000. The end units will go through the entire building. The smaller units will have a loft. The homes will have some top end features such as imported Italian cabinetry, LED lighting under the cabinets, imported Italian porcelain tile, Bosch stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and impact glass.   Longitude will have a swimming pool and fitness center between the two buildings.

There will also be a small retail element on the ground floor. Coffee Bean coffee shop has already agreed to be a tenant. Tri 4 Fit, a training center that trains tri athletes also plans to move in. There is space for a restaurant and EBL will move its offices to that location.

“I think it will appeal to the young professional,” said Cheryl Deering, director of sales at John R. Wood.

While most of the new development in the Bonita Springs area is single family homes and larger condos, Longitude fills a niche that has not been seen much: smaller units for young professionals or even retirees that want to downsize. Deering said it can also be a good investment property.

“It is a unique product for Southwest Florida,” Benson described. “It hasn’t been there and we are looking to introduce this to the public. We are going to be the pioneers. We want to create the space of intimacy. It’s a little jewel box for the home owner,”

While the overall size of the units is small, Benson said the design is spacious. He said the bedrooms are large with some being 14 x 14 or 15 x 12 feet.

“A lot of ideas came from visiting my parents in Sweden,” Benson explained.

He said these spacious, yet small condos are quite popular in Halmstad, Sweden.

“These condominium products are very quaint, small but very efficient,” he said. “Less is better. You don’t need a big computer all you need is your iPad. It’s more compact living. Not everybody needs such a large space. A lot of people are here 3-4 months and they don’t’ need a lot of space. The world is changing especially in Southwest Florida. The population is downsizing and not wanting to live on a golf course. The city of Bonita Springs with their plan is trying to create that. It’s sort of like what Naples has at a more affordable price point.”

Deering said this is exactly what Old 41 is ready for. She believes it is just the first of many new developments about to move into that area.

“It’s going to start like dominos going down,” she said. “There’s a lot going on. Longitude is a game changer. They are the first ones out of the box.”

Roger Brunswick, a realtor with John R. Wood, has been closely following the plans for the Old US 41 corridor. He said the time is finally right for developers to invest in this area.

“Downtown Bonita has had a bad reputation for years,” he began. “We are finally being able to create a walkable neighborhood. The whole street scape is going to change and that is going to open people’s eyes and they are going to walk downtown and go to restaurants and shops. It will be a special place. It’s an exciting time for the city of Bonita.”

Brunswick agrees that this is just the start of development in that area.

“It takes someone to get it started,” he began. “With Longitude it’s kind of like sticking your toe in the water to see if it is hot or cold. Maybe EBL Partners will be the ones to do it and expand on what they are doing.”

Brunswick said the downtown Bonita corridor is not going to be another 5th Avenue.

“It’s going to have its own individuality,” he said. “It brings a flavor of Key West and Miami Beach.”

Benson said groundbreaking will be in the summer with the condos ready for people to move in during the fall of 2017.

Article source: http://www.news-press.com/story/marketplace/real-estate/2016/01/17/condo-complex-transforming-face-downtown-bonita-springs/78785522/