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Archives for January 22, 2016

Little floods pose big challenge for SFPUC

On Hampshire Street at Cesar Chavez Street, SFDPW Megan Abadie (left) and water resource engineer consultant Beth Goldstein (right) wait for crew to lift a nearby manhole to measure water flow in the sewer in San Francisco on Wednesday,  Jan. 20, 2016.  Photo: Liz Hafalia, The Chronicle

The rain came down in heavy torrents. And then, a gurgling flood of rainwater and sewage seeped underneath the doors and spread across the parking lot.

Article source: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Little-floods-pose-big-challenge-for-SFPUC-6775657.php

Endless Creations buys Randy’s Flowers

After more than 40 years under the ownership of local florist Randy Jones, Randy’s Flowers on West Evans Street has changed hands.

On the first of the year, Steve and Chris Cone, of Endless Creations, purchased Jones’ business, and merged the two florist shops into Randy’s building at 211 West Evans.

The couple relocated their operations from 700 Sunset Lane, where they have been in business as Endless Creations Flowers and Gifts since May of 2014.

Cone said the business answers the phones as “Randy’s Flowers by Endless Creations,” and said the employees plan to continue the tradiiton of excellence established by Jones over the past four decades.

“We like it,” Steve said of the new shop. “It’s at least twice as big, and has more parking. We like the spcae, and we have room to spread out.”

Cone said Jones has been helping out with the transition, adding that Jones and his customers have helped make the transition a smooth one so far.

“We’ve met a lot of his cutomers, and they have been really receptive so far,” he said.

Jones, who still ownes the building, said he decided it was time to retire at the end of last year.

Jones, 68, said he started in the business in 1957, and worked for local florist Betty Brown before opening Randys on East Davis Street in 1974.

His shop was also located on West Davis Strteet and in Southgate Shopping Center before moving into its current location on Evans Street, Jones said.

“It’s time for me to go home and prop my feet up,” Jones said last December before finalizing the sale of the business to the Cones. “It’s my last Christmas as a florist – I’ve worked every holiday since I started. I’m retiring after 41 years of being Randy’s Flowers, and the business will continue under new management.”

Cone said he and wife, Chris, met as students at Lord Fairfax College in Winchester, and have been working in horticulture throughout their 29 years of marriage.

The couple spent close to 20 years working for the Gyory family at Willow Grove nursery in Elkwood, and opened Endless Creations Landscaping during those years.

At their new location, the Cones are being helped out by Designer/Wedding Consultant Toni Lovan, and Jones’ former employee Dylan Dymond, who is a manager/designer. Dymond also displays and sells his paintings at the shop.

“We’re a full-service family florist,” Cone said. “We do all occasions, including weddings, funerals and sympathy.”

Cone said the shop has flowers and other items to meet most anyone’s price range.

In addition to its variety of fresh flowers, the shop also carries house plants, dish gardens and local crafts and gift items, Cone said.

Chris handles most deliveries for the business, normally making three delivery runs per day, throughout an area which includes Culpeper, Madison, Rappahannock and Fauquier counties.

Endless Creations offers tux and suit rentals through Jim’s Formal Ware, and has three coolers on hand for keeping fresh flowers on site. Cone said a fourth unit is on the way from the old shop.

“We’re working towards keeping at least 12 different color roses here at any given time, and we’ll also have tie-dye roses – which actually look like the 1060’s classic style tie-dye,” he said.

The process for creating the tie-dye roses is quite involved, which means that they are more expensive than other roses, he said.

Cone said the business delivers fresh flowers to the gift shop at the local hospital daily, and makes frequent deliveries for patients at the facility.

Randy’s Flowers by Endless Creations is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. They can be reached at (540) 825-7686.

Article source: http://www.dailyprogress.com/starexponent/endless-creations-buys-randy-s-flowers/article_450ced5e-c132-11e5-b4a7-b775d0befd10.html

Garden & Nature Calendar

Livonia Garden Club

Keith Berven will present “Growing Beautiful Dahlias,” 7 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Civic Park Senior Center, Five Mile and Farmington Road, in Livonia. Berven is a professor in the biology department at Oakland University and co-president of the Southeastern Michigan Dahlia Society. For more information email lgcpresident@yahoo.com or go to livoniagardenclub.org.

Holliday Nature Preserve

Naturalist-led hikes through the preserve are set for 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 and 10 a.m.-noon, Saturday, Feb. 6, starting at the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center, 33175 Ann Arbor Trail, Westland.

The hike on Jan. 30 is for participants age 6 and older and will focus on animals that are active in the winter. Hikers also will look for plant seed capsules and enjoy a bonfire after the walk. Cost is $6 per child and $2 per adult for county residents and $7 per child and $3 per adult for non-Wayne County residents.

The hike in February is for adults and will focus on identifying native floodplain trees and shrubs. Cost is $3 per person for Wayne County residents and $4 per person for non-residents.

Buy tickets for the events at the Wayn County Parks office at Nankin Mills Interpretive Center. Or call 734-261-1990.

Stoneflies

The Friends of the Rouge is looking for volunteers to search for stoneflies Saturday, Feb. 13. Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and then carpool to Rouge streams located in metro Detroit. Winter stoneflies hatch from streams in winter and are sensitive to pollution, making them good indicators of water quality. Sign-up by Jan. 29 at therouge.org or call 313-792-9621.

English Gardens

See a fresh flower arranging demonstration at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30. Make and take home an arrangement in a vase for $29.99 at 2:30 p.m. Register at EnglishGardens.com for the workshop. The demonstration is free.

Learn about fairy and miniature gardens at a free presentation, 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6. Make a fairy garden for $24.99 at 2:30 p.m. Sign up for the “Make It Take It Workshop” online.

Get tips on attracting birds to your yard at a free presentation, 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13. Kids can make a bird treat for $5 at 2:30 p.m. Sign up online for the kid’s workshop.

Orchid experts will offer an overview of orchids and tips on re-potting them at a free presentation, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20. Make an orchid garden for $24.99 at 2:30 p.m.. Sign up online.

Learn the latest trends and tips for landscaping to increase your home’s value, 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27. Free.

Classes are offered at all stores. Local stores are 155 N. Maple, Ann Arbor, 734-332-7900; 22650 Ford Road, Dearborn Heights, 313-278-4433; 4901 Coolidge Highway, Royal Oak, 248-280-9500; and 6370 Orchard Lake Road, West Bloomfield, 248-851-7506.

Article source: http://www.hometownlife.com/story/life/home-garden/2016/01/22/garden-nature-calendar/79179272/

Gardening Tips: Winter interest for the home garden

Article source: http://www.rrdailyherald.com/opinion/gardening-tips-winter-interest-for-the-home-garden/article_beb4e0fc-c115-11e5-aa16-93793a50b2d3.html

Gardening with Mother Evelyn: fruit tree tips

January is the best time to plant fruit trees like peaches, apricots, etc. When it comes to citrus, wait for spring. You don’t want Jack Frost to freeze your new orange tree! Every garden, no matter how small, can have some fresh fruit.

Tip No. 1: Begin with the right variety

Because you live on our warm coastal area choose low chill fruit trees. What is low chill? It’s the number of winter hours of less than 45 degrees that your tree needs to produce fruit. For all that information, plus pruning and planting, go to davewilson.com. The website is easy to understand with real practical help.

Small garden? Choose multi-variety trees or some of the dwarf varieties. Remember dwarf varieties are cute, but you won’t get much fruit and we assume you do want fruit!

Tip No. 2: Cut your tree back when you buy it

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Evelyn Weidner

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Evelyn Weidner

The training for a successful backyard fruit tree begins at the time when you buy your tree. If you want your tree to be short so that you, and not the birds enjoy the fruit, cut it back when you purchase it. Cut it back to about 4 feet. I can already hear you, “I just bought a tree that is 6-foot high and you want me to cut off almost half?” It’s scary but trust me, it will eventually sprout leaves and branches and your tree will be short enough for easy picking.

Tip No. 3: Plant it right

Check for drainage before you plant. Dig a hole 1 to 2 feet deep where you plan to put your fruit tree. Fill it with water, see how long it takes to drain and then fill it again. If it takes longer than three hours your drainage is not good enough. If not enough, make a raised bed, or an above ground box.

Tip No. 4: Choose a sunny spot

Plenty of sun gives fruit good flavor. Plant in good slightly amended soil so that the bud is at least several inches above the ground. The bud is that big bump near the roots. What grows above the bud will give you good fruit. Any growth below the bud needs to be removed — watch and remove this growth all year long.

Tip No. 5: Make your watering count

Make a well or build a berm around the tree to be sure the water goes where it is supposed to go. You can mix in a cupful of any good organic or traditional fertilizer into your planting soil. It’s important the first summer not to let your trees dry out.

Water at least every two weeks if the upcoming summer is hot. Next year a monthly deep watering will do. If you planted your tree right this watering schedule is well within the drought guidelines. After your tree is well settled in, then you can begin to water every other month until late August.

Tip No. 6: Key to a short tree.

Remove any branches that grow on the main trunk lower than two feet. This is forming that short trunk. Ideally your trunk should end up about 3 feet high with the fruiting branches growing above that.

Hint: You want your tree structure to end with 3 to 4 of the strongest branches shaped upwards like a vase. As you prune and shape you will be making those choices and taking off any little branches or branches that go straight out.

Don’t expect fruit the first year. This is the training year. With second year trees, expect some fruit, but you will still do a pruning after producing fruit, and additionally in the winter.

Tip No. 7: Backyard planting is different. Try planting three trees close together in one large hole. Small garden? Buy one of the four-in-one trees that will give you four different fruits on one tree. Buy true dwarf and keep it in a large pot.

Tip No. 8: If you have older fruit trees right now, it’s time to prune. Clean up first, then spray with horticultural oil spray. Add in good copper spray if you had peach leaf curl last summer. It’s too late to spray in the summer.

Here is the challenge this rainy winter: Ideally you want several dry days after spraying. Sunny dry period? Get out and spray!

Article source: http://www.encinitasadvocate.com/news/2016/jan/22/evelyn-weidner-fruit-tree-tips/

Purchase spring bulbs, plant Irish potatoes: This week’s gardening tips

This week’s gardening tips: Don’t miss the Camellia Club of New Orleans’ annual show and sale on Saturday, Jan. 23, at Theodore Roosevelt Middle School, 3315 Maine St. Kenner. There will be about 150 camellia plants on sale, beginning at 11 a.m. Admission is free.

If you purchase pots of spring-flowering bulbs in bloom, it’s best to discard them after they finish flowering. Some exceptions would be amaryllis, paperwhites, daffodils and other narcissi. These can be planted into the garden when the flowers fade. Wait until April to plant amaryllis in the garden.

Now is a good time to dig, divide and transplant dormant hardy perennials in your flower gardens. Do not dig and divide any perennials that are in active growth now, such as Louisiana irises, calla lilies, Easter lilies, acanthus and spring-flowering bulbs.

Plant Irish potatoes now through mid-February. Cut seed potatoes (available at nurseries or feed stores) into pieces about the size of an egg. Make sure each piece includes at least one eye. Allow the cut seed pieces to heal a few days, then plant them into well-prepared beds about 12 inches apart and 4 inches deep. Harvest generally takes place in May. Red LaSoda (red) and Kennebec (white) are generally the most readily available, and both produce well here.

Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for NOLA.com’s weekly home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous local landscapes. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

Article source: http://www.nola.com/homegarden/index.ssf/2016/01/purchase_spring_bulbs_plant_ir.html

BBC and RHS launch Hampton Court garden design competition


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Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/bbc-rhs-launch-hampton-court-garden-design-competition/landscape/article/1380556

Wilton Manors Invests in Infrastructure by Designating Wilton Drive Business Improvement District (BID)








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<!– Paragraph before: WILTON MANORS, Fla., Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ –In December 2014, the Wilton Manors City Commission adopted an ordinance creating the Wilton Drive Business Improvement District (BID). The formation of the BID was the result of cooperation between the City Commission, the Economic Development Task Force and the Wilton Manors business community.

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<!– Paragraph After: WILTON MANORS, Fla., Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ –In December 2014, the Wilton Manors City Commission adopted an ordinance creating the Wilton Drive Business Improvement District (BID). The formation of the BID was the result of cooperation between the City Commission, the Economic Development Task Force and the Wilton Manors business community.

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WILTON MANORS, Fla., Jan. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — In December 2014, the Wilton Manors City Commission adopted an ordinance creating the Wilton Drive Business Improvement District (BID). The formation of the BID was the result of cooperation between the City Commission, the Economic Development Task Force and the Wilton Manors business community.

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Photo – http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160121/324736

<!– Paragraph before: The BID allows property owners within a defined geographic region along Wilton Drive to assess their own progress and generate funding to support that area without diverting resources from other important City functions. Funding for the implementation of the BID's plan will be derived from non-ad valorem assessment of district-only properties. In other words, the BID provides an opportunity for businesses and property owners along Wilton Drive to use their own funds through annual assessments to support business activities along Wilton Drive.

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<!– Paragraph After: The BID allows property owners within a defined geographic region along Wilton Drive to assess their own progress and generate funding to support that area without diverting resources from other important City functions. Funding for the implementation of the BID's plan will be derived from non-ad valorem assessment of district-only properties. In other words, the BID provides an opportunity for businesses and property owners along Wilton Drive to use their own funds through annual assessments to support business activities along Wilton Drive.

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The BID allows property owners within a defined geographic region along Wilton Drive to assess their own progress and generate funding to support that area without diverting resources from other important City functions. Funding for the implementation of the BID’s plan will be derived from non-ad valorem assessment of district-only properties.  In other words, the BID provides an opportunity for businesses and property owners along Wilton Drive to use their own funds through annual assessments to support business activities along Wilton Drive. 

<!– Paragraph before: Home to a thriving arts and entertainment district, Wilton Drive is the heart of the City's commercial area, and the sustainability of Wilton Drive as a local, regional and international destination is an ongoing goal of the City Commission. Investing in the infrastructure of this area is investing in the future of Wilton Manors.

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<!– Paragraph After: Home to a thriving arts and entertainment district, Wilton Drive is the heart of the City's commercial area, and the sustainability of Wilton Drive as a local, regional and international destination is an ongoing goal of the City Commission. Investing in the infrastructure of this area is investing in the future of Wilton Manors.

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Home to a thriving arts and entertainment district, Wilton Drive is the heart of the City’s commercial area, and the sustainability of Wilton Drive as a local, regional and international destination is an ongoing goal of the City Commission. Investing in the infrastructure of this area is investing in the future of Wilton Manors.

<!– Paragraph before: "Formation of the BID was extremely important. While the City has made significant investment in Wilton Drive over the years and made tremendous improvements, it is important to give the property owners and businesses the opportunity to come up with new ideas to support financially. We anticipate the BID to enhance the great progress we have already made on Wilton Drive," said Mayor Gary Resnick. “We were pleased to provide the property and business owners with a mechanism for supporting business activities, and we look forward to a partnership that will benefit the Drive, our business owners, residents, and our visitors.”

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<!– Paragraph After: "Formation of the BID was extremely important. While the City has made significant investment in Wilton Drive over the years and made tremendous improvements, it is important to give the property owners and businesses the opportunity to come up with new ideas to support financially. We anticipate the BID to enhance the great progress we have already made on Wilton Drive," said Mayor Gary Resnick. “We were pleased to provide the property and business owners with a mechanism for supporting business activities, and we look forward to a partnership that will benefit the Drive, our business owners, residents, and our visitors.”

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“Formation of the BID was extremely important.  While the City has made significant investment in Wilton Drive over the years and made tremendous improvements, it is important to give the property owners and businesses the opportunity to come up with new ideas to support financially.  We anticipate the BID to enhance the great progress we have already made on Wilton Drive,” said Mayor Gary Resnick. “We were pleased to provide the property and business owners with a mechanism for supporting business activities, and we look forward to a partnership that will benefit the Drive, our business owners, residents, and our visitors.”

<!– Paragraph before: Per the City's Ordinance, the BID will be governed by a board of directors comprised of three business owners, three property owners and one area resident. On October 6, 2015, the City Commission appointed Doug Blevins, James Govin, Robert Katz, Paul Hugo, Greg Phelps, Danny Scarfone, and Daniel Keester to serve on the Board of the BID. The Board of the BID appointed Doug Blevins to serve as Chair. Doug represents Mr. Barry Minoff, who owns 2400 Wilton Drive, and thus has a significant stake in the success of the Drive.

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<!– Paragraph After: Per the City's Ordinance, the BID will be governed by a board of directors comprised of three business owners, three property owners and one area resident. On October 6, 2015, the City Commission appointed Doug Blevins, James Govin, Robert Katz, Paul Hugo, Greg Phelps, Danny Scarfone, and Daniel Keester to serve on the Board of the BID. The Board of the BID appointed Doug Blevins to serve as Chair. Doug represents Mr. Barry Minoff, who owns 2400 Wilton Drive, and thus has a significant stake in the success of the Drive.

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Per the City’s Ordinance, the BID will be governed by a board of directors comprised of three business owners, three property owners and one area resident. On October 6, 2015, the City Commission appointed Doug Blevins, James Govin, Robert Katz, Paul Hugo, Greg Phelps, Danny Scarfone, and Daniel Keester to serve on the Board of the BID.  The Board of the BID appointed Doug Blevins to serve as Chair.   Doug represents Mr. Barry Minoff, who owns 2400 Wilton Drive, and thus has a significant stake in the success of the Drive.

<!– Paragraph before: The BID board will work to establish the plan and priorities for the BID and will provide an annual budget for the City Commission's review. All BID meetings and activities are subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, and anyone is welcome to attend and to participate at the BID meetings.

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<!– Paragraph After: The BID board will work to establish the plan and priorities for the BID and will provide an annual budget for the City Commission's review. All BID meetings and activities are subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, and anyone is welcome to attend and to participate at the BID meetings.

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The BID board will work to establish the plan and priorities for the BID and will provide an annual budget for the City Commission’s review.  All BID meetings and activities are subject to the Florida Sunshine Law, and anyone is welcome to attend and to participate at the BID meetings.

<!– Paragraph before: The ordinance creating the BID will be in place for a period of 10 years with the possibility of renewal after that time. During that period, the board will be allowed to work on issues such as improving pedestrian safety, increasing parking opportunities, marketing the businesses on Wilton Drive, and planning special events and street celebrations. It will also address potential action items, such as providing landscaping and street amenities such as benches and lighting, and marketing activities to support Wilton Drive business activities.

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<!– Paragraph After: The ordinance creating the BID will be in place for a period of 10 years with the possibility of renewal after that time. During that period, the board will be allowed to work on issues such as improving pedestrian safety, increasing parking opportunities, marketing the businesses on Wilton Drive, and planning special events and street celebrations. It will also address potential action items, such as providing landscaping and street amenities such as benches and lighting, and marketing activities to support Wilton Drive business activities.

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The ordinance creating the BID will be in place for a period of 10 years with the possibility of renewal after that time. During that period, the board will be allowed to work on issues such as improving pedestrian safety, increasing parking opportunities, marketing the businesses on Wilton Drive, and planning special events and street celebrations. It will also address potential action items, such as providing landscaping and street amenities such as benches and lighting, and marketing activities to support Wilton Drive business activities.

<!– Paragraph before: ABOUT THE CITY OF WILTON MANORS
Wilton Manors was laid out in 1925 by Edward John “Ned” Willingham, a land developer from Georgia, as an upscale residential community. It was recognized as a Village in 1947 and incorporated as a City in 1953. Today, the City of Wilton Manors offers all the benefits of a big city from shopping, to hip restaurants and bars, a burgeoning arts community and tons of community events, yet still maintains a cozy, community-feeling offering miles of natural waterways perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding and other outdoor activities. Recently named the “Second Gayest City” in the United States, the City of Wilton Manors celebrates a diverse population of approximately 12,000 residents. To learn more about the live, work and play opportunities in Wilton Manors call (954) 390-2100 or visit www.wiltonmanors.com.

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<!– Paragraph After: ABOUT THE CITY OF WILTON MANORS
Wilton Manors was laid out in 1925 by Edward John “Ned” Willingham, a land developer from Georgia, as an upscale residential community. It was recognized as a Village in 1947 and incorporated as a City in 1953. Today, the City of Wilton Manors offers all the benefits of a big city from shopping, to hip restaurants and bars, a burgeoning arts community and tons of community events, yet still maintains a cozy, community-feeling offering miles of natural waterways perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding and other outdoor activities. Recently named the “Second Gayest City” in the United States, the City of Wilton Manors celebrates a diverse population of approximately 12,000 residents. To learn more about the live, work and play opportunities in Wilton Manors call (954) 390-2100 or visit www.wiltonmanors.com.

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ABOUT THE CITY OF WILTON MANORS
Wilton Manors was laid out in 1925 by Edward John “Ned” Willingham, a land developer from Georgia, as an upscale residential community.  It was recognized as a Village in 1947 and incorporated as a City in 1953. Today, the City of Wilton Manors offers all the benefits of a big city from shopping, to hip restaurants and bars, a burgeoning arts community and tons of community events, yet still maintains a cozy, community-feeling offering miles of natural waterways perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding and other outdoor activities. Recently named the “Second Gayest City” in the United States, the City of Wilton Manors celebrates a diverse population of approximately 12,000 residents.  To learn more about the live, work and play opportunities in Wilton Manors call (954) 390-2100 or visit www.wiltonmanors.com.

<!– Paragraph before: CONTACT: Laurie Menekou, (954) 732-0754 (or) lmenekou@conceptual-communications.com

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<!– Paragraph After: CONTACT: Laurie Menekou, (954) 732-0754 (or) lmenekou@conceptual-communications.com

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CONTACT: Laurie Menekou, (954) 732-0754 (or) lmenekou@conceptual-communications.com

<!– Paragraph before: To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wilton-manors-invests-in-infrastructure-by-designating-wilton-drive-business-improvement-district-bid-300208104.html

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<!– Paragraph After: To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wilton-manors-invests-in-infrastructure-by-designating-wilton-drive-business-improvement-district-bid-300208104.html

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SOURCE Wilton Manors

RELATED LINKS
http://www.wiltonmanors.com

Article source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/wilton-manors-invests-in-infrastructure-by-designating-wilton-drive-business-improvement-district-bid-300208104.html

Winter is great time to plan landscape makeover

A nice aspect of the low gardening season is you have plenty of time to plan for the upcoming growing season. Winter is the time to dream, explore ideas, consider options and sketch plans.

Have you lived with someone else’s landscaping choices long enough? Choose plants and hardscaping that meet your style and needs, rather than those of the previous homeowner.

Are you ready to add a focal point to your swath of grass? Cut out a small kidney-shaped bed and add a tree, few shrubs or several perennials.

Would lounge chairs or a bistro set get more use than the playground equipment your teenage children used to play on? If nothing grows in that shady area, why not add a patio?

Are you tired of looking at your neighbor’s unkempt yard?  Consider a green privacy screen.

Do your flower beds lack interest after the spring flowers fade or look tired by August? Consider adding hardy bulbs or annuals to fill in gaps. Or, choose perennials with colorful foliage and varying textures that look good throughout the season.

Is this the year to install the rain garden or water feature you’ve wanted? Would a vegetable garden be a better use than a sandbox?

These are a few reasons to consider a landscape makeover. It can be as large or small as you choose. You are the makeover master.

Horticulturist, garden author and speaker Melinda Myers offered several tips for affordable, eco-friendly makeovers during a talk in Wausau, sponsored by the Northcentral Wisconsin Master Gardener Volunteers.

“Start with a plan,” she said. “Even if you don’t follow it exactly, it helps you control yourself.”

A good place to start is to evaluate what you have, decide what you want to keep and consider possible changes you’d like to make. Involve your entire family in this assessment, or whoever will share the space, including children.

Consider how you’ll use the space. If it’s for relaxation, you may want to screen noise or views. If for entertainment, consider seating areas, cooking and serving and ease of access. If the space will have multiple uses, hardscape or furnish to accommodate many purposes.

This is a good time to consider whether to hire a professional designer for ideas, specific designs or installation.

To create privacy or screen bad views, consider walls, fencing, trellises or other green screening. Use tall perennials, grasses or containers with tropical or large plants strategically. Create a living wall by growing perennial or annual vines on a trellis or arbor, train an espalier on a fence. Use groups of containers to soften existing walls or fences.

To enhance a good view, Myers suggests framing it with plants, an old window frame or an arbor. Use color, texture and repetition to tie it together. Create focal points to draw attention.

Gather ideas. Inspiration abounds in seemingly endless sources in print, online, at gardening seminars, botanical gardens or favorite motifs of friends and family.

For a gallery of what’s in bloom each month or ideas for patios, walkways, front entries, retaining walls and planting beds, one option is www.melindamyers.com.

Design with a budget in mind. If you have ambitious plans, spread the project – and costs – over a few years.

Look for low-cost elements. Peruse rummage sales for potential container gardens or be creative with rocks, miscellany around your home and what some might consider trash. Decorate with your children’s or grandchildren’s art. Bend willow to make a natural fence or arbor. Exchange plants and seeds with friends.

Design with maintenance in mind as well. Choose plants that require minimal care – minimize the number needing staking, deadheading or dividing every couple of years. Give perennials more than the recommended spacing distances to reduce frequent dividing. Or refrain from planting aggressive spreaders.

Plant perennials with high water demands together, and group drought-tolerant plants.

Plants native to Wisconsin demand less attention and tend to flourish with fewer pest or disease issues than non-native plants. They’re eco-friendly, low-maintenance, water-wise choices – and attract birds, bees and other pollinators.

Small trees and shrubs generally demand less maintenance than perennial or annual flowers.  Know a plant’s mature size and shape, and choose the right size for your location. This will help maintain the integrity of your design and prevent the need for excessive pruning.

Strategically placing trees can keep homes cooler in summer, warmer in winter and serve as a windbreak.

Mulch with wood chips or dry, shredded leaves to reduce weeds and retain moisture. Pull weeds when they’re small. “If it’s easy, you’ll do it. If it’s hard, you’ll put it off,” Myers noted.

Make every space count, she suggests. Do this by choosing plants, garden art and structures that have year-round interest. Plants that attract birds or butterflies, are edible, allow double planting (spring bulbs and summer perennials, for instance) or can grow vertically will provide added value.

Make going green easy. Include in your design attractive, accessible areas to manage yard waste, kitchen scraps and composting, Myers recommends. Incorporate potting and work areas and handsome storage into your design.

Harvest rain with barrels, and choose drip irrigation or other methods that avoid wasting water. Create a rain chain to slow water or a rain garden to trap it.

Have fun imagining the possibilities. It will make these cold days go faster.

 

Article source: http://www.pcgazette.com/Content/Default/Commentary/Article/Winter-is-great-time-to-plan-landscape-makeover-/-3/7/362

Residents delighted with new green space for Atlantic Beach – Florida Times

Just beyond an empty lot along Camelia Street, a blue heron waded through the salt marsh, its gray feathers tinged orange by the setting sun. Nearby, an ibis watched with what appeared to be curiosity as the much bigger bird picked its way to the other side of the oyster grass. Kestner Creek slipped past the birds and pushed outward to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Here, the water mingled in Tideviews Preserve, a conservation area and public park within the City of Atlantic Beach.

Four years ago, the owner of the undeveloped property adjacent to Tideviews made a decision that would ultimately affect how the neighborhood used the space.

F. Reuben Bennett Sr., who owned Bennett Construction Co., asked his son and a local attorney to turn the area — approximately a half-acre plot — into a park. He died shortly after making the request, and so he will not see his dream come true.

Atlantic Beach recently purchased the property for about $200,000. City officials have decided to demolish the old, dilapidated house sitting on a portion of the land and then solicit opinions from residents in the area to determine exactly what shape the park will take. According to City Commissioner Mitchell Harding, several ideas have been discussed, but nothing has been settled on just yet.

But regardless, F. Reuben Bennett Jr. said his dad would be happy: “We bulldozed so much down. We both just came to the conclusion that we didn’t want anyone to bulldoze this down too, and build another condominium. It could have happened easily, and then there would be a million-dollar, three-story house here. But, there wouldn’t be any birds. We wanted this to be our legacy.”

In its current state, the property sits a bit unkept. Behind the vacant house, debris litters the yard. An old lawn mower, unused plastic pipes, a broken swing — a collection of items seemingly abandoned suddenly by former residents. Grass stretches its way skyward. However, Harding said the structure could attract unwanted company.

As a result, he believes the city will move fast in razing the house and clearing the space.

BUFFER ZONE

John Henry November, the attorney who worked to preserve the lot, said he hopes the city turns it into a buffer zone of trees, plants and bushes between the neighborhood and the park.

“Atlantic Beach is over 99 percent built out,” he said. “This is one of our last opportunities to protect green space. This neighborhood can really create something special.”

While residents seem happy with the purchase, the task of convincing council members did not always come easily for November. Some controversy surrounded the purchase of the property when a council member asked November to donate his earnings from the sale to the city. Only then, the council member said, would he feel comfortable in agreeing to purchase the property.

Instead, November declined to accept any money for his legal services.

“The protection of this park was what mattered the most,” he said, adding that the use of tax dollars for conservation is not always valued as it should be.

“In the end, I think the commission realized that it was just about the purchase right now. They had the foresight and the vision to understand that it was about the generations to come, who will have the opportunity to enjoy this sunset and the improved access to Tideviews.”

Right now, visitors hoping to enter the park must travel down Begonia Street to the park’s only entrance. However, some say the walk can be a bit dangerous, especially for children.

WORD SPREADS

Chris Jorgensen, who lives near the park, said he walks through the Bennett property on a daily basis to fish for redfish and trout off Sunset Pier. Recently, he paddled from Tideviews to Dutton Island, and he said it was such a pleasure to be able to carry his canoe straight through the Bennetts’ lot instead of going around.

“What this does for the neighborhood is that it creates access,” November said. “This was a private property, and only Reuben’s friends were able to cut through.”

Now, however, the park can be accessible for the entire community.

Even within the short time since the purchase, news of the city’s acquisition reached neighbors — and they’ve already been using the new entrance. A woman walking her three dogs slipped through while November and Bennett discussed the property’s future. Two teenagers walking a large black Labrador, Maverick, rounded the corner near the new entrance. A man and a woman, dogs in tow, considered crossing the empty yard, but seemed unsure when they spotted the two men in the yard. Bennett tried to encourage them.

Already, the city has begun clearing out overgrown bushes and shrubbery to make the park more open. According to November, hiking trails and landscaping will soon be added to give the park an update.

For those hoping to learn more about Tideviews, visit the city’s website at coab.us.

Amanda Williamson: (904) 359-4665

Article source: http://jacksonville.com/community/shorelines/2016-01-21/story/residents-delighted-new-green-space-atlantic-beach