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Archives for February 18, 2016

Old Irish Mill progress continues as developer takes step forward

BROOKLYN, MI — Plans to turn a 76-year-old brick mill and former Ford Motor Co. plant into a culinary, recreation and tourist destination in Brooklyn continue to unfold. 

Daniel Ross, owner and developer of the Old Irish Mill, has been “milling” around ideas since he and his wife, Samantha, purchased the property in 2014.

Ross said he hopes to have the project, which currently is nearing the finish line in the budgeting and development phase, complete by next March. 

“All goes well, we could break ground in the spring,” he said. “Would love to be open by St. Paddy’s Day 2017, but that’s going to be a very tight window.”

Ross, who owns TransPharm PreClinical Solutions in nearby Napoleon Township, solicited bids for the work. He said the estimated budget for the development fell between $7 and $8 million, which is what the couple was hoping for. 

Related: Peek Through Time: Brooklyn shared in Henry Ford’s dream of small, hometown factories

“This is just my wife and I; we’re not some big investment firm,” Ross said. “These bids were for budgeting purposes so we can sit down with banks and say this is how much revenue we will make out of our business plan, other incentives and the total package. 

“Once we get this, then we can start going to banks.”

Once a bank starts “nodding yes,” then the project will get into the construction phase, Ross said. Kincaid Henry Building Group of Lansing has been handling the “budget bidding,” which will allow Ross to present the full scope of his project, from additions, landscaping, tax credits, historical preservation tags, brownfields and much more, to banks. 

The couple still is at least two months away from sitting down with banks, Ross said. 

Planned features for the Old Irish Mill include a number of restaurants, farmer’s market, ice cream shop, microbrewery, skating rink, bakery and more.

While nobody is on the official payroll yet, Ross said a couple dozen vendors are lined up with letters of intent signed.

Related: Former Ford plant in Brooklyn to be transformed into authentic Irish culinary, recreation destination

“When you go to Frankenmuth, you know it’s German,” Ross said in August 2014. “I want this and the Irish Hills to be a greener version of Frankenmuth.

“The Old Irish Mill can be a stepping stone for that. It has to start somewhere.”

See below for a rundown of prospective amenities at the Old Irish Mill:

  • Henry’s Irish Mill, named in honor of Henry Ford, will serve authentic Irish cuisine and provide indoor and outdoor seating. The signature food item will be the corned beef briskets.
  • Danny Boy’s Irish Pub will offer authentic Irish drinks, including top shelf whiskey and draft beers, and a limited food menu.
  • Sam’s Dam Café will serve healthy menu items such as salads, sandwiches, vegetarian selections and coffee from a spot overlooking the vintage dam. 
  • Brooklyn Borough, an indoor farmers market, will include vendors, traders, live entertainment and large food court. The farmers market could move outdoors during the summer when the ice rink is, obviously, not in use. Ross refers to the Brooklyn Borough as the heart beat of the mill. As the seasons change, so will the market, decor and entertainment options.
  • Raisin Hell Action Park will include several recreational activities, such as a canoe, paddle boat and kayak rentals, ice skating, sledding, rock climbing wall and much more. 

As for now, Ross waits to hear back on historic tax credits and final tweaks to the budget. He said the next steps include bringing blueprints to the village of Brooklyn.

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McCallie Upper School Takes Advantage Of PLAN Day

With the sophomore class busy with a day of testing, the rest of the Upper School students took a day away from traditional classes to focus on planning for college, learning how to successfully navigate their upcoming college years and working to improve the Chattanooga area through community service projects. 

Known as “PLAN Day,” Monday, Feb. 8, was a change of pace during the cold winter weeks before spring arrives. 

“PLAN Day is a way for our campus to take advantage of an unavoidable disruption to our normal academic schedule,” said Dean of Students Bob Bires. “The day of testing for our sophomores gives us an opportunity to give our other students a different experience for a day. We can spend some time preparing for life after McCallie, looking at good decision-making practices and putting our values into practice by giving back through service.” 

For juniors, the PLAN Day was spent getting a start on the college-search process. 

Director of College Guidance Jeff Kurtzman and his colleagues Brian Beckley and Abbie Roberts hosted a program of mini-seminars with representatives from several private and state colleges. The schools represented at the event were Wofford, Union College, Vanderbilt, George Washington, Georgia Tech, University of Tennessee and Beloit College. 

Topics of discussion at the College Seminar included Finding Hidden Gems in Your College Search, How Colleges Make Decisions, The Liberal Arts College and Careers: How it Works, The College Essay: Tips and Truths and Making the Most of Your College Experience. 

For seniors, the college-decision process is nearing an end, but the excitement of graduation and increased independence in college comes with risks, said officials. To help these soon-to-be alums with the challenges they will face, seniors spent the morning in the Chapel for the “What Every McCallie Man Should Know” seminar.  

Hamilton County General Sessions Court Judge Christie Sell — mom of freshman Thomas Sell — told the seniors about the legal problems that they could face if they make bad decisions once they have more independence as college freshmen.

With advice such as “The trouble with trouble is it usually starts out as fun,” Judge Sell gave advice on how to live responsibly as a young man in college, and the penalties that could result from a lack of responsibility. 

On the financial side of young adulthood, Mike and Debbie Brown — parents of senior Michael Brown and vice presidents at the Chattanooga branch of Raymond James and Associates — provided advice on keeping a budget and avoiding falling into debt after heading off to college life. 

In the afternoon, the freshmen and some seniors came to Chapel to screen the documentary film “The Mask You Live In,” which addressed issues of bullying, lack of emotional support among peers and stereotypical understandings of masculinity that can cause problems as boys grow up. 

Freshmen and seniors also had the opportunity to perform community service as part of PLAN Day. In the morning, freshmen visited students at Orchard Knob and Westside Elementary schools to spend time as classroom assistant and read to younger students, providing strong academic role models for these children. 

Seniors hit the streets in the afternoons to provide assistance to service organizations and develop strategies for how the McCallie community can work to benefit the residents of the neighborhoods surrounding campus. 

A group of 24 senior leaders gathered at Barking Legs Theater on Dodds Avenue to meet with community leaders from the Ridgedale neighborhood to brainstorm about community outreach projects that could include the neighborhood surrounding campus. Ideas were discussed with an eye toward strengthening McCallie’s connection with these sometimes underserved areas of town. 

But much of the afternoon was devoted to putting service into practice with local organizations. Students cleaned up the Brainerd Art Garden, did landscaping and maintenance work at Signal Centers and Hope for the Inner City, and sophomores — free after finishing their testing — traveled to Chickamauga National Battlefield to pull up privet hedges and help clean up the grounds at the history park. 

“So much of our time at McCallie is devoted to academics and athletics, and these are important activities and the primary reason we exist,” said Headmaster Lee Burns. “But it’s good for our students and faculty to take a day away from the books and playing fields to focus on giving back to the community and life after graduation. 

“PLAN Day gives us that time to take a breath and reconnect with our neighbors and each other before the final push to Spring Break and the end of the school year.”

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Eastern Pennsylvania Spring Home Show: Improve, remodel, redesign

See innovative, high tech and imaginative products and displays at the 14th Annual Spring Eastern Pennsylvania Home Show, Friday through Sunday at the Agri-Plex at the Allentown Fairgrounds.

Nearly 150 companies will present every conceivable kind of product or service for the home. Talk to the experts and discover designs at a price for any budget.

Home improvement specialists can help homeowners determine which enhancements to the home will benefit their wallets and create tax savings. Kitchen remodeling is a trend, says show organizer Charlee Harris of Jenks Productions.

Companies on hand include remodelers, home builders, custom cabinets, kitchens and bathrooms, chimneys, wood stoves, sunrooms, awnings and decks, duct and vent maintenance, storage buildings, heating and cooling services, windows, doors and siding, water treatment systems, bank and mortgage companies, home theater systems, security systems, financial planners, building supplies and energy management.

Don’t miss the display by Ridge Crest Landscaping where Chris Baumer will answer all your design questions and provide tips. Gather ideas on hardscape and landscape design for the entire yard. Discuss how to create your own outdoor living space, enhancing it with an outdoor kitchen, landscape lighting, custom patio deck design, retaining walls, Koi ponds and waterfalls.

Bring your kids to build their own project, for free, at the Home Depot’s Kids Workshop 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Register to win Grand Prizes: $2,000 gift certificate from RG Sheds and a Re-Bath System ($6,500 value) from ReBath Northeast.

Show hours are 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission: $8; $7, seniors; free, under 12. Jenks Productions is offering $1 off admission with a non-perishable food donation to benefit the Allentown Ecumenical Food Bank.


Jodi Duckett

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10 things you don’t want to miss at the Birmingham Home and Garden Show

The Birmingham Home + Garden Show returns to the BJCC Thursday and it will be packed with fresh ideas, tips, trends, and innovative products for your home this spring.

Here are some things you definitely don’t want to miss.

HGTV/DIY Network Bath Crashers host Matt Muenster He just wrapped his 12th season of Bath Crashers, so if you’re looking for bathroom remodeling tips from a pro, he’ll be on hand to answer everything you need to know. Ask him anything. He’ll talk bathrooms, working with Ellen DeGeneres on Ellen’s Design Challenge, being on TV and more. He’ll appear on the Fresh Ideas Stage Friday, February 19, 2016 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, February 20, 2016 at noon and 2 p.m.

HGTV Beach Flip’s Lucy Farmer Birmingham’s own Lucy Farmer will share how she incorporates architectural salvage and reclaimed pieces everywhere possible. Be sure to stop by her Door Restore booth to see some creative ideas on using reclaimed doors in your décor. Don’t miss her on the Fresh Ideas Stage on Friday, February 19, 2016 at 4 p.m. and  Saturday, February 20, 2016  at 5 p.m. and Sunday 2:30 p.m.

Leanne Lee, Home + Garden Trendsetter of the Year Meet DIY blogger Leanne Lee, the Diva of DIY. She’s a contractor who will share her ideas about tackling DIY projects, her passion for upcycling and breathing new life into existing spaces.  Check her out on the Fresh Ideas Stage Friday at 1 p.m.; Saturday at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.; and Sunday at 12:30 p.m.

The Redneck Rosarian  Chris VanCleave, known as “The Redneck Rosarian,” will appear on the Fresh Ideas Home Stage on Friday at 3 p.m. to talk roses. He is a consulting rosarian for the American Rose Society and former president of the Birmingham Rose Society. He and his wife have over 150 roses in their garden in Helena.

Feature Gardens and Master Gardeners With warmer temperatures around the corner, it’s time to start planning for spring gardens. Master gardeners will be available daily to talk with you about gardening and landscaping. Bring pictures to share to help them answer questions you may with your outdoor spaces. Landscape and design firms Backyard Paradise, Alabama Landscape Creations, and Williams Landscape will showcase their expertise with feature gardens at the show.

Pretty Porches  Few things are more Southern than a cozy front porch. Over the Mountain Remodeling and Southeastern Salvage will feature vintage porch décor ideas to transform your space into a comfortable and stylish outdoor living area.

Are you prepared for Tornado Season? Last year, 32 tornadoes touched down in Alabama. FEMA and the Portland Cement Association will be present to help you prepare for the upcoming season. Grab a copy of FEMA’s latest residential safe room guide as well as learn about building safe rooms and concrete construction techniques.

Exhibitors Looking to improve your home? Hundreds of companies will show their products and services for just about everything you may need to enhance your abode. Search the buyer’s guide here to see show exhibitors.

Prizes Enter here to win a $250 Home Depot gift card and a $250 Best Buy gift card. 

During the show, stop by the East 59 Vintage and Café at booth #738 for a chance to win a private lunch party for you and 9 of your friends.

Craft Beer Tasting Hop City Craft Beer Wine is presenting a tasting of local beers Saturday, February 20, 2016 from 6 p.m.– 8 p.m.

The Birmingham Home + Garden starts Thursday, February 18, 2016 and continues through Sunday ​​February 21, 2016.

Friday is Medical Professionals Day and if you work in medical field – nurses, doctors, technicians, physician’s assistants, pharmacists, etc… – you’ll get complimentary admission to the show with a valid employee ID as a thank you for keeping Alabama healthy.

To save $3 off regular admission by purchasing tickets in advance at Visit that link for more Birmingham Home and Garden show information, details and show FAQs.


2100 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd. North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 458-8400

Seniors (at the door): $7.00 (Thursday only)
Medical Professionals (at the door): FREE – (Friday only)
Children Ages 6-12:  $3.00
Children Ages 5 Under:  FREE

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What is sustainable landscaping?

You have more than likely heard the term of sustainable landscaping. There are many definitions for it.

Here is the best one I have found: Sustainable landscaping eliminates or greatly reduces the wasteful and excessive use of fossil fuels or water in the landscape, promotes a diverse and rich community of plants with multiple layering in the ground plane and above, uses native or locally adapted noninvasive plants, makes use of local rainfall and runoff and absorbs it in place and considers the need for providing habitat for native animal life, including the insects that provide the building blocks and foodstuffs for birds, mammals and other animals that depend on them.

Every sustainable landscape:

• Minimizes or mitigates impervious (water-repelling) surfaces so as to preserve the natural hydrologic cycle and replenish groundwater.

• Incorporates water-absorbent features, such as rain gardens, green roofs and bioswales, to soak in and recharge the water table.

• Utilizes long-lived locally native or noninvasive plants as the central element of the landscape.

• Minimizes or eliminates fossil fuel inputs for construction and management.

• Minimizes or eliminates inputs of man-made chemical fertilizers.

• Reduces or eliminates artificial irrigation.

• Puts the right plant in the right place, by adapting the plant to the characteristics of the space versus the other way around.

• Maintains plants according to ecological principles and natural growth forms of the plant.

• Promotes biodiversity and habitat for other organisms, diversity makes a more resilient habitat.

• A sustainable landscape is a net carbon sink when factoring in maintenance practices and actually sequesters carbon.

• Uses locally sourced materials for plants and hardscapes (stone, paving materials).

• Recycles or reuses materials when practical.

• Modeled on local ecosystem processes and mimics the life and nutrient cycling found in stable natural areas.

• Integrates food production into the landscape and principles of permaculture.

• Builds soil structure.

Not only is it less weedy, but the sustainable landscape costs much less in time and money. Maintaining an acre of high-quality turf lawn can be five times or more labor intensive, use 10 times or more fossil fuel inputs and cost four times the annual maintenance cost of a sustainable, self -replicating landscape based on native species. This was called the “genius loci” by the Greeks and is an important element of the sustainable landscape. The locally sourced materials also require far fewer energy inputs to obtain and decrease the chance of importing disease and invasive species. Locally grown and propagated plants are also better adapted to the local climactic conditions.

The University of Minnesota offers some great information on sustainability and landscape design at

If done right, a sustainable landscape will be a much healthier place to live, with lower maintenance costs during the long term. It’s also important to note it eliminates potentially damaging inputs to the water, soil and air. Think about applying this to your yard.

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Garden your way to a healthy life

Last summer, I knocked on a neighbour’s door to remark how much I admired the unusual, pink poppies in her always-tidy front garden. The garden’s owner, a slim, elderly woman, answered the door and invited me in without hesitation, sharing with me not just her poppy seeds but her age: she was ninety. She proudly told me that she had maintained her meticulous garden over the past 40 years on her own.

As I imagined this 90 year old labouring in her garden, I was both impressed and grateful for that encounter, for it made me wonder: could gardening really be the path to a long, healthy life?

Gardening lowers risk of disease

The benefits of gardening are widely cited, and extend beyond the merits of consuming a diet high in pesticide-free, nutritious fruit and vegetables or the diverse remedial properties of herbs. Working in our gardens — the digging, weeding, pruning, lifting, bending and raking — burns calories and strengthens our bodies, toning muscles and improving bone mass, blood-flow and our immune systems. Studies have shown that gardening a few hours per week at a moderate intensity reduces the risk of many modern diseases from heart attacks and diabetes to osteoporosis.

Mental benefits

Gardening is equally therapeutic for our minds. Working in the garden is a natural mood-lifter due in part to a benign bacteria found in the soil, mycobacterium vaccae, which, like an anti-depressant drug, stimulates our brains to release mood-enhancing neurotransmitters like serotonin, while we are pulling weeds, planting flowers or doing other gardening tasks. According to experts, having contact with nature and with such ‘friendly’ bacteria also keeps our immune system in check so we are more able to fend off disease.

Seniors in particular benefit from gardening. One long-term study of nearly 3,000 men and women over 60 found regular gardening to be the single most important lifestyle factor in lowering their risk of dementia, reducing risk by more than one third.

Connecting with Mother Nature also has a calming effect on us similar to practicing yoga or meditation. It keeps us focused. This is good for us because it decreases levels of stress-hormones like cortisol in our bloodstream, which translates into fewer stress-related illnesses. Research shows that even children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) who interact in ‘green’ outdoor environments have a heightened ability to concentrate and function.

Moreover, few activities have the potential to engage not just one, but all of our senses: the sight of a landscape awash with colour, the sweet scent of peonies in full bloom, foliage tickling your skin, the rhythmical chirping and buzzing of wildlife and the flavour of a sun-warmed tomato just plucked from it’s vine. Within our landscapes lies a full on sensory awakening.

Indoor plant perks

Houseplants, besides beautifying your interior space, also reap healthy rewards. Through regular photosynthesis, houseplants filter the air of harmful VOCs —Volatile Organic Compounds — released from plastics, carpets, glues and many common products found in households.

To filter the air effectively, make sure to regularly clean the dust off leaves, even giving plants a light shower in your tub when needed. Snake plant, cornstalk and red-edged dracaena, peace lily and philodendron are examples of air-filtering houseplants that require minimal light and attention.

Experiencing gardening’s health benefits need not be complicated. So, instead of twiddling your green thumbs waiting for winter to end, here are three health-promoting gardening activities that you can do now:

  • Get outside with sharpened pruning sheers and cut some forsythia branches, or other spring-flowering shrub, to bring indoors. In a vase filled with water, they will be forced into blooming earlier than they would on their own outside.
  • Grow microgreens — the young, edible, super nutritious shoots of vegetable plants such as peas, broccoli, arugula, sunflower seed and herbs like basil. They are yummy in salads and sandwiches and can grow by a window inside your home. They’ll also be ready for harvest in under two weeks.
  • Capsicum (a.k.a. peppers) is the herb of the year, and consuming it can speed up metabolism. February is the month to start sowing hot pepper seeds indoors such as capsicum annuum ‘Tabasco’ or ‘Cayenne’. If you start them now, plants will be ready to set outdoors by summer then peppers can be harvested before autumn. Give them a warm space to grow and plenty of sunshine.

For those who have resolved to get fit and healthy at the start of this new year, like so many of us do, make sure to include some gardening activities in your plan, because whether you are growing poppies, vegetables or houseplants, gardening is good for you. In fact, gardening may be the only gym you will ever need.

Elaine Sanders can be reached at

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Gardening tips sown into play of beloved classic at the Phoenix Theatre in Bordon

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

in Arts

IT’S BEEN called Downton Abbey with gardening tips – and now the play of beloved classic Old Herbaceous is being performed this week at Bordon.

The poignant one man show, adapted from the novel by Reginald Arkell, focuses on the life of an ageing gardener based at a Gloucestershire manor house.

He has worked there all his life, and sees the world change from the Victorian age through Edwardian, up to the 70s when the play, at the Phoenix tomorrow (Thursday), Friday and Saturday, is set.

“Although it is the story of one man’s life, it encompasses so many different little stories and sub-plots,” says director Simon Downing.

“It has been a joy to discover this man’s journey, which centres around a platonic unrequited love story across social boundaries.

“And what surprised me most was how moving the piece is. So bring your tissues, you may need them.”

Giles Shenton stars as ‘Herbert’. Director Simon has been working as an actor and director for many years, and has had successes with many Phoenix shows.

To book and for more visit

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From the Pros: Garden Tips and Tricks With Dawn Hart, Ace Garden Center

From the pros

From the pros

Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:00 am

Updated: 3:31 pm, Wed Feb 17, 2016.

From the Pros: Garden Tips and Tricks With Dawn Hart, Ace Garden Center

At Ace Garden Center on St. Simons, Dawn Hart and her staff are gearing up for the spring season — but they’ve been in the garden all year long. She’s got plenty of tips for those looking to do the same.

“Gardening should be easy and fun, not a chore or obligation and you can make it that way by incorporating plants, pots, garden decor and accessories that are pleasing to your eyes,” Hart said. “You may prefer a formal, loosely structured cottage, tropical or desert arid look for your surroundings.”

• Choose plants that thrive in your area’s condition — wet or dry, low light or not. Think about the right plant to use for foundation plantings, accents, borders, ground cover or for screening.

• Next, consider color, texture, growth habits and needs — if you don’t know, find out! Hart suggests eleagnus and East Palatka Holly Berries, eucalyptus and leatherleaf fern for flower arrangements that offer seasons of beauty.

• Plant in drifts with different textures and colors interspersed for interest. Depending on light needs, there’s a plethora of foliage color choices and easy-care flowers that will complement each other. Think about the color wheel — opposites attract and adjacent colors can be harmonious or monochromatic.

• If you aren’t sure how to handle a landscape bed, take a picture, note your exposure and take it into the nursery to get some suggestions.

• Repetition and mass plantings maximize effectiveness, particularly for popular plants like Iris, liriope, daylillies, azaleas, hydrangeas and ornamental grasses.

• A planting rule of thumb is a $5 hole for a $1 plant. Loosen the root ball so the roots flare out and plant your shrub the same depth but twice the width of the root ball. Prep the soil in advance with lots of organic matter. Fill in around the root ball so it has a soft barrier to take root.

• If you have to move plants, transplant them in very early Spring or late Fall so the roots have time to establish before the plant comes out of dormancy.

• Container gardening can be a great accent. Start with the container first, then select plants according to the size. Think about the container mantra Thriller, Filler and Spiller when putting your container together. For example, choose a plant as tall as the container for your “Thriller” and then build around it with a medium size “Filler” and a trailing “Spiller.” Don’t forget color variety!

• Try stand alone container combinations or group pots with varied complimentary hues, pot shapes and one bold plant selection like as Cordyline, Boxwood Topiary or ornamental grass accompanied by lots of blooming flowers. Visually from a distance, a pot of one bold color is more effective; mixed containers are best viewed closely.

• Consider adding a water feature to your garden. Hart praised Island Pond and Landscape for the beautiful renovations to Ace’s pond area last year.

Month by month gardening



  • Watch indoor plants for infestations and treat with insecticidal soap or a systemic insecticide appropriate for indoor use. Be sure to protect your floor and furniture if your pot drains.
  • If you feel you will need professional landscape help in the spring, schedule an appointment now before their schedules are full.
  • Straighten out your garage or potting shed and give your gardening equipment a good cleaning. Have your pruning tools sharpened and have your mover serviced. Pickup stakes, twines and cages for your vegetables.
  • Your garden needs regular watering during the winter months as winter kill occurs when drought stress and freeze combine. If temperatures or wind chills go down to the lower 20s, protect your tender plants by covering with blankets and securing frost cloth over them to create a barrier.
  • Keep fallen leaves, pine needles or pine cones off lawns. Remove dead and dying camellia blossoms to keep them from getting petal blight.
  • Fertilize your tuberous plants such as Agapanthus, daylillies and iris with Bone Meal mid to late January.


  • Freshen up your home this month with houseplants — not only do they add to your decor, they purify the air.
  • Try several varieties of late-blooming Japonica and Sasanqua camellias, Nandina for beautiful winter foliage and berries.
  • Japanese Magnolias are budding and may begin blooming. Fruit trees such as pears, plums, apples, peaches and persimmons may be added. Barefoot roses may be planted.
  • For annual color add: Cyclamen, Alyssum, Pansies, Violas, Petunias, Calendulas, Snapdragons, Dianthus, Petunia, Dusty Miller, Ornamental Kale and Cabbage.
  • For vegetable gardens you can start from seed but protect: Beets, celery, carrots, English Peas, radishes and turnips. From transplants: Broccoli, Chinese Cabbage, cauliflower, kale, mustard and bullying onions.



  • Remove dead flowers, plants, and vegetables killed over winter.
  • Remove leaves that may have accumulated on lawns, do not blow into your shrub beds to use as mulch or you could get fungal diseases when the weather warms and the humidity reacts to the decomposing leaves. This can be devastating to older, shallow-rooted azaleas causing twig dieback. You may, however, use the leaves for organic matter in your vegetable garden which you can now amend with compost.
  • If you must cut your grass at this time, it is important not to cut it too short as this can damage runners exposed to cold temperatures.
  • It’s not a good time to divide perennials, ground covers and ferns — especially day lilies and fertilize with Bone Meal.
  • Soil test to check pH and nutrient needs for lawn and vegetable garden.
  • Fertilize fruit trees (citrus in March) and pecan trees around the drip line of the branch canopy and prune any dead, crossed or errant branches that are getting too flimsy to hold fruit or make it difficult to harvest. Also grape vines can be trimmed.
  • Pruning – Hollies, Camellias which have already bloomed, viburnums, oversized nandina and ornamental grasses to about 12 inches. Roses can be cut back 50 percent and bone meal raked in lightly and top dress with compost. Crape myrtles can be pruned… but do not commit Crape Murder — prune to leave fingers and not “clenched fists.” Cedars, junipers or boxwood do not respond well to a severe pruning, trim lightly.
  • Liriope will look fresh for spring if you can cut it now by moving it with a mower set at the highest setting.


  • Notice the Redbud trees, Dogwood and Japanese Magnolias beginning to bloom this month — some azaleas and Swamp Jasmine also begin blooming and you will begin to see spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips and Hyacinths available.
  • Gerber daisies and Geraniums will appear but protect from frost.
  • Cold hardy annuals include: pansies, violas, dusty miller, cyclamen, snapdragon, ornamental kale and Cabbage, petunias and alyssum
  • As soon as new perennials arrive in the market, you can plant.
  • Can plant seeds of basel, oregano, parsley, thyme, nastursium and poppy, snap beans, spinach, broccoli, carrots, celery, endive, English Peas, radishes. Pepper, lettuce, tomatoes and eggplant need frost protection.
  • Strawberries can be planted — add alyssum for fragrance.



  • When temperatures reach 65-70 degrees, a Weed Feed may be used on the lawn — if using a spreader, be sure not to broadcast over flower beds. Once warm season grasses start showing green, don’t apply any fertilizer for approximately two weeks until it greens up uniformly.
  • Clean out bare spots in sod and replant with grass plugs or son to discourage weed germination — fill in with compost to keep level.
  • Apply pre-emergent herbicides to landscape and flower beds to control spring and summer weeds.
  • Prune citrus in late March and fertilize. Prune oleander, hibiscus, rose of Sharon; hold off fertilizing until new growth appears. Apply dormant oil sprays to fruit and citrus with scale or mite problems. Do not prune early spring flowering shrubs such as hydrangea or hawthorne.
  • Be vigilant now checking Azaleas for lace bug and Camellias for scale and spray with an insecticide. Prune azaleas when finished blooming.
  • Continue to fertilize winter annual and deadhead spent blooms for longer blooming.
  • Cut back perennials 2-3 inches and fertilize.
  • Mulch your landscape and flower beds with an organic mulch such as pine straw, cypress or pine bark mulch. Using rocks, marble chips or gravel hold in root-frying summertime heat is detrimental to plants.


  • Now would be the time to freshen up your containers and hanging baskets.
  • To attract butterflies: Plant Lantana, Buddleia, Verbena, Dahlia, Cannas Caladium, Geranium. Salvia and nectar-producing plants such as Bee Balm, phlox, petunias, milkweed, butterfly bush, yarrow, lantana, coreopsis, Rudebeckia, marigolds, Dianthus, Zinnia, Cosmos.
  • To attract Hummingbirds: Milkweed, shrimp plants, firebush, firespike, Buckeye, azalea, buddleia, honeysuckle, weigelia, Salvia, zinnia, plumbago, Trumpet creeper and oleander.
  • Plant dill, basil, savory bush beans, pole and lima beans, cantelopes, carrots, celery, collards, sweet corn, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, turnips, okra, mustard and watermelon. Tomatoes, pepper and eggplant will need to be protected from a late frost.
  • Other spring annuals now available will include marigolds, impatiens, begonias and salvias.

  • Discuss


Wednesday, February 17, 2016 12:00 am.

Updated: 3:31 pm.

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