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Archives for February 28, 2016

Ramblings of a passionate garden designer

gardens Hydrangea Patio (2)_edited-1.jpg

gardens Hydrangea Patio (2)_edited-1.jpg

A patio area is nestled amid hydrangeas and other plants in this outdoor garden.

gardens Shady Places_edited-1.jpg

gardens Shady Places_edited-1.jpg

This shady space is an outdoor living area, full of life, meant to be experienced and shared with friends and family.

garden Steve Windham.jpg

garden Steve Windham.jpg

Stephen Windham

Posted: Sunday, February 28, 2016 12:00 am

Ramblings of a passionate garden designer

By Stephen Windham
Special to News Record

Garden design is an art form I love. The pallet of materials, color and texture are limitless, so every creation is different.

Even more, it is alive. It changes with the seasons, then grows and evolves providing a matrix for life and emotions to mingle.

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Sunday, February 28, 2016 12:00 am.

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Three Democrats vie for Clark County commissioner nomination

Three Democrats are in a primary to be the party’s Clark County commission candidate on the November ballot, fighting for a chance to tip the balance of the Republican-controlled board that oversees a $159 million budget.

The Democrats on the March 15 primary include former Springfield Mayor Dale Henry, former Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Darrell Jackson and former longtime Clark County Commissioner Roger Tackett.

The winner will face in November the Republican candidate Melanie Flax Wilt, who owns a local public relations company. Another seat is also on the November ballot — Republican New Carlisle City Councilman Lowell McGlothin will challenge Democratic County Commissioner David Herier.

Clark County commissioners are paid $65,620 annually and control a budget largely funded by a state dollars and a local sales tax, including a half-percent sales tax increase that was recently extended for another five years. The county has nearly 900 employees who provide wide-ranging public services from sheriff’s deputies to poll workers to road crews.

Big issues in the race are the sales tax extension, jobs, a proposed combined 9-1-1 dispatch center and a recent debate over Planned Parenthood funding.

Current Springfield city and Clark County commissioners support establishing a combined dispatch center, but both sides have yet to come up with a funding model that they all can agree on. City leaders have said they simply can’t afford to spend any more on 9-1-1 dispatching and hope the county can provide additional funding toward the project.

Several residents have come to recent county commission meetings asking to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. Two commissioners approved the funding, saying the money doesn’t pay for abortions and provides much-need education, and one opposed it.

Dale Henry

If Henry is elected, he would become the first black Clark County commissioner.

“In 2018, the county will be 200 years old and we have never in our history had a person of color to serve as a county commissioner or any other elected county-wide office,” Henry said.

But Henry’s not running for county commissioner to make history, he’s running because he said he’s uniquely qualified to hold the seat.

He served two terms as a Springfield city commissioner, including two years as mayor. Henry also has served as the deputy director for the Clark County Board of Elections, a member of the county elections board, a regional liaison for the Ohio Secretary of State and Clark County Democratic Party chairman.

“I’m proud of my record of public service in this community,” Henry said.

He previously challenged outgoing Clark County Commissioner John Detrick in 2004 and lost.

It’s time to move Clark County from surviving to thriving, Henry said.

“We’ve got more poverty in Clark County than a lot of people realize,” he said. “It’s time to make sure that we have a workforce that’s prepared for the types of jobs that we want to attract here in Clark County.”

His top priority, he said, is job creation and training.

“It’s got to be a collaboration between elected officials throughout the county and making sure that we do the research to find out what type of jobs that are going to pay the type of money that families are going to have a living wage on. We’ve got to start doing more to support the middle class and we need to be prepared for those jobs,” Henry said.

Other priorities include a combined dispatch center, the heroin epidemic and the Tremont City Barrel Fill, an industrial waste cleanup effort he has supported for years.

County leaders should continue to work with city officials to establish a joint 9-1-1 center before the state mandates equipment upgrades, Henry said. They should find a solution that’s fiscally responsible and works for everyone, he said, because it could make the community safer.

“At this point I’m not in a position to say the county should take on more. I think it should be reviewed again and decisions have to be made and I’m willing to step up and make whatever choice needs to be made in the best interest of all of the citizens of Clark County,” Henry said.

When asked about extending the half percent sales tax increase, Henry said it has improved the county’s financial condition. But he said it should be examined regularly, especially its impact on those who cannot afford it. He also said it shouldn’t be permanent.

Henry agreed with the current commission’s decision to continue funding Planned Parenthood. The money doesn’t pay for abortions, but for education.

Henry said voters should vote for him because of his experience and he’ll bring a new voice to the county.

“I’ve been in the mayor’s seat. We’ve had to make some hard decisions before and I’m up to the task,” Henry said. “It’s all about doing what’s best for the people in Springfield and in Clark County and every city, township and village. I’ve got a passion for neighborhoods and I want to make sure that continues.”

Darrell Jackson

Jackson is a retired Clark County Sheriff’s deputy who served for more than 26 years.

He negotiated union contracts for the the Clark County Deputies Association from 1990 to 2012. He is trained in labor negotiations through the State Employment Relations Board.

He currently works at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center.

Jackson previously ran for the 79th Ohio House District seat and was defeated by Republican Kyle Koehler.

He decided to run for county commissioner this year because he said he wants to use his experience in law enforcement to lower the crime rate and battle heroin and the drug epidemic.

Jackson also wants to use his leadership and negotiating skills to encourage stable businesses to come to and remain in the community.

“My greatest strength is listening to people, understanding their concerns and solving problems. I’ve spent 20 to 23 years negotiating budgets and I understand them and I can help all of the county departments improve their budgeting practices as well,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s top priorities include the lowering crime, fighting the heroin epidemic, increasing drug treatment facilities in the area, creating jobs and focusing on the 9-1-1 combined dispatch center.

He said the No. 1 priority in the community is bringing good-paying jobs to Clark County, but officials must address the crime and the heroin problem to do that.

“We just can’t continue to ignore the (drug addiction and crime) problem … If you want to bring good paying jobs to the community we have to address those issues,” Jackson said. “If you see the crime rate in Clark County I think it holds back good paying jobs to this community.”

County leaders need to have conversations with current business owners about how they can help them stay in the community, he said, noting the stores that have left the area

“We’ve lost Target. We’ve lost Elder Beerman, Macy’s, JCPenney. Those are jobs. I don’t know much power I have on that, but at least I can go out and talk to them. What can we do? What are you looking for? It doesn’t hurt to sit down and talk and ask,” Jackson said. “There are three county commissioners and we have to sit down and try to come up with a plan as a group, not as one individual.”

He’s in favor of a county-wide dispatching center.

“It helps the community. Anytime we can save money for the taxpayers … I think we can save on equipment,” he said.

Jackson supported the county commissioners recent decision to extend the half-percent sales tax, but said officials need to develop a three-year plan to prevent the county from relying on revenue from the temporary tax.

When asked about the current board’s decision to continue funding Planned Parenthood, Jackson said the local clinic doesn’t perform abortions and provides much-needed education and services.

Jackson said voters should elect him because of his leadership and negotiating training and experience

“I bring bring fresh ideas. I would listen to leadership, other county commissioners, other department heads, other elected officials, the community and I would try to solve the problem. We have to address the issues that are facing Clark County,” Jackson said.

Roger Tackett

Tackett was a Clark County Commissioner for 28 years until he lost in 2010 to current Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes, a Republican.

“I really have the experience to continue doing the job as Clark County commissioner. I had proved that I was able to do that over a number of years and would like to continue that if the voters would give me that opportunity,” Tackett said.

He served for two years in the Vietnam war. In 1967, Tackett was critically wounded in Vietnam when sniper fire punctured his lung and paralyzed his legs.

Complications from his injuries caused him to miss a lot of meetings during his last year as a commissioner, he said, an issue during the 2010 election when he lost his commission seat. But he said he had surgery at Ohio State University, lost 40 pounds and is now healthier than he has been in a long time.

As a commissioner, Tackett said he helped establish Prime Ohio Industrial Park, which provided about 2,000 jobs; and KTK Industrial Park on Urbana Road, which is about 90 percent occupied.

The industrial park is named after Tackett and fellow former Clark County Commissioners Merle Grace Kearns and Lou Kerrigan.

He also noted that he was involved in establishing the indirect cost recovery program that helped the county recoup administrative costs for handling state and federal programs.

Tackett also said he lobbied for the hospital to be located in downtown Springfield despite initial push back about the move, and helped establish the Heritage Center, the ice skating rink and the new baseball stadium in Springfield.

When asked if he agreed with extending the sales tax increase, Tackett said he wouldn’t approve a tax without studying the county budget closely.

He said as commissioner, he’s shown the ability to work well with both Republicans and Democrats.

“It’s really important even when we disagree to have respect for each other. I would try to work to make sure that we were able to work together and we’re able to compromise where possible and even when we disagree, we treat each other with respect,” Tackett said.

Tackett said he also wants to help with efforts to clean up the Tremont City Barrel Fill, which contains about 1.5 million gallons of industrial waste not far from the city’s drinking water source.

He’s attended recent meetings held by local and state leaders and the Environmental Protection Agency.

“There’s a tremendous problem and we need to make sure our water safety in the future is protected,” Tackett said.

Tackett decided to run for county commissioner again because he wants to do more to help Clark County.

“I don’t enjoy retirement very well … Being a Marine throughout my life, I always want to try to help out my community, help to make my community a better place,” he said. “I would like to continue working for Clark County. That’s one of the things that makes me most happy. If the voters of Clark County will give me another opportunity I would like to continue to serve them as their Clark County commissioner.”

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Homeowners embrace outdoor living spaces

Chris Russo and his family love their home in Franklin. But they spend as much time as possible in their yard, gathered around the fire pit in their outdoor living area, often with friends and neighbors.

“Even when it’s winter, I could stay out here forever,” Russo said.

The addition of outdoor living spaces is a growing trend. Homeowners are increasingly moving their living areas beyond the four walls of the house and extending them to the outdoors, said Phil Bates, a manager with Willow Branch Outdoor Living, a landscaping company headquartered in Brentwood. The company installed the Russos’ outdoor living area.

“People want to spend time at home now. Instead of traveling, they want to come home and relax,” he said.

As spring approaches, now is a good time to consider landscaping and outdoor living projects that can add value to a home and increase your family’s enjoyment, Bates said.

Shrinking yards

Willow Branch is participating in the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show, scheduled for March 3-6 at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. The company charges around $5,000 for a patio and fire pit, up to more than $100,000 for larger projects.

Professionally designed outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity, even though yards are shrinking in many neighborhoods, Bates said. That may sound like a contradiction, but it isn’t. A well-designed outdoor space can help preserve privacy for you and your neighbors.

“People have big ideas to dress up a yard but have a smaller space to work in,” he said.

Artificial replaces natural

Landscaping doesn’t always include a traditional grassy lawn anymore. Instead, some homeowners are installing artificial turf.

“You’re not using any water, and it’s recycled material,” said Mike Burbridge, whose house in Franklin’s Westhaven subdivision has a small courtyard that doesn’t get a lot of sun.

Even though it’s made with old soda and water bottles, the turf looks like natural grass. It covers about half of his courtyard, he said.

“It looks gorgeous. People say, ‘You take such good care of your lawn,’ ” said Burbridge. “On my street alone, five people have copied it.”

His courtyard, which was professionally designed and landscaped, does feature natural plants, including evergreens and a weeping willow, as well as a fountain, a copper fire pit and a pergola.

Included in new homes

The Russos and Burbridge added their outdoor spaces after purchasing their homes, but many new homes come complete with areas for outdoor living.

“It’s a second living area, but outside the home,” said Jen Lucy, director of sales for the Jones Co., one of the region’s most active homebuilders.

All of the company’s homes feature a deck, and many buyers add covered patios and fire pits.

“It wasn’t popular in days gone by, but it is now. People are more outdoors oriented, more health conscious, more active,” Lucy said.

Chris Russo and his wife, Diana Russo, purchased their home when they relocated from Tampa, Florida, in 2014. Their outdoor living project added value to the property, but the real benefit is the time they spend with their son and daughter, Vincent and Victoria.

“I think of the value it brings my family, having that area for everyone to gather,” Chris Russo said. “It makes the backyard a focal point. It’s the kind of backyard people migrate to. It’s not unusual for us to light a fire and 10 people show up.”

If you go

Nashville Lawn and Garden Show

When: March 3-6

Where: Tennessee State Fairgrounds

Tickets: adults, $12; seniors, $11; under 12, $2; four-day pass, $20. Buy tickets at the door and online at

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Caskets, carpeting, cookies the feature at Home Expo

RACINE — What do caskets and urns, plumbers, chiropractors and Girl Scout cookies have in common?

Anyone? All of these products and service providers are at the 32 annual Journal Times’ Home Expo, which began on Saturday and continues Sunday.

Vevlon Days-Kimmons, 64, of Racine, said she stopped by the expo because she has “a couple of home improvement projects” she’s considering. Well, more than a couple. She said she would like new doors and storm doors, for starters.

“I also have a landscaping project in mind,” said Days-Kimmons, a retired Racine County Department of Human Services social worker. “I thought this would be a good place to get some ideas.”

Did she? Absolutely, she said. A new furnace also is on the horizon, and she said she learned there now are two ways to vent the furnace out of her home: straight out the side or by going up the chimney. The latter method, she said, is supposed to be a cost-saver.

“It’s been steady, traffic-wise,” said Donna Mueller, The Journal Times’ advertising director, about the expo.

‘Another type of planning’

This year’s expo features about 90 vendors, the same as last year’s event, Mueller said. This year, Strouf Funeral Home brought caskets and urns, along with specialty urns shaped like golf balls and fishing bobbers.

“You plan for your home, you plan for marriage,” Mueller said. “It’s another type of planning.”

The expo continues from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Festival Hall, 5 Fifth St. General admission costs $3, though the event is free for children 17 years old and younger. Parking is free in the parking lot.

Also featured at the expo are banks, a retirement home, a handyman service, cabinetry businesses, custom bath fitters, roofing, flooring and window companies. Racine Harley-Davidson, 1155 Oakes Road, Mount Pleasant, also set up a booth, showcasing a special highly customized motorcycle.

Jim Waligora, president of Springbrook Cabinetry in Brighton, said he participated in the Home Expo last year, as well, and traffic this year has been steady. Every year he has participated in the show, he’s gained business, he said.

Last year, he landed one job directly through his participation. But it was a $120,000 job, he said.

Two years ago, he landed one job, which resulted in two referrals.

“Over $70,000 from that chain of jobs,” Waligora said.

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Redlands residents get advise on native landscaping

REDLANDS The days of water-demanding landscapes are numbered as Californians work to cut back their water use due to the drought.

Residents and business owners are turning to more natural, water-efficient landscapes to save water, the environment and ultimately a few bucks on their water bills.

To help educate residents on California native plants, “Their Benefits and Role in Water Conservation,” the city’s Quality of Life Department hosted a forum Thursday at City Hall.

Three speakers addressed a full room on the benefits planting native plants has on the property owner as well as the environment, sharing tips and resources.

“Native plants are incomparably useful for supporting native wildlife,” said landscape designer April Garbat.

Native gardens enjoyed by wildlife will have some damage and will require less use of petroleum products if the plants are allowed to grow to their natural shape, she said.

“The easiest way to identify a native plant is to look at it’s ecosystem role,” Garbat said. “How does it interact with the insects and animals? The easiest way for you to do that is to look at the plant community.”

Garbat said in Redlands the plant community includes inland sage scrub, sages, some cactus, chaparral, oak woodland, riparian, willows and alders.

She shared 15 plants for Redlanders to include in their landscapes, such as yarrow, artemisia, California sagebrush, coyote brush, Nevin’s barberry, dudleya, California fuchsia, California buckwheat, penstemon, holly leaf cherry and salvias.

Beginners should plant at least half of their landscape with native plants, Garbat advised, and pay attention to non-native plants’ behavior so they do not spread to other environments.

“You don’t have to be a complete purist unless you’re living in a wild area,” she said.

Don’t go overboard on the species selection, she said. Plants should also be grouped according to their water needs.

“Keep to a few species and learn their behavior,” she said. “Space them out right.”

Native plants can also be planted in a formal style, if residents do not favor the wild look, she said.

Russell Ackerman, sustainability analyst with the city of Santa Monica, shared the city’s “Garden-Garden” project, which compared a sustainable landscape to a traditional one.

City officials identified two homes with similar-sized lawns and sun exposure to conduct the experiment.

It cost the city about $22,000 to plant the sustainable garden versus $14,000 for the traditional garden, he said.

The traditional garden used about 600,000 gallons of water more than the sustainable garden.

“Now we’re talking thousands and thousands of dollars over that nine years,” he said. “So I paid that extra in the beginning, but I’m making that up just in water.”

Green waste was reduced by 45 to 50 percent. It took landscapers four times as long to maintain the traditional landscape versus the sustainable one.

“This demonstration garden was so successful that it began to inspire members of our community to make changes at their homes,” Ackerman said.

Abby Harned, of Three Sisters Farm in Redlands, said one of the biggest priorities for their land in San Timoteo Canyon in the ecological restoration for the health of our ecosystem, watershed and because it’s good for their farm, which is in its eighth year of certified organic production.

“Biodiversity is the key to a successful organic farming operation,” she said.

The native plants in the hills, such as holly leaf cherry, chamise, wild lilac, white sage and coastal live oak evolved to survive the region’s soils and climate challenges, she said.

“They have formed partnerships with the unique microorganisms in our soils,” she said. “Some depend on very specific pollinators and the movement of the animals to disperse their seeds. They have developed deep roots, leaves that reduce moisture loss and aromatic foliage to deter pets. In turn, the wildlife has evolved to depend on the cycles of the plants.”

Harned is also a member of the Caroline Park Endowment Fund. Caroline Park in Redlands is an example of a native park.

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What’s up with stalled work on Gulfport’s Fishbone Alley?

GULFPORT — Downtown merchants are eager to capitalize on a new attraction, but work on Fishbone Alley ground to a halt for a while.

When you tear into the wall of an old house, you sometimes find surprises. So it was with the service alley a contractor is transforming into Fishbone Alley, where pedestrians will soon find historic brick pavers, lighting, vertical gardens, artwork and entry ways into restaurants and bars.

The city broke ground on the alley’s makeover before Christmas, but waited until after the holidays to start work.

Gulf Breeze Landscaping of Gautier began demolition Jan. 3, planning to complete the project in 90 days. On Jan. 20, workers ran into telecommunications lines in the alley’s concrete floor, Gulf Breeze project manager Jason Roberson said.

Other utility companies also decided to replace lines running through the alley because of remodeling work to some of the surrounding buildings. The alley runs between businesses that front on 26th and 27th avenues.

The city installed a new sewer line in a nearby service alley that is being resurfaced as part of the project, said Kevin Mullen, project manager with consulting engineers Brown, Mitchell Alexander Inc.

With all the utility work going on, Mullen said, Gulf Breeze had to stop work Jan. 21.

He said the company should be able to resume work in the service alley Wednesday, then get back to Fishbone Alley, where demolition has been finished and construction will begin.

Gulf Breeze will have 60 days to finish the job, but Roberson said, “We’re going to put more manpower on it and try to get everything done before the 60 days is up.”

The contract price of $250,191 will not change.

Laurie Toups, executive director of the Gulfport Main Street Association, said a number of events are being planned for Fishbone Alley’s opening. But she didn’t want to spoil any surprises.

“Everybody’s ready,” she said.

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2016 Pennsylvania Garden Show of York blooms March 4-6

The Pennsylvania Garden Show of York returns for its 24th season next weekend (March 4-6), giving winter-weary gardeners a sneak peek at spring with indoor display gardens, seminars and a gardener’s mini-mall.

The 2016 show takes place Fri., March 4, through Sun., March 6, in the York Expo Center’s Memorial Hall, 334 Carlisle Road, York.

Nine York-area landscapers are building indoor display gardens around a theme of “Stepping Through Thyme.”

“We’ll have a few surprises for visitors who want to actually step through time,” says Richard Jacobus, owner of the Meadow View Gardens landscape firm and the show’s promoter.

One of them is an antique Atlas delivery truck made in York in 1919 by the Martin and Perry Co.

“We’re also again having a romantic nightscape room with stars overhead,” Jacobus adds. “That’s been really popular.”

Lights are kept dim in that room to re-create the effect of a landscape in the evening with landscape lighting. 

Display-garden builders include Cross Creek Farm, EWBN Landscaping, Fox Ridge Farm and Nursery, Inch’s Landscaping, Meadow View Gardens, Outhouse Storage, Shawn’s Landscaping and Hardscaping, Songbird Ponds, and Strathmeyer Landscape Development Corp.

In the show’s marketplace wing, some 120 vendors and exhibitors will man booths.

Some are informational and educational, such as the Garden Club of York, the York Audubon Society and Master Gardeners from York County’s Penn State Extension office, while others sell a variety of plants, products and garden accessories, including Mechanicsburg’s Rosemary House and the Ashcombe Farm and Greenhouses and Lewisberry Gardens garden centers.

The full list of booths is posted on the show’s exhibitor web page.

New at this year’s show is wine.

“We’ll have six Pennsylvania wineries selling their wines with tasting as well,” says Jacobus.

Several cheese vendors are among the marketplace exhibitors for those looking to pair their wine with something to eat.

Area garden clubs will stage a judged flower show within the 2016 Pennsylvania Garden Show of York. 

Also returning is a judged, standard flower show sponsored by garden clubs in the Garden Club Federation of Pennsylvania’s local District IV. Those creative arrangements will be on display across the front of the show’s marketplace section with judged classes revolving around this year’s theme of “It’s About Time.”

Talks are planned both on the main stage and in a seminar room throughout the three days.

Mark Viette, host of the “In the Garden with Andre Viette” radio call-in program, will speak on March 4 at 6 p.m. as well as host his show on location March 5 from 8 to 11 a.m. The show broadcasts locally on York’s WSBA radio.

York florist Vince Butera returns to do a pair of arranging demonstrations on March 4 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., while Patriot-News/Pennlive garden writer and author George Weigel will do programs on great local gardens March 4 at 12:30 p.m. and on “Smart Gardening” (when to do what in the yard) on March 4 at 3:30 p.m.

Other March 4 programs include a talk on rain gardens at 2 p.m. by Penn State Extension educator Connie Schmotzer, a talk on wildflowers at 3 p.m. by Penn State Extension educator Annette MaCoy, and a talk on repurposing items into flower containers by Carolyn Bupp at 5 p.m.

March 5 talks include author Kate Copsey speaking on “Downsized Vegetable Gardening” at 1 p.m., Master Gardener Mary Prescott (aromatherapy) at 1:30 p.m., Viette at 2 p.m., and a program on brewing with herbs by Bailee’s Home Brew at 5:30 p.m.

March 6 programs include a talk on propagating plants by Master Gardener John Geoghan at 10:30 a.m., a talk on composting by Master Gardener Tom Smith at 11:30 a.m., and a talk on how to brew your own tea from garden plants by Chef Dani Sanders at 12:30 p.m.

The full lineup of talk times and topics is posted on the show website. Talks are included at no extra charge with show admission.

Cooking demonstrations are planned for March 5 at 3:30 p.m. (Chef Todd Courtney) and March 6 at 11 a.m. (Connie Shuff on cooking with herbs).

Special events include Herbal Garden Tea Parties with food on March 4 and 5 and a hands-on miniature Zen Garden workshop on March 6. Those involve pre-registration and additional fees. Details are on the show’s event web page.

The show also features music all three days, and face-painting for children on March 5.

A diamond give-away fund-raiser will benefit the Veterans Memorial Gold Star Healing and Peace Garden in York’s Memorial Park.

Show tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $9 for students and those over age 62. Admission passes for all three days are $15.

Tickets from advance-sale locations are $3 off, and tickets bought online are $2 off. Details on those and other discount offers are listed on the show’s ticketing web page.

Parking is free.

More information and directions are available on the Pennsylvania Garden Show of York website or by calling 717-848-2596.

(Disclosure: The author is being paid to do two talks at this show.)

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Mild February creates gardening temptation

It might only be February, but it’s not too early to start thinking about that summer garden.

These frost-free days do create some confusion for plants and gardeners alike, so we asked horticulturalist Kath Smyth for some gardening advice at this time of year. 

The biggest news is that Calgary has changed gardening zones from a Zone 3 to a Zone 4A.

“It’s based on the number of frost-free days that we have, and it’s based on the number of days in the wintertime when we go below -45 C for more than five days in a row,” Smyth said. “Although we still get cool nights, we are extending the growing season.”

Smyth said the zone change “opens up a realm of interesting new flowering shrubs” for Calgary gardeners to grow. 

And while the lack of snow might have many people starting to think about cleaning up their gardens and getting them ready for the growing season, Smyth’s advice for this time of year is simple. 

“Chill,” she said. It’s too soon to start thinking about digging anything up or removing ground cover. 

Green grass blades calgary

Stay off the grass, advises Kath Smyth of the Calgary Horticultural Society. (Evelyne Asselin/CBC)

“I like to tell people it’s time to really get to the garden centre and see what’s new, what’s exciting,” Smyth added.

“The biggest thing I don’t want people doing is walking on the grass, walking on their soil. By walking on the ground we are creating compacted soil, and compacted soil is really hard for drainage of your property.”

If you’re desperate to get some plants in the ground, try tomatoes, Smyth said. 

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Landscaping tips to gain your new garden’s full potential

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Smart spending tips galore at Home and Garden Show

The Home and Garden Show is underway at the BMO Centre at Stampede Park.

Among those presenting this weekend is the star of HGTV’s Home to Win show, Carson Arthur.

Arthur says his message is very simple: spruce up your outdoor space, adding the money you spend today on a deck or patio will pay off down the road.

“Knowing that you may be in the house for five to ten years is a really smart spot, especially if you look after it and pay attention to things like low maintenance trends and outdoor living spaces, even things like outdoor kitchens or expanded living areas are showing great return on your investments,” he said.

Arthur will be on stage Saturday at 2:30 and 6 p.m. and again on Sunday at noon.

For more information click here.

You can also save some money on the price of admission by buying your tickets online.

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