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Archives for March 1, 2016

Arts Commission looks into spinning off its own foundation

In an effort to bring bigger, and more numerous activities to the community, the Buffalo Grove Arts Commission might soon create a 501(c)(3).

“Obviously, you’re going to walk before you run,” said Elliott Hartstein, the arts commission’s chair. “How well it will work remains to be seen.”

Nothing is in motion yet, but Hartstein brought a wide variety of possibilities to Village Hall on Feb. 22, when he spoke to the Village Board about new ideas. In his presentation, his suggestions ranged from the small — a sewing or knitting contest along the lines of last summer’s landscaping contest, or an ethnic food cook-off — to the sizable, such as an international dance competition or even a new art show.

“We hope to have some type of major activity,” Hartstein said last week. “Whether it will be this year or next year, I can’t tell you.”

But the big suggestion might end up being the creation of a new funding source. A 501(c)(3) organization would be technically independent, with its own board and its own discretion to use whatever money it receives as it pleases, like friends-of-the-library groups, school foundations and park auxiliaries. Donations to this group would be akin to paying extra taxes earmarked for the group — except that donations to a 501(c)(3) are tax deductible.

Hartstein said the commission might put its extra revenue into any number of new directions —including a new large scale production of some sort. He talked about an annual musical performance or dance event, or even a new showcase for paintings, photography, sculptures and such, similar to the showcase the commission used to put on.

Until recently, Buffalo Grove worked with Amdur Productions to put on the Buffalo Grove Art Festival every summer in the Town Center parking lot. Then-Village President Jeff Braiman appointed Hartstein to chair the arts commission about a year and a half ago, and Hartstein said that reassessing the festival was one of his main priorities at his start.

“Some people thought maybe we could be doing something better or different,” Hartstein said. “The event wasn’t what it was when it first started out. It was time for a change.”

Officials at Amdur Productions did not respond to calls for comment. The Buffalo Grove Art Festival has not missed a summer since its creation. Amdur organizes it independently now, and its 14th edition is scheduled for June 4-5.

The commission made an attempt at launching their own festival shortly after parting ways with Amdur, but a partnership with Howard Alan Events of Jupiter, Fla. did not pan out. Hartstein said that effort was a lesson that now drives them toward either something large but altogether different from the Buffalo Grove Art Festival, or maybe a series of smaller events.

“It’s very difficult to try to set up another art festival,” he said. “The community can only support a limited number of art shows.”

But, whatever the future holds, Hartstein expects that independent fundraising will be the key to making a new move financially possible.

“It’s not like there’s money sitting in a pot somewhere,” he said.

Twitter: @RonnieAtPioneer

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Oaklawn Garden will open April 1 in Germantown

February 29, 2016 — Germantown Parks Director Pam Beasley talks about ‘Cedar Road’ part of the Cloyes property which will open as a public park in Germantown on April 1, at height of azalea season. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

February 29, 2016 — Charles Oelsen (left) and Joe Dabbs with the Germantown Public Works Department start to clear out debris at the Cloyes property which will open as a public park in Germantown at the first of April. (Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

By Jane Roberts of The Commercial Appeal

Oaklawn Garden, the four-acre homesite Becky and Harry Cloyes left to Germantown, will open as a public park April 1, a timetable that should highlight the late couple’s landscaping work.

The park on the south side of Poplar Pike near the Norfolk Southern Railway crossing, will retain the collections of railroad and community lore now framed by thickets of boxwood, a rhododendron as big as a room and so many azaleas and daffodils, the warm spring sun Monday seemed only a precursor to their glow.

“Everything that is the least bit of a hazard will be taken down,” said Pam Beasley, head of Germantown Parks and Recreation Department, as she walked through the yard, pointing at semaphore signals, old stoplights and streetlights on poles that Harry Cloyes rigged with wire and switches to light up the yard.

“Harry did all this wiring himself for electricity and water, and none of it is up to code,” she said, shaking her head at an electrical fuse box eight inches off the ground at the base of one pole.

“That pole is not historically significant,” Beasley said, pointing to another, “but those insulators (at) the top are. What we are going to do is take a lot of this stuff down and store it in the work shed until we know what we are going do with it.”

That process, with the help of Andy Pouncey, city historian, and historical commission member Jacque Clift, has been going on since January. The work starting now is the laborious task of ridding the site of the public dangers — a falling-in lean-to, teetering statues and monuments — and buttressing other artifacts, including a cracked stone name plate from the M.C. Williams High School — inscribed in 1918 — that has buckled under its own weight and the long-settled soil beneath it.

The couple donated their acreage, including the house — built in 1854 — to the city with the stipulation it continue to be the garden they made regionally famous, starting with 350 varieties of daffodils Harry’s mother, Mamie Cloyes, began planting on the property in 1924.

The city took possession when Becky died in December.

“For this summer, the property will be open for exploration,” Beasley said. “We plan to collect the contact information from the visitors so we can begin capturing ideas from the people who have been the stewards of this land and others who have ideas.”

In the late summer or fall, the city will hold a meeting on how Oaklawn Garden, including the meadow behind it, could be used and linked to the more than 100 acres of city parks that surround it, starting with Bobby Lanier Farm Park to the east.

In the meantime, Beasley has requested an engineering analysis of the antebellum home, boarded up now, and other structures on the land.

“The study will help us answer the question, Is it sound or not? If it’s not, what kind of restoration would it take? After those two questions, we need to think about what it would be used for and what the return on investment would be.

“It’s better to have a plan and a purpose,” Beasley said. “If it’s just going to be static and have no use, the raccoons, snakes and rats, all those things that came in when it sat empty, will be back, and we will have a liability instead of an asset.”

The city is holding a public work day March 12 at Oaklawn. Volunteer crews will rake, uncover primitive trails and cut away visible dead wood.

In March, the city’s park commission will draft rules for the park’s first year, including hours of operation and how to manage the amateur and professional photographers who use the grounds. The city will reopen the limited parking area in front of the house but because of the nearby railroad crossing, other arrangements for parking must be made. They may include cutting a few trees at neighboring Morgan Woods to build a permeable lot.

Over the years, master gardeners and Suburban Garden Club members have worked hundreds of hours in the garden.

“We sort of adopted it at one point,” said Barbara Armstrong, “and were working on making sense of it and making garden rooms. We did identify all the azaleas. But in the years in between, the signs were all lost. We realized it was far too large a job for a garden club. That is why we are thrilled the city is going to develop a master plan and we can all be involved in some different ways.”

Jane Roberts thumbnail

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Madison Chamber of Commerce gears up for Home and Garden Fair

MADISON The Madison Chamber of Commerce is looking to give local businesses a chance to grab some exposure.

The chamber is holding its first Home and Garden Fair March 10 at Mercy by the Sea, 167 Neck Road, from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The fair is free to attend and Madison Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eileen Banisch said there will be free snacks and juices.

Banisch said the chamber last year held a health and wellness fair, but decided this year to focus on local businesses that deal with home care. Rachel Blundon Klein, vice president of Madison Earth Care, said such events are great for her business and the town.

“Things like this, we’ve been around for a long time, but the community is so important to us,” Blundon Klein said. “It allows us to interact with the community and people we are here to serve. We like getting to know people and meeting them face to face.”

Madison Earth Care, a landscaping company, is just one of the businesses already signed up for the event, according to Banisch. It will be joined by Liberty Bank, True Bikram Yoga, Fine Home Solution, The Shoreline Vine and others. The event has room for 32 businesses

Banisch said only chamber members can participate and the cost is $75 for a table. She said a few businesses have become members just to participate in the event. Businesses can apply for membership and for a table on the town’s website. She said this event will help both established and new businesses.

Dawn Schwab, owner of The Shoreline Vine, an olive oil and vinegar shop, said they are looking forward to the event. She said they have been open for two years and taking part in the fair could be beneficial.

“I think (the chamber) does a good job of supporting local business,” Schwab said. “Even if we get one new customer I’m happy.”

Each business will have a table to display what their business has to offer. Sponsors will also be given a table and their business name and logo will be featured on posters and giveaways.

Banisch said some of the local businesses on board as sponsors include The Audubon Shop, Madison Flower Shop, Chester Village West and Madison House.

Schwab said the Shoreline Vine is going to make the most of this exposure and will be offering up a taste of the store’s best products.

“There are still some people who don’t know we’re here with our store,” Schwab said. “You can try before you buy, it’s a tasting room and we’ll have samples (at the fair). We can’t bring everything, but we’ll bring our most popular flavors and give them some ideas for what we have.”

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Michael Hatcher purchases site – DeSoto Times

Michael Hatcher Associates has purchased a 22-acre site at 8365 Center Hill Road in Olive Branch for its new 10,000-square-foot headquarters now currently under construction.

More than 300 people braved chilly temperatures and a brisk wind as Hatcher, along with his financial backers such as BankPlus, and clergy, family and friends held a groundbreaking, or a “ground blessing” as he called it this past Thursday.

Hatcher’s new Landscape Center is located within a stone’s throw of another botanical wonder, the Brussel’s Bonsai nursery along Center Hill Road.

For more than 30 years, Hatcher has operated out of his facility off Hacks Cross Road, just across the state line in Shelby County, but has outgrown this space. The new facility and grounds will be called “The Landscape Center” and will include a 5-acre parcel on site dedicated to environmentally-friendly green trends for recycling and composting of yard waste from client properties.

“It’s not a garden center — it’s not a nursery,” Hatcher said. “It’s a vision. It’s a facility that nurtures the environment.”

The site will also include a 2-acre “Urban Gardening” — a trend sweeping the country where clients can see “display libraries” of vegetable gardens in raised planters, small fruit orchards and ways to harvest food for neighborhoods, corporate gardening and group gardening projects. Occupancy is expected by the fall of 2016. Hatcher has supported the “Come Alive Outside” program while working with The Kitchen Community where school students get to work alongside teachers and gardeners to encourage more interest in gardening. This new urban garden center will serve as an outreach resource to the community for educational field trips for schools as well as senior care facilities. “We have a lot of interest from some of our commercial clients like senior care developments who want their residents to garden and learn to enjoy gardening. It’s a great thing for seniors to do and stay active,” says Michael Hatcher. The site will also allow for parking, soil and mulch storage, plant holding and nursing storage and reuse of site surface water runoff into detention ponds for irrigation needs of the entire property. The 10,000-square-foot office building will have training rooms—one that will seat 144 people, production offices, an open floor plan for design and communication efficiency, two buildings for equipment storage and repair shop. The company is an employee-owned business and the new “Landscape Center” name came from the Hatcher team of employees, designers, landscapers themselves. The center will reflect the commitment to green spaces and will have landscaping screening and features that are reflective of Hatcher philosophy. District 1 Supervisor Jessie Medlin praised Hatcher’s vision.

“He started this business with two employees and a raggedy-old pickup truck,” Medlin said. “Now he has more than 90 employees. Michael is a community-minded person. He is involved in the community and done a lot of things to help the community.”

Hatcher has served as the DeSoto County Greenways Committee’s first chairman and in other capacities with the DeSoto Council and other agencies.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor with the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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Portland Japanese Garden reopens Tuesday with a castle wall (photos)

Fans of the Portland Japanese Garden will never have the same, familiar experience again.

When the hilltop property at the edge of Washington Park reopens Tuesday, March 1, after being closed for six months to start an almost 2-year expansion project, everything from the Southwest Kingston Avenue parking lot to the original entrance will look completely different, while the main garden remains unchanged.

Most notable now: A 140-foot-long castle wall is being erected outside the existing entrance gate.

What once was a cluster of nondescript maintenance buildings and a turnaround driveway is now level ground that has been heavily secured to accept the weight of a new Cultural Crossing Village surrounded by a wall made from thousands of tons of Oregon granite.

The boulders, flecked by blue-tinted minerals and further colorized by red, brown, green and bright yellow lichen, have been angled into the ground in a way rarely seen outside of Japan.

The two-story, curving wall, built by Suminori Awata, a 15th-generation Japanese stonemason using Shogun-period techniques, is guaranteed to stop visitors in their tracks, encouraging them to pause before proceeding into the main garden.

It’s a dramatic feature of the $33.5-million Cultural Crossing project and expansion, which continues through spring 2017.

But it’s not the only one.

When the last foundation piece of granite the size of a car is lifted and fitted into place, and gaps are filled with ballast stones instead of mortar, the wall will define the boundaries of the new village: three pavilion-like buildings joined by a courtyard.

Here, visitors will see cultural events, exhibitions and other educational programs. The gift shop will be relocated to one of the new, energy-efficient buildings with planted roofs. There will also be an art gallery, library and a tea garden cafe, the first food and beverage service available at the garden.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who designed the lattice-framed national stadium for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, was hired to aesthetically connect new buildings and spaces leading to the 53-year-old main garden, which is considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

The project adds 3.4 acres to the 9.1-acre property and moves the entry gate to Southwest Kingston Avenue adjacent to the existing parking lot across from the International Rose Test Garden.

There will be a water garden near the new entrance, and trees and other landscaping will line the existing steep path up the hill to the new village.

Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the new gardens and landscaping that also includes a moss hillside garden and cascading water terrace – which visitors can now see – as well as a bonsai terrace and a chabana (natural) garden around the new buildings.

When residents living near the Portland Japanese Garden were first notified of the expansion plans in 2014, they had objections over the loss of open space, closure of one link to the Wildwood Trail, and increased traffic and parking issues.

There is also concern about the addition of 17,000 square feet of commercial development and impact on the garden itself, “a hidden jewel in the forest [that] will now be just another tourist trap albeit with classier architecture,” says Hilary Sundeleaf Mackenzie, an architect and member of the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association.

“I think the neighborhood is fairly unanimous in our sadness that this was allowed to be developed with limited public input,” says Mackenzie. “It will be interesting to see what visitors think when the garden will be opened.”

The garden began in 1963 on the 5.5-acre site of the old Portland zoo. When it opened in 1967, it had 30,000 visitors. In 2015, about 300,000 people wandered past the venue’s pond, sand and stone area, and groves of maple trees.

Kuma’s new designs advance those of original garden designer Takuma Tono.

Although this is Kuma’s first public project in the United States, his buildings around the world are notable for the way they consider nature, Japanese tradition and the visitor’s experience.

He draws from modern and classic Japanese buildings techniques to create seeming transparent structures that frame the natural environment and emphasize empty space.


Materials such as wood and stone – chosen to reflect the surroundings – are sliced and spaced to create a sense of lightness and softness. Louvre or lacy fabric-like stainless steel screens and glass also filter natural light. 

Exterior platforms look as if they are floating, sometimes over water. Roofs are shaped to orchestrate appealing shadows and large overhangs create a transition and an ambiguity between inside and out.

In a talk at the Portland Art Museum on Feb. 6, Kuma, who heads one of Japan’s most respected firms, Kengo Kuma and Associates in Tokyo, said the Portland Japanese Garden’s hillside location backed by a forest is the ideal place to create a village of seemingly transparent buildings.

“We didn’t want to create heaviness,” he said. “I want to erase architecture.”

His remarks were preceded by Botond Bognar, a professor of architecture at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who showed photographs of Kuma’s work.

Bognar said Kuma’s approach is to connect people to their environment by employing “rich minimalism and disciplined understatement.”

A free exhibition, “Tsunagu: Connecting to the Architecture of Kengo Kuma,” through Feb. 29 at the Center for Architecture, 403 N.W. 11th Ave. in Portland, displays images and construction drawings of the garden’s ambitious entrance remodel and samples of building materials like Port Orford cedar and the Oregon granite. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, except 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday.

— Janet Eastman

Missing the Portland Japanese Garden’s winter foliage? Here are some road trip ideas to other Japanese gardens.

Email photos you’ve taken in falls and winters at the Portland Japanese Garden.

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Mile High Garden Takes Landscaping To New Heights

Once, it was all about mile-high skyscrapers. Now, it’s all about mile-high gardens.

Italian architecture firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) has revealed its concept plans for a one mile high garden observation deck, called ‘The Mile’.

160229 mile-high-garden-2_620x380

Designed in collaboration with German engineering firm Schlaich Bergermann und Partner and British digital design studio Atmos, the giant tower would be covered in vegetation from the base to the apex.

Professor Ratti said of the structure: ““Imagine you take New York’s Central Park, turn it vertical, roll it and twirl it.”


The structure would be 124 levels (1,609 metres high) and would soar past Dubai’s Burj Khalifa – the world’s highest skyscraper at 829 metres. It would also be higher than the proposed tower The Bride in Iraq which would be 1,152m high.

The Mile would boast a 360-degree rotating observation platform (entry would cost an estimated $40 per person) and offer attractions such as bird watching, rock climbing, restaurants and animals.


The project will be officially launched to the public at the Cannes real estate fair MIPIM 2016 on March 16. It was commissioned by an anonymous client.

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Gardening tips: how to add splashes of spring to outdoor spaces – for minimal cost

Are your borders looking skimpy? Don’t rush to the garden centre. Instead, divide the plants you have and conquer the bare earth by digging up established clumps of perennials and splitting them into smaller groups, discarding any worn-out sections at the centre.

Plant them in refreshed soil — home-made compost is cheaper than shop-bought — and water in well. You can do the same with a large plant bought at the garden centre, such as geranium or pulmonaria, carefully pulling the plant apart and retaining the roots, so you have several smaller pieces that will catch up in a season or two.

Using the same plant at intervals will create an all-important rhythm through the border, which is something an array of ready-bought different plants can never do.

Right now, spring-flowering bulbs, in heavy bud, are cheap as chips. Buy pots of daffodils at BQ for £1.09 each. Plop three or four pots together into a large container on the patio table and you have a splash of spring for little outlay. Instead of throwing them out when they’re over, plant the bulbs in the garden for a gratifyingly free encore next year.

Sowing seed is cheaper than buying young plants and even the least green-fingered can make a scattering of easy annuals spring up into summer flowers. Sow annuals next month — sweet peas, larkspur, love-in-a-mist — and you can have blooms for cutting, too.

Lilies make huge splashes of summer colour for containers and so do dahlias, flowering for weeks on end. Buying them as bulbs and tubers now will save you cash later.


Focus on the high returners, including cut-and-come-again salad leaves, wild rocket, runner beans, year-round sorrel and perennial herbs such as rosemary and thyme. If you can’t decide whether to buy an eating or cooking apple, grow them both on one tree ( And instead of planting seed potatoes, and buying tomato plants, buy one plant that produces both: the TomTato ( Raspberries are the fruit that keeps on giving. Six canes of autumn-fruiting raspberries such as Joan J will give you steady pickings from high summer to late autumn.

Invest in a small greenhouse ( — even a pop-up plastic one — and you can buy “tot” bedding plants and veg now. Coax them on under glass and when frost is past, you can plant them out, having raised them for mere pence.


Garden paint stains are handy to brighten fences and sheds, but for longevity, exterior eggshell or gloss paint is unbeatable. With just one tin you can give past-it garden furniture fresh life, camouflaging every scratch and scrape.

An inexpensive softwood bench becomes a fabulous focal point when painted a strong, confident colour such as cobalt or vermilion. Hammerite’s Direct to Rust paint, in 26 shades, can be applied directly to rusted metalwork so that a delapidated café table and chairs can be rejuvenated with, say, a lick of Sheer Aqua or Zingy Lime.

Occasionally it makes sense to invest in the best. Stainless steel tools perform better, won’t rust and are a breeze to clean. One pair of Felco secateurs will last a lifetime and give your pruning cuts the professional edge.

A Florentine terracotta pot is timeless, and will do more for your garden than a dozen plastic pots, while a pergola can transform a small garden, creating an instant dining retreat, a walkway and a great reason for buying a barrowload of fragrant climbers. Avoid the cheap versions and go for the solid, real thing (

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Garden Tips: Control annual grassy weeds – Tri

It would be wonderful if weed-free lawns could stay that way forever. However, weeds get their foot in the door when lawns are subjected to stress from the environment or poor management practices, including watering, mowing and fertilization.

Weeds will eventually appear in lawns as they age, even in ones that are well maintained.

Much has been accomplished in the field of weed science for controlling broadleaf lawn weeds, like dandelions and clover. Whether chemicals, digging or pulling are employed, most broadleaf weeds in lawns can be controlled relatively easily.

Grassy weeds are a different story. It is difficult to pluck most grassy weeds interspersed with regular grass. Using chemicals to control weeds is difficult because many chemicals that kill the weeds will also kill grass. Before considering chemicals, you first need to understand how grasses grow.

There are two main types of grassy weeds: annual and perennial. Annual grasses die and come up again from seed each year. Crabgrass and annual bluegrass are the two most common annual grasses that cause problems in our area. Excessive watering, frequent shallow watering and consistently mowing a lawn too short make it easier for crabgrass start. Bluegrass prefers compacted soil as well as excessive watering. Correcting these problems and making a lawn as healthy and dense as possible with proper maintenance makes it difficult for these grasses to persist.

While some bluegrass seed germinates in the spring, most germinate in early to mid fall.

Chemicals are available that can help manage these two grasses. Pre-emergent herbicides chemically prevent seed germination and are applied before the seed of the annual grasses have the opportunity to germinate and grow.

Crabgrass seed germinates in the spring, and pre-emergent herbicides, or crabgrass preventers, are only effective if the application is made before seed germination. The right timing for applying pre-emergent herbicide is when the soil temperature at a depth of 1 inch is greater than 55 degrees for at least a week. This typically occurs when the yellow-flowering forsythia bush has been in full bloom for a week or two.

While some bluegrass seed germinates in the spring, most germinate in early to mid fall. It grows rapidly during mild winter and early spring weather, and then it flowers in the spring and summer, producing lots of seed. Pre-emergent herbicides applied before crabgrass germinates will not persist long enough to prevent most of the seed from germinating. However, the herbicides applied in the spring for preventing crabgrass will discourage early germinating annual bluegrass seed. For effective control of bluegrass, a pre-emergent herbicide should be applied in mid-August.

Next week, we will talk about the bigger challenge of managing perennial grassy weeds in lawns, like the dastardly Bermuda grass.

There are also post-emergent herbicides available to kill seedlings of crabgrass and annual bluegrass if a pre-emergent materials are not applied at the right time. However, these chemicals are only effective if the plants are relatively young and small. These materials have the potential to injure lawn grass if not applied correctly, so follow directions before use.

Next week, we will talk about the bigger challenge of managing perennial grassy weeds in lawns, like the dastardly Bermuda grass.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

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7 tips for ‘Garden Warfare 2’, whether you’re undead or a vegetable

Two years ago, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare brought one of the most popular mobile games into the realm of shooters. It wisely made the genre accessible to those casual fanswith streamlined controls, a sunny art style, and lots of goofiness.

Now, fans can return to the battle between the natural and undead worlds in Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2.The sequel is still a good option for players making a first foray into the genre, but even the more experienced shooter fans may want aprimer on what to expect in the backyard. Here are some tips to get you fully prepped for some adorably lethal action.

1. Try Super Brainz or Kernel Corn first

For brand-new players who aren’t sure where to start among the new characters, Super Brainz is probably the most versatile zombie.The dual ranged and melee main attacks are both forgiving in terms of accuracy, and the vortex special ability is a powerful way to get outof a tight corner.

On the plant side, Kernel Corn is the most classic of the newcharacters, an all-around solid pick. Like Super Brainz, it has apowerful attack for escaping mobs of baddies. Add extra firepowerfrom the missiles or the butter airstrike, and you have strong toolsto help press the advantage in combat.

pvz garden warfare 2

Image: Electronic arts

As you find your footing, though, each of the other characters have somepowerful options. Citron is hard to kill and Rose can manage thebattlefield with crowd control. The Imp’s small size makes it atricky moving target while Captain Dreadbeard can strike from afar.

2. Don’t forget alternate abilities

The original Garden Warfare took its time rolling out special attacks. You had to unlock all three for each class and got a video focused on the new skill. In this sequel, there is a splashy video that shows all three special skills, but not how to control or execute them. It’s best to find a chill game mode to experiment with your attacks and how they can complement each other.

Also, the game doesn’t explain that some abilities have additional controls or power-ups. For instance, two of the new zombie classes have different main attacks depending on whether they’re zoomed in or not. That means Super Brainz and Captain Dreadbeard can throw down at close and long range — just decide whether or not to look down your scope. Citron also has additional controls for its ball mode, allowing for mobility and damage. Even though the action can get chaotic mid-game, sneak a peak at the controls in the lower right corner of your HUD to make sure you know all the skills at your command at any given time.

3. Infinite ammo still has a cooldown

Some of your hero options have main attacks with infinite ammo. If that weapon is any type of gun, though, “infinite” does still have some restrictions. Both Citron’s orange beam and the heroic beam for Super Brainz will overheat if you sit on the trigger for too long. So even though you don’t need to reload, you’ll still need to take pauses.

pvz garden warfare screen

Image: Electronic arts

Super Brainz has unlimited punches for his melee heroic fists, but those attacks have pacing built in. It’s a triple-hit that ends on a big uppercut. The zombie takes a quick breather before he can continue pummelling, even if you’re still pressing the trigger.Plan accordingly.

4. Stickers (and coins) are your friends

Given the casual origins of the mobile Plants vs.Zombies game, one might assume that a mechanic of coinsand stickers are just cosmetic. Think again. The stickers, boughtwith in-game coins, include a range of content that can have a bigimpact on your gameplay options.

First, they contain the small minions that help you out inGraveyard Ops or Garden Ops missions, as well as the central flagcontrol game. Those can offer a big boost, especially when you’replaying solo. Second, they have alternate costume pieces for each ofthe heroes. Again, these aren’t just for show. These alternateidentities can include different weapons and skill upgrades. Forinstance, you can turn Rose’s attacks into frosty, slowing ones, orCaptain Dreadbeard can become a more damaging fire attacker. Besideslooking cool, these customizations can give you a little extra edgein the multiplayer matches.

Just about any activity in the game can reward you with coins. So keep playing and keep up with buying packs.

pvz garden warfare 2

Image: Electronic arts

5. Check the Quest Board regularly

Garden Warfare 2 puts more responsibility onplayers to manage their progress through the levels than itspredecessor. The good news is that with this model, you can level upquickly by choosing the quests that match the characters and gamemodes you enjoy the most. Those quests offer experience mutipliersand stars, an in-game currency for unlocking special reward chests.

The flip side of that player agency is that you’re in charge ofkeeping your quest log full. You can have as many as seven activequests at any time. More completed quests means faster leveling andmore access to chests.

6. Explore and play the main map

Rather than spending time in lots of menus, GardenWarfare 2 has created an open-ended main map where playerscan direct their own session. With hubs for the solo quests,character selection, splitscreen, multiplayer and more, there’splenty to explore and play in the main areas for the zombies andplants.

But don’t forget to wander outside the strongholds. The flagcontrol game at the center is a great way to test your skills andearn coins. Plus you may find chests or quests hidden around the map.These can offer big rewards fof coins or stickers, which, as we’veexplained, further your characters’ awesomeness.

7. Read the in-game tips

Finally, the in-game tips appear at the bottom of the screenduring loading. Some of them just emphasize the universe’s oddballsense of taco- and brain-fueled humor, but others have good insightsto help your game strategy. For instance, did you know that the Imp’smech is more susceptible to Citron’s shock attack? Stay alert inthe down time and you may just learn something valuable.  

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Gardeners share tips for saving money in the garden – Herald

Confession time. I’m a career tightwad. I love saving money. I want quality but I don’t want to pay more for it. Gardening is no exception.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to save on everything from plants to garden tools.

First, know that gardeners are generous souls. We love to share seeds, cuttings, divisions and more. So tap your gardening friends to see what you can snag or swap.

Make your own compost, nature’s perfect soil food. Use free pallets, chicken wire or recycled wood to make the frame. Toss in leaves, grass, straw, food scraps and other organic materials, all free.

Grow plants you can divide in a few years, making free plants to use or share. Most perennials and bulbs should be divided every three years or so. Free is good.

Got rocks? Check construction sites for free bricks and stones for paths and borders. One friend got a massive boulder by asking nicely. Another scored handsome old bricks, free for the hauling.

Save by sharing expenses with a garden buddy. Bigger bags of potting soil cost less, but are too much for one gardener. Split the cost — and the bag — with a friend.

The same goes for renting one-time use equipment like an aerator. Share costs with a neighbor.

Use what you have. Make pea stakes — trellises for the vines to climb — from tree and shrub trimmings. Turn chopped leaves and untreated grass trimmings into mulch.

Become a rabid recycler. Use plastic salad boxes as seed starting trays. Convert old dresser drawers into lettuce boxes. Salvage window frames to make a cold frame.

Save seeds. Unless you have a hybrid that won’t come back true to type, save seeds to use next year. You often get good germination from seeds that are one or even two years old.

Market your muscle. Some CSAs will give you a share of the crop or seedlings if you work in their gardens. Some gardeners I know have the same arrangement.

Seek sales. Garden groups often hold spring plant sales, offering significant discounts. Our own master gardener plant sale will be held Saturday, April 30, from 8 a.m. to noon at the Ag Center.

Shop off season. Look for cheap plants and supplies at garden centers in late fall. Buy leftover amaryllis bulbs after Christmas.

Don’t overlook yard sales and estate sales for discounted tools, pots and other finds. Older tools often have plenty of life left.

Tap tech. One garden writer found a woman on Craigslist too pregnant to dig her iris and strawberry beds. She did the digging and helped herself to some of the rhizomes and runners.

Need free gardening advice? Call or email me with questions. Or, visit the master gardeners’ plant clinics the first and third Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon at Hagerstown City Farmer’s Market.

The garden savings go on and on. Take advantage and don’t forget to pay it forward. Consider donating some of your seeds, your harvest, your time to those who have helped you.

Annette Cormany is the Extension educator for horticulture and the Master Gardener program in Washington County for the University of Maryland in Washington County. She can be reached at 301-791-1604 or

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