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Archives for March 18, 2016

Garden Designer of the Year

Janine Pattison Studios (JPS) is a leading UK landscape and garden design practice, renowned for creating stylish and contemporary gardens throughout the UK.

With a high-calibre clientele, including heads of global businesses, Premier League footballers and TV personalities, the company takes customer service very seriously.

JPS deals with a range of prestigious properties worth in excess of £6m that deserve a garden as unique as the architecture, delivered in a way that is tailored to each client’s individual needs.

Every team member signs a confidentiality contract, ensuring the company provides a discreet service from start to finish. Materials and features are bespoke, plants are sourced from all over the world and clients are allocated a lead designer who gives the project the upmost attention, delivering a premier, exceptional customer experience. Testimonials on the JPS website confirm what clients say: the company offers a friendly and professional service, providing beautiful design solutions and landscape transformations.

The company is honoured to have received many national garden and landscape design excellence awards over the years. It takes pride in the beauty of its design plans and the innovation and creativity brought to resolving the challenges of each site.

JPS designs are featured in aspirational national magazines such as Homes Gardens and the BBC’s Gardens Illustrated.

Complying with the latest CDM legislation (including risk assessments and method statements), JPS regularly manages large and complex builds on behalf of its clients. A professional project manager runs a comprehensive schedule of works, checking materials, measurements and build quality, and is on hand daily to resolve problems and ensure that projects stay on track and on budget.

The Signature Collection of prestigious gardens include a sustainable garden at Canfield House in Dorset, a garden spa retreat, a Provencal-style garden with simple yet elegant planting schemes, hand-carved Indian stone walls and a swimming pool washed in bespoke colour-changing LEDs and spectacular olive groves from Seville.

The Huf Haus project overlooking Brownsea Island uses a series of terrace walls, a water wall from the top through four “rain-chain” sluices into a rill at the bottom, two floating hardwood decks, night lighting, a Betula utilis var. jacquemontii arboretum and colourful tropical planting.

A New Forest garden includes a tennis court, green oak-framed and western red cedar tennis pavilion, perennial long borders, reclaimed York patio, mown-grass paths, brick and oak pergola, gardener’s compost and utility area, premium new lawns, bespoke plantation teak garden furniture, extensive tree works, instant hedging and horticultural consultancy throughout the estate.

Highly commended
Anne Jennings, Viridian Landscape Studio
Aralia Landscape Design

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Willits Main Street Corridor Planning Fair April 18-22

With the opening of the Willits bypass just months away, planning for the future of Main Street has never been more important. The City of Willits is gearing up for the Willits Main Street Corridor Planning Fair, a week-long series of events to develop a vision for the entire three-mile stretch of Main Street within the City limits.

The Main Street Corridor Planning Fair will be held April 18th-22nd and will result in a community-based plan for the future of Main Street. Designers and engineers will be on hand to translate the public’s ideas into designs that will form the basis of the plan.

Survey results from the City’s “Preliminary Survey of Main Street Issues” indicate that there are three issues of primary importance on Main Street: pedestrian and bicycle safety, supporting local businesses on Main Street, and intersection safety. Of 348 survey respondents, over two-thirds of them indicated that these three issues are “very important.”

Other issues considered “important” or “moderately important” by the majority of respondents include: landscaping/greening on Main Street, public art, traffic calming, places to sit and gather, off-street parking (parking lots), natural storm-water management, and access to transit/bus stops. Issues of least importance to survey respondents are truck parking, gateway treatments (like the Willits arch), and on-street parking.

The survey results are just a starting point for the discussion of Main Street issues; they will be discussed in greater detail during the Main Street Corridor Planning Fair.

The Planning Fair kicks off on Monday, April 18 at 5 p.m. with a “Walking Assessment” of Main Street. The public is invited to meet at the old Rexall building to participate in discussions about pedestrian and intersection safety, and to discuss Main Street design ideas “in the field”.

Immediately following the Walking Assessment, the first community workshop will be held from 6-8:30 p.m. North Coast Opportunities will provide a free culinary showcase, featuring locally-sourced food samplings from area farms and chefs. This will be followed by a presentation on Main Street design. Participants will have the opportunity to become citizen designers and work together with friends and neighbors to map their own designs for Main Street.

Throughout the week, planners and designers will utilize the concepts developed by the community to create plans that will be vetted by the City, Caltrans, and the community.

The public can see the plans in progress during two Open Houses on April 20 and 21 from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

On Friday, April 22, Walk and Bike Mendocino will lead a community bike ride from 5-5:30 p.m., followed by the presentation of preliminary main street designs from 5:30-7 p.m. Free refreshments will be provided by Scoops.

All events will be held at the old Rexall building, at the corner of West Mendocino Avenue and North Main Street.

The Willits Main Street Corridor Enhancement Plan project is funded by a Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning Grant. Matching funds are provided by the City of Willits. For more information, and to view the Main Street Corridor Planning Fair schedule, visit:

For any questions or concerns, please contact City Manager Adrienne Moore at (707) 459-4601 or

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8 Survival Tips For Card-Carrying Introverts

I’m not shy and I don’t hate people … let me just put that out there. But I am a card-carrying introvert. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Introverts don’t have introvert cards … mostly because that would involve having to take extra steps to talk to extra people. Just no.

Balancing my personal and professional responsibilities — which often involves what I like to refer to as “peopling” — with my need for solitude is sometimes a challenge. I enjoy socializing, just in small doses. When I find myself in situations where I have extra social time, I need to balance it with a little extra “me time” or I pretty much go batshit crazy.

Here are a few “introvert approved” pastimes that help me recharge and get ready to join the humans again … in small does, of course!

1. Read a book

I am not usually early adapter but I’ve had a Kindle since 2010. I’m on my third one. I read nearly every day and it’s by far my favorite way to decompress. I love losing myself in a book and I have a variety of different things that interest me.

2. Craft

Yes, you read that right. While I don’t consider myself crafty or creative, I do like simple crafts now and then, especially if I can do them without my small humans crawling all over me wanting to get their mitts on my paints and expensive scrapbook paper. It’s also a good way to unplug.

3. Engage in some pampering

I like to go and get a pedicure every now and then. I live in a warm climate and I wear sandals a lot so it’s always nice when my toes don’t look like they belong to a T-Rex. No one likes that. The spa near my house serves complimentary wine … I’m pretty sure it comes from a box but I overlook it. I take a book or indulge in some guilt free candy crushing without feeling bad that I’m ignoring my husband and kids.

4. Go for a drive

I spend a lot of time in the car, running my kids from here to there or waiting on my kids to get done with some sort of activity. That’s not really that fun or relaxing. Neither is listening to their bickering or complaining that the 10-minute ride from the grocery store to our house is “taking too long.”

On my way home from an errand one night I drove around our neighborhood … mostly because I wasn’t ready to give up my little slice of me time and succumb to the noise that is my house. Driving with no particular purpose in mind was actually very relaxing … and sort of productive. I found a couple of new shortcuts and got some great ideas for landscaping. Winning.

5. Indulge

I hate the phrase “guilty pleasure” because I don’t think you should be guilty about enjoying what you enjoy. Sometimes, you just have to treat yourself. My favorite indulgence is Starbucks. I don’t get it that often because it’s so freaking expensive but LOVE me a venti nonfat iced shaken caramel machiatto with an extra shot … although I’m slightly worried that I sound super high maintenance when I order it.

6. Exercise

I am not much of a sports person … mostly because I’m super uncoordinated and afraid of the ball in most any sport there is … but I enjoy walking and running and occasionally, hitting the weights. I like running because it’s something I can do almost anywhere at any time and because I can be alone with my thoughts. I occasionally run with my husband and while it’s nice that we can enjoy doing something healthy together, he usually screws things up by trying to talk to me. Grrr.

7. Journal

A lot of writers are introverts. Spilling out words onto paper or typing them on a computer screen are easier — and sometimes more preferable — to human interactions. Journaling is therapeutic and probably means different things to different people: writing down the basics of your day, listing your goals, thoughts, dreams or stuff that frustrating you. Journaling is also a nice, quiet centering activity that can help an introvert unwind or decompress.

8. Plan

It’s always good to make sure you build your downtime into your schedule. If you’re going to have a week jam packed with “peopling” or heavy social commitments, make sure you schedule some time to unplug, decompress and recharge. Like most introverts, I find my alone time or quiet time to be energizing after I’ve spent a lot of time with other humans.

I like peopling … on my terms. If I know a weekend conference that is jam packed with social interaction will be rewarded with a quiet Monday where I can kick back and commune with the voices in my head then I’m in a much better space to enjoy being social when I get the opportunity.

As an introvert, people make me tired. I talked to an extroverted friend recently who told me being around a lot of people energized and motivated her. Uh … no. We’re all different and I think knowing ourselves is the key to being happy … but these are good tips for just about anyone. Regardless of what kind of “vert” you are, everyone needs their downtime in some way, shape or form.

Jill Robbins is a published author and award-winning writer, speaker and wine snob. She writes regularly on her blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals. You can keep up with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Martinis  Motherhood: Tales of Wonder, Woe  WTF?!

by Shannon Day, Tara Wilson, Kate Parlin, Vicki Lesage, Magnolia Ripkin, Louise Gleeson, Andrea Mulder-Slater, Lynn Morrison, Brooke Takhar, Angila Peters, Holly Rust

Only Trollops Shave Above the Knee: The Crazy, Brilliant, and Unforgettable Lessons We've Learned from Our Mothers

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Get ready for spring with home, garden expo

A maze of red curtains filled the Expo Center at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds Thursday as workers set up home and garden displays. Greeting visitors at the main entrance was an awning gazebo made of wood, and bright yellow flowers in a sea of dark mulch encircled by blue-gray stone.

Employees of Stuart’s Landscaping  Garden Center in Fond du Lac were working hard to put their display together in time for the weekend’s Super Home Extravaganza, the city’s premier home and garden expo. Home improvement companies from across the area will show visitors how to upgrade homes and yards with the latest products.

The event runs 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for people ages 13 and older, while kids ages 12 and under get in free. More than 80 exhibits are in the show.

New events this year will add a bit of spice to gardens, home art and family meals.

For $25, families will be able to make a fairy garden, a little village within a garden, usually consisting of several small plants, figurines and other accessories, said Amanda Kemmel, the executive officer of the Home Builder’s Association of Fond du Lac Dodge Counties. Afterward, participants will be given the means to transport their creation to their home or yard.

On Saturday and Sunday, Jen Ottery, of Uniqueful Artistry in Greenville, will teach several do-it-yourself classes. He’ll show how to apply a faux barn finish to pieces, re-purpose vases and use wood block letters.

Personal chef Matt Mooney will visit the fairgrounds on Sunday to teach families how to cook healthful meals, as well as find time in their busy schedules to sit down and enjoy family dinner.

The event is a way to meet local home-improvement professionals in person, Kemmel said. Though there is a lot of home improvement content online, nothing beats talking to experts in person about projects, she said.

“I really feel the value of coming and seeing things first-hand and shaking hands with a professional, someone that you can connect with, [is] a priceless experience, no matter what type of digital age we live in.”

For more information and to see the event schedule, visit the Super Home Extravaganza website.

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Culp teaches colorful gardening all year long


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Jodi DeVincentis, a guest at the Winter Seminar, stood with David Culp, one of the guest speakers, after he signed his book, “The Layered Garden,” for her.


Neighbors | Alexis Bartolomucci.Edward Wojciechowski, owner of Edison Landscape lighting, spoke at the Winter Garden Seminar hosted by Fellows Riverside Gardens and the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown on Feb. 20.


Fellows Riverside Gardens hosted its 11th annual Winter Garden Seminar on Feb. 20.

The seminar is an all day event presented yearly by the Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown. The theme of the seminar was Four Seasons of Color and the guests were given tips and tricks on how to design a year-long garden landscape to keep their homes colorful.

The seminar consisted of a continental breakfast for the guests, followed by three guest speakers, lunch and door prizes. The three speakers were David Culp, creator of Brandywine Cottage; Susan Cohan, a blogger, designer and landscaper; and Edward Wojciechowski of Edison Landscape lighting. There was also an author signing, as well as books and DVDs on sale.

Culp has been traveling around the nation and giving lessons on gardens for more than 15 years. His creation, Brandywine Cottage, is in Downingtown, Pa. and is a 2-acre garden that Culp has been working on for 27 years perfecting his gardening and landscaping.

“I started early on, I’ve always gardened. I worked my way through college in the summers as a lawn-boy. It’s been my career, I was born that way. My grandmother was very influential,” said Culp.

Culp enjoys speaking to people in a variety of locations about gardening.

One guest complimented Culp on how when he spoke, as he did it with passion and the listeners could feel his energy.

“I don’t think I could stop gardening. I get my energy from the soil outside, it’s what I am. I’m lucky,” said Culp.

The Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown partners with Fellows Riverside Gardens to put on several events throughout the year. The winter seminar is one that guests quickly sign up to attend.

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Big gardens, tiny homes on display at annual Home and Garden Show

By Madeline Kennedy

Common signs of a Milwaukee spring tend to include sunshine, green grass and being able to venture outside without worrying about frostbite.

Until those days return, Milwaukeeans can catch a glimpse of the season ahead amid the intricate landscapes and homes on display at the annual Realtors’ Home Garden Show this weekend.

“Sometimes it’s just nice to remember what flowers look like,” said Sandi Anderson, Home and Garden Show director. “Wisconsin winters can be so dreary, and the show provides a nice sneak peak at spring.”

Celebrating 92 years in 2016, Milwaukee’s home and garden show is the longest running in the nation. This year includes more than 350 vendors occupying 600 booths in 10,000 square feet at the Wisconsin Expo Center at State Fair Park, 8200 W Greenfield Ave., West Allis.

Anderson said every inch of the venue’s available space is sold out for this year’s show.

The show begins Friday and runs through Sunday, then takes a break and starts up again March 23 and runs through March 26.

Visitors can expect landscaping demonstrations, daily culinary presentations and panel discussions with local experts in landscaping, decorating, plumbing and more.

The show’s classic Garden Promenade also returns for another year. Designed by 12 local landscaping companies, the Promenade includes elaborate displays complete with fire pits and fresh flowers.

“It’s really a very inspirational kind of space,” Anderson said. “The landscapes are filled with ideas for every different skill level and budget size.”

The Realtors’ Home Garden Show is also debuting a new feature: the tiny home. Occupying 400 square feet, the two-floor house contains everything your standard house would. It has a bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom and a full-sized patio.

Aimed at a smaller, simplistic lifestyle, the tiny home movement has gained momentum in recent years.

The tiny home’s appearance in Milwaukee will be complete with a paved driveway and a fully-landscaped front yard.

Anderson said that more than 80% of the exhibitors are local, Wisconsin-based companies, although the show will feature companies from across the U.S.

“The show is a great opportunity for people, no matter what project they’re about to take on,” Anderson said. “It can help increase the curb appeal of your home if you’re selling, and for others it’s a chance to figure out how to increase value or enjoyment of their current place.”


The Home Garden Show runs from March 18-26 (closed March 21-22) at State Fair Park. Tickets are $8 for adults, free for children under 12 and free for those with an active military ID. For information about the show’s events and vendors, visit

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This week’s gardening tips: delay planting eggplants, get ready for lawn care

Delay planting eggplants in the garden until early April. Eggplants are stunted or damaged by temperatures below 55 degrees, and we usually still have cool nights through March. Other heat-loving vegetables that you should wait to plant include okra, sweet potatoes and Southern peas.

As the weather warms up, lawn grasses will begin to grow, and you’ll need to start mowing more frequently. Now is a good time to sharpen your mower blades and have your mower serviced. Delay lawn fertilizer applications until the end of March or early April to allow the grass to recover from winter dormancy before pushing growth.

Don’t miss the annual tree and plant sale sponsored by Parkway Partners and the New Orleans Department of Parks and Parkways on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon (rain or shine) at 2829 Gentilly Blvd. There will be lots of great native trees and shrubs, bedding plants, vegetables and herbs for sale. Dan Gill will be on hand to answer your gardening questions.

Fertilize roses now and begin spraying regularly for disease problems if you are growing roses highly susceptible to black spot.

For blue-flowered hydrangeas add aluminum sulfate around your bushes now. For pink flowers, apply lime. Flower buds are present so do not prune.


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

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Video: Charlie Dimmock shares her top gardening tips for beginners

The former Ground Force star shares her advice in a new video aimed at beginners.

Charlie released the video as part of a promotional campaign for her new range of gardening tools available in Poundland stores across the country.

The range includes hand tools, bird feeders and other items for beginner gardeners.

She said:  “I hope that my range will inspire a lot more people to take up gardening – even if it is just something straightforward like a window box or growing herbs on the kitchen window sill.

“I’ve been completely involved in the production and creation of my range, personally testing every item to ensure both its practicality and quality.

“From gardening gloves and trowels to watering cans and pruning shears, all at a £1 price point: it’s affordable for everyone”.



In Your Garden: It’s time to weed out the invasive plants

In Your Garden: Sharing allotment plots allows everyone to have a go at growing

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Simple Gardening Tips and Ideas for Spring

GardeningREUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/Files

A photo of a bee leaving a Cirsium trevors “Blue Wonder” thistle in the Well Child fresh garden at the Chelsea Flower Show in London, Britain, in this May 20, 2014 file photo. With the approaching spring, it is the best time to think of preparing the garden for a new season

Spring is back, and it’s time to put one’s garden back in shape after the frost. Although the task may seem daunting at first, a list can help get one into the mood for some sweat and toil. Ordering the bulbs and seeds must be taken care of before even touching the garden. A selection must be made of preferred blooms as lilies and gladiolus. A garden plan indicating what will be planted where will also prove helpful before getting into the planting stage, to achieve the most stunning effect of one’s garden blooms. Aside from the bulbs and seeds, this would be the perfect time to also order whatever tools you may have missing. This also means first sharpening tools which are already on hand and getting them ready for use.

Another of the first things that need to be done is to clean out the garden. In order to bring a garden into beautiful bloom by the season’s height, weeds must be pulled out and all debris such as leaves, remaining snow, and the like must be removed and carted away. It would do well not to forget to clean out the drainage ditches as these are perfect places for debris to gather when the garden is in its off-season.

Fixing the fence as well as the trellises is a must when overhauling the garden for spring planting. Rotting boards should be replaced and sideboards and stakes should be fastened, nailed or screwed on.

When the soil gets workable, digging a five-centimeter layer of some manure or compost into the garden’s borders will be worthwhile. And when the garden beds get dry enough, top-dressing them with the same manure or compost will prepare these for the actual planting.

Trees and shrubs need to be pruned, removing diseased parts of the plant or wood.

Pests need to be hunted down and dealt with before most of the planting gets under way. White vine weevil larvae must all be destroyed, as well as slugs, snails and aphid colonies.

Once everything is cleared up and ready, seeds which take longer to grow like geraniums and begonias may be sown earlier. Other plants may follow, like pansies, snapdragons, and tulips.

When the planting is done, for the rest of the summer, the garden needs to be looked after and followed up. New flower beds may be added or seeds transplanted. Later in the season, flowering shrubs may need some pruning. These are good ideas to keep in mind throughout the rest of the season in order to make sure the garden is well-kept and maintained.

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5 tips for planning your spring garden

Let’s face it: It’s not time to break out the bathing suits yet.

More likely than not, you already have visions of basking in the sunshine.

What you have is a case of spring fever, and we have an easy cure. Start planning out your garden.

Now, we’re not suggesting you get out there and start planting yet. But spring begins on March 20, the vernal equinox. Even before then, there’s plenty to do. We’ve offered a handful of tips to help get your garden ready for spring.

1. Make a plan: Right now, you may see nothing but beige and gray where vibrant flowers bloomed last year. But take your imagination and a sketch pad outside, and start sketching out your garden spaces.

Before you head out, flip through a few seed catalogs for inspiration. Then think back and take notes on which plants thrived last year, and which struggled to survive.

When your garden is dormant — with only the basic “bones” of perennials, bushes and trees — it’s easy to map out color schemes and shapes.

If you have a veggie garden, this is a perfect time to create a “map.” If your tomatoes produced only paltry fruit, perhaps they craved more sunlight and need a new location. Love carrots and radishes, but have had no luck with them? It could be they don’t care for your clay soil.

2. Equip yourself: You’re only as good as the tools you use. It’s worth investing in a few good ones to help you through the growing season. A sturdy, ergonomic long-handled pruner will ensure healthy bushes, and will likely spare you pain in your hands, shoulders and back.

Look for a hand trowel made with a stainless steel head, and you’ll treasure it for years. A spade and hoe are also tools to invest in. Before you purchase any of these, see how they feel in your hand.

Also, look for a good brand. We like the Corona Egrip 7.25-inch Stainless Steel Trowel, $7.98,

3. Tidy up a bit: If you never got around to raking last year, never fear. Many of the old leaves have turned to dust, and have even helped enrich your soil.

But there’s too much of a good thing: If you have a thick blanket of leaves and debris, that lawn isn’t getting light.

Take advantage of the next sunny day and start raking. This will reveal the “bald spots” in your yard. Now that the temperatures have climbed to 65 degrees, you can seed your grassy areas.

Check out the Cavex 32 inch Black Poly With Foam Blister Guard Rake, $14.97,

4. Get a jump on planting: Savvy gardeners don’t wait until June to plant. Plant seeds with the help of a seed starter kit, and you won’t be stuck paying high prices for plants in June. A good kit will give you careful instructions for nurturing those tender plants.

And, let’s face it, it’s more fun to start those flowers and veggies “from scratch.” Try the Planter’s Pride 72-Cell Seed Starter Greenhouse Kit, $9.06,

5. Hands-on projects: Once you’ve invested in a few good tools, it’s time to think about your delicate hands. Head out to cut back that rose bush without sturdy gloves, and you’ll look as if you lost a battle with a gang of feral housecats. What’s more, who likes dirt under their nails?

Here’s a tip for those who can’t resist the feel of warm dirt on bare skin: scratch a bar of soap before you start to dig, and embed the soap under your nails (resist the temptation to rub your eyes).

It will displace most of the dirt, and it’s as easy as a quick scrub with a brush — an old toothbrush works — to have spotless nails after you’ve weeded or planted.

But for most work with trowels and tools, or weeding, you’ll want a pair of flexible, sturdy gloves. We highly recommend the Women’s Kobalt Goatskin Gloves, $22.95,

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