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Archives for March 20, 2016

Readers can help to design Bloom 1916 commemorative garden

Wayne O’Connor

Published 12/03/2016 | 02:30

Award-winning garden designer Fiann Ó Nualláin at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath
Award-winning garden designer Fiann Ó Nualláin at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham yesterday. Photo: Frank McGrath

A specially designed garden will be created by a Bloom gold medal-winning gardener to commemorate the events of 1916.

It will be designed in conjunction with Irish Independent readers, who are being asked to help design the 1916 Commemoration Garden at Bloom in June.

The garden will then be brought to life by the renowned garden designer Fiann Ó Nualláin.

“It is about trying to find a real life story about a family’s history or their participation in 1916. We all know about the signatories and the high-profile people involved, but there were real people affected by this,” said Mr Ó Nualláin. “Ordinary people with ordinary lives were caught up in the events of Easter week.”

Mr Ó Nualláin will work with the winner of a competition being run by the Irish Independent in conjunction with Bord Bia.

Participants are being asked to give their reflections, memories, stories, poems or items that could be translated into the 1916 Commemoration Garden.

The closing date is April 1, 2016 and an entry form can be found on page 9 of today’s ‘Weekend’ magazine.

Irish Independent

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Take 10: Grounds for growing at DeMelo Brothers Landscaping

Posted Mar. 20, 2016 at 2:00 AM

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Haven: Strong color palette anchors S. Phila. rowhouse renovation

In that first moment, when you get past the front door and step inside the South Philadelphia home of Barbara Capozzi and Frank Scaramuzza, your jaw simply drops.

The kitchen, top far right, features quartz counters. Slideshow

There before you: open space, textures, bright white walls, and, yes, a sculpture of a gentleman on a unicycle holding a bunch of balloons.

It’s a lot to take in. But it’s also, in a seeming contradiction, a minimalist vista.

Seems that this couple has figured out the unique balancing act of warming a home with whimsy and still keeping it cool with an open design that features modernity and an almost geometric feel.

For its two occupants, the house also combines Capozzi’s past, present and future.

The backstory: Capozzi, a lawyer and Realtor, lives in a house her late father built in Packer Park, the 1950s community he developed on a parcel of what once was farmland but now is cheek-to-jowl with the city’s sports stadiums.

That simple rowhouse was transformed last year into a striking contemporary showplace by Scaramuzza, a custom builder/contractor who was willing to rethink and reconfigure everything from the exterior to the landscaping, and change the interior down to the smallest details.

“I’m a lucky woman. I live in a home my father built, my husband rebuilt, and that I love,” said Capozzi, who initially followed in her father’s footsteps and was a minority partner in developing a community of 330 homes adjacent to his original 1,250-unit Packer Park community.

It’s hard to miss the fact that this striking contemporary is so different from neighboring homes, yet it still retains enough of its original style to blend in.

“The biggest challenges,” notes the unflappable Scaramuzza, an admitted perfectionist, “were in rethinking the lot itself, and reconfiguring and relocating doors and windows, along with allowing for an elevated deck.”

It’s head-spinning: The original front door was moved around the corner, creating a completely new floor plan.

Head-spinning, too, was the fact that four days after they moved in, the couple hosted a large Christmas dinner for their families.

“It was crazy, but it also was wonderful,” Capozzi says.

Scaramuzza good-naturedly acknowledges that some of his wife’s ideas collide with his, but somehow they managed to get past those obstacles and create a home that works for them both.

The kitchen is a case in point. It’s vast, sleek, and almost Spartan, but it’s also totally utilitarian, with enormous working counters, practical space planning, and drawer-style freezer units.

Quartz counters, white appliances with mosaic backsplashes, and dazzling lighting fixtures make the entire space feel futuristic, but it’s also welcoming and warm.

The work area flows into the eating area and meets the striking living room, which has a vast red-leather sectional sofa as its focal point.

Capozzi, it turns out, has a form of color-blindness that works best when black, white, and red tones are present – thus the combinations of that trio throughout the house.

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The combo is particularly noticeable in the entry, where bold leopard-print carpeting on the stairs steals the show. A striking image of Jackie Kennedy, done in red, black, and white, smiles down on a stuffed tiger and penguins.

Boring this house is not, from wall art that includes a collage of Sinatra’s Rat Pack, to a magnificent wall piece with an almost Grecian feel. Then there’s the bar stool configured like a woman’s spike-heeled shoe.

Upstairs is a tailored master suite with state-of-the-art his-and-hers bathrooms, as well as two home offices. A lower-level mini-home, with its own mini-kitchen, offers ample guest space.

Her decorating philosophy: “I stay away from boring. I love some flashes of silver-gray, and I think a home should be fun!”

“I go along with her on most things,” he says gamely. “But I’m happy with the way it all turned out.”

From the outdoor elevations and the deck, to the bamboo hardscaping that surrounds the property, there’s always more than meets the eye at first glance.

“I nagged my husband every step of the way,” Capozzi admits, “but this ended up as our dream home, one we really, truly love. And, yes, we still love each other – especially now that it’s finished.” comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the “Report Abuse” option.

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Hope Clubhouse transforms grounds to feed clients – The News

Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida revamped its landscaping on Sunday with the idea that the new trees and plants put into the ground will provide therapy and food for the organization’s clients and staff.

“This is the beginning of something special,” said Michael Daniels, a volunteer since October at the clubhouse. “We give opportunities to special people every day.”

Volunteer Levi Bisson, of Quebec, Canada works to levelBuy PhotoRoz Barminski, of Hope Clubhouse of Southwest Florida,Buy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy PhotoVolunteers work on creating a Garden of Hope for HopeBuy Photo

Hope Clubhouse provides support for people in Southwest Florida living with mental illness  through work, education, friendships and access to housing in a community setting.

James Wineinger, executive director of the organization, said Hope Clubhouse was started as a voluntary, daytime program in 2007.

“We work on goals, like getting people back to work,” he said, adding that the Fort Myers-based, private and non-profit United Way partner replanted the perimeter and other areas around it’s Broadway Street offices with an eye toward providing beauty, sustainability and nutrition.

The landscaping project, called Permablitz, was put together as a collaborative effort.

Members of the Southwest Florida Permaculture Guild, led by organizer Alex Nikesch, came to the on Hope site with edible plants, fruit trees and nearly two-dozen volunteers and Clubhouse members.

Nikesch, one of the organizers of the Food Forest, a student-run botanical garden on the campus of FGCU, said the Hope garden is the seventh such project for the guild.

“They approached us and we worked on some design ideas,” he said. Nikesch said the garden will have three distinct layers — canopy, herbaceous and ground cover.

Among the species installed Sunday were avocado, mango and black sapote in the canopy layer, cassava and several spinach varieties in the herbaceous layer and sweet potatoes and more spinach in the ground cover layer.

He said the garden, at first, will be a bit high-maintenance. “Eventually, this will be well-shaped,” he said, and will need just some weeding to keep it going. “You’ll be able to walk away from it. And you can eat from it. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables to cook.”

While Hope, the guild and others provided the muscle on Sunday, four area landscaping, gardening and related groups — Edison Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, ECHO Global Farms and Pine Forest Fruit Flower Farm  in North Fort Myers and Fruitscapes Nursery on Pine Island — provided plants and supplies for free or at a discount.

“Members and staff will be taking care of the plants,” Wineinger said. “I think it’s great therapy.”

The proximity of the edible plants was one of the popular points for those who work and cook at the Clubhouse.  “If we need lettuce we just have to step outside,” Daniels said.

Daniel’s son, Kyle, 13, joined him in building the gardens on Sunday. “It’s fun. It’s a new experience,” he said., “It’s cool that this will get big some day.”

Wineinger said the landscaping effort will take advantage of every square foot of the property.

“It’s a way to bring people together and about relationships,” he said.  “Statistics show that those diagnosed with a mental illness often have poor nutrition and a drastically reduced lifespan. In staying with our Hope Clubhouse mission of creating a place where we can all work together, our new Garden of Hope will be maintained by members and encourage better eating habits and overall wellness.”

About Hope Clubhouse

Hope Clubhouse is a community of support for people living with mental illness in Southwest Florida. Hope Clubhouse offers opportunities for meaningful work, education, friendships and access to housing in a supportive, caring, dignified and respectful community setting. HOPE Clubhouse is a 501(c)3 organization at 3602 Broadway Ave., Fort Myers, Florida 33901. Call (239) 267-1777 or visit to donate or for more information. 

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Redlands showcasing 4 water-efficient landscapes at city fire stations

REDLANDS Hands-on examples of drought-resistant landscaping are as close as a Redlands fire station.

The Water Efficiency Landscape Rehabilitation Project is transforming the grounds around the four fire stations in Redlands into demonstration gardens.

The project is expected to be completed by the end of April, said Cecilia Griego, water resources specialist for the city of Redlands.

Two of the demonstration gardens are complete.

Fire Station 1 on Citrus Avenue at Redlands Boulevard, which served as the pilot for the project, was completed in October. Fire Station 3 on Pennsylvania Avenue at Orange Street was finished last week. Fire Station 2 on Garden Street is in progress and Fire Station 4 on Park Avenue is expected to be completed by the end of April.

Approved during fourth quarter 2015 by the Redlands City Council, the Water Efficiency Landscape Rehabilitation Project provides four examples of drought-resistant landscaping suitable to the local climate.

Once all four gardens are finished, full information including the types of plants used for each garden, the types of irrigation and equipment and several templates for a variety of property shapes will be available on the city website:

More information about the current water restrictions, guidelines and resources is at

“Each garden has a specific theme” said Chris Locke, foreman for TLC Landscapes of Redlands, which won the competitive bid for the project.

The garden at Fire Station 1 uses a California-friendly theme showing a variety of colorful plants and includes a patch of artificial grass.

Station 2 is a Mediterranean theme, including real grass, fruit trees and other appropriate plants. It also incorporates an innovative subterranean drip system to irrigate the lawn area.

“Real grass will be used,” said Locke. “The area will be dug up and a drip system in a grid formation will be laid down below the sod. There will be no run off and no evaporation. It is a very efficient, drought-friendly system.”

Station 3 is a foothill and mountain theme with prominent boulder and rock formations incorporating evergreen and indigenous plants. It transports you up the road to the foothills of Mill Creek with evergreens and native plants nestled among the various boulder and rock formations. This garden also uses shredded redwood bark mulch, also known as gorilla hair, for moisture retention.

Station 4 will demonstrate water-efficient landscaping in a small space using a desert theme.

The rationale for the project is to replace existing turf and planting materials with water-efficient landscaping at demonstration gardens to assist in educating the public.

“These four locations provide creative educational showpieces that residents can visit and become inspired for their own landscaping projects” said Griego.

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Garden makeover creates stunning outdoor oasis

When you look at the sleek style of the gardens surrounding this 1940s Nedlands home, it is difficult to imagine that until recently the outdoor spaces had a rambling, native design.

The owners moved into the traditional house in 2012 and called in Mondo Landscapes to create a modern backyard with a pool, a raised garden bed and herb garden.

The construction was implemented over six weeks by Revell Landscaping. The owners were so pleased with the outcome that a few months later they approached Mondo again to design the front yard and Revell to bring the design to life.

In the back garden, the owners were keen for the design to make the most of the area under a jacaranda tree and work in a swinging seat.

The front garden before the makeover.

The front of the property features limestone pavers, recycled bricks, cobblestone and travertine.

The existing yard had a lot of curved lines due to meandering limestone walls, but they wanted the designers to redesign the space with a more restful, linear design.

Mondo used simple, straight lines throughout the design, and this style was carried through to the front garden. Limestone and limestone pavers and recycled brick were used to create a traditional look that complements the house’s colours.

The front landscape uses cobblestone and travertine from natural stone supplier Mataka.

Several existing gum trees were removed to make way for the new swimming pool.

The designer considered relocating the shed but with planning regulations making it impossible, it was eventually left in its original site and the pool positioned behind it.

“The timber was an existing element to the landscape, which was expanded,” Debbie Taylor, landscape designer at Mondo Designs, said.

“Timber decking is a fabulous addition to any home. It gives a lovely texture change and warmth to the landscape.”

Picasso Painting carried out the patio renovation, re-roofing and the exterior painting using colours selected by consultant Ann O’Dea.

The existing back garden’s curved lines were replaced with a more linear design.

Timber decking gives texture change and warmth to the landscape.

Ms Taylor said the siting of the fibreglass pool from Riverina Pools, which has a frameless glass screen from Manhattan Fencing, created challenges as the yard had several large gum trees and the jacaranda.

“While this gave the space a lot of character, it posed some issues for the location of the pool, as there would be ongoing issues with leaves, bark and falling branches into the pool area,” she said.

“So after looking at the options, it was decided to remove the gum trees from the yard. The jacaranda tree was left where it was, as the vibrant purple flowers bring an additional pop of vibrancy to the landscape.”

Rust-look iron urns planted with mandevilla add height and interest in both the front and rear gardens.

The front of the property features limestone pavers, recycled bricks, cobblestone and travertine.

A grassed area and underplantings of Acanthus mollis surround the tree so the dropped flowers are not too noticeable.

Ms Taylor said that during the design phase, Mondo also considered relocating the large shed, to explore the possibility of having the pool in the area occupied by the shed. However, the house is in a City of Nedlands controlled developed zone and buildings (including sheds) are not permitted within 7.5m of the rear boundary. So in the end, the shed stayed where it was and the pool was placed behind it.

Trees include Magnolia Little Gem and flowering ornamental pear Pyrus Cleveland Select. Hedges of orange jessamine (Murraya paniculata) team with the daisy-like ground cover Erigeron karvinskianus.

Swathes of Philodendron Xanadu run alongside the path between the alfresco area and the shed.

Swathes of the bright green foliage plant Philodendron Xanadu run either side of the path that divides the decked entertaining area from the garden shed.

A trio of rust-look iron urns have been used in both the front and back garden to add height and interest and are planted with mandevilla.

Mondo Landscapes, 0417 171 198,; Revell Landscaping, 9379 9686,

The West Australian

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Lima garden centers list Top 4 trends for 2016

LIMA — Spring inspires a fresh approach. We want to mimic Mother Nature and begin anew, with new spring dresses and shoes and a freshening-up of closets and cupboards.

Even our gardens and landscaping get a once-over. Landscapers and garden centers say the trends they’re seeing for the 2016 season include more container gardening, more color, less maintenance and outdoor spaces designed to look like indoor ones.

Pots are hot

When it comes to gardens, pots are hot.

“People do plant in beds, but not nearly like the old days,” said Tim DeHaven of DeHaven Home Garden Showplace in Lima. “People are so busy, they aren’t intense gardeners. (Containers) are pretty easy and make things look as sharp as heck pretty quickly.”

Tom Beining of Beining Nursery Landscaping in Cloverdale said his nursery markets its sale of annuals specifically for their use in containers.

But perennials also have a place. “A big trend is mixing perennials with nice foliage along with annuals in containers,” said Beining.

He suggests a pairing of an annual such as a white “Picobella” mini petunia with a perennial like “Palace Purple” coral bells, which boasts big purplish-brown leaves.

“That combination of brown and white look really good together,” he said.

Color is key

Vita Sackville-West’s famous white garden at Sissinghurst Castle in England would never fly in today’s garden. Color, in rowdy combinations of pink and purple, chartreuse and brown, and orange and red, are what’s on trend.

“White flowers are always clean and cool in a landscape,” said Stacy Hirvela, marketing specialist and horticulturalist with Proven Winners, a popular plant propagating company with offices in Illinois and Michigan. “Year after year, though, they’re not the attraction.”

On its website, Proven Winners’ “2016 Highlights” include calibrachoa with yellow star-shaped centers surrounded by purple petals, gerbera daisies in orangey-red, “Blood Orange” nemesia and new varieties of dianthus and hisbiscus in eye-popping shades of fuschia.

The lust for endless color is why pots filled with annuals have become so popular. There’s no need to labor over a traditional perennial bed, mixing and matching plants for spring, summer and fall blooms. Container gardening puts such gardening theatrics on a fast track.

The Village Green Gardening Center in Wapakoneta will even design containers for you.

“We’re doing them now,” said co-owner Gretchen Sheely. “People drop off the pots, we put in the colors they want, whether they want sun plants or shade plants, and then they can pick them up when they’re ready to go out.”

That, she said, is usually around Mother’s Day for our area, identified in the U.S. Department of Agriculture as Plant Hardiness Zone 6a. And when the season’s over, gardeners have the option of just throwing out the container.

Planting containers instead of your flowerbeds is as easy as it gets.

“It’s instant gratification,” said Tim DeHaven.

Less is more

One of the biggest trends driving the industry is the desire to give modern-day overworked gardeners more plant for less effort. The key word here is “low maintenance.”

“By low maintenance, (growers) are referring to plants that will grow well in our local climate and our local soils without extra watering or excessive trimming or without needing special attention for diseases or insects,” explained Tom Beining.

Hydrangeas, an old-fashioned staple in many gardeners, have received a lot of renewed attention, he said. Growers like Proven Winners are pushing new varieties that will thrive despite Ohio’s harsh winters and hot, humid summers.

Proven Winners’ Stacy Hirvela said the company’s horticulturalists are also developing dwarf varieties of shrubs to keep pruning to a minimum.

“A lot of times, gardeners will find something they like at their garden center, plant it under their dining room window, and then find that they have to keep pruning it back so that it doesn’t block their view,” said Hirvela. “They prune it back, it stops blooming, they get frustrated, they stop gardening!”

She said plant breeders are solving that problem by creating smaller varieties of foundation plants like spirea so that it only grows to a height of two or three feet.

Indoor goes outdoor

Finally, a big non-plant trend in gardening and landscaping is patios that look like living rooms. Good-bye, folding lawn chair with mesh cup holder in the arm rest. Hello, all-weather sofas and coffee tables.

And that’s not all.

“People are entertaining more outside, they’re doing more outdoor living areas with fire pits and built-in grills,” said Gretchen Sheely. “If it’s a cool evening, people want to still be able to sit out and enjoy their yard.”

It doesn’t stop at fire pits. Keith Manbeck, garden center manager at Kah Nurseries in Botkins, said they’ve created patios with full sound systems, wet bars, pizza ovens, kitchens and entertainment centers.

“They actually make TV’s that are designed to be used outside,” he said.

Be prepared to pay big bucks for this trend.

“You’re talking appliances that need to be stainless steel,” he said. “By the time you put in the patio and the appliances, you can go from $15,000 to six figures, easy.”

By Amy Eddings

[email protected]

Looking for inspiration? Here are the local nurseries and gardening centers mentioned in the story.

DeHaven Home Garden Showplace

775 Shawnee Road, Lima


Forget Me Not Garden Center

1055 E. Bluelick Road, Lima


Spring Open House: April 23-24

Beining Nursery and Landscaping

26481 Road N, Cloverdale


Village Green Garden Center

902 S. Blackhoof St., Wapakoneta


Kah Nursery

17447 Pasco-Montra Road, Botkins


Reach Amy Eddings at 567-242-0379 or on Twitter, @lima_eddings.


Reach Amy Eddings at 567-242-0379 or on Twitter, @lima_eddings.

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Retired educators get gardening tips, state news

The McIntosh County Oklahoma Retired Educators Association, (OREA), met for their March 11 meeting in Checotah, with Pam Ward, the keynote speaker. Pam works at the OSU Extension Center in Eufaula. She is a new Master Gardener and very knowledgeable on ways to grow plants or to revive old ones. She answered many questions and even offered to help one member with his landscaping plans at a later time.

Representative Ed Cannaday updated the members on happenings at the capital. He carefully covered things connected to public schools and to retirees of the system. Theo Crawley, of Weleetka, is the Northeast District director and brought greetings from the state office as well as happenings at the state level that directly affects school retirees. The group was sad to hear that the Oklahoma Retired Teacher’s executive director, Norman Cooper, has announced his retirement, effective Aug. 31.

The next monthly meeting will be at 1 p.m. April 8 at the Jim Lucas Library in Checotah. Carolyn Hutcherson, vocal music director from Checotah schools, will bring her choir to entertain them for the meeting. Cannaday and Crawley will update the group on state political activities.

Information: President Nettie Seale, (918) 473-7763.

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