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Archives for March 28, 2016

IN THE GARDEN: New book celebrates the history of garden design in the United States

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Location, ST |

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Mean People Suck!

No one was laughing at the time, because we didn’t have rich parents, and new balls weren’t a foregone conclusion when one was lost to an ornery crackpot with a nice lawn. We knew better than to complain to our folks over dinner, which often consisted of fried ring bologna and burnt lima beans — a specialty in our house. “Don’t bother him,” was the most they would say on the subject of the cantankerous creep two doors down. So we banded together — a tribe of bug eating, face swatting, pants wetting rug rats, united against a ball-thieving enemy.

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2016 Windsor Home & Garden Show / Windsor Boat, RV & Recreation Show & Sale

The Home Show venue is once again at the former RONA building across from Tecumseh Mall at Lauzon Parkway and Tecumseh Road E.

The Home Show venue is once again at the former RONA building across from Tecumseh Mall at Lauzon Parkway and Tecumseh Road E.

34th Annual Home Garden Show
opens April 1 through April 3

By Karen Paton-Evans

On a mission to find the perfect home enhancement products, the right contractor or the fastest boat, thousands of local people will be attending the 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show on April 1 to 3.

Held at the former RONA building across from Tecumseh Mall at Lauzon Parkway and Tecumseh Road East, “our double show will be jam-packed wall to wall in this great 100,000 square foot facility. Every vendor space has been claimed by more than 260 exhibitors,” says Stuart Galloway, president of 20/20 Show Productions Inc., producer of Ontario consumer shows for over 25 years.

Stu Galloway of 20/20 Show Productions

Stu Galloway of 20/20 Show Productions

Presented by REMAX Preferred Realty Inc., the show offers “a huge variety of pretty much anything you could want for making your home more beautiful, efficient, safe and technologically advanced, indoors and out. Skilled trades and most of the major local companies that focus on home improvements will be here. Plus, we’ve got everything for enjoying the outdoors with fishing and recreational boats and equipment, watersports, RVs and much more,” Galloway says.

“There are so many options to shop, compare, buy and save. Talk to the pros. Find great ideas. Schedule appointments for quotes. Instead of driving to five different places on three different days to check out businesses, you can do it all easily in a few hours at our one convenient location.”prizes!

Many vendors are offering special deals only available at the show. “Take advantage of what is here and leave smiling,” Galloway encourages.

An exciting new show feature is Landscape Ontario’s Speakers Series Gardens Exhibit. In collaboration, Landscape Ontario (Windsor Chapter) and the St. Clair College horticultural program are creating and building the Green for Life Gardens at the show. Knowledgeable speakers will host talks on what’s new in water gardening, pruning tips and tricks, planting spring container gardens, attracting wildlife, lawn care, growing orchids and figuring out what to with plants the Easter bunny left behind. Gardening experts and students will happily answer visitors’ questions.

Landscape design and build companies will also be at the show, demonstrating their skills with gorgeous displays.

For people who like to experience the outdoors while in motion, five local marine dealers are bringing in their 2016 fleets of recreation, pontoon and fishing boats, personal watercraft, outboards, dock and lift systems and boating accessories.

“Two of the largest RV dealers in Ontario are showcasing their huge selection of travel trailers, fifth wheels, motorhomes and RV accessories, plus all Yamaha PowerSports,” Galloway says.

Rochester Place Golf Club Resort is showing people how they can live seasonally in the resort-style community. “Their modular cottages are custom finished and furnished, ready for people to purchase and move in. It’s a great new concept,” Galloway finds.

Last year’s show was such a hit that not everyone could find parking. “We’ve rented 300 spaces offsite for our exhibitors, opening up 1,000 visitor parking spaces at the former RONA building. That should be ample,” Galloway assures.

Outside the main entrance, visitors will be greeted by the aroma of pizza baking in an outdoor oven. A 1920s fire truck is certain to get attention. The Windsor Firefighters Honour Guard is holding a silent auction and gratefully accepting donations to pay for the fire truck’s new motor.

The honour guard is a group of local Fire Fighters who volunteer to honour those who serve. They march in parades, participate in funerals of fallen members and leaders and show respect in other ways. “Firefighters are more than willing to share their stories and be in visitors’ photos,” Galloway says. In exchange for assistance with show parking, 20/20 Productions is making a large donation to the truck fund.

For the second year, the production company is donating $2,500 from show admissions to the 4th annual Run for Rocky, a charity run/walk that funds programs in local high school and post-secondary school systems to ensure that parents, educators and youth have the knowledge and funding needed to help create Safe Schools and a support system for youth in crisis. Visit or visit booth #256 for further details.

The 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show is from 11am to 7 p.m., Fri., Apr. 1; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sat., Apr. 2; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun., Apr. 3. Admission is $10. Visitors under 16 years are admitted free. There is no charge for parking. Visit to learn more about the shows and sign up for discounted admission coupons.

Exhibitor List and FloorplanWN_0330012D_!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See Menu and Speaker Series Info


Print RE/MAX returns as show presenter

By Anna Cabrera Cristofaro

RE/MAX Preferred Realty has been the proud sponsor of the Windsor Home Garden Show for the ninth year in a row, and owner Glen Muir is as thrilled to partner with 20/20 Show Productions today as he was nearly a decade ago.

The Broker of Record says that the partnership was always a natural fit for his renowned company, and despite the 2008 recession didn’t think twice about jumping on board to support the event. Each RE/MAX professional who will be attending the show look forward to meeting tens of thousands of new, existing or potential homeowners or sellers. He saw it as an investment in the future – with RE/MAX there at the event, the future homeowner or seller would hopefully remember them when things began to look up.

Muir Glen, owner of RE/MAX Preferred Realty

Muir Glen, owner of RE/MAX Preferred Realty

And he was right – for nine straight years, RE/MAX has made itself visible and available to thousands of Windsor Home and Garden Show attendees. As the most recognizable real estate brand in North America, RE/MAX continues to support the numerous exhibitors and homeowners who make this home improvement event one of the most successful in the region, year after year.

“One of the reasons we continually sponsor the show is that we love it,” says Muir. “Whether people are looking to sell, build or buy a home, we’re there. Through us, customers can see how homes have evolved, whether through style, comfort or technology.” Muir and his team of agents welcome the chance to speak to the value of homes, their enhancements and upgrades, and although they’re available at the show, customers are invited to book time with their RE/MAX agent of choice for one-on-one time, when they can provide an approximate current value of a home and its value after integral improvements.

“Of course there are variables – there’s no such thing as a once-size-fits-all,” says Muir, who opened RE/MAX Preferred Realty in 1993 and who now oversees a team of 130 licensed realtors. “We understand the home is a person’s biggest asset, one which appreciates, and because our brand stands for professionalism, we will never over-promise and under-deliver. When a person sees our trademark balloon (and logo), they know they’re going to have someone working hard for them.

“In this seller’s market, it’s tempting to go with the cheapest realtor. Some do it on their own. Do they sell? Sure they do. But when you sell on your own, you’re putting a sign on your lawn and hoping for the best. But when you sign with a RE/MAX agent, your home is going to go out to as many people as possible so nobody misses out. We recently had a property that had 12 offers on it. You wouldn’t get that with a less experienced realtor or if you’re doing this privately.”

Muir, who has been a real estate professional since 1985, continues. “Every representative on this team – people who have the knowledge on how to market your home, to price it right, to reach as many potential buyers as possible – is professional. They’re courteous. They have an incomparable standard of excellence.
“And that’s why we’re the most trusted brand in the country.”


AC logo

Absolute Comfort – BOOTH 247

By Anna Cabrera Cristofaro

Since 2006, Bryan Hazzard and his family have been servicing Windsor-Essex for all of its residential and light commercial heating and cooling needs. Their mission, wife Kristine says, is to provide the best, most honest and knowledgeable customer service in the area – and they do this by sourcing only the highest quality products, installed only by courteous, efficient and qualified Technicians.

Before founding Absolute Comfort, Bryan worked for a major competitor. “he was just so frustrated with their poor commitment to customer service and satisfaction” says wife Kristine, who now serves as Office Manager. “Bryan’s focus was and always will be the customer, which is why people trust us.”

Absolute Comfort’s 100% satisfaction guarantee comes with every furnace or air conditioner system they sell and install. Absolute Comfort, a fully licensed and insured member of the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada, does it’s best to provide their customers with the most competitive pricing and the best HVAC efficiency.

Some of the services Absolute Comfort provides are service and repair; installation of new equipment; annual maintenance checks; filters; and installation of gas lines. They are also a Trane Comfort Specialist – while there are various independent Trane dealers, not all dealers qualify as Comfort Specialists. This qualification means that Absolute Comfort Control Services has demonstrated a proven record of customer satisfaction and has the knowledge required to recommend the right system for your home. They have not only the experience, but the factory training, to install and maintain your Trane system for the life of your product.

“Our approach is really customer-focused,” says Kristine. “We have different options for every budget, but what really we have going for us is our reliability and commitment. We offer a 100% money back guarantee.”

“Also, we don’t rent equipment – we have much more affordable financing options. Often people are often lured in by what seems like low monthly rental fees, but what they sometimes don’t realize is that, in the end, not only are they paying more per month but could end up paying almost twice as much in total.”

Absolute Comfort’s expert techs are available today.


Tisdelle Trailer RV Surplus – BOOTH 523

By Anna Cabrera Cristofaro

Tisdelle Trailer and RV Surplus may just be Tilbury’s best kept secret – with one of the largest selections of RV parts and accessories in Southwestern Ontario, Tisdelle buys at volume discounts from their suppliers and manufacturers. They carry RV parts and accessories for motor homes, campers, toy haulers, fifth wheels, travel trailers and pop up campers. At Tisdelle, your RV service repair needs will always be met with the highest quality and friendliest service available. With several qualified RV service technicians who boast years of expertise and who know your equipment inside and out, you’ll experience exceptional service delivered to you in a timely manner.

Tisdelle Trailer and RV Surplus offers a number of services, including roof repairs and sealing, RV winterization, dewinterization, hitches and wiring, propane systems, RV appliance repair or replacement, brakes, springs and running gear, fiberglass and aluminum structure repair, water system repairs, DMV RV Trailer safety inspections, RV A/C service, RV LP inspection service, wheel bearings, interior customizations and insurance claims. Also, Tisdelle provides on-the-road service – they’ll come right to your campsite to make sure you get the repairs you require.

“From simple installation of RV accessories to warranty repairs, we are dedicated to delivering top-notch customer service,” says owner Larry Tisdelle. “Your safety and enjoyment is important to us, (so we make sure) we provide our customers with the technical expertise to keep their RV in great shape for years to come.”

Visit www.

An example of Rochester Places tiny homes, newly built in the resort and enhanced by expert landscaping from Landscape Effects.

An example of Rochester Place’s tiny homes, newly built in the resort and enhanced by expert landscaping from Landscape Effects.

Landscape Effects – BOOTH 537 / Rochester Place – BOOTH 537

Resort Living at Your Place or Rochester Place

By Karen Paton-Evans

The return of sunshine and warm breezes is drawing everyone outdoors. Always ahead of the trends, Paul St. Pierre and his team make it possible for local people to savour the good weather months, whether in their own yards or at Rochester Place Golf Club Resort.

St. Pierre heads up Landscape Effects Group and Rochester Place Golf Club Resort, both located in Belle River.

“When you want something different for your property, call Landscape Effects,” St. Pierre invites. The company designs and builds award-winning landscapes that complement the home’s architecture and its owner’s good taste.

Landscaping that is well done is a source of pleasure and pride. It’s also a solid investment in the property. “The most advantageous time to save is at the building stage of the residence. Rather than ripping out mediocre features and redoing them, it’s wisest to do it right the first time,” St. Pierre advises.logologo2

Hardscaping establishes the structure of the yard. Landscape Effects installs natural rock, paving stones and other durable materials to create patios, terraces, pathways, walls and more. “Outdoor rooms continue to be in demand. We elevate them with fireplaces and pits; attractive outdoor kitchen cabinetry and appliances; and pergolas, gazebos and other shade structures,” says St. Pierre.

Low and no maintenance landscapes enable homeowners to revel in their spare time, rather than weeding and watering. “Our new self-watering pots and desert planters almost look after themselves,” St. Pierre assures.

Now is the time for homeowners to share their visions and wish lists with Landscape Effects. Joining the talented team is a very experienced designer from Vancouver. St. Pierre says, “We are excited about pooling our expertise to achieve outstanding results for our clients during this fresh season of landscapes.”

For people who want to kick back and make the most of their leisure time in the warm weather months, Rochester Place Golf Club Resort offers accommodation options for singles, couples, families and seniors. They can bring in their own RVs and tents or rent or purchase Rochester Place’s tiny homes, newly built in the resort.

Several different tiny home or cottage designs offer three-season living in modern, sophisticated comfort. Each is beautifully furnished and landscaped. Homebuyers have options for customizing their own places.

Families love Rochester Place’s summer and junior golf camps, outdoor swimming pool, splash pad and secure playground.

Golfers put their skills to the test on the pristine 18-hole, par-72 course, newly upgraded.

Boaters can dock their watercraft at Rochester Place and be out on Lake St. Clair quickly. Canal improvements were recently made.

At the Parkside Grille and outdoor lounge, Chef Kirk has introduced his new eclectic menu, ranging from gourmet burgers to multi-course upscale dinners.

Even if you have to work this summer, you can stay here and be immersed in the resort lifestyle on your personal time,” St. Pierre says.

All that Landscape Effects Group and Rochester Place Golf Club Resort have to offer is revealed at the 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show on Apr. 1 to 3.



Windsor River Cruises – BOOTH 131

Create an existing memory by cruising down the historic Detroit River aboard the Macassa Bay! Windsor River Cruise’s 2016 regular season runs from April to October, and they combine their River Cruise with specially selected local partners to offer a unique service that is made to be enjoyed by tourists and Windsorites alike.

Come relax and enjoy their regularly scheduled Sightseeing Cruise. This passenger favourite includes live, on-board commentary while you learn about the rich local history of the Detroit/Windsor connection. Sightseeing cruises run every weekend, offering both one and two hour time slots. Please see the website for full schedule.

Hungry? Come enjoy their famous Buffet Cruises! Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch and Dinner Cruises are all available. All buffets are catered by St. Clair College Centre for the Arts. You may also include a DJ or live entertainment for your party! Please view Dinner Dance Cruises or enquire with the office staff to learn more. Reservations are required for all catered cruises; the full schedule is available on the website.

Windsor River Cruise’s round-trip Amherstburg Day Cruises have quickly become a Windsor favourite. Confirmed 2016 dates are currently scheduled for July 13 and August 17. Guests leave the Festival Plaza dock at 9:00a.m. and enjoy a leisurely three-hour commentated cruise to beautiful downtown Amherstburg. Guests then dock in Kings Navy Yard at noon, where they can disembark and enjoy lunch at a local eatery or enjoy the exclusive events the Town of Amherstburg is hosting that day. Following a three hour layover, the ship departs Kings Navy Yard at 3:00p.m. for a three hour cruise back to Windsor, included with separate commentary. This great day out for the entire family sells out every time so book your tickets before it is too late!

The Special Events schedule for 2016 is already underway. Our RiverBeats combine a three-hour cruise with live entertainment from the most popular local entertainers such as Canadian Elvis Tribute Champion Norm Ackland, Nashville country recording artist Crystal Gage, explosive acoustic duo Toast Jam, hypnotist comedian Jimmy G and popular duo Randy Sylvie among others! Trivia Karaoke Cruises hosted by Mack Flash Entertainment are also available.

Enjoy this year’s fireworks from the best seat in the house! The Fireworks Cruise includes an up-scale catered menu, alternate boarding location to avoid the downtown gridlock and a memory that will last a lifetime.

Come have your Wedding on the Water. Available inclusive packages make planning your special day with Windsor River Cruises not only unique – but easy! Strategically created packages include all of the necessities you require with enough flexibility to make your dream wedding come true. The ship is also available for ceremonies, receptions, bridal showers, stag and does and more!

Customized Charters presents the option to rent the boat and host your own private event. For one flat cost, you receive the boat and staff. Get creative! This is a great idea for fundraisers, employee appreciation and corporate events.

For more information, call (519) 258-0911. You can also email
or visit


Tilbury Auto Sales and RV Yamaha – BOOTH 501

For two decades, Tilbury Auto Sales and RV Yamaha has been an industry leader, providing a variety of selection and customer service excellence unmatched in the region. Here, customers will find the best and highest quality used cars, trucks, vans and SUVs; as the authorized RV dealer for name brand RVs, Tilbury Auto Sales is also the go-to destination for those looking for motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers, not to mention cargo trailers, utility trailers and motorcycle trailers.

As an authorized Yamaha dealership, Tilbury Auto Sales and RV Yamaha also carries a fantastic selection of new and used power sport vehicles, including personal watercrafts, boats, dirt bikes, motorcycles, snowmobiles and ATVs. For customers in Windsor-Essex, including Leamington and Belle River, as well as Chatham-Kent, there’s nothing Tilbury Auto Sales and RV can’t provide.

As an authorized dealer for Heartland, Fleetwood, Livin Lite, Shasta, Forest River, ARV and Gulf Stream, Tilbury Auto Sales and RV also carries quality new and used travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, hard top tent trailers and motorhomes. Tilbury Auto Sales and RV has long been revered as one of the province’s premier RV dealerships, and that’s thanks to the exceptional sales staff who know their products better than anyone in the industry. An exciting new addition to the Tilbury Auto Sales and RV product is Avalon, a line of pontoon boats that boast exciting features like slides, diving boards, wet bars and loungers.

And it doesn’t stop at sales for Tilbury Auto Sales and RV – they’re also a regional leader in service. All vehicles purchased on-site can also be serviced there, thanks to the skill of full certified professional auto, RV and Yamaha mechanics and support staff. The staff has long maintained that maintaining your RV fifth wheel, travel trailer and motorhome is the key to the longevity of your vehicle. At this state-of-the-art RV repair facility, the staff’s commitment is to you, the customer, providing integral repair services like RV suspension and axles, propane, electrical and water systems, solar power systems, hitches and wiring, winterization and annual safety inspections and custom renovations.

So now you’ve found your dream vehicle. There may be nothing more disheartening than finding out you may not be able to pay for it. The good news is that for those in need of financing – whether you have good or blemished credit – Tilbury Auto Sales and RV Yamaha can offer a finance plan, even those who require some credit cleanup. With a professional financing department that can help you navigate your way through hassle-free car, RV and powersport financing options, Tilbury Auto Sales and RV are well known as used auto financing specialists who can get you approved quickly for a vehicle loan. They offer low, fixed auto rates, quick application turnaround times and provide you with expert finance specialists who can answer any and all questions you might have about the financing process. With a 99% approval rate, your loan application will be without hassle or obligation.

See Tilbury Auto Sales and RV Yahama at the show, and visit them at Hwy #2 and Hwy 401 in Tilbury.

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Howell’s Marine – BOOTH 623

Brothers Bob and Chuck Howell, with a near total of 80 years of experience in the marine industry, opened Howell’s Marine in 2010. The Chatham-based business was born out of a love of boating, with Chuck describing it as a “service-driven company.”

“A lot of marine dealers are focused on sales,” says Chuck. “We are mainly about conversation and comfort and ensuring that the client who comes in looking for something knows more about it when he walks out than when he did when he walked in. We have a real passion for this industry, and we always want to share that with everybody who visits us.”

With more experience in Mercury Marine equipment than anyone else in Southwestern Ontario, Howell’s also carries Yamaha, Southbay Pontoons, Polar Kraft and Stratos Boats, as well as Canadian-owned Legend Boats. “These are brands we believe in, and we brands we know well,” says Chuck. “When we’re talking to the consumer, we don’t oversell or falsify information, because we’re not just selling it – we’re the ones who also work on it.

“We’re also non-commissioned, so we have no interest in pushing things for the sake of it. We want you to love what you walk out with.”

Chuck says he and Bob have been boating ever since he can remember; their grandfather owned a cottage, and their family has taken advantage of this bountiful, beautiful area for several generations.

“We’ve got such a great environment around us,” says Chuck. “(With boating) comes peace of mind and relaxation. You can adopt the sport of fishing, you can do water skiing, take the family out and enjoy each other’s company. There’s a reason that once upon a time, this area was the capital of boating.

“There’s nothing like boating, and there’s nothing like this area.”

Chuck says that it’s this love of boating that makes customers feel at home and at peace at Howell’s Marine. So many customers, he says, have been given false information when they’ve purchased privately or through dealers who have had less knowledge and experience. “Sometimes people don’t get what they expected, and all of a sudden they end up with a real problem – and the family wants to get rid of the boat and has a bad taste in their mouth about boating. That’s hard to repair.

“So when you buy from a reputable dealer like us, who know the equipment and the technology and the tricks and tips and tools, you can turn around that information. It’s not just about the sale. It’s about really getting people to love the experience.”



POOLS by Angelo copy

Pools by Angelo – BOOTH 152

By Karen Paton-Evans

A pool is intended to provide pleasure for many summers to come. To ensure it will last, it is important to choose an experienced, reputable and well-established pool company. Pools by Angelo backs its workmanship and products with the owner’s 35-plus years of building expertise.

Angelo Mariani dipped his toes in the industry as a student, helping his father build pools during summer vacation. He went on to found Pools by Angelo, located at 2950 Jefferson Blvd., Windsor. He, his children and valued staff design, build and maintain pools all over Windsor-Essex County.

“The world of pools has evolved to a more aesthetic and maintenance-friendly realm,” observes Cristina Mariani, manager of operations. “Our salt water pool construction allows homeowners to enjoy crystal clear water with minimal effort.”

To add longevity to the pool’s structure, new powder and e-coating on in-ground pool walls is available on most Pools by Angelo installations. “The walls are still galvanized steel at their core and powder- and e-coated, much like a car,” Mariani says.

Pools by Angelo may be the first company in Canada to offer the superior coating service, Mariani believes. “It’s one more thing that sets us apart from other companies.”
Having built hundreds of pools locally, “we are very knowledgeable about the soils in the greater Windsor area. We know before we break ground what obstacles we may be facing,” says Mariani.

Offering an impressive selection in pools, energy-efficient hot tubs, retractable pool enclosures and other products for residences and commercial venues, Pools by Angelo looks after its clients. Pool opening and closing, weekly maintenance packages, onsite technical service and more are available.

Free, fast water testing is done at Pools by Angelo’s storefront.

Mariani says, “As a family, we work with your family to design your backyard paradise and take care of you and your investment.”

Pools by Angelo is at the 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show on Apr. 1 to 3.

Final Semi

Imperial Homes – BOOTH 560

By Karen Paton-Evans

Just when spring flowers are pushing through the earth to beautify local neighbourhoods, Imperial Homes is breaking ground on handsome townhomes in the Aspen Lake Family Living community on Aspenshore Drive, Windsor.

Two architects spent six months designing the townhomes. “We listened to local people and took their top wish list items to create something different for Windsor,” says Andrew Smith, a broker with Deerbrook Realty Inc. Brokerage who is now pre-selling the Aspen Lake townhomes.

The homes appeal to busy singles and couples who want to enjoy low maintenance home life. When traveling for business or pleasure, they can lock their doors and go, knowing the townhome association will take care of grass cutting, snow removal and general outdoor maintenance.

Empty nesters seeking to downsize without forfeiting style appreciate the quality finishes and workmanship. With everything conveniently on the main floor, they can age in place. People with mobility issues can have their townhome built with ramps, wider doors, wheelchair accessible sinks and other considerations. Proximity to walking trails, Aspen Lake, WFCU Centre and shopping encourage residents to be active.Imperial Homes

The affordable townhomes’ base price includes many desirable features. New owners customize their rooms, choosing from Imperial Homes’ selection of flooring, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, stone countertops, wall colours and more.

The exterior is clad in a striking grey-toned mix of stone, brick and stucco. Sheltering every front door is a tall, arched portico, graced with a dormer window above. Multiple peaked roofs, large windows and attractive garage doors enhance the townhomes’ charm. “The exteriors are more interesting than most townhouses you will find,” Smith believes.

Single level ranches are built as semi-duplexes with units of 1,536 square feet and three-plexes and four-plexes with units of 1,200 and 1,400 square feet. Each has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. In all, there will be 88 units. The model townhome will be ready to tour in approximately four months. The first new owners may tentatively move in late August.
In the modern, open concept great room, the natural gas fireplace adds warm ambiance. The kitchen and its island are oversized. All-wood cabinetry extends to the ceiling and is topped with crown molding. Owners have the choice of quartz or granite countertops and tile or hardwood flooring.

The main bathroom features a single vanity with a granite countertop and a combined acrylic tub and shower. The master ensuite bathroom is a wonderful retreat, with a spacious tiled shower enclosed with glass doors and a granite topped double vanity. Ample storage is found in the master bedroom’s walk-in closet.

The laundry room is on the main floor. The basement is unfinished; Imperial Homes has package pricing to complete the space.

Landscaping includes the sod, driveway, walkway to the front door and sprinklers. A free patio is offered as a pre-sale bonus.

For additional information, please contact Andrew Smith at 519-564-2639, visit or see Imperial Homes at the 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show on Apr. 1 to 3.

The Bedroom Depot store on Walker Road in Windsor (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / The Windsor Star)

The Bedroom Depot store on Walker Road in Windsor (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE / The Windsor Star)

The Bedroom Depot – BOOTH 126

“We’re Great in Beds!!”

By Karen Paton-Evans

Bedroom Depot’s cheeky slogan is no idle boast. When you sleep, nap or do whatever else you do in bed, Bedroom the store is dedicated to ensuring you feel terrific.

Proving the Bedroom Depot really is great in beds, owner Sean Dube stocks the latest trends from Serta, Simmons, Springwall, Ashley. Leggett and Platt and other leading mattress manufacturers. Bed engineering has advanced hugely since he opened Bedroom Depot in Windsor in 2000. “The most exciting news is in memory foam and latex mattresses, including toppers and pillows,” Dube says.

For instance, a memory foam mattress softens in reaction to body heat, allowing it to mold to a warm body to relieve pressure points on your body.

Latex has a distinctly different feel from all other mattress surfaces. It is highly elastic, giving and yielding, while at the same time being very resilient and supportive. It pushes up, creating a buoyant effect, and distributes weight load sideways, rather than down, eliminating pressure points.

Futons, day beds, bunk beds, hospital beds – Bedroom Depot has them all. Sixty different mattresses and 30 bedroom suites are on display. By the piece or the entire suite, Bedroom Depot carries furnishings to complement every design style. Artisan Home Furniture, Ashley Furniture, Bassett Furniture, Ideal Furniture and other leading brands are in store.

After you’ve made your choice, Bedroom Depot’s respectful delivery team will bring and install your purchase anywhere in Essex County.

For a peek at the large selection, check out Bedroom Depot at, on Facebook or at the 34th Annual Windsor Home Garden Show and Windsor Boat, RV and Recreation Show on Apr. 1 to 3. BOOTH 126


Seacliff Heights logo

Seacliff Heights – BOOTH 209

By Karen Paton-Evans

Luxury doesn’t cost extra at the newly built Seacliff Heights rental apartments near Lake Erie. Catering to adults seeking a worry-free life, the beautiful, all-inclusive, condo-style units provide high-end amenities, comfort, and security at affordable rates.

Located at 40 Seacliff Drive East in Leamington, Seacliff Heights is the culmination of many months of thorough research into the kind of home sought by busy professionals, empty nesters, retirees, snowbirds, and world travelers. The builder, Piroli Group Developments, toured several high-end resorts and adult communities in order to determine the leading trends for floor plan layouts, finishes, fixtures, and amenities.

The result is a variety of stylish apartments created for people who are ready for a change in their lives, freed from the burden of home maintenance. “They want to throw away their snow shovels and lawnmowers. They just want to lock their doors and go whenever they choose,” says Rob Piroli, the founder and CEO of Piroli Group Developments. By renting all-inclusive luxury apartments that are also affordable, tenants have more time and freedom to pursue their passions.

The one and two bedroom units have spacious, open concept layouts. Large windows admit plenty of sunlight to add a natural glow to the trendy wide plank vinyl hardwood flooring and plush carpeting. The intelligent, functional kitchen is fitted with handsome cabinetry and granite countertops. Each unit includes a high-efficiency fridge, stove, dishwasher, and microwave. The bathroom features a glass-enclosed shower, a stylish vanity with a polished granite countertop, and a large statement mirror. An in-suite laundry room is equipped with a side-by-side washer and dryer. High-end fixtures throughout provide task and ambient lighting. Ample storage spaces help keep everything organized.

Making the most of Seacliff Heights’ proximity to nearby Lake Erie, each unit has an oversized balcony so residents can relax and enjoy the breeze off the water.

Tenants can step beyond their own doors to participate in the active, social lifestyle supported by Seacliff Height. The common room with a full kitchen, lounge area, and billiards table is ideal for hosting large gatherings and will be used for social events for the residents. The exercise facility features a variety of cardio machines and free-weights.

Seacliff Heights’ private courtyard was designed for exercise, conversation, and unwinding. During warm weather months, cabanas and lounge chairs will be arranged around the in-ground, heated outdoor salt water pool for the comfort of residents and their guests. An outdoor fireplace, three gas barbecues, and a seating area encourage cooking and dining al fresco.

Such considerate additions will enable residents to make the most time spent at home. “Our tenants are so enthusiastic about Seacliff Heights that they are recommending it to their friends. We have seen a few friends reserve units side-by-side in the building!” Piroli notes.

Residents will start moving into the modern, clean-lined building on June 1, and there are still apartments available for rent.

For adults transitioning to their next stage of life, Seacliff Heights can be their forever community. It’s the first phase in a luxury rental apartment and retirement complex in friendly, active Leamington. When tenants move into the newly completed apartment building this spring, Piroli Group Developments will already be at work constructing a 120-bed retirement home next door.

By enabling tenants to age in place, Piroli Group Developments gives them enhanced living options and the control to decide what is best for themselves – whether that is in an assisted living unit in the retirement home or a rental apartment at Seacliff Heights.

Envisioning the possibilities of life at Seacliff Heights is simple. Interested parties are invited to tour the model suite and experience the look and feel of the space in person. A tour can be arranged by calling 1-844-747-0542.

Additional details and a virtual tour are available at



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Why Your Water Could Be Worse Than Flint’s

Most municipal water departments in the United States work very hard to keep the water coming out of the tap as safe as possible, but they do not have the authority or money to change pipes and fixtures or stop the more than 23 billion pounds of toxic chemicals generated annually by U.S. industry from entering their water supplies.

Flint residents knew there was a serious problem with their water when it came out of the tap brown and foul-smelling after the city of Flint changed its source from Lake Huron to the Flint River two years ago. They didn’t know, however, that lead levels were so high that the Environmental Protection Agency could classify it as hazardous waste. It took Michigan Republican Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality more than 17 months to acknowledge the problem. As a result, tens of thousands of Flint residents have been—and continue to be—poisoned.

The names of the people who made the decisions behind the poisoning are known. Snyder set the wheels in motion with a scheme that sacrificed the health of the people of Flint on the altar of austerity. In 2011, he ended public oversight by appointing his own man—an “emergency manager”—to cut costs and run the city. Flint went through a series of four emergency managers in as many years. When the extent of poisoning was known, Snyder did nothing. He failed to warn people against drinking the water and he failed to provide a safe alternative.

It’s infuriating. But anger is not action. What can we do to prevent the next municipal drinking water disaster? It is already here, flowing into the water glasses of millions of Americans. Chicago, Philadelphia and hundreds of other cities with old pipes have a lead problem. And that’s just the start of the municipal water pollution crisis. In most of the country, once-clean drinking water sources are now profoundly polluted—by treated and untreated sewage, by chemical-intensive agriculture, by waste from confined animal feeding operations and by industrial discharges. Even in Flint, the story begins not with lead pipes but with failed attempts to “treat” the source of the city water supply: the open sewer that is the Flint River.

Pipes and fixtures can be replaced, but all of the chemical contaminants in our drinking water cannot be removed, no matter how advanced the technology. The solution is to prevent them from getting there in the first place. 

Flint: The whole story

Just as there’s no mystery about the toxic combination of racism and neoliberalism that caused the Flint water crisis, there is no mystery about the chemistry that caused the lead to leach from Flint’s pipes. Lead rarely occurs naturally in water. It enters our drinking supply either from industrial or wastewater-treatment discharges or, more commonly, because it leaches out of lead pipes, solders and brass fixtures in the distribution network. 

Some conditions make the lead leach faster. This is what happened in Flint when, under the control of an emergency manager, the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River and then added chemicals that made the situation worse.

It’s not that the Flint River has elevated levels of lead in it. The trouble—besides the high bacteria levels and untold number of harmful chemicals—is that its water is corrosive. Depending on the rainfall conditions at the time of measurement, as much as half of the river is made up of wastewater from the city’s sewage treatment plant. Before it’s released into the river, the wastewater is treated with chlorine.

Pulling drinking water from a river of treated sewage is not unusual. A 1980 EPA study (the most recent one conducted) indicated that more than 24 major public water utilities got their water from rivers in which sewage treatment plant discharges constituted over 50 percent of the flow during low-flow conditions. In 1985, there were about 6,700 municipal wastewater treatment plants. Since then, an additional 10,000 have been built, which collectively disgorge 33,657 million gallons per day of effluent into rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. To give you an idea of how that compares to public water use, 23,800 million gallons per day are used for drinking water, landscaping, toilets, showers and sinks, and another 18,200 million gallons per day go to industry and commercial businesses. 

The Flint sewage treatment plant, located on the banks of the Flint River, keeps 20,000 pounds of chlorine on hand. The wastewater leaving the plant—which averages 32 million gallons per day, but can be as high as 75 million gallons per day—is chlorinated before being dumped into the Flint River.

Disinfecting wastewater with chlorine is a common practice in wastewater treatment that helps the effluent stay below regulatory levels for coliforms— an indicator of fecal contamination. (This does not mean the Flint River is without coliform bacteria. Tests published by the city of Flint show high coliform levels in the river. Sewage treatment overflows, leaks and illegal sewer pipes dumping into the river could be the cause of this.) 

Adding chlorine to water is an effective way to dramatically reduce pathogenic bacteria. But chlorine solves one problem only to create another: It helps create the chemical conditions that free up lead from pipes, solders and fixtures. The city could have lessened the corrosion by adding a corrosion inhibitor, such as orthophosphate, to the water—a measure that would have cost just $100 a day—but chose not to.

However, the city had another problem that couldn’t be so easily ignored. Chlorine mixed with water creates a class of chemicals called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). There is epidemiological evidence of a close relationship between DBPs and cancer. The EPA regulates just four of the more than 500 known DBPs, one of which, trihalomethanes (THMs), was already in the Flint River at concentrations in violation of EPA drinking water standards. The city needed to lower bacteria levels in its water, but couldn’t add more chlorine without raising concentrations of THMs, so it switched to chloramine (chlorine plus ammonia), which solves the problem of THMs but leaches lead even faster than chlorine. (Chloramine also creates its own DBPs, but these are not regulated.)

Chloramine’s highly corrosive effects are well-documented. In 2001, after a switch from chlorine to chloramine, tests showed Washington, D.C., water was leaching lead from the distribution system. Civil engineering professor Marc Edwards of Virginia Tech, an expert on water treatment, sounded the alarm. Just like the whistleblowers in Flint, the municipality and the EPA ignored him. It took two years for the D.C. water authority to notify the public about high lead levels in the water. Then the city began partial lead pipe replacement—a solution that has been shown to, counterproductively, “result in significantly elevated levels of lead in tap water … for weeks and months,” as EPA chemist Michael Schock told Environmental Health Perspectives in 2010. (Scientists are still trying to figure out why this happens.) 

The D.C. case was widely publicized. But if the city of Flint was to continue using Flint River water, it had to address the immediate problem of the cancer-causing THMs, the chlorine byproducts. So the city made the switch from chlorine to chloramine. 

Flint, like all cities in the United States with pipes over 30 years old, has lead in its distribution system. The same story of chloramine corrosion unfolded in Flint as it had in D.C. In summer 2015, Dr. Mona HannaAttisha, a Flint-based pediatrician, got a tip from a friend at the EPA that Flint might have a leaching problem, and began studying hospital blood samples. A paper she co-authored in the February 2016 issue of American Journal of Public Health showed that incidence of elevated blood lead levels in Flint children doubled, and in some neighborhoods nearly tripled, after the city began using water from the Flint River.

Trickle-down poisoning 

Water distribution pipes in the United States were initially made of wood, then iron, then lead. Lead pipes, first manufactured in the mid-1800s, had almost completely displaced iron by the turn of the 20th century—they lasted longer and were easier to work with. But lead is also poisonous, especially to children, who absorb more lead than adults and are more susceptible to its irreversible health effects, such as nerve and brain damage. 

It didn’t take long for press accounts of lead poisoning to surface. In 1890, the Massachusetts State Board of Health advised the state’s cities and towns to avoid the use of lead pipes. By the 1920s, cities across the country had banned them. But the lead mining and manufacturing industries pushed back, establishing the Lead Industries Association in 1928, which aggressively advocated for the continued use of lead solder and pipes. Against the mountains of data on illnesses and deaths, industry prevailed. It wasn’t until 1986 that federal regulations banned lead in new drinking water distribution systems. 

But much of the old lead piping still remains. In the post-Reagan era, local governments pay for 95 percent of sewer infrastructure and 99 percent of public water infrastructure. Municipalities with money are slowly replacing pipes and investing in their water supply systems. The city of Madison spent $19.4 million to replace its lead pipes over an 11-year period, beginning in 2001. Flint, one of the most economically depressed cities in America, couldn’t afford new pipes. Reaganomics failed cities like Flint. Today, the city has 8,000 poisoned children to show for it.

EPA gone MIA

Where is the EPA in all of this? Eviscerated. It started when Reagan took office in 1981 and appointed Anne Gorsuch, a Colorado state representative who vocally opposed federal regulation of energy and the environment, as administrator. She cut the budget by 22 percent, hired people representing industry while firing long-time EPA staff, relaxed existing regulations and resisted new ones. She was cited for contempt of Congress in her involvement in the misuse of over a billion dollars in Superfund money. Her deputy, Rita Lavelle, went to jail over the scandal. The agency has been under assault by industry-friendly Democrats and Republicans ever since. 

Current drinking water regulation has little to do with the realities of what is actually in our drinking water. Like all chemical regulation in the United States, regulatory responses happen—if at all—decades after health threats are documented. Regulators turn a blind eye to problems that can only be remedied through radical changes in how we do things (for example, where we source our drinking water or how we grow our food). As a result, drinking water regulations are inadequate, and those on the books are not being competently monitored or properly enforced. 

Regulations to protect public health are set within the boundaries of what water treatment plants can do to address the many toxins in public drinking water supplies, like perfluorinated chemicals, herbicides, lead and DBPs. Most municipal water departments in the United States work very hard to keep the water coming out of the tap as safe as possible, but they do not have the authority or money to change pipes and fixtures or stop the more than 23 billion pounds of toxic chemicals generated annually by U.S. industry from entering their water supplies. The federal rules are meant to accommodate those limitations: Look at a few things, don’t look at many others, and set the thresholds at levels the treatment plant operators can consistently meet.

The stated regulatory goal for lead in drinking water is zero, but since the EPA doesn’t think water treatment authorities can meet this level, it set the acceptable concentration at 15 parts per billion. Test below that and you are not in violation of the drinking water regulations, but you are still poisoning children.

In Kirkwood, Mo., a leafy suburb of St. Louis that gets its drinking water from the Missouri River, people who drink tap water are drinking 2,4-D and atrazine—carcinogenic herbicides applied on farms located in the river’s watershed—every day. “Safe” is a moving target in the water business, though your body has some fixed ideas about it. 

So who is tasked with protecting the public water supply? The EPA’s Office of Water  oversees two deeply troubled divisions—the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (OGWDW) and the Office of Wastewater Management (OWM)—both of which act to undermine U.S. drinking water safety. Marc Edwards, the Virginia Tech professor who studied D.C.’s water, wrote in a blog post on January 22, “When we exposed cheating in Washington D.C., New Orleans, Durham and elsewhere, OGWDW officials stabbed us in the back, and supported wrongdoers in every single case.”

The Office of Water’s obfuscation, arrogance and anti-science orientation is documented by David Lewis in the book Science For Sale. The office is responsible for “biosolids”: sewage sludge that is dried or otherwise “treated.” The word biosolids was coined as part of a public relations effort to rebrand sewage sludge, a product of wastewater treatment, as safe for disposal on farmland. Hundreds of peer-reviewed papers show its toxicity, but the OWM uses every trick in the PR handbook to promote its use on farms, public land and in sludge-containing “compost,” which is sold at Home Depot and other garden supply centers. Why? The same reason Flint’s water was poisoned: It saves municipalities money to dump sludge on land rather than treat it as a hazardous waste. 

When a California farmer questioned the EPA’s decision to allow disposal of sewage sludge on farms and public lands, OWM chemist Alan Rubin reportedly harassed her, writing in a note to her, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee!” 

We might begin cleaning up our water by cleaning house at the EPA. Departments like the Office of Water are often controlled by the industries they’re meant to regulate. Lock the revolving doors and give voice to the people who really care about environmental protection. Build a culture in the U.S.—and in the EPA—that supports biocompatible practices: chemicals and techniques that are in harmony with life. The developing field of “green chemistry” is looking for ways to do just this; but we need the public will and the policies to help put these ideas into practice. 

Pollution is everywhere. Where do we start? How about the pollution sink for our discarded human and chemical wastes: the sewer. The more than 85,000 chemicals we use daily in our homes, hospitals and industries find their way to the sewer, making wastewater treatment plants sentinels for harm.

Go up the sewer pipe to stop toxic discharges. Then rethink the entire sewer juggernaut. It’s only 150 years old. We don’t use horses anymore to carry our goods into the city, maybe we should stop using water to carry our wastes out. 

Privatization: The wrong solution

Of course, a systemic approach would involve fundamental changes that corporate capitalism will resist. Why not control the conversation—and the assets—by owning the water? In a 2007 paper, University of Minnesota sociologist Michael Goldman explained how the World Bank has changed the discourse on water privatization from nonexistent to the global status quo. Today, a country cannot get a World Bank loan unless it submits a plan for privatizing its water system. In 2008, Goldman Sachs called water “the petroleum for the next century” and estimated that it is a $425 billion “industry.” 

Here in the United States, a Wisconsin bill was defeated earlier this year that would have made it easier to privatize water services. It was introduced at the request of Aqua America, a Pennsylvania company that owns water utilities in eight states.

Privatization could be on the horizon for Flint. The city went through what was essentially a dry run when citizen oversight was removed. Things didn’t work out so well. But at the right price, a private corporation might step forward to “rescue” the failed government effort. 

The privatization narrative goes like this: The municipality fails at providing clean water in the necessary quantity, so the water service—along with its infrastructure—is sold, often at yard sale prices, to a private company. 

But the failure of the municipal water system was caused by the same people selling off the water authority. The best-managed utilities have strong citizen oversight and an administration acting for the public good.

We’ve been down this road before. Private water companies date back to at least 1652, when “The Water Works Company” incorporated in Massachussetts. It is not a new idea, but it is one that has failed to provide safe and plentiful water to the public. Private companies come and go. They also are not compelled to provide services to those who cannot pay. The best example of a water privatization failure is in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Protests erupted in 2000 when the government privatized the city’s water, selling it to a private consortium dominated by an American company, Bechtel, and the cost of water skyrocketed. One person was killed and after three months of violence, Bechtel was sent packing and the privatization was reversed. 

For inspiration on how to demand investment in public water, we can look to 19th-century Boston. In his 1826 inaugural address, Mayor Josiah Quincy III, namesake of Boston’s Quincy Market, said this about the city’s then-private drinking water:

If there be any privilege which a city ought to reserve exclusively in its own hands, and under its own control, it is that of supplying itself with water. … No private capitalists will engage in such an enterprise without at least a rational expectation of profit. Besides, it being an article of the first necessity, and on its free use so much of health as well as comfort depends, every city should reserve in its own power the means, unrestrained, of encouraging its use, by reducing as fast as possible, the cost of obtaining it, not only to the poor but to all classes of the community. 

Shortly after Quincy’s son, Josiah Quincy, Jr., became mayor of Boston in 1846, the city’s water became public.

The antidote to denial

Unimaginable quantities of toxins, in immeasurable combinations, have become part of our environment and part of us. Chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States and accounts for 86 percent of our healthcare costs.

One of the illnesses seems to be political paralysis. Sandra Steingraber, in her book Raising Elijah, addresses the subject of “well-informed futility”:

Ironically, the more knowledgeable we are about such a problem, the more we are filled with paralyzing futility. Futility, in turn, forestalls action. But action is exactly what is necessary to overcome futility. Just down the street from well-informed futility resides denial. … In the face of knowledge too upsetting to bear, there is nothing to do but look away. 

Her antidote to futility and denial? “To rise up in the face of the terrible knowledge and do something.” In other words, to act like “a member of the French Resistance.”

Since Flint, there’s been a new spotlight on lead in drinking water. But children in minority neighborhoods have been exposed to lead from water and other sources, like peeling lead paint, for a long time. The Centers for Disease Control consistently reports that black children have the highest risk of lead poisoning in the United States, sometimes two or three times more likely than white children to have elevated lead levels in their blood. It’s been this way for decades. Lead mitigation is well understood. Pipes can be changed. Filters can be used. Water authorities can influence how much lead is leached from pipes by influencing the chemistry of the water, by choosing safer water sources and by protecting those sources from contaminants like herbicides and pesticides from farm runoff and sewage outfalls. 

What would it take to change our water supply lines? A New Deal for water infrastructure. Every four years the American Society for Civil Engineers issues a “Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.” The last grade for drinking water, in 2013, was a D. The report said it would take $2.1 trillion to replace the nation’s aging pipes. The EPA has identified $335 billion in water supply infrastructure needs over a 20-year period. Whatever the number, it is going to be high. So, too, will be hopes for new and improved technological fixes at water and wastewater treatment plants.

But Flint serves as a warning that trying to “clean” polluted water will only take us so far. The demand should be for chemical policy reform that gets rid of harmful chemicals and invests in a new generation of biocompatible chemicals. It should include a radical shift in agricultural policies that support organic practices. And if there is to be a New Deal for water infrastructure, let it be for ecological infrastructure that is built on a framework of prevention. 

Boston and New York are examples of cities that have gone to extraordinary lengths to get their water from clean sources, and it shows at the tap. Boston gets its water from the Quabbin Reservoir, 65 miles west of the city. The 39-square-mile public water supply was created in the 1930s. Development around it is restricted by the state. No industries and no sewers discharge into its waters. New York, for its part, has two massive tunnels, with a third almost completed, that bring in water from reservoirs and lakes on protected land in upstate New York. 

Both cities discharge their wastewater far from their drinking water sources: Boston’s treated sewage goes 9.5 miles out into the ocean. New York’s outfall pipes are closer to shore, but the state is trying to raise the capital to build an extended ocean outfall pipe. These are not ecological solutions for the disposition of wastewater, but it is safer than dumping it into drinking water. The disposal of wastewater and sewage sludge will cause pollution problems wherever they go, but keeping them out of our drinking water and food while we back off of their production is fundamental to protecting human health.

Technological responses to the ecological catastrophe in Flint and in scores of other cities, like replacing lead pipe supply lines, are necessary, but palliative. Technology should be the servant of prevention. 

Resistance to the systemic poisoning we are experiencing in the U.S. begins with saying: Enough! We are hearing this in Flint. Town halls and community meetings are filled with people raising their voices and demanding change. In February, Flint residents Beulah Walker and Justin Wedes went to the United Nations to talk about Flint and ask for a fact-finding mission from the U.N. to come to the beleaguered city.

Forging our connection to each other is as important as disconnecting our sewers from our drinking water. Water pollution at the scale we have in America feels insurmountable, and it will be if we do not organize for fundamental changes in where we get our water, what we put into it, and where it goes when we are done with it. Nobody lives upstream anymore.

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Scituate COA sponsors film about love and aging

Posted Mar. 28, 2016 at 5:00 AM


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Yard ideas sprout at show

Sugar Bottom Farms, based in Solon, Iowa, makes raised beds called Garden Growers that bring gardening up to a comfortable level for children and people with mobility issues. The raised height also foils rabbits and the use of fencing keeps out deer. Sugar Bottom Farms also sells the soil mix.

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Chesapeake Bay-focused gardening book appeals to anyone who loves plants

Whether you garden along the vibrant vistas of a creek or bay or under the serene shade of oaks and pines, there’s a new book to help you plant with good health in mind.

“Chesapeake Gardening Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide” by Barbara Ellis, an Eastern Shore Maryland gardener, focuses on “conservation landscaping,” or all the good things that people can do to make their landscapes not only beautiful but healthy for people and other living things, according to the author. Most gardens spotlighted in the 328-page, $40 book are located in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

“As a garden writer and horticulturist, I was already quite interested in the topic, plus I was an enthusiastic gardener in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,” she says.

Ellis lives on Kent County’s Worton Creek, which is one of several creeks that lead directly into the Chesapeake Bay, she adds.

DIGGIN IN | Native plant border invites displaced wildlife to relocate to cut-flower farm

DIGGIN IN | Native plant border invites displaced wildlife to relocate to cut-flower farm

Lisa Ziegler eats, sleeps and breathes fresh farm air in the midst of city life in Newport News.

Some of that precious farm life along Miller Road is disappearing because the adjacent Hertzler farm will soon become a bustling housing development.

The Hertzler property, one of many dairy farms in…

Lisa Ziegler eats, sleeps and breathes fresh farm air in the midst of city life in Newport News.

Some of that precious farm life along Miller Road is disappearing because the adjacent Hertzler farm will soon become a bustling housing development.

The Hertzler property, one of many dairy farms in…

(Kathy Van Mullekom)

“Matching plants to sites is at the core of becoming a successful gardener,” she says.

“It means that you start a garden by selecting plants that will be happy with the soil, exposure, and other conditions on that site. Matching plant to site stacks the deck in favor of success. There is lots of information on this principle in ‘Chesapeake Gardening Landscaping,’ along with lots of list of different kinds of plants for different site conditions.”

But, even gardeners who do not live directly on the water should care about and help improve the water quality and environment as a whole, she says, because water that runs down a driveway and its carried off in a gutter eventually makes its way to the Chesapeake Bay.

LanternAsia celebrates bigger-than-life among Asian plant collections | DIGGIN IN

LanternAsia celebrates bigger-than-life among Asian plant collections | DIGGIN IN

Art by day … magic by night.

That’s the simple description of “LanternAsia,” an exhibit of Chinese art you can see at Norfolk Botanical Garden through April 30.

The simplicity stops there.

“There are more than 30 scenes in this one-mile walking tour,” says Kelly Welsh, marketing and communications…

Art by day … magic by night.

That’s the simple description of “LanternAsia,” an exhibit of Chinese art you can see at Norfolk Botanical Garden through April 30.

The simplicity stops there.

“There are more than 30 scenes in this one-mile walking tour,” says Kelly Welsh, marketing and communications…

(Kathy Van Mullekom)

“Gardening for the bay helps improve water quality in the bay itself along with all the rivers, streams and creeks that feed into it,” she says.

“It also creates healthy, beautiful spaces for people, their pets and wildlife. Using the six principles I describe in the Introduction and Chapter 1 of ‘Chesapeake Gardening Landscaping’ helps readers create gardens that are both beautiful and environmentally friendly.”

Here, Ellis cites her favorite plants from different chapters in the book:

Chapter 4: Shrubs, Trees and Vines for Landscaping. In addition to being handsome shade trees, native oaks, Quercus spp, support a huge diversity of insects, which in turn support a wide variety of other wildlife, especially birds.

Chapter 5: Ground Covers for Chesapeake Landscapes. The native Christmas fern, Polystichum acrostichoides, isn’t used as much as it could be. It thrives in partial to full shade, is evergreen, and is attractive year round. The plants prefer rich, moist soil, but they also tolerate dry soil and drought once they are established.

Chapter 6: Flowers for Chesapeake Gardens. Orange coneflower, Rudbeckia fulgida, is tough, adapts to nature and blooms a long time. Like other members of the aster family, Asteraceae, rudbeckias are valuable plants for pollinators and butterflies.

Chapter 7: Plants and Gardens for Shade. The top bloomer in my shade garden is probably wild blue phlox, Phlox divaricate, she says. It bears flowers in shades of lavender, plus white, from late spring to early summer, and the foliage persists well into winter. The plants self-sow, and once they are in your garden, they pop up in both shade and surprisingly sunny spots.

Chapter 8: Water, Rain Gardens, and Wet Soil. For these sites, Ellis favors Joe-pye weeds for their late bloom, the massive numbers of butterflies they attract, and their value to a wide range of pollinators. All were once classified as Eupatorium spp., but they are now classified as Eutrochium and Eupatoriadelphus spp.

Chapter 9: Gardens for Wildlife. There are lots of plants that attract wildlife, Ellis says, but she likes native viburnums, Viburnum spp., such as arrowwood (V. dentatum) and possumhaw viburnum (V. nudum). Viburnum berries provide valuable food for birds and other wildlife late in the season, plus they bear pretty flower clusters and attractive foliage, making them handsome and useful additions to the landscape, she adds. Blueberries and their relatives (Vaccinium spp.) are also valuable for wildlife and make great landscape plants for the Chesapeake Bay area.

“The book has loads of information on a wide variety of great native plants for our area, but as a gardener, I think my favorite part are the six steps that anyone can use to make their garden more bay friendly,” says Ellis.

“I use those steps to figure out long-term and short-term projects so I can plan beneficial projects that fit into my schedule. I also use them to help guide me in plant selection — plants for pollinators or plants to replace lawn, for example.”

Contact Van Mullekom at

About the book

“Chesapeake Gardening Landscaping: The Essential Green Guide” by Barbara Ellis, an Eastern Shore Maryland gardener, features six design and plant selection principles any gardener in the Mid-Atlantic Zones 6-8 can use, including:

•Reduce lawn.

•Build plant diversity.

•Grow native plants.

•Manage water runoff.

•Welcome wildlife.

•Garden wisely.

Former managing editor of gardening books at Rodale Press and publications director at the American Horticultural Society, Ellis is the author of “Covering Ground: Unexpected Ideas for Landscaping with Colorful, Low-Maintenance Ground Covers,” as well as other books. The 328-page, hardcover retails for $40; for more information and to buy the book, visit University of North Carolina Press at

Daffodil Show

Daffodils and other spring- and fall-flowering bulbs are hardy, healthy plants for all kinds of gardening needs in the Chesapeake Bay region.

See hundreds of different kinds of daffodils during the 82nd annual Daffodil Show March 30-31 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia local member, the Huntington Garden Club, the show features statewide daffodil growers and flower arrangers in competitions and displays.

Show hours are 2-7 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday. Free and open to public; donations appreciated. The show is sanctioned by the American Daffodil Society —

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Gardening tips for green-fingered cat lovers from Cats Protection

Cat-loving gardeners can pick up tips for creating the perfect outdoor space for their pet when Cats Protection visits the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

The charity will be on hand with ideas and planting suggestions for visitors to the event, at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, from May 5 to 8. As well as gardening tips, cat owners will also be able to find out how to keep their pets safe in the sun and what potential hazards may lurk outdoors.

The charity will be unveiling its new vintage-inspired summerhouse stand to welcome visitors, complete with cat care leaflets, cat-related goods for sale, and touch screen facilities to find cats available for rehoming across the UK.

Cats Protection is the UK’s largest cat charity and helps over 205,000 cats every year through a national network of 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.

The charity’s Events Manager Emma Osborne said: “Cats are renowned for their love of the great outdoors and lazing in a garden during the warm weather must be one of their favourite pastimes.

“Many cat owners like to encourage their pets to stay closer to home, both to enjoy their company and keep them safe. We’re often asked for ideas to create interesting and stimulating environments for cats so we’ve come up with some tips for designing a cat-friendly garden.

“With a little time and imagination, your garden can be transformed into a cat’s paradise, leaving you both to enjoy the summer months in a safe and attractive space.”

Cats Protection’s tips for creating a cat-friendly garden and keeping cats safe outdoors are:

• Ensure your cat is fully vaccinated before venturing outdoors to protect against diseases and parasites. Neutering is also vital to prevent unwanted kittens being born and to reduce roaming.

• Cats Protection recommends microchipping as a safe, effective way of identifying your cat should he become lost when outdoors.

• Cats with white fur – including those with white ears or noses – can be susceptible to sunburn during the summer months and sun exposure can be a trigger for a type of cancer. The best way to protect your cat is to try to keep him indoors during the hottest part of the day and provide shade from plants and trees.

• Be aware of poisonous substances in your shed and garage which cats may be able to access. Antifreeze, disinfectants, insect and pest killers can all be lethal to cats and should be kept well away from your cat.

• Avoid plants which can be dangerous to cats. Lilies in particular can be lethal if a cat ingests pollen from its fur after brushing against them. A full list of plants that are dangerous to cats can be found on the International Cat Care’s website

• Choose cat-friendly plants such as catnip (Nepeta cataria), mint, cat thyme (Teucrium marum) and lavender.

• A patch of longer grass can provide a soft bed and cats may also nibble on it to help cough up hairballs.

• Logs provide excellent outdoor scratching posts.

• If you have a pond, cats may be tempted to drink from it. To reduce the risk of them falling in, place some wire mesh securely over the pond, or make sure that there is a low edge so it is easy for a cat to get out. Ensure that any water butts also have a lid on them.

Some gardeners may prefer to keep cats away from their gardens and Cats Protection recommends a number of humane deterrents. Shouting or clapping your hands, squirting water from a low-powered water pistol or spreading chicken manure, citrus peel, or lion dung pellets will all put cats off entering a garden.

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With weather warming up, tips to start your garden right

Posted Mar. 26, 2016 at 3:03 PM

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Garden Tips: Spring Garden Day planned April 23 in Kennewick – Tri

Last year, someone asked me how I handle the stresses of everyday life. One of my strategies after a particularly hard day is immediately going out in the garden when I get home. However, I have trouble simply sitting and relaxing there. I have to be doing something, like watering, deadheading flowers, scouting for insect pests or hoeing weeds, but I do occasionally pause to listen to chirping birds or watch the gentle honeybees visit the flowers.

If you are a gardener like me, you probably intrinsically know the value of plants and gardening. There are numerous university studies that have documented the restorative power of gardens and green spaces, including the reduction of stress and the improvement of well being and hopefulness. Working in the garden or just spending time in a park can lower your blood pressure. Other research has shown that longer exposure to green spaces can even improve immune responses. Plants, green spaces and gardens have also been proved to lessen mental fatigue and improve one’s ability to concentrate.

I am enthusiastic about helping others learn to garden because it is my passion, and also because of the benefits gardening provides. That is why I invite you to join me and other gardeners April 23 for Spring Garden Day at the Highlands Grange Hall, 1500 N. Union St., Kennewick.

Two garden experts will share their gardening expertise. Arthur Job from Job’s Nursery in Pasco is a tree expert and certified arborist who is enthusiastic about helping others learn proper tree care and pruning techniques. He will give a presentation on Planting Trees the Right Way. Trees are a big investment in any landscape, but unfortunately, poor planting practices often result in trees that do not live long. Planting a tree correctly and providing proper care will help protect your investment and ensure that the tree survives and thrives.

Following this presentation, Phyllis Pugnetti, the 2015 Washington State Master Gardener of the Year and Yakima County Washington State University Master Gardener, will explore ways to increase garden resilience through reduced chemical use, increased drought and heat tolerance, and better ecosystem management. As a gardener, Pugnetti is interested in growing unusual and endangered vegetables, organic gardening and saving seed from open-pollinated plants. She believes, like I do, that gardens can “help us through the tough times in life with our health and sanity intact.”

We will finish the day with a question and answer session where WSU Master Gardeners and I will answer participants’ questions. You will also be invited to take a walk through the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden behind the Mid-Columbia Library. This almost three-acre garden with more than 25 themed gardens is a place for learning, reflection and repose. If you are not able to attend the class, I encourage to still visit the Demonstration Garden, especially if you find yourself in need of some peace and relaxation.

The cost for Spring Garden Day is $15. The registration deadline is April 15. To register, stop by the Benton County WSU Extension Office at 5600 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick, or call 509-735-3551 for a brochure and registration form. A copy of the brochure and form can also be found at

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

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