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Archives for April 20, 2016

Southern Idaho gardening events: Growing tomatoes, landscape design, more

Saturday, April 23

Grow Tasty Tomatoes: 10 a.m. at FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. 853-4000.

Foodscaping: Innovative Ways to Grow Edibles: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover ways to integrate your edibles within the existing garden to maximize your space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Wednesday, April 27

Landscape Design: 6 p.m. at FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. 853-4000.

Saturday, April 30

How to Grow and Use Herbs: 10 a.m. at FarWest Landscape and Garden Center, 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. 853-4000.

Container Garden Drama: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Designers will guide you on the best practices to create a seasonal container for your patio or porch. Bring your ideas and containers. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Friday, May 6

National Public Gardens Day: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise. 10th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden festivities begin at 2 p.m. featuring a visit with Meriwether Lewis, a slide show depicting the history and development of the garden, and guided tours of the site. Also, food trucks and Dutch Bros. Coffee on site. Free admission. 343-8649,

Saturday, May 7

Plant sale: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 2201 Woodlawn Ave., Boise. 615-1505.

Vintage Vogue: Roses, Peonies and Hydrangeas: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Learn how to design with David Austin roses, peonies and hydrangeas in your garden. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Saturday, May 14

Moveable Feast: Growing Edibles in Containers: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how you can create colorful and aromatic edible container gardens you will enjoy all season long. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Saturday, May 21

Growing Up: Trellis and Vines: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how trellis and vines can be utilized to hide areas or create ambiance in your garden space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Saturday, May 28

Art in the Garden: 11 a.m. at Madeline George Garden Design Nursery, 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Discover how to utilize garden art to reflect your garden style and create a focal point in your garden space. Free. RSVP: 995-2815,

Saturday, June 11

Idaho Rose Show: Noon to 5 p.m. at The Riverside Hotel, 2900 Chinden Blvd., Boise. Presented by Idaho Rose Society. Free. 440-7826.

Sunday, June 12

Garden Tour: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Boise. Private gardens found in the historic Collister area of Boise’s North End. Benefit for the Idaho Botanical Garden. $25 general, $20 IBG members. 343-8649,

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Better Block BR on Perkins Road to focus on making the corridor safer for all modes of transportation

In anticipation of this weekend’s Better Block BR initiative on Perkins Road, more than 100 volunteers picked up trash and gave the area under the Perkins Road overpass a manicure Saturday.

More than 60 LSU students participating as part of GEAUX Big volunteer day, members of Varsity Sports’ Running Club, City Year Baton Rouge and neighborhood residents helped members of the Center for Planning Excellence and the Greater Baton Rouge Association of Realtors clear away brush and remove discarded furniture under overpass to make the area safer for foot and bicycle traffic.

“The Varsity Running group all really feel strongly about any project in Baton Rouge to make our city more pedestrian friendly,” says Jenni Peters, founder of Varsity Sports, says in a statement. “The Better Block project allows us to put our feelings into action.”

The clean-up set the stage for this weekend’s Better Block BR demonstration taking place on Saturday and Sunday.

CPEX will set up temporary safety buffers along Perkins Road from Cedardale Avenue over the Perkins Road overpass as well as make landscape improvements and set up a pop-up BREC park to give residents and business owners an idea of how to make the busy corridor safer for everyone.

Preliminary plans had called for on-street parallel parking in two locations and creating a one-way loop on the north part of Christian Street to tie into Greenwood Avenue and a side road that runs in front of City Pork and George’s. But those ideas have been scrapped in order to prioritize other aspects of the demonstration.

“What we are going to demonstrate this weekend is access management, traffic congestion, landscaping, and bike and pedestrian safety,” says Camille Manning-Broome, CPEX senior vice president of planning and implementation.

CPEX received a $20,000 grant from the GBRAR and the Credit Bureau of Baton Rouge Foundation to create and implement the Better Block BR demonstration.

Following the event, CPEX will give reports to the city-parish and neighborhood organizations, as well as conduct resident surveys so stakeholders can begin working to bring the vision to fruition. Perkins Road was identified in the FuturEBR comprehensive plan as a location that could be remodeled to make it safer for all forms of transportation.

“Demonstrations like the Better Block allow us to really gauge priority projects and provide proper emphasis for future transportation improvements in line with Mayor Holden’s vision for Baton Rouge, by seeing them in action,” says Stephen Bonnette, director of the Department of Transportation and Drainage, in a statement. “Beyond modeling Complete Street concepts for the public, Better Block projects provide invaluable community feedback so that we can see which elements work that we can use to shape our planning, engineering and construction decisions going forward.”

This will be the second Better Block BR demonstration CPEX has put on, following one in 2013 on Government Street. CPEX is partnering with Mayor Kip Holden’s office and the city-parish Department of Transportation and Drainage to host the event.

Festivities begin Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. with a Varsity Sports group walk from City Park to the Better Block. See the full list of events.

—Ryan Broussard

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Lance Bass wants to bring ‘love’ concert to Mississippi

Lance Bass hasn’t let Mississippi’s recently signed controversial “religious freedom” legislation deter him from returning home.

The former ‘N Sync member has watched as celebrities boycott shows across the state in protest of the bill, which allows religious groups and some private businesses to deny services to same-sex couples under a sincerely held religious belief.

Bass, who spent the last two days in his hometown of Clinton working to help build a community garden, is committed to bringing celebrities to Mississippi for a “love” concert.

“I think if we calmly talk about it, people will understand how wrong it is and that it is discrimination,” Bass said Wednesday. “I learned in church that if you don’t want bake a cake for someone, Jesus would bake a cake and take the opportunity to witness to someone.”

Bass said he is working with entertainment promoters Live Nation “trying to bring people who are boycotting the state and bring them for love. We want to do something to raise money to fight this bill … I want to bring my friends down here and show them that Mississippi is about love and we are the hospitality state. The world does not look at us as the hospitality state anymore.”

A tweet sent by Bass April on 6 tags singers such as Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and fellow Mississippian Hayley Williams, asking if they’d be willing to perform in Mississippi. He said a concert announcement will be made next month and that he’d like to have it in the Jackson area.

Bass was joined by husband Michael Turchin at nonprofit Clinton Community Christian Corporation, across the street from Lovett Elementary, where Bass’ mother taught while he was growing up, to unveil a community garden for Eastside Elementary students.

Bass has been a board member for the Environmental Media Association for a decade, which has helped build 17 community gardens across Los Angeles for inner-city schools. The expansion to Clinton is the first for the organization outside of Los Angeles and is made possible by Birds Eye, which will keep the organic garden stocked with vegetable for the first two years.

Debbie Levin, EMA president, made her first trip to Mississippi for the construction of the garden and said Bass was a natural choice to help expand the program, one she hopes will be in all 50 states, because of his connection to the community.

“I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a celebrity who would do press one day and then never come back,” Levin said. “(Bass) has all kinds of landscaping ideas. He wants to put in trees, the art class to decorate. His mom is going to come with the church in the summer to help plant and donate the excess.”

The garden will be used for students, who will take field trips to chart progress of the vegetables, and open to the public through the Clinton Community Christian Corporation.

Contact Jacob Threadgill at (601) 961-7192 or by email to Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Get the most from your landscaping efforts

This time of year always seems to inspire a frenzy of gardening activity. People flock to nurseries, and trees, shrubs, ground covers, tropicals, perennials and bedding plants are sold by the truckload. In the frantic rush to plant something in the landscape, however, don’t forget that the more thought you put into your planting decisions, the more satisfactory the results are likely to be.

First, analyze your landscaping needs to decide what planting needs to be done and the purpose it will serve. Determine, for instance, whether you need to screen unsightly views, remove overgrown shrubs, create shade or privacy, provide an area for children to play, create an area for outdoor living, give your home a more attractive appearance from the street or whatever else.

Once you’ve decided the function and location of new plantings in your landscape, consult landscaping books to help you refine your design ideas and gardening books written for our area to help you select the right plants. Also, talk to knowledgeable people such as local gardeners you know, horticulture agents with the LSU AgCenter and staffs at garden centers and nurseries.

Consider the future maintenance requirements of any new exterior plantings. Select insect- and disease-resistant plants that are well adapted to our area to minimize the need for using pesticides. And make sure that they will not grow too large for the location where you intend to plant them. Always ask how large a plant will grow before you purchase it. This will reduce the need to constantly prune plants that outgrow their location.

Remember to select plants for your landscape that will thrive in the growing conditions of the location where they will be planted. Study carefully the amount of sun the area will receive, for instance, and choose plants appropriate for that amount of light.

If you feel you’re simply indulging yourself when you purchase trees, shrubs, flowers and other plants, here’s some information that will make you feel good: Landscaping your home brings quite a few economic benefits. Most real estate agents will agree that a well-landscaped home often sells more quickly and at a higher price than does a comparable home lacking a nice landscape. One reason trees and shrubs add value to a home is that, unlike many purchases, over the years they appreciate in value as they grow larger and more beautiful.

Choose the right landscape professional

Landscape professionals work with homeowners who don’t have a clear idea of how to create an attractive, functional landscape. One of the benefits of hiring a landscape professional is to have a chance to ask questions and receive advice, and no project is too small. If your budget is limited, a professional can help you set priorities and schedule your plan in phases. They can also be as familiar with building codes and deck and swimming pool construction as they are with horticulture and the aesthetics of gardening.

If you’d like to hire a professional to help design your landscape but you don’t know where to begin, follow these tips from the American Association of Nurserymen (AAN) and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA).

  • Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues for recommendations. Your best bet is to select an experienced, well-established firm with a history of completing projects similar to yours.
  • Arrange a meeting with two or three companies. Don’t feel shy asking about the training and educational background of the people who will be working for you. Get a feel for how well you could work with the individuals and how well they understand what you want. Ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure the company or individual you’re dealing with has a Louisiana Landscape Architect license or Landscape Horticulturist license, which is required by law. A licensed landscape architect has a degree in landscape architecture and can sell you an original design whether they do the installation or not. Landscape horticulturist may help you develop a design, but only as part of a package that includes the plants, materials and installation. The primary benefit of using any of these experts is to draw on their knowledge, experience and creativity.
  • Before you make your decision, obtain a written estimate, including a projected date of completion. When you get ready to sign the contract for instillation, make sure it includes a detailed list of all plants, materials, work to be done and specifications, as well as any guarantees on plants and other materials used in the landscape.

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Miriam Stevenson Oct. 1, 1942— April 16, 2016

Miriam Stevenson, 73, passed away April 16, 2016, in Burlington, Ill. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Adams Funeral Home in Ames with a visitation one hour prior to the service. Burial will be in Olive Branch Cemetery, rural Napier.

Miriam Florence Stevenson was born Oct. 1, 1942, to Byron and Virginia (Reed) Thomas. Miriam graduated from United Community High School west of Ames. She attended the University of Northern Iowa and then graduated from American Institute of Business (AIB) in Des Moines. After graduation, Miriam worked as a secretary in the poultry science department at Iowa State University, where she met an ISU student from Colo named Bob Stevenson. They were married during his senior year at Iowa State. Upon his graduation, they moved to Wauwatosa, Wis., where Miriam worked as a bank teller. After moving to Springfield, Ill., she worked as a secretary in the military research department for Sagagmo Electric. They then lived in Bondurant, and Miriam worked in Des Moines as a legal secretary for Nyemaster Law Firm, and then as a secretary in the soil conversation department for the USDA. While they lived in Aurora, Colo., Miriam was a stay-at-home mom. They then moved to St. Charles, Ill., where Miriam worked as a teacher’s aide at Lily Lake Grade School. Miriam and Bob then moved to her parent’s farm west of Ames to care for her mother, and, after her passing, moved to Burlington be near family.

Miriam was a Boone County Master Gardener and volunteered at Reiman Gardens in Ames. She enjoyed landscaping, working in her own garden and had done several master gardening projects in Boone.

Miriam is survived by her husband of 51 years, Robert (Bob) S. Stevenson, of Burlington; her son, Robert (Rob) T. Stevenson, and his wife, Stephanie, and their daughters, Lilly and Avery, all of Elburn, Ill.; and her son, Roy Reed Stevenson, and his wife, Courtney, and their sons, Jake, Ben, Roy and Luke, all of Elgin, Ill.

She was preceded in death by her parents.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Miriam’s memory may be made to the Les Turner ALS Foundation at

Adams Funeral Home in Ames is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and photos may be shared at

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Waterwise Yard of the Day: 33673 Avenue C in Yucaipa landscaping inspired by love of succulents

Roz Casarez said her drought tolerant yard, full of hundreds of succulents, is the product of 10 years of growing cuttings from her own established succulents. Not having to pull weeds is Casarez’s favorite part of her drought tolerant landscape.

Roz Casarez said her drought tolerant yard, full of hundreds of succulents, is the product of 10 years of growing cuttings from her own established succulents. Not having to pull weeds is Casarez’s favorite part of her drought tolerant landscape.

REDLANDS Roz Casarez had a lot of lawn to water at the Yucaipa home she and her husband bought in 2005.

“The front yard was a full grass lawn and the backyard was partially covered in grass,” said Casarez.

In 2007 Casarez and her family pulled up the lawn in the backyard and built a casita.

That same year she began planting cacti and succulents.

As they grew, Casarez would take pinchings from existing plants and grow new plants from the parent.

“Beheading is when you want to move or grow from an offshoot of a certain plant. Just cut it then let the base where you cut it dry. If you don’t, it will rot. Once it is dry, then you plant it.”

Since then she has turned her backyard into a succulent and cactus paradise, spending no more than $500 total in 10 years.

“Succulents are my passion,” said Casarez. “I got that from my mother, who is from the coastal town Sinaloa in Mexico where succulents thrive.”

Looking through “Design with Succulents” by Debra Lee Baldwin and Sunset magazine is where Casarez drew inspiration for some of her current landscape designs.

She suggests friends and neighbors do their own research to figure out what they like most.

“My advice would be to look all around town and visit gardens in San Diego,” she said. “There are lots of books at the library as well as advice at the nursery.”

Casarez also recommends getting as many free cuttings as possible from friends and willing neighbors.

Casarez’s backyard garden features an enormous agave cacti mound, hundreds of drought tolerant plants and a granite path her granddaughter enjoys walking along to take guests on tours of the garden.

Casarez says one of the best aspects of her drought tolerant yard is that she has to weed very little, but overall spending time in her garden is a joy.

“Being back here is a way to get myself settled down. I look around and things are growing on their own. It puts me into a state of gratefulness.”

Her favorite plant is green ground cover named Calandrinia Grandiflora.

“It’s my favorite because it shoots beautiful 2-foot pink blooms,” she said.

This yard is at 33673 Avenue C in Yucaipa.

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Sensory gardens and ‘play landscapes’: £2.7m vision for Poole Park revealed

WIDE promenades, improved landscaping, cleaner lakes, quality materials, new planting, sensory gardens, and ‘destination’ play areas – this is all part of a vision for Poole Park being laid out for residents for the first time.

A raft of detailed proposals are being consulted on as part Borough of Poole’s £2.7m bid for Heritage Lottery Funding for improvements for the much-loved Victorian park.

At the moment only ‘traffic’ and ‘heritage and landscape’ measures are on the table, but the remaining ‘themes’ of play, lakes and drainage, and management, maintenance and conservation will be consulted on in the summer.

Project manager Martin Whitchurch said although the council had set out “broad concepts and design principles” in the first round of the bid, this is “the first time we’ve shown people detailed proposals about what we plan to do under each theme.”

Traffic proposals are based around “trying to reduce traffic dominance and make it better for pedestrians,” he added. Ideas include wider pedestrian walkways at the Seldown entrance and replacing speed bumps with ‘shared surface raised tables’. The roundabout would also go, in its place a ‘raised table’ would extend over the junction with Whitecliff Road and the entrance to Middle Gate Car Park.

Modifications to parking provision include reconfiguring the two waterside car parking areas in a bid to “reduce their dominance,” said Mr Whitchurch. Spaces lost there would be offset by an extension to the Copse Close car park and additional on-street parking in a new access way around the fountain.

The council is also consulting on changes to the way in which the park is closed to traffic – currently between 6am and 10am Monday to Saturday. Options include shortening the closure to 9am, an additional closure from 4pm to 6pm, and closing a stretch within the park either side of the war memorial.

Plans also include felling the horse chestnut trees along The Drive which are considered “poor quality” and replacing them with alternative trees.

Under the heritage and landscape banner the idea is “lifting” the existing spaces, with new additions including a sensory garden in the place of the existing go-kart track, and a ‘plant collector’s garden’ at the putting green site. The rose garden is also in line for a facelift.

Steps around the war memorials would be removed to make them wheelchair accessible.

Other proposals include dredging the silted areas of the freshwater lakes and using the material to widen the banks elsewhere, new planting, improved materials for walkways and barriers, refurbishing the fountain and removal of the carp from the freshwater lakes to improve bio-diversity.

The bid team are already working up the detailed plans under the remaining themes ready for the next round of consultation in July and August. These will be the two play areas, ideas for natural ‘play landscapes’, and plans for restoring the park’s historic buildings, and managing the population of geese among other things.

Article continues after…

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Mr Whitchurch said: “This is the opportunity for people to have their say before the final bid goes in. We want people to come and see the designs and tell us if they’re right, or if not, what we can do to make it right.”

He added: “We want to try to manage the park as befits its status as the premier borough park – and safeguard that for the future. All the plans showcase increased quality, and making it better for the park users, with everything from a destination play area, to improving water quality in the lagoon and the freshwater lakes, to trying to recapture some of the Victorian environment and landscaping.

“People might say there’s nothing wrong with the park as it is – and I agree we don’t need dramatic alterations. “What we do need to do is protect the infrastructure so that Poole Park as we know it is there for future generations to use and love in the same way we do at the moment.”

The final bid will need to be submitted by the end of this year – and the council will hear if it has been successful in early spring. For details see

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Gardening safety tips for seniors

Gardening safety tips

n Protect your body by wearing gloves, sunscreen and layers of clothing. Wear a hat with a brim and good walking shoes. Remember, the ground may be uneven and balance is critical. Use a cane, shovel or tool for balance.

Use your wheelchair or other chair to sit when you garden.

n Use eye cover when you use a lightweight blower. Have an alert system or cell phone handy when you need help.

Use tools you can handle. Have a first aid kit handy.

n Know your limits and take breaks. Don’t overdo it just because you feel good.

n Take necessary medications for allergies or arthritis.

Consult your doctor before you garden.

n Hydrate by sipping water throughout the day and especially when working outside.

n Do a safety check of the area where you select to garden.

Make sure there are no objects in your walkway. Use appropriate chairs or kneeling pads for planting, weeding or pruning.

n Use a gardening table and chair where you can sit and prepare plants and consider their arrangement.

Have everything you need, even the garbage bin, within reach.

n Garden with a friend or family member if possible. You may need assistance with heavy objects or an injury might occur. Make it a social event or go to a gardening event at a public garden.

— Martha Boyce, executive director, Horticulture for Humanity

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The Ag Guy: Garden tips for April

Posted Apr. 19, 2016 at 9:51 AM

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