Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for May 4, 2016

Alliums add punch to garden design (and deer don’t like them)

My allium obsession began many years ago.

The first time I spied an airy purple orb on a 3-foot sticklike stem — hovering magically over
the rest of the garden — I was hooked.

Today, my collection of ornamental alliums continues to expand, and the nonprofit National
Garden Bureau has declared 2016 “The Year of the Allium.”

Honorees are “chosen because they are popular, easy to grow, widely adaptable, genetically
diverse and versatile,” according to the bureau.

Amen, and then there’s this: Alliums look really cool.

The most dramatic are the spring bloomers with softball-size flower heads in purple or

When you discover alliums named Gladiator and Globemaster, you know there’s nothing subtle about

Plant half a dozen to provide an eye-catching exclamation point in a flower bed; plant a
generous swath and become the envy of the neighborhood.

Whether you plant six or 60, they provide a just-right contrast with peonies, poppies or
anything gold or chartreuse.

If you prefer your alliums a little more restrained, spring bloomers for you might include the
classic purple “drumstick” allium, with 1-inch flowers, or Allium moly, with loose clusters of
yellow blossoms.

Among summer bloomers, Millenium is considered one of the best. It features 2-inch purple
flowers above foliage that stays attractive all season; most spring alliums’ foliage fades and

Other summer bloomers include Sugar Melt (light pink flowers), and Blue Eddy and Medusa (both
with lavender flowers and twisting leaves).

All alliums — whether with huge or delicate flowers, or with spring or summer blossoms— are
unpalatable to deer, rabbits and other creatures. That’s because they’re members of the onion
family, which your nose will confirm if you crush a stem or leaf.

Bees and other pollinators, however, can’t resist the nectar-rich flowers.

In addition to being pest-resistant, alliums are easy to grow.

Most prefer full sun, and the spring-blooming varieties — which are planted as bulbs in the fall
— require excellent drainage.

The summer bloomers, which form clumps like other herbaceous perennials, aren’t as picky and can
be planted anytime.

Diana Lockwood, a freelance writer covering gardening topics, writes a blog at

Article source:

Irish landscaper wows on Super Garden with design for young widow who tragically lost her husband

Garden Designer Gerry McDonald was given the important task of creating a garden for Mullingar woman Sarah Egan, whose husband Ronan passed away awaiting a transplant leaving behind two children Clara (17) and Eoghan (10).

Ahead of the project, Sarah admitted that her late husband had been the green-fingers in her family, and she struggled to keep up with the garden in the years after his death.

“He did the garden,” said Sarah.

Gerry McDonald's garden designed for the Egan family on RTE's Super Garden
Gerry McDonald’s garden designed for the Egan family on RTE’s Super Garden

“I tried to keep up with the maintenance but I struggled,” she said.

As part of the RTE series, which sees the winning designer debut their garden at Bloom 2016, Gerry executed an enviable contemporary space in memory of the man so deeply missed by his loving family.

The Dublin designer found great help in the local community, who helped him keep on top of the time pressures set out by the programme.

Judges were impressed by the garden’s focal point, a walled seating area and Gerry’s successful colour scheme which managed to bring the garden together.

Sarah Egan and her daughter Clara on Super Garden
Sarah Egan and her daughter Clara on Super Garden
Gerry McDonald’s garden designed for the Egan family on RTE’s Super Garden

Gerry McDonald (far left) pictured with the other competitors on this year's Super Garden
Gerry McDonald (far left) pictured with the other competitors on this year’s Super Garden

Online Editors

Article source:

Free water-wise landscape series

Click Here to access the online Public Inspection File

Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station’s FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC’s online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or

Article source:

6 Mother’s Day gift ideas

It’s time to honor that special woman in your life. Mother’s Day is approaching, and whether you are buying for your mother, your wife, or both, consider some inexpensive alternatives or ways to save money on classic Mother’s Day gifts.

  • Flowers – Flowers are a popular Mother’s Day present, but you don’t necessarily have to pay flower shop prices. Instead of paying for a vase and the extra arrangement costs, find your own simple vase and make your own arrangement. You can find inexpensive yet beautiful flower bundles at most supermarkets that you can turn into a lovely bouquet on your own. Take the time to find out what types of flowers she prefers and which property is the most important to her (color, appearance, fragrance, etc.)
  • Plants/Landscaping – Mother’s Day is the perfect time of year to put out most new plants. Farmer’s markets and local gardening society meetings/sales can be great places to pick up plants without paying holiday markup at home improvement stores or nurseries.
  • Handmade Gifts – A well-thought out handmade gift can be worth far more to your mother than the money you spent. For example, customize a picture frame with sentimental mementoes and insert her favorite family picture. If you are a knitter, make her an afghan or a scarf. An Internet search of “Mother’s Day DIY gifts” should spur your imagination and help you find a project that your mother will love within your price range and skill set.
  • Refurbishing Projects – Does she have a favorite piece of furniture that is in need of repair or refinishing? If it’s in your skill set to do so, consider tackling this project. It might be difficult, or unwise, to do this as a surprise, so you may want to make the offer first.
  • Hobby Accessories – Does your mother have a favorite hobby such as knitting or gardening — or perhaps she likes to golf or rebuild vintage Chevys? Regardless of her hobby, find subtle ways to find out what accessories she needs. Take an interest in her hobby and you are likely to find a suitable choice. Shop well in advance so you can take advantage of any coupons or sales related to her hobby if you can.
  • Gift Cards – Got a hard-to-please mom? Consider gift cards so she can redeem them whenever she wants for whatever she wants.

Mother’s Day is chock full of sales, rebates, and coupon opportunities. Make sure you check your local stores, newspapers, and websites/social media for deals related to your choice.

Whatever you decide to shop for or make, start early. You will generally have the best selection and avoid pre-holiday markups. If you are making a Mother’s Day present, starting early gives you a little extra cushion in case you have a mishap. Mom probably won’t mind if her homemade gift is a bit late, but why take the chance?

The most important thing of all is to know your mother’s likes and dislikes. It’s a good idea to notice potential gift ideas throughout the year and stash them away for future reference. You are more likely to come through with a pleasant surprise that way (but make sure she hasn’t already bought the item for herself).

With a little time and effort, you can make Mother’s Day even more special. However, don’t forget to give your Mom the most important gift of all — your time and attention. Let her know that you love her and would do anything for her, not just on Mother’s Day but throughout the year as well.

This article was provided by our partners at


To Read More From MoneyTips:

What We Spend On Mother’s Day

Gift Cards 101

Top Ten Ways To Use Unwanted Gift Cards


Photo ©


Article source:

Walter Metcalfe Jr., Citizen of the Year, urges design competition to reshape region’s political landscape

ST. LOUIS • This region can apply the dynamic cooperation that is reshaping the Gateway Arch grounds to tackle issues of race, poverty and government duplication, Walter L. Metcalfe Jr. said Tuesday.

One way to generate ideas, he said, is a “design competition” similar to those that chose the designs of the Arch in 1948 and, 62 years later, the landscaping work underway there.

“With a design competition with prizes, you may shoot for the stars and still put people at the center of the process, gaining their trust, addressing needs and fears,” said Metcalfe in a 35-minute speech to accept the honor of 2015 Citizen of the Year.

Metcalfe, 77, addressed 125 people, including 14 previous awardees, at Jazz at the Bistro, 3536 Washington Avenue. He was honored for organizing the $380 million improvement of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and for work on such projects as the domed stadium and the Scottrade Center downtown.

For seven years until June 2015, Metcalfe was chairman of the CityArchRiver2015 Foundation, which promoted Arch grounds redesign and raised private donations to complete it. The half-finished project, with $150 million in tax assistance, is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

Metcalfe said governments, businesses and citizens worked through numerous challenges to provide a suitable setting for the Arch, which was topped 50 years ago. He said Eero Saarinen, its lead designer, would have been “appalled” had he lived to see the original riverfront park.

“We are now seeing the final realization of Saarinen’s vision for the Missouri side, with Illinois to come,” Metcalfe said. “The riverfront is once again becoming a vital part of the city and region, something that has been missing for a long time.”

Metcalfe urged the region to apply that success to issues such as poverty and race, duplication of local government and reform of municipal courts.

“Don’t run away from your critics,” he said. “Listen and learn from what they have to say. Make them part of the solution.”

Metcalfe said the region needs to eliminate competition among municipalities to attract retail businesses with tax subsidies. When it comes to the subsidies, known as TIFs, “we are structurally polarized and collectively stupid,” he said.

Afterward, Mayor Francis Slay said Metcalfe “reminds me of the conductor of a symphony, with all his attention to detail and commitment to a vision.” Former U.S. Sen. John Danforth, Metcalfe’s former law partner, said Metcalfe “knows how to go from point A to point B, and how to actually get you there.”

The old St. Louis Globe-Democrat founded its Man of the Year award in 1955. Now co-sponsored by the Post-Dispatch and the committee of former awardees, the name was changed in 1997.

Metcalfe is the 70th person so honored. Previous winners include civil rights lawyer Frankie Freeman (who attended Tuesday), broadcaster Jack Buck and brewery chairman August A. “Gussie” Busch Jr. Three times, more than one person was named.

Metcalfe is senior counsel at the Bryan Cave law firm, where he was chairman for 10 years until 2004. He also was chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of St. Louis from 2004 to 2006.

Metcalfe grew up in University City and graduated from John Burroughs School, Washington University and the University of Virginia School of Law. In 1965, he married Cynthia Williamson of Webster Groves. The couple have two children and two grandchildren and live in Clayton.

Article source:

Bloomington-Normal garden walk marks 20 years

Garden Walk
Tickets are on sale for the Glorious Gardens Festival Garden Walk.. (Photo courtesy Donna Dickson)

By Eric Stock

BLOOMINGTON – Bloomington-Normal’s annual Glorious Garden Festival Garden Walk is marking 20 years this spring.

The self-guided tours of 10 private gardens has attracted 200,000 visitors over the years. Organizer Donna Dickson told WJBC’s Scott Laughlin you don’t have to be a ‘green thumb’ to appreciate these displays.

PODCAST: Listen to Scott’s interview with Dickson on WJBC.

“People who have never had a garden and are wanting to do something can get a whole bunch of ideas,” Dickson said. “That’s part of the fun of it.”

Dickson added the gardens come in all shapes, sizes and themes.

“We try to have a good mix, because a lot of people think the garden walk is just the English cottage garden and it isn’t,” Dickson said. “We have small gardens that are nothing but flowers. We have one this year where they wanted to do an entertainment center in their yard so they can have parties.”

The garden walk is the largest annual fundraiser for the state-run David Davis Mansion.

Dickson added the walk’s theme is ‘A Gardening Legacy,’ which reflects the long-term financial support the garden walk has provided for the restoration and preservation of Sarah Davis’s 1870s garden at the mansion.

Corporate sponsors for the Glorious Garden Festival are Casey’s Garden Shop Florist, Chizmar Landscaping, Green View Companies, Grieder Landscaping Service Garden Design Center, Growing Grounds Garden Center and Florist, Original Smith Printing, Serenity Creek Design Landscaping, Inc., Solid Ground Gardening, State Farm Insurance Cos., Wendell Niepagen Greenhouses Garden Center, WJBC AM 1230, and Zimmerman Armstrong Investment Advisors, Inc.

Eric Stock can be reached at

Article source:

Haas estate in Villanova to be preserved as public garden

Adding a final jewel to the philanthropic legacy of John and Chara Cooper Haas, their children are donating the family’s Stoneleigh Estate in Villanova to the conservation group Natural Lands Trust, which will manage it as a native-plants garden, open free to the public.

AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America to Merge to Create Leading Security Company in North America.  Steve Jones, left, Chief Executive Officer of Universal Services of America, will serve as the CEO of the combined company, and Bill Whitmore, right, CEO of AlliedBarton, will serve as its Chairman of the Board. /pp Slideshow

The 42 acres and Tudor Revival mansion on North Spring Mill Road are to be transferred to the trust at a ceremony and luncheon Wednesday on the Great Lawn behind the house.

Emotionally, “it is a passage, for sure,” said David Haas, who was 9 when his parents acquired the estate from his grandparents in 1964. “But it is inspiring to think that this place” – where he, his four siblings, and cousins played and climbed trees – “will really be open, used, and appreciated by many different people.”

His father, a former chairman of the global chemical company Rohm Haas Corp., was 92 when he died in 2011. His mother was 85 when she died the following year. They had met at a dinner party in Houston, married in 1952, and used their ensuing wealth to support many charitable causes.

The donation of Stoneleigh, which David Haas called “the final piece” in the settlement of his parents’ estate, will ensure the grounds are protected green space in perpetuity, extending the couple’s lifelong commitment to conservation.

“It will outlast all of us,” he said, “which is part of what philanthropy does, or tries to do.”

When it opens in about 18 months, the estate will be rechristened Stoneleigh: A Natural Garden.

Among its native flora are dogwoods and huge hollies and rhododendron. Some of the stately trees are thought to be at least a century old.

The landscaping blends elements of Beaux Arts formality with the naturalistic style that was brought to the grounds by the two sons of the eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. The Olmsted-designed gardens and vistas are historically certified.

“We’ll build on what’s here and augment it with new materials and new science on the benefits of natives in terms of the bugs, butterflies, birds, and pollinators they attract,” said Natural Lands Trust president Molly Morrison.

Stoneleigh, she said, will be a horticultural resource, a trove of ideas for what visitors can plant in their own gardens.

Founded in 1953, the Media-based trust has stewardship of 43 nature preserves across Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

“We own many properties. They are like children, you love them all,” Morrison said. “But [Stoneleigh] gives us a new opportunity to showcase the many benefits that accrue to the environment by choosing natives over nonnatives.”

According to the trust’s plan, new plantings will be installed, a swimming pool filled in, and the pool house converted into restrooms. The mansion’s first floor will be rented out occasionally for events. The second and third floors will house the library and archives of the national Organ Historical Society, based in Richmond, Va. Pipe organs are a passion of David’s younger brother, Fred.

A recently acquired three-acre parcel adjacent to Stoneleigh’s northwest corner will become the entrance and parking area.

Nearby is one of Stoneleigh’s most sentimental features: a family of rabbits carved into the tall stump of a tree.

A local landmark visible from the busy intersection of Spring Mill and County Line Roads, the rabbits were decked out for holidays and special occasions. The elder Haases dressed the bunnies in caps and gowns at college graduation time, festooned them with colored eggs at Easter, costumed them at Halloween.

“People really became attached to it,” David Haas said.

The tradition will live on, he said.

“The whole world could change, but the bunnies are not going anywhere,” he said, explaining that a variant of his surname in Dutch and German means hare.

Stoneleigh’s history dates to 1877, when Edmund Smith, a Pennsylvania Railroad Co. executive, bought 65 acres in Villanova and built a home. In 1932, after the land was subdivided, Otto Haas, John’s father and cofounder of Rohm Haas, purchased a portion. So began eight decades of Haas residency.

Current tax records put the estimated market value of the property at a minimum of $9.9 million.

After Otto Haas died in 1960, John Haas became chairman of the family’s charitable organization, known today as the William Penn Foundation, one of America’s richest grant-making institutions.

In 2009, Rohm Haas was sold to Dow Chemical Co. for $15.3 billion, which allowed John and Chara Haas to substantially increase their charitable activities.

Among the beneficiaries have been United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, Fairmount Park, and the Opportunities Industrialization Center of America, a job-training institution in North Philadelphia founded by the Baptist preacher and civil rights leader the Rev. Leon Sullivan.

In John Haas’ obituary, former Gov. Ed Rendell was quoted as saying: “He didn’t care much for the trappings of wealth or success. . . . His special passion was improving human services and protecting the environment.”

John and Chara Haas made their home available for nonprofit fund-raising, and each May they opened the grounds for an annual event they called the Stoneleigh Stroll-About.

David Haas said the family’s vision for the estate can be found in a note his parents wrote years ago to welcome strollers:

“We hope that you enjoy your visit here, and when you depart, may a bit of the peacefulness and beauty, which is so much a part of Stoneleigh, be with you.”

215-854-2541@MichaelMatza1 comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the “Report Abuse” option.

Please note that comments are monitored by staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Load comments

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Article source:

Trellis theft at McKinley Park rose garden raises security concerns

Caretakers and supporters of Sacramento’s McKinley Park memorial rose garden are asking the public’s help in finding a decorative wrought-iron trellis stolen from the garden early Saturday.

The theft also has raised the issue of nighttime security to protect the garden from vandals.

The trellis is one of 16 sculptured iron trellises, or arbors, custom made and installed at the 1.5-acre garden more than 20 years ago, said Ellie Longanecker, who has orchestrated the garden’s restoration in recent years. The trellis is 8 feet wide and 16 feet tall, weighs hundreds of pounds and was bolted to concrete pads. Removing it would have required several people and a large truck, Longanecker said.

The trellis was stolen from an area behind the preschool at 33rd and H streets. The vandals cut down climbing roses supported by the trellis and damaged nearby tree and bush roses.

Longanecker said the motive for the theft is a mystery. The trellis is a work of art and its replacement cost is estimated at $6,000. Longanecker said she contacted a local metal recycler and was told its value as scrap metal would be negligible compared to its value as an artwork. Because of its distinctive design and floral sculpture, it would be easily recognized if someone were to try to sell it as a landscaping feature.

“It’s not like something you would find at a nursery,” Longanecker said.

Members of the Sacramento Rose Society care for the rose garden on a daily basis and the nonprofit Friends of East Sacramento has a lease to manage the garden, which is rented for various events, including weddings. Event fees and private donations cover the maintenance of the garden and lawns.

Restoration of the garden, which began in 2009, has resulted in replacement of more than 600 for the 1,200 bushes, and eight perennial companion gardens have also been refurbished.

Longanecker, a master gardener and consulting rosarian through the American Rose Society, said she views the theft as a wake-up call emphasizing the need to secure the garden at night.

The garden is a lovely spot during the day, but volunteers arrive each morning to find trash and broken bottles left overnight, Longanecker said. She would like to see an iron fence installed around the garden so the site could be secured at night. A “clean looking iron fence,” she said, would cost about $36,000.

Anyone with information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen trellis, or wishing to donate money to help replace it, is asked to call Longanecker at 916-483-0615 or Lisa Schmidt at 916-452-8011, or email

Article source:

Get Growing: Tips for gardening with your kids

This is the first year my son Ajax is really getting into gardening, and I can’t wait to see how excited he gets when all the seeds we are planting come up. Gardening is such a magical thing when you think about it, and for kids, it’s even more amazing. Plus, for an almost 3-year-old boy, any chance to play in the dirt is a good time for sure.

But since it’s his first year, I decided to keep it simple with a few basic garden staples that I know will be easy to grow, and perfect for snacking right in the garden. Here are a few tips, and some of my favorite varieties to get your little gardener off to a good start:

Keep it simple: What I love most about gardening is that it can be as complicated or as simple as you want, and for a children’s garden, even a tiny row of carrots can make their day.

So keep things simple. Give kids their own little patch to experiment, and don’t go too crazy. Even just a few varieties of herbs and a tomato plant will be fun to watch, and keep them interested. Or, if they are older, you can enlist their help making bamboo trellises or more ornate garden structures. Whatever you decide, just make sure to keep it fun, because that’s what it’s all about.

Let them choose their own seeds and plants: Going to the store to look at seed racks is really fun for everyone, especially little kids. Let them pick out a few varieties just for them, and show them how to plant them. But maybe steer them toward varieties that are easy to grow, such as radishes, cucumbers, carrots and tomatoes, and of course watermelons and pumpkins.

Get a few kid-friendly tools and gloves: At my baby shower, a good friend of mine gave me an adorable mini-gardener set, and Ajax absolutely loves it now. It even included a kid-sized watering can. It’s great to get kids a few tools of their own, and it keeps them away from your tools, too.

Easy veggies for first-time gardeners: For younger gardeners, I always recommend easy and quick-growing varieties, such as radishes, zucchini, cucumbers and lettuces. Herbs are also wonderful for kids to grow, and are a fun way to introduce young palates to the many flavors of the garden. Gardening catalogs often note which varieties are really easy to grow, and some even offer children’s collections.

Pick plants they can eat right off the vine: Food from the garden is the ultimate fast food; just head outside if you want to pick a handful of sweet cherry tomatoes, crisp snap peas or colorful carrots.

My son went through a phase where he decided he did not like eating vegetables anymore, much to my chagrin. But the carrots he picked from the garden he proudly ate, telling everyone that he picked them.

Robyn Jasko of Kutztown is the author of “Homesweet Homegrown: How To Grow, Make and Store Food, No Matter Where You Live,” and the creator of the blog GrowIndie at Reach her at

Article source:

Gardening Tips: Tips for Early Spring Planting

As gardeners, we are always watching the weather forecast. I’m writing this article in the wee, small hours of the morning because I was up to check the thermometer, worried about the plants we left uncovered at the garden centre last night. The forecast was for plus 2C but as often happens at this time of year, I wake up and worry!

It is in fact above zero, or I won’t be at the computer! I would have driven to work to turn on the overhead sprinklers. The thin coating of water that freezes on the foliage actually protects the leaves from frost damage.

I get lots of calls about what can be safely planted in early spring when we are still prone to frosty nights. Trees, shrubs and perennials that are outdoors, acclimatized to night temperatures, are good to go. If new growth does get slightly nipped by frost, they usually recover and outgrow the damage as weather warms.

If you are craving spring colour, pansies will take freezing temperatures. You may lose a few blooms, but simply cut those off. More flowers will follow.
Rhubarb and asparagus roots can be planted now along with strawberry and raspberry plants. Onion sets can go into the garden too. It is a little too early for potatoes. Their tops will be damaged by frost if they sprout early. Or if you do plant, have blankets handy for frosty nights.

Peas, carrots, lettuce, radish and spinach seeds can be sown out in the garden now. It’s too soon for beans, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and corn.

It is way too early to plant most herbs and annuals. Since they are grown in heated greenhouses, their leaves and stems are very tender, not able to withstand cold weather. Even daytime temperatures of 10C or less and cold spring winds can damage plants. If you have the bug and decide to buy early, be sure to have a covered, warm space to hold them in until temperatures moderate.

If you keep outdoor plants inside, you have to remember that you house light conditions are much different that a greenhouse. Your windows block most ultra violet light from the sun. It’s necessary for healthy plant growth and is able to pass through the clear plastic covering on the greenhouse. Plants you set in a sunny window may still get weakened.

After keeping plants indoors, you have to harden them off before you put them out in full sun. Start setting them out in early morning on a warm day. Expose them to only 1/2 of sun the first day and increase outside time by 1/2 hour each day until they acclimatize. Putting them right out into strong sunlight can cause leaves to burn. Think about red and sore your skin gets if you sit out all day in the sun!

You can also set plants out on warm days and tuck them under cover at night. If you keep plants in a garage or shed, elevate them off the cold concrete floor. Also be careful not to over-water: cold, wet roots rot easily.

There are a few annuals and herbs that will be badly damaged by cold spring weather. Basil especially hates the cold and damp. Sweet potato vine will wilt right away if taken out too early. Keep these babies nice and warm!

Don’t forget to fertilze plants you take home early. They need a steady supply of nutrients to stay healthy. I always used a balance fertilizer such as 20-20-20 mixed at 1/4 strength applied once a week. This type of fertilizer feeds all parts of the plant.

Since Mother’s Day is just around the corner, be sure your mom is willing to do this extra work if you buy her a hanging basket or planter full of tender annual flowers. She will be very disappointed if her gift from you is damaged by the cold spring weather we are still likely to get!

Article source: