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Archives for June 2, 2016

Super Garden: Which designer deserves the spot at Bloom on tomorrow night’s final?

Brief: To create a family-friendly garden for widower Sarah and her children, who was struggling with the up-keep and maintenance since her husband Ronan passed away three years ago.

Result: Gerry’s design ‘Recreation’ took elements from the garden Ronan minded with care and aimed to instil new influences that honoured his memory. The garden included an entertainment/patio area, relaxation space, a walled seated area and low maintenance plants.

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Garden design workshop happening in Saskatoon

A little planning in the garden can go a long way, according Vanessa Young.

“What we’re trying to do is make your yard look beautiful but still be healthy and still have everything actually live,” explained Young on CBC Radio’s Saskatoon Morning.

Young coordinates the University of Saskatchewan’s on campus gardening programs and is leading a garden design workshop tonight at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre’s garden patch. 

” … there’s so much we can do here in Saskatchewan. “
– Vanessa Young

Young said it’s important to think about the kind of garden you want and keep true to your intent as you plant.

“What’s the purpose of your space? If your looking for something that’s relaxing, if your looking for something that’s going to be a retreat, you don’t want something with a lot of bright colours,” said Young. 

“But, maybe you want the riot of colour, so if that’s what your going for, really commit to it and just make a plan and stick with that plan.”

Buy 3

Even with a plan in place, Young said there’s still room for sudden inspiration in the garden centre aisle.

“If you fall in love with something don’t just buy one, buy three,” said Young.

“If you just buy one of something and you plunk it somewhere in your yard, after a little while it starts to look like you have a yard sale because you’ve got all these little random things.”

Young also said she’s a fan of mixing vegetables and flowers as well.

“If you run some spaghetti squash up a trellis and you’ve got those big yellow globes hanging there in the middle of your garden, that adds a lot of interest,” said Young.

“But, if you do that in your front yard with some flowers around it and everything else, not only you have that really interesting piece to talk about.”

Another advantage Young pointed out is that spreading vegetables around the yard decreases the chance of insects and disease wiping them out.

Be realistic 

Young said one thing garden design isn’t about is attempting to mimic the picture-perfect gardens that appear in books and magazines. 

“Think of those [photos] like you think of looking at a bikini model when you open up a magazine,” said Young.

“Think of what you can do in your space and you can make it beautiful, there’s so much we can do here in Saskatchewan,” said Young.

Garden Design gets underway tonight at the SFBLC Garden Patch at 6:00 p.m. C.S.T. Registration for the event is online.

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Area history, June 1, 2016 – Champaign/Urbana News

Today is Wednesday, June 1, 2016. Here are news reports from this date 100, 50 and 15 years ago:

In 1916: 150 girls and women acted as street conductors today and sold tags on Champaign’s streets in support of the Burnham Hospital. Shortly after noon, the returns indicated that last year’s total of $1,029 would be surpassed. Trolley Day is an annual event with hundreds of women working together to raise money for hospital maintenance.

In 1966: The battle against blight in Champaign County is being escalated, and an arsenal of new weapons has been unveiled. The Champaign County Development Council Tuesday announced three projects being undertaken in the county’s fight against ugliness: a massive centennial tree-planting in Champaign-Urbana, landscaping of U.S. 45 south of Interstate 74 in Urbana and the 1966 Community Improvement Awards program.

In 2001: Gov. George Ryan and legislative leaders were happy to talk about some of the new $53.4 billion state budget: new money for education and social services and a bond program to help the coal industry. But they had little to say about $300 million tucked away for lawmakers’ pet projects.

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Overlook Barn: Couple Transforms Family Property into New Beech Mountain Venue

By Jessica Isaacs |

One of the High Country’s newest venues opened its doors to the wedding and events community last week for a grand opening celebration, and guests who walked through them enjoyed a great evening of food and fun in a truly beautiful place. You’ll love the Overlook Barn as soon as you see it, but you may love the story behind it even more.

Following their engagement in late November 2014, Katie Elder and David Schumann embarked on a journey to find their perfect wedding venue in the hills of western North Carolina. When they decided to tour an old barn in the Beech Mountain community, which has belonged to the bride’s family for generations, the couple set sail on another new adventure.

David Schumann and Katie Elder are pictured at the grand opening of their new venue, Overlook Barn. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

David Schumann and Katie Elder are pictured at the grand opening of their new venue, Overlook Barn. Photo by Jessica Isaacs.

Built by Katie’s grandfather in the 1960s, the expansive barn sits atop the mountain with a truly breathtaking panoramic view. Upon first look, its infrastructure showed signs of wear from its past life as a horse stable, as a storage facility and even as the site of community square dances hosted by her family long before Katie was born.

Despite its leaky roof, dirt floors and the countless old relics that called the place home, the bride-to-be saw endless potential in this piece of her family’s history, and she wasn’t alone. CeCe Hampton, her wedding planner, also knew they were staring at a diamond in the rough.

“CeCe absolutely loved the space and gushed about it, and, with that positive affirmation from an industry professional, I started to give it more serious consideration,” Katie said. “All of this happened while I was in North Carolina for the holidays and David was in California visiting his folks. Imagine his surprise when I called, completely convinced that we should by my uncle’s farm, renovate it to get married there and start a wedding venue business, all within a year.”

David was on board immediately, without even seeing the property, and renovations began right away. After tackling countless renovation projects to bring the place to life, the two exchanged their own vows at the newly outfitted ElderMann’s Overlook Barn.

Today, the property boasts a polished concrete floor, state-of-the-art styling suites, event lighting, pristine landscaping, an outdoor fire pit, a two-acre meadow and enough space in the barn for 250-300 reception guests. The couple now looks forward to hosting special wedding days for other brides and grooms who love the barn as much as they do.

“This has got to be the most exciting part about owning a wedding venue. David’s ‘day job’ is in software sales and mine is in human resources. Neither of us get to see a real, direct impact on customers on a daily basis for those jobs,” said Katie. “To think that couples will be using the barn my grandfather built and we renovated as the place they will kick off their life journey together is astounding. We had the time of our lives at our wedding and reception surrounded by friends and family, and we just can’t wait to see others have that same experience.

“We also are curious to see how couples make the barn their own for the evening by decorating with their own personal style. I’m sure so many people will come up with great ideas and we can’t wait to see pictures from those events!”

If your heart is set on using this new venue for your next special event (and we totally don’t blame you if so), then hop over to for more information or reach Katie and David at

Visit the blog to our sister publication, High South Weddings, for photos from Overlook Barn’s recent grand opening event.


Katie and David's wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David’s wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David's wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David’s wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David's wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David’s wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David's wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.

Katie and David’s wedding at Overlook Barn. Michelle Lyerly Photography.




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Kerr & Kerr Landscaping: 20 years of reliability


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Northampton garden tour to benefit Forbes Library

NORTHAMPTON –Todd H. Buzzee and David K. Bliss want show others just what amateur gardeners can do. They have several gardens, most in their Florence backyard.

They have shade to full-sun gardens, many shrubs and perennials as well as herb and vegetable gardens.

The gardens are rather whimsical; they have a number of garden statues and a few small fountains.

Their gardens will be part of the Friends of Forbes Inc. 22nd Northampton Garden Tour on Saturday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., rain or shine.

They were honored to be asked to participate in the garden tour again; their gardens were on the tour 10 years ago, just three weeks before they got married in their backyard.

“We are proud of our gardens and welcome the opportunity to support the Forbes Library,” said Buzzee, the main gardener, noting they garden without poisons. “Our lot is only about a third of an acre, but we have been able to create a number of different gardening areas.”

Perennials include columbine, iris, daylilies, Asiatic and oriental lilies, coneflowers, bee balm and bleeding heart, as well as many varieties of ferns and hosta. A large larch tree anchors the backyard, which is surrounded by pines.

“I feel one of the best parts of our garden is that we get to provide safe haven for wildlife, including many birds,” Bliss said. “We enjoy watching the hummingbirds as they search for nectar. We find it relaxing to work in the gardens and of course to enjoy them.”

The tour has a strong educational component with handouts that explain the gardeners’ views of each garden; it includes a selection of varied gardens that are mostly done by homeowners rather than professionals.

There are six gardens on the garden tour, a fundraiser for the Friends of Forbes Library. It is intended to inspire and educate everyday gardeners with plantings in a variety of appealing and unique landscaping styles and creative use of hardscape in paths, stone walls, gazebos, arbors and ponds.

At each garden, there are descriptions of the plantings, and garden guides are available to answer questions.

Buzzee said it is important for gardeners to remember to watch their plants and make adjustments if they don’t seem to be thriving — maybe they need to be moved to another location that meets different lighting or soil requirements.

“With our sandy soil, gardens need to be lifted every few years and the soil enriched with compost etc.,” he said.

The terrain of the garden tour is rather flat, making each garden fairly accessible and providing a pleasant bicycle ride between gardens.

Tickets come with directions to this self-guided tour of gardens within easy driving distance of the library.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 on the day of the tour. They are available at Forbes Library, Bay State Perennial Farm, Cooper’s Corner, Hadley Garden Center, North Country Landscapes and State Street Fruit Store.

Tour also includes a raffle that includes for organic compost, gift certificates, garden supplies and a landscape consultation.

Raffle tickets are two for $5 or five for $10 and are available at Forbes Library through the day before the tour as well as at garden # 4 on the day of the tour.

All proceeds benefit the Friends of Forbes Library to support programs, events and projects for the library that could not otherwise be funded.

For more information, call (413) 584-7041 or go online to

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Riggenbach: Currants enjoy a comeback of sorts – Omaha World

Currants enjoy a comeback of sorts

Currants enjoy a comeback of sorts

Currants thrive best in locations with morning sun and afternoon shade.

Jan Riggenbach

Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2016 1:00 am

Riggenbach: Currants enjoy a comeback of sorts

By Jan Riggenbach

The Omaha World-Herald

Some of the most handsome shrubs in my new landscape are currants and gooseberries. I decided that because I was planting shrubs, I’d grow fruit at the same time. The practice is called edible landscaping, and it makes a lot of sense.

Like a lot of other city kids in America, I never tasted a currant or a gooseberry when I was growing up.

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      Thursday, June 2, 2016 1:00 am.

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      White Currant,

      Dried Fruit,

      Black Currant,



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      New policy prohibits public housing residents from gardening – WRCB


      A lot of hard work and TLC goes into gardens this time of year. But some longtime residents of public housing in South Pittsburg are horrified that their special plants are being ripped out, roots and all.

      A new policy, implemented by the South Pittsburg Housing Authority, took effect on Wednesday. It says that all residents’ personal landscaping and gardens must go.

      Sally McMillan said beautiful rose bushes used to line the front of her home.

      “One was there, one was there,” she said, pointing around her porch. “Another one was around the house. It looked real pretty.”

      But now, her yard is completely bare.

      “They’re just taking them out. They didn’t want them here,” said Sally, who lives in public housing.

      According to South Pittsburg Housing Authority’s new landscaping policy, all plants, trees, flowers, shrubbery, or gardens must be removed from tenant’s yards.

      Many families are upset about the new rule.

      “Her yard ain’t supposed to look like that because she lives in public housing? That’s bull,” said Angela Kelso, a concerned family member.

      “It’s their home. They’re paying to live here,” Kelso said. “They already can’t smoke in them, and now they can’t decorate the outside. What? Is it gonna be a prison camp pretty soon?”

      Another woman, in her 80s, has an entire garden outside her home. Her family went to South Pittsburg’s Mayor for help.

      “A lot of the folks told me they were afraid to question (the policy) because it might cause them to lose their units,” Mayor Jane Dawkins told Eyewitness News.

      According to documents, the only plants than can stay are those that were planted by the Housing Authority.

      However, residents can keep some plants. The policy allows for potted plants or vegetables, as long as they can fit on either the front or back porch.

      “I really hope that they will look at this again,” Dawkins said. “That they will stop things now.”

      As of Wednesday night, Channel 3 had not heard back from the Housing Authority regarding the new policy on plants. The Mayor hopes officials will reconsider or modify the new rule.

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      10 basic gardening tips for beginners

      Gardening is not an exact science. Even experienced gardeners make mistakes, so novice gardeners shouldn’t be the least bit intimidated. Follow this advice to arm yourself with the basics 

      1. Choose the right plants for your soil

      Before you buy any plants, check your soil type: is it light and sandy, or heavy and clay? Many plants thrive better in one type than the other. If you’re not sure, take a look at what plants are growing in your neighbour’s garden.


      2. Give plants enough space

      Don’t be tempted by the displays at the garden centre and buy too many plants for the size of your bed. If you place young plants too close together, not all will survive or, if they do, they will need more frequent watering and fertiliser. Crowded plants are also more susceptible to disease. Plant labels tell you how much room they need.


      3. Be gentle with new plants

      If you remove new plants from their pots by pulling their stems, you’re likely to break or bruise them. Instead, gently squeeze the pot sides and turn it upside-down, using your other hand to catch the plant as it slides out. Or place the pot on a hard surface and press the sides as you rotate it. Again, the plant should slip out when you upturn the pot.

      Dougal Waters

      4. Plan ahead with your design

      Before you do any digging, have a think about the big picture of your garden. Place all of your bulbs and young plants on the soil surface first and move them around until you’re happy with the arrangement. Then plant them.

      Dougal Waters

      5. Soak your roots

      The last thing you want is dry root balls. Thoroughly soak the roots of a new plant before you put it in the soil. And make sure the hole is bigger than the root ball before you attempt to put it in. A plant’s roots need to be able to spread to get the best chance of tapping moisture and absorbing the soil’s nutrients.

      Elena Leonova

      6. Label, label, label

      For first-time gardeners, it can be easy to forget what you’ve planted and where. Take an extra minute to write a plant label (most plants you buy from a garden centre come with one) and pop it in the ground next to the seeds, bulbs or plants you’ve planted.

      Richard Clark

      7. Water mindfully

      Plants are designed to live outside and to draw natural moisture from the earth without the need for daily artificial irrigation (unless we’re experiencing a drought). As a rough guide, poke your fingers about two inches into the soil around the plant; if it’s very dry, add some water. The exceptions are container plants which, because there are a lot of them in a finite amount of soil, will need regular watering.

      Richard Clark

      8. Be brutal with weeds

      It’s important to learn early on that weeds are a gardener’s worst enemy. Weed regularly and make sure you remove all their roots. If there are seeds clinging to the weeds, don’t put them in the compost heap; you’ll end up re-seeding your weeds when you spread the compost.

      Francesca Yorke

      9. Give shrubs some breathing room

      Resist the temptation to plant your shrubs near a fence or wall. They grow outwards (in all directions) as well as upwards, so plan accordingly.

      David Malan

      10. Have fun with it

      Allow yourself to experiment and try new things. If you realise you’ve planted something in the wrong place – either because it’s the wrong height or colour, or because it’s not growing well – you can move it. Most plants and shrubs, even young trees, can be uprooted and replanted.

      Philip J Brittan

      Check out BQ Gardening and Outdoor section here »

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      6 garden-starting tips to give your kids green thumbs

      By Susan Lutz – (Zester Daily)

      Spring has finally come to our neck of the woods, and we’re beginning to take the tiny shoots from our mini-greenhouse in our basement out into the world. I want my daughters to know where their food comes from, but growing a kid-friendly garden means more than just planting kid-friendly plants.

      If you want to get kids to actually eat their veggies, it helps if you get them invested in the process and care of the garden. If your kids see the backyard vegetable garden as “theirs,” they are far more likely to embrace the products: happily eating radishes and arugula that they’ve grown on their own. Here are six tips — tested in our home — to get your kids to embrace gardening and become active agents in creating their own food.

      1. Get dirty

      Forget the image of white-frocked children basking in a pristine flower bed; that image gets in the way of real gardening. Get your kids dirty as fast as possible. Ask them to dig with hand trowels, sticks or bare fingers, and they will leap at the opportunity. When watering, “accidentally” drench them with a good hosing. They’ll squeal, then beg for more — and watering is no longer a chore but a family frolic. Make mud and get them in it. Over-plant in anticipation of grubby little fingers pulling out the extraneous shoots. A garden shouldn’t be too precious. Good gardening demands some filth, and when kids realize this, they embrace it.

      2. Get gross

      Kids love gross, and a garden has it in spades. Ask your kids to find worms, then take the opportunity to discuss their impact on the soil. If your garden doesn’t have enough worms, go buy them and let the kids play with their new “pets” while you’re putting them into the garden. If you want to step it up a notch, create a vermiculture bin and let your kids be in charge of the worm farm. Look for beneficial insects such as ladybug larvae and lacewings. Explain that the reason you wash food that comes from the garden comes down to two words: bird poop. Some kids may react negatively to grossness, but that’s part of the charm. Gross things are both attractive and repulsive to young ones, and finding that fine line where attraction and repulsion equal each other out keeps the kids coming back to the garden.

      3. Get creative

      Encourage your kids to rename the plants in the garden. Our girls have dubbed our sage bush as “Hairy Bigfoot Plant.” That name has made the humble herb extremely attractive to our girls and to the neighbor kids — especially after we cut out pieces from a milk jug and made markers for our newly named plants. In fact, our two girls and the neighbor boy run to this plant every morning as they walk to school and actually eat a leaf of Hairy Bigfoot Plant. Without that name, I suspect elementary school kids would not be eating raw sage leaves every morning on the way to school. Have your kids play The Name Game, and they are suddenly personally invested in growing and eating mummy peas (snap peas) and bloody spice balls (radishes).

      4. Get a kit

      Kids love kits, so create an easily portable garden set for each child. You can buy them ready-made at the nursery or dollar store … but where’s the fun in that? Ask your kids to choose cheap tools for themselves, or gather the tools you already have and put them in specific kits. We turned milk jugs into garden kits, but a tote bag or plastic bucket works just as well. Add more than just a trowel rake and gloves. Put in a magnifying glass, eyedroppers, specimen jars and other “scientific” tools to deploy in the garden. When it’s time to do some weeding, tell your kids to grab their kits and you suddenly have an eager workforce.

      5. Get experimental

      Make your garden a laboratory, not a display. Ask your kids to experiment with the dirt, the compost, the layout and the results of your planting. Turn gardening into a science experiment. When the plants are coming up, try taste experiments — is this bitter? Sour? Sweet? This type of hands-on discovery helps kids understand that “good” doesn’t always mean “familiar” — so that when your crop is ready for the kitchen, your kids will beg to try to results. This may require you to set aside a part of your garden to be devoted to the kids’ experiments (so that you don’t ruin your entire crop) but their creative/destructive explorations will personalize your garden… and its results.

      6. Get dramatic

      Learn a lesson from molecular gastronomy: Presentation and entertainment are part of the full experience of food. When it was time to thin the new shoots of butter crunch lettuce and arugula, we had our girls wash the tiny shoots and arrange them attractively on a platter with small chunks of string cheese and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice. A garden chore suddenly becomes an art project, then a dish of Farm-To-Table Micro-Greens. In the garden itself, use the “experimental” area for play as well as work: Set up scenes, fairy gardens or Lego cities beneath the plants. The “forest” of carrots grows more lush around the tiny family that lives beneath it … then Godzilla descends at harvest time, pulling the trees by the roots as the dolls run and scream in horror. The garden becomes a playground, and the plate becomes a stage, turning the concept of “playing with your food” into a deeper understanding of the earth, growing plants and the process of creating and eating food.

      Copyright Susan Lutz via Zester Daily and Reuters Media Express

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