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Archives for June 5, 2016

Kingfield village green project passed over at Town Meeting

KINGFIELD — Residents voted to pass over a proposed $450,000 village green project Saturday morning at the Town Meeting at Kingfield Elementary School.

The vote was spurred by a member of the Village Enhancement Committee, who made the motion to pass over the items. The project, which consisted of adding parking, landscaping, benches, a community bulletin board and a potential gazebo at the corner of Main and Depot streets, would have to return to next year’s Town Meeting for the committee to get funding.

Kingfield residents vote by secret ballot Saturday in the election of municipal officials at Kingfield Elementary School.Kingfield residents vote by secret ballot Saturday in the election of municipal officials at Kingfield Elementary School.

Committee members said they wanted extra time to edit the plan, with the hope of decreasing the cost, as well as to present more detailed financial information to the Budget Committee.

The village green was part of a 2011 plan that included seven projects that were going to use tax increment financing, or TIF, money. This was the first of those projects to be presented at Town Meeting.

The committee asked for approval of a loan not to exceed $350,000 and another $100,000 from the Poland Spring TIF reserve account.

Neither the Budget Committee or the Board of Selectmen recommended approval of the warrant articles about the project, citing the high cost.

“This plan is radically different now, and people are concerned,” one resident said.

Chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen Heather Moody also took time during the discussion to recommend that people go to committee meetings if they don’t agree with what the committees are doing, or if they have ideas for the town.

“Don’t wait until people have put a year of work into something,” she said.

Moody was re-elected to her seat on the board at the beginning of the meeting, as was Raymond Meldrum. Both ran unopposed.

Johanna Prince won the contested School Board seat against Peter Manning, 62-48.

“I’m running for School Board because I want to be part of looking forward for the town,” said Prince, who works at the University of Maine at Farmington as interim director of graduate programs in education.

The approved budget of $839,110 matched the selectmen’s recommendation, which was a 0.5 percent increase from, or $4,223 more than, last year’s, because of a decrease in TIF money. The total requested by town department heads was $4,600 more than the budget that was approved.

The Village Enhancement Committee’s Planter Program was approved for $3,000, despite a motion to grant it $1,000 and a Budget Committee recommendation of no money.

The 114 registered voters at the Town Meeting didn’t approve $1,000 for Community Concepts, which works to solve societal problems through collective impact, and was not recommended by the Budget Committee or Selectmen.

“Again, it’s another agency that … didn’t send a representative,” Budget Committee Chairwoman Sarah Churchill said. If the committee doesn’t get to meet with groups asking for funding and ask questions, they are less likely to approve their funding, she said.

Residents did approve an amendment to the existing TIF district that will allow the selectmen to enter into TIF agreements and make amendments without needing to go through the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. TIF fund appropriations still would need to be approved each year at Town Meeting, Moody said.

Residents also approved $68,838 for the transfer station, 9.6 percent more than last year; $247,072 for the Public Works Department, a decrease of 7.5 percent; and $134,000 for municipal services, an increase of 1.4 percent.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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APT set for new stage

APT’s outdoor barn board stage, shown here covered by a large sun shade used by APT staff for rehearsals, will be torn down at the end of this season and replaced with a similarly rustic-looking, but technically more sophisticated, open-air stage.

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Burbank residents discuss what sights to bring to freeway sound wall

Evenly spaced-out trees, numerous vines and possibly having bicycle lanes are some of the ideas Burbank residents had for a landscaping project near homes on Leland Way.

About a year ago, Caltrans installed a sound wall on Leland next to the Golden State (5) Freeway as part of a widening project. For the past several months, Burbank city staff members have been working with residents who live next to the barrier to come up with a way to beautify it.

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“Using some of the funds that we received from Caltrans, we’re making up for some of the impacts of the freeway construction and we’re going to be providing lots of landscaping and doing some restriping improvements and changes to Leland Way itself to make it a more welcoming environment for the residents here,” said Janna Smith, an associate planner for Burbank and the manager of the project. “Since the sound wall is closer and taller, we want to improve their view out their frontyards and make it a much more comfortable place.”

After meeting with residents in March, Smith said that city staff is leaning toward turning Leland into a one-way street, with traffic traveling toward San Fernando Boulevard. That would give the city a street width of about 37 feet to use.

However, 7 feet needs to be dedicated to street parking and 20 feet for vehicles to drive on.

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It would then give city planners about 10 feet of space to use for landscaping, where they hope to plant trees and bushes to give the space in front of the wall a more appealing look.

Many residents like the idea of having flora against the sound wall, but resident Caroline Solberg suggested that some kind of bicycle pathway be added for those in the neighborhood to use.

Engineers from Stantec, a consultant hired by the city to work on the landscaping project, suggested that 10 feet of the road width should be striped with white lines so that in the event of an emergency, public safety vehicles can drive on them.

“The bike lane will be a place where children can ride bikes and roller skate without feeling that they’re doing in the roadway where the cars are supposed to be driving,” Solberg said. “Because when they go out in the street, they have to get out of the way of the cars. If they’re in a bike lane, cars have to watch out for them. There are a lot of young children in this neighborhood and there are no sidewalks here.”

The project is still in its infancy and city staff members plan to meet with residents again before submitting their project to the City Council sometime by the end of the year.

Anthony Clark Carpio,

Twitter: @acocarpio


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Burbank’s Memorial Day ceremony honors local heroes

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The best landscape designs don’t require hours of watering and maintenance

The best landscape designs dont require hours of watering and maintenance

The best landscape designs don’t require hours of watering and maintenance

Cheryl Dodwell, right, and her daughter Emma stand in a relandscaped front yard that controls the flow of runoff water between two houses. Previously, water would flow in this area and flood both properties. Courtesy John McDonnell via The Washington Post

Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2016 7:00 pm

The best landscape designs don’t require hours of watering and maintenance

By Brenda Richardson
Special To The Washington Post

The Santa Fe New Mexican

Pity the poor yard. It receives constant care and attention during the spring and summer, but let a few dry spells or heavy downpours mar its beauty and efficiency and suddenly it’s the bad guy.

Maybe it’s time to hit the reset button. Adjustments to your landscape can conserve water, prevent erosion and produce a healthy yard that you can be proud of for its low impact on the environment.

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      Saturday, June 4, 2016 7:00 pm.

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      Choose the right tools for gardening as you age – Yakima Herald

      Containers can help raise your garden to a less back-breaking level. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

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      Longview man turns yards into gardens with plants to edify diets – Longview News

      Like the bugs pollinating or pilfering his clients’ gardens, Bruce Williams sees edible landscaping as a buzz phrase from both good and dim lights.

      It’s great to see gardeners beautifying their yards with plants that also edify their diets, he says. But it’s also a commentary on America’s evolution since the earliest supermarkets opened after World War II, when more than 80 percent of households were growing at least some of their own food, according to

      For Williams, edible landscaping is simply landscaping – an extension of how his grandmother and other ancestors used their yards to grow supplements to their meals.

      “Their yard was their grocery store. It’s kind of weird to say, ‘We’re going to install edible landscaping.’ It’s just weird,” Williams said. “We’ve lost that connection to growing our own food and supplementing. That word, like organic gardening, it’s like, ‘Guess what? All gardening was organic gardening.’ We’re recreating the past. We’re just bringing back what everybody was doing before.”

      It’s definitely back.

      Edible landscaping is a buzz concept in home lawns and gardens. In Houston, a master-planned community is featuring up to 2,000 homes where homeowners can pick their herbs, fruits and vegetables from more than 300 acres of farmland. According to, developers want to help a younger generation of homeowners get into gardening.

      Williams isn’t dismayed, but rather encouraged that it’s inspiring more novice gardeners into a world that’s making this Longview landscaper a bigger success with each sunrise.

      Three years ago, Williams was a career welder and fabricator who developed an interest in gardening. Since that time, he’s served as past president of Gregg County Master Gardeners, worked two years at one of Longview’s foremost landscape products and services companies, and developed his own landscaping business serving at least 100 people he calls friends rather than customers.

      “My first one was in Marshall. That was a true edible landscape,” he said. “Everything we put in was edible. We went blackberries, blueberries, pears, pecans, pomegranates, lots of trees.”

      His style isn’t to install and continuously maintain the landscaping, but to help his friends put in the planting and, like letting go of a young child on his or her first bike ride, helping them progress on their own.

      “I can’t take care of it all the time,” he said. “It’s up to them to help maintain it, and I do my best to educate. I have very educated customers.”

      Among his most educated customers is Melissa Karthauser. She’s turned her Pine Tree area home into a garden of fruits, vegetables, herbs and plants with origins literally from around the world.

      In her backyard are carrots, okra, eggplant (including a Japanese variety), strawberries, blackberries, tomatillos, mustard greens, rosemary, oregano, thyme and tomatoes – lots of tomatoes, from pear-shaped orange and yellow tomatoes, to Cherokee purple tomatoes and red cherry tomatoes. She has four jujube trees native to the Middle East that she says grow extremely well in Texas.

      Karthauser also has borage she’s waiting to bloom.

      “They get these beautiful blue flowers, and they sort of look like columbine, and they taste just like cucumber,” she said. “They’re the coolest things in the world, and the neat thing that you can do is you can paint the flowers with some beaten egg white, and then put some sugar into a blender for a few seconds to make it a little bit finer, and then sprinkle it with that, and you can have a cake decorated with crystallized flowers.”

      Karthauser also has a pineapple guava tree, whose fruit resembles a kiwi, except that it’s green and smooth rather than brown and fuzzy.

      “It’s the best fruit,” she said.

      Williams also pointed out Karthauser’s thornless blackberry plants.

      “She had a friend who was taking them out, and we went down there and just shared it,” Williams recalled. “She took some, and I took some. I have a whole bunch of them that I’m about to plant at St. Michael’s (Catholic Church).”

      Both Karthauser and Williams sing the praises of Gregg County Master Gardeners’ praises.

      “It’s still the best bargain out there,” she said.

      Williams suggests that anyone interested in edible landscaping should visit the J.R. Curtis Memorial Garden for the Blind, located at the Maude Cobb Activity Convention and Activity Center on Grand Boulevard. He served on the team that installed the garden, planting pomegranates, figs, herbs and more.

      “We made a great emphasis on smell, touch and taste,” he said. “If anybody wants to see how easy it is to put edible landscaping in, go to the J.R. Curtis Memorial Garden for the Blind and look around, and you’ll see it.”

      One big suggestion Williams makes for anyone considering edible landscaping is to make sure fruits and vegetables aren’t the only plants placed into your grounds. Those plants need pollinators such as bees and butterflies, and they’re attracted to blooms. Star Jasmine vines or Corinthian white peach trees — two plants he’s helped install at a friend’s house on Shofner Drive — are such blooms. In turn, it’s helped his friend’s apple tree develop 32 budding fruit.

      “You add that flower at the same time, and that’s where you get the training,” he said. “By working at Smotherman’s for a couple of years, working with Gregg County Master Gardeners, being the president last year and all that, within a three-year period, I went from knowing nothing to running a business and helping at least 100 people with landscapes.”

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      Get your yard ready for hurricane season: This week’s gardening tips

      This week’s gardening tips for South Louisiana: Prepare trees for hurricane season by pruning all weak, rotting or dead branches. Remove dead or rotten trees that might blow over in high winds.

      High temperatures and high humidity create a high heat index in the summer. Adjust your gardening schedule to take advantage of cooler times of the day. Wear a wide-brim hat and sun screen when gardening, and put on repellent when mosquitoes are active. Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after you work.

      Recent scattered rains have encouraged slime molds to appear in lawns in some areas. This organism looks like a gray or blackish area on grass. It is harmless, and no control is necessary. Hose off the slime mold with a strong stream of water if you like, although it will disappear on its own. Slime molds also will appear in beds, and often look like a mass of beige or yellow material covering mulch and lower plant stems and leaves. Again, it’s no problem.

      Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

      Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for’s weekly home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous local landscapes. It’s easy and free. Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the’s New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

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      Visit the open city gardens at National Garden Scheme for tips and inspiration

      10:11 05 June 2016

      The flower border at Colmore House. PA Photo/Judi Lion.

      With the prospect of warmer weather and beautiful blooms, many people will be making the most of the National Gardens Scheme festival weekend in June

      Pink flower bicycle. PA Photo/National Gardens Scheme.

      More than 400 gardens – from huge country piles to tiny horticultural havens – will be opening to the public through the scheme, which raises money for nursing and care charities.

      Urban gardens, formal country areas, mazes, village and city ‘group gardens’, woodland walks and children’s gardens will all feature, along with a ‘Capability’ Brown garden opening for the NGS.

      If you’re planning a visit to an open garden on festival weekend or later in the year, NGS chief executive George Plumptre offers the following tips on how to get the best out of your visit:

      Take a notebook and camera. Jot down ideas on colour matching, border combinations and plantings, as well as taking pictures of borders and pots which you can replicate at home.

      Lutyens seat in Rose Walk at Parsonage Farm. PA Photo/Judi Lion.

      Interested in a particular plant? Look for open gardens which house a National Collection of specific plants, from acer and agapanthus to dahlia, nepeta, hosta and penstemon. Nearly 80 gardens that open for the NGS are guardians of a Plant Heritage National Plant Collection which carries the NPC symbol in the NGS Gardens To Visit 2016 (The Yellow Book) directory, available from the website (

      Check out groups of gardens accessible with the purchase of one ticket. There may be up to a dozen gardens which open at the same time in the same town or village. Buy one ticket and visit as many as you like. In their entry online it will say ‘Group Opening’ and ‘Combined Admission’.

      Some gardens are aimed at families and offer particular attractions for children, such as a nature trail, play area or a competition. Others will allow dogs.

      Many gardens sell the plants they display. The owners may have grown a few extra to sell on their open day. Alternatively, a local nursery plant-seller will have a stall there. Plants tend to be cheaper than they are at garden centres.

      Ask the owners for growing advice and tips. Some owners – especially those who have opened their garden ‘by arrangement’ with larger groups such as gardening clubs or societies – offer tours. Most will be on hand to answer queries.

      Consider what plants are going to be at their best when you visit. At the beginning of June many cottage garden favourites will be in full bloom including delphiniums, roses, peonies, aquilegias and flowering shrubs. If you want to see later-flowering plants such as dahlias, crocosmias, rudbeckias, asters and heleniums, you may choose to visit a garden which opens later in the summer.

      Keen fruit and veg gardeners may opt to visit kitchen gardens which open their gates later in the year when things are coming into fruit. Groups of allotments open later in the season.

      Make the most of sampling local produce such as honey and preserves which are often on sale, alongside the plants.

      NGS open day participants also offer their own tips.

      Geoff Stonebanks, of Driftwood, Sussex, suggests: “Talk to the owner of the garden about the history. My garden is coastal and has the opportunity to learn all the stories behind my family’s inherited plants, garden objets d’art, not forgetting Hector the tortoise.”

      Julie Wise, owner of Rustling End Cottage, Hertfordshire, explains: “We have a lot of birds, amphibians, butterflies and moths visiting our garden which is in tune with nature. I record all of these and display the lists at our garden openings, including the variety of bird species nesting in the garden. We regularly receive visiting naturalists who are keen to chat about managing a garden for wildlife.”

      To find details of all gardens opening near you, visit the NGS or download the free NGS ‘GardenFinder’ app.

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      Is your garden summer ready? Here are some top tips from Bloom’s designers

      THE TENTH ANNUAL Bloom festival is happening this weekend in the Phoenix Park in Dublin.

      There’s a wide range of imaginative designs on display – from tributes to the children who died in 1916 to Chinese temple gardens.

      Between them, the Bloom designers have hundreds of years of experience in creating and maintaining their gardens. They’ve been working hard for the past three weeks to get their offerings ready in time to be judged and viewed by the public.

      So… Want to get your garden in shape for the summer months, but don’t know where to start? spoke to just a few of the designers at Bloom to get their top tips for gardening at home.


      1. Don’t copy what you see in show gardens

      Brian Burke

      The award-winning Brian Burke designed GOAL’s Damascus Courtyard War and Peace Garden at Bloom this year.

      He knows a thing or two about show gardens and exhibits and said people shouldn’t try to create what they see at festivals like Bloom:

      Instead of copying what you see, his top tip is to give your trees and plants room to breathe in your garden:

      GOAL’s Damascus Courtyard War and Peace Garden

      2. Wear suncream (Baz Luhrmann would be proud)


      Fiann Ó Nualláin has plenty of experience at Bloom having participated in all ten of the festivals.

      He has designed 19 gardens altogether for the annual event and this year one of his creations is all about 1916 and the children who died during the Rising.

      download (1)
      Bullets and boiled sweets – 1916 Commemoration Garden

      His advice is to wear suncream while gardening, but along with that he also gave some unexpected dietary advice:

      3. Organise and plan everything you do

      Sofi Dosa

      The youngest ever participant at Bloom, Sofi Dosa, believes the most important thing is to be organised in your garden, and plan everything beforehand.

      She said:

      So. Yes… That’s you told.


      4. Keep it neat and tidy

      Alan Rudden, designer of the Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden at this year’s festival, has several Bloom medals to his name to date.

      Alan Rudden

      The long time competitor gave a simple tip of keeping your garden neat and tidy, which everyone can follow at home:

      Santa Rita Living la Vida 120 Garden

      5. And remember – relax and enjoy your garden!


      One of the most relaxing spaces at Bloom is the Savills Face to Face garden, which is meant to encourage conversation rather than living your life through a smartphone.

      The designer, Andrew Christopher Dunne, believes the number one thing any gardener should do is enjoy their surroundings.

      Bloom is on between now and  Monday, for more information about tickets click here.

      Read: Here are our 6 favourite gardens at Bloom

      Read: 9 beautiful gardens in Ireland you should visit soon

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      Welcome party: Alan Titchmarsh tips for getting your garden ready for an event

      In an ideal world you’d pick your tie so your event takes place when the garden naturally looks its most colourful, but if you can’t, organise some extra planting specially for the occasion – even if it’s just some really good tubs of annuals. As long as you can get them planted six weeks or so beforehand and you pack plants in generously, they should look good on the day – but clearly the further ahead you can get them started the better they’ll be. 

      If there’s time and conditions permit, give the whole garden a good feed and keep shallow-rooted plants watered as much as you can so that beds look fresh and flower-filled in time for the event. 

      As your countdown draws to a close, attend to all the last-minute details – a final weeding, deadheading, lawn mowing and edging, hedge and topiary trimming – give the garden that well-groomed look that makes all the difference. 

      And speaking as one who’s opened his own garden – once – don’t try to do everything yourself on the day. People will expect the gardener to be on hand to answer questions and identify plants… you won’t have a chance to do that if you’re stuck selling tickets, supervising parking or talking to caterers, so don’t be afraid to delegate. And, anyway, the drink and the debriefing afterwards may well be the highlight of the day.


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