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Archives for July 10, 2016

Career high for garden designer

First-time show garden designer Cherry Carmen from Horsham, will realise a career ambition of creating a garden for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from July 5 – 10.

In a collaboration between sponsor and contractor, Horsham-based Living Landscapes, designer Cherry Carmen and charity Perennial, ‘Immerse’ will be entered into the show’s popular Water Garden category which has been reintroduced this year after an eight year absence.

Immerse reflects the work of Perennial, the charity that looks after gardeners and everyone who cares for our green spaces when times get tough.

Having just finished a second round of chemotherapy for kidney cancer, Cherry understands from personal experience the value of this type of support.

Cherry says: “I have always wanted to design a show garden for the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show and so when Tecwyn got in touch, I jumped at the chance. We work closely with Living Landscapes on other projects and so we know the team well.

“Together with CED Stone Ltd, who are donating the hard landscaping, and the support team at Perennial, it is an exhilarating experience to see my garden design featured at a show that I have enjoyed attending and working at.”

Emerging from illness, Cherry’s design flows with positive energy, capturing a sense of being protected and nurtured, as well as revitalised and inspired.

It incorporates an innovative recessed seating area below ground level, with cascading water walls on three sides forming an intimate space for reflection. The hard landscaping supplied by CED Stone Ltd gives this water garden its strong, modern lines, while the unstructured, textured planting adds a comforting softness.

Planting on the upper level is grassy, with lots of movement. Plane trees, trained to form a parasol, are under-planted with woodland shade-loving wildflowers.

Moving down the stairs, there is an abundance of lush, wide-leafed plants.

 Tecwyn Evans, Managing Director of Living Landscapes, says: “Perennial does great work for people in need in our industry and I’m proud to be working with them on this garden.

“Collaborating with Cherry is going to be fantastic too, I’ve known her for a long time and will enjoy seeing her fulfil her ambition to create a garden at the world’s biggest annual flower show. It will also be exciting for us all to exhibit in the revived water gardens category.”

Commenting about the project, Perennial Development Manager Laura Garnett said: “Perennial exists to help all horticulturists in times of need. We help people like Cherry who are facing life-changing challenges and illnesses every year with free and confidential advice, financial support and wider social help.

“But we also have a role to play in supporting Cherry and her team to realise her dream to build this show garden.

“It is testament to the UK horticulture industry’s ability to collaborate and willingness to help those in need that we are able to bring this garden to the show.”

The creation of Immerse has only been made possible thanks to the support and generosity of many partners, suppliers and volunteers including CED Stone Ltd, CouCou Design, Griffin Nurseries, Landscape Plus, North Hill Nurseries, Oase, KC Fibreglass, Anglo Aquatics and Verdon Grey.

For more about the charity visit

n Horsham-based Living Landscapes is also the sponsor and constructor of the Shakespeare-themed ‘All the Worlds a Stage’ garden at the flower show. Collaborating with Lunaria Landscapes, they will create a multi-layered, experiential space, which pays homage to the Bard in the year of the 400th anniversary of his death.

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Nearly one year and still booming — now with a patio

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Research quantifies Chattanooga’s rising child care and education divide

Chambliss Center questions

Questions asked by the Chambliss Center:

1. How do you define success for yourself?

2. How do you define success for your child?

3. What might get in the way or prevent you and your child from achieving these goals?

4. What support, resources, or information do you need to achieve these goals?

5. How do you participate in your child’s education?

6. If you had to describe your perfect neighborhood, what would it look like?

7. What ideas do you have as to how our community can help?

Source: A Report to the Community, Chambliss Center for Children and W.K. Kellogg Foundation

By the numbers

› 25.8 percent of children in Hamilton County live in poverty.

› 21.5 percent of children under age 5 live in households with income below the federal poverty line.

› 33,077 children in Hamilton County are on TennCare and 4,117 are without any form of health insurance.

› 59.7 percent of children in Hamilton County qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch and 33.2 percent of Hamilton County children receive aid from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Child care facilities currently operating in Hamilton County have a maximum of 10,701 spots for care of children ages 6 weeks to pre-K, enough to serve only half the children under age 5.

Source: Kids Count Tennessee (2013), American Community Survey (2014, five-year average)

Question and answers

The question
Do you have enough resources, when needed, related to each of the topics listed below?

Parents’ answers

Personal health care service: 65 percent yes, 23 percent sometimes, 12 percent no

› Family fitness: 45 percent yes, 35 percent sometimes, 20 percent no

› Access to free recreation opportunities and parks: 59 percent yes, 24 percent sometimes, 17 percent no

› Housing and home ownership assistance: 40 percent yes, 25 percent sometimes, 35 percent no

› Access to high-quality affordable child care: 58 percent yes, 32 percent sometimes, 10 percent no

› Feeling safe in your home and neighborhood: 61 percent yes, 29 percent sometimes, 10 percent no

› Transportation or access to transportation: 69 percent yes, 21 percent sometimes, 10 percent no

Source: Chambliss Center for Children, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Chattanooga will face serious challenges if the rising share of young children living in poverty continues to go without the care and education other local children have access to, warns a study funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, a nationally known, philanthropic heavyweight.

There are nearly 20,700 children in Hamilton County under the age of 5, according to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, and 21.5 percent of those children — around 4,450 — are living in poverty. And a count of child care spots for children ages 6 weeks to pre-K reveals there is room for only half of the local children under 5 years old.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of children in our community being cared for by friends and family, and maybe, or maybe not, having access to programs that help them advance developmentally — both from a literacy and social/emotional perspective — both critically important to developing the whole child,” said Gloria J. Miller, the project’s director and vice president of special projects at the Chambliss Center for Children.

This deficit, according to the recently released report, is among a slew of problems already plaguing less-educated, single parents in Chattanooga’s booming economy of tech and tourism.

To date, there has been very little research done locally on families with young children who are struggling economically and on their unique perspectives and needs. Most local and national nonprofits rely on U.S. Census Bureau data and state health records to track and understand poverty trends.

Still, that data provides little insight into the day-to-day lives of single parents who are working but now unable to cover rising housing and child care costs that continue to soar in the city.

Kellogg approached Chattanooga’s Chambliss Center a few years ago after the nonprofit was featured in an HBO documentary call “Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert.” The film chronicled the personal and financial challenges Gilbert and other poor, working women in Chattanooga face. The Chambliss Center was featured in the film because Gilbert’s children attended the three-star center, which provides daycare on a sliding scale on income and has locations near many troubled neighborhoods.

From what they saw of the center on film, Kellogg officials were impressed and asked Chambliss Center leaders if they wanted to partner in pioneering an approach to early childhood education that would provide more access for low-income families.

But first, Kellogg wanted the Chambliss Center to do its homework and build the idea with feedback from those it sought to serve, Miller said.

“‘We have an idea. You need to go out to the community and ask what they need,'” Miller said the Kellogg representatives insisted.

“And what a journey that has been.”

In this round of research, more than 350 primary caregivers whose children attended the Chambliss Center — 61 percent of which were single parents — completed surveys and participated in roundtable discussions about their views on success for themselves and their children. Eighty-five percent of the parents and caregivers who participated reported an annual income of less than $35,000 a year, and 25 percent of parents surveyed had three or more children, said Mary Edwards, the project’s manager.

Chambliss Center officials will be discussing next steps with their contacts at Kellogg on Tuesday, Miller said.

Research published each year by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says, however, that to live in Hamilton County and pay basic costs, a single adult with one child would have to earn $40,653 before taxes or make an hourly wage of $19.50 an hour.

Locally, child care alone, according to MIT, costs around $4,000 annually for a child enrolled without siblings, a pill few single working parents can swallow without state aid or sliding-scale programs, like what is offered at the Chambliss Center.

And many can’t climb the income ladder to improve their lot, Edwards said, because they don’t hear about the aid and opportunities the nonprofit and education community is trying to provide. For example, some parents didn’t know that the United Way provided the 211 local help line, which provides vital information about local aid and community resources, including parenting classes, and financial help with late utility payments.

Word of mouth was listed as the No. 1 method of finding out out about community services and resources, which told Edwards there was a local disconnect between those who are struggling and those who aren’t.

Research published last year by sociologists at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley named economic and racial segregation as one of the factors that continue to make Hamilton County one of the worst places in the country for poor and middle-class children to live.

Using anonymous federal tax records, researchers with the Equality of Opportunity Project at Harvard charted the geographic movement of families, as well as their earnings overtime, and found that low-income, less-educated parents who moved their children from a county with low levels of economic mobility to areas with higher rates of economic mobility increased their child’s adult earnings and their chances of marriage. Sometimes this meant a move just a few counties away. Until now, many social scientists had no idea how big of a role the characteristics and values of the broader community — its investment in education, its support for single parents, etc. — played in shaping the futures of children.

“If we see that word of mouth is No. 1, then yes, it is a trust thing,” Edwards said. “A lot of times, people take advantage of them and they know that. We have to be vulnerable and be willing and open with them. Listening to them, that was one of the main goals for me, for people to have a voice. No one is just sitting down with these parents and saying, ‘What exactly is it that you need?'”

Local parents who participated told Edwards, who facilitated discussion groups around a series of questions, that despite wanting success for them and their children, many local roadblocks stood in the way.

Although 83 percent of parents surveyed in the study reported working, 40 percent said they had inadequate or inconsistent access to high-quality education or professional development for themselves. Another 44 percent reported they had inadequate or inconsistent employment opportunities.

More than 30 percent reported inconsistent access to transportation, but Edwards fears that number hides the grim reality that many low-income single parents, marred by bad credit and without savings or inheritances, are turning to buy-here-pay-here car lots and paying exorbitant interest for faulty cars just so they can get to a lower-wage job in the suburbs, off the bus line.

Another 60 percent of local parents surveyed said they do not have enough or sometimes do not have enough resources for housing. Thanks to unpaid medical bills, wracked up during years without medical insurance, many low-income parents find it difficult to secure a home loan because of poor credit. Many others have poor credit because they have students loans hanging over them that they can’t pay back because they weren’t academically or financially prepared to attend college and dropped out.

Cut out of home ownership, a larger share are turning to the rental market but finding that skyrocketing rents are nudging even one-bedroom apartments out of reach for near minimum-wage workers. To receive public housing assistance, the wait is often longer than a year.

And all of this disconnect and economic tension has been years in the making, said Jimmie Williams. He lives with his 15-month old son, Kaptain, and his son’s mother and still struggles to cover costs even though both adults work full-time jobs.

Black men, in particular, have a hard time making it in Chattanooga, Williams said. Everywhere he looks, he said, there is proof.

Williams’ father was sent to prison for drug dealing when he was young, and his brother, also a dealer, was killed during a home invasion several years ago, he said.

His single mother, who never attended college but worked full time her entire adult life, moved the family out of the inner city when Williams and his siblings were teenagers. Williams attended Ooltewah High School where he excelled in advanced placement courses and decided he would go to college one day. But after a few years the family couldn’t afford to stay in the suburbs.

After moving back to the city and enrolling in Brainerd High School, Williams said he began to see how low expectations were affecting his friends and family. There were no advanced placement classes at Brainerd, he said. And much of what he learned his sophomore year, was a repeat of what he had learned in ninth grade at Ooltewah.

What’s worse, he said, was that most of the teens around him didn’t realize what a low standard they were being held to. Others — taught that college was out of their reach — didn’t care, he said.

But at Ooltewah, teachers had convinced him he was smart. So he kept working toward his own dream of college until he was able to graduate from Brainerd with a Hope Scholarship and a spot at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Still, at UT he was given little guidance, he said, and financially was on his own. Not knowing what career to focus on, he enrolled as a general education student but became discouraged when he found out the cost of finishing a degree in television broadcasting.

After just three semesters, he returned to Chattanooga, with a small mountain of debt and nothing to show for it. Now he works through a temp agency making around $13 an hour for a landscaping supply company.”[The local leaders], they care about the white kids first and then the black kids,” he said, voicing years of pent-up frustration with local decisions he believes have hurt the African-American community, in particular. “They don’t want us to advance. They want us to be behind. There is so much pressure on families.”

So every day, not knowing how, Williams said he is trying to level the playing field for his son on his own.

His son will know the value of education. His son will graduate college, Williams said.

But more importantly, Williams said, his son will have his father to encourage him.

“They are making it hard on me, but, no matter what, I am going to go harder for my son so he never has to go through what I went through,” he said.

Contact staff writer Joan Garrett McClane at 423-757-6601 or

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Enota school project dispute reaches boiling point

More than 18 meetings have been held with various groups about the proposed construction of a new building for Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville. But pushback about the process and plans for the elementary school’s Smartville garden have caused dissension.

The issues are set to be discussed at a school board meeting next week.

Here’s a look at how the controversy came to this point.

Why Enota needs a new building

Gainesville Board of Education members toured schools in August to determine their needs.

It was obvious the 60-year-old Enota building had major issues.

“Students are housed in deteriorating modular classrooms. Its entire plumbing system must be replaced. Its gym is half-sized and cannot accommodate the student body,” school documents read. “It has inadequate storage, work rooms, conference room, front office and administrative areas. Its traffic patterns are dangerous, and its parking is insufficient and frustrating to employees and visitors.

“In summary, the facility is far below the standard of our other elementary schools.”

The Regional Educational Service Agency recommended major renovation or replacement of the school.

In December, Gainesville school leaders informed the community that rebuilding the school would be more cost-effective. The recent passage of an education sales tax made the plans possible.

How the plans were proposed

A letter sent to Enota parents dated Dec. 18 laid out plans to begin building on the current site as soon as the school year was over.

“We have had the opportunity to meet with the Enota School Governance Council to share with them and solicit from them ideas about how to best move forward with this project,” the letter from Superintendent Wanda Creel and Principal Wesley Roach states. “We are in the early stages of planning for this construction project, but we want to be sure to communicate with our Enota family what is currently known.

Information meetings were hosted in April for the community.

How the community reacted

Concerns about traffic and where the students would be housed surfaced quickly. But those issues seemed to take a back seat when concerns were raised about the school’s Smartville garden.

Superintendent Wanda Creel said school system leaders met with school faculty, the parent-teacher organization and the school governance council to talk about how best to preserve as much of the garden as possible.

A design proposal presented in April included leveling the site, rather than maintaining the garden in its original location. Creel said the grading is needed in order to meet requirements for the disabled, create better traffic flow and meet requirements for emergency vehicle access.

Some community members suggested school leaders take a step back and determine whether the new building could be constructed without significantly altering the garden.

Community members noted many of the plants were too established to move and no money had been set aside for a new garden. School officials have said some of the landscaping budget for the new school may be able to go toward the garden.

A retaining wall option was discussed but would cost about $132,000 and create a sort of alley between the garden and building.

A brainstorming session held in April drew about 20 people, but no immediate solutions were considered, rather some asked the project be delayed.

About the garden

The Smartville garden project was started in 2008 after erosion created problems in front of the school. With the help of the Fockele family and the Fockele Garden Co., the project turned about a half-acre of space into the garden.

The North Georgia Community Foundation provided a $20,000 grant to help pay for the project. Sally Meadors, former principal at Enota, said more than $100,000 had been spent on the garden.

The garden includes a series of water collection cisterns, a 10-foot water tower with a drip-irrigation system, metal figures, ornamental and drought-resistant plants and a path through the garden.

Decisions made

The school board voted at a meeting June 2 to go with the original design for the school, which would destroy the existing garden. Construction was planned to start in May 2017. The board meeting was held a different day than the board’s regularly scheduled meeting and public notice of the meeting was limited. The Enota school was not listed on the agenda for the meeting.

Board chairwoman Delores Diaz said a survey of faculty was taken May 23 and she believed a quick response was needed to the results.

She announced the decision at a June 6 regularly scheduled work session.

Speakers at the June 20 meeting questioned the school board’s decisions and lamented the board’s response has been slow.

How it has affected the board

The board has not approved two sets of meeting minutes, one for the called meeting June 2 and one for the regular meeting June 6. When the minutes were called on the agenda, no board member spoke, offered motions to approve or disapprove nor posed questions.

Some board members have since said they want to have more discussion on the Enota project, which is why they didn’t vote to approve the minutes.

In a self-assessment board members completed, a majority of school board members indicated they believe the district has communication and public relations problems.

But board members were silent at a June 30 called meeting when Diaz asked how the board could improve.

What’s next

The board is set to discuss the Enota issue along with the minutes at a meeting July 18.

If it continues to move forward as planned, the new building would be two stories and would include 60 classrooms. It would include about 130,000 square feet, about the same size as the new school in Mundy Mill subdivision that was approved Monday night. That building will cost $17.4 million.

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Eight different gardens, eight different stories to tell during American Fork Steel Days

Ron Myers emerges from a cellar in his property at 575 North 600 East on Friday, July 8, 2016. Their home is part of Steel Days’ Garden Tour in American Fork. CHRIS SAMUELS, Daily Herald.

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Butte carousel needs ‘final push’ to get ponies running

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Market, landscaping promote wellness at Riverside Regional Medical Center

A farmer’s market at a hospital may seem like a strange fit. Riverside Regional Medical Center views it as another way of helping people get healthier and happier.

This year’s new farmers market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays now into fall, is another promising project for Randy Pingley, 45, grounds manager for the hospital on J. Clyde Morris Boulevard in Newport News.

“Riverside is continuously searching for ways to provide healthy alternatives,” says Pingley.

“The newest thing is the Riverside Farmers Market. A year ago, Dr. Eric Stone, our associate administrator, came to me with the idea, and sent me numerous articles on this trend in health care, establishing farmers markets on hospital grounds. He wanted our patients, visitors and employees to have the ability to walk outside the hospital and obtain locally grown produce, which is a direct and visual correlation between health, wellness and diet.”

Year-round, Pingley sees to the many gardens that embellish the hospital’s landscapes. In 2010, Riverside won a Newport News Green Award. In 2013, Riverside placed 14th among the top 20 most beautiful hospitals in a 300-hospital competition sponsored by Soliant Health; in 2015, the hospital placed fourth.

Pingley also oversees grounds keeping for several other Riverside properties, some of which include Warwick Forest/Warwick Gardens, Denbigh Professional, Oyster Point Child Development and the Health Career School, all in Newport News; Riverside Rehabilitation, Hampton Surgery Center and Riverside Behavioral Health, all in Hampton; and Riverside Healthy Living Community in Smithfield.

Summertime gardening with children produces lifelong passion and lifetime memories

Summertime gardening with children produces lifelong passion and lifetime memories

My summers were spent with my grandmother, who had a Craftsman-style brick home along a busy highway that ran between Lynchburg and Altavista.

Her grape arbor, chicken coop and vegetable garden were my playground. A nearby farm that cultivated tobacco, melons, corn and tomatoes was owned by a family…

My summers were spent with my grandmother, who had a Craftsman-style brick home along a busy highway that ran between Lynchburg and Altavista.

Her grape arbor, chicken coop and vegetable garden were my playground. A nearby farm that cultivated tobacco, melons, corn and tomatoes was owned by a family…

(Kathy Van Mullekom)

Maintaining the hospital’s landscapes is more than just cutting and trimming grass. For Pingley, it’s about creating gardens that soothe the soul and entertain the senses.

For instance, there is a koi pond, bridge and patio adjacent to Riverside’s Newport News entrance.

“This was one of my first major projects for Riverside,” he says.

“It was just a grass area at the front of the hospital parallel with the cafeteria. I wanted to give people a place to sit and reflect, take a break from being in the hospital — give people a place to walk out and take their children to see the fish.”

Pingley is also proud of the Cancer Care Center patio and pergola project in Newport News.

“There was already funding available for a healing garden, but not enough room to do a large traditional garden,” he says.

“I decided to take a nice patio that was already at the facility, and plant it so that it felt as if you were in your own private garden. We had a large shade pergola constructed as well as installed several water features. I lost a grandfather to cancer in 1989 and my mother-in-law in 2012. She was actually treated at Riverside and really enjoyed coming out to the cafeteria pond as well as the Cancer Center patio garden. Both of these areas mean a great deal to me.”

A resident of Newport News, Pingley started his love for landscaping while working two jobs and attending Christopher Newport University. At McDonald Garden Center, he learned plant names, soil amendments and chemicals — through osmosis, he says, while loading cars, watering plants and assisting customers. Time with the horticulture department at Busch Gardens taught him how to install flower beds, baskets and containers, and how to lead small landscape crews. He also mowed lawns and installed landscapes on the side.

“McDonalds and Busch Gardens gave me horticultural knowledge and experience,” he says.

“CNU taught me business skills.”

After graduating from CNU, Pingley was hired as a Kingsmill landscape superintendent, designing and maintaining resort grounds. Then, he was promoted to director of landscape for the resort and residential community. In 2009, after the Anheuser-Busch sale to InBev, he moved to Riverside, where he supervises more than a dozen full-time equipment operators and landscape gardeners.

Since joining Riverside, Pingley and his crew have installed an irrigation system that utilizes computer programming with iPad control, a weather station and a pump station adjacent to Lake Maury, which provides irrigation water for the Newport News site. Runoff and storm drains from the campus feed back into the lake.

“The system has paid for itself in three years,” he says.

In addition, landscaping has been upgraded to feature more flower beds, paver pathways, lighting, interior courtyard with pondless waterfall, parking lot screening with plant material and Bermuda sod installed as much as possible.

“In 2009, Riverside made a new commitment to beautifying not only the grounds but also the interior d?cor of our lobbies, patient rooms, cafeteria and more,” says Pingley.

“Having a well-trained and experienced staff is an integral part to what we have been able to accomplish. They all understand what we do positively impacts the well-being of our patients, visitors and employees.

“At least once a week we hear, ‘I wish my yard looked that good!’ or ‘Can you all come to my house next?'”

Pingley’s preferred plants

Tulips. They are inexpensive, and provide an instant “wow” factor. “I went to the Keukenhof (tulip capital in Holland) as a young teen and I can remember to this day how in ‘awe’ I was of the flowers,” Pingley says. “When I went to Busch Gardens to work, it was my favorite time to plant. Busch Gardens installed thousands of tulips every fall. It was neat to design my own patterns and combinations. And then you sit and wait to see your results in the spring. At Kingsmill, I worked with a great friend of mine Willem Van Den Akker from Holland to have a tulip named ‘Kingsmill,’ and it’s registered with the National Bulb Society.”

Lantana. The plant grows and spreads quickly, and offers continuous blooms throughout the summer. It has no issues with disease or pests, and comes in a good variety of vibrant colors. Some lantana comes back as a perennial.

Loropetalum. The evergreen plant comes in different growing sizes, and features burgundy foliage, which is something different from your typical green shrub. There is pretty much a Loropetalum available for any application in your landscape — small low-growing varieties such as Purple Pixie to medium growers like Daruma, Ruby and Blush. Larger varieties like Zhuzhou grow to be 10 feet tall and wide.

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Notes of note: gardening tips and travel

Posted Jul. 8, 2016 at 2:00 AM

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Fertilize lawns, increase watering, prune hydrangeas: This week’s gardening tips

This week’s gardening tips: We have gotten plenty of rainfall so far this summer, but the weather often turns drier at this time of year. You may need to water more often. Pay attention and irrigate when needed.

If you haven’t fertilized your lawn since last April, do so again this month. It’s especially important for lawns that are weak, in low vigor or need to grow to repair damage.

Reduce weed problems by keeping all beds well mulched. Replenish mulches to a depth of at least 2 inches, if needed. Pull weeds promptly. If you decide to use herbicides, read the label carefully before use.

If you need to prune your hydrangeas or gardenias, now is the latest time to do it. Old green hydrangea flower heads can be cut, hung upside down and dried for flower arrangements. In early July, wrap up pruning of spring-flowering shrubs, such as azaleas (except Encore types, which should have been pruned earlier), Indian hawthorns, spirea and others.

A long growing season and rapid growth often leads to over-grown beds at this time of year. Trim bedding plants and tropicals to keep them under control. Stake or support plants that need it.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Love to garden? 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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Tips to keep weeds out of your garden





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