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Archives for July 21, 2016

Designers embrace bountiful challenges of rooftop gardens

One of the bonuses of having a rooftop gardens is having a beautiful vista of the city.
Photo: Amber Freda

When it comes to serving clients living in the city, landscapers have to be inventive on all fronts, and they’ll need to be especially resourceful if asked to create a rooftop garden.

These are small spaces with special views that receive varying sun and wind exposure, and can only tolerate so much weight. Although it is a niche market in the sense that larger cities with towering buildings are going to have more demand for rooftop gardens, they appeal to all people seeking greenery in an urban environment.

“It makes city living much more enjoyable to have a bit of outdoor space to come home to and relax in,” said Amber Freda, owner of Amber Freda Home Garden Design in New York.

Every landscaper knows that each landscape is distinctive, and rooftops are no different. Yet there are some elements that need to be taken into consideration for every rooftop garden design.


Before you can go about designing a dream space for your customer’s terrace or rooftop, you need to know the function of the space. A client focused on the outstanding vistas probably doesn’t want a lot of privacy fencing or shrubbery infringing on that view.

“Once we can uncover the overall goal in function, we can identify how the space is best suited,” said Chris Turner, principal at Elevate By Design based in Denver, Colorado.

Built-in seating is ideal for hiding extra storage.
Photo: Amber Freda

The amount and style of the seating can vary depending on whether the rooftop is intended for large gatherings or small get-togethers. If limited seating will do, that space can be put to some other use.

“We also tend to think of the space in terms of outdoor rooms, so you might have one portion of the space that is used for dining, another portion that is cozy seating, and possibly a third portion that could be either a play space, an outdoor kitchen, a Jacuzzi or anything else the homeowner dreams up,” Freda said.

No matter what the function of the rooftop, the best rule of thumb for maximizing the space is having everything multi-functional.

“I like to think like a yacht designer,” said Christopher Myers, owner and lead designer of Just Terraces, which is also based in New York. “Every piece has to do at least two functions.”

All of Myers’ installations feature custom pieces such as built-in benches that can be used for storage and tables that can be lifted or lowered, depending on the need.

Watching your weight

A custom copper hot tub is tucked away neatly on this Upper West Side terrace.
Photo: C. Myers

You can waste a lot of time creating a stunning design with all the luxury elements if you haven’t taken the weight loads into consideration.

This doesn’t mean that your client can’t have that hot tub; it simply means there’s a little more that goes into selecting the placement of all the materials.

Myers always hires an engineer and gets a copy of the structural drawings for the building so he can plan around the weight-bearing structures.

The age of the building and whether the space is a balcony, setback or rooftop will all factor into the ultimate amount of weight you have to work with. For example, brownstones can’t support as much as newer buildings, so Myers constructs false floors that are able to spread the weight load more evenly.

Getting to installation

Getting the materials to the jobsite is a very particular challenge when working with rooftop gardens.

“Most of the time we have to crane all the pieces of the project to the rooftop before install,” Turner said. “This includes spas, fire features, outdoor kitchens, etc.”

Access in most cases can only be achieved either by crane or elevator, which is another reason why Myers chooses to create custom pieces that can be assembled once at the terrace or rooftop.

Choosing the right sized materials is important, since access can be difficult for installation.
Photo: Amber Freda

“We try to be very efficient about our deliveries,” Myers said. “We bring it in as set pieces. I use my background as a set designer to build it like a set and all of it is installed so it can also be taken apart later.”

Since it is quite common for leaks, façade repairs, and general maintenance to require the removal of a rooftop garden, Myers makes sure the pieces can be taken apart and stored to protect the client’s investment.

Aside from making sure the materials can make it to the top, it’s important to know what covenants, or bylaws, apply to the building. In New York City, propane tanks are illegal, but each building varies on what it permits.

“Some allow charcoal grills, other buildings only allow electric, others only allow plumbed gas lines,” Myers said. “Every building is different. I tell customers that just because you saw your friend’s place has one doesn’t mean you can have one like that.”

No place for wimpy plants

The plant palette for a rooftop garden will vary based on the drainage and layout of the space, but generally hardy drought-tolerant species will perform better.

Since pretty much all the plants will be grown in a container, they are more vulnerable compared with those grown in the ground. It is important to select hardy plants that don’t outgrow their containers.

“I like to think of rooftop gardening as being similar to gardening on top of a mountain,” Freda said. “The types of plants that grow well on a mountain are usually more bottom-heavy than top-heavy. Things like conifers, weeping trees, or multi-stem trees tend to do better than lollipop-shaped tress because there is less of a chance of their blowing over in a strong wind.”

Myers’ clients prefer low-maintenance plants that can handle the elements.
Photo: C. Myers

Freda suggests avoiding using large-leaf plants, as they tend to get shredded by the winds and large-leaf evergreens are more likely to get winter-burn in containers.

Some of the trees that Myers prefers include juniper, kwanzan cherry trees, black pines, white pines, ‘Crimson Queen’ Japanese maples and Teddy Bear Southern magnolias.

Ornamental grasses, ever-blooming roses, trumpet vines, honeysuckle, hostas, creeping jenny, and boxwoods are all examples of plants that do particularly well in the sunny and windy environment of rooftop gardens.

One crucial part of installing plants is making sure that there is an automated drip irrigation system in the plans.

Signature elements

The rooftop’s features will depend on the client’s preferences, of course, but there are some characteristic elements that each designer loves to add to the space.

“Shade is almost always going to be of major importance on a rooftop garden,” Freda said. “We would usually create shade through the use of an umbrella, a pergola, an awning, or shade sails. I love hanging a big, beautiful pendant light inside of a pergola over a dining table. It’s a beautiful, unexpected feature that instantly makes it feel inviting and can add a touch of drama.”

Since Myers’ rooftop installs are all custom, he loves doing hot tubs and water features.

Fire features are popular for heating up a chilly evening in Denver.
Photo: Elevate By Design

“All the hot tubs are copper, all handmade for the space, which allows control over depth, size and space,” Myers said.

While fire features can be more of a challenge in New York, seeing as each building’s bylaws vary, they can be great additions in Colorado.

“Fire features are always great, especially here in Colorado, as we get over 300 days a year of sun!” Turner said. “So there are plenty of nice nights, especially during football season, to sit outside with the fire going.”

In the end, each rooftop comes with its own unique shape, size, orientation and owner.

“It’s a balancing act to get the usability and the elegance and beauty and the practicality right,” Myers said. “I love that it’s a challenge.”

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Sale garden designer Lee showcases his work at Hampton Court Flower Show

Lee Burkhill and Monty Don

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Christmas in July: Growers gather at champion Pa. tree farm

The folks at Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Carbon County, Pa., are used to attention. The farm has won the privilege of supplying trees to the White House four times for the Christmas season.

This weekend the farm off Route 902 in Mahoning Township will host the 2016 Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association Summer Meeting — a gathering of more than 150 growers.

Farm co-founder Margaret Botek said it is more than an honor.

“Let’s put it this way. It’s a commitment,” she said Wednesday. “You have all these people coming and you have to be ready. There’s lots of works to be done.”

Margaret and Francis Botek celebrated 50 years in business in 2014, the last year one of their fir trees graced the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Margaret Botek said growers will converge on the farm Friday night for a meet and greet, then spend all day Saturday sharing ideas and meeting with vendors and one another.

“It’s an educational day for tree growers,” she said. “There’s equipment vendors and questions and answers that tree growers would be interested in. It’s about learning from one another and sharing growing techniques.”

Pa. tree arrives at White House (PHOTOS)

The Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association represents more than 300 farms in the state.

Crystal Spring produces 15 varieties of evergreens on about 250 owned and leased acres.

Proprietor Chris Botek, Margaret and Francis’ son, said he harvests about 20,000 trees a year for landscaping and Christmas. Most are shipped wholesale to garden centers and tree lots east of Pennsylvania, from Washington D.C., to Connecticut.

Besides the 150 or so growers from Pennsylvania and four other states, Botek said 20 vendors are lined up and an estimated 250 people are expected.

The meetings have become more important as the number of tree growers has shrunk, Chris Botek said.

“Our organization is in existence for the sharing of information, to help people get started, share trade secrets and let them know not only what we do well but the mistakes we make,” said Botek, 45, who is secretary of the Pennsylvania association. “You get to have a mutual respect for one another because of what goes into the work.”

Christmas tree-growing is backbreaking, labor-intensive work and virtually impossible to establish anew because of the cycling required to produce a tree, Chris Botek said.

It takes eight to 10 years to produce a standard household Christmas tree; a typical 7- to 8-feet-tall tree is about 10 to 12 years old, he said.

“It’s very hard,” he said of the business. “I was fortunate. My parents started the business and I was fortunate to follow in their footsteps. Without having them it would be so difficult to do this.”

Jim Deegan may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jim_deegan. Find lehighvalleylive on Facebook.

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Fair fowl

Everyone’s squawking because the birds are back.

After a one-year hiatus thanks to last year’s avian flu outbreak, chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and other fowl are returning to the Porter County Fair, which opens Thursday.

“Right now, we’re line for 555 birds coming into the barn. It’s right on the numbers from before,” said Russell Gluth, 4-H poultry superintendent, adding the birds belong to 60 4-H members.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health put the ban in place in May 2015 after a single case of avian flu in a small flock in Whitley County, said Denise Derrer, public information officer for that agency.

Breaking down the GOP platform’s transportation ideas

With help from Jennifer Scholtes, Lauren Gardner and Kathryn A. Wolfe

BEEN THERE, COULDN’T DO THAT: The MT team broke down the Republican Party platform’s transportation proposals for you and found a plan full of largely failed policy ideas that are likely to go nowhere.

Story Continued Below

Transit on the chopping block: Stripping transit from the Highway Trust Fund? House Republicans tried it in 2012. But Democrats and suburban Republicans kept the attempt from even getting to the House floor. “It really doesn’t have much in the way of logic,” Joshua L. Schank, chief innovation officer for the Los Angeles County Metro, said about the proposal. Still, the idea could appeal to a base that “is not composed of people who use mass transit,” Schank said.

More HTF slashing: Cutting off Highway Trust Fund spending on bike-share programs, sidewalks and scenic byways? A recent House bill to take away the DOT’s ability to approve landscaping and roadside development has sat untouched for over 13 months.

Privatizing Amtrak: Allowing private ventures to provide passenger service along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor? The House has previously struck down measures to prevent Amtrak from using money to operate much less profitable routes.

IT’S WEDNESDAY: Good morning and thanks for tuning in to POLITICO’s Morning Transportation, your daily tipsheet on all things trains, planes, automobiles and ports.

Reach out: or @Gardner_LM, or @JAScholtes and or @brigurciullo.

Yes, you know I’m on the road. Once again it seems all that’s left behind is a chain of broken dreams.

RUNWAY IS CLEAR FOR AIRCRAFT EMISSIONS REGS: As soon as Wednesday, the EPA will issue its scientific conclusion that carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft contribute to climate change, Pro Energy’s Alex Guillén reports. The conclusion, called an endangerment finding, requires the EPA to eventually write regulations.

Trump treatment: But either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be in charge by then. EPA rules, Alex explains, are “not likely to sit well with Trump, who owns a Boeing 757 and a smaller plane, and who once owned a small airline called Trump Shuttle. The GOP presidential nominee has dismissed climate change as a hoax, and he’s said that if elected he planned to review the EPA’s 2009 finding that the agency used as a basis for its power plant rules and roll back the EPA’s landmark Clean Power Plan.”

SCOOP: Victoria Wassmer will replace Mike Whitaker as the FAA’s acting deputy administrator, our Kathryn A. Wolfe reports. Wassmer has served as the agency’s assistant administrator for management and finance. She previously worked at the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Carmen Group, WMATA and the Office of Management and Budget.

STATE AGS: VW CEO KNEW ABOUT EMISSIONS CHEATING: Three states’ attorneys general have filed lawsuits claiming then-Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn and other executives knew about the devices on several vehicle models that allowed the German automaker to cheat diesel emissions testing, our Lauren Gardner reports. An employee wrote a letter in May 2014 to Winterkorn saying “a thorough explanation for the dramatic increase in NOx emissions cannot be given to the authorities.”

Coordinated cover-up? The New York, Massachusetts and Maryland attorneys general also contend that VW and Audi researched U.S. laws and past enforcement cases before equipping their cars with the devices. “This was a cover-up coordinated by the most senior people at the company,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said at a press conference in New York. The lawsuits are separate from VW’s $14.7 billion partial settlement with federal and California regulators.

ON THE FIFTH SURGE OF SAFETRACK WMATA GAVE TO ME: Time to plan your travel around the single-tracking between the East Falls Church and Ballston stations, which lasts through July 31. It’s the second time that stretch has undergone work, but it’s now on the outbound track. Metro is urging commuters who usually ride to or from Vienna, Wiehle-Reston East, Tysons Corner and other stations west of Ballston to find other ways to get around. The Washington Post has more:

HOPE FOR ATC REFORM: We asked MT readers: Are you hopeful or doubtful about the prospect of enacting an FAA revamp by the new September 2017 deadline Congress just set?

A self-described “longtime industry airspace user” said: “Modernization of the air traffic system takes decades in our current system, by which time technology has passed us by. Our neighbors to the north produce positive results as an air navigation service provider that is supported by general aviation, business aviation, airlines and their military. In fact, NavCanada is the majority owner of a space-based surveillance technology that will roll out at less cost and with more benefits, to all users, sooner than FAA’s ill-advised, non-harmonized, ground-based surveillance system. We can then have the pleasure of paying another country’s air navigation service provider for something FAA is unable to deliver (cost-beneficial modernization benefits). Our national airspace system needs safety oversight by the regulator, but should also be as competitive, efficient and cost effective as a commercial business. I’m hopeful Congress will remove their thumb from FAA and make ATC reform occur in 2017.”

The comment period is still open, so tell us how you’re leaning:, and

TWEET DU JOUR: U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman (@MikeFroman): “Had a great tour of @TeslaMotors this morning to see sustainable, #MadeInAmerica cars #exported around the world.”

RECORD CARTEL FINE FOR BIG TRUCKMAKERS: Iveco, DAF, Volvo, Daimler and MAN — and their parent companies, including VW — have been slapped with a total of 2.9 billion euros in fines for tacitly fixing prices for more than a decade and agreeing when to roll out clean emissions technology. The top competition enforcer in Europe, Margrethe Vestager, set a new record with the fine, considered the largest-ever sanction for illegal collusion, POLITICO Europe’s Nicholas Hirst reports. Those firms now face lawsuits from truckers and other customers, too. MAN actually blew the whistle on the collusion, which saves it from fines but not lawsuits.

HOW CAR2GO AFFECTS THE DISTRICT: Every car2go vehicle in D.C. took about seven cars off the road last year, eliminating at most 10 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study by UC Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center. The car-sharing app, which allows users to take one-way trips, also decreased vehicle miles traveled in the district by a maximum of 21.3 million miles, researchers estimated. Among the five North American cities studied — Vancouver, Calgary, San Diego, Seattle and D.C. — a single car2go vehicle took from seven to 11 cars off the road.


— South Korean regulator considering filing criminal charges against Volkswagen executives. The Wall Street Journal.

— House TI Chairman Bill Shuster, a Trump supporter, says the GOP nominee has yet to provide an infrastructure plan. Business Insider.

— Why transit was key in bringing the RNC to Cleveland. The Washington Post.

— Volkswagen to build electric cars in North America by 2020. The Wall Street Journal.

— PHL non-union workers rally in pre-DNC bid for better pay, representation. The Philadelphia Inquirer.

— Plans for self-driving cars have pitfall: the human brain. The Associated Press.

THE COUNTDOWN: DOT appropriations run out in 71 days. The FAA reauthorization expires in 436 days. The 2016 presidential election is in 110 days. Highway and transit policy is up for renewal in 1,536 days.

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BZA OKs grooming business to expand

The woofs had it Wednesday at a meeting of the Allen County Board of Zoning Appeals.

The zoning board unanimously granted several requests to allow for a dog grooming and boarding facility at the intersection of Grabill and Cuba roads in Springfield Township.

Anthony Barraco told the board he and his wife, Penny Barraco, are expanding their existing home dog-grooming business in a garage on their property to a free-standing building that will also include nine kennels and an outdoor dog run area for overnight canine guests.

The Barracos, whose property is zoned A1 (Agricultural), plan to construct an approximately 1,300-square-foot building on the southeast part of their 1.4-acre residential property. The dog run would be a 30-by-36-foot area with a six-foot chain-link fence. Approval was conditioned on noise-curbing construction materials, as approval of the existing home business had been.

Variances also were granted to allow an initial gravel – instead of paved – parking lot, and to trim a setback from Cuba Road by 15 feet to avoid a septic system area.

The board also unanimously approved plans for a new mom-and-pop Mexican restaurant at Main and Second streets in Grabill. 

Fort Wayne architect Matt Kelty of Kelty Tappy Design, representing Isia and Isabel Valdes of Isabel’s Tacos, said the couple has developed a successful food-truck business serving “authentic Mexican food” and is seeking a permanent location.

The business has operated at that site and at Riverside Gardens Park, Leo, Kelty said. For a vacant corner lot, the couple proposed a two-story building designed to fit in with other Main Street homes and businesses, he said, with an open porch on the north side and offices and storage on the second floor.

A development standards variance was sought to reduce setbacks on the building’s north and east sides, with the east side having parking in the right-of-way, as is common in other Main Street businesses, Kelty said.

The proposal received support from Wilmer Delagrange, town council president, who said he was glad to see use of the lot, which has been vacant for some time.

In correspondence with planning staff, the property’s west-side neighbor objected, saying the site was too small and if the corner fire hydrant was moved, neighbors’ insurance would go up.

Kelty said no hydrant relocation would be necessary, and the design minimized impacts on the west side of the property. The entrance and parking would be on the east side and landscaping will provide buffering, he said.

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How To Save Time, Money And Water

(NAPSI)—Wondering about the most efficient way to water your landscaping beds, vegetable gardens and container plants? For nongrass areas like these, drip irrigation is an ideal solution that will give you happier, healthier plants while saving you time and water.

The Problem

For many homeowners, watering the yard can be a time-consuming task. Dragging hoses around the yard or constantly refilling watering cans is a chore that often falls to the bottom of the “to do” list. Often, flower beds, vegetable gardens and potted plants on the patio suffer while they wait for the next rainstorm to provide relief.

A Solution

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to keep your yard, garden and patio plants precisely watered with several convenient residential irrigation products. Drip irrigation provides easy and accurate watering, giving you healthier plants, bright and beautiful flowers, and fresh herbs and vegetables for your family.

“The more you learn about plants—how they grow and what they actually need—the more you appreciate the fine art of drip irrigation,” says Shirley Bovshow, landscape and garden lifestyle expert on the Hallmark Channel’s “Home Family” show.

So what exactly is drip? Drip irrigation is a low-pressure, low-volume watering system that puts water right at the root zone, keeping plants healthier while preventing water waste. “I’ve installed drip irrigation in a variety of places around the yard, like potted plants, herb gardens and those tough-to-water border areas,” says Bovshow.

“Homeowners shouldn’t be intimidated by drip—it’s a perfect project for a DIYer and has so many benefits,” says Alex Nathanson, corporate marketing brand manager, Rain Bird Corporation. “Drip projects can be installed in just a few hours and offer many advantages for homeowners including convenience, water savings and healthier, happier plants.”

Whether you’re watering a large yard with extensive landscaping or tending a patio or deck container garden, there’s a drip irrigation option that can meet the need.

Patio Plant Watering Kits

   • Comes with all the parts needed to directly water up to 10 plants.

   • Produces longer-lasting blooms, greener leaves and a healthier plant life.

   • Eliminates watering by hand.

   • Easy to assemble; just cut tubing and connect to any outdoor hose bib.

Drip Irrigation Starter Kits

   • Uses water-saving micro-sprays and micro bubblers to save water.

   • Provides a precise drip watering system that covers up to six plants or closely spaced plant groupings.

   • Flower beds will have longer-lasting blooms and shrubs; vegetables and other plants will grow more consistently.

   • Easy installation that connects to an outside hose bib.

Landscape Drip Watering Kits

   • A combination of micro bubblers and spot watering emitters plus tubing and tools.

   • Keeps plants healthier with precise watering for more widely spaced plants.

   • Applies water directly to the root zone to reduce evaporation and save water.

Finally, to save you time and take care of watering while you’re away on vacation, Bovshow suggests choosing an automated hose-end timer. Digital timers take care of the watering for you automatically, so you can spend more time enjoying the yard and garden.

To help you get started with water-saving drip irrigation, you can find these kits and other irrigation products at The Home Depot.

Learn More

Want to know more about efficient irrigation? Visit

On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

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Schedule, agenda announced for Glee 2016 show in the UK

Garden retailers, garden designers, landscapers and builders’ merchants looking to build their business will not want to miss Glee 2016 from i2i Events (Sept. 12-14, NEC Birmingham), where the latest innovations, exciting new product launches, unrivalled networking opportunities and future trends all come together.

New sectors at Glee 2016
Outdoor Entertaining is the new home of garden leisure products. A new approach to this sector will focus largely on the move from ‘outdoor living’ to our garden spaces being an extension of our homes, with gardens taking centre stage when it comes to entertaining space. The revised sector will focus largely on how retailers can reinvigorate their offering to attract younger consumers into store to purchase core products such as outdoor furniture, barbecues, firepits, pizza ovens and exterior audio visual equipment.

Glee Garden Design Landscaping has entered a new chapter in 2016 under the banner of Landscaping and Garden Decoration. This revitalised area will look at how retailers can better profit from a mixture of hard landscaping, and those decorative elements that help to complete most garden design projects.

Finally, Retail Experiences and Services will replace the area previously known as Retail Services. Offering shop-fittings, POS, EPoS and retail design, this area will be expanded in 2016 to better incorporate the wider aspects related to inspirational and functional retailing concepts. Glee’s established catering section will also find a new home within the Retail Experiences section and Services this year.

Special show features for 2016

The New Product Showcase and Glee Awards
The New Product Display is the place to see innovative, unique and commercial products from the hundreds of suppliers at Glee. The competition sees new designs and products perfectly displayed for your consideration with the best of each category receiving the accolade of a ‘Glee Award.’ Show visitors can also cast their vote for their favourite, awarding one lucky entrant with the title of ‘Retailers Choice Award’.

Seminar content, in association with The HTA
As always, Glee will offer visitors a free, three-day Seminar Programme organised in conjunction with the HTA (Horticultural Trades Association), which will share expert business and garden retail advice to help grow your business through challenging trading conditions.

This year’s show will be officially opened by TV’s Diarmuid Gavin, who will then be joining us within our seminar theatre to share his experience of how he got to where he is today in the industry. He will also share his top tips of how to encourage the younger generation into gardening.

Award-winning garden designer, TV gardening presenter, journalist and author, Ann-Marie Powell will also be joining Glee’s seminar programme, sharing her thoughts on the evolution of garden trends and also details of her journey to Chelsea.

Glee Innovators Zone
Launched in 2009, the Glee Innovators Zone has already helped more than 150 companies break into the garden retail market. This special area is designed to help nurture valuable grass-roots product development and one-off design ideas, whilst also bridging the gap between market-ready new product launches from established companies and pre-commercial product ideas. This year Glee’s Innovators Zone will be home to over 30 brand new companies.

GIMA Business Village
The GIMA Business Village is home to a great selection of up and coming companies exhibiting with the support of GIMA. Glee also presents the GIMA Business Lounge, an ideal place to take a break, arrange meetings and catch up with key suppliers. It is also home to the “Buyers Connect” speed networking sessions which will see selected exhibitors meet with show visitors for 10 minute slots for a power-networking session.

International Buyers Centre
International visitors will find the International Buyers Centre (IBC) in partnership with Gardenex a useful resource. Located in Hall 18, the IBC will be led by the team at Gardenex, who will be on hand to provide support and advice as well as translation services. The International Buyers Centre will also be home to “International Buyers Connect”, a special speed-networking event.

Register Today
Entry to Glee is free of charge to all pre-registered visitors. Simply register via the Glee website All pre-registered visitors will save £20 on the door, as well as receiving the Glee show preview if requested before the show to help plan their visit.

Glee 2016 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from Monday Sept. 12 to Wednesday Sept. 14 and opens between 9.00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. (Monday Tuesday) and 4:00pm (Wednesday). To find out the latest news and to register for free entry, please visit For details on exhibiting at Glee, call 0203-033-2160.

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Tips on Fall Gardening workshop set

TROY — If you are interested in learning to grow vegetables late into fall and early winter, the next session of the Coffee with the Master Gardener Volunteers will cover just that on Aug. 5. Join Miami County Master Gardener Dan Jones as he discusses how to utilize cool season crops, additional plantings and other tactics to make your garden last well past the first frost. Learn to be sustainable right in your own backyard for as long as possible.

The session will be held in the extension meeting room in the old Miami County Courthouse and will begin at 10 a.m. Pre-registration is required for refreshments, handouts and space. The cost is $10 per person. Registration deadline is July 29. Make checks payable to OSU Extension. You may mail form and payment to OSU Extension, 201 W. Main St., Troy, OH 45373; or pay by cash or credit card in the office or over the phone.

Call (937) 440-3945 or email [email protected] for more information or to request a registration form or visit or the Facebook page “Miami County Master Gardeners” for more information.

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Gardening guru Lynda Hallinan’s tips for turning citrus into marvellous marmalade

Use any combination of citrus to hand – grapefruit, tangelos, mandarins, oranges, lime or lemons – to make delicious homemade preserves

Whenever I make marmalade, I’m reminded of the folk story “Stone Soup”.

In this old fable, a hungry traveller uses his wits to turn a pebble in a pot of water into a nourishing soup simply by convincing parsimonious villagers that all his miracle broth needed was a little seasoning – carrots, salt and pepper, some chicken bones, and so on. 

To me, marmalade is stone soup’s  jammy equivalent. All it takes to make dozens of jars of the stuff are a couple of citrus fruit and a fairly alarming quantity of sugar. Any citrus will do, from grapefruit to limes, though deep red Seville oranges, if you can get them, make the finest spread.


* New life for your old fruit trees
How to make your tools last a lifetime
Lynda Hallinan: How to grow your own groceries

Bung a jar of marmalade, spices and a bottle of cheap wine in the slow cooker for a tasty midwinter tipple

Of course, marmalade isn’t just for toast. Use it to glaze your Christmas ham or the crimped pastry around an open apple tart; add a spoonful to a smoothie; use it to sweeten herbal tea; stir through softened vanilla ice cream; or add a generous dollop to the bottom of a steamed pudding basin. 

In midwinter, I make marmalade mulled wine in my slow cooker. For every bottle of cheap red wine, bung in a jar of homemade marmalade, a sliced orange, a cinnamon stick and a handful of cloves. Steep on low all day; it smells as good as it tastes. 


Beat that citrus glut by using the fruit to make marmalade and cordials

My grandma Clarice taught Mum to make marmalade, and Mum taught me.

Grandma’s recipe called for 1 orange, 1 lemon and 2 grapefruit, sliced and soaked overnight in 1½ litres water. Combine fruit and water in your biggest pot and bring to the boil.

Simmer with the lid on for an hour. Add 1.5kg sugar and boil hard, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes.

Test for setting by dribbling a few drops on a chilled plate – it’ll form a skin – or take its temperature with a candy thermometer. At 104°C, it sets firm.

Take the pot off the heat and stand for 15-20 minutes before bottling. This allows the fruit to settle evenly in marmalade, rather than floating to the top of the jars. 

Lynda Hallinan’s cat Snuffles inspects her preserves shelf


Immediately after you take the pot off the heat, stir in a generous splash of whiskey or a citrus liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

Though the alcohol will rapidly boil off, it adds flavour and makes your marmalade eminently more marketable.

Earlier this year, I donated 100 jars of homemade marmalade to Mercy Hospice for our fundraiser at Ayrlies. Half the jars were sold as “Classic Citrus Marmalade” and the other half were labelled “Classic Citrus Marmalade with Whiskey”.

True story: we sold every jar of plonk-enhanced preserves before we sold a single jar of the plain stuff. Keep this in mind when making marmalade to raise funds for a local charity or your horticultural circle’s trading table. 

Lynda Hallinan’s carrot marmalade recipe is handy if you’re caught short of citrus


In wartime, when citrus was in such short supply that Santa stuffed oranges into children’s Christmas stockings as a treat (in the northern hemisphere at least), frugal housewives weren’t afraid to bulk up their marmalades with grated carrot or, if really desperate, mashed pumpkin.

In 1861, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management included a recipe of equal quantities of sugar and carrots combined with lemons, bitter almonds and brandy.

And almost a century earlier, Captain Cook was advised to feed his men carrot jam to ward off scurvy on his voyage of discovery.

My carrot marmalade recipe is easy. Finely slice 2 seedless oranges and 1 lemon, cover with 2 cups water and leave to stand overnight. Bring to the boil and simmer until soft, then add 1½ cups grated carrot and 4 cups sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then boil hard until setting point is reached. Take off the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon brandy. Stand for 15 minutes before pouring into jars.  


 – NZ Gardener

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