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Archives for August 21, 2016

Tips To Draw In Butterflies Using Garden Design

Parents are under increasing pressure to create a picture-perfect nursery for their babies. But, with baby cribs costing numerous dollars and infant bed linen costing nearly the very same, lots of moms and dads simply can’t pay for the expense. So, why not keep or buy an old crib and just spend your cash on a gorgeous crib bed linen set and save money at the same time.

Despite the fact that this group has altered their brand mark several times, one 公司登記 that has made a long-term place in our minds is the image of a musketeer like pirate with a knife between its teeth. Firstly, it is hard to comprehend if it is a musketeer or a pirate in the icon and secondly the total tones of the symbol have actually been performed in red that make it look shoddy and low quality.

With the premium shop, you can not only offer as many custom designs as you like, you can likewise entirely personalize your shop. You can include scripts to your site showing unique offers and coupons.

If you do not have a blog site, Presto Gifto still offers choices for you, enabling you to include PHP or Javascript to your site, making it simple to incorporate Coffee shop Press into your website.

When resting on a chair turn your back to it, put the injured foot in the front, even as you hold both the crutches in one hand. Now thoroughly feel the chair and gradually rest on it. To prevent the crutch from falling, hold it upside down. To stand, move to the front of the chair and hold both the crutches on the hand with the great leg. Now stand up on the good leg.

Here’s the trick; what makes a crib look gorgeous isn’t really a lot the bed linen but the baby crib. This isn’t really so unexpected; when the child’s bed is embellished with sheets, blankets, bumper, valance, diaper bag and mobile, you don’t really see too much of the baby crib itself. What stands out is the stunning baby crib bed linen.

If you are the sort of individual who goes on a shopping spree and purchases a great deal of clothing in one go, make sure the closeout you are preparing to purchase from is a reliable alternative. Due to the fact that it appears like an incredibly great deal, it is never ever advised to go bonkers on the prices and just get whatever within your reach. You need to be on your guard and beware about exactly what you are purchasing. People tend to lose track of exactly what they go to purchase when they visit clothes closeouts. We recommend you stick to your requirements really strictly and don’t have a look at anything new till and unless you get your hands on exactly what you need first.

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One lucky way to get a new front yard – Sarasota Herald

How many of us have uttered those famous last words: “We’ve GOT to do something about this front yard?”

Bernadette and Brad Volkmann have been there.

At first, the B’town couple entertained ideas about doing it themselves.


“We had taken a course in Palmetto given by the University of Florida, to learn about Florida-friendly landscape techniques,” Bernadette said. “Well, it was very informative, but we had no idea how to landscape!”

Then a friend told her about a contest, Native Landscape Makeover, sponsored by the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. She took a photo of the lawn, emailed it and about a month later heard back.

They’d won!

“The luck of the Irish,” Bernadette joked.

So last May, a crew of 20-25 people showed up with heavy equipment, landscaping gear, a mess of native plants and — presto! — the Volkmanns had a new front yard.

“It would’ve taken us weeks and they did it in one day!” Bernadette said. “There’s no way I would’ve even known how to do this. I didn’t want to look at the yard before. Now we sit out and enjoy it.”

See why today at 1 p.m on “How to Do Florida: Flip Your Yard!” on ABC 7.

• Another TV program you’ll find compelling is “Pin Kings” at 8 p.m. Monday on ESPN2.

It’s the true story of two young men, Alex DeCubas and Kevin Pedersen, who were state champion wrestlers as teammates and co-captains in the 1970s at Miami Palmetto High, a program I covered for the South Dade News Leader in Homestead.

DeCubas became a big-time drug smuggler. Pedersen went to West Point and eventually became a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA ultimately took down DeCubas, who went to prison and is now out on probation.

Today, Pedersen is a wrestling coach at Westminster Christian School in Palmetto Bay. DeCubas is his volunteer assistant.

• Oh, no! Tammy Wakeland-Dejesus hit the big 4-0!

• The Victory for Veterans of Manatee County will host a golf tournament to benefit the Yellow Ribbon program to support our town’s distressed and homeless vets. It’s Saturday at 8:30 a.m. at Pinebrook/Ironwood Golf Club, 4620 Ironwood Circle, Bradenton.

The tournament is dedicated to the memory of Bayshore High grad Scott Dougherty, a Marine lance corporal killed in Iraq in 2004. Call Pinebrook/Ironwood at 941-792-3288 to reserve a team.

• Big ups to the Bradenton Marauders’ Justin Ahrens, named Florida State League Athletic Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society.

• Among the 2016 recipients of the Sarasota-Manatee Ohio State Alumni Club scholarships were Braden River alum Garrett Schultz, Manatee grad Andrew Robinson, Out-of-Door Academy alum Andre Avery and State College of Florida grads Jacqueline Fullford and Chelsey Talbot.

• Say it ain’t so! Debbie Hartough Heagerty is one year shy of the big 5-0!

James Crutchfield is the county’s new paramedicine division chief.

• Triviameister Jim Brown’s weekly winners at B’town’s Steel City Bar Grill for the second straight week was “Oh, Really?” including Barb Kinsey, Marilyn and Mike Lamb, Sherri Mannix, Chris Manring and Lynn Pierce.

By the way, Steel City, 5254 State Road 64 East, will be changing its name to Route 64. Game time is 7 p.m. Mondays.

• United Way is asking folks to join the effort to “Stuff the Bus” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Sunday at all Publix locations. Publix is preordering items to support Manatee Food Bank during this critical time and people can purchase them or bring others to the school bus on site.

The goal is 150,000 pounds to restock the pantries throughout the county.

Visit or call 941-748-1313 for details.

• Physical therapist assistant Jeff Sues is Manatee Memorial Hospital’s employee of the month.

• Finally, there was this observation from 5-year-old Finn, the precocious son of Christina Crane, the 107.9 WSRZ morning personality. Upon seeing a popular poolside sign, the lad said: “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere — but I don’t know where somewhere is!”

— Vin’s People runs Sundays. Email Vin Mannix at Or call 941-962-5944. Twitter: @vinmannix.

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New future for Old Town heads to City Council


A woman jogs while crossing Plum Street near Old Town. Making the business district less daunting to pedestrians is one of the main components of the Old Town Master Plan headed to the Mankato City Council Monday night. Photo by Pat Christman

MANKATO — A century-old Mankato business district that appeared to be on its deathbed a decade ago would be reborn under the Old Town Master Plan expected to receive City Council approval Monday.

The 87-page document sets a course for a “vibrant, walkable neighborhood” infused with public art and reconnected to the Minnesota River while preserving the historic ambiance of the area.

Specifically, the number of driving lanes on busy Riverfront Drive will be reduced, pedestrian crossings will be added and improved, alleys will be dressed up to become more inviting to walkers.

Old buildings will be rehabilitated, new construction will face design standards to reflect the turn-of-the-century nature of the area, art projects will be encouraged, trees and other greenery will be planted.

The Old Town Business district was the focus of an extensive long-range planning process, but surrounding areas ranging from Washington Park to Riverfront Park were also addressed. Graphic courtesy of the city of Mankato

And in the long term, a portion of the flood wall that separates downtown Mankato from the river would come down with the creation of riverside boardwalks, green space and pedestrian routes under or over the railroad tracks.

As much as Old Town and surrounding areas would change under the plan, the document also emphasizes the need to retain the district’s distinctive character.

“Old Town flourishes with historic architecture, providing the area with its unique charm and creating a sense of identity for Old Town’s businesses, residents and the community,” the plan states. “… North Riverfront Drive within Old Town serves as a remnant of Mankato’s original commercial district, reflecting the growth of a major southern Minnesota city and changes in commercial architecture from the simple 1870s style to the elaborate Victorian styles of the early 20th century.”

Planning and dreaming


A gateway to the Rock Street entrance to Riverfront Park and more historic lighting are among the recommendations in the Old Town Master Plan, which is expected to receive City Council approval Monday night. Photo courtesy of the city of Mankato

It was a decade ago that civic leaders first called for a master plan for a stretch of Riverfront Drive that seemed to be in a perpetual state of decline. By the time the process kicked off in earnest at the start of 2016, however, entrepreneurs and private sector investors had already begun to show growing interest in the area.

Dain Fisher, a Mankato native, was attracted to Old Town when he and partner Adam Steinke were looking for a home for a new canoe and kayak outfitter business. And Fisher, after obtaining his real estate license, has been focusing on Old Town as a sales agent for Coldwell Banker Commercial Fisher Group.

When Bent River Outfitters located in Old Town, it was one of several new enterprises operated by energetic entrepreneurs who were excited about the commercial district for reasons beyond cheap rent on a heavily traveled street. They chatted and dreamt big about the future possibilities of the largely vacant, somewhat dilapidated area.

“It wasn’t there yet, but if we all worked together, it might really be something someday,” Fisher said, recalling the sentiment at the time. “… What it comes down to is the stakeholders in Old Town, the private sector, they’re the visionaries.”

Mankato Community Development Director Paul Vogel, Planning Coordinator Mark Konz and others in the department laid the foundation for the master plan largely on that concept, kicking off the process with a series of public meetings that drew dozens of people who owned property, ran businesses, shopped or resided in or near Old Town, along with dozens more who simply had an affection for the place.

The initial meetings in January drew more than 160 people and hundreds of suggestions. Follow-up meetings in March and June each drew nearly 100.

Megan Flanagan, director of the City Center Partnership, said attendance was remarkable and the enthusiasm even more so.


Community members placed stickers next to the proposed Old Town improvements most important to them at a June meeting. Opinions of the scores of people who attended public meetings were heavily incorporated into the Old Town Master Plan, which is headed to the Mankato City Council for final approval. Photo by Bre McGee

“Plans are great. But this was one of those cases where the process was as exciting as the product itself,” Flanagan said. “Lightning struck in the Old Town process.” 

The plan that will be voted on by the council, following a public hearing Monday night, includes virtually every major idea offered at the earlier public discussions.

“I think the city has done a good job with that,” Fisher said. “… It’s just really great to see the private sector work hand in hand with the city.”

Taming the Riverfront

The first section of the plan addresses the stark reality that a flood of vehicles flows through Old Town on Riverfront Drive, a major thoroughfare connecting northern and southern parts of Mankato. Roughly 17,000 vehicles a day roll down that section of Riverfront each day, with another 7,000 to 11,000 on Second Street — the next street to the east and one that was included in the Master Plan study area.

Riverfront Drive and Second Street in the Old Town area are likely to become greener and more pedestrian friendly under the Old Town Master Plan, which aims to slow traffic speeds in the area. Photo courtesy of the city of Mankato

The plan calls for “calming” the traffic while still allowing it to flow.

“The traffic is going above the speed limit, not all of it but a good portion of the traffic,” Vogel said, noting that traffic calming efforts in the Lincoln Park neighborhood reduced average speeds while not cutting the number of vehicles.

“It’s still possible to accommodate that traffic but look at strategies and modifications to slow the traffic,” he said.

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Riverfront is likely to be reduced from four lanes to three — one traffic lane in each direction with the center lane reserved for left turns.

Traffic lights, to give pedestrians a fighting chance to cross the street, will be considered — particularly at Rock Street which serves as the entrance to Riverfront Park.

Bumpouts, which extend the curb and sidewalk area into the street at corners, are likely to be added to shorten the crossing for pedestrians and to slow vehicle traffic speeds.

Life would be made easier for pedestrians in general with wider sidewalks (made possible by the Riverfront Drive lane reduction), dressed-up alley-ways to give walkers an alternative to Riverfront, the potential closings of some side streets along Riverfront, and the creation of better walking connections to downtown.

An aesthetic makeover

The look of Old Town would become greener, cleaner and bit more chic under many of the provisions of the Master Plan.

Trees, flowers and other landscaping are emphasized both on Riverfront and in the alleys. Numerous suggestions for public art projects are also included, ranging from artist-painted traffic signal boxes to murals to extension of the downtown sculpture walk into Old Town.

Decorative colored lighting is proposed for the Veterans Memorial Bridge, similar to that adorning Minneapolis’ I-35 bridge and bridges in other major cities — as is holiday lighting leading up to Christmas and attractive lighting in alleys. Arches stretching over the street are proposed for Rock Street announcing passage into the Riverfront Park area and possibly over Riverfront Drive to identify the Old Town district. 

Numerous places for people to sit and gather are embedded in the plan, ranging from sidewalks to temporary fenced-in “parklets” taking over some parking spaces near intersections.

Take me to the river

The most ambitious ideas in the plan relate to reconnecting Old Town, and the broader city center, to the Minnesota River. The plan specifically notes a master’s degree project by University of Minnesota landscape architecture student Michael Schiebe.

Schiebe’s design would remove hundreds of feet of the flood wall to create a natural riverside area, nearly 10 acres in size, dominated by trees and grass and terraces. A trail, on a slope high enough to provide flood protection, would run through the green area and connect Riverfront Park to downtown near Veterans Memorial Bridge, adding a broad raised plaza over the rail corridor near the mammoth Cargill silos.

“Opportunities to provide additional recreational space should be evaluated and pursued when reconstruction or modifications to the current flood control system are undertaken,” the Master Plan states, “including promenades, plazas and boat landings.”

Because much of the area is privately owned, the concept could become reality only if landowners — particularly Mankato Iron and Metal — decided at some point in the future to relocate. There is a nearby example of how a daunting concept in a planning document can transform into reality in a surprisingly short period of time: Riverfront Park. The riverside green space, complete with a popular amphitheater, went from concept to creation in less than a decade when a private landowner agreed to sell 12 acres of industrial land along the river.

“I think there are a lot of big ideas around the community where, when opportunities arose, we pursued those opportunities,” Vogel said.

Another long-range goal in the plan is a pedestrian bridge connecting the Old Town/Riverfront Park area to North Mankato. That one would likely require a generous benefactor making a seven-figure donation.

In the meantime, the plan suggests adding lighting to a busy portion of the Minnesota River Trail and to trail access points. Benches and drinking fountains should also be installed along the trail, which runs on the river side of the flood wall from Sibley Park to Riverfront Park to Kiwanis Park. Grade-separated crossings of the railroad tracks and consolidation of tracks and sidings into a narrower corridor should be considered as well.

People-focused ideas

The plan isn’t all about infrastructure.

It details tactics for bringing new businesses and homes to under-used parts of Old Town and Second Street, resurrecting a defunct Old Town Business Association, adding more events such as a farmers market and arts fairs to attract outsiders to the district, encouraging businesses to share parking and dumpsters, and more.

Vogel said the energy in the area — both from the young entrepreneurs and the handful of older business-owners who never lost faith in Old Town — leaves him optimistic about its future. Past references to the area as declining or dead are simply no longer applicable.

“It’s definitely not now. There’s a good momentum going on,” he said. “… There’s a lot of potential.”

The Old Town Master Plan lays out a blueprint of how the various concepts can be implemented, scheduling some for the next five years, others for 2021-2025 and some of the more difficult and expensive items for 2026 and beyond.  

Flanagan said the passion of the Old Town business owners and others involved in creating the plan will ensure that it’s implemented, even if it takes a while.

“I don’t think the people who put all their energy and ideas into it will let it sit on the shelf,” she said.

Fisher expects the same.

“This process has probably gone about as well as it could have gone,” he said. “Now is when the work starts.”

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Trump ‘pivots’ further toward xenophobia

Is this the “pivot” by Donald Trump we’ve all been waiting for? It looks more like a giant step backward.

Instead of adopting a moderate position on immigration that could make the Republican presidential nominee more palatable to the mainstream — which, polls indicate, doesn’t favor mass deportations and supports earned legal status if illegal immigrants acknowledge wrongdoing — a recent shift in Trump’s immigration plan makes the candidate appear more xenophobic.

I didn’t believe this was possible for someone who launched his campaign on a promise to protect Americans from Mexican criminals and rapists — a fear-mongering tactic that seems passe now that Trump is more worried about the Islamic State group.

The candidate is framing his recent call for “extreme vetting” of legal immigrants who come from countries where there is a lot of terrorism as a national security measure. Supposedly the objective is to prevent future attacks against the United States. Yet it’s also being pitched as part of his overall immigration policy.

This is not at all helpful. As evidenced by the terrorist attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., and Orlando, Fla., the new threat is from Muslim Americans who are already in the United States but have become radicalized. How does cracking down on immigration stop that?

Also, the immigration debate in the United States is largely a discussion about what to do with Mexican immigrants who, in better economic times, stream across the U.S.-Mexico border and who now seem to be headed in the opposite direction. It’s not fair to mix this group with radical Islamic terrorists. Here’s how we tell them apart: one threatens our lives by wanting to do harm; the other makes our lives possible by doing the cooking, landscaping and vacuuming.

Trump’s vetting plan is the brainchild of Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, to whom the candidate outsourced the job of shaping his immigration policy.

Since these ideas are on loan, Trump may not see them through if he is elected president. The GOP standard-bearer seems to have no core beliefs, but he does have a willingness to compromise. He might just be pushing a right-wing hard line on immigration to energize the GOP base, with no intention of ever implementing it.

Earlier this year, Trump had an off-the-record conversation with The New York Times editorial board in which he supposedly said that his campaign rhetoric about removing scores of illegal immigrants with a “deportation force” was probably not something that he would follow through with. Instead, Trump said, that kind of talk was merely the starting point of a negotiation.

This would mean that Sessions could soon find himself on the sidelines, as have other Trump former advisers. Still, for now, the senator seems to be driving Trump’s policy agenda on immigration. And that’s not good.

It’s one thing to take a stand against illegal immigration because, as Trump said early in his campaign, without laws and borders, you don’t have a country. But it’s another thing to make it harder to immigrate legally. Legal immigration is something that most Americans support, and seem to agree isn’t the real problem.

After all, if you argue that people have to follow the rules, how do you then turn around and penalize those who have done just that?

You’d be surprised. This conflating of legal and illegal immigration happens every day in the immigration debate, which has always been about keeping out not just the undocumented but foreigners in general.

For one thing, that’s where the numbers are. There are, in the United States, more than three times as many foreign-born Americans (roughly 40 million) who are here legally as there are illegal immigrants (about 11 million).

Besides, some insist that legal immigration leads to more illegal immigration because people from other countries will try to join family members in the United States, even if they must do so illegally.

So, if what motivates you to take a hard line against immigration is a concern over the racial and ethnic composition of America, sooner or later you have to drop the pretense that you’re only concerned with illegal immigrants and go after their legal brethren.

Accordingly, whereas Trump was initially worried only about illegal immigrants, he now wants to put obstacles in the way of some legal immigrants — if they come from the wrong countries.

The GOP nominee brags about his intelligence. But you have to wonder: What part of “legal” does The Donald not understand?

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Make sure you and your plants beat the heat – Yakima Herald

In our Aug. 7 column, we discussed some ways to help your trees, shrubs and plants survive the “Dog Days of Summer.” This week, anticipating a few more very hot weeks ahead of us, we will focus on suggestions for protecting your plants from the intense sun and possibly dropping the air and soil temperature around your plants.

With the excessive heat this summer, and it appears that there is more on the way, many gardeners have turned to shade cloth to protect their crops and tender plants. Shade cloth is an open-weave synthetic fabric that allows for somewhat reduced amounts of air, light, and water to pass through. Shade cloth is often used by commercial plant nurseries to cover greenhouses during the heat of the summer or to create shade houses for shade-loving plants, such as hostas and ferns. Shade cloth may have advantages over other fabrics, for example cotton sheets can become heavy when wet, and there is no way to know how much light it blocks out. On the other hand, shade cloth is available in 30 percent, 60 percent and 80 percent light reduction, with 60 percent being most commonly available at garden centers and big box stores. It is usually 6 feet wide and sold by the linear foot for a little less than two dollars per foot (1’x6’), or sometimes comes in premeasured lengths of 50 or 100 feet. Of course many other sizes are available online but may require a minimum purchase that may be more than most home gardeners need.

Before buying shade cloth it is important to ask what you want it to do: reduce light or reduce heat? They are not the same! Shading for light intensity is different than shading for cooling. Black shade cloth provides the darkest shade, but absorbs more of the sun’s heat, which means there is less cooling effect, and unless the plants are shade-loving they may be more spindly and leggy as they grow toward the light. Light-colored shade cloth allows the same percentage of light to pass through, but is more reflective so the light inside the structure bounces around more, making the light more usable to plants. The reflective nature of light-colored shade cloth means that it absorbs less heat and provides a slightly cooler environment. Many people automatically reach for black, brown or dark green shade cloth to get the darkest shade, incorrectly assuming they will also get the best cooling effect. If you have already purchased dark shade cloth, no worries. The difference between the two is only a few degrees. By raising the fabric cover several feet above the leaf canopy and leaving one side open (the side away from direct sunlight) you will allow more reflected light to enter the structure and better ventilation to help vent the heat.

Watering with misters or micro-emitters for 5 to 10 minutes two to three times a day during hottest part of the day can also lower the heat inside the structure by another 10 degrees for at least 30 to 60 minutes. Some people report using less water inside shade cloth structures, as much as 65 percent less water, so be sure to adjust your irrigation as needed.

Last, but not least, be sure to take care of yourself and your pets. With the likelihood of continuing hot weather expected this month — the thermometer may routinely read in the high 90s or triple digits — it’s important for you and your pets to stay hydrated by drinking water or other liquids frequently. Also, it’s best to avoid working outside during the heat of the day or at least take frequent rest breaks in a shady spot.

We usually have many cool nights during late August and early September so you might choose to get up early, greet the sun as it rises, and work in the garden for an hour or so during the early morning coolness; or maybe you’ll wait until just before sundown to work in the refreshing cool of the evening. Either way, you will avoid the possibility of getting overheated, sunburned and cranky.

People of all ages enjoy our Demonstration Garden by attending our free classes which are held twice a month (on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10 a.m.) from May through October. There are also many opportunities for bird watching, taking photos or just relaxing. The garden is located near the Red Youth Barn in the southeast corner of Ahtanum Youth Park at 1000 Ahtanum Road in Union Gap. It is open year-round during the hours the park is open. We encourage you to visit and enjoy the garden. We also have a small Heirloom Garden adjacent to the Yakima Conservation District Greenhouse.

Master Gardeners are generally working at the Demonstration Garden every Tuesday morning during the growing season from approximately 8 to 11 a.m. and are available to answer your questions. We have work parties at the Heirloom Garden on Thursday mornings from 8 to 11 a.m. and would be happy to answer your questions if you wish to visit during that time. There is no cost to visit either of these gardens, but we ask that you just look and take pictures without disturbing the plantings. If you would like a guided tour at a different time you can call the Master Gardener Clinic at 509-574-1604 and leave a message or call the WSU/Yakima County Extension office at 509-574-1600 to have a Master Gardener call you back.

The Demonstration Garden is taken care of entirely by our volunteers and is supported by the Master Gardener Foundation

• WSU Extension Master Gardener Program is an organization of trained volunteers dedicated to horticulture and community service. Your questions about gardening, landscaping or this Program can be directed to the Master Gardener Clinic at 509-574-1604 or you may leave samples for identification at the WSU Extension office. Please leave a message with your name, phone number, email address and the nature of your problem or question. The Master Gardener Walk-In Diagnostic Clinic is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-12 noon and 1-4 pm, except holidays. You can also email your questions to us at and include pictures if you have them. A member of our Master Gardener Clinic team will check voice mails and emails to retrieve your message and call you back as soon as possible. The location of the WSU Extension Office is 2403 South 18th Street, Suite 100 in Union Gap, phone 509-574-1600. You may also visit our Master Gardener booth at the Sunday Yakima Farmer’s Market for help with your questions. New volunteers welcome.

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Help bees by planting a pollinator garden – Tribune

Help bees by planting a pollinator garden

Updated 10 hours ago

North America is home to more than 4,000 species of native bees. Sadly, many of them are facing dramatic population declines. Habitat loss, pesticide exposure and various parasites and pathogens are negatively impacting not just European honeybees but many of our native pollinators.

To help these valuable insects, gardeners across the country are planting pollinator gardens to provide the critters with essential resources, such as pollen, nectar and habitat. Plants are selected for pollinator gardens either for their resource-rich flowers or their hollow stems, in which many small native bees take shelter and create brood chambers.

The good news is you don’t need a lot of space to create a pollinator garden. Even a small collection of pollinator-friendly plants will attract and encourage these important insects. You can create a pollinator garden in a small corner of your yard or make it a part of your foundation planting. The important thing is to select the right plants and site them properly.

As an added bonus, many vegetable gardeners with a pollinator garden nearby notice a dramatic increase in vegetable plant pollination, proving that planting a pollinator garden isn’t just good for the bugs, it’s good for us, too!

The best pollinator garden plants will vary slightly from region to region, but native plants are a good place to start. There’s ever-increasing evidence that native plants are better at supporting native pollinators, including bees and butterflies, so be sure to include plenty of natives in your pollinator garden. Not only are these plants beneficial to pollinators, but they happen to be gorgeous additions to the garden.

Some of the best plants for your pollinator garden include coreopsis, mountain mint, milkweed, coneflower, bee balm, goldenrod and cup plant, to name just a few.

To further encourage pollinators, be sure to put your garden in an area that receives a minimum of six hours of full sun per day. Many of North America’s smaller native bees have a hard time flying on windy days, so choosing a site that’s sheltered from high winds is a big help, too.

Vegetable gardeners can plant their pollinator garden inside the vegetable garden itself. This helps encourage pollinators where they’re needed the most. You also can interplant fruits and vegetables with pollinator-friendly flowers by tucking them in between crop rows and around the garden’s border.

If you don’t have a lot of space to install an in-ground pollinator garden, consider growing pollinator garden plants in containers. Not only do they lure in these insects, they create a beautiful display of colors and textures.

To provide overwintering habitat to these important insects, do not cut down the plants in your pollinator garden in the fall; instead, do your garden cleanup in the spring. Many of our native bees and butterflies take shelter under plant debris and in hollow stems for the winter, so allow your plants to stand until late spring, if possible.

If you’re on the fence about encouraging native bees because of fears about getting stung, there’s no need to worry. Unlike European honeybees and wasps, most of our native bee species are incapable of stinging. Of the handful of species that can sting, nearly all are quite docile; you can hold them gently in your hand without fear of getting stung. In fact, some species are so tiny, you probably wouldn’t even know they were bees at all.

Our native pollinators need help. Do your part and plant a pollinator garden.

Horticulturist Jessica Walliser co-hosts “The Organic Gardeners” at 7 a.m. Sundays on KDKA Radio with Doug Oster. She is the author of several gardening books, including “Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control” and “Good Bug, Bad Bug.” Her website is Send your gardening or landscaping questions to or The Good Earth, 503 Martindale St., 3rd Floor, D.L. Clark Building, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

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Let your garden grow wild and it’ll surprise you

Gardeners love surprises.

A classic design technique is to create a spot where a visitor turns a corner and sees something – an unusual plant, a sculpture, a bright piece of furniture – that is totally unexpected.

At a class at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens earlier this month, writer Larry Weaner described the problem with this technique: “For the owner of the property, there is no mystery anymore,” he said. “The owner has already come upon that spot 100 times.”

But Weaner, co-author with Thomas Christopher of the just published “Garden Revolution: How our landscapes can be a source of environmental change,” has a solution: “But if you plant a landscape that changes over time, you will have some new plants that just come up and provide you with a new experience.”

Weaner, teaching at a sold-out six-hour class, has expanded on the ideas of Doug Tallamy, who wrote the native-plant treatise “Bringing Nature Home,” and Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, authors of “Planting in a Post-Wild World.”

Tallamy outlined how native plants are needed to support the native habitat; Rainer and West wrote about the best ways to arrange the plants for the good of the environment, Weaner explained, while he (and Christopher) emphasize how native landscapes develop over time, usually beginning when the soil is disturbed.

In the book he notes that one of the first plants to sprout in disturbed soil is often the cardinal flower, or lobelia. It seeds quickly, but is eventually taken over by longer-lived meadow perennials, such as black-eyed Susan, aka rudbeckia. Because the northeastern United States is naturally forested, the landscape will go through a shrub stage with plants such as viburnums and then eventually fill with trees, such as oaks, pine and maples.

The book describes how gardeners can direct that natural progression.

“You will accept that the garden never stops evolving, that it will always be a work in progress,” Weaner writes in the introduction. “Your role as the gardener will be to watch, interpret, understand and, at critical moments, give a push to direct the landscape into a path that you can enjoy.”

Many of the gardens Weaner shows in the book – and that he created through his Pennsylvania landscaping company – are meadows. He brings in plants and allows others that he wants to sprout. All the while he eliminates, through high mowing or cutting, the succession plants such as shrubs or trees that he does not want. Some other gardens are shrublands or woodlands, and on larger properties, homeowners can have some of all three.

While many of the pictures in the book are of large gardens, Weaner has incorporated the techniques at his own home, which sits on just one-third of an acre in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

He said that most properties of that size have a small traditional garden, with ornamental plants separated by mulched soil, and the rest of the property a lawn. What he suggests people do is eliminate half of the lawn and create his kind of natural, evolving garden – keeping it in scale with the property.

Because of all the weeding, fertilizing and mulching that would be required, a traditional garden that size would require too much work to maintain. But with a natural garden, which covers all of the soil with plants and where the evolution of the garden is encouraged, after a while, it would be much less work. And less stress, too.

“You have to go through a period of much higher maintenance when you are just starting out,” Weaner said, so he recommends that you make the changes incrementally.

And, he believes, the change is definitely something homeowners can do by themselves. If homeowners hire a traditional landscaper, they will end up spending a lot of time teaching the professional what they want, he said.

Weaner stresses that the garden does not have to be all native plants. If you want a vegetable garden, which is mostly non-natives, go for it. If you love roses, grow a rose garden on part of the property. Right next to the house, you can include a lot of exotic flowering plants just because they are pretty.

But if you have an evolving natural garden that you maintain by letting the plants you like to grow and expand while eliminating the ones you don’t mostly through mowing or using a string trimmer, you will have a beautiful, ever-changing, low-maintenance garden that is full of mystery.

Who doesn’t want that?

TOM ATWELL is a freelance writer gardening in Cape Elizabeth. He can be contacted at 767-2297 or at: [email protected]

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This week’s gardening tips: Crape myrtles dropping leaves, cut back coleus plants

This week’s gardening tips: Many crape myrtles are dropping yellow or red leaves with spots on them. This is a fungal disease called Cercospora leaf spot. Although it’s alarming to see, this disease is not life threatening. Cultivars of crape myrtles vary in their resistance. As a result, you will see some trees badly affected while others stay relatively disease free. No need to take any action. By the time you see the symptoms, it is too late to spray.

Mosquitoes remain a concern. With all of the rain, be sure to look over your property carefully for anything catching and holding water. Dump the water out or scatter Mosquito Dunks in the water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.

When flowers appear on coleus plants, cut them back one-third to one-half their height to prolong new foliage production. Often they just turn around and try to bloom again, but it’s worth a try.

Water outside container plants frequently when temperatures are high. Constant watering leaches nutrients out of potting soils rapidly. Fertilize container plants regularly with a soluble fertilizer or use a slow-release fertilizer following label directions.

Sod webworms continue to be a problem in area lawns. These caterpillars feed on lawn grass. If you see numerous small moths in beds, and the lawn begins browning, treat with spinosad or bifenthrin following label directions. Once you have controlled the sod webworms and no new damage is occurring, fertilize the lawn to encourage recovery.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Love to read about gardens? Sign up for’s online home and garden newsletter. It’s free. 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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HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for avoiding winter moth …

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Garden experts give tips on growing no-fail houseplants

While grueling temperatures and summer showers make gardening outdoors less fun, Pike Nurseries — which has four Cobb County locations — offers expert tips for creating a cool indoor oasis using low-maintenance houseplants to keep green thumbs thriving throughout the sizzling season. Houseplants not only provide a pop of color to spruce up home décor, but they also help reduce stress and rid the air of toxins, keeping homes clean and healthy. From orchids and succulents to peace lilies and bromeliads, indoor plants are the perfect way for gardeners to continue to play in the dirt while beating the scorching summer heat!

High Light

Homes with plenty of windows are great for houseplants that need lots of light. A popular container garden choice, succulents provide a variety of texture, color and in some cases, offer bright blooms. With their need for little water, succulents are easy to maintain and go well with an assortment of other houseplants like the light and airy Asparagus Fern. Bromeliads offer a unique, exotic look and can thrive in high to medium light. Glossy, strappy foliage of the bromeliad forms a bird’s nest of highly colorful, long-lasting bracts.

Medium Light

There are a variety of houseplants that are easy to maintain due to limited light and watering needs. Orchids are popular for their beautiful blooms and are surprisingly low maintenance (suggested watering is every seven to 10 days). The striking sword-like leaves of dracaena’s many varieties and sizes add character to any home. Pothos is a low-maintenance vine that can be grown to trail from a hanging basket or trained to grow up a stake. The peace lily is perhaps the most popular houseplant because it blooms nearly all year round and can withstand almost any light condition, though it will bloom more when there’s additional light. Peace lilies are easy to maintain as well – they like consistent moisture and give visual cues when they need more (the leaves droop when it needs water).

Low Light

Beginning or forgetful gardeners can have great success with houseplants that have low light requirements. Commonly referred to as “plants of steel,” these plants need little watering and attention in order to prosper. One of the most popular low light plants is sansevieria, commonly known as Mother in Law’s Tongue. Not only does it help clean the air, but its vertical leaves allow it to fit in almost any location in the home. Similar in sturdy structure is the nearly indestructible ZZ plant, which sprouts tall, succulent stems with glossy leaves. The ZZ plant is perfect for the bathroom or a window-less office, although it can also thrive in medium to bright indirect light.

Decorating Tips

Whether bright blooms or lush foliage, plants are great additions to any home and can fit with any décor style. They can be shown in glazed pottery, hanging baskets and other indoor containers. Smaller houseplants can be grouped together under a window or in the center of a table, whereas large specimen can make a statement in the corner of a room.

Houseplant Care

Houseplants need consistent water — usually about once a week — and a good fertilizer like Bonide Liquid Plant Food in order to thrive. When away on vacation, be sure to use a water globe or absorbent soil amendment granules, like Soil Moist, to keep indoor plants hydrated. Mixed with the right amount of light, houseplants can grow beautiful and strong for years to come.

Whether it’s a colorful flower or an interesting fern, gardeners of all experience levels can beat the heat by playing in the dirt indoors with Pike Nurseries’ wide variety of no-fail houseplant options.

For more information on how to pick the perfect plant, visit

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