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Archives for October 13, 2016

Winners Of The Fifth Annual Landscape Design Contest Announced …

by All-America Selections
Posted: Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 3:29PM EDT

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – As the saying goes, certain things get better with age and the All-America Selections (AAS) Landscape Design Contest for Display Gardens is certainly one of those things. Interest in the contest and the level of competition continues to build as themes become more exciting and timely.

This contest is a landscape design contest using AAS Winners announced in the last five years with the option to incorporate more than 80 years worth of past AAS Winners. AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties of flowers and vegetables that have proved their superior garden performance in Trial Grounds across North America. Each display garden is responsible for creating and executing a design incorporating the yearly theme then generate publicity surrounding the contest. All-America Selections is pleased that such a broad range of garden types have participated in the contest for 2016: large and small public gardens, seed companies, community gardens, master gardener programs and university gardens. All-America Selections sends kudos to all the participating gardens and their creative efforts to produce an attractive display of AAS Winners.

The rules for the Landscape Design Contest were the following:

  1. The 2016 contest theme was: “Pollinator Education.”
  2. The entry form must list the AAS Winners incorporated into the design.
  3. A minimum of 50% of the total landscaped area must be AAS Winners and labeled with the variety name, AAS Winner designation and if possible, use the AAS logo.
  4. The entry form must include a written description of the design in 200 words or less.
  5. Eight photographs of each garden must be submitted in digital form.
  6. Local publicity is expected and will be part of the criteria for judging.
  7. The contest is open to current year plantings only, not previous year displays.

The criteria and final score weighting were:

  • 20% on the overall attractiveness of garden design
  • 20% on the creativity of design and/or design story
  • 20% on the promotion of AAS and this contest to local media and garden visitors
  • 20% on the photo quality and design description/explantion
  • 20% on the quantity of AAS Winners used and proper signage used

Gardens were divided into three categories based on the number of visitors per year:

All-America Selections recognizes and thanks the contest judges who are industry experts in the field of horticulture and landscaping:

  • Jeff Gibson, Landscape Business Manager, Ball Horticultural Company
  • Bruce Hellerick, Director of Technical Services, BrightView Landscape Services
  • Susan Schmitz, Trials and Education Manager, Ball Horticultural Company
  • Barbara Wise, Author and Sales and Marketing Manager, Crescent Garden


Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Master Gardeners Association of Tippecanoe Country (MGATC), Lafayette, Indiana. Building on the Pollinator Education theme, MGATC created a tagline for this year’s garden of ‘Pathways for Pollinators’ which took advantage of established garden structures like star-shaped raised beds and the pathways through those beds. A map of the garden and signage throughout clearly explained each garden area and its purpose for pollinator health. Volunteers strategically planted AAS Winners and native plants along the pathways which allowed them to educate garden visitors on the importance of native plants and annuals for a successful vegetable garden. 

Second Place *TIE* Winner: Jennings Park Master Gardener Display Garden, Marysville, Washington. Jennings Park did a wonderful job of planting various AAS Winners in specific areas, each serving a purpose for different types of pollinators. For example, salvia for the bees and Echinacea for butterflies accompanied by educational signage and educational explanations by Master Gardeners.

Second Place *TIE* Winner: Kenosha County Center Display and Demonstration Garden, Bristol, Wisconsin. Kenosha County used a plant layout that followed guidelines for attracting different types of pollinators, such as massing color for butterflies, planting tubular flowers for hummingbirds, and planting nectar rich plants as food sources. Creative visuals attracted visitors to the garden where they were given guides to hunt for and find various species of bees.   

Second Place *TIE* Winner: University of Wisconsin Spooner Ag Research Station, Teaching and Display Garden, Spooner, Wisconsin. This year, Spooner Ag Research Station registered their garden as an official Monarch Waystation as part of the Pollinator Education theme. The AAS Display Garden was planted in concentric circles around an outdoor classroom that was used to teach garden visitors about pollinators. Signage and garden structures added additional features to the pollinator-friendly habitat.

Third Place Winner: William Dam Seeds, Dundas, Ontario, Canada. With an impressive number of AAS Winners, William Dam Seeds used annuals and perennials to create a colorful berm to attract pollinators. Signage near AAS Vegetable/Edible Winners explained why pollinators are vital for fruit production in those plants. Garden tours and speaking engagements furthered the message to visitors, customers and other interested gardeners.

Honorable Mention, “Best Use of a YouTube Video”: Backyard Farmer Garden, Lincoln, Nebraska.

Honorable Mention, “Best Theme Execution”: Breckenridge Endowment Farm and Display Garden, Twin Falls, Idaho.

Honorable Mention, “Best Combinations of Edibles and Ornamentals”: Garden of the Sun, Fresno, California.

Honorable Mention, “Best Community Involvement”: Parker F. Scripture Botanical Gardens, Oriskany, New York.

Honorable Mention, “Best Brochure for Pollinator Education”: St. Louis Community College-Meramec Horticulture Department, St. Louis, Missouri.

Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Noelridge Park Gardens, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. By collaborating with other local gardens in a Monarch Research Project, Noelridge Park incorporated AAS Winners and native plants in specialized beds, creating a true ‘Pollinator Paradise.’ Two butterfly rearing tents were added to provide an onsite educational component for children and adults to safely observe the stages of development for Monarchs and Swallowtails. Educational tours were provided for children and adults throughout the summer. A drone video added to the fun explanation of this first-rate garden. 

Second Place Winner: Town of Oakville – Shell Park, Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Shell Park designed a Pollinator Education themed garden and made it come to life with birds, bees, and butterflies.  The All-America Selections Winners were added to established beds that included pollinator-friendly plants such as Leucanthemum, Heptanthemum, Rudbeckia, and Buddelia. By using all recycled materials, the park was able to add an insect/nesting home which became home to many different insects and a place for bee larvae to hatch.

Third Place Winner: Hidden Lake Gardens – MSU, Tipton, Michigan. In Hidden Lake Garden’s  Gazebo/Demonstration Garden, the planting beds highlight annual, perennial, and woody plants arranged in attractive combinations.  This year it was the hub of the pollinator-themed Children’s Garden Day activities which included scavenger hunts, mural paintings, and storybook walks, each of which promoted and celebrated pollinators.  Ornamental container plantings featuring vegetatively propagated AAS Winners were incorporated into garden beds near the gazebo. 

Honorable Mention, “Best Garden Focal Points”: Country Heritage Park, Milton, Ontario, Canada.

Honorable Mention “Best Small Space Designs”: Le Jardin des Graminées, Jardin Daniel A. Seguin, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada.  

Honorable Mention, “Best Use of Color in Design”: McCrory Gardens, Brookings, South Dakota.

Honorable Mention, “Creation of a Pollinator Target Garden”: Oglebay Park, Wheeling, Ohio.

Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Norseco at the Botanical Garden of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Winning First Place for the second year in a row, Norseco designed their garden in the shape and colors of a bee and placed that garden in a high traffic area seen by a majority of garden visitors and concert attendees. The construction and installation of a bee/insect hotel inspired educational tours which clinched the award for this creative garden.  

Second Place Winner: Boerner Botanic Gardens, Hales Corners, Wisconsin. A “Butterfly Oasis” was the interpretation of this year’s theme using various AAS Winners as different parts of a butterfly’s body and wings for a stunning visual. Edible AAS Winners were used in a nearby “Veggie Pie” garden design then tours and lectures were used to explain the two and how edibles depend on pollinators and the role flowers play in the cycle of food production for humans and pollinators.

Each of these contest winners are profiled on the AAS website, under “Display Gardens

A complete collection of photos from all contest entrants can be found on the All-America Selections Flickr and Facebook accounts.

For more information about the contest winners or how to participate in 2017, contact Diane Blazek, All-America Selections.


All-America Selections is a non-profit organization founded in 1932 to anonymously test new plants for home gardening. We utilize a network of 80+ volunteer judges in over 40 trials grounds across North America to rate entries against comparisons. We then use an active publicity program to promote the best performers that are declared AAS Winners.

Source: All-America Selections

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Kamelia Bin Zaal gets The Gardening World Cup’s seal of quality

The UAE’s leading garden designer, Kamelia Bin Zaal, was one of just seven individuals invited to compete at the Gardening World Cup at Huis Ten Bosch, Nagasaki, Japan, this month. Bin Zaal’s submission, The Seal of the Prophets, was awarded both silver-gilt and best lighting by judges at the World Cup, which runs until November 3. She talks us through the inspiration and challenges behind her most recent show garden.

It has been 18 months since you won silver-gilt at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. Show gardens involve an incredible amount of work and commitment, so what was it about the Gardening World Cup in Japan that made you want to get involved?

The Gardening World Cup showcases some great international designers. There are designers from Jordan, Spain, the United States, the United Kingdom, Malaysia and Australia. That is a lovely mix of talent and it is a great opportunity to see different styles of design in one place.

In terms of the other designers participating, who stands out for you?

I could talk about them all, but for me, the ones that stand out the most are British designer Adam Frost, who is a bit of a legend. He has an amazing talent for making a garden look effortless and as if it has been there for a lifetime. Malaysian designer Lim In Chong is another great one – his gardens are incredibly atmospheric. Lastly, Spanish designer Fernando Gonzalez, for his use of fibreglass structures in his gardens, which create something unique and contemporary.

You have said previously that for you to do a show garden it has to mean something to you personally. The Beauty of Islam showcased your culture, religion and country is there a message that you hope The Seal of the Prophets will convey?

It is really a continuation of the same theme, which they wanted me to share and it’s why I was invited. However, although I always remain true to Islamic garden design principles, I wanted the garden to fit in a more urban space, as a sanctuary.

The fictional setting for this garden was very different to last year’s design for Chelsea. It is meant to be in a larger landscaped space and a sanctuary for the public to use between two buildings in an urban setting, rather than a private home setting like the show garden at Chelsea.

I wanted to create a very geometric design using contemporary materials. The khatim, the eight-pointed star, is one of the most widely known Islamic designs in the world, and I took its literal meaning, Seal of the Prophets, as my theme. However, although the design was very different from my design last year, I wanted to create the same atmosphere of peace, tranquillity and sanctuary, and a reminder of the link between nature and man – all fundamental principles of Islamic garden design.

Water was also a leading theme, with a body of water and a sculptural feature at its centre. Light, shade and fragrance are additional factors, with screens creating dappled geometrical patterns across the garden as the sun streams through the screens.

Planting was very soft in contrast to the architectural features and geometry of the design. Instead of creating typical quadrants, I created four planting beds, each with a slightly different feel, and because the garden was set in Japan, I got to use some beautiful plants.

Did you apply any important lessons that you took from your Chelsea experience?

Yes: not to be intimidated when you are surrounded by world-renowned designers who are pretty much veterans at show gardens. I just knuckled down and got stuck in with my amazing construction team. I also got some great tips from all the designers and tried to learn as much as possible. There really was a great team spirit between us all, especially when we were planting in the middle of a typhoon for two days. That was different.

Which are the dominant colour themes for your World Cup garden?

I used white and tones of purple. So a lot of salvia, lavender and astas.

Can you give details about the hard landscaping used in your design?

The screens were made from aluminium and laser-cut. I specifically chose the design because it was very contemporary-looking as well as an Islamic pattern. We used crystal inlay as the finish on the seats, which gave them a subtle blue tinge and created some colour. Flooring was concrete – white and grey.

The construction took about 18 days, and a similar garden would require a budget in the region of Dh2.2 million to build and plant.

The Seal of the Prophets appears to be a series of enclosures with a star, creating a series of reveals and different perspectives as you move through the space what kind of journey do you want your visitors to have?

The garden is a sanctuary away from the hubbub of the city, an escape – so it was important to make it feel like a place you can unwind and relax in.

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St. Bernard officials release plans to keep money in the parish

Drive down St. Claude Ave. into Old Arabi and you’ll find some abandoned store fronts and empty lots. St. Bernard Parish officials want to change that through a new revitalization plan.

Residents are excited about the plans.

“It is quiet. I love being close to the river, they have a lot of community things that go on in Arabi as well as St. Bernard,” said Merelle Spino. She grew up in the area, moved away but was drawn back. “It’s all about family. All my family is here, my grandchildren are here and this is where I want to be.”

Spino thinks the new plans will make the area even better and she has some ideas about what she’d like to see move into the neighborhood. “Some nice restaurants instead of a lot of big chains, or some locally-owned (restaurants with) really good Cajun/Creole food.”

Parish officials are on the same page with plans to bring small neighborhood businesses to residential areas like bakeries, bookstores and coffee shops.

The St. Bernard Parish Department of Community Development, in partnership with Waggoner and Ball Architects, this week announced The Old Arabi Revitalization Plan.  It is part of the parish’s long-term recovery efforts for the neighborhood, which includes streetscape improvements on St. Claude Ave. and future improvements in the neighborhood.

“I like that. I like locally owned businesses. I like to keep my money in the parish like so many of us do,” Spino said. “Katrina hit this area really hard. It’s starting to come back now. We need those mom and pop shops and we need to support them.”

Also in the works: new landscaping, a new neutral ground at Lebeau and a riverfront plaza.

Planners point out the many attractive features of the neighborhood, including its proximity to the Mississippi River, as well as local wetlands, and the Chalmette Battlefield; proximity to Chalmette and New Orleans neighborhoods; the historic character of the neighborhood; “burgeoning arts-based, cultural, and education
institutions”; and affordable home prices, vacant lots, and large vacant buildings.

“Beyond its advantageous location, one of Old Arabi’s greatest assets is its urban fabric,” the architects and planners write in their report, pointing to “the relationship between its streets, and buildings, between private spaces and public areas, and between neighborhood and nearby assets.”

There has been an influx of development in the area in recent years including the $20 million Maumus Science Center and Planetarium, the restored First Ward Courthouse and Jail (now the Sugar Museum); and the 40 Arpent Brewery.

The first phase of a streetscape improvement project has already begun, including changes to the
neutral ground that include trees, lighting, and plantings.

A growing arts community also shows promise with Studio Inferno and Studio Arabi developing an arts scene.

While the planning is just in the beginning stages now, Spino is excited to see these ideas come to fruition.
“When I was a kid we grew up going to Canal Street on Saturdays and just go window shopping. And I miss that. I think New Orleans needs to go back to that. Keep things more simple.”

The Department of Community Development will schedule a neighborhood meeting in the near future to discuss the plan with residents.

(© 2016 WWL)

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Screams at the Beach haunts Georgetown

Brian Turner and Mike Milliken were working in landscaping in 2010 and searching the classifieds for potential sources of supplemental income when they came across an ad for actors in a haunted house. Both are huge horror fanatics, and the hours fit their landscaping schedules.

Finding people who enjoy portraying creepy characters and scaring customers was the easy part for organizers. What they desperately needed at Screams at the Beach’s “Town of All Hallows” were people with construction, sound and lighting skills. Enter Turner and Milliken. The two 35-year-olds brought their jack-of-all-trades experience and helped turn Screams at the Beach into a legitimate, competitive attraction. The next year, they were promoted to “Directors of Terror and Fantasy,” or something along the lines of associate producers, and began to make the Town of All Hallows their own.

“We’re both a little twisted,” Turner admitted.

Though Turner and Milliken work on the attraction year-round, the push to bring the coming season to life really starts in March each year when they attend the biggest haunt convention in the country. That’s Transworld’s Halloween and Attractions Show in St. Louis, which hosts thousands of haunt producers and other industry professionals annually.

“The first day or two we spend walking the floor, just trying to see everything,” Milliken said.

More than 300 vendors showcase the latest in haunt technology, props and concepts. Also offered are a multitude of classes and seminars on everything from make up to marketing, taught by industry veterans. Turner and Milliken attend the events alongside representatives from heavy-hitters in the haunt world, like Six Flags and Universal Studios.

“It’s where we get a lot of our ideas,” Milliken said. “If you miss the convention, you’re kind of behind the curve when the season starts.”

Construction plans are usually solidified soon after they get back to Delaware, and then work begins in earnest. A month or so before opening, they conduct actor interviews.

“Now that we’ve got a good core cast, it gets easier every year,” said Turner, who collaborates with the actors on ideas and works with their strengths in order to place them in scenes where they can be the most effectively scary.

Milliken said they work on getting props from different places all year.

“Once we’ve figured out what an actor’s going to do, we lay the props out and tell them to go for it. We go back and forth with ideas until we’re satisfied,” he said.

For the 2016 season, visitors are taken by tram from the parking lot to the eastern edge of the complex, where the Town of All Hallows lies. The entrance, naturally, is cloaked in thick fog. The Town of All Hallows centers on a small chapel that contains photo ops for visitors, but occasionally, people posing for photos find the doors shut and the lights out. There’s plenty of room for people – and characters – to mill around outside the chapel, and food and drinks are available.

Six individual attractions branch out from the center of the town this year, all brainchildren of Turner and Milliken, including the Cemetery of Sorrows, the House of Hallows, Abomination Acres, Pandemonium, Crimson Woods and Zombie Paintball. It’s a seemingly endless menagerie of trails, hayrides, buildings and mazes, each of which has their own storyline and scenes.

“Our biggest problem the first year was that after 20 minutes, you were done. And that’s how it is at a lot of haunts, really. But now, we make a night of it,” Turner said. It’s rare for anyone to spend less than an hour at Screams at the Beach, and common for them to spend up to four.

Inside the attractions, there are bodies hanging from the ceilings, clown butchers, graveyard ghouls and demented doctors – everything from the darkest corners of your mind and then some. A variety of lights and sounds attack the senses and disorient visitors.

Screams at the Beach has access to electricity, but according to Turner, they use generators as well. “It’s a big mixture. We run electrical wires up trees. There are speakers in the walls; there are self-powered speakers with built-in amps. We’ve got some low-voltage lights that run off cell phone chargers, and when it rains, we run around like crazy people to make sure everything’s working properly.”

Aside from an investigation by the fire marshal, which requires things like emergency equipment, safety lighting and fire department personnel on scene during operating hours, Screams at the Beach has very few legal hoops to jump through in order to operate. A sign at the entrance, however, might make you think otherwise.

Screams at the Beach’s “Rules and Regulations” warn visitors with mental illness or physical limitations not to enter, and remind customers that they cannot touch the actors, but that the actors will touch them. Actors in the town have purposefully separated individuals from their group and cornered them, tied people up and left them for other visitors to set free, and spewed fake blood on people.

“You want them to be safe but feel unsafe,” Milliken said.

Still, Turner said, they’ve had to ask quite a few actors to dial it down.

“You get into character and you get into the moment, but there are some lines we won’t cross,” he said.

According to them, the actors can “feel out” customers fairly easily. They recognize people who aren’t equipped to handle actors getting too close or touching them.

“There are some people you can mess with,” Turner said. “Then there are those you can’t.”

The cast apparently does a pretty good job at picking their victims; Screams at the Beach has never had to call police, although a cop usually patrols the parking lot as it gets closer to Halloween and customers get a little more unruly.

“The biggest problem we’ve had is a small skirmish over someone cutting in line. Other than that, we just can’t get people to stop smoking on the grounds,” Milliken said. “There’s too much straw and wood to allow that.”

Turner and Milliken are already looking ahead to 2017.

“The biggest thing at the convention this year was escape rooms,” said Milliken, referring to a popular trend in the industry in which people are locked in a room and forced to search for clues and solve a variety of problems in order to get out.

Turner said his year they brought in the zombie paintball because no one else around here had it.

“Next year we want to incorporate escape rooms,” he said. “Because no matter what, at the end of every haunt, you can just walk out and return to reality. But what happens if you have to solve a puzzle when you’re already panicked and scared?”

Screams at the Beach is located at 22518 Lewes Georgetown Highway in Georgetown. Entry fees start at $30; zombie paintball and fast passes are extra. The attraction is open on Friday and Saturday nights in October from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. It is not recommended for children under 12, and anyone under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Visit for more information.

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Township hosts free gardening program to transform landscapes

The Paper is an online-only Community Newspaper Serving The Woodlands, SpringNorth Houston, Texas areas.  We Mash Traditional and New Media Journalism and have a staff of editors/journalists and community reporters/columnists who help us to bring timely and relevant content to our site on a 24/7 basis. 

If you would like to Submit a PR Release or Story/Feature Idea for publication consideration in The Paper, click on “Info” in our top navigation menu and then on “How To Submit News” in the sub-menu.  All submissions are subject to our site policies.


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Elaine Sanders: Why every garden needs conifers

If there is one group of plants that I could not do without, it is conifers. Flowers, with all their pretty colours and exuberance, capture attention like a star actor in a small town. But in landscapes where winters dominate, gardeners need something else to admire when flowers are but a fleeting memory of warmer seasons long past. In come conifers.

Four seasons of appeal

For many people, the word ‘conifer’ conjures up images of uninspiring ‘pine trees’ often relegated to property boundaries as windscreens or privacy hedges, but conifers offer so much more than that. Because they retain their needled foliage (except for Larches), conifers are permanent features in the landscape providing visual interest throughout the year. And they are not just green. They come in palettes of rich emeralds, yellows and blues and display subtle hue variations and other unique attributes as seasons change. They shine in autumn gardens when brilliant reds and glowing ambers contrast exceptionally against their velvety, evergreen foliage and in winter, a dusting of snow shows off their form. In spring they show off their growing tips: those of ‘Moon Frost’ Canadian hemlock resemble delightful, frosty-white, buttons that eventually disappear, blending into existing, delicately arching, soft grey-green, foliage.

That same foliage is tinged with pink in winter. Other conifers, such as ‘Rheingold’ white cedar, transforms from golden yellow in spring to coppery bronze in fall. And it’s hard to resist the twisting, fanned foliage of Hinoki cypress or the striking purple cones on more tender conifer specimens such as the Silbirlocke Korean fir (Abies koreana ’Silberlocke’). Conifers are a delicious treat for the eyes.

Conifer uses

Needled evergreens are tough: most resist diseases and pests, can take on the heat and the cold and are typically drought tolerant once established. Their hardiness and extremely slow growth rate makes them ideal container candidates even for winter displays. And although most prefer a sunny site, others like yews and hemlocks will tolerate shade. There is a dizzying selection of conifers waiting to embellish your home’s facade and surrounding garden.

Not just pine trees

Conifers come in diverse shapes like upright, weeping, rounded, prostrate and even fancy topiary forms. Low-growing or prostrate conifers cover erosion-prone slopes better than most lawns while upright forms are useful as focal points or to frame entryways. Their sizes (from miniature to giant) and range of textures (fine and feathery to bold and prickly) are equally varied, offering plenty of options from a design point of view.

Dwarf conifers grow extremely slowly, remaining under 6 feet after 10 years. This makes them especially suitable for designing around a home’s foundation, but that doesn’t mean they won’t grow to a hefty size eventually, so careful consideration of the planting space, especially around windows and doorways, is essential.

Designing with conifers

Conifers make an excellent backdrop for most perennials and deciduous shrubs, but also look good mixed into garden borders on their own. I prefer combining them with deciduous shrubs and complementary perennials of contrasting shapes, textures or colours to enhance their best attributes. Blue spruces or junipers makes a bold autumn statement when paired with the tan, wispy foliage of ornamental grasses and a blazing, red burning bush or, for a harmonious blend, with the pink autumn flowers of Limelight hydrangea.

Weeping conifers such as weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies ‘Frohburg’) or compact upright varieties like Swiss stone pine (‘Pinus Cembra’) are perfect accents for house corners where their distinctive beauty can be admired.

Winter care

Don’t forget to water newly planted conifers deeply until ground freezes to prevent excessive moisture loss over winter. Most mature evergreens are tough enough to endure some of winter’s worst weather, but you’ll need to wrap any newly planted upright or exposed evergreens no earlier than mid-November to shield them from winter’s drying winds.

Worthy investments

Conifers are more pricey than the average perennial, but their long-lasting beauty together with their hardiness and minimal maintenance make them worthy investments and, quite frankly, essential additions to any northern garden.

End of year sales abound in garden centres throughout the fall and there is still time to plant, so take advantage if you can. In another month or so when cold temperatures and diminished daylight hours have forced the foliage off deciduous trees and shrubs, and perennials have retreated into dormancy, landscapes without the permanent framework of conifers will start to look bleak.

Once you see how splendid conifers are, you may even find yourself transplanting treasured flowers to make room for them in your garden.

Elaine Sanders can be reached at

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Learn to bring fall colors into your landscape at Clemson garden symposium

CLEMSON — Fall is a colorful time and Clemson University’s South Carolina Botanical Garden is ready to teach people how to welcome fall with seasonal colors in their landscapes.

Learn how to welcome fall in to your landscape during a fall gardening symposium Nov. 3 at the South Carolina Botanical Garden.
Image Credit: Clemson University

A fall gardening symposium is scheduled to be held in the Botanical Garden from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nov. 3. Several speakers are on the agenda, including noted plantsman and author Jenks Farmer, who will talk about his book, “Deep Rooted Wisdom.” In it, Farmer addresses the need to take back gardening from marketing companies and return to traditional organic gardening.

The symposium features other speakers, including Clemson horticulturist Millie Davenport, who will speak about pollinator gardens. Other Clemson horticulturists scheduled to speak are Barbara Smith, who will talk about seasonal color in landscape, and Cory Tanner, who will talk about including easy to care for fruits in landscaping with fruits.

The cost for the program is $80 and includes lunch, snacks and a tour of the Botanical Garden. Participation is limited to 20 participants. For information and to register, contact Sue Watts at 864-656-2836 or

Several events are scheduled to be held in the Botanical Garden this fall. For a full schedule of listings, go to Garden Events, or


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HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW: Tips for managing a household compost heap

Editor’s note: How Does Your Garden Grow is a series the Gazette will feature again this growing season, provided by master gardener Ken Oles of Wrentham. He will discuss various backyard gardening topics, and answer your gardening questions.


Q:I was surprised to find a thick layer of maggots in my compost heap. It was between a layer of kitchen vegetable waste and lawn clippings. Nothing but uncooked vegetable matter and
grass cuttings go into the compost. Will this compost be usable? Should I do anything to it?


A: You are to be commended for composting your material, thus returning important nutrients and energy to the soil. The maggots are the larval stage of a fly, which help break down vegetable matter and are themselves harmless. Once your compost material has broken down, they will go away since their food supply will no longer be available in finished compost.

Composting is part of the natural process and various beneficial decomposers will break down the vegetable matter. Just be sure that only green and brown plant materials are added to your
compost; no meats or fats, as they attract unwanted critters, and absolutely no dog or cat manure, which contains harmful pathogens. Maggots may be attracted to some vegetative material such as cantaloupe rinds. To eliminate the presence of maggots short of screening out the adult flies, a hot compost pile that is “cooking” above the ambient temperature will deter them. Maintaining a balance of brown (dry) and green material and turning the pile that allows air to enter the mix will prevent the composting material from becoming excessively wet. Covering your compost bin will insure that you have control over the proper moisture required … not too dry but not too wet. Once your compost has finished, the resulting material will have a neutral or near-neutral pH and will have a pleasant, earthy fragrance.


Ken Oles is a Wrentham resident and a life member of the URI Master Gardener Association ( He is also the coordinator for the Harvests from the Heart community garden in Wrentham that produces fresh produce for the Wrentham Food Pantry. Ken is a member of the board of directors and co-president of Masschusetts Agriculture in the Classroom. He can be reached at

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Tips for carving the perfect pumpkin

Halloween is fast approaching. The pumpkins have been picked and are ready to carve into a sculpture worthy of Rodin or Michelangelo.

If you’re like me, carving a basic Jack-O-Lantern face can be a enough of a challenge. So I decided to head out to Linvilla Orchards in Media and talk to their expert, Laurie, for easy tips on how to carve the perfect pumpkin.

Linvilla Orchards is a 300 acre family-owned farm loaded with fun activities for the entire family with hayrides, corn and straw bale mazes.

Since it was my first time visiting the farm I couldn’t believe they had so many varieties of pumpkins and gourds from which to choose.

You can’t pick just one, at least I couldn’t, not without Laurie’s help.

Choosing the perfect pumpkin is simple, but first there are a few things that you need to know.

“You want to look for a pumpkin that is lightweight,” Laurie said. A heavy pumpkin has more meat inside making it harder to clean out the membrane and seeds. She also recommends cutting the bottom out instead of the top, this makes it easier to light up the inside. Of course this idea depends on what design you are planning to do.

Designs range from the simple Jack-O-Lantern to more advanced and spooky designs.

Stencil kits are available to purchase with a variety of spooky faces, along with a set of carving tools safe to use for children too. Another great tip from Laurie is to use the stem for a cool nose or carve pieces from another pumpkin to make a cute set of ears.

Laurie works from her imagination, and advises against drawing directly on the pumpkin, “because it’s hard to clean the outlines off, even with a wax pencil,” she said.

Once you have your design you are ready to carve. Using the right tools can make all the difference. Something as simple as a drywall knife can make cutting into a pumpkin a lot easier. Wood carving and pottery tools are great for smoothing and carving out details for more intricate designs. If you want to have the kids carve their own pumpkins, consider using a carving kit that comes with a set of tools safe for kids.

For me, I think I’ll stick to the basic Jack-O-Lantern face this year. Thanks to Laurie and her expert tips, I’m ready to go this Halloween.

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Midday Fix: Fall garden tips from Chalet Nursery’s Tony Fulmer … – WGN

Tony Fulmer

Chalet Landscape, Nursery Garden Center
3132 Lake Avenue

Pruning Shear Sharpening
Friday, October 13 and Saturday, October 14
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Chalet Education Center


  • Beyond traditional mums and pansies, there are many different annual frost-hardy plants that provide color, texture and interest to fall containers.
  • Have some Halloween fun with your containers, with plants like Celosia “Dracula” or other dark flowering plants and red blooms.
  • Succulents are another way to boost containers and vessels, especially this time of year. Carve out a pumpkin top and fill with succulent plants.
  • Air plants are hot right now for indoor decorating, and can be added to elements of décor. For Halloween, you can find air plants that have some spooky qualities to them.


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