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Archives for October 26, 2016

Farms beautification awards recognize breathtaking landscaping

The home of Michael Fournier and R. Michael Flores, in the 300 block of Touraine Road, received a beautification award this year from the Grosse Pointe Farms Beautification Advisory Commission, but the homeowners also had been honored several times for their previous home in Grosse Pointe Park.

Posted October 26, 2016

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Homeowners and business owners who managed to keep their gardens thriving despite a summer that started hot and dry and ended hot and soggy were honored for their handiwork during the Grosse Pointe Farms Beautification Advisory Commission’s 28th annual beautification awards Oct. 11 at Pier Park.

Grosse Pointe City Councilman Lev Wood, who also is chair of the Beautification Advisory Commission, welcomed attendees to the ceremony, which included some food courtesy of one of the award recipients — Mr. C’s Deli.

“Every year, we get together and give a special shoutout to the residents who have gone above and beyond,” Wood told attendees. “You have spent countless hours in your gardens … adding value to your homes. … We are very grateful to you for your beautification efforts.”

Each August, Wood said, the commission divides the city into 12 districts and gives each member one or two districts to explore in search of worthy award candidates. From that list, he said, the commission narrows it down to a smaller list of finalists, and from there, winners are chosen.

“Every year we have so many beautiful homes, it’s a difficult situation to pick out the top 10 or 12,” said Andrew Llewellyn, who’s been a member of the Farms Beautification Advisory Commission for 12-13 years. “I was impressed with a lot of the lawns because of how dry our season was. It’s difficult to keep your lawn green when it’s dry.”

Lori-Ann Rickard said she moved into her home in the 300 block of Fisher Road when her daughter was in kindergarten, and her daughter is now 26 and living in another state.

“When I got the letter (that I had won), I was pretty positive that they sent it to the wrong house, because all of your houses look so beautiful,” Rickard told fellow award winners.

Mark and Joy Neych, who were honored for their home in the 400 block of Touraine Road, said it took a while to figure out what did and didn’t work in their yard. Joy Neych said one of their next-door neighbors was a big help with what to plant.

Peter and Patricia Bologna, who received an award for their home in the 300 block of Country Club Drive, each said the other was responsible for the lovely landscaping.

But for some couples, one person is more responsible for the yard than the other.

“I’m accepting this on behalf of my crazed husband,” joked April Cheesewright of her spouse, Gregory, who wasn’t available to attend the ceremony because he’s studying to become a master gardener. She said her husband will mow the grass as often as three times a week if the lawn isn’t perfect, and he’s been known to sneak out at midnight to pick up a stray leaf. Their immaculately maintained property in the 400 block of McKinley Avenue was one of the winners of a beautification award this year.

Some winners have been honored before. Dennis DeCoster, who lives in the 400 block of Cloverly Road, received a legacy award from the Beautification Advisory Commission in 2010, as well as a previous beautification award.

“I am grateful and humbled every time,” DeCoster said. “I think it’s a great community that we live in.”

Stephen and Nancy Hansen, who live in the 300 block of Stephens Road, have been making improvements to the property since they moved in about seven years ago. They also received a beautification award in 2010.

“It was really, really overgrown (when we moved in),” said Nancy Hansen, crediting her husband with the gardening. “We spent the first year whacking away.”

Michael and Juanita Brown, who live in the first block of Moross Road, have received three previous beautification awards, one of them for their former residence in Grosse Pointe Park. They invited their young grandson to accept the honor with them because, as Michael Brown put it, “He’s our helper.”

Three awards are impressive, but at least one recipient has earned even more than that. Michael Fournier and R. Michael Flores have been in their home in the 300 block of Touraine Road for only a year, and they’ve already earned their first beautification award from the Farms. But Wood said the couple received the same honor four times over the last 25 years for their former residence in Grosse Pointe Park, “so they are not any strangers to winning beautification awards.”

Flores said that the day they put their Park home up for sale last year, they received notification that they’d won another beautification award there. He and Fournier ended up giving the award to the home’s new owners.

“We’re very honored that we’ve received this award,” Flores said. “It’s a real labor of love.”

He said they had also won several honors in the Park for their Christmas decorations, so their new neighbors can expect a lovely and tasteful display from the couple this year.

Gerald and Molly Wagner face challenges most fellow Farms residents don’t have to contend with, because their home, in the 300 block of Mary Street, is on an unpaved road.

Gerald Wagner said that when they purchased the house eight years ago, “It was a wreck. … The Realtors didn’t even lock the doors. … Nobody wanted to even go in it.” The Wagners added a fence, landscaping, grass and more to what had been a yard consisting of “just mud and dirt and a few overgrown trees,” he said.

Ronald and Jean Latiff, who live in the 200 block of Stephens Road, also know a little something about tackling home renovation. Ronald Latiff said the couple completely renovated their home, inside and out.

Other residential winners included Paul and Robin Stanford, who live in the 200 block of Stephens Road, and Alan and Lydia D’Agostini, who live in the 200 block of Grosse Pointe Boulevard.

There were two businesses honored as well: Mr. C’s Deli, at 18660 Mack Ave., and Henry Ford Medical Center-Cottage, at 159 Kercheval Ave. 

Kevin Savaya, whose family has owned this Mr. C’s for the last 16 years, said he’s been working in the store since he was a youth. Now he and his wife, Renee, are the managers, and they’ve spruced up the property inside and out, adding a number of plantings off the front to bring some lively greenery to the bustling business corridor.

Marianne Langlois, the director at Cottage, said the medical facility will turn 100 in 2019. Recent renovations at the former hospital coincided with the opening last year of an American House that now occupies the second and third floors of Cottage. New shrubs, trees and pergolas give the front of the building a more welcoming and open appearance.

“We wanted to make it look like it was another home in the community,” Langlois said. “We didn’t want it to look so commercial.”

In addition, she said roughly a dozen female students at Brownell Middle School in the Farms have played a key role in the newly installed stainless steel Tree of Strength in front, decorating the tree with ribbons whose different colors represent various forms of cancer. The public is welcome to visit the tree and spend time reflecting on loved ones they know who have battled cancer, Langlois said. The tree is about raising cancer awareness, inspiring hope and honoring those who have lost their lives to the disease.

This year, the Beautification Advisory Commission gave a special recognition award to the city for its ash and elm tree maintenance program. Dutch elm disease and the emerald ash borer have decimated the elm and ash tree populations throughout the region, but the Farms has managed to hold on to some of its precious mature trees through use of various treatments over the years. Wood said current estimates show that there are about 212 city-owned American elms still standing, and roughly 400 privately owned elms.

“The city’s early detection and treatment has been proven,” Wood said. “The city’s been nationally recognized.”

He gave particular credit to Public Service Director Terry Brennan and his annual tree program.

For the commission, the awards ceremony is always an event to remember.

“This is always a nice night,” Llewellyn said. “It’s nice to do and see all of the smiles.”

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Landscaping fund set up to help beautify Middletown

Landscaping fund set up to help beautify Middletown

Press And Journal Photo by Eric Wise — A fund to account for donations and sponsorship support from businesses and individuals toward landscaping improvements at the square in Middletown has been created by borough council.


Several businesses have lent their support to make the square at Union and Main streets look better.

Four businesses have sponsored landscaping improvements in one of each of the four pods that are on the four corners of the square.

The businesses were identified by Middletown Councilor Anne Einhorn as the Press And Journal, McNees Wallace Nurick, Pennsylvania Properties, and IEC, an electrical contracting company in Middletown owned by Ian Reddinger, a borough councilor.

The business sponsors enabled the borough to buy mulch, plants and other materials instead of having to use tax dollars, said Einhorn, who said she had approached each of the businesses.

The labor involved in the improvements was donated by Thompson’s Lawn Care, a landscaping business in Londonderry Township, Einhorn said.

In return, signs will be put up at the square acknowledging the role of the businesses in making the improvements happen, Einhorn said.

“It looks good when people drive through, and that’s a start,” Einhorn told the Press And Journal on Oct. 21. 

In hopes of attracting more sponsorship activities like these — from businesses as well as individuals — borough council at Einhorn’s urging on Oct. 18 created a new “square landscaping fund.”

Borough resident Robert Hauser suggested the fund be not just for the square, but expanded to attract sponsors to help spruce up and decorate other public areas of the town.

Einhorn said she is open to that idea.

Down the road, she’d like to see community gardens and landscaping in some areas of Middletown that aren’t as visible as the square, but where the improvements “would make a difference to the people that live there.” This could be part of the borough’s overall anti-blight effort, she said.

If you are a business or individual interested in sponsoring improvements at the square and elsewhere, contact Einhorn at
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
, or call her at 717-512-6468.


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Anne’s seaside gardening tips inspire in Lyme

08:48 25 October 2016

Anne Swithinbank with Peter Coe, Gary Willis, Professor Sir Ghillean Prance and Bobbie Smith. Picture: SUBMITTED


Ticketholders at the Lyme Regis Town Mill’s recent fundraising talk left The Malthouse inspired and informed after spending an evening with gardening experts Anne Swithinbank and Professor Sir Ghillean Prance.

Mill patron Anne kindly gave her time to speak about the challenges of gardening in a coastal environment – bringing with her several samples of hardy plants which flourish even in plots by the sea.

Anne was later joined by Bobbie Smith, a Lyme resident who was instrumental in the creation of the Miller’s Garden at The Town Mill, and Mill trustee Peter Coe, to form a panel to answer guests’ various questions.

The chairman was prominent British botanist and ecologist Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, a former director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, and a long-time supporter of The Mill.

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Fill your garden with these beautiful, winter flowering plants

The period after Christmas that follows on from the shortest day of the year is one that many people struggle with. 

Without festive activities to distract them, the short, cold days and long, dark nights of winter close in and spring suddenly seems a long way off.

To counterbalance this predominantly grey and dormant period, it makes sense to include a selection of beautiful, winter flowering plants in your garden. 

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Field to Vase promotes buying locally grown flowers, food, drink

While the flowers, grasses, succulents and other plants at the new Sunset Magazine garden soaked up the rain, those attending “Field to Vase” weathered the drops under umbrellas and raincoats to appreciate the garden’s beauty.

Hosted by Sunset Magazine at its new test garden site at Cornerstone in Sonoma, the Field to Vase Dinner Tour’s message of “buy American grown flowers” was reinforced with cocktails using locally distilled spirits, locally produced cheeses and produce for appetizers and dinner.

Prohibition Spirits Distillery provided the ingredients for a specialty cocktail, The Sonoma Wildflower, that included the distillery’s Solano Vodka, Chauvet Grand Orange Brandy Liqueur that was aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from nearby Schug Winery, cranberry, raspberry and lime juices, with grenadine, and garnished with an edible pansy and fresh mint from the Sunset garden, said Prohibition owner Amy Groth.

Artisan cheesemaker Sheana Davis of The Epicurean Connection, who makes the Delice de la Vallee cheese served at Yountville’s French Laundry, provided cheese for the reception where in between nibbles and sips guests created their own boutonnieres, wrist corsages or floral head adornments from fresh flowers from the garden.

A garden tour conducted by Johanna Silver, garden editor for Sunset Magazine, and Stevani Bittner of Homestead Design Collective, which designed the gardens for Sunset around some remaining sculptures at Cornerstone.

Silver and Bittner explained that the garden “rooms” all contain plants that are readily available at local nurseries. The plants are not all native, but they all are adaptable to grow well in Wine Country’s climate.

The gardens are in the summer-to-fall transition, Silver said, encouraging visitors to return to see each season’s displays.

In the “flower room” guests wandered around the raised beds snapping photos and talking about the plants. Silver suggested rubbing the 17 varieties of geraniums there to appreciate each plant’s unique aroma, such as nutmeg, apricot, lemon, and mint.

Dinner, served family style in The Barn, was prepared by Chef Kyle Kuklewski of Ramekins Culinary School using ingredients grown at the site and around Sonoma County. The long farm tables and the entire barn were adorned with floral arrangements designed by Alethea Harampolis of Homestead Design Collective.

Wines from Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley were poured during the reception and dinner, which concluded with guests departing with bouquets of tulips and irises, and their choice of a variety of other flowers and sprigs.

American Grown Flowers hosts Field to Vase Dinner Tours across the country to support American gardeners and farmers.

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New Canaan Nature Center Hosts New York Botanical Garden Classes

From Rachel Lampen PR:

The New Canaan Nature Center urges you to ‘get closer to nature’ – with three Gardening and Landscape Design classes presented by The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).

The first class is a Basic Pruning course, on Saturday, November 12th from 10am-3pm. We will discuss all elements of pruning evergreens, deciduous trees, and shrubs, in addition to tool selection and ongoing maintenance. Bring your pruners, and get ready to spend the afternoon outdoors at the New Canaan Nature Center, analyzing proper techniques. Cost per person $99*. The class will be led by Ann Perkowski, Master Gardener and Founder/Owner of Lady Clippers Inc., a specialized pruning business in Bedford, NY.

The second course, Perennial Plant Combinations takes place on Thursday, February, 2nd 2017 from 10:30am-3pm. Whether in a shady corner or a sunny border, selecting the right combinations can make all the difference between a ho-hum garden and one that gets rave reviews. Learn to use color, texture, height, and bloom when combining plants for your garden. Cost per person $79*. The class will be led by Sheri Forster, longtime NYBG instructor and principal of The Scottish Gardener.

Finally, if you are interested in understanding Landscape Design, join the introductory 3-session series starting Thursday, March 9th until March 23rd from 10am-1pm. Become familiar with the terminology, concepts, and basic principles of design. This course is recommended for students with little or no background in design who want to design for their own home. Cost per person $185*. The class will be led by Sheri Forster.

All classes will be held at the New Canaan Nature Center come rain or shine. Dress appropriately for the weather and bring a lunch.

To book these programs, please call 800.322.6924 or visit us online.

*A discount is available to members of NYBG. To become a member visit here.

The New Canaan Nature Center, 144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan, CT 06840 / (203) 966-9577

The New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY 10458 / 718.817.8700

Image via Shutterstock

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A New Garden Tool: Designing Your Native Landscape Online

As part of its Gardening with Nature Series, Penn State Extension will host a seminar titled “A New Garden Tool: Designing Your Native Landscape Online.”

Allison Campbell of Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay will be the guest speaker at the last workshop of the year. Explore the new “Reduce Your Stormwater” online garden design tool. Learn how to select plants and create a planting plan specific to your landscape. Do-it-yourself instructions included.

The grand door prize of a hand-painted rain barrel will be awarded at this workshop.

Registration is required one week prior to workshop date. Door prizes are awarded at each workshop in the gardening series.

For more information, call 717-240-6500.

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How to get the most out of a visit to the Magnolia Designer Show House

Turn your tour into a day trip

October 25, 2016Comments

To tell the truth, when veteran interior designer Beverly Baribault first told us about the top-drawer professionals and vendors she’d recruited for a show house in Cartersville, we were sort of stunned. (Cartersville is waaay OTP.) But it didn’t take long for us to agree to be the media sponsor. We loved the idea of transforming a historic house and the local team’s enthusiasm for supporting their hometown nonprofit, Advocates for Children. As Atlanta magazine is known for our travel stories, we already knew Cartersville is a charming small town that happens to have two Smithsonian affiliate museums—and we knew that October is when Atlantans start itching for an easy road trip out of the city.

More than a year later, we’re happy to report the show house has stunned us again. (See lots of photos and video here.) Much as we’d like to take credit, all props go to event chairs Beverly and Jenny and Eric Rothman.

Though the home was built in the 1940s, the interiors feel remarkably fresh, an imaginative balance of old and new. Magnolia has just enough of those surprises that make show houses fun (without getting too gimmicky): the two-story mural in the foyer, the gold leaf ceiling in the powder room, the cowboy painting in the living room (of course, we knew designer Bill Peace would bring that Montana spirit), the glossy red interiors of closets and the vanity in the lady’s bath—oh so Louboutin. There are also those thoughtful details that make you want to go home and start renovating: the expansive marble island in the kitchen, the faux bois wallpaper in the family room, the nearly iridescent curtains in the master bedroom. Every floor, every ceiling, every cabinet pull offers a bit of inspiration.

The show house is open Wednesdays to Sundays through November 13, so make your plans to attend now. Here’s what to do when you visit:

  • Take a phone photo of the two-story mural in Insidesign‘s foyer. It’s easier to see the “hidden” face of the homeowner’s family patriarch on your phone’s screen.
  • Pay attention to details. Every space is loaded with ideas, from a black-and-white gallery wall to a row of turtle shells installed as art.
  • Go up on the roof. If your house has a flat roof, why not turn it into an outdoor lounge? Check out festive perches by Steve McKenzie and Susie Goldenberg Long.
  • Attend a symposium. For the next three Saturdays, top designers like Matthew Quinn, Bill Harrison, and Lindsey Coral Harper will be giving presentations and participating in panel discussions at the Booth Museum. Take your pick: learn about kitchens and baths; interior design; architecture and landscaping, or all three. And discover the secrets behind the beautiful spaces inside the show house. The $40 ticket will get you into the show house free. And, designers, on Friday, November 11, Paragon Wool Products is sponsoring a day-long series of courses on environmentally friendly design—which offers CEU credit.
  • Visit downtown Cartersville. Stop by the 1854 train depot that now houses the town Welcome Center and find information on local museums, shops, and restaurants.
  • Tour a Smithsonian-affiliate museum. Booth Museum of Western Art, which is practically across the street, houses the largest permanent exhibition space for Western art in the country. Also nearby is the Tellus Science Museum, which includes a 120-seat digital planetarium and an observatory with a state-of-the-art 20-inch telescope.
  • Spend the night at Barnsley Resort. For a real treat, take the short drive to this top-rated resort, where you can enjoy championship golf, a spa, horseback riding, fine dining, and your own private cottage.

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Yountville gives go-ahead to refresh Villagio, Vintage hotels

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