Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for November 6, 2016

IU South Bend proposes sustainability area on campus

Whenever Margaret Fosmoe posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Article source:

Energizing Endion: Carpenters refurbish neighborhood, earn Historical Preservation Alliance accolades

It’s OK. They can do it. They own the fourplex, too.

In fact, the couple now own 10 residential buildings along the 1600 block of Jefferson Street in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood. They include

single-family homes and triplexes, a duplex, fourplex and a fiveplex built from 1887 to 1916. And like their own century-old home — their first purchase back in the late 1980s — all the properties were rundown and in disrepair when they bought them. They have tediously refurbished and restored those, too, with work still underway on some. They do most of the work themselves, spending a year or longer on each building.

“We always try to go with the period, to be sensitive to the age of the house,” Goerdt said.

That includes preserving original architecture, restoring woodwork and hardwood floors, matching new materials with old and installing period-appropriate windows and light fixtures. Their efforts have earned them honors from the Duluth Preservation Alliance.

They have not only preserved turn-of-the-20th Century buildings that are part of Duluth’s history, but they’ve improved the neighborhood and built a sense of community on the now picturesque street.

It’s noticeable. Just drive or walk down the street. Homes and multiunit rental buildings are well-maintained. There are gardens and landscaping. Old-fashioned open front porches sport wicker and twig furniture. People talk to each other.

“It’s a very nice neighborhood; it’s a mix of people,” said Mary Cameron, a former Duluth school board member who has lived in one of the apartments for nearly five years. “This is what a neighborhood should be like. It’s a true neighborhood. That’s what 16th and Jefferson is.”

Joel Sipress, the Duluth city councilor who represents the neighborhood, is supportive.

“It’s amazing what they’ve done,” he said. “They really invested in that neighborhood. They put a lot of time and money into improving the housing stock.”

But what Sipress most values is that they’ve done it while keeping their properties affordable at a time when affordable housing is in short supply in Duluth.

There’s a fine line between neighborhood revitalization and gentrification — when low-income neighborhoods see an influx of money that drives people out who can’t afford it anymore, he said. But Goerdt and Haugen have shown that housing can be improved and neighborhoods revitalized while keeping rents affordable, he said.

“They’ve helped keep it a real neighborhood,” Sipress said.

Goerdt and Haugen have 21 rental units, from efficiency to three-bedroom apartments to whole houses, with rents ranging from $395 to $1,000 a month.

Their tenants are a diverse group, from college students to seniors, singles, couples and families. They seldom advertise their vacancies. They don’t need to. They’ve got a waiting list, with many prospective tenants referred to them and news spreading by word of mouth.

“They choose wisely who they rent to,” said tenant Travis Willoughby. “They want to make sure they know who their tenants are and that they’re reliable and will be part of a positive community.”

Cameron feels that positivity. She knows neighbors on the block and feels safe. There’s impromptu grill parties in the summer and cook-offs with judges. Not only do Haugen and Goerdt help with Loaves Fishes’ annual Jefferson Street Block Party in August, they hold their own annual summer party for friends, family and tenants. The party extends through three backyards that are part of the line of six buildings they own on the upper side of the street. The yards, which have eye-fetching gardens, are set up like outdoor living rooms for the party.

Longtime tenant Gerald Johnson gets involved in that annual party by hanging dozens of lit mason jars through the trees and gardens for added ambience as the party continues into the evening.

“It’s fun,” he said. “I really like to do it. It’s pretty and peaceful.”

He compared the block to what neighborhoods used to be.

“People who live there are nice,” he said. “They’re polite. It’s like the 1950s. People were more friendly in the ’50s. And people took pride in their houses, in what they had.”

Once an upper middle-class neighborhood, by the time Ben Wolfe and his wife, Barry, bought a house on the block in 1980, the neighborhood had deteriorated. But they’ve seen the block improve since Goerdt and Haugen moved there and started buying and renovating rundown buildings on the block.

“Every time they bought a building, the page turned for the better,” Wolfe said. “It really is about neighborhood. They just do a great job. They’re good friends of ours. We appreciate them so, so much.”

They’ve not only beautified the street, but the neighborhood, added his wife.

“When they purchase a house, they turn it into a home,” she said. “They respect the homes they purchase and restore them as much as possible.They are talented men. They work long hours and do a wonderful job on each one and put their personalities into them.”

The work begins

When Goerdt and Haugen bought their home, a 1914 American Foursquare, in 1989 and began restoring it, they had no idea they would buy more properties and become landlords.

Their Craftsman-style house was a big project and took a few years. Long neglected, the 2,200-square-foot house had been trashed and lacked working utilities. But it had good bones and had not been altered. That appealed to the pair who love older homes with character.

“I can appreciate the modern and the minimalist, but it’s not me,” said Haugen, 55, who is the manager of mail and receiving at the College of St. Scholastica.

They gutted parts of their house, replaced basic utilities, restored woodwork and returned rooms to their original beauty and grace. They used salvaged stone around town, including Jefferson Street’s old sandstone curbs, in their landscaping for added meaning.

A few years into their home project, when the house was looking good inside and out, their attention was drawn to the triplex two doors down. Its front porch was sagging badly and the building was headed toward condemnation.

“We were afraid a new owner would remove the porch and not replace it,” said Goerdt, 63.

So they bought it.

A construction worker by trade, Goerdt jacked up and stabilized the front porch, and the two restored it. Fortunately, the interior of the 1915 triplex had changed little over the years.

“It was fun because the woodwork was not painted. Everything was there,” Goerdt said.

More buildings followed.

“None were in good shape,” Goerdt said. “If they were, we couldn’t afford to buy them.”

Their improvements and sweat equity boosted a property’s value, and they used that to finance their next building purchase. They work on their buildings in the evenings and on weekends, only hiring out jobs like plumbing and now also the roofing work.

They would research each building they bought, learning about the neighborhood’s upper middle-class beginnings. Their house, for example, was built for Julius Garon of Garon Jewelers. Original owners of their other buildings include a railroad executive and the owner of a Duluth lumber business.

They began buying and refurbishing the old buildings to protect their investment and to preserve them.

“Our biggest fear was living near a landlord who doesn’t care about how it looks,” Goerdt said.

When tenants became concerned about suspected drug dealing going on at a house across the street, Goerdt and Haugen bought the house with the condition that the seller evict the tenants.

“We were buying to clean up the neighborhood,” Goerdt said. “We didn’t want to lose our tenants.”

At first, the property purchases came every few years and one at a time. But in the past decade, they didn’t necessarily finish one before buying another.

“We started buying when they became available because the price would go up later,” Haugen explained.

In 2005, Goerdt retired from his construction job to devote more time to working on the buildings and being a landlord. In 2009, they set up Endion Properties, a limited liability company, to better separate their rental buildings as a business.

Haugen and Goerdt have photo albums for each building containing before, during and after pictures of the renovations.The pictures show rooms and yards littered with the trash they hauled away and truckloads of old appliances they moved out. The photos show gutted walls, gaping holes in roofs and paint covered woodwork being stripped. And amid it all, it shows them posing proudly.

Is No. 10 the end?

Tenants have benefited from the result of their labors. And Willoughby and his fiance aren’t alone in loving their apartment.

“It’s really cool to live in an older apartment with lots of character we appreciate,” he said. “We have hardwood floors, original woodwork and a pantry. The overall character is really amazing.”

Willoughby says it’s far better than other apartments they have rented in Duluth.

“There’s a lot of slumlords,” he said. “In Duluth now, the rental market is terrible. The quality is cheaply done and overpriced. My rent is reasonable now, and the amount of space and quality is really amazing.”

It’s been three years since Goerdt and Haugen bought their last house. They now own nine of the 15 buildings along the 1600 block of Jefferson Street and one around the corner on 16th Avenue East. Before tackling another, they want to finish their current projects, including re-siding a 1916 two-story house with salvaged wood clapboard for an authentic look.

But there aren’t any problem buildings left to buy on the block, they say.

“They bought the challenged homes,” Wolfe said. “There’s only a few houses left that aren’t owned by them. And those owners take care of their properties.”

Moreover, the improvements on their street is having a positive impact on nearby blocks, he said.

As more people have become aware of Goerdt’s and Haugen’s efforts on Jefferson Street, they have been approached about taking on properties in other neighborhoods. But they aren’t interested.

“We don’t buy anything we can’t see from our front door,” Goerdt said.

Article source:

Tropical Gardening: Arbor Day is time to think about trees

On the mainland, Arbor Day is in the spring, but in Hawaii it can be observed all year.

This weekend, Friday through today, officially marked our Arbor Day, with all kinds of tree giveaways and plant sales throughout the islands. At many locations on each island, you can find events by doing a quick internet search for one near you. Just look for Hawaii Arbor Day 2016.

Many native trees, such as kamani, manele, halapepe, kou and hibiscus, are available. They also are giving away non-native trees. Many trees will be Hawaiian plants introduced by the early Polynesians referred to as “canoe” plants such as the kukui, noni and mountain apple.

Also, the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Waimea distributes plants for a nominal fee throughout the year. For more information, call nursery manager Jacob Witcraft at 887-6061. Our local nurseries are celebrating as well, so it’s a good time to visit and check out their inventories.


We are fortunate county and state planners encourage landscaping as much as possible when developers apply for permits to build subdivisions and shopping centers. Unfortunately, our requirements are somewhat minimal when compared to many communities in Florida and California that also depend on a strong tourist industry.

Developers from Kohanaiki, Kukio, Hualalai, Waikoloa and north to Kohala go that extra mile to really beautify their projects with lush landscaping. Smaller projects in Hilo and Kona often do not make that effort.

When it comes to maintaining the landscape, they sometimes try to save a few bucks and the landscape deteriorates. In the long run, millions of dollars might be lost, as well as not keeping the communities attractive to local residents and visitors alike.

To make matters worse, even though permits are given based on a commitment to landscaping, there is sometimes no follow through or trees are planted and then cut down at a later date.

It is vital we continue to encourage good landscaping on big projects such as new roads and highways, and at the same time landscape and maintain the little pieces of paradise we call our homes. Imagine the highway from Kona airport to Kailua planted in flowering trees and shrubs.

Our island is special in that we can grow almost any plant in the many micro-climates that exist here. We have some of the most beautiful scenery found anywhere in the world. However, it does take conscious planning, planting and maintenance to bring out the best.

By planting trees, we can actually make our gardens and community several degrees cooler in the summer. If trees are placed just right, we can even create a garden climate that is warmer and less windy during the cooler season. It’s really interesting when we expand these basic principles.

What happens when everyone in the neighborhood or community plants trees? Well, we can actually change the climate over fairly large areas.

USDA foresters have research data that support the theory reforestation could increase local rainfall in dry areas and modify temperature extremes. You might say trees are natural air conditioners. When enough are planted in an area, temperatures remain cooler in the summer. The sun’s rays don’t have a chance to penetrate and heat up the ground.


The best place to start improving the beauty of the island is right at home. In selecting trees for shade, consider the hundreds of species of tropical plants that produce food as well as shade. Depending on your taste, available space for planting, and location, we can grow almost anything.

The more popular types of fruit trees include mango, coconut, citrus, guava, avocado, papaya, lychee, breadfruit and banana. Of course, our No. 1 nut, the macadamia, also is an attractive choice.

Besides the more common edibles, the cashew, carambola (or starfruit), sapodilla, sugar apple, soursop, loquat, longan and tamarind are others that are ornamental trees. Spices such as clove, cinnamon and allspice also can be grown.

We don’t have to stop with these. Shrubs such as the natal plum, ceylon gooseberry, surinam cherry or pineapple guava also can be used.

Vines often add the right touch on a fence. Passion fruit, ceylon spinach, winged bean and others will produce goodies to treat your appetite.

Even edible ground covers can be incorporated into a garden. Many herbs are tough and attractive as are some of our tropical vegetables, such as dry land taro, sweet potato, Monstera and Tahitian spinach.

There are so many choices, that the list is almost endless. Several books are available at local bookstores and garden supply stores.

Sunset’s “The New Western Garden Book” is a great starter. There also are many publications available through the University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service to help you with care and use of some of the plants you might select. These can help in planning your landscape and maintaining it in the proper manner.

Just think, if each of us just planted one tree this weekend, there would be about 200,000 new trees added to our beautiful island.

This information is supplied by the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. For more information about gardening and landscaping, contact one of our Master Gardeners at 981-5199 in Hilo or 322-4892 in Kona.

Article source:

Garden Views: Tips for a successful fall cleanup

By Jean Kuehn
Contributing Writer

As we put our gardens to bed and prepare them for the long cold winter, many of us mourn the end of another gardening season. It really is not an end, just a different phase of being a gardener. Even as we begin the process of cleaning up and cutting back, we should be planning which plants need to be moved now or next spring, which ones will need to be divided, which need more or less sun to improve their health and which we may remove completely or add next season. A note pad or journal may be of help to record thoughts. In reality, gardens are never really “finished,” they are always a work in progress.

The turtleheads are still a gorgeous pink, the bottle gentian are a true blue and asters add color, too. What great fall plants. The iris, lilies, monarda, malva, peonies, and hosta can all be trimmed. However, do not trim shrub roses. If they are trimmed now, the new growth likely would not be winter hardy. Besides the rose hips are already turning red and will look rather charming until a hungry bird finds them. Before you put the tools away, clean and disinfect them to prevent spreading problems from one plant to the next.

Trees continue to need water until the weather is seriously cold. Trees take decades to grow and are worth the effort, so keep them well watered going into the winter. Did you know that fall is the best time to plant new trees? They can be successfully planted until the ground freezes.

Fall is also the best time to fertilize grass. Fall fertilizing encourages root growth which strengthens the plant, while spring fertilizing tends to encourages top growth and the need to mow frequently. Also, lowering the mower blade when cutting in the fall is good for the grass, plus it makes it easier to rake up the leaves.

To cover or not to cover the garden – is that the question? The garden should be covered after it has gotten fairly cold. The worst damage to our perennials is done by short periods of warm weather in January, February and March. The warmth fools the plants into coming out of dormancy and start growing and then the temperature plummets and the plants freeze. A good cover of leaves or straw will prevent sunlight and heat from penetrating the soil and keep the plants cool until real spring arrives. Lightly rake off the cover as the spring weather warms so the plants don’t cook.

Fall cleanup may be the end of one gardening season, but it is also the start of the next.

The Anoka County Master Gardeners invite you to visit our website, to find information on many gardening topics.

Jean Kuehn is an Anoka County Master Gardener.

Article source:

Garden Tips: New berries for patio growing – Tri

The growing number of millennial gardeners is spurring the trend of raising vegetables, herbs and fruit in backyard gardens.

Many of these new gardeners are growing their edibles in raised beds or containers, increasing the demand for new and tasty varieties that can be grown with less space. This demand is keeping plant breeders busy developing new introductions. Here are a few to look for in the next few years.

Delizz, a hybrid developed by a Dutch Company, is a day-neutral strawberry with compact growth. It produces orange-red berries that are about 1 to 1 1/2 inches in size, making them somewhat small compared to June bearing varieties. However, each plant will produce about 45 sweet, aromatic berries during the summer.

Delizz plants grow about 10 to 24 inches tall and a compact 12 inches wide. It is recommended that plants be spaced 20 inches apart in the garden. The interesting thing about Delizz is that plant breeders recommend that you grow them as annuals, even though the plants are considered perennial. They can even be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill, although they will not produce as well as out in the garden. Delizz was a 2016 All American Award Winner, which means that it performed well in test gardens around the U.S.

Typically, gardeners start their strawberry beds using dormant bareroot plants that have been certified as virus free. Delizz can be started from seed (available at, but you may also find it available as potted plants at local nurseries.

Another new strawberry had a limited launch in Europe this year. It is a pink-berried variety called Bubble Berry. While I am not excited about this novelty heirloom strawberry that tastes like bubble gum, I think my youngest granddaughter might like it. The fruit are a soft pink color, not unlike real bubble gum. The same company that will be introducing Bubble Berry to gardeners introduced the Hula Berry strawberry in Home Depot stores this year. This novelty strawberry has unusual white berries with red seeds and tastes like pineapple. Hula Berry must be cross-pollinated to produce fruit, so it is recommended that it be planted along with a red-fruited variety for pollination.

Some of you may remember me telling you about BrazzleBerries’ Raspberry Shortcake, a dwarf thornless raspberry that is perfect for growing in containers, and Jelly Bean, one of their dwarf blueberries that also is eminently suitable for growing in containers. I grow both plants in half wine barrels on my patio.

Now I need to find a few more barrels to grow the newest BrazzleBerry introductions. Baby Cakes is a dwarf, thornless blackberry that is great for growing in containers. It produces large, sweet blackberries in summer on the older canes in mid-summer and on new canes in mid-fall. However, the company notes that this later crop may be inhibited in areas like ours with hot summer weather.

Another recent introduction to the BrazzleBerry line is a double-cropping blueberry called Perpetua. While this cultivar has “smallish mild and sweet” berries, it produces one crop in mid-summer and another crop in fall. The deep red and green color of the leaves in winter are an added attraction. If you like to graze your garden, you might find this one is for you.

I wonder how many more pots I can fit on my patio? I want to try all of these berries, except perhaps Bubble Berry.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source:

Garden Club to Host Landscape Designer

Garden Club to Host Landscape Designer

Brid Craddock, owner of Heirloom Gardens in Newtown and lead designer of Growing Solutions, LLC of Ridgefield, will be the guest speaker at the next meeting of the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club, 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 15, at the Woodbury Senior/Community Center.

Posted: Saturday, November 5, 2016 6:00 am

Updated: 12:29 pm, Sat Nov 5, 2016.

Garden Club to Host Landscape Designer


WOODBURY — Professional landscape designer Brid Craddock, owner of Heirloom Gardens in Newtown and lead designer of Growing Solutions, LLC of Ridgefield, will present a program on Work Horse Perennials for Your Forever Garden at the next meeting of the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club, 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 15, at the Woodbury Senior/Community Center on Main Street South.

When visiting an old, neglected garden, “you’ll likely find perennials thriving in the midst of neglect and adverse weather,” said Ms. Craddock. These “work horse perennials” are ideal plants to have in your forever garden because they require low maintenance, and they offer beauty and color in sun or shade.

Ms. Craddock will share information on the many hardy perennials available to create a beautiful and low maintenance garden for all seasons.

Brid Craddock has been designing and supervising the installation and maintenance of sustainable landscapes for more than a decade. She holds two certificates in horticulture and landscape design and is a Northeast Organic Farming Association accredited professional as well as a master gardener.

She is a founding member and president of the Connecticut Chapter of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and founding member and board member at large on the Borough of Newtown Zoning Board since 2002.

She has been an instructor at the New York Botanical Gardens and has lectured on landscape design for numerous community and gardening organizations throughout Fairfield County.

The November 15 event is open to the public for a $5 guest fee.

The Pomperaug Valley Garden Club is a charter member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut and National Garden Clubs. The club sponsors speakers at monthly meetings, garden-oriented field trips, numerous civic beautification and educational outreach projects in Woodbury and a scholarship program.

Those seeking information regarding membership in the Pomperaug Valley Garden Club may call Priscilla Steponaitis, 203-266-4345, or Rita Connelly, 203-263-3867, or visit

More about Woodbury, Connecticut

  • ARTICLE: Selectmen Learn: Cost Study to Bury Lines Exorbitant
  • ARTICLE: Trick or Trunk Fun in Woodbury
  • ARTICLE: Woodbury: Nature Safari Scheduled at Flanders

More about Garden Club

  • ARTICLE: In Southbury: Garden Club Notes Civic Award Winners
  • Garden Club to Host Landscape Designer
  • Garden Club Will Host Author
  • Garden Club Will Host Author

More about Landscaping

  • ARTICLE: In Southbury: Garden Club Notes Civic Award Winners
  • Garden Club to Host Landscape Designer
  • ARTICLE: Company Observes Milestone
  • In Southbury: Sparrow Industries Celebrates 15th Year


Saturday, November 5, 2016 6:00 am.

Updated: 12:29 pm.

| Tags:

Woodbury, Connecticut,

Garden Club,


Pomperaug Valley Garden Club

Article source:

Design Atelier at RH Las Vegas can bring dream spaces to life – Las Vegas Review

The recent October opening of RH Las Vegas, The Gallery at Tivoli Village ushered in a new concept for Southern Nevada: an exclusive shopping experience for the complete design, including the furnishings and decor needs, of every indoor and outdoor space in the house. As the first RH (Restoration Hardware) store in Nevada, this next-generation design gallery concept takes personal interior design to the next level.

“Our vision with RH Las Vegas is to reimagine the retail experience by blurring the lines between residential and retail, indoors and outdoors, physical and digital — creating an environment that is more home than store,” RH Chairman and CEO Gary Friedman said.

“The Gallery at Tivoli Village is a reflection of human design, a study of balance, symmetry and perfect proportions,” he continued. “The design respects the hierarchy and important relationships between architecture, furniture and decor that create harmony.”

The Las Vegas gallery, which anchors Tivoli Village’s second phase and is completely unique to the brand, encompasses more than 60,000 square feet, making it one of the largest of the company’s next-generation design gallery models. Built to resemble an upscale, classical contemporary residence, the gallery’s offerings are divided among four levels.

The gallery’s lower two floors are set up as a classical arrangement of rooms with artistic lifestyle installations featuring RH Interiors collections from internationally renowned designers.

Level two features the RH Design Atelier, a 4,000-square-foot studio anchored by four 10-foot custom tables offering a fully integrated workspace for customers, designers and architects to reimagine one room or an entire home, inside and out. Here, guests are able to work with the experienced RH team — or their own architects and interior designers — to create functional and elegant spaces.

With no limits on collaboration and ideation, the Design Atelier provides access to RH’s vast library of fabrics, leathers, and furniture and lighting finishes. The Design Atelier supports the brand’s fully integrated design platform, RH Interior Design, which is a concierge-level program that places clients at the center of the creative process, working to realize the full potential of their home and bring their vision to life.

From striking outdoor collections to fine Italian bed linens, the design team leverages the brand’s entire product assortment allowing for the creation of harmonious spaces that reflect an intentional approach to designing the whole space, rather than decorating with a mix of individual pieces.

“With the introduction of RH Interior Design, we have now moved the brand beyond creating and selling product to conceptualizing and selling spaces,” Friedman said.

Additional RH Design Atelier resources include a Ben Soleimani rug showroom, displaying the fourth-generation designer’s hand-knotted and hand-woven rugs, and an array of specialized galleries for window treatments, bed and bath linens, and bath hardware. A vision for any room, inside or outside a home, can be fulfilled with these services.

“We believe the most pleasing environments are a reflection of human design — a study of balance, symmetry and perfect proportions — that respect the hierarchy and important relationships between architecture, furniture and decor that create harmony,” Friedman said. “It’s a discipline of addition through subtraction, where less becomes more and calm is created through continuity. The result is a holistic design that is strong yet simple. We subscribe to Leonardo da Vinci’s philosophy that ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’”

Many customers who utilize the Design Atelier services purchase RH memberships (at a cost of $100 a year), which gives them access to complimentary design services and retail discounts of 25 percent on everything RH and an additional 10 percent on sale items. Membership also includes a concierge service to manage orders.

Continuing up the store’s grand staircase, guests encounter the third level, a 17,000-square-foot exhibition space presenting RH Modern, one of the largest curated and fully integrated assortments of modern furnishings, lighting and decor under one brand in the world. The space incorporates RH Contemporary Art, a collection of artwork across all media, along with an expansive garden terrace.

The store’s top floor showcases a 16,000-square-foot garden space within a structure of glass, wood and steel with towering banana palms and 16-foot ceilings at its apex. Opening onto a rooftop with mature heritage olive trees, this unique space features a centered trellis, shade canopies, chandeliers, fountains and sculptural evergreens that enhance the latest outdoor furnishings while providing beautiful views of one of Southern Nevada’s most recognizable natural wonders, Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

RH Las Vegas marks Friedman’s ongoing collaboration with James Gillam of Backen, Gillam Kroeger, a firm recognized as one of Architectural Digest’s Top 100 architect and design firms in the world.

Article source:

Find one-of-a-kind plants, trees at Edison Ford Garden Fest – The News

Have you ever purchased a plant just because it looked really different or the flowers were exceptionally beautiful?

If you are like most gardeners, the thrill of finding an amazing plant is so exciting that you just have to buy it. Then, after you get home, you realize that you are not sure how to take care of it.

How much sunlight and water the plant needs, if soil amendments are necessary and the eventual size of the plant or tree are all important considerations for successful gardening. The plant vendors at the 9th annual Edison Ford Garden Festival on Nov. 19-20 will be able to answer your questions about the plants for sale and help you determine the best options for your garden.

More than 30 vendors will be onsite with one-of-a-kind plants and trees that will grab your attention and the Edison Ford Garden Shoppe will be stocked full of native and heritage plants and garden gift items.

I’m sure that Thomas and Mina Edison would be envious of gardeners today, with so many plant vendors available. Many of the plants that the Edisons grew at their northern home were repeated here in Fort Myers. As time went on, the Edisons realized, as many newly transplanted northerners do, that growing tropical trees and plants that can thrive in both the hot, humid summers and cooler, drier winters can be a challenge. Edison probably picked up landscaping ideas from hotels, the countryside or other home owners. He purchased plants and trees from local growers and nurseries and experimented in his gardens.

Without multiple plant vendors at their disposal, they depended on local plant nurseries such as Everglades Nursery, run by nurseryman James Hendry. The Edisons also made many trips to Reasoner Brothers in Bradenton – a long trip in the early 1900s – to trade plants with other gardeners and reportedly purchased one of everything.

Today, thanks to the local plant growers that travel across Florida selling their specimens at plant festivals, we have access to many of the plants that would have been considered rare when Edison was here. The vendors that will be at the festival grow plants that thrive in Southwest Florida and enjoy helping customers find unusual plants that they can show off in their gardens.

Some plants you might expect to see at the Garden Festival include Tillandsias (air plants) in every shape and form and terrariums; succulents that are drought tolerant, easy to care for and do fantastic in pots; and the Tecomanthedendrophila or Forest Bell Creeper Vine, which was selected as the 2016 Edison Birthday Plant competition winner for its attention-grabbing, long, drooping, pink trumpet flowers (it’s planted on a large trellis near the Edison Seminole Lodge).

If you are thinking of starting an edible garden, you might want to try one of the different varieties of avocado, mango or other fruit trees. This is also a fantastic time of the year to start growing herbs and vegetables and there will be plenty available for sale.

Plants can also brighten up your indoor space. If you live in a condo or need a plant for the office, there will be many African violets and orchids to select from. Palms, Heliconias, Gingers and Bromelaids are excellent choices for giving your yard a tropical look. There will also be plenty of vendors with the ever-popular butterfly, bird and native plants for our nature-loving gardening friends.

When Ponce de Leon sailed into the new world, he was looking for the fountain of youth. After discovering this land, he named it “La Florida” or “Land of Flowers.” Edison arrived hundreds of years later and knew that the fountain of youth was not an elixir, but the ability to learn something new each day in our sub-tropical climate.

Gardening stimulates both the mind and body with the constant exercise of the imagination along with physical work. Imagine yourself as Thomas and Mina Edison as they perused what could grow in Southwest Florida and continue the tradition in your beautiful garden.

Mark Your Calendar:

Edison Ford Garden Festival

Nov. 19, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nov. 20, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Free event and free parking (does not include tours of the museum, lab or homes) 

Article source: