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Archives for November 25, 2016

Unsung hero uses gardening knowledge to serve Springfield

Terry Frederick doesn’t have time to garden at home.

The 63-year-old Springfield resident is too busy using his talents to give back to the community by teaching it how to grow and cook food.

“It’s a passion,” Frederick said. “I do it because I can. That’s the main reason. I have the abilities, I have the knowledge, I have the equipment to prepare the garden for them.

“If I have those God-given talents, then they should be used. I get fulfillment from that.”

RELATED: Bethel Twp. woman lives to give back, help ‘those who struggle’

For his efforts at two local community gardens, Frederick has been named an Unsung Hero in the Springfield community.

Frederick, who owns Habitat Creations, a local landscaping business, began a production-oriented community garden at Grace Lutheran Church in 2006. With the help of volunteers from the church, the garden produced more than 8,000 pounds of produce — a majority of which was donated to charity.

“It allows people from the church to have fresh fruits and vegetables all summer long,” church member Anne Joyce said.

Frederick likes to share his knowledge with others, she said.

“He does so much for people and is so interested in feeding the community with good food,” Joyce said. “He’s just full of information he shares. He’s a great guy.”

The produce is sold in front of the church on Sundays, he said, and the money is then donated to food pantries and soup kitchens. The extra produce is also offered to local agencies, he said.

Six years later, Frederick began another passion project — the Jefferson Street Oasis Community Garden, located at the former St. Mary Church site, 1027 W. High St. The garden is operated as part of the Children’s Rescue Center.

The allotment-style garden has different-sized plots that are given to people in the neighborhood for vegetable gardening, Frederick said. The garden teaches residents how to grow food and how to cook and preserve those foods through the Clark County Ohio State University Extension office, he said.

The 1.25-acre garden served about 30 families last year, Frederick said. The food can also be used to sell at a small farmer’s market at the garden, he said. The garden has become so large, it may need to expand in the future, he said.

The vegetables provide nutrients local residents receive, different from the calorie-rich food that’s cheaper to purchase at the store, he said.

“It’s more than just calories, it’s really about nutrient production,” Frederick said. “Balance is needed in everyone’s diet, and they’re not getting that, especially when there’s no grocery store available and a lot of the produce is more expensive than chips and everything else.”

He’s also working with other leaders as part of a coalition to help solve food issues in the community.

“A lot of people just think of people who are just constantly hungry,” Frederick said. “Often times it’s not that way. People that are food insecure have food for awhile, then there’s a period they don’t, then they do. It’s a very inconsistent thing as opposed to someone just starving on the street.”

Frederick humbly does his work, never seeking the spotlight, Joyce said.

“He does not like the spotlight, but he’s so deserving,” she said.

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Made in the shade





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Which plant pots are the best at tolerating winter weather?

Container gardening is as popular as ever. Now that winter has arrived, what should we do with our containers, which can range from inexpensive plastic to pricey ceramic? Some pot materials will tolerate freezing and thawing, while others could crumble under winter’s harsh conditions.

Plastic pots are not harmed by freezing and thawing and can be exposed to the elements. The concern with plastic containers is the sunlight. Over time, ultraviolet light fades the color and makes the plastic brittle. This brittleness leads to cracks and splits. With plastic, you can either leave the pots exposed to the elements, or you can move them into a shaded area to reduce sun exposure.

Concrete pots are heavy and not easy to move, so they are usually left to the elements for the winter. Good quality concrete should be able to withstand cold temperatures. But over time, the freezing and thawing of moisture in the material breaks it down. Protecting them from moisture absorption will help extend their life.

The classic pot is made of terra cotta. There is just something about the rich, earthy color that works with many plants. Clay pots are porous, which makes them great growing containers but can spell doom over the winter when the terra cotta absorbs moisture. Moist terra cotta shrinks and swells with winter freezing and thawing, causing the pots to break up.

Extend the life of clay pots by storing and keeping them dry. Remove the soil and store the pots indoors or out of the elements. If left outdoors, place them under a deck or wrap them in plastic. If the soil is left in a pot stored outside, make sure it remains dry — moisture will wick from the soil into the pot.

Glazed and fired ceramic pots come in a variety of styles and colors. Because of the glazing and firing process, these pots can be expensive. Depending on the quality, they will absorb moisture if left outdoors and will break down like their terra cotta cousins.

Remove the soil and store these pots indoors, such as in the garage. An alternative is to not pot directly into the fired container. Instead, use a plastic insert. Once the season is over simply remove the plastic pot. The glazed container is left fairly clean, lighter and ready to be stored. If there is no room in the garage, the pots could be stored dry or wrapped in plastic outdoors.

Be sure to leave some containers out for winter as they can easily be transformed into festive holiday décor.

Dennis Patton is a horticulture agent with the Kansas State University Research and Extension. To get your gardening questions answered on The Star’s KC Gardens blog by university extension experts, go to

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Top tips to install a garden pond

A pond can transform the atmosphere of a Garden, adding colour, light, sound and movement. A soothing space that will attract a multitude of wildlife, brightening the dullest of days.

8 Easy Steps

1. Location – Select an open sunny site that isn’t exposed to prevailing wind, deep in shade or near overhanging deciduous trees. The ground must be free of obstacles, drainpipes or cables. Allow space for a plantation to provide a natural transition in to the garden.

2. Size – The larger it is, the easier to maintain. For a traditional feature, filled with aquatic plants and fish, a pond with a 7ft x 8ft surface, 2ft deep and 6-inch shelves along the perimeter is advisable.

3. Liners – ‘Flexible’ or ‘Rigid’ liners are available. For a bespoke pond design, a ‘Flexible’ liner is suggested. Various materials can be used, polythene or PVS are cheapest, but only last a few years- for longer term, rubber is best.

4. Excavation – Mark the pond boundary, and dig to a depth of 8-inches, with the sides sloping towards the centre. Complete a second level dig for the deep water areas to a 26-inch depth, again sloping the sides.

5. Installation – Ensure the top edge and shelves are level. Remove any debris protruding into the hole before lining all surfaces with a 2-inch layer of damp sand. Lay the pond liner over the prepared hole, weigh down the edges with stone and slowly fill the pond with water until within 2-inches of the rim. Gently tug the liner edges to remove any creases.

6. Edging – Leave to settle for 24 hours, then trim the Liner leaving around 6-inches overlap around the pond. The edging is your opportunity to create an attractive and practical border, which will hold the liner in place. Loose decorative stone can run in to the water, or for a more formal finish you can brick or pave the surrounding.

7. Pond Life – Adding pond plants to the shelves and floating on the water’s surface will cut down the amount of sunlight penetrating the water, whilst oxygenating and providing shelter for wildlife, as well as preventing algae turning the water a murky colour.

8. Fish – If you intend to add fish to the pond, wait one month and allow 10-inches of fish for every square metre of surface area.

Materials Required

  • Skip
  • Liner
  • Sand
  • Decorative stone, bricks or paving slabs

Mick’s Handy Tips – Why not supplement your beautiful new pond with a slabbed surrounding to add those all-important extra touches.

You can order skips, paving, sleepers, decking, fencing, decorative stone and much more, or even just calculate material volumes by visiting Mick George’s website .

Tel: 0800 587 3329

PROMO CODE: 10% OFF online orders (HGNOV16 – Ends 11/12/16)

This article was sponsored by Mick George

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From a rubber plantation to an exotic garden

Designer of the Poison Garden, Tauras Stalnionis (black t-shirt) explaining to guests about the elements of his design from concept to completion - photo Doris Lim.
Designer of the Poison Garden, Tauras Stalnionis (black t-shirt) explaining to guests about the elements of his design from concept to completion – photo Doris Lim.

In 2003, Tropical Spice Garden founders David and Rebecca Wilkinson was inspired to transform an abandoned rubber plantation into an exotic garden.

Spread over eight acres of secondary jungle, the gardens was planted with over 500 varieties of fauna and flora.

The Tropical Spice Garden in Batu Ferringhi, Penang is now Southeast Asia’s award-winning foremost eco-tourism destinations.

The latest addition is a Poison Garden, zoned within the Tropical Spice Garden, designed by Lithuanian performative designer Tauras Stalnionis.

Stalnionis chose to present the curated collection of 38 poisonous plants as an exhibition; he wanted to display plants like how galleries would display artefacts.

The small themed garden’s aim was to reveal the tension between nature and culture.

The exhibits explore the intriguing relationship between humans and plants often shrouded in fear as popularised by myths, anecdotes and folklores.

It presented the dynamics of humans discovering and living with plants that could kill and also heal.

Most people would think of the beautiful flowers in a landscaped garden.

Guests reading the signages cautiously at the Poison Garden, Batu Ferringhi, Penang - photo Doris Lim.
Guests reading the signages cautiously at the Poison Garden, Batu Ferringhi, Penang – photo Doris Lim.

The Poison Garden’s revelation of plant specimens is fascinating.

The dark obscure beauty of poisonous plant is an exciting departure from a conventional landscaped garden.

Even the signages and information presented is abstract and full of symbolism.

Don’t worry as the information is translated in five languages, Mandarin, Malay, English, Tamil, and Arabic.

It was an eye opener to know that we have poisonous plants in our homes and garden without knowing how close we live with the deadly plants.

Most of the poisonous plants in the Poison Garden have medicinal values and in a way illustrate the fact that medicines have always been poisonous.

Medicines are used to kill something in order to heal some parts of our body.

Poisonous plants can be divided into categories according to their degrees of toxicity.

Clinically, poisonous plants can be used to treat a number of stubborn chronic conditions such as stubborn ringworm infection, malignant sores, and even snake bites.

However, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and it is best to know and distance ourselves from such poisonous plants.

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Gardening: Magazines take you away during winter

Gardening magazines are great gifts for anyone who loves or loved digging in the dirt. Magazines can transport a gardener to another world on a cold snowy day. But sadly they’re becoming hard to find. Gardening magazines no longer have their place at the checkout in the grocery store, they now reside at the back of the lower shelf of the magazine rack. Last week I checked and there were none to be had – gone for the season. So subscriptions are the way to go and here are some of my favorite picks.

Garden Design: $45/4 issues. (855) 624-5110, An ad-free coffee-table mag that takes you into up-scale, often cutting edge, private gardens from around the country. Not a lot of how-to, but focuses more on plant picks and design advice. Regional tips and beautiful photography, what more can you ask?

Fine Gardening: $29.95/6 issues. (800) 888-8286 or go to Geared to avid gardeners and inspired beginners, it’s a must read for those who take their gardening seriously. I love the pronunciation guide for featured plants.

The American Gardener: $35/6 issues. (800) 777-7931, Subscription includes membership in the American Horticulture Society. Geared toward the environmentally caring gardener, it’s a must read by the East Coast gardenistas. Other bennies includes free admission or discounts to many public gardens.

Country Gardens: $19.97/4 issues. (800) 677-0484. A 10 when it comes to inspiration – this award winning mag is a touch of heaven on a cold gray day in February. How-to, what’s new, garden crafts and cool gardens, there’s something here for everyone.

Garden Gate: $20/6 issues. (800) 978-9631, A good choice for Yardeners, new gardeners and experienced green thumbers who enjoy DIY projects. Contains no advertising to distract the reader.

Michigan Gardening Magazine: $19.95/6 issues. (888) 265-3600, This general gardening magazine is filled with features written by a gang of talented Michigan and Midwest gardeners who love to dig in the dirt.

Mother Earth News: $12/6 issues. (800) 234-3368, A green guide to country living, including articles on gardening, but you needn’t live in a yurt or have a place in the country to enjoy it.

The Michigan Gardener: $14/6 issues. Call (248) 594-5563 or go to Distributed free to most garden centers in the metro Detroit area, MG features articles written by local experts. A map showing locations of great garden centers in southeastern Michigan is priceless for plant geeks who love the thrill of the hunt.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.

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50 Family Small Business Ideas

Family businesses account for 64 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and generate 62 percent of the country’s employment, according to the Conway Center for Family Business. So starting a family business can be a popular way to make a living. If you’re interested in starting your own family business, take a look at the potential list of family business opportunities below.

Family Business Ideas

Family Restaurant

50 Family Business Ideas - Family Restaurant

50 Family Business Ideas - Family Restaurant

Starting a restaurant as a family can be a great business opportunity, since it’s a business that requires multiple people and different skill sets. And family restaurants can really appeal to people in the local community.

Family Band

If the members of your family are musically inclined, you can start a band together and play at local venues or events or even go on tours.

Family Blog

Blogging is a great business opportunity for people in all kinds of different niches. So you can start a blog with your family about different family activities or other things that interest you.

Local Newspaper

Or you could start a newspaper or other print publication aimed at people in your local area that all the members of your family can contribute to.

Niche Website

You can also start a website in a specific niche that offers information or provides a forum for people to communicate with one another. And you can charge a membership fee or make money through ads or affiliate links.


50 Family Business Ideas - Farm

50 Family Business Ideas - Farm

If you have access to land and other resources, family farming can be a very viable business opportunity.

Contracting Business

You can also start a general contracting business where you do home repairs and remodeling projects with family members. Or you can even have some family members run the business side while others focus on the actual contracting work.

Home Rental Business

If you have a few different homes or properties, or the resources to purchase them, you can start a family business by renting out those homes to others.


For those who want to start a food based business, catering can also be a viable business opportunity that requires many different skills so each member of the family can contribute in their own way.


Or you can start a bakery where you sell individual baked goods or even do custom desserts for clients or special events.

Landscaping Business

For those who enjoy spending time outside, you can start a family business where you provide landscaping design or maintenance services to people in your community.

Lawn Care Service

Or you could choose to keep it simply and just start a lawn care service where you mow lawns weekly or on a regular basis in exchange for a regular fee.

Local Store

50 Family Business Ideas - Local Store

50 Family Business Ideas - Local Store

You can also start a retail store in your local community where you can sell anything from electronics to clothing.

Cleaning Business

Cleaning is another potential business opportunity for families. You can offer your services on a weekly or monthly basis to homeowners or business owners in your area.

Event Planning Business

Event planning can also be a good family business idea. Each member of your family can focus on different events or each person could have different areas of expertise so you can collaborate on each event together.

Web Design Service

If you have some web savvy family members, you can start a web design business where you help business clients create designs they love.

Child Care Service

You could also start an in-home day care business with members of your family where you provide child care services for clients.

Portrait Photography Business

If at least one member of your family is a skilled photographer, you can start a portrait studio where you take family photos, senior pictures or even pet photos. And other members of the family can focus on the other aspects of running the business.

Pet Grooming Business

For those families who love spending time with furry friends, pet grooming can be a great business opportunity that the whole family can help with.

Dog Walking Business

50 Family Business Ideas - Dog Walking

50 Family Business Ideas - Dog Walking

You can also start a dog walking business where each member of your family can build up their own client base or some family members can focus on running the business while others actually provide the dog walking services.

Animal Training Business

Or you could start a training school where people can bring their dogs or other pets to learn tricks or correct behavioral issues.

Book Publishing Business

There are so many authors out there looking to get their work published. So you can start a family publishing business where you choose books and bring them to market for independent authors.

eBook Writing Business

Or you could write your own book as a family and publish it yourselves as an ebook.

App Development Business

For tech savvy families, app development can be a great way to start a business together. You can come up with your own idea for an app or work on creating apps for clients.

Online Course Business

You could also start a business selling online courses about specific topics where you have some expertise.

Tour Guide Services

If your local community is popular with tourists, you could offer tour guide services to visitors looking to explore and learn more about the area.

Bed and Breakfast

50 Family Business Ideas - Bed and Breakfast

50 Family Business Ideas - Bed and Breakfast

You could also start a bed and breakfast if you have a large home or the resources to procure a suitable location for guests.


For those who love working with flowers, you can start a florist business with the members of your family.

Plant Nursery

You could also focus on growing and selling other types of plants by opening your own plant nursery business.

Christmas Tree Farm

Or if you have a lot of room to work with, you can even grow your own evergreen trees and start a Christmas tree farm that people can get trees from over the holidays.

Petting Zoo

Families with farm land can also set up a petting zoo that people can visit to pet various farm animals.

Apple Orchard

Apple orchards can also be a fun place for people to visit. So you can start a family apple orchard business that charges admission or sells a variety of different apple products.

Corn Maze Business

Or you could create a corn maze on your property and charge visitors admission or even host special events.

Craft Fair Vendor

For creative families, there are a variety of different craft items you can make and sell. And craft fairs offer a great place for you to get your products in front of handmade buyers.

Flea Market Vendor

Flea markets can also be great places to sell handmade or second hand products to consumers. And you can even have the whole family put together and run the booth.

Farmers Market Vendor

In addition, if you sell any type of food products, you can sign up for a booth at a local farmers’ market.

Ecommerce Reseller

If you’d rather run an online busness, you can build a business by purchasing and reselling products on ecommerce platforms like eBay and Amazon.

Vacation Rental Business

For families that have a few different properties, you can rent out spaces to vacationers using services like Airbnb or even starting your own site.

Tutoring Service

Families can also build a business by offering tutoring services in various subjects to students.

Errand Service

You can also offer to run various errands for clients in your area, including laundry, grocery shopping and more. And you can even have different family members that specialize in different areas.

Interior Design Service

Design savvy families can also start a business offering interior design services, which can require people with several different skill sets.

Home Staging Business

You can also start a business that offers home staging services for consumers who are getting ready to sell or rent their homes.

Seasonal Decorating Business

Or you could focus on helping homeowners or even local business owners decorate their spaces for the holidays.

Alterations Service

You could also start a tailoring or clothing alterations business where customers bring in their clothing and other garments to be altered.

Antique Store

If you want to open a brick and mortar store, you can open an antique store or mall in your community and have your family help you operate all the different aspects of the business.

Heating and Cooling Business

For those who have the education and training, you can start a business where you offer repair services for people’s heating and cooling units.

Car Wash

You can also start a car wash business in your community either by opening your own location or traveling to customers to provide detailing services.

House Flipping Business

If you have the resources to purchase and fix up properties, you can start a business flipping and selling homes in your area.

Pool Cleaning Service

You can also provide pool cleaning services for local homeowners during the summer months.

Moving Service

Or you could start a packing and moving service. You can have the whole family actually help with the moving, or some can run the business aspects while others provide the services.

Family Cutouts, Family Meal, Organic Farm, Family Store, Dog Walker, Bed and Breakfast Photos via Shutterstock.

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