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Archives for December 7, 2016

Paperwhite narcissus add fragrance to the holidays

▪ Paperwhite narcissus are blooming in the garden and in my greenhouse — just in time for the holidays. Whether you use live plants or cut stems, the beautiful, fragrant flowers add elegance to any holiday occasion. Because the fragrance is strong, it’s best to use these away from food and food-serving areas.

▪ I love amaryllis. This large bulb is easy to grow and produces huge trumpet shaped flowers at the holiday time. Amaryllis grow in bright light, moist soil and cool conditions. Remove flowers as they fade.

▪ Now is the time buy and decorate living Christmas trees. These live trees with roots will need large containers to hold the root ball while indoors. Water regularly so the roots don’t dry out, but don’t allow water to sit for extended periods in the bottom of the container. Living Christmas trees need to be planted outside before Jan. 1. Choose a location that is suited for your tree in terms of size and sunlight. Next year, add some lights!

▪ Did you know that poinsettias are not poisonous? In fact, the Aztecs used these plants for dyes and medicine. But, they are not edible either. Accidental ingestion will cause a tummy ache.

▪ This is the best time of year to move and transplant trees and shrubs. Your success rate will be close to 100 percent because of the cool, wet weather.

▪ In the vegetable garden, plant onion sets now.

▪ Prune Knockout roses now. Use hedge trimmers to cut these hardy shrubs 8 to 12 inches from the ground. If your roses are still blooming, like mine, wait until after the holidays.

▪ Bird feeders make great Christmas gifts. Keep existing bird feeders full. Your feathered friends are depending on you as a primary food source. When hard freezes are predicted, be sure to empty the water from birdbaths to prevent cracking.

▪ Looking for a great gift idea? Give the gift of a garden design, outdoor lighting or a completely planted container! Call me today for more information about these and other great garden gift ideas.

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Garden stylist: Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh

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Plants endure winter with varied strategies

Q: How are plants damaged by cold?
Beth Sisson, Canton

A: Plants experience cold damage due to ice forming in their cells. Hardy plants have strategies to reduce freeze damage. They do it by increasing cell wall elasticity, by lowering the freezing temperature of the liquid in the cells, or by allowing cells to lose moisture, thereby making less liquid available to freeze inside. Plants are less susceptible to freezing if they’ve been gradually exposed to cold as opposed to being exposed to one sharp drop in temperature. The best way to keep plants healthy in freezing weather is to water them before the cold arrives.

Q: Is there a school where I can study for a career in garden design/landscaping? I’m 37 years old and I don’t have a college degree but I’d like to be a foreman or designer or open my own contractor business. Do you know what the starting salary would be?
Ryan Flanagan, email

A: Mary Kay Woodworth, Executive Director of the Georgia Urban Ag Council says there are a great variety of employment options available. There are excellent programs at Gwinnett Tech, Chattahoochee Tech, Lanier Tech, Southern Crescent Tech and other schools in the metro Atlanta area.

A lot depends on your area of concentration and work experience prior to and during your school time. Students with a little experience are getting jobs as a foreman or front-line supervisor level when they graduate. Others who work in the industry for several years while going to school are receiving offers in mid-level management. Positions accepted this year by students from local schools include assistant superintendent, landscape foreman, landscape maintenance supervisor, sales representative, greenhouse assistant manager, garden center manager, landscape designer, florist assistant and full time florist. Starting salaries generally range from mid 20’s to high 30’s, depending upon internship and work experience. For a list of landscape careers visit

Q: Will silver tip Christmas trees grow in my area?
Gary Davis, Dallas

A: Silver tip fir, Abies magnifica, will not grow here. It can’t tolerate summer heat, preferring the mountains of Oregon and Northern California instead. It makes an attractive Christmas tree because needles on its branch tips are silver-gray, in contrast to the green inner needles. The stiff branches hold multiple ornaments nicely. If you like the look, cut trees are available at local nurseries.

Q: Five years ago I planted mondo grass adjacent to my zoysia lawn. Even though I put a metal sheet barrier between the lawn and the mondo grass, zoysia crept over. I’d like to eliminate the invading zoysia.
John Kligora, email

A: Several years ago I discovered that chameleon plant, Houttuynia cordata, had invaded my daylily bed. There was no way to selectively eliminate the pink-leaved invader from my lilies. I dug out the entire bed onto a tarp and laboriously separated the roots. I put new, enriched soil in the planting area and replanted the cleaned daylilies. Grab a shovel: I think that’s your only solution, too.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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Ghost story walking tour, dance party among new downtown projects funded

Downtown Macon will soon boast bike racks and host drum circles and a glow-in-the-dark dance party.

The projects are among 22 initiatives to be funded in the next round of the Downtown Challenge grant.

The Community Foundation of Central Georgia, which administers the grant money, announced the new initiatives during a Tuesday afternoon reception at the Library Ballroom. The $3 million, 3-year grant is funded by the Knight Foundation and the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

This is the second of six rounds of grant funds that will be awarded through 2018, according to the Community Foundation. The first phase included projects such as dog waste stations and sidewalk pianos.

Community members submitted enhancement ideas, and the chosen projects aligned with the five-year Macon Action Plan to improve economic development, experience, living and connectivity.

“(The Downtown Challenge) gives an avenue to turn the Macon Action Plan from something that is on paper to something that comes to life,” said George Abbott, the Knight Foundation’s interim program director.

Many of the projects are brand-new ideas, but a few take the planning projects from the first round to the next stage, said Alex Leahy, program officer for the Community Foundation.

“It was a very community-engaged process to come up with the plan, and now businesses, organizations and individuals are creatively coming up with ideas to make downtown better,” said Karen Lambert, president of the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

The Downtown Challenge program emphasizes what can be done to continue Macon’s progress, Lambert said. The third grant round will open in late January or early February, and idea submissions will be due March 15.

“The latest round of projects are really going to enhance the experience and the connectivity of downtown Macon and make people want to come downtown and stay downtown and enjoy the gem we have,” Leahy said. “There are 22 projects that are going to happen, and there are 22 more reasons to love downtown.”

Downtown Challenge round two projects

▪ A health care incubator at Mercer University’s Innovative Center will support early stage medical devices and health information technology initiatives — $40,000.

▪ Bike Walk Macon will install bike racks at businesses — $9,500.

▪ NewTown Macon will install two bike repair stations — $2,200.

▪ The Velocity Accelerator from Georgia Crowdfund will fast-track the growth of new businesses through 12-week training — $25,000.

▪ The Urban Development Authority will install string lights in trees along Cherry Street and Cotton Avenue — $8,000.

▪ Main Street Macon Design Committee will remove outdated and damaged signs — $10,000.

▪ Keep Macon-Bibb Beautiful Commission will install 30 recycling stations and 30 trash bins — $45,000.

▪ NewTown Macon will have a two-day, temporary pedestrian plaza on Cotton Avenue, during which part of the street will be closed and outdoor seating and yard games will be added — $20,000.

▪ The Middle Section of the Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects will create a master plan for revitalizing Poplar Yarns, using designs from University of Georgia students — $25,000.

▪ First Baptist Church will make improvements to High Street Park, including the addition of sidewalks, benches, landscaping and an amphitheater — $42,000.

▪ Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Department will make plans to improve the streetscape of Riverside Drive from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Madison Street — $85,000.

▪ Historic Macon Foundation will create a guided walking tour from local ghost stories — $2,500.

▪ Historic Macon Foundation will unveil its self-guided bike tour brochure during a free trolley tour of Macon’s industrial district — $4,000.

▪ Mainstreet Macon will hold a family-friendly, glow-in-the-dark party under the Poplar Street bridge, between Fifth and Sixth streets — $3,900.

▪ Historic Macon Foundation will bring back the Cotton Avenue Revival Festival — $10,000.

▪ The Tubman Museum will buy drums and host the Tubman Drum Circle at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month — $11,000.

▪ Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority will make construction plans for the Clinton Street Park — $19,200.

▪ NewTown Macon will create design plans for Downtown Macon’s gateway signs — $10,000.

▪  “Maconites: The Stories of Our People,” led by Susannah Maddux, will give personal accounts of Macon residents through a website and social media — $5,700.

▪ Downtown housing will be provided for Mercer Innovation Center fellows — $24,000.

▪ Macon Arts Alliance will create a new “Welcome to Fort Hawkins Neighborhood: Birthplace of Macon” sign at Main and Hydrolia streets — $5,000.

▪ Urban Development Authority will finish the Clinton Street aluminum pedestrian gate and vinyl-coated vehicular gate at the Ocmulgee National Monument entrance — $8,000.

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UNM North Golf Course enhancements to be discussed


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Lights of Hope display to return to North Omaha

Abide Network’s annual Lights of Hope display is back and it’s bigger and better than ever.

This year, the lights are going up at the Better Together Campus at 45th and Bedford. Thousands of beautiful strands will illuminate the night as a beacon of hope for all of those who have lost someone to violence.

The Lights of Hope Campaign officially kicks off Tuesday, Dec. 6. There is a big event with a toy drive, carolers and all kinds of fun scheduled to run from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ron Dotzler, the founder of Abide, said these lights shine bright to honor two young girls murdered in 1993. Rachel Pike and Carrie Lea were close friends with Dotzler’s daughters.

When he saw their tiny caskets at the funeral, he knew he had to do something to honor them.

“I stood there and I heard God speak to me and say, ‘Ron, would you give the rest of your life for vulnerable children in violent situations?'” he recalled. “And we said, ‘yes.’ And the lights of hope was founded as a result of that where we are compelled to give our lives and to get as many people involved as possible to helping vulnerable children living in violent situations.”

Last year the lights were up near 33rd and Fowler. Since then, Abide moved to the Better Together Campus and more than doubled in size.

So when Dotzler called up HH Lawn and Landscaping and Brite Ideas to see if they’d donate the lights again, he wasn’t sure of the outcome.

But the companies knew they had to come through.

“We want to keep stepping and raising up the bar,” Nate Olsen said with HH Lawn and Landscaping. “We want to make sure HH is doing our part to make the community better with all the business we do. We want to give back and give back to the community that needs it this time of year. And these lights they speak for themselves, light up this community and they light up the hearts of others, too.”

Dotzler said that he hopes these lights can guide others, to show them that there is hope, love and light in the world that can push out the darkest times.

He hopes this will be a call to the city to come and see the beautiful things North Omaha is doing and consider helping others. Abide’s mission is to embrace North Omaha in a way that makes all of us better and create healthy neighborhoods.

“We’re committed to impacting every person, in every neighborhood, in every community, with every opportunity so they can reach their god-given potential,” Dotzler said. “We want everyone to flourish, and that means our community, every community but particularly North Omaha.”

If you’d like to help with Abide’s mission or with the Lights of Hope campaign, you can donate toys, gift cards and financial donations to the Abide Office on the Better Together Campus.

The lights will stay up from the kickoff date until Christmas night.

There is also a special event planned for Dec. 13 with the Families of the Stolen group. They will have a display that remembers all of those we have lost to violence.

For more information, click on the link provided.

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