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Archives for January 13, 2017

Garden Symposium to be held in February


The Perry County Master Gardeners and the Perry County Extension Council are happy to announce the nineteenth annual Gardening Symposium. The symposium will be held on February 4 at the Perryville Higher Education Center located at 108 South Progress Drive from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

This is a wonderful event geared toward individuals who would like to learn more about gardening and different aspects of caring for landscapes and lawns. Set just in time to help beat the winter blues, the symposium is the place to share and swap ideas, seeds, catalogs and contacts with other greenery-growing enthusiasts.

Local gardeners, as well as numerous trained Master Gardeners will be on hand offering educational seminars to anyone interested in broadening their minds. 

Nine different seminars are on the table to attend during the symposium in three one-hour sessions.

Guests will be able to choose from such sessions that concentrate on the likes of landscape design, berry production, harvesting and storing produce. Other sessions dive into the deeper dirt of growing covering subjects such as “Sustainable Gardening and Permaculture” or by learning more about the growing medium with “Aquaponics and Vermicomposting.”

Professionals including Sarah Denkler, a Horticulture Specialist from the University of Missouri Extension, will be on hand teaching “Landscape Design” which is all about new and different ideas to spruce up a yard. 

Individuals who attend are also welcome to bring in and share extra gardening magazines, catalogs, seeds and even spare plants and clippings to share and swap around with other visitors.

Vendors will have tables set up during the event and refreshments and attendance prizes will be handed out as well. 

Registration is open until January 27 and spaces are limited. There is a registration fee of $10 per person and guests are allowed to choose three of the offered seminars. For more information on the Master Gardeners Symposium please call the Perry County Extension at (573) 547-4504.

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Youth Square Held "Garden of the Artisans Festival"

“The 3-day festival offered a chance for us to interact with other artists from all over the world”, said local calligraphy artist, Mr Kwan Man Lung. It was the first visit to Hong Kong for Ms Koo Yean Ni, an artist from Malaysia and she found the festival very inspiring. Mr Lu Shao Chuan who came from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, described the festival as a valuable opportunity for him to exchange ideas with other artists in a beautiful environment of Y Loft filled with lovely music performances.

Young artists from China Central Academy of Fine Arts and Suzhou also demonstrated their high quality art pieces. Tang Chao, young artist who graduated from the Nanjing College of Art, presented her photography themed “Jiangnan” including landscapes and portraits. Her photos showed architectural features of traditional buildings in Suzhou and femininity of Suzhou’s ladies. Another young artist who came from Suzhou, Shen Xiaohan was graduated from the Lunghwa University of Science and Technology in Taiwan. His photography was taken in different times and cities but in the same mood to capture the city’s landscape of the past and present.

“Artisan @Y Loft” themed rooms design project debut in late 2016. Y Loft invited 8 local youth talented artists and illustrators to design and redecorate 8 twin rooms at Y Loft with their illustration art. Y Loft, Youth Square hoped to present these local youth artists to the world, meanwhile, to provide a comfortable and artisanal atmosphere for the hostel guests.

Y Loft, Youth Square is honored to cooperate with 8 youth artists including Gala Lau, Isabel Tong, Miss FAT, Mr. Giraffe, Michi Leung, Cat Kwan, Mango Naoko, and ZU PI. They utilized their creativity to design and decorate eight twin rooms in their unique styles and themes, which are now welcome for public and tourist booking. The room rates are the same as standard twin rooms. Any interested parties can enquiry and book online and request to arrange Artisan Room (subject to room availability).

Photos download link:

Youth Square

The Youth Square, which came into full operation in 2010, is a youth development project of the Home Affairs Bureau of the HKSAR Government, with an aim to be the hub of diversified youth development activities for youth to develop their potential. Youth Square facilities include the 643-seat Y Theatre, Y Studio, multi-function areas and the Y Loft which has 148 guest rooms. Up to  the fifth anniversary of the square in 2015, it had organized 100 activities focusing on the topic of music and dance, culture and art, and social participation. The number of collaborative activities with other organizations were over the mark of 6,500 and reached its service to 1.5 million people. The accommodation Y Loft received over 50,000 youngsters coming to Hong Kong from more than 50 countries. The Youth Square is located in Chai Wan and is managed and operated by New World Facilities Management Company Limited on a non-profit making basis. 6G model is Youth Square’s guiding principle. 6G refers to Groom, Grow, Glow, Green, Global Vision and Give Back.

Y Loft

Y Loft houses 148 rooms located in the Main Block and Hostel Block of Youth Square. Room selection includes Twin Rooms, as well as Twin Rooms with Balcony, Triple Rooms, House of Six, Duplex and Accessible Rooms. Y Loft also equipped with full-service facilities like The Oasis, SkyTrack, common area, fitness centre and laundry marts, etc.

Y Loft has been awarded the Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor in 2012-14 and 2016. In 2015, Y Loft has been awarded Bravo Badge; while in 2015-2016, has selected it for the Certificate of Recognition for two consecutive years in recognizing its attentive services provided by staff.

Y Loft provides a perfect accommodation for budget travellers all over the world. It also offers concession rate to youth organizations or youth activities held by non-profit organizations and to the members of International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and International Youth Travel Card (IYTC). The concession rate ceiling for Twin Room is HK$640 per night and HK$800 per night for Twin Room with balcony (additional 10% to 20% seasonal discount for 3 consecutive nights or above and an additional 10% service charge apply).

Y Loft

12/F Youth Square, 238 Chai Wai Road, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3721 8994

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DIY projects to transform grass into low-water hardscape – San Antonio Express

DIY projects to transform grass into low-water hardscape

January 12, 2017

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Standouts include MLK celebration, home and garden show


8th Annual Greater Roanoke Home Garden Show

This show features everything from the front door to the backyard, including the latest inspiration, ideas and trends in kitchens, baths and remodeling. The venue will be packed with exhibits featuring garden displays, landscaping, water features, windows, doors, sunrooms and more. Visit for more information. Friday, 2 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Berglund Center, 710 Williamson Road, Roanoke. $8.50 adults; $7.50 children. 853-5483.


“A Life of Sorrow — the Life and Times of Carter Stanley”

Carter Stanley was an Appalachian musician from Southwest Virginia who was among the early architects of what is known today as bluegrass music. A gifted singer, an engaging performer and a prolific composer of songs, he strove for a success that eluded him during his 20-year career. He played the music, he wrote the songs, and, ultimately, he self-destructed. For more information, visit 7:30 p.m. Attic Productions, 7490 Roanoke Road, Fincastle. $12. 473-1001.

Potato Drop for Hunger Relief

The New River Valley Glean Team will distribute 43,000 pounds of potatoes to hunger relief agencies around Southwest Virginia. The potatoes will help stock food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, health centers and community groups. 7 a.m. to noon. Virginia Tech campus, Blacksburg. Free. 392-1184.


“1971” Film Screening

The film details the March 1971 break-in of the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, by the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, which resulted in proof of the U.S. government’s organized program for violation of the First Amendment. 7 to 10 p.m. Grandin Theatre, 1310 Grandin Road, Roanoke. Free. 989-0393.


Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Day Celebration

Featuring the Hon. Henry Frye, first black chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, as guest speaker. 8 to 10 a.m. Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center, 110 Shenandoah Ave., Roanoke. $30 adults; $10 ages 4 to 11; free for ages 3 and younger. 774-4824.

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Oakland Cemetery moves closer to restoring African American Grounds

ATLANTA — Historic Oakland Cemetery is now one step closer to the restoration of Oakland’s African American burial grounds following an announcement on Thursday.

Officials with the Historic Oakland Foundation said that the final resting place of one of Georgia’s first black female doctors is expected to be completely restored within a month.

The announcement comes after what officials call a record-breaking $7,400 in donations during the “Capturing the Spirit of Oakland Halloween Tours.”

That money has been put toward the restoration of the final resting places of Dr. Beatrice Thompson and her sister Estella Henderson.

Dr. Thompson graduated from medical school in 1901 before establishing a practice in Athens, Ga., something Oakland Cemetery officials called a rare accomplishment for a woman at this time in history – much less a woman of color.

Her sister also made great strides during the time as a lawyer and professor at Morris Brown College.

“This year we begin a concerted focus on restoring the African American Grounds and the work on the Thompson lot is a monumental first step for the Foundation. We want to keep the momentum around this project going and in order to do so, we need support in the form of both community involvement and financial backing from public and private donors,” said David Moore, executive director at Historic Oakland Foundation.

The Thompson lot contains nine recorded burials – four of which have monuments associated with them, officials said. A special team with the foundation restored each one of them. Landscaping is now on the restoration checklist.

Now, a new headstone will be erected for Dr. Thompson and her husband Sidney J. Thompson – a former probation officer with Fulton County Juvenile Court and founder of the Altnata Boys’ Club.

The current restoration project is a major step for the cemetery, but they still have much more to do.

An additional $300,000 is need to complete the African American Grounds project.

The Historic Oakland Foundation will also be holding a volunteer opportunity on Jan. 16 – the Martin Luther King Jr. National Day of Service. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1 p.m to 3 p.m., volunteers have been invated to join the gardens team as they work on landscaping tasks around the 48 acre location. Among those opportunities will be headstone cleaning in the African American Grounds.

The foundation will also hold free walking tours of the Afircan American Grounds in February – Black History Month.

Oakland Cemetery was founded in 1850 and is the final resting place of more than 70,000 people including Margaret Mitchell, 27 Atlanta mayors, six former governors and Civil War generals and soldiers.

It is also the site of thousands of unmarked graves that groups work tirelessly to find and restore where possible.

(© 2017 WXIA)

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Volunteer enjoys helping at the Arboretum

A volunteer finds fellowship and challenges at the Arboretum.

Working outdoors (i.e. gardening and landscaping) has always been an interest of mine. So when I retired, I took the Master Gardener course offered by N.C. State Extension at the Arboretum. That opportunity opened a whole new life to me.

The greatest thing has been the relationships that have formed with folks who come from all walks of life. The esprit de corps is fantastic! I enjoy working in the Plant Clinic because it puts me in direct contact with people who live in New Hanover County and are confronting a problem they can’t solve. The interaction is great and I am always learning something new.

There are numerous volunteer groups that help maintain the Arboretum. I am involved with the “Thursday Heavy Lifters” group. We assist the staff in repairing existing irrigation or installing new lines; building things like a garden storage shed and raised beds for the vegetable garden area; laying new turf down in areas of the gardens; cleaning or repairing the pond.

Other possibilities include working in the Gift Shop or in the Ability Garden.

Participating on a board or on a committee (for Art in the Arboretum) is another great way to serve.

Doing these kinds of things brings a sense of deep satisfaction, to know that our efforts to help maintain and improve upon the Arboretum can bring deep joy and peace to people who visit the garden (i.e. to see children’s excitement in enjoying places like the Children’s Garden, the pond and the flower gardens; to see a couple’s happiness in their choice to hold their wedding ceremony here because they are so enthralled by the surroundings and the romanticism of it all).

Join me as a volunteer at this wonderful community resource. Find out about the many opportunities at our next ARBORETUM AWARENESS presentation.

Choose between 6:30 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 24; or 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Auditorium at the Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive. You can pre-register by calling 910-798-7660.

John Ranalli is president of the non-profit organization “Friends of the Arboretum, which supports the activities and programs of the Arboretum. Check out

The StarNews welcomes and will consider publishing Your Voice articles contributed by readers, nonprofits and clubs. Community Page submissions should be 300 words and accompanied by a good-quality photograph. Contact Community News Editor Si Cantwell at 343-2364 or

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Should I be concerned about the light green growth on my oak tree’s limbs? Ask an OSU gardening expert

We’re well into a record-breaking stormy winter, but gardening questions never end. Get answers from Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners reply to queries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website and type in a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. What’s yours?

Q: I have mature oak trees with light green growth taking over limbs. Should I be concerned? – Lane County

A: The light green growth you see are mostly lichens and some mosses. These grow on the outside of the trees only using the bark of the tree to hold them into place and make them more accessible to sunlight and water. Their roots don’t enter into the inner bark of the tree, so they do not harm the tree or take any resources from the tree. No need to take any action, just enjoy the green they offer in the winter when the leaves have fallen. Another good note is that lichens are typically an indication of good air quality, so enjoy the view and breathe easy! – Lauren Grand, OSU Extension forestry specialist

Q: I need some help saving my plant. I believe that plant is a yellow spotted croton. I brought it inside about a month ago. It was outside in 30-degree weather. Is there anything I can do to save my plant? – Benton County

A: Yes, you waited too long to bring it in. Crotons are tropical plants and as such the low end of their temperature range is 60 to 65 degrees. I am guessing that you had this on a patio that was protected somewhat or it would not like our cool summer nights either.

Since some of the leaves are still hanging on I suggest that you prune your plant back gradually starting at the tips. If the woody parts of the plants are brittle and snap off easily all the way down, your plant is probably dead. If as you prune down the stems you hit wood that is still pliable and is possibly green just under the bark, you might have a chance of saving the plant. Prune off all the dead/brittle wood. Remove dry crispy leaves from the branches. Pick up the fallen leaves off the soil of your container.

Keep the soil moist but not wet and soggy. These plants like a high humidity environment so make sure that while it is inside it is not near a door where cold air will hit it when doors are opened and do not set it near a heat register. To help increase humidity around the plant make a shallow pebble tray of small rounded pebbles and fill the tray half way with water. Set the plants pot on top of the gravel. Do not allow the water level to reach the drainage holes of the pot. The water in this tray will evaporate quickly (that is the whole idea; it will bathe your plant in a higher humidity level than the rest of your home) so monitor the water level often, don’t let it go dry.

Now comes the hard part, waiting to see if anything happens. It may take a while. Weeks or a month or two. If you see any evidence of new growth (leaf buds enlarging, etc.), provide some liquid fertilizer at half strength to give the plant a boost as it recovers. After several new leaves have emerged fertilize at recommended strengths. These plants like a high level of light but should not be exposed to direct sunlight.

I have seen some plants make an amazing recovery after being exposed to cold for short periods of time (days not months). You may get lucky with this one also. – Debbie Lauer, OSU Extension Master Gardener

Q: With Spanish bluebells, can the small root hairs with no obvious corm or bulb regenerate the plant?

A: The Spanish bluebells, Hyacinthoides hispanica, also known as wood hyacinths, are a persistent plant in gardens. Some gardeners love them and others find them maddening.

To answer the question you asked: Small root hairs most likely will not grow another bulb. There is a big “however.” The bulblets that form as the plant multiplies are frequently quite tiny.

I’m going to assume that you are fighting this plant as an invasive, not trying to grow more.

Attempting to remove all bulbs and bulblets from an area requires a huge expense of time and effort. You will probably see plenty of them the following year. Even sifting the soil will leave some of the tiniest bulbs in the soil. But persistence is your friend.

Cut the leaves off whenever you see them, throughout the season. Leaves soak up the sun to grow and multiply the bulbs below. Covering the area, so the sun can’t reach the leaves, is also effective.

If you wish, loosen the soil deeply around a clump, and work loose the bulbs below with the shovel or by pulling on the leaves. You won’t get all of them (the tiny ones will fall off), but it’s quite satisfying.

You will notice that the following year, the leaves that do come up will be thinner, because the bulbs weren’t able to get enough sunshine. Keep at it!

A few seasons of this treatment, will substantially reduce an out-of-hand patch of these pests. – Claudia Groth, OSU Extension Master Gardener

The OSU Extension Service provides a variety of gardening information on its website at Resources include gardening tips, videos, podcasts, monthly calendars of outdoor chores, how-to publications, and information about the Master Gardener program.

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TV gardening presenter secretly filmed women in his bathroom using a camera hidden in an air freshener

A TV gardening presenter secretly filmed women in his bathroom using a camera hidden in an air freshener.

Perverted Stephen Brookes, 55, known as telly’s Mr Rotavator in the 1990s, set up the motion-activated device on top of a cupboard.

Perverted Stephen Brookes filmed women lodging in his property and others who had been invited to dinner

Perverted Stephen Brookes filmed women lodging in his property and others who had been invited to dinner

The celebrity gardener – who has broadcast live from the Chelsea Flower Show – spied on a total of seven women between November 2015 and September last year.

They included lodgers living at his property and other people who had been invited to dinner.

Brookes, of Loxley Road, Stratford, pleaded guilty to seven charges of observing a person doing a private act knowing that the person did not consent to being observed for his sexual gratification.

He was arrested in September last year after one of his female tenants spotted the hidden camera

Brookes was arrested in September last year after one of his female tenants spotted the hidden camera

But magistrates in Leamington Spa, Warks, committed the presenter to crown court for sentencing next month.

The court heard grandfather Brookes was arrested in September last year after one of his female tenants spotted the hidden camera in the bathroom.

Police discovered 300 files, including videos taken near a shower and toilet, after seizing a memory card, an iPhone and an iPad belonging to the gardener.

Prosecutor Baldev Atwal said: “It appears that the device was on a constant recording loop. The camera was motion activated.

“Mr Brookes iPhone had an application whereby he would become aware of the activation of that camera and could watch the recordings as they were reviewed and unfolded.”

The court heard Brookes’ seven female victims had expressed their “horror” and “shock” after the camera was uncovered.

Mr Atwal added: “What will clearly trouble this court is that Mr Brookes has gone to some extent and some length as far as planning and setting up the camera is concerned.

“The offences cover a substantial period of time.

“The victims express their horror, their shock, their disgust and indeed some of the recordings clearly show ladies having used the toilet, (and) changing personal items.”

Michael Jervis, defending, told the court Brookes appreciated that he was facing a custodial sentence and regarded his own behaviour as “disgraceful and disgusting”.

Brookeswill be sentenced next month at Warwick Crown Court

Brookes will be sentenced next month at Warwick Crown Court

Urging JPs to sentence the celeb gardener at the magistrates court, he added: “He is full of remorse and if there’s anything he could do to turn back his actions then he would have done.

“Not because of the fear of going to prison but because of the impact these acts had on the victims.

“He considers his behaviour to be disgraceful, he considers his behaviour to be disgusting.

“Mr Brookes himself has a reputation locally of great repute, he has become a very well known character in the local community.

“Not only that but also because of his employment.

Mr Brookes has gone to some extent and some length as far as planning and setting up the camera is concerned

“You see what he does. He writes books, he has been on television, he has created a certain character encouraging youngsters to become interested in horticulture.”

Brookes became known as “Mr Rotavator” in the 1990s for his work on educational Channel 4 shows and visiting schools to encourage horticulture.

According to his website he has broadcast live “for many years from Chelsea Flower Show and BBC Gardeners’ World Live”.

His website adds: “He has also written regularly for the gardening press including BBC Gardeners’ World, Amateur Gardening, Garden Answers and Garden News magazines.”

Brookes also won the Royal Television Society Award in 2000 for his Channel 4 series ‘Growing Plants’ and was chairman of Stratford’s In Bloom project until earlier this year.

He regularly presents The Greatest Gardening Tips in the World stage show and travels the world as a celebrity lecturer on cruise ships.

He was given bail until next month.

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Thoughts on perennials, fireplace ashes and rhododendrons

Anju Lucas, perennial expert at Edwards Greenhouse, is enthusiastic about Hydrangeas paniculata because they grow so well here, and bloom on new wood, which means that you can prune almost whenever you wish. Most folks prune these hardy perennials in spring to control growth that can become ungainly. A small version is called Bobo, but the larger H. paniculatas that impress her include Zinfin Doll and Fire Light, and they can quickly grow tall.

Hydrangeas grow best if there’s light shade available, and ample water.

Lucas said they also have some new Clematis from Proven Winners, including Pink Mink, Happy Jack Purple, Jolly Good and Brother Stefan, the latter vivid blue with yellow stamens.

Clematis also grows well in our soils, but it’s a good idea to plant them deep to prevent Clematis wilt, that can kill or drastically set back your new vine.

• • • 

This weather has been cold enough to curl your rhododendron leaves, hasn’t it? Before we added onto our house, we had a Viburnum whose leaves curled slightly or a lot, so we could practically tell the air temperature by looking at the Viburnum leaves. You may be able to do the same with rhody leaves.

Plant leaves move because of light intensity, light direction, water availability and temperature. The latter movement diminishing leaf surface is termed “thermotropic.” In desert conditions, leaves usually turn upward and curl to avoid too much light intensity. Rhododendrons and some Viburnums curl and tend to droop when they are too cold. Covered with snow, they’re a bit insulated, so don’t curl quite so much.

Viburnums are available in many different configurations and blossom structures, and they grow here easily and very well. When we first bought this house we had four Viburnums in this yard including American cranberry bush, leatherleaf, Korean spice, and a snowball bush.

They thrive even in low water conditions.

• • • 

If you’re new to this area, please do NOT put fireplace ashes on any of your garden beds. They would raise the pH or alkalinity of your soil, and our natural soil is very alkaline to start with. Most gardeners work hard to lower that alkalinity because most ornamentals and vegetables grow their best at a pH of 6.5 to 7.0. Our native soils’ alkalinity is higher than 7.0 in nearly all locations in this valley.

If you’ve moved here from the Middle West, our winter is not surprising you, but we’ve not had this much snow cover or prolonged winter cold in this valley for over 30 years. We like heavy snows in the mountains, for that’s the source of our water. It also provides snowy slopes for sledding, snowboarding and skiing for Idahoans and tourists who leave dollars in this state. Many of us do not love snow in the valley, where it interferes with school schedules and traffic and pedestrian movement.

Send garden questions to or Gardening, The Statesman, P.O. Box 40, Boise, ID 83707.

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Maintain all your garden equipment, even yourself – Tribune

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