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Archives for January 15, 2017

Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown hosts 12th annual Winter Seminar

Staff report


Men’s Garden Club of Youngs-town will host its 12th annual Winter Seminar from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 18 at Fellows Riverside Gardens, 123 McKinley Ave. The seminar, co-hosted by Mill Creek MetroParks, will feature three speakers: Paul Zammit, Jerry Fritz and Nancy Drobnick. They will discuss how to make gardens more attractive and appealing, and also will have their books available for purchase.

Zammit is the Nancy Eaton director of horticulture at the Toronto Botanical Gardens and will have two presentations at the seminar: “Elements of Great Gardens” and “365 Days of Gardening.” He is a regular speaker at garden clubs and horticultural shows in Canada and the United States.

Fritz, president of Jerry Fritz Garden Design, Inc. and Linden Hill Gardens in Ottsville, Pa., will be part of the afternoon program. He has a bachelor’s degree in ornamental horticulture and is a member of numerous professional organizations. He has appeared as a guest on Martha Stewart’s television garden show and has led international garden tours to Jamaica and England.

Drobnick is an herbalist, contributor to several garden publications and an award-winning designer of unique gardens and small structures. Her company, Miriam’s River House Designs, has been featured in the magazine Ohio Gardener. She also owns showcase gardens in Bentleyville, Ohio, for educational, healing and metaphysical design programs.

Registration for the event is required and tickets are $50. Registering after Feb. 7 will cost $60.

Participants may obtain the registration form online at and mail it to Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown, c/o Robert J. McGowan, P.O. Box 724, Canfield OH 44406. Checks should be made payable to Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown or MGCY. Call 330-518-6397 for information.

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Vegetable gardens: design for success

Courtesy Photo | Andrews McMeel Syndication

Ellen Ecker Ogden plants lettuce seeds in her kitchen garden in Vermont. From the second floor of her home, she has a bird’s-eye view of the pretty design. “I’m not a big fan of rows” in a kitchen garden, she says.

 A well-designed vegetable garden is a wonderful source of fresh produce for the chef, but it can also be a favorite garden destination, a place to retreat to and relax. If you plan it right, a kitchen garden can be the prettiest planting on your property.

Start by choosing a site that meets the requirements of the plants. Vegetables of all kinds flourish in sun, so find a spot that gets a good eight hours of direct sunlight. Your site should be level, on a part of your property that you walk past every day, and convenient to the kitchen. It’s important to have a nearby source of water so you don’t have to drag a hose or carry watering cans too far. These are the basics. After that, let your imagination go.

“Design is often what is missing from the vegetable garden, yet it is the most important element to enjoying the garden,” says Ellen Ecker Ogden, who recommends including a bench, table, pergola or arbor in the design to make it more inviting. “It’s a nice way to say, ‘I like it here. I don’t just come here to work and pull weeds,’” she says.

Ogden, the author of “The Complete Kitchen Garden,” went to art school, but “then I turned into a gardener,” she says. She balanced her interests by becoming a kitchen-garden designer. Her four-square garden in Vermont is as pretty as it is productive, with lettuce and greens growing in sweeping curves, lozenges and circles instead of traditional rows. “It’s really a visual thing for me as much as it is a food thing,” she says.

Most people start with a space that’s too big. “They have an appetite to grow everything,” Ogden says. Instead, pick and choose your crops just as you would at a market. The selection of fresh produce at local markets expands every year, so maybe you don’t need to grow your own eggplant or zucchini. Instead, you might want to concentrate on salad greens, Ogden says, especially if you’re a new gardener. “They grow fast, there are not many pests and they have really high nutrition per square foot,” she says.

Instead of growing six tomato plants, you might decide to make room for just one or two, perhaps a cherry tomato and one other. That leaves room for herbs, such as basil and oregano, to help those tomatoes taste even better.

Color should also play a role in your choices, just as it does in flower beds. Plant a mixture of red and green lettuces, or train golden wax beans up a tepee. Flowers grown right alongside your vegetables not only fill the garden with bright colors, but also attract pollinators and beneficial insects that help manage pests in your vegetable beds. Ogden loves to plant nasturtiums in her kitchen garden. She likes calendulas and marigolds, especially the little signet marigolds called “Lemon Gem.” She also relies on the flowers of some vegetable crops to add a flourish. Scarlet runner beans have bright red blooms that attract hummingbirds. Okra flowers look like sunny yellow hibiscus.

Texture is a big element in interesting gardens, too. Frilly lettuces look like a luxurious ruffled petticoat around the edge of a vegetable garden. Shiny red and green peppers sparkle among the foliage. The feathery tops of carrots and the spiky foliage of onions and leeks give the eye a lot of contrast to enjoy. Herbs of all kinds add still more texture, as well as fragrance.

To give a vegetable garden even more character, build upward. In Ogden’s garden, an arbor lifts pole beans up into the light. Peas, cucumbers and even melons can be grown on a sturdy trellis. Just remember, tall elements should be placed toward the back of the garden (which should be on the north side) so they do not shade out crops in front.

Sprawling plants may need a place of their own. Especially if you have a small garden, pots are a great way to grow more crops without giving up much space in the ground. Ogden plants pumpkins in half a whiskey barrel near her driveway instead of giving them space in her kitchen garden. Last year, she also grew tomatoes, summer squash and potatoes in pots.

Vegetable gardening doesn’t have to be hard or expensive, Ogden says. Start small, with beds no more than 4 feet wide. Sketch out a pretty planting plan on paper, and leave plenty of room for generous paths. Make liberal use of steppingstones so you don’t compact your soil while working in your beds. Sow seeds or plant transplants of a good variety of crops you can harvest over a long season. Then, look forward to spending some time in your garden every day, inspecting its progress, thinning and weeding if necessary, and harvesting a few leaves of lettuce or fresh tomatoes for your dinner salad. And don’t forget that garden bench. “Food is important and functional, but it’s important to me to have the garden look nice, too,” Ogden says. In a well-designed kitchen garden, you can count on a bumper crop of satisfaction.


Getting It Right

A great design is just about all that separates a vegetable garden that’s a chore from one that is a pleasure, says Ellen Ecker Ogden. Here are a few of her tips:

— Don’t overwhelm yourself. Start small. A 4-by-4-foot or 4-by-8-foot bed may be just right.

-— Look for ideas everywhere, then come up with a design that works in your space.

— Don’t plant in rows: Embellish the layout by making a big “X” with lettuce plants, or plant a checkerboard pattern of greens and flowers. Try planting radishes in a diamond shape. “It’s a lot more fun,” Ogden says.

— Make wide paths. The main path through your garden should be 4 feet wide, Ogden says. Secondary paths can be narrower, but they need not be.


By Marty Ross

Andrews McMeel Syndication

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Top five garden design trends to look out for in 2017 |

What's hot for gardens in 2017? Bringing the indoors out will be popular, see what else made the list.

What’s hot for gardens in 2017? Bringing the indoors out will be popular, see what else made the list.

Garden design is strongly influenced by interior trends – and the blurring of boundaries between inside and out will intensify over the coming seasons with outdoor spaces designed to have a strong sense of home – with really comfortable outdoor rooms that are more decorative and styled. 

So, taking the lead from some of the latest trends in interiors – here’s a sneak preview of what to keep an eye out for in 2017:


My own garden style preferences tend towards the romantic but I’ve discovered the beauty in a simpler more pared-back style –  and the Scandi-sleek approach does this without precluding  a bit of prettiness. Modern Scandinavian uses subtle colour palettes, natural materials and simple design to create a sense of calm.

Scandi-sleek garden design relies on simple lines and a clean white background, with wood used to add warmth and texture.

Scandi-sleek garden design relies on simple lines and a clean white background, with wood used to add warmth and texture.

White is a predominant colour backdrop with wood being an essential material, whether it’s old reclaimed beams or driftwood from the beach – this adds warmth and texture to the space. Grey palettes of natural stone and slate or metal also work well in a Scandi-sleek style.  The trick is to ensure clean lines and simple shapes. A pop of colour can be added with teals, mustard yellow or blue. Light, bright and calming all created with a pared-back canvas.

In our New Zealand environment, the use of natural timbers and a green plant palette works well making this style easily adaptable to our garden settings.  Source some lovely timbers or mixing different textures of plants to emulate the highly textured look. Keep things sleek to contrast with the natural materials – clean slabs of pale concrete or gravel.  Focus on the edges.  Definition between garden areas and lawn or paving with sharp edges between different materials.


The modern rustic design style adapts beautifully to our New Zealand environment bringing in an updated version of the rural farm (and no. 8 wire DIY) feel. At its essence it is the notion of combining rustic character with modern materials to create spaces that are embracing and warm.

Modern rustic garden design includes timeworn timber elements, as in this garden when reclaimed scaffold boards have ...

Modern rustic garden design includes timeworn timber elements, as in this garden when reclaimed scaffold boards have been used to create the descking.

This style is all about being cozy, so you’ve got to have an outdoor fire of some sort – whether it’s a pizza oven, fireplace or fire pit. Scour the demo-yards for wonderfully time-worn and unique slabs of timber to incorporate into fences, tables and retaining walls. The sound of water complements the fire, brings a strong sense of comfort to the space and helps to block out the distractions of surrounding urban noise – a simple copper or galvanised steel spout into a basin will suffice, or even a bubbler in an upcycled rustic basin.

Planting for this style is easy – anything native and lush with movement complements the rustic and modern materials mix and adds a sense of patriotic comfort – native grasses mass planted, tangled masses of Muehlenbeckia astonii and any of our amazing array of native ferns to add a detailed backdrop.  


Retro style takes an eclectic mix of old styles into the present in a fun and modern way with bold patterns and colours.  In the garden, this is an opportunity to have some real fun and be a bit quirky.  Chrome details, curvilinear and circular forms are paired with retro-style outdoor furniture such as the butterfly chair and low-lying oval or kidney shaped tables (make use of marine ply, paint and a jigsaw to create your own outdoor retro tables). Teak and pine work well with this style. Abstracted shapes and previously outdated plants such as mother-in-laws tongue, dahlias, begonias and gladioli build a funky sense of comfort and nostalgia.  

To replicate the retro-relaxed trend, mix old and new styles and design ideas.

To replicate the retro-relaxed trend, mix old and new styles and design ideas.

There are an amazing array of outdoor fabrics that can be used to add that pop of colour – or get some paint sample pots and have fun mixing a few key palettes from the contrasting or complementary colour wheel that will create that sense of drama in the space.


Following on the heels of the tiny houses movement, ongoing growth of our cities will mean smaller or no gardens and a desire to bring green into even the smallest of spaces. Thinking of gardens as just a flat space limits potential – so a trend that has started in larger cities is to think about multi-level gardening and the use of clever space-saving approaches to transform tiny terraces into usable and beautiful garden opportunities.

The tiny terrace garden design trend reflects the small smalls in which people live - but multi-level gardens allow for ...

The tiny terrace garden design trend reflects the small smalls in which people live – but multi-level gardens allow for maximum use of space.

An irrigation system set up to water the pots on a tiny terrace and regular seaweed liquid feeding is key to success with this. With this in place, there is no limit (well, apart from a check on any weight restriction of any terrace or balcony with the building owner or architect!) to the number of pots and amount of verdant greenery that can be fitted into a small space.  The more the merrier with this style – classic plants that don’t mind a pot and will enjoy a frost-free tiny terrace include the dramatic Poor Knights Lily (Xeronema callistemon). Mixing and matching in a tiny terrace is ok –  it will work like a mini perennial border – with plants intermingling and textural and colour variation will add to the lush and verdant green oasis that is possible.


When plants grow in nature, they grow in layers and drifts, overlapping and merging with each other. Taking cues from traditional Japanese and Chinese garden design – emphasising layering in a garden either horizontally or with levels is becoming a popular way to create relatively low-maintenance but highly dramatic outdoor spaces.  Getting that three dimensional feel is all about strategically placing plants of varying sizes, colours and textures or layering in dramatic lines with different heights, colour or textures.   

The layers and levels garden design trend takes its cue from traditional Japanese and Chinese gardens.

The layers and levels garden design trend takes its cue from traditional Japanese and Chinese gardens.

Borrowed views are part of the way to achieve a great layered look. Or you can add portals, windows or doorways within the garden to create that feeling of endless spaciousness.  Layers of hedges or hedge-like plantings in blocks contrasting with a line of softer grasses in front of a simple dark coloured backdrop is a key method for achieving this style. 


 – NZ Gardener

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Amazing tricks that will change your kitchen habits

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50 Small Town Business Ideas

When planning a startup, entrepreneurs may be tempted by the innovative atmosphere of the Silicon Valley or other large urban landscapes. But plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs exist in small town America too.

There are whole new sets of challenges, trends and other factors for small town entrepreneurs to consider. But there are advantages as well like lower costs and lower competition.

And with the internet there is, of course, the option of reaching those larger markets while you and your staff enjoy a lower standard of living where your money goes further — especially in the lean years.  Here are 50 different business ideas that you can start in a small town.

Small Town Business Ideas

Neighborhood Coffee Shop

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Neighborhood Coffee Shop

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Neighborhood Coffee Shop

Despite the prevalence of coffee shops on seemingly every corner throughout big cities, there aren’t as many chains like Starbucks setting up shop in small towns. So you could potentially fill a gap in the market with your own small town coffee shop.

Farmers’ Market Vendor

Farmers’ markets are popular in cities and towns of all sizes. But especially if you have enough space to grow food on your property, you can build a lucrative business by selling those items at your own stand.

Grocery Store

Small towns also aren’t as likely to have chain grocery stores as bigger cities. So you can set up your own smaller store selling a variety of food products.


Or you could go into the restaurant business and start your own small town diner, where fewer fast food franchises like McDonald’s or even upscale eatery franchises have yet made an impact.

Specialty Restaurant

In addition, your town might not have quite as much variety in the way of restaurants. So if you have a specialty, like making Thai food for instance, you could start your own restaurant in that niche.

Food Delivery Service

Or you could focus on providing food to consumers in a different way. Start your own delivery service to bring meals to those who don’t want to make the trip to buy food on their own.

Ice Cream Shop

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Ice Cream Shop

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Ice Cream Shop

Ice cream is another food niche that could be popular in many small towns. If you don’t already have a ton of dessert options in your area, an ice cream shop can be a great place to start.

Roadside Food Stand

Or you could sell products or homemade food items at your own roadside stand, as long as you have a place along a main thoroughfare.

Flea Market Seller

Flea markets can also be great venues for small town entrepreneurs to sell their goods. You can make your own handmade items or even resell products at your own flea market stand.

Handmade Artisan

You could also set up your own shop for handmade goods on a site like Etsy. And living in a rural area or small town could potentially give you access to some really unique supplies.

Furniture Upcycler

Additionally, you can sometimes find great vintage furniture pieces in small towns and then give them new life before reselling them.

T-shirt Designer

There are plenty of online platforms like Redbubble and Society6 that you can use to design your own t-shirts and similar goods no matter where you live.

Clothing Alterations

If you have the ability to sew and alter clothing, you could start your own clothing alterations business and have people send or bring you their items for alteration.


If you’re a skilled woodworker, you could source your own wood and then make a variety of different products to sell.

Firewood Seller

Or you could collect firewood and then sell it to nearby customers for use in their fireplaces.

Freelance Writer

Since small towns often offer lower cost of living, they can be great places for independent freelancers — whether writing for local clients or plying their trade online —  to set up shop. So you can start your own freelance writing business and save money on a variety of different expenses.

Independent Blogger

Or you could start your own blog and make money from ads, affiliate links or selling products again taking advantage of the lower standard living and services — so long as you have adequate internet access.

Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants are also largely location-independent. So that can be another great opportunity for entrepreneurs to work from home in a small town and with a much lower standard of living.

Web Designer

If you’re a design savvy entrepreneur, you could also start your own web design business and offer your services remotely.

Graphic Designer

Or you could offer a variety of different graphic design services for clients, including logos, branding and other elements.

Mobile Retailer

If there aren’t a lot of shoppers in your area, it might not be feasible to set up a full retail store. But you could potentially start your own mobile retail store in a camper or similar vehicle and then sell items at fairs or events in the area.


Bookshops can also be popular in a variety of different markets. So you can start your own store either in a physical location or online.

Secondhand Store

Or you might open a store that sells a variety of different secondhand products. This might especially appeal to those in small towns with a lower standard of living who are looking for a way to make their money go further.

Retail Pharmacy

If your local community doesn’t have much in the way of chain pharmacies, starting your own retail pharmacy can be a great business opportunity as well.

Bed and Breakfast

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Bed and Breakfast

50 Small Town Business Ideas - Bed and Breakfast

Small towns also afford entrepreneurs the ability to invest in fairly large homes, like the kind you can use to start your own bed and breakfast.

Tour Guide

If your small town offers some charm or history that could attract tourists, then you could potentially start your own tour guide business to target those consumers.

Auto Repair Shop

For those entrepreneurs who are skilled with automotive repairs, small towns can be great places to set up shop, especially if there aren’t any other repair shops nearby.

Car Wash

Or you could start your own car wash with lower rent and other expenses.

Family Farm

For those who live in rural areas where homes come with lots of land, you could also start your own working farm and run it as a business that provides food, tours or other products or services.


Or if you prefer growing flowers, you can start your own floral shop and sell different flower varieties or even make more advanced products like wedding centerpieces.

Landscaping Business

Rural areas often mean that homeowners have lots of yard and outdoor space to take care of. So you could certainly start a successful business in the landscaping arena.


Or you could focus more specifically on offering gardening services to homeowners in your area.

Home Painter

If you have the necessary skills, you could also start a business where you offer house painting services to local homeowners.


Skilled trades like plumbing are also in high demand no matter where you live. So that could be another potentially successful business idea.


You could also start a more general handyman business where you provide a variety of different home repair and maintenance services.

Computer Repair

Computer repair is another area where consumers might need help, no matter what type of market you set up shop in.

IT Support

Or you could set up a location-independent business where you offer IT support to businesses and other clients over the phone or online.

Home Restoration Service

If you live in an area where there are a lot of historic homes and buildings, you could specialize in providing restoration and repair services for those buildings.

Landscape Photographer

Small towns and rural areas offer a lot of great scenery that can lend itself to great landscape photography.

Event Planner

You could also offer your services to local clients as an event planner, especially if your small town has an active business community.

Beauty Salon

Or you could set up a hair salon or barbershop to provide beauty services to local consumers.

Dog Groomer

Dogs also need grooming services, regardless of location. So you could open up your own grooming business in a small town or rural area.


Microbrewing has become a huge industry with customers tiring of big brands and seeking a more unique alternative. If you’re in a small town, you could be able to secure a large enough location at a reasonable price to brew your own beer.

You could then either sell it locally — especially if your small community has a sizable tourist influx — or seek distribution in larger markets where consumers are hungry for more variety.


Or you could ferment or sell your own wine products, though this is likely to require even more space and specialized equipment.

Christmas Tree Farm

If you have a lot of outdoor space, you could also start a seasonal business where you grow and sell Christmas trees to consumers who are willing to go a bit out of their way for real trees.

Corn Maze

Here’s another seasonal business idea. You could use your outdoor space to create a corn maze and then charge admission during the fall months each year.

Petting Farm

Or if you have animals on your farm, you could charge admission for consumers who want to come and pet or visit with the animals.


You could also write books or ebooks from basically any type of location. And small towns or rural areas can sometimes be great for writers looking to get inspired.

Online Course Creator

If you have specific skills to share, you could create and sell your own online courses.  Again, this can be done from anywhere given adequate internet access.

Local Museum

Or if your small town has an interesting or unique history, you could start your own museum dedicated to the area.

This again would be most effective if you live in a small town with a considerable tourist industry or if you could adequately promote it outside the area making it a tourist destination in its own right.

Patriotic Main StreetCoffee ShopIce Cream ShopBed and Breakfast Photos via Shutterstock

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Officials eye update of city hall landscaping

Sturgis city commissioners agreed Wednesday that deteriorating planters outside city hall need to be replaced.

Sturgis city commissioners agreed Wednesday that deteriorating planters outside city hall need to be replaced.
But they had varying opinions about what the subsequent revamp should look like.
Viridis Design Group, of Kalamazoo, is expected to be back in three to four weeks with some sample concepts that may incorporate the range of ideas commissioners pitched during a 45-minute work session preceding Wednesday’s regular business meeting.
There may be a water feature — or not — depending on the city’s tolerance for potential vandalism. Flowers, in urns or other substantial containers, and the use of decorative paving brick are other ideas suggested. Commissioners favor incorporating the Sturgis “Electric City” logo into the design and featuring the community’s sister city relationship with Wiesloch, Germany.
Also suggested was digital signage that can identify city hall and Sturgis District Library, sharing the building at 130 N. Nottawa St., as well as advertising for public meetings, library events and community gatherings.
Officials said locust trees currently in planters in front of city hall must be removed if the planters are dismantled.
Commissioner Mark Dvorak cautioned commissioners and Viridis to “keep it simple,” citing cost cutting that  was required to rein-in costs for a 2016 downtown streetscape-parking plan.
No money is currently in the city’s 2017 budget for a renovation.
Also on Wednesday,  John McCann of Viridis reported increasing interest among contractors for bidding on Sturgis’ proposed four-field adult-softball complex.
In 2016, city officials decided to rebid the Viridis-designed project, after few contractors submitted quotes and the bids that were received came in well over budget. New bids are due in February.
Commissioners also approved allowing a knitting group from St. John’s Episcopal Church to display knitted hats and scarves on fences at Free Church Park and the municipal skating rink as a means to distribute them to people in need. Residents may pick a colorful hat or scarf from  the fencing and take it home at no cost.
So far, people have taken 50 items that were left scattered on the church’s yard.

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Ideas for downtown bloom during meeting | Local |

Landscaping, two-lane traffic and even a drive-in theater were all ideas discussed during yesterday’s meeting to gather community input for improving downtown Ottawa.

The meeting was hosted by the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and Topeka architecture firm Architect One. The company is a full-service firm that specializes in both commercial and residential architecture. Recently, it completed a revamping of Topeka’s downtown area, called the Kansas Avenue Project.

“We’re influencing people to think outside the box or inspiring them to be engaged and interact with downtown,” Scott Gales, president of Architect One, said during the opening of the meeting.

He said the firm’s role was to “talk about the big picture ideas.”

Before breaking the 45 attendees out into smaller discussion groups, Richard Jackson, chief executive officer of ECKAN, discussed some of the city improvements that have already been executed, including the creation of the Ottawa Recreation Community Center/Goppert Building, 705 W. 15th St., murals added at Edward E. Haley Community Park, Second and Main streets, residential and workforce development and continued support of Ottawa Main Street Association.

“We’ve been paying attention to some of the stuff we’ve already put together through the years,” Jackson said. “A lot has been accomplished in this community, and a lot which will be accomplished 10, 15 years from now, was started [another] 10, 15 years ago. A lot of times we reap the benefits of the groundwork that was laid before.”

He then read a vision for downtown Ottawa for 2006 that was created in 2001.

“A gathering place that is the heart of the community, a fun and prosperous downtown that gives you a ‘welcome home’ feeling each time you’re there,” Jackson read. “A downtown that has a well-defined image, and sense of community.”

In 2016, Jackson said he thinks much of the vision is similar, with a focus on improving the downtown area, both aesthetically and economically.

An hour-and-a-half breakout session allowed groups of five to eight people to discuss their ideas to improve downtown. No idea would be considered unworthy, Gales said. One idea that was almost unanimous in all the groups was the idea to landscape open areas.

“I think landscaping is an opportunity to feel cohesive,” Wynndee Lee, director of community development for the City of Ottawa, said during the breakout session.

Tommy Sink, director of the Ottawa Recreation Commission, said he was impressed with what the city has already done with landscaping, and would like to see it improve even further.

A colorful downtown with the addition of more art was another idea given at the meeting.

“We’re not humans if we aren’t kind of silly sometimes,” Gales said. “Sometimes that silliness creates inspiration or we start to think about the things that take away what we consider to be the boring or mundane. It’s what makes life fun and interesting. Bare walls become opportunities for art adjacent to big green spaces where activities can happen.”

Narrowing Main Street to two-lane traffic to make room for expanded sidewalks and outdoor dining was another main issue that was discussed. Entertainment options, such as a drive-in movie theater, oversized outdoor yard games and a “spray park” for children to engage with water for free in the summertime were also suggestions.

The necessity for multifunctional event spaces, as well as a place for a farmer’s market and food truck area were also mentioned by community members.

“All of us here are just a part of that vision,” Jackson said. “…Next week, we have another session, so we have more people part of that. We hope that we’re able to bring in people from the community that are not part of the Chamber, the school district, the business community, because you have to rely on the people in the community to sell your community.”

The Chamber has scheduled a second meeting to gather community input for 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at First Baptist Church’s Elliott Hall, 410 S. Hickory St., Ottawa. A light meal will be served with the meeting, organizers said.

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Join Master Gardeners on trip to garden expo

If you’ve never been to the Wisconsin Public Television Garden Expo in Madison, perhaps this is the year you should go. If you’ve been to the Expo before, you’ll surely want to go again! Save yourself the stress of driving, worrying about the weather and parking, and ride to the event along with Winnebago County Master Gardeners on a deluxe motorcoach.

Join us Saturday, Feb. 11, for a trip to the 24th Annual Garden Expo at Alliant Energy Center. The event celebrates the latest trends in gardening and landscaping and attracts more than 20,000 people from throughout the Midwest. Connect with other gardening enthusiasts to share ideas, gain inspiration and create something new. The day will be filled with visits to several hundred exhibitor booths, the opportunity to choose from almost 100 workshops and seminars, and a chance to have your gardening questions answered by experts.

Two to four seminars begin every 15 minutes throughout the day so you could conceivably sit in on eight or nine seminars or demonstrations if you wish. Seminar leaders are university professors, UW-Extension personnel and owners of gardening and landscaping businesses – all true experts in their fields. Some of the seminars offered that day include the following: Native Plants for Any Garden, Ornamental Edible Design, Perennials With Presence, Starting and Maintaining a Thriving Organic Vegetable Garden (by Joe Lamp’l of the PBS show “Growing a Greener World”), Create a Stunning Front Yard Entryway (by Melinda Myers), Healing Gardens, Permaculture Basics, Creating a Garden for all Seasons, Water Features for Your Yard, Herbal Medicine Making, Gardening for Hummingbirds and dozens more.

You can plan your day in advance by checking the seminar and demonstration schedule at or just play it by ear when you get there. “Make and Take” seminars usually require pre-registration.

The motorcoach leaves Oshkosh at 7 a.m. from the Coughlin Center on County Highway Y across from the fairgrounds, and the former JC Penney parking lot on Koeller Street (east frontage road just north of State Highway 44) at 7:15 a.m. An additional pickup is available in Fond du Lac at the Old Home Depot on Johnson Street across from Forest Mall at 7:30 a.m. After the Expo, meet back at the bus at 5 p.m. for a 5:15 p.m. departure for home. Return to Oshkosh is about 6:30 p.m.

Trip cost is $35 through Jan. 27, and $40 thereafter, and includes transportation and admission to the Expo. The cost is non-refundable, but you can send someone in your place if you find you are unable to attend after signing up. Bring your own lunch, drinks and snacks or purchase food from onsite vendors. Send checks payable to WCMGA, c/o Marge Menacher, to 4105 Westview Lane, Oshkosh, WI  54904. Include your name, address, phone number, email and choice of pickup location with your payment.

Please direct questions to Marge Menacher at or call her at 920-233-3467.

Lawanda Jungwirth is a UW-Extension Master Gardener.  Email her at

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Landscaping Companies Benefit from New Ownership of Parrish Gardens Plant Nursery in South Florida

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Bedminster: Learn how to make rain garden on Jan. 18





Every day, we share news from communities around Central Jersey.

Rain gardens are landscaping multi-taskers: They stop water runoff, keep pollution out of rivers and streams, add beauty to yards, and attract birds, bees and butterflies.

READ: Raritan Headwaters named ‘River Hero’ for stream cleanup​ 

Learn how to create a rain garden on your property on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at a workshop sponsored by Raritan Headwaters, the region’s nonprofit watershed watchdog. The program will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fairview Farm wildlife preserve at 2121 Larger Cross Road, Bedminster.

Lauren Theis, education director for Raritan Headwaters, will lead the “Design Your Own Rain Garden” workshop. She will cover all the basics, from planning and design to installation and maintenance. “Attendees will learn how to read topographic maps of their property, select the perfect location and design their very own garden,” she said.

The program fee is $20 per person for the general public, and $15 for certified “River-Friendly” residents. Advance registration is required. To register, go to or contact Theis at

Rain gardens are designed to capture runoff water from rainfall so it can to be filtered naturally as it slowly seeps into the ground. Stormwater runoff often contains fertilizers, chemicals, oil and litter, technically known as “nonpoint source pollution” because it doesn’t come from any single source.

The rain garden workshop is the first in a series of educational programs being held this winter and spring in conjunction with the award-winning “River-Friendly” program, which teaches local residents, businesses and schools how to protect clean water.

In December, Raritan Headwaters and its partners — the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association and the New Jersey Water Supply Authority — won the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for the River-Friendly program.

Other upcoming River-Friendly workshops offered by Raritan Headwaters include:

To learn more about Raritan Headwaters and its programs, visit or call 908-234-1852.

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GARDENING TIPS: Plant your own cucumbers

Cucumbers are the fourth most cultivated vegetable in the world and known to be one of the best foods for your body’s overall health, often referred to as a superfood.

Cucumbers are often sprayed with pesticides so it is important to buy organic or even better, grow them yourself.

A tropical vegetable, cucumbers thrive when the weather is hot and water is plentiful. Growing cucumbers is for warmer weather.

The preferred method of cucumber planting is direct seeding in the garden after the soil has warmed as the seeds will not germinate in a soil chillier than 60 degrees.

Just push two or three cucumber seeds an inch into the soil, spacing the plantings 18 to 36 inches apart.

Bush varieties will tolerate a closer spacing. If the soil is moist and warm, the seedlings will pop out of the ground in a matter of days.


Cucumbers really don’t need much attention once established in the garden.

Here are three tips to ensure a great harvest.

v Add cukes as succession plantings. Because cucumbers crave heat, they can follow cool spring crops of peas, spinach, and lettuce.

v Provide steady moisture. A continuous water supply is necessary for the best quality fruits.

A drip irrigation system is ideal in the cucumber patch. If this is not possible, water deeply once a week, applying at least one inch of water.

Frequent but shallow watering will reduce overall yields.

v Lastly feed cucumbers well. Cucumbers, like other cucurbits (squash, melons, and pumpkins), are heavy feeders. If organic matter was incorporated into the soil prior to planting, fertiliser will not be needed early in the season.

However, when the cucumber plants begin to blossom and set fruit, a side dressing of balanced soluble fertiliser will help keep the plants in production.


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