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Archives for January 16, 2017

Progress continues on garden

Progress continues to be made on Portsmouth City School District’s Human Right Garden. After breaking ground Sept. 21, the project is well underway.

Conceptualized by Art Teacher, April Deacon, The Human Rights Garden will be a permanent outdoor sculpture and plant garden located on the Applegate Green, based upon the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The project was funded by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio Initiative.

The concrete has been poured, and students are now working to complete their ideas and concepts for their sculptures that will decorate the garden. During the ‘Made with Purpose,’ art show held Jan. 12, a slideshow of the progress was put together and displayed. Bricks, tiles and paper castings were also on display during the evening.

The seventh grade gifted students and high school Art I students worked alongside visiting artist Kevin Lyles to create paper castings based upon the rights they’ve studied. These paper castings were then used to create ceramic tiles will be featured in the garden.

Seventh grade student Cainen Jarrells created one tile, which featured an image of a boat on water. According to Jarrells, the water represents the bad things in life and the boat represents humanity rising above the bad. Jarrells was inspired by a story that his teacher Liz Mounts read to the class.

“I wanted to try to bring it home to the students so that they could really understand human rights,” said Mounts. “We read the book ‘A long walk to water,’ and it’s actually a true story about a boy from Sudan named Salva Dut. He was adopted by an American family and got his education here. Here’s now back in Sudan and he’s digging wells for villages and tribes, helping them access clean water.”

A pile of bricks created by the students was also displayed during the art show, each engraved with a word related to human rights.

“The entrance of the garden will say, ‘I have the right to,’ and the bricks the students created each have a word like ‘safety,’ ‘equality,’ ‘safety’ and others. These bricks will be used along the pathway throughout the garden,” explained art teacher, April Deacon. “We’re working hard to get it completed.”

The high school Three-Dimensional Art students also worked with Lyles on the designs for three large-scale bronze, aluminum and stone sculptures also based upon the theme of Human Rights. The students will also be hosted at Rio Grande to observe their work come to life in bronze through the process of lost-wax casting.

Also on display were silicone molds of architectural salvage that will be used throughout the garden as either paving stones, or pieces for benches and sculptures.

The Building and Maintenance students will also be working to design and build benches for the space.

In the future, students will also be working with educators and designers from the Franklin Park Conservatory. The fifth grade science students will work with these educators to learn about plants and ecosystems. During this phase, the Three-Dimensional Art students will bring the garden to life by selecting plants with the help of Franklin Park Horticulture Designer, Garet Martin.

The project is slotted to be completed by the end of the school year, in May of 2017. The garden produced will be just the first part of a multi-phase learning series that will continue to grow throughout the years and impact elementary, junior high and high school learners. In the coming years, the school hopes to add an outdoor physical fitness area, a vegetable garden, gazebos and an outdoor exhibition space for art display.

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.

Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley – Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.

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Youngstown news, Men’s Garden Club of Youngstown hosts 12th …

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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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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Home Expo offers ideas, contact for all your home needs

When the Wilmington-Cape Fear Home Builders Association started organizing its Home Expo and Remodeling Show in the area 25 years ago, its purpose was the same as it is today. Although there are many places to turn for inspiration about home improvement, especially now, it isn’t as easy to meet different experts in the industry quickly and easily. But the expo is where you can talk with contractors and home professionals who work in Southeastern North Carolina.

“It’s a local show with local vendors,” said Cameron Moore, with WCFHBA. Each year, between 2,000-3,500 people come to the expo to learn more about everything from landscaping and appliances to security systems to flooring. “We’ve had a lot of support for the show, from both the public and sponsors,” Moore said. “And we’re proud that this is something we’ve been able to offer for free for so many years. We try to have a little something for everyone. And it’s a great place to get some insight on those New Year’s Resolutions, if you have things you’d like to do for your home.”

The show typically draws more than 80 exhibitors and vendors. Atlantic Appliance Hardware on Kerr Ave in Wilmington has been involved each of the past 25 years that the WCFHBA has been hosting this event. “We rely a lot on name and brand recognition,” said Mark Edwards, one of the co-owners. Home owners may only have to buy a refrigerator once every 12 to 15 years, he said. “We need people, when they do need to buy a refrigerator or range or dishwasher to think of us, rather than a big-box store.”

Edwards has noticed that participating in events like the expo is an important part of that and often sees people in the store that he’s met at the show.

Locals will also have a chance to learn more about Liftavator, which specializes in residential and commercial elevators that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The business has a showroom with working elevators at its headquarters in New Bern.

“But people might be more likely to come talk to us at this kind of show than they are to come into our showroom,” said Roger Grear, owner. “People have a lot of questions. They don’t know if elevators are $500 or $50,000 and there is a big range.”

Attending home shows like the one this weekend gives him a chance to answer those questions. “If it goes up and down, we offer it,” he said. The company sells and installs ramps, scooters and a variety of elevators. “Right now, outdoor elevators are popular because they require only minimal modifications to the home.”

The weekend will also feature free seminars. Alice Evans, with Dynamic Kitchens and Interiors leads a talk with tips about preparing for a kitchen remodel. Cape Fear Solar Systems will also offer two seminars on the benefits of solar energy for the home, one on Saturday and one Sunday. Tim Minton, who is the director of governmental affairs for the N.C. Home Builders Association, leads a discussion at 11 Saturday morning about legislation that was recently passed by the N.C. General Assembly dealing with property improvements and sales tax on labor with respect to repair, maintenance, and installation services. Home staging, and how best to present your home when you put it on the market, is another topic and will be covered by Rebecca Dawson, of Just Perfect! Home Staging and co-owner of the Full Circle Real Estate team at Nest Realty.



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Tiny houses: Big movement at Oklahoma City Home and Garden Show

Michelle Wunder watched the tiny house movement take hold one television show at a time, her imagination churning.

She talked up the idea at the construction company where she worked as a designer, S.H. Vaughn Construction Co.

“I told the guys, ‘The trend is going to hit,’ ” she said. “I told them, ‘We need to be ahead of the curve’ — that we’ve got to be building these.”

They saw her point, she said, but with construction starting to pick up, taking on a brand-new venture like tiny houses wasn’t viable. Her boss, Shane Vaughn, urged her to strike out and make the idea her own, though, promising to mentor her.

“I want you to do it because it’s your thing, and you’re very passionate about it,” she recalled him telling her.

So Wunder, 43, took her ideas, her drive and 17 years of design experience and set out on her own new venture.

Now, Wunder’s company, Tiny Homes of Oklahoma, has produced its first prototype, the 220-square-foot Splendor. It sports all the comforts of home and the looks — on wheels.

The Splendor will make its first appearance at the Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show on Friday through Jan. 22 at State Fair Park.

In addition, Wunder will hit the Lifestyle Stage with tiny homeowner Kendra Beery at 8 p.m. Jan. 20 and Jan. 21 to talk about “Adventures of Living in a Tiny Home” and answer questions.

Growing popularity

Tiny homes have become big business in recent years, fueled in part by shows such as “Tiny House Nation” on the FYI Network that showcase the compact dwellings, which generally measure 500 square feet or less.

Other regional builders area getting into the game, including Home + Garden Show exhibitors Small Dwelling Co., of Weatherford, Texas; Einstyne Homes, of Brighton, Colorado; and Custom Container Living, of Archie, Missouri.

Tiny houses have attracted the attention of everyone from individuals shying away from weighty mortgages to groups such as a nonprofit in San Mateo County, California, that is looking to tiny houses to alleviate homelessness.

Meanwhile, Wunder’s Tiny Homes of Oklahoma, which opened in October, is ready to plunge into the market.

“We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve perfected the process, and we’re ready to start taking orders,” she said.

Who could benefit from a tiny home? Millennials for one, Wunder said.

“This is the younger crowd that’s really seeking experience-based living rather than mortgage-based lifestyle. They want to travel and stuff like that, so they want that less-is-more lifestyle,” she said.

People with aging parents for another. “We still want our parents to have that freedom, that independent living, but we want them close by,” Wunder said. “So a tiny home is a great option for that. They can buy it and put it on their land and have Mom and Dad close by.”

A tiny house can also function as a home office, Wunder said, or a hospitality suite, VIP suite. It could anchor tailgating activities, or house a pop-up shop or other mobile business.

In Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, though, Wunder said tiny houses may prove truly popular as portable hunting and fishing cabins. That’s “going to be a pretty big thing,” she said. “It’s actually going to be our next model home.”

Tiny homes on wheels have run into rough zoning ground in some municipalities. Wunder said she’s been in touch with Oklahoma City’s planning office, however, and the city may be in a position to avoid similar conflicts.

“Oklahoma City, interestingly enough, is actually just starting a five-year project to redo all of their zoning laws,” she said. “They’ve gotten several calls a week on tiny homes, so it’s definitely a priority for them to tackle the tiny home issue.”

If Oklahoma City incorporates tiny homes into its plans, other cities may follow suit, she added.

Already, a zoning application filed last spring for the Wheeler District, an urban neighborhood taking shape along the Oklahoma River, includes a provision for tiny homes. Developer Blair Humphreys said at the time he hoped those homes would attract young couples and families just starting out.

Of course, not everyone has to worry about zoning laws.

“What’s great is just outside the Oklahoma City limits, there are people who have land that really doesn’t fall under anybody’s jurisdiction,” Wunder said. “So they’ll be like ‘Well, I can do what I want on my land.’ So they’re going to haul it out there and hook it up.”

OKC show

The Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show will be in the Centennial Building, Cox Pavilion and the Bennett Events Center at Oklahoma State Fair Park.

It runs noon to 9 p.m. Jan. 20; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 21; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 22.

Tickets are $12 for adults at the box office or $10 online through Children 12 and under get in free. Hero Day on Jan. 22 will allow all active and retired military, police and firefighters to get in free with valid service identification.

Show highlights include:

•Jason Cameron, host of DIY Network’s “Man Caves” and “Desperate Landscapes,” will show how he transforms barren landscapes into picturesque front lawns.

•Joel Karsten, pioneer of straw bale gardening, will demonstrate and offer tips on his technique.

•Matt Fox, host of HGTV’s “Room by Room,” will emceeing the Lifestyle Stage for the entire show and use basic supplies from home improvement stores to demonstrate great weekend projects.

•Edible Landscaping: Have your Lawn and Eat It Too. Julia Laughlin, with items from Prairie Earth Gardens, has created an herb-vegetable garden to support farm-to-table cooking and eating, in the west end entry of the Cox Pavilion.

•Tiny Home Village, tiny homes from across the country creating a tiny village in the Bennett Event Center.

•Rebuilding Together OKC will showcase its work in rebuilding homes and neighborhoods and transforming lives in Oklahoma City.

•Made in Oklahoma: A dozen Oklahoma companies for home and garden products will be featured.

•Home Grown with Tony’s Tree Plantation: 2,200 square feet of Oklahoma-specific landscaping ideas from Tony’s Tree Plantation.

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Ideas for downtown bloom during meeting

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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End of an era at Queen of the Valley

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

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Where the learning things are

Palomar College’s flora, trees and plants have brought the campus into the green thumb spotlight

SAN MARCOS — The transformation of Palomar College over the decades has not just been reserved to brick-and-mortar construction.

Over the years, the campus has become home to one of the most unique collections of trees, plants and other flora — a fact that often goes unnoticed by students and faculty alike as they hustle to and from the newly fabricated buildings.

Recently, however, the campus’ greenery received a prestigious certification, as Palomar College was recently certified as a Level II Arboretum by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. Palomar College is the only community college to achieve the recognition, and one of only two college campuses statewide to achieve the designation, with UC Davis being the other.

What makes the designation significant is that while the college does have an arboretum — the Edwin and Francis Hunter Arboretum flanks the campus’ northeast side — this designation encompasses the 200-acre San Marcos campus in its entirety.

“The fact that the entire campus is recognized as an arboretum… is very exciting,” said Joi Lin Blake, Palomar College superintendent/president. “This is a notable distinction that places Palomar as a leader in the county.”

Below the freshly minted two-story and three-story buildings that have dotted the campus as part of the decade long building campaign, grounds services crews have created a lush landscape of plants from all across the world.

A recently completed Polynesian garden Teaching and Learning Center contains exotic palms, screw pines, sweet potatoes, and banana trees set against the backdrop of a faux-lava rain water feature.

Nearby, a garden of plants from Madagascar adorns the side of another building, with native, drought tolerant California landscape woven throughout.

Towering bamboo and palms adorn the official arboretum and its stone pathways. And acres of coastal sage scrub set the backdrop for the college’s new baseball stadium.

The collections and gardens — there are 31 different themed gardens throughout the campus — have been cultivated and cared for over the decades by previous landscapers, arborists and grounds crews.

Tony Rangel, the college’s current grounds services supervisor, said the certification is the culmination and recognition of that work, and speaks to the educational value of the collection, which he said teaches valuable lessons about conservation, proper landscaping techniques and appreciation of and awareness of endangered species.

Arguably Palomar College has one of the greatest concentrations of plant diversity on public display within a relatively small area in San Diego County, rivaled only by Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and San Diego Botanical Garden, says Tony Rangel, the colleges current grounds services supervisor. Photo by Aaron Burgin

“Arguably Palomar College has one of the greatest concentrations of plant diversity on public display within a relatively small area in San Diego County, rivaled only by Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and San Diego Botanical Garden,” says Tony Rangel, the college’s current grounds services supervisor. Photo by Aaron Burgin

“We had an opportunity to basically make it a more formal effort, and solidifying the value of the collection to the community, and to show the community that we are not just growing a bunch of cool and interesting plants because we can,” Rangel said. “We are doing it as an educational opportunity.

“An arboretum is a living museum, and you go to a museum to learn, so that’s pretty much tied into the fact that this is an institution of learning, and since we have to beautify the campus anyway, let’s do it in a way that offers the community, staff and faculty an opportunity to teach and a way to learn,” Rangel said.

Rangel further stated, “The arboretum certification allows the college to work more closely and efficiently on plant-based conservation and education projects with other like-minded institutions from across the country and the globe. The certification demonstrates that the plants on campus are more than landscaping — they are part of a classroom, teaching visitors about the importance of landscaping responsibly with non-invasive plants, native plants and plants adapted to our climate.

As the campus grows and diversifies over the coming years, Palomar will continue to show that we recognize and are committed to treating our botanical gems as ambassadors for conservation.”

Rangel said that the college understood the value of adding to its diverse cast of plants and landscaping over the years to complement the heavy construction brought along by Proposition M, the near-$700 million bond measure approved in 2006 that has transformed the campus.

“Arguably Palomar College has one of the greatest concentrations of plant diversity on public display within a relatively small area in San Diego County, rivaled only by Balboa Park, the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park and San Diego Botanical Garden,” Rangel said. “It really speaks to the commitment of the college to striking the balance of bringing in plants that not only complement the building, but also benefit us in the areas of conservation, education and environmental stewardship.”

For Level II accreditation, ArbNet requires that institutions have, among other things, an up-to-date database with a minimum of 100 woody plants and that a plant collection policy must be in place and collections defined. Palomar has more than 300 plants labeled and hundreds of species of seeds, including for several endangered plant varieties.

ArbNet offers four levels of certification, with Level 1 being the lowest and Level 4 being the highest.

Rangel said the variety of gardens also provides educational experience for he and his crew, as like alchemist they seek to find the harmonious balance of native and non-native species that teem together across the campus.

“Sometimes we succeed, other times we learn that two plants can’t co-exist in the same ecosystem,” Rangel said, leading a tour of the various gardens on a rain-soaked day. “We catalog it, make notes of it and work to do better. We are always learning.”

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Sandy Parrill: Ozark writers share gardening experience

I think I might be getting dizzy from riding this weather roller coaster. It was warm enough to think spring and be outdoors early this week, but the wind howling like banshees and hell-hounds kept me mostly on the inside of my door, cringing with each treacherous gust and occasional crash of things unidentified somewhere unknown — and it was wind with the bite of icicle teeth. 

Despite the best efforts of the sun, it was still winter in the shade. We didn’t get a thing done; it was just a challenge to stay upright while watching warily for flying objects from above. When it finally stopped, we spent our time picking up and repairing damage (working on our fallen fence) before this weekend’s threat to dunk us in Arctic cold again with ice and snow or maybe rain. I’ll be again found hobnobbing and having coffee with bookish friends and the new catalog from Baker Creek in Mansfield.

We always try to buy local, eat local produce, support local artists and give back to the community, but one thing sometimes gets left out — read local. Most books on gardening and nature have the same things in common — they are about somewhere else or full of gorgeous dream gardens; lots of how-to guides about everything from making a compost pile, starting seeds and planting trees to upcycling our trash into garden whimsical landscaping for outdoor entertaining; and endless photos of plants we wish we could grow. But none of that says much about real down-and-dirty, hands-and-knees gardening in the Ozarks.

Our own region is rich with outstanding authors, garden and nature writers who share their experiences and knowledge with us through books, blogs, websites and print publications. I try to make friends with them all.

One almost local “must” to be added to my library this spring is “Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden.” A recent release from Timber Press by Alan Branhagen, it comes highly recommended by our friend and garden writer Frank Shipe, of Springfield. Says Katy Keith, director of the Springfield Botanic Garden, “Alan, the horticultural director of Powell Gardens near Kansas City, has made this the book for anyone interested in native plants and especially those looking for good ones for their own garden or landscape.”

Speaking of Shipe, his website,, for gardening reading online, is a veritable encyclopedia of information about everything to do with Ozarks gardens. Frank has had a long and interesting career in writing and editing for such publications as Rolling Stone, Ortho Garden Books and working as a professional landscaper in California before returning to Springfield to work closely with Springfield Botanic Gardens. With his sharp wit, gift with words and indomitable sense of humor, Frank takes us through wonderful regional gardens, garden centers and plant sellers, the Springfield Botanic Garden, and he shares news, tips, wisdom and help for anything gardening and nature needed to garden successfully in the Ozarks. Frank, as he keeps urging me to, should write a book.

We first met Frank through the Greater Ozarks Hosta Society; though we never connected at any of the meetings, we often chatted on Facebook until one day he mentioned cat-sitting a small black cat needing to be rehomed as its owner was no longer able to care for it. We were cat-less at the time, and as that is no condition to be tolerated by us (at least, me), we thought we would go and make her acquaintance. Upon meeting her (and Frank, with his droll grin, wry view of life and signature bib overalls), we instantly knew they were both exceptional personalities. Mamie May came home with us, and we had found a marvelous new friend.

Through Frank, we came to know the writings of his longtime friend, Marideth Sisco. Marideth, veteran musician, songwriter, teacher, journalist, artist, folklorist and radio personality (you can catch her on Ozarks Hills/) is the author of “Crosspatch: Cranky Musings on Gardening in Rocky Ground,” a compilation of her columns from the West Plains Ozark Quill. I love this book, full of great stories written with her marvelous sense of pull-no-punches humor, often re-reading it when I need an uplift of spirit, following her intrepid journeys through life and gardening.

A little farther south, almost in Arkansas near Blue Eye, is Long Creek Herbs, presided over by our old friend Jim Long, who lectures, blogs and writes a column for the quarterly “Heirloom Garden,” as well as articles for Missouri Gardener magazine and other publications. His gardens include more than 200 varieties of culinary herbs and a wide assortment of rare and unusual Asian vegetables. Jim lives by his motto, “Why grow something if you can’t eat it?” promoting edible landscaping, local foods and organic movements as well as and gardening for kids. He has written a slew of how-to and informational pamphlets and books; his “Making Bentwood Trellises, Arbors, Gates and Fences” is my go-to book for useful techniques to create with all those prunings that are just too good to toss.

At the top of my stack of magazines I can’t throw away (hey, it isn’t hoarding if it’s books and garden magazines, is it?) is bi-monthly Ozarks Living magazine. Editor George Freeman writes passionately of the local gardening scene and environment of America. The magazine’s mission statement “to help readers discover a greener gardening lifestyle by providing local and regional coverage of the Ozarks, its people and the businesses who share our commitment to living greener and cleaner” is certainly fulfilled in the pages of this beautiful, informative and idea-packed publication.

So do your worst, Winter. I have a lot of catching up to do with old and new friends.


Sandy and Jim Parrill garden at Chaos, their acre of the Ozarks in Joplin. Sandy is a lifelong gardener and a Missouri Master Gardener. Jim is a former garden center owner and landscaper. Both are past members of the Missouri Landscape and Nursery Association. Email them at and follow their Facebook page, A Parrillel Universe of Wonderful Things.

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