Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 18, 2017

Growing flavor: Cooking with culinary herbs

PORTSMOUTH — Culinary herbs provide delicious and diverse amounts of flavors for recipes while providing a multitude of benefits for supporting a healthy diet.

Throughout history, humans have grown herbs within the landscape for their medicinal, preservative, and flavoring qualities. Join the Herb Society of America NorthEast Seacoast Unit at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Strawbery Banke Visitor Center, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth, to hear Erik Wochholz, curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke, give a presentation on the history of growing herbs and the spectrum of culinary traditions associated with these beneficial plants. This unique talk will give tips on how best to grow and sustain herbs within the New England landscape while discussing how to use these aromatic and flavorful plants in the kitchen.

This is the first program in the 2017 Herb Society of America NorthEast Seacoast Unit’s 5 part lecture series co-sponsored by Strawbery Banke Museum. Pre-registration is required. Registration is $9 ($7 for Strawbery Banke Museum and Herb Society members). To register, contact Rie Sluder at 642-7034 or email

Wochholz directs the horticulture program at Strawbery Banke Museum, which focuses on teaching four centuries of New England farm and garden history. Beginning his career on the University of New Hampshire research farms, Wochholz has more than 17 years of experience in organic agriculture, landscape design, fruit and vegetable production, greenhouse management and agronomy.

The NorthEast Seacoast Unit, one of 46 regional units of The Herb Society of America, is a nonprofit organization that focuses on the history, cultivation and uses of herbs as flavoring agents; medicinal, fragrant and dye plants; ornamentals in garden design; household aids; and economic plants supplying products for modern industry. They are committed to practicing environmentally sound horticulture. To learn more about lecture series and other upcoming events, visit or visit on Facebook.

Strawbery Banke Museum, located in Portsmouth, is a unique museum that depicts more than 375 years of history in one of the nation’s oldest continuously occupied neighborhoods. Its restored houses, shops and period gardens give the visitor a glimpse into the past from Colonial times to World War II. For information on programs and visitor hours, visit or visit on Facebook.



Article source:

Get Growing: Gloria lays out New Year’s resolutions any gardener can keep

I like to take my time making New Year’s resolutions so I don’t set impulsive goals I can’t follow through on. I don’t make silly resolutions like losing weight; I make serious garden ones. And I try to see them through to completion, pledging only to do realistic tasks.

You can be the judge of what’s serious and what’s fantasy. I hope some of my resolutions are also on your list.

The first one should be easy to fulfill so I don’t become discouraged instantly. Here goes.

1. Certify the pollinator garden. I can surely find $10 and a snowy afternoon to fill out the online application.

2. Read that pruning book (again) from cover to cover and start to prune shrubs on nice warm winter days, before spring actually arrives and the weeds start overtaking those areas that I neglected to mulch last year.

3. Dust off the garden book shelf and add a new one to read this winter.

4. Select a few books to put into a gift basket and donate to a charity auction. Do this now before the spring rush sets in and it becomes difficult to make time.

5. Clean, oil and sharpen tools and pruners.

6. Gather and properly dispose of old or unused chemicals and pesticides.

7. Straighten up the potting shed, organize areas for seed starting and container prep.

8. Order seeds, especially more red and orange zinnias for the butterflies.

9. Order sunflower seeds of all heights and colors. There can never be enough sunflowers in a garden.

10. Teach a child or young gardener how to grow something (like sunflowers).

11. Mulch those neglected areas as soon as they are weeded.

12. Plant more edible greens in the veggie garden.

13. Unearth the Aeropod from the basement storage and plant greens now in the hydroponic seed pods.

14. Get tickets for the Philadelphia Flower Show and take someone along who has never been there.

15. Lay out the front garden design on paper and start saving money for the installation. Without a plan it won’t happen.

16. Plant more hellebores to enjoy next winter. Order several different varieties than what is already in the gardens.

17. Make an appointment with an arborist to inject a second treatment for the ash tree for emerald ash borer.

18. Take a walk and inspect every tree trunk for signs of spotted lanternfly egg masses.

19. Research drip irrigation for patio and deck containers.

20. Become a member of a public garden or arboretum and visit monthly.

21. Take an afternoon nap and dream about spring.

Happy New Year!

Gloria Day is president of Pretty Dirty Ladies Inc. Garden Design Maintenance; a member of Gardenwriters and the Pennsylvania Landscape Nursery Association; and serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence Horticultural Advisory Committee. She lives in Berks County and can be reached at

Article source:

Garden designer taps nature to heal bodies, soothe spirits


Here is one of Freda’s recent healing garden she designed and installed for a yoga.
Photo: Amber Freda

Gardens have been used as a mental and physical respite since the 5th century, and in recent years have been utilized as a form of therapy for patients.

Amber Freda, owner of Amber Freda Home Garden Design in New York, is helping to define the concept of healing gardens and is now offering them as a service.

This dreary space was transformed into the above photo of the healing garden.
Photo: Amber Freda

“I wanted to create gardens that are more than just beautiful but that also represent a deeper connection to the earth,” she said. “With so many of our people living in cities nowadays, there’s often a bit of disconnect between us and the natural world. Our brains evolved over millions of years surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of nature, and there’s a lot of science out now that is showing that all of these are essential to our mood and sense of well-being.”

Freda is well-known for her work with high-end urban garden designs and has transformed many spaces into beautiful rooftop gardens. With her healing gardens, she plans to take things even further.

“A healing garden brings us back to our most fundamental and necessary connection with nature by engaging the sense on multiple levels,” she said. “We still consider aesthetics because, of course, beautiful gardens are also a source of deep comfort, but we might also consider things like the way things smell or sound, such as through the use of a water feature or even grasses that rustle in the wind.”

The service will be offered to both residential and commercial clients and Freda sees her healing gardens working well for individuals as well as yoga studios, spas, resort hotels and retreat centers focused on holistic care.

“Anyone who is interested in living healthy, who loves nature, who is interested in self-improvement, and who likes the idea of being able to connect more deeply to their own garden is going to be interested in healing gardens and can benefit from them,” Freda said.

She starts the design process for a healing garden by getting to know the person and what they are looking to create in their lives to feel healthier, happier, or more fulfilled.


Freda uses her background in shamanism, herbalism, and yoga to create these healing gardens.
Photo: Amber Freda

“There are herbs that can be incorporated into the garden that the person can use in their own teas and baths, for example,” Freda said. “Having that involvement of trimming the plants, watching them grow, inhaling their fragrance, and then using them in a formula that nourishes the body and soul is a simple yet powerful practice that in itself is very healing.”

While holistic approaches to diet, exercise and all other aspects of life are currently trending, Freda cautions that offering healing gardens as a service requires more than a superficial knowledge of gardening.

“My background, as an example, includes years of study not just in landscape design, but also communications, herbalism, and shamanism, so I have a deep knowledge of these plants, their herbal uses and benefits, interpersonal communications, and also the spiritual side of being able to work with people who want to go even deeper into healing meditations and working with their spirit guides for healing as well, which is another whole aspect to this work.”

Article source:

Davenport looks ahead to future riverfront development





Article source:

Thomas Keller Plans to Open a Hotel at The French Laundry

The French Laundry’s super duper $10 million renovation is almost done, and with its completion comes a new tidbit of news from WSJ. Magazine: chef Thomas Keller has plans to build a small hotel on the property, too.

Given the nearing completion of this project, it makes sense for Keller to leak out news of his next phase. Similar to Single Thread’s model of a fine-dining restaurant with a matching guest house, the chef has apparently purchased an inn adjacent to his property where he plans to build a small hotel. “It’s just a natural extension for the restaurant to have rooms available, too,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “My goal is to be able to retire from my other stuff and reimmerse myself in the French Laundry—even more than in the past.”

According to the article, the current project was originally focused on remodeling the wine cellar; four years later it’s a complete rebirth of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Yountville by Snøhetta, the Scandinavian firm that also redesigned SFMOMA.

That means a fancy new 1,981-square-foot kitchen that looks like a spaceship (or a museum, or a spaceship-museum), expanded office space, a butchery area, space for 16,000 bottles of wine (hopefully with a good lock this time), and 9,000-square-feet of new gardens and landscaping.

Rendering of TFL
Snohetta/Curbed SF

As Eater recently reported, the kitchen’s renovations are coming to a close and the dining room’s refresh will begin, with a grand unveiling of the new and improved French Laundry scheduled for late spring/early summer. Stay tuned for more.

Article source:

Sugar Land Home & Garden Show features professional organizer …

  • Lisa Giesler, a Certified Professional Organizer, will be featured at the Sugar Land Home and Garden Show. Photo: Sugar Land Home And Garden Show



Lisa Giesler, a Certified Professional Organizer, owner of Houston-based A Time and Place for Everything, and award-winning author of “My Life is a Mess: Organization 101” and “Uncluttered: Discovering Strength and Purpose in the Chaos of Life” will be featured at the seventh annual Sugar Land Home Garden Show Jan. 28-29 at the Stafford Centre, 10505 Cash Road in Stafford.

On each day of the show Giesler will present “Your Biggest Organizing Questions Answered” addressing the most-often asked question of all: How do I get started?

“I have seen and heard a lot of things in my many years as an organizer and I’ll share some insight to help those attending my presentation get going,” said Giesler, who has been featured on “Great Day Houston,” ABC’s Live Well Network and various publications, and will take the Fort Bend Lifestyles Homes Presentation Stage to discuss what she calls the “Big 3” areas: closet, home office and kitchen. To help kick-start their home organization, one attendee at each show will win a $50 gift certificate to The Container Store.

“With more than 200 home improvement contractors from the local market, the show is sure to have something for everyone,” said Tony Wood, president of Texwood Shows Inc., producer of the Sugar Land Home Garden Show.

A Sherwin-Williams certified color consultant will take the stage each day of the show to demonstrate the company’s ColorSnap Selection System, and the Thermador Live Cooking Stage presented by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen Lighting Gallery, will feature Chef Michelle Morris, Ferguson Enterprises’ in-house chef, who will cook up some treats four times each day using the latest Thermador induction cooktop and steam oven appliances. Cambria, a leading designer of quartz surfaces will display samples of its natural quartz countertops for kitchen or bath and provide in-house experts to answer questions about the company’s products and installation.

Those homeowners who want to take outdoor living and decorating up a notch will have an opportunity to get some inspiration from Belgard Hardscapes’ semi-truck full of ideas or pose their literal and figurative “green” home questions to experts who will address the audience from the Fort Bend Lifestyles Homes Presentation Stage, such as Randy Lemmon, host of GardenLine on KTRH AM 740, on Saturday, and Bill Murphy, a solar energy expert and manager of Sugar Land’s Sweetwater Energy Services.

In addition, Fort Bend master gardeners will be on hand throughout the show to answer questions and share gardening tips.

The Fort Bend Lifestyles Homes Presentation Stage also will host the award-winning founder of The Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden in Bishopville, South Carolina. Fryar, a self-taught gardener and topiary artist will demonstrate his pruning and training skills during a presentation on each day of the show.

“This year those attending the Home Garden Show will be able to continue their day of discovery with a Brew Vinos VIP Craft Beer Wine Event, which will be set up next to the Stafford Centre from 1-5 p.m. on both days of the show,” Wood said. “In addition to beer and wine tastings, the event will include a shopping tent with artesian vendors, a wine auction and a beer competition.” Visit to purchase a specially priced combination ticket to both the Home Garden Show and the Craft Beer and Wine Event.

Also set up outside the show on both days will be local food trucks, Cousins Maine Lobster – providing lobster in a variety of ways from bisque to tacos – and St. John’s Fire, which serves Gulf Coast specialties ranging from Cajun egg rolls to fried crawfish mac cheese balls.

Show hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 28, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29. Tickets for the Sugar Land Home Garden Show are cash only at $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and children 12 years and younger can attend for free. Parking is free.

For show and ticket information call 832-274-3944 or visit, where a downloadable discount coupon for $2 off admission is available.

Article source:

Experts share tips on gardening during warm winter weather – WBBJ

JACKSON, Tenn.–With a wave of warm winter weather tempting plants and gardeners, we asked the experts for answers about early budding concerns and outdoor projects.

“There’s no reason to stay inside on a nice day,” James Wick said.

For nearly 20 years, Wick has worked at Morris Nursery and Landscapes in Jackson.

He seems to know a lot about digging, planting and growing. “Right now is a great time to do small planting or pruning,” he said.

Wick said it’s not unusual to see temperatures fluctuate during January and February.

An early bud isn’t a concern for Wick at this time.”We’re expecting an early spring,” he said.

Wick said mild temperatures make for ideal days to tackle late-winter cleanup such as cutting back ornamental grasses.

Planting vegetables is not recommended yet, but Wick said it is OK to begin getting seeds ready indoors for spring planting.

Nursery staff said now is a good time to divide perennials and put down a coat of dormant oil spray for protection from insects.

Article source:

Rekindle the magic of childhood with a whimsical fairy garden

When was the last time you sat down in the woods and breathed in the magic of nature? Donni Webber, a mom of two and the blogger behind The Magic Onions, has made a lifestyle out it, and she wants to help others do the same.

Webber is a fairy gardener. And if you’re looking for a kid-friendly way to enjoy the outdoors, Webber’s blog will inspire you to connect with your children and with nature by building an enchanting fairy garden.

Maine fairy house
Turn your next walk in the woods into a magical adventure by taking the time to craft a fairy house. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Webber started her blog in 2009 as a way to stay connected with far-away family and friends. But she soon realized that there were others who, like her, enjoyed following a more magical path in life. Eight years laters, her site has been visited more than 9 million times, and Webber has built a community with like-minded folks who seek out the magic and wonder of nature and hope to pass it on to their children.

A book to offer more ideas

Fairy garden bedroom
Webber says making this fairy bedroom helps ‘melt the stress away.’ The link at right offers more detailed views. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Webber’s fairy gardens have become so popular that the blogger recently released a new book, “Magical Miniature Gardens Homes: Create Tiny Worlds of Fairy Magic Delight with Natural, Handmade Décor,” to help others find their own outdoor magic.

Teacup fairy garden
No garden? Bring the fairies indoors with a teacup fairy garden you build yourself. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

In her book and on her website, Webber shares examples of fairy gardens and takes readers through the step-by-step process of building their own fairy gardens in their backyards, at a local park, or even indoors using something like a teacup, a soup bowl or a shoebox. The first tip that this professional fairy gardener gives to any new prospect is to “slow down and cherish each step of the fairy garden process.”

Nighttime fairy garden
A string of lights and meticulous attention to detail bring out the magic in this fairy house. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Nighttime fairy garden - closeup
This is serious attention to detail. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Make the details your own

Webber is obviously a talented fairy gardener, embellishing her designs with lots of extra touches, like handmade signs, drawings, and banners. But as she notes in her book “fairy gardening is all about getting creative with simple materials that you can forage from nature such as pebbles, pine cones, acorns, and small shells.”

Side view of fairy garden garden
This is a garden within a fairy garden. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Fairy garden crops
Looks like a good year for pumpkins and lettuce in this garden. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

Perhaps her best tip for anyone interesting in trying fairy gardening is to “find fairy garden magic by being able and willing to suspend your own disbelief.”

Ready to get started? Check out Webber’s blog and book for lots of pro tips, design ideas and easy tutorials to set you and your creativity in motion.

Shoebox fairy garden - closeup
Fairy gardens can be as simple as a shoebox and some recycled trinkets, and can be built in an afternoon. (Photo: Donni Webber/The Magic Onions)

South Mountain Fairy Trail, New Jersey

Article source:

5 garden tips for the week starting Jan. 14 – San Bernardino Sun

So many options

Now is the best time to buy and put in a surprising variety of plants. These include bare-root roses, berries, fruit and shade trees, vines and perennial vegetables, such as artichokes, horseradish and rhubarb, which grow and yield their produce year after year. Also, choose azaleas, camellias, cymbidium orchids, primroses and other winter flowers while they are in bloom. Don’t overlook the winter-flowering succulents and cacti. Be sure to water them in well after you plant them.

Daylily care

Clean up daylilies and start new plants by snipping off the leafy little plantlets that developed on old flower stems. Leave a couple of inches of the flower stalk attached to the sprouts to anchor them in the ground, and trim the leaves of the plantlets down to 2 or 3 inches in length. Bury the bottom of the plantlet only a half-inch or so deep with the length of flower stalk deeper to hold it in place. Water lightly and do not feed until early spring.

Azaleas, camellias

Deadhead azaleas and camellias as flowers fade. Deadheading is the removal of old flowers. This is necessary on azaleas, because dead azalea flowers hang on and look ugly. It’s necessary on camellias to prevent spreading of petal blight, a fungus disease that rots camellia flowers and turns them brown and mushy.

Citrus highlights

Continue harvesting Washington navel oranges as needed, leaving the little green “star” on the fruit as you cut it off the tree with pruning clippers. Citrus stores best on the tree, because it stops ripening once picked, and it holds longest after picking if the “star” stays on. Besides, citrus fruits will continue getting sweeter on the tree. Taste-test kumquats; they should be ready for harvest any time now. Some varieties of tangerines will benefit from several more weeks on the tree; so will grapefruits. Apply micronutrients to all citrus trees to assure the sweetest possible fruits.

Water wise

Check for broken sprinkler heads and repair them. Also, with cooler weather, plants don’t need as much moisture. In fact, for some types of plants, too much moisture during cool weather can damage roots and even kill entire plants. For most of us, automatic sprinklers can safely be turned off until spring except for windy or warm spells. No sense wasting our precious water — or your precious money to pay for unneeded irrigation.

Article source: