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Archives for January 22, 2017

Weekend: Use wintertime to plan your springtime garden

January is a month for gardeners to dream and plan. With the rush of the holiday season behind us, take advantage of this quiet winter month to get ready for spring.
Here are some tasks you may want to tackle:
• Put out bird feeders and keep them filled. If you place a feeder close to a window, you can enjoy watching and identifying the different birds that pay you a visit. Attracting feathered friends to your landscape has an added benefit in the spring when the birds can help control insect pests.
• While you are outside filling the feeder, examine your shade and fruit trees. When you get a nice day in late winter, you can prune the trees while they are still dormant. Make sure you get rid of any diseased or damaged branches.
Michigan State University provides a helpful guide on pruning deciduous trees that you can find here:
• Also, take a critical look at your garden’s structure. The bare bones view of your landscape in January can help you identify what’s missing. Do you need to add more evergreens, or large or small trees or shrubs?
Do you need more structural elements, like garden paths, a shed, or a gazebo? Do you need an evergreen screen or fence along a property line for increased privacy or to block out an unsightly view like a compost pile?
Do you have a sunny spot where you can tuck in a small raised bed vegetable garden? Or perhaps you want to carve out a space to entertain and relax in the shade?
• Go inside and sketch out your ideas on paper. Plan your vegetable garden. What are you going to grow this year and how many plants/seeds will you need? Write out a list of changes that you want to make in the garden this year. Brainstorm a list of plants that you would love to try in your garden.
• For inspiration, browse through magazines and read gardening books. Specialty gardening magazines will be hitting the store shelves soon. These magazines are packed with beautiful pictures and articles about real gardens. If a plant combination or design idea catches your interest, flag it and try to mimic it in your garden.
Also, make note of the articles that showcase new varieties of flowers and vegetables that you may want to try this year. Visit the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library for a nice selection of gardening books on a variety of topics, from landscape design to basic gardening how-to.
• Spend quality time reviewing the new seed and plant catalogs. They should be clogging your mailbox soon if they haven’t already. If you are new to gardening, you can check out the websites of many seed and plant companies. Make a list of the seeds/plants you want to try and place your order early, because popular new varieties sell out fast.
• Inventory your gardening tools and supplies. If you didn’t clean your gloves or tools in the fall, bring them inside and do it now. You can soak gardening tools (like hand spades and hand pruners) in a mixture of water and bleach to sanitize.
Some gardeners paint the handles of their tools bright orange in the winter so they are easier to find in the garden come spring. Make a list of the tools that you need to replace and start shopping.
• Try to recruit your family members who don’t share your passion for gardening (spouse, children, grandchildren, etc.) to help you in the spring. Because they are stuck indoors and missing the warmer weather, you may be able to enthrall them with your gardening plans and convince them that it will be fun to be outside, with the warm sun on their back, helping you in the garden come spring. Get a firm commitment to help and hold them to it in a few months!
Laurie Wurth Pressel is an Ohio State University Extension Master Gardener volunteer intern in Hancock County.



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Happenings at the 2017 Tacoma Home and Garden Show | The …

Your roof is leaking, you hate your kitchen countertops and your garden needs a sprinkler system. Lucky you, there’s a one-stop event where any or all of those problems can be solved. The Tacoma Home and Garden Show opens Thursday and continues through Jan. 29 at the Tacoma Dome.

Here’s what’s happening at the show:

Garden lectures: Attend lectures and demonstrations by master gardeners, The News Tribune and The Olympian garden columnist Marianne Binetti, Tacoma garden designer Sue Goetz, Tacoma master rosarian Bruce Lind, Seattle gardening guru Ciscoe Morris and several more gardening authorities. Check the event website for a complete schedule.

Tiny homes: Shoreline-based Carriage Houses Northwest will display their versions of “tiny houses,” a new trend that has multiple purposes: miniature vacation homes, art studios, reading shacks and mother-in-law cottages. Two of the company’s models will be on display.

Vintage Market: Find the market in the southeast corner, featuring more than a dozen vendors selling vintage, repurposed and eclectic items for the home and garden.

Display gardens: Marenakos Rock Center and Olympic Landscapes will have inspirational display gardens featuring the latest trends in garden design.

Take-home plants: Willow Tree Gardens of University Place will have a selection of plants and bulbs. Their inventory will include some of the latest garden darlings, including hellebores, succulents, sedums and hardy perennials. Their display also will include garden art, furniture, fountains and other garden accents.

Vendors: A broad swath of home-and-garden vendors will be at the show. Countertop builders, roofers, barn builders, solar light tube installers and numerous others. Beyond craftsman, companies selling items such as gazebos, hot tubs, greenhouses and other outdoor buildings also can be found in the vendor section at the show, which has more than 500 total exhibitors.

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Jan. 28; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Jan. 29.

Where: Tacoma Dome, 2727 E. D St., Tacoma.

Cost: Tickets are $12 adults; free for children 16 and younger. Parking is free. Find a $2 discount coupon at


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Greenery event to teach design, profit to garden enthusiasts – Charleston Gazette

Garden and landscape enthusiasts may grow their skills in design and horticulture Friday at the West Virginia Nursery Landscape Association’s annual Winter Symposium.

“I think it’s an opportunity for people in the area to hear from some really top notch speakers that we’ve brought in to Charleston from all over the country,” said Julie Robinson, WVNLA’s executive director.

Robinson said anyone in the green industry could benefit.

The one-day event features informative sessions by professional landscapers and gardeners covering both design and profit topics including new design styles for naturalistic and sustainable plantings, naturalist style, new plants, making of memorable places, specialty pruning, landscape design-and-build sales process, creating an unbiddable landscape plan, making social media work for your business, and how to become invincible to lawsuits and save thousands in taxes.

Jan Bills, who owns and operates a southeast Michigan boutique landscape company called Two Women and a Hoe, is one of the scheduled speakers. Her company specializes in indoor and outdoor sustainable design, consultation, installation and organic garden maintenance.

Her presentation, “Making Social Media Work for Your Business,” is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.

“I’ll be sharing how to utilize and leverage social media for small business,” she said.

Bills will give tips on how to use Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for business. She said her Facebook averages between 1,000 and 2,000 new likes each week.

“I really watch my social media closely and have integrated it into my business model,” Bills said. “I’m going to share all of my dirty little secrets.”

Since 2006, she has assisted clients with their landscape and garden needs and shared her gardening experiences through lectures, presentations, social media and demonstrations along the way.

Her first book, “Late Bloomer: How to Garden with Comfort, Ease and Simplicity in the Second Half of Life” was published in November. Having a robust social media presence, she said, helped her get that opportunity.

“There are other experiences that you can be exposed to with a social media presence,” she said. “When you have a presence out there, people want to do business with you.”

For more information and to register, visit

Reach Anna Taylor at,

304-348-4881 or follow

@byannataylor on Twitter.

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ity manager serves up menu of growth ideas

City manager serves up menu of growth ideas

Hendersonville City Manager John Connet on Monday presented the Planning Board with an overview of planning projects, redevelopment concepts and growth strategies for 2017 and beyond.

Connet’s proposed agenda for the planners included updating the city’s zoning code, making the Historic Seventh Avenue District an Urban Redevelopment Area and potentially withdrawing city zoning control from a one-mile perimeter beyond its borders.
On affordable housing, Connet said there are things the city can do through land-use planning to encourage higher density housing.
“The question for the Planning Board is are we happy with larger developments or do we want to incentivize people’s ability to build duplexes, to build triplexes,” he said. “Are there some things we can do to provide attractive housing close to downtown. What do we need to be doing?”
Planning Board members cited two recent cases where the City Council had rejected multi-family rezoning requests that the Planning Board had endorsed.
“We have to fight the misconception that (higher density development) is going to be a low-rent kind of deal and people don’t want that in their back yard,” board member Jay Thorndike said.
Connet was forthright in laying out options, telling the planners at one point that the city staff could identify potential tracts for higher density development and seek zoning to permit it.
“That creates work and it may backfire on me,” he said.
Connet and city Zoning Administrator Susan Frady acknowledged that inconsistencies and confusion in city codes often frustrate landowners seeking development permits.
“We just want to have a clean ordinance,” Frady said. “With the zoning ordinance and the special use section, it needs to flow where somebody can look at it and know what the requirements are without having us sit with them three or four times to show them.”
Planning Board members also recalled times when the city rules seemed inconsistent when it comes to landscaping.
“I seem to recall trees” in renderings of the new Health Sciences Center, Jon Blatt said. “There’s not a single tree on that project. How did that come to pass?”
Steve Johnson responded: “And you’ve got the opposite problem. The Fresh Market parking lot is almost overlandscaped and it’s almost dangerous to try to maneuver in that parking lot because of all the landscaping.
Stormwater rules are partly to blame. “One way you can meet stormwater regulations is to use rainwater and do rain gardens (to filter runoff) and that’s what they’ve chosen to do,” Connet said.
City planners have also been trying to identify regulations that cause developers an expensive and time-consuming pass through City Council approval. One example is minor variances to previously issued zoning permits.
“It’s hard to say what’s a no brainer but maybe we could give some leeway that this is something that just comes back to the Planning Board and the Planning Board says we approve it,” he said. “This is just a de minimis change.”
Many of the ideas have been in discussion at the staff level for a year, Connet said, and they’ll take more time to study and move forward.
“It’s going to take some time but we want to do it right,” he said.

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Amid landscaping concerns, safety zone gets the OK





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Oklahoma City home show works with nonprofit

The Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show is working with Rebuilding Together OKC to show event guests how they can renovate their homes and neighborhoods while taking care of some of the community’s most vulnerable people.

The nonprofit organization helps low-income homeowners in the metro area make free, critical house repairs and updates such as patching leaky roofs, fixing broken stairs and installing ramps and grab bars.

The Oklahoma City Home + Garden Show is in the Centennial Building, Cox Pavilion and the Bennett Events Center at State Fair Park. It continues from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

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

“The Home and Garden Show is the perfect place to find all your home and outdoor renovation options in one place, including how to improve your home’s most critical functions,” said RaeAnn Saunders, show manager. “Rebuilding Together OKC used home improvement to connect neighbors and allow homeowners to live independently for as long as possible, and we want visitors to the show to learn how they can help.”

Show guests will get a chance to learn more about Rebuilding Together OKC, as well as see their impact through interactive presentations, fun projects for children and displays of derby cars used in the annual Construction Derby fundraising event. Representatives will be on hand to answer any questions and provide more information about the organization and how to volunteer or donate.

Rebuilding Together OKC also will be one of several presenters on the Lifestyle Stage throughout the weekend. Experts in home safety and renovation will discuss how to properly maintain a home to make it safe, warm and dry.

“Years of deferred home maintenance can lead to negative impacts on a homeowner’s health and can leave them feeling unsafe and vulnerable. When that happens, the whole neighborhood can suffer,” said Mike Edmison, executive director of Rebuilding Together OKC. “We want to show how simple, quick home repairs can make a big difference in the lives of their families, friends and neighbors.”

Other show highlights

•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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From roses to shade plants, Nursery School offers variety

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Your Garden: Ways to root juneberries





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How to cultivate year-round color and beauty in your landscape

Is your landscaping interesting throughout the year? If not, you may be lacking the elements that create year-round interest.

They are referred to as the “bones” of the garden, and they add color and structure to catch the eye. Winter in Kansas City can be bleak. Shades of brown and tan are beautiful in panoramic views like the Flint Hills. But they can be monochromatic and dull in smaller spaces like your home landscape and increase our winter blues.

Adding bones can be accomplished by dotting the landscape with evergreens. Their pop of color and natural growth structure help create interest and play off the subdued winter landscape.

Landscaping around the home entrance should be at least one-third evergreen. This basic rule can also be applied throughout the entire garden: It allows enough space for other plants and flowers to contribute variety in spring, summer and fall. Too many evergreens don’t leave room for change, making the landscape seem static.

But evergreens are not just green. Shades of blue-gray may be found in spruces, and yellow-golds are common in junipers or false cypress. Adding a variety of color increases the dramatic effect of the winter bones.

Form and texture can also help add winter interest. Plant evergreens with varying habits: spreading, upright, weeping or rounded. Weeping or columnar forms create strong accents that catch the eye.

Bones are year-round focal points, and it is important for them to shine from many angles. Group or mass them to soften the home or draw attention to the front door.

In the backyard, plant in masses or use them as accents. Groupings of evergreen trees can add beauty as well as function as a windbreak or screen. Accents are created by placing a single plant in a prime location that helps pull the landscape together, causing the eye to stop and linger. Mixing in ornamental grasses can also contribute to the bones of a winter landscape.

Stand in your house and look out. Do you see a winter scene that holds your attention? Well-placed bones should be visible from several windows. Let your eyes and mind wander, and you will quickly know where the bones should find a place in your garden.

Dennis Patton is a horticulture agent with the Kansas State University Research and Extension. To get your gardening questions answered on The Star’s KC Gardens blog by university extension experts, go to

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January is a good month for garden planning – News – recordonline … – Times Herald

Q: I know it is winter, but I have been told that gardening is a year-round activity. What gardening tips can you offer for January? – Scott from Greenwood Lake 

A: January is a good month for gardening, at least on paper and in your mind, as you start the planning process for this year’s garden. A good place to begin looking for ideas is curled up on the coach with your favorite gardening magazine, books and seed catalogs. 

Here are some useful tips by gardening category to consider while planning. 

Plant and Seed Orders 

• Do not wait until late in the winter to order seeds and plants. Many varieties sell out early, especially new and unusual varieties. If you want the best selection, place orders early. 

• When reviewing your garden catalogs for new varieties to try, an important consideration is improved insect and/or disease resistance. They will reduce costs and reduce environmental pollution. Also watch for drought-tolerant types. 

• Check out new releases of old favorites when planning your flowerbeds. New hybrids are constantly being developed to offer more color choices or resistance to insects and diseases. 

• Some very tiny seeds such as begonias need to be sown in winter. Others, such as All-America winning coneflower PowWow Wild Berry, need to be sown at the end of January in order to bloom the first year from seed. 

• To determine how many seeds to order, map out your garden on graph paper, allowing adequate space between rows and ample room for vining crops such as pumpkins and winter squash. 

• You might want to plan your order with a gardener friend or neighbor, so you can sample more varieties as well as save on shipping costs. In addition, some seed companies offer discounts or free seeds for early bird and/or large orders. Just don’t order more than you can use. That’s where the notes you kept from past years will be useful. 

• Analyze last year’s planting, fertilizing and spraying records. Make notes to reorder successful varieties as well as those you wish to try again. 

Ice Melt 

• While snow makes a good protective cover for plants, if you use salt to melt ice on driveways or walkways, be careful not to pile snow from these areas on your plants or where melting snow will drain onto them. After the snow melts, flush the area around the roots exposed to salt with fresh water. 

• When using salt to melt ice on walks and driveways, spread it carefully to avoid damage to nearby shrubs. Consider using sand or sawdust instead. 

• Damage on needled evergreens will show as copper and yellow tints to foliage by spring. Deciduous plants will develop bronze or reddish leaves in the spring from salt damage. 

Gardening Education 

• Winter is a good time to sign up for gardening classes or seminars offered by Cornell Cooperative Extension, many libraries, garden centers and town recreation offices. Most gardeners love to talk about gardening and don’t mind sharing their methods. 

• Spend time browsing the garden section at your library or on the Internet. 

• Join a garden club. 


• When pruning large limbs, always undercut first. This means to cut from the bottom up, one-third of the way through the limb, then finish by cutting from the top. The undercut keeps the limb from splitting and breaking off, which could damage the trunk and become an entryway for insects and diseases. Do not cut flush to the trunk; the collar or enlarged base of a branch produces hormones that help heal wounds. 

Garden tools 

• If you have some time this winter, paint the handles of garden tools red or orange. This will preserve the wood and make the tools easier to locate next summer when you lay them down in the garden or on the lawn. 

• If you need to replace a tiller or want to add a few new gardening tools to your inventory, start comparison shopping in January. Some of this equipment won’t be available in garden centers for a few more months. But by studying catalogs and magazines, talking to friends, and surfing the Internet now, you will have a better idea of what you want and won’t waste valuable time in the spring. 

New landscape plans 

• This is a good time to get spring gardening ideas from magazines and catalogs, brush up on your gardening skills, and devise an improved landscaping plan. 

• The same goes for landscape plants. Start thinking about what you need to fill in any gaps in your landscape or what new plants you’d like to try. It may help to take a walk around your property to visualize where landscape improvements are needed or where you might put in a new flower bed. Think about color, scents, textures, and shapes. Then scout out companies that carry what’s on your wish list. 

• Study the winter landscape in the Arboretum gardens, your neighbors’ yards and community parks. Take photos of favorite natural scenes and do a little research to identify plants and grasses that create interest in winter gardens. Consider adding more plants with winter interest – evergreens, plants with attractive branching patterns or bark – to your landscape in the spring. 


This is the first part of a two-part column. Part two will appear in next Saturday’s Times Herald-Record. Debbie Lester is the community horticulture educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension Orange County.


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