Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for February 27, 2017

Ashley Falls students design new school garden

Ashley Falls Elementary School sixth graders played a big role in designing a new school garden, learning about working with a limited budget and using real world math to calculate the costs, geometry to determine the volume of the beds to purchase soil and sharpening their number sense working with percentages.

The garden challenge was designed by teachers Caitlin Williams, Melissa Davis and Traci Zuckerman to not only bring the school garden back to life but create a hands-on learning experience for students. 

The student-led team presented their project to the Del Mar Union School District (DMUSD) board on Feb. 15.

When Ashley Falls opened, a garden was included on campus and some things have been planted over the years but there has never truly been student interaction with it, according to Williams who has been at the school all 19 years. Williams made a request to the PTA last year to improve the garden and received $4,000 to work with.

Instead of the teachers coming up with something to do with the garden, Williams said they decided to present the challenge to the sixth graders so they would have some ownership over the garden.

“Their task was to create the most space-efficient, cost-effective, appealing garden that would actually be built this year,” Williams said.

The kids were given a budget of $2,000 and were tasked with designing a garden map which designated locations of required elements of garden beds, compost bins, a shed, water attachment and a hose. Students had to find the volume of each garden bed to decide how much soil to buy and then had the freedom to add any creative touches with the extra money.

The students in each sixth grade class worked in groups of two to three to design garden ideas and then each class voted on the top designs. The teachers picked Jenny Hu and Sara Sigal as the winners, however, they worked to collaborate with fellow students to include other ideas. A leadership team of “Garden Greats” included Shai Davis, Kate Endres, Claudia Arriaga, Maura Rissman, Elissa Beruti-Bosze, Ameya Barve, Isaac Schrage, Mailee Phan and Kylie Cava.

In their planning, the students determined that they needed 80 bags of organic soil to fill the 12 garden beds, even finding a better deal on the bags of soil that Williams had recommended. In their design, they were able to include a fountain, eight key tiles representing the eight keys of excellence taught in the school, eight quote signs, a welcome stone, archways, five animal statues, two bird feeders and four rain boots signed by the sixth graders.

The Garden Greats stayed under budget, using $1,956.78 of the $2,000.

“I think we could use some of you in our budget department,” DMUSD President Doug Rafner joked.

The next steps will be organizing a community work day to clear out of the old garden and build the new design. The work day has yet to be scheduled.

Article source:

New features added to expanded outdoor living show

For 50 years, area residents have been able to see and hear about the latest in gardens and outdoor living at an annual show.

Organizers say this year’s Outdoor Living and Landscape Show – taking place next weekend at Century II – will cover even more ground.

The Outdoor Living and Landscape Show is the sixth edition of the show that took over for the Wichita Garden Show that had run for 44 years. It is expanding into Century II’s Convention Hall this year, said show producer Brad Horning of Entercom Communications. That will add about 40,000 square feet to the 100,000-square-foot Expo Hall the show usually takes place in.

Along with the added space comes more ways to entertain and educate show-goers. Organizers have even taken into consideration that the show comes at the same time as Missouri Valley Conference basketball tournament play. There will be a TV lounge for Wichita State fans to catch any weekend Shocker games and shoot hoops for prizes.

A popular backyard makeover giveaway, valued at $8,500, will again be offered, Horning said.

Here’s a look at the some of the show’s new features.

▪ Grilling stage demonstrations. “We’re going to show people how to do a complete dinner on the grill in 15 minutes,” said Don Cary, owner of All Things BBQ. The store’s chef, Tom Jackson, and staff will demonstrate making a grilled flank steak, as well as cauliflower rice. Cauliflower has become a popular, healthy substitute for traditional rice and pasta side dishes. The demonstrations are set for 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. daily.

▪ A live beehive. Koelzer Bee Farm in Corning will display a live beehive under glass. Backyard beekeeping has become a popular hobby following reports about bee deaths and their effect on agriculture. Besides producing honey, bees pollinate vegetables, crops, fruit and nut trees and more. A seminar on backyard pollinators also will be offered.

▪ A tiny house. Slim House RV in Hutchinson is bringing a two-story tiny home, another popular trend.

▪ A children’s garden. Kids can get their faces painted and make paper butterflies with staff from Love Character, a paper and party supply story. Downloadable coloring pages can also be found on the show’s website.

▪ A pop-up pet adoption site. Find the perfect pet to enjoy the outdoors with you. Adoptable pets will be available from the Wichita Animal Action League and All Paws Pet Center.

▪ Lawn mower test drives. Vendor Cub Cadet will have a test drive area at the show.

Vendors and exhibitors will include several area landscaping and design companies, garden centers and nurseries, who will showcase ways to use plants and color in areas as small as a deck and as large as a spacious backyard – and how to incorporate water features. Expect to find new plants, as well.

Vendors who offer other outdoor products, like fencing, siding and windows, also can be found at the show, Horning said.

The show is a great way to get pointers and advice, plus purchase plants and products, said Horning and vendors.

“It’s a good time to pin us down in one place to ask questions,” said Nathan Polson, garden designer for Hong’s Landscape.

The first 300 people through the door each day will receive a free “dream journal” to jot down notes and inspiration, Horning said.

Outdoor Living and Landscape Show

When: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. March 4, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. March 5

Where: Century II Expo Hall and Convention Center, 225 W. Douglas

Tickets: $10, $8 seniors (60 and older), $5 ages 5-12, free for ages 4 and under;, 316-219-4849, at the door. Free parking at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium, 300 S. Sycamore, with free shuttle service to Century II. A coupon for $1 off an adult admission can be found on the show’s website.


Gardening seminars


1 p.m. – new plants and succulents

2 p.m. – ornamental grasses

3 p.m. – state of trees in Wichita

4 p.m. – treating oaks with iron chlorosis

5 p.m. – trees and shrubs

6 p.m. – backyard pollinators

March 4

10 a.m. – landscaping 101

11 a.m. – aquatic plants for ponds

Noon – small trees, big impact

1 p.m. – ways you may be sabotaging containers

2 p.m. – new perennials and shrubs for 2017

3 p.m. – annuals and herbs for 2017

4 p.m. – backyard pollinators

5 p.m. – horticulture seminar

March 5

Noon – benefits of a healthy lawn

1 p.m. – herb gardening

2 p.m. – growing roses

3 p.m. – container gardening 101

Article source:

Share your love of gardening – News – Republican Herald

Article Tools

The weather can’t seem to make up its mind if it’s still winter or ready for spring. That means it’s the perfect time to start planning gardens and landscaping. The Penn State Master Gardeners are here to help you with your green thumb. They provided the following on their programs.

Schuylkill County is fortunate to have a willing group of horticulture volunteer educators known as Master Gardeners who are ready to assist the public with topics pertaining to gardening. Now in their 16th year of service, the Schuylkill County Master Gardeners have responded to questions phoned in on their Garden Hort Line, provided topics on monthly radio broadcasts, attended as resource persons at community events, presented information to community groups, and maintained public gardens in Schuylkill Haven and Sweet Arrow Lake.

Penn State Extension services are available in all counties as “outreach” or “extension” of Penn State University research in horticulture, plant pathology, entomology, fruit, livestock and agronomy from their college of Agricultural Sciences. Penn State Master Gardeners are the part of the extension service that addresses gardening questions from homeowners.

As a result of increasing interest in home gardening, landscaping and vegetable and fruit growing, the Master Gardener program was initiated in Seattle in 1972. Since then, they’ve trained 50,000 volunteers across the nation. Penn State has had Master Gardener programs for 36 years, however the Schuylkill County program is relatively young, having graduating the first class of recruits in 2001.

The program provides many services to the community. Every Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April through October, they answer questions by phone, email or from walk-in clients on a wide variety of garden topics.

Other ongoing programs include maintaining public demonstration gardens in Schuylkill Haven and Sweet Arrow Lake, offering programming to community organizations, serving as advisors on planning committees, staffing informational tables at community events, posting tips through Facebook, providing monthly garden help through a radio talk show, writing monthly articles for local media and providing speakers.

In Schuylkill County, every two years the program recruits new volunteers who have a gardening background, an interest in growing their knowledge base every year, can be flexible in the volunteer program and, most importantly, the desire to serve as volunteer educators to county residents. Accepted applicants receive 45 hours of education over a 16-week series by Penn State faculty and extension educators. Upon passing a written exam, volunteers are committed to 50 hours of service to the county through their programs and requests.

State level initiatives that they promote are Backyard Composting, Green Garden Clean Water environmental education and Pollinator Friendly Gardening guidelines with a garden certification program.

Training for new Master Gardeners will begin this summer. Applications will be accepted through April 7. A free information program for interested candidates will be held at 6:30 p.m. March 22. If you’re interested in becoming a Master Gardener, contact them at 570-622-4225.

Tamaqua Community Art Center is celebrating its fifth anniversary at 5 p.m. Feb. 25. Activities include a silent auction, open house tours, hands-on pottery wheel demos, artist exhibits, fiber arts, kids’ crafts, acoustic music, food and more. The event is free but donations are greatly welcome.

Penn State Master Gardeners invite you to Vegetable Garden Start to Finish, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 4 at the Ag Center on the Gordon Nagle Trail. Educational topics will cover everything from seed selection to harvesting. Class fee of $14 includes lunch. Registration deadline is Friday. Call 570-622-4225 for details.

Enjoy an evening of Celtic music and dance with the Celtic Martins Family Band at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Tamaqua Community Arts Center. Irish and American fiddle tunes with Irish step dance will be showcased. Call 570-668-1192 to order tickets.

Community Volunteers in Action is the volunteer center for Schuylkill County. Search volunteer opportunities at Find us on Facebook. Call us at 570-628-1426 or email

Article source: