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Archives for March 10, 2017

Consultants, audience help Artis—Naples look ahead for improvements

It was an evening of word stamps — “interconnectivity,” “indoor-outdoor integration” and “program flexibility” — to summon up the future of Artis—Naples for curious patrons.

And there were hints at how those words can translate into concrete opportunities.

An estimated 600 came to Hayes Hall for a presentation by Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi, the New York-based husband-and-wife team whose company won the bid to design a master plan to take Artis—Naples through the next 30 years.

Those who came saw works the team has done: creating an origami-inspired waterfront sculpture park in Seattle, bringing a park indoors for a U.N. retreat center and adding a visitor center to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

They also got glimpses of where the consulting group already sees possible opportunities:

“When we got to the top of the Stabile building it was terribly apparent — that connection to the water that we want to capture,” Marion Weiss told the group.

The climate that makes Florida so popular came up time and again, in the notion of offering an area for walking and some sort of outdoor visuals, including landscaping.

Weiss and Manfredi emphasized they want to take advantage of every physical potential to encourage and expand the types of events that happen there. The potential for more dining with concerts came up, as did classes (such as yoga) that might have a tangential relation to culture.

“The thing that came back to us is that you have a multicultural, multidisciplinary venue here that is really unique. Not many places have such opportunities,” Michael Manfredi told the crowd.

The idea of the forum Thursday was to solicit questions and ideas from the audience as well as the planners.

There will be more opportunities to offer ideas, through a survey and form that is expected to go live on the Artis—Naples site next week.

The organization even recorded video to enable those who couldn’t attend to hear all the questions, and there will be a form to fill out and mail in, much like the postcards the crowd at Hayes Hall received.

Most of the audience participation focused on logistical questions such as protecting pedestrians from the sun and keeping parking viable. But the ideas were starting to come in. By the end of the evening, staff had collected moe than 100 cards with ideas.

To participate in the survey and download a form, see

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The visual and delectable appeal of an edible landscape

Edible landscaping has become a trend for many gardening enthusiasts. A combination of edible plants along with traditional ornamentals can be an artful presentation. There are some challenges when designing such a landscape. However, the opportunities far outweigh the challenges.

One of the most difficult challenges is making sure your garden or landscape is healthy and vibrant year-round. Remember, most edibles have short life spans. These include plants such as eggplant, pepper, lettuce, artichoke and some annual herbs. There is a solution to this concern. First, know your edible plant’s propagation and maturity months. This way you can offset plantings to ensure color in your landscape. Another key measure is to mix some evergreen ornamentals in with short season edibles and long season edibles. Examples of long season edibles are berry shrubs, fruit trees and biennial or perennial herbs.

When designing your edible landscape, think about style and theme to help guide you through the process. A formal design has more straight edges and geometric shapes whereas, the more natural approach has meandering edges and irregular shapes. A color scheme in harmony is very important. Remember, edible landscape is not a production food garden. The goal is not to grow a high yield garden, but only to produce supplemental edibles to make the endeavor worthwhile.

Dr. Gail Hansen, Associate Professor of Environmental Horticulture at the University of Florida, has developed twelve ideas when creating an edible landscape:


1. Combine reliable, low-maintenance ornamental with edible plants. Use evergreen ornamentals to maintain enough green structure, so that potential cool season bare spots are not visual.


2. Use support structures for an artistic effect and to assist in growth of some plants. Trellises, arbors and even tomato cages are some examples that can be used.



3. Use containers in areas to keep the landscape more organized. Planters will also help in maintenance, as plants will be easier to reach and the soil will be easier to manage.


4. Create some hard edges in your landscape. Raised beds, garden walls and borders will give defining lines to the landscape and promote a clean appearance.


5. A pathway through the landscape will both provide an access to plants and give an inviting appeal. Brick pavers, gravel and mulch are good examples of pathway material.


6. Remember color is key. Create a visually pleasing combination of plant color, form, texture and sizes.


7. Always start by keeping it simple. So, start small and simple. Then, you can begin filling in the landscape.


8. Look for one unique feature to create an added interest to you landscape and provide growth to plants. This could be a shade house for ferns and other hanging baskets or a hay bale, where lettuce, tomatoes or peppers could grow upon, with an addition of a little top soil.


9. Select appealing and easy to grow plants that you want to eat!


10. Let plants reach maturity before taking them out of the landscape. For example, rainbow chard will grow larger, if allowed to continue to grow after seed has been produced.


11. Use the Florida-Friendly Landscaping principle, “Right Plant, Right Place”, when adding edibles to your landscape. Match the growing needs with the most suitable location.


12. Consider your location and layout for irrigation. All plants need some degree of water. An above ground drip irrigation system is usually the most flexible and adjustable irrigation method in regards to overall plant watering needs in a landscape.


Following Dr. Hansen’s ideas will help you create the edible landscape of your dreams. For more information on edible landscaping, please contact the Gulf County Extension Office at 639-3200.


Supporting information for this article can be found in the UF/IFAS EDIS Publications, “Landscape Design with Edibles” by Dr. Gail Hansen:


UF/IFAS Extension is an Equal Opportunity Institution.




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Local nursery offers affordable gardening tips to spruce up your yard

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With all the sunny weather we’ve seen lately, you have spring fever.

8News Anchor Christina Feerick recently visited a nursery in Chesterfield County for ideas on how to get your yard ready for the blooms.

Mark McAuliffe’s family has been in the nursery business for 43 years, and it shows. He shared a few ideas and tips with 8News that will be especially helpful for those of you who don’t have a green thumb.

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Here are some March gardening tips for the Fort Smith region

Gardening is in the air, and many gardeners in the Fort Smith region are anxious to begin the season. However, despite our topsy-turvy weather and the fact that spring arrives March 20, the first frost-free day is still a month away.

Here are a dozen tips to consider for March in the garden:

• This is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Remove ties and strings around balled-in-burlap plants and don’t leave any burlap above the ground as it can wick moisture away from the plant.

• Bareroot plants, those in plastic sleeves, must be planted while dormant.

• Fertilize pansies. This is a prime blooming and growing month for them.

• A general rule of thumb is divide fall bloomers in the spring and spring bloomers in the fall. Dig and divide hostas, chrysanthemums and sedums.

• Give ornamental grasses such as liriope a haircut to remove old leaves. Do this before new growth begins.

• Prune hybrid tea roses if not done already. Cut 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud at a 45-degree angle. Seal cut wounds with sealer to prevent dieback from diseases and insects.

• Prune crepe myrtles, buddleias and summer blooming spireas.

• Prune spring blooming plants after bloom. As soon as quince, forsythia and other cane producing spring flowering shrubs have finished blooming, prune out a third of the old canes. This rejuvenation cut will encourage vigorous new growth that will bloom next spring.

• Plant cool season vegetables — potatoes, turnips, lettuce, spinach, kale. Set out transplants of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower. Start planting sweet corn later in the month.

• Keep and eye out for aphids and get them before they take over your plants. Use either a strong stream of water or use safer soap products

• If you want flowers on your cactus, plant it in a small pot. Most cacti bloom sooner if rootbound.

• Repot houseplants that have grown too large for their containers. Cut back leggy plants to encourage compact growth. Root the cuttings in moist media to increase your supply of plants.

• Be prepared to provide cold weather protection as needed.

Have questions about lawn, garden or other horticulture related issues? The Sebastian County Extension Service is here to help with offices in Barling and Greenwood. Feel free to call (479) 484-7737 for answers to all your horticulture questions.

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Ridgefield happenings: Gardening tips, lady golfers and Greenville College Choir

Declutter, organize

Declutter or Organize? is the name of a new workshop in Ridgefield Continuing Education. Instructor Juls’ Arthur will give hands-on demonstrations.

Design coach Linda Keefer will present designer principles for small-space rooms and teach how to create a room layout on graph paper.

Arthur is the Connecticut ambassador for the National Association of Professional Organizers. 

The class meets on Friday, March 24, from 1 to 2:30 at the Venus Building (old high school). Cost is $29. Registration deadline is March 22 and is required for a pre-class organizing style quiz. Information at or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

An afternoon with  two mystery writers

Two local mystery writers, Jean E. Cullander and Dorothy Hayes, will speak about their recently released mystery novels at the Ridgefield Library on Saturday, March 11, at 2 p.m.

Cullander’s debut mystery novel, The Train to Skeleton Coast, was a finalist in the international Eludia 2015 book award competition.

Hayes, a staff writer for local Connecticut newspapers for five years, received an honorary award for her in-depth series on Vietnam veterans from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Books will be available for sale and signing at the event. Information and registration at or 203-438-2282.

Ridgefield battle talk

An event that is part of the 240th anniversary re-enactment of the Battle of Ridgefield is the subject of a talk in Redding. The Drum Hill DAR members will join the Redding Historical Society for a program at the Mark Twain Library in Redding on the topic of the Danbury Raid of 1777 and its impact on Redding.

The talk is on March 12 at 3 p.m. Two historians, Sal Lilienthal, author of Revolutionary Battles, and Brent Colley, an expert on the history of Redding, Branchville and Georgetown, will be the speakers.

Learning Through Film looks at drug addiction

The Anonymous People, a documentary on how long-term recovery from addiction is possible and how those who have obtained it can assist in dispelling negative perceptions, is part of the next Learning Through Film program at the Ridgefield Library, Sunday, March 16, at 7 p.m.

The film’s director, Greg Williams, will be present for the screening. The screening is underwritten by Family ReEntry of Norwalk.

Spring gardening

Spring planting time is about here, and Ridgefield Continuing Education has gardening classes. Bulbs, Perennials and Ornamental Grasses covers how to create a layered garden by underplanting beds with bulbs and what plants thrive in our area and resist deer (Wednesday, March 22, $31).  

Landscape Garden Design (Mondays, March 27 and April 3, $49) focuses on the garden room and covers steps to successful design, including selection and siting of plants, elements of design, color theory, and how to create a design on paper to work from.

The Cut Flower Gardening workshop (Wednesday, March 29, $31) explores the world of cut flowers and how to grow and use different types of plant material to keep your vases filled all year round.

Instructor Laura Stabell is a master gardener, arborist, horticulturist, and naturalist. Workshops meet from 7 to 9 p.m. at East Ridge Middle School. More classes are available in April. Advance registration required. Ridgefield senior discount available. More information at or phone Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

Lady golfers plan a meet-and-greet

The Ridgefield Ladies Golf Association plans a new member meet-and-greet on Tuesday, April 4, from 10 to noon at the Ridgefield Golf Course, 545 Ridgebury Road.

The association offers Tuesday morning league play for both nine- and 18-hole players. The season runs from April through October and welcomes all skill levels.

Activities include Tuesday morning game arranging, weekly group clinics, monthly nine and dine social, and the opportunity to meet and play with new and old friends.

Spring Stroll includes Gone Country BBQ

The Downtown Ridgefield Spring Stroll is Friday, May 5, and the fourth annual Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival in Ridgefield runs Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7.

Gone Country is a collaboration between the Ridgefield Rotary Club and the Lounsbury House. More than 5,000 attended last year.

In addition to being the state BBQ championship, it features kids rides and musical performances — headline artists will be Erik Kreig, Jesse Lynch and Michelle DeAngelis.  

More information is available at

Jewelry classes

Ridgefield Continuing Education jewelry classes are for beginner and advanced students.

Beading for All Jewelry is a one-session workshop. Cost is $29, plus materials cost of $10 and up per project, depending on materials selected. It meets Wednesdays, March 29, April 26 or May 17, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

In the Leather Wrapped Bracelet Workshop, creating double- and triple-wrap leather bracelets with crystals will be taught. It meets Wednesday, March 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Cost is $29, plus materials cost of $20.

Instructor is Viola Galetta. Ridgefield senior discount available. Advance registration required. Information at or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

McNally’s photos topic of ARTalk

Photographer Joe McNally will give an ARTalk at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 12, at the Ridgefield Library. McNally’s more than 35-year career has included being a contributor to National Geographic and a contract photographer for Sports Illustrated, as well as shooting cover stories for Time, Newsweek, Fortune, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine.

His prints are in numerous collections, including the National Portrait Gallery of the United States and the Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum.  

McNally’s Faces of Ground Zero — Portraits of the Heroes of Sept. 11th is a collection of 246 giant Polaroid portraits shot near Ground Zero. He has authored several books on photography and has done commercial and advertising work ranging from FedEx to the American Ballet Theater.

Information and registration at or 203-438-2282.

Domestic thriller by Parks is topic

The Ridgefield Library and Books on the Common are welcoming back author Brad Parks to discuss Say Nothing, his latest domestic thriller, on Friday, March 17, at 7 p.m. at the library.

In Say Nothing, federal Judge Scott Sampson seems to have it all: a prestigious job, a beautiful wife and adorable twins, Sam and Emma. It’s the kind of life most of us dream about, but in an instant, Sampson’s life takes a nightmarish turn.

Parks is a former reporter for The Washington Post and The Star-Ledger. Books will be available for sale and for signing at the event.

Information and registration at or 203-438-2282.

Plant-based diet is topic of talk

The Ridgefield Visiting Nurse Association is planning a nutrition program, Road Map to a Plant-Based Diet, on Thursday, April 6.

Meg Whitbeck, RVNA registered dietitian and nutrition educator, and Cathy Katin-Grazzini, plant-based chef and owner of Cathy’s Kitchen Prescription, will have a presentation that includes a cooking demonstration and tasting in the RVNA teaching kitchen.

The presentation will take place from 11:30 to 1 and the fee is $23; RSVP to 203-438-5555.

Shredding day

The Ridgefield Lions Club, in conjunction with Winters Brothers, will be holding a document shredding day on Saturday, April 22, from 9 to noon at the parking lot behind Starbucks, 94 Danbury Road. The cost is $10 per copy paper-size box (larger boxes extra) and no appointment is necessary. For more information, call Chuck Hancock at 203-438-1332.

All money collected will be used by the Lions Club for senior citizens, student scholarships and other local projects.


Voiceovers is available through Ridgefield Continuing Education. Instructor Wendy Shapero is a voice artist, actor, choreographer, dancer, and comedian.

Shapero does voice for TV and radio commercials and will illustrate how to use voice for commercials, films and videos.  

Advance registration is required and space is limited. The class meets on Saturday, April 1, from 1 to 3 at East Ridge Middle School. Tuition and registration fees total $31. Ridgefield seniors, age 62 and over, pay $24. Registration at or Peggy Bruno at 203-431-2812.

West Point Band in concert March 18

The West Point Band will give a performance at East Ridge School on Saturday, March 18, at 7:30 p.m.

The music ranges from patriotic fare to marches, and includes original commissions and orchestral transcriptions.

Staff Sgts. Philip Broome and Chris Leslie will be featured on Mendelssohn’s violin concerto, transcribed for euphonium duet, and Staff Sgt. Kristen Mather de Andrade will perform the third movement of Philip Sparke’s clarinet concerto. The show is free.

For concert information, call 845-938-2617 or visit

April 2 Chili Fest for amateurs, pros

This year’s Chili Fest is on Sunday, April 2, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Ridgefield Recreation Center.

Visitors sample chilis by both amateur cooks and professional chefs.

Amateur cooks win prizes and bragging rights as they vie for the People’s Choice Award, based on votes from festival attendees, or the Celebrity Choice Award, decided by a panel of celebrity judges.

Entry is free for amateur cooks, requiring only two gallons of the entrant’s homemade chili. Cooks of all ages may enter. To enter, contact [email protected]

Sponsored by Ridgefield Democrats, the fest is a nonpartisan, family-friendly event.

General admission tickets are $25/person (age 16+). A family pack ticket that will admit up to four children ages 7-15 may be purchased for $10, and children 6 and under are admitted free.

Tickets may be purchased at or at the door.

Congregational Church plans Lent programs

Spiritual programs of the First Congregational Church on Wednesday evenings during Lent will be held at the Keeler Tavern Garden House, beginning each week at 6:30 p.m. with a meal, followed at 7 p.m. by prayers, worship songs and meditation.

March through Mark is the church’s theme for the season of Lent.

The Wednesday evening events are held at the Garden House of Keeler Tavern as construction is underway to renovate and expand the church’s program and education building. Sunday worship continues in the sanctuary, with a service of word and sacrament at 8:15 a.m. and family worship at 10 a.m. Sunday school is during the 10 a.m. hour in the classroom wing, which is unaffected by construction, with middle and high schoolers meeting in Shields House next door at 99 Main Street.

Greenville College Choir.

Greenville College choir to perform at St. Stephen’s

The Greenville College Choir (Greenville, Ill.) of 42 singers will perform in concert on Thursday, March 16, at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 351 Main Street. Founded in 1927, the choir performs sacred choral music. Ridgefield is one of several stops through the eastern United States as part of the ensemble’s 90th anniversary year concert tour. The rector of St. Stephen’s, the Rev.Whitney Altopp, and her husband, Michael, are graduates of Greenville.

More information is available at 203-438-3789 or

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Papertrained: Tips for keeping your barking dog quiet





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Oregon State University Extension offers garden tips





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GARDEN MAIDEN: Tips for starting indoor seeds

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