Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for March 24, 2017

Daniel Libeskind to design spiraling garden tower and new East Thiers Station in France

It’s a double-win for Studio Daniel Libeskind, who was recently selected to design two mixed-use projects in France: the Occitanie Tower in Toulouse and the East Thiers Train Station in Nice. The projects unveil a new development strategy for both cities that was set forth by commercial real estate firm Compagnie de Phalsbourg.

As Toulouse’s first skyscraper, the Occitanie Tower will take over the former site of the Gare Matabiau postal sorting center in the city’s evolving business district. The “curvaceous” tower will be a 150-meter-tall glass structure wrapped in a spiraling “ribbon” of vertical gardens (designed by landscape architect Nicolas Gilsoul) that will start from street level up to the 40th floor — a reference to the Canal du Midi that winds through the city, according to the architects.

Occitanie Tower, Toulouse. Rendering by MORPH.

Occitanie Tower, Toulouse. Rendering by LUXIGON.

The scheme includes 11,000 square meters of office space, a Hilton hotel, 120 apartment units, a restaurant with panoramic views, and retail space. Libeskind will work with local architect Francis Cardete on the tower, which is currently scheduled to start construction in 2018 and will be completed in 2022.

In Nice, Libeskind collaborated with Fevrier Carre Architectes and landscape architect Jean Mus to design the new East Thiers Train Station (Gare Thiers-Est) as part of a major redevelopment. The project will add new pedestrian pathways between the station and the street.

East Thiers Train Station, Nice. Courtesy of Studio Libeskind.

As Libeskind’s buildings tend to look, the station’s design features angular forms — which were inspired by the mineral azurite — and will have peaks up to 40 meters tall to conceal the train tracks. “My aim was to create a building that is seen from all angles — that will become the connective tissue between two sectors and reconnect the neighborhoods,” Daniel Libeskind said in a statement. 

Once the train station is completed in late 2019, it’ll also boast a Hilton hotel, a 600-seat auditorium, coworking spaces, terraced cafes, and 18,300 square-meters of high-end commercial space. Construction is expected to start later this year. 

Last year, Libeskind won the competition for another mixed use complex in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Article source:

Round Town: home show, music and animals

Patrick McKee

Published: March 23, 2017, 5:30 pm

Updated: March 23, 2017, 5:30 pm

(WSLS 10) – Find everything you need for your home at the Spring Home Show this weekend. Vendors will set up, showing off their products and services. You’ll find everything from blinds and shutters to energy saving ideas, landscaping and more. It’s at the Salem Civic Center on Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $8.

The Science Museum of Western Virginia holds the Butterfly Ball on Saturday. Check out some of the museum’s new exhibits while also enjoying food and drinks. It starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are $95.

Billy Currington comes to the Berglund Center as part of his Stay up til the Sun Tour. The show is Friday night at 8 p.m. Tickets start at $39.50.

The Roanoke Hokies – Virginia Tech Alumni Association is raising money for scholarships with a cornhole tournament. It’s Saturday from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Soaring Ridge Craft Brewers in Roanoke. It’s $20 per team. There will be prizes, raffles and a food truck.

Head to Lynchburg for the Lighten Up Lynchburg 5K Run/Walk to fight obesity. It’s Saturday at 8 a.m. at Peaks View Park. Registration is $30.

Mill Mountain Zoo holds Spring Fling and Free Day on Saturday. Celebrate the start of spring by seeing the animals as well as learn about gardening and birding. There’s also crafts and face painting. The zoo is open Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Related Posts

WSLS 10 may allow you to upload, post, transmit or otherwise provide content to WSLS 10, including, but not limited to, photos, video, audio, comments, articles, blogs, forums and any other such communication in which you provide content to the Web site (“User Content”). You agree that you are solely responsible for your communications and any content you provide.
Read full terms and conditions of use by clicking here.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.

Leave a Reply Cancel reply

Gravatar Logo

Twitter picture

Facebook photo

Google+ photo

Connecting to %s

Article source:

Golden Love to lead landscaping workshop – Santa Cruz Sentinel

APTOS Golden Love, licensed landscape contractor and specialist in water neutral landscapes, will lead a workshop aimed at helping people create their own sustainable gardens using ecological principles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Native Revival Nursery, 2600 Mar Vista. Please bring a scaled drawing, pictures, or sketches of your garden, your questions and ideas and learn how to apply design principles and actions on paper for your Spring planting.

Registration is $30 if completed by March 25, and $35 after that. To register, call 831-684-1811 or email to

The Sentinel welcomes submissions for Home and Garden Digest. Email items to

Article source:

DAY TRIP: Make yourself at home in Machesney Park

The annual Home Garden Showcase is April 1 and 2 at Forest Hills Lodge Banquet and Convention Center. More than 100 companies are expected to show folks what they have to offer, from services to products.

Landscaping ideas, gadgets for the garden, remodeling, and ponds and waterfalls are just a few of the things home remodelers can learn about at the show, whether they’re looking to just spruce up around the house, or they’re intent on doing something different for a whole new look.

University of Illinois Extension’s Master Gardeners will be on hand ready to answer questions on gardening, and visitors are more than welcome to bring in plants they would like to discuss.

For those who don’t have plants, then planters row is the place to be. Fill that plantless gap by purchasing some of the hundreds of live plants being sold.

Guests who aren’t interested in exercising their green thumb can learn about plenty of other things too. The following clinics will be offered:

April 1

• 10 a.m. – “Container Gardening in Small Areas”

• 11:45 a.m. – “Ornamental Grasses”

• 1 p.m. – “Beekeeping as a Hobby”

• 2:15 p.m. – “Why Native Plants”

April 2

• 10:45 a.m. – “Growing Veggies in Containers”

• 11:45 a.m. – “Composting”

• 1 p.m. – “Gardening with Recycled Products”

• 2:30 p.m. – “Seed Gardening”

Spend the day at the showcase or take a look at what the Machesney Park area has to offer. Along state Route 173, visitors will find Rock Cut State Park.

The park has 3,092 acres along with two lakes: Olson Lake and Pierce Lake. Hikers will find trails to roam, and they can even hop on a horse to enjoy one of the park’s horseback riding trails. Consider the 40 miles of hiking trails and 23 miles of mountain biking. The horses don’t have as much to cover – they get only 14 miles.

As you trek along the trails, keep you eyes peeled for signs of spring. Wildflowers are popping up and reaching for the sun, and Rock Cut State Park has plenty.

The main park entrance is a half mile from Interstate 90 at 7318 Harlem Road, Loves Park. A second entrance is off state Route 173. Alcohol is not allowed.

Visit for more park information or call 815-885-3311.


What: Home Garden Showcase

Where: Forest Hills Lodge Banquet and Convention Center, state Route 173 at Forest Hills Road, Machesney Park (next to Rockford Speedway)

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 1 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2

Admission: No charge

Information: or 815-871-7469

Article source:

Use stone to update, add interest to your landscape


Use stone to update, add interest to your landscape

As nurseries around town fill with scrumptious, irresistible spring plants, be sure to plan before you plop. As you start filling in the holes left by the ravages of our two winter days that were colder than 21 degrees, evaluate your landscape.

Successful landscape design includes not only the plants but also the hardscape in your garden. Stone, in particular, adds texture, contrast and definition to your landscape.

Stone has been used to beautify gardens for thousands of years. From decorative focal points like standing stones, cairns or stacking stones, to patios, walls and dry creeks, stone adds dimension to your garden. Several years ago, I worked on a design for a client who was a geologist, and we incorporated the homeowner’s collection of rocks gathered from around the country, which held special meaning. Perhaps adding a stone focal point in a bed can add a place for the eye to rest or significance to your garden.

To incorporate stone hardscape into your yard, begin with the first landscaping design principle, form follows function. If you are wearing a muddy trail across your yard, consider adding a flagstone or decomposed granite path to meander through the yard to your destination. Been thinking about how nice it would be to have a fire pit for evening entertaining? Create a gravel or granite circle with a stone seating wall or large boulders to gather with family and friends.

In her recently released book, “The Spirit of Stone,” Jan Johnsen walks readers through the origins and decorative uses of stone in the garden to its practical hardscape applications with how-to guides and tips for do-it-yourself projects. She writes, “This book shines a light on the beauty and enchantment that natural stone adds to an outdoor setting.”

Filled with beautiful photos, the book chronicles the use of stone in various cultures and offers examples that will inspire countless design ideas for your own garden.

She includes photos of several types of rock and gravel gardens dotted with succulents and xeric perennials and other plants. These xeric rock gardens highlight ways for plants and rocks to co-exist in a softened style that would work well in Central Texas gardens.

Many local homeowners are turning to dry creeks to address drainage issues caused by periodic drought-to-flood weather patterns. We’re embracing a more xeric gardening style and dry creeks serve two functions — to channel water during gully washers and to add the illusion of water through a ribbon of stone to define the landscape. Although the rock might appear randomly placed, designing a beautiful dry creek requires careful placement to achieve a truly natural look. Several sizes of rock should be used — the larger stones remain along the edges of the creek and smaller pieces of river rock appear to have tumbled through the water. Johnsen includes step-by-step instructions for placing rock for various projects by backfilling and digging it in deeper and burying it by at least one-third “to make it appear as if it juts out of the earth.”

Stone walls also can add definition to the garden to frame a bed, contain a slope or serve as an accent. Johnsen writes, “Stone walls add a timeless touch and an earthy richness to every garden. They are multifunctional.”

The book also includes a wide variety of stone pathway photos, with detailed instructions about choosing the appropriate width and type of path for your space and preferred style.

Some of the stone highlighted is native to other parts of the country, and not available here, so be sure to visit a few local stone yards so you can see what’s comparable and available locally for your project.

Here are some of the locally available choices that are commonly used for hardscape projects.

Flagstone — Offered in many different colors, it can be used for a variety of landscaping projects, from paths to patios and walls. It can be mortared into place or simply set in decomposed granite or gravel so it remains permeable. Wondering what to do with the sidewalk strip in front of your house where the grass is perpetually dying? Consider some attractive flagstone set in decomposed granite. If you want a softer look, add a few Mexican feather grasses, a few small agaves or a boulder or two for interest.

River Rock — Available in a variety of size ranges, river rock is smooth and comes in a blend of colors. It can be used to create a meandering dry stream through your landscape or to solve drainage issues. You also can simply replace grass with an attractive contrast of natural material in your yard. It can be used to puddle below a water feature or a birdbath. Always be sure to vary the size of the rock in a dry creek, scattering in the larger rocks before you put down the small ones.

Pavers — Manufactured pavers come in every imaginable color and size. The most commonly used are made of concrete and can be used for patios and porches, paths and even walls. They can be laid on a bed of sand, placed close together for a more manicured look, or can be laid with spacing to allow for either grass or little ground covers to grow between. Pavers create a more manicured, formal style in outdoor rooms.

Decomposed or crushed granite — Weathered granite that has been broken down into small pieces and particles of silt, decomposed granite is commonly used in patios, paths and even beds with arid plants. It’s versatile as a filler for many different projects — just be careful not to use it on a steep hill because our periodic gully washers can wreak havoc with it. You’ll want to make sure to use some sort of metal or stone edging to keep the granite in place and separated from grass or beds adjacent to it.

Gravel — Available in many different colors and sizes, gravel is a great material. It can work wonders to help with small drainage issues and it adds texture and contrast to the garden. Because it is larger, when used in a path, it is less likely to wash away than decomposed granite, depending on the grade of any slope.

Chopped block — Most stone can be purchased as a rough-hewn bricklike shape that is more natural in form. These are used to build retaining walls, benches, planting beds or pathway borders.

River rock, flagstone, chopped block and other types of stones come in specific palettes of color. Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico are just a few of the color choices you can find around Austin. From golds to browns and reds or grays and pinks, the right hues in your garden can be like a fresh coat of paint inside your house.

Adding different types of hardscape material like stone to your landscape make it interesting and inviting — creating contrast and texture that enhance your garden.


Will Leather Goods celebrates Austin store opening

Will Leather Goods is celebrating the opening of its Austin store March 31-April 2. The Oregon-based leather goods store from Will Adler features men’s and women’s handmade leather bags and accessories made from materials from around the world. The Domain Northside store opened earlier this month but will have special events and specials all next weekend. The space also features global furnishings and rugs, which are also for sale, and will serve coffee from Eugene-based Tailored Coffee Roasters. 11701 Domain Blvd., Suite 160.


Shop Kendra Scott and help Hand to Hold

Kendra Scott routinely gives back to local philanthropies by filling silent auctions with its jewelry and offering giving back days. On April 4, when you shop the North Lamar Boulevard store from 6-8 p.m., 20 percent of sales will go to Hand to Hold, an Austin-based nonprofit that supports families with premature or medically fragile babies. Find the store at 3800 N. Lamar Blvd.


Don’t forget the Home Garden Show is this weekend

Find tips on your spring home and garden needs 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Palmer Events Center. See Brett Raymer and Wayde King from “Tanked” at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Hear about home organizing from Holly and Andrew Maxwell of Tidy Techs Professional Organizing at 2 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday and about energy efficiency secrets from Built Green Custom Homes 4 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. $9.50. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road.

Article source:

Home + Garden Digest, March 24, 2017: Golden Love to lead landscaping workshop


Golden Love to lead landscaping workshop

Golden Love, licensed landscape contractor and specialist in water neutral landscapes, will lead a workshop aimed at helping people create their own sustainable gardens using ecological principles from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 1, at Native Revival Nursery, 2600 Mar Vista. Please bring a scaled drawing, pictures, or sketches of your garden, your questions and ideas and learn how to apply design principles and actions on paper for your Spring planting.

Registration is $30 if completed by March 25, and $35 after that. To register, call 831-684-1811 or email to


Learn to keep bees at Hive Hum class

Veteran beekeeper Patricia Indries and the team at Hive Hum will lead an Introductory Beekeeping class from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday, March 26, at Hive Hum, 415 River St.

The class, which is $45, will explore honeybee biology, comb functions, hive types and how a honeybee colony functions. Attendees will learn how to find their micro-climate’s bloom calendar, manage a hive regeneratively and treatment-free, as well as discover the tools and equipment necessary to get started.

For details, call 831-421-9028. To register, visit


Straw bale veggie garden class to be April 1

Alladin Nursery’s William Santos will teach the public how to make a unique vegetable garden in a hot straw bale from 10-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 1 at Alladin Nursery and Gift Shop, 2905 Freedom Blvd.

This method can be successful for people who have struggled to grow vegetables, are limited with space, or even those who just want to try something new. Step-by-step instruction, from setting up and prepping the bales to planting, irrigation, and pest management will have attendees ready to start a straw bale garden in no time.


UC Santa Cruz to host bird-watching walk

On Saturday, April 1, natural history instructor Breck Tyler will lead a birding walk on UC Santa Cruz’s 30-acre organic farm. Meet at 9 a.m. at the Louise Cain Gatehouse at the UCSC Farm, just inside the Farm’s main entrance.

This guided walk along the UCSC Farm’s trails and roads will feature a leisurely pace with frequent stops to observe, identify and appreciate the local birds and their interesting behaviors. All levels of birding experience are welcome. Bring binoculars if you have them.

Tyler has been teaching the Natural History of Birds class for UCSC’s Environmental Studies department for many years. He is also a researcher with the Institute for Marine Sciences.

The cost of the walk is $10 for the general public, $5 for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden and limited income. Free for UCSC students. Pre-register at: Cash or check only at the door. Please note: Heavy rain cancels; full refund if event is canceled.

The UCSC Farm is located 1/4 mile up the gravel road above the Blacksmith Shop; free public parking is available in the parking lot at the corner of Coolidge Drive and Carriage House Road, off of Coolidge Drive inside the main entrance to the UCSC campus.

For more information, call (831) 459-3240 or email Workshops are cosponsored by the Center for Agroecology Sustainable Food Systems and the Friends of the UCSC Farm Garden; UCSC student entry is supported by UCSC’s Measure 43.

Santa Cruz

Become a docent at the UCSC Farm

The 2017 Farm Garden docent-training program will be at the UCSC Farm on seven Thursday afternoons from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., through April 27 (no session on April 6).

During the training sessions, participants will learn about organic farming and gardening practices, the history of the Alan Chadwick Garden and the UCSC Farm, and the research and education work of UCSC’s Center for Agroecology Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS), which manages the Farm Garden programs and facilities. There is no pre-requisite to become a docent—just a willingness to learn and share.

After completing the training, docents are asked to lead a minimum of six tours a year and are encouraged to help with public education events, plants sales, and other efforts that support the Farm Garden’s community outreach work. Docents will also enjoy ongoing, free enrichment workshops on a variety of topics.

Cost of the docent training is $25 for current Friends of the UCSC Farm Garden, $5 for UCSC students. The initial session on March 9 is free and fees only apply to those who continue with the training. Campus parking costs will be covered during the training.

Active docents receive a yearly membership to the Friends of the UCSC Farm Garden, which includes discounts at plant sales and local nurseries. Docents also receive free admission to many of the Friends’ gardening and fruit tree care workshops.

For more details and to arrange for parking during the training, contact Melissa Betrone at 831-459-3770, or by Monday, March 6. The training is sponsored by the Center for Agroecology Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz. You can learn more about the UCSC Farm Garden and CASFS at


UCMG to host free chicken-keeping class

The UC Master Gardeners of Monterey Bay will present a free class on “Chix in the City, Hens in the Hood“ at their demonstration garden from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 25.

Master Gardener Candice McLaren will lead this class, which focuses on keeping chickens without annoying neighbors. Attendees can learn which breeds best suit them and their families, and the many options there are for birds and eggs. She will also discuss the differences between raising chicks on your own and rescuing them from Animal Services. The class will provide ideas on design and placement of chicken coops, and how to transition baby chicks to the coop.

This class is part of a series of free monthly gardening workshops at the UC Master Gardeners’ Watsonville demonstration garden. For details and advance reservation, visit the UCMBMG website at The UCMG Demonstration Garden is next to the rear parking lot at 1430 Freedom Blvd.

Santa Cruz

Garden bed prep focus of UCSC workshop

As part of the year-long celebration of the UCSC Farm Garden’s 50th anniversary, garden manager Orin Martin and organic farmer Caroline Martin will present a special workshop on “Garden Bed Preparation, Chadwick Style,” from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 25, at the Alan Chadwick Garden at UC Santa Cruz.

During the lecture and demonstration workshop, the father-daughter Martin duo will walk participants through the steps involved in creating raised garden beds, incorporating compost and maintaining the beds through the years with cover crops and careful cultivation practices. The instructors will also review”intensive planting techniques, including intercropping, to maximize production in your backyard garden.

Says Orin Martin, “Raised bed gardening enables the home grower to do more with less space—yields often are double or triple standard yield rates. And beyond pure function, it is truly an ‘artisan ‘ approach to gardening, fostering biodiversity in the soil ecosystem.”

In 1967, English gardener Alan Chadwick introduced the raised bed (or “double dug”), French intensive style of organic garden bed preparation to UCSC students. The result was a spectacularly productive 3-acre garden on what was once a rocky, brush-covered slope. In 1969, Sunset magazine called Chadwick “ … one of the most successful organic gardeners the editors have ever met.”

Cost of the workshop is $30 for the general public (pre-registered) or $40 at the door, and $20 for members of the Friends of the UCSC Farm and Garden (pre-registered) or $30 at the door. Limited income participants pay $15 (pre-registered) or $20 at the door. $5 for UCSC students. Pre-register at: Note: cash or check only at the door.

Please note: Heavy rain cancels. Rainout date is Sunday, April 2. Full refund if you cannot attend on the rainout date.

The Alan Chadwick Garden is located at the corner of Merrill Road and McLaughlin Drive at UC Santa Cruz. Free public parking is available in the Merrill College parking lot.

For details, call 831-459-3240 or email Workshops are cosponsored by the Center for Agroecology Sustainable Food Systems and the Friends of the UCSC Farm Garden; UCSC student entry is supported by UCSC’s Measure 43.

Santa Cruz

Garden Exchange to be March 25

The first Garden Exchange of the year will be from 8-9 a.m. on Saturday, March 25, at the Live Oak Grange parking lot, 1900 17th Ave. Gardeners are encouraged to bring any living thing from their garden, such as cuttings, bulbs, seedlings, and seeds to trade with like-minded gardeners. People need not bring anything to take something. Email questions to


Presentation: The Fascinating Honeybee

Local beekeeper and Cabrillo College and CSUMB Biology Instructor Allison Gong will discuss the biology of honey bees, pollination ecology and threats to pollinators during a free event from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28.

Hosted by the Watsonville Wetlands Watch, the event will be at the Fitz Wetlands Educational Resource Center, at the top of the Pajaro Valley High School campus, 500 Harkins Slough Road. Reservations are required, and can be done by contacting Kathy Fieberling at or 831-345-1226.

The Sentinel welcomes submissions for Home and Garden Digest. Email items to

Article source:

The Latest Trend in Landscaping: Rain Gardens | Features …


Newly Planted Rain Garden.JPG

Environmentally conscious homeowners are increasingly looking for ways to make their property more earth-friendly. One technique gaining popularity is the use of rain gardens, also known as rainscaping.

A rain garden is a strategically placed garden featuring a basin that allows rainwater to collect before slowly percolating into the ground. Native, moisture-loving plants help with water absorption and make these gardens visually attractive and interesting.

Homeowners who have wet basements or standing water in the yard after a heavy rain might find a rain garden helps alleviate the problem, although it is not a panacea for large storms dumping more than an inch of rainwater. It also reduces stormwater runoff, which decreases pollution in local waterways, and creates natural habitats for pollinating insects, butterflies and other wildlife.

Rain gardens take on many styles and sizes. Some are formal, with plants organized carefully. Others look more natural, with plants scattered informally throughout the garden. The number of plants and amount of rock or mulch used around them can vary, as well.

Cody Hayo, owner of Pretty City Gardens Landscapes, installed several rain gardens last fall as part of MSD Project Clear, an initiative of the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to improve water quality and alleviate wastewater concerns. He used, on average, 15 types of plants at each project site, including varieties such as swamp milkweed and soft rush in the lowest parts of the basin, and black-eyed Susan and purple coneflower closer to the edges, where conditions are drier. Plants in the lower portion must be able to thrive in wet conditions.

“Native plants are generally considered best suited for rain gardens because of their deep root systems,” he says. “The deeper root systems help create a more spongelike soil that can absorb and retain more water.”

A basic rain garden can be installed in a weekend, but there are several things to consider before digging begins. “A rain garden might also include a berm to help hold water in and be oval or kidney-shaped in order to help collect water,” says Rob Kennedy, sustainability project specialist at the Missouri Botanical Garden’s EarthWays Center, a division devoted to conservation of energy and natural resources. “The garden should also be perpendicular to the flow of water. Inflow and outflows should be considered. An outflow is necessary as an overflow spillway in the case of a particularly large rain event.”

To begin planning, first identify existing water problems, and note how rainwater drains through the property, recommends Rebecca Eisele, landscaping designer at Quiet Village Landscaping Co. and vice president of the Landscape Nursery Association of Greater St. Louis. “Ideally, a rain garden should be 20 percent of the size of whatever is draining into it,” she says. “For example, if you’re connecting a downspout to your rain garden, what is the square footage of the roof being drained by that particular downspout? If the roof section is 500 square feet, you’ll want to install a 100-square-foot rain garden.”

If there is not enough space to install a rain garden that fits the 20 percent guideline, a smaller one can still be beneficial, she adds. Regardless of size, the rain garden should be located just above the lowest spot in the yard in order to intercept water as it flows toward the low point. “Low spots where water tends to stand and collect often have compacted soils that are not conducive to rain gardens,” Eisele says.

Kennedy and Eisele recommend reading the Missouri Botanical Garden’s online Rainscaping Guide to determine whether a rain garden is right for a specific site. The guide explains how to perform a percolation test on the soil, which shows how well water drains when the ground is saturated. Compacted soil that doesn’t allow for adequate water absorption needs to be amended – by adding compost or topsoil, tilling or aerating the ground – or the rain garden needs to be situated elsewhere.

Another thing to consider when locating a rain garden is its proximity to the home’s foundation. The garden should be at least 10 feet from the home since it will be holding and draining water. Be courteous to neighbors, as well: Eisele advises paying attention to how you build the overflow to avoid draining directly into a neighbor’s yard. “Even if the water does eventually have to travel across a neighbor’s yard to reach a storm basin, allow for a turf border around your rain garden to catch any mulch or other debris that moves in a major flood event so it doesn’t end up in [his or her] yard,” she says, “or route overflows into traditional storm sewers located on the street.”

Once a rain garden is installed, it’s easy to maintain. “Perennials should be cut back to the ground annually. We typically do this in spring before new growth begins,” Hayo says. “Shrubs and trees can be pruned as needed. The basin, including the inflow and overflow areas, should be kept clear of accumulated debris like leaves, branches, etc. Weed regularly during the growing season, and keep it looking attractive.”

Besides looking pretty, rain gardens provide a service, and that makes them unique. Hayo sums matters thus: “The cool thing about them is what they are doing besides looking beautiful – managing stormwater, preventing flooding elsewhere and providing habitat.”

Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. Louis, 314-577-5100,

Pretty City Gardens Landscapes, 314-282-1084,

Quiet Village Landscaping Co., 9810 Page Ave., St. Louis, 314-657-7050,



Article source:

Gardening column: Handle common garden problems with these simple tips

Since spring has sprung this week, many of us are more and more excited about starting our gardens. Decisions of what to plant and how to handle problems that come up are certainly high on my list right now. It is increasingly important not to use chemicals in the landscape so trying old and new environmentally safe methods are things I look for to share with you.

I’ve found a few ideas (all except one which is a warning) that might be worth thinking about doing this season. These are nontoxic methods that should be easy to try, especially when planting seed and getting the garden started this spring. Also a couple of ideas will hopefully help prevent a variety of diseases and chase off a few pests:

• We’ll begin by talking about damping off. This is when old seed is planted in too cold, wet soil and soil that has poor drainage. Seeds may germinate, a couple of leaves form, then suddenly the stems at the soil line turn black, of course the plant withers and dies. I’ve had a whole tray of seedlings die overnight. Probably too much water was the culprit but the seed was old. After that I treated the soil and the new seed with a fungicide, but I like the idea of trying these methods instead.

• Use hydrogen peroxide in the garden when planting seeds or in the potting shed whether in your basement or kitchen or wherever you start seeds in the house. A recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide to 2 cups of water. It is said to oxygenate the soil and kill bacterial and fungal spores.

• Wait to plant seed in the spring when the soil has dried out and also when the nighttime temperatures are consistently in the high 40s for cool weather vegetables, 60s for warm weather veggies.

• To help prevent damping off of seedlings try sprinkling antifungal and antibacterial powdered spices on the soil when planting seeds.

• Some spices that are known for those properties are: cinnamon, cayenne, turmeric, garlic and cloves.

• Make a tea out of cinnamon sticks and cloves — the suggestion is 1 tablespoon of spices to a cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes, let cool (of course), strain out the lumps and water your seedlings with this once a week to prevent damping off.

• Moving on to pests. Make a strong peppermint tea and water with it to keep many unwanted pests away from your plants — some gardeners say this doesn’t work, some swear by it. I have peppermint in a pot and I know most pests and critters aren’t fans, in fact, they stay away.

• Birds are huge insect eaters. If we stop using chemicals and provide water and feeders and houses, and plant flowers and trees in our landscapes, this will encourage more birds to habitat in and near our gardens. I know I’m repeating myself, but seriously, we need to design our landscapes with birds, bees and butterflies in mind — not just how pleasing the design is.

Warning: Many folks still use mothballs in and around their plants (or in the house) thinking they will deter voles, moles, moths and other pests. They contain naphthalene which is a dangerous chemical and should not be used around humans of any age or their pets — also this chemical can kill our honey bees and other beneficial’s. If you have asthma or allergies — you don’t want this product anywhere in your breathing space. (

Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to She also answers gardening questions with horticulture educator Ricky Kemery noon-1 p.m. the second and fourth Thursday of each month on “The Plant Medic,” a radio show on 95.7fm. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.

Article source:

Gardening experts to offer tips at Garden Party weekend

Get ready to shape up gardens for spring during the annual Garden Party weekend at English Gardens in Dearborn Heights.

Gardening experts will share top trends and tips during a weekend packed with informative gardening and decorating seminars set for April 1 and 2 at the store, 22650 Ford Road.

Speakers will include gardening names such as Detroit News gardening columnist Nancy Szerlag; garden designer and writer Janet Macunovich; Julia Hofley of Plantskydd and Marilyn Cox of I Must Garden. Events take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A kids’ activity will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days with an English Gardens associate in attendance.

Events include:

Let’s Garden!

10 a.m. April 1

Nancy Szerlag, Detroit News gardening columnist

Join Nancy as she shares her wealth of knowledge on creating the best garden ever.

Edible Gardening: Just Grazing Through

4 p.m. April 1

Janet Macunovich, Garden Designer and Writer

Pick and eat food right from your own garden. Here’s a look at helping traditional vegetables make their way in ornamental beds, and discovering ornamental plants whose qualifications as fruits and vegetables you may have overlooked. Garden designer and writer Janet Macunovich will have you grazing through your whole landscape this year.

The Thrills Spills of Container Gardening

11:30 a.m. April 2

Four Star Greenhouses

Enjoy a spot of color anywhere by growing plants and flowers in containers. We’ll share lots of ideas and inspiration.

All About Hydrangeas

4 p.m. April 2

Hydrangeas are the most popular flowering shrubs, but there are many varieties to choose from. Get an overview of the differences and help you select the best ones for your garden.

Natural Approaches to Animal Browsing

1 p.m. April 1

Marilyn Cox, I Must Garden

Don’t let pests get the better of us – or our passion for gardening. We’ll explore options to protect your flowers and plants naturally, safely and effectively.

Take Back Your Garden and Enjoy the Flower Show

10 a.m. April 2

Julia Hofley, Plantskydd

Find out how to successfully repel animal browsers from plants that fill garden beds and borders. We’ll also share our list of plants that are not on the menu of hungry deer and rabbits.

The New American Lawn

2:30 p.m. April 1

Barry Green, Jonathon Green

Great lawns start with great soil. Learn about the four steps to growing a beautiful lawn this year.

Article source:

11 of the most important gardening tips from the masters | PennLive …

You could wing it again this year in the garden, doing the trial-and-error thing and becoming a better gardener via lessons from what ends up in the compost pile.

Or you could short-cut your way to gardening success by taking advantage of what the masters already know – Penn State Master Gardeners, that is.

Master Gardeners are experienced gardeners who get detailed Penn State training in exchange for donating at least 20 hours a year helping Penn State Extension help the gardening public.

All Pennsylvania counties have a cadre of these helpful advisors, who provide services such as answering questions at clinics and by phone, tending public educational gardens, and giving gardening talks. The program’s website lists county-by-county contact information.

The core of Master Gardeners’ training is 40 hours of classroom instruction and a 6-pound, 808-page manual that covers just about everything you’d need to know about gardening – including the “challenges” that go along with it.

Penn State just published a hardback version of the “Penn State Extension Master Gardener Manual” that anyone can buy for $75 (plus shipping) either online through the university’s publications department or by calling the department at 877-345-0691.

Here’s a gleaning of some of the most important Master Gardener tips from that gargantuan effort:

When to prune shrubs?

The best time to prune flowering shrubs depends on when the shrub blooms.

Shrubs that bloom in spring should be pruned after they flower (i.e. so you don’t cut off the buds before they open) while ones that bloom on wood produced in the current year (summer to early-fall bloomers) can be pruned before growth starts in spring.

Picking off disease leaves is one way to reduce future disease. 

Preventing disease

Good garden “sanitation” goes a long way in heading off disease.

Techniques includes raking and discarding diseased fallen leaves; removing infected plants; burning diseased debris; pruning off diseased branches, and cleaning soil and sap from tools.

Low-care yard tips

Ways to cut maintenance in the landscape: 1.) reduce lawn size in favor of low groundcover plants; 2.) use paving in high-traffic areas; 3.) lay brick or concrete strips along planted beds to eliminate edging work; 4.) use fences or walls for screening instead of hedges; 5.) look to trees and shrubs for color instead of extensive flower beds; 6.) use mulch to control weeds and lower watering needs, and 7.) pick low-care plants in the first place, leaning toward native species.

A brick edging like this can reduce trimming work. 

Invasive plants

Among plants that people still plant that the manual lists as invasive are Japanese barberry, burning bush, border and common privet, five species of non-native honeysuckles, Japanese spirea, Norway maple, autumn and Russian olive, empress tree, Siberian elm, five-leaf akebia and porcelain berry.

On watering the lawn…

Watering lightly every day or two is detrimental to the lawn, since it encourages shallow rooting and makes the lawn more prone to bug and disease attack and compaction from foot traffic.

A better watering game plan is to water more deeply less often, ideally when the grass signals it needs water by showing signs of wilting (i.e. by arching over instead of standing more erect and leaving footprints after you walk on it).

Light and veggies

Fruiting veggies such as tomatoes and peppers do best with at least 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight a day, but most root and leaf crops do reasonably well even when in shade for half of a day.

Just about all edibles can be grown in containers as well, although they’ll need more regular watering.

Free soil amendment

If your soil is too acidic, you could buy lime or you could use free wood ashes from the fireplace.

Wood ashes also are a good source of potassium (one of the three main plant nutrients), but don’t overdo it (no more than a thin layer), and don’t let ashes come into contact with young seedlings. Also, don’t use coal ashes.

A job to skip? 

Rototilling is usually a counter-productive job. 

Regular rototilling of soil is usually counter-productive.

Mechanically mixing the soil can burn off and reduce levels of organic matter in the soil, leave soil more exposed to erosion, disrupt beneficial fungi living in the soil, and bring weed seeds to the surface, where they can germinate more readily.

Compost tips

Compost piles should have a blend of brown and green materials and ideally be sized between 3 feet tall, wide and deep and 5 feet tall, wide and deep.

Turning the piles aid the breakdown, but no, you don’t have to add lime or any store-bought “compost activator.”

Bug control

“Integrated pest management” or IPM is a common-sense alternative to spraying the whole yard every couple of weeks “just in case.”

This involves first identifying the problem, then determining the threshold level for if/when action is needed, then researching the most effective and least detrimental way to get any needed control done.

Pesticide labels have three different degrees of toxicity messages: danger, warning and caution. 

Those warning labels

The type of warning on pesticide labels indicate just how toxic the ingredients are.

Products labeled with “Danger-Poison” or “Danger” are the most toxic, while ones with “Warning” are still potent enough for 1 ingested teaspoon to kill a 150-pound person.

“Caution” means the product is slightly toxic.

Want more on local gardening?

George Weigel is a long-time gardening columnist for The Patriot-News and, a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist, and author of the “Pennsylvania Getting Started Garden Guide” and “Pennsylvania Month-by-Month Gardening.”

Here are some of his recent pieces:

Highlights from the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

Peek behind the scenes at Disney World’s gardens

Gardeners worried about buying GMO “Frankenplants”

The latest in gardening research

The best new trees and shrubs for your 2017 yard

Gardening trends of 2017

Article source: