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Archives for March 25, 2017

Virtual interior design

Perhaps you have purchased a book online, or gifts during the holidays for family members or friends. The online commercial revolution has made it possible to buy almost anything on your computer swiftly comfortably — and certainly at better prices than you ever imagined. In less than a decade, half of our purchases will be made through our smart phones. How will this new technological reality affect the physiognomy of our homes? Obviously buying a hair dryer or a book through the internet is not the same as buying a sofa.

Designing interiors without a designer to consult with is not easy, but it is not impossible. Many consumers like to buy what they see out of a vignette in a catalog and tweak the design to make it personal. Others will take a particular design seen in a shelter magazine and try to replicate it. Whether intentional or not, DIY interior designers do exist. To minimize potential and expensive disasters, here are some tips:

Knowing exactly what you need is imperative. The first thing to do is to create a list on your mobile phone.

Look for larger purchases such as sofas, beds or other important pieces through larger department stores, which have more lenient return policies, in case buyer’s remorse sets in or the quality is not what you expected.

Check out portals such as Etsy or Ebay for one-of-a-kind finds that will help give your home a personal touch.

Always seek out others’ opinions and reviews of any particular item. Don’t get discouraged if there is one or two negative reviews. Everyone is different, look out for an overall opinion or trend, then make your decision.

Comparing online prices seems easy, but make sure you are comparing apples to apples. Look for same type of material, place of construction, etc.

Make sure to measure your space and even take some tape to map out the new furniture in your room to ensure a proper fit.

Some online furniture stores offer free white-glove delivery in order to incentivize the client to purchase without a test sit or bed rest. Also ask if there is a risk-free trial period.

Many online stores offer small samples of fabrics and finishes that can be mailed to you prior to purchase to ensure that colors match your decorating scheme.

Finally, while many online stores offer complimentary interior design consultations, I think it is appropriate here to say “beware!” Most of these complimentary services are done to facilitate purchasing more than design help. Some stores may offer a virtual design portal where you can see a version of what your room will look like.

As accessible as online furniture stores are, many consumers still want the personal touch of working with an interior designer, and seek to hire them as a consultant.

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Rutherford businesses honored at Nashville Lawn & Garden Show

Local businesses honored at Lawn Garden Show

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two Rutherford County businesses were honored earlier this month at the annual Nashville Lawn Garden Show.

Presented Thursday, March 2 through Sunday, March 5, in Nashville, C. Jackson Designs of Rockvale was presented the Floyd MacDonald Creativity Award for creativity and innovation in garden design. The Rock Place in Smyrna was honored as an exhibitor in the vendor marketplace as runner up for Hard Goods Exhibit Booth.

Additional awards for garden design and product displays were presented to companies and organizations from Davidson, Rutherford and Wilson Counties in Tennessee, and two additional states.

Cumberland Herb Association of Nashville was awarded the Best in Show Award. The association also won the Horticultural Association of Tennessee Award for best use of plant materials.

More than 175 exhibitors from a dozen states participate in the show, the largest annual gardening event in the state.

NHI buys facilities in Texas

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — National Health Investors (NYSE: NHI) announced it has acquired a 126-bed skilled nursing facility in New Braunfels, Texas for $13.9 million and will lease the facility to an affiliate of The Ensign Group.

The acquisition is the first of four that NHI had previously committed to and will be added to the existing lease at an initial rate of 8.35 percent plus annual lease escalators based on inflation. The facility, which opened in September 2015, joins the current Ensign assets comprised of 15 skilled nursing facilities located in Texas.

Two of the remaining facilities were licensed in the first quarter of 2017 and the remaining facility is expected to be licensed in the second quarter of 2017. The acquisition was funded from NHI’s revolving credit facility.

MMC announces newest physician

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Murfreesboro Medical Clinic announced Dr.Joy Derwenskus has joined the team of providers in its neurology department.

Derwenskus brings with her fresh resources, stemming from her extensive background in treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. She has served the MS population through numerous clinical trials, speaking engagements, and published resources. Her expertise in this field widens the range of care MMC will be able to offer patients.

Her patient care emphasis includes MS, Sleep Disorders, and other neurological disorders including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and memory disorders. She is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the Tennessee Board of Osteopathic Medicine.

MTEMC employee award

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — A Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation employee has been selected to receive the Technology Transfer Award from the Electric Power Research Institute for achievements in research and development.

MTEMC Chief Operating Officer Tom Suggs was presented the award for streamlining the application of hosting capacity to large groups of distribution systems to help refine the methodology. Determining hosting capacity can help utilities understand their capability for optimally integrating renewable energy resources, like wind and solar power.

Presented annually, EPRI’s Technology Transfer Awards recognize power system leaders and innovators who have helped their companies deliver safe, affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible electricity via the application of RD in the utility industry.

Pinnacle one of ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pinnacle Financial Partners (NASDAQ/NGS: PNFP) earned a place on Fortune Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Companies to Work For. This marks the eighth national workplace award in the firm’s history.

Pinnacle landed at No. 34 on the 2017 list of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For, which is developed according to global research by consulting firm Great Place to Work and Fortune.

The ranking is based on employee ratings of workplace culture, including the level of trust they feel toward leaders, the pride they take in their jobs and the camaraderie they experience with co-workers.

Reach Michelle Willard at or 615-278-5164 and on Twitter @michwillard.

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Home show brings old and new vendors in 17th year

Whenever William Morris posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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North/East metro news briefs: Blaine to pitch replanting ideas for cleared wetland

Blaine city leaders plan to bring forward replanting proposals for a wetland area that was recently clear-cut, an act that provoked the ire of a nearby neighborhood.

In January, crews cleared out trees as part of restoration work in 192 acres of city land situated in a 500-acre area known as the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary. The site, west of Lexington Avenue and north of 109th Avenue, is a key part of the city’s open space management plan.

A meeting is planned for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 10801 Town Square Dr. NE., to update residents about the project as well as address neighborhood concerns raised at a gathering last month — including the possibility of replacing some of the felled trees.

City staffers presented a preliminary replanting option at a March 16 workshop. The concept drawing showed most of the trees or shrubs planted near a planned maintenance access point in the neighborhood.

Neighbors have said they are worried about the impact on privacy and safety, and want the access point moved elsewhere.

At the workshop, Public Services Manager Bob Therres said early estimates for landscaping near the access point put the cost at about $50,000. Doing additional replanting behind the houses on the edge of the wetland could cost an additional $50,000, he said.

Council Member Dave Clark said city officials should also consider the nature lovers and families who will one day visit the wetland santuary. “I don’t want [visitors] to have to look at the subdivision,” he said.

Hannah Covington


Senior housing proposed near TCAAP site

A four-story senior housing project with hundreds of living units is being proposed in Arden Hills on property owned by North Heights Lutheran Church.

Lyngblomsten, a nonprofit caregiver for seniors, sought a meeting last week with the City Council to go over the concept. Officials stressed that if the matter proceeds, a formal application would be reviewed and subject to public hearings with the Planning Commission and City Council.

North Heights owns 41 acres at a key location, near Hwys. 96 and 10. Much of the site consists of woods and wetlands.

Lyngblomsten would buy about six acres at the south end of the property for up to 200 units of senior housing, including apartments for independent living, assisted living and memory care. A portion of the new complex would be a “town center,” with dining areas, a movie theater, chapel, fitness center and gift shop, according to a memo to the council.

The memo positions the proposal as connected to the nearby development of the former Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site, which will result in infrastructure upgrades in the area.

David Peterson


U project picks Ramsey for partnership

Hundreds of students soon will be studying the city of Ramsey as part of the University of Minnesota’s Resilient Communities Project (RCP).

The university announced earlier this month that Ramsey had been selected for the project. Students will collaborate with the city on 20 research-based community projects during the 2017-18 school year.

It’s the first time the project has involved a city in Anoka County. Ramsey was one of two RCP finalists this year; the other was Edina.

In Ramsey’s proposal, city officials listed Hwy. 10 corridor planning, organics recycling and greenway planning as potential project topics.

“It’s a really unique community,” said Mike Greco, RCP’s director. “It’s still a relatively rural community, but it’s a community we know is going to grow rapidly in the near future.”

In the coming months, RCP and Ramsey city staffers will begin matching potential projects with courses offered by the U.

Cities often wind up using students’ research projects to help inform planning and policy, Greco said.

Now in its fifth year, RCP has also worked with Brooklyn Park, Carver County, Rosemount, North St. Paul and Minnetonka.

Hannah Covington


Washington County wants Civil War items for celebration

Washington County is looking for items from the Civil War era as it prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary this June of its Historic Courthouse in Stillwater.

Officials are seeking artifacts, photos, news articles and family stories for the exhibit “Life as a Civil War Soldier: The First Minnesota and Company B.” Items are needed by May 12 to be ready for the grand opening on June 3.

The exhibit will be on display through January 2018. The Historic Courthouse is at the intersection of Pine and 3rd streets in Stillwater.

David Peterson

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Big April Calendar: Egg hunts, farmers markets, garden classes

In addition to the typical signals that the seasons are changing, there are also several Read Me Treasure Valley events continuing through mid-April and the Gene Harris Jazz Festival early next month. Take the kids to the Regional Regatta for Radio-Controlled Sailboats on ParkCenter Pond, or go see the Lunafest film festival at The Flicks.


Easter for Families: 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 1, BridgeTower Community Center Clubhouse, 2425 Pride Crossing, Meridian. Family-building event with games, crafts, music and the story of Jesus’ resurrection. Free. Register at

Eagle Trail EggXtravaganza: Start times will be staggered every 20 minutes, so drop in anytime between 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 8, North Channel Center, 600 S. Rivershore Lane, Eagle. Search for eggs along the paths and trails of Eagle. Also, prizes, activity booths and games. Free. 489-8789.

Easter EGGstravaganza: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 8 (last admission at 4:30 p.m.), Zoo Boise, 355 Julia Davis Drive. Egg scrambles, face painting, special enrichments for the animals, more family activities and, of course, the zoo. $7 general, $4.50 seniors, $4.25 children 3-11, free for ages 2 and younger and Friends of Zoo Boise pass holders. 608-7760,

Boise Treasure Valley Sea Hawkers’ Easter Egg Hunt: 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 9, Capitol Park, 601 W. Jefferson St., Boise. Canned food donations benefit the City Light Home for Women and Children. Free. 343-2389.

Spring Fling Egg Hunt: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, O’Connor Field House, 2200 Blaine St., Caldwell. Scavenger hunt, games, live DJ, family karaoke, inflatables, entertainment, more. Free. 353-2678.

Easter Egg Drop: 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, April 15, Cathedral of the Rockies — Amity Campus, 4464 S. Maple Grove Road, Boise. For grades 6 and younger. Free. 362-2168.

Eggventure Hunt: Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, Life Church, 3225 E. Commercial Court, Meridian. Inflatable obstacle courses and slides, bounce houses, rock wall, bubble soccer and giveaways. For ages up to 11 years old. Free. 658-8800.

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt: Registration at 7:45 p.m. and start at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 15, Engage Boise, 270 E. Pennsylvania St., Boise. For ages up to 12 years old (two separate age brackets). Free. 336-1925.

Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt: 8 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, Nampa Recreation Center, 131 Constitution Way. For ages 13-17. Bring own flashlight. $3 per person. 468-5858.

Farmers Markets

Boise Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, April 1 through Dec. 23, Republic parking lot, 10th and Grove streets, Boise. 345-9287,

Capital City Public Market: 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturdays, April 15 through Dec. 16, 8th Street — Main to State streets, Boise. 345-3499,

Kuna Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, April 29 through Sept. 30, Kuna City Park (Col. Bernard Fisher Veterans Memorial Park), 201 W. Main St. No market Aug. 5 during Kuna Days. 922-5929,

Nampa Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, April 29 through Oct. 28, Longbranch parking lot, 13th and Front streets. 461-4807,


Read Me Treasure Valley: This year’s book is David James Duncan’s “The River Why.” For the full list of events, go to All events are free.

▪  Saturday, April 1: Literature and the Environment, 1:30 p.m., Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. Scott Knickerbocker, associate professor of English and environmental studies at the College of Idaho, will explore how Henry David Thoreau, Edward Abbey, Gary Snyder and other authors prod us to consider our own experience of nature and how literary insights on “the wild” shed light on current discussion and debate about wilderness.

▪  Tuesday, April 4: “Trout Grass,” 4 p.m., Ada Community Library, 10664 W. Victory Road, Boise. Award-winning film by Ed George and Andy Royer that follows the 10,000-mile journey turning bamboo into super-conductive, split-cane fly rod and then, out onto a river.

▪  Wednesday, April 5: Lego/Builders Club, 3:30 p.m., Ada Community Library, 5868 W. Hidden Springs Drive, Boise. Youth come together and participate in a challenge to build something that lives in the water.

▪  Thursday, April 6: “DamNation,” 6:30 p.m., Caldwell Public Library, 1010 Dearborn St. Film that explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to growing awareness that our own future is bound to the health of our rivers.

▪  Friday, April 7: River Why Not: The Inevitable Boise River, 6:30 p.m., Boise State on the Grove, 101 S. Capitol Blvd. Todd Shallat, three-time winner of the Idaho book award and the author of more than a dozen books concerning the cities and the environment, will share insights about the Boise River.

▪  Saturday, April 8: Eagle Hatchery: Snake River Sockeye Salmon Captive Broodstock Program, 2 p.m., Eagle Public Library, 100 N. Stierman Way. Meet staff of the Eagle Fish Hatchery as they provide a review of the Eagle Hatchery Sockeye Captive Broodstock Program.

▪  Thursday, April 13: Fishing for the Good Life: Conservation, Meaning, and Relations in “The River Why,” 7 p.m., Boise Library Ustick branch, 7557 W. Ustick Road. Gregory McElwain, assistant professor of philosophy and religious studies at the College of Idaho, explores the philosophical themes in the book, including its perspectives on conservation, social relations, spirituality and the search for meaning in the fullest human life.

▪  Friday, April 14: Songs of Early Idaho Waterways, 6 p.m., Ada Community Library, 10664 W. Victory Road, Boise. Singer/Songwriter Gary Eller of Nampa will share a musical presentation of historic Idaho waterway songs.

▪  Monday, April 17: “Salmon: Running the Gauntlet,” 6:30 p.m., Ada Community Library, 10664 W. Victory Road, Boise. This documentary, from PBS Nature, illustrates how human behavior has created unnatural circumstances in the life cycle of salmon.

▪  Wednesday, April 19: Your Water Footprint, 7 p.m., Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. Interactive class by the Boise WaterShed Education Center and SUEZ that explores the world’s freshwater availability and water use and introduces the term “water footprint.”


Kevin Farley and Marc “Skippy” Price: 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday, April 1; 8 p.m. Sunday, April 2 (Marc Price only), Liquid, 405 S. 8th St., Boise. $22 for Saturday, $15 Sunday. 941-2459,

Bill Burr: 6:30 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22 (sold out), and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. $45. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $47 day of show.


Friends of Boise Public Library Spring Book Sale: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, April 7; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 8; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 9 (half-off price day), warehouse across for main library, 762 River St., Boise. 972-8247,

Shore Lodge Culinary Festival: Friday-Sunday, April 7-9, Shore Lodge, 501 W. Lake St., McCall. Cooking classes, Culinary King of the Mountain Competition, Farmer’s and Fair Trade Market, wine education class, winemaker’s dinner, brunch. Event packages start at $490 per person. (800) 657-6464,

Sports Cards and Collectibles Show: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 8, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 9, Sportscard Fanatic, 5459 Glenwood St., Garden City. Vintage and new. Free. 807-4319.

Pickin’ Boise Vintage Show and Artisan Market: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 22, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Vintage, primitives, industrial decor, farmhouse style, upcycled, repurposed, artisan handcrafts, more. $7 admission good all weekend, free for children younger than 12.


Robert Manwill Artists for Kids Event: Live bidding starts at 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 28, Payette County Fairgrounds, 310 E. Blvd., New Plymouth. Art exhibit and art auction, followed by a community run the next day. Proceeds go into a scholarship fund for Robert’s New Plymouth High School Class of 2019. Robert’s Run at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 29, New Plymouth High School, 207 Plymouth Ave. $15 registration at

Home and Garden

FarWest Garden Center classes: 5728 W. State St., Boise. Free. RSVP to 853-4000. FarWest also offers other gardening classes. For more information on the fees and details for those classes, go to

▪  Saturday, April 1: Table Grapes, 10 a.m. Tom Elias, founding member of the Snake River Table Grape Growers Association, presents a class on planting, training and pruning grapes.

▪  Wednesday, April 5: Small Footprint Gardens, 6 p.m. Get ideas for gardening or landscaping a small space.

▪  Saturday, April 8: Welcome to Boise Gardening, 10 a.m. Doreen will take you down the path of basic tips for successful planting and growing in our climate and soil.

▪  Wednesday, April 12: Landscape Design, 6 p.m. Introduction to design of gardens and outdoor living spaces. Learn the basic principles of landscape design — form, function, flow, aesthetics — and will apply those principles to the process of designing a new outdoor garden room.

▪  Saturday, April 22: Tomatoes, 10 a.m. Doreen will share her tips and secrets for healthy plants and bountiful harvests, favorite heirloom selections, good choices for preserving and, of course, the best types for making salsa.

▪  Saturday, April 29: Blueberries, 10 a.m. Dennis Fix, owner of FarWest, will teach you how to grow blueberries in Idaho.

Lawn and landscape classes: 6 to 8:30 p.m., Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. Free, but register at or call 608-7700.

▪  Wednesday, April 5: Lawn and irrigation with Dave Beck, who is responsible for the care and maintenance of more than 300 acres of turf in city parks.

▪  Wednesday, April 12: Roses and landscape with Andrea Wurtz, master gardener and certified landscape technician.

Madeline George Garden Design Nursery classes: 10550 W. Hill Road Parkway, Boise. Free. RSVP to 995-2815 or email Learn more at

▪  Saturday, April 8: Kick off Your Outdoor Pantry: Cool Season Veggies, 11 a.m. Get your garden, tools, timing and tricks you need to start your spring veggie garden early and maximize your success with edibles.

▪  Saturday, April 15: Building Bodacious Borders, 11 a.m. Techniques to design a layered flower bed with structure, color and year-round interest. 11 a.m.

▪  Saturday, April 22: Earth Day Essentials, 11 a.m. Hey There Pollinator: How to Attract Native Pollinators; Get Xerius: Water and Firewise Gardens; Get the Mix Right: Soil Amendments; Planting Perfection: Best Practices.


Hal Ketchum:

▪  7 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Meyer-McLean Performing Arts Center, Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 S.W. 5th Ave., Ontario. $18. (541) 889-2844.

▪  7 p.m. Sunday, April 2, and 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 3, Sapphire Room, The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise. Opening: Andy Byron, Jimmy Bivens. $28 and $38. 343-1871,

Performing Arts

Gene Harris Jazz Festival: Wednesday-Friday, April 5-7, Boise. Headline act is Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band (7:30 p.m. April 7). 426-3099,

Boise Philharmonic: Alexander Mickelthwate and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. Preconcert talks at 7 p.m. 344-7849,

▪  Friday, April 7: 8 p.m., Brandt Center, Northwest Nazarene University, 707 Fern St., Nampa. $22.50-$45.

▪  Saturday, April 8: 8 p.m., Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $24.50-$70.50.

▪  Backstage with the Artist, noon to 1 p.m. Friday, April 7, Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, 516 S. 9th St., Boise. Free.

Ballet Idaho’s “Peter Pan”: 8 p.m. Friday, April 21; 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $38, $43 and $58. Ticketmaster, 426-1110.


Northwest Nazarene University’s Department of Music “Little Women”: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1; 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Brandt Center, Northwest Nazarene University, Nampa. $15 general, $10 students, seniors, military. 467-8413,

Puppet Show: April Showers: 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 7, and 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8, Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. For families with children up to 6 years old. Free. 972-8200.

Boise Little Theater’s “37 Postcards”: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, April 7-8, 14-15 and 21-22; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 13 and 20; 2 p.m. April 16 and 22, 100 E. Fort St. $14 general, $11 students and seniors. 342-5104,

Spotlight Theatre’s “High School Musical on Stage”: 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, April 13-15, and Wednesday-Friday, April 19-21, Columbia High School, 301 S. Happy Valley Road, Nampa. $12 general, $10 students and seniors, at or at the door.

Stage Coach Theatre’s “Mauritius”: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays, April 14-15, 21-22 and 28-29; 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, April 20 and 27; 2 p.m. matinee Sunday, April 23, 4802 W. Emerald St., Boise. $15. Student, senior and military discounts on Thursday and Sunday performances. 342-2000,

“Ladies of the Evening”: 8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, April 14-15, The Balcony, 150 N. 8th St., Boise. Presented by LipsInc!, Idaho’s professional female impersonation troupe. $20. Reservations: 368-0405.

Boise Contemporary Theater’s “The Clean House”: 8 p.m. Wednesdays-Saturdays, April 19-May 6; 2 p.m. matinees Saturdays, April 29 and May 6, 854 Fulton St. $34 Fridays-Saturdays, $25 Wednesdays-Thursdays, $20 matinees, $18 preview (April 20), $16 all student tickets. Pay-what-you-want preview is April 19. 331-9224, Ext. 205;


Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology opening weekend: Noon to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, April 1-2, 2455 Old Penitentiary Road. Free museum tours, family activities, prizes, more. 368-9876,

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance: 12:15 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, April 5 and 12, Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. The Boise State University Department of Accountancy will be offering free income tax preparation through the IRS VITA program to qualified individuals making up to $62,000. Arrive no later than 3 p.m. 972-8200.

Regional Regatta for Radio-Controlled Sailboats: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, April 8-9, Parkcenter Pond, 385 E. Parkcenter Blvd., Boise. Hosted by Famous Potatoes Radio Sailing Club. 365-8022,

April 1

Incredible Age Expo: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Brings new ideas, information, education and recreation, all on behalf of 50- and 60-somethings in late career or early retirement. Free.

Books and Barks Celebration: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Rediscovered Books, 180 N. 8th St., Boise. Bring your dog for games, storytime, photo booth and more. Free.

United Way’s Children’s Book Drive Kick-Off Event: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Barnes and Noble, 1315 N. Milwaukee St., Boise. Activities for children and families, including a reading of “Beauty and the Beast,” face painting and storytime with therapy dogs. Free.

Lunafest: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, The Flicks, 646 Fulton St., Boise. Showcases nine short films by, for and about women. Benefits the Soroptimist Int’l of Boise and the Breast Cancer Fund. $20, includes after-screening social.

“Stuart Little”: 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. Joseph Robinette’s play adapted from E.B. White’s classic novel. Free.

Modern Masters: Social hour at 5 p.m. and presentation at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 1, The Linen Building, 1402 W. Grove St., Boise. This year’s event topic is the Eames House, also known as Case Study House No. 8. Lucia Dewey Atwood, director of the Eames Foundation and an Eames granddaughter, will speak about her work with the Getty Center and the Eames Foundation to conserve and preserve the house and landscape. $25 general, $20 Preservation Idaho members, required in advance at

Comedian Orny Adams: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 1, JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St., Boise. Benefits The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. $35-$300.

Idaho Steelheads hockey vs. Colorado Eagles: 7:10 p.m. Saturday, April 1, CenturyLink Arena, 233 S. Capitol Blvd., Boise. $18-$35. 331-8497,

Essential Jazz: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Sapphire Room, The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise. $12 general, $17 preferred. $17 and $22 at the door.

The Wind + The Wave: 9 p.m. Saturday, April 1, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. Opening: Allison Pierce. $10. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $12 at the door.

April 2

Alina Kiryayeva: 3 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Meyer-McLean Performing Arts Center, Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 S.W. 5th Ave., Ontario. $20 general, $10 students. (541) 889-2844.

The Maine: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. Special guests: The Mowgli’s, Beach Weather. $22. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $25 day of show.

Clownvis Presley: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 2, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. Opening: The LBJ’s featuring Jimmy Vegas. $8. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $10 at the door.

April 4

Nick Schnebelen Band: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, Sapphire Room, The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise. $13 general, $16 preferred. $18 and $21 at the door.

Horseshoes and Hand Grenades: 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. $13. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $15 at the door.

April 5

Wham City Comedy: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, The Olympic, 1009 Main St., Boise. $10.

Garrison Keillor: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, L.E. and Thelma E. Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1002 Sam Nixon Ave., Pocatello. Insight and stories from writer and humorist best known for his live radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion. $45 and $55. (208) 282-3595,

Tech N9ne: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. Special guests: Brotha Lynch Hung, Krizz Kaliko, Stevie Stone, Ces Cru. $28. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624.

April 6

LLS Art Benefit: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, April 6, The Alaska Building, 1020 W. Main St., Boise. Artists Jessica Tookey, Chi E Shenam Westin, David Day, Byron Shexnayder, Joseph Pacheco, Renae Hill, and Judson Cottrell and photographer Allan R. Ansell will have art available to purchase. Music by The Lost Men (5 to 7 p.m.) and NickNervous (7 to 9 p.m.). Benefit for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 859-0130.

The Fettuccine Forum “How the Greenbelt Saved Boise”: 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Boise City Hall, 150 N. Capitol Blvd. David Proctor, author of “Pathway of Dreams: Building the Boise Greenbelt,” discusses how the neglected and polluted Boise River was transformed into the 170 acres and 27 miles of linear park we enjoy today. Free. 608-7041.

“Gimme Shelter”: 6 p.m. Thursday, April 6, The Record Exchange, 1105 W. Idaho St., Boise. Music by Curtis Stigers, Eilen Jewell, Belinda Bowler, aka Belle, Rebecca Scott, others; art by Mike Rogers and Rachel Teannalach; and a sneak preview of Interfaith Sanctuary’s Idaho Gives music video. Benefits Interfaith Sanctuary. Free.

Fundraiser Concert for Women’s and Children’s Alliance: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Sapphire Room, The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise. Music by Idaho Songwriter’s founder, Steve Eaton, Rob Harding, Deborah Day, Lynda Johnson and Kathy Wilkins. $10 general, $15 preferred.

Newsboys: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Ford Idaho Center, 16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa. $25, $45 and $100. ICTickets, 442-3232.

Brian Wilson: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $55, $73 and $125. Ticketmaster, 426-1110.

Floating Points: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 6, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. $15. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $17 at the door.

April 7

Las Cafeteras: 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater, 1050 Fox Acres Road, Hailey. $35 and $65 general, $25 and $55 Sun Valley Center for the Arts members, $10 and $35 students. (208) 726-9491,

Zane Williams: 9 p.m. Friday, April 7, Mountain Village Saloon, 250 Eva Falls Ave., Stanley. $10.

April 8

Taste and Craft (formerly Taste 208): 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, April 8, Payette Brewing, 733 S. Pioneer St., Boise. 55 local and regional vendors serving samples of beer, wine and spirits from Idaho and all over the world. $50 Grand Tasting, $75 VIP.

Annie Moses Band: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 8, Nampa Civic Center, 311 3rd St. S. $26-$36. ICTickets, 442-3232.

WOW Spring Fling: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. Listener appreciation show with Trent Harmon, Runaway June, Michael Tyler and Seth Ennis. Win tickets with WOW 104.3.

April 9

Boise State University Spring Choral Concert: 7:30 p.m. Sunday, April 9, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. Re-Imagining Mozart: Requiem in D Minor with guest soloist Dominic Armstrong. $7 general, $5 seniors, free for children, students w/ID, and BSU faculty, staff and students, at the door.

Judah and The Lion: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 9, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. $20. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624.

April 11

Spring Wreath Making: 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, Boise Library Collister branch, 4724 W. State St. Space and materials limited. Sign up as a family of up to four participants or sign up individually. 972-8320.

Get Outside: Landscaping with Native Plants: 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, Boise Library Hillcrest branch, 5246 W. Overland Road. Get inspiration and tips for landscaping with native plants from Ann DeBolt, member of the Idaho Native Plant Society and botanist at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Free. 972-8340.

April 12

Values and Goals: Roadmap or the Rest of Your Life: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, Boise Library Ustick branch, 7557 W. Ustick Road. Adults aged 50 and older are invited to join Patricia Flanigan and Lynette Adams as they encourage lifelong learning by facilitating four Smart Strategies for Successful Living workshops.

April 13

Readings and Conversations with Lauren Groff: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 13, Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St., Boise. Award-winning and bestselling author of the celebrated short story collection, “Delicate Edible Birds,” as well as the author of three novels. $25-$35. 331-8000,

Local Natives: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 13, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. $25. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $27 day of show.

April 14

Gryphon Piano Trio: 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, Morrison Center Recital Hall, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. With clarinetist James Campbell. $30 general, $25 seniors and students, advance and at the door.

April 15

Fluvial Effects of the Bonneville Flood: Register at 7 a.m. Saturday, April 15, Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology, 2455 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, with a departure at 7:30 a.m. Join Idaho State University’s Paul Link and Ben Crosby on a field trip to examine flood effects from the Bonneville Flood. Bring water and lunch. $10 IMMG members, $15 nonmembers. No registration required. 853-1678,

April 19

Beats Antique: 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. $22. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $24 day of show.

Kyle Kinane: 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 19, Neurolux, 111 N. 11th St., Boise. $20. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624.

April 20

Nonprofit Resource Thursday: 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 20, Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. Nonprofit organizations and start-ups can get free help finding resources at these monthly drop-in sessions, and learn how to use a searchable database of over 150,000 grant opportunities. A roundtable on Modernizing Strategic Planning for Nonprofits will be held at 4:15 p.m. 972-8200.

Idea of Nature Lecture Series: 6 p.m. Thursday, April 20, Jordan Ballroom, Student Union Building, Boise State University. “ ‘The Ghostly Language of the Ancient Earth’: The Idea of Nature in Deep Time” presented by Scott Ashley, lecturer in medieval history, Newcastle University, U.K. Free reception to follow at 7 p.m. with appetizers. Free. RSVP to for the reception.

Micah Stevens Trio: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 20, Nampa Smiles Terrace, 3rd floor, Nampa Public Library, 215 12th Ave. S. Free outdoor concert. 468-4474.

“A River Runs Through It” screening: 7 p.m. Thursday, April 20, The Flicks, 646 Fulton St., Boise. Brad Pitt, Tom Skerrit and Craig Sheffer star for director Robert Redford in this adaptation of the novel by Norman Maclean. (PG-13). $12 general, $10 students, at the box office,, and at the door (if available).

April 21

Literature for Lunch: 12:10 to 1 p.m. Friday, April 21, Boise Public Library, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. Discussion of David Wroblewski’s modern take on Hamlet, “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” Free. 972-8255.

April 22

Week of the Young Children Celebration: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 N. Penitentiary Road, Boise. Connect with community programs and businesses to learn about summer camps, after-school programs, early literacy, healthy eating, child care, fishing licenses, more. Also, crafts, kids zumba, bicycle rodeo and obstacle courses. Free.

Chair Affair Gala: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22, JUMP, 1000 W. Myrtle St., Boise. Furniture design competition raises money for design scholarships in the state of Idaho.$25 general, $20 students.

Serenata Orchestra Beach Night and Silent Auction: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Bridge Event Center, 6200 N. Garrett St., Boise. Silent auction, food, beer and wine (for purchase), activities, music by Willie and the Single Wides. Beach costumes encouraged. $25. Brown Paper Tickets.

Jeff Foxworthy and Larry The Cable Guy: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22, Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Lane, Boise. $59.50. Ticketmaster, 426-1766.

April 23

Buzzsaw Sharks of Idaho Lecture: 1 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Idaho Museum of Mining and Geology, 2455 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise. Presented by Leif Tapanila, Idaho State University and Idaho Museum of Natural History in Pocatello. $5 general, free to IMMG members. 571-5720,

The Magic of Pixar: Family Matinee and Discussion: 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Boise Library Ustick branch, 7557 W. Ustick Road. All ages are invited to watch “Inside Out.” Movie theater-style popcorn, snacks, and refreshments will be served. Short discussion to follow the screening. Free. 972-8300.

Art Song Recital:2:30 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy, 516 S. 9th St., Boise. Join Opera Idaho’s Resident Company singers in this series of recitals dedicated to the form of under-produced music called art songs. These non-staged songs often incorporate well-known poems and seasonal themes with complex music and piano. Free. 345-3531,

The Expendables: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. Special guests: Rdgldgrn, Tribal Theory. $17.50. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $20 day of show.

Lil’ Wayne: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 23, Revolution Center, 4983 Glenwood St., Garden City. $55 first 200 tickets sold, $65 second 200, $75 general, $125 VIP. Ticketfly, (877) 435-9489.

April 24

Boise Contemporary Theater’s 5X5 Reading Series: 7 p.m. Monday, April 24, 854 Fulton St. “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen. $12 general, $8 students. 331-9224, ext. 205;

April 25

Cherish the Ladies: 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, Meyer-McLean Performing Arts Center, Four Rivers Cultural Center, 676 S.W. 5th Ave., Ontario. $20 general, $10 students. (541) 889-2844.

Stories Worth Telling: Tattoo Stories: 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 25, Boise Library Collister branch, 4724 W. State St. Explore the diverse stories behind tattoos and share your own tattoo origin story. Examine common design elements and create your own tattoo graphic. Free. 972-8320.

April 26

Granger Smith: 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 26, Knitting Factory, 416 S. 9th St., Boise. Opening: Earl Dibbles Jr. $18. TicketWeb, (866) 468-7624. $20 day of show.

April 27

Opera Idaho Operatini: 6 p.m. Thursday, April 27, Sapphire Room, The Riverside Hotel, 2900 W. Chinden Blvd., Boise. Opera in a relaxed setting with a specially designed martini based on the upcoming opera. $20 per person, $35 per couple, does not include martini. Brown Paper Tickets.

Johnny Mathis: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 27, Morrison Center, 2201 Cesar Chavez Lane, Boise. $55-$150. Ticketmaster, 426-1110.

April 28

Idaho State Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting: 10 a.m. Friday, April 28, Idaho State Capitol, 700 W. Jefferson St., Boise. State Controller Brandon D. Woolf will lead the celebration. Arbor Day photo contest winners will receive awards for their winning images. Concludes with the planting of a Kwanzan cherry tree at Capitol Park located just south of the Statehouse. Free.

▪  Idaho Forest Products Commission will give away free Blue Spruce seedlings Friday, April 28, at Home Depot and Mountain West Banks locations, Boise Co-op, Whole Foods and other locations. Check for all locations.

Women of the World: 7 p.m. Friday, April 28, Jewett Auditorium, College of Idaho campus, 2112 Cleveland Blvd., Caldwell. Mentored by Bobbie McFerrin, these four women from Italy, Japan, Haiti and India blend their voices in over 29 languages in a capella arrangements from across the globe. $10-$20 general, $5-$10 students. 459-5275,

April 29

Experience Idaho: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Introduces newcomers and native Idahoans to products, services and activities that they can experience in their own state. $6 admission, free for children 6 and younger.

Family Pet Expo: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Pet products and services, traditional family pets, exotic animals, food samples, face painting, more. $6 admission, free for children 6 and younger.

Girl’s Day Out Expo: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Lifestyle event features all the needs and interests of women under one roof, celebrating women in all walks of life. $6 admission, free for children 6 and younger.

Kids Fun Fest: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Expo Idaho, 5610 N. Glenwood St., Garden City. Kids activity zone, face painting, bounce house, petting zoo, reptile exhibit, games, more. $6 admission, free for children 6 and younger.

Idaho Native Plant Society sale: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 29, MK Nature Center, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.

Bastille: 7 p.m. Saturday, April 29, Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Lane, Boise. $35 and $45. Ticketmaster, 426-1766.

April 30

Pooch Pageant: 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 30, Wyndham Garden Boise Airport, 3300 S. Vista Ave. Doggie beauty pageant with two categories: natural and glitz. Benefits the Idaho Humane Society’s Pet Food Pantry. Go to for contestant applications and to register as a spectator.

Chris Tomlin: 7 p.m. Sunday, April 30, Taco Bell Arena, 1401 Bronco Lane, Boise. Special guests Big Daddy Weave, Phil Wickham, Zach Williams, Mosaic MSC and Jason Barton. $15-$69.75. Ticketmaster, 426-1766.

Chance the Rapper: 8 p.m. Sunday, April 30, Ford Idaho Center, 16200 Idaho Center Blvd., Nampa. $39.59 and $59.50. ICTickets, 442-3232.

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San Francisco Flower & Garden Show brings ideas

San Francisco Flower Garden Show brings ideas

March 24, 2017
Updated: March 24, 2017 12:11pm

  • An exhibit at a previoius S.F. Flower  Garden show. Photo: S.F. Flower  Garden Show




Enough of winter! Time to stroll through gardens in full spring bloom. Enjoy more than a dozen gardens and landscaping displays at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, which runs April 5-9. Educate yourself with more than 100 workshops and seminars, on topics ranging from designing a garden with succulents to home brewing beer to backyard beekeeping. Plenty of booths will be selling plants and garden products.

Details: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 5-April 8, and until 6 p.m. April 9. $22 one-day adult ticket; $20 one-day senior ticket; $40 all-show pass good for all five days. Free for 16 and under. San Mateo County Event Center, 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo;

Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit by Andrew Moore.  Credit: Chelsea Publishing Photo: Chelsea Publishing

Pawpaws: Hardy fruit, tropical flavor


I’ve heard about pawpaws all my life, but only recently had a chance to taste one. When I finally did take a pawpaw, I understood what all the fuss was about. It has sweet, soft, fragrant, pale yellow flesh similar to that of white sapote, or custard apple, a tropical fruit native to Mexico. Since the pawpaw I tasted was from a tree grown near San Francisco, I wondered, why this delicious fruit was not to be found in Bay Area markets.

The book “Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit,” by Andrew Moore (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2015; paperback edition available April 17), explains why. First, pawpaws do not ship well. Like sapotes and the also-related cherimoyas, pawpaws are soft when ripe. They bruise easily so the source needs to be near the market. Second, they have a very short season, so unless an eager public is waiting for them, they may spoil before they’re sold.

Moore’s book traces the history of this largest fruit native to the U.S., and explains how to grow it. Moore also tells about the researchers who have been breeding superior varieties and about efforts to promote and sell the fruit.

Where does the name pawpaw come from? Europeans, or possibly African slaves who had come to the mainland from the West Indies, first called them by this name, a variant of the word papaya.

Pawpaws (Asimina triloba) taste tropical but are hardy to about 20 below zero. They grow along rivers in much of the eastern U.S. and were relished by many native American tribes. George Washington liked chilled pawpaws. Lewis and Clark ate them when passing through a region where they grew. American settlers sometimes removed the trees in favor of planting cornfields, but many wild groves remain.

Pawpaws were recently sold at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco, but the one nearby farm that grew pawpaws couldn’t make a go of the crop, so removed it to expand other crops. Still, pawpaws make an easy-to-grow garden fruit tree.

More Gardening

The tree can reach 35 feet in height, but might reach only 10-15 feet where summers are cool. Its leaves, up to a foot long, give the tree a tropical look. It’s dormant in winter, then bears small, maroon blossoms before leaves return in spring. The fruits, up to nine in a cluster, ripen in late August or September. They are 3 to 6 inches long, weighing 5 to 16 ounces.

Pawpaw needs well-drained, fertile soil, with a slightly acidic pH (5-7), and a site out of strong winds. The best time to plant (a potted seedling is best) is in spring, just before it leafs out. See the website of the California Rare Fruit Growers (

Gardeners are growing pawpaws in San Jose, Los Altos, Berkeley and Walnut Creek. You can buy plants from Raintree Nursery, (800) 391-8892,, or One Green World, (877) 353-4028,

Chickens: A risk-free trial

A couple of years ago, my daughter, who lives in Minnesota, told me she had rented some chickens for the summer. I was surprised, but I realized there were many advantages to this unusual arrangement.

Ever wanted to try your hand at raising chickens? Rent the Chicken offers Bay Area residents the opportunity — hens, a coop and feed — to give it a try. Photo: Michael Short, Special To The Chronicle

For her family, it was a way to have chickens in summer without having to house them through the long winter months. And there was little setup because the birds were mature enough to be laying and came with a ready-made coop; food and water dishes; and feed. Their daughter, who was 6, loved the birds (named Sparkle and Magic), gathering and eating eggs, and learning that eggs varied in size. She also relished learning how to wrangle the birds back into their coop.

Now Bay Area residents can rent chickens, too, through Rent the Chicken (, (724) 305-0782). Homesteaders Cecilia and David, who live in the Santa Clara County town of San Martin, will deliver free up to 50 miles away. Over that, you will get a quote when you call, at roughly $2 a mile, for additional miles. Or you can meet them with a pickup truck or trailer within the 50-mile radius and take the chickens and coop home yourself.

What do you get? Two or four laying hens; a portable chicken coop; 100-200 pounds of feed; water and feed dishes; and instructions. Rentals are for six months, April/May to September/October or the reverse. Should a chicken die of anything but neglect, they will replace it, and when you send the birds back, the company promises to find them other homes, even if they are too old to lay well. On the other hand, should you decide you were meant to have chickens, you can arrange to keep the birds permanently. Pricing varies, but the website gives the spring standard rental package at $400.

The San Martin homesteaders also participate in Rent the Chicken’s other program, Hatch the Chicken. This five-week program allows schools and others to rent what they need to watch eggs hatch and chicks develop.

Pam Peirce is the author of “Golden Gate Gardening: Third Edition.” Blog: Email:

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The Latest Trend in Landscaping: Rain Gardens


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,



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The art of making maple

Posted: Saturday, March 25, 2017 12:15 am

The art of making maple

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

March is typically the month when local maple syrup producers have their best sap runs.

Maple sap “runs” when environmental conditions are suitable for this phenomena to occur, usually. Those conditions are cold nights, with temperatures well below freezing followed by warmer, sunny days, with temperatures above freezing.

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11 of the most important gardening tips from the masters

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

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April garden tips:Get ready for summer – Visalia Times

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