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Archives for March 29, 2017

Get Growing: The Philadelphia Flower Show inspires a shakeup in the garden

Takeaway thoughts inspired by the Philadelphia Flower Show are simple: Try something new this year.

Sometimes the new idea or garden practice is really just the old idea making a comeback. It’s not really a trend, but a good idea whose time has come to re-surface.

Trend 1: Be sustainable in your gardening endeavors. Even though I have heard this term over and over again, it doesn’t always resonate with me. Simply, what is sustainable for one person may not be a solution for another. Clearly, the goal is eco gardening or eco-friendly no matter how you achieve the end results; the basic principle is the same. Be kind to the earth by practicing a do-no-harm philosophy. Consider your neighbor and the next generation. What will your garden legacy be?

Sustainability practices may include becoming an organic gardener or, at the very least, reducing the herbicides and pesticides used.

The movement to help the pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, beetles, ants and birds, by planting foods for their survival, both larval stages and adults, is reaching around the globe.

Planting native plants for the journey along migration routes and for the increasing length of the growing season, early spring through late fall, are key factors to assist pollinators and therefore safeguard our own food.

One in every three bites we take needs a pollinator.

Taking care of water resources by keeping stormwater on-site is becoming common practice, if not yet written into the building code. Keeping water clean and safe from toxins and conserving water should be a priority. Why? The human body is 90 percent water. Plants and animals need clean water, too.

Plant something to keep our human carbon footprint in check, especially trees.

Trend 2: Integrate the natural world into the built environment; a lesson from the Dutch designers on mixing architecture and landscape for balance and beauty. Nature heals. A walk outside restores the soul, reduces stress, invigorates the senses, clears the mind and increases productivity.

Studies show that a walk in the woods elevates mood, decreases blood pressure and allows our bodies to absorb oxygen, counteracting the toxins from harmful indoor air quality. Imagine if we all had access to woodland out our back door. Let’s strive to integrate natural surroundings into our daily routine, and within work or school surroundings.

Trend 3: Foodscape rather than lawnscape. Add edibles to your ornamental landscape. No longer must we separate the garden by function; one for food and the other for entertainment. Land is precious and every square foot should provide a benefit for us.

Think about where you could tuck in some lettuce along your annual border, or change out an invasive shrub for another that would be more beneficial to humans or wildlife. Edible landscapes are beautiful, whether annual (tomatoes) or perennial (asparagus) plantings. Dutch designer Bart Hoes’ urban living exhibit highlighted the creativity possible when blending herbs and vegetables with spring bulbs. Brie Arthur introduced the concept with her new book, “The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way To Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden” St. Lynn’s Press 2017.

Trend 4: have fun in the garden, and especially with children. Gardening is hard work, but also enjoyable and rewarding. Learn to play in the garden. Encourage children to participate in growing flowers and veggies. Teach them about insects and animals in the wild. Even if the wild is your own backyard, there can be much to view from a child’s perspective.

Spring is here. What will you do differently this year?

Gloria Day is president of Pretty Dirty Ladies Inc. Garden Design Maintenance; a member of Gardenwriters and the Pennsylvania Landscape Nursery Association; and serves on the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence Horticultural Advisory Committee. She lives in Berks County and can be reached at

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Over the Garden Fence | Learning Japanese designs

In the newest relationship pursuit, The Rising Sun Friends, things are going well. At our last meeting, two of the women announced that their stays in Bucyrus were coming to an end in the next several weeks. Sad for me, but a happy thought for them as they embrace the fact they will be returning to Japan with their families.

Last fall at a state school for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs — a school for flower show Judges — Terri Lady provided a session on Ikenobo designing; she asked someone if I were there. Yes, and I quickly looked her up. You see, Terri and Randy grew roses, lots of them. Each summer when junior gardeners went to the Bucyrus Historical Society History Day, we wanted miniature roses to form the center of our fresh nosegays. The ladies always offered roses to us — we knew one another. Yet, I had no idea that Terri had been studying Ikebana floral designing in the Ikenobo School. She became an answer to a prayer once again.

Terri was positive about coming to the house to share with our group. Shallow containers were rounded up; in oriental designs, a kenzan is placed in the container to hold plant materials. Kenzans are really heavy metal needlepoints; my cupboard is loaded with them.

We met in the morning and Terri arrived early. For foliage, we used bakers fern. There is enough arc in the frond to help in the moribana designing. An assortment of white lilies, some red tulips and alstroemeria were available. Terri demonstrated while the group watched. Then each one of us selected a container and a kenzan.

At the end of the work session, she checked each design and made comments or adjustments while the designer watched.

In a snap, the whole group had the dining room table cleared and all the materials and tools put back into place. By then, green tea was steeping and coffee was hot. Each member of this group brings something for our noon segment, which is much like a church pot luck where everyone does her very best to prepare savory items. It is the artistic display down the center of the table, which is amazing!

These gals work on food with the pride of a licensed chef. Photos of food outnumber those of us working. My offering was corn chowder served from a tureen into Japanese bowls bought in Columbus years ago.

My excitement in having their company in our home over the last two years cushioned my brain. Sure, I knew that husbands assigned to IB Tech would reach the end of their sojourn. Now, reality sets in. Emiko and Kayoko, our president and vice-president respectively, are going home. Sadness is about realizing that their energy and happiness will go, too. On the bright side, friendships, memories and front-line cultural adventures will continue.

It will just be another set of friends, that’s all. Nozomi and Mio have just come into the fellowship, bringing young children with them. That is another dimension.

To my surprise, Terri would like to be part of our fellowship. She admires the culture and had a pleasant time. Life is good.

Mary Lee Minor is a member of the Earth, Wind and Flowers Garden Club, is an accredited flower show judge for the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs and a former sixth-grade teacher.

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Garden design is enhanced with surprises





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Lots of new at Home and Garden Show

According to Katie Hanning, executive officer for the Great Falls Home Builders Association, “I don’t care what the groundhog says, spring does not come to Montana until the Home and Garden Show happens.”

If Hanning is right, then spring in Montana begins Friday, March 31, at Montana ExpoPark.

This year’s booth space is sold out and includes more than 30 new vendors selling everything you can imagine for the home and garden as well as some things you never knew you needed and can’t live without.

North Country Armory, a company selling home safes, joins the show for the first time.

“Because sometimes the guys like to look at stuff,” Hanning joked.

Marias River Farms is bringing Italian rototillers.

“I don’t know what that means,” said Hanning, “but it sounds like it’ll be exciting.”

Quarry Works brings some new stonework ideas for landscaping and other projects, Big Sky Quilts shows off some fancy sewing and Furniture Row has decor and furniture ideas galore.

The vendors aren’t the only thing that’s new for the 2017 Home and Garden Show.

“This year, we’re doing a hot trends event,” said Hanning, explaining that vendors with new styles, looks and items will have green ribbons on their booths to entice shoppers.

These trends include everything from the latest paint colors to new metal products.

“And, of course, we have our seasoned veterans like Anderson Glass, and they have new hiding screen doors, which are really awesome,” Hanning said.

As the years roll on, the businesses bring bigger and more elaborate booths to draw in customers and show them the possibilities.

“We encourage that because we want people to be able to dream in living color,” said Hanning.

Some of the fancier displays include life-sized gazebos and an outdoor kitchen setup from All Season Spas and Stoves.

“I’m at the show starting on Wednesday because it takes a couple of days for these people to build,” said Hanning. “It’s not a one-day deal.”

The Home Builders Association also provides consumer information throughout the show on how to avoid being taken in by building scams and how to hire safe contractors.

You can also have a shot at a Visa gift card by bringing easy-to-cook items for the school food pantries. Or just grab a card on the way in and play Home Show Bingo for a shot at Visa gift cards and a picnic table from Pro Build.

“You can get money just from being a cool person,” said Hanning.

The Great Falls Home and Garden Show runs from 3 to 8 p.m. March 31, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 1 and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2. Admission is $3.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Traci Rosenbaum at 791-1490. Follow her on Twitter @GFTrib_TRosenba.


What: Home and Garden Show

When: 3-8 p.m. March 31; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. April 1; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 2

Where: Four Seasons Arena

Cost: $3

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Native plants are good choice for landscaping in town or rural …

Posted: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:15 pm

Native plants are good choice for landscaping in town or rural

By Francis Skalicky
Missouri Department of Conservation

Buffalo Reflex – Buffalo, Missouri


Whether you have a small yard in the city or a large acreage in the country, native plants can give you options to grow on.

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      Tuesday, March 28, 2017 4:15 pm.

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      Water-Saving Landscaping Ideas for Traditional Style Homes

      Shades of Green Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz

      For most of us, when we think of drought-tolerant design – also known as xeriscaping – the gardens of Mediterranean and Southwestern-style homes come to mind. Why? Because those climates require water-efficient plants and trees, and they make the most use of drought-resistant landscaping techniques. But, what if you own a more traditional-style home, like a colonial or Victorian and you want a water-saving lawn?

      It’s tradition for the traditional styles to sport lawns with vast swaths of grass, hedges, rosebushes and other water-hungry plants. But, the good news is there are plenty of options for grasses, shrubs, and plants with lots of color to create beautiful landscaping, and they won’t suck your water system dry.

      Not all grasses have the water demands of typical turf. Drought-tolerant No-Mow Fine Fescue or Buffalograss replaces a standard lawn behind the shingle-style home shown above.

      A splash of lavender from some roses or fuchsia from a bougainvillea would look picture perfect next to a traditional house. But maybe you don’t have the time or money for the upkeep.

      BE Landscape Design, original photo on Houzz

      This traditional cottage offers the same bursts of color, with a “lawn” of creeping thyme and a rich and colorful front yard with a drought-tolerant ground cover and shrubs.

      Large bushes of Spanish lavender (Lavendula stoechas) serve up some water-saving purple magic.

      Robert Shuler Design, original photo on Houzz

      In yet a different lawn variant, the drought-tolerant grasses in this rustic heath provide this English country classic home with a soft green carpet, but one that is much more water efficient than manicured turf.

      When you do want lots of green and color, combine different grasses and drought-tolerant flowering bushes, like one of the many forms of lavender. While most traditional flowers and lawns slurp up water, a yard like this can surround you with nature and color and be largely self-supporting once established.

      Le jardinet, original photo on Houzz

      In this colorful garden, drought-tolerant plantings show that you can save water and still pile on all the reds, yellows, oranges, blues, greens and purples you want. Bright daylily (Hemerocallis) and reddish-hued smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) form the foreground of this lovely landscape.

      Beinfield Architecture PC, original photo on Houzz

      Sometimes, however, the answer for saving water is a little more hardscaping and a little less lawn. The approach works well for this traditional farmhouse in New York.

      If you add hardscaping, try to design it in a way that allows water to seep into the soil below. In other words, don’t create a solid concrete or stone surface, but rather one that’s permeable. That will reduce risks of soil erosion where the water leaves your hardscaping and will reduce the load on your municipality’s storm water sewers.

      Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects, original photo on Houzz​

      Segmenting a garden with walls and pathways reduces the planting area — and water demand — while creating interesting spaces and providing natural focal points. What’s more traditional than a courtyard garden?

      (A huge shout-out to Ira Johnson of Rainscape Design in San Francisco for his invaluable assistance identifying the plant varieties shown in this ideabook.)

      This article was originally published on
      For related content see:
      Try Traditional Style Patio Furniture
      The Case for Losing the Traditional Lawn
      Hire a Hardscaping Professional Near Orlando

      Read more Home Grown blogs – your go-to source for tips and inspiration for your home or garden, and subscribe today to have Orlando magazine delivered to your door once a month.

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      Attracting butterflies and other pollinators to your garden

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      Looking for gardening tips? This North County tour offers plenty of inspiration.

      A spring garden tour benefiting the Adult Day Center in Paso Robles features five distinct gardens — each showcasing different ways to create a functional outdoor living area.

      One property demonstrates how to create usable dining and view patios in a steep hillside setting.

      A landscape on a flat lot demonstrates how to provide children’s play areas while maintaining a beautiful garden scene.

      At another family home, a large side yard with a view was transformed into an inviting outdoor dining room shaded by a vine-covered arbor.

      At still another, what started as an undeveloped two-acre downhill plot of clay has developed into an organic park and garden of fountains, trees and a sustainable natural habitat for both humans and animals.

      That home in the Atascadero hills, owned by Fred and Susan Miller, presented quite the landscaping challenge.

      Covered with a canopy of oaks, open to the wildlife that roams the hill, and with very little flat space, the Millers knew traditional landscaping was out of the question. They chose to blend in with their surroundings, becoming a National Wildlife Federation’s Certified Wildlife Habitat, providing the four basic habitat elements of food, water, cover and places to raise young.

      These criteria meant that the Millers would not fence their yard, they would provide water, and any plants would have to be deer-tolerant.

      Starting at the top of their sloping property, the Millers created a natural, rock-lined streambed with a series of waterfalls babbling along the way. Flagstone pathways wind their way up the hill, over the stream on an arched bridge to viewing decks with spectacular vistas.

      In a small, fenced area near the house, the Millers grow vegetables in raised beds and enjoy evening meals outdoors on warm evenings with the sound of another waterfall flowing into a large koi pond.

      In contrast to the Miller garden is one that I created with my husband, Norman, on a large flat lot in Atascadero.

      If you love color, you’ll enjoy the bright orange and yellow display of the Judy Garland rose garden and a wide variety of blooming perennials and vines. Walkways — which also serve as kids’ bike racetracks — provide access around the large lawn to view the perennial beds.

      What we find most enchanting in May, however, is our iris garden that stretches 100 feet along the back of the property. We bought ‘Tall Bearded’ iris rhizomes many years ago from Scott’s Iris Gardens in Atascadero, where Jack and Bonne Scott hybridized their own varieties of iris.

      Although the Scotts are now retired, their magnificent creations still bloom throughout the country, and have been separated and expanded in gardens like ours. The prize-winning ‘Poly Gone’ and ‘All in Stitches’ are among those that will be at their peak in early May.

      Our garden, which mimics our Mission-inspired home, features a custom-built replica of the wishing well at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, along with a romantic walk-through grape arbor, a hacienda patio, a bell tower and mounds of flowers in planters along an inviting lap pool.

      All of the homeowners on the spring garden tour are showcasing their gardens in order to support the Adult Day Center of Paso Robles, which is operated by the Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.

      Founded in 2004, the center is the area’s only nonprofit, full-time day facility for older adults. It provides socially stimulating and therapeutic activities for older adults experiencing cognitive difficulties and memory loss.

      Connie Pillsbury is a former garden writer for The Tribune.

      Spring Garden Tour: If you go

      11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 7

      $20 per person

      Buy tickets at

      You will be mailed a map of the tour after purchasing your tickets and may start the tour at any of the featured gardens in Atascadero or Paso Robles. Wristbands will be issued at your first tour stop.

      Proceeds benefit the Adult Day Center in Paso Robles, a program of Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County.

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      2017 Home Landscaping and Garden Fair

      The University of Minnesota Extension Anoka County Master Gardener Program is sponsoring the 2017 Home Landscaping and Garden Fair 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the Bunker Hills Activities Center, 550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover. The public is invited to attend this informative horticulture event.

      Alpine gardening enthusiast and Rhododendron hybridizer Betty Ann Addison from Gardens of Rice Creek will present “Beautiful Rock Gardens: Building and Planting” and “Rhododendrons for Minnesota.”

      Other featured guest speakers include:

      –Sam Bauer, Extension educator, will present information about how to have a beautiful, but low-maintenance lawn.

      –Food safety educator from U of MN Extension Suzanne Driessen will present two classes, “Basics of Home Canning: Safety First” and “Preserving Food Safely: Exploring the Options.”

      –Alex Eilts from the Upper Midwest Carnivorous Plant Society will talk about the relationship between insects and carnivorous plants.

      –Extension master gardeners will present the remaining concurrent sessions that include, but are not limited to, flowering shrubs, woodland gardens, vegetable gardens, and wicking gardens.

      Hands-on workshops include “Making a Buckthorn Walking Stick” and “Build a Table-top Hydroponics Garden.”

      Registration for this event is required (space is limited). Early registration is $25 per person if postmarked by Friday, March 31. The price for late registration and walk-ins is $30 per person. Parking is free. Bag lunches will be available by reservation for an additional fee. A material fee will be added to the optional workshops. For more information, visit or call 763-755-1280.

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      Easy tips for creating picturesque planter gardens

      Those of us who are blessed to be Southerners are fortunate to be able to enjoy the beauty of colorful landscapes throughout the year.  However, for many, the time, labor, exertion and finances associated with creating and maintaining a beautiful landscape makes doing so on a large scale difficult, if not totally impossible.  A planter garden is one easy way to create beautiful landscape features without much exertion, aggravation or financial commitment.  The following benefits and tips are offered to get gardeners started.  Happy gardening!

      Benefits:  In addition to the aforementioned benefits, there are several other practical advantages to the container method of gardening.  First, it is an easy way to get started for those who want to take “baby steps” in their gardening endeavors.  In addition, the flexibility – can be planted inside or outside in almost any location; portability – depending on size, can be easily moved from one place to another; and easy maintenance – can be changed out by season or as needed – are all benefits of these garden features.

      Plant selection: In regards to plant selection, the best advice is to be creative and choose based on personal preference.  Just choose plants that can serve as thrillers (larger scale plants, shrubs or grasses that serve as the centerpiece for the arrangement), fillers (colorful plants, herbs or other greenery that cover the container’s surface) and spillers (trailing or mounding plants and vines that spill over the sides of the container).  While it is important not to overcrowd the plants and to allow space for future growth, it is also important not to skimp on the plants.  The most important tip to remember is that plants should be selected based on similar watering and lighting needs.

      Container selection:  Containers should also be chosen based on personal preference. Just be sure there are drainage holes in the bottom.  However, the intended location for the planter should also be considered since some materials hold up better than others, particularly in exterior environments.

      Care:  To maintain attractive containers, plants should be watered as often as needed.  A tip to remember is if the soil on top of the container is dry to the touch, the plants should be watered, typically until the water overflows from the drainage hole(s) at the bottom of the container.  Just take care not to over saturate, as this could lead to root rot.  In addition, fertilizer should be applied every few weeks to promote vigor and flowering.  Finally, container plants should be deadheaded, replaced or repotted seasonally, or as needed.

      Sources:  LSU AgCenter, Better Homes Gardens and Southern Living

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