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Archives for April 3, 2017

Longwood Garden’s revitalized Main Fountain Garden continues the …

KENNETT SQUARE Dancing fountains topped with a flame, one reaching heights of 175 feet, fountains with amazing color possibilities are some of the new delights that visitors will experience this summer at Longwood Gardens. For those who wish for more serene moments there is a Grotto to meditate in and luscious gardens within the Main Fountain Garden as water flows through sculptured pieces.

Longwood Gardens will reopen their Main Fountain Garden on May 27. The fountain garden has been closed since October, 2014. The renovations are beyond the imagination of Pierre S. du Pont. du Pont opened the Fountain Garden in 1931 inspired by fountains and gardens in Europe and the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Paul B. Redman, President and CEO led the media tour as workers finished up the $90 million dollar revitalization project. The Main Fountain Garden will be revealed as part of Longwood Gardens Summer of Spectacle.

The project includes the preservation of du Pont’s original design with the complete restoration of the limestone fountains. Over 4,282 pieces of Italian and Indiana limestone were restored. Fifty nine of Marble and Serpentine and 814 pieces are new to replace those beyond repair.

The South wall, based on a traditional Italian garden hasn’t worked for over 25 years and an entire generation has never experienced it according to Redman.

The Main Fountain Garden was the last major construction project that du Pont designed and has dazzled many throughout the years.

“In October 2014 when it came time for maintenance and repairs of the project and when we began working on the planning for the revitalization on the Main Fountain Garden, we had several paths we could have taken, one path would be straight up ,pure renovation and preservation project. Preserving it in place as it was stone by stone and keeping the landscape as it was, “said Redman.

“There were very serious maintenance issues and an aging system used nonstop till 2014… Knowing this and what we were dealing with we made a decision, that wouldn’t it be great if we could achieve all these great engineering and maintenance goals, and build a system that eased the maintenance and bring in new technology,” said Redman

Redman continued, “Looking at our founder, his innovation and driving force and his legacy, we approached the main garden revitalization project with a new set of eyes, sensitivity to the past to preserve what was there and to have new features and experiences never seen before.”

The creation of a new mechanical and electrical infrastructure will allow for 141 individual controllable effects, 1,340 new jets and streams with the tallest jet reaching 175 feet and even a flame that erupts atop a ten foot tall water jet.

There are three new underground tanks holding 338,570 gallons of water. New linear feet of tunnels were added to create easier access for the 1,389 LED lights that will create infinite color combinations.

The garden design with boxwood shrubs and walkways lined with trees increases space and includes stairs on the east and west sides of the garden and an elevator allowing guests to access the Fountain Overlook. The Pumphouse Plaza will have café seating so patrons can eat feeling that they are in outside European garden. Walking down steps one will find a dimly lit Grotto for quiet meditation in a tranquil setting to get in touch with one’s spirituality through the serenity of flowing water and fountains.

The historic Pump Room and galleries will exhibit the original 18 pumps and mechanical systems that powered the fountains from 1931 to 2014. A tribute to du Pont, whose ability was not only to shape the future of Longwood Gardens, but continued to do so beyond his lifetime.

Summer of Spectacle Premiere Weekend is May 27 through May 29. Tickets go on sale April 3. On May 28 there will be a Fireworks and Fountains Show for ticket holders. Summer of Spectacle runs through Sept. 30 with summer concerts and six Fireworks and Fountains shows. For more information go to

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Novi Home & Garden Show to kick off spring improvement season

A water feature, brick pavers and a variety of plantings fill out a display at the Novi Home Garden Show.

Posted March 29, 2017


NOVI — In preparation for the end of hibernation and the awakening of growing things, the Novi Home Garden Show will return to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi March 31-April 2.

The 20,000-square-foot showroom will transform into a living space complete with 30-foot trees, the smell of mulch and all types of home appliances on display. Vendors will share the newest landscaping ideas, materials and products.

“There will be pretty much anything and everything that homeowners or potential homeowners might need to find when looking to hire somebody for a professional service, to remodel or even to build homes,” said Mike Stoskopf, CEO of the Home Builders Association of Southeast Michigan.

Along with 20 landscapers with 40-by-40-foot displays, the three-day show will include hundreds of exhibitors who set up displays of products and appliances.

“They typically feature the newest cool thing,” Stoskopf said. “When you walk in the door, it looks like you’re looking through a forest. It’s not just trees — there’s patios, waterfalls and fountains, fireplaces and fire pits. It’s really cool.”

Gretchen Monette, the show’s public relations specialist, said some Michigan-based entrepreneurs will be bringing new and improved items, such as an alternative to a wheelbarrow; a rain curtain water feature; and a portable, raised planting bed ideal for those in apartments, condos or who use wheelchairs.

“One of the things we’ve noticed is a lot of people are feeling more comfortable spending money on home projects,” Monette said. “Coming to one of these shows can help give you some ideas or help narrow down what you need to do. You can find that exact person or business to help you see your vision through.”

Aaron Kalmar, owner of Aaron C. Kalmar Custom Landscaping and Design, won the Novi Home Garden Show Most Creative Landscaper award last year and will return to the show this year.

Kalmar emphasized the importance of having a balance of native plants that can withstand the often unpredictable and drastic Michigan weather changes with cultivar plants that add more color to landscaping.

“We do a 70-30 mix. That way, you’re not looking at a bunch of burlap through the winter,” Kalmar said. “This year, we didn’t have a lot of snow cover, which is tough on root systems, and native plants handle that a whole lot better than cultivar.”

Another trend in landscaping, he said, is dwarf versions of existing species, like hydrangeas and hostas, which many people like because they require less pruning and maintenance.

Speakers from the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association will give informational talks about outdoor entertaining, yard care and landscaping. The talks will take place on the Plant Michigan Green Seminar Stage.

Show hours are 2-8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission costs $10 for people ages 13 and older, $9 for seniors ages 55 and older, and is free to children ages 12 and younger. On Friday and Saturday, admission costs $5 after 5 p.m. Parking is not included in the ticket price.

The Suburban Collection Showplace is located at 46100 Grand River Ave. in Novi. For more information about the Novi Home Garden Show, advance tickets and coupons, visit

About the author

Staff Writer Sarah Wojcik covers Shelby Township and Utica for the Shelby-Utica News. Sarah has worked for C G Newspapers since 2013 and attended Oakland University. She won three Excellence in Journalism awards from the Detroit chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

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Invest in your nest: Ideas for inside your home and out at the …

REALTORS Home and Garden Show

REALTORS Home and Garden Show

WEST ALLIS — Sunday, April 2nd was the final day of the 2017 REALTORS Home and Garden Show — billed as the nation’s longest running home and garden show, in its 93rd year.

The REALTORS Home and Garden Show took place at the Wisconsin State Fair Park Expo Center from March 24th through April 2nd, and offered homeowners looking to “reinvest in their nest” ideas for both inside the home and out!

According to the event’s website, the REALTORS Home and Garden Show featured more than 350 exhibitor booths with the latest interior and exterior products — all under one roof! Visitors had the opportunity to chat one-on-one with industry experts on landscaping, roofing, windows, decks, cabinets, tiling, plumbing, kitchens, baths, decorating, heating, cooling and more.

Additionally, the REALTORS Home and Garden Show featured the following:

Solutions Stage: Presentations from experts on topics like gardening, composting, landscaping, and more.

Daily cooking demos

Milwaukee Public Television Great TV Auction: Collection of art, antiques and collectibles — with more than 1,000 items on display.

Garden market: Featuring garden ornaments, tools, pottery, plants and more.

Admission was $8 for adults, and children ages 12 and under were FREE. Active and retired military members were also FREE with valid military ID.

FOX6’s Evan Peterson was LIVE at the REALTORS Home and Garden Show on its last day, Sunday morning, April 2nd during FOX6 WakeUp News:

CLICK HERE to learn much more about the REALTORS Home and Garden Show.

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Vail Landscape Logic column: Keep rain out of the gutter with barrels, gardens

The parched month of March and the relief of thirst-quenching overnight rain reminds us how much we need to safeguard our most precious natural resource. Every time we keep the rainfall Mother Nature provides from rolling down the drain and use it in our yards, we rely less on the sprinklers and reduce stress on the storm-water system.

Two ways to keep water in your own yard are to use rain barrels and create a rain garden. Here are a few important tips about each of these smart ways to keep water from running down the drain.

Rain barrels

The 2017 landscape season is the first full growing season rain barrels are legal to use in Colorado. Since May is typically our rainiest month, there’s still time to implement a rain-barrel system.

Barrels may be used to collect water running off the roof that can subsequently be used to water landscaped areas on the property. Rainwater is non-potable and designated exclusively for watering plants on the site where the barrel is located.

Households are limited to two barrels with a total capacity of 110 gallons. The barrel must be equipped with a sealable lid as a safety feature, which will also help prevent breeding of mosquitos that can carry West Nile virus.

Two full barrels provide enough water to irrigate about 180 square feet of vegetable garden or lawn. They can potentially provide half the water required by this space during one growing season.

Before you invest in a rain barrel, consider the ongoing maintenance required. Users need to check each barrel regularly for debris, clean it, replace the screen as needed, and — like any irrigation tool — winterize it.

Rain gardens

If rainwater collecting may take more time and effort than you can provide, rain gardens offer a more passive approach. If you are renovating an existing yard or starting from scratch, consider making a rain garden part of your landscape design.

A rain garden has a slight depression to help collect water to slow runoff and allow water to percolate into the soil. It will require plants that can withstand moisture extremes ranging from flooded to dry, but there are hardy plants that fill the bill.

What do they do?

• Rain gardens keep water in your yard longer and provide moisture for your plants. When water gushes off a site, it carries pollutants, road salt and bacteria with it. Slowing water means community storm-water systems have less volume and cleaner water to manage.

• Rain gardens are attractive areas with herbaceous perennials, woody shrubs and trees. They can also be designed to provide habitat for birds and butterflies, making them even more environmentally friendly.

Whether you install rain barrels or create a rain garden, you can be proud that you have taken a sustainable step to slow and reduce water run-off and to help cleanse what water does move off your landscape.

Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.

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Did plants bloom too early this year? Here are go-to gardening tips from an expert

During years with mild winters like 2017, plants sprout early.

That’s worried some gardeners: Did the plants bloom too early? Did the snowstorm in early March nip the buds of my forsythia bush?

Don’t worry, they’re fine, says Carolyn Ulrich, editor of Chicagoland Gardening magazine. So, too, are bulb plants like daffodils and tulips. Gardeners should expect them to break ground in the middle of April.

“Our spring is not a disaster. Our spring is just fine,” she said.

COLUMN: Clatskanie Grows – Garden tips following winter

Garden Tips

It has been very wet. Gardeners are discovering seeps and springs where none had ever been seen before. The new wet areas could be a natural process since water moves mysteriously underground. But you also should consider if anything has been done to affect the drainage patterns. Are gutters carrying water to an appropriate discharge place? Is a drainage ditch not functioning as well as in the past? Is there a septic tank and/or field issue? Has a new house been built above you and changed the larger scale drainage patterns? Drainage concerns can be complicated to assess and fix but now is the right time to make notes and begin to consider solutions if they are needed. There are plants that thrive in low areas. Some “seep tolerant” native plants include all the small willows, red osier dogwood, and western red cedar. Many of these plants are for sale at the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council’s native plant sale noted above.

The migratory hummingbirds have returned. There are some plants in bloom for them but we are behind normal bloom times this year so a bit of hummingbird nectar would help get them past this cold period. The formula for a quart of nectar is 3 cups of water and ¾ cup of white sugar. I microwave the water to just below boiling and then add the sugar and stir to dissolve. It needs to be cooled before using and refrigerated between uses. Also, clean the feeders often.

Bats continue to struggle. The little brown bat generally returns from its winter snooze right about now. But there are very few insects for them to eat right now. There isn’t much we can do about that but take care not to disturb them if you find a resting place. Bat houses won’t generally be used unless they are mounted at least 12 feet above the ground and in an area that gets decent sun. The presence of a pond or at least a diverse habitat will make them like the boxes more. Plans for bat boxes are available on line from Bat Conservation International.

Consider painting the trunks of newly planted trees. When buying a tree, we think about where it is best suited in relation to ultimate size, shade tolerance, soils it prefers. Then we make every effort to develop a good planting hole (much wider than deep) to encourage rapid root development. But one thing easy to forget is that young trees are very susceptible to sun scald (winter) or sun burn (summer). Their bark at this stage is thin and vulnerable. In summer, direct sun on the southwest side of the tree in the late afternoon of a very hot day can “cook” the cambial tissue under the bark. A similar event can happen in the winter on very cold, clear days when there is snow and the sun reflects off the snow and onto the bark in late afternoon. The warmth causes the tissues to break dormancy and which are then are damaged when the temperatures drop rapidly at sunset. The classic symptom for both scald and sunburn is split bark on the south/southwest side. The best way to prevent this problem is to coat the trunk with white (or light) latex paint. It will reflect both the snow-reflected winter sun and the direct summer sun. The paint will last several years or more and can be reapplied.

2017 Home and Garden Show – April 8 and 9

The 2017 Home and Garden Show will be held at the Columbia County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 8th from 10am-5pm and on Sunday, April 9th from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be numerous vendor displays and booths, and garden talks by our OSU Master Gardeners. This show has been a lot of fun and quite informative. Tickets are available from the sponsors. See the Chronicle ad for details.

Scappoose Bay Watershed Council’s Native Plant Sale Saturday, April 15

Join the Watershed Council at their Spring Native Plant Sale Saturday, April 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is their semi-annual event to get you ready for spring and summer planting. They have lots of new plants at great prices – all native to our area. Staff and volunteers are available to help chose plants suggest gardening ideas, and provide information on establishing and maintaining native vegetation. For more information see

The Plant Sale is from 9am to 3pm at the SBWC nursery, located behind Scappoose High School. Look for signs – go east on SE High School Way and turn into the parking lot between the high school and the school ball field areas.

OSU Master Gardener’s Spring Garden Fair: Saturday, April 29

The OSU/Columbia County Master Gardener’s™ Spring Garden Fair at St. Helens High School Commons, 2375 Gable Rd St Helens, OR, will be held on April 29th from 9:00AM – 3:00 PM. The OSU Master Gardeners™ will sell 5,000 tomatoes in more than 30 varieties, provide tomato and general gardening information, and have a number of educational displays. There will also be many local vendors offering garden plants and other garden related products.

Many Extension publications available online

Are you putting up salsa, saving seeds, or thinking about planting kiwis? OSU has a large number of its publications available for free download. Just go to . Click on publications and start exploring.

Take excess produce to the food bank, senior centers, or community meals programs. Cash donations to buy food are also greatly appreciated.

The Extension Service offers its programs and materials equally to all people.

Contact information for the Extension office

Oregon State University Extension Service – Columbia County

505 N. Columbia River Highway (across from the Legacy clinic)

St. Helens, OR 97051

503 397-3462


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A Beginner’s Guide to Gardening

The rewards of gardening are great — fresh air, exercise, beauty and relaxation, to name a few. But designing and planting your very first garden can feel like an overwhelming task. Luckily, gardens are surprisingly forgiving creations, and the best way to learn is by simply diving in. Here are 10 tips to help get a new garden off on the right foot.

1. Get to know your site. Take your time to get familiar with your property before beginning a new garden. Here are a few things you may like to try while you’re getting to know your landscape:

  • Take a leisurely stroll around your property with a notebook and make a rough sketch of the existing planting areas.
  • Add notes to your garden “map” about which areas get the most sun and which are shaded.
  • A simple soil test from your local garden center will tell you whether your soil is well-balanced in nutrients and pH.
  • If you’re thinking of growing edibles (vegetables, fruit or herbs), it’s a good idea to have your soil tested for lead. Most at-home kits aren’t reliable indicators of lead in the soil, but you can send your soil samples to the Lead Safe America Foundation for a free lead test. If you find that your soil has an unsafe level of lead, you can still grow edibles in raised beds or pots with new soil.
  • List which existing plants and features (such as fences or paths) you’d like to keep and which need to be replaced or removed.
  • Spend time just hanging out in your garden. Let yourself daydream and see if any creative ideas present themselves.

Related: Visualize Your Garden Plans From the Perfect Porch Swing

2. Determine your style and goals. Gather a few images that inspire you and look for a theme. Are you drawn to lush flower-filled gardens or more crisply defined modern outdoor spaces? It helps to pair a few words with the pictures you’ve chosen, so try to come up with something that evokes the sort of garden you want, even if it’s not an “official” style term.

For instance, maybe you’ll decide your style is Industrial Zen or Playful Modern or Simplified Cottage. While you’re figuring this out, it helps to keep a photo of the exterior of your home at hand — whatever style you choose should be able to work well with the architectural style of your home as well as your personal preferences.

Once you’ve named your style, take a moment to jot down the activities and features you imagine enjoying in your landscape. If you have children, you may need a lot of open space for running around. Or perhaps you dream of relaxing in the middle of a big wildflower meadow — whatever it is, write it down.

3. Start small. Dreaming is wonderful, but when it comes time to begin digging in the earth, it’s equally important to stay grounded in reality. The bigger the garden, the more time and energy it will require to maintain. Examine what you want (say, a vegetable garden) and then scale it down (for example, plant one raised bed rather than six). You can always expand next year!

This holds true for purchasing plants too: It’s easy to get seduced by the bountiful plants at the nursery and come home with far too many. Remember, planting takes time, so buy only what you can comfortably get into the ground within the next day or two.

4. Make a plan. Even if you’re planting only a single raised vegetable bed or cluster of potted flowers on the patio, having a plan is key. If you’re not sure which plants to buy, take a “research” trip to a local nursery (without buying anything!) and snap photos of plants you’d like to consider adding to your garden. Look at the tags and note down when they bloom, as well as sun and water requirements.

Pulling this information together into a sketched-out plan (no artistic skills required) takes extra time initially but will make for a more successful garden in the end. Choose plants that bloom in different seasons for year-round color, and be sure to pick plants with similar sun and water requirements to plant together.

5. Pick the right tools for the job (without going overboard). Having the proper tools makes garden chores more pleasant — but don’t think you need to buy out the store on day one. Just a few tools and supplies should keep your garden running smoothly. The basics include:

  • Gardening gloves. Choose a pair that feels comfortable and protects against thorns.
  • Shovel. This is essential for preparing sizable garden beds and for digging holes for trees, shrubs and large plants. A shovel with a pointed tip is more versatile than a flat spade.
  • Trowel and weeding tool (or a Japanese gardener’s knife). Use these tools to dig holes for planting and pull weeds out at the root.
  • Long garden hose and spray nozzle. Select a hose long enough to comfortably reach each of the main areas of your garden.
  • Hand pruner. Sharp clippers can trim branches and cut back woody plants like rosemary.
  • Metal rake. Use this to spread mulch and prepare beds for planting.
  • Leaf rake. Use a flexible plastic or bamboo rake to gather leaves.

RELATED: 5 Tools Every Gardener Should Own

6. Mix up perennials and annuals. A common newbie mistake is to grab too many plants from the “annuals” section at the nursery, making for a garden that dies back within a single year. For longevity and color, go for a mix of perennials (plants that come back year after year) and annuals (plants that bloom and die within a single season).

7. Repeat, repeat, repeat. One great way to give your garden a professionally designed look (with little effort) is to repeat the same plants and hardscaping materials in different places throughout the landscape. Avoid picking one plant of each type, as this tends to appear jumbled — even in a wild English cottage-style garden, plants look best when repeated or planted in clusters. The same goes for other materials: Choose just a few hardscaping materials for paths, pots, planters and outdoor furniture, and repeat, repeat, repeat.

RELATED: Incorporate Outdoor Rocking Chairs

8. Combine seeds and starts for an affordable mix. Starting an entire garden from seed can save money, but it can also be incredibly frustrating. Purchasing only started plants is not only expensive, but it also may limit your choice of what to grow. The best option is usually a combination of the two: Pick up some started seedlings at your local nursery and start some of your own from seed. Good plants to start from seed yourself include lettuce, radishes, beans, sunflowers, marigolds, cosmos and zinnias.

9. Grow what you like. This sounds utterly simple, but it’s something even the most experienced gardeners sometimes seem to forget. Why grow squash if it’s not really your favorite? Over the years, we’ve stopped bothering to grow beans and zucchini, instead devoting extra garden space to family favorites like snap peas, radishes, Tuscan kale and mini pumpkins for Halloween.

10. Further your garden education. Seeking out local workshops is a wonderful way to learn more about gardening and connect with other gardeners in your community. Check plant nurseries, community gardens and botanical gardens in your area for free or low-cost workshops on a wide range of topics like container gardening, using native plants, attracting pollinators, creating a waterwise garden and composting.

Gardening is a lifelong learning experience, and even the most seasoned gardeners are learning all the time — so don’t beat yourself up if it seems that there’s too much to know. Just begin somewhere and take it one season at a time. The wonderful thing about gardening is that there’s usually room for do-overs.

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