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Archives for April 6, 2017

Nature’s wonders close to home | Hansville Happenings

The weather is fine, the earth is showing signs of new life, it’s time to go outside and take a look around.

Strange things were happening … While you were hibernating, or simply not paying attention, the sky was putting on a show. Greg Johnson, the founder, owner, operator and geek behind Hansville’s popular Skunk Bay Weather site, has seen moonbows, fireballs, amazing streaks of lightning, awesome storms, glow-in-the-dark clouds, weird mirages, truly wacky weather, and neon bright auroras. And he has the photos to prove it.

Johnson’s site ( is mesmerizing. There are detailed weather updates every 15 minutes, weather advisories, forecasts, tide graphs, about 50 fascinating weather-related links. Johnson’s new blog and, what I like best, the three-camera panoramic, time-lapse photography of the sky (updated every three hours), culminates in a video of the previous 24 hours. It’s fun to watch yesterday whizz by, in case you missed anything. And new since November, is a camera devoted to the night sky.

Come see highlights of his recent work at the Greater Hansville Community Center at 7 p.m. on April 25, when Johnson will present “Talking About … Strange Sightings.”

And in case you were wondering, Johnson said, “Yes, we’ve had the coldest and wettest winter in 11 years,” since he started keeping track. And, yes, that was a UFO hovering over the lighthouse the other day (April Fool’s).

Explore the seashore … it’s alive! You’d be surprised at what’s creeping, crawling and growing on our local beaches. There are so many easy-to-miss critters, seaweeds and plants. You’d see it all if you knew what to look for. Satisfy your urge to learn more, and become a certified Kitsap Beach Naturalist.

The six-week non-credit course from Washington Sea Grant and Washington State University’s Kitsap Extension will take place from 6 -9 p.m. on Thursdays, from April 13 to May 18, at the Sea Discovery Center (Front Street in Poulsbo). The cost is $75, which includes a book, ID card and optional field trips in April. After your training, there will be many activities and volunteer opportunities for you to enjoy all around Kitsap.

Tour a native attraction … Ten years ago, it was an abandoned BMX bike track. Today, it’s a flourishing garden of native plants from Washington, Oregon, Northern California and British Columbia, supported by community organizations and maintained by a dedicated group of volunteers.

The mission of The Buck Lake Native Plant Garden in Hansville is to demonstrate the beauty and benefits of landscaping with natives.

There are numerous bulbs, evergreens, ground covers, grasses, ferns, shrubs, trees and vines. In April, the red-flowering currant and the purple camas meadow is in bloom near the south entrance.

Visit or browse the website for info and landscaping ideas (www.buck, or volunteer for a work party once in a while. They meet from 9 a.m. to noon starting April 2 and the fourth Mondays of the month through October. You can help for just an hour and even ask for a tour.

— Annette Wright was an editor and writer for women’s magazines for 25 years. Contact her at wright


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R.S. Walsh celebrates 7th anniversary of In The Garden

SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. – In The Garden – Sanibel’s retail garden center and outdoor showroom – is celebrating seven years in business and offering seven day specials to thank the island community for their support.

April 1-7 – Selected annuals buy 2, get 1 free

April 8-14 – Selected ferns herbs, buy 2, get 1 free

April 15-21 – All Bougainvillea, all sizes and colors, 15 percent off

April 22-29 – Selected shady tropical foliage plants – 15 percent off

There will be games and prizes in the store all month as well as additional specials.

“The garden center was something Bob and I always wanted to do and we could not have found a more beautiful place,” said Lisa Walsh, who owns R.S. Walsh Landscaping with her husband, Bob. “Bob has enjoyed creating a series of botanical gardens with winding paths, waterfalls, water features and outdoor living areas. These show customers what they can do in their own outdoor spaces. I enjoy filling the garden gift shop with unique and fun garden gifts, accents and décor that reflect the natural aspects and character of our islands, as well as pottery, fountains, benches and garden accent pieces for outside. I always enjoyed playing store as a kid and this is a very fun grown up version where I get to buy all kinds of beautiful things for the home and garden.”

Part of the mission of the garden center is to support the local island community and provide a place where local art, gardening and community groups can enjoy meeting in the lovely gardens. Island art groups come for the day and set up all over the garden center to paint outside. Local garden clubs and scout troops visit the garden center for tours. The business has also generously supported organizations on the islands that provide help to those in need, both residents and animals alike, and those that support the history, conservation and preservation of our unique islands.

“The garden center’s staff, Brian, Stuart and Angel, wonderful care of the garden center and provide good plant knowledge combined with great customer service to all customers,” said Lisa. “ They are great at implementing our crazy ideas and enthusiastically present their own creative ideas to improve the garden center in many ways. Every summer we discuss ideas for new areas, products or ideas we want to promote at In The Garden. Whether it’s a new botanical garden area, new layout of the nursery, or new garden-related products we would like to showcase to our customers, we try to bring something new and fresh to each new season. We’ve always said that every good garden evolves with time and attention. We hope the community is enjoying the garden center as much as we are.”

For more information call (239) 395-5859 or visit

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Landscape Leadership creates landscaping comic strip

Branding Comic Strip from landscape Leadership

Photo: Landscape Leadership

Landscape Leadership, a sales marketing agency for green industry companies, has recently created a new comic strip. This comic, called Green Ways, will feature a cast of characters from the fictitious landscape contractor Greenbelt Outdoor Services.

“Comics have always been an effective way to get a point across,” said Chris Heiler, Landscape Leadership CEO. “This is another way for us to share our experiences and insight with lawn and landscape professionals, yet do it in a fun way that resonates with our audience.”

Focusing mainly on marketing and sales-related issues that impact companies daily, Green Ways will be released starting in April and will run its 18 comic strips throughout 2017.

“If you’ve made a career in the lawn and landscape industry, our stories will be familiar to you,” Heiler said. “We’re going to sprinkle in the good, bad and ugly of growing a landscaping business.”

All comics are drawn by professional illustrator Jonathan Brown, and the first comic strip, entitled Branding, is available for viewing on the Landscape Leadership blog.

“It’s amazing how Jonathan gives life to our crazy ideas,” laughs Heiler.

Heiler says that Branding illustrates how easily employees can negatively impact a company’s good name. For subscribers of the Landscape Leadership blog, each new comic strip will be delivered via email.

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Get your gardening questions answered by the masters at Camp Jordan expo

Workshop Schedule

Classroom A
› 11:30 a.m. Small Trees For Your Yard, by Tom Stebbins

› 1 p.m. Conifers, by Jeff Harvey

› 2:30 p.m. Where Have All the Monarchs Gone, by Ann Brown

› 4 p.m. Daylilies, by Peggy Dyer

Classroom B
› 11 a.m. Bluebirds, by Carlton Mathes

› 12:30 p.m. Vegetable Gardening, by Katie Bishop

› 2 p.m. Lasagna Gardening, by Patricia Lanza

› 3:30 p.m. Reap It and Keep It, by Mike Nocks

› 5 p.m. Straw Bale Gardening, by Robbie Summerour

Classroom A
› 11:15 a.m. Crepe Murder – Fixing the Damage, by John Nessle

› 12:45 p.m. Roses, by Jeff Garrett

› 2:15 p.m. Plants of the Bible, by Linda Fraser

› 3:45 p.m. The Art of Kokedama, by Taylor Bates

Classroom B
› 11 a.m. Vegetable Gardening, by Katie Bishop

› 12:30 p.m. Hydrangeas, by Carol Mathews

› 2 p.m. Fertilizer: What, Where, When, by Clayton Beaty

› 3:30 p.m. Container Gardening, by Karen Webster

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Historic Garden Week coming later this month

MARTINSVILLE-The 2017 Historic Garden Week Tour will feature two private residences and several public sites on Wednesday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Historic Garden Week is an eight-day event across Virginia, in which more than 250 homes and gardens will be open for tours. The houses are decorated with more than 2,000 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members.

Proceeds from the tour fund the restoration of historic gardens across the commonwealth, including at the former Henry County courthouse in Martinsville. Proceeds also provide graduate level research fellowships for creating records of historic gardens and landscapes. In celebration of the Garden Club of Virginia’s 2020 centennial, funds have been pledged to support Virginia State Parks.

Locally, the tour is coordinated between Martinsville Garden Club and Garden Study Club. Cindy Edgerton is the chair.

Tickets cost $20; tickets for children ages 6-12 are $12. They are available at the Martinsville-Henry County Visitor Center, the former Henry County courthouse, Piedmont Arts, Janice Cain Stationery and Gifts, Hamlet Vineyards and the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce. They also will be available at tour sites on the day of the tour.


MTV 0406 Pythian building

Dr. Mervyn and Virginia King own the loft at 29A James St., which will be open for the Historic Garden Week tour. The loft is on the second floor of the original Pythian Building, built in 1927 on the Courthouse Square in Martinsville.

Holly Kozelsky

Uptown King Loft

Dr. Mervyn and Virginia King own the loft at 29A James St. The loft is on the second floor of the original Pythian Building, built in 1927 on the Courthouse Square in Martinsville.

Former offices have been redesigned as living quarters. The apartment also features three rooms which house collections of Native American artifacts, early American West items such as saddles, spurs and weapons and rare and antique toys.

Furnishings include 18th century American antiques, and art includes early American paintings and Catlin lithographs.

A 1970 Datsun Roadster 1600 convertible owned by Mr. and Mrs. Steve Edgerton will be in the driveway.


Chellowe, the Georgian Colonial river house at 1119 Knollwood Place, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Walter Penn III.

The house was designed by Danville architect William W. Patterson and built for the Thomas Barbour family in 1956-57. The original landscaping by Robert G. Campbell of Kernersville, North Carolina, remains intact.

The entrance opens into a foyer featuring a plantation-style staircase and walnut parquet flooring. Family antiques throughout the house include a cradle used by several generations.

A ground-floor master bedroom was added in 1990, and the kitchen was renovated in 1998.


MTV 0406 Simmons house

The Simmons House at 209 Starling Ave. (next to Piedmont Arts), owned by Susan Critz, will be on the Historic Garden Week tour. It is a bed and breakfast as well a meeting area for organizations and private functions.

Holly Kozelsky

The Simmons House

The Simmons House at 209 Starling Ave. (next to Piedmont Arts) is owned by Susan Critz. It is a two-story Colonial Revival house built around 1920. It is a bed and breakfast as well a meeting area for organizations and private functions.

The brick house has a one-story wraparound porch with a low hip roof supported by Doric columns, and a second-story balcony.

The ceilings are 12 feet high. It has large windows, and transom windows, of leaded glass. Décor is traditional, featuring antique furniture and a collection of art from local artists.

Tour headquarters

The tour headquarters will be Piedmont Arts, 215 Starling Ave., Martinsville.

Exhibits on display at Piedmont Arts will be from the Virginia Museum of Natural History, the Henry County Historical Courthouse Heritage Center and Museum and FAHI African American Museum and Cultural Center.

A Watercolor Invitational held in memory of Wanda Prillaman, which opened in March, will be on display. A 1965 Rambler Cross Country Classic with a 1970 Airstream trailer owned by Kyle Trent will be parked in front of the museum.

Public Art Garden

Twelve Porsches from 1963 to 2017 will be on display at the Public Art Garden. Patrick Edgerton, a certified gold technician from Porsche of Hilton Head, will be on site to answer questions.

The Public Art Garden is being installed by Piedmont Arts. It will feature sculptures by Jessie Ward of Martinsville, Ed Dolinger of Bassett and Mark Wright of Spotsylvania County, originally from the area. Beryl Solla is creating a mosaic tile sign for the site.

The Historic Little Post Office

The Historic Little Post Office at 207 Starling Ave. was built in 1893. It is one-story building with a frame addition off its original one-room brick structure.

The entry has a one-light transom and a door with Queen Anne stained glass upper panel.

Piedmont Arts now owns the property, which is used by Will Gravely for events and to showcase art.

The Virginia Museum of Natural History

The Virginia Museum of Natural History, founded in 1984, will be on the tour. The museum houses over 10 million specimens.


Lunch will be available for $14 with reservations before April 20; contact Lynne Beeler at 638-1030 or Lunch will be boxed and can be picked up from Piedmont Arts between 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to be eaten there, at the Simmons House or in the Public Art Garden. Wine from Hamlet Vineyards will be for sale.

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May Landscaping Camp To Feature Donna Yowell And “Cut Flower Gardening”

Donna Yowell, president of the Mississippi Urban Forest Council, will inspire you to start your own garden as she speaks on “Cut Flower Gardening” at the upcoming Landscaping Camp set for May 26-28 in Oxford.

Yowell holds a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture from Mississippi State University and has worked for over 35 years in diverse areas of natural resource management and agriculture.

Yowell began as a horticulturist and flower shop owner in Jackson, Mississippi, being the first ‘bucket shop’ selling loose stems of cut flowers to the public. She developed and owned the shop for 15 years.

She furthered her career by continuing to be active in her community, the state of Mississippi and nationally. She is known for developing, planting and maintaining the first public cut flower mini farm in Mississippi. The site was developed to provide cut flowers for Mississippi’s Governor’s Mansion and its events while serving as a demonstration site for cut flowers.

As a Master Gardener since 1989 Yowell has conducted hundreds of civic educational programs of horticulture subjects. In addition, she helped to develop a series of educational gardens in the Jackson metro area.

Furthermore, she has taught green infrastructure planning with urban forestry for over 30 years. Yowell has created and customized many projects to fit Mississippi communities and citizens. She has developed and implemented a number of environmental programs customized for Mississippi, which include Scenic Communities of Mississippi, Edible Forest, Mississippi Arboretum Trail, Storm Preparedness and Mitigation for Mississippi Communities, Urban Forest Masters, Earth Day Releaf and Rhythms, Bloom Town Mississippi, urban forest and arboretum certification, The Nature School, Mississippi Grown Cut Flower cooperative, Ribbons of Green, Mississippi Tree Registry and others.

“We’re honored and excited to have Donna Yowell among our speakers for this inaugural three-day event,” said Rosie Vassallo, director of Retirement Attraction for the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation.

For more information on the Landscaping Camp, visit or contact Rosie Vassallo at 662-234-4651.

For questions or comments, email

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Tips to help brighten up your living space – News

Whenever Erica Van Buren 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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‘Garden and Gun’ under-the-radar tips for South Louisiana travel: See if you agree

“Garden and Gun” magazine has compiled a “Celebrate the South” list that looks at 50 “great things Southerners should see, do, cook, read, and drink — at least once.”

The piece offers some obvious — and not so obvious — suggestions. If you’re planning a trip around the South anytime soon, it’s worth a look as it touches a variety of states and offers some less common things to see, hear and taste.

Of course, we had to take a look and see what the popular publication included from South Louisiana. We found four site-specific references and one side reference. See them below.

The article states that is a list from the world of “under-the-radar adventures.” We’re not so sure all of these fit that label, but those listed include:

No. 21 — “Bop Around for Boudin”: They recommend a road trip to Lafayette in Southwest Louisiana, with stops “at restaurants, butchers, and convenience stores, such as Best Stop in Scott, or Bourque’s in Port Barre.”

No. 26 — “Book Galatoire’s for Mardi Gras: They describe the table auction and describe it as a “once-in-a-lifetime front seat to the spectacle.”

No. 29 — “Honor the Legacy of African-Americans: They recommend a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. That’s not in South Louisiana, but the blurb does mention “doyenne of black Creole cooking in New Orleans” Leah Chase’s chef’s jacket.

No. 34 — “Slurp a Drive-Through Daiquiri”: Enough said.

No. 41: “Savor the Bread Pudding Souffle at Commander’s Palace”: They recommend reading Rick Bragg’s essay on the dish. We recommend making a reservation.

If you had to choose just four or five “under-the-radar” things to tell people that they should see, taste, visit in South Louisiana, would these make your list?

If not, what else would be on your suggestion list?

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