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Archives for April 12, 2017

Linda Cobb: Spring garden events are plentiful

Carolina Garden World will hold its third annual Sustainability Day on Saturday. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1020 S. Pine St., Spartanburg.

Sustainability means a lifestyle using sustainable methods. Or it means diverse and productive biological systems. People now are paying more attention to how they separate their trash to help with recycling efforts. That practice is a way people can focus on being more sustainable.

Saturday’s event will help people understand the importance of sustainability. Tina Clark, owner of Carolina Garden World, said in the past, she had a good turnout for the program.

Vendors will set up booths and handout free items. Groups participating in the program include the Spartanburg Beekeepers, Spartanburg Recycling, Fox Farms, and Compost House.

Seminars also will be held throughout the day. Some of the seminars will include discussions about the Converse Heights Ravine Project, tree care, composting and more. Attendees also will be able to purchase art made from recycled items, pottery and more. In addition, organizers plan to award door prizes.

Clark said she couldn’t think of a better way to educate the community than by holding a Sustainability Day. Clark also is known for being an animal lover and will have her guinea pig, cat, and dog with her to greet the visitors.

Spring is also the time for plant sales. The Spartanburg Men’s Garden Club will hold it’s spring plant sale from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the horticultural gardens at Spartanburg Community College. The plant sale is in partnership with the School of Horticulture’s plant sale. The college will offer annuals and perennials students have grown from seeds. 

Proceeds from these plant sales will help to fund projects in Spartanburg County.

— Linda Cobb is a master gardener who lectures, teaches, and does garden design in South Carolina. She can be reached at 864-574-8493 or email her at Visit her website at

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Coblands Plant Centre holds first garden designer open day to fulfil demand for mid-size shrubs

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Building proposed to replace former historic grandstand

LANCASTER – The Fairfield County Fair hosts more than 160 events annually. With a proposed event space at the site of the old grandstand, that number could increase.

In an open town hall Tuesday night, members of the Fairfield County Agricultural Society presented ideas for the site of the old grandstand.

Fairfield County Agricultural Society president Tom Walter said he hated the morning of the fire, hearing that the building was a total loss.

He, with other fair board members and fair manager Tim Voris, presented plans for a building, stage and seating.

The committee also heard ideas from the community members and concerned citizens.

“What do we do for the future of Fairfield County and the loss of the old grandstand,” Voris asked the crowd of about 35 people in Ricketts Hall. “What can we do to make things better?”

The building proposed, designed by Steve Eversole of Eversole Builders, would be low-maintenance, sustainable and user-friendly.

It would be a 60-foot by 40-foot building, with four glass garage doors on each long side facing Ohio 37 and the track. It would host a kitchen for catering, accessible restrooms and a small reception area. It would be a venue open for rental for receptions, reunions and other gatherings.

A small stage with seating would be in front of the proposed building, with landscaping and seating. The outdoor stage would be a place for a children’s program during Farm Days during the Lancaster Festival. Voris said the setup would be reminiscent of Chillicothe’s Tecumseh.

Plans are still in development, Voris emphasized. It can be changed or scrapped entirely.

“These are just ideas. These are just suggestions,” he said.





A fire early Saturday morning destroyed the old grandstand at the Fairfield County Fairgrounds.
Trista Thurston/Eagle-Gazette

Donations can be made at any Fairfield Federal Savings and Loan location. Checks can be made out to the Fairfield County Agricultural Society, a registered 501(c)(3), with Memorial Grandstand Building Fund in the memo.

“It’s going to take all of us together,” Voris said.

Several in attendance emphasized that any new building needed to honor the former structure. Others suggested the new facility could be a place to store and display memorabilia, a small museum to the grandstand and grounds.

Others talked of a liquor license for any wedding receptions or other banquets held on the grounds. Fairview Inn owner Rick Barnhart Sr. proposed to the fair board in June 2016 of serving food, drinks and alcohol for special events, something that’s been tabled since.

Other buildings wouldn’t be forgotten amid planning for the grandstand rebuilding project, Walter said. In about two to three months, the round cattle barn and Art Hall could see paint.

The exact location of the proposed building and stage has not been finalized, nor has a cost been estimated. Eversole said a ballpark cost just for the first phases of prepping the location with water, sewage and electricity would be about $300,000.

About $30,000 slated for the restoration of the old grandstand will be put to new structures as well, said Bob Rodenbaugh, who spearheaded efforts to save the building when it was set to be torn down in 2009.

Voris said the first phase, with electricity to the area, would be complete this summer with about $100,000 of insurance money from the fire. A large tent will be constructed for the 2017 fair for local musical acts. The Fairfield County Fair was awarded the best fair in 2016 by the Greater Ohio Showman’s Association, even on the heels of the fire weeks before.

No one has been arrested for lighting the historic Fairfield County Fairgrounds grandstand on fire. The structure was destroyed by a fire early Sept. 24 that was ruled arson by the Lancaster Fire Department.

With its unique construction and picturesque background, the grandstand had been an attraction for 108 years.

There’s a $10,000 reward available for any information that leads to an arrest.

Additional public meetings will be held, Voris said, once plans for the building are solidified.


Twitter: @tristathurston

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Nearly ‘perfect’ conditions have water managers celebrating

Ron Thompson, the general manager of the Washington County Water Conservancy District, has a ritual each spring where he drives over some of Utah’s highest elevation locations to see the snowpack.

After more than 30 years at the job, Thompson said he likes to pair all the data about snow depths, stream flows, ground saturation levels and other measurables with an old-fashioned first-hand look, and the changes he sees year to year provides clues about what to expect as the snow melts and the warm summer months approach.

This time, for the first time in a long time, he saw signs of a plentiful spring.

“Operationally, everything is going just great,” he said, crediting a heavy dose of snowfall and other precipitation over the winter months for improving conditions across the region.

The district’s two major reservoirs, Sand Hollow and Quail Creek, were both expected to fill completely before the end of the season. The highest-elevation reservoir at Kolob was already spilling over, and others like Gunlock and Ivins were hovering at around 80 percent full.

The measured snow water equivalent, or the amount of water content measured within the snow, was at 119 percent of normal as of Monday, according to instruments kept by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Stream flows were well above average as well, and Thompson said he expected melting snow to keep the spring runoff going into May.

It would be the first time in more than a decade the district saw conditions something close to “perfect,” with steady snows melting into streams and filling the Virgin River.

Since 2000, all but three years have registered as coming in below the area’s historical average for snow water equivalent, and those three above-average years saw heavy flooding that did more damage than good.

Filling area reservoirs will give managers some breathing room should the dry weather return — Thompson has said the county could get by for several years on reservoir storage alone — and help with efforts to restore native fish species and improve habitat along the riverbanks.

Still, while supplies are looking good for this year, officials were quick to mention residents shouldn’t take it as a license to waste.

The district and local municipalities signed off last year on a new conservation plan that aims to see a reduction in per-capita water use by 40 gallons per capita per day (GPCD) by 2060, from 325 GPCD to 285 GPCD.

The plan follows largely the same structure as previous efforts that helped bring per-capita use by 114 GPCD between 2000 and 2010, focusing on educational programs, improved technology and rebates that encourage more efficient use.

The district offers regular classes on desert gardening, xeriscaping and lawn care. Free watering audits are available just by calling the district office.

The annual “Water Week” campaign features a series of facility tours, workshops and other activities to encourage residents to learn more about their water supplies and learn to conserve.

This year the district is joining a statewide campaign called “Localscapes,” which encourages homeowners, landscaping companies, developers and others to learn more about how to create attractive yards and gardens using species better adapted to local climates.

“There are so many opportunities for residents to learn more about where their water comes from and how they can be more efficient,” said Karry Rathje, public information manager with the district.

Water conservation manager Julie Gillins said she has also been encouraged by an uptick in visitation to the district’s two conservation demonstration gardens, the Red Hills Desert Garden on Red Hills Parkway and the demonstration garden at the Tonaquint Park complex on Dixie Drive.

More than 2,000 visitors were counted last week alone at the Red Hills garden, and the hope is that visitors come away with some new ideas about how landscaping can be done with little water and a lot of heat.

Washington County has technically already met a statewide goal of cutting water use by 25 percent from the year 2000 to 2025, but the county’s 325 GPCD was much higher than statewide averages.

To keep improving, managers say they face a slew of challenges. The weather in Utah’s southwestern corner is hotter and drier, there are more than 5 million tourists who pass through the area annually, and more than a quarter of the county’s homes are secondary residential properties, meaning that while those homes use water, their residents don’t count toward the actual population.

Follow David DeMille on Twitter, @SpectrumDeMille, and on Facebook at Call him at 435-674-6261.

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UK tank collector discovers millions worth of Kuwaiti gold in Iraqi tank he bought on eBay

Tanks are among the more expensive pieces of ground equipment a national military has to spring for.  That, combined with the general novelty of seeing these massive, rumbling war machines in person or on film ensures that they maintain some level of value even well after their usefulness in battle has evaporated.

Companies all over the globe snatch up tanks and other similar equipment that were once used on battlefields around the planet for resale to collectors, appearances in movies and TV shows, and in some cases, to offer private rides to civilians that may not otherwise ever get the chance to experience the hot, dark, and uncomfortable interiors of the world’s most powerful fighting machines.

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Ask Eli: Landscaping For Resale and Current Trends

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored QA column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

Question: I’m planning to sell my single family home in North Arlington this year and it seems that in my neighborhood, homes with great landscaping sell for top dollar. Our sale price justifies an investment in our lot, so I’m curious what the Arlington home-buyer demand from landscaping and if there are certain types of landscaping that offer the best Return on Investment.

Answer: Every spring I get a lot of landscaping questions and like to bring in my friend Jeff Minnich of Jeff Minnich Garden Designs to update Arlingtonians on what homeowners are doing in their yards and provide cost-effective tips for investing in your exterior for resale. If you’d like to continue the conversation with Jeff, you can reach him at [email protected] or 703-525-4540.

Enjoy Jeff’s expert response to this week’s question:

In Arlington, homeowners take great pride in their gardens. Our temperate climate is such that we can enjoy our gardens for the majority of the year. Over the last 15 years, there has been a trend toward extending the interior living space seamlessly into the outdoor living space–outdoor rooms, kitchens, fire pits, play areas, fencing, to name a few.  The desirability of a well-designed garden space is a solid investment, and attractive to potential Arlington homebuyers.

Most people involved in the landscape industry have seen a surge in business the last few years, as the economy recovers. This year is particularly busy.

There are really two kinds of investment in a home and garden: doing what will bring pleasure, enjoyment, and ease to day-to-day life in the home; and doing what might add value to the property, if resale is in the cards.

When preparing to sell a home in Arlington, it is important to remember that many buyers have the means and desire to put their own personal stamps on their new homes and gardens. Therefore, I always recommend concentrating on safety items, tidiness, and color.

Fix that uneven sidewalk or replace rotten wood on the deck. Fix gates. Replace the burnt out bulbs in your outdoor lighting system (lots of potential buyers drive by and have a look at night, too). Have the windows cleaned and check the exterior paint job, particularly the front door (yes, these items are part of the outdoor landscape, too). Power wash the house, sidewalks, patio, deck, driveway…make sure your hardscapes sparkle.

Weed, re-edge and mulch the planting beds. Remove old/dead shrubs and trim existing ones. Look up into your trees–does a tree or branch look dead or precarious? Have a tree professional look at it. Potential homebuyers do notice these things. Cut the grass and make sure your lawn is not full of blooming dandelions! This one item can be a big turn-off.

Finally, finish the job by adding some flowers to windowboxes, pots, and beds. Remember, you cannot take back that first impression–the outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers see before walking through the front door, and it can often make or break a sale.

Once new homeowners get settled on the inside, they start to ponder what to do in their new gardens.

The most common request from new homeowners is a master landscape plan, which is a great starting place so they can prioritize, then phase, the work they’d like to do, all within a broader vision.

Safety issues should be addressed quickly–items like unstable walks or decks, handrails; and the often boring, but absolutely necessary, issues like grading, drainage, and where to put trash cans.

Fencing is a relatively quick and easy project to prioritize early on, and fences can give instant privacy, keep children and pets in the yard, and define a space. Nice fencing is particularly attractive to potential buyers with these concerns.

Outdoor living spaces are the next most-desired items, and these often involve building. It’s always a good idea to start with hardscapes–patios, sidewalks, decks, porches, walls, outdoor kitchens, etc.–and end with softscapes–plants, lawns, lighting, irrigation–as construction is messy and, try as they might, workers can still damage plants and surrounding areas.

Privacy from fencing and thoughtful plantings can screen unsightly views and enclose outdoor spaces.

Those interested in safety might find low-voltage outdoor lighting desirable. Outdoor lighting opens up the garden for nighttime use, too, and can be used to highlight architecture, specimen plantings, or specific pieces within the landscape.

For those who often travel and have very busy schedules, an irrigation system is a must. It really takes the edge off watering duties, yet should never 100 percent replace a discriminating eye and hand-watering intervention when gardens get really hot and dry.

I often say my outdoor lighting gives me the nighttime and my irrigation system gives me freedom, so they are very valuable to me.

Beautiful plantings are the icing on the cake and tie everything together. Much of North Arlington is blessed with large shade trees — a big reason potential buyers consider North Arlington — and lush evergreen and deciduous underplantings help potential buyers imagine living in these outdoor spaces.

Without a doubt, garden projects that define and enclose personal outdoor spaces–things like fencing and nice gates, patios and seating areas, and beautiful plantings–are items that not only increase the day-to-day enjoyment of the homeowner, they greatly increase the value of the property, as well.

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at  

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Landscaping Camp To Feature Butterfly Gardening With Carson Ellis

Spring fever is definitely contagious this time of year as one yearns to plant flowers and add color to their landscape. Even more comforting is watching butterflies dance around your flowers adding a sense of ease and comfort to a hectic day.

Carson Ellis, horticulturalist for the Memphis Botanic Garden, will be sharing her knowledge, tips and ideas on how to make your garden enjoyable for you and the butterflies at the upcoming Landscaping Camp to be held on May 26-28 at the Inn at Ole Miss, hosted by the Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation Retirement Attraction Program.

Ellis, who manages two gardens at the Memphis Botanic Garden, the Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden and Delta Heritage Garden, is passionate about environmental sustainability and the conservation and promotion of native plant species and communities and practices these values in her gardens. She is currently excited to be serving on the steering committee for the newly-formed Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance and is hoping to develop the Delta Heritage Garden into a demonstration site for small-scale sustainable agriculture while continuing the expansion and development of naturalized plantings for the Anne Heard Stokes Butterfly Garden.

Before moving to Memphis in 2015, she interned at both the Asheville Arboretum and Highlands Biological Research Station in North Carolina and has an associate’s degree in Horticulture Technology from Haywood Community College as well as a BA in Environmental Science from Mount Holyoke College. Born and raised in the mountains of North Carolina, exploring the bottomlands and cypress swamps surrounding Memphis, Tennessee has been an exciting change of scenery. She loves nothing more than a good hike through Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park on the weekends, especially in the spring!

“I enjoy working in the Butterfly Garden because I have a lot of creative freedom, independence to research and design the plantings and a strong sense of connection to the space,” Ellis said. “The work as a horticulturist is not always glamorous, but having the support to bring my ideas and vision to fruition has made it a rewarding venture. I am also excited to announce that in 2016, we were officially certified as a Monarch Waystation.”

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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Springtime Gardening and Landscaping Safety for Homeowners

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.- If you are one of the many people who love gardening and landscaping, Xcel Energy has a message for you.  The company is asking homeowners to call 811 to have underground utility lines marked before starting your digging projects.

“We like having a yard that was kind of a big thing for us, “says homeowner Chris Biewer.

Biewer and his fiancé love gardening and growing their own crops.

“Four years ago we first moved to Sioux Falls, we started doing the community gardens and we really loved doing that and we kind of just wanted to expand that a little bit. So that was part of the reason we bought our house, “says Biewer.

Having a yard was a must for the couple, but Chris says since the home was built in the 1940s, he wanted to make sure they wouldn’t dig into any utility lines when creating their garden.

“We wanted to make sure we weren’t digging up anything that we weren’t supposed to or having an accident that was kind of going to prohibit us from actually getting in and planting, “says Biewer.

He called 811 to have the professionals come and inspect his yard. The free service is offered through utility companies like Xcel Energy. The company says with April being National Safe Digging Month, they hope homeowners will take advantage of the service.

“You don’t want to cause yourself any personal injury, but you also don’t want to cause an outage for your neighborhood,” says Xcel Energy Principal Manager Steve Kolbeck.

Chris says now that the work is done, the fun part lies ahead.

“We want to get a couple apple trees and then we also want to have kind of a plot for some of the leafy greens that grow a little bit better in cooler temperatures, “says Biewer.

As the gardening season starts up, homeowners can either call 811 or submit an online request to the South Dakota One Call website two business days before they start digging.

“Everybody gets a little anxious in the spring because the weather is going to turn nice. They want to plant flowers, they want to do landscaping and that’s understandable. We just want to issue this reminder to let them know,” says Kolbeck.

Xcel says about half of the buried gas and electric line digging incidents last year were caused by people not calling before starting their projects.  They say if you don’t call, you can be billed for the damage.

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Ways to increase positivity in home

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GUEST COLUMN: Use these safety tips for healthy gardening

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