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Archives for June 22, 2017

Get Growing: Footsteps in the garden

Special to the Reading Eagle: Gloria Day | A sculpture in a woodland garden greets visitors who venture down the path.

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10 home and garden events June 24 and beyond – The Courier


Children in the Dell. Yew Dell Botanical Gardens, 6220 Old LaGrange Road, Crestwood, 10:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays through Aug. 26. The classes gives children ages 5-12 a chance to spend some time in the garden. Topics include planting and growing veggies, nature-inspired scavenger hunts and more. Parents must stay on the grounds and are invited to participate in the day’s activities. Preregistration encouraged, drop-ins welcome as space allows. Free with regular admission.

Youth Master Gardener Program is holding sign-ups for a Youth Master Gardener class for those who have completed the second grade to age 12. Classes will be held 9 a.m.-noon, Mondays through July 17, Georgetown Optimist Club, 8260 State Road 64, Georgetown, Indiana. $25. For more information, Mary Ann, 812-282-9798.

Whitehall House Gardens Woodland Garden Tour. 3110 Lexington Road, 10 a.m. June 24. The garden has more than 150 species, sub-species or named cultivars including 30 named Victorian cultivars. The woodland fern garden also serves as a ‘stumpery,’ a Victorian garden design where tree logs and stumps are used for the rustic planting of ferns and other woodland plants. Tour guide: Carolyn Waters. Reservations required. $10. 502-897-2944.

In The Garden: Perennials Pollinators. The Jefferson County Master Gardener Association’s program features free programs taught by gardeners in their own gardens. Master Gardener June Sandercock will discuss planning and developing perennial gardens for shade and sun and how to include plants and other elements to nurture pollinators, 9-10:30 a.m. June 24. After the short program, participants will take a guided tour of her garden. Limited to 15. Reservations required. 502-216-8950 or email

Plant Sale. Audubon Park City Hall, 3340 Robin Road, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. June 24. Sponsored by The Audubon Park Garden Club.

The Daylily Society of Louisville 23rd Annual Daylily Show. Mid-City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Road, July 1 . Flower show from 1-4:30 p.m.; daylily plant sale from 11 a.m. until sold out.

Bernheim First Sunday Nature Hike. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 2-3:30 p.m. July 2. Free. 502-955-8512.

Bernheim Lunch Learn: Rock Run Ramble. Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, Clermont, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. July 5. Sunday. A short hike and lunch from Isaac’s Café. Creek crossing and uneven terrain (wear sturdy shoes). Registration and payment due by 4 p.m.July 4. $20, $15 Bernheim members. 502-955-8512.

Rain Barrell Workshop. Hillview Government Center, 283 Crestwood Lane, 6 p.m. July 11. Learn how to make a rain barrel for home use. $20 (includes supplies). Reservations: Bullitt County Extension Service, 502-543-2257.

Homearama Poplar Woods. Oldham County, July 15- July 30 (5-9:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday). Nine custom-built homes fully furnished, decorated, landscaped and featuring the latest in building trends, technology and interior design. Visitors can tour the homes and meet the local builders, interior designers, and suppliers of the variety of home products featured. Tickets are sold on site at the Homearama entrance tent. $10, $15 for a two-day pass; free for ages 12 and younger. For more information,

Email items to Deadline for next Saturday’s column is noon Tuesday.7

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Inside the Surprising Innovations of Sustainable Garden Design

As in real estate, so in sustainable landscape architecture: Location is everything. A successful coastal Florida garden is going to require some very different elements than one in California’s Napa Valley. “Everything really depends on the site,” says Lauren Stimson, principal at Stephen Stimson Landscape Associates in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which is known for its agrarian approach and sensitive use of local materials.

Highly considered landscapes are all unique. However, several common denominators connect sustainable gardens everywhere. Water usage, native plantings, efficient irrigation, managing storm-water runoff, and reducing lawns are key elements to success, regardless of climate or clientele.

“Whether it’s in Santa Fe or Annapolis,” says Ron Radziner, design principal at Marmol Radziner, a full-service architectural design-build firm in California known for forging connections between indoor and outdoor spaces, “our goal is to use plantings with the most appropriate use of water. Being drought-tolerant doesn’t preclude a beautiful garden,” says Radziner.

From a homeowner’s perspective, saving water simply makes economic sense, especially in drought-prone regions like California, where some towns and cities have begun restricting usage and fining for overages. But even in places like coastal Florida, the constant sun means high-maintenance landscapes can be expensive to keep up.

For a project in Palm Beach, Florida, landscape architect Keith Williams’ client asked him to keep her water bill almost impossibly low at $500 or less per month. Nevertheless, Williams delivered a lush, romantic design that met the parameters by limiting the use of turf to just the entry and pool surround, and locating water-loving plantings in the shade. An advanced irrigation system also monitors weather and humidity, and uses drip irrigation, rather than a mist, which can quickly evaporate. Williams, partner and vice president of Nievera Williams in Palm Beach, explains that designing for water efficiency is part of the standard service he provides.

Lower-maintenance plants also require less water, so native plants and cultivars, naturally, are part of sustainable garden design. For a project in Maine, SSA used native ground covers harvested from nearby sites. Keeping existing soil on site is also a priority for the firm, which works with scientists to amend its makeup instead of digging it out. “Ultimately, we try to promote areas of plants that form a community, not just plants and trees,” says Stimson. “There’s a whole dynamic going on that supports nature and wildlife.”

Exotic plant materials, however, aren’t entirely taboo. Williams installed green island ficus around the foundation of a modern minimalist property, also in Palm Beach. “It’s one of the most sustainable plants I can think of,” he says. “It’s non-native, but it takes drought, salt, and wind well, and, of course, it’s non-invasive.”

Reducing grassy areas is also paramount. SSA minimized the amount of lawn on a Massachusetts property by restoring a 20-acre meadow. Likewise, in the Marin Hills of California, Scott Lewis, of San Francisco–based Scott Lewis Landscape Architecture, replaced one property’s lawn entirely with native grasses that need no watering at all. The property was completely regraded and replanted; now, the flowering hillside “looks like it was always there,” he says.

A certain amount of lawn may be aesthetically unavoidable in some projects; Williams used it in the minimal Palm Beach project to break up sight lines, for example. “But the days of grassy lawns in California are pretty much done,” says Lewis.

Selecting the appropriate greenery alone doesn’t make a garden sustainable. Hardscaping matters, too, especially where it comes to managing water retention and runoff. Stone pavers and gravel, for example—rather than slabs of concrete or pavement—create permeable surfaces that allow storm water to seep back into the ground.

For a project in Napa, Lewis used pavers atop a gravel bed to create pathways. These low-heat index stones reflect heat, keeping the space cooler, and allow any water to return immediately into the ground. Where the previous garden contained fussy privets and turf, drought-tolerant ornamental grasses and rosemary now soften the serene space.

In Palm Beach, Williams used a 12-inch band of loose pebble around the building’s foundation to keep the house clean in heavy rains and help the garden absorb water. For Marmol Radziner, the solution lies in breaking up slabs with gravel or planting strips, as it did for a project in Beverly Hills. “As modernists, we tend to use a lot of concrete walls and concrete pads,” says Radziner. “We have to allow for water to get back into the earth.”

Few municipalities require homeowners to collect storm water—yet—though it’s an important factor in any considered landscape. At SSA’s project in Massachusetts, a storm-water garden even became the organizing principle of the site’s design. Now, wetland iris fill a reclaimed granite–framed garden, where the clients’ children now play and catch frogs. Whether or not a client asks for it, SSA typically builds storm-water collection or bioswales (drainage courses designed to remove silt and pollution from runoff water) into its designs. “That’s driven by our desire to be respectful of a site,” says Stimson.

Whether driven by economics or aesthetics, trends in sustainable gardens are catching on. Top designers are proving they don’t have to swap luxury and beauty for environmental responsibility. Of course, any successful garden has to work with the physical world, not against it. But where it comes to sustainable landscapes, as Radziner says succinctly, “we’re creating an enhanced version of nature.”

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Encouraging your customers to help with referrals

getting the word out with customer referrals for you landscaping business

Photo: InviteBox

After you’ve completed a project for your customer, the first thing you want them to do is spread the word to their friends and family. Many times, though, customers might forget to tell others about their experiences, not because they are displeased with your work but merely because they don’t know the best ways to get the word out.

Giving your customers ideas on sharing your work can not only help your business grow, it could ultimately end up benefitting the customer as well.

Reward customers for referrals

As previously mentioned, some customers may be more inclined to share the work you’ve done for them if there is a little something extra in it for them. For customers who are regulars with your company, consider giving them a gift card at a certain time of the year. While you’re at it, casually and politely ask them to mention your company and their services to their friends and family.

If the idea of a gift card isn’t really something you feel comfortable with, you could also think about giving them either a certain percentage or dollar amount off of their account if somebody they refer hires you for a job or becomes a regular customer.

Put up signs in your customer’s yard

What better way to advertise your work than to have a sign in place that literally points to the work itself? With your customer’s permission, consider placing a company sign in their yard after you’ve completed a project. This will not only get the attention of friends and family of your customer, it will also attract regular traffic passing by the home.

If your customers are hesitant to have the sign in their yard, you could also think about offering them a discount on services in exchange for letting the sign go up.

Don’t skimp on the cards

It may seem like overkill sometimes, but don’t be stingy with handing out those business cards. Even with repeat customers, don’t be afraid to give them another, extra for friends or even enclose a few in their monthly bill. If they have a few extra on hand while out and about, they may be more inclined to hand them out or post them up for you somewhere.

Give focus to your best customers

For the most quality referrals, keep your repeat or long-time lawn care customers in mind. These are the customers who are obviously pleased with your work, and they are the ones who will give honest and positive reviews on your behalf.

Utilize the Internet in all forms

Whether it’s a tweet, an Instagram post, Facebook or a good old fashioned website review, encourage your customers to hit the Internet. Technology plays such a huge part in corporations today, and more and more of your customers are getting involved with social media and online endeavors.

If your company is not on social media, now is the time to get on it. Whether it’s utilizing Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram, every bit of social media exposure can help spread the word about your business.

If you are already on social media, don’t forget to let your customers know that. Posting a positive experience, photo or review to their personal media pages can help draw attention to your business profiles. Using social media also helps show off the hard work you and your crew have put in by showcasing photos of your completed projects.

Using review sites can also help attract new customers to your business, so try creating a system for requesting reviews from your customers after you’ve completed a job.

Maybe after you’ve finished up at a home, follow up the trip with an email to your customer telling them thank you for the opportunity to work with them, and would they mind filling out this review that will be posted on the company’s website or on social media pages?

Do you typically send out newsletters to your customers? If so, why not include a call to action at the end of each newsletter asking your existing customers to forward the email to anyone they know who might be interested in your services?

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Big ideas: First drafts for downtown, I-20 to be unveiled in afternoon public meetings – Longview News

This story has been amended to correct the cost for a consulting contract.

Proposals for senior and other types of housing, a downtown private school, new entryways and new opportunities for various types of developments downtown and along I-20 are among the ideas contained in a pair of plans set to be unveiled today during a busy afternoon of meetings.

Local committees have been working with consultants throughout this spring to develop the plans as part of a $205,000 consulting contract with Fort Worth-based Freese Nichols.

The plans are meant to guide city ordinances and policies for revitalizing both areas.

Committee members are set to meet for the final time at 2 p.m. today at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center to receive and discuss the drafts. More extensive presentations on the plans will take place at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall during a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting, said Development Services Director Michael Shirley.

Both meetings are open to the public. The drafts remain tentative until final approval from the full City Council as early as next month.

RELATED: Read the drafts. Find the tentative downtown plan here. | Find the tentative I-20 corridor plan here.

City Council members who served on both small area plan committees said Monday they were eager to see the plans, which include information and plans for specific projects.

“I am hopeful for some good, actionable steps that can be used by the city,” District 4 Councilwoman Kristen Ishihara said, “either in our own plans and budget, or for use in attracting private development to our focus areas of downtown and I-20.”

“The main obstacle will be financial,” said District 3 Councilwoman Kasha Williams. “It just depends on how this community wants to see Longview continue to evolve.”


Twelve projects are suggested for the downtown area. The projects total as much as $123 million in development value and include as many as 750 more housing units.

Three of those projects include mixed-use senior living space adjacent to Christus Good Shepherd Medical Center, townhomes along Padon, Third, Magrill, Second and First streets, plus mixed-use infill development along Whaley Street — all bringing as many as 420 housing units, about $60 million alone in development and up to 30,000 square feet of retail, coffee shop or restaurant space.

Consultants envision a private school for young children along Magrill Street, workforce housing on East Tyler Street that brings another 187 dwelling units, small business infill in Longview Junction mostly along Methvin Street, and a gateway urban activity park where Methvin Street and Mobberly Avenue converge.

In the central downtown area, Freese Nichols has proposed an $8 million office building and shared garage development in what is a parking lot across Methvin Street from the News-Journal Plaza, plus repurposing of the Weaver Building into about 90 affordable housing units, office infill across Methvin Street from the Gregg County Courthouse, mixed-use infill development in the area and the creation of a Tyler Street frontage district that continues the city’s ongoing effort of making the street a destination.

Consultants say branding and district strategies that consist of organized design elements can create a cohesive and positive user perception of neighborhoods such as downtown.

Key elements in the branding strategy for downtown should include intersection enhancements, Green Street enhancements, more public and park spaces, more streetscape projects similar to recent and ongoing street reconstruction in downtown, portals or entryways that transition from typical hectic roadways to a more urban downtown feel, consultants said.

“At these locations, the iconic red brick design of the downtown district, monumentation, enhanced landscaping, unique lighting, pedestrian amenities, and entry signage should be incorporated,” according to the draft. “For portals to the south of the downtown district, where the roadway goes under the railroad tracks at High Street, Green Street, and Mobberly Avenue, special consideration should be made to enhance the underpasses. Some of the described enhancements have already been made to the underpasses at Green Street and High Street and should be continued to the remaining Mobberly Avenue underpass.”

Interstate 20

The I-20 Corridor Master Plan draft calls for commercial development immediately along the interstate with new roads south of the freeway and leaner interchanges.

Consultants have suggested blocks of civic, mixed-use, commercial and residential development along Estes Parkway and Mobberly Avenue south of LeTourneau University, as well as new streets, recreation areas and other ways to better connect residential neighborhoods between Estes Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Those neighborhoods are “an important driver to the success of the Interstate 20 Corridor,” according to the draft, but “lack a true sense of identity and strong residential character.”

Consultants’ first recommended project calls for a neighborhood renaissance in the I-20 corridor. Ideas include infill of vacant lots to increase property values, as well as neighborhood centers, a system of walkable open spaces and different types of housing — all to form the basis for improving commercial developments along Estes Parkway. Their plan calls for more than doubling the number of available housing units in the corridor to nearly 800 units while adding space for civic, cultural or other amenities that enhance community identity.

The draft includes neighborhood renaissance tactics suggested by Freese Nichols, such as ordinances governing code compliance, landscaping laws targeting specific neighborhoods and the creation of a residential idea book that guides homeowners on styles such as paint colors, landscape materials.

Estes Parkway gives many travelers their first impression of Longview, but consultants identified blighted development, vacant lots and lack of a coordinated identity on the roadway. They suggest the city incentivize business owners to move paved parking out of public view, additional lighting and screening, and policies that promote landscaping, building materials, façade articulation and other aesthetics. Low-interest loans or matching grant programs could be offered to property owners who redevelop existing retail centers, and neighborhood enterprise zones could be established to attract investment in blighted areas, the draft says.

A third idea focuses on the gateway into LeTourneau University’s campus. Consultants suggest a mixed-use campus entry development along the western side of Mobberly Avenue. They estimate the project could add about $27 million in development, about 200 market-rate dwellings and as much as 8,000 square feet or more of campus retail or restaurant space, making it a potential third space for LeTourneau students.

“This project would include three-story buildings, ground level retail, secured surface parking courts and amenities such as a pool court and dog park,” the draft states. “This development would formalize the entry to LeTourneau by having the buildings run parallel to Mobberly and utilizing a formal urban streetscape.”

Leaner Interstate 20 interchanges with Estes Parkway and Eastman Road are consultants’ fourth suggestion in the corridor study.

Consultants have said throughout the spring that the interchange takes up more land space that is needed, and have suggested the city work with state transportation engineers to convert them into diamond-style interchanges as part of a widening plan the state already has proposed for Interstate 20. Gaining the additional land — as much as 16 acres — allows a retail or commercial project to have presence on the freeway, which the state says is used by more than 30,000 motorists each day.

The final I-20 corridor project idea calls for establishing a framework for potential development sites along the freeway.

Consultants said the corridor will be better positioned for new commercial and retail development once Estes Parkway improvements and neighborhood connections are underway, so they suggest the city and Longview Economic Development Corp. assemble smaller neighboring parcels of property to create one larger parcel and “a simple network between these new larger parcels.”

‘Community effort’

Ishihara said the biggest obstacle to turning the plans into reality, as with most things, will be funding.

“We’ll have to be sure and incorporate the small area plan action items into our comprehensive plan committee and keep it active and in the forefront of our planning and budgeting for the next several years,” she said.

“We’ll also need community partners to step up — private development, nonprofits and existing businesses to help us fully implement the small area plans, as well as the comprehensive plan,” Ishihara said. “The city alone will not be able to accomplish all of the items being discussed. This will need to be a community effort.”

Williams concurred.

“I think that we have a responsibility to some degree to support our community’s continued development, but it takes finance,” she said, “and if we want to see corridor improvement, continued demolition of dilapidated buildings, and infrastructure — because roads and streets will also be a huge factor in any community — it will take the entire community to put forth the investment.”

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Enhance La Jolla to ponder capital project ideas

During their second meeting, held Tuesday, June 13 at La Jolla Riford Library, Enhance La Jolla board members voted to form an ad hoc committee to come up with ideas for capital improvement projects that could be implemented throughout The Village within the next few months. Initial ideas include hiring a security detail, trimming trees and adding trash cans around town.

Enhance La Jolla is the board charged with administering the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD), which was approved by business and property owners within its boundaries in November 2016. Funding for ongoing maintenance in the Village — including landscaping, street power-washing, trash collection and graffiti removal — will be generated by assessments that will begin to be collected later this year.

Because of its non-profit status, the organization can also receive grants and private funds to carry out capital improvement projects in public areas. La Jolla Community Foundation, another non-profit involved in the creation of Enhance La Jolla, has offered $65,000 raised by its membership to implement a project within the MAD boundaries.

To decide on which projects to bring to the Foundation for funding, members of Enhance La Jolla came up with several ideas. First, chair Bill Tribolet spoke of the possibility of contracting the services of a security company.

Segway,” he began, “and I noticed people stopping him, asking him questions, and he would point here and there, and everybody seemed to know him, and it was very impressive.”

Enhance La Jolla board members revise the Management Agreement to be signed with the City of San Die

The security detail has an approximate cost of $60,000 a year for three days per week. “(For this) six-month period (before the MAD funds kick in) it will cost $30,000 to get it started,” Tribolet said. “Let’s see how it evolves, and moving forward, I think we can raise the $60,000 for the project.”

Trustees agreed with the concept, but member Mark Dibella cautioned, “Having this effort three days a week could provide an unrealistic sense of security in the Village … What about the other four days a week? What if there’s a security issue on the patrolman’s off day?”

Board member Ruth Yansick offered a different proposal. “I started looking up Girard Avenue and I saw a lot of trees that needed trimming,” she said. From there, the discussion went into the possibility planting matching trees on different Village streets.

Board member and publisher of the La Jolla Light, Phyllis Pfeiffer, explained, “The La Jolla Community Foundation had several meetings with The Village Garden Club of La Jolla trying to implement this. The plan was to plant the same trees down Girard Avenue and on Prospect Street. The Garden Club was excited about managing the project, but then we realized, if we planted them, they were going to die because who was going to water them?”

For trustee Nancy Warwick, her preferred community improvement route would be to use the money to fundraise for a bigger project. “(We could) put together a plan for the Belvedere Promenade project. It has a lot of community support already. I could be wrong, but I don’t think it’s highly controversial.”

Member David Marino disagreed. “We need to make an impact with that money. It’s not about making noise, but getting something done.”

The ad hoc committee formed will be chaired by Dibella with trustees Warwick, Marino and Peter Wagener. It will report back at a later meeting.

As for the timing of the capital improvement project, something could happen before the year ends. “La Jolla Community Foundation has a meeting in November, so we could announce the plans then,” Pfeiffer said.

In other Enhance La Jolla news:

Management contract: Enhance La Jolla is in the process of signing a contract with the City of San Diego that will allow it to carry out projects within the MAD boundaries. It was discussed during the meeting that, for liability purposes, Enhance La Jolla would compile a list of tripping hazards within the MAD boundaries and send it to the City.

Other committees: It was decided that Steve Haskins would chair the bylaws committee; Andy Nelson, the Request for Proposals (RFP) project; and Pfeiffer and Yansick, the hiring committee to recruit a part-time administrator.

— Enhance La Jolla next meets 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19 at the library, 7555 Draper Ave.

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Rain gardens give teens a summer job

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From koi ponds to rustic relics, rural garden tour offers a taste of paradise – Peabody Gazette

Eden times 5

From koi ponds to rustic relics, rural garden tour offers a taste of paradise

Staff writer

This year, patrons of Marion City Library’s eighth annual Garden Tour can expect to experience five delightful country stops and chance to acquire rustic garden items and refreshments.

The tour will run from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 24 throughout the county.

“We’ve got some really great gardens again this year; all have something different and unique,” library director Janet Marler said. “People can get some good ideas for their own gardens. It should be a lot of fun.”

In addition to myriad blooms, patrons can expect to see anything from fish to birds, waterfalls to ponds, rock gardens to boulders, and barbwire sculptures to just plain old rust.

Koi and doves

Nestled among irises, lilies, wisteria and other flowers at the home of Lonnie and Charlotte Nickel, 210 W. 6th St. in Lincolnville lies an aviary and a 5,000-gallon koi pond with a small waterfall feature.

“We’ve got about 15 fish or so; we keep koi and different goldfish in the pond,” Charlotte said. “My husband built the nice little bridge that goes across the koi pond to a bench you can sit in.”

While their fish bubble near the waterfall, light reflects off a garden house with stained glass windows. Patrons also might hear cooing emanate from the aviary and birdhouses that Charlotte builds.

“I used to raise lovebirds and finches, but we raise mourning doves,” Charlotte said. “Wild birds visit the lawn. The doves sit on top of the aviary roof and coo. Our great-grandkids tell us they want your birds to come out and play.”

Family projects

Many of the garden and landscaping features at the lakeside home of Joe and Debbie Bowman at 17 Lois Lane have sentimental value. Included are a birdhouse, birdfeeder, barn-wood quilt, old-time gate, wooden palette American flag, and a section of white picket fence with triangular vintage flags hanging from it.

“The things that we incorporated that my family made mean a lot to me; and they know that,” Debbie said. “I love doing all this. I enjoy seeing pretty things and watching things grow.”

Somewhere among the verdant trees and bushes, a newer item that was created for the garden tour also can be seen.

“Joe was nice enough to make me a cool display item for our yard,” Debbie said. “We used porch posts and an old window I had, and then put some regular yard lights in front of it. It’s nice; you can see one of our trees through the window.”

She encourages visitors to play a pickup game with horseshoes that rest nearby their limestone patio, and she notes that most visitors are taken with “huge rock walls” that help create terraces.

Potted paradise

Those interested in container gardening likely will find valuable ideas at the home of Mike and Gayle Thomas at 2165 US-256, east of Marion.

“I can’t really dig in the ground and garden so we have a lot of potted flowers; no vegetables really, mainly flowers that tolerate a lot of heat and sun,” Gayle said. “All I have here in the summer is sun.”

Gayle plants various types of rose moss purslanes, petunias, and geraniums and arranges them around their long house on and among memorable and historic rocks.

“I have an obsession with rocks,” she said. “I just kind of have had them, but they all have significance.”

Gayle and Mike incorporated the front steps and a buggy step from an old stone house in one of their pastures as well as a stone carriage bench from another location.

Barbwire and blooms

Bodacious blooms and barbwire sculptures intermingle atop rocks, and in rock gardens, wagon wheels, and railroad ties at the home of Kim and Deb Unruh at 1774 170th Rd.

“We have a lot of yard art and barbwire sculptures made by Laddie Helmer,” Deb said. “Some are abstract, but there also is a cactus, coyote, and horse head. We have a lot of them.”

There is also an interesting barbwire vulture in their collection, and friendly gnome statues and other yard art, rustic glass electric insulators dotting their lily, marigold, daisy and rose filled garden, which was landscaped with railroad ties and large stones little by little over the years.

“I just love the way it all looks,” Deb said.

Another highlight that might cause a giggle is a stone marker officially proclaims, “On this site in 1987 nothing happened.”

Red, green, and yellow

Stone walking paths that were tediously but caringly placed upon a hillside, meander among a variety of wild and prairie flowers near multitier series of pools above a farm pond should “wow” visitors at the home of Dan and Rhonda Holub at 1953 240th Rd.

“I identify flowers by red, green and yellow,” Dan said. “Someone once asked me, ‘Dan, what type of flower is that?’ I said ‘Orange.’

“I did all the rocks with my kids. Everything green Rhonda did. She she does a great job; the garden is beautiful.”

He said Rhonda was the one who figured out how to cultivate hard the clay soil.

“I got him to stop using the pesticides and the bees started to show back up and things began to grow,” Rhonda said.

The stones in their garden aren’t all for aesthetic pleasure; they deter erosion.

“Whenever Dan moves a rock I ask him where it came from,” Rhonda said. “When it rains plants can wash right out of here if we’re not careful.”

With their garden, they try to strike a balance between formal and wild, and seem to have fun reworking different areas as need or when the mood strikes.

“When I can’t sleep at night I like to go for a walk in the garden where there are a lot of walking paths lighted by solar lights, which is good because you don’t have to carry a flashlight,” he said. “We also have a tallgrass area set aside that we don’t mow, except for a path through there, and we keep a dead tree because the wood peckers seem to like it.”


Marler said visitors will be encouraged to visit Bearly Makin’ it Antiques on Main St. and out at the mill just north of Marion on Walnut St. because many rustic items found there can be used for landscaping.

Owner Marion Ogden has planters, bird baths, cisterns, well pumps, washtubs, buckets, and sewing machines that can be used a bases to put flowers on. He also has all kinds of flower stands and chicken feeders

“We got rust,” Ogden said. “It’s all unique and it’s all a matter of what you’re interested in; me, I like it all.”

He said a food truck would be available at the mill, too. Refreshments also will be served at the library.

Tickets cost $5 and available only at the library. The event is a fundraiser for library projects throughout the year. More information is available at (620)382-2442.

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Saturated ground makes trees vulnerable to being uprooted

If you have a container garden planted in soil, the roots are going to suffer from lack of drainage.

But so will large trees in yards, when the ground gets too saturated for their roots to hold on.

With the constant bombardment of rain over days, trees and some gardens will have difficulty draining enough before the next wave of rain comes in.

Large trees can suffer root compromise and topple if the ground around them is so wet the roots can’t keep it stable.

“Whenever the ground gets saturated like this, it’s like sitting in a bowl of water. The roots don’t have anything to hold onto,” said Ben Kahlmus, with Fulgham’s Tree Preservation and Consultants. “The trees become top-heavy and the slightest wind can push them over.”

Kahlmus and Kevin Hall, Pascagoula’s landscape and beautification expert, talked with the Sun Herald about what the Coast is facing over the next few days.

Jackson County and the rest of the Coast are projected to have heavy rain on and off through Thursday, after an already wet spring and rain last week. Unfortunately, tornadoes and high winds are also projected for areas of South Mississippi.

On Wednesday, Kahlmus said, “I drove to Keesler AFB this morning. There are yards just full of water. If it keeps sitting like that, if we get a strong wind, I expect trees to come down.”

Kahlmus said some areas of the Coast reached soil saturation this past week and now there have been days of constant rain.

Some are more susceptible than others, he said, the pine is one of them.

He said pines have long limbs that give the wind more leverage. And if the ground is so saturated the roots can’t do their job, it will topple, he said.

“Even a small wind will push it over,” he said.

“Live oaks are our strongest, the most hurricane resistant,” he said. “In straight wind, they do pretty well, but if the ground is so wet the roots can’t hold, the structural integrity of the root system is weakened dramatically.”

People who live around the football stadium in Moss Point still talk about the huge Live oak on Beardslee Street that blew over years ago after a storm lingered for days and saturated the ground. The root system stood straight up out of the ground, leaving a crater.

Kahlmus pointed out that a single tree is more vulnerable than a group of trees in a yard that can hang together against the wind.

Also, he said, trees around construction sites, where drainage patterns have changed, are also vulnerable to weather events like this.

Hall has been watching the recent rain. And now with more rain projected, he is concerned about damage to large areas of city landscaping.

Are roots compromised?

“Absolutely,” he said. “Trees that are already suffering from a disease — this expedites their demise. They will die quicker and faster and fall over.

“The termites love it, because now the wood is softer and easier to eat,” Hall said. “It just means that next year, we’re going to have a really bad termite season.”

Flowers that are strategically planned around the city are drowning right now, he said.

“A lot of that stuff, even though it will be still alive, will get a bacteria from sitting in the water so long,” he said “Basically it is rotting.”

And there is nothing he can do right now.

He said, container gardeners are losing their gardens. If they didn’t plant in mulch, if they planted in soil, it’s not drying out. He suggested these gardeners pull the gardens under the carport or cover them for the coming days of rain.

“It’s a steady, constant rain, at a rate where there’s no time to run off,” he said. “The roots need to dry out.”

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