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Archives for July 17, 2017

Valley Community Foundation Helps Build Adam’s House Memorial Garden

SHELTON, Conn. – A $2,500 grant from the Valley Community Foundation helped volunteers with Adam’s House construct a front garden that encircles the memorial walkway at the nonprofit grief education center at 241 Coram Ave.

Adam’s House Founder and Executive Director Allison Wysota said, “We are thrilled that our front garden surrounding our memorial walkway is now a beautiful, welcoming space that will offer peace and healing not only to grieving children and families that enter our program, but to all in the Shelton community that pass by our doors.”

As part of the Adam’s House “Healing Hearts” program, children can create a commemorative brick to place on the memorial walkway to honor and celebrate the life a loved one.

The Valley Community Foundation grant funded the plantings and construction of the gardens that encompass the memorial walkway.

“Valley Community Foundation President and CEO Sharon Closius works closely with our program officer and community grants committee to make smart investments in the changing needs and opportunities of the Valley,” said Alan Tyma, VCF Board Chair.

“One focus of the Foundation is to strengthen the impact of small nonprofits, those with fewer than two full-time or fewer than four part-time staff, by supporting a variety of community engagement efforts. Based on their presentation, Adam’s House should be a valuable member of our community for a long time.”

The Olde Ripton Garden Club in Shelton led by Garden Designer Renee Marsh, owner of A Simpler Place, contributed the project’s landscape design.

Twelve volunteers from the Shelton office of Nasdaq made up the labor force that turned Marsh’s landscape design into reality. During a warm, sunny day, the Nasdaq volunteers cheerfully planted a new array of hydrangeas, lilies, catmint, roses, a dogwood tree and other plantings to create the memorial walkway landscaping and front garden.

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Vail Landscape Logic column: Try these mid-season fix-ups for flower containers on the fritz

By early July, it’s common to have patio containers that are a mix of thriving flowers and foliage as well as some stragglers that are less than lush.

Maybe you were on a trip or have been too busy to water, mix the fertilizer and dead-head the blooms regularly — it happens.

Fortunately, there are quick fixes that can get containers shaped up for the rest of patio season. Here are things you can do to restore your container ambiance.

Lackluster plants

If most of the plants are dead or droopy, then pitch them and pick up a ready-to-go planter filled with annuals from the local garden center. Another fast fix is a color bowl or hanging basket you can drop in to your existing container. Your do-it-yourself investment will cost drive time plus how long it takes to remove the old plants from the container and put fresh plants in it. The makeover will be instant.

Replacing a few plants

If only a few plants look scruffy, then remove them and drop in fresh plants in their place. But before you get replacements, try to diagnose what went wrong.

Was the failing plant a shade plant in too much sun — or a sun-lover placed in the shade?

Did you plant a lower-water plant next to a thirsty one? Plants with mismatched water needs can cause one of them to fail.

Once you have selected good replacements, it will probably not take more than five minutes per container to replant.

What about bare spots?

If plants got unevenly spaced at planting, or only one plant needs to be removed, then there are quick fixes that may not require adding more plants. Here are a few ideas:

A bare spot in the center of a container is a great place for a large candle and even to add a glass hurricane around it if there’s room. Once the hurricane is in place, but before setting the candle in it, fill the inside with enough clean white sand to cover the soil.

Use obelisks to add height and form in containers.

Dried branches with unique shapes can do the same. With a few more minutes, you can spray paint branches in metal tones or bright colors to fit in with your decor.

Other objects such as glass orbs, little sculptures, small animals or figurines made for gardens — or any artistic element that matches your style and decor — can quickly fill a bare spot. Even a little truck or tractor from the kids’ toy box can be a fun addition.

With minimal time and effort, slightly shabby containers can be dressed up and ready for the next patio party.

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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Fight fires with appropriate landscaping

Popular Daphne x burkwoodii works well in a fire-resistant landscape. 

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Home gardeners can learn plenty at State Fair

California State Fair

Where: Cal Expo, 1600 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento

When: Daily through July 30. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mondays- Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fridays-Sundays.

Admission: $12; seniors (age 62 and up), $10; youth (ages 5-12), $8; children age 4 and under admitted free. Parking, $15.


Celebrate 50 years at Cal Expo with all your State Fair favorites. Nearly 100 master gardeners will staff the information booth at The Farm, home to the fair’s demonstration gardens and 90 edible crops. Learn about water-wise landscaping and beneficial insects, too.

10th annual Capay Tomato Festival

Where: Capay Organic, 23808 State Highway 16, Capay

When: 3-11 p.m. Saturday, July 22

Admission: $20 in advance; $25 at gate

Details: 800-796-6009,

Taste heirloom tomatoes, tour the farm and enjoy farm-fresh food plus live music and family fun. (Food and drink sold separately.) Proceeds benefit the Kathleen Barsotti Non-Profit for Sustainable Agriculture.

Scott Brothers House Party

Where: Sacramento Community Center Theater, 1301 L St., Sacramento

When: 7:30 p.m. July 22

Admission: $48.75 and up; special VIP packages available

Details: 800-225-2277, 916-808-5181,

HGTV’s famous Property Brothers come to Sacramento for a live stage show, filled with their fun videos, snappy banter and home renovation know-how.

Pacific Flyway Wildfowl Art Classic

Where: DoubleTree Hotel, 2001 Point West Way, Sacramento

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 22 and 23

Admission: $5; children under age 12 admitted free.


Sacramento is bird central and inspiration for local artists, craftspeople and collectors. Besides duck carvings and decoys, see a wide range of bird-inspired arts and crafts. Some real live birds will be part of the family fun. Lots of activities for kids, too.

Debbie Arrington

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Chris Chanlett: Reflections on the lawn – Charleston Gazette

Two articles in the Sunday Gazette-Mail of July 9 concerned landscaping practices. “Something to think about as you mow” by Erik Moshe and “New again: Old photo shows biodiversity, permaculture” by Gazette columnist Alex Cole both commented on our dramatically changing tastes in land use.

I worked as a landscape designer and gardener in southern West Virginia for several decades and with scores of people to figure out what to plant where. Those two articles inspire the following reflections.

Erik Moshe’s piece subtitled “Why on Earth do we plant lawns?” critiques the lawn culture that dominates suburbia and exurbia. In many regions the lawn mower is taking over more land today than any other practice. The article identifies the aspiration for the “perfect lawn” as the problem, free of anything but grass and never brown. This urge is why Michael Pollen called the American lawn “vegetation under totalitarian control.”

Alex Cole’s “Good to grow” column deftly uses an old homestead photo to demonstrate how Mountaineers were practicing the relatively new concept of permaculture long before the term was coined. Permaculture wants people to put their land back into food production — “no pesticides, no fossil fuels, no factory farms, growing all you need locally and enhancing the land’s fertility.” That’s an admirable ideal that I hope will inspire more than a few people.

Let’s consider lawn psychology, why so many people want to devote so much of their land and time to mowing. Lawns are negative space. They give the eye room to roam and to see what’s coming over the hill. We feel more secure in open space. We have options in how to use it, such as to create gardens and plant trees, to move and store vehicles, to play and have parties, to hunt, to site new outbuildings and piles of stuff like firewood and compost.

Lawn mowing itself takes a ragged surface and makes it smooth. It makes the grass even greener when we cut it back. Modern equipment makes it possible to do it with a beer tucked alongside. Before mechanized cutting, we grazed animals, grew food with them, and returned fertility to the soil in the process. We cut crops and excess greenery with scythes. In modern terms we got a lot of exercise and health benefits from caring for the land. Now we can ride high and long and wide and have a verdant landscape without the commitment of livestock and manual labor, getting larger bodies all the while.

Like Erik Moshe and Alex Cole, I think we have given up a lot by overriding all the more productive ways we can use land. Gardens enrich a landscape and a household. But I would reaffirm the value of the lawns with the following conditions.

Lawns can be maintained perfectly well in this region without herbicides suppressing the broad-leaved plants. With proper liming and timely cutting, grass will thrive and accommodate other plants, especially white clover. When it flowers, give the bees a few days to work it, then drop the blade back over it, and in season it will be blooming again in no time.

Lawns go brown when it is dry. This natural and healthy dormancy should never be fought by sprinkling a well established turf, a total waste of clean and valuable water. Irrigation is only justified during establishment.

Lawns allow space for traffic when it is not wet. This is one of their greatest attributes. On all lots of a half acre or even less, they allow the planting of fruit and shade trees, bushes and flowers to provide beauty, food, shade, and the capture of carbon to offset the other effects our lifestyles impose on the climate. A lawn without other levels of plants becomes more like a green desert.

At their very best, lawns have a shape of their own that complements the movements in the landscape. They weave a yard together by offering the negative space to highlight multiple plantings, a focal point and distant views. At their very best, they give landowners a great reason to walk around their landscape — behind rather than on a machine, taking in nature’s offerings even as we alter them.

Chris Chanlett is a retired landscape gardener in Summers County who operated Groundworks Nursery with his wife Torula for over 30 years.

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