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Archives for July 26, 2017

Need a gardening challenge? Plant wildflowers.





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Gardening tips and chores for August

Jessica Damiano
Jessica Damiano, Newsday columnist

Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 25 years experience in radio, television, print and online media.

She has worked on Newsday’s interactive endeavors since 1994, and currently is Deputy Editor overseeing’s Lifestyle and Entertainment coverage.

Jessica enjoys toiling in her garden — a never-finished work in progress — and helping local gardeners solve their horticultural problems in her Garden Detective column, which appears every Sunday in Newsday.

Her Garden Detective column and blog have been awarded Press Club of Long Island Society of Professional Journalists Awards.

Jessica lives in Glen Head, NY, with her husband John, daughters Justine and Julia, dogs Maddie and Miguel, and a whole bunch of perennials, vegetable plants and weeds.

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It’s August, and the tomatoes are finally ripening on the vine, the perennials are rampant and, surprisingly, my spring pansies are still holding on. Weeds, too, are digging their heels in, a constant reminder that the garden doesn’t ever go on autopilot, even if it appears that way. Here are 31 tips and chores to ensure the garden doesn’t look tired by month’s end.

1. Resist the urge to let zucchini grow big; they’re tastier and more tender if picked when small.

2. Sanitation is important for a healthy garden: Clean up fallen fruit from around trees to prevent pest infestations.

3. To help avoid heat wilt, mist leaves of hybrid tea roses with liquid seaweed.

4. Send a photo of yourself with your tomatoes, along with your growing strategy, to The 2017 Tomato Challenge is just two weeks away!

5. For best flavor, harvest herbs in midmorning just after the dew has dried.

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6. If you need to relocate evergreens, it’s safe to do so from now through October.

7. When watering the lawn, remember: Less frequent deep waterings trump daily sprinkles on established turf.

Jessica DamianoEnter the 2017 Great LI Tomato Challenge

8. For a second harvest this fall, plant cool-season crops like lettuce, radishes, spinach and peas now.

9. Keep mower blades set to 3 or more inches. Grass blades are leaves, which need to photosynthesize; cut them too short and they’ll stress.

10. No need to panic if your evergreens’ innermost branches begin to brown. It’s normal for older branches to shed this time of year.

11. Re-edge beds to give a fading garden a face-lift.

12. Harvest rose hips for tea or jam — as long as you haven’t sprayed your plants.

Home and Garden19 clubs where gardeners can share their passion

13. Transplant spring-flowering bulbs that are crowded or needed elsewhere in the garden.

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14. Turn off pond pumps when electrical storms are in the forecast.

15. If cabbage heads split, harvest immediately or they’ll become inedible.

16. Monitor moisture levels in containers often; potted plants may need to be watered twice a day.

17. Harvest onions when their tops flop over, but let them cure in the sun for a few days before storing indoors.

Jessica DamianoStinkhorn mushrooms in the garden? ‘Shameless’

18. Join me at 7 p.m. for the Great Long Island Tomato Challenge at Newsday (235 Pinelawn Rd., Melville). Bring your biggest homegrown tomato and you might be crowned king or queen.

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19. Want free plants next year? Take cuttings of geraniums and wax begonias, and root indoors now. Then care for them as houseplants until spring.

20. Harvest beets when 2 inches wide. You can saute and eat the leaves, too (this is not the case for tomatoes or carrots, which have toxic foliage.)

21. Order spring bulbs now, before the best ones sell out. They’ll be shipped in time for fall planting.

22. Collect seeds from day lilies, spider plants, rose campions and other perennials that produce pods. Store in a paper envelope in the fridge, away from fruit, until spring.

Home and GardenGreat LI Tomato Challenge winners through the years

23. This is the best time to renovate the lawn. Remove dead patches, aerate, apply compost and seed. Water deeply once, then sprinkle twice a day until 3 inches tall.

24. Don’t let weeds go to seed; pull them out by their roots.

25. If houseplants kept outdoors for summer have outgrown their containers, repot now.

26. If you can, leave standard and plum tomatoes on the vine until fully ripe; they’ll taste better. Cherry tomatoes ripen just fine on the counter.

27. Divide crowded daylilies after they’ve stopped blooming.

Jessica DamianoThis year’s LI Tomato Challenge contestants so far

28. Divide and transplant overgrown and crowded peonies, keeping “eyes” no more than an inch or two below the soil surface.

29. Plant a clover cover crop in cleared-out vegetable beds for a burst of natural nitrogen next spring when you turn it over.

30. Shop end-of-season sales for plant deals — but be choosy; they’ve been sitting in pots all season.

31. Move outdoor potted plants into the shade to ease them into a move indoors next month. Water as usual.

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Sawfly larvae damage hibiscus

Q: My hibiscus is growing beautifully but something is eating the leaves. I can’t see any bugs.
D. Pesce, Cobb County

A: My guess is that your hibiscus has been chewed on by hibiscus sawfly larvae. These caterpillar-like creatures feed on the bottom side of leaves so you don’t notice them until holes form. The easiest way to control them is to use a systemic insecticide drench that contains imidacloprid (Bayer Tree and Shrub) in April. An organic spray that contains spinosad (Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew) will work if you concentrate it under the leaves. You can assist nature by planting flowers that attract beneficial insects, like alyssum, catmint, and lemon balm, nearby.

Q: You recently responded to a question about wilted vegetable leaves that might be caused by weed killer. I had the same symptoms in a new garden bed I planted with top soil from a nursery. Does UGA test soil for weed killer chemicals?
Jay Brantley, email

A: Your local University of Georgia Extension office (800-ASKUGA1) can test for pesticides, but only if you can first tell them which chemical, out of dozens, their machines should look for. That’s impossible in most homeowner situations. Consider doing a bioassay with a bean or tomato plant before you decide to submit a sample. Directions

Q: We have a large white oak tree in our back yard. This week we noticed all the leaves are turning brown, top to bottom. Any idea what is causing this?
S. B. Ray, Cartersville

A: This has been a terrible summer for white oak and red oak trees. Oaks are very sensitive to having their roots become dry, and that is probably what happened to your tree last fall. The initial damage might even have been done in the drought several years ago. It is not likely the tree will recover after losing all of its leaves but you’re welcome to wait until next spring and see what happens. If you don’t see many green leaves by May, the tree will have to come down.

Q: I noticed brown sap oozing from my three-year-old dwarf peach tree. An arborist told me this is caused by peach borers. I sprayed insecticide but recently I have noticed a few areas around small branches where the sap is coming out again. How do I save this tree?
Roger Solomon, email

A: In my experience, peach tree borers are rarely the cause of sap coming out of a peach trunk. If you notice the sap oozing more than 12 inches from the bottom of the tree, it is almost certainly not borer damage. Typically the sap comes from a bark canker. The canker, in turn, comes from environmental or mechanical stress on the tree. Poor root growth, drought, or kids banging on the tree with a stick all could cause cankers. Be sure to mulch your tree, water during dry times, and consider sprinkling a pint of garden lime around the tree to raise the soil pH.

Q: What suggestion do you have to cover an area under our deck that is red clay but has no sunshine? What grass or ground cover could we use?
Patricia Klecka, Dallas

A: All plants must have sufficient sunshine to photosynthesize. I will wager there is not enough light under your deck to support either grass or groundcover plants. Consider pine chip mulch instead.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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Director, Grow to Learn NYC: The Citywide School Garden Initiative

GrowNYC’s Grow to Learn Director leads Grow to Learn NYC: The Citywide School Garden Initiative. Grow to Learn is a partnership between GrowNYC, the Green Thumb division of the NYC Parks Department, and the NYC Department of Education, with a mission to support the growth of a sustainable learning garden for every NYC public school ( Grow to Learn provides material resources, mini-grant funding, and technical expertise to a network of over 675 schools citywide. Working under the direction of the Executive Director and closely with the Director of GreenThumb, the Grow to Learn Director will work with city and state agencies, non-profits, corporations, and other interested parties to ensure NYC’s public schools have access to the resources needed to start and sustain a garden program.


Grow to Learn: Programming Overview

The Grow to Learn program is focused on four primary areas of work:

1) Grow to Learn Network Registration: Schools interested in starting or sustaining a learning garden go through a planning and registration process with Grow to Learn. The Grow to Learn team works with new schools to complete the garden design and registration process, maintains a comprehensive registration database, and supports registered schools to keep records up to date and accurate.

2) Technical Assistance and Professional Development: The Grow to Learn team plans and leads an annual calendar of professional development opportunities for school gardeners (primarily school day teachers). Trainings focus on specific gardening or garden construction techniques, classroom integration strategies, and facilitation/community building strategies. The Grow to Learn team also provides site based technical assistance to registered schools as requested.

3) Mini-Grant Funding and Material Support: Grow to Learn manages a twice annual mini-grant program. Schools apply for $500-$2,000 to build a new garden or expand on an existing program. Grantees receive a year of more intensive support from Grow to Learn staff. In

addition, Grow to Learn provides seasonal giveaways available to all registered network schools, including seeds, seedlings, garden tools, and bulk materials.  Further, Grow to Learn coordinates closely with GreenThumb staff to schedule deliveries of bulk materials to school gardens.

4) Nutrition Education: The Grow to Learn team currently manages two nutrition education initiatives for 5th-7th graders. Seed to Plate is a 6-week curriculum that was designed by GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program to teach students about local food and farmers. GreenBeetz is a 21-session curriculum that allows teachers to take a deep dive into all aspects of the food system, including the science of digestion, the history and culture of food, healthy snack prep and cooking techniques, and the power of food advertising.


Grow to Learn Director: Position Description and Qualifications

The Director works with the GtL staff team and partners around the city to foster communication, cooperation, and collaborative efforts designed to help teachers, parents, kids and communities build, sustain, and integrate gardens into New York City’s public schools. The Director supervises staff

members, comprised of both GrowNYC and GreenThumb employees; administers the mini-grant program; builds coalitions; assists with fundraising; and oversees communications, including press, social media, website management, targeted outreach, and school inquiries. The Director is responsible for coordinating citywide school gardening resources, including identifying best practices in professional development and curriculum integration; developing informational tools; and promoting school gardening. The Director works with the GtL staff to keep up to date program records, design and implement program evaluations, and respond with program improvements. In addition, the Director coordinates activities with Grow to Learn program partners at GreenThumb in the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, and the NYC Department of Education’s Division School Facilities, Office of Sustainability and Office of School Food.


Qualifications include:


•     At least 5 years experience working in non-profit or government (with a focus in education and urban agriculture/gardening strongly preferred).

•     Undergraduate degree required with advanced degree in related area strongly preferred.

•     Knowledgeable about New York City government and non-profit networks.

•     Interest in and awareness of environmental issues with emphasis on education and horticulture.

•     Experience in program or project management, including staff supervision. Experience with program evaluation and data management.

•     Strong oral and written communications skills, including public speaking, materials development and media outreach. Experience in website editing and content management preferred.

•     Experience with fundraising and donor cultivation. Proven sound fiscal management experience.

•     Proven ability to build coalitions and develop new partnerships and programs. Ability to work with a variety of constituencies, including government agencies and institutional partners.

•     Highly organized with the ability to juggle multiple tasks, deadlines, and project responsibilities.

Team player who works well with others as well as independently.

•     Computer literate with proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.


Salary Range: $65,000-$75,000 per year. This position is full-time with a generous benefits package including medical and dental insurance and paid time off.

Application Instructions: Email a cover letter, resume, and three professional references to with ‘Grow to Learn Director Application’ in the subject line. Preference given to applications received on or before August 4, 2017. Interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis.


GrowNYC is an Affirmative Action Equal Opportunity Employer and hires without regard to race, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation or physical disability.


GrowNYC is a hands-on non-profit which improves New York City’s quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. GrowNYC was originally created in 1970 as the Council on the Environment of New York City. Born out of the spirit of the first Earth Day, the Council was

initially a policy-based organization, writing comprehensive reports about quality of life issues like air quality, traffic, and noise. Over the past 40 years we’ve worked to become more engaged with New York City and its citizens. Whether it’s operating the world famous Union Square Greenmarket, building a

new community garden, teaching young people about the environment, or improving recycling awareness, if you’re a New Yorker, GrowNYC is working near you! For more information, visit us at

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Floral design show at the Scioto County Fair

Area Garden Clubs, in conjunction with the Scioto County Fair Board, will present two separate, unique flower shows for the 2017 county fair. The first show will open on Monday afternoon, August 7. The second show will be presented on Thursday afternoon, August 10. Both shows will follow the current rules of the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs for floral design. Since a floral design show is a competitive environment, it is important that everyone have the specific specifications for the two shows August 7th and 10th.

The theme for the 2017 Scioto County Fair Flower show will be “Visiting the Farm”. Entry to the shows is open to everyone and will be judged for awards by approved judges from the Ohio Association of Garden Clubs. Each show will feature specific designs. Any designer wishing to participate in either show may contact Carolyn Wilcox a (740) 776-4453, to register.


REGISTRATION: Entries for all senior and junior artistic design classes must be mailed or phoned in or before July 25 to: Carolyn Wilcox, 514 Coriell Road, Portsmouth, OH 45662. Phone: 740 776-4453.

ARTISTIC DESIGN ENTRIES: Artistic design classes for Monday, MUST BE STAGED BY 11:00 A.M. Monday. Artistic design classes for Thursday, MUST BE STAGED BY 11:00 A.M. Thursday. The exhibitor must be the creator of all artistic designs. An exhibitor may make only one entry per artistic design class, with a maximum of 6 per show. For Senior Artistic Design Classes 32 – 35 and 41 – 44, backgrounds (vertical placement) will be furnished by the committee as specified in the schedule. Exhibitors are permitted to use only these backgrounds furnished by the committee. EXCEPTIONS: Class 37, 46 do not have backgrounds. You must provide your own backgrounds. Exhibitors are urged to use adequate plant materials so that the artistic exhibit has good horticultural value. All plant material used in artistic design classes must be listed on a special card provided by the committee at the entry table and must accompany the design. Painted or artificially colored line material within artistic designs is permitted but used at exhibitor’s own discretion. Bases, mats, figurines and accessories may be used in all artistic design classes unless specified. Painted or artificially colored fresh plant material is never permitted. NO artificial foliage, flowers, fruits, etc. may be used. The exhibitors’ hall will be cleared by 11:00 A.M. and all exhibitors who have not entered by that time will not be permitted to exhibit. Both the Monday show and the Thursday show will be judged by OAGC accredited judges. Judging will be by the standard system and oral judging begins at 12:30 p.m. Best of Show Awards 1, 2, and 3 will be given in the senior artistic design classes. Best of Show Awards 1,2,3,4 and 5 will be given in the senior horticulture classes. Best of Show awards will be given in the container-grown plant classes, junior horticulture classes, and junior artistic classes. The Award of Distinction for artistic design will be given in each show. An entry’s placement as Best of Show (1st, 2nd,3rd,4th,5th) will not preclude its selection for one or more of the special awards. 2017 Designer Tip: Read the specifications for your entry carefully, and follow the rules.

DESIGNS for Monday, August 7: Theme “VISITING THE FARM ”

Section IV Junior Artistic

29. Playtime at the Farm OPEN CLASS Designer’s Choice. Background: Lime Green

Section V Senior Artistic

30. Planting A Flower Garden Small Creative Design from 5” to 12” Staged in a 12” white cubicle. (4 of the 8 will be in novice class) {NOVICE CLASS –Entrants must not have won a blue ribbon in artistic design at the Scioto County Fair}

31. Sewing Lessons A Miniature Choice Design not to exceed 5” in any direction. Staged on a wooden shelf using a thimble.

32. Fall Treasures Traditional Dried Flower Design Background Soft Pink 32”x 48” high

33. O’er the River Thru

the Woods Creative Satellitic Design Background: Yellow 32” x 48” high

34. Campfire Cookout Exhibition Table Type II Background: Light Blue 26” x 42” high

35. Country Wheels Creative Design Background: Orange 32” x 48” high

36. Don’t Slam the Screen Door A small garden staged in front of a screen door. Must provide your own screen door.

37. Quilting Bee Choice Design including a quilt (SPECIAL CLASS) Designer

provides own background. Design not to exceed 36” in width

DESIGNS for Thursday, August 10, 2017 Theme “VISITING THE FARM ”

Section VI Junior Artistic

38. Working On the Farm OPEN CLASS Choice Design Background: Lime Green

Section VII Senior Artistic

39. Drying Flowers A Small Choice Design from 5” – 12” Staged in a 12” white cubicle using dried flowers.

40. Gathering Nuts Pine Cones A Miniature Choice Design not to exceed 5” in any direction. Staged

on a wooden shelf using nuts and pine cones.

41. A Walk in the Shade Traditional, All Foliage Design. Background: Soft Pink 32 x 48” high

42. Barnyard Bounty A Creative Assemblage Design. Background: Yellow 32” x 48” high

43. Garden Party for Grandma Exhibition Table Type I Background: Light Blue 26” x 42” high

44. Gathering the Harvest A Choice Design to include vegetables or fruit Background: Orange 32” x 48” high

45. Decorating the Screen Door Decorating a Screen Door with a Wreath

46. Helping Grandpa With Chores A Choice Design (SPECIAL CLASS) Designer provides background

Design not to exceed 36” in width.

Section VIII Educational Exhibit

47. Bees at Work on the Farm Honey Bees at Work. Minford Garden Club – Margaret Reed

Section IX Invitational Exhibit

48. The Farm Yard An exhibition Garden with contributions from members of all Garden Clubs under the guidance of Wooten Landscaping and Brenda Wooten and Melanie Karr from Portsmouth Garden Club.


Summer is the time for gardening and our yards highlight our creativity in the pleasant, inspiring and comforting respite only a garden can bring. The June meeting of Slocum Garden Club featured a visit to gardens in the Wheelersburg area belonging to: Mary Lou Beaumont, Connie Chamberlin, Sue Leadingham and Nancy Mullins.

The yards and gardens of Connie Chamberlin and Nancy Mullins reflected their interests, personalities and talents. Mullins’s weeping redbud, bed of blue hydrangeas and southern inspired porch; Chamberlin’s arborvitae, bird retreat and fish bowl garden are examples of their “green thumbs”. Hundreds of flowers, shrubs and trees were viewed, as members admired Sue Leadingham’s petunias and potting shed; Mary Lou Beaumont’s contorted filbert bush, herb garden and curly willow tree. The day offered, not only the opportunity to view and enjoy but to discuss the care and keeping of the numerous specimens.

The tour culminated with desert and a meeting at Wheelersburg’s Pan Headz Pizza Restaurant. President Reese thanked the gardeners for their work in preparing their homes and gardens for the tour. Members viewed and chose a quilt top to be finished for possible sale. The quilt tops were crafted by Joyce Bays. Teresa Book, club treasurer reported on the plant sale profits.

Plans were discussed for a reception for out-going Region 10 Director Beverly Norman in the early fall.

The flower show schedules for the Scioto County Fair and OAGC Convention were reviewed, members encouraged to participate in both events. The Scioto County Fair Flower Shows are scheduled for August 7 and 10, with the theme. “Visiting the Farm”.

The educational exhibits for June were small floral designs presented by members: Carla Scifres, Book Reese, and Beaumont. Exhibits were critiqued by OAGC Judge Emeritus Brooks Sexton. Reese’s design featuring a tiny driftwood base was voted best. Judge Sexton reinforced the importance of size restrictions (5” in every direction) and urged the use foliage in the design. She complimented all entries.

Reese recognized Irene Duffney for her generous donation of several gardening books, to the Lucasville Branch of the Portsmouth Public Library.

Reese closed the meeting with a hint: Wrap a lamppost with chicken wire to encourage vine growth. Suggested plants were clematis, ivy, hyacinth vine, trumpet vine and morning glory.

Later in June, members Cathy Chapman, Teresa Book, Mary Lou Beaumont and Joyce Bays assisted residents of Wheelersburg’s River Bend House Assisted Living Facility in creating a fairy village in a raised gardening bed. Residents constructed a village of huts, a church, several businesss, a park and stream meandering throughout. The landscape was dotted with pets, sheep, a horse or two and a number of farm and forest animals. This project had several donors: Lowe’s Garden Center, Lady Bug Nursery and club members. The July therapy activity will feature making bouquets from horticulture specimens for the Scioto County Fair August 10 flower show.

In July Slocum Garden Club will travel to Frankfort, Oh. for the Sunflower Festival. They will be entering their sunflower specimens for judging. The new program year 2017-18 starts October 1 and new members are always welcome. Contact 740-259-4432


Several members of Region 10 Ohio Association of Garden Clubs attended the 2017 Convention, “Keeping America Beautiful – Start With Your Home” held July 13 – 15 at the Columbus Marriott NW in Dublin, Ohio.

Teresa Book, Carla Scifres, Beverly Norman and Diane Reese, Slocum Garden Club attended and participated in the convention, as did Shelby Powell and Sherrill Day of Green Triangle Garden Club. They joined other Region 10 members, from Minford and Portsmouth Garden Clubs in acting as hostesses, providing 1,200 table favors, 80 table decorations and numerous door prizes, hand-crafted and secured by club members.

Several Region 10 members participated in the convention flower show, “America the Beautiful”. Book was recognized as Region 10 Garden Club Member of the Year and the all clubs received service awards.

New 2017-2019 officers of OAGC were inducted and the convention was a success.


July found members of Green Triangle Garden Club revisiting Shawnee State Park for a business luncheon. Hostesses were Shelby Powell and Hazel Piatt. The business meeting was opened by President Eva Wolery and she received several reports.

Announcements were made concerning new officers for the year beginning September 2017. 2017-18 President will be Karen Evans, and Wolery reported on progress on the new program book.

Jenny Richards, Naturalist with Shawnee State Forestry Division provided the Program, “ Foraging in the Wild”. Members received information on various edible plants that are available in the wild. For example, Garlic Mustard is considered an invasive weed, but all parts of this plant are edible, including the flowers, leaves, roots, and seeds. The flowers can be added to salads for variety. The roots are best used in the early spring or late fall. Everybody’s grandmother can attest to mustard greens in the early spring.

Richards provided handouts listing 15 edible wild plants found in our own terrain. For example: Primrose, which flavors a fine wine; Lemon Balm, known for tea; and Field Garlic which combines the taste of onion and garlic; The program ended with a mini hike to observe and indentify plants in our forest region.

Staff Report

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Garden Club of Madison Hosting Floral Design Demo at Farmers Market

The Garden Club of Madison (GCM) will be creating floral bouquets in real-time at the Madison Farmers Market this Thursday, July 27, 2017 between 2-7 pm. The arrangements will consist of flowers and herbs from members’ gardens and will help fund the Club’s first Garden Club of America (GCA) Flower Show, The Rose City:  Preserving the Past and Protecting the Future.

The Show celebrates Madison’s vibrant history, especially it contributions to horticulture, education, architecture, and environmental conservation.  The Show will be held October 13-14, 2017 at the Hartley Dodge Memorial Building, and includes a reception and public viewings.

The Show will feature 24 classes within the floral design, horticulture, and photography divisions, as well as conservation and children’s exhibits. Depending on the class, members will use various Madison landmarks or institutions for inspiration, as class titles include Rose City Green Houses, Museum of Early Trade and Crafts, Bottle Hill, Drew University Forest, Madison Community Garden and Fabulous Florham, among others. 

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The GCM membership consists of 79 volunteers and service to the community has been a hallmark of the club since its inception in 1922.  The GCM supports numerous local groups in the form of community projects and grants, including the Central Avenue, Torey J. Sabatini and Kings Road Schools, Drew University, as well as the Madison Community Garden and the Great Swamp Watershed Association.

To purchase some beautiful summer arrangements or learn more about the upcoming flower show, The Rose City:  Preserving the Past, Protecting the Future, please visit the GCM table at this week’s Madison Farmers Market.  Additional information is available on the GCM website.

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Mission of Hope makes strides

Camp Hatten members pictured stuffing letters at The Bridge Thrift Store on June 30 are, from left moving clockwise, Camp Hatten counselor Savannah Lapp, Tyler Gonnering, Wyatt Magolski, Grant Knoepsel, Landon Sorge, counselor Payton Dahlke and Adilyn Larson.Scott Bellile photoA duck race held on the Wolf River outside The Waters Supper Club ; Lounge on June 11 raised $1,000 for the Mission of Hope House. It is one of many large donations the MOHH has received recently. Photo courtesy of Tamie Neilson

Homeless shelter needs volunteers

By Scott Bellile

Improvements continue to take place at a nonprofit homeless shelter that aims to open in New London this year.

Shelter founder Lori Prahl said the Mission of Hope House, 520 N. Shawano St., has ample volunteer opportunities available to help speed up the job.

These include installing snap-on floorings in the bedrooms, laying tile in the bathroom and porch area, staffing or sorting inventory at The Bridge Thrift Store across the street, and even, for artsy community members, helping with painting or sculpting for outdoor decorative garden projects behind MOHH.

Jean Skewes, who is leading landscaping efforts with Steve Petznick and Jeremy Pues, said help is also needed with finishing a front yard landscaping project that began in May. She also seeks ideas and supplies for hiding rain barrels on the property, such as a picket fence.

Additionally, the MOHH seeks financial contributions, as it has raised and expended three quarters of the $400,000 needed to complete renovations and construction.

Call the MOHH at 920-249-4705 or email if interested in helping through volunteerism or donations.

Tammy Esser, supervisor of the city of New London’s Camp Hatten program, brought children over at the end of June to volunteer. Their service was part of Camp Hatten’s Kids Care week, which began three years ago as a way for kids to perform community service while applying the School District of New London’s Bulldogs of Character principles.

The children cleaned up outside the MOHH and The Bridge, sorted inventory at The Bridge and stuffed pledge letters into envelopes.

“It was a great experience for the kids and they were really excited to help out,” Esser said. “It was gratifying to see their enthusiasm and to see how they were connecting the skills that they learn in school and applying it to their community.”

Prahl said beginning in August, The Bridge’s hours will change to noon to 7 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The changes will allow shoppers after-work hours one night a week as well as earlier hours on one day.

Once finished and opened, the MOHH will provide shelter to 21 homeless individuals, primarily families, from Waupaca County and surrounding counties. The drug- and alcohol-free facility will also offer residents resources to help them become independent such as classes on budgeting, cooking, job skills and parenting.

MOHH has received countless valuable donations and grants from individuals and community organizations. Prahl said naming them all would run the risk of omitting a name.

Mathewson Monuments will install a donor sign in the front yard next to the Pfeifer Park trail next week. The sign will name the contributors who gave more than $5,000 as well as provide inspirational quotes for passerby.

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Five ways walkways can pump up a home’s curb appeal

lovely terrace in front yard

Photo: Wildroof/Flickr

By Matt Lee

The term ‘curb appeal’ is loaded with all sorts of implications, all of them pointing to something that may or may not add inherent value to your customer’s home.

It’s the first impression every homeowner hopes to use to wow guests, passersby and even potential buyers. However, most people focus only on the home to impress the neighborhood, when sometimes it’s what’s happening at ground level that can elevate their curb appeal from ‘meh’ to ‘Take my money!”

The most important of these ground-level measures is the walkway connecting pedestrians from the curb to the front door. Think of it less as a walkway and more as a carefully curated precessional experience that introduces people into the homeowner’s world. It must be inviting, visually interesting and functionally capable of comfortably moving foot traffic from point A to point B.

These five walkway ideas will pump up curb appeal and leave the lasting first impression your client’s home deserves.

1. Wooden walkway

When most people think about entry walkways, they blurt out ‘flagstone’ without a moment’s hesitation. It’s simply a reaction burned into our personal preferences like mustard on a hot dog.

However, there are other natural options that will give an entry sequence an entirely unique look and feel. Wood pathways are a great way to separate yourself from the rest of the block. Not only are they comfortable to walk on, they have an inherent directionality that adds visual flair and orientation to a walkway.

If the planks run perpendicular to the footpath, it slows down the experience – allowing guests to better appreciate the landscape. Conversely, running the planks with the flow of traffic promotes speed and aligned views ahead.

Just be sure to use a wood product that holds up to moisture, as being so close to the ground exposes the wood walkway to moisture and, inevitably, rot.

2. Landscape lighting

Exterior lighting can take on several different applications, the primary of which is making sure guests don’t trip and fall at night. And yes, path lighting is incredibly important.

Although perhaps just as vital is how the lighting compliments the other elements of the entry walkway. If your customer has invested in the design of other landscape features such as retaining walls, planters or even water features, you should advise them to also invest in how those things are lit. The look of the fixtures themselves is just as important as the light they emit, as you don’t want them to detract from the experience during the day either.

3. Water features

While you don’t see too many people putting full-blown swimming pools in their front yard these days (although maybe they should), a strategically placed water feature can go a long way with enhancing the curb appeal of a home.

Fountains are great, but fully-integrated systems are even better. Take into account other landscape elements when deciding how to implement a water feature. You can even introduce things like pool decking surrounds, rockeries or even living things like koi or goldfish to truly bring an entry walkway to life.

4. Terraced landscaping

Depending on the natural topography of the front yard, introducing a series of terraced landscapes can have a profound effect on the visual fidelity of the home.

Concrete retaining walls, large boulder rockeries or gabion walls are all great elements to introduce as you begin to carve out terraces up or down a slope. Be sure to keep in mind how a series of staircases might integrate with the walls, because in the end that’s what people will be using the most as they make their way to the front door. Even better if the terraced walls are able to complement the home in both materiality and form.

5. Patios and courtyards

If the home is set back rather far from the sidewalk, you might be able to take advantage of all that exterior space with a series of connected patios and courtyards.

This should be protected from the street with either tall walls or fences for privacy, but can make an incredible first impression to first time visitors. It’s also a great way for the homeowner to greet people if they’re waiting for friends to arrive for a party, as they can make contact with them before they even reach the front door.

It makes the procession more interesting, and provides them an experience very few homes are able to provide. Just as important is how those courtyards are connected. Use the other elements I’ve mentioned about wood walkways, water features and landscape lighting to cultivate an experience unlike any other.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Matt Lee is the co-founder of Lead Generation Experts. Founded in 2012, Lead Generation Experts helps building materials manufacturers improve their digital marketing strategy

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Industry veteran on the mend

The landscape project Judy Guido is planning now has greater meaning to her after she was nearly killed by one of the landscapers preparing the grounds for installation.

“It was always going to be a healing and therapeutic garden, and now more than ever it is,” said Guido, who has been in the industry for decades and now owns a consulting firm, Guido Associates.

Guido said she was assaulted at her Moorpark, California home with a pickaxe to the head and neck areas on July 5 by an employee of a landscaping company she hired to clean up and prepare her yard for the healing garden.

Abel DeJesus Monroy, 27, was arrested for the crime, but pleaded not guilty last week to several felony counts. He is due back in court this week. Doctors tell Guido that she has no brain damage and she should be able to physically get back to normal in a few months. That includes being able to drive, walk up and down stairs and walk without cane. She’s even started working with clients again.

She is trying to get her iron levels back up because of the amount of blood she lost, and she also lost about 12 pounds during the recovery.

“Now it’s just being able to get my appetite up,” she said. “Every day, I’m getting stronger.”

Lucky to be alive. After hearing the details of the attack, it’s nothing short of a miracle she is alive.
Her ordeal actually started due to another tragedy. Her landscaper of 15 years, Alan Mulder of Savannah Landscape, was killed in June, only a few weeks before her attack. A car hit his trailer while he was stopped at a job.

She was in the middle of a project when her landscaper died, so Guido met with about five other companies before choosing the company Monroy worked with.

Monroy accompanied the owner of the company on the interview, and Guido said she was impressed with the owner’s knowledge and credentials.

After hiring the company, she said she thought Monroy seemed quiet but nothing unusual. But on July 5, Guido said she had a strange feeling that she was happy she was taking her daughter to summer camp so her daughter wouldn’t be home.

“I remember thinking, that’s a dark thought,” she said. “For some reason, I didn’t want her around these guys.”

After returning, she went back in her house and about an hour later she heard a loud crash from a broken window, and looked out to see Monroy standing there. She then saw a third member of the landscaping crew jump a fence because Monroy was throwing tools and other objects at him.

Guido said the attacker then entered Guido’s house and kept saying the other worker was the devil, repeating it over and over again, she said. Sensing she was in danger, Guido realized she needed to get out of the house and get to safety.

She couldn’t call police because the attacker was right next to her, so she called the company owner urging him to come back to her house immediately because something was wrong.

She eventually convinced Monroy to walk out back with her and toward a front gate, when Guido’s dog began barking. Guido said Monroy killed her dog and that’s when she made a break for the front gate.

As she ran, Guido said Monroy began hitting her with the pickaxe.

“I could feel my body getting lighter and weaker,” she said. “I thought I was on my way to heaven. I remember thinking, I hope my family and friends know I love them and God, why is this the end of my story?”

A neighbor’s son saw her leaning up against a mailbox, called for help and told his mom that someone was injured in the street. The neighbor of 15 years and her son didn’t realize it was Guido because the injuries were so bad.

Her neighbor told Guido, “All of a sudden you started saying something and I just recognized something in your voice. It was like, ‘Oh my God, this is Judy,’” Guido said.
When Guido heard her friend’s voice, it gave her a boost.

“It was like when Popeye would have spinach,” she said. “It was like a life source.”

After being rushed to the intensive care unit, surgeons performed brain surgery, repaired the shape of her skull and the cracks in it, and had to repair the muscles around her brain with stitches that will not be removed.

The surgeon told her, “Where he slit your throat, he was a 10th of an inch from your major artery,” she said. “He said, ‘Somebody wants you here.’”

Guido said she thinks Monroy stopped assaulting her because he thought she was dead. He then went back to her house, used her laptop computer and then allegedly tried to burn her house down. He was arrested at the house when police arrived.

Industry feedback. When word began to spread about the attack, many in the industry contacted Guido asking what they could do to help. She hopes that those who want to help can pitch in with ideas to make the healing and therapeutic garden great.

“I would love to tap into all the brilliant people with their creative ideas and designs for a healing garden,” she said. “I want people to sit in benches and hear the water. I want people when they walk up to our house say, ‘I want to sit. I want to take five or 10 minutes because it smells nice and it feels really good to be here. Exactly, what landscaping is supposed to do right?”

Guido does see the irony that she works in the landscaping industry and was attacked by a landscaper, but it has not changed her perception of the industry.

“As I was sitting in the ICU, I’m thinking, here is this industry that I love and all off a sudden I’m terrified to go back in my yard,” Guido said. “I have all these bad memories. I have to get past that. But it’s the industry that is nearest and dearest to my heart. I love landscapers and am committed now more than ever to helping them”

One lesson she is taking with her – know something about who you hire for a job at your home, and for your company.

“Make sure you do research on the people you are hiring,” she said. “Do background checks.”

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How Prison Gardens Help Inmates and Save Money

Malcolm was a Next City 2015 equitable cities fellow. He has contributed writing and research for The Atlantic and Philadelphia magazine, among other publications. He’s appeared on NPR’s “On The Media” and “All Things Considered.” He lives in Philadelphia.

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