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Archives for August 15, 2017

Hoping for a lush lawn this year? Here are tips on how to get it

If you have a lawn, chances are you work hard in the spring and summer to make it beautiful and weed free.  Here are some basic tips that can help you along the way.

First, what kind of grass you have is important.  Around here, fescue, bermuda, or zoysia are usually used.  Occasionally you may have luck with blue grass, centipede, or saint augustine.  Healthy grass that is thick and mowed correctly will keep most weeds from establishing.  Fertilizing your grass when it wants to grow is important, too.  Fescue thrives in the spring and fall, and bermuda and zoysia prefer summer.

When weeds become a problem, first identify if they are annual or perennial.  If they are annual, they can often be prevented by using weed preventers in the spring and fall before the seed germinates.  If it is perennial, you will need to spray a post-emergent chemical once the weed is growing.  It works best when the weed is young and temperatures are between 55 and 85 degrees.

If you keep the weeds from thriving and blooming, you can keep them from spreading.  Don’t let it get out of control; follow these simple rules to get your yard looking its best.

Have a gardening question?  Use the form below to ask the folks at Bennett Nurseries.  We may feature this in an upcoming Garden Tips segment!

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Princess Diana’s White Garden

A garden has been erected in Kensington Palace, Princess Diana’s former home, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her tragic death. And the garden is absolutely breathtaking. One of its most striking features is the monochromatic white color scheme. Country Living UK spoke with the man behind the garden’s design, Kensington Palace Head Gardener Sean Harkin, who revealed how the garden and palette came to be.

Sean explained to Country Living that the idea for the garden was inspired by the Diana fashion exhibition inside the palace. They decided to coordinate an outside celebration of the princess’s life by transforming the Sunken Garden, one of her favorite spots, for the occasion. The color scheme is a nod to Diana’s love of white and creams, which are highlighted in her elegant wardrobe choices, many of which are seen in the preserved outfits and Mario Testino pictures featured in the fashion exhibit. The palace website echoes those sentiments, writing that the White Garden was “planted with flowers and foliage inspired by memories of the beloved Princess’s life, image, and style.”

As for what specific flowers visitors will find in the White Garden, Diana’s favorite forget-me-nots reign supreme, while lilies, white roses, tulips, narcisii, and Cosmos daisies also abound. The overall effect is nearly as ethereal as the princess herself.

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How dedicated horticulturists rescued the plantings of a legendary landscape to create two public gardens

There are landscape historians who will never get over how Beatrix Farrand dismantled her gardens at Reef Point. The doyenne of American landscape architecture — and the only woman among the 11 founding members of the American Society of Landscape Architects in 1899 — worked to develop a school of horticulture and landscape design at her home in Bar Harbor, Maine. After her husband died and the great Bar Harbor fire of 1947 destroyed much of the local economy, she could no longer afford to maintain the property. In 1955, at age 82, Farrand decided to bulldoze the house and rip out the gardens.

Reef Point, and the vision it represented, is long gone, but its plants live on. Charles Savage, a local businessman and amateur landscape designer, bought the plant collection from Farrand for $5,000 with help from his friend and seasonal neighbor John D. Rockefeller Jr. Over the course of the following year, Savage moved yews, cedars, spruce, hemlock, hundreds of flowering and native Maine shrubs (including more than 250 azaleas and 175 rhododendrons), perennials, ground covers, rare willows, and endless other plant material. With them, he created two gardens in nearby Northeast Harbor.

Some of the biggest specimens in Beatrix Farrand’s extraordinary collection of rhododendrons and azaleas were hauled by truck from Bar Harbor to Northeast Harbor, where they were successfully replanted and continue to bloom each spring. —Courtesy of the Land Garden Preserve

Today, Thuya and the Asticou Azalea gardens showcase not only Farrand’s plant collection, but also the vision of Savage and his predecessor, Joseph Curtis.

Curtis had been among a distinguished contingent of early “rusticators,” helping turn Mount Desert Island into an upper-class tourist destination.

A Boston landscape architect who worked with Frederick Law Olmsted, Curtis had bought 20 acres of steep Northeast Harbor hillside from Savage’s father in 1880. He carved a path up the wooded slope and built a rustic lodge. Upon his death in 1928, Curtis left the property to the town of Northeast Harbor and made Savage the sole trustee.

Charles Savage said the design of the Asticou Azalea Garden was inspired by Mount Desert Island’s unique landscape, where pines, which he called “natural bonsai,” grow amid granite ledges. —Courtesy of the Land Garden Preserve

Savage executed Curtis’s plan for a dock connecting the harbor to the path and the lodge. He built several overlooks at switchbacks along the way, as well as a memorial to Curtis. But it was Farrand’s shocking decision to destroy her work that prompted the creation of the two gardens, one adjoining Curtis’s Thuya Lodge, the other in a former swamp. Each provides delight and surprise, and each is hidden in plain view. Privately owned and maintained, today the gardens are open to the public.

The path Joseph Curtis created ascends Asticou Hill at the base of Eliot Mountain. Stone steps climb through mossy forest, with Savage’s tile-roofed shelters providing convenient rest and views of Northeast Harbor, the Western Way, and the Cranberry Isles beyond. Hikers finally emerge at Thuya Lodge and a pair of impressive carved cedar gates. These lead into an English-style perennial garden that glows with color and blooms against the backdrop of an evergreen forest.

At the heart of Savage’s design is a long north-south axis, intersected by a shorter east-west axis. The former is terraced and has several pavilions, furnished with wooden benches and wicker chairs, dotting the way. Besides Farrand’s perennials, the garden has an apple tree planted by Curtis and a dawn redwood planted by Savage. In addition, there is a lead cistern from Reef Point and a number of Soderholtz pots: hand-turned concrete vessels created by Maine craftsman Eric Soderholtz in the early 20th century.

Thuya garden is a traditional English border garden that includes an ancient apple tree planted by Joseph Curtis and Beatrix Farrand’s perennials. —Courtesy of the Land Garden Preserve

Thuya Lodge, also open to visitors, looks much as it did in Curtis’s day. The upstairs houses a horticultural library. At the garden’s far end, a gate leads to many miles of hiking trails. While the garden itself measures about 2 acres, the entire property, now owned and administered by the Mount Desert Land Garden Preserve, encompasses 240 acres. From late July to September, the perennial beds are at their peak and attract some 10,000 visitors each year.

Back down the hillside and a quarter-mile along Peabody Drive is the Asticou Azalea Garden. The Eastern yin to the English yang of Thuya, it is the Japanese garden Savage created with Beatrix Farrand’s crabapple and evergreen trees along with her rhododendrons, azaleas, and mosses.

Farrand’s favorites included filipendula, astilbe, and delphiniums. —Courtesy of the Land Garden Preserve

Savage never traveled to Japan, but pictures of temple gardens there reminded him of the way pitch pines grow over granite outcroppings atop the mountains of Mount Desert Island. From former marshland, he created a large pond and small reflecting pool. He installed upright stones and a granite-slab bridge and designed a circular path through a series of verdant spaces. In a prominent central area, he planted a massive Sargent’s weeping hemlock, one of Farrand’s prize specimens.

In a haven full of gorgeous vistas, one of the most stunning is a space modeled after the Zen rock garden at Kyoto’s Ryoanji temple. This gem is fashioned from white sand, a low wall made of flat, black stone slabs, accents of red roof tiles, and lichen-flecked boulders. It is hidden from view, even when walking the garden paths. Once found, however, it offers a bench from which visitors can contemplate the elements of design, the nature of beauty, and the everlasting and ever-changing qualities of gardens.

Augustus Phillips, a local cabinetmaker, carved cedar gates whose panels depict fish, birds, lady’s slippers, and other native flora and fauna. —Courtesy of the Land Garden Preserve

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Garden Bridge in London Is Scrapped, Despite $48 Million Spent

The Garden Bridge has been dogged by controversy almost from the outset. The idea first came from the actress Joanna Lumley, who won support for the project from Mr. Johnson in 2012. George Osborne, then the chancellor of the Exchequer, committed $78 million of public money to the project, with the balance to be raised from philanthropic and corporate donations. Mr. Heatherwick’s design proposed 270 trees and more than 100,000 plants and shrubs to cover the 1,200-foot-long bridge connecting the South Bank, from a point close to the National Theater, to the Temple Tube stop on the other side of the Thames.

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Although many admired Mr. Heatherwick’s design, and argued that the Garden Bridge would be a major tourist attraction, local opposition, arguments over Mr. Heatherwick’s selection, and the demand for a financial guarantee from Mr. Khan before planning permission would be granted, meant continuing delays and increased costs.

Last September, Mr. Khan ordered a review of whether the project represented value for public money. Led by Margaret Hodge, a Labour member of Parliament, the investigation concluded that it did not, and recommended in April that the project be abandoned. Although the Garden Bridge Trust responded vehemently, accusing Ms. Hodge of being selective in her arguments, the report seems to have signaled the end of the project.

“The Garden Bridge would have been a unique place; a beautiful new green space in the heart of London, free to use and open to all, showcasing the best of British talent and innovation,” Mr. Davies wrote in the letter to Mr. Khan. “It is a sad day for London because it is sending out a message to the world that we can no longer deliver such exciting projects.”

In a statement, Mr. Heatherwick expressed a hope that the plan would happen at some point. “London needs new bridges and unexpected new public places,” he said. “The Garden Bridge has not found its right moment, but I hope one day it will.”

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Camp Hill residents, fed up with the bypass, push for change

For a group of Camp Hill residents, the mile-long stretch of Route 11/15 that runs through their town has always been a nuisance.

But when their neighbor, 60-year-old Diana Davidson, was killed by a man police say had been drinking as she crossed the bypass with her two dogs last winter, they decided they’d had enough. They formed a group, Camp Hill Boulevard Task Force, and have set about to think of some ways to make the road safer.

Brett Miller, who is one of those spearheading the effort, lives in Country Club Hills, a few blocks from Davidson’s home. She said she often saw Davidson walking her dogs in the neighborhood.

“I think our whole community was just extremely shocked,” she said.

Miller and Sherry Bowman, another Country Club Hills resident who is running for borough council, said they realized the bypass was something they were building their days around. Trying to get across the bypass on foot or bike to the other part of Camp Hill Borough — where all three of the district’s schools are located — was a challenge that bordered on dangerous.

“I think the group that ended up forming was coming out of the tragedy, but it’s helped us to kind of illuminate all the different issues we’ve seen with the bypass and things that I felt that we were just dealing with for years and years,” Bowman said.

About 10 members meet every so often to brainstorm ideas about how to make the bypass safer. The group started a Facebook page where they post articles about traffic safety. They even posed a challenge to their followers: drive 35 miles per hour on the bypass — the road’s actual speed — and see how they compared to other cars.

Miller and Bowman said when they drive the speed limit on the road, every other car shoots past them.

The group isn’t looking to lower the speed limit on the bypass — they think that could make traffic worse. First, they looked into making the area around Eisenhower Elementary School, which sits on the bypass facing 21st Street, a school zone. However, they have expanded their proposal to include modifications to other areas of the road.

Recently, the group has been exploring the idea of traffic calming, or putting in signs or landscaping around a road to subtly encourage drivers to go slower. If the bypass looked less like a four-lane highway, Miller reasoned, drivers may be more likely to drive closer to the speed limit.

“Changing the design and how it looks in these subtle ways will give drivers a heads up like ‘something is different here,'” she said.

To do this, Miller and Bowman and others in the group have suggested putting in greenery in the medians on the bypass and fixing up the side of the roads to be both more pedestrian friendly and more likely to slow down drivers.

Their push to slow down traffic on the road has received mostly positive responses from neighboring residents and those who have completed the group’s survey.

Deb Scherkoskie, a Camp Hill resident with a background in traffic studies, said she finds herself often “bypassing the bypass.” The road, Scherkoskie said, is “trying to serve too many purposes,” as it acts as a way for people to quickly get from the West Shore to Harrisburg but also connects Camp Hill residents with schools and parks.

There is conflict there in terms of how fast traffic expects to travel,” she said.

Bowman and Miller, and the other people in their group, have asked the borough and PennDOT to help them. At a borough meeting on Aug. 10, Bowman and Miller presented their ideas and asked Council members to allocate money in the upcoming budget to conduct an engineering study to assess the feasibility of their proposals.

The Public Safety Committee of the Council is set to discuss the matter in an upcoming meeting, Mayor Mark Simpson said. But, according to borough manager Pat Dennis, what happens to the road will ultimately have to be approved by PennDOT.

Dennis said anything above the road, like signs, and anything below the road, like the two pedestrian underpasses, is their responsibility. Everything else is on PennDOT. Dennis said the borough and the Public Safety Committee were reviewing the safety aspects of Bowman and Miller’s proposals. Fritzi Schreffler, a safety press officer with PennDOT District 8, said the proposal would have to be approved by the borough before being approved by PennDOT.

“Ultimately it’s a matter of, what can we do, what are we liable for, and …. are we going to create additional liabilities by doing some of these things,” Dennis said.  

Borough officials have said pedestrians should not walk along the bypass.

As for whether it should be made more pedestrian-friendly, Simpson said, “I don’t think from a common-sense standpoint that it should be.”

Steve Brodie, a council member, said at a meeting last week they would potentially discuss making the bypass a non-pedestrian roadway, something Bowman and Miller later criticized.

Miller, Bowman and other residents have brought up the issue that several essential buildings and locations are located along the road, meaning, especially in a school district with no buses, that people traverse on it or under it on foot.

Police Chief Doug Hockenberry said at Wednesday’s meeting that they would begin enforcement to cut down on people crossing the bypass rather than using the tunnels.

“I don’t want to have someone who is blind drunk or speeding on the roadway hitting you, because it’s like leapfrog going across the roadway,” he said.

Schreffler, who grew up in Camp Hill and said they never would have considered crossing the bypass on foot as kids, noted traffic on the bypass has significantly increased. Schreffler expressed concern about whether some of the group’s proposals would be cost or safety effective, and said education about pedestrian safety was also needed, noting that pedestrians should avoid walking along the bypass in its current state. 

Although Bowman and Miller will have to go through several steps to see their proposals become a reality, they aren’t letting up. Their goal, Bowman said, is to make the road more navigable for everyone: walkers, bikers and drivers.

“That’s what we all care about, and that’s why we’re doing this,” Bowman said.

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Beautiful homes, landscaping, dogs… and gardens!

The 15th Annual Angel Fire Garden Tour Saturday (July 15) saw overcast skies but rain held off for the tour, which showcased amazing landscaping, gardens, homes and decorating. The event helps the club plant and maintain public gardens around Angel Fire, including a Butterfly Garden at Shuter Library, Blue Star Memorial Garden at Vietnam Veterans Memorial State Park and the Median Garden on North Angel Fire Road.

Angel Fire’s Conni Elkins and New Mexico State Garden Club President Barbara Vance of Santa Fe. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Conni and Barbara show off their hats. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
As with previous tours, the Angel Fire Garden Club sells an array of decorated hats. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Arie Overby of Dallas and Angel Fire (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Barbara Thorne of Angel Fire (left) welcomes guests to the the home of Pamela Wolff and Cliff McGarraugh. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Barbara Thorne (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Interior mural atWolff and McGarraugh’s home (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Wolff and McGarraugh say the challenge for them has been finding drought and altitude tolerant plants that don’t get eaten by wild critters. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Moreno Valley artist Katherine McDermott is one of several “artists-in-residence” along the tour. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Wind sculpture at the Wolff/McGarraugh home (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Serenity on Monte Verde Lake (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Robert Serna of SS Rocks y Mas (left with Andrew Hamons) helped Coryee and Spender Hamons achieve their landscaping and garden vision. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Some of the unique lighting seen at the Hamons’ home. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
A patio gas fireplace with a waterfall feature (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Hot tub heaven (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Helena Mieras)
Featured artist Suzy Moritz (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
The Hamons expect their seeded grass to grow soon. (Chronicle photo by Helena Mieras)
A bocce ball area (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Diane and Pete Peterson welcome tour participants to Judie Hass’s home.
Taos Canyon potter Jo Dekeuster is the featured artist at Hass’ home. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
More works by Jo Dekeuster (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Approaching the home of Michele and Jim Zaleski. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Michele Zaleski (left with Wilma and Nikolai) welcomes Garden Tour visitors. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Greyhounds Wilma and Nikolai are on hand to greet visitors. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Linda Gau models her hat. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Janet Alton welcomes visitors with her usual panache. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Featured artist Julia Margaret Brigham (left) and Pamela Kirk (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Busy bee Janet alton and Pamela Kirk (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Helena Mieras bonds with Janet’s dog Panda. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Janet’s unusual birdhouse (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Beep beep! (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Wildflower Be B lives up to its name. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Featured artist Carol Rupp (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Carol Rupp with her baby (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Host Lone Krarup (center) with guests (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
The Krarup’s also have a vegetable garden. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
Fawn speid just below Wildflower B B off Halo Pines Terrace in Angel Fire. (Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Ellen Miller-Goins)
(Chronicle photo by Helena Mieras)
(Chronicle photo by Helena Mieras)

(Chronicle photo by Helena Mieras)

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Ag Progress Days Offers Exhibitions, Activities for All

Drivers Advised of Heavy Traffic During Ag Progress Days

As many as 45,000 people will visit Rock Springs this week for Penn State’s annual Ag Progress Days, the largest outdoor agricultural exhibition in the state and one of the largest in the United States.

Ag Progress Days will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on Wednesday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Thursday at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs along Route 45.

About 60 percent of the visitors to Ag Progress Days are involved in agricultural production in some way, and the event features special presentations, demonstrations and a trade show that offers those in the ag industry one-stop shopping for tools and to learn about services and technology for virtually any category.

But among the 500 exhibitors from around the country, spread across 150 acres of farmland, there is much to enjoy for people of all ages and backgrounds, including activities, tours, demonstrations and food.

Jesse Darlington, Jr., facilities manager in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences, is interim manager of the expo this year, stepping in for Bob Oberheim, who retired after 25 years following last year’s Ag Progress Days.

“Agriculture impacts all of us every day, from the food we eat to the fuel and fiber we use,” Darlington said in a release. “We want to invite people to be more active participants in these processes, and come out and learn about agriculture in Pennsylvania and the research being done at Penn State. It’s informative, but also fun, and a great way to involve children in learning more about things like health and safety, animals and science.”

At the College of Agricultural Sciences building, water quality will be the focus, with exhibits and presentations Penn State Extension educators and faculty discussing a variety of issues. Members of the Pennsylvania 4-H state council also will present at 1 p.m. each day a hands-on experience for children and families to learn about reducing flooding and pollution.

All residents can learn about the ways they can help protect water quality.

“We’ll be highlighting those steps in the College Exhibits Building during Ag Progress Days, with experts on hand to talk about what farmers, homeowners, forest landowners, private well owners and city dwellers can do to ensure clean water in Pennsylvania,” said Matt Royer, director of Penn State’s Agriculture and Environment Center.

There are plenty of youth activities scheduled. At the 4-H Youth Building, kids can learn about 4-H’s many programs in science, technology, engineering and leadership, with rabbits, robotics and plant activities and demonstrations.

Elsewhere on the grounds, the Kids Climb lets youth try safety equipment and climb trees. Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center will have presentations with live turtles, snakes, amphibians and birds of prey. A corn maze provides a fun way to learn about agriculture. And kids can race the serpentine track at the Pedal Go Kart Derby.

The Equine Experience offers something for horse owners and those who just love horses, including demonstrations by Spring Mount Percherons of Tyrone and miniature horse performances  by the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association Youth Ambassadors.

“Salute to America” Evening Extravaganza will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday featuring Percherons and miniature horses along with the Keystone Dressage and Combined Training Drill Team

“We receive a great response on the variety of activities and horses we offer at the Equine Experience,” said Brian Egan, instructor in equine science in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences. “From miniature horses all the way to draft horses, the event covers the gamut of the equine animal. The horse arena is always a popular destination at Ag Progress Days, and we’re looking forward to another successful event.”

In the Lawn and Garden Area, visitors can learn about “fertigation,” which combines fertilization and irrigation. Gardeners can learnabout growing herbs, flower arranging, square foot gardening hydroponics and much more, and have their questions answered by Penn State Master Gardeners. 

Pollinator-friendly gardens and landscaping remain a focus of the area, with a pollinator garden on site for visitors to see native plants that attract threatened pollinators. Experts will also display a demonstration beehive and operate a small bee yard.

“The demonstration plots serve as living proof that the average gardener can do something to attract and help pollinators,” Molly Sturniolo, Centre County Master Gardener and Lawn and Garden Area coordinator, said. “Planting these flowers and other host plants is well within the ability of the average Pennsylvania gardener.”

In the Crops, Soils and Conservation Building, specialists will answer questions about crop production, weeds and biofuels and provide information about crop and nutrient management, organic farming and sustainable agriculture. Farm Safety Demonstration Area will offer demonstrations and prevention measures for issues such as reducing  the risk of childhood injuries due to falls from hay holes and run-over incidents involving skid steers. The Rural Health and Safety Tent will offer a variety of health screenings.

The Pasto Agricultural Museum will be open for visitors to experience hands-on exhibits and see more than 1,300 items dating from 4,000 B.C. to the 1940s. Special demonstrations will include “Axe Whisperer” Jim Walizer and a comparison of old-time and modern farmers, among others.

Free daily tours around the surrounding, 2,400-acre Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center will be conducted on topics ranging from American chestnut tree planting to feedlots and grazing for animals to high tunnel fruit and vegetable production and more.

For full schedules and maps, visit

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Check pH, fertility levels with soil test – Herald

A suggestion we usually have for gardeners is to have a soil test done — especially on new garden sites. It’s better to see where your pH and soil fertility levels stand before applying anything, and it leads to determining better soil-management practices.

Before applying fertilizers, what are the existing levels of phosphorous and potassium? Are they at optimal levels, or are they on the excessive side or maybe too low? Is your pH at a level that is suitable for the plants you want to grow, or, better yet, know what your soil pH is and then select plants that do well in that pH.

Over the years I’ve reviewed numerous soil test results. Many times a soil test was conducted because turf wasn’t growing somewhere, trees were dying or vegetable plants weren’t performing well. Was getting a soil test done a good idea? Most definitely. As I said above, knowing your soil pH and fertility levels allows you the chance to develop a better management plan. Though, more often than not, the reasons for why plants aren’t doing well — at least in this area — aren’t because of soil fertility inadequacies, but due to other factors, usually cultural or environmental.

It would be so nice if we could just apply something to our soil and magically fix the problems to save our plants or have an easier time getting things to grow. In reality, we need to think about what might truly be causing a plant not to succeed. This really goes back to the concept of right plant, right place. Taking the time to complete a site evaluation so that you can make the best plant choices and landscaping decisions leading to successfully growing plants.

Here are a few right plant, right place reminders:

Evaluate the amount of light the site receives on a daily basis. This means checking the light situation throughout the day so you know what the sunlight availability is for proper plant selection.

Have a soil test done. It’s easier to find plants to match your existing soil pH than to try to modify it up or down.

What kind of soil drainage is in that area? High and dry? Low and moist? Some plants really hate wet feet or don’t do well in dry conditions. Make sure to take this into account as you’re deciding what plants to include.

Select plants that are hardy to your area. As much as you may love that one plant, it’s not worth planting if it can’t survive the winter.

If you are thinking about planting trees, check for overhead utility lines. The last thing you want is to plant a tree that will become a large shade tree and end up being pruned so that it doesn’t interfere with those lines. Also, always make sure to get a JULIE locate done before digging for a tree or digging for a new garden to avoid any underground utilities.

How much space do you have to work with? Make sure that when selecting plants you account for their mature size.

Take the time to evaluate your planting location, and select plants that have the best chance of being successful.

Don’t feel like you have to accomplish everything at once. If you have a new yard to landscape or you want to renovate an existing landscape, take it a piece or portion at a time.

Finally, remember that gardens and landscaping are fluid and always changing. A small tree matures and provides more shade, and that sunny spot is now mostly shade. A mature tree comes down, and a shade garden is now in full sun. Be willing to adapt and modify, and look at it as an opportunity and a chance to try new things.

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