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Archives for September 7, 2017

JANICE LYNN CROSE: Crestview club offers gardening information

I appreciate beautiful flowers and manicured yards as much as I like trees. I am not a terrific gardener, but I appreciate those who do marvelous things in their yards and I love to look at their creativity. I especially love to look at yards with a variety of colors and flowers.

If you are interested in learning more about gardening in this area of the country, the Dogwood Garden Club will have its first meeting of the 2017-2018 year 10:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at the Crestview Public Library, 1445 Commerce Drive.

Refreshments will be served at 10:15 a.m., with the meeting beginning at 10:30 a.m.

An Okaloosa Master Gardener will present this month’s program topic, fall color in the garden. As one that loves the fall colors, different shades of oranges, reds, greens, golds and so on, I am looking forward to the program and I know that great gardening tips will be offered.

Subsequent meetings for the club are 10:30 a.m. the first Monday of each month in club members’ homes. Dues are $25 per year, and the club meets September through May.

Call 683-0839 if you are interested in more information.

Dogwood Garden Club meetings focus on a different gardening topic each month. The topics range from subjects such as trees, to soil types and container gardening.

I enjoy using flowers in pots to brighten up our front yard. One of the many advantages to this type of gardening is that the plants can be brought in when it is cold. I have several hibiscus plants in pots; they go out for the warm weather and come in during the winter.

Mums, black-eyed Susans, pansies, phlox, asters and verbena and many of the flowers are plentiful at this time of year. They provide a variety of colors, are easy to put on the porch and really beautify the home.

Let’s make Crestview the city of beautiful gardens and colorful yards.

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.

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This Week in the Garden: Bird seed alternatives to help keep rodents at bay

Anna’s Hummingbird

As many locals are well aware, rodents (rats and mice) have had a population explosion along the coast recently. There are several theories about exactly why this has occurred this year in particular but regardless of why, most of us just want to know how best to manage the problem, especially without resorting to poisons that can harm the predators such as hawks and owls that might feed on the poisoned rodents. (Poisons can pose a risk to children or pets as well.)

Since rodents are attracted to food sources, local home owner associations are asking residents to take stringent steps to insure that their properties aren’t inviting or aiding the rodent reproductive boom: they are requesting that residents insure that garbage cans are tightly covered and that nothing edible is where the pests can reach it. This poses a real dilemma for those of us who enjoy feeding the birds in our gardens however, since bird feeders can be a source of rodent food if they or their spilled contents are accessible. Through trial and error, here is the solution I’ve found to that dilemma (besides filing my garden with plants that themselves attract and feed birds): instead of feeders full of sunflower or other seeds, I now offer the following food sources instead, since rodents don’t find them appealing.

Grape jelly I offer this in an oriole feeder; the feeder can be purchased or homemade. Hooded and Bullock’s Orioles are the species that commonly nest here and they love grape jelly (but fortunately, rodents don’t). The adults start coming to the feeder shortly after they arrive here each spring, with the flashy golden, black and white males rivaling any tropical species for beauty. They will visit a jelly feeder all summer, bringing their youngsters once they fledge, and will continue until they leave our area to head to their wintering grounds in Mexico in late August or early September. Take down, wash and store the jelly feeder until the birds again show up next spring.

Sugar Water I offer this in several hummingbird feeders in all seasons. The recommended ratio is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Boil 1 cup of water, add ¼ cup white sugar to the hot water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Once cool, place in a feeder, and hang it where you can watch the birds from your window. Our year-round resident Anna’s Hummingbirds will be joined at the feeder by the Allen’s that arrive in January to nest here.

Important notes on using a hummingbird feeder: Red food dye is not necessary to attract the birds and has been shown to be hazardous to their health. Therefore, avoid any commercially made food that contains dye and don’t add dye to the sugar water mixture. Be sure to keep the feeder scrupulously clean, as the black mold that grows in spoiled sugar water can kill the birds. After scrubbing your feeder, immerse it in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 15 minutes or so to insure the mold is destroyed; rinse thoroughly before filling. If you notice that the feeder still contains sugar water but the birds have stopped visiting it, the food has likely spoiled. Discard the contents, scrub out the feeder and fill with freshly prepared food; the birds will soon return. And do choose a feeder that fully disassembles for thorough cleaning – avoid those that don’t allow you to easily reach and clean all interior parts.

Nyjer (sometimes spelled Niger) seed this is offered in special nyjer feeders with very small openings, necessary because the tiny seed falls out of regular seed feeders. Goldfinches plus several other small bird species relish this seed which was harvested from thistles, yet rodents don’t find it palatable.

Do you want to attract birds to your garden but avoid the hassle of feeders? Provide a source of fresh water for drinking and bathing. It can be as simple as a shallow water-filled saucer set in a location where a cat can’t easily ambush the visiting birds, or as elaborate as a fountain with moving water that is recirculated by an electric or solar pump. Just keep it clean and filled and the birds will come.

Garden tips are provided courtesy of horticulturist Sharon Hull of the San Lorenzo Garden Center. Contact her at 831 423-0223.

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Tips to protect garden from frost

Kurt Jones

Posted: Thursday, September 7, 2017 9:28 am

Tips to protect garden from frost

Kurt Jones, Columnist

Our cats are always in a big hurry to get outside in the mornings but have become a bit more hesitant in the past couple of weeks as the nighttime temperatures have been falling. Probably more important than our cats’ comfort is protecting the vegetable garden plants during these periods of cooler weather.

Two types of frost can affect our garden plants. Advective frosts occur when a cold front comes through an area, causing temperatures to fall significantly below threshold levels. Typically, our efforts to protect sensitive plants against advective frosts leave the gardener frustrated.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017 9:28 am.

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As hot summer rolls into September, make sure trees are getting enough water

This summer we’ve had near record-breaking numbers of successive days of temperatures over 100 degrees. The long periods of high heat with no rainfall have really stressed plants and trees and we’re once again seeing signs of drought stress in mature landscape trees. Even though last winter’s rains helped the central San Joaquin Valley begin to recover from five years of severe drought, leaves are dropping two to three weeks earlier than normal and many topmost branch tips and small limbs are dead.


In order to preserve the health and vigor of shade trees, deep-irrigate them at least monthly during the summer months. If you haven’t been giving supplemental water to your large trees this summer, start now to prevent further dieback and to get the trees into the best shape possible before they enter winter dormancy in November.

Water from overhead or lawn sprinklers only penetrates about 4 inches deep into the soil. Most mature tree roots lie under the top 12 inches of soil and spread to the outer edges of the canopy although the roots of some trees including native drought-tolerant Valley oaks spread much further out if water sources are not nearby. Younger feeder roots that take up water lie just at the outer edge of the tree canopy where rainfall naturally drips down off the leaves (if we had rainfall in summer). Deep irrigation near the tree trunk doesn’t supply water to the feeder roots; slow steady soaking of the soil to wet the top 12 inches must be directed to the edge of the tree canopy.

Soaker hoses, bubbler attachments on a hose, multiple drip emitters, or PVC pipes perforated with holes and large enough in diameter so that a hose can be inserted then driven one foot deep into the soil are all good methods of delivering water to trees’ roots. So are berms or water wells with a dirt ridge at the edge of the canopy, refilled with water several times over a three- to four-hour period.

Slowly soaking the soil evenly around the canopy will take several hours depending on soil type. Water quickly runs through and away from the root zone in sandy soils. Clay soils hold water well but become nearly impermeable when dried out. After soaking the soil, poke a screwdriver or a metal pole into various spots to determine just how deeply the water has penetrated. The screwdriver or pole will not easily penetrate past the limit of wet soil.

Fruit and nut trees will also need deep irrigation after harvest until mid-November. Citrus should be deeply irrigated at least weekly during the hot months – every three to four days when temperatures are really high. Lack of sufficient water is the major cause of crop failure.

Send Elinor Teague plant questions at

Concerts in the garden

The Clovis Botanical Garden is once again putting on “Twilight Thursdays Concert Series” on Thursdays beginning Sept. 14 through Oct. 5.

Time: 7 p.m.

Place: Northeast corner of Clovis and Alluvial avenues

Amenities: Admission and parking are free. Cold drinks and dessert are available for purchase. Bring your picnic dinner and chairs and enjoy great music in the lovely garden.

Details: Check the garden’s website,, for a list of performers.

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Lake Bluff Garden Club looks to past with new gardens at school

To commemorate its 100th anniversary, the Lake Bluff Garden Club looked to its past and paid for new gardens at Lake Bluff Middle School.

The gardens were dedicated at the school on Wednesday morning at an event featuring club members and school officials.

“(The club’s) first project was beautifying the former East School,” said Club Member Daun Roth. “It was directly to the east of Lake Bluff Middle School.”

The club actually formed in 1917 but went on hiatus as members helped out with the World War I effort.

Garden of Hope donates massive amounts of produce

Nestled on Second Street between Cedar and Oak streets is a garden that has harvested more than 450 pounds of produce this year.

Boy Scout Troop 77, consisting of boys ages 11 to 17 from the Ottawa and West Franklin school districts, is in its second year of making a difference in the community with its Garden of Hope.

“We help out Hope House,” Chuck Stevens, scout master, said. “We go there once a month and help stock shelves, sweep the floors. That’s kind of our charity of choice. About three years ago, Hope House lost a lot of their money, they lost a lot of their charitable contributions. We thought we would help them out by raising produce, that they in turn give to their clients.”

Within the garden, vegetables and herbs of every kind can be found, including green beans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, jalapeños, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, watermelon,onions, basil, rosemary, turnips and peas. The list goes on.

Most of the boys didn’t know much about gardening before starting last year, Stevens said.

“It was kind of a learning experience for a lot of them and for their parents as well,” he said. “…We did take some of the tomatoes and jalapeños and onions and we made some salsa last year and canned it. We took it on camp outs, so they could put it on eggs or whatever they wanted. There’s lot of opportunities to teach, and we try to take every opportunity we can.”

Ethan Burgoon, one of the scouts in Troop 77, said there is satisfaction in the work.

“I just started a year ago,” Burgoon said. “I like planting and keeping the boxes weeded, so the plants can grow better.”

The scouts tend to the garden about every other Wednesday, picking or harvesting produce, and even planting, depending on the time of the season.

“[Two weeks ago], we were there and we picked all the green beans and took them to Hope House,” Stevens said. “And then we replanted green beans again because you can get two or three crops per year.”

Last year, they harvested 587 pounds, and are on pace to surpass that number, Stevens said. They take at least one load a week to Hope House, averaging around 45 to 50 pounds a week.

Aaron Quillen, a scout in Troop 77, has worked on the Garden of Hope for two years.

“It’s a lot of fun to get out here and help,” Quillen said.

Eventually, another aspiration is for the garden to have a greenhouse, which would be another Eagle Project, Stevens said.

It’s important for the boys to understand that you have to give back to your community, he added.

“The national average for a scout’s community service hours is 11 hours per scout per year,” Stevens said. “Last year, my group of 11 boys had 578 hours of community service. We way exceed the national average. We work at Hope House, we work at the garden, we do other community service things around town.

“We’re trying to be known as the scout troop if you need some help doing something, we’re the guys to give a hand.”

The garden, by design, is set for others to eventually take it over, Stevens said, citing a larger area will be needed for his troop next year. Spots are available to the public to grow food for themselves, he added, the only rule being they ask that 10 percent of whatever is grown is donated to either ECKAN or Hope House.

For those interested in a plot at the Garden of Hope, contact ECKAN at (785) 242-7450.

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Award-winning garden designer Kirsty McLean talks to Your Home

Garden designer, Kirsty McLean, who will be writing about revamping your garden.
Picture by Jim Irvine 28-08-17

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Motherhood saw Kirsty McLean make a major career change and she is now an award-winning garden designer.

From community projects to urban gardens in need of TLC, Kirsty’s expertise means she has also been part of Scotland’s longest-running gardening programme, Beechgrove Garden, for the past 14 years.

She told Your Home why she loves seeing gardens come to life, and also parted with some handy tips.

“Having worked in the oil and gas industry for 18 years, I changed my career direction in 1997 following the birth of our daughter.

“What decided me on becoming a garden designer was quite a logical process for me. I gathered up the skills set achieved in my previous career and married these with my passions.

“I found myself instantly hooked on the subject – it just seemed to be the most natural fit for me.

“Fairly quickly, it became apparent that there was sufficient interest in my abilities to make this a full-time career and I started The Garden Design Company Scotland in 2000, the Millennium.

“In 2001 Beechgrove Garden contacted me and I started working with them on community projects and along with my private work, have continued to do so, which has allowed me access to some of the finest horticultural brains in the UK. As a result I’ve learned such a great deal and I’m so thankful to have had that opportunity.

“In the past 20 years I have designed and developed gardens of all shapes and sizes working closely with a diverse client base, which has included private clients, community projects and commercial clients – all very different where no two projects are the same.

“I would say that most new clients have been recommended to come to me by an existing client but however they arrive at my door, all of these people and their gardens are unique and I treat them so.

“My average day isn’t average at all! I very often start off my day with e-mails and organising logistics for various projects that are all at different stages, followed by new client visits and site meetings for existing builds.

“I make room to research materials and visit wholesalers or garden centre’s to discuss up and coming orders. I have to have a few hours of ‘quiet time’ each day to work on new and existing designs too, which is why this is not a 9-5 job. You have to be passionate about it or you couldn’t sustain the pace.

“Often clients come to me for a two-hour, on-site consultation because they have become ‘stuck’ in their thought process and can’t move forward. A fresh pair of professional eyes, can help to kick-start the process and give them the confidence and motivation to move past this but if hiring a designer isn’t for you then here are some helpful tips:

“The design process is really based on logic and then you add in the aesthetics and styling. Seating areas are positioned where the sun falls, in a private part of the garden that isn’t in a prevailing wind. The bins need to be near enough to the kitchen so you can get to them easily. The rotary dryer needs to be close enough to the utility room to be able to snatch the washing back in when it rains! Paths connect access points and to the various activities within the garden; seating area; shed; clothes line etc.

“So when you come to look at how to make the most out of your garden space and find yourself going blank, start to think about how the garden can be made to function in a practical sense first and this will help to move the process on.

“If you are on a limited budget, hard landscaping such as paving and walling can be expensive.

“Providing that you don’t have to retain levels, lawn and planting borders can create shapes and interest relatively cheaply, to good effect.

“To revive existing gardens, old, tired fences can be painted to give them a new lease of life; existing paving can be cleaned and old lawns can be fed and weeded, aerated and cut regularly to bring them back to life. There is no gain without a little pain!

“Whatever stage your garden is at and however you decide to tackle it, creating a budget and planning how you are going to achieve your goal is a really helpful way to approach it. List all the materials that you will need to create your garden – for instance: fencing/carpentry, sub base, paving, armoured cable for lighting, lights, top soil, compost, turf , plants and get these onto a spreadsheet or write a ‘shopping list’.

“Start to calculate the linear, square metre or volumes of the material concerned then go out and find the best price and source for that material and note it against the materials on your list. Gradually you will build up information: your preferred supplier and a cost against each item on your list which, when added up will provide you with your budget.

“Now you are armed with your garden plan, budget and materials list you can start to explore the fun things that will style your garden such as planters, seating, heating, planting . . . the possibilities are endless! Good Luck!”

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Del Rio School gets facelift

Del Rio School’s new logo is designed to represent the intermediate school by depicting a cougar that’s no longer a cub but not yet an adolescent. (CVUSD/Courtesy)

Construction, changes, growth, improvement … on HGTV it would be called “Fixer Upper,” “Flip or Flop” or “House Hunter Renovation”! Well, it doesn’t feel that glamorous but it is exciting. Summer renovation is still underway for the third through fifth grade school of Chino Valley Unified School District … Del Rio School.

In an effort to create a more secure environment, several areas have changed and will continue to change throughout this school year. The front office is now located on the south side of the school at the intersection of Road 1 West and Road 2 North. A visitor parking lot will be created after the three old portable buildings are relocated and fencing removed, which also will allow families to drop off students in front of the office. With the increased accessibility in the new front, the other two parking lots will be for staff parking during business hours.

In addition to the facility changes, there is a new cougar face that can been seen in the front office and all around campus. Del Rio School students, staff and community members adopted a new cougar logo design to represent them as an intermediate school housing third through fifth grades.

Dan Kronz was the artist who created the cougar face to represent a youthful cougar representing growth between cub and adolescent. Plans are also in the works to have Dan paint the mural on the south face of our new office. The extraordinary wood carving of the Cougar mascot in the front office was donated by a local craftsman Buzz Ahrendt. Buzz masterminds a computerized machine to create these amazing designs. After programing the image into the machine, it took five hours for the machine to produce the incredible detailed cougar (pictured).

Plans are underway to engage students to participate in a mural at the school and design landscaping ideas around the campus. Operation “Face Lift” underway!

Information from CVUSD

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Jeffco looks to improve Quincy Avenue

Jefferson County is planning to revamp West Quincy Avenue between Tufts Avenue and Simms Street by adding bike lanes, improving roundabouts and crosswalks, and changing the four-lane roadway so that two of those lanes are left-hand turns.

If the plan is approved, county staff says the project likely will begin in 2019 with work through 2020. Total cost is estimated to be between $6 million to $8 million, said Steve Durian, the director of transportation and engineering for Jeffco.

The project’s goals, Durian said, are to calm traffic and reduce speeding through the four-lane section between Eldridge Street and Arbutus Way; reduce the number of accidents at the roundabouts along Simms Street south of U.S. 285; and to improve general safety and aesthetics by adding sidewalks, bike lanes and landscaping.

The Department of Transportation and Engineering presented these ideas to residents at a public community meeting at D’Evelyn High School in July.

Durian estimated about two-thirds of the 170 attendees liked the idea of changing the four-lane section because they’ve noticed frequent speeding through the area. The speed limit along the stretch between Arbutus and Eldridge is 35 mph, but the average speed is 43 mph, he explained.

Additionally, the current and projected traffic volumes don’t justify four lanes, and two lanes with a left-hand turn lane is adequate, Durian added.

Other feedback included adding a stoplight rather than a roundabout at Quincy and Simms, and eliminating the proposed roundabout at Quincy and Union Street from the project plans, which the staff has done.

The plans also include reworking the roundabout at Quincy and Simms to be a single lane, and restriping the roundabout at Nassau and Simms, so that both are similar to the roundabout at Quincy and Belleview, which Durian said is less confusing and doesn’t see as many accidents.

According to Mike Vanatta, deputy director of transportation and engineering, Jeffco is hoping to start construction on the section between Eldridge and Youngfield streets in 2019, with an estimated cost of $3 million to $4 million.

Vanatta said that adding landscaping and traffic-calming medians will help provide a safer environment for bicyclists and motorists.

It will also improve the water quality by adding smaller water quality ponds rather than having to build one large regional pond at another site.

The county hopes to do the section between Youngfield and Simms in 2020 for about the same price, Vanatta said, although he added that staff may try to get the roundabouts done sooner, as it’s a safety issue.

Both Vanatta and Durian said there are no more community meetings expected on this project, but the public is welcome to attend the staff’s meeting with the planning commission on Sept. 13 to reclassify Quincy Avenue.

For information on this project, including conceptual designs of the proposed changes, visit

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Hurricane hacks: Common-sense ideas to deal with Irma’s possible effects

With lessons from Hurricane Matthew still fresh, even small preparations can make a big difference

Hurricane Irma is churning several days from a likely landfall in the Southeast, and no one can say with certainty how it will affect the Carolinas.

But everyone can certainly prepare. With lessons from Hurricane Matthew still fresh, even small preparations can make a big difference.

Here are a few things you can do now, just in case:

Your first purchase: Before you pick up anything else, grab some gallon-sized resealable plastic bags. Can’t find bottled water? Cant’ find bags of ice? I bet you can find these bags.

And guess what you can put in them? Water and ice cubes. Start filling them now, and put them in the freezer or coolers. If the Cape Fear region loses power, you’ve got water and (until they melt) ice — all for a heck of a lot less cost and aggravation that standing in line at the store.

The bags also are invaluable for keeping things free from water, mud, yard waste, fire ants, whatever Hurricane Irma might throw at you. If we’re spared, you won’t be stuck with a crate of plastic water bottles. Just empty them in the dog bowl or your potted plants and you’re done. They help keep important legal documents (like insurance policies) dry. They’re also great for keeping phones, wallets and car keys together.

Cash in: Remember, when there’s no power, there’s no debit or credit card reader. You may be a titanium cardholder, but it’s just a piece of plastic if it can’t be used. Pull out at least some walking-around money to tide the family over until the lights come back on.

Let there be light! Everyone knows to check now-dusty flashlights and get replacement batteries. How about some free light? Grab some solar yard landscaping lights, at least one per person in the house. Decent lights are running less than $4 at end-of-summer sales (cheaper than a pack of batteries). Set them in the yard this weekend, while it’s sunny. With a full day of sun, the lights will provide plenty of light well into the night indoors when the power is out. In the morning, take them back out for another day of charging. 

Solar chargers: If you have them, check them and make sure they’re still working. If not, grab some more at an electronics store. They can keep your phone (including any personal hot spots for the computer) running.  You don’t want to be left without a phone. Matthew and tornadoes that caused widespread destruction in Fayetteville in 2011 left hundreds of people without power for days and no way to recharge phones. Most smartphones have a flashlight app that’s invaluable in the darkness. But you can’t use it if your phone isn’t charged.

Bug spray: No power means no air conditioning, unless you have a heck of a generator. No A/C means open windows. Open windows mean lots of biting bugs.

Wet wipes and hand sanitizer: After Matthew, one of the most common laments was an inability to sanitize surfaces. Bleach is a necessity as well, but wipes are much better to use with children around.

 Got gas? You remember the folks who got off the interstate after Matthew last year, driving aimlessly in search of open gas stations? Why not fill every fuel-safe container you’ve got before filling up becomes an adventure?

You’ll need coffee: If you have a generator, no sweat. Just plug in the Mr. Coffee or the Keurig and relax. But don’t dare try to heat the coffeemaker pot over a camper stove or grill. Grab a campfire-quality coffee pot and make a test pot before the power goes out. It’s not as easy as you think.

Snack-type food: You’re not a bad parent if you give the kids packaged snacks after a hurricane. It’s a lot better than rolling the dice on three-day-old stuff in the refrigerator. Try to have healthy stuff, like nuts and dried fruit, on hand.

For the latest information on Hurricane Irma and its potential impact on the Cape Fear region, follow Chick Jacobs online at @FO_Weather on Twitter.

Staff writer Chick Jacobs can be reached at or 486-3515.




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