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Archives for September 15, 2017

DIY: Home decorators embrace big, bold wall art – Winston

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LongHouse Reserve Celebrates Creativity in Landscape Design

The LongHouse Reserve will hold its annual Landscape Awards Lecture and Luncheon on Saturday, starting at 10 a.m. at Hoie Hall at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in East Hampton with lectures by Deborah Nevins and Kris Jarantoski. 

Ms. Nevins will receive the Landscape Award for her garden designs in the United States and abroad. Mr. Jarantoski will take home the Garden Direction Award for his work as the director of the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Following the lectures, the event will move to the LongHouse Reserve for the awards ceremony and lunch. Other honorees are Sunbrella, known for its outdoor fabrics, which will receive the venue’s first Design Award from Caroline Baumann, the director of Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and Garden Design magazine, which was given the Award for Publication, to be presented by Eric Groft of Oehme van Sweden.

Lunch and a tour of the LongHouse gardens with Alex Feleppa, the horticulturalist there, will follow the awards presentation. Tickets to the lectures only are $50, $35 for members. Tickets for the entire event start at $300, $250 for members.

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Weed woes: Best ways to get rid of pesky plants

Kat in Leesburg writes: “I failed to keep up with weeding a section of my vegetable garden. Crab grass and other weeds got 2 to 3 feet high and then went to seed. I ripped them out as best I could, but didn’t get all the roots.”

Sounds like you had a round of frantic but useless pulling, Katster. The best way to handle weeds is to soak the soil for hours — really saturate it — and then pull low and slow; get down to where the plant meets the soil and pull slowly and gently. That’s how you get the roots out!

Angry yanking may seem emotionally satisfying but it doesn’t get the job done. And it tends to be the panicked tactic of choice for large areas that seem insurmountable. Better to slow down and spread the job out over a week or so. An hour a day of doing it right gets rid of the weeds — without you needing a corner man.

Plastic only works when summer is hot

Kat in Leesburg is “looking for advice on how to get an area of my garden back under
control without using chemicals” after letting crab grass and other weeds grow high and go to seed.

“I can see a lot of seed scattered on the surface,” she writes. “Would covering the area with black plastic until next May kill everything?”

No, Kat. Only clear plastic stretched tight over a perfectly cleared and leveled garden for an entire summer can kill weed seeds. (It’s called “soil solarization,” and this description of the proper technique is not my opinion; it’s the only way that diligent researchers got it to work.)

Your best bet now is to get a flame weeder — a hand-held, propane-powered garden torch at the end of a long shepherd’s hooklike wand — and slowly toast a section of the soil at a time, preferably when that soil is dry. It’s much less work, you get to stay upright and any little “pops” you hear will be an emotionally satisfying sign that you’re doing it right.

Weeds just love flat earth gardens

Kat says her vegetable garden measures 15 feet by 35 feet.

Because of the way you describe the dimensions, Kat, we have to assume that it’s a flat earth garden; a design — or lack of design — that guarantees maximum weed woes. You’ll get a lot more eatin’ with a lot less weedin’ from a series of raised beds. Four by eight is the ideal size with 2-foot wide walking lanes in between. Because the growing area is a foot above the soil line, grassy weeds like the clover and crab grass you specifically name can’t migrate in from the outside. And you can just mow the lanes to keep their weeds under control — no pulling. And the cool fall air is perfect for raised bed building! (Hint, hint… )

If you haven’t yet pulled, burn baby burn!

Kat in Leesburg admits that she “failed to keep up with weeding and now has weed seeds all over the place.” A lot of our listeners are probably in the same place, Kat. All the rain we received this summer was great for weed growth, and (as you learned) hasty pulling just spreads the seeds that have matured on those weeds.

The best way to prevent the future germination of those seeds is to get a flame weeder and use it to incinerate the tops of the plants. Then, run it up and down the sides of the plants; wherever you see seed pods. The torch will toast those seeds and make it safe to then pull out the plants without planting next year’s crop of seeds. Added bonus: The seeds look like Munchkin fireworks when they pop!

Weed control 101: Get stale

If you, like Kat, forgot to keep up with weeding this season, here’s how to correct that:

First, use a flame weeder to toast those weed seeds on the surface.

Then, let those roots re-sprout. When the roots are tall enough, soak the soil thoroughly and pull gently at their base. (Compost those pulled roots; they’re full of nutrients.) Next season, delay planting until any missed weeds have been growing for two weeks. Then carefully and methodically slice them off at the soil line with a hoe with a super sharp blade, like a diamond hoe.

Whatever you do, don’t till the soil; tilling is like deliberately planting weed seeds!

Mike McGrath was Editor-in-Chief of ORGANIC GARDENING magazine from 1990 through 1997. He has been the host of the nationally syndicated Public Radio show “You Bet Your Garden” since 1998 and Garden Editor for WTOP since 1999. Send him your garden or pest control questions at

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2018 street projects could enhance downtown aesthetics

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Theresa “Tee” George


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NORTH JAVA — Mrs. Theresa “TEE” George, 89, of North Java passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at her home.

She was born on June 3, 1928, in North Java, to her parents, Leo and Catherine Gebel.

Theresa married Roy C. George, Jr. on Oct. 11, 1946. She was preceded in death by her husband Roy in May 1985; great-grandson Clayton in March 2013; her daughter Kimberly Ann in April 2017 and sister Evelyn Brunner.

Tee and Roy were business partners. They owned the North Java Inn [1948-50], a dairy farm [1953-57], and an ice cream parlor [1960-63]. She earned a real estate license in 1971 and helped to develop Roy-L-Tee Acres subdivision. They built and ran Family Mart Grocery Store from 1974 to 1979. Theresa purchased the North Java Inn again in 1989, and remodeled the establishment. Tee loved gardening and landscaping. Many wedding pictures were captured on her property using her beautiful gardens as a backdrop. Tee loved to laugh and enjoyed life to its fullest. She was always giving of herself and defending those whom she thought were the underdogs in life. She was strong in her faith and a compassionate supporter of many Catholic seminaries and monasteries. She was also an avid bridge player.

Theresa is survived by her children, Joseph of Tanzania, Africa, Stephen (Marie) of North Java, Nancy (Jack) Allen of Williamsville, Timothy (Maryfaith) of Massey, Maryland, Tracy (Tammy) of North Java and son-in-law Andy Klein of Fort Wayne, Ind. She is survived by grandchildren, Troy, Todd, Tina, Chad; Darnell, Jonathan, Brandon; Shannon, Nichole, Jennifer, Adam; Ryan, Larissa, Faith, Emily, Timmy, Lydia; Justin, Zachary, Noel, Taylor; Trey, Jordan, Tyler, Jacob and 25 great-grandchildren; sisters, Mary Elizabeth Perry, Ann Marie Dimick, Clarine (Ray) Meisner, and brother, John (Sharon) Gebel.

Visitation will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 at Marley Funeral Home LLC. 135 Main Street, Attica. Prayers will take place at the Funeral Home immediately following visitation. Tee’s burial will take place in St. Nicholas Cemetery, North Java.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to The Charlotte House, PO Box 123, North Java, NY 14113 or the North Java Fire Department, 4274 Route 98, North Java, NY 14113. For more information please call (585) 591-1212 or to leave a message of condolence

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Arne Maynard Discusses Formality in Gardening

To many traditionalists, the makings of a formal garden are fairly cut-and-dried. Not so for landscape designer Arne Maynard. Maynard has made a name for himself by blurring the lines between informal and formal, natural and polished, to create alluring outdoor spaces that both reflect and add to their environments. In a talk next week for the Institute of Classical Architecture Art, Maynard will discuss this careful balance. “Arne is among today’s most influential and renowned landscape designers,” says ICAA president Peter Lyden. “To experience one of Arne’s gardens is to witness the perfect synthesis of formal and informal design principles that, together, harmonize the architecture of a place with its natural setting.” For those garden enthusiasts who cannot make the talk, Maynard has written a short essay for AD PRO discussing his theory of garden design.

Why do we need gardens? And when is it appropriate to create them? Buildings don’t always need gardens—a shooting lodge on a wild heather moor, a fishing hut set in a meadow on the banks of a river—when their setting and surrounding landscape is so powerful that no created garden could compete. But the art of creating gardens and our need to feel connected to the natural landscape around us goes back centuries. Initially, this need was born of necessity as gardens were created to grow food, but this soon developed into an enduring attempt to tame nature, to cuckold and adapt it.

I am fascinated and driven by this need to enclose nature, but I am ever mindful that any garden design I create must not only sit comfortably within its landscape but must also be a combination of the formal and informal. This juxtaposition of clipped and unclipped offers us the opportunity to create quiet, understated strength with blousy, romantic overtures of color and texture.

Maynard is known for pushing the boundaries of a so-called formal garden.

The informality of my gardens comes mainly from soft planting schemes, which are designed to give year-round interest. But it can also be achieved with hard landscaping and structural planting. There is a playfulness in the way a perfect grid of trees can be disrupted by deliberately leaving some out, diluting the rigidity of the structure. A formal path can be dressed down using an unexpected material and by plants encouraged to grow within it and spill over it.

While the informal elements of a garden give it its romantic atmosphere, they are also fragile and ephemeral. What is an exquisite detail in one season disappears in the next to be replaced by a new star player in the performance of a garden. It is the strength of the formal structure beneath that creates a garden with longevity. The permanent plantings of trees, hedges, topiary and lawns create spaces to be enjoyed throughout the year and for generations to come.

Hear Maynard speak further on his gardens on September 19 at the ICAA. Tickets cost $30 and are available at

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5 Important Landscaping Features You Should Never Ignore

The change of seasons means it’s time for a landscaping refresh — fresh mulch, perhaps some seasonal plants and generally just an update to start the season anew. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring someone to help, it’s not uncommon for some of the most obvious — and important — aspects of landscaping to be overlooked. In an effort to help you avoid these common issues, we talked with Gavin Duke of Page|Duke Landscape Architects, a Nashville-based landscape architecture firm with an impressive client base throughout the South. Here, Gavin shares the most common things that people overlook when it comes to their landscaping, and offers beautiful examples of how attention to these details can up your landscape game.

1. Use the right soil.

Before anything else, make sure you are using the right soil type for your property. “When you’re planning a major project, you want to have good soil to work with,” offers Gavin. “In Tennessee we have a lot of clays that are deceptive, so you might be planting in clay when you need a fertile, sandy loam with organic content. Although you may have soil that is black in color, it may not be fertile.”

Gavin says that many times, people just dig a hole and put a plant in it. “Planting in clay is sometimes like putting a plant in a bathtub. The ‘tub’ will hold water; it won’t perk and drain properly, so it sort of suffocates the plant.” So ensure you’re setting your plants up for successful growth with the right soil. But how do you know what’s the right soil? A simple way to find out if your soil type will allow your plants and flowers to thrive is to take a sample to your county agricultural extension agency or consult a landscaper.

Example: The Truxton project

When the basics of soil preparation occur, award-winning execution prevails. Page|Duke recently was recognized for its work on a project in Nashville’s Belle Meade neighborhood, which enabled the addition of gardens and expansions that “appear as if they had always been there” when blended with an existing pool, tree canopies and landscaping. Further refinement occurred with such added details as an “autumn sunset” pea gravel (rather than mulch) to prevent mud splash on the newly painted white brick home.

Page|Duke Landscape Architects seamlessly executed the addition of landscape that looks as though it had always been there. To pull that off, a key step was ensuring they were using the right soil. Image: Reed Brown Photography

What a stunning view! Image: Reed Brown Photography

The brilliant minds at Page|Duke opted for a beautiful shade of pea gravel to ensure that muddy mulch was never an issue. Image: Reed Brown Photography

2. Consider sun exposure as it relates to specific plants.

“You don’t want to put a shade plant in the sun and a sun plant in the shade,” says Gavin. “And you don’t put some ornamental grasses in deep shade, where they require sun, for example. You can even see in some cases, with some plants that require sun, there might be a row of them, and then the plants go underneath a canopy — all of a sudden, it’s stunted growth, and you’ll see evidence that some things respond to photosynthesis.”

Examples: Crater Hill and the Governor’s Mansion

Response to the light requirements of plants is elemental to creating an evocative palette of landscaping, as seen at the spaces of Crater Hill or in a visit to the governor’s official residence, a magnificent and respectful nod to its original builders, the Ridley Wills family. The current estate, once a family’s “country escape,” now features a sweeping great lawn for entertaining visitors, an added greenhouse and vegetable and flower gardens.

Page|Duke’s Crater Hill project is a perfect example of the importance of taking into account the sun and light requirements of each plant. Image: John Chiasson

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The stunning gardens of the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion provide another example that shows how specific plant species’ light requirements vary. Image: Matt Fisher Photography

Here’s a look into a beautiful courtyard at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion. Image: Matt Fisher Photography

3. Consider zone recognition.

Zone recognition is third on Gavin’s list. “For each plant, there have been tested ‘hardiness zones,’ so if you have a plant you think is really wonderful in New Orleans — fig ivy, for example — and you want to plant it in Tennessee, it might survive if we have these mild winters, but eventually, it’s going to get snapped by zero-degree temperatures,” he says.

Examples: The Boxwood estate and the Nashville Public Library 

Page|Duke implemented the best of what thrives in Tennessee to such projects as the Nashville Public Library, where patrons enjoy an enduring extension of interior features in exterior courtyards. Likewise, in the landscape and gardens at the Boxwood estate in Belle Meade, Page|Duke masterfully and appropriately used boxwoods to create an intriguing lift for the original Georgian property.

The use of boxwoods on this residential design by Page|Duke puts to use the hardiness of this shrub when faced with the Tennessee climate. Image: John Chiasson

Careful selection of trees and shrubs ensure a breathtaking finished product, as shown in this photo of the Boxwood estate. Image: John Chiasson

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The courtyard at the Nashville Public Library is just one example of how taking into consideration what plants thrive in your region can produce amazing results. Image: Page|Duke Landscape Architects

Such structural plants as laurels, boxwoods and yews are ideal foundations for landscaping, as shown here when we peek into the courtyard of the Nashville Public Library. Image: Page|Duke Landscape Architects

4. Make sure you have adequate drainage.

Next, “Make sure you have somewhere for the water to go,” says Gavin. Landscape architects often solve drainage problems by using French draining beds, perhaps “a perforated pipe we put in low with a pea gravel base around it so that if you get saturated conditions, the water does not sit there and cause mildew or a situation where the plant could actually drown.” He also suggests being aware of slopes on your property and of any drainage you have around the base of your home.

SB TIP: When planning, remember some plants — the bald cypress, for example — have “wet feet” (i.e., constant moisture), whereas others — rhododendrons and azaleas, for example — do not.

5. Respect the roots.

Finally, Gavin stresses the importance of respecting existing root canopies. “I’ve seen people plant beds around bases of trees, not realizing they’re taking a lot of nutrients from an existing tree.” Although a mature tree may not die for a couple of years, it may be affected in a third year from competing with other plant material too long.

As you take to your garden spaces to rejuvenate them for fall, you now have more expertise on how to create inviting — and successfully cultivated — landscapes. Happy planting!

See more of the amazing work produced by Ben Page and Gavin Duke of Page|Duke Landscape Architects on their website —


Get more expert advice for all your home needs in our “Homes” section. Click HERE!

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