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Archives for November 16, 2017

Gardenwise: Remember November As Cleanup Time

Although there’s lot to do in the garden in November, refrain from cutting back ornamental plants with beautiful seed heads, such as the fountain grass and black-eyed Susan (shown in the foreground) pictured here.
Although there’s lot to do in the garden in November, refrain from cutting back ornamental plants with beautiful seed heads, such as the fountain grass and black-eyed Susan (shown in the foreground) pictured here.

Gardenwise: Remember November As Cleanup Time

By Susan Tito

By now, if you’re like most property owners on Long Island, you’ve dug out your trusty rake from your garage, shed or basement and have gotten to work on those expanding piles of leaves.

There’s no disputing that, for many people, November chores start and end with raking. However, if you take inventory of your property you’ll find there are many other activities that should be performed to winterize your landscape and ensure a glorious garden for next year.

For starters, get grounded — as in addressing the health of your soil. Now is the perfect time of year to add compost to your gardening beds and the root zones of trees and shrubs. Apply a 1-inch layer of this “black gold” — which is just teeming with beneficial microbes and nutrients — to create a healthier support system for your plants.

Many nurseries make their own compost and sell it by the yard, and will deliver it right to your property. Just grab a few shovels and some strong friends (preferably those who owe you a few favors) and you will be on your way to enriching your soil. If you’re not keen on turning your much-used driveway into a compost repository —even for the short term — you can purchase bags of compost at local garden and home centers.

This is also an excellent time of year to start your own compost pile, although you won’t be able to reap the benefits for a while. Start by performing a little “rakey” on your property: Shred leaves with a recycler mower, push into a pile and let them decompose.

Before you compost, you should perform a soil test for each section of your garden, including grassy areas. A comprehensive soil test will measure levels of acidity, nutrients and salt. Not sure where to begin? Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Horticulture Diagnostic Lab offers a soil-testing service. For more information, call 631.727.4126, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon.

At this time of year, you may be gearing up for the upcoming winter festivities, but weeds never take a holiday. Fear not — it’s not too late to pluck these pests from your landscape! Some weeds are perennial, such as dandelions, which go dormant but lie in wait until next spring, at which time they make an unwelcome return. Others are annual, such as crabgrass, and although their removal from your landscape means those plants are gone forever, they may have left you with a present — their progeny (seeds).

Getting weeds is an inevitable part of gardening, but getting rid of as many as you can now— along with their seed heads —means fewer to contend with next year.

While you’re busy weeding, there’s something else you should remove — dead and broken branches from trees and shrubs. Broken branches leave your woody plants more susceptible to disease and insect infestation, weakening them over time. A little pruning can go a long way toward ensuring their health, especially as we head into winter.

That’s when winds are especially brutal and can be more damaging than frigid temperatures. Protect young or borderline-hardy plants by wrapping them in burlap and spray broadleaf evergreens with an anti-desiccant, which acts as a protective coating, helping to conserve moisture for up to four months. The best time to do this is when temperatures are still above 40 degrees.

Even though the dog days of summer are behind us, it’s important that plants get adequate water until the ground freezes. Use a soaker hose or drip irrigation system and deliver moisture where it’s needed most — at the root zone.

There’s another thing you can do for your garden this month — nothing (at least when it comes to some of your perennials). To be specific, let them go to seed.

“Just like trees and shrubs, herbaceous perennials like black-eyed Susan, asters, and grasses can be beautiful as they go dormant,” said Mina Vescera, nursery/landscape specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Riverhead. “Many have beautiful seed heads and fall foliage, and add habitat and forage for beneficial insects and birds.”

Now that I’ve added significantly to your to-do list for November (please direct any and all complaints to my editor at the East End Beacon), don’t be surprised if raking becomes less of a priority for you than it had in previous years. But take solace: I guarantee that your property will be better than ever come next spring!

Susan Tito
Susan Tito

Susan Tito is a freelance writer and proprietor of Summerland Garden Design Consulting ( She earned a certificate in ornamental garden design from the New York Botanical Garden and is a member of the American Horticultural Society and Garden Writers Association. She can be reached at

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Northwestern wins 8 building design awards

The+Kellogg+School+of+Management+Global+Hub+at+2211+Campus+Dr.+The+Global+Hub+is+among+seven+buildings+at+Northwestern+that+received+design+awards+from+local+nonprofit+organization+Design+Evanston.The Kellogg School of Management Global Hub at 2211 Campus Dr. The Global Hub is among seven buildings at Northwestern that received design awards from local nonprofit organization Design Evanston.

The Kellogg School of Management Global Hub at 2211 Campus Dr. The Global Hub is among seven buildings at Northwestern that received design awards from local nonprofit organization Design Evanston.

Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern

Alec Carroll/The Daily Northwestern

The Kellogg School of Management Global Hub at 2211 Campus Dr. The Global Hub is among seven buildings at Northwestern that received design awards from local nonprofit organization Design Evanston.

Ally Mauch, Assistant Campus Editor

A local nonprofit recognized seven Northwestern buildings with eight design awards in categories ranging from landscape design to new construction, according to a Wednesday news release.

Design Evanston, an organization that aims to promote good design, announced awards for 28 local buildings.

On campus, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Center for the Musical Arts was the only building to win two awards, one for landscape design and the other for new construction. The Dearborn Observatory, an administrative building located at 720 University Place, The Garage, the Kellogg School of Management Global Hub, the Ryan Field west parking lot and the Shakespeare Garden received one award each.

During the last announcement of awards in 2015, NU buildings collectively won two awards, the release said.

The Global Hub, which opened in March, won an award for interior design, as the building’s “fluid” form gives it the sense of “structure in motion,” according to the release.

“The sculpted, undulating form weaves around the building, revealing multi-level terraces and nestled spaces that foster informal social activity and business education collaboration,” the release said.

The Dearborn Observatory received an award in the rehabilitation/renovation/restoration design category. The observatory, a “historic gem,” underwent renovations in 2015 and 2016 that included repairs to the building’s windows, sections of the roof and the wrought iron walkway, according to the release.

The Shakespeare Garden, renovated in spring 2016, won in the landscape design category. The garden, added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1988, is maintained by the Garden Club of Evanston.

A previous version of the caption on this story misstated how many buildings won design awards. Seven buildings won awards. The Daily regrets the error.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @allymauch


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Big garden in a small space

As we settle into autumn, it is such an unexpected pleasure to see some remaining blooming plants in Ronald Doyle’s garden at 945 Hillview Drive. In addition to more than 150 roses, he has coreopsis, petunias, anemones, Jupiter’s beard, gaura, honeysuckle, ice plant, zonal geraniums and, in season, a stunning display of giant phlox. Other trees in the front yard include crepe myrtle, flowering crabapple, tulip tree, Japanese maple, and a giant cedar that anchors the corner at Ross Lane.

Ron has been gardening here since 1985. Much of the property was just gravel when he moved in. Some of the garden design is by his late wife, Eva-Maria vonChamier. He uses TID water for irrigation. Two dump-truck loads of soil and amendments have been brought in.

The garden paths are of hazelnut shells, which he first saw at the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Presumably the sharp edges of the shells discourage snails and slugs, but Ron has good reason to believe otherwise. Well, it looks really good! There is a very large and graceful metal arbor in the back yard that Ron designed, based on something he had seen in France. The magnificent display is contained in the relatively small lot of 90 by 130 feet.

The fragrant roses are an amazing array of varieties and colors, including a very large Cecile Bruner that has finished blooming. Other plants that are past the bloom stage now but provide color at other times of year are rhododendron, azaleas, lilac, mock orange, oriental poppy, lilac, iris, daphne, bellflower, clematis and lilies. Ron has tomato plants in a raised bed, grapes, and raspberries. Both a Granny Smith apple tree and cherry tree grafted to supply five varieties of the fruit are in the back yard. An especially lovely oregano fills in among flowering plants in the front.

Doyle’s garden was Garden of the Month in September of 2012, but was not featured in the Daily Tidings at that time.

The Ashland Garden Club has been selecting Gardens of the Month, from April through September, since 2000. Nominations are gratefully received at Check out the club’s website at or come to the meetings at 12:30 on the first Monday of the month, October through May, at the Community Center on Winburn Way.


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Community Members Share Ideas for State Street Underpass Revitalization Project

The concrete slabs underneath the Highway 101 overpass, connecting Santa Barbara’s waterfront and lower State Street, could soon come alive with an LED lighting installation or be adorned with murals.

City staff is undertaking a project to redesign the underpass as a safe and inviting destination with lighting, interactive art elements and reconfigured lanes for cars and bikes.

“This is a prominent area of State Street — of the 14 blocks of the downtown corridor, this is a two-block area,” said Nina Johnson, senior assistant to the city administrator. “We have researched cities all over the world, and found examples of cool places where they created unique spaces and solved design challenges for their community. There’s so much that is possible and potential.”

Johnson said the initial project budget is $100,000, and the project cost is expected to grow through community partnerships.

More than 100 residents gathered Wednesday night at the Community Arts Workshop in Santa Barbara to share ideas on how to make the State Street underpass a welcoming destination linking the waterfront to the downtown area.

The underpass project is one effort the city and community partners are tackling to enhance the vibrancy of the downtown corridor, in the wake of vacant businesses along State Street.

Johnson said improving safety and access for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles is a project priority.

Seven accidents occurred in the area between 2011 to 2013, she said.

“The two intersections on both sides (of the underpass) have the top bicycle-involved accident rate compared to anywhere else in the city,” Johnson said.

At the community meeting, attendees were given sharpie pens, sticky notes, food, wine and an hour to jot down ideas under five different categories such as art and design, sound, interactivity, project concerns and traffic flow.

The blank white posters taped to the walls were filled with hundreds of suggestions.

One comment said “something to follow like the safe yellow brick road,” while another note read “LED lights possible to alter themes. Sound system. Sea and dolphin theme.”

The “stench of urine” and “vandalism” were among the various topics under the concern category.

Attendees expressed ideas about how to reduce sound impact from cars and using technology to mitigate the noise of vehicle echo, engaging art designs and creative solutions to enhance and attract people to the space.

More than 20 residents took to the microphone to share their plans about the future of the underpass.

The speakers said the artist should be local, and whatever plans are used should come from the community.

People suggested adding motion-tracking art, a multimedia space made to showcase work, tile murals that represent Santa Barbara, adding security cameras, wider sidewalks and reducing vehicle lane width, among other ideas.

The city also created a Pinterest board of more than 100 images showing lighting, street elements, sound, landscaping and a new traffic reconfiguration. 

At the end of the workshop, community members were given 10 stickers and asked to mark the concepts they liked.

So what’s next?

The workshop notes will be available on the city’s website, Johnson said.

City staff will seek additional project funding and build partnerships, as well as prepare a call for proposals with community input.

A project design team is slated to form with city staff, architects, design professionals, art organizations and artists to review proposals.

The project needs approval from Caltrans’ and the Historic Landmarks Commission, and possibly a coastal-development permit.

“We want to move as quickly as possible to release a call for proposals and then review them — we will need talented design professionals to get involved to help select proposals,” Johnson said. “We encourage everyone to get involved and look forward to partnering with different arts organizations, and encourage architects and designers to join.”

The underpass was built in the 1990s, according to Johnson.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Mason HS promotes community service ideas with Blue Ribbon Day

Mason HS promotes community service ideas with Blue Ribbon DayCopyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Video capture

MASON, TX – In 2010 Mason High School earned the honor of National Blue Ribbon School. In a tradition that continues today, the entire student body and staff participates in a day of community service.

With planning and coordination by counselor Melany Canfield and high school class officers,  meetings begin when school starts and officers are elected. Community members are organized and nominations for community jobs begin.

Activities can include making casseroles for the local food bank, painting the town square hand rails, picking up trash, cleaning the cemetery, painting the rodeo arena, decorating and cleaning  the local CASA office and Thrift Store, to raking leaves and trimming trees on the courthouse lawn.

Every student, every teacher and staff member of Mason High School participates in the event.  Usually several community members also help with the jobs and groups.

The most special job this year was the rehab of the Lilly’s Garden of Joy. Merlina Gamel, MHS technology director, was in a 4-wheeler accident approximately 15 years ago with her daughter just before the Christmas holiday. Her daughter Lilly Joy, died from injuries sustained in the incident—Gamel lost her right leg.

The garden was created in memory of Lilly by her classmates. Last year, during a remodeling project of school buildings, the garden had been ruined. Gamel and her husband, Steve were devastated. Community members and staff came together to donate $2,500 in landscaping materials to restore Lilly’s Garden of Joy. The project was done in secret and surprised the Gamels.

From MHS: “At MHS, kids are taught science, math, English, Spanish, history, geography, and how to express love by giving back to the community.

“A YouTube video of the event from the 2017 Blue Ribbon Service Day can be viewed here:

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Ninety Six board discusses landscaping pond behind complex – Index





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Cold-Tolerant Plants Make Gardening Easy

Cold-Tolerant Plants Make Gardening Easy

Cold-Tolerant Plants Make Gardening Easy

Fred Funk, of the Village of Glenbrook, trims some of the Philippine violets, growing in the butterfly garden Friday at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lady Lake. Local gardeners avoid potential frost or freeze damage with cold-tolerant plants.

Posted: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:00 am

Cold-Tolerant Plants Make Gardening Easy

Some plants don’t require sweaters in the winter. Landscaping with cold-tolerant plants helps home gardens adapt to the cold weather and occasional frost and freezes that define Central Florida winters. And even though the weather isn’t cold enough to freeze plants just yet — highs in the 70s and lows in the mid-50s are expected today and through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service — Villagers are wasting no time to prepare. They don’t want to be caught off guard when a frost or freeze threatens their landscapes.


Read this story and many others in Wednesday’s edition of the Daily Sun.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017 8:00 am.

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Lights on the Bay turns on holiday season from Sandy Point State Park

Holiday lights are popping on all over Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Lights On The Bay will open to the general public Saturday, the first year the annual display at Sandy Point State Park will benefit the SPCA of Anne Arundel County.

A scenic drive along the Chesapeake Bay shoreline, it features more than 60 animated and stationary displays lighting up the roadway. Annual favorites include the giant red teddy bear and the image of Naval Academy Midshipmen tossing their “covers” into the air.

For the past two decades, the display has benefited Anne Arundel Medical Center, but this year it was turned over to the SPCA.

Conservation a benefit of Earth-Kind landscaping

Earth-Kind gardening of any type focuses on using environmentally friendly management practices to produce landscapes that are beautiful, low-maintenance and sustainable. The goals of an Earth-Kind landscape are to conserve water and energy, reduce pesticide and fertilizer use, and to recycle landscape wastes. Unfortunately, some Earth-Kind principles can be challenging to implement in an established landscape especially if the owner does not wish to make drastic changes to the existing design and plantings. The following, however, are five practices that can easily be implemented to transform an existing landscape into one that will be Earth-Kind.

Turf maintenance

Sound turf management can greatly reduce your lawn’s labor, water, and fertilizer requirements. Keeping turf mowed to a reasonably greater height promotes a deeper root system, reduces plant stress, and provides more shade for the soil surface. All these factors reduce the lawn’s water needs. Grass clipping generally contain approximately 2 to 3 percent nitrogen. Leaving them on the lawn will significantly reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers. Mulching grass clippings (rather than bagging them) also returns organic matter to the soil. Research shows that this practice does not contribute to excessive thatch accumulation when the turf is mowed regularly.

Fertilizing based on soil tests

Sampling the soil in your lawn or landscape properly and having it analyzed can help the environment and your wallet. A soil test will reveal the specific nutrients that your soil may be lacking and will help you choose an appropriate fertilizer. This will allow you to save money and avoid excess nutrient levels in the soil by applying only the type and amount of nutrient needed. You will also reduce pollution in the form of runoff or ground water contamination.

I do a soil test on my yard and vegetable garden every year. Before doing the testing, the chances of success were strictly on a hit or miss basis. Some years, previous to testing, everything turned out well, and then some years were simply disappointing. With regular soil testing I am not guaranteed a marvelous landscape or garden, but the majority of the time I am going to be very pleased with the results.

The Texas AM AgriLife Extension service here in Huntsville can provide you a small bag to collect your soil to be tested. Simply call their office at (936) 435-2426, and they will be glad to help you. After you collect the soil sample, you send it to Texas AM in College Station and in one to two weeks you will receive the results of the soil test. You can receive these results either by postal service or email. The cost for the test is $10. I highly recommend the test because it has really been a big help to me. I think you will be pleased also.

Low-volume irrigation

Drip or micro irrigation is typically 90 percent more efficient compared to a traditional sprinkler because it applies water only where it is needed and slowly enough to minimize runoff and evaporation loss. It also reduces salinity damage and disease on foliage by keeping the water and soil splash off the plants’ leaves. A wide variety of products and kits are available, as are many internet resources that offer guidance on installation.

The Walker County Master Gardener demonstration vegetable gardens, which is in operation on a year-around basis, uses drip irrigation exclusively. These gardens produce an unbelievable amount of vegetables such as, but not limited to tomatoes, squash, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, and collard greens. All of this harvest is given to community organizations such as the Senior Center of Walker County and the Good Shepard Mission. Without the efficient usage of drip irrigation, the amount of fresh vegetables given to these outstanding organizations would be greatly reduced.

Cycle and soak watering irrigation

The drip irrigation system we just reviewed is intended primarily for vegetable and flower gardens, although it will also work nicely on shrubs and newly planted trees. However, the cycle and soak watering irrigation topic will focus mainly on water application on your lawn.

Programing your irrigation system into several shorter cycles can save a substantial amount of water. This method allows time for water to soak in the soil than if you apply the water all at once. Cycle and soak watering is especially beneficial on compacted or clay soils or landscapes with steep slopes where infiltration is slow. Modern irrigation controllers can be easily programmed for cyclic watering and some are already equipped to perform this special function. For manual irrigation, move sprinklers around instead of completely watering one area at a time.

Irrigation auditing/evaluation

Prevented maintenance is what we are talking about here, or an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A regular assessment, at least annually, of your irrigation systems’ efficiency and effectiveness will help identify problems such as leaks or sprinkler heads that are damaged or misaligned. Measuring sprinkler output and coverage will help you determine if the coverage is uniform and how long you should run your irrigation system. A licensed irrigator can perform a formal system audit or a homeowner can conduct an informal evaluation.

If you have questions about this article or any of the Extension programs, contact the AgriLife Extension Office or go to Extension programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, color, sex or religion, disability or national origin. The Texas AM University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners courts of Texas Cooperation. A member of Texas AM University System and its statewide agriculture programs.

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Gardening tips offered at library

Roy Diblik, co-owner of Northwind Perennial Farm, will present a gardening program, “16 Together,” on Nov. 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lake Geneva Public Library.

Diblik will share the secrets of 16 plants that have helped him understand the social life of plants in well-thought-out plant communities that reduce maintenance through design.

With more than 35 years of knowledge growing traditional and Midwest native perennials, he specializes in highly aesthetic, sustainable plant communities for all seasons. Diblik believes that gardens should be thoughtful, ecologically directed, emotionally outreaching and yet very personal.

The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Lake Geneva Public Library.

Everyone is welcome to attend this program at no charge. For more information, call (262) 249-5299 or visit the website or Facebook page at

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