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Archives for December 13, 2017

Have dinged wooden yard posts? Janesville siblings’ invention can help

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Kane Carmody, right, prepares a package to ship Post Shields to Ace Hardware with Jennifer Carmody at the Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville. Carmody, and his sister, Jennifer Carmody, Janesville residents, invented Post Shields, a PVC plastic product that wraps around the bottom of mailbox, fence and deck posts from being damaged by lawn and garden equipment. The company, which launched a year ago, is poised to fill demand at major home improvement and hardware retailers.

JANESVILLE—Some residents might have already seen an invention that two Janesville siblings designed and produced, and they wouldn’t have had to look farther than their neighbor’s front lawn.

Soon, the product might pop up at a slew of home improvement and hardware stores.

Former IT professional Kane Carmody and his sister Jennifer Carmody say their family invented “Post Shields,” four-sided, 6-inch-tall plastic guards that slide and snap in place around the bases of mailboxes or deck or fence posts, and they are perhaps as simple as an invention can get.

Their function is even simpler: They’re designed to stop string weed trimmers, lawnmowers and other equipment from chewing up the bottoms of posts stuck in yards.

Post Shields were born just one year ago, but the product and the company are already poised to grow in a big way.

Kane Carmody said he and Jennifer developed Post Shields from a design their father, Scott, a Florida resident, developed using 3-D printer technology about two years ago.

The siblings, who worked for their father’s IT company, said they got the product patented and opened up shop this June in Olde Towne Mall in downtown Janesville, about six months after launching Post Shields from home in Janesville.

Almost immediately, they say, they landed a major order with Chicago-based Ace Hardware, whose hardware buyer saw their product at the National Hardware Show in Las Vegas in May.

Ace bought a large order—11 pallets—of Post Shields, which Kane Carmody said are now being distributed to dozens of stores in the U.S. Before the Ace deal, Post Shields were sold through various internet-based sellers, the siblings said.

In 2018, lawn-and-garden machinery distributor MTD Products is working to make Post Shields available at other major chain retail stores and websites. Some of the retailers under that deal could include Blain’s Farm Fleet, Mills Fleet Farm, Home Depot and Lowe’s, Kane Carmody said.

It means the square-shaped plastic guards which are shown on Post Shields’ website might soon become a household name. It’s an ascent that happened practically overnight.

The siblings have navigated the process of launching a product, working with a U.S.-based plastics extrusion company on production of their design, and then landing the Ace buy-in and MTD distribution deal all within a year—and all despite the fact neither had never made a corporate pitch before.

“We’re IT people. All we knew was that most people have mailbox and deck posts that get hit up by string weed trimmers,” Kane Carmody said. “This whole retail thing is new to us. So far, it seems to be working out.”

Jennifer Carmody said one home-improvement magazine began promoting Post Shields in product reviews before the company was even fully launched, and online orders took off fast. She said a local business incubator official told her and Kane they were farther along in their launch than they realized.

“It all was a huge confidence builder for two people who’d never run their own business,” she said.

Kane Carmody said the product’s simplicity—no nails, no caulk, no tools needed—is what delivers the forehead-smacking, ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-this’ factor.

“It shows you a problem you didn’t know you even had. Then, one second after you look at the product, the problem is already solved,” he said.

The Carmodys say the Post Shields retail for between $7.99 and $10.99—a price they said saves on people buying new posts or spending “thousands” of dollars lifting backyard decks to repair posts that are already damaged by run-ins with lawn and garden equipment.

Olde Towne Mall’s management helped the Carmodys quickly set up a workspace this summer that allows them to toggle between running the business offices from home and packing and fulfilling orders in a larger space.

There’s even a carpeted room for Kane Carmody’s young children, Sophia and Charlotte, to play, watch TV and even ride around in a pink Barbie car.

Carmody said he’s never field tested whether Post Shields can withstand a direct hit from a plastic Barbie car, but he likes his product’s chances.

“We could find out. We’ve got to put the kids to work sometime,” he said.






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D+H annular brick urumqi garden adorned with local chinese flora

at this year’s china international horticultural exposition, design firm design + hope (D+H) unveiled its urumqi garden project in zhengzhou. with the sudden surge of garden expos in china nowadays, local gardens that represent individual cities tend to be stereotyped into miniature and/or traditional gardens of local landscapes. D + H’s strategy aimed to bring back the core value of horticultural expo. the designers achieved this by implementing fundamental landscape approaches such as space making and planting design.

the designers carefully selected local plants that resembled urumqi’s local species



additionally, D+H successfully expresses the ethnic identity in a contemporary manner. they designed a music-themed tour route which was inspired by the traditional urumqi stringed instrument– rawap. the route is made up of a meandering ‘string’ path, creating a rich spatial experience of rising and descending drama clubbed with both open and closed spaces. the entire route was based on the urumqi maqam rhythm. the climax of the ‘string’ path was a circular pavilion with a perforated brick pattern skin, that representing the core element — the sound of a rawap.

by recreating rose fields, desert land, grape trellis and a green oasis, the designers carefully selected local plants in an attempt to stay true to urumqi’s natural and cultural landscape



the garden pavilion is a semi-open and contemporary landscape building. the combination of the architectural space and each detail element reflects both the modern and traditional architectural features of urumqi. the entire circulation experience of the pavilion is an expression of the outdoor landscape expansion. for example, the rotating ramp brings the outdoor ‘string’ garden into the interior area which blurs the boundary between inside and outside space. the modern corridor and the hidden pillar structures give more possibilities to the overhangs and opening of this brick pavilion.

D + H’s strategy aimed to bring back the core value of horticultural expo



following the ramp, visitors will be able to see the central stage from different angles, where people usually gather and interact. furthermore, the roof and façade of the building are inspired from the urumqi residential type called ‘ayiwang’ and the brick form. those traditional archetypes and the choice of simple materials make visitors feel the ever-changing architectural light and shadow.

the garden’s entrance

the music tour route is made up of a meandering ‘string’ path, creating a rich spatial experience

the roof and façade of the building are inspired from the urumqi residential type called ‘ayiwang’ and the brick form

a small pool is placed adjacent to the pavilion 

an array of various plants and flowers adorn the garden

the modern corridor and the hidden pillar structures give more possibilities to the overhangs and opening of this brick pavilion

the pavilion vividly illuminated at sundown

the circular brick-clad interior

the pavilion uses locally sourced materials



project info:


project name: the urumqi garden –2017 china international horticultural expo
design studio: lab d+h
client: urumqi garden bureau, china
architect in charge: huicheng zhong, jie xu
design team: huicheng zhong, xu jie, feimin song, zhongwei li, bingxing lin, hao lan, qinzan
project location: zhengzhou, china
completion year: 2017
gross built area: 6000 m²
photo credits: xi tang

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Letter: Consider other garden plan

Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Town Council Chairman John Engel with a copy to the Advertiser. It pertains to the Waveny garden design project that has been approved by the Parks Recreation Commission and Board of Finance, and is headed to the Town Council Wednesday night, Dec. 13, for their consideration.

Good morning John,

The historic design of Frederic Law Olmsted is such a national treasure that it’s preservation is our duty. As being member of the Historical Review Committee we review every historical building with care. The same concerned attention should be given to our historic parks.

I am great admirer of the Garden Club and I am certain that they can do their good work in the context of the Olmsted design. But it needs time to reach agreement between the concerned parties.

This is the reason that I request postponing this discussion about the park for a month.

With your permission I will share this letter with the Advertiser so that the issue can reach larger public attention.

Laszlo Papp

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Gardeners to tell of holiday décor, gifts in Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Veteran Master Gardeners Marilynn Elliott and Tanya Unruh will share ideas for holiday décor and gifts for the home garden at noon Thursday.

Their presentation, “Holiday Décor and Gifts from the Garden,” is the next installment of Washington State University Clallam County Extension’s Green Thumb Garden Tips series. It will be in the county commissioners’ meeting room (160) at the Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. Fourth St.

Elliott will demonstrate how to transform ordinary gardening items into gifts — not all necessarily holiday-themed — for year-round use.

She also will show how ordinary stones, flower pots and shovels can be repurposed as attractive yard art.

Unruh will illustrate how to use materials from the garden for holiday decorating and for gardening gifts for both the holiday season and year-round.

Specifically, she will share ideas for gifting seeds, seedlings, bulbs, pressed or dried flowers, and garden tools and supplies.

Unruh, a Master Gardener volunteer since 2013, has designed unique artistic, thematic settings for her home garden which was featured during the 2015 Petals Pathways Home Garden Tour.

A Master Gardener since 2003, Elliott has spearheaded several Petals and Pathways Home Garden Tours and her garden was featured on the 2013 garden tour.

She is a recipient of the Master Gardener of the Year and Golden Trowel Lifetime Achievement awards.

For more information, call 360-565-2679.

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IN THE GARDEN: Tips on successfully growing poinsettias for the holidays

The poinsettia (euphorbia pulcherrima) is the most popular and recognizable flowering plant sold in the United States.

The true flowers of these plants (called cyanthia) are the small clusters of yellow blooms in the open centers of the red floral bracts which form the foliage. Through plant breeding, the cyanthia now are less obvious, with the focus on the foliage. Besides classic red, plant breeders have produced cultivars with many other colors and even marbled and speckled leaves.

• Selecting a plant: Look for mature, thoroughly colored foliage. Select plants with foliage all the way down the stem. Leaves should not be drooping. Choose plants with the yellow flower centers that are not quite open.

• How to maintain the plants: Poinsettias prefer a bright location with about six hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. Direct sun will fade the color; sheer curtains or a window shade will help.

Daytime temperatures should not exceed 70 degrees; excess heat or cold will cause leaves to yellow and fall off and the flower bracts will fade. Avoid placing plants near drafts, excess heat or dry air from appliances, fireplaces, or ventilationducts.

• They prefer moderately moist soil: Water when soil is dry to the touch and never let the plant sit in standing water. Do not fertilize a poinsettia when it is in bloom.

• Care after the holidays.

Around March or April, the colorful foliage bracts begin to fade. Prune the plant back to about eight inches in height.

Although it will look bare, new growth eventually will start from the nodes up and down the stem. Keep the plant near a sunny window and continue watering every two to three weeks with a balanced fertilizer. The plants can be brought back for another season, but the process can be demanding. They need a continuous and long dark period each night to form their colorful foliage bracts.

• Poinsettia plants are not considered toxic. Consumption of the foliage, however, can lead to stomach issues. The milky sap of the plant can be a skin irritant and cause a mild rash. Exercise caution with these plants around pets or small children.

For information about this plant, especially if you would like to keep your plant for next season, visit our website at

Rosanne Loparco is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Times Telegram or online at

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