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Archives for January 10, 2018

County hires company for courtyard specs

By Debbie Wachter

New Castle News

The courtyard of the Lawrence County Government Center will take on a different look, perhaps sometime later this year.

The commissioners at their meeting Tuesday approved an agreement with Petrus Engineering to create specifications for the demolition and electrical and mechanical construction activities to take place outside of the main entrance of the building. Petrus will be paid up to $6,500 for the work.

The commissioners have been in the discussion stages about the plans since August. Mary Burris Landscape and Garden Design is designing a reconfiguration of the courtyard, at a maximum cost of $1,400. Burris, also a member of the Lawrence County Planning Commission, will be working in hand with the engineering firm on the specs, county administrator Jim Gagliano said.

Gagliano said the changes will include elimination of the concrete structures around the courtyard and installation of new sidewalks and plantings.

“We’re going to replace the entire thing,” he said. 

The main part of the courthouse was built in the 1970s and has a lot of concrete that has caused people mishaps in the past. The changes would make it more user-friendly and easier for people to get in and out of the building, according to the commissioners.

Gagliano said Burris had submitted a proposed scope of work to identify the layout of what she envisions. The plans also call for revising the parking area. 

Story continues below video

A monument honoring Lawrence County’s Medal of Honor recipients, located near the courthouse entrance, also will be updated and the name of Army Sgt. Leslie Halasz Sabo Jr. of Ellwood City, a soldier killed in the Vietnam War, will be added. 

The commissioners had said that the funds for the renovations would come from $40,000 the county received last year through insurance grants, along with similar amounts that are expected this year.

Also Tuesday, the commissioners:

•Appointed Tammy Barbati of Union Township to fill the vacant position on the Workforce Investment Board of the West Central Jobs Partnership. Barbati replaces Sam Gianetti, who recently retired.

•Certified $28,184.71 in county funds for agricultural preservation for 2018.

•Approved an agreement between the county planning department and the Center for Watershed Protection to pay up to $10,345 in grant money to provide stormwater training in various counties in northwestern Pennsylvania. The money is from a $30,000 grant that also was used for two previous stormwater management workshops.

•Noted that the courthouse will be closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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Rock star garden designer Piet Oudolf planning Belle Isle creation …

Piet Oudolf, a rock star of garden design, was on Belle Isle Thursday musing about creating the greatest of all gardens. 

The world-renowned Dutch designer known in America for High Line park on an elevated rail corridor in New York City and the urban Chicago oasis of Lurie Garden is starting to conceive one of his dynamic gardens in a spot he chose beneath the Carillon tower on Belle Isle.

The Garden Club of Michigan — which invited him in a “why not Detroit” and a “why not Oudolf” moment — is beyond excited about the garden which will require more than $2.7 million in fundraising.

Piet Oudolf, a world renowned garden designer, is pictured at the site of his next project on Belle Isle in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star

“For many people he is the rock star garden designer in the world,” said Maura Campbell, former president of the Garden Club of Michigan, who confessed she didn’t know who this “Pete” fellow was at first. 

“He has raving fans, groupies if you want, just the most amazing people who are really excited.”

Oudolf spent a day and a half touring Detroit last year before choosing the empty spot on Belle Isle for a 1.5-acre garden in front of the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon and between the Remick Band Shell and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory.

Piet Oudolf, a world renowned garden designer, is pictured at the site of his next project on Belle Isle in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star

“I try to make it the greatest of all gardens, for sure,” he said Thursday without being specific on his vision.

The 73-year-old said he was already intrigued by Detroit which is undergoing its own renewal. He hopes visitors will be inspired and excited by his complex garden design with native and non-native plants. His gardens are less about decoration and more about native grasses and perennials in a living work of art.

Oduolf, who started a nursery at his home in the Netherlands in the 1980s before becoming a top designer and part of the New Perennials movement, aims to create a more natural but dynamic look that will interest visitors in all seasons. He wants people to leave feeling like they’ve seen something they’ve never experienced and feeling inspired to think differently about gardening.

Piet Oudolf, a world renowned garden designer, talks about his next project on Belle Isle, during a press availability in the Flynn Pavillion in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star

“It’s always new,” he said. “If I go out in my own gardens, every day is new.”

The Garden Club of Michigan raised $150,000 for the design. Now it needs to raise the estimated $600,000 cost to install it in 2019 and another $2 million for maintenance.

In the 1880s, what’s now considered the Jewel of Detroit — Belle Isle — was inspired by Frederick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park in New York City. Olmsted’s design for the 982-acre Detroit River island was never fully developed because it was considered too elaborate.

Piet Oudolf, a world renowned garden designer, talks about his next project on Belle Isle, during a press availability in the Flynn Pavillion in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star

Michele Hodges, president of Belle Isle Conservancy, said it is an honour to have a modern-day Olmsted.

In New York, Oudolf was the plant designer for High Line park and the waterfront Battery Park.

He was also the designer of Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in Chicago, which Campbell said attracted 20 million visitors with about half saying they took in Lurie Garden. Belle Isle has four million visitors a year and hopes to attract more from both sides of the border.

Campbell can’t put a number on the economic impact in Detroit where Oudolf is willing to design another garden along the waterfront. People heard of Oudolf and wondered if the Ambassador Bridge, if decommissioned, could become a larger version of his High Line design.

“It would be really cool,” Campbell said.

Displays detailing information about Piet Oudolf’s next garden, which will be located on Belle Isle, are pictured during a press availability in the Flynn Pavillion in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star

Piet Oudolf, a world renowned garden designer, talks about his next project on Belle Isle, during a press availability in the Flynn Pavillion in Detroit Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018.

Dax Melmer /

Windsor Star


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Widnes pupils win prestigious garden design competition | Runcorn …

Pupils at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College celebrate winning the garden design competition

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IN THE GARDEN: Gardening resolutions for the new year

Happy New Year 2018!

Gardeners have more opportunities to make their resolutions come true because we are always trying to make our gardens better; when we plan, peruse seed catalogs or put the garden to bed in the fall, we are always resolving to do something. This year, consider these ideas for YOUR garden resolution list: Compost. Consider starting a compost area, or if you already compost, add more things.

Add a new plant. Find a local nursery resource. Discover new plants such as heirlooms and plant one.

Learn something new. Attend a class, read a gardening book or visit a gardening website such as our Oneida County Cornell Cooperative Extension at Consider becoming a master gardener volunteer. Visit our website for more information.

Attract one new butterfly. The best way to attract butterflies to the garden is to provide the plants they like best. This includes plants used by their caterpillars, called “host plants.” Each type of butterfly has its own host plant. Do a little research and see what works best in our area. Visit the Butterflies and Moths of North America’s website at for more information.

Serve one item that you grew yourself. Grow edibles; you do not need a big space. Consider one container for an edible plant, take pride in even the smallest harvest and share with others.

For the beginner, grow an herb and use it in your favorite recipe.

Add a new houseplant. This will give you a garden fix now and will get you ready for the 2018 gardening year!

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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It’s OK to prune beautyberry now

Q: My beautyberry bushes are 12 feet high and haven’t been pruned in years. Can I prune them now?
Helen Rice, email

A: Good news: beautyberry blooms on new wood, so you can prune in winter. The eye-catching berries seen in fall follow the flowers you’ll spot in early summer. I have a complete shrub pruning calendar at

Q: A bluebird just appeared in my backyard. Isn’t this too early for them?
Martha Benton, Lilburn

A: My friend Cathy G. maintains nesting boxes in our neighborhood and feeds bluebirds in her yard year round. They don’t typically migrate in fall. During the winter bluebirds simply cluster where food and shelter is most available. They might be in a nearby green space where there are juniper, holly, and mistletoe berries to eat plus evergreen shrubs for shelter. The one you saw is probably out scouting for food. Bluebirds really enjoy live mealworms in winter. Consider buying a bluebird feeder and some live worms online and put it near a window so you can watch your bluebird during cold weather.

Q: We have eight loropetalum shrubs in front of our house. We want to move them to another spot. Is now a bad time to do it, even when it’s cold?
David Decker

A: Loropetalum is reasonably tolerant of moving in winter as long as you bring lots of roots along with the shrub. To that end, when a few warm days are forecast, liberally soak the ground around the shrubbery. Use a spading fork or pitchfork to loosen the soil and then use your hands to identify the large roots. Gently pull the roots free. When most of them are loosened from the soil the whole shrub can be pulled up. A few roots may need to be clipped in the process. Spray the roots with water to keep them wet and move them to their new spot, which you have already prepared for their installation. You can thin some limbs from the shrub before moving it but it’s best to leave as many branch tips intact as you can.

Q: My wife and I are having a debate. I take our croton and mandevilla outdoors when the temperature rises above 40 degrees. She wonders if moving them in and out is detrimental?
Ken Chadwick, email

A: I think your wife is right. Many of the physiological processes in a tropical plant slow down greatly at temperatures below 55 degrees. I think you should leave your plants indoors unless it’s warmer than 55 degrees outside.

Q: I am concerned about dry soil and cold weather. Would it be helpful to water my lawn now? I have bermuda, centipede and some fescue.
Charles Corbett, email

A: I can’t think of how watering would help dormant grass unless it was newly laid sod. I realize that it hasn’t rained in a while but there is still moisture in the soil. Unless your fescue is newly seeded, it doesn’t need water either.

Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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Annual conference offers tips for home gardening

WAUSAU, Wis., (WSAW)– Don’t’ let winter keep you indoors. For another year, Wausau will host the largest Central Wisconsin’s largest gardening conference.

Garden Visions 2018, hosted by UW Extension’s Master Gardener program, offers two days of learning and exploration for gardeners of all ages and skill levels.

The conference takes place January 19-20 at North Central Wisconsin Technical College in Wausau.

Friday night sit around the ‘Farm Table’ to learn about farming landscape Midwestern farmers and artisan food producers.

The Slow food Dinner will be catered by Clint Schultz and Urban Street Bistro. Speaker is Inga Witscher of Wisconsin Public Television’s “Around the Farm Table” – Inga owns and operates an organic dairy farm near Osseo MN. She will be conducting a cooking demonstration after the dinner.

Saturday’s main conference features keynote speaker, Ellen Ecker Ogden. She is from Vermont – she is a food and garden author and kitchen garden designer.

There are 3 breakout sessions with 5 topics to choose from during each break out. Great raffle prizes and vendors for shopping! And a great lunch!

A bonus presentation by Paul Whitaker, Professor of Biological Sciences at UW-Marathon County. Paul’s presentation is titled “Taming the Savage Beast”: Invasive Plants That Might Be Calling Your Current or Future Garden Home.

Anyone and everyone is invited to attend the event. Anyone interested in gardening, regardless of experience, will enjoy this conference.

“It’s a fun and happy day to think about gardening as we look outside at the cold snow! We have attendees from all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois,” explained committee member Jane Olson.

For more information visit; For a paper copy call Carol at 715-693-6446.

Deadline for registration is January 15th. Walk-ins will be accepted the day of the conference, but sessions may be limited and lunch will not be available to walk-ins.

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