Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 31, 2018

How to keep ground squirrels AND gophers AND tree squirrels out of the garden

DEAR JOAN: While doing research about ground squirrel-proof fencing, I stumbled across a blog item you’d posted several years ago about the topic. I am helping design a local community garden — a little more than 1.4 acres — and while I have used electric fencing with success to keep livestock in, I’ve never used it to keep small things out.

New Pet Pal LogoThe garden has problems with ground squirrels, tree squirrels and gophers. The gophers have been under control since using hardware cloth below each bed. The overwhelming problem is squirrels.

Do you think running electric wire on the top of the fence does reduce squirrels getting into gardens? We will be employing a multi-faceted approach with the fence, going into the ground and other control methods for those that burrow under, but if we can deter them somewhat, it wouldn’t be a free-for-all.

Jen Este, Bay Area

DEAR JEN: Oh, yes, I have a lot of experience trying to keep creatures out of gardens.

In 2009, I started a demonstration garden, Our Garden, with the assistance of the Contra Costa Master Gardeners. And when I say assistance, I mean they did and have continued to do all of the work. The garden was at the Contra Costa Times building in Walnut Creek, which is now the site of an indoor sports facility.

The Times had employee garden plots that had once been very popular, but that no one much was using. Shortly after planting our first crop, we discovered why. A hoard of ground squirrels roamed the field behind the gardens like a tiny herd of buffalo. They ate, to the ground, everything we planted.

We tried all sorts of things to keep them out — chemical deterrents, bird netting and finally fencing. But the only thing that worked with about a 98 percent success rate was the combination of things.

Ground squirrels burrow down about 2 feet, so when we built our fence, we also buried hardware cloth straight down to that depth. Our fence was 5 to 6 feet tall, but ground squirrels also climb, so we added a battery operated shock wire to the top of the fence.

We’ve since moved locations, but we have the same set-up.

The shock wire is different from an electric fence that keeps cattle from straying. It only delivers a mild shock and only when the squirrel contacts both the metal wire of the fence and the shock wire. Birds, for example, can perch on the shock wire and not be bothered.

The shock wire will also keep tree squirrels out, but only if they attempt to climb over the fence. If you have overhanging tree branches, the squirrels can use those to climb out over the fence and drop down into the garden. Because of the configuration of the fence and wire, they can climb out without being shocked.

The shock wire won’t stop gophers at all. They might climb a little, but they certainly won’t scale a tall fence. The barrier in the ground keep them out.

You also should know that ground squirrels never, ever give up. They will dig test holes around the perimeter, looking for weaknesses. They’ll find them, but you can quickly patch them and only lose a little of your bounty. We’re willing to share, but ground squirrels want it all.

Article source:

HGTV’s Clint Harp appearing at The Great Big Home + Garden Show opening Friday: tickets, admission (photos)

CLEVELAND, Ohio — If there are masses of fresh flowers in bloom, home renovation experts on hand, appearances by HGTV celebrities, cooking classes, things to do for kids, and booth after booth filled with this and that, it means the curtain is going up for the annual Great Big Home + Garden Show at the IX Center.

This year’s show, sponsored by Marketplace Events, runs from Friday, February 2nd, to Sunday the 11th. With more than 600 exhibits, the show promises to be action-central for new and renovation home ideas, innovative products, architecture and gardens.

Celebrities appearing on the combined HBA Main Stage and Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage, include Matt Fox, returning to emcee. Fox and Shari Hiller have been doing television together for more than 20 years. The duo holds the record for the longest running decorating show in history with “Room by Room,” which aired on HGTV for 14 years. Their current show, “Around The House with Matt and Shari” can be found on PBS. Fox first will appear on the Main Stage at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2, with “Great Weekend Projects,” followed by more appearances throughout the show.

Former supermodel Kathy Ireland, whose namesake brand includes everything from fashion and jewelry to furniture and tableware, appears at 1 p.m. Saturday February 3.

Clint Harp from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” is coming. Harp is referred to as “the dumpster diving, reclaimed-wood-loving carpenter.” See him for “An Afternoon with Clint Harp” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, and noon and 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11.

The Petitti Gardening Stage is hosting daily gardening seminars on landscape design, flora and furnishing outdoor rooms. The Petitti Floral Mart will feature outdoor furniture and plants to purchase.

Every year, landscape designers create gardens based on a theme, and this year the theme is “Song!” Among them, “An Evening with Frank Sinatra,” “America” by Neil Diamond and “Marry Me” by Train, translated into botanical beauty.

New features and attractions include two cabins by Weaver Barns, one of which is solar-powered; the latest in home automation by Xtend Technologies, built by Pepperwood Homes; elevated patio design options built by Dan Guardo Contracting, Inc; Two Tiny homes under 200 square feet to tour built by Small Spaces CLE, and more.  

With “DIY Inspiration: One Nightstand Challenge,” six designers were challenged to take a basic nightstand from bland to bold, using only $50. Attendees will get the chance bid on their favorite, with auction proceeds benefiting a local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Visitors also can stop by “U Got Mail” to vote for their favorite local celebrity mailbox and bid on a chance to take one home. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.

For youngsters, there’s Playground World’s KidZone playground equipment.

The complete schedule is available at

The IX Center is located at One I-X Center Drive, Cleveland. If you’re going, here’s what you need to know:


Friday, Feb. 2 – – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 3 – – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 4 – – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday through Friday, Feb. 5 to 9 – – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 10 – – 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 11 – – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


$15, adult admission, box office; $12, online at or in-store at any Discount Drug Mart; $11, seniors 65-plus with identification (Monday-Thursday only, tickets must be purchased at the show box office); $10, group tickets (minimum 20); $5, children ages 6 to 12; free, children 5 and younger.

Theme Days:

Sherwin-Williams Day sponsored by WDOK-FM – Friday, Feb 2, visit any Sherwin-Williams store to pick up a free general admission ticket for that day.

Heroes Days sponsored by The Plain Dealer – Sunday Feb. 4 and Sunday, Feb. 11 – Active and retired members of the military, as well as first reponders, receive free admission with identification.

Red Hat Society Days – Friday, Feb. 2 and Friday, Feb. 9 – Wear your red hat social attire on either of these days and purchase a discounted ticket for $10. Four ticket maximum per red hat purchase.

Ohio Lottery Day sponsored by WQAL-FM: Thursday, Feb. 8 – Visitors bringing in a losing lottery ticket will receive $5 off admission at the box office.


Article source:

Garden design program

Please enjoy this limited viewing

Visitors to The Morgan Messenger online can now read four free articles per month.
If you’d like full access to all of our stories, plus breaking news between editions, please try one of our subscriptions options available here.

If you are already a subscriber, please login here.

We appreciate your business!

For your convenience, you may read this story after 10 seconds

The Potomac Valley Audubon Society will sponsor a morning program in Berkeley Springs on Wednesday, February 7.

The program will be held at 10 a.m. at the Morgan County Board of Education building at 247 Harrison Avenue.

Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

The speaker will be James Dillon, a certified Horticulturalist who owns and operates Native Havens LLC, a landscaping and gardening firm in Kearneysville.

His presentation will emphasize the importance of considering plant functions as well as aesthetics in designing gardens, to ensure that the results are not only visually beautiful but resilient and beneficial to local birds and pollinating insects.

Dillon has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from East Carolina University and has been working in the field for more than 13 years, most notably at the Delaware Center for Horticulture.

His landscape and garden designs emphasize native plant selections, environmental benefits and low maintenance.

He has designed several rain gardens in the region and volunteers for the Monarch Alliance, designing butterfly waystations for them.

For more information go to or contact Krista Hawley 703-303-1026.

Article source:

Landscape design time?

We’ve had some nice days this winter. We’ve had some crummy ones as well. It’s easy to find something to do on the nice ones.

What do you do to make being cooped up while a howling wind makes below freezing temperatures really feel cold? It might be a good time to take a look at your landscape.

It’s easy to be intimidated when it comes to designing (or redesigning) a landscape, but it doesn’t have to be with the numerous resources available to you. K-State Research and Extension offers three publications to help you get started.

Residential Landscape Design is a general publication that can serve as an introduction to landscaping, while publications like Naturalistic Landscaping and Low-Maintenance Landscaping provide more specific ideas. All are free downloads at, or you can request a copy from your District Extension Office as well. They can be great guides to get you over that initial “I don’t have a clue where to start” hump.

Once you get a general direction in mind, search for information on suggested plants. Information specifically on Kansas recommended plants can be found at

Especially helpful are the Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom websites that include color pictures of plants that have been evaluated under Kansas conditions. While they don’t have pictures, the Evergreen Shrubs for Kansas and Deciduous Shrubs for Kansas publications are also excellent resources as you determine what varieties might be best suited for Kansas conditions.

In addition to checking out these resources or those available in your local garden center, I would offer two more suggestions. First, get started on a small scale. It sounds crazy, but many a project has been put off because someone didn’t know where to begin. If you don’t like it, you can redo it. If you do, you can expand.

Second, remember that your landscape is for your enjoyment. If you want a professional to design it, lean on their vast expertise. If you want to do it on your own, you can definitely try some things out that you like as well. Either way, you have to be happy with the end product, so be involved with it along the way.

Article source:

NALP announces 2018 top landscape trends

rock path with flowersThe National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) recently announced its official list of the 2018 top landscape trends.

“The top 2018 landscape trends reflect an evolution of the outdoor living trend we’ve seen grow in popularity over the past few years,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs, NALP. “Stimulated by a healthy economy, homeowners and property managers are innovating their landscapes in fun, new ways. Recognizing the tremendous value that beautiful and functional landscapes bring to homes and commercial properties, today’s landscapes are built to last, so they can be used and enjoyed through all the seasons, year after year.”

NALP says it develops its trends reports based on a survey of its members and by drawing from the expertise of landscape professionals representing various regions of the U.S. who are at the forefront of outdoor trends. The group adds that landscape trends are also influenced by broader lifestyle and design trends.

For 2018, NALP predicts that the following five trends will influence the green industry:

Climate-cognizant landscaping

NALP notes that with unpredictable weather patterns comes the need for landscape enhancements that can withstand extreme conditions and allow spaces to be enjoyed, whether it’s unseasonably warm or cold.

You never know when the unexpected will arrive, so more and more landscapes are now being planned with just that thought in mind. Many feature pergolas with retractable canopies that can offer shelter for outdoor areas in wind, snow and rain. Others may feature outdoor patio heaters for those chilly nights, and hardier hardscape materials are used to handle the drastically fluctuating temperatures.

Experimental landscape design

Nowadays, landscapes are creatively and thoughtfully built for living, playing and working, and they greatly contribute to bringing together function and form for a quality outdoor experience.

When it comes to residential landscapes, many feature designated areas for cooking, relaxing, dining and doing outdoor work. These are typically adorned with fully integrated outdoor lighting and audio/visual systems for a multisensory and multiuse experience, day or night.

Office landscapes also more frequently feature walking and bike paths, gardens or dining areas to enhance the experience of the employees. In both residential and commercial landscapes, NALP says the experience typically begins at the entrance with design elements, plantings and an eye-catching lawn making visitors feel welcome and awed.

Plants in playful colors and patterns

Since Pantone recently chose Ultra Violet as the 2018 Color of the Year, there’s no doubt that this pop of color will be incorporated into more landscapes, while still playing up the simple elegance of the greenery that was all the rage in 2017.

NALP believes that this color of the year will prove to be an influencer on the interior and exterior design, and landscape professionals are expected to integrate more violets, verbena, clematis, iris and other purple flowers into landscapes.

NALP says that “patterned” plants are also getting some time in the garden spotlight this year since these plants are unique and revered for their intricate details, such as brightly colored veins and striped leaves.

Emphasis on water management and conservation

Sustainability has proven to be a buzzword in the green industry over the past few years, and NALP says that for 2018, it’s proving to be more than just a trend.

The organization says that sustainability influences how landscapes are created and maintained now and in the years to come. Particularly, NALP says the integration of eco-friendly watering practices are expected to continue taking off this year, which includes the use of plants native to a region (which generally uses less water), smarter irrigation technology and xeriscaping (planning a landscape to use low-water-use plants).

Enhanced equipment and technology

When it comes to the latest yard tools on the market, NALP says the ideas of ease of use and storage, along with incorporating more eco-friendly innovations, are major focusses.

Many pieces of equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers and the like feature low or no emissions, are battery-powered and are quieter. There are many garden tools that are also designed to stack or fold to fit in a shed or garage space.

Along with these ideas, NALP reports that professionals are also integrating more technology into landscape planning, such as 3D modeling, drones and mobile apps.

Article source:

5 Top Landscape Design Trends That’ll Take Your Yard to a Whole New Level

Your yard is no longer just a place to plant a few shrubs. This terrain can now serve as a second living room, playroom, kitchen, office, and more—fully equipped with comforts we typically associate with the great indoors.

That, at least, is the latest forecast from the National Association of Landscape Professionals, which just released its list of the top landscape trends for 2018. Based on a survey of its members and other landscape professionals at the forefront of their field, the buzz phrase these days is “outdoor living,” according to Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs at NALP. “Stimulated by a healthy economy, homeowners are innovating their landscapes in fun, new ways,” she says.

To protect against the elements, another trend noted by NALP called “climate-cognizant landscaping” allows homeowners to quickly accommodate shifts in weather: Think pergolas with retractable canopies, outdoor heaters, and hardscape materials that can withstand drastic temperature fluctuations. So whether you’re hit with heat waves or near-hurricanes, your yard can handle it!

And the time to start envisioning your “outdoor living space” is now.

“It’s best to start that planning process now over the winter, so your lawn will be ready come spring,” says Henriksen. “Just like a homeowner may carefully consider the design elements of a particular room, the landscape should be given that same level of thoughtfulness.”

To start, ask yourself what you want your yard’s purpose to be: a place to fire off a few emails over morning coffee? Your new game room for Friday night Uno matches?

“From those basic questions, the design can take shape,” Henriksen says. To get the ideas rolling, here are NALP’s top landscaping trends for 2018.

1. Outdoor fireplaces

Move over, fire pit: Why hunker over a hole with hot coals in the ground when you can lounge next to a bona fide fireplace? It’s the perfect addition to an outdoor living space with couches, particularly in colder climes where it might otherwise be too chilly to hang outdoors.

In this outdoor room, featuring a permanent overhead roof, a fireplace can be enjoyed through all the seasons.
In this outdoor room, featuring a permanent overhead roof, a fireplace can be enjoyed through all the seasons.

Designs By Sundown


2. Creative play structures

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to play chess with a set like this? It’s all part of the trend of “experiential landscape design,” in which you interact with your surroundings in a playful, multisensory way.

A giant chess set brings fun and games to the backyard.
A giant chess set brings fun and games to the backyard.

Chapel Valley Landscape Company


3. ‘Patterned’ plants

Plants can have patterns, too—from stripes on leaves to brightly colored veins—and these intricate details are expected to be all the rage in 2018.

Patterned plants areslated to be inhigh demandin 2018.
Patterned plants are slated to be in high demand in 2018.

Woodlawns Landscape Company,


4. The color purple

With ultraviolet dubbed Pantone’s “Color of the Year,” you can expect landscapes to toss in plenty of purple through violets, verbena, clematis, and irises in this royal hue.


5. Water-saving foliage

NALP predicts that sustainable landscaping will continue to be big in 2018, in the form of xeriscaping (low-water plants), using plants native to the region (which generally use less water) and smart irrigation (which measures moisture levels in the soil and waters only when necessary).

Integrating native plants and xeriscaping are among the top landscape trends of 2018.
Integrating native plants and xeriscaping are among the top landscape trends of 2018.

Phil Allen, Brigham Young University, and the National Association of Landscape Professionals

Article source:

Suspected Serial Killer Landscaper May Have Buried Victims in Clients’ Gardens, Police Say

(TORONTO) — Toronto police said Monday they are hunting through backyard gardens and planters across the city for possible victims of a landscaper accused of murdering at least five people and suspected of killing more.

Bruce McArthur was charged Monday with the first-degree murder of three missing men, adding to two cases filed earlier.

Toronto Det. Sgt. Hank Idsinga said at a news conference that the dismembered remains of at least three victims were found hidden in the bottom of large planters in the backyard of a Toronto home that McArthur, 66, used as storage for his landscaping business. He said the remains have not been identified.

Police have or plan to search about 30 properties where McArthur worked, Idsinga said, and he urged the man’s customers to contact police.

“We believe there are more remains at some of these properties that we are working to recover,” Idsinga said.

“We have seized quite a few planters from around the city and we will continue to do that. There are at least two sites that we do want to excavate where people might be buried.”

McArthur was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the presumed deaths of Selim Esen and Andrew Kinsman, both reported missing from Toronto’s gay village area at separate times last year.

Idsinga said McArthur has now also been charged in the deaths of 58-year-old Majeed Kayhan, 50-year-old Soroush Marmudi and 47-year-old Dean Lisowick.

Idsinga said Lisowick was an occupant of the shelter system who had not been reported missing. Police believe he was murdered between May 2016 and July 2017.

“It encompasses more than the gay community. It encompasses the City of Toronto,” Idsinga said.

Members of the LGBTQ community were pushing for answers last year in light of the disappearances of 44-year-old Esen and 49-year-old Kinsman. Officers investigated McArthur for months but could not make a definitive link to the disappearances until this month, police said.

Idsinga has said McArthur had a sexual relationship with Kinsman.

“The city of Toronto has never seen anything like this,” Idsinga said. “It is unprecedented and draining. He’s an alleged serial killer and he’s taken some steps to cover his tracks.”

Article source:

Master Gardener: Ornamental grasses great for gardens, landscaping





Article source:

2018 Fulton Gardens Fund applications accepted

FULTON, Ill. — It may still be winter in Fulton, yet it’s time to think spring.

Any group or governmental agency that helps maintain or enhance any of Fulton’s public garden areas should consider applying now for grant money available from the Fulton Gardens Fund. This includes all public gardens and landscaping areas such as those at public schools, governmental offices, and public parks.

All applications need to be submitted to FACE (Fulton’s community foundation) on or before March 5. Requests can be made for grants to cover most aspects of maintaining or creating a public garden spot, including plantings, landscape elements, equipment and labor.

FACE is a component fund of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend and all applications must be submitted using its online grant application system. To access the grant application system, go to and click on “Get a Grant,” then choose “FACE: Fulton Gardens Fund” to get started. If you have questions or want additional information, contact Connie Koehn at (815) 589-2646. Applications must be completed and submitted online by no later than Monday, March 5.

The Fulton Gardens Fund is an endowment established by the Kopf family, through FACE, in 2013 in memory of Gerhart A. Kopf. He spent much of his professional career in the agricultural/nursery fields. Through his Bald Eagle Nursery, he became known for his expertise in ornamental grasses and hostas. Over several decades, he established and helped maintain many beautiful gardens in Fulton that included grasses as well as tulip and daffodil beds. This fund is intended to maintain and build on his legacy to the community and to honor his efforts and passion to beautify Fulton. It is hoped that this fund will both inspire and assist those who share his passion for beautification.

The fund’s purpose is to permanently support public garden areas in Fulton by providing grants to help maintain or enhance these gardens. Priority will be given to maintaining garden areas that already exist. Additionally, priority will be given to applications received for those garden areas in which Kopf played a role.

These include the windmill area/Den Besten Park, the bike trail flowerbeds on south Fourth Street, and 14th Avenue beautification that features tulips at the corners and flowering trees.

About $700 is expected to be available in 2018. It will be distributed as one or two grants, with no grant for less than $250. Examples of previous grant recipients: the Girl Scouts received a grant that helped them enhance the Lincoln Highway gazebo area on 10th Avenue and Master Gardener Judy Holesinger received a grant allowing her to refurbish the south Fourth Street daffodil flowerbeds that were established by Kopf.

Article source:

Gardening workshops, theater, more to do in Erie, Jan. 30 and later

Walking program: Tuesdays and Wednesdays through March 21, 6-8 p.m.; Elk Valley Elementary School, 2556 Maple Ave., Lake City; the Elk Creek Recreation Leisure Board presents weekly indoor walking sessions through the halls of the school; children must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: 50 cents per person per session. Info: 774-3519.

Gardening workshops: Wednesdays, Jan. 31-March 14 (no class on Feb. 14), 7-8:30 p.m.; L.E.A.F. Education Center, Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park, 1501 W. Sixth St.; local experts share info and tips for gardening design. Cost: $10 per workshop, or $8 for L.E.A.F. Plus members; registration required. Info:

Blue Moon Night Hike: Wednesday, Jan. 31, 6-7:30 p.m.; meet in the main parking lot area, Erie Bluffs State Park, 11122 West Lake Road, Lake City; guided 2-mile hike featuring fun facts about the Blue Moon; wear weather-appropriate gear. Cost: Free. Info:

Astronomy open house: Thursday, Feb. 1, 7:30-8:30 p.m.; Otto Behrend Science, Room 101, Penn State Behrend; Scott McKenzie presents “Finding Meteorites and Craters in the Erie Region”; astronomical observing will follow, weather permitting. Cost: Free. Info: 898-6105.

Bowl-a-Thon: Friday, Feb. 2, 5-8 p.m.; Stone United Methodist Church, 956 S. Main St., Meadville; fun event supporting the upcoming Souper Bowl of Caring event. Cost: $1 suggested donation, or one non-perishable food item. Info:, 814-573-3403.

‘An Evening of One-Act Plays’: Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 2, 3, 9 and 10, 7 p.m.; Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy, 2825 State St.; nine 10-minute one-act plays of various styles. Cost: $7 at the door. Info: 874-6300.

Snowflake Local Living Festival: Saturday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Jamestown Audubon Community Nature Center, 1600 Riverside Road, Jamestown, N.Y.; hands-on activities, hiking, snowshoe demos (depending on weather), scavenger hunt, live animal meet-and-greet, horse-drawn wagon rides and more; local businesses will also be on site. Cost: $6 for adults, $2 for children ages 3-15, and free for children 2 and under. Info:

Souper Bowl: Saturday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m.-noon; Lake City Presbyterian Church, 10088 Seeley St., Lake City; take home delicious homemade soups, such as stuffed pepper, broccoli cheese, creamy potato, vegetable beef and taco bean; homemade wheat, white and zucchini bread by the loaf; orders only by Monday, Jan. 29. Cost: $5.50 per quart of soup; $1.25-$1.50 per loaf of bread. Info: 774-8216, 774-3638.

Presque Isle Snow Day: Saturday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Waterworks area, Presque Isle State Park; enjoy a family-friendly day of cold-weather activities, including ice fishing, sled-dog demos, crafts, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. Cost: Admission is free, though some event may have fees; commemorative pin is $3, two for $5 or five for 10. Info:

Sunday breakfast: Sunday, Feb. 4, 9-9:30 a.m.; Our Lady of the Lake Social Center, 128 Sunset Drive; Edinboro Knights of Columbus monthly event. Cost: $6 for adults, $4 for children.

Article source: