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Archives for February 4, 2018

Wildwood Garden Club to hear about ‘Abstract Floral Design’ – News

The program “ Abstract Floral Design” will be presented at 10 a.m., Feb. 21, by Wildwood Garden Club at Wildwood Cultural Center, 7645 Little Mountain Road in Mentor.

The speaker will be Barbara Schuh, a national flower show master judge who currently holds the position of flower show awards chairman for Garden Club of Ohio. She is a member of Gates Mills Garden Club, Cleveland Flower Arrangers Guild and Great Lakes Atelier.

The presentation is free and open to the public. Non-members should call 440-255-8449 to register.

The Club meets the third Wednesday of the month from September through June.

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Garden workshops for a bountiful spring

Will this be the spring you plant a successful edible garden? Or will you rethink your ornamental garden to make it more sustainable? Garden for the Environment, at 1590 7th Ave. (at Lawton Street), in San Francisco’s Inner Sunset neighborhood, is offering two series of weekly classes this spring that are sure to get you digging.

A six-session class will teach you to create and grow a vegetable garden. The series, called Dig In!, costs $150 and runs March 31 to May 5. The six topics are: raised-bed construction; growing healthy soil; DIY drip irrigation; planting calendar and crop rotation; planting your edible garden; and care and harvest.

The other series, which consists of three classes, will teach you how to create a drought-tolerant, chemical-free backyard. The session topics are: sustainable garden design; water-wise gardening; and organic pest control. This series will be taught twice — in March, starting March 10; and again in June, starting June 16. Enrollment costs $30, and each participant will receive a $10 gift certificate for either Cole Hardware or the Urban Farmer.

The garden, a half-acre ornamental and food demonstration garden, offers individual monthly classes in organic gardening, as well as workshops on beekeeping, keeping chickens and the all-important composting. To read more about the classes or to enroll, go to or call (415) 558-8246.

Ruth Bancroft in 2004 with an agave in her Ruth Bancroft Garden, which will honor her life and work on Feb. 17.nbsp; Photo is taken from “The Bold Dry Garden” © Copyright 2016 by Johanna Silver and the Ruth Bancroft Garden. All rights reserved. Published by Timber Press, Portland, Ore. Used by permission of the publisher. Photo: MARION BRENNER

In Memorium: Ruth Bancroft

More Gardening

Ruth Bancroft, creator of the wonderful Walnut Creek garden featured in the recent book “The Bold Dry Garden,” died Nov. 26, 2017, at the amazing age of 109. Thanks to the Garden Conservancy, Ruth’s 3.5-acre dry garden will continue to operate as a nonprofit open to the public. Winter hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.

The garden includes succulents, cacti, palms and other dry-garden plants. Because the garden was started decades ago, it includes many mature specimens, giving visitors an idea of how a plant would fit in with a home landscape. The arrangement of plants will inspire gardeners to replicate combinations in their own gardens. Winter visitors can see the year-round appeal of these plants, including aloes in bloom.

An excellent day to visit the garden and learn more about Ruth and the plants she grew is Feb. 17. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m., the Ruth Bancroft Garden will honor her life and legacy with historic exhibits, planting demonstrations, guest speakers, docent tours and activities for all ages. Johanna Silver, author of “The Bold Dry Garden,” will be there to sign books. The event is free, but an RSVP is requested.

To learn more about the garden, and to RSVP, go to the garden’s website,, or call (925) 944-9352. The Ruth Bancroft Garden, 1552 Bancroft Road, Walnut Creek.

A worker uses wattle for erosion control in January in the Coffey Park neighborhood of Santa Rosa. The California Native Plant Society offers restoration tips for fire-ravaged areas. Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press

Replanting after fire

As those whose homes were lost or properties damaged by fires in Sonoma, Napa and Mendocino counties look to the future, they see they need to rebuild not only homes but the surrounding landscape: What to plant? When to plant it? How to prepare for future fire seasons?

The California Native Plant Society has prepared a free, science-based, illustrated booklet to answer questions about what and how to plant after a fire. You can read it at or obtain a copy by sending an email to or by calling (916) 447-2677, Ext. 200. Here are a few tips to get you started on recovery.

Wait to see if plants leaf out or re-sprout, then prune off deadwood.

Place erosion barriers, such as coir rolls, on slopes to hold soil in place.

Try to finish replanting before the rainy season ends.

California Buttercup at Candlestick Point Native Plant Nursery in San Francisco, California, on Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016. Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle

Best native plants

Wherever you live in California, whether or not you were struck by fire, you can learn the best-adapted native plants for your location and situation by using the Calscape Plantfinder. This Internet database chooses plants after you key in your location — address or ZIP code. You can browse by category, such as ease of care, water use, deer resistance, sun requirements and usefulness to pollinators. Find it at

Pam Peirce is the author of “Golden Gate Gardening.” Email:

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How to design a winning garden with plants that are on trend for 2018

Is your garden so 2017 when it could be oh-so 2018?

Pantone, Behr and other color enthusiasts declare a “color of the year” annually, sending designers scrambling. So, don’t forget about your own backyard. Consider the “plants of the year.’’

“Every year, the National Garden Bureau board of directors selects four crops based on three things: Are they easy to grow? Are there new breeds to showcase? And is there consumer interest?” said Diane Blazek, executive director, All-America Selections with the National Garden Bureau. “We now survey our members as to which crops they think we should highlight and then the board of directors makes the final decisions.”

The National Garden Bureau’s top choices this year are the tulip, coreopsis, calibrachoa and the beet.



Throughout the year, the “winners” are highlighted in many ways, particularly on social media. The Bureau even has an active and enthusiastic network of garden bloggers and influencers it affectionately calls #NGBPlantNerds. “Our members and others really get involved by posting features in their catalogs, on their websites and on their own social media outlets. We now have a Zazzle store (online) too. That’s where anyone can purchase mugs, T-shirts, tote bags and cards made with our ‘Year of’ logos. Pretty exciting,’’ she said.

But before you start digging, take note, much like their color counterparts, it seems there are plenty of opinions as to the winners. For instance, the Perennial Plant Association has dubbed the butterfly magnet Allium “Millenium’’ as its top choice. Proven Winners opted for Supertunia-Bordeaux; a dark purple center petunia (annual), the richly dark “Black Pearl’’ Heuchera coral bells hybrid (perennial); and the “Spilled Wine’’ variety of Weigela, the deep purple foliage marked with hot magenta pink flowers (landscape) as its picks.

What’s a garden fan to do? There’s nothing wrong with choosing a fan favorite, but consider the needs of your garden and what you want to achieve. Color plays a key role in how you feel and relate to your surroundings. Choosing which hues to use is a personal preference.

Debra Prinzing loves starting each new year with plants getting a public relations push. “For one thing, these annual botanical proclamations focus the attention of gardeners toward a special garden-worthy variety that I might previously have overlooked. And, I know the organizations that choose the winning varieties (such as Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, the American Rose Society or the National Gardening Bureau) — they take their duty seriously,’’ said the author, founder and creative director of, an online directory to American-grown flower sourcing.

Although sometimes surprised by the selections, she said members of these groups use certain criteria and vote. “So the plants of the year are truly vetted. It’s fun, too.”

It’s also big business for the growing numbers who love flowers, plants and gardening. According to a recent National Gardening Survey, millennials lead the pack in wanting to get their hands dirty. They help fuel an almost $37 billion DIY yard and garden industry. Prinzig is a big fan of the tulip. She proclaims it as the new alternative to roses. “Tulips are almost always locally or domestically grown, so they won’t disappoint like many imported roses will. Tulips are perfect for the season, a fantastic value for the price, available in a rainbow of hues, and long-lasting in the vase.’’

One new design trend is displaying tulips with their bulbs still on the base of the stem as if the entire flower has been yanked out of the soil, she said. Rinse off excess soil and fill a clear glass vase with tulips-and-bulbs or put the bulbs on a bed of gravel in a low dish of water. “Seeing the roots and bulb, along with the pretty flowers, is yet another way to enjoy their amazing character,” she said.

Pick a winner

1. Coreopsis: A familiar favorite of many Southern California gardens, it is versatile as long as it has a sunny home. Native Americans used it to dye fabrics and as tea. Florida and Mississippi have named coreopsis as their state’s wildflower. It’s commonly called “Tickseed” because of its bedbug-like seeds. Coreopsis is a born pollinator magnet attracting bees, butterflies and birds.

2. Calibrachoa: Another Southern California garden staple, calibrachoa is known as “million bells.’’ It thrives in containers, hanging baskets and bowls. It is a wonderful spiller plant that sports small petunia-like flowers. It doesn’t mind the heat (even in full sun) and doesn’t require a lot of water. The Brazilian native became popular in the United States in the late 1980s.

3. Tulips: When you see tulips you know spring is just around the corner. Their family members include lilies and onions. They grow supported on one stem and have been favorites in works of art dating back to the 10th century. Holland produces most of the world’s annual crop — a stunning 4 billion bulbs. And although their shape is familiar, there are more than 150 species and more than 3,000 varieties.

4. Beets: Beets are back. The ancient Romans used them as medicine, but today they are popular in salads, soups (borscht, anyone?) or pickled on the plate. You can even use them as a pasta substitute if you shred them into “noodles.” They are high in fiber, vitamins A and C and iron, leading some to label them a super food. And beets, much like coreopsis, can be used in natural dyes.

5. Black Pearl: Aptly named, it has jet black ruffled waxy  leaves. Its light pink flowers are long-lasting and can be used in arrangements. Pollinators love it.

6. Spilled Wine: This plant spreads out making it an ideal foundation for landscape beds.

7. Supertunia Bordeaux: This one comes in all kinds of colors, can be used in containers or landscapes and is an energetic bloomer from spring to frost.

8.  Allium Millenium: It grows in full sun, sprouts large blooms and, again, attracts pollinators, especially butterflies. The onion is a close relative.

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GREEN THUMBS UP: Creating a landscape master plan

Several days of mild temperatures afforded a welcome opportunity to escape the dry, stuffy confines of my indoor sanctuary and assess the consequences of this winter’s most recent weather extremes. Damage to trees and shrubs in my own landscape seemed to be minimal, but the bitter cold temperatures, snow, ice, flooding, and freeze-thaw cycles will likely result in widespread casualties. Since wintry weather is sure to resume, restless dirt diggers must be content to be armchair gardeners for the next few weeks offering time to plan new gardens or redesign overgrown plantings.

As we examine our outdoor sanctuaries during the dormant months, it becomes readily apparent that our landscapes are often viewed from within our homes. The winter season is perhaps the most important time of the year around which to plan our plantings. Mother Nature paints our woodlands, meadows, roadsides, and our landscapes with a wide array of changing colors during the growing season, but when winter arrives and we yearn for color most, many landscapes appear drab and lifeless. Study your shrubbery from a kitchen window or a favorite sitting area and make notes to include plantings that offer winter interest where they can be observed from these perspectives. On warmer days, venture out into your yard and analyze your plantings. Bring along a camera and take images of your home from different angles and at various times during the day. Consider the view from the street, the driveway, and the front and back walkways.

Whether you are dealing with a new dwelling or an overgrown mature planting, it is advisable to develop a master plan. A preliminary analysis of your family’s needs and habits should be undertaken to ascertain the current and future goals and objectives of your landscaping projects. Your objective should be to have “form follow function” outdoors, just as the interior spaces in your home are designated to serve specific purposes.

The analytical process requires that you be somewhat of a visionary. Imagine your perfect landscape while being realistic about the possibility of achieving that end. It is usually wise to begin with what is known as the “hardscape” which includes the driveway, walkways, retaining walls, decks, or patios. You may want to enclose an area with fencing for the purpose of privacy, screening an unwanted view, or containing pets or young children in a safe environment. Do you require a storage shed, dog pen, swing set, or space to park a boat or additional cars? If you have a smaller property, planning becomes especially important to maximize your outdoor living space.

As your master plan takes shape, think about whether you intend to undertake the design and implementation of the project yourself or hire professionals to assist you. While there can be a significant expense for a landscape designer, capital invested in creating an attractive, functional landscape will increase the value and marketability of your home. Your decision will depend on your budget, the time you have to invest in the project, and confidence in your own ability to do the job yourself. Hardscape and the removal of large trees and overgrown shrubs may necessitate a contractor, but a creative homeowner can often design and install the majority of the plantings.

Another consideration is to determine the time and cost of maintaining your property. Do you have the financial means to hire a landscape company to assist you with the upkeep? If you have minimal spare time, you should strive to create a low-maintenance landscape, incorporating slow-growing trees, shrubs, evergreen ground covers, native plants, and easy care perennials such as hostas, daylilies, and ornamental grasses. Hedges, fruit trees, roses, vegetable gardens, large expanses of lawn, and flower gardens tend to be high-maintenance and require more time and effort to look their best.

Do not underestimate your personal ability, for as the homeowner, you are the best qualified to determine how you want your spaces to be organized and how you would like it to appear. Study books and magazines and observe landscapes in your surrounding neighborhood. Try to find ideas and designs appropriate to the exposures and challenges posed by your own property. There are websites and software programs available for those who might want to experiment with designing on a home computer.

If you are willing to do the research and proceed slowly, the pride and satisfaction of doing the job yourself are well worth the effort.


Suzanne Mahler is an avid gardener, photographer and lecturer. She is a member of a local garden club and is employed at a garden center.

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Outdoors notebook: Buy banquet tickets, learn to fly-fish, or count birds this month

Kelly Bostian writes about and photographs all things involving the environment, conservation, wildlife, and outdoors recreation. Phone: 918-581-8357

Whenever Staff Writer Kelly Bostian posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

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Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards – Sentinel

Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards

Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards

Lauren Rush gestuers as she talks about rain gardens during a forum on new landscaping guidelines for residence in the city of Perrysburg Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at the Way Public Library in Perrysburg.

Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards

Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards

Judy Hagen, storm water management educator for Perrysburg, talks about the Japanese Knotweed during a forum on the new landscaping guidelines for residence in the city of Perrysburg Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 at the Way Public Library in Perrysburg.

Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 9:24 am

Perrysburg welcomes rain gardens to backyards

By BRI’ON WHITESIDE, Sentinel-Tribune Staff Writer


PERRYSBURG — A small group of local gardeners and lovers of landscaping gathered in the basement of Way Public Library on Monday to learn about the benefits of rain gardens and other methods of stormwater management.

Stormwater Management Educator Judy Hagen eagerly informed residents of their newfound liberties due to an ordinance passed in December. Hagen described the updated ordinance as a mandate that allows residents to freely plant in ways that the original weed and nuisance ordinance prohibited.

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Friday, February 2, 2018 9:24 am.

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Garden show offers bounty of ideas, products

One of the things Leland Heifner, longtime promoter of the Kansas Garden Show, finds interesting about the annual event is how organizations and vendors interpret the show’s theme.

“We leave it open for interpretation,” he said.

This year’s theme, “Gardens Around the World,” was selected by a group made up of vendors, Shawnee County Extension Master Gardeners members and others. The only thing Heifner knows for sure is that the estimated 11,000 people expected to attend the three-day show will see a “giant display” by the Masters Gardeners and Shawnee County Parks and Recreation. Otherwise, he said, “I don’t know what to expect.”

The Kansas Garden Show — in its 43rd year — will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 9-10 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Kansas Expocentre, S.W. 17th St. and Topeka Blvd. Admission is $8, with no charge for children age 12 and younger. On Friday, individuals age 55 and older can buy one ticket and get another ticket free of charge.

Heifner said the garden show will include 20 educational vendors and 100 commercial vendors the focus on gardening and landscaping, water features, new plants, gazebos and numerous other products.

“Brand new seeds will be available. … It’s the first time you get to see any of those,” he said. “There’s a broad range of vendors. There’s something for everyone, not just homeowners. … There’s plenty of stuff for people who enjoy horticulture in apartments.”

Other highlights include learning about volunteer opportunities tied to garden projects throughout the city and a chain-saw artist who will be creating artworks from tree stumps.

The foundation for the Kansas Garden Show was laid more than four decades ago by Heifner’s father, the late Bob Heifner, who operated Heifner Nursery and Garden Center.

The elder Heifner was attending a Kansas Horticulture Society meeting in the mid-1970s when he suggested the organization take on a garden show as one of its projects. He offered to coordinate the event during its first year in 1976 and then hand off the responsibility to another member. However, he continued to oversee the show for years to come.

The first show was in the old Municipal Auditorium, now the Topeka Performing Arts Center. The event outgrew the auditorium and later moved to the Expocentre.

Leland Heifner helped his father with the garden show over the years and has coordinated and promoted the event with the help of volunteers since his father’s death in July 2005.

“There is no way I could do it by myself without (the help of) volunteers, Master Gardeners and vendors,” he said.


Contact niche editor Jan Biles at (785) 295-1292.




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That Garden Guy is creating culinary landscapes that are as pretty as they are delicious


Chris Miller, owner of That Garden Guy, LLC, talks about his vision behind his business of growing food.

On a chilly Friday morning in November, Chris Miller is pushing compost around with a hoe just outside Saskatoon Lodge. The fresh and quite large delivery from Atlas Organics has just arrived at the restaurant, and Miller has a long task ahead of him.

The compost steams against the cool air, and carries a distinct smell, but Miller doesn’t seem to mind. This is what he has been waiting for, what he has built his life around, a chance to create landscapes that are functional and beautiful.

And with his newly launched business, Yeah, That Garden Guy, Miller is doing just that.

“I’ve always loved getting my hands in the dirt, and so it’s all the jobs I’ve had – landscaping, a little construction, cooking, working in kitchens, farming,” Miller says, taking a brief break from his work. “That all kind of comes together in this edible landscaping.”

Miller, who recently spent nearly two years at Reedy River Farms, has left the more standard farming realm to pursue something that fuses his passion for the culinary realm. That Garden Guy, is focused on helping restaurants, individuals, schools and other organizations or institutions grow their own food. But Miller brings more than just design to the process, he brings an understanding of climate, soil health, irrigation and the fundamentals of organic farming, not to mention an eye for design.

That Miller has started his business now reflects both where he is in his life, but also where Greenville is as a culinary center. In just under six months, That Garden Guy has grown a sizeable roster of clients, most of them restaurants.

That may reflect a broader trend at play, the growth of micro-farms. Call it the ultimate in local food, these are small, highly focused farms that allow restaurants to grow exactly what they want, when they want it, all on their own property.

What Miller provides is the means to create it and also the tools to maintain it.

“Here, he has a lot of land to work with, but he is finding space that can be utilized and would not be utilized otherwise to create local food,” says Edmund Woo, owner of Saskatoon Lodge, who hired Miller to convert part of his 9-acre property into a working farm. “It’s allowing chefs to be more creative not just with what they cook but to have more control over the whole process.”

Miller might just be the perfect person to unite the culinary and the farming worlds. He brings a background in both, having worked both in kitchens and on farms throughout the Midwest and Southeast. Most recently, the Illinois native worked with George DuBose in helping get Reedy River Farms running, and he just left a job at Bacon Bros. Public House.

“I have a passion for food,” Miller says with a grin and a shrug. “I haven’t been here long, but I do think it’s a great time now with it (Greenville) becoming a more foodie destination and all these restaurants and everyone is interested in the way their food is produced.”


Miller has also always loved working with his hands. In high school, he worked landscaping jobs, and then moved into kitchens to help pay for college.

He studied sustainable agriculture, which inspired a new way of thinking about the way we get our food and what it means for the environment.

That thinking led Miller to farming. He spent time on farms from Missouri to North Carolina, which is where he met DuBose, and how he subsequently made his way to Greenville. With Miller’s background in kitchens, he loved the culinary-focused vision of the farm. And Reedy River, with its modest 1-acre plot was inspiration for where Miller is now.

Already, Miller’s work is popping up around town. At GBD, he planted boxes with herbs, at Bacon Bros. Public House, an herb garden as well, at The Anchorage, he created a raised bed garden and at Kitchen Sync, on Laurens Road, he constructed seven raised beds, five of which are on the rooftop of the restaurant’s shipping container.

The additions have already provided a steady stream of microgreens and fresh herbs to the restaurant.

“I think there is a niche that is developing and is perhaps further developed in other markets, and it makes sense to have a dual purpose,” says Kevin Feeny, co-owner of the year-and-a-half-old Kitchen Sync restaurant on Laurens Road.

“Our chefs are out there cutting herbs and greens every day,” Feeny says. “He may have really tapped into something that will be really fun and interesting for the area. When you see rooftop microgreens, it does get people’s attention.”

RELATED: Edmund Woo’s Haywood Road restaurant and event space, Saskatoon Lodge, now open

RELATED: After 30 years of owning restaurants, Edmund Woo still does dishes

Back at Saskatoon Lodge, Miller is reviewing his plans. He unrolls his crinkled sheets of plans that tell the story of the future space in neatly printed measurements and lines. Originally, Miller was going to focus mainly on creating a kitchen garden, florals and herbs, but then, plans changed.

Phase two, as it is being called, will include a number of traditional farm row where Miller will plant crops like potatoes and corn, items that are most often used at Saskatoon. Though he is banking on one, Woo is not yet sure of the economic cost of the on-site farm, but he is certain of one thing. The farm gives him the greatest level of control over his products.

“The first thing is the ability know how it’s grown, where it was grown, when it was picked,” Woo says of the value of growing his own food. “Here, if we need this herb, we go out and get it, it’s fresh. So to have control and knowledge of the supply chain, I think that is very powerful.”

Thus far, the fruits of Miller’s labor have been apparent, though stunted by the unusually long stretches of cold weather that have hit the Upstate. Still, the gardens have produced spinach, beets and some herbs.

In December, with Miller’s help, Woo successfully registered his 9-acre plot as a farm with the National Resources Conservation Service. This has allowed him to take his vision even further. Miller has helped him apply for a USDA grant to fund a high tunnel system that would allow for a more all-weather growing season.

He is also helping another local restaurant with the same farm classification, and is in talks with several local folks about creating non-profit farms that would grow food to be donated to local hunger relief organizations.

If he talks even larger goals, he’d like to grow enough to be able to hire a team of folks who are under or unemployed. He is already forming partnerships with places like Soteria and Feed Seed.

“I just want to help people grow food,” Miller says kindly. “We’ve become so disconnected from the whole process that a lot of people aren’t familiar with something as intimate as feeding yourself and being able to grow food.”

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In the Garden: Salty snow may discolor lawn in spring

As a gardener, we need to use proper outerwear, including shoes, and use the proper tools. The snow shovel should be the right length for the person’s height. A plastic shovel is lighter than the metal shovel. There are also ergonomic shovels available.

Before going outside, start stretching your muscles to warm up. Focus on stretching your extremities and back. When shoveling, maintain good posture by keeping your back straight (the natural curve of your spine). Lift the shovel correctly by using your legs: bend at the knees. Keep the shovel close to your body while tightening your stomach muscles and then lift with your legs as if you are doing a squat. Scoop small amounts of snow, making sure to engage your shoulder muscles as much as possible. If the snow is deep remove snow in layers to lessen the snow load on your body.

Newly fallen snow weighs less. Wait until the snowplow has come by to complete your driveway. Use extra care when shoveling the snow at the end of your driveway. The snow that is pushed from snowplows have salt within the snow.  Take smaller shovels and find a spot to dump the snow remembering the snow has salt in the contents. Placing the snow that contains salts on your lawn may lead to a discolored lawn spot in the spring (salt causes burning effect).

Stay safe and enjoy the scenery.

Terri Harrison is a master gardener volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Look for more gardening tips in the Observer-Dispatch or online at




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This week’s gardening tips: vegetables to plant in February

Plant seeds of beets, carrots, collards, corn (late February), Swiss chard, Irish potatoes (plant whole or cut tubers), kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard, radish, rutabaga and turnips.

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