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Archives for February 12, 2018

Steps taken to improve I-10 corridor

The city of Lake Charles has taken an encouraging step toward improving its appearance from the interstate, and it’s worth the cost.

The City Council on Wednesday accepted a $227,031 bid from Pat Williams Constructions for the beautification project, which will include landscaping the downtown exit off Interstate 10 at Ryan Street and the casino exit off I-210 at Cove Lane. The parish has agreed to pay 25 percent up to $45,000.

Originally, the city planned to start planting vegetation in November but ran into “some issues” with its first round of bid responses, according to Lori Marinovich, director of downtown development. She said the city rebid the project near the start of the year, and now expects to start planting in late March or April.

For the next phase of the project, the city aims to landscape the I-10 and I-210 exits at U.S. 171.

“We want people to remember Lake Charles, not be glad they’re leaving,” said city Planning Director Mike Huber on Wednesday.

The interstate corridor seems to be a city priority at the moment. The council has hired Baton Rouge consulting firm CSRS Inc. to develop economic incentives to spur growth along I-10, and the mayor held a listening session downtown last month to hear ideas from residents and business owners.

Attendees of the meeting called for the demolition of the abandoned pink parking garage along the interstate and emphasized the importance of making a good first impression on interstate drivers.

Adding landscaping at the downtown exit will be a relatively inexpensive, sustainable way to dress up an otherwise unsightly entrance point, and it makes sense that the high-traffic casino exit at Cove Lane would also be prioritized.

Landscaping alone won’t solve the city’s image problem, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Some may understandably question why the city’s spending money on palm trees and crape myrtles when it’s dealing with more pressing needs, like drainage and road improvements.

But considering what such an investment could generate in revenue down the line by enabling the city to draw more interstate traffic, a one-time payment of around $200,000 doesn’t seem so high — the council spent more than that on vehicles alone at its last meeting.

The city would do well to continue prioritizing the interstate corridor and searching for creative ways to beautify it. It’s a worthwhile investment.  

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A touch of color on snowy days/ Pink snow plow raises funds, awareness – The

LOUISVILLE — On snowy days, a plow operated by Father Son Property Maintenance stands out.

The plow’s 14-foot bucket is painted bright pink with the words “pushing for a cure” next to a pink awareness ribbon.

The company plows properties all over Stark County, and it’s not uncommon for folks to snap photos and videos, said Austin Woronka, whose father and grandfather founded Father Son.

The plow does more than stand out, it also working for a cause. For every hour it’s in service, the company donates a portion of its profits to different breast cancer foundations, Woronka said.

“We’ve been fighting snow storms for 30 years now. And after 30 years of business, we figured it would be good to give back,” he said.

Woronka is the third generation involved in the family business.

Father Son got its start when Bill Woronka was just a kid, mowing the lawn at Giant Eagle in Louisville. The business expanded beyond mowing and kept growing — Bill Woronka left to attend college in Pittsburgh but kept the company going on weekends. Eventually, John Woronka, Bill’s dad, took a leap of faith and joined his son’s company, giving up a steady job with benefits as a salesman.

The risk paid off. John and Bill are the Father Son in the company’s name and both men still run the company alongside Austin.

“Grandpa is 77 this year and he’s still out every night that it’s snowing,” Austin Woronka said. “He puts the same hours in as we do. He loves it.”

The company offers lawn maintenance and landscaping, but winter is the busy season.

“It’s nonstop,” Austin Woronka said, adding that he fielded about 275 calls requesting plows during Wednesday’s snowstorm.

They begin working around 2 a.m. to take calls and coordinate plans of attack. The Woronkas have 30 drivers tackling about 100 parking lots in the greater Stark County area, he said. “It’s quite the task.”

This is the company’s first season with the pink plow. Woronka estimates it’s seen about 60 hours of work so far.

The idea came out of a rare quiet evening for the family.

“We always come up with these ideas when we’re in the garage at night time and it’s not calling for bad weather,” Woronka said. “Me and dad and grandpa trying to solve the problems of the world.”

They had a bucket that was too long and needed to be cut down. “If we’re going to cut it apart, we might as well make it pretty,” Woronka said.

They chose pink and the slogan to honor Gloria Woronka — Austin’s grandmother, Bill’s mother and John’s wife — who’s survived breast cancer multiple times.

“She loves it,” Austin Woronka said. “She thinks it was a pretty good idea.”

Jessica Holbrook is a staff reporter at The Canton Repository.

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Landscape school and S. Texas home show coming in March – San Antonio Express

More Information

This week in the garden

It is still an excellent time to plant shade trees, shrubs, and fruit trees. Dig the hole as deep as the root system in the container, fill it with water and cover the root system with mulch to reduce evaporation.

February is the best month to prune roses and fruit trees. Each species of fruit tree and classification of rose (hybrid tea, climbing, old-fashioned, tough modern rose) is pruned differently. Visit for instructions and diagrams.

In the vegetable garden, plant seed potatoes in trenches, asparagus roots in beds and onion transplants in rows. There is also time to plant English peas, carrots, beets, turnips, broccoli, cabbage and chard.

Spray your roses and fruit trees with dormant oil to control scale and overwintering aphids and mites. Make the application when two days of temperatures above 45 degrees are forecast.

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MARK AND BEN CULLEN: Fusion gardening brings together new trends with traditional designs

It is time to change the way that we design gardens.

One exciting concept brings together new trends with traditional garden design concepts. New trends include attracting pollinators, sequestering rain water and a place to grow food.

Traditional concepts include a place to eat out of doors, read, an activity area for kids and a storage place for garden gear.

Fusion gardening brings these elements together, or put another way, fuses them together under an umbrella concept.

Many aspects of fusion gardening contradict our traditional vision of what a beautiful garden looks like and how it functions. Rain water in a fusion landscape is captured. Bees and hummingbirds are attracted to a wide variety of blooming plants that are choreographed to bloom in succession throughout the season. Pavers used for an eating area are permeable, allowing water to flow freely through them. And the “understory,” the material underneath the pavers, consists of course gravel, providing a place for rain water to slowly seep into the sub soil.


Fusion gardens, above all, replace our desire to move water off our property as fast as possible with a management system that puts rainwater to effective use. Rain gardens are created when you lower the grade of your yard and sequester rain water to grow plants that are suited to wet locations. When a rain garden in the spring, dries out in the heat of summer, the selected plants thrive in heat and dryness. In a fast paced, mid-summer deluge of rain, the same plants tolerate ground water, soaking it up and storing much of it for use during dry spells.

Bio swales, rain barrels and garden ponds can play a role in diverting and managing rain water also.

What is a Fusion Landscape Professional? A Fusion Landscape Professional (FLP) is an industry certified expert. The term fusion landscaping has been coined to describe the skillset that is earned by members of our professional trade association, when they take a course in this program.

What is fusion gardening? Fusion landscaping works in harmony with the natural conditions of your property. It blends a traditional garden with elements of colour, texture and water-retaining features.

As you dream about how you would like to use your outdoor space and what it might look like, you may consider where you will eat, relax, enjoy a recreation area and even where you will provide storage. Fusion garden design incorporates all your requirements into a plan that manages storm water, attracts pollinators and creates space for composting and rain barrels. A Google search of fusion gardening sends me to Region of Peel and Toronto Botanical Garden sites, and both describe fusion gardening as including many more aspects than just water. For instance, the Region of Peel’s website lists these aspects of fusion gardening for readers/Peel residents to consider when planning their own:

A composter or rain barrel? A garden shed or storage area?

An area for your kids to play?

A secluded spot to relax?

An area for your barbecue?

A space for outdoor entertaining?

A vegetable garden? It is just a good idea!

Fusion gardening makes a whole lot of sense to us. First, rain water is a resource, not a waste product. So why would we be in a hurry to send it to the lake when our own gardens can benefit from the use of it? Fusion landscaping provides a place for excess rain water to travel vertically, through layers of aggregate and soil in your new garden.

Take a moment right now to reflect on the sounds of bird song, bees buzzing in abundance as they forage nectar and pollen from native flowers and the sweet smell of spring rain as it warms the soil after a long, benign Canadian winter.

Mark Cullen is an expert gardener, author, broadcaster, tree advocate and holds the Order of Canada. His son Ben is a fourth-generation urban gardener and graduate of University of Guelph and Dalhousie University in Halifax. Follow them at, @markcullengardening, on Facebook and bi-weekly on Global TV’s National Morning Show.

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Gardening trends and tips – Visalia Times-Delta – Visalia Times

The groundhog may have seen its shadow giving us six more weeks of winter, but lately, around Tulare County it’s beginning to feel like spring. 

With the sun shining and 70 degree temperatures headed your way, now might be the perfect time to start working in your garden. 

This year’s gardening trends will not only keep your yard looking beautiful but will spark relaxation, add a break from the chaos we all call life and actually help you live a happier and healthier life.

The Home Depot Gardening Club will make you stop and smell the roses in your own garden with this year’s gardening themes. 

Top gardening trends 

Purposeful gardening

This year try planting herbs to use in teas and vegetable to mix in to your every day meals. Also, opt for planting cut flowers such as daisies, sunflowers or dahlias to make bouquets for family and friends. 


This Japanese inspired trend is allowing gardeners to embrace the imperfection of a garden.  

So, enjoy the moss that grows on rocks in your yard or let wildflowers bloom. 

Extreme weather gardening

More people are opting for a drought tolerant garden and they can be just as beautiful as a typical garden. Succulents are a huge hit. They grow well in the warm climate and don’t need too much maintenance. 

One- pot creations

You may have heard on one pot dinner dishes that are simple yet full of bold flavor. Well, this trend is similar. Gardeners are taking one pot and filling it will multiple plants.

It saves time, is low maintenance and doesn’t take up too much space. 

Wellness gardens 

Gardeners are filling space inside and outside their home with vertical gardens or indoor vines. These help provide a sense of tranquility. 

Gardens are also a good place to meditate and relax from a busy work. 

“Research has shown an association between doing activities in natural environments and health, particularly in relation to stress,” said researcher and landscape architect Ulrika Stigsdotter. “Our ambition is that our nature-based therapy will get the same or better results as the cognitive behavior therapy group. I personally believe the positive effect will last longer.”

Green spaces provide a sanctuary from busy lives, says horticultural therapist Mitchell Hewson. His tips for creating a therapy garden of your own:

  • Include vegetable- and fruit-producing plants — the ability to grow life-sustaining food strengthens feelings of self-sufficiency.
  •  Plant herbs that promote good health, and add fragrance to your surroundings.
  • Choose plants that can be dried and reused in crafts such as sachets or wreaths. You’ll double your enjoyment of the gardening experience.
  • Place a small bench or chair in a shady spot of the garden, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
  •  Commit to spending a few minutes each day in your garden. Even in small doses, the fresh air, vitamin D and moderate exercise is good for you.
  • Make gardens accessible to those with physical limitations by using raised beds.

Upcoming Events:


Visalia is hosting the 25th annual Springfest 2018 on February 9, 10 and 11 at the Visalia Convention Center.

The event will feature more than 350 exhibits for your home and patio. It will have a gardening and landscaping section where you can meet with business or learn about a local club. 

It’ll cost you $5 to get in on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. or Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Spring Field Trip

The Hanford Garden Club is getting ready for their Spring field trip and are seeking any and all green thumbs to join.

This year, the gang will head to Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside, Ca. 

The trip will be held on March 24 and 25. A deposit of $25 for the bus and $17 for the Filoli Embassy is due on March 1. If interested contact Larry Wait at 341-2914. 

USA Today reporter, Julia Savacool contributed to this report. 

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Learn winter gardening tips in Surry workshop Feb. 26 – Yadkin Ripple

DOBSON — Surry Community College is offering a winter gardening workshop on Feb. 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Pilot Center, 612 E. Main St., Pilot Mountain.

The goal of the workshop is to change participants’ perspectives to see growing produce as a year-round endeavor thereby improving their growing capabilities in order to provide healthy, harvested produce to eat, not only in the warmer months, but throughout the year.

“While most people think producing is a spring and summer activity, there are many things that are grown during the winter and early spring,” workshop instructor Jamie Renzi explained. “The workshop will help students to become more confident about growing in the winter season.”

The gardening workshop will delve deep into winter growing by not only covering which crops can thrive in the cold winter months, but also explaining methods for preserving the bounty of a winter harvest by freezing or drying. Additionally, students will proactively plan ahead by discussing various early spring crops that can be started soon.

Renzi is a passionate horticulturist and SCC alum. She received her Sustainable Horticulture certificate from Surry, and subsequently her love of growing coupled with her enthusiasm for clean foods free of chemicals led Renzi to join Surry’s staff as an instructor for many continuing education workshops like the upcoming winter gardening one.

Advanced registration and payment of $20 are required for the winter garden workshop. The class may be available free through Surry Skill-UP; call to apply. For more information, call 336-386-3618. To follow the Horticulture program on Facebook and Instagram, follow @surryhorticulture.

Staff Report

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5 garden tips for this week, Feb. 3-9

1 For trees, thin is in

Plan to thin out heavy growth on large trees — if they survived our recent winds. Don’t just butcher the tree tops, but actually thin out some of the denser leaf-laden branches so the winds can flow through the trees instead of breaking off major branches or toppling entire trees.

2 Camellia care

Camellias do not require much pruning, but they may be trimmed to maintain shape. Do this as flowers fade, but before new growth emerges. Cut extra-long, out-of-place, or other offending branches back to the growth ring scars that mark the start of previous years’ stems. Feed after pruning: new shoots that grow this spring and summer will form next year’s flower buds.

3 Pruning time

Remember: rose leaves that make it through the winter get more diseases, and the diseases start earlier in the season then move to newer leaves and to other plants. So, if you haven’t pruned your roses, do so this weekend. And be sure to remove all the old rose leaves in order to have healthier plants and prettier roses this spring and summer.

4 Avocado tip

Watch your avocado trees to see when they start blooming. They will only set fruit if night temperatures remain above 58 degrees F during flowering time. If night temperatures dip below 58 degrees when the avocado flowers, the best way to get some fruit is to spray the blooms and leaf canopy at night with water — just plain water. It acts as insulation against the cold so the Avocado Matchmaker can do her job.

5 Cut back

Prune plumerias if they have become too big for their space. Use the trimmings to start new plants for yourself or for friends. Trimmings are easy to root after air-drying them for two to four weeks in a protected, well-ventilated spot out of direct sunlight. Air-drying permits the cut ends to heal over and prevents rotting when planted after a few weeks. Then plant several inches of the stems, healed end down, directly in the ground or in an airy soil mixture in containers. They will slowly root and start growing in spring – maybe even develop some flowers this summer.

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