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Archives for February 13, 2018

What’s hot in garden design and outdoor spaces

Predicting upcoming trends and styles in any arena can be a bit of a stab in the dark.

However, horticulturist Adam Woodhams said landscaping tended to follow more predictable pathways and lent itself to trend-mapping.

The lifelong gardening enthusiast and former TV presenter shared some of his top landscaping trends that were likely to spring up on properties in 2018 with New Homes.


Connecting indoor and outdoor spaces will continue into 2018, with exterior facing rooms opening up effortlessly through a continuance of textures, colours and styles.

“We want our indoor spaces to not just connect but to be a free-flowing part of the outdoors,” Mr Woodhams said.

Coming together

Time with family and friends has always been important and in a busy world it’s becoming increasingly so.

Expect to see spaces that lend themselves to social occasions in 2018.

“Whether it be a dedicated outdoor dining space, a fire pit with comfy seating or plenty of shady chairs beside the pool, providing spaces that naturally draw people to congregate, chill and chat is a must,” Mr Woodhams said.

The 30-minute garden

Mr Woodhams said 2018 was about enjoying being in your garden, not working on your garden. Plant choices and design will reflect many homeowners’ desire to spend roughly 30 minutes care on their garden per week.

Stress-free care

“A huge growth area in 2017 that will continue into 2018 is the area of quality battery-powered garden tools,” Mr Woodhams said.

“Homeowners and professionals have taken to the ‘always on’ nature of battery gear that avoids messing around with refuelling and starting.

“Plus, the massively lower noise levels mean most can be used without hearing protection, and your neighbours won’t even know you’re running it.”

Lawn lives

Regardless of how small your patch is, homeowners love having a piece of natural lawn for a soft playing surface or snooze in the sun.

Mr Woodhams said a real lawn also reduced reflected noise and sun glare, and remained cooler in hot weather than pavers or AstroTurf.


With blocks getting smaller and neighbours getting closer, designers are getting smarter with green choices for screening and privacy.

Mr Woodhams said clumping bamboo will become the most popular choice as it’s fast-growing, reliable and drought, heat and cold-tolerant.

“One word of caution is on selecting the right varieties,” he said.

“Talk to a professional for advice as the wrong form can end up towering over your home.

“My personal favourite is variegated dwarf Malay. It’s a true hedging bamboo and grows to a very neat 3m with dense foliage from top to bottom, perfect for most suburban screening situations.”

Other trends to look out for include the continuation of the vertical garden and greenwalls, smart LED lighting, the creation of ‘me-zones’ for some quiet time and the integration of the ‘colour of the year’ as declared by Pantone – ultraviolet.

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Clemson architecture students design, build garden pavilion

An architect’s job typically ends when his or her design begins construction, but for a class of Clemson University students, the design was just the first step.

The 12 students at the Clemson Architecture Center in Charleston designed and constructed a pavilion and storage shed at the Medway Park and Community Garden on James Island as part of a semester-long class project meant to help students gain a better understanding of their work, said David Pastre, senior lecturer at the university and instructor of the class.

“This is the fruition of four months of work, start to finish,” Pastre said.

Medway Park and Community Garden opened in 2015, and plants are grown year-round, according to Leslie Wade, community garden coordinator for the Charleston Parks Conservancy. The conservancy also manages community gardens in Avondale and in the Elliotborough neighborhood of downtown Charleston.

Previously, the conservancy had been storing gardening tools in a metal trailer, which stood out from the rest of the garden’s more rustic theme, and there was no space for community gathering in the garden.

Now, benches and tables line the wooden pavilion; a basin in the pavilion to wash fruits and vegetables can be covered with a fitted plank to become a table; and a storage shed holds the conservancy’s tools.

“We hope with the conservancy to be able to do some more programming there: classes, events and what-not for the neighborhood and James Island area,” Wade said.

The students in the architecture class — 11 graduate students and one undergraduate — worked through each step of the building process to learn what it takes to turn an idea into reality, working through multiple designs to meet the conservancy’s needs, seeking permits from the city and physically constructing the pavilion.

The design portion took place from August to the beginning of November; for the final six weeks of the semester, it was all construction, initially in a carpentry shop at the Clemson Design Center and then on-site at the garden for the final three weeks.

The most challenging part of the class is time management, Pastre said.

Tyler McKenzie, a student in the class, said the program gave him “valuable insight” into the process of designing and building something, especially when working with a team of people with different ideas.

“This is, for me, the most fulfilling part of my architectural education ever,” McKenzie said. “I’m in year six now, I’ve got one more semester to go, and this is by far the most fulfilled I’ve ever felt at the end of a semester.”

Architecture students don’t typically participate in the construction of their designs, and McKenzie said it was a rewarding experience for him to see a design he helped create come to life.

“Through this process, I’ve gained a lot of respect for people in the construction field, and it’s really made me understand that when I draw something on the computer, when we get out in the field and it’s actually being built, it’s exactly going to be a one-to-one (conversion),” he said. “There will be things that are different because of ease of construction, and just the construction processes are just different, and you have to work within those.”

Pastre, who teaches the class every semester, said that the projects aren’t always to the same scale as the garden pavilion but that he tries to make sure the students have the chance to build a permanent structure, usually for a nonprofit.

“They don’t really get the full breadth of it in school usually, and so this is that opportunity for them to get a lot of that (experience),” he said.

A prior class from Clemson designed and built a pavilion at the Avondale community garden, and Pastre’s classes have also worked with the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and Redux Contemporary Art Center.

“The scale is small, although it looks big,” he said. “But in reality, I mean, it’s a complicated build for a simple solution. It’s just a pavilion, an open-air pavilion, so you don’t have any means of egress or fire safety and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements. I mean, a lot of that has to happen with a typical project, but this gets them the idea, the breadth, of controlling a project from beginning to end.”

Pastre said the class is also about trying to “take to heart” the mission of Clemson as a land-grant university.

“Design services are something that is critically needed oftentimes, and we figured it makes sense to have that be something we do for a relatively meager budget,” Pastre said. “Just pay for materials, and then everything else is the students’ education.”

Wade said the Charleston Parks Conservancy paid $10,000 for the materials to build the storage shed and pavilion. The conservancy covered the cost through fundraising and a $5,000 grant from Publix.

Wade said the conservancy hopes to work with the Clemson Architecture Center again in the future.

“It’s been pretty amazing to watch this whole process, and it’s really neat that they get to learn through this process,” she said.

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Linda Cobb: What’s new in gardening trends this year

If you are a gardener, your excitement begins to build as the days get closer to spring. We recently had an usually warm winter day, and I took a walk in the garden. The air was right, and even the soil looked warm and friendly. But common sense tells me that we have more of winter to come.

Every year when I get to February, I have to control myself because I can’t wait until spring. If there are spring garden symposiums, I attend every one. I also go to all the home shows to see if I can find a new plant that will get me excited.

I get out my old journals and try to imagine when things will bloom. I have a list of things to do and when to do them to get ready for spring. That will be discussed in a future column.

For this week’s column, I want to talk about this year’s garden trends. I wanted to do this early in the season so that you can make plans for your garden.

Rhododendrons and roses are making a comeback, and I am happy about that.

Landscape pines also are stylish and are being used in creative ways. The potted ones are fuss-free plants and evergreen.

We also are seeing hydrangea mania this year because there are so many new varieties. Research them and add a few varieties to your garden. I have always believed that no garden should be without at least four different types of hydrangea. Growers are making them with stronger stems and larger flower heads. I would suggest putting two of them in very large pots.

When it comes to plant hunting, refine your garden by adding unique plants that you love. Make it your own. Go to great lengths to create that special place in your garden. It will give your garden new life and you will be proud of it.

This is also the year of “show me how.” There are so many classes being held on how to do almost anything from laying your own patio to installing your own sprinkler system. Learn how to do some of these things for yourself. You will be glad that you did.

Finally, find your own garden tribe. There are many groups to join with people who like what you like. Or you can get a group together and go garden hopping. Not only will you see new things, but you will learn so much about gardening from other people.

Activities coming up include Clemson Extension Program offering advance master gardener training from 1 to 5 p.m. Feb 21. Extension agents Drew Jeffers, Barbara Smith, Joey Williamson, and Jordan Franklin will meet students at the University Center of Greenville, located at 225 S. Pleasantburg Drive. For more information, call Jordan Franklin at 803-365-0632 or email at

Linda Cobb is a master gardener who lectures, teaches, and does garden design in South Carolina. She can be reached at 864-574-8493 or email her at Visit her website at



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Show it off

Arguably one of the most important tools for lawn maintenance, your mower endures a lot. Stand-on mowers can offer an easy ride for your crews and a tidy job for your customers.

Chant Singvongsa says for him and his three-man crew at Singvongsa Landscaping in Jackson, Minnesota, a stand-on mower was an easy choice.

“I liked the stand-on because it seemed more comfortable,” he says. “Standing up lets us have the better visibility.”

At Singvongsa’s company, the crew mows about two or three days a week. They also operate with two riding mowers.

Hank Parker, president of Bay Landscaping in Mobile, Alabama, also has one stand-on in his fleet, with plans for one or two more in the future.

“Our guys were a little scared at first,” he says. His crews had some less-than-ideal experiences with a different stand-on mower, and they were wary of learning to operate the new machine. Now, they love their stand-on.


Singvongsa recognizes that his stand-on may not be the best choice when mowing steep hills, but the quick on and off capabilities make it a practical mower.

“It might only take seconds to get on or off, but those two seconds add up,” he says. “You can just walk right off the plate and hop back on.” Parker says the crews also love the amount of visibility they get with a stand-on.

Bay Landscaping focuses on maintenance and design/build, and they commonly maintain high-end residential and commercial properties. Parker says using the stand-on is easier on his crew members’ knees and backs.

“When we’re mowing those properties that require us to get off and on, (the stand-on) really helps,” he says.

The stand-on mower works well for Bay Landscaping crews when mowing smaller areas like yards or grass at strip malls.

“If the property doesn’t have a double gate or fence, you’re not going to get a mower with a large deck through it,” Parker says. His crews use the mower for some of their larger properties as well since it’s easier on the turf.

Damage control.

When you’re running a machine almost daily, maintenance downtime is expected. Parker tries to make sure they have mowers ready to go if one of their machines is down. “It’s more efficient that way,” he says. “We don’t want a crew to be left without a mower.”

Most small maintenance jobs are done in-house at Bay Landscaping, but a dealer is located nearby for anything that is too large of a job.

“We have a dealer about 45 minutes away,” Parker says. “We’ll take the mower there for any damage repairs, anything under warranty or any recalls.”

Singvongsa has two other mowers to utilize if his stand-on is out for maintenance. Aside from regular upkeep like blade sharpening once a week, he’s only had to get one repair when one of the hoses went bad on his mower. “There’s good dealer support nearby,” he says, noting that the location to a dealer was important to him when purchasing.

When deciding how to handle a damaged mower, Parker says they consider two of Bay Landscaping’s core values: professionalism and safety.

“We want our crews to look professional and be safe, so we don’t want them out there with a mower that’s damaged,” he says.

Crew leaders are responsible for checking the equipment and making sure it’s safe to use on the jobsite.

“We want our crews to look professional and be safe, so we don’t want them out there with a mower that’s damaged.” Hank Parker, president, Bay Landscaping

Making the purchase.

With about 30 employees at Bay Landscaping, Parker says purchasing decisions are made as a team.

“We involve everyone,” he says. “I especially want to involve the guys out there using it.”

When Parker replaced his fleet and decided to stick with one brand, he took machine safety and crew opinion into consideration. After checking out some mowers at a green industry event, Parker followed up with a company he liked. The mower company came to him and brought some mowers for the crew to test, and Parker says everyone loved them.

“I also talked to some people at (the conference) and told them what I was thinking,” he says. “And I asked what they liked and what they thought.”

Singvongsa recommends setting up a demo of any mowers you’re considering. He utilized the large selection of mowers on display at an industry event before making his purchase in 2017. Once he found a brand he liked, he kept in touch with the company, getting a mower to try out shortly after.

“(When purchasing) I was focused on looking at what the machine could do for the prices I was willing to pay,” he says. “The stand-on cost us less than our other mowers, and the majority prefer to use it.” He expects to get about five years out of the new mower.

With a smaller crew size, Singvongsa doesn’t have many people to consult for new equipment purchases, but he does make sure his crew is comfortable with the decision. In the future he hopes to add a stand-on with a larger deck to replace one of his riding mowers.

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Gering council approves plaza design concept

Whenever Jerry Purvis 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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Atlantic Irrigation Joins Forces with SiteOne Landscape Supply

ROSWELL, Ga.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SiteOne® Landscape Supply, Inc. (NYSE:SITE), the largest and only
national wholesale distributor of landscape supplies in the United
States, announced today the acquisition of Atlantic Irrigation. Started
in 1976, Atlantic is a leader in the distribution of irrigation,
lighting, drainage and landscaping equipment with 33 locations across 13
states in the Eastern U.S. and two provinces in Eastern Canada.

“Atlantic significantly expands the scale of our irrigation and lighting
business in the Eastern U.S. and Canada markets. This transaction
represents the largest number of locations that we have acquired in a
single acquisition in more than a decade. The addition of Atlantic
complements our existing branch network and strengthens our full-line
offering of nursery, hardscape, agronomic, irrigation and landscape
lighting products. Atlantic has a very talented and seasoned team with a
rich history of providing exceptional customer service that spans more
than 40 years. Overall this is a terrific addition to the SiteOne
family,” said Doug Black, Chairman and CEO of SiteOne Landscape Supply.

“We are building upon the strong momentum from last year with two
acquisitions so far in 2018 and a healthy pipeline as we look to add
more leading companies to our team in the remainder of the year,” said

About SiteOne Landscape Supply:

SiteOne Landscape Supply (NYSE: SITE), is the largest and only national
wholesale distributor of landscape supplies in the United States and has
a growing presence in Canada. Its customers are primarily residential
and commercial landscape professionals who specialize in the design,
installation and maintenance of lawns, gardens, golf courses and other
outdoor spaces.

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Lawmakers Plot Protect Front Yard Vegetable Gardens

The state’s highest court will not weigh in on Floridians’ right to front yard vegetable gardens. But the food fight isn’t over in the state capital. 

On a small corner lot in a tree-lined neighborhood in Tallahassee, Zylfi Bardhi is growing a ton of peppers.

“These are sweet banana [peppers]. These are the best food in the world. Best food. These have Vitamin C pound for pound more than anything in the world,” Bardhi said.

Bardhi’s front yard is full of them. When WFSU spoke with him in 2016, there was no lawn to speak of, just rows and rows of bushes covered in hundreds of peppers.

A bill moving in the Legislature would protect Bardhi’s right to do exactly what he’s doing; grow vegetables in the front yard. Jacksonville Republican Senator Aaron Bean is cosponsoring a bill that would prevent local governments from outlawing front yard vegetable gardens.

“Just the sheer fact that they have a garden should stand. That is as American, I believe, as apple pie!” Bean said.

The bill is in response to a legal dispute between the village of Miami Shores and a local couple who cultivated rows of vegetables in their front yard. The town forced Hermine Ricketts and Laurence Carroll to uproot their garden, or pay fines. They eventually took Miami Shores to court.

“Just a few months ago the Third District Court of Appeals has said Floridians don’t have a right to have a garden in their front yard.” Bean said in reference to the couple’s failed appeal. “That’s what we’ve come to! That’s what we’ve come to! Homegrown gardens are outlawed.”

Fausto Gomez represents the town.

“Resident had a vegetable garden in his front yard. Not an issue. That resident then expanded the vegetable garden to include all of his front yard, and the swale, which is the public property as well,” Gomez said. “That became an issue at that moment because other residents in the neighborhood, zoned R-1 residential, said we basically don’t want to live in a residential area.”

The town wants to maintain a certain aesthetic. Local ordinances regulate the size of decorative landscaping stones residents can use. Meanwhile David Cruz with the Florida League of Cities is concerned about public health issues and…

“Competing private property rights concerns. And obviously I think that the goal here is we want to maintain property values high at the local level,” Cruz said.

Bill supporters jokingly paint as opponents as anti-vegetable and anti-American, with a vendetta against homegrown tomatoes. But in all seriousness, Longwood Republican Senator David Simmons thinks the bill language still needs some work. He says lawmakers should…

“Still give to the local governments the ability to reasonably regulate but not prohibit. Taking into consideration that I doubt that any one of us and many one of our neighborhoods would hate to have an entire front yard that’s done as a garden that’s got corn ten feet high,” Simmons said.

Private property rights and the preemption of local control cause plenty of headaches in the state capitol. But lawmakers aren’t taking this issue too seriously. Committee hearings are usually pretty stuffy and procedural. But the debate on this bill has been unusually good-natured, even funny. Here’s Bean again.

“Members, this is a great sign, I just looked down. The bill number! 1776. It’s America! So stand with America. Stand with Senator Bradley. Let’s join together and say we are preserving our country’s core values and that’s the right to grow our own food,” Bradley said.

The Supreme Court has turned down the opportunity to hear the Miami Shores case. That means the town’s ordinances are safe for now.

But lawmakers say they’re still dedicated to protecting Floridians’ right to garden. They’re even turning to food puns. Lead sponsor Senator Rob Bradley tweeted this week, “I will keep fighting, kumquat may…” The bill has one more committee stop before it goes to the floor. 

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Making a splash

The project was collaboration between the homeowners, Matthias Landscaping and Deckworks, says the homeowner. “We joke about vacationing here. It’s a restful, happy place, and we love it,” she adds.

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Seed-ordering tips every gardener should know | Sheboygan County Healthy 2020

While I do believe that good gardening practices will matter more than what type of seed you purchase, there are a few guidelines every gardener should know. This advice mainly refers to annual garden seeds (vegetable, herbs, fruits, etc.). Most seed companies will send you free catalogs at your request. 

Days to maturity 

Simply put, this means how many days it takes from the time the seed germinates to the time you can use a part of the plant, i.e. pick the beans or cut the flower. The number of days given is only a general guideline. Some seed companies will list seeds as days to maturity “from transplant.” This means that the seed is started indoors and “days to maturity” time is counted from when the seedling, not the seed itself, is actually put in the ground.

If the days to maturity is from transplant, then you will need to consider the extra time it takes for the seed to get to the transplant state when starting your seeds.

For example, one seed company lists Early Girl tomato as 52 days from transplant and Beefsteak as 90 days from transplant. A 90-day tomato will probably end up being at least 120 days altogether when considering starting it from seed.

So, you would need to start this 90-day tomato much earlier than the 52-day tomato, or pray for a long hot year, if you want it to ripen. If you are not sure about how seed companies are determining this number, ask them. 

Treated vs. untreated seed

Treated seed means that the seeds have been treated with a chemical that helps guard against fungus, bacteria and insect damage, or to assist in the initial growth of the plant.

This treatment is aimed to promote a higher germination rate, specifically in less than ideal planting conditions. I do not prefer to use chemicals and always order untreated seed.

If you follow the planting instructions for your seed carefully, you should be pleased with the germination of untreated seed. Remember, soil temperature and structure, improper planting depth, and old seed could all impair germination. If you are concerned about low germination, plant extra seeds and thin the seedlings later if too many germinate. It should also be noted that there are organic seed treatments as well. 

Hybrid vs. open pollinated vs. heirloom

Heirloom: A seed variety that has been passed down from generation to generation.

Open-pollinated: A seed variety that is pollinated by natural means such as insects, birds or wind. 

Hybrid: A controlled cross-pollination of two or more species of plant by humans. The cross is done to achieve and stabilize a desirable characteristic.

All of these options are fine, but your values will determine what type of seed to choose. By definition, all heirloom seeds must be open-pollinated. Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds can be saved and replanted the following year, which is more economical in the long run. Whereas, hybrid plants will produce a seed that will not grow consistently true to its own traits but will revert back to one of its parent’s genes.

Hybrids, however, offer some characteristics, that are hard to find in open-pollinated plants, such as disease resistance, color traits, or high production. Hybrid seeds are usually more expensive since humans must do the annual work of cross-pollinating. 

A short note on GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seed

The GMO seed has been forced to take on a gene from another organism. GMOs are, in my opinion, untested and unnatural, and leaves serious questions as to the long-term effects of such scientific work. Seed companies that have signed the Safe Seed Pledge do not knowingly carry any Genetically Modified (GMO) seed.  

There are many companies that offer good seed and a few that I have worked with and am happy with are: Fedco (Maine), Seed Savers Exchange (Iowa), Johnny’s Selected Seeds (Maine), Jungs (Wisconsin), High Mowing (Vermont), Pinetree (Maine), Territorial Seed (Oregon). For more info, please visit Nourish’s website, email them at, and/or call them at (920) 627-4769.

Jake Lambrecht is the Urban Farm Manager Culinary Coordinator at Nourish in Sheboygan. 

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Gardening tips, wine and chocolate at Valentine’s Day eve event at the Eagles

Also, vendors still welcome for Wedding Expo on Feb. 27

    The Crookston Eagles are hosting a presentation by Bergeson Nursery on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.  

    Tickets are available at the club; your $5 ticket includes the presentation on gardening tips by Joe Bergeson, a glass of wine and a chocolate dessert. Treat your sweetheart and/or yourself to a relaxing evening with friends and learn more about gardening in our area.  

    Call the club with any questions at 281-3881.

Wedding Expo vendors sought

    The Eagles continues to seek vendors regarding anything “wedding” for the Crookston Wedding Expo on Tuesday, February 27 from 5-9 p.m. at the Eagles. Contact Sheila at or 289-3212.

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