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Lake Como’s Jon Gibbons Invites Community to See How Candide’s Garden Grows

LAKE COMO, NJ — Jon Gibbons is passionate about the plants in his garden — all 1,500 of them. And there is a reason why each one grows in the botanical creation that has come to cover nearly every inch of his home’s corner property at 513 18th Avenue.

It’s an “earth-friendly” work-in progress that Gibbons has named Candide’s Garden for Voltaire’s character who asserted, “Let us cultivate our garden.” And for the first time on August 19, Gibbons opened his garden to the public so that he could tell his story on how it all came to be and to share his first-hand gardening knowledge with the community.

A master gardener and chairman of the Lake Como Environmental Commission, Gibbons welcomed more than 50 people who gathered in the garden for its grand opening, beginning his brief presentation with: “What on earth is this garden?”

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It’s a question that many people are sure to ask when they first see Candide Garden — a lavish array of flower beds brimming with blooming plants, mingled among numerous varieties of trees, shrubbery and groundcoverings. The vibrant display of lush greenery and color enwraps his property — all in its full glory this time of year.

While this eclectic mix of nature’s beauty may appear random at first glance, a closer look reveals what Gibbons describes as a “garden with a purpose” that he hopes will be a model for other gardens.

In fact, Candide’s Garden consists of 14 different beds and surface treatments that contain more than 1,500 plants representing 400 species of plants, trees and groundcovers. Each garden bed is named and each plant within these sections is identified with a marker that contains its common name of the front and botanical name on the back. An “N” is written on all markers of native plants from this area of the Jersey Shore — the most important of all plants in his garden.

“You have to look at the garden like a menu,” said Gibbons, who has created a binder with an inventory of the plants, a grid that shows the locations of the garden’s different sections, and fact sheets for each of those 14 sections, which contain short descriptions, listings all plants and website addresses for additional information.

He particularly stressed the importance of pollinators in his garden, where perennials that bloom at various times of the season provide nectar and a place to rest for more than 400 species of New Jersey’s native bees, as well as for butterflies and moths. Because of those efforts, Candide’s Garden is certified as a pollinator habitat, monarch butterfly waystation and wildlife sanctuary. 

In her first visit to Candide’s Garden, guest speaker Irene Wanat of the Rutgers University Master Gardeners’ Speakers Bureau said she was “overwhelmed” by the experience, commending Gibbons for his work and particularly applauding his efforts to label all the plants.

Wanat also stressed the importance of native plants in any Jersey Shore garden. “Native plants were here before we came, and they lived without weeding or watering. They have survived and have grown to adapt to their situation,” she said.

She also advised to make sure to select native perennials that bloom at different times so that pollinators have a reason to visit a garden throughout the growing season.

Gibbon’s main goal with Candide Garden is to educate people on how certain landscaping and gardening techniques can improve the environment, as well as save time and money. And that was quite evident during the grand opening.

Throughout the event, Gibbons devoted much of his time talking with attendees one-on-one on a variety of topics, including how to select native plants for different locations, cover the ground in an earth-friendly way that doesn’t required insecticides or fertilizers, and create streetscapes using new and unusual techniques.

Gibbons hopes to continue the lessons from his teaching garden with four events held throughout the growing season — in April, June, August and October.

TAPintoBelmar/Lake Como is Belmar and Lake Como’s only free daily newspaper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at and follow us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @TAPintoBelmar.

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Marin garden calendar for the week of Aug. 19, 2017


Gardening classes: The Mill Valley Public Library offers free seasonal gardening classes most Saturdays and occasionally on Sundays. Call 415-389-4292 or go to

Workshops and gardening classes: Armstrong Garden Centers in Novato offer free classes to gardeners of all skill levels most Saturdays. Call 415-878-0493 or go to

Workshops and seminars: Sloat Garden Center has five Marin County locations that offer gardening workshops and seminars on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: The Marin Master Gardeners present a variety of how-to workshops, seminars and special events throughout Marin County on a weekly basis. Check for schedule, locations and cost.

Workshops and seminars: Marin Rose Society presents monthly lectures on growing roses and good garden practices. Check for schedule and locations.

Seminars: The Marin Orchid Society presents lectures on raising orchids at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month at 215 Blackfield Drive, Tiburon. Call 415-895-0667.

Gardening volunteers: Marin Art Garden Center in Ross seeks volunteers for maintenance, weeding, transplanting and mulching. Call 415-455-5260.

Gardening volunteers: The Novato Independent Elders Program seeks seasonal volunteers to help Novato seniors with their overgrown yards Tuesday mornings or Thursday afternoons. Call 415-899-8296.

Nursery volunteers: Volunteers are sought to help in Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy nurseries from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays at Tennessee Valley, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays, or 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesdays at Marin Headlands Nursery; or 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at Muir Beach, 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays in the Marin Headlands. Call 415-561-3077 or go to

Nursery days: The SPAWN (Salmon Protection and Watershed Network) native plant nursery days are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and weekends. Call 415-663-8590, ext. 114, or email to register and for directions. Go to for more information.

Garden exchange: The Marin Open Garden Project encourages residents to bring their excess backyard-grown fruit and vegetables for a free exchange with other gardeners from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturdays through October at the San Anselmo Town Hall lawn at 525 San Anselmo Ave. Call 415-419-4941 or go to

Garden visits: Marin Master Gardeners and the Marin Municipal Water District offer free residential Bay-Friendly Garden Walks to MMWD customers. The year-round service helps homeowners identify water-saving opportunities and soil conservation techniques for their landscaping. Call 415-473-4204 to request a visit to your garden.

Garden volunteers: Marin Open Garden Project (MOGP) volunteers are available to help Marin residents glean excess fruit from their trees for donations to local organizations serving people in need and to build raised beds to start vegetable gardens through the MicroGardens program. MGOP also offers a garden tool lending library. Go to or email

Around the bay

Landscape garden: Cornerstone Gardens is a permanent, gallery-style garden featuring walk-through installations by international landscape designers on nine acres at 23570 Highway 121 in Sonoma. Free. Call 707-933-3010 or go to

Olive ranch: McEvoy Ranch at 5935 Red Hill Road in Petaluma offers tours, workshops and special events. Call 707-769-4123 or go to

Botanical garden: Quarryhill Botanical Garden at 12841 Sonoma Highway in Glen Ellen covers 61 acres and showcases a large selection of scientifically documented wild source temperate Asian plants. The garden is open for self-guided tours from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. $5 to $10. Call 707-996-3166 or go to

— Compiled by Colleen Bidwill

The Trowel Glove Calendar appears Saturdays. Send high-resolution jpg photo attachments and details about your event to or mail to Home and Garden Calendar/Lifestyles, Marin Independent Journal, 4000 Civic Center Drive, Suite 301, San Rafael, CA 94903. Items should be sent two weeks in advance. Photos should be a minimum of 2 megabytes and include caption information. Include a daytime phone number on your release.

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2017 People’s Choice awards winners


Best Livingston County breakfast:

1. Cheryl’s Place

2. Sunrise Family Diner

3. Mimi’s Diner

Read more:

Best Livingston County carry out:

1. Gus’s Carry Out

2. La Marsa Mediterranean Cuisine

3. Zukey Lake Tavern

Best Livingston County pizza:

1. Jet’s Pizza

2. Zukey Lake Tavern

3. Tony Sacco’s

Best Livingston County burgers:

1. Champ’s Pub

2. Cleary’s Pub

3. Bloated Goat Saloon

Best happy hour in Livingston County:

1. Cleary’s Pub

2. Downtown Main Martini Bar Grill

3. Zukey Lake Tavern

Best bar in Howell:

1. 2FOG’s Pub

2. Cleary’s Pub

3. Block Brewing Company

Best bar in Brighton:

1. Champ’s Pub

2. Downtown Main Martini Bar Grill

3. The Pound! Bar Grill

Best bar in Pinckney:

1. Zukey Lake Tavern

2. Hell Saloon

3. Pinckney Pub Grill

Best bar in Hartland:

1. Black Rock Bar Grill

2. Mackle’s Table and Taps

3. Tony Sacco’s

Best bar in Fowlerville:

1. Grille in the Ville

2. Bloated Goat Saloon

3. Horse Shoe Lounge

Best coffee shop:

1. Uptown Coffeehouse

2. Biggby Coffee

3. Two Brothers Coffee Brew + Eatery

Best place for steak:

1. Black Rock Bar Grill

2. Diamonds Steak Seafood

3. Stillwater Grill

Best place for coney/hot dog:

1. Leo’s Coney Island

2. Coney Joe’s

3. Mark’s Midtown Coney Island

Best place for chicken:

1. Mary’s Fabulous Chicken Fish

2. Cajun Joe’s

3. Allen K Ryan’s Chicken and Ribs

Best place for seafood:

1. Alexander’s Land Sea Grille

2. Stillwater Grill

3. Diamonds Steak Seafood

Best place for Mexican food:

1. Los Tres Amigos

2. Border Cantina

3. El Patron

Best place for Italian food:

1. Tomato Bros.

2. Ciao Amici

3. Buon Gusto

Best place for Irish food:

1. Stout Irish Pub

2. Cleary’s Pub

3. Jameson’s Irish Pub Grill

Best place for Sushi:

1. Sushi Zen

2. Bluefin Japanese Steakhouse Sushi

3. Asian Fusion Buffet

Best Asian cuisine:

1. Sushi Zen

2. Golden House Chinese Restaurant

3. Pi’s Asian Cuisine

Best fine dining:

1. Diamonds Steak Seafood

2. Ciao Amici’s

3. Stillwater Grill

Best place for ice cream/frozen yogurt:

1. Yum Yum Tree

2. Ritter’s Frozen Custard

3. Bonker’s Frozen Yogurt

Best place for desert:

1. Yum Yum Tree

2. Brighton Bar Grill

3. Diamonds Steak Seafood


Best auto dealer:

1. Brighton Ford

2. Bob Maxey Ford of Howell

3. Champion Chevrolet of Howell

Best dealership auto service:

1. Bob Maxey Ford of Howell

2. Brighton Ford

3. Champion Chevrolet of Howell

Best dealership auto collision:

1. Brighton Ford

2. Bob Maxey Ford of Howell

3. Champion Chevrolet of Howell

Best boat dealer:

1. Wilson Marine

2. Klave’s Marina

3. Wonderland Marine West

Best non-dealer auto service:

1. Roy’s Autoworks

2. Howell Auto Center

3. Brighton Auto Service

Best transmission shop in Livingston County:

1. A Plus Transmission Auto Repair

2. Roy’s Autoworks

3. The Car Guys

Best non-dealer collision shop in Livingston County:

1. Lawrence Auto Body

2. Nelson’s Collision

3. Franklin Body Shop

Best car wash in Livingston County:

1. Rainbow Auto Wash

2. Howell Soft Cloth

3. Old Glory Auto Wash

Best place to buy tires:

1. Discount Tire

2. Bob’s Tire Auto Service Inc

3. Spartan Tire Auto Center

Best auto detailing in Livingston County:

1. Howell Soft Cloth

2. Ultimate Body

3. Auto One Glass Accessories

Best towing company:

1. Corrigan Towing

2. Randy’s Service

3. Pardiac Towing Recovery

Best boat detailing:

1. Wilson Marine

2. Wonderland Marine

3. Auto One


Best overall recreation area:

1. Kensington Metropark

2. Howell Conference and Nature Center

3. Brighton State Recreation Area

Best children’s recreation (indoor):

1. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

2. The Commons at 2/42 Community Church

3. Castaway Play Cafe

Best children’s recreation (outdoor):

1. Imagination Station

2. Howell Conference and Nature Center

3. Kensington Metropark

Best golf course:

1. Oak Pointe Country Club

2. The Majestic at Lake Walden

3. Whispering Pines Golf Club

Best place to have a golf outing:

1. Chemung Hills Golf Club

2. Oak Pointe Country Club

3. Whispering Pines Golf Club

Best gymnastics facility:

1. Bounce Gymnastics

2. High Flyers Gymnastics

3. Hartland Gymnastics Academy

Best dance studio:

1. Michelle’s Academy of Dance Performing Arts

2. Glenn’s School of Dance

3. Maria’s School of Dance

Best place to watch a live performance:

1. Brighton Center for the Performance

2. Livingston County Courthouse Amphitheater

3. Brighton Mill Pound

Best place for a wedding:

1. Crystals Gardens

2. Waldenwoods

3. Whispering Pines Golf Club


Best new retail store:

1. Harbor Freight Tools

2. Charming Charlie

3. Finding Roots

Best women’s boutique:

1. Bink Babs

2. Beverly Raes

3. Impulse Clothing Boutique

Best place to buy furniture:

1. Art Van Furniture

2. Tenpenny Furniture

3. Gardner White

Best thrift/resale store:

1. Salvation Army

2. Trading Closets

3. Le Boutique

Best florist:

1. Country Lane Flower Shop

2. Aleta’s Flowershop

3. Art in Bloom

Best place to buy antiques:

1. Homespun Market

2. Livingston Antique Outlet

3. Antiques On the Avenue

Best jeweler:

1. Cooper Binkley

2. FAO Jewelers

3. The Golden Depot

Best bridal boutique:

1. Davids Bridal

2. The Dress Shop

3. The White Dress

Best bicycle shop:

1. Fraser Bicycle

2. Hometown Bicycles

3. DD Bicycles Hockey

Best local grocer:

1. Simply Fresh Market

2. Livingston Organic Food CO-OP

3. Curtis Grocery

Best place for liquor/beer/wine:

1. Jonna’s Market

2. The Canopy Bottle

3. Bella’s Market

Best local bakery:

1. Marv’s Bakery

2. Mom Pop’s Bakery

3. Pinckney Bakery


Best landscaping company:

1. Leppek Landscapes

2. Todd’s Services

3. Evergreen Outdoor Inc.

Best local nursery/garden center:

1. Bordine’s

2. Meier Flowerland Greenhouse

3. Leppek Landscapes

Best local hardware store:

1. Grundy’s Ace of Howell

2. Rolison Pro Hardware

3. Great Lakes Ace Hardware


Best Howell-area child care center:

1. 1XL Learning Center

2. The Learning Tree

3. Heart of the Shepherd Lutheran Church

Best Brighton-area child care center:

1. Tot Spot

2. School Bell Early Childhood Education Center

3. Creative Kids Learning Center

Best Pinkney-area child care center:

1. IXL Learning Center

2. Down of the Farm

3. Tot Spot

Best Hartland-area child care center:

1. Hartland Preschool and Child Care Center

2. Garden Gate Montessori

3. Cradles to Crayons

Best Fowlerville area child care center:

1. Little Glad Center

2. Learn Grow Daycare

3. Heartstrings Learning Center

Best Livingston County veterinary clinic:

1. Towne Country Animal Hospital

2. Fowlerville Veterinary Clinic

3. Countryside Veterinary Hospital

Best Livingston County pet grooming:

1. Animal Crackers Red Cedar Auto

2. The Barking Lot

3. Scruffy to Fluffy

Best pet boarding facility:

1. Brady Kennels Inc

2. Pet-Ritz

3. Wag Purr Elite Pet Boarding

Best Howell-area dental practice:

1. Stines Family Dentistry Outshiner Car Wash

2. Kellogg Dental

3. Howell Dental Excellence

Best Brighton-area dental practice:

1. Charlick, Springstead Wilson Dental Associates

2. Brighton Family Dentistry

3. Michael Page

Best Pinckney-area dental practice:

1. Pinckney Family Dentistry

2. Brunner Prast Family Dental

3. Adiska Family Dental

Best Hartland-area dental practice:

1. Hartland Smilemakers

2. Cabell Family Dental Care

3. Hartland Gentle Dental, P.C.

Best Fowlerville-area dental center:

1. Fowlerville Dental Center

2. Kellogg Dental

3. Independence Dental

Best Livingston County chiropractor:

1. Duncan Chiropractic Group

2. Tim Tersigni D.C.

3. Pure Chiropractic

Best real estate agent:

1. The Buckley Jolley Real Estate Team-Todd Buckley

2. Re/Max Platinum- John Wentworth Group

3. Rick Beaudin

Best Livingston County real estate company:

1. Re/Max Platinum

2. Keller Williams

3. Buckley Jolley

Best lawyer in Livingston County:

1. Neal Nielsen

2. Andrea Banfield

3. Timothy Livingston

Best bank in Livingston County:

1. Lake Trust Credit Union

2. First National Bank

3. Chase Bank

Best dry cleaner in Livingston County:

1. Snedicor’s

2. Troy Cleaner

3. Presidential Cleaners

Best photographer in Livingston County:

1. Shone Foto

2. Shi Lessner Photography

3. Kevin Ash Creative

Best family care practice:

1. IHA Brighton Family Care

2. Brighton Family Practice

3. Livingston Internal Medicine

Best pediatric practice:

1. IHA Pediatrics

2. University of Michigan Brighton Health Center

3. Dr: Desai’s Livingston Pediatric Center

Best place for physical therapy:

1. ATI Physical Therapy

2. University of Michigan Medsport

3. Mid-Michigan Physical Therapy Specialists

Best apartments:

1. Burwick Farms Apartment Homes

2. Mallard Pond Apartments

3. Aberdeen of Brighton

Best senior living:

1. Independence Village

2. Oakhaven Manor Retirement Community

3. Village Manor Retirement


Best massage therapy:

1. Duncan Chiropractic Group

2. K Bella Hair Studio Spa

3. Tab Massage Fitness

Best local gym/fitness center

1. Hamburg Fitness

2. Howell Aquatic Fitness Center

3. Planet Fitness

Best yoga studio:

1. Soulshine Yoga

2. Brighton Yoga Center

3. Bent Yoga

Best pilates/barre studio:

1. Pure Barre

2. Pure Fitness Performance Training

3. Into Motion

Best crossfit-type workout:

1. TruFit

2. CrossFit Brighton

3. Pure Fitness Performance Training

Best Howell-area salon:

1. Casa de Bella

2. Town Shop Salon

3. The Loft

Best Brighton-area salon:

1. Tribute Salon Spa

2. K Bella Hair Studio Salon

3. Gia’s Salon

Best Pinkney-area salon:

1. Hair Works

2. Luna Salon Spa

3. Salon Ivey

Best Hartland-area salon:

1. Bella Rae Salon

2. Fantastic Sams Cut Color

3. CJ Roberts Salon and Day Spa

Best Fowlerville-area salon:

1. Shear Image

2. Reggie’s Barber Beauty Salon

3. SmartStyle Hair Salon

Best barber shop:

1. Reggie’s Barber Beauty Salon

2. Jim’s Barber Shop

3. Kim’s Barber Shop Salon

Article source:

Hanover Receives Funds for Park

Hanover — The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation has donated $50,000 to help create a public park on School Street that will offer downtown visitors a place to rest and relax while showcasing sustainable landscaping techniques.

The School Street Park — as its designers, local landscape architects, gardeners and a public-private volunteer group of town officials are calling it — will be located on an empty town-owned lot between School Street and the municipal parking lot behind Hanover Town Hall.

“Anybody can learn from what we’re doing here,” Larry Litten, a gardener and Sustainable Hanover Committee member who helped plan the park, said in an interview on Thursday.

Conceptual drawings show a hard-pack oval path linking together flower beds, benches, mulch beds, a children’s play area and a rain garden.

Litten said organizers envisioned the School Street Park as one of several recreational areas to be located on both public and private land, all of which would utilize sustainable landscaping techniques.

The flower beds, for instance, would show aspiring gardeners the ecological benefits of promoting native pollinators. The rain garden, located around a town sewer grate, would filter out toxic runoff from the nearby parking lot before it reaches the water system.

Each feature would have learning materials nearby, Litten said, including a sign with a QR code — an image that, when scanned by a smartphone, would connect visitors to more information.

Litten, who lives on School Street, said he also hoped this and future parks would bring community members together. The Sustainable Hanover Committee and other organizers are looking for volunteers to help maintain the park, he said, and already some local businesses have agreed to donate employee volunteer hours.

“It would be a community-building exercise,” Litten said, “as well as a beautification and education resource.”

The currently empty town-owned parcel is located between a private residence and the Edgerton House, an Episcopal campus ministry at Dartmouth College.

Town Manager Julia Griffin said the 0.28-acre parcel, assessed at $164,000, “formerly housed our old community center and is now a rather under-inspired public space.”

Project organizers said the total cost, including expenses covered by the Byrne donation, would be about $88,400. The town will provide the land and site preparation, and the Sustainable Hanover Committee and other organizers will provide the plants, benches and signage.

“Ideally, the park will be constructed next spring,” Griffin added, though Litten said the timing would depend in part on how quickly the park planners could raise money.

Litten said sustainable landscaping practices already were catching on in his neighborhood, where several residents have started implementing those methods in their own gardens.

Other potential sites for sustainability parks are in the Sustainable Hanover Committee’s sights, but none are yet solid enough to identify, according to Litten.

“Stay tuned,” he said.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at or 603-727-3242.

Article source:

Coming Full Circle: Magna Vista teacher now works with former student

RIDGEWAY – Tiffany Anderson has come full circle.

The Magna Vista High School (MVHS) agriculture and horticulture teacher has taught alongside those who mentored her when she was a teenager. Now, she’s also teaching alongside someone who once was her student.

Anderson began teaching at MVHS in 2011, a new coworker of horticulture teacher Deborah Barker (now retired) and agriculture teacher Darryl Holland.

Anderson, back when she was Tiffany Wilson, grew up on a farm, she said. Some years, she even worked tobacco. She is the daughter of Anita Kendall of Bassett and Jeff and Sharon Wilson of Axton. She is married to Joseph Anderson.

Her older brother, Timmy Wilson, took classes under Barker and Holland at Laurel Park High School. Three years later, when Anderson came along, she took the same classes.

She was a member of Laurel Park High School’s final graduating class, an experience she called bittersweet. However, she said, she was glad to see the programs move over to Ridgeway at MVHS.

“The skills and information (Holland and Barker taught her) on what I could do piqued my interest in going into agriculture and horticulture,” she said.

However, she didn’t immediately go into those fields; she tried out some other areas of study first. At Patrick Henry Community College, she got an associate degree in legal assisting, then decided to study radiology.

“Being inside all day wasn’t for me,” though, so she went back into horticulture and agriculture. She took classes under J.T. Foley at PHCC. “He was easy to get along with and would go out of his way to help,” she said. “He is very knowledgeable.”

She continued on to Virginia Tech, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree in 2011. While she was at Virginia Tech, Foley helped her get an internship at The Water’s Edge at Smith Mountain Lake.

Meanwhile, after Laurel Park High School closed, Barker and Holland moved over to MVHS.

“It’s been fun” working with her former teachers, she said. She got a solid foundation from “the wealth of information they shared mentoring me,” and then they “got me off to a good start” as a colleague, “to continue what they’ve been doing for so many years.”

Unlike each of them, who stuck to one specialty, Anderson has taught classes in both fields: three levels each of floral design and landscaping; Foundations of Agriculture; and Horticulture Science.


Tiffany Anderson is in her seventh year teaching agriculture and horticulture at Magna Vista High School. In a recent lesson she had students analyze leaves based on their characteristics.

Holly Kozelsky

She also has helped with and participated in extra-curricular activities and coached FFA teams.

By now, she’s been at it as a teacher long enough to see the cycle repeat. She has worked alongside two former students of hers: Lauren Nance Willis, who stepped in as the horticulture teacher last year, after Barker retired, and also Brittany Brummitt, the current horticulture teacher.

Having known a coworker before as a student “makes that transition easier,” Anderson said. “It’s nice to see what they’ve gained and grown in their knowledge in college.”

The horticulture program is continuing with the traditions Barker started. They include the annual Wedding Show, held in early November, and the school’s regular poinsettia sale, which starts at the end of November.

The classes also perform occasional community outreach projects.

“I’ve toyed around with the idea of a community landscaping expo,” Anderson said, but chuckled when she added that she had not yet discussed it with Brummitt.

“Guerilla gardening,” something she experienced in college, is another idea Anderson is rolling around in her head. Guerilla gardening is the practice of anonymously helping out in the yard of someone who isn’t able to do the work him- or herself.

“You go in at night or when someone’s not home and give the landscape or yard an uplift,” she said. When she was involved in it, it was at night, working under low light. The next day, “people were excited. People were talking. They never gave away who did it.”

She said the community probably would support such a project: “a lot of the local people who grow stuff are very easy to work with,” she added.

In today’s modern world, agriculture and horticulture still have an important role, she said. Farming “is the roots of our nation. We rely on farmers to live.” It’s also important “to know what’s in our food.”

Plus, she added, “it’s fun going back to what our grandparents did” as a matter of daily life.”

Article source:

Mayor says city will look into concerns of Parkway Gardens residents

Harry Price

FAIRFIELD — Mayor Harry Price says the city will try to follow up on concerns three Parkway Gardens residents raised involving the 240-unit condominium that had been managed by a court-appointed receiver.

Resident Minnie Noble told City Council members Tuesday that she had been harassed after placing river rocks in her window planter last year to save water during the drought.

Noble said the homeowners association for Parkway Gardens recommends drought-tolerant landscaping for window planters, but that she faced paying a $25 application fee for use of the window planter.

She also said most of the board members on the homeowners association own property in Parkway Gardens, but do not live there.

Resident Tia Fryar spoke about four incidents with security guards at the condominiums, including what she described as the improper towing of her vehicle.

A legal aid attorney told her she should be reimbursed for the tow, Fryar told the council.

Attorney Nathan McGuire, representing Parkway Gardens, said comments from some residents at the council meeting were not accurate and do not reflect the reality in the community or its governance and management.

“Parkway Gardens has come a long way since it was placed into receivership in 2013 in cooperation with the city of Fairfield,” McGuire said in an email to the Daily Republic. “At that time, the project was challenged with, among other things, significant unfunded maintenance projects, high delinquency rates, and a high crime rate.”

Directors, comprised of volunteer homeowners, are proud of the considerable progress which has been made since then, the attorney wrote in his email.

“It has required a lot of hard work, and there is still progress to be made, but the community has made drastic improvements,” he added. “The project is in much better condition, resident quality of life and safety has improved dramatically, and property values have risen.”

Parkway Gardens was spotlighted when the city of Fairfield won the Award of Excellence in the Housing Programs and Innovation category of the 2016 Helen Putnam Award for Excellence program for its part in helping turn the community around, McGuire said in his email.

Peter Martin, who served as the court-appointed receiver for Property Gardens until May 2016, said Wednesday that up to 75 percent of people living at the condominiums are renters and that membership on the homeowners association board requires owning property.

Moreover, getting people to serve on such boards is difficult, Martin said.

“People just don’t want to serve on the boards,” he said. “It’s always been like that.”

The work is demanding, Martin said.

Parkway Gardens benefited from Fairfield’s involvement in the condominiums, he said.

Efforts included extending the city’s Crime Free Housing Program, which focuses on apartments, to Parkway Gardens, he said.

Fairfield joined the lawsuit filed in 2013 by Parkway Gardens resident Janice Eaton. The legal filing challenged the homeowners association for failing to maintain a required five-member board.

The lack of a full board affected the ability to police crime and enforce city codes at the condominiums, according to the suit.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or

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Call of the wild: Look to nature for garden guidance –

Garden and landscaping books are a dime a dozen, but critics took special notice of Thomas Rainer’s 2015 book “Planting in a Post-Wild World.” The book, which he co-wrote with Claudia West, was called groundbreaking, masterful and “as practical as it is poetic.”

Rainer, a landscape architect who has designed plantings for the U.S. Capitol grounds and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, recently spoke at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Some listeners were moved almost to tears by his talk on the importance of creating ecologically responsible gardens that bring the wild back into an increasingly urban world.

Yet Rainer isn’t a pedant. There’s room for fun in his landscapes, and his own yard in Virginia has old-fashioned annuals and a patch of lawn where he can toss a ball with his son. Our gardens should bring us pleasure, he says, and if we look to nature for guidance, we will have less work and enjoy our yards more.

Rainer, who blogs at ­, took a few minutes to talk about his work, the urgency of urban gardening and Americans’ obsession with mulch:

Q: You say wildness matters more now. Why?

A: Half of the world’s population lives in cities. We’re urbanizing at a pace unprecedented in human history. That increases desire for experiences of the wild — moments of sunset, moments of seeing grasses backlit, watching a caterpillar emerge from a chrysalis. All of these things are things our grandparents experienced on a daily basis. Now these are things I show my 6-year-old son on ­YouTube.

How to create a pollinator garden for National Honey Bee Day

Photo: USDA/Flickr

Tomorrow is National Honey Bee Day and will serve as an opportunity to educate the public about the environmental concerns facing honeybees.

Although pesticides often get blamed the most for the honeybee population’s decline, there are a number of factors including varroa mites, lack of forage and habitat that are affecting bees.

The day was officially created in 2010 by the Secretary of Agriculture of the United States and has the mission of promoting and advancing beekeeping, educating the public about honeybees and making them aware of the environmental threats they face.

Bayer’s Feed a Bee initiative will be celebrating the day with special planting events to add pollinator gardens to Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York, North Central College in Naperville, Illinois, and the Placer Land Trust’s School Park Community Garden in Auburn, California.

At Bethpage State Park, horticulturists will expand pollinator habitat by connecting four existing pollinator gardens. Volunteers at North Central College will expand a newly restored prairie with native wildflowers and locals will expand School Park Community Garden’s current pollinator habitat.

“This Feed a Bee grant will help us create a garden space that was originally visualized by two incredible women who have since passed away,” said Katy Fries, garden manager of Auburn’s School Park Community Garden. “With this funding, we hope to enhance the natural beauty of the garden and safeguard foraging areas for our pollinators.”

The $500,000 initiative is sponsored by the Bayer Bee Care Program and has the goal of adding forage plantings or enhancements in every state by the end of 2018. Numerous groups have applied for funding to date and the three locations aforementioned are of the 58 projects that have been selected for funding so far.

“These organizations are only three of the incredible grantees that have received funding from the Feed a Bee program this year,” said Becky Langer, project manager, Bayer North American Bee Care Program. “It’s exciting to see such overwhelming support for pollinators from both large and small organizations across the country. We’re delighted to join with these diverse groups to have a direct, positive impact on local pollinators and their communities at large, and we’ve already made incredible progress to in our goal to reach all 50 states by the end of next year.”

The grant funds are awarded to organizations that are working to combat the issues of limited pollinator forage and provide a sustainable solution to the problem.

If your clients are interested in creating a bee-friendly landscape on their own property, there are several elements it must contain. Bees need food, so having multiple pollen- and nectar-producing flowers for every season can help them out greatly.

Some bee-friendly plants include asters, beebalm, Joe Pye weed, crocus, tickseed, oregano, zinnias, snapdragons, sunflowers, foxglove, goldenrod, phlox and milkweed.

It is better to select single flower tops like daisies instead of double flower tops like double impatiens as these produce less nectar and are harder for bees to access pollen. Also avoid highly hybridized plants as some have been bred not to seed and will produce very little pollen.

When planting pollinator-friendly plants, focus on sunny spots and try to grow large patches of flowers at least 3 feet by 3 feet. Bees also need access to water and bee baths provide them safe places to land without crashing.

A shallow bowl or a plate with rocks with just enough water so the tops of the rocks are not submerged will be enough. The water will need to be changed daily.

It is also a good rule of thumb to limit or eliminate the use of pesticides as they can weaken or kill the bees.

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Biz News: Eggslice, a breakfast sandwich maker, opens in Costa Mesa’s OC Mix

South Coast Collection and its OC Mix center, in Costa Mesa, have new tenants.

Eggslice, now open inside the Shuck Oyster Bar, offers a type of breakfast sandwich that had its beginning at farmers markets in Australia.

Bono Spera, inside the OC Mix, is a women’s athletic apparel store. It also offers Korean skincare products.

Opening later this year at SOCO are Natuzzi Italia, a furniture store, and Bang Olufsen, which sells televisions, music systems, loudspeakers and multimedia products.

Master Gardener: Make sure your landscaping is fire-resistant

Although it really isn’t possible to have a “fire-proof” landscape, there are many thing you can do to help protect your home from the ravages of fire.

The most important is to create a defensible space around the house perimeter. Ideally you should have a 30-foot “free zone” from all buildings, structures and decks. This space gives firefighters room to their job, if needed. Often firefighters will bypass a home that has little to no defensible area in which to work, opting instead for one they think they will be more likely to save.

If at your place it isn’t practical to remove all vegetation, it is extremely important to remove any dead plant material — dry leaves, pine needles and highly flammable plants such as Italian cypress, pine, fir, spruce, eucalyptus, junipers, palms, Japanese honeysuckle and some ornamental grasses.

Create fire-safe zones by building concrete or stone patios, walkways and walls. Flower beds, gardens, appropriate ground covers and mulch placed near your home can also serve as a fire-break.

Removing highly flammable plants and replacing them with fire-resistant options is highly recommended — especially if you live in a high-fire zone.

What makes a tree or shrub fire-resistant? If it’s non-oily, deciduous (drops its leaves in winter), large leaved and/or has high-water content. These fare best when exposed to high heat or fire. To ensure that your plants are as fire resistant as possible, make sure they’re healthy, well hydrated and free of dead wood.

Excessive vegetation adds fuel to a flame. The plants nearest your home should be widely spaced and low-growing. Avoid large masses. Instead, plant in small clusters using a wide variety of species. Here are some fire-resistant options to consider:

Trees: California live oaks, native redwoods, California bay laurel, maples, citrus, cherry, apple, strawberry tree, dogwood, ash, loquat, ‘Little Gem’ magnolia, toyon, white alder, weeping bottlebrush, redbud.

Large shrubs: Aloe, ceanothus, cotoneaster, escallonia, currant, pineapple guava, flowering quince, Island bush poppy, Pacific wax myrtle, photinia, pittosporum, mock orange, plumbago, podocarpus, laurel, viburnum.

Flowering plants: Azalea, camellia, hibiscus, lavender, monkey flower, California fuchsia, coral bells, society garlic, salvia, rhododendron.

Ground covers: Woolley yarrow, Ajuga reptans, purple rockrose, creeping coprosma, creeping thyme, ice plant, mock strawberry, wild strawberry, evergreen candytuft, lantana, Lamium, African daisy, wooly thyme, star jasmine, sedum.

Vines: Trumpet vine, potato vine, Cape honeysuckle.

Mulching around your trees and shrubs will help them retain moisture, reduce weeds and provide nutrients to the soil. However, if you are in a high fire area, avoid using wood chips and or pine needles, which can feed a fire. If you do have wood-based mulch, make sure to keep it moist, and add a layer of compost of top. Using compost by itself or layers of rocks or pebbles might be a better choice.

Raging fires can produce extremely high heat, investigators of the 2008 Trabing Fire near Watsonville reported that temperatures had reached more than 3,000 degrees. Unfortunately, no plant would survive that!

If there is a fire near you, please heed the advice from your local fire authorities and evacuate if and when you are asked to do so.

Rebecca Jepsen is a Santa Clara County Master Gardener.

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