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The independent garden center industry is as diverse as the plants and products it offers, as each business has different selling strategies and its own take on what a retail nursery should offer. This year, however, as we were listening to stories from the 19 companies featured from the 2017 Top 100 Independent Garden Centers List, an overwhelming number of leaders talked about what they were doing to encourage people to visit and spend time, not just money, at their stores. A strong theme emerged — providing a great experience, and not just opportunities to shop, is essential. Though many have the same goal of making their businesses destinations for more than just plants, their ideas differ and include farm-to-table restaurants, live music, food trucks, evening painting classes and even a mini golf course. They are creating community centers for people and providing even more than top-notch products and customer service. Lucky for us, they graciously shared their stories and time. You can read their inspiring ideas, including sales strategies, merchandising tips and how to refresh a brand.

The following people contributed to this issue: Michelle Simakis is editor and Conner Howard is associate editor of Garden Center magazine. Maddie Capron interned during the summer of 2017. Brooke N. Bates is a freelance writer living in Cleveland and a frequent contributor to Garden Center and to GIE Media Horticulture Group publications. Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights, Ohio-based freelance writer and journalist and frequent contributor to Garden Center and to GIE Media Horticulture Group publications. Jolene Hansen is a freelance writer and former hort professional based in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area. She is a frequent contributor to Garden Center and to GIE Media Horticulture Group publications.

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Garden smart; a glimpse at the work landscape architect of Randle Siddeley

Gardens may seem like an unattainable luxury in this age of megacities. Yet urban planners and governments are keen to create greener cities, meaning that landscape architecture – a long overlooked discipline – is increasingly sought after.

“Unlike architects who build buildings, what I’m building is forever growing,” says Randle Siddeley, a prominent British landscape architect who has designed for commercial, residential and public spaces. Most recently, Siddeley has been hired by Swire Properties to design a 500-square-metre garden for a commercial building in Kowloon Bay. A fountain will be installed and sitting areas abound amid several species of trees, including Albizia julibrissin, the Persian silk tree and bauhinia.

A 500-square-metre plot, massive by Hong Kong standards, is tiny compared to some of Siddeley’s past projects, which include the gardens for a country estate in Quebec countryside. “Most of the time I want to create paradise, but this was already paradise,” says the architect. “So it was more about building the right elements to complement that.”

From the entrance of the Quebec estate, one drives up a road lined with aspen, birch and pine trees. Tall hedges of coniferous and ash trees line the gardens, while a stately replica of an 18th century French urn, cloned from the original using laser technology, adds Old World allure. Trellises provide a visual link between the château’s main terrace and the gardens. Obelisks provide a sense of structure, rising against the stark sky during Quebec’s harsh winter months. In a large open area, a massive pair of sculptures from Ju Ming’s Taichi series, sit. Beyond is the vast Canadian countryside.

A country estate is easy for a landscape architect to work with, but city gardens present unique challenges. For a home in west London, Siddeley redirected the garden path to the side of the house and installed a custom-built pergola, which overlooks hedges that give privacy. The natural elements are contrasted with a bespoke “water wall”, built with stainless steel louvres and outfitted with LED lights.

In Asia, the designer created Georgian-style gardens for a luxury town house development in Qingpu, China. He dealt with a noisy motorway by planting an avenue of deciduous trees either side of the road that connects the motorway to the town houses, giving residents the illusion of being on a road in the European countryside.

Six years ago, British-trained Virag Chatterjee set up One Landscape Design in Hong Kong with the aim of advancing “land culture”, which advocates landscaping with a closer relationship to the terrain. In the case of the Indochina Villas Saigon, a boutique waterfront residential project in Ho Chi Minh City, it meant translating the “linearity of the country’s paddy fields” across the pool plaza, children’s playground and gardens.

Chatterjee says land culture is also about using the natural forms. “There are always clients who want a mazelike garden or a very structured French garden, but at our company, we want to play with the natural form of nature. The form of a tree changes throughout the seasons, so visually, there is more diversity.” To create a springtime burst of colour at a new Marriott hotel in Xian, Chatterjee planted cherry blossom trees. For a Banyan Tree Resort in Wangshan, China, One Landscape Design suggested that local tea farmers be hired to grow and maintain the tea gardens.

One important rule of thumb when designing an ecologically rich landscape is to mix species, thereby attracting different types of bugs to rest and lay their eggs. Covering 10,000 hectares in Hong Kong’s Clear Water Bay, New World Development’s Mount Pavilia is bound by a rim of mountains on one end, and a meandering road that connects Ma On Shan and Sai Kung town centre on the other.

Residents in the low-rise luxury town houses will have gardens with more than 200 shrub and ground cover species. “They reinforce a European character,” says Hong Kong-based landscape architect Adrian Norman. Golden trumpet trees, which erupt with a show-stopping display of yellow flowers during winter, are placed on key visual axis, while acer trees promise shade on scorching summer days.

The greenery is punctuated by pieces of contemporary art – this is, after all, a project by Adrian Cheng, New World scion and famed art collector. A piece by artist Gao Weigang doubles as a bench amid the lush flora and fauna. A few steps away, a piece of conceptual art by Tatiana Trouvé is also water feature, while the work of Hong Kong artist Kum Chi-keung evokes the sight of ancient Roman ruins.

“This establishes natural havens, food and shelter for a variety of local birds, butterflies, dragonflies and other Hong Kong insects,” explains Norman. This unpredictability of nature means landscape architects have much to contend with, but it is also what makes the final product a living, breathing masterpiece.

These are excerpts of an article published in the September issue of The Peak magazine, available by invitation and at selected bookshops

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Folsom comes together big for Community Service Day | Folsom …

Telegraph photos by Bill Sullivan
More than 2,800 volunteers participated in some 50 different service projects Saturday during Folsom’s fourth annual Community Service Day.  This annual major city-wide event mobilizes thousands of volunteers of all ages and interests to complete projects throughout Folsom that make a positive, lasting impact.   From packing military care packages and writing them thank you cards, to beautifying community gardens, landscaping projects to the task of local waterway clean up, beautifying historical sites and much more.The event is made possible by a collaborative effort between the City of Folsom, the mass of volunteers and numerous dedicated area businesses who sponsor the event, including the Folsom Telegraph.Watch for our coverage and photo page in the Thursday edition of the Folsom Telegraph and view over 80 images from select projects throughout the day at

Councilman Steve Miklos speaks to the volunteers before sending them out to the streets of Folsom Saturday morning.

Joe Gagliardi, CEO of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and wife Maureen head out to particpate in the various projects along with numerous city officials, business owners and some 2800 residents.

Volunteers head out to thei more that 50 projects from Lakeside Church

Folsom Prison had a collection site for used bicycles which are restored for area children and those in need annually.

Fire Chief Felipe Rodriguez (right) works with volunteers from Intel and the Folsom Cordova Unified School District in Willow Creek.

Robert Goss trenches through Willow Creek to clear the invasive plantlife that has covered the area.

Felipe Rodriguez, Folsom Fire Chief was one of the many volunteers, along with family and co-workers paticipating in Community Service Day. Rodriguez was working in Willow Creek to clear the invasive plantlife that has covered the area.

Robert Goss of Folsom Parks and Recreation in Willow Creek.

Volunteers help the Folsom Historical Society clear the property in lot of the Historic Chan House that recently closed escrow to become and new museum site.

Volunteers help the Folsom Historical Society clear the property in lot of the Historic Chan House that recently closed escrow to become and new museum site.

Volunteers help the Folsom Historical Society clear the property in lot of the Historic Chan House that recently closed escrow to become and new museum site.

Volunteers help the Folsom Historical Society clear the property in lot of the Historic Chan House that recently closed escrow to become and new museum site.

Pioneer Village was one of the many clean up sites

The local train museum got a fresh coat of paint on the trim.

Community Service Day attracted local media coverage. Locally media representatives not only covered the event but also participated and sponsored it, including Folsom TV, pictured here interviewing local railroad historican Bill Anderson, as well as the Folsom Telegraph and Style Media who all covered, sponsored and participated in the day.

Landscaping and clean up took place at Mercy Housing.

The day included hard work and much fun was had by the volunteers.

Volunteers enjoyed a hearty lunch at various sites as many local businesses and service clubs donated food.

The Twin Lakes Food Bank was a hub of activity as volunteers delivered and sorted thousands of pounds of food that came in from a commmunity food drive

Volunteers enjoyed ice cream served by the Pink Ice Cream Cart at the Twin Lake Food Bank to cool off.

Workers build garden boxes and new fencing in the Twin Lakes Food Bank community garden.

The day came with hard work by all and fun at the same time.

Watch for coverage and photos in the September 21 edition of the Folsom Telegaph Newspaper.

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Conifers for the Win: Planning for Your Winter Garden

click to enlarge

  • Courtesy of Rocky Dale Gardens
  • A mix of conifers at Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol

When I bought my home in Burlington nine years ago, a huge selling point was the gardens. Both front and back yards were terraced with stonework, and the previous owners had planted loads of perennials, a phalanx of privacy-creating cedars, a magnificent magnolia and a peach tree that actually bears fruit.

Though the place was already lovely, I began to fantasize about changes I wanted to make … and quickly came to the conclusion: Who am I kidding? I don’t have time for this.

So I hired a gardener. And when we met, the first thing she asked me was, “What do you want to look at in the winter?”

Huh? I’d been thinking more tulips, more colors, maybe another fruit tree…

“Well,” she explained patiently, “we have a lot more winter than summer.”

True enough. So she schooled me on the virtues of conifers, plants that produce cold-weather berries, and shrubby things that reveal intriguing shapes when their leaves are gone. In other words, plants that look good with snow.

Soon after, we headed down to Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol, her nursery of choice. I purchased three distinctively different conifers. I couldn’t tell you their botanical names, but one is tall and thin with long, small-needled branches, another is “weeping,” and the third is mound shaped.

And, indeed, they have made my backyard more interesting through the long winter. Snow clings prettily to their needles. Birds like to hide in the taller ones, when not darting out to the bird feeder nearby. And the trees’ placement blocks the neighbors’ otherwise unobstructed sight line into my kitchen.

One thing, though? Two of the vertically oriented conifers were supposed to be dwarf varieties. But they did not get the memo; both have become much taller than I expected and are now jostling each other for space. (That gardener moved out of state, so no help from her.) I thought “dwarf” meant they would stay small — a scale appropriate to my modest backyard.

“They’ll keep growing if you don’t prune them,” Ed Burke informed me with a chuckle. “If a tree stops growing, it’s dead.” The landscape designer is the owner of Rocky Dale, where I recently returned to find out more about winterscaping — and what to do about my crowded trees.

Burke bought the nursery in 2004 and still maintains his longtime landscaping business in Minneapolis; nursery manager Amy Rose-White has been there 20 years. Both are delighted to walk through their lush gardens and wax passionate about plants of any kind. In this case, I wanted to talk conifers.

“The winter garden has always been a focus of landscape designers,” Burke said. “In Vermont, we have so much snow that the herbaceous plants really don’t hold up.”

That said, he pointed to a contorted beech (Fagus sylvatica “Tortuosa”), as well as winterberry (Ilex verticillata), a holly native to Vermont that has edible — for birds and small mammals — red berries. “In this climate, that’s the No. 1 deciduous plant,” Burke noted.

We looked at trees with twisty, or contorted, shapes, which can appear like sculptures against a snowy backdrop; and weeping trees with gracefully drooping branches. Trees with interesting bark can also complement a winter landscape, Burke pointed out. I spotted a lovely Japanese maple, one of which my yard already has. Its red leaves are a gorgeous contrast with the prevailing greenery now, but the tree admittedly isn’t much of a looker in the winter.

Among the mature trees on the Rocky Dale property are clusters of tall and handsome spruces, firs and pines. “There are many varieties of blue spruce,” Burke said. “Some weep, some crawl, some are contorted. White pine has softer needles, so snow doesn’t gather,” he added. “Others, with stiff needles, are better snow collectors.”

Two other trees I took note of were Alaskan cedar, with a straight trunk and pyramidal form; and the Korean fir, which is fuller and denser and has two-toned needles. The latter evergreen is said to be slower growing and compact, and I’m thinking it would have been a better choice for my yard.

But here’s the thing about plants: They can be thinned out and taken out, moved and replanted elsewhere, if their roots are not too deep. “Overall, early spring is best for [moving] established trees,” Burke advised. “The roots are more compact. But don’t plant them too close!”

As we walked around the three-acre property, it was clear he looked at landscape as something to alter. I always thought trees were forever (unless they got diseased or struck by lightning); to Burke, removing or relocating just about any plant is no big deal. A new flower garden here, a hedge there, a clearing for events such as weddings. Solving a crowding problem with a pair of not-too-intimidating trees started to seem easy.

Along the way, Burke offered some general thoughts about conifers. For starters, “They’re generally the most expensive plants in the nursery,” he said, suggesting you should study up to make the right choice for your yard. “The key is selection. Know the growth habit of the tree. Plant perennials and shrubs around it — they can be moved when the tree gets larger,” he said.

“We’re known for our conifers,” Burke continued, “though about half of our business is perennials. We find with conifers people can become collectors. They really just keep giving.” To that point, he handed me an informational sheet listing numerous varieties, along with their qualities and details about care and feeding.

Plants are not the only story in a yard, though. Homeowners should also consider hardscaping — that is, stonework, weather-resistant sculptures, fencing or other features that form the architecture of the space. I’ve installed a number of concrete sculptures by a local artist, each of which presides over a section of my garden — and contributes to the winter view. One of them, however, is about to disappear under that weeping conifer. Somebody will just have to move.

How to Plant a Conifer

click to enlarge

  • Courtesy of Rocky Dale Gardens
  • Winterberry

Fall is a good time to plant a tree — up until mid-October in most Vermont locations. You’ll want to be able to keep the roots well moistened before the ground freezes. After you’ve selected the right tree for your yard, and taken into account soil and drainage conditions, follow these steps to give your tree a healthy head start.

The hole

Choose your site and then dig a hole that’s two to three times wider than your tree’s root ball — but not deeper than the ball’s height. One of the most common planting mistakes is to go too deep.

Loosen the soil on the sides of your hole, but not the bottom. If your soil is heavy, create a small mound at the bottom to raise the root slightly higher than ground level. You want water to drain away from the trunk.

Handling and planting

If your baby tree was grown in a container, remove it and tease the roots apart with your fingers or a tool. If your tree root is balled and burlapped, leave it in the burlap prior to planting. Lift the tree by its root ball or container, never by the trunk.

Center the plant in your hole. If it’s in natural burlap, pull back the fabric from the top third of the root ball. Synthetic burlap and twine should be completely removed. If the root ball has a wire cage, use a wire cutter to remove the top two-thirds once the root ball is in the hole. Do not leave any material around the trunk.

Filling the hole

First fill the hole with water two or three times, waiting each time for the water to drain. Mix the soil you dug out with one-third organic matter and add it to the hole. Water again, and add more soil mixture when it settles. Do not compress or tamp down the soil.

Create a large bowl shape around your planting — this will hold water. Mulch this with two to four inches of shredded leaves or bark. Do not pile mulch against the tree trunk.


Again, it’s important to keep your soil moist, but not drowning, before winter. If your tree’s root ball came from a lightweight container mix, it will dry out faster than the surrounding soil. But if your yard has heavy clay soil that doesn’t drain well, be careful not to overwater. If you can, leave a hose at the base of the tree for an hour, with pressure at a trickle. This should allow water to fully absorb into the soil. Rain will do this job for you, but if it’s dry, keep an eye on your new planting and water as needed.

—Info courtesy of Rocky Dale Gardens.

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Waves of grain: Author says wheat, rice, oats and other grains are ideal for the neighborhood landscape

Americans love their lawns, but a North Carolina-based author wants homeowners and professional landscapers to consider other members of the grass family.

Brie Gluvna Arthur, the self-described “Crazy Grain Lady,” wants people to recognize the beauty, heritage and practicality of growing rice, wheat, oats and other members of the “poaceae” group.

“I feel like grains could potentially have a lot of landscape appeal,” say Arthur, who wrote “The Foodscape Revolution: Finding a Better Way to Make Space for Food and Beauty in Your Garden,” published in March by St. Lynn’s Press.

“They (grains) look like ornamental grasses that have become very common in our landscape, but one of their advantages is that they have very deep root systems that can aid with excessive water and stormwater cleaning. By contrast, ornamental grasses tend to have shallow root systems.”

Arthur has demonstrated the use of grains by planting grains, particularly rice in the warm season and wheat in the cool season, in an 850-square-foot bed along the foundation of her house in suburban Raleigh, North Carolina.

“The reason I got into growing them is that I had never seen it done before,” says Arthur, adding that it’s also an inexpensive way to fill a bed. About $3 worth of seed can cover 150 square feet.

Coming to Charleston

This year, Arthur has been on a busy national and international tour promoting “Foodscape Revolution” and will bring her presentation, which will focus on grains, to the Lowcountry when she speaks to the Charleston Horticultural Society on Oct. 9.

Society Executive Director Kyle Barnette says society board members saw Arthur’s presentation last fall at Middleton Place and asked for an encore this year.

“It (planting grains) isn’t the first thing you think about when it comes to the beautification of a garden. That’s one of the reasons why you want someone like Brie to talk about it because she has a great way of telling you how to incorporate edibles into the ornamental landscape,” Barnette says.

He adds that while planting grains in a garden is not a new idea, Arthur is “bringing a new flavor to it.”

“It’s not that people don’t know about it. They may just need the inspiration.”

The new sweetgrass?

Thirty years ago, sweetgrass basketmakers sounded the alarm that the native grass that is part of a Gullah craft tradition was getting harder to find in the Lowcountry.

Horticultural and landscaping enthusiasts were among those who responded, embracing sweetgrass, which features tufts of enduring pink blossoms in the late fall, for its ornamental, native beauty.

Arthur and others see Carolina gold rice, which was largely responsible for building the wealth of Colonial South Carolina, in the same way. It’s a legacy plant with roots tied to African slaves that nearly disappeared despite being beautiful.

Dovetailing efforts

Arthur’s more recent work takes a parallel path with the decade-plus efforts of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation, a group of researchers and advocates that has been working to save, restore and protect the heirloom grain varieties that were precious to the Southeast and the nation.

The foundation’s efforts focus on grains that were developed over time for flavor. In the late 1800s, the food industry started moving toward creating grains that were more durable in production, shipment and storage, not flavor.

Foundation Chairman David Shields, a Carolina Distinguished Professor at the University of South Carolina, says that what Arthur is advocating is “an interesting idea.”

“I just don’t know whether the average human being now is patient enough to do that without training. You’ll always have devotees who will do that,” says Shields, adding that her approach to focus on landscapers may be the better audience.

“Grains aren’t the easiest thing to grow, but they do have enormous resonance and do have flavor,” says Shields. “However, we’ve always believed in the potential. The actual applications that people put the things to once they become available will be interesting.”

Fellow foundation board member and Columbia-based Anson Mills owner Glen Roberts applauds Arthur’s efforts and passion, but also questions whether the mainstream will embrace heirloom grains in the home landscape.

Roberts says the foundation is working on other “vectors” for bringing back heirloom grains: school and urban gardens.

“I get calls from teachers every day about getting seed and advice,” says Roberts, noting that the calls come from across the country.

Prior to and during World War II, Roberts says home gardens often featured grains as among the edible plants, so it isn’t without precedent.

Grains belong

Arthur says the local food movement has made great strides to bring locally and regionally grown fruits and vegetables back to communities, but for the most part have left out grains, which are more sustaining carbohydrate sources.

“When you go to a bakery and ask where your flour came from, generally they don’t know. Usually in the Southeast, it does not come from a regionalized resource. There is no reason for that. We have the ability to grow local carbohydrates on smaller plots that can be managed organically.”

Arthur also theorized that bringing heirloom varieties back to local markets may help with a growing intolerance to gluten, which she thinks came from the industrialization of grain agriculture.

She says the local food movement is opening other opportunities to bring grains back and points to the rise of distilleries and breweries, and even home brewers.

“Barley (which is used for beer) is the absolutely most beautiful grain you’ll ever see. For people who brew their own beer, being able to grow your own barley is a really easy part of localizing that resource. It involves basically no inputs. You don’t need to fertilize it or spray it with pesticides. It grows in clumps and en masse.”

Arthur says harvesting grains requires letting plants dry in the landscape. Then they are cut, threshed and winnowed to harvest the seeds.

Arthur says she sees growing grains as being sensible and that it makes more sense than ornamental grass plants that are non-native and invasive, such as pampas.

“Grains are an annual that have been been grown thousands of years and won’t be invasive,” she says. “It doesn’t make sense that we’re growing ornamental grasses when we could be getting the same design aesthetic and getting nutrition from it.”

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FLD Garden Shop offers fun fall workshops

By Sarrah Peters, News Editor

FLD Garden Shop offers everything you would expect in a garden shop, from plants and planters, to fountains, wind chimes and garden signs.

But the shop features more than just supplies for the garden; it also offers workshops for new gardening projects.

Located at 2290 Cedar Bend Road North in Southside, FLD Garden Shop holds workshops once or twice a month. On Tuesday, September 12 the shop held a “Fall Fest Fairy Garden Workshop.”

According to workshop teacher Valerie Kendrick, fairy gardening dates back hundreds of years, but has recently become popular again as a fun way to build elaborate gardens on a small scale. FLD offers many themed fairy garden sets, including an Alice in Wonderland set, an under the sea set, a fiesta-themed set, a nativity scene set, a camping-themed set and a farming-themed set.

“It’s whatever you are into,” said Kendrick.

The workshops are open to all ages, and many find that the classes are great for a fun date night.

“We have some couples come in, and they seem to like it,” said Ava Bikneris.

Other recent workshops have included a back-to-school themed apple pots and a gourd decorating workshop.

On Tuesday, September 19, FLD will host a Pumpkin Planter Workshop at 6:30 p.m. The class costs $20 each, which covers all supplies.

FLD Garden Shop is preparing for fall, with mums already at the store and pumpkins due to arrive soon.

The shop also offer some football themed garden supplies, like Auburn and Alabama garden flags, door mats and more.

FLD Garden Shop also offers landscaping services, and is state-certified in landscape design, setting of landscape plants and Ornamental and Turf Pest Control Supervision. FLD is also a certified Alabama Nurserymen’s Association Landscape Planner.

The store is open from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday. The store is closed on Sundays. After daylight savings time the store hours will be from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

For more information or to register for workshops, visit FLD Garden Shop on Facebook, visit or call 256-442-1060.

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Trees, traffic lights bear the brunt in Palm Beach Gardens

All told, city police arrested six people from Saturday to Tuesday morning on various charges: grand theft, curfew violation, shoplifting, domestic battery, simple battery and cocaine possession. The grand theft and shoplifting do not appear to be hurricane-related, Rogers said.

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Theresa “Tee” George


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NORTH JAVA — Mrs. Theresa “TEE” George, 89, of North Java passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 at her home.

She was born on June 3, 1928, in North Java, to her parents, Leo and Catherine Gebel.

Theresa married Roy C. George, Jr. on Oct. 11, 1946. She was preceded in death by her husband Roy in May 1985; great-grandson Clayton in March 2013; her daughter Kimberly Ann in April 2017 and sister Evelyn Brunner.

Tee and Roy were business partners. They owned the North Java Inn [1948-50], a dairy farm [1953-57], and an ice cream parlor [1960-63]. She earned a real estate license in 1971 and helped to develop Roy-L-Tee Acres subdivision. They built and ran Family Mart Grocery Store from 1974 to 1979. Theresa purchased the North Java Inn again in 1989, and remodeled the establishment. Tee loved gardening and landscaping. Many wedding pictures were captured on her property using her beautiful gardens as a backdrop. Tee loved to laugh and enjoyed life to its fullest. She was always giving of herself and defending those whom she thought were the underdogs in life. She was strong in her faith and a compassionate supporter of many Catholic seminaries and monasteries. She was also an avid bridge player.

Theresa is survived by her children, Joseph of Tanzania, Africa, Stephen (Marie) of North Java, Nancy (Jack) Allen of Williamsville, Timothy (Maryfaith) of Massey, Maryland, Tracy (Tammy) of North Java and son-in-law Andy Klein of Fort Wayne, Ind. She is survived by grandchildren, Troy, Todd, Tina, Chad; Darnell, Jonathan, Brandon; Shannon, Nichole, Jennifer, Adam; Ryan, Larissa, Faith, Emily, Timmy, Lydia; Justin, Zachary, Noel, Taylor; Trey, Jordan, Tyler, Jacob and 25 great-grandchildren; sisters, Mary Elizabeth Perry, Ann Marie Dimick, Clarine (Ray) Meisner, and brother, John (Sharon) Gebel.

Visitation will take place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 16 at Marley Funeral Home LLC. 135 Main Street, Attica. Prayers will take place at the Funeral Home immediately following visitation. Tee’s burial will take place in St. Nicholas Cemetery, North Java.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to The Charlotte House, PO Box 123, North Java, NY 14113 or the North Java Fire Department, 4274 Route 98, North Java, NY 14113. For more information please call (585) 591-1212 or to leave a message of condolence

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Arne Maynard Discusses Formality in Gardening

To many traditionalists, the makings of a formal garden are fairly cut-and-dried. Not so for landscape designer Arne Maynard. Maynard has made a name for himself by blurring the lines between informal and formal, natural and polished, to create alluring outdoor spaces that both reflect and add to their environments. In a talk next week for the Institute of Classical Architecture Art, Maynard will discuss this careful balance. “Arne is among today’s most influential and renowned landscape designers,” says ICAA president Peter Lyden. “To experience one of Arne’s gardens is to witness the perfect synthesis of formal and informal design principles that, together, harmonize the architecture of a place with its natural setting.” For those garden enthusiasts who cannot make the talk, Maynard has written a short essay for AD PRO discussing his theory of garden design.

Why do we need gardens? And when is it appropriate to create them? Buildings don’t always need gardens—a shooting lodge on a wild heather moor, a fishing hut set in a meadow on the banks of a river—when their setting and surrounding landscape is so powerful that no created garden could compete. But the art of creating gardens and our need to feel connected to the natural landscape around us goes back centuries. Initially, this need was born of necessity as gardens were created to grow food, but this soon developed into an enduring attempt to tame nature, to cuckold and adapt it.

I am fascinated and driven by this need to enclose nature, but I am ever mindful that any garden design I create must not only sit comfortably within its landscape but must also be a combination of the formal and informal. This juxtaposition of clipped and unclipped offers us the opportunity to create quiet, understated strength with blousy, romantic overtures of color and texture.

Maynard is known for pushing the boundaries of a so-called formal garden.

The informality of my gardens comes mainly from soft planting schemes, which are designed to give year-round interest. But it can also be achieved with hard landscaping and structural planting. There is a playfulness in the way a perfect grid of trees can be disrupted by deliberately leaving some out, diluting the rigidity of the structure. A formal path can be dressed down using an unexpected material and by plants encouraged to grow within it and spill over it.

While the informal elements of a garden give it its romantic atmosphere, they are also fragile and ephemeral. What is an exquisite detail in one season disappears in the next to be replaced by a new star player in the performance of a garden. It is the strength of the formal structure beneath that creates a garden with longevity. The permanent plantings of trees, hedges, topiary and lawns create spaces to be enjoyed throughout the year and for generations to come.

Hear Maynard speak further on his gardens on September 19 at the ICAA. Tickets cost $30 and are available at

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5 Important Landscaping Features You Should Never Ignore

The change of seasons means it’s time for a landscaping refresh — fresh mulch, perhaps some seasonal plants and generally just an update to start the season anew. Whether you’re doing the work yourself or hiring someone to help, it’s not uncommon for some of the most obvious — and important — aspects of landscaping to be overlooked. In an effort to help you avoid these common issues, we talked with Gavin Duke of Page|Duke Landscape Architects, a Nashville-based landscape architecture firm with an impressive client base throughout the South. Here, Gavin shares the most common things that people overlook when it comes to their landscaping, and offers beautiful examples of how attention to these details can up your landscape game.

1. Use the right soil.

Before anything else, make sure you are using the right soil type for your property. “When you’re planning a major project, you want to have good soil to work with,” offers Gavin. “In Tennessee we have a lot of clays that are deceptive, so you might be planting in clay when you need a fertile, sandy loam with organic content. Although you may have soil that is black in color, it may not be fertile.”

Gavin says that many times, people just dig a hole and put a plant in it. “Planting in clay is sometimes like putting a plant in a bathtub. The ‘tub’ will hold water; it won’t perk and drain properly, so it sort of suffocates the plant.” So ensure you’re setting your plants up for successful growth with the right soil. But how do you know what’s the right soil? A simple way to find out if your soil type will allow your plants and flowers to thrive is to take a sample to your county agricultural extension agency or consult a landscaper.

Example: The Truxton project

When the basics of soil preparation occur, award-winning execution prevails. Page|Duke recently was recognized for its work on a project in Nashville’s Belle Meade neighborhood, which enabled the addition of gardens and expansions that “appear as if they had always been there” when blended with an existing pool, tree canopies and landscaping. Further refinement occurred with such added details as an “autumn sunset” pea gravel (rather than mulch) to prevent mud splash on the newly painted white brick home.

Page|Duke Landscape Architects seamlessly executed the addition of landscape that looks as though it had always been there. To pull that off, a key step was ensuring they were using the right soil. Image: Reed Brown Photography

What a stunning view! Image: Reed Brown Photography

The brilliant minds at Page|Duke opted for a beautiful shade of pea gravel to ensure that muddy mulch was never an issue. Image: Reed Brown Photography

2. Consider sun exposure as it relates to specific plants.

“You don’t want to put a shade plant in the sun and a sun plant in the shade,” says Gavin. “And you don’t put some ornamental grasses in deep shade, where they require sun, for example. You can even see in some cases, with some plants that require sun, there might be a row of them, and then the plants go underneath a canopy — all of a sudden, it’s stunted growth, and you’ll see evidence that some things respond to photosynthesis.”

Examples: Crater Hill and the Governor’s Mansion

Response to the light requirements of plants is elemental to creating an evocative palette of landscaping, as seen at the spaces of Crater Hill or in a visit to the governor’s official residence, a magnificent and respectful nod to its original builders, the Ridley Wills family. The current estate, once a family’s “country escape,” now features a sweeping great lawn for entertaining visitors, an added greenhouse and vegetable and flower gardens.

Page|Duke’s Crater Hill project is a perfect example of the importance of taking into account the sun and light requirements of each plant. Image: John Chiasson

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The stunning gardens of the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion provide another example that shows how specific plant species’ light requirements vary. Image: Matt Fisher Photography

Here’s a look into a beautiful courtyard at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion. Image: Matt Fisher Photography

3. Consider zone recognition.

Zone recognition is third on Gavin’s list. “For each plant, there have been tested ‘hardiness zones,’ so if you have a plant you think is really wonderful in New Orleans — fig ivy, for example — and you want to plant it in Tennessee, it might survive if we have these mild winters, but eventually, it’s going to get snapped by zero-degree temperatures,” he says.

Examples: The Boxwood estate and the Nashville Public Library 

Page|Duke implemented the best of what thrives in Tennessee to such projects as the Nashville Public Library, where patrons enjoy an enduring extension of interior features in exterior courtyards. Likewise, in the landscape and gardens at the Boxwood estate in Belle Meade, Page|Duke masterfully and appropriately used boxwoods to create an intriguing lift for the original Georgian property.

The use of boxwoods on this residential design by Page|Duke puts to use the hardiness of this shrub when faced with the Tennessee climate. Image: John Chiasson

Careful selection of trees and shrubs ensure a breathtaking finished product, as shown in this photo of the Boxwood estate. Image: John Chiasson

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The courtyard at the Nashville Public Library is just one example of how taking into consideration what plants thrive in your region can produce amazing results. Image: Page|Duke Landscape Architects

Such structural plants as laurels, boxwoods and yews are ideal foundations for landscaping, as shown here when we peek into the courtyard of the Nashville Public Library. Image: Page|Duke Landscape Architects

4. Make sure you have adequate drainage.

Next, “Make sure you have somewhere for the water to go,” says Gavin. Landscape architects often solve drainage problems by using French draining beds, perhaps “a perforated pipe we put in low with a pea gravel base around it so that if you get saturated conditions, the water does not sit there and cause mildew or a situation where the plant could actually drown.” He also suggests being aware of slopes on your property and of any drainage you have around the base of your home.

SB TIP: When planning, remember some plants — the bald cypress, for example — have “wet feet” (i.e., constant moisture), whereas others — rhododendrons and azaleas, for example — do not.

5. Respect the roots.

Finally, Gavin stresses the importance of respecting existing root canopies. “I’ve seen people plant beds around bases of trees, not realizing they’re taking a lot of nutrients from an existing tree.” Although a mature tree may not die for a couple of years, it may be affected in a third year from competing with other plant material too long.

As you take to your garden spaces to rejuvenate them for fall, you now have more expertise on how to create inviting — and successfully cultivated — landscapes. Happy planting!

See more of the amazing work produced by Ben Page and Gavin Duke of Page|Duke Landscape Architects on their website —


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