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With concrete gone, Central City front yard wins third place in garden contest


When Linda Gielec bought her house in Central City in 2014, she was itching to indulge her green thumb. The house has a side yard where Gielec could envision a natural screen of foliage to create privacy and add coziness.

But first she had to deal with the concrete. Lots of concrete.

“It was all cement about 5 feet from the side of the house,” Gielec said. “It was cracked and broken and half buried in weeds.”

So instead of checking off her list of interior renovations she’d like to do, Gielec spent her time and money on redeveloping the front yard. “I thought when I bought this house, it was so beautiful, I wanted to give it what it deserves,” she said. “I could have redone my bathroom or got central AC, but I really wanted a nice garden.”

For assistance, Gielec applied to the Front Yard Initiative, a program of the Urban Conservancy which reimburses homeowners for ripping out concrete on their property and replacing it with green space to help stormwater management. Gielec removed 500 square feet of paving and was reimbursed $1,250 by the program.

Once that was done, she had a blank slate to install a small front garden filled with Yuletide and Shi Shi camellias and blooming Society Garlic, a brick walkway, a row of Little Gem magnolias and an Alexandrina Japanese magnolia, which brightens gray winter days with its splash of pinkish blossoms.

“My favorite front yard plant so far is a tie between the Yuletide Camellia flowers and the massive, fragrant, Alexandrina Magnolia flowers,” she said.

On a street with few trees or gardens, Gielec’s front yard is a pocket of natural beauty that brightens the entire block, and her efforts won her third place in the third annual Jazzin’ Up the Neighborhood Garden Contest. Sponsored by|The Times-Picayune, the LSU AgCenter and the Metro Area Horticulture Foundation, the contest, held last fall, was open to front yards throughout the New Orleans area. The judges were LSU AgCenter agents Joe Willis and Anna Timmerman; Metro Area Horticulture Foundation president Kevin Taylor of Southern Accent Landscaping Lawn Care Inc.; and Susan Langenhennig, InsideOut editor. The five finalists’ gardens were visited in person by the judges.

As the third-place winners, Gielec received a $100 gift certificate to Jefferson Feed; a signed copy of “The Louisiana Urban Gardener: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Vegetables and Herbs” by Kathryn K. Fontenot; and a copy of “The Grumpy Gardener: An A to Z Guide from the Galaxy’s Most Irritable Green Thumb,” by Steve Bender. 

“My neighborhood is very humble and is unfortunately inundated with blight and rundown and overgrown vacant properties and has very few trees, let alone gardens,” Gielec wrote in her contest entry. Now, after seeing her plants bloom, a few of her neighbors have started working on their yards, too.

Beyond her front fence, which is covered in jasmine, Gielec also improved the patch of land between the sidewalk and the street, planting two large Country Red crape myrtles and illuminated them with landscaping lighting. She chose the Country Red after hours of “obsessive” research into the vast number of crape myrtles cultivars.

“I contacted Blooms Landscaping in New Orleans to find me large specimens, determine proper spacing, and to plant them properly for me,” Gielec said.

To brighten her front steps, she also planted pots with blooming annuals; the SunPatiens were still going strong until the January freezes. (Most of the photos with this story were taken before the freezes.) 

Gielec, a Pennsylvania native who has lived in New Orleans for several years, has always loved plants, and grew up with a father who  enjoyed gardening. “He took me to the gorgeous Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania each year, often at Christmas and in the summer,” she said. “Those gardens had always absolutely mesmerized me.”

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Eastern Iowa Home & Landscaping Show

Enjoy a breath of spring at the Eastern Iowa Home Landscaping Show, which kicks off today at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo and runs through Sunday. Sponsor is the Waterloo Exchange Club.

“I’m really excited about this year’s show because we have a lot of new features that are fun, and I’m excited about the weather forecast for this weekend,” said John Bunge of Iowa Show Productions Inc., which presents the event.

Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 per person; children 12 and younger are free. Special Friday admission is $5.

An estimated 7,500 people are expected to walk through about 200 exhibits showcasing the latest ideas and products for the home, lawn and garden, including new home contractors and remodeling experts, home entertainment, decorating and kitchen specialists. Experts will be on hand with energy-saving solutions and creative options for the home.

New exhibits include several custom furniture makers along with outdoor furniture choices.

Consumers also can shop for lighting, plumbing, water systems, flooring, furniture, windows, doors, siding, hot tubs, fireplaces, sunrooms, grills, geothermal, fencing, lawn care equipment and much more.

“People love to sample food and beverages, and they’ll have the chance to do more of that this year,” Bunge says. Visitors can sip new brews and beverages from Confluence Brewing Co., Henry’s Hard Soda, Not Your Father’s Fruit Punch, Sparkling Ice and Two Hats.

Chef presentations are planned with samples served following the demos. Chef Bryan Sink of Waterloo’s Bryan’s on 4th will share barbecue secrets during “Make Incredible BBQ Sauce and Rubs in Your Home” at 1 p.m. Saturday. At 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Chef Benjamin Reyes, head chef at FigaroFigaro restaurant in Cedar Falls, will present “Figaro Scallops Chicken Roulades over Risotto.”

Landscaping experts and garden designers will construct garden displays utilizing pavers, retaining block, trees, shrubs and a variety of products.

Decking, lawn equipment and lawn care products will also be featured.

Black Hawk County Extension Master Gardeners will present “Kitchen Scrap Gardening,” a daily workshop that shows children and families how scraps of celery, avocados and pineapples can be used to grow new plants.

“Renegade Gardener” Don Engebretson will headline several seminars, including container gardeners, design secrets to a beautiful garden and “really cool” plants for Iowa gardeners. Engebretson is a nationally recognized authority on landscaping and garden design. He has published five books on gardening and landscaping and won numerous awards.

In “Crafting Cool and Creative Containers” at 4:30 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, he will show attendees how to plant containers for season-long impact and share ideas on using containers throughout the landscape.

“He’s having new plants and flowers shipped in here, and he’ll build containers during those presentations,” Bunge noted.

Engebretson also will offer “Design Secrets to a Beautiful Yard Garden” at 7:15 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Saturday and “Really Cool Plants for Iowa Gardens” at noon Sunday.

Other presenters are Julie Myers, interior designer with Design 360, who will share “Design Trends for 2018” at noon Saturday and 1:15 p.m. Sunday; Megan Hannam, kitchen and interior designer with Hannam Designs, on kitchen remodeling at 6 p.m. Friday and bathroom facelifts at 3 p.m. Saturday; and Rob Buchanan, Alliant Energy representative on cost-saving techniques for a more energy-efficient home at 1 p.m. Saturday and noon Sunday.

Admission to seminars is free with show admission.

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Find inspiration to create an outdoor paradise on this year’s Secret Garden Tour

Find inspiration to create a backyard paradise during this year’s Secret Garden Tour, sponsored by the Fort Lauderdale Garden Club.

The ninth annual self-guided tour, set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 24, will feature six homes in exclusive neighborhoods.

“We like to add something new to our tour each year to stimulate the public’s interest and knowledge of gardening,” said organizer Sandra Lynch, of the Parkinsonia Garden Circle, one of the club’s chapters. “Our tour of lovely walled Secret Gardens in prestigious areas offers an eclectic mixture of landscapes and homes to inspire the public to try new things.”

This year’s tour will feature a townhouse garden that packs a punch, taking a less-is-more approach to landscaping, Lynch said. The compact space is home to a variety of palms, a pool with a waterfall and statuary.

Sustainable landscaping guidebooks available countywide – The San Diego Union

Free copies of a popular guidebook for environmentally friendly landscaping upgrades are available to residents countywide, thanks to a second printing of the “San Diego Sustainable Landscape Guidelines” by the San Diego County Water Authority.

Residents can pick up the 71-page, spiral-bound books at the front desk of the Water Authority’s Kearny Mesa headquarters, and at approximately 15 other locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, El Cajon, Oceanside, San Marcos, Bonita and Spring Valley. A list of pickup locations is at, as is an electronic version of the guidebook. Hard copy quantities are limited, and participants are allowed one book per household.

The Water Authority and its partners in the Sustainable Landscapes Program developed the comprehensive Sustainable Landscape Guidelines to help homeowners upgrade their gardens with climate-appropriate plants, high-efficiency irrigation equipment, rainwater capture and detention features, and soil amendments to improve water efficiency.

The guidebooks — complete with photos, diagrams and checklists for following sustainable landscaping principles — were first published in October 2015. Funds to create the SLP and to print the guidebooks were provided by a Proposition 84 grant from the California Department of Water Resources.

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Cure cabin fever at 67th annual Eastern Iowa Home & Landscaping Show

Whenever Melody Parker 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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Out of the snow and into the garden

Garden expert Karen Bussolini to visit Kent

  • Karen Bussolini will be speaking at the Kent Town Hall, 41 Kent Green Boulevard on Saturday, February 24, 2 p.m. Her topic will be Herb Liberation! and two of her books The Homeowners Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook and The Naturescaping Workbook will be available for purchase and signing. This special event is co-sponsored by the Kent Garden Club and Kent Memorial Library. Please register. Photo: Photo By Karen Bussolini / (c) Karen Bussolini, 2017 All Ri / (c) Karen Bussolini 2017



KENT – Residents are invited to delve into the world of herbs with garden photographer, speaker, writer and organic land care professional Karen Bussolini.

The talk “Herb Liberation!” will offer practical advice and feature photographs at Kent Town Hall, 41 Kent Green Boulevard, on Saturday, Feb. 24, starting at 2 p.m.

The Kent Memorial Library and the Kent Garden Club event is open to the public with a $5 admission fee.

Bussolini has been a gardener as long as she can remember, according to a release from the library. She trained as a painter and had a career as an architectural photographer before turning her attention entirely to gardens. Her work explores the many ways gardening connects us to our place on earth and to each other.

She will answer questions before, during and after her talk, and will sign or inscribe copies of her books, which will be for sale (cash or check accepted). The books are “The Homeowner’s Complete Tree and Shrub Handbook” ($29.95 softcover, $39.95 hardcover, plus tax) and “The Naturescaping Workbook” ($24.95 plus tax).

Bussolini is a lifelong organic gardener and lover of nature. Her art background and focus on environmental topics – ecological landscaping, native plants, biodiversity, xeriscaping, organic gardening, planting for wildlife, pollinators and other beneficial insects – inform every aspect of her work, according to the release. Her slide talks, which combine original images, recent scientific findings, personal observations, hands-on experience and a touch of humor, have been well received from coast to coast, event organizers say.

Her photographs have been published in every major garden magazine and in hundreds of books. She frequently contributes photo/text packages to national magazines.

Closer to home, Bussolini gardens on a deer-infested mountainside in South Kent. Her eco-friendly garden coaching practice is devoted to teaching homeowners how to garden in a more environmentally sustainable way, to create healthy yards that are full of life, diversity and delight, according to the release.

Those who bring a packet(s) of seeds for the Kent Seed Library will have a chance to win a book photographed by Bussolini. Registration for the event is required. For more information, call 860-927-3761 or go to the online calendar at

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Top Emerging Trends in the Global Portable Pressure Washers Market| Technavio

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Technavio’s latest market research report on the global
portable pressure washers market
provides an analysis of the
most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from
2018-2022. Technavio
defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to
significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.

According to Technavio analysts, the global portable pressure washers
market will grow at a CAGR of more than 4% during the forecast
period. Growing gardening and landscape services market is a major
factor driving the market’s growth.

Landscaping and gardening are activities that include modification of
garden-featured areas; construction of terrains and water bodies; and
the use of artificial lighting in vacant pieces of land and the exterior
and interior of buildings, houses, and public spaces. They also comprise
maintenance and servicing of gardens and landscapes in residential
properties. However, this industry is driven by the rapid expansion of
housing and construction activities, along with homeowner’s interest in
landscaping and gardening.

This report is available at a USD 1,000 discount for a limited time
market snapshot before purchasing

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In this report, Technavio highlights advances in technology and
increased product efficiency as one of the key emerging trends driving
the global portable pressure washers market:

Technology advances and increased product

The vendors operating in the portable
pressure washers
market are continuously engaged in increasing
product efficiency. These vendors are introducing products that operate
on electricity to avoid the implications of government regulations. The
electric pressure washers are witnessing greater adoption in comparison
to other models because they are lightweight, smaller in size,
environment-friendly, need less maintenance, and are easy to use.

Vendors are also focusing on launching versatile products that can wash
every kind of surface with the aid of different nozzles available in one
equipment. For instance, Alfred Kärcher offers HIGH PRESSURE WASHER K 7
PREMIUM FULL CONTROL *EU that is capable of washing and cleaning
bicycles, gardening machines and tools, garden, patio or balcony
furniture, fences and smaller garden paths or flagstones, motorcycles
and scooters, small cars, external staircases and larger garden paths,
medium-sized vehicles and estate cars, garden and stone walls, mobile
homes, swimming pools and patio surfaces, and everything around the
house and facades.

“Vendors are also concentrating on smaller product aspects such as
relief from the hectic nozzle changing task for different cleaning
practices. For instance, RYOBI’s gas-powered 3100 PSI pressure washer
has an installed five-in-one nozzle to permit easy spray adjustments.
The company is also considering the inclusion of safety features for
customers and operators to avoid the risk of damage and harm associated
with these pressure washers. Such advances in technology and increased
efficiency of portable pressure washers will increase their adoption
during the forecast period,”
says a senior analyst at Technavio for
research on home,
kitchen and large appliances

Looking for more information on this market? Request
a free sample report

Technavio’s sample reports are free of charge and contain multiple
sections of the report such as the market size and forecast, drivers,
challenges, trends, and more.

Global portable pressure washers market

This market research report segments the global portable pressure
washers market based on end-users (residential users and commercial
users), type of fuel (electric and gas), and geography (the Americas,
APAC, and EMEA).

In 2017, electric pressure washers dominated the market with a share of
close to 93%. This is because the electric pressure washers are cheap,
involve less maintenance and have easy usage and environment-friendly

In 2017, the Americas segment dominated the market with a share of more
than 45%. This is because of the increased preference that consumers in
the Americas show towards DIY. Furthermore, this demand is fueled by the
rising number of independent houses and growing gardening and
landscaping services.

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About Technavio

is a leading global technology research and advisory company. Their
research and analysis focuses on emerging market trends and provides
actionable insights to help businesses identify market opportunities and
develop effective strategies to optimize their market positions.

With over 500 specialized analysts, Technavio’s report library consists
of more than 10,000 reports and counting, covering 800 technologies,
spanning across 50 countries. Their client base consists of enterprises
of all sizes, including more than 100 Fortune 500 companies. This
growing client base relies on Technavio’s comprehensive coverage,
extensive research, and actionable market insights to identify
opportunities in existing and potential markets and assess their
competitive positions within changing market scenarios.

If you are interested in more information, please contact our media team

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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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