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Let’s get growing


A major source of gardening inspiration is only a few days away. Michigan State University Extension’s 14th annual Let’s Get Growing garden show takes place Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Alpena Mall and always serves as a seasonal highlight for those who appreciate gardening.

“After 14 years, the Let’s Get Growing garden show has become a spring staple in Alpena,” said MSU Extension representative Mary Dunckel. “After a long winter, both experienced and novice gardeners get excited about getting their hands in soil, watching the grass green-up and the buds break into flowers.”

Nearly all local garden related businesses and organizations will be under one roof at the Alpena Mall for the show. On average, the event attracts approximately 800 people or more each year.

“The show provides the perfect opportunity to get answers to any garden related questions, to get landscaping ideas and to purchase something special for Mother’s Day,” Dunckel said.

The mall is expected to be filled with at least 20 vendors, plus a bake sale by the Remembering Our Children group. Both the Alpena Farmer’s Market and the Alpena Garden Club will have a strong presence. Those attending will get an opportunity to check out large and small garden equipment as well.

As sponsors of the event, MSU Extension also will offer helpful information.

“The MSU Extension display will feature our Smart Gardening material which offers practical and affordable tips for the garden and landscape,” Dunckel said. “Dr. Sarah Rautio, an Extension horticulture educator, will be on hand to answer gardening questions and to share her Smart Gardening tips to deter deer from gardens.”

Even with the Northeast Michigan weather having started to warm up, some spring flowers blooming and yards greening up, it remains too early for planting though there still are plenty of gardening-related tasks to tackle. Dunckel said that according to the Michigan State Climatologist Office, in Alpena the percent probability of a temperature of 32 degrees or lower drops from 75 percent on May 22 to 50 percent on May 31 and 25 percent on June 9.

“Now is the perfect time to prepare the garden for planting and to scour gardening catalogues and nurseries for ideas,” she said.

She also highly recommends attending Saturday’s Let’s Get Growing event for plenty of inspiration.

Diane Speer can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5691. Follow Diane on Twitter ds_alpenanews.

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Murrieta festival to highlight water conservation – Press

A free Community Water Conservation Festival will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the Murrieta Community Center.

Sponsored by Partners in Water Conservation, a coalition of water agencies in western Riverside County, the event will offer information about retrofitting outdoor irrigation equipment, water-saving garden friendly plants and water-wise landscaping ideas. There also will be master gardeners available to answer questions.

Eastern Municipal Water District’s water-saving mascot, Dewie the Dragon, will make an appearance and a children’s theater show will begin at 1 p.m. The festival also will offer face-painting, water-wise activities and crafts for children.

Vendors will provide demonstrations and information about water-efficient technologies such as weather-based irrigation controllers, moisture sensors and drip irrigation systems. Each participating water district will have information regarding their respective rebate programs.

The first 100 guests will receive a gift. The Murrieta Community Center is at 41910 Juniper St. Information: 951-928-3777, ext. 3322.

Partners in Water Conservation consists of Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Water Resources, Southern California Edison and the Eastern Municipal, The Metropolitan, Rancho California and Western Municipal water districts.

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Outdoor entertaining focus of OCtech Foundation symposium





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Green Thumb Award nominations sought

Mother Nature can’t take all the credit for Edwardsville’s spring beauty.

Garden enthusiasts, plant lovers and landscapers have a hand in it, too.

For the 18th consecutive year, the Edwardsville Beautification and Tree Commission will honor those who add to the city’s beauty with the Green Thumb Awards.

The EBTC will be accepting nominations for the awards from May 1 through June 6.

Each year, between 12 and 14 Green Thumb Award winners are chosen.

They compete in four categories: residential, civic, neighborhood and business/commercial.

Winners receive yard signs designating the Green Thumb Awards.

Nomination forms are available at the Edwardsville Library, City Clerk’s office, Public Works office and online at the city’s website,, where there is a button on the left side titled “2017 Green Thumb Awards.”

EBTC member Benna Denue said the Green Thumb Award program has been well received since its inception.

“We get a fair number of nominations.  They sometimes differ, depending on gardens and the weather,” she said. “It’s been a successful community-building project and a lot of fun.”

Once all the nominations have been submitted, the commission will review them and visit each location.

“Several of us commissioners go around and look at nominations and we go from there,” Denue said. “There is a process we go through. We visit after we look at all our nominations and make a decision.”

Zyann Kinney is the head of the Green Thumb Award Committee.

Wilma Jene Bond is a member and her husband, Jack Butler, serves as photographer for the program.

With the four different categories offered, thinking beyond the common flower display is important.

“Gardening takes on so many more dimensions than we think of with typical gardening,” Denue said.

Imagination is a key, too, as area residents often come up with award-worthy landscaping ideas and then dig in.

“(They take) pride in doing it themselves. They might need help from a contractor,” Denue said.  “When all is said and done, it’s that homeowner’s garden.”

Green Thumb Award winners are typically announced in early June.

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Business Scene for the week of 4/19/17


Couple of busy, entertaining nights upcoming at the Main Street Sports Bar Lounge in Quincy. On Thursday, April 27, it’s dinner and music featuring a Thai meal with music provided by Greg Willis, Johnny Walker and special guest Chase Ramirez.

Then on Friday night, April 28, Stockton’s funnyman Rio Hillman — just kicking off his “30 No Days Off Comedy Tour” — will headline a show featuring several other comedians from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Seating for this hilarious private show is limited, so it is suggested you get your $10 tickets in advance.


Tanya Miller

Tim O’Brien of Coldwell Banker Kehr/O’Brien Real Estate welcomes Tanya Miller to his property management services team. Tanya brings a background in overseeing hospitality cleaning services and organizational management for their rental programs. “Her enthusiasm for our property management services is quite infectious and has already been making a buzz about town as she meets with restaurant and recreation business owners to introduce herself while replenishing our brochures about our services,” said Tim.


Carol’s Café at Prattville is opening for it’s 46th season with a Lake Almanor Area Chamber Mixer on Thursday, April 27. Owner Carol Franchetti says she will officially open the café for the season on Friday, May 5, just in time to celebrate Cinco De Mayo. During May the popular family eatery will be open Thursday for breakfast and lunch and Friday through Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Brian and Sarah Smith are pleased to announce they have moved their business, Chester Auto Body Glass, Inc, to 543 Chester Airport Rd. Their new facility features a new and advanced frame rack and measuring system, new paint booth with a sterile paint mixing room, secured customer parking, 24-hour video surveillance and lots more space including a roomy and comfortable waiting area with a complementary hot beverage station.


Karen Williams from Quincy was the lucky winner of Crescent Country’s Grand Golden Egg worth $50. Owner Lisa Forcino said she had a terrific turnout for her 23rd annual spring fling event.


This month, Todd Kuraisa begins his 16th season at Little Bear RV Park in Blairsden. He said he bought the business when he was 26 when, as he put it, he thought he knew it all and quickly found out he knew very little about the business. “Making mistakes is the best teacher I ever had, still is to this day. It was both humbling and a blessing in disguise as it propelled me to grow as a man and an entrepreneur. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the friendships forged. It’s by far the greatest aspect of owning this park, the personality and energy of our guests is second to none,” Todd said.

With offices in Chester and Susanville, Bruce Homme is in his 29th year serving Lassen and Plumas counties with Homme’s Landscape. He encourages homeowners to start thinking of their landscaping projects. From small to large projects, Bruce can give you ideas to fit your budget adding that you don’t have to do everything all at once. He said you could plan your master project and do sections or phases each year as your budget allows.

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Take a tour of Redlands’ ‘colorful palette’

The Buscaglia family incorporates succulents, DIY projects and upcycled decor pieces in its garden. The home is featured in the 2017 Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society’s home and garden tour.

The Buscaglia family incorporates succulents, DIY projects and upcycled decor pieces in its garden. The home is featured in the 2017 Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society’s home and garden tour.

REDLANDS The Redlands Horticultural and Improvement Society’s annual garden tour and plant sale is special, organizers say, because it spotlights homes never shown before.

“The homes are all different styles as are the gardens,” said Frank Herendeen, the society’s vice president. “You could go to one house with a Japanese garden, then another with a cacti garden that is completely different. Most people who attend the event have gardens themselves and they get inspired from seeing other homeowners’ landscaping ideas.”

This year’s tour, “A Colorful Palette,” features six homes in Redlands, all open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The companion Uncommon Plant Sale is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

One of the more unique gardens on the tour belongs to Chris and Caitlyn Buscaglia. Their 1930s Tudor on South Michigan Street is home to the couple and their three sons, Max, 8; Sam, 7; and Enzo, 5.

According to Caitlyn, she was unsure what to expect when she received a letter that began, “To the Homeowner.” When she saw that it was from the Horticultural Society saying it was interested in featuring her garden on its annual tour, she was thrilled.

“They said they wanted to highlight yards that are child-friendly and since our yard highlights that with an area designated for our sons to mimic construction play with their Tonka trucks and an A-frame tree house that Chris built, they were interested in our house.”

Chris, who works at Esri, enjoys woodworking and renovation projects. In addition to renovating several interior elements of their home, he has built an outside deck and several planter boxes around the exterior.

Caitlyn, a stay-at-home mom, describes herself as a fan of do-it-yourself projects.

“I get a lot of design and repurposing ideas from my grandma, who did a lot of it throughout the years,” she said. “She looks at the newspaper to find old items. She saw a drinking fountain from an old school in San Diego and went and got it for me to use. We installed it in the backyard and it’s wonderful for the boys to use when they are outside playing and get thirsty.”

Caitlyn also says she is a succulent hoarder. The fun thing about succulents, she says, is that she doesn’t have to purchase them anymore. She simply takes cuttings and replants them to keep her garden flourishing.

“The garden is growing from itself and from me putting in the time and effort.”

The only labor the couple paid for is a concrete slab to be poured in the driveway.

“It’s very organic,” Caitlyn said. “We never sat down and made a plan, we just did it one piece at a time over the three years we have been here. On Friday nights we would talk about what we are going to do in the yard over the weekend, and it has progressed into something we hope others will enjoy, too.”


Garden tour participants are invited to bring cellphones or cameras to each garden to take photographs. Homeowners will welcome visitors 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Tickets will be sold at each home on the self-guided tour. Cost is $15 per person; free for children under 13. Information:

1668 Fifth Ave.

Owner: Nancy and Chuck Alexander

Details: Single-story home surrounded by drought-tolerant features such as decomposed granite, Gorilla Grass and other waterwise plants. A fire pit, newly planted trees and entertaining space make the landscape unique.

332 S. Michigan St.

Owner: Chris and Caitlyn Buscaglia

Details: A 1930s Tudor home with a drought-tolerant yard incorporating succulents, rocks collected by the family on vacations, and DIY projects. There is also a working drinking fountain, handmade tree house and Tonka truck construction site.

649 Los Altos Drive

Owner: Nathan Gonzales and Todd Loza

Details: The 1964 home’s landscaping reflects the era of its construction, with clean lines and several plants from Asian and other faraway countries including agave, Spanish lavender and giant lily. The couple also installed a patio extension using exposed aggregate pavers, a bocce court and turf that does not require watering.

1032 E. Pennsylvania Ave.

Owner: Michelle Trubio

Details: Landscaping incorporates a free-form design that includes orchid trees, bougainvillea, Mexican heather and Arabian jasmine. Additional herbs, bulbs, vegetables and a plethora of unique trees separate Trubio’s garden from the rest.

1515 Powell Lane

Owner: Joe Vogt

Details: Home built in 1984 includes low-drought plantings, trees Vogt ordered from a catalog and unique Americana such as antique signs, plates and orange crates. A vegetable garden and animal topiaries add to the creativity of this memorable outdoor space.

1618 Crestview Road

Owner: Steve and Hito Vu

Details: A 1980s ranch home with a renovated front yard that features a Zen garden, fruit trees, pavers, a pool and avocado, lemon and orange trees.


Uncommon Plant Sale: Includes shrubs and trees. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Plant Propagation Yard near Carriage House at Prospect Park, 1352 Prospect Drive, Redlands.

Floral-inspired art show: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Redlands Art Association Gallery, 215 E. State St., Redlands.

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Pins on Pinterest: Embrace the pallet





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Energy Adviser: Home, garden fair blooms with ideas

From plug-in cars to tiny homes, the Clark Public Utilities’ Home and Garden Idea Fair, April 28-30, will be budding with inspiration. Held at the Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds, the free fair has been the local kickoff to the home improvement season for homeowners and gardeners for 26 years.

The annual event hosts hundreds of exhibitors with home- and garden-related products and services; the latest in energy-efficient home technology; full-scale landscape displays; one of the largest plant sales in the region; and many hands-on, kid-oriented activities.

“The spring fair dishes up fresh ideas for your home whether you’re looking for energy efficiency, planning home projects or just dreaming,” said Heather Allmain, Clark Public Utilities communication services manager. “Every year, we help our customers connect with area nurseries, builders, remodelers, and landscapers who can help them make home and garden dreams a reality.”

The 24-by-24-foot Innovation Home by New Tradition Homes is back and showcases the newest energy-saving technology, including a tablet controlling heating and lighting levels, as well as home security. This year it even provides an alternative automobile solution — the newest plug-in Kia Soul on display courtesy of Dick Hannah Dealerships.

In the Clark Public Utilities’ booth, energy counselors will provide energy-saving tips and answer questions about current utility programs and incentives. Anyone considering a smart thermostat must stop by and ask about their benefits, as well as the recently announced $50 rebate on qualifying Ecobee and Nest models.

“The Idea Fair inspires county residents to seek the services of local landscapers, builders, nurseries, farmers and other businesses, which strengthens our area’s economy,” said Allmain.

The Washington Association of Landscaping Professionals hosts the Landscape Showcase at one end of the hall, and the Building Industry Association and Think! Campaign sponsor the guest speakers stage nearby.

Across the midway, the Specialty Nursery Association of Clark County hosts one of the largest plant sales in Southwest Washington. Gardeners can chat with plant and landscaping pros, as well as listen to speakers on various home subjects from backyard bees and bats to home renovations throughout the weekend.

The Vancouver Clinic hosts the KidZone this year, providing three days of Mad Science as well as many other free hands-on crafts and projects. In the KidZone, visitors of all ages can learn about the power of electricity, how it works and how to stay safe around electric equipment.

The Home Garden Idea Fair attracts more than 20,000 attendees every year. This makes it among the most popular community events in the county. Admission is free but cash donations to Operation Warm Heart or canned food contributions for local food banks are encouraged. Also bring burned-out CFLs for safe recycling in exchange for two new LED bulbs per household. Canned food and CFLs can be deposited at any entry gate.

Save the $6 fairgrounds parking fee by catching the free shuttle from the 99th Street or Fisher’s Landing transit centers to the event venue at 17402 N.E. Delfel Road, Ridgefield. For the shuttle schedule and other fair details, visit

“As a public utility, this annual event has become a way for us to give back to our community,” said Allmain. “Hundreds of our employees volunteer their time to make this event happen and we all look forward to seeing our customers face to face each year and sharing updates on utility programs and services!”

Energy Adviser is written by Clark Public Utilities. Send questions to or to Energy Adviser, c/o Clark Public Utilities, P.O. Box 8900, Vancouver, WA 98668.

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Home and Garden Show returns Thursday

Despite a shake-up in leadership at the Boone County Chamber of Commerce, the annual Boone County Home and Garden Show will begin tomorrow with more vendors and the usual lineup of dinners.

About 70 vendors have signed up to participate in the show, which highlights home improvement, landscaping and gardening products and ideas. New vendors include The Wind, a Whitestown-based etching company; String Green Foam Insulation of Indianapolis; and Sherriff-Goslin Roofing; among others.

The show will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. tomorrow through Saturday in the Witham Health Services Pavilion and Centennial Hall at the Boone County 4-H Fairgrounds, said April Reece, administrative coordinator for the chamber.

Reece said the show was moved from the commercial building to Centennial Hall because the hall is connected to the Witham Pavilion via a tunnel and has heating and air conditioning.

Because of recent staff changes at the chamber, Reece said that this year’s show will mimic last year’s in its schedule and activities. But that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t attend the free event.

“Come out, have a good time and meet our new venders,” Reece said. “This will give you an idea of what you can add to your spring projects.”

This year’s raffle prize is a Weber Grill, along with a $50 gift card to Saint Adrian Meats and Sausage and a gift pack of barbecue sauce and seasoning from Shoup’s Country Foods. Attendees can enter the raffle by getting a sign-up form in The Lebanon Reporter; at Arni’s Restaurant, 202 W. Washington St., Lebanon; or at the show.

Lebanon Utilities will provide free transportation to and from the show.

This year will also include the regular schedule of nightly dinners at the Farm Bureau Community Building.

The Lebanon Kiwanis Club pancake supper will be held from 4:30 to 8 p.m Thursday. Tickets are $7 for all-you-can-eat pancakes and sausage. On Friday, the Knights of Columbus will host the fish fry from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children at the door. Advance tickets are $1 less. The Boone County 4-H Chicken and Pork Chop Barbecue is 4 to 8 p.m Saturday. Tickets are $8.50 in advance or $9 at the door.

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Landscaping with Natives and Eradicating Invasives

Posted: Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:25 pm

 Landscaping with Natives and Eradicating Invasives


MICHIGAN CITY — Northwest Indiana Green Drinks in Michigan City will be presenting “Landscaping with Natives and Eradicating Invasives” 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Shoreline Brewery – Reserved Room, 208 Wabash St., Michigan City.

How would you go about including more welcomed native plants in your yard? How could you deal with pesky invasive plants? Join regional plant expert Nathanael Pilla, Save the Dunes project coordinator, on a biological journey through the Indiana Dunes flora and what people can do to minimize their impact where they live. You’ll learn about the importance of native plants and how to deal with the invasive ones.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017 6:25 pm.

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