Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Gardens & flowers Florists

4&5 Get the look Colin and Justin earn their stripes by waging war on a military-looking living room.

6&7 DIY Donny Our expert shows you how to get kerb appeal and save a fortune by painting the outside of your home yourself.

9 Ask Amabile Interiors guru John helps a mum wake up and smell the coffee with a handy cup holder for a buggy and takes the blues out of bathtime toy clutter.

10&11 Bargain hunt Amanda Keenan shows you how to vamp up your home with gorgeous red accessories.

13 Gardens & flowers Florists Viv and Nick show you how to make a blooming big statement with seasonal tulips.Plus gardening tips on growing lilies.

15 Food Michael Kilkie turns the humble potato into a great gratin with sensational seasonal Scottish mushrooms and leeks.

16&17 Showhome chic Interior designer Eileen Kesson unveils her latest stunning showhome - and reveals how to get similar results whatever your budget.

21 New homes Nicola Watson and Kevin Murphy got on the property ladder thanks to a range of incentives from Carronvale Homes.

30 &31 Animal magic Vet Scott Miller has advice for a terror terrier and a step-by-step guide on how to get your cat to swallow worming tablets.

Get a head start on your gardening

Building back-yard ponds and waterfalls, tree and shrub pruning, and intensive vegetable gardening will be the featured topics of Guelph and Wellington County Master Gardeners' 15th annual "A Day in the Garden" event.

The event takes place Feb. 27 at Victoria Park East Golf Club from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. It aims to give gardeners of all abilities a head start on the spring season and an escape from the winter blahs, a news release said.

It will feature three expert speakers offering insights on topics around the theme of "Gardening with a Purpose." Master gardener Robert Pavlis will offer tips for building natural-looking back-yard water features; Sean Fox, assistant manager of the University of Guelph Arboretum, will answer the why's and how's of pruning common garden trees and shrubs; and Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming co-ordinator Martha Gay Scroggins will discuss how to achieve high vegetable yields from small spaces.


What started as a small community garden in Miramar has now led to a video series and citywide fundraising effort.

The Miramar Community Garden was planted in May at Fairway Park, 3700 Largo Drive. The idea was to have residents work in the garden as volunteers and keep the crops the garden produces each harvest. Each week, a group of 15 volunteers divides the work to maintain the garden and watch over the crops.

"It's a perfect example of how a simple idea expands and grows legs by itself," said Mayor Lori Moseley, one of the garden's proponents.

Since its creation, the garden has produced a variety of crops, including tomatoes, watermelons, yucca, peppers, cabbage, peanuts and oregano. Miramar Police Athletic League members are helping to prepare the soil for a sweet potato planting, said Elsi Rose, the city's development and capital management coordinator.

Rose said the garden's early days featured some trial and error as some crops thrived and others didn't, but the city was able to rely on local experts for help.

"Some seeds germinated and some didn't," Rose said. "It was like a laboratory, and we reached out to our experts."

Rose said the city partnered with students from DeVry University to work on an urban gardening handbook. The city is now partnering with local restaurants as part of the new Garden Treasures video series. The short videos feature cooking tips based on crops that are in the garden, such as basil. Four episodes have been produced so far and can be viewed on the city's website, its local access TV channels or on YouTube. Moseley said the videos were a way to combine enthusiasm for community gardening and cooking shows.

Although the garden has a dedicated group of volunteers, Rose said the city is looking for 10 more to spread the workload around. Rose said word about the garden is getting around, with teachers from neighboring Fairway Park Elementary School expressing interest in buying produce.

The city also is running a fundraiser with La Famiglia Italian Restaurant, 11655 Red Road, to help keep the garden self-sustaining. On Tuesday and Wednesday, customers who bring in a flier downloaded from the city's website can have 20 percent of their bill donated to the garden.

Moseley said that given the amount of work volunteers have put in so far, she isn't worried about the garden's sustainability.

"If you build it, they will come," she said, quoting the 1989 movie "Field of Dreams."

Silver surfers united for Christmas celebrations

A COUPLE of "silver surfers" with a combined age of 159 are spending their first Christmas together as man and wife after finding love on the internet.

Lonely Barbara Moore, 77, began using a computer after her husband died four years ago and was immediately drawn to the Facebook social networking site, after seeing her children and grandchildren using it.

The former paediatric nurse used the site to try to track down old work pals and also decided she would find new friends in her area and boost her social life.

After searching for other people in her area, she was drawn to the profile of Laurence Brocklesby, 82, who was widowed sixteen years ago, and they began exchanging emails.

Barbara had made contact with Mr Brocklesby, asking his tips on gardening and soon the pair were chatting on-line everyday for hours about their mutual love of dogs and sharing tips on gardening and fishing.

She said: "We would just chat about anything and everything, what we were having for tea, our hobbies and what we'd be doing for the day.

"It was amazing how much we had in common and we could both be so much more open over the internet. I felt like I could tell him all about myself without having to worry.

"Now after getting to know each other on-line, we're married and looking forward to our first Christmas as a wed couple."

The couple, from Shipley, near Bradford, finally met after Mr Brocklesby broke his wrist and Mrs Moore offered to drive him to medical appointments.

Grounded advice: Workshop offers tips on gardening during cold weather

From the gardening novice to the natural green thumb, every gardener found a little something at CAC Beardsley Community Farm on Saturday.

The farm along with Knox Heritage held a workshop for gardeners looking for ways to keep their crops growing during the cold seasons.

"We are just trying to teach other gardeners how to extend their season," said Khann Chov, manager of CAC Beardsley Community Farm.

More than 20 gardeners of various skill levels attended the workshop. Liz Moniz, a volunteer at the farm and organizer of the workshop, detailed the methods for cold-weather gardening, ranging from cold frames to high tunnels.

"None of it is an exact science," said Moniz. "The main thing is to try to repurpose as many materials as you can."

Repurposing materials is the foundation of the relationship between the farm and Knox Heritage. Although the main goal of Knox Heritage is to save historic structures, the organization has been getting more involved with restoring natural spaces, said Beth Meadows, head of salvage sales for Knox Heritage.

The Knox Heritage program allows people to donate their unused or salvaged building materials, and then Knox Heritage is able to sell these items to be repurposed. CAC Beardsley Community Farm, located off Western Avenue, was able to find use in some old windows, creating cold frames that helped extend the season for their greens.

Although the event started as a lesson in cold-weather gardening, it turned into a question-and-answer session among the fellow gardeners. The more experienced gardeners were able to give the beginners tips on how to better maintain their gardens, while also exchanging general insight on their gardens.

"Gardening can be tricky," said Chov. "So we're just trying to help make it easier."

CAC Beardsley Community Farm is an urban demonstration farm that donates its food to local food pantries, volunteers and others in need of fresh produce. If you would like to make a donation to help the farm continue its mission, visit the farm's website at http://www.beardsleyfarm.org.

Molly Hornbuckle may be reached at 865-342-6336.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Center for Conservation Biology

Proceeds benefit the wildlife center's construction of a new permanent home for Buddy, a "teaching eagle" that cannot live in the wild. Some proceeds will also go to the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. Calendars, $20, can be purchased at www.wildlifecenter.org or by phone at 540-942-9453.
" cents Feathered friends. If songbirds are your passion, there are lots of calendars to choose from. The best two include the Celebrate Urban Birds with photos and artwork on themes such as survival, courtship, eggs, creating habitat, creative/ funky nests, feeding, spooky birds, cool birds and how you can help birds. Purchase the $15 calendar at www.birds.cornell.edu or call
The Audubon Society's birding calendar celebrates its 10th year, showcasing beauties such as a marsh wren clinging to a reed and a pair of ruby-throated hummingbirds hovering for a meal. It's $12.99 at www.workman.com.
" cents Blooms to enjoy. Rose enthusiasts can enjoy blossoms year-round with the American Rose Society's calendar, which offers rose gardening tips along with photography of the prettiest posies. The wall calendar is $14.99, the desk diary $39.99. Order at www.lulu.com/americanrosesociety.
" cents Get your seeds ready. Gardening season is just around the corner - remember, you start seeds indoors in late February and early March - and Burpee's calendar is there to remind you.
Its vintage catalog art takes you back to early garden Americana with hand-drawn and hand-colored tomatoes, vines and sweet peas. The 12-inch-square calendar is $9.99 at www.burpee.com or 800-333-5808.
" cents Celestial happenings. Last, but not least, the Gardening by the Moon calendar promises to help you extend your gardening season and get more out of the edibles you grow. The best days for planting by the phase and the signs of the moon and garden activities for each month are among its pages.

Do your gardening by the year

Laura Taylor has grown tomatoes and other edibles for 15 seasons.
"As my passion grew I learned that so many other people were interested in growing, and I began offering tomato growing classes, here in my yard," she says. "I now offer both growing classes and cooking classes, many of which are specific to tomato recipes."
The calendar features tips and color-coded information for eight growing regions and recipes, including chicken stew with tomatoes.
The $20 calendar can be purchased at www.LauraTayloratHome.com or 818-716-7130.
Laura's tomato calendar is just one of several gardening and nature-related calendars that will brighten your spirits during the coming year.
" cents Did you know? The Old Farmer's Almanac's 2011 calendar offers advice, folklore and gardening secrets that entertain as well as enlighten you. For instance, did you know there are 75 different species of snowdrops, all white, that bloom in early spring? Or, that the slime secreted through an earthworm's skin helps hold clusters of soil particles together?
Makes for interesting conversation at any garden parties you attend next year. It's $8.99 at gardening, hardware and book stores or online at www.Almanac.com/store where you will also find a weather-watchers calendar.
" cents Wildly wonderful. The Wildlife Center of Virginia in Waynesboro, Va., has created a stunning calendar titled "The Gardens of Eagles" in tribute to the nesting pair at Norfolk Botanical Garden in southeastern Virginia. Annually, the botanical garden operates a live cam that allows you to watch what happens in the nest from the time the first egg is laid until the eaglets fledge the nest. The wall calendar features 18 large color photographs and more than 35 smaller, full-color eagle photographs, as well as highlights from the 2010 nesting season.