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‘Down the Garden Path’ in Petersburg FROM STAFF REPORTS

Photo credit Bonnie Cuddihy/Historic Garden Club Week in Petersburg

The Worker’s Cottage at 274 Low St. in Petersburg, is one of the stops at this year’s home & garden tour.

PETESBURG — The Petersburg Garden Club plans a stroll “Down the Garden Path” as it again participates in Historic Garden Week sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia. The 79th annual event across Virginia features more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks during “America’s Largest Open House.” “Historic Garden Week provides visitors a unique opportunity to see unforgettable gardens at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with fabulous flower arrangements,” the Garden Club of Virginia said on its web site. Historic Garden Week represents the coordinated efforts of 47 member clubs and 3,400 volunteers, almost 200 homeowners, and hundreds of other friends, vendors and supporters. In Petersburg, the garden path will be open on Thursday, April 26 and will feature eight historic homes and gardens along with refreshments and a benefit luncheon. This year the big story was the warm winter and early

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spring that caused many flowers and trees to bloom early. “The early spring is going to be a challenge, but we’ll pull it through,” said Marilyn T. Walker, chairman of the Petersburg Garden Club. Typically, Garden Week is timed so that flowers and tree are in bloom, but some — such as dogwoods and azaleas — will have already bloomed by late April. So garden folks will be using other flowers to make sure each property still shines for the tour. “The girls who do flowers do a wonderful job,” Walker said. Properties that will be showcased in the tour include: • Centre Hill Mansion Museum The house was built in Federal style by Robert Bolling IV in 1823. It has been called a “symbol of the grandeur that characterized the aristocracy of Virginia in the 19th century.” • The Kennedy House, 435 W. Washington St. - A 19th century Italianate

clapboard that was purchased in 1998 for only $10,500 but went through extensive restoration. The gardens were recreated out of what was once a backyard dump. • Patrick’s Home, 602 High St. - The clapboard Victorian-style house was built in the 1890s. The front and back gardens include exentensive beds with flowering bulbs and plantings. Creative container gardening is the homeowner’s special interest and there are many examples. • The Marks House, 517 High St., The Destiny Inn - Built in 1894, the clapboard home is believed to be of the Victorian/Eastlake style. The house has undergone extensive renovations after it was purchased by the current owners in 2003 and five years later opened as The Destiny Inn, a bed and breakfast. • Dodson’s Tavern, 311 High St.. Built circa 1785-1792, the tavern was actually an “up-scale” boarding house

similar to Williamsburg’s Raleigh Tavern. This frame house is considered one of the few Federal structures in the area that has remain basically unchanged for more than 200 years. The garden slops steeply down to Low Street. • The Worker’s Cottage, 274 Low St. - What was once an early 20th century “worker’s cottage” has been transformed into a vision of Victorian whimsy. • St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 110 N. Union St. - Built in 1856, the sanctuary is filed with monumental and historically significant stained glass windows. Gen. Robert E. Lee and his staff worshiped here during the Siege of Petersburg and Lee attended the wedding of his son here in 1867. • Marie Bowen Gardens, Fairfax and Tucahoe streets - In 1967, the Raleigh Parish Garden Club selected as a club project a lovely, wooded area, located in the Walnut Hill neighborhood

bounded by Arch Street, Arch Circle, and Fairfax Street. Azaleas, flowering trees, camellias, rhododendrons and other plants compatible with a naturalized setting are featured. Also features a Chippendale bridge and a stone waterway to control erosion. Recently the wildflower garden has been re-established. The members of the Cockade City Garden Club will be offering a gourmet luncheon for $12 per person from 11:30 to 2 p.m. at historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Along with the luncheon there will be music, a fashion show by Ann’s Dress Shop of Waverly, and geraniums in a variety of colors that will be available for purchase. All proceeds from the luncheon will be donated to historic Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg to help repair tombstones and ironwork. The Petersburg Garden Club was formed May 5, 1925 and became See page 4

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a member of The Garden Club of Virginia May 21,1948. The club is organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes, including, without limitation, the education of its members and the general public by advancing interest in and promoting gardening among amateurs; protecting our native resources; restoring and preserving historic gardens and adjoining areas; encouraging civic planting and roadside beautification. Advanced tickets for the tour are $20 and are at Boulevard Flower Gardens and Windows ’N’ Walls in Colonial Heights, the Harvest in Chester, and Palmore Decorating Center, the Petersburg Visitors Center Farmers Bank and the Siege Museum. Tickets are $20 through April 25 and $25 the day of the tour. Please visit www.vagardenweek.org for additional information and tickets.

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Home Improvement Tips:

Air-tight insulation delivers big returns Household energy-efficiency is now more important than ever when selling a home. Purchasers are able to rate one residence against another, so if you want top dollar for your house some day, it’s worth investing along these lines with upgrades and renovations. “If adding rooms or finishing the basement, for example, take a look at the most energy efficient materials and methods,” says Todd Blyth at Nudura, a company that has spearheaded an advanced version of the insulated concrete form (ICF), as well as do-it-yourself materials. “The newest renovation method, called Nudura Insulation Technology, is ideal to insulate foundation walls, inner and outer walls, plus flat, or

cathedral ceilings. “For both interior and exterior walls, you use a shiplap system of expanded polystyrene (EPS), which allows large 4 X 8 foot sheets of this foam to be installed without any gaps for air

leakage. It’s easy to cut, easy to install, and the performance value is up to R-14. Drywall can then be attached directly to the embedded fastening strip allowing the electrical wiring to be easily run.”

Occupant comfort Residential enjoyment is also topof-mind in our choice of renovation fixtures, features and materials. Superior insulation will reduce home heating costs and it will also prevent excessive noise, drafts, and unexpected cold spots from room to room. In response to energy conservation, environmental responsibility and consumer demand, construction practises have advanced significantly in North America over the past few years. Today, for example, people are building their homes with insulated concrete forms, not wood, and very recently, similar eco-efficiency possible (www.nudura.com) for home renovations.


Colonial Heights offers tour of ‘Hidden Gardens’ COLONIAL HEIGHTS — Following Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, The Colonial Heights Beautification Committee is hosting a fundraiser, called Hidden Gardens of Colonial Heights. Hidden Gardens, to be held on April 29 form 1 to 5 p.m., is a selfguided tour that features eight different residential gardens and three city gardens open to the public for the first time in different areas of the

city. Refreshments will be served. The Colonial Heights Beautification Committee is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance public areas, plant trees and protect the environment. Tickets will be $10 and available at the Colonial Heights Recreation & Parks Department. Tickets can be purchased the day of the tour at the garden. Refreshments will be served. Hostesses will be at the homes to assist with any questions. Proceeds from the “Hidden Gardens” fundraiser will be used to enhance various beautification projects in the city. For more information, please contact Elaine Kollman at 5261886.

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Go Green in your Garden Gardening can be a rewarding and relaxing hobby, one that allows gardeners to escape from the daily grind and soak up some sun. As rewarding as gardening can be, it’s even more so when gardeners ply their trade in an e co-friendly way. Gardening with the environment in mind is something many gardeners might do already without even knowing it. The following are a few ways to garden in a way that’s mutually beneficial to gardeners and the environment.

Planting more plants and flowers around the property is one way gardeners can garden in a more eco-friendly way.

Use mulch to conserve resources and reduce reliance on fertilizers. Conserving resources is one of the best ways to help the environment, and applying mulch is a great way to conserve water. Mulch helps the soil retain water, keeping the water from evaporating into the air, which means less watering for gardeners who want to keep their gardens looking lush and healthy. In addition to helping conserve water, mulch can also help reduce reliance on fertilizers. That’s because mulch provides nutrients to the soil as it breaks down, providing an ecofriendly alternative for gardeners who don’t want to rely on fertilizers to deliver nutrients to their soil. Plant more flowers. Planting flowers is another eco-friendly way to garden. Native flowers, in particular, can help maintain an area’s natural ecosystem, providing food and shelter for insects and other wildlife. More flowers and plants around

the property also means there will be significantly less grass to mow, which reduces the amount of gas necessary to mow that grass in the warmer weather and the amount of greenhouse gases the lawn mower produces. In addition, less grass means less need for fertilizers and pesticides to maintain that grass. Choose gardening tools and products with the environment in mind. Veteran gardeners have a host of tools that help tackle every problem imaginable. But many older tools or gardening products might not be made of recycled materials. When shopping for gardening tools, whether you’re a beginner who needs everything or a veteran gardener whose tools have seen better days, choose products made from recycled materials. For example, many gardeners use mats to help reduce stress on their knees when kneeling down to garden. When buying a new

Keep Safety in Mind this Spring! PLEASE DO NOT POST SIGNS on utility poles. The nail and staples used to hold signs can puncture a lineman’s protective gear exposing that person to electrical shock or cause him to fall down the pole if the climbing hooks hit a nail or staple. Help keep our workers safe! Cleaning gutters or trimming tree limbs? Be sure to look for power lines before you place your ladder against a tree or your house. Do not use longhandled tools unless you see they are clear of electric lines. Planting trees and shrubs? Adding a deck or installing outdoor lighting? Call 8-1-1, Miss Utility of Virginia to have underground lines marked before you begin your project. Teach children to stay away from power lines and underground transformer boxes, and the dangers of mixing water and electricity! We want everyone to have a safe spring!

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mat, choose one made from recycled tires. But emphasizing recycled products shouldn’t stop at the tool shed. Mulch, for instance, can be made from recycled rubber and won’t impact the environment in a negative way. Just be sure to purchase recycled mulch that is nontoxic and does not consume natural resources. Live and let live. Insects might be a nuisance, but they can also be a gardener’s best friend. Spraying insecticide simply because insects can be pesky is shortsighted and impractical. Certain spiders prey on other insects that can be harmful to a garden, while butterflies and bees help pollenate flowers. Earthworms are also very beneficial to a garden, helping to aerate and fertilize the soil and enabling plants to grow by removing harmful matter from the soil. Gardening is a rewarding hobby, one that is even more so when gardeners institute eco-friendly practices.

How to floodproof your home Homeowners know no home is perfect. While the notion of a dream house is nice, every home eventually experiences a problem or two. Many problems are bound to occur sooner or later, but there are a few that diligent homeowners can prevent. One of those preventable problems is flooding. Any home with floor drains or plumbing fixtures below street level can flood, and this can be due to inclement weather, such as heavy rainstorms, local sewer system backup, or groundwater swelling. Flooding can even occur in the spring when melting occurs as the air temperature increases. While homeowners won’t be able to control the weather, they can take steps to floodproof their home. • Do some preventive landscaping. If the ground around the home’s foundation slopes toward the house, make some grading changes so that the ground slopes away from the home. • Insulate the heating ducts. Some home

heating ducts are under the basement floor. In such homes, homeowners should make sure these ducts are properly insulated and watertight. • Make sure the vents all lead outside the home. The weather can cause moisture issues, but some moisture problems can come from inside the home as well. Clothes dryers and bathrooms are both internal moisture sources, and these sources should always be vented outside the home. • Clean gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned to ensure water is effectively being diverted away from the home. Clean gutters and downspouts in the spring after a long winter, and do so again in the fall to keep fallen leaves from blocking the flow of water. Downspouts should extend four feet from the outside wall of the house. • Inspect the home at least once a year. Before buying a home, buyers often hire a professional inspector to ensure the home is safe and sound. But the inspections

should not stop once buyers sign on the dotted line. To prevent flooding, homeowners should inspect their home’s foundation for cracks once a year. If the home has a chimney and fireplace, check for cracks there as well. If any cracks are discovered, consult a professional immediately. • Clean out basement drains. Basement drains should be cleaned annually from the house to the street. If the drains are still slow after cleaning, then clean them more than once a year. • When leaving the home for an extended period of time, turn the water valve off. Homeowners worried about flooding can calm those fears when going on vacation or another long trip by turn the water valve off at the source. This ensures that, should a line break while no one is home, water will not pump into the house. Floodproofing a home can save homeowners from potentially costly repairs and unsightly damage to a home’s interior.

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