Burning Bushes destroy neighborhood

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Burning Bushes destroy neighborhood with sheer beauty!  Check it out.

The burning bush, Euonymus alata, is one of the most popular deciduous landscape shrubs grown in the United States. The reason it is so popular is because of the brilliant red color this plant displays each fall. The red fall color is simply stunning. Burning bush is an easy plant to grow. They will grow in most soils and soil conditions in zones 4 through 8. The burning bush prefers moist, well drained soil, but they are very adaptable to poor soils, drought, and heat stress. The red color is enhanced and is more brilliant if the bush is planted in full sun. Shade will mute the fall colors. The burning bush displays dark green foliage in the spring and summer. Burning bush is popular for mass plantings, borders, hedges, and as an accent plant.

Burning bush usually does not require much pruning. If pruning is required, cut the older branches out immediately after it finishes blooming. Shearing a burning bush will also mute the fall color but it will not harm the shrub. The bush can be cut to the ground following bloom time if you feel the plant needs renewal. Burning bush can grow into a large bush so care should be given to allow enough space for the plant to grow without interference from other plants or buildings. Care should be give to young burning bush plants to prevent rabbits from eating the bark around the base of the bush. After burning bush plants are established they are relatively fast growing.

Catch the fire of beauty with Burning Bushes!

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Gardening program teaches kids healthy growing, cooking

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Eleven-year-old Nakaila Mosley is involved in a Wilmington youth garden that is trying to teach children about healthy eating, as well as entrepreneurial and financial literacy, by selling their produce at a youth-led farm stand.

She admits the allure of making some green from her veggies is appealing, but the soon-to-be Bayard Middle School sixth-grader is more interested in something else.

"Most kids would do it for the money," she said. "But me, I'm doing it for the experience so I know how to plant stuff. So when I get older I might be able to plant stuff."

Mosley is participating in the Southbridge Community Youth Garden, on offshoot of a community garden started three years ago by the Neighborhood House Inc.

When organizers saw the community garden's effect on the neighborhood, they decided to try that with the children, said Patricia Kelleher, programs director at Neighborhood House.

"It's a great opportunity for community building," Kelleher said, pointing out that while others were indoors when it was cold, garden participants were working together preparing the gardens. "It gets people out. It gets people involved in healthy activities."

While kids started planting in the community farm, they're now ready to transfer their crops to the new youth garden at 528 Claymont St. .

The after-school program also seeks to teach participants about financial literacy by keeping track of what they've spent on their product and selling their produce at a youth-led farm stand once a month.

The group teamed up with Capital One for the financial component of the program, said Randi Novakoff, Neighborhood House outreach manager. She also manages the garden.

They also have been preparing for the farm stand which will be held on the last Friday of every month from July through September at the Neighborhood House.

Programs like this grow more than plants, according to the National Gardening Association. Kids participating in school garden programs improve their knowledge of good nutrition, broaden their tastes in terms of food choices, and increase their consumption of vegetables and fruits.

And that is needed in Southbridge, which is designated a food desert area, lacking adequate access to fresh vegetables and fruits.

When Novakoff first started asking the children what vegetables they wanted to grow, few could answer. In fact, she said some said they wanted whatever came in a hamburger.

"A lot of theses kids are unfortunately eating the majority of their diets at fast food restaurants and convenience stores," she said. "They don't have as access to the fresh vegetables."

The program also has a healthy cooking demonstration where the children learn about cooking what they grow. This was good news to Danielle Nierenberg, president of Food Tank: The Food Think Tank, a nonprofit organization working on building safe, healthy, nourished eaters.

Teaching children how to cook healthy portions of food is just as important as teaching them where the food comes from, Nierenberg said.

This is especially important as many schools have dropped culinary arts and home economics courses.

"We need to take the next step," she said. "It's great that kids are getting outside, that they are understanding where their food is grown … but [also] taking the next step and involving kids in cooking and in culinary traditions."

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