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Going native

This is a great time to take a look at some of our beautiful natives. Quite a few of our prairie plants are in full bloom, and can give us good inspiration for sprucing up the landscape with native plants.

Not all of us have environments particularly suited to growing sensitive or tender plants, but there is a wide selection of native flora available that will thrive in harsher circumstances. Landscapes seem to be taking a swing toward naturalistic designs that use these native plants, many of which are drought tolerant and no longer require the high maintenance of heavy watering, pruning and chemical pest control.

Plants used in settings resembling their native habitats usually have a natural tolerance for weather extremes and soil variations, and many have built-in disease and pest resistance.


Going native

This is a great time to take a look at some of our beautiful natives. Quite a few of our prairie plants are in full bloom, and can give us good inspiration for sprucing up the landscape with native plants.

Not all of us have environments particularly suited to growing sensitive or tender plants, but there is a wide selection of native flora available that will thrive in harsher circumstances. Landscapes seem to be taking a swing toward naturalistic designs that use these native plants, many of which are drought tolerant and no longer require the high maintenance of heavy watering, pruning and chemical pest control.

All about sweet potato vines

Question: I have some ornamental sweet potato vines in my hanging baskets this summer. Can the plants be saved over the winter? Are these plants going to produce tubers? Can I eat the tubers like regular sweet potatoes? N.H.

Answer: Most cultivars of sweet potato vine produce tubers which can be saved from year to year. Dig the tubers up after the tops are killed by the first hard frost in fall. Shake off the soil and cut off the stems and leaves. Inspect the tubers and discard any with cuts, blemishes or soft spots. Damaged tubers will rot in storage.

Wooden it be lovely?

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Working with wood comes naturally to New York interior designer Dan Faires. He grew up in an old farmhouse and has been developing his carpentry skills for much of his life.

So in any house or apartment he occupies, he finds creative ways to decorate with this natural material. To rehab an apartment in Arkansas recently, he covered the dark pine floor with coats of glossy white paint, instantly brightening the room and making it seem larger.

A peck of peppers

Finally the peppers are in! Juicy red bell peppers are coming in abundantly now, and over the next few weeks, the farmers’ market should be fairly bursting with all different kinds.

Peppers come in all colors, from lavender to sunset gold to chocolate brown to scarlet red; in all flavors, from pungent green bells and the sweetest red bells, to the slightly biting anchos and cubanelles, to the fiery hot jalapenos and the hotter still cayennes and habaneros or Scotch bonnets.

Digging potatoes; preventing powdery mildew

Question: When are potatoes ready for harvest? D.P.

Answer: New or early potatoes can be dug seven to eight weeks after planting. The potatoes will be one to two inches in size. Potatoes are mature and full-sized when vines die, usually in late August or September. Dig and lift the potatoes out of the soil with a spading fork, taking care not to pierce the tubers.

Home sweet dorm: Decorating for fun and personal comfort

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Sarah Rubach and her mother, Barb Rubach, strolled through the Target home section recently looking for items for Sarah’s dorm at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

“Hopefully I’ll get everything. Since it’s my first year, I’m kind of nervous about missing something,” Sarah, of Burlington, said as she weighed bedding options.


Love My Ride

Parts & projects

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

About seven years ago, Kenosha resident Steve Schneider held a family vote to determine whether he should keep or sell his 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS, which he had owned for more than 30 years.

Deere Hunter

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PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Ever since his childhood, John Serzynski has been a big fan of John Deere tractors and riding mowers.

“My stepfather (George Paulausky) owned a landscaping business, and I used to play out in the sandbox all the time, all day long, with my cousin,” said Serzynski, a Waukegan, Ill., native who moved to Kenosha County in the late 1990s.

‘Kenosha Cadillac’

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

A bit of nostalgia prompted Peter Wenglowsky to obtain his 1961 Rambler Classic about 20 years ago.

Wheeling through Wisconsin

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BY JEREMY REEVES

jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Mercedes-Benz makes driving painless

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If there’s anyone who appreciates having a luxurious car like a black 1999 Mercedes-Benz S420 more than David Gregorski, good luck finding him.

Gregorski, 56, was a local barber for 28 years who was forced to retire about a decade ago because of back problems. He’s since had eight back surgeries.

Masi the Matador

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Jim Masi, his older brother Jeff Masi, Dennis Curnes and Butch Funk were all Kenosha teenagers in the early 1960s. And their passion was cars.

Taking flight: ‘As soon as the wheels leave the ground, it’s exhilarating’

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Whenever John Munson gets behind the controls and lifts off in his 2006 AMD Zodiac CH601XL factory-built, special light-sport aircraft, he experiences emotions unlike any other.

“As soon as the wheels leave the ground, it’s exhilarating,” said Munson, 66, a Kenosha resident. “You’re airborne, and it’s a whole different feeling. It’s the most enjoyable recreational activity I’ve had. I like it a lot.

British imports become part of family

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

KENOSHA — What started as a gift for his wife, Mary, more than 30 years ago has evolved into a type of extended relative for Kenosha resident Jim Hawkins.

Skully’s ‘Last Ride’

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Kenosha resident Jason Beiser, 30, has been welding for about seven years and started his own business, “Skully’s Welding,” a couple years ago.

Firebird fulfills promise

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

SALEM — It took Mike Vandeville about 25 years but he finally made true on his pledge to himself.

A lifetime of Nashes

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — When it came to his first car, Eric Nelson Jr. didn’t have many options.

Proud Centurion

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Kenosha resident Florian Kreft, 84, has owned about 25 cars in his lifetime, covering most American manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, Buick, Chrysler and Dodge).

Jeff and Mary Albrecht’s 1991 Four Winns 325 Cabin Cruiser

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

Whether on Lake Michigan, inland lakes or even the Gulf of Mexico, Jeff and Mary Albrecht have been boating enthusiasts since they were kids.

‘Regular guy’ drives a Mercedes

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — Wayne Walker isn’t the type of person you’d immediately expect to own a Mercedes Benz, especially one imported from Germany.

This ’72 Chevrolet Monte Carlo even better than first one

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jreeves@kenoshanews.com

SALEM — Judy Grasser said her husband of 26 years, Mike, isn’t much of a sentimental type.

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