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AUTUMN 2015: RED BANK, IN GLORIOUS COLOR

rb flowers 112115rb sunset 112215The trees may be nearly bare of leaves, but there’s no shortage of bold color to be found in nature this time of year.

Some hardy roses added splashes of magenta to the sidewalk along West Front Street in Red Bank Saturday, and Sunday’s sunset, seen from Pinckney Road at right, offered a glorious array of pink, gold, blue and more. 

Speaking of autumn, Thanksgiving week began with temperatures just above freezing Monday morning, with a forecast of sunny skies and a high temperature of only about 43 degrees. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: LAVENDER-SCENTED MEMORIES

barb randall 083115Barb Randall with a lavender plant in her Red Bank yard. Below, a photo of her late sister, Donna Randall. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

donna randall 083115When her older sister died from a rare form of leukemia three years ago, Barb Randall found some solace in an aroma, and the memories it inspired.

Donna Randall, who worked in the fragrance industry, had created a simple lavender spray for her own use that she applied to linens.

“Whenever she had overnight guests at her Jersey City brownstone, she would spray it on the pillows,” Barb recalled in an interview at her Red Bank home this week. “And when I stayed there, the last thing she would always say to me was, ‘sweet dreams.'”

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LITTLE SILVER: BARN RESTORATION STALLS

parker barns 070915 2No work has been done on the barns at Little Silver’s Parker Homestead in months. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

parker barns 070915 1One year after it began, work to restore three decrepit old barns at the Parker Homestead site in Little Silver has been stalled for months, and may be heading to court.

Neither town officials nor the contractor, Nickles Contracting, would discuss the reason for the inactivity, or even say when the stoppage began, leaving the structures a patchwork of braces and plywood coverings.

“It’s kind of in the hands of our attorneys,” Mayor Bob Neff told redbankgreen, citing the possibility of the matter winding up in litigation for his reticence on the matter.

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FARMERS MARKETS: WHERE TO GET FRESH

061815sbmkt1At the Sea Bright farmers market, Meg Paska sells locally grown produce and flowers from Seven Arrows Farm, while the Holly Hill Farm table, below, offers Rumson-grown seedlings and produce.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

061815sbmkt2Options for finding locally grown produce on the Greater Red Bank Green doubled with the addition last year of a farmers’ market in the Sea Bright municipal parking lot on Thursdays.

For local shoppers, that means more variety. While both Sea Bright and the Red Bank Farmers’ Market at the Galleria on summer and autumn Sundays are dependable for farm-grown veggies, there are some characteristics that differentiate the two.

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LITTLE SILVER: COOKIE TIN YIELDS GEMS

PH Cobb set A collection of baseball cards from 1909, including two feauring Ty Cobb, found among the possessions of a former Parker family member will be on display Sunday. (Photo above by Liz Hanson. Click to enlarge)

[CORRECTION: The original version of this article incorrectly reported that there may be thousands of baseball cards in the collection. That estimate refers to postcards, not baseball cards.]

By JOHN T. WARD

LS parker 121613 1Sunday may be Flag Day, but at the historic Parker Homestead in Little Silver, it will also be a day for baseball.

Old-time baseball, that is, in the form of a rare set of baseball cards discovered recently in a cookie tin among piles of possessions from the historic house on Rumson Road.

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LITTLE SILVER TO OPEN COMMUNITY GARDEN

ls garden 051315 1Little Silver gets down and dirty Saturday with the opening of its community garden, located on Harrison Avenue behind the Parker Homestead on the approach to Sickle’s Market. With a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m., the borough joins neighboring towns of Fair Haven, Red Bank and Shrewsbury as a place with a centralized growing spot for its residents.

Plot holders are charged $50 for the season, and four ADA-compliant plots were still available earlier this week. For more information, email littlesilvercommunitygardens [at] gmail.com. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: BLITHEWALD GARDEN IN PHOTOS

rumson blithewald 1 rumson blithewald 3The April 20 fire at the Rumson mansion known as Blithewald, which was undergoing extensive redecoration for use as a designer showcase in the monthlong VNA Stately Homes by the Sea fundraiser, occurred the same morning that landscapers had put the finishing touches on a yard design called the Secret Garden.

Red Bank-based Siciliano Landscape, which oversaw the project with a landscaper from Marlboro, has posted a gallery of before-and-after photos of the garden, along with a link for those wishing to donate to the VNA. The now-canceled home tour was to be the nonprofit organization’s largest fundraising event of the year. (Photos courtesy of Siciliano Landscape. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: SHELTER FROM THE STORM PLOW

FH SNOW 020315 2FH SNOW 020315 1Bonnie Graziano of Fair Haven doesn’t know why her husband, Chuck, planted a line of baby Leyland Cypress trees along the edge of their Harding Road property in winter – and Chuck was not available for immediate comment. But the plywood bulwark he built to protect them from heavy snow tossed their way by snowplows held up during last week’s nonblizzard and appeared still to be doing its job Tuesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

FAIR HAVEN: FOR GARDENERS, 2014 IS A WRAP

101714 raevisThe  front walkway at the Raevis house in Fair Haven is decorated with pumpkins grown in the community garden. Below, a bountiful harvest of pumpkins grown on a double plot in the garden. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091314 fhgardenEven with this second coming of lettuce and spinach, rules must be obeyed, and all forms of inner fencing, weed-control sheeting, rakes, spades, hoses and whirligigs are to be removed from the Fair Haven Community Garden by this weekend, closing out another season.

Opinions on how the season went had a lot to do with what was planted and where. The sunnier plots nearest Ridge Road seemed to have a better tomato crop, while the cruciferous vegetables did better in the shadier back areas.

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RED BANK: PUMPKIN PANDEMONIUM

100514 rbfarmmktAngus McDougald with his daughter, Jade, at Red Bank Farmers’ Market. Below, Lisa Bagwell among the edible pumpkins from Organic Produce. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

100514 rbfarmmkt3 For those who think the season for fresh produce is over, there are still many vendors showing up at the Red Bank Farmers’ Market to prove them wrong.  It is the perfect time of year to buy fresh apple cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.

But squash pumpkins and other  cruciferous vegetables take center stage this time of year.

“I like to simply roast them and eat them,” Lisa Bagwell, of the Certified Organic stand, said of the different varieties pumpkins and squash. Noting the smaller blue hubbard squash, she added: “These are delicious. The gourds, on the other hand, are not delicious.”

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RED BANK: ECOTOUR FEATURES GREEN IDEAS

092714 ecowalk5Michael Paul Raspanti in his garden. Below, Judy Marlow’s clothes dryer was good for laughs. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

092714 ecowalk7Energy efficiency, organic gardening and rain barrels were the talk of the town on Red Bank’s Green Home Tour Saturday, but composting was the star.

Every home on the four-mile, walkable tour practiced some form of composting, though each with a different method.  Michael Paul Raspanti has a unique underground compost area in his yard on Brown Place, for example, while Lou Di Mento of Alston Court uses an Earth Machine system for his.

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RED BANK: HOME, HOME ON THE GREEN

rb marlow 092414Judy Marlow’s 46-foot-long sidewalk garden on Madison Avenue is among the stops on Saturday’s Red Bank Green Home Tour. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

rb eco tour 2014Just to clarify things, it’s not the redbankgreen Home Tour — it’s the Red Bank Green Home Tour, as in a tour of environmentally forward-thinking dwellings located within the borough of Red Bank.

So while your favorite hyperlocal news source hasn’t gotten into the business of conducting open-house showcases, we can definitely get behind the notion of local homeowners who are rethinking the concept of life in the suburbs. And this Saturday, a select group of people in our community will be opening up their houses, yards and gardens to neighbors who’d like to see how ideas like composting, rain collection and solar power are working in a real-life setting.

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SHREWSBURY: GARDENERS EAT THEIR OWN

091414 shrwsbry gdn feast3Community gardeners celebrating their harvest at the garden, located adjacent to Borough Hall. Below, Pam MacNeill and Maureen Collins in the gazebo. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

091414 shrwsbry gdn feastSipping wine amid tables festooned with bouquets of flowers, the Shrewsbury community gardener’s celebrated the end of the growing season with a potluck dinner recently.

In the gazebo, a table laden with casseroles and salads made from this year’s harvest looked like a picture from a home and garden magazine.

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SEA BRIGHT: WEEKLY FARM MARKET DEBUTS

sb parking 2 052714The market will set up in the municipal beach lot every Thursday through October, with a finale one week before Thanksgiving, an organizer says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

morsels mediumCan you beat this: shopping for fresh Jersey corn, tomatoes, blackberries and more, just yards from Atlantic Ocean, in summer?

With an OK from the Sea Bright borough council this week, a group called Community Green Market Organizers begins a weekly farmers’ market in the borough parking lot Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m.

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