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Archives for June 19, 2013

Housing complex in the works

What’s in a home other than a few boxes of nails, some drywall and two-by-sixes?

To Katherine Reed, the project co-ordinator for the Antigonish and Area Women’s Resource Centre, there’s health.

Recently, she talked about statistics showing that the dignity enjoyed by a person in a home they can afford breeds healthy families and communities.

“But there remains a tremendous need for affordable housing in our communities,” said Reed, who was driven to join the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society by the stories she heard at the resource centre.

According to the 2006 census, the most recent statistics available, there were 43,760 households in “core housing need” in this province — defined as households where more than 30 per cent of before-tax income goes toward housing.

The old model of support, delivered through the Community Services Department, had individuals and families rent government-owned apartments for rates set at 25 per cent of their income.

But with the province’s 12,000 residential units aging (most were built more than 40 years ago), the department’s new plan to get more private and non-profit developers creating below-market, price-affordable housing is being rolled out.

Dubbed A Housing Strategy for Nova Scotia, it was unveiled this spring in a document with a promise to spend $500 million on affordable housing during the coming decade, and much talk of promoting partnerships with private developers, municipalities and non-profit groups, along with financial support for those seeking to become homeowners.

What it lacked was details, Reed cautioned.

On Monday, in Truro, an example of one of the ways the new strategy will work was unveiled to much fanfare.

The Alice Street Neighbourhood Improvement Program will be an attempt to bring life back to Truro’s east end.

It will see the town sell the former Alice Street School property to Meech Holdings Ltd., a private developer that will construct an $6-million, 30-unit property.

The proposal would see an outside perimeter of duplexes and single-family homes along the curb of three adjoining streets, with a 15-unit apartment building in the property’s centre.

“It is a true, mixed-housing development that will cater to young families and senior citizens,” Ron Meech, owner of Meech Holdings, said Tuesday.

The town, meanwhile, will build a playground on the site.

For its part, the province will make about $200,000 available through Housing Nova Scotia, the new body being created to take over responsibility for housing from the Community Services Department.

That money can be accessed by property owners in the Alice Street area to do upgrades, whether it be a new coat of paint, landscaping or to increase energy efficiency.

Dan Troke, executive director of housing for the department, said Tuesday that government officials have been in talks with Meech about providing funding support for the new development in exchange for a commitment that an as yet undetermined percentage of the new units would be available to low-income people at rates well below market value for at least 15 years.

“This creates mixed developments that allow people with lower incomes to have the same lifestyle opportunities as their neighbours with higher incomes,” said Troke.

“A lot of this stuff is being worked out and nothing is cut in stone right now. This is just one of the ways we’ll be looking to create more affordable housing by partnering with communities to make their ideas happen.”

Meech said he is waiting for the municipality to approve his permits before making application to the provincial program, which will see the province contribute $15,000 to $30,000 toward the construction cost of new units in exchange for the rent guarantees. He said he’d like to start construction this fall.

The Meech proposal would be funded under a similar program to what Reed’s group, Antigonish Affordable Housing, is seeking for their community.

The non-profit will apply to the province for per-unit funding for an apartment building it wants to start construction on this fall on Riverside Drive in Antigonish. If approved, they’ll seek financing from a bank for the building they will own and manage with the goal of providing low-cost rental housing.

“But there are very few initiatives like this around the province because volunteer boards with no staff cannot do this scale of complex, long-term project,” Reed said.

“As for private developers, they need to make a profit and the province has to be able to make it attractive to them.”

Asked why her group of volunteers was willing to take on such a project, Reed said: “We have no choice. This community desperately needs housing.”

Troke said further aspects of the new housing program will be unveiled during the coming months.

Article source: http://thechronicleherald.ca/novascotia/1136323-housing-complex-in-the-works

Black Lab Landscape Supply opens in Elverson

A new company has come to town! In April, Brian Montieth opened his family owned and operated landscape supply yard and business, Black Lab Landscape Supply, at 100 Warwick St. between St. Peters Village and Elverson, Pa.

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      Black Lab Landscape Supply is an affiliate of BME Inc. located in Phoenixville. A company he established in 2004 as an excavating and asphalt paving business. Montieth has been in the construction business for 18 years, getting his start as a carpenter building custom homes with family and friends in the Chester County area. He then learned the landscaping and hardscaping businesses and subsequently focused on the ‘ins and outs’ of creating outdoor getaways.

      He related, “When working in the Elverson area I had to travel ten miles either way to get supplies. I found a void that needed to be filled and I developed a five-year plan to bring bulk materials – such as varieties of stone, mulch, topsoil, sand, grass, landscaping fabrics, straw matting and pavers – for local free delivery and expanded delivery into a 20 mile radius.”

      So, why the name Black Lab?
      “My two daughters, Rylin and Brynn came up with that name. We have two black labs, Kaylee who is about six and Emerson who is nine months old, who we got after our lab, Zoey (who was 14 years old) passed last year. We are a family business. On occasion you might see the dogs walking around the yard,” Montieth shared.

      “Morgantown is a growing area. The need for an experienced professional in the landscaping/hardscaping supply business is self-evident. There are noticeable problems with water erosion that needs to be addressed successfully. I want to bring my 18 years of experience and my knowledge to do the job right. We want to cater to the home owner.” he said

      Montieth opened Black Lab Landscape Supply to provide a one stop shop operated by a staff that possesses the experience to quantify honest material amounts needed for a job and the years of construction experience needed to assure that Black Lab is qualified to supply the contractor with bulk purchases and prices. Montieth added that they are also available for qualified referrals for all types of construction projects: landscaping, seal coating, asphalt paving, hardscaping, concrete and carpentry.

      He offered the following tips to those looking for landscaping/hardscaping advice:

      Article source: http://www.tricountyrecord.com/article/20130618/NEWS01/130619797/black-lab-landscape-supply-opens-in-elverson

Clermont wants to hear more ideas on how to make city a destination

Perhaps you have an idea that’s been banging around in the ol’ cranium for what Clermont ought to do to make itself attractive to visitors.

Tonight would be the time to fish it out of there and bring it to City Council members during a forum set for 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Family Christian Center, 2500 S. U.S. Highway 27.

The meeting is the second in which the city is asking residents what they’d like to see Clermont become. The first meeting, on May 21, resulted in an idea for a zip line from the Citrus Tower to Waterfront Park. About 400 people attended, and the city is hoping for another big turnout.

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Whatever is suggested, city officials should keep in mind that no single attraction is magically going to turn Clermont into the hottest destination in Central Florida. What makes a city a place where people want to spend time is a cohesive theme and a collection of fun choices — along with an attitude of pride. And in the end, perhaps the latter is the most important. It’s just not something that can be bought.

Meanwhile, here are a few suggestions from Clermont folks who have been doing a little thinking about what would make the city a better place to live:

A zip line would be fun and unique for Lake County. However, as founder of the Moonlight Players, I feel money spent on the arts would bring more balance to the community.

The Moonlight Players will be 20 years old next summer. We have existed without any help from the city, unlike theater groups in Eustis, Mount Dora and Leesburg.

Our “theater kids” learn communication techniques, creativity and problem-solving. Many have gone on to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York as performers, and some have even performed on Broadway.

More important, we have had these same kids stay in Lake County as community leaders, teachers and respected parents and taxpayers. The arts are the heart of any community, and the theater nurtures all the arts.

We must keep the arts alive in South Lake County.

Jan Sheldon

What Clermont needs to do is strike a balance between quality-of-life issues and economic development.

The balance has been out of whack, with economic development being about 90 percent of the focus. For example, the arts, youth activities and senior activities all require an investment in facilities.

Also, Clermont’s needs are tied to regional needs such as a light rail system connected to Orlando’s attractions, stadiums and airport, along with a system of public transportation locally.

We’ve got to stop the mind set that more roads are the lone answer to traffic congestion.

Clermont cannot fund every activity in south Lake. It needs a partnership with the county and other cities to help finance new facilities and run them. Probably a majority of people using facilities in Clermont are not city residents. Still, Clermont is in a good position financially because it did not overreach during the boom as other cities did.

Gimmicks like a zip line are visible projects that would attract attention, but they add nothing to the quality of life for residents. A zip line would be economic development.

Whatever is done, we’ve got to protect the natural beauty of the area, which is a huge part of the quality of life.

Marvin Jacobson

Clermont should develop water sports at the downtown lake. It would be great to go there to rent kayaks, paddle boards and other fun things, and it would be a natural fit. (A little concession would be nice to buy water, soda and snacks, too.)

Aso, why doesn’t Clermont landscape State Road 50 and U.S. Highway 27? Clermont can’t expect to attract people if the place looks run down.

Cities can have landscaping, but the state Department of Transportation requires that they participate in the maintenance. That could be a clue as to why it hasn’t been done. Clermont hasn’t wanted to participate in anything that requires the city to spend money, even if it would increase the number of visitors to the area who would be spending money.

Linda Cousins

Lritchie@tribune.com. Lauren invites you to send her a friend request on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/laurenonlake.

Article source: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/lake/os-lk-lauren-ritchie-clermont-future-20130619,0,7863189.column

Historic Connecticut homes invite public to tour their gardens

What started out a decade ago as a confraternity of a few historic properties to promote their beautiful landscaping has evolved into an organization, Connecticut’s Historic Gardens, that sponsors an annual event that is greatly anticipated by garden-lovers throughout the state.

Tammi Flynn, a CHG group spokeswoman who also represents the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, said the 10th annual Historic Gardens Day will be celebrated Sunday, June 23, throughout the state at 14 noteworthy sites.

“Connecticut is home to many beautiful and unique gardens both public and private,” Flynn said.

On Historic Gardens Day, each of the sites will offer refreshments and special programming, from lectures to craft-making.

“It’s a great opportunity for the public, especially garden lovers, to plan a day trip visiting several of these magnificent gardens. How often does it happen that we say: `Gee, I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but somehow never get around to it’?

“Gardens Day will introduce many people to a variety of garden styles and time periods and to several mansions and homes that they may want to tour more extensively” at a latter date.

Hours are generally noon to 4 p.m. Grounds free; admission charged at most sites for house tours. Members are:

Bellamy-Ferriday House Garden, 9 Main St. N., Bethlehem. 203-266-7596. Special feature: formal parterre garden designed by Eliza Mitchell Ferriday between 1915 and 1918, inspired by an Aubusson rug once used in the parlor.

Butler-McCook House Garden, 396 Main St., Hartford. 860-522-1806. Special feature: 1865 Jacob Weidenmann-designed Victorian garden, where staff tell the story of its history and answer questions.

Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme. 860-434-5542. Special feature: gardens and landscape on the Lieutenant River inspired a generation of American Impressionists. Visitors are invited to paint in the garden or watch as members of the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists paint models posed in the gardens.

Glebe House Museum the Gertrude Jekyll Garden, 49 Hollow Road, Woodbury. 203-263-2855. Special feature: tours of the Gertrude Jekyll Garden are given throughout the afternoon by volunteers. It’s the only Jekyll garden in the United States designed by the woman considered by many to be the most important landscape designer of the 20th century.

Harkness Memorial State Park, 275 Great Neck Road, Waterford. 860-443-5725. Special feature: tours and talks about the garden’s history and design by Beatrix Farrand are provided free of charge from noon to 4 p.m.; tours of the mansion from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; spectacular views of Long Island Sound.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, 77 Forest St., Hartford. 860-522-9258. Special feature: Victorian Gothic revival home surrounded by ever-blooming gardens.

Hill-Stead Museum, 35 Mountain Road, Farmington. 860-677-4787. Special feature: 1920’s Beatrix Farrand-designed garden, with guides available to answer questions. At 1 p.m., Master Gardener Lea Anne Moran gives a tour.

New London County Historical Society and Shaw Mansion, 11 Blinman St., New London. 860-443-1209. Special feature: Connecticut Master Gardeners are available to provide tours of the Shaw Mansion garden and answer questions. During the afternoon, a local croquet club will play a match and demonstrate the secrets of the game.

Osborne Homestead Museum, 500 Hawthorne Ave., Derby; 203-734-2513. Special feature: free museum and garden tours offered every 30 minutes on which visitors learn about Frances Osborne Kellogg’s passion for gardening and land conservation. At 2 p.m., actress Kandie Carle performs “The Edwardian Lady,” in which she uses authentic historic clothing to illustrate the manners, customs and etiquette of the early 1900s Edwardian period. For all ages. (Seating is limited. Reservations for the performance are requested; suggested donation $5.)

Promisek at Three Rivers Farm, 694 Skyline Ridge Road, Bridgewater. 860-350-8226. Special feature: gardens designed by Beatrix Farrand, considered one of the most important 20th century American landscape architects.

Roseland Cottage, 556 Route 169, Woodstock. 860-928-4074. Special feature: free guided garden tours on the hour; free house tours to those dressed in white. Representatives of the United States Croquet Association will be on hand.

Thankful Arnold House Museum, 14 Hayden Hill Road, Haddam. 860-345-2400. Special feature: Wilhelmina Ann Arnold Barnhart Memorial Garden features more than 50 varieties of herbs, including those used in cooking, dyeing, fragrance and medicine. Adults can make lavender sachets; children will decorate garden baskets.

Webb Deane Stevens Museum, 211 Main St., Wethersfield. 860-529-0612. Special feature: garden tours focus on the architect Amy Cogswell and the history of the gardens; discounts offered on its three-house tour.

Weir Farm National Historic Site, 735 Nod Hill Road, Wilton. 203-834-1896. Special feature: Garden Gang volunteers offer short informal talks in the Sunken Garden and Secret Garden about the gardens’ history, flowers, restoration and ongoing preservation. Once the home of artist J. Alden Weir. Watercolor supplies available at no charge from

1 to 4 p.m.

pasboros@ctpost.com/ Twitter: @PhyllisASBoros

Historic Gardens Day celebrated Sunday, June 23, at 14 venues around the state; garden tours and refreshments are free; admission charged at most sites for indoor tours of historic homes. 860-434-5542; www.cthistoricgardens.org

Article source: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Historic-Connecticut-homes-invite-public-to-tour-4607648.php

Clients of Howard McPherson Landscaping Expert Reads of Falkirk Students …

London, UK — (SBWIRE) — 06/18/2013 — Howard McPherson LinkedIn connections read a study of over two thousand people, which revealed that at least thirty three percent have little to know knowledge of gardening, whilst just five percent of those aged below fifty consider their horticultural skills to be good. However, the schools of Falkirk have been going to great lengths recently to encourage the younger generation to start getting involved in the world of plants, flowers and vegetables.

A number of different primary schools have begun to plant orchards in the space surrounding the school buildings, and several have actually been awarded Green Flags due to the impressive nature of the environmental projects they have completed. And clients of Howard McPherson landscaping expert read that at Denny High, the students are starting to get interested not just in making their school grounds look prettier, but in entering national gardening competitions too.

Denny High students will be competing in the Gardening Scotland exhibition of 2013, which will be hosted at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre. This is one of the biggest outdoor living shows in Scotland, and attracts entries from many of the UK’s leading nurseries. In addition to this, a group of second year students from the same school are to enter the Pallet Garden Challenge, which tasks entrants with setting up a beautiful garden, from scratch. The catch, however, is that the garden can be no larger than one square metre.

The main goal of this particular competition is to make the concept of gardening a less overwhelming prospect for beginners; it is hoped that this type of competition will encourage young people to develop a lifelong love for gardening. Howard McPherson Remax clients were surprised to learn that Denny High students have been preparing for months for this challenge; they have already developed a theme and drawn up the necessary plans, and are now starting to raise the plants so that they will be ready for the day of the competition.

The students will have their skills tested in a very public setting, as the Pallet Gardens Challenge is invariably one of the busiest exhibitions during the gardening show. Howard McPherson NJ clients read that the local newspaper, the Falkirk Herald, paid a visit to the school earlier in the week, to ask about the competition and check the students’ progress. One of the participating students noted that whilst she initially thought gardening was a bit dull, she gradually started to love it; she added that it has taught her a lot, including the importance of working hard and being patient.

About howardmacpherson.com
Although a recent survey suggests that most young people are uninterested in gardening, students from Falkirk are doing their best to prove people wrong. They have revamped their school gardens, and are will be entering a national gardening competition this summer.

MEDIA CONTACT:
[NAME OR COMPANY]: Howard
[EMAIL ADDRESS]: howardmacpherson.uk@gmail.com
[COMPANY LOCATION]: London UK
[COMPANY WEBSITE ADDRESS]: howardmacpherson.com

Article source: http://www.sbwire.com/press-releases/clients-of-howard-mcpherson-landscaping-expert-reads-of-falkirk-students-plans-to-exhibit-at-gardening-competition-267441.htm

The word from Fridley: Plant native to help protect water




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    The use of native plants in landscaping can help prevent runoff, protecting water sources and improving soil.

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    Kay Qualley urges suburban homeowners to go a little wild.

    Let go of those stodgy 1950s ideals of the perfect turf and add some color and texture to your landscaping with native plants. Push a little further and add a rain garden. Native flora will attract native birds, butterflies and compliments, Qualley said.

    It isn’t just about aesthetics.

    It saves homeowners time and money — less mowing, watering and fertilizing — and it’s protecting rivers and lakes and recharging groundwater supplies, Qualley says.

    Qualley is Fridley’s environmental planner. The city, along with the Anoka Conservation District, is hosting an event this Thursday to promote the idea; the event is called “Fridley Loves the Mississippi: Re-thinking Landscaping for Water Quality.”

    “I sometimes wonder if it’s about control,” Qualley said of the traditional ideals of a perfect lawn. “Let’s get the lawn in order, the shrubs pruned. Let’s get order imposed on the landscape. But it’s fun to have birds and butterflies floating in and out of your yard. We are loosening our idea of what is beautiful in landscape.”

    The free session runs from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Fridley Community Center and focuses on landscaping ideas that include adding native plants and rain gardens that help absorb runoff. The session will include design ideas, sample landscape plans, native plant guidance and plant sourcing, lakeshore and riverbank care, and planting sustainable lawns.

    There’s much at stake. Three watershed districts — Rice Creek, Coon Creek and the Mississippi River — touch the city of Fridley. Moore and Loche lakes are also inside the city’s boundaries.

    Runoff water from neighborhoods, driveways, parking lots and streets picks up pollutants and debris and flows them back into rivers and lakes. A rain garden, usually a low-lying spot that is landscaped with native plants, captures, absorbs and filters runoff, reducing pollution in lakes and rivers. It also improves ground water quality. Many north metro communities rely on ground wells for their city water supplies.

    “Particularly within our watershed, a lot of our lakes and streams have water-quality issues related to excessive nutrients, including phosphorus. It leads to a lot of algae growth. It impacts aesthetics and recreation. There are some biological issues,” said Kyle Axtell, water resource specialist with the Rice Creek Watershed District, which includes parts of Anoka, Hennepin, Ramsey and Washington counties. Axtell will be at Thursday’s event.

    Grant program

    The watershed district promotes best management practices including rain gardens and shoreline restoration with a grant program. Homeowners can be reimbursed for as much as 50 percent of an approved native landscaping project, up to $5,000. The Rice Creek Watershed District has $150,000 for these grants.

    It also contracts with the Anoka Conservation District to offer free site visits and landscaping advice for homeowners and businesses.

    Expense is actually not the biggest issue causing homeowners to hesitate.

    “The biggest hurdle to someone doing a project is not the money but the technical assistance. How do I go about doing it?” Axtell said.

    Mitch Haustein from Anoka Conservation District will also speak Thursday. He does site visits and provides technical assistance, helping residents determine where a rain garden will have the most impact on their lawns.

    Changing the landscape of Fridley’s neighborhoods won’t just improve water quality, Qualley said.

    Native plants including red milkweed, sweet black-eyed susan or purple liatris will create a distinctive sense of place vs. ubiquitous petunias and pansies, Qualley said.

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    At Home: Designers Garden Tour 2013


    Around solstice each year, the Association of Northwest Landscape Designers (ANLD) organizes a garden tour to showcase some of their members’ best designs of the past year. For 2013, there are seven gardens, all on Portland’s west side. As always, the tour is self-guided (you receive a map and directions upon registering) and you toodle from one garden to another, admiring the layout, materials and plants and gathering ideas of your own to take home.

    These tours also provide a superb opportunity to talk with the designers and homeowners about the gardens, plant choices and conditions, as well as hardscape materials and art work. Learn about the decision-making process designers go through and the solutions they adopt for problems both common and unusual. Poke around the ANLD website a bit for answers to such common questions as why hire a landscape designer and to access a list of ANLD member designers.

    This year’s gardens range from modern to naturalistic, with a nod to Mediterranean and tropical plant aesthetics. Low-maintenance gardens are increasingly popular, and there are also some creative outdoor entertaining spaces. Needless to say, there are edible gardens and gardens that integrate chickens. This is Portland, after all!

    If you’re considering hiring a designer for your own garden, seek out some of the designers and homeowners and talk with them about how the process works.

    WHAT: 9th Annual Designers Garden Tour
    WHEN: Saturday June 22, 2013 from 10 am to 4 pm
    WHERE: A self-guided tour of seven of Portland’s west side gardens
    COST:  $20 per person for seven gardens. Purchase tickets. Proceeds from the sale of the tickets help fund scholarships for landscape design students at PCC and CCC.

    Designers featured this year:

    Vern Nelson, The Hungry Gardener; Laura Crockett, Garden Diva Designs; Lori Scott, Lori Scott Landscape Design; John Gawlista and Izzy Baptista, Lapiz Lazuli Tile and Garden Design; Debbie Brooks, Creative Garden Spaces; Adriana Berry, Plant Passion Design; and Alyse Lansing, Joy Creek Nursery.

    Article source: http://www.portlandmonthlymag.com/home-and-garden/at-home/articles/designers-garden-tour-ANLD-june-2013