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Archives for June 22, 2013

Green Corps: Documentary Film Examines Overlap Between Conservation …

2013-06-21-Filming.jpg

When they set out to create Meridian Hill Pictures (MHP) in 2010, brothers Lance and Brandon Kramer did not envision a big, Hollywood-style production company. As documentarians, they wanted to make films about real people and real issues. They were especially interested in giving voice to untold stories in their native Washington, D.C.

From their studio in Washington’s Columbia Heights neighborhood — an area known for its ethnic and cultural diversity — Lance and Brandon have produced films on a variety of local subjects. The idea for their latest film, Green Corps, was inspired by an organization headquartered in the same building as MHP.

Shortly after the formation of Meridian Hill Pictures in August 2010, Lance and Brandon moved into their studio in the historic Josephine Butler mansion. Now a community center, the home was constructed in the 19th century as the potential residence of the vice president. The mansion’s largest tenant over the past years has been Washington Parks and People (WPP), an organization dedicated to sustaining and growing D.C.’s green spaces. In the fall of 2010, WPP Executive Director Steve Coleman invited Lance and Brandon to observe the construction of the North Columbia Heights Green; a Parks and People project that involved transforming an empty lot into a garden. Lance and Brandon filmed the garden’s construction and used the footage to produce the successful short film Community Harvest, but the brothers felt there was another story in the garden’s creation that the film didn’t address.

“We realized that the themes and ideas that we explored in this film were resonating with people in ways we didn’t even fully understand, but we knew something powerful was happening,” said Lance. “Though Community Harvest sort of focused on the space, we realized that we were missing a part of the story which was much more important – the growth, and to some extent transformation, of the people who had the experience of working in this space. Compared to the change of the land, the change of the people is more complicated and interesting and profound.”

Much of the work done on the North Columbia Heights Green was completed by members of DC Green Corps; an urban forestry job corps, operated by Washington Parks and People, that was originally funded with money from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Descended from the Civilian Conservation Corps of the New Deal Era, Corps are comprehensive personal development programs that engage participants in community service that improves their neighborhoods and the environment. Through service projects, Corpsmembers gain job skills, leadership skills, confidence in their abilities, and pride in their communities.

Most DC Green Corps members who worked on the North Columbia Heights Green had no previous experience with landscaping or park management, but this didn’t matter; the Corps was created specifically for unemployed District residents who simply needed the work. With ARRA funding, the Corps offered participants a steady income, structure, and job training that could pay off in the future. DC Green Corps continues to operate even though the ARRA funding expired, but Corpsmembers now only work for 10 hours a week and receive a stipend instead of an hourly wage. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the length of the program; Corpsmembers receive 12 weeks of training and then must move on.

A majority of Green Corps members are adults outside the age range traditionally served by Corps (member organizations of The Corps Network – the national membership organization of service and conservation corps – generally serve young people ages 16 – 25), but the program still provides the same training and assistance one would expect from a Corps. Members work in crews to plant trees, maintain gardens, clear waterways, and carry out other greening efforts throughout Washington. Many Corpsmembers struggled to find work before they heard about the Corps, but they all seemed to find hope in helping beautify and improve their city by working alongside other D.C. residents who were experiencing similar hardships. Lance and Brandon saw in these Green Corps members, and in the Corps itself, a powerful, D.C.-based story.

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Lance Kramer, MHP Executive Director; Ellie Walton, Staff Filmmaker and Educator; Brandon Kramer, MHP Artistic Director

Lance and Brandon are fourth generation Washingtonians. Both brothers have always felt a strong connection to their family roots and to the city. They’ve also always had a strong affinity for film. When they were kids, they liked to play “video rental shop,” and they often borrowed the family camcorder to make spoofs of their favorite movies. Before founding MHP, Lance and Brandon were pursuing separate careers in different parts of the country, but the death of their grandparents brought them back home and helped them realize that they wanted to (and could) work together. Documentary filmmaking was a perfect intersection of their respective backgrounds in film, education, and journalism.

“I think this partially comes from having worked as a journalist, but I’m really drawn to telling stories that are not currently being told, and from perspectives that aren’t well represented in the media,” said Lance. “I’ve been frustrated by, inspired by, and sort of drawn to helping address issues of fair and equal representation in the media…I’ve just been really interested as a filmmaker, and maybe to a certain extent as a community activist, in how we can help broaden that access to the media. In particular, provide resources to people who could tell their stories if they only had access to the right resources.”

In the end, Green Corps will provide a snapshot of what it means to be part of an effort to improve one’s city. It will also show what it’s like to try and survive in a tough economic climate, to take a temporary position in a job corps with the understanding that the work might be fulfilling, but it won’t last forever. To best tell the story of DC Green Corps and its members, Meridian Hill Pictures decided to create a film that was not made exclusively of their own footage. In addition to filming the Corpsmembers at work and in their personal lives, the film crew also gave their subjects flip cams so they could document their own experiences in the Corps.

“I think when the film is finished it will have this kind of truthful perspective of seeing the world through the eyes of the Green Corps members, not just through our own eyes,” said Lance. “Because the Corpsmembers were trained in how to use the cameras, they were doing their own additional self-documentation. There are video walking tours of their neighborhoods, there are interviews with community members, there are video diaries that they’ve done at home absent us being there. There’s this treasure trove of material that we’re just now starting to edit and figure out how to piece it all together.”

When MHP started filming Green Corps, they didn’t have a solid direction or vision. They wanted to tell the story of the Corps, they wanted to give a voice to the Corpsmembers, and they wanted to document history through capturing how the Great Recession affected one small group of people. Lance has always loved history and recognized a connection between DC Green Corps and FDR’s efforts to get people back to work during the New Deal Era with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a job initiative that employed over six million young men between 1933 and 1942.

“Thankfully, a lot of what we know about the New Deal time period we owe to wonderful photographers, documentarians, writers, journalists…” said Lance. “I’ve always been really intrigued by that, and finding myself as a filmmaker in our most recent recession, I thought there could be a real role to play in drawing inspiration from what happened during [the Great Depression]…. It felt like the storytelling that’s come out of the experiences of people impacted by the Recovery Act has not been as profound as it could be.”

When DC Green Corps was getting started and MHP was just beginning to film the Corps’ activities, one of the Meridian Hill Pictures interns did some research and made the connection between Green Corps and the larger conservation corps movement. There are currently 127 corps programs affiliated with The Corps Network, collectively enrolling 27,000 Corpsmembers from across the country each year. MHP’s Research also uncovered how a number of former CCC boys, now all in their 80s and 90s, were still very active in a Maryland CCC Legacy club. Lance and Brandon were intrigued to learn that these former Corpsmembers still got together every month, united by the conservation and resource development projects they completed more than half a century earlier.

“While there’s not a direct connection or an overlap between the CCC guys and the DC Green Corps members, we thought that in trying to understand the long term impact of what Corps efforts today will be, it might be helpful from a narrative perspective to film these older guys and look at how decades after their short term experience in the CCC, they were left with some sort of lasting impact.”

The completed film, which is tentatively scheduled to be ready for viewing by the end of 2013, will include footage of the Green Corps members at work on urban forestry projects throughout D.C.; footage shot by Corpsmembers as they navigate their personal struggles and the Corps experience; and footage of the CCC boys reminiscing on their Great Depression-era Corps experiences, when they made $1 a day for their conservation work. Though almost all of the D.C. Green Corps members featured in the film completed their service by the spring of 2012, the MHP staff continued to film, capturing Corpsmembers looking for new jobs and readjusting to life without the structure of the Corps. MHP is just beginning to edit Green Corps, but Lance suspects the movie might end with footage shot around the 2012 presidential election. These clips document how former Corpsmembers felt about their personal situations and the national climate at this time, several months after their service ended.

Meridian Hill Pictures hopes Green Corps will act as an entry point into understanding the experiences of the individual Corpsmembers, the effects of the Corps on people and communities, and the experience of the Recovery in general. They also have specific hopes for how former Green Corps members will receive the film.

“I’m hoping that they’ll be proud. I hope they feel we honestly depicted their experience. I hope they feel like what they see is aligned with what they felt when they went through the program,” said Lance. “I hope that in some fashion the existence of this film will be beneficial to Corpsmembers not just as a reflective tool, but for where they want to go in their lives. I think most people are really proud of the work that they did while they were a part of the Corps. I think many, if not most, of the people who went through the program still consider themselves a part of the Green Corps even though they got their certificates of completion. Maybe the film can help demonstrate what the Corpsmembers experienced…I guess connecting back to the CCC guys, this can be a long term document to communicate what happened here some 50 years down the line.”

Lance and Brandon have tried to maintain contact with as many Green Corps members as possible, but the reality is that a good portion of the Corpsmembers “live on the fringe,” as Lance said. Some of them don’t have cell phones, and many of those that do have pay-as-you-go phones that they fund when they can. MHP plans to make a concerted effort to reconnect with everyone once the film is ready for public viewing. As for the Corpsmembers that MHP has managed to stay in contact with, Lance says there are definitely a few success stories. Some former Corpsmembers continue to work for Washington Parks and People or found jobs in the neighborhood.

“One really wonderful example is this guy Michael who became sort of a main character in the film,” said Lance. “He was in prison before and he’s now working in a housing complex as a super. One of the aspects of his job is that he has the keys to every apartment in this complex. He’s watching over the building and taking care of tenants. For him, simply knowing that he has the keys and that his employer trusted him even though he has a record, that’s pretty powerful. When he was in the Corps, did he plant trees? Yes. Does he have a redefined appreciation for nature and the land? Absolutely. But along with that there are these bigger issues of rebuilding confidence and self-respect and trust.”

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Looking back at the many hours of footage that were shot for Green Corps, what stands out to Lance is a particular series of scenes that Brandon suggested shooting. The film crew asked several CCC boys and members of the DC Green Corps to each talk to a tree they (or their peers) planted during their term of service.

“These dialogues were one hundred percent unscripted…We just posed the question and right off the cuff, the poetry that spilled out of the members of the Green Corps and from the CCC guys – people who you wouldn’t think of as poets – it’s really beautiful. There’s this deep meaning and deep connection that they clearly formed with those specific trees and trees in general. I think the film will get at that even if it’s hard to understand what these guys are feeling. I hope the film complicates in all the best ways what you might think of when you see someone planting a tree…You can understand how challenging it might have been for that person to get to that point of planting the tree and what it means in that moment for that person and for that community.”

Green Corps is tentatively scheduled for completion and initial release by the end of 2013. Through using new technologies, Meridian Hill Pictures hopes to make the film as accessible as possible. A prototype of Green Corps can be seen here.

Written by Hannah Traverse, The Corps Network




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Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-corps-network/green-corps-documentary-f_b_3480070.html

Euclid Pond & Garden Tours set – News







Article source: http://news-herald.com/articles/2013/06/21/news/doc51c50bb1a0adb761163899.txt

DEARBORN: Planners share more refined ideas for area around train station

News







DEARBORN — Planners presented a more refined idea for the area around Dearborn’s new passenger rail station, calling for more green spaces, denser mixed-use development and pedestrian areas on both sides of the tracks.

The transit-oriented development plan has been in the works since last fall, but how or if the plans will become reality is unclear.

Wayne Beyea, with Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction, said creating “Place Making” plans is always part imagination and dreaming about what an area could be. About 30 people attended Thursday’s presentation of the final TOD plan at the Ford Community Performing Arts Center.

Dearborn’s plan has two main factors. It relies on connectivity between assets and districts and it needs denser mixed-use development.

“Without that density, some of these things won’t be able to happen,” Beyea said.

The plan calls for turning most of Newman Street from the train station west to Oakwood Boulevard into a pedestrian walkway with benches, landscaping and maybe even a splash fountain and open gathering space in the middle. Various mixed retail and residential buildings would line both sides of the walkway. Parking structures would be created just south of the train tracks.

“Successful transit-oriented development projects really bring together several of these components,” Beyea said. 

Those components include higher density residential and retail space, all within a five or 10-minute walk of the station. The area also needs connectivity to places of employment and enjoyment such as The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Co., the Rouge River bikeway, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center.

“We saw an opportunity for this place to be just stellar in the region,” Beyea said.

The plan also calls for improving the appearance of Michigan Avenue near the station, said Warren Rauhe, director of the Small Town Design Initiative at MSU. Continued…

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Signs and landscaping could be added directly in front of the station. A stoplight would protect pedestrians crossing on a brick or brick-like crosswalk, which would also feature landscaping, Rauhe said.

Buildings created in the area could tie into brick and stone signs in a Colonial Williamsburg style, Rauhe said.

He said the three car dealerships could stay in the area, but become more of “boutique” dealerships as is common in larger cities. Smaller showrooms would replace the sprawling lots of cars, Rauhe said. Much of the development plans for the area would occur on the dealership space between Michigan Avenue and the railroad tracks.

The centerpiece of that part of the plans is the Brady Plaza, a public gathering space where Brady and Newman streets meet. Both streets would be pedestrian walkways most of the day. The plans show a clock-tower type structure in the middle of the plaza. The area could also have a fountain that serves as a sprinkler park in the summer and a skating rink in the winter, Rauhe said.

An empty lot on the corner of Brady and Michigan Avenue could be turned into a mixed-use building with retail and student housing designed to mesh with the historical museum next door, Rauhe said.

Eventually, and with state approval, Michigan Avenue might be reduced to only three lanes, one traveling in each direction and a center turn lane. The rest of the road space would then be used to create bike paths and a tree-lined buffer between the road and the sidewalk, Rauhe said.

The pedestrian focus would continue over to Oakwood Boulevard. Sidewalks there would be improved and the underpass fixed up to be more appealing, especially to those on foot. The pond south of the train tracks next to Oakwood would be redesigned either as a public or private space with more trees and landscaping.

“The whole notion is that both south of the tracks and north you get a series of public spaces,” Rauhe said.

Just across the tracks from the train station, a storm water retention area near The Henry Ford could be turned into a welcoming green space for those who want to visit the museum, possibly with replica Model T’s children could play on and signs giving some facts about Henry Ford, Rauhe said.

The Henry Ford has talked with the planners some about the design, Beyea said. Continued…

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City officials will receive a final copy of the plan within the next few weeks.

“In many respects, this will be a phased project over many years,” Beyea said.

The city might opt to create a TOD overlay for its zoning in that area, thus encouraging the development it would like to see, he said.

David Norwood, the city’s sustainability coordinator, said the plan will be made available to the public, but it was too early to say what the city will do with it.

“We haven’t digested this report yet,” he said.

Mayor Jack O’Reilly was at a different city meeting regarding Artspace buying City Hall and could not attend the presentation.

Dearborn was selected as one of five Michigan cities to receive assistance from the MIPlace Partnership to create a Place Making plan. The partnership includes the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and Michigan State University.

Construction is underway on Dearborn’s new train station, which is set to open next year.

TOD planning meetings occurred in December, January, and April, so planners could gather public input about the community, its characteristics and hopes and visions for the area around the new station.

Now that the plan is complete, the community will decide what and how much to implement over the coming years, Beyea said. He admitted that some ideas would seem unrealistic to people while others might embrace the same concept. Continued…

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  • See Full Story

DEARBORN — Planners presented a more refined idea for the area around Dearborn’s new passenger rail station, calling for more green spaces, denser mixed-use development and pedestrian areas on both sides of the tracks.

The transit-oriented development plan has been in the works since last fall, but how or if the plans will become reality is unclear.

Wayne Beyea, with Michigan State University’s School of Planning, Design and Construction, said creating “Place Making” plans is always part imagination and dreaming about what an area could be. About 30 people attended Thursday’s presentation of the final TOD plan at the Ford Community Performing Arts Center.

Dearborn’s plan has two main factors. It relies on connectivity between assets and districts and it needs denser mixed-use development.

“Without that density, some of these things won’t be able to happen,” Beyea said.

The plan calls for turning most of Newman Street from the train station west to Oakwood Boulevard into a pedestrian walkway with benches, landscaping and maybe even a splash fountain and open gathering space in the middle. Various mixed retail and residential buildings would line both sides of the walkway. Parking structures would be created just south of the train tracks.

“Successful transit-oriented development projects really bring together several of these components,” Beyea said. 

Those components include higher density residential and retail space, all within a five or 10-minute walk of the station. The area also needs connectivity to places of employment and enjoyment such as The Henry Ford, Ford Motor Co., the Rouge River bikeway, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center.

“We saw an opportunity for this place to be just stellar in the region,” Beyea said.

The plan also calls for improving the appearance of Michigan Avenue near the station, said Warren Rauhe, director of the Small Town Design Initiative at MSU.

Signs and landscaping could be added directly in front of the station. A stoplight would protect pedestrians crossing on a brick or brick-like crosswalk, which would also feature landscaping, Rauhe said.

Buildings created in the area could tie into brick and stone signs in a Colonial Williamsburg style, Rauhe said.

He said the three car dealerships could stay in the area, but become more of “boutique” dealerships as is common in larger cities. Smaller showrooms would replace the sprawling lots of cars, Rauhe said. Much of the development plans for the area would occur on the dealership space between Michigan Avenue and the railroad tracks.

The centerpiece of that part of the plans is the Brady Plaza, a public gathering space where Brady and Newman streets meet. Both streets would be pedestrian walkways most of the day. The plans show a clock-tower type structure in the middle of the plaza. The area could also have a fountain that serves as a sprinkler park in the summer and a skating rink in the winter, Rauhe said.

An empty lot on the corner of Brady and Michigan Avenue could be turned into a mixed-use building with retail and student housing designed to mesh with the historical museum next door, Rauhe said.

Eventually, and with state approval, Michigan Avenue might be reduced to only three lanes, one traveling in each direction and a center turn lane. The rest of the road space would then be used to create bike paths and a tree-lined buffer between the road and the sidewalk, Rauhe said.

The pedestrian focus would continue over to Oakwood Boulevard. Sidewalks there would be improved and the underpass fixed up to be more appealing, especially to those on foot. The pond south of the train tracks next to Oakwood would be redesigned either as a public or private space with more trees and landscaping.

“The whole notion is that both south of the tracks and north you get a series of public spaces,” Rauhe said.

Just across the tracks from the train station, a storm water retention area near The Henry Ford could be turned into a welcoming green space for those who want to visit the museum, possibly with replica Model T’s children could play on and signs giving some facts about Henry Ford, Rauhe said.

The Henry Ford has talked with the planners some about the design, Beyea said.

City officials will receive a final copy of the plan within the next few weeks.

“In many respects, this will be a phased project over many years,” Beyea said.

The city might opt to create a TOD overlay for its zoning in that area, thus encouraging the development it would like to see, he said.

David Norwood, the city’s sustainability coordinator, said the plan will be made available to the public, but it was too early to say what the city will do with it.

“We haven’t digested this report yet,” he said.

Mayor Jack O’Reilly was at a different city meeting regarding Artspace buying City Hall and could not attend the presentation.

Dearborn was selected as one of five Michigan cities to receive assistance from the MIPlace Partnership to create a Place Making plan. The partnership includes the Michigan Municipal League, Michigan State Housing Development Authority, and Michigan State University.

Construction is underway on Dearborn’s new train station, which is set to open next year.

TOD planning meetings occurred in December, January, and April, so planners could gather public input about the community, its characteristics and hopes and visions for the area around the new station.

Now that the plan is complete, the community will decide what and how much to implement over the coming years, Beyea said. He admitted that some ideas would seem unrealistic to people while others might embrace the same concept.

“The future really lies in your own hands and what you want to do at this point,” he said.

Katie Hetrick covers education and environmental issues. She can be reached at katie_hetrick@hotmail.com.

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Article source: http://www.pressandguide.com/articles/2013/06/21/news/doc51c4787be60d9346766963.txt

Emporia Garden Tour returns saturday

Emporia’s annual garden tour, sponsored by Lyon County Extension Master Gardener volunteers, has been scheduled for Saturday. There are six gardens on this year’s tour; five private and one public garden all of which will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. After a hiatus in 2012, area master gardeners have worked diligently to arrange a strong comeback for 2013.


Ben and Jessie Stallings
, 1301 State

When Ben and Jessie Stallings moved to Emporia in 2008, Ben Stallings was looking for a place to practice the permaculture principles he had learned while visiting eco-villages all over the country.  Permaculture is a landscape design system that emphasizes the ecological connection among plants and animals, while producing food and other useful products for people. 

None of the ground has been tilled. Stallings uses a technique called “sheet mulching” to prepare the soil for gardening, using cardboard and large amounts of organic matter, and soil fertility is maintained by top-dressing with compost and mulch.

The garden is dominated by a young pear tree, raspberries, strawberries, and chocolate mint. All these perennials were planted the first year along with annual vegetable crops, and no additional planting has taken place since; the perennials have spread under their own initiative.

The other front garden features a grafted English walnut tree and a variety of plants that tolerate the juglone that walnuts produce. At the front of the yard is an experiment involving two ash trees which were susceptible to pests last year; this year one is surrounded by mulch and beneficial plants while the other remains unprotected.

The side yard features three grape vines and two hardy kiwi vines, along with decorative plants, primarily irises.

In the back yard, a convertible greenhouse grows annual vegetables year-round, primarily greens.  In the winter it is covered in plastic; in the summer its fencing supports peas and pole beans.  The permanent greenhouse frame is not an obstacle since the ground is never tilled. The strawberry pyramid is a work in progress. The raised bed in the backyard is growing asparagus and rhubarb as well as a variety of beneficial herbs and some potatoes that have gone native!

Composting and storage of mulch (last year’s leaves) takes place along the north face of the neighbors’ fence, where little will grow due to the frost shadow.

West of the garage are black raspberries, hazelnuts and sunchokes. Stallings also maintains a tomato garden for a neighbor two doors to the north, along the alley.

John Doreen King
, 824 Rural

John and Doreen King purchased the house at 824 Rural the summer of 1986. Lots of work was needed before their family could move in. It took a few years before attention could be turned to landscaping. Each season a project would be started as time and money was available.

John King built a front porch with flower beds on either side of the steps. The area was in deep shade so landscaping began in large ceramic pots. Container gardens are the backbone of their yard as color may be moved where needed as the seasons change. A French drain on the north side of the yard provides better drainage. Tree removal allowed more sun, and a visitor can enjoy clematis, roses, golden aster, crapemyrtle, iris, yarrow. Knockout roses and variegated liriope. Native stone has been put down for walking paths.

The backyard is very small and has been transformed to an oasis. There are rain barrels, a compost barrel, and four raised vegetable beds. A beautiful raised bed with two 8-foot spiral junipers and flowers is along the garage. A wood deck with awning and a cobblestone patio both provide seating. The oasis has hostas and ferns in a secret garden with a clematis covered arbor, yellow climbing roses on a trellis, jasmine, a butterfly bush, Japanese maples, hibiscus and lots of geraniums. Doreen King has a love of taking cuttings from her hanging baskets so there are many Swedish ivy, sprengeri fern, airplane plants and wandering Jew plants.

The herb garden is well established and the scent of rosemary is a favorite. Both the front and backyard have a large variety of plants both annual and perennial. Nothing is wasted in this yard; if it is standing still there may be a plant in it.

Angela Courtney 
Perry-Smith
, 413 Union

Step back into time as one pulls up to 413 Union Street owned by Angela and Courtney Perry-Smith. The home is 134 years old and contains many of the original features. The yard has always consisted of two lots, which makes the property fairly spacious. A detached garage that was added on to accommodate bigger vehicles and a small stable is on the property, which has the original features and is currently used as a gardening shed.

When the home was purchased in 1996, it had been a rental home for several years and was in need of TLC. The Perry-Smiths love to renovate homes and own a lawn mowing and landscaping business so the home has received an entire makeover, inside and out.

After some major repair work was completed on the inside of the home, work began on the outside. The property has huge oak and maple trees and the front yard has a Bradford pear tree. Narrow beds surround the house utilizing both perennials and annuals. The color and texture of plants continues along the fence. The above-ground pool in the backyard reflects Angela Perry-Smith’s work ethic, as she completed the work by hauling and leveling the sand, chat, and stone. Small flower beds have been added throughout the yard.

In 2010, a patio was added using some of the original sidewalk. A sandbox was added on the south side of the pool. In 2011, flowerbeds were placed on the north side of the house. In 2012, the flower ring and windmill and in 2013 flowerbeds and a eco-friendly garden was added to the side back yard. The Perry-Smiths have filled the beds and containers with roses, geraniums, irises, hostas, petunias and a variety of perennials. All the beds are outlined and contain native stone.

The next project will be to enlarge the garden, using eco-friendly techniques and the beds will continue to grow with flowers of yesterday.

Gary Rita Romine, 
2415 Westview Drive

Gary and Rita Romine moved to this location in 1992. The peonies along the north had never bloomed. They transplanted them and with a little TLC they bloom each year. A pine, globe locust, and two Bradford pear trees are located in the front yard. St. John’s wort and Knockout rose bushes align the front of the house. Several annuals are planted in planters to add color.

In 2004 a room was added on and the following year the courtyard was landscaped with addition of a water feature that is stocked with koi. Fountain grass, a dwarf lilac bush and liriope surrounds the water feature. Accent lights and a moon light in the tree accent the waterfall. Hostas, daylilies, clematis, coneflowers, and annuals align the patio and deck. Birdhouses, rabbit stepping stones and bird feeders decorate the courtyard. Annuals are planted throughout the courtyard to add color. The huge cottonwood tree provides a home for a Balitmore Oriole. Gary Romine built a pergola swing stand. The patio is an area that is quiet with the sounds of a waterfall and birds singing. The flowers and plants add to the serenity of the area. It is a great place for morning coffee.

Last year a dry creek was added along the south fence. Hostas, fountain grass, liriope, and a yard bench with begonias are scattered among the rocks. A butterfly bush, forsythia bushes, Rose of Sharon bushes, a burning bush and a snowball bush provide color during different times in the backyard. Planters with annuals and yard decorations are scattered about the yard.

Gary Romine built two raised garden bed and tends the vegetable garden.

John Gail Weakley, 
616 West St

John and Gail Weakley purchased their home nearly 30 years ago, October of 1984. The yard had been neglected with dead shrubs and grass so the first month was spent tearing out and getting ready for winter. The next spring only a few trees were planted, one being the cedar that is still in the front yard, and new grass. When their middle son was approaching High School graduation the deck and patios were added to the back of the house with flower beds and a privacy fence.

That same year, Gail Weakley had traveled to Tennessee and stayed at a bed and breakfast with a formal English Garden. She fell in love with the look and came home with plans of creating a similar space in their back yard. Bricks from the old Olpe State Bank were retrieved from a field and used to create a path to the water fountain. Lots of hard work gave them the look they were after with the use boxwoods around the water fountain.

In 2007 the Weakley’s had two new grandchildren and Gail Weakley decided she wanted a flower and vegetable garden that the grandchildren could get their hands in and dig. To keep the formal look, boxwoods were planted along one edge and an arbor on the other side. Sitting in this garden, it gives you another perspective of the yard, allowing the grandchildren to plant, weed and take an interest in the ground.

Many friends and family have been generous over the years in sharing their knowledge and plants to the Weakley yard. Gail Weakley enjoys the perennials as well as the annuals for summer color, and different shrubs (crapemyrtle, Rose of Sharon, and burning bush).

The back yard especially has been a place of gatherings with family and friends, so it is fitting to have a pineapple, (meaning hospitality) placed on top of their water fountain.

Master Gardener Demonstration 
Garden

The K-State Research and Extension Master Gardener Demonstration Garden on the Lyon County Fair Grounds was built in 1998 by Master Gardener volunteers with the help of many local businesses. The garden consisted of beds made out of different materials to demonstrate various possibilities for constructing landscape or garden beds. An elevated bed was established to allow accessibility for gardeners with physical impairments.

Like most gardens, this one had its challenges. It was established in a drainage area and consequently stayed very wet. Also, being on the corner of the arena, livestock would occasionally walk through the gardens causing considerable damage. In 2005, Master Gardener volunteers made many improvements to the gardens. A drainage area was created at the back of the gardens, a split rail fence was constructed around the perimeter, and soil was amended.

The gardens now serve as demonstration plots for herbs, Prairie Star and Prairie Bloom flowers and ornamental grasses. Prairie Star annual flowers and Prairie Bloom perennial flowers are ones that have been tested across the state and have proven to perform well in the challenging Kansas climate. Lists of these flowers are available at the Extension office, www.lyon.ksu.edu, or www.prairiestarflowers.com.

Tour proceeds are used for horticulture education events in Lyon County. Tickets are $5 and available from any Master Gardener volunteer, K-State Research and Extension office or can be purchased the day of the tour at all tour sites.

Article source: http://www.emporiagazette.com/news/article_a6c3cbde-da8b-11e2-b953-10604b9f6eda.html

Richmond garden tour pairs lovely landscapes with artists’ work

RICHMOND — Stepping out onto Bob and Carol Ann Vickers’ second-floor balcony, the summer breeze plays in and out between stone pillars and into the manicured yard below, picking up the soft floral scents around the garden.

The free-flowing lines of the flower beds planted with vivid perennials, mimic the meandering lines of the grounds’ focal point, a crystal blue in-ground pool.

Then beyond the crisp, crinkled edges of pink crape myrtles, bell-mouthed yellow daylilies, fuchsia rose bushes and wine-hued Japanese maples is a clear view of the Gibson Bay lake.

And that is only one of the homes on this section of the annual Art in the Garden Tour.

Three homeowners in the Gibson Bay golf course community in southwest Richmond will open their private gardens for Saturday’s tour, which pairs alluring landscaping with local art. Seven homes will be featured during the event, organized by the Richmond Area Arts Council.

The homes on Highland Lakes Drive are testaments that it is not the size of the yard that matters, but what is done with it.

The Vickerses, who own one of the 17 homes on the Gibson Bay waterfront, said they enjoy the outdoor space for entertaining.

“It’s really a nice party place. Bob and I like to entertain, so this is a nice place for us,” Carol Ann Vickers said.

The perennials make the garden low- maintenance, and with grandchildren living out of state, the pool and water slide are highlights when they visit, she said.

Lovers of the performing arts, the Vickerses opened their home for the tour to Linda Pack and Pat Banks, the Central Kentucky author and local illustrator, respectively, of the new book Appalachian Toys and Games From A to Z.

Only a few houses away from the Vickerses’ is Dan and Emily Jarosz’s landscaped yard and manicured vegetable garden.

From the square plot of land the green tops of close to 20 vegetables grow out of homemade mulch from the Jaroszes’ compost pile.

“Its amazing out here; most of the winter we will be eating from this little garden,” Emily Jarosz said as her husband pulled up a beet from the garden.

Gardening runs in Emily Jarosz’s family and is an economical way for the couple to eat healthy and enjoy fresh produce.

Tall trees and shrubs around the yard keep the house private as beds of geraniums, peonies and yellow daylilies add color and depth.

Artist Buddy Dobbins and his pottery will be featured in this garden.

Dobbins’ pieces range in style from gourdlike vases glazed in jewel colors to classic baking dishes and bowls.

This is not Dobbins’ first year working with the garden tour; his work has been featured before, and he and his art were requested back this year.

Barbara McGinnis’ home, the tour’s other featured garden in Gibson Bay, incorporates contemporary and folk art.

McGinnis described her garden as having a “Colonial Williamsburg flair” as birdhouses, statuary and decorative pots can be found among the flowers and trees.

“I love decorating, to be honest with you, so I extended it outside,” McGinnis said, standing in front of one of the many birdhouses under the pergola over her back porch.

McGinnis said she had her home professionally landscaped when she moved in, but in the past year she started a rose garden, planted perennials, laurel, pink verbenas and spireas. Five lush green arborvitae shrubs tower over the edge of the garden and provide privacy for the yard.

“I haven’t really cut it back because I like a green, lush look,” McGinnis said.

Featured in McGinnis’ garden is Robby Robertson’s pervious concrete art. Seemingly ordinary slabs of concrete suspended on table legs turn into showers of crystal water droplets when wet.

The unique form of art seems to fit well with the neighborhood, residents say.

“Out here people seem to have their own style,” Jarosz said. “I haven’t seen one house that looks like something I’ve seen; they’re all unique.”

 


IF YOU GO

Art in the Garden Tour

What: Tour of seven Richmond gardens with local artists and artwork on display in each

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. June 22

Tickets: $12; available at any of the tour gardens.

Learn more: (859) 624-4242, Artsinrichmond.org

Participating gardens: Dan and Emily Jarosz, 389 Highland Lakes Dr.; Barbara McGinnis, 369 Highland Lakes Dr.; Bob and Carol Ann Vickers, 356 Highland Lakes Dr.; Johnnie and Ronda Allen, 824 W. Main St.; Secret Garden, Hickory Hills, off Goggins Ln.; Gentry and Dinah Deck, 119 Mahogany Dr.; and Gary and Kathy Acker, 90 Foxtown Rd.

Anyssa Roberts: (859) 231-1409. Twitter: @LexGoKy.

Article source: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/06/21/2687288/richmond-tour-pairs-lovely-landscapes.html

Lisle garden walk showcases private yards and landscaping trends

With cool temperatures and gentle, penetrating rains at the end of many days, gardeners are as happy as kids in a candy store this year. Even non-gardeners could appreciate the prolonged show of flowering spring trees, shrubs and bulbs.

The 2013 Lisle Woman’s Club Garden Gait Walk will offer a feast for the senses with its selection of six unique gardens on its annual tour.

The self-guided event begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 23, at the Museums of Lisle Station Park in downtown Lisle, where vendors will feature garden-themed merchandise. The tickets are $17, or $15 if purchased in advance from any Lisle Woman’s Club member or at a selection of local Lisle businesses. All gardens close at 4 p.m.

The tour also highlights some of the latest trends in gardening while offering answers to “What grows in a shady area?” “How can I incorporate veggies in a flower garden?” and “In what ways can I personalize my garden?”

Luisa and Gerry Buehler

The half-acre yard of Luisa and Gerry Buehler was an empty lot before the family had their modern-style home built 28 years ago.

As a mystery writer, Luisa Buehler weaves clues throughout her garden using the gardening trend to reuse, re-purpose and recycle. There are a number of lovely little spots to sit, write and soak up the fragrances and beauty of nature alongside re-purposed art.

What was once the back of an aged bench is now an interesting support for peonies. The couple turned three former cypress trees near the deck and devoid of greenery into an artistic conversation piece using inverted clay pots on the trio’s branches.

With Luisa’s imagination, quaint wheelbarrows become flower pots, a rusting shovel offers a flower support and an old mailbox adds interest.

Luisa enjoys the perennials her mother passed on to her and incorporates a few vegetables in tubs, which was her father’s forte. She said gardening taught her to acknowledge nature on its terms.

“I just enjoy what comes up and I am appreciative and thankful that God lets me play in my garden,” Luisa Buehler said.

The Buehler garden is a natural environment that inspires endless creativity.

Raymond and Charlene Cebulski

The garden of Raymond and Charlene Cebulski offers a serene oasis behind their home of 35 years. The couple was ahead of the current trend of water gardening.

Their quest for answers brought them to the Midwest Pond and Koi Society, where they both now serve on the organization’s board. Layers of stone surround a large pond that is home to 30 koi fish. The pond’s top tier is the source of two waterfalls.

Around the pond are coneflowers, goatsbeard, cannas, dwarf white cone flowers and perennial petunias. A small shed that Ray built to house the pond’s equipment has the trappings of a charming cottage, complete with flower box.

An eye-catching red rose bush that once belonged to Ray’s mother flourishes near the house. Yard art brought back from their travels and a fairy garden are interesting finds tucked into the many garden beds.

Among the uncommon trees on the 13-acre lot are a linden, peony tree, Australian pine, a weeping redbud, a lime-colored green larch, a small Korean fir pine with white tips and a dwarf white pine with first-year cones in purple. In the vegetable garden, pumpkin and watermelon grow on trellises near fern peony.

Louise and David Goodman

Louise and David Goodman’s garden borders on the Green Trails subdivision’s 26 miles of paved common paths. The couple eliminated their typical front lawn to construct a tranquil arrangement of raised stone beds, pathways and interesting plants anchored by a Japanese maple, Bradford pear and clump river birch. Snapdragons and petunias provide color.

Among the neatly trimmed side yard shrubs, parsley, sage, garlic and chives provide a perennial herb garden.

A large stone patio in the rear yard is trimmed with an array of colorful hanging flower pots. The creative couple fashioned unique tables from original art pieces in leaf shapes. An attention-grabbing Tiki Moai statue affords a touch of island panache standing next to a large-leaf elephant ear plant.

The isle feeling carries over to the yard’s 10 varieties of hostas among a generous splash of colorful annuals. A tiny toad house anchors a fairy garden for interest.

Louise is particularly proud of a hedge of purple and white rose of Sharon hibiscus that she propagated from three of her mother’s shrubs. The newest shoots, she babies along until ready to pass on to neighbors and friends.

Nancy and Tony Heath

In the eight years Nancy and Tony Heath have owned their home, the original grassed front yard was transformed into a welcoming perennial garden path with billowy grasses, patches of white and purple Siberian irises and a variety of jewel-toned peonies.

A variety of roses, coral bells, sweet william, lavender and columbine intermingle along the path. A wooden front deck provides a place to sit and enjoy nature. Bird houses and milkweed invite a variety of birds and butterflies. The yard is a designated Backyard Wildlife Habitat certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

The large side yard has beds of pink and purple coneflowers woven into beds of white Shasta daisies and sweet woodruff groundcover. For everyone who has purchased a predesigned perennial border and had it fizzle, the Heaths have a successful combination thriving in their back yard.

The house sits on a bluff looking over the St. Joseph’s Creek that affords an unmatched view of nature with the occasional row of ducklings following a parent.

On the 13-acre site, every season has a plant that commands attention. Following the current trend to incorporate vegetables among flowers, tomatoes, cucumbers and pumpkins are tucked into the front yard near the driveway for easy harvesting.

Carolyn and John Kanthack

Almost an acre in size, the garden of Carolyn and John Kanthack is trimmed with rows of field stone, which dates back to its origins as farmland. The couple expanded the original house 28 years ago.

In the front yard, a small black iron fence once belonged to Carolyn’s great-grandmother. In the rear yard, sedum from a great aunt flourishes. All the hostas in the gardens originated as gifts from family and friends.

Two long rows of privacy fencing line the back yard and become an entertaining gallery of garage sale treasures that Carolyn’s mother finds. Mirrors and birdhouses of all sizes and shapes hang on the fence, sit upon poles or poise on ladder steps.

A large aboveground pool and expanded wood deck fit into the plantings. A small pond, several water features and a hot tub incorporate the garden trend of creating living space outdoors.

A traditional vegetable garden in the sunny side yard produces tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and beans for the family.

In the front yard, a little sitting area trimmed in honeysuckle reuses the remains of the farm’s silo foundation. It’s a relaxing spot to recall yesteryear when a horse and buggy might have pulled up the long drive.

Janna and Rick Sampson

The garden of Janna and Rick Sampson incorporates the trend toward stone drives and patios into its total landscape design. A multi-trunked Amur maple on the corner of their two-car garage diminishes the structure’s size and leads the eye directly to the home’s inviting entrance where potted annuals flourish.

Below the maple, a row of variegated hostas is a lesson in patience. Rick Sampson, who learned that gardeners need to move things around as trees grow and conditions change, said the couple tried several different kinds of hostas below the maple before the present choice began to thrive in the spot.

The couple’s flair for growing plants with different shaped leaves and variegated colors is best seen in their shade garden, where there is a patch of dwarf Solomon seal flowers near several blooming Lenten roses, variegated miniature hostas and an autumn fern dryopteris erythrosora.

Other plants included are yellow flowering corydalis, bleeding heart and a variegated brunnera alkanet.

Yellow-flowered honeysuckle bushes, a dense row of arbor vitae evergreens and Wentworth viburnums shrubs add to the home’s diverse landscape specimens. Georgia peach red-toned coral bells, Jack Frost brunnera and Annabell hydrangea are a study in perennial diversity.

Article source: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130620/news/706209994/

18th Annual Newport Flower Show Thru Sunday

Brings Asian Traditions to Opening Night Party
by Carol Stocker
On Friday, June 21, Newport’s summer season will officially begin with the 18th annual Newport Flower Show Opening Night Party from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. This year’s theme, Jade: Eastern Obsession will blend gardens, Eastern treasures and traditions at Rosecliff, capturing the simple yet stunning beauty of this exotic part of the world.

The Opening Night Party will offer guests an opportunity to discover the mysteries of the East through “Zen-full” floral, horticultural and garden displays. While enjoying Asian-inspired food, guests can roam freely through the Oceanside Boutiques and Gardeners’ Marketplace. The evening will be filled with entertaining surprises including Asian music and dancing.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday with floral exhibits, horticultural entries, photography and children’s programs, displayed throughout the rooms and on the grounds of Rosecliff, as well as expansive front lawn garden designs. The free lecture series returns as well, offering advice and demonstrations by noted plant experts.

This year’s special guests headlining Luncheon Lectures on Friday and Saturday of the Newport Flower Show include floral designer Hitomi Gilliam, showcasing her designs inspired by Ikebana and the Zen appreciation of nature; and landscape architect Harriet Henderson, sharing her experiences in the Far East and how Western gardens are influenced by Eastern designs. These two Luncheon Lectures are separately ticketed events requiring advance reservations. Tickets for the Luncheon are $80 per person. Lecture-only tickets are available for $40. The Lecture Luncheon series is sponsored by National Trust Insurance Services.

The Newport Flower Show will be open to the public from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, June 21, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, June 22 23. Advance sale and Preservation Society member admission tickets are $18 per person. Tickets sold at the door will be $25 on Friday, $23 on Saturday or Sunday.

For more information and to purchase tickets for the Newport Flower Show, visit www.NewportFlowerShow.org, or call (401) 847-1000.

Bartlett Tree Experts returns as Presenting Sponsor of the Newport Flower Show, which benefits The Preservation Society of Newport County. The show is also sponsored by National Trust Insurance Services, Brooks Brothers, Porsche of Warwick, Northern Trust, BankNewport, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Southern New England, Atria Senior Living, United Airlines, Aardvark Antiques Restoration, East Coast Wholesale Flowers, Water’s Edge Flowers and Four Roses Bourbon.

All proceeds from the Newport Flower Show benefit the ongoing landscape restoration efforts of The Preservation Society of Newport County, a private non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts. Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

Article source: http://www.boston.com/lifestyle/house/blog/gardening/2013/06/18th_annual_newport_flower_sho.html

Top tips for creating garden habitats

Help to save our wildlife

– last updated Thu 20 Jun 2013

  • UK
  • RSPB

We’re being told unless more is done to help wildlife in the capital, we’ll lose some of our most-loved species. We’re being encouraged to start a revolution at home, protecting the habitats of those at risk, and nurturing them back to healthy numbers. With fewer green spaces, your garden is the perfect place to start creating more homes for our animals. Here are a few simple things you can do to help the animal “housing crisis.” This advice is from the RSPB.

   Wild flowers
Wild flowers Credit: Chris Jackson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • PLANT A WILD FLOWER MEADOW

Of the 97 food plants that we know bumblebees prefer, 76 per cent have declined over the past 80 years. Because of trends like this, many of our pollinating insects are in decline. You can help change this by planting a variety of native flowers. They’ll look great and you’ll be giving bees and other bugs a big helping hand.

  • BUILD A LONELY BEE A HOME

Destruction of their habitat means that solitary bees are declining.The good news is that it’s easy to help them! Around half of solitary bees live in urban areas, so by simply putting up a bee box you’ll be helping out these declining bugs. Plus it’ll give you the chance to watch them close-up! They’re harmless and have fascinating behaviour.


Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire/Press Association Images
  • DIG A POND
Toads are under threat and need more wet spaces
Toads are under threat and need more wet spaces Credit: Jim Foster/PA Archive/Press Association Images
  • CREATE A LAWN FOR WILDLIFE

In many towns and cities, grass has been replaced by concrete. It’s low-maintenance, but when it rains, water runs straight into the gutter where it can overload our waterways.Lawns are great places for birds like starlings, robins and blackbirds to forage for food. Flowers among the grass attract butterflies and bees. And in summer, the feel of grass under your bare feet is fabulous!

  • CREATE A LOG PILE FOR BUGS
Caterpillars
Caterpillars Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images
  • CREATE LITTLE GREEN PATCHES

Our bugs, bees, butterflies and moths need more help than ever.But even if you don’t have a garden, you can still do your bit! There are lots of plants which will grow very happily in containers on balconies or patios, or in window boxes.Pick the right plants and you’ll give the insects which pollinate our flowers and crops a big helping hand. They’ll look fabulous, too!

  • INVEST IN A TREE OR SHRUB

Investing in a tree or shrub is one of the easiest things you can do for nature – they’re mini-habitats for loads of creatures.

Birds, mammals and bugs all use them as a safe home where they can feed and raise a family.

Nature loves them, and they provide a shady corner on those hot summer days. What’s not to love?

Article source: http://www.itv.com/news/london/2013-06-20/top-tips-for-creating-garden-habitats/

Lou Manfredini and 3M TEKK Protection Brand Offer Top Five Safety Tips for …

ST. PAUL, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With warmer weather upon us, millions of American DIYers will be dusting
off their lawn mowers to get their lawns and gardens looking lush and
beautiful. According to a new survey by 3M™ TEKK Protection™ Brand and
the National Safety Council*, many may not be aware of the dangers that
are lurking each time they rev up those small engines.

“Smart preparation can make all the difference when you’re taking on
outdoor projects this season”

In fact, more than one in three DIYers (39 percent) report injuries from
using a lawn mower with eye and ear injuries topping the list. Yet while
45 percent say they are concerned about getting injured, 57 percent
never wear ear protection and 43 percent never protect their eyes.

“Smart preparation can make all the difference when you’re taking on
outdoor projects this season,” said Manfredini, host of HouseSmarts TV
and home improvement contributor on NBC’s The Today Show. “Whether
you’re doing routine tasks like mowing the lawn or spreading fertilizer,
it’s important to protect yourself with the proper safety gear.”

Manfredini provides these tips to help keep outdoor DIYers safe and
protected this lawn and garden season.

  1. Before you mow your lawn, take time to walk the yard quickly to
    inspect for items that may be lying on the ground. Sticks and stones
    can break your bones – particularly, if the blade of the mower picks
    it up and throws it at high speed from under the mower’s deck.

    In
    fact, the blades of a power mower can hurl objects such as rocks and
    twigs at fast speeds, turning them into dangerous projectiles. Be sure
    to help protect your eyes with safety eyewear like 3MTM
    TEKK ProtectionTM ForceFlexTM MAX Flexible
    Safety Eyewear
    .

  2. There is nothing better than digging in the dirt but for most of us
    it’s a great way to tear up our hands. A good pair of gloves that fit
    well will give you added protection and help keep you working longer
    in the garden.
  3. Lawn and garden power tools make your outdoor chores go much more
    quickly. But the noise that they make can harm your hearing even if
    you are only exposed for a short amount of time. Make sure you are
    wearing ear protection. It comes in many varieties —from disposable
    foam ear plugs to high quality ear muffs, and even ones that will play
    music while you work like 3MTM
    TEKK ProtectionTM WorkTunesTM Hearing Protector
    .
  4. Spreading fertilizers around your lawn and garden will help control
    weeds and green things up but you do not want to inhale the fumes from
    those chemicals. Help protect your lungs by wearing a respirator when
    applying these products. A 3MTM
    TEKK ProtectionTM Sanding and Fiberglass Valved Respirator

    can help protect you and help keep you comfortable and cool with its
    unique, patented Cool FlowTM Valve technology.
  5. No matter what project you are doing outside, wearing eye protection
    is a must. Each year, more than 2.5 million eye injuries occur and
    more than half of all reported injuries occur within the home.**
    Protective eyewear has come a long way and offers styles that are
    comfortable and stylish, and designed to help keep your eyes protected
    from projectiles and contaminants.

To help create your safety shopping list, visit www.3mtekk.com
and check out the Product
Selector
and instructional
videos
to choose the right protection for your project.

About 3M
3M TEKK Protection offers a full line of innovative
respiratory, eyewear and hearing products designed to help keep DIYers
and professionals safe when completing projects around the home. 3M TEKK
Protection products can be found at home improvement and hardware stores
across the U.S. For additional information, go to www.3mtekk.com.

3M captures the spark of new ideas and transforms them into thousands of
ingenious products. Our culture of creative collaboration inspires a
never-ending stream of powerful technologies that make life better. 3M
is the innovation company that never stops inventing. With $30 billion
in sales, 3M employs about 88,000 people worldwide and has operations in
more than 70 countries. For more information, visit www.3M.com
or follow @3MNews
on Twitter.

* National Safety Council/3M TEKK Protection Brand DIY Safety Survey
conducted by Kelton, April 2013. An online survey of 604 Americans ages
35-54 who own a home and have completed a DIY home improvement project.

** American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Injury Snapshot, 2010

3M, 3M TEKK Protection, ForceFlex, WorkTunes and Cool Flow are
trademarks of 3M

Article source: http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20130620006466/en/3M/3M-TEKK/Lou-Manfredini

Museo’s Steve Maturo discusses trends in contemporary design

Museo, a store specializing in classic and contemporary furniture, lighting and accessories by leading international designers, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. In 1987, Steve Maturo founded Steve Maturo Associates, a multi-line manufacturers representative group promoting products for corporate interiors, higher learning and health care, in Kansas City, Mo.

Museo ( museousa.com) is his retail showroom, where he sells 25 lines including products from BB Italia, Kartell and Cassina.

Maturo, just back from meeting with vendors and scouting new manufacturers at the Milan Furniture Fair in Italy, talked about his business and some of his discoveries abroad.

Question: How did you get into this business?

Answer: Twenty years ago, European design firms did not have distribution in the United States and were looking for channels of distribution. When they first came in, they went to New York, L.A., San Francisco, Dallas and Chicago. Beyond that, the Midwest was not a target, and the Midwest market didn’t have any resource for classic contemporary.

Q: So you saw a need. Was it a tough sell?

A: From the beginning we had success. Kansas City and the Midwest are sometimes stereotyped as unsophisticated. Kansas City, especially, has a very vibrant community of arts and culture and is appreciative of fine design. It’s a very established community with a base of successful people.

Q: And what did you carry?

A: Primarily European design from Italy, Spain and the Netherlands and some companies from the U.S. and Canada. We’ve tried to curate a package of manufacturers that are regarded around the world as producing world-class design.

Q: And who are some of those manufacturers?

A: Kartell, hands down, is the leader in plastic manufacturing for well over 50 years. They started in kitchen and labware, and in the 1950s and ’60s they began experimenting with furniture and tables. They produced the iconic Philippe Starck Ghost Chair.

Another iconic design is Ferruccio Laviani’s Bourgie Lamp, designed in a baroque style interpreted in plastic. It has a plastic base and an accordion-pleated plastic shade.

Q: You have a number of designs by Starck.

A: The Masters Chair is one of his newest. It combines elements from chair designs by masters Charles and Ray Eames, Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen. Starck also designed the Bubble Club Armchair in the window. It’s made of polypropylene and can be used outdoors.

Q: Can you give me an idea of prices?

A: The Bourgie Lamp is $385. The Starck Masters Chair is $269. We are also expanding our line of home accessories. We now have Alessi’s Anna Gong folding cake stand. It’s a table-top sculpture. When open, it becomes a multi-tier cake stand that can be used at the table.

Q: What are some other iconic designs that you carry?

A: This LC4 chaise in chrome and cowhide by Le Corbusier is part of Cassina’s Masters Collection. Le Corbusier was regarded as a leader in new construction in the 1920s, when furniture design was coming out of the Victorian era. He was the first to envision the frame being exposed and an integral part of the design. This chaise sits in a cradle, and you can adjust it. You can use it as a chair and also recline in it.

The story goes that Le Corbusier designed it for himself. He was fond of catnaps and didn’t want to sleep too long, so he made it so narrow that you have to cross your arms when you’re lying down. When your arms fall, you wake up.

Q: And who are some of the new designers?

A: The Dutch firm Moooi, founded by Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers, is named for the Dutch word for beautiful, but it has an extra “o.” They’ve really taken a new approach to the vernacular. This sofa by Wanders is upholstered in their red and white Eyes of Strangers fabric patterned with monkey faces. Moooi also carries these big pendant lights that look like string wound around a balloon. They’re called Random.

Moooi also has a Smoke Chair, designed by Maarten Baas. It’s one of many new things that we’re bringing in from Milan. The wood frame is charred by hand. He makes an antique-style frame and burns it. It’s upholstered in black leather with a tufted back. It has a Victorian silhouette with cabriole legs.

Bocci is a new design firm based in Vancouver. The name alludes to a popular Italian ball sport. They did this chandelier, which features artisan glass molded into balls that are suspended from a canopy at different heights. You can customize how big you want it. You can have a fixture with a half dozen or more, or hang a single ball over a counter.

Q: And the lighting element is …

A: LED is the wave of the future. In Milan, we also went to the Euroluce lighting fair, and everybody is now moving to LED lamp sources. They’re energy-efficient, there’s less heat, you don’t have to replace them, and they give lighting designers more freedom. LED is now making great strides. They’re dimmable, and you can get different qualities of light from cool to very warm.

Q: What do you think about Ikea coming into the local market?

A: It’s fabulous for us. I love Ikea. I wish they were around when I was in my 20s. It exposes people to good design, and they have a unique approach to making it affordable. There’s room for as much good design as this city can handle.

Q: Any pet peeves about the furniture market?

A: What bothers me is knockoffs. This Navy Chair was designed by Emeco in the 1940s for the U.S. Navy to be indestructible and lightweight. Emeco produced it in aluminum. Their tag line is, “First, let’s make things that last.”

Companies like Target and Restoration Hardware have been knocking this off. The real Emecos come in brushed and polished aluminum and are always stamped.

We also carry the Navy 111 chair. Emeco knocked itself off and collaborated with Coke to come up with a version of the Navy Chair made out of recycled plastic Coke bottles. The 111 refers to the fact that each chair uses at least 111 plastic bottles. It’s sustainable, recyclable and durable.

Q: You carry a lot of leather furniture. What should people know about leather?

A: With most finishing, the more you do the better. Leather is the opposite. Only 1 percent of the leather produced is of the best quality. The Montis firm is known for their leather furniture. It’s from healthy animals, with no scars from bugs or barbed wire. It’s colored with aniline dye, and the color penetrates the leather.

Inferior leathers are sanded down to buff off the imperfections and sometimes reprinted with a grain pattern. Then they’re painted. But with a painted hide you can scratch through the paint. Also the leather can’t breathe. Leather that’s not painted can breathe. The open pores will develop a patina.

Q: Do you have any guidelines for decorating?

A: The design philosophy that I enjoy is very basic: good design works with good design. I live in a mid-century ranch house in Roeland Park. The interior is traditional, but it’s well-designed. I can put a product from 2008 or a Le Corbusier from 1928. Good design works with itself. It doesn’t all have to match.

Article source: http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/06/20/2553896/museos-steve-maturo-discusses.html