Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for July 4, 2013

Designing Landscapes : The Transition Movement

20110125_James Young

James Young

Last January I wrote about the possible effects of Peak Oil and Climate Change on landscaping. The effects will extend well beyond landscaping, of course. However, what better place to start doing something about these problems than the landscape just outside our door?

There’s a name for these efforts to adapt to this new world of diminishing energy and unpredictable climate. It’s called “Transition

The Transition Movement

the transition movement

Illustration by the one of the primary originators of the Transition Movement, Rob Hopkins. Learn more at Transition

Transition started in Great Britain but has spread around the world. It’s an approach to handling the coming challenges we all face using a philosophy that leads us in a positive and empowering direction. The hallmarks of the process are self-determination combined with local action teams and a worldwide network.

Transition is not centered on trying to change other’s behavior. The idea is not to dictate to an unreceptive audience how we must respond to these coming problems. Nor does it seek direct political sway in the halls of power.

Transition asks each of us who are willing, to envision how to live our lives better, period. Given our personal desires and the background of constant change that engulfs us, our answers won’t all be the same but they will be channeled in the same direction. The needs and constraints of our time will necessarily lead us in the right direction. And when good ideas arise, they will spread through the network and beyond.

Transition is a set of guidelines that allow us to envision a better future based on resilient ways of living and by finding roots in our local culture. Transition teaches us that resilience is the goal we should shoot for, not dependency on ways of living that will essentially disappear in the near future. The need for resilience is the backdrop that will tend to channel us all in the same direction.

Resilience is a much under appreciated characteristic. We usually only need it during times of great change. However, who can predict when sudden change will come upon us? Those who question the status quo are generally ignored until radical change comes upon so forcefully that it is undeniable. For example, the housing crisis was predicted by a handful of people, like Dean Baker. They were all ignored and the lack of resilience in our financial system was revealed to the world.

Another example of resilience (or lack thereof): Hurricane Sandy came ashore and over 8 million people lost power. A city the size of New York just about came to a standstill. Take away the easy energy and the modern city falls apart. This is not a city of resilience; this is a city utterly dependent on an increasingly scarce and clearly limited resource; fossil fuels. Lucky for New Yorkers there is still plenty of easy energy left to rebuild. How long will that last? And what about the next time it happens?

Transition gives individuals and small groups a way to affect their own futures, without dependence on government or big business to do it for them or get in the way. It asks the question: What can we do today to bring a better vision of the future into our immediate reality? Let’s look to where we need to go instead of focusing with dread on the oh-so-many negative things coming our way. And we certainly have a plethora of negativity to distract us these days.

With each of us dreaming a new world and forming small local groups dedicated to shared visions of resilience and sustainability that we want to live in, in roles that we want to play, we can finally move forward with enthusiasm.

My description of Transition does not do it justice. Follow the links here to get to the source:

In the spirit of Transition then, I have been envisioning my response and my dreams for the future of my particular family unit.

For a start, I decided to plant an orchard. I’ve always wanted to be better at orcharding. What better place than just outside my door, right? And I love a garden that you can eat. It’s not lost on me that our supermarket food supply will begin to stress and strain from the impacts of Peak Oil and Climate Change in the coming years. This orchard will develop resilience against that. Regardless of the added resilience provided by a hyper-local food supply, it’s the fun of it all that draws me in.

The next article, “An Orchard in the Front Yard,” will follow shortly.

– By James Young

James Young is the owner of Blue Wheelbarrow Landscaping in Edmonds.


Article source:

City leaders explore vision for West Meadows of Jordan Valley Park

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The vision for the West Meadows of Jordan Valley is getting closer to reality.  Crews have planted grass on the rolling hills just west of downtown Springfield.  And this morning, various city departments, along with engineers and landscape architects met to tour the site and share ideas for the park design.  The sixteen acre site will have a greenway trail running through it, as well as some historical features.

“There’s a lot of history, a lot of Springfield history gathered in a relatively small place, so we’re going to play off those synergies and make sure that when you’re at the mound in West Meadows, you’re learning about College Street Corridor, Route 66, Fulbright Springs, the Civil War Fort, all the different aspects of Springfield history,” says Springfield City Manager Greg Burris.

The initial landscaping and trail could be complete sometime next year, with additional features being added to the park in the coming years.

“We talked about things like having an observation deck off the big mound, having educational kiosks around, creating some spots that can become an outdoor classroom, and those aren’t going to happen right away, but they might happen five, ten, fifteen years down the road,” says Burris.

Article source:,0,2019093.story

Chesterfield works on a new look for Ettrick

ETTRICK — Dwayne Peden spends his days sitting on his porch overlooking Chesterfield Avenue.

The 47-year old retired Navy commander and doctoral candidate at Virginia State University has a unique vantage point.

“I can see everything that’s going on from here. I have a whole different perspective,” he said of the approximately mile-long stretch of Chesterfield Avenue from East River Road to the university that serves as the unofficial main street of Ettrick.

Peden doesn’t have much to look at these days: There’s a small grocery store, a beauty school, a pharmacy and a lot of empty streets and sidewalks. The rest of the village is not much different, with a few locally owned shops, a train station that’s seen better days and small shopping center with a Food Lion, a dollar store and a Chinese restaurant.

But Chesterfield County and Virginia State University are hoping to change that.

The county, in its comprehensive plan, has identified Ettrick as an area primed for revitalization and mixed-use development.

Chesterfield and VSU are already working together to improve the streetscaping and pedestrian access along Chesterfield Avenue, according to the plan. Other related plans are being developed.

At the county’s Board of Supervisors meeting last Wednesday, the Urban Land Institute presented a report that put forward ideas that it believes would bring life to the area.

The institute would like to see Chesterfield and Virginia State improve landscaping, pedestrian access and parking as well as help develop up to 15,000 square feet of retail space in Ettrick as part of a comprehensive effort to unify the historic village and the college.

“VSU and the county have a unique opportunity to create a plan for (the) development of a strong connection between (a new) multipurpose center as the heart of VSU’s campus and Ettrick Village,” said in its report.

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible use of land. Its 25-page report lays out a series of recommendations for the county and university with a goal of cohesion. The authors say the “efforts need to focus on putting the ‘town’ in college town.”

“Together with the university, the county sees this opportunity for growth as a way to revitalize the aging Ettrick area and to provide economic development opportunities to area residents,” the report said.

J.J. Jones, who has lived in Ettrick most of his 73 years, said he thinks it’s too late to turn Ettrick around.

Jones, who as a boy would sneak on campus with friends during the summer to slide down hills on piece of cardboard, said efforts to incorporate Ettrick into the large metro area has ruined the feel of the town.

He believes that lost feeling is not something that can be recovered.

“Progress is going to happen, but if you stack all these (plans) together something is going to explode,” Jones said. “I don’t think it’ll work.”

The institute believes that improving pedestrian access along Chesterfield Avenue and giving area residents more shopping options would benefit residents and students.

In addition, the Urban Land Institute recommends traffic and parking studies, a hotel and a redevelopment of Simms Hall using historic tax credits.

The report cites some developments, including the 165,000-square-foot convocation center and a planned development that would bring apartments and retail along Chesterfield Avenue. Construction on the center is expected to begin next month.

The report said bringing in a campus bookstore, restaurant and shopping could help create a “retail corner” at Chesterfield Avenue and Boisseau Street.

John Saba, owner of Ettrick Deli on East River Road, believes the more activity comes to the area, the better it will be for everyone.

“If there are more restaurants and more businesses, that means more people and that’s good for me,” he said.

Kenneth Manuel, a barber at Remedies Unisex Salon in Ettrick, said what’s really needed are restaurant options.

“You need an Arby’s, a Dairy Queen — you need anything to get people out,” he said.

Charles Epps, who owns Appomattox Drugs on Chesterfield Avenue with his wife, Brenda, said development is desperately needed.

“We (came to Ettrick) because we wanted to try and build up the area,” he said. “It was going down.”

The couple believes that students have few options on or near campus and must walk to the Boulevard in Colonial Heights if they want something to eat or for entertainment.

Virginia State “should try to keep students on campus. They need bike trails, they need things that will keep them in the area and out of trouble,” Charles Epps said.

For Brenda Epps, revitalization is critical to bringing Ettrick back to life. “Back in the day, Ettrick was booming. Now it’s kind of dismal,” she said.

L.M. Tosh, who owns the floral shop Flowers with Style on East River Road, agrees.

“We’re actually looking forward to (this area) to be cleaned up,” she said. “We’ve already seen improvements.”

Tosh, like the Epps, believes having the students spend their time — and money — in Ettrick is good for all involved.

But Peden worries that there are issues that could hinder the attempts to connect students with the community.

He believes a lack of bus service and police traffic stops keeps students away from Ettrick.

“I understand up to a point, but that’s going to have change” if there is a real commitment to bring life back to the area, he said.

Not all residents are thrilled with college students living so close by for most of the year.

Some complain that the students are too loud, leave behind trash and drive recklessly through the neighborhood.

“They don’t live here, so they don’t care,” one said.

But most residents and business owners seem to believe that they can co-exist with students and the university.

Keith T. Miller, Virginia State’s president, told Chesterfield supervisors Wednesday that coexistence is a key to the revitalization efforts.

“It’s all about the people and the relationships we have,” he said.

Steve A. Elswick, who represents the Matoaca District and is vice chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors, said he’s happy with how the plans for Ettrick are developing.

“I think we all should be very proud about what we’re developing,” he said.

In addition to the revitalization efforts laid out in the comprehensive plan, the county plans to apply for a federal transportation grant of roughly $10 million, which would require about $2.5 million in non-federal matching funds, to improve the Ettrick train station.

The train station, which sits on 10 acres near the university, is an essential part of the area’s revitalization moving forward.

The Urban Land Institute’s report finds the station “is expected to experience a substantial increase in student ridership and become a more important gateway to the university and Ettrick Village.”

The historically black college expects enrollment to grow from its current 6,000 to about 10,000 by 2018.

But the station’s future is in doubt.

The Department of Rail and Public Transportation is looking at whether it would make more sense to keep the station or move it to Collier Yard in Petersburg.

Petersburg officials believe a station can be built at Collier that serves the entire area, including VSU, by bus. They believe the 210-acre property could become a multi-use development with retail, office and residential components.

(804) 649-6348

Article source:

Creating Natural Gardens and Landscapes – First Meeting of West Cook Wild Ones


Category: Human Interest

Published on Wednesday, 03 July 2013 10:55

Written by Press Release

Oak Park, IL—(ENEWSPF)—July 3, 2013. If you think a landscape should be about more than a lawn of non-native grasses, and want to learn more about native plants, attracting pollinators and birds, and the restoration of natural landscapes, you’re invited to attend a kickoff meeting to form a local chapter of Wild Ones, an organization devoted to creating natural gardens and landscapes.

This first meeting will be held from 2:30-4:30 p.m., Sunday, July 21st, at Green Home Experts, 811 South Blvd., Oak Park, Illinois.  Local Wild Ones member, Stephanie Walquist will give a butterfly presentation.  She has been gardening for butterflies and rearing/releasing some species over the years. Stephanie has also been assisting in the installation of a native plant garden at Beye School with the hope of getting other schools and local residents to join in to create wildlife corridors.   Plans will also be discussed for future educational programs, seed and plant swaps and field trips, and anyone interested will be invited to join the organization.

Wild Ones members help and learn from each other – beginners and experienced members alike – about identifying native (and invasive) plants, creating natural landscapes, protecting threatened native species, dealing with “weed ordinances,” and a lot more.

Members plan monthly educational chapter meetings, field trips, and presentations by experts in the field of native plants and natural landscaping. Chapters are supported by a national organization, and each member receives handbooks related to natural landscaping along with a bimonthly publication, the Wild Ones Journal.

For more information – and to let us know you’ll attend – contact Pam Todd (, Ginger Vanderveer ( or Marni Curtis (

Wild Ones began in 1979, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and became a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation in 1990. With approximately 40 active chapters, Wild Ones has approximately 3,000 members across the United States and Canada. See website at


Article source:

Speaker to offer tips on local gardening

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:12 am

Speaker to offer tips on local gardening

By Stacy Trevenon [ ]

Half Moon Bay Review


Pescadero resident and master gardener Jack McKinnon will discuss gardening specific to the Coastside at the next regular meeting of the Coastside Garden Club, to which the public is welcome.

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday, July 8, at the Coastside Adult Day Health Center at 645 Correas St. in Half Moon Bay.

The meeting will introduce the club to gardening lovers on the Coastside who would like to become involved. “It’s an opportunity to visit with us and get to know us,” said the club’s vice president, Lynn Gallo, who playfully described the club’s motto as “Where friends meet friends to play in the dirt.”

The Half Moon Bay-based club, which has been in existence for roughly 10 years and is currently under the leadership of president Teresa Adam, consists of 25 to 30 adults from Half Moon Bay to Montara, with a few from the Peninsula.

It is educationally focused, said Gallo, presenting regular lectures, offering two to three workshops annually on projects like holiday wreaths, terrariums and more.

Club members also participated in activities focused on and for the community, including maintaining the gardens in front of the Adult Day Health Center where the club meets and also maintaining “Melita’s Garden” outside the historic Johnston House. Named for the mother of James Johnston’s wife, Petra, it is a flower garden with roses and other flowers.

The club also provides floral bouquets that go with Meals on Wheels deliveries for those in need on the coast, along with personal notes.

For information about McKinnon’s upcoming presentation or about the club, email


Wednesday, July 3, 2013 11:12 am.

Article source:

Mid-summer gardening tips

If you didn’t get a chance to start your garden yet, fret not. Thanks to a rainier and cooler-than-normal spring, you can still enjoy some fruits of labor this season, said Frank Fernicola Jr. of the Fairfield Garden Center, Fairfield.

New flowering plants available this summer include Plum Passion hydrangea.

“We didn’t have a typical spring this year, and we haven’t had many hot days, so the growing season got off to kind of a late start,” he said. He offered some tips to get the most out of the weeks and months ahead in the garden.


If you’re starting from scratch, take a good look at your soil. Is it sandy or clumpy? Dark and rich? A do-it-yourself test kit ($4.99-$34.99) will tell you the acidity and alkalinity levels, which will help determine what, if any, products you should use.

Fernicola suggested using a time-released fertilizer with a top dressing of organic compost. “Organic materials contain micronutrients, enzymes and fungi that build the soil and help fend off insect attacks and drought naturally,” he said.

Mohammed Hussain, the manager at Corrado’s Garden Center, Clifton, agreed that adding organic matter is always beneficial. “This can include peat moss, composted plant material or cow manure,” he said. “All are available at garden centers and come in 40-lb. bags, or 1- and 2-cubic feet sacks.” Prices range from $2.99 up.


There are four main types of fertilizers:

* Organic fertilizers are made from natural substances and have a slow release. Their ingredients must be broken down by soil microorganisms to gradually release nitrogen and other elements.

* Dry, granular fertilizers are the most popular type and release small quantities of nutrients each time the plant is watered.

Article source:

July gardening tips: How to fight mold and fungus

July is here with its steamy heat and sudden storms. What this means to the gardener is that conditions are ripe for mold and fungal diseases in the garden.

This year’s weather has been atypical so far, but we can still make plans for gardening based on experience. We can still scout and monitor for mold and fungal diseases. And we can reduce our expectations for the perfect summer harvest.

In the flower garden, annuals and early blooming perennials may be looking shaggy. Trim these plants back to improve appearance and promote more bushy growth. Trimming plants back also will allow for more air circulation around adjacent and later-blooming plants, thus reducing conditions for mold, mildew and fungus.

In the vegetable garden, use straw not only as a mulch to retain soil moisture and reduce fluctuations in soil temperatures, but as a barrier between fruits and vegetables and the damp soil. Remember that good air circulation is necessary to reduce the chance of mold and fungal diseases in the vegetable garden. Remove any rotted and diseased material to the trash to prevent the spread of disease. Disinfect gardening tools using a week bleach solution or rubbing alcohol after each cut of diseased plant material so as to prevent further spread of diseases.

In the lawn, turf typically planted in the Mid-Atlantic area is a cool-season variety. Unless lawns receive 1 to 1-½ inches of water weekly, they will go dormant. Raise mower-blade height to its maximum. The longer grass height will serve to shield grass crowns and prevent scorch and burn. Lawns will need ¼ to ½ inches of rain weekly to ensure continued growth. Should rainfall be less than this weekly amount, watering may be required. Remember, turf will typically return to green when cooler weather and regular rainfall resumes.

Pruning of shrubs and trees — with dead, damaged or diseased limbs going first —should continue. Prune flowering trees and shrubs after bloom drop has finished.

For more information, contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension Horticulture Help Desk at 24 Pehlam St. in Warrenton, or call 540-341-4950 extension 1, or by e-mail at

Fauquier Master Gardeners also have a table at the Warrenton Farmers Market on Saturdays from May through September.

Article source:

New Company ‘Simply Garden Rooms’ Launches in the North of England

Ana Spencer
Email | Web

Follow ApplenMicro:

Article source:

Mary’s garden grows …into a quirky movie

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

Mary Reynolds’s parents Seán and Teresa at a reconstruction of Mary’s Chelsea garden at the film set in Dublin.

– 02 July 2013

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

A VISIONARY Wexford garden designer who found fame at the Chelsea Flower Show is to be the subject of a new film about her journey to make it big at the gardening world’s Olympics.


window.google_adnum = window.google_adnum || null;

google_ad_client = “ca-pub-9024837700129787”;
google_ad_output = “js”;
google_ad_type = “text”;

google_ad_channel = ‘9868211012,6062021306’;

google_max_num_ads = ‘2’;

google_skip = window.google_adnum; /* insert this snippet for each ad call */

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

Mary Reynolds, who won a Gold for her Celtic Sanctuary garden at Chelsea in 2002, is in the process of returning to her roots in Wexford to be closer to her family and her main source of work on the East Coast as a garden designer.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

While looking for new commissions, Mary also hopes to design and create a garden in Wexford that will be open to the public.

The new film, ‘Wild’, tells the story of Mary, who puts everything on the line to compete at Chelsea.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

‘It’s an Indie movie – a kind of romantic comedy based around that story,’ Mary told this newspaper as she was packing to return to Wexford.

‘Parts of it are fictionalised, but truth is stranger than fiction. It is a wonderful story and very funny,’ said Mary, who took time out following her Chelsea success to bring up her children and ‘try to be a good mum’.

‘I had my children very soon after Chelsea. It is difficult to do both things. I did Super Garden and presented that programme for RTÉ, but kept everything else to a minimum,’ she said.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

Mary said she had been heavily involved in supervising the garden build for the movie and was very excited at the recent news that international rights to it were sold at Cannes ahead of next year’s release.

Radiant Films International picked up the international rights to ‘Wild’, which marks Vivienne DeCourcy’s feature film directorial debut.

The movie stars Ella Greenwell and Tom Hughes, who plays the part of Christy, an idealist envionmentalist who Mary recruits to help her compete at Chelsea.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

Mimi Steinbauer, CEO of Radiant Films, calls DeCourcy’s script ‘fun and quirky’ and ‘a great antidote to today’s toils and troubles’.

Mary said she met Vivienne DeCourcy, an Irish-American lawyer, when she designed a garden for her.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

‘She asked if she could use my story for a screenplay. It has taken about nine years to get this far,’ said Mary, who hails from Larkinstown.

Her parents Shea and Teresa and sister Maread live on Forth Mountain close to Wexford and almost within walking distance of her rental home in Ballindinas, Barntown, following her move home from the Gaeltacht

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

Mary went to school at Piercestown National School and the Presentation in Wexford.

‘I want to be nearer to my family and it’s just mad living in West Cork when most of my work as a garden designer is on the East Coast. It’s too much time on the road,’ said Mary, who has two children, Ferdia, aged nine, and Ruby, ‘nearly seven’.

.wrap{position:inherit; background: display:block;}

‘And it’s gojng to be nice to be near everybody’.

‘Wild’ is funded by Green Earth, the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, and will shoot in Ireland and Ethiopia over the coming months.

Mary, the first Irish winner of a Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medal for garden design, started her own landscape design company – – in 1997.

Following her Chelsea victory in 2002, the British Government commissioned Mary to design a garden for the world-famous Botanical Gardens at Kew in London.

She has also done makeovers for the BBC and RTÉ and has been featured by CNN in a programme about designers with a spiritual dimension.

Article source:

Bascom benefit features floral design, garden tours, photography

In The Bridge (ISBN 978-1-4516-4701-3, $19.99), Karen Kingsbury treats readers to a tale of romance and tribulation centered on a bookstore in Franklin, Tenn. Molly Allen and Ryan Kelly meet at Nashville’s Belmont University, where they become best friends.

Article source: