Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for July 9, 2013

Surfer Knocked Out by Whale’s Tale

Tuesday, July 9, 2013 | 10:13 a.m.

Article source:

Plans being finalized for memorial honoring Ghent explosion victims – Beckley Register

Families of five men injured fatally when a propane gas leak triggered an explosion that rattled the landscape within a mile of a Little General Store at Ghent six years ago are planning a permanent memorial on the site of the tragic blast.

Already, the families have laid plans to have the huge monument on the property in time for the seventh anniversary of the Jan. 30, 2007, explosion, with permission to do so already given by Little General.

Hazel Burroughs, the widow of Frederick Burroughs, 51, a Raleigh County building inspector and a member of the Ghent Volunteer Fire Department, said the proposed memorial has been sketched by Donald Starr of Beckley, based on ideas generated by the surviving families.

In mind is a stone monument 10 feet high with a base measuring 21 by 54 feet, featuring a cap base and a raised area with a flagstone.

“Each person that was lost will have a 30-inch coin,” Burroughs said Monday. “Families will put whatever they want on the coin to let people who look at the memorial know that person. There will be a column for each, and a column for the survivors.”

Besides Burroughs, the blast killed three others instantly, Craig Lawrence Dorsey II, 24, a Ghent EMT/firefighter, and two Appalachian Heating technicians, Jeffrey Lee Treadway, 21, and Glenn Ray Bennett, 44.

Hazel Burroughs said the memorial also will honor a fifth man who died some time after the explosion, Donnie Caldwell, likewise a member of the Ghent VFD.

“We knew what we wanted, so we had an artist do the rendering,” Burroughs said.

“At first, we were going to do it like cemetery stones. But we had some people talk to us and we wanted it to fit in with the country’s settings. There will be a lot of concrete and stone on the columns and some rose bushes and landscaping done.”

Coleman Custom Building Inc., of Ghent, owned by James Coleman, also a Ghent firefighter, proposed to construct the monument for $73,400. In addition, it is estimated that landscaping and parking for the memorial will add another $20,000 to the cost.

“We are hoping it will be completed by the next anniversary, which is Jan. 30, 2014,” Burroughs said. “That may be a little optimistic.”

Burroughs said she was told by Little General’s attorney that the old tanks will be hauled away from the property this week.

“Once the tanks are removed, we will be able to begin construction,” she said.

So terrific were the blast and shock waves that caused a rumble up to a mile away that some residents initially mistook it for an earthquake. Windows were shattered at Ghent Elementary School and seven homes were damaged when one of two 500-pound above-ground propane gas tanks sprung a leak, triggering the explosion that killed four people instantly and injured five others.

Legislators in session at Charleston went to the scene that afternoon and came away with a universal impression — the area resembled a war zone, with debris scattered over the vicinity.

Burroughs said a special fund has been created to accept donations for the memorial.

Donations may be sent to First Community Bank, Attention: Nancy Poff, 1220 Ritter Drive, Daniels, WV 25832.

“Each of these men are heroes in their own right,” Burroughs said in a flier announcing the memorial. “If it were not for actions they took on that fateful day, it is impossible to determine the casualties that could have occurred.”

Article source:

Ceres leaders strive to enliven downtown

— Downtown has a prime location with easy access to Highway 99; still, the business vacancy rate is near 50 percent.

Just 37 businesses operate in the area known as the Ceres Downtown Revitalization Area, bordered by El Camino Avenue to the west, Magnolia Street to the north, Sixth Street on the east and Park Street to the south.

There are bars, a florist, restaurants, a dance studio and even a full- service pharmacy but there is no large anchor business that will increase foot traffic to the others. For that matter, a few areas are so rundown they are considered by some residents as unsafe to walk at night.

The Ceres City Council along with staff, residents and business owners, discussed some of the challenges of developing the area during a study session Monday evening focusing on how to spend fees paid by businesses within the revitalization area.

The assessments for years have paid for programs and services such as streetlights, landscaping and concerts in the park, but since being imposed by ordinance in 1988, have done little to develop the area.

A downtown specific plan four years in the making proposed grand ideas that would raise the downtown’s skyline with three-story, multiuse buildings, a cineplex entertainment area and more. But the $21 million plan went from an exciting prospect to a distant dream four months after its 2010 debut when word came from Sacramento that the state would stop funding redevelopment agencies.

As of now, the downtown area’s only reliable source of funding is from the assessments, which bring in about $16,000 a year, according to Redevelopment and Economic Development Manager Bryan Briggs. The fund has a balance of about $90,000.

Some business owners who pay anywhere from $120 to $500 a year in assessments feel they are not getting a return, according to San Dee Gutierrez, co-owner of Sweet Lu’s, a cocktail lounge on Fourth Street.

She was among a handful of business owners who showed up to the meeting despite an invitation to all by Briggs and council members who went door to door to encourage participation in deciding how to spend the money.

Briggs said he sent surveys to all the businesses, and only seven were returned.

Acting City Manager Art de Werk said he thinks there is a sense among business owners that efforts to work with the city wouldn’t amount to much. He said ideas have been floated in the past and amounted to nothing but he feels the current staff and council have enthusiasm and the drive to see through future ideas.

Cinema? Loans? Repairs?

De Werk said he’s discussed with business owners the ideas of recruiting a microbrewery and a bakery and he still likes the idea of a movie theater.

Councilman Eric Ingwerson pointed out that the age and condition of many downtown storefronts deter potential business owners because it likely will cost more to repair wiring and plumbing than starting up in one of the outlying strip malls.

He suggested studying the possibility of a loan incentive program to attract business and pursuing grants for economic development.

Brenda Herbert, owner of Ceres Floral on Fifth Street, said a simple beautification would be a great start. Others at the meeting echoed the sentiment, and Briggs said assessments could be used for something such as a façade improvement program.

“We are sitting on a goldmine downtown and we are not utilizing it,” Herbert said. “I’ll get out there with a paint brush if necessary, but let’s get Ceres on the right track.”

Article source:

Homeowners had different approaches to landscaping featured gardens


BY KEVIN BEESE | Contributor

July 8, 2013 2:22PM

Master Gardener Thayer Jabin (right) speaks with Rose Chen about Jabin’s work in the back yard of Caren and Walter Van Slyke during the annual Oak Park Conservatory’s Garden Walk. | Kevin Beese~For Sun-Times Media

Updated: July 8, 2013 7:02PM

OAK PARK — Mike Reust brought Laterite stone from Calcutta and a spiritual house from Tibet to accentuate his landscaping.

Caren and Walter Van Slyke brought a jumping rope lady statue from Sarasota, Fla.

Paul Kotkovich brought flowers from Lowe’s.

Homeowners featured in this year’s Oak Park Conservatory Garden Walk say it doesn’t matter how you get to your landscaping happy place, it is just important to get there. They agree designing your landscaping is a personal choice and something that can be done by any homeowner regardless of income or how green his or her thumb is.

“I’m one who’d rather try and fail than not try anything at all,” said Kotkovich, who with his wife, Angela, did all the landscaping, including a pond and a trellis with Concord grapes, at their home on Le Moyne Parkway, Oak Park.

Kotkovich, who works in the film industry, said he and and his wife, who is a graphic designer, work well together. He said Angela knew instantly that certain tall grass would pop with a certain background.

“We work together, we argue together,” Kotkovich said. “She has a good pointer finger. She points and says, ‘This will go here. That will go there.’”

He said it has taken 10 years to get the home’s landscaping where is today and there has been “lots of trial and error.”

Having gardened since a kid, Kotkovich said he enjoys doing the work himself. He said he especially liked creating the backyard pond, which includes two koi and various goldfish.

How a homeowner gets to that marquis landscape that earns a spot on the annual Garden Walk is a matter of opinion. Individuals like Kotkovich and Reust, who lives on Belleforte Avenue in Oak Park, with his wife, Ann Maxwell, have gotten there by handling the landscaping responsibilities themselves.

For others, like the Van Slykes, on South Humphrey Avenue in Oak Park, it has been through the work of a designer that their back yard has flourished. Thayer Jabin, a master gardener, has worked with the Van Slykes for 15 years and converted what was a shade back yard into a sun back yard when two large trees were lost – one to a storm, the other to emerald ash borerers.

Caren Van Slyke said that by getting a designer and staging the work, you can get exactly what you want for landscaping.

“A designer will work with you,” Van Slyke said.

“If you don’t have the vision to devise something, a designer can come with something for you,” she added.

“We know we are not going to be in the house for 20 or 30 years, so we wanted something that would take only about five years to get going. A designer can work with you on those things.”

Article source:

Gardening: Tips for this month

As soon as things dry out, get going on some of your summer gardening chores. The rain has undoubtedly set you back some, and may have even caused you to forego some of your usual activities in the landscape and garden. Just remember that you don’t want to tramp through soggy soil unless you have to. If you go out to pick tomatoes, it will compact the soil.

Watch out for Japanese beetles. This is their time of year, and this year they seem to be quite prolific. Several products are on the market to help control them, but any spray or dust has to be reapplied after a rain. You can remove the beetles by hand, dropping them into an empty milk jug, or knock them into a pail of soapy water. You might also try using a hand-vac to remove them if you can do so without damaging foliage.

Keep the blooms on annuals and perennials coming by deadheading as soon as flowers begin to fade. Hopefully, you have been able to cut and arrange some bouquets from your garden flowers. Wait until later in the summer or early fall to let a few flowers remain on and form seed that you can save.

Look for sales. Check out the discount and sales sections of garden centers. Give plants a good looking over to be sure you can bring them back from the brink. Some stores will also be cutting prices on seeds and supplies, so watch for deals and stock up.

During the month of July, you can make second plantings of pole string beans, pole lima beans and bush lima beans. Plant Southern peas and rutabagas. Start transplants of collards, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant and tomatoes.

A frequently asked question among gardeners is, “How late can I prune my azaleas?” July, before the plant sets its flower buds for next year, is the latest you should prune if you expect to have flowers in the spring.

Weeds have thrived in this wet weather — in the lawn, the landscape and the vegetable garden. Hoeing and hand-pulling are the best ways to handle weeds around food crops. Put down a good layer of mulch to discourage leftover seeds from sprouting.

When using weed killers, either spray or granular, around ornamentals and in lawns, read directions carefully. Be sure the product is labeled for the specific weeds you are trying to get rid of. Also be sure it is labeled as safe for use on the type of grass or around the ornamentals you do not want to harm. Always avoid applying herbicides on windy days or right before a rain.

Planning an extended out-of-town trip or vacation? If you have houseplants or a vegetable garden, you may want to ask a gardening friend to watch over things for you, watering and harvesting as needed. You can return the favor when they go on vacation or let them keep the produce they pick in exchange.

Have you snapped some pictures of your garden yet this year? And I don’t mean that new pond in your backyard created by our massive amounts of rain. When the sun shines, get out your camera and snap pictures of the flowers and plants that are really outdoing themselves this year. If nothing else, you can post them on Facebook.

Remember to keep tabs on local pick-your-own operations and roadside stands for fruits and vegetables that you don’t grow yourself and that are only available for a short time period. Blueberries, for example, are in full production right now, so don’t let the opportunity to load up on them pass you by.

Contact the writer: 138 Nature’s Trail, Bamberg, SC 29003.

Article source:

Topekans Learn Gardening Tips At Sick Plant Clinic

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-The summer weather may have caused damage to plants and the Fairlawn Plaza Mall offered its Sick Plant Clinic Monday to diagnose plant problems.

The Sick Plant Clinic is sponsored by the Shawnee County Extension Master Gardeners.

Volunteers and local extension personnel worked from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday to identify plants, weeds and insects and discuss general pest care.

They also helped people with ailing plants, including vegetables, fruit crops and indoor plants.

Article source:

Try These Tips to Make Small Gardens Seem Larger

LINCOLN, Neb. — A primary goal with many small gardens is to make them feel larger… to enlarge, if not the space, at least the perception of space.

Many gardeners do this by making better use of vertical space. Trees, shrubs and vines and physical elements like sculpture, fences, plant containers and trellises can extend the ground plane so the eye never stops but simply moves from the ground level upward and outward.

Gradual and varied changes of height – groundcover to flowerbed to shrub to tree – can give an impression of depth and complexity and keep the sense of space fluid and moving. A diversity of plants in varying heights also makes the yard less susceptible to plant-specific problems and attracts a wider variety of birds and other wildlife and pollinators.

Placed properly, trees and shrubs can obscure the view into the garden, making it appear larger and attracting attention into the space but not beyond it. It might seem best not to divide a limited space into smaller areas but the effect can be just the opposite, increasing rather than limiting the sense of space. Curved rather than straight pathways and plantings can make separate areas seem farther apart than they are. And careful attention to scale can make a striking difference. The size of trees, plants, sidewalks and any focus points can help make portions of the garden seem farther away or hide views into corners, making the end-points disappear.

In small lots, air circulation is often restricted by nearby buildings or privacy fences. Using a border of plants in varying heights means air can circulate more freely to avoid hot, stale spaces with limited air movement. They can also provide microclimates with varying degrees of sunlight, another element that is often restricted in small spaces. With a little more sunlight in a few spots, the color options increase as well. For shady areas, using variegated plants like hosta and Jack Frost brunnera in dark corners will draw interest and make them much more visually interesting.

If the garden is squeezed in by other gardens or an interesting view, why not “borrow” them? With the right-sized plants, you can frame views and make them appear part of your own landscape.

In a small yard, it’s important to have plants that offer several seasons of interest. Many shrubs or small trees have spring bloom, summer fruit and fall color: redbud, serviceberry, viburnum, currant, wahoo, dogwood, crabapple, chokeberry, etc.  Vines can add vertical interest.

Evergreens are available in sizes to fit even the smallest garden and evergreen groundcovers like periwinkle, germander and ivy can help keep it green. If there’s enough sunshine, grasses are beautiful most of the year and there are grasslike sedges that can handle dry shade. For perennials, some of the best year-round workhorses for small gardens are: coralbells, Lenten rose, coneflower, black-eyed Susan and sedum.

Article source:

Guardian camera club: A. Garden’s portfolio

‘Gordes’ a classic Provencal image, although the top of the sky seems a little too ‘burned in’. ‘Yannik’ has such strong highlights, and such deep shadows, but it combines into a lovely portrait, well processed indeed! The composition of ‘Museo de Arte…’ is quirky, but effective! I still think the sky has been darkened too much though. There’s something about ‘At Cindy Sherman Exhibition’ that is just pure Photography, I love it! But my favourite image here is ‘Melanie’; the low viewpoint, wonderful subtle tonality, and some mystery make for an informal and engaging portrait. The impressive detail of ‘Paysage D’Hiver’ shows this old camera at its best, and the lovely combination of medium format FP4 film in a Rolleiflex gives these photos a timeless quality

Article source:

Work by KLC garden design graduates features at RHS Hampton Court Palace …

By Matthew Appleby
08 July 2013

Article source:

Goffstown nursery’s display garden is extraordinary landscape design

Editor’s note: The author is a landscape designer and author of several books on the subject. He is also the designer and owner of Evergreen, a one-acre woodland garden in Goffstown, which will be open to the public this weekend.

GOFFSTOWN — The display garden at Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials is actually much more than an exhibit of some of the plants grown and sold at the nursery on Mountain Road. It’s also an all-too-rare example of superb landscape design.

The garden is located on a low mound just off the parking area. You enter it by climbing up a very short, very gentle grade, partly on wide fieldstone steps. This quick ascent helps gives you a clear sense that you’re entering a different space — a special garden-not only physically separate but distinct in character from the rest of the nursery.

This welcome sense of differentiation is enhanced by the large shrubs and specimen trees planted along the edges of the space. They help screen out the rest of the nursery, so once you’re inside the display garden, your attention is on the garden, and almost nothing else.

This screening illustrates an essential principle of landscape design: that a landscape isn’t just the land on which the landscape is created. It’s everything you can see from that land. If, for example, you can see cars and telephone poles and other people’s houses from your garden, then those things are every bit as much a part of your landscape as your flowers. To preserve the integrity— the unity and special character—of a landscape you need to screen out anything that doesn’t relate to it.

The smaller plants in the display garden (mostly perennials) are arranged in large groupings—what designers often call sweeps, or drifts—and each group consists of just one variety of plant. It perfectly illustrates the designer’s rule of thumb: one sweep, one plant.

Perhaps the biggest mistake made by lay gardeners is that they do the opposite: The put way too many different varieties of plants in one group. That makes the garden confusing; there are no focal points. So many plants are competing for attention that the eye doesn’t know what one to look at first. Rather than making the garden restful or soothing — or a powerful statement of any kind — the plants have no emotional effect at all. They may be perfectly groomed, but visually they’re a mess.

The Display Garden thus illustrates another, more general rule of thumb: Good garden design is powerful design, and powerful design is simple design.

The garden also makes optimum use of bark mulch. Mulch does many practical things: It suppresses weeds, keeps soil moist and adds nutrients (thus reducing the need for weeding, watering and fertilizing). But the fine, dark much that covers the ground between the plants also unifies the space, because, like a solid sweep of plants, it carpets the space with uniform color and texture. It’s also the most pleasing bark mulch because it’s the most natural looking: It looks like top soil, which is what you expect to see in a garden (unlike, say, red or other dyed bark mulch, which looks surreal.)

The Display Garden is also enhanced by artful use of stone. Stone is nature’s sculpture. Like trees and evergreen plants, it gives a garden year-round structure and interest—-especially valuable in a perennial garden, which would otherwise be a bit bare before the flowers appear in the spring and after they wither away in the fall.

Most of the garden’s large, smooth stones enter the ground at or near their widest point, thus creating the illusion that, like the tip of an iceberg, they’re just the top of a much larger rock—or even ledge-that gets wider as it reaches deeper into the earth. This illusion that the garden is a part of something massive and permanent helps gives it a powerful sense of peace and rest.

This effect is the very opposite of that created when stones are merely dumped on the site, often resting on top of (not in) the earth at their narrowest point. As Frank Lloyd Wright said in another context, these misplaced rocks are on the site, but not of the site. They’re obviously not part of a larger stone or ledge that predates the garden. In fact they’re the very picture of impermanence. They look as if they could be spun around like tops.

Equally artful are the Display Garden’s occasional flights of stone steps. They’re luxuriously wide — two feet or more — and the height between them is low, only about six inches. As a result, climbing them is effortless. They not only look graceful, they feel graceful. They illustrate another rule of thumb: The easier it is to walk through a garden, the greater its pleasure.

A final note: Some sections of the garden path are bordered by squat, square stakes connected with rustic-looking rope. This low, Japanese-style edging is just high enough to keep visitors from trampling delicate plants, but also low enough to be unobtrusive and to draw the eye along the ground, thereby echoing and emphasizing the low horizontality of the perennials while also making them seem “higher.”

The garden is a co-production of Mark Rynearson, a landscape designer and contractor, and his wife Annette (“Nettie”) Rynearson, who runs the nursery. They met when they were undergraduates at Cornell. Mark majored in landscape architecture, Nettie in horticulture.

The nursery (497-3975) is open 9 to 5, Wednesday through Sunday. Come, look and learn.

Robert Gillmore’s books include “The Woodland Garden” and “Beauty All Around You: How to Create Large Private Low-Maintenance Gardens, Even on Small Lots and Small Budgets.” Evergreen, his one-acre woodland garden in Goffstown, will be open to the public July 13 and 14 as part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program.

Article source: