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Archives for July 2013

Contributions Wanted for Green Award – an International Landscape Planning …

The International Rooftop Landscaping Association (IRLA) invites you to attend their Nanjing World Green Roof Congress in beautiful Nanjing, China from September 19th to the 22nd, 2013.

The 2012 WGIN Green Roof Congress was held in Hangzhou, China and was exceptionally well attended by 1,600 participants from across the world, including Aramis and me!

WGRC2012-HangzhouClosingReception
Left to right: William Wei, Julian Briz, Francois Lassalle, Patrick Blanc, Aramis Velazquez, Isabel de Felipe, Manfred Kohler, Professor Wang Xianmin, Florian Betlzer, Karla Dakin, Dorte Romo, Linda Velazquez, and Damian Tang

New elements present in this year’s Nanjing World Green Roof Congress include the Green Award – an International Landscape Planning Competition and the “The Beautiful Homeland in My Heart” Photo Contest.

WGRC2013-GreenAward

“The Green Award – an International Landscape Planning Competition is organized by IRLA (International Rooftop Landscaping Association) and CABEE (China Association of Building Energy Efficiency), endorsed by VGAG (Vertical Greening Academic Group).  It is a great honor in Chinese landscape planning community as well as the highest level of competition and a highly rewarded one in China.  It provides a platform for public welfare as well as fair, impartial and open competition. It aims at finding talents as well as training and introducing them. Thus, there will be more amazing works which promotes the idea of green China. Moreover, we have the top prestigious judges from all over the world. The winners will be invited to join the World Green Roof Congress—Nanjing China held at Zidong International Creative Park from September 19th to 22nd, 2013. They will also have the chance to exchange idea with specialists, scholars and many other elites as well as receive prize money.

If you are a creative designer, if you are passionate about environment protection, landscape planning and vertical landscaping, if you already have a good idea in your mind, then come on and join us! Share your idea with us! For green urban-rural environment, green China and a green world!” ~ Green Award – an International Landscape Planning Competition

The deadline for submissions has been extended through August 20, 2013.  Learn all about it at: www.c1118.com.

WGRC2013-TheBeautifulHomelandinMyHeart

“The Beautiful Homeland in My Heart” Photo Contest, organized by IRLA and the Website of China National Radio, aims at leading the world to caring more about natural ecology. It is expected to express and intensify people’s greening and environmental awareness through photographing. The contest is designed to show the world new ideas and technologies of international vertical greening, to bring more practical thoughts and methods on construction to city planners. It also opens up a brand new photographing area for shutterbugs, forging a platform of common view and a spiritual homeland for vertical green construction all over the world.

More info:

Contributions Wanted

With the growing land cost every year, vertical greening has become the most economical way of greening in urban center. From the aspect of lowering atmospheric temperature and protecting the environment, rooftops and walls are precious resource of cities’ cyclic development, and they are the revival land of scientific developing greenbelt. At present, rooftop greening groups all over the world are still growing, but its spreading and promoting have a bright future.

I. Sponsors and Organizers

Sponsor: The Website of China National Radio, 2013 Nanjing World Green Roof Congress Committee

Organizer: The Website of China National Radio, International Rooftop Landscaping Association (IRLA)

Co-organizer: Vertical Greening Academic Group of China Green Building Council (AGAG), China Green Rooftop and Energy Efficiency Council

Official Website: The Website of China National Radio www.cnr.cn

Contributing Website: http://photo.cnr.cn

Special Website: http://pic.cnr.cn/sdq/

Launch Ceremony: Jul. 11th, 2013

Submission Deadline: Aug. 31st, 2013

Entry Range: worldwide

Grading time: Sep. 1st, 2013 – Sep. 14th, 2013

Prize-giving time: Sep. 19th, 2013

Prize-giving site: Nanjing World Green Roof Congress

II. Topic of the Contest

There is no specific category of the Compete Photo, as long as it accords with “green rooftops, green walls, indoor gardens, green overpasses, green balconies” and any other green construction above the ground. There is also no limit about whether the entry is photochrome or black-and-white photograph, single picture or set pictures.

III. Grading Standard

  1. The content should be real and focus on the topic.
  2. The picture should be vivid, powerful and infective.
  3. The title and illustration should be precise, concise, and concordant with this contest.

IV. Prizes

Gold Prize (one winner): 90,000RMB and Certificate

Silver Prize (two winners): 60,000RMB and Certificates

Bronze Prize (three winners): 30,000RMB and Certificates

Honorable Mentions (several)

V. Format Specifications

  1. Single picture or series both are accepted, but series should contain maximum 5 pictures.
  2. Only JPGE format can be accepted, and the pictures should not be bigger than 20M. If a Compete Photo has been cropped, the longest side must be at least 2,000 pixels.
  3. The Compete Photo must be taken by the participant himself/herself.
  4. No published pictures are allowed. Frame and author’s ID must not be added. If possible, the information of EXIF should be kept.
  5. Each participant can only have 10 entries at most.
  6. Each picture should have its title, topic, illustration and the author’s name in detail.

VI. Way of Participation

  1. The participants need to sign an agreement with CNR Pictures about digital copyright. They also have to sign in through “Society Photographer” and become a “Society Photographer” of CNR Picture Gallery.

The following is the website of illustration for photo gallery signing in and uploading: http://photo.cnr.cn/pms/upload.jsp

  1. The entry must be uploaded to CNR Picture Gallery.

The website of CNR Picture Gallery is: http://photo.cnr.cn

  1. While uploading your entry, please select this category in photo gallery: “Photo Contest – the Beautiful Homeland in My Heart”.
  2. Each entry should be named using the following pattern:

[The Beautiful Homeland in My Heart], Entry’s Name, (Author’s Name)

For example: [The Beautiful Homeland in My Heart], A Home of Green, (John)

  1. The telephone of CNR Picture Gallery and information about the contest is  86-10-56807195

“The goal of photographing is to share your happiness and sorrow. Let’s build the future vision of our homeland together. We are looking forward to your excellent works.” ~ International Rooftop Landscaping Association and the Website of China National Radio

Register now to the Nanjing World Green Roof Congress by clicking below:

If you have any questions about either contest or planning your trip to spectacular China for the Nanjing World Green Roof Conference, please contact William Wei of WGRC and IRLA at: wrgmay2010@hotmail.com.

Happy traveling,

~ Linda V.

Article source: http://www.greenroofs.com/blog/2013/07/30/contributions-wanted-for-green-award-an-international-landscape-planning-competition-photo-contest-nanjing-world-green-roof-congress-2013/

Homes in Whitchurch Lane, Edgware left with ‘building site’ behind gardens

Homes in Whitchurch Lane, Edgware left with ‘building site’ behind gardens

By Bruce Thain

People with their homes backing onto the Hive football stadium have been left with a “building site” in their back gardens due to unfinished landscaping work.

Homes in Whitchurch Lane, Edgware, have had an access route used by maintenance company Tube Lines for work on the embankment of the Jubilee line, behind their homes since last year.

The work on the embankment has been completed, but residents who were told the route would be landscaped say they have been left with a building site behind their homes.

Landscaping has yet to start and there is confusion among home owners as to whether the leaseholders Barnet FC or Tube Lines are responsible for carrying out the work.

Shirley Sackwild, secretary of Canons Park residents association said: “It is causing an eye sore – I have a building site at the end of my garden with temporary cabins and toilets.

“It has been a whole year with nothing being done to finish this work and we’ve been looking out over it since Christmas. We’re very upset and put out.

“They (Tube Lines and Barnet FC) need their heads banged together. As far as we’re aware they’re in a stalemate.

“I think Harrow Council should step in to get things moving as they are the landlords of the site. We’re not privy to the reasons for this stand-off but we’re the innocent bystanders that have to put up with this mess.”

Steve Judd, manager for environment and operations at TfL, said: “To complete this essential work, we have replanted more than 600 trees on the site between Cannons Park and Queensbury to reinstate the embankment.

“In addition, before replanting we consulted with local residents about providing the best kind of wildlife-friendly trees and flowers for the area.”

He added that TfL was in discussion with Barnet Football Club concerning the landscaping of the access route to the embankment.

The Harrow Times has contacted Barnet FC about the landscaping but the club declined to comment.

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Article source: http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/10580850.Homes_left_with__building_site__behind_gardens/

Landscaping career a growing option

Elizabeth Wheale spends winters on the ski hill and summers working outside in other people’s yards.

The 28-year-old recently finished a landscape gardener apprenticeship and started her own business, Fair Haven Landscaping. The Red Deer-based company services central Alberta, including rural areas, completing projects ranging from building retaining walls to starting flower gardens from scratch.

Landscape gardening is a red seal trade that requires a four-year apprenticeship, including a minimum of 1,200 hours of on-the-job training and eight weeks of technical training each year.

Wheale grew up on a farm and enjoyed working outside, including a winter job as a ski instructor. But she hadn’t considered a career in the landscaping trade until she started working for a local company.

“Originally I was actually planning to go to the United Kingdom and do a bachelor’s degree in theology and youth work,” Wheale remembers.

However the program she had her eye on didn’t start until June and Wheale’s ski instructor job had finished for the season, leaving her looking for work for a few months. She ended up at a Red Deer landscaping company, where the owner encouraged Wheale to consider an apprenticeship. “He saw the potential there and told me about the apprenticeship and said I’ll hire you for the summer, but I want you to do an apprenticeship. I hadn’t been totally sure about moving to the United Kingdom, and once

I started working it made sense to stay,” she said.

She finished her apprenticeship with top marks and earned the Top Apprentice Award in 2011 for landscape gardener.

Landscape gardeners can work for a variety of employers, including landscape architects, contractors, nurseries, tree farms, greenhouses, cemeteries, governments, garden centres and landscape supply outlets.

Others, such as Wheale, are self-employed.

“I enjoy the challenges that come from different people and their different preferences. I get bored easily so it’s nice to have variety,”

she said. Still, Wheale points out that starting a business comes with challenges.

“It’s thinking through the estimates and cost evaluations and valuing your own time and deciding what hours you’re willing to work and what type of work you’re willing to do. There’s lots of logistics you have to work through and you’ve just got to do it, and any entrepreneur is like that,” she said.

Wheale said one of the biggest challenges she’s encountered so far is getting customers to understand they get what they pay for.

“Cheap is out there, it’s just not skilled,” Wheale said.

Educating customers about the finer points of landscape gardening is something that Wheale enjoys.

“I think education is a huge thing. As the world moves more to organics and ecologically friendly practices, it’s even more important to have skilled, trained people,” Wheale said.

Laura Caddy has also made a career out of working with plants. The red seal landscape horticulturist works year-round at the Devonian Botanic Garden, southwest of Edmonton.

“I’ve been gardening since I could walk,” said Caddy, who worked in greenhouses in Red Deer after finishing high school.

“I was more interested in a hands-on approach than the university route, so I found a horticulture trade program at a school in Ontario,” Caddy said. “Our classroom was a botanical garden just outside Niagara Falls.”

After graduating from the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture, Caddy challenged the red seal exam for landscape horticulturist and worked at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ont.

She has worked at the Devonian Botanic Garden for just over a year, as a horticulturist and curator in charge of the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden. “As a horticulturist, I’m doing the hands-on, physical taking care of the plant, while as a curator I decide the direction of the garden and what goes where,” she said.

“I love being outside, I love working with my hands. I’ve always loved plants and taking care of them, and with my position it’s more than that. It’s a scientific collection. There’s a purpose to the gardens, a reason why we have plants above and beyond display.”

Article source: http://www.theprovince.com/jobs/Landscaping+career+growing+option/8667184/story.html

University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum branches out with art garden



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    “Summer Dance” by Barbara Hepworth is one of the many donated pieces in the new sculpture garden at the arboretum.

    Photo: Joel Koyama • joelkoyama@startribune.com,

    CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

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    One by one, massive sculptures of granite, copper, stainless steel and marble have appeared on a grassy knoll at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen — markers of the most dramatic way the metro area landmark is expanding its attractions beyond greenery.

    Thanks to an unprecedented donation by a retired Wayzata couple, the arboretum has acquired in one fell swoop a permanent new sculpture garden with 23 world-class art works that normally would take many years and millions of dollars to collect.

    The full collection, to be dedicated Aug. 24, is one of several planned projects intended to draw more visitors by adding attractions to the arboretum’s 1,137 acres of plants, trees and flower collections.

    Operations director Pete Moe said the arboretum, located 22 miles southwest of Minneapolis, is in various stages of planning or raising money for a Chinese garden, a treetop canopy walk, a bee education center at its historic red barn, and a woodland performance space to be developed in the next few years.

    The intent is to appeal to a wide range of people who love gardening, landscape architecture, bird-watching and wildlife, native plants and art, Moe said. “We think that they’re all complementary,” he said.

    Asked if some might prefer trees and plants to a hill full of art works, arboretum spokeswoman Judy Hohmann said the arboretum has 36 sculptures along its gardens and trails, and the new sculpture garden only occupies three acres.

    “An arboretum is not a nature preserve,” she said. “We have display gardens and ­collections, but we’re always trying to engage visitors with the landscape and with nature, and this is yet another opportunity to do that.”

    The highly visible location — three acres at the highest point in the arboretum — was one of the reasons Alfred and Ingrid Harrison donated the contemporary sculptures they’ve enjoyed for years on their property. “We’re both in our 70s, so it’s a time of life where you think what’s going to happen to them when you pass on,” he said in an interview.

    The gift is a “thank you” to the public for the life and friends the couple has enjoyed for so many years, he said, and the location is perfect. “We wanted them really to be out in the open so people could have a visual experience that is in harmony with nature,” he said.

    Art from around the world

    The Harrisons were closely involved with decisions about where each sculpture would be located on the hill in relation to one another, said Susan Hamerski, the arboretum’s manager of adult education and curator of sculpture. The collection includes 23 sculptures spread out on the hill, with three more to follow in the future.

    During a recent stroll, Hamerski stepped along a newly laid asphalt path that winds to the top of the hill. The sculptures are mounted on bases with plaques, so all that remains before the dedication is adding landscaping and borders.

    The artists come from several countries, including Italy, France, England, Zimbabwe and Argentina, and include Mimmo Paladino, Paul Granlund, Rene Kung, George Rickey and Barbara Hepworth.

    The oldest of the sculptures dates to 1960, but seven of them were created since 2000.

    Art that embraces nature

    One of the most striking works is at the base of the hill, a life-size bronze sculpture of an Apache mountain spirit dancer. The work by Craig Dan Goseyun features a dynamic crouching figure with detailed boots and flying fringes on his leggings, but with an abstract face and pointed headgear turned toward the sky.

    Nearby, a granite disc with a square hole in its center looks like a giant mounted Chinese coin. The work by U.S.-based artist Jesus Bautista Moroles frames the surrounding Kentucky coffee trees and hillside as viewers walk around it.



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    • Leslie Johnson (brown shirt) said, “This is where my husband proposed to me. We bring our friends and family to out here to the same spot.” Johnson, daughter Sophia, son Charlie of St. Louis Park and Emily Johnson (blue shirt), and Anna Johnson from Portsmith, N.H., had a picnic under the trees at the scupture garden with “DISC SPIRAL” 2000 by Jesus Bautista Moroles in the background at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen.

    • A view through “Disc Spiral 2000” as arboretum workers planted near “Blutenmotiv.” The two pieces are part of the new sculpture garden.

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    Gardening Tips: Culinary Herb Garden

    Cooking from scratch may not always be a possibility, but many cuisine-conscious cooks who know their way around the kitchen love to relax at home by producing something truly unique, with their signature stamped all over it, when time allows. To do this, a high-quality, taste-delivering culinary herb garden is a tremendous asset. Let’s begin by looking at the essential herbs you might want to consider for your garden.

    Gardening Tips: Culinary Herb Garden

    Here’s a list that will add zest to any recipe:

    1. Bay: Start with one plant, indoors or outdoors as weather permits. Grow it in a large pot, 8 inches or more, so the progress of its roots will not be impeded. With a bit of experimenting, you’ll find many uses for Bay that will enhance your culinary efforts.

    2. Sweet Fennel: Start with two plants and divide it when ready. Prune/harvest the leaves often, and it will keep producing faithfully. This tasty herb has been used to rave reviews for centuries, and will add just the right touch of sweet and savory spice to soups, sauces, and baked meats.

    3. Dill: Start one or two plants each month, so you’ll have a regular supply of this useful herb throughout the year. If you love to can your fresh vegetables, grow plenty of dill, to add tang to cucumbers, tomatoes, and beans. Added to creamy sauces and soups in the quantity you choose, it creates something special out of ordinary main ingredients.

    4. Sweet Basil: . Add some fresh pasta, an Italian sausage or two, and enjoy! Any savory dish will taste better with the addition of this popular herb. Five to seven plants are a good start.

    5. Oregano: Start with 2 to 4 plants, because you’ll always find something new to add this herb to. Soups, casseroles featuring tomato bases, baked meats, and crock-pot stews will all sparkle with a tasty touch of this versatile herb.

    Round out your culinary herb garden with thyme, winter savory, rosemary, and mint, and you’ll never lack a way to spice up a mundane meal and make it something memorable. As you gain experience you’ll want to add the herbs that grab your fancy. Each time you enjoy a flavorsome meal in one of your favorite restaurants, let your server know you’d love to compliment the chef. When he or she appears, offer robust praise, and then, under your breath, ask what herbs created such a culinary delight. The secrets you coax from them will translate into wonderful taste experiences at home. Herbs deliver a sensuous ambience to any meal that nothing else can add. Developing a first-rate culinary herb garden will take time, patience, and experimentation, but most great cooks find this investment in great recipes to be very rewarding, relaxing, and creatively fun.

    When you grow more than you can use, trade herbs with your other gardening friends, or simply give away your over-abundance to those who will appreciate it. Drying, freezing, and storing your herbs is another great idea, so you’ll have them available even in winter, even when not growing an indoor herb garden. Most herbs dry very well on the stem, but tarragon, parsley, and basil also freeze very nicely. With a little planning, you’ll enjoy the best herb flavors throughout the year!


    Article source: http://www.tele-management.ca/2013/07/gardening-tips-culinary-herb-garden/

    Resident Gardening Expert at English Woodlands Offers Top Tips for Summer …

    With the sun out and summer growth peaking, keeping plants cut back and trim has never been more important. This season Graham Grimmett, English Woodlands’ resident gardening expert, is sharing his Top Tips for summer pruning.

    (PRWEB UK) 29 July 2013

    The East Sussex based retailer of specimen trees, hedging and accessories, English Woodlands, have been suppliers of high grade trees and planting accessories since 1918. The business has established a strong reputation across both the South East and nationally across England for their wide range and high quality large trees. Well known and respected for their high plant survival rates, the friendly team’s extensive product knowledge is built from a genuine passion for helping our customers grow and create magnificent gardens.

    One particular member of the English Woodlands team, Graham Grimmett, has gardening credentials that speak for themselves. As the Specimen Tree Centre Manager, Graham is a regular blogger for English Woodlands and offers seasonal tips every month through the English Woodlands monthly newsletter. With garden enthusiasts requesting advice regularly both at the nursery and online, this week Graham tackles the popular and often asked for topic regarding effective Summer Pruning of fruit trees.

    “Traditionally, formative pruning of apple and pear trees takes place during the winter so that the structure of the tree is clearly visible. Summer pruning is usually the main method for trained apples and pears such as cordons, fans and espaliers which are pruned to a restricted area. However summer pruning is also important for free standing trees as it helps to restrict growth and to facilitate training without needing to cut old wood.”

    Summer pruning for free standing trees is extremely advantageous, Graham outlines four key reasons why:

    1.    It allows fruit to ripen better as the removal of excess foliage enables extra light to reach the fruit.

    2.    It will facilitate the tree to produce a good crop the subsequent year.

    3.    The weather is usually better in the summer!

    4.    The plants are still growing so pruning cuts heal quickly.

    Some useful signposts as to when particular fruit trees should be pruned in the summer include; Pear trees are best tended to and pruned neatly around mid-July; Apple trees in mid-August; Plum and Cherries should only be pruned on a dry day in mid-summer to avoid the fungal disease silver leaf.

    Graham offers some further useful pruning tips on how best to tackle fruit trees and specifically apples and pears.

    •     The trees should only be pruned when the oldest third of the new shoots has started to get woody and stiff.
    •     Cut back the new shoots that are longer than 9 inches/23cm as the shorter growth is likely to bear fruit buds naturally.
    •     Shoots should be pruned back to a stub around 3 inches in length. You should ensure that you make the cut just above a bud or leaf.
    •     Find out if the apple tree is a tip bearing variety before pruning- be careful not to prune new shots which will form fruit buds.

    For more advice on how to prune trees during the summer months, visit the online advice centre at English Woodlands, or contact the helpful staff at English Woodlands by emailing info(at)ewburrownursery(dot)co.uk or calling on 01435 862992. Interested parties can always take a look through to http://blog.ewburrownursery.co.uk/, where tips on summer pruning, foliage, and much more are regularly updated.

    Don’t forget to take advantage of current offers online at English Woodland which includes 20% off Rite Edge Lawn Edging, 25% off Borderline Steel Tree Rings and the chance to save 20% on all olive and fig trees. Simply visit the promotions category to find a voucher card and add it to the shopping basket.

    For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/7/prweb10973189.htm

    Article source: http://www.watchlistnews.com/2013/07/29/resident-gardening-expert-at-english-woodlands-offers-top-tips-for-summer-pruning/

    The Potted Desert Garden: Five Tips for Beautiful Summer Blooms

    We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that vinca are great plants for our summer desert potted gardens.

    In almost any nursery, you’ll find upright vinca, or “pacifica.” These are strong flowering plants that will survive both moderately cool temperatures and desert heat … provided they have enough water.

    To the right, you can see what some vinca, planted on July 15, looked like. Above is what they look like after two weeks of blistering temperatures. That’s a lot of growth!

    Here are five tips to utilizing this plant—even if you are just starting them in August:

    1. Purchase four-inch, quart or gallon plants, with the plant showing good growth, and lots of roots. (Check this at the nursery if you do not see the roots coming out of the bottom.)

    2. Plant vinca in the coolest hours of the early morning. Do not heavily disturb their roots but do open up the root ball before planting.

    3. Water thoroughly after planting, and water them daily when dry.

    4. As vinca grow, the branches will become very long. In order to encourage the plants to bush out more, trim them back often.

    5. Looking down the stem, find a new growth shoot, and snip the stem just above that shoot. (See below.) Go deep into the plant to prune for best results. This will create a nicely shaped plant with abundant flowers.

    Marylee is the desert’s potted garden expert. Email her with comments and questions at
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    .

    Article source: http://www.cvindependent.com/index.php/en-US/opinion/potted-desert-garden/item/555-the-potted-desert-garden-five-tips-for-beautiful-summer-blooms

    Garden award for top tips on security

    Garden award for top tips on security

    Garden award for top tips on security

    A CRIME-CUTTING show garden has clinched an award for its role in helping to keep residents safe from crooks.

    The secure garden was set up at Parker’s Garden Centre in Kirby Cross last year.

    It is a model garden displaying the top steps residents can take to secure their homes against burglars.

    The secure garden initiative, which was put together by the crime prevention team at Clacton police station, has now been handed a top internal award by Essex Police for its innovative approach in tackling burglaries in the area.

    They have scooped the Ray Stannard Memorial Trophy, handed out for displays of excellence in crime prevention within the force.

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    Article source: http://www.clactonandfrintongazette.co.uk/news/10569295.Garden_award_for_top_tips_on_security/

    Gardening the Kiawah Way, Naturally!

    By Jennifer Woody

    Do you know the best part of all the rain we have been getting? The Naturally Kiawah Garden is well watered!

    Plant installation in the Naturally Kiawah Garden, a joint project with Kiawah Island Golf Resort and Kiawah Conservancy, is complete. So, Run, walk or bike out to Night Heron Park today and see how the Kiawah Conservancy is growing.
    Funded by an anonymous grant and donors to the Kiawah Conservancy, the Naturally Kiawah Garden project has garnered Island-wide support. The Garden showcases native plants and plants that respond well to the diverse conditions of Kiawah Island’s environs and will be used as a learning opportunity for property owners and guests alike.

    Trident Technical College’s Landscape Design program offered students an initial garden design contest, and department head, Professor Tony Bertauski, implemented the design contest as a summer project for his design class. Landscape Architect, Bill Maneri, served as the students mentor throughout the process and used the winning designs as an inspiration for the final garden plans.
    To learn more about native and habitat friendly plantings in your own landscape and the science behind the Naturally Kiawah Garden project, contact Justin Core, Kiawah Conservancy’s Land Preservation Coordinator, at 768-2029 or justin.core@kiawahconservancy.org.
    Make sure to “Like” Kiawah Conservancy on Facebook and follow KiawahConserv on Twitter
    for more photos and information on this exciting addition in the coming days, weeks and months.


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    Article source: http://islandconnectionnews.com/?p=9009

    New vision unveiled for downtown Mitchell

    Talk about it

      Mitchell Main Street Beyond unveiled a $5.8 million plan Monday to transform Mitchell’s historic downtown area.

      After years of research and planning, MMSB presented its vision for a new downtown streetscape the group says will add vibrancy and enhance the quality of life in the downtown district. MMSB presented the plan first at an 8 a.m. members-only meeting in the lobby of the Midtown Plaza building and later at a 2 p.m. press conference at The Depot. No funding has been acquired yet for the plan.

      “It’s a smart, economic design that can only increase our viability as the community hub while giving others another great reason to visit Mitchell,” said MMSB Board President Carrie English in a news release.

      MMSB worked with the Brookings architectural firm designArc to develop the streetscape plan. The group also worked with AcV2, a Rapid City firm, that studied funding opportunities for historic properties, and James Valley Nursery, a Mitchell company, for the landscape design.

      The plan, which encompasses 32 acres in downtown Mitchell, would add curb extensions, with trees and native landscaping, on Main Street from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue. Other proposed additions on Main Street include benches, sitting walls, bike racks, information kiosks and public art displays.

      Traffic lights at Second, Third, Fourth and Sixth avenues would be replaced with stop signs, and extra parking spaces would be gained by adding diagonal parking to one side of Main Street. According to Les Rowland, of designArc, Mitchell’s Main Street isn’t wide enough to allow for diagonal parking on both sides. No Main Street parking spots would be lost in the switch to diagonal parking, Rowland added.

      Wider mid-street and end-of-street pedestrian crossings would also be added to increase foot traffic and make the area safer for pedestrians.

      A downtown plaza, which would be at the south end of Main Street where a public parking lot is currently located at Railroad and Main, would include an outdoor amphitheater and natural playground, plus water features, public art displays and seating areas. The area could be used for outdoor concerts, festivals and other events, in addition to day-to-day use by residents and tourists, the group said.

      “It’s the perfect bookend to an already famous landmark like the Corn Palace,” Matt Culhane, owner of the Thunderbird Lodge and a streetscape committee member, said in the news release. “It’s something that will draw tourists and residents alike farther south, all while improving traffic flow to our downtown merchants.”

      The plan also includes an option to close Main Street between First and Railroad to traffic and create a pedestrians-only area, according to MMSB Director Molly Goldsmith.

      John Foster, owner of The Depot, which is located directly south of the plaza’s proposed location, said the plans will make downtown more inviting.

      “It will be more pleasant and green,” Foster said in the release. “That will make a huge difference not only for us, but for other merchants and those living, or who want to live, in downtown Mitchell.”

      Rowland and Lynda Pierce, both of designArc, said they based the streetscape design on community input — public meetings on the project were held last year — and by assessing downtown Mitchell’s needs.

      “The health of a community is really represented by what their downtown is like,” Pierce said.

      The entire design — both the plaza and street improvements — is meant to complement the Corn Palace by promoting tourism, but is also meant to bring locals back downtown, Pierce said.

      “To really encourage people to park downtown, bike downtown, and just walk and explore,” she said.

      A number of funding options are being considered for the $5.8 million project, including municipal, state and federal funds, as well as donations and grants, Goldsmith said at Monday’s press conference. At this point, no money has been secured for the project.

      “We’re definitely looking for it,” Goldsmith said.

      The project could be completed in phases, Pierce said, starting with the plaza at a cost of $2.1 million. After that, individual blocks on Main Street from First Avenue to Sixth Avenue could be completed for $425,000 each, she said. In that same five-block area of Main Street, the east-west blocks between Lawler Street and Rowley Street could be renovated for $270,000 per block, Pierce said.

      “That allows Mitchell Main Street Beyond to go out and get those funds,” she said.

      MMSB is planning to ask the city of Mitchell to contribute money for the project, Goldsmith said.

      “We consider this project a community project,” she said.

      The group intends to present its plan at the next Mitchell City Council meeting Monday.

      Funding the project will likely take a cooperative effort between the city and downtown businesses, Mitchell Mayor Ken Tracy said in an interview Monday.

      “I think that, overall, it would certainly improve our Main Street,” Tracy said. “I’m excited about it.”

      Tracy mentioned Rapid City’s business improvement district, which was created in 2010 to help pay for downtown projects including a public plaza, as an example of how downtown projects like this can be funded. A business improvement district is a self-taxation arrangement in which businesses agree to pay a fee, with the money going toward specific developments.

      Tracy said the city’s bonding capacity is limited because of the $13.9 million in bonds it sold in December and January to fund four major projects — a renovation of the Corn Palace and conversion of the attached City Hall to tourism space, the construction of a new city hall, the addition of a second sheet of ice at the Mitchell Activities Center, and an expansion and renovation of the Mitchell Public Library.

      “We’ll just have to take a look at it and see what types of funding we can come up with,” Tracy said.

      MMSB is not planning to ask for funding from downtown businesses for the project itself, but may seek a business improvement district (BID) to pay for maintenance once the streetscape is completed, said English, the group’s board president, at the press conference.

      A public parking lot would be removed and used as space for the plaza, but two nearby parking lots — one to the north at Navin Apartments and one to the south at The Depot — would remain. Despite one less lot, there should still be more than enough parking available in the area, Culhane said at Monday’s press conference.

      “There are places for them to go,” Culhane said. “So you’re not actually eliminating the space you might think.”

      No specific timeline for the project was offered at Monday’s press conference. In an interview after the press conference, Goldsmith said progress will largely depend on when funding is secured.

      “We wanted to create an area that would benefit every citizen of this city,” Culhane said in the release. “In doing so, we think this project has the potential to spawn new ideas and possibilities that many of us might have thought not possible here.”

      Reaction to MMSB’s plan was positive following the members-only meeting Monday morning.

      “I think it will bring a sense of community,” said Paula Platz, of Mitchell. “It will be a place that people want to be.”

      By changing the streetscape, Mitchell’s historic downtown area will be more inviting, Platz said.

      Bobbie Clark, also of Mitchell, said the changes could add a cultural vibe to the downtown area.

      “It’s going to make all ages feel welcome there,” she said. “I look forward to the things it will make possible for us.”

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      life, news, updates, downtown, business, mitchell

      Article source: http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/event/article/id/82145/group/homepage/