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Archives for August 13, 2013

Administration and Public Works Committee

Here’s a recap of our live coverage of this evening’s Evanston City Council Administration and Public Works Committee meeting.

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5:45 p.m.

A packet with information on tonight’s agenda items is available online.

Meeting called to order at 5:54 p.m.

Public comment

Rubin Aluno of Whole Foods at 1640 Chicago Ave. speaks in favor of the store’s request for a license to expand its liquor sales from beer and wine to include hard liquor.

Junad Rizki expresses concern about electrical safety at the water plant.

Agenda items

Minutes approved.

Payroll approved.

Bills approved.

Water utility electrical study. $73K contract with Greeley and Hansen of Chicago. Dave Stoneback, utilities director, says new OSHA regulations require new labeling of electrical equipment — that will be part of the scope of the study. Says regarding the fire at the water plant, the city’s insurer decided to pay the claim without doing a complete study to determine the exact cause. Contract approved.

Vehicle and equipment purchases … nine items totalling $434K. Approved.

New World Financial System implementation contract amendment with Schaefer Consulting. Assistant City Manager Marty Lyons says that while the city will be paying the contractor more, it will actually save money — because it will cost less than having city staff do the work. (City IT department has lost some staff recently, necessicitating the change.

New TV camera system for council chambers and Room 2404. $97K contract with AVI Systems of Bensenville. Approved.

McDaniel Avenue street lighting project change order $13K. More lights for McDaniel between Crain and Dempster streets. Approved.

Church Street street lighting project change order $80K. More lights near Evanston Township High School. Approved.

Utility easement for Trader Joe’s development. Approved.

Church Street Boat Ramp grant application to the state department of natural resources. Parks Director Doug Gaynor says over 100 boats use the ramp — including the DNR and the Coast Guard. Approved.

Sheridan Road/Chicago Avenue bike path state grant application for federal funds.  Total project cost $1.9 million. Grant might fund nearly $1.5 million. Would be off-road (on parkway) path from Chicago Avenue to Lincoln Street on the east side of the road by the NU campus.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says would reduce current sidewalk width from 12 to 8 feet and add a separate 8 foot wide bike path. Says project would also create landscaping to encourage pedestrians to use crosswalks at intersections.

Also have two-way bike path on Chicago Avenue from Davis Street to Sheridan Road.

Says assuming grant is receved there’ll be “a tremendous amount of public input” before final designs are developed for the project.

Alderman Jane Grover says Wilmette did beautiful bike lanes on Sheridan a few years ago — but Evanston at this point has trecherous riding conditions now on Sheridan. Approved.

Bike share system grant application. Related story. Catherine Hurley, sustainable programs coordinator , says the program is idea for short point-to-point trips. Can pick up a bike and drop it off at any station in the system.

Can help people get from transit hubs to their homes or workplaces.

Says there are at least 20 large programs run by city or county governments across the United States.

Says there are a lot of advantages to being part of the Chicago system — because it gives people access to bikes throughout the area.

Says grants will be awarded in January.

Initial proposal is for seven stations with ten bikes at each station. Have tentative ideas for locations.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, objects to the lack of any stations in the proposal on Howard Street.

Public Works Director Suzette Robinson says wanted to get locations that would be most likely to get high density of use — and then building out the system further from there.

Says there will be additional grant funding opportunities each year.

Rainey asks that the proposal should be held. Calls it “a slap in the face.”

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz says you can have a station. Says could have nine stations — one at Howard and one on Dempster. Would cost about $20K extra for additional stations.

Alderman Delores Holmes, 5th Ward, says its glaring that there’s no locations on the west side.

Hurley says would eventually like to have stations every half mile — but that would take 12 to 15 stations.

Chicago, she says is trying to have stations every quarter mile.

Bobkiewicz says Hurley initially asked for 14 stations. But when looked at match cost and the ongoing operating costs — he thought that was too much.

Says ongoing cost for the city could be $60K to $80K.

Depends on how much city wants to spend.

Rainey says she’s not asking for more stations — just spreading them outl.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, agrees to spread them out.

Rainey says — its about who would ride a bike and you’re saying that we [in South Evanston] wouldn’t.

Committee votes to approve the bike sharing program.

Whole Foods liquor license change. Approved.

Howard-Hartrey TIF district expansion. Proposal designed to add the 222 Hartrey building proposed for new Autobarn location to the tax increment financing district. TIF district had been extablished in 1992 for former Bell and Howell warehouse site. Now contains shopping center with Jewel, Target, Best Buy and OfficeMax. TIF is scheduled to expire in 2015. Proposal at this point just starts the process of expanding the TIF. Further reviews to come. Approved.

Discussion item on Northwestern University bus routes

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz shows map of routes. Says Alderman Judy Fiske, 1st Ward, says has received complaints from residents about bus service that runs from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. — serves Tech Institute and library.

Concerned about idling buses, etc.

Bobkiewicz says city staff met with NU offiicals this afternoon. NU said its a loop route and need to be able to make a loop. Considering Central or Foster — but residents there may not be thrilled.

Says NU will look at ending bus service earlier in the evening and urging students to use the “safe ride” service.

Also considering trying to use only hybrid, rather than diesel buses that would reduce fumes.

Bobkiewicz says hopes to be able to come back to the committee at Sept. 9 meeting with proposed agreement with the university.

Fiske says residents on east side of Sherman at Noyes are especially concerned. Says there have two bus stops within about 50 feet of each other. Says get large congregation of people waiting for buses.

Alderman Delores Holmes says if move the stop to the other side of the street then it will be in her ward.

Rainey suggests appointing a subcommittee of Grover Holmes and Fiske to have a public meeting on the issue.

Grover seconds. Approved (with Burrus abstaining.)

Meeting adjourned.

Planning and Development Committee to start at 7:30 p.m.

Article source: http://evanstonnow.com/story/government/bill-smith/2013-08-12/57944/administration-and-public-works-committee

The inaugural Labatt Blue Wingman Hockey Tournament

A couple of years ago I had an opportunity to chair a sub-committee for the Erie Canal Harbor Development Committee. Our task was to come up with ideas to enhance the summertime experience for guests at Canalside, while at the same time reviewing potential programming submissions by groups and individuals in the community. I distinctly recall that one of the ideas that we came across was that of building a synthetic ice rink so that people could skate outdoors in the middle of the summer season. While that idea never came to fruition, I’m happy to see the initiative take hold at an upcoming event – WingFest (the National Buffalo Wing Festival).

On Saturday, August 31, 2013, WingFest and Labatt will be hosting the inaugural Labatt Blue Wingman Hockey Tournament – a two-on-two, eight team competition that will take place no matter how hot the temperatures reach. There’s no need to worry about melting ice thanks to the synthetic rink. This time pond hockey will be unfettered by almost all of Mother Nature’s curveballs*. The tournament will be held in a parking lot at Coca-Cola field, where a 20 by 40 foot synthetic ice rink will be constructed, courtesy of Pace Landscaping and Ice Rinks.   “Some things just go together, like chicken wings, hockey and Labatt Blue,” said Lisa Texido, brand manager of Labatt Blue. “The Labatt Blue Wingman Hockey Tournament will allow hockey players to put on skates and actually play hockey outside, on ice, in the heat of summer. It doesn’t get much better than that. Synthetic ice is very versatile. In a matter of minutes, you can transform an area, either indoors or outdoors, into an ice skating surface that can be used anytime and in any weather.”

For more information about the ice rink, visit http://www.scan-ice.com/. I still think that the synthetic ice idea would be a great draw to the waterfront on a more permanent basis… in Buffalo there are a lot of people who own a pair of skates who would be psyched to skate outdoors on a sunny day. After watching a video on the synthetic rinks I realized that the process  of construction is a lot easier than I originally assumed (see videos here).

*The 20′x40′ rink will be located near the Labatt Blue tent (Exchange Street parking lot). If thunderstorms occur on Saturday, the tournament will take place on Sunday (if weather permits). The teams are predetermined. Tournament runs from noon to 9pm.

If you’re not familiar with WingFest, then just check out the video below and you will learn everything that you need to know in just a few minutes. Warning: I made it to as far as the Bobbing for Wings (in blue cheese) segment before the video got the best of me… maybe your stomach is tougher than mine?

 

Article source: http://buffalorising.com/2013/08/the-inaugural-labatt-blue-wingman-hockey-tournament/

An oasis of lush foliage is Newark’s hidden treasure

The land was cracked, busted up asphalt with weeds and vacant buildings just as desolate.

An abandoned Newark synagogue/church flanked one side. An empty post office and closed meat market was on the other.

It was anybody’s guess what would happen to this neighborhood less than a half-mile from the city’s business district.

Well, if a tree can grow in Brooklyn, then the wellspring of beauty that sprouted from nothing blows your mind today.

Geraniums smell of chocolate, grapefruit and old spice. Flowers are colorful and hard as stone, another soft as lamb’s ear. One plant is so sensitive that its leaves open and close when touched.

Hundreds of flowers and plants live in this urban ecosystem, a habitat crawling with thousands of critters normally found miles away. This place of wonderment was created by the Greater Newark Conservancy, an environmental organization that wants you to sample nature’s abode on 1.5 acres in the Central Ward.

A small stream runs through the Greater Newark Conservancy in Newark 

Bring a bag lunch, said Executive Director Robin L. Dougherty, and walk along the trails of its outdoor learning center that started with plants six inches high in 2004. The thicket is so full, no one can grasp the sprawling splendor by peaking through the fence on Springfield Avenue and Prince Street.

“You’re not going to see anything like this elsewhere in the city,’’ Dougherty said. “It’s a cool place to come and learn.’’


A water lily at the Greater Newark Conservancy in Newark
 

Donna Drew of South Orange heard about it for a while, but didn’t know what to expect the day she popped in.

“It’s like a little oasis in Newark,” Drews said. “The different species and the way that it’s organized and laid out. It’s just so thoughtful.”

The conservancy has made the public think about its surroundings 25 years in Newark, educating visitors about the environment and how its impacts on our health. The group started out creating community gardens at schools and in neighborhoods on empty lots, but it’s influence reaches beyond workshops on gardening.

Now they have a farm with fruits and vegetables that are sold. They expose ex-offenders to jobs like forestry, landscaping and solar installation. Newark high school students are hired in the summer, gaining an appreciation for the community.

Steven Rodriguez loves how the soil feels between his fingers and wants to have his own garden one day.

“I like the feel of making your own food,’’ Rodriguez said.

Remember that old synagogue/church?

The conservancy is turning it into classrooms, a demonstration kitchen/laboratory, galleries and meeting rooms.

And that post office and meat market? They are offices busy with environmental work.

Nestled between the buildings, discovery takes place. The demonstration garden has plants growing on hangers and a clothes line. More plants and flowers take root in beat up shoes and sneakers. Striped tomatoes are on vines, and basil grows in the shape of a tic-tac-toe board. Next to the garden, you can meditate in the sun dial amphitheater. And yes, the sun dial is real.

“We want people to come here and get ideas of what they can do,’’ Dougherty said. “You might see a toilet sometime out in the garden with flowers growing out of it. We like to reuse things.’’

Along the trail, visitors stroll under wooden canopies with plants on top. Mixed within the topiary, there’s colorful pink Hibiscus plants and indigenous species like snap dragons and witch hazel, a plant Lenape Indians picked when they lived in Newark. Underneath a foot bridge lily pads blanket a pond with bullfrogs, sun fish and a turtle. Dragon flies hover above, bees suck the nectar from flowers, butterflies dance about.

If you get tired, sit down on a bench made from mud, clay, and straw. Watch migratory birds swoop in for food and water, while others nest in 20 foot trees. Possums and racoons roam the grounds. Falcons and hawks drop in, like the one eating a rodent in the compost box.

“We’re kind of like a weigh station, a rest stop,” said Chantal Ludder, horticulturist for the conservancy.

Since it opened, 23,000 kids have been here, but many people still don’t know about this peaceful place.

Now you do.

MORE BARRY CARTER COLUMNS

Article source: http://blog.nj.com/njv_barry_carter/2013/08/an_oasis_of_lush_foliage_is_ne.html

OKC Beautiful to host zero-landfill casino night. Casino Florale to take place … – City

Staff Report Story by
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Invitation graphic Casino
Staff Report

All of Oklahoma City can get lucky on Aug. 16, as OKC Beautiful hosts Casino Florale. The casino night will be filled with food, games and drinks, all to benefit beautification projects and education in Oklahoma City, said Kasey Stefffen for OKC Beautiful.

The Shoppes at North Park, 12100 N. May Ave., will play host to the event beginning at 7:30 p.m. Throughout the evening, attendees will enjoy food from local restaurants, including Rococo, Kam’s Kookery and Guilford Gardens, In the Raw and Cupcake Heaven.

Closer to Earth Youth Garden group members will lend a hand at the event by disposing of compostable materials for their garden, while OKC Beautiful staff will recycle all other materials.

OKC Beautiful executive director Lisa Synar said she is thrilled to make this improvement in the second year of the event.

“We don’t want our events to add a pile to the landfill,” Synar said. “We want to live our mission in all we do, even when we’re raising money to do it.”

Closer to Earth Youth Garden is a nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk youths by fostering leadership capabilities and teaching gardening and landscaping skills.

Allen Parlier, executive director for Closer to Earth said these events should become more common because of the relief it provides to our growing landfills.

“Zero-landfill events reduce the strain on our landfills,” Parlier said. “At the same time, this event will give urban, unskilled youths the opportunity to contribute to improving the environment.”

Many items will be raffled during the fundraiser, including a week-long stay at a cabin in Crested Butte, a chef’s dinner for eight to be hosted in the winner’s home, a piece of furniture from Norwalk Home Furnishings and more.
Attendees will have the opportunity to try the “Viva Las Vegas” and “Viva OKC” specialty drinks presented by American Harvest Organic Spirit, as well as beverages from locally-owned Mustang Brewing Company.

Proceeds from the event will go to OKC Beautiful beautification projects and programs, including Mother Earth, Making OKC Beautiful Young Professionals, LitterBlitz and more.

Casino Florale will take place on Aug. 16 from 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. at the Shoppes at North Park. Tickets are $50 prior and $75 on the day of the event.

For more information, or to buy tickets, visit okcbeautiful.com (click the Casino Florale photo), by phone at 525-8822 or by sending a check to OKC Beautiful offices, 3535 N. Classen Blvd.
About OKC Beautiful

OKC Beautiful is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the image and appearance of Oklahoma City. OKC Beautiful provides programs that create clean and beautiful public spaces, reduce waste by increasing recycling and foster the next generation of environmental leaders. For more information, follow OKC Beautiful, visit OKCBeautiful.com.

About Casino Florale

Casino Florale is OKC Beautiful’s annual casino night to raise funds for beautification programs and projects in Oklahoma City. Tickets are $50 in advance and $75 on the day of the event. Admission includes playing money, drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Winnings will then be used as raffle tickets.

About Closer to Earth

Closer to Earth is a non-profit youth group empowering teenagers in Oklahoma City, and surrounding areas, through personal mentorship, organic gardening, and environmental and food justice advocacy. CTE mentors a diverse group of youth including youth serving court required or school required community service hours. It also offers youth the opportunity to gain job and leadership experience through stipend internships. CTE primarily works with youth who are referred to us by the city and county juvenile court systems and Oklahoma City schools.







Article source: http://city-sentinel.com/2013/08/okc-beautiful-to-host-zero-landfill-casino-night-casino-florale-to-take-place-on-friday-august-16/

Gardens that inspire gardeners

By Helen Pemberton | Palo Pinto County Master Gardener

August is a very difficult month to plant new landscapes in Palo Pinto County. Historically, the weather is hot and dry with no hope for relief until the first cold fronts come through in September.

All new landscapes – even well-planned xeriscape gardens – require a period of establishment. So August is better used as a planning time.

The new landscape (or a few new plants) will survive better if installed in the fall or spring.

However, there is work to do in August. Now is the time to visit well-established gardens to get inspiration for your own garden.

Go and see what is blooming in the heat of summer. Notice which plants have finished blooming and still supply structure and interest. Pay attention to plant combinations and interesting arrangements.

Imagine the things you like being transplanted to your yard and ask yourself:

• Are they too big?

• Could you plant fewer of them?

• Are they too small?

Ask other gardeners about their planting experiences. They can tell you where they look for inspiration and about their “champion” plants.

Make lists of the things that you like, take photos, walk around your property and imagine the plantings you desire.

So, where can one go to get inspired?

If you live in Palo Pinto County, you are surrounded by opportunity! There are three gardens that are just wonderful to visit:

• Clark Gardens Botanical Park, east of Mineral Wells, at 567 Maddux Road, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 180. Admission is $7 ($5 for young children and seniors). For information, call (940) 682-4856, or visit www.clarkgardens.org.

• The Vietnam Memorial Gardens, located at the National Vietnam War Museum grounds, also east of Mineral Wells on U.S. 180. Admission is free and the gardens are open to the public from dawn to dusk every day of the week. For information, visit www.nationalvnwarmuseum.org.

• Chandor Gardens, in Weatherford, located at 711 W. Lee Ave. Admission is $5. For information, call (817) 613-1700.

The Palo Pinto County Master Gardeners have installed successful plantings at the Courthouse, Extension Office and Historic Christian Church in Palo Pinto.  The Parker County Master Gardeners have demonstration gardens at the Parker County Extension Office, 604 N Main St., Weatherford.  The Fort Worth Botanic Gardens (I30 at University Dr., Fort Worth) are generally outstanding, and they have a dedicated Native Texas Garden which can really pique your imagination.

When driving through neighborhoods, you probably notice some yards are more appealing to you than others. Stop to think about what makes them appealing.

It could be specific plants that you like.

It could be a combination of plants, mulch, sidewalks, benches or maybe even a water feature.  

Write down any ideas you want to consider. Keep in mind that in today’s drier climate, we need to conserve water. That means a landscape needing lots of water – such as lawns, tropical foliage or mossy groundcover – should be planted somewhere with a wet climate, not Palo Pinto County!

August is a time for us to stay cool, enjoy iced drinks, visit inspirational gardens and plan future landscaping. If you or someone you know has an inspirational garden, the Palo Pinto Master Gardeners would like to know.

Also, call the Palo Pinto County Extension Office at 940-659-1228 if you would be interested in a Mineral Wells Garden Tour Day in October or April (and which you would prefer).

Article source: http://mineralwellsindex.com/local/x1664883318/Gardens-that-inspire-gardeners

Green Velvet Landscape: 50 years and growing

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PORTSMOUTH — If you’ve ever walked by the back entrance of Piscataqua Savings Bank, chances are you’ve taken the time to stop and smell the fresh flowers.

The outdoor arrangement, which over the years has served as a background for many photographs and constant praise from passersby, consists of everything from rudbeckias, echinaceas, petunias, marigolds and begonias.

As the person responsible for the upkeep of the many perennials and annuals, Jim Piper said that each and every time he watches someone stop and admire the flowers, he is reminded of why he continues to operate his landscaping business, Green Velvet Landscape.

“People stop me and say the gardens are so beautiful,” Piper said. “That says it all.”

Having tended to the downtown gardens for the past 35 years, Piper said it’s not uncommon for between 15 and 20 people to stop him while he works in the flower beds throughout the week.

The admiration, mixed with a love for landscaping, is what Piper said keeps him doing what he’s doing year after year.

Piper was only 14 years old when he started working at Green Velvet Landscape, which was founded in 1963 and run by Gordon Gaskell.

After putting in his time at the landscaping company, Piper went into business with Gaskell in 1970. A decade later, Piper took over the business, and a short time later, sold a burgeoning garden center on Central Road in order to concentrate on the landscaping side of the company.

This year, Piper is celebrating the company’s 50th year in business. Now 63, Piper said he credits the company’s longevity to not only the solid foundation built by Gaskell, but also to the continued attention he pays to the detail and quality of his landscaping.

“You do it because you love to do it,” Piper said.

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Article source: http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20130813-BIZ-308130353

Scotland’s most magical walled gardens

Lindsay’s garden had disappeared beneath 19th-century borders, so Historic
Scotland reconstructed a 17th-century parterre, framed by knee-high hedges
of box. The mottoes of Sir David Lindsay and his wife are spelt out in box
around four wedge-shaped beds planted with roses. Chequerboards of box
reflect the pattern of the walls, while in triangular corner beds, dwarf box
is clipped into two thistles, a rose and a fleur-de-lis to represent the
Union of the Crowns in 1603.

Edzell Castle, Edzell, Angus (01356 648631; historic-scotland.gov.uk).
Open every day, April 1 to September 30, 9.30am-5.30pm.

Kellie Castle in Fife

PIC: ANDREA JONES

The Firth of Forth can be glimpsed from Kellie Castle in Fife, a splash of
blue beyond its stone walls. The Scottish architect Sir Robert Lorimer spent
his childhood here, his late-19th-century restoration of castle and garden
inspiring his subsequent work at Earlshall, Hill of Tarvit and Formakin. To
a 17th-century framework he added a central walkway, a summer house and
corner gardens, creating a compactly pretty Arts and Crafts garden.

On a central lawn, encircled by a seat, stands an ancient apple tree. From
there paths of grass and gravel lead out, flanked by lichened fruit trees
and vegetable beds interplanted with flowers. Structure is given by box
edging, by yew enclosing a stone bowl carved by Hew Lorimer, by cordons of
pears and fan-trained apples, and by kiwis, figs and peaches on the
south-facing walls.

Kellie Castle, Pittenweem, Fife (0844 493 2184; nts.org.uk).
Garden open all year, 9.30am-6pm (or dusk if earlier).

  • Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute (main pic, top)

On the other side of Scotland, Mount Stuart, ancestral home of the Bute
family, stands on the Isle of Bute, its 18th-century landscape garden and
lime tree avenue sloping down to the Clyde. The kitchen garden was built in
the 1870s, at the same time as the red sandstone Gothic palace that replaced
a Georgian mansion destroyed by fire. Along its south-facing wall are
trained plums and damsons above a border of lavenders and sage. It is
enclosed on the other three sides by beech hedges; these green walls shelter
planting that thrives in the gravelly peat.

The remodelling of the Victorian garden by Rosemary Verey in 1990 was
triggered by the 6th Marquess’s purchase of a large glass pavilion from the
1988 Glasgow Garden Festival. She surrounded it with box beds to echo the
pattern of the paths through the adjacent pinetum, with vegetables laid out
within in parallel lines. Above the pavilion are two fruit cages in beech
hedge compartments, while below are an orchard of apples, pears and
cherries, and a simple grass labyrinth.

Tender plants from around the world are grown inside the glass pavilion.

In 2000, James Alexander-Sinclair sensibly softened the garden’s harder edges
by turning several vegetable beds into herbaceous borders for a bravura
August display of chrysanthemums, dahlias, grasses and foliage.

Mount Stuart, Isle of Bute (01700 503877; mountstuart.com).
Open from April to October 31, 10am-6pm.

Cambo Gardens, Fife

PIC: ANDREA JONES

By contrast with Mount Stuart’s strict geometry, the two-and-a-half-acre
walled garden at Cambo in the East Neuk of Fife is a place of mystery, with
winding paths and hidden seats. It is given rare charm by its burn, which
tumbles headlong to the sea, jumping over waterfalls and beneath the
Georgian, rose-clad, wrought-iron bridges that predate the early-1800s
garden. The Erskines have owned the estate since 1668, although the house
was rebuilt after a fire in 1878. House and garden are separated by
woodland, carpeted in February by the snowdrops for which Cambo is famous.

Sir Peter Erskine came to the helm in 1976, and his wife, Catherine, has
developed the snowdrop business and transformed the walled garden. Instead
of serried rows of dahlias, bedding plants, fruit and vegetables, Catherine
and head gardener Elliott Forsyth have created a garden for all seasons,
mastering the art of successive flowering, yet with a climax in August and
September. Relaxed and naturalistic planting combines the best of modern
design with an underlying sense of tradition. A nepeta walk slices through
the garden, with alliums, hardy geraniums and roses scrambling over old
apple trees. The dazzling ornamental potager is laid out in a flowing mix of
vegetables, annuals and perennials.

A new Prairie Garden, with North American species grown at Cambo from seed,
links the walled garden to the Georgian stables, soon to be restored with
Heritage Lottery funding.

Cambo, St Andrews, Fife (01333 450054; camboestate.com).
Open daily, 10am-5pm. Free tours every Tuesday, March to October.

Castle of Mey, Caithness

PIC: ALAMY

This garden, on the tip of the mainland, faces due north over the Pentland
Firth. Salt winds whip in from the sea, yet there is a warm microclimate in
this two-acre garden that would not exist were it not shielded by a 15ft
wall and tucked into the lee of the castle.

When the late Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother bought Mey in 1952, the garden
was a wilderness, which she reclaimed, paying her last visit only five
months before her death. Her favourite place was a south-facing bench in the
Shell Garden overlooking rose beds and nasturtiums, growing up like a hedge
of colour. She knew the name and place of every plant, and changes were made
at the gardeners’ peril.

Morning and Chilean glory are trained up inside the greenhouse, while outside
a ledge is filled with tubs of trailing lobelia, petunias and helichrysum,
and annuals are planted beneath in summer. Honeysuckle, clematis and
buddleia clamber over arches, and wall-backed beds are a mass of herbaceous
perennials.

Working rather than merely ornamental vegetable beds are rotated on a three to
four-yearly basis, and fruit cages are filled with raspberries,
strawberries, gooseberries and currants. The down-to-earth practicality of
this garden belies its royal ownership.

Castle of Mey, Thurso, Caithness (01847 851473; castleofmey.org.uk).
Open from May 1 to September 30, 10am-5pm.

Tips
for creating your own walled garden

Article source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/gardenstovisit/10230259/Scotlands-most-magical-walled-gardens.html

Chelsea garden remixed for Cityscapes

By Matthew Appleby
08 August 2013

Article source: http://www.hortweek.com/news/1194504/chelsea-garden-remixed-cityscapes/

Home Seller Tip: Design a rustic country garden to achieve a high-end price tag

A charming country garden can be a great addition to any home. Beautiful, quaint and part of a long British tradition, these types of garden can be enjoyed all throughout the year.

There is so much that can be done with a country garden, and it’s the perfect way to really put a stamp on your property to garner interest from prospective buyers. Waltons has some handy tips just for you to get started , so it’s time to unleash your creativity and design that fourth bedroom which will leave viewers fighting over the highest bid!

Perfect plants

No country garden is complete without a bed of wildflowers. But remember that these plants are used to wild, natural environments: give them free reign with a free-flowing style.

Creating a rugged look mimics the countryside, so bringing together hardy perennials and shrubs with the less conventional can really nail that rustic style.

Traditional wildflowers such as wood sorrel with its pale blue petals and heart shaped leaves can make you believe you’ve stepped out into the unknown. Try honeysuckle and long-stemmed buttercups to reproduce your very own pasture.

Herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage provide joy all year round as they give gorgeous scents in the summer, as well as being useful for the kitchen! Use the aroma to draw people into the garden escape to really attract the top offers on your home.

If you’re looking to add wildlife to the mix, go for lavender, angelica and bergamot which will bring those busy bees your way. Encourage frogs with metal pails of water and plenty of hidey-holes.

Log cabins

A log cabin can spark your country paradise into life. Walton has a top selection of bespoke buildings that will really bring your garden together.

Log cabins can be used for sitting out late into the evening in a beautiful setting, or even as a summer office. If furnished, it’ll give you the chance to present an extra room for multiple uses.

Make sure you have a winding path to guide you to the door after those evening walks among the mint and jasmine. Line it with locally sourced stone or wood to give it that natural feel. Who knows, maybe there’ll be more at the bottom of the garden than meets the eye?

If you aiming for a family-home-sale, a wildflower garden can seem like a fairytale for young children. With so many places to hide and discover, they’ll feel like they’ve fallen into wonderland if you leave wild patches to explore.

A log cabin could also be used as a den for the long summer holidays. Children will love having their very own space where they can play, imagine and create in their countryside space.

Natural accessories

By making your very own features from reclaimed wood, you’ll be helping out nature as well as injecting some original creativity into the garden.

Wooden beds or a weathered bench made from bleached timber can add that extra charm to your space. Use an old watering can or wheelbarrow to fill to the brim with your favourite wildflowers, as if they sprung up overnight!

When it comes to gardens, they tend to be one of the last places a new family will fix-up after they’ve moved in. By providing a space which is fit for their casual needs, or even for their youngsters, you’ll be providing potential buyers with a room that is already perfect. Meaning that when it comes to asking for top dollar, it’ll be hard to be refused!

Article source: http://www.nubricks.com/archives/54304/home-seller-tip-design-a-rustic-country-garden-to-achieve-a-high-end-price-tag/