Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for December 10, 2013

Garden tips for December

Ryan Sproul

Ryan Sproul

Posted: Monday, December 9, 2013 12:00 am

Updated: 12:14 pm, Mon Dec 9, 2013.

Garden tips for December

Ryan Sproul

Grove Sun – Delaware County Journal


Well it is definitely winter time here in Delaware County. While we were lucky we did not get the ice that our neighbors down in southeast Oklahoma got, the snow sure made the roads slick and added a few more hours to those of us that have livestock to feed and take care of.

It is December, and I reckon this kind of weather can be expected, but the first one of the year takes some getting used to. For this week’s column, I wanted to share horticulture tips for the month of December. Stay safe out there and have a good week!!!

Lawn Turf

• Remove leaves from cool-season grasses or mow with a mulching mower.

• Continue mowing cool-season lawns on a regular basis.

• Continue to control broadleaf weeds in well-established warm- or cool-season lawns with a post-emergent broadleaf weed killer.

Tree Shrubs

• Select a freshly cut Christmas tree. Make a new cut prior to placing in tree stand. Add water daily.

• Live Christmas trees are a wise investment, as they become permanent additions to the landscape after the holidays.

• Light pruning of evergreens can be used for holiday decorations. Be careful with sap that can mar surfaces.


• Apply winter mulch to protect rose bush bud unions and other perennials. Wait until after several early freezes or you will give insects a good place to winter.

• Poinsettias must have at least six hours of bright, indirect light daily. Keep plants away from drafts.

Fruits Nuts

• Cover strawberry plants with a mulch about 3 to 4 inches thick if plants are prone to winter injury.

• Wait to prune fruit trees until late February or March.


• Keep all plants watered during dry conditions even though some may be dormant.

• Irrigate all plantings at least 24 hours before hard-freezing weather if soil is dry.

• Order gardening supplies for next season.

• Now is a great time to design and make structural improvements in your garden and landscape.

• Send for mail-order catalogs if you are not already on their mailing lists.

• Clean and fill bird feeders.

• Make sure indoor plants are receiving enough light or set up an indoor fluorescent plant light.

• Till garden plots without a cover crop to further expose garden pests to harsh winter conditions.

• Review your garden records so you can correct past mistakes. Purchase a new gardening journal or calendar to keep the New Year’s gardening records.

Ryan Sproul is the extension educator, for ag and 4-H youth development, with the OSU Extension Services in Delaware County. For more information, or to contact Sproul, persons interested may call 918-253-4332 or email

More about Ryan Sproul

  • ARTICLE: Observe bulls closely as fall breeding season begins
  • ARTICLE: Locals compete, place at District 4H Poultry and Rabbit Show
  • ARTICLE: 4-H Poultry and Rabbit Show Saturday
  • ARTICLE: Caterpillar the culprit in tree damage

More about Grove

  • ARTICLE: Business Briefs
  • ARTICLE: Grove Sun’s Sunspots for 12.10.13
  • ARTICLE: A few bits and pieces of life
  • ARTICLE: Moving ahead for future generations

More about Grove Sun

  • Surprise Patrol - Mazzios Surprise Patrol – Mazzios
  • ARTICLE: Annual event strives to help neighbors in need
  • ARTICLE: Crypt Orchard is king
  • ARTICLE: Grove Sun’s Sunspots for 12.10.13


Monday, December 9, 2013 12:00 am.

Updated: 12:14 pm.

| Tags:

Ryan Sproul,


Grove Sun,

Osu Extension Office,

Delaware County,

Extension Educator

Article source:

Citywide cleanup effort deemed success; organizers envision more in 2014

These days, when Jack Gover and his three-legged dog, Hope, visit Davenport Park, they don’t spot the litter they used to see.

“I just came from [the park],” Gover said in a recent interview. “There was like nothing to pick up.”

Gover can’t say the same for the Hyre Park trail area behind Hyre Middle School.

Despite several cleanups in the forested park behind the school on Wedgewood Drive, Gover said debris remains, with some of it packed down and difficult to remove. When a pond in the forest recedes, he said, layers of trash are exposed.

“It upsets me,” said Gover, an ardent Akron volunteer who, along with his trusty canine sidekick, has adopted the cleanup of parks as a personal mission. “This is a city park. The community center and middle school are right there. Yet, there is no plan or maintenance.”

Gover, who along with other Akron volunteers helped spur a citywide effort called My Neighborhood Our Akron, is feeling a combination of pride and frustration as the first year of the program draws to a close. He says the effort has shown positive results, like improvements to Davenport Park and bringing people together from different groups. But, he also thinks the program hasn’t always followed through on all of its plans nor done enough to encourage recycling.

“I feel like I’ve given so much of my life,” he said on a rainy afternoon as he and Hope finished a walk through Hyre Park. “I feel like I’ve made a difference. At [other] points, I feel like I’ve hit a brick wall.”

When organizers started My Neighborhood Our Akron in April, they knew they faced challenges. They were trying to bring together people from many groups who had different ideas about what should be done and when, and they were doing it with no budget.

Despite continued challenges, many of the city and school officials, council members, community leaders and volunteers involved in the program say the fledgling effort has achieved positive results in its inaugural year. They are looking for even better outcomes in 2014, with a new focus and — possibly – even a budget.

“We can’t conquer the world in the first year,” said John Valle, Akron’s director of neighborhood assistance who has led the effort. He says it must take “baby steps” forward.

A new focus

The original intent of My Neighborhood Our Akron was to better coordinate the cleanup efforts that various groups and volunteers were making across the city.

The idea was modeled after a successful project in Evansville, Ind., that resulted in 20,000 pounds of trash being collected over a yearlong period.

But, though Akron’s effort still involves a cleanup component, its focus has changed to an attempt to tackle other types of small projects in the community, such as landscaping, rebuilding steps, spreading mulch and wood chips, clearing brush, painting and pulling weeds.

“I figured once a month we would pick up trash,” Valle said. “We didn’t do that.”

Valle said the new mission crystallized in mid-September, when a collection of volunteers came together at Forest Lodge Park in West Akron: the city, Boy Scout Troop 96, City Council members, Keep Akron Beautiful, Knights of Columbus, St. Sebastian Church, West Akron Block Watches and the West Akron Baseball League. They put in a brick patio, mulched and spread wood chips throughout the park.

Karen Hague, who works with Valle in neighborhood assistance, recalls surveying the hodgepodge of volunteers that day and getting teary-eyed.

“I know that will be the single-most project that will distinguish this from going out and cleaning up parks,” Valle said. “We need to do more things like that.”

Such projects, organizers say, will produce a more lasting impact than picking up trash while also achieving the group’s original goals of bringing together different groups to improve the city and creating a stronger sense of community.

Paula Davis, who heads up Keep Akron Beautiful, is excited about My Neighborhood Our Akron’s new focus, especially because she was concerned about the future sustainability of the effort’s original idea, which treaded close to the purpose of her organization.

“I think they have found some niches and holes that we had in delivering services to citizens and neighborhood groups,” Davis said. “That just takes time. You go in for one thing, spend a year in the trenches and come out with something different.”

Davis said Keep Akron Beautiful is happy to continue supporting the My Neighborhood Our Akron effort.

“I just think it is finding its fit,” she said.

Next steps

In its first year, My Neighborhood Our Akron relied on volunteers, community groups and local companies to donate supplies.

Donnie Kammer and Marilyn Keith, who are among the Akron City Council members active in the effort, are pushing for $10,000 in the city’s operating budget for the program next year.

Valle said such funding would allow the group to buy some basic supplies and tools, including gloves, water and signs to let the community know what the group is doing, when, where and how to get involved.

Sally Nyburg, with neighborhood assistance, plans to apply for a Neighborhood Partnership grant, which the city provides to groups who are able to match the amount with their own funds or volunteer hours. My Neighborhood Our Akron would provide its match through hours.

Valle said the effort in its first year was able to touch just about every area of the city. He said Goodyear Heights was one neighborhood that was missed, and that will be a focus for next year.

Projects on the horizon include: building a pavilion, mulching and painting at Canyon Trail park in West Akron; installing a playground at Suddieth Park in North Hill, ideally with the help of a grant; and a “Big Day of Serving” on April 5 that would target multiple projects around the city with the help of volunteers from Connection Church in Medina. The church provided volunteers for an Oct. 5 blitz of 16 projects across Akron.

An executive committee, made up of the groups involved in My Neighborhood Our Akron, will meet this month and in January to prepare for when the larger umbrella group reconvenes in February. The next round of projects will begin in March or April, depending on the weather.

As for Gover, he said he hasn’t decided if he wants to continue to be involved in My Neighborhood Our Akron. Regardless, he said, he and Hope won’t stop their efforts to clean the parks they’ve adopted.

“It’s frustrating, but I feel like we’ve made a difference anyhow,” he said. “When you target an area, you can’t just leave. You have to keep going back.”

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or Follow on Twitter: @swarsmith.

Article source:

Navasota ISD Announce Recipients of Grants to Teachers Awards

NAVASOTA The Navasota ISD Education Foundation is pleased to announce the recipients of the Grants to Teachers awards. Eighteen teachers, working on eight distinct projects will be awarded funding totaling $35,600.01.

The projects and teachers are as follows:

Project: 1st Grade ELA Enrichment
School: High Point Elementary
Teachers: Sarah Lee and Elicia Meekins
Award: $4,950.00

The ELA summer enrichment program is a project designed to meet the needs of first grade students who attend High Point Elementary by providing them with English/Language Arts instruction and additional Neuhaus phonics instruction in small group and whole group settings. The program was designed to give students the additional instruction to help prepare them for the next grade level, and at the same time, give a stronger foundation in the basics of reading and phonics. The goal is to get at-risk students to grade level by the end of the program.

Project: Minis for Many
School: High Point Elementary
Teachers: Ashley Barrett, Julie Mock, Pam Mojica
Award: $4,774.38

The Minis for Many project will allow second grade students (especially from economically disadvantaged and non-English backgrounds) to utilize current technology on a daily basis. Not only will they use them daily in stations, they will also use them across curriculum for projects and research. Daily exposure will allow all students to experience the information multiple times in a variety of formats; orally, kinesthetically and visually. Research has shown that students have a greater grasp of information when given multiple opportunities to learn the same concept. The High Point Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten teams have implemented iPads in their daily schedules and have seen major benefits of their inclusion. All teachers have seen greater focus and increased engagement while utilizing this technology.

Project: Chairs and Desk Systems
School: Navasota High School
Teachers: Kimberly Ann Currens and Megan Wilkinson
Award: $4,962.00

To facilitate cooperative learning it is imperative that students have the proper learning environment which includes a seating arrangement that can quickly and quietly form groups. With NISD moving toward project based learning, this becomes even more important. This project involves the purchase of seminar style chairs and tables. Cooperative learning is based on building small groups that work toward a common goal with each student’s success is dependent on the group’s success. It is more than working side-by-side while solving problems. With seminar style tables, two pairs become a group of four with a minimal amount of effort – two students turn around.

Project: Media Crew
School: Navasota High School
Teachers: Jake Henson and Ronnie Gonzalez
Award: $4,977.31

The Navasota High School Media Crew needs a new camera package to improve the visual and audial aspects of their final project, speed up transfer time of camera-to-computer workflow, have new features and tools on the package to learn new skills, and use the updated equipment to create more positions for student crew members to meet the needs for a quickly growing after school program. The package will include the camera to add a new camera operator position with improved image quality and coverage and will require additional mastery of new controls currently not offered with our other cameras, extra batteries and chargers for long shoots, a protective case for storage and travel, two tripod stands (both short and tall) to add dynamic holding positions and open up new filming opportunities, new video cards which will allow fast transfer and create a new student position called on-site editor (an essential position in the professional realm) where a student can begin creating a highlight or promotional video live at the event, and a slate, headphones, and audio kit to create another student position called on-site audio recorder in which a student can capture and control sound recording which will merge to the video footage: a technical skill currently not available with our equipment. The theory behind the project is that with the equipment update new student jobs will be available, the range of skills taught and practiced will expand, the production value will improve, and the strength of our promotional outreach as a program and a school will grow.

Project: Science Fair
School: Navasota High School
Teachers: Kristi Ramsey and Darcie Crumpacker
Award: $2,560.00

At the end of the 2012-13 school year, the high school science department made the decision to no longer require students to complete a science fair project and participate in science fair. Several students were very disappointed in this decision as science fair was an area where they were able to learn, lead, and succeed in school. This project is designed to allow students who choose to continue with their science fair projects to. The students will complete science fair projects outside the classroom requirements. They will be mentored by an experienced science teacher and allowed the opportunity to compete locally with the option of advancing to regional competition and beyond. The grant will provide the funding necessary to facilitate this action.

Project: Landscaping
School: Navasota Junior High School
Teachers: Brett Henry and Benjamin Mendez
Award: $3,468.32

This project will create a more inviting environment for students, faculty and visitors than currently exists at Navasota Junior high. The project fits with the district goal of ‘building on the individual’s imagination, curiosity, and talents’. this will be accomplished by guiding the students through the process of planning, budgeting, procuring materials and implementing the project. The project will involve landscaping of the campus with particular attention paid to the areas where visitors come and go. Students will design the layout of ornamental plants such as crepe myrtle trees, roses, purple-sage, dwarf yaupon, pink muhly grass, Mexican feather grass, Southern Bayberry, Leyland cypress, Arizona cypress, esperanza, bottle brush, and other trees, shrubs, annual and perennial flowers They will select plants, prepare the soil and install the plants.

Project: Creating Innovators through Project Based Learning
School: Navasota Junior High School
Teachers: Monica Guerrero and Cara Moreland
Award: $4,908.00

Project based learning is a collaborative way of teaching and learning. It is gaining popularity in many schools because of the way it engages students and motivates them to want to learn. Through the use of projects, it connects learning to real life. This makes learning relevant to the students. Students complete complex tasks that allow them to problem solve, investigate, debate, and present their ideas. These tasks are centered on a driving question the students must answer. Students learn to use many resources to find answers instead of relying on a teacher to answer all questions. Many project based models require students to use devices to connect to the Internet, collaborate with peers, and present their learning to an audience. This funding of this project will give the students access to mobile, Internet enabled devices. Navasota ISD has set goals for the classroom teacher to move towards student-centered learning. Project based learning fits that vision perfectly. It allows the student to take control of his/her own learning and supports a true student-centered environment.

Project: Arts and Smarts
School: Navasota Schools
Teachers: Jo Anna Moreland, Jessica Waldroup, and Ronnie Gonzalez
Award: $5,000.00

Live theater! Many of our students have not experienced the thrill of live theater. This project proposes trips for elementary students to attend OPAS Jr.’s “Peter Pan”, Junior High students to attend MSC OPAS’s “Cirque Dream Rocks”, and High School students to attend “West Side Story” at a very reduced cost plus transportation. Students would be required to pay $5 for “Peter Pan” tickets and $10 for “Cirque Dream Rocks” and “West Side Story” tickets. The grant would cover the rest of the regular ticket prices of $18 and $29 (student rate) each.

Article source:

Old churches get makeovers as homes, bookstores

.cnnstrylccimg640{margin:0 27px 14px 0}
.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:visited,.cnn_html_slideshow_media_caption a:link,.captionText a,.captionText a:visited,.captiontext a:link{color:outline:medium none}
.cnnVerticalGalleryPhoto{margin:0 auto;padding-right:68px;width:270px}

Alyn Carlson of Westport, Massachusetts, remodeled this nondenominational church from the early 20th century into a 4,000-square-foot home where she and her husband raised three children. See how Carlson and others are adapting religious buildings for new uses.Alyn Carlson of Westport, Massachusetts, remodeled this nondenominational church from the early 20th century into a 4,000-square-foot home where she and her husband raised three children. See how Carlson and others are adapting religious buildings for new uses.

When you live in an old building, there is always something to fix, Carlson said, like caring for an elderly relative.When you live in an old building, there is always something to fix, Carlson said, like caring for an “elderly relative.”

Much to the delight of her children and grandchildren, Carlson installed a fireman pole in the attached home that used to be a Sunday school. Much to the delight of her children and grandchildren, Carlson installed a fireman pole in the attached home that used to be a Sunday school.

Pableaux Johnson converted this 1,400-square-foot Methodist church built in 1904 into a loft home. The church in St. Martinville, Louisiana, was on the brink of being torn down when Johnson bought it.Pableaux Johnson converted this 1,400-square-foot Methodist church built in 1904 into a loft home. The church in St. Martinville, Louisiana, was on the brink of being torn down when Johnson bought it.

Johnson installed the kitchen in the altar and a breakfast nook made from old pews in the church.Johnson installed the kitchen in the altar and a breakfast nook made from old pews in the church.

With the help of friends, Johnson built the loft that became the master bedroom. With the help of friends, Johnson built the loft that became the master bedroom.

Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia is home to the Earth Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph dedicated to environmental research and education. Its office is in a former chapel known as the House of Loreto, a replica of the original House of Loreto, which, according to tradition, is the first home where baby Jesus lived with the Virgin Mary and Joseph.Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia is home to the Earth Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph dedicated to environmental research and education. Its office is in a former chapel known as the House of Loreto, a replica of the original House of Loreto, which, according to tradition, is the first home where baby Jesus lived with the Virgin Mary and Joseph.

Chestnut Hill College's House of Loreto was built to house a relic from the original pilgrimage site in Italy. No one used it until the school finished renovating it in 2010 to house the Earth Center. The building now boasts several eco-friendly features that make it a model for green initiatives, including a geothermal well for heating and cooling and stormwater gardens.Chestnut Hill College’s House of Loreto was built to house a relic from the original pilgrimage site in Italy. No one used it until the school finished renovating it in 2010 to house the Earth Center. The building now boasts several eco-friendly features that make it a model for green initiatives, including a geothermal well for heating and cooling and stormwater gardens.

The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a 13th-century Dominican church that was converted into a bookstore that opened in 2007. It has won architectural awards and regularly makes best of lists.The Boekhandel Selexyz Dominicanen in Maastricht, Netherlands, is a 13th-century Dominican church that was converted into a bookstore that opened in 2007. It has won architectural awards and regularly makes “best of” lists.

New York's Church of the Holy Communion, a Gothic Revival cathedral built in the 19th century, went through numerous phases before it became the Limelight nightclub. The name stuck even after it closed in 2007 and reopened in 2010 as a mixed-use retail market.New York’s Church of the Holy Communion, a Gothic Revival cathedral built in the 19th century, went through numerous phases before it became the Limelight nightclub. The name stuck even after it closed in 2007 and reopened in 2010 as a mixed-use retail market.











Editor’s note: This story is part of CNN’s American Journey series showing how old buildings around the United States have found new purposes and helped to build communities. Are there repurposed buildings in your community? Share the stories with CNN iReport and they could be featured in a CNN story.

(CNN) — Some would knock on the door, like the unstable man who claimed he was Satan and had come to kill Jesus. Others burst in unannounced, carrying casserole dishes for the church potluck or looking for the spot where they’d been pronounced husband and wife.

The surprise visitors diminished slightly over the years as Alyn Carlson planted trees and built a stone wall around the converted New England church she and her family called home for more than 30 years. The landscaping made it look more like a house than a nondenominational church built in the early 20th century. But transforming a 4,000-square-foot sanctuary into a home has its obstacles.

“A church is made for a specific reason, so you can enter and leave the rest of the world behind,” said Carlson, an artist and graphic designer in Westport, Massachusetts. “How can I make a wide-open space cozy and intimate? That was the challenge.”

As the concept of adaptive reuse, or reusing an old structure for a new purpose, becomes more popular, property owners are breathing new life into religious buildings as homes, offices, community centers, bookstores, restaurants, even nightclubs.

“In terms of sustainability, both cultural and environmental, there’s nothing better really than adapting an existing structure to a new use. It helps create a stronger community by stitching the history of the community together with a localized framework,” said architect Bill Leddy, chairman of the American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment.

Churches, especially Gothic and Baroque edifices in urban areas, are not the most common candidates for adaptive reuse. Depending on its size, an old church or cathedral can be costly to heat in the winter and keep cool in the summer. If it’s old, it might take a lot of work and even more money to upgrade electric systems and plumbing.

But there’s something about them — maybe the vaulted ceilings or the large stained-glass windows and wood-paneled walls — that ambitious rehabbers and hopeless romantics find hard to resist.

“Churches have a distinctive quality. Many of them are saved not just for the fact that they’re sustainable but for the fact that they’re unique and historic,” said Leddy, founding partner of the Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects firm in California’s San Francisco Bay Area.

Their historic value often protects them from being demolished or altered significantly, which can be a blessing and a curse for adaptive use, said architect Craig Rafferty, chairman of the architecture institute’s Interfaith Forum on Religion, Art and Architecture. Elaborate facades and features like steeples, altars, religious carvings and large wooden doors might be visually stunning but impractical for secular purposes.

“You need to understand the architectural quality of the space and find activities that are compatible,” he said. “If you want a small, intimate cottage, a 300-person church is not the best starting point.”

Some congregations outgrow their homes or their needs evolve, especially for progressive congregations looking to turn their houses of worship into a kind of community center or third place for followers, said Rafferty, a principal with Rafferty Rafferty Tollefson Lindeke Architects in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Usually, congregations leave religious buildings for financial reasons, when declining membership makes sustaining a property unreasonable or maintenance and upkeep simply become too expensive, said religious scholar Dave McConeghy, who specializes in contemporary American religious history, spatial theory and sacred space.

But even if you take the congregation out of the church, traces of the past linger.

Pableaux Johnson wasn’t looking for a new home when he came upon the old Methodist church in southern Louisiana while helping friends move into the home next door. But he was immediately drawn to its clean, simple lines and wondered why no one was using it.

“It was just beautiful. Nobody had used it in years, but it was made out of old grown cypress. Built like a truck,” the freelance writer and photographer said. “If someone had bought the thing and torn it down, would’ve been worth more as scrap.”

When he learned that the structure was in danger of being torn down, Johnson, who grew up in the area, saw a “preservation project.” Plus, he’d have a place to stay when he came down to visit his father.

“We tried to muck with it as little as possible to be stewards of someone else’s history,” he said.

It took about two years to clean out and renovate the 1,400-square-foot space, during which he found a rafter with 1904, the year it was built, etched into the surface. With the help of friends, he built a loft for a master bedroom and bathroom. The altar became the kitchen, to honor the importance of communal cooking, food and drink in Southern culture. Out of the pews, he created chairs for a breakfast nook and a long dining table.

He held on to it for about a decade, until his father moved out of the state and he decided to sell it. It was important that he “keep it in the family,” so he sold it to a friend who was also from the area.

Historian Rien Fertel was in the middle of his Ph.D. dissertation on Louisiana history at Tulane when he came by to check out the place.

“Here was this little church in the middle of the the original French Louisiana settlements,” said Fertel, who grew up in Lafayette. “It just felt right.”

Fertel, a history teacher at Tulane, divides his time between New Orleans and the church home in St. Martinsville. When he’s not there, he opens it to friends who are writers and musicians looking for a creative retreat, allowing him to honor its history as a gathering place open to the community.

When he is there, he almost forgets that he’s in a church until he wakes up to the colored light streaming through the stained glass. That, and when strangers come a-knocking, curious to hear about its history. In those moments, Fertel becomes aware of what it means to own a piece of local history.

“It feels very delicate. Especially with it being a church, you get the sense of everything that has happened here, how many people have used it, the funerals, weddings, the services,” he said. “You feel very responsible for everything: the walls, the roof and just every little detail because it’s so dang old.”

Carlson likens the responsibility of tending to her New England church to caring for an “elderly relative.”

“You’re always taking care of stuff just to keep it alive and protect it from nature,” she said. “It is a building like most old buildings, and it’s never going to be finished.”

Carlson and her husband, a minister, moved into the attached Sunday school in 1981 after their congregation bought the property. When the congregation decided to sell the property in 1986, the couple assumed the mortgage, paying $60,000 for the 4,000-square-foot structure and three acres of property.

It took several years to transform the sanctuary into two lofts connected by a catwalk. The choir loft became a master bedroom with a bathroom nestled in the steeple. They brought the attached Sunday school down to its foundation and built a combined office and living space for their three children. Then, they began the monumental task of transforming the parking lot into a backyard with a fire pit, garden and swings.

After her three children moved out, she and her husband opened their home to the community. They hosted parties, plays, operas, weddings, even a firewalk in the backyard. But, they never figured out the perfect solution for keeping the place warm on cold winter nights. And cleaning never gets easier when everything is big, from the floors and walls to kitchen table and bookshelves.

Like Johnson, Carlson eventually decided it was time to move on. The time came a few years after she and her husband divorced and she bought him out. She had given as much as she was willing to give to the church and wanted to focus more on her art.

At 2,000 square feet, her new home, a rental near a dairy barn, is still sizable. But, she can tell the difference in the amount of time it takes to clean.

She feels good about the young couple who took over the place. They remind Carlson of her and her ex-husband, “good, strong backs and lots of ideas.” They kept her chickens and plan to execute on an idea for a patio that she never got around to.

“They’re continuing the work of keeping the place alive,” she said. “But they have their own ideas, and I trust them.”

Article source:

My Space – Worth Park

10 December 2013

Article source:

Gardens: A cultivated passion

Taupo's Huka Lodge. Photo / Supplied
Taupo’s Huka Lodge. Photo / Supplied

By the age of 7, Suzanne Turley was already showing her future leanings. Walking home from school one day, she spotted a beautiful bloom hanging over a neighbour’s fence. “I loved picking flowers,” explains Turley. So she promptly snapped it off to claim as a pretty treasure of her own. “The lady owner chased me home. I was terrified,” she laughs. Luckily, the neighbour only wanted to educate Turley to snip flowers off at the base of the stem, rather than decapitate their heads.

“As a child, I wanted to be a florist,” says Turley, who has worked as one of New Zealand’s foremost landscape designers for close to 20 years now. She remembers trailing happily behind her green-fingered grandfather in one of those old-fashioned gardens that had a chook run, fruit trees, a vegetable patch and a potting shed.

Self-taught landscape gardener Suzanne Turley is most awarded for her work on the grounds of Huka Lodge  in Taupo. Photo / Supplied
Self-taught landscape gardener Suzanne Turley is most awarded for her work on the grounds of Huka Lodge in Taupo. Photo / Supplied

The path to her current profession was not perfectly paved, however. Somehow, she side-tracked into fashion and, together with her mother, opened the Blanche Maude boutique, an icon in the industry in the 70s and 80s. With the arrival in New Zealand of big-name high-end brands, the retail arena became too fractured, and Turley wandered into the world of garden design.

This mid-career move was not a purposeful reinvention of self, but rather a gradual realisation of where her talents lay. “I had a garden in Remuera on a busy road that had featured in some lifestyle magazines. Friends and friends-of-friends started to ask me for advice about theirs.”

Self-taught, Turley set herself up initially as a garden consultant. But when those same friends began asking for her to create pools and entire landscapes, she knew she had to enlist trained help. “That stuff was beyond me. I knew what I wanted, but I couldn’t draw it.” From such organic beginnings, Suzanne Turley Landscapes, a full architectural practice, was formed.

Although there are many landscape designers around these days, few seem to accomplish the richness of experience that Turley captures in her work. Hers is not the milieu of static design. With her palette of plants, she paints an ever-evolving picture of layers and textures. She calls this ability the “choreography”of the garden. “Plants are perishable. What looks nice today is not going to stay that way. You need to tame the garden, manage it – and have the vision to know what it is going to look like in 10 to 15 years.”

She says her success comes down to an intimate knowledge of plants. “A cook has to know their ingredients, and how they’ll react, or they’ll never bake a good cake.”

Step one in her design process is to create the “bones”, those elements that will hold the garden 24/7. That’s fairly easy in an expansive, rural space, where stone walls and magnificent trees bring structure, but less readily achievable in compact suburban gardens. “That’s when you need to look at the wider landscape and see what you can borrow from the neighbours.”

Space was not an issue in what is probably Turley’s most-awarded project, the garden at Huka Lodge. That is now listed as a New Zealand Garden of National Significance, and Turley has worked closely with interior designer Virginia Fisher to develop the property over the past 15 years. “That garden has soul,” says Turley. “The moment I step into it, I am engulfed by a lovely feeling of peace.”

The garden at Huka Lodge. Photo / Supplied
The garden at Huka Lodge. Photo / Supplied

Combined with the power of the Waikato River that cuts through it, the Huka experience is one that international visitors indulge in just as much as a trout fishing excursion on the lake, or a trip to the nearby falls. “At Huka, I was lucky enough to inherit a garden that already featured some European deciduous trees and some redwoods that were at least 80 years old. They are its backbone.”

Weaving a tapestry of form and foliage, Turley has designed several garden rooms for entertaining and dining. These enclosed, private spaces are juxtaposed against blade-perfect manicured lawns that lend a park-like feel to the area in front of the main lodge. Another garden journey involves boardwalks, bridges and ponds. Turley worked alongside the gardener for two weeks, carefully placing pumice-like rocks into the pond so that it appears as though they have simply tumbled down the hillside to rest in its waters.

She also asked owner Alex van Heeren for the budget to extend the pond just a little further. “A boardwalk needs a good start and a good finish and the pond needed an extra bit to put an end on it,” she explains.

Van Heeren went along with Turley’s gut instinct and, on his latest visit to Huka, gave it his highest accolade.

Turley has gone on to design the gardens in van Heeren’s other lodges in Fiji and South Africa, but although the big jobs bring the glory, she also relishes the challenge of working on small domestic projects. “Mainly these days, I have to ask myself how I am going to achieve everything that is in the brief and on a site that is mostly taken up by the house.”

She believes good landscaping can really make architecture “sing”. It’s a hand-in-hand process and, she’s happy to report, landscape design seems to have taken its rightful place at the drawing board.

“I used to struggle to get clients to allow for landscaping in the budget. I’d be pulled in at the end and asked to ‘make it look good’. Now, I’m usually consulted from day one.”

When asked for her views on the much-requested “low-maintenance” garden, she laughs. “There’s no such thing. If you want that, you had better live in an apartment!” Turley also points out that smaller gardens are sometimes even harder to maintain because every leaf of every plant is right in your face. “In a wider landscape you take in the big picture and can overlook the weeds.”

Working at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather is a given but her pet hates are cute-but-destructive rabbits, and pukeko. “They’re such aggressive birds. They don’t like anything new going into their territory.” On one job in Waiheke Island, the stroppy fowls ripped up all the plants in a wetland area the team had shaped.

After two decades in the field, Turley says she’s still learning. “I’m not afraid of using common plants, but I like to see how I can use them in a different way, how I can add more drama.”

Like the seasons’ effect on a garden, she sees her career as ever changing. It’s this dynamism that fills her with excitement. “I daren’t take my landscape gardening books to bed or I won’t sleep all night dreaming about the ideas I can’t wait to create.”


Article source:

Library notes: Seeding an interest in garden heritage

What makes a garden? Why do we seem to choose certain plants and planting patterns? Historical perspective might help.

Old-fashioned gardens have been in fashion for a long time, even in terms of our country’s short history. We had our own indigenous garden style, but it was overlooked by garden historians who saw only the influence of English high Victorian ribbon beds, the Arts and Crafts Movement, or formal Italian and French landscaping.

For American art historian and novice gardener May Brawley Hill (“Grandmother’s Garden: The Old-Fashioned American Garden 1865-1915”) here was a mystery to be solved. In American paintings of the late 19th century, with titles such as “Old Garden,” “The Old Fashioned Garden,” or “Grandmother’s Garden,” there appeared “an immensely appealing garden, small in scale but generous in its planting.”

Hill turned to garden books published after the Civil War and found her painted garden well described. Many of these books were written by women. Then followed the centennial of 1876, which encouraged a patriotic and nativist interest in America’s past, some of it imagined. By the 1890s this interest was also shared by garden writers, novelists, popular historians and civic reformers, who saw in grandmother’s garden style a refuge from the social upheavals of industrialization.

As shown in Hill’s book, filled with paintings and photographs, these gardens were usually small enough to be maintained by one person. The hardy flowers, in contrast to exotics imported for estate gardens, were usually arranged informally in rectangular beds with low borders of plants or stone. The planting scheme could be haphazardly exuberant, but often showed a painter’s eye for color and contrast. The book refers to the “modest gardens in North and South Carolina,” and mentions the box-bordered Murdock garden on Bank Street and the Boyden garden on Fisher Street, which occupied several acres. May Brawley Hill is a Boyden descendant, with memories of “overgrown boxwood, indomitable old shrub roses, giant crepe myrtles, rampant wisteria . . . and an indestructible peony hedge.”

In “Heirloom Gardening in the South,” William C. Welch and Greg Grant offer a cultural history of contributions to our Southern gardening tradition, a handbook covering a wealth of Southern heirloom plants, and narratives of the creation of two personal gardens. Emanis House is Greg Grant’s garden in Arcadia, located in East Texas. The old farmhouse belonged to his maternal grandparents, Marquette and Eloy Emanis. The landscape is full of elements of rural Southern life (dogtrot houses, home food production and storage, cisterns), but Grant has always thought of it as “the grandest place on earth.”

Welch’s country cottage garden has developed around an 1860s Texas ranch house, so termite-ridden his wife named it “Fragilee.” According to Welch, the list of plants that have failed is long, but so is the list of those that thrive.

For both Welch and Grant, examining our garden heritage will help us create distinctive and useful new gardens and landscapes the truly reflect our region and its people.

Nutcracker Story — Headquarters, Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m., Stanback Auditorium. Salisbury Symphony Orchestra presents excerpts from the Nutcracker. Hear the story that inspired the music — and maybe even meet a ballerina. This program is open to all. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Computer classes: Intermediate Excel 2007 — Dec. 9, 7 p.m., South; Dec. 10, 1 p.m., East (registration required for East only, call 704-216-8242); Dec. 12, 9:30 a.m., Headquarters. Learn how to do more with Excel and go beyond the basics of creating and formatting spreadsheets. In this class, learn how to sort, filter and summarize data. Prior attendance at the basic Excel class (or some knowledge of Excel) recommended. Class size is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Book Bites Club: South (only), Dec. 17, 6:30 p.m., “The Time Keeper” by Mitch Albom. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Holiday “Tea Party” Storytime — Headquarters, Dec. 18, 10:30 a.m., for children 5 and under. A tea party, stories and crafts. Co-sponsored by Smart Start Rowan. For more information please call 704-216-8234.

Holiday library hours — Dec. 23, close at 7 p.m.; Dec. 24-26, closed for Christmas, regular hours resume Friday, Dec. 27; Dec. 30, close at 7 p.m.; Dec. 31, close at 5 p.m.; Jan. 1, closed for New Year’s Day.

Displays for December: headquarters, Waterworks; South, watercolors by Caroline Marshall; East, holiday by Mary Earnhardt.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

Article source: