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Archives for December 11, 2013

Types of Christmas Trees

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Feeding tips for garden birds facing battle for survival over winter months

Feeding tips for garden birds facing battle for survival over winter months

By Sarah Trotter

A fieldfare eating an apple in the snow, picture courtesy of RSPB

AS A wintry chill creeps over News Shopper’s patch, experts are warning about the plight of wild birds. SARAH TROTTER digs out tips for feeding feathered friends in the garden.

PLUNGING temperatures and ice this winter will leave garden birds “vulnerable”, hungry and battling to survive, experts say.

Residents are urged to leave high energy foods such as peanuts, fat balls, and black sunflower seeds out regularly for them.

It comes after pet shop chain Pets At Home found 59 per cent of Brits rarely or never fed birds during the winter months last year.

Store manager at Blackheath’s Pets at Home, Nick Briscoe, said: “Wild birds are particularly vulnerable at this time of the year because the majority of people often forget to put food out for them.

“Combined with the freezing cold weather, it can be a very difficult for the birds to survive.”

While senior conservation officer for nature conservation charity RSPB in the south east, Lucy Baker, added: “Feedings birds can make a real difference, particularly when the weather is cold.

“At this time of year, there are a lot more birds in your garden looking for food.

“They need higher energy foods for when the winter really gets cold. Things like fat balls will keep them warm.”

She added: “Something people often forget is a supply of drinking water.”

She suggested gently breaking ice in a frozen pond to keep water flowing or putting a ball in the pond to stop it freezing over.

Speaking of the importance of setting up a regular feeding routine, she added: “They will forage where they can, if they know they are getting a nice regular supply of food, that is good for them and they can save energy rather than forage.”

Top wild bird foods:

  • Bird seed mixtures – better ones contain plenty of flaked maize, sunflower seeds, and peanut granules. Avoid seed mixtures that have split peas, beans, dried rice or lentils.
  • Fat balls – high energy treats. Make your own by pouring melted fat, such as suet or lard, onto a mixture of ingredients such as seeds, nuts, dried fruit, oatmeal, cheese and cake. Use about one-third fat to two-thirds mixture. Stir in a bowl and set in a container such as an empty coconut shell or plastic cup
  • Peanuts: Rich in fat and popular with many wild birds, especially tits and sparrows. Do not use salted or dry roasted peanuts and buy from a reputable dealer
  • Sunflower hearts: One of the highest sources of energy for wild birds. No mess as the husk is already removed. Particularly attractive to finches, tits, blackbirds and house sparrows
  • Black sunflower seeds: Very high in oil content, providing lots of energy. Ideal for chaffinches, greenfinches, sparrows and tits
  • Mealworms: Very high in protein. A favourite for robins, blue tits and songbirds -Need to be fresh
  • Cooked rice, brown or white, without salt added, will be eaten during severe winter weather.

Do not use:

– Dry dog and cat biscuits as birds may choke on the hard lumps.

– Cooked fat from roasting tins and dishes is bad for birds – Mouldy and stale food – Never give milk to any bird.

– Polyunsaturated margarines or vegetable oils – cooked porridge oats

For more information and to buy feed visit or

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Pruning tips: Start with roses, they’ll forgive you

Now is the time for all “good gardeners” to start thinking about pruning.

Begin with roses. They are tolerant of mistakes and you can apply the principles of pruning to larger shrubs and trees, without getting out your ladder. Roses should be pruned around the time of the last frost and before they start putting out new growth.

It helps in pruning if you know the types of roses you have:

  • Hybrid teas produce large, single flowers on plants that can grow 2 to 4 feet. Prune four to six canes to 1 to 3 feet depending on the size of shrub you desire.
  • Floribunda roses produce many flowers on each stem. Floribundas are generally smaller than hybrid teas and are pruned by heading back the canes to about one-third of their length.
  • Shrub and old roses have a twiggy growth habit. Minimum pruning is desirable as they flower on old wood.
  • Climbing roses and ramblers are best left to climb and ramble the first few years after planting. Limit the number of canes to about four to six. When mature, prune the lateral shoots that develop from the main cane back to two or three growth buds.
  • Tree roses need only to be pruned on the grafted bushy head. Prune it according to the type of rose that has been grafted at the top, following the directions above.

If all of this seems too complicated, just use your instincts. Take out weak or damaged wood. Don’t worry too much about “five leaflet leaf sets,” etc. Too many rules will frustrate you. Keep it simple. As a rule of thumb, don’t reduce the height of a rose more than one-third. If you planted a tall rose in a space where you’d like a short one, move it and plant one that is the appropriate size.

Approach rose pruning with confidence. It’s hard to make a mistake. A rose is forgiving and roses grow back quickly. Get out your gloves and clippers and get started.

For more details on pruning roses, visit and search for “rose pruning.” You’ll find tips on pruning roses of all types.

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Mimosa Garden Club members get tips on flower arranging

Mimosa Garden Club met Nov. 21, at the home of Shirley Diederich. Claudia Boles and Sallie Moreland helped prepare refreshments for the meeting. Anita Elrod gave an American Thanksgiving Prayer for the devotional.

Virginia Rainey gave a flower design demonstration of a Thanksgiving centerpiece. She also discussed how to condition the flowers she used in the arrangement and gave tips on different tricks in making arrangements.

Rainey is a National Garden Club Master Flower Show judge and a National Garden Club design instructor. She is also a member of Mimosa.

Arrangements were brought by Elizabeth Simmons, a large airy fall arrangements in a silver bowl and Pat Funchess, a fall potpourri arrangement in a Mason jar. Mimosa’s Christmas Luncheon will be held at The Red Shutter Inn in Starr, on Dec. 19.

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Owner Brent Freitas of Eye of the Day Garden Design Center a Featured Expert …

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Brent Freitas, owner of Eye of the Day Garden Center in Carpinteria in SoCal, was a featured expert on

Carpinteria, California (PRWEB) December 11, 2013

Brent Freitas, owner of Eye of the Day Garden Center in Carpinteria in SoCal, was a featured expert on, a widely trafficked site that informs new homebuyers and industry specialists about available new homes. As an expert, he issued tips of the trade about the types of materials outdoor enthusiasts should use for fire pits and other heat-containing vessels.

The article on, “Turn Up the Heat in Your Patio or Yard,” by Sarah Kinbar, discussed how to improve an outdoor backyard space to make it more enjoyable for the winter. Ideas included adding amenities like a whirlpool bath with a fire element for a spa-like space, two-sided gas fireplace, and rollable electric heating unit.

Near the end of the article, Freitas weighs in with important safety advice: consider the materials a fire pit is made of before actually using it. In particular, he explains that heat can wear on the material of any vessel that contains heat, and it’s therefore important to choose a pit or container that’s made of high-quality clay or concrete. Should less durable materials or merely decorative pots be used, potential fire hazards and fires could occur as pits begin to break down, crack, and even explode. To help prevent this, Freitas suggests checking labels of materials to make sure they’re suitable for fire, as well as using heat resistant paints.

As the owner of one of the leading Italian and Greek terracotta pottery distributors, Freitas is an expert in all things pertaining to the garden – whether they contain fire or not –especially with regards to high-end garden pottery, planters, and other decor. In particular, Eye of the Day features a variety of designer lines for garden amenities that include French Anduze pottery, pedestals, columns, birdbaths, benches, foundations, and more.

Eye of the Day boasts high-profile clientele, which includes Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren, and has also been featured on the DIY Network. Eye of the Day further works with international companies, private consumers, landscape architects, and trade specialists to create custom products for one-of-a-kind gardens and landscape designs.

For more information, visit; or, visit the headquarters off Carpinteria Avenue, open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

About Eye of the Day Garden Design Center

Eye of the Day Garden Design Center is a retail showroom that features more than an acre of high quality garden landscape products, including Italian terracotta pottery and fountains, Greek terracotta pottery, French Anduze pottery, and garden product manufacturers from America’s premier concrete garden pottery and decoration manufacturers. Eye of the Day is a leading importer and distributor of fine European garden pottery, and caters to private consumers, and landscape design and architecture firms around the world.

To see what Eye of the Day Garden Design Center can do for your business, visit

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2014 plans presented to Freeport aldermen – Freeport Journal

By Nick Crow
The Journal-Standard

Posted Dec. 9, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

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Children’s book features art by local illustrator

‘The Christmas Tree Elf’’ published in time for holidays

Now add elves to the list.

Humphries, a freelance concept artist and illustrator, finds his jobs on the Internet. When he saw a want ad on craigslist by Manhattan author Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon for someone to illustrate a children’s story, he applied for the job.

“He liked my work,” Humphries said.

Preliminary sketches were done to achieve the desired look for each character. Then the pages were created, followed by painting and editing.

On his website (, Humphries says, “I always strive to make my clients and their ideas look amazing, and I have never failed to meet a deadline.”

He kept that promise on this project even though the schedule was tight.

“I worked 15-hour days at the end to get it to the printer in time for Christmas,” he said.

The book

When Santa and Mrs. Claus decide to bring a tree inside their home and decorate it for Christmas (the first indoor Christmas tree), the tree catches fire!

An elf named Blink saves Christmas. Blink teaches the Clauses how to care for their tree, and he and his elves help out by building toys in the workshop.

The elves also make it their mission to care for all trees that come from the Christmas Tree Forest.

The creators

The author, Valentine D’Arcy Sheldon, works as a television producer and editor in New York.



He studied creative writing at Hamilton College, earned a Master’s Degree from the Tisch School of the Arts and attended the Rhode Island School of Design. This is his first book.

The artist grew up in Forest Lake, where he was home-schooled.

“I started drawing for fun,” he said, “and got serious at while I was at college.”

Humphries studied animation techniques at Northwestern College in Roseville, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in digital media arts and Bible in 2009.

College was expensive, he said, and possibly unnecessary for his career.

“Many of the skills I’m using today are self-taught,” he explained.

“To be an illustrator, it’s probably unwise to go to college,” he added. “None of the clients care if you have a degree.” Instead, clients need to know if the artist can draw something they want to see.



Humphries said he took a few basic painting and drawing courses and met a lot of interesting people at college, and there are other reasons to get a liberal arts education.

One of his earlier projects was also a children’s book. For Aloha Landscaping of Mendota Heights, he illustrated “There’s a Sponge Growing on the Roof,” a book about eco-friendly green roofs.

Humphries is happy to do all types of illustrations. “Technically, drawing a castle doesn’t feel different from drawing a spaceship,” he said.

At age 27, he’s just getting started in his career, but things look promising.

“I’ve always been good at drawing,” he said. “I’d like to be able to do it forever.”

“The Christmas Tree Elf” is available at

Valentine Sheldon Company

©Valentine Sheldon Company

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HB parks committee wants beach access involvement

The Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification committee is getting back to business with its second meeting since its summer break. It also now now has two city commission liaisons — possibly.

City commissioners voted on appointments to various committees and entities at their Nov. 19 meeting, at which time, based on the recommendation of Mayor Carmel Monti, Commissioner David Zaccagnino was eliminated from the beautification committee and replaced by Commissioner Marvin Grossman.

Zaccagnino protested at that meeting and later sent an email to the committee saying he would not attend its Dec. 4 meeting.

“Politics has reared its ugly head again and the mayor has dismissed me from this committee,” Zaccagnino wrote. “At the last commission meeting, I fought very hard to stay on, but it’s apparent that Marvin Grossman has more pull with the mayor and he will be your new liaison.”

Zaccagnino has been a liaison or member of the committee for 10 years and touted in his email the committee’s accomplishments, including the redevelopment of Kingfish Boat Ramp, memorial tree program, increasing tree canopy in the city, becoming a member of Tree City USA and more.

At the Nov. 19 meeting, Zaccagnino said the committee would not like his dismissal. He was partially right.

Committee chair Melissa Snyder said she had a conversation with Monti before the commission vote on liaison assignments, expressing frustration over Zaccagnino missing four meetings.

However, Snyder did not want Zaccagnino removed from the committee and upon finding out what the commission did, requested that he remain as liaison. Monti approved her request, but Grossman also will remain involved. He attended the Dec. 4 meeting and addressed the committee on beach accesses.

The city has been contemplating how to enhance beach accesses. Monti and building official Tom O’Brien have presented some ideas at various meetings that include beach access shelters, which have drawn criticism from residents who oppose shelters.

Those opposing say shelters detract from the natural environment and draw homeless people looking for a place to sleep or teenagers looking for a place to drink alcohol.

City officials have maintained that discussions are in the idea phase. Nothing official has been presented to the commission, but O’Brien is working on a presentation.

Grossman said the parks and beautification committee can get involved by presenting landscaping ideas to the commission. Grossman, who opposes shelters, said landscaping and benches are better solutions.

He has been involved with the dog park and has touted it as a place for dogs to play and people to socialize. He would like to see a similar environment created at the beach accesses.

“One of the things on my list to get involved with before I was elected was the dog park and the reason is that besides being a park, it’s a social event,” said Grossman.

He said it’s rare to see citizens anywhere talking with one another other than at the dog park.

“It’s an important community aspect,” he said. “It’s an opportunity for people to get together and I believe the beach accesses present another opportunity to do the same.”

Grossman said he is considering organizing sunset meetings at specific beach access points as a social function.

Snyder said those sites need to be identified and then a targeted landscape project can be determined to beautify the areas.

She agreed to accompany Grossman on a tour of the sites and bring some ideas back to the committee at its Jan. 8 meeting.

In other matters, the committee took issue with a lack of action on the city’s part for projects already approved by members.

Snyder said bushes were supposed to be planted at the 79th Street trolley stop, “but nothing has been done.”

She also said bollards were recommended to be placed near the entrance of the Grassy Point Preserve to prevent people from driving cars on the trail.

“It was recommended by Manatee County to put those bollards there and public works still hasn’t done it,” said Snyder.

Committee member Bob Longworth said the red cedar tree planted on Marina Drive and 77th Street in April is still wrapped in ropes.

“It is still tied up,” he said. “It needs to have some weed eating done around it and trim it up. It looks like hell.”

Committee member Jerry West said it won’t do anyone any good to criticize public works.

“Public works is doing a good job overall,” said West. “I think they are overworked. Maintenance is something we should look at and set up some priorities.”

Snyder said she wasn’t trying to criticize public works and acknowledged that committee members look for specific things that workers probably don’t see on a daily basis.

In other matters, the committee agreed to make a recommendation to remove the vegetation around a sculpture at the entrance to the Key Royale subdivision.

Snyder said it should be replaced with ground cover landscaping to prevent the vegetation from overtaking and covering the sculpture.

The committee also agreed to approach the city to suggest updating its Christmas decorations for next year, citing some that were “outdated and faded.”

Snyder also resurrected a community garden idea discussed in 2012, but never moved forward.

A community garden would give residents a chance to take part in a larger garden to grow vegetables of their choice.

Anna Maria has something similar, but use planter boxes. Snyder is against that idea and favors what the Annie Silver Community Center, in Bradenton Beach, has done by using land to section off garden plots.

Snyder said she would like to use a plot of land outside the small dog park and baseball field. She wants to move the idea forward, but said it would depend on community involvement. She asked interested people to email her at

Longworth said Holmes Beach “already has chickens running around. We might as well have a community garden.”

West disagreed, saying such the topic is not appropriate for the parks and beautification committee and should be taken up by local garden clubs.

The committee also discussed what to do about its annual education seminar.

Snyder suggested educating residents and visitors on the city’s many pocket parks, where small stretches of land have been dedicated as mini parks.

West said there are as many as 10 in the city and many are coming into their own as far as beautification. He suggested the committee members come up with a few ideas and present them at the next meeting, which is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Holmes Beach City Hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

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Addressing New Orleans East’s core problem

Consider Eastern New Orleans. Or is it New Orleans East? Or “The East”? Or Plum Orchard, Kenilworth, Eastover and Versailles?

The lack of an agreed-upon name is emblematic of the challenges faced by this section of Orleans Parish.

Residents express frustration that they must continually make an argument for their region’s existence, let alone for political attention and private investment. Indeed, they struggle just to get on the map. Flung outwardly from the metropolitan heart like the feathers of a shuttlecock, Eastern New Orleans often gets clipped from maps of the city proper, depriving it of cartographic attention — and everything that goes with it. That which literally lies on the margins often gets figuratively marginalized.

While its geographical position works against Eastern New Orleans’ argument, so does its internal geography. It lacks an identifiable core — no central plaza, no historic quarter, no walkable business or entertainment district, no famous landscaped park.

Neighborhoods, I’ve long held, are defined more by their cores than their peripheries. When you hear the words “Lower Garden District,” for example, you probably think of its central focal point, Coliseum Square. Likewise, Jackson Square, Audubon Park, Harrison Avenue and Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard mark the psychological nuclei or axes of the French Quarter, Uptown, Lakeview and Central City, and impart to those neighborhoods iconography and character.

Eastern New Orleans, on the other hand, comes across as an undifferentiated expanse of subdivisions without a distinctive nucleus. As a result, Eastern New Orleans lacks a sense of place, and finds itself excluded from the popular perception of classic New Orleans.

It’s a geographical problem with historical roots.

Whereas historic New Orleans grew outwardly from an original core settlement starting in the 1700s, Eastern New Orleans was the exact opposite: it grew inwardly from a peripheral framework of transportation arteries, mostly in the 1900s.

Prior, this area comprised two vast basins: Bayou Bienvenue on the south side, and, on the north, an expanse of shrubby marshes (the French called them Petit Bois or Little Woods) extending to the shores of brackish Lake Pontchartrain. Separating the two basins was a narrow topographic ridge formed by a former channel of the Mississippi River and later by its Bayou Metairie-Bayou Gentilly-Bayou Sauvage distributary.

Historically, this high ground, today’s Old Gentilly Road and Chef Menteur Highway, represented the only terrestrial access to the interior. All other ingress and egress required a boat sailing around lakes Pontchartrain and St. Catherine, through the Rigolets and Chef Menteur passes, or up Bayou Bienvenue. Thus, most of the swampy, marshy interior of present-day Eastern New Orleans remained wild into the late 1800s.

Railroads began to change this. In the 1870s, tracks were laid for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad along the shoulder of the topographic ridge to connect New Orleans with Biloxi and Mobile. In the 1880s, another line was laid for the New Orleans and North Eastern Railroad along the lakeshore, to connect the city with Slidell. For the first time, New Orleanians could now conveniently access the eastern marshes. Tiny communities formed along the tracks, joining the truck farms and dairies that had long lined Old Gentilly Road.

Access brought to light the area’s economic potential, which motivated the city to install drainage canals and pumps. By the 1910s, the former marsh and swamp became “reclaimed.” Investors followed suit, chief among them the New Orleans Lake Shore Land Company, whose president, cotton merchant Frank B. Hayne, came to own 7,500 acres of the now-drained basin. He proceeded to sell hundreds of five-acre tracts, not for residential development, but for citrus groves. Americans by this time had developed a taste for tropical fruits, and Louisiana oranges grown in Eastern New Orleans could be readily shipped to regional markets via rail and ship lines.

Shell roads were established across the drained basin in the form of a “superblock” grid that would be recognizable to motorists today. Mature orange trees were sent in from Florida and planted, and thousands of acres of orange groves arose.

The company’s plans for industrial-scale orange production were frustrated by bad weather, blight and world war. What remained by the 1940s were scores of smaller individual orchards and truck farms supplying municipal markets via, on the south, the recently paved State Highway 90, which passed through enclaves named Lee, Micheaud (Michoud) and Chef Menteur (near Fort Macomb), and on the north, a lakeshore boulevard named after Hayne, which paralleled the tracks to Slidell. A ride on that railroad would have taken passengers past tiny hamlets named Seabrook, Citrus, Edge Lake, Little Woods and, the farthest out, South Point.

Residents of these coastal outposts lived in raised wooden camps and tended to groves and market gardens, fished and hunted, or maintained the railroad and tended the locomotives. Many middle-class New Orleanians owned camps built on the lake, and something of a weekend recreational economy, complete with bathing facilities and hotels, developed here and elsewhere in Eastern New Orleans.

By this time, another peripheral transportation artery came into the picture, and it was a big one: the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal, which had been excavated during 1918-1923 to connect the Mississippi River with Lake Pontchartrain. A boon to barge traffic, the waterway created so many jobs, along Downman Road and elsewhere, that it became known colloquially as the Industrial Canal. But the waterway also severed the east from the heart of the metropolis, while introducing salt water into the city even as soils began to subside below sea level because of drainage.

Then, during World War II, the Intracoastal Waterway was dug along the area’s southern tier, essentially rendering Eastern New Orleans an island. By mid-century, the area was ringed with railroads, roads and canals, each lined with limited industrial or residential development. But it was still largely undeveloped at its core.

The Eastern New Orleans we know today is largely a product of five events of the late 1960s: Hurricane Betsy, which flooded parts of the area but also served as an impetus to erect hurricane-protection levees; NASA’s Michoud Assembly Plant, which brought hundreds of well-paying jobs to the area; the movement of the white middle class out of the central city; the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal, which brought ocean-going ships into the area even as it accelerated coastal erosion and salt-water intrusion; and, last but not least, Interstate 10, which, for the first time, brought accessibility to the core of Eastern New Orleans.

Each of these transformations, particularly I-10, instigated waves of housing development, and by the 1970s, subdivisions with names like Plum Orchard, Kenilworth and Versailles were built where stood citrus groves 50 years earlier, and wilderness a century prior.

Development would have extended further eastward — ramps had been built on I-10 to anticipate it — had not the petroleum market crashed in the early 1980s. Lands belonging to New Orleans East Inc., which had been poised to urbanize more than 20,000 acres of wetlands in far eastern Orleans Parish, instead became Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge. As part of its ambitious project, the company erected along I-10 a massive concrete sign emblazoned with NEW ORLEANS EAST, branding the area with that corporate moniker despite its demise. The name stuck.

At first, New Orleans East drew mostly white middle-class populations fleeing the inner city for what was billed as a “suburb within the city.” But when African Americans gained political power in City Hall in the late 1970s, many of those white families departed New Orleans altogether and resettled in adjacent parishes.

In their stead came black families, among them substantial numbers of the upwardly mobile middle and upper classes, who later bought into posh subdivisions such as Eastover. Vietnamese refugees, meanwhile, settled in the Versailles area starting in 1975, and, their numbers later supplemented by immigrants, have since prospered and bought into surrounding subdivisions. Multi-family housing and Section 8 vouchers, meanwhile, brought in large numbers of working-class and poor households, and with them came the social challenges affiliated with poverty.

By century’s end, geophysical problems increasingly came to light. Surrounded by salt water, bowl-shaped in its elevation, detached from the metropolitan core, adjacent to eroded marshes and ungated surge-prone canals, and ill-protected by what proved to be flimsy levees, New Orleans East lay both physically and socially vulnerable to catastrophe.

It suffered terribly when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, and, to add insult to injury, saw relatively little media and volunteer attention as it struggled to recover, in large part for its lack of a compelling historical narrative and picturesque cityscape.

How might New Orleans East address its geography problem?

One obvious suggestion would be to establish some sort of iconic core — a walkable mixed-use district with a distinctive architectural profile, where it’s great to work, shop, recreate and live. But forcing an urban form on a suburban space may be exactly that — forced — and I am all too familiar with the propensity of such grand plans to collapse under their own weight.

Instead, I might suggest we simply accept that New Orleans East is fundamentally non-nucleated, and build upon its historical-geographical strength: peripheral assets.

New Orleans East’s gorgeous lakeshore and eastern wetlands are among the most underutilized natural resources in the region. The picturesque hamlets and fishing camps that once lined Hayne Boulevard, the citrus groves, bathhouses and recreational parks such as Lincoln Beach (an integral memory of thousands of African Americans during the last years of segregation) lay unmarked and unremembered today, yet abound with potential.

Along its western and southern flanks, New Orleans East boasts the city’s premier inventory of industrial sites, all accessible by interstate, rail and canal. Chief among them is Michoud, which has unmatched opportunities for everything from building fuel tanks to developing drones to making movies.

New Orleans East could also improve its interior infrastructure by beautifying below-grade outfall canals with trees and landscaping, as recommended by experts involved in architect David Waggonner’s “Dutch Dialogues” project.

The region’s open drainage system, with its runoff-storing lakes and lakefront pumps, is the envy of other parts of the city, and may be aestheticized into something truly distinctive.

Yes, these are costly undertakings. But they are also scalable, and may be pursued incrementally with minimal disruption to everyday life. Tens of thousands of full-canopy shade trees, meanwhile, would do wonders for giving sun-drenched streets an appealing garden-suburb character.

And that is what New Orleans East needs most — a sense of place; a distinctive character; an embrace of what it is — and an acceptance of what it is not.


Richard Campanella, a geographer with the Tulane School of Architecture, is the author of “Bienville’s Dilemma,” “Geographies of New Orleans,” and other books, as well as the forthcoming “Bourbon Street: A History” (2014). He may be reached through his website, or @nolacampanella on Twitter.

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Mercer Arboretum & Botanic Gardens – Texas Gulf Coast Gardener Classes: Tier …

SPRING, TX – Mercer Arboretum Botanic Gardens and The Mercer Society (TMS), a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization, are pleased to offer the third and final segment of the Texas Gulf Coast Gardener (TGCG) program beginning Monday, January 27 for a six-week period onsite at Mercer. Registration is open now through January 20, so please call 281-443-8731 or visit the park to enroll. Tier 3 classes focus on landscape design, the use of hardscapes and water features in the landscape, and sustainable design practices. Participants will be introduced to an effective process for analyzing and designing a successful landscape, with emphasis on residential sites.

A broad range of exciting lessons and lectures, presented by Mercer staff and experts from the greater-Houston area, will accompany practical design workshops with such topics as designing mixed borders; effective water use and conservation in the home landscape; and ways to incorporate fruit- and vegetable-producing plants into visually-appealing landscape designs.

Classes will be held every Monday from January 27 through March 3 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. The cost of enrollment for TMS members is $100; enrollment for non-members is $115. Participants will receive a text book, class supplies, and a custom-designed TGCG gardening apron.
The TGCG curriculum was developed by Mercer staff with guidance from Dr. David Creech, professor of horticulture at Stephen F. Austin State University, and staff from Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches. The program gives participants the knowledge and skills needed to start, develop, and maintain their own gardens through a variety of gardening and horticulture topics specifically designed for the pleasures and challenges of the Texas Gulf Coast climate.

With leadership from Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, Mercer Arboretum Botanic Gardens is a Harris County Precinct 4 Parks facility located one mile north of FM 1960 at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road in Humble, 77338. Harris County Precinct 4 programs serve people of all ages regardless of socioeconomic level, race, sex, religion, national origin, or physical ability. Anyone seeking additional information, or requiring special assistance to participate in any program, should contact Mercer at 281-443-8731 or online at 

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