Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for January 1, 2014

New Holland library auction includes plenty of gift ideas

Extraordinary and ordinary. Expensive and economical. Pleasurable and practical.

There’s something for every taste going on the auction block at the Eastern Lancaster County Library Dinner and Auction on Saturday, Jan. 11, at Yoder’s Restaurant, 14 S. Tower Road, New Holland.

Carla and Tom O’Neill found the perfect present for their daughter Alex’s 13th birthday — a hot air balloon ride — at last year’s auction.

The East Earl couple purchased one of two tickets for the balloon ride donated by Garden Spot Village. Pat and Linda Castagna, Alex’s grandparents, from Lancaster, purchased the the second one.

A third ticket was purchased from the U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team so younger sister Abby, 11, could join Alex and their grandfather, Pat, on what the birthday girl described as a “breathtaking” flight.

Said Pat Castagna, “It’s a memory I’ll always treasure, especially seeing the excitement of my granddaughters.”

Both the O’Neills and Castagnas agree that purchasing the balloon rides was a wonderful way to support the local library while giving the family a great memory.

The hot air balloon rides, donated by Garden Spot Village, will again go on the auction block this year. Other items, such as a 2002 Ford Taurus, quilts, artwork, pottery, artisan carvings and children’s toys and furniture, are also going up for bids.

Joining them on the auction block will be day trips to Philadelphia and New York, vacations to Cape Cod and West Virginia, a Super Bowl party package, Pellman’s desserts for a year, gift certificates for landscaping and restaurants, 100 gallons of home heating oil and a singing holiday telegram.

Auction chair Barbara MacMaster explained that for the first time this year’s auction has corporate sponsors, who CNH America LLC; Garden Spot Village; Chester County Solid Waste Authority; and Ephrata Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association.

“Also, the high bidder for each live and silent auction item will have his or her auction number put in a hat,” MacMaster said. “At the end of the evening, three to five numbers will be drawn to win special gifts.”

Cost for the dinner and auction is $25 per person. Tickets are required for dinner and can be purchased at the library,at 11 Chestnut Drive, New Holland.

Auction preview takes place at 4 p.m. and dinner is at 5 p.m. The auction runs from 6 to 9 p.m. There is no cost to attend the auction. There will also be a silent auction.

“The dinner/auction is our biggest fundraiser and we appreciate the continued support from the community,” said Donna Brice, library director.

Jim Costello, treasurer of the library’s board of trustees, said annual state, county and municipal funding has fallen from a total of $175,991 to $95,804 since 2008 — a decrease of $80,187. Private donations have also decreased, from $199,000 in 2007 to $130,000 this year.

He said the board has adjusted operating hours, staffing and programs to accommodate the funding decrease. The 2014 budget accounts for planned deficit spending of approximately $15,000, spending down meager reserves for future capital repair needs.

“We provide this wonderful community resource, open to the public 46 hours per week, Monday thru Saturday, for under $250,000 a year,” Costello noted.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by
blog comments powered by Disqus

Article source:

Rogers County Home, Garden Show set for March 21-23

December 31, 2013

Rogers County Home, Garden Show set for March 21-23

Mark Friedel

Staff Reporter
The Claremore Daily Progress

Tue Dec 31, 2013, 05:18 AM CST


Text Only

Claremore Daily Progress. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten or redistributed.

Article source:

Morton Grove decides against regulating trash scavengers

Morton Grove will reportedly not replicate Park Ridge’s newly-enacted regulation on scrap-metal scavengers.

Members of Morton Grove’s finance committee had a lengthy discussion on the topic in July after reading news articles about Park Ridge aldermen showing interest. However, now that Park Ridge sorted through the details and passed an ordinance, Morton Grove’s finance chair says the topic is dead.

“I still think it’s a good idea,” said Doug Steinman, chair of the finance committee. “I do my best to generate ideas to discuss and maybe pass along to our trustees, but I always leave it up to the group and I don’t feel like this one got enough support.”

Phillip Gera, another member of the committee, and Steinman introduced the idea for safety and revenue purposes, suggesting a $10 to $50 registration fee per scavenger so police are aware of who is on the road and how to find them if thefts were reported.

Park Ridge did just that on Dec. 2, requiring scavengers to register with the city, undergo criminal background checks and pay a $50 annual fee in order to collect items left for disposal on residential or commercial parkways and alleys.

Applicants convicted of felony or misdemeanor theft within the last five years will not be given a license, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance defines a “scavenger/junk hauler” as someone who removes and collects trash, metal, bricks, furniture, bottles or other items through the use of a motorized vehicle.

Any unlicensed scavengers will be subjected to a city fine.

One prime example of the crime Park Ridge hopes to prevent came just days after the ordinance was finalized, when police caught a scavenger stealing three manhole covers from the city’s materials storage yard at Elm Street and Greenwood Avenue.

Similar events occur in Morton Grove, as a scavenger was arrested on Dec. 15 for taking a grill from the backyard of a house in 6100 block of Crain Street. However, the police department declined to comment on hypothetical ordinances.

The original discussion by Morton Grove’s finance committee was broad. The group also discussed requiring snowplows and landscaping companies to register with the village. Some members worried about “big brother” perceptions.

The committee agreed to wait and see what happens in Park Ridge, but Steinman said the topic is dead.

Pioneer Press Staff Reporter Jennifer Johnson contributed to this story.

Article source:

Scottsbluff to host consultants for downtown plan

The City of Scottsbluff will move into the next phase of efforts to revitalize downtown Scottsbluff. Next week, the City of Scottsbluff will host consultants as it works on developing a landscaping and hardscaping plan.

The City of Scottsbluff has hired Dropseed Studio, an Omaha design firm and division of Kinghorn Gardens, to design the plan.

Dropseed Studios and Kinghorn Gardens is headed by Bryan Kinghorn, a native of Morrill, Scottsbluff Assistant City Manager Nathan Johnson said.

“We are looking at landscaping, hardscaping and pedestrian improvements,” Johnson said.

During the mill-and-overlay project, the city removed stoplights in the downtown area, improved the city street and made handicap accessibility improvements and spurred downtown public infrastructure improvements. The project was part of an overall larger project that helped fund improvements of downtown Scottsbluff businesses through grant funds.

The city will further those public infrastructure improvements, including looking at traffic mitigation and expanding handicap accessibility, as part of this next phase of projects.

“We would like to boost the aesthetics downtown and make it more of a destination point,” Johnson said. “Some of the things that we would like to incorporate would be sustainable, looking great but also have functionality about it as well.”

Johnson pointed to a parking lot project on First Avenue as an example. The parking lot is adorned by native grasses and plants that use less water, but soften the hardscaping of the lot. Dropseed Studio specializes in some projects and the City of Scottsbluff is hoping to see projections include permeable pavers and other sustainable practices implemented.

“We want the aesthetics to serve a purpose. Hopefully, we can come up with something that is not only innovative, but also be sustainable, 10, 20 or 30 years down the road,” Johnson said.

Dropseed Studio representatives will be in Scottsbluff on Jan. 7. Representatives will do a walking tour in downtown Scottsbluff with business owners, council members and others before hosting an open house, which is open to the public from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Midwest Theater. At 5:30 p.m., a brief public presentation will take place.

On Jan. 8, representatives of Dropseed Studio will start drawing up ideas, as covered in the walking tour and the open house, during a “pin-up process” at the Midwest Theater.

Members of the public are invited to stop at the theater to speak with the firm’s consultants, share input and see the process from 9 to 3 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Dropseed Studio consultants will host another public presentation, presenting the pin-up ideas.

“The idea is that the consultants will take the ideas from the pin-up process back to Omaha and develop the plan,” Johnson said. “We can take the master plan and incorporate it into the budget process.”

The council will decide whether proposed improvements can be funded in one large project or if improvements will be implemented in phases.

The key to the meetings being hosted in the downtown area is to gather input and information from the public, Johnson said.

“We want to make this process as transparent as possible. We really want the public to give input, whether that be good, bad or indifferent.”

Anyone with questions about the upcoming meetings can contact Johnson at 308-630-6202, or Annie Folck at 308-630-8011. Folck, who has served as stormwater specialist for Scottsbluff, will serve as the city planner.

Article source:

4 projects receive up to $200000 through ‘Voice of the Citizen’

The results are in for the “Voice of the Citizen” Budgeting for Public Safety initiative and four projects – one in each city sector – will receive city funding.

Outgoing Rochester Mayor Thomas S. Richards has announced in a news release that up to $200,000 – up to $50,000 per city quadrant – will be spent on projects that were wholly created and developed by Rochester citizens.

The Southwest quadrant winner was the Jobs for Life career and community education program.

The program will provide job referrals and mentors for 30 adults and tutoring for 60 youth in science, technology, engineering and math This includes seminars on block club leadership, civic engagement, financial literacy and home buying, as well as a youth disaster recovery workshop that teaches skills in disaster preparation.

The winning Southeast quadrant program includes civic engagement opportunities like traffic calming discussions and implementations, neighborhood enhancement projects such as mini-Clean Sweeps, gardens, landscaping and community collaboration events such movie nights, health fairs and holiday celebrations.

In the Northwest quadrant, a Crime Prevention through Environmental Design project won. Funding for this project is slated to include tactics to encourage pedestrian traffic and discourage loitering, street drug sales and gambling. These would be high visibility pedestrian crossing signs, increased brightness of street lighting in select areas, outdoor café seating for rotating use among the quadrant’s restaurants, stores and delis, sidewalk plantings and hanging baskets and vacant storefront art.

The Northeast quadrant winner was the GIS Scholars Program. Voice of the Citizen funding will allow the program to add 5 to 10 more students to take part in after-school training in the operation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology.

The students will create a mapping project designed to assist with crime prevention in selected areas. They will also collect data and identify crime rates through the mapping technology. The students will also create maps to plot variables surrounding crime such as property ownership, poverty, proximity to services and others. They will publish and share their results.

The two-week Voice of the Citizen voting period ended on Monday, Dec. 16 with a total of 840 votes cast.

The winning projects are scheduled to proceed to the implementation phase in January.

Article source:

Traditional Chinese art in the lap of luxury

BEIJING’S Shunyi District adds a new name to its hospitality offerings – Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery. A member of Preferred Boutique, a collection of small and intimate luxury hotels, the 38-room property is positioned as a boutique hotel endowed with an enviable collection of Chinese art and classic huanghuali furniture. Huanghuali is a Chinese word which means “yellow flowering pear” wood.

Conceived as a destination for immersion in Chinese tradition, Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery was inspired by a treasured collection of Chinese furniture and cultural artefacts. It is a combination gallery, boutique hotel, and event space, where guests have the opportunity to explore the beauty of iconic artistry and traditional craftsmanship, while experiencing them in liveable spaces. Presented in a courtyard style, and together with gardens that combine the landscaping styles of both northern and southern China, Lv Garden Huanghuali Gallery provides a view of ancient Chinese life that embraces Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.

Each of Lv Garden’s guestrooms is unique. Ranging from grand suites styled after the aesthetics of imperial China, to more intimate guestrooms for those who desire a discreet staying experience, accommodations at Lv Garden offer state-of-the-art amenities and bath accessories. Wireless internet is standard and complimentary throughout the property.

Meetings and events facilities include three formal boardrooms, a 45-seat performance theatre, and more than 10 mid to small-sized function rooms. Large-scale events and elaborate banquets may be hosted in the 400 sq m Grand Palace Hall or the 200 sq m Exhibition Hall.

Dining facilities include the property’s central restaurant, Shou Yun Xuan, offering classic Chinese and Western dishes with panoramic garden views. “Yan Cuisine” is specially inspired by green, healthy living, and features natural ingredients including fresh organic produce from the property’s own farm. A Japanese Teppanyaki private dining facility showcases interesting designs including glass floors where guests enjoy views of shimmering Koi ponds.

In addition to complimentary fitness facilities which include a modern techno gym and 25 m indoor pool, the spa at Lv Garden specialises in holistic Chinese treatments and therapies.

Lv Garden Huanghuali Art Gallery is located in the village of Beiwu and is approximately a 40-minute drive from downtown Beijing.

To celebrate the property’s opening, Lv Garden is offering a special package of 50 per cent off on the Imperial Retreat and Deluxe Suite guestrooms. The offer is valid until April 30, 2014 and includes a roundtrip airport transfer and daily breakfast for two.

Article source:

When to Give Up on Houseplants

It’s time to deconstruct your holiday decorations. Christmas china and tchotchkes go back in their boxes. But what do you do with those holiday plants?

Sometimes the problem is not keeping these alive, but wishing they would hurry up and die. Who wants poinsettias hanging around at Easter? Back when they were all ungainly and red as Rudolph’s reindeer nose, poinsettias were a joke, but breeders have worked such wonders that they have won the grudging respect of even plant snobs. Not only do poinsettias now come in an attractive variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, they are able to survive any amount of neglect. Unfortunately, they are still totally identified with Christmas, so unless you want to look like the horticultural equivalent of someone who never takes down their Christmas lights, you are forced to discard these as plants while they’re still healthy.

Do it. Even if you feel like a murderer. While you’re at it, throw out the paperwhite narcissus, which will never rebloom anyway, plus any other seasonal plants that have finished flowering or of which you are just plain tired. This is a really hard thing for gardeners to do. We are oriented toward nurturing. Air freight and mass marketing, however, have made houseplants so much cheaper than they used to be that it’s time to change our attitude.

We get a bouquet of flowers, it begins to look tatty, and we don’t think twice about throwing it out. But most of us feel a commitment to keep houseplants alive, when they can really be viewed as disposable. Why run a hospital ward, trying to nurse these things along for another year?

If you do want to try to have a long-term relationship with holiday plants, try thinking of your window sills as pieces of real estate. What counts for the plants is location, location, location.

You can have a black thumb but a cool house with a perfect draft-free nook in a south-facing window and even finicky plants will thrive. Or you can be attentive as an Earth mother but live in a house with dark windows and forced-air heat and watch your houseplants languish from lack of light and humidity. So experiment by trying plants in various windows to find the magic nook.

South-facing windows get the most light and are the best location for most flowering plants, succulents, bromeliads, and herbs. Begonias and gloxinias like east- or west-facing windows. Peace lilies and many foliage plants such as ivy, ficus, and ferns will tolerate north light.

Orchids do best in an east-facing window. Or keep them a couple of feet from a south window to lessen the strength of the sun’s rays. Moth orchids, called phalaenopsis (and pronounced fay-le-an-op-sis), are the easiest and longest-blooming type. Tropical lady slippers, or paphiopedilum (paf-e-o-ped-duh-lum) orchids, are less reliable rebloomers but have many fans because of their incredible markings. Orchids don’t like hot or cold drafts, so don’t put them near the radiator or a door because that might blast the buds.

Newly purchased flowering plants have been prepped to bloom in a well-lit greenhouse, but because light levels are low in New England homes in winter, there are relatively few flowering plants that will put on a good repeat performance next year if you keep them. You can get amaryllis, orchids, azaleas, cyclamen, gloxinias, and kalanchoes to rebloom with some effort and luck. Christmas cactus and peace lily are relatively easy rebloomers.

People are discovering that colorful foliage plants require much less light than flowers to thrive, and can more easily serve the same purpose of brightening up a home in January and February.

Fittonia, draceana, dieffenbachia, croton, and calathea are among the new tropical plants that have gained intensified leaf colors and patterns at the hands of European breeders.

Not all foliage plants are easy. Rosemary and other herbs need a lot of light but are worth pampering until spring because you can harvest sprigs for winter cooking when fresh herbs are expensive, and plant them outside in May.

Ferns need humidity and don’t do well in homes in the winter. They won’t die. They just won’t grow happily until spring comes. A home humidifier will help dramatically, or you can plant them in a terrarium.

The average New England home in winter is as dry as the Kalahari Desert. Plants that can stand this include cactus, peace lilies, jade plants, kalanchoe, and ficus. Still, if your cat won’t let you pet her because of the static shocks, you probably should buy a humidifier and run it at night.

An alternative for humidifying houseplant is to place them on saucers or trays of pebbles. Every houseplant needs a saucer to catch runoff from the hole in the bottom of the pot when you water, but some people make the mistake of letting the extra water stay in the saucer, which means the roots in the bottom of the pot are sitting under water and will rot. Filling the saucer with pebbles solves two problems. You don’t have to dump the water out of the saucer after each watering (as long as it doesn’t rise to level of the bottom of the pot), and that extra water creates a microclimate of higher humidity around the plant as it evaporates. Any kind of pebbles will do.

Indoor varieties of azaleas need a lot of water. But you can keep them going for years. Put them outside in the summer, then bring them back indoors in the fall because they are not hardy, and they’ll flower again. Fertilize them every two to three weeks when they’re not flowering. They need a lot of light.

Rex begonias have multi-colored leaves and make an undemanding, long-term houseplant. They like bright light but not direct sunlight. The flowering begonias are Reiger begonias, and those, you treat like an annual. They will bloom for nine months. Keep the old flowers picked off and discard them when they stop blooming.

Cyclamen and gloxinias should be kept slightly moist in a cool room. The trick is that they need a dormant period. They bloom October to May. Then they’re green during the summer. Stop watering them the first of August and let them die back and place them in a cellar for two months of rest. Then bring them back up, take them out of the pots, shake off the old soil, repot and water. Then don’t water again until they sprout.

Amaryllis will also rebloom after a dormant period. They usually start off with one flower stalk and a few blossoms, but you can encourage a second stalk by cutting off each flower as it finishes. Then cut off the entire stalk when all the blooms have finished. Water it once a week and feed it with a houseplant fertilizer such as Peter’s 20-20-20 water soluble fertilizer every other time you water it for two or three months. Don’t keep it too wet or it will rot the bulb. While it’s blooming, put it wherever you want to show it off, but when it finishes blooming, but it in a sunny window. The leaves will get strappy. Cut them off when they turn yellow. Put it outdoors in the shade in late May and water it once in a while. Bring it inside in early fall and repot the bulb in the same pot with fresh potting medium, so that one-third of the bulbs stick out above the new potting soil. If it’s rested outdoors enough, you don’t need a dormant period indoors. Fertilize it twice a month and it may rebloom in January or February.

And if it doesn’t, take it on a one-way trip to the compost pile.

Article source:

January: Time to plan the garden

From the safe tether of a soft chair, you can soar to the heady heights of landscape design, which is the most important but least considered aspect of garden-making.

Plants bring life, sculpture, texture, color and more to the garden, but they need a framework. I’ve known plant geeks whose entire yards are random collections of favored flora. They are places that are wholly enthralling to their creators, but to no one else.

Every garden needs a coherent structure. Design is pragmatic — it creates safe steps instead of muddy slopes — but it also drives scale, sets the mood and establishes a spirit of the place.

In the 1960s, Geoffrey Jellicoe, a giant of 20th-century landscape architecture, wrote a book with his wife, Susan, that described the two essential elements as “form” and “content.”

Form “is the disposition of space,” they wrote in “Modern Private Gardens.” The photos in the book, of mid-century modern houses and gardens, are in black and white and not particularly flattering, but they reveal a real paucity of plantings that, to my eye, actually deflates the central argument. There is too much form and not enough content.

Since the 1960s, we have enjoyed a horticultural revolution; far more ornamental plants are at hand along with an accepted need to use them in more natural ways. But this surfeit requires a keener sense of restraint to avoid a formless jumble.

Jellicoe, for a while, had formed a design partnership with another great modernist, Russell Page. Whenever I want to be recharged, I read Page’s classic “The Education of a Gardener” for his masterful insights and his gift of taking visual concepts and putting them into words.

Page’s fundamental approach to garden design was forged when, as an art student, he was told: “Know what it is you want to say, then try and express it as simply as you can.”

He wrote that “all the good gardens I have ever seen, all the garden scenes that have left me satisfied were the result of just such reticence; a simple idea developed just as far as it could be.”

The same sentiment is expressed by the Washington landscape architect James van Sweden, another designer who drew on art in making gardens. Van Sweden, who died in September, wrote (with Tom Christopher, in “The Artful Garden”) that to achieve restraint it helps to turn to abstract art when you are planning a garden. By thinking about abstract concepts such as the relationship of forms and space, you avoid getting distracted by anticipating the tangible elements of a built and planted garden. Van Sweden wrote: “It is a mistake to treat space, as so many gardeners do, as if it is elastic.” Gardeners “are prone to believe that there is always room for another specimen.”

All this talk of art might suggest that color is an essential structural element of garden building, but it is not; it actually serves as a trap for the unsuspecting.

A century ago, the landscape gardener Gertrude Jekyll popularized and stylized the perennial-rich cottage garden. She introduced gardeners to color sequences and effects, and over the years we became mesmerized by the idea that the Jekyllesque herbaceous border was the apex of horticulture.

Apart from the fact that color is content rather than form, a garden built solely on color effect can take over your life. If you want a 100-foot border in, say, blues, violets, silvers and whites from April to October, you have to become a plant expert and a constant gardener.

The results can be thrilling in the hands of floral supremos. I will never forget visiting Hadspen House in southern England a few years ago, where Canadian horticulturists Nori and Sandra Pope had taken the bones of an old, historic walled garden and turned it into, essentially, a flower border that was half a mile long and arranged in blocks of color.

The garden became world famous for its artistry, and the Popes wrote a book about their work, “Color in the Garden.” In a noisy, strutting world bombarded by color, they sought to tame the floral prism through artful groupings that were also mindful of other elements of design — “shape, form, texture and rhythm.” But it was the color that one saw predominantly, and it was thrilling to see on such a scale.

The garden, later and controversially, was removed by the owner of the property. Or, as the New York Times recounted afterward: “The Popes’ approach to gardening was so labor-intensive that when they retired in 2005, their garden could not survive without them.”

It is better for the home gardener, perhaps, to experiment with color on a much more limited basis. This can be done with tulips, where you can play with color contrasts and harmonies for a couple of weeks, and cheaply. If they turn out badly, you haven’t done permanent damage. You can also try color combinations in planters.

In assembling more permanent plants, it is better to try for groupings and contrasts of shape and leaf texture. This is a sounder way to decorate the “content” of your garden, and it works as well in the shade garden as one blessed with sunlight.

Page designed on a grand scale for deep-pocketed clients, but he made the point that the same principles of design apply to the humblest of spaces.

With the blank canvas of my small community garden plot — just 25 square feet — I found that by giving form to its terraces, deer fencing, paths and raised growing beds, it achieved that golden mean of form and content.

It took shape first on a piece of paper and, before that, in my January thinking chair.

@adrian_higgins on Twitter

Article source: