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Archives for January 23, 2014

Berkeley time capsule contents unveiled

A bible from the 1800s, along with anti-drinking pamphlets, were among the contents of a time capsule found in Berkeley last week. Photo: Leonard nielson

A bible from the 1800s and anti-liquor pamphlets were among the contents of a time capsule found in Berkeley last week. Photo: Leonard Nielson

A time capsule discovered last week during the demolition of a Berkeley community church included a carefully wrapped 1875 family bible from one of the church’s founding members, newspaper articles about the church groundbreaking in 1948, and several other related records, such as a church history and roster, published sermons related to the founding pastor, and an architectural flier about the building. Several pro-temperance fliers written by the pastor, seemingly in support of an election coming up around the time of the church’s construction, were also among the contents.

Pastor Leonard Nielson, of the San Francisco Presbytery — which is based in Berkeley, oversees about 77 Bay Area churches, and was the former property owner of the church — opened the time capsule Monday after it was given to him by developer William Schrader Jr. Schrader is constructing a new apartment building on the site of St. Paul’s Church, at 2024 Durant Ave., where the time capsule was discovered by construction workers last week.

Schrader has plans to put the box, with modern contents, back into the new Durant apartment building behind its original cornerstone from the church.

Have ideas for what to include in the new time capsule? Share them in the comments section below. Schrader says he will consider all suggestions.

In addition to the reburial of the time capsule, Schrader said he plans to install the historic church cornerstone on the site of the new apartments. He also plans to incorporate the church’s large copper steeple as public art, part of the landscaping on the property. He hopes those efforts will serve as a way to help carry some of the past forward, he said.

“I just think you should connect the past to the future if you can do it somehow,” he said. “That building didn’t have anything really distinctive other than this beautiful copper steeple. I don’t want to just sell it and see it get melted down.”

The copper box, measuring 10 inches long by 8 inches wide and 8 inches tall, had been soldered shut to be completely air- and watertight, said Nielson. He took the box home and opened it carefully so as not to damage it, he said.

In addition to the items described above, Nielson said the box also included a 1926 book of government for the denomination, a bulleted short history from the church’s founding in 1945 until its groundbreaking in 1948, bylaws of its incorporation, and some programs from the groundbreaking ceremony itself, which mentions the time capsule and its contents.

“It’s all just a bit of local history,” he said, via email. “Very homey.”

As part of his job, Nielson works with the presbytery’s 35 or so small churches, and is the pastor at one of them, Christ Presbyterian Church in San Leandro. A contractor and architect by trade, he oversaw the sale of St. Paul’s, and handles other types of financial issues and transactions for the presbytery.

According to Nielson, St. Paul’s Church was initially founded in a denomination called the United Presbyterian Church of North America. It was, apparently, the only church in Berkeley of that particular denomination, “which explains why they founded it,” he said.

In 1958, the denomination merged with the larger United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, which already had three churches in Berkeley at the time. That’s “also why it eventually dwindled,” said Nielson, due to “too many churches of the same denomination in Berkeley.”

Those two denominations had split over slavery during the Civil War and didn’t reunite for 120 years, he added.

The founding pastor of St. Paul’s, Frank Shunk Downs, had been president of the California Temperance League, as well as a local preacher. Several of his tracts were included in the time capsule: “What the Bible says about Social Drinking” and “Liquor at the Bar of Judgement.” Nielson said the second item appeared to be an informational campaign flyer for a vote on temperance that was held in California in 1948, noting, “which I guess didn’t pass. Lots of local color.”

Pro-temperance literature written by the founding St. Paul's pastor. Photo: Leonard Nielson

Pro-temperance literature written by the founding St. Paul’s pastor. Photo: Leonard Nielson

Nielson shed further light on how the church would have come about during a phone call last week, indicating that people from Berkeley who were settling down after World War II would have been its founders.

For many years, it wasn’t uncommon for small community groups of anywhere from 30-100 people to get together to build a church on their own, with financial help from the presbytery, he explained.

“It probably never drew from more than eight to 10 blocks,” Nielson said. “It’s a slice of time that just isn’t like that anymore. A lot of churches were built right after the war, with people coming home, fascism having just been defeated. These were first-generation suburbs.”

He said that after the church closed in the 80s, the San Francisco Presbytery had its offices in the Durant Avenue building, but had not been aware of the time capsule hidden in its walls.

“It’s a story about a particular time that doesn’t exist anymore, how people lived in neighborhoods,” he continued. “The church was a big social connection in those days. You can look at the time capsule and realize the whole story of how that little teeny church got started. These little churches were built with enthusiasm and a very, very local connection. They think their children will go, but often the children move away. It’s like the mom-and-pop stores that are disappearing as the neighborhood and culture changes.”

Speaking generally about small churches, he described their founding boards as “the caretakers of the local story of that church,” and said it’s not uncommon for that history to be lost overtime, particularly as churches close.

“There usually isn’t anybody left that has a connection to the history,” said Nielson, once churches close. “It’s kind of like old people who have a story to tell but, if nobody’s willing to listen, nobody knows the story.”

Closures can happen when denominations get too small, when neighborhood demographics shift, or if newer facilities become available in the vicinity.

He said it’s definitely “not uncommon” for old buildings to have items hidden on site, or features that have been forgotten about after renovations. During other projects, he’s found old coins stashed in the wall; a Depression-era cabin’s original wall that had been sealed over with Collier’s magazines and wallpaper glue and varnish before, much later, being covered over by drywall; 100-year-old empty milk bottles that had been sealed up in a stairway — “probably tossed under there by some workers at lunch”; and a labyrinthine 2½-foot crawlspace between a historic school building’s original 12-foot ceiling and the more recent ceiling that had been installed below it. Nielson also noted the discovery of a time capsule found during sidewalk construction at a Montclair church.

“There’s never anything of extreme value,” he said, of the time capsules. “They’re kind of saying, ‘We were here and here’s who we are.’”

Despite that, Neilson said seeing the box’s contents is still quite meaningful.

“I don’t know these people but we open it up and get a little touchstone of who they were,” he said. “I’m really glad Bill found it, just to have a connection to those folks and the layers of Berkeley history.”

Time capsule discovered during church demolition (01.21.14)
‘Explosive’ downtown Berkeley housing boom under way (01.14.14)
‘The Durant’ apartments win approval from City Council (06.27.13)
Berkeley zoning board approves 78-unit Durant (03.15.13)
Decision on project at Durant, Channing delayed (03.04.13)
1,000 new apartments planned for downtown Berkeley (02.07.13)

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Gardening with a purpose

Gardening with a purpose


Daily Press (Newport News, Va.)

Purposeful gardens — habitat, edible and sustainable — have been on the rise and 2014 promises more of the same.

Chemical-free gardens for birds, butterflies and bees remain high on the gardener’s to-do list, and organically grown edibles play their own harvest-to-table role with health-conscious backyard gardeners.

Gardeners are also more cost conscious, turning discarded items like packing pallets into planters, planting from seed and composting kitchen scraps. In fact, composting is the new recycling, according to Peggy Krapf, a member of the Virginia Society of Landscape Designers and owner of Hearts Ease Landscape and Garden Design.

“Garden supply companies sell attractive containers to pre-compost on the kitchen counter and you can purchase worm composters that do the job in a box in a closet or basement,” she says.

People in general want to restore balance to their lives, so frivolous spending on more “things” is out, according to Susan McCoy, president of the Garden Media Group and a national garden trends spotter.

“They are beginning to truly understand the relationship between gardening and connecting with nature — and how this can lead to a fully satisfied, purposeful life,” says McCoy.

10 gardening trends for 2014

Here, more garden gurus forecast their own idea of fun and purpose in the garden for 2014:

MANLY MOVES. More masculine colors and styles in home and garden decor are showing up at markets and in stores because there’s a “role reversal of fortune,” where 40 percent of women are the sole or primary income earner for the household and the number of stay-at-home dads continues to increase.

In addition, fairy gardening is a trend that’s morphed into miniature gardening with expanded product and plant selections for both indoor and outdoor gardening. With the name change alone, there’s an increase in men taking up the hobby. — Tish Llaneza, owner of Countryside Gardens and just back from a buying spree at the markets in Atlanta.

GARDEN JOURNALS. Master gardeners across the United States are using Nature’s Notebook to help track bloom times on sentinel species to make bloom calendars, which, in turn, gives scientists data on climate change. Gardeners can also use phenology (seasonal changes in plants and animals from year to year) information (and recording) to understand the relationships between garden pest outbreaks and timing of the plant phenology to know when best to apply Integrated Pest Management strategies. And, having it become part of the National Phenology Database also furthers scientific research, not only regarding a changing environment, but also for horticulturists and land managers to make management decisions. — LoriAnne Barnett, education coordinator Nature’s Notebook and USA National Phenology Network

EDIBLES AND MORE. Several things come to mind: Integrating edibles into woody ornamental and perennial gardens — a cultural shift, not a trend; planting native species to benefit bees and other insects; recycling objects into creative plant containers; and using Pinterest to share ideas and inspire others to garden. — Nicholas Staddon, director of new plants for Monrovia, a plant brand sold at garden centers nationally.

BEES MATTER. Saving our pollinators is big and getting bigger. Organic farmers have been all about this for a while, but now that the public is becoming aware of the desperate state of affairs, it’s spreading like fire — thank goodness. Everyone needs to read the Aug. 19, 2013, Time magazine with the cover that spotlights “A World Without Bees: The price we’ll pay if we don’t figure out what’s killing the honeybee.” Home gardeners really need to learn about: keeping blooms coming; easy and quick-growing cover crops that can fill a space to provide excellent habitat; and how to let go of chemicals, even certified organic pesticides can be harmful to bees. — Lisa Ziegler of The Gardener’s Workshop, an online garden shop.

CONTAINER CRAZE. Containers can spice up a yard without a lot of cost and effort. For instance, bamboo stems, upside down brooms or even twisting, turning branches can be painted colors to match the season, celebration or your home’s exterior palette and then inserted decoratively into pots that may already contain evergreens or annuals like winter pansies or summer petunias. For easy-use containers, Smart Pots are lighter and cheaper than ceramic containers; the large, raised-bed size acts as its own weed-block when placed on the ground and provides a temporary garden space if you can’t install a garden bed where you live. The weave of the fabric allows a dense root system because you can air prune roots that come to the surface. Reviews for the Big Bag Bed version are good on Amazon, where they can be ordered, as well as The manly gardener may like the look of ammo boxes mounted on ladders, an idea seen in a Denver boutique. — Marie Butler, horticulture curator at the Virginia Zoo, where she specializes in creative containers

REPURPOSE, REUSE. There’s a continued focus on using recycled building materials. I was surfing the net, looking for compost bin designs and came across a wide range of recycled indoor and outdoor garden furniture using repurposed pallets. People are staining and painting them or leaving them natural and creating some really beautiful stuff! I’ve also seen new ways of vertical gardening using recycled materials such as pallets, felt pockets and even things like two-liter bottles hung from strings. — Grace Chapman, director of horticulture at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va.

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Classic elegance in colors and landscaping will be popular in 2014. Plant drifts of similar or blending colors and mix a single color with white in containers, outdoor fabrics, or furnishings. Buy quality products which will last for years — and eco-friendly products with a smaller carbon footprint. Use slow-growing plants like boxwoods which live for many years and natural materials like stone or brick that get more beautiful with age. — Peggy Krapf

PERFECT PLANTS. Re-blooming and extended bloom plants are hot. Color is paramount. Dwarf and compact plants are in demand. Plants that are less likely to become maintenance nightmares are dominating the market, therefore “low maintenance” is less of a buzz word and more of a reality. Plants that can provide color or interest in multiple seasons enable customers to enjoy their landscape all year. — Allan Hull, nursery manager at Peninsula Hardwood Mulch

IMPERFECT OK. Increasingly, homeowners are relaxing their notions of what’s “right” in their landscapes to embrace seasonal drama and its disorder. In spring, weeks of bright daffodil flowers are worth weeks of un-mown bulb foliage recharging for next year’s display. In summer gardens, sequential pockets of bloom are enjoyed with no effort to achieve all-over-bloom all of the time. In fall, brilliant fallen leaves are savored with no rush to clean up. Winter landscapes are dotted with dried grasses and seed heads left for the birds. These are well-maintained properties kept with a different mindset. — Sally Ferguson, a Pawlett, Vt., master gardener and gardening and outdoor living communicator

CHICKEN CHIC. Chicken keeping continues to attract more who want fresh eggs for their table and cute chickens for backyard buddies. The Peninsula Chicken Keepers had 30 people at its first meeting in September 2010 and now include about 320 backyard chicken enthusiasts, some of whom now open their coops for an annual Coops of the Peninsula tour. — Carol Bartam, chicken keeper in Yorktown, Va.

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Gun Barrel City EDC presents first ‘Boots to Business’ grant to Marine Landscaping

Tom Terrell, owner of Marine Landscaping, is the first veteran to receive a business development grant through the Gun Barrel City Economic Development’s “Boots to Business” program.

Terrell received a check for $8,775 at a ceremony attended by city officials and veterans representatives Jan. 21. Marine Landscaping is a new full-service landscape design and maintenance company specializing in flower beds, garden design and landscape installation for residential and commercial customers.

The grant program designates $50,000 annually from the EDC budget for assisting veteran business owners. A committee of citizens, veterans, business people and EDC members review and approve applications for the business grants.

All applicants for the grants must show matching funds for every dollar they request, and the recipients must meet quarterly for one year to report on their business activity.

The Small Business Development Center at Trinity Valley College in Athens assisted Terrell with his application, and it is also helping other applicants seeking grants.

EDC President Linda Rankin said the agency developed the program to help military personnel return to civilian life. Its establishment was announced on Veteran’s Day in November 2012.

“We’re interested in helping those who dream of owning their own business and who can show us viable business plans,” Rankin said. “We are ready to provide not only money, but support.”

Call 903-802-8628 to schedule an appointment with Marine Landscaping.

For information about applying for a Boots to Business grant visit or call 903-887-1899.

(Picture below:) Marine Landscaping owner Tom Terrell, right, is the first recipient of a Boots to Business Grant from the Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation. Jim Braswell, chairman of the Boots to Business Committee, presented Terrell with a check to help expand his business during a reception held January 21st at Gun Barrel City Hall . EDC President Linda Rankin is shown at far left.

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The Fragrant Garden: My best gardening reference books – Austin American

Although I started out as a rose collector, and then a collector of plants in general, it was not long before I began to accumulate books on the subject of gardening. My library now includes perhaps 500 volumes gathered over 40 years, but there are a number of books that I use over and over working with design clients here in Central Texas.

“Native Texas Gardens” by Sally and Andy Wasowski is the best book I’ve found on designing a beautiful and yet practical landscape in our locale. It has wonderful photos of gardens, including both built features and planting styles, and is appropriate for all three of the ecosystems that converge here. The Hill Country, Blackland Prairies and Post Oak Savannah are all addressed within, as well as other ecosystems further north, east, west, and south of us. Because the Piney Woods region is overlaid on the Post Oak Savannah here in the Lost Pines of Texas, that area is also relevant to integrated design principles. There are lists of nurseries specializing in native plants, and also native plants lists included.

A companion volume, “Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region,” is also very useful. It includes a region-by-region discussion of all 12 or more ecosystems and shows photos of native landscapes within those areas. Soils, precipitation, major native trees and their companions are all described in the first third of the book, followed by photos and descriptions of various plants grouped into groundcovers, grasses, annuals/biennials/perennials, shrubs, ornamental trees, conifers, shade trees, vines and water and bog plants. Finally, some significant people and organizations that have contributed to the renewed use of native plants are listed, along with native public landscapes you can visit in each area.

The soft-cover “Native and Adapted Landscape Plants: An Earthwise Guide for Central Texas” is the most complete reference I’ve found on plants suitable to the areas both west and east of Austin. The booklet is organized into trees, small trees/large shrubs, perennials, yuccas and other succulents, ornamental grasses, vines, groundcover, bulbs/water plant, turf and invasive plants. Photos are included, along with descriptions including height, spread, light needs, whether evergreen or deciduous, seasonal interest, color, water needs, maintenance tips, what the plants offer to wildlife, and finally deer resistance. These guides are available for free at most nurseries in Austin and I share one with each client when we begin the design process.

A more general reference for gardening in Texas is “Easy Gardens for North Central Texas” by Steve Huddleston and Pamela Crawford. It was written for areas from Wichita Falls and south to Dallas, and includes areas south and east all the way to Waco, Temple and Killeen. Those regions include Horticultural Zones 7a, 7b and 8a, with minimum temperatures from 0 degrees to 15 degrees. Those areas can get as hot as our Central Texas, so plants included are appropriate in that respect. It may leave out some varieties that are less hardy and can be generally used here, but in these days of wildly fluctuating temperatures, that may assure some extra safety in terms of cold hardiness. Our zone here is 8b. General planting and gardening advice is included at first, but the book is primarily a compilation of suitable plants and their photographs, along with required growing conditions (light, water, soil, pests) and planting and maintenance suggestions. Plants are organized into annuals, perennials, shrubs and vines, and trees.

I always encourage my clients to think about including edible plants in the landscape. Two different books are favorites for illustrating both plants and growing techniques. The first is “Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening” by J. Howard Garrett and C. Malcolm Beck. It begins by describing the basic tenants of organic gardening and then offers suggestions for soil testing, preparation of beds, mulching, plant supports and protecting crops from cold and pests. Natural fertilizers are discussed, along with methods of controlling insects. The last two thirds of the book is dedicated to listing Texas appropriate vegetables and other food crops including fruits, herbs, and nuts.

A more recent publication is “Texas Fruit and Vegetable Gardening” by Greg Grant. The material is somewhat similar, but Greg’s wonderful sense of humor is present throughout. Information about starting an edible garden, including information on seeds, soil, watering, pest control, harvest and storage are addressed first, and then an alphabetical list of appropriate plants are included. Categories for discussion of each plant include when/where/how to plant each type, followed by care and maintenance and finally harvesting the results. His photographs are excellent and he offers advice about different varieties suitable to our soils and climate. Charts of frost dates and planting times are provided at the end of the book.

(To be continued next week)

Please address any questions or suggestions you might have for me by visiting my website and clicking on the “CONTACT” tab.”

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Gardening with Experts

Master Gardener

Posted Jan. 22, 2014 @ 9:17 am


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You can have a beautiful garden and eat it, too!

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Three master gardeners will give a free workshop on Edible Landscaping followed by a brief presentation on composting and a visit to the Central Coast Green Team’s Edible Landscaping Demonstration Garden on Saturday, January 25.

The workshop and presentations will be from 10 a.m. to noon on at the Elwin Mussell Senior Center, 510 Park Ave., Santa Maria.

The Central Coast Green Team invited the University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County to put on the workshop as a way to encourage local residents to create edible landscaping gardens in their homes. The Green Team also invites participation in their demonstration garden, which is located behind the Mussell Center in the Santa Maria Community Garden.

The presentation is cosponsored by the Central Coast Green Team, UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Barbara County, Central Coast Gardeners, Central Coast Geranium Society and Engel Gray, Inc.

Master Gardeners Diane Galvan, Karen McConaghy and Katy Renner will define edible landscaping, provide guidelines for a good edible landscape plan, and discuss planting, maintaining, harvesting and storing edible landscape foods safely. The workshop will help persons transform their landscapes into ones which are sustainable and provide fresh, healthy produce, herbs and fruit year-round.

A representative from Engel Gray will give a brief presentation on the city’s composting program and how using compost is beneficial to gardens.

The Green Team invites participation in their demonstration garden, which is located behind the Mussell Center. Jeanne Sparks, Green Team executive director, will give a brief presentation about the demonstration garden at the end of the meeting then will invite attendees to visit the garden and become involved in it.

“We hope people will be inspired by what they learn at the workshop and start their own edible landscaping gardens,” Sparks said. “Growing food at home is rewarding. The vegetables are not only healthy, but tasty, since they can be harvested at their peak ripeness the same day they are eaten. We hope to promote more healthy lifestyles by getting people to grow some of their food at home. And they can do it in an aesthetically pleasing manner. They can have a beautiful garden and eat it, too!”

For more information, contact Jeanne Sparks at, or visit

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Garden Designing, Landscaping and Maintenance Services by Tree & Garden …

London, England — (SBWIRE) — 01/21/2014 — Gardens are often referred to as representative of the paradise Earth. However, only maintained gardens are havens of peace as those that are neglected often turn into bushy forest. House owners may be able to take care of their front gardens but those that are in public places and cover vast expanse need professional assistance. The Tree Garden Company Limited is an established gardening service provider in the United Kingdom. The company has dedicated garden designers and tree surgeons who offer customised designing, landscaping and maintenance service according to the preference of clients. Besides beautification and maintenance, environment and health are also the focus of the agency. However, Tree Garden caters to gardening only in North London and Hertfordshire.

Tree and Garden Company has more than 2 decades of experience in gardening and services related to it. The company provides fence installation, maintenance, repair, lawn mowing, grass cutting, turf supply, laying and paving alongside driveways according to the drainage of the area

A garden is any open place with grassy land and varieties of plantations. Apart from public parks, gardens can be found within the premises of private residences, offices, educational institutes, medical centres, etc. The design and landscape of a garden obviously has to be according to the building that compounds it and the operation going on in the premises. Moreover, gardens are private properties and so are usually different from each other. In short, all gardens are not same and need to be maintained according to the area, climate, soil of the region, and nature of operation that is carried out in the premises. Garden landscapers and designers at Tree Garden are specifically involved with such responsibilities throughout the year. They are skilled and experienced in designing suitable gardens, landscaping gardens for beautification and maintaining gardens.

Trees and other plantations are the main component of a garden. However, a green place can be called a park or a garden only when its botanical features are appropriate and accommodative to people. Remains of a decayed tree, wild bushes that overwhelm other plants, precariously hanging branch of a tree, etc. need tree surgery. In fact, arborists and tree surgeons are the people who render garden maintenance. They study how trees react to pruning, diseases that might affect the garden or a species of tree in it, how trees grow and their biomechanics. They are expert in groundwork, safe use of harness, rope and chainsaws, tree climbing, etc. In other words, they are the professionals who ensure that the work of gardens landscapers can be enjoyed for prolonged period.

About The Tree Garden Company Limited
The Tree Garden Company Limited is more than decades-old agency that caters to gardening demands in North London and Hertfordshire. It provides all types of fencing, lawn care, paving and turf services. All types of garden designing, landscaping and maintenance are offered by Tree Garden.

Media Contact
Company : The Tree Garden Company Limited
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Winter 2014 Home & Garden Design

Higher, lighter and brighter

Expanding up gave more space without losing yard

Custom-made to last a lifetime

Remodel stressed aging in place, better use of space

A winemaker’s dream New structure supports winemaking and olive-oil production

Real Solutions

Flex rooms at home

Past editions of Home Garden Design

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