Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for February 4, 2014

Kelowna asking Rutland residents how to spend $100000

Rutland received plenty of attention Monday at Kelowna council’s weekly public meeting.

In addition to approving plans for a new $6 million ultra-violet water treatment system for approximately 20,000 water users on the Back Mountain Irrigation District’s system, council also gave the green light to new $100,000 plan to ask the public how the money can be spent to improve the city’s most populous residential area.

The BMID water treatment plant will be built on five acres in the Joe Rich area and will improve water quality already considered the best in the city. The land it is to be located on is in the Agricultural Land Reserve but the commission that overseas the reserve ruled last year that it could be used for the new plant.

The plant is expected to be operational next year and will be tied in with plans for a much more expensive new reservoir for the BMID system, one that will require funding from either the province or the federal government, or both.

Meanwhile, the Our Rutland campaign will see the city put up $100,000 and ask the public to submit ideas for how the money should be spent to improve the Rutland area. Mayor Walter Gray said in addition, the city’s public art fund could be used to get more pieces of public are created for the area.

Described by the city as a potential catalyst and one to help generate positive momentum through community-determined, Rutland-focussed actions, the Our Rutland project is a partnership between the city, the Uptown Rutland Business Association (URBA), the Rutland Residents Association and The Rutland Unified Stakeholders Team (TRUST).

According to the city, the money could be used for one large project or several smaller ones. It is one-time funding and cannot be used for projects already identified in previous planning documents, for re-branding or marketing the area or for Highway 33 improvements, as they are the jurisdiction of the province.

The work(s) must be implemented or constructed by Sept. 30 and must have the support of the community.

In her report to council on the initiative, sustainability co-ordinator Michelle Kam said $25 million has been spent by the city on capital investments in Rutland over the last two years, providing new transit facilities, parks, sidewalks and landscaping, as well as improvements to recreation facilities. But the city wanted to do more.

She said the neighbourhood has the best established system of parks in the city and in this year’s budget, council has allotted more than $1 million for the area, including $600,000 for the Bulman Road Bridge improvements, $400,000 for improvements to the sports fields in Rutland Centennial Park, $70,000 for lighting improvements at Rutland Arena and the $100,000 for the Our Rutland project.

Rutland (work) isn’t finished yet and it’s really getting ready to go as a community,” said Mayor Walter Gray, who joined a chorus of supporters on council for the new initiative.

The public will be asked to register with the city to propose ideas and vote on ideas for the money and can do so online at, by email at, by phone at 250-469-8982 or in person at the URBA office, 148 Valleyview Road in Rutland.

During February there will be a series of in-person opportunities to propose and review already presented ideas, including at the:

• URBA Uptown After Hours event Feb. 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Club,

• Plaza 33 Shopping Centre, Feb. 6 from noon to 2:30 p.m.

• Willow Park Plaza Shopping Centre, Feb. 6 from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

• Rutland Centennial Ha Flea Market, Feb. 9 and 16 from 9 a.m. to noon

• Rutland Activities Centre, Feb. 11 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

• YMCA, Feb. 11 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

“I’m really excited with this,” said Coun. Mohini Singh. “We’ve talked about Rutland for so long. I’m happy to see this moving ahead.”

The ideas will be gathered between now and Feb. 20 and can be shared and passed around on social media networks such as Twitter (#OurRutland) and Facebook (facebook/cityofkelowna) to gain support.

From Feb. 20 to  March 5, Kam said a feasibility analysis will take place of the ideas proposed, there will be a vote on a shortlist of ideas in mid-March and a tendering or bid process will be held for the successful idea(s) in April. Project implementation will take place from May to September and city staff  will measure the success of the initiative and report back to council in October or November.

Council Gail Given said the Rutland project will be a good launching point for similar projects in other city neighbourhoods.

Rutland is the city’s most populous residential neighbourhood and after years of watching other areas receive what many residents believed was more attention from City Hall then their area was getting, been seen council focus more on Rutland in recent years.




Article source:

In S.F.’s Dogpatch, innovative plan to pay for park upkeep

Progress Park sits in the shadow of Interstate 280 in San Francisco’s burgeoning Dogpatch neighborhood, a community park that just a few years ago was a fenced Caltrans property filled with rocks and debris.

The space used to be a magnet for homeless camps and illegal dumping. Now neighbors head there to play bocce, owners bring their dogs to the canine play area, and workout groups gather at the open space’s foam matting and exercise bars.

The park was built with private and public donations, a $21,000 community grant from the city, and a lot of hard work by neighbors. Those neighbors, along with a group of community members in nearby Potrero Hill, are proposing to tax themselves to pay for the upkeep of this and other open spaces in adjacent neighborhoods. Taking a page from business owners who for years have formed community benefit districts to help pay for security, landscaping and other quality-of-life improvements, the groups are working with Supervisor Malia Cohen to create a “green benefit district.”

The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will vote on legislation by Cohen that would amend local law and pave the way for the creation of the district. Like community benefit districts, the new tax would have to be put to a vote and approved by a majority of property owners in the district.

Taxes would be assessed at 9.51 cents per square foot of property, meaning that homeowners such as Bruce Huie, who helped create Progress Park, would pay about $170 a year. Buildings housing nonprofits and industrial uses would pay half as much. The district would raise an estimated $440,000 a year – $360,000 for the Dogpatch area, which is larger, and $80,000 for Potrero Hill projects.

Hard to maintain

“It’s easy to set up projects like this, but it’s not as easy to maintain them,” Huie said, noting that the city’s parks department is stretched thin. “This neighborhood is changing. It used to be strictly industrial, and there was no one here at night. Now there are families coming in, people are bicycling and running – we want to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to people.”

The benefit district is a particularly useful tool for neighbors looking to rehabilitate Caltrans properties, said Jean Bogiages, who lives on Utah Street in Potrero Hill. The state-owned land is often regarded as an orphan by city officials, she said, and the state hasn’t been interested in spending the money to spruce up the lots that hug Highway 101 around 18th, 17th and Mariposa streets.

Bogiages and other neighbors have already worked to create two neighborhood parks near the 18th Street freeway overpass, Fallen Bridge Park and the Benches Garden. They envision other nearby Caltrans lots as terraced open spaces that could provide places for people to eat lunch or sit in the sun, and they want to build a green wall made of plants as a freeway sound barrier. They hope to attract businesses that can sell coffee or snacks – much like the ones on Octavia Street in Hayes Valley – and widen the sidewalk to make it safer for pedestrians.

The neighborhood already has raised $15,000 and hired a landscape architect who put those ideas into sketches and detailed plans.

“We want to activate the space so we can use it, reorganize it in a way that it becomes a community space,” Bogiages said, gesturing to the fenced-off area, overgrown with weeds and the site of frequent fires. “We are trying to change the whole way it fits into the community.”

Cohen, who worked with neighbors to create Progress Park when she was a candidate for supervisor four years ago, said she hopes the idea of a green benefit district will be embraced in other neighborhoods as well.

Support growing

“Literally, up to this point, it’s been neighbors taking up a collection and pooling their resources together,” she said. “We are looking to create something more stable that has longevity.”

While some neighbors were initially skeptical about taxing themselves, support has grown among property owners, Cohen said, once they understand the concept.

The district would be its own nonprofit, managed by a part-time director and governed by a board that is elected by the neighborhoods. The money could only be used in the district, for maintenance and repairs of parks and publicly accessible spaces.

“Part of enjoying San Francisco is having open spaces that enhance our quality of life in the neighborhoods,” Cohen said. “We either have to make do with what we have – which is nominal on this side of San Francisco – or come up with creative ways to solve the problem.”

Many neighbors are excited. Dogpatch resident Kim Metting van Rijn had to drive to Mission Bay Park to exercise her dog. Now she just walks to Progress Park – along with some neighbor pooches, which she now helps care for.

“It’s so great I can just come across the street,” she said on a recent sunny day as her dog played at the park. “The small businesses around here are so thrilled, and it just makes life easier. Everyone seems to care more about the neighborhood now.”

Marisa Lagos is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: Twitter: @mlagos

Article source:

Closing down the Manila Seedling Bank is a bad idea

The Consumer


Last week I said it was commendable that Quezon City is concerned about the safety of pedestrians when it lowered the speed limit of vehicles on some streets.

So, I wonder now why the “caring” city government is so determined to close down the Manila Seedling Bank which, because of all the plants and trees it grows, helps clean the air in QC.

Lowering the speed limit on some streets will protect only a few hundred, perhaps a few thousand, people. But protecting or even expanding the city’s green spots will benefit millions—even Quezon City Hall’s own employees, majority of whom, I am sure, are commuters.

While the mayor—who goes from one air-conditioned place to another and travels in an air-conditioned car—may not have to worry about air pollution, ordinary city hall employees and other wage earners, to whom any illness is a major financial burden, will appreciate breathing clean air.

Air pollution can cause serious and chronic health issues. Quezon City can save a lot in medical care expenses if it will help prevent pollution-related ailments by giving its residents as much clean air as possible. The little landscaping the malls do will hardly have an impact on air pollution.

I don’t know how much the city expects to earn in revenues by converting existing green spots into shopping malls and condominiums; but, as experience in other countries show, those earnings are easily wiped out by expenses for medical care.

If the Quezon City government is so eager to have another mall, perhaps instead of dismantling the Manila Seedling Bank, it can get the latter’s management to set up a true plant and garden shopping complex—fix up the whole place, introduce some order by organizing stalls to make it easier for shoppers to find what they are looking for, do some landscaping that will showcase the various plant species available.

Article source:

Clean-up to entice wildlife to Avon

Avon river

Work to clear hundreds of years of built-up sediment from the Avon River may help entice trout, eels and native birds back to the city.

The Avon River Precinct, one of New Zealand’s biggest urban restoration projects at a cost of $96 million, spans 3.2 kilometres from the Watermark to Fitzgerald Ave.

This latest stage will clear the river, narrow it in key areas and reintroduce habitats to encourage wildlife to return. It will cost about $4m.

“We as Cantabrians love Christchurch and the Avon River but we haven’t always looked after it,” said lead ecologist Shelley McMutrie. “Over 100 years sand and silt has smothered the river . . . that is not an environment that anything can live with.”

She said clearing silt was a critical first step in restoring the river to a healthy state.

“In five years time I would like to see the Avon as a shining example of what we can do to return urban waterways to health.”

Diggers the length of the precinct would spend the next five months clearing the silt and sand.

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee said the objective was to restore the river as close as possible to its original condition.

“Although the constraints of an urban environment will always limit us . . . this restoration programme, coupled with other works in the precinct, will ensure that we have a healthy river, with a strong ecosystem, sitting comfortably alongside our city.”

Work would also include washing of the gravel to remove years of built-up sediment.

Treatment through rain gardens would clean stormwater from the roads before it entered the river.

The creation of overhangs and placement of rocks would provide habitats for fish, while planting and landscaping would support birdlife.

“All this will form an integral part of the experience of the Avon River Precinct, connecting people to the river and the river to the city in a way which will make it an outstanding and world-class attraction,” Brownlee said.

– © Fairfax NZ News

Sponsored links


Article source:

Celebrity landscaper Ahmed Hassan will share the knowledge at Great Big … – News

Sometimes you have to go with your gut.

Thats what landscaper Ahmed Hassan learned years ago when he made the jump from lawn manicurist to DIY Network/HGTV host of popular shows Yard Crashers and Turf War.

My earlier dreams when I was 18 years old, I wanted to run a landscaping business, Hassan said. Im 40 years old. Now I love entertainment blended with education.

So thats what this celebrity landscaper is doing these days, appearing at trade shows, hosting web and promotional videos, working as a hype man for the green industry and currently not appearing on television.

It was nearly two years ago when Hassan left Yard Crashers due to creative differences with the production company. One look at the Internet tells you folks were in an uproar over his departure.

However, Hassan said hes in negotiations to get back on television doing what he loves to do. In the meantime, hell be returning to Cleveland to appear at the 2014 Great Big Home + Garden Show, which takes place Feb. 8 through 16 at the I-X Center.

Hassan will be taking the main stage Feb. 8 and 9 to discuss his unique journey from landscaper to reality television star, as well as checking out more than 1,000 home industry experts and 650 exhibits.

This years Great Big Home + Garden Show boasts new attractions such as a full-size vacation home with landscaping, a hardscape exhibit and a kids workshop. Returning to the I-X Center are the popular international-themed gardens, a fully constructed dream basement (READ: Man Cave) and cooking stage featuring celebrity chef Emily Ellyn (Feb. 8 and 9).

Granted, for those folks looking for home ideas, the entire endeavor of redoing ones home or lawn is daunting. With this in mind, Hassan puts the entire experience into proper perspective.

Its just baby steps, Hassan said. Get clear on what you really want and whats really going to work for you. And if you have a wife, then you better find out whats going to work for her, too. Clarity is where you start and then coming up with a vision.

Sure, clarity serves its purpose, but whats an average Joe to do who dreams of a $10,000 landscaped home with a pennies-on-a-dollar budget?

The secret is start, Hassan said. You wont get anything if you just talk about it all the time or just look outside the window. It starts with cleaning up your space. Rake up the leaves and pine needles. Move rocks around and get some ideas. The more you spend time out there, the more youll start to visual it. Gardening is very affordable plants, soil and mulch. As soon as you start building and having structures and, fire and water features, then you have to have a budget. These days you can go online to YouTube and learn how to build anything.

Hassan added that the learning process should begin at the Great Big Home + Garden Show.

When youre at the Great Big Home + Garden Show, youre there to network, Hassan said. Every vendor there wants to talk with these homeowners. They want to talk to every person who comes in there. Get business cards, talk to folks. You pay your cover charge and then its a free consultation with a slew of pros.

Talk to them. Find out who knows what, what theyve got and go with your gut instincts.


What: 2014 Great Big Home + Garden Show.
When: Feb. 8 through 16 (times vary).
Where: Cleveland I-X Center, One I-X Center Drive, Cleveland.
Tickets: $14 ($11 when purchased online), $5 children ages. 6 to 12, children 5 and under free.

See also: Taste the Great Big Home + Garden Show in exotic gardens.

Article source:

JoAnne Skelly: Too much tidiness gets in way of a good garden

I have often written that I am a lazy gardener. I try to manage my landscape with as little work as possible. Today, reading Mirabel Osler’s “A Gentle Plea for Chaos,” I found out that in regard to landscape design I am “eclectically wanton” and “less cerebral.” This sounds so much nicer than lazy. I am not a well-controlled gardener because there is no “antiseptic tidiness” in my yard; in fact, there is little tidiness at all. Osler writes, “The very soul of a garden is shriveled by zealous regimentation.” She would be quite happy in my unregimented garden. She points out that a mania for neatness or lust for conformity destroys any atmosphere and sensuality a garden might have.

She calls those who “plant and drift, who prune and amble” and who actually sit in their gardens, random gardeners who have the “freedom to loll.” True cottage gardens with flowers interplanted with herbs, veggies, berries and fruit trees are examples of lovely chaos. But lovely chaos is much harder to achieve than a contrived heavily pruned landscape. “It requires intuition and a genius for letting things have their heads,” Osler writes.

Of course, there is a time and place for precision in landscaping. How the lines in the garden are created with walls, paths, hedges, irrigation and other structural features requires planning. Every landscape should begin with tree selection and placement because “trees are the salient features around which everything else is worked.” Tree planting is precise because trees must be planted according to size at maturity, rather than randomly, in areas of the yard with good drainage and decent soil.

Existing features of a site may dominate a design. These can include native or ornamental trees, boulders, creeks (if you are lucky) or the shape of the land. Even an improper gardener will work to incorporate these effectively for function and aesthetics.

Once the bones of the garden are in and dominant elements are integrated, hard lines can be softened by letting “a bit of native vitality” take over. Allow new growth on shrubs such as forsythia to arch gracefully. Avoid pruning plants into little green meatballs. Let grape hyacinth, feverfew and other flowers self-sow where they will. Each year my garden beds surprise me with new, uninvited-but-welcome arrivals. Permit a “modicum of chaos” or some “amiable disorder.” Over time, this will set the garden singing, Osler says.

JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at or 775-887-2252.

Join the Conversation
View and add comments »

A Facebook account is required

Article source:

London College Of Garden Design students’ double award success

The London College of Garden Design

Students from the London College of Garden Design have once again succeeded in winning honours at The Society of Garden Designers’ 2013 Awards and completed an award double for the first two years of these awards. Nick Morten, a 2013 graduate won this year’s Student Designer of the Year Award following hot on the heels of 2012 graduate Jon Sims who won the award in 2012.

Leading garden designer and award judge Sarah Eberle said that competition was tough but Nick’s sympathetic use of space coupled with great communication won the day. Nick said ‘It hasn’t quite sunk in that I’ve won this award but it’s a great start to my career in garden design and thanks go to the support of tutors and the training I received at the London College of Garden Design.’

College Director Andrew Fisher Tomlin said ‘We are very proud that London College of Garden Design students have won the majority of awards from the Society of Garden Designers over the past 3 years. It’s a tribute to our great tutors and the hard work that students put in.’ He added ‘Over the past 5 years since the College launched we have aimed to be the best place for anyone wanting to launch a successful professional garden design career. The number of awards and recognition for the high quality of student work is representative of how we are sending out our graduates well prepared for that career’.

A number of College lecturers and tutors won Society of Garden Designers Awards including Jo Thompson who won the Future Designer Award and Andrew Wilson, Director of Garden Design Studies at the College who won three awards including the People’s Choice Award supported by Homes Gardens, and the Grand Award which is the ultimate accolade.


About the London College of Garden Design
The London College of Garden Design aims to offer the best professional garden design courses available in the UK. The College is one of Europe’s leading specialist design colleges and offers professional level courses including the one year Garden Design Diploma which is taught from the Orangery Conference facilities at the world famous Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew and Regents College in central London. The college also has a partnership with the Royal Horticultural Society offering short courses at RHS Garden Wisley.

The London College of Garden Design’s short course programme is available at a number of locations. To find out more visit
For more information please contact Andrew Fisher Tomlin on 01276 855977 or 07957 855457 email

This press release was distributed by SourceWire News Distribution on behalf of e-Zone UK in the following categories:
Education Human Resources, Construction Property, Men’s Interest, Entertainment Arts, Leisure Hobbies, Home Garden, Women’s Interest, Environment Nature.
For more information visit

Article source:

Garden designer lands prestigious accolade

A garden designer from Storrington has taken one of the two most prestigious awards at the Society of Garden Designers (SGD) annual awards ceremony.

Amanda Patton received the Judges Award in front of an audience of more than 300 guests.

The accolades were presented at a ceremony in London on January 24 where 18 awards were announced including recognition for community garden projects, international schemes, excellence in public and commercial outdoor space and a special lifetime achievement award.

The Judges’ Award was given to Amanda for a private garden in Somerset, a project that the judges felt most successfully achieved one of the central foundations of good design – a sense of place.

The garden, which also took the award for best Medium Residential Garden, was described by the judges as ‘a simple idea expertly integrated into its surroundings’.

On presenting the award, judge Richard Sneesby said: “The beautiful planting, creative use of traditional materials and craftsmanship, and an intelligent and judicious nod to the 21st Century, remind us of where we are now and where we have come from.”

Amanda is a multi-award winning garden designer with awards from the RHS Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows as well as industry awards including Best Garden £60,000-£100,000 in the 2010 Association of Professional Landscapers’ awards and the SGD’s Planting Design award in 2012.

The Society of Garden Designers has been championing excellence in garden design for more than 30 years.

It is the only professional association for garden designers in the UK and counts some of the UK’s leading garden and landscape designers among its growing membership.

It is active nationally and internationally, promoting its aims of supporting and maintaining the highest quality of standards within the membership through its journal, workshops, seminars, conferences and links with the construction industry.

Amanda has been a Registered Member of the Society, the highest membership category within the SGD, since 2006.

She founded her practice at the beginning of 2000 following on from a 20 year career as a professional illustrator, and has created more than 130 gardens for a diverse range of clients.

Describing her style as natural and modern, her work focuses on creating gently contemporary gardens, using predominantly natural materials and with a naturalistic planting style.

Based in Storrington, Amanda works throughout the south of England.

You can view more of her work on her website:

Article source: