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Archives for February 20, 2014

Ham & Blackbird pub site developers want opinions

Developers interested in building new homes on the site of the Ham Blackbird pub in Farnborough say they want to put local residents at the heart of their proposal, following criticisms of their methods.

Inland Homes announced intentions to redevelop the site in Farnborough Road into 62 apartments along with a commercial area for a café or bar and a community space.

The site will also contain one car parking space and one cycle space per property.

A public exhibition will be held on Saturday at St Peter’s Church Parish Hall, in Church Avenue, from 11.30am to 4pm, for residents to view plans.

The developer has cut down and trimmed parts of trees, which councillors believe is putting pedestrians and motorists at risk.

Rushmoor borough councillor Gareth Lyon accused Inland Homes of attempting to bypass planning rules as the desire to retain the trees cannot be used as grounds for refusing an application.

A spokesman for Inland Homes said it had legally undertaken the work, before adding this week: “A new community space will be a focal point for the new development and Inland Homes want the local community to provide their ideas on this exciting and flexible new space.

“In addition to the community space, the proposals will deliver much needed housing and extensive improvements to the local environment with the planting of new mature trees and landscaping on pedestrian routes.

“The community space will be further enhanced by a new civic space, providing an attractive and usable public open space for visitors and local residents.

“It’s important that any development gives something back to the local residents and this fantastic new community space will do that, we want to hear what local residents think it should be.”

Inland Homes is yet to submit a planning application and says it will allow residents to view and comment on plans before it applies to redevelop the site.

The pub was formerly owned by Whitbread however Siya Properties, owners of The Falcon Hotel in Farnborough, took over ownership in 2010.

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Eisenhower Memorial unchanged, despite objections

— Architect Frank Gehry is maintaining key elements of his design for a memorial honoring President Dwight D. Eisenhower near the National Mall in a revised concept presented Thursday, despite recent criticism from a federal arts panel and outside groups.

Gehry’s Los Angeles-based team presented revisions to the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts, but the changes were limited primarily to the landscape design, adding 74 trees to a planned memorial park.

Gehry has designed a park framed by large metal tapestries depicting the Kansas landscape of Eisenhower’s boyhood home. Statues of Ike as president and World War II general would stand at the center. The tapestries, though, have drawn some of the harshest criticism from Eisenhower’s family and others.

The Commission of Fine Arts, which oversees art and architecture in the nation’s capital, has praised Gehry’s “artistic vision of the memorial” and the “monumental stainless steel tapestries.” But the panel has questioned the design’s clarity and suggested some tapestries should be eliminated. In November, several members objected to the towering columns and two side tapestries in Gehry’s design.

Gehry made no changes in response, though, and did not attend Thursday’s meeting. Craig Webb of Gehry’s firm said the tapestries would evoke Eisenhower’s values and spirit of modesty by showing his Midwest roots, as well as unify the space at the urban memorial site.

“We are staying with the overall big ideas for the project,” he said.

Commissioners on Thursday generally favored the landscape design changes and didn’t comment further on Gehry’s tapestries or press for changes.

“I think the landscape, which is what we are here to talk about today, has moved along in a positive way,” said commission Chairman Earl A. Powell III, who is director of the National Gallery of Art.

The commission’s feedback on the memorial’s progress was positive overall, said Chris Cimko, a spokeswoman for the federal Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

“We look forward to continuing our discussion and refining the project on our way to final approval from the Commission of Fine Arts,” she said.

Others said the architect’s uncompromising stance on the design has cost the project support from the Eisenhower family and in Congress. In the most recent federal budget, Congress eliminated funding to build the memorial.

Bruce Cole, the newest member of the federal Eisenhower Memorial Commission and a critic of Gehry’s design, said there has been no discussion among commissioners on making changes.

“My feeling about this is that the larger issues are not trees,” he said, “but whether they will ever get enough appropriated money to build this thing.”

Follow Brett Zongker on Twitter at .

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Washington Park Board Impressed by Eagle Scout Projects

Local Boy Scouts want to help the Washington Parks Department.

Four Scouts were granted permission from the Washington Parks Board to do their Eagle Scout projects in Washington parks. The projects were approved by the park board during the Feb. 6 meeting.

The projects tackle a variety of issues in the parks department and members of the board said they were impressed the Scouts all came up with good, unique projects.

“I am more than impressed,” Board President Debbie Toedebusch said. “You guys should be commended. That was phenomenal.”

Will Schriewer presented his plan to landscape the area around the Owens Monuments in Krog Park. Schriewer said he hopes the landscaping would draw more attention to the park and make it a more desirable destination.

Schriewer said he would like to plant three dogwood trees, two new hostas, seven Boxwood shrubs and 11 black-eyed Susans — Washington’s official flower. He said future Scouts would help in maintenance of the landscaping.

After the board praised Schriewer’s project, it was Matthew Sinnott’s turn to present.

Sinnott asked the board if he could build a park sign by the bridge at the Rabbit Trail Drive entrance to Phoenix Park. Sinnott said the area is lacking a sign, and he would like to change that.

The sign would have markings for three walking routes in the park. Sinnott said this way visitors could plan out how far they want to walk.

Sinnott said the sign would be professionally designed and encased in a cedar frame.

Toedebusch praised the project.

“People don’t know about that — it’s almost like it’s a best-kept secret that you can get to Phoenix Park from Rabbit Trail Drive,” Toedebusch said.

Max Meyer was the third Scout to present a project to the board. He said he wanted to do some landscaping at the Washington Fairgrounds.

Meyer said he intends to landscape the area near the main stage and next to the flagpole. The flowers will be drought resistant and should be at their most colorful during the Fair, he said.

Meyer would also use black-eyed Susans in his project. In total, the plans call for six different kinds of plants.

Parks director Darren Dunkle, who got advance notice of the project, said he had already told the Fair Board about the plans and they thought it was a good idea.

Last up was Joseph Schmidt. His idea is to install watering stations for dogs along the riverfront trail.

Schmidt said he wanted to put three stations in the park  — one at each end and one in the middle. He said a lot of people like to walk dogs, but the park does not currently have watering stations for dogs.

He said he got the idea when a friend was walking her dog and noticed benches for her to rest, but no place for the dog to take a break.

Schmidt said the water would be sanitary and clean for the dogs. He said the water would be dispensed into a bowl and that, when not in use, the bowl would retract into a vertical position so leftover water would drain.

Dunkle said the dispensers would need to be set away from the trail a bit so bikers don’t run into them.

Sparky Stuckenschneider said it would be a good idea to place dog waste pickup stations near the fountains.

Following the last presentation, the board raved about all four projects.

“We thank you very much for choosing the parks for your great ideas,” Toedebusch said.

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Pennsylvania Garden Expo: It’s time to think spring

For most of us, spring cannot come soon enough.

With all the snow, ice and freezing rain, there is a plaintive longing for all that is spring, like blooming flowers, trees with green leaves and lush green lawns. If only there was a way to make spring come early, like forcing a tulip to bloom.

Good news. There is, if only for this weekend. From Friday to Sunday, the season of flowers and plant and green and color can be experienced at the 2014 Pennsylvania Garden Expo in Harrisburg.

Ironically, the expo is being held at the same place that got the wintry season off to an icy start. That’s right, the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, where the annual state farm show is held every January amid notoriously wintry weather.

With the Pennsylvania Garden Expo, everything changes.

“The place will be absolutely in bloom with a record number of flowers and 12 fully landscaped gardens,” says Karen Rousche, expo manager.

As Rousche notes, the landscaped gardens each comprise 2,400 square feet of space, and they are big enough to walk through. It’s enough to give anyone with the winter blues some relief.

“These are huge gardens and they are amazing, with all sorts of features like outdoor kitchens, where you can grill food and entertain guests outdoors,” says Rousche.

The gardens are also very educational. Each flower and tree is labeled with its name, so that visitors can know what plants they might want to get for their own gardens.

The supervisor of the garden display is Joe Levendusky, who has his own landscaping business in Wellsville. He is an expert at making flowers and plants that usually bloom in spring blossom early, in the snowy days of February.

“Witch hazel, rhododendrons, forsythia and early-spring bloomers are very predictable,” says Levendusky, who grew most of the plants for his Levendusky Landscaping and Nursery.

That includes the water lilies and other blooms that grace his garden, which is highlighted by water features, like a waterfall, pond and flower-adorned patio, surrounded by lush green shrubs and trees.

“The idea is to create gardens that let people walk through them, and imagine that its their garden,” Levendusky says.

It’s not that hard to do, since each of the featured gardens will have a representative on hand to answer questions, explain which plants are best for which locations and even provide estimates for recreating the look. With 12 gardens to experience, visitors can combine the features they like best for their own gardens this spring.

“The Expo is all about ideas,” says Rousche. “And spring, of course.”

It’s also about a touch of fantasy, as in singing and dancing flowers. Really.

“The Musical Magic Flower Show is a show within a show,” says Judy McGinnis, who is a member of the Penn-Cumberland Garden Club, which co-sponsors the Musical Magical Flower Show with the Garden Club of Harrisburg.

The Musical Magic Flower Show features thousands of flowers in a stunning display of floral arrangements and designs, accompanied by music. Throughout the show, the emphasis is placed on growing, showing and designing with fresh plants. There are no artificial materials allowed.

“That’s the magic of it. It’s all natural and all beautiful,” says McGinnis.

New for 2014 is the premiere of Heroes Night on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., during which time all active military, veterans, fire fighters, police and first responders will be admitted for free.

Other special events include the return of Senior Day, sponsored by Luthercare, Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors 55 and older will receive $8 admission at the door. The Central Penn Parent magazine’s Family Night in the Garden, sponsored by Luthercare for Kids, returns Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with educational activities, crafts, animals and more for children and their parents. Admission is $5, with children 12 and under admitted free.

Throughout the Farm Show complex, the Pennsylvania Garden Expo will bring springtime garden ideas with plants, flowers, trees, garden accessories, outdoor living features, live stage presentations and fully planted gardens, comprising some 40,000 square feet. A second hall will showcase the Market Faire, featuring more than 150 exhibits and specialty shopping opportunities.

Finally, spring is here, if only for a few days.

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Winning garden has roots in the Methow

Kirsten Lints designed this garden. Courtesy Olivia Rose

Kirsten Lints designed this garden. Courtesy Olivia Rose

By Marcy Stamper

Thousands of flowering plants, trees and shrubs (2,232 to be exact), a tower of shiitake mushrooms, huge metal urns and three-foot-high letters that spelled out “You I” were among the components of an award-winning garden at the Northwest Flower Garden Show that had roots that extended to Winthrop.

“Nature’s Studio,” a garden designed by Kirsten Lints, the daughter-in-law of Olivia Rose and Craig Lints, who both live in the Methow Valley, won seven awards, including People’s Choice, at the annual explosion of early spring in Seattle earlier this month. Lints is the owner of Gardens ALIVE Design in Duvall, Wash.

Lints’ garden was conceived with two sections —one where artists or writers could sit and sketch, and the other, accessed through a moon gate, where they could derive inspiration, relax or celebrate, she said.

The garden incorporated moss-covered spheres, a waterfall and pond, a vegetable garden, an 11-foot-tall tree stump, and that crowning pillar of shiitake mushrooms. The entire assemblage was one of two dozen show gardens installed on the fourth floor of the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.

Among the metal accents were three-foot-high letters that Lints discovered at Inside Out Home and Garden in Winthrop on a visit to the Methow Valley. Inside Out has had a separate booth at the show for six years and has been included in other show gardens several times, said Terri Price, co-owner of the store.

“My goal was to bring something to the show that was new and maybe had never been done before,” said Lints. “We thought through every single plant and every single thing.”

Among the awards given to Lints and her co-creator, landscaper Rob Boyker, was special recognition for a garden that would appeal to Generation X for its integration of innovative design and new trends.

In addition to designs for Western Washington gardens, Lints, who grew up in Eastern Washington, creates landscapes for people in drier climates.

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You can’t take the garden out of the gardener

Cambria gardeners are licking their wounds. The Cambria Community Services District adopted the Stage 3 conservation measures and restrictions on the use of potable water at a special meeting last month.

Across the board, both residences and businesses have been hit hard on strict conservation measures because of a three-year drought and the fact that, over decades, our CCSD board has been unable to find an alternative water source.

Residents of this town have always supported businesses and even more so in the past few years when events have been created in the hopes of keeping businesses alive and well. Yet, there has been little vocal support for homeowners when it comes to maintaining the physical beauty and value of their property.

After Mother Nature’s gentle blessing this last week, my spirit is rejuvenated. Our gardens have relaxed and plant cells have swelled with recent hydration. Gardeners, who are restricted from using potable water on landscaping, are not about to “dry up and blow away.” Some of us have a rainwater catchment system that will sustain watering as long as there is a bit of rain. But many of us believe that you can’t trust rainfall to be the provider of all our water needs, no matter how large the storage facility. Nor should the CCSD rely on rainwater-dependent wells to continue to supply water in a severe drought. Trusting that this board will do what it takes to provide us with water, I’ll do my part.

In order to have any garden at all this year, I’ll start by reducing the water requirements of our landscape. To begin with:

  • I’ll remove plants that require excessive amounts water: hostas, foxglove, columbine, primula and wallflower, among a few.
  • My four vegetable boxes will be “out of commission” this year. I’ve filled them with dry leaves and a dash of chicken manure in hopes it will create compost by next fall.
  • Shallow potting “bowls” will be washed and stored.
  • Hanging pots will be taken down, cleaned, and stored.
  • Small potted plants will be planted in the ground in a shady area and I’ll water them with grey water.
  • Potted plants of any value, including succulents, will be put in a semi-shady place.
  • I’ll make deeper furrows around plants and shrubs to catch “run-off” from rain that is sure to come.
  • We’ll read our water meter several times a month so we can monitor our water use.

It would be a lovely thing if the rain continues to moisten our soil but, if we are left “high and dry,” I’m going to pull myself up by my “rainboot straps” and hope for a wet and soggy summer.

“You can take the gardener out of the garden, but you can’t take the garden out of the gardener.”

Lee Oliphant’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at; read her blog at

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GARDENING: The Month Of Love For The Garden

Valentine’s day has come and gone so now it’s worth investing a bit of love outside this month for a long-term relationship with your garden.

By Adam Willcox | 19th February 2014

February can be a crazy month for gardeners; sub-zero temperatures, sunny spring days, high winds and uneven amounts of rainfall will definitely keep you on your toes. So how to proceed in the most unpredictable month of the year?

Fill the house – Windowsills are a great place to get things going. Seeds are unlikely to germinate outside at the moment so use your light filled indoor spaces to get your ‘grow on.’ You could start now with almost anything you want some of my favourites would be broad beans, peas, spinach, tomatoes and lettuces. Whilst sowing imagine the first barbecue of the year and plant what you’ll need to compliment your smoky meats and chilled beers.

Get Chitting – If you want to grow potatoes this year then it’s time to get started. Choose your favourite variety and buy some seed potatoes. Chitting is the process of putting your seed potatoes in a cool light place and allowing them to start sprouting shoots known as ‘chits’. Spread the potatoes out in seeds trays to allow them the space to start. Potatoes are a great crop and are versatile – however, if space to grow crops is an issue perhaps grow things that are slightly more expensive to buy in the shops instead.

Tunnel of Love – If you are lucky enough to have a polytunnel then the increasing daylight hours are going to be creating an atmosphere in the tunnel that will support the planting of seeds. Beware, plummeting temperatures will have an effect on what’s going on in the tunnel. To be on the safe side keep an eye on the forthcoming weather forecasts. To avoid getting caught out you could even create a mini tunnel inside your polytunnel with some clear plastic.

Winter Pruning – If you have any fruit trees now is your last chance to prune. If you leave it until spring they may have come out of dormancy and bleed sap when pruned.

Always use protection – If you’ve got any crops that you’ve been harvesting over the winter, now’s the time to protect them from hungry birds. Use nets on things like cabbages. If you want to help the wildlife then set up some bird feeders – making sure they’re away from your crops and out of reach of watchful pussy-cats.

So whether you’re shot with cupid’s arrow or not in February – there’s plenty to love about your garden this month. Have a good one!

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This week’s gardening tips: gladiolus, hydrangeas and lichen edition – The Times

Hearths worthy of centerpiece status, even when they’re not ablaze. … Read the story»

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Duval Extension gardening tips workshop set for March 13 – Florida Times

A free “Spring Gardening Tips” workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday March 13 at the Highlands Branch Library at 1826 Dunn Ave.

The Duval County Extension Office is offering the workshop to discuss vegetables, fertilizer, pest control, lawn tips and more.

Reservations are suggested by contacting the extension office at (904) 255-7450 or via email at

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Tips From the Potting Bench: Get Your Garden On!

By RITA JACINTO, Flying Blue Dog Farm

Here we are, already at the half way point between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. Technically that would be February 2, or as we have come to celebrate it, Ground Hog Day. This day actually has as many names as there are cultures around the world for every culture marks these special days. Even if you didn’t know that little tidbit of information I bet you feel it.

The days are measurably longer, the robins and peepers are starting their mating songs, new growth on the trees is coloring up and buds are swelling with the surging sap. And, we have rain! Soaking, drenching wet and wonderful rain.

It is time to get your garden on. The very first thing we plant in the new gardening year is peas. English pod peas, Sugarsnap peas and tender snow peas all benefit from being pre-germinated but are just as happy to be sown directly in the soil.

Pre-germination can be of benefit if the weather is particularly cold and wet. While peas are cold tolerant and can take longer to germinate in cold soil, the combination of cold and wet can do them in causing the seeds to rot in the ground. Pre-germinating the seeds in the house, garage or what have you gives you the advantage of planting out already living plants which are much more able to deal if the weather turns cold and wet. There are lots of ways to accomplish this.
The method we use here is to fill a shallow tray with soil two-to-three inches deep. Next scatter the pea seeds in the tray so that the seeds are barely touching each other and cover with a half-inch of soil. Water well and keep the tray somewhere warm and bright. Depending on the temperature they should be up in 10 days or so. Once they are up with a pair or two of leaves it’s time to plant them out.

Prepare the bed or row for planting, use a trellis! I know some of the pea variety descriptions say that you don’t need to use a trellis, especially on shorter types but I’m telling you it will be so much easier to pick them if you use a trellis.

It’s nice to have the trellis up before you plant then you know exactly where to plant. It is much easier to put the trellis up before planting, besides you know you will never get back to it even though you tell yourself you will do it later.

Your trellis can be anything from orchard prunings rammed into the ground, to fancy store-bought trellising. We use t-posts and orchard fencing; it’s fast, easy and re-usable. Once the ground is prepared and the trellis is up it’s time to plant.

I don’t bother separating each plant out; rather I gently grasp a few plants and tease them out of the tray. Each group of three or so plants gets planted about two inches apart down the row.  In past years I haven’t worried about laying irrigation since the peas are usually done by the time the rains stop. Last year was different and this year may be as well with hardly any rain and heat coming on early.  So we will be laying soaker hose down the row.  If the heat starts early we may be out of luck any how since peas pretty much shut down when the temps reach 75 degrees. For that reason it may be a good idea to plant more heat tolerant varieties.

A 100’ row of pod peas will yield about 20 pounds; snap and snow peas will yield around 30 pounds. There are some great charts online listing expected yields by plant variety. They will tell you how much seed it takes to plant a certain amount of row feet, how much space to leave between plants and between rows and expected yield.

Seed saving is super easy with peas because they have perfect flowers and pollinate themselves as they are blooming. So choose open pollinated varieties as these are the only kind of seeds that will come true the next year. Once the peas are growing and setting pods mark out a section that looks especially healthy and refrain from harvesting them. Make sure that you save at least 10 plants for seed saving in this section. You want to get enough genetic diversity to keep the variety strong. Let them grow on to maturity and when the pods are brown and just before they twist open harvest them into a paper bag. Now you have next year’s seed stock!

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