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Archives for September 2, 2014

Burlingame asks: How green is gray water?

BURLINGAME — The merciless drought parching California is forcing people to confront scary questions about the state’s water supply — and search for answers.

On Wednesday, city leaders in Burlingame will host a forum on two emerging methods of water conservation titled “The Pros and Cons of Gray Water and Rainwater.” Tom Bressan, owner of the Urban Farmer Store and an expert in water-friendly landscaping, will lead the discussion.

Gray water systems recycle household water from sinks, showers and washing machines for other uses, such as watering gardens or flushing toilets. Capturing rain and then releasing it later allows more water to seep into the ground rather than flow into storm drains.

California has made great strides in water conservation since the last major drought in the 1970s, Bressan said in a phone interview. But population growth and the possibility of climate change drying out the Sierra Nevada snowpack mean Californians will need to go even further.

“We have to develop things that use water again and again,” Bressan said. “Anything we can do to slow water from becoming saltwater is important — all water eventually makes its way to the ocean, and then it’s practically useless to us.”

The state currently places restrictions on the use of gray water to protect public safety. Water from the kitchen sink, for instance, may contain harmful bacteria.

But recycling gray water from a washing machine to irrigate plants is safe and relatively easy, Bressan said, so long as you use “biocompatible,” or nontoxic, detergent. Water that’s been treated with bleach or any other chemical must be sent into the sewer system to avoid contaminating groundwater.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, with Bressan’s help, has established a “Laundry-to-Landscape” program that includes rebates and technical assistance for homeowners. For more information, visit http://sfwater.org and search for “gray water.”

The benefits of capturing rainwater are more general than specific, Bressan said. So much rain falls during the Bay Area’s winter storms that the ground quickly becomes saturated, sending water streaming into the street and down the drain. Catching the water in 60-gallon or larger barrels, or designing landscapes with depressions known as swales, reduces runoff. Releasing it between storms cuts down on water consumption in the garden and replenishes underground reservoirs.

“In my little way, I can recharge San Francisco’s aquifer by about 25,000 gallons a year,” Bressan said of the system he’s set up in his own home. “When a lot of people do that, it adds up.”

Burlingame Vice Mayor Terry Nagel said city officials hope Wednesday’s event will spark ideas for improving the city’s approach to water conservation.

“With water becoming more scarce, people are taking a closer look at some alternative water systems,” she said. “If we were smarter about how we use our water, we wouldn’t depend so much on rain and those infrastructure projects that are so expensive, like dams.”

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.

Article source: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_26448736/burlingame-asks-how-green-is-gray-water

Improved park-and-rides promised – Times Herald

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GOSHEN — Vacation-sated commuters will return to Orange County’s park-and-ride network in force this week and find nothing has changed in their absence.

Most of the lots are still bursting at the seams, and most of them are still a sorry, shabby sight.

The county and the state, however, have some new — and some old — plans to improve the chronically overcrowded network.

Suggestions welcome

Commuters are invited to submit ideas for improving Orange County’s park-and-ride network to the county Planning Department at planning@orangecountygov.com.

And this time, they insist that they are going to follow through on them.

2 of busiest sites may be rebuilt

For starters, Steve Neuhaus, the new county executive, and his staff have organized a powwow with the state Department of Transportation, which owns the lots, and Short Line, which provides commuter bus service from them. (The county maintains the majority of the lots for the DOT.)

“The goal is to discuss short- and longer-term improvements to capacity and service that complement Short Line’s literal presence here,” said David Church, the county’s planning commissioner.

Coach USA/Short Line, headquartered in Mahwah, N.J., for years, moved into a $16 million office and garage complex off Route 94 in Chester three months ago. The county funneled some of its federal transit aid to Coach to support the move.

Church said the county and the DOT have already had preliminary discussions about rebuilding two of the busiest park-and-rides, the one on Route 17K in Newburgh and the one off Route 17 in Monroe, as soon as next year.

Both projects will result in additional capacity, as well as new shelters, lighting, signage and landscaping. Boarding patterns will be reconsidered to better accommodate the multiple transit services in Newburgh and the twin lots in Monroe.

Seeking commuters’ input

Discussions are ongoing, too, about the possibility of the county and the state turning responsibility for maintaining the far-flung network over to a third party. Short Line has no interest in taking on the task.

In the shorter term, Church’s staff has canvassed the network to see where quick fixes can be made, either to the physical lots or to the bus schedule, to enhance parking. The ideas will be added to the ones already on hand and pursued.

Last year, for example, the county and the state talked about removing the Jersey barriers on the dead-end street fronting the Chester lot to create more spaces, but never got around to checking the abandoned bridge there for safety.

Earlier this year, some commuters who use the Central Valley lot — and were at risk for a spate of ticketing and towing — suggested, to no avail, that the county remove an unused shelter and clothing-donation bins to create more spaces.

Elsewhere, they have suggested without success that repainting faded pavement markings, invisible in the early morning, would maximize parking. Complaints about potholes, broken sidewalks, burned-out lights and trash abound.

Short Line, to draw commuters away from Monroe and Central Valley, added service from downtown Monroe and Harriman. Those lots still have spaces available. Next year, when the DOT’s new park-and-ride at Exit 122 opens, it will be faced with rethinking schedules throughout the Route 17 corridor.

Church asked commuters to email his staff at planning@orangecountygov.com with additional suggestions.

“They use the lots every day, and they probably have ideas that would never occur to us,” said Church. “We want to hear them.”

judyrife@gmail.com


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Article source: http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20140902/BIZ/409020314/-1/NEWS

Chinatown hopes return of St. Mary’s Square project will retain traditional feel


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  • courtesy HELLER MANUS ARCHITECTS
  • A glass building is slated for 500 Pine St. It will include a rooftop park design. The project was picked up by a new developer following the recession.

In ultradense Chinatown, open space is a commodity — as is sunlight.

Community advocates won the battle to preserve both at St. Mary’s Square more than a decade ago during the dot-com boom, when the developer of a proposed high-rise office building at 350 Bush St. that would have cast a shadow over the square agreed to build an extension of the park as a compromise.

Before the 19-story building — the last opportunity for an office skyscraper north of Market Street — could be occupied, the developer would have to complete the St. Mary’s Square extension at its other property about a block away northwest at 500 Pine St. atop a five-story office building also in the pipeline.

Conceptual plans for the rooftop park — the result of extensive input from the Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown Coalition for Better Housing, Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown and Tenderloin Housing Clinic — were approved by the Planning Commission and Recreation and Park Commission in 2001. The park extension was to be built and maintained by the developer, Shorenstein Co., and handed over to The City at no cost.

When the real estate market was at a high point in 2007, Shorenstein sold both parcels to Lincoln ASB Bush, which acquired the agreed-upon open-space compromise as well.

Then the recession hit.

The new developer put the construction on hold.

Now in the thick of a new economic boom with skyrocketing demand for housing and office space, Chinatown community advocates are worried the rooftop park will be built out to cater to the Financial District lunch crowd and gentrify the park, pushing out longtime monolingual residents who frequent the space for tai chi and other cultural and exercise activities.

“There’s a fear that you’re not welcome if you’re not wealthy,” said Cindy Wu, community planning manager for the Chinatown Community Development Center. “It closes off St. Mary’s Square even more.”

St. Mary’s Square, a small, urban open-space playground boxed in between Pine, Kearny, California and Quincy streets bordering Chinatown and the Financial District, sees less use from Chinatown residents than the iconic Portsmouth Square, in large part due to its smaller size, fewer entry points and location farther from the heart of Chinatown.

At the same time, though, it offers a peaceful alternative to the only other open spaces in Chinatown — crowded Portsmouth Square, nearby Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground and Woh Hei Yuen Playground to the north.

According to a report released in May, Asian and Pacific Islander Health and Wellbeing: A San Francisco Neighborhood Analysis, only 5.8 percent of Chinatown is open-space land, compared to the citywide average of 22.8 percent.

The final rooftop park extension plans, approved by the Recreation and Park Department general manager in 2008, includes a fence that will close the space off to the public between sunset and sunrise. Concerns remain.

“They are office buildings, so we understand the need for security,” Wu said. “But knowing these restrictions, how can we preserve the Chinatown fabric?”

But Daniel Frattin, attorney for Gemdale USA, a Chinese company that formed a joint venture with Lincoln ASB Bush, has no interest in excluding Chinatown residents from the park extension. There has been “no significant change” in the park-extension design from its original form, Frattin said, and it will be accessible from the Chinatown side rather than the downtown end and Kearny Street.

“It’s going to be open to the public,” Frattin said of the extension. In addition to expanding St. Mary’s Square, the developer is also making a voluntary housing payment of $1.12 million to fund below-market-rate housing in Chinatown.

The site at 350 Bush St. has a history of its own. Still standing there is a former mining stock exchange building of a classical revival design, and north of it at 469 Pine St., before being torn down, the Temple Hotel was the site of Ellis Act evictions in the late 1990s. While modern, the new 19-story tower will incorporate elements of the mining stock exchange building.

Nearby, 500 Pine St., a former Chinese temple-turned-vacant site, is slated for a gleaming glass office. The 6,127-square-foot rooftop park design mirrors that style, which Carol Kuong, a member of the Committee for Better Parks and Recreation in Chinatown, hopes will be modified at least slightly.

“The design that we last saw is a big landscaping area and we are hoping that it can incorporate more Chinese character and a sense of belonging to Chinatown,” she said. “So it feels like part of the community when they go there.”

Since meeting with the committee in June, the developer has been considering the public-art component as well as modifications to soften up the fence and incorporate elements that would make the extension more welcoming to children, Frattin said.

Both projects are scheduled to break ground this month, with 500 Pine St. expected to take 18 months and 350 Bush St. two years to complete. Who will maintain the new park is still being finalized.

“We are thrilled to be partnering to add much-needed green space to this densely populated neighborhood,” Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said.

Community activists see the St. Mary’s Square extension as the potential beginning of a “Golden Era of Open Space” in Chinatown, with a Central Subway station rooftop plaza and the Portsmouth Square Master Plan on the horizon.

“We have so many ideas for Chinatown, creating open space,” said Allan Low, a Rec and Park commissioner. “It is a rare opportunity.”

Article source: http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/chinatown-hopes-return-of-st-marys-square-project-will-retain-traditional-feel/Content?oid=2889102

Burlingame asks: How green is gray water?

BURLINGAME — The merciless drought parching California is forcing people to confront scary questions about the state’s water supply — and search for answers.

On Wednesday, city leaders in Burlingame will host a forum on two emerging methods of water conservation titled “The Pros and Cons of Gray Water and Rainwater.” Tom Bressan, owner of the Urban Farmer Store and an expert in water-friendly landscaping, will lead the discussion.

Gray water systems recycle household water from sinks, showers and washing machines for other uses, such as watering gardens or flushing toilets. Capturing rain and then releasing it later allows more water to seep into the ground rather than flow into storm drains.

California has made great strides in water conservation since the last major drought in the 1970s, Bressan said in a phone interview. But population growth and the possibility of climate change drying out the Sierra Nevada snowpack mean Californians will need to go even further.

“We have to develop things that use water again and again,” Bressan said. “Anything we can do to slow water from becoming saltwater is important — all water eventually makes its way to the ocean, and then it’s practically useless to us.”

The state currently places restrictions on the use of gray water to protect public safety. Water from the kitchen sink, for instance, may contain harmful bacteria.

But recycling gray water from a washing machine to irrigate plants is safe and relatively easy, Bressan said, so long as you use “biocompatible,” or nontoxic, detergent. Water that’s been treated with bleach or any other chemical must be sent into the sewer system to avoid contaminating groundwater.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, with Bressan’s help, has established a “Laundry-to-Landscape” program that includes rebates and technical assistance for homeowners. For more information, visit http://sfwater.org and search for “gray water.”

The benefits of capturing rainwater are more general than specific, Bressan said. So much rain falls during the Bay Area’s winter storms that the ground quickly becomes saturated, sending water streaming into the street and down the drain. Catching the water in 60-gallon or larger barrels, or designing landscapes with depressions known as swales, reduces runoff. Releasing it between storms cuts down on water consumption in the garden and replenishes underground reservoirs.

“In my little way, I can recharge San Francisco’s aquifer by about 25,000 gallons a year,” Bressan said of the system he’s set up in his own home. “When a lot of people do that, it adds up.”

Burlingame Vice Mayor Terry Nagel said city officials hope Wednesday’s event will spark ideas for improving the city’s approach to water conservation.

“With water becoming more scarce, people are taking a closer look at some alternative water systems,” she said. “If we were smarter about how we use our water, we wouldn’t depend so much on rain and those infrastructure projects that are so expensive, like dams.”

Contact Aaron Kinney at 650-348-4357. Follow him at Twitter.com/kinneytimes.

Water conservation forum

What: “The Pros and Cons of Gray Water and Rainwater”
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Lane Room at the Burlingame Public Library, 480 Primrose Road
How much: Admission is free

Article source: http://www.mercurynews.com/san-mateo-county-times/ci_26448735/burlingame-asks-how-green-is-gray-water

SAN JACINTO: Valley Beautiful lives up to its name – Press

SAN JACINTO: Valley Beautiful lives up to its name




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 Cathy Sims helps prune a tree at the Estudillo Mansion Water Conservation Education Garden last month.  She is part of Valley Beautiful, whose volunteers work in community gardens in Hemet and San Jacinto.


A group of committed garden enthusiasts learned the hard way that low maintenance doesn’t mean no maintenance when they discovered how much TLC was needed at the 7-year-old Estudillo Mansion Water Conservation Education Garden.

“We took this on one plot at a time,” Valley Beautiful co-president Diane Boss said. “We started with the bed outside the entrance to the (San Jacinto) Museum. This is one of about 20 garden plots on the grounds.”

The first steps to improve the overgrown and overwatered garden plots were taken more than a year ago.

“We all want our gardens at Estudillo Heritage Park to reflect what drought tolerant gardens can look like,” said Lynn Peterson, the Estudillo Mansion liaison. “This was a total team effort.”

San Jacinto Rotary Club members provided a donation of $350 to get things started.

Valley Beautiful is a 50-year-old community organization whose members want to help local gardens grow and are seeking other volunteers to regularly visit several public gardens to spruce them up.

An ongoing restoration project is at the Ramona Bowl from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. Marjorie Roberts is the garden director for the Terrace Gardens there. A garden work morning for other gardens at the bowl, including the Crescent Gardens at the top of the parking lot, is planned from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, led by Valley Beautiful member Katherine Botts. Members from The Grange also will be volunteering to get the garden pruned and weeded for the fall.

The Hemet Train Depot is another gardening destination, from 8 to 10 a.m. the last Friday of each month, and work will continue at the Estudillo Mansion from 8 to 10 a.m. the third Saturday of each month. Times may change as the weather cools.

“The work at these sites fits perfectly within the mission of the Valley Beautiful group,” said Botts, who is also a Master Gardener and garden designer. “We hope to provide education for the community regarding environmentally friendly landscaping, especially in the area of water conservation.”

Plans are to offer workshops alongside the maintenance at all the demonstration gardens so San Jacinto Valley residents can see climate appropriate plants growing in a variety of settings.

“We would love to have more help on these projects,” Botts said. “Interested community members are invited to show up with garden tools in hand at any of our work events.”

Gloves, hats, sunscreen, water and a desire to create beautiful water-wise gardens also are encouraged.

A Valley Beautiful garden workshop and tour of the Ramona Bowl, led by Botts, is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 4. Tickets cost $10 each and proceeds will go toward purchasing water-wise plants, mulch and other garden supplies.

Information: 951-658-7319.

Contact the writer: dianerhodes.writer@gmail.com

More from San Jacinto

Article source: http://www.pe.com/articles/garden-749275-gardens-beautiful.html

Make Walkway Look Beautiful

A walkway can help define your garden, demarcate flowerbeds, and bring definition to your outdoor landscape. A walkway can lead your guests to an outdoor feature like a water fountain, a sit out or an entertainment area or just work as a border for various areas like between a kitchen garden, a play area and a formal rose garden. Make your garden walkway fit in with your outdoor decor and landscape style by giving some thought to its style and design.

Informal Walkway

This style of walkway can curve and meander through your garden and will call for the use of unfinished, rough, natural materials like jagged stones laid out with grass allowed to grow naturally between the joints. This walkway is perfect for a landscape design that aims for a less structured look.

An Alternative To Lawn

A combination of walkways, patios and planting beds can be used as an alternative to laying out a grass lawn. The walkway can be as structured and planned as you prefer to fit into your landscape. This style is characterized by all areas, other than plant beds, covered in a permanent finish or material that is low maintenance. 
A walkway as an alternative to lawn grassFor example in the picture above, the areas other than the stone laid out for the walkway is covered in pebbles or other rough hewn natural stone and soil is visible only in the plant beds.

Country Cottage Walkway

A brick walkway is perfect to hark back to the look of a pretty cottage in the country side! Red brick walkways combined with lush green gardens are a picture perfect perennial favorite with landscape designers worldwide.Red brick garden walkwayRaised WalkwayA raised walkway allows for movement around your garden without disturbing your plants or other formal arrangements, for instance in a meticulously laid out zen garden. Raised walkways are also a truly great idea for gardens that are in low lying areas and prone to flooding in the rains, especially if you have to cross your garden to leave your home.

Rustic Return To Nature

If you are trying to be environment friendly and grow a sustainable garden you will loathe the idea of a ton of materials, energy and manpower going towards building your walkway. You can take the recycling route to create a truly eco-friendly convenience in your garden! Instead of paying to transport a dead tree from your property, have its trunk sawed into rounds and lay them down as a rustic pathway between garden beds as shown below.

Decorative

If your garden path or walkway leads to your formal front entrance, dressing it up to match the formal front door isn’t a bad idea. A patterned mosaic walkway made with pebbles of different colors creates a functional yet decorative walkway to complement the character of your home.

Walk On Water

A walkway over a water feature is a wonderful alternative for a small garden conversion or a narrow or awkwardly shaped outdoor area. Although admittedly a bad idea for homes with little children due to safety considerations, this option can take the attention away from the small size and awkward shape of an outdoor area while simultaneously creating a dramatic feature as a statement entry point to your home. Walkways are often ignored when landscaping a garden even though they are the best way to direct traffic around your outdoor space and keep people off your flowers ans lawn. Many elements go into planning the perfect walkway, but choosing a style for your garden walkway is a good place to start.

Article source: http://onmilwaukee.com/myOMC/blog/show/7487

Five tips to help kick-start your gardening therapy


Five tips to help kick-start your gardening therapy

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Category: Life

Written by Shelby Sheehan-Bernard | McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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ANYONE who gardens regularly can tell you the psychological, physical and social benefits they gain from the experience. But research is beginning to confirm this, and gardening as a method for therapy is growing in popularity throughout the country.

It’s for good reason. In a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), American adults reported on average that their stress level was higher than they believed to be healthy.

“Nature can be its own therapist,” said Jean Larson, manager of nature-based therapeutic (NBT) services at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and professor at the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota.

She refers to it as the effect of your “brain on nature,” with all components firing and working together as nature intended. This engages the reptile brain (the most primitive part that includes the fight-or-flight mechanism), the mammalian brain (the part that helps create complex emotions) and the neocortex (also referred to as the human brain, the component that assists in advanced thinking).

Ultimately, she says, even five minutes in the garden provides an “opportunity for the mind to relax and shut down your internal computer.” According to Larson, brain scans have also shown that the areas of the brain associated with loving and kindness become engaged, as does the creative and artistic side.

At her NBT program at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, she works with a diverse group of clients from hospitals and schools to integrate nature-based therapies for physical and psychological healing. For those with physical disabilities, the program provides adaptive tools, such as raised flower beds for stroke victims to access and an area with plants that have no fragrance for those with sensory sensitivities.

The point, says Larson, isn’t the end product but the process that gets them there. For example, the program provides weed gardens for clients with dementia. “It gives them a task to complete, and it’s just what the doctor ordered,” Larson explained.

The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois, has an enabling garden where veterans, mental health patients and nursing-home residents, among many others, come to reduce stress and get physical exercise. Those who work with the clients see an intense transformation as the therapy progresses.

“Being in the garden really seems to help even out people’s temperament and reduce stress,” said Barb Kreski, the garden’s director of horticultural therapy services. “Many of our clients have experienced traumatic events, whether they are cardiac patients or struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, and just being here has made all of the difference in the world.”

The great news is that anyone can benefit from nature-based therapy. And you don’t have to be a master gardener to get the benefits. In fact, that may defeat the purpose entirely. “If you want perfection, visit an arboretum,” Larson said.

Ready to hit the garden? Here are some tips to get you started:

1. KEEP IT EASY. Larson suggests starting with an easy-to-grow plant like mint. “You can look at it and it will grow,” she said. It does need some fresh soil and drainage, but, other than that, the maintenance is low. Larson even has some planted in an old shoe in her garden. Kreski considers succulents a good low-maintenance choice, as well if you get lots of light.

2. CONTAIN IT. Container gardens can be a great option for beginners, especially for those with physical impairments. “You can bring the pots onto a table and work from there,” Kreski explained. It also allows you to control the soil quality (Kreski recommends using clean potting soil), which will ensure healthy plant growth. She says many plants do well in containers, including those that produce food.

3. GO STEP BY STEP. Kreski works with many clients who have a fear of getting dirty or touching the critters they encounter in the soil. In this case, she recommends going slowly and using equipment like gloves and tools to put some space from you and the dirt.

4. WATCH YOUR BODY. “Don’t be a weekend warrior,” Kreski warned. Being aware of body mechanics is very important when you’re bending down and pulling, especially if you aren’t used to it. She suggests warming up first and taking many breaks during extended gardening periods to avoid injury. Also look at adapting areas for comfort, such as raising garden beds.

5. LOSE THE ALL-OR-NOTHING THOUGHTS. People often feel like they have to dedicate hours to the activity to gain benefits, but according to Larson, a little gardening time goes a long way. If you have small children, let them help you instead of assuming they’ll destroy your restoration process. “Give them a little tool to dig with, and they’ll help you aerate the soil,” Larson said.

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Article source: http://www.businessmirror.com.ph/index.php/en/lifestyle/life/38056-five-tips-to-help-kick-start-your-gardening-therapy

Labor Day planting

Posted: Monday, September 1, 2014 9:16 am
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Updated: 9:18 am, Mon Sep 1, 2014.

Labor Day planting

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

thedailymail.net

|
0 comments

Labor Day weekend is early this year and it marks the unofficial end of the summer season as the kids return to school. It is certainly not the end of the gardening season! I have harvested exactly 1, of my Big Beef, full size, tomatoes. My first variety of sweet corn was harvested and eaten on the spot by a raccoon, just a few days before I was planning to pick it! I have managed to make 20 pints and six quarts of pickles so far. I reconnected the electric fence and hope to enjoy my second planting of corn in a couple of weeks. I plant an early corn variety and a late variety that ripens about 2 weeks later at the same time each spring. My late variety this year is Silver Queen. This is an open pollinated sweet corn widely considered by many gardeners as the finest tasting sweet corn there is!

For many of us locals, early fall is the nicest time of the year here in the Northern Catskill/Hudson valley region. The kids are heading back to school, the weather is beautiful with fewer mosquitoes, no black flies or no see ums and it is a great time to plant things!

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Monday, September 1, 2014 9:16 am.

Updated: 9:18 am.

Article source: http://www.thedailymail.net/columnists/weekly_gardening_tips/article_3f305648-31da-11e4-85c0-0019bb2963f4.html

Pedrick’s Garden a final project at Falls Park

O

ne section is called a garden, the other a sanctuary.

They represent the finishing touches to Greenville’s celebrated Falls Park. Pedrick’s Garden opened last week; the Carolina Foothills Garden Club Sanctuary should be finished within two months.

For Robert Miller, the owner of Down to Earth Gardens, the completion is the capstone to 25 years of work and many more beyond that of association with the area now known as Falls Park.

“As a child, it was my playground,” he said.

As a high school horticulturalist, he studied the plants under the Camperdown Way bridge that once spanned the Reedy River.

Then in the 1970s, he went with Sue Simpson, Greenville’s first female City Council member and president of the Carolina Foothills club, to plant wildflowers near River Lodge.

For the past 25 years, Miller has worked alongside many other planners and landscape architects to bring the park – and now the garden and sanctuary – to life.

Located behind the shops on Augusta Street in the West End, Pedrick’s Garden is named for Pedrick Lowrey, who was one of the principal fundraisers for Falls Park.

Her garden is comprised of a series of raised beds, a fountain and a new bridge connecting to Furman Way, a former road and now a walkway, which runs beside the Governor’s Schools for the Arts and Humanities.

The three-acre sanctuary is named for the club that was instrumental in bringing the possibility of Falls Park to the attention of civic leaders. Essentially a ravine, the sanctuary includes a small waterfall, rock staircases built into the hillside and a spring house used by Furman University botany students to grow moss and ferns.

The entire tract – along with Falls Park – was once owned by Furman. In the 1930s, Sara Gossett Crigler, then president of the Greenville Garden Club, heard about the development of the Arnold Arboretum in Pennsylvania. She believed Greenville needed an arboretum, too. It would be the first in the state.

The city joined with Furman and the club leveraged a $500 prize it won developing the Rock Quarry Garden on McDaniel Avenue to create the Furman Arboretum. It began with 266 trees, and workers from the Works Progress Administration built rock-lined steps and trails throughout.

Many are still there. Others were uncovered as thick snatches of ivy were cleared from the steep banks along Vardry Creek. The creek was named for Vardry McBee, who is considered the father of Greenville and in fact owned much of the land that is now the central business district, including Falls Park.

Miller researched the arboretum’s history as the plan was developed for its resurgence. He said in the 1930s it was a popular tourist area. But World War II left it without caretakers and then Furman moved to its current location on Poinsett Highway. Furman, in fact, took some of the plants with it, he said.

The arboretum was soon forgotten. Later, the side closest to the shops was filled in for a parking lot, creating a steep slope where there had been a gentle grade, Miller said.

In clearing out the overgrown area for the sanctuary, workers found a stone bench and an arch near University Street, Miller said. Also some old bottles and lots of construction debris. They were on guard for snakes because of the healthy number found when Falls Park was planted, but none were uncovered, Miller said.

He said the area is highlighted by beech trees more than 100 years old. He suspects the tree with an exposed root system that in many ways has become Greenville’s signature tree is a baby of the towering beeches along Vardy Creek. The roots of two poplars have grown together to form the creek bank.

The city has gotten permits to restore the creek to its historic flow, which will include an aquatic plant pond, and will rebuild a wall beside the springhouse that plants will grow on, said Edward Kinney, the city’s senior landscape architect.

“We’re taking the sediment and putting it back where it belongs,” he said.

The overall cost will be $1.6 million, Kinney said, including $500,000 from the city, $100,000 from the state. The rest was raised privately, including money from the garden club and donations from Pedrick Lowrey’s friends and family. The pedestrian bridge connecting the garden and Furman Way was paid for privately as well, Kinney said.

While Falls Park is raucous with use and wide open in design, the garden and sanctuary are the opposite.

That was one reason Jacob Lowrey, Pedrick’s husband, chose it for the garden to honor his wife. Pedrick Lowrey died in 2010 after a seven-year battle with breast cancer. She was 56. On Tuesday, when her family and friends gathered to dedicate the garden, she would have been 60.

Jacob Lowrey said he noticed the area while driving from his home on McDaniel Avenue to his office near Linky Stone Park. It seems serene, and many degrees cooler than the surrounding area. Plus, his wife loved a woodland setting.

The original garden plan was developed by noted landscape architect Julie Moir Messervy of Saxtons River, Vt.

“The spirit and intent certainly reads through to the final park design,” Kinney said.

Adjustments were made to bring the idea into alignment with what’s on the ground. That includes using concrete for the planters instead of a steel product that would have rusted onto the ground. The steel also would have heated the plants’ roots, he said.

The plantings are in keeping with the rest of Falls Park, he said. The sanctuary will have native plants such as bottlebrush buckeye and Athens sweetshrub, Miller said.

Another change was to an area Messervy had hoped to include behind the Cook’s Station.

It wasn’t available because it was protected as a parking lot under the estate of Josephine Cureton. Cureton owned the Cook’s Station building as well as the parking lot behind. She also owned a historic Victorian house on Augusta that she required be torn down when she died. It will be given to the South Carolina Children’s Theatre for a new home if construction begins within five years.

For Pedrick Lowrey, raising money for an endowment for Falls Park became a passion. She and fellow club member and friend Anna Kate Hipp raised about $3.6 million.

Still to be built in the sanctuary are stone-lined trails and an overlook on the Governor’s School side.

Miller said he searched Furman archives for the original plans but found only letters between the garden club, city and university about its development. Like the garden, it will be in keeping with the spirit of the original design.

“We want to get things back to their historic characteristics,” Kinney said.

Article source: http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2014/08/31/pedricks-garden-final-project-falls-park/14918177/