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Archives for September 7, 2014

Tallmadge firefighters to unveil 9/11 memorial Sept. 11

Tallmadge — Thirteen years after the terrorist attacks at Ground Zero in New York City, the Tallmadge Fire Department will unveil a new Sept. 11 memorial made from a piece of steel from the World Trade Center.

The unveiling is set to take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 11, at Fire Station No. 1, 85 W. Overdale Drive.

FireMedic Jeff Quick said the memorial has been years in the making. He learned in 2009 that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey were accepting applications from organizations that would like a piece of steel for a permanent memorial.

“Myself and Battalion Chief Mike Passarelli asked Fire Chief Pat Gaffney if we could seek the possibility of getting a piece of steel from the World Trade Center for a permanent 9/11 memorial, which would be placed at Tallmadge Fire Station No. 1.,” Quick said. “After two years and numerous rejection letters because the September 11th Families Association did not have enough pieces of steel for the many requests that they had received, I finally received a letter confirming that the Tallmadge Fire Department would receive a piece of the World Trade Center, with the stipulation, of course, that I stop sending letters and emails asking, begging for this piece of history.”

The piece of steel, weighing 200 pounds and measuring 18-inches by 18-inches, was part of a box beam that held up the building, Quick said.

“[The steel] is now a reminder of the devastation of September 11 and a permanent memorial at the Tallmadge Fire Station No. 1, dedicated to all of the victims of Sept. 11, 2001,” he said.

The design for the memorial came from students at the high school. About 20 students submitted ideas for the design, and Quick and Passarelli decided to meld some of the ideas to come up with the final design.

“The 9/11 Memorial is a 6-foot-tall tower with the piece of steel from the World Trade Center placed prominently on top,” Quick said. “The brick tower represents the Twin Towers in New York City with a stone walkway surrounding the tower in the shape of a pentagon representing Washington, D.C., and filling in the area between the pentagon and the tower is myrtle that represents the field in Shanksville, Pa.”

All of the materials and labor for the memorial came from donations from various companies in the area, including the Henry Bierce Co., which donated the blocks and pavers, and Mike Robinson Landscaping, which donated the time to put the memorial together.

Contact this reporter at 330-541-9428 or

Facebook: Holly Schoenstein, Record Publishing Co.

Twitter: @SchoensteinH

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ROMEO SCHOOLS: Girl Scout troop creates garden, earns Bronze Award


Wire Whisks and Wooden Spoons

You’ll find easy weekly menu ideas, recipes, craft ideas, random thoughts – and you never know what else!

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For golf courses, it’s not easy being green

Now in its third year, the historic southwestern drought has threatened Central Valley farmers since it began.

Wells in east Porterville are running dry, and even cities like Bakersfield — whose officials believe it has sufficient water rights and groundwater access to weather the crisis — have called for conservation.

And the odds of a long-term, or “megadrought,” shrouding the region for more than 30 years have increased to 20 to 50 percent, university officials at Cornell, the University of Arizona, and the U.S. Geological Survey said recently.

Faced with rising water and utility prices, many golf courses throughout the region are either reducing their water usage — or doing a lot of thinking about it.


It’s likely no other sport is more threatened by a drought than golf, which has come to be played on thirsty grass in settings that rival the world’s great parks.

Industry observers and course managers say the drought is prompting many course operators to reduce their play areas or pursue water-wise landscaping.

Others have turned back the clock to links-style golf — redesigning venerable courses according to decades-old photographs, where neat greens, fairways and tees are punctuated by large areas of sand and rough, and trees are few.

“Oh yeah that’s the No. 1 issue in the West and there are a lot of courses that are doing it,” said Guy Cipriano, assistant editor at Ohio-based Golf Course Industry magazine. “It seems like once a week or every other week we get a news release or a story coming across about a course going to drought-tolerant landscaping or even removing turf. Those are the two big things.”

Greg Dunn, Northern California sales manager for West Coast Turf, agrees. His company sods golf courses and stadiums including the Rose Bowl and Candlestick Park.

“It’s actually playing back into some earlier ideas of what golf should look like. In the 1800s and 1900s, irrigation wasn’t something that we did a lot of,” Dunn said. “It was the 1950s and 1960s that brought the advent of these fancy irrigation systems. That’s what people wanted. They expected a golf course that was wall-to-wall green.”


The Bakersfield Country Club, which gets its water from the East Niles Community Services District, is removing turf and going drought-tolerant.

In 2008, it spent $2.5 million to install a water-smart, computerized irrigation system and re-lined reservoirs, another water-saving measure.

More recently, members contributed $50,000 to help the course go native.

Last winter and spring, crews removed more than 10 of 140 irrigated acres of land from play.

That’s about 7 percent of its irrigated land including a prime hollow between Greens 6 and 7, below a viewpoint where the Grapevine is visible on a clear day.

Workers scraped up turf and planted everything from mesquite trees to Mexican feather and fountain grasses, and birds of paradise varieties.

The Country Club’s water usage peaked in 2003 at 575 acre-feet per year, according to Superintendent Steven Scarbrough, but in 2013 was down about 9 percent, to 523 acre-feet.

One acre-foot is enough water to cover a football field 12 inches deep — about as much as the average family uses in a year.

In other words, the Country Club’s peak usage would have supplied about 575 families for a year, compared to around 523 now.

The club’s water usage this past August was its second lowest such month in 20 years, Scarbrough said.

Using less water has killed thirstier trees, including about 20 redwoods and 10 Japanese black pines, but these have been replaced with hardier varieties like California peppers, Palos Verdes mesquites, drought-tolerant pines and pomegranates.

“Our goal is to remove 20 percent of the course from requiring (significant) water. By taking parts of the course out of play for perpetuity, basically,” said Jon Buck, a member of the board of directors who’s in charge of the club’s water committee.

Club officials are also exploring using agricultural water and reclaimed water to reduce their reliance on potable, or drinkable, water.

In the one drought-tolerant area that’s planted, between Greens 10 and 17, the pomegranate trees, native to Iran, blow in the breeze yards away from play.

They’re not common to golf courses, but officials are taking their addition in stride.

“We’re already farmers — we just grow grass,” said Scarbrough, who was optimistic about what designer William P. “Billy” Bell — who also created the Bel-Air Country Club course — would make of changes to his 1949 course.

“I think he would love it. Golf is played on turf, not on trees,” he said.


Another local golf course appears to be trying to save water by pushing the season for Bermuda grass — summer’s friend — well into fall.

The Seven Oaks Country Club’s Board of Governors approved over-seeding the course — most likely with water-loving rye grass, to keep it green — but won’t take up the existing, harder-to-kill Bermuda grass.

“We will not be removing (scalping) the Bermuda. This will minimize (hole) closures and prep time,” its August newsletter reads. “It also minimizes the use of water at any one time during the over-seeding process.”

Seven Oaks Director of Agronomy Martin Morozowsky declined to comment on the newsletter, and referred a reporter to Don Ciota, the club’s general manager.

Ciota did not respond to several telephone messages requesting comment.

Dunn, however, said early over-seeding was once common in more watery years.

“in the past, a lot of times, in mid-October, you’d take your Bermuda and scalp it, remove that padded cushion the ball sits on. Then you’d put down your rye. That requires a bit of water,” Dunn said. “A lot of people are going with ‘We’re not going to take that big scalp, we’re going to do it later, let Mother Nature aid it.'”


The recent U.S. Open is also helping make brown golf’s new color — and making superintendents and greenskeepers feel better about their own courses.

It was played in June on Pinehurst No. 2, a classic North Carolina course that has lately gone native and brown, to slash its water usage by more than two-thirds.

“I don’t know who coined it but ‘brown is the new green’ is really the direction they took,” said Dunn of West Coast Turf, where sales of warm-season grasses are up. “If we get a lot of rain, say 200 percent of normal, I don’t see the trend changing. We’re not going back to the wall-to-wall green.”

Young Ohr, general manager of Sundale Country Club golf course, agreed.

His club pays the Kern County Water Agency to draw groundwater from its well, which is how it waters greens.

Ohr said employees try to water less, but are caught between members who expect greens to be, well, green but want low membership fees; and high utility costs.

The club’s monthly electric bill spiked recently at $22,000, he added — mostly because of costs to pump groundwater — and suddenly, Pinehurst is looking good.

“Their rough was terrible, because it was all natural and all blown out,” Ohr said. “We saw that, compared to Pinehurst, our course is better than that.”

If links-style courses, bigger roughs and more out-of-play areas come to the fore, the question is how the game will change.

Cipriano, the magazine editor, said he thinks using less water could help keep membership fees down, making the game attractive to average-income players, “as long as the tee boxes aren’t chewed up and the greens aren’t chewed up.”

“Why would you pay more to have areas where you may not even hit the ball be green?” Cipriano said.

Dunn said having less grass will challenge players to keep it on the fairway.

“I think it’s going to provide some intrigue,” he said. “There’s always going to be an easier golf course to go to. The courses that are tough attract the better players.”

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GREEN THUMBS UP: Prioritize your fall gardening projects

Posted Sep. 6, 2014 @ 2:00 pm

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Ashes to Ashes

The U.S. Open was once a symbol of American democratization. (Photo by Anita Aguilar)

The U.S. Open was once a symbol of American democratization. (Photo by Anita Aguilar)

NEW YORK—It’s a big year for New York World’s Fair anniversaries in Flushing Meadows. The first Fair, held here in 1939, is celebrating its 75th, while the 1964 version is celebrating its 50th. Both took place in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Open. In fact, the ’64 Fair is the reason the tournament is here in the first place; Louis Armstrong Stadium and the Grandstand, once a single structure, served as its outdoor performance space. 

In honor of those anniversaries, the Queens Museum in Flushing Meadows is exhibiting some of the 10,000 items it has from the two Fairs. A show in the museum’s café will tell you how, if you’ve ever wondered, Louis Armstrong Stadium got its name. The trumpeter was a long-time resident of nearby Corona, and he performed in that arena at the ’64 Fair. 

To mark the occasion, here’s a look at the connection between the Open, the World’s Fair site, and its creator, the city’s infamous master builder, Robert Moses. These days the U.S. Open is associated with money; this year one writer called the Open “the Super Bowl of the one percent.” But like the story of the U.S. itself for the first seven decades of the 20th century, the Open’s story for its first 100 years was one of democratization, of walls—walls of class and race—slowly crumbling. 

The tournament has changed locations twice: first from Newport, R.I., to Forest Hills, Queens, and finally to its present home in Flushing Meadows. Together, those moves represented a gradual, often reluctant, opening of an upper-crust pastime to the country’s population at large. We pick up that now-forgotten story up in the 1970s, the decade when the sport finally escaped the country club for the public park, and when the U.S. Open was looking to follow suit. 


A match at the 1890 U.S. Nationals in Newport. (Wikimedia Commons/International Tennis Hall of Fame)

The U.S. Nationals (now called the Open) was first played in 1881 in Newport, R.I., and remained there until 1914. During most of those years it was less an athletic contest than a see-and-be-seen society diversion, held in the fashionable Newport Casino at the height of the summer social season, and attended by the resort city’s parasol-spinning matriarchs. When the sport expanded and became a serious athletic contest—you could tell it was serious because the players started complaining about those spinning parasols behind the court—it was moved to the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills Gardens, New York, where it was held from 1915 to 1977.

New York was obviously much closer to the commercial heart of the United States than Newport, but it didn’t turn out to a big leap in social strata for the tournament, or for American tennis. The Tudor-dominated Forest Hills Gardens in Queens was a master-planned community based on the layout of a traditional English village. One part of its master plan was that it was reserved for WASPs—White Anglo-Saxon Protestants—only.

By the 1970s, though, the power of the WASP establishment had waned as the country’s economic base shifted from the Northeast’s steel and railroad industries to the oil and aerospace industries that had risen in the Sun Belt. With wealth, tennis has traditionally followed, and it did in this case as well. Texas oilman Lamar Hunt began the first major pro tour of the Open era, World Championship Tennis (WCT), thereby making Dallas a new hotbed for the sport. In 1973, the most-watched match in history was played not on Wimbledon’s Center Court, but in Houston’s futuristic Astrodome, where Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. In 1977, as Georgia farmer and avid tennis player Jimmy Carter moved into the White House, the USTA followed suit and elected its first president from the deep south, 66-year-old William Ewing “Slew” Hester of Jackson, Mississippi. Invariably caricatured as Ol’ Slewfoot, a bluff, beady-eyed, cigar-chomping, wildcat oilman and scion of a state political family, Hester was also one of those rarities in the tennis establishment at that time: A gentleman entrepreneur and an energetic force for change.

“I’m a real hustler, a salesman,” he said, someone who liked to “drink all night and play tennis all day.” He had built the 26-court River Hills Tennis Club in his hometown in the early 1960s and then stumped the country, cocktail firmly in hand, successfully selling his cronies in the USLTA on the idea of allowing professionals to invade Forest Hills. But Hester remained underestimated in New York, where he was, in the words of Tennis magazine’s Peter Bodo, “pegged as a stupid redneck.”

The U.S. Nationals in Forest Hills, in 1920. (Wikimedia Commons/George Grantham Bain)

As with Newport before World War I, it was clear by the mid-70s that tennis had outgrown Forest Hills. During the two weeks of the Open, the West Side Tennis Club, now wedged in by high-rise apartment buildings, threatened to burst its own walls. The club’s narrow pathways and viewing areas were overrun; fans lay face down on the ground to see whatever they could see from beneath the windscreens at the backs of courts. There was limited room for the sponsor tents and merchandise booths that now ate up large swaths of ground at all tournaments. The grass, never as firmly rooted as in England, was chewed up so quickly and thoroughly that it had to be spray-painted green for the TV cameras.

An even bigger and more intractable issue was the lack of parking space for the new suburban fans who wanted to experience the “carnival at Forest Hills.” There was very little space in the streets that Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr.—son of the man who designed Central Park—had planned 70 years earlier for Forest Hills Gardens. By 1977, as New York’s notorious Summer of Sam drew to its violent end, a spirit of lawlessness had taken hold of the Open. Trash spilled out of giant bins and floated on the courts after a rainstorm. A spectator was shot during an evening session featuring—who else?—John McEnroe. Rebellious fans unhappy over the rescheduling of a match staged a sit-in and threw oranges and paper cups onto the court in protest. And they got their way. Tennis’s clubby past—members at West Side still wore all white—had come face to face with its own colorful, big-money present, and with the subversive spirit of the times. 

(Wikimedia Commons/Doug Coldwell)

Hester knew the tournament had to find a new location, and after looking out of an airplane window one night in January ’77, he knew where it was. “You throw a dart in the dark and drill,” he said of his job as an independent oilman, and that’s pretty much how he went about moving the U.S. Open. As his plane descended toward LaGuardia Airport that night, Hester glanced out at the land below him. There were several inches of snow on the ground in Flushing Meadows Park. Taken by the beauty of the scene, he looked more closely. He caught a glimpse of Louis Armstrong Stadium, a disused and graffiti-strewn outdoor exhibition hall and performance space built for the 1964 World’s Fair and originally called the Singer Bowl. Slew had his drilling spot.

He also had a new partner. After 62 years, the West Side Tennis Club was out, and cash-strapped New York City was in. The USTA agreed to spend $5 million (it ended up costing twice that) to lease the land around Armstrong Stadium, build a tennis center, and use the space for sponsored events for two months each year. The other 10 months it was to be a municipal tennis facility. For the first time, a Grand Slam would be played on public courts, on a hard surface similar to the one used by the waves of recreational hackers who had picked up the game over the previous decade in parks all over the country. It was also, not coincidentally, a surface where most U.S. pros thrived. Now all Hester had to do was have it finished by the fall of the following year.

Most observers familiar with New York construction believed that this was next-to-impossible, that the ol’ wildcatter would be eaten alive by the industry, if not by the city itself—the plan required the approval of nine different agencies before it could even get off the ground. Gene Scott, the patrician Yalie publisher of Tennis Week, believed the Open would likely still be in Forest Hills in 1980. “It pushes the outer limits of wishful thinking to believe otherwise,” Scott wrote. When another writer, Herbert Warren Wind of the New Yorker, visited the site that May, he was stunned to find out how much work was yet to be done. He mentioned his concern to Hester, who “smiled broadly and easily” and said he believed that the new, eight-layer DecoTurf II surface would be ready to go on August 27, three days before the tournament started. Hester was right.

On August 30th, 1978, the National Tennis Center opened with 12 fast-food stands and nine bars in Armstrong Stadium. This seemed a little dangerous, considering that the sides of the arena were steep enough that Hester said, “If a drunk fell out of the 51st row, he’d end up somewhere on the sideline.” Every one of the 70-odd flags on the grounds was red, white, and blue. There had been no time for landscaping of any sort—it was steel and concrete for as far as the eye could see.

But the tennis fans of New York City didn’t care. 
Labeled “cheerful slobs” by a New York fashion critic of the time, they came in tube socks and T-shirts, chinos and sneakers, sleeveless denim jackets and skull-and-crossbone tattoos, Lacoste shorts and Madras jackets, short shorts and halter tops, designer jeans and polyester shirts unbuttoned to the waist, and often with no shirts at all. Behind sunglasses of every shape, color, and size, they stuffed themselves with shrimp cocktail and strolled around licking ice cream cones. They yelled out as players were serving and jammed the outer walkways of Armstrong to survey the field courts below. Sometimes they jumped the fences and plopped themselves down on one court to get a better view of the match that was being played on the next court. In the evenings—the Open was the first Grand Slam to stage night matches—when the place was jammed, the 18,000 people inside the stadium could unleash a formless, unceasing roar more commonly heard at NFL stadiums than tennis clubs. 

The U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows. (Wikimedia Commons/Edwin Martinez)

All of this sounds normal now, of course, but it was something new for the sport at the time. Tennis had become fully professionalized just 10 years earlier, in 1968, when Wimbledon, 91 years after it was first played, finally consented to offer prize money to its players. That move, it turned out, was the first shot fired in a broader war between the dying British tennis empire, which had governed the game since its invention in England in 1868 and had kept it strictly amateur, and the ascendent American tennis empire, which was in the process of turning sports into a global industry performed in colossal domed stadiums. 

Before ’68, the game had been run by the International Lawn Tennis Association (ILTF), headquartered for five decades in London. After ’68, it would be run by the motley, ambitious band of agents, lawyers, promoters, and carnival barkers, mostly from the U.S., who built the professional tours—men like Mark McCormack of IMG, Hunt of the WCT, Donald Dell of the ProServe agency, and Jimmy Connors’ fast-talking Svengali, Bill Riordan. Now, 10 years after taking over the sport, the American tennis empire had its capital at Flushing Meadows. The U.S. Open was no longer a baby Wimbledon; it had left the private Tudor club and the imitation English village in Forest Hills for the public spectacle of the modern concrete sports arena. It was no coincidence that, in 1977, the same years that Hester dropped his dart on Flushing Meadows, the ILTF dropped the “lawn” from its name. The lawns of tennis were made of asphalt now.


The move from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows didn’t take the U.S. Open far geographically. It didn’t even take it out of Queens. But it transported tennis from a British vision of the world to an American one. 

Robert Moses. (Associated Press)

At the beginning of the 20th century, Flushing Meadows had been a vast dumping ground for all of Brooklyn’s garbage. In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald memorialized it in The Great Gatsby as a “valley of ashes—a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat into ridges and hills and grotesque gardens.” It had been a lifelong dream of another famous New Yorker, the cantankerous, high-handed city planner and Machiavellian master builder Robert Moses, to create the city’s greatest park on top of those ashes, one that might even be worthy of naming after himself. 

Moses, whose career spanned much of the century, saw New York as an ever-expanding mural, with its population stretching farther and farther east. In his vision of the future, its citizens would drive on his parkways, past his monuments and parks and beaches, and gather together at its geographical center, in his sprawling Flushing Meadows Park. For years he had wanted to one-up Frederick Law Olmstead—his son designed Forest Hills Gardens—and upstage his stuffy, rinky-dink, 19th-century Central Park in Manhattan.

Forest Hills had been the earliest example in the U.S. of a “Garden City,” part of a late-Victorian urban-planning movement that was started to counter the urban sprawl caused by industrialism. Olmstead, Jr., and his fellow Garden City designers thought the only way to maintain any kind of society, and sanity, within the urban jungle was by having people live in discrete, green neighborhoods. Tennis in Forest Hills fit that vision; all over the U.S., the sport’s clubs were part of the glue that held towns and suburbs and city districts together.

Robert Moses had a different vision. He believed in leveling old urban neighborhoods. In 1898, Garden City founder Sir Ebeneezer Howard set out his ideas for modern in a manifesto entitled “Tomorrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform.” Fifty years later, Moses described his method in somewhat different language: “When you build in an overbuilt metropolis,” he said, “sometimes you have to hack your way with a meat axe.”

Moses believed in the car, and he believed that cities should be shredded to make room for the expressways that would carry them. His modern world would be vast and public: Jones Beach, which can hold half a million people on a summer day, and Shea Stadium were two of the creations of which he was most proud. (In retrospect, you have to wonder about the man’s historical judgment. He believed that Shea, which was knocked down in 2008, was New York’s answer to the Roman Colosseum.) He thought of Long Island as a potential Eden for the millions of people crammed into New York City. Moses, meat-axe in hand, would eventually build his expressways, his bridges, and his steel-and-glass office buildings. But he would never build his park.

Reading the Old Testament in the 1920s, Moses had come across the passage, “Give unto them beauty for ashes [so that] they shall repair the ruined cities . . . ” This would become his motivational slogan regarding Flushing Meadows. He succeeded in covering some of the dump with green for the 1939 World’s Fair, though the 50 million cubic yards of refuse that was removed barely made a dent in the ashes. In 1964, Moses got a second chance, in the form of another World’s Fair, again at Flushing Meadows. He had himself named president of the Fair, believing that the revenue it generated would allow him to build a green space there that was one-third larger than Central Park. Instead, it proved to be his undoing. The Fair, despite its kitschy, eye-catching mid-60s futurism, was disorganized and drew disappointing crowds. Moses, for one of the few times in his career to that point, was viewed as a deluded failure.

Present-day structures from the 1964 World’s Fair, in Flushing Meadows. (Photo by Anita Aguilar)

When Slew Hester glimpsed the old Singer Bowl from the air 13 years after the ’64 Fair, he saw one of the great ruins of that failure. It sat next to other rusting, graffiti-strewn, Ozymandian structures that, seemingly out of forgetfulness, had never been razed: The stainless-steel Unisphere; a pair of stripped out, abandoned observatory towers; a life-size model of a rocket ship; the circular, aggressively jagged pavilion that Philip Johnson had designed for the New York State exhibit. These were the ruins of an optimistic, pre-Vietnam American past, a Star Trek vision of the future that soon looked hopelessly naive.

Still, while Moses hadn’t created a park that would make anyone forget Olmstead, and Long Island is few people’s idea of Eden, he had put green where there had been garbage. Late in his career, when public opinion had turned against him, Moses pointed to his work at Flushing Meadows. How could anyone criticize the man who had given them beauty for ashes?

Yet the ashes had left their mark. To many spectators at the National Tennis Center, it was unclear whether Moses and Hester really had stamped them out after all. They seemed to live on in the stench of trash, sweat, and cooked meat that arose during the two humid weeks of the U.S. Open, described by Bud Collins at the time as “the ripest of all tennis tournaments.”

Moses died in July 1981. One month later, the ashes finally exploded onto the grounds at Flushing Meadows. The third-round match between Ivan Lendl and Mark Vines in the Grandstand—the Singer Bowl had been chopped in two to form a main stadium and this more intimate, 6,500-hundred-seat arena—was stopped when clouds of noxious smoke began to drift across the court. While Lendl was winning the first set, a pungent haze settled inside the arena, and cinders flew. A nearby garbage compactor had begun to burn, necessitating a call to the local fire company. “I never seen a tennis match called on accounta fire,” an usher told Collins, as they gazed at a “black and smelly mist rising from behind the south wall of the Grandstand.”

Lendl decided to call the match on his own. After angrily demanding a delay, he put on his jacket and silently stalked off the court to a lively chorus of boos. Half an hour later, the young Czech would stalk back onto the court and win the match, but he was never happy about it. Ivan the Terrible was a no-show for his press conference afterward.

Over the course of the next decade, Lendl would have more success at Flushing Meadows than any other player. After 1981, he would reach the final a record eight consecutive times and win three titles. He would move to nearby Connecticut, and in 1992 become a U.S. citizen. Ironically, the ex-Czech’s mercenary, workaholic style would find a perfect home in tennis’ new American empire. His style wasn’t elegant, and he would never be a crowd favorite in his adopted country—he didn’t even get to be the champ you loved to hate; instead he was, according to Sports Illustrated, “The Champion That Nobody Cares About.” But it didn’t matter. Like the even more unpopular Robert Moses, Ivan Lendl would make some beauty of his own out of the ashes.

Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, today, with an observatory tower in the background. (Photo by Anita Aguilar)

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Expo peeks ahead at fall gardens

“The sandy soil here (is a concern) and the heat burned up even my hot peppers I’ve tried to grow before. I brought Brussels sprouts and green peppers at the expo to plant and I’ll try it again,” Morosko said about gardening armed with information from the event.

Morosko, a hobby gardener who plants “between the shrubs beside her Pine Run home,” said the soil and heat here have stubbed her green thumb.

She said she and her husband — “longtime retirees from Ohio” — have lived in Ocala for 10 years.

The gardening expo was held at the Ocala Livestock Pavilion complex and sponsored by the Marion County Extension Service of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences (IFAS).

The expo included seminars, vendor displays and pointers from many of the county’s 110 volunteer master gardeners who were on hand in the working herb, vegetable and ornamental demonstration gardens located on the extension office property.

Morosko spoke with Dr. Norma Samuel, master gardener coordinator and urban horticulture agent with the UF Extension Service. Samuel discussed adding organic compost to increase nutrients and increase water retention of the soil.

Samuel stressed plant variety based upon time of year as “critical” and explained certain varieties are resistance to heat.

Information on plant varieties is available at the IFAS website: http:/

The expo covered mainly information on fall seasonal gardens, planted in September, with popular plantings including tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, squash, pumpkins and melons.

The Florida fall garden season starts in September and lasts until February. The spring season starts in March and runs through June, said Marion County UF/IFAS Extension Director David Holmes, who delivered an address on gardening, including proper watering and fertilizing and fencing tips.

Holmes said soil “PH” or acidity is measured on a scale up to 14, with 6 being the typically recommended “PH” level.

Holmes said in-depth soil tests are available for $7 through the extension.

A basic test for “PH” only is available every second Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon and from 1-4 p.m. at the extension for $2, according to Samuel.

Holmes told attendees about a method to help rid the garden soil of problem nematode worms.

Garden soil can be “solarized” or heated to about 140 degrees by tilling, wetting and covering the area with clear plastic to help eliminate nematodes or worms that may feed on some garden products, Holmes said.

Samuel said the plastic should remain in place for at least six weeks.

Samuel said she has seen a “90 percent increase” in calls at the agricultural extension recently about vegetable gardening.

“It could be due to the downturn in economy,” Samuel said.

Attendee Harry Folsom of Ocala said he prefers to grow his own vegetables because he then knows they are pure and natural.

“I know what I grow has not been gassed, treated with chemicals or been genetically modified,” said Folsom, 71, who has 16 raised planters measuring four feet square on his property.

Folsom shopped at the Florida Food Forests (www.floridaforestfoods and display, where he looked at the offerings of vendor David Goodman.

“A mulberry tree is easy to grow and requires less work than many other plants. It will start bearing fruit quickly,” Goodman said.

Vendor Dennis Gretton of DD Growers in Lithia, near Tampa, displayed many of his “160 pesticide-free” herbs from allspice to yarrow and several types of tomatoes, including the Kewalo and Komohana types, from Hawaii, which are “heat tolerant.”

Lucia Vranizan of Orange Lake showed visitors herbs and plants from her Kingfisher Variety Nursery ( ), which she operates along with her husband, Kirk.

“Pineapple sage is popular. It’s used with white meats. I have a customer who won’t make her Thanksgiving turkey without it,” Lucia Vranizan said as she sold one of the pineapple sage plants to customer Millie Sanchez, who uses it in her butterfly garden.

Anna Williams, master gardener, displayed three types of mulch — brown, natural and playsafe — which helps with insect control and enhances soil moisture retention.

Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator Kathleen Patterson said the mulch is made from the prolific melaleuca tree, which was “brought in to dry up the Everglades for building.”

Williams said the mulch is available at the IFAS/UF extension location for $3.25 per 2 cubic yards.

Master Gardner Pete Collins provided a tour of the herb, vegetable and pollinator-attracting butterfly demonstration gardens he oversees on the extension grounds.

“These are medicinal herbs over there, like lemon balm. Here is some lavender and over there are tea herbs to put into tea,” Collins said.

Master Gardener Jim Nash discussed the vegetable gardens he watches over at the extension site.

“We have sweet potatoes that should be in by November,” Nash said.

Master Gardner Sheena Schlegel answered questions about gardening in North Central Florida compared to her native Scotland.

“In the UK, everybody has a home garden,” Schlegel said.

Collins pointed out Taylor Garden, a shaded area adjacent to the vegetable and herb gardens, which features leafy green elephant ears and lush ground cover with a soothing water pond.

Master Gardener mentor Jo Leyte-Vidal manned the “Petunia,” a concession stand-style portable wagon designed to make the master gardener program accessible at outdoor events and supplement the staff of master gardeners at the extension.

“People ask ‘what’s wrong’ with my plant. They can also call the UF/IFAS extension at (352) 671-8400 with questions. It helps to take a picture of the entire plant, not bring in one leaf, and email it in advance of your call,” she said.

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Master Gardener: Tips help in planning a vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

Site planning is key for a successful vegetable garden, which needs about six to eight hours of full sun each day. BILL SEVIER/Courtesy

Garden tips

  • In fall strawberry plants build up food reserves and form fruit buds for the next year’s crop. They should be fertilized between mid-August and mid-September with a nitrogen fertilizer such as ammonium sulfate at a rate of 1.5 pounds per 100-foot row. Apply 1 inch of water if no rain is expected.
  • You have all of September to plant cool-season vegetables like spinach, leaf lettuce, mustard and radishes, and until the middle of September to plant rutabagas, Swiss chard, garlic and turnips.
  • The last nitrogen fertilizer application of the year on warm-season grasses should be applied no later than mid-September. Fertilize them next in April or May 2015 after they are fully greened up from dormancy. Fertilize fescue in September after it cools and again in November. Fertilizing any lawn at the wrong time can lead to disease and intolerance of temperature extremes.
  • Lawns perform better in winter if left tall. Mow Bermuda to 2 inches and fescue to 2½-3 inches now through the end of growing season.

Posted: Saturday, September 6, 2014 12:00 am

Master Gardener: Tips help in planning a vegetable garden

Ask a Master Gardener


Q: I have grown some container veggies and am ready to establish a larger vegetable garden. What is the best way to get started? Erin, Tulsa

A: Whether your goal is a colorful flower display or a bountiful vegetable crop, a well-thought-out plan and garden-site preparation will be the keys to your ultimate success. Moderate temperatures and drier conditions make late summer and early fall the perfect time to get started.

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Saturday, September 6, 2014 12:00 am.

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Accessible garden: Tips to creating an outdoor space everyone can enjoy – The Oregonian

Larry Cross, an organizer of the free, self-guided Accessible Garden Tour of SE Portland on Sept. 13, and other aging in place experts offer these suggestions to create an outdoor space that everyone can enjoy now and in the future:

  • Turf is high maintenance and not user friendly to people in wheelchairs. Replace it or mix it with concrete blocks or paving stones.
  • Wood chips, grass, mulch, compacted soil, crushed limestone and gravel will cushion falls but are too soft and unstable for wheelchair users. Instead, install hard paving surfaces including concrete, asphalt, power block, patio block (stepping stones), brick or flagstone.
  • Wood can be slippery so add traction materials.
  • Create paths of concrete embedded with a textured surface such as small stones but not gravel. Rain will make gravel harder to walk on and it’s difficult to use unless one is “able bodied.”
  • Don’t use square concrete steps surrounded by plantings or gravel. It’s less easy to maneuver than a solid surface.
  • Use ramps instead of steps to enter a garden with a slope. Make sure that the surface of the ramp is not slippery. Larry Cross applied shingles from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore to create traction.
  • Railing (36- to 40-inches wide) on both sides of a walkway provide support to those whose balance is compromised.
  • Make sure that places to walk are clutter free and not encumbered with detritus, which might cause falls.
  • For a fenced-in space, consider a sliding or pocket door instead of a swinging door. These doors are much easier for everyone to use, including a parent using a stroller.
  • Place benches along a lengthy path for people to rest and make sure there are adequate spaces to sit in the shade.
  • Use smaller, lightweight garden tools such as a reacher for picking up and planting. Long-handled tools and softer, light-weight soil are helpful for people with limited hand and arm movement. 
  • High raised beds should be approached straight on without having to stoop and be narrow enough to provide convenient access to the whole garden.
  • Easy-to-access vertical wall gardens can be built on supporting structures, fences, walls, trellises, container trellises, arbors or by installing netting or strings.
  • Hanging baskets can be on a pulley system or have retractable hangers that can raise or lower the basket to display at different heights and minimize the amount of reaching. Use extended handle hoses for watering.
  • Containers on caddies allow for easy movement, more stability and an opportunity to garden on patios, porches, balconies, decks, and even windowsills.

Bottom line: Keep everything within reach so it’s easy to garden. Use the least amount of energy possible to reach your garden so you can enjoy it more.

–Janet Eastman

Join the conversation at Homes Gardens of the Northwest on Facebook or in the comment section below at

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WCROC begins work on new Peace and Meditation garden

The project got started when four different families approached the Horticulture Garden about donating to create gardens in memory of family members. The design incorporates four different garden “rooms” into a cohesive whole designed to inspire peaceful contemplation.

“It’s really going to be unique,” said Steve Poppe, senior horticulture scientist at the WCROC.

This fall, the base for the paths through the garden have been laid and some trees and shrubs have been planted. The carpentry shop at the University of Minnesota, Morris will also help build a pergola planned for one garden.

“We’re hoping that this garden will be completed, weather permitting, by the end of the next growing season,” said Poppe.

At a dinner for donors and volunteers on Wednesday night, staff with the Horticulture Garden shared the stories behind each of the new gardens and invited the families for a ceremonial ribbon cutting in front of a drawing of the garden.

Jacoby Garden

The idea for a meditation garden came from Mike and Adele Jacoby after they lost their son Jason in 2012. The garden will have a pergola with a sculpture, tall calming grasses, and shady trees. Adele shared a saying that helped inspire the garden design: “Sometimes we need a quiet place to let our hearts remember.”

Day Garden

The Day Garden will be planted in memory of David Day, who was killed in Iraq in 2005. David and his wife, Amy, were married in the garden shortly before he was deployed – the garden will be built near where they said their vows. His parents, David and Vicki, wanted the garden to be a living memorial for David, filled with life and beauty.  

Loher Garden

Jerry and Lois Loher were very proud of the Horticulture Garden, and would visit the garden whenever friends and relatives were in town to visit. The Loher Garden, planted in their memory, will be filled with many of the Lohr’s favorite plants and flowers.

Foley Garden

Dick and JoAnne Foley used to bring their grandchildren to the gardens, packing a lunch and spending the day looking at the flowers and plants. The Foley Garden will recognize Dick’s love for Ireland and Joanne’s love of music with plants reminiscent of Ireland and many windchimes.

A future pavilion

Garden staff have also been working with an architecture firm on a design for a three-season garden pavillion that will be used for educational and social events in the garden.

The pavillion will be located on the west end of the garden, near the Pomme de Terre overlook.

The proposed shelter will be able to hold about 150 people and have a kitchen, bathrooms, a fireplace and outdoor seating.

“We want the people that are there, if they’re sitting in there, it’s open and airy and they can enjoy and see the beauty of the garden,” said Poppe.

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Garden designer Paul Bangay at home

Acclaimed landscape designer Paul Bangay shares his rural property in Central Victoria.

  • The entry to Stonefields is ordered and balanced. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Celebrated landscape designer Paul Bangay and Timber at Stonefields. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Timber and Paul Bangay in the garden at Stonefields in Central Victoria. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Clipped hedges and ordered garden beds are a classic signature of Paul Bangay at his Central Victorian property, Stonefields. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Paul Bangay drew inspiration from France and Italy in designing the property. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • The landscape designer Paul Bangay at work in his studio at Stonefields. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • The sweeping drive leads through the gatehouse that hosts Paul Bangay’s studio at Stonefields in Central Victoria. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • The pool at Stonefields overlooks Kyneton and Malmsbury towards Bendigo. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Timber and Paul Bangay overlook the pool at Stonefields. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Paul Bangay inside one of two pavillions at Stonefields that offer sweeping views of the property. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • A love of the outdoors continues to inspire Paul Bangay. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography

  • One of many relaxing spaces to stop and take in the gardens at Stonefields. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

  • Paul Bangay at Stonefields in Central Victoria. Photo: Brayden Reeves Mojo Professional Photography.

Paul Bangay is a celebrated landscape designer with his skills in demand in Australia and abroad. He opens the doors to his property in Central Victoria and talks about his design philosophy and influences. Video: Leigh Sharp.

“Do you have an affinity with your home?” he asks. His question is not inquisitive but rather a way to evoke feeling as he explains the impact his home and garden, the impressive Stonefields in Central Victoria, has on his life.

‘He’ is celebrated landscape designer and author Paul Bangay, whose skills are in demand in Australia and abroad. On meeting you quickly discover he is as keen to know if others love their home and garden as much as he does.

“I fell in love with this land the first time I visited it,” says Paul, surveying Stonefields. “I drove to where the house now stands and took in the view. Even now I get excited when I come down that driveway and know I have a few days here in which to relax and unwind. It’s an extremely beautiful part of the world.” 

Stonefields, at Denver, east of Daylesford, has been Paul’s “patch of paradise” for about eight years. In that time he has placed his signature style of precise clipped hedges, oak-lined driveways, symmetrical parterre plantings and carefully manicured lawns and water features on what was previously a vacant paddock of nearly 20 hectares. With its magnificent rural views, Stonefields has since become one of the most iconic gardens in the country.

In designing the rural property, Paul has drawn heavily on the influence of his much-loved travels to Italy and France. Like the garden, the house is rich in detail, impressive and grand in its proportions and designed in sections. But grandness aside, the home is welcoming and relaxing. A true reflection of its owner, who doesn’t like the stuffiness of fashion and prefers to dress casually on any given day. He could easily be mistaken for one of the gardeners on the massive property as he effortlessly joins in their banter and prunes a few trees.

With its expansive open spaces, large windows and abundant French doors offer sweeping views of the gardens overflowing with herbaceous perennials, oak trees and tall hedges. All that’s missing are the Italian cypresses dotting the horizon.

The main door of the Tuscan-style villa leads into the living area with its oversized comfortable arm chairs and sofas, walls of bookcases and tables filled with magazines and books and an open fireplace.

Antiques, artifacts, statues, including Roman busts, and artworks fill the room and are reminders to Paul of his extensive travels abroad. At last count he has designed more than 2100 gardens around the world, including New York, St Tropez, Positano, Jamaica, New Zealand and The Cook Islands. Despite the demand and praise for his work, it still amazes him, he says, that the phone keeps ringing with people wanting him to design their garden.

“I sometimes stop and think maybe my time has come and gone, but the phone still rings,” he says, laughing. Perhaps, it’s because classic simplicity never goes out of style.

A large kitchen, laundry and mudroom complete one wing of the home, with Paul’s own bedroom suite completing the other downstairs wing. Access to the bedroom is via a door disguised as part of the bookcase that covers one wall of the living room.

An unassuming staircase in a corner leads to the guest quarters and sweeping views across the rear garden and Macedon Ranges towards Malmsbury, Bendigo and Kyneton – no doubt, an added pleasurable bonus for guests. The exterior is completed in a Porter’s limewash of Mocha Chocolate, which blends beautifully with the rolling greenery.

Paul shares Stonefields with his partner Barry. The couple, who met through friends in Sydney about two years ago, were married in a civil ceremony in the UK in June.

“I am very happy,” says Paul. “Hopefully, changes will happen here to allow others to do so.”

Timber the labrador and Ruby the spaniel puppy complete the family, both happy to follow Paul throughout the garden.

Paul says he loves nothing more than pottering in his garden or creating a new design in his studio, with Timber regularly at his side; although he confesses he is “better on the design side than the technical side of gardening.” He was always inspired by gardens, he says, thanks to his mother’s love of the outdoors; today he finds inspiration in traditional English and European gardens.

The pool in the rear garden appears to float into the horizon and is flanked by soon-to-be completed day beds set mid-way along the garden beds filled with those lush perennials.

As spring beckons, blossoms, dogwood, oak, roses and apple trees are slowly awakening from their winter slumber in the parterres, but the grounds are no less striking in the cooler months.

“The architecture is there,” Paul says. “And you can see how the plantings frame the property.”

Masses of red tulips are starting to bloom and a traditional potager, or French kitchen garden, will soon supply summer fruit and vegetables.

Coiled bronze brown snakes make dramatic water features in the central grey-stoned stepped paved entry area.

“I had to have something more native to blend in with the ruralness,” Paul says of the native water features.

Balls of box and stone orbs dot the pathway leading from the front walled garden to the front door. Two pavilions offer a quiet place for relaxation and to take in the views of the gardens. The roofs are of stacked slate, built by a local stonemason, he says proudly.

When you design a garden you must think about the water supply, it’s not endless. – Paul Bangay, landscape designer

Paul still speaks fondly of his previous home of nine years St Ambrose, an old school house he renovated in Woodend, but he says Stonefields offers a more rural lifestyle and still inspires him every day.

“Woodend was developing too much for me,” he says. “I much prefer the laid-back style of here.”

Trying to drought-proof his property as much as possible was another reason for moving, he says, having been “caught out in the drought” at St Ambrose about a decade ago.

“When you design a garden you must think about the water supply, it’s not endless. Here we have natural spring-fed dams and we built in massive water tanks which gives us a little more security considering the garden uses a lot of water.”

On designing Stonefields, Paul he says he knew exactly what he had to do. He says he has an inherent ability to visit a garden and know exactly what to do with the space. He says it’s “his thing”, a gift and is never lost for words or inspiration when creating a garden vision.

“I don’t know why but I never seem to get designer’s block, as writers sometimes do,” he says, proudly surveying nearly a decade of work on his rural property.

While he is known as the landscape gardener to the rich and famous Paul opens Stonefields to the public a few times a year, in particular to raise money for the not-for-profit Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, of which he is a board member. He says it’s important to encourage a paddock-to-plate lifestyle of healthy eating with children.

Paul has penned nine garden books, including The Garden at Stonefields, which follows his journey in building and designing the property.

“I kept a diary on when I started here,” he says, clearly proud of what he has created.

“I also like showing people around the garden, it makes me happy to see that they are enjoying it as much as I do,” he says. Likewise, when his signature style is “copied” across Australian suburbs.

“I like the clean and simple lines in a garden – so if people like to replicate that that is fine, It’s nice to think that I have had an influence on how people design their gardens.”

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