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Archives for September 3, 2015

Designers announced for Garden DesignFest

One of the gardens being featured in the Auckland Garden DesignFest. The design team behind this was Craig Steiner and Barbara Garrett. Photo / Anna Comrie-Thomson

Organisers of the Auckland Garden DesignFest have announced the line up for the 2015 event.

The event will showcase 20 gardens representing the design skills of 16 designers over two days on 14 and 15 November.

The festival is jointly organised by the Rotary Club of Newmarket and the Garden Design Society of New Zealand, (GDSNZ) and this will be the third time the biennial charity event has taken place.

Joining Chelsea Flower Show Silver Medalist, Xanthe White and TV and radio gardening personality, Tony Murrell at the DesignFest are talented New Zealand designers; Trish Bartleet, Nigel Cameron, Trudy Crerar, Barbara Garrett, Joanna Hamilton, Phillip Millar, Bryan McDonald, Sue and Colin McLean, the design duo of Mark Read and Richard Neville, Murray Reid, Robin Shafer and Karen Wealleans.

Designers were required to submit gardens which were then reviewed by a panel of experts from the Garden Design Society of New Zealand. All of these gardens have not previously been open to the public and many may not be again.

There will be a diverse range of gardens on show, in terms of both size and style and the talented designers will also be onsite to talk to visitors about their designs.

GDSNZ, Joint Chairperson, Rose Thodey, says; “We are absolutely delighted to have such an array of brilliant designers at this year’s festival. The gardens they have created are outstanding and we can’t wait to share them with visitors in November.”

Proceeds from the festival will go to Ronald McDonald House, Garden to Table and children’s charities supported by the Rotary Club of Newmarket Charitable Trust.

“We have such wonderful sponsors onboard this year who really share our passion for garden design and we thank them for their support. A huge thank you also to the garden owners who will very kindly open up their private gardens to the public. Without these generous people and thousands of volunteer hours, the festival simply would not happen,” says Thodey.

Barry Thom, Director, Unlimited Potential Real Estate, the Premier Sponsor of the event, says; “Every day we see the value that well thought-out design can add to a property. We jumped at the chance to champion this event and showcase New Zealand’s outstanding garden design talent whilst supporting some incredible charities.”

Wayne Howett, CEO of Ronald McDonald House, says; “We have been one of the charity partners for this event since it was founded in 2011 and we continue to be grateful for the generosity not just of Aucklanders, but the many other visitors from around New Zealand and even Australia who attend what has become a great weekend for garden and design enthusiasts.”

Tickets for the Auckland Garden DesignFest are on sale at iTICKET, plus various garden retailers (see website for details) and also at the garden gate. Visitors can choose from a $65 all garden ticket or single garden access for $10 each. Discounted Earlybird tickets are also available until 30 September. Group discounts are also available.

For more information and updates about the Auckland Garden DesignFest visit or follow them on Facebook.

The Aucklander

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BOOKS: Garden design explored

  • Garden Design by Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus, Firefly Books, 320 pages, $50.

For anyone seeking to create their own sanctuary in the garden where they live the choices can seem overwhelming.

Choosing the correct plants, understanding the soil, considering the local climate and many other decisions are daunting. But the joy of gardening comes often from the learning process of trying different things and even if it doesn’t work out the experience adds to your overall knowledge.

Author Heidi Howcroft and photographer Marianne Majerus want to help with those choices and together they have produced an extensive book of ideas that are beautifully presented and cover an enormous variety of gardens.

Starting with the basics they explain, along with plenty of photographs, what questions you should begin with.

From there they expand into elements of style and move on to look at structures, paths, and the wide choices of stones and the impact they can have on presentation.

With hundreds of photographs and accompanying descriptions there is a wealth of ideas here to draw on for your own garden creation.


  • The Irish Garden, by Jane Powers, Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers, 400 pages, $65.

There is nothing like the lush green foliage throughout Ireland.

The unique climate there has created the opportunity for an enormous variety of plant growth. This environment led to the creation of fabulous gardens, some dating back hundreds of years.

More than 50 amazing gardens are featured in this stunning collection. Author Jane Powers provides all the details of the history and evolution of the gardens while photographer Jonathan Hession captures their beauty in a series of striking images that follow them through the seasons.

Travelling to locations in both the Republic and Northern Ireland we are given an exclusive behindthe-scenes tour of the gardens.

They range from the enormous Powerscourt in County Wicklow with its massive terraces and gardens that originated in the 1700s, to the Glebe Gardens in County Cork where Jean and Peter Perry have created an organic garden from cattle grazing fields that is now a tourist attraction due to its incredible beauty and productiveness.

Hession’s photographs show the grand expanses but also the smaller details that combine to give an impressive rendering of the essence of each garden.

© 2015 North Shore News

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City updates plan for bicycling network



Local residents discuss bike paths at a recent Energy Corridor District’s bike plan meeting.

Photo: Courtesy

The city of Houston is building on its efforts to improve people’s ability to bicycle to more destinations, including within the Memorial and Energy Corridor areas where local improvement districts are already contributing plans to update biking networks.

The city is spending $500,000 to update a 1993 bike plan to improve its bicycling network citywide. The blueprint will establish new paths and trail connectors based on development and traffic patterns that have occurred since the 1990s. The Houston Bike Plan, which has an April completion deadline, also will include possible funding sources for the various bike network projects and programs.

“The plan doesn’t only look at where we build new facilities and how we can build safer facilities, it also looks at the programs that we need to encourage safe behavior by people in cars and people on bikes,” said Cathy Halka, the city’s project manager for the plan.

Halka said there had been a notable culture shift in residents desire to bike places since the initial plan was drafted in 1993.

People are wanting to get around the city by bike and this plan is an opportunity to see how we can accommodate this new and growing interest in biking and make it easier and safer to get where they need to go,” she said.

The city’s Planning and Development Department started work on the bike plan in March and are in phases two and three of a six-phase process.

The city hosted community meetings in May and June seeking public input and is encouraging community groups to organize meetings regarding the bike plan.

The next phases include formulating a draft of the plan and another round of public input.

A timeline of the 12-month project is available at

The public may sign up for email updates on the website, too, Halka said.

“We’d like people to be involved so that this is a plan that makes people happy and address their needs,” she said.

“Public engagement will help us develop a plan that makes sense for people and that people will support not just now but when we move forward to actually building things or putting programs in place.”

The Energy Corridor District and the Harris County Improvement District No. 4, hosted a public meeting July 20 highlighting the Houston Bike Plan to area residents and business leaders. Attendees were invited to learn about the city’s plan and the district’s own efforts to establish a more connected biking network and to share their ideas on how to improve biking in Houston.

“The Energy Corridor District has done a lot of planning for bicycle facilities, as have other management districts who have completed similar work, and the Houston Bike Plan will be taking into account all of those existing plans as we develop the citywide network,” Halka said. “The bike plan itself is looking at a higher level citywide network whereas some management districts are drilling down into a little bit more detail for specific areas.”

The board of directors of the Energy Corridor District already approved an updated master plan outlining ideas for land use, infrastructure and street design, and mobility, which includes a local bicycle network.

The district shared the plan with the city’s bike plan staff and consultants, said Clark Martinson, the district’s general manager.

The Energy Corridor District includes more than 1,700 acres that extend along both sides of Interstate 10 from Kirkwood to the west of Barker Cypress and along Eldridge Parkway from north of I-10 to the south of Briar Forest.

The district’s plan outlines three different types of bicycle infrastructure: hike and bike trails, two-way bike lanes with traffic dividers and one-way bike lanes buffered from traffic.

Those include protected intersections for bicyclists at major thoroughfares, sidewalks and one-way separated bicycle lanes on Park Row, a two-way separated bike lane on Memorial Drive, one-way separated bike lanes on each side of Briar Forest, a bike path on Grisby Road connecting to Terry Hershey Park, and other amenities aiming to make the area more bike-friendly.

The district plan also includes a pedestrian and bicycle bridge over I-10 as a signature architectural element to serve as a gateway to the Energy Corridor District.

The bridge would connect the Addick’s Park and Ride at 14230 I-10 to the BP Energy Co. across the highway.

“We’d call it the I-10 Pedestrian Bicycle Bridge,” Martinson said.

In addition to impacting transportation and the environment by removing vehicles from congested streets, making the area more bike-friendly, he said, bicycling could have tremendous implications on how residents and workers interact with each other within the corridor.

Bicyclists, he said, might discover they can do more business riding bikes on trails to local restaurants or stores rather than getting in their cars and driving to the Galleria, Memorial City or City Center.

“It will encourage more local neighborhood business just because it will be closer to home,” Martinson said. “For people who live here, the idea is that you can hop on the bike and visit a friend, go to school, to your place of worship, the library or to exercise in the park.”

And that, he added, will change how people spend their time so that they may spend more time with their families, at home or in support of local businesses.

The management district has been working on improving the area’s biking needs since 2001. It has already partnered with Harris County Precinct 3 Commission Steve Radack to build 4 miles of hike and bike trails at Bush Park and to build 2 miles of trails connecting Terry Hershey Park to METRO’s Addicks Park and Ride. The district also is working with the transportation authority to change parking at the park and ride facility to include bike racks and to provide graphic information that tells bicyclists how to get to hike and bike trails.

The district also is working with the Texas Department of Transportation to modify the six intersections in the Energy Corridor on I-10 to put in protected intersections that will separate bicyclists and pedestrians when they cross streets, so they don’t have to get off their bikes and walk across.

“You’ll actually have a bike lane you can ride your bike at an intersection, and you’d have a pedestrian crosswalk to walk through,” Martinson said. “And at the corners where you are waiting for the light to change so you can cross the frontage or major thoroughfare there will be shade structures, possibly benches and landscaping and amenities.”

The district and TxDOT are funding the $3.5 million project. The district is spending $500,000, and the state transportation department is spending $3 million. The project will start in February, Martinson said.

Martinson said all three of the improvement districts in Houston’s Westside had initiated bicycle master plans.

“West Chase is selecting a consultant now to update theirs,” he said. “We just updated ours with our master plan. I believe Memorial City is about ready to finish their master plan. This is just bicycle master plans in addition to our other work.”

Houston Bike Plan’s project manager, Halka, said her department will look at each area to address the various typographical challenges each may present to the overall plan.

“In western parts of the city you may have larger streets with longer blocks and fewer intersections,” she said.

“If you look at the Montrose and Midtown area of Houston, you have smaller streets and some real opportunities for local connectivity.

“Those are two different environments, and we have to look at what the options are to connect and those solutions could be different in each area.”


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Iowa City poised to welcome rooftop patios

IOWA CITY — The Iowa City Council will soon consider a third and final reading of an ordinance that will allow some businesses to grow vertically — through the use of rooftop spaces.

The ordinance outlines which buildings are eligible to consider creating a rooftop service area, noise restrictions and elevator accessibility requirements. For one downtown bar owner, it’s a step toward something he’s hoped for since 2007.

“In the last two years I really started talking to the city about it,” said Brian Flynn, owner of Joe’s Place, located on Iowa Avenue. “The big thing is, if you start looking at the demand for outdoor seating in Iowa City, we’re putting seating out in the street, I figured why not try to do it on a rooftop.”

Flynn already has plans in place to retrofit the space above Joe’s Place. Right now, exposed wires, a bulky HVAC system and other debris litter the open area. He plans to build safety walls around the perimeter, add landscaping to help control excess noise and install an upstairs bar and kitchen area. Employees and customers will get to the new area by using a new set of stairs and an elevator.

“The point is you get to see all the skyline people don’t normally get to see when they’re in the bar restaurant,” Flynn said.

And although the ordinance will restrict where rooftop patios may pop up, Flynn believes the change will positively impact all businesses in the area.

“Being able to bring a new level of entertainment for the bar industry downtown, I think is not only good for the bars and restaurants, it’s good for retail, some of the restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, things like that,” he said. “Bringing a more lively atmosphere to downtown.”

That’s a sentiment officials with the Iowa City Downtown District have heard from other business owners.

According to Nancy Bird, outdoor eating spaces are increasing in popularity. She said upward expansion will help meet that demand and build up customer traffic for other retailers.

“It’s the hot, new trend,” Bird said. “We see the more of that we have downtown, the more people it draws. The more people we have downtown the better.”

The council will vote on the final reading of the ordinance on September 15th.

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Food, music and a garage sale in West Chester

Food, drinks, vintage products and live music will take over the lower level of the Chestnut Street Parking Garage for the Vintage Market Sept. 4, from 4 to 9 p.m.
Courtesy photo

WEST CHESTER Garage sales have taken on a whole new meaning in West Chester.

The first floor of the Chestnut Street Parking Garage will be transformed from a lot of cars to a sale of vintage items, food and live music for the Vintage Market on Friday.

“This is our fourth year running the series,” said Richard Ashenfelder, assistant director of the West Chester Parks and Recreation Department. “The Vintage Market has been on the uptick the last couple years and we’re just looking to provide an area where people can come and get those vintage, one-of-a-king finds and providing another service to the borough.”

Roughly 20 vendors will be on hand from 4 to 9 p.m. in the garage to sell vintage items.

“There are old, cool stuff and there can be vintage stuff, which may be taking an older camera and turning it into a lamp or taking older, vintage-type items and turning them into something newer and more modern,” Ashenfelder said. “It’s a blend of the old and the new. There will be artists, crafters and people that are taking their ideas and making them come to life.”

The Vintage Market will take place on the bottom level of the Chestnut Street Parking Garage, taking over the metered-parking area.

“One of our sponsors, Finnerty Landscaping, comes in and turns the garage into something that doesn’t look like a garage,” Ashenfelder said. “We make it look a little more inviting and a little more friendly so it’s just not concrete walls. We bring in lighting, plants, seating and live music. We just try to make it a little something different.”

Even though the bottom level won’t hold any cars for the night, that doesn’t mean people won’t be able to park in the upper levels.

“That’s the best part,” Ashenfelder said. “They can part right upstairs on any of the top five or six levels, take the elevator down and they’re right at the market.”

Friday night will see thousands flood to West Chester because of three big events.

First, the Vintage Market will happen from 4 to 9 p.m., then it’s First Friday in the borough with free street parking after 5 p.m. and the Budweiser Clydesdales will parade through town from 6 to 8 p.m.

“I think it will be beneficial,” Ashenfelder said. “The parking garages and lots are going to be full and people will hopefully get to town early to avoid the traffic and they are going to hopefully wander through the market and purchase something they see and like. Maybe they’ll make a connection with the vendor over some nice things and they can purchase later in their store or online store.”

The combined events should give the Vintage Market an increase in attendance, even though they usually already draw a fair amount of people.

“We usually get a nice crowd,” Ashenfelder said. “Through the five hours of the event, we look at maybe 1,000 to 1,500 people who wander through. Even if you just happen through for 10 minutes, sit down in one of the seats provided and enjoy some music, then go enjoy your dinner or meeting with friends in town.”

Ashenfelder recommends anyone planning to attend the Vintage Market to make sure to arrive earlier than usual. The Clydesdales parade is sure to draw over 10,000 people to the borough.

As for next year, the hope is to continue with the Vintage Market.

“As long as we get Borough Council approval, we’ll be doing it again next year,” Ashenfelder said. “We have had a pretty good success rate with the event over the last four years.”

Contact Candice Monhollan at 610-235-2652.

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Giveaway: Tickets to The Raleigh Home Show!

The Raleigh Home Show is coming to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center from September 11-13, 2015. Enter here on the blog to win one of 10 pairs of tickets to the event!

The Raleigh Home Show Details

The Raleigh Home Show returns to downtown’s Raleigh Convention Center for its fall edition September 11-13, 2015.

On opening day, all active and retired military receive complimentary admission with valid ID.

The show includes remodeling and home improvement ideas, celebrity guests, DIY and interactive seminars, the hottest new products and a towering tree house surrounded by gardens built right inside the building.

Celebrity guests include Kevin O’Connor of PBS’ This Old House and Leanne Lee, Home + Garden Trendsetter of the Year also known as the “Diva of DIY”.

Kevin will share tried-and-true secrets from inside the many seasons of the original PBS series This Old House. As the show’s host, Kevin will bring Raleigh audiences the biggest and best projects and share never aired video and photos from the archives and his private collection. Kevin appears at the show on Friday and Saturday.

Leanne Lee, a blogger and expert in upcycling known as the Diva of DIY, won Marketplace Event’s nationwide search for Home + Garden Trendsetter of the Year, and she’s been sharing creative and trendy ideas with their audiences ever since. Lee will share her ideas of upcycling not only to decorate our personal living spaces but to improve the environment on stage daily throughout the show.

An all new feature at the show is a towering treehouse built right inside the convention center. At the show, guests can escape into a custom treetop mini mansion designed and built by RB landscaping.

Other features include North Carolina’s own Go Girl Shoppe and her Drab to Fab projects – top thrift store finds transformed; an outdoor Autumn Oasis just in time for fall holidays and outdoor entertaining; local and regional experts with home improvement projects and hundreds of exhibitors with the latest home improvement products and services.

Free admission for military on September 11: The show celebrates local heroes on Friday, September 11 with Hero Day at the show – all active and retired military personnel get complimentary admission with valid ID (offer only for military with ID, and only on Friday).

Show Hours

Friday, September 11: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m

Saturday, September 12: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

Sunday, September 13: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children under 12. Advance tickets are available at

For more information, please visit

Ticket Giveaway

To enter the giveaway to win one of 10 pairs of tickets to The Raleigh Home Show, fill out the short form below AND leave a comment in the Comments section about the next home improvement or gardening project you are planning.

The winners will be chosen on September 7 at 1 pm and posted that afternoon here on the blog. Good luck!

You can find the Comments section by clicking the conversation bubble on the top right of this post. If you cannot see the form below on your mobile device, try entering on a PC. One entry per person.

Thanks to The Raleigh Home Show for donating the tickets for this giveaway.

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Fall is the time to get your landscape in order

TREES AND SHRUBS: Learn which trees and shrubs are best for North Texas as we head into fall, the best season to plant them. Get tips on designing your landscape and learn how to properly prepare your soil. 10:15 a.m. Saturday. All Calloway’s Nursery locations. Free.

GARDEN ED: North Haven Gardens, 7700 Northaven Road, Dallas, offers these events. 214-363-5316.

Bonsai Society of Dallas, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, free

Weed control, 10 a.m. Saturday or 11 a.m. Sunday, free

Texas wildflowers from seed balls, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, $25; advance registration required

North Texas Orchid Society, 2 p.m. Sunday, free

BECOME A MASTER GARDENER: Applications for Dallas County master gardeners are being accepted through Oct. 15. Participants will receive 72 hours of gardening classes and volunteer 72 hours in exchange. Master gardeners are involved in projects throughout the area including trial gardens, school and other community gardens. The cost is $215. For more information and an application see

COMMON-SENSE LANDSCAPING: Save water and money with common-sense landscaping techniques. Two water-wise seminars will be offered through Dallas Water Utilities Conservation. Classes will be held at Mountain View College, 449 W. Illinois Ave. Free, but reservations required. 214-670-3155.

Water-wise landscape design 101, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 12

Fantastic plants for North Texas, 1:30 to 5 p.m. Sept. 12

ROAD TRIP: Pollinator advocates will gather in Kerrville later this month for workshops, exhibits and networking. Anyone interested in pollinators and monarch butterflies is invited. The focus will be on pollinators, their habitats, native plants and ways to overcome the decline of species. Sept. 19-20, Schreiner University, 2100 San Antonio Highway, Kerrville. $75. Advance registration requested.

Send event details at least 14 days before publication to Please include “Garden Calendar” in the subject line.

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Portland Japanese Garden expansion groundbreaking (photos and video)

What a way to start a transformation. The groundbreaking ceremony for the $33.5-million expansion of the Portland Japanese Garden on Monday, Aug. 31, was more than the typical hard hat and shovel tradition.

Instead, the launch was fitting to the garden’s mission of bringing Japanese culture to a corner of Washington Park.

Priests, musicians and an altar maiden from the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu shrine in Kamakura, Japan, flew in to bless the new Cultural Crossing project and expansion that will include a new entrance, art gallery and cafe.

The six shrine members clapped, chanted and danced under a tent on the construction site outside the existing entrance of the garden. An excavator was parked in the background, near a maintenance building that will soon be demolished.

Architect Kengo Kuma of Japan flew in, too, from Tokyo to launch the project that was first offered to him in 2008 and will be his first public commission in North America.

“This is the most authentic garden outside of Japan,” said Kuma. “But it’s more. It is a beautiful landscape and it’s in Portland, and that’s amazing. The expansion will draw even more attention to the garden from all over the world.”

Plans include adding 3.4 acres to the 9.1-acre property, moving the entry gate to Southwest Kingston Avenue adjacent to the parking lot across from the Portland Rose Garden, and constructing a series of buildings, called a Cultural Village, outside the main garden where there are now maintenance buildings and a paved, turnaround driveway.

The gift shop will be relocated to the village, and there will be new administration offices, a maintenance facility for the gardening staff, and the first food and beverage service available at the garden.

A 22-foot-tall, Japanese castle wall built of Oregon granite will partially enclose the village. A courtyard will be used as a gathering spot and for activities, performances and demonstrations.

The plan also includes creating a moss hillside garden, a bonsai terrace and a chabana (natural) garden around the new buildings. A water garden will be added near the new entrance, and trees and other landscaping will line the existing path up the hill to the new village.

The land outside the existing garden will more than double the venue’s footprint, adding 11,328 square feet for a total of 20,191 square feet of developed area.

Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama designed the new gardens and landscaping that will surround the new buildings.

Hoffman Construction Co. workers, who wear hard hats for a living – and not just for ceremony – were called to the altar to receive wishes that they stay safe and the project is successful.

The garden will be closed fox six months, starting Tuesday, Sept. 8. through March 2016. It will reopen while construction continues March 2016 through April 2017. The grand opening is projected for Spring 2017.

“We will all meet back here, under this cherry tree, in April 2017 to celebrate again,” said Steve Bloom, the garden’s chief executive officer.

Watch the progress on the garden’s Cultural Crossing blog.

–Janet Eastman

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Gardening group providing planting tips

The East Anaheim Community Garden is offering a presentation on gardens and planting.

Kevin Matz, master gardener, is offering a free class from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the East Anaheim Community Center, 8201 E. Santa Ana Canyon Road. He will discuss basic garden plans, inter-planting within landscape and container gardens.

The community garden is between Fire Station 10 and Sycamore Park and has individual plots leased to residents on a yearly basis.

For more information visit the or email


Contestants are needed for the Miss Anaheim Fall Festival 2015-16 and her court of teen and junior ambassadors.

The Miss Anaheim Fall Festival is a yearlong program, and the participants work with various charities and organizations that provide experience for the participants within the city.

The new court is crowned in conjunction with the annual Anaheim Fall Festival and Halloween Parade. They earn scholarships, dedicate their time to help others and more. Contestants are being recruited and welcomed now. There are three levels: Miss Anaheim Fall Festival ages 18-24; teen ambassadors, ages 15-17; and junior ambassadors ages 12 – 14. Girls must live, work, or go to school in Anaheim/Anaheim Hills.

The pageant is scheduled for Sept. 27. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Sept. 5. For information, go to, or call Director Debbie Herman at 714-264-1014 or email her at


On Wednesday, the Muzeo is presenting the September edition of its Bring Your Lunch Learn programs. Jenna Chomchavalit will navigate the ReConnect Ombudsman, Health Insurance and Advocacy Programs. She will share information empowering seniors to avoid financial abuse and other scams.

This lunchtime program is held the first and second Wednesday of the month and starts at 11:30 a.m. ending at 12:30. The free evnt offers an opportunity for residents to bring their lunch or snack to enjoy during the presentation. Reservations are requested.

The Muzeo is at 241 S. Anaheim Blvd. Call 714-956-8936 or visit muzeo/rsvp to RSVP.


The Anaheim Packing District presents Anaheim Night Market on Sept. 12. The evening market will bring out crafts, artisans and live music from 6 to 10 p.m. at Farmers Park in the Packing District. For more information visit


There will be a pre-party for the 2015 Anaheim High School Homecoming game at the Good Food Hall, 201 Center Street Promenade, on Sept. 18. Alumni, family and friends are invited to the downtown event from 4 to 6 p.m. where 20 percent of all food and beverage sales will benefit the Anaheim High Alumni Association (check group’s website for flier).

Attendees will be entertained by The Colony Boys – Johnny Ramos, Sean Oliu and Sebastian Mendoza – all current AUHSD students. For more information, visit

Also, the second annual Anaheim High School class mixer is scheduled for 5 to 11 p.m. on Sept. 19 at El Torito Restaurant, 22699 Oakcrest Circle at Savi Ranch, on the west patio through the bar. All Anaheim High School class members are invited. The event is casual and there is no charge for attending – everyone will buy their own food and/or drinks.


The Orange County Fest of Ales is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 19. Breweries from around Anaheim and Southern California will bring craft beer tastes to Center Street Promenade with a home brew competition and local food pairings. OC Fest of Ales will benefit the nonprofit Anaheim Cops 4 Kids. The Rayford Brothers will be performing OC vintage-style rock and roll. Cost per ticket is $60. For more information:


Anaheim’s Volunteer Fair is coming to ARTIC on Oct. 1.

Nearly 30 local nonprofit organizations will be on hand to help connect attendees with volunteer opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life. Admission is free to the 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. event and there will be refreshments, music and hands-on community projects. ARTIC is 2626 E. Katella Ave.


The Boys Girls Clubs of Anaheim is planning its Corks for Kids event for Oct. 2. The annual event will be held in the Diamond Club at Angels Stadium. It will include food, wine and beer tasting, as well as gambling. Proceeds will support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Anaheim’s efforts to provide transportation, programming and food to the kids in the Anaheim community. For more information call 714-491-3617 or visit


Charles Phoenix’s Anaheimland show is coming to Cook Auditorium at 2 p.m. on Oct. 11. Ticket sales benefit the Anaheim Halloween Parade and will help fund materials for building parade entries and other costs. Tickets are on sale, the show sells out each year. For tickets The auditorium is at Anaheim High School, 811 W. Lincoln Ave.

To share events, contact Andrea Manes at 714-815-3885 or

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Laughing gardener’s tips

Local gardening expert Paul Robinson celebrated his 230th live gardening talk at Norton to the National Women’s Register (NWR) a group of 60.

Paul is also known as the ‘laughing gardener’ due to his approach to making people laugh during his talks.

Robinson says he loves making people laugh and also informing them of horticultural knowledge and gardening tips.

“I want to make gardening fun and enjoyable and exciting and a little bit scary when I talk about poisonous plants or creepy crawlies,” said Paul.

“My talks have me eating insects (not live) then I discuss why insects are nutrious in Asia where they are eaten regularly by people.

“Then I talk about all different kinds of insects in our gardens the benefits some provide and pests like vine weevils and the destruction they can cause.

“I get the audience to drink juices I make up in some of the bottles, the audience is always nervous because there are not sure what they are drinking.

“Beetroot juice is a favourite with the ladies it’s the natural Viagra always gets a huge laugh.

“They love learning how beetroot is also good for stamina and lowers your blood pressure.”

Paul added: “I covered loads of gardening topics in my hour and 15 minutes talk from poisonous plants to how to propagate plants.”

Christine Harrison organiser of NWR commented on Paul’s talk: “His performance in making the audience roar with laughter will be remembered for a very long time.

“We hadn’t realised gardening could be such fun.”

Paul also had positive feedback from Skipsea Gardening Club where he gave a talk recently where Jackie Harland said his talk was entertaining.

The biggest satisfaction Paul gets from his talks is when some people say they don’t like gardening but by the end of the talk, they have enjoyed it so much they have even bought a plant.

Anyone who wants to book Paul for one of his talks can phone him on 01262 403435.

Many of Paul’s talks are to gardening groups but he also does a lot of talks to other groups.

He is giving a guided tour around Sewerby gardens on Sunday 27th September 27. To book a place phone 01262 673769.

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