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Archives for October 24, 2015

Downtown Greenway artist to present cornerstone design

Downtown Greenway cornerstone design by Randy Walker

Randy Walker’s concept rendering of the carousel bench centerpiece in his design for the Downtown Greenway cornerstone at East Lindsay Street and Murrow Boulevard.


Want to go?

What: Downtown Greenway cornerstone design presentation

When: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Oct. 26. Presentation begins at 5:45 p.m.

Where: Action Greensboro, 203 S. Church St., Greensboro

Information: (336) 255-1360,

Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 12:00 am

Downtown Greenway artist to present cornerstone design

By Dawn DeCwikiel-Kane

GREENSBORO — Two major pieces of public art mark corners of the developing Downtown Greenway.

Minneapolis artist Randy Walker has created a design for another.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015 12:00 am.

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Randy Walker

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Garden Club elects officers for 2016

Garden Club elects officers for 2016

Photo Submitted Hostessess for the Arts and Flowers Garden Club October meeting were Linda Myers, Sheila O’Maley and Rosie McGuire.

Posted: Saturday, October 24, 2015 7:00 am

Garden Club elects officers for 2016

Special to TH

Washington Times Herald

The Arts and Flowers Garden Club meeting was held Oct. 8 at the Washington Carnegie Library. President Linda Cornelius called the meeting to order and Secretary and Treasurer reports were read and approved. Hostesses were Sheila O’Maley, Rosie McGuire and Linda Myers.

Officers for 2016-2017 were voted on and approved: President Sheila O’Maley; Vice-President Barb Fyffe-Risch; Secretary Tunia McClure and Treasurer Chris Seal.

Changes to the by-laws to allow the club to be designated as a 501C3 group were voted on and approved.

President Cornelius reported that the club received a grant from the Indiana State Garden Club for trees and seven Autumn Blaze Maples were planted at Eastside Park.

Jan Hicks reported on Team Up to Clean Up. The Washington High School TV/Radio Class is currently shooting a video that will shown in the schools to promote anti-littering. The class has been at both high schools shooting video clips of students/faculty. The video uses the theme of “Slam Dunk the Junk” and will feature students from both high schools. The Garden Club team picked up trash on Highway 57 on Oct. 10 and also had a booth at the Leadership Daviess County Open Market on the same day.

Todd Knepp of Leadership Daviess County gave a presentation on that group’s efforts on a project known as 20-69 to add signage, art, or landscaping to the I-69 corridor, starting at the Washington exit. He gave a Powerpoint presentation which showed the variety of ideas that other cities use when promoting the attractions in their area. The group is beginning the process by presenting ideas to community groups and requesting input.

The next speaker was Lynne Kiesel, who is the coordinator of the Cultural Learning Center. She gave an update on the services offered to our immigrants at the Cultural Learning Center and gave an update on the community garden in the west end, which is in its second year.

Luis Santiago, from Purdue Extension, briefly spoke to the club about the possibility of a Master Gardener class being offered in this county in the fall of 2016, for interested individuals in Daviess, Pike, and Knox counties.

Others in attendance included: Sue Colbert, Linda Free, Kay George, Janet Goodwin, Mary Lou Gotwald, Sue Gray, Sue Harper, Kathleen Harris, Judi Alexander-Hill, Jean Hoffman, Bonnie Jones, Shirley Jones, Julie Lancaster, Fran Neal, Dorothy Pegler, Jennie Richardson, Sue Scherr, Jan Smith, Bev Spillman, Bev Summers, Pat Thompson, Maggie Tuggle and Jan Wake.

The next meeting is Nov. 12 at the Washington Carnegie Library, 300 W. Main St.

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Saturday, October 24, 2015 7:00 am.

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City and Project GREEN receive REAP grant

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Rock to the rescue: The ultimate in low maintenance, water-wise landscaping

The demise of many lawns in the Napa Valley has left homeowners asking a couple of common questions. Now what?

How do we fill these newly vacated dirt plots? In the past, luscious green grass covered a significant portion of their landscapes. But today, lawns are limited or non-existent and some homeowners are stumped. Exploring photos on Houzz, wandering through nurseries and even attending Napa’s water-wise seminars have left some even more stumped.

Landscape architects will agree that there’s more to a well-designed, well-executed gardenscape than meets the eye. As with any design, the basics such as scale, balance, proportion, color, and texture must be considered. Natural elements like the weather, soil, adjacent vegetation, sunlight, shade, critters, and topography also come into play.

If you’re lucky and on a roll, you’ve addressed all of the above and are now ready to select your new plants and trees. But soon, you discover that this isn’t easy, either. Plants don’t bloom in the colors you want, the trees you’ve chosen are deciduous when you want evergreen (and vice versa), and the abundance of rustic, drought-resistant grasses don’t stylistically work with your English cottage, Mediterranean farmhouse or Victorian lady.

If by chance you’ve jumped all these hurdles and your garden is now water-wise and adorned with the plants you like, you awake one morning to find that deer like them too.

Do not despair. Rock is here to the rescue. It’s time to develop a new appreciation for this age-old mineral and make it a main component in modern-day landscapes. The pros in doing so far outweigh the cons. First of all, rock is the epitome of green and sustainable. It doesn’t have to be mowed, watered, mulched, pruned or fertilized, and it can withstand heat and frost. It’s virtually a one-time, relatively inexpensive, lasting purchase that works with any style.

As for the cons, I can’t think of any unless you haven’t thoroughly planned your design. Using rock does not mean you can toss form and function aside. All design principles are still in play. It’s best to prepare on paper so that you can assess the overall design before committing to it. Winging it on the fly will lead to regret. I guarantee it.

Start with a bird’s-eye scaled drawing of the outline of your house. Then add the outline of your property. Draw in the driveway, patio, sidewalk, fences and any other hard surfaces that will remain and note locations of doors and windows. Draw in areas where trees and other plants will also remain and any topography that will affect the design. Now determine north, south, east and west exposures. Oh wait, you don’t have to do this because rock doesn’t care!

Now get creative. From this bird’s eye view, you may be inspired by the contours that have already formed in your drawing. If not, think about your doors and windows and pencil in logical pathways, sitting areas if any, and a focal point. Use these locations and interesting geometry to help develop your design.

Tweak and sketch again and again until you’re satisfied. Once your design is defined, think of those areas best suited for loose rock (gravel, decomposed granite, pebbles) and ones best left for aggregates, large pavers and concrete pads. Insert larger boulders to add dimension and interest.

Think about safety and stability. Smooth, inset, rounded pebbles may be slippery when wet. Some gravel may be too irregular for a level table and chairs and loose gravel by an entry door may be tracked indoors. Gravel in driveways should be large enough not to get stuck in tire treads and fine material is best for bare feet.

Also think about color. Black, white and grey rock are suitable for all garden styles. A mass of peachy terra cotta can be jarring and too reflective and white dolomite can be blinding in the sun.

Next, take a trip to a rock supply store to see the various materials available. Choose those with the shape, size and color that suit your design. Install and relax, knowing that your yard will look fantastic year round with little or no maintenance.

A few more guidelines:

— The most attractive and dramatic landscapes are simple and cohesive. They’re also the most challenging to design. It’s easy to overdo and clutter but then each bit of your landscape gets lost and loses its importance. So, save tchotchkies, furniture, garden art and other trinkets for the back yard. They are distractions that devalue your curb appeal.

— Potted plants in the front yard are another distraction. Keep to a minimum – two flanking your front door or one used as a deliberate focal point. Keep the color of your pots consistent.

— Choose plants that coincide with the architectural style of your house. If that style is vague, create one (and only one) through your selection of landscaping materials and plants.

Photos of rock gardens will be in my upcoming newsletter. Send me an email to receive it.

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Book tells the fascinating tale of Longue Vue and its family

Maybe you are a connoisseur of historic architecture, or an avid student of interior design. Perhaps you prefer history to fiction and local history to all other. Or perchance you admire gardens and those who create them. If any of these applies to you, the new book “Longue Vue House and Gardens” by Charles Davey and Carol McMichael Reese will leave you, as it did me, spellbound.

Longue Vue celebrates the release of its biography on Nov. 4, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with a panel discussion, exhibit premiere and book signing. More than two hundred pages of text, architectural drawings, garden plans, color images and vintage black and white photos fill the tome from cover to cover, painting a vivid portrait of Edgar and Edith Stern and the evolution of their home and gardens.

Panelists at the book launch include Tina Freeman, the local photographer whose color images capture the heart stopping beauty of the place; book co-author Reese, who writes eloquently about the Stern family’s legacy of civic engagement; and Walter Stern, whose brief biography of the couple and their families of origin provides context.

Despite the fact that I am a lifelong New Orleanian who has visited Longue Vue on dozens of occasions, I realized the minute I opened the book just how little I knew about the estate. Situated on 8 acres just off of the high ground of Metairie Ridge, the Stern home was originally accessed via Garden Lane, instead of the current entry point of Bamboo Road. At the time, the Sterns’ was a 1923 Colonial Revival house designed by architect Moise Goldstein. As the gardens developed around the home — led by landscape architect Ellen Biddle Shipman — the Sterns realized that the seamless integration of house and gardens that they desired required a different house altogether. So “Longue Vue I,” as it is called in the book, was moved to Garden Lane, and architects William and Geoffrey Platt were engaged to design the Sterns’ new home in concert with Shipman’s garden scheme.

The Platts drew heavily on classical architecture for their design of “Longue Vue II,” especially the country houses of Andrea Palladio in Italy. Inspiration for the home’s south-facing portico and double curved staircases came from the Beauregard-Keyes house on Chartres Street in the Vieux Carré. I discovered in the text that although the house bears little resemblance to English country homes on the exterior, its interior — especially the floor plan — has been influenced by them.

In the foreword, biographer Walter Isaacson notes, “To truly understand a beautiful home, it helps to know who created it. To truly appreciate inspiring leaders, it helps to visit where they lived.”

Reading about Edgar and Edith Stern in the context of the city they loved and the home and garden they created gave me a deep appreciation for their civic engagement and philanthropy. Edgar Stern was awarded The Times-Picayune Loving Cup in 1930, largely for his work in expanding and improving Flint-Goodridge Hospital “where black physicians could gain postgraduate training in the New Orleans region for the first time,” and in helping to create Dillard University by serving on the biracial board that merged Straight College and the New Orleans University, Dillard’s predecessors.

Both initiatives were undertaken in concert with the Rosenwald Fund, established by Julius Rosenwald (Edith Stern’s father) to educate rural black Southerners.

When the Sterns moved into their new home in 1942 (named for the Hudson River inn where they were engaged), there was already a sizable allée of oaks on the west side, made possible by installing 20-year-old live oaks rather than immature specimens. One of my favorite images in the book is a 1941 black and white photo of workmen standing in a planting trough next to the massive root ball of a mature oak about to be planted.

Edgar Stern died in 1959, but Edith continued developing and tweaking Longue Vue for almost two more decades.

As her collection of modern art grew, she engaged William Platt to design a way of enclosing the east-facing portico so she would have a suitable place to display works by Pablo Picasso, Jean Arp and other artists.

The 1960s-era enclosure of the previously open porch was handled in such a way as to preserve the illusion of freestanding columns, inspired by those of Shadows-on-the-Teche in New Iberia.

According to the new book, the Sterns had always intended for their home and gardens to become public and to serve an educational purpose. When Edith Stern won the Loving Cup in 1964, it was due in large part to her commitment to education, specifically for her role in founding Metairie Park Country Day School and Newcomb Nursery. In 1965, she established the Longue Vue Foundation and, in 1968, opened the gardens to the public on a limited basis.

When she died in 1980, her home became a house museum. Stern bequeathed much of her art collection to the New Orleans Museum of Art and provided an endowment so that her home and gardens could be maintained and kept open by the nonprofit foundation.

Longue Vue was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and named a National Historic Landmark in April 2005, a few months before its gardens were gravely damaged by flooding associated with Hurricane Katrina. If there is anything at all missing in this immensely successful story of the estate’s creation and its creators, it would be a brief acknowledgment of the resurrection of the gardens following the devastating storm.

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Garden tips: mosquito moves; clay soils; fertilisers; tree suckers

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Plan for spring: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on spring bedding

Stand them overnight in a bucket of water so that they can have a long drink, and be prepared for them to look rather sorry for themselves for a week or two after planting. Space them about a foot apart and interplant with tulips. In fact, the tulips are best put in first – about 4in deep and 9in apart.

Take care when you are planting wallflowers and tulips together. The tulips need to be taller than the wallflowers, and they need to flower at the same time.

The Triumph, Darwin hybrid, Lily-Flowered and Single Late tulips are all suitable here.

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Garden club meeting at Millis Public Library to feature Kerry Ann Mendez

Posted Oct. 23, 2015 at 2:01 AM

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Portland landscape designer creates Japanese garden 2300 miles away (photos)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A maple tree-laden landscape 2,300 miles away shares more than a sense of serenity with the Portland Japanese Garden.

The new Richard Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, which opened this summer in Grand Rapids, Michigan, has graceful stone paths, a contouring pond, tranquil Zen-style raked sand, and plantings showcasing colors in all seasons. Right now, there are brilliant blasts of red, orange and yellow foliage.

These are traditional elements of Japanese-inspired gardens seen all over the world. But this eight-acre contemplative space, in the massive Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park, has something else in common with the famous Portland garden: Its designer.

Hoichi Kurisu was the landscape director for the Japanese Garden Society in Portland from 1968 to 1972, and he supervised the construction of the Portland Japanese Garden, starting in 1963, based on garden designer Takuma Tono’s vision.

A half century later, the garden on top of Washington Park is closed until March to start a $33.5-million expansion that will change land leading to the entrance, but not the garden itself.

Architect Kengo Kuma of Japan has designed a Cultural Village and spaces to continue Tono’s work, and longtime Portland Japanese Garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama has designed gardens and landscaping that will surround the new buildings.

Kurisu has been busy, too.

A few years after he built the Portland Japanese Garden, he started the landscape design/build firm Kurisu International in Portland. Clients range from discerning homeowners to demanding city officials. All want inviting garden spaces.

Decades ago in Portland, Kurisu was charged with changing the site of the old Portland zoo into what’s considered one of the most authentic Japanese gardens outside of Japan.

Recently in Grand Rapids, he started with a marsh and wooded valley and created a viewing hill to take in the plantings, bridges and art surrounding a large pond.

An island in the pond supports a Shia hexagonal gazebo. Levitating just above the water is American artist George Rickey’s revolving metal sculpture, “Four Open Squares Horizontal Gyratory-Tapered.”

Around the garden, water spills over slick stones in four waterfalls and a series of scenic bridges link not only sections of the garden but visitors to the land. Visitors hold on to wood railings as they wind through Zig-zag Bridge on the way to the teahouse or bonsai garden.

As in Portland, plantings were chosen to bring scenes of splendor in all seasons.

Kurisu designed the Grand Rapids garden with traditional Japanese principles in mind, but just like the paths there that are never straight lines, he wavers from a purists’ point of view to incorporate contemporary sculpture.

Since the mission of the 158-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park is to set scenes using botanical elements and art, this Japanese garden has seven important pieces of contemporary sculpture on display, including works by India-born Anish Kapoor, Chinese artist Zhang Huan, Japanese sculptor Masayuki Koorida and Italian artist Giuseppe Penone.

“We are facing a new era,” Kurisu says. “In our fast paced world, we need to have surprises and to be able to enjoy scenery but also have an awakening, enlightenment.”

In his decades of designing, he says each environment is distinctive, drawing on the climate and culture of every place. “You want to make it unique,” he says.

— Janet Eastman

Like the Portland Japanese Garden, the Richard Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is a member of the Portland-based North American Japanese Garden Association and is part of our Japanese garden road trip series.

Show us your photos

Although the Portland Japanese Garden, considered one of the most authentic outside of Japan, is closed, it’s not forgotten. Email your favorite photo of the Portland Japanese Garden taken on a previous fall and winter day to to be included in our reader photo gallery.

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