Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for October 26, 2015

Are slight bends enough to classify Trinity Parkway as a meandering road?

View of the east levee and the inside of the Trinity River floodplain near Hampton Road, taken Wednesday, June 1, 2011 in Dallas. Preliminary design concepts for the Trinity Parkway — a proposed nine-mile toll road bypassing downtown Dallas — include a route running mostly inside the floodplain, along the east side of the river, in or close to the levee wall. (G.J. McCarthy/The Dallas Morning News)

(NOTE: This post has been updated throughout to include additional information and comments and some passages have been rewritten since the original version.)

When it comes to making the initial version of Trinity Parkway less like the large highway federal transportation officials expect and more like the tree-lined thoroughfare voters thought they approved, the description “meandering” could be in the eye of the beholder.

The latest working product designs of the road released this weekend depict slight bends that are less dramatic than the curves shown in a rendering distributed at public meetings. They are also less serene than what could be presumed from general uses of the word meander, which may infer the road leisurely rambles as it connects two major highways through a riverside park.

That possible gap between what Dallas City Council members say they want and the parkside toll road’s actual realities could force officials to make hard decisions next year about what gets built. The council’s Transportation and Trinity River Project Committee will receive an update about the project on Monday.

The discussion will center around a publicly funded redesign of the initial version of the road, which began almost immediately after the city finally got its long-sought approval for the unpopular, large-scale version of the road.

Trinity committee chair Lee Kleinman said officials want to make changes to the initial version of the road, but must work within the confines of the footprint of the large-scale Trinity Parkway that federal authorities expect to eventually be built.

“We don’t want to go through 12 more years of permitting,” he said.

But council member Scott Griggs, whose district will house most of the road, said submitting one project to federal authorities while telling residents a different one will be built is a “recipe for disaster.”

“Honesty is the best policy,” he said. “We should tell the federal agencies what we want and ask what, if any, additional approvals are needed.”

Assistant City Manager Mark McDaniel, who is overseeing the project, said the latest draft of the road shown in meeting materials is “only one of numerous meanders now being refined.” He said what was shown in a rendering released earlier this year is not necessarily off the table.

“This level of meandering in the nine-mile stretch of parkway at various locations is not unreasonable given where we are today,” McDaniel said.

Tough decisions ahead

Controversy over the project reignited last year after city officials submitted renderings that showed a dramatically larger and fundamentally different road than what voters approved in 2007. To appease criticisms, Mayor Mike Rawlings called on a privately funded group of 12 transportation experts and urban planners to  make suggestions for making the toll road more like a parkway and less like a highway.

According to city documents prepared for Monday’s meeting, it’s still not known whether the council can implement key changes that would make the road more like what a team of privately funded experts envisioned. Besides meandering the road, those suggestions include lining it with trees and adding parking lots for people to access the planned massive park that the toll road will run alongside.

The council’s quest to make the initial version of Trinity Parkway more like the 2003 Balanced Vision Plan, whose transportation section is no longer applicable to the project in some fundamental ways, will likely come to a head in January.

That’s when a team of government officials, experts and city staffers present a final report about what design changes to the large-scale, approved version of the road can be applied to construction of the initial, smaller version. It will also include what aspects may require additional permission from federal authorities and how long related reviews could take.

From there, council members will have several matters to weigh. Among them are whether allowable changes alter the initial version of the road enough to elicit their support for building it or are lackluster enough to potentially ditch the approved version altogether and start from square one. Even if the potentially allowable changes still create a road council members can live with, they could have to decide if any additional federal approvals are worth potential construction delays or cost increases.

Renderings v. designs

A rendering based off the 2015 Trinity Parkway recommendations of a team of experts. (Trinity Parkway Design Charette Report)

A rendering developed off the team of experts’ recommendations shows a woman taking a picture from a bridge atop Trinity Parkway as the toll road rambles in short distances around tree groves toward downtown Dallas.

A presentation prepared for Monday’s meeting instead depicts slight bends where initial traffic lanes deviate from one side of the eventual road’s footprint to the other, with considerable distances between the bows.

Federal approvals of the project were based on a design showing the road arcing over considerable distances as it follows the slow bend of the levees it will sit between.

An October 2015 “snapshot” of how Trinity Parkway’s first phase of construction would meander until the eventual version of the road is built. (City of Dallas)

Several winding curves that break parallelism with those levees, as the word meandering might easily suggest, could give drivers a more serene experience. But they could also slow down motorists on a road federal authorities partially approved because it was designed for 55-mph speeds that would help them avoid congestion on parallel highways.

McDaniel said the design changes will not undercut the road the purpose and need the city told federal authorities the road would serve.

“This, of course, is at the heart of our challenge in taking 20 ideas to actual design,” McDaniel said.

This is how the Trinity Parkway and its interchanges will look when the $1.5 billion project is completed.

An earthen shelf will support the road and also prevent it from flooding in some places. The width of that bench only provides so much room for the road to meander, Kleinman said. But putting in curves also could allow for some of the other design changes.

“Shifting from side to side accommodates plantings, turnouts and access points,” Kleinman said.

Still, the wider version of the highway that federal authorities expect to one day be built could erase even the deviating drifts shown in Monday’s council materials.

And Griggs said the version of the road that’s now being developed is still not what has been sold to the public.

“How many more years of broken promises must the citizens of Dallas suffer?” he said.

‘Difficulty’ of design changes

Staff members classified the proposed design changes by their level of difficulty to achieve. But of the five categories later listed next two each design suggestion, only two suggest they pertain to difficulty. The other three categories indicate that other steps are still needed to determine how possible the suggestions are.

Many of the recommendations are classified as doable. But some of those also mention that more design work, outside expertise or policy direction from the council is needed. There’s a category that would classify some suggestions as “challenging,” but none of the recommendations have been designated as such so far.

Parking lots off the road that would provide access to the park are listed as needing more discussion. Such lots were not part of the project that federal officials approved. The city’s contract with North Texas Tollway Authority to build the toll road explicitly forbids such lots. But an NTTA spokesman said the contract could be tweaked.

McDaniel, the assistant city manager, said NTTA has been in meetings about the proposed design changes. He said that some parking lots along the parkway may be eliminated to make room for more landscaping or wider medians in areas where there are already parking lots planned inside the park.

McDaniel also said access to and from the parkway parking lots wouldn’t necessarily slow traffic.

“It depends on how the parking lots are designed to include deceleration and acceleration lanes to allow for motorists to safely exit and re-enter without significantly disrupting traffic,” he said.

Landscaping an eathern shelf between the park and the road is classified as doable with design work underway, but more expertise is needed. Design work is also needed for treatments including art and landscaping planned for the flood wall between the park and the road.

The presentation also calls for more design work on five “wow” views over the parkway.

“They are not confirmed, pending final proposed design, but they would be places like where traffic enters the floodway from the south over the levee and makes its way onto the bench, providing a panoramic view of the floodway and Downtown,” McDaniel said.

Also without detail are public transit stops that could “enhance user access” to the park.

“This is part of the technical work that is being done right now by some members of the technical team, but the idea would be for passengers to gain access to the park on a bus via the Parkway,” McDaniel said.


Article source:

Quest to scale-down Trinity Parkway a massive balancing act

Bill Weinberg looks at a proposal from the Trinity Parkway team of urban experts during a public meeting for the toll road, at El Centro College West Campus in Dallas Tuesday May 26, 2015. (Nathan Hunsinger/The Dallas Morning News)

Dallas assistant city manager Mark McDaniel didn’t have much of a weekend. He spent Saturday keeping an eye on potential flooding from our recent rains. Then he spent Sunday having to deal with a barrage of questions from me about Trinity Parkway, which will be the focus of a City Council committee discussion at 2 p.m. today.

My questions were spurred by the PowerPoint presentation McDaniel prepared for today’s meeting. And his detailed answers shed a lot of light on where city staffers and other agencies are in trying to make the first phase of Trinity Parkway like the road the so-called “dream team” of experts envisioned.

McDaniel said they’re still working out possible u-turns, placement of parking lots and landscaping, among other things. He also says that financing and traffic estimates won’t be looked at until after the new designs for the road are finalized.

I couldn’t even close to half of McDaniel’s answers into a news story that focused on how the meanders in the road may not be what people envisioned. But the Internet knows no space limits, so here are his complete answers, which give a good idea about where officials are on Trinity Parkway and what they have left to do:

Q: What does “significant progress” of incorporating ideas into design mean? Not as a concept, but what gaps between ROD road and Dream Team road have been bridged?
A: We are finalizing third and final iterations of several design ideas such as meandering, u-turns, interchanges, parking, and road sections (lane widths/shoulders/medians). These items are foundational in that they set out the defined route/layout on the bench so that we can more closely examine other ideas, such as landscaping. The next 30-45 days can now focus more keenly on landscape options, incorporation of transit opportunities, flood wall treatment, etc.

Q: Have traffic counts for four-lane with only end-point connections been conducted?
A: Projections/modeling for traffic capacity have not been fully modeled since they would be impacted by design, which we are we still refining.

Q: If not, will they be? If so, what do they show?
A: Yes, since they will be the basis for structuring some or all of our financing, as well as be necessary to ensure that we still meet “purpose and need” as a reliever route.

Q: On land bench elevations being marked as doable, which ones are you going with? 100-year that was in EIS, or 50 or 10 year dream team recommended?
A: To clarify, the “dream team” suggested that the City consider something less than 100-year if it enhanced the driver/passenger views where flood walls were required. The bench remains at 100-year, plus two feet.

Q: On banning trucks, was that in the EIS or do feds care about that?
A: It is something that would play into the “purpose and need” for a reliever route that is part of the EIS/ROD, but will likely end up being a policy decision of project partners, such as the City and NTTA.

Q: Who would set policy?
A: See response to question above.

Q: Wouldn’t that affect financial feasibility?
A: It would be a consideration in determining how financing is structured and depending upon what our traffic modeling tells us.

Q: Were traffic counts done with or without trucks?
A: Not yet.

Q: On the meandering, when you say it’s doable, are you talking about the kind of meandering in the dream team rendering with a woman on a bridge (which shows what would be a dramatic meander in the distance) or are you talking about the meandering shown in the snapshot of Monday’s presentation (which is more like slight rerouting to what will eventually be other lanes of traffic)?
A: If this is the same photo you used in your advance story from the Charrette, there is a road meander on the left and a landscaped pull off parking lot on the right. This level of meandering in the nine mile stretch of parkway at various locations is not unreasonable given where we are today. The plan that you see in the PowerPoint is only one of numerous meanders now being refined, where the roadway would gently switch back and forth along the original corridor with medians of various widths.

Q: EIS doesn’t speak to meandering, how do you know its doable?
A: Because we are staying within the original/wider pavement corridor for 3C, which is one of the “confirmations” among the 20 ideas in the Parkway Charrette Design Report.

Q: On the U-turn option, how you do you know its doable?
A: Because there is room within existing 3C ultimate design. We are actually looking at two to four possible u-turns along the nine mile stretch, all of which incorporate different approaches. For example, one might include use of an outfall whereby vehicles can exit the Parkway and come back up under a bridge to turn around (otherwise know as a “Texas u-turn”), while another approach might be to use locations where we may have an extra wide median to allow for adequate/safe deceleration to pull off and acceleration to re-enter the main lanes on the other side.

Q: The EIS doesn’t address that either, does it?
A: It is not in the current 3C design, so we will have so see how our federal partners officially react to the different approaches now being refined. Some approaches may be acceptable, while others may not. By the way, both the USACE and FHWA are participating in technical review report outs on a monthly basis.

Q: Does it need to?
A: See response to question above.

Q: Where would the U-turn go?
A: Again, we are looking several, with the idea that vehicles have more than one option and more convenient choices depending upon where they enter the Parkway and where they want to go. Locations would be closer to either end and in the middle.

Q: How would it work?
A: See responses to questions above.

Q: Why would it be needed?
A: So that drivers entering from one end can access amenities that may be located across main lanes on the other side, or because it may be more convenient for them to turn around mid-way and go back out the way they came in rather than all of the way up to one of only two interchanges.

Q: Has NTTA weighed in?
A: NTTA staff has been attending our technical committee meetings on the Parkway and the Charrette Design ideas for months now. They have been part of the conversations regarding what is doable or not. In addition, NTTA has contracted with HALFF for the design work now underway through use of RTA funding. NCTCOG/RTA and TxDOT staff are participating as well.

Q: Couldn’t that make this less feasible as a toll road?
A: Not necessarily, since traffic would still go through a toll gantry entering and exiting either way.

Q: The on-street parking – the design snapshot included shows a parking lot near Continental that connects to Sylvan. Is that part of park project?
A: If you are referring to the one in the floodway, yes. That is currently part of the Balance Vision Plan EIS.

Q: Also, if that’s there, why is parking from the parkway needed?
A: Great question. This is part of what I want to go over Monday. In the third iteration of potential design now underway, we are looking at where we have both parking on the bench and adjacent parking down in the flood way, which is an example of why it is so important to be now looking at park design and its interface with the Parkway. Where this condition exists, there may be opportunities to eliminate some of the parking on the Parkway bench and use the bench for more landscaping, median, etc. instead.

Q: If this is becoming a park access road, doesn’t that fundamentally change its purpose from the traffic reliever described to federal officials?
A: No, as directed we are working diligently to keep design within current approvals to serve the primary “purpose and need” of a reliever route, while at the same time provide park access. This, of course, is at the heart of our challenge in taking 20 ideas to actual design.

Q: Also, wouldn’t people going in and out of parking lots slow traffic, making it less viable as a toll road and again undercutting its fundamental purpose as a traffic reliever?
A: It depends on how the parking lots are designed to include deceleration and acceleration lanes to allow for motorists to safely exit and re-enter without significantly disrupting traffic.

Q: Also, have you been in discussions with NTTA about this, because your contract with them explicitly forbids this. If not, why not?
A: Yes. Again, NTTA staff are part of the technical review and NTTA has hired HALFF to help with looking at incorporating this idea into design.

Q: If so, does NTTA seem amenable to moving forward anyway?
A: Please see response to prior question.

Q: Why does the document say meandering is both doable and under discussion?
A: Because final proposed design is being finalized and we will review it at our next technical committee meeting.

Q: On design refinement of landscape on bench edges and outfalls, how do you know its doable if it says design expertise still needed?
A: Because we want to have the proper expertise of professionals knowledgeable about appropriate plant species, ecosystem implications and impacts to hydrology.

Q: Was this in the park EIS?
A: I do not believe that the park EIS went into that level of outfall detail with regard to landscaping components.

Q: What are the five “wow” views?
A: The are not confirmed, pending final proposed design, but they would be places like where traffic enters the floodway from the south over the levee and makes its way onto the bench, providing a panoramic view of the floodway and Downtown.

Q: Where are they?
A: Please see response to prior question.

Q: Again, if this is taking priority over traffic, doesn’t that undercut the fundamental purpose of this road as a traffic reliever?
A: No. Good design is not just about engineering.

Q: Does the toll-free policy for park access have to go to feds, or do they care about that level of detail?
A: In general, this would not be an issue for them.

Q: Has NTTA looked at it?
A: Again, they have been at the “table” in terms of the technical committee review. All involved believe it is a policy decision that may play into the financial structure for funding.

Q: On transit stops, how would those “enhance user access” over the toll road?
A: This is part of the technical work that is being done right now by some members of the technical team, but the idea would be for passengers to gain access to the park on a bus via the Parkway.

Q: And what kind of additional stops on Riverfront? Bus? Streetcar? Sorry, just not sure what’s specifically being referred to here.
A: I understand. May be irrelevant given my prior response? Still, I would tell you that the simultaneous work underway that involves park planning is looking closely at access to the floodway park amenities using various modes.

Q: And on development at the end points, what does it mean to “build over or under elevations within alignment?” Again, just not sure what’s specifically envisioned.
A: This idea is about looking at economic development or neighborhood improvement opportunities in the portions of the Parkway outside the levee that extend from the levee back to connections to highway systems on either end. We do not want to restrict positive design impacts and opportunities only to the portions inside the levee.

Q: Why has there still not been a citizens advisory oversight committee?
A: As noted in the last presentation, the Mayor has appointed the Transportation and Trinity River Corridor Committee to serve in this role. In addition, the forums conducted after the Parkway Charrette were designed to gather public input for the technical team to use in its review.

Article source:

‘Big ideas’

‘Big ideas’

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2015 4:15 am

‘Big ideas’

By Jessica Miller Staff Writer

Enid City Commission recently discussed some priorities for the Envision Enid Comprehensive Plan.

During an Oct. 20 study session, a presentation was given on one of the plan’s six “big ideas” — a West Garriott retail destination. City of Enid Planning Administrator Chris Bauer said one of the suggestions in the plan is to create a business community on West Garriott.

“That’s something the commission can decide if it wants to do,” he said.

Policy recommendations are to prioritize development is areas with existing infrastructure, regulate development to prevent unplanned growth, initiate a design development review process, link development incentives to community goals and create an entity to manage redevelopment along West Garriott, Bauer said.

He said the plan suggested having a nonprofit business improvement district.

Ward 3 Commissioner Ben Ezzell noted, during planning discussions, there had been a lot of talk about a business improvement district and how that could provide some benefit if one was implemented for West Garriott. He questioned how it would help the city.

Bauer said if it’s designated as a business improvement district, the city would use tools like Tax Increment Finance Districts and sales tax rebates to incentivize businesses that locate on West Garriott. 

He went over some possible ordinances, including some on incorporating offices, improving standards for landscaping and allowing multi-family residential areas in retail areas.

“That’s the key to doing these destination centers is people want to work, shop, dine and entertain basically in the same area,” Bauer said.

He said the city can design a regional retail destination and control what is done in it.

“Then you would have total control of what that would look like,” Bauer said. “There’s different ways to achieve that.”

Different options will be presented with further planning, he said.

Bauer questioned if the commission agrees with staff assessment of the priorities and said the other big ideas will be brought before the commission at a later date. 

Ward 6 Commissioner David Vanhooser said, given the activity along West Gar­riott and the projects the city is working on, he thinks the work in downtown is the number one priority.

“I don’t think we really know what kind of business development districts and things that we’re going to want along West Garriott when the whole landscape’s going to change in the next 18 months,” he said. 

Ezzell said the city has had the least control over retail.

“It doesn’t matter what the actual plan is, when we’re try to get these retailers to come to town, they’re steering the ship. On the other hand, if we do, as all this movement happens … if we do want to see anything cohesive occur long term (on West Garriott), we’ve got to do it now because if we wait and try to tackle this is six months, it may just simply be too late. I think we need to make the decision quick on whether we want to try to apply some order to West Garriott, or whether we want to accept that chaos is the name of retail development and just go along for the ride,” he said.

Mayor Bill Shewey said he tends to think West Garriott retail will be a priority because more sales tax revenue will be generated in the area over the next five to 10 years.

“We’re going to generate more revenue there than we will with retail in the downtown area. I think they’re both important. To me, that’s a higher priority five to 10 years from now,” he said.

The city will have to simultaneously think about both areas, Ward 5 Commissioner Tammy Wilson said.

“We can’t drop one while we focus on the other one because there’s big things happening in both of those areas,” she said. “I think we have to juggle all of it, simultaneously.”

We have sent a confirmation email to {* emailAddressData *}. Please check your email and click on the link to activate your account.

We’ve sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed.


Monday, October 26, 2015 4:15 am.

Article source:

Burlington barn wedding venue planned

TOWN OF BURLINGTON — By the time the work is done, Tim Richter believes a 47 acre-property on Bieneman Road will be a prime destination for couples exchanging vows.

Richter and his wife, Renee, plan to convert an old barn at 3640 Bieneman Road into a venue called The Landing 1841, which will host weddings, corporate functions and other events.

The plan, which has already received approval from the Town of Burlington, also was recommended for approval last week by the county’s Economic Development Committee. A proposed rezoning and land use plan amendment now goes to the full County Board.

Richter said the venue will be higher-end and in a fantastic setting near the White River.

“It’s going to be absolutely gorgeous,” Richter said. “We believe it will end up being a destination place. We think that people will end up traveling here just to be able to get married on the property.”

Richter hopes to open by the middle of next year. It would be the Richters’ second barn-type wedding venue — they have operated The Rustic Barn at Prairie Gardens, just two miles away at W212 Spring Prairie Road, for the past two years.

No opposition at hearing

No one spoke for or against the plan at a public hearing Monday, said Julie Anderson, the county’s director of public works and development services.

Neighbors’ concerns about noise were less than other proposed developments because the property is already near an airport and rail line, Anderson said.

County-imposed conditions on certain aspects, such as hours of operation, were modeled after another barn wedding venue in Racine County, the Farm at Dover, 26060 Washington Ave. (Highway 20).

Plans submitted to the county also call for the Richters to eventually operate their landscaping and snow-removal business elsewhere on the property, though that is not imminent, Richter said.

The County Board will likely take up the proposal next month.

Article source:

Pie Fest promotes food accessibility​

The tables in Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard were heavy with pies. Chocolate chip pecan pie, Oreo marshmallow pie, caramel apple pie and chicken potpie were shared until every crumb was gone.

The spread was appropriate for International Food Day, a holiday the Bloomington food pantry marks with its annual Pie Fest.

Carrying plates of pie and cups of hot apple cider, people milled about the small center, listening to talks and watching demonstrations. Kayte Young, Mother Hubbard’s nutrition education coordinator, made fresh apple crisps in the kitchen, letting spectators in on her cooking secrets.

“A lot of times people don’t think of pie as a healthy food, but it’s a great way to feature local and seasonal produce,” she said.

Baked goods are not the only way the nonprofit works with produce. In an effort to increase access to food, Mother Hubbard’s coordinates regular gardening workshops and partners with organizations like the Bloomington Community Orchard.

Pies also tie into the nonprofit’s educational goals. They try to regularly share recipes and encourage their clients to cook food at home.

“We want to show that even desserts, if you make them yourself, can be both wholesome and delicious,” Young said. “You don’t have to give up sweets and the comfort food you love to live a healthy lifestyle.”

The day’s main event centered around the Bloomington Food Policy Council’s new Food Charter.

“It’s our way of getting the larger community and the city and county governments to get a basic idea of what we want our food system to look like as a community,” said Stephanie Solomon, the Mother Hubbard’s director of outreach and education.

The city and county councils have already endorsed the charter, which includes sections on community collaboration, local food, sustainability, food security, food justice and food literacy.

The next step in the process, Solomon said, is getting more community feedback and developing a food action plan.

Pie Fest attendees were given stickers that they could place next to the charter statements they felt were the most important.

“Supporters of the food charter will regard sustainability as essential to all aspects of food security planning,” was followed by a lot of stickers.

“Supporters of the food charter will encourage community gardens, home gardens, rooftop gardens, orchards and edible landscaping to increase food self-reliance and enhance the development of community,” was the most popular 

After voting, people were encouraged to discuss tangible ways they could work to live out the charter’s creed.

One suggestion was for the city to allow higher fences in yards for people who want to protect their gardens from deer. If deer are less likely to eat the produce, people will be more eager to plant 

Right now, fences in front yards can’t be higher than four feet, a height deer can easily jump over, one woman said.

In order to help with food accessibility in Bloomington, people can volunteer at Mother Hubbard’s and other local food pantries or, for a $10 membership fee, join the Bloomington Food Policy Council.

Daily Briefing

More region stories

Rally works to fight Islamophobia
Friends of the Library celebrates 50 years
Mayoral candidates debate in library

Article source:

Gardening tips: Colour shuts out the cold

ON bright winter days it’s invigorating to get out in the garden and survey the borders and beds for signs of life. The closer you look the better the chance of spotting activity and change. At the base of spent sedum stems, new, tiny cabbage-like buds emerge, spring flowering bulbs can be seen poking through the ground and buds on camellias fatten daily.

All these spring and summer flowering performers are just taking a breather and biding their time through winter until longer daylight hours stimulate faster growth. Thankfully the garden doesn’t have to be monochrome in winter, it’s easy to paint colour among dormant plants with varieties that are wide awake and full of vigour from November to February.

Article source:

Garden Tips: Put the yard, garden to bed for the winter

I occasionally get asked to give a presentation on putting the yard and garden to bed for the winter. Fall garden chores are simple and can be designated as should-do and good-to-do. Here are the should-do’s for fall:

▪ Rake leaves: If you have a number of trees like I do, the leaves pile up. The leaves tend to blow around and pile up at my back door and elsewhere in the landscape. As the Mid-Columbia starts to get more dew and moisture, these leaves can mat down and smother the grass and other plants. Rake the leaves, and consider using them for compost or tilling them into your vegetable garden soil, where they will decompose over the winter and help improve the soil.

The good news is that as the weather cools, you will not need to mow as often.

▪ Mow the grass: After the stress of a hot summer, your lawn needs all the help it can get. You should keep mowing if the lawn is growing. Do not mow the grass extra short and then put the mower away. Also, do not leave it extra long, because this can lead to matted grass and favorable conditions for snow mold. (This past spring, snow mold fungus showed up and caused significant damage.) Mow at the recommended height of about 2.5 inches until you no longer need to mow. The good news is that as the weather cools, you will not need to mow as often.

▪ Treat for broadleaf weeds: If broadleaf weeds, like dandelions or clover, have shown up all over your lawn, now is the time to treat these weeds with a herbicide spray. However, if you only have a few of these weeds here and there, dig them out by hand or pop them out with a weed popper.

Herbicide sprays for broadleaf weeds will not control grassy weeds. Annual grasses, such as crabgrass, will die with a hard frost, and will need to be controlled next spring with pre-emergent herbicides, or preventers, that will keep the seed from germinating and growing. Perennial grasses, such as Bermuda grass, are not controlled with fall chemical applications.

▪ Dig tender bulbs: Many of the tender bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers that we plant in our gardens, including cannas, calla lilies, gladiolas and dahlias, are tropical plants from warmer climates (Zones 7 to10), where they can stay in the ground during the winter. In cooler climates (Zones 6 and lower) like ours, they should be dug each fall and stored for the winter in a cool, dry protected location where they will not freeze. Some years in our area, these tubers and bulbs may survive if left in the ground and heavily mulched. However, if winter brings severely cold temperatures, they will be killed.

To store them, wait about two weeks after frost kills their tops and then carefully lift the tubers, rhizomes or corms from the soil; shake off as much of the soil as possible; rinse with clean water; and let dry in a protected dry spot. Place in cardboard boxes or paper bags using dry sawdust, wood shavings or peat moss for packing.

Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source:

Grand designs: Alan Titchmarsh on creating a stylish garden

When you start designing, the ground rules are much the same as for any garden design scheme. Begin by trying out several rough plans on paper or on your computer. Start with an outline of the area showing any existing features that you want to keep, such as big trees, then pencil in new ideas starting with the most permanent features first – paths, paving, lawns and outbuildings.

Move on to the finer detail – plants, tubs, garden furniture and decorations – next. For now, all you need to do is show blocks of planting. Don’t attempt to put names to shapes until you come to do a planting plan, once you’ve chosen your final design.

Let your imagination run riot. If you have a tiny town-centre pad, it’s entirely feasible to turn your entire garden over to your chosen theme, but with a larger garden there’s probably room for one or two themed gardens within a more general-purpose, family-friendly plot. 

You could either develop them as a series of garden “rooms” screened off by hedges or fences, Hidcote-style, or simply let them run into each other without formal barriers between them. But be practical – it’s no good making a fussy rock garden packed with treasures when you have kids and dogs, or a rhododendron wood on thin chalky soil. It just won’t work. 

The heavy manual labouring is best done over the winter when your time isn’t fully taken up with routine gardening, but any plants that are not 100 per cent bone-hardy are best left until May, at the same time as you’d plant frost-tender bedding plants or put tender exotics outside.

Decorating is the very last job and that’s where you can have fun ringing the changes with containers, furniture and annual planting for years to come, so don’t feel you have to do the whole job in one go and then stop. Just stay on theme and you can’t go wrong. 

Article source:

ALL THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Design a layered garden

Design a layered garden

A layered garden includes features for three seasons.

Molly Day

Molly Day.

Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:40 am

ALL THE DIRT ON GARDENING: Design a layered garden

By Molly Day

Muskogee Phoenix

Love the plants that love you back and demonstrate their love by thriving in your climate, soil and garden, says David Culp. Skip the garden designs invented by Europeans and find your own American style, using the colors that please your eye.

If you go to the effort of making a plan for the garden, start by installing the hardscape such as patio, walkways and walls since the plant selections themselves will change as you learn what works and dies over the years. The hardscape is there to stay.

According to Culp, no single garden style is exactly right or appropriate, so use other gardeners’ ideas and adapt them to suit your situation. When it comes to color combinations, take risks and use the palette that you prefer, planting them in varying heights and forms.

Even color-themed gardens benefit from a variety of accent colors. For example, a white garden changes character if it is accented with blue and purple, silver and grey, bronze and yellow or pink and red. Just avoid accenting a white garden with off whites; they just look dirty, Culp says.

The shapes of the plants you choose, rather than the color of the short-lived flowers they produce, give the garden its punch and drama. Upstanding plants and man-made elements give the garden the vertical structure that balances the basic horizontal nature of any garden.

Culp uses pillars planted with climbing roses, cold-hardy banana trees, small groups of bamboo stake teepees planted with vines, canna lilies and tall flowers as vertical accents. Each of these features is repeated throughout the garden providing unity.

In shady gardens, Culp recommends using plants with bold leaves such as Hostas, placing the largest varieties in the back and the small-leaf varieties in the front of the bed.

Use several specimens of the same plant to give a long-blooming period and a sense of continuity. For example, plant early, mid-season and late-blooming daffodils in the same bed.

A good choice for dry shade under and around tree roots is Carex ornamental grasses. There are enough beautiful Carex varieties that a collection, repeated in a wooded area, would provide assorted leaf colors and shapes for interest.

Culp says that part of the theater of a garden is how plants move themselves around. Consider the original clump of Crocus that has now drifted several feet from its original spot, the re-seeding annuals such as poppies and zinnias that emerge the following spring and summer everyplace except where they were the previous year.

The re-seeding and spreading flowers that Culp prefers include: Corydalis (shade and woodland), Thalictrum (Meadow Rue, native, sun-shade), Rudbeckia (coneflowers), Dicentra (bleeding heart, rock garden), Stylophorum (Celandine wood poppy) and Chionodoxa (Glory of the Snow bulbs).

Culp (, author of “The Layered Garden” has defined himself as a gardener ever since his grandmother entrusted him with a handful of bulbs to plant where and how he chose. Now, with decades of garden experience and professional work in the field, his passion is to empower others to garden.

Using plants’ elements of shape, color, size, structure and height to create a design is the key to having a garden where you want to do the daily work to keep it going.

Gardens are living, growing, and dying art projects that never finish being designed, Culp said. In his two-acre garden, only one part of the garden is in peak beauty at a time rather than trying to make the entire space pop in the same week or two.

“The Layered Garden” (Timber Press, 2012, $25) is loaded with suggestions and photographs to empower every reader who wants to enjoy a three-season garden.

We have sent a confirmation email to {* emailAddressData *}. Please check your email and click on the link to activate your account.

We’ve sent an email with instructions to create a new password. Your existing password has not been changed.

More about David Culp

  • Design a layered garden

More about “the Layered Garden”

  • Design a layered garden


Wednesday, October 21, 2015 11:40 am.

| Tags:

David Culp,

“the Layered Garden”

Article source: