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Archives for August 16, 2016

Digging deep for green garden design in Sheffield – The Star

Young gardeners from across the region who dig design have an amazing opportunity to bloom at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield.

Young disadvantaged people aged 16 to 24 have a chance to design a garden at the museum as part of a free course running throughout August. Participants will work with garden designers to design a space to the Museums brief.

During the six session course participants will learn which plants will work best in the space, research other gardens to help them decide what will work well and then have their designs realised. It is an opportunity to gain experience in horticulture, design, team work, growing and working alongside specialists.

If a person’s design is picked it will then be used to transform the space.

Dates in August 2016 are: Wednesday 10, Thursday 11, Friday 12, Wednesday 17, Thursday 18, Friday 19. All sessions will run from 10am to 2pm.

Places are limited – you can reserve a space on the course through EventBrite.

For further information call Zoe Cartwright on 0114 384 0265 or 07785 293982 or email

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Fundraising Underway for 1st Chinese Garden in Minnesota

Jennie Lissarrague

Updated: 08/15/2016 12:31 PM
Created: 08/11/2016 12:02 PM

Fundraising efforts are underway to make a planned Chinese garden in St. Paul a reality.

In July, the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society dedicated a 1.2-acre site at Phalen Regional Park for the Changsha Garden, which would be the first Chinese garden in the state.

St. Paul and Changsha, China, have been sister cities since 1988, and Changsha is also the ancestral home to Minnesota Hmong, according to the society.

Plans for the garden have been in the works since it was included in the Phalen-Keller Master Plan in 2011. The effort has been spearheaded by the Minnesota China Friendship Garden Society, which was co-founded by Linda Mealey-Lohmann.

“We think this can be a great amenity to Phalen Park that can be enjoyed not only by the local community but by everyone in Minnesota, nationally and internationally,” Mealey-Lohmann said.

The project started making strides forward last fall, when Mealey-Lohmann and a St. Paul delegation that included Mayor Chris Coleman traveled to Changsha to learn more about the garden design and architecture style.

After that visit, a husband and wife architect team from Changsha – Jennifer Junfang Fan and Jon Youhua Wen – came to St. Paul in November to visit the Phalen Park site and create a concept design for the garden.

“They really studied the site that Parks and Rec had identified for the garden as part of the master plan,” Mealey-Lohmann said.

About $50,000 in Minnesota Legacy funds was approved for the garden’s conceptual designs, which were unveiled in January. Mealey-Lohmann said that was a “huge step” for the process.

Organizers are now working to raise the money needed to make the garden a reality. Mealey-Lohmann said it will be a multi-year process.

The total project is estimated to cost roughly $7 million.

The first structure on the list is an open-air pavilion that replicates the famous Changsha Aiwan Pavilion. The pavilion is estimated to cost roughly $300,000, which organizers are hoping to raise by the end of the year. The goal is to then break ground on the pavilion next spring.

To raise that money, the society is looking to get donations from private individuals and companies, foundations as well as city and state funding.

In addition to donors, the society is also looking for volunteers who are interested in gardening and art who might help with the planting and maintenance of the garden once it becomes a reality.

About the Garden

The proposed garden will be the first Chinese garden in the state and the first one in the country to use Changsha-style architecture, which is open and tends to blend into the landscape, Mealey-Lohmann said.

“There are seven Japanese gardens in Minnesota and no Chinese gardens. The Chinese presence has been here for more than 100 years,” Mealey-Lohmann said about the importance of the garden.

The hope is that the Chinese garden will be a place for celebration, recreation, education and meditation as well as an opportunity to promote the friendship between the peoples of China and Minnesota.

“We’re hoping that, ultimately, this could result in trade and business connections between St. Paul businesses, the China community and counterparts in Changsha,” Mealey-Lohmann said. “We hope this really opens the door to a lot more changes that promote mutual understanding between the people of St. Paul and the people of Changsha.”

One feature in the works is the Hmong Cultural Plaza, which will be a performance space for cultural events and would also have storyboards that explain the ancestral connection between Changsha and Hmong heritage.

Other plans include an arched stone bridge, a decorative Chinese rock, walking paths and a lakeside pavilion with a classroom.

Mealey-Lohmann hopes the garden will serve as an educational tool to teach visitors about architecture, art and symbolism. She also hopes schools will consider the garden for field trips.

Phalen Park is already the site of the annual Dragon Festival in July, which includes Chinese dragon boat races, Asian performances, martial arts demonstrations and food. The park also houses the “Meditation” sculpture by Changsha artist Lei Yixin, which was created in July 2006 and dedicated by Coleman.

Learn more about the project here.

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Garden tour, talks this week

The Monadnock region has proven to be fertile ground for gardeners, as evidenced by the upcoming weekend’s Open Days program.

The event, run under the auspices of national nonprofit The Garden Conservancy, features a tour of area gardens and a variety of speakers.

“The main thing about the Open Days program is the exchange between the visitor and the gardener,” said Stephanie Werskey of The Garden Conservancy.

At each of the gardens on the tour, an expert will be on hand to answer questions. Stop by the garden at Juniper Hill Farm in Francestown, for instance, and Roger Swain will provide his colorful commentary and some encouragement for the potential gardener.

The Juniper Hill garden features an array of different boxwoods, the result of garden designer Joe Valentine’s experiments to see which breed of the shrub would hold up best through the brutal New England winters.

“Lo and behold, most of them made it,” Valentine said.

Valentine’s garden is known for its “garden rooms,” as the acres surrounding the 18th-century farmhouse are made up of segmented areas, all with different aesthetics as the viewer works their way through the property.

“We had a very flat landscape to deal with, so we wanted to create something that would add a little variety and excitement as you went through the garden,” Valentine said. “The garden grew off the house and evolved from the house outward.”

That sense of flow will be a common theme at many of the featured gardens, like the one at the home of Maude and John Odgers in Peterborough. Maude, a former weaver, said that her artistic background went a long way into her garden design.

“I think that goes into the garden itself,” Maude said, “my visions of texture and color and design … There’s a cadence to it, one bed leads you to the next.”

Each stop on the tour will also feature a pop-up shop or demonstration from local garden suppliers, meaning that those on the tour can not only see some inspirational garden successes, but bring home something to get their own garden going.

The whole event kicks off on Friday night at Bass Hall in Peterborough, where author Page Dickey will give a talk called “Digging Deeper — Outstanding American Gardens.” Dickey, who helped create the Open Days event back in 1995, has recently finished work on her book “Outstanding American Gardens.”

“I’m sure people will enjoy seeing her travels across the country,” Werskey said. “She knows a lot of gardens and a lot of gardeners really well.”

Admission to that talk is $10 per person; tickets available at the door, online at, or by calling toll-free, 888-842- 2442.

On Saturday, the garden tours commence. Besides those already mentioned, featured gardeners include: Jenny Lee Hughes and Edward Yoxen of Stoddard, Eleanor Briggs of Hancock, Laura and Jamie Trowbridge of Peterborough and Michael and Betsy Gordon of Peterborough.

For more information, visit

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NFL: League sets date to meet players accused of doping – report

(Reuters) – The NFL has set an Aug. 25 deadline for four players to meet with the league regarding allegations of doping or they face the prospect of being handed suspensions, it was reported on Monday.

Green Bay linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers along with Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and free agent Mike Neal are facing punishment for their failure to speak with the NFL regarding an investigation into their use of performance enhancing drugs.

Adolpho Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs, sent a memo to the NFL Players Association warning that suspensions would take effect on Aug. 26 if the players failed to cooperate. A copy of the letter to the NFLPA was obtained and reported by the NFL’s website (

Any suspension will remain in effect until the players meet with league investigators and then Commissioner Roger Goodell will decide whether to lift any disciplinary action.

The accusation against the players was made in a December report by Al Jazeera America, who said that a former intern pharmacist told an undercover reporter that the four players, and retired quarterback Peyton Manning, were supplied with performance enhancing drugs.

The pharmacist later recanted his statement but the league is investigating the report and said that multiple attempts had been made to set up interviews with the accused players.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O’Brien)

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Incoming UK Freshman Helps to Beautify Burkesville


Video by Jeff Franklin/UK Ag Communications. 


BURKESVILLE, Ky., (Aug. 16, 2016)  Molly Morgan takes pride in her hometown of Burkesville. As a high school junior, the 4-H’er set out to make the town and Cumberland County a more beautiful place.


“I attended the Rogers Scholars program two years ago, and they really encourage you to go home and give back to your community,” Morgan said. “Burkesville is known for its tourism, because we are right on Dale Hollow Lake, so I thought about beautification activities I could do in the county.”


Morgan and her mother Amy, approached Elijah Wilson, the county’s University of Kentucky cooperative extension agent for 4-H Youth Development, about ways she could do this. The result was a committee headed by Morgan and comprised of local leaders.


Two years later, Morgan and the committee she started, Partners with P.R.I.D.E., have added rock and landscaping to three of the town’s welcome signs and have installed flower beds along the roads going through the Southern Kentucky town.


“You wouldn’t believe the positive responses we have had from the landscaping,” Wilson said. “It really has changed the perception of people in our community and the people who visit our community. When you come into Burkesville, you feel like you have arrived somewhere. We want to move forward with more things like this.”


The committee has made the community enhancements with funding from a $10,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant that Morgan and Wilson received. Morgan obtained the matching funds for the grant by convincing local residents and businesses to sponsor the project.


“It’s been a learning experience and has helped me communicate better with my own age group and has given me more confidence to approach leaders in my community,” she said.


Groups, such as Extension Master Gardeners, not only sponsor a sign but also provide upkeep for their sign’s landscaping. The Master Gardeners installed rock and landscaping at the Burkesville welcome sign on State Route 90.


“I enjoy looking at the welcome signs in surrounding communities. Some of them are really pretty, so it’s nice that we have something comparable,” said Joan Radford, former president of the Cumberland County Master Gardeners.


Other local organizations including the Cumberland County High School Future Farmers of America chapter and the city have helped with maintenance of the areas.


While Morgan is entering UK this fall as a health sciences major and plans to become a doctor, the committee’s work will continue in her absence.


“We are getting new sponsorships each year, and we just started getting renewal sponsorships,” she said. “I hope it grows even more.”


Wilson hopes this project can spark ideas and interest in other young leaders in the county community that numbers 6,800 people.


“We need young people to step up, because they are going to make our community successful in the future. They are our future,” he said.



UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue


MEDIA CONTACTS: Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774, Jeff Franklin, 859-257-9088, Carl Nathe, 859-257-3200.



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Outdoor living ideas: Water-saving landscapes, luxury BBQs (photos)

Yards are no longer just a place for a little veggie patch or a pot of geraniums on a patio table. They are elaborate, outdoor living spaces and people are devoting a lot of time — and money — to entertain out there.

If you’re looking for ideas for al fresco dining or water-saving landscaping, check out the five properties participating in the NW Natural Street of Dreams new home tour in West Linn’s Tumwater at Pete’s Mountain development through Aug. 28 (tickets are $17, 503-684-1880,

Despite the tour’s emphasis on drought-tolerant, native plants and smaller lawns, over-the-top water features and other under-the-sky allures will stop you in your tracks.

“In Oregon, we wait all winter long to be outside in the spring, summer and fall,” says Geoff Bourgeois of Northwest Dream Homes, which built the Pacific Northwest-style house called Quintessence in partnership with Stafford Homes Land, a real estate development and construction company that employs sustainable building practices.

The single-level house has natural materials, energy- and water-efficient systems and products, and other green features that made it the largest, luxury home in Oregon to earn platinum-level Earth Advantage Certification. Heating and cooling costs are estimated to be $200 a month.

Outside, a low-volume, underground net-type irrigation system applies water directly to plants’ root zones to use up to 75 percent less water than sprinklers. Storage tanks hold up to 1,000 gallons of collected rainwater, and bioswales and a stormwater system allow rainwater to be absorbed slowly into the ground to reduce erosion and impact on local water treatment facilities and waterways.

Now, for the wow factors: The Quintessence house has a moat-like feature pooling around the front entrance. A pond includes fire elements and the master bath shower has a 2,200-pound boulder and a rain curtain created from collected rainwater that is recycled, stored and repurposed.

Off the great room, exterior doors fold away to a covered area with a couch ensemble and large island with seating. “We centered the whole house around indoor-outdoor entertaining,” says Bourgeois. “You don’t know if you’re in or out.”

Bourgeois points to the outdoor sink, high-end barbecue, kegerator, wine cooler and fridge, then adds: “You don’t have to have a $3.4 million house to entertain outside. Buy a barbecue at Home Depot, drag out a cooler and set up some chairs. If you have the land, it’s really simple to add an outdoor living area.”

Four of the outdoor living spaces seen on the Street of Dreams tour were designed by Russ Swalberg of Exterior Spaces. Natural gas appliances include grills, patio heaters, fire pits and outdoor illumination, from color-changing, dimmable LED landscape lighting to tiki torches and a decorative outdoor gas lamp called a Tempest Torch.

Here are landscaping highlights at the other 2016 Street of Dream houses:

The contemporary, three-level house named Dolcetto by Elite Development Northwest has a concrete lazy river in the front that feeds a waterfall and pool. Erasing indoor and outdoor spaces are a pivoting wall of glass between the home entertainment area and outdoor patio, and a roll-up glass door that leads from the game room to a platform overlooking the infinity hot tub. Don’t miss the Kulm 60-inch artisan fire bowl.

The French country estate-style residence called Maison de Reve built by Westlake Development Group boasts indoor-outdoor entertaining features, plus a Neptune swimming pool, personal gym and a sports court. A Heat Glo Carolina fireplace is outdoors.

The Tuscan-style villa called La Dolce Vita built by Haggart Luxury Homes shares the two-acre property with a pool-side casita that has a balcony to take in views of the infinity-edge pool, waterfalls and a long waterslide that cuts through boulders.

In addition to an outdoor kitchen, the resort-style backyard has a tall stone pizza oven and an Evo circular flattop grill. There’s also an indoor golf simulator, putting green and outdoor shower.

And the French farmhouse-style house called Mon Coeur built by Stafford Homes Land uses water-saving drip irrigation and artificial turf.

— Homes Gardens of the Northwest staff

Stay in the loop. Sign up to receive a free weekly Homes Gardens of the Northwest newsletter and join the conversation at the Homes Gardens of the Northwest on Facebook

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Sneak peek: After renovations, Midtown sports bar offers a bigger patio and more places to party

After three months of renovations, Pub Fiction reopens this week with new features designed to ensure it wins over a new generation of fans.

The changes to the popular Midtown sports bar resemble the transformation that turned sister concept Celtic Gardens into Irish Cowboy earlier this year. Just as the Salt N Pepper Group, the company that owns both concepts as well as 3rd Floor, Beer Market Co., and others, aimed to maintain Irish Cowboy’s status as one of Midtown’s most popular bars with those renovations, marketing and product director Daut Elshani tells CultureMap that the changes at Pub Fiction are designed to attract millennials who may not be familiar with the bar.

A massive, 5,000-square foot patio highlights the changes. Carved out of the former parking lot, the new space features landscaping, TVs, and a dedicated bar. The patio helps Pub Fiction match the current trend for bars to offer more outdoor space — just consider the popularity of places like the Dogwood, Axelrad, Eight Row Flint, and the recently opened Kirby Ice House — as well as establish direct connections with its sister concepts Irish Cowboy (via a new gate) and 3rd Floor (via a stairwell).

Inside, the changes are equally extensive. In place of the old bar along one wall, a brand new, U-shaped bar near the entrance provides service both inside and outside. The “private bar” in the back has been removed to open up the main room. New booths and high-top tables offer more seating options. Reclaimed wood, which has become a signature of Salt N Pepper concepts ranging from Irish Cowboy to downtown spots Boots ‘n Shoots and The Moonshiners, adorns the walls and ceiling.

After the games are over on Friday and Saturday night, those new booths will allow Pub Fiction to capture a bit of a nightclub vibe. While it won’t mimic the over the top atmosphere of places like Clé and VrSI, the music will turn up and bottle service will be available.

The tiny smokers patio has been replaced with a private room that’s been opened up to allow occupants a view onto Hadley Street. Flat screen televisions, a projector, and a private bar make the space a good fit for both corporate events and private parties.

With food service until 11 pm every day, Pub Fiction could even serve as a late night dinner option during the week. A new menu offers both additional healthy items like salads and wraps and more gluttonous options like a burger that uses two grilled cheese sandwiches as buns, and a friendly peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Popular items from the old menu like the fish taco remains. The 24 beer taps that will include more craft options with the expected macro brews.

Even before it opens, the new space has won fans. An Aggie alumni group has agreed to make Pub Fiction its official game watching home for the next three years, which could bring as many as 600 people to the bar on game day. In addition, Elshani says he hopes to announce the plans for joint Pub Fiction-3rd Floor-Irish Cowboy Super Bowl-related parties soon. 

With its new patio, upgraded interior, and more food, Pub Fiction looks poised to remain one of Midtown’s most popular destinations.

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Dearborn Honors 17 Properties with Excellence Awards

DEARBORN, MI — The Dearborn City Beautiful Commission has named the honorees of this year’s annual Residential Standard of Excellence awards, recognizing exceptionally well-maintained properties throughout the city.

Each year, the City Beautiful Commission organizes the recognition effort to encourage residents to take pride in their property and to showcase the beauty of Dearborn’s neighborhoods. The commission divides the city into 17 districts and chooses a winner from each.

Neighbors are encouraged to check out these properties and embrace the beauty of their neighborhoods, as residents work extra hard to protect their lawns and gardens from the scorching sun.

Rose and Ronald Wiggle have lived on their Francis Street home since 1974 and take pride in their neighborhood and city.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by City Beautiful, and I think it’s a responsibility to maintain your property,” said Rose, 76, adding that her husband Ronald, 79, does most of the gardening and landscaping.

The Wiggles maintain the property the same way every year and don’t plan on changing anything.
“We love living in Dearborn,” Rose Wiggle said. “It’s a pleasure. It always has been and always will be.”

Those recognized at the highest level will receive award citations during a ceremony at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center this fall. Others will receive special display decals in the mail.

The honored 2016 properties are:

  • 7813 Payne
  • 6029 Middlesex
  • 7800 Manor
  • 6440 Oakman
  • 5011 Mead
  • 13505 Bryan
  • 8 Adams Lane
  • 1545 Belmont
  • 22153 Francis
  • 1907 Walnut
  • 141 N. Silvery Lane
  • 234 Berkley
  • 426 N. Melborn
  • 2655 Boldt
  • 336 S. Waverly
  • 2135 Cornell
  • 3837 Harding

Image credit: Rose and Ronald Wiggle home, courtesy of the city of Dearborn

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The Joy of landscaping: NT’s Joy Kuebler changing the world one outdoor design at a time

In the darkest, most dangerous corners of a notorious housing project in Chicago, Joy Kuebler found a glimmer of what would become her destiny.

She was in a landscape psychology class at the University at Buffalo, studying to be an engineer, when she learned about how design impacted tenants’ behavior in the crime-ridden, high-rise housing units on the city’s South Side. While studying the mistakes made by designers of the buildings, with entrances and hallways that made it easy for residents to become victims, she learned a simple truth. Bad designs make people feel trapped and afraid. Good designs make people feel safe and happy. It can even change lives. 

Since that day she decided to change her major and become a landscape architect, the North Tonawanda resident has never been the same. Neither has anything she touches, according to those who have worked with her. 

“I just love working with Joy,” said Tom Lowe, director of ReNU Niagara, who is currently working with Kuebler on Healthy Neighborhoods project in Niagara Falls. “No pun intended, but she brings a playful approach to everything she does,” he said. “She kinds of flips things on their head a little bit.”

It all started in that class on exterior design. It made Kuebler wonder “How do I do this on a whole neighborhood scale?”

Almost by accident, she’s been able to seek the answer to that question in some significant design projects in Western New York. She cut her teeth on the Buffalo River Greenway Plan, after she managed to get an internship with Amherst Landscape Designer Fred Holman. He had a pro-bono project he let her tinker with. That project has grown into one of the most successful rebirths in the history of the region. In 1993, she and Holman were down on the river, looking around. Holman asked her to wonder about the idea of a very bucolic landscape in the midst of an industrial corridor.  Years later, the results of the plan have helped to draw people back to the city of Buffalo’s waterfront. Lake freighters now have to carefully maneuver among kayakers, and that is testament to the work she did alongside so many others on the Buffalo River project. 

After receiving her bachelor’s degree at Villa Maria College and her master’s degree from Cornell College, she took a variety of full-time positions as a landscape designer at noted architectural firms. She eventually opened an office of her own in the garage of her family home on Zimmerman Street in North Tonawanda. Her backyard abuts the house where she grew up. 

With a team of seven employees, working out of her two-story, contemporary-styled garage, she has the comforts of home and a relaxed office environment in her backyard. Her first clients were the companies that had employed her. That was 13 years ago.

Since then, she has done projects for the Buffalo Public Schools, including creating gardens at Public School 90 for kids to study outdoors. A creek runs through the courtyard and the landscape supports the curriculum needs, including mounds to test gravity, vegetable gardens to learn math, and plants that you can make instruments from to learn about music. There’s even an art garden, where berries and leaves can be used to paint pictures. 

Kuebler appears to be the go-to for unique and creative outdoor design. Her mentor, Fred Holman, remembers being impressed by her enthusiasm. “She loves it,” he said of her work, adding, “She can see the possibilities and realizes what it does for the community and the world.”

That’s happening in Niagara Falls, where Kuebler already showed her mettle with a 2007 redesign of Schoellkopf Park for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. She and her team renovated the park backwards, making it look much very like it did when it was first created in 1913. The job won a landscape preservation award from Preservation Buffalo.  

Now, Kuebler and her team are working on the vacant lots in the city of Niagara Falls, creating impromptu events on the lots and encouraging residents to rethink they way the see their neighborhoods. That project, led by ReNU Niagara and Cornell Cooperative Extension, with a program called Creating Healthy Neighborhoods, includes spontaneous events such as temporary pop-up parks where children and families come out to play. 

“We bring tools and materials and let kids build whatever they want,” Kuebler said. Other events on the lots include one focused upon art and another on music. A final event in September, for those who have participated, will involve food. Every event attracts a different audience, but the questions remain the same for those who participate. “What would add value to this neighborhood?” they are asked. “What services would improve your quality of life?”

Their responses, recorded by Kuebler and her team, prove the events change the way people look at the spaces in their community. It is the cutting edge of community engagement, a process Joy calls “tactical urbanism,” which temporarily recreates neighborhood spaces and makes people reconsider their spaces. 

“It’s about having the community say what that change could look like,” she explained. Whether real change will occur is yet to be determined.  But the process of community engagement is impacting all she does, and could change the way people plan for change. 

“I attended a workshop she had a little bit ago about integrating play into planning,” ReNU’s Tom Lowe recalled. “She was saying, for example, that in waterfront planning, you could actually have a meeting on kayaks, bringing people to where the planning is happening.  Her perspective is a breath of fresh air.”

 Contact Sunday Lifestyles Editor Michele DeLuca at 282-2311, ext. 2263 or email her at

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