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Archives for October 30, 2016

Ramona Gardens becomes first public housing project with an open-air market

The cluster of blue tents selling shirts, garden tools, knickknacks and tacos fresh and hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth might not seem like much from the outside, but in this East L.A. neighborhood, the Ramona Gardens Swap Meet is a marker of change.

For years, the collection of vendors and food stands dotting Ramona Gardens Park on Saturday mornings formed a necessary, albeit illegal, pop-up market for a low-income neighborhood far from any large grocery stores. Tired of the endless citations, the vendors agreed to temporarily close up shop in January, and worked alongside Los Angeles police, the housing authority and local activist groups to bring their weekend tradition in line with city codes.

The result? The first legal open-air market at a Los Angeles housing project, and a model that some people hope can be replicated across the city.

“This is a great example of creating the kind of partnerships in communities where people can build the community they need, and have the community they want,” said the Rev. Zach Hoover, executive director of LA Voice, an interfaith congregation at the heart of the effort to make the weekend swap meet legal.

The 'bad old days' in Boyle Heights are gone, but for how long?

The ‘bad old days’ in Boyle Heights are gone, but for how long?

Last month, Los Angeles police officers fatally shot 14-year-old Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights during a foot chase.

The shooting — one of five at the hands of police in the Eastside district this year — sparked a protest outside the Hollenbeck police station that drew about 30 people who demanded…

Last month, Los Angeles police officers fatally shot 14-year-old Jesse Romero in Boyle Heights during a foot chase.

The shooting — one of five at the hands of police in the Eastside district this year — sparked a protest outside the Hollenbeck police station that drew about 30 people who demanded…

(Brittny Mejia and Kate Mather)

“We’re not declaring complete victory. But there’s generational healing that needs to happen here,” Edwards said. “A lot of our interactions with some of the gang members who have turned their ways, they’re saying if we would have had this kind of interaction with the LAPD, this kind of community leadership, maybe we wouldn’t have been involved.”

Gang violence has plummeted in East L.A. since its height in the 1990s, though violent crime has ticked back up in recent years. Los Angeles police have also been involved in five on-duty shootings in the Eastside district this year, stoking tensions between locals and police in some corners.

Even the Big Hazard gang, which was seemingly crippled by a 2014 federal takedown at the apartment complex dubbed Operation Resident Evil, still lurks in the area. A gang tag with the letters “BH” scrawled in long black lines marked a wall just 50 feet from the swap meet Saturday afternoon.

But none of that history seemed able to pierce the happy vibe inside the swap meet, where community leaders and vendors were celebrating the end of a years-long journey. 

A number of the vendors who frequent Ramona Gardens Park sat down with Hoover and other community partners at Santa Teresita church five years ago to begin strategizing how to bring their pop-up marketplace in line with Los Angeles’ regulations.

At the time, most of the vendors had never considered the need for sinks or mesh netting to keep their mini-eateries up to city health codes. Working alongside the LAPD, the housing department and other groups, Hoover said a $25,000 grant was obtained, in part, to help the vendors buy needed supplies. Now, with the vendors trained in how to properly maintain their businesses and keep them in compliance with city codes, the swap meet should be able to thrive.

“People can make a piece of their living without worrying if their stuff will be taken away the next day,” Hoover said.

Edwards knows firsthand how important the swap meet is for the neighborhood. His mother, a Mexican immigrant, used to travel from Downey on weekends to sell wares at the swap meet when it first popped up in the 1990s.

Nestled against the 10 Freeway, the apartment complex is situated unreasonably far away from grocery stores and other outlets, especially in a community where many residents can’t afford a car. For some vendors, Edwards said, the swap meet might mark their only weekly income.

“The people that are here are poor and there’s not a lot of choices for markets,” he said. “So obviously they came here and they wanted to sell.”

Standing near a vendor selling shirts priced at $1 and novelty children’s Halloween costumes, Boyle Heights native Christopher Barragan said he hoped that the reemergence of the swap meet could help create a dialogue among the different generations of Latinos who live in the area.

“People come here every week, they communicate. It’s something you can look forward to,” he said. “For Mexicans, it’s a tradition.”



Weekend Roundup: 8 stories you can't miss

Caption Weekend Roundup: 8 stories you can’t miss

Los Angeles’ new federal courthouse, SAG actors strike, familial DNA leads to controversy, CA’s National Guard members won’t have to pay back enlistment bonuses, new civil rights lawyers step to the plate, Jonathan Gold’s new 101 best restaurants in L.A. is out, Bruce Springsteen’s fans have opposite political views from him, and a Los Feliz teen’s backyard haunted house.

Los Angeles’ new federal courthouse, SAG actors strike, familial DNA leads to controversy, CA’s National Guard members won’t have to pay back enlistment bonuses, new civil rights lawyers step to the plate, Jonathan Gold’s new 101 best restaurants in L.A. is out, Bruce Springsteen’s fans have opposite political views from him, and a Los Feliz teen’s backyard haunted house.

90 seconds: 4 stories you can't miss
Tearful reunions and fear for the missing as Iraqi residents return home

Caption Tearful reunions and fear for the missing as Iraqi residents return home

Hundreds of residents have been flocking back to villages newly freed from Islamic State’s grasp. 

Hundreds of residents have been flocking back to villages newly freed from Islamic State’s grasp. 

Christopher Van Meter, former California Army Reserve captain and Iraq veteran

Caption Christopher Van Meter, former California Army Reserve captain and Iraq veteran

Christopher Van Meter, former California Army Reserve captain and Iraq veteran

Christopher Van Meter, former California Army Reserve captain and Iraq veteran

Supporters urge voters to pass Proposition 66

Caption Supporters urge voters to pass Proposition 66

Proposition 66 would speed up the death penalty system. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Proposition 66 would speed up the death penalty system. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

james.queally@latimes.com

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for crime and police news in Southern California. 

ALSO

Does car-crazy Los Angeles have a few things it can teach the smug S.F. Bay Area about mass transit?

Search-and-rescue workers find body of missing hiker

Cold, wet storm to bring rain, hail, snow to Bay Area and Northern California

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-ramona-gardens-market-20161028-story.html

Geneva’s Scentimental Gardens adds home decorating to repertoire of service

GENEVA –For nearly three decades, Scentimental Gardens and Antiques at 428 W. State St. in Geneva has helped people with their garden decorating plans.

Earlier this year, the business formally began offering additional decorating for all areas of the home, not just the landscape, owner Debra Phillips said.

“It’s really the whole shebang,” Phillips said. “I’m lucky in that my first love was as a horticulturist. I understand plants and design, and a lot of those principles extend to the home.”

So the business can focus on antiques, garden design, and landscaping and outdoor decorating, and doing what Phillips called a “facelift” indoors or outdoors.

A customer’s home was Mediterranean with big pillars and dark rails, and they wanted to change it to French Normandy, Phillips said.

“We changed out the rails –they became iron,” Phillips said. “We changed the colors, from stucco yellow to a whitish taupe. We added shutters in brownish turquoise. And we changed the light fixtures and the house numbers. There’s so much you can do without a major, expensive overhaul.”

So far, she’s done more than 15 houses and several out of state, including in Florida, Nebraska and Tennessee, Phillips said.

“We have evolved in 27 years,” Phillips said. “We never offered this service before, so we are kind of in a real unique position –we are the whole package. It took me a while to get there.”

More information is available by calling the store at 630-232-1303 or online at www.scentimentalgardens.com.

Article source: http://www.kcchronicle.com/2016/10/25/genevas-scentimental-gardens-adds-home-decorating-to-repertoire-of-service/aeygfhm/

Sabrina’s spring gardening tips

Sabrina Hahn shares her top three jobs to tick off your to-do list this week.

1. Trim the lower leaves off tomatoes as they grow and shake the flowers if there are no bees around.

Trim the lower leaves off tomato plants. Picture: Gerald Moscarda

2. Plant out seedlings in the early morning, soaking them in a seaweed solution for 10 minutes before planting.

3. Spray zucchini, pumpkin and cucumber with milk and water 1:9 to help prevent powdery mildew.

Mildew on a zucchini plant. Picture: Simon Santi

Did you know?

Artificial hollows built for Carnaby’s cockatoos give them extra spaces to breed in areas that have depleted natural nesting sites.

Do you have a gardening question for Sabrina?

Write to Habitat Ask Sabrina, GPO Box N1025, Perth WA 6843, or email habitat@wanews.com.au.

Please include your full name and suburb. Due to the volume of questions, not all will be answered.


Article source: https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/lifestyle/a/33034749/sabrina-hahns-weekly-spring-gardening-tips/

Cold comfort: Alan Titchmarsh on taking care of the garden furniture during winter

Fashionable, contemporary metal furniture with bare steel or aluminium arms, legs and seats comes into this category. Although the surface has been treated so it won’t rust or go dull, it’s not worth the risk of scratching or denting it. 

Cane or rattan furniture isn’t really meant to be used outside. It’s a natural material best kept for living rooms and conservatories as it turns black and mouldy if it gets damp.

Modern cane furniture is often made from synthetic materials which don’t go mouldy or rot, so it can be left outside. But you still have all the little nooks and crannies where algae grows in damp conditions, so it is tricky to clean.

When it comes to folding seats, sunloungers and steamer chairs, they are best put away. If you don’t have a shed, lightweight furniture can be hung on the garage wall or in the cupboard under the stairs and a small garden store is ideal. 

As for cushions, they must be kept under cover. Wipe them down, sponge off any marks and when dry, store them in plastic in the loft or somewhere they won’t be found by mice or get damp.

Then they’ll be ready to go the minute the sun shines. And it won’t be too long, will it? 

Article source: http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/garden/725769/How-to-preserve-garden-furniture-during-winter

5 garden tips for the week starting Oct. 29 – Daily Breeze



Winter harvest

Plant cool-season vegetables within the next few weeks. These include beets, broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, radishes and spinach. You also can plant Swiss chard in its variety of colors, as well as parsley and more. Some will be ready to start harvesting in December.

Time to act

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, if you want to plant drought-tolerant shrubs and groundcovers, get them in the ground now. The roots will develop over the next several months, so they can be fully drought-tolerant next year in case the drought continues. Consider planting ornamental grasses, lantanas, manzanitas and more. But do it soon.

Rain on the way

Prepare your property for hoped-for winter rains. Start by providing pathways for proper drainage (hopefully not into your neighbor’s yard). Clean rain gutters. Maybe even purchase water barrels to collect and store the rain that comes down from the rain gutters. And check your roof and any skylights or vents. They may need a new application of water sealant to prevent leakage; old sealant often shrinks or cracks during hot, dry weather and needs to be repaired.

Clean-up

Take time to clean up your garden by removing any fallen fruit, old vegetables, plant debris and weeds. Many weeds are releasing seeds now, so timely removal will greatly reduce the threat of weeds, and your efforts now will help to prevent problems from pests and diseases in your garden next season.

Smart option

Aspidistra is a good evergreen ornamental to put in very dark, shady areas. It does not produce noticeable flowers, but it is always attractive and stays under 2 feet tall. Its wide arching leaves look rather tropical. Called the “cast-iron plant,” it grows happily in conditions that would kill many other plants — including in containers indoors. Once established, it is nearly drought-resistant. A rich-looking variegated form also is available.

Article source: http://www.dailybreeze.com/lifestyle/20161029/5-garden-tips-for-the-week-starting-oct-29

Scituate, Norwell garden clubs to host floral design presentation

The Scituate and Norwell garden clubs are co-sponsoring a free floral design presentation at 7 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Cushing Center, 673 Main St., Norwell.
Marisa McCoy, a floral designer and nationally accredited flower show judge, will demonstrate ideas for updating traditional floral decorating at home. Refreshments will be provided. Attendees should bring a food pantry item for donation.
For information: jbn295@aol.com.

Article source: http://norwell.wickedlocal.com/news/20161029/scituate-norwell-garden-clubs-to-host-floral-design-presentation

Garden Club Will Host Author

Garden Club Will Host Author

Jan Johnsen will speak about the transformative power of nature at the next meeting of the Southbury Garden Club, 1 p.m. Friday, November 4, at the Southbury Public Library.

Garden Club Will Host Author



Posted: Saturday, October 29, 2016 6:00 am

Garden Club Will Host Author


0 comments

SOUTHBURY — Professional landscaper and author Jan Johnsen will share her passion for creating peaceful, enticing gardens at the next meeting of the Southbury Garden Club, 1 p.m. Friday, November 4, at the Southbury Public Library on Poverty Road.

Based on her latest book, “Heaven is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection,” Ms. Johnsen will discuss the three features of a serene outdoor setting: simplicity, sanctuary and delight.

Drawing on her 40 years of experience in the design and horticulture professions, the author illuminates the surprising role that layout, power of place, color, trees and even rocks play in enhancing well-being outdoors. Richly photographed with verdant landscapes, the book illustrates how “power spots” can be enhanced, why contemplative gardens are suited for the north side of a house and which trees are best for adding certain unseen qualities to a garden.

Ever since she worked in Japan as a college student, Ms. Johnsen has been an advocate of the transformative power of nature upon our well-being. Her experiences of walking through ancient Japanese gardens made her aware of the power of serene outdoor spaces to calm and refresh.

She studied landscape architecture at the University of Hawaii, then went back home to New York State where she worked under a Versailles-trained French gardener at Mohonk Mountain House. There she learned the secrets of French professional horticulture and its all-natural techniques.

Her unique approach to garden design incorporates ancient practices with contemporary ideas. Her landscapes have appeared in numerous magazines, including This Old House, Landscape Architecture, New York Cottages and Gardens, East Coast Home, Westchester Home, Woman’s Day and Redbook.

Ms. Johnsen is a principal of the design/build firm Johnsen Landscapes and Pools in Westchester County.

She has taught at Columbia University and the New York Botanical Garden, and also writes the popular garden blog, Serenity in the Garden.

The hour-long program will begin at 1 p.m. Interested local residents are invited to attend. Advance reservations are suggested and seating is limited.

Those seeking additional information may call Carol Shaw, 203-267-4025.

More about Southbury, Connecticut

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  • ARTICLE: Region 15: Enrollment Trends Affect New Budget
  • ARTICLE: Southbury: Library Posts Film Schedule
  • ARTICLE: Halloween Candy Buy-Back Told

More about Southbury Public Library

  • ARTICLE: Southbury: Library Posts Film Schedule
  • Garden Club Will Host Author
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More about Authors

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Article source: http://www.primepublishers.com/voicesnews/arts_and_living/books_and_authors/garden-club-will-host-author/article_0643470c-9d47-11e6-9548-832023016042.html

Anyone can design a garden by following a few basic rules


Pathway of wooden steps in Tekoa, Israel (Photo by Joshua Siskin)






TIP OF THE WEEK

This is the moment for Chinese flame trees to show their true colors. In this case, we are talking about the colors of seed capsules, which may be red, pink, salmon, orange, or bronze, depending on the weather and the quality of light. Chinese flame trees (Koelreuteria bipinnata) are sometimes used as street or parkway trees due to their deep roots that are not known for elevating sidewalks. Depending on availability of water, they will grow anywhere from 20 to 40 feet tall. Chinese flame trees are cold hardy and should handle Antelope Valley winters without complaint.

You do not need to take a course in garden design in order to design a garden.

In fact, there is only one principle to which you need to adhere in order to achieve reasonable success in any garden design endeavor. And that principle, although it is found more typically in political or military strategy than in horticulture, can best be described as “divide and conquer” or “divide and rule” — words that were first made famous by Phillip II of Macedonia, whose son was Alexander the Great.

As a garden design principle, divide and conquer refers to breaking up a yard or other plot of ground into various parts. By doing so, you give the eye a chance to focus on discretely divided plant groupings, one by one, as opposed to getting lost in a melange of undifferentiated species that make a lot of noise, but not much of a melody, when combined haphazardly together.

While I will admit that the wild look has a certain appeal, it is more often frustrating than calming to the senses. Also, if a garden, ultimately, does not offer some sort of retreat or respite from the cacophony and confusion of the world out there, what is the purpose in having one?

Although there are no hard rules that apply to divide and conquer, it seems, generally speaking, that a small garden lends itself to a more symmetrical than asymmetrical presentation when it comes to drawing lines of separation between one section of plants and another. The larger the space, the freer and more flowing and curvaceous the lines of separation would naturally become.

Dry riverbeds flow

So-called dry riverbeds are increasingly used as a means of dividing and conquering yards and garden spaces. Tina Purwin, in front of her home in North Hills, has created a stunning and inviting dry river bed that extends nearly to the street. It is the warmest and friendliest such feature I have yet to encounter.

More often than not, dry river beds are composed of small stones or gravel of only one color, usually a dull white or grey, surrounded on both sides by ornamental grasses that tend to look weedy at times. Purwin has softened this effect in three ways.

First, the stones she has chosen are large and include some that are charcoal gray or rose colored to contrast with the white. The size of these stones is also a plus, giving the bed a solidity and stateliness that is sorely missing in gravel beds.

Second, she has selected flowering plants such as lavender, ornamental sages, and lantana that add more color to the overall effect. Not only do they flower, but they have a shapeliness about them that is also a welcome sight, as compared to the unruly if not shabby mien of those ornamental grasses.

Third, as mentioned, the bed meanders all the way to the street, a welcoming visage for passersby.

Adjacent to the riverbed at the front of her property, Purwin has surrounded a catalpa tree with decomposed granite (DG). The circle of DG echoes the roundness of the stones, in addition to serving the practical purpose of mulching the ground so as to minimize evaporative water loss under the tree.

Ground covers vs. trees

Once the DG is in place, some designers opt for placing ceramic or other artistically crafted containers upon it. Planting living ground covers in the ground under a tree is never a good idea since they take away water and nutrients from the tree and can cause real problems if allowed to grow up to the trunk or to cover woody roots that extrude above ground.

However, placing pots on top of DG, even under a tree, is not a problem. In such cases, a variety of colorful succulents are recommended since they will add vitality to the DG expanse and will only need to be watered on an occasional basis.

The most common method for dividing and conquering an extensive yard or garden space is by creation of pathways. You can make your pathways out of almost anything and spend a lot or a little in the process.

Wood chips from a tree trimmer work just fine for making informal pathways as long as you are prepared to replenish them every six to eight months. Or you can opt for simple stepping stones.

Menachem Weinberg, a rabbi who lives in Tekoa (a village in Israel’s Judean Hills 10 minutes from Jerusalem) decided to make the simplest of all pathways. He procured small planks of water-sealed wood, around 24 inches long by 8 inches wide and simply laid them on the surface of the ground. The same thing could be done with large ornamental stones, whether they are left completely above ground or partially dug into the earth but still extending above ground level, a technique that is sometimes used in constructing pathways in Japanese gardens.

You can make as many pathways as you desire, whether laid out symmetrically or winding freely about. The more pathways you create, the more planters you will have and more possibilities for experimentation you will invite.

You can devote one planter to fragrant species, another to milkweeds and other plants that attract butterflies, another to bulbs and rhizomes, another to bramble berries, bush berries, and strawberries, another to vegetables, and still another to succulents and natives. There are so many horticultural possibilities and you only get to live once, so why limit yourself?

For more information about area plants and gardens, go to Joshua Siskin’s website at www.thesmartergardener.com. Send questions and photos to Joshua@perfectplants.com.

Tip of the week

This is the moment for Chinese flame trees to show their true colors. In this case, we are talking about the colors of seed capsules, which may be red, pink, salmon, orange, or bronze, depending on the weather and the quality of light. Chinese flame trees (Koelreuteria bipinnata) are sometimes used as street or parkway trees due to their deep roots that are not known for elevating sidewalks. Depending on availability of water, they will grow anywhere from 20 to 40 feet tall. Chinese flame trees are cold hardy and should handle Antelope Valley winters without complaint.

Article source: http://www.dailynews.com/lifestyle/20161029/anyone-can-design-a-garden-by-following-a-few-basic-rules

How new buildings are going green

One of the elements that can greatly enhance the value and enjoyment of a home is beautiful landscaping. But with certain parts of the country facing water restrictions, and many others simply wanting to go green, both residential and commercial property owners are finding it increasingly difficult to keep lawns and hedges thick, green and free of dead zones.

“Many builders and decorators have begun incorporating artificial vegetation in their landscaping treatments, both to sidestep new watering regulations and reduce environmental impact,” says Dallas-based real estate developer, Braden Power of Power Properties. “Although most people haven’t yet begun to notice, ‘faux foliage’ is now sprouting up in various renovation projects around the country, including exclusive hotels and country clubs.”

Power says the new trend to use simulated greenery in building projects is about more than just water conservation: “Simulated plants are very environmentally friendly,” says Power. “Because insects aren’t attracted to them, there is no need to spray pesticides, so there is zero contamination of the soil and groundwater. And because fertilizer is not used, there isn’t a problem with nitrate runoff into nearby streams and lakes. When simulated grass is used, there is no monthly lawn service to pay for, nor is there any pollution from gasoline powered mowers, hedge clippers or leaf blowers.”

Despite the environmental benefits, Power says most people who hear the term “artificial plants” are at first quite skeptical, especially when “artificial grass” is mentioned.

“People usually conjure an image of the artificial turf they use on football fields, but they don’t realize that there are hundreds of artificial grass options, varying in color, texture, density and durability — similar to ratings of carpeting,” says Power. “There’s even a line with multi-colors and a ‘dead grass’ look at the base for realism; and it’s very soft on the feet.”

Power says he acquired a hands-on education in the use of artificial vegetation during the renovation of a courtyard apartment building in east Dallas. “We named the building ‘The Greenhouse’, which is ironic, because although it now has the appearance of a lush botanical garden, there are only two live plants on the entire property,” says Power. “The grass, trees, ferns, privacy hedges, vines and leafy ground vegetation are all stunning simulations.”

Power, who has been renovating multi-unit residential properties for 25 years, says through his exterior design service Bel Air Outdoor Living, he is available to consult with architects, developers and builders who are seeking ideas and resources for “going green” in their next construction or renovation project.

“With a little imagination and the right materials, it’s easy to create an enchanting eco-friendly, ‘drought-proof’ oasis on virtually any property — one that doesn’t require watering, pesticides, or continual maintenance,” says Power.

Article source: http://www.columbiatribune.com/special_sections/advertising/how-new-buildings-are-going-green/article_d07f6299-68a5-5fe8-b005-033f75479795.html