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Archives for November 3, 2016

Kalispell sprinkler rates end

Posted: Thursday, November 3, 2016 6:00 am

Kalispell sprinkler rates end


City of Kalispell residents are reminded that the discounted sprinkling rate for the current year ended Oct. 31.

Residential services receive a reduced water charge for usage above the established winter average for sprinkling of lawns, gardens and landscaping during the sprinkling season months of May through October, in accordance with rules and regulations.

For further information, contact the Public Works Department at 758-7720.

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Thursday, November 3, 2016 6:00 am.

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November Gardening Tips

LENOIR, NC (November 2, 2016)…November Gardening Tips from the Caldwell County Center of the NC Cooperative Extension.

Plants in Flower
• Witch Hazel

Plants with Colorful Berries
• American Beautyberry, burford Holly, Chinese Holly, Foster Holly, Nellie R. Stevens Holly, Nandina, Pyracantha, Washington Hawthorn, and Dogwood

• Use wood ashes around the vegetable garden, bulb beds, and around non-acid loving plants if soil pH is below 6.0.

• Trees and shrubs can be transplanted in the autumn.
• Plant one year old asparagus crowns in the vegetable garden this month.
• Finish planting spring-flowering bulbs.

• Time to trim existing asparagus foliage. Cut to the ground after the foliage is killed by frost.
• Cut back and clean up frost-killed perennials.
• When cutting holiday greener, use sharp pruners to make cuts above a bud or side branch.

Lawn Care
• Mow your cool season or tall fescue lawn as needed.
• Keep tree leaves from collecting on your lawn.

• Water your cuttings in the coldframe as needed.
• You may want to try your hand at air layering on some of your house plants like dieffenbachia or dumb cane.

Specific Chores
• Soil test results should be back if samples were sent in September or October. Apply the recommended lime to the areas in need of liming. Wait until spring to fertilize.
• Check with the local Extension office for the recommended fruit varieties for the area.
• Order fruit trees and grape vines this month for a February or March delivery and planting.
• Remember to water your evergreen trees and shrubs thoroughly before winter set in, particularly if weather conditions have been dry.
• Look to see if screens or windbreaks are needed around your home.
• Continue filling the compost bin with the fallen leaves.
• Look for yuletide plants as gifts. Remember, some plants like poinsettias should be placed in the sunniest room in the house.
• Consider giving your family gardener a holiday gift to use in the garden.

Caldwell County Center of the NC Cooperative Extension Website

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Garden tips: Keep your compost cooking





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Go ahead: Steal Newark designer’s flower arranging tips

When you see Theresa Clower in action, it comes as no surprise that she’s an award-winning floral designer.

Owner and principal designer of Theresa Floral Design, she works out of her home studio in Newark with her goldendoodle, Jeff, close by. Moving at warp speed she cuts, strips, bends, binds and weaves random flowers into an art form fit for a magazine cover.

When I visited her on a rainy morning last week, she guided me through the process in a sort of master class/coffee klatch during which she shared wisdom and insights.

Clower’s philosophy toward her art comes up again and again: “Use what’s available in nature, but make it your own, alter it in some way. People take things from their garden and think they have to re-create what it looked like out there and the reality is it’s much more interesting if you don’t. Cutting things a certain way, placing them a certain way – that’s the art of it.”

Since I’m guilty of cutting and plunking without a thought to design or creativity, her words struck home.

While she specializes in weddings, for our joint venture she chose a simple hand-tied arrangement, something to embody autumn’s splendor. Pulling on high boots and grabbing her pruners, Clower and Jeff headed outdoors to a pair of curly willows flanking the path leading to her backyard.

“When we moved here in 1990, it was just this big ugly blue house and one plant,” she says. “I took the landscaping class at University of Delaware and focused on the bones of the garden.”

That decision proved useful in the long run. Filled with trees, shrubs and grasses, the garden has matured into a low maintenance landscape. It also occasionally provides some of the material she uses in arrangements.

She quickly cuts an armful of willow branches, a handful of Hosta leaves, hydrangea heads and some magnificent fruiting viburnum in front of the house. Once inside her studio, she opens the door to a massive walk-in refrigerator, and we remove a brigade of flower-filled buckets – roses, yarrow, dahlias, celosia, mums, grasses and stems from various shrubs.

She gets most of her plant material from wholesalers and some local purveyors. The color palette is bold like a splash of peak fall foliage. Almost immediately, I realize I have to learn a new language.

With Clower, a member of the prestigious American Institute of Floral Design, an extremely competitive organization that tests applicants for admission, I could easily have been intimidated by some of the new vocabulary. I knew a little about conditioning flowers – cutting their stems and soaking them in tepid water – but armature?

Clower’s straight-forward, easy manner and her obvious love of what she does puts that to rest. Selecting tools like a master carpenter, she explains the first step of any good arrangement. Curly willow, stripped of all leaves, will provide the support system – armature – for the flowers to keep them in place.

Wresting some back from Jeff, who is having a good chew on them, she cuts them into manageable lengths and bends some of the thin tips down, tying them at the bottom to create the framework in which the flowers will rest. From there, the fun begins, and I resist the urge to plunk.

Throughout the morning, Clower explains that her path to a full-time floral design career meandered through the business and nonprofit world. After getting a degree from the Maryland Institute of Fine Arts and, later, a master’s in public administration, she used that training for 35 years from local to state to the national level, ending up in D.C. at a mentoring organization for children.

“Meanwhile, I had started a business on the side with florals because they were always just a part of me,” she says, telling the story of how she designed a hat made entirely of lily of the valley when she was 11.

She studied floral design at Longwood Gardens, where she now teaches in the continuing education program, and continues to learn, focusing on European and Japanese design.

“When I left D.C., I went full force into floral design in 2008 after doing about two weddings a month for a long time. I’ve rewired, never retired,” she says of her business, Theresa Floral Design.

Her lush designs are consistently rated in the nation’s top 5 percent among client reviews on the website,, and weddings are her business’s bread and butter. For a typical event, she may spend an average of 15 to 20 hours, but working solo isn’t always feasible.

“It’s very intensive, and two weeks ago I had a five-wedding weekend, and there’s no way I could do that alone without pulling 80-hour weeks. I have to use freelance designers,” she says.

You can find her down in the trenches, up on ladders and anywhere she needs to be to get the job done. For a couple who were old-film buffs, her research became inspired.

“I got a whole lot of metal film reels on eBay and created really cool arrangements by weaving the flowers through them,” she says. “Some of them even had actual film on them, and we worked it into the design. That’s the type of thing I really enjoy.”

As we work, stripping leaves off stems and placing tall, airy bronze-toned mums towards the top and the larger hydrangea heads at the bottom, I learn to literally branch out a bit, taking Clower’s advice to pull some flowers up here, add a little something for balance and hang the magnificent roses to the side.

The curly willow springing around the arrangement in a fall-themed rust-colored container brings it together in a way I hadn’t anticipated, and I’m thrilled with the result.

Clower’s arrangement, which she pulls together in half the time it took me, is show-worthy, the deep colors resounding perfectly.

For all her rich, lush designs, Clower shares that she prefers the sparseness of Ikebana, a Japanese floral art form she has been studying for six years.

“What really gets my juices flowing creatively is contemporary design,” she says, pointing to dramatic, silver-painted displays in her dining room. “The Japanese culture is fascinating to me, and I’m not talking traditional. I’m talking the Sogetsu school of (Ikebana) design.”

In her kitchen sits an arrangement made from dried, painted leaves and seed pods spilling from an upright copper rectangle. The minimalist style reflects Sogetsu, which encourages Ikebana students to be individual and imaginative.

Outside, she has collected several large green Osage orange seedpods in a birdbath and entwined them with bittersweet. Both in house and garden is abundant evidence of her floral artistry, and as I head home with my arrangement, I’m grateful to have learned from a master.

Moira Sheridan is a Wilmington freelance writer and gardener. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware’s Master Gardener program. Reach her at

Theresa Clower’s tips for a simple floral arrangement from the garden

• Cut flowers early in the morning or in the evening.

• Submerse stems in tepid water after cutting another 1 or 2 inches from them and let them sit long enough to take up water. (Hydrangea heads can be revived by submersing the entire flower in water for a while.)

• When arranging, use an armature such as curly willow, chicken wire, or even a clear tape grid across the top of the vase.

• Strip plant material of all lower leaves.

• Place large flowers lower in the arrangement and tall, airy flowers toward the top.

• In autumn months when flowers are limited, use leaves, branches, pods, osage orange, seed heads, buds, vines, bark and even roots.

• Be creative with the container.

If you’re interested in taking a class with Theresa Clower, contact her through her website,

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Designing a Garden for Singapore’s Elderly

On a breezy morning in Singapore, I walk along a circular pathway into the new therapeutic garden in HortPark, a 22-acre park in the city-state’s southwestern corner. Water dribbles in a fountain. Wind chimes tinkle. The sweet smells of gardenia and ylang ylang attract butterflies from the nearby butterfly garden, and the aromas of screw pine and basil evoke the Southeast Asian kitchen. The shaded benches and gazebos here provide a respite from the hyper-urban city.

Copious evidence has shown that urban green spaces have a net positive effect on people’s health. Access to green spaces can improve mood, and ease anxiety, stress, and depression. Green spaces also have a long history as specific therapeutic modalities. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticulture has been used as therapy since ancient times; the use of horticulture to calm the senses dates as far back as 2000 BCE in Mesopotamia. In the United States, the practice became widespread and acceptable in the 1940s and 1950s, when these therapies were used as part of the rehabilitative care of hospitalized war veterans. Now, the landscapes—which often include a variety of plants with interesting form, texture, and color to provide sensory stimulation and firm, smooth path surfaces easy for wheelchairs to navigate—have been installed in hospitals, nursing homes, and retirement communities.

Situated in a land-scarce, densely populated metropolis, the Therapeutic Garden@HortPark is the city’s first and only therapeutic garden in a public park designed specifically for post-stroke patients and seniors with dementia. It’s a welcome addition to a city where, by 2030, a quarter of the residents will be older than 65.

The garden is only one prong in Singapore’s Action Plan for Successful Aging, an ambitious $3 billion plan to better the lives of the elderly in urban spaces. The plan, announced by a cabinet-level committee on aging in 2015, details over 30 initiatives to transform Singapore by 2030, from revamping public transportation and pedestrian and road infrastructure to doubling the number of hospital beds and increasing nursing home capacity by more than 70 percent over the next decade.

The therapeutic “pocket” garden, which opened in May, is a permanent pilot project in an existing park, and HortPark is an obvious choice for a site. The park is already a hub for gardening enthusiasts: It houses community gardening plots, hosts public gardening events, and even has a garden supply shop.

The design of Therapeutic Garden@HortPark conforms to best practices for healing gardens: The 850-square-meter garden includes mature shade trees, colorful flowers that aid biodiversity, and shrubs and herbs that can be seen, touched, and smelled. Its walkways can accommodate wheelchairs, and there’s ample seating for caregivers. Movable planting beds make activities more accessible for those with mobility concerns.

The garden’s design includes wheelchair-accessible paths and a variety of colorful flowers. (Courtesy Pooja Makhijani)

The garden’s design is guided by evidence, says Mohamad Azmi Shahbudin, HortPark’s director. In Singapore, a dementia patient is expected to live 10 to 12 years from diagnosis, says Dr. Kua Ee Heok, a professor and psychiatrist at National University of Singapore’s Department of Psychological Medicine, whose research on horticultural therapy, dementia, mental illness, and quality of life informed the construction and design of this park. While horticultural therapy does not increase life expectancy, it can improve cognition, increase social interaction, and stave off depression, which is often co-morbid with dementia. In a large-scale randomized control study wherein elderly participants at risk of dementia grew vegetables and herbs, Kua and his colleagues demonstrated that patients who received horticultural therapy fared better than a control group in scores for life satisfaction, memory, and psychological well-being.

While Therapeutic Garden@HortPark currently does not have staff trained in horticultural therapy, Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), jointly run by National Parks Board and the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, aims to build capacity in horticultural therapy in Singapore. “We [park managers] currently work in tandem with patients’ caregivers or occupational therapists to provide them general knowledge about gardening and this park,” says Shahbudin. But the long-term aim is to encourage trained therapists to get additional certifications in horticultural therapy, he adds.

Singapore hopes to create ten more such gardens if the pilot project if HortPark is deemed a success by the various ministries and statutory boards who have stakes in the project. “This is an experimental space,” says Shahbudin. “We will continually improve based on our researchers’ and partners’ feedback.”

Since the Action Plan for Successful Aging aspires to be a blueprint for successful aging across Asia, HortPark’s design trial may have implications beyond Singapore’s borders. The garden is full of many different design and sensory elements, adds Andrew Foke, landscape architect and Manager at HortPark. Researchers will collect data about them so that the space can serve as a living laboratory for future gardens in Singapore and elsewhere. Asia’s elderly population is projected to reach nearly 1 billion by 2050, and the continent is “on track in the next few decades to become the oldest region in the world” according to the Asian Development Bank. “More and more, our cities need to cater for these trends in growth,” says Shahbudin. “Our parks must remain relevant to our greying population.”

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WJ streetscape wins national contest

WEST JEFFERSON-The downtown streetscape revitalization earned high praise Tuesday following a nationwide contest hosted by Strong Towns.

The non-profit announced West Jefferson’s downtown revitalization as the winner of its Strongest Infrastructure Project on Nov. 1.

“As part of our conversation on infrastructure spending and the infrastructure crisis, we’re highlighting good infrastructure spending decisions – the ones that truly provide a return on investment, the ones that genuinely make their neighborhoods better and take public ideas into account,” according to Strong Towns website.

The contest considered entries from everything from bike share programs to bus stops and public parks from 25 states and Canada. West Jefferson’s streetscape project was one of five finalists, competing against entries from Fargo, ND, a mixed use development in Worchester, MA, the Frederick Douglass Stride Toward Freedom Garden in Brockton, MA, and the Modesto Junior College Campus Connection in Modesto, CA.

Strong Towns opened online voting for the award in late October and said West Jefferson tallied more votes than the other four projects.

“At Strong Towns, we believe that a nation full of towns that take on small, incremental projects to improve their neighborhoods is a much better model than a nation where the federal government goes trillions of dollars in debt in the hopes of growing the economy through megaprojects,” The redesign in West Jefferson is a superb example of this.”

The project was a collaboration between West Jefferson, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the Appalachian District Health Department to transform the city’s downtown street into an eye-catching pedestrian friendly hub.

Beginning in 2011, NCDOT funded a $208,000 small construction project for roadway improvements in exchange for the removal of the traffic signals, and the Town contributed $140,000 for sidewalk and streetscape improvements. Brick pavers, underground utilities, and landscaping were incorporated over the next two summers.

The project included paved crosswalks with curb extensions along Jefferson Avenue, underground utilities, street furniture, landscaping, pedestrian friendly street lighting and modified intersections along North Jefferson Avenue.

The end result is a downtown that’s simple for pedestrians and drivers alike to negotiate and easy on the eyes to boot.

The revitalization has received a bevy of accolades and attention in recent months.

The project was showcased in the national publication, Roads and Bridges, in a six-page report in its August 2015, edition. The trade magazine has been published for 108 years and reaches over 62,000 subscribers monthly through its print edition and over 55,000 people through online subscribers that receive weekly E-Newsletters. Roads and Bridges shows engineers, contractors and government officials the latest advancements in the road and bridge industry.

The October 2015 issue of Governing – a magazine aimed at elected, appointed and career officials in state and local governments with a circulation of roughly 85,000, similarly featured the project, and NPR’s Marketplace Weekend highlighted it as part of its “Local Money” segment in December 2015.

Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.

By Adam Orr

[email protected]

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‘One Decatur’ session: Residents focus on city appearance, poverty, use of river





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Open house will review Twisp revitalization ideas

Graphic courtesy of Town of Twisp
Plans for Twisp’s economic revitalization call for prominent archways to designate entrances to the town’s downtown commercial center.

Plans for downtown corridor, new town hall to be presented

By Ann McCreary

Plans for creating a more inviting downtown corridor and constructing a new civic building in Twisp will be presented to the community on Wednesday (Nov. 9) at an open house in the Methow Valley Community Center at 6 p.m.

The public is invited to provide feedback on two different projects that are underway — one to revitalize Twisp’s commercial district and another to replace the town hall building.

Twisp officials decided to provide information on both projects in one public meeting to eliminate the need for people to attend a second meeting, and because the projects are closely interrelated, said Mayor Soo Ing-Moody.

“Our consideration is that the civic building should fit into the broader economic revitalization plans for the downtown business corridor,” Ing-Moody said. “It is smack in the middle of our business corridor.”

Next week’s open house will present revised plans for Twisp’s economic revitalization project, which were first brought to the public for feedback in June at an open house at TwispWorks.

The goal of the project is to help Twisp attract more pedestrians and consumers, and encourage economic development and tourism.

Concepts for downtown revitalization presented in June included prominent archways at entrances to the downtown area, wide sidewalks, pedestrian malls, landscaping, and a traffic roundabout on Highway 20 near Glover Street.

Based on comments received at the June meeting and community surveys, consultants with SCJ Alliance, a community-planning firm, revised their design to create a draft that will be presented next week.

“A lot of things we heard from people we either implemented in the plans or created other concepts to address what we heard,” said Eric Johnston, principal with SCJ.

Suggestions included upgrading properties along Highway 20 through Twisp, improving visual corridors from the highway into town, providing places for public art, and improved lighting for pedestrians, Johnston said.

The revised plan includes a “more visually appealing corridor” on Third Avenue from the highway, with on-street parking, wider sidewalks, and landscaping, he said.

“And it will frame the new town hall,” Johnson added.

Planners also want to enhance the visual corridor from the highway to TwispWorks, where a new community plaza is being built, he said.

The design of a proposed traffic roundabout is still under consideration, and cost estimates are being developed for four alternatives, Johnston said.

December target

After the Nov. 9 open house, SCJ will finalize the economic revitalization plan and present it to the Town Council, he said. “We’re hoping it will be adopted by December.”

“Based on this plan, the town would have a tool to move forward … for implementation of the plans and seeking funding for the goals established in that plan,” said Ing-Moody.

Planning for Twisp’s downtown economic revitalization has been funded by a $50,000 grant from the state’s Community Economic Revitalization Board. The town provided a match of $16,667.

The open house will provide the community its first look at concepts for a new Twisp civic building that will replace the current town hall.

The proposed facility would house town administrative offices and the police department, and serve as an emergency operations center for the entire valley during disasters like the wildfires of 2014 and 2015.

Preliminary plans call for the new building to extend partially into Third Avenue between Glover and Lincoln Streets. The street would be closed to vehicles on that block, but would remain open to pedestrians and bikes and would provide a fire lane.

Planners from Architects West Inc. will present their ideas for the building, which is estimated to cost about $3 million, said Ing-Moody.

Town officials have been exploring ways to replace the current town hall building for five years, after major structural and functional problems were identified.

As a result of the wildfire disasters of recent years, creating an emergency operations capability is a key component of planning for the building.

Ing-Moody said law enforcement agencies and emergency responders, including Aero Methow Rescue Service and the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office, are taking an active role in developing those plans.

Preliminary plans for the building call for setting up an emergency operations center, if needed, in the Twisp Council chambers. The new council chambers would be designed to seat up to 50 people, considerably larger than the council meeting room in town hall.

The new facility would also design police department offices to allow for better processing of evidence and separation of suspects from the rest of the facility.

The building would also include communications technology that takes advantage of improvements made by the sheriff’s office to equipment on McClure and Flagg mountains, Ing-Moody said.

“We are trying to capitalize on that for the Methow Valley. If we don’t have the ability to tap into it we are still lacking,” she said.

Twisp has received almost $1 million in state capital projects funding to develop plans for the new civic building.

Ing-Moody said she was encouraged during recent discussions with state Department of Commerce officials who told her that Twisp would be a good candidate to receive a $750,000 grant for the project.

“We would be able to use that for leverage for other funding for the building,” Ing-Moody said.

She said the town would be pursuing different funding sources to construct the building, including additional allocations from the Washington Legislature in its next session.

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