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Archives for March 28, 2017

$33.5 million Portland Japanese Garden expansion completed on time, despite daunting challenges (photos)

The Portland Japanese Garden‘s largest improvement in a half century, an expansion to accommodate an increasing number of visitors, has been completed on time, despite bad weather, neighbor complaints and the $33.5 million cost.

On Sunday, April 2, the public will be able to see the results of years of fundraising and 20 months of construction to execute a concept by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, best known for designing the $1.5 billion National Stadium for the 2020 Olympic Games.

The ambitious project in Portland’s Washington Park has transformed land leading up to the hilltop entrance of the Japanese garden, considered one of the most authentic outside of Japan, but not the garden itself.

The expansion tacked 3.4 acres to the front of the 9.1-acre garden. The larger footprint allows for new educational facilities and event spaces for people interested in Japanese gardening and culture.

The visitor experience now starts at Southwest Kingston Avenue across from the International Rose Test Garden. An old driveway next to a parking lot has been replaced with a cedar-clad Welcome Center landscaped by a water terrace and cascading ponds.

Thousands of trees and shrubs have been planted along zigzagging paths, and garden curator Sadafumi Uchiyama has designed three distinct, new landscapes: A moss hillside garden, bonsai terrace and chabana (natural) garden.

Even more dramatic is the new, hilltop Cultural Crossing Village, three steel-and-glass pavilions linked by a large courtyard near the shuttle stop to the main garden.

A 185-foot-long “castle” wall made with 1,000 tons of Baker blue granite from an Eastern Oregon quarry and built using Shogun-period techniques defines the west side of the village.

Anchoring another side is a tea cafe, the first food and beverage service available at the 54-year-old garden.

Kabuki theater will be performed, art will be displayed and gardening workshops will take place inside the two other buildings, which also house a library, administration offices and a new gift shop that’s quadruple the size of the old one that grossed $1 million a year, according to the garden’s annual budget.

The Japanese Garden Society, the nonprofit foundation that runs the garden, is supported by admissions, membership dues, donations and retail sales.

Starting this weekend, admission to the garden will increased from $9.50 to $14.95, with discounts for children, students and seniors.

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Funds for the expansion and to develop the International Institute for Japanese Garden Arts and Culture, scheduled to open in 2018, came from private donors, grants and state funding.

Donations include $8 million from Japanese Garden Trustees, $6 million from art patron Arlene Schnitzer, $4 million from Oregon and national foundations, $2.5 million from philanthropists in Japan, and more than $1 million from garden members. 

The National Endowment for the Humanities provided a $500,000 matching grant to assist in the construction of the cultural educational center.

The garden’s yearly operating budget is $4.6 million, according to the most recent annual report.

In 2014, Portland Parks Recreation renewed the private garden’s lease at no cost and granted the additional acres.

That year, residents living near the garden who were notified of plans to expand the garden objected to the temporary closure of one link to the Wildwood Trail and proposed construction activities as well as the scale and environmental impact of the new buildings.

Expansion opponent Hilary Mackenzie, an architect and member of the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association, said Sunday that the commercial additions to the garden are double the approved size from the city’s land use decision, and have resulted in increased noise and congestion, and a loss of open space.

She said the garden didn’t honor promises to mitigate lighting to maintain a dark sky in the park and limit spillover to the neighborhood, or use bird safe construction practices. The garden’s work to remove invasive ivy and repair the hiking trail is ongoing.

“Allowing private development in our parks is not sustainable nor in the public interest,” Mackenzie stated.

The garden began in 1963 on the 5.5-acre site of the old Portland zoo. In 1967, the first year the garden was opened, there were 30,000 visitors. Attendance steadily rose and it is expected to reach 350,000 or more each year, according to garden research.

About 283,000 people visited during nine months in 2015 before the garden was closed from September 2015 through February 2016 to start construction. It reopened in March 2016 while construction continued, but closed this week to prepare for the expansion’s unveiling this weekend. Garden members will be allowed to tour the expansion on Saturday, April 1, a day ahead of the public.

Architect Kuma was selected through an international design competition and hired by the garden’s Chief Executive Officer Steve Bloom to design the new, energy efficient buildings and spaces that continue the ideas of original garden designer Takuma Tono.

The project is Kuma’s first U.S. commission and local architecture experts have voiced their approval.

“Kengo Kuma is internationally renowned for creating sublime and elegantly crafted buildings which are inspired by traditional Japanese architecture yet firmly rooted in their own time and place,” said Jonah Cohen of Hacker Architects, the Portland firm that executed the expansion plans with landscape architecture firm Walker Macy and Hoffman Construction Co.

Randy Gragg, director of the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architectural Studies and the Landscapes, stated: “The Portland Japanese Garden’s addition by Kengo Kuma and his team is a watershed moment for the city: Not just a masterful match of building design to site and purpose, but a reach, culturally, beyond our usual modest ambitions.”

Gragg added: “Kuma’s Cultural Crossing will stand with Alvar Aalto’s Mount Angel Abbey Library as one of those rare moments when a local institution remade itself — and created a fitting work of architecture — for the world.”

— Janet Eastman

If you go

611 SW Kingston Ave., 503-223-1321,

Hours: Noon-7 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday March 13-Sept. 30; noon-4 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday Oct. 1-March 12. The garden is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission has increased from $9.50 to $14.95, with discounts for children, students and seniors.

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Writtle University College wins garden design and build at Ideal Home Show

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One-sided negotiation brings Brooks Street sidewalk proposal back to committee





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World Landscape Architecture Month kicks off next week

ASLA Landscape Architecture

Use the hashtag #WLAM2017 along with the “This is Landscape Architecture,” card to show your favorite landscape-design spaces on social media.
Photo: ASLA

April serves as World Landscape Architecture Month (WLAM), and this year the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) will celebrate by showcasing the work of its 49 chapters.

WLAM introduces landscape architecture to the public by highlighting landscape architect-designed spaces around the world. Established by ASLA, WLAM strives to demonstrate how landscape architecture affects the daily lives of everyone.

Landscape architects analyze, plan, design, manage and nurture both built and natural environments by designing projects that help define communities. Studies by the National Endowment for the Arts show that in the U.S., landscape architects are valued at $2.3 billion per year, and the latest data show that landscape architecture services accounted for 14 percent of total architectural services.

For 49 days, starting April 1, each chapter will have the chance to take over ASLA’s Instagram account each day to show the best of their profession from around the country. Landscape architects and the public are asked by ASLA to post pictures of their favorite landscape architect-design spaces with a card that reads, “This is Landscape Architecture,” tagged #WLAM2017, on social media. ASLA says that “This is Landscape Architecture” cards can be downloaded at or found in April’s issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine.

ASLA states that this initiative hopes to create a national story about connecting students across the world that are collaborating ideas to promote the landscape architecture profession.

“ASLA and its chapters are excited to showcase landscape architects’ work in April and beyond,” said Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA, executive vice president and CEO of ASLA. “We’re looking forward to seeing all aspects of the profession, everything from iconic spaces like Central Park to sketches from students.”

Along with the takeover of Instagram, ASLA will share other pictures with #WLAM2017 on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

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English Gardens to stay at Maple Village in 2017 but needs new location

ANN ARBOR, MI – Gardening and landscaping retailer English Gardens is staying through 2017 at the Maple Village shopping plaza on the city’s west side, but is seeking a new long-term location after its lease expires.

Owners of the family-owned English Gardens are looking for a new location after Maple Village’s management company, Brixmor Property Group, did not renew its lease for 155 N. Maple past 2017.

“We want to stay in this location, but our landlord is not giving us the option to renew our lease,” said company president John Darin in the statement. “English Gardens is committed to the Ann Arbor market and we are actively looking for a new site. We very much want our customers and the community to know we want to continue to operate a store in this area.”

The Ann Arbor News initially reported English Gardens was closing in June 2016. The outdoor and gardening company operates six locations across southeastern Michigan, including the Ann Arbor store in Maple Village.

Maple Village is seeing a lot of movement after extensive renovations to the shopping center and stores opening and closing.

While English Gardens remains open until January 2018, the Dollar Tree closed its doors Feb. 27 and RadioShack closed March 10.

Ann Arbor’s RadioShack on Maple Road closing after 45 years

A Brixmor representative said in an emailed statement that “the community has expressed an interest in value retailers for Maple Village,” and pointed to the openings of merchandise retailer Five Below opening in late March and infant and children’s retailer Carter’s.

Carter’s and Five Below to join lineup in Ann Arbor’s Maple Village

The first Sierra Trading Post in Michigan is slated for a spring opening at Maple Village, according to company representatives. The Wyoming-based company specializes in closeouts, overstocks and second runs of products.

It joins Home Goods and Stein Mart in the former space left empty by Kmart, which closed in early 2015 as part of an effort by Sears Holding Corp. to cut costs.

Is time running out for Michigan’s 19 Sears and 38 Kmart stores?

The New York-based Brixmor recently made headlines with the $102 million purchase of Arborland, a shopping center located in southeast Ann Arbor. It is now one of the company’s larger assets, and one of 19 properties it manages in Michigan.

Tenants at Arborland include Kroger, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack, Ulta, Starbucks and DSW. Brixmor leadership said it plans to invest in some changes to the property’s parking lot and sidewalks along with improved landscaping.

New owners discuss changes for Arborland shopping center

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2017 Home Landscaping and Garden Fair | – ABC Newspapers

The University of Minnesota Extension Anoka County Master Gardener Program is sponsoring the 2017 Home Landscaping and Garden Fair 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the Bunker Hills Activities Center, 550 Bunker Lake Blvd. NW, Andover. The public is invited to attend this informative horticulture event.

Alpine gardening enthusiast and Rhododendron hybridizer Betty Ann Addison from Gardens of Rice Creek will present “Beautiful Rock Gardens: Building and Planting” and “Rhododendrons for Minnesota.”

Other featured guest speakers include:

–Sam Bauer, Extension educator, will present information about how to have a beautiful, but low-maintenance lawn.

–Food safety educator from U of MN Extension Suzanne Driessen will present two classes, “Basics of Home Canning: Safety First” and “Preserving Food Safely: Exploring the Options.”

–Alex Eilts from the Upper Midwest Carnivorous Plant Society will talk about the relationship between insects and carnivorous plants.

–Extension master gardeners will present the remaining concurrent sessions that include, but are not limited to, flowering shrubs, woodland gardens, vegetable gardens, and wicking gardens.

Hands-on workshops include “Making a Buckthorn Walking Stick” and “Build a Table-top Hydroponics Garden.”

Registration for this event is required (space is limited). Early registration is $25 per person if postmarked by Friday, March 31. The price for late registration and walk-ins is $30 per person. Parking is free. Bag lunches will be available by reservation for an additional fee. A material fee will be added to the optional workshops. For more information, visit or call 763-755-1280.

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Here’s the best landscaping tip of the year

▪ As promised, the biggest landscape tip of the year: Use more flowering shrubs with interesting leaf colors. Not only are flowering shrubs low care, but they add lots of color and texture to the landscape and garden. Try abelia, sprirea, loropetalum, roses and shrubs with interest. Want more information? Give me a call.

▪ Spring is here, and this year I want you to have the garden you have always dreamed of! It’s easy if you know how. During the next few weeks, I’ll give you ideas, designs and plants that really work in Middle Georgia.

▪ Wait one more week to buy summer annuals.

▪ Try Grancy Graybeard, aka chionanthus vagrancies. This is a native Southeastern small tree/large shrub. It has fragrant, white fringe flowers, and is blooming now in gardens and landscapes. It can be somewhat difficult to find, so if you see it, buy it. Plant in full sun to part shade. I love it!

▪ Now is the time to control imported fire ants. Use the “bait type” products, which foraging ants will feed to the queen, resulting in permanent elimination of the treated mound.

▪ Try growing morning glories again. Soak the seed overnight before planting. These annual vines like morning sun and afternoon shade.

▪ This year, try planting annuals such as zinnia and cleome among the perennials.

▪ As flowers fade on azaleas, pruning can begin. These shrubs must be pruned limb by limb. Do not shear them with the hedge trimmer.

▪ Before planting a bed or a garden, you must first design it. Borrow ideas from books and magazines, or hire a professional landscaper designer.

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Tips and trends to revitalize home interiors





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Tips and tricks to welcome back gardens and flowers – Twin Falls Times





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