Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 2017

A bridge to nowhere?

This week construction began in earnest on the Colony Plaza project and a new footbridge was installed across Atascadero Creek, joining Colony Square (home of Galaxy Theater) with a new plaza and parking area on the north side of the creek and the Sunken Gardens beyond. The bridge has been the subject of a lot of controversy in the community and criticisms that it’s a “bridge to nowhere,” connecting one empty lot to another and within half a block of another bridge in either direction to boot. But I don’t think the critics are seeing the bigger picture — the bridge is just another baby step toward the transformation of the downtown area.

One of the main complaints I’ve heard about the bridge is the project’s steep price tag of nearly $3 million and on its face that idea, a small pedestrian footbridge costing millions, seems ludicrous. But it’s not such a crazy idea when you consider that the project includes more than just the bridge, that’s just the most eye-catching component. There’s also a new plaza with new landscaping that will match the Sunken Gardens style and a new parking lot that will add dozens of badly-needed spaces downtown. The price tag is also not so crazy when you consider the fact that the project is being built in California where permits and environmental reviews and all the other red tape can have a high cost all by themselves. 

So is it worth it? I think it is. The project is being paid for through bond funding and there were a limited number of projects that the funds could be spent on. The Colony Plaza project will add some much-needed charm to that area and will be a good first step to creating the type of attractive downtown creekside ambiance found in downtown SLO, a good first step toward attracting sales-tax toting consumers to our city. In time, once the groundwork is laid, these types of projects will pay for themselves by making our downtown an area where people want to spend time and where they want to spend money.

One of the other main criticisms I’ve heard is the bridge’s proximity to two other nearby bridges, the Lewis Avenue Bridge and the El Camino Real Bridge. Why can’t pedestrians walk an extra half a block to use those bridges? I would never argue that more walking is a bad thing, but there are also those with disabilities living in our community, elderly folks, families with small children who couldn’t walk that extra block even if they wanted to. The bridge will create a nice direct link between the new parking/Sunken Gardens and not only Galaxy Theater and the other shops on that row, but also the new business set to be built at Colony Square just south of the bridge. And the developer of those planned new businesses decided to go forward with the project because of the Colony Square project being approved, so it’s already paying off.

In my eyes this is not a “bridge to nowhere,” but a bridge to the future of downtown Atascadero.

Article source: https://atascaderonews.com/article/a-bridge-to-nowhere

Fontana seeking volunteers to help rehabilitate native plant gardens …

FONTANA It’s a chance to help the community and be part of and learn about nature.

On National Public Lands Day, Sept. 30, the city of Fontana is seeking volunteers to help from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mary Vagle Nature Center, 11501 Cypress Ave.

All participants must pre-register by visiting Nature.Fontana.org or call 909-349-6994 by Sept. 29.

Volunteers for the garden project will help rehabilitate California-native plant gardens, receive landscaping tips and learn about water-wise gardening.

During NPLD, the Mary Vagle Nature Center is in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). The NEEF provides knowledge through programs that participants can apply to improve the quality of their lives along with the health of the planet.

From America’s neighborhood parks to its extraordinary national parks, public lands are the people’s property. With one-third of land in the public hands, National Public Lands Day provides an opportunity for everyone to ensure public lands remain beautiful for all.

For information about the Mary Vagle Nature Center, visit Nature.Fontana.org

Article source: http://www.sbsun.com/2017/09/23/fontana-seeking-volunteers-to-help-rehabilitate-native-plant-gardens/

Sacramento’s community clubhouse could use your help

Sacramento’s clubhouse needs some helping hands.

Located in McKinley Park, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center depends on community volunteers. That starts with all the club members who use the center regularly. City owned, the center is operated by its board and funded by the clubs that use it along with the Friends of the Shepard Center.

Once a year, it gets a thorough cleanup and a full morning of TLC. From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 30, volunteers will tackle a lengthy to-do list.

“We’re in deep need of volunteers,” said Davis’ Jan Goehring, a center director. “The Shepard is running on a very tight budget without the resources to hire a crew to complete the tasks necessary to maintain our building and gardens.”

Built in 1958, the Shepard is not only a popular meeting place, but a midcentury treasure. Designed by Raymond Franceschi, the building is one of Sacramento’s best examples of 1950s architecture with a dramatic roofline, lots of windows and a massive flagstone fireplace.

“If you’re a lover of this midcentury modern building, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center needs you,” Goehring said. “It should be a lot of fun for volunteers, both seasoned and new to the Shepard. If you’ve never volunteered here, this would be a great first date.”

After opening as the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, it was renamed in 1972 in honor of Ira Gard Shepard, who served many years as the center’s president. A fuchsia specialist, she also wrote a garden column for 40 years.

Nearly 30 garden and arts clubs use the Shepard every month. According to the Shepard’s new website, the clubhouse serves groups dedicated to horticulture, flower arranging, conservation, history, antiques and the arts, including painting, photography, ceramics, metal work, weaving and more. It’s also available for rent for meetings and special occasions.

Under its current arrangement with the city of Sacramento, the center is responsible for its own upkeep. And that can be a lot of work.

On Saturday, volunteer assignments will be tailored to club specialties, Goehring said.

“Groups will be organized into inside or outside groups,” she explained. “You get to decide where you want to be. Our Shepard president (Ken Rothaus) will be fixing furniture, vice president John Foster will be spreading mulch in the Camellia Garden and doing other landscaping. The Bonsai Club will be working in the Japanese Garden.”

Clean-up Day will be followed by the Shepard’s biggest annual event – its Fall Sale. Next weekend (Oct. 7 and 8) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., almost all of the center’s clubs will offer plants, artwork, crafts and more. Admission is free.

Shoppers will find more than great deals. They’ll see a clean and sparkling center we all can enjoy.

Article source: http://www.sacbee.com/entertainment/living/home-garden/debbie-arrington/article175732866.html

Tree time: council modifies park, removes eucalyptus

Remove the targets below or remove the risky trees above? The Carpinteria City Council at its Sept. 25 meeting decided to do a bit of both at Heath Ranch Park, where 125-plus-year-old, 80-plus-foot-tall eucalyptus trees tower dangerously over a children’s play structure, turf and several homes.

The council voted unanimously in favor of cutting down the least healthy of the five-remaining blue gum eucalyptuses, while the other trees get critical analysis and management before being eventually phased out and replaced with native trees like oaks and sycamores. The council considered moving the park’s play structure for an estimated $175,000 but opted to eliminate it altogether in order to retain the open grassy area used for playing and dog walking. Fencing around the base of each tree will help to keep the public from the highest-risk areas for falling limbs.

Limbs regularly drop at the park, and Parks and Recreation Director Matt Roberts showed photos of a recently broken 12-inch branch dangling 80 feet high. In 2002, one of the historic trees toppled. It didn’t cause any major damage, but it heightened concern among some neighbors and at the city. Nearby resident Jack Dotts said of the 2002 incident, “It fell toward the house. It was loud. And it was scary as hell.”

But many surrounding homeowners have fought to preserve the trees. They note that the massive eucalyptuses are integral to the neighborhood’s character, provide habitat for birds and have historic significance. “Please do everything you can to save these trees for as long as possible,” former councilman and nearby resident Greg Gandrud beseeched the city council.

The city has debated for years over what to do about Heath Ranch Park’s well-loved and widely feared trees. They are part of the park’s historic landmark, the centerpiece of which is an adobe structure once incorporated into the grand home of Russell Heath, one of the valley’s early agricultural giants. Heath grew walnuts on hundreds of surrounding acres and planted the eucalyptuses around 1870 along the carriageway leading to his house.

“We can’t really win on this one,” said Councilman Gregg Carty. “Liability wise we should cut them all down.” He and Councilman Brad Stein argued on the side of safety, with Stein noting that it would intolerable if an injury or death occurred because the city had failed to remove the danger. The city’s liability is high related to the trees, reported legal counsel Jessica Dios, because the trees have been documented by arborists as potentially dangerous.

Councilman Al Clark argued for preserving the trees. “If we remove the targets then we remove a lot of the risks,” he said. Later in the meeting, Clark and Stein debated how much risk the city should assume, and Clark said, “We’re accepting some risk because we like these trees and the neighbors like these trees.”

Mayor Fred Shaw pointed out that he had visited the park that morning and examining the tree documented as the least healthy of the bunch. “I was standing underneath it today and looking up and worrying about it the whole time,” he said.

Councilman Wade Nomura owns a landscaping company and brought his decades of plant knowledge to the discussion. He advised the arborists to conduct several tests that would help to better analyze the health of the trees. The tree management plan developed by arborist Kenneth Knight involves significant pruning and evaluation over the next five years.

Councilmembers agreed that the tree closest to the existing playground should be preserved. Described by Knight as “likely to continue to live for decades,” that tree is considered the healthiest and least risky.

Community Garden preps for opening

As the construction on the new Carpinteria Garden Park wraps up under the public eye, the behind-the-scenes preparation is also nearly complete. At its Sept. 25 meeting, the Carpinteria City Council approved rules and regulations for the new garden, located at 4855 5th Street, and heard from newly hired garden manager Alena Steen.

Starring in the organic garden are the 100 garden plots available for rental to Carpinteria residents. The 5- by 10-foot garden plots will cost $60 per six-month period, and rent will include the soil bed and water. A shared tool shed will be available, also. Renters will be required to volunteer four hours each six months.

A lottery will be held if more than 100 residents apply for a plot, and priority will be granted to applicants who live within 1,000 feet of the garden and who lack a space of their own to garden.

Steen said that in addition to managing members, her position entails coordinating educational opportunities. “I’m really excited to bring a lot of hands-on, how-to classes to the garden,” she said. Classes in gardening, sustainability, composting, cooking, ecology and ethnobotany will be offered to the public as well as garden members.

The garden’s design includes several elements conducive to garden education, including a commercial kitchen, bioswale, native plant areas, shaded seating sections and large-scale composting facilities.

Fencing surrounds the garden, and members will access their plots through a locked gate with a code. Steen’s office will be onsite, and she plans to have the gates open to the public during her part-time work schedule.

To find out more or receive an application for the garden, contact Steen at alenas@ci.carpinteria.ca.us.

Article source: http://www.coastalview.com/news/tree-time-council-modifies-park-removes-eucalyptus/article_0f366826-a494-11e7-ac44-9f51349abe8e.html

EXCLUSIVE: How socialite ‘Bunny’ Mellon was asked by JFK to design the White House Rose Garden, cajoled widow …

Style icon Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon, a private socialite who was best friends with Jackie Kennedy, lived by the principle that a woman’s name should only appear in print at birth, marriage and death.

Bunny lived by her rule of privacy, at least until 100 years of age, when the nearly blind woman was launched into a scandal that landed on front-page news in 2011.

She had unwittingly become the central figure in the trial of North Carolina senator John Edwards for violating campaign-finance laws.

The widow of banking heir and philanthropist Paul Mellon had given Edwards more than $725,000 for his 2008 presidential campaign – because he had reminded her of her dear friend John Fitzgerald ‘Jack’ Kennedy.

She had also contributed to his campaign because she disliked Hillary Clinton, who was running for president at the time as well, calling her an ‘old rag’ and ‘the elf’.

The wealthy woman was a close confident of the Kennedys, asked by JFK himself to design the White House’s iconic Rose Garden and was a source of support for Jackie after the president’s assassination in 1963. 

Now, the once-private woman has details of her close friendship with Jackie, her work in Washington and extraordinary spending habits revealed in the upcoming book, Bunny Mellon: The Life of an American Style Legend.

Style icon Rachel 'Bunny' Mellon was a private socialite and best friends with Jackie Kennedy. She soothed her friend after JFK was assassinated and encouraged her to remarry Aristotle Onassis. Pictured: Bunny and Jackie in 1961

Style icon Rachel ‘Bunny’ Mellon was a private socialite and best friends with Jackie Kennedy. She soothed her friend after JFK was assassinated and encouraged her to remarry Aristotle Onassis. Pictured: Bunny and Jackie in 1961

The wealthy woman was a close confident of the Kennedys and was asked by JFK himself to design the White House's iconic Rose Garden. Pictured: JFK and Bunny around 1961 

The wealthy woman was a close confident of the Kennedys and was asked by JFK himself to design the White House’s iconic Rose Garden. Pictured: JFK and Bunny around 1961 

Before the scandal with Edwards was revealed, the politician used Bunny as his personal ATM and spent all the money to hide his blonde mistress from public view.

Edwards phoned Bunny regularly after being encouraged by an aide to chat more often with her, believing that he could mine her vein of unlimited funds for himself.

Author of the upcoming book, Meryl Gordon, writes: ‘Bunny defiantly believed that John Edwards could do no wrong. Imbued by a sense of patriotism and a desire to be relevant [even at age 100] she saw this campaign as a chance to elect a liberal Democrat to the White House.’

In the book, it was revealed Bunny harbored an extreme dislike for Hillary Clinton after an encounter with the then-first lady in 1994 in the White House Rose Garden, which Bunny had personally designed at the request of President Kennedy.

Hillary was completely uninterested on viewing the design and roses outside of the Oval Office and bluntly remarked, ‘How very nice’, before abruptly walking away.

‘Bunny was steamed’, writes Gordon who had exclusive access to the legendary heiress’ private journals, letters and conducted interviews with more than 175 people.

Thereafter, Bunny called Hillary an ‘old rag’ and ‘the elf’.

Her blind support of Edwards also reflected her desire for Hillary not to win the Democratic nomination for president in her run in 2008. 

Although Bunny shied away from the spotlight, she was thrust into the public eye when she was 100 years old for a scandal involving North Carolina senator John Edwards

John Edwards was under investiagtion for violating campaign-finance laws and Bunny had agve him $725,000 for his 2008 presidential campaign

Although Bunny shied away from the spotlight, she was thrust into the public eye when she was 100 years old for a scandal involving North Carolina senator John Edwards (right). He was under investigation for violating campaign-finance laws and Bunny had gave him $725,000 for his 2008 presidential run

Bunny also contributed to Edwards campaign because she disliked Hillary Clinton, who was also running at the time. It stemmed from an encounter when Clinton had dismissed her Rose Garden, so Bunny called her an 'old rag' and 'the elf'. Pictured: Hillary and Bill Clinton in the Rose Garden in 1994 

Bunny also contributed to Edwards campaign because she disliked Hillary Clinton, who was also running at the time. It stemmed from an encounter when Clinton had dismissed her Rose Garden, so Bunny called her an ‘old rag’ and ‘the elf’. Pictured: Hillary and Bill Clinton in the Rose Garden in 1994 

Bunny came from a wealthy background that was multiplied with the success of an antiseptic liquid refined by Dr. Joseph Lawrence of St. Louis in 1879, which later became known as Listerine.

Bunny, born Rachel Lowe Lambert, was nicknamed ‘Bunny’ by her mother because she looked like a baby bunny at birth but the young girl grew up believing she was an ugly duckling.

Her parents favored her younger, prettier sister, Lily, and Bunny turned to her maternal grandfather for affection and became transfixed with the beauty of nature.

‘As a child, wild flowers were part of my feeling of freedom—hidden under larger plants or creating fields of lavender thistles that colored the landscape like a sea in the wind,’ Bunny wrote.

When Bunny’s father decided to install a new garden on the grounds of their estate Albermarle in Princeton, New Jersey, he hired the sons of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who had designed Central Park and the US Capital Grounds.

The Olmsted sons, who had designed the grounds for the National Mall and the Jefferson Memorial, came to work at Bunny’s home and she trailed after the designers, asking questions and studying their plans.

Bunny was introduced to Jackie Kennedy in 1957 by a mutual friend and they soon realized they were soul mates, remaining close all their lives

Bunny was introduced to Jackie Kennedy in 1957 by a mutual friend and they soon realized they were soul mates, remaining close all their lives

Bunny, born Rachel Lowe Lambert, was nicknamed 'Bunny' by her mother because she looked like a baby bunny at birth but the young girl grew up believing she was an ugly duckling. She was married to banking heir and philanthropist Paul Mellon (pictured together in 1971) 

Bunny, born Rachel Lowe Lambert, was nicknamed ‘Bunny’ by her mother because she looked like a baby bunny at birth but the young girl grew up believing she was an ugly duckling. She was married to banking heir and philanthropist Paul Mellon (pictured together in 1971) 

Garden design became one of Bunny’s great loves and she developed an extraordinary talent for creating outdoor landscapes and floral arrangements.

Bunny was introduced to Jackie Kennedy in 1957 by a mutual friend and they soon realized they were soul mates.

‘Even though Bunny was nineteen years older than Jackie – and only four years younger than Jackie’s formidable mother, Janet Auchincloss – the two women bonded as if they were contemporaries, each thrilled to have found a trustworthy confidante’, writes Gordon.

Jackie’s own sister, Lee Radziwill, said Bunny was more like a ‘sister’. They had a secret rapport.

‘Both loved art and fashion and ballet and all things French. They could tease each other and tell each other the truth’.

‘God, you can imagine what a funny girl, she would make you laugh’, Bunny said of Jackie. ‘She’s very, very bright’.

Bunny became a frequent visitor at the Kennedy White House ‘advising Jackie on decorating the white elephant of a mansion and arranging flowers for state dinners’. 

JFK asked Bunny 'to create the perfect outdoor stage set as the backdrop for his presidency, and every president to come'. Pictured: John F. Kennedy Jr. in the Rose Garden 

JFK asked Bunny ‘to create the perfect outdoor stage set as the backdrop for his presidency, and every president to come’. Pictured: John F. Kennedy Jr. in the Rose Garden 

Jackie gushed over the completed Rose Garden and made a scrapbook commemorating Bunny's work with candid family photos of their time in the garden. Pictured: The famed garden outside of the Oval Office in 1963 

Jackie gushed over the completed Rose Garden and made a scrapbook commemorating Bunny’s work with candid family photos of their time in the garden. Pictured: The famed garden outside of the Oval Office in 1963 

Jackie, JFK, Caroline and John Jr would spend summer weekends at their family compound in Hyannis Port, on Cape Cod, and would often cruise by boat over to Bunny’s 7,000 square foot estate in Osterville, Massachusetts.

It was during one of these summer weekends that Bunny’s morning was interrupted when she got a call from Jackie in August of 1961. 

‘Jack’s going to ask you to do something for him, promise me that you will do it’, Jackie said. ‘He wants you to design a garden for him at the White House’.

‘Outside his office,’ Jackie stated and quickly hung up.

John, Jackie and Caroline sailed over to Bunny’s and in a private chat, John asked her ‘to create the perfect outdoor stage set as the backdrop for his presidency, and every president to come’.

‘He envisioned not just a garden, but rather an American symbol that would be an elegant and welcoming vista’.

At the time it looked ‘so forlorn and outdated’.

Jackie gushed over the completed Rose Garden and made a scrapbook commemorating Bunny’s work with candid family photos of their time in the garden.

Jackie told her dearest friend that her husband's happiest times in the White House was spent in her garden. 'He will always be remembered' she wrote Bunny ¿ for creating such a glorious garden ¿ 'as you will too'

Jackie told her dearest friend that her husband’s happiest times in the White House was spent in her garden. ‘He will always be remembered’ she wrote Bunny – for creating such a glorious garden – ‘as you will too’

During its construction, gardeners cut a cord that connected the Oval Office to the Strategic Arms Command, which was the communication link allowing the president to launch a nuclear war. Pictured: Work on the garden in 1962 

During its construction, gardeners cut a cord that connected the Oval Office to the Strategic Arms Command, which was the communication link allowing the president to launch a nuclear war. Pictured: Work on the garden in 1962 

Jackie included letters, dried flowers and touching commentary describing her best friend’s adventures while working on the project and presented it to her as a Christmas present.

However, it wasn’t all easy. There was one frightening moment when gardeners cut a cord that connected the Oval Office to the Strategic Arms Command, which was the communication link allowing the president to launch a nuclear war. 

That errant slice put the country briefly on nuclear war alert.

Jackie told her dearest friend that her husband’s happiest times in the White House was spent in her garden. ‘He will always be remembered’ she wrote Bunny – for creating such a glorious garden – ‘as you will too’.

Jackie knew how much Bunny disliked publicity but remained a devoted friend while subjected to ‘that terrible spotlight that is the onus of our friendship.’

‘If you ever just fade away into the mist, I will understand’, Jackie told her.

But Bunny wasn’t going to fade away, instead she remained a fixture of the socialite community. 

The woman always needed new ball gowns, attending so many social events. Her entire wardrobe was couture, designed Balenciaga and Givenchy.

She often flew to Paris for fittings, spending untold thousands of dollars annually on the European designers’ creations. Bunny’s lifestyle cost her about $20million a year. 

Bunny could not go to bed in the evening if she hadn’t bought something.

Bunny often flew to Paris for fittings, spending untold thousands of dollars annually on the European designers' creations. Bunny's lifestyle cost her about $20million a year

Bunny often flew to Paris for fittings, spending untold thousands of dollars annually on the European designers’ creations. Bunny’s lifestyle cost her about $20million a year

Bunny lived to be 103 years old in March 2014 when she died of natural causes at her home in Upperville, Virginia

Bunny lived to be 103 years old in March 2014 when she died of natural causes at her home in Upperville, Virginia

‘She knew the value of everything and the price of nothing’, the book states. 

She loved the designs of jeweler Schlumberger and a director at Tiffany’s stated that ‘Bunny wanted to possess virtually every design that the jeweler created but often did not bother to take her purchases home. 

‘We kept them in a suitcases for her in the safe,’ Pierce MacGuire stated. ‘She was a collector’.

After her death, her grandson Thomas Lloyd and his wife, Rickie Niceta, visited Sotheby’s to see what Bunny had kept in storage.

‘There was case after case, forty Rolex watches, bracelets, purses, rings,’ Rickie stated.’

‘I felt like there had been a true hole in her heart, and she was desperate to fill it. She tried to fill the void by buying all that stuff. It made me so sad’.

The Mellons owned five houses and had a payroll of nearly 200 people, including butlers, cooks, laundresses, maids, gardeners, mechanics, carpenters, two pilots on standby, a masseuse, a librarian and even a cheese maker for her own dairy. 

Bunny was at her home in Antigua when she heard the news on a French radio station that JFK had been assassinated in November 1963, and she quickly went to her friend Jackie.

Although Bunny landed after midnight, she went straight to the White House.

‘I walked up to the front door of the White House through lines of soldiers and there was dead silence. I saw the black crepe over the doorway as I walked between the soldiers and the only sound there was the clicking of their heels as I passed and they came to attention’, Bunny wrote.

Bernard West, Chief White House Usher, was waiting for her. Tears were streaming down his face. Jackie had fallen asleep but wanted to talk to her and asked her to arrange the flowers at the Capitol, the church and at Arlington Cemetery.

Paul Mellon lived until age 91 in 1999. Paul Mellon's estate was valued at $1.4billion. Pictured: The couple at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia in 1987 

Paul Mellon lived until age 91 in 1999. Paul Mellon’s estate was valued at $1.4billion. Pictured: The couple at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia in 1987 

Bunny was taken to see the president’s coffin in the East Room to say a private goodbye. 

‘It was like the fall of all the hope of you – as though youth had tried and had been thwarted – I saw the crepe around the East Room’.

Bunny handled all arrangements – from the Capitol to the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle for the funeral service and Arlington Cemetery.

When Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson were the new residents of the White House, the First Lady called Bunny and asked her to complete the East Garden that would be named ‘the Jacqueline Kennedy Garden’.

Bunny accepted but later bowed out and left her gardeners to complete the project, offended by LBJ’s vulgar vocabulary heard through his open windows.

Bunny was a source of support for Jackie in the months after Kennedy’s death.

Bobby later wrote a note to Bunny thanking her and saying ‘Without your wonderful kindness I am not certain Jackie could have borne the pain’.

Bunny Mellon, The Life of An American Style Legend, out on September 26

Bunny Mellon, The Life of An American Style Legend, out on September 26

The woman was also a comforter to Jackie’s children, as Caroline and John stayed close to Bunny.

‘For John and me, a visit to Bunny’s house represented the biggest treat we could imagine’, Caroline stated –‘Mostly because she was someone who loved and understood us, and took care of our mother.

‘Bunny taught me to knit and to needlepoint, to paint and to plant, and to want piles of blue handkerchiefs stacked in my closet. Walking down our hallway, I could always tell when Mummy was talking to Bunny on the phone because her voice sounded so happy’.

It was Bunny who convinced Jackie to marry Aristotle Onassis, a Greek billionaire, because it would be a way ‘to get a leg up financially’ and Jackie would now have an entire fleet of private planes.

Heartbreak came for Bunny when Jackie came down with cancer of the lymphatic system and died in May 1994.

Bunny never expected to outlive her soul mate.

Paul Mellon lived until age 91 in 1999. Paul Mellon’s estate was valued at $1.4billion.

Bunny lived to be 103 years old in March 2014 when she died of natural causes at her home in Upperville, Virginia. 

She had her share of sorrows that money could not comfort.

Her daughter, Eliza, had been hit while crossing the street in Manhattan and suffered a severe brain injury. She was left a quadriplegic and died in May 2000.

The one thing she asked in return of John Edwards was to attend Eliza’s funeral and sit next to her. He was a no-show.

He did try to attend Bunny’s funeral but was sent to view it from an outside tent. Staff and family never trusted the man.

Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4904528/Bunny-Mellon-asked-JFK-design-Rose-Garden.html

Local garden design firm creates urban retreat

This North Berkeley garden offers a sanctuary from busy life. Photo: Bernado Lopez

This story is brought to you by Bernado Lopez Garden Design.

There is a new garden in North Berkeley its residents have lovingly named their “sanctuary garden.”

Despite being adjacent to a fairly trafficked street, Justine Ganzenmuller and Christian Humann can step outside their home and – thanks to many layers of tall, softly swaying foliage and the gentle babble of a lotus-filled fountain and pond – feel like they’ve escaped the stresses of daily life.

“We forget all about what’s happening [in the news] when we are out in the garden,” says Ganzenmuller as we sit in their sunny, lush garden. “It’s like an urban retreat. It’s just what we were hoping to achieve.”

Creating an oasis in an urban environment is what landscape designer Bernardo Lopez of Bernardo Lopez Garden Design, does best.

“I like people to feel that when they’re in their garden– they’re in their own getaway,” says Lopez. His enthusiasm for all things green stems from fond memories of his native homeland, growing up with a father who managed coffee farms.

For more than 15 years Lopez’s design-build firm has married architecture and agriculture to create outdoor spaces that are not only sustainable and beautiful but also enrich the experience of its residents. His firm designs gardens that are inviting, colorful, and require minimal resources. Renowned author, UC Berkeley professor and food activist Michael Pollan and artist Judith Belzer are just some of the many whom have turned to Lopez for help in creating their garden.

The clients’ desire was to create an outdoor living space where they could grow food. Photo: Christian Humann

Client-designer collaboration

When Ganzenmuller and Humann first approached Lopez, their initial request was to create an outdoor living space with some area for growing food. But the project turned out to be a bit more complex. Not only did street noise have to be addressed, but also their property had a steep incline, that created an odd aesthetic challenge and more susceptibility to water runoff. Humann, who is an architect, collaborated with Lopez, to create their ideal vision. Lopez enjoyed collaborating with Humann, and says through working together on the garden the pair became friends.

Now that the garden is complete, maintenance is relatively easy –and the weekly upkeep consists mainly of pruning back overly zealous plants.

The garden mixes drought tolerant plants with permeable hardscape to maximize water conservation. Photo: Christian Humann

Sustainability is key

Sustainability is at the core of Lopez’s work. The firm frequently uses drought-friendly plants, which are often natives of South Africa and Australia, countries with similar latitudes as California. The North Berkeley sanctuary garden is one of many where he’s installed a highly efficient irrigation system, permeable materials and techniques to allow the excess water to percolate back into the root systems instead of washing downhill.

He repurposed existing stone from a fallen retaining wall, creating a modest, rustic planter with pillars to frame the entrance. This classic look, juxtaposed with a contemporary fence and gate honors the past and creates contrasts between old and new.

These considerations for the previous life of the land and the surrounding landscapes make the gardens feel natural and calming while also dynamic. They don’t feel overly strategic (even though they’re meticulously planned), but rather almost effortless. The plants entangle with each other, crawling out onto the pathway and along the fences. Flower blossoms are plentiful for the neighborhood hummingbirds, dragonflies and honeybees.

The elegant walkway uses steel a retaining wall and an IPE planter to frame the entrance. Photo: Bernado Lopez
Detail of contemporary water lily pond. Photo: Bernado Lopez

Lopez emphasizes outdoor living by making space for, say, a hammock, a game of horseshoes, or a barbecue and feasting area. Fruit trees, vegetables, and cooking herbs make frequent appearances.

“I want my gardens to be not only sustainable in terms of water consumption and beautiful in terms of the architecture of the garden, but I also want them to be productive and enjoyable to be in,” says Lopez. “

Ganzenmuller and Humann’s sanctuary garden is home to a robust Meyer lemon tree as well as plum, grapefruit and apple trees. Fresh herbs can be found interspersed throughout the garden, and at the back two big planters are taken up with seven-foot tomato plants. The homeowners are probably most proud of their young plum tree, however, planted in a sunny patch along the walkway.

“The tree produced 130 plums this year!” Ganzenmuller says proudly. Yet the tree was bare, as each one had already been happily consumed.

This sponsored story is paid for by Bernardo Lopez Garden Design. Visit Bernado Lopez Garden Design’s website for more information.

Article source: http://www.berkeleyside.com/2017/09/28/local-landscape-design-firm-creates-urban-retreat/

Property owners, public weigh in on vision for Ga. 138 in Stockbridge

Whenever Asia Ashley posts new content, you’ll get an email delivered to your inbox with a link.

Email notifications are only sent once a day, and only if there are new matching items.

Article source: http://www.henryherald.com/news/property-owners-public-weigh-in-on-vision-for-ga-in/article_3d3ab07c-8c34-5f64-9eee-c196adac6b02.html

Experience the latest in home design and trends at 100% Design

Is your home your sanctuary from the outside world? It should soothe your mind, body and soul and be your safe haven at the end of a busy day. When you walk inside your home, do you love what surrounds you?

Maybe you adore certain aspects of your living spaces, but there are areas you’d like to update. Maybe it would just take new window coverings or flooring. Maybe it’s time to go for the complete kitchen or bath remodel you’ve been dreaming about. Or maybe a few quality furniture pieces will give your room the facelift it needs. You’ve always wanted that backyard oasis – maybe now is the time.

Whether you want to find ways to accent your current décor or do a complete remodel, or anything in between, 100% Design is the place to be!  Come experience the latest in home design trends at The Union Newspaper’s second annual “100% Design – Home Design Inspiration Show,” taking place October 7th and 8th at the Foothills Event Center.

At 100% Design, you can browse the new products and services of interior designers, home furnishings, lighting fixtures, home and hearth, window coverings, flooring, bathroom and kitchen products, backyard designers and so much more – all in one place!

Come experience the latest in home design trends at The Union Newspaper’s second annual “100% Design – Home Design Inspiration Show,” taking place October 7th and 8th at the Foothills Event Center.

To help you with ideas for your home, two local designers will present during the weekend – Stephanie Harvey-Statler of Stephanie’s Custom Interiors will guide you through Color Selection at 1 p.m. on Saturday, and at 1 p.m. on Sunday Brook Herman of Brook Ashley Designs will explore tips and tricks for staging your home, for sale or to live in.
Grab your free first drink from the bar (included in the $10 admission price), and see what our local hand-selected local businesses have to offer. Vendors include Sierra Timberline, Hills Flat Lumber, Abercrombie Company, Brook Ashley Designs, Custom Landscapes, Dean Fabrication, Stephanie’s Custom Interiors, Paragon Hardwood Floors, The Hang Up, Terra Graphics Landscape, WrightBuilt Home Remodel Design, TuffGrass, Byers Solatube, Budget Blinds of Grass Valley, Bath Fitter, Granite Transformations, Hall’s Window Center, and more. Each vendor will have a display to help you achieve your dream home, from inexpensive simple fixes to grandiose remodel ideas.

The vendors in this event offer a wide variety of services and products – beautiful home furnishings, hardwood flooring, window coverings, wood, gas and pellet stoves, beautiful doors and windows, landscaping, interior designers, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, lighting, granite and stone work, quality appliances, closet and storage solutions, high-quality artificial grass to keep your landscaping green and lush year-round, and more.

Admission for 100% Design is $10.00, and it includes one free drink from the bar (wine, beer or a non-alcoholic selection) and a free entry into our door prize drawing. There will be food available for purchase from Cesar’s Quick Lunch (tacos, burritos, tortas) on Saturday, Kaliko’s Hawaiian Kitchen (poke bowls, kalua pork, short ribs) on Sunday. Lazy Dog Ice Cream will be there both days selling their amazing ice cream treats.

The Food Bank of Nevada County will be managing the bar and will receive a portion of the event’s proceeds.

100% Design – Home Design Inspiration Show runs from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, October 7, and 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Sunday, October 8 at the Foothills Event Center, located at 400 Idaho Maryland Road, Grass Valley, California.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit http://www.theunion.com/design or call 530-477-4241.

Article source: http://www.theunion.com/entertainment/experience-the-latest-in-home-design-and-trends-at-100-design/

Patio ideas sure to fit your customer’s preference

Outdoor PatioFor customers ready to start spending more time out and about in the fall weather, a patio is an excellent addition to their yard.

Depending on your customer’s location, budget and plans, the possibilities are numerous when it comes to creating the perfect fall patio, but it’s very important to know exactly what size patio your customer needs before getting started.

If your customers don’t plan on hosting many parties or being the center of the social scene, they might not need a large patio. So, take a look at a few suggestions on fitting your customer with the correct patio size.

Why does patio size matter? 

Getting the right size patio for your customer’s lifestyle takes a little bit more research than one would initially think. If it turns out to be too small, your customers won’t be able to use it in the ways they had planned, and if it’s too large then it could end up costing them more than they originally planned to pay.

A few key factors to keep in mind when planning for a patio are scale, location, patio covers and permeability.

Be sure that the patio size will fit the scale of the home and surrounding landscape. For those with a small-to medium-size lot, consider creating a smaller patio that still suits their needs but leaves room around it for planting or shading.

Larger lots give more flexibility, but it’s still best to not go overboard with sizing. Keep in mind that the patio still has to visually fit with the other elements in the yard, and less can sometimes be more.

As in the real estate business, location is key. Patios just off the house tend to be larger than those set back in the garden area. Garden patio size can also be determined based on the amount of structures, foliage, walls and more that surround them.

Adding a shade or cover over the patio is typically high on the priority list when discussing patios, and the type of cover your customer wants can determine the overall size of the patio.

Natural tree shade canopies or movable umbrellas won’t take up much floor room on a patio, whereas a wooden pergola or shade sail mounts would take up more room.

Some regions regulate the amount of permeable versus impermeable surfaces allowed in residential yards, so be sure to check with your local building department beforehand.

Small patios

The goal of small patios is to host up to three people comfortably, and the approximate size should be 6-10 feet by 8-12 feet.

These patios don’t require much space to support a small table and chairs. Generally allow at least 2 ½ feet from the edge of the table to the end of the patio to allow space for a chair and walking room.

Medium patios for outdoor dining

Customers who plan on entertaining a bit more may want to try for a medium-sized patio that allows them the option of adding in a dining table and chairs.

This space should be able to fix four to six people comfortably, and the approximate size should be 10 to 16 feet long and wide.

Generally speaking, round or square tables can fit well on this patio type as long as it’s at least 10 by 10 feet. Round tables that sit six typically require at least 10 ½ by 10 ½ feet and 12 by 12 feet or larger. Rectangular tables that can sit six usually need to be 10 by 12 ½ feet.

Larger multipurpose patios

For customers who just want to use their patios for events and relaxing hangouts for guests, an approximate size of 16 by 16 feet should work well.

Using movable chairs and other furniture instead of built-in furniture will allow ease when arranging and re-arranging for seating.

For the customers who want to use their outdoor patio space for anything and everything, it’s recommended that the size be approximately 25-30 feet or larger.

This allows customers the option of adding in furniture, grills, fire pits, hot tubs and more while not looking crowded and still having walking room.

Even with the excess room, it’s recommended that when adding in tables and chairs that at least 3 by 3 feet be left for each chair placed around the table.

Secluded side yard patios   

For customers who want to make something nice out of an abandoned, secluded area on their property, consider creating a secluded resting patio space.

This area can be around 10 by 12 feet and can consist of mixed paving materials to add a more unique look. These little spaces are cozy and intimate, and they easily allow customers to add in tables and chairs or even benches.

Fire pit patios

For customers who already have a fire pit in their backyard, talk to them about adding in a patio lounge around their existing pit.

These can be about 15-20 feet long and wide or larger, depending on how much walking/sitting space your customers require.

No matter what kind of furniture or built-in seating options your customers want around their fire pit, always keep 2 to 2 ½ feet distance between the seats and the edge of the fire pit.

If your customers want room for chairs and walk room behind them, the patio will need to be at least 15 by 15 feet to accommodate the fire pit, chairs and extra room. The larger the fire pit, the more patio space it will require.

Patios for outdoor kitchens, grilling

Patios that harbor outdoor grills and cooking spaces can range in size from 8 to 10 long and wide to 14 by 20 feet depending on how often it will be used and how many guests will frequent it.

When planning out a patio of this type, take into consideration that there will need to be a space for cooking, serving, dining and sitting. Look at the size of the grill or outdoor kitchen for starters, and allow at least 3 ½ feet around the grill for circulation.

Grills should be positioned at least 4 feet away from buildings, and consider adding in about 1 ½ to 2 feet of space on each side of the grill for cooking utensils and for resting pans.

Article source: http://www.totallandscapecare.com/landscaping/patio-ideas-sure-to-fit-every-customers-preference/

Telling the Stories of Smith’s Remarkable Plant Collection


Telling the Stories of Smiths Remarkable Plant Collection

On a whiteboard in Tim Johnson’s office in Lyman Plant House, the words “Big Stuff” headline a list of ideas for the future.

Climate change education, landscaping for a new Neilson Library and sustainability are among the topics that Johnson and the staff of the Smith Botanic Garden are exploring.

Since he began work as director of the Botanic Garden this summer, Johnson has been struck by how deeply the college community cares about its more-than-100-year-old “living museum.”

“Lots of colleges have botanic gardens, but they’ve often been pushed to the sidelines,” he notes. “Here, the Botanic Garden has been able to adapt and reinvent itself to continue to meet the needs of our students and faculty.”

A plant scientist and former head of preservation at the international nonprofit Seed Savers Exchange, Johnson says he’s looking forward to finding new ways to “tell the stories” of Smith’s outstanding plant collection.

Johnson will host a meet-and-greet for college community members and Botanic Garden visitors on Saturday, Oct. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. at Lyman Plant House.

Here’s what he had to say about the work of the Botanic Garden.

 

What’s struck you most in your first few months at Smith?

“There are so many students doing internships and people interested in the Botanic Garden—and that’s great! Staff members here are really outstanding—highly skilled and giving of their knowledge. We’re talking about ways the Botanic Garden can play a role in building a more just, inclusive and equitable world. I think that at Smith, we can really be a leader in that.”

 

How is the Botanic Garden contributing to sustainability efforts at Smith?

“We’re starting to brainstorm ideas and talk with other departments. We’re exploring how we might turn Lyman Plant House into a model of energy efficiency. We’re also sharing ideas with Dining Services and the Center for the Environment, Ecological Design and Sustainability about whether we can do more food production on campus. CEEDS is already producing maple sugar at the MacLeish Field Station. There are a lot of other areas at Smith where we could showcase sustainable food.”

 

What about climate change?

“That’s a big issue—how the Botanic Garden can facilitate climate change literacy and also mitigate the impact of climate change on our collection. There’s a special studies group that’s looking at climate change initiatives across the campus in anticipation of developing a master site plan for Smith. As part of that, we’re looking at what lessons we can learn from the past and what themes and initiatives we want to take on. We hope to develop an original exhibit about climate change and also to improve our signage so that it’s infused with information about climate change.”

 

How will you tell the stories of plants at Smith?

“It’s interesting to see how knowing the cultural context of a plant can create value. Saying, ‘Here’s a tree’ is different from saying ‘Here’s a tree that’s been growing on campus for more than 70 years.’ Documenting how a particular specimen came to Smith and how a faculty member has used it in their research is one way for us to tell those stories. Another idea that predates me is to do an exhibit in our gallery space elevating the work of Blanche Ames Ames (class of 1899). She was married to Oakes Ames, a famous botanist. But while he gets a lot of credit for his work, her contributions are not well known. And there’s the story of how so many of the plants we rely on originally came from countries that are now impoverished—how the Global North has benefited from the botanic diversity of the Global South.”

 

How are you using technology to carry out your mission?

“We’ve just launched TreeSpeak, a mobile website that students in horticulture classes have been working on. They’ve researched trees on campus and have recorded audio messages about 30 Smith trees you can access online and with a smartphone. Just look for the TreeSpeak signs and QR codes on trees in the arboretum. We’ve begun using Instagram (@smithcollegebotanicgarden) and other social media to help showcase the beauty of our campus and to show how students are engaged in the work of the Botanic Garden. We’re also talking about the possibility of using augmented reality similar to Pokémon GO. So, you might be looking at an existing landscape on campus, and through a device you could superimpose a view of what that landscape looked like previously.”

 

What’s something that’s brand new at the Botanic Garden this fall?

“We are just finishing up the rehabilitation of the Japanese Garden near Paradise Pond. We’ve been working with a new designer, John Powell, who has ideas for some different plantings in that location. We want the garden to continue to be a place of respite and refreshment. We’ll hold a rededication for the finished Japanese Garden on October 13.

 

Article source: https://www.smith.edu/news/stories-of-smiths-plant-collection/