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Archives for October 25, 2017

Work begins on Fernwood Botanical Garden Education Center

NILES — After more than three years of planning, designing, and fundraising, Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve in Buchanan Township, Niles, recently celebrated the start of construction on a new 5,500-square-foot Education Center during a much-anticipated ground breaking ceremony.

The $2 million facility is projected to be complete by late 2018. It will become the central location for lectures, classes, workshops, interactive exhibits, environmentally focused books and research materials, and a gathering space for camps and field trips. It replaces the 35-year-old undersized and technologically outdated Nature Center on the Fernwood grounds where classes and camps have historically been held.

“Today (Sept. 28) begins the next step in Fernwood’s history of sharing environmental education with more students, offering more lifelong education classes, and further deepening respect within our region for the interdependent roles that land, plants, and animals play in sustaining daily life,” stated Carol Line, Fernwood Executive Director.

Line went on to explain that as environmental awareness has increased, students, teachers, schools, and our region’s community members want to learn more about our natural world. This increased demand has stretched Fernwood’s facilities beyond what they were designed to do. The Education Center will remedy this and position Fernwood for growth.

The Education Center will double Fernwood’s teaching and learning space and allow the organization to serve larger groups. Existing classroom capacity is 72 individuals. Two wings – Flora and Fauna – will each accommodate up to 200 people. The Fauna wing will feature bird-viewing areas overlooking the wooded grounds. The building will be equipped with multimedia instruction tools to help instructors meet a range of learning styles. When not in use for educational purposes, classrooms can be rented for meetings, retreats, and other private events.

The Education Center will house a variety of interpretive exhibits and displays designed for hands-on learning. Fernwood’s library, which is currently in the Visitor Center, will move to the Education Center to join the nucleus of educational activities. A second library, dedicated to the learning needs of children and families, will be added to ignite in young minds curiosity and interest in the natural world.

The facility will boast sustainable design features in line with Fernwood’s environmental principles. A green roof will cover 25 percent of the Education Center and will work with a rain garden to mitigate the damaging effects rainwater runoff. The features will work to protect delicate ecosystems throughout the nature preserve and gardens.

During the ground breaking ceremony, officials spoke to an audience of Fernwood members, community leaders, and other invited guests.

“This expansion is built on Fernwood’s environmental education expertise and is an extension of the work it has done for more than 50 years. This positions Fernwood well to carry out an ambitious initiative in a sustainable way to serve today’s generations and those yet to come,” stated Mary Keefe, Fernwood board chair.

The Education Center has been made possible by Seed the Future, an extensive fundraising effort that to date has raised $3 million. In addition to funding construction of the Education Center, the $3.2 million campaign is raising capital for implementation of a garden master plan, Visitor Center renovations, cultural programming, and growth of Fernwood’s endowment fund.

“So many individuals, foundations, and companies have come together to support the Seed the Future campaign. Their generosity not only makes construction of this facility possible but allows Fernwood to realize growth in other important ways as well,” stated Joanne Sims, Seed the Future Campaign chair.

Tigerman McCurry Architects of Chicago have designed the Education Center. The general contractor for the project is E C Moore Associates of Berrien Springs, Michigan.

Fernwood will remain open throughout construction for all regular activities including education classes, lectures, field trips, camps, group tours, self-guided trail hikes on the grounds, and private events. Fernwood is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday noon to 6 pm. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 and older, and $4 for children ages 5 through 17. Children under 5 and Fernwood members are admitted free. Fernwood is located in Buchanan Township at 13988 Range Line Rd., Niles, Michigan. For more information about Fernwood visit or call (269) 695-6491.

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A community vision realized: Central Park Gardens celebrates 10 years

Check it out

What: Open house and plant sale celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Central Park Gardens

When: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28

Where: Central Park Gardens on B Street between Third and Fourth streets

It was more than 10 years ago that several civic-minded, garden-loving Davis residents had the idea to renovate the garden along B Street between Third and Fourth streets in Davis’ Central Park.

With great enthusiasm, they drew up a garden design and renovation plan, received approval from the City Council in February of 2007, and launched a publicity, fundraising and volunteer recruitment plan to make that dream a reality by creating what is now known as Central Park Gardens.

The last major piece of that renovation plan was completed this year with the installation of three new rose arbors at the south end of the garden. This milestone has given the garden’s founders an impetus to look back and reflect on the achievements of the past decade and look forward to challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

A view of the rose garden at the south end of Central Park Gardens in 2006 before the volunteer renovation effort had begun. Courtesy photo

“We started out to build a garden, and we ended up building a community,” said longtime garden volunteer Peg Smith. “This has grown into so much more than I ever expected.”

Partnerships were essential to the early success of the garden. A steering committee was formed in 2007 with representatives from Yolo County Master Gardeners, UC Davis Arboretum, Davis Farm to School Connection, Davis Garden Club and city of Davis Parks and Community Services.

These organizations, along with the Davis Farmers Market, supported the growth of the garden through mentorship, connections with volunteers, avenues to funding and fiscal sponsorship, and the lending of tools and staff resources.

The first plantings in spring of 2007 established the new Rose and Flower Garden, Meadow and Vegetable Garden. Volunteers installed pathway systems and fencing, established new plantings, created educational labels and signs, and revamped the garden.

City staff supported the effort by removing lawn, upgrading irrigation and providing mulch and pathway materials.

Over the ensuing years, four additional theme gardens were developed: the Sensory, California Native, Beneficial Insect Habitat and Waterwise Gardens.

Service clubs and other community groups have assisted the effort through funding and volunteer projects. Local Soroptimist, Sunrise Rotary and noon Rotary clubs have all provided vital support for garden renovation efforts. Meanwhile, UC Davis student organizations, particularly members of the Alpha Phi Omega and Lambda Omicron Xi groups, have provided a steady base of volunteers for regular garden care.

From Boy Scouts to church groups to civil engineering student associations, many groups have assisted with special projects in the gardens over the years.

Founding Central Park Gardens steering committee members Linda Parsons, left, and Jim Fowler celebrated the first open house in fall of 2007 with UC Master Gardener Mary Tallyn. Courtesy photo

The recent completion of three custom-fabricated rose arbors caps an impressive and growing collection of public art in the gardens. Designed by landscape architect Kerry Loux and fabricated by metal artist Amanda Larson, the arbors feature cut steel panels with a twining rose design.

Many impressive and beloved public art pieces are now placed across the gardens:

* Faducci’s “Bellapede,” the playful monarch caterpillar sculpture, is adored by children and adults alike;

* “Flutter and Hum,” the ceramic mosaic vase featuring hand-sculpted native plants and pollinators by Mark Rivera, serves as a focal point for the rose garden; and

* The monumental “Cnawan Stone” by Sandra Shannonhouse features a circle of bronze dancing women atop a massive carved basalt column.

Today, the gardens are fully grown and provide a beautiful, tranquil oasis for people from all ages and walks of life. Community and student volunteers maintain the gardens at biweekly work sessions. These work days are overseen by garden stewards, who are community volunteers trained in horticulture and garden leadership.

Educational workshops and demonstrations on sustainable gardening practices and plants are held monthly in partnership with UC Master Gardeners. Interpretive signage and plant labels in each garden are a resource for visitors looking for plant selections and ideas for their home gardens.

What’s next now that the garden renovation has been completed? As the saying goes, “A garden is never finished.” Sustaining the health and vitality of the gardens and educational programs will require careful tending of the plantings, volunteers and community partnerships.

Garden co-founder Emily Griswold envisions a future when “the gardens serve as a hub for garden training and volunteer leadership to fuel improvements to park plantings across the city and beyond.”

UC Davis student volunteers have played a critical role in the long-term maintenance of the gardens. Courtesy photo

Most recently, Central Park Gardens of Davis became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and the steering committee has evolved into a board of directors. With nonprofit status, it will be easier for garden leaders to fundraise for the purchase of plants, tools and educational materials needed to stabilize and sustain the gardens and educational programs into the future.

A recently launched Friends of Central Park Gardens program seeks community donations to help sustain the garden. Those interested in making a donation during this year of celebration also can become a “Founding Friend.”

A public celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the gardens will be held this fall with an open house and plant sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Exhibits highlighting the last decade of garden renovations will be on display at the event.

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Greenway Conservancy Receives $1.4 Million Gift from The Lynch Foundation to Fund North End Gardens & Park …

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New permanent, 4-season gardens, in honor of Carolyn Lynch, will be created on the southern Greenway North End Park (Parcel 10) in a similar fashion to those shown here at the northern park (Parcel 8). The southern park runs between Hanover and Salem Streets along Atlantic Avenue. The dedicated gardens are part of a $1.4 million gift from The Lynch Foundation. (NEWF Image)

The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy today announced a $1.4 million grant from The Lynch Foundation. In recognition of this support, a completely renovated garden space will honor Carolyn Lynch, an avid gardener, who passed away in 2015. The robustly planted boxwood garden, located adjacent to the North End, will offer four-season interest, and will be complemented by comfortable park furnishings. The gift, one of the largest ever received by the non-profit Greenway Conservancy, will also permanently endow care of the named space.

“We are excited to make The Greenway more beautiful and welcoming for those who are playing in the fountains, picnicking on the lawns, and enjoying a cannoli at the tables,” said Jesse Brackenbury, Executive Director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. “We are so appreciative of the incredibly generous support of The Lynch Foundation.”

The renovation of the southern boxwood gardens will create a signature space at the north end of The Greenway. The prominent boxwood gardens, located between North and Hanover streets, are just steps from Faneuil Hall, the Freedom Trail, and the Boston Public Market. The new garden design draws from work done in collaboration with celebrated garden designer Lynden Miller and features flowers and plants that Carolyn loved in her gardens in Marblehead, in Ireland, and elsewhere. Visitors will be able to stroll the garden paths and relax at newly-added outdoor furniture. Families will be able to picnic under new umbrellas next to the gardens as children play in the nearby fountain.

“Our family is so pleased and proud to support the outstanding work of the Conservancy as we honor Carolyn with this unique garden on The Greenway,” said Peter Lynch, President of The Lynch Foundation. “We look forward to beginning work on this re-designed garden space that residents and visitors will enjoy for decades to come.”

A similar garden space, one block north on The Greenway, was renovated in 2015 to much acclaim. Both boxwood gardens required renovation due to issues dating from the original construction of the park. The 2015 renovation of the northern boxwood gardens garnered significant community support and contributed to the vibrancy of this portion of the park. The Greenway’s parks in the North End are the front porch for the community and a popular destination for visitors. Children play in the fountains, pizzas are enjoyed at the moveable tables and chairs, and sunbathers cover the lawns. Dozens of free fitness classes, the park’s free Wi-Fi network, and a Little Free Library bring activity to The Greenway in the North End.

“With this generous grant the Greenway Conservancy will be able to make a major investment in some of The Greenway’s most active parks”, said State Representative Aaron Michlewitz. “This will further show to residents and visitors alike the tremendous asset the City has in The Greenway”

Design documents will be finalized this fall, with procurement of a contractor over the winter. Plant removals and installation is expected to occur in Spring 2018, with a completion in Summer 2018.

The Lynch Foundation has previously supported the Greenway Conservancy’s public art and educational programs. Since 2005, the non-profit Conservancy has raised more than $35M in philanthropy and other private funds for the public park.

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Crews finish phase one of Gering Civic Plaza

GERING — About 50 people with a task at hand descended on the Gering Civic Plaza early Tuesday morning. Two hours later, they had laid down 23,000 square feet of sod — almost a half-acre.

In addition to Gering city staff, volunteers came from NEXT Young Professionals, Riverside Discovery Center, Union Bar and several other Gering businesses.

PHOTOS: Crews finish phase one of Gering Civic Plaza

PHOTOS: Crews finish phase one of Gering Civic Plaza

With the installation of the central grass area, phase one construction on the Gering Civic Plaza has been completed. Initial work started just after Oregon Trail Days in July and included parking on both ends of the plaza, a farmers’ market shade canopy on the north end, and alley improvements. Connections for utility improvements were also made.

Phase two, scheduled for spring, will include a public restroom building, fire pits and seating around the central lawn area including a water feature, a covered stage for music events, sidewalks, landscaping and an information kiosk for visitors.

“We figured to be done with phase one this week, so we’re right on schedule,” Gering Parks Director Ron Ernst said. “We finished up the sprinkler system last week and we’re hoping for nice weather the next couple of weeks so the grass can get established.”

Karla Niedan-Streeks, executive director of the Gering Visitors Bureau, said she was thrilled to see the first phase of construction completed. All that remains for this year is some minor work like mulching the planting beds.

“Nothing will be planted in those beds until spring,” she said. “Before then, we’ll have some people come in and help us design the landscape. We’ll also be working on some fundraising efforts this winter.”

A limited number of programs and events will be offered during the 2018 season while construction is ongoing. With completion of the Gering Civic Plaza, even more events are planned for 2019 going forward.

Events being considered are farmers’ markets, music concerts, beer and wine festivals, kids’ activities, and maybe even a morning yoga class, suggested by a downtown merchant.

“We’ve talked with the people in Rapid City and they’re programming more than 200 activities a year in their plaza,” Niedan-Streeks said. “That’s a great goal for us to strive for and have our plaza in use as much as possible.”

Those ideas will come from members of the Gering Merchants Association, the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the entire community as groups meet to discuss the possibilities.

Niedan-Streeks said she was also thankful to all the city employees and community members who set a record in laying that much sod in only two hours.

“In a venture like this, it takes an entire community to make it happen,” she said. “That was very well demonstrated in the crew we had this morning and they can take great pride in what the plaza will become in the future.”

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Wed 8 AM | Cities With Homes Near Forests Feel California Heat

The fires in the Northern California wine country are just the latest example of the dangers of houses set close in to areas with a lot of vegetation, like forests. 

It’s a concern of any residential area at the edge of the forest, and that includes the entire city of Ashland. 

The city fire department long ago adopted the Firewise campaign to help people take steps to defend against the possibility of wildfire. 

Ashland Fire Rescue Forest Division Chief Chris Chambers visits with some of the Firewise approaches, and some ideas about landscaping with droughts and fires in mind.  


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CASACOR Miami Debuts Prestigious International Design Showcase At Brickell City Centre And Enters North …

MIAMI, Oct. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — CASACOR announces the opening of CASACOR Miami, the most complete architecture, interior and landscaping design exhibition in North America. In partnership with Swire Properties Inc, CASACOR Miami unveils its inaugural edition at RISE Brickell City Centre this December.

CASACOR Miami will establish itself as the international purveyor of innovative design and world-class craftsmanship in the home design category. CASACOR Miami will continue the tradition of the CASACOR brand, annually bringing together renowned architects, interior designers and landscapers from around the world.

Lucio Grimaldi, Chief Executive Officer of CASACOR Miami adds, “We are delighted with the launch of CASACOR Miami and our partnership with Swire Properties at Brickell City Centre. Many ideas have evolved in the 30-year history of CASACOR in Latin America, and we look forward to showcasing Miami’s character through its eclectic growth in design, art, culture and its undeniable global appeal in a beautiful, urban environment.”

CASACOR Miami will open with the distinctly conceived Urban Living experience. The exhibition is installed at RISE, one of the residential towers within Brickell City Centre (BCC). Three penthouses spanning 20 spaces and occupying over 20,000 square feet will be dedicated to the exhibition. Each will showcase curated interior environments, with innovative landscape installations and comfortable outdoor living solutions. While the idea of New Urban Living sets the overall tone for CASACOR Miami, other themes will be introduced to appeal to a wide range of taste. The Exhibition will be open to the public from December 1st to December 18th, 2017.

CASACOR Miami’s mission is to bring together world-class design through its collaborations. Distinct signature styles from internationally renowned and emerging design professionals will be presented, along with the latest interior furnishings, color trends, textiles, lighting and home accessories + art, music, charity and global culture. CASACOR Miami has hand-selected over 20 established and emerging international designers and artists including Suchi Reddy, Guilherme Torres, Fernando Wong, Pininfarina Design and Frida Baranek.

BCC, developed by Swire Properties Inc, is a $1.05 billion mixed-use landmark in the epicenter of Miami. “Swire Properties continues to pioneer through the real estate landscape by transforming Brickell, known as the financial district of Miami, and raising the standard of urban living with Brickell City Centre,” said Maile Aguila, senior vice president of residential sales for Swire Properties Inc. “Through this partnership, we will present a sophisticated mix of international aesthetics along with stylish finishes that appeals to the modern-living enthusiast. CASACOR Miami’s creative vision, latest trends and signature style opens up an array of design possibilities to the expertly designed penthouses at RISE.”

During the 18-day experiential exhibition, guests can meet home and landscape design professionals, top magazine editors and design brands – and engage in interactive demonstrations and learn innovative ideas that may apply to their own living spaces. The CASACOR Miami Lecture Series will cover subjects ranging from urban architecture to art and international design trends. For more information visit

For Press inquiries please contact Colette Sabins, The Consultancy PR at rel=”nofollow”  


CASACOR, one of the companies of Grupo Abril, is recognized as the largest and most complete architecture, interior and landscaping design exhibition in the Americas. Annually, the event brings together renowned architects, interior designers and landscapers in 20 cities in Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Brasília, Campinas, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Franca, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Pará, Paraná, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraíba, Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina) and 6 other international locations (Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and the United States [Miami, Florida]).

ABOUT Brickell City Centre 

Brickell City Centre (BCC), developed by Swire Properties Inc, is a $1 billion mixed-use landmark in the heart of Miami’s bustling financial district. The nine-acre development includes almost five million square feet of retail, office, luxury residential, hotel and entertainment space, plus an unprecedented two-level, seven-acre underground parking garage. Coined Miami’s “city within a city”, BCC unveiled its first phase in November 2016, comprised of two luxury residential towers – REACH and RISE, two mid-rise office buildings – TWO BCC and THREE BCC, and the toney EAST, Miami Hotel, all towering above the ultimate amenity – a 500,000 square foot open-air retail center boasting 125 storefronts and three levels of unparalleled shopping, dining and entertainment anchored by an ultra-modern Saks Fifth Avenue, luxury dine-in theater CMX and La Centrale – Miami’s very first Italian food hall. The project’s three city blocks are all connected by its architectural crown jewel, the CLIMATE RIBBONâ„¢; the larger-than-life canopy of steel and glass that spans 150,000 square feet acting as a sophisticated environmental management system protecting shoppers from South Florida’s heat and rain. For more information visit

Colette Sabins
The Consultancy PR


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The 606 beckons to residents of new luxury Bucktown apartment building

The 606 trail has been hugely popular with joggers, cyclists, dog-walkers, stroller-pushers and others since it opened in 2015.

It’s also a hit with residents at Centrum Bucktown, a new rental community at Milwaukee Avenue and Leavitt Street. They can practically roll out of bed and they’re on the 2.7-mile former railroad line with a paved pathway, landscaping and gardens, decorative lighting and public art. One of the access points is directly across the street from the building’s front entrance.

“The 606 is an incredible amenity for the city of Chicago, and a draw for our residents,” said Aaron Galvin, CEO and co-founder of Luxury Living Chicago Realty, the marketing and leasing brokerage for Centrum Bucktown.

The trail beckons, along with the many restaurants, bars, upscale boutiques and entertainment options in the Bucktown and Wicker Park neighborhoods, he added.

Peachtree Corners considers new max size for accessory structures

Proposed new guidelines would apply to storage buildings, patios, swimming pools, dog runs, dog pens and houses, detached garages, tennis courts and playground equipment.

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Grey Gardens estate in East Hampton is in contract

Back in February, the famous Grey Gardens estate in East Hampton went up for sale for the first time since the most recent owner, Washington Post columnist Sally Quinn and late husband Ben Bradlee, purchased the estate from Edith Ewing Bouvier Beale and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale—more commonly referred to as “Big Edie” and “Little Edie,” respectively—in 1979. Last week, the property went into contract, reports the Washington Post.

Quinn did not reveal the buyer nor the price, but she did tell the Post that the deal was due to close in the next few weeks. Most recently, the estate was asking $17,995,000 after coming on the market for $19,995,000. She did say, however, that the new owners plan on preserving the historic home.

When Quinn purchased the home in the ‘70s, the Beales also sold her the furniture that was inside the home, much of which was kept—and photographed in the listing photos. Grey Gardens fans and enthusiasts will now be able to own a piece of the historic home, as Quinn is hosting an estate sale in order to get rid of the furniture.

In the summer, the estate made headlines after being rented out by credit card company American Express, which planned to host seasonal events at the famous property. However, East Hampton town officials shut down corporate events with a cease-and-desist on the basis that doing so violates a zoning code which states that residential districts cannot be used for commercial purposes.

The estate was made famous by the 1975 documentary Grey Gardens, which profiled Big Edie and Little Edie’s lives in the home which, at the time, was falling apart. The women were subjected to a lot of negative attention due to the state of their home, especially considering their relation to former First Lady, Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Quinn and Bradlee purchased the estate for $220,000 and put about $600,000 into renovating the home.

Located at 3 West End Road in East Hampton, the property stands 6,000 square feet on 1.7 acres of land, with seven bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. Features include a heated pool, tennis court, eat-in kitchen, and manicured landscaping.

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Garden of 25 years is ‘therapy’


This is the first word that comes to mind when describing her garden. Zita Chee Mee (63) has been working at perfecting it for the past 25 years.

Flowers, succulents, indigenous plants, vegetables, trees and herbs all have a rightful place in her lush and colourful garden that grows from her front yard and takes up most of her backyard too.

“I grew up like this – always working in a garden – and I really have a passion for it,� she says.

Her hard work has already paid off, but she is constantly working to change things up, planting new plants and sharing her knowledge with others.

“I am always adding and the garden has grown bigger and bigger over the years,� she says. “Gardening is very therapeutic.�

She has also helped create gardens at schools in the area and sells preserves and herbs harvested from her garden to raise money for Cansa.

Her garden is filled with recycled goods and trinkets and attracts several different species of birds and other wildlife.

Birdwatching has therefore become a common pastime for her granddaughter and her.

She has also brought back rocks from various lakes and rivers she has visited that she placed between her handmade mosaics and planter boxes.

While toiling in the garden is one of her favourite things to do, she downed tools alongside several other gardeners across South Africa last week.

This was in celebration of National Garden Day on Sunday 15 October, which she celebrated with family and friends.

“I wanted to celebrate last year, but I was out of the country and decided that I wanted to celebrate this year, so I invited friends and family over,� she says.

“It was so exciting to see the day come together after all the planning.�

National Garden Day is a day for gardeners to celebrate their gardens, as recent research has shown people spend less time relaxing in their gardens than gardening.

The group exchanged gardening tips, ate together, enjoyed a demonstration on seedlings with Chee Mee and also got to take home some plants.

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