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Archives for November 7, 2017

Wareham Garden Club meets Thursday

WAREHAM – The Wareham Garden Club meets on the second Thursday of each month, except during the summer. This month’s meeting will be on Nov. 9, at 9:30 a.m. at the St. Patrick’s Church Hall, 82 High St.

This month’s program will be “Five Floral Design Presentations.”

Presenter Anna Holmes is a floral designer from Bourne with more than 40 years of floral design experience.

Guests are welcome to attend the monthly meetings at no charge. The Wareham Garden Club encourages prospective new members to attend a meeting and consider joining. For additional information, contact Linda MacKenzie by email at and/or “Like” us on Facebook.


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Deakinlock Garden Design partnership ends as Lock joins Bowles and Wyer

Following nine years in business, Chris Deakin and Jason Lock have decided to close Deakinlock Garden Design to individually pursue new opportunities within the garden design and landscaping industry.

Chris Deakin will continue to work on garden design projects in East Anglia and Jason Lock will be taking up a new position with Bowles and Wyer.

Lock has been appointed as the company’s new head of design and build.

Lock said: “The last nine years have been a fascinating journey for Chris and me. Starting a business at the height of the recession was tough, but we worked through it and are parting with some great projects under our belt, that we are both immensely proud of, not least winning a Principle BALI Award, being shortlisted for the SGD Awards and Gold and Silver medals at RHS Chelsea 2010 -2014. We both now want to explore new opportunities and the time feels right to do it now.”

Of his new appointment, he said: “As one of the leading landscaping companies in the UK, I’ve admired Bowles and Wyer’s work for a long time and I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the organisation at such an exciting time in its development.”

Deakin added: “Jason and I had a great, complementary partnership but felt we had reached a fork in the road in our business together. We are both excited about the new chapters in our careers, and focusing on our passions within this wonderful industry.”

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Belle Isle notes: Lake Okonoka restoration, new garden planned by famed designer

Visitors to Detroit’s island park may notice some construction happening this winter. On the southeast end of the island, Lake Okonoka is currently undergoing a restoration project that will improve waterways to the Detroit River, intended to help both visitors and wildlife.

An existing culvert will be replaced with a 45-foot wide channel, and a new bridge will be built over the channel, connecting paddlers between waterways. According to a release, the new channel will also, “create important Great Lakes fish spawning and nursery habitat, improve water quality and increase oxygen water levels in the lake.”

Work is expected to continue through fall 2018. Visitors should expect these closures:

  • Temporary closure to the Nashua Trail canal crossing near Woodside Drive already underway.
  • Bridge and culvert construction will require traffic to be redirected from The Strand onto Woodside Drive beginning this winter and lasting until spring 2018.
  • Upon completion of construction on The Strand, construction work will begin on Woodside Drive.

Over near the Nancy Brown Peace Carillon, a new garden is in the works by renowned Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf. He’s most famously known here for the Lurie Garden in Chicago and the Highline in New York City. After touring Detroit with the Garden Club of Michigan last spring, he decided on Belle Isle for a new garden for Detroit.

The garden is meant to be a connector in “the cultural heart of the park,” between Remick Band Shell and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Donations and fundraising will cover the design, installation, and maintenance costs of the new garden.

Two open houses are planned this month for the public to learn more about the project and to provide feedback. Oudolf will appear in a video presentation and address a few preliminary questions at the first. At the second open house, he’ll address some questions from the first. The presentation will take place at the Flynn Pavilion on:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 14, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28, 3 to 5 p.m.

More information can be found here.

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Drury’s campus redesign possibilities include closing streets, defining borders – Springfield News






A rendering of what Drury could look like decades in the future.

Turning a main lane into a pedestrian mall is among the sweeping architectural changes Drury University could make over the next 25 years.

With a goal of clearly defining physical borders, creating a more cohesive atmosphere and changing how people move around campus, Drury officials unveiled Monday a master plan for construction to students, faculty and local reporters.

The ideas contained within the plan, which was drafted with the aid of New York City firm Cooper Robertson, are not set in stone. Rather, the plan contains possibilities Drury could explore with sufficient funding and community consensus.

Among the proposed ideas are several changes to roadways and streetscapes, such as barring vehicles from using Drury Lane north of Central Street. Instead, the road running through university grounds would be reborn as a pedestrian mall and become “the iconic heart of campus,” according to an outline of the plan.

Additionally, Central Street could be made narrower between Benton and Summit avenues to make it easier for walkers and bicyclists to navigate. University officials say the street could conceivably be a “linear park that tells the history of Drury and Springfield.”

Intersections, too, could be reinvented as roundabouts or otherwise altered with wayfinding signs and landscaping.

These and other moves, such as moving parking lots to Drury’s perimeter, aim to keep vehicles from clogging campus arteries.

“That’s specifically designed to make us think that our world should not be ultimately designed for the car but should be designed for human experiences,” said Tim Cloyd, Drury’s president. “Part of what makes Drury distinctive is that we are not a place that is a commuter institution. We don’t come here for a few hours and leave. We come here 24/7 to learn at this residential institution.”

Drury Lane, with its volume of stationary vehicles, is “basically a parking lot,” Cloyd said. “What we want to do is move that parking to the periphery so … this spine of Drury Lane becomes a defining element, a hub, if you will.”

That wouldn’t be the only change for people approaching Drury’s campus. The master plan also includes a principle to “strengthen Drury’s borders with distinctive thresholds and entrances.”

These ornate gateways would not be to keep out visitors, Cloyd said, but so “you know you’ve arrived.”

The university has been working with the city on its preliminary ideas to create “complete streets” and will need to consult neighbors about possible changes, said David Hinson, Drury’s executive vice president, chief operating officer and chief information officer.

The “spine of Drury Lane” Cloyd described would connect two new “precincts” on campus. The north area would host a residential quad surrounded by residence halls resembling large houses, while new classrooms creating a “design and innovation precinct” would be built in the south zone.

A new student center connected to Olin Library with a gothic-style bridge and a new athletic facility topped with solar panels are also part of the plan. More information is available at

Efforts to create the master plan have been ongoing for months. Cloyd’s remarks to local reporters were an indication that the renderings remain far from reality.

“We aim to make this real, but we know we can’t swallow the ocean,” he said.

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Lansing’s Community Foundation commits $1M in matching funds for downtown riverfront development






Take an early morning stroll with a Lansing State Journal photographer along the Red Cedar River on The Lansing River Trail.
Matthew Dae Smith/Lansing State Journal

LANSING — More boat docks. An outdoor classroom. A fishing hole. A deck over looking the river and park improvements.

These ideas were submitted to the Capital Region Community Foundation’s Penny for Your Thoughts contest earlier this year as ways to spruce up Lansing’s downtown riverfront area.

And now the foundation will provide $1 million in funds to match private contributions being raised from individuals and corporations to support these big ideas.

“To us and this city, it’s been a long time since we’ve heard of a $1 million investment from the private sector,” said Laurie Baumer, executive vice president and projects coordinator. “Our board made a bold decision to allocate unrestricted dollars to riverfront development.”

The projects funds are part of the Leadership Fund and will not affect the foundation’s regular grantmaking, she said. Anyone can donate a tax-deductible contribution to the fund for the riverfront projects.

“We’ve got about 25 individuals and businesses who truly understand what downtown development and the riverfront, in particular, means for making our region vibrant,” Baumer said. “The whole reason being is talent. We need to retain and bring in talent for businesses — that will be the catalyst for growth.”

Still early in the project planning, Baumer could not share which businesses or individuals will be involved in the development.

The riverfront from the Cherry Hill boat launch near Interstate 496 to the Brenke Fish Ladder near Old Town will be the focus of the revitalization. The projects will also include new kayak launches, artwork and creative lighting, public seating areas with fireplaces and four new or improved parks.

This area sees the most action during the annual Common Ground Musical Festival in the summer.

The foundation is working with Friends of the Lansing River Trail and the Old Town Commercial Association on their ideas and plans for the area.

The Penny for Your Thoughts contest, which ended last March, was the best way for residents to give feedback on what they wanted in their city, she said. The idea categories were arts, culture and entertainment; parks and outdoor structures; public buildings and destinations; land and building development/rehabilitation; waterfront; and “streetscapes” and landscaping.

Focusing on the riverfront, a master planning committee vetted the submissions for feasible projects. The committee included representatives from the city, Michigan State University, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Lansing Economic Area Partnership, Michigan Municipal League and Tri-County Regional Planning Commission.

The ideas that displayed financial feasibility, creativity and potential impact were chosen. The foundation also met with potential donors to determine what their interests were.

“A revitalized urban core will enhance economic prosperity,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP, in a news release. “LEAP is supportive of the foundation’s leadership role in this placemaking initiative. Ultimately, it will benefit everyone who lives and works throughout the tri-county region.”

To donate to the riverfront projects, go to

Contact Julie Garcia at 517-377-1088 or Follow her on Twitter @ReporterJulie.

Plan envisions major changes to downtown landscape

Cape Girardeaus downtown could become home to a riverfront amphitheater, science center, new park, farmers market pavilion, wedding garden and sidewalk Walk of Fame under a strategic plan unveiled Monday to the City Council.

The 10-year plan suggests developing a science center in partnership with Southeast Missouri State University at the southwest corner of William and South Main streets.

It calls for additional parking, including a public parking garage fronting Bellevue Street, just west of Fountain Street.

Public comments during the planning process repeatedly focused on the need for more parking downtown, city development services director Alex McElroy told the council at a study session.

Council members welcomed the new plan, which builds upon a 2009 downtown plan.

Mayor Harry Rediger said the strategic plan could spark improvements to what already is a dynamic, moving downtown area.

The various proposals will serve as a guide for the future, but will be subject to change, depending on market forces, funding and other issues, the plan stated.

City manager Scott Meyer told the council, The value of this type of plan cannot be underestimated.

McElroy said it is not an exact blueprint for future downtown development.

The city government, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce and Old Town Cape downtown revitalization organization worked with a consulting firm to develop the plan.

Old Town Cape executive director Marla Mills told the council the plan will require a lot of partnerships with developers and others to bring projects to fruition.

It is envisioned a riverfront amphitheater could be constructed on land between North Main Street and the Mississippi River, north of Broadway and south of Isle Casino Cape Girardeau.

The Cape Riverfront Market on Spanish Street has become a seasonal destination, the plan states.

A pavilion would offer needed shelter, event space and become a revenue source, according to the plan.

Under this proposal, the pavilion would have electrical service, provide storage space and include restrooms.

Other ideas suggested in the downtown plan include everything from upscale housing to a residential development of workforce and starter homes, as well as a housing development for the elderly.

It calls for renovating the historic, brick building on the southwest corner of Independence and Frederick streets for mixed use including retail/restaurant space on the ground floor and residential space above.

The plan envisions redeveloping a former lumber yard across from the River Campus into a regional retail and commercial center.

It also calls for construction of 90-degree parking spaces along the west side of Spanish Street bordering the Common Pleas Courthouse property as well as a Walk of Fame sidewalk paying tribute to the notable achievements of residents.

The parking project would add 48 parking spaces. Ward 1 Councilman Joe Uzoaru suggested cutting into the hillside and creating the parking spaces could be one of the first projects.

The terraced slope on the east side of the courthouse would be reinforced with landscaping, which also would improve aesthetics, the plan states.

Still other improvements could include a mix-used development at the northwest corner of Broadway and North Main Street which would incorporate public parking, and development of a public plaza along Independence Street near the Cape Girardeau River Heritage Museum to showcase the regions history and culture.

The 73-page document also calls for establishment of a land clearance redevelopment authority to promote and oversee development, including offering development incentives.

Proposed improvements would cover eight geographical focus areas that comprise the downtown, extending from north Main Street to Shawnee Parkway and from Sprigg Street to the Mississippi River.

South Fountain Street is scheduled to be extended from William Street to Independence Street in 2021. That area has tremendous potential to provide regional and local commercial centers to the public and fill a demand for new, single-family housing in the downtown, according to the plan.

Land south of the Red House Interpretive Center is proposed for a park with a splash pad, a themed-playground, park pavilions and public restrooms.

A wedding garden could be built north of the Red House in open space along South Main Street, according to the plan.

At its regular meeting Monday, the council rezoned the site of the Star Vue Mobile Home Park to allow development of an apartment complex.

Rediger, the mayor, welcomed removal of the mobile homes. It will definitely in my mind be an improvement to that property, he said.

The council also accepted an annexation petition from Drury Properties Inc., and set a public hearing.

(573) 388-3641

Article source:

2018 Home Resource Guide: Landscaping – Austin Monthly Magazine

Photo courtesy stephen breaux

Austin offers a long list of landscape professionals who are experienced dealing with the city’s 300 days of sun each year.

Articulated Design Landscape Architecture
Articulation means “clarity or distinction to elements of form and space, organized into a coherent or meaningful whole.” This design-build firm, a Best of Houzz service winner from 2014 to 2016, works from concept through construction to produce custom courtyards, pools, outdoor kitchens and more. The designers’ expertise includes ecology, horticulture and art. 1200 East 12th St., (512) 402-2341,

Austin Outdoor Design
Austin Outdoor Design is a full-service modern landscape design-build firm that aims to blur the line between interior and exterior spaces. The firm incorporates several elements in its designs: light, water, stone, plants, life and fire. Led by principal Jose Roberto Corea, Austin Outdoor Design celebrated 10 years’ worth of projects in 2017. 1412 Collier St., Studio C, (512) 368-2001,

B. Jane Gardens
By taking difficult sites and turning them into unique outdoor living spaces for their clients, the creative problem solvers at B. Jane Gardens have endeared themselves to Austinites for 15 years. A perennial Best of Houzz design winner, B. Jane Gardens offers landscape design, installation and maintenance—one-stop shopping to cut down on headaches. (512) 296-2211,

Breaux Design Group
Stephen Breaux and company focus on creating ecologically attuned, modern landscapes using locally sourced materials. Native plant and drought-tolerant gardens give clients the low-maintenance beauty they seek. And did we mention Breaux also designs pools and outdoor kitchens and living areas? He provides design, installation and maintenance services all around Central Texas. (512) 418-6164,

Countryside Nursery and Landscape
Since 1998 this independent garden center has designed and maintained beautiful outdoor spaces for Central Texas businesses and homes. From yards and hardscapes to stonework and pools, a team with 60 years’ combined landscape expertise finds organic, water-efficient solutions. Acres of natives, a teaching garden and a uniquely Austin gift shop helped Countryside make Garden Center magazine’s “Top 100” list. 13292 Pond Springs Road, (512) 249-0100,

David Wilson Garden Design
Austinites who need their gardens designed, installed and furnished should remember David Wilson Garden Design. Wilson and business partner Marco Rini have created some of the most exquisite gardens in Austin since 1987, proving that all things of quality have staying power. Their motto, “We can nurture the life in your plants, and the plants in your life,” speaks to their thoughtful approach. (512) 459-7909,

What do you get when you combine architecture, ecology and philosophy? You get the modern outdoor living designs of D-CRAIN. Owner and designer Dylan Crain Robertson has been creating simple yet eye-catching projects in the Austin area since 1994. From indoor to outdoor structures and gardens, there’s almost nothing this group doesn’t do. 1621 Willow St., (512) 480-8008,

Design Ecology
The depth of experience of Design Ecology’s team members means you can throw an intricate landscape problem at them and they’ll rise to the occasion. With a specialty in stunning swimming pools and water features, Design Ecology creates contemporary outdoor living spaces for clients. Plus, efficient and careful planning reduces waste and helps keep the budget down, and all Austinites can get behind that. 3714 Manchaca Road, (512) 326-2193,

Furrow Studio
This partnership between Nikos Papadopoulos, the founder and former principal of NPD Landscape Architecture, and Ron Lutsko Jr., the founder of Lutsko Associates in San Francisco, specializes in landscape architecture, urban design and site planning. The studio’s work marries contemporary design with ecological expertise and tends to be high-end residential, both urban and rural. (512) 584-8893,

J. Peterson Garden Design
Trained as a master gardener, Jenny Peterson specializes in thoughtful outdoor spaces that emphasize the healing and restorative nature of gardens and plants. Her portfolio includes yoga gardens, outdoor retreats, meditation spaces, aromatherapy gardens and herb gardens. And her work has been featured in Fine Gardening and Cottages Bungalows magazines. (512) 922-3359,

Jeff Neal Design
Jeff Neal Design combines elegant features with a fresh, contemporary approach. This design-build firm, founded in 2010, has quickly gained a reputation for its custom terracing, swimming pools, water features, fireplaces and steelwork. Once they design and install your outdoor retreat, they also take pride in maintaining it. 605-A W. 37th St., (512) 844-3578,

Kevin Wood Landscapes
Beautiful landscapes with Texas flair are what Kevin Wood Landscapes is all about. Employing extensive knowledge of native plants and xeriscaping, this team also provides clients with a full menu of structures including water features, pools, outdoor kitchens, fire pits and landscape lighting. And they’ve been doing it for more than 25 years. 2210 Gardenia Dr., (512) 250-9004,

LandWest Design Group
For more than a decade, LandWest has specialized in thoughtful, innovative home landscapes for a city of outdoor people. Rick Scheen, graduate of LSU’s prestigious landscape architecture school, oversees every project and imbues it with creative vision. Services include design, construction and maintenance of pools, fire pits, water features, and yard and garden settings. 8100 Thomas Springs Road, (512) 263-3464,

Mark Word Design
From historic garden revivals to fresh and modern garden design, Mark Word and his team produce inventive landscapes that are sensitive to context and region. Translation: These designs aren’t cookie-cutter. This darling of Texas and national garden and lifestyle publications designs commercial and residential landscapes all around Central Texas. 2201 N. Lamar Blvd., (512) 440-0013,

Native Edge Landscape
A rising star on the landscape scene, Native Edge offers design, installation and maintenance as an integrated service, which eliminates that need for multiple providers who may have competing priorities. Founder and lead designer Rodney Stoutenger has more than a decade of experience and industry knowledge. One of the company’s projects was featured on the DIY Network show Yard Crashers. 1426 W. Howard Lane, (512) 351-4000,

Open Envelope Studio
You can tell by its name that this company likes to do things a little differently. The boutique design-build firm has created a reputation for its modern landscapes, custom steelwork and unique furnishings for residential and commercial projects—all with a funky, slightly offbeat vibe. If that doesn’t say “Austin,” nothing does. 4807 Santa Anna St., (512) 293-6972,

Seedlings Gardening
Since 2009, native Austinite Liz Baloutine and her small staff of professionals have helped homeowners and restaurants achieve eco-friendly landscapes. From inspiration to installation, they’ll advise on drought-resistant plants, green up a courtyard, maintain a garden or turn a yard into outdoor living space. Projects range from a chef’s garden at Jeffrey’s to a midcentury family patio in Circle C. (512) 298-9396,

Sod Solutions 
Since 1994 this producer has developed innovative turfgrass, sold to licensed suppliers for landscape professionals to use in yards, golf courses and sports fields. These low-maintenance varieties, including Bermuda and St. Augustine cultivars, are chosen for quality, economy and ease of transplantation from farms to landscapes. The company provides technical and marketing support for all products.

SOMOS Design Landscaping
Do you want a sustainable, low-maintenance modern garden with artistic flair? SOMOS has you covered. Carlos Martinez and wife Rebecca Cely combine their backgrounds in the fine arts with their love of the outdoors to give clients unique spaces that include bocce ball courts, edible front yards, fountains and green roofs—anything but stuffy, and perfect for Austin. 828B Airport Blvd., (512) 732 2995,

Studio Balcones    
A boutique landscape architecture firm that opened in 2009, Studio Balcones strives to design landscapes that inspire and create connections between people, nature and urban life. Led by co-founders Ilse Frank and Jennifer Orr, the team has more than 20 years’ experience in the residential, commercial and public sectors. Multiple projects have appeared on the AIA Austin Homes Tour and in national magazines. 702 San Antonio St., (512) 383-8815,

Tait Moring Associates
Born, raised and educated in Texas, Tait Moring is appreciative of our region’s native plants and rocks. Bringing his love of all things Texan to the design process, Moring and his team design, build and maintain inspiring gardens all over Central Texas. From rugged ranch landscapes to elegant estates, a Tait Moring Associates project has that regional swagger that Texans love. 6707 Bee Cave Road, (512) 327-6616,

Thompson + Hanson
Since 1981 this design-build landscape architecture firm has been creating some of the finest residential gardens in Texas. Stylistically diverse, with site-appropriate plantings and proportion, many also include elements like terraces, pavilions and pools. The firm does everything from design and installation to maintenance and has divisions in both Austin and Houston. 1508 W. 34th St., (512) 327-7424,

Westshop Design
Specializing in residential and small-scale commercial landscapes, Westshop approaches outdoor spaces as aesthetic, technical and environmental challenges, solving function and maintenance issues while using materials and plants to visually tie a property together. Alisa West, who holds a landscape architecture master’s degree from UT, founded the firm in 2013 and has collaborated with architects Matt Garcia and Michael Hsu. (512) 815-0733,

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Civic beautification awards presented to Erie businesses

Meet the winners announced at Erie County Council of Garden Clubs fall meeting.

Erie County Council of Garden Clubs held its fall general meeting at Nick’s Place on Oct. 18, with Julie Willow of Waterford Garden Club presiding over her final meeting as president. A special part of the meeting is the announcement of the civic beautification awards to three businesses in Erie County that have outstanding gardens and landscaping. Betty Holme from Waterford Garden Club is the civic beautification chairwoman, with members Barbara Bol and Carol Klonicki from Heather Club of Edinboro and Marsha Strohmeyer from Waterford Garden Club. The Erie Times-News sponsored the engraved plaques for the winners.

The civic beautification winners are:

Small garden: U Pick 6 Public House, 4575 West Ridge Road, Millcreek. This eatery had beautiful purple and pink petunias in both hanging baskets and containers in front of the establishment and by the outdoor cafe area. They also have a vertical pallet garden to grow herbs and produce to use in the restaurant. Plantings include chives, basil, tomatoes, parsley, cabbage, strawberries and hops. Gail Detzel and Deb Wisener of Presque Isle Garden Club nominated them. John Melody and Jason Berquist accepted the award.
Medium garden: Erie County Housing Authority’s Salisbury Apartments, 4004 Pacific Avenue, Millcreek. The garden is bordered by yellow and orange marigolds. Several statues are nestled in among the roses, purple alyssum, yellow celosia and many other flowers. Gail Detzel and Deb Wisener of Presque Isle Garden Club nominated them. Anthony Albaugh and Gloria Grow accepted the award.
Large garden: Lawrence Park Golf Course, 3700 E. Lake Road, Lawrence Park. Skip Hammond designed and maintains the 45 different garden beds on the grounds. There are hundreds of annuals, perennials and shrubs for pleasing three-season color. Bonita Herman of Lawrence Park Garden Club nominated them. Skip Hammond and Mike Latimer accepted the award.

Congratulations to the winners. ECCGC appreciates the extra efforts that these businesses expend in making their places attractive. Other gardens nominated were Buds Barber Shop, 121 Erie St., Edinboro; Linda’s Book Trader, 220 W. Plum St., Edinboro; Connie’s Ice Cream and Presque Isle Pizza, 3150 W. 32nd St., Millcreek, and Romolo Chocolates, 1525 W. Eighth St., Erie. We will be looking for other outstanding business gardens for 2018.


Tom Ridge Center class

A class, Neighborly Natural Landscaping: How Reduced Mowing Helps Increase Habitat for Pollinators and Birds, will be held Nov. 11 at 1 p.m. at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. Ed Perry from the National Wildlife Federation will show ways to improve habitat in our yards for birds and pollinators. Free. Call Jen Salem, 835-3056, or e-mail


Garden club meetings

Edinboro Town and Country Garden Club, Tuesday, 7 p.m., 118 Harrison Drive, Edinboro. Terry Stillmach will present a program on lightscaping. Call Ellen Howell, 630-917-3098.
Heather Club of Edinboro, Tuesday, 7 p.m., 113 High St., Edinboro. There will be a program on wicked plants. Call Carol Klonicki, 397-8477.
Gospel Hill Garden Club, Tuesday, 6 p.m., 3509 Buffalo Road. Linda Kroto from Gerlach’s Garden and Floral Center will give ideas for Thanksgiving and Christmas flower arranging. Call Jane Hume, 899-5982.
Waterford Garden Club, Tuesday, 7 p.m., 23 W. Second St., Waterford. Member Dorthy Yard will present a make and take demonstration on moss balls. Call Betty Wist, 397-8369.
Presque Isle Garden Club, Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., 4703 West Ridge Road. Members will make wreaths to feed wild birds. Call Jan McLaughlin, 476-7259.
Lawrence Park Garden Club, Nov. 14, 1 p.m., 4230 Iroquois Ave. Members will wear vintage clothes and reflect on the history of the club. Bring old scrap books and yearbooks. Call Bonita Herman, 824-4310.
Cambridge Garden Club, Nov. 16, 7 p.m., 158 McClellan St., Cambridge Springs. Master gardener David Olsen will talk about cold frames, cloches and hoop houses. Call Sandy Moraski, 528-7748.
Elk Valley Garden Club, Nov. 16, 10 a.m., 34 Main St., Girard. Members will create evergreen swags for the West County community buildings. Meeting and tureen lunch to follow. Call Janet Nelson, 833-6123.
Pioneer Garden Club, Nov. 16, 11:30 a.m. Members will tour the waterworks department. Call Helen Singer, 838-8741.


Sue Scholz is a member of the Presque Isle Garden Club. Send garden news to

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New Albany City Council considers donating $21K to Underground Railroad garden

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council has tentatively agreed to donate $21,000 to help build a commemorative garden next to Second Baptist Church, where tourists can learn about New Albany’s role in the Underground Railroad.

The council unanimously approved the funding request at its meeting Monday. It needs a final vote before the donation can be given to the Friends of the Town Clock Church, a civic organization that has raised $638,000 to restore the historic church.

Built in 1852, the congregation of the Town Clock Church were active abolitionists. Oral history suggests the church helped slaves escape through the Underground Railroad, reinforced by the tunnel in the church’s cellar.

Jerry Finn, volunteer fundraiser and adviser to the Friends of the Town Clock Church board of directors, told the council almost everyone who sees the permanent Underground Railroad exhibit at the Carnegie Center for Art and History asks about the church. A volunteer group, the Friends of the Town Clock Church offers tours on a limited schedule.

“We have a rich history here in our community, and we need a way of telling that story when the church is not open for tours,” Finn said.

About 1,000 students come through the church on field trips, he said. Now that the church has been designated a national Network to Freedom site, Finn expects the number of visitors to only increase.

“That’s going to bring people in, I think, really from all over the country,” Councilman David Barksdale said. “Especially the Carnegie Center, when they’re doing such a great job of interpreting that history, that’s going to lead right over to the church.”

Finn also hopes the park in downtown New Albany will be a nice gathering spot for locals.

“These gardens would be a place in the city where citizens could come and eat lunch, have some quiet time, reflect on what happened here in our community where our people said, ‘This awful sin of slavery is something we’re going to take a stand on,'” Finn said.

If New Albany gives its final approval, the Friends of the Town Clock Church will still need to raise $21,000 to meet the $64,000 needed for the first of two phases to build the garden.

The first phase consists of the physical structures in the garden — including a plaza, amphitheater, landscaping, an 8-foot mosaic sculpture made by New Albany High School students and a gazebo topped with the original cupola from the church’s steeple.

The second phase, which doesn’t yet have a cost estimate, would include artwork that would tell the story of the Underground Railroad in New Albany.

The Friends of the Town Clock Church are hoping to receive grant money from the Indiana Historical Society, whose officials told the group they would be interested funding historical elements to the garden, Finn said.

The group also asked the Floyd County Council to consider donating to the garden. Before voting in favor Monday, city council members considered donating their portion only if the county council donated money, too.

But City Councilman Dan Coffey believes the garden is a “really good project” and doesn’t want New Albany’s contribution to be held up or stopped by the county council.

The city council also asserted their donation doesn’t violate the principle of separation of church and state, though the money benefits an area related to a church.

Councilman Al Knable said there’s precedent for this kind of donation, pointing to President George W. Bush’s order to allow federal grants to fund historic church restorations.

The Friends of the Town Clock Church, not the congregation, would receive the donation. The group is working to become a designated nonprofit organization.

Knable added that language in the donation ordinance that states the garden will be used for primarily secular purposes, and will be open to people on an equal basis, was essential for his support of the donation.

“This has a life beyond a place of worship,” Knable said after the meeting.

Councilman Gregg Phipps, who voted against a $75,000 donation the group in 2013 because of the project’s religious ties, voted in favor of the donation Monday.

“There is a strong education component to this, but not only educational but related to diversity,” Phipps said. “Those are two things I feel very strongly about.”

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Tips From the Party-Planning Experts: Amy Knoll Fraser of Vibiana

DTLA – The Cathedral of St. Vibiana debuted in 1876, and the building served as the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Los Angeles for the next 118 years. Disaster struck in 1994, however, when the Northridge Earthquake severely damaged the structure.

[Get DTLA stories in our daily email newsletter.]

A legal battle ensued between the archdiocese, which wanted to demolish it and build a new cathedral, and preservationists. In the end, the latter won out, the building was renovated in 2005, and the archdiocese went on to build the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.



Gary Leonard

Amy Knoll Fraser and her husband, chef Neal Fraser, took over the property in 2012 and now run it as a beautiful events venue, with an attached restaurant — the lauded Redbird — in the cathedral’s former rectory. Fraser spoke about last-minute bookings, and her favorite stories, good and bad, from the storied space. 

Los Angeles Downtown News:What kind of availability do you have for holiday parties?

Amy Knoll Fraser: We currently have five private dining rooms for Redbird inside the rectory building, and they tend to be booked on shorter-term notice. One’s perfect for a small dinner seating 16-18, while our “cardinal’s quarters” room can have up to 44 seated or a cocktail party for 100 people. There’s the “nest,” with a balcony that overlooks the Redbird courtyard, which can do 36 seated or 40-60 standing. We also have the east room, with its own patio and kitchen, and the west room is our largest, for 150 people standing.

We also have dates at Vibiana, which is a larger venue. Our garden space is really cool for parties, and can accommodate 150-200 people. Each of the spaces has a minimum — the cardinal’s quarters is $3,000 on Monday-Wednesday, increasing up to $3,500 for Saturday-Sunday, for instance. The garden is $12,000 or $15,000 for a weekend booking. 

Q: What kind of menu, decor and entertainment options can people expect?

A: We’re super open to being creative. We do almost all family-style meals for the Redbird rooms and have a lot of menu possibilities. The garden space at Vibiana has a pizza oven outside, which is fun. There’s also a grill and we can also do passed hors d’oeuvres. Live music, decorations, it’s all possible. 


Gary Leonard

Q: Any party trends you’ve noticed in 2017?

A: We’ve been doing a lot of very small weddings at Redbird. They’re so sweet. You can have a lovely ceremony for one-quarter of the cost of a larger space like Vibiana. More people are choosing to elope and do a dinner afterward, too. 

Q: What are some of your most memorable parties, whether good or bad?

A: The best thing that happened was at our annual Beefsteak dinner, which is coming up again. Two years ago, [comedian/actor] Eric Wareheim came up to me and said, “Two of my friends want to get married.” And I said, “Okay, great.” But he meant right then and there, in the middle of the dinner. So I rounded up our hilarious MC Billy Harris, who was game. I got the bandleader to stop for a second, and the couple came up and Billy had them exchange vows and pronounced them man and wife. The music started up and everyone went back to drinking and dancing. 


Gary Leonard

The worst was probably when we had to dogsit unexpectedly for the bride and groom. Someone dropped it off to our third-floor offices, and it was sniffing around and everything was fine, until suddenly it went missing. For 45 minutes we were flipping out, running through every corner of the property. Turns out, the sister of the bride had picked up the dog without telling anyone. For a while, though, we thought we had lost the couple’s dog on their wedding day.

Vibiana is at 214 S. Main St., (213) 626-1507 or


Redbird features an outdoor dining area with a retractable roof, as well as an indoor lounge for more casual gatherings. 

photo by Gary Leonard

© Los Angeles Downtown News 2017

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