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Archives for November 14, 2017

Tucson landscape designer’s award-winning project has a must-see view

Contact Tucson freelance writer Elena Acoba at

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grimshaw-designed botanic garden in oman will become the world’s largest ecological oasis

grimshaw architects, arup engineering, and haley sharpe design have collaborated to present the ‘oman botanic garden’, the largest of its kind within the arabian peninsula. designed with guidance from his majesty sultan qaboos bin said al said, the eco-park will celebrate and conserve the country’s botanic diversity with hundreds of endangered species and also house a visitor center, education and research facilities.

oman botanical garden
all images © arup/grimshaw



located 35 kilometers from muscat, in the foothills of the al hajar mountains, the ‘oman botanic garden’ has a unique site condition.  it is one of only a few locations in the world where the ancient sea bed is still visible after tectonic activity elevated the bed to 100 meters above sea level. arup and grimshaw worked with the existing natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site to design the buildings and walkways, carefully integrating them within the spectacular undulating land.

oman botanical garden
the eco-park will be located 35 kilometers from muscat, in the foothills of the al hajar mountains



the complex program requirements of the unique ecological environment and educational facilities required a balance between visitor comfort and ecological comfort. the design strategy incorporates passive and active shading, natural daylight optimization, and cooling and efficient plant irrigation. orientation of the sunlight, weather patterns and human behavior have also informed the design of visitor flow through the site.

oman botanical garden
the design is carefully integrated within the undulating landscape



‘the oman botanic garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance,’ says keith brewis, grimshaw partner. ‘its scale and diversity is truly world-leading, and we are honored to work as the architects for a project that has the conservation of bio-diversity as a core design driver.’

oman botanical garden
two biomes house a diverse collection of plant life 



ed clarke, associate director and project manager added, ‘at arup we have enjoyed the many unique challenges presented by the oman botanic garden; from designing natural and authentic landscapes to recreating the cool mists of the khareef. more than 700 of our multi-disciplinary engineers and specialist designers were engaged to explore and find solutions that would befit such an ambitious and creative brief. the oman botanic garden must surely be one of the most marvelous projects in the world.’

oman botanical garden
the eco-park will celebrate and conserve the country’s botanic diversity with hundreds of endangered species a

oman botanical garden
the park will also house research and education facilities 






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A chance to meet garden designer James Basson

James Basson and the award-winning garden based on a Maltese quarry.James Basson and the award-winning garden based on a Maltese quarry.

James Basson and the award-winning garden based on a Maltese quarry.

Il-Majjistral Park, together with the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort Spa, have invited James Basson and his wife Helen for a special fund raising event in aid of the park, during which he will be giving a presentation about his gold medal and ‘Best Show Garden’ award winning design at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

Their idea for the design of their award-winning garden was a disused quarry in Malta and included indigenous Maltese plants. Some of these plants were never before shown in the UK. Since many were protected, the Maltese government gave Mr Basson special permission to use them

“Il-Majjistral Park is promoting the use of indigenous plants in gardens, roundabouts etc and the fact that abroad our plants, when used intelligently, are winning prices, shows how much we can do with our own flora. But unfortunately, more often than not, wild plants are removed from public gardens etc to be replaced by alien species which require more maintenance, more water and cost more,” the NGO said.

Mr Basson’s presentation will be held on Sunday November 26 at 5pm at the Radisson Blu Golden Sands Resort Spa and will be followed by dinner at the ‘Flavours’ restaurant.

Participants can opt to attend only the presentation or attend both presentation and dinner. For booking and for further information send an e-mail to [email protected]

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Police release York College robbery suspect photo

Spring Garden Township Police have released a photo of the man they say robbed a York College student at gunpoint two weeks ago.

Police say Laquan Rumsey also tried to rob two other people on the campus on Oct. 29. As of Monday, Nov. 13, police are still looking for Rumsey.

Rumsey, 19, of the 1500 block of West King Street, West York, faces charges of robbery, simple assault, theft and receiving stolen property.

Attempts: According to police, Rumsey approached two people in the area of the dorms on York College’s west campus about 1:50 a.m. and made a rude comment to one of them.

The two kept walking, and Rumsey then approached them from behind and tried ripping the backpack off one of them, court documents state. Police say he pulled a handgun and pointed it at the two.

More: Police ID York College robbery suspect

More: York College increases security measures

“Unsuccessful at stealing the backpack, the male was pulled away by his friends and he walked off,” Detective Dony Harbaugh wrote in charging documents.

Another victim was leaving the area of the dorms when Rumsey approached him and said he had a “beef” with him, police said. The victim told Rumsey he didn’t know what he was talking about, court documents state.

Police say Rumsey pulled a gun out and told the victim to empty his pockets. The victim put his hands up and told Rumsey he didn’t have anything before getting on the ground, according to charging documents.

Rumsey then walked off, police said.

Robbed of phone: Police say a man was walking through a parking lot when Rumsey ran up behind him and asked him what he was looking at.

Rumsey then pointed the gun at the man’s chest and told him to give him his cellphone, documents state.

He ordered the man to give him the unlock code for the phone, and then he ran off, according to police.

Following the robbery, police worked with York College campus safety officers and looked through surveillance footage of the area during the alleged incidents. 

From there, police released images from the footage, according to charging documents. Police say they received tips and were able to name Rumsey as the suspect.

Charges were filed for Rumsey on Nov. 3, and as of Monday, Nov. 13, he has not been arrested.

Anyone with information on Rumsey’s whereabouts is asked to call Spring Garden Township Police at (717) 843-0851.

Tips may also be submitted to York County Crime Stoppers on its website or by text. 

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser

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Dear Gazette Gardeners,

With the clocks going back this means winter officially begins, however there is still plenty of time for you to prepare your garden before the weather gets too bad. 

It is time to start prepping your garden so that it is protected against the frosty winter weather. It’s really easy to forget about your garden over the colder months, but by having that final Autumn tidy-up you can be assured it will look better over Winter and will really benefit next year too.


Keep Planting:

There’s still plenty of time for you to start growing new plants and crops.

· October to December is the perfect time to start growing garlic. Be sure to keep them covered though, as birds love garlic.

· Why not plant some broad beans too? These will be ready for harvest mid-summer, perfect for those summer barbeques.

· Prune your roses, however different types of rose need to be pruned in different ways.

· Plant winter bedding to give you an extra splash of colour. Wall flowers, Primulas and Violas are all fabulous.

· Make sure you move tender plants like herbs indoors.

· Make sure you move indoor plants to an area where they can get as much sunlight as possible. Due to the nights coming in earlier, they need as much sunlight they can get.

· To prevent tulip fire infection, plant your tulip bulbs now!


Tools and Equipment Maintenance:

Be sure to remove any soil and debris from all tools so they are not kept damp and start to rust. Ensure the lawn mower is clean and unclogged and ready for the first cut of the year. If you have a petrol mower, you will also need to remove all unleaded fuel from the tank, as it doesn’t keep and can prevent your mower from running smoothly during its usage. Whilst we still have some dry weather, why not treat any wooden surfaces in your garden, give them a good clean and brush down then apply a suitable treatment to keep them looking brand new.

Top Tip: Make sure you check all your wooden tools for any rough edges, sand them down, then coat in linseed oil to keep them well maintained.


Winter Wildlife:

Why not leave out a pile of arranged sticks and cuttings behind the garden shed, out of plain sight for insects and hibernating hedgehogs to safely take cover from the harsh winter weather. Birds can also be a gardener’s best friend during cold winter months. They keep unwanted insects out of your garden that you won’t want to eat your winter plants. Make sure you keep plenty of bird seed out to entice birds into your garden and keep those pest insects away. Why not invest in a bird bath or a bird house/box to ensure you get regular visits?



· Lift and divide overcrowded sections of herbaceous perennials and cut back any yellowish foliage

· For a simple but stunning display for next spring, plant up a terracotta pot of hyacinth bulbs

· For some winter colours in your garden, plant pansies or violas, heather and trailing ivy

· Plant a magnolia tree for a gorgeous spring show


Lawn care:

As we turn to winter, make sure your lawn is leaf free to ensure you do not provides winter shelter for unwelcome garden pests. A thick layer of leaves will smother the lawn and weaken the grass. Additionally, although your lawn may look like it hasn’t grown much, you will need to keep on top of the mowing and give it one last winter feed.

Top tip: Avoid walking on your lawn if it’s frosted, as this can also damage the grass.


Tips and Tricks:

Here are a couple of hints for bits and bobs that will help your garden this month.

· There is still time to plant daffodil bulbs ready for spring

· Harvest your last crops of the year – you should still be able to collect a few potatoes for those hearty stews!

· Replace any damaged glass in the greenhouse ready for winter

· Invest in a mushroom kit! They are really easy to grow and adds a nice touch to any garden.

· Enjoy the last of your Autumn colours – the bright purples, gorgeous golds and awesome oranges will soon disappear so make the most of them!


Winter Colour

If you delay in pruning your roses some have fantastic colourful hips one such example is Rosa glauca which has orange ones. Hellebores also known as Christmas rose, should also begin to come in to flower now and the Niger varieties look great. My last favourite for this time of the year is Colchicum, planted in dappled shade, their bright pink flowers look amazing when everything else can look a bit drab.

Jason Harker




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Oakland Hills Firestorm Survivors Share Tips On Preventative Landscaping


OAKLAND (KCBS) – In some cases, which home survived the wine country fires and which didn’t depended on what was growing around the house. KCBS reporter Doug Sovern says survivors of the Oakland Hills Firestorm 26 years ago are sharing the lessons they learned about fire safe landscaping.

You won’t find any shredded bark or wood chips anywhere near Sue Piper’s home in Hiller Highlands. Twenty-six years ago, her house was one of the more than 3,000 destroyed by the Oakland Hills Firestorm. Now she knows better than to use flammable mulch or plants shrubs and trees that can spread fire.

“What you want to avoid are things like rosemary or common juniper or California sage brush.” Piper says. Avoid Douglas Fir, Monterey Pine and eucalyptus as they all have “high oil content,” according to Piper.

Piper suggests to place gravel or stone right around your house, five feet of nothing flammable, 30′ feet of defensible space with no overhanging branches.

“And you want to remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from the ground and under your deck. So if you’re storing your firewood under your deck, that’s not a place to store it.” Piper explains.

Piper says you should plant things like succulents, winter Jasmine, ground cover that’s less likely to burn. That doesn’t mean you can’t grow rosemary in your herb garden. Just don’t let it turn dry and woody. “You can’t just plant and forget. You have to maintain it,” Piper advises. “Ongoing maintenance what’s really important.”

Piper and a crew of volunteers maintain the Gateway Emergency Preparedness Center. A demonstration garden along Tunnel Road and Highway 24 where the do’s and don’ts of what to plant and what not to plant, how to get ready for earthquakes and the next wildfires are on display.

“We’re only as strong as our weakest link in the neighborhood. And we know not only to our family and our property but our neighbors family property to keep that defensible space up.”

©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved.


dougsovern01 250 Oakland Hills Firestorm Survivors Share Tips On Preventative Landscaping

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