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Archives for November 20, 2017

Designs revealed for Oman Botanic Garden

Leading UK engineers, architects and consultants will deliver the designs for the vast new Oman Botanic Garden.

Global engineering firm Arup (whose head office is in London) has joined forces with London-based Grimshaw Architects and Leicester-based design consultant Haley Sharpe Design. Together they will be responsible for the engineering, landscaping, architecture and interpretive designs for the Oman Botanic Garden.

The garden is set to be the largest such facility in the Arab world.  It is located 35km from Muscat, in the foothills of the Al Hajar Mountains.  It covers an area of 4.2 million square metres.

The site is one of only a few locations in the world where the ancient seabed is still visible.  Tectonic activity elevated the bed to 100 m above sea level according to a statement from Arup.

Arup and Grimshaw have designed the buildings and walkways to take advantage of the undulating land created by the natural ridges and ravines that traverse the site.

The gardens will celebrate the botanic diversity of the sultanate.  Eight defined habitats of Oman are arranged at the centre of the site.  Visitors will experience the wadis, mountains and deserts of Oman within an immersive landscaped setting. The gardens will only display native species, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Two biomes will create sensitive habitats.  The Northern Biome is a sinuous glass enclosure.  It will mimic the habitats of the northern mountains, including their ancient terraces. The Southern Biome is created from shimmering undulating glass.  It will enclose the varied habitats found in the Dhofar region. Visitors will be immersed in a moist and green forest setting.

“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,” says Ed Clark, Associate Director of Arup. “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 marvellous projects in the world.”

He says that the buildings, along with the whole site, have been designed to achieve the globally recognised sustainable standard, Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum. As water is such a precious resource, Arup has developed a strategy that ensures not a single drop of water is wasted.

“The Oman Botanic Garden is an astonishing project with many layers of interwoven cultural and environmental significance,” says Keith Brewis, a partner at Grimshaw. “Its scale and diversity is truly world-leading, and we are honoured to work as the architects for a project that has the conservation of bio-diversity as a core design driver.”

Image courtesy of Arup.

Click here to read the full article.

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Community Members Share Ideas for State Street Underpass …

The concrete slabs underneath the Highway 101 overpass, connecting Santa Barbara’s waterfront and lower State Street, could soon come alive with an LED lighting installation or be adorned with murals.

City staff is undertaking a project to redesign the underpass as a safe and inviting destination with lighting, interactive art elements and reconfigured lanes for cars and bikes.

“This is a prominent area of State Street — of the 14 blocks of the downtown corridor, this is a two-block area,” said Nina Johnson, senior assistant to the city administrator. “We have researched cities all over the world, and found examples of cool places where they created unique spaces and solved design challenges for their community. There’s so much that is possible and potential.”

Johnson said the initial project budget is $100,000, and the project cost is expected to grow through community partnerships.

More than 100 residents gathered Wednesday night at the Community Arts Workshop in Santa Barbara to share ideas on how to make the State Street underpass a welcoming destination linking the waterfront to the downtown area.

The underpass project is one effort the city and community partners are tackling to enhance the vibrancy of the downtown corridor, in the wake of vacant businesses along State Street.

Johnson said improving safety and access for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles is a project priority.

Seven accidents occurred in the area between 2011 to 2013, she said.

“The two intersections on both sides (of the underpass) have the top bicycle-involved accident rate compared to anywhere else in the city,” Johnson said.

At the community meeting, attendees were given sharpie pens, sticky notes, food, wine and an hour to jot down ideas under five different categories such as art and design, sound, interactivity, project concerns and traffic flow.

The blank white posters taped to the walls were filled with hundreds of suggestions.

One comment said “something to follow like the safe yellow brick road,” while another note read “LED lights possible to alter themes. Sound system. Sea and dolphin theme.”

The “stench of urine” and “vandalism” were among the various topics under the concern category.

Attendees expressed ideas about how to reduce sound impact from cars and using technology to mitigate the noise of vehicle echo, engaging art designs and creative solutions to enhance and attract people to the space.

More than 20 residents took to the microphone to share their plans about the future of the underpass.

The speakers said the artist should be local, and whatever plans are used should come from the community.

People suggested adding motion-tracking art, a multimedia space made to showcase work, tile murals that represent Santa Barbara, adding security cameras, wider sidewalks and reducing vehicle lane width, among other ideas.

The city also created a Pinterest board of more than 100 images showing lighting, street elements, sound, landscaping and a new traffic reconfiguration. 

At the end of the workshop, community members were given 10 stickers and asked to mark the concepts they liked.

So what’s next?

The workshop notes will be available on the city’s website, Johnson said.

City staff will seek additional project funding and build partnerships, as well as prepare a call for proposals with community input.

A project design team is slated to form with city staff, architects, design professionals, art organizations and artists to review proposals.

The project needs approval from Caltrans’ and the Historic Landmarks Commission, and possibly a coastal-development permit.

“We want to move as quickly as possible to release a call for proposals and then review them — we will need talented design professionals to get involved to help select proposals,” Johnson said. “We encourage everyone to get involved and look forward to partnering with different arts organizations, and encourage architects and designers to join.”

The underpass was built in the 1990s, according to Johnson.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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Colorado River Journey: The Past And Future Of Water Use – Across …

LOVELAND, CO — When you turn on the tap and pour a glass of water in the Front Range, you are drinking last year’s snow from the Western Slope. That snow will melt in the spring and rush along tributaries of the Colorado River high up in the mountains heading west.

But before the river’s water can flow from its headways down to the Gulf of Mexico, it’s caught in reservoirs such as Grand Lake and Lake Granby. There, it’s held until it’s diverted the next year to the eastern part of the state, through giant tunnel and dam works that harvest hydroelectric power and carry water for drinking, industry and agriculture.

“Basically 80 percent of the precipitation in Colorado is west of the Continental Divide and 80 percent of the people are in the eastern part of the state,” said James Bishop, public involvement specialist of the Bureau of Reclamation, Eastern Colorado Area Office.

A new era in public dam works is beginning in Colorado, with two projects getting approval from the Army Corps of Engineers this year. There hasn’t been a big dam or water-moving project built in the state for the past 25 years.

The past and the future of water use along the Front Range can be understood with the Loveland Museum’s enormous 3-D map of the Colorado-Big Thompson system, which takes up a large portion of the second floor. [You can watch a video below]. The museum’s Tunnel Vision exhibit celebrates the anniversary of the completion of the Alva B. Adams Tunnel, which first conveyed water in 1947 from the Colorado River to be used in the east.

New dam-building projects

Denver Water announced a $380 million expansion of Gross Reservoir, which will allow it to increase storage by 18,000 acre-feet.

Also, Northern Water Conservancy District in Berthoud got approval for the $425 million Windy Gap Firming Project, which will capture water from the Fraser River tributary on the Western Slope and deliver it to a brand new 90,000 acre-foot reservoir west of Loveland in Chimney Hollow. That water will also flow through the Adams Tunnel.

The Tunnel Vision exhibit displays photos from the construction of the tunnel, decreed via U.S. Senate proclamation in 1937. The exhibit also features art of Megan Gafford that demonstrates “humanity’s impressive ability to figure out how to achieve the difficult task of moving water.”

Tunnel system brings water from west to east

The tunnel system was, and is, an engineering wonder.

A worker paints the inside of the Alma D. Adams Tunnel
A worker paints the inside of the Alma D. Adams Tunnel. Courtesy Loveland Museum

Water is collected from the Colorado River in Lake Granby, then pumped uphill to Shadow Mountain Lake and adjacent Grand Lake, where it is fed into the 10-foot diameter mouth of the Adams Tunnel.

For a 13.1mile stretch, the tunnel passes under the Continental Divide, dropping 100 feet in elevation and empties out west of Mary’s Lake near Estes Park. Water passes through five power plants as it makes its way to the Front Range. Some of the electricity is maintained in the system to power the pumps on the Western Slope. The rest of the power is sold.

The tunnel can convey water at a rate of up to 1,100 acre-feet per day, adding up to 220,0000 acre-feet of water per year. The Colorado-Big Thompson system brings water to farm and ranch land as well as 925,000 people in portions of eight northern Colorado counties, according to the Loveland museum.

But demographic changes have increased the usage of water, and who’s using it, Bishop said. When the Adams Tunnel was built, two-thirds of Front Range use was for agriculture and one-third was for municipalities and industry, Bishop said.

“Now those are inverted, with two-thirds for municipalities and one third for agriculture.”

More people = new water projects

New times and new demographic predictions are bringing big new construction projects to the water delivery services in Colorado. But some say the Colorado River is already dying, with climate change making things worse. They assert the river, and the states downstream, can’t afford more diversion.

Windy Gap Reservoir
Windy Gap Reservoir. Courtesy Northern Water Conservancy District

The Windy Gap Firming Project was conceived when wet years between 1995-2000 caused water to overflow the Colorado Big Thompson system, said Eric Wilkinson, general manager for Northern Water Conservancy District.

On the Front Range, twelve cities will use the new reservoir outside of Loveland west of Carter Lake. The City of Broomfield will claim the most storage with room for 26,464 acre feet. The Platte River Power Authority will claim 12,600 acre feet. Greeley, Longmont and Loveland will claim about 10,000 acre feet each, while other towns in Weld and Boulder Co’s. will store between 1,000-5,000 acre feet. Northern Water will issue bonds for the project, which participating cities will repay.

Originally proposed in the 1960s, the Windy Gap project had an extra storage component, but that was never built, Wilkinson said. The new reservoir at Chimney Hollow can hold water during dry years when there is carryover, he said.

Site of proposed new Chimney Hollow reservoir and dam near Loveland
Site of proposed new Chimney Hollow reservoir and dam near Loveland via Northern Water Conservancy Dist.

“Utilizing storage is like having money in a bank account, when there are plentiful years, you have some fairly steady income coming out,” Wilkinson said.

But environmentalists say collecting more water from the Colorado River would only exacerbate problems downstream in the southwestern states like Nevada, Arizona and California, where droughts have created crisis and states have taken drastic conservation measures to attempt to regulate water use.

Further, they say climate change is already resulting in less snowpack and less water in the river.

A group of conservationist organizations filed a lawsuit in October with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Reclamation Bureau. The petition for review of agency action asks the two federal agencies to revaluate the Windy Gap Firming Project, which they say is not based on actual water demand and will remove more water from the Colorado River, further damaging the wildlife and health of the river.

“We consider it a brand new project,” said Gary Wockner of Save The Colorado. “They think water shouldn’t have to go down the river unless it’s legally forced to. We believe rivers are alive and they exist for the benefit of fish, habitat and wetlands.”

Wockner said population growth was driving water demand, but that Colorado was “twenty years behind” on water conservation efforts like those in California that resulted in water use reduction of 20 percent or more. “California [gives a rebate] to people to get rid of their lawns, there isn’t anywhere in Colorado that does that,” Wockner said. Wocnker said more efficient systems, water recycling, growth management and working with farmers were the ways to meet water demands in the future.

Towns along the front range are trying to work the lawsuit into their timelines.

“The impact of the lawsuit on the proposed project schedule is uncertain at this time,” David Allen, Broomfield Pubic Works director, said in an email. “The lawsuit may delay the selling of bonds if the legal proceedings are drawn out. We will have a better sense of any potential delays in the next three to six months. Engineering design is still moving forward as planned and is anticipated to be completed in early 2018.”

As for climate change, Wilkinson said he wasn’t sure how the weather would affect the amount of snow. “Weather on both extremes is what we’re thinking. Wet years will be wetter and dry years will be dryer.”

Wilkinson said Northern Water supports conservation methods and the Berthoud offices feature 2.5 acres of demonstration gardens to offer landscaping ideas. But he disagreed that water conservation was the answer to the water needs of population growth.

“Conservation alone will not, in any way shape or form, solve all the problems. Yes, it’s a key ingredient and our participant [municipalities] are vigorously pursuing that,” Wilkinson said. “The state water plan made it clear that our system includes storage.

“It takes 20 years, at least, to develop a water project,” Wilkinson said. “You don’t plan for tomorrow if you’re in the water purveyor business, you plan for 20 years from now.”

Watch an explanation of how water travels from the Colorado River to the Front Range using the Loveland Museum’s 3-D map of the Colorado Big-Thompson Water System.

Image: Lake Granby Dam and water spill via Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District

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Emma Scott Garden Club seeks members – The Inter


Submitted photos
Emma Scott Garden Club members gather once a month to share gardening knowledge and plan community service activities. Each July, members take a field trip to regional gardens or share in the joy of their own gardens. Here members gather at the home of club President Patricia Mayes. The 2017 annual tour, entitled ‘Tour of the Hills and Hollers of Beverly,’ included a walk through the horticultural works of art of Mayes, Vice President Barbara Heasley and local resident Kate Goodrich-Arling.

ELKINS — Any avid gardener knows that winter is just the beginning of spring and the work of an inspired gardener is a year-round obsession.

Once the clock falls back, the days shorten and nights lengthen, most gardeners have “put to bed” their gardens — the vegetable gardens tilled, perennials cut and cleaned, annual beds cleaned and prepared.

For gardeners who enjoy volunteer service within their community and learning more about horticulture and agriculture, a local garden club offers an extra opportunity to learn horticultural techniques, provide garden-related service projects and fellowship among fellow gardeners all year long.

The Emma Scott Garden Club, organized in 1949 by 11 women of Elkins, was rooted in community service and the presentation of flower shows. Originally named the Randolph County Garden Club, the club was renamed in 1974 for its second president, a 30-year member and member of the West Virginia Agricultural Hall of Fame.

The club continues to be active within the community of Elkins and surrounding area. Beautification projects include the welcome sign on U.S. 219, Elkins City Hall parking lot raised bed, the downtown Elkins planter boxes and the Elkins gateway sign.

An avid gardener’s work is never done. Winter is planning time. Pictured is Emma Scott Garden Club Vice President Barbara Heasley in her summertime garden in downtown Beverly during the annual garden tour.

Education projects include the “Saving Seeds” book with its curriculum in the local school system and the Mountain Schools youth projects. Under the guidance of member Bobbi Trimboli, the Emma Scott Garden Club helps develop and coordinate a garden-related project each month for the students at the Mountain Schools.

“The Mountain Schools project is an ambitious undertaking for our club,” said Patricia Mayes, president, at the recent November meeting. “Bobbi Trimboli has done an excellent job the past two years with this project.”

The 52-member club also maintains three Blue Star By-Way Memorials in the county, provides scholarships for the West Virginia Conservation Camp and floral wreaths for the Elkins-Randolph County Library.

Local residents are always thrilled to receive the Yard of the Month award, a project the club has spearheaded for many years.

Monthly club meetings range from social lunches with guest speakers to on-site learning locations within the regional area. Club members are encouraged to share their experiences, as was the case this week during the club’s November gathering.

“Club member Bonnie Branciaroli presented a slide presentation of her recent European trip to Spain and Portugal,” explained program committee chair, Barbara Heasley. “It was one of many programs our members share with other club members.”

Future member programs include West Virginia Make It Shine by Melodee Price in March, and the West Virginia Heritage Program and Heritage Plants in April by Katie McClane.

Other months host guest speakers at various locations. On Jan. 20 at noon Doug Starcher, designer at Tammy’s Floral, will create a European garden at the 1863 Grill Restaurant. In June Craig Stihler, wildlife biologist from the Department of Natural Resources, will talk about “The Mysterious Orchid,” and in August there will be a presentation on the role, “The Lovable Lichen,” plays in the ecosystem.

An annual club highlight is the July field trip. Each year this tour covers a different location and can involve any type of garden from immaculate, carefully designed, to heritage gardens, to native, “let them be natural” gardens, as well as vegetable and fruit gardens.

This past July members toured three gardens in the Beverly area. The “Tour of the Hills and Hollers of Beverly” included the beautifully designed, artful gardens of member Barbara Heasley in downtown Beverly, the mature, natural gardens of Kate Goodrich-Arling near Kings Run Road and the new landscaping surrounding a very old log cabin owned by club members Patricia Mayes and David Cutlip.

The original 1860s cabin found its way from Webster Springs to Files Creek and was resurrected by the DIY Network’s show cast, Barnwood Builders in 2012.

Mayes started her gardens in 2014 and is the first to admit, “I have an old house and young gardens.”

The 2018 July tour, “Find your Thrill … It’s Blueberries!” includes a trip to Floral Acres, south of Buckhannon, to learn about blueberry varieties, how they are grown and harvested.

If there’s one thing gardeners love to do, it’s sharing plants. Put May 19 on the 2018 calendar of events as a reminder to attend the club’s main fundraiser, “Food, Floral Fun V.”

Shopping for plants nurtured by “garden gurus” is fun, and the place to be on that Saturday is the basement of Davis Memorial Presbyterian Church in Elkins. The Emma Scott Garden Club’s annual fundraiser offers a generous portion of perennials divided from local gardens, as well as vegetable plants, garden items, taste treats and a variety of goods at very affordable rates – all for a good cause.

With the holidays just around the corner, the December gathering is a time to rejoice, be with friends and give blessings for community.

Members congregate at the home of B. J. McKenzie to recap the year and contribute to community. This December the club will donate to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, offering safety items that help foster families meet state of West Virginia guidelines to become eligible for or retain qualifications to meet requirements to foster children.

Contact B. J. McKenzie at 304-614-3079 for the Emma Scott Garden Club membership information.

Residents of Buckhannon, Rock Cave, Parsons and other communities may contact the Tygart Valley District of the West Virginia Garden Club ( to find the nearest club.

The Emma Scott Garden Club is a member of the West Virginia Garden Club and the National Garden Clubs Inc.

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Better start composting if you want better soil for your plants | Home … – Yakima Herald





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Garden glam: Tips to redecorate your garden for a touch of luxury

Gardens are one of your home’s most important rooms. Just like your lounge room, they can be redecorated — and it’s not just plants that make a fabulous garden.

Special features or luxury items can really make an impact. These can include sculptures, water features, large urns, huge rocks, fire pits, outdoor furniture or a collection of rare plants.

If you are really keen and have determination, you can make your own green gabion wall.

Outdoor green walls require maximum maintenance in Perth and plants will need to be replaced on a regular basis. The outside air temperature is pretty harsh on green walls, even if they are in a protected area. Choose your plants wisely and remember, green walls need watering up to three times a day in summer.

There are many examples of gabion walls around Perth but to make them look outstanding is another thing. The builder has to place each individual stone so that it fits in with others.

Basically, it’s dry stone walling and takes many, many hours and a lot of patience. Once built, however, you have it for a lifetime.

Water features are such a valuable addition in hot-climate gardens.

They have a soothing effect and make you feel cooler, just by the sight and sound of water.

Sitting and watching moving water is an immediate de-stresser, particularly in the evening when you are winding down from work.

Water features also require maintenance. Pumps and filters need cleaning, water needs to be topped up regularly and reservoirs will also need to be kept clean to alleviate problems with algae and mosquitoes.

There are many fabulous sculptures that can be placed at strategic points in the garden. When purchasing, though, bear in mind that they need to fit the theme of the garden. Is it formal or informal? Does your garden have the right space to showcase the sculpture? Is the scale right with the surrounding vegetation?

Never put a small feature in a large blank space; it loses significance.

There are all kinds of glam goodies you can add to your garden to give it something special — but it needs to be the right fit.

Plan carefully and think about how the vegetation works with the object to add another dimension to your overall theme.

A little bit of luxe is a fun and worthwhile investment that can really put your personality stamp on your patch.

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