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"Fascination" with Landscape Architecture

"Fascination," a new 16-story collection of short stories from British author William Boyd, includes "The Haunting," a ghost story that, according to Barry Didcock of the Sunday Herald, "pitches an LA-bound landscape architect into a world of mental breakdown, voracious sexual appetites … and huge handlebar moustaches. His own soul has been taken over by a spirit from a previous century and his journey to lay to rest this ghost takes him to Edinburgh and the arcane world of the Institute of Hydrodynamic Engineering."

Perhaps not an experience many LAs can relate to, but sounds entertaining! The story ends on a French golf course, but we won't give the ending away.

Boston Society of Architects
to Recognize Two LAs

The Boston Society of Architects, the largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects, will award two LAs, Marion Pressley FASLA, and Martha Schwartz, and one architect, Ann Beha, FAIA, the 2004 Women in Design Awards of Excellence November 16, 2004 during the fifth annual Women in Design Conference in Boston.

Marion Pressley, FASLA, is a principal of Pressley Associates, Inc., of Cambridge, Mass., with expertise in historic master planning and restoration, including restoration of four of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Parks.

Martha Schwartz has 25 years of experience as a landscape architect and artist and is the principal of Martha Schwartz, Inc., in Cambridge. She is an adjunct professor of landscape architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, and her interest is in new designs for the urban landscape.

New Jersey Finds More Asian Longhorn Beetles

The Asian longhorn beetle attacks many kinds of trees and has the potential to devastate North America's great eastern hardwood forests.

The Asian longhorn beetle infestation continues to expand in New Jersey with several new sites being found in Carteret and Rahway, both in the northeastern portion of the state. The first beetle was discovered in Carteret in August and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture set up a quarantine zone with restrictions on moving firewood, tree trimmings, nursery and other wood products. Tree climbers, surveyors and other specialists inspecting trees have found both adult beetles and eggs. Officials are urging people to look for signs of the pest which include large holes in trunks and branches, oval or rounded tree wounds and large piles of sawdust around tree bases.

For more information go to:

Where the Land Meets the Water

Michigan has 3,288 miles of Great Lakes shoreline fed by over 36,000 miles of rivers and streams. The state also has more than 11,000 inland lakes, 71,000 acres of sand dunes, 320 miles of high risk erosion shorelines, and 5.5 million acres of wetlands.

Balancing the use and protection of Michigan's natural resources is the challenge entrusted to the Department of Environmental Quality, Geological and Land Management Division (GLMD). Several state and federal regulations and permits apply to construction, dredging, excavation, filling, grading and vegetation removal at the land/water interface. To consolidate such permits, the GLMD developed the Joint Permit Application (JPA), available at The site provides the application form, fee schedule, rules pertaining to the project, an application instruction manual, staff contacts, resource location maps, and resource protection documents. There are also links to guidance material about water, wetlands, floodplains, hydrology, building a pond, shoreline protection and other topics.

The status of all applications received by the GLMD can be reviewed at

Terry Tempest Williams Speaks Out for Open Space

Terry Tempest Williams

Naturalist and writer, Terry Tempest Williams, opened the ASLA General Session in Salt Lake City Nevada with an emotionally charged speech advocating for open space and protecting the important connections and balance between humans and nature.

Williams' best-known book, Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, chronicles the epic rise of Great Salt Lake, the flooding of the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in 1983 and makes an extremely emotional connection to her mother's ovarian cancer diagnosis, which Williams believes was caused by radioactive fallout from nuclear tests performed in the Nevada desert in the 1950s and 60s.

In her Saturday morning speech before a packed house full of landscape architects and professionals at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Williams poetically and humbly offered her opinions on the relationships between people and the natural environment. "Space is the twin sister of time--if we have open space--then we have time. ...This partnership is holy."

Open space in nature allows time for innate conversations. "Hand on stone--patience. Hand on water--music. Hand on wind--inspiration," Williams said lyrically. "Our lack of intimacy with each other is directly connected to our lack of intimacy with the land. To disengage from the land is our own oppression."

2004 Perennial Plant of the Year

Pictum fronds grow to 18 inches and are metallic silver with hints of red and blue.

And the envelope, please. The Perennial Plant Association's (PPA) "Perennial Plant of the Year" goes to… the Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum,' a showy, low-maintenance Japanese painted fern that prefers shade and is hardy in all zones but northernmost zone 3 and the desert.

The PPA notes that among the popular garden combinations for Japanese painted fern are hosta 'Patriot,' 'ginko Craig' and Tiarella (foam flower). For something different, says the PPA, try Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans,' or mixing the fern with Carex (sedges), Carex morrowii 'Variegata' or Carex siderosticha 'Silver Sceptre.'

The fern needs compost-rich soil and does best in moist humid conditions. A well-grown plant can be separated in early spring into 3-4 divisions and replanted.

Eternal Green

A California cemetery has become the first in the nation to install artificial turf, sparking stories in the national media and drawing interest from other memorial parks. The turf is from a Las Vegas distributor and is being installed at Sunset Hills Memorial Park near Apple Valley, in the Southern California desert.

"It's been crazy," co-owner Chet Hitt told Landscape Architect & Specifier News. "We've had calls from Fox News and ABC-TV. The phone's still ringing."

Sunset Hills estimates the switch to polyurethane turf could save the cemetery $180,000 in water and maintenance over the next three years.

Representatives from at least nine cemeteries around Phoenix, Ariz. have visited to explore the option for their own facilities.

Despite the occasional joke, Hitt and others say the artificial turf looks real and is an economic, aesthetically-pleasing solution to keeping a cemetery green in an arid, desert climate where summer temperatures soar into the 100s.

"The most important thing is for a cemetery to look good at all times," Dave Hepburn, a member of the Interment Association of California, told the Victor Valley Daily Press. "A well-kept cemetery, trimmed and mowed, makes a big difference to families who've purchased their property there, and for those who are looking to."

Hitt said that Sunset Hills' turf looks real and that he's had to tell some customers that it's artificial.

"I'm not trying to be disrespectful, but if it looked terrible we wouldn't be having this conversation," owner Hitt said. "We've got to care about the customer at all times."

The phone number at Sunset Hills Memorial Park is (760) 247-0155.

Unregulated Storm Water Pollution Damages Lakes

Lack of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Support Hampering States;
Report Focuses on Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

According to a new report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), the environmental protection agencies in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin are unable to inspect "even a fraction" of the 20,000 storm water permits for industrial and construction sites in those states in order to minimize the water quality damage resulting from runoff pollution.

The report also finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is failing to provide the states with the regulatory guidance needed to curb storm water pollution.

The EIP report, Weathering the Storm: Controlling Storm Water Pollution in the Great Lakes States, details how heavy metals, bacteria, oil, debris and other pollution from construction sites, industrial lots and city streets pose a serious threat to the water quality of the Great Lakes region and the rest of the U.S.

According to the International Joint Commission's 2004 Report on Great Lakes Water Quality, major storm water-related discharges to the Great Lakes exceed 100,000 tons per year of sediment, oil, grease, metals and other contaminants. Recent state water quality assessments show that urban runoff and storm sewers alone contribute to 15 percent of impaired Great Lakes shoreline."

Despite that fact, in April 2004 federal officials decided to drop consideration of a two-year old plan to adopt technology-based pollution control measures for construction storm water dischargers. If implemented, these measures would give state and local agencies stronger and more enforceable storm water pollution standards.

"We have to prevent erosion on construction sites and keep the sediment and mud out of streams to protect Ohio's wildlife," said Keith Dimoff, Deputy Director of the Ohio Environmental Council. "Unfortunately, the Ohio EPA does not get enough funding to enforce the Clean Water Act across Ohio, so many industrial sites and other storm water problems go un-inspected."

Most storm water dischargers are regulated under the federal Clean Water Act and are required to obtain pollution permits from state oversight agencies. The vast majority of construction sites, municipalities, and industrial lots are covered under state-issued general permits or permits-by-rule, instead of site-specific individual permits.

For a full copy of the new report, go to


Only about one-half of industrial sites and one-third of construction sites comply with getting a permit. The lack of knowledge about who needs a permit means that Great Lakes states are spending precious enforcement resources simply getting sites to apply for a permit, when those resources might be better spent making sure that regulated entities are complying with their permits. In 2003, 35 out of 57, or more than 60 percent, of all storm water violation notices issued by Illinois were for failure to have a permit. In Minnesota, seven out of 11 administrative penalty orders in 2002 were for failure to have a permit.

Women Landscape Architects Honored

Martha Schwartz is principal of Martha Schwartz, Inc. in Cambridge, Mass.

Marion Pressley is principal of Pressley Associates, Inc. in Lowell, Mass.

Landscape architects Marion Pressley and Martha Schwartz were honored on Nov. 16 at the 2004 Women in Design Awards of Excellence event in Boston, Mass. Architect Ann B. Beha will share kudos at the awards luncheon, part of the fifth-annual Women in Design Conference.

This year's theme is "Leadership for Change: In the Workplace, Community and Design."

The three were chosen for bringing innovation, transformation and enhanced level of design to the profession of architecture.

Marion Pressley

Marion Pressley is known for her expertise in historic master planning and the restoration and rehabilitation of public parks and private historical properties. Pressley has been involved recently with the restoration of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society's Italianate Garden at Elm Bank and the production of a cultural landscape report for the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Mass. She has served as 2004 Boston Chapter Trustee for the ASLA.

Martha Schwartz

Landscape architect Martha Schwartz is known for her urban projects and for incorporating fine arts motifs in landscape architecture. Schwartz has taught at Radcliffe College and at the American Academy in Rome. Among her recent projects are a private residence for Sheikh Saud Al-Thani in Doha, Qatar, and a shopping mall exterior in Frankfurt, Germany.

Salt Lake City Water Measures Bear Fruit

Stephanie Duer is Water Conservation Coordinator for Salt Lake City's Department of Public Utilities.

Salt Lake City is a model when it comes to reducing water consumption without sacrificing the fresh and green. The Utah capital was one of the first big metropolitan areas in the country to institute a multi-tiered water fee schedule when it made the move in June, 2003. Water use is down 17 percent this year, versus a drop of eight percent statewide.

The fee schedule provides residents and businesses an incentive to turn faucets off and limit use. Users who exceed certain limits find themselves paying a higher rate. Salt Lake City has other rules that limit irrigation time if water supplies fall below certain levels.

Work remains to be done on another front, however. A planning ordinance on the books now specifies that the city's front yards display "continuous ground cover," a rule that has led to some instances of inspectors citing residents for xeriscaped gardens. City planners expect to update the ordinance early next year, said Stephanie Duer, Salt Lake City's water czar.

In October, Duer brought her water-wise gospel to landscape architects at this year's meeting of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Landscape architects bear a special responsibility for setting the machinery of wise water use in motion, she explained.

"Landscape architects are responsible for the designs they produce," she told Landscape Architect & Specifier News. "There are times when clients ask for elements that are inappropriate for a region. Landscape architects need to guide their client towards making more appropriate choices."

Palm Beach Property Owners
Chafe Under Tree Replacement Rule

Property owners in Palm Beach County, Fla. thought things were bad enough when thousands of trees were knocked over and destroyed when Hurricane Frances passed through town.

When the storm passed, residents knew they'd be paying thousands of dollars to have the downed trees removed. So when county officials said local development ordinances required them to replace the trees in short order, at a cost of $250 to $300 each, they were flabbergasted.

"We just spent thousands of dollars to take trees out and now they want us to spend thousands of dollars to replant them? That's ridiculous," Al Grubow of the Boca Chase homeowners' association told the Palm Beach Post. "I'll fight it."

The ruling hasn't been overturned, but residents have wrested one concession from the county. Associations and individual home owners will be allowed to replace large trees with single, less expensive juvenile trees, instead of multiple small trees or single bigger ones as the rule formerly required.

And there's one more bit of silver lining--many of the downed trees were listed as invasive under another county ordinance, and were to have been removed by 2012.

Now hundreds of the invasive melaleuca, Brazilian pepper and schefflera trees have been removed years early by the hurricane.

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June 15, 2019, 10:31 pm PDT

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