Wrought Iron Gates
The Wilson City Council, which oversees the stadium as part of the city park system, agreed to provide $187,500 toward the estimated $532,500 cost of improvements. During a recent meeting, Councilman James Johnson III said the project is a good move because 65 to 70 percent of the cost will be paid for with outside funding.
“When I go into the stadium, I go into yesteryear,” said Councilman Donald Evans. “I do know there’s a lot of need for upfitting that stadium.”
BB&T and the Wilson County Tourism Development Authority each committed $150,000 during the next two years and the N.C. Baseball Museum, located at Fleming Stadium, plans to provide $45,000. The Wilson Tobs will also sign a 10-year lease with the city of Wilson, an agreement that’s valued at $150,000.
Mayor Bruce Rose said the project is an opportunity for the city to upgrade the stadium, which was built in 1939 and contains its original grandstand. Some recent improvements were made, including new stadium lights and ceiling fans in the grandstand.
“Aesthetically, we had to make improvements,” said Greg Suire, Wilson Tobs owner. “It will truly reenergize this facility.
“We want to make Fleming Stadium a bedrock of the center city of Wilson where we can use this facility for other things than just baseball. We need to make sure we keep Fleming Stadium and the center city vibrant and relevant.”
The chain link fence surrounding the front of the stadium will be removed and replaced with a wrought iron fence and brick pillars. New brick buildings will be added on each side of the ticket booth and a sunshield will provide a covering between the entrance and the grandstand.
The building on the right will house a new concession area, which will have a nearby seating area. Landscaping will be added to the front, as well.
The building on the left will have items from the N.C. Baseball Museum, which will be prominently displayed from windows and display cases. New restrooms will also be added. The existing baseball museum will remain in its current location, near the Wilson Tobs office at Fleming Stadium. The front display area for the museum will be a new feature anticipated to increase visitor traffic by tenfold, said Robin Hauser, director of sales and marketing for the Wilson Tobs. The area will also allow for more space for the museum, which is in need of an expansion.
“Hopefully, the museum will increase the interest of fans,” Suire said. “We want to properly present the N.C. Baseball Museum’s partnership with Fleming Stadium.”
A BB&T sign will be displayed at the entrance, along with Wilson Tobs and Fleming Stadium signs. The Wilson Visitors Center will also be advertised.
The Wilson County Tourism Development Authority supported the project because of its potential in drawing visitors to Wilson and the stadium.
“It’s a great plan and, I think, it’s worthy of our participation,” said Bowie Gray, chairman of the tourism board. “It would improve the facility tremendously. This will help the neighborhood. It will help the baseball museum as well.”
A timeline for the project has not been set but some landscaping improvements could be seen within the next several months, Suire said. Project plans, including architectural drawings, will need to be created as well as a construction contract that will be reviewed by the Wilson City Council.
The changes are anticipated to provide improvements in the Five Points neighborhood area where the stadium is located, at 300 Stadium St., Hauser said.
The improvements are also an effort to help make the stadium a location for more events throughout the year, including a training location for college baseball teams, said Thomas Webb, Wilson Tobs general manager.
“We want to make Fleming Stadium in Wilson a destination,” Webb said. “This is the start of getting away from our traditional schedule to make it year-round.”
A tipper truck was attempting to drive through the gatehouse entrance onto the green when the vehicle’s ladder became impaled on the wrought iron fascia at the top of the arch.
This was holding in place the two wrought iron gates underneath, providing stability to the whole structure.
In an attempt to disentangle itself, the truck’s movement sheared off the bearings securing the fascia and pulled down the extremely heavy fascia from its roof bearings and tore away the hinges securing the gates.
“The truck belongs to a local company, the owner of which has acknowledged responsibility,” said trustee, Cathy Taylor, who pointed out that the restoration had only been made possible by “many generous donations” from villagers and other members of the public.
“The repair work requires extra care, not only for safety reasons, but also because the gatehouse is Grade II-listed, meaning work undertaken is obliged to adhere to specific stipulations,” she said, adding that the trustees of Wonersh Church Green Trust were working to ensure that the fascia and gates were restored as soon as possible.
You gotta love the people who run the BC Home + Garden Show. They do try so hard to make things work.
This year, they came up with the idea that all the gardens would adopt a world-theme — Around the World in Eight Gardens or Where in the World are You.
Trouble is, no one told the garden designers. Or, if they did, I could see no evidence of it. There are eight major gardens occupying the centre of BC Place Stadium at the show.
I think they are supposed to give us a taste of gardens from Japan to the South Seas to India and England. Sorry, but I couldn’t tell.
They all looked kinda very West Coast BC garden to me … with the exception of the Bali garden by Beneath Your Feet Landscaping, which actually does have a tropical Indian Ocean feel to it with its Tiki-style shelter.
So when you go to the show don’t go expecting to see gardens of the world. It’s not happening.
What you will find is a collection of beautiful garden vignettes. Things like a lovely flat stone bench with a carpet of blue periwinkle underneath and large black pots eitherside filled with phormium and euphorbia. That’s the idea of John Van Kammen of Jovak Design, of a beautiful thing and it definitely scored points with me.
Yep, if I were giving the show a title it would be something like Garden Impressions or maybe Garden Dreams or Garden Sneak Peeks. That’s what you’ll find at this year’s show which runs through to Sunday.
I toured the exhibits and picked my 10 favourite things — the 10 best garden features in the show. Here they are in no particular order.
1. The 80-year-old gnarly Japanese lace leaf maple with masses of snowdrops underneath and purple hellebores planted all around. It’s my favourite thing in the whole show. You’ll find it in Bruce Hunter’s excellent Selections Nursery garden of outstanding specimens. The snowdrops, by the way, weren’t planted for the show; they were already in the tree’s rootball. The tree had to be lifted into place by a crane. If you were to buy it — and I would in a second if I had the cash — it would set you back $35,000 (installed). You’ll find some other choice specimens in this top of the line of salvaged trees, including a knockout pink dogwood and a gem of a magnolia.
2. Don’t rush to get to the floor of the show or you’ll miss two of the most exciting garden exhibits. First, when you walk in, you will come face to face with Alfred Kwan’s spectacular display of succulents.
You might hold people up but pause to savour this display. You won’t see anything like these echeveria and aeoniums anywhere else in Canada.
Next, you’ll find a delightful Doors on the World street of pocket gardens — cute little mini gardens, created by designers who obviously did get the memo on the world-theme and stuck to it.
There are six mini-gardens, all built around doorways, and ranging from a restful Cornish seaside garden to a clean-cut Japanese garden.
Best of the bunch is the “blue door” Provence garden with its vision of a cobbled patio, olive groves and lavender fields. Kudos to Rose Blamey, of WindRose Garden Space Design, and Kimberley Loewen, of Flourish Garden Design, for excellent team work.
The Persian-style charbagh (four-sectioned) paradise garden by Dana Cleaveley, of Breathing Room Designs, also got high points from me for originality and bold use of colour.
3. I am not sucking up here, but I have to say the plant colour work around our Gardener’s School is terrific this year. The blue-and-silver theme was all done by talented designer Kari Renaud, of lilydesign, and impressed me with its clean lines and repetitive rhythmic use of rows of ‘Witchita Blue’ junipers, silver lavenders and multiple pots of euphorbia, heather, nandina and grasses. The choice of a classic Acer griseum with its wonderful peeling bark at the entrance was an smart decision.
4. There’s a lot to admire in Gordon Bedford’s eclectic garden. Some will love the hot tub and fireplace, others will appreciate the clever combination of natural and fabricated stone. I loved the fact that he found a spot for an olive tree close to a lion-head wall-fountain, flanked by bamboo and under-planted with lush fatsia leaves. It took me back in an instant to some of the cute courtyard gardens I have visited.
5. Matt Vandenberg never disappoints with his gardens, but he has done something special this year: he has kept the planting elegant and simple and made bold use of solid drifts of colour. I appreciate the show of control and restraint. His row of golden yews underplanted with a variegated euphorbia is classy. I also enjoyed his uncomplicated drifts of pieris, heather, sedum, hebe, choisya and heuchera. Here is such a wealth of first-class plants presented with style and confidence.
6. The Bali-inspired garden by Sherilyn Gale and Rob Turner, of Beneath Your Feet Landscaping, is full of entertaining, engaging, fun features.
The vignette I love most is the row of three Buddha heads (one with a crown of phormiums) placed against a water-spouting black wall.
The wall was inspired by the spouting waters in the purifying pools at Bali’s 10th century Tirta Empul Temple which Gale and Turner visited recently.
But what comes across most in this stimulating and youthful display is the concept that this is a truly fun place to hangout … with water rippling over rocks, fire leaping up for drama, and a Tiki hut to languish under with a cocktail.
Plant material? The tropical feel is mainly evoked by windmill palms, giant timber bamboo, papyrus and yucca while the white flowers of sweetbox fills the air with pungent perfume and Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletime’ injects pizzazz with its fiery red blooms.
7. Rebecca van der Zalm, of Art’s Nursery, set herself quite a challenge in trying to create “an old world garden” with a timeless snowy-winter scene breaking into spring. It almost works. But what is amazing about this display is the chic use of Egyptian wrought iron railings and gates, contained within beautiful stone work. Gemstone’s Jim Paquette must take credit for this part but van der Zalm’s expertise with plants comes through with her choice of hellebores.
8. Designer Rob Spytz could steal the thunder from the Smart Reno Dream House with his artful planting in the house’s garden. The border with ribbon of narcissus at the front, backed by lime green choisya, variegated yucca and a forest of purple phormium, is a beautiful picture. As a centrepiece, he has placed a simple blue stone pot filled with cut birch logs.
9. Aquascape really wants you to notice their natural stream rushing over rocks and their pondless water feature. Both excellent. But I reckon they’re going to get a lot more attention for the simple display of three black slate-stacked jars turned into a superb stand-alone water feature. You can have this in your garden tomorrow for $3,500.
10. Not all the best things are on the show’s ground floor. Gemstone has installed a dream outdoor-kitchen garden on the concourse level. It has everything: patio, hot-tub, firepit, quality paving and stone walls. The BC Landscape and Nursery Association has also put in an impressive display next door. It’s a great place to get advice about hiring a landscaper.
The gate hung at the side entrance of the property where the Nobel Prize-winning author lived in the 1930s and wrote many of his classic works. It is believed to have been installed in 1935, when a brick privacy wall was built around the Whitehead Street home Hemingway occupied with his wife and sons.
In 1964, the property became a museum honoring the author.
The gate was replaced in 2011 with one that better protected the nearly 50 cats that reside on the property. The original was donated to Helpline, a non-profit local crisis hotline, to be auctioned for fundraising.
Cool in the tube: the terrace house stands the test of time
by Elizabeth Farrelly
The terrace house gives a whole new meaning to the idea of the London tube. London’s standout characteristic, as you trek in by taxi or train, is neither its veiled beauty nor its vile weather, though both are in play, but its countless rows of conjoined houses; mute, serried, identical.
I like London in winter. Also in recession – a city should be seen doing what it does best. But London’s loveliness, partly in defiance of these threats, is subtle and fugitive, set deep within a tough crusted carapace that is, in its way, as disciplined as a Bach cantata. The atomic particle of both the discipline and the beauty is that tube of space we call the terrace house.
It’s no accident that Sydney, too, is a terrace-house town, especially in its lovely inner reaches. But the Sydney terrace, which many consider dour and restrictive, is positively flamboyant, positively expressionistic, compared with London’s.
London is made of terraces as bread pudding is made of bread. There are raisins and custard, to entice the eating, but the basic tissue is row housing. From Bedford Square to Tufnell Park, London is the terrace house.
This wasn’t always true. Had Sydney spun off London at some other moment in history, Glebe, Surry Hills and Paddington might have comprised jut-jawed half-timbered Norman townies or semi-detached brick bungalows. As it is, Sydney’s entire centre, and increasingly its aspirational new-burbs, are also terrace-based.
It shouldn’t work. The theory of thermal building specifies lightweight, thermally responsive construction for warm, humid climates. But, having lived 20 years in Sydney terraces, I can report that they suit Sydney, if anything, better than London.
The brick terrace’s two-month thermal lag makes my terrace warm for most of the winter and cool for most of the summer. (I just have to spend February in Europe!)
This saves heating and cooling energy, makes walkable neighbourhoods (also saving fuel) and establishes a comfortable balance in the tug-of-war between the individual and the collective.
But how did this inspired device, this tube for urban living, come about? Tubes are everywhere. Guts, veins, rivers, worms, trees, tracheae, people; trains, halls, sewers, roads, tunnels and houses. The tube is one of nature’s favoured morphemes, and where nature goes, culture follows.
But history does not record the first-ever terrace house. English scholars make it Vicars’ Close in Wells, dated 1363.
But the huge preponderance of the London terrace starts, like so many things, with Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell’s trashing of the monasteries in the 1530s freed roughly a quarter of all England and Wales – including vast tracts of the City and Westminster – for handing out to the mates. In Sydney terms, this is the Obeids being gifted Macquarie and Bridge streets.
There were no planning statutes to speak of. London’s first building assize (or regulation), issued in 1189 by its first mayor, required neighbours to contribute equally to metre-thick stone party-walls between properties but there was little enforcement and, half a century on, most buildings were still timber.
As the Elizabethan stability allowed noble families to decamp to the countryside, London flooded with the new merchant classes from all over Europe. This influx, reinforced by Elizabeth’s opening of the new Royal Exchange in 1570, produced the cultural explosion of the English renaissance.
It also produced rampant inflation, with the parvenus jostling for Royal proximity and in turn generated the city-building force we now take as given: speculative development.
By 1580 development pressure was so extreme that the Queen banned all new dwellings within three miles of the city gates. The prohibition was well meant, but actually effected the endless rebuilding of existing wooden buildings, and their endless subdivision into ever-smaller apartments. London in 1665 – much like Bankstown, 2012 – was a disaster waiting to happen. Development, meanwhile, became the privilege of those who could afford the Royal licence – namely, nobles.
The Bedford Estate was amongst the first. In 1630, almost a century after the initial land-grant of 1551, Francis Russell, 4th Earl of Bedford, paid the Crown a massive £2000 before commissioning Inigo Jones to design Covent Garden on the old convent garden.
Jones copied his design from Paris’s lovely Place des Vosges. A church fronted a grand central square that was otherwise formed by four-storeyed terraces. But where the Vosges was a Royal palace (modelled in turn on Palladio’s 1542 Palazzo Thiene in Vicenza), Covent Garden was divided vertically into terrace houses for the nouveaux riches.
This brought benefits. It increased density and profit while giving relatively modest houses, shaped to English individualism (each having its own ground and sky) the collective look of a palace.
This set the model. When the worst-ever plague of 1665 was followed by the worst-ever fire, the first terrace house Act made that model universal.
An Act for the rebuilding of the City of London 1667 required all buildings to be stone or brick. It established four sizes, or rates, of terrace house, specified all party-wall thicknesses in relation to their height, and all building heights – up to six storeys – in relation to street width.
It also banned facade projections and load-bearing timber. Non-complying properties could be demolished and resumed and their owners whipped ”… till his body be bloody.” Et viola! The plain Georgian terrace.
Hence, also, the Sydney terrace, since our own first Building Act of 1837 closely replicated that two-century-old original.
The elegance of this new device was two-fold. Linking building height to both wall-thickness and street-width made the terrace easily scalable according to means. It also gave even the most modest street a collective dignity and drama that could never accrue from individual dwellings.
Of course, Sydney’s patience with Georgian stricture was never going to last. We were soon decorating our own with balconies and wrought-iron lacework that owed more to a 19th century sensibility and probably came via the terraces of New York.
Since then, we’ve also become adept – through adaptations by Alec Tzannes, Glenn Murcutt, Richard Huxley, Clinton Murray, Tone Wheeler and others – at flooding the terrace with light and space while maintaining the original street-making discipline.
The Sydney terrace, at once expressionist and cohesive, is our very own: one of the few housing forms that is unmistakably Sydney. We should treasure and refine it, as a sustainable city-making device of genius.