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Every Mile is worth two in Winter…

February 3, 2010 Tags: , , , Blog No comments

…Well, it seems that way, anyhow.  This winter feels like it has been going on for quite some time, although spring is right around the corner!  Apparently we have about six weeks left!  I am very fortunate to be in my third semester in the PG program during this time.  I rarely have to face 8 hours of cold weather each day, like some of the gardeners here… But I must say, the semester has been quite intense thus far.  Below is a list of the classes I have been taking for the past five weeks and a brief description of each…

Turfgrass Management– Study and practice the fundamental aspects of Turfgrass science including identification, propagation, fertilization, pest control, and other soil-plant relationships.

Arboriculture and Pruning– Study and practice the concepts and techniques of arboriculture, such as climbing, pruning, cabling, bracing, planting, evaluating trees for hazards, and safety. This course prepares students for the International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist Examination.

Plant Propagation– Study and practice the propagation of ornamental plants by asexual and sexual methods, including seed, cuttings, grafting, and micro-propagation.

Landscape Design and Construction– Landscape Design & Construction assists students in developing a basic framework for observing, analyzing, and creatively combining basic elements of garden design. Students learn basic construction skills needed in landscape designs by designing and then constructing a seasonal garden installation in the Gardens proper. Students also will complete construction documentation, plant procurement, and interpretive material for their display gardens.

Conservatory Plant Identification and Management– The identification, culture, and use of indoor foliage and flowering plants, and the management of the interior environment pertinent to home, garden, institutional and commercial applications. Course covers at least 150 plants grown throughout Longwood Garden’s Conservatory.

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As a part of the Landscape Design/Construction class, we are also taking part in a student project that will be installed within the ‘core’ of the Longwood Gardens proper.  The nine student in my class split up into four teams and designed four separate gardens.  Longwood has set aside four 20’x 50′ garden plots, each of equivalant size and allowed students to come up with creative ideas in which they will apply the following Spring 2010.  These gardens were ultimately designed to follow the LWG 2010 theme Fragrance.

An elevation view of our proposed planters and heights of the different plants in our borders (From the North side, facing South).

I was partnered up with my fellow classmate; Suzanne Caron.  We decided our garden theme would be ‘The Four Corners of the World’.  We split our individual garden into four recta-linear quadrants-North, South, East and West.  Each geographic location represents a certain cluster of continents; North-Europe, South-Africa, East-Asia/Australia, and West-The Americas and Canada.  Within the four sections of our garden, we gave each section a container, or group of containers which will display fragrant plants from their assigned geographic area.  The plants that will be planted in the beds will also be fragrant (most) and also serve to add color and variety to the garden space.  To separate each of the four sections, we designed plants with blue, or neutral colored foliage to represent the ocean water separating the continents (Festuca glauca ‘Elijah Blue’ and Heliotropium arborescens ‘Alba’).  Below are some pictures of our design and proposed plants used.  Another post with more details and pictures will follow!

Picture of the site BEFORE the construction crew arrived to excavate and re-design the garden layout.

This is a picture of the site during construction.  The area has been graded, topsoil amended, and the arborvitae screens that separate each of our gardens have been installed.  You can see our section of the garden below.  To reference to the design photo above; the East section of our garden is the one closest to the camera where the seating wall appears.

And this is a picture of our section still under construction from the other side.

One more picture.  The plants seen on the bank below include: Clethra alnifolia, Itea virginica, Ilex verticillata, and Magnolia virginiana.  These plants were selected because of their tolerance of wet conditions.  Because of the hill and surrounding topography of this area, moisture tends to build up towards the bottom and low-lying places.  We needed plants that would be able to absorb a good amount of moisture to reduce overly saturated soil conditions in our adjacent garden plots.