Teaching Garden and Entry
The backdrop to the Teaching Garden will be a grove of small trees with associated understory and will provide a screen to the front building, which is not open to the public, helping to guide visitors to the site further back. On the road side of this space, we will plant additional trees and shrubs to maintain a buffer from the road.
As part of our design process, we pulled core samples of this area in a grid pattern to analyze the soils and create a soil profile map. Its history had been overflow parking, and our research revealed much man-made disturbance with 5"-9” of compacted gravel throughout. We will experiment with a variety of soil-building techniques from using soil-building plants to composting.
The Council Ring
With a nod to Jens Jensen, a landscape architect practicing from around the turn of the century until the 1950s who revered the native landscape, we have planned a council ring to function as an outdoor meeting space and informal musical gathering space. Jensen’s philosophy was that all participants seated at the council ring are viewed as equals, there being no front or back. We have dubbed it the circle of fifths.
The Library Garden
Sloping topography is both a challenge and design element: the result of increasing the elevation of the entry to the new library building, maintaining ground-level access to the basement, and preserving an area of wetland adjacent to the driveway. These restrictions will provide interest and allow us to showcase some of the more colorful native plants that require both moist soil and lots of sun.
Performance Hall Garden
Paper birches will provide the overstory of the garden in front of the Performance Hall and provide much needed shade and protection to the building. Bayberry and huckleberry will form the midstory and understory of this simple but seasonally interesting planting. The walk to the building entrance will showcase beautiful and diverse woodland plants using the existing canopy of yellow birch and red maple. The drainage drip line under the eaves of the building will be enhanced with additional rocks and mosses.
The Summerhouse and Patio Mosaic
A place to retreat, sit and admire the garden, summerhouses have been erected in gardens just about as long as there have been gardens. The summerhouse we envision will provide shelter from the sun or rain and be a place where visitors can obtain information about the garden. The structure will have a living, green roof, demonstrating the use of native plants in this beautiful and functional way. Both a focal point and a destination, the placement of the summerhouse will divert attention from the expansive, barren parking lot.
Next to the summerhouse will be a patio constructed out of large stone pieces, and the spaces between the pavers will provide habitat for a diverse range of plants specialized for growth in sandy or gravelly soil and harsh conditions. Plants from the seaside to mountain top will find a home here and inspire replacements for non-native ground covers typically found between pavers.
The Perimeter Trail
We will create a walking trail around the perimeter of the property that we hope one day will be linked up with trails on adjacent properties. The trail will access the more heavily forested areas of the property where we will edit the existing vegetation and add additional woodland plants to enhance the beauty and diversity of the forest. The ultimate goal for the trail is to provide wheelchair access, quiet seating areas for reflection and perhaps some artwork.
Although the existing pond is man made, it will support a host of native species that require wet feet year round and provide habitat for aquatic invertebrates and amphibians. The garden created in and around the pond will add an element of diversity and surprise to visitors using The Perimeter Trail.