This fall the folks in Horticulture, led by Geoff Von Burg, proved once again they know more than plants by completing two important hardscape projects. The first came about when The Toby was renovated and the handicap emergency egress ramp had to be added into the existing landscape. This left a 2-3 foot grade change along the path. To prevent erosion and save as many trees as possible a beautiful stacked limestone wall was installed. This project required Geoff’s considerable skills and the handy work of several other garden staff to cut and lay the stone. The area will be planted in the spring and will make a nice transition between the building and the gardens.
The second project was in the historic Oldfields area of the IMA. When the Border Gardens were installed nearly 80 years ago the trees and shrubs were small and there was plenty of sun light thus allowing grass paths. As the gardens have matured the now large trees cast great amounts of shade – wonderful for strolling the gardens in summer but terrible for growing grass. Add to this mix some drainage problems and thankfully more foot traffic because of more visitors and things get worse. In the Southwest Border Garden some stones had been put in over 15 years ago. These were removed, a new sand base put down, and the stone re-laid. At the same time we extended the area covered by stone so nearly half the path is now paved.
Where to get stone in this time of tight budgets? Do the green thing and recycle and reuse. The area on the backside of the museum known as Hilltop has been a depository for excess stone from past building expansions or construction projects. With an edict from above to get this area cleaned up it gave us a chance to use the limestone that once was clad to the outside of the building. These large 3’x 6’slabs of limestone were cut done to various sizes and used for the path and the wall. We will also be improving paths in the Northeast Border Garden. Its paths are bluestone but again we are incorporating the reuse of materials when possible.
If you get a chance to wander the gardens take a look at the upgrades. It might even inspire you to add or improve an existing hardscape element to your garden. And you thought you would never use those pavers you pulled out of the neighbor’s trash. Here’s a little tribute to all those that helped on these two projects.
Filed under: Horticulture