The landscape design students, along with others from American University and the Catholic University of America, were part of the Team Capitol DC that entered the 2013 Decathlon to design an energy-efficient, solar-powered home. The annual event is sponsored by the US Department of Energy and involves student teams from around the world.
The project -- called Harvest Home -- was to design a home for an injured war veteran suffering from PTSD. The goal of the landscape design students -- Janet Conroy, Julie Melear and Mary Sper -- was to create a peaceful and healing environment for the former serviceman, one that was designed for his health and also to reconnect him with his family and community.
The site had a limited water supply and was subject to harsh Santa Ana winds, so many native plants were used throughout the project. The design doubled the square footage of the 900 SF home by adding decks, ramps and landings.
The outdoor dining table has a water rill and herbs down the center of the table. Two vegetable gardens were incorporated, providing fresh, organic produce and engaging the homeowner in a restorative, healing activity. The edibles are planted in recycled milk crates that can be moved, depending on seasons and weather conditions.
There's also a cistern which collects rainwater from the roof, which is used, along with grey water, to irrigate the plants when necessary.
Team Capitol DC placed seventh out of 20 in the competition -- but best of all, the home was donated to a veteran through Wounded Warrior Homes, a non-profit group that assists returning veterans. Catherine Anderson, a faculty mentor and asst professor of interior design, commented that Harvest Home would not have been realized "without engineers, architects, interior designers and landscape designers coming together to create a beautiful, sustainable house."
Garden Dialogues - various locations and dates in U.S. Landscape architects discuss their projects on site. 202-483-0553
August 7, The Garden of Designer Bunny Williams, NW CT 10am-noon, Tour of Williams Gdn, Berkshire Botanical Garden, 413-298-3926 August 7, A Native Meadow: 40 Acres & 10 Yrs of Success: Salisbury, CT 1pm-3pm, Tour of Meadow Designed by Larry Weaner, Ecological Landscaping Alliance, 617-436-5838 August 8-11, Gardenwriters Assn Annual Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA August 9-10, Garden Conservancy Open Days Tours: CT, MA CT: Fairfield County; MA: Essex County
August 12, The Living Landscape, Boothbay, ME 2pm-5pm, Lecture & Book Signing, Author Rick Darke, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, 207-633-4333 August 14, Design-less Gardening: A Naturalistic Approach, Framingham, MA 10am-1pm, Workshop, Garden in the Woods, 508-877-7630 August 16, Designing with Nature's Help, Copake Falls, NY 11am-4pm, Workshop with Larry Weaner, Garden Conservancy, 845-424-6500 August 16-17 Garden Conservancy Open Days Tours: CA, NY CA: Mendocino County; NY: Columbia, Dutchess, Putnam Counties
August 21-23, Farwest Show, Portland, OR Landscape trade show, Oregon Convention Center August 22-23, Speaking of Gardening Symposium, Asheville, NC 8:30AM-4:30PM, North Carolina Arboretum, 828-665-2492 August 23, A Day in the Shade Seminar, Glencoe, IL 9am-3pm, Seminar: design & plants for shade, Chicago Botanic Garden, 847-835-5440 August 23, Garden Stewardship, Peterborough, NH 7pm, Lecture, Tovah Martin, The Garden Conservancy 845-424-6500 August 23-24, Garden Conservancy Open Days Tours: NH, VT NH: Hillsborough County; VT: Windham, Windsor Counties
August 31, Garden Conservancy Open Days Tours: CT New Haven County
Sept 25, Landscape Lecture: Eelco Hooftman, Boston, MA 7pm, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 617-278-5156
Nov 4-7, APLD Annual Conference, Orlando, FL Nov 12-15, Cities Alive: Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference, Nashville, TN
Nov 13, Landscape Lecture: Teresa Galí-Izard, Boston, MA 7pm, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, 617-278-5156 Nov 21-24, ASLA Annual Conference, Denver, CO
This is a book that every designer and homeowner has been waiting for -- residential landscapes that are gorgeous, functional, and yet nurture wildlife, deepening the connections between humans and the natural world.
As Darke explains in the preface to the book, the design of ecologically sound, broadly functional gardens that conserve resources "requires a carefully balanced mix of native and non-native plants." He adds that it's time to stop worrying about where plants come from and focus instead on "how they function in today's ecology."
In Chapter One, the authors define and explain what happens in each "layer" of wild landscapes, from the canopy and understory to the ground layer, dynamic and wet edges, meadows and grasslands, and cultural layers such as old farm fields, roads and railways, pastures -- landforms created by human intervention. And you'll definitely want to read how the authors define the term "native," -- a different take on what you might think.
In following chapters, they tackle the special relationships between plants, animals, insects, and humans and explain the vital importance of biodiversity and complex ecosystems.
So, you might ask, how can I apply these concepts in a small or large residential garden? Darke and Tallamy guide you through a process that focuses on using plants to create garden spaces, conserve and attract wildlife, and yet design truly beautiful gardens, formal or informal, that sustain life at every level.
In the back of the book, the authors have lists of plants for different regions around the country, along with ecological and landscape functions for each one. Who knew that Carpinus caroliniana (Ironwood) supports 411 species of caterpillars -- or that Rhus glabra (smooth sumac) is not only grown for its ornamental characteristics (spring flowers, fall color), but also provides food and nestings sites for birds, food for mammals and caterpillars, and cover for other wildlife.
This book shows the way to easy-to-maintain gardens that are splendidly designed for four-season interest and year-round use, yet conserve and protect our ever-precious resources.
Also, check out the websites of Darke and Tallamy for their current speaking schedule.
Not everyone is lucky enough to have a site overlooking the Hudson River, and designer Jan Johnsen decided it was perfect for a garden that was refined and naturalistic, similar to the paintings of the Hudson River School.
Johnsen's design won a merit award this year from APLD.
The property is steeply sloped, on an exposed ridge facing the Hudson River, and the client wanted a number of elements, including a pool, entertainment areas, a golf green, and formal plus informal entrances.
Johnsen renovated a stone retaining wall and transformed an unuseable slope into a stroll garden that links "rooms" on different levels. Now, there's an outdoor fireplace terrace, a garden court that's used for ping pong, and the swimming pool area.
The formal entry area shown here is a cherry tree circle with an armillary in the middle.
There's also a rock garden that's been installed on an unused outcrop and a sunset terrace.
But yes, researchers at the University of Florida report that some crape myrtles -- iconic in the south and the midatlantic -- and yes, even appearing and surviving on Cape Cod -- have been afflicted with bacterial leaf spot. It doesn't kill the trees, but the leaves eventually turn yellow and drop.
So far, the disorder has been confined to commercial nurseries, but the disease can spread in wind-driven rain, and if it does get out to residential gardens, the trees that are coveted for their brilliant blooms and trouble-free maintenance could be at risk. Florida is the country's second-largest producer of the trees, just behind Texas.
diseased leaf - Univ of FL - IFAS Research
Gary Knox, an environmental horticulture professor at the university, said he's been working with crape myrtles for a long time, and when their susceptibility to disease is increased, "it's pretty signficant." He added that aside from rain, the disease is spread by overhead irrigation systems, and he said the problem is widespread. "I think you can safely say that nearly every crape myrtle producer would have the disease at this point," he said.
The scientists suggested that growers move to drip irrigation and limited use of chemicals to contain the disease.
Some varieties of crape myrtle have so far proven highly resistant to the disease, including Natchez, Osage, Fantasy, Basham's Party Pink and Miami. Field trials suggest that Carolina Beauty, Arapaho, Tuscarora, White Chocolate, Red Rocket and Rhapsody in Pink are susceptible to the disease.
This is pretty terrible news, so keep your fingers crossed that the growers get on the problem immediately.
Not everyone has a steep front yard -- always difficult to manage -- and this Mediterranean design won a 2014 Merit Award from APLD for designer Patricia St. John, APLD, of Berkeley, CA.
One of the homeowners had polio as a child and wanted easy access to the front door. St. John designed a new front walkway with wide landings, stone retaining walls, railings, and secondary random-cut bluestone paths that permit the owners to stand on fairly level areas next the garden beds for maintenance.
The plant palette was also designed for ease ... deer-resistant and drought-tolerant as well: lavenders, rosemaries, sages, thymes, penstsemons, rock roses, and succulents, among others.
Even better, it's a west-facing hillside with views overlooking the San Francisco Bay ... sitting on the steps in the evening would be a pure delight.
I think this rose is supposed to look like 4th of July fireworks. Red and white striped is certainly appropriate, and it's a vigorous climber with canes of 12 to 14 feet that would stand out in any garden. A 1999 All-America Rose Selection, 'Fourth of July' was the first climber to make the AARS award in more than 20 years. Judge John Mattia called 'Fourth of July' "the best garden rose introduced in the last decade," and he said it's "an eye-catcher" in all parts of the country. Fragrant as well, and it re-blooms after the first flush. This firecracker was developed by Weeks Roses.