Besides enjoying a healthy, delicious, responsibly-sourced meal — which is reason enough to visit — now you have something on which to feast your eyes…a beautiful, landscaped garden. In conjunction with the Rutgers’ 250 celebration, SEBS deans Rick Ludescher and Judy Storch supported the creation of this new garden near the outdoor dining terrace. The garden changes the formerly empty space into a gently-sloping grass pathway that descends from the terrace at the IFNH building between curving beds of ornamental grasses and perennials.
Students in Holly Grace Nelson’s Planting Design class in the Department of Landscape Architecture were challenged to create a design to transform the existing lawn amphitheater into a campus gathering area. Each participating student did a design using information from the nursery to make sure that their plant selections were available and within budget. An exhibition of the proposals was attended by the students and dean Ludescher, associate dean Lisa Estler (Planning and Budget), Pat Harrity (Facilities Maintenance Services), assistant director Tony Sgro (Facilities Maintenance Services) and assistant professor Richard Alomar (Landscape Architecture), who then voted to choose the winning design.
“All semester, students had been learning how to create technical documents for planting designs,” said Nelson, assistant professor and landscape architect. “This project showed them how a drawing covered with little circles turns into a garden.” Each circle shows the spread of each plant at full maturity. Circles with 24” diameters, for example, become pots of Astilbe placed two feet apart on center in the design.
In April, students implemented the design with assistance from SEBS Facilities. They tested soil cores with Stephanie Murphy, director, Rutgers Soils Testing Lab, and amended the soil according to her specifications for optimal plant growth. The students then laid out 2,000 square feet of planting beds, removed the sod, ordered the 500 plants, laid out the design, planted, and finished by watering and mulching. The installation was a very collaborative venture.
Everyone involved then dutifully inaugurated the space with ice cream, and lemonade, while a jazz quartet played. Attendees danced, did impromptu yoga on the lawn, got creative with chalk art, while others just ‘hung out’… just what the new garden inspires you to do!