What does it take to be an ecological gardener, beyond filling landscapes with a diverse selection of native plants? While the vast majority of our native fauna depend on plants directly or indirectly for their survival, many animals also have specific environmental needs that must also be met, as the physical environment of the garden provides shade, shelter, and living space for its residents.
Built in 1931 by Pierre S. du Pont, the Main Fountain Garden was inspired by Pierre’s passion for engineering and design, and his travels to European gardens. After years of deteriorating stonework, many fountain features were turned off—leading to limited access to the Garden since the early ‘90s. In order to save this treasure, we embarked on a major restoration project. This spring will mark the halfway point of the two-year revitalization. In this post, we will go below the surface of the Main Fountain Garden and explore some of the engineering behind the beauty.
It’s not a matter of “if” the Green Wall will get pests; it’s a matter of “when.” Longwood’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) staff battles these pests with a non-chemical approach called biological control.
“The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes. If you foolishly ignore beauty, you will soon find yourself without it. Your life will be impoverished. But if you invest in beauty, it will remain with you all the days of your life.” (Franklin Lloyd Wright)
Starting Saturday, October 9, 2010, you will be able to experience an exciting, new area of the Gardens: The East Conservatory Plaza! The East Conservatory Plaza has been in the making for over 3 years. From the beginning, we worked with the renowned, British landscape architect Kim Wilkie.
Longwood often hunts the globe for new or extraordinary plants to conserve and showcase in the Gardens. Recently, I went on a different sort of expedition—to inspect the plants for Longwood’s new East Conservatory Plaza green wall. My mission was to identify any potential pests or diseases that could threaten the new display.
Biocontainers offer an exciting opportunity for plant producers and home gardeners to become more earth friendly. Currently the majority of ornamental crops are produced in petroleum-based plastic containers. The extensive use of plastic results in a significant waste disposal problem and the plastic ends up in a landfill or hopefully gets recycled.
This year, the students came up with a new idea—sell fresh, locally grown produce to Longwood’s Terrace Restaurant. After meeting with the Terrace Restaurant Head Chef, the Restaurant Manager, and the Senior Gardener for the Idea Garden (Longwood’s Idea Garden has been providing produce to the Restaurant for several years), everyone decided that the goal was to produce high-quality and fresh, locally grown vegetables, using low-input/organic methods.
Stop by the "Frog Hollow" area, to the West of the Chimes Tower to view the turf grass trial. Although simple in scope, this 5-year study could have a dramatic eco-friendly outcome for Longwood Gardens. Currently, staff mow the turf areas about once a week during the growing season—and there are a lot of turf areas throughout Longwood Gardens! If this study proves fruitful, then Longwood could replace some of its turf with a grass from this study and drastically reduce mowing in portions of the garden. This will greatly reduce fuel consumption and mower vehicle emissions.