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Landscapers develop new, sustaintable rooftop garden
By Christine Donhardt, Special to My Life, CommercialAppeal.com
May 10, 2012
The West Tennessee Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects and BRIDGES recently united for a sustainable garden service project in recognition of Landscape Architecture Month.
The Tennessee General Assembly passed a joint resolution, brought forth by Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris of Shelby County, declaring April 2012 to be Landscape Architecture Month for the state of Tennessee. As the resolution states, landscape architects work to “preserve, protect and conserve Tennessee’s scenic beauty.” Norris added, “It is fitting that we acknowledge their contribution.”
This declaration coincides with the birthday of the founder of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted, and is in tandem with other ASLA events across the nation.
The West Tennessee Chapter celebrated Landscape Architecture Month with a service project at BRIDGES with Bridge Builders. For three weeks, local landscape architects participated in a series of activities to educate the Bridge Builders students in sustainable design and introduce them to the profession. Students helped install a redesign of the roof garden called “Becky’s Garden,” named after Becky Wilson, the driving force behind establishing Bridge Builders and the chairwoman of the capital campaign to build the BRIDGES Center. The new installation will focus on sustainable design with low-maintenance plants.
Wilson says the garden “complements the two atriums and the amphitheater on the ground floor. It softens the edges of the contemporary space and demonstrates how nature can enliven both work and play areas.”
Donations toward this project have come from BRIDGES, West TNASLA Chapter and Lichterman Nature Center.
West TNASLA Chapter chairman Henry Minor says, “We are glad to partner with BRIDGES on this project to educate young people about our profession and basic principles of landscape design and plant installation.”
In the first week, ASLA members removed salvageable plants from the roof garden for later installation. Then landscape architects repaired the drip irrigation system. Finally, they gave Bridge Builders students information about the profession and taught them some basic principles of sustainability, water conservation and environmental stewardship through the use of native plants in the landscape. These students then installed new plants for the sustainable design of the roof garden and re-mulched the planting beds.
Christine Donhardt is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects and is the senior planner for the Memphis & Shelby County Office of Sustainability.