The next part of the project will involve installing a pool at the top of the catchment area to slow incoming water and direct it south along the swale along the road and west downhill into the flower bed. Both areas are lined with drainrock and then larger tumbled round rock will be laid in on top. For the catchment pool we had to pull out one of the cotoneaster shrubs, remove the stump and then back fill with soil and drainrock.
As we were working on the rain garden/french drain project we got more material donated to us from a project at the College of Environmental Design project: Trex, a recycled plastic edging board and some drainage rock to replace the rotted existing edging. As we took the opportunity to reuse the recycled materials, we made the swale wider and deeper to hold more runoff rainwater and we are also regrading the road with the road base cut from the edge of the road.
Work by volunteers and interns continues on two projects in the garden. Soil/road base from the rain garden/french drain project has been dug out and replaced with rocks collected in the garden to capture and slow rain water to flow through into the garden beds on the slope above the lawn. Meanwhile the displaced road base is sent to the new redwood steps project in the Redwood grove to back fill the new hand hewn redwood stair risers.
Redwood steps on a trail in the redwood grove made possibly in the 70's have rotted and pose a bit of a hazardous trail. Recently three redwoods in the area died of root rot and had to be taken down. The downed trees are being hand hewn by three volunteers in the garden: Peter, Craig and Kristoffer with a draw knife to scrape the bark off and then hewing square a with Swedish broadaxe. Two of the treads are ready to put in place. They will be drilled and held in place with 1/2" metal re-bar.
We are in a drought we have been thinking of any or all ways to capture and conserve water for the garden. We intend to redirect water that flows down the driveway during a rain storm into the flower bed. In order to this and not wash out the flower bed we will construct a french drain/rain garden 1 to 2 feet deep, 2 feet wide and about 30 feet long along the road and at the top of the slope. We will redirect the runoff with sand bags into the swale lined with tumbled stones that we dug up in another part of the garden. Most french drains are constructed of stones with a perforated pipe at the bottom of the swale to redirect water somewhere. Most rain gardens are held in place by plants to filter the water. Our design will be borrowing from these two ideas. Our swale will run perpendicular to the slope and water will perk slowly through the permeable subsurface down the slope to the lawn. We have begun the project with a U.C. Berkeley Landscape Architecture undergrad student, volunteers and our interns from Albany High School EDSET program.
(In)Land Project (In)Land students from U.C.Berkeley Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Summer Program came to the garden to work on a project entitled “Revealing the Landscape”. Students paired up and chose a site in the garden that interested them and created a temporary installation with simple materials. They gave a brief presentation to a review team of professionals (landscape teachers, landscape architects and architects, and artists) with drawings and photographs along with models of their ideas, processes and finished installations.
Our managed wetland has been weeded and pruned by one of our Albany High School EDSET (Environmental Design Science Engineering and Technology) student interns. Staff, volunteers and EDSET interns have been replacing the decomposing acacia fence with a split bamboo railing to keep foot traffic off newly planted upland native grasses. along with bee and butterfly plants. We also planted some water loving willows and a new tree, Box Elder, Acer negundo to provide more diversity for the habitat. Pacific chorus frog tadpoles were spotted in the shallow pool.
The wetland restoration project has been ongoing for several years. This semester one of our Albany High School interns, Suzanne slipped on a pair of rubber boots, went into the muddy water and eradicated invasive species, and trimmed the tule and the cattails in our small managed wetland. We have been and replacing the invasive species with riparian California natives. The area is expanding into a surrounding upland native species area as well. In order to protect the area until it gets fully established we have been fencing it off with materials from the garden. At first we used branches from coppiced Acacia dealbata trees from the hillside. After several years they have become brittle and have fallen apart. We are replacing them with bamboo, Phyllostachys bambusoides, timber bamboo that has gone to seed in our and our next door neighbor's garden. With help from our 5 Albany High School EDSET (Environmental Design, Science Engineering and Technology) Interns we have put in the posts around the area. Next we will fabricate and install cross pieces to close off the area.
We are now finishing the last details of the ADA path project. We decided to keep the trail that cuts off the ADA Path toward the headhouse. A sloped trail through beds of succulents on the sunny side and ferns under the oak is connected to the concrete construction with a fan shaped redwood set of steps designed and built by staff, volunteers and students.
The steep path has been altered to go around the outcropping of illite rock just below the redwood grove. Mike, one of our staff has designed and built the path made from concrete pieces reclaimed from the disassembled parking structure near the house.