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.
(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.
Crestmont kindergarten students came to the garden recently to study birds and bird habitat. We started off by observing the robins looking for worms in the irrigated lawn. Next we learned how to use binoculars by first trying to site the bird then pulling up a handmade binoculars( two taped card board rolls) up to our eyes. Next we tried the real set of binoculars. We toured the garden listening to bird song, looking at different bird habitats and seeing if we could spot the male and female mallard that have taken up residence in our ponds. After a snack we looked at bird nests found in the garden and then worked collaboratively on our own nest in the Create with Nature zone.
The garden's yearly event, the Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Department's Awards Ceremony, happened this weekend. About 250 students, faculty, staff, friends and relatives attended the event. The weather was beautiful and the garden was in full bloom and looked fantastic for the event.
The U.C. Berkeley Conservation Resource Sciences Department holds it's alternative graduation celebration in the garden every year. We had another succesful event with cooperating weather and great views of the Golden Gate Bridge within a beautiful flowering garden.
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.
It was a perfect California spring day when speeches were given, songs were sung and messages were written in celebration of the retirement of Professor Joe McBride who has been teaching in the U.C. Berkeley Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning department for many years.
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.
Plants make their own food (sugars) through photosynthesis but they also need nutrients to grow. These nutrients/minerals come mostly from the soil. There are 16 of them. The chart lists the nutrients and highlights them on the periodic table of elements. There is a the good way to remember them. Use the mnemonic, a memory aid located at the bottom of the chart.
After getting over 6 inches of rain we decided to plant. Native plants were purchased. The group of ASLA students and LA 122 students from the plant identification class at UC Berkeley's Landscape Architecture Dept. set them out according to our planting design. A small group of students and volunteers worked on terracing an eroding hillside with cardboard to block the weeds, jute netting to hold the cardboard down and support mulch from slipping down the hill and then redwood branches from a recently downed redwood were staked in to hold the bank. We'll plant red twig dogwood, a appropriate riparian shrub, through holes cut through the mulch, netting, and cardboard. As the materials rots the dogwood will be dropping their roots into the soil and hold the creek bank from eroding.