The Hereford College Arboretum project was conceived by a multi-disciplinary team of students during a multi-faceted design analysis course offered by Professor Nancy Takahashi in the spring of 2011. The goal of the project is to provide a unique sensory experience and additional educational opportunity within the college, linking the existing Mini-Farm, Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden, Observatory Hill, and the greater Hereford campus. As one part of the spring course, an initial intervention, the Woodlot Arboretum Path, was researched, designed, and constructed over the period of three weeks by the design team with the help of additional students and faculty. Further development of the Hereford College Arboretum is to include the addition of wayfinding and signage that will provide information regarding the particular names and attributes of the plants as well as suggestions for self-guided educational walks within the Hereford campus.
The recently constructed path is located just north of the Thomas Jefferson Demonstration Garden, on the western edge of the Hereford Campus, adjacent to the Observatory Hill woodland and trail system. The path focuses on species native to Observatory Hill and the region. The plants that were chosen to be introduced to the woodlot have distinct seasonal, sensory, or even edible attributes. Many also have particular and documented historical value, further linking this project with the research and educational goals of the TJ Demo Garden.
And now for the really fun stuff–the transformation!
This was the state of the woodlot four weeks ago–the day after Kate, Elizabeth, and I staked out the path.
We spent over 20 hours transplanting trees and shrubs that were within the path boundaries. Blueberry plants, chestnut oak, laurel, red maple, black locust, white pine, and even trillium found new homes along the path. It was important to us to save as many plants as possible to both preserve and amplify species diversity and to create a more defined and dense condition within the woodlot itself.
We then regraded areas along the path and created small rooms that provide moments of pause and opportunities to highlight particular species. Sticks were gathered from the woodlot to define the path.
Later, we added mulch to better define the path, prevent erosion, and to create a softer strolling surface.
Then it was nursery time! We traveled to Edible Landscaping in Afton, VA and had a blast!
We bought paw-paw (Asimina triloba), chickasaw plum (Prunus augustifolia), and wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens) here. All of these plants produce edible fruit and wintergreen leaves have also been used to make tea.
We also traveled to Ivy Nursery to pick up the rest of the plants: Virginia native wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum), wild ginger (Asarum canadense), black cohosh (Cimicefuga racimosa), and foamflower (Cymbalaria muralis).
Excited, we returned to the woodlot and spent many hours amending soils and planting. Stay tuned for pictures of the completed path–or better yet, come visit and experience it for yourself!
Kate Boles, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate, 2012
Elizabeth Farrell, Bachelor of Science in Architecture Candidate, 2011
Erica Thatcher, Master of Landscape Architecture Candidate, 2011