After a few more weeks working on the Commandants House garden project, we held a meeting with everyone who was involved in the project. During this meeting the changes to the design plan were discussed. Some of the plants were removed from the old plan and was replaced with plants that were a better option. For example, the yucca that was in the original design was changed to cat mint. This was because of the aesthetic look and feel for the garden. Next, the juniper that was originally proposed to be planted on the slope was removed because it could potentially catch a lot of litter or garbage in it and would be difficult to maintain. Another plant that was replaced was the holly shrub, replaced with inkberry. Reviewing each of the new plants maintenance needs was crucial because we want to ensure that the park will not have a lot of upkeep to maintain the garden, but it will always look presentable and enhance the feel of visiting this park and the Navy Yard. These substitutions are more suitable for the garden and will give the garden a different look that what is currently in the garden.
In the meeting, the future plans were also being discussed and how we can take further actions. For one, the old garden has to be removed in order for the new plants to be installed. There is still a lot of planning that needs to take place, but hopefully the removal will begin this spring. Our role in this project will continue, our next task is to source the plant material by calling nurseries and establish a budget. We also need to confirm how many of each plant that we need. Then later in the summertime, the Branching Out field team will be able to carry out the installation of the new garden design!
While working on this project, we learned a lot about plants in general. We often see and enjoy gardens in our community, but we do not always think about all the work that leads to a garden. We had to make sure that the plants that were chosen will be a good fit to the space and welcoming to park visitors. We looked at different criteria such as the plant hardiness, the growth rate, and diseases that these plants might be vulnerable to and either they require a lot of maintenance or not. It was also important to us that the new garden is welcoming and accessible to people. Now that we have experienced this process of designing a garden, we are more appreciative of the garden in our community. We are very hopeful that the new garden will be sustainable and will be a place for people to enjoy.
As we enter the next phase of this project, we will continue to post updates with photos. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!
-Linda and Innocent