Students Design New Arid Garden Landscape for Nursery Entrance

The Arboretum's Urban Horticulture Team poses together before working on installing a new Arid Mediterranean Garden.

The Arboretum’s Urban Horticulture Team poses together before working on installing a new Arid Mediterranean Garden.

Since the launch of the Learning by LeadingTM (LxL) program at the UCF Arboretum in 2019, the Urban Horticulture team has been busy designing and installing new gardens in the Arboretum Park, which is the 7-acre site surrounding the Arboretum’s main office. The team’s first project, Whittier’s Walk, was a tribute to the Arboretum’s founder and original director, Dr. Hank Whittier. It is located at the entrance to the boardwalk that Dr. Whittier and his students built through the forested wetland system at the east edge of the site. This garden now has two phases completed and the third is currently in the design phase, with plans to install it in Spring 2022.

The Urban Horticulture team’s main project this semester is an Arid Mediterranean Garden, which will be the showcase garden at the entrance to our newly built nursery. This project is the final project led by Urban Horticulture Co-coordinator Samantha (Sam) Hodge. Sam is graduating this semester and although she will be missed by her team and the rest of the Arboretum family, but look forward to the great things she will accomplish as she continues her education and fulfills her desire to become a landscape architect.

The Arid Mediterranean Garden, along with several other recent garden installations have been made possible by the generous support of Baker Landscaping. Baker Landscaping graciously donated $15,000 over five years to the Arboretum to support student projects. The Baker funds have made possible the Arboretum Instagram “Hot Spot” near the entrance to the Arboretum Park and the Native Nook, a redesign of an overgrown native garden near the Arboretum office. Projects like these give our students the opportunity to work through the entire process of landscape design and implementation from the initial story board for the project through plant selection and garden layout, to the sourcing and purchasing of the plant material, to the final organization of the student volunteer event to plant the garden. After planting these new garden features, the Urban Horticulture team takes on the responsibility of the garden maintenance, which requires planning and coordination of the interns and volunteers and goes into the overall planning for sustaining the planned garden features.

The Arid Mediterranean Garden, which includes a beautiful variety of plants such as agave, yucca, cactus, succulents, and grasses, is scheduled to be planted the last week of November.  It is strategically placed at the entrance to the new nursery being planned and designed by the Greenhouse and Nursery team, and it will draw people to this area of the Arboretum Park as we continue to develop the nursery space. The nursery is a critical component of the Arboretum’s LxL program as it will allow us to continue to raise funds necessary to support our growing program and expand our reach the greater surrounding community. Stay tuned for more announcements about the development of the nursery and please come visit the Arboretum Park and check out the gardens for yourself!

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