The internship is incorporating not only design work, but the manual labor of a garden too- watering, weeding, construction, tying steel. It is a view from both sides of the spectrum, so if you work management, you can still have the experience from the eyes of the worker, and how things should be done in the field, and can gain some insight from that view.
We’ve been working hard on the west flowering border project. Yesterday we built a ‘dummy’ arbor to see how big our finished product would be, and where it would go. Turns out, we need to go redraw it a foot shorter, and we’re going to add some different beams across the top to create a wave pattern to go along with the bed line. We have everything drawn in AutoCAD, and on paper, with a materials list, so we are really close to being ready to start building. It is coming along, and is getting exciting.
The only thing that is getting old in the internship is the focus on landscape architecture. Since the garden director is himself a landscape architect, it is difficult for him to see things from the view of a horticulturist, even though he really knows his plants (from the landscape architect’s side). The work I have been doing for my horticulture internship is to choose plants for the installations, which so far has included one bush (Clethra alnifolia), and we couldn’t use it because it didn’t meet the specifications for the collection- to be from Eurasia. I’ve tried to shadow the two main horticulture people here, Paula and Plant Bob, but so far I’ve had little success because I always end up doing something else. Today it was putting down mulch. I’m still going to try again, but I’m a little disappointed that the only ‘real’ horticulture training that is going to happen is one or two days working with these people, and I had to ask for it.
On the other hand, designing a garden for the Quapaw House is exciting, because its going to be an herb/vegetable/cut flower garden, where I get to choose all the plants, and mostly design how it should be laid out and planted. That is more of what I had in mind when I got into this internship. It’s still in the early stages, but I’ll report back with updates.
Designing a new garden has me thinking about new aspects I previously wouldn’t have considered. Such things as plants that bloom at different times, and planting for each season to have color and something happening in the garden. Also, creating screens and directing views, and hiding or accenting different areas in the garden, and creating areas of plants that will stand out to someone unfamiliar with plants, and wouldn’t normally notice a wild Ratibida sp in the middle of a parking lot.