Page 7 spacer Botanic Garden News spacer Fall 98
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Landscape Master Plan Update
spacerBy Kim Tripp

We continue working to implement projects
recommended in the Landscape Master Plan (LMP)
as appropriate to the larger campus context of capital projects and immediate needs. This past season we were
fortunate to be able to complete several projects of
moderate scope that are key to the campus and
the Botanic Garden.

Ulmas gladra var. camperdownii
     Lanning Fountain     For many years, Lanning Fountain was a quiescent feature at the intersection of the College lower quadrangle (Burton lawn) and the Rock Garden, Systematics Garden and Conservatory landscapes. The fountain was in need of repair, and the surrounding landscape had declined. Most of the large trees around the fountain had developed irreparable flaws in their architecture, leaving them vulnerable to serious damage and blowdown in our New England winters and summer storms. The LMP called for renovation of the fountain and sculpture, and renewal of the fountain landscape.
    Working with Physical Plant and the Museum of Art, we undertook full repairs of the sculpture, fountain pool, and plumbing. The project included regrading the area to address drainage problems, reorienting and resurfacing walkways to improve pedestrian flow, and constructing the beautiful new plaza designed in the LMP to highlight the fountain and provide a functional and ornamental gathering space around the fountain. We first undertook the painful process of removing the flawed trees and planning for a new planting of shade trees that would allow for visual connections between the Conservatory landscape and the lower quadrangle.
    The Museum did a spectacular restoration of the fountain sculpture. Physical Plant did an excellent job of restructuring and refinishing the fountain infrastructure and hardscape as well as building the lovely new plaza. It was a challenge to select trees to create the new glade around the fountain. We needed plants that would grow reasonably rapidly, would provide summer shade, would have attractive bark and architecture, would harmonize with existing plantings, and, most importantly, would thrive in the site (the soils in that area are poorly drained silty clays). We chose to plant European beech trees,
Fagus sylvatica, around the fountain in keeping with the old established beech at one side of the fountain landscape.
    Funding for several of the trees was generously provided by our own graduating class of 1998, by donors who wished to designate memorial trees around the fountain, and by individuals who were enthusiastic about the project. These beeches will provide beautiful shade and, as their trunks develop over the years, will be limbed up to reveal an arc of silvery columns through which the gardens beyond can be glimpsed as one approaches the fountain plaza.
    In its short new life, the Lanning Fountain plaza has become a popular destination for students, faculty, staff and visitors to sit and stroll with the delightful sounds of the fountain in the background. We are pleased to announce completion of this latest LMP project.
     Japanese Garden
    The Japanese Garden and Tea Hut is a relatively new feature in our otherwise century-old botanic garden. The Japanese Garden was designed and built in the mid-1980s as an inspired liberal arts collaboration to provide a place for study and respite in the context of an East Asian cultural landscape. Its serene beauty and secluded location above the pond led to its becoming a much loved and visited area of the Botanic Garden over the years. It had, in fact, become loved to the point of desperation. Severe erosion, deterioration of plantings, and structural damage to fencing and walks combined to indicate a "now or never" need to repair and restore this garden feature. A particular problem was the chronic and totally inappropriate use of the slope in front of the Tea Hut as a "bike and hike" entertainment feature. You can imagine that repeated charging up and down that slope by bikers and hikers led to extreme wear and tear on the plants and ground. After studying the existing use of the site it was clear that
only a physical barrier would successfully re-educate visitors and enforce a more appropriate use of the site. As a result, a new fence line was designed using sturdier materials that would withstand longer and heavier use.
    Continuing the liberal arts collaborative precedent with which the Japanese Garden was established, the renewal project was initiated as a student Special Studies in Landscape project. Nicole Davignon AC worked in the garden during the fall semester and used

(Continued on page 8)

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