Sunday, June 05, 2005
Forest Walk

The woodland garden. Posted by Hello

The community college where I work has a small arboretum tucked away on the far side of campus. The arboretum is maintained by students in the horticultural program. Over the years, students have added an herb garden, enclosed gazebos, and a waterfall. It's a gem, but because of it's remote location, I've only been by to visit a few times. The other day on the way home from work, I decided to stop for a closer look.

What immediately impressed me was the arboretum's casual style. Most of the garden beds are not lined in any way. A grass path meanders through the trees and around understory shrubs without really "going anywhere". Something about the layout of the arboretum makes it easy to walk in circles. Perhaps this is a deliberate effect--a reflection of a monastery meditative garden or a zen garden. Or perhaps they winding paths are a result of the way the arboretum has evolved over the years, with groups of students adding a yellow garden here and a hosta garden without a larger overall scheme.

One thing I really like about the arboretum is the causal woodland garden beds. The plants are mostly about texture and foliage, with a dappling of color scattered about. No one has been overly attentive to weeding in this garden. There were plenty of weeds in every bed, but they didn't detract from the aesthetics of the place. If anything, seeing a few weeds kinda took the pressure off. It's like, if they don't mind having a few weeds here, what's the big deal of a few sneak into my garden?

Lots of color. Posted by Hello

Plant collections seem to be a theme in the arboretum. There's a large hosta collection, with lots of types and textures. Virburnum seemed to be another theme. I also liked this collection of weigela.

One question I have is how they were able to keep grass from growing in the garden beds. Most of the garden beds were not edged in any way. And the garden beds weren't raised either. Yet the grass stayed in the path and out of the beds. Really, it's a mystery.


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