Our Marketing Director, Shannon Currey, recently spent a couple of days with landscape architects at the University of Georgia’s Landscape Planning Short Course. The course is sponsored by the University’s College of Environment + Design, and landscape architects from all over the Southeast attend.
Focus on Function and Design
Shannon was part of the two-day program. She discussed the ways grasses and sedges minimize resource use and provide solutions to site challenges. She touched on grasses and sedges for biorentention cells and bioswales, two common features in green infrastructure. The presentation also included plants for lawn alternatives, green roofs, and meadow plantings. Shannon also discussed the unique design attributes that make grasses and sedges so appealing.
The conference was held in the Georgia Center, UGA’s Hotel and Conference Center, with presentations in the auditorium. The entire visit was a great experience, and we wanted to give you some of the highlights.
New Woody Plants
When you think of Georgia horticulture, Dr. Michael Dirr comes to mind. He talked about his company, Plant Introductions, Inc., and their newest woody varieties. They’ve recently partnered with Bailey Nurseries to bring the plants to market. As always, Dr. Dirr’s talk was very animated, and his pragmatism and years of experience came though.
Green Infrastructure in Houston
Two of the talks were of particular interest for their use of green infrastructure. Matt Baumgarten, an associate with SWA Group, talked about Houston’s Bayou Greenways. This ambitous project has been in the works for 100 years, with the goal of having 60% of residents within 1.5 miles of a greenway. Using a wide pallette of plants, including grasses and sedges, Houston’s waterways are being transformed into beautiful, functional green spaces. Here are two of the projects Matt Baumgarten presented:
The other exciting green infrastructure project was also orchestrated by SWA Group. Tim Peterson, principal with the company, described Cross Creek Ranch. The developers of this planned community wanted something different. With SWA, they formed a plan to convert worn pastureland into a showplace for sustainability and sound ecology.
The plan called for a holistic approach to water management. They wanted to create robust native plant communities throughout the site and integrate water treatment into the system. Native grasses are used throughout the plantings, and residents are educated about the benefits of the project’s ecological approach.
To introduce the project, Tim showed an 11-minute video that SWA Group made about Cross Creek Ranch:
Touring the Campus
After the conference, Shannon was treated to a campus tour. Dr. Tim Smalley from the Department of Horticulture showed her the sites. It was a beautiful day, and a lovely time. Below are a few more images from the visit.