WSU CAHNRS

College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences

Department of Horticulture

 

Grass Garden, summer 2014 - photo by Caroline Pearson-Mims

Student internship project

The Grass Garden

In spring 2013, CAHNRS provided special funding for a student internship project to design and install the fourth phase of the Display Garden – the Grass Garden. Luke Vannice (’14), a WSU Landscape Architecture senior, was selected for the project.

For his internship, Vannice was responsible for developing, designing, and installing a garden of ornamental grasses in the existing empty planting beds west of the Shade Garden. A grass garden had been envisioned for the area in the original Display Garden conceptual plan (below, section “A”).

Conceptual drawing of Display Garden by Phil Waite. Click to view larger image.

Conceptual drawing of Display Garden by Phil Waite. Click to view larger image.

The long, concrete-curbed beds were once used to grow cut flowers, such as chrysanthemums and roses, in the old Horticulture greenhouses. Vannice was asked to design a grass garden with consideration for the Garden’s overall conceptual plan, existing site conditions, environmental sustainability, and its appropriateness in the urban campus landscape.

Planting beds before installation of Grass Garden - photo by Luke Vannice

Planting beds and old greenhouse walls before installation of Grass Garden – photo by Luke Vannice

Prior to planting, Vannice conducted a site inventory and analysis (below), and he worked closely with his mentors to research and select potential plants. He was challenged to utilize a relatively limited, yet interesting, plant palette to create a contemporary design that would have maximum impact within the planting space.

WSU Display Garden Site Analysis by Luke Vannice, Summer 2013. Click image for larger view.

WSU Display Garden Site Analysis by Luke Vannice, Summer 2013. Click image for larger view.

Vannice designed the planting plan using site-appropriate perennial plants and small-statured shade trees selected for their aesthetic characteristics, potential invasiveness, future maintenance considerations, and local availability. His primary goal was to select plants that would exhibit interesting characteristics in all seasons. Features such as plant shape, color, texture, motion (with wind), and flowering were considered. Vannice worked with local nurseries to obtain plants and select alternate species and cultivars, if his first choices were unavailable.

Luke Vannice plants trees in Grass Garden - photo by Caroline Pearson-Mims

Luke Vannice plants trees in Grass Garden – photo by Caroline Pearson-Mims

The Grass Garden utilizes the surrounding lawn irrigation system and requires little supplemental water. Vannice won a Crimson Award (highest honor) for his presentation summarizing his internship in Spring 2014 at the WSU Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA).

More information

HORT 399 – Professional Work Experience

CAHNRS Internship Information

Grass garden plants

(All illustrations © Luke Vannice, 2013)

Amelanchier spp. - Illustration by Luke Vannice

Amelanchier x grandiflora ‘Autumn Brilliance’ – Apple serviceberry

Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition' - Blue grama grass - illustration by Luke Vannice

Bouteloua gracilis ‘Blonde Ambition’ – Blue grama grass

 

 

Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster' - Feather reed grass - illustration by Luke Vannice

Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ – Feather reed grass

Echinacea purpurea `Rubinstern' - Purple coneflower - illustration by Luke Vannice

Echinacea purpurea `Rubinstern’ – Purple coneflower

Helictotrichon sempervirens `Saphirsprudel' - Blue oat grass - illustration by Luke Vannice

Helictotrichon sempervirens `Saphirsprudel’ – Blue oat grass

 

Hemerocallis `Apricot Sparkles' - Daylily - illustration by Luke Vannice

Hemerocallis `Apricot Sparkles’ – Daylily

 

Miscanthus sinensis `Huron Sunrise' - Maiden grass - illustration by Luke Vannice

Miscanthus sinensis `Huron Sunrise’ – Maiden grass

 

 

 

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