Our church purchased an adjoining lot on the block this winter, and, after much talk, debate, and the usual dissention, a vote of the congregation gave the go ahead to create a contemplative garden on the new property. It is about 80×100 feet. The crumbling house on the lot was removed and the dirt compacted.
Husband and I were on the “Visioning Committee” that set up the parameters for the garden design with the help of an architectural firm that came up with a landscape plan that was approved by the church council. It calls for a small worship space in the center of the garden. The worship space is located at the intersection of two, 8 feet wide concrete sidewalks that will form a cross. There will be a meandering path around the perimeter of the lot, with a few round, concrete/paver areas for benches scattered along the path. There also will be raised beds for growing vegetable for the food pantry.
The lot looks atrocious now.
There are several stumps, trees, and shrubs that need to be removed. The ground needs to be prepared for the concrete work and grass areas. The retaining wall around the edges needs to be fixed, and a handicapped ramp will be installed.
Our pastor asked me and Husband to be on the landscaping committee and choose the plants. We agreed, especially since the other two members of the committee are guys who, in former lives, were professional landscapers. They speak a language I don’t know, all about irrigation and how many yards of mulch we will need and how much crushed rock we will need for the meandering path, and the types and lengths of edgings. They want us to choose the plants and where the plants will go.
We need to find plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs that are low maintainance, that will grow to the proper heights we need, provide color for as much of the summer as possible, and make it possible to walk the meandering path and feel a sense of peace and tranquility. Every time I look at the size of the lot I start to panic. I have been reading a book called The Harmonious Garden, by Catherine Ziegler which shows lovely examples of gardens all over the US, with different color and texture combinations. Forget the New Testament. This book is my bible now!
How would you go about planning such a garden?