working again at the Georgia lake house. This week we're
concentrating on the "green space" or "common
area." The lots of several homes feed into and look
into this area. It has been declared "green space"
because water from the surrounding hills channels into this
space, then goes into the lake. It is a rugged area, overgrown,
some of the neighbors have been using it as a dumping ground,
even damming the flow of water in an attempt at reducing
the flow of silt into the lake. Instead of planting unnecessary,
high maintenance plants we will attempt to take advantage
of the many native plants, let people view the lake and
generally create a beautiful, park like setting.
Jim Almand is with Earth Products in Marietta, Georgia.
supplied the rock for this project. In the creek bed Jim
flats, their thickness and shape is similar to what would
occur in a dry creek bed. He chose river slicks because
of their bulk
and ability to keep sticks, leaves, etc. out of the creek
bed. Both are
reasonably uniform in size and provide a nice base on which
to walk as
well they slow down the water flow. The key point is to
slow the water
as it moves through this area. By slowing it down erosion
should be less of a problem. The path of the creek bed was
determined, then a landscape fabric was placed to block
weeds, yet allow water to drain through. There is space
between the rocks, this will allow silt or smaller debris
to fill in between the rocks. If desired some plants could
actually be planted in the creek bed cracks. Since this
area is lower, moisture will be present allowing roots to
grow. The rocks are light colored but will naturally darken
over a few months because of the tannins in the leaves.
Lichens and moss may also grow over time.
Earth Products has rocks in different colors - reds. blues
and purples -
from Arizona, for example. It is more economical to buy
rocks from your
area, it saves on shipping and fits with the environment.
Jim has used
pea gravel - some also call this river rock, in the stream.
It creates a
natural filter and helps collect silt. It also fills the
allowing standing water, which is helpful in controlling
Another rock used is called gray crab orchard. Jim chose
it because it
is thick. In the boggy area it doesn't sink and it is sandstone,
not as slippery as other stones. He spaced them as one would
walk which is about 2 and 1/2 feet apart. Again these were
placed on top of the fabric. In between the stones the area
has been mulched. The fabric keeps the mulch above ground,
keeping the area from becoming too mushy.
Bill Hagen's company Anything Under The Sun designed this
green space area. His thinking behind the design was to
keep everything natural. He created a cathedral feel by
limbing up the trees, which also increases the view in the
Bill chose to keep the natural plants and remove the weeds.
He shows us some of the saved plants. Flaming Azalea is
native to our part of the
world, it blooms towards the end of spring before the leaves
Since he wanted this tree to be a focal point he mulched
around the tree to draw our eye to the area. As well he
cleared out surrounding brush, providing the plant with
more water and nutrients, it will then
Bill points out wild ginger, it is a smaller plant, but
unusual. It is
glossy green, an evergreen and a low ground cover. A tea
could be made from this plant according to Bill. Its' scientific
name is Asarum
Hatwegii, it produces a small flower although hidden underneath
Ferns are plentiful. They are natural, they're informal
The Christmas Fern, Polystychum, is very hardy, is reasonably
tolerant and may even be present in winter with snow on
Andy Givhan grows and sells aquatic plants throughout the
southeast. His company name is Givhandy's. Andy started
in his backyard developing a wildlife habitat that required
a source of water and a birdbath wasn't enough. They turned
that into a pond and it grew from there. What started as
a hobby has become a business. According to Andy, aquatic
plants are popular and have been increasing in popularity
the past 10 years. In fact, during that time they have been
the fastest growing segment in the nursery industry. Andy
shows us some of the plants intended for this area. Umbrella
Palm, Cyperus Alternifolius, is a great bog plant. It thrives
in totally damp situations as well as dry
conditions. He has placed it next to a wall because he wanted
height to hide the wall. It will grow another foot or two
and provides a
tropical look. Andy cleared overgrown bushes, shrubs and
made a channel for the run off water to follow. The plants
that channel. He has curved the channel and built up one
side with mud, this gives an informal look and enhances
the natural beauty. Many of the bog plants can be simply
placed in the soil in the water and they will start rooting.
The Scarlet Hibiscus, Hibiscus Coccineus, or Swamp
Hibiscus will tolerate a wide range of situations. It likes
it's a flowering plant but once the flowers are spent the
pods are ornamental. It produces an abundant amount of seed,
thus they reproduce easily. It has a brilliant red flower
that attracts Hummingbirds and other insects. It will grow
to 6-8 feet tall and will continue to bush out. Andy places
it in a very shallow hole, covers the base, it should be
happy in this wet situation.
Pickerel Reed or Pickrel Rush, Pampaderia Cordata, is probably
recognized aquatic plant in our area. It is a reliable bloomer
tolerate full sun or partial shade and is a native. Some
cracking down on collecting these plants so it is safest
to buy them
from a nursery. Blue Eyed Grass is out of season right now
and into its'
dormant stage but in early spring it will be one of the
first plants to
bloom. It has 1/2 inch dark blue flowers that are a treat
It does well in shade but the flower will be a little paler
full sun the flower is darker blue, almost purple, It is
very natural looking.
People don't typically think of trees for wetland areas.
Andy has an
American Bald Cypress, Taxodium Distichum (he thinks). This
grow to as much as 100 feet tall, although in this environment
probably be much smaller. It drops its' beautiful foliage
in the fall
but will have "knees." These are what you see
coming out of the water,
they provide oxygen for the root system.
Horsetail Reed or Equisetum Hyemale is often used as a backdrop.
very vertical and is evergreen, has a flower that looks
like a little
pine cone at the top of its' stem. It is appropriate for
although versatile enough to be used in perfectly dry landscaping
Andy creates combination bog gardens, a lot of different
plants in a
small area. A homeowner could have a bog garden in an area
as small as a container. Something 10 - 15 inches across
and a couple of inches deep. They can be all by themselves
or on a deck or patio. The root systems of aquatic plants
grow quickly and that is where the filtration takes place.
The root system may be several inches thick. There are different
size roots - ranging from almost microscopic to 1/4 inch
or so. They slow down the water, take nutrients and silt
before they get into the lake. With this group of plants,
Andy plants them by simply plopping them in the mud.
One of the indications of the health of an area is the presence
different insects or animals. Andy has found a Crayfish
or Crawdad. This
is an indication that there isn't much pollution in this
they feed on material on the bottom and are constantly filtering
through their system. When working in the area Andy also
saw Salamanders and some little water snakes, which are
harmless if left alone. Some people mistake them for Water
Moccasins because these water snakes come in a wide range
of colors and patterns.
We hope you've enjoyed the show. We tried to take a wasteland
and turn it into a beautiful, outdoor area for the neighbors
to enjoy. We started with a dry creek bed, placed river
stone to slow the flow of water. We created a sitting area
using old logs and other natural aspects. Curved lines were
incorporated to provide a carefree feeling. The bog area
was enhanced with interesting plants. To accent the area
mulch was used extensively particularly around the swing
located right next to the lake. This borrows a view, makes
an enjoyable area for all and makes excellent use of a space
that had fallen into decline.
Link :: Earth
Locations :: Anything Under The Sun
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