Thursday, April 24, 2008

#24--Last day to finish

We started first and are finishing last. For the past week there's been little but this crazy sprint to the end.

The almost completed rockery

There have been soooo many issues this week that it's hard to even recount them. The most major was the pond builder hurt his back the day before his installation. Our choice was to fill it in or build it ourselves--which I'd never done before. We built it ourselves yesterday and will finish today. I had to go to a pond supplier last night and get some additional supplies--there's a world I know little about!

Others include a tabletop that doesn't fit the base, a light pulled out of it's location for no apparent reason, wires which weren't buried by the lighting installation crew, etc. etc. etc. We'll finish the pool today, clean up and return for special events. It will be good to get back to regular work.

Here's the good news--What makes the rockery 'GREEN'...

Use of recycled materials:

  • All of the boulders were on site and recycled from the original rock garden.
  • Two architectural elements from Fro Heim’s legendary Japanese garden were found in the rock garden and recycled into the patio.
  • Fill for the garden was brought from a local site where a swimming pool was being dug, eliminating the need for that fill to be dumped.
  • All organic waste material from garden construction was taken to a local commercial organic waste recyclingcenter.
  • Pea gravel is used as mulch and does not need to be renewed annually. It also helps to keep the plant roots cooler in the hot sun.
  • Stone dust, a quarry byproduct has been used as pathway material.
  • Stone used to build the reflecting pool was reclaimed from a demolished bridge in Newark.

Reduction in energy needs of a traditional garden:

  • All materials have been sourced locally reducing the need to ship them over long distances decreasing the use of fossil fuels necessary to secure materials.
  • 90% of the plants in the garden are New Jersey grown, the remaining 10% were grown regionally.
  • Plants have been chosen that will thrive in the hot sun with low water requirements.
  • A solar panel provides energy to illuminate the garden at night powering 30 LED fixtures.

Environmentally sensitive construction techniques:

  • When building the garden, the area around the Rockery was left undisturbed. Areas of disturbance were limited to a narrow perimeter around the site.
  • Use of machinery was kept to a minimum and machines were not left running when not in use.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

#23-- Four Days and Counting

The deadline for completion of the gardens is Thursday. Today, hopefully, the pool is being installed in the patio. This week has been so stressful because every hour I spend on this project is an hour that I'm not doing other work (read paying). There's probably a 1/2 day's work to go other than the round reflecting pool.

Other issues this week have included a cracked tabletop and scheduling issues for everyone involved. Overall, the project probably took 6-7 days to build, but it's been done over a 6 week period which makes it seem like FOREVER.

The good news is solar lighting works and we're going to adjust it tonight. The bad news is that all of the pea gravel mulch has to be adjusted around the plants and it hasn't rained in 2 weeks.

Here's an image from yesterday--it really is almost done...

The rolled stone dust path before rolling and the guys working on the patio

Saturday, April 12, 2008

#22--Solar Tower of Power

Today, Michael Deo and crew installed the solar panel and battery that are going to power the lights. In other electrical news we 'found' and unmarked live electrical line while digging for trees. UGH. Here's some not so great photos from today...
The panel being hoisted into its new home.

There's got to be some kind of paradox going on here between the 'green' technology and the cigarettes...

The panel almost set in place. It's actually pretty well concealed by the stone. Some plants will be added next week.

Friday, April 11, 2008

#-21--12 days and counting

With less than two weeks to go, the major boulder work is complete and many of the plants have been purchased and placed. It is becoming a marathon of fits and starts due to the weather and trying to coordinate people to work. The solar equipment is going on top of the mound where it will be hidden from view. The rest of it will be under the still to be constructed patio. There's probably about 2-3 full days of work to go...

Partially planted, the solar tower of power--also known as 'That's a big pile of boulders!'

The nursery shorted us about 60 grasses and other plants so now I have to go on a major hunt to find substitutes. Nothing is ever easy. Here's what it looked like when we were almost done today. The planting is very slow because everything has to be tucked in here and there.

Friday, April 4, 2008

#--20 Fifteen Minutes of Fame?

Even though it's too small to read here (you might be able to click & read though), a regional bimonthly, The Black River Journal, features an article about the Mansion in May showhouse with a sidebar article about the focus on sustainability of the rockery. How cool!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

#19--Muck and Mire

We went back to work today for a bit. It was a muddy mess. I had to give Harry the dirty dog a bath immediately upon return home. There's three weeks to go and actually we need to be done in advance of that.

Yesterday, I went to a favorite perennial grower yesterday in the rain to choose some of the plants. It's odd, but when I design a project for a client I don't have any problem deciding on which plants to use, but for me--I go round and round and round. I did see and buy some great plants. Some are native, some are not. I deviated a bit from my original plan, so here's what I bought:

Ameria rubifola
Euphorbia palustris
Phlox subulata Emerald Cushion Blue
Eragrostis spectabilis
Festuca glauca 'Boulder Blue'
Teucrium hyranicum 'Purple Tails'
Salvia argentea
Aethionema coridifolium
Pycanthemum muticum
Sedums--Acre, rupestre 'Angelina', dasyphllum major, floriferum 'Weihenstepahaner Gold', 'John Creech', 'Czar's Gold', 'Vera Jameson'
Artemesia --whichever looks best at shipping
Mixed thymes
Aurinea saxitilis 'Compactum'
Veronica repens

They also had some beautiful Yuccas...I forgot the Dianthus--damn!

Here's two photos of the 2nd emerging rock pile that will have solar panel hidden from view (by virtue of height) on the top. This one is eliptical in shape and stands about 5' tall. This and a smaller circular pile will look vastly different when they're planted. I hope we have enough stone. The patio stone is arriving on Thursday. I hope it's not raining.