Upcoming Improvement Projects at the Hahn

new walkway

Many of our improvement projects are designed to solve existing problems, such as drainage or circulation.  But our goal is not just to solve the problems, but rather to solve them in a creative manner.  Such is the case in the parking/entrance drive area of the Hahn Pavilion.  Here are some of the problems that we encountered there:

  • Drainage.  For some time now after every rainfall, there is standing water in the Pavilion entrance drive. 
  • Circulation.  For pedestrians to get from the parking lot to the Pavilion, they have had to walk along the roadways with no clear path to the front of the building. 
  • Excess paving.  There is an ‘extra’ driveway through the parking lot that rarely gets used but unfortunately adds to the amount of paving in the lot, therefore adding to the runoff produced by that paving. 

To solve these problems, we have proposed a new garden space that will provide a handicap accessible walkway that begins in one of the parking bays and extends into and through the garden space.  At one point, the walkway becomes a bridge that crosses over a depressed area doubling as a ‘rain garden’ intended to alleviate the drainage problem. 

This new entry garden is meant to:

  • be a ‘prelude’ to the gardens that surround the Hahn Pavilion,
  • create an accessible route for all visitors that come to the Pavilion, and,
  • solve the drainage problem in the drive.  It will be filled with plants that enjoy a bit of extra moisture from time to time as well as some ‘bog plants’ that require constant moisture. 

The cost of materials for the Entry Garden are paid for by a generous gift from Mike and Pat Hyer.  The garden is being built and installed by these classes:  

  • AT 0174/Hort 3664 - Hardscape Materials & Installation
  • Hort 3584 - Landscape Horticulture and Design Practicum:  Rain Gardens. 

Paul Chumbley and Lisa Lipsey of the Hahn staff have been working closely with the classes. 

Click here to see a short video produced in SketchUp that gives an impression of what the garden will look like once completed. 

meadow bulb plans

It’s been a great summer for our new annual beds in the Meadow Garden.  The annuals were a generous gift from Jim Monroe of Greenbrier Nurseries in Roanoke and Beckley.  This fall we will be enhancing our bulb plantings in the Meadow anticipating a big colorful spring show. 

The annual beds on Washington Street have been a big hit this past summer.  While no auto accidents have been reported on Washington Street due to passersby being distracted by the colors, the line to get pictures taken with the plants has been significant.  Probably the most stunning feature has been the performance of the giant elephant ears, Colocasia gigantea 'Thailand Giant.'   The rest of the annuals were a generous gift from Jim Monroe of Greenbrier Nurseries in Roanoke and Beckley.  His gift of bedding plants was so generous and numerous that we used the leftover annuals in many other beds throughout the garden.

annual bed plan
new walkway

As part of their class project, the Department of Horticulture course in Landscape Construction (Hort 3544) placed new pavers on the bridge.  Over time the asphalt walkway had subsided so that whenever it rained, there was standing water on the bridge for several days afterward.  New grades were set, the right amount of fill was brought in and voilà!--drainage problem solved!  And it looks great too!

The pavers on the bridge match those of the Patio Garden and the walkway connecting it to the Allee Walk.  These pavers will be the standard for new and renovated walks throughout the Garden. 

new labelsWe have ordered the first set of new plant labels that should be arriving any day now. They are made of black aluminum with silver letters.  The company we are getting them from is called Lark Labels out of Wichita, Kansas.  They are guaranteed to last the life of the plant.  Eventually all the labels in the garden will be replaced with these new ones.   A couple of weeks ago, we had a surprise delivery when a FedEx package arrived from Kansas.  Lark Labels had seen ‘Sticky Phil’ on the web and decided to send an appropriate label for him.

Installed last spring by our Landscape Construction class (Hort 3544), this new roundabout creates an open space along the Allee where several paths converge.  It is the newest roundabout in the Garden and becomes part of the standard paving pattern for new walks in the Garden.   

new labels
new labels

Along the north side of the Stream Garden, a path had been worn in the turf by frequent visitors to the water’s edge.  To alleviate the problem we asked Bobby Nance (Hort ’16), one of our undergraduates, to build a stone walkway using similar stone found along the stream’s edge.  We gave Bobby a wide berth in designing and executing the walk and steps, and the result was a creative solution to a circulation problem.  The walk was then planted with low growing herbs and perennials to blend it into the surrounding garden. 

Over the past several years, the University has been in the process of replacing almost all of the signage on campus.  These handsome signs have appeared and have made the process of finding buildings much easier.  The garden benefitted from these new signs as well, as a new sign appeared on Washington Street and one in front of the Peggy Lee Hahn Pavilion. 

Unfortunately, the Pavilion sign was placed in the same location as the previous sign that was not clearly visible from Garden Lane.  It turns out that the signs were built and installed by WestView Companies, a company from Richmond owned by VT Alums, Afton (Hort ‘03) and Melissa (Hist ‘03) Johnson.  When I told them of its undesirable location, they quickly said that they would be happy to move it at no charge.  You can watch the move on this YouTube video by clicking here.

Thanks to Afton and Melissa for the move!


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