Wickham Park in Manchester, Connecticut, includes a variety of themed gardens, the newest of which is a ¾-acre sensory garden. It’s a lush and peaceful place, with distinct spaces devoted to each of the senses. These types of gardens are very beneficial for people of all ages and abilities, gently stimulating the senses and serving as an educational tool.
This garden has a large variety of plantings, and is fully wheelchair-accessible. Pergolas and gateways separate each of the spaces – I particularly like those that are covered in vines. Although I might have designed this garden somewhat differently (perhaps with other types of seating and sculptures), I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit it.
The sight garden contains colorful plants and a few with interesting shapes.
The sound garden includes running water, wind chimes, and plants with leaves that tend to rustle in the wind.
Plants with scented foliage and flowers are featured in the smell garden.
A variety of edible plants and plant parts can be found in the taste garden, including vegetables, fruits, and nuts.
Entry to the touch garden – this space features plants with various textures.
Fine and coarse textures in the touch garden
Photos by Alice Webb
Posted in Gardens, Plants, Therapeutic Gardens | Tagged edible plants, plant textures, scented plants, sensory gardens, therapeutic gardens, water features, wickham park | Leave a Comment »
As a continuation of my original post on this subject, here are some unique outdoor seats that I’ve come across (both on location and online). It’s always a pleasure to see furnishings in the landscape that are custom-designed and out of the ordinary.
Curvilinear series of stone/metal seats and bollards at the Federal Reserve Plaza in Boston – These also appear to serve as a security measure, keeping vehicles away from the building.
Temporary installation in Boston (2013) – part of a series of art benches along the Fort Point Channel
Wooden seat wall with attractive pattern in downtown Boston
Tile seating in Rio de Los Angeles State Park, California. Photo credit: Laurie Avocado
Double-sided bench designed by architect Zaha Hadid, located in the Dallas Museum of Art’s sculpture garden. Photo credit: Alfred Essa
“Tourist Trap” – temporary seat in Belfast, Maine, 2014
“The Greeter” – temporary seating in Belfast, Maine, 2014
“Stumped” – temporary seating in Belfast, Maine, 2014
All photos not credited otherwise were taken by Alice Webb.
Photos by others were obtained from Wikimedia Commons.
Posted in Site Furniture | Tagged belfast maine, benches, boston, outdoor seating, public art, sculpture, streetscapes | Leave a Comment »
In the late 1980s, the beachfront of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was vastly transformed when the 2-mile-long Wave Wall and Promenade were built, in addition to the redesign of coastal Route A1A to include planted medians and bike lanes. This streetscape improvement project was designed by EDSA, a Florida-based landscape architecture firm. I visited the beach in April, and enjoyed my walks along this promenade. I was impressed not only by the design, but also by how well it has held up over the decades.
Photos by Alice Webb
Posted in Promenades, Streetscapes | Tagged beach promenade, beaches, beachfront, fort lauderdale, promenades, streetscapes, wave wall | Leave a Comment »
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a 15-acre linear urban space in downtown Boston, sited on land where Interstate 93 was previously located (now in a tunnel below). The greenway has been criticized for not being designed cohesively; however, the space should instead be considered as a series of disparate urban parks, each with its own merits.
One of the better-conceived spaces along this route is Chinatown Park, located at the southern end of the greenway. It was designed by Carol R. Johnson Associates, a Boston-based landscape architecture firm. The park is approximately three-quarter acre in size, and includes a curvilinear path with red sculptural features, a waterfall fountain and stream, plants native to Asia, and a plaza for festivals and other activities. China’s culture, history, and natural scenery are all represented by the park’s elements.
This bold, modern gate at the north entrance of the park is a counterpoint to the ornate, traditional Chinese gate to the south (shown in later photo). Red is a very popular color in China, representing good fortune and joy.
North park entrance – The sculpture in background is entitled “Zheng He’s Mizzen Sail”. The park’s pavement pattern symbolizes the scales of a dragon.
The waterfall fountain is composed of reclaimed seawall stones, acquired from a part of the Boston Harbor where many Chinese immigrants arrived.
Recirculating stream, flowing from the waterfall fountain
The park includes Peonies and many other plants of Asian origin.
“Bamboo curtains” at southern end of serpentine walkway
Plaza at southern end of park
The traditional Chinese gate can be seen at the south end of the plaza.
Photos by Alice Webb
Posted in Parks, Plazas | Tagged bamboo, boston, chinatown park, parks, red gate, rose kennedy greenway, sculpture, waterfall fountain | Leave a Comment »
Green roofs have important environmental and economic benefits, which include reducing stormwater runoff, cooling urban air temperatures, improving air quality, and reducing energy usage in buildings. Another positive outcome that I hadn’t given much thought to, until this week, is the wildlife habitat that green roofs create. This roof (below) in Boston supports a nesting gull, standing over its brood of chicks. Who could ask for a better home, with such great views of the city and harbor?
Photo by Alice Webb
Posted in Architecture, Green Roofs | Tagged green roofs, nesting gull, shore bird habitat | Leave a Comment »
The Lincoln Road pedestrian mall in Miami Beach includes a relatively new addition: a block of water gardens that evoke Florida’s Everglades. The site was designed by the landscape architecture firm of Raymond Jungles, Inc., and construction was completed in 2010. The surfaces of the water gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement, and include many native plants such as Bald Cypress, Red Mangrove, and Pond Apple. The biomorphic shapes of the gardens and seats are juxtaposed with the bold linear pattern of the surrounding pavement, creating an interesting combination of urban and natural themes.
The gardens include a variety of plants that thrive in or near water, with an emphasis on native vegetation.
Islands in the water gardens – these ones include large Bald Cypress trees. I’m guessing that the surrounding water somehow infiltrates the soil in the islands from below.
A “dry” garden with Live Oak trees
The gardens are raised above the surrounding pavement – some more than others.
Mosaic surfacing forms bold stripes in the pavement.
Water flows over this pond edge into a drain for recirculation.
Photos by Alice Webb
Posted in Commercial Sites, Gardens, Plants, Plazas | Tagged bald cypress, biomorphic shapes, florida native plants, gardens, lincoln road mall, miami beach, pedestrian malls, plants, urban glade, water gardens | Leave a Comment »
Adjacent to the New World Center building (home of the New World Symphony) in south Miami Beach is an interesting park that was designed by the Dutch landscape architecture firm, West 8, and built though a private-public partnership. This 2.5-acre green space’s primary function is to serve as a venue for the public to watch symphony concerts, movies, and video art projected on a large blank wall of the building, all free of charge. Those events, however, take place in just one section of the park; the rest of the space mainly consists of crisscrossing walkways, long seat walls, and groves of palm trees.
I visited during a pleasant spring day on a Friday afternoon, and the park was somewhat deserted – I wonder if it gets more use on the weekends and during lunch time. I found the space to be unique and attractive in its design, but lacking in features and daytime activities that would tend to attract more people.
The park entrances are accentuated by these sculptural structures with Bougainvillea growing in the centers.
Lawn and projection wall
The park includes lots of shady areas for relaxation.
Seat walls throughout the park include attached stones – an attractive accent, but also functional, since they would tend to keep homeless people from sleeping on the walls and deter skateboarding along the edges. I don’t know if these were the intentions of the designers and client, but it makes sense to me.
Angular walkways cut through groves of palms and traverse the undulating topography, giving the park a sculptural quality.
The New World Center is seen through the trees – the lack of low vegetation allows for sight lines across most of the park.
Photos by Alice Webb
Posted in Parks | Tagged films shown outdoors, miami beach soundscape, new world center, parks, seat walls, south beach parks, wall casts | Leave a Comment »