Sustainable landscaping coming to library park | Thestar

AUBURN – The Eckhart Public Library site redesign process began Wednesday with the planting of a tulip tree by Sanctuary Native Landscapes in Fort Wayne.

The contractors tore out the more traditional features of the property last fall. They are now being replaced with plants native to Indiana and the Midwest.

“We’re trying to create landscapes that work well and thrive on their own,” said Sean Nolan, owner and designer of Sanctuary Native Landscapes, without annual fertilizers and mulch.

“We want these landscapes to thrive and come alive for many years to come. We use these plants that Mother Nature originally created to thrive in our environment, ”said Nolan.

The design will include plants that berries support native pollinators, including monarch butterflies, to attract birds, he said. The tulip tree supports the early season pollinators with its flowers.

The new landscaping will be a tool for educating the public and young people, Nolan said.

“Every time you come it will be a little different,” said Nolan. “You will see things that you have never seen before and it will be really fascinating.”

Several native serviceberries in tree and shrub form will soon be found on the site.

“The great thing about a Serviceberry is that it offers three seasons of real, incredible interest,” said Nolan. The white flowers in spring are important for pollinators. They will give way to berries, also known as June berries, followed by orange-red foliage in autumn.

“The best thing about serviceberries are the types of birds that are attracted to and eat these berries, especially cedar waxwings,” said Nolan. “It’s not just a pretty plant. It actually serves a very important purpose. “

As part of their goal of mimicking a natural forest area in Indiana, Nolan and his assistant Justin White planted a hornbeam tree, nicknamed “Muscle Wood” for its unusual bark.

Both the hornwood and the new tulip tree will be under the park’s tallest feature, a centuries-old tulip tree. The new tulip, said Nolan, is “a gift to the next generation. … It’s more for people 50 and 100 years from now. “

The landscaping on the west side of the library park will be more formal to complement the library’s centuries-old fountain, he said. A hedge of black chokeberries adds to the British courtyard feel.

“You just need to know which plants need to be placed in the right places,” said Nolan. “With native plants you can absolutely have a formal environment.”

On the east side of the site, Nolan will use the style of the new perennial movement, “combining plants and knitting them very closely,” he said. It will create a “really cool experience for the visitor” with “a botanical garden feel,” said Nolan.

“This landscape will really invite you into the property – walk around to take a look at the different plants,” he said.

“You will see a lot of interesting plants that you have probably never seen before – beautiful colors, beautiful flowers. It won’t be hard to notice the support they are providing to our pollinators, ”he added.

“You will get all kinds of colors in the landscape here, even though all seasons of the year,” he promised.

A well-known example of the new perennial movement is the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park in Chicago, designed by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, Nolan said.

“I cannot thank the Eckhart Public Library and the Board of Directors enough for their interest and vision in creating a more sustainable landscape for their property,” said Nolan.

“What we’re doing here has real meaning. This is a statement that we support our native plants and animals as well as pollinators. … It’s a lot of fun working on this project. “

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