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Horticulture Students Install Memorial Garden
Justin Snyder, Horticulture Department Head, Alamance Community College

Multiple entry points allow for easy access as well as flexible usage of the space. Plants soften the hardscapes without reducing the gardens utility at Alamance Community College Memorial Garden in Graham N.C. Prior to the installation of the garden the space was an unused grassy slope. Pavers were also laid in the existing sidewalk to visually tie the entire space together.

A waterwall features stainless steel, copper, brass and recycled EarthStone slivers. It's flanked by a stainless steel trellis covered in evergreen and deciduous vines, created by Alamance Community College welding students to serve as a focal point in the garden.

The goal of the Horticulture Technology Associate Degree program at Alamance Community College in Graham, N.C. is to prepare qualified students to enter the workforce. To help accomplish this objective we try to create as many real-world, hands-on experiences for our students as possible.

The project started after we had a couple faculty members pass away in a relatively short time frame. There had been others before and we had usually planted a tree in their honor but we felt the garden could be a more central honor and something that could take a wasted space on campus and turn it into a quiet spot of reflection and a place that would be used by both students and faculty and staff.

The individuals on campus that donated time included Justin Snyder, Carol Kawula, Chad Huggins and Laura Nisbet. Companies included Scott Sand and Stone, Grotto Hardscapes, Chandler Concrete and Earthstone.

A goal of the project was to use local and recycled products as much as possible. This was accomplished by working with local supplier Scott Stone to partner with local companies for both the retaining walls and pavers. Grotto Hardscapes/Chandler Concrete supplied the Versa-Lok Mosaic pattern that was used for the retaining walls in the patio; EarthStone Recycled Granite pavers supplied the wave pattern pavers used in the patio. All three companies partnered with the college to provide hands-on training to the class.

One such opportunity presented itself with the construction of a memorial garden on the college campus. The genesis of the project came from a desire to generate a memorial garden to honor employees who have passed away while in service to the college. The space allocated for the garden was a small area underutilized following the completion of a new administrative building on campus. The memorial garden project became a joint effort of Horticulture Technology, the grounds department, and the ACC Foundation which purchased a memorial plaque listing the 18 names of passed employees.

The horticulture department's first step was to assign landscape design students with developing designs and cost estimates for the garden. After completing a site analysis, each student created a garden he/she thought worthy of the space. Each student then had an opportunity to present their vision for the garden. A committee ultimately chose the winning design from the landscape design class.

Two classes of 15 students in the landscape construction class--all with zero experience with hardscapes--worked throughout the eight-week summer session to install the garden. It was a classic example of students learning by doing. Every step of construction--excavation, installing the hardscapes, running the outdoor lighting--was performed 100 percent by students. After the completion of the garden, the department partnered with the welding department to build and install a working water wall as the final touch to the garden.

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August 25, 2019, 5:37 am PDT

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