Seven students from the Design School at Arizona State University earned a silver medal at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show, one of the largest garden shows in the country, for their urban garden design.
“The theme for this year’s show is ‘Garden for a Green Earth’ and I think they achieve it,” said Kay Estey, a spokeswoman for the show. “It’s turning into a public favorite and attracting a lot of attention.”
The design incorporated ideas of sustainability, urban environment and accessibility, said Kyle Fiano, an ASU design student.
“We really looked to express what people could do in their own backyard,” Fiano said. “It doesn’t have to be really elaborate to still be aesthetically pleasing.”
By using either desert or drought resistant plants and creating places for run-off water, the garden not only requires less water, but utilizes it efficiently.
And esthetically pleasing it is, Estey said. “The colors are peaceful and calm, not jarring and without being boring.”
It’s one a handful of gardens that viewers can walk through and enjoy like a typical garden, rather than a display, Estey said.
It’s more than a garden that people can afford, it’s also one people of all ages can re-create, she said.
“If you’re an older person, the raised beds are very accessible,” Estey said.
With planter boxes, it can be easily replicated in any space; be it a rooftop or a patio, anyone can have a garden, said George Hull, the group’s professor.
“A little bit of water and a little bit of sunlight is all these need,” he said.
While Hull has had classes entered in the show for the last six years, each one has at least placed in one category every year. This year was the first for all of the students who participated and brought a mixture of junior and senior students, as well as a graduate student. ASU was only one of three colleges and universities who took part in the show.
“They usually don’t get a chance to get off paper,” Hull said about students in the landscape architecture program. For the students who take Hull’s advanced science of architecture class, the garden show gives them a chance to get a hands-on experience while still in school, an experience that has taught them a lot, Fiano said.
“We’ve learned a lot of teamwork, by taking in differing ideas and applying them,” Fiano said. “We’ve learned what it takes to make something structurally sound and learn how to make it look interesting.”
In the past, students would get job offers or leads from the show, Hull said. But as the job market shrunk in the last few years, the show became a great networking opportunity for students.
One of the other things the garden was judged on was the quality of the plants, Estey said. Despite being hauled all the way from V&P Nurseries in Gilbert, the plants looked great, she added.
Hull also works on a breeding program at the nursery, he said.
“Half of our budget had to go to travel,” Fiano said.
“One of the things that we secretly apply in consideration—these kids are just charming,” Estey said. “They’re really professional.”
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