Monday, October 19, 2015

Landscaping at Believers' Chapel in Auburn NY

Last week I completed some landscaping for our new church, Believers' Chapel of Auburn. The tree in the center is a Weeping Norway Spruce. The five brilliant blue shrubs are Dwarf Globe Globe Spruce. All the plants were selected because they are supposedly deer resistant.

The goals of this spot garden were to:
  1. Attract the eye of people as they drive on a major road in Auburn
  2. Find plants that should be resistant to herds of suburban deer

Although the church building was constructed in the 1950's, Believers' Chapel has owned this facility for only three years. As we started to build a reputation in the community, many improvements were needed. Regarding the landscaping, the only plants were some very large and prickly Alberta Spruce, a cluster of daffodils, and some mature trees. Most of the foundation plants were either not planted or had been removed because of the deer.

The location of the building, 3141 E. Genesee Street Road, is in a more-affluent neighborhood where good landscaping is respected. By attracting the eye of people, we are making a subtle but substantial statement: "We are a new church, not the same as the old."

The Weeping Norway Spruce is the key plant in the design. The plant seems to suggest gentleness and humility, an important statement to the community. Our expectation is that this tree will grow fairly wide over time but remain about five feet tall.

The five Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce have a most amazing color. Contrast is key to good color selection – the brilliant blue is a year-round attraction that should not be easily forgotten. In the early years we should be able to maintain its shape through pruning; as the Weeping Norway Spruce grows, we will probably have to move the "blues" away from that tree.

Red Chrysanthemum and purple-leafed Barberry add contrast to the Globe Spruce. They help draw the eye to the blue spotlight. In the spring and summer months, other annuals can replace the effect of the Chrysanthemums.

Not visible in the photo are three Honeysuckle vines. These are the 'GlobeFlame' Honeysuckles which will grow over a trellis near the entrance. As mentioned in my A Garden of Love book, the Honeysuckle Vine heralds a message of peace to all who enter.

The last landscaping item in this fall 2015 effort was to remove many lower branches from a King Crimson Maple. While I like this tree, its massive shape hid much of the church building from view. Now that they have been removed, the dominant effect is the church building and not this tree. The primary effect from cutting these branches is that it adds more sunlight to this spot garden.

Next year's efforts should be to plant landscaping along the side of the church that faces the road. This too should add more softness to the otherwise cold-looking building. At that time we can also see what plants survived the deer browsing during the winter.