In fall of 2007, the landscape architecture firm of April Philips Design Works, Inc. and the landscape construction company of Cagwin & Dorward, in conjunction with Dixie Elementary School and numerous donors and volunteers, completed a Rain Garden in the drop off loop at Dixie Elementary School in San Rafael, California. The beautification project is a demonstration garden that educates the students and community about ecology, sustainability, as well as being a case study garden to advance sustainable landscaping industry practices beyond the current status quo. We especially wish to thank the Dixie Home and School Club and the Dixie School District for their generosity and support.

Located in a 3,800 sq foot median within the school’s main entry and vehicular drop-off, the derelict looking landscape had never been developed or planted due to insufficient school funding and water conservation requirements. The design team chose to design a garden that would reflect its Mediterranean, coastal bioregion and meet the following goals: 100% zero waste, pesticide free, rely on predominantly native vegetation, use only organic soil amendments to increase permeability and water retention of the local soils. In addition, to use only local recycled and salvaged materials, total reliance on seasonal rain water instead of irrigation and to be designed and built by 100% volunteer effort in order to be economically viable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Summer Suprises at the Loop

Over the hot summer months, birds and squirrels were busy harvesting nuts and seeds. They carried acorns to the loop and buried them. With so many hiding places, the little critters could not remember that they had left two of them buried in the fertile soil at the Loop. Now that students have returned to school, you can see these little acorns have started to grow into little baby-oak trees. We welcome them and try to protect them.

On a sad note, our 6' foot tall oak tree we planted early spring does not look like it is doing well. We will watch it over the winter to see how it does but may eventually replace it with one of our new summer seedling gifts.

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