Horticulture and landscape design department take part in Smartscape Expo

A Western Swallowtail butterfly visits the hummingbird and butterfly demonstration garden. (Shirley Smith/Lariat)

Shirley Smith

Saddleback College’s horticulture and landscape design department took part in the Laguna Beach County Water District Smartscape Expo on September 19 and 20, along with 25 other groups.

The Laguna Beach Garden Club, Master Gardeners, Ecology Center and others took part. The Wyland community mural activity booth came alive as artist Wyland came to receive an award and painted along side visitors.

The City of Laguna Beach water quality message reads, “From the sprinkler to the street-irrigation runoff is the most common prohibited discharge to the ocean.”

Water runoff from lawns and gardens carry waste, pesticides, fertilizer and other debris.

“Today I am educating people about water-wise gardening and the use of all of our products that we have here,” said  Laura Bard, 35, a horticulture and landscape design major. “And talking to them about the project, specifically getting rid of lawns and planting with more water-wise plantings.”

“The Saddleback College Landscape Designers Alumni Association is here in conjunction with Laguna Beach County Water District to demonstrate ideas and concepts for potential water-saving gardens, material, and technology,” SCLDAA president Fred Velijanian said. “To educate the public on ways to improve their residential spaces, whether it is the front yard, back yard or driveway to make those more water efficient and to prevent water runoff into the gutter and the ocean creating pollution in the environment.”

They are also doing free design consultations and have signed up several visitors to the event. Work will include tearing out lawns and putting in native plants by the alumni club; Robert Farnsworth, chairman of horticulture and landscape design department, takes, “some projects for the landscape design classes for a real life experience for the students.”

Tree of Life Nursery donated California native plants to the Saddleback College booth for sell to visitors looking for a way to help our environment. Tina Maldini, greenhouse staff member and Sharon McKeehan, landscape design major donate their time to help raise money from the plants being sold at the Saddleback horticulture booth at the event.

An estimated 25 students worked on setting up the project. The redwood decking took three hours alone.

All the materials were donated for the demonstration, but this year they were given to the college afterward, such as the redwood decking. Donors include Larry Building Materials, Soil Retention did the walls, Olson Paving donated the pavers, The California Redwood Co., Ganahl Lumber and The Laguna Beach County Water District purchased the plantings from Tree of Life Nursery.

The horticulture department hopes to implement a rain harvest in the nursery to show how it could be used to water the plants thereby saving on the college’s water bill. “With our limited rainfall, of approximately 12 inches a year, we calculate that we could capture 75,000 gallons off the roofs of our greenhouses at the college.” Farnsworth said.

The plan is to build a demonstration at the nursery, and the horticulture department is looking for grant money to implement the plan. “We have 10,000 square foot of roof.  We’d have a large cistern above ground and several overflow cisterns below ground.” continued Farnsworth.

Adding a water harvest to the school would encourage students to implement them in their landscape design businesses after graduation, especially if doing business in our drought prone area.

For more information visit:

http://www.saddleback.edu/atas/Horticulture

http://www.lbcwd.org/

http://www.wylandfoundation.org/

http://www.californianativeplants.com/

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