Installation of Witchhazel Walk on April 19, 2016 to serve as Iowa State University’s Arbor Day Planting

Witxhhazel Walk 1Witchhazel Walk 2Authors:  Kristine Neu, Brandon Miller, and Katrina Knudsen

The Graduate Student Horticulture Society (GSHS) is proud to lead Iowa State University’s Arbor Day Planting which will take place on Tuesday, April 19 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.  This event also celebrates the first year of ISU’s Tree Campus USA designation.  Over 50 graduate and undergraduate students from the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture will plant two trees and 75 shrubs along the corridor between Horticulture Hall and Osborn Drive.  This project is made possible with collaboration between GSHS, faculty in Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and staff from ISU Facilities Planning and Management.

In fall of 2015 GSHS sought out Horticulture graduate student Katrina Knudsen to draft a design for two planting beds west of Horticulture Hall to be installed by the student group.  A landscape design committee was formed to include Knudsen, along with three additional GSHS members, Brandon Miller, Kristine Neu, and Zachary Hudson.  They were joined by several department of Horticulture faculty along with Rhonda Martin and Barbara Steiner from Facilities Planning and Management.  With encouragement and financial support from FP&M, Knudsen was challenged to draft a design that encompassed the entire corridor from Horticulture Hall to Osborn Drive, a large expansion from the original proposal.

Plants selected for this project include several underrepresented species on the ISU campus.  This reflects the requests of department faculty to include plants for teaching purposes and the overall desire to diversify the species of plants utilized on campus.  Witchhazels emerged as the central theme for the design, which lead to the name of Witchhazel Walk.  Various selections of species and hybrids of Hamamelis will allow for multi seasonal ornamental appeal, and it should be noted that many of the species bloom in the cardinal and gold color spectrum.  The final design reflects the talents and abilities the Department of Horticulture’s students and was well received by all faculty and staff within the department.

Installation of the entire landscape will be a two phase project.  Leadership and logistical support is being provided from the twelve members of the Graduate Student Horticulture Society for both planting dates.  On Tuesday, April 19 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m. GSHS, the undergraduate Horticulture Club, and Dr. Julie Stevens’ Landscape Architecture students will work to install all trees and shrubs for Witchhazel Walk.  An official Arbor Day Planting proclamation will be read by a special guest at some point during the day to mark this special occasion.

On Monday, April 25 the students of Dr. Denny Schrock’s Home Horticulture course will engage in service learning by planting over 300 perennials to complete the installation of Witchhazel Walk.  GSHS members and department faculty and staff will aid the students during this project.  This is made possible thanks to generous donations from several local businesses.

GSHS would like to thank the Departments of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, and the staff of Facilities Planning and Management for all of their assistance in making this large scale installation possible.  GSHS is proud to give students, employees, and visitors of Iowa State University the opportunity to enjoy the diversity of plants and multi-season beauty that Witchhazel Walk will provide for years to come.