If you’ve visited the Gardens since the debut of our new exhibit, Origami in the Garden2, you have no doubt seen all the wonderful new sculptures. But upon your first steps onto the Welcome Corridor, you will also notice a drastic change in the plants to either side. That is because after many years of a familiar setting, the Welcome Corridor has undergone a big makeover. It has a new design, new plants, and a completely new look to enhance your garden experience.
We’ve asked the brains behind this transformation to tell us a little about it. Jason Isenberg, from REALM Environments and the Gardens’ Landscape Design and Garden Consultant, answered a few questions regarding what you can expect to see in the Welcome Corridor and why the new design was implemented.
What are the major changes made to the Welcome Corridor?
One was the relocation of existing vegetation to other locations of the garden. Another was the adjustment of topography to passively harvest valuable rainwater. We introduced pollinator attracting vegetation for birds, bees, moths, bats, and butterflies that call Tucson home. The overall palette was simplified with deliberate plant selections, which were situated in simple, elegant massings to reduce visual noise and to create a greater aesthetic impact. We also updated the irrigation lateral lines by establishing hydrozones, which is a way of configuring an irrigation system into categories based on per plant type needs. Lastly, we reconfigured the low voltage lighting based on night-sky-friendly approaches and shifted to LED bulbs for reduced energy usage.
Why did the Welcome Corridor need a change?
The vegetation had grown a bit unruly with some overgrown plants and volunteers crowding the space. Exposures had shifted the upper story canopy and many of those plants needed to be relocated. So a new, tidy aesthetic with deliberate, considered and pollinator-centric plant introductions became the focus.
Why did you choose that design?
Birds, bees, and other pollinators inspired this new design. We wanted to attract them, protect them en situ, and provide safe harbor for their all-important activities. In doing so, we also focused on material cohesion and a purposeful sense of entry.
What type of plants can one find in the new Welcome Corridor?
We planted a wide variety of plants, including, Coral Aloe, Artichoke Agave, and Barbara Karst Bougainvillea. We also planted Hop bush, White Gaura, Bull Grass, Mexican Purple Sage, Mediterranean Carpet and Yellow Mexican Bird of Paradise.
This project was made possible with grant support from the Arizona State Office of the Bureau of Land Management and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust.