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New Look Invigorates Stone Cottage Garden
Native Plant Center at Westchester County Community College, Valhalla, N.Y.

By Carol Capobianco, Director, The Native Plant Center


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In addition to the pro bono design work by landscape architect Ken Uhle from the Westchester County Parks Department, in-kind support was also received in the form of construction specifications by a licensed planner, removal rescue (for reuse elsewhere) of plants, and wall repairs and installation of plumbing and electric by Westchester Community College's Physical Plant department for the Native Plant Center in Valhalla, New York. Artist Domenic Belli created a steel arbor to showcase native vines. The project contractor, Manzer's Landscape and Design, worked for four months with calls, meetings, and the patience necessary to build the job.


The Native Plant Center at Westchester County Community College in Valhalla, New York, was founded in 1998 to educate people about the environmental necessity, economic value, and natural beauty of the region's native plants.

The teaching garden behind the center's headquarters was given a new look by landscape architect Ken Uhle, RLA, ASLA, from the Westchester County Parks Department. Uhle, who also worked as a project manager throughout the construction and installation process, created the design pro-bono.

What was once a series of themed beds is now a single, cohesive garden that uses native plants in familiar elements such as a perennial bed, shrub border, and water feature. The lawn was replaced with shrubs and groundcovers to illustrate sustainable gardening.

A main attraction is the renovation of the central bed to formally showcase natives. Among the other highlights is the widening of bluestone paths to make them ADA accessible, extra seating, and an arbor and water garden for native vines and native water-loving plants.

The garden's location at a hub of the campus provides an opportunity to feature the benefits of native plants.

The more than 800 new plants throughout the garden represent 58 species and cultivars, and include species taught in the college's Go Native U classes.

The center received a grant of $20,200 from the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust toward the creation of the garden.



As seen in LASN magazine, November 2017, Stewardship.






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