Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Nature Notes: NCMA Green Statement
When I went to the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) on Sunday, mostly to see the completed additional building (West Building) and surrounding landscaping, I was very happy to see tall grasses.
I love tall grass that's allowed to grow, instead of mowed, and it's so rare to see it as part of a landscape in my area, unless it's an ornamental perennial grass.
The NCMA is located on a 164 acre park which has had a variety of sections with different habitats represented. For many years the park has included areas with tall grasses and wildflowers but the landscaping directly around the museum was more formal. I didn't expect that the new landscaping directly around the new West Building galleries and East Building museum would have natural areas.
One reason I had a feeling that the tall grasses were intentional and were not going to be mowed is there were other areas around the museum with more traditional landscaping and gardens. It didn't look like they would accidentally leave large areas of tall grass while mowing other areas.
When I got home I went online to see if I could find out if they were indeed incorporating natural areas into the gardens around the museum buildings.
Sure enough I found that the native grasses which were not going to be mowed were incorporated into part of the landscape immediately around the East and West buildings as well as in the museum gardens.
The NCMA Green Statement says that the gardens will have large areas of tall native grasses to reduce mowing and irrigation.
Drought tolerant plants are being used and a 90,000 gallon cistern stores the roof water and air conditioning condensation.
Water from the cistern is not only used for irrigation but also to replenish the reflecting pools which are in the museum gardens.
To give you an idea of how fast the grasses and other plants have been growing, all of the shots except for the one directly below were taken this Sunday. The photographs above encompass the area directly surrounding the East and West museum buildings, as opposed to the large art park which I'm not covering in the post except for the pond expansion which I'll end with. The next shot is one I took at the end of February when they were beginning to be able to work on the landscaping. Amazing how much has grown in a little over two months.
I thought I'd move out toward the pond renovation for the rest of this post. The completed pond renovation is scheduled to be completed by this fall. Below are shots I took this past Saturday of where they are in the process.
Through a grant from the North Carolina clean water management fund the museum is able to rebuild a bioswale and retention pond on the site. Several bioretention zones are designed to retain storm water and are part of an overall storm water management plan that will not only meet current standards but improve water quality in the House Creek basin.
One more thing I'd like to mention is that in association with North Carolina State University, the Museum has established the Partnership for Art and Ecology, a park management and educational collaboration. Updated Note - The shot below is one of the letters in "Picture This" which I didn't realize until someone left a comment which I appreciated. I should have known that because I had seen the view from the elevator which is the only way you can see it. At the moment you'd have to see it from the air since the East museum with the glass elevator looking out over it is closed for renovations. If you are interested in reading about that work, Picture This is the eighth work described on the NCMA Art Park page here.
To visit other participants, you can go to the home of Nature Notes. Thursday is the Nature notes post day but as usual mine is early.