Not Dead!

Hi everyone! My summer has been pretty busy with work and furniture painting and getting ready for study abroad (please follow my blog on study abroad, Zoe’s Abroad Adventure, for irregular updates on my abroad happenings).

Some exciting news about the rain gardens I designed and planted at the Governor’s Residence last summer… THEY ARE NOT DEAD!!!! They also aren’t quite what I had planned but live and learn. I got to visit them last weekend during the PA Governor’s Residence Block Party. It’s really cool to be able to visit them from time to time and see the Residence staff who are all superb people! Here is how things are leafing out at year one:

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Here is me standing beside one of the boards I made. Brown-eyed susans and cone flowers are in bloom behind me 🙂

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Another view of the Sun Garden

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The Shade Garden from behind

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The Shade garden from the front. It’s a bit slower-growing than the sun garden but most everything is still alive which is good enough for me at this point!

Also, they actually installed my rain barrel!!

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Art things have been coming all summer!

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Fractal Table (still for sale)

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Starry Night/travel/nature themed table!

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I finished my internship with Navarro and Wright on Wednesday so I have plenty of time to panic before I leave for Iceland 🙂

 

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Welcome Aboard the Intern-SHIP

Hello. Yes. I do in fact have a job this summer, thanks for asking. I am branching outside the world of DCNR to something new! An internship with an engineering firm. There are two landscape architects that I’m working for. The first day was pretty much like any other first day of an internship. A bunch of HR “onboarding” paperwork and then you are led around the office and introduced to all the people who’s names you will immediately forget. They all say “welcome aboard” or “glad to have you on board”. What is with all the nautical language? I think it’s funny.

It’s only the beginning of the second week so not too much is going on. I am getting to do some design concepts for some old tennis and basketball courts near an elementary school that may get turned into a little park! Very cool.

In the picture above, you can see my desk area for the summer! There’s no door or walls to enclose the space so people can walk by and see what I’m doing fairly easily. This is not great for me because my computer and I face away from where the people are walking. I’m thinking of bringing in a mirror so I can see what’s happening behind me. On the wall you can see a window that I drew that overlooks Yosemite Valley. I also have a plant on my windowsill which you probably can’t see.

In more exciting news, my “business” (if you can even call it a business) is thriving this summer! After posting my very first “Ad” on the Creative Wake facebook page (which you should really follow if you haven’t already) I got responses for actual people who want me to paint stuff for them! I guess there is some merit to advertising. One of the people who contacted me asked if I could paint part of their fence.    Their FENCE. I’ve definitely never done something like this before and have no idea what I’ve gotten myself in to but I’m very excited about this! I start on Thursday. In the meantime, I have been painting some other things:

A second Frida Kahlo-inspired shelf!

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A cool stool with leaves for my parents who are incredibly tolerant that the den is a constant mess of paint and furniture and is never used for its intended purpose.

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And finally a table my friend found in the dumpster!

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Also, I found this cool website called, Design Crowd. People who need graphic things can post their project on the website and all the graphic designers signed up with the website can make their best design and a winner is picked for the massive pile of entries. I am currently ranked #552,690 out of 627,942 designers so y’know, I have a ways to go.

Yeah, I’ve been pretty busy.

Fence update to come!

Enjoy this nice pic of my birds:2018-05-12 11.17.38.jpg

 

Second Sunday at the Governor’s Residence

Yesterday was Second Sunday at the Residence. They open up the mansion to the public and have different stands and activities for people. This month’s theme was “Creature of the Garden”. The 4H Club brought in bunnies and goats. Zoo America brought cute owls, a skunk, a snake, and a turtle! The humane society brought a dog, and some bee keeper people talked about the bees that are kept on the grounds. I was also there with my newly-painted rain barrel and informational signs about the rain gardens. Here is the PDF of the signs in case you were curious (They are also in the previous post): Gov Rain Garden Boards

My setup

Talking to awesome and very nice First Lady Mrs. Wolf about the rain garden and rain barrel!!!

Me helping kids put their handprints on the rain barrel

I also got my boards printed out at the state print shop!

Rain Gardens at the Residence: The Installation

Wednesday, August 9th

Today we excavated the first rain garden! The soil was amended with this cool thing called BIOCHAR. Basically is charcoal. Wood is burned without the presence of oxygen (a process called pyrolysis) which burns off almost everything in the wood except the carbon. Biochar has an incredibly high amount of pore space and when mixed in to the soil, helps retain nutrients and water for plant uptake! It also stays in the soil for hundreds of years. Besides biochar, we also added sand and compost to improve drainage and add nutrients to the soil. Anyway here are some pictures of dirt:

The bobcat is breaking up the clay soil, making it easier to mix with the soil amendments

Here is a close-up picture of me holding some biochar in my hands

 

Here you can see the broken up subsoil about to be mixed with the biochar, compost, and sand

After all the amendments were dumped, they were mixed together with the Bobcat, then more thoroughly rototilled into the soil.

Friday, August 11th

Today we got to actually PLANT the rain garden!!! Very exciting! After many revisions of the plant species, I finally got a plant list that was in stock! Here is the final planting plan. We only planted the larger bed today.

Also, I designed informational boards for the Residence to display during tours! Here they are: Gov Rain Garden Boards

My mom came along with me to help out. And, of course we had the assistance of the maintenance guys!

The plants have arrived!

Me holding some marginal wood ferns

Loading the plants up

Laying out the pots

Finished the pot layout!

Little bluestem eagerly waiting to be planted!

This lucky guy is about to be planted in the ground!

Planting is finished!

We finished planting around noon and had a nice lunch with the Resident’s staff. After lunch, we needed to mulch the bed. Despite the rain on the radar and clouds hanging low in the sky, my mom and I decided to stay and keep mulching while the maintenance guys had other responsibilities to tend to. To no ones surprise, it started to rain. Then it started to downpour. But my mom seemed pretty determined to finish so I wasn’t going to say anything. By the time we were done, the rain was hammering down and visibility was minimal. Also we were soaked. But at least there was a rain garden to capture all that water!

Rain Barrel Painting

The Governor’s Residence wanted me to paint a rain barrel! So I did! Here are some pictures:

 

The Residence has an event called “Second Sunday” where the grounds opens up to the public and activities happen throughout the day. The theme for August’s is “Creatures in the Garden”. I will be bringing in my rain barrel and letting kids add their hand prints to the sky and the clouds. Yeah, I’m a little nervous that they’ll mess everything up but at least I got pictures first!

ALSO!!!! You can follow my facebook page creative wake to see more pictures and video of my rain barrel and some of my other on going projects!

The Terrifying Prospect of Being an Adult

Last time we left off, I had just told you about this fantastic opportunity I had to design a rain garden for the Pennsylvania Governor’s Residence.

Those luck few people who actually read my blog will get a sneak peak of the basically finished design! OOOOOOOOOhHHHhhhhhh! (I know! What privileged information!)

Here it is:

I also did a rough rendering but I don’t really like. I guess you can see it though

So yeah, it’s going well. The only problem is, I am absolutely terrified by the fact that this thing might actually be built and people will look at it and have opinions about it. And, there is a chance, whether large or small, that it will fail spectacularly. You can say all you want about the value of failing in the learning process but the real-world implications of failure are not ones that I particularly want to experience on the first go around.

Also, last Friday I picked up the rain barrel I’m painting for the Residence. I thought it was funny the one I got had Penn State football painted on it!

*Will insert photo at later date*

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your day!