18 November 2009

LiveBlog: Jim Consolloy

Today's notes may be abbreviated...

Jim Consolloy, Grounds Manager, Princeton University
Beatrix Farrand and Landscape Gardening at Princeton University

Jim Consolloy got his BS in Biology at Upsala College with an emphasis on environmental sciences and continued in Horticulture, mostly as it relates to woody plants. He worked on his masters in Horticulture at Rutgers in 1969 and 1970 before he was drafted. He worked for the State Forest Nursery, Howe Nurseries and Herman Panaceck Landscape Nurseries from 1964 to
1989 when he started as Manager of Grounds for Princeton University. He is also an ISA certified arborist and NJ Tree Expert. Having worked with many Landscape Architects over the years, he has come to appreciate the fact that they are all artists and extremely creative when it comes to painting the landscape with woody plants. What he learned from Beatrix Farrand was that she used many trades in order to design the complex landscape at Princeton University (Civil engineers, Masons, Carpenters, Iron workers and Plumbers). Her details involved the talents of all of these resources.

Originally the College of New Jersey, the Princeton campus was first being planted with specimen from Europe. Eventually the trustees moved deliberately towards American trees, particularly the Elms but also other like the White Ash.

Eventually PU grew past its 10 acre campus and needed more deign attention.

An 1895 plan (one of the first documented landscape plans of campus) shows all native plants, few of which survived. Farrand first arrived on the scene for her 1897 campus plan. By 1906 they built Lake Carnegie, the first lake built for crew.

Even though Farrand was part of the original ASLA founding group, she demanded that she be called a Landscape Gardener. Her guiding principles included: establishing nurseries for plants, working with the architect to show the buildings, creating pathways, use native plants, pick plants that flower during the academic year.

Lots of details today. While she understood the campus as a large site, Farrand designed even small details like individual copper downspouts and gutters. The campus has a 50-60' high yew.

Signature plants:
Prunus allée
3 kinds of cedars

Consolloy encourages reading many of her works. Even the plant book at Dumbarton Oaks is a great treatise on planting and design.

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