Durango Herald 9-30-2015
Big changes are coming to the grounds outside the Durango Public Library that will transform the space into a vibrant and interactive garden.
Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald
The Durango Botanical Society plans to expand and revamp gardens around the Durango Public Library. Plans include greater use of native plants.
Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Camilla Potter, left, and Cindy Smart, both with the Durango Botanical Society, discuss their plans for gardens at the Durango Public Library. The lawn behind them will be among the areas the society will replant to feature native plants.
Plans for gardens at the Durango Public Library include a Children’s Garden, Zen Garden, Literary Garden and amphitheater, said Cindy Smart, executive director of the Durango Botanical Society.
The Durango Botanical Society, a group of community volunteers, recently announced a master plan that will expand the existing Demonstration Garden to new gardens that surround the north and west side of the library.
The project will begin its first phase in spring 2016 with new crevice gardens on the areas along the trail north of the Demonstration Garden. The Botanical Society will even offer a workshop with Crevice Garden designer Kenton Seth on how to create gardens that do not require a lot of water.
“What’s planted here now isn’t looking as native and wonderful as it could,” said Botanical Society Executive Director Cindy Smart.
Smart founded the society in 2010, and with the help of community members, volunteers and contributions, the group was able to develop the Demonstration Garden, which can be found on the southeast corner of the library, along the Animas River Trail.
After the first phase is complete in 2016, Botanical Society members will then look to bigger projects on the grass fields to the north of the building, and along the parking lot, which Smart said will promise a whole new experience when visiting the library.
On the section that currently has concrete strips built into the small hillside, the society intends to construct an amphitheater with additional boulder seating and some plants that will offer a little enclosure.
“It’s going to expand our ability to do events outside and really bring people together,” said Sandy Irwin, director for the Durango Library. “You’ll be able to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors as well as the beauty of the library indoors.”
Irwin said when the initial Demonstration Garden opened, it transformed the library grounds. Now, with the new plans, she’s excited for the possibilities of holding small concerts, poetry readings and events library staff members haven’t even imagined yet.
“(The entire project) is a really nice addition not only to the library but to the community,” she said. “It’s really going to enhance the community feel, where people have a fuller, richer experience.”
To the immediate east of the proposed amphitheater, the organizers plan to create a Dr. Seuss-like Children’s Garden, complete with a pop-up library meant for very small children.
“The garden will have a whimsical theme that allows children to discover nature and connect that discovery to books, art and the library itself,” Smart said.
On the plot of grass that backs up to the Open Sky Wilderness Therapy and Mystic Enterprises building, Smart said there will be a blend of the traditional Zen garden – with sand elements, rock benches and a Torii Gate water feature.
“There will be a Haiku Station where visitors can write haikus and hang them in the Haiku Tree, but there will also be a station in the garden where you can exchange haikus worldwide,” Smart said.
The most labor-intensive part of the project and the last garden to be developed, Smart said, is the Literary Garden on the west side of the library, which abuts the parking lot.
There, six large garden pods will reflect authors who wrote about gardens and nature. Each will have interactive electronic features, intended to appeal to younger generations. The added features will allow users to check out books from the Durango Public Library, as well as libraries around the world.
“We are celebrating authors who celebrate gardens, and that’s the connection to the literary world,” Botanical Society board member Camilla Potter said.
Durango Botanical Society is entirely volunteer-based and depends on grants and private donations for funding. The nonprofit has secured funding for the Crevice Garden along the Animas River Trail.
However, organizers are still looking to secure the $380,000 it will take to transform the grounds outside the library. The procurement of those funds will determine when phases of the project will be complete.
You can see the new plans for the Durango Botanic Gardens by clicking on New Projects and Durango Botanic Gardens. Or click here Durango Botanic Gardens Overview
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Demonstration Garden Update
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Thank you to all that attended, we reached our goal and we have 15 new members!
Great food and we have to thank you Dave( the only member of the Durango Blue Man Group), Camilla,Theresa, Jill and everyone else who pitched in.
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