It’s one kind of fun to design something on a computer, and quite
another to start fleshing it out on the ground. There was a last-minute
hitch when I got a call from the college ground staff saying that the
grid — which I had asked them to mark on the ground — didn’t fit within
the allotted space. It turned out that the survey drawing they had
provided at the start had been inaccurate.
That led to a mad scramble as I had to quickly redraw some pathways
and plant beds. To top it all, there was the threat of rain washing away
the grid lines overnight. In the end, when I reached the site in the
morning, the lines were visible — even though there had been a shower or
two during the night.
All this was yesterday. Today, the ground staff began removing the topsoil
from the pathways, and will transferred it to the plant beds and plant
mounds. And yes, everything is going to be done manually.
Biodiversity is all around us
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention. The morning got off to a really wonderful start, when I spotted this tiny spider on a sprinkler head. It was no more than 3-4mm in size, and I’m still trying to find out what species it is. Sadly, given that I only had my phone camera with me, I didn’t get a better shot.
This biodiversity garden for a college campus has been designed in collaboration with Ladybird Environmental Consulting. They meticulously worked out the locations and densities for the various kinds of flora to be planted. Students from the college actively participated in this exercise.
Although the area is quite tiny, the brief asked for a walking trail where students could roam through the garden, observing birds, butterflies and other lifeforms. Accordingly, the pathway meanders quite a bit. This maximises the distance that people have to walk, in order to reach the end of the trail.
The peripheral trees you see in the image above already exist. Unfortunately they are all Mast trees [Polyalthia longifolia] which are rather undesirable from the viewpoint of biodiversity. However, since we have them, we will preserve them — along with most of the flora. Other mature trees on the plot include a Mango [Mangifera indica] and a Peepal [Ficus religiosa]. Both these trees are wonderful to have and, to a great extent, they compensate for the others.
There is a minimal amount of hard paving, and all the pathways will be of compacted earth. There will also be a small bird-bath, a patch for butterflies to mud-puddle, and a bug hotel.