Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ugly HSU Landscaping

HSU's new residence halls are lovely - if you're into Midwest business-park aesthetics. But why stop at mediocre architecture when you can install one of the ugliest, most uninspired landscaping designs ever seen?

Read last semester's Lumberjack article about faculty member Pete Haggard's disgruntlement.

I'll be looking further into this project. In the meantime let me vent about the aesthetics.

Though I have to look at "it" every day on my way to school, please note - the HSU groundskeeping staff does not decide the landscaping design process, so they are even more unfairly burdened with maintaining this monstrosity.

[These are low quality phone pics, but the image quality probably glosses over the landscaper's faults - like beer goggles. Click on them for larger views.]

Oh nice. Gravel is one of least favorite ground coverings, especially paired with asphalt (my least favorite). Gravel is also uncontainable and the most skateboard-disagreeable substance on the planet. Sprinklers in these planters ran for most of the month of November.

Dead twigs. That's what I see. When every tree you plant is the same winter deciduous species (maybe the hawthorns the Lumberjack article spoke of? I thought they were sycamores when first planted), 5 months out of the year are a barren tundra.

"These trees might escape if we don't put them in cages."
Also, what's up with HSU planning putting obstacles in every nice, wide sidewalk they develop? I'll take trees over parking meters (B Street is a joke), but the goal should be to make it easier to walk to school. 
And that lawn is yellowing and sickly. Not sure if it's over/under-watered/fertilizered - but if you must put in lawn, don't plant grass that doesn't grow (duh).

The view accompanying your walk along the upcoming Harpst St. Parking Emporium.
Look for a surprise at :15!!!! [Sorry for the motion-sick inducing camera, but you get the point]

...Culminating in this truly inspired planter box. These wilting, pathetically arranged flowers are only outdone by the garish sprinkler heads. What beauty mine eyes behold! 

Let's take a quick glance at some other parts of HSU's campus - similarly manicured, but with a less totalitarian approach.

The steps leading up to Bret Harte House. Variety! Elevation! Color! Shapes! Texture! 

 A tiny planter in front of Bret Harte House. The plants are the ground cover. Sword ferns! I'm guessing that there are more species in this 4x6 foot space than the 6-acre housing project.

One of my favorite pathways at the university - between the library and Telonicher House. Yeah, the parking lot's ugly. And I'm generally not for lawns, but look at those maples and the narrowing perspective. Walking past that white rhododendron is like running a gauntlet of sensual aroma. 

Get a clue, HSU!