You may have heard the terms sustainable gardening or sustainable landscaping being talked about lately. So…. what are sustainable landscapes? It is the idea and implementation of building a landscaped environment which is in harmony with the local climate and soil structure. They use appropriate designs that are functional, visually pleasing, friendly to the environment, cost effective, and have maintainable areas that require minimal resource input as possible; such as time and labor, fertilizer, pesticides, water.
Creating sustainable landscapes
Here at Peninsula College, we are trying to create and maintain many self-sustaining areas. Some of the ways we do this is by using composted mulch materials, such as leaves, grass clippings, bark and saw shavings with organic fertilizers. These composted materials, when incorporated into the soil, will improve the soil structure, the permeability, the aeration, drainage, nutrients, and healthy organisms.
Mulching & Composting
We take a proactive attitude when it comes to sustainable landscapes. Our landscape crew makes a big difference in the way the campus looks today. Our student crew members not only work very hard, but in the process, they receive on the job training and education as it pertains to landscapes. With their invaluable help, we are making this campus a sustainable landscape environment for all to enjoy.
We continue to look for ways to be even friendlier to our environment and to use sustainable materials in the overall landscape. We use all mechanical means possible to keep the soil weed free and the plants flourishing. The campus already has a sustainable landscape vision in place, and we are trying to meet and exceed those expectations. We are achieving this by using recycled grass clippings, pruning plants to their natural growth habits, amending and protecting the soil with compost/mulch, reducing water usage, IPM and protecting and encouraging wildlife.
Sustainable landscapes help sequester carbon, clean the air, promote water conservation, prevent resource depletion, slow water runoff, create safe habitat for animals, and restore the ecosystem to its natural balance.
We hope that everyone who comes onto the campus will enjoy the ever-changing landscaped gardens throughout the seasons.
Known locally as the “Gardener Computer Guru,” Kevin Size (right), grounds keeping supervisor has been working in landscaping for over 20 years, while enjoying computers and outdoor hobbies in his free time. His background includes work on sod farms and golf courses, as well as seed and irrigation companies. Working alongside his staff, he welcomes opportunities to teach his student workers about landscape maintenance and life on the Olympic Peninsula.
A native of New Zealand, Ground Specialist and certified climber, Matt Aston (left) has been with Peninsula College working as a full-time employee for the past year, and is currently studying for his International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certification. He has been sculpting trees and working as a professional arborist for the past 4 years and considers himself the ‘Lorax’. While landscaping, Matt uses a vast array of other professional skill sets including construction and machining.
Student workers, some from international cultures, also help keep the Peninsula College grounds in shape by working alongside our master landscapers.
(Top photo: Peninsula College grounds crew Keisuke Ando, Jordan Reabold, Yusei Ueda, Kevin Size, Matt Aston, Todd Young, Randy Rennau)