Monthly Archives: February 2010

Wet Design Day 2 The Dubai Fountain

So what do they build small in Dubai?  Nothing.  Here is a little bit more insight into WET Design; the more I look into what they are doing the more fascinated I am by them.  Here what is what Global Construction Watch had to say about the project.

Set to become the largest fountain ever been seen in the world is Dubai’s next master project. The project which is estimated to cost $218 million and is going to be 25% larger than the iconic fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dubai’s prominent developer, Emaar Properties will be responsible for the project. Lik

e the Bellagio fountains, Emaar’s fountains will include an integral light and sound show. It is expected to become one of the city’s major tourist attractions, drawing more than 10 million visitors per year. A vibrant visual spectrum will be created by means of over head lights and color projectors. Some 1,000 different water expressions accompanied by selected music will delight spectators and enliven the senses.

At any given moment, 22,000 gallons of water will be shot into the air, using 6,600 lights and some 50 color projectors. The whole display will be as long as two whole football fields, a total length of 275 meters. The water will be shot 150 meters into the air.

The new venture was announced at a press conference in Dubai on June 9th. Mr. Mohamed Ali Alab

bar, Chairman of Emaar Properties PJSC, said: “The fountain on Burj Dubai Lake is more than a visual spectacle that adds to the aesthetics of Downtown Burj Dubai. It is an engineering marvel and will further contribute to Dubai’s rich array of tourist attractions.”

He also added: “With a varied roster of attractions in Downtown Burj Dubai, Emaar is further strengthening the tourism portfolio of Dubai. Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building, has an observation deck on level 124 offering visitors unparalleled views from the top. Other components of the new downtown that appeal to global tourists include one of the world’s largest aquariums, an Olympic-sized ice rink and the largest indoor gold souk in The Dubai Mall, and a range of lifestyle events to be held at Burj Dubai Boulevard.”

Mr. Alabbar further highlighted the historical significance of water fountains in the Arab world. He said they had been an integral part of the community and the new fountain located in Burj Dubai Lake will create a new dimension to Downtown Burj Dubai.

The Burj Dubai Lake is spread over 30 acres, and water filling using de-mineralised reverse osmosis treated water, is currently in progress.

The designers of Bellagio, California-based WET Design will be the fountains architect and designer. The design is being developed by a team of professionals from Turner Construction International (Project/Construction Manager) and other international specialists.

Expected to be operational by early 2009, the fountain will add to the varied leisure and entertainment attractions of Downtown Burj Dubai. Many describe this part of the city as the ‘new soul of the city.’ The flagship mega-project of Emaar Properties, Downtown Burj Dubai has a development value of AED 73 billion (US$20 billion) and is one of the most sought-after residential and commercial destinations in Dubai.

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Dryopteris x australis : Dixie Wood Fern

Theodore Klein Awards: Day four

Dryopteris x australis (Dixie Wood Fern) This is a very rare native, a naturally-occurring hybrid between D. celsa and D. ludoviciana. The growth habit is dramatically upright with large, coarse, dark green, semi-evergreen fronds…reminiscent of a giant Christmas fern plugged into an electrical outlet! This is a very structural, deer-resistant fern for the moist woodland garden, eventually making a clump 4’+ tall x 2′ wide. Although it is very tolerant of dry sites, a nice damp piece of ground will really produce spectacular results. Due to the fact that this fern is practically sterile, propagation is limited to division of the clump.   Dryopteris x australis will do well in part sun to shade, is hardy in zones 5-9.  This is a great option for your shade garden especially at the back of the border where you are looking for height and texture.  You should be able to find this at your local garden center but if not you can order it from Tony Avent at Plant Delights Nursery who provided this description.

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Piet’s Pictures

We have looked at the work of Piet Oudolf before others eyes.  Now, we have the chance to look at some of his gardens as well as his own through his eyes.  These are pictures he has taken that I think give  a real insight to how he is looking at things.  I am always amazed by his perennial gardens.  Everything seems to be perfect, color combination, variation of height and texture.  His work is truly monumental in both its effect and influence on the world of garden design.



These last two pictures are Piet’s perennial nursery and his own garden.  Fantastico!!!

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WET design

I’ve  you’ve been to Vegas you know about WET design whether you realize it or not; even if you have not been but have seen the movie Ocean’s Eleven you have seen their work.  The fountains at the Bellagio are what I’m talking about.  These are amazing but they are doing so much more.  In Dubai their newest concoction shoots water jets 50 stories into the air!

There is no question that WET is the premiere design/engineering firm of water features in the world.  Fast Company magazine just voted them the eighth most innovative design firm in the nation.  Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.  I wanted to show you all a little of what they do: this quick video they put out really shows how much design and engineering goes into what they are doing.  Here is a link to their webpage but I would also recommend you go HERE to look at all the other videos of what they are doing.

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Chionanthus retusus : Chinese Fringetree

Theodore Klein Awards: Day Three

Chionanthus retusus is a large shrub/small tree that is prized for its glossy green leaves, fragrant white flowers in late spring and its cultural adaptability. Plant in full sun or part shade in reasonably rich soil and it will provide years of enjoyment. It is amazing in flower in a given season you cannot see the foliage for all the flowers that form at the end of the new shoots. A seedling-grown southern-form (rounded leaves that Steve Foltz, Cincinnatti Zoo & Boatanic Garden Director of Horticulture, says is the better form) at the UKREC keeps its leaves until very late even after a hard freeze which turns them a shiny light brown that reflects as almost white from a distance. In the rainy summer of 2009 it was very prone to putting out long shoots.

I have been growing this for years now.  When I moved into my house I planted one in my neighbors yard.  I have been very impressed with the abundant blooms that you see below but somewhat unimpressed with how slowly it grows.

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Pinus bungeana: Lacebark Pine

Theodore Klein Awards: Day #2

Pinus bungeana – Lacebark Pine

This exquisite Japanese species offers fine evergreen texture on an upright oval form to 20-30’ tall. The usually multi-trunked plants offer stunning exfoliating bark of deep green, cream, copper and olive (right). This is an excellent specimen plant for full sun or partial shade in rich, moist soils. A truly incredible cultivar was selected from a planting at the Dawes Arboretum, Newark, Ohio and has been relaeased as ‘Silver Ghost’ (below) to describe its bright white bark that is visible from a long distance away.

I was first introduced to this wonderful and underused plant while working for Don Shadow.  He has a wonderful specimen to the front of his office.  I had never seen nor heard of it before and was captivated by its tight upright growth it has before it matures and starts to open up.  This is a fantastic plant to try and for an evergreen has some of the most interesting exfoliating bark I have ever seen.

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Theodore Klein Plant Awards

One of the greatest plantsman our state had ever known was a gentleman from Oldham County by the name of Theodore Klein.  Here is a brief description of Mr. Klein pulled of Yew Dell gardens webpage:

A Brief History Beginning with 33-acres of Oldham County farmland in 1941, Theodore and Martha Lee Klein spent the next 60-plus years developing an exquisite private estate, a successful commercial nursery and an extensive collection of unusual plants and outstanding gardens. Known locally, nationally and internationally as a first-rate plantsman, Theodore Klein was also a self-taught artisan who personally crafted the buildings and gardens that became known as Yew Dell.

Through the years, Klein collected over one thousand unusual specimen trees and shrubs which were displayed and evaluated in his arboretum. He also worked to develop new plant varieties for the regional landscape, amassing an impressive list of more than 60 unique introductions over his professional career.

Almost immediately following Klein’s death in 1998, development pressures began to threaten the property, which had been zoned industrial. Recognizing the unique attributes of Yew Dell, a board of community volunteers raised the funds to purchase the property, and then began the longer term plan to restore Yew Dell Gardens and share its treasures with the public. The unique nature of the property was further recognized by The Garden Conservancy, a national non-profit dedicated to saving America’s most unique gardens. The Conservancy named Yew Dell a Preservation Project, at the time one of only nine such projects in the nation. In 2002, the Garden Conservancy authored Yew Dell’s stabilization plan, which describes the historical background and design significance of the many unique gardens and landscape features on the property. The stabilization plan has assisted Yew Dell board and staff in prioritizing the rehabilitation work done to date and continues to offer valuable assistance for future projects.

Yew Dell Gardens has now emerged as a thriving botanical garden with local, national and international reach. With over 1200 members and 250 volunteers, the gardens serve as a major center of gardening, research and education for the greater Louisville region. Collaborative projects and programs have been developed with the American Horticultural Society, Horticulture Magazine, Magnolia Society International, 21st Century Parks, and many others. The grounds are open throughout the year and offer an ambitious schedule of classes, workshops, community events and seasonal festivals.

In honor of Mr. Klein a plant award program was started in 1995 and has been making five selection a year since then of that the selection committee deems worthy.  This week I am going to give you some information on the selections.  For more information on the awards and to see the winners of the past go HERE.

Cornus florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ – Appalachian Spring Dogwood

‘Appalachian Spring’ is a new selection that was introduced as the most disease-resistant cultivar on the market today.  Michael Dirr is quoted as saying ‘The lone worthy Discula survivor collected in the Catoctin Mountains, Maryland; displayed high resistance, not immunity in screening studies.”  Classic white spring blooms, bight red fall fruit and red/orange fall foliage combine to make the perfect package.  Plant in rich, moist soil in partial shade.  This is really a spectacular selection that has done very well in gardens I have installed here in Central KY.  Come back tomorrow and we will look at an extremely underused pine; the Lacebark Pine or Pinus bungeana.

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