Life at the pond

“Excuse me, are you the architect?” inquires James Cronin, professor emeritus in physics and astronomy & astrophysics, approaching the Botany Pond walkway from the main quad road. When David Gianneschi replies that yes, he is a landscape designer for architect Douglas Hoerr, Cronin continues: “I’m delighted to see you’re putting in some grass. I walk by here every day. It’s one of the few calm, beautiful places” on campus, and grass near the pond’s edge, he says, is important for frolicking children.

Cronin isn’t the only one who’s noticed the quickened pace of the pond’s renovation, begun July 1. As Gianneschi points out, this week landscapers planted most of the new greenery, intended to give the area a more lush feel, as it had circa 1910. Besides the sod, the flora includes two azalea varieties, a Japanese maple, lily of the valley, pickerelweed, and iris.

Still to come are a couple crab-apple trees and four bald cypress—two of which will go in the pond itself to give it “more height and diversity,” Gianneschi says. Planted in concrete culverts just below water level, the trees will be at least six feet away from the pond’s edge, Giannesci says, to prevent children and duck-hunting cats from jumping to them. The water lilies, meanwhile, will stay, though two-thirds of the smaller, floating lilies will be removed to make the surface more visible.

At the pond’s south end, circular stepping-stones lead to the Class of 1988 concrete bench, while two north-end stones offer pond access for people and other fauna. Three new lampposts provide nighttime lighting.

The pond should reopen, Gianneschi says, by mid- to late September.


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Photos by Dan Dry.

September 3, 2004