Press Release — Students Upgrade Native Plants Garden in Queens Courtyard

Los Angeles, CA — 20 November 2016

Representatives of the Environmental Core, Environmental Student Assembly (ESA), and Facilities Management Services (FMS) gathered on Friday to expand the range of species in a native plant garden in Queens Courtyard near the music school.

A new monkey flower (Mimilus aurantiacus) planted on Friday

A new monkey flower (Mimilus aurantiacus) planted Friday

While FMS workers dug out hollows and arranged drip irrigation, students mixed in organic soil amendments and installed each plant in its new home. The garden, which was originally installed last December with the support of the Green Engagement Fund, now features additional flora such as monkey flower (Mimilus aurantiacus), lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia) and ‘Wheeler Canyon’ wild lilac (Ceanothus ‘wheeler canyon’). The expanded design was created with significant input from the Theodore Payne Foundation and was intended as a native California twist on USC’s university aesthetic, including several flowering and evergreen species.

The garden serves to demonstrate how native plant landscaping can play a crucial role in both reducing USC’s water demand and reestablishing the basis of a native ecosystem. Prior to conversion, this ~800 square foot garden was non-native grass, requiring roughly 500 gallons of water per week to maintain. During its establishment our garden will require less than 200 gallons per week, and could potentially be irrigation independent within a few years. Additionally, native plants provide a food source for native pollinators such as hummingbirds and butterflies, allowing the stunted ecosystem within Los Angeles to return to life. To learn more about the benefits of native plants and how you can go about pursuing your own conversion, pay a visit to TheodorePayne.org.

The Environmental Core intends to triple the size of the garden in February 2017 by expanding to the grass plots adjacent to the Bing Theater. It is currently developing an application to the Green Engagement Fund to acquire the money necessary to hire a landscape architect and purchase the required materials. If you wish to take part in furthering this initiative, please don’t hesitate to contact ecore@usc.edu and sign up for our mailing list on our contact page!

 

Gallery – Photos courtesy of Zach Manta and Joseph Santos

 

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