Water Smart Landscape Challenge and Oaks on the move

How cool is this the City of Savannah is letting the public vote on which garden design we would like to see used for a face lift to Bryan Square on Hutchinson Island. The Water Smart Landscape Challenge is sponsored by the city of Savannah and the Water Smart program of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Thirteen landscape designers and architects from around the state submitted designs for a sustainable, water-efficient garden for the site. A panel of judges including staff of the Chatham County Metropolitan Planning Commission, UGA Cooperative Extension, and the City of Savannah, as well as members of the Savannah Tree Foundation and Friends of Oatland Island narrowed the pool down to three finalists. The public will be able to vote on their favorite garden design at www.waterSmartgardenvote.com till May 8, 2009.

The winning landscape designer will be awarded a $35,000 contract with the city of Savannah to install their garden in Bryan Square.

I think this is a great idea but I'm having a problem deciding which one I like the best. I see something in each that I love.

Go check them out for yourselves I would love to hear what ya'll think .

Finalist #1 - Kern-Coleman and Company

Finalist #2 - Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co.

Finalist #3 - Witmer-Jones-Keefer

Live oaks replanted in Ellis Square

The live oak tree is laid on its side on the flatbed truck for the journey to Ellis Square for transplanting. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)

This article By Lesley Conn and picture by Steve Bisson is from our local paper you can see more pictures here ~ The Savannah Morning News

In less than two hours Tuesday, work crews using a crane swung two 25-foot live oak trees from flatbed trailers and eased them into new homes at the southeast corner of Ellis Square at West Congress and Barnard streets. Combined, the weight of the trees totaled 27.5 tons. They were the first of five mature trees that will be re-located this week, to be joined by two older trees and eight younger oaks with smaller canopies. Work is going faster than expected, officials said, allowing the city to shorten its street-closure plans. Bryan Street will be closed today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Congress Street will reopen at 11 a.m. The city does not plan to close any streets Thursday.

The arboreal rearranging is part of a public/private partnership to restore one of the city's six original squares and make it a welcoming spot for tourists and residents. A visitors center, restrooms and a plaza with spray fountains for children are expected to be finished possibly in November, said city park and tree director David White. The city is paying $20,000 for each of the seven mature trees. "We wanted an immediate impact on the site," White said. "We didn't want to wait several years to get the shade."

Walt Harper is chairman of the park and tree commission and a member of the Savannah-Chatham County Historic Site and Monument Commission. He said the goal was to have the square blend in as much as possible with its surroundings. Harper pointed to trees south of the square and in City Market, where they're about the size of those being transplanted.

"It had to do more with wanting the square to look more natural instead of planting small saplings that would have to grow into the square," he said. "It would make it look like it's been here awhile." The trees were relocated from a grassy area near Truman Parkway and Victory Drive. They needed to be removed, city officials said, because they were interfering with drainage in Casey Canal.

The tree-moving drew mixed reactions from members of the Ellis Square Merchants Association. Business owners are frustrated by a yearlong delay in the project, by road and sidewalk closures and, lately, by dirt blowing into shops from the square. Association President Michael J. Meeks and Nicole Curreri, the group's secretary, agree that once it's done, the four-year project will be a wonderful attraction that should bring in business. Curreri, who owns Kitchens on the Square on Barnard, calls spending $140,000 for more mature trees "pretty outrageous." "Patience is a virtue," she said. "Any gardener knows for $10,000, you can get a smaller tree that's easier to plant. I can wait (for it to grow). I've waited this long."

Meeks doesn't fault the city there. The decision to spend the money for the larger trees was made long ago when the economy was humming, he said. "With smaller trees, the aesthetics wouldn't have been as dynamic," he said. "I think the mature trees are the way to go."

A little back ground on Ellis Square.

This is one of the original four squares, laid out in 1733. It was always referred to as Marketplace Square because that was its use. The square was named for Henry Ellis, second Royal Governor. On the West side of the square, the City Market complex extends for two blocks over to Franklin Square. This is the site of the Old City Market which was demolished in the early 1950s. The loss of this structure upset residents to the extent that efforts began to prevent further losses of irreplaceable buildings.
The entire original square, on Barnard Street between W. Bryan and W. Congress Streets, became a city parking garage in the 1950s. The City is currently redeveloping the original site. The parking garage was torn down in 2006. A new public square will take its place. The area will also have a hotel, residential units, and 50,000 square feet of commercial space, built on top of an underground parking garage.

I'm so proud of Savannah and can't wait till both Squares are finished .

I placed my order with Prairland Herbs yesterday and can't wait till it arrives I should have mentioned that if you sign up for their newsletter The Coneflower Press you will receive a 10% discount on your first order.

Hope the weather is as perfect in your neck of the woods as it is here !!!
hugs, Cherry


  1. Love all the plans, but think I like Thoma & Hutton's the best. It's a fantastic thing that's being done and interesting to allow citizens a vote in the process!

    Miss live oaks so much!

  2. Really interesting Cherry, thanks for great info.

  3. Great project! Nice to live in a city that cares! I am blown away by moving a tree. Can you imagine how hard it would be to keep it alive. I have a hard enough time keeping a quart sized plant alive after its planted...sheesh!

    Several years ago when the casinos were being built in Biloxi, they used tons of trees (oaks, magnolias). Later on when I was in college I was roomates with a girl from Biloxi. One casino purchased 10 magnolias that were 100+ years aold from her grandmother....for a small fee of $2million!. Yeah!!!! Her house was not even a mile from the casino, and she probably had 20 magnolias. That way they wouldn't have to carry them far. For $2 mill they could have had every plant I owned. Anyhow, those magnolias...all 10 of them are on the INSIDE lobby of that casino...all alive and well. Next time I go I will get pictures...sorry for such a long comment!! LOL!

  4. What a wonderful project-- and especially that Savannah is getting the community involved with the challenge. Community pride and awareness of water smart gardens.

    I'm on my countdown to vacation next week, so I may be scarce in the next few weeks since I'm not taking my computer to Paris!

  5. Moving a live oak. Wow! I didn't know that was possible.

  6. Having seen so many lovely photos of your city it is abundantly clear how much thought and planning goes into this.

    You are lucky to have such a beautiful place

  7. In my wildest dreams, I can not imagine moving a 25 foot oak tree. What beautiful project ideas.


  8. I'd like to combine pieces of each plan. I don't think I've ever seen a landscape plan that didn't change and here you have a good example of why they should. As new/different ideas are presented a better total package can be created.

    Whoot I love big root balls. I'm glad they went with the mature trees. It's always time vs money and I'm running out of time when it comes to watching a tree grow.

  9. Wow Cherry, What lovely plans for this garden! And to allow the citizens to vote...that's awesome! Hey, I wanted to drop by and invite you to stop by and leave a comment to enter my Blog Giveaway! I'm giving away an inspirational Black/Cream (Very French) ;) Elegant Fluted Teapot with a matching teacup and saucer to celebrate the week prior to Mother's Day! ~AuRevoir, ~CC Catherine from "Catherine de th`e Cup" ;)

  10. Oh Cherry, PS: I'm finally coming to Savannah the weekend of 8/15...I'll be swinging back by for your recommendation on what B&B to stay at! ;) ~CC Catherine

  11. I love that your city is investing in gardens. We moved a huge white pine tree that was being shaded by it's mate! The old trees do fine if tended to after they are moved!.
    Very nice to meet you and your journal.

  12. What a wonderful city Savannah is -I love all the plans, would have to let someone else choose!


Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. It is so much fun to read everyone's thoughts on my ramblings .. I love to go blog hopping so look for me to be visiting you soon.
hugs, Cherry

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