Meadow Observation Deck
Visit the observation deck at the back of the meadow to get a bird's or butterfly's view of the meadow.
The Horticulture Team decided in 2009 to address the issue of “view” in the meadow. This garden space was beautiful, spacious, and a haven for wildlife, providing an exceptional smorgasbord for butterflies, bees, and other insects, especially in August at peak bloom. However, it was not easily viewed. Of course, the occasional dad would hoist his kid onto his shoulders for a compelling view. But, this was not the norm.
The “observation deck” concept was broached to “volunteers extraordinaire” Dick Anderson and Peter Brem, who accepted the challenge of design and creation with relish. Dick, as any good mechanical engineer would, presented the collective ideas as a drawing, complete with measurements and layout of supports. He also figured out the number of joists, beams, posts, concrete tubes, carriage bolts, anchors, hangers, and a whole lot more.
The main deck is twenty-four feet wide and twelve feet deep. It has an 18 foot long ramp which is four feet wide and meets standards for wheelchair accessibility. The Dick and Peter team was joined in construction by both interns (Scott Getz and Nate McCullin), apprentice Andrew Palinski, plus Scott LaFleur and Kristin DeSouza. Dick noted that the hardest part of the construction was digging the post holes. The auger went easily to 2 ½ feet, but the holes needed to be 4 feet deep. Hand-digging the last 1 ½ feet was not an easy task. And, of course, there were ninety, eighty-pound bags of concrete delivered to the Garden Shop which needed to be transferred down to the meadow and mixed with water on site. It took three wheelbarrows of mixed concrete to fill each of the fifteen concrete tubes to support the overall structure. Peter said, “Somehow, we got this done in between rain showers, which seemed to be never-ending this spring and summer.”
Botanic Garden Director Scott LaFleur sees this as a multi-phase project which will address the thoughts and needs of this area in the garden. The first phase will make the deck usable and give some interpretation as to what is observed from the deck. A pergola will be added to set the structure apart from its background and give some life to it with native vines. Through feedback from visitors and staff, the design of the structure may morph in one of many directions in years to come, providing interpretation, a variety of structural ideas, and perhaps an outdoor space for special occasions.