Excerpt from Sustainable Industries Journal, Plants at Work Supplement 2008
DeSantis Landscapes handled plant installation for the renowned Pringle Creek Community in Salem, Ore. Touted as one of the greenest development projects in the country, Pringle Creek utilizes innovative stormwater management approaches, such as rain gardens, green streets, and porous pavement, to absorb 90 percent of the rainwater that falls onsite. The community also includes 12 acres of open space and naturalized area, two acres of which are orchards and community gardens.
How was the plant-material selected for Pringle Creek?
The Portland landscape architecture firm Greenworks did the initial plan. Once we were onsite, the design evolved. The rain garden plants were specifically selected for “wet feet” tolerance, since they were going to be placed in areas designed to handle stormwater runoff. For the natural areas, we did an initial site survey to determine the existing and native plant material onsite, and our staff worked to expand and complement what was there. These areas were not going to be irrigated, so we needed to pay particular attention to the plant choices to ensure the highest survival rate possible. The design goal was to mimic native riparian zones here in the Northwest.
Did nurseries collaborate in the design of this project?
We worked with some nurseries to select fruit tree varieties for the orchards that would cross pollinate and otherwise complement one another. We bought the orchard trees from Meyer Nursery and Northwoods Nursery, and the blueberries from Kraemer’s Nursery.
How can the nursery industry contribute to similar projects in the future?
Stormwater management will continue to be a real opportunity for landscape architects and contractors to positively effect our environment and reduce stresses on infrastructure. Nurseries that grow and market wet-tolerant plants will help not only to supply but also to diversify the available plant material. Personally, I’m a little tired of seeing Carex obnupta and Juncus patens in every rain garden design I see.