Blueprints brings landscape designer to look at farm area
By W. Winston Skinner
In addition to getting lots of ideas from graduate students, Moreland is getting some expert advice from professionals through the Blueprints for Successful Communities program.
Licensed landscape designer Claire Perko recently met with a small group in Moreland where she shared ideas for the God’s Little Acre farm and garden area. Katherine Moore, who directs Blueprints for the Georgia Conservancy, introduced Perko to the group and said Perko would outline “her conceptual ideas of how the property could be laid out.”
Moore said a plus for having a plan like Perko’s is that a landscape designer can pinpoint issues relating to utilities, parking and other infrastructure.
“You just want to do those things once,” Moore said.
Perko said she saw the area on the south end of Railroad Street as “sort of the front door” for the project. She recommended a limited access drive with “really close parking for anybody whose coming to work on the garden.” That area could be closed on days when there will be lots of foot traffic.
“That gives you a lot of flexibility,” Perko said.
She outlined a spot for an event pavilion that “could eventually become sort of a garden kitchen.”
Moore said there have to be plans for deliveries in and out. “If you’re planting things, you have supplies that have to be dropped off. You need to get earth and shovels,” Moore said,
Having too much of the area open to vehicle will “create compaction problems,” Perko said.
She also talked about “a stone rubble fence” along one side of the area to keep out deer and provide a measure of security. “That is beautiful,” Moreland resident Howard Wilson said of a design for the fence.
The rock design will “give you this height without giving you this fortress-type feeling,” Perko said.
She showed an area for composting. “It’s a very important part of gardening. It’s a nice educational piece, as well,” Perko said.
Perko put a growers shed close to U.S. Highway 29. “This is where farmers from the area can come and sell their produce,” she explained, adding that produce grown in the garden itself could also be sold there.
She advocated minimal parking in the beginning. “Parking is one of those spaces that it’s nice if you have less than you need to begin with. You can always grow it,” Perko said.
Perko said she designed the project to have “a very natural feel.”
She also talked about connecting God’s Little Acre with the downtown area where other tourism attractions are located. “It would be nice to give people a safe place to walk,” she said, also mentioning bicycles.
“People come from all over to use multiuse trails,” Perko said.
Moore made a reference to novelist Erskine Caldwell, whose birthplace may eventually be moved from the town square to the garden site. “God’s Little Acre” is among Caldwell’s best-known work.
There is the opportunity at the garden to “emphasize and really play off of Mr. Caldwell and his book,” Moore said.
Carol Chancey, who is working with the town and the Moreland Cultural Arts Alliance, said the name has a good ring even for people who are not familiar with Caldwell. “It sounds like a lovely place for people to come,” she said.
Perko’s design has a place for raised beds. “You can separate your really vigorous crops from one another,” she said. Raised beds also would allow a person in a wheelchair to garden.
Watering is needed with raised beds. “They will dry out,” Wilson said.
Chancey noted this is the first year for the garden project.
“We’ll try to get our feet on the ground and get a feel for what the natural level of interest is,” she said.
Mayor Josh Evans, Councilman Allyn Bell and City Clerk Jimmy Haynes attended the meeting. Bell asked about the omission of a cellular telephone tower on Perko’s plans.
“There’s plenty of unprogrammed space – plenty of open space,” Perko said. There is about four acres in the tract not included in Perko’s design, and she said a cell tower can be placed on as little as 40 by 40 feet.
“This is conceptual, a guidance document. This give you all something to think about,” Moore said.
“It’s a long-term investment you’ve chosen to make in your community.”