May
 
28

World Golf Village – Green Side Up

Posted by: Rick Pariani in Uncategorized
 

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Make no mistake about it, World Golf Village has been designed and built with its green side up. We sit on our neighbor’s border, relative to how most folks think about Florida , yet we still enjoy a year-round green appeal. That appeal is a result of our design and development ability to overcome the limitations of our climate swings, our soil conditions and our restricted landscape palette.

The United States National Arboretum, in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture, provides the industry standard for plant adaptability to cold zones via the Plant Hardiness Zone Map. St. Augustine, Florida shares the same skinny, thin band of plant suitability and adaptability with Houston, Texas . The corresponding zone is a combination of Zone 8b (hardy between 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit) and Zone 9a (hardy between only 20 to 25F). Although most folks think that here in Florida, all you have to do is put a plant in the ground for it to grow, our hardiness zones are actually quite confining. In fact, a high performing plant palette is minimized and the plant availability in the commercial marketplace has been restricted. The “restriction” is due in part to the fact that any given winter season could potentially result in major plant loss due to extended freeze / frost conditions.

Many plants and trees that perform beautifully in the Appalachian region or points north, cannot perform in our zone, profusely or with vigor, due to high summer heats, prolonged humidity and/or lack of a “cold-snap”. Additionally, many popular plants from the more tropical areas of South Florida are very much at risk here in our zone due to the threat of extended cold conditions. We advise you to be careful, since most plant nurseries attempt to market all types of plants and trees from other hardiness zones and regions in an attempt to broaden their offerings. Through experimentation and attention to plant exposures (wind, water, sun, shade, soil), one can find some promising success.

A wise approach is to depend on proven plant performers for creating a landscape foundation that can then be punctuated with other interesting and showy specimens. The foundation and the structure of the landscape design will endure, while the seasonal elements can change and be varied from time to time.

This wise approach is the one taken during the design and construction of the World Golf Village Common Areas. There is a simple and unifying plant palette that is woven throughout the grounds of World Golf Village . The simplicity and unity of the design knits together the Common Areas into a pleasing, compositional whole. The unity of the Commons, thoroughfares and streets anchors the built environment of the community and allows individuality to be expressed through homeowner preferences. There is a perceptible framework, evidenced by 1) the backdrop of Preservation Lands, 2) the continuity of the Common Area Landscape, 3) the naturalized waterways and golf corridors and 4) the landscape distinction of the individual neighborhoods and homes.

Even with the tricky plant hardiness zones and soil conditions, the overall look and feel of the World Golf Village landscape is lush, green, full and vibrant. Thankfully, the “greenness’ of World Golf Village is evident year round. We have the seasonal displays afforded by deciduous trees and shrubs, which are framed and complimented with a selection of evergreen plant materials. The reliance on evergreen plants helps tie the Common Area composition together providing countless opportunities to showcase our seasonal, flowering and deciduous materials.

From approximately December 15th to March 15th, we experience our winter effects. Most notably, the St. Augustine sod starts to brown out, some trees are without foliage and the street tree Live Oaks ready themselves for their annual new crop of leaves which usually sprouts late February through March. All in all though, the Commons still present a very green character and the golf courses are maintained with the highest caliber of care. Through managed stewardship, the greenness of World Golf Village is obtained without heavy handed fertilization and pesticide use and with no negative consequence to the Preservation Lands and lakes.

We have planted over 8,000 trees in the Common Areas and street system, creating a strong, identifiable and regionally contextual landscape. The palette of street trees (Southern Live Oak) and the Common Area trees (Magnolia species, River Birch, Red Maple, Crape Myrtle species, Southern Red Cedar, Drake Elm, Bald Cypress, Laurel Oak, Nuttall Oak, Shumard Oak, Holly species, Pine species) are blended with some select native, indigenous or naturalized plant selections (Yaupon, Holly, Privet, Cordgrass, Jasmine, Anise, Guava, Ligustrum, Loropetalum and others). For those who think Florida ’s beauty and allure is only revealed through Palm trees, fear not. As accents and punctuation, certain Palm species (preferably Pindo / Butia Palms and small, compact Palms) are combined into the mix to create texture, contrast and interest.

Currently, we are experimenting with xeric landscape selections and the State of Florida , St. Johns River Water Management District’s preferred Florida Plant Friendly and Florida Water Star Certified selections. This approach is ushering in a new way to balance maintenance costs with water resource consumption to enable “green” landscapes without the excess costs and environmental impacts. These new approaches are directly applicable to individual yards as well as Common Areas.

As World Golf Village continues to develop and mature as a unique Place, we, along with the homeowners and business owners, will continue to ensure that the green side is up at all times.

 
 


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