Blake Garden is a 10.6-acre garden located in Kensington, California, just north of the UC Berkeley campus, where students and the public learn about plants and landscape design. It is known for its outstanding collection of plants assembled by the Blake family between 1922 and 1962 and augmented by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning since acquisition of the garden by the University of California in 1957.
The student program at Blake Garden provides individuals with invaluable hands-on experience working in an extraordinarily diverse garden environment. From management of riparian areas to plant propagation and horticulture research, the rich diversity of the garden allows students the opportunity to explore a variety of disciplines related to garden maintenance and management.
Every year Blake Garden invites students, primarily within the landscape architecture and environmental planning programs, to work on a variety of projects. Students working in the garden can work in one of the following capacities:
- Work Study: Students earn a stipend for work done at the garden.
- Class Projects: Through one of LAEP’s construction courses, students work on design/build projects within the garden.
- Volunteer: Students volunteer their time while learning a variety of technical skills.
Both work study and volunteer students work a minimum of four hours per week during the school semester.
Student projects allow individuals to learn and explore a variety of issues and disciplines as they relate to garden design, management, and maintenance. Projects include:
- Garden maintenance and upkeep
- Herb identification and characterization
- Plant propagation
- Garden construction and design projects
- Research and documentation of horticultural issues and data
LA 254 - The Blake Garden Project
UC Berkeley’s LA 254: Low Water-Use Plant Design class with Lecturer Dawn Kooyumjian is designing a major adaptive restoration, research-based installation sited in Blake Garden.
The installation will include two separate components based on student-generated design:
- (1) slope stabilization research using sustainable methods, including reused, recycled, and biodegradable materials
- (2) installation of a viewing platform made of locally-sourced materials. The viewing platform would emphasize the spectacular view of the Bay, which draws inspiration to many, and is a popular photo-taking spot during the departmental commencement.
The students have started The Blake Garden Project blog to document their installation project and other activities relevant to the class.