Spring Forward--Mild temperatures have campus landscapers ahead of schedule

Homeowners aren’t the only ones who’ve had to break out the lawn mowers and garden gear on the early side this year. Staff members in the University of Iowa’s Landscape Services have been mowing the Pentacrest since March 21—a full month earlier than normal.

In fact, a mild winter that didn’t require much snow removal coupled with unseasonably warm spring temperatures have put the 38-member crew in a position to focus on projects like riverbank cleanup and prairie management, which don’t always command top attention. They also transplanted some of the vegetation surrounding Hancher Auditorium, which is slated for demolition.

And, “there is always tree work to be done,” says Shawn Fitzpatrick, supervisor of building and landscape maintenance.

“March can be gloomy, but we went from a mild winter to a beautiful spring. It’s been warm and colorful, and it’s fun to watch things change each day,” he says. “We’re very proud of the campus appearance.”

The staff’s planning and handiwork are evident as brightly colored foliage unfurls revealing living motifs of color and texture lining walkways and framing campus views. Click on the images below and have a look.

photos by Tom Jorgensen

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In concert with other foliage, this colorful variegated dogwood casts a shadow play that moves across a wall near the Biological Sciences Library.One of many specimen plantings on campus, this Carolina silverbell features clusters of bell-shaped flowers. The flowering tree is located in a courtyard off of Iowa Avenue, between Phillips Hall and Biology Building.The smell of newly mown grass and fresh mulch has enveloped campus as crews shift from winter duties to utility vehicles and mowers. Groundskeeper Darwin Jones maneuvers his mower across the Pentacrest lawn in front of Macbride Hall.Picture-perfect days allow students to shed their winter wardrobe and opt instead for sandals and shorts.Students are greeted by spring color.

Students stroll past Schaeffer Hall framed by the expertly manicured grounds of the Pentacrest.Bicycles are brought out of storage. A student rides past the 'Ridge and Furrow' sculpture along the Cleary Walkway.A sweet smell from large, white clusters of flowers of viburnums bring spring to the entrance of Currier Hall.Chartreuse young leaves unfurl in the canopy of picturesque oaks on the grounds of the Dey House and Glenn Schaeffer Library—home to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.Old Gold tulips emerge in the dappled shade along Church Street in front of the President’s Residence.

Flowering crabapples and the fragrance of nearby lilac bushes greet guests at the President’s Residence.Redbuds splash color across campus, enhancing a Cambus stop near Calvin Hall.A class takes advantage of temperatures in the 70s and gathers outdoors near Schaeffer Hall.A student takes up a study spot on the Pentacrest.Students gather on benches and the steps of Old Capitol as the warm weather allows them to stretch their legs and laptop batteries.

Blooms on one of the many redbuds on campus add color the architecture of Jessup Hall.Mild spring weather brings staff and students outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and soak up the sunshine.


© The University of Iowa 2009