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Motorists’ wishes for pleasant landscaping instead of unsightly weeds at a western Sylvania Township roundabout have been fulfilled by two Olander Park System interns.
“The hardest part was trying to find plants that would thrive in that area,” said Casey Fuleky, an environmental studies and landscape architecture student at the University of Toledo who designed the project at Brint and Mitchaw roads.
Sarah Parker, a senior at Evergreen High School in northeast Fulton County, then prepared the site, and the two completed planting the roundabout early this month.
The Lucas County Engineer’s Office considers the landscaping such a success that it plans to reuse the design for the islands at two pending roundabout sites on Mitchaw: the Sylvania Avenue intersection, to be rebuilt this summer, and the Sylvania-Metamora Road intersection, to be converted next year.
Weeds and brush at Brint and Mitchaw had been the target of complaints since that roundabout’s 2010 completion, said Ron Myers, traffic and operations engineer.
But because a “landscaped center” would go beyond the county’s limits of mowing and spraying weeds, Mr. Myers said the engineer’s office turned to the Olander Park System to spruce up the 53-foot-diameter island.
Ms. Fuleky — an Olander intern since 2008 — sought plants that would tolerate full sun, winter road salt, and minimal upkeep when she started planning the layout in February.
Low-growing junipers, dwarf grasses, and winter creeper were best for keeping weeds at bay by taking up nutrients and space, she said. The winter creepers cover the ground, further inhibiting weeds.
Ms. Fuleky also chose three sousa dogwood trees for safety as well as aesthetics.
The trees, partially blocking the view of the roadway on the other side of the roundabout, alert approaching drivers to the circle, reminding them that they can’t drive straight, Mr. Myers said.
They also help drivers steer their eyes toward traffic approaching from the left, to which they are supposed to yield before they enter the roundabout.
Once the design was approved, Ms. Fuleky and Ms. Parker prepared the site, which she described as “pretty overgrown,” by raking out dead grass and spraying weeds with herbicide. In June, Ms. Parker tilled the plot and prepped it for the plants and trees.
The county engineer’s office kicked in the $1,473.25 cost for the plants, purchased from Lowe’s Home Improvement.
With the help of Olander Park staff, the interns first planted the three trees. Then, in one day, they planted — also with assistance — the 850 other plants, including 750 of the winter creepers, Ms. Fuleky said.
Everything was in the ground by July 12, the last day before a seven-day heat wave descended on the Toledo area. That was good for the workers, but the heat hasn’t been kind to all the plants.
“One of the trees isn’t looking so hot,” and the grasses have been wilting in the heat, Ms. Fuleky said, adding that Olander staff have watered the island from a truck to keep as many of the plants alive as possible.