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garden design

I'm working in Louisville over the summer on a project to rehabilitate a 
flower garden in a Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park along the Ohio River. 
The park is in a somewhat poor neighborhood and suffers from some level of 
neglect & occasional misuse. The garden will be about two acres with paths 
and a small existing pavilion. What suggestions can you offer regarding the 
1. What are the most durable, longlasting flowering shrubs to plant in such 
a place (but no invasive types, please!)
2. What are good ways of drawing in local schools or community centers or 
other such community-based organizations? I was thinking of leaving one or 
two of the raised beds "empty" so that a local group, such as a school or 
some kind of youth club, could take charge of it.
3. What are other tips for keeping a garden as low-maintenance as possible 
(discouraging weeds, etc.)?
best regards,
Kristin Faurest
Olmsted Conservancy, Louisville

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