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Field of Dreams is growing, one plant at a time

girl batting up
The Dart Field of Dreams

The Field of Dreams on Fairbanks Road is where children gather to play Little League Baseball. It’s a nicely located spot, near residential neighbourhoods, offering young ones a break from the great indoors, and the chance to run around with friends.

The YMCA operates the programmes and facilities at the field, with the help of sponsors such as Dart. Jessica Barefoot, landscape designer within Dart’s design/pre-construction team, has recently taken a hands-on approach to beautifying the grounds. She has combined her knowledge of local flora with the ability to imagine what a child would like to see, and is happily watching her work-in-progress flourish.

Camana Bay Times asked her about her inspiration for the grounds, and how things are progressing.

What was the first thing that immediately struck you about the Field of Dreams regarding its landscaping needs, and how did you come up with a plan to beautify it?

We were approached by the YMCA to add a tropical touch to the entry area. When I arrived, I knew I had to figure this out, [considering] the lack of irrigation and beating sun. It was important to select plants that naturally deal with intense wet/dry seasons, so many of the plants selected are native to Cayman and the others [are] drought-resistant.

What is the most challenging part of the project?

The challenge will be to keep [the plants] moist in the dry season. They have been planted in soil pockets within the compacted fill/marl found around this site. We opted for this, rather than spreading the soil fully in the bed, due to fear of mud clogging nearby drains.

jessica barefoot headshot
Dart Landscape Designer, Jessica Barefoot

Why did you choose the design you did?

After walking around the site – specifically the F&B area where I got Doritos and snow cones as a child – I thought about what would [be] nice from a kid’s perspective. I added an already-bearing Meliococcus bijugatus (Guinep tree) near the dugouts for the kids to enjoy nature’s candy. By the entrance, the two Ficus aurea (Fig tree) were selected [to spark] children’s imaginations, due to their eventual growth pattern/Jurassic Park-style qualities.

How do you feel your plan is working out?

Once the existing landscape at the front is established, it would be great to add in more plants. During the rainy season it would be nice to add plugs (clippings) of Ipomoea pes-caprae (Morning Glory).

What is your advice to anyone looking to landscape an outdoor space?

Think like an ecologist: Be creative [and have] patience. Consider the environment (sun exposure, wind, water availability, the ground etc.). Mix textures (e.g. leaf sizes); contrasting colours (e.g. yellow and purple) and scale

To see more on the reopening of the Field of Dreams, watch the video below.

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