Photo courtesy of NorthPark Center via Facebook.

NorthPark Center lost its landscape designer of more than 40 years, Judy Ann Cunningham, when she died earlier in September. But her successor is no stranger.

William “Billy” Roberts is filling her shoes. He collaborated with Cunningham over the past two decades.

“Judy was above all a good friend and a mentor,” Roberts said. “Her award-winning work as the creative leader of NorthPark Center’s signature landscapes has always been an inspiration.”

Cunningham often tried to include in her designs plants that were unknown to neighbors. Some of the flora she incorporated were snake plants dipped in colored felt from Israel, 15-foot aloe trees and curvaceous sage green brain cactus rimmed in purple.

In a tribute to Cunningham, NorthPark Center wrote that she thought of the mall as an “open theater” and used colorful plants as “brushes of paint.”

She brought in about 80,000 pounds of pumpkins and gourds each fall and helped spread them throughout the mall.

Her plans were made at least a year in advance because the materials had to be grown in large quantities.

“Judy was a bright spirit and a dear friend, and we are shocked and saddened at her untimely loss,” said Nancy Nasher, the president and owner of NorthPark. “She was a brilliant and original thinker, and her beautiful, inventive landscapes were instrumental to creating NorthPark’s elevated aesthetic.”

The shopping center is known not just for its landscape designs, but also for its art and other installations.