Exciting New Ways to Grow Landscape Plants Need to be Practical
I’m looking for ways to elevate a landscape design and make it memorable for generations. Typical landscape news articles tend to be sensational or political. Here are some recent (paraphrased) headlines:
• Appropriations Bill Gets Committee Approval (When did lobbying become a way to create nice outdoor spaces?)
• Worker’s Compensation Claims and How to Avoid Them (Chasing technical regulations leaves no time to create beautiful landscapes.)
• The Climate is Changing and We Are All Going to Die (Wouldn’t a nice, self-sustaining landscape design idea be more optimistic?)
• Exciting New Biofungicide from PesticidesAreUs (Why are so many commercial landscapers so fascinated with spraying toxins?)
• Bridge Design Includes Great New Plastic Landscape (Press releases provided by the manufacturers disguised as news)
• Everyone is Planting the New Year-Round Blooming Monoculture Sensation (Insert latest Knockout Rose variety photo here.)
• Community Gets Multimillion-dollar Grant to Install Streetscape in Obsolete Downtown Area (Insert photo here of politician taking credit for giving away taxpayer money.)
• Multimillion-dollar Grant to Fund Politically-motivated Landscape that Will Never Be Maintained (Insert photo here of large check being passed to politician.)
• New Tree Has 47 Different Types of Blooms Artificially Grafted to the Trunk (What good is a great tree if it takes a lifetime of dedication to create?)
• Exciting new landscape created by pruning evergreens into fantastic, artificial shapes (Topiary is cool, but who has the time and dedication?)
• Growing Plants on Rooftops (Especially rooftops not built to carry wet soil)
• Growing Plants on Bridges (So you will have a bridge covered in dead plants in a couple of years!)
• Growing Plants in Water (Because what fun is it to grow plants in a medium plants want and need)
• Growing Plants without Soil (Because what fun is it to grow plants in a medium plants want and need)
• Growing Plants on Concrete (The people who insist on this will tell you about pictures they have seen where this really works well, if only just a day or two after everything is planted.)
• Growing Plants on Vertical Walls (18th-century French monarchs would be proud of the tapestries created with plants growing in an almost impossible situation.)
• Growing Plants in Baskets Floating in Air (It may be crazy, but the photo will look great on Pinterest.)
Here's a real life example. Follow the link to find Architectural Digest calling the idea of putting trees in buckets across the top arch “brilliant”. Note, all the trees in the visualization are in peak bloom and/or fall color. Now, how can you compete with that? You really can’t. The sad part of the article is that none of the trees would ever be able to survive the situation. In all honesty, the project will never be built. The design is a waste of money! No serious bridge design review team would ever allow trees to be perched above pedestrians, and the hazard of inviting skateboarders or adventurers to climb the arch is an issue, too. Good landscape architects create landscapes that have lasting value, practical function, and honest design.
I’m tiring of it all. One of the reasons I got into landscape architecture was the joy of gardening engendered by Jim Crockett on the PBS show “Crockett’s Victory Garden”. He didn’t grow things upside down. He wasn’t pushing products for the ad revenue. He wasn’t trying to be a viral publicity phenomenon. He wasn’t trying to lobby for special interest laws or skirt regulations. Everyday Mr. Crockett gave his wife a beautiful flower he grew. He loved the mystery of plants and how they could enrich our lives in practical ways. He wanted to share that love with other people.
My interest in landscape design was nurtured by visiting wonderful outdoor spaces and looking at pictures of settings that would be a delight to experience on an internal, soulful level, not just to get a selfie to post.
I’d like to see a news story about a wonderful place, created with appropriate plant material, planted in ample, natural soil, designed to please (rather than shock) my visual senses, planned for ease of long-term maintenance, and worthy of a visit. I’d like to read an article about how to succeed in making wonderful places in my own yard as well as public sites where everyone could enjoy the constructed space. I don’t want any more freak show news.
I want to make the world a better place in the landscape specialty industry. This web site is my attempt at following Jim Crockett’s example of sharing what’s practical and what works so you as a designer can create something lasting and real.