PRAIRIEFORM

Everyday excursions in the urban landscape

Fall mixtape

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John Kamp, Johnnycakes, DJ, music, fall, mixtape, 2014, prairieform

We were just back in Minneapolis at perhaps the most magical time of year there, when summer segues into fall. Nature is slowing down, ready for slumber; people are longing to get cozy; and nostalgia becomes people’s seasonal MO. To ring in the season, we have created a good old-fashioned mixtape – well, a mixtape in the sense that it consists of two, unskippable sides that are tailored to a particular theme. In our case the theme is fall: coziness, nostalgia, nature, youth. In short, music, in all its glory. Enjoy.

On Orlando and weeds

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Orlando, Virginia Woolf, weeds, vacant lots, turf grass, landscape design

There’s a line in Orlando that uses an allusion to weeds – or their absence – as a way of highlighting just how patrician the grounds of Orlando’s manor are: “Lying in bed of a morning on the softest pillows between the smoothest sheets and looking out of his oriel window upon turf which for three centuries had known neither dandelion nor dock weed, he thought that unless he could somehow make his escape, he should be smothered alive.” While not in any way a pivotal moment in the story’s narrative, the line says much – to a plant enthusiast – about weeds and the world humans have long lived in: weeds are not a 20th-century phenomenon; they’ve been with us for as long as gardens have been cultivated and lawns have been immaculately maintained. They grow with intent against what the gardener intently wishes would grow.

John Kamp

Bug hotels

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bug wall, bug hotel, landscape design, habitat, pollinators, bees, colony collapse

One of the biggest shifts in landscape design and creation in the past decade has been a move away from creating spaces that are exclusively for humans or exclusively for wildlife and towards making spaces that accommodate for both. Enter the bug hotel, or bug wall (shown above). These structures not only serve as sculpture and structure within the landscape but double as habitat for all manner of bugs, amphibians, and other little critters. They also give the effect of a new kind of human artifact that says much about the turbulent but hopeful times we are living in. For an exhaustive look at bug hotels around the world, click here. For information on construction, click here.

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