Christy Ten Eyck is just one of the best landscape designers/architects in this mythical country of so much so-so, throwaway stuff. These projects solve so many problems of sustainability and water conservation in one fell swoop and all the while are unbelievably beautiful spaces you just want to be in. The video is not an uber-polished/hyper-edited YouTube-style video, so don’t expect a crazy fast pace. But then again, these landscapes are not to be looked at quickly in passing but rather spaces to be in and explore. Lovely lovely loveliness.
We will be giving a seminar on the Irrigation-Free Landscape on Februrary 4 as part of the Mother Earth Gardens winter seminar series. The seminar will cover the nuts and bolts of the Irrigation-Free Landscape, how it works, what we have learned from the first pilot landscape, and how you can apply some of these lessons and tips to your own landscape or garden. The seminar starts at 7:00 p.m. and will be held at the Riverview Wine Bar, located across from Mother Earth Gardens at 3745 42nd Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN. The event is free of charge, but the nursery asks that you RSVP to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. The seminar line-up contains tons of informative and instructive seminars on landscapes and sustainability. To check out the other speakers, click here.
Gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta) in a PRAIRIEFORM landscape
The element of change and surprise is something we try to infuse into every landscape we create, so that at any given point during the year one can discover something new within it. The same is true for how a landscape evolves across the years. While we can to a certain extent plan this evolution into a landscape, there are wildcard factors such as temperature and precipitation that can radically alter the landscape from year to year. Take, for example, gloriosa daisies (Rudbeckia hirta), whose shots of deep gold and burnt orange can be profuse or sparse depending on what has gone on that year. What went on last year was bunnies, and lots of them. What also went on was not much rain. Thus, any irrigated to semi-irrigated landscape area was an endless dinner of uber-washed field greens for bunnies, with gloriosa daisies being a food of choice for them. The result was a virtual absence of the deep golds and oranges that we are now seeing this year in the landscape, as, this year, we have seen much rain, and a profusion of clover and other greens that bunnies seem to love. As a result, they are not tempted to move their way into more cultivated environs and mow down our labors of botanical love. What we enjoy vis-a-vis this phenomenon is not so much that we have more gloriosa daisies (among other plants) to stare at this year, but that it is a reminder that designers may have some control over the landscape, but not complete control. A nice humbling lesson for a profession that frequently gets all too caught up in its own myth-making. So, go out and enjoy the golds of this summer and know that they might be rabbit food next summer, which makes them all the more precious.
Here’s an English-language-friendly overview of one of the installations of Piet Oudulf. He is perhaps on the farthest end of the spectrum when it comes to designing a landscape where the plants themselves provide the structure and the prevailing form of the installation. While sometimes verging on a bit too weedy for us, his approach has been revolutionary for the simple fact that he’s put the plant, and an exhaustive knowledge of plants and their evolving form across the seasons, back into landscape design and architecture.