Tag Archives: grounded design

Thomas Rainer: Interpreting nature

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This 500-year-old watercolor by Albrecht Durer is a masterpiece of realism, based on close observation of nature, but a nature interpreted and amplified.

I’m too close to the subject of this post, so it hasn’t come easily. My intent has been to write about Thomas Rainer’s lecture at New York Botanical Garden in March, but I’m in such complete agreement with him, I find it hard to distinguish my own thoughts from my memory of Thomas’s presentation. That said, I’ll give this a try. I do hope I don’t put any unattributable words in his mouth.

The native plant movement has produced some extraordinarily beautiful landscapes … and some appallingly ugly gardens. Many native-only gardens fail because they are created with too few plants, a lot of mulch, and abstract concepts of sustainability and conservation–all very unnatural conditions. Too often a native garden or a rain garden looks just the opposite of what it should be–a dry expanse of bark mulch punctuated by a few scattered plants struggling for life.

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Ecological disruption: Has Travis Beck been in my garden?

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Fallen giant White Pines: a major ecological disturbance next to my garden

Ecological Disturbance

I’ve been thinking about the seventeen tall white pines that fell just outside my garden, casualties of Hurricane Sandy, leaving a giant, linear wood pile on the southern border. Thinking specifically about how to accommodate my garden to their fallen presence and, in the longer term, to the effects their absence will have on the garden and the surrounding woods.

The garden will certainly get more southerly light now, but other less immediately obvious and long-term ecological changes will be set in motion too.

Continue reading Ecological disruption: Has Travis Beck been in my garden?