just got back

Went to do a presentation at the Morris Arboretum-hosted New Directions in the American Landscape conference. Its like, the premiere ecological conference in the east coast. Some really good presenters with great topics.

One in particular was Dr James Hitchmough’s talk on using native and non-natives to produce generated meadows via seed. He held no punches, saying that non natives have a place in our American landscapes. He totally dissed our american landscape as boring and not really gardens, but “landscapes”. He talked about how the Brits are real gardeners and implied that most Americans aren’t. I believe he is right about that. Most Americans are so disconnected from the soil. Its pretty sad, really. He is amazing in his insight into designing wonderful, colorful and functional meadow gardens and particularly his interest in creating landscapes for the common folk and then using surveys at different times of the year as the gardens grow to determine how people feel about them. The idea is to create gardens by seed that have been proven to provide ecological services and fit the bill for a clean, crisp design accompanied by awesome floral color.


above: Dr Hitchmough discusses our American faults and weaknesses. He was right on all accounts.

I read about him in Noel Kingsbury’s blog a month or so ago. and the day after, my friend Gail sent me this video. I contacted him and we had a few emails back-and-forth and then I realized I was speaking just before he did today, so I was really pumped about hearing what he had to say. Coincidence? He basically covered this paper in his talk. It is ground breaking, revealing stuff and solid as a rock. One of the best papers I have read in some time. I really like this guy. I like that his mission is to make stellar gardens that appeal to the common folks.

see this link for uber-cool video

I will write some about the other talks later. And as soon as a baboon, I will post the slide show that I used. I tried for a long while the other day but forgot how and have to relearn, ugh.


Connecticut College Arboretum “selfie”!

James’ paper is a particularly good read if you care about planet earth. go ahead ya’ll, click it!


hangin’ with my design heroes

Amazing things can happen in one’s life. Crazier things have happened though, I know.

Well maybe not.

I will be speaking at the ecological landscaping conference, New Directions in the American Landscape, in January. I am so humbled (I’m tearing-up :)) to talk about my connection to the Crosby Arboretum, and on methods of local-genetic seed in biodiverse grassland restoration (the Cajun Prairie Model). I learnt abuncha stuff from a few plant geniuses and people way-up in Pennsylvania and Connecticut want to hear about it. Hmmm.?

Some of the people speaking at the conference are long time heroes of mine. Most wonderful is Carol Franklin, renown known landscape designer instrumental in helping develop the concept for the Crosby in its earliest stages. The Crosby is one of the few Arboretums designed as a model specifically focused on interpreting the use of fire as a necessity in sustaining a biodiverse natural landscape. Ms. Franklin’s firm, Andropogon Associates, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was there in the beginning, helping guide the Crosby family and Ed Balke, the landscape designer who they had hired to create the arboretum master plan.

I will also get to meet a couple of my newest heroes, Nigel Dunnet and James Hitchmough, amazing plantsmen from Great Britain. They are professors of Horticultural Ecology at Sheffield University. Nigel, is a green roof guy and James is doing amazing things with the idea of blending natives and exotics in seeded landscapes, in the urban context. I was so excited to discover these two hep cats last month on Noel Kingsbury’s blogpost and then I realized I would be speaking with them. whut.? check out James’ waycool paper on link below:

New approaches to ecologically based, designed urban plant communities in Britain: do these have any relevance in the United States?


Oh, and Thomas Rainier, Landscape Architect prof who writes the Grounded Design blog. http://landscapeofmeaning.blogspot.com/

Maybe I’ll get some hang out time with Kurt Culbertson, of the Design Workshop, who I have had the great pleasure of working with, along with ecological landscape wiz Larry Weaner, on the Lafitte Greenway Project, a 3.2 mile linear park, from The French Quarter to City Park, in New Orleans. The Greenway, after two years of design, just broke ground last week.

There’s a bunch of stellar plant folks I will get to see speak. What a treat. I will try to do my best to ‘represent’, as the youngsters say.

peace ya’ll!

Merry Christmas, Happy Channuka, Happy Quanza, and Happy Festivus, ONE AND ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

conferences links