The term “resilience” is bantered about a lot these days. But what does it mean in terms of landscape architecture? Due to climate change, the earth’s water levels are rising putting many communities at risk of flooding. Resilient landscapes aim to anticipate future water levels- preparing communities for the worst. That means incorporating green infrastructure so that storm water is absorbed into the ground instead of sent to potentially overcapacity piping systems or raising sensitive equipment above anticipated flood levels. I have been practicing this technique for many waterfront park projects in my work with the US Army Corps of Engineers for decades, designing public open spaces in Indiana and Ohio with annual flooding in mind. Recently, the EPA has begun to encourage planning for resiliency by way of the first National Disaster Resilience Competition, see the link for more specific detail and to learn about the cities and states that are benefiting from this innovative program.
I spent Friday March 20th at the Boston Architectural College as one of many jury members for the Boston Society of Landscape Architects annual awards submittal review. It was a great day of viewing an array or projects both near and far, reconnecting with colleagues spanning my entire career and meeting all manner of heretofore unknown professionals. It was an exhilarating yet humbling experience. I am grateful to have had the opportunity!
Compare and contrast beloved garden plants and their native alter egos. Here I depict the glossy leaved European Wild Ginger plant with the more subdued but native variety, Canadian Wild Ginger. With similar growing requirements, the two live up to the old adage, "its the same difference"!
I recently picked up Michael Dirr’s new-ish book entitled Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs. It’s a great compendium to the many other Dirr books I reference regularly. The book is full of valuable information, as you’d expect from Michael Dirr, but it is also filled with color photographs of woody plants in profile as well as detail images of bark, leaves, flower and fruit. It’s a wonderful addition to my professional library!
Many teachers consider outdoor education important because it provides students a chance to take what they’ve learned in books and compare that to what they see in the world around them. In Boston, the Boston School Yard Initiative has been instrumental with bringing outdoor classrooms to schools across the City since 1995! In my town, most of the schools have been able to incorporate Science Gardens on the school grounds. This spring, the third grade classes study the history of colonial times culminating in a full-day event called Colonial Day. One activity the students enjoy as part of Colonial Day is to learn about the importance of the home garden during colonial times; an introduction of plants used for medicine, for the home and for food was shared.
Spring is a busy time of year at plant nurseries. Ideal planting times are dependent upon the weather but in general the spring planting season is considered April through June and fall planting is considered to be August to October. Plants need to be inspected for pests, injuries, deformations and overall health/vigor.
Starting in January 2013, I began teaching grading courses to undergraduate and graduate students at the Boston Architectural College in Boston. The courses I taught, “Grading I: Landforms, Earthwork and Grading” and “Grading II: Principles of Hydrology and Stormwater Management” presented students with both technical and aesthetic considerations of moving earth and making landscapes. An important part of the teaching was taking students outside the classroom so they could see real-life applications of issues discussed in class.
The dormant season of winter or very early spring is the perfect time to get some tree work done. Tree work can be messy and rough so take advantage of the sleeping woody and herbaceous plants and get your tree canopy in healthy condition. Here, the crews of Barrett Tree East were confronted with a tight site necessitating the use of tree climbers to do most of the selective thinning/pruning and tree removal. The skill, dexterity and team work of the crew members is impressive!
Inspiration comes from the world around us; color, texture, pattern- all components of the ever changing landscape. The camera captures these moments for further reflection. This blog will feature monthly musings centered on the landscape.