Thursday, October 29, 2009

iPhone Leaves Everywhere

At the neighbor's...

...downtown Chicago in front of 4th Pres. Church

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Tale of Two Maples

Since it's next to my office, I get to observe this yard on a daily basis. I know that this garden is not maintained, so it is an interesting laboratory that shows how plants fare with no coddling.

Above you can see the Japanese Maple that has grown as bred and is diffusing light like a garment spun from fairy wings.

Below you can the Japanese Maple that is reverting to the stock upon which it was grafted. Yes, that is one tree. Maybe someone can market this as "Year-Round Christmas."

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Burnham Pavillions

Go with an open mind and body: The Burnham Pavillions in Millennium Park in Chicago through Halloween. I went expecting to like the one by Zaha Hadid and was surprised by my magnetic attraction to Ben van Berkel's "UNStudio." Perhaps our experience was not fair since the lighting and slide show wasn't working in Hadid's construction. But the UNStudio really delivers on its claim to highlight the city skyline. It juxtaposes the sense memory of FL Wright's architectural proportions with a 21st Century slideshow and 3D interaction.Even though we went on an unseasonably cold & windy night, I was mesmerized and felt that time stood still even as the Pavillion morphed like a Mobius strip.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No Turf

A few weeks ago I went to check in on a city garden we installed a decade ago. At the time, at the request of the client, we only put in two tiny sections of turf in a large lot (60' x 125') where the house sits on the back sixth. The clients tired of the turf and a few years ago we replaced those sections with perennials. Did I mention the rabbits? And more rabbits?

Through the branch of a crab apple, above you can see grasses, onions, mints and some barren strawberry.
Below is an ornamental thyme. The white pine was around 6' when planted: now it covers the neighbors' third floor porch. Plant small and the trees will grow faster since they won't have to endure as much transplant shock.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WPGC Lecture Series: "Native landscape"

Looking North Down The Pond

Even though my current favorite landscape is the Mojave desert, I must still be a city girl at heart. Why? Because my favorite US garden is Alfred Caldwell's Lily Pond (in Lincoln Park east of the Conservatory, north of the Zoo and south across the street from the Notebaert Nature Museum).These photos just hint at the place that defines "sanctuary in the city." It sits next to major city attractions and heavy traffic and yet most people walk right past its modest entrance gate...this means you can almost always feel private when you are inside its regional stone walks and native plants and idiosyncratic structures. I believe tucking it away was intentional. For me, the Lily Pond has remained a space of endless nurturing, intrigue and education for more than 50 years. It was magic when I was a kid and it was neglected and full of bird poop and called "The Rookery." It still endlessly compells me now that I understand it professionally in its historical context.

This context will be artfully constructed (or maybe deconstructed?) through the Wicker Park Garden Club's Lecture Series "Native Landscape: Created - Conserved - Evolved" between now and March 2010. The Club's fearless leader (and he can be so because of his tireless energy, dedication & vision and because he has a strong group of supportive members terrific in their own right), Doug Wood, kicked off the series last night with "An Historic & Philosophic Overview of Selected Designers." The series concludes with a presentation on Caldwell.

I compromise my carbon footprint to attend because I have found this garden club always inspires me & makes me feel at home. In my industry, I am on the constant lookout for landscape discussions about design, history, philosophy, politics, sustainability and culture. WPGC is one of the few groups that delivers. Interestingly, it is a community gardening group, not professional (though some members are)...full of experience, knowledge, generosity & fun. [Of course, I have to mention MELA as one of the other groups I value highly.]

Every one of the lectures is on my calendar. Even though I have heard more than 2/3s of the speakers, I know this will be time well spent. Check them out and I promise you will leave connected. And perhaps, Wicker Park garden Club will become part of your routine too.

Water Fountain