Folly in Planting Design – Boxwood Clouding

An example of Boxwood Cloudingimage: Wirtz International Landscape Architects
An example of Boxwood Clouding
image: Wirtz International Landscape Architects

Although nothing beats the architectural simplicity and evergreen staying power of a boxwood hedge in a traditional garden design, the element of folly in topiary and ‘clouded’ boxwood hedging is being embraced thanks to the exquisite work of Belgian landscape architect Jacques Wirtz and his firm, Wirtz International Landscape Architects.

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New York City’s High Line: Planting Design

Fall blooms on the High Line, NYCimage: Deborah Steinberg
Late summer blooms on the High Line, NYC
image: Deborah Steinberg

The High Line, in New York City, is a public park built on an historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. The first section of the High Line opened on June 9, 2009. One of the unique features of the High Line is the inspiration for the park’s planting design.

“The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running. The species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees were chosen for their hardiness, sustainability, and textural and color variation, with a focus on native species. Many of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are incorporated into the park’s landscape.”

Taken from the official web site of the High Line and Friends of the High Line. Visit their site for more information and a complete plant list, seasonal bloom list, and plant guide.

by Deirdre E. Toner, D.T.DESIGN, LLC., Co-chair of the Planting Design PPN

Tulip Paradise: The History of the Tulip and Emirgan Park

Stream of tulips, Emirgan Park, Istanbul, Turkey
image: Eric Kopinski

When most people think of tulips, they think of them originating from Holland, when in fact tulips are native to Central Asia and Turkey4. Tulips noted by the Turks in Anatolia were first cultivated by the Turks as early as the 11th century2. The botanical name, Tulipa, is derived from the Turkish word “turban”, which the tulip flower resembles.  Many cultivated varieties of tulips were widely grown in Turkey long before they were introduced to European gardens in the 16th century and quickly became popular4. Although the Dutch Tulipomania is the most famous, the first tulip mania occurred in the 16th century in Turkey. Tulip blooms became highly cultivated, and coveted, for the pleasure of the Sultan and his followers. The Turks had strict laws governing the cultivation and sale of tulips; buying or selling tulips outside the capital was a crime punished by banishment3.

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Reflections on the Annual Meeting

therapeutic garden
Emanuel Hospital Children’s Garden, Portland, OR
image: Therapeutic Landscapes Network

As I was flying home on the plane leaving behind what remained of the 2012 ASLA Annual Meeting, I had time to reflect on the many great sessions that I attended.  I was left with images still fresh in my mind from the presentations, from the beautiful therapeutic gardens to the solar panels and wind turbines providing renewable / sustainable energy.

Whether you were able to attend the convention, but missed these sessions or you were unable to make the trip to Phoenix, I have identified what I believe to be the highlights among the presentations. After each session title is a link, which will provide more information about the presenters or subject of that session.  Take a look. They are all well worth your time!    Continue reading

To vegetable or not to vegetable…Citizens revolt!

Front Yard Vegetable Garden
Front Yard Vegetable Garden
image: The Agitator

You can’t have a lifestyle trend such as urban farming or edible frontyards without some controversy. Did you know that there really are many cities and towns with old bylaws or zoning codes that prohibit a person from actually eating any food they grow in their own yard!  While some cities such as San Francisco, New York, Baltimore, Seattle and Detroit have begun to change laws and policy in support of urban agriculture, and as this trend continues to thrive because of food safety and security issues, the growing foodie locavore movement and urban hipster cred, many citizens in other cities and towns have been threatend with jail time or fines for planting a garden or organic farm on their own property.

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Residential Landscape Architecture and Sustainability

Landscape Architects, Ltd., Alexandria, VA
ASLA Honor Award Lily Lake Residence Dalton, PA Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Ltd., Alexandria, VA
image: ASLA

A well designed residential landscape can not only create beautiful vistas from within the house and comfortable rooms for outdoor living, but can also significantly increase the real estate value of a home and neighborhood. But wait there’s more! Did you know that carefully placed plants can also significantly reduce your homes heating and cooling energy needs?  Provide food for your family and friends?

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