Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Some day we're going to read about a high end garden designer in a top notch publication, and instead of just talking about pretty plants or beautiful vistas or charming combinations, we're going to hear that designer discuss fauna they're in love with, how a creature deeply moved them to garden in the way they do, and how their designs reflect something more than just candy for the eyes or a brief feeling of awe as someone walks through their landscape. Yes, some day we're going to hear an influential voice speak to the heart of selfless garden design. Some day our sense of community will catch up with our sense of creativity. Some day speaking about wildlife in garden design won't seem nonintellectual or hippy-dippy-reactionary activist. Some day garden speak will represent what gardens actually are -- a way to help us navigate and experience authentic nature more intimately in our daily urban lives.
Posted by Benjamin Vogt at 9:05 AM
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What you're talking about, Benjamin, isn't hippy-dippy. Maybe the preoccupation with frilly, clownish plant forms (like top-heavy peonies, pom pom-like sunflowers, and green Echinacea) has turned away a lot of potential gardeners who would welcome the opportunity to add the cultivation of exquisitely evolved natives to their repertoire.
For years those Echinacea introductions and I have had a family feud. Plus, I so often hear of their poor performance -- not withstanding we don't know their value to the ecology (beyond adult pollinators) in the landscape.
If you haven't seen it already, you might be interested in this research project (https://pollinatorgardens.org/2013/02/08/my-research/) by a grad student at the University of Vermont comparing attractiveness to pollinators of native species and their cultivars. It hasn't been published yet, but the preliminary results show that cultivars are usually less attractive than the species. The recommendations being made by UVM Extension is to plant the species or "... to limit the use of cultivars to open-pollinated seed-grown 'selections' or 'sports' of the native species."
Oh yeah, saw it a while back. :)
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