Monday, December 15, 2014

Larry Weaner Preaches

I've enjoyed the free online December issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine -- and primarily for a piece on Larry Weaner. I did not go to school for landscape design or horticulture, I've never worked on prairie restoration projects, but every time I go to a client's house and look at their landscape this is what I think:

When Weaner first looks at a site, he asks himself, “If I do nothing, what’s likely to transpire and what aspects do I not want? Then I put together a plan to direct it, according to what my goals are.”
“I don’t even like the word maintenance,” he says. Maintenance is what keeps cars running smoothly. These landscapes have to be managed, with an eye for change. “You’re setting a process in motion, as opposed to putting a finished product in the ground."

“When I got here [meadow project site], they had cleared the brush off the fields and seeded them with a grass mix. It was kind of bony soil that looked infertile and dry…. The construction manager, the landscape architect, the clients, everybody wanted me to bring in topsoil and compost, till it up, put in irrigation. And I kept saying no, you don’t need that. In this context, most of what you learn in horticulture is counterproductive. It will do more harm than good.”

And he looks on rich soil as a liability! I just don't believe in amending soil unless it's a vegetable bed. Weaner is also big into self education and knowing your plants. YES! That's exactly why I give clients a big ole plant list with detailed horticultural info, seasonal and wildlife value, with links / books to do more research. The more you know, the more empowered you are, the more free and connected you are. Hope to meet Larry some day.


Diana Studer said...

today - with the help of a new gardening book by the designer of the biodiversity showcase garden in Green Point - we planted nectar for our sunbirds. Plants that appeal, old favourites and some new ones.

Benjamin Vogt said...

That's good to hear! :)

Nell said...

Isn't that a great article on meadows and Larry Weaner? It's online, and there's a pointer at Garden Design Online's magazine roundup post for December.