Native Plants

After the Suburbs…
January 11th, 2011

January 2011

Kiang Gallery

THE AMERICAN SUBURBS OF THE 20TH CENTURY ARE NOTORIOUSLY BRANDED:
BRIGHT, SAFE AND BRAND-NEW. THE HOMES AND THE TIGHTLY SYMMETRICAL SHRUBBERY
IDEALIZE ORDERED GARDENS, COMFORT AND SPACIOUSNESS. THIS ENVIRONMENT IS
MYTHOLOGIZED AS THE ULTIMATE, AFFORDABLE EDEN, WHERE THE WILDERNESS OF BOTH
THE COUNTRY AND THE CITY CENTERS ARE MANAGED AT A CONTROLLABLE DISTANCE.
HOWEVER, THE NEW CENTURY BRINGS AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON THE SUBURBS, AS
THEY GROW MORE COMPLEX AND SHIFT BACK OUT OF HUMAN CONTROL. UNSUSTAINABLE
AND OVERBUILT, WE WITNESS THE SUBURBS AS THEY BECOME HAVENS FOR IMMIGRANTS,
AGRICULTURE, SMALL BUSINESS, BOHEMIANS AND UNDERGROUND ACTIVITY.
WHILE AMERICAN STYLE “THE SUBURBS” ARE NOW MANUFACTURED IN THE CENTER THE
FOREIGN CITIES, AGING SUBURBS, ABANDONED BY COVERT COMMERCIALISM HAVE A CHANCE
TO BE REPURPOSED. SUBURBIA NOW MATURES INTO A MUCH MORE INTERESTING PLACE.
THE SPIRIT OF ITS ORIGINAL UTOPIA MAY STILL REMAIN (ALBEIT TRANSMOGRIFIED),
AS THAT PASTORAL, YET URBAN AMERICAN SPACE.
-K.TAUCHES

Suburbs vs. moss
November 22nd, 2010

Suburbs-

We want green, but we want to control it.  Mow it, trim it, contain it, cut it, if it doesn’t behave or doesn’t fit our plans, poison  it, kill it.

False sanitary neatness, cleanliness …Birds are ok as long as they don’t poop on our car.   Chipmunks are cute as long as they don’t wreck our flower beds.  The suburbs are an enormous human conceit, an attempted refabrication of Nature into a safe, sterile, unsurprising womb.  The moss chair is a form of dialectic concerning urban and suburban cultural blindness.  Urbanites and suburbanites have become the non-cognoscenti of the natural planet.  Children grow up afraid to splash in creeks and catch frogs, bugs, or play with caterpillars.

In our attempts to control Nature  we have exterminated entire species of animals: amphibians, insects, birds, fish, mammals…By reorganizing Nature according to our artificially generated organizational grid, we have actually weakened and poisoned the natural systems that sustain us, the plant transpiration and rain cycles that provide us with the very water and air we depend on.  By poisoning icky, crawly critters like insects,  we have decimated the insect pollinators which are responsible for 30% of the food we eat (all fruits and vegetables.)

We have killed the beneficial microbes that create healthy soils, leaving us to rely upon better food through chemistry, an unsustainable and poisonous proposition at it’s best.  Our rich, vibrant soils, communities of live microorganisms and their products, are dying via our arrogance, eroding away to the bare, infertile, sterile mineral substrates or subsoils.

We are big, so we are important.  In ecological terms, however, the smaller something is, the more important it may be.  Perhaps we will lose our fisticuffs with the small, icky, insentient microbes that truly run the planet, and the plants that depend upon them.

My next few installations are using live plant material.  I will be updating this post with pictures as the three projects I am currently working on are being assembled.

2 years later…Hurt Park Native Plant Installation
October 6th, 2009

by Pandra Williams

Photos by Cecilia Marrero

Over the past two years, the Hurt Park Native Plant Garden has survived a year of drought, student foot traffic, and a direct hit from a tornado. The erosion, once problematic, is under control where the garden bed has been installed. Many of these perennial plants are now mature, and will continue to fill out and put up additional bloom stalks in the years to come. We have collected seeds from the garden as they ripen for propagation purposes, as well as to make native seed packets.

A tornado in March 2008 hit the newly installed native plant bed.

Mid summer 2009 in Hurt Park

A view of the center flower bed from mid July. Black eyed susan, Rudbeckia fulgida, Brown eyed susan, Rudbeckia triloba,

Purple coneflwer, Echinacea purpurea, and Stokes aster, Stokesia laevis.

Above: Butterfly Weed, Asclepias tuberosa, with a honeybee. This is a host plant for the Monarch butterfly.

Left: Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea, the same echinacea plant used in herbal cold remedies. Coneflowers will re-bloom if the past prime flower stalks are cut back. This plant is the host for the Silvery Checkerspot Butterfly. In our nursery, later in the summer, we saw goldfinches feasting on the seeds of this plant.

Right: Bluestar, Amsonia tabernaemontana. Pale turquoise, star shaped flowers.A beautiful perennial,not used in the garden nearly enough, Bluestar is the host plant for the Coral Hairstreak butterfly, Satyrium titus. More information can be had at: Butterflies And Moths Of North America and Georgia Wildlife Federation.