The Landscape as Time

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

When I was studying Landscape Architecture at university, I had a professor who was infamous for several sayings. One of the most prolific of his sayings, which any student could nearly be guaranteed to hear during a design review, was ‘the landscape as time’, or more briefly, ‘landscape time’. He spent four years drilling this into each of the students in the program. The idea is that we have to think on a whole different time scale when we think about the landscape and how we design it. He told us to design a landscape for 50 or 100 years down the road. This is a very hard concept to manage since we’re unlikely to ever see that vision realized. The landscape moves along at its own pace and while we’re aware of it, we often don’t truly recognize…

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3 Pacific Northwest Plants for Winter

This was originally posted on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Here in Seattle we had a very long and very dry summer. It seemed that fall would never arrive as we enjoyed 70 degree days into October. However, the seasons will not be stopped and fall came upon us nearly overnight as the sunny, warm days gave way to cool, clouds and rain. As we Seattleites were still merrily sitting on our balconies into October and planning our gardens, fall snuck up on us. Many of us may have forgotten about the wet, cold weather and were a bit startled when the leaves started to turn colors and fall off trees and our perennials started to die back. To those who knew it was coming in the back of your head but denied it in the front of your head, here are three plants to enjoy this winter…

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House Hunting

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

My family recently started house hunting. We’ve been apartment dwellers for years, but the situation is right for us to purchase a home since, among other reasons, we’re planning on staying in Seattle for a few years. Plus we’re tired of our rent going up every year. Over the last few months I’ve discovered how much value I place on the outdoor space. We started out looking at condos, then expanded townhouses and now have expanded to houses, something I didn’t initially want. The thought of maintaining a house with all the electrical wiring, plumbing, siding and roofing makes me shudder. But houses also have significant outdoor space. I’d be happy with a condo that had a great balcony, however those are very hard to come by in Seattle, most buildings have no outdoor space or tiny, ‘Juliet’…

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The Thrill of Seeds

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

I confess, I’ve never been very good with plants. This despite having a fair grasp on their workings; having taken horticulture and plant classes while getting my Landscape Architecture degree. I figure this just means I have to work harder at keeping them alive.

Nearly three years ago now, we moved to an apartment in Seattle that included a balcony with great views of downtown Seattle and the Space Needle, and so my balcony gardening ambitions took off. It stared with a couple plants, lavender and a couple of other herb containers. Then as I wrote more about habitat, I attained more native plants. Some did well, some did not.

Two years ago I attended a native plant sale hosted by the Washington Native Plant Society. Because native plants…

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Plants in Children’s Art

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

For the last post in my series of plants in the arts, we’re going to look at the importance of plants in children’s art. The rest of the series included various arts starting with Plants in Poetry, then looking at visual arts with Plants in Paintings:: Vincent van Gogh and Plants in Design.

I have a wonderful little friend in Finland who is 8 years old and quite a magnificent artist. Her name is Mia and she loves nature. Neither of her parents are nature geeks, but they do greatly encourage her interests. When I visited them a few years ago we bonded because I am a nature geek. Mia loves to spend time outside observing wildlife and rescuing worms from sidewalks after the rain. She also loves to draw and make art and spends incredible amounts of time and energy…

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Plants in Design

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

This is the third post in a short series about the importance of plants in the arts. The first post was Plants in Poetry and looked at the various ways plants were used as inspiration, symbolism, morals and as an appreciation of nature. The second was Plants in Paintings:: Vincent van Gogh which discussed the importance of plants and nature to van Gogh’s work as well as his life. In addition to poetry and paintings, plants have played a significant role in design. Following are examples of the important role plants have played in two iconic companies.

Tiffany & Co. Glass

Louis Comfort Tiffany was heavily inspired by nature and that was reflected in his work, not only in subject matter, but in the use of colors. According to the Morse Museum of American Art, his “aesthetic was…

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