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Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Fresh Trends

Latest News in Landscape Architecture


In this week’s Latest News in Landscape Architecture we discuss many plant-based topics including the struggles of several nurseries in the U.S., an experiment that [literally] takes plants to new heights in Australia, and provide a satisfying update on the Beacon Food Forest (BFF) in Seattle. The BFF is a stunning example of permaculture, community engagement, and a “sharing” economy done right.

(Click the headline for the full story)

Latest News in Landscape Architecture

As the economic climate strengthens in the United States, many nurseries across the country continue to struggle—forcing some to even close. Take Spring Hill Nurseries, for example. Founded in 1848, it’s been around longer than California has been a state and it’s even older than the Washington Monument! However, due to lingering effects of the recession including competition from big box stores and the downsizing of yards and commercial projects—after 166 seasons this may be their last. “As many as 30 percent of the growers in the country exited during this period of financial stress,” says Charles Hall, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University. “That’s a significant number of growers.”

Related Article: Key Insights on Planting Design in our Interview with Top Plantsman Adam Woodruff

In response to climates that lack rain, a new greenhouse is being designed to harvest the dew to reduce the reliance on an exterior water source. As temperatures rise outside, heat triggers water to evaporate from the plants inside the greenhouse. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the person overseeing the greenhouse opens a flap on the top of building and water condenses into dew and makes its way into a storage tank. “People have access to very little drinking water all year long,says Richelet. “They have a long way to the river, which is practically dry during the dry season, and this water has a very high level of turbidity. So the dew-collector greenhouse has several purposes. First, it will allow farmers to collect the appropriate amount of safe drinking water needed for the body a day. Then, farmers can irrigate their plants.”

Learn more about the project on Indiegogo

Related Article: Exceptional Greenhouse Redevelopment at the Botanical Garden in Aarhus

WATCH ME: Roots Up solutions – Water collector in a greenhouse

From permaculture design course to founders of the Beacon Food Forest —it’s no surprise that the Emerald City is home to the largest edible garden on public land in the U.S.! The seven-acre field in Seattle’s Jefferson Park has transformed into a destination for locals, permaculture enthusiasts, and curious and hungry visitors. Situated about 2.5 miles south of downtown, it’s currently two-acres, yet plans are in the works to expand. “Initiating “phase two” means another round of community engagement, another proposal to the city, and many hours of work from a multitude of volunteers.” Until then, the cooperative food forestry idea is attracting attention through monthly work parties, classes, workshops, and free strawberries. “People learn how to do stuff and realize it’s pretty easy and attainable,says Cramer, one of the co-founders.

Related Article: Landgrab City—Urban Farm

WATCH ME: 21. Beacon’s Food Forest

While DC’s L’Enfant Plan dates back to 1791, it wasn’t until the McMillan Plan of 1901 that the National Mall replaced greenhouses, gardens, and commercial facilities with open space. Over the years, the Mall has been modified to accommodate its rigorous foot-traffic of more than 25 million visitors a year. Depending on funding, three areas including the 1855 “Castle”, Constitution Gardens, and Sylvan Grove are slated to get redesigned by 2050. While the future of the proposed redesigns remains uncertain—the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall is optimistic and they have selected BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Rogers Partners, PWP Landscape Architecture, and OLIN among others to lead the design efforts.

Atop the 92nd floor of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower sits two plants caged and strapped to a rusty pipe. Without the soil and direct water, these plants have survived for months while weathering winds up to 200km/h. As part of an installation by ecological artist Lloyd Godman, he’s experimenting to see it’s possible to grow plants on top of buildings in the city. To date, he and his team have installed eight Tillandsia flowering plants on floors 56, 65, 91 and 92, the very top of the 297-metre building. These so-called “air plants” don’t require soil and water and grow at night.

Check out the complete guide for creating green roofs, walls, and facades developed by the University of Melbourne and the Inner Melbourne Action Plan here.

WATCH ME: Visions: Green Roofs Growing Research

At first glance, many [including me] are not sure what to make of this fluid, organic form distinctly articulated through varying topography, space, and gradient. However, the geometric and contemporary design embraces architecture and landscape in an odd, thought-provoking way. Designed by the Beijing-based practice known as HHD_FUN and located in Quindao, China—weird architecture continues in China, despite President Xi Jinping’s attempt to quench it.

Related Article: Contemporary Landscape Architecture in China: Beautiful or Dangerous? 

Latest News in Landscape Architecture

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News report by Brett Lezon

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