Wednesday, February 22, 2006

for Joerg

I think it's important to honor those people in one's life who have impact--impact of any kind--on the way we see the world. Our vision is something we share with the environments we inhabit everyday: with friends, family, clients. I think it's seldom--if ever--the case that we are shaped and that we evolve without any outside push. We are inspired. We are awed. Sometimes we are afraid. But all of it seeps into all of our cracks and crannies of consciousness and so it is that we are who we are. There exists only the responsibilty for acknowledgement.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Sunday, February 19, 2006


Saturday, February 18, 2006


It's always a challenge: finding the right symmetry of work-life, business and pleasure. This week was an especially interesting adventure in that classic struggle, but the change of pace was certainly welcome. Along with several other local and long-distance colleagues and friends, I attended a design seminar given by UK design gurus Robin Williams and Rob Templar Williams.
What really struck me about this event was that all of the participants-every single one-had a completely different and original solution to the design dilemmas presented in the case study. It was interesting to have a first-hand view of the various styles and tastes of other professionals practicing in the field today: we are all working within the same contexts of site-client-design-plants, but as with anything, our take on the game varies according to our vision, our imagination, our motivation. While I made it my goal to define the heart of the landscape, others took a more pragmatic approach and sought to pull and push design elements to new heights. Still, I believe it's the intensity of the challenge in a class like this that is the gift: where it takes you, what you gain. The design itself is secondary.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dream Gardens

Alright, mark your calendars. In just a few weeks, on March 2, I will be teaching a class at the Chicago Botanic Garden on the inspired landscapes of Piet (pronounced Pete) Oudolf. If his name hasn't yet popped up on your radar, I hope you'll take a minute to check out some of the photos of his work that I shot at Millenium Park's Lurie Garden in downtown Chicago. One of the things that sets Piet apart from other designers working today is his constant striving for a naturally uncontrived balance of texture + color in the garden. And he does great gardens: they hook into mind-body-soul, fulfilling our human need of beauty, rhythm, and harmony. Sometimes beauty comes in the form of process in a garden: birth-life-death, as plants push up in spring, wave their leaves and blooms in summer, and stand stoic and silent in the winter. In short, he expects the visitors of his designed spaces to have interactive connections to his work, instead of a purely visual one. Piet has a number of really wonderful books, including his newest, a collaboration with Noel Kingsbury. Time for a trip to the library!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

summer days

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Back home after a wonderful week of work at Starhill Forest. New chainsaw challenges were met head on!
Also on the agenda this time was a sidetrip to Southern Illinois where the Sprinfield chapter of the Illinois Native Plant Society hosted a fieldtrip to Horseshoe Lake Nature Preserve. We were also able to visit Ferne Clyffe State Park, Big Cypress Natural Area, Heron Pond, and Blackpowder Hollow. Along the way we met some amazing trees...even some state champions!
We were also fortunate to be able to spend some time with the father of the natural areas movement, Mr. John Schwegman. Thanks to his work with others, the richly diverse natural areas of Illinois were mapped , the effects of which revolutionized conservancy efforts across the state and country.