By Gary Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station (Fort Collins, Colo.) Larson
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Extra info for Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains
This is now changing. As the so-called emerging markets generate more resources for public and private garden making, immense new possibilities are opening up. One is for the ongoing development of garden traditions which became stalled – either through cultural decline or the impact of imperialism – notably Islamic, Chinese and Thai. Another is working with plant palettes which have never before been utilized in design. This latter approach, the use of novel plants, is tremendously exciting. Much garden design in non-industrial or emerging economies in the past has used a limited flora, repeated all over the world across appropriate climate zones; the monotony of endlessly meeting bougainvilleas, yuccas and Ficus benjamina wherever you travel in the tropics is deeply disappointing.
One of the most famous examples of such plant conquest of abandoned land is the New York City High Line, an elevated freight railway line last used in the 1960s. The last part of the line was closed in 1980. Its redevelopment as a park had to involve complete rebuilding so the flora was lost, but Piet Oudolf’s collaboration with landscape architects James Corner Field Operations is intended to evoke the wild feeling of the old High Line. The remarkable success of the project is now inspiring other projects in the USA, and highlighting the importance of post-industrial landscapes.
Contemporary planting design is not only freer, but also seeks to reflect nature. It also addresses our concerns about how we garden sustainably and in partnership with nature. Even someone who takes the quickest glance at a wild or semi-natural habitat will see that it is a blend of different plant species. Someone who has no interest in wild plants and lives most of their life in a city standing in front of an average field in spring or early summer – by which we mean a traditional low-intensity pasture or hay meadow – will rapidly appreciate that several different kinds of wildflower are present, and that they are all mixed up.
Aquatic and Wetland Vascular Plants of the Northern Great Plains by Gary Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station (Fort Collins, Colo.) Larson