Breaking the Rules
Ecological Design for the Real World
New York Botanical Garden
Thursday, January 19, 2012
When it comes to gardening,
I probably ask myself that question everyday.
Usually, my answer is disaster.
Larry Weaner said NO! NO! NO!
And I tried to listen.
DUKE it OUT.
Yes. Really. Match the plants to the habitat where those plant grow. All native plants are not the same even if they all come from the Northeastern US.
PLANTS are married.
A plant is part of a COMMUNITY and that is the most important part of looking at any plant. Plants complement one another in a competitive landscape. They benefit one another. It’s understanding those relationships, that lead to a successful ecological design.
Weaner advocates using disturbance to your advantage. Perpetually weeding will spread weed seed. Things change over time. In nature plants die. Understand how plants have involved over thousands of years. And use that knowledge.
CUT it down.
BURN it up.
Mow it down. Mowing is a management technique. Selecting when and how high to mow creates stronger plants and eliminates weed seed. Most interesting and used widely in Europe, is burning. And although, in the US it would be hard to do, Weaner told us that the Native Americans had been using this method for years and years. Native Americans and the Transient Wilderness by Omar Stewart.
Weaner ended by playing part of Hayden string quartet. For him the music expressed what he feels when he is “in” one of these landscapes.
I thought what he was saying was profound. Some of us understand parts of it. I am still learning.
I include the outline Weaner handed out at the lecture, because if you have the opportunity to hear him speak, do so.
|Wildflower Meadow Randall’s Island|
WHY BREAK THE RULES?
Because considering ecological science changes everything.
Specialist and Generalist Species
Plant Proliferation Strategies
Competition and Vegetative Stability
WHAT TRADITIONAL PRACTICES MIGHT BE ALTER?
Planning for Plant Compositions that change over time
Design by Management
Design by editing during the Management Phase
Imported Topsoil vs. Native Soil
Amendments: Organic Material and Fertilizer
ASSISTING PLANT PROLIFERATION AND
Assist propagule disperal
Foliar Disturbance: Revealing Succession
Expanding Nurse Plant Zones
IS THERE STILL A PLACE FOR FORMALITY?
Relative Vegetative Stability
THE LANDSCAPE DIFFERENTLY
All photos from the Wildflower Meadows
on Randall’s Island