PHYLLIS ODESSEY

It’s All Over Now Horticulturists

DOUG TALLAMY
New York Botantical Garden
February 16, 2012

No more heuchera, hakone grass, hellebores, euphorbia robbiae, anemone tomentosa, agastache … Oh no!  What is a garden designer to do?

A couple of weeks ago Larry Weaner knocked out his “opponent” (horticulturists, garden designers and landscape architects) with the first punch.  Today, Doug Tallamy went two rounds, before he delivered a most forceful blow.  There’s a war going on between the ecologists and horticulturists.  After listening to these two guys, I crossed enemy lines.  Some might say I’m a traitor, but I prefer to think of myself as a patriot.  I’ve sided with the future of the planet.

As Tallamy said, “We need an ecological savings account.  We need to find a way to share the planet with living things.  Let’s put the plants back that feed the birds and insects.  We have to stop thinking of plants as decorations.”

A lot of people who make gardens, including myself, might choose to see these guys as foes.  That old cliche about change being scary is really true.  For those of us who have been working with a diverse plant palette, loving new introductions and using plants from all over the world; this could be bad news.  I see it differently.  Once you connect the dots, there is only one conclusion you can come to.  Tallamy asked “if we were willing to re-landscape our neighborhoods?”.  I am.  And I am willing to change my ways in order to do so.  Good-bye lawn!  Hello Papilio glacus (Tiger Swallowtail butterfly)!

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