i sound like a preacher

What inspires someone is always of interest to me.  Gary Hildebrand began his talk at Metro Hort with places, paintings and photographs that would become formative ideas in his landscape architecture practice. For Hildebrand, one of most iconic places in Central Park, the Mall leading to Bethesda Terrace, was and still is a model of a naturalistic urban canopy.

Hildebrand also showed two quintessential photographs of the Flat Iron Building at 23 street and Broadway.

Flat Iron Building photograph by Alfred Steiglitz

The Flat Iron Building photography by Edward Steichen

For Hildebrand, these two photographs are illustrative of the relationship between the city and nature.

Gustav Klimt, Pear Tree, 1905, another influential painting for Gary Hildebrand.

Dan Kiley, Art Institute, Chicago, sixteen hawthorn trees. Each tree planted twenty feet on-center another influential planting for Hildebrand.


Vegetal City: Increased Urban Canopy for Us All was the topic of Hildebrand’s talk.  For Hildebrand a successful tree planting in an urban setting is all about the infrastructure underneath sidewalk grade; permeable pavers, storm water capture, irrigation during the establishment period and most of all SOIL.   His go to person for soil:  Eric T. Fleisher, former Director of Horticulture at Battery Park City Conservancy and a sustainable ecosystem proponent. Hildrebrands’ parting words: “Never go anywhere without a soil scientist.”  














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