Category Archives: Plants

Explorers at Home

Plant-hunting is always in season at the Leach Botanical Garden in Portland, Oregon, the storybook base of the botanist Lilla Leach, where Land Morphology has begun a next-century upgrade to the grounds.

By Bradford McKee / Photography by Sahar Coston-Hardy, Affiliate ASLA

Man standing with his back to the camera on a trail through the garden.
A path leads through a grove of camellias in the Woodland Garden, down to the Leach House next to Johnson Creek.

Leach Botanical Garden

“We wanted that project so badly,” a friend told me when I mentioned my upcoming visit in May to the Leach Botanical Garden in Portland, Oregon. The Leach Garden is a former private property, about 90 years old as a garden and about 40 years old as a Portland public park.

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Seeding a Wilder Future

A new gorilla conservation campus by MASS Design Group and TEN x TEN is a laboratory for reforestation.

By Timothy A. Schuler

Aerial photo of Fossey Center showing landscape and low-lying buildings with green roofs.
The experimental landscape at the new Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund headquarters features plant communities that are critical to mountain gorillas’ survival. Photo by Iwan Baan.

The plan was ambitious, even by MASS Design Group standards. For the headquarters of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the world’s foremost mountain gorilla conservation organization, the designers envisioned a series of lily pad-like buildings nestled into a landscape made up of plant communities drawn almost exclusively from the gorillas’ native habitat in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

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Book Review: Gone Feral

A review of Natura Urbana: Ecological Constellations in Urban Space by Matthew Gandy.

By Anjulie Rao

Cover of the book Natura Urbana, showing a wild plant on an urban lot.

There are more than 30,000 vacant lots in the city of Chicago—remnants of urban renewal’s disastrous execution and disinvestment. Where buildings once stood, acres of new life have emerged. Many of those empty lots have become overgrown—small prairies where remnants of building foundations peek out from plots of seeding grasses; thick, tender lamb’s-quarter; and purple flowering chicory. The lots are home to rats, skunks, raccoons, and the occasional possum. Chicago, like many postindustrial cities, grapples with how to develop these spaces, calling them wastelands. Continue reading Book Review: Gone Feral

Weed Whackers

For habitat restoration and invasives control on sensitive sites, goats are a natural.

By Katharine Logan

Three hundred goats help Caltrans restore habitat at the foot of Big Sur. Photo by Katherine Brown.

How often does it happen that when a landscape maintenance crew starts mowing brush or clearing weeds, office workers leave their desks and head outside to watch, grandparents make an outing of it with their grandkids, neighbors sit out on their front porches where they can see, or people driving down a highway stop to find out more? If you said “never,” you don’t know goats. Continue reading Weed Whackers

Bog Wild

Guarded by isolated landscapes and rough ocean waters, Argentina’s remote peatlands are among the world’s most effective and fragile carbon sinks.

By Jimena Martignoni / Photography by Joel Reyero

Peatlands appear in the landscape as extensive, soft surfaces slightly undulated and dotted by small pools of water.

At the southern tip of South America, between the Strait of Magellan to the north and west and Beagle Channel to the south, the Tierra del Fuego archipelago may hold one of the keys to global carbon sequestration: nearly pristine peatlands. Continue reading Bog Wild

A Canopy Where it Counts

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, grabs the opportunity for more equity and biodiversity after a Derecho flattens more than half the urban trees.

By Kevan Klosterwill

On August 10, 2020, a massive storm ripped through Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the surrounding area. The storm, called a derecho for the straightness of its 140-mile-per-hour winds (as compared with a twisting tornado), spent less than an hour over the city, but in the process devastated the city’s tree canopy. Continue reading A Canopy Where it Counts

Your Stuff Is Coming (Someday)

Supplies are short and prices are bonkers. What’s behind the issues in the supply chain, and when will they end?

By Bradford McKee

An Alpine crew installing granite pavers at a new park near Hudson Yards. Photo by Dylan Peck, Alpine Construction & Landscaping Corporation.

Don’t worry, it’s not just you. The supply chain chaos that has dogged the whole economy the past couple of years is hitting every point of the uniquely perishable process of building landscapes. Continue reading Your Stuff Is Coming (Someday)