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BY TIMOTHY A. SCHULER

Floridians are rallying to restore a rare Dan Kiley landscape, starting with 800 trees.

FROM THE SEPTEMBER 2021 ISSUE OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE.

 

On June 17, 1988, life changed for Laurie Potier-Brown, ASLA. She was living in Tampa, Florida, and working in marketing while also pursuing an MBA. Her company’s offices were located downtown, near the new NationsBank tower, Harry Wolf’s now-iconic concrete silo of an office building. That Friday, during her lunch break, Potier-Brown ventured down to the park that had just opened in conjunction with the building. She walked under the plexiglass-bottomed canal and up into the cool, leafy garden, and as she wandered through the grove of flowering crape myrtles and listened to the “gurgling of water running in the rills,” Potier-Brown says she decided to abandon everything—her job in marketing, her MBA—and become a landscape architect.

Thirty years later, Potier-Brown is part of a group working to help restore the park that so profoundly altered her career. Today it is known as Kiley Garden after its lead designer, the renowned modernist Dan Kiley—though for those who remember it, the garden is barely recognizable. Its 800 crape myrtles are gone, as are its allées of sabal palms. The clear-bottomed canal has been removed, and the reflecting pools one once crossed have been paved over. “They’re literally parking cars where the reflecting pools were,” says Christian Leon, the director of a local nonprofit and a supporter of the garden’s restoration. “There’s an entire parking garage underneath!” (more…)

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