May 4, 2013

Relationships Are Hard

Native Plant Garden Symposium
Friday, May 3, 2013

Dr. Robert Naczi
Curator of North American Botany, NYBG

Dr. Douglas Tallamy
Chair of the Department of
Entomology and Wildlife Ecology,
University of Delaware

Rick Darke
President, Rick Darke LLC

Sheila Brady, FASLA
Principal, Oehme, van Sweden & Associates

Grand Opening of
Native Plant Garden

I know how hard it is to maintain relationships.  I don't do a very good job of it.  I make excuses.  I am too busy, overwhelmed, exhausted.  After listening to Dr. Naczi and Dr. Tallamy, I was relieved.  Native plants are all about relationships.  Left alone these relationships remain intact for millennia.

It was Rick Darke, who delivered the bad news.  Humans are the ultimate invasive species.  He continued, "The idea of wilderness is a bankrupt idea." Darke was on a mission to wake up the audience.  "We are living in an interesting age.  We are part of one continuous living process called Nature."

Darke couldn't help himself.  Starting off with the disclaimer, that Piet Oudolf is a good friend of his, Darke showed pictures of The High Line before it became The High Line: the native flora, lack of pesticides and irrigation; the beauty of that landscape.  He drew attention to the functionality of the landscape as it existed before it became a destination garden.  

This brought the discussion back to relationships.  How the connections between plants, insects, and birds create what we call a garden.  He urged us all to become citizen scientists.  After an entire morning of concepts like biodiversity, ecosystem, food web,  I was ready to make new marriage vows:  to commit to functional, productive landscapes.


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