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landscape preservation

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

The Trustees of the Reservation Part I: A Visit to World’s End

Becky

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Last week I was lucky enough to travel up to the coast of Massachusetts and visit some wonderful places. Thanks to the Trustees of the Reservation, 100 sites and 25,000 acres of land have been conserved. They manage a wide variety of sites, from the National Historic Site of Naumkeag, with it’s amazing gardens designed by Fletcher Steele, to more than 5 miles of trails through the dunes and greater site surrounding Crane’s Beach on the North Shore of Boston.

photo - The Trustees of the Reservation

I was able to visit two remarkable sites maintained by the Trustees of the Reservation. The first is an all-time favorite, World’s End in Hingham. This amazing site is a glaciated landscape consisting of four drumlins that jut out into Boston harbor. Way back in the day, Frederick Law Olmsted designed carriage paths lined with oak allees,when the site was slated for subdivision. Luckily that, plans for the UN headquarters, a potential nuclear power plant and who knows what else were all thwarted, and World’s End remains and incredibly beautiful spot for hiking and picnicking. There is a rugged cliff trail and a panoramic view of the Boston skyline, Hingham harbor and the town of Hull from its highest points.

There is so much more to maintaining these properties than mowing the grass. This modern birdwatching blind is a recent addition at World’s End. Recently, the adjacent salt marsh it looks out upon was completely rehabilitated. I love to spy egrets here.

Once dammed up and blocked from the harbor, the marsh had filled in and become overrun with invasive plants. A recent project was taking out the dams and reestablishing the marsh. The new bridge at the far end of this photo replaced the dam.

On my last visit this deer and her mother crossed right in front of me on a walking path. The 251 acre site is a wonderful habitat for all sorts of wildlife.

From atop the highest drumlin, you can spy the skyline of Boston in the distance.

For more information on visiting properties protected by The Trustees of the Reservation or leaving a donation to help them keep up the good work, visit thetrustees.org. To see more photos from my trip, check out Design Public on Instagram.

Our next visit will be to Norris Reservation in Norwell Massachusetts, which abuts the scenic North River. Stay tuned.

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Monday, June 7th, 2010

Inspiration Monday: The High Line

Becky

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Ah, The High Line. After years of following this project, from the fight to save it to the competition to the completion of part one, I FINALLY got to set foot on it! I’m so happy. This design is so genius, it might just be my favorite landscape architecture project of all time. In fact, at the moment, I can’t even remember what my old favorite was, isn’t that terrible?
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What’s so great about The High Line? Where to begin? I loved looking down on it from the 16th floor of The Standard. I loved seeing it from the street and thinking “I have GOT to get up there pronto!” I loved experiencing the city from that level, at eye-level with billboards, elevated cars, seeing building facades from a different height. I loved that at first glance one might be fooled into thinking the plantings were wild, but then upon seeing them seeing that they were carefully curated and that unseen maintenance was occurring. I loved all the different options for seating – some amphitheater style, some bistro tables, some lovely benches, some in the middle of a small grove.
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I loved the mix of materials and the overall railroad industrial aesthetic, and I especially loved the metal tracks that remained and reminded visitors what the history of this place was all about – better yet, I loved where the tracks veered off on little side exits into brick walls, which reminded me of the entire industrial system that used to exist – the rail cargo having a direct entrance into the factory buildings. When we all try to be greener, we should think of this true door-to-door delivery where a product could go from the source to the destination in one trip.
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Another thing that’s so interesting is that at one point in urban planning, skywalks were installed everywhere. This move was later blamed for the demise of street life in these areas. Conversely, the elevated public space of The High Line has made the neighborhood even more desirable and drawn even more business down at the street level on up. I’m nuts for this project. If you are too, you should become a friend of The High Line.

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Monday, March 22nd, 2010

Inspiration Monday: Gertrude Jekyll Gardens

Becky

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Sorry for the very late start to inspiring you today – I cannot seem to get anything right this morning/afternoon! I’m going to brush that off and get started with a little inspiration. For some of us, spring has been teasing. Here in Atlanta, all of the daffodils and cherry blossoms are in full bloom, but there were teeny tiny snow flurries this morning. Perhaps we could all use “The Secret” and start planning our gardens to speed things up again. O.K. I’m kidding, I think “The Secret” is really cheesy, but I’ll roll with it.

Gertrude Jekyll was a brilliant English garden designer. She was a master at applying color theory to the composition of gardens. I have this book by Richard Bisgrove, where he has combed through thousands of her plans (there are very few remaining Jekyll gardens as she passed away in 1932) and reinterpreted them. Here are just a few examples of how you can plan out beautiful color combinations in your garden. Oh, and here’s a link to the book, The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll by Richard Bisgrove. If you like to have a few garden tomes to flip through for inspiration around your home, this one is a must-buy for your library.

all images from the above-mentioned book; photography by Andrew Lawson.

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Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Modern Inspiration: The Front Walk

Becky

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The front walk – it’s your first chance at making an impression on visitors. Since more and more crackheads are knocking on my door asking for money lately, I have thorny roses blocking mine. However, if you want to let visitors feel welcome and let them know that you are groovy, you do what Jenn Ski did. We are LOVING the way she interpreted and installed the idea behind these photos.

Just wait until summer! Jenn has all the concrete poured. Here is the story of the work in pictures on flickr.

We also love Jenn Ski’s prints, available in her Etsy shop. Here’s a teaser:

images via Jenn Ski;

  • first image: Garden Art & Decoartion, A Sunset Book, ©1962
  • second image: she found at Junkcultureshop, one of my new favorite blogs.
  • third image by Jenn Ski
  • fourth image: Home Sweet Home giclee copyright Jenn Ski. See link above to purchase on Etsy.
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Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

In Memorium: Lawrence Halprin Dies at 93

Becky

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I was sad to hear of Lawrence Halprin’s passing on Sunday night. He was one of my favorite landscape architects. For eleven years, I lived in Charlottesville Virginia and was able to enjoy the Halprin-designed Downtown Mall. I could go on about his best-known projects, like Ghiradelli Square or the FDR Memorial, but my very favorite design of his is Lovejoy Plaza in Portland, OR, and a glance at his sketchbook pages tell you all you need to know about why his designs work so well. Without weighing us down with a bunch of archispeak gibberish, we can follow the idea from it’s initial contextual inspirations to the final product:


I should have known when I went to find a picture of Lovejoy Plaza on flickr that my favorite one would have been taken by Ken McCowen. To see more beautiful images of Halprin’s work taken by Ken, click here.

Halprin was that perfect combination of conscientious urban problem solver who understood natural processes. He did such an artful job of understanding the greater context of a place and bringing his interpretations of ecology into cities in an artful way. Lovejoy Park is a perfect example of this. He contributed so much to the American landscape; whether helping to heal the gash a freeway cut through a neighborhood in Seattle or protecting the land by leaving a soft footprint at Sea Ranch. He will be missed.

For more information on the Halprin Landscape Conservancy, click here.

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