The ebb and flow of conservationism over the last two centuries has been a violent struggle between societal advancement through industry, a return to simple sustenance and nature, and the freedom to breathe clean air as intended by that great nature spirit. From Thoreau to Whitman and Ruskin, many have called for a need to carve out special places for nature to reside, free of the interference of over eager industrialists and lovers of turf deserts. We are in an industry that creates outdoor environments for our human clientele. And although these projects are wonderous and awe-inspiring, few are more inspiring to me than the projects we design and create for nature to return.
Over the course of my rapidly increasing years, I have been involved with many who celebrate native plants, perennials, shrubs, and the natural world. Recently, my involvement in the Oudolf Garden Detroit project has exposed me to the genius of Piet Oudolf and his love of perennials, massed to form unending waves of delight across the seasons. The textures and blooms in this style of planting offer intrigue for the senses and refuge for the forgotten creatures that share our environment. For us, the dwellers of cities and suburbia, this style of garden building offers a chance to connect with nature in an uninterrupted way. For me, building these environments has become my calling.
I would like to highlight a few recent and ongoing projects that have woven nature back into our everyday through expansive meadow plantings and engineered rain garden biomes. Each of these projects radically transformed the acreage surrounding these homes and created many different habitats for wildlife to return in a meaningful way.