Kathy Purdy’s excellent post on zones cites author Peter Del Tredici on the subject, and that reminds us to tell you about a couple of his other articles, found in Landscape Architecture Magazine. Del Tredici gets lots of attention for lots of reasons, including his 30 years at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum, where he’s now director of its living collection and senior research scientist. He also teaches at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.
In this (PDF) article, "Plants are at Stake," the author speaks up for plants "because too many landscape architects undervalue them". Apparently when he began teaching landscape architecture students at Harvard he expected them to lack plant knowledge but was still surprised by the low level of scientific understanding. He emphasizes soils, microclimates, and even maintenance, a "dirty word" at the school. "As a teacher, I tend to challenge the orthodoxy." He encourages students to make sure plants are suitable to the site and notes that native species haven’t exactly flourished in cities. More on that touchy subject below.
In his controversial article "Brave New Ecology" – also in PDF – Del Tredici criticizes what he calls "faith-based" notions of restoration, which ignore ecological realities. He says our goal should be sustainability, not "romantic notions of bringing back the past." If you’re shocked by those notions or his acceptance of invasive plants, let us know in your comments. And if you’re not shocked, why not?
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