9 Awesome Ways to Use Plants

ways to use plants

A deeper look at some truly awesome ways to use plants. Looking at examples from around the world. What are the most awesome, unique, awe inspiring, cool planting schemes and use of plants in the landscape and beyond?  Green roofs, living walls, green facades, phytoremediation, moss art, green graffiti, and mass plantings; there is too much to choose from . Whether it’s ecological, functional, sensory or just simply visually stunning, here’s 9 of my favourites.  What’s yours?

Awesome Ways to Use Plants

9. Muscari River, Keukenhof Gardens, Holland Consisting of Muscari armeniacum, also known as Grape Hyacinths, the Muscari or “Blue River” winds through 32 hectares of the gardens and woodland, at Keukenhof Gardens in Holland.  Without a doubt one of the most spectacular sights and most photographed scenes at Keukenhof. Along with the overpowering visual impact of the planting scheme, the scent from the Muscari helps establish a truly unique character for itself as an element of the landscape. WATCH: Keukenhof Gardens (Forward to 3:20 to see the Muscari River) 8. The Pothole Gardener Not content with waiting for potholes to be fixed with boring, depressing tarmac, a guerrilla gardener from East London who fills potholes with compost, colourful perennials/bedding plants and then adds toys, doll furniture, etc to create mini landscapes, often with a comedic edge. WATCH: Holes Of Happiness 7. Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, Grant Associates The most iconic aspect of the Gardens by the Bay is the Supertree structures.  Steel structures, ranging in height from 25 to 50m.  These super structures harvest rainwater, generate energy through photo voltaics and function as ventilation channels for the parks’ biomes.  The structures are clad with a living wall; consisting of Bromeliads, Orchids and Ferns.  The living walls vegtation passively cools the air entering the ventilation channels into the biomes.


Gardens by the bay; credit: Photo collection from Robert Such, Darren Chin, Craig Sheppard

6. ‘Bloom’ by Anna Schuleit “Bloom” was a temporary living art installation and later on, a social artwork, located within the walls of the now demolished Massachusetts Mental Health Centre. The installation celebrated over 90 years of the centre’s service and accomplishments, with the use of 28,000 flowers representing “how flowers are a symbol of healing when they are given to the sick, yet patients of psychiatric institutions rarely receive flowers. She decided to counteract this absence of colour and life”. Truly, haunting and thought provoking. WATCH: Bloom by Anna Schuleit Haber 5. Public Farm 1 by Architecture WORKS Public Farm 1 was constructed in 2008 as an educational and social space that functioned as an urban farm.  Edible vegetables, fruits, salads were located in raised planter columns which grave rise to an eye catching structure.  Along with the more obvious benefits, this planting scheme proved that urban farms could be designed to be aesthetically stunning, while still performing the desired function. WATCH: Public Farm 1 4. MFO Park, Zurich, Switzerland The steel structural facade houses an interior courtyard garden and elevated walkway while creating a historical link to Zurich’s industrial heritage.  The facade is colonised by numerous species of climbers, vines and shrubs. Read our full review of MFO park. The plant species is split between a mixture of deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen; this allows for precious sunlight to penetrate into the interior courtyard garden providing warmth during winter, while providing shade in the summer as the vegetation re-colonizes the structure.  The spreading vegetation symbolizes Zurich’s progression from an industrial city to that of a sustainable and green one.
MFO park; credit: deco2912 @ flickr

MFO park; credit: deco2912 @ flickr

3. ‘A Wheatfield with Cypresses’ Green Wall, London’s Trafalgar Square, National Gallery Based on Van Gogh’s painting of the same name, this living wall is a carbon copy, with plant choices, based on the boldness of colour, arranged in blocks to represent the painter’s masterpiece.  The scene is brought to life with the added dynamics of texture and movement of the grasses in the wind. Read more about green walls in our article Going Vertical: The History of Green Walls WATCH:  ‘A Wheatfield with Cypresses’ Green Wall (Forward to 1:50) 2. Hitachi Seaside Park Forget that it’s a monoculture and all the negative associations with such a planting approach.  It’s awesome.  The images in the video say it all. WATCH: Hitachi Seaside Park 1. Wisteria at Ashikaga Park, in Japan. Magical.  Graceful.  Ethereal.  Awesome.  Need I say more?
Ashikaga Park. Credit: Yoshinori Fukumoto

Ashikaga Park. Credit: Yoshinori Fukumoto

So there it is, what did you think? What’s your favourite and which projects do think deserve to be on this list (or the next one!)?  I hope you enjoyed my countdown and are making a mental note of where to take your next landscape adventure! Recommended reading:

Article by Joseph Clancy Return to Homepage

This article was originally submitted to Landscape Architects Network

Published in Blog

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