The Nature and Culture of Plants

This seminar / workshop course will focus on the nature of the interaction between plants and the environments in which they grow. The class will cover an array of both native and non-native species growing in natural, managed and emergent landscapes. Lectures will cover a wide variety of topics, including:
· plant evolution and ecological adaptation
· plant ecology in a globalized world
· plant classification and identification
· plant form and function
· sustainable maintenance strategies for designed landscapes
· vegetation and design responses to climate change and urbanization
· relationship of the commercial nursery industry to the profession of landscape architecture

Classes will have a workshop component utilizing fresh plant specimens brought to the GSD from the Arnold Arboretum, with a focus on sustainable species that can be cultivated with minimum inputs of maintenance. Major plant life-forms to be covered will include: conifers; flowering trees; flowering shrubs; woody vines; herbaceous perennials; grasses; and annuals. There will be four field trips to sites where a diversity of mature plants can be observed.

Project: Each student will select a research project involving a designed landscape that has undergone significant change over time as a result of both human and environmental factors. Students will be expected to produce a case study project analyzing the original (past) design-intent of a selected site in relation to its present condition and potential future trajectories with and without a design intervention.