Thursday, July 28, 2005

Do we have a proponent of Prairie Style landscaping on the City Council?
David Kaptain took a brief moment at Wednesday's council meeting to float the kind of idea that could become more familiar here, suggesting the city encourage developers to offer homebuyers landscaping options that focus more on native prairie plants rather than traditional lawns.
What a fine idea. Here's where they need to start: Bluff City Cemetery, Lords Park and Wing Park. The problem with these places is that non-native plants and trees have been planted. At Bluff City, it should be easy to rip out the few cypresses, etc. that litter an otherwise beautiful landscape of Burr Oaks on gentle slopes. Do it right, and it can rival Jens Jensen's best cemeteries.

Lords Park and Wing Park will be more challenging because a large number of foreign trees have been planted. They make the park ugly. It's that simple. They look out of place. Our native landscape is one of Burr Oaks and Cottonwood. They were there before the parks were established, probably before there were even people around here. I can't imagine the day when the great oaks have died in these parks and what remains are the foreign trees you can see in any city in America or the world. Welcome to Anywhere, USA. What will happen to our sense of place?

Have you traveled? I've lived in other cities, other countries; I've hit the pavement and traveled coast to coast, and I can say this: Nowhere did I see a landscape anything like what we have: majestic gnarled burr oaks and quivering cottonwoods in fields and on kames with grasses gold and blue, grasses so tall you have sit on top of a horse to see over them. Walk out into the prairie and you see plants like Rattlesnake Master, Compass Plant and Prairie Dock--all unique, beautiful and native to our land. Our land is a fundamental part of our identity; it's who we are. As strongly as we embrace diversity, we must protect our sense of place. The landscape binds us together. We call this place home.

Read the Courier article.


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