Tag Archives: gardening

From 1975-1980 Activist Adam Purple Built a Circular Urban Garden in New York that ‘Knocked Down’ the Surrounding Buildings 

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

In 1975, artist and social activist Adam Purple, known for his permanent purple attire, looked out his window in the crime-ridden Lower East Side of New York City to witness two children playing in a pile of rubble. Struck by his own memories of a childhood spent barefoot in rural pastures and forests in Missouri, he suddenly wished these children could feel the dirt beneath their own feet in a safe, debris-free environment. Almost immediately he began work on the Garden of Eden.

Over period of five years, Purple worked continuously to build a concentric garden that would eventually grow to 15,000 square feet. As nearby abandoned structures were torn down the garden continued to grow, a process he metaphorically likened to a garden that knocked down the buildings around it. He physically hauled bricks and building materials away from the site, and hauled in manure from the horses in Central Park.

The Garden of Eden not only provided safe haven to the community, but also produced food in the form of corn, berries, tomatoes, and cucumbers. By the early 80s it had become a famous and beloved landmark in the Lower East Side.

Unfortunately the city of New York never officially recognized Purple’s garden. While other local parks were clearly marked on official city maps, the Garden of Eden space was always labeled as ‘vacant’. Despite pleas from the community, the entire garden was razed with bulldozers in just 75 minutes on January 8, 1986 to make way for development.

Purple himself narrates his story in this thoughtful video by Harvey Wang and Amy Brost from back in 2011. Sadly, he died two weeks ago at the age of 84, and there is currently a fund-raising effort to collect money for his burial and to erect a memorial near 184 Forsyth Street where the garden once stood. Donated.

You can see more photos and read more about Purple in this book, also by Wang & Brost.

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

After a decade of work and upkeep, the Garden of Eden was razed with bulldozers on January 8, 1986 by the City of New York in 75 minutes.

Adam Purple, 1930-2015. Still from Adam Purple and the Garden of Eden / Harvey Wang and Amy Brost

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Green 3D Printer Prints Living Designs From Organic “Ink” 


Project PrintGREEN is turning 3D printers into on-demand gardeners after designing a “green” 3D printer in 2013. The printer produces living prints, printing customized objects in a variety of sizes and forms. The project was created at the University of Maribor in Slovenia, conceived of by students Maja Petek, Tina Zidanšek, Urška Skaza, Danica Rženičnik and Simon Tržan, with help from their mentor Dušan Zidar. The project’s goal is to unite art, technology, and nature, creatively producing living designs with the help of technology.

The “ink” in the machine is a combination of soil, seeds, and water which can be designed to print in any shape or letter. After drying, the muddy mixture holds its form and begins to sprout grass from the organic material. PrintGREEN’s slogan is a twist on the old conservationist motto, “think before you print,” telling their audience to “print, because it is green.” You can follow the project’s progress on their Facebook page here. (via My Modern Met)








all images by PrintGREEN

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This Tree Created by Artist Sam Van Aken Grows 40 Different Kinds of Fruit 

In 2008, while locating specimens to create a multi-colored blossom tree for an art project, artist and Syracuse University art professor Sam Van Aken had the opportunity to acquire a 3-acre orchard from the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Fascinated by the practice of grafting trees since a young age, Aken began to graft buds from the 250 heritage varieties found on the orchard onto a single stock tree.

To create the Frankenstein-esque tree, Aken worked with stone fruits (fruits with pits) like peaches, plums, apricots, almonds, and nectarines. Over the course of five years he successfully grafted dozens of plants onto the same tree, and with that, the Tree of 40 Fruit project was born. Because of their similarities, all 40 fruits bud, bloom and fruit in near perfect unison.

Aken has since grafted at least 16 different “Trees of 40 Fruit” which are planted across the U.S. in places like Newton, Massachusetts; Pound Ridge, New York; Short Hills, New Jersey; Bentonville, Arkansas; and San Jose, California. Each tree is specific to its environment, using both local and antique varieties.

National Geographic recently met up with Aken to interview the artist about how he makes each tree. You can hear him talk about the project in the video above. (via Digg)








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A Tube of Orange Paint Leaks Marigolds in a Public Park in France 


While walking through a public park in Boulogne-sur-Mer, France photographer Steve Hughes stumbled onto this fun installation of marigolds spilling from a giant paint tube. He says it was also accompanied by a large picture frame that was also filled with blooms. Good stuff. (via StreetArt Germany)

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A Woolen Ape Explores a Backyard Garden in a New Short from Marc & Emma 

As part of a promotional campaign for Wonderlijk Wild (Miraculously Wild), an effort to encourage home gardening in Belgium, filmmaking duo Emma De Swaef and Marc James Roels of Marc & Emma were hired to create this wonderful short about a felted green ape exploring the outdoors. You might remember their work from this other woolen animation featuring two doughy wrestlers for the National Animation Festival last year. (via Vimeo)




Update: An earlier version of this post referred to the film as “stop-motion” when in fact it’s actually live-action puppeteering.

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A Swirling Willow Figure Rises from the Grounds of Shambellie House in Scotland 


The Whirling Dervish was a willow sculpture by artist Trevor Leat that was installed in 2012 at Shambellie House, in New Abbey, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. Leat is known for his work with willow trees which he grows organically for use in furniture, baskets, and sculptures. Unfortunately, Shambellie House, which housed the National Museum of Costume, closed in 2013, so this piece may no longer be viewable. (via Colossal Submissions)

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An Edible Zen Rock Garden Made From Japanese Sweets 


Zen rock gardens are typically composed of carefully placed rocks, surrounded by sand that is raked to represent water ripples. They’re supposed to inspire a meditative state of calm and relaxation. They’re not supposed to inspire hunger and a sudden urge to put it in your mouth. Except this one does because it’s made of entirely edible ingredients. “In cities today, people do not have the luxury of gazing at gardens,” says Japanese designer Tomonori Saito, lamenting the loss of one his nation’s most relaxing pastimes. So he decided to create “Shin-an-ji Rock Garden” made from black sesame (the rocks) and sugar (the sand). Now you can have your garden and eat it too. (syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)




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