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Design

A Japanese Forestry Technique Prunes Upper Branches to Create a Tree Platform for More Sustainable Harvests

October 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image via Wrath of Gnon

Literally translating to platform cedar, daisugi is a 14th- or 15th-century technique that offers an efficient, sustainable, and visually stunning approach to forestry. The method originated in Kyoto and involves pruning the branches of Kitayama cedar so that the remaining shoots grow straight upward from a platform. Rather than harvesting the entire tree for lumber, loggers can fell just the upper portions, leaving the base and root structure intact.

Although daisugi mostly is used in gardens or bonsai today, it originally was developed to combat a seedling shortage when the demand for taruki, a type of impeccably straight and knot-free lumber, was high. Because the upper shoots of Kitayama cedar can be felled every 20 years, which is far sooner than with other methods, the technique grew in popularity.

To see daisugi up close, watch this video chronicling pruning, felling, and transplanting processes. (via Kottke)

 

Image via Komori Zouen

A scroll depicting daisugi by Housen Higashihara, courtesy of the auction house

 

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Design Science

A New Hydroponic Planter Imprints Houseplants with Tessellating Root Systems

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Terraplanter

Bringing a design-based approach to indoor gardening, Terraplanter ensures that even those lacking green thumbs will be left with a beautiful, minimalist vessel if their plant-care skills aren’t quite adequate. When it’s in use, roots grip the lattice-like outside, which imprints their dense entanglements with a geometric pattern. The vegetation reveals its tessellating design when it’s removed.

The soil-free growing system has four planting methods: rubbing spores onto the surface, germinating seeds in the grooves, wrapping an already blooming vine around the pillar, or propagating a rooted plant by attaching it to the side. Water stored in the center of the vessel then diffuses through the porous material, hydrating the roots and ensuring they require little maintenance.

Because of its unique design, Terraplanter exposes root growth as it occurs, while securing it on the exterior. “We believe in nature-inspired-technology, we love plants, and we see things differently. Bound together with a passion for natural material, plants, and ecological products, we combined our knowledge and experience to create a user-friendly product and an optimal solution for plants to thrive indoors,” the New York-based company said in a statement.

Terraplanter already has raised more than $2,800,000 on Kickstarter, and there are a few rewards still available. To see more examples of the hydroponic propagation, check out Instagram, Facebook, and the video below, which was directed and animated by Kobi Vogman.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Homegrown Botanics Collaged into Conflict-Ridden Figures by Artist Meggan Joy

May 11, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Meggan Joy, shared with permission

For Meggan Joy to begin creating her flowery assemblages, she first has to plant the seeds. The Seattle-based artist cultivates a plot in a community garden throughout the summer months, tending to each fern and vibrant petal. Once her patch is in full bloom, she captures thousands of individual photographs of her rooted plants before combining them into allegorical digital collages of the female body. Birds, butterflies, and other visitors to her garden make an appearance, as well.

Her latest series, Battle Cry, depicts women in the midst of conflict. Imbued with action, each figure is comprised of layers of the living world that are derived from both the opened flowers and the powerful bodily poses. “Color and texture form each woman’s shape, and from the photographs of once-living individual things, portraits of ethereal beings begin to emerge,” the artist says. A snake wraps itself around one figure’s neck, while two others are twisted among flowing ribbon, merging notions of natural beauty and strength.

Joy’s work will be on view at J. Rinehart Gallery in Seattle from June 13 to July 25, with a virtual opening on June 13. Take a peek at her studio, which includes a walk through her garden plot, in the video below, and follow her textured compositions on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

50,000-Square-Foot Garden Populates New Workspace, Making It the Densest Urban Forest in Los Angeles

December 12, 2019

Grace Ebert

Designed by Spanish architects SelgasCano, a Los Angeles workspace has popped up in a formerly empty parking lot in Hollywood. The recently opened SecondHome Hollywood boasts a 50,000-square-foot garden of 6,500 trees and plants and 700 tons of soil and vegetation. It is Los Angeles’s densest urban forest and is also home to 112 native species.

The Hollywood location, which is the first in the United States, contains sixty yellow-roofed office pods. It also encompasses the Anne Banning Community House, a ’60s building designed by prominent architect Paul Williams who is known for defining much of Los Angeles’s architectural aesthetic throughout the 20th century. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 



Design

The Japanese Mini Truck Garden Contest is a Whole New Genre in Landscaping

June 8, 2018

Johnny Waldman

The Kei Truck, or kei-tora for short, is a tiny but practical vehicle that originated in Japan. Although these days it’s widely used throughout Asia and other parts of the world, in Japan you’ll often see them used in the construction and agriculture industries as they can maneuver through small side streets and easily park. And in a more recent turn of events, apparently they’re also used as a canvas for gardening contests.

The Kei Truck Garden Contest is an annual event sponsored by the Japan Federation of Landscape Contractors. Numerous landscaping contractors from around Japan participate by arriving on site with their mini trucks and then spending several hours transforming the cargo bed into a garden.

Other than using the kei truck there are very few limitations and landscapers have incorporated everything from benches and aquariums to elements of lighting into their designs. Judges then rank the entries based on planning, expression, design, execution and environment.

We’ve included a few of our favorite entries here but you can see more on the website of the Osaka branch, as well as this PDF from the Hanshin branch. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Craft Food

Garden Vegetable and Plant Embroideries by Veselka Bulkan

November 22, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Embroidery artist Veselka Bulkan (previously) continues to produce carefully embroidered works of root-bound plants found in gardens. The pieces all interact with hoops in various ways, from potted plants and potatoes that dangle from the edge to dandelions that stretch between two hoops. Bulkan has also been taking commissions for a series of ultrasound embroideries, and many of her original pieces are available in her shop.

 

 

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