Landscape architect Darrel Morrison will discuss using plants native to a locale for creating both sustainable landscapes and ones that provide a sense of place on Thursday, September 19 at 5:30 pm in the Sanders Classroom Building Spitzer Auditorium (room 212). Morrison will draw on his extensive experience emphasizing native plants in the design of a wide variety of public spaces, ranging from the Storm King Art Center in New York’s Hudson Valley to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Texas and the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. This event is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Department of Biology and co-sponsored by the Earth Science and Geography Department and the Environmental Studies Program.
Morrison was the senior landscape architect for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, TX, and subsequently designed the Native Plants Garden at the University of Wisconsin Arboretum in Madison. Since the mid-90s he has worked on the establishment of large native grass meadows at Storm King Art Center in Mountainville, New York. More recently he designed the landscape for the Old Stone Mill in the New York Botanical Garden, a small native woodland garden at New York University, and the extension of the Native Flora Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He has taught at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Georgia, and recently at Columbia University in New York.
Morrison also brought about the re-publication of the 1929 book American Plants for American Gardens that has become a seminal text for the resurgent use of native plants in landscape design. American Plants for American Gardens was co-authored by Vassar professors Edith Roberts and Elsa Rehmann and had been long out of print; in his foreword to the 1996 edition Morrison wrote about its enduring importance.
"Now, at a time when we often lament the loss of a sense of place, and as "sustainability" becomes an increasingly popular catchword in landscape design and management, this volume has a message that is as valid today as it was the day it was published: the naturally evolved associations of native plants within a particular region can provide both information and inspiration for the design of gardens and landscapes that are ecologically sound and aesthetically satisfying." Morrison goes on to say, “The fact that these ideas are extremely relevant in today's world testifies to the initial viability of Roberts and Rehmann's compact volume, as well as to its long-term logic, its own sustainability over the decades."
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Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.