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«RUDERAL PICTURESQUE: ENGAGING THE PROCESS OF PLANT SUCCESSION ON THE GEORGIA PIEDMONT by Kenneth Thomas Baker (Under the Direction of Brian Cook) ...»

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RUDERAL PICTURESQUE:

ENGAGING THE PROCESS OF PLANT SUCCESSION ON THE GEORGIA PIEDMONT

by

Kenneth Thomas Baker

(Under the Direction of Brian Cook)

ABSTRACT

This thesis explores the potential for “ruderal” vegetation to be used in a new approach to

landscape design. The process of early-secondary plant succession is explored as an opportunity

in the practice of naturalistic planting design within the context of Georgia Piedmont disturbed landscapes. A contemporary interpretation of picturesque aesthetic principles is synthesized to facilitate an argument for the representation and utilization of ruderal species. Ecological classifications of ruderal plant associations were established from an unpublished subset of the Natureserve (2015) database, and three corresponding landscape design typologies were developed: (1) meadow/grassland, (2) woodland, and (3) forest. Direct observation was used to identify typologies within the established aesthetic framework termed “contemporary picturesque” and photographs and drawings are presented to illustrate this empirical process.

Projective design was used to test and conceptualize ruderal planting design – or successional planting. Implementation and management strategies are proposed for the broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus) ruderal grassland typology.

INDEX WORDS: spontaneous vegetation, plant ecology, ruderal, succession, landscape architecture, empirical research, Georgia Piedmont, picturesque, successional management

RUDERAL PICTURESQUE:

ENGAGING THE PROCESS OF PLANT SUCCESSION ON THE GEORGIA PIEDMONT

by

KENNETH THOMAS BAKER

BS Clemson University, 2010 A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of The University of Georgia in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree

MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE

ATHENS, GEORGIA © 2015 Kenneth Thomas Baker All Rights Reserved

RUDERAL PICTURESQUE:

ENGAGING THE PROCESS OF PLANT SUCCESSION ON THE GEORGIA PIEDMONT

by

KENNETH THOMAS BAKER

Major Professor: Brian Cook Committee: Brad Davis Elgene Box Patrick McMillan

Electronic Version Approved:

Julie Coffield Interim Dean

–  –  –

I dedicate this thesis to my parents, four sisters, and fourteen nieces and nephews. Thank you for all your love, support, and encouragement throughout the rigorous process of graduate school.

You are my favorite people.

–  –  –

First, I would like to thank my committee members and the faculty of the College of Environment and Design who guided me through the research process. Special thanks to Brain Cook, for your patience in our many conversations and willingness to always talk-it-out over bagels and coffee, Marianne Cramer, for helping me condense my research question, and Brad Davis, for our many conversations about planting design and landscape painting. Elgene Box, thank you for your helping me better understand the plant biomes of the world. Patrick McMillan, thank you for answering my questions and for your teaching at Clemson University that instilled a life-long curiosity of the natural world. Michiel Schepers, thank you for teaching me how to see the landscape and discussing your philosophy of nature during many outdoor sketching sessions in the Netherlands.

Many people have helped shape and articulate the ideas presented in this thesis, too many to thank individually. I would like to acknowledge the friends I’ve made during my time at the University of Georgia. Thank you to the MLA class of 2015. Special thanks to the Dubose house guys: Sig Sandzen, Nate Metzger, and Kiley Aguar for encouraging many thesis diversions. Also special thanks to summer travel companions: Lucie Siggins, Nate Dittman, and Andrew Bailey for the many thought provoking conversations and sharing of ideas while on the road. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the Peachtree Garden Club of Atlanta for their faith in me as a student and support over two summers of research. Thank you for giving me the freedom to explore, travel, sketch, and observe, which was vital to the development of this thesis.

–  –  –

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

LIST OF FIGURES

CHAPTER 1 EMBRACING RUDERAL

Introduction

Role of ruderal

Problematic

Research question

Secondary questions

Argument

Context

Significance

Purpose

Research Methods

Projected Outcomes

Limitations and Delimitations

Key terms

Chapter summaries

2 CONTEMPORARY PICTURESQUE: THE AESTHETICS OF RUDERAL........... 19

–  –  –

Ruderal as philosophical device

Ruderal as painterly device

Re-conceptualizing the picturesque

Contemporary picturesque

Opportunities for contemporary picturesque on the Georgia Piedmont................ 32 Definition of naturalistic planting design

Types of designed naturalistic vegetation





Contemporary picturesque and naturalistic planting design

The designer’s role in leading a ruderal revolution

3 THE NATURE OF RUDERAL: DISTURBANCE AND SUCCESSION................. 42 Introduction

Plant community dynamics

Plant succession

Secondary succession on the Georgia Piedmont

Plant competition

Grime’s C-S-R Triangle Theory

Diversity and disturbance

Contemporary concepts of succession

Conclusion

4 APPROACHING DESIGNED RUDERAL: THREE TYPOLOGIES

Vegetation Classification

Ruderal vegetation classification

–  –  –

Three Typologies: Meadow, Woodland, Forest

Ruderal grassland/meadow: typology and classification

Ruderal woodland: typology and classification

Ruderal forest: typology and classification

Conclusion

5 SUCCESSIONAL MANAGEMENT: BECOMING PART OF THE PROCESS...... 73 Traditional vs. ecological approach

Design focus

Three-component model for successional management

Designed disturbance

Controlled performance

Controlled colonization

Meadow/grassland management

Woodland management

Succession based design

Criteria to inform management of ruderal vegetation

Biotope planting

Conclusion

6 SITE APPLICATION: INSTALLING THE RUDERAL PICTURESQUE............... 90 Site overview

Site analysis

Site design

–  –  –

Installing the ruderal picturesque

Installing the ruderal biotope grassland

Conclusion

7 CONCLUSION: EXPANDING THE ROLE OF RUDERAL

Ruderal monsters

Expanding the role of ruderal

Future research

Conclusion to the conclusion

Closing remarks

REFERENCES

APPENDICES A Discovering the local picturesque and ruderal plants of the Georgia Piedmont....... 135 B Discovering ruderal associations on the Piedmont of Georgia.

–  –  –

Figure 1: “Pannenkoekenhuisje” – Thijsse’s Hof onkruid akker, 2013

Figure 2: Conventional planting vs. Successional planting

Figure 3: Thesis outline

Figure 4: The designer's emotional rationale for utilizing ruderal species

Figure 5: Walking the High Line; Joel Sternfeld, 2000

Figure 6: Living Pavement; Bennie Meek, 2012

Figure 7: Piet Oudolf’s private garden in Hummelo, 2013

Figure 8: Road in Etten; Vincent van Gogh, 1881

Figure 9: Smoothness vs. Roughness in picturesque beauty; William Gilpin 1792

Figure 10: The Chancel and Crossing of Tintern Abbey; J.M.W. Turner 1794

Figure 11: Storyteller; Jeff Wall 1986

Figure 12: Hotel Palenque; Robert Smithson 1969

Figure 13: Ruderal plants along a rail corridor in Athens, GA

Figure 14: Ruderal plants in the urban environment in Athens, GA

Figure 15: Abandoned parking lot in Winterville GA

Figure 16: Horticultural and ecological influences in naturalistic planting design

Figure 17: Secondary succession on the Piedmont

Figure 18: Oldfield succession in the first three years

Figure 19: Oldfield in a Box

–  –  –

Figure 21: Plant community dynamics: modified version of Holling's figure eight

Figure 22: Observing ruderal associations 1

Figure 23: Observing ruderal associations 2

Figure 24: Observing ruderal associations 3

Figure 25: Observing ruderal associations 4

Figure 26: Observing ruderal associations 5

Figure 27: Observing ruderal associations 6

Figure 28: Diagram showing the relationship between ruderal plant associations, design typologies, and analogous natural plant communities

Figure 29: Ruderal grassland near a gas station in Carnesville, GA

Figure 30: Ruderal broomsedge meadow, Clarke County GA

Figure 31: Southeastern Ruderal Grassland – species classification

Figure 32: Woodland Typology, Clarke County GA

Figure 33: Southeastern Ruderal Woodland – species classification

Figure 34: Ruderal grassland with Pinus teada beginning to emerge

Figure 35: Southeastern Ruderal Deciduous Forest typology

Figure 36: Southeastern Ruderal Forest – species classification

Figure 37: Ruderal forest edge, Clarke County, GA

Figure 38: Linear ruderal forest between two properties, Clarke County, GA

Figure 39: Thesis framework diagram reviewing the chapters leading to Chapter 5

Figure 40: The Conventional vs. Successional approach to planting design

–  –  –

three typologies

Figure 42: Three components of a succession management model

Figure 43: Successional management model for the Georgia Piedmont

Figure 44: Designer response to ruderal vegetation and management regimes

Figure 45: Successional management model in relation to Grime’s CSR theory

Figure 46: Sequential operation for successional design on a site with disturbed soils................ 84 Figure 47: Sequential operation for successional design on a site with non-disturbed soils........ 85 Figure 48: The design values in terms of typology selection

Figure 49: Designing with plant succession

Figure 50: Context map for the projective design study area

Figure 51: Aerial and diagrammatic views of the site's pre-disturbance conditions

Figure 52: Diagrammatic view of site topography and connections

Figure 53: Analysis of the site's pre-disturbance patterns and off-site edge habitats

Figure 54: Site analysis and on-site sketching/photography

Figure 55: Site photo inventories of ruderal plant associations, disturbance history, and opportunities for contemporary picturesque views

Figure 56: Pre-disturbance ruderal associations, Fall 2014

Figure 57: Post-disturbance mapping of ruderal associations, Spring 2015

Figure 58: The site design and diagrams showing. successional planting strategies.................. 99 Figure 59: Historic research and analysis helps infer past disturbances on the site

Figure 60: Entry plaza utilizing ruderal grassland and woodland species

Figure 61: Conceptual design for proposed typologies

–  –  –

Figure 63: Installing the ruderal picturesque 2

Figure 64: Installing the ruderal picturesque 3

Figure 65: Installing the ruderal picturesque 4

Figure 66: Design focus for the ruderal biotope meadow planting plan

Figure 67: Diagram of structural and biotope plants in the ruderal picturesque

Figure 68: Ruderal biotope meadow plant species

Figure 69: Biotope phenology and management sequence

Figure 70: Conceptual planting plan and steps to install biotope meadow

–  –  –

Introduction Design research, being subjective in nature, depends heavily on the experiences and processes of the individual; thus I feel it necessary to introduce this thesis with anecdote, in order to help the reader understand how the subject emerged.

The idea of embracing ruderal plants in landscape design began to develop during the summer of 2013, when I traveled extensively through six European countries to study historic and contemporary works of landscape architecture. My findings were captured primarily in the form of sketches, field notes, and on-site watercolor paintings.

The genesis of my research question was the result of a passing stranger’s comment. I was visiting the Thijsse’s Hof1 – a park dedicated to educating primary-school children about native plant communities – in Bloemendaal, Netherlands. While visiting the park I decided to sketch a view of the “pannenkoekenhuisje” – or pancake house – a farmhouse in the typical vernacular style of 19th century Holland. As I began to watercolor, a woman approached and asked if she could take a peek at my work. When she realized that the subject of my drawing was a building, she said, “Ah, I thought perhaps you were drawing the nature.” The ‘nature’ she was speaking of was the section of garden in which we were standing, the “onkruid akker” which translates to “weed field”. Upon reflection, I began to think about how the woman used the word The Thijsse’s Hof garden is named for Jac P. Thijsee, a science teacher, botanist, and nationally renowned conservation leader in the Netherlands. Dutch landscape architects regard Thijsee’s “heempark” design in Amstelveen, near Amsterdam, as the catalysis for the Dutch ecological landscape design movement of the early 20th century.



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