Director's Note: The Legacy Part - Scattering the Seeds
The Garfield Park Lagoon, 2000.

 

 

 

 





It matters little if the garden disappears with its maker, and although the hand of man is not visible, his spirit remains as long as the plants he planted grow and scatter their seed.
Jens Jensen, "Siftings", 1939

With all due respect to Mr. Jensen, and all that is considerable, he is wrong. It does matter if the "garden disappears with its maker", especially if its maker was the likes of Jens Jensen. Without his parks and gardens we are losing a crucial part of our landscape legacy. Fortunately Jensen's major West Parks are there for us to visit, as are some of the works of his contemporaries and disciples. But in order for our minds to understand what our eyes are seeing, we need some background information. Without knowing what the prairie style really entails, we may plant containers of grasses in the center of busy streets and congratulate ourselves that we are paying homage to our landscape heritage--when we are actually missing most of the story of this important art form. The seeds that are "scattered" must be more than seeds of plants; they should be the seeds of knowledge and understanding. Understanding what has occurred in the past is the key to proper appreciation and stewardship of this precious part of our culture. To that end, University of Michigan Landscape Architecture Professor Bob Grese has written the first in a series about the Conservation Roots of the Prairie Style. The current article is about the major motivation behind the prairie style landscape. In our winter issue, he will discuss conservation as expressed in the parks and gardens. The third piece will deal with larger conservation efforts - particularly Jensen's efforts with the Prairie Club and the Friends of Our Native landscape. Professor Grese is the author of Jens Jensen, Maker of Natural Parks and Gardens, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992. The Jens Jensen Legacy Project also includes sites which were created by other designers but clearly convey Jensen's influence. There are many such landscapes and they are worthy of great care and appreciation. Perhaps the most noteworthy is the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool in Chicago's Lincoln Park. Julia S. Bachrach writes about its history and the present efforts to restore this beautiful example of a prairie style landscape. Most forms of art are not as readily available to the public as is landscape art, and the Jensen designed parks in Chicago are becoming a fine resource for a new generation of artists.

Gallery 37 Mural team: lead artists, assistants, and artists.

This summer, the
student artists of the Gallery 37 Mural
project used the work
of Jens Jensen as the subject and (to varying degrees) inspiration
for their year 2000
mural. The legacy continues into the
future.