minimalist art in the desert

I sat down this evening to finally write a post about the Big Trip we took to Big Bend for my Big Birthday in October. But before I did that, I just wanted to quickly get up a batch of photos of Donald Judd’s 15 untitled works in concrete that are at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. And that ended up taking what felt like forever and so Big Bend will have to wait for another day.

I love minimalism and I love the desert, so making the trek to Marfa has been on my to do list for awhile. Judd’s concrete work is interesting to me in how it interacts with the landscape- framing views, revealing moments and denying others. The pieces are fun to be in and around- they are constantly changing your perceptions. His aluminum works- and the artillery sheds they are in-  are also impressive– you can read more about Judd and the Chinati Foundation here.

Here are a few photos and here are the rest.


Two friends, a mother and daughter, have been raising monarch caterpillars at home. Monarchs subsist solely on a diet of milkweed, and having run out of their homegrown supply, I recently received a SOS text (from my friend, not the caterpillars!). Where could they locate more milkweed to feed the VERY hungry caterpillars? The next evening we drove around until we found some, and now I can’t stop looking for it –and getting excited when I see it. Loss of habitat for milkweed is one of the main reasons the monarch butterfly is in decline.

I spotted these milkweeds on the side of the W&OD trail one recent day while riding my bike. I am charmed by the chartreuse leaf, the course texture, and of course the huge seed pods.  When ripe, the pods open to cast their fluffy seeds to the wind.



giant tree spade in action

Back in July, I had the great pleasure of going on a tour of the beautiful Ruppert Nurseries in Laytonsville, MD. The highlight of the tour was a tree spade demonstration with their shiny, new, extra-large tree spade. Before that day, I’d seen tree spades, and I’d seen large balled & burlapped trees, but I’d never seen how the one made the other happen. Neat stuff. Follow this link to an album of photos and short video clips to see for yourself!

zelkova in a tree spade


writing in for landscape architecture

In honor of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday on Saturday, I have decided that for the next year I will submit corrections to every publication or broadcast that incorrectly identifies landscape architects or landscape architecture as landscapers/landscaping, etc. I started today with’s mis-identification of Michael Van Valkenburgh as a “landscape artist,” which, in a way he is, but misses the mark. Recognition of the profession and its value to society matters. If you see/hear things and want me to comment, please send them my way. And of course, if you want to join me in my efforts, I’d be delighted for the company!

For what it’s worth, Margot Adler did correctly refer to him as a landscape architect in the broadcast, but the mis-attribution was in the article on the web site here:

UPDATE: NPR made the correction on their web site!