Monthly Archives: February 2011

Plants are more than “materials…”

not just plant 'material...'

What is a plant material?  Is it a fabric made of plant fiber?  Can it be any chunk of vegetable tissue?

In the jargon of landscape architects (many, but not all….!)  it means a PLANT that fulfills a human purpose in a built environment.  It could be a ‘buffer tree.’  Or a ‘interior parking lot canopy tree.’  Or, my personal favorite, a ‘parking lot perimeter planting.’  (to screen headlights.)  In larger, more thoughtful cities, some land development codes and technical standards (established to maintain health and public safety) have started using language that includes respect for habitat and species diversity.   Hooray!  How about we boost this noble  purpose to the top  of the list?

Plants are NOT just tools for screening neighbors, or fluffing the underside of a building.   Plants are alive, they are members of the biological community.  They are more than materials…