"If we accept the idea that the whole garden is a test, then it is an enormously complex one, where the terms of reference are unclear and subjective, and individual judgement becomes important. In this sense the site is more like an artist’s studio or workshop than a laboratory... In the studio, like the gardener but unlike the landscape architect, the artist is interacting directly, non-representationally, with their work."
Julian Raxworth, Overgrown: Practices Between Landscape Architecture and Gardening
What originally began as a crude and obvious test of the ability for maintenance to produce space, instead became a model of its potential for material change. In establishing a frequently mown ellipse and a seasonally mown suburban meadow, surface vegetation rapidly sorted over the course of a single growing season based on mowing height and sun exposure. Where regularly mown to 1 inch, Cynodon dactylon predominated in sun and Viola odorata in the shade, while Festuca tenuifolia occupied the zone infrequently cut to 4 inches.
Although mow height is usually calibrated based on which species have been seeded, this experiment illustrates the connection between maintenance and novel ecology. Although some of these species are considered weeds (Cynodon and Viola), they are present in a specific horticultural niche—that of severely close mowing—and consequentially through their resilience they fill an ecological gap, continuing to evolve in response to local conditions. Aesthetically, vastly different material and spatial qualities can be juxtaposed and cycled with an ever evolving alliance of plants.