Public Work – Openlands Display Garden
Designed for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, this project was a true collaboration between Openlands, Culliton Quinn, suppliers, contractors, and student volunteers. Sustainable measures can be seen throughout every facet of the landscape. All lumber for the project, including White Oak and Catalpa, were sourced using dead or diseased trees from the area’s urban forest. An artful aesthetic is present throughout the garden’s features: a rain garden captures the roof water from a water rill; urban lumber was used to create the zigzag steps; and a steel rain barrel transcends its utilitarian function. A boulder outcropping was shaped into a bench and a wooden plank was fashioned into a minimalistic porch swing. The garden wall was decorated with concrete art pieces by Lincoln Park High School students, who also volunteered at the show. Native plant environments are showcased, including several Oak species, Witchhazel, Rebud, and sedge varieties. At the show’s conclusion, all of the trees were donated to Chicago Public Schools, and the 1,500 sedges were used as part of the Green School Program for Lincoln Park High School. The pergola was milled into flooring and the wooden slabs were in line to become a furniture piece. Ultimately, the landscape attracted visitors with its interactive quality and revealed the beauty of ecologically sensitive design.