Historic patterns made with modern materials:
the waddles trace the lines of a baroque garden.
Seattle Center, Seattle, Washington
Coir and straw wattles, sixteen species of native plants, soil
1,200 linear feet x 12 inches tall (without plants)
Temporary project for The Next Fifty at the Seattle Center
Commissioned by the City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs
This temporary six-month installation mixes materials from the modern practices of restoration and erosion control with the layout of historic baroque gardens. Installed on the lawn of the Seattle Center in a pattern borrowed from Le Compte’s design for Versailles, Straw Garden is comprised of wattles: netted, cylindrical bundles of straw and coconut fiber planted with species of plants natural to this biome.
As the shrubs and perennials grow and bloom, the wattles prevent erosion. In one corner of the garden, wattles spool away, suggesting a watershed pattern scrolling out from the symmetrical beds.
Like a baroque parterre garden seen from the manor house and on foot, the artwork affords two views. Visitors can enjoy the garden from high above in the Space Needle and monorail.
Or the visitors can choose to walk by the Straw Garden on foot.
At the end of the show, the garden is divided up and taken to several community gardens and urban forests throughout the city. Each inch of planted waddles were adopted and given a permanent home, spreading nature seed stock throughout the city. These portable gardens become a permanent part of the urban landscape as the wattles biodegrade and the native plants root, thrive, and creating seed sources of native vegetation.