Flowery Mead

Hamburg, Germany, 2021

For a long time I have been fascinated by the low flowering plants that are often referred to as 'weeds' and that can be found in lawns. I have also often asked myself whether it would be possible to design with those species. Consequently, when the city of Hamburg invited me to make an ecological intervention on a lawn in the Planten un Blomen Park, I thought that this was the occasion to try out my ideas on flowering lawns. The project is an experiment as it is not necessarily easy to design with wild species. These so called 'weeds' tend to strive on lawns when we do not want them, and when we actually want them to be there, they do not necessarily want to be there themselves. They remain wild in nature, and my biggest challenge in this project was to learn to accept that. This meant that I had to let go of my desire to control the outcome, shifting instead towards an attitude of curiosity. Now, I am above all eager to learn from these types of plants. 8 species of typical European lawn weed were planted in an abstract drawing. The starting point was an artistic gesture, and we are now observing how natural processes take over by monitoring the project on a monthly basis. The flowery mead is constantly changing and gradually developing an aesthetic of its own. What is shown here are moments in time in what I hope to be a dynamic lawn over the seasons and over the years. I see this project as an invitation to dive into the micro-cosmos of the lawn, and to become aware and sensitive to the subtle changes occurring in the lawn over time. This is a project that doesn’t fall into the realm of the spectacular, but I would like to believe that its meaning is bigger than itself, and I hope its influence will be as well. I would love to see more flowery meads pop up here and there, whether designed or not.

Commissioner: City of Hamburg

Curator: Maria Auböck

Planting advise: Jacqueline van der Kloet

Implementation and monitoring: Gärten von Hoerschelmann

Botanical drawings: Anouk Vogel