Plantarium – Tea Garden

Permanent Public Art and Living Sculpture Commissioned by the Flux Factory, 2018

Windmill Community Garden, 39-22 29th St, Long Island City, NYC

Kristyna and Marek Milde, Plantarium – Tea Garden, Flux Factory/Windmill Community Garden, 2018,
view of the work in progress, transplanted foraged wildflowers, soil, stones, steel, 12′ x 12’x 6′


Plantarium – Tea Garden is a sculpture commissioned by the Flux Factory as a permanent installation for the public space at the Windmill Community Garden  in Long Island City, NYC.  The piece takes a form of a living sculpture functioning both as of a wildflower garden and an open platform serving the local community to grow and harvest wild herbs for teas and infusions and host variety of events, tastings, and educative workshops to deepen the interest in native plants and its cultural, culinary and medicinal use.

Plantarium – Tea Garden consists of steel cylinders shaped into an organic interlocking system of circular garden beds. It is inspired by brownfields and postindustrial landscapes, that are known for hosting an abundance of wild plants. Plantarium features a spectrum of uncultivated local plants displaying native alongside the introduced species reflecting the evolving culture-nature relationship. It includes hardy perennials herbs Mildes gathered on their walks and foraging trips in the Greater New York Area featuring species such as Bea Balm, Mountain Mint, Thyme, New England Aster, Goldenrod, Yarrow, and Stinging Nettle. The project evolves in a series of walks, studies, and workshops gradually establishing a wildflower garden reflecting the natural diversity through the seasonal change.

The design is based on the idea of an interlocking mosaic of wild plants in nature, where they connect and interact with each other creating living networks and colonies a parallel to the diverse communities living in NYC. The individual segments of the sculpture vary in heights referring to landscape and enabling different light distribution for the plants while providing seating areas for people to sit down, contemplate, socialize and experience the textures and smells of the plants.

The project is part of series of site interventions and participatory actions in which Kristyna and Marek Milde engage themes of environmental alienation by promoting an active experience of wild plants through use, consumption, and interpretation to explore our relationship to the environment. The project further expands concepts of their project Plantarium, Garden for Weeds, Bees, and Teas, a wildflower garden, and an educative platform,started at the Mildred’s Lane in 2017, that explores local wild plants and flowers its use and cultural significance.

Windmill Community Garden is located across the street from the Flux Factory which Flux co-founded with neighborhood partners in 2016. The project is launched as part of the exhibition Wilder LIC  (May 5 – June 16, 2018) curated by Lorissa Reinhart, independent curator, and Nat Roe, Director of Flux and includes artists and performers who explore the theme of urban wilderness and our relationship to the often overlooked environment and it marks the first exhibition in this location with special events and performances throughout the month.