Plantarium – Tea Garden

Developing 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 living sculpture commissioned by the Flux Factory as a permanent installation for the Windmill Community Garden  in Long Island City, NYC.  It 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 plants for teas and infusions and host variety of events, tastings, and educative workshops to deepen the interest in native plants and learn about its cultural, culinary and medicinal use.

Plantarium – Tea Garden consists of durable 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 that we gathered on our walks and foraging trips in the Greater New York Area such as Bea Balm, Mountain Mint, Thyme, New England Aster, Goldenrod, Yarrow, and Stinging Nettle. The project evolves in series of walks, studies, and workshops gradually establishing a wildflower garden in collaboration with the local community reflecting the natural diversity through the seasonal change.


It features a spectrum of uncultivated local plants displaying native alongside the introduced species reflecting the evolving culture-nature relationship. It includes hardy perennials herbs that we gathered on our walks and foraging trips in the Greater New York Area such as Bea Balm, Mountain Mint, Thyme, New England Aster, Goldenrod, Yarrow, and Stinging Nettle. The project evolves in series of walks, studies, and workshops gradually establishing a wildflower garden in collaboration with the local community reflecting the natural diversity through the seasonal change.

The design is based on the idea of an interlocking mosaic of wild plant in nature, where they connect with each other to create a living social network a parallel to the diverse communities living in NYC. The varying heights of the individual cylinders enable different light distribution for the plants and also create seating areas for people to sit down, relax, socialize and experience the textures and smells of the plants.

The project is part of series of site interventions and participatory actions where we 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. It father expands concepts of our developing project Plantarium, Garden for Weeds, Bees, and Teas, a wildflower garden, and an educative platform, which we started in 2017 at Mildred’s Lane in PA 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 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.

 

Making of the Plantarium Tea – Garden: