Steel and fog, Geneva

chair 2, Route de Chene wall, June 2016, by enclos*ure
While we were in Geneva last week, I was able to go see “Floor Works,” a garden designed by Agence TER* for the developers Sociéte Privée de Gérance (SPG). Built in 2005, it surrounds an office building† but is open to the public.

The garden was one of two finalists for the European Garden Award in 2013 — in the category of “Innovative Contemporary Concept or Design of a Park or Garden.” (The winner that year was Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.)

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The name “Floor Works” refers to the garden’s parallel lines of red COR-TEN steel and grey slate paving, alternating with long narrow planting beds. Some of the steel lines appear to rise up and fold into chairs and benches. On the building’s west side, the paving pattern also goes up and over the top of the parking garage entrance. About 40 tall bent steel posts are interspersed throughout the area as well. 

“The word ‘work’ simultaneously expresses the work (le travail) and [art]work (l’oeuvre); ‘floor,’ the ground,” explains Agence TER. “Floor Works is thus the work produced by working the ground, that is to say, by the action of handling or gardening mineral or living materials.”

In contrast to the earthy qualities of the garden’s “floor,” the office building is mostly glass, often reflecting as an aqua-blue color — beautiful in combination with the rust-red steel.

Nearby buildings are mostly late 19th and early 20th century, of six to eight stories high.

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The planting style is naturalistic. It reminded me more than anything else of the often beautiful “Third Landscape” waste areas that one sees along train tracks in Europe. I liked the way the narrow beds allow all the plants to be backlit.  But I wished for a few taller (shoulder-high) grasses in the open center. However, the tree-like upright steel posts do provide some sense of depth and shelter without casting shade on the sun-loving plants.  (There are actual trees along the west and south sides.)

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For me, the real magic came to the garden every few minutes when fog would rise from a mechanism in the top of the garage entrance and envelop the main walkway and building entrance — so densely that for a few seconds I couldn’t see anything else.  Then it would start to sink and spread across the rest of the garden.

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Finally, along the front of the property, on Route de Chêne, there is an approximately 4′ high wall separating the building from the sidewalk. It is thickly planted with a large variety of healthy perennials.  I thought it was superb.

You can see more photos, by Agence TER, here, including overhead views.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ below and then any thumbnail in the gallery to scroll through larger versions of all my photos above (plus several more).

*They were recently chosen to redesign Los Angeles’s Pershing Square.

†It is located about a half mile east of the old city center, at Route de Chêne 30. Take the #12 tram from the city center, Amandolier stop.

Continue reading “Steel and fog, Geneva”

Bloom Day in November: dill(flowers) and sunflowers

The quiet flowerworks in the mind of God . . .

Howard Nemerov, from “A Sprig of Dill

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

A dillburst in the flower borders.

During the summer, I transplanted a lot of small dill plants from the vegetable garden to the yellow areas of the flower borders.  Unfortunately, dill really doesn’t like to be moved, and it really doesn’t like it during the dry season.  So all the little plants just remained little.

But lately, after six weeks of rain, they are growing and a few have begun to bloom.

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ureI’ve always thought that dill is a nice ornamental plant.

Eventually, that variegated ginger — of which you can just see a bit  above and below — will be huge and dominate this area (and there is another very small one hidden to the left of the dill bloom below).

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

In the meantime, I’m hoping that the dill and Missouri primrose will self seed here as long as there is space.  (I will help it along, and I’ve also been sprinkling about Verbena bonariensis seed.)

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ureI was pleased to get the picture above.  The yellow of the primroses is usually too intense for my camera to capture any details.

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ureAbove, the dill blooms/seadheads are beautiful even as they fade to tan.

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ureIn our vegetable garden, the dillworks continue. . . .

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ureIn the background are blue-green Russian kale.  Some of the next batch that I grow will also go into the flower beds — like these at the Smithsonian’s Butterfly Habitat Garden.

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

This Bloom Day, I also got interested in the after- blooms of our sunflowers.November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

Below is what one of them looked like at the end of summer.

November Bloom Day in our Rwanda garden/enclos*ure

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is the 15th day of every month. To see what’s blooming in other garden bloggers’ gardens, please visit Carol at May Dreams Gardens.