The organizers of the 2010 Jardin de Metis competition sought provocative ideas about the recovery of paradise to be expressed in a garden plot ten meters by twenty meters. Our design uses the paradise four square to convey the issues with regional environmental health. We attempt to heighten visitors’ regional awareness and understanding through the design of the garden.
Through our design, we wish to incite a critical inquiry about our choices in industrial technology by showing the implications of industry upon the health of people and the environment in the St. Lawrence river valley and Great Lakes region. PCB’s from electronics, (transistors, capacitors and the aluminum industry, to cite a few examples) and mercury, from coal power plants are two of the primary pollutants in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River - adjacent to our site. We show through the garden that beauty and function relate; plants may play an important role in remediating environmental issues.
Through the garden, we assert the relevance of landscape design and planning as a viable method of raising awareness and educating about pressing cultural problems.
Garden visitors enter through a gabion wall of coal. The paired gabion walls that bookend the site frame a view of the St. Lawrence River. The grey tones of the end gabion wall and water areas contrast with the beautiful colors and textures of the central garden which contains plants that remediate the toxins in the water. These plants suggest a means towards addressing the competition’s call - the restoration of paradise through (bio) technology. An added bonus of the garden, as the festival ends in October, pumpkins are a principal remediator of one of the pollutants. The garden installation, only for one season, can end with a pumpkin festival!