LOTS OF BULBS | MLA 50th Anniversary Community Planting
Horticulture and garden design inevitably address the relationship between the native or ‘authentic’ and the ‘foreign’. “A garden should indeed contain things foreign to it, things unfamiliar and precious, things that appear rarely or not at all outside the fence. And that is precisely why the garden does not contain those flowers that range so freely beyond its borders, but rather the flowers from a landscape of otherness, dreams, and yearnings. The fence separates two worlds; why else would it be there?“ 1
18,500 bulbs of the Master of Landscape Architecture 50th Anniversary bulb mixture were planted from Friday, October 28 to Wednesday, November 2, 2022 – just before the temperatures dropped and snow fell.
The 18,500 bulbs (see plant mixture below) were planted in a circle of 500 square metres south of the Russell Building on the Fort Garry Campus in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The diameter of the circle is 25 metres. It lies within the established prairie grass area in front of the John A. Russell Building. Bulbs are not invasive, and most will disappear after three or five years, eaten away by bunnies and squirrels. The bulbs won’t occupy the grassland; they are just there to feed pollinators and the eyes of the beholders with their beauty in early springtime 2023.
First, the 500 square metres circle was precisely mowed ‘into’ the tall grass prairie with support from Physical Plant. Then, the circle was divided into 48 sections with up to 12.5 square metres in size. Depending on the section size, 300 to 500 bulbs were planted per section. After a brief introduction to bulb planting, bulb spacing, bulb beds and soil coverage, everyone interested was invited to participate.
Sixty-one volunteers (see volunteer list below) were engaged in the community planting. The helpers included students, faculty, staff and friends of the Faculty of Architecture and, unexpectedly, students from Engineering, Agriculture, Environment, Earth, and Resources and other passers-by.
A set of twelve unique planting tools ensured that the soil and the roots of the prairie grasses were treated with great care while being back-friendly. The custom-made tuLIPstick consists of a wooden stick with a metal tip and holds a bracket to step on. tuLIPstick is available in two sizes to accommodate various anthropometric human scales. It was made in-house, in conversation with the Faculty of Architecture’s Workshop coordinator Kellen Deighton and manufactured by his team.
Within six days, hole by hole was punched, and bulb after bulb was planted into Fort Garry Campus soil. Physical Plant donated and delivered the sand. After planting, each hole was filled with an airy mixture of sand and existing soil, and it is hoped that this mix will provide a cozy cushion for the bulbs’ hibernation.
The anniversary community planting was initiated by Dietmar Straub and funded by the Faculty of Architecture’s Endowment Fund. We can’t wait for spring!
The Master of Landscape Architecture 50th Anniversary bulb mixture consists of:
3500 Tulip Ballerina
2000 Tulip White Triumphator
1000 Tulip Purple Dream
3500 Allium Purple Sensation
3500 Allium Nigrum
5000 Camassia Quamash
The goal was a well-developed mix of early, mid and late spring blooming species in finely nuanced colours and textures.
The following participants have been recorded for the Master of Landscape Architecture 50th Anniversary Community Planting / LOTS OF BULBS. A big thank you to each of them!
Faculty of Architecture / Master of Landscape Architecture
Faculty of Architecture / Master of Architecture
Faculty of Architecture / Environmental Design 4:
Henrik Sjodin (exchange student from SLU – Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
Joseph Coenen (exchange student from TUM – Technical University of Munich)
Faculty of Architecture / Environmental Design 3:
Christina Tran, B.Env.Sc.(Maj.)
Grace O. Olokun-Jaiyesimi
Yvette Chirawu, B.Env.St.(Maj.)
Faculty of Architecture / Environmental Design 2:
Faculty of Architecture / Instructor, Librarian, Staff, Alum, and Friends:
Chelsea and Elaina Synychych
Kamni Gill and Lucy
School of Agriculture:
Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources:
Price Faculty of Engineering:
International College of Manitoba:
1. Borchardt, R. 1992. Der leidenschaftliche Gärtner, Frankfurt am Main: Vito von Eichborn GmbH&Co. Verlag KG (123, translated).