A client who calls for work after the holidays is unusual, but we were happy to oblige. We had materials, and there are months of winter yet to come. They had purchased these large scale contemporary birch faux bois concrete planters from Branch over a year ago. The landscape is dominated by a single river birch. An arrangement that would feature birch seemed natural. We had just enough 3″ caliper poles to fill the pair of planters. Bunches of white lepto came in handy for filling the gaps between the poles. Our last three cases of mixed evergreen boughs were just enough to soften the top of the pot with a thick blanket of green.
The ground plane of the landscape was done with groundcovers of various types in spaces dictated by a pattern of aluminum edger strip, and gravel. The pattern established is graphically strong. There were a few areas designated for a seasonal planting. The concrete boxes had been planted with chrysanthemums for the fall. What could be done in those areas that would have some height, volume and presence over the winter? Our solution was to cut up some 1″ and 2″ diameter birch poles into random short lengths. Each piece had a hole drilled all the way through each end. Each of the poles were loosely attached to its neighbor with heavy gauge aluminum wire. The end result-a giant birch garland.
The large size bamboo poles was a vestige of a previous installation-not by us. The client wanted to leave them in. That was a good thing, as they were set into metal sleeves placed below ground. Water had completely filled the sleeves. The poles were solidly frozen into place by time we got there. I rather prefer the birch poles here. They look like they belong in a winter garden in Michigan. There is a certain authenticity to the materials used here.
In the background, the last of our big linden espaliers. At 9′ wide and 12′ tall each, they mean something in front of this large commercial building. Properly cared for, they will only get better looking as time goes on. Funny how some very large commercial spaces devour almost every bit of the land they sit on. It takes the right material and a very strong design to work in a space like this. I did not do the landscape design here, but I like it.
Hauling around four sets of fresh cut birch garland was the perfect installation for a 12 degree day. We warmed up in a hurry. Once we were done, all we needed was some snow. I wonder what it looks like now that we have a good snow cover.