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On March 21st, 2014, ‘WILDFLOWERING L.A.’ ENTERS THE BLOOMING & TOURING SEASON…

Site #37: Cal Poly College of Environmental Design (photo: Isabel Avila)

In November 2013 owners of of 50 selected sites across Los Angeles county were prescribed one of four custom wildflower seed mixes based on their location. Participants were responsible for sowing, watering, weeding, and occasionally hunting gophers. Over the past few weeks we have been receiving reports from these Wildflowering L.A. sites. The first accounts of flowers came in early February, but with our early spring Southern California heat and sun kicking in, we have many sites experiencing their first waves of dramatic blooms. This will continue in secessional waves through June with various species coming up, flowering, and then receding as others take the stage.

Site #44: 478 E. Avenue 28, Lincoln Heights (photo: Isabel Avila)

On January 17th, 2014, our governor Jerry Brown declared a “drought state of emergency” in California. And while the orchards and fields that feed us are drying up in the Central Valley, our green lawns and flowing fountains down here in Los Angeles make it seem like everything is just fine. Perhaps the Wildflowering L.A. project might have been easier during a rainy El Niño year when our wildflowers really pop and Angelenos make the pilgrimage out to the flowing poppy fields of the Antelope Valley. Though it’s been a challenge, this drought period seems like the most appropriate and provocative time for us to really pay attention to the land we live on, to what really grows here, along with the whys, whens, and hows.

Site #27: 4237 Eagle Rock Boulevard

Participants have been sending their ‘bloom ratings,’ estimates of when their wildflower site might peak, some current snapshots, and general anecdotes about their experiences with the project. I have been compiling this information and adding it to our ‘map’ page, which will continue to be updated through June. Around that time the plants will start to dry up and set seed. Participants will be encouraged to let this cycle play out, allowing the meadows to gradually turn golden brown and broadcast seed for the next season.

Site #17: 1150 W. Grovecenter Street, Covina (photo: Isabel Avila)

From March to June 2014 you can take a tour to view the sites with the best displays which include homes, churches, schools, botanic gardens, public parks, vacant lots, and even a U.S. post office. All of the sites are visible from streets and public paths (but should not be entered). A prominent carved wood sign, inspired by state and federal park signage, identifies each site which range in size from 500 to 2000 square feet.

Wildflowering L.A. map / Bloom Ratings: Red = Excellent / Yellow = Good / Blue = Low to None

To help plan your tour, start on our interactive map page, and then download this PDF list of the most active sites organized by geographic region. And for the energetic cyclist crowd in North East L.A. – where there is an especially heavy concentration of sites – a special map for touring on two wheels has been created. Share your text and photo blooming updates with the Twitter and Instagram hashtag #wildfloweringLA, which will post directly to this webpage, where you can also see what people are finding at other sites across town.

Site #44: 478 E. Avenue 28, Lincoln Heights (photo: Isabel Avila)

Future Wildflowering L.A. programs include an installation/exhibition about the project presented April 26-27, 2014 at The Shed (1355 Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena 91103) hosted by La Loma Development; a late-June seed-sharing event; and a fall release event for a booklet telling the story of selected participating sites with before and after photos.

Site #28: 3847 DuRay Place, Baldwin Hills (photo: Isabel Avila)

Wildflowering L.A. sites were selected from an open call based on public visibility and distribution across the County. Owners of selected sites are given free native wildflower seed mixes at workshops in partnership with the Theodore Payne Foundation. Soil preparation, seeding, and wildflower tending were demonstrated, and one of four custom wildflower seed mixes was prescribed – Coastal, Flatlands, Hillside, and Roadside – inspired by Reyner Banham’s 1971 book, Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.

Site #25 – 2821 West View Street, West Adams (photo; Ryan Benoit, The Horticult)

For more information visit the ‘about’ and ‘resources’ pages of the website. And posted yesterday at The Horticult is a great tour of various project sites by Chantal Aida Gordon, Field of Dreams: ‘Wildflowering L.A.’ Turns Urban Sprawl Into Native, Magical Meadows.

Special shout-outs to Roman Jaster for the graphic design and website; the boys at the Knowhow Shop for the sign fabrication (and super idea of burning them, instead of staining them black); Isabel Avila for the official before and after photos; Lili Singer and Genny Arnold at the Theodore Payne Foundation for their support/expertise/enthusiasm; the ladies at LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division), Samantha Frank, Laura Hyatt, Maryam Hosseinzadeh, and especially Shamim Momin.

#40 – Carthay Center Elementary School, 6351 W. Olympic Boulevard (photo: Ryan Benoit, The Horticult)

Wildflowering L.A. is a native wildflower seed sowing initiative throughout Los Angeles County by artist Fritz Haeg. It is presented by LAND (Los Angeles Nomadic Division) in partnership with the Theodore Payne Foundation and supported by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation.

Phacelia tanacetifolia (Lacy Phacelia) from the Roadside and Hillside mixes (photo: Isabel Avila)

 

 

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On February 24th, 2014, ‘THE ART ASSIGNMENT’…

The Art Assignment episode #1

The Art Assignment episode #1

…the just-premiered PBS-produced online video series visited me in LA today to film an upcoming episode, so get your old sheets, towels, clothes and textiles ready for your upcoming assignment. (tumblr / youtube)

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By Fritz Haeg on February 24, 2014 | videos
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On February 16th, 2014, ANOTHER SUNDAY BRUNCH IN LA…

fresh local ingredients in the kitchen

fresh local ingredients in the kitchen

…another delicious rice tumeric porridge with fresh greens at Atwater Village artist-run cafe Thank You For Coming.

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On February 15th, 2014, SQUAMUGLIA CAFE…

money and candy payments on the garage floor

money and candy payments on the garage floor

…is a very occasional (open one day every few weeks 10am-2pm and 10pm-2am) very underground (garage) very small (one car space) artist project in the Westlake neighborhood of LA – which we finally had the chance to visit today – with a new installation, furniture, lighting, concept (raw red meat on the cafe tables and coffee was dyed red today for Valentines today) each time with casual contributions left on the ground to keep things legal and announced the day before by a cryptic email to those on the list.

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By Fritz Haeg on February 15, 2014 | food, Los Angeles
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On February 2nd, 2014, THE BERKELEY RUG RING…

rug with crocheters and mandarines in the center

donated clothes ready to be crocheted and mandarines in the center

…is coming along (beginning where we left off at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, where about 8 feet was added), midway through an intense rug-crochet weekend, training my Domestic Integrities Rug Deputies in the official technique, which they will then instruct to museum visitors when I’m not around during the four month run of the show.

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On February 1st, 2014, THE BEGINNING OF ‘THE POSSIBLE’…

'The Possible' artists meeting on the rug

‘The Possible’ artists meeting on the rug

…the village-like colonization of the beautiful brutalist Berkeley Art Museum by a community of makers organized by artist David Wilson - along with director Larry Rinder – was marked this morning by a gathering on the rug of the artists, before a tour of the show which includes a ceramics studio, dye lab, print shop, recording studio, reading library, and kids room – cool.

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On January 23rd, 2014, I + WE COLLECTIVE MOVEMENT WORKSHOPS…

various apparatus for the I + We Movement Workshops as H.R.

various apparatus for the I + We Movement Workshops as H.R.

…presented by Robby Herbst at Human Resources – LA’s favorite community artist-run performance/art space – for ten days of activities, is where I went tonight to join a group of eight mostly familiar friendly faces for a couple hours of activity and conversation around general ideas of collectivism.

I + We is an experimental and participatory (political) movement workshop. Borrowing techniques from dance, social sculpture, and new games, the structured hour and-a-half experience explores collective identity, play, and movement. Workshops  will include “floor work” and the use of “play apparatuses;” slides, ladders, masks, and restrictive toys. Sociologist Alberto Melucci suggests that in today’s alienated culture people find deep meaning and power through group identities that emerge through political social movements. 

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On January 15th, 2014, WILDFLOWERING LA: SOME WORDS ON WATERING…

Wildflowering LA site #47,  at the Eagle Rock US Post Office on Colorado Blvd.

Wildflowering LA site #47, at the Eagle Rock US Post Office on Colorado Blvd.

…were just written up by Theodore Payne Foundation‘s Genny Arnold for the participants at the 50 Wildflowering LA sites across LA County:

California is experiencing its driest year on record. Compound scant rainfall with persistent, drying Santa Ana winds, and we find our landscapes becoming stressed. We can learn about what our urban gardens will do by looking to nature; if our wild areas are showing signs of drought stress, our cultivated gardens will certainly follow suit.

Most of you are probably at the stage where wildflower seedlings have reached a couple inches in height, and you have now cut back on watering. You may notice that your seedlings are not wilting, but they also aren’t showing signs of growth and are just existing and maintaining at that low height.  

Because of this year’s especially dry circumstances, we recommend a good deep watering to the site every 7 to 10 days — at least through this warm and windy spell. Watch the seedlings closely; if you see signs of wilting or discoloration, then apply deeper and more frequent watering until they stabilize.  

The response of seedlings at each of the 50 Wildflowering L.A. sites will vary. Watch your meadow and get to know how the seedlings are responding to this special weather period. In the process, you’ll be brought closer to your garden and to the natural world as it responds to our unique climate.  

If the dry weather continues through spring, your wildflower meadows will boast a much showier and longer bloom if they continue to receive a deep watering every week or so. Regular irrigation will also increase the chances of a healthy seed set, ensuring that the wildflowers come back in good number next year. 

Keep in mind that even if you are watering every 7 to 10 days, you’re still using MUCH less water than a thirsty exotic lawn would require to stay green during this drought.

- Genny Arnold, Theodore Payne Foundation

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On January 14th, 2014, WILDFLOWERING LA: WHAT ABOUT THE WEEDS?..

Wildflowering LA site #17

Wildflowering LA site #17

…is the recurring question coming from many of the 50 participating Wildflowering LA sites across LA county, and here is Theodore Payne Foundation‘s Genny Arnold detailed response:

It’s exciting to see wildflower seedlings emerge and grow. However, it can be disconcerting to observe weeds coming up right beside them! This common problem in sowing wildflower meadows can be addressed in a simple manner (with a little elbow grease, of course!).

Don’t worry too much about trampling or damaging existing wildflower seedlings when entering your sow site to extract weeds. Each mature wildflower plant will occupy about ½ to 1 square foot of space, so some loss will not affect the overall appearance of your meadow.  

Methods for establishing small areas in which to sit and weed: 

+ Place paver stones on a few locations within the site. Once the plants have matured, the pavers either won’t show or will still look attractive. In addition, these spots can serve as vantage points from which to photograph flowers, insects and birds come spring! 

+ Create a few narrow pathways (perhaps three or so, depending on the size of the area) and use them to enter the site for weeding. Again, once the plants have matured, they will visually block the staggered paths. Establishing these thoroughfares can be as easy as choosing where you will walk and sit, akin to a deer selecting its favorite access through a meadow and walking the path repeatedly!  Plants in your pathways may be completely removed, or just walked on and not removed – that way, tough seedlings that do survive will still have a chance to develop.

Weed removal tips:

+ First, identify the weed. The weeding method will depend on the nature of the target weed, which will most likely fall into one of four categories: exotic annual weed, exotic perennial weed, exotic annual bunch grass, or exotic perennial lawn grass (such as Bermuda grass).

Exotic annual weeds and bunch grasses may be pulled out from the base at ground level – this method may displace some desired seedlings, which is probably just fine, depending on the number of native wildflower seedlings within the plot. The volume of seeds issued per site accounted for some attrition or loss of seedlings. Alternately, with narrow snips or clippers, go in at the base of the weed just below the soil surface and cut. The roots will remain underground but will desiccate and die, once detached from the top growth.   

Exotic perennial weeds with deep roots must be removed entirely – roots and all – to prevent them from returning. A trowel or “dandelion digger,” which get under the main plant and help you pull, are excellent tools for the job. Deep-rooted rhizomatous grasses, such as Bermuda, are not controlled by cuts just below the surface. In fact, cutting the rhizomes will actually stimulate growth. Sprigs and clumps of Bermuda grass must be completely removed from the base of the outgrowth with as many roots as possible – but dig no deeper than four inches (to avoid bringing up weed seeds and disturbing surrounding plants). 

Our best advice is to simply to do the best you can. If you lose some wildflower seedlings, you will still have others left. At TPF, we are also dealing with weed issues on our Wildflowering LA plot – there is no magic bullet to rid an area of pre-existing exotic weeds, but patience and repeated weeding efforts will pay off over time.  

Sowing seed always involves some unpredictable variables respective to each unique site. You will learn about these factors as you go. A fully flush meadow may not occur in the first year of sowing. You may want to prepare your soil again over the summer and re-sow next fall, with the advantage of the knowledge you have gained in this initial year of gardening experience. The important thing is that you have taken the first step to establishing a native landscape. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for your hard work, your patience, and for this meaningful contribution to our precious ecosystem here in Los Angeles!

- Genny Arnold, Theodore Payne Foundation

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On January 13th, 2014, THANK YOU FOR COMING…

the front counter of the Atwater eating establishment Thank You for Coming

the front counter of the Atwater eating establishment Thank You for Coming

…is the name of the new-to-me but year-old artist-run Atwater Village eating establishment just off the beaten path zone of Glendale Boulevard bustle where I was lead yesterday by friends Luke & Sarah (after running into them at the farmers market, they are guides to good things, so I always follow them) where we had my perfect first LA meal of 2014 – a hopeful indication of the direction for the rest of the year, I’ll be a regular at the communal tables.

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On January 8th 2014, THE YOEMAN’S PROJECT…

The Yoeman's Project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

The Yoeman’s Project at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

…is a fascinating show by artists Ian Milliss and Lucas Ihlein about the innovative Australian farmer/inventor which I was so happy to stumble upon in the lower level project space at the Art Gallery of New South Wales this afternoon. (project website)

The Yeomans Project is based on the figure of Australian farmer and engineer PA Yeomans.

Although he never described himself as an artist, Yeomans consciously set out to change the cultural understanding of the Australian landscape. A notable inventor of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, he sought to increase soil fertility and water use by regenerating bushland, creatively adapting farmlands and – in perhaps his most important breakthrough – developing a new understanding of water flows and tools for soil cultivation.

For Ian Milliss and Lucas Ihlein, The Yeomans Project presents an opportunity to look at art as an entirely utilitarian enterprise – one that proposes new, creative and sustainable ways of working with the land. They have collected together writings, images, documentary films and educational videos and will host a series of conversations in the exhibition to illustrate Yeomans’ philosophy and design innovations. They have also invited other artists – Milkwood Permaculture, Taranaki Farm, Artist As Family, (f)route and Diego Bonetto – to challenge our assumptions of art by relocating us to farms, masterclasses on permaculture, and alternative market places for selling and buying food.

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On December 9th, 2013, BOYS IN THE GARDEN WEARING NEW KNITTED SCULPTURES…

August, Wyatt, Brandon, Dan and Noah experimenting with the new knits in the garden

August, Wyatt, Brandon, Dan and Noah experimenting with the new knits in the garden

…was a fun and helpful first step in figuring out this new series of interlocking triangular panels – combo cape/caftan/Parangolés/scarf/shawl/vestment/wrap – to be worn in public formations, more pictures here.

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On August 7th, 2013, GETTING THE HOUSE IN ORDER…

Domestic Integrities preparations at the Walker Art Center

Domestic Integrities preparations at the Walker Art Center

…of Domestic Integrities part A05 for the opening of “Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City” at the Walker Art Center tomorrow night (plus today’s links to a Star Tribune story on Edible Estate #15 and an interview with Michael Pollan on the Walker website)

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On July 30th, 2013, FROM 22′ to 27′…

first day of rug crochet at the Walker

first day of rug crochet at the Walker

…is how much bigger we aim to make the American Domestic Integrities rug this week – with a big rotating team of rug crocheting volunteers also bringing in old clothes and textiles – in anticipation for it’s installation in the gallery for the August 8th opening of the show.

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On July 9th, 2013, SHIPPING TO THE WALKER ART CENTER…

part of the rug headed to the Walker

part of the rug headed to the Walker

…in preparation for the August 8th opening of Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City on August 8th, started this morning with the low rumbling of a huge moving truck barely big enough for my road, the arrival of two friendly movers for hours of heavy lifting, wrapping, and packing of the American Domestic Integrities rug, wood pedestals (made by artist Paul Bartow from materials at Mildred’s Lane where I spent last week, and where the rug was born last summer), and preserved materials from my LA garden for the growing D.I. archive. (and check out the new blog by my Walker interns)

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On July 8th, 2013, THE TWIN CITIES SEASON WHEEL…

Twin Cities season wheel

Twin Cities season wheel

…informing local residents what they might be doing in the garden and kitchen through the months on the back of the “At Home in the City” brochure designed by Walker Art Center designer Andrea Hyde is hot off the presses.

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On July 1st, 2013, A RETURN TO MILDRED’S LANE…

Mildred's Lane horse shed

Mildred’s Lane horse shed

…last night has me moving in for a few days stay in the cozy horse shed of this dreamy rural Pennsylvania homestead/schoolhouse/residency/cultural center presided over by artists J Morgan Puett and Mark Dion – where I’ll be gathering up a little knitting circle, talking to the fellows, reconnecting with old friends and just enjoying the conversations.

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By Fritz Haeg on July 1, 2013 | education
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On June 28th, 2013, A LITTLE FORAGING CIRCLE PICNIC…

a little gathering in the Foraging Circle in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

a little gathering in the Foraging Circle in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

…capped off a quick last minute eight-hour layover in Minneapolis on the way from LA to Rotterdam for the opening of Animal Estates 9.0 tomorrow – but at least it gave me a chance to see the garden in it’s mid-summer state, and (Walker webpage and Foraging Circle post)

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On May 7th, 2013, THE “FORAGING CIRCLE” PROGRESS…

planting the Foraging Circle at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

planting the Foraging Circle at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

…has continued gradually in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (commissioned by the Walker Art Center) over this week that started with snow and sleet and is ending with sunny summer weather – and though the wild plants, trees and shrubs (like asparagus, apple, mint, strawberry, rhubarb…) are little and struggling to occupy our mound of fertile soil, I’ve found that a few strategically placed – locally gathered – rocks, logs, branches, and leaves can suddenly evoke a landscape without anything even growing yet.

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On May 2nd, 2013, ‘FORAGING CIRCLE’ TAKING SHAPE…

laying of the Foraging Circle slate pavers

laying of the Foraging Circle slate pavers

…in the Walker Art Center’s Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (for Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City), where we laid the massive local slate pavers, surrounded by seating logs, surrounded by an 8′ radius of mounded fertile soil, ready to be planted with wild native foragables next week.

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