Back to the Garden
“Prairie Plots” is a living installation incorporating more than 1,300 plants and seeds selected for their ability to thrive in a harsh South Texas climate.
A pop-up prairie garden in the shadow of Rice’s Shepherd School of Music and adjacent to the Turrell Skyspace intends to exemplify what Houston’s future landscape could look like.
“Prairie Plots” is a living installation created by Maggie Tsang, a Wortham Fellow at the Rice School of Architecture, in collaboration with Rice’s Facilities Engineering and Planning. Installed by volunteers, it incorporates more than 1,300 plants and seeds selected for their ability to thrive in a harsh South Texas climate.
The installation required the removal of turf grass from the roughly 10,000-square-foot grid of plots separated by aisles. The plants were selected for their resilience in Houston’s extreme heat, flood and drought conditions and include such familiar Texas wildflowers as tall Indian blanket, Texas coneflower and shorter rattlesnake master and native grasses like little bluestem.
“[W]ith this project, the university can act as a model for the rest of the city by rethinking lawns, planting perennial species that increase biodiversity, improve soil health and groundwater infiltration, and require fewer resources for maintenance and upkeep,” Tsang said.
— Mike Williams