Tiny Taxonomy: Individual Plants in Landscape Architecture (Actar, 2017)

"There is the sheer pleasure of discovering plants that hide in plain sight. There are also several arguments Elkin builds steadily throughout the book. One of them regards a lack of direct experience that landscape architects have with plants, combined with their dutiful focus on classification and Latin binomials. Elkin contends that these sorting systems can be limiting and even misleading in the apprehension of what plants do and how and where they grow. “The nomenclature solidifies the system, not the actual plant,” Elkin writes. She would move the living material of landscapes out of the realm of pattern books used for rendering and sheer quantities for shipping, and back to sensation and observation and idiosyn-crasy. The installations bring sections of a region’s ecology to the scale of the person, who can get to know plants above and below their soil lines, in all their ordinary chaos. They fix the viewer in the place. “I want to work in a region that I know,” Elkin said. “I want to work somewhere, and I want to know my somewhere.” 

-Excerpt from book review by Bradford McKee in LAM Landscape Architcture Magazine, 2018

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