With apologies for a quiet past year, Pruned begins Year 8 in earnest, hoping it, as the number suggests, to be an auspicious one.
On this occasion, I thought I'd list the top 10 most popular posts ever, at least according to Blogger. The stats only go as far back as May 2008, and if every hit was counted, I'm guessing these Mississippi River maps and these photos of a proto-Archigram Galveston in quasi-flight would be included. But what made the cut still nicely summarizes my interests.
1) New Kiribati: This shot up to the top position earlier in the year when, I'm guessing, the internet started googling Kiribati after its president proposed buying land in Fiji to secure a homeland for the populace should rising sea level render the island nation uninhabitable. It's a post-flood strategy we envisioned for Nauru, and also the context for (Im)possible Chicago #2.
2) Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots: Thanks, Robert Krulwich and NPR, for all the traffic to this one.
3) Gardens as Crypto-Water-Computers: One of my personal favorite posts.
4) Atomic Gardens: This is my interview with garden historian Paige Johnson, and perhaps the only post that trickled into the mainstream science press.
5) The Broken Column House: On the Désert de Retz, a sort of experimental garden in ancien régime France.
6) A Zoo in Vienna
7) Mapping the Dark Geography of Sand
8) GPS Coyotes: beta version of the Internet of Animals.
9) The Earth Scything Its Way Across the Persian Landscape: Earth-tsunamis, weaponized mountains, tactical landslides, and a lion-eating horse.
10) Wave Garden v5.0.0
Expect more of the same. Obviously.
Meanwhile, in case you're interested, the above image is one of the most dramatic and inspired engravings found in Giovanni Battista Ferrari's De florum cultura libri IV (1633). According to Joy Kenseth in The Age of the Marvelous (Pruned's foundational manifesto), the book is “one of the earliest botanical works to be devoted entirely to flowering garden plants. […] It is essentially a handbook for gardeners that gives instructions on cultivation and flower arrangement.”
Designed by an unspecified artist who collaborated with Ferrari, the illustration depicts “a bad gardener being transformed into a snail: his body is caught by surprise as his head has already become the soft tissue of a snail.” Perhaps this should be the fate not only of bad gardeners but of all bad landscape architects.