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That decorative workhorse of gardens since time immemorial — the water feature, pond scum included — gets a makeover in the Algaegarden, one of the new additions at this year's International Garden Festival at Les Jardins de Métis/Reford Gardens, Quebec.


In the installation, an art/science/landscape collaboration between Synnøve Fredericks, Brenda Parker and Heather Ring, several different species of algae course through “curtains of tubes hanging from steel frames.” For the moment, the soupy mixture of nutrients and pointillist vegetation looks rather pallid, but the collaborators hope the algae will thrive and their colors grow bolder, like any foliage chromatically mutating through the seasons: reds becoming more vibrant, greens more lush, and blues turning bathypelagic.



“The algae, often considered a nuisance in the garden pond, here become an object of secret beauty and curiosity,” the avant-gardeners explain. “The garden leads the visitor to appreciate algae both as an alternative to oil and other energy sources and a source of food and nutrition.”

It's a technolicious pergola (or is it an archetypal labyrinth? an espaliered cyborg-plant?) providing a cool respite from our post-millennial angst over peak oil and peak food.

Sonic Garden
Poule mouillée!
Réflexions colorées
  • Georgia
  • August 2, 2011 at 11:24:00 AM CDT
  • Gorgeous and certainly interesting to children!

  • Joe Trainor
  • August 2, 2011 at 1:22:00 PM CDT
  • Alexander,

    Exquisite design, beautiful idea! These algae tubes may inspire aesthetically-pleasing food and energy producing sculptures, way to go.

    Keep up the great landscape architecture blog!


    Joe Trainor, Editor
    21st Century Architecture blog

  • namhenderson
  • August 3, 2011 at 9:32:00 PM CDT
  • So there is a manual intervention possible, wherein one can pump a pump and add air bubbles to the tubes? That is cool....

  • Brian Davis
  • August 20, 2011 at 8:21:00 PM CDT
  • It doesn't work, though I love the idea and the fact that they found a place to experiment. Right now though, it must be said that it is just a greenish mess.

    The translation from those vibrant colors in the little jars to the actual installation just isn't executed well (at least not yet).

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