Death in the Garden

Tonight Austin City Council will vote on the recommendation of the Purchasing Office and Building Services Department to turn the City Hall landscape maintenance contract over to a San Antonio based firm.  This will mark the end of BioGardener’s 6+ year run at City Hall, which was designed as an educational demonstration of Austin’s location at a crossroads of three distinct eco-regions found in Texas.

We will not fight this decision.  It has been made clear to us during the last several months of working at City Hall that new City administrators want to make some changes.  It is their desire to manage the grounds as a manicured commercial landscape rather than a environmental representation of Austin’s natural history, which is pretty much the opposite of what we do, and the opposite of the original design intent of one of Austin’s most high-profile buildings.

Orderly, Arranged, Manicured, Sterile – The Future of Austin?

Wild, Free-seeding, Carefree Bluebonnet Seedlings – A Doomed Species?

We don’t regret losing this contract.  Our regret is for the City of Austin.  This story is one more death rattle from the dying soul of Austin, which seems to have more futile ambition than respect for its heritage, more lust for uniformity than for life, more greed than love, more vanity than depth, and a more depleted sense of its own self.

In some ways, I’ve given up my personal resistance to the death of Austin.  But at least through BioGardener, we continue to fight the good fight.  Our strategy is to find those who represent those bits of Austin that make it Austin (though they are harder to find every year), and to try to preserve the essence of Austin in all projects as best we can.  It makes me even more appreciative to those who support what we do and how we do it.   It’s people like them who are keeping Austin alive, and BioGardener digging.


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