Rochelle Wolberg, Curator-Director at Mounts Botanical Garden, today announced that Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest public garden recently received a prestigious “Design Award of Honor” from the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (FLASLA). This is the highest design award given statewide for landscape architecture.
Presented at FLASLA’s annual Conference & Expo in late July, the award honors Mounts for its beautiful and eco-friendly attraction Windows on the Floating World: Blume Tropical Wetland Garden, which was designed byWGI of West Palm Beach and opened in June 2017.
The ASLA FL Design Awards Program encourages the advancement, expansion, and recognition of the Landscape Architecture profession by honoring projects that blend environmental and artistic principles that emphasize beauty, function, and the sustainability. The Award of Honor is bestowed in recognition of projects that “demonstrate the inspired use of landscape architectural practices in an imaginative and well-resolved combination that adds to the body of the Landscape Architecture profession.”
Named after Mounts supporter Margaret Blume, the stunning Windows on the Floating World: Blume Tropical Wetland Garden was designed by nationally recognized public artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder, who have been doing pioneering work for years at the critical intersection of public art and the environment. This extraordinary project was done in collaboration with WGI’s landscape architecture division and landscape architectKirsten Siegel, PLA and ASLA Senior Project Manager.
A quarter-acre in size making it the largest new garden at Mounts, Windows on the Floating World features open-gridded, 4-foot wide walkways on the surface of the wetlands to give visitors the feeling of walking on water. Within these walks are four “windows” planted with aquatics and changed out with rotating and seasonal botanical exhibits growing from submerged containers. Additional highlights include waterfalls flowing over natural stone, an area for wading birds, and a rock wall covered with Bromeliads, offering some of the best foliage colors in the plant kingdom.
The creation of Windows on the Floating World was led by Elayna Toby Singer and Palm Beach County’s Art in Public Places program, whose mission is to provide art that complements public buildings, parks and plazas; create a sense of place; enhance community identity; improve design of public infrastructure; and contribute to the missions of the county departments where projects are sited.
“This is truly a national brag moment. Windows on the Floating World is the only artist conceived and designed garden within a U.S. botanical garden,” says Ms. Singer, who spent extensive time working with botanical gardens before joining Palm Beach County Art in Public Places 15 years ago.
“Mags Harries and Lajos Héder designed the wetland garden artwork not as an object but as a multisensory place to experience water. Waterfalls offer dynamic sound and movement, see through ‘window walks’ draw visitors to look closer, while an intimate overlook and seating niche near the water’s edge invite quiet reflection,” she adds.
“The garden’s serene beauty will inspire visitors to more closely examine the natural world surrounding them and their connection to it. For school children and their teachers, in particular, Windows on the Floating World is an exceptional site to educate on water quality and usage, and the role each one of us can play in water conservation,” says Wolberg.
Windows on the Floating World was generously funded in part by Margaret Blume, The Batchelor Foundation, Palm Beach County and the Friends of Mounts Botanical Garden.
With a mission to inspire the public, Mounts Botanical Garden is Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest botanical garden, offering gorgeous displays of tropical and sub-tropical plants, plus informative classes, workshops, and other fun-filled events. The Garden contains more than 2,000 species of plants, including Florida native plants, exotic and tropical fruit trees, herbs, palms, bromeliads and more. Mounts Botanical Garden is a facility of the Palm Beach County Extension Service, which is in partnership with the University of Florida and Friends of the Mounts Botanical Garden. Mounts is located at 531 North Military Trail in West Palm Beach. For more information, please call 561.233.1757 or visit www.mounts.org.