Wayfinding: Wildflower Meadow @ ECUAD

The face of this land has been changed many times since the last ice age (when it was under water), and since Europeans and others began to displace the First Nations in the 19th Century. Was this spot lower than it is now, at the shoreline of the estuary? did it get more fill than surrounding areas for some reason? or were these its contours from time immemorial?

According to the Great Northern Way Revised Structure Plan (2014), this meadow will someday be used as part of the staging area for construction of a Broadway subway line (tunnel boring machine! see page 13, fig.7 ); afterward the line is in with a station at the corner of Thornton and Great Northern Way, it will be developed into commercial/campus properties (see page 10, Figure 5). The plot immediately to the south of what is currently the meadow (behind the chain link fence where we wove our circles of weeds) is marked to be the green, open space.

In the meantime, this meadow is a beautiful place to walk, bike and picnic through the seasons, as the flush of wildflower blooms changes week by week (and the art projects pop up like mushrooms). Many of these flowers are here because they are good nectar producers; some of them, such as coreopsis, are also extraordinary dye plants.

I thought it was enjoyable just walking around the city… making installations with plants. It was satisfying to make marks that weren’t permanent… It felt loose and playful… to just create as you go with no pressure… and then just leaving it, a break from product oriented work. And Anna and Nicola together, their knowledge always shifts my perspective: Anna was saying you can tell what ages the block was built by the trees, what trees were trending when that block was built.

Project artist Jaymie Johnson, in an interview with Rebecca Graham

May — Lacy phacelia – people were really fascinated by the caterpillar-like blooms, sweet rocket, blooming trees, St.Johns wort coming out, California poppies, yellow dock, horsetail just small, lupines;
June — pink flowers at ECUAD, Lacy phacelia gone to seed, wild lettuce going to seed, blackberry fibre peeling well, buttercups, St.Johns wort at peak in the middle of the month;
July — goldenrod everywhere, yarrow, fireweed starting, tansy. Also coreopsis “tickweed” at ECUAD and some other little places nooks and crannies. Bindweed everywhere, flowering now;
August— goldenrod stayed strong, fireweed, and second batch of st.johns wart. Coreopsis and marigolds coming on and staying into the fall.

Project artist Nicola Hodges, in an interview with Rebecca Graham