22 September 2007

Ornamentals in Oakland

Walked along Thomas Avenue in Oakland (near Broadway Terrace) and saw a number of yards with beautiful displays of ornamental grass. This is an upscale block and it looked as if most of the yards with ornamentals had been put in during the last few years. I'm interested in how the use of ornamental grass works as a signifier of elite culture. I think one way to understand ornamental grass is as an upscale version of lawn furniture--just like one might place a wagon wheel or a wind-blown California Raisin lawn ornament in one's yard. I would like to read some of the upscale garden journals and see how they talk about planting ornamental grass.

That said, the front yards along Thomas Avenue were beautiful, including one which I think was Aristida purpurea, or Purple Three Awn (pictured above--and from http://www.lib.ksu.edu/wildflower/purplethreeawn.html). It is possible to admire and even want to use certain grasses in one's own yard while still understanding them as cultural signifiers?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

to my knowledge, it started back in the 1970s with these guys.