Sustainable Plants for a Changing World

Summary: This lecture course will focus on the nature of the interaction between plants and the environments in which they grow. It will cover both native and non-native species which grow in minimally managed woodland landscapes, horticultural plants in built landscapes, and spontaneous vegetation in unmanaged urban landscapes. Each class will be divided into two parts: a lecture and a \”laboratory session.\” The lectures will cover a wide variety of topics, including: plant adaptation and urban ecologyplant classification and identification plant form, function and physiology horticultural maintenance strategiesecological issues associated with agricultural crop productionvegetation responses to large-scale ecological issues (i.e. acid rain, urbanization and climate change)contemporary commercial nursery practices and future trendsIn the lab sessions, students will look at fresh plant specimens and learn the distinguishing characteristics of important plant families. The plant pallet will focus on species which can be cultivated under urban conditions with a minimum input of maintenance (i.e. sustainable). The following plant groups will be covered: angiosperm trees shrubs vinesherbaceous perennialsgrasses and bamboosgymnosperms (conifers and Ginkgo)The last three classes will involve developing a planting strategy for a parcel of vacant land on Harvard property in Allston utilizing the concept of a \”cosmopolitan urban meadow.\”Prerequisite GSD 6218 M1 (Plants and Design) or its equivalent Grades will be based on two short papers, a long, final paper and the presentation of research results on meadow planting in Allston.Required TextsWild Urban Plants of the Northeast: A Field Guide by Peter Del Tredici (2010)Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael A. Dirr (2009)