Mounts Botanical 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 and expo, the award recognizes Mounts’ eco-friendly attraction “Windows on the Floating World: Blume Tropical Wetland Garden,” which was designed by WGI of West Palm Beach and opened in June 2017. Named after Mounts supporter Margaret Blume, Windows on the Floating World: Blume Tropical Wetland Garden was designed by nationally recognized public artists Mags Harries and Lajos Héder. This project was done in collaboration with WGI’s landscape architecture division and landscape architect Kirsten 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 Public Art Administrator Elayna Toby Singer. “This is truly a national brag moment,” she said. “Windows on the Floating World is the only artist-conceived and designed garden within a U.S. botanical garden.” Singer spent extensive time working with botanical gardens before joining Palm Beach County 15 years ago.
Harries and Héder designed the wetland garden artwork, not as an object, but as a multisensory place to experience water, Singer said. 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.
Windows on the Floating World was funded in part by Margaret Blume, Palm Beach County, Friends of Mounts Botanical Garden and The Batchelor Foundation.