Native Flora Is Retaking the City of Los Angeles Thanks to Artist Initiative

One of the Wildflowering L.A. lots. Photo: via Instagram, jasonabio.

Artist-led initiative Wildflowering L.A. is bringing native flowers to the streets of Los Angeles, reports Hyperallergic.

Organized by eco-artist Fritz Haeg with the Los Angeles Nomadic Division, the project has reclaimed 50 open spaces throughout the city, planting them with an appropriate blend of native flowers based on Reyner Banham’s book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1971).

With help from the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants, different areas of LA were planted with either coastal, flatland, hillside, or roadside flowers. While Fiddleneck, Bird’s Eye Gilia, Arroyo Lupine appear along highways, Beach Suncups, California Coastal Poppy, and Globe Gilia can be found in coastal flower beds. Each plot is accompanied by a wooden sign identifying the project, the site number, and the seed mix.

The flower sites are all privately owned and planted with permission, but are visible from the street. It’s Haeg’s way of not only practicing urban beautification, but also of “making work where people live,” and “without any of the frames of reference that galleries or museums force on the work,” he told Hyperallergic.

The project brings to mind artist Deborah Fisher’s 2009 project sowing wildflower seeds in tree pits, abandoned lots, and other untended land in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood (see report from the New York Times). While Fisher’s intention was to bring natural beauty to the urban community, some saw her as force of gentrification attempting to change the neighborhood without the consent of longtime residents.

Despite the recent drought in the region, only minimal watering was required to bring the LA project to life. The flowers should be in bloom through June. Once the spring season has passed, the signs will be removed. For now though, you can follow the flowers online using the #wildfloweringla hashtag.

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