Domesticated Urban Plants

April 29, 2013 by


Pruning is the selective removal of parts of a plant. And although I believe less is more, selective means subjective so on a city stroll, it’s not uncommon to find examples of overzealous prune jobs. 


In his series of photographs entitled Domesticated, photographer Alan W. George captures and examines, “domesticated urban plants and people’s attempts to control and manipulate them in sometimes trivial and inconsequential ways. My hope is that these at times humorous and tragic examples echo conditions within the larger context of the relationship between humanity and nature. I also hope that the viewer can identify with certain human or anthropomorphic characteristics of the subjects, perhaps feeling a bit saddened by their subjugated circumstances.”


“In 1996 I moved with my wife, Jennifer, from Nashville to San Francisco, California looking for a change, something different, explains George. “We found it. After 10 plus years of culture shock, it’s starting to feel like home. We now live in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco with our two kids, dog, cat and a 30 year mortgage.”


“Photography, at least it seems to me, has a direct relationship with the ‘reality’ the photographer experiences, either accidental or contrived,” shares George.


“The photographer selects some portion of this ‘reality’, captures it and presents it as a photograph. The job of a photographer is to manage this ‘reality’ is such a way as to result in interesting photographs, says George.

Lonely Plants


“Traveling to exotic destinations, achieving access to the otherwise inaccessible locations/people, constructing film set like concoctions; these are but a few of the many ‘reality”‘enhancement techniques. None of which where readily available to me,” adds the photographer. “This series of images is a result of an attempt to make the most of my forced ‘reality’.”


Shear Delight
In Crimes Against Horticulture: When Bad Taste Meets Power Tools, Billy Goodnick, landscape architect and author of Yards: Turn Any Outdoor Space Into the Garden of Your Dreams, captures and exposes “the amazingly boneheaded, ‘f’ugly’ things people do in the name of gardening.” Goodnick’s commentary only adds to the hilarity of what he shares.


“I hit Crimes pay dirt cruising past an office park in Camarillo today. though I do have some respect for the pruning skills, I can only ask why anyone would allow this.”


“Someone’s getting paid every month to molest these plants. The gray ones? Lavender. No, really – LAVENDER! Guess the owners needs an aromatherapy lounge chair.”


On Juniperus Airlines, we pride ourselves on the generous legroom for in our first class section. (Of course, the cushions are a bit prickly, but a couple of Bloody Marys will ease your pain.”


“With all my blessings, shear on!”


Crimes Against Horticulture photos and commentary via Billy Goodnick.
Alan W. George via Lenscratch


  1. Billy Goodnick said:

    Robin: Nice of you to post some of the more heinous crimes and to pair my stuff with Alan. Looks like I”m not the only one out there disturbed by what people are doing in the name of horticulture.

    — May 2, 2013 @ 16:31

  2. Georgia | local ecologist said:

    So much to glean from the way we manag our landscapes.

    — May 5, 2013 @ 12:30

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