Louisville’s The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork – A Rave – part 1

The modest title notwithstanding, The Parklands of Floyd’s Fork is a world-class, cutting  edge project which has barely opened and already gathers astounded visitors who dive deeply into a park designed to, as Frederick Olmstead so eloquently put it: “Bring nature into neighborhoods.” The brainchild of visionary men who succeeded at commerce and who want to give back, David Jones and his friends listed in the links supplied below have created a wondrous and special place.

Louisville has opted to revisit Olmstead’s vision and they have succeeded magnificently so far. It is trend-setting, newsworthy to the rest of the world and illustrates humanity’s better angels in ways that take one’s breath. It’s a home run.

My Mom and I went out this past weekend to sample it, having read that November 10 was more or less the real opening date for traffic and visitors. I have followed the progress of this park through their website for quite some time, including from my days in Reno and Portland.

Recognizing that Fall has spent itself substantially, presenting the always-bittersweet vision of trees with few remaining leaves, the baseball World Series all tucked in (Go Giants!) and even football season 3/4 finished, we await dismal Winter. Here’s proof:

(all pictures enlarge upon clicking)

There was a buoyancy delivered like a good meal to our journey which we were frankly not prepared for. We got very lucky.

We visited this excellent parkland.

Needless to say, I scurried around as my interest grew, taking pictures. After spending that day and parts of this morning over there, allow me to opine that I am other-worldly impressed with the attention to detail in the construction and the mature and professional  naturalism in their restorations. This park is something special. No – it is stunning.

Bike trails, hiking trails, a kid’s playground of heavenly dimension, all studded and redolent with craftsmanship at the installation end. Hidden excellence abounds throughout as we see otherwise innocuous plantings and obvious new construction details of plantings, grass seeding and restoration via native plantings which comprise the landscaping end of things. It is a virtual horticultural museum in the making.

Scenes as simple as this – above – hide a deeper planning whereby every single blade and shrub or tree in this picture is carefully considered as an organic contribution to a whole. The same applies to this one below:

The species’ of grass itself, including wildflowers in many cases, is illustrated as “selected” by virtue of the straw still seen everywhere as it nurses with a typical protective cover – this region’s typical Winterizing tactic – the young seeds underneath.

You have to love the Egg Lawn. 😉

The playground I could live at, but then, no one is surprised at that, as childish as I tend to act on a regular basis. What’s perhaps most noteworthy, aside from the cool apparatii, all shiny new and swirling in playful invitation, are the various dry stone walls, shown in depth here and so perfectly made. But it may be their placement – 3 layers deep – which provide an eye-catching asymmetry both subtle and arresting and existing for no real reason at all. It reminds us of the perfect role “play” has played in invention and the progress of us all. This is a playful and satisfying design of the first order.

What a wonderful park – parts natural and man made elements combine in serendipitous fashion, enhanced by deeply considered effort and playing off one another as elements at play. Nothing conflicts that I could see. Everything fits into synch with this wonderfully historical area, so rich in history and in beauty.

Next time, we’ll investigate the buildings and bridges – both elements of totally surprising artfulness. For now, for anyone the least bit curious, here is the link to both the park and a small history of its generation.


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