Louisville’s The Parklands at Floyd’s Fork – A Rave – Part 2

There are some splendid writings in current circulation relative to this park. Naturally, the park’s own website is rife with good stuff, especially that written by noted author and local resource and legend, Bob Hill. Bob’s ongoing blog which deals with the local history and the families who once owned these lands is enlightening and in depth. Eventful throughout history, from early pioneer settlements through the Civil War up to today, this strategic region has played abundant roles.

This is the link to Bob’s Journal: http://theparklands.org/category/bob-hills-journal/

(all pictures enlarge with a click) (The first one’s a bit too big) 😉

The Bridges

The bridges in this park – 7 of them – form an essential architectural feature but also reveal the playful sense of uniqueness which will forever mark the forward-thinking design team and its permanent edifice of a park for the ages. Once again, Bob Hill weighs in on his blog about the very bridge design and then the construction itself – and even the guys and gals who put all the pieces together. (Click for Bob’s blog entry)

From the blog: “Below the girders, massive rectangular blocks of limestone cut from a Bedford, IN., quarry had already laid in place along the river’s edge to provide stability – and heighten the visual effect.

The blocks – some eight feet long, five feet wide and almost five feet tall and weighing up to 16,000 pounds – also had been carefully inched into place on long cables. Limestone blocks would also be used alongside the bridge – and were randomly scattered about the landscape near the bridge – to add to its sense of place.

I was blown away by these gorgeous blocks of pure limestone, crystallized, heavy as hell and cut amazingly perfectly. I mean to a Tee. I kept climbing over them on my own visit, wanting to know more about them. I really wanted to weigh them, lol. Don’t tell anyone, please. I’m addicted to rocks.

They were everywhere

It seemed as though the producers had gone nutzo – the monstrous perfectly-cut boulders simply materialized in strange places together.

Now and then you can find them singly – just sitting there like a seat.

These, then, are the “Leaping Bridges” Bob Hill refers to. But here are two more absolutely gorgeous bridges – one which may not even be categorized as a bridge. This one:

I suspect this actually qualifies as a “culvert” which makes it even cooler. How beautiful.

Now this bridge happens to be my current favorite. Not “leaping” – merely flat and a span to just get over, ignoring what is underneath would be a mistake. Incredibly, the most remarkable facet of this span is all underneath.

Back to the ‘leapers’ –

Bob again: “It’s much as this deer is leaping over the fence,” said Walters. “That’s the idea of the bridge. It has this big muscular side that’s not an arch and it lands on the other side. There’s a sense of movement in the railings.”

These are not your everyday railings. These ones “lean”.  😉

Once again, every glimmer into this fab park reveals yet another level of a purely awesome concept, of fascinating and challenging design work and with a respect for installation craftsmanship of the very highest order. Much as how the bridges in Cherokee Park right in the midst of downtown Louisville express the same marvelous patience and control wrought by the best craftsmen of its day, the bridges here simply reflect an overall competence that matches the deliriously excellent designs.

Here’s a special section I created regarding the bridges at Cherokee Park. I believe you will see the same similarities I recognize with this gorgeous construction.


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.


Just More Dum Spring Pictures

More Spring glories………

This has been a somewhat epic Spring – early by a month, enticing as all get-out with the proliferation of blooming things as well as some equally unseasonable scents to go with the flowers. I had forgotten how great Kentucky can smell.

(enlarge pictures by left-clicking) Please 😉

I can’t get enough of these gorgeous blooms.

This dogwood explains its design, set next to this white home and co-existing with such an enhancing flowering.

More of the Native Pinks, the Dogwoods have truly been the stars of the local show for my money.

Here, once again, is Nature’s rendition of a chaotic romp set in little Audubon Park in Louisville.

This is pretty much the butt-kickingest Redbud I’ve seen so far.

The “roadside look” I always enjoy. These blooming things show up in all the local forests, creating a lacy framework around which the visible harbingers of Spring group. Notice too all the super-young leaves on local trees as they grow and re-color to their deeper greens as the season progresses.

Inside the local neighborhood, things are picking up serious steam as well.

This Kwanzan Cherry tree does its usual double-blooming trick, increasing the weight on those branches by about 10 times.

All in all, we are so blessed here.



What’s New?

I’m pretty sure Winter is sometimes as forgetful as I am. I’m knocking on wood as I type this, but honestly, it is plainly deep into March and – I can’t put this any other way – Spring has officially sprung. What was most remarkable about this 2012 edition by far is in the way it sort of settled in back in January. Seriously, I am positive it was the most gentle January and February on record, leading to this glorious pass in which we now find ourselves. If Climate Change means this, then I’m darned if I can find the downside from a strictly Human Comfort perspective. Just like when I loved the standard average paradisaical weather in Santa Cruz, California, I’ve awakened mornings feeling guilty more than once. I mean, what did I do to deserve this gorgeous beauty? Can I repeat this every year?

No, my heart is not the least bit broken. 😉

(enlarge any picture by left clicking)

Here in beautiful downtown Douglas Hills, the Louisville suburb I live in, we’ve noticed the fresh young buds of local Dogwood trees strutting their stuff on incredibly aromatic Spring mornings and days, giving us not only the fresh scents of Springtime but the blooming promise of the days and weeks ahead.

From such humble and rather grinning beginnings, Spring is formed. It will get spectacular in mere days ahead as the days get warm, the muggy but still pure moisture always so present in the air maintaining a freshness one has to experience to believe.

The local Chinese Pear population, in the person of these ‘Chanticleers’, are always early and this year’s mini-heat wave has inspired not only their standard early riotous profusion but also timed so perfectly with all the other buds and blooms. There is a virginal quality to these lime-green urban forests that always seems to leave us in a certain awe of Nature’s possibilities. One must – absolutely must – regard the designs of some of the planners of these parks, boulevards and yards as just fabulously and totally inspired. Designing for Spring is simply the best.

This is a park a person can sink their eyeballs into!


The rich, Fuchsia-colored Redbud trees are another wonder.

Good days in ‘Tha Hood’!   🙂

Moving outwards, there is another “tiny matter” worth discussing.

Basketball. The University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky have both earned their way to college basketball’s Ultimate Tournament – ‘The Final Four’, played this year in New Orleans. The eventual winner of two games is crowned Champion, ruling over the entire amateur basketball world.

For those not familiar with the event, it must be said that it is nearly as big as the Super Bowl or – dare I say – the Kentucky Derby in the terms of American interests.

To give an idea of just how basketball-mad Louisville and the entire state is, take a look at how they invest their entertainment dollars. Below is the inside of a Palace – the Yum! Center in downtown Louisville. Only 22,000 Louisvillians can fit inside.

This is not your Grandad’s basketball building. 😉

Confession here: I am a Louisville fan. Pretty much everyone’s head will explode soon enough in this crazy state over an absolutely Tectonic and sweetly serendipitous occurrence, based on real achievement and a couple of groups of “thoroughbreds” which always satisfy Kentuckian’s senses.