This graphic is still a work in progress, but it represents my latest research and beginning phases of design. This urban plant palette includes species already existing at Pruitt-Igoe and JNEM, St Louis street trees, and native plants from regional communities (including dry-mesic chert forests and riverfront forests). The position of each plant represents its ideal moisture regime – with plants preferring relatively hydric conditions in the lower right-hand side, and plants preferring more xeric conditions to the upper left. The veritcal lines represent each plant’s tolerances–the range of conditions in which the plant can survive. (Many of the species on the right hand side are wetland species, and adapted to “bounce” – extremes of wet and dry. Therefore, they have longer gray lines than the plants to the left.) The green shapes represent each plant’s habit and foliage color. The growth rate of each plant is also represented. The pH tolerances of each plant are also represented – St Louis soils are often calcareous, or alkaline because of the large limestone deposits in the region.
Using this diagram, it is possible to begin to imagine specific plant communities that are better adapted to the site conditions of JNEM or Pruitt-Igoe. The tolerances of the plants also suggest that some plants may be well-suited to both sites, creating some continuity while still respecting (and perhaps even exaggerating?) differences.