Tiny Taxonomy

Les Jardins de Métis, Québec, Canada
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA
Belgrave Square in London, UK

Three gardens reveal the role of individual plants in landscape architecture.


Tiny Taxonomy is a little garden with big ambitions. As both a form of practice and of research, the project suggests the necessary expansion of planting design within the field of landscape architecture. In particular, it exemplifies the use of plants as a scalable unit within an ecological sequence, examining the role of individual species. Tiny Taxonomy is offered on three grounds; a first iteration underscores fieldwork at Les Jardins de Métis, a consideration on collecting at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and a project of transplanting at Belgrave Square in London. Tiny Taxonomy is therefore a workshop and a garden, examining plants as the primary structure of design and categorization as a creative endeavor. As a series of first-hand experiences, the project suggests that ground-level research and the science of botany can be brought into practice, within a unique landscape architectural agenda.

Tiny Taxonomy showcases species that are in cultivation or in profusion, but rarely purposefully planted. A grouping of plants is categorized by common traits derived from an evolution towards feature miniaturization, generating another form of classification. Due to the diminutive size of their features, these plants are often over-looked and therefore tend to be under specified.

It seems that as the world around us gains complexity and intricacy, our biological world is tending towards monotony. As our experiences become more and more uniform, our capacity to apprehend transformation and beauty diminishes. Tiny Taxonomy considers smallness a design opportunity, offering innumerable microcosmic considerations of the leaf form, flower structure, and physical habitat of individual plants.

Garden Installation & Design, Build, Plant, Install 

Les Jardins de Métis, Québec, Canada


2RSE Anenome multifida 011 8b
planter 22d

Garden Installation & Design, Build, Plant, Install

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Boston, USA

Charles Waldheim, Curator


TinyNewspaperProof130509 4
RSE_Tiny Taxonomy 2017 41
RSE_TINY 07 ISGM view_C Bouret

Garden Installation & Design, Build, Plant, Install

Funded by Grosvenor Estates UK
Minister of Culture, Québec

Installed at Belgrave Square
Plants Collected in Highgate Cementery

Tim Richardson, Curator


BIO Extra page
Highgate Cemetery 116
Tiny Taxonomy Exhibition Elements 3
Chelsea to MP 3
Tiny Taxonomy Exhibition Elements 2

Elkin, R.S. “Tiny Taxonomy: Individual Plants in Landscape Architecture” (Actar, 2017)