Large circles of long grass dotted across several Hamilton’s parks are the work of artist and environmentalist Adrienne Grant.
Adrienne has worked closely with the Council’s City Landscapes team to create completely interactive natural artwork – entitled Green Green Grass – she encourages people embrace.
“There are grass circles across five different parks; there’s one by Waikato Museum, three in Innes Common, five in Claudelands Park, two in Norris-Ward Park and two in Hinemoa Park,” she says.
The grass circles – with tufts now 50-60cm in some places – have been “a long time coming”, says Adrienne, who cites growing up on a farm and more recently a visit to the United Kingdom a decade ago as a major inspiration.
“In the UK I saw parks with long grass and maybe with a path mown through that – the more I thought about, the more the idea (to do grass circles here) emerged.”
Adrienne did an initial grass circle project in Claudelands Park in 2017, but “didn’t get the timing right”, seasonally – the grass didn’t grow as well as she had envisaged, hampered by a drought.
Fast-forward to summer 2018-2019, and the grass circles – allowed to grow from early spring – have flourished and are now quite noticeable to passers-by. Small information boards beside each explain the project.
“The timing’s been really good – it’s allowed the grass to grow, we’ve had lots of rain, we’ve got the sun obviously at this time of year, and everything is starting to flower so you’re seeing that diversity of plant species emerging …. it’s been really interesting,” she says.
“I love the different colours and textures the are appearing.”
The project reinforces Adrienne’s blending of art and her environmental philosophies.
“I’m really interested in our relationship with nature,” she says. “Once you sit in one, you will probably see all these different types of plants and insects you didn’t notice before!
Adrienne’s been enjoying some positive feedback on her project, and some residents have contacted the Council to find out what’s going on.
Zeke Fiske, the Council’s City Landscapes Team Leader, says staff have had a few queries about Adrienne’s grass circles.
“People have noticed these and are talking about them,” he says. “This sort of natural art stimulates people to interact with our park spaces, which we want to encourage.”
Zeke says if any other artists in the city are interested in doing natural art works in the city’s parks and reserves, they’re encouraged to get in touch with him and his team.
Adrienne’s project culminates with a free public event at Innes Common on 9 February at 11am, during which Adrienne and others will hold open discussions about art, biodiversity and collaboration with nature.