The Mangrove and The Pine: you can never tell when an aesthetic decision will ruin a landscape

(from The Barrier Islands Drama)

The Mangrove and the Pine

The native mangrove commands the beach
Extending the edge
Increasing the habitat thereby

Take Longboat Key, for instance
That pushy shallowrooted immigrant
That exotic graceful pine from Australia
Colonizes behind that manyrooted earthholding mangrove
Colonizes behind the oceanic nursery of mangrove roots
Displacing the mangrove
Gaining water’s edge
It topples in the wind


An eight foot by 60 foot mural in many parts.
It is a commentary on ecological colonization, using as the intruder a Casuarina, a pine-like tree from Australia, that imported to Florida for landscape use, grew like a weed, colonizing the landscape and almost destroying the native habitats, including the mangrove swamps. It was the first artwork to deal with ecological colonization.

A sketch is included in the exhibition catalogue. Parts are included in the exhibition catalogs “Artistic Collaboration in the 20th Century” by the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington and “Generation of Mentors” published by the Women’s Museum in Washington, D.C.


Where: Sarasota, FL
When: 1983
Who: Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison
Commissioned by: The Ringling Museum of Sarasota, Florida