Barbara Benish


Dallas, Texas, USA

Flow: River to Sea is a multiform project that includes a permanent, public, teaching garden designed for the Trinity River Audubon Center. The project is a part of Barbra Benish's ongoing investigation into the connections between inland communities' consumption practices to pollution levels in the world's ocean. 


Composed of native flora, the garden forms a rough shape of Texas. When viewed from a nearby observation platform, the shape replicates what one would see from a "bird's eye" view, out to the Gulf of Mexico and beyond.


At ground level, the garden appears as a natural space. Eighteen flowering red plants, listed in Geyata Ajilvsgi's "Wildflowers of Texas" have been delicately interspersed within the existing prairie. In spring, when the plants bloom, a swath of red flowers will stretch along the garden from top to bottom, symbolizing the path of the Trinity River through the state of Texas.


Recent neurological brain research has discovered that there is a significant connection between the human female visual DNA to hues of red. It is thought that this connection is rooted in the female role within ancient hunter-gatherer societies as forager, collecting red berries and fruits to sustain life in the larger community. Maintaining that these connections might also be true for the aviary population, Benish designed the garden with red flowering plants to attract breeding females.