Back to Nature: Collecting the Preserved Garden, 2004. Fabricated aluminum and glass greenhouse with grow lights, misters, and circulation fans, endangered native plants, handmade stoneware planters, 15 light boxes with Duratran images from the artist’s collection of amateur floral paintings, and artist-designed solar power station.

Mara Adamitz Scrupe: How Does Your Garden Grow?

Beneath the surfaces of Mara Adamitz Scrupe’s lovely installations, powerful ideas put down roots, train themselves into the terrain, and inform native landscapes and communities in ways that have far-reaching reverberations. Garden for the Third Coast, created in 2005 for Buffalo Bayou Art Park (BBAP), was the culmination of her year-long residency with BBAP, a nonprofit that places temporary public art in spaces across Houston and Harris County, Texas. BBAP housed Garden for the Third Coast at 5106 Center Street, its headquarters located in a neighborhood historically occupied by migrant workers which hugs Buffalo Bayou, one of Houston’s four major bayous. The area, thanks (or no thanks, depending on your point of view) to urban development, is becoming a trendy, townhousey tract. BBAP and another nonprofit, Spacetaker, occupy one of the few characteristically old and dilapidated structures remaining in the neighborhood. Director Kevin Jefferies says that he and the BBAP artist board selected Scrupe for the residency because her work “raises issues apart from the aesthetics of the pieces, but is also beautiful and thoughtful.”