David Wilkie, perhaps best known as Adam Purple, has died at 84. A familiar presence in New York City, Purple was an eccentric environmentalist whose Garden of Eden was probably his most famous project.
Born in Missouri, Purple went on to college in Kansas and graduate school back in Missouri. He at one time was a reporter who wrote about the police, The New York Times reports. He rode a bicycle instead of in cars, wouldn’t wear leather, became a vegan and did his best not to let anything go to waste. His Garden of Eden project, which began in 1975, was his most ambitious. “It was a meticulously planted 15,000-square-foot collection of fruit trees, plants and flowering shrubs that emanated in circles from the garden’s center, a yin-yang symbol,” according to The New York Times. “Publications including National Geographic published photographs of the garden.”
Purple envisioned the garden growing larger and larger, but sadly it was torn down in the name of housing. In the video above, Purple says he would have rather they killed him than torn down the garden.
He continued his ecological aspirations throughout the rest of his life, talking “passionately about the importance of recycling and the dangers of unchecked development,” The New York Times reports.