Showing posts from April, 2011

Brooklyn Bridge Park Tour is April 21, 2011....sorry for typo

The Dreamy Brooklyn Bridge Park - April 21, 2011 Tour

I spent a part of my childhood living near Brooklyn Bridge...back then, us kids didn't venture down to the river even though our elementary school, P.S. 8,  was in its shadow. The neighborhood by the waterfront was sketchy, filled with abandoned piers, parking lots and dilapidated industrial buildings. I would go home to my little apartment and dream of trees and flowers. Today, thanks to a lot of talented, committed  people, Brooklyn Bridge Park is a beautiful riverfront landscape dotted with rolling hills, promenades, playgrounds, bicycle paths  and restored marshlands. The view of lower Manhattan from the park is amazing... My dream has come true. plan- courtesy of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates In the future, a total of 12 acres of paddling waters will be created for kayaks and  rowboats and there will be designated fishing areas and a marina. On Thursday, April 21 the landscape architects of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and J

Healing Gardens, Sacred Gardens and Serenity Gardens = Remembering

Yesterday the sky was a leaden gray, with rain swollen clouds folding in on themselves. Like a gray meringue ceiling, shifting in long, slow waves, its undulating motion reminded me of the way our gardens constantly evolve, a quiet dynamism, unceasing. Always growing... Ted's Stream Garden Down here, on terra firma, we sometimes forget that we live among a swirling world of energy clothed within the forms of plants, stones, water and soil. That is a shame because then we forget what a magical place the earth is and how we all share in its bounty. To elevate our awareness of this wondrous blue / green planet we can go to our gardens and ‘remember’ and reconnect with the source of all there is. Alfred Savinelli eloquently writes about this in his fascinating book, ‘Plants of Power: Native American Ceremony and the Use of Sacred Plants"’: “To bring our lives back into alignment with the cosmos, to reconnect with the source that deeply feeds us, to remember that life i

What this blog is really about - Divinity in the Garden

In this blog I aim to explore traditional approaches to landscape design, plants and earth tending and share them with you, the garden lover.  I believe that now, at the dawn of the 21st century, we can learn a lot from these 'rediscoveries'. It is my firm belief that the ancient ways and ideas can help us reconnect with the 'numinous dimension' of a garden. And this, after all,  is where the enchantment that we are all seeking can be found....

'Little Lime' Hydrangea

Limelight Hydrangeas in one of my landscapes - Jan Johnsen I love the tall 'Limelight' Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight')  for its beautiful and reliable lime green flowers, easy growth and its easy care. It is hardy to Zone 3 and thrives in full sun or partial shade. It makes both a wonderful cut flower and landscape plant. Little Lime Hydrangea close up Now there is a new dwarf form called 'Little Lime' from Proven Winners which grows in full sun or part shade. Its final height is 3-5’ tall and wide, about a third to half as big as Limelight. These lime green flowers turn pinkish in late summer / early fall This hydrangea blooms from midsummer to frost. Like its big sister, Little Lime’s flowers gradually change from lime-green to pink and make wonderful bouquets, fresh or dried. It is especially charming as a container plant. It will flower every year.  It will fit in any yard. It works well with most other plants in landscape designs. I

'A Pattern Language' by Christopher Alexander - #106 Positive Outdoor Space

illustration of Christopher Alexander's 'Positive Outdoor Space' by Matt Noiseux One of the books I use in my Landscape Design Studio class in Columbia University is the classic, 'A Pattern Language ' by Christopher Alexander. It offers 'patterns' as basic design templates for you to follow.  These are principles of  design that are founded on common sense as much as anything else....Alexander says his design language  is based on human and natural considerations.....Adding to the delight it that they are numbered for easy reference in the book!  'Accesible Green' is # 60. 'Quiet Backs' is #59.  One of the more elusive patterns is  #106 Positive Outdoor Space. It is a favorite of mine. It talks about manipulating outdoor space and refers to space as being 'negative' and 'positive'.  Yin / Yang anyone? The gist of this pattern says that there are two fundamentally different kinds of outdoor space: negative space and

Ecopsychology, Solastalgia, Biophilia and Serenity Gardens

Photo by Corbyrobert - Garden of the Gods Big words for simple ideas: ecopsychology, solastalgia, biophilia.... Recently, “solastalgia” has appeared in various places like in an instrumental track called “Solastalgia,” released by the British duo Zero 7 and  it was the title of a 2008 album by Slovenian recording artist, Jukeen. In 2010 The New York Times published a great article on this term by Daniel B. Smith (he holds the Critchlow Chair in English at the College of New Rochelle).  I took a lot of info from that article for this blog post. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN?   Solastalgia is "A pain or discomfort caused by the present state of one’s home environment". It is an emotional suffering felt by different people in different locations as the ongoing degradation of the environment continues apace.   It is a global condition affecting indigenous people and urban / industrial denizens alike. Solastalgia is what we feel when we become disconnected from our natural environ