Showing posts from April, 2013

Japanese and American 'Sense of Space'

I teach a graduate Landscape Design Studio at Columbia University.  I ask my students to select an excerpt from the assigned book, 'The Hidden Dimension' and correlate a personal experience to describe it. This is what a student, Yuji Yamazaki, an architect, wrote. It is a very enlightening piece!   ...I had to share. (He said it was ok.) “We learn from the study of culture that the patterning of perceptual world is a function not only of culture but of relationship, activity, and emotion.  Therefore, people from different cultures, when interpreting each other’s behavior, often misinterpret the relationship, the activity, or the emotion.  This leads to alienation in encounters or distorted communications.” ~ Edward T. Hall, Hidden Dimension I have been living with my girlfriend for over 5 years now. My girlfriend, born and raised in the Long Island, NY,  sees certain things in a way that I don’t quite understand, especially things that relate to s

A Gorgeous Spring Garden in Westchester - The White Garden

  The White Garden in Lewisboro, NY opened its gates for one day today...and oh, what a day it was! Every April, Shelby White kicks off the Open Days garden-touring season by inviting all garden lovers to visit her phenomenal 45-acre woodland estate in the lower Hudson Valley.   I walked in and gasped - there are nearly 750,000 daffodils scattered among the rolling oak-hickory woods and mulched pathways. The view was breathtaking. And then I noticed that the fellow handing out maps of the extensive grounds was none other than Patrick Chassé, eminent landscape designer! That was when I realized that this garden was going to be even more than a magnificent daffodil display. Patrick was as gracious as ever and told me not to miss the formal grounds around the house, the moss garden, and to check out the grotto. He also said that this is the best year for daffodils that we have had in about 8 years. And the timing was perfect - the daffs were in full bloom as were t

The Pinecote Pavilion - organic architecture

The Crosby Botanic Arboretum the proud owner of a Mississippi Landmark.  It is a 'symmetrical shed' (as described by its designer) set on a base of brick, surrounded by trees and facing out to a still lake.  It is the  Pinecote Pavilion and was designed by the Arkansas architect, E. Fay Jones in 1987. He was a master in the true sense of the word. He died in 2004. Jones' Pavilion is an inspired piece of architecture.... Imagine being asked to design a open air garden pavilion for an arboretum in Mississippi, and instead of the normal gazebo or pergola, you take it upon yourself to design a soaring, captivating open air structure that seems to float on the water. In a way, it is very much like the ancient Golden Pavilion  of Kyoto (Kinkaku-ji). But the true inspiration was 'a higher order' as Jones described in a radio interview in 1994. "I like to think of myself as being concerned with a higher order of things and probably the

Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary - 'Sanctioned' Space

As we all know, gardens are a contrivance. Designed landscapes are artifice. Gardens are a grand collaboration, a co-creative endeavor with a certain Ms. Nature. Our partnership is an unequal one, for sure, as we are simply intruding on her domain, seeking to improve what is inarguably a perfect system. With that said, I look to Mother Nature for inspiration and guidance. She never fails to renew and replenish. Toward that end, each year I camp at the Audubon Society's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in South Wellfleet, Massachusetts for about a week amidst 1,100 acres of sandy pitch pine woodlands, meadows, maple and beech forest, salt marsh and fresh water ponds. This gem fronts onto Wellfleet Bay where naturalists volunteer to explain the wonders of the natural world to any who show up. I get recharged here. Cape Cod, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean more than any other place in the United States, is the world's largest glacially f

Garden Sculpture and Antique Fair 2013 NY Botanical Garden

Do you live in the metro NY area? Want to celebrate the Spring in style? Go the the NY Botanical Garden this weekend and while you are enjoying that amazing place - stop in and catch the GARDEN SCULPTURE & ANTIQUE FAIR... so much fun! Here is C.A. Johnson working on his lusciously rounded outdoor sculptures: (love the walnut) (photo thanks to Westchester Journal News) And here is a moss covered urn on a plinth from England for sale by  Balsamo Antiques: and while you are strolling through the springtime paradise of cherry trees, daffodils, crabapples, magnolias and more you can also admire the amazing sculptures by Manolo Valdes located throughout the extensive grounds:

Make A Rock Garden!

About 2 weeks before her daughter's garden wedding, my friend was in the throes of pre-wedding running around. Since the wedding was going to be at her house she looked at her overlooked hillside rock garden and decided that it needed help,   and fast. She asked me, "Can you improve upon my little rock garden?"   Rock Garden BEFORE   I set upon this task without a second thought. My friend is from Switzerland where they create the most beautiful 'Alpine' rock gardens and I wanted to recreate a little bit of 'home' for her. I explained that although our rock garden could not sustain delicate 'alpine' plants easily, I would try to use low growing plants that grow well in a rocky setting.   Rock Garden DURING We did not have time to bring in a tractor or large rocks so I decided to rearrange the existing small rocks and gather slightly larger rocks from their property. We used a large 'treecart' and lots of