One of Beatrix Ferrand’s most famous projects is the garden at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC, which is known for its lavish garden rooms and magnificent attention to detail. As you can see in the map below, each garden “room” has its own name — Rose Garden, Urn Terrace, Pebble Garden, etc. — and each room is masterfully designed and delightful to experience. [Read more…]
Some interesting revelations in a book I’m currently reading called One Writer’s Garden, which is about the Jackson, Mississippi garden of Eudora Welty and her mother Chestina.
Last night I read this explanation for the shunning of magenta flowers back in Welty’s day (early 20th century, but the magenta aversion continues today for many gardeners):
“Historian Susan Lanman..points out that arsenic was was commonly used in pesticides, giving crops a magenta color that indicated that the lethal poison had been applied. [Gertrude] Jekyll and others distressed by the effects of industrialization eschewed [magenta]for such associations with pollution, and its manufacture from aniline dyes, which themselves were derived from the coal whose smoke blackened England’s skies.”
Ew. So magenta=toxic was part of the reason they didn’t like it.
But also many gardeners and designers just found the color plain nasty. Apparently, Gertrude Jekyll is the one who tagged it “malignant magenta” and another British garden writer called the color “that awful form of original sin.”
Poor magenta. It doesn’t seem fair. Everyone has their tastes, but who wouldn’t want to stumble upon that lovely sweep of Byzantine Gladioli (pictured above) on a drive through the country?
(Source: One Writer’s Garden, by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown.)
“A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery.”
Then again, Joyce was a man of ideas. I’m sure no contractor ever said to a client: “Oh, that retaining wall I put in last fall is collapsing now? But of course! How could something so bourgeois hold back the anarchy of our modern age?? Don’t you see?? It was futile from its inception!!!”
Anyway, it only took me a few minutes to compile a long list of mistakes that I have made over the course of my study of landscape design. Here are just a few:
1. Giving landscape design advice to people who didn’t ask for it. You might think that this would be obvious, but when you’re a new landscape design student all super-excited about what you’re learning, like I was, sometimes you can go a bit overboard.
In the Final Comprehensive of my Landscape Design Course, we had to work in teams of three. I was in a group with two other talented people (both professional designers), and our task was to redesign a small park on the campus of GW.
We brainstormed. We sketched. We had meetings — many, many meetings. We discussed. We argued. We tried to change one another’s minds and we attempted compromise.
More good news for those of us living with Juglans nigra! In his new book The Layered Garden, David Culp describes several genera that he has grown with success beneath these anti-social trees, including:
Smilacina — (Smilacena racemosa — False Solomon’s Seal — an interesting perennial with white flowers in spring followed by green/red berries).
Asarum — (cute little gingers!)
Aucuba — (Evergreen, Gold Speckles. Reminds me of the upholstery on the couch from my childhood family room, circa 1976. What’s not to love?)
Pulmonaria — (I am always reading about how great these are — why don’t I grow them?)
Convallaria — (I actually have Lily-of-the-Valley growing under a Silver Maple, which means they will officially grow anywhere.)
Finally, the candidates discuss the real issues. And just in time for election day, too!
(Oh, I guess I should mention the candidates’ actual words are in white and my very slight modifications are in yellow.)
What’s the difference?
I ask because I came across this quote from Teddy Roosevelt when I visited Roosevelt Island this weekend:
“Conservation Means Development as Much as it Does Protection.”
Coming from the man who established the National Park System, I raised an eyebrow when I read this. These terms — conservation, preservation, protection, etc. — are pretty slippery. When you’re talking about actual environmental policy, these words have no concrete definition. Which, come to think of it, is probably why politicians like them. Politicians are just nuts about abstract language.