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Where To Find Inspiration

I’ve never been remiss about sharing with other gardeners that some concepts seen in my garden haven’t been my  originally designs. To the contrary. Several years ago when Chris Woods (Ex-Director of Chanticleer) was teaching me about garden design and perennials, visitors to my garden would frequently comment on how my style of gardening reminded them of Chanticleer. Well, we both did have Robinia pseudocacia ‘frisia’. But the truth is….Chris influenced my plant palette and combinations tremendously. At that time, Chanticleer was a nascent public garden, so I was able to pick up ideas easily. I never gave a second thought as to whether or not I was copying any. The only thing I knew was that I was inspired.

May 13, 2011-Chanticleer 027

On my last visit to Chanticleer this past May, after I spent quite a bit of time in the overwhelmingly beautiful Tea Cup Garden taking photos, some wooden boxes on top of the entryway caught my eye. I grabbed Jonathon Wright (who creates and maintains the garden) and asked him what he was doing with the boxes. It was simple he said; he filled them with veggies, including some beans, with the intent of creating a jeweled, draping effect on the wall of the front courtyard/entryway. The more he talked about designing these veggie filled boxes, the more I fell in love with the idea. When he mentioned the yellow beans that were going to drip over the sides that he had found at Territorial Seed Company, I knew I had to get my hands on some.

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Public Gardens and Spaces in Tel Aviv

The city of Tel Aviv is 102 years old. It gave birth when immigrants from Europe came pouring into Israel. Due to the overcrowded conditions in the ancient Mediterranean city of Jaffa, in April 1909, a few dozen families decided to build a suburb. At the time, there were only a couple of streets in Tel Aviv, along with piles of deep sand and some citrus groves. The Tel Aviv population grew quickly; Meir Dizengoff, the head of the local council, realized that he needed to design a well thought out plan for the expansion of Tel Aviv.

He hired Sir Patrick Geddes, a Scottish urban planner, biologist, and philosopher, along with a plethora of other talents.

“This is a green world, with animals comparatively few and small, and all dependent on the leaves. By leaves we live. Some people have strange ideas that they live by money. They think energy is generated by the circulation of coins. Whereas the world is mainly a vast leaf colony, growing on and forming a leafy soil, not a mere mineral mass: and we live not by the jingling of our coins, but by the fullness of our harvests.”
- Patrick Geddes

Gedde’s plan was to make Tel Aviv a garden city with tree lined pedestrian boulevards and a separation between main and residential streets. His design included shared public spaces; squares and parks on major boulevards and in residential areas.

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A shaded, eucalyptus allee that leads from one end of Gan Meir Park to the other

 

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The Special Relationship

About a month ago the leading flag on the ‘flag counter’ on my blog finally tipped from the Union Jack to the Stars and Stripes. So perhaps this is a good moment to reflect on Anglo-American relations in the garden. With the recent visit of Mr. Obama (who we Europeans by the way all adore) there has been yet another spate of politicians and commentators discussing the so-called ‘Special Relationship’. There certainly is one in gardening, and like the political version, it is complex, constantly changing, and sometimes controversial.

During my first few visits to the US (1990s, early 2000s) the special relationship resembled nothing more than a rather quaint colonial hangover. Americans may have flung the tea into Boston harbour in 1773, and then to add insult to injury dropped the ‘u’ from harbour, but so many gardeners seemed to be still so stuck to the English garden as a model. Grande-dames of the UK garden world like Penelope Hobhouse and Rosemary Verey sold vast piles of books to the US. The latter (who remembers her now?) spent Christmas one year with Ross Perot (yes, really, and who remembers him now?)

When you have a native flora as rich and colourful as this, I don’t understand why the goings-on around English manor houses have any appeal.

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Finding the Photo

Whenever I travel to make a presentation I try to incorporate some local gardens into the show to better connect with the audience.

Let's find the "good" photo in this border

My presentation in Chicago to the Garden Club of America’s Show of Summer was titled ‘What is a “Good” Garden Photograph’ and  The Chicago Botanic Garden was the obvious choice to go find a photo.  It is a great botanic garden and has an especially strong focus on home landscaping, so the day before the show I went looking for something to illustrate a “good” garden photograph.

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What Makes A Garden Japanese?

Written by Jill Sinclair

Alot of GGW readers already know Jill from her popular blog, Landscape Lover, where she gives her personal take on parks and gardens in Paris and further afield. Jill is a British landscape historian, trained in the US and London, and currently living in Paris. Her particular interest is the changing meaning and value of historic places. In 2009, the MIT Press published her first book, Fresh Pond, which explored the shifting significance of a site in Massachusetts. She also contributes regularly to a range of peer-reviewed journals and popular websites, and gives lectures and guided tours on the history and associations of particular landscapes. I’m a big fan of Jill and Landscape Lover….if you haven’t yet read  it, check it out. Fran Sorin

What makes a garden Japanese?

When asked by a client to design her a Japanese garden, landscape architect James Rose replied: “Sure – whereabouts in Japan?”
Yet many gardens around the world are confidently described as Japanese. Indeed, James Rose’s own home and gardens at Ridgewood in New Jersey, which I visited a few years ago, were clearly influenced by his great love of Japanese gardens, even though he baulked at anyone describing them as such.

James Rose garden

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