Sunday, February 23, 2014

Remnants of William Blake's Garden at Lambeth


From the Spectator, 6 May 1916.

"And there is the little red-brick house in Poland Street, No. 23— the Blakes' first settled married home—standing as Blake must have known it, shabby and dark now with the London smoke of a century and a half, a strange setting for the radiant beauty of the Songs of Innocence which were written and designed within it.  In 1793 Blake and his wife migrated to Lambeth, , to a house known now as 23 Hercules Road.  It makes one of a terrace which has been condemned, and which waits, blackened, untenanted, glassless, behind its hoardings, for the coming of the housebreakers. Even in its present ruin it is worthwhile to cross Westminster Bridge to gain a last sight of it before it disappears, for it is without doubt the most interesting of all Blake's homes. 



The front door of Blake's house is nailed up, and anyone fortunate enough to gain an entrance must make his way through the passage of the house next it, and so into a tangled garden, all overgrown with vine and fig tree—the descendants, doubtless, of those trained by Mrs. Blake with so much loving care into the arbour famous for its apocryphal legend of Adam and Eve, and for the prettier story of the Flaxman visits to the Blakes, and their tea-drinkings and music together."

[n.b. The apocryphal legend: ""Visiting the Blakes while they lived in Lambeth, [Thomas] Butts found the couple nude in their garden summer house. ‘“Come in!” cried Blake; “it’s only Adam and Eve you know!” Husband and wife had been reciting passages from Paradise Lost, in character’ (Gilchrist, 1.115)."]

"In summer time this jungle of greenery is thickened by a small forest of Jerusalem artichokes, left by later tenants, and by lilac bushes and bright double dahlias and marigolds. At every step the foot is caught by the trailing vine, and broken glass and waste rubbish lie everywhere underneath the tangle. And so we get to Blake's garden door...



"The Vale of Lambeth "—" Lambeth the Lamb's Bride," as Blake speaks of it in one of his prophecies—with fields and gardens, and open views over to the river and the towers of Westminster and the wide western sky, must have been a pleasant quarter at that time to live in. There is Wordsworth's Westminster Bridge sonnet, written in 1803, three years after the Blakes had left Lambeth, to bear witness to the beauty of London "open unto the fields and to the skies."  



The Songs of Experience belong to this time, and it was on the stairs here that Blake had the great vision of the Ancient of Days with the measuring compass which was to become one of the most famous of his designs...No one can stand before this blackened shell of a home, once alive with so much fire and passionate vision, without a sense of awe, as they think of the "treasure in earthen vessels," of this great spirit.  It is not perhaps quite fanciful to think that the open skies and sunset clouds of Lambeth had their influence on this outburst of visionary power. 


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Where was born Kim Il-Sung?

Mangyongdae is the birthplaceof Kim Il-Sung.   This is what it looks like.

Image source Taedong Travel
But this is what it looks like to North Korean School children.

Image by Raymond Cunningham

The majestic conifers!  The candy-colored blossoms!  And all in bloom at the same time! An Eternal Spring for the dear leader.  On anniversaries of Kim Il-Sung's death, flowers are said to bloom out of season, just like the picture.  (But those white gates and pickets look strangely well, western.)

Kim Il-Sung even has his own flower, the Kimilsungia, a violet dendrobium cultivar that he took note of on a 1965 trip to Indonesia's Bogor Botanical Garden with his neighbor autocrat Sukarno.  Its origin is rated by Pyongyang as one of the Top 100 Important Events of the 20th Century:

He stopped before a particular flower, its stem stretching straight, its leaves spreading fair, giving a cool appearance, and its pink blossoms showing off their elegance and preciousness; he said the plant looked lovely, speaking highly of the success in raising it. Sukarno said that the plant had not yet been named, and that he would name it after Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung declined his offer, but Sukarno insisted earnestly that respected Kim Il Sung was entitled to such a great honour, for he had already performed great exploits for the benefit of mankind.

Kimilsungia festivals may be, by visitor attendance, the most visited flower shows in the world.

Image by Joseph A, Farriss III
Kimilsungia was joined by Kimjungilia, a bodacious red begonia created in 1988 by a Japanese botanist (neither plant can be said to be North Korean in any way) for Kim Jung-Il's 46th birthday.

The red flowers that are blossoming over our land
Are like hearts: full of love for the leader
Our hearts follow the young buds of Kimjongilia
Oh! The flower of our loyalty!

Floral displays mingle these impresa of the two leaders with...tanks and test missiles.

Image by Joseph A, Farriss III

"Someone in my group asked why the Kimilsungia was a smaller flower than the Kimjongilia, our North Korean guide simply said that that was not a wise question to ask." [americaninnorthkorea]

But I'm most fascinated by the miniature landscapes placed in North Korean schools along with those pastel-ized prints of the birthplace.  They personify the leader as much as his portrait,  placing him in pure and abundant and beautiful nature as a stage set for narrative and myth.

photo by Eric Lafforgue

"In a school in Pyongyang, the room dedicated to Kim Il Sung, the father of Kim Jong Il.
The teacher asked the kids "where was born Kim Il Sung?"
They all answer, loudly: "Kim Il Sung was born in Mangyongdae!"
In the center, the native house of Kim Il Sung."  [eric lafforgue]

The 'best' schools (the ones in which they allow Western tour groups) have three rooms, and three gardens.  One for Kim Il-Sung, and one for Kim Jung-Il, and one for Kim Jong-suk (first wife of Il-Sung, mother of Jung-Il).  The trinity of North Korea.  And these are their gardens of origin, their Gardens of Eden.

Photo by Raymond Cunningham

Photo by Raymond Cunningham

See the pointer?  "And here Kim Jong-Il gave his winter boots to another child.  And here Kim Jong-Suk washed Kim Il-Sung's socks and dried them in her bosom."

Garden-as-propaganda.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Constantino Nivola's Artist Garden, c. 1950



I am snowbound here in the Midwest and thinking of Constantino Nivolo's sunny midcentury garden.  It had a fully enclosed solarium (accessible by ladder and block-staircase) with mural-covered concrete walls that must have been scorching in summer but was designed to allow sunbathing even in a New York winter.

When I think of the Hamptons, I mostly think of conspicuous celebrity house parties and overpriced lobster.  But in the 1950s, when a "postwar wave of artists, architects, and writers" swirled out of New York City, "East Hampton was a vital center of the American avant-garde. Back then, before all the traffic, people in the Hamptons argued about art, not real estate."

The best documentation of the uber-cool landscape where Jackson Pollock,  Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, and  Franz Kline hung out--smoking and lounging in Bertoia chairs, natch--and the house where Corbusier painted a mural on the living room walls is a 2001 New York Times article by Alastair Gordon from which the quotes in this post are taken, and the book Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons also by Gordon.


After restoring and painting the 18th century farmhouse he had purchased in 1948 (with white walls and New York taxi-yellow floors, and Corbu painted his mural with leftover house paint over a long weekend in 1950) sculptor 'Tino' Nivola turned his attention to creating a pleasure garden, an outdoor gathering space for friends, in the grounds.   Bernard Rudofsky (author of  ''Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture,'' and a lecturer with the best presentation title EVER:  "How Can People Expect to Have Good Architecture When They Wear Such Clothes?")  helped with the layout, suggesting "a sequence of ''rooms'' using paths, free-standing walls, fences and landscaping to create what he called an interplay of wall surfaces, sunlight and vegetation. ''The garden became an extension of of the house -- an open-air house,'' said the Nivolas' son, Pietro, 56, who grew up in the house with his sister, Claire" .

It seems very British, the garden room ideal.  But Nivola was Sardinian, and originally a mason, and these rooms are sketched out in grape arbor and stucco, with bread ovens and fireplaces and a very Mediterranean mood. He did most of the work himself, including planting a tight circle of cedars that eventually grew into its own narrow, shady chamber.   'My father was always creating these kinds of intimate spaces,'' Claire Nivola said. ''It's a bit like Orani, his hometown in the central part of Sardinia. Every wall and roof is at a different angle and height, with very narrow streets and little piazzas everywhere.'"





"Near the center of the garden, a whitewashed fence of horizontal slats defines one room. Perpendicular to it is a concrete wall where, before it set, Mr. Nivola inscribed allegorical figures that appear to be marching to war. A third wall is suggested by a line of evenly spaced trees, while a sculpted fountain rises from a bed of lilies of the valley."



A terrace with a free-standing fireplace, a tall chimney and barbecue grill forms the next space. Another wall has a square window through which the branch of an old apple tree was allowed to grow.







The "tree window" wall was designed so that shadows fell across it like a kinetic mural.  Rudofsky said that it was both a foil and a projection screen.  

''That's where we would have lunch parties every weekend,'' Mrs. Nivola said."  For twenty or more of their artistic friends, because then "The Hamptons weren't filled with restaurants and bars...People went to each other's houses for dinner. There was a lot of dropping in.'' [Pietro Nivola] remembers Pollock coming around. ''He gave me my first bike, and I remember driving around in his Model A Ford.''




Over time, the garden was filled with Nivola's concrete sculptures and later his sand-casts, a patented process he developed while playing at the beach with his children.  "My father was very good at making sand castles,'' Pietro Nivola said. ''He loved to sculpt with wet sand on the beach. Then one day he wondered what would happen if he poured fluid plaster over the forms he had made.'' He painted the castings with different colors. This technique made for a fairly primitive and rough-edged kind of work..." eventually used in his most famous works, large bas reliefs for the Olivetti typewriter showroom in New York.  See, Apple wasn't the first to realize that design sells what are basically office tools.


But in the Hamptons, it was all much more casual...Nivola mixed batches of concrete and let the children sculpt with him, and intentionally used a paint for the murals that would wash off after a couple of years so they could be painted again.  And Corbu wandered down to the beach and to make his own sandcasts with the kids.  Golden moment, indeed.



After Tino's death in 1988, the garden continued to live and breathe with the addition of his daughter Claire's own sculpture.  In 2012, the house and grounds were renovated and preserved and at the time of this writing they remain in the Nivola family.

Other sources:
All the photos are via the blog mondoblogo; see lots more there.
See the story of the renovation and contemporary photos of the house here.
See also the foundation and museum devoted to Nivola's works.

P.S.  Apologies for the lack of blogging lately; I have been deep in The Cave of The Writing of The Book.  But I think I've written enough now that I can breathe again.  I feel like I haven't breathed in six months.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

"They've Found Another Bloody Cascade!"




Lord Cobham to Joe, hand on wallet.

And indeed they had;  giant men in giant cranes digging with the delicacy of bare hands had discovered yet another of the 'other rills' recorded by Thomas Whately in his Observations on Modern Gardening in 1770.

When he went round Hagley (as I and some garden historian friends did this week) he observed

:...a narrow vale divided into three parts; one of them is quite filled with water which leaves no room for a path, but thick trees on either side come down quite to the brink; and between them the sight is conducted to the bridge with a portico upon it which closes the view: another part of this vale is a deep gloom over hung with large ash, and oaks, and darkened below by a number of yews; these are scattered over very uneven ground, and open underneath; but they are encompassed by a thick covert under which a stream falls, from a stony channel, down a rock; other rills drop into the current, which afterwards pours over a second cascade into the third division of the vale, where it forms a piece of water, and is lost under the bridge.  The view from this bridge is a perfect opera scene through all the divisions of the vale up to the rotunda..." 




And we saw it too, emerging phoenix-like from a hundred years of silt that descended the valley and eventually completely covered its chain of ponds, its rills and its cascades.

A year ago, this narrow vale was so grown in with trees that it seemed a clear path to the rotunda (barely visible behind its scaffolding at the top) couldn't be recreated.  Joe and helpers shone torches from the top to the bottom at night to prove it was possible.

Soon you'll be able to see again the Rotunda and the Ruined Castle, and the view from Milton's Seat (below); the monument to Alexander Pope (a friend of the Lord Lyttleton that created the park), the Palladian Bridge and the Obelisk:  all of this landscape where Horace Walpole said he wore out his eyes with gazing, his feet with climbing, and his tongue and vocabulary with commending.

Many thanks to Joe Hawkins and Lord Cobham for giving us a delightful preview; the restored Hagley Hall park will reopen to the public in 2016.




[The other major seventeenth century description of Hagley is by Joseph Heely (1775), available on google books here. See also a BBC slideshow of the Hagley park restoration here.]

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ogden Nash, Superman and Batman in the Victory Garden




MY VICTORY GARDEN
by Ogden Nash

Today, my friends, I beg your pardon, 
But I'd like to speak of my Victory Garden.
With a hoe for a sword, and citronella for armor,
I ventured forth to become a farmer.
On bended knee, and perspiring clammily,
I pecked at the soil to feed my family,
A figure than which there was none more dramatic-er.
Alone with the bug, and my faithful sciatica,
I toiled with the patience of Job or Buddha,
But nothing turned out the way it shudda.

Would you like a description of my parsley?
I can give it to you in one word--gharsley!
They're making playshoes out of my celery,
It's reclaimed rubber, and purplish yellery,
Something crawly got into my chives,
My lettuce has hookworm, my cabbage has hives,
And I mixed the labels when sowing my carrots;
I planted birdseed--it came up parrots.
Do you wonder then, that my arteries harden
Whenever I think of my Victory Garden?

My farming will never make me famous,
I'm an agricultural ignoramus,
So don't ask me to tell a string bean from a soy bean.
I can't even tell a girl bean from a boy bean.


Nash's contrarian view of gardening for victory was printed in House and Garden magazine in November, 1943.  That year,20 million home gardens produced over 80 million tons of food; about 40% of the vegetable consumption of the US.  Impressive, but this was my grandparents era and they grew all their vegetables at home anyway, Victory or not.  So I've always wondered about these statistics.  

The DC comic book in which Superman, Batman, and Robin labor in a Victory Garden was released around the same time, in September of 1943.  I've only been able to locate the cover...if you know the inside story of why exactly these superheroes have found themselves toiling in the garden (to defeat the dark powers of eggplant, perhaps?) do get in touch. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Parterre de Broderie, now and then



Correspondence I and II, Louise Despont, 2008

Bridge Organ, Louise Despont, 2008

And speaking of parterres, the lovely contemporary sketches of Louise Despont (graphite on antique ledger book pages, 2008) appeared, magically, when I was searching for parterre de broderie images from D'Argenville (1709).  A lovely garden now-and-then arising from an image similarity algorithm.

Google, you are too, too clever.






Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sol Lewitt's Parterre Garden

Image via the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Being a fan of both old gardens and modern art I feel kindof ridiculously pleased that Sol Lewitt has made a garden. And that it's a parterre!  Not himself of course, since he's been dead since 2007.  But  his 1981 proposal for a parterre garden--his only garden plan--has finally been realized in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park.

The original proposal was  To plant flowers of four different colors (white, yellow, red and blue) in four equal rectangular areas, in rows of four directions (vertical, horizontal, and diagonal left and right) framed by evergreen hedges of about two feet in height. In the winter the rows of plants would retain their linear direction; in the summer the flowers would bloom and provide color. The type of plant, height, distance apart and planting details would be under the direction of a botanist and the maintenance by a gardener.”


Image via Philadelphia Museum of Art


Those are pretty sketchy specifications.  But Lines in Four Directions in Flowers was executed by OLIN to reflect Lewitt's "affinity for creating variation within a rigid structure", and  for each of the color quadrants they selected "four to five species that bloom sequentially, with the lowest flowers blooming first. This pixelation of heights allows the negative space to be as impactful as the positive space—an extremely important factor to LeWitt.
    White
    peachleaf bellflower (Campanula persicifolia 'Chettle Charm’)
    wand flower (Gaura lindheimeri ‘So White’)
    obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana 'Miss Manners')
    purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan')
    garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'David')

    Yellow
    false indigo (Baptisia 'Carolina Moonlight')
    perennial sunflower (Helianthus ‘Lemon Queen’)
    yellow coneflower (Echinacea 'Sunrise')
    yarrow (Achillea 'Coronation Gold')

    Red
    red yarrow (Achillea millefolium 'Paprika')
    blanket flower (Gaillardia aristata ‘Gallo Red’)
    sage (Salvia splendens ‘Lighthouse’)
    cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
    red avens (Geum 'Flames of Passion')

    Blue
    Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia 'Little Spire')
    great blue lobelia (Lobelia Siphilitica)
    sea holly (Eryngium 'Big Blue')
    false indigo (Baptisia 'Midnight' Prairieblues)
    woodland sage (Salvia nemerosa 'Blue Hill')

    Hedge Border
    boxwood (Buxus 'Green Mountain')"

It's in place for two years.  I will definitely be visiting.



Image via OLIN

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Australian Garden History!



I was pleased to be part of a special 25th anniversary issue for the journal of the Australian Garden History Society, with remarks on that most overused of new terms, 'new media', and its relevance to our discipline.  You can read my thoughts in this post, but the AGHS has made the entire issue available online, with contributions from other esteemed garden writers like Andrea Wulf and my fellow Bristol alum and 21st century Rococo Shepherdess Laura Mayer.

Happy Anniversary to Australian Garden History!  If you have an interest in our green and pleasant subject, you can do no better than to join your local/national garden history society.  I am not good at keeping up my lists of links, but if you know of a society I should add to the short list in the sidebar, just leave a comment.






Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Boojum




"But if ever I meet with a Boojum, that day,
 In a moment (of this I am sure), 
I shall softly and suddenly vanish away—
 And the notion I cannot endure!" 
-Lewis Carroll, The Hunting of the Snark, 1874

And this is the tree called the boojum, described by some as an upside-down carrot, and named after Carroll's character so strange.  Found only along the Baja coast of California, Fouquieria columnaris sells for as much as $1000 per foot.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Words with a Garden History: Radical


Monday, June 24, 2013

Rooftop Gardens and Gardeners of New York

a rooftop theater garden from the collection of the Museum of the City of New York; unknown photographer

"The bicycle has attained an economic position of vast importance. The roof garden ought to attain such a position, and it doubtless will soon--as we give it the opportunity it desires.

The Arab or the Moor probably invented the roof garden in some long-gone centuries, and they are at this day inveterate roof gardeners. The American, surprisingly belated--for him, has but recently seized upon the idea, and its development here has been only partial. The possibilities of the roof garden are still unknown.

Here is a vast city in which thousands of people in summer half stifle, cry out continually for air, fresher air. Just above their heads is what might be called a county of unoccupied land. It is not ridiculously small when compared with the area of New York county itself. But it is as lonely as a desert, this region of roofs. It is as untrodden as the corners of Arizona. Unless a man be a roof gardener, he knows practically nothing of this land.

Down in the slums necessity forces a solution of problems. It drives the people to the roofs. An evening upon a tenement roof with the great golden march of the stars across the sky, and Johnnie gone for a pail of beer, is not so bad if you have never seen the mountains nor heard, to your heart, the slow, sad song of the pines."

The elegiac closing paragraphs from Stephen Crane's Roof Gardens and Gardeners of New York, a newspaper piece published 9 August, 1896.  In it Crane references the rooftop garden of the Olympia Theatre, recently opened by Oscar Hammerstein, which featured "a bit of Swiss scenery on the left and an Italian grotto on the right', plus a lake and cascade, growing plants, swans and monkeys.  OutrĂ©?  Perhaps. But I was at the Met rooftop garden this past fall to see the Saracena sculpture and it strikes me that this is our version of the monkeys.

I am more touched by the reference to 'Johnnie's' tenement-roof garden...of a type that was described by Jacob Riis in 1890 (but amongst his photos exposing slum conditions I could find none of the roof gardens).
Roof gardens are once again stylish in New York, now in quite a different social and economic setting.  So if you're a New York rooftop gardener, perhaps plant some Golden Glow in Johnnie's memory.

"..to the blackest cloud there is somewhere a silver lining if you look long enough and hard enough for it, and ours has been that roof garden. It is not a very great affair--some of you readers would smile at it, I suppose. There are no palm trees and no "pergola," just a plain roof down in a kind of well with tall tenements all about. Two big barrels close to the wall tell their own story of how the world is growing up toward the light. For they once held whisky and trouble and deviltry; now they are filled with fresh, sweet earth, and beautiful Japanese ivy grows out of them and clings lovingly to the wall of our house, spreading its soft, green tendrils farther and farther each season, undismayed by the winter's cold. And then boxes and boxes on a brick parapet, with hardy Golden Glow, scarlet geraniums, California privet, and even a venturesome Crimson Rambler."


Sources:
Read the entire essay by Stephen Crane as part of his "New York Sketches" at project Gutenberg.
Read the entire essay by Jacob Riis as part of "How the Other Half Lives" here.
There is a book just about the roof gardens of Broadway theaters by Stephen Burge Johnson.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

On the Transience of Garden Fads



"It was visited by all the gentlemen and gentlewomen for the size and beauty of its flower.  But now it is so vulgar that no one cares about it".

Ulisse Aldrovandi on  the first "Peruvian Chrysanthemum" seen in Italy (actually a sunflower), planted in Bologna in 1594.  Seen above in his 18 volume Tavole di piante, available online in its entirety at the University of Bologna.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sprouts of Valour: Gog and Magog


Spring brings to this garden blogger an annual Spate of Spam from purveyors hoping to get a mention of their book recommendations and their Top-Ten Gardening Trends!, which this year includes:  “8.  Topiary.”

To which gardenhistorygirl replies, “When has topiary ever NOT been a garden trend?” and thinks of Gog and Magog.

Above is a 1675 engraving of the Oxford Physic Garden by David Loggan.  And below is a zoom of the area just behind the lower gates.


Oh, for a higher resolution image, but do you see them standing there?  The fearsome guardians of all things botanic?  Gog and Magog.

The London Guildhall Gog and Magog, via booknerd

Aka Antagonists of the Revelations, namesakes of the hills outside Cambridge, and guardians of the City of London, the Oxford Physic Garden version of Gog and Magog were clip't in yew--the creation of caretaker Jacob Bobart the elder (1599-1680) who was also wont to dye his beard silver to amuse garden visitors.  Best. Head Gardener. Ever.

Tales of Bobart can be found in R.T. Gunther and C. Daubeny, Oxford Gardens. Based Upon Daubeny's Popular Guide to the Physick Garden of Oxford: With Notes on the Gardens of the Colleges and on the University Park (Parker, 1912), which immortalizes a 1683 sketch of Gog and Magog on its cover, and is online in its entirety at openlibrary.org (the digitized copy is from the library of Beatrix Farrand, and signed by her, which is also fun).



"This old Jacob some years past got two yew trees wch being formed by his skill are now grown up to be Gigantick bulkey fellows one holding a Bill th' other a Club on his shoulder, which fancy made an Ingenious person strow this Copie of verses on them..."  Thomas Baskerville, 1683

The verses he refers to are a series of student works, apparently competing for Gigantick Wit, entitled
Poem upon Mr. Jacob Bobards Yew-man of the Guards to the Physic Garden, to the tune of the ‘Counter-Scuffle’ (by Edmund Gayton, Oxon. 1662),  'Upon the most hopefull and everyflourishing Sprouts of Valour, the indefatigable Centrys of the Physick Garden" (by John Drope, M.A.) and my person fave:  ‘A Ballad on the Gyants in the Physic Garden in Oxon, who have been breeding Feet as long as Garagantua was Teeth".

Excerpted below for your topiary dreams,  as preserved in Pack of Autolycus (Hyder Edward Rollins, 1927).  Milton it is not.

What is our Oxford Africa?
 It teemeth Monsters every day 
About East-bridge which is the way
To Whately. 

That these are Gyants you may guesse, 
Byth' Foot as well as Hercules, 
And as by Tallons nothing lesse 
Than th' Lyon. 

They'r Grimme as any dogge of Hell, 
Though heads so many we cant tell, 
For only two (and yet that's well) 
We spy on... 


But how I wonder came their Feet
So greene, so great, so thick, so neat
A hundred come them for to greet
From Colledge...

They guard a Book full of such Plants
And fright out snailcs, locusts, and Ants
And any vermin foule that haunts
These places...

Nor Westminster, nor yet the Strand
Nor any Garden of the Land
Such hearbs as come through Jacobs hand
Can sell yee...

For Jacob and his Gyants will
Not suffer any thing that's ill
(Unlesse it be for purge or pill)
There growing,

So that 'tis prudence to induce
The Knight and Giants to a Truce,
That we the Garden still may use
In quiet.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I could do this! Samara Garden Seating, Frank Lloyd Wright

image:  Brian Pomeroy [source]

 I once thought I might like to write an article about a Frank Lloyd Wright landscape.  My hometown of Tulsa  has a FLW house, Westhope (which no one is allowed to enter, or perhaps I am simply not well-connected enough to enter) and a set of intriguing old photos of its gardens I once found in an archive remain in my memory as an unrealized garden history dream.

Westhope is one of Wright's squares, and I like Wright best in squares, not in the triangles he later adopted as a guiding geometry.  But I recently ran across this garden bench from his 'Samara' house in West Lafayette, Indiana., whose assymetrical polygons give the standard boulder-and-seat arrangement a great mid-century vibe.  I could do this!





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