Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tara Template: Loutrel Briggs

Loutrel Briggs, designed Mrs. Whaley's Charleston, SC, garden many decades ago.  Had the good fortune to see this garden not too long after Mrs. Whaley passed.  Remember, Christopher Lloyd's thought, "The garden dies when the gardener dies."
Mrs. Whaley's garden lived greatly, still, at the time of my visit.  And, Loutrel Briggs lived even larger.
My pics of Mrs. Whaley's garden are safely ensconced in slide form in a box next to the arc of the covenant in a warehouse several types of plane trips away and a few jeep rides, finally, carried by donkey to the exact correct warehouse.
Don't let the 'flowers', below, fool you.  Here, they are a distraction from the pure brilliance of Briggs' design.

Emily Whaley’s Garden in Charleston, South Carolina was designed by Loutrel Briggs in 1940. The symmetrical design includes three garden rooms, along a central axis and plantings of azaleas, camellias, and hydrangeas, ferns, annuals, perennials and flowering and evergreen shrubs. Learn more at’s-garden:
Pic, above, here.

A tiny city garden, above/below, Briggs' garden is exterior architecture, with 12 mos. of interest.  Better, it functions as pure residential architecture, an extension of the home's living space.

Pic, above, here.

Pic, above, here.

A dear friend gave me, Mrs. Whaley & Her Charleston Garden, paperback, it had been given to her, and she already had it in hardback.  Since then have given this book, used/paperback/excellent condition, to many friends.  I know I'll be giving it in the future too.  (Garden Book Ministry.  But that's a Tara Template I've not gotten to yet, along with Lunch Ministry.  Brunch Ministry is perhaps the funniest Tara Template, and will share it soon.)

 mrs whaley
Order Book, above, here.

What is the Loutrell Briggs?  At its core, a rectangle with indentations.  A rectangle enfilade of varying intricacies.  The Loutrell Briggs can be tiny or huge, showy or elegant, low or high maintenance.

Pic, above, here.

Loutrel Briggs rectangle, above, has its open enfilade at bench, with intricacies as the enfilade reaches the mirror pond & parterres.  Love this version, above.  Every layer pays the rent.  Elegant in all seasons, very little maintenance.  Usable for children's games, and adults swilling cocktails at a soiree.

Pic, above, here.

Loutrel Briggs, above, in a series of connecting rectangles.  Wide-open to fully-parterred.  You go Loutrel.  Notice where symmetry falls away with dictates of space yet appears symmetrical?  Faux symmetry.  Potent arrow in my Garden Design quiver.

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Have probably done Loutrel Briggs a dozen times, or more, thru the decades.  New, fresh each iteration.  This Loutrel Briggs, above/below, I designed last year for a historic home in downtown Atlanta.  Young couple, professionals, young children, dogs, the full monty.  She wants chickens, place to entertain, and for kids to play along with a potager.  She had seriously good classic cookbooks in her kitchen, (personal peculiarity, judging someone by their cookbooks not their range).  Alas, her kitchen is at the 3rd story of the house, too far to casually go snip a little rosemary or basil.  Her potager, in pots, lining the deck off the kitchen.  Yes, drip irrigation.

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I never have a problem copying brilliance.  Loutrel Briggs, brilliant.  Of course, he was the 1st, I knew of, to grab the rectangular landscape with indentions & enfilades, keep it simple or tart it up, but use it, use it, use it.
Goes past Christ's era in application, thank you Loutrel for exploiting it.
Now, you can too.
Garden & Be Well,   XOT


Connie in Hartwood said...

We visited a bunch of Loutrel Briggs gardens while we were in Charleston last spring. Mrs. Whaley's garden was my favorite!!

home before dark said...

To hell with Lutrell, I always lusted to have soft-footed Junior in my garden! Loved this book and was glad when I first read it she was alive to get the love for her garden returned.