Monday, November 6, 2017

Garden Design: From Low Order Thinking to Emergent Behavior

Chairs, below, come in aluminum.  Don't know if these are.
At the front end of wanting a pretty landscape this type of garden, below, was intimidating, for the most ridiculous of reasons.  Aside from assuming great expense, it got worse.  Who was I to have a garden like this?  Certainly a low order of mentality.
"There is a kind of shrewdness many men have that enables them to get money.  It is the shrewdness of the fox after the chicken.  A low order of mentality goes with it."  Sherwood Anderson, 1876-1941, in a letter to his son.
Low level thinking, I was spot on. 

Pic, above, here.
"Inspiration exists but it has to find you working." Pablo Picasso
".....acquire power over your aye and no and learn to hold and withhold them in accordance with your higher aims."  W.E.B. DuBois in a letter to his daughter.
Plantaholic, no worries about Garden Design.  Getting the plants I wanted, arranging them beautifully, while delightful in the micro, macro was the true hunt.  Ah, seeing past the low order of mentality.  (One must keep a sense of humor about our past selves.)
See plant I love, buy it, until about age 26.  That was my low order power thinking.  I was that fox just-a-gittin'it-after-the-chicken.
"Power laws are interesting because they reveal surprising correlations between disparate factors as a mental model, power laws are versatile, with numerous applications in different fields of knowledge." Shane Parrish. 
Moving further from the fox just-a-gittin-it there are linear relationships, 'twice as big requires twice as much, non-linear relationships 'don't need twice as much for twice as big' they're a more efficient system.  Finally, there is the complex system, a system made up of myriad components, called emergent behavior.  Emergent behavior, "In many instances the whole seems to take on a life of its own.  Almost disassociated from the specific characteristics of it's individual building block." Geoffrey West.
For the time & money my first landscape, in my early 20's, quickly showed "Diminishing returns: Point where more input yields progressively less output."  Shane Parrish.  Also known as my inspiration to work harder, buy books, take classes, get another college degree, horticulture.  That first garden made from love, but low order thinking, was not what I wanted.  I was smart, energetic, in deep desire, yet the garden, awful.
Garden Design is not the fox after the chicken, nor linear thinking or non-linear thinking, and more than a complex system.  Garden Design is Emergent Behavior.  Layers of garden design rules compound upon themselves, how could they not, working with living materials, weather, and the non-linear relationships of much of this narrative between layers and their collateral 'amplify results'.
Still with me?
"Any fool knows that to work hard at something you want to accomplish is the only way to Be Happy."  Eugene O'Neil.
Back to the garden, above.  It's a Garden Design course in a single photo.  Hi density/low density, canopy, understory, walls, floors, focal points, entries, axis, double axis, comfort, dining/furnishings, Nature, invitation, pretty all year, even in snow.  Further, if plantings are chosen wisely, they will be deer proof, need no irrigation/chemicals, little pruning.   
Garden & Be Well,   XO T


Thistle Cove Farm said...

Tara, love the Picasso quote and this post is interesting. I understand what you're saying, just not sure I've got what it takes to do what it takes. It's going to take me a year to unpack and settle in, but I'm loving it!

Penelope Bianchi said...

Oh, Tara, thank you! I love at this and LOVE, LOVE,LOVE!

But YOU explain it, for all of us to understand! What a gift you give us!

XXOO Thank you!

La Contessa said...


Renée Finberg said...

I love a terrace like that ...
with the soft fuzzy moss between the stones.