Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How to Take Charge of Your Ugly Landscape

Heads-up, every garden, below, uses the same 'Garden Design'.  Centuries old yet new in each incarnation.
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If you've found your way here, you've at a minimum considered what a real Garden Design is vs. mow-blow-go-commodify-all-I-touch landscapes. 
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More, you've tried Garden Design, your way.  Literally, the famous, Frank Sinatra, My way.  It didn't work. 
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How do I know?  Me too.  Excepting more stubborn, more original, too much more of the full-monty.  Zorba the Greek said it best, The full catastrophe.   

390a4222bca125474cf620398da2627a.jpg 640×960 pixels
Pic, above, here.
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With Garden Design, intuitive isn't the best path.  Garden Design is counterintuitive.
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After finally getting your Garden Design correct, you've got more layers.  Installing your Garden, plants, hardscape, focal points, just a few layers.  Hope I mentioned, how your Garden Design interacts with your home's architecture, paramount. 
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Garden Design does not begin in the Garden.  Garden Design begins inside your home.
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Look, awhile, at pics above/below.  They are the same Garden Design.
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Draw all these gardens, pencil on paper. 
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List why they are the same garden, in words.
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Most don't have a vocabulary to describe any Garden.
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I certainly didn't, at the front end. 
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 Miranda Brooks Portfolio
Pic, above, here.

 The wide open spaces of Summer - Ben Pentreath Inspiration
Pic, above, here.
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I still purchase Garden Design history books.  Adore reading about the same gardens across history via different authors.  Layers of elucidation, daily.  Three decades after beginning my Garden Design Journey.
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Garden Design doesn't limit itself to era, location, size, budget.  Nor plane of thought.  Intriguingly, plane of thought.  Anthropomorphic, literal, metaphorical, spiritual.  Casting about history and Garden Design, spiritual is bound tightly to Garden Design.  Being a USA citizen, too, there is something given, inherent, from birth, from our Declaration of Independence.  Pursuit of Happiness.
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"Among the many surprises this country (USA) holds in store for its new citizens… there is the amazing discovery that the “pursuit of happiness,” which the Declaration of Independence asserted to be one of the inalienable human rights, has remained to this day considerably more than a meaningless phrase in the public and private life of the American Republic. To the extent that there is such a thing as the American frame of mind, it certainly has been deeply influenced, for better or worse, by this most elusive of human rights, which apparently entitles men, in the words of Howard Mumford Jones, to “the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion.”  Hannah Arrendt.
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"The grandeur of the Declaration of Independence… consists… in its being the perfect way of an action to appear in words. And since we deal here with the written and not with the spoken word, we are confronted by one of the rare moments when the power of action is great enough to erect its own monument.
What is true for the Declaration of Independence is even truer for the writings of the men who made the revolution. It was when he ceased to speak in generalities, when he spoke or wrote in terms of either past or future actions that Jefferson came closest to appreciating at its true worth the peculiar relationship between action and happiness."  Hannah Arendt.
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"Like Whitman, who believed that literature is the seedbed of democracy, the Founding Fathers were greatly inspired by the literature and philosophy of the Renaissance — particularly by the “men of letters” of eighteenth-century France. Arendt traces the chain of ideological influence across time, space, and culture to the French Revolution and its ideal of “public happiness,” which Jefferson appropriated. In a paper penned two years before The Declaration of Independence, he argued that the ancestors who had left Europe for America had enacted “a right which nature has given all men… of establishing new societies, under such laws and regulations as to them shall seem most likely to promote public happiness.” He then incorporated this insistence on happiness into his blatantly obvious yet somehow stealthy revision of The Declaration of Independence, changing the formulation of inalienable rights from “life, liberty and property” to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
That such a subtle one-word revision of language can effect so profound a revolution in ideology may be strange, but not nearly as strange, Arendt points out, as the fact that it was undebated in Jefferson’s day and went practically unnoticed as it reoriented the entire national ethos for the centuries that followed."  Maria Popova
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"Tyranny, according to ancient, pre-theoretical understanding, was the form of government in which the ruler had monopolized for himself the right of action and banished the citizens from the public realm into the privacy of the household where they were supposed to mind their own, private business. Tyranny, in other words, deprived men of public happiness and public freedom without necessarily encroaching upon the pursuit of personal interests and the enjoyment of private rights. Tyranny, according to traditional theory, is the form of government in which the ruler rules out of his own will and in pursuit of his own interests, thus offending the private welfare and the personal liberties of his own subjects. The eighteenth century, when it spoke of tyranny and despotism, did not distinguish between these two possibilities, and it learned of the sharpness of the distinction between the private and the public, between the unhindered pursuit of private interests and the enjoyment of public freedom or of public happiness, only when, during the course of the revolutions, these two principles came into conflict with each other."  Hannah Arendt
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"Every modern theory of politics will have to square itself with the facts brought to light in the revolutionary upheavals of the last two hundred years, and these facts are, of course, vastly different from what the revolutionary ideologies would like us to believe.
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The rediscovery of action and the reemergence of a secular, public realm of life may well be the most precious inheritance the modern age has bequeathed upon us who are about to enter an entirely new world."  Hannah Arendt.

Gardens began, enclosed.  There was much to keep out.  Animals, and worse, other people.  Centuries of walled gardens.  The world was not a safe place.  Locked walled gardens prevail over the majority of Historic Garden Design. 
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Only recently, barely 4-5 centuries of process, have gardens been designed, open facing & welcoming to the outer world.  For most of those centuries, only the wealthy had access to creating a designed garden.  The entire world was a poor place, few with means beyond subsistence.   
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Growing up USA post WWII is the aberration, not the norm for historical Garden Design.  Ego about Garden Design, in the macro people population, private & commercial, is killing bees, other wildlife, poisoning groundwater, and ourselves.  Historic Garden Design, still reigns. 
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Intuitively, I glommed onto historical Garden Design.  Alas, getting into true historic Garden Design has meant having neighbors call the police, 3 times in 30 years, about my garden.  Why?  Too many flowers, no lawn.  My garden was different from their green meatball foundation plantings and lawn. 
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A life satisfaction about those police visits, 2 men, 1 woman, was receiving an apology from each. 
Each adored my garden.  Go me.  Indeed !

 Bunny Mellon’s Cape Cod Estate
Pic, above, here.
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Go me, without any victory is the more appropriate truth.  Why do the majority of homes with landscapes have fear about Historic Garden Design?  Why fear being 'different' from their neighbors? 
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Seems the choice is clear, but I'm weird-other-strange-eccentric (a few recent adjectives thrown my way).  Each time I'm given an adjective about my personality, my reply a heartfelt, Thank you. 
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Trust the path of being faithful over being effective.  I didn't always trust my heart over head.  Was raised to use my head.  Upon reaching the dark wood Dante wrote so well about, I knew, life moving forward would be with my heart.  A fork reached in the dark wood now?  Two questions.  Does this path enlarge me?  Does this path diminish me?  And a knowing, Don't force a solution.

 Green and white landscaping
Pic, above, here.

 West garden | Tom Stuart-Smith
Pic, above, here.
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Historic Garden Design, all pics above/below, time tested upon continents, eras, regimes, cultures, ages, sexes, people, livestock, wildlife.  Results?  Aside from beauty and happiness.  People & Planet thrive.
 David Hicks' garden at The Grove, Oxfordshire UK
Pic, above, here.
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Had to include David Hicks garden, above/below.  His deeply copied homage to Historical Garden Design.  More, he chose a change of seasons within his simplicity.  In leaf, above, deciduous, below.
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 darn good looking pool: David Hicks
Pic, above, here.
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A last pic, below, of David Hicks garden, above.
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  Bellis Vintage
Pic, above, here.
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Every Historic Garden Design, above, is a trinity of  Hedge-Meadow-Woodland. 
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My garden, 3 police in 30 years?  I broke no HOA rules, all was abided by.  Excepting the county chicken clause requiring an acre of land.  With my home and a recently purchased house as a rental, indeed I owned an acre of land in the county.  The law did not stipulate someone must own a contiguous acre. 
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Still, most landscapes meet minimum for HOA & certificate of occupancy when their house was built.  I wonder why people desire "the ghastly privilege of pursuing a phantom and embracing a delusion."  Howard Mumford Jones.  This is too narrow, too harsh, most churches follow the same type of HOA garden design.  Spirit is allowed inside the walls, not outside.
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Why all this kerfuffle?  What a lot of 'stuff ' written above.   Few Garden Whisperers are born each century.  Few to keep the candle lit.  That candle leading to great inner joys, and manifest happiness in action, the meeting of body to Earth as Providence intended. 
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Pace of life, deep intuitive epiphanies, joys of change thru the seasons, days, hours.  Living territory not map.  Living signal not noise.  Living one with Earth. 
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Of course higher property values are nice, teamed with lower utility bills, having a Historic Garden Design.  Perhaps scientific studies about improved microbiome health and historic gardens should be inserted here.
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Humor of Providence, all I wanted was a pretty garden.  I got that, and a life.
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All the gardens above are quite formal, low maintenance, yet rustic.  Balanced with Nature.  Gardens to live in, Gardens giving back to your life more than you put into them.
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How to take charge of your ugly landscape?  Use Historic Garden Design principles.  Unique in each permutation, promise.  More, the world will adore seeing what you add to the canon of Historic Garden Design.
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Garden & Be Well,   XO Tara

4 comments:

Penelope Bianchi said...

Brilliant post! I adored it!
And especially love pic of David Hick's garden with chickens!

mona gabriel said...

once again, love..you speak my language...

binhtran said...


With more than 20 years of experience, Pham Cuong Architect always fond of feng shui born to serve human life, so it is impossible to have house in accordance with Feng Shui standard which is inadequate in use. Therefore, good feng shui master must understand the house from structure, power to shape as an architect ...

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La Contessa said...

LOVE those CHICKS around the POOL!
Time to get up and outside and see what is happening in my GARDEN!
XX