Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

An artist

February 26, 2015

I recently saw an exhibit of the work of Judith Scott at the Brooklyn Museum. The exhibit runs through March 29. Some of the work is beautiful. Some is deeply emotional, especially once you know her story.

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I quote from the Brooklyn Museum’s web site:  “Judith Scott’s work is celebrated for its astonishing visual complexity. In a career spanning just seventeen years, Scott developed a unique and idiosyncratic method to produce a body of work of remarkable originality. Often working for weeks or months on individual pieces, she used yarn, thread, fabric, and other fibers to envelop found objects into fastidiously woven, wrapped, and bundled structures.

Born in Columbus, Ohio, with Down syndrome, Scott (1943–2005) was also largely deaf and did not speak. After thirty-five years living within an institutional setting  for people with disabilities, she was introduced in 1987 to Creative Growth Art Center—a visionary studio art program founded more than forty years ago in Oakland, California, to foster and serve a community of artists with developmental and physical disabilities.

As the first comprehensive U.S. survey of Scott’s work, this retrospective exhibition includes an overview of three-dimensional objects spanning the artist’s career as well as a selection of works on paper.”

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This being a garden blog, you might ask why I’m posting images of Judith Scott’s work. I think a garden should evoke emotion, sometimes powerful emotion, even disturbing emotion, as these works do.

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Paley Park

February 2, 2015

I stopped by Paley Park after visiting the Museum of Modern Art a couple of weeks ago. This is one of my favorite places in Manhattan. Probably one of the most tranquil places in Manhattan too, especially when it’s empty in early evening.

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It’s on 53rd Street, between Madison Avenue and 5th.

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I posted on Paley Park in 2011, on my old Blogger blog (now discontinued but still online). You can look there for details on its history, or just do a quick Internet search.

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The sounds of the falling water completely eliminate all street noise.

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Stretching upward for light, the Honey locusts (Gleditsia triacanthos) have become sculpture.

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The park was built in 1967.

 

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MOMA Garden (yes, on iPhone)

January 28, 2015

Went to see Matisse cutout exhibition. Of course, I stopped to visit the garden.

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The Circle: Finished

January 26, 2015

We finished the stone circle last Friday, the day of my self-imposed deadline. Fortunate, because about five inches of snow fell Friday night.

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The Circle: Progress

January 21, 2015

One more day of work and it will be finished, just before a possible snow storm this weekend.

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I look at photos of Dutch and British gardens and am a little envious to see how long and gentle their autumns seem to be.  Our climate in the Northeast US is vastly different; our foul and stormy weather often comes much sooner. The garden was decimated by snow and freezing rain Thanksgiving week, two months earlier than last year. This is about what remains.

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Stone circles

December 23, 2014

I’d been thinking about making more open space in my garden for a long time … a significant feature, somewhere in the middle. Then Carrie Preston visited from The Netherlands last summer and said, “Why don’t you use more stone. You have so much. Use what you have.” Or something to that effect. I eventually would […]

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Flaxmere

December 21, 2014

Flaxmere, a garden near Christchurch, on the South Island of New Zealand, is a quiet beauty. We visited in February 2014, in the height of summer there. The country has such extraordinary growing conditions, some New Zealand gardens

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Weather traces … funny moods

December 1, 2014

First snow, November 13, one-half inch, but heavy and wet. Though the snow flattened much of the garden, it recovered in a day.

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Apocynum cannabinum – Dogbane

November 30, 2014

From Wikipedia Apocynum cannabinum (Dogbane, Amy Root, Hemp Dogbane, Prairie Dogbane, Indian Hemp, Rheumatism Root, or Wild Cotton) is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America – in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. It is a poisonous plant: Apocynum means “poisonous to dogs”. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. The cannabinum in the […]

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Atmosphere in the dying garden

November 20, 2014

Last photos, taken November 13, before a small snow and plunging temperatures. Winter arrives in another month, but the last few days have felt like February. I’ve been reading about atmosphere and mood, but I’m not sure it’s possible to put a name to what I feel in the garden. Perhaps it’s too personal, perhaps it […]

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Finland

November 15, 2014

My friend Marc has been in Finland the past few weeks. It was very cold and rainy. These photos have a magical atmosphere that almost makes me want to go there. He traveled alone.

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Light in Autumn

October 22, 2014

Low and warm, the autumnal light sculpts the landscape of plants into a deep, three-dimensional screen. Backlit grasses and foliage glow, and sparks of light reflected through long irregular interstices give the garden a power lost almost totally when the day turns glum and cloudy.

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New Book: Gardens of the Garden State

October 20, 2014

You might question why anyone would make a book on the gardens of New Jersey. In fact, that’s a question the authors asked themselves before they started the research for this book.

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“Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic”

October 16, 2014

Well, that’s what Noel said. It seemed to ring true. Everyone was lively and happy and interested.

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Hillside Garden of Rooms

October 12, 2014

It was proof, yet again, that looking at photographs is an entirely different experience from actually seeing a garden. Michael Gordon’s garden in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is one I’ve admired for years in photographs but experienced for the first time only last August at the Garden Conservancy Open Days. The astonishing composition of textures, shapes, and colors above is a […]

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Garden Conservancy Open Days – Oct. 18 – Please Come

October 2, 2014

Click photo for information and directions. Featuring a plant sale by Broken Arrow nursery.

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Federal Twist in Sept./Oct. issue of Horticulture

September 15, 2014
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Tovah Martin wrote a superb on-point article on my garden for the September/October issue of Horticulture magazine. Rob Cardillo took great photos. You can read Tovah’s words in the most recent issue of Horticulture (I’m not so sure you can easily read her text in the scans in this post). Rob’s photos were extraordinary, but printing on […]

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PHS Garden Tour a Great Success

September 9, 2014

Federal Twist was on the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Bucks County Garden tour last Sunday. (Okay, I’m in New Jersey. But Bucks County is only three miles away!) We had a great turnout–far more visitors than I expected at this time of year. The garden is in one of those “in between” times so I set up […]

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Innisfree

September 7, 2014

Innisfree is a naturalistic garden in the Hudson River Valley inspired by the 8th century garden of Wang Wei. 

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Mellow Yellow

August 16, 2014

It’s a riotous time in the garden. Not really mellow yellow.

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Summer

July 26, 2014

Big prairie plants are dominating. By mid-July the Filipendula rubra ‘Venusta’ is fading as the Silphium perfoliatum and Rudbeckia maxima flower at their fullest.

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Early summer

July 9, 2014

Early July and the flowering has begun. It’s a pleasant diversion, but flowers aren’t my primary interest in the garden. What really gets my attention are the sculptural forms of the plants and the complex patterns they make growing in community. Most of the garden is very tightly planted, by intention, so the patterning becomes quite complex. I push […]

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After the tour

July 6, 2014

The Garden Conservancy Open Days tour last weekend (June 28) was a very pleasant day. Warm and sunny, with much lower humidity than last year.

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Green

June 25, 2014

 Garden Conservancy Open Days Saturday, June 28, 10 am to 4 pm You’re welcome to stop by this Saturday, June 28, for the Garden Conservancy Open Days here at Federal Twist. We’ll be open 10 am to 4 pm, as will several nearby gardens in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. My driving directions are here. The Bucks County gardens are here.

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