I just received the pdf of the January article on Federal Twist in Garden Design Journal, published by the Society of Garden Designers (UK). Be forewarned, it’s readable if you click two times, but really a hassle to get through unless you have a large screen.
This was my first opportunity, in a public forum, to write about Federal Twist in my own words–about the garden in movement. Not the rapid, visible movement of plants in response to winds and to insects dropping down heavily to take pollen and nectar, but the oh-so-slow autonomous movement of plants over the ground surface, making their own kinds of changes that the gardener will or will not control.
Design is not irrelevant. It is the original plan of response, the ground on which the action occurs. In a small way, every day is a step into the unknown, into somewhat predictable but never certain change. It keeps the mystery alive.
Isn’t this what all gardening has been since gardens first came into being? All one story? No. It becomes a multitude of stories with an infinite array of potential outcomes. And the storytellers are many.
One story, several gardens:
“My life is the gardener of my body. The brain–a hothouse closed tight
with its flowers and plants, alien and odd
in their sensitivity, their terror of becoming extinct.
The face—a formal French garden of symmetrical contours
and circular paths of marble with statues and places to rest,
places to touch and smell, to look out from, to lose yourself
in a green maze, and Keep Off and Don’t Pick the Flowers.
The upper body above the navel—an English park
pretending to be free, no angles, no paving stones, naturelike,
humanlike, in our image, after our likeness,
its arms linking up with the big night all around.
And my lower body, beneath the navel—sometimes a nature preserve,
wild, frightening, amazing, an unpreserved preserve,
and sometimes a Japanese garden, concentrated, full of
forethought. And the penis and testes are smooth
polished stones with dark vegetation between them,
precise paths fraught with meaning
and calm reflection.”
Thanks to Andrea Jones, the noted Scottish garden photographer, for making this happen, and to Carl Molter, a local friend and landscape architect, who came to my rescue and made a drawing of the garden when GDI asked for one (he should have been credited in the article).