Ramblings of a "New American" Gardener

The Good-for-Nothing Garden

October 16, 2013

Post image for The Good-for-Nothing Garden

Coverage in The New York Times… I admit it; I feel exposed in an uncomfortable way. But as a friend was kind enough to point out to me at dinner Monday night, “Jim, you’re not the center of the universe.” So click on this link and you’ll go to a story about me and my garden. I’d use The New York Times photo, but they might sue me.

By the way, you’re invited to my Garden Conservancy Open Days on this Saturday, October 19, 10 am to 4 pm.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Like it? Share it...

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

william martin October 17, 2013 at 2:51 am
James Golden October 17, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Thanks for that.

Reply

Diana Studer October 18, 2013 at 6:37 pm

much enjoyed seeing a wider view of your garden, thru different eyes, since I will never walk your paths.

Reply

william martin October 17, 2013 at 3:27 am

American culture is CEO obsessed. We celebrate the hard-charging heroes and mythologize the iconoclastic visionaries. Those people are important.

Marcus Buckingham

Reply

william martin October 17, 2013 at 3:29 am

This is a great interview James. You have probably linked it here?
http://gardenaginginplace.com/2013/05/22/interview-with-james-golden-view-from-federal-twist/

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:08 pm

Thanks for reminding me, William. I see I’ve remained consistent in my opinions.

Reply

michael B. Gordon October 17, 2013 at 5:59 am

James,
I think I prefer the Slideshow title: A Prairie of the Imagination. The photographs, BTW, are stunning illustrations of end of the season. The one from inside the house is a view not often seen. My wife says “do something that scares you every day”. You are good for Thursday. You may feel exposed right now, but the take away was: there is this really interesting garden in NJ that can be visited this weekend and the gardener has a blog that is worthy of a look. Not many gardens get that nod of validation in the NYTimes.
Congratulations on a garden made well. Other people are noticing. My favorite quote today about your garden was on Billy Martin’s blog: “Few modern gardens come within a bulls roar of this blot on the landscape”. That is high praise. Enjoy the Open Days. Wish I could be there!

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Thanks, Michael. I like the shock value of The Good-for-Nothing Garden. I do wish the photos had captured more about the spatial aspects of the garden, its structure, the paths, but I suppose plant portraits are more appropriate for a newspaper readership, which by definition must be very generalist. I also thank you for your wife’s challenge: do something that scares you every day. Right, I’m good for Thursday.

Reply

william martin October 18, 2013 at 4:49 am

Michael, I particularly like ‘A Prairie of the Imagination.’ too! The running title a wee bit ‘Its really only a garden and not art’ throw away stuff..but no matter its a fine bit of writing by Mr T!
This is way more than a garden and that is why I have stuck with it all these years..it is the closest equation to a modern ‘Renaissance’ view of the world through plant usage. That is my take on JGs vision for today…… Why am I continually reminded of New Yorks Lou Reeds song There is No Time http://youtu.be/ygNAnIG8g_E from the great
New York’ album. Enough!

Reply

phil jones October 17, 2013 at 7:09 am

I noticed the in picture of your Japanese maple that it looks like it has mildew. I’m in CT and all my little Japanese maples look like that. I never noticed it before. Maybe it was the wet spring although it didn’t show until about a month ago.

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:15 pm

Phil, to be honest, I hadn’t even noticed that until I saw the photo in the Times. It looks like mildew to me. I like the patterns.

Reply

Lorna Domke October 17, 2013 at 7:26 am

Sharing the magic of nature is our goal the Prairie Garden Trust, a nature garden in central Missouri. You shared it in words in an earlier blog:
“… a sense of joyfulness, a kind of translucent singing in the air”

I love that description. I captures the lifting spirit of moving through the light and shadow, of gazing at a reaching old white oak or sitting with stillness of lilies and zip of dragonflies at the edge of a pond.
Looking forward to more of your photos and words.

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Lorna, thanks for quoting back to me a quote I like. And I appreciate your making me aware of the Prairie Garden Trust and its mission.

Reply

rolf October 17, 2013 at 8:31 am

Jim:
Congrats! The newspaper of record has genuflected to a wonderful wild garden and has underscored the shy determinism of its poetic creator. The curious and the knowledgeable will flock to your quiet, reflective retreat this weekend. Wish we could come.

rolf and norman

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Thanks Rolf and Norman. I hope we can figure out a time to get together soon.

Reply

Stephanie Werskey October 17, 2013 at 8:46 am

Congratulations James! Wishing you the best for your Open Day, with lots of visitors and perfect weather. Completely agree with Michael Gordon’s comments – it’s a great article.

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Thank you Stephanie.

Reply

Laurrie October 17, 2013 at 9:25 am

A wonderful article — not a puff piece, but actually thoughtfully written in a way that gets what is hard to capture about your idiosyncratic garden. Jim and I are thinking of coming back to visit Federal Twist on Saturday. Having seen it in June I am eager to experience the autumn changes. It’s a long day trip for us from CT but doable, and if you could arrange nice weather we’ll be there!

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Laurrie, I agree with you that Michael Tortorello’s article was right on spot. Far more in depth than a typical magazine article. I’m certainly fortunate that he chose to write about my garden. I’d welcome seeing you and Jim (who identified my Tupelo) again. It’s lost almost all its leaves, which were orange, not red. Do please check the weather carefully. I know it’s a really long drive.

Reply

Ruth Hopper October 17, 2013 at 9:45 am

Hi James, I enjoyed the NYT article. I’ve just had a good day – I’ve been up to town (London) to The Garden Museum, have you ever been there? They currently have an exhibition of Dan Pearson’s work. It was a very small exhibition but totally absorbing. I feel like I spent the morning with Dan, which can only be a good thing!

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:01 am

Dan Pearson’s one of my favorite designers. I’ve never been to The Garden Museum. I have to get over there soon.

Reply

Denise October 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

Loved the article! Wish I could be there this Saturday.

Reply

James Golden October 17, 2013 at 8:34 pm

Thanks for the mention on your blog.

Reply

Robert Easton October 17, 2013 at 11:03 am

James, I currently live in El Salvador and am desperately missing October. I have a tiny backyard in a compound of small homes, and we have a gardener named Sebastian. In trying to make my backyard resemble a natural jungle I am trying to persuade Sebastian to let some things grow beyond his natural instinct to whack them back. My main rule is to never argue with a man who is holding a machete!
I will enjoy October vicariously in your magnificent photographs and in your thoughtful and ingenious design. And I will visit Federal Twist (online) often.

Muchas Gracias!
Robert

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:02 am

Thank you, Robert. I hope you can get Sebastian to leave some of the jungle.

Reply

Robert Easton November 7, 2013 at 11:56 am

He gets it!! Sebastian has planted more jungle!!

Reply

helena October 17, 2013 at 11:04 am

what a poignant quote: “I don’t care that much about flowering,” he said. “I’m much more into dead plants and seed pods” — or rattling calyxes that look as if they might contain goblin teeth. If this is a prairie, it is a prairie of the imagination.”
me too – will try my best to visit on Sat!

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:03 am

Helen, there were over 300 people. Now I can’t remember whether you made it. I’ve never had such a busy day.

Reply

Cindy at enclos*ure October 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

It’s a great article. Congratulations and enjoy! (Although I’m a little worried about Michael Tortorello laying you to rest in the compost pile.)

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:05 am

That was only theoretical. And aren’t we all destined ultimately for that place? Gives me new ideas about that area of the garden.

Reply

Ravenna October 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

We are Delaware Township neighbors but only because of the Times article do I now know of you, your blog and your garden! I look forward to meeting you tomorrow, thank you for opening yourself and your garden.

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:05 am

Thank you, Ravenna.

Reply

Jake Braun October 18, 2013 at 8:40 am

Dear Phil and Jim,

We are the grateful beneficiaries of Jim’s gardening skill. We bought your beautiful house on Carlton Ave. in 1999. We’ve tried our best to keep as much of your work as possible, although there have been some mishaps (the worst was when we hired someone to do a spring clean up and returned to find out that he had pulled out all the pachysandra!). Both dogwoods are doing fine, especially the one in back.

Hope you’re doing well.

Regards,
Jake and Shauna Braun

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:07 am

Jake,
I’s hard to believe we left that house 15 years ago. Do you still have the fine cut-leaf ivy on the wall on the Dekalb side? Is the Trumpet vine still climbing to the roof?

Reply

Marie October 18, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Congratulations. It was so good to see your garden in The Times…

And what a perversely refreshing point of view. A garden for a garden’s sake.

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 7:08 am

Yes, to put it simply. A garden for a garden’s sake.

Reply

Nancy October 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

I think what I like best about your garden is the wildness of it. The grasses seem unrestrained, even feral, as if they lived in a meadow. And your pathways seem almost accidental. The, you run across a bench, perfectly placed, and you realize nothing is as accidental as you thought. I love the little reflecting pool and the nobby sphere. I also love that you allow us a stroll through your garden even this late in the season when leaves are crinkling with age. I’m going to don my winter coat and go for a walk in my own garden…

Reply

william martin October 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Ummmm…might i suggest they are ‘feral’..whatever that means in this day and age and they DO live in a Meadow!

Reply

Of Gardens October 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm

It was a terrific article….not at all bad exposure at all. Congratulations. I wish the NYT did more articles on gardens, like in the days when Anne Raver wrote regularly.

Reply

James Golden October 22, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Thanks. Glad you liked it.

Reply

TimMcCartan October 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I would love to see the end of the “lawn” as we know it. Think of all those suburban plots each different but needing to work out some harmony.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: