Friday, December 23, 2005

I Dislike the Phrase "Sustainable Design" but ...

Since moving from Brooklyn to the country six years ago, I discovered an exciting, new approach to gardening. It revealed itself slowly, via books by Piet Oudolf, Henk Gerritsen, and Noel Kingsbury. In five years, I established a garden in the hamlet of Rosemont, New Jersey, that relied on the principles and plant predilections of what has been called the New European Style of Perennial Gardening. This met my practical needs (heavy clay soil, windswept location, enormous deer population, limited time), as well as my aesthetic preferences (more on that later). We sold the house and garden last year, and now I'm starting a new garden in an even less propitious location, on Federal Twist Road - thus the name of this blog.

Just as the house went on the market, I discovered I was selected by Horticulture magazine for the Grand Prize in their home gardening category (I have doubts about how serious that competition was). The photo above, taken on a foggy September morning, was the one selected for publication.

I hope to use this medium to explore where these and other gardeners and plantsmen and women have led me, to learn, and to share ideas with like-minded gardeners (actual or virtual). I dislike the sound of the phrase "sustainable design," but that's what it's about. Any suggestions on how to talk and write about a gardening style (philosophy?) that, as of yet, has no name?


  1. James, your garden is beautiful. I clicked all the links. My favorite photo is the one listed at sunset where the grasses and plants are red and yellow and look like the colors of a sunset themselves.

    I, also, garden. Unfortunately lack of design talent and inability to make myself spend lots of money on the number of plants I need do inhibit my design. Our house is on three acres out by the country club in Canton. I focus mainly on cut flowers. I do have some that I don't cut but mostly I ask myself can I use this in a flower arrangement?

    Miss your mom. I had a sick grandbaby and was unable to see you and Linda at her services but I was there in spirit.

    Betty Jeanne Henry Barnes

  2. Great blog! Gorgeous photos, too. Thanks for the inspiration.



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