Over the past couple of years I've become quite fond of listening to podcasts of Felder Rushing's gardening program, The Gestalt Gardener, on Mississippi Public Broadcasting. Having lived in the Northeast for almost 40 years, I've lost my southern accent, so I really enjoy hearing the many variations of "southern" on Felder's weekly program. You can easily find The Gestalt Gardener on iTunes.
Felder's garden, in the trendy Fondren neighborhood of Jackson, Mississippi, is something to behold. The week before Thanksgiving, my sister Linda, Phil and I managed to find Felder's house. As you can see above, it's easily recognizable.
The image below shows a little more of the surrounding context. Felder's house is not on an isolated site. It's in a middle class neighborhood of modest, traditional houses. It's a statement and, perhaps, an implicit indictment of bland middle class landscaping, though I don't speak for Felder here. That's my personal opinion.
References to vernacular architecture and gardens in the rural south abound, particularly in the corrugated metal panels and the bottle trees. The corrugated panels used to make the wall and as roofing have been used as a cheap siding on farm outbuildings and for roofing on country houses throughout the south. Interestingly, I've discovered this to be a ubiquitous construction material throughout the world. Many houses in Iceland, perhaps the majority of them, use the same metal siding (lack of wood, you know) and William Martin, in his fabulous garden in Australia, Wigandia, uses the same materials for his garden walls.
Note Felder's truck garden in the photo below - literally a traveling garden in the back of his pickup truck. I didn't want to get too close, lest I be accused of tresspassing (you can see how close the neighboring house is on the right). Most surrounding houses have traditional front lawns and the standard American foundation plantings. But I believe I've heard Felder say his garden's influence is slowly spreading.