This garden was designed and planted by Mien Ruys-I do not know the year.  Her life-1904-1999.  She was a formidably talented landscape architect and garden designer in the Netherlands.  Her father ran a well known nursery  specializing in perennials.  Her extensive knowledge of horticulture is obvious in her work.   Though she is not well known outside of the Netherlands, her work greatly influenced the work of Piet Oudolf-a name perhaps better known in gardening circles.  This circle of grass which is part of a garden she made at home in her 20’s became very much a part of my design vocabulary.  Not literally-emotionally.  This photograph came from the website of Noel Kingsbury listed below-as well as this comment.  (she provided) “a gentle dose of Bauhaus-derived modernism”. What a great way to put it. To read more, go to   http://noels-garden.blogspot.com/2011/01/for-those-of-you-who-dont-read-groei.html

A circle is a very stable, and visually powerful shape.  There is a clearly defined space which is enclosed.  There is all the rest which is excluded. 


The bottom of this spherical topiary form is a circle.  That circle  focuses the view, in much the same way as a lens. I deliberately placed the circle off center to these massive lead pots.  That circle is where my eye goes first-never mind those big pots.   

 The garden at Sissinghurst is legendary, for many reasons.  The giant yew hedges enclose a circular lawn in one portion of the garden.  That circle is the center of attention in this photograph-a place for the eye to rest.  I would guess a visitor to this garden would find visual refuge here, after viewing the other parts of the garden.  I have not been there, but I imagine that the experience of standing in that circular garden is extraordinary.  

Even though I have never been, I feel certain of one thing.  I might pose and plant a landscape just like this in every detail, but I am sure it would never feel the same as being here.  To read more, and see more, go to  www.thlandscaping.blogspot.com

 Nature created this circular composition in the bottom of one of our vase shaped steel pots.  There is a certain melancholy to this natural work.  Dead leaves, holly berries, a broken rubber band that must have held some twigs, and some pussy willow buds that bloomed in our warm fall recall the end of the gardening season.  The circular bottom of the pot provides a form to this natural debris.  The circle contains the dialogue. 

This landscape design is based on circular shapes, portions of circular shapes, and spherical plants and sculpture.  The landscape is viewed at the ground level, thus the changes of grade. It is also viewed from hotel rooms which entirely encircle this interior courtyard garden.    

This assemblage of one kind of natural materials into the form of a flower makes the overall shape the dominant visual issue. 

pot of sedum on the gravel

sundial face 

lighted circle

full moon, January 9



My high school geometry teacher passed me out of pity. I was suspended for an embarrassing act of pigheadedness at school; he had no choice but to fail me for the midterm I was not in school to take.  His passing me at semester’s end was a gift.   I could not generate a theorem, as I did not understand them.  I had no sense of the beauty of shapes, and how those shapes got generated. Who knew the beauty of geometry would so influence my adult life.  I regret that I failed him-as I do now have a sense of space that I am able to put to paper.

Frankly, I did not have much sense at all at 17. Some of my lack of sense has persisted into my adulthood, and served me well.  Meaning, I have taken on things that anyone with good sense would not. Maybe that’s what my teacher saw in me.

But back to geometry.  Houses have windows, with views framed by those windows.  Any object on dead center in that window frame is “on axis”.  I draw a network of axis lines on my 10 scale plan first. Then I extend lines out from the corners of the house. I draw lines extending from the walks, the driveway, the porch. I draw lines describing traffic flow. I draw lots of lines.  Draw the lines that describe the geometry of your house and property, and how they relate to each other.  View lines are invisible geometry-they make sense once you make the transition from a drawing, to the sculpture that is a landscape. Sometimes landscape frames views. Sometimes it provides a place to be.
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