Gardens

  ‘The actual roadbeds, and the wonderful trains moving over them are all objects of the highest sort of organic beauty, the beauty which comes from the perfection of form to use’. -James Sturgis Pray.   THE SERVICE  which the railroad is capable of performing in the development of horticultural taste and knowledge is considerable. […]

While others rail on with fundraising for some Rail Park “Phase 1 Maintenance Fund,” one day they disingenuously claim is “slated for construction in July 2014″ then on a following day they describe merely as a “proposed park,”  VIADUCTgreene remains steady as founded, genuine,  grounded- in the Garden, not on some Fantastically Phased Parkpie in the Sky. VIADUCTgreene remains steady as founded, honing […]

November 22, 2013 was a bright shiny day along the VIADUCTgreene. Another revealing  Saturday sidetour. We’ve been clear that Philadelphia isn’t New York and the VIADUCTgreene corridor isn’t about becoming New York’s High Line, as we stated  from our earliest postings. We’ve been clear that we believe that no post-industrial place recreated as civic space […]

                                Reading and rereading Planting, A New Perspective brings on certain euphoria.  Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury raise planting design to what it seems only a very few practitioners and admirers know it to be – the greatest art form ever.  Now […]

People send along pics asking what’s what? and who’s who? Here’s one fun to talk about.   Evening Primrose along the 9th Street Branch with crossing wires to make Charles Demuth happy. Haverford Bike makes an impressive backdrop. A biennial with hermaphrodite flowers you can eat in your salad. Not something I’d work to include in […]

Collected News Here Seed catalogs, trade shows, winter gardening.  The business of gardening rumbles reliably as all those trains once did into Philadelphia’s Victorian stations and terminals. And so much relates.  The last 1.1.2103 blog post related Philadelphia’s gilded, gritty and authentic, Victorian “Age of the Great Machine” and the product of its arts, fine and […]

                        February 23, 2012… Philadelphia. 60°  We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the to the Garden. Edgar Allan Poe lived in Philadelphia from 1838-44. He wrote his finest work here. He lived a just a couple of blocks from ViaductGreene’s […]

                                        VIADUCTgreene hero, Fletcher Steele, has been mentioned in previous chapters.  His super-client, more appropriately-patron, Mabel Choate, wrote a little story called “Coal in My Garden.”  It recounts how she and Fletcher dealt with some planting issues in […]

Wolfgang Oehme died yesterday morning. Alternatively, this blog’s and its bloggers’ mentor, colleague, boss, co-conspirator, trouble-maker, he was more than anything, dearest friend.  His considerable passion and curiosity embolden every idea VIADUCTgreene contemplates and advances. We’ve mentioned this previously and will continue to. Also and relatedly, we’ve discussed the importance of celebrating our American Place and a […]

I’m not one to anthropomorphize. In fact, I’m pretty harsh about letting people know when to throw their infested or diseased plants away. Let go already; it’s dead! Out! Last week a ‘client’ was suggesting decorative planting about a rock outcropping along her long driveway. It’s a long driveway. I suggested the rock was fine. […]

Labor Day. Ruminations. The design backdrop. 1878. Landscape Architect Nathan Franklin Barrett is recommended to George Pullman, who was looking to develop his oceanfront property at Elberon, New York. Barrett, in turn, recommended to Pullman an up-and-coming architect by the name of Solon Beman, with whom Barrett had collaborated on several private estates. “Pullman was so satisfied […]

  au courant  French [o kurɑ̃] adj  up-to-date, especially in knowledge of current affairs [literally: in the current] Gardenen’. This summer it’s heat. It’s drought. It’s delayed scheduling, frustratedmaintenance and management, frustratedclients. It’s awful. It’s what I do. Day in, day out. Long days. Stepping out my back door, I’m happily shielded. Here I sit on my […]

CHARM  OF  GARDENS  MEASURED  BY  GEOGRAPHY  AND  TIME The landscape architect would like to know why some gardens are beautiful yet leave him cold, while others less lovely are all “come hither.” He could use such knowledge in his work. So he pokes around the world trying to measure charm with a yardstick, only to find […]

April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. – T.S. Elliot. The Waste Land. 1922 Over the course of this blog we’ve discussed taste, style & design, Genius of Place, Philly Genius, borrowed and absorbed styles, Simplicity, blah, blah, and blah. […]

In an earlier chapter of this blog we admired and celebrated the writing of James Rose, especially Gardens Make Me Laugh. We promised we’d revisit. Here goes. Dean Cardasis, director of the  James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and  Design in Rigdewood, NJ., loves relating a great story about Rose and the “little game,”  and […]

“There is little to mark sunrise from sunset except progress. In a nation’s lifetime a century is but a day. Change may be rapid, progress slow. So when the emblem of the rising sun is seen upon Japan’s flag floating over the land, who can say the symbol is a rising and not a setting […]

Nothing like a 70˚ day in February to enliven the reality of being a landscape gardener; the thorny cuttings of Knock-Out roses really helps too! Over the dark days one tends to forget or just gets lost in plans, huge concepts like VIADUCTgreene, and books. Here’s a great one! My most personal history and biases […]

“A person never gets the most from his contact the earth unless he owns a bit of it and has the right and privilege to manipulate it,” wrote Liberty Hyde Bailey in Countryside Magazine 20 from 1915. The hopeful and progressive of Philadelphia’s growing middle class, guided by lifestyle magazines with celebrity editors, claimed and […]

The French Connection is one of my favorite films; I get it. Something I don’t get is Philadelphia’s french connection with the Benjamin Franklin Parkway (or Fairmount Parkway as it was called until 1937). I do get that, geometrically, it may have made sense to someone’s chichi ideas to tag the government powerhouse with the […]

My friend Naomi Brooks mentioned she is giving a talk entitled “Little Landscape, Big Ideas.” Sometimes she asks me what I think of such things. I don’t know for sure if she did this time or not, but since I feel comfortable enough around her to blurt out things I feel might be useful whether […]

“That’s the way it is with gardens and the things that go in them, including the people. You can’t explain it in words. When you think of all the garden books that have been written — and read — and all those magazine articles, and then when you think of how difficult it is to […]