Mary Ann Mears is an international sculptor based in Baltimore, Maryland. In the Spring of 2017 Ladew Topiary Gardens in Harford County,Md installed her works in their meadows including the "Tulip Poplar Seed Pods" blowing in the wind. Listen to the following podcast as Ms. Mears reflects on her work's inspiration and join her and Carlisle as they view her metal works inspiring young and old to play with nature!
Freedom's Gardener, James F. Brown, Horticulture, and the Hudson Valley in Antebellum America, by Myra B. Young Armstead, is a book about a slave who became a master gardener and died a freeman. James F. Brown kept diaries between 1829-1866. Professor of History at Bard College, NY, Armstead brings to light how the citizens of the New Republic were at once making money hand over fist while trying to define what constitutes a good United States citizen of the New Republic. If you were a gardener and a member of a horticulture society that certainly gave you an upper hand, at least for men, and unusually so for a black man, James F. Brown who worked as a master gardener in the Hudson Valley of NY. "Fruit, trees, shrubs, vegetables, and flowers stood as an antidote to their engagement with crude, materialistic commercial pursuits…" Professor Armstead writes in reference to these men of immigrant fathers who became merchants of import.
A friend gave me the book, "A Walk Through My Garden" edited by Whitney Scott. I was looking for my Mother and came upon a poem, "Roses for My Mother," by Evewlyn Lewis-Chase. Her endearing poem promoted my musing and picture ... Mothers of Roses Bring Beauty Bring Sorrow Mothers of Roses Make Gardeners of Men When Gone Their Beauty Their Petals do lie Under the vegetables The sky shines by.
Ethne Clarke's book, An Infinity of Graces tells the story of Cecil Ross Pinsent, an English architect in the Italian landscape. Mr Pinsent, as described by Ms. Clarke, "was trained not to look at any style...but with the full knowledge of what had been done in the past...." The time of Mr. Pinsent's work was a time of change in the theories of English gardening. What ultimately became acceptable was the style forged by Gertrude Jekyll and Edwin Lutyens, a style with some formality mixed with informality. Pinsent left England, drawn to Florence, Italy, for its architecture and the expatriate world who lived there Ms. Clarke writes. She continues that the Italian Renaissance garden was a template for perfection in the landscape. Pinsent was an architect. He was hired to renovated both indoor and out. He treated the outdoors as an extension of the house, the garden separated into different rooms. The beds were simple and cypress was often used to frame a view, the author writes. Potted citrus or roses were used as transition points. His commissioned work included: I Tatti for Mary and George Berenson, Le Balze for Charles Augustus Strong, and Gli Scafari for Sybil and Percy Lubbock. Poignantly Ethne Clarke ends An Infinity of Graces by writing, "an insertion of architecture within Tuscan landscape was not a matter of camouflage but a continuous relation with history of landscape."
Tapis vert, tapis vert, tapis vert. You are slowly walking between columns of oak and ilex with a carpet of grass under your feet. Yes, pull away those blankets of snow. There is a gateway ahead of you. A hermitage high on the hill. Just climb those scala santa. Edith Wharton wrote about the tapis vert of the Villa Centinale near Sienna, Italy in the early 1900's. The villa is simple, not grand like the Roman villas. "The glory of Centinale is its park," wrote Ms. Wharton in her book, "Italian Villas and Their Gardens" published by The Mount Press, Rizzoli. Vivian Russell in her book, "Edith Wharton's Italian Gardens" published by Bullfinch Press Book, Little, Brown & Co. , 2000, writes, "Behind the villa ... a long green walk extends between high walls. The tapis vert leads to a crossroads." So back on the shores of the USA, what constitutes a tapis vert? One could call it wishful thinking for some sign of grass below the white of snow. The green that we can write home about.