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  • Writer's pictureJulian Raxworthy

RESEARCH: Overgrown

Updated: May 12, 2019

The following is an extract from Overgrown: practices between landscape architecture and gardening, published by The MIT Press, reproduced with permission. The book is available for purchase internationally from Book Depository, in Australia from Readings in Melbourne, Gleebooks in Sydney, Boffins in Perth, Folio in Brisbane, or from Booktopia, and in South Africa from



Landscape architects have an ambiguous relationship with gardens.

In answer to the obligatory question “What do you do for a living?,” landscape architects know what will follow: “Can you do my garden?” In response they will patiently explain that, really, they work on more significant, more serious things like environmental projects, open space systems, streets, and other infrastructure. In silent fury they will say to themselves: “You can’t afford me … I’m not ‘just’ a gardener.”

Being called a “gardener” (or, worse, a “landscaper”) is an insult for a landscape architect. Landscape architects regard gardeners as either amateurs or blue-collar members of the working class. While growing vegetables has piqued the public interest everywhere, landscape architects have rebranded this “productive landscape” to maintain its separation from gardening, appropriating the trend for themselves. For their part, gardeners are too caught up in their gardens to be interested in landscape architects.

Landscape architects regard their best work as art, and therefore think of their projects as artworks. Gardeners, on the other hand, treat the garden as a process, a process called “gardening.” Gardeners enjoy the activity of gardening, and can see its fruits growing in front of them. The success of gardening can be seen in the health of a garden’s plants. This means that gardeners’ main concern is growth. The process of growth is a potent metaphor in the garden. It gives gardening a philosophical dimension apart from its physical labor.1 Amateur garden literature abounds with analogies of life: the life of the plant in relation to the life of the gardener; while in China, gardening’s relationship to religion made it an activity of both hand and mind, both physical and literary.2

The importance of growth unites gardeners and landscape architects. Both require successful plant growth to show that their efforts have been successful. However, despite the fact that landscape architects are often avid gardeners too, there are significant differences between the ways in which landscape architects and gardeners conceive of growth, and work with it. These differences are the focus of this book.

For the landscape architect, plant growth is the ongoing manifestation of an imagined future state. This state is imagined in representations, where size at maturity is taken for granted in drawings produced before a project gets built. On the other hand, for the gardener, interacting with plants in real time, growth rather than a drawing proves the success of their actions.

The gardener can act directly to ensure that growth occurs; the landscape architect, however, must entrust their vision to others during and after installation. These “others” include gardeners, who maintain the project after it is built and no longer in the hands of the landscape architect. Gardeners frustrate landscape architects because they change a project, inevitably modifying it from the landscape architect’s original concept. Presented with the necessity to encourage the plants to grow, gardeners make immediate decisions on the basis of found conditions that have emerged since the drawing was done. These conditions are inevitably different to what the landscape architect desired, so “the gardeners” are a source of constant frustration for the landscape architect.

Despite separating themselves professionally from them, the historic champions of landscape architecture are gardeners. These gardeners have been appropriated by twentieth-century “landscape historians” like Geoffrey Jellicoe, stitching them into a fabricated historical narrative about landscape architecture.3 “Landscape architect” for French baroque king Louis XIV, André Le Nôtre, while operating on a territorial scale, was first and foremost a gardener like his father, his coat of arms resplendent with grass, snails, cabbage, and a fork. Much-derided stylist of the eighteenth-century English garden Humphry Repton called himself a “Landscape gardener” (my emphasis) on his business card. And the doyens of landscape architecture, designers of Central Park Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, used the term “landscape architecture” as a convenience to conjoin their expertises: landscape gardening and architecture, respectively.4 In the twentieth century, too, gifted (and untrained) gardeners were appropriated by landscape architecture—for example, Roberto Burle Marx, who was ostensibly a painter and a plantsman.5

Ideas of growth and change are now in the Zeitgeist of both architecture and landscape architecture in what I call “the process discourse.” The process discourse refers to designers and theorists who see natural and cultural processes, described in scientific terms, as the source of dynamic design suited to a world that is different from the past because of flows of information, for example. The models of process they use generally come from nature. In architecture, morphogenesis and biomimicry seek to use parametric systems derived from nature to animate the inorganic. In landscape architecture, subfields like landscape urbanism look to ecology to develop instrumental ways of working with natural processes, such as hydrology, in the city.6 By appropriating and valorizing processes, both architecture and landscape architecture seek to rid the architectural object of its static properties, and calibrate it to the world. Denatured and accelerated by computers with advanced modeling and simulating capabilities, the flux and indeterminacy of the world seems within reach, ready to be seized and mobilized. However, I would argue that this is a vainglorious illusion that mistakes simulation for the real. While the landscape architect is modeling the effects of time, the gardener is located at the point of Eddington’s “arrow of time,” directing the arrow while the landscape architect is mapping its wake.7

Landscape architecture and architecture are generally practiced behind a desk in an office rather than in the field, landscape architecture admittedly less so than building architecture. This means that their influence is removed from the systems they seek to catalyze. Even while their models of simulation get better and better, because they are derived from past events rather than current ones, the real agency of those models is nonexistent.8

Is it possible that the gardener is better at working with the processes that preoccupy the process discourse? For the gardener, cause and effect is not an abstract concept, but something they deal with all the time with only manual tools, human labor, and expertise gained from repetitive action. The “dynamic” systems with which the landscape architect engages in representation have a banal but reassuring tactility in the hands of the gardener, who can manipulate them with greater precision.9

Surely landscape architecture and gardening can get together? Landscape architecture offers a design foresight and judgment that can create beautiful spaces. Gardening uses techniques that allow the garden to gain qualities over time rather than lose them, where small deviations are serendipitous rather than a cause of concern. The convergence of both disciplines offers redemption to both, and a new synthetic practice of landscape gardening.

Curating Growth

Reading landscape architecture in terms of deconstruction, “an interrogation that shakes structures … expos[ing] structural weaknesses,” makes the discipline’s fraught relationship to plants and gardening clear.10 In a deconstructive reading foundational ideas are revealed to be shaky, with the potential to demolish the discipline. In these terms, I argue that the foundational idea for landscape architecture was change, but that it is now disconnected from it.

The idea that landscape architectures is about time and change is fundamental to the way the profession has defined itself. In an introductory textbook, Michael Laurie describes “time” as the fourth dimension of landscape architecture.11 He quotes Brian Hackett: what is specific to landscape architecture “is the medium in which we work, the landscape, subject to change and growth, which has existed for millions of years and will doubtless continue to exist.”12 Landscape here is not simply the subject of the profession but also its medium, a material palette that defines the discipline. Laurie’s claim that the landscape is “subject to growth” implies the primacy of plant material for landscape architecture, since it is the main landscape material that changes visibly over time.

But landscape architects do not literally work with plants; they specify them in drawings, generally produced on the computer. Any growth that occurs does so when the project is complete, when it is handed over to managers, or gardeners. Gardeners work with plants. Landscape architecture’s claims to growth are revealed to be rhetorical. And so, “that which is structural [growth] cannot be recognized as such by the very tradition it organizes,”13 because landscape architecture has separated itself from gardening.

However, in destruction lies redemption, or in our case reconciliation. Deconstructive readings “look for slippages in the tradition by questioning all its routine categories and strategies but not to simply overthrow them.” By investigating the relationship between landscape designs produced by landscape architects and their maintenance by gardeners, as I do in this book, we see their vital interdependency. Once the relationship between gardeners and landscape architects becomes visible, it is possible to see how we can “intensify [tradition], ruthlessly respecting [its] specific rigor in order to see exactly what it is that [its] slippages organize.”14 This slippage is growth, and what it organizes is a conundrum about change. This is a contradiction between the discipline defining itself on the basis of dynamism and change, but having a static conception of time. It is static because the landscape architect knows what they want “in the end,” regardless of the fact that the nature of time is unpredictable.

Plants are critical because the rhetoric of change in landscape architecture is tied to the growth of plants as a material. Since these material properties arise through growth, I argue that when we use plant material, our real material is growth itself, and to highlight it, I propose a new practice for working with plant material in landscape architecture and gardening that I call “the viridic.” The viridic is a landscape-architectural version of the tectonic in architecture, its title derived from the Latin word for green, “viridis,” which had an implicit connection with vegetation and growth, a connection I develop in chapter 4. The idea that growth is the medium of landscape architecture has radical implications for the discipline. Practical implications include recognition that maintenance, gardening in particular, is the only tool for engaging with growth. Theoretically, a focus on growth makes the form of landscape architecture projects plastic, changing spaces over time. The greatest implication, however, is disciplinary, because the representations used by professional landscape architects are not able to engage with growth, while the techniques used by garden tradespeople are. Reconciliation with gardening, then, involves a loss of control but also the acquisition of the real agency of time: novelty. In making good its claims to change through the practice of the viridic, or growth, a landscape architecture renewed by gardening will operate in completely new ways that blur the class divide between the professions and the trades.


In this book I build my argument over a presentation of six gardens, divided into two parts that progress through two gradients: from “formal” to “informal,”15 and from a design to a gardening practice. This transition is from representation and figuration, often through drawing in an office offsite, where change is predicted, to the direct, nonrepresentational real-time activity of gardening that is largely based on onsite decisions. Both landscape architecture and gardening, I argue, exercise a kind of design judgment, contrary to convention, which treats the former as design and the latter as at best artisanal, though more often as kitsch craft.

Part I, “Figuring Growth,” includes gardens that are celebrated for their clear use of plants in a strongly architectonic way: the sixteenth-century French Renaissance water garden at the Château Courances and its forests; Dan Kiley’s garden for Eero Saarinen’s Miller House in Columbus, Indiana (1957) and its famous Honey Locust Allée; and Sven-Ingvar Andersson’s garden for his holiday house at Marnas, Sweden (1950–), with its garden rooms of hawthorn. Part I explores the relationship between garden structure and plant form as plants change (or don’t) due to maintenance, the degree to which this is allowed for or encouraged, and the effect that such growth and maintenance have on the gardens’ development over time. Since these gardens represent conventional examples of the planting design category “form,” this part represents a debunking of the status quo, an opportunity for me to argue instead that such form is actually the result of gardening as much as, if not more than landscape design. In Part I, gardening technique is in the service of geometry.

While Part I focuses on landscape-architectural approaches, Part II is concerned with gardening-led approaches. The title of Part II, “Gardening Design,” is a play on words because, on the one hand, the case studies in it are all examples of projects that were created using design decisions implemented through gardening practice onsite; on the other hand, the title also reflects my argument that landscape-architectural practice itself needs to be “gardened,” brought back into the field. The gardens in this section include: Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx’s own nursery and garden outside Rio de Janeiro, the Sítio Roberto Burle Marx (1940s–); poet and scientist G. F. Dutton’s “marginal garden” Druimchardain, Scotland (1980s); and Bernard Korte’s Museum Insel Hombroich, Germany (1983–). In Part II, geometry emerges from gardening technique.

Plants seem hardly to have the manifest forcefulness of architecture, so in a contrarian manner I conclude the book with a clear articulation of the viridic through a series of operative principles, proposing a “Manifesto for the Viridic.” The viridic, then, is a call to arms to those landscape architects who are also gardeners, or to those gardeners who have design ambitions, to modify their modes of practice to suit the nature of their material.

Since, as I argued above, change cannot be simulated but only approximated, and growth is the most visible form of change in a designed landscape or garden, analyzing the difference between projections of growth and real growth demonstrates change. My varied background—first as a landscaper and gardener, then as a landscape architect—informs my readings of these gardens when I visited them. As a landscape architect I analyze the gardens formally and spatially, while as a gardener I look at plant growth as evidence of maintenance activity. Since the book is not an authoritative account of any one of the gardens, I use eclectic and differing evidence to advance my argument about the viridic that suits the particular case study and its position in the narrative of the book, but all evidence relates to time and change, since this is the nature of the medium: growth. For Courances and Marnas, this evidence is an analysis of plant forms resulting from a combination of plant location in the plan drawing and maintenance techniques, and I use conventional plan and section drawings to demonstrate this analysis. For the Miller garden and the Sítio, where I am talking about landscape change over longer periods of time, I have relied on documentary evidence from the Indiana Museum of Art’s excellent online archive in the case of the former, and writing by the previous director for the latter. In both cases I have augmented this evidence with interviews with managers and staff who have seen the landscape change over time, relying on their informed observations of their workplaces. Perhaps the most unusual evidence I have used is for Druimchardain, where Dutton’s poems were compared to my site experience and interviews with his family, to understand his working method of “marginal gardening.” Since, by this stage in the book, my argument has moved to the relationship between the human subject and the vegetal subject in real time, this change is underlaid by a desire to value and treat seriously empirical evidence in the classical meaning of the word: evidence from the senses. With this in mind, by the time I analyze the Hombroich I am relying on conversations in different locales, entirely devoid of documentary evidence. Throughout the book, rather than ignoring the subjective nature of this evidence, I emphasize experience, and ask the reader to follow my logic as I examine what I find during my own analysis of the gardens onsite, deliberately focusing on what I noticed and the sequence in which I noticed it, as a kind of real-time process of developing an argument.

Ideas have lineages, and this book is no different, so I start each chapter with an introduction that provides a historical and theoretical landscape- architectural background as a context for my personal choices of the case studies. I came to landscape architecture at a point of theoretical transition from postmodernism, particularly critical theory, to landscape urbanism. Being a “late adopter,” I was still immersed in a theoretical and design practice from the former, but thinking of ideas that shared a great deal with the latter. I was also very much influenced by my teacher and later colleague, Peter Connolly at RMIT University (Royal Melbourne University of Technology), who was theorizing landscape and site in a revolutionary way, exploring site representation and the use of site experience to give voice to “what the site does to you.” While I appreciated the focus on change and ecology in landscape urbanism, I felt that because of its basis in design-generational techniques adopted from the architectural avant-garde, its methods were fundamentally disengaged from those parts of landscape that manifested such change, notably plants.

I strongly feel that at the moment of theoretical transition from postmodernism to landscape urbanism, a developing design discourse in landscape architecture was, if not silenced, then at least marginalized, notably in the work of scholars in the United States including Elizabeth K. Meyer, Marc Treib, and Dorothée Imbert, who were unpacking landscape form. At the same time, practitioners and theorists from France, often associated with the École Nationale Supérieure de Paysage (ENSP) in Versailles, were providing a basis for a landscape architecture embedded in gardening that could deal with change without regarding design and form as antithetical to it. It is from this position and these lineages that I seek to theorize. Often these ideas were bouncing around in my head on my site visits, finding synergies with what I saw. Landscape urbanism has rendered any other theory of landscape architecture somehow boring or conventional. I disagree: it’s radical, as radical as arriving onsite and discovering that your design doesn’t fit.


Three factors that bridge all the sections and gardens need to be discussed first, so that the reader can use them as a background for what will follow: form, biology, and practice. Together and separately, they describe growth and its effects, and affect how one conceives of landscape architecture and gardening as a practice, providing the background for the viridic.

The relationship between these three factors can be quickly summarized: Plants have form that is used by landscape architects to achieve desired spatial effects. Plant form arises through biological growth, “the process of increasing in size,”16 the result of cell division and elongation over time. Gardening practices, mostly pruning in this book, affect growth processes and produce certain forms. Examining the relationship between these three, landscape-architectural practice and gardening practice are linked via design intentions made manifest through manipulation of biology by gardening practices.

Plan Form, Plant Form

Two rows of trees along a street form an avenue, creating a tunnel effect. For the driver passing in a car, the tree trunks produce a metronomic rhythm. For the pedestrian, the trees provide a cool refuge from the sun, a cathedral of branches from which leaves cast dappled shadows far below that the walker’s feet cross on the pavement. The Parisian tree-lined boulevard, the English country lane, the track lined by eucalyptus in the Australian outback—in all these avenue formulations a recognizable space is created. A drawing of these configurations would use two parallel lines to guide the placement of tree centers opposite each other, pairs equally spaced along the lines. This diagram is simple, providing no sense of the sophisticated spatial experience that the driver or the pedestrian obtains. The space these trees form radiates from a uniform tree center, but is much more than a location.

This description uses the words “form” and space” implicitly. The idea of “space” is now so widespread that even business language refers to economic markets as spaces, like “the retail space,” giving money spatiality, however the term is historically situated. Space forms part of what I refer to as the “form–space dialectic” of modernist architecture, which was adopted and modified by modernist landscape architects who applied it to plants.

Adrian Forty argues that ideas of form and space are foundational to the existence of modernism. Form and space are dialectical because form “produce[s] space,”17 because “three-dimensionally a void is filled in part by the individual volumes of objects and in part by air.”18 Form and space are complementary and inverted. They are complementary because space is the silhouette left over from form, and inverted because form displaces space. The German word for space, Raum, literally means “room.” This emphasizes the role of boundary demarcation, “the first impulse of architecture,”19 in the definition of space. Modernist landscape architect Sven-Ingvar Andersson used space both as void and as Raum to describe how his hawthorn hedges made “11 rooms” with “in-between negative spaces” in his Marnas garden, the subject of chapter 4.20

Two other definitions of space used by Forty—space defined by people occupying it (“space itself, in the sense of inherent form, becomes effective form for the eye”)21 and abstract space (“space as a mathematical abstraction that can be plotted by coordinates and which has boundaries defined externally”)22—were also used by modernist landscape architects. These two definitions are not distinct from each other, as we can see when Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, the subject of chapter 5, spoke of a garden being “a chromatic event where volumes connected and established relationships.”23 In a similar vein, American modernist landscape architect Garrett Eckbo said: “Design shall be three-dimensional. People live in volumes, not planes,”24 where space is made by enclosing form: “Things must be around us and over us, as well as under us. A living area fails if it does not make one conscious of being within something, rather than on top of something.”25

Eckbo’s Harvard Graduate School of Design colleagues, modernist landscape architects Dan Kiley and James Rose, used plants as forms to shape architecturally. Gregg Bleam has analyzed Kiley’s Miller Garden, subject of chapter 3, extensively in relation to modernist spatial theories, and demonstrated its debt to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion.26 Kiley’s description of the Miller Garden as “my first essentially modern landscape design. … The sense of spaces unfolding and opening to join with one another inside is repeated outside linking the house with its landscape”27 shows how he used the idea of “space” in the same way as his modernist architectural contemporaries used it. All these spaces were featured vegetation rather than architectural objects, though the implication of Bleam’s analysis is that Kiley substituted trees into the tectonic of the wall, and that the rest of the compositional ideas were the same as Mies’s. This model persists in contemporary planting design texts which treat architectural effect as the basic way of deploying plants in landscape design.28 But surely plants are different to walls?

James Rose theorized landscape-specific spatial effects to make the modernist form–space dialectic specific to landscape architecture.29 These effects arose from the unique properties of plants. Rose created a taxonomy of plant forms to show how different forms created differences in transparency, quantities and qualities formed by the gaps between branches and leaves where light would come through, like a trellis (if I must use an architectural analogy myself).30 Used to shape space, plants gave a more subtle and nuanced spatial definition than their architectural counterparts. I will discuss Rose in more depth in chapter 3, but it is important to note here that Kiley and Rose provide a basic model for how plants can shape space in architectonic ways. All the gardens in this book are discussed from the perspective that plant form shapes space.

Space and form are often implicit in writing about landscape architecture. I draw attention to them because an interest in space has come to signify an ideological dimension, to which I do not subscribe. Perhaps since Gaston Bachelard’s Poetics of Space,31 discussion of space has become rarefied phenomenology. However, since I use my first-person observations of effects, some experiential component is inevitable. I have tried not to be too “spiritual” about this. I use the form–space dialectic more pragmatically as a way of describing the organization of the design, and the contribution of plant form to how garden spaces are shaped.

Plant form is really plant growth, since the form of a plant at any given time has arisen because of growth. Growth inflects the form–space dialectic of modernism. Although plants do not change their original position, their three- dimensional extent and size in plan do change as they grow and adapt to the ecology of their situation. Consequently, spaces too change over time as the plants that define them change. Furthermore, since each plant is genetically individual, the plan figure is even further disturbed. This makes it difficult to regard plants as combining to create a uniform structuring element in plan. These different growth effects converge to imply flux and imbue the plan with a certain wavyness over time. Dynamic plant growth produces qualitative changes in three-dimensional form from static quantitative figures in plan. In other words, while plant location on the plan does not change much over time; the spaces do. The ineffectiveness of representation in describing such change demonstrates the need for a different practice than technical drawing to work with the emerging spatial change. This is why I advocate a gardening practice that uses the form–space dialectic in its decision-making.

Plants are growing form. This disturbs the modernist form–space dialectic by problematizing form. “Staticity,” the condition of being static, has been a common critique of form since the process discourse began. R. E. Somol says: “forms can be beautiful or ugly but they are always serious [because] form is … an elaboration of geometry that seeks legitimacy in terms of the discipline of architecture,”32 rendering form an anachronism that is empty when considered in its own terms. Instead, Somol prefers “shape” to form, because it is “crude, explicit, fast, material”: shape “simply exists.”33 He gives shape a quality he denies form: performance. Unlike form, Somol argues, “shape adapts, is made fit for purpose, it is contingent.” Correspondingly, “shape never appears as a definitive object itself but at most as the residual for other objects.” Shape reflects the idea that design produces geometry in the context of undertaking something other than simply being form, or space creation. This sense of activity makes form provisional on a process’s operation. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson coined the term morphogenesis in the mid-twentieth century in his book On Growth and Form, where he argues that “the form of any portion of matter … may in all cases alike be described as due to the action of a force.”34

Rather than polarizing form and process, weighting one or the other, Sanford Kwinter proposes a model that values both, which he calls “Manifest Form.” This is built on a critique of the pejorative term “formalism,” a “sloppy conflation of the notion of ‘form’ with that of ‘object’,”35 where “form is ordering action, a logic deployed, while the object is merely the [form’s] sectional image.” Instead Kwinter talks about form and formation, where form is both the object and its catalytic qualities simultaneously. Formation is the process of patterns being distilled from “a less finely-ordered field.”36 On the surface this seems like a rebranding of form as process, particularly when he states: “form is resonance and expression of embedded forces.”37

However, Kwinter argues that “the great formalists … have always been able to peer into the object toward its rules of formation and to see these two strata together as a mobile, open and oscillating system subject to a greater or lesser number of external pressures”38 “Manifest Form,” then, is still physical and complete, able to be “peered into,” at the same time as it is an expression of the forces that have made it.

A process definition of form describes plants well, since plant form results from the growth process. However, in elevating process, form in its own right is often devalued. This has negative implications for landscape architecture, but positive implications for gardening. Organizing a design with plants, landscape architects require a stable form in order to produce the desired spatial effects, so changes in form due to growth potentially disturb such effects. However, if a gardener is working with plants as they grow, seeing form as process gives them agency in shaping spaces over time. In other words, process makes form, which makes space. But form is also catalytic in its own right, particularly in a landscape where forms influence microclimate, and therefore other plants. Therefore, form influences processes to create space.

For the purposes of this book, I need both definitions: Kwinter’s definition of “Manifest Form” as both a process and an artifact offers such a model. I need to foreground forms as artifacts to get to the spatial structure of the gardens produced by plants. And I also need process to describe how the forms that produce spatial effects were created through gardening. Combined with plant growth, this spatial model becomes more dynamic and differentiated over time in an exciting way. Far from being just substituted for bricks in a wall, plants problematize the architectural model of form and space itself.

The Biology of Plant Lives

The avenue is on a congested road in a tropical city, so the landscape architects select a large fig tree, Ficus religiosa, the tree under which the Buddha is said to have gained enlightenment. They have seen massive examples of this tree, so they choose a generous spacing: 20 meters apart. When the trees are planted they are only 3 meters high and 2 meters wide, leaving a space of 18 meters between them. This gap will close over in time, but each tree will have different shapes along the way, according to its own morphological responses to site factors and its unique DNA. While the figs will ultimately have large trunks and wide canopies, they will grow tall before they begin to spread. Since they are banyan figs, as their limbs spread sideways, aerial roots will drop down from the branches to the pavement, cracking it, finding water. Over time, across its lifespan, each tree will look like a dispersed network of trees rather than a single individual.

Plants, like people, go through many different states in the process of their growth before they reach maturity. To ignore the states in between is to ignore the very quality of growth that makes plants unique as living rather than inert. If form is process when it comes to plants, then that process is morphology, a branch of biology concerned with the form of living things. When I talk about growth, this growth is the morphogenesis that Wentworth discussed. It requires a general description of plant morphology, since in all my case studies gardeners stimulate morphological processes in one way or another, but generally by pruning, to achieve the desired effects, including spatial ones. Biologists, ironically, call this “plant architecture.”

The place on plants where cells most actively divide and grow is called the meristem. Growth proceeds continuously from the apical meristem, located at the top or ends of a shoot. Over time, “the accumulation of apical meristems by the plant and their subsequent activity results in the development of the structural architecture of the plant.”39 A plant grows from numerous apical meristems, also referred to as buds, from which shoots emerge. These eventually become woody branches, resulting in the plant’s form. Bell notes that identification of a characteristic morphology for a plant suggests that such characteristics are static: “however, a flowering plant is not a static object. It is a dynamic organism constantly growing and becoming more elaborate” over time.40 Three factors in the development of plant architecture are relevant to time: bud location (where the bud is located on the plant), potential (the potential of that bud to produce a shoot), and time of activity (the growth season). Any intervention that affects these things will affect plant form. This can be explained by using pruning as an example. When woody material, like a branch, is removed, the buds located on it that have the potential for growth are also removed. This has a less obvious effect, to do with a phenomenon known as “apical dominance.” The apical meristem is located at the end of the shoot and produces more growth than the axillary, or side, meristem. The apical meristem’s dominance is due to concentrations of an inhibiting hormone called auxin, which affects the axillary buds’ growth potential.41 When a branch is pruned, and its apical meristem is removed, the axillary meristem’s growth potential increases significantly. This combines with the possibility of new buds emerging from the cambium tissue surrounding the branch. Together these result in greater side branching, so that a plant becomes “bushier” when it is pruned.42 This process is manipulated by spacing out pruning actions in relation to growth periods and the desired resulting growth.

Highlighting the morphological mechanisms by which plants grow suggests a different way of thinking about plant form and how plants shape space. In architecture, materials are applied to forms more than the other way around. Working with plant form means taking actions on the plant that cause form to arise indirectly. This sets up a trajectory for the future via changes in form in the present that will yield results in future form. On the one hand this might mean that current form is devalued, and form again becomes process, not something in its own right. But since I argue that we must also value the current state, not simply the future, the gardener must have a view on both every time they prune: prune for now, prune for later. This process requires regular intervention to adjust and calibrate the trajectory to emerging form, a process undertaken by the horticulture trades—arborists or gardeners, for example—rather than landscape architects.

Emphasizing plant biology as part of spatial effect draws attention to the fact that plants are organic, like people. Like people, each plant is simultaneously an individual and a representative of a species. Focusing on the plant, as the gardener does, also necessitates a focus on particular plants since, as Ferrari says, “when gardening is art, its elements are the lives of plants.”43 Preferring to call them plant lives rather than plant material, Ferrari maintains the strangeness of manipulating a living thing in art, but also recognizing what is unique about it: that the artwork is made by one organism using another.

An avenue involves the performance of each of the plants individually, so that they can collectively create the desired spatial effect. To have a spatial effect, plants must prosper, so a “gardener wants his plants happy,”44 because a happy plant is a growing plant. The idea of happiness for a plant is anthropomorphism; however, Ferrari says that gardeners have “a concern for plants that we feel just as one living being for another being.”45 He suggests that in the garden one of our other activities is to “share the company of plants.”46 This makes the garden less like a zoo for plants than a public space, where people physically share the company of plants.

Michael Marder, on the other hand, suggests that plants are different to humans, and proposes a different way of “being” for plants called “Plant- Thinking,” when humans “encounter plants.” “Plant-Thinking” is defined as “the non-cognitive, non-ideational, and non-imagistic mode of thinking proper to plants,” or what he calls “thinking without the head.”47

Plants have a different relationship with their environment than people. Plants, Marder says, “are capable, in their own fashion, of accessing, influencing, and being influenced by a world that does not overlap the human Lebenswelt but that corresponds to the vegetal modes of dwelling on and in the earth.”48 Plant- thinking is sensitivity to the environment and a complex feedback process between the plant and that environment, where one alters the other iteratively, perhaps recursively. While humans can move location to suit their living requirements, plants must adapt to, and in turn adapt, their immediate microclimate. Marder’s model of plant-thinking has implications for Ferrari’s idea, because “whenever human beings encounter plants, two or more worlds (and temporalities) intersect.”49 Even when the gardener is in their company, “the absolute familiarity of plants coincides with their sheer strangeness.”50 Marder suggests that “to accept this axiom is already to let plants maintain their otherness, respecting the uniqueness of their existence.”51

Nonetheless, gardeners have an agenda when it comes to plants. Focused on selfish aims like a beautiful garden, they need plant growth for their own ends. Although Stefan Buczaki says that “the garden is an environment of interacting organisms,” he still adds that “you [the gardener] are, or pretend to be, the most important [organism].”52 The garden is a dictatorship, making gardening both “an aesthetic art [but also] the art of politics.”53 It is political, because “both the gardener and the politician organize lives. The garden is a society of plants, a society established, maintained, cared for, and ruled over by its gardener.”54

Correspondingly, gardeners can never have an equal relationship with plants. Marder says that “when [we] instrumentalize plants, we do not yet encounter them, even though their outlines become to some extent more determinate.”55 Recalling disinterestedness in Kantian aesthetics, where qualities can be truly appreciated only if one does not have an agenda in relation to the subject, Marder suggests that “perhaps we are in a better position to encounter the plants themselves—for instance, sunflowers—when we do not know what to do with them.”56

Talking about plant-thinking is strange, bearing in mind that we started from a drawing of an avenue. However, moving from the architecture of plant forms and their resultant spaces to an understanding of the biology of growth, and finally to the plant as growing being, demonstrates that the implications for designed form of embracing growth and gardening are enormous and radical. From being a wall that is transparent and green, a hedge, for example, now appears to be a living, breathing community of organisms with individual levels of “happiness.” To engage with plants at this level will never be possible for the landscape architect unless they become a gardener. But isn’t this going backward?

Landscape Gardener

The avenue was planted beneath overhead power lines. The trees have been steadily growing toward them, their top leaves now brushing against them. The council landscape architect has been working behind the computer and hasn’t noticed, but a concerned ratepayer has contacted the council. The landscape architect is concerned that the power company will demand that the council remove trees in proximity to the lines. Meeting onsite, the arborist, dressed in high-visibility work wear, and the “smart casual” landscape architect survey the scene. Before returning to the office, the landscape architect directs the tree gang to prune the trees around the power lines. Fifteen meters in the air in a cherry picker, covered in sawdust from the chainsaw, the arborist judiciously cuts some limbs and not others. As she carefully maintains shape and conceals cuts, the arborist’s aim, based on her experience, is to cause the new growth to bypass the power lines. In this way, the avenue will continue to grow, with the power lines going through it, until they eventually disappear and the avenue closes over.

Gardeners and landscape architects are different, despite having much in common. The gardener is “a person who tends and cultivates a garden as a pastime or for a living,” while the landscape architect is one who undertakes “the art and practice of designing the outdoor environment.”57 Their similarity is that both focus on “the outdoor environment.” It is their practices, or actions, which are different, because the gardener tends or cultivates, “organiz[ing] plant lives,”58 while the landscape architects designs. The gardener and the landscape architect work with the outdoor environment very differently: the landscape architect produces drawings of it while the gardener literally has her fingers in it, as a kind of performance.59

The gardener has a critical role to play in the dynamic model of form and space I am proposing. Their actions direct the production of new plant forms by optimizing emerging characteristics. I am also arguing that the gardener uses a design judgment that is not so different from the landscape architect’s, but very different in practice. The practices and expertise of each are required to work with growth, and each needs the characteristics of the other: landscape architects need gardeners to realize their original propositions, while gardeners need landscape architects to realize the formal and spatial possibilities of their practices. However, the two disciplines are separated professionally, and it is now very difficult for the landscape architect to engage meaningfully with growth, because they cannot engage with gardening.60

I shall examine the historical roots of this problem, arguing that landscape architecture has its roots, as it were, in gardening, and that its shift toward architecture reflects two tendencies: a society-wide process of professionalization, as Baird and Szczygiel have demonstrated,61 and a class-based perception of gardening as an unskilled trade.

The English term landscape architecture has its roots in the English landscape garden, and gardens such as Stourhead, whose creator, Henry Hoare, was, according to Edward Hyams, “the first landscape gardener [emphasis added], who showed in a single work, genius of the highest order.”62 While Hyams calls Hoare a landscape gardener, J. C. Loudon suggested in his book The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, Esq., published in 1840,63 that the term “landscape gardener” is attributable to Repton, though Uvedale Price was critical of this self-attribution, “assuming a title with no small pretensions,” since he “determined to make that pursuit his profession which had hitherto been only his amusement.”64 In the title of Loudon’s book we also see the earliest use of the term “landscape architect” in English, as a qualification of “landscape gardening,” though Waldheim notes an earlier usage in Gilbert Measons’s On the Landscape Architecture of the Great Painters of Italy (1828).65 Indigenous to England, this type of gardening had been called English gardening, but Loudon found this term inappropriate, since it emphasized gardening “in its more confined sense of Horticulture.” He preferred Landscape gardening, because “the art can only be advanced and perfected by the united powers of the landscape painter and the practical gardener,” since “the former must conceive a plan which the latter may be able to execute.”66

When the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) was established in 1899, this debt to landscape painting was evident in the description of landscape architecture as “an art.” Writing about the beginning of landscape architecture in the United States, Baird and Szczygiel note that it was initially a profession for both “landscape architects” and “landscape gardeners.” Although the reference to gardener was dropped by 1907, Thomas Whateley’s Observations on Modern Gardening was still included in the ASLA’s “authoritative library” for the landscape-architectural profession.67

For Loudon, landscape painting and gardening had a dynamic relationship because, on the one hand, the gardener’s knowledge was vital, since “the luxuriant imagination of the painter must be subjected to the gardener’s practical knowledge in planting, digging and moving earth.”68 On the other hand, “if the knowledge of painting be insufficient without that of gardening … the mere gardener, without some skill in painting, will seldom be able to form a just idea of the effects before they are carried out in execution.”69 Although Repton used his famous Red Books to show how his improvements would look before and after his endeavors, these were primarily for marketing purposes, and his design practice was based on Repton directing work onsite himself.

Repton was practicing like a gardener but thinking like a landscape architect. Proposition and action were thus located in the same time interval. While Loudon decried how “Time makes unrelenting havoc with designs which, during the first ten or twenty years, may have afforded unmixed satisfaction,”70 he nonetheless saw too that this change is entirely natural: “The facility with which any alterations may be made, aiding the love of change which is natural to most minds, in the course of years leaves no trace of that master hand which first laid the foundation of future improvement.”71 Repton’s practice could be a model for the kind of landscape architecture practice I am proposing in this book. However, though the root of landscape gardening may have been the garden, the profession quickly distanced itself from garden workers on the basis of class.

Baird and Szczygiel argue that “by keeping the ‘irregulars’ out of competition (for example, mid-wives and homeopaths in medicine; women and amateur gardeners in landscape architecture), a controlled base of operation could be delineated and power established over not only the market, but also over production of future professionals.”72 Drawing on the sociology of professions, they call this “credentialism.” Landscape architecture was distancing itself from both amateur and trade gardeners. Early on in the establishment of the ASLA, landscape architects decried “engineers [that] think of landscape architects as planting flowers.”73 Landscape architects were distancing themselves from “planting,” “getting your hands dirty”: either an amateur endeavor or, worse, a working-class trade.

The birth of landscape gardening had a relationship to taste, inherited from painting. The mobilization of cultivated judgment in landscape gardening was a class-based distinction. Thus for Loudon, the requisite qualification for being a landscape gardener was that “culture and education should have refined his taste,” and he should have “a knowledge of the habits of polished life [which can be] acquired only by an admittance into the best society.”74 While he might have wished it otherwise, Repton complained, like the early landscape architects who founded the ASLA sixty years after him, that “it is the misfortune of every liberal art to find amongst its professors some men of uncouth manners; and since my profession has more frequently been practiced by day labourers, and persons with no education, it is the more difficult to give it that rank in the polite arts which I conceive it ought hold.”75 Correspondingly, while Loudon acknowledged the skills of gardening in implementing a landscape garden, he was careful to distinguish its practitioners from the ranks of the gardener—characterizing them as uneducated and uncouth.

The status of gardeners is still very variable across the world. More than a century later, in many First World countries gardeners are treated as lower-class, unvalued and underpaid. Sally-Ann Murray notes that in South Africa, “garden knowledge was permitted to black people only through the menial labour of ‘the garden boy,’”76 a term applied to men working in gardens despite being on average 33.86 years old,77 and generally initiated,78 therefore men rather than boys.79 Gardeners are included as domestic workers in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) in South Africa, where “domestic work is one of the few employment opportunities open to poor and often uneducated men and women,” of which gardening is the only type of domestic work available to men.80 Du Preez et al. “contend that, when it comes to the employment relationship in the domestic workspace, the legacy of apartheid is not in racialising relationships, but in reinforcing the economic structures that facilitate and perpetuate unequal relationships.”81 This demonstrates that class distinctions continue to play out in relation to gardeners in the twenty-first century, but now through inequality and economic migration, which nonetheless consolidates the racial profile of the gardener.

The racial difference between clients and gardeners due to inequality is not confined to South Africa, but also prevails in America, where Mexican gardeners who work as contractors in an informal economy are similarly affected, though as entrepreneurs they can gain significant financial rewards from garden work over time.82 In both these examples, from the United States and South Africa, a lack of education and skills allows men to work as gardeners, tying gardening as a trade to inequality and a particular working-class position. In relation to an international comparison of the situation of domestic workers, Du Preez et al. find that “improved education levels [and] professionalisation of domestic work … leads to reduced income inequality.”83

The much-photographed masterworks by landscape architects—the Miller Garden, for example—all have two stories: the story of the designer’s intentions and the stories of the gardener’s labor. These two stories about the same garden are often very different but very instructive about how much work it takes to make a spatial effect persist over time. I talk to the gardeners of almost all the gardens in this book, and hear their descriptions of what they do to keep the masterworks in their care in a state of peak performance. Informed by the oral history practice of my father, Richard Raxworthy, I try both to capture both what they do to maintain the spatial effects in terms of gardening, and to glean stories of their lives: to bring to life the labor and personalities of key workers whose efforts are generally either derided or ignored by landscape architects.

The history of landscape gardening demonstrates how landscape architecture and gardening have become separated, but also provides a model for how they might come together again. It shows that both have something to contribute and that growth is something which they share, and which can bring their practices together too. This reveals my political position, one for which I make no apology. Gardeners need to be trained; their expertise should be recognized and treated with respect.

Garden or Landscape?

Issues of maintenance are important to all landscape architects. Since this book is directed at them, landscape architects might ask: “Why talk about gardens?,” when public landscapes are also in desperate need of care. I will conclude this introduction by setting out why I believe that the garden is the ideal place to consider growth, and the relationship between landscape architecture and gardening.

The garden is the root of landscape architecture, yet a fraught site for the profession. It is the birthplace of the discipline, yet one that it seeks to suppress due to its association with the trade of gardening, or amateur gardening. Nonetheless, by the time modern ideas like outdoor living were becoming of interest to suburban homeowners in postwar America,84 the residential garden again became a site for landscape-architectural practice, once the link to gardening and gardeners had been broken, and the profession was well established. The garden as the root of the profession is periodically invoked by designers who talk about “getting back to basics,” and is synonymous with a call to renew interest in plant material.

The garden has always been a place where modernist landscape architects “test” ideas—Swiss landscape architect Dieter Kienast, for example, who famously explored topiary and wetlands in his home garden in Zurich. Both Rose and Eckbo used the garden as a testing site for ideas. In his graduation design project from Harvard, “Small Gardens in the City,” Eckbo designed a series of 18 hypothetical residential gardens. Using the same site issues and design palette in different ways, he developed a project that was “purely abstract and experimental, designed to stimulate thought and provoke comment, discussion and flow of new ideas.”85 Sven Ingvar Andersson, Roberto Burle Marx, and Geoffrey Dutton all tested ideas and ways of using plants in the gardens featured in this book.

Another reason why the garden is trivialized by landscape architects—more so than by architects—is that it lacks many of the constraints faced by public landscapes. While I hope that my discussion of the political dimension of gardening as a trade demonstrates that I am not interested in autonomy, it is true that I am focusing on the garden because it is less easily hijacked by other issues than public landscapes are. The garden allows a specific focus on plants. In so doing, though, I acknowledge that having a garden is a privilege acquired through economic advantage and is not available to everyone, a fact that does potentially undermine some of my claims about gardening as a trade.

The garden is always practical and philosophical, and these two are and always have been linked. Dixon Hunt, reading Cicero, suggests that gardens are “third nature”: first nature is wilderness, second nature is mobilized for human gain, like agriculture, and third nature is the garden, essentially functionless, where nature—that is, plants—are mobilized for aesthetic purposes.86 While the garden as third nature has different intentions to second nature, it shares with it the manipulation of plants, albeit for different ends. In the garden, this manipulation is gardening. Therefore, I argue that the garden and gardening are synonymous, and that this activity is foregrounded in the garden. Correspondingly, since gardening is one of the foci of the book, the garden is the logical place to discuss it.

Mark Francis, in The Meaning of Gardens, discussing the “everyday garden” of the amateur home gardener, argues that gardens are “a place to exert creativity, … to experiment with creative fantasy [and] to experience the joy of creating something.”87 Acknowledging the amateur roots of gardening by focusing on the garden, I hope that this book will also appeal to regular gardeners who might be interested in the relationship between gardens, as they understand them, and the profession of landscape architecture. Much of the gardening techniques and biology that I discuss will be familiar to gardeners; therefore the spatial and formal discourse of landscape architecture might allow them to see what they do in their garden from a perspective more informed by design.

Landscape has come to mean either public landscape or urban landscape, despite its English landscape garden roots. Landscape is now linked to infrastructure, to programs like schools or building types like business parks. The garden, on the other hand, is self-referential, and about plants. This alone is a reason for landscape architects to be less interested in it. Indeed, efforts by the early profession to distance itself from plants show the trivial regard for plants by landscape architects generally. Due to its association with plants, the garden is also regarded as trivial, compared to public landscapes and infrastructure. My primary reason for choosing the garden is that gardens are acknowledged to foreground growth, which is the central focus of this book.

That does not mean the book has no relevance for landscape maintenance—very much to the contrary. Maintenance means to “keep (something) at the same level or rate.”88 A narrow focus on landscape maintenance would cause the creative potential of growth to be obscured by the instrumentality of maintenance. Ideas about growth in the garden can stand separate from the banal pragmatism of landscape maintenance. It is from this perspective of creative growth that, I believe, a conjunction of landscape architecture and gardening offers a whole new realm of design practice.


1. For example, Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education (London: Bloomsbury, 1991).

2. Stanislaus Fung, “The Interdisciplinary Prospects of Reading Yuan Ye,” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 18, no. 3 (1998), 211–231.

3. Geoffrey Jellicoe and Susan Jellicoe, The Landscape of Man: Shaping the Environment from Pre-History to the Present Day (London: Thames and Hudson, 1975).

4. For a historical sequence to the development of the term “landscape architect,” see Charles Waldheim, Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory (New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 2016).

5. Though real botanists like Patrick Blanc do not like him described as such, even if they appreciate his work. Francis Rambert, “In Praise of a Plant Amateur: Interview with Patrick Blanc,” in Lauro Cavalcanti, Farès El-Dahdah, and Francis Rambert, eds., Roberto Burle Marx: The Modernity of Landscape (Barcelona: Actar, 2011).

6. Charles Waldheim, ed., The Landscape Urbanism Reader (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2006).

7. Astronomer Arthur Eddington used the phrase “arrow of time” to refer to the asymmetry of time: that it is one-directional, and it is impossible to go backward.

8. For an exciting approach that acknowledges this critique, and looks at real- time feedback in landscape-architectural design, see Bradley Cantrell and Justine Holzman, Responsive Landscapes: Strategies for Responsive Technologies in Landscape Architecture (London: Routledge, 2016). I have written about the evolution of the digital recently; see J. Raxworthy, “The Discourse of the Digital in Contemporary Landscape Architecture,” Journal of Landscape Architecture 12, no. 2 (2017), 88–93.

9. Teresa Galí-Izard examines gardening strategies as a design practice (Teresa Galí-Izard, The Same Landscapes: Ideas and Interpretations [Barcelona: Editorial Gustavo Gili, 2006]), including those of the master of using gardening techniques to create landscape designs, Gilles Clément—as in his Gardens of Movement at the Parc Citroën in Paris and Parc Henri Matisse in Lille. His approach is described in depth in Gilles Clément, Le jardin en mouvement (Paris: Sens & Tonka, 2007), with extracts in an English-language monograph on his work: Alessandro Rocca, ed., Planetary Gardens: The Landscape Architecture of Gilles Clément (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2007). Another contemporary landscape architecture practice that incorporates gardening is that of Atelier Le Balto; see Brigitte Franzen, Atelier Le Balto: Les pieds sur terre (Frankfurt: Walther König, 2010).

10. Mark Wigley, The Architecture of Deconstruction: Derrida’s Haunt (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993), 35.

11. Michael Laurie, An Introduction to Landscape Architecture, 2nd edn. (New York: Elsevier, 1986), 9.

12. Brian Hackett quoted in ibid., 10.

13. Wigley, The Architecture of Deconstruction, 35.

14. Ibid., 214.

15. Marc Treib, “Formal Problems,” Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes 18, no. 2 (1998), 71. Though, as Treib notes, “rarely, if ever, do we encounter the presence of the formal independently of the informal”; the “formal”/informal (or l’informe, as the French call it) split is a distinction that is as convenient as it is obvious.

16. Oxford Dictionaries, “Growth,” Oxford University Press, <>.

17. Adrian Forty, Words and Buildings: A Vocabulary of Modern Architecture (London: Thames and Hudson, 2000), 256.

18. Forty quotes Hildebrand (ibid., 259).

19. Forty quotes Semper (ibid., 260).

20. Sven-Ingvar Andersson, “Letter from My Henyard,” in Steen Høyer, ed., Sven-Ingvar Andersson: Garden Art and Beyond (Copenhagen: Arkitektens Forlag, 2002), 107.

21. Forty quotes Hildebrand (Forty, Words and Buildings, 260).

22. Ibid., 271.

23. Roberto Burle Marx, “The Garden as Art Form” (1962), in Cavalcanti, El-Dahdah, and Rambert, Roberto Burle Marx, 122.

24. Garrett Eckbo, “Small Gardens in the City: A Study of Their Design Possibilities,” Pencil Points 18, no. 9 (1937), 573.

25. Ibid.

26. Gregg Bleam, “The Work of Dan Kiley,” in Marc Treib, ed., Modern Landscape Architecture: A Critical Review (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993).

27. Dan Kiley, “Miller House,” in Landscape Design: Works of Dan Kiley (Tokyo: Bunji Murotani, 1982), 21.

28. R. E. Wörle and H. J. Wörle, Designing with Plants (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2008) describes this approach as planting to produce “Spatial Structure.”

29. James C. Rose, Creative Gardens (New York: Reinhold, 1958).

30. James C. Rose, “Plants Dictate Garden Forms” (1938), in Treib, Modern Landscape Architecture.

31. Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press, 1969).

32. R. E. Somol, “12 Reasons to Get Back into Shape,” in Rem Koolhaas and Brendan McGetrick, eds., Content (Cologne: Taschen, 2004), 86.

33. Ibid.

34. D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson, On Growth and Form (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1945), 16.

35. Sanford Kwinter, “Who’s Afraid of Formalism?,” in Cynthia Davidson, ed., Far from Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture (Barcelona: Actar, 2008), 146.

36. Ibid.

37. Ibid., 147.

38. Ibid.

39. Adrian D. Bell, Plant Form (Portland: Timber Press, 2008), 35.

40. Ibid., 258.

41. Ibid., 292.

42. Stefan Buczaki, Ground Rules for Gardeners: A Practical Guide to Garden Ecology (London: Collins, 1986), 183.

43. G. R. F. Ferrari, “The Meaninglessness of Gardens,” Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 68, no. 1 (2010), 34.

44. Ibid., 37.

45. Ibid., 41.

46. Ibid., 39.

47. Michael Marder, Plant-Thinking: A Philosophy of Vegetal Life (New York: Columbia University Press, 2013), 10.

48. Ibid., 8.

49. Ibid.

50. Ibid., 4.

51. Ibid., 8.

52. Buczaki, Ground Rules for Gardeners, 16.

53. Ferrari, “The Meaninglessness of Gardens,” 35.

54. Ibid.

55. Marder, Plant-Thinking, 4.

56. Ibid.

57. Oxford Dictionaries, “Gardener,” Oxford University Press, <>. Compared to “Landscape Architecture,” Oxford University Press, <>.

58. Ferrari, “The Meaninglessness of Gardens.”

59. Mateusz Salwa, “The Garden as Performance,” Estetika 8, no. 1 (2014).

60. Nonetheless, landscape architects are increasingly interested in factoring maintenance into their designs, notably in the growing role of gardeners in consultant teams, such as Piet Oudolf (whom I discuss in chapter 7 below) on the High Line team, and the incorporation of gardening in Olin’s Apple campus landscape design and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates landscape of the Obama Presidential Center, both in progress at the time of writing.

61. Timothy C. Baird and Bonj Szczygiel, “Sociology of Professions: The Evolution of Landscape Architecture in the United States,” Landscape Review 12, no. 1 (2007).

62. Edward Hyams, A History of Gardens and Gardening (New York: Praeger, 1971), 239.

63. J. C. Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, Esq. (Edinburgh: Longman & Co, 1840).

64. Ibid., 2.

65. Waldheim, Landscape as Urbanism, 161.

66. Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, 29.

67. Baird and Szczygiel, “Sociology of Professions,” 8.

68. Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, 29.

69. Ibid., 30.

70. Ibid., 3.

71. Ibid.

72. Baird and Szczygiel, “Sociology of Professions,” 6.

73. Ibid., 9.

74. Loudon, The Landscape Gardening and Landscape Architecture of the Late Humphry Repton, 2.

75. Ibid.

76. Sally-Ann Murray, “The Idea of Gardening: Plants, Bewilderment, and Indigenous Identity in South Africa,” English in Africa 33, no. 2 (2006), 56.

77. Jenni Gobind, Graham du Plessis, and Wilfred Ukpere, “Minimum Wage and Domestic Workers’ Right to Basic Conditions of Employment: Are Employers Complying?,” African Journal of Business Management 6, no. 47 (2012), 11685.

78. In a township, an initiation was once offered to me as a way to make me a man. This demonstrates how the idea that black garden workers are referred to as boys clearly insulting.

79. Despite this, however, in research I am undertaking currently I have found that although ornamental gardens are not a feature of Xhosa culture, many gardeners employed by white homeowners are now developing their own gardens for pleasure in townships in Cape Town.

80. Gobind, du Plessis, and Ukpere, “Minimum Wage and Domestic Workers’ Right to Basic Conditions of Employment,” 11683.

81. Jeffrey du Preez et al., “The Employment Relationship in the Domestic Workspace in South Africa: Beyond the Apartheid Legacy,” Social Dynamics 36, no. 2 (2010), 406.

82. Alvaro Huerta, “Looking Beyond ‘Mow, Blow and Go’: A Case Study of Mexican Immigrant Gardeners in Los Angeles,” Berkeley Planning Journal 20, no. 1 (2007).

83. Du Preez et al., “The Employment Relationship in the Domestic Workspace in South Africa,” 406.

84. Baird and Szczygiel, “Sociology of Professions,” 11.

85. Eckbo, “Small Gardens in the City,” 574. It should be noted that this project featured plants only in a limited way.

86. John Dixon Hunt, “The Idea of a Garden and the Three Natures,” in Hunt, Greater Perfections: The Practice of Garden Theory (London: Thames and Hudson, 2000), 32–75.

87. Mark Francis, “The Everyday and the Personal: Six Garden Stories,” in Mark Francis and Randolph T. Hester, eds., The Meaning of Gardens (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1992), 206 (original emphasis).

88. Oxford Dictionaries, “Maintain,” Oxford University Press, <>

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