Garden Design magazine and American Society of Landscape Architects have announced their contest winners in their 2010 Residential Landscapes of the Year. I love reading the Garden Design magazine and looking at the lovely gardens. So I was excited to see the winners. But I found them disappointing. When I think residential, I think of homes, families, communities. When I hear landscapes I think of scenery and views from different angles, times of day, and at different seasons. But when I think of gardens, I think of life evolving right before our eyes, a place to meander, enjoy colors, fragrances, butterflies. Gardens thrive with the encourgagement of physical human touch; planting, picking flowers, fruit, and vegetables, hoeing, weeding, and deadheading. In doing so we encourage ourselves and defuse our tensions. We thrive, too.
But I didn't see any residential gardens. The thirteen winning entries are mainly hardscapes of rock, stone, cement, screens, water pools, evergreens, turf, and grasses, with a few restorations that include valley wildflowers, natural coastlines, and a Japanese styled portico. Where were the gardens?
I get that incorporating landscapes with architectural design and new construction requires the engineering process, straight lines, and hardscapes, but did the winning landscapes have to be stark with "no maintenance" required, or quiet meditation sanctuaries, or coastlines viewed from inside? Maybe its what the resident wanted and more power to them. But the title of the contest should have been 2010's Residential Exteriors of the Year.
In writing this I think I answered my own argument of garden vs residential landscaping. The future of landscape architecture design seems to be going towards the misnomers of sustainable, no maintenance, sterile, no dirty hands, no touching.
Now these are gardens...
Fritham Farm is a residence and Plant Delights Nursery is a combination of residence and private wholesale nursery.
Plant Delights Nursery - May 2009
You can energize yourself by meandering through these gardens. The views are thoughtful and inspiring. The maintenance is physical and stress-relieving. More gardens like these would be good for the world's soul.