Extraordinary color photos of City Gardens of the American Northeast in the early 1900s by Frances B. Johnston.Read More
The art of landscape design is by its nature ephemeral. While we have both histories of architecture and the buildings which date back sometimes millennia to experience our connection to the past, the history of gardens usually relies upon descriptions, drawings and plans from earlier eras to describe what once was (or to recreate what once was). One exception is the extraordinary Levens Hall garden in northern England, which was designed in the 1690s.
Levens Hall garden has been continuously maintained since its first days, in the 1690s and many of its topiary are 300 years old. It has walls of beech and yew hedging, a potager garden, an orchard, a rose garden, a bowling green, a "wilderness," and other mysterious, less purposeful but extremely atmospheric rooms. Its original owner, before the garden was commenced, lost the property through gambling ("Colonel James Grahme acquired the property, and the old tradition that Levens was won with the turn of the Ace of Hearts probably has some foundation in fact" --the estate's website).
A sense of place abides here with centuries of footsteps, sharing the path with those strolling before by 10, 50, 90, 150, 300 years. At the same time, the architecture is mostly living, and when you realize that the current head gardener is only the 10th since the 1690s, that this living artwork has roots which connect you directly to the past. . . . It is not an ordinary feeling.
For more about this garden : http://www.levenshall.co.uk/levens-hall-gardens-historic-topiary-in-cumbria/garden-history.html
This Spring we are working on some fantastic landscape design / build projects for our clients, from a roof terrace for an art collector in the East 50s, to a Japanese-influenced backyard garden for a family on the Upper West Side, and a brownstone 2-level backyard garden -- with a footbridge from deck to back garden, on the upper level!
Our clients love outdoor space in NYC and want to make the very most of it. Some love a view from the 27th floor, but would like to block out just one or two aspects of it and protect themselves from a southern exposure's heat and direct sunlight. Another client's ideal harks back to a grandmother's garden, and includes a screened enclosure in the garden to enjoy the outdoors while avoiding bug bites. For a third, the garden is primarily meant as a serene view, but nonetheless has 3 distinct spaces for enjoying contact with nature and entertaining friends and family.
Stay tuned as these projects go from concepts through design development to construction!