The first topiary sculptures were trimmed in 1st century Roman villas. By the 16th century, topiary had become an emblem of European landscape design, and it was embraced by colonial American gardens of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. One of these Victorian-era menageries still grows today at an historic country estate in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. With its century-old living sculptures, Green Animals Garden is the oldest topiary in the United States.
While the Curiousity rover explores its landscape, research is underway on the first garden on Mars. After all, if we intend to spend more time away from Earth, we'll need our plants. Roses and tulips, perhaps, and especially edible vegetables, grains, and leaves.
Landscape designer Jim Martinez has been creating water-wise, environmentally friendly gardens in Dallas and Marfa for more than 30 years. Surrounded by mountains, at an elevation of almost 5,000 feet, the Marfa plateau is subject to extreme temperature variations. “In winter, it can be 60 degrees in the day and drop to 15 at night,” Martinez says. “Selecting plants that are adapted to these conditions is the key to success.”
A new exhibit explores the garden as inspiration. Tending Toward the Untamed: Artists Respond to the Wild Garden offers new work by eight artists in a variety of media including painting, animation, photography, and sculpture. The show explores the relationship between natural abandon and horticultural order as it grows in Wave Hill, a garden in the Bronx, New York, that overlooks the Hudson River.
Sue Hill and Pete Hill design large-scale installations that celebrate the magic of a garden landscape. Sculpted with mud, rocks, and plants, the extraordinary figures evolve with the seasons, and suggest a fairy tale in the undergrowth.
Two of their best known sculptures, Mud Maid and The Giant's Head, were both commissioned by the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, UK.
Outdoor sound systems have come a long way since the boom box, and now there's no need to clutter your garden with unsightly equipment to get great audio. Landscape designer Paul Keyes recommends installing top quality speakers rather than the trendier designs that impersonate rocks or planters. “If you don't want to see them, order speakers in inconspicuous colors, then place them where the visual impact can be minimized.” Trees are ideal hiding spots (plant the speakers among branches and point them downward), as are flower beds and fencing.
This is a companion piece to our Ancient Beauty article.
Water ferns only when the top of the soil is slightly dry. To maintain moisture, fill a saucer with pebbles, place the potted fern on the pebbles, and put a small amount of water in the saucer.
Ubiquitous yet often overlooked, indoor and outdoor ferns are botanical marvels