Saturday, June 28, 2008

I like to think Julia Moir Messervy would like my Caves

It can't be our Neanderthal heritage because , of course we are descendants of a parallel lineage, but there is something about looking out at the world, or my garden, from a cave, or at least someplace cavelike. Julie Moir Messervy is a much decorated garden designer whose work I often admire and who has authored or co-authored a prodigious number of books, many also awarded. Though they are all interesting, The Inward Garden Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning 1995, is a remarkable work.

JMM, correctly (I think) assuming that gardens are, ideally, personal places, explores the idea that elements from our journey through life can be woven into our garden and that certain special configuations, "achetypal spaces", can evoke feelings from our past that may in turn stabilize and strengthen us in the now and the future. One of these spaces is "the cave"; it must resonate in my life because the Adelphi garden has not one but two caves! Her other, I am grasping for an informative phrase here, "primal archetypal spaces" are; the cape, the sea, the sky, the mountain, the island, and the sheltered harbour. Actually, the Adelphi garden has all of these spaces. What can it mean!!

I am sure it relates to how much I love the book. I realize, on re-reading this post that I haven't come close to expressing how much I love and admire it. It is without doubt the most important work on Garden Design, well...ever. Of course it isn't a field full of seminal works (Pardon me Ms. Jeckyll and Mr Robinson), but really, where did this book come from? I've read her other books, most of them, and this is so far beyond them it seems to existin a space of its own. I realize that I am a person who tends to hyperbole, and the down side to that is its hard to get your attention when I really want to lavish praise; like the boy who cried wolf. But if I have your attention now. The ideas in this book are tremendously important. It is easy, well relatively easy, to combine elements in a garden in aesthetically pleasing combinations. To imbue meaning and significance to a space is another story.

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