……..and unfortunately neither do most commercial landscapers and professors at Departments of Horticulture at state universities.
Landscape gardening in the present American world is considered among the lowest of lows among common human occupations. Even school janitors at all levels of American labor are more highly respected.
Anyone can put a plant in the ground or mow lawns goes the talk in today’s American cultural jungle…….and what is observed in most neighborhoods in cities and suburbs seem to support it.
Another talk these days involves the question…..should some grounds be made more beautiful than others?…..Won’t more beautifully created and maintained grounds make other citizens, especially neighbors feel less equal? more intimidated? more insecure? less happy, more unfit and out of kilter, drink and get drugged more?
Probably…..and yet most certainly the indigent of all classes will have less time to feel, act, or be indigent. Others may argue that any high from participating in the creation of noticeable landscape garden art beauty is just another drug….and I’ll agree with that claim from personal experience.
I personally believe that the easiest of all art forms for common folk to command, especially among the human male population, is the art of landscape gardening…….that is the ART OF CREATING A BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPE. It is usually a male art form…….The male eye is more naturally perceptive and imaginative in recognizing shapes and sizes, angles, and lines, space, form, and vacancy than his female competitor……and she more demanding of color……he the bigger forms and scenery, and she the smaller textures and softer colors of the flowerbed.
Landscaping is supposed to be an art form, but in practice and in university and other local teachings it is taught as a maintainance occupation…..janitorial work in public language. Nearly no one in the general public today can explain what a cultivar is, or even a conifer or an annual. University people, office people, maintenance people, sales people, politicians and today’s students live and work indoors. People don’t have much of a plant world anymore. Outdoor work is sold to immigrants, legal and illegal.
Universities murder rather than inspire whatever art forms they intrude upon to “teach”, not necessarily by intention, but by bureaucratic habits and judgments. They also sell political correctness from time to time. For two hundred years a highly valued, reliable popular coniferous creeper in the English speaking world was called “Japgarden Juniper”. …..a name now banned in the trade.
At that time in American history during mass immigration from our rural lands to the city, and the times of high birth rates and vast numbers of immigrants flocking from Europe before WWII, small lots limited new homeowners’ chances to be creative as a landscape garden artist. Urban rules were laid out. Elms and later ash trees were foisted on city boulevards, whether citizen wanted or not. Lawn became worshiped by all as a sign of urban civility, cleanliness, openness, free of rural corn, cow, and pig life. Lawns were open for neighbors to visit with neighbors and children to play with neighboring children, and the same habits were passed on to the suburbia and exurbia, no matter what opportunities for beauty the often vast and vacant spaces offered for engaging landscape gardening as a wonderfully inspiring art form……even when children began to disappear from the family being.
Garages got a lot fatter, too…..as did so many citizens foreign to landscape garden arts.
Yet, there is a bit of hope in some Twin City and suburban communities for the cultural arrival of something resembling the art of landscape gardening. Much of what is done is ticky-tack, disorderly, usually ugly and without hint of artistic beauty, done not from and for inspiration but to eliminate the pain of working outside rather than any engagement with the art of landscape gardening.
There are times when you cannot avoid viewing a beautiful landscape setting. Most occur in Nature, for Nature is forever a war between harmony and disharmony, order and disorder, the beautiful and the ugly. When you do, take time to put into thought and word….why is this scene so beautiful?
Or when you are at home, listen to the best adagios by Beethoven, so many so simple, so beautiful in harmony and form for the ear to perceive. These creations came off a piece of paper through an artist’s mind, training, and experience.
The Art of Landscape Gardening in the ideal, should be for the human eye, what Beethoven’s adagios are for the human ear. Ask yourself what tricks of Beethoven’s trade were used to create such beauty to inspire the human ear, mind, and soul for most of the tricks are the same as those needed to create beautiful harmony in the landscape garden for the eye.
In nearly every culture known to man, Paradise is perceived as a magnificent Landscape Garden.