Buildings and gardens: Seeing them for what they do

Two quotations that resonate with us, living as we do in a 142-year-old school surrounded by a vegetative wilderness of our own making, are presented here for your consideration. Like two sturdy bookends, these few words manage to encompass and support our perspectives on architecture and landscape. ~ JB

For the last three years I motored many miles … It was always a piece of architecture that suddenly dissipated the obscurity of time and brought the living presence back of all ages. It is in the stones and wood that the personal record of man comes down to us. We call it atmosphere, this indescribable something that still haunts old monuments. You can read history, you can visit a hundred museums containing their handiwork, but nothing can reincarnate their spirit except to walk through rooms in which they have lived and through the scenes that were the background of their lives. It is a marvelous thing, this expression of human ideals in walls and windows.
~ John Hays Hammond Jr. (1888-1965)

The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition

I went to stay at a very grand and beautiful place in the country where the grounds are said to be laid out with consummate taste. For the first three or four days I was enchanted. It seemed so much better than Nature, that I began to wish the earth had been laid out according to the latest principles of improvement. In three days’ time I was tired to death: a Thistle, a heap of dead bushes, anything that wore the appearance of accident and want of intention was quite a relief. I used to escape from the made grounds and walk upon the adjacent goose common, where the cart ruts, gravel pits, bumps, coarse ungentlemanlike Grass, and all the varieties produced by neglect were a thousand times more gratifying.
~ Sydney Smith (1771-1845), quoted in the introduction of William Robinson’s original The Wild Garden (published 1870) and reproduced by Rick Darke and Timber Press in 2009.


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