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acj7000

Forget the history

acj7000
17 years ago

When John asked if some history is best forgotten it made me think about how selective we can be. It made me ponder the modernist view that we should forget all history, there is even a new word to describe this selective memory: histiography.

Some history is hard wired though and when we practice gardening, or more especially garden design we are calling upon information we didn't know we had. We may need some effort to uncover it, that's all. This is my reason for studying the history of gardens and their design. If we have some idea of the part water has played in garden design and understand its practical and symbolic significance in gardens throughout time we will avoid such errors as Bry describes so well.

We don't need to repeat history over and over but a closer look at the origins of common elements like, let's say, 'gazebo' or 'arbour (arbor)' or 'focal point' or 'outdoor room' may be of surprising assistance when restoring your garden wherever it is whenever it is. We do seem able to judge instinctively what is right if we take the time and history may explain it.

I am not sure how to turn this into a question but I wanted to state my view and suggest that it might be fruitful to look beyond 20th century American design for inspiration.

Comments (46)

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Well, we can learn a lot by looking at pre-20th century French, Italianate, English, Chinese and Japanese garden design.

    Unfortunately, it appears that in cookiecutter North American landscaping, no amount of brilliant design in existance - whether 20th-century American or other - seems to be used in the big housing developments that are being plopped down around the continent.

    And where, oh where, did the concept of the Big Boulder come from, plopped down on the surface of a flat front lawn, in each and every vinyl-clad minimansion?? I hope to heck they didn't get that from Japanese garden traditions!

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Spoken like a true iconoclast, Tony!

    Need some clarification.
    By "histiography, did you mean "historiography", the study of how history is recorded and defined? In other words, how historians make history rather than how the events themselves actually happen? E.g., like the commonly held view that the winners both make AND write history.

    At the risk of taking Melanie's job away (just for a minute!), here's a dictionary definition:

    Main Entry: histo·ri·og·ra·phy
    Pronunciation: -fE
    Function: noun
    Date: 1569
    1 a : the writing of history; especially : the writing of history based on the critical examination of sources, the selection of particulars from the authentic materials, and the synthesis of particulars into a narrative that will stand the test of critical methods b : the principles, theory, and history of historical writing
    2 : the product of historical writing : a body of historical literature

    You mentioned that this is a new term?

    Ginger

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  • phdnc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Its a shame but when we do start to forget history the things we humans tend to repeat are the bad habits that got us into trouble in the first place.

    Pause and reflect on the origin of the idea.
    Way cool Tony. Seriously. Of course selling this to the masses.... good luck. lol

    you know as an after tought........ we could call this: zensidential design.

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Tony:
    Or do you mean
    histography
    \His*tog"ra*phy\, n. [Gr. "isto`s tissue + -graphy.] A description of, or treatise on, organic tissues.

    It's the "cookiecutter . . . . landscaping" mentioned by Cady that should perhaps be ignored (but not forgotten -- since forgetfulness can lead to a repetition of mistakes).

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Perry,
    Forgetting history = repeating old mistakes. Yup, that's what I said in the thread on '50s gardens --

    RE: '50's gardens in America - 'historical' yet?
    Posted by: John_D USDA 8b WA (My Page) on Sat, Jan 31, 04 at 23:10

    Isn't some history better forgotten?

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    RE: '50's gardens in America - 'historical' yet?
    Posted by: Cady 6b MA (My Page) on Sun, Feb 1, 04 at 8:27

    No, I think all (garden) history should be retained and archived, taught in some encapsulated form. It behooves us to analyze and ponder the bad stuff to understand why it happened -- and to recognize it when we see it. Otherwise, we create the danger of repeating mistakes of the past.
    I'm not suggesting that we PRESERVE it, though. We don't need a living history museum of the original Levittown prefab communities. ;)

    But sometimes people wilfully transgress even while remembering the lessons of history.

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    So basically you are saying that you study (garden) history so as not to repeat the same mistakes AND that you believe we have some sort of hard-wired "garden design abilities" we are not quite cognizant of, but can draw on if we "use some effort to uncover it" - rather like a landscape/garden design "collective unconscious". Very Jungian(smile). So then we would need an archetype - how about The Old Hermit Gardener?

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hm. Tony, hardwired, eh? Are you talking about our mathematical neuromuscular tuning that inspires everything from music and rhythm to binary equating and fractal appreciaton, to a sense of visual balance and rhythm? If so, then I'd agree with that.

    If you mean we have some ancient imprint of the jungle primeval, I would agree with that to an extent, too, in that our physical evolution as primates, from being bipedal to being binocular, reflects the tree'd tall-grass savannahs of our pre-sapiens ancestors.

    But if you mean we have an ingrained picture of "the perfect garden," hailing back to Eden, I would stop there, before we get into a religious debate. ;)

    More likely, our gardening "instincts" are informed by impressions made on us during our lifetimes, especially as we grow up. From day one, we are exposed to - and absorb - cultural influences around us, no matter how subtle. Those collected impressions may later be expressed in our design preferences and ideas.

    After all, nothing creative can come from a vacuum. There had to be input, conscious or unconscious.

    As an example, I have vivid mental images, from early childhood (before I could read or write) of the red Pegasus logo that was the old Mobil Oil symbol, the old American Airlines double-A and eagle, and other brand logos. Americana and the mass culture symbols of the early 60s were imprinted on me by constant exposure. I'm sure that the landscape was, as well. The sense of order and organization, the sameness of plantings, whatever. It must be in the recesses of my mind somewhere. Who's to say that it doesn't somehow work its way into my designs, in some benign way?

    But, I don't think at all that we are hardwired with "gardening history" instincts.

  • acj7000
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Boy, caught out by the COP's (Crusty Old Pedant's) I can see I shall have to watch myself. his·to·ri·og·ra·phy it is, and I guess it is not a new word either although histiography is (I just made it up) which must have been what I meant! Historiography in action!
    I think your boulder thing, Cady is like Chinese whispers which waters down and confuses the original idea. A lot of non-fictional writing is like that and it happens when people follow secondary or fifthondary (look that one up) sources and not the original, repeating misinformation as they go. Why? is often a good place to start.

  • mjsee
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hey, who you calling CRUSTY? I bathe regularly, thank you. Nice job, Ginger. Good to know someone will cover for me if I miss!

    melanie

  • spectre
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hello All:

    Forgive me for being the voice of the uneducated, boorish masses in this thread and avoiding poly-syllabic words which I will never have a reason to use again in my entire life, but aren't we getting a little too deep here? Perhaps, Ginger, you should start another forum with the title, "Philosophical Garden Debates" or "Zen For Gardening." Hard-wired instincts? Historiography? Fifthondary? (OK, OK, that last one is a keeper).

    At the risk of eliminating another opportunity for some to prove how well read they are in philosophy, classic literature, existentialism, or psychology, how about examining a more crass, coarse, base, and philistine motive for the lack of creativity in gardens today: the almighty dollar (or pound, euro, peso). That's the lowest common denominator (pardon the pun) here.

    All but the most dedicated and innovative developers, designers, contractors, arborists, horticulturalists, etc. want to make the best living they can by taking the path of least resistance. One of the few times this isn't the case is when the public, NIMBYs, BANANAs demand otherwise. In Cady's example of cookie-cutter landscapes (perhaps we should terms them "doughticulture" for cookie dough, dough is slang for money . . . errrr . . . never mind), developers want to sell properties for the lowest cost and maximum profit possible. They accept the lowest bid from a landscape design firm. The landscape design firm, to maximize profit, goes for the easiest, most-available, and cheapest materials (i.e. plants) they can. The main stream wholesale nurseries, trying to maximize their cash flow and turnover, grow the fastest and/or most requested plants for the trade and retailers. Retailers, under pressure from the BB's, sell these same common plants and demand the lowest wholesale price for them. The public, meanwhile, having seen all the garbage landscapes out there and not having the time, desire, or money to have a beautifully designed garden, buy properties from the same developers and hire the same landscape designers, and the whole process begins anew.

    The lone boulder in the lawn trick or the vineless arbor are just feeble attempts to lend a bit of so-called artistry to the landscape at minimal cost. Even in the infintessimal chance that the gardening public looked at design and garden history with a more discerning eye and demanded more from all areas of the trade, most wouldn't know how to do it. And it's true in the other direction as well. The exemplary designer trying to convince Cameron and Amber Soccermom that a square lawn in front with a bedding of roses, pansies and impatiens isn't Mediterranean is wasting his/her breath. Stand in line at any Home Depot and look at the crap people buy. They have no clue. It's not historiographical . . . it's hysterical.

    Now that I've said my peace, we now return you to your regularly scheduled etymologically philosophical garden history debate with selections from Kafka, Jung, Descartes, and Milton.

    spectre

    P.S.: Cady, I read your Melville quote in LD . . . from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    So forget history, the almighty dollar rules all? History proves that . . . in many but not all instances. As you say, spectre, there are still the dedicated and principled out there. Also, its the mass aesthetic of a mass culture. People want the most for their money, design be damned. Not always just the profit motive at work in the green professions.
    G.

  • acj7000
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    There is a lot to sift through already. A couple of questions emerge. Did those 60's icons emerge from the ether ('member that?) or was the imagery instantly knowable? if so how do you explain it? A collective unconscious is worth the thought, isn't it? As is paradise as an ambition or driving force for all garden design rather than it being a real place.
    Paradise as a time when I have enough money for everything a human can desire is a far more distant place.
    If the shopping cart at Home Depot ever becomes the holy grail then it really is time for the knights that say ni to say nah.

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    So here is Carl Jung, Tony, speaking on the collective unconscious and archetypes. Not long ago someone(Cady?)was referencing the Garden of Eden in describing "natural" garden design (or something like that). But it made me stop and think of how ancient the garden is in our psyches. Very old, comforting, spiritual, universal place of sanctuary. In a way, beyond history - timeless. Maybe we do have an inborn sense of what a garden should be. maybe that sense is stopped up or debased in some ways by the realities of modern life (being separated from nature).

    Very glad you posted this, Tony.

    The following is from the "Definition" portion of Jung's lecture in 1936 on "The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious", Collected Works, Vol. 9.i, pars. 87-110.

    The collective unconscious is a part of the psyche which can be negatively distinguished from a personal unconscious by the fact that is does not, like the latter, owe its existence to personal experience and consequently is not a personal acquisition. While the personal unconscious is made up essentially of contents which have at one time been conscious, but which have disappeared from consciousness through having been forgotten or repressed, the contents of the collective unconscious have never been in consciousness, and therefore have never been individually acquired but owe their existence exclusively to heredity. Whereas the personal unconscious consists for the most part of complexes, the content of the collective unconscious is made up essentially of archetypes.

    The concept of the archetype, which is an indispensable correlate to the idea of the collective unconscious, indicates the existence of definite forms in the psyche which seem to be present always and everywhere. Mythological research calls them "motifs"; in the psychology of primitives they correspond to Levy-Bruhl's concept of "representations collectives," and in the field of comparative religion they have been defined by Hubert and Mauss as "categories of the imagination." Adolf Bastian long ago called them "elementary" or "primordial thoughts." From these references, it should be clear enough that my idea of the archetype -- literally a pre-existent form -- does not stand alone, but is something that is recognized and named in other fields of knowledge.

    My thesis, then, is as follows: In addition to our immediate consciousness, which is of a thoroughly personal nature and which we believe to be the only empirical psyche (even if we tack on the personal unconscious as an appendix), there exists a second psychic system of a collective, universal, and impersonal nature which is identical in all individuals. This collective unconscious does not develop individually, but is inherited. It consists of pre-existent forms, the archetypes, which can only become conscious secondarily and which give definite form to certain psychic contents.

    From Carl Jung's "The Structure of the Psyche", 1927

    Ginger

  • mich_in_zonal_denial
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The exchange of intellectual banter is the cornerstone of continuing education .
    If the uneducated boorish masses want to remain segregated from those who choose to further their knowledge base then they only need to click over to JerrySpringer.com and retain their status.

    To forget landscape history and or history in general is to close a portal to our past, and it is our past that shapes our future.

    To paraphrase Jory Johnson, landscape historian, It is futile to assume that traditions are completely irrelevant, though some modern designers have tried,- it simply isnt possible to not know the past.

    It is the innovations of the past that springboard authentic inventions of the future.

    The cookie cutter home with its cookie cutter landscape is being reinvented into the New Urbanism by those with vision and fortitude to understand the past and recreate a better future.
    Landscape architects that are not under the legislative pressure of strictly enforced design review boards that limit their planting palette to a mundane list of tried and true known plant materials are creating innovative planting schemes that respond to the developers economic constraints as well as the community's by law mandates on water conservation.

    Any talented individual whether they are an educated trained design professionals or a passionate home gardener can walk into any Home Depot and come away with a palette of commonly used plants and use them effectively and creatively in the landscape .
    The difference lies in how these people craft their artful arrangements and wield their creative prowess.
    One doesnt have to have an exotic or uncommon plant in order to create a harmonious composition that is pleasing to the eye as well as have the ability to excite the senses of the beholders.

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Milton? Did someone say "Milton"?

    "About him all the Sanctities of Heaven
    Stood thick as Starrs, and from his sight receiv'd
    Beatitude past utterance; on his right
    The radiant image of his Glory sat,
    His onely Son; On Earth he first beheld
    Our two first Parents, yet the onely two
    Of mankind, in the happie Garden plac't,
    Reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,
    Uninterrupted joy, unrivald love
    In blissful solitude; . . . . "

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

    (Cady: I know I said "forgotten", but I changed my mind and rephrased the statement.)

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Beautiful choice, John.

    I'd rather rule in a brimstone pit I designed, installed and decorated myself in Hell, than serve in a perfectly-manicured, celestial design committee approved, meatball be-shrubbed, Mary-in-a-halfshell statue-decorated cloud in Heaven.

    - Milton (er... Milton Poindexter Higgenbothem, that is) ;)

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "In heaven, all the interesting people are missing."
    - F.Nietzsche

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yes, but Nietzsche also said:
    "Man weiss in jenen Zeiten noch Nichts von Naturgesetzen; weder für die Erde noch für den Himmel giebt es ein Müssen; eine Jahreszeit, der Sonnenschein, der Regen kann kommen oder auch ausbleiben. Es fehlt überhaupt jeder Begriff der natürlichen Causalität. Wenn man rudert, ist es nicht das Rudern, was das Schiff bewegt, sondern Rudern ist nur eine magische Ceremonie, durch welche man einen Dämon zwingt, das Schiff zu bewegen. "

  • spectre
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    "'Nietzsche once said, 'out of chaos, comes order.' 'Ah, blow it out your @$$, Howard.'" - Blazing Saddles, Warner Bros. 1974.

    Tony, you bring up a good point. Levittowns (brought up in other threads) were a staple of the American landscape by the 1950's, thus starting the cycle of the McMansion landscapes I referred to above. Some of the more "out there" crazes were a result of a confluence of factors. For example, the tiki craze was a result of the return of GI's fighting in the South Pacific, the advent of travel to exotic places and the focus on Hawaii as a new state. Rat Pack movies showing exotic tropical locales like Miami and Acapulco brought the need for pink flamingoes and tiki carvings into the public conscience. Before that, home ownership was only a dream for most Americans.

    Tony, there are probably ingrained aesthetic instincts in all humans...similar to recent studies psychologists/sociologists conducted that show the beauty is not necessarily in the eye of the beholder by showing anonymous pictures of ugly and beautiful humans to people of different cultures. Time after time, there were attributes that were similar across the spectrum. Probably the same with garden design and plant usage.

    My point above suggested that the same factors that have given rise to our fast food, reality TV, and short attention span culture are probably at play in what you observe. IMHO, it's exacerbated by the quick buck.

    I agree, Tony, (and wish) people look at gardens designed in eras and places when there was time to design well and the society wasn't disposable. If people looked at history with a learned eye, do you think we'd have all the problems we do across many aspects of human endeavor.

    Oh, and one more thing: If the uneducated boorish masses want to remain segregated from those who choose to further their knowledge base then they only need to click over to JerrySpringer.com and retain their status.

    Are you suggesting that I leave and go to Jerry Springer's site, Mich? I love expanding my knowledge base if it doesn't come with heavy doses of self-pretentious drivel, attitude, and egotistical remarks.

    If those who disguise their intolerance of differing and dissenting opinions by cleverly rewording quotations and writing confrontational statements, they can always click over to the Landscape Duh-sign Forum. In other words, we've had a good atmosphere, interesting discussions, and great exchanges in Garden Restoration since the beginning, so don't ruin it like LD has been.

    spectre

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    LD has been ruined? I must have missed something.

  • enchantedplace
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I'm here to learn but will comment that in garden restoration studying the purpose of function of a garden at any given time is essential. Part of the pleasure of visiting a historical garden is to observe the plants that might have been included in a given period of history in a particular place, whatever the location. I have not had the opportunity to visit the historical gardens of our country but have studied about some of them and admire those who have worked so diligently to preserve them. The missions of California are very significant personally as they were there at the time my great grandparents explored the area as gold seekers. Things were very different then, before the water was piped in, and periods of drought were endured. Also, why is it considered historical, which plants were native to the area at the given time, and which were imports. All of it is meaningful. EP

  • Saypoint zone 6 CT
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Bring me a snobbery, er...shrubbery.
    Seriously, though, most 'gardens' are not 'designed'. They are made by ordinary homeowners who want to improve their surroundings. Most of them are working with what they have: limited disposable income, little or no formal education in design of any kind, and a limited exposure to 'good' design. They garden the way they see their neighbors gardening, or the way their parents gardened. They do what they can with limited time, after work and on weekends.
    Those who are passionate about their gardens will take the initiative to learn as they go, (or make it a career path) with improving results.
    My mother grows lots of flowers, and has done as long as I can remember. Her plant combinations sometimes make me scratch my head, and there is nothing 'designed' about her plantings. The vase of artificial flowers (one or two of each color) she has in the corner of her dining room makes me shudder every time I see it, but hey, if she likes them...
    Maybe what we need, in order to avoid the meatball landscapes in the future, is to increase the exposure of the boorish masses to better design. Maybe add a section on landscape history to the art classes in elementary and secondary education? I think most people have NO IDEA that there is another way to do it.
    Very interesting discussion. Not ruined, IMO
    Jo

  • ginny12
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The minute a farmer decides to put the kitchen garden here instead of there, or a bungalow owner decides to plant this shrub or that flower there instead of here, landscape design has occurred. Landscape design and landscape history come in two flavors (and I am oversimplifying): vernacular and professional. Each has significance, and an understanding of each is necessary to an understanding of the evolution of landscape history.

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I like Jo's idea of incorporating information about landscape design into public education art classes - could also be an added to the curriculum of "Life Skills" classes (co-ed combination of the formerly sex-segregated Home Economics and Shop classes of the '40's, '50's, and'60's).

    May be oversimplified, but Ginny's is a truism to hold in our thoughts when discussing or exploring any and all areas of garden design, history, or restoration: the differences between the professional and the amateur landscape/garden.
    It is all to easy to lump them together.

    In the thread on landscape gardens of the '50's, I mentioned that there are many gardens in the pristine '50's style alive and well today and even being newly installed. Some folks are not at all aware of the changes that have taken place over the last 50 years. History stands still.

    Ginger

  • acj7000
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Absolutely Ginny.
    We should never forget the social history that comes attached. spectre makes a very good point because it is probable that total immersion in a world of images rather than primary experience has created a society that demands novelty above all. Which leads to " A landscape design that caters to the hunger for titllation instead of substance, for ephemeral rather than permanence, and for the cute instead of the significant" as Marc Trieb says, and will be of little consequence. What I am suggesting is that we should look beyond what magazines and TV makeover programmes tell us is good design and rely on our informed instincts more even though we may have to stir them up by studying garden history. As Mike Yamamoto (Cady's husband to be) is fond of saying if you want to know what Japanese Gardens are all about you have to study something other than a tourist guide to Tokyo. The same applies to all gardens.

  • phdnc
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I want enchantedplace to adopt me... I nominate her for Garden Restoration Spiritual Advisor. [GRSA] :>)

    Mich stated that it is the inovations of the past that are the spring board for authentic inventions of the future. True.
    Then we have Jung and Milton thrown in. Which was atruley inspirational touch. I understand your point G.
    Good additions.
    Skip Nietzsche, because he's dead. Dumb joke to see if your paying attention. We could go ahead with the Hundred Monkey theory as well and then on to quantum gardening. I rant senselessly sorry.
    My thoughts: this is what impressed me, Tony said that we don't need to do is: go over and over history [the broad look]. What we need to do is take long hard looks at the origin of common elements [specific history]. I believe I am understanding correctly. Correct if wrong Tony.
    I think this is a concept that needs to be pursued. Maybe another thread. Love to hear what the designers have to say as well as the historians. I'll keep the plants watered while you guys go back at it.
    my.o2/pd

  • mjsee
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    New forum rule--if you quote something in a language OTHER THAN ENGLISH you must provide the translation IN ENGLISH.

    That said--I think, at it's best, garden design follows a version of the Hegelian Dialectic. Now, I'm basing that on my memories of a History of Philosphy class I took in 1981--and the notes for that class are LONG gone--but as I recall the dialectic coould be summed up as "thesis, antithesis, and synthesis."

    Can we examine garden movements this way?

    IE: the Thesis-- the Formal Garden: Its style utilizes the mathematics and geometry of the Renaissance, as well as displays of grandeur characteristic of the Classical revival of the Renaissance. The Formal Garden was an example of highly organized nature, nature "obeying" mans specifications, and often symbolic of status, power and prestige. Some characteristics found in Formal Gardens are:
    Geometric patterns, maze-like pathways
    Mass and uniform plantings
    Intentional, designed use of floral and vegetation color, texture and height
    Trimmed vegetation, hedges, sculptural use of plants
    Classical structures such as columns, arches, fountains
    Classical artifacts such as urns and statuary
    Outdoor "rooms" used for dining, entertainment
    Captive animals in bird cages, fish ponds


    The Antithesis:
    The Landscape Garden includes:
    A winding track through random shrubs and trees of character
    Random and sudden spreads of woodland flowers
    Rough meadows, knolls, vistas of unkempt grasses
    Rock outcroppings
    Ruins and/or Gothic grottos
    A Hermitage
    Marshes or small lakes and ponds surrounded with reeds, iris, a refuge for waterfowl
    Arbors and bridges leading and opening into "wilder" areas

    What would be the "synthesis" of these two movements?
    Thea arts and crafts garden? Or perhaps ther isn't one?

    The point of Hegel, as I recall, was that, in perfect world, one took the BEST of the Thesis and Antithesis and combined them in the Synthesis...

    melanie

    "my BRAIN hurts..."

  • spectre
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Saypoint: I'm sensing it might be time for another script . . .snobbery, errrr, shrubbery! LOL.

    Excellent points and Tony, please let us know if Perry's take on the thoughts behind this thread on accurate. I took your question to mean that there is much more to garden history that looking at the mid to late 20th century American landscape, to which I say an emphatic yes. I think Perry's take on looking that the specific origin and genesis of garden elements (example, flowers grown abundantly in Bali to provide daily spiritual offerings) is another tack that bears exploration. Kind of like etymological garden history. .

    Jo and Ginger: I like the idea too, but how realistic do you think it is. For instance, music, art, and funding for non RRR education is always the first to go during budget discussions. In a country where one in three can't even point out where the USA is on a globe, do you think there will be a . . .errrrr . . . will for a class along the lines you suggest?

    spectre

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    They always keep the Life Skills programs, 'tho, at least in NH and NY.

    In our local schools art and music are alive and well. I sometimes think the cuts in these areas are over publicized. Most public schools continue to have them.

    Not a stand-alone class, spectre, but incorporated into classes already offered. We are teaching wildlife habit/wildlife corridors/need for open space in the grade schools here in NH; in effect, preservation and restoration of the land.

    Problems with smoking including second hand smoke are taught to 2nd graders and on up. Lots of current day health and environmental issues are taught and then brought home to parents(voters) by their kids . . . The children as teachers. Why not add on notions about landscape aesthetics; could key in with use of native plants, water conservation, etc. - all issues now in the public schools.

    Think postive(ly). Go to your school board with suggestions re ecological and design issues being incorporated into the curriculum - may have an effect.

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Melanie,
    That's a tough one to translate, but here is the gist:

    "One knew nothing in those times about laws of nature; and thus did not put demands on either the earth or the sky; a season, the sunshine, the rain might come or not. Concepts of natural causality were non-existent. When rowing, it is not it the oars which move the ship; rowing is but a magic ceremony by which one forces a demon to move the ship."

  • acj7000
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I think they are both in the mix spectre but your take is what I was getting at, I will start another thread on specific elements.
    Mel, I think your Hegelian Didactic would provide a good framework for research but you would need to study the ingredients that you put in the pot to avoid inaccuracy and be careful of a trite conclusion (sythesis).

  • mjsee
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Thanks John. I would have gone nuts trying to pin-point that quote and then trying to find the translation. And, as you are all learning--I find it VERY difficult to JUST LET SOMETHING BE...

    Tony-- I'm finding the whole concept of framing research through the Hegelian Dialectic...interesting. I wish I knew more ABOUT the history of gardens. Maybe it's time for a trip to the library...

    melanie

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I should have mentioned that the quote is from Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Ein Buch für freie Geister. ("Human, All-To-Human, A Book For Free Spirits.")

  • david7a_ga
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    How the Big Rock/Boulder thing in the middle of the yard happened:

    Once upon a time in the early days of landscape design -

    Hey, Bernie! We're all done here. I've already sent the mules and skids back to the stables.

    Bob, what are you doing? Look at that rock out there in the middle of everything! Get it outta there!

    No way, Bernie! The mules are gone and I've already got one hernia.

    Well, we can't just leave it.

    Bern, I think I've got an idea. We leave it there and we add two lines to the bill - monolith $15,000 and placement of monolith $25,000. At that price it'll have to be Art. And we can head down to the bar.

    Not bad, Bobbo, not bad. We're outta here!

    A landmark of landscape design history--and YOU were there!

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    LMAO, David!
    Considering how bizarre those "monoliths" look, your story is scarily plausible. :)

  • John_D
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Yeah, and after they got away with it once, they started hauling those things in and leaving them all over the place.

  • acj7000
    Original Author
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I had a cup of coffee with my breakfast.

  • bry84
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Forget history? No, I don't think that's possible.

    I had an interesting conversation with someone the other day where I said that I don't believe people ever have entirely original thoughts or ideas. Everything in our minds was put there by something we've seen, touched or smelt, thus we cannot think beyond this and be original. What we do is pull these things apart and reassemble them to make them seem like new ideas. We're all plagerize our past experience when thinking of something new, it's our only souce of inspiration, after all.

    The most foward thinking idea I have is looking through all of history to put together the most appealing ideas and designs to create a totally new design concept. This is actually what I try to do with my house and garden. In the garden itself I have bought a large number of broken black granite pillars and statues in the ancient greek style (cheaply as they were broken) and arranged them in an exact replica of a ruin I once visited which was quite beautyful in shape and form. While the layout and style is three thousand years old and the polished black granite is as old as the earth itself, the combination is almost ultra modern. Many people find it bizare, it's really futuristic with such a strong historical feel that you can't place it as anything before it. I even used yougart to encourage lichen and moss which made the mirror like granite seem to have been there years, despite it being so high tech looking.

  • spectre
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Bry84:

    Interesting take, but I have a question. Perhaps your hypothesis is true the arts or design, but how do you explain progress in fields such as engineering, computer science, biotechnology, nanotechnology and astrophysics? Surely advances such as continuing miniaturization of semiconductors and string theory are not simply plagerized ideas. Many of these ideas are discovered or observed or mathematically deduced, not recycled or copied from the past.

    While I agree that life experience builds the knowledge base and foundation for discovery and creativity, I don't agree that original thought doesn't exist. Of course, based on what passes for entertainment in the media these days, I could be wrong.

    spectre

  • ginger_nh
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Bry-
    To your way of thinking, then, "original thought" would have to come out of a vacuum, with nothing (or nothingness) preceding it - how would that be possible?? I think original thoughts do come from the synthesis of old knowledge/ideas/facts into new original form. New springs from old.

    I remember mulling this over in my college days, wondering if I would ever have an "original" thought . . .now I don't care. Preoccupied with trying to remember where I put my keys. . .h-mmmm.

    G.

  • mjsee
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Ginger, they are in your coat pocket. No, the OTHER coat!
    been there, done that--this morning!

    melanie

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Do I hear an "AMEN!" from the rest of us who have "middle age moments" more frequently than we care to admit?

  • spectre
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Cady:

    Based on your recent post in the other thread about toilets in the kitchen, I had to do a double take and make sure you didn't write "middle age movements".

    spectre

  • Cady
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    That's a whole other topic completely, spectre, and perhaps one more appropriate for the Compost forum. heh heh

  • bry84
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Spectre, I see what you mean about where did all those ideas come from, but I feel that they all have an obvious basis in previous ideas. Nanotechnology for example is still using the time tested cogs and leavers of any machine, if you expand a picture of it massively it's a recognisable machine, simply someone combined the idea of a machine and making it compact together. They were certainly thinking outside the box and quite visionary, but at no point did they make something 100% original. Both ideas allready existed, they just put them together for the first time.

    Ginger, I don't actually believe that people have entirely original thoughts. Not in the sense that most things have been thought before at some point in time, simply that everything people think of is based on one or more things they've seen or heard about before. I read the chapter to my book the other day and for the first time I noticed that I had borrowed dozens of little things from my life without even realising it at the time. At first I wondered why, then it occoured to me - I didn't know anything else and thus couldn't think of anything else.

  • ZephirineD
    17 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Where did those big lawn boulders come from?

    It's my fairly educated guess (being a native of there) that the big boulder thing came from Seattle and/or other parts of Washington State.

    You see, the Puget Sound was carved out by the last big continental glacier that rolled through the area -- and when it left, it not only left behind a big hole that filled with water, it also left behind masses of rocks. Some of the rocks are entire hillsides of untillable glacial scree... and other rocks were so large that they just landed *plop!* wherever they landed, and there they stayed.

    Seattle is littered with these rocks. I know of none that were deliberately placed by the property owners!

    As you've pointed out, they are inconvenient to move (to say the least), so most people just landscape around them as if they weren't there. The more creative folks try to incorporate them into the landscape as if they were intentionally placed there... and I suspect that admirers of these creative persons' yards may have wished to emulate the effect. Not having any serendipitous boulders in their yards, however, they went to a great deal of trouble and expense to have boulders imported into their yards...

    True Seattle-ites would howl with laughter at the thought of actually PAYING someone to dump a boulder on your lawn!

    Love,

    Claudia

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