Creating harmony, simplicity and peace in the landscape......
"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.
Gardening is an instrument of grace. "
Gardening is an instrument of grace. "
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Sunday, November 3, 2013
"We need alchemists who can turn our banal residential yards into spaces for dwelling.
But a garden is a relationship.
The best a designer can do is to make the introduction."
(I agree! - Jan)
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Gardens are good at that.
Gardens and children go together. Like the little girl in the garden in the children's classic, 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett, gardens open a world of wonder if we only stop and peer into its mysteries...
this is a book for all ages - a great read!
Of course, the garden described in Hodgson's book was an English walled landscape but it could have been any kind of outdoor space devoted to bridging the gap between the human and the green world.....
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Hardy Hibiscus - photo by Laura McKillop
The Earth Laughs in Flowers - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Want your garden to laugh in summer? Giggling with pink, red, and white? Then the hardy Hibiscus moscheutos or Swamp-rose Mallow is the answer for you! And butterflies love them! ( It is a host plant for Gray Hairstreak butterflies.)
('Disco Belle' Pink Hibiscus - Johnsen Landscapes & Pools. photo by Laura McKillop)
Johnsen Landscapes & Pools - photo by Jan Johnsen
Hibiscus moscheutos is a tall, cold-hardy perennial with huge flowers that is a native to wetlands and riversides of southeastern United States from Texas to the north Atlantic states. It naturally grows in large colonies.
(Jan Johnsen - that is 'Blue Shag' White Pine and Sedum Autumn Joy in front)
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Grass steps in one of my landscapes- Jan Johnsen
Today I am discussing my signature dish — grass steps.
one of my projects using grass steps - can you see the steps? no? great!
I refer to grass steps - or grass treads, which is the correct term - as my signature simply because I have been incorporating them in my landscapes since the early 1980s.
I first saw grass steps in the mid 1970's in one of my favorite landscape venues, Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.
this great photo from Dumbarton is from The Photo Garden Bee website
Beatrix Farrand, the preeminent American landscape gardener (as she called herself) of the early twentieth century, installed three grass treads in a sloping lawn in Dumbarton Oaks. When I first saw them I was struck at how they disappeared when viewing them from above...
I loved this visual illusion! I also admired the way they suited the general sloping conditions of the site.
Beatrix Farrand, my fave
This approach arose, I assume, from what Farrand's mentor, Charles Sprague Sargent, taught her.
The following is from the informative website, 'Beatrix Farrand, Landscape Gardener'...
"Sargent taught Beatrix the basic concepts of landscape design, as well as how to stake out and survey a piece of land. Sargent imparted to Beatrix the idea that "plan" should fit the ground. One should never attempt to change the ground for the plan. (Balmori 2, p. 17) Farrand heeded this advice in her design plan for Dumbarton Oaks (Dumbarton Oaks, Site Plans, no. 3). "
Charles Sprague Sargent at work
But I find I must often alter a site to make it usable...However, grass steps do comport themselves and fit within a slope so seamlessly that it appears that all I had to do was make a cut in the earth and insert them. That is why I love them so much.
No one would ever guess how much work I went through to make these steps look so natural.
Grass Steps in the garden and the photo by Jan Johnsen
In 1992 Landscape Architecture magazine featured an article about my firm and showed a photo I took of a project of mine in Greenwich, Ct. The grass steps were front and center in the photo.
(They wanted to put the photo on the cover of the magazine but the editor called and explained to me that they didn't know who I was so they were putting another photo instead...)
I received so many phone calls from landscape designers who saw this in the magazine, asking me the specifics of how I built them. From that day forward , grass steps have multiplied and are now everywhere!
I like to think I had a hand in this rediscovery of Beatrix Farrand's fabulous idea....
the photo of Greenwich, Ct. landscape by Jan Johnsen in LA magazine
This is the photo from the 1992 issue of Landscape Architecture magazine......'Married with Clients' was the name of the article.
Friday, July 26, 2013
"How hard to realize that every camp of men or beast has its glorious starry firmament for a roof.
leaves and moss like the marmots and the birds, or tents or piled stone --
we all dwell in a house of one room --
the world with the firmament for its roof --
are all sailing the celestial spaces without leaving any track."
~ John Muir
One of the sights in Yosemite ValleyHe lived in the Valley for several years and became so knowledgeable about this natural wonder that he served as a guide for some of the most famous of Yosemite’s visitors, including one of his idols, Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Site of John Muir's 'Sugar Pine cabin' where he lived in Yosemite
In 1889 Muir took Robert Underwood Johnson, editor of Century, one of the most prominent magazines in the country, on a camping trip to Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite. Johnson then published Muir's two articles advocating that Yosemite be made into a National Park and lobbied Congress energetically. Congress complied and created the Yosemite National Park.