October 9, 2009

An Evening with Ken Druse

This past Wednesday evening, we attended a lecture by America's premier gardener writer and talented photographer, (and a friend) ,Ken Druse. Ken's books are stunning, and they are all much more than mere gardening books, being beautifully designed, full of his amazing photographs, loads of information and highly inspirational, they are in fact, all of that, and more. My favorite (and I always say is one of my top 5 most influencial plant books in my gardening life, is his book The Collector's Garden. Find a used one if you can, but his more recent releases are just as great. HIs most recent book, Planthropology was printed and released last year. Kens many books are all worthy of space on any garden lover's side table but as many people at the lecture and book signing chatted about over cider and cookies, was that these are special books, rare today, since they are not coffee table books or display copies, ken'd books are used, revisited often, and many of us shared our torn, well used copies proudly as if they were Julia child Cookbooks, or, even, dare I say, plant porn. I watched people during the reception grasp their favorite books close to them as they sipped tea, as if to say, "My book, stay away".

Ken's garden moved from Brooklyn to New Jersey, and he shared an entertaining and beautifully designed presentation in the theater at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden, near our home in Boylston, MA ( Ken, we would have asked you to stay with us, but we are in the middle of hosting another garden Goddess, which you will see posted here tomorrow!) themed roughly on how design, culture and plants all come together. I shouldn't have said "roughly" for maybe it was the artist in me, but I found his talk completely engaging, since he made connections between physics, math, biology and the plants and flowers which are familiar to many. The overall them for the evening, was garden art, and Ken was asked to speak by the Botanic Garden about garden art, ( thank God I was't asked!), and then, share the evening with the curator of an exhibition of garden art which Tower Hill is hosting for a month, entitled THE SCULPTURE SHOW AT TOWER HILL , which was beautiful when viewed at night as we did, which included a tour and walk through the woodlands on perhaps the windiest night of the year. It was rather fun, and we almost backed out, planning to sneak out after Ken's talk! But with over 80 people attended this sold out lecture, it looked like it might actually be a bit of an adventure.

The walk started at the Stoddard Visitors center at Tower Hill, which is located at the top of a high hill above the Wachusett Resoirvoir in Boylston, MA. A cold front had just passed through, and although the evening was supposed to be full-,moon, lit, the lighting that Tower Hill placed was thoughtfully arranged, as was the art. Not particularly a fan of garden sculpture myself, I still found the work stimulating as an artist, even more so when viewed at night.

Ken's talk featured all sorts of garden art, and I think he inspired the audience to consider trying some of the more unusual work which anyone can do. I was amused how after a talk about the classics and well know gardens of the world, most of the questions from the audience focused on Ken's little joke about " how nice it would be to see a conservative 'Yankee' New England Gardener be daring, and paint a dead tree brilliant red" something which would integrate into a garden more successfully in California, or in the tropics, or desert, rather then in the north. Still, it came off as a challenge to many.....watch out Ken, you may have just ignited a trend!

1 comment :

  1. Hello,
    I saw that you had written a little on corydalis last year. I am interested in Corydalis yan hu suo I was wondering if you know anything about it. Im interested in growing it from seed. I am an avid gardener in Northern California. Do you know of any site or any material I could read up on the plant and seed.


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