January 21, 2011
POSTED BY: Julie Blakeslee
Dios mio mama, January is a bore in garden making land. It does give me time to think about our musings last year as we were contemplating joining forces. Now that I’ve a half a year under my belt of Big Red Sun Austin land as opposed to private practice, I’m in a style nazi quandary. We talked last January about evolving the known style of Big Red Sun in part because it is getting ripped off constantly and these emulations are being done in a lesser quality and in part because it’s exciting to keep pushing the style forward.
I know we both are ready for a more heady approach to garden making. And this makes me fondly remember my sessions with spanish garden designer Fernando Caruncho for my ultimately unbuilt austin house by Juan Miro.
Each part of our 3 acre garden was developed in response to the site and to Juan’s house with an express desire to create spaces to hone the light. I’m haunted by the unbuilt spaces of both the house and garden. Husband no.1 said I had some freaky sense that allows me to see every detail of a plan and walk through it in my mind like one does in a dream. It took years to get this project out of my head because I remembered all these spaces as if they were already built- in my mind they were. What a complete luxury to have a space built in your honor- meaning having your experiences, your physic and physical needs expressly listened to and then honed by a designer who can take this essence and translate it into physical space. You in particular know that I am loathe to let another design for my personal space. You in fact are the only other designer I asked to do a design for me other than Miro and Caruncho. But as we both know, when the designer you hired can transcend your literal translation of your needs- the results can be true art that reflects your nature in well…nature. What a head trip! no wonder garden making is the art of kings. Speaking of, what do we think of the fact that you and Caruncho both ended up with circles for me?
I can’t remember if I have talked with you about my design sessions with Caruncho. I had been obsessed with his minimalist contemporary garden making ideas for years- and was thrilled to finally meet him. It’s so rare that someone is even more of the quality you imagined- and his quality was calm. Simplify simplify simplify was his gentle mantra to himself. And of course, it’s the most brave action one can take in building and designing. And brave to commission for that matter. I always think a garden is better if you set strict parameters in terms of materials- be they plant, shapes and hardscape. But many feel the end result will lack “pop”- which of course is true in a way. Pop! is not the point. Caruncho somehow convinces each of his clients towards the same mellow ochre color in his garden walls, to use only a handful of the SAME plants each time and to always use terra cotta pots because they are better for the plants. While I feel like a style nazi, he comes across like mother teresa floating across the landscape leaving consecrated space in his wake.
It’s funny that when the Miro house and accompanying garden fell through- (oh how i have karmically earned shelved client projects going forward) the house we ended up in was as opposite of peaceful as we could find. That does seem to be my modus operandi. nothing half way, if we aren’t going to have perfect minimalism… well then hello hollywood. Statesman Thornton. Praise it- the sun just came out. talk to you soon, xoxojb