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Archives for May 25, 2016

Chelsea Flower Show: ‘Modern slavery’ garden design wins gold

Gardener Juliet Sargeant at Chelsea Flower ShowImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Gold award winner Juliet Sargeant has previously called for more diversity in horticulture

A garden inspired by the fight against “modern slavery” and the abolitionism movement has scooped gold at the Chelsea Flower Show.

Juliet Sargeant took gold with a garden that celebrates the day parliament passed The Modern Slavery Act in 2015.

It features several doors and an oak – representing captivity and the tree William Wilberforce sat beneath when he vowed to help end the slave trade.

She is thought to be the first black gardener to design a Chelsea display.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Juliet Sargeant showed Princess Eugenie round the garden on Monday

Image copyright
RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Image caption

The dark centre is said to represent captivity with the oak tree standing for hope

She won the gold award in the Fresh Gardens category.

‘Increase diversity’

The Tanzania-born gardener, who is based in Brighton, said the idea behind her design was the “brain child of a group of people who have been campaigning to raise awareness of modern slavery”.

“I wanted to emphasise that it is a hidden crime, behind closed doors, so in the garden there are brightly coloured doors, with a ribbon of planting wrapping all four sides,” she added.

“Then in the centre of the garden the doors are painted black. That represents the captive space where people are held in terrible conditions without any pay.”

According to Ms Sargeant hope stands in the form of an oak tree, as “it was under such an oak that William Wilberforce stood when he dedicated his life to ending slavery”.

Ms Sargeant, who has previously called for more diversity in horticulture, said: “We’re missing a trick and we’re missing the opportunity to have lots of different perspectives and different creativity.

“I look forward to seeing the fruits of the efforts being made, particularly by the Royal Horticultural Society, to increase diversity.

“Hopefully we’ll see an increase in diversity on television.”

Article source:

Thanks but no thanks… Celebrity gardener’s designs deemed inappropriate

A CELEBRITY gardener’s designs intended to transform a square overlooked by the i360 have been rejected.

Diarmuid Gavin, the Irish television personality who scooped an award at the Chelsea Flower Show yesterday, put together three plans for Brighton’s Regency Square garden, which is due to have a makeover with money made from the attraction’s ticket sales.

He donated his time after being impressed with the idea when approached by the Regency Square Area Society (RSAS) committee.

The society worked with Brighton and Hove City Council on the plan and earlier this year the options were put forward for consideration by the public.

The ideas were inspired by the shadow cast by lighthouses or wartime searchlights and the architecture of Regency buildings.

Mr Gavin said the options were “contemporary”, “regal” and “pure fun”.

Previously members had described his work as “fantastic” but after 75 people responded to a questionnaire sent out to 1,100 households, the society decided his designs were inappropriate.

Instead another company called Terra Firma – which is landscaping either side of the i360 – will be asked to come up with other ideas for the layout.

Society member Nigel Rose said: “We asked people to grade their preferred design and analysed the responses.

“The plumage design [inspired by the Regency era] was preferred but the caveat was they didn’t like any of the designs. They didn’t think they were appropriate.”

He said the overall consensus was for a well-tended garden with enough space for children, dog walkers and for picnics which was for residents first and foremost rather than for views from the i360, but it was felt the designs did not offer this.

Mr Rose said: “They weren’t looking for a garden statement but more of the same and improved. Maintenance is very important.

“There is a possibility some of the plumage design could be incorporated but nothing too avant garde.”

Former society member Duncan Cameron, who lives in the area, said: “In the right sort of garden his designs are very exciting and interesting but they were totally unsuitable for this garden.”

Member and former chairman Roger Hinton, who lives in the square and is the chairman of separate organisation the Regency Society, said: “The designs were interesting and got the debate going and it was very good he did them.

” This established that actually people are quite happy with the layout as it is. This is my personal opinion, and not that of the Regency Society.”

Click here to read more about the designs when they were revealed


TICKET sales from the i360 will be used by the Regency Square Area Society to give the garden a new look.

A pot of one per cent will be used by the society and for the redesign and to transform the areas either side of the attraction.

The funds will not available until 2018 but it is hoped there will be an advance available.

If estimated revenues and visitor numbers prevail the money to be shared could be £80,000.

The society estimates its portion will be around £30,000 a year.

Article source:

Ipoh railway station landscaping gets praises for unique themes

THE newly refurbished Ipoh Railway Station square is a sight to behold with seven different themes now part of the landscape. On one end of the square, there is an English garden set-up while another section showcases a tropical setting.

Apart from the English and tropical themes, the other five are wedding, fantasy, partition, traditional and nature.

Ipoh mayor Datuk Zamri Man said the ambience at the square has improved with the new landscape.

“People can now enjoy the view of historical buildings such as the railway station and the town hall.

“Foreign tourists from Hong Kong, Australia and Europe have been impressed with the new look of the square,” he said, adding that beautification works were done earlier this month in conjunction with the city council’s 100th anniversary.

“This place will certainly be another tourist spot and attract many people during Visit Perak Year next year,” he added.

Zamri said the council’s landscaping department was responsible for the new look.

“What’s special is that the landscaping work at the square used items from our nurseries, store and recyclable materials.

“The team had previously represented the state at the Malaysia Agriculture, Horticulture and Agrotourism (MAHA) exhibition in 2012 where they came in second place in a landscaping contest,” he said.

A housewife who only wanted to be known as Nor Hazlina said she was a regular visitor to the square and was delighted with the new look.

“I appreciate the effort made by the team, turning their imaginative ideas into this beautifully-made landscape.

“I think this could be another place for newlyweds to take photographs,” said the 34-year-old mother of three from Taman Meru.

Mohana Dass, 31, from Chemor said the square was one of the places he would visit with his family whenever they are in town.

“My two children love to play and they enjoy running around at the square.

“It is a really nice place to enjoy with family and the different themes add charm to the place,” he said.

“The thought that went into designing with recyclable items is also very impressive.

“I wouldn’t have guessed that these were recyclable items if you didn’t tell me,” he added.

Another visitor to the square who only wanted to be known as Victoria said the square had been beautifully renovated.

“There was nothing much going on there before, with only trees and the musical fountain.

“The redesigned landscape here has certainly made this place more interesting,” she said.

“I can take more nice pictures with my friends,” she added.

R. Tharumaraj from Falim said the new look of the square was nice but suggested that more lights be installed to brighten the area.

“Only three of the gardens have lights installed nearby.

“The other four are not adequately lit. Installing lights at each garden will enhance the place further,” said the 35-year-old technician.

Article source:

Is the Lynnway the ugliest street in America?

One sign that may impact the perception of the Lynnway is the Starbucks sign. Good luck finding it in the photo above.


LYNN — For as long as anyone can remember, the Lynnway has been packed with car dealerships, fast-food restaurants, discount shops, billboards and hundreds of garish signs.

“When you drive up the Lynnway, you see every mistake that has been made over the last 75 years,” said James M. Cowdell, executive director of the  Development Industrial Corp. (EDIC/Lynn).  

“Why is it ugly? It happened. A place opened and an ugly sign went up. Another place opened, another ugly sign went up. Now it’s a splattering of ugly signs that blend … and the one sign that should stand out, Starbucks, gets blended in with the ugliness. What message does that send as we are trying to change our image?”

As developers propose to transform portions of the Lynnway into a neighborhood for waterfront apartments and amenities that rival Boston’s Seaport District, some say it’s the right time for Lynn.

“It will change, someone will go first,” said Charles Morneau, who along with Joseph O’Donnell, founder of Boston Culinary Group and Belmont Capital in Cambridge, could be among the first when they break ground on a 17-acre site on the water side of the Lynnway adjacent to the General Edwards Bridge. They expect to start construction next spring on a $69 million luxury-apartment project that would include 250 units in a wood-frame, three-story building.

“The timing is right because the key political people have lined up behind it and are pushing to get things done,” Morneau said. He is referring to the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team, a panel that includes U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton, Cowdell and others who can cut through the bureaucracy and make things happen.

“That whole corridor in Lynn can really turn around and be an attraction,” Morneau said. “It’s in the right location, just miles from Boston and there’s ocean, nothing better.”

Change is coming to the Lynnway. A pair of residential developments will bookend the Lynnway. Earlier this month, Louis Minicucci Jr. and Arthur Pappathanasi closed a $2.5 million purchase of the former Beacon Chevrolet site. When completed, the $80 million waterfront residential project will include 355 apartments on the 14-acre site on the northern end of the stretch with rents expected to be in the $2,000 range. At the other end of the stretch is O’Donnell’s $69 million project on a 17-acre waterfront site that would include 250 units in a wood frame, three-story building.

City Council President and state Rep. Daniel F. Cahill said the Lynnway is slowly changing and the transformation will take time. A decade ago, $6 million was spent to move the power lines off the ocean side as the first major step to spur development.

“We are still in the infrastructure phase,” he said. “The only reason we are talking about massive residential projects is because the path has been cleared for large scale development on the waterfront side. You won’t see much change to the Lynnway’s facade until a few developments break ground in the next few years.”

On signs, Cahill said it’s an issue that ignites controversy. Some say signs should be whatever businesses want. Others insist that the only way to clean up the city’s gateway is for a strict ordinance to control the size, height, color and lettering of signs.

While the City Council amended sign rules in 1993 to limit their size and height and ban flashing ones, any business can seek permission to override the regulation and nearly all have been successful in doing so. The rest have been grandfathered.

One marquee that may impact the perception of the city is Starbucks. Ironically, it’s easily missed because, while it’s so small compared to others, it’s larger than sign rules allow.

But there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to a Starbucks sign.

The arrival of a Starbucks has benefits beyond easy access to an espresso macchiato, decaf cappuccino or caffe latte. Between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, on average, compared with 65 percent for all U.S. homes, based on a comparison by Zillow, the Seattle-based online real estate company.

When Starbucks arrived in Chelsea when Ash was city manager, he called it the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

“Starbucks came to us for a special permit to erect the sign because there are restrictions in that section of the Lynnway,” Cahill said. “It was a symbolic event because for years Starbucks said they were not interested in locating in Lynn and they finally came so we approved it.”

Peter Capano, the Ward 6 city councilor whose district includes the Lynnway, said everyone agrees the highway’s aesthetics need to be improved.

“We are looking at a proposal for changes on the Lynnway,” he said.

A study is being done by the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Department of Transportation that will offer ideas to improve it, he said. Public hearings will be held and a report is expected to be issued later this year.

Patrick McGrath, who owns the Lynnway Mart Indoor Mall Flea Market that attracts thousands of buyers and sellers, has been seeking a developer to build on his 8.5-acre prime waterfront parcel.

“I don’t know what to say, the Lynnway is what it is,” he said. “I hope to have my site developed and it starts there. Hopefully, Joe O’Donnell’s site next door gets developed. Unfortunately,  we’ll always have the Creamery, the car wash and car lots. They’re not going anywhere, at least in my lifetime. I would like to see it all developed.”

One reason why the Lynnway looks the way it does is that officials have been reluctant to implement firm regulations because it is a major source of real estate taxes for the city. Peter Caron, the city’s assessing director, reports that 183 Lynnway businesses that employ hundreds of Lynn residents contribute $6,017,000 to the city’s coffers annually.  

Not every Lynnway business is a blight. Consider the handsome Solomon Metals Corp. property. Once the home of Harrison Dispatch, a former trucking terminal for General Electric Co., Steven Solomon has maintained the grass, shrubs, trees and added chains from the U.S.S. Wasp and later purchased a pair of bells to add to the front display.

“Even though we are in the scrap metal business, we take seriously the idea that we should put a positive face out front and be good neighbors,” said Solomon, whose family has owned the building since 1974.

The other good looking commercial site is the Clock Tower Business Center. The 305,000-square-foot office building is surrounded by a wrought iron fence, and its grounds are covered with green and trees.

One community, Framingham, has tackled the issue of landscaping and signs with success.

Susan Bernstein, a former Framingham Planning Board member, was part of the effort in the 1990s to remake Route 9. Her goal, along with fellow members, was to turn the road filled with unattractive signs and too little green space into a tree-lined boulevard. Twenty years later there’s been enormous improvements made, say planners.

The panel started with landscaping and implemented strict regulations on the number of trees and shrubs that must be planted on commercial lots.

“There was a great sensitivity towards changing the ambiance of Route 9,” she said. “When businesses came before us, we required lots of trees, and over time, as you can see, they mature and you start to get an improvement.”

Framingham required one tree for every three parking spaces,  or one every 27 feet. The rules called for trees with a two- to three-inch truck.

“We were specific about the type of trees, and it’s tedious work,” she said. “But developers prefer to spend as little as possible.”

As a result, hundreds of trees have been planted in the last two decades along the road, in parking lots and in front of buildings.

Later, the panel devised a bylaw to reduce the size of signs. At one time, there were few limits and signs rose to 35 feet. Today, the limit in most parts of the road is 20 feet.

“If you look at communities that have good signs, that says more about them than almost anything as you enter,” she said. “When you drive through communities with 40-foot signs you see that it demonstrates an image of a schlocky town.”

Bernstein, a real estate agent, said a community’s image greatly influences property values.

But how to get it done is another matter, she said.

“There has to be the political will on the various boards to do it,” she said. “It’s not easy.”

Thomas Grillo can be reached at

Article source:

Kate Middleton and Prince William ‘joke’ at Chelsea Flower Show, claims Charlie Albone


  • Australian landscaper Charlie Albone won award at Chelsea Flower Show
  • He met Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge as they browsed gardens
  • Prince William asked Mr Albone about the Buxus shrubs in his collection
  • Princess Kate replied: ‘Babe, we’ve got those. We’ve got loads of those’ 

John Carney for Daily Mail Australia



The Duchess of Cambridge revealed her pet name for Prince William during an unguarded moment at the Chelsea Flower Show when she affectionately called him ‘babe’, a gardener has claimed.

As the royal couple were admiring Australian TV presenter and landscaper Charie Albone’s prize-winning garden, Prince William asked him about shrubs.

Mr Albone told Prince William that the plant was one of his prized Buxus, to which the Duchess replied: ‘Babe, we’ve got those. We’ve got loads of those.’

The British-born landscape designer and television presenter known for co-hosting Selling Houses Australia, won a silver gilt medal at the show on Tuesday.

Scroll down for videos

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London for the first time on Tuesday 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London for the first time on Tuesday 

‘I got to meet Prince Will and Prince Harry. Prince William was quite funny actually. He came up and said: “What [flower] is this one?”, and I replied: “That’s a Buxus”,’ Albone explained on Channel 9’s Today Show.

‘Princess Catherine just turned to him and said: “Babe, we’ve got those. We’ve got loads of those.”‘

Today show presenters Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson fell about laughing at this revelation, with Today presenter Wilkinson asking: ‘Kate actually called him “babe” did she!?’

Albone replied: ‘Yeah she actually called him “babe”, and said “we’ve got loads of those”.’

As they looked at the different horticultural creations with Prince Harry they spoke to Australian landscaper and TV personality Charlie Albone

As they looked at the different horticultural creations with Prince Harry they spoke to Australian landscaper and TV personality Charlie Albone

Go green like the Duchess in a dress coat by Catherine Walker

Catherine Walker ‘Evelyn’ coat dress

Green goddess!

Buy now

The Cannes Film Festival might be over, but the Chelsea Flower Show has provided us with plenty of glamour to make up for it today!

Jerry Hall, Naomie Harris, Rosamund Pike, Demi Moore and Donna Air were all there today, and now the Duchess of Cambridge has arrived with the rest of the Royal Family to check out the glorious gardens.

If ever there was an occasion to wear this Catherine Walker coat dress, today was it. She just had to go down the green route, right? Kate chose this fit and flare piece, which we’ve seen on several occasions before, and we love the striking emerald shade.

This Chelsea-based label’s designs have famously been worn by Princess Diana and Kate’s own mother Carole Middleton. This exact coat isn’t available, but click the link (right) to take a look at the next best thing.

Coat dresses are not frequently found online, so instead let’s take inspiration from the stand out hue with a Duchess-esque dress. Simply style yours like Kate with a classic pair of nude pumps.



<!– Albone appeared on Tuesday's Today show and told of a hilarious conversation he claimed he had with the Royal couple

Albone appeared on Tuesday’s Today show and told of a hilarious conversation he claimed he had with the Royal couple

Kate coordinated her bright dress with pale-peach accessories and wore L.K.Bennett nude court shoes The Duchess of Cambridge attends the Chelsea Flower Show for the first time and wore an emerald-green coat dress by Catherine Walker for the occasion

Albone claims Princess Kate told William when he was unsure of a type of flower: ‘Babe, we’ve got those. We’ve got loads of those’

What is a Buxus?

A Buxus can be a little hedge, border or topiary plant. 

It’s not a prolific flowerer, it doesn’t have a strong sweet perfume and it’s slow growing. 

But it is one of the most commonly used plants in the world in landscaping.

It provides good outcomes with minimal effort.

Source: Domain 

Albone, who oversees the outdoor component of the popular renovation show on the LifeStyle Channel, went on to tell about what other Royals had to say about his award-winning horticultural creation, which is called The Husqvarna Garden.

‘(Prince) Harry was the nicest down-to-earth bloke. He said: “It looks really nice. It’s really cool. Really like it.”

‘I asked them if they’d like to come into the garden and they said they’d love to but the timekeeper said: “No, keep going.” They were kept moving on.’

Albone's Husqvarna Garden proved popular with show goers and won a prestigious silver gilt medal

Albone’s Husqvarna Garden proved popular with show goers and won a prestigious silver gilt medal

The Buxus flower that caused all the confusion

The Buxus flower that caused all the confusion

Albone also said he got ‘particularly Australian’ when they first walked past him as he greeted them with ‘how ya going? ‘And they came over’.

He earned his second silver gilt medal at the show in consecutive years – an impressive achievement in itself.

‘Winning consecutive silver gilt medals at the Chelsea Flower Show is a dream come true. I am incredibly proud to represent Australia in an event of this calibre,’ he said.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were making their first visit to the world-famous Chelsea Flower Show as they joined several other members of the royal family including the Queen and Prince Philip at the annual floral festival.

Although the Royal Horticultural Society event is one of the highlights of the royal summer calendar, William, 33, and Kate, 34, have never found the time to attend before.

But the couple, who were accompanied by Prince Harry , 31, had an added reason to attend this year, as they saw the pink and green chrysanthemum that has been named in honour of their daughter Princess Charlotte.

Albone (pictured right, with Selling Houses Australia co-host Andrew Winter) won his second silver gilt medal at the show

Albone (pictured right, with Selling Houses Australia co-host Andrew Winter) won his second silver gilt medal at the show

Today show presenters Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson fell about laughing at Albone's revelation

Today show presenters Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson fell about laughing at Albone’s revelation

Albone (pictured with Selling Houses Australia co-hosts Shaynna Blaze and Andrew Winter) also met Prince Harry at the prestigious flower show

Albone (pictured with Selling Houses Australia co-hosts Shaynna Blaze and Andrew Winter) also met Prince Harry at the prestigious flower show

Established in 1913, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has become one of the world’s greatest showcases for horticultural excellence, attracting visitors and exhibitors from across the globe.

Since its beginning, the show has gone from strength to strength: it has grown from 244 exhibitors in 1913 to over 500 today, including gardens, nurseries, floristry, educational displays and trade stands.

On Tuesday the show attracted 165,000 visitors.

Albone described Prince Harry as 'the nicest down-to-earth bloke' you could meet

Albone described Prince Harry as ‘the nicest down-to-earth bloke’ you could meet

The Australian TV presenter and landscaper had a conversation to remember with the three Royals

The Australian TV presenter and landscaper had a conversation to remember with the three Royals

William looked in his element but admitted he wasn't particularly green fingered The couple looked in great spirits as they walked around the show

William and Kate were making their first appearance at the world-famous flower show


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Outdoor Celebrations: Farmington Garden Club Marking Its 75th Year With A Tour

When June blooms, gardens beckon. It’s the ideal time for an outdoor celebration, and the Farmington Garden Club, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, is marking the occasion with its first garden tour in a dozen years. Fittingly, the eight gardens selected for the tour exemplify the tour’s theme, “Outdoor Celebrations.”

Tour co-chair Kathy Lindroth says each garden chosen has special outdoor living spaces, and homeowners will have their garden and patio spaces set up for outdoor entertaining, relaxation or family enjoyment.

The self-guided tour on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes three gardens at historic properties in town, two more woodland gardens on Old Mountain Road and three gardens in Devonwood.

People often take a Sunday drive along Devonwood’s main thoroughfare but hesitate to turn onto the private roads that branch off of it. Here’s a chance to see three wonderful private gardens tucked away in Devonwood. One, on Brighton Way, was designed and installed just 15 years ago but has matured into a showpiece reminiscent of a villa in Tuscany, with lovely stonework, a fountain and impeccable grounds.

Landscape architect Bruce Unger of Old Farms Landscaping in Granby, who installed the plantings and hardscaping, says he used terraces to make the property seem set farther back from the road and more ample. The garden is planted with beautiful specimen trees including Japanese Umbrella pines, a Katsura, a Columnar European beech and a Himalayan birch, along with lovely flowering trees including dogwoods and a handsome column of Chanticleer Bradford pear trees.

One of the historic gardens on Main Street on the tour was designed by landscape architect Fletcher Steele, considered by many to be a key link between Beaux-Arts formalism and modern landscape design. Many of the nearly 700 gardens Steele created over his career were at grand estates — like his renowned 1920s design of Naumkeag in Stockbridge, Mass. — but the formal Italianate garden he designed in Farmington in 1954 is regarded as so significant that the Garden Club of America documented it for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Gardens. The sunken garden is a serene oasis; one forgets that the property is on busy Main Street.

The same is true of the gardens at Oldgate, a house on Main Street that dates from 1660 and has been in the same family for two and a half centuries. The original ornamental garden was laid out in what had been a barnyard in about 1900 by Theodore Roosevelt’s older sister, Anna Roosevelt Cowles, who lived there at the time, and the current owners have continued to update it. Named for its front gate, which is thought to have been inspired by a water gate on London’s Thames River designed by Sir Christopher Wren, Oldgate’s park-like garden boasts several Connecticut Notable Trees and perennial beds gracefully cut into the spacious lawns.

While several of the gardens on the tour are professionally maintained (and have that “wow” factor), Lindroth says the others are maintained by the homeowners, “thus giving our visitors an idea of what they can do themselves.”

All proceeds from the garden tour will fund the restoration and beautification of the Farmington Village Green, which publicity chair Christine Bogino says “has been untouched for years.”

Founded in the 1941 to “study and promote interest in horticulture” and “to beautify and serve Farmington,” the Farmington Garden Club does just that — planting and maintaining pocket parks in town and sponsoring the flower baskets and kissing balls on the Vincent DiPietro Memorial Bridge on Route 4 over the Farmington River, among other projects.

Tickets for the garden tour on Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate, and the tour also will include two boutiques selling plants and home and garden products. Call 860-409-0610.

In addition, a preview party is planned at Farmington Gardens on Thursday evening, June 9. Tickets are $75. Call 860-677-4807.

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‘Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist’ and ‘Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Beatriz Milhazes’ Review

Tapestry (1969) that Roberto Burle Marx designed for the Santo André Civic Center.

New York

‘It is the contrast of colors, textures, and flavors between dishes that adds value to a meal.” So said the great Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994), who not only transformed landscape design in the 20th century but also became famous for the generosity of the dinners he prepared for his friends, drawn from a panoply of international artists, architects and writers.

Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist


Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings: Beatriz Milhazes

Jewish Museum
Through Sept. 18

If Alexander Calder took Mondrian’s abstract shapes and set them in motion, Burle Marx energized the sometimes inhuman geometry of midcentury architecture by setting it free in nature. Working with the architect of Brasília, Oscar Niemeyer, in the 1960s, Burle Marx laid out many gardens and parks for that new capital. He created the iconic, flowing patterns of the Avenida Atlântica along Rio’s Copacabana Beach (1970), as well as Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard (1988-91), among many other international projects.

Burle Marx’s designs shattered the symmetry that had dominated formal gardens for centuries. He appropriated the irregular shapes favored by Joan Miró, Jean Arp and Calder to create compositions that feel richly dynamic yet organically whole.

The key was his material. Burle Marx immersed himself in the tropical diversity of the Brazilian ecosystems. In his hands midcentury modernism burst into flower with beds of brilliantly colored heliconias and bromeliads, and swayed as native grasses responded to passing breezes. Abstraction came to life and perpetually changed with the seasons.

Gardens of the Walter Moreira Salles residence.

The retrospective at the Jewish Museum, “Roberto Burle Marx: Brazilian Modernist,” is the first exhibition in the U.S. to present the full range of his work. It reveals how his early training as a visual artist underpinned his growing interest in landscape design. In a “Drawing for the Louis Wallerstein Residence” (1938), he projected the frolicking nudes and Arcadian spirit of Matisse’s “Joy of Life” into the reality of a private garden. But it was his collaborations with Niemeyer and his master Le Corbusier that supplied Burle Marx with the formal vocabulary that he would invigorate by the 1940s.

While the curators, Jens Hoffmann and Claudia J. Nahson, have done an excellent job of presenting Burle Marx’s richly colored and complexly plotted drawings for a range of commissions, no exhibition can fully overcome the impossibility of including the resulting gardens. It would have been a revelation if at least one project had been documented from the initial drawing of colorful biomorphic shapes to the set of plants that would realize Burle Marx’s conception in both time and three-dimensional space—and, finally, would have displayed photographs of the finished garden. His dynamic gouache for the landscaping of the Walter Moreira Salles residence in Rio (1951) offers a perfect opportunity, since it is a signature union of plantings and blue-and-white tiled murals that is now open to the public as the Instituto Moreira Salles.

The greatest contribution of this exhibition, however, is its breadth. Rather than focusing exclusively on Burle Marx’s landscape designs, it showcases the full range of his creativity—the paintings he made throughout his career, sculptures, painted ceramic tiles, and an 87-foot-long tapestry he designed for the Santo André Civic Center in 1969. The tapestry fills the back wall of the main gallery and evokes the sensual variety of his gardens through remarkably vivid colors and varied textures woven with yarns of different thicknesses and finishes.

Gold and aquamarine bracelet (probably 1960s) by Burle Marx.

Most surprising is the selection of Burle Marx’s jewelry. Conceived in the 1960s, these rings, earrings and necklaces demonstrate the scope of his aesthetic. Especially his designs for bracelets escape the usual distinctions between art and decoration. These intricate, undulating compositions could as easily fit on a city streetscape as on a woman’s wrist. There is a universalism in his designs that stems from European modernism, but Burle Marx reimagined his sources in the far more expansive environment of Brazilian culture.

Burle Marx came to represent the potential of Brazil. Much of his career spanned a period of dictatorship in his country (1964-85), and both his advocacy and his nonhierarchical designs expressed a freedom that radically opposed the strictures of the military regime.

Even if he had not earned world-wide acclaim for his art, Burle Marx would deserve respect for the attention he brought to the unique plants and ecosystems of the country. In the course of searching for exceptional plants to populate his gardens, he discovered nearly 50 species, and some 30 of these bear his name. More than a trophy hunter, Burle Marx understood the interdependence of species. By the late 1960s, he had become deeply involved in the fight to protect the natural environment in Brazil, a conflict that pitted him against both commercial developers and the dictatorship.

For Burle Marx, conservation was essential to his art. His gardens were not isolated works. By integrating geometric structure and growing things, he bridged the divide between nature and the built environment. Through his comprehensive vision, we experience a rare sense of wholeness.


Beatriz Milhazes’s ‘Gamboa II’

One measure of an artist’s achievements is his influence on the current scene, and the Jewish Museum’s exhibition captures Burle Marx’s international impact with a small selection of work by seven artists born after 1950. This diverse group extends across media—from the films of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster to the soundscapes of Arto Lindsay, photographs of Luisa Lambri, ceramics of Nick Mauss, paintings of Juan Araujo, and sculptures of Paloma Bosquê and Beatriz Milhazes.

While all but Ms. Milhazes are integrated into the exhibition galleries, her installation, “Gamboa II,” is a fully independent work. Consisting of five chandelier-like constructions that dangle just above the heads of visitors, it occupies the lobby of the Gothic revival mansion that now houses the museum. The ceiling’s floral plasterwork fascinated Ms. Milhazes. Her “Gamboa II” fills the lobby with the exuberance of Carnival.

Having grown up in Rio surrounded by Burle Marx’s designs, Ms. Milhazes reflects on his precedent by integrating formal structures of European modernism with contemporary Brazilian culture. One of her primary inspirations is the costumes and floats of the samba schools, profusely ornamented displays that are laboriously prepared for presentation at the annual festival. Her sculpture infuses an illusion of Baroque extravagance with the populist materials of the floats and costumes—plastic flowers, golden balls, strings of shiny beads—kept in check by the taut, cylindrical structure of each sculptural element and a closely keyed palette of pinks, silver, gold and white.

Like one of Burle Marx’s gardens, Ms. Milhazes’s “Gamboa II” creates a dazzling zone of pleasure.

Mr. FitzGerald teaches the history of modern and contemporary art at Trinity College, Hartford, Conn.

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Gardening Tips: Be on the lookout for pest problems

Hopefully we have finally seen the last snow for this spring! With the arrival of warmer weather, it’s time to walk around your yard and inspect for insect problems.

Here is information about some of the common ones you may encounter.

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that cluster in large numbers around the tips of new growth and on the underside of leaves. They can be various colours; light green, red or black.

They harm plants by piercing and sucking the juices from soft leaf and stem tissue. This distorts new growth and weakens the plant. They feed on a wide variety of plants.

Since they do have such a soft body, they are one of the pests that are easier to control with organic products. End-All kills both the adult, nymph and egg stages of aphid, whitefly and several other soft-bodied insects.

Spray directly on the insects and the underside of the leaves. Repeat at 7 to 10 day intervals, as aphids have a quick life cycle in warm weather. A mild dish soap mix with water will also work on aphids. Mix 1 part soap to 20 parts water.

Be aware that ladybugs are one of nature’s control for aphids, so don’t harm these beneficial beetles!

Euonymus Webworm will hatch any time now. They veraciously eat the foliage of Burningbush and other euonymus plants. These pests form a mass of webbing similar in appearance to the tent caterpillar.

Sometimes the best solution is to cut off the branch with the webbing, bag it and dispose of it in your garbage.

This can be done if you catch the problem before the insects head out of the web to feed on the rest of the foliage. Otherwise spray with End-All, Insecticidal Soap or BTK.

BTK (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a biological insecticide that works well for all the chewing caterpillars and other destructive larvae forms of moths and butterflies.

It is the best product to use for Spruce Budworm, Tent Caterpillars and Mountain Ash Sawfly. Spray BTK on foliage so the pests ingest it as they eat.

Look out for Pine Sawfly larvae. This is another small caterpillar-like insect that hatches in vast numbers and eats new needle growth very quickly. Mugho Pine is one of their favourite plants to attack.

This pest is actually the larvae stage of a wasp so BTK is not an effective control. Insecticidal soap will work on this pest if you find them young enough.

Keep a close eye out for the larvae form of the Viburnum beetle. This pest will quickly turn healthy leaves into an unsightly lacework that turns brown and shrivels up.

Inspect the underside of your viburnum leaves right away! If you see a small number of larvae, pick off the leaves and destroy them. Large numbers of pests will need to be sprayed.

I have already seen the Red Lily Beetle chewing on the new leaves of my Oriental and Asiatic lilies. I just squish every beetle I find. If you are a bit squeamish, pick them off and drop them in a container of soapy water mixed with oil.  

Beneficial nematodes are the best control for white grubs and the Cranefly larvae that attack your lawn’s roots as well as leafminer that attacks birch and lilac leaves.

There is also a nematode available for control of common pests in the vegetable garden. It will attack Armyworm, cutworm, Iris Borer, onion maggot, carrot maggot, flea beetles and many more garden pests.

Now that soil has warmed, it is the perfect time to apply nematodes as a pest control option. The mixture is applied to wet ground and soil must be watered for an additional 3 days to keep the nematode viable.

Whenever you spray a product to control pests on plants, be sure to choose an overcast day when no rain is predicted or early morning/early evening of a sunny day.

Don’t spray foliage during the heat of a sunny day. The product you use could damage leaves and flowers.

Always remember, that with careful observation, small problems can be dealt with quickly. If a pest goes unchecked, it is always harder to control.

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Goodbye spring, hello excessive rainfall and soil subsidence: This week’s gardening tips

As days approach 90 degrees and nights begin to stay in the 70s, summer arrives. Hot, muggy weather will dominate until late September or October. Farewell to spring.

Problems associated with excessive rainfall continue to show up in area gardens. Root rot is causing die back and death in citrus trees, fig trees and other fruit trees. Fungal leaf spots may be severe on photinia, Indian hawthorn, roses and crape myrtles. Expect spotted leaves to change color and drop from the plant. Vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes are experiencing various fungal leaf spots and fruit rots. If you are having problems, be sure to get a proper diagnosis and determine what, if anything, should be done. For help, contact your local LSU AgCenter extension horticulturists at

Soil subsidence may require you to spread fill over your lawn. This is especially common on the south shore. Filling can be done now through August. Use a sandy soil, like pump sand or river sand. Avoid spillway sand due to weed issues. Where the fill is deeper than 2 inches, you may have to replace the grass.

Dan Gill is a horticulturist with the LSU AgCenter.

Love to read about gorgeous gardens? Sign up for’s free home and garden newsletter, and you’ll get Dan Gill’s latest tips as well as stories about gorgeous local landscapes.Just click here. And while you’re at it, head over to the’s New Orleans Homes and Gardens page on Facebook.

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Tips for creating a great rooftop garden

What’s new under the sun is actually really old.

Growing plants on rooftops has been practiced since ancient Babylonian times to beautify and take advantage of otherwise wasted spaces. Today’s environmental awareness and sustainability concerns have created a resurgence of interest, and in some parts of the world, rooftop plantings are mandatory on new buildings. As our society becomes increasingly crowded, utilizing these spaces is becoming an ever more practical opportunity.


Before constructing a rooftop garden, you’ll need to do your homework. A structural analysis by a professional engineer is a must to determine your roof’s capacity and suitability for supporting the additional weight of structures, soil, and plantings. You’ll also need to know about your roof covering’s moisture tolerance, slope, and drainage capacity; water availability; and how wastewater runoff will be managed. Most municipalities require adequate rooftop access and egress as well as appropriate edge barriers for safety. The results of this research will reveal what type of garden can be constructed on your roof. Should your roof lack the overall capacity for a full-scale garden, it might still be possible to grow plants on only those sections that accommodate them or even in movable pots.

Knowing your limitations, you can explore the types of plantings that make sense for you. There are generally two types of rooftop gardens: extensive and intensive.

Extensive rooftop plantings are designed primarily for functional uses like moderating building temperatures, rainwater capture, and crops. They generally need a 4-to-8-inch root-depth capacity and utilize a limited range of plants requiring minimal irrigation, nominal foot traffic, and periodic maintenance. This type of garden can also be called a “green roof” or “living roof” and is usually made up of low-growing plants that tolerate temperature fluctuations and inconsistent moisture.

Intensive rooftop plots are similar to ground-level gardens, with deeper root-growing than extensive plantings, but are designed for aesthetic, recreational, and functional uses. Simple intensive plantings are designed with movable or permanent pots or planters placed around the roof area. More complex designs include permanent planting areas filled with soil to support the growth of a variety of trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. Depending on their size, trees and shrubs typically need as much as 24 inches to support the plants and anchor them against wind and weather. Plan for a 10-to-18-inch root depth for low-growing shrubs, groundcovers, vegetables, herbs, and annuals.

Constructing a rooftop garden is always far more involved than creating one at ground level. Before you begin, you should understand the costs and constraints involved with installation. Some buildings allow sufficient roof access to bring up materials and plants using elevators or stairways. In others, these items must be lifted from outside the building using a ladder, pulleys, crane, or other method. Many garden structures can be laid out or preassembled before being brought to the roof, but some rooftop-garden designers and installers find it practical and economical to construct and plant in place.


Once you decide which type of garden is right for you, consult the experts to determine media (“engineered soil”) composition, moisture-holding capacity, drainage, irrigation amounts and frequency, nutrient levels, and root-space needs for the plants you’ll be using. Ordinary garden-type soil is usually not an option; it’s too heavy and lacks the drainage capacity rooftop-garden plantings need. Because your garden is being installed on an impervious rooftop or roof deck, you’re essentially fashioning a container garden, albeit with a larger or wider “container” than what we generally envision. So unlike a ground-level garden, roots cannot anchor as firmly, and there’s no opportunity for the subsoil beneath your garden to accommodate deeper roots, absorb excess moisture, or moderate soil temperatures.

When you select plants, take into account their capacity to tolerate harsh wind exposure, weather extremes, and dehydrating conditions. Also consider any shade or reflecting light adjacent structures cast. Since they are aboveground, your ambient root-zone temperatures will ultimately equalize with the outside temperatures; this is a key concern for high soil temperatures in summer and root hardiness in winter.

I started to compile a list of plants that work well on Boston-area rooftops and soon realized there are too many options and not enough space in this story. Consider all categories: coniferous and broadleaf evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs, groundcovers and vines, herbaceous perennials, annual flowers, vegetables, and herbs. Select appropriate plants by evaluating their year-round appeal, bloom sequence, flower colors, autumn foliage and fruit, architectural forms, shade-producing capacity, windbreak effect, tolerance to soil-moisture extremes, and expected life cycle, among other factors. Plants with fibrous root systems are most stable; trees and shrubs with thick-, waxy- or hairy-surfaced leaves tend to tolerate heavy wind exposure and resist dehydration. Avoid trees with large leaves that strong/buffeting winds can damage, “top-heavy” plants with small or weak root systems, and plants with twigs and branches that break easily.

Maintenance is yet another consideration, involving all aspects of watering (consider installing an automatic irrigation system), weed and pest management, pruning, removing leaf/fruit/twig debris, and winter care. Some plantings, including annuals, require frequent attention and periodic replenishment or replacement to keep the area attractive; others can be lower-maintenance.

Also be sure to factor in those extra features that will help make your rooftop garden a place you can enjoy frequently: paving, seating, tables, firepit/chimenea/barbecue, pergola, water feature, shade structure, wind barrier, and other elements. Be sure to check local building and fire code regulations first.

Anyway you look at it, designing and developing a rooftop garden is expensive. Your municipality may offer grants, tax incentives, or other benefits for certain types of rooftop installations. That’s worth investigating. Some buildings can benefit from enhanced LEED ratings as well.

Creating a rooftop garden is certainly a major endeavor not to be undertaken casually. But given the right conditions, an adequate budget, and thoughtful planning, the rewards can be well worth the investment both in terms of the environment and your personal enjoyment.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff

In a touch of tropical, a fruit tree on the fourth-floor roof deck at Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff

At Federal Reserve Bank of Boston for a conference, Tina Andrews (left) and Nani Assefa enjoy the roof deck.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff

A view of Congress Street looking inbound from the roof deck garden at Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Crabapples in all their spring glory on the fourth-floor roof deck at Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Wisteria Rose/July 2014

Green Mountain boxwood, duranta, hibiscus, Kousa dogwood, Knock Out roses, coleus, cosmos, phlox, and verbena flourish in Charlestown.

Wisteria Rose/August 2009

Kousa dogwood, Espalier apple trees, climbing roses, Green Gem boxwood, tomatoes, potato vine, coleus, mandevilla, and chives liven up a Boston rooftop.

Wisteria Rose/June 2014

Pennisetum ornamental grass and Hinoki cypress don’t detract from the view.

Wayne Mezitt is a third-generation nurseryman, a Massachusetts certified horticulturist, chairman of Weston Nurseries of Hopkinton and Chelmsford, trustee chairman for the Massachusetts Horticultural Society at Elm Bank, and owner of Hort-Sense, an advisory business. Send comments to

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