Monday, January 20, 2014

The Sabbatical

What happens when America’s most promising planting designer takes time to study the world’s leading designers?

Adam Woodruff is thinking about plants. 

Woodruff, the St. Louis garden designer best known for his traffic-stopping seasonal displays at projects like the Bank of Springfield in Illinois, has spent much of the last three years quietly studying the work of the world’s leading designers.

In that time, Woodruff has crisscrossed North America and Europe to see some of the most spectacular plantings in the world. From the vertical gardens of Patrick Blanc to the horizontal meadows of Hermannshof; from the flamboyant gardens of Chanticleer to the understated elegance of Hummelo, Woodruff has filled his passport seeking out groundbreaking planting designs.

Woodruff’s sabbatical was not initially something he set out to do. But Adam’s work changed when he and his partner moved to Massachusetts. “Circumstances in my personal life took us to the East coast and forced a change in my business model,” explained Woodruff in a recent conversation.  “I soon found myself living in Marblehead with less work and more time.  I eventually embraced a more balanced life and took the opportunity to travel.”

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Year Ahead

What to Expect this Year on Grounded Design
Tokachi Millenium Forest by Dan Pearson Studio; image by Syogo Oizumi/TMF

It is the first of January, and like many of you, I am taking a few moments to think about the year ahead. The past few months were full: a blur of deadlines, new projects, travel, late night writing, a sick child, and somehow in the midst, the holidays happened. Yet in this blur of activity, perhaps even because of it, I am looking ahead with intention and inspiration. I have never been so inspired.

I am inspired by a big idea. It is an idea about a new kind of garden, part designed and part wild, found in every corner our cities and and along every road of our countrysides. It is an idea about planting as an art, perhaps the most important art of this century, expressing both our longing for nature and our loss of it entirely. It is an idea about the potential of designed plantings to be fecund, self-creating communities.

It is not my idea, and it is not entirely a new idea. But for the first time, it is an idea being expressed artfully by some of the world's brightest designers and writers.

This year, Grounded Design will be intentionally more outward focused. We will celebrate the ideas of designers and writers on the edge of this new frontier. There will be a feature article on one of the fastest rising stars in design; there will be an interview with one of the most original thinkers in horticulture; and there will be several exclusive one on ones with internationally renowned plantsmen and plantswomen. And there will be guest posts with focused reviews of some of the most important new gardens of the last year.

So stay warm, and stay tuned!

Wishing you all a very happy New Year.     

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