For my garden designs, I draw inspiration from a deep connection with Modernism and Naturalism. The designer Roberto Burle Marx was a trail-blazer in this respect and his influence is still very much noticeable in designs today. A brilliant example is the Hepworth Wakefield garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. This garden for the gallery in West-Yorkshire combines beautifully naturalistic planting with strong shapes and a human scale creating a sense of well-being and a wish to explore.

The last two images are from a recent garden design by Raymond Jungles, FASLA, a Florida-based landscape architect who often visited Burle Marx in Brazil. The garden is created for a botanical exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden “inspired by Roberto Burle Marx’s landscape designs and plant explorations.”

It’s rare to have an interpretation of a landscape architect’s work in living materials—usually we must make do with drawings and photographs. The risk of failure, or just being uninteresting, is high. Yet, the garden doesn’t feel like a pastiche or an homage, but more like a paraphrase—authentic to Burle Marx and fresh at the same time. It succeeds as both a stand-alone design and as an immersion into what made Burle Marx’s work so exciting. “I used the knowledge I had for making [gardens] to give people the feeling I had,” Jungles says.

The garden exhibit is a way into the work, but also a brush with the personality that conceived it. “I want people to get to know him because he was spectacular. He was one of a kind.”

Brazilian Modern: The Living Art of Roberto Burle Marx runs through September 29, 2019, at the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Jennifer Reut, Landscape Architecture Magazine Aug 2019.

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