This Week's Podcast — A Replay: Garden Escapes with Jan Johnsen
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Why do visits to some garden spaces make us feel so relaxed and refreshed? That’s a big question. Does there have to be a hard-worker behind the scenes to create a sense of tranquility? Is this concept a conceit? Maybe not.
Landscape designer Jan Johnsen shares her experience in making tranquil outdoor settings in her book, Heaven is a Garden – Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection. She is a principal of the design/build firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools in Westchester County, NY.
Jan’s book and the gardens she’s designed seem to live a very long way from where she grew up in Brooklyn, NY apartments. Jan says the Japanese Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was an influence. She then toured gardens in Japan and interprets the feeling of these gardens for American designs. But where does one begin?
Jan talks about power spots and contemplative gardens. She writes that there are three features of a serene outdoor setting: simplicity, sanctuary and delight. Chapters in the book include: Creating Music for the Eyes – “shape, line and proportion unify a garden;” Color – Nature’s Catalyst – “therapeutic effects of color and light in garden design;” Calling on the Trees – “addresses the enlivening influence of our arboreal friends by deciphering the language of trees;” The Power of Place – [the ways] “terrain can be molded and accented to create sanctuary and meaning.”
I ask about the concept often called “genius.” Genius suggests that a locale possesses ecologically and spiritually unique qualities. It’s the essence or spirit of place. Learn more at Jan’s blog: “Heaven is a Garden.”