Warren's Wild Gardens
Today is the birthday of the American landscape designer Warren H Manning who was born on this day in 1860.
The day Manning was born, his father recorded the moment in his diary:
"At five minutes past 12 this morning, we had a son born to us. He is strong and healthy to all appearances. I set Hackett at work to dig the hole while I planted the Elm tree to commemorate the day that our first child was born. I think that there should be a tree planted at the birth of every child so that in the after times it may be seen which is most useful."
Manning's dad was undoubtedly proud of his son, who worked on design projects in almost every state in the country. Manning started out as an apprentice to Frederick Law Olmsted before going out on his own. Ultimately, Manning designed on all types of properties, from estates to golf courses and everything in between. All told, his portfolio included over 1,600 projects. One of the signature aspects of Manning's practice was promoting "Wild Gardens." Wild gardens appealed to Manning because they were more affordable (at least initially) for his clients compared to formal gardens. Adding wild spaces meant that Manning would generally get an opportunity to follow up on his projects as they usually needed some fine tunings. Then, third, many of Manning's private wild garden designs ended up becoming a gift to the community. And Manning was always thrilled to see more natural areas transitioned into public spaces.
The Birmingham artist and Landscape Architect Frank Hartley Anderson gave a moving tribute to Manning upon his death:
"Fifty other towns and cities today arc better places to live because of the vision of Warren H. Manning. Eleven hundred communities, in part, were made pleasanter places through his 50 years of wholehearted service."