Russell Page

The Education of a Gardener

Today is the birthday of the British gardener, garden designer, and landscape architect Russell Page who was born on this day in 1906.
His full name was Montague Russell Page.
Page's is known for his book called The Education of a Gardener. The book is a classic in garden literature. In it, Page shares his vast knowledge of plants and trees and design. The book ends with a description of his dream garden.
In the book, there are many wonderful quotes by Page.
Page wrote:

"I know nothing whatever of many aspects of gardening and very little of a great many more. But I never saw a garden from which I did not learn something and seldom met a gardener who did not, in some way or another, help me."

First published in 1962, Page's book shares his charming anecdotes and timeless gardening advice. He wrote:

”I like gardens with good bones and an affirmed underlying structure. I like well-made and well-marked paths, well-built walls, well-defined changes in level. I like pools and canals, paved sitting places and a good garden in which to picnic or take a nap.”


"If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. 'Green fingers' are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpracticed. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart." 

Page is considered the first modern garden designer. Like Piet Oudolf, Page used flowers to create living, natural paintings.
And although he designed Gardens for the Duke of Windsor and Oscar de la Renta, it was Russell Page who said:

"I am the most famous garden designer you’ve never heard of."

Page designed the Gardens at the Frick Collection in New York City in 1977.
In 2014 when the Frick was making plans to expand, they initially considered demolishing the Page garden. After a year of facing public backlash in support of the garden - which was something the museum never anticipated - in May 2015, the Frick decided to keep the garden.
During the year of debating the fate of the garden, the Frick indicated that they believed the garden was never meant to be a permanent part of the museum. But, all that changed when Charles Birnbaum, the founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, decided to do his homework. Birnbaum discovered an old Frick press release from 1977, where they proudly introduced the Page landscape as a permanent garden. Birnbaum shared his discovery on the Huffington Post, and thanks to him, the 3700 square-foot Page garden lives on for all of us to enjoy.

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Russell Page
Russell Page

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