James Van Sweden

The New American Garden

Today is the birthday of the influential landscape architect and author James Van Sweden.
Van Sweden was an early pioneer in developing a new look and feel for American Landscapes, and his style is called The New American Garden.  signature elements of the new American Garden are broad sweeps of flowering perennials and wild grasses.
 In 1975, van Sweden partnered with Wolfgang Oehme, and together they started their firm now known as Uehme van Sweden or OvS.
Many gardeners remember that James created a purple Meadow for Oprah Winfrey's South Bend Indiana estate.
In his book, architecture in the garden, Van Sweden wrote,

"As I pulled up to Oprah Winfrey's front door for the first time, my immediate impression was that her house was divorced from its setting. Built-in an elegant French-Chateau style, the house was visibly uncomfortable with the matter-of-fact Midwestern farmland that surrounded it. Nothing had been done to ease the transition from one to the other—  the house and the site weren't talking.
Over the next four years, we worked together to create an architectural context around the house, including newly-installed terraces and walls. The materials we selected, brick framed with the Limestone, echo the house, yet this architecture also conformed to the surrounding countryside, adopting its long, horizontal lines. In this way, we quite literally pulled out into the site."

Van Sweden's books include The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design (2011), Architecture in the Garden (2003), and Gardening with Nature (1997).
You can get a used copy of James van Swedens books and support the show, using the Amazon Link in today's Show Notes for under $5.

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James Van Sweden
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