I love this post!
First, let me say that Fritz is an old friend – he was in my garden
club, The Germinators, in the late 90’s. That club was made up of
artists who’d become passionately radicalized by plants and gardening
… many of them are now fairly successful garden designers.
Fritz is NOT one of those – he is an artist, and his project is
intended to provoke and challenge. It’s funny to me, all of the
gardeners and designers who are fervently denouncing the work because
it isn’t ‘pretty’ … forgive me for turning to an old cliche, but ‘Art
isn’t always a pretty picture’.
Fritz purposely chooses houses that are in the middle of
neighborhoods where the front lawn reigns supreme. The Edible Estate is
intended to be a sort of ‘shock’ … if it were an attractive vegetable
garden, it would be easier to contend with. Making beauty in outdoor
spaces is the job of garden designers – creating work that inspires
thought and opens up to other possibilities is the job of the
conceptual artist. The fact that his work inspires this kind of post
and the subsequent comments is a real victory for the Estates, as far
as I am concerned.
Whew … I’m taking up alot of space on your blog! Maybe I should
continue this elsewhere! Thank you Michele, for posting this … you
are helping the project work. I don’t think Fritz is trying to bring
the kitchen garden back – I think he is trying to ask questions and get
people thinking about what our priorities are.
Thanks for doing your part to continue the conversation – really interesting writing, as always!
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Wow, another conceptual art show about gardening? I really wish I could have seen the lawn show in Chicago.
I went to look at the Maplewood NJ project a few days ago. I wouldn’t call it a neighborhood where the “front yard reigns supreme” by a long shot. These are modest houses on small (40x100ft I’m guesssing) lots. Except for the sloping part (planted with strawberries as a groundcover, as compared to the ivied slope next door) I think you could mow the whole thing with a reel mower in ten or fifteen minutes.
Visually, there was actually a lot to like. Rhubarb plants flanking the front door- cute idea. Give them a year or two to fill in? Cool-looking black vinyl raised beds. The strawberry ground cover on the slope. The main problem was the orientation. At eleven am the garden was in nearly totaly shade. The maple tree that hangs over it must also suck up available water, despite the raised beds, no? There was a gloomy feeling about the place – nothing to harvest at the moment, other than a fluorishing mint crop. Lettuce had all bolted, no root crops visible…I peeked into the back yard which was in full sun – a better place for vegetables, I think in this case.
Still, I wouldn’t want to discourage these enthusiastic young experimenters. With some tweaking it could still work.
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