Vitra Design Museum, 2023. Hardcover, 220pp., 9.5 x 11.25
Gardens have always been places of leisure, pleasure and production; they reflect identities, dreams and visions. Deeply rooted in their culture, gardens have immense symbolic potential. The recent revival of horticulture has focused less on the garden as a romantic refuge than as a place where we might imagine the future and develop solutions. Urban farms, vertical gardens and other innovative projects in art, architecture and urban planning demonstrate that the present return to the garden is no timid retreat, but a pioneering quest for a world in which social and ecological justice count for something.
Garden Futures examines what gardens and their design reveal about our relationship to nature. In exploring the history of ideas behind the genesis of the modern garden, the book takes a close look at the present, goes in search of origins in the past and builds bridges into the future. Stunning photographs illustrate groundbreaking gardens by such designers as Derek Jarman and Piet Oudolf, while critical articles by well-known authors question conventional garden ideals—from perfect lawns to the ubiquitous garden plants and their colonial roots. Historical photo-essays consider the garden as a political space; authors and gardeners including Gilles Clement and Jamaica Kincaid present the garden as a place of learning where abstract concepts like ecology, climate change and food insecurity are translated into things you can smell, touch and taste. Daisy Ginsberg, Salmon Creek Farm and EcoLogic Studio create experimental and speculative projects generating new attitudes and approaches. In the age of the Anthropocene, the entire planet emerges as a garden that we need to cultivate, tend and use responsibly.