New and unknown destinations of all kinds always fuel my creative process, but I need time to put all of what I experience in perspective. When something is new it swirls around in my head and is exciting–like a new love affair. As with any relationship, the test of time filters what is going to be longer lasting than that first heart stopping crush.
It’s been a month since my trip to Portland, Oregon to attend the APLD International Landscape Design Conference and it has taken me that long to process some of what I experienced there…so here goes…
Much has been written about Portland as being the greenest and most sustainable city in the United States and evidence of that commitment to a healthy planet is everywhere. Portland’s citizens embrace an active outdoor lifestyle and even in the most urban core of the city, it is impossible to ignore the natural world that surrounds it and its influence on city life.
The landscape designers in Portland might protest, but the gardens I visited, for all of their genus loci, seemed rooted in a similar philosophy to other types of ‘natural’ gardens like those from the 18th century created by landscape gardeners like Capability Brown. In those long ago and greatly celebrated gardens, the idea as I understand it, was to evoke an idealized vision of the natural landscape.
The water features below are extremely different stylistically. All were inspired by the natural world and all were man made. Each interpretaion is unique and evokes a respect for and awe of nature. For me, a month later, this is the lingering idea..a river runs through it.
Postscript: I thought originally that my next blog post about my trip would be ‘Portland | Underfoot’ since there were so many interesting paving ideas there. I’ve decided instead to publish that as an album on my Facebook Studio page instead.