9 for Plinth et al.

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self-portraits drawn by Eric (l) and James (r)

In celebration of our first year anniversary of Plinth et al.,  Eric and I decided to have a little fun by turning the tables on ourselves and asking a few fun questions to each other. Again, we thank you for taking the time to continue with us on this creative project, it is a pleasure to have you by our side.

Future dream or goal?Future dream or goal?

Eric- Living simply by the water in a modest cottage with a garden. Having lived in Long Island, New York, and Australia for much of my life, I miss the presence of water. There is something magical about the transmutable, fluid quality of water, and even its sound is a melodic hymn in a garden’s silence.
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James-  It has always been a dream to have an old house as a school in the countryside that brings art and horticulture closer together, with artists, cooks, musicians and gardeners working creatively side by side in this environment, evolving and feeding creatively off of each other, a place for trials and experimentation through creative collaborations.  I am sure there are more artistic ideas and ways for us to use plants creatively out there than what we are used to doing and seeing already.
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Pettifers, United Kingdom and DeWiersse, the Netherlands

Garden that changed your life?

E- Pettifers, Gina Price’s beautiful garden in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. Mrs. Price combines the romance of an English garden with a modernist take on colors and planting. It incorporates grasses and late summer perennials without forgoing bulbs for spring color and shrubs for structure. Just beautiful and a surprise given how little the garden is hinted at at the front of the house.

J- DeWiersse changed my way of thinking as it was a highly creative time for me both in the garden as well as out. DeWiersse, in the southern part of the Netherlands, has been in the same family since 1678, so the amount of history weaving through the property is incredible enough on its own. A moated manor house, surrounded by 38 acres of  gardens encompassing vistas, formal gardens, wild gardens, meadows and kitchen gardens. It is a magical garden for me that holds many beautiful memories of people, nature, creativity and plants, it was like living in a dream.

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Ernest Henry Wilson and Roberto Burle Marx

If you could speak with one person, living or dead, who would it be?

E- Ernest Henry Wilson, the British plant explorer who introduced several East Asian plants such as Acer griseum and Lilium regale. Had he been alive, his stories could have been fascinating especially those exploits in China, a country irrevocably changed by rapid industrialization and modernization since then.
J- Roberto Burle Marx, the Brazilian artist, botanist and landscape architect was a man of intense creativity and talent. He was a garden designer, sculptor, painter, textile designer, musician and a knowledgeable plants man who lived a wonderful life working and entertaining in his gardens, Sitio, in Rio de Janeiro. He has been a hero of mine since first learning of him at Longwood Gardens through a teacher and friend of mine, whom I also highly admire, Joyce Rondinella.
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Favorite piece of your own work?

E- The glazed goblet adorned with grape leaves and stem I made by hand in high school.

J- A watercolor sketch of my bedroom while a student at Great Dixter; living in this historic house was such an enriching experience for me.

Plant to be reincarnated: Olive Tree

Olea europaea, Olive tree

Plant you would like to come back as in your next life?

E- An olive tree (Olea europaea). It is a giving tree that flourishes where the cultural emphasis is on food and family, and one can shape it in any way.

J- Definitely Ipomoea alba, or Moonflower vine. I love the lush green foliage with is large white blooms that open during the evening and are closed by morning, the intoxicating fragrance it has and that the lunar moth is attracted to the flowers.  While most plants are in bloom during the day, this intriguing plant really shines at night, it is a sight to see lighting up the dark garden.

Favorite Antique: Milk Glass Vases

Favorite antique or heirloom find?

E- My collection of antique milk glass vases. These vases can be bought inexpensively on ebay and flea markets, and their pristine simple shapes are versatile for different floral arrangements. Even when empty, they look good grouped together.

IMG_6670J- That’s like asking a mother if they have a favorite child, just not right. It all depends on my latest find, and while I love my ceramics collection, I have always collected furniture. Since I was a child I would cram as much as I could fit into my room often stacking tables on top of tables until I had no more space. But oddly, I do have this small wooden tray that I love and take with me everywhere I have moved and continue to use.

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Cherries and blood orange sorbet

Favorite thing to cook or eat? 

E- I am fond of fruits, and will occasionally bake a cake to satiate my sweet tooth. However, a bowl of cherries or stone fruit at their seasonal best will make me happy.

J- I am a pig, I love to eat almost everything. Though I love cooking and eating healthy foods, my biggest weakness always was, and will continue to be sweets and desserts, and I have been known to eat entire cakes in a day (once, it wasn’t even my cake, there was a misunderstanding….).

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yellow roses symbolize friendship, and a Spanish interior sketch

Favorite thing to give?

E- Flowers – something about their presence makes people smile.

J- After staying at a friends home, or visiting the private garden of a passionate individual, I make a thank you card with a sketch or drawing on the cover of a view that I enjoyed during my visit or time there. On return visits, I have seen some cards framed, making the process more enjoyable.

Favorite Photograph/Memory: Bruny Island, Tasmania

Bruny Island, Tasmania

Favorite photograph/memory?

E- Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia. I used to frequent the beach at my friends’ coastal home for walks alone or with the dog. The light and water is always changing, becoming a therapeutic sight for the senses. As much as I love gardens, sometimes one needs a different change on a majestic scene. I took this photograph early before the sun begin to break through the clouds and fog. It is still one of the favorite photographs  – the interplay between light and dark on the landscape is just mesmerizing. 

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Pheasant in the wild garden, Gravetye Manor

J- I have many, but I love capturing moments on camera usually of people or animals and reacting quickly to capture it, like this pheasant hiding among the Narcissus at Gravetye Manor.  I love the catching the spontaneity of a shot such as this.

– Thank you!- James and Eric

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