Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Earth Walk, A Garden Installation

Earth Walk

A garden installation by Pamela Burton

"Even though it is right under our feet, the earth is a living organism that we generally ignore."   Pamela Burton

Built in 2004 when Cornerstone Sonoma opened as the Cornerstone Festival of Gardens,
landscape architect Pamela Burton's installation, Earth Walk, demonstrates an emotionally resonant physicality. 

At ground level, bales of straw contribute to a sense of enclosure, while the space itself reveals a massive wedge carved out of the terrain.

Approaching, the eye focuses on a central expanse of billowy Mexican feather grass. Enter, and follow the inclined ground plane alongside the grassy swath to the floor of the garden... where a tranquil pool appears.

The raw beauty of Burton's design - created from a few fundamental elements - allows visitors to experience the profound materiality of the exposed earth. 

Each time I visit, I'm swept away by the way Burton blurs any distinctions that may exist between gardens & art:  The installation standing as an elegant sculpture. Moreover, a poetic rendition of a garden.

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  1. Hi Alice~~ Wouldn't an entire "lawn" of Mexican Feather Grass be something? Talk about the urge to take off your shoes!

  2. Lovely and (I'm sure, deceptively) simple.

  3. I do like that. A real case of Intelligent Design.

  4. I thought of you this morning when I re-potted my Sundance. (Then the forsythia . . . then planted out the first tomato plant . . . .)


  5. It's a beautiful sight indeed, but Mexican feather grass (Nassella tennuisima) is known invasive plant that needs to be watched under many circumstances. A google search for "mexican feather grass invasive" resulted in many disturbing hits.

  6. Yes, I agree, feather grass needs to be kept under control if you plant it. Cornerstone gardeners do a good job of maintaining the overall property, and I believe the scope of the site allows them to keep a close eye on this plant.

  7. Alice, Wonderful to see this and read your description!

  8. Ornamental grasses are lyrically beautiful. What an amazing space! Cheers!

  9. very cool. I like the water feature with the lily pads. So weird but I always think of round or organic shapes when I think of water where lily pads are found, and the shape of the water feature gives them a whole new "feel."