Recently, a good friend gave to me a copy of Siftings, The Major Portion of the Clearing and Collected Writings by Jens Jensen. Jensen a landscape architect who immigrated to the U.S. in 1884, played a leading role in the creation of a uniquely American design aesthetic, the Prairie Style. He believed in the humanizing power of public parks and was committed to working closely with indigenous plants and the ecological processes of the prairie landscape. He was famous for incorporating into his plans wetland gardens “prairie rivers” and council rings as places for gathering and performance. He emphasized the importance of grouping plants together as they would be found in nature, and felt nothing was as elegant as that which belonged. Jensen was a true romantic and in this book he writes eloquently about the effects that the natural and man made landscape has on our psyche, and our sense of place in the world. He speaks of a landscape architecture that impacts all the senses throughout all the seasons, and that such a landscape architecture is arguably one of the highest forms of art.
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