A Harmonious Whole: Gardening by System Design
The Visible V-8 is a desktop model of an internal combustion engine. It's housed in a clear plastic engine block, with red pistons and cams, blue distributor cap and electrical wires, green radiator and coolant hoses. With a battery attached, the Visible V-8 actually runs, and you can marvel at how the pistons go up and down, the valves go in and out, and the cams go 'round and 'round - all simultaneously. Yet, complex and amazing, the engine is still just a mechanical system in which each part is intentionally designed to work in a certain way and never change, until it breaks.
Imagine a different kind of model, just as complex and even more amazing, in which every component is organic, alive, and ever-changing. Each element expresses its own individual nature and yet the whole still works together, its subsystems flowing through time, intersecting and impacting one another.
That harmonious whole would be a garden. And its designer may well be Judith Irven of Outdoor Spaces Landscape Design.
Irven holds academic degrees in physics and mathematics and worked for over 20 years in systems engineering. After moving to Vermont in 1994, she enrolled in the USDA Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program. A lifelong gardener, her passion for garden design burst forth, and she went on to study landscape design at Vermont Technical College. Three years later, she started Outdoor Spaces, a firm that offers landscape design services as elegantly thought-out and intertwined as the branches of the shrubs and perennials that weave throughout the many acres surrounding her home. She lives in a 150-year-old farmhouse in Goshen, atop the Blueberry Hill ridge in the Green Mountain National Forest.
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