In Rogue: Art of a Garden landscape designer Rick Eckersley discusses his philosophy and the art of gardening. The book focuses on Musk, his own personal garden, (which he no longer owns) and features the work of numerous artists who were inspired by the landscape he shaped. In the extract below Eckersley explains that these artists, in turn, inspired him to produce this book.
by Rick Eckersley
For years, I’ve resisted mounting pressure to write another ‘how to’ guide to garden design. In part, I’m reluctant to add yet another to the many that already crowd our bookshelves. Mostly though, I’m simply no longer interested in the ‘how to’ of garden making.
Reflecting on my life in garden design, it’s clear to me now that my greatest pleasure never was in the making of gardens, but rather in people’s response to them. I’m fascinated by how people become caught up in the experience of being in the garden, how they’re moved in some way, even if it’s hard to interpret or articulate.
Clients would often call me for many years after the completion of their gardens, to tell me how these places continued to please them as the years passed and the gardens grew to take on their own traits and personality. They spoke of how they used their gardens as a refuge from the pressures and challenges of life. Many of these clients were coincidentally artists. Some of them visited Musk, my own garden at Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula in southern Victoria, and were inspired to capture their experience. The artworks that resulted were, in turn, the inspiration for this book.
Particularly in this time of heightened concerns around mental health, gardens provide a vital space to breathe and just be. We’re all drawn to them. I believe the experience of being in a garden can help us access intuitive knowledge. To my friends who are artists, I’ve suggested that creating a garden is also in many ways an artistic endeavour. In harnessing the spirit of the landscape at Musk, I wanted to create an aesthetic, sensory experience for anybody who visits.
While you, the reader, might not have had the opportunity to visit Musk, my hope is that this book works to take you there, that you’re able to lose yourself in the garden’s shifting textures, colours and moods, as captured by the photographs and artworks within these pages.
I hope it allows you to experience a few contemplative moments of refuge.
Rogue: Art of a Garden is published by Uro Publications.