Colors of Nature: Subtropical Gardens by Raymond Jungles

Colors of Nature: Subtropical Gardens by Raymond Jungles

by Terence Riley
     
 

In exquisite gardens inspired by the lush native plants of his adopted home of Miami, landscape artist/architect Raymond Jungles uses nature as a means of self-expression. He is known for modernist groupings of geometric shapes, which highlight the natural aspects of plantings, water features, and native stone. His use of plants, drawn largely from those indigenous

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Overview

In exquisite gardens inspired by the lush native plants of his adopted home of Miami, landscape artist/architect Raymond Jungles uses nature as a means of self-expression. He is known for modernist groupings of geometric shapes, which highlight the natural aspects of plantings, water features, and native stone. His use of plants, drawn largely from those indigenous to subtropical regions, emphasizes their dramatic sculptural forms. Jungles's original and inviting green spaces, like those of his mentor, the master landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, bring the comfort and beauty of nature into built settings.

This monograph on the work of Raymond Jungles features more than 20 residential projects. From a rooftop garden 34 stories in the air to a natural setting of ponds and islands surrounding a 1920s residence to an informal green space in the Pearl Islands of Panama, Jungles constructs vibrant spaces that complement the natural environment. His modern vocabulary is on display in beautiful color photographs that document each landscape in both panoramic views and intimate details. Jungles's own descriptions of each garden address the process of making the landscape as well as the design elements that tie each composition to common experiences of nature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"For a bold, magical garden that turns heads, draw inspiration from a book by landscape guru Raymond Jungles."

—Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub, Sun Sentinal

"Raymond uses his palette of subtropical indigenous plants as an artistic tool to create his magical and natural garden spaces . . . This book is a true inspiration and a treasure for all designers."
—Nicolien van Schouwen, Association of Professional Landscape Designers

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781580932127
Publisher:
The Monacelli Press
Publication date:
10/28/2008
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
9.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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Foreword
By Terence Riley

Perhaps because of its subtropical climate, unique within the North American continent, the Florida landscape is often seen as a separate and distinct chapter in the national fascination with the natural landscape. Yet the same dialectic between European gardening traditions and New World fascination with the wild is at play. Vizcaya, James Deering's Miami estate, was patterned after a grand Italianate villa with attendant formal gardens. While greatly admired, Vizcaya has been far less often imitated as Florida's landscape designers have instead chosen nature-or at least idealized visions of tropical nature—as their prime source of inspiration.

Raymond Jungles, thoroughly entranced by the wild, is one such landscape designer. The intensity with which he approaches his task is related, no doubt, to his exposure to the work and philosophy of the Brazilian artist and designer Roberto Burle Marx (1909–1994). Burle Marx was part of the generation of designers and artists who brought into being in Brazil a vibrant modern culture that has surpassed its European roots and achieved a distinct national character. Perhaps more so than his colleagues, such as the architects Oscar Niemeyer and Lúcio Costa, Burle Marx's innovations achieved a singular distinction, if only because the raw material of his profession—the incomparable flora of Brazil—had no equivalent in Europe or North America. Burle Marx's ability to combine the sensibility of a gardener with that of an abstract modern sculptor is evident in his words: “A garden is a complex of aesthetic and plastic intentions; and the plant is, to a landscape artist, not only a plant—rare, unusual, ordinary or doomed to disappearance—but it is also a color, a shape, a volume or an arabesque in itself.”

It was in Burle Marx's work that the young Jungles, a student landscape designer raised primarily in the Midwest, found not only a wealth of knowledge about subtropical plants and a unique aesthetic perspective but, as important, an attitude that provided both an ethical and a humanistic framework for landscape design. For Burle Marx, landscape design was a component of a broader investigation into the culture of the modern world, one without precedent save in nature itself. The extent to which Jungles has absorbed and synthesized these various attitudes is evident in the delicate balance between aesthetic delight and studied naturalism that is characteristic of his work. His promotion of native plant material and other environmentally sound horticultural practices underpins the formal with the ethical. Visitors to Jungles's gardens will also realize that his designs are not simply collections of botanical specimens but places of wonder and exhilaration. It is those attributes that most closely connect Jungles's work to the broader stream of the American attitude toward nature and the wilderness, the “uncastled landscape.”

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Meet the Author

Raymond Jungles is the founder and principal of Jungles Landscape Architect in Miami, Florida.

Terence Riley is the director of the Miami Art Museum. He was formerly a chief curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The author lives in Miami, FL.

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