I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am a gardener, but ever since we moved to our house in Brooklyn, I have technically been a person who owns a garden, who enjoys hanging out in his garden, and who has spent a little bit of money paying people to come plant things in said garden. But my dad and grandfather are/were ardent gardeners, and I can feel something of it awakening in me (assuming I can get over my bee phobia.) This spring I've ventured out to the back yard every day to inspect the latest developments: the hydrangea buds starting to appear, the wisteria blooms drooping, the ants doing their strange rituals on the peonies. This time of year, every day brings a small change to something in the garden; it's marvelous to watch these algorithms play themselves out with such regularity and precision.
All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I devoured this week's special issue on Landscape Architecture in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. If you missed it -- and have any interest in this stuff -- be sure to check it out online, though there are some wonderful pictures that might be better on the page. The two highlights for me were 1) a typically brilliant and intimate piece by Michael Pollan (author of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World, one of my all-time faves) on his experiences as a transplanted New England gardener trying to grow things in his new Berkeley garden, and 2) a new essay by Jane Jacobs -- as vital as ever, in her mid 80s I believe -- on "The Greening of the City".