The Garden in Motion

contributeur: tradanglaise

The source of inspiration for the « Garden in Motion » is neglected land (friche): a parcel of land left behind (délaissé) to the unhindered development of those plants that settle there.

On such pieces of land , the existing sources of energy - growth, struggle, shifting, exchange - do not encounter the obstacles usually set up to oblige nature to yield to geometry, to tidiness, or any other cultural principal .  This energy encounters the gardener, who attempts to shape it to his advantage without altering its dynamics: « to do as much as possible for and as little as possible against » is a résumé of the Garden in Motion.

As with all species that sustain life - plants, animals, humans - the Garden in Motion is subject to the evolutionary process resulting from long term interaction. In this case, the Gardener’s task is to interpret these interactions in order to decide which type of « gardening » he must undertake. Which balance between shadow and light, which adjustment among the species present, with, as  an objective, to maintain and increase biological diversity, a source of wonder, a guarantee for the future. This requires:

- maintaining and increasing the biological quality of the substrate: water, land, air
- intervention with as little means as possible, limited input, water use, machines…

Such a state of mind leads the gardener to observe more and garden less; to become more closely acquainted with the species and their behavior in order to make more efficient use of  their natural capacities without expenditure of « contrary energy » and time.

One of the most remarkable aspects in the management dynamics of the Garden in Motion is the physical displacement of life on the grounds.

This rapid and spectacular displacement concerns short- cycled herbaceous specimens - annuals, semi-annuals (poppies, corn flowers, corn cockles, nigella, digitalis, verbascum, reseda, etc.)  which disappear as soon as the seeds are formed. They reappear as a result of accidents on the land - turned over soil - in all places where seed, dispersed by the wind, animals and humans manages to germinate.

The name Garden in Motion originates in the physical migration of vegetal species within a given area, which the gardener interprets at will. Flowers which germinate on a path force the gardener to decide between maintaining the flowers or the path. The Garden in Motion recommends maintaining those species that decide where they wish to grow.

These principles disrupt the established concepts of a garden which, in this case, is entirely placed in the hands of the gardener. The garden’s profile, constantly changing, depends on its caretaker, and not on an architectural plan, produced on a drawing table.

This type of control, of conception, based on the garden in” La Vallée”,  subsequently developed as a  theory and enlarged to all spaces and scales, has travelled to cities both in France and abroad, referred  to on occasion generically  as « differential management », and on occasion specifically , as the « Garden in Motion », first described in 1984 in an article under the title « Mastering Neglected Land » (La Friche Apprivoisée)» and later, in 1991, under its final title Published by Sens and Tonka.