The Giving Trees

Mayer Rus-April 8, 2011

Some wisdom from Henry David Thoreau: “If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”

I’ve been thinking a bit about Thoreau lately, dreaming of vanishing into my own Walden somewhere, free from chatter of Sheen shenanigans and the Real Housewives of Hades. It's all a pipe dream, of course, because after a week of having no TCM (Turner Campy Movies) to soothe my tortured soul, I'd be running back to the basilisks at Time Warner begging for a hookup.

Next Friday, April 15, the Cultural Landscape Foundation is hosting a day-long symposium, Landscapes for Living: Postwar Landscape Architecture in Los Angeles, at the W.M. Keck lecture Hall at SCI-Arc downtown. The speakers and panelists include a cross-section of academics, historians and some of the great practitioners of today, all weighing in on the past, present and future of landscape design in Southern California. (They’ve even thrown me onto a panel. For giggles? Dyspepsia? I know not, but I am happy to be there.)

And what is the Cultural Landscape Foundation? As far as I can tell, it is a group devoted to the simple idea that study and preservation should be applied to parks, gardens, plazas and promenades as much any pedigreed house or public building...that, in fact, the two spheres—architecture and landscape—can and must be considered together.

You can learn more about the organization and the conference at

P.S. The photo above is of my own cultural landscape—my little scalawag, Linus, frolicking in the bamboo jungle of my backyard. Bless his sweet soul.


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