Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My View from Federal Twist

Last weekend, I had the immense pleasure of visiting Jim Golden's country home, Federal Twist.  I have been a great admirer of Jim and his gardens in New Jersey and in Brooklyn, which he chronicles on his blog, View from Federal Twist.  Jim is my neighbor in Brooklyn, so I am very lucky to have established a friendship with Jim that goes beyond the four corners of my laptop screen.

Jim and I immediately fell into discussing all things gardening on our trip out to Federal Twist and he is a font of knowledge, trenchant observations, strong opinions and questions.  The garden itself is a wonder.  Jim will be the first to tell you that the soil is less than optimal, but what he has done in the way of skillful design via grading, paths and plantings is really a sight to behold.  Federal Twist, in my opinion, is a garden that is allowed to just "be", but not in a neglected or amateurish way.  Jim is an inveterate plantsman and has introduced many into Federal Twist.  Some thrive, some don't, some simply disappear.  That is fine with Jim, though, as he always has in mind some other magnificent specimen to install into the ever changing planting scheme.

I particularly enjoyed Jim showing me where he originally installed some plants, only to find a few years later that they moved to another spot in the garden, apparently disagreeing with Jim about their location. It is a gentle, steering hand that has made Federal Twist, but it is also a garden with a very real and loudly-spoken dialogue going on between the gardener and the garden.

Thank you Jim for sharing Federal Twist with me.  I am a better gardener for it! 


  1. Michael,
    You beat me to the punch. I have been hoping to one day visit Federal Twist for several years now--lucky you!

  2. As a fan of what James does at Federal Twist, I'd love to have the chance you have had, Michael. I like that the process of change, so well-captured here in your photos, is allowed to take its course.

  3. I love his garden - you are fortunate to see it in person.

  4. What a beautiful garden, I love it.