Federal Twist is set on a ridge above the Delaware River in western New Jersey. It is a naturalistic garden that has no utilitarian or leisure uses and the site is not an obvious choice for a garden (heavy clay soil, poorly drained: quick death for any plants not ecologically suited to it).
The physical garden, its plants and its features, is of course an appealing and pleasant place to be but Federal Twist's real charm and significance lie in its intangible aspects: its changing qualities and views, the moods and emotions it evokes, and its distinctive character and sense of place.
This book charts the author's journey in making such a garden. How he made a conscious decision not to improve the land, planted competitive plants into rough grass, experimented with sustainable plant communities. And how he worked with light to provoke certain moods and allowed the energy of the place, chance, and randomness to have its say.
Part experimental horticulturist and part philosopher, James Golden has written an important book for ecological gardeners and anyone interested in exploring the relationship between gardens, nature, and ourselves.
About the Author
James Golden's garden has been described as "one of the most game-changing American gardens" and has featured in The New York Times, Gardens Illustrated, Horticulture, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Décor, and in several books. British broadcaster Monty Don chose Federal Twist for his 2019 BBC Gardener's World series, Monty Don's American Gardens, and commented, "it made me rethink what a garden can be and do." James blogs at View from Federal Twist.
"Even after over 50 years of gardening and visiting gardens, it made me rethink what a garden can be and do." —Monty Don, author, The Complete Gardener, on Federal Twist
"What a truly 21st-century garden this is." —Noel Kingsbury, author, New Small Garden, on Federal Twist
"More than magic was needed to garden on this challenging site; alchemy, or turning a leaden site golden, was what he accomplished." —Christopher Woods, author, Gardenlust, on Federal Twist
"The entire garden flows out of a profound acceptance of what exists as a way of creating something utterly new and expressive." —Thomas Rainer and Claudia West, authors, Planting in a Post-Wild World, on Federal Twist
"A digest of the most forward-reaching garden ideas of our time." — Gardenista
“This artistic and literary approach to garden-making captures a magic that I hope to emulate, unraveling the mysteries of creation and mortality, cherishing what is, what has been and what will be.” — The Berkshire Edge
“In reading The View From Federal Twist, you come to understand how looking inward may be the most important part of garden making, not only for one man but for anyone who aspires to garden.” — Digging