‘All must be adapted to the Genius and the Use of the Place, and the Beauties not forced into it, but resulting from it’ (Alexander Pope to Burlington – Epistle IV, 1731)

Landscape Architecture deals with man and land, and the stories they tell about one another. We need to listen to the stories and continue the tale, allowing the memory and imagination of what has gone before to inspire fresh design in the evolving pattern.

New settlements need to be guided by a renewed understanding of the significance of soil in the microbial health of plants, water and human beings. The topography and biology of the land determine where buildings and open spaces should be positioned and how new development can relate to the surrounding farm and woodland. Soil and water are the keys to the carbon cycle and biodiversity.

‘The Brezhnev government lifted the restrictions on the size of private allotments to get more food to consumers. By the end of the 1970s, they took up 4 per cent of the country’s agricultural land, but produced 40 percent of its pork and poultry, 42 per cent of its fruit and over half its potatoes.’

(Orlando Figues  The Story of Russia 2022) 


‘All metrics are harmful if you give them too much power.’
(Mike Berners-Lee  There is no planet B 2021)

‘A forest’s thoughts emerge from a living network of relationships, not from a humanlike brain. These relationships are made from cells inside fir needles, bacteria clustered at root tips, insect antennae sniffing the air for plant chemicals, animals remembering their food caches and fungi sensing their chemical milieu. The diverse nature of these relationships means that the tempo, texture and mode of the forest’s thoughts are quite different from our own.’
(David George Haskell The Songs of Trees 2017)

‘It is one thing to accept one’s fate, another thing to love it.’
(Lars Svendsen A Philosophy of Boredom 1999)

‘To renounce the pain of living is to dehumanize oneself.’
(Lars Svendsen A Philosophy of Boredom 1999)

‘..death appears to be more frightening the less one has lived.’
(Lars Svendsen A Philosophy of Boredom 1999)

‘Where is the life we have lost in living? 
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? 
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?’
(TS Eliot Choruses from ‘The Rock’ 1934)

‘Perhaps the world simply is. Perhaps… the world, the whole cosmos in fact, is one single, complete and coherent entity whose workings are the flexing of order and chaos held in an infinite balance. And us? We are just some of its integral, inseparable parts.
…everything is still up to its neck in everything else, where plants and humans are closer, more like each other, and where the boundaries between things are so fluid, so not-yet-delineated’
(Laura Beatty Looking for Theophrastus 2022)

‘..this island [has] been shaped and made beautiful by a perpetual collaboration between its human inhabitants and the ground on which they dwelt. Britain was not one thing or another – land or people: its loveliness embodied a fusion of the two. It was this idealised notion of partnership between farm and fell, plough and partridge, culture and nature, that inspired Octavia Hill and Canon Rawnsley alike.’
(Mark Cocker Our Place 2018)

‘Cooling the planet comes back to our land management choices; maximising green living cover, increasing soil water holding capacities and fostering microbiology.’
(Nicole Masters For the Love of Soil 2020)

‘We’ve been so focused on fossil fuels and the short-term methane from burping cows that we’ve missed the significant amount of carbon (and water) being lost from under our feet to the air and to the seas…If carbon can be lost on such a scale, we also have the means to rebuild it. Soil carbon is the most immediate and cost-effective tool in addressing the legacy load of atmospheric carbon.’
(Nicole Masters For the Love of Soil 2020)

‘Our dilemma is that, in order to live, we must manipulate nature, yet must seek to do so without diminishing it.’
(Carolyn Steel Sitopia 2020)

 ‘Without microbes there would be no life on earth, which is why, if we really want to connect with nature, we need to start thinking small.’
(Carolyn Steel Sitopia 2020)

‘..we’ve allowed the technical tail to wag the philosophical dog.’
(Carolyn Steel Sitopia 2020)

‘Memory is the enemy of wonder, which resides nowhere else but in the present.’
(Michael Pollan The Botany of Desire 2001)

‘ …living away up there, her mind is continually at the level of thought and not of conversation…and every time she speaks she has to struggle up out of the thought level – in which all things mingle and have interrelation – to the peculiarities of conversation, bringing things out separate..
(Adrian Bell Men and the Fields 1939)

‘…my grandparents’ lives seemed to me organic and ours what? hydroponic?’
(Wallace Stegner Angle of Repose 1971)

‘- We don’t exist – We only dream we’re here –
This means we never die – We disappear –‘
(Don Paterson 40 Sonnets 2015)

‘..with a day’s breathing you will in all likelihood inhale at least one molecule from the breaths of every person who has ever lived. And every person who lives from now until the sun burns out will from time to time breathe in a bit of you. At the atomic level, we are in a sense eternal.’
(Bill Bryson The Body 2019)

‘The idea that land must be either perfectly wild or perfectly efficient and sterile is unwise and blinding; it is a false and unsustainable simplification. When we despair and reduce our world to black and white – farming is bad; nature is good – we lose sight of vital distinctions and nuances. We make every farmer who isn’t a saint a villain. We miss the actual complexities of farming, the vast spectrum between those two extremes and the massive scope for nature-friendly farming that exists between them.’
(James Rebanks English Pastoral 2020)

‘Abandoning farmland isn’t remotely the same thing as restoring a wild ecosystem – plagues of deer replace hordes of sheep and little good is achieved. We might wish it was otherwise, but humans are the top predator and can either provide that function in an enlightened nature-mimicking way, or species like deer or wild boar will wreak havoc in the absence of predation….In most of our landscapes there will never be perfect single-use solutions – pure wilderness or pure productivity. We need to put farming and nature back together, not drive them further apart.’
(James Rebanks English Pastoral 2020)

‘ What is life? Is it separable from Earth? At the most elemental level, we living beings are not even properly things, but rather processes. A dead creature is in every respect identical to a live one, except that the electrochemical processes that motivate it have ceased’.
(Tim Flannery Here on Earth 2010)

‘Ein Mensch ist ein räumlich und zeitlich beschränktes Stück des Ganzen, was wir „Universum“ nennen. Er erlebt sich und sein Fühlen als abgetrennt gegenüber dem Rest, eine optische Täuschung seines Bewusstseins. Das Streben nach Befreiung von dieser Fesselung [or Täuschung] ist der einzige Gegenstand wirklicher Religion. Nicht das Nähren der Illusion sondern nur ihre Überwindung gibt uns das erreichbare Maß inneren Friedens.’
(Albert Einstein Consolation letter to Robert S. Marcus 1950)

‘Our modern species-history is one of remorselessly accelerated extraction, accompanied by compensatory small acts of preservation and elegiac songs.’
(Robert Macfarlane  Underland   2019)

‘..man has rashly overstepped the bounds of biological propriety by performing operations on the soil which waste the very plant foods his own plants require…My tests have proved that, to avoid trouble, man needs only to return to methods imitative of nature’s own. Quite a cheerful discovery, that.’
(Edward H. Faulkner  Plowman’s Folly   1943)

 ‘Landscape has a secret and silent memory, a narrative of presence where nothing is ever lost or forgotten.’
(John O’Donohue  Anam Cara   1997)

‘The absence of animals on our landscape is a key part of what’s wrong with modern agriculture. Animals, plants and fungi are always woven together in nature in a complex and sumptuous tapestry.’
(Charles Massy, foreword to Call of the Reed Warbler 2017)

‘Healthy soil is an economic necessity if farming is to continue…
Counting species does not tell us much about the health of our environment. Zoos have lots of species, but not lots of nature…
It is beyond doubt that it is the intensification of farming, and in particular the application of chemicals, that is the primary driver of major environmental damage..’
(Dieter Helm, Green and Prosperous Land 2019)

 ‘Plans to go back to nature, to rewild the countryside and to turn Britain into a zoo of reintroductions allow those opposed to enhancing the natural environment to isolate the environmental interests

..there is no state of nature to go back to…The environment is now irrevocably man-made, and we have an active, not a passive, duty to do something about it, to make a better man-made world.’
(Dieter Helm, Green and Prosperous Land 2019)

‘A good home, a sense of purpose and a feeling of belonging.’
(Peabody Estate, Mission Statement 2017)

‘As we detach ourselves from the natural world, it fades to a spectral image, glimpsed through the windscreen of a car or the screen of a computer, a world we can no longer be part of because we are too squeamish to partake of it.’
(Simon Fairlie,Meat 2010)

‘Detailed descriptions of landscape are tedious. One part of England is superficially so much like another. The differences are subtle, coloured by love.’
(JA Baker, The Peregrine1967)

‘At three o’clock, a man walked along the sea-wall, flapping with maps. Five thousand dunlin flew low inland, twenty feet above his head. He did not see them.’
(JA Baker, The Peregrine1967)

‘Time comes and goes in waves and folds like water; it flutters and sifts like dust, rises, billows, falls back on itself. When a wave breaks, the water is not moving. The swell has travelled great distances but only the energy is moving, not the water. Perhaps time moves through us and not us through it…the past is in us, and not behind us. Things are never over.’
(Tim Winton, The Turning 2004)

‘The real nemesis of the modern economy is ecological collapse. Both scientific progress and economic growth take place within a brittle biosphere, and as they gather steam so the shock waves destabilise the ecology.’
(Yuval Noah Harari, Homo Deus 2016)

‘In 1990, writing about the Human Genome Project, John Sulston wondered about the philosophical quandary raised by an intelligent organism that has “learned to read its own instructions”. But an infinitely deeper quandary is raised when an intelligent organism learns to write its own instructions. If genes determine the nature and fate of an organism, and if organisms now begin to determine the nature and fate of their genes, then a circle of logic closes in on itself.  Once we start thinking of genes as destiny, manifest, then it is inevitable to begin imagining the human genome as manifest destiny.’
(Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Gene 2017)

‘The thought of what was here once and is gone forever will not leave me as long as I live. It is as though I walk knee-deep in its absence.’
(Wendell Berry, The World-Ending Fire 2017)

‘The Heaven-bent have abused the earth thoughtlessly, by inattention, and their negligence has permitted others to abuse it deliberately.’
(Wendell Berry, The World-Ending Fire 2017)

‘Anybody who thinks that there can be limitless growth in a limited environment, is either mad or an economist’.
(Sir David Attenborough 6.xi.12)

‘The modern capitalist economy must constantly increase production if it is to survive, like a shark that must swim or suffocate.’
(Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens 2011)

‘The choice for our wider society is not whether we farm, but how we farm. Do we want a countryside that is entirely shaped by industrial-scale, cheap food production with some little islands of wilderness dotted in amongst it, or do we, at least in some places, also value the traditional landscape as shaped by traditional family farms?’
(James Rebanks, The Shepherd’s Life 2015)

‘I want death to find me planting my cabbages, but careless of death, and still more of my unfinished garden’.
(Michel de Montaigne, Essays 1572)

‘Touch is the most intimate sense of all….The hands have an infinity of pleasure in them.’
(Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain 1977)

‘Our lives are more like fragmentary dreams than the enactments of conscious selves….Most of what we perceive of the world comes not from conscious observation but from a continuous process of unconscious scanning.’
(John Grey, Straw Dogs 2002)

‘Landscapes can be deceptive. Sometimes a landscape seems to be less like a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents take place.’
(John Berger, A Fortunate Man 1967)

‘But if it’s true that events in the past open and close and constantly form new associations with what’s happening in the present, where does the notion that the past is fixed and finished come from? Nothing is ever finished, everything just goes on and on, there are no boundaries, not even between the living and the dead, even that zone is quivering and unclear.’
(Karl Ove Knausgaard, A Time for Everything 2004)

‘So, monotheism explains order, but is mystified by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is puzzled by order. There is one logical way of solving the riddle: to argue that there is a single omnipotent God who created the entire universe – and He’s evil. But nobody in history has had the stomach for such a belief.’
(Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens 2011)

‘Nothing retains its original form, but Nature, the goddess
of all renewal, keeps altering one shape into another.
Nothing at all in the world can perish, you have to believe me;
things merely vary and change their appearance. What we call birth
is merely becoming a different entity; what we call death
is ceasing to be the same. Though the parts may possibly shift
their position from here to there, the wholeness in nature is constant.’
(Ovid, Metamorphoses)

‘…the border between life and death is less impermeable than we commonly think..
…time will not pass away, has not passed away, … I can turn back and go behind it, and there I shall find everything as it once was, or more precisely I shall find that all moments of time have co-existed simultaneously, in which case none of what history tells us would be true, past events have not yet occurred but are waiting to do so at the moment when we think of them..’
(WG Sebald, Austerlitz)

‘Ecosystems are under profound threat: we treat as income what is in fact pervasive depletion of natural capital.’
(Jeffrey Sachs, Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet)

‘Land is not land alone, something that simply is itself. Land partakes of what we breathe into it, is touched by our moods and our memories.’
(VS Naipaul, The Enigma of Arrival)

’It was the fearful loneliness of the place that most affected her – the absence of ghosts. ‘Till they arrived no other lives had been lived here. It made the air that much thinner, harder to breathe. She had not understood, ‘till she came to a place where it was lacking, the extent of which her sense of the world had to do with the presence of those who had been there before, leaving sign of their passing and spaces still warm with breath – a threshold worn with the coming and going of feet, hedges between fields that went back a thousand years, and the names even further; most of all the names on headstones which were their names, under which lay the bones that had made their bones and given them breath. They would be the first dead here. It made death that much lonelier, and life lonelier too.’
(David Malouf, Remembering Babylon)

‘Scully had long thought that architecture was what you had instead of landscape, a signal of loss, of imitation. Europe had it in spades because the land was long gone, the wildness was no longer even a memory. But this was where architecture becamelandscape. It took scale and time, something strangely beyond the human….It was small, tooled, and crosshatched country, simple, so amazingly simple from above. Every field had a name, every path a stile. Everything imaginable had been done or tried out there. It wasn’t the feeling you had looking out in his own land. In Australia you looked out and saw the possible, the spaces, the maybes. Here the wildness was pressed into something else, into what had already been. And out there beneath the birds, in the gibberish of strokes and lines and connections of the valley was his new life.’
(Tim Winton, The Riders1994)

‘The more uncertain I have felt about myself, the more there has grown up in me a feeling of kinship with all things.’

It is vain to dream of a wilderness distant from ourselves. There is none such. It is the bog in our brain and bowels, the primitive vigour of Nature in us, that inspires our dreams!’

It occurs to me that the abundance I have been wallowing in until today is precarious and illusory, water could once again become a scarce resource, hard to distribute, the water carrier with his little barrel slung over his shoulder raising his cry to the windows to call the thirsty down to buy a glass of his precious merchandise.’
(Italo Calvino, Introduction to Aqueducts Past & Present)

‘What reason did Stephen give for declining Bloom’s offer?
That he was a hydrophobe, hating partial contact by immersion or total by submersion in cold water, (his last bath having taken place in the month of October of the preceding year), disliking the aqueous substances of glass and crystal, distrusting aquacities of thought and language.’
(James Joyce, Ulysses)

‘The landscape is not seen for itself, but as a commentary upon the human condition, as a speculation upon the tension between order and disorder.’
(JMW Turner)

‘One cannot understand the English landscape and enjoy it to the full, apprehend all its wonderful variety from region to region…without going back to the history that lies behind it.’
(William Hoskins)

‘Are there not inanimate existences, inert things that seem animal, vegetative spirits, statues that dream, and landscapes that think?’

‘The idealised pastoral realm of ‘Arcadia’ was invented two thousand years ago by Virgil, the supreme poet of urbanity, of the city, of Roman imperialism. You only need Arcadia when your reality is Rome.’
(Jonathan Bate, The Song of the Earth)

‘Even in the knowledge of its inadequacy, pastoral seems to me not a worthless but a necessary myth. It provides a sanctuary in which a bruised mind can rest. It puts a torque on the material concerns of the everyday, twisting them towards something else, some better state. It is a form, in that sense, of idealism, the template on which poetry, or the poetic, can be moulded.’
(Adam Nicolson, Perch Hill)

‘If a society forgets or no longer cares where it lives, then anyone with the political power and the will to do so can manipulate the landscape to conform to certain social ideals or nostalgic visions. People may hardly notice that anything has happened, or assume that whatever happens – a mountain stripped of timber and eroding into its creeks – is for the common good. The more superficial a society’s knowledge of the real dimensions of the land it occupies becomes, the more vulnerable the land is to exploitation, to manipulation for short-term gain.’
(Barry Lopez)

‘….it’s worth spending a great deal of time on the front ends of things, getting the position right….. you can see that ninety percent of our buildings are temporary anyway…. just occupying the ground until the right use is found….We city people should learn to allow our empty sites to lie fallow, like the farmers do their fields, until we know what to do with them. We could even learn to love them in their fallow state.’
(Paul Sheppheard, What is architecture?)

‘I know this bit of country now. The real pleasure is not in the management, control and decision-making that owning land involves. It is something both less and more than that. I mean the ability to roam in your mind across the surface of a place which is so well known to you that it has become in a sense indistinguishable from who you are. A deeply and properly known stretch of country clamps itself on to your existence like a second skin. It is then, I think, in that marriage of you with your surroundings, that something extraordinary happens.’
(Adam Nicolson, Perch Hill)

‘The valleys are deep and narrow, some wooded, some grassy, some ploughed. The ridges run sharply across the sky, always bare. The rest of the large, sleepy county is marsh or fen or flat farmed plain. These slightly rolling hills appear to be folded out of the earth, but that is not the case; they are part of the dissected tableland. The villages are buried in the valleys, at the end of blind funnels…… Roland who was urban, noted colours: dark ploughed earth, with white chalk in the furrows; a pewter sky with chalk white clouds. Maud noticed good rides and unmended gates, and badly crunched hedgerows, gnashed by machine-teeth.’
(AS Byatt, Possession)

‘The whites couldn’t grasp the fact that for Indians the water was a place, and the great bulk of the surrounding land mere undifferentiated space. The whites had entered a looking glass world, where their own most basic terms were reversed. Their whole focus was directed towards the land: its natural harbours, its timbers, its likely spots for settlement and agriculture. They travelled everywhere equipped with mental chainsaws and at a glance could strip a hill of its covering forest… and there a future of hedges, fields, houses, churches. They viewed the sea as a medium of access to the all-important land.’
(Jonathon Raban, Passage to Juneau)

‘Ruby always seemed to know the compass points and to find them significant, not just when giving directions but even in telling a story…..What was required to speak that language was a picture held in the mind of the land one occupied. Ada knew the ridges and drainages were the frame of it, the skeleton. You learned them and where they stood in relation to each other, and then you filled in the details working from those known marks. General to particular. Everything had a name. To live fully in a place all your life, you kept aiming smaller and smaller in attention to detail.’
(Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain) 

‘She can even smell the rain-lashed erosion of the marble of which she is made.’
(Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover)

‘Forsam et haec olim meminisse juvabit – Perhaps one day even this will be a joy to recall.’

‘People have often been happy here and the walls have absorbed some of that delight.’
(Adam Nicolson, Sea Room)

‘Grandpa did not always live in the present. Or rather, his present was a layer of several decades that could replace one another with startling rapidity and in no sort of chronological order.’
(David Malouf)

‘If by home one means not four walls and a roof with a fire and a chair before it, but the place of one’s earliest affection, where that handful of men and women may be found who alone in all the world know a little of your wants, your habits, the affairs that come nearest to your heart and who care for them.’
(David Malouf)

‘It’s no metaphor to feel the influence of the dead in the world….We long for place; but place itself longs.
Human memory is encoded in air currents and river sediment. When I saw your jumble of sandals by the door, I saw my parents’ shoes, which after their deaths retained with fidelity not only the shape of their feet, but the way they walked, the residue of motion in the worn leather. Just as their clothes still carried them, a story in a rip, a patch, their long sleeves. Decades stored there in a closet or two. A house, more than a diary, is the intimate glimpse. A house is a life interrupted.’
(Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces)

‘Instead of seeing nothing but endless tufted green mountains stretching to the horizon, we got airy views of a real, lived-in world: sunny farms, clustered hamlets, clumps of woodland and winding highways, all made exquisitely picturesque by distance. Even an interstate highway, with its cloverleaf interchanges and parallel carriageways, looked benign and thoughtful, like illustrations you used to get in children’s books in my boyhood, showing an America that was busy and on the move, but not too busy to be attractive.’
(Bill Bryson, Walk in the Woods)

‘The walk, as so often with him, immediately becomes symbolic, and the more so as he notes, rock by rock, leaf by leaf, each landmark along the way, re-entering, as it were, the strong net of feelings that for years had lain over these objects. Having for so long retained their power, they now, as he approaches, release it again as if nothing has changed: a line of poplars along a fence, all the trunks black, the leaves bright gold; five stepping stones over a stream, the third of which is not quite firm – and just as he had remembered after nearly sixty years, it tilts underfoot; a lilac bush in a clump of ferns. All the feelings inherent in the landscape come back to me with instant force.’
(David Malouf, Childs Play)

‘In a treeless, winter-hammered landscape like Alaska’s north slope, the light creates a feeling of compassion that is almost palpable. Each minute of light experienced feels like one stolen from a crushing winter. You walk gently about, respectful of flowering plants, with a sense of how your body breaks the sunshine, creating shadow. You converse in soft tones. The light is – perhaps there is no other word – precious. You are careful around it.’
(Barry Lopez, About this life)

‘A specific geographical understanding…….resides with men and women more or less sworn to a place, who abide there, who have a feel for the soil and the history, for the turn of the leaves and night sounds.’
(Barry Lopez)

‘Poetry, Paintings and Gardening, or the science of landscape will forever by Men of Taste be deemed Three Sisters, or the Three New Graces who dress and adorn Nature.’
(Horace Walpole 1773)

O lost to honor and the sence of shame
Can Britain so forget Pope’s well earned fame
To desolation doom the poet’s fame
The pride of Twickenhams’s bower and silver Thame’
(Turner’s accompanying lines to his ‘View of Pope’s Villa at Twickenham’ during its dilapidation 1808)

‘I marched the Expedition down the steep and tedious mule path and took up as good a position as I could upon the middle glacier – because Baedeker said the middle part travels the fastest. As a measure of economy, however, I put some of the heavier baggage on the shoreward parts, to go as slow freight. I waited and I waited, but the glacier did not move. Night was coming on, the darkness began to gather- still we did not budge. It occurred to me then, that there might be a timetable in Baedeker; it would be well to find out the hours of starting. I soon found a sentence which threw a dazzling light upon the matter. It said, “The Gorner Glacier travels at an average rate of a little less than an inch a day.” I have seldom felt so outraged. I have seldom had my confidence so wantonly betrayed. I made a small calculation: one inch a day, say thirty feet a year; estimated distance to Zermatt 3 1/18 miles. Time required to go by glacier a little over 500 years. The passenger part of this glacier, the central part, the lightning express part, so to speak, was not due in Zermatt till the summer of 2378, and that the baggage, coming along the slow edge, would not arrive until some generations later…. As a means of passenger transportation, I consider the glacier a failure.’
(Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad)

Numen – definition
“Divine power or spirit, a deity, esp. one presiding locally or believed to inhabit a particular object”.

 ‘Look back with fondness and freedom; look forward with hope but not hubris; and most of all swim in the present second, which is eternity’.
(Kim Wilkie 31xii16)