Remembering Neil Armstrong: Gardens 1969

When I was kid and adults pulled out the standard kid question (“What do you want to be when you grow up?), I always gave them a pretty standard kid answer (for the 1970’s) – an astronaut.  Back then, I had every intention of being either the first person on Mars or the first woman on the moon.  I was pretty hard core and eventually I went as far as learning how to fly, getting a degree in Applied Physics and going to work for Hughes Aircraft.

And what inspired this? Neil Armstrong, of course.

I gasped when I saw the first R.I.P post from a friend on Facebook.  I suppose it is anything but surprising that a man should die at 82 after a full life, but nonetheless I felt the immediate sharpness of losing the knowledge that a person who inspired so much in me wasn’t still walking around living somewhere.  In his honor I spent a few minutes pondering his life and how things looked and felt back then – not in Astronaut land, but in Garden Design land.  It was kind of fun and made me feel a little less sad.

(Top image) Can you not picture Neil and his ‘Right Stuff’ gang strutting into a swank party around this pool?  It’s Enid A. Haupt’s (editor and publisher of Seventeen magazine) garden in Palm Beach, Florida — circa 1969. Square pruned ficus make me swoon.

Higher Level Gardens

I’m charmed by this book (also circa 1969) about raised trough gardens. Doesn’t it seem like the title might have been NASA inspired?

British artist Tirzah Ravilious created this needlework piece depicting a woman watering her garden…its a little earlier than 1969 — but still — it completely charms me and recalls the time.

images: Enid A. Haupt’s Garden photogrpahed by William Grigsby for Conde Nast, Trough Garden images from ebay, and artwork from Bridgeman.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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1 Comment

  1. shenandoah kepler on August 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Yes, I too was downed by finding Armstrong’s obit in the news! Yes, all things seemed possible then, and still do now. I’m amazed by how the internet makes so much information possible, but so many people uninformed at the same time! One can write and post any ludicrous “fact” (like Armstrong didn’t really land on the moon), and pass it around the globe dozens of times with people believing it because somebody put it in their email! And yet, we can search out the truth easier today than going to the library or consulting a print encyclopedia (what we had to do then). And it is okay to find easier ways to do things in the garden, and to sit down and just inhale and enjoy. I hope Armstrong did that (maybe even in a garden) with his children and grandchildren, and that we remember him as one brave dude. He sure was! Thanks for the memories….

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