Talula Rasa (2010)
Talula Rasa (2010)

Vier from above

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Tabula Rasa (2010)
Tabula Rasa (2010)

Ground view

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Talula Rasa (2010)
Talula Rasa (2010)

Vier from above

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TABULA RASA (2010)

Proposal for Reford Memorial Garden Rendered Drawing Competition

​​Tabula

a repository for the sacred wisdom of plants

 

The concept of the tabula rasa, the clean slate, suggests that we come into the world unaware and without knowledge. One might say then that it is sensory experience that initiates the life journey toward knowing and understanding. With this in mind we wish to create a sensory-rich garden using sight, sound, touch and of course smell to draw the viewer along two imperfect paths spiraling gently inward from opposite ends of the site toward a richer understanding of the sacred wisdom of plants.

 

Even before entering the garden the viewer will see at its centre a ten foot tall, rust-coloured henge floating on and above a sea of flowers, vegetables and herbs, all chosen for colour, texture, form and scent. A dense planting scheme of widely different heights will give one the sense of being enveloped or drawn downward into a hallowed place.  Some plants will be immediately recognized as food or as having medicinal or practical purpose. Others may be sculptural or spectacularly coloured but all will in some way be a part of the mythology of sacred or perhaps magical plants. It is this ancient wisdom to which we most strongly wish to connect. Discreetly interspersed throughout the garden will be small beautifully wrought name markers provided not as signs but more as the constituent parts of some arcane recipe. As the visitor approaches the end of the first path they will come to a circular path surrounding a moat crossed at the cardinal points by small, grade level bridge elements.

 

Standing in the twelve inch wide moat and extending upward above each bridge will be a simple but elegant post and lintel structure. From these structures will be suspended massive, curved, 1/2” thick steel plates, 5’ wide and 10’ high, each pierced by a 2’ x 6’  arched opening – the entry into the inner sanctum. Tethered from the post will be a twenty-inch long, leather-covered mallet with which to strike the rusted steel tabulae when entering. A deep, resonant sound will reverberate around the garden. The vibrating steel, sitting inches into the water will, long after the sound has become inaudible, continue to vibrate and to disturb the water’s surface. In the center of the space, surrounded by flowers, will be a low cruciform-shaped steel bench. Water will well up from a square pool at its centre and flow onto the gravel path toward the moat.