More than just a pretty picture, the Brazilian Garden draws you in; it is meant to be experienced. Jungles designed the space as a tribute to his mentor, the legendary landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx.
In Jungles’ new book he explains, “My life was greatly enriched by the generosity of Roberto Burle Marx. It was a great privilege to be able to share his routine of life. I received a lifetime of inspiration. I feel his presence every day and my senses are constantly stimulated by his art.”
The design manages our approach with a clear start and end, and an undulating path to slow us down and invite us to enjoy the moment. Despite the diversity of material, plants are arranged in waves based on Brazil’s ecosystems. So there is an opportunity to appreciate them one at a time in complementary groupings. Trees provide shelter from the sun and frame water views. Several resting points and platforms invite us to enjoy the landscape up close and from multiple angles.
Jungles’ work demonstrates the power of texture, form, and balance. Leaf shape, structure, and color do the heavy lifting and keep the space looking amazing even when nothing is in bloom.
At the top of a hill the landscape opens to a modern pergola and platform whose curves remind me of Burle Marx’s famous beach walk in Rio. The centerpiece of this space is a massive 8x17 foot mosaic mural created by Burle Marx in the early 1990’s. Jungles recalls, “I watched him do a few murals like this one… He was having fun. It was more like he was painting with tiles.” Donated by Jungles to the garden, the mural’s vibrant colors mirror the colors of the plants, adding harmony to the space. I felt that the combination of elements transported me to another place and time. I was in Brazil!
At the heart of the garden is a water terrace and cascades. The top pool reflects the blue sky; its dark surface is punctuated by water lilies. The lower pool emphasizes grasses.
I was thrilled that Jungles included “The Brazilian Garden” in The Cultivated Wild. It is rare to be able to get a peek into the creative process that leads to a wonderful landscape. His drawings, text, and well-explained photographs give us this access. I particularly appreciated his readiness to share the details that take a landscape from good to great. He teaches us how to see and to appreciate elements that matter. For example, the use of concrete blocks in the cascades amplify water sounds and reduce the visual mass.
Jungles’ new book features 21 wonderful public and private gardens. I found the Hammock Garden particularly magical. The book ends with a tour of his Studio Garden, “surrounded by asphalt and hard surfaces… it is intentionally left unkempt and allowed to grow unchecked to celebrate the wild side of Raymond Jungles… it’s like a three dimensional calling card that advertises the firm’s preference for designing wild gardens ....”
Every page delights and inspires. Each section is full of design tips and ideas that we can draw on for our own gardens – no matter what zone we garden in. The Cultivated Wild belongs in every garden library.
Especially with winter approaching, this is a great time to plan a visit to any of Jungles’ public projects and of course, his Brazilian Garden in Naples, Florida.