A new paper by the Montgomery Team appears in the September 2011 issue of Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes. The paper, titled: Principles and principes: William Lyman Phillips and the palm collection at Montgomery, discusses how Phillips’ design had an early impact on the landscape at MBC, and how the design has been conserved over the decades.
Phillips’ innovative work was wonderfully chronicled by his biographer, Faith Reyner Jackson, in the book Pioneer of Tropical Landscape Architecture. Jackson’s work detailed the many landscapes Phillips designed in Coral Gables and elsewhere, and his hands-on approach to his art. Jackson showcased Phillips’ work at Matheson Hammock, Crandon Park, Fairchild, and at the Panama Canal.
Yet, one important landscape that remained to be considered was Colonel Montgomery’s Palm Collection, where Phillips had a important, unique influence. Now, as a botanic garden with a major emphasis on continued development of plant collections, keeping that design at Montgomery requires a special vigilance. Quoting from the paper:
“For a garden led by botanists, with a mission of plant collecting, balancing the demand to plant extensively with the design needs for space, contrast, consistency, and variety require this guidance. Even in conserving an old design, a garden is never finished. Beyond the basic work to maintain the collection and landscape, continuing reassessment of the guiding vision keeps that treasured landscape from slowly fading.”
Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes is considered a leading peer-reviewed journal in its field, and approaches botanic gardens from a humanities perspective. The journal is “established as the main place in which to publish scholarly work on all aspects of garden history.”