Gardener In Residence / by Lora Martens

What is a Gardener in Residence? 

The task of being "in residence" is an opportunity given by a supporting organization to individuals so they can have a space away from their normal lives and routines to explore creative ideas in a free and open environment. 

Traditionally, these programs have been "Artist in Residence" programs. The idea is simple, provide a studio space, financial support and sometimes housing and meals for artists, who use this time to freely create and think. Usually at the end of the residency there will be a show of the work created during this period.  A more nuanced description of the "artist in residence" can be found here.

The Yaddo Mansion, home of one of the oldest and most prestigious Artist in Residence programs in the US.

A Gardener in Residence is a version of this idea, which has been becoming more popular lately, as the built environment is seen more as a place of great creativity for human intervention. I would draw a connection between the rise of thinking creatively about landscape and the rethinking of the American lawn and the localization of food production. Both of these movements are rethinking the paradigm of small scale land use in our urban environments. And creative minded growers are stepping to the plate to replace old, wasteful land systems with an ever expanding catalog of ideas.  

 Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas. Ant Farm Collective. 

Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas. Ant Farm Collective. 


 Andy Goldsworthy installing an in-site art piece. 

Andy Goldsworthy installing an in-site art piece. 

 I see a great benefit to many organizations supporting the idea of a Gardner in Residence. For example, here are 5 organizations I think would benefit from hosting a Gardener in Residence program:

Botanical Gardens

College Campuses

Small Scale Farms

Cities - Manchester, England had one!

National Parks - The National Park Service has an Artist in Residence program, wouldn't it be great to see this expanded to the built environment?