The landscape designer Margie Ruddick received a summons for her unkempt-looking yard, but there’s logic in its wildness.
From the article: “With little money left for landscaping, Ms. Ruddick decided to embrace the philosophy embodied in a line she remembered from an old New Yorker: ‘Don’t just do something. Stand there!'”
And, this insight into the traditional trajectory of design practice:
She left WRT in 2007 to spend time with her children and her mother, Dorothy Ruddick, an artist who died in 2010. She also wanted to get back to drawing and to designing for those who share her commitment to environmental issues.
“It was really clear to me that the model of perpetual growth didn’t work,” Ms. Ruddick said, reflecting on the years she spent building her practice and then the one at WRT. “You do less and less design work because you have to go out and get more jobs to build your empire.”
She has written a book she hopes to publish, “What Are We Doing Here, Anyway?” It questions how people can be truly “green” when they haven’t changed any of their fundamental behaviors. What good is a rain garden in Queens Plaza, for example, if the city won’t reduce the number of traffic lanes on the Queensboro Bridge?
She worked for years in India, she said, where people stop for the rituals that mark the passages of life.
“How many times has somebody gotten married, and you just can’t go because of too much work or something?” she asked. “They don’t miss these things. The whole place stops. I feel like we just don’t stop enough.”
What a radical thought: just standing there, in the gardens, and in our lives, too.