Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
"The Planetary Garden" and Other Writings

"The Planetary Garden" and Other Writings

Gilles Clément
Translated by Sandra Morris
Foreword by Gilles A. Tiberghien
Copyright Date: 2015
Pages: 192
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    "The Planetary Garden" and Other Writings
    Book Description:

    Celebrated landscape architect Gilles Clément may be best known for his public parks in Paris, including the Parc André Citroën and the garden of the Musée du Quai Branly, but he describes himself as a gardener. To care for and cultivate a plot of land, a capable gardener must observe in order to act and work with, rather than against, the natural ecosystem of the garden. In this sense, he suggests, we should think of the entire planet as a garden, and ourselves as its keepers, responsible for the care of its complexity and diversity of life.

    "The Planetary Garden" is an environmental manifesto that outlines Clément's interpretation of the laws that govern the natural world and the principles that should guide our stewardship of the global garden of Earth. These are among the tenets of a humanist ecology, which posits that the natural world and humankind cannot be understood as separate from one another. This philosophy forms a thread that is woven through the accompanying essays of this volume: "Life, Constantly Inventive: Reflections of a Humanist Ecologist" and "The Wisdom of the Gardener." Brought together and translated into English for the first time, these three texts make a powerful statement about the nature of the world and humanity's place within it.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9138-4
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xx)
    Gilles A. Tiberghien

    Gilles Clément, horticultural engineer, entomologist, landscape architect, and writer, occupies a special place in French professional circles that have long been dominated by an urbanistic vision of the role of the landscape architect. By championing in the 1970s a particular vision of the garden and nature, at a time when landscape was more readily used in the service of grand social utopias, he was somewhat marginalized. His completed projects, such as the Parc André-Citroën in Paris, in collaboration with Alain Provost and Patrick Berger from 1985–1992, the Parc Henri Matisse, opened in 2003 at Euralille with Eric Berlin and...

  4. The Planetary Garden: RECONCILING MAN AND NATURE
    (pp. 1-64)

    The guide we had chosen was surly, with a slight stoop. He looked like a bear in costume, his white shirt fastened at the neck without a tie, one corner of the collar somehow raised toward the sky, the other hidden under a black jacket that seemed to be asymmetric. He was nodding gently and smoking, belching huge oblique puffs of smoke. Meanwhile, people were moving toward him. We waited for the clouds and persistent smell of tobacco—officially prohibited here—to disperse before approaching him to listen.

    We had come a long way. Having set out the previous day...

  5. Life, Constantly Inventive: REFLECTIONS OF A HUMANIST ECOLOGIST
    (pp. 65-88)

    I am first and foremost a gardener: on the one hand, because I have a garden, and on the other, because I think that the garden is at the forefront of our current understanding of the terrain as a whole, and consequently of the landscapes that creep into the garden. I am a gardener in the literal sense of the word when I handle the soil and again, at a certain remove, when I attempt to work on landscapes that are large-scale, but the questions uniting the two are the same: they both revolve around living organisms, and that is...

  6. The Wisdom of the Gardener
    (pp. 89-172)

    The world of gardens includes gardeners. Without them nothing would exist. But it also attracts broadcasters, propagandists, entrepreneurs, contractors, journalists, and a crowd of scholarly people polished in the art of speaking about it who are called (in French) “amateurs,” fromamare,to love.

    The garden “amateur” is not someone who dabbles. He is thorough, travels, compares, makes enquiries, attends exhibitions, discussions and symposia, forms an opinion, constantly refining his knowledge. He is a scholar. Nowadays, the word “passion” is accepted without any distinction as one of an extended range of intellectual pleasures. Amateur, degraded through usage, indicates a nonprofessional...