FINDING OLMSTED

  Why at my age do I feel the need to understand history? History has never been of much interest to me and was always my worst subject. Maybe it was the way it was taught, so many facts and figures. Maybe because when I studied Landscape Architecture, my interest was in the modern landscapes designed by Balsley, Friedberg, Halprin and my personal favorite, Carol Johnson. The historical figures of Olmsted, Manning, and Downing were just old men with beards to me. And I pretty much felt that way my entire professional career. It was not until I became president of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects that I began to focus in on Frederick Law Olmsted, not by choice but by obligation. You see, Connecticut is the birthplace of Olmsted, who is affectionately referred to as FLO by his admirers. Also, the state has a FLO day and the chapter a FLO award. Therefore, as president of the chapter, I was obligated to sit in on all meetings and conference calls regarding the choice of our Olmsted award winner. At one such call, an animated discussion ensued among the committee members and Norma Williams, a FLO advocate and landscape architect. She went into a dialogue about how Olmsted was influenced by his youthful interaction with the Connecticut landscape. She explained how the areas around his hometown of Hartford informed his landscape sensibility; the rolling verdant hills, the agrarian vistas and the circuitous hilly roads. It suddenly occurred to me that the beauty of Connecticut had made an important contribution to the entire American landscape -- a legacy this state should honor, protect and promote. I decided at that moment that I had to find Olmsted for myself. The first obvious task was to learn some background about the man. Coincidentally, I was also in charge of programming for the chapter -- so I promoted the idea of an Olmsted-centric gala for April, 2013, during which both Olmsted’s birthday and Landscape Architecture Month are celebrated. I was lucky to connect with two great presenters for that gala: Justin Martin, the author of “Genius of Place,” a book about Olmsted. Here is a  You Tube video presentation by Justin .And , Larry Hott the filmmaker of the documentary “Frederick Law Olmsted – Designing America.”  click here to view info about Larry’s film . The gala was a magical night and it strengthened my intrigue with the man and the legacy of FLO. I will be blogging about my journey to Find Olmsted over the summer.PLEASE JOIN ME FOR THIS ADVENTURE. I know now that history provides great insights for the future. 

april is world landscape architecture month

This month we are celebrating National Landscape Architecture Month in the state in which Frederick Law Olmsted was born. If it was not for FLO we would not have Central Park or the Emerald Necklace nor Beardsley Park or Seaside Park in Connecticut.  His influence is nationwide but his first footsteps were taken in Hartford.  He was born in 1822 and although much of his career was practiced outside of Connecticut, his design sensibility was formed by his boyhood adventures in the Connecticut landscape. I hope to share more information regarding FLO as the Father of Landscape Architecture whose legacy still lives on in our national outdoor places.  So please journey with me in the footsteps of Frederick Law Olmsted.‚Äč

welcome to our dala blog

Welcome. This is the Didona Associates - Landscape Architects (DALA) first post on our brand new blog. I am Jane Didona. So, after almost 40 years of practice, why a blog ? I have to admit, I am a bit selfish. I want to conquer my fear of writing. I feel that this commitment will provide me with the discipline to write on a regular basis. I also feel I have a lot of information to share and it is time to give back. Years ago, I was walking on a wooded site in Trumbull, CT. and Dr Phil Barske was spending a great deal of time explaining the ecology of the site and the impact our plans would have. I thanked him for taking the time to teach a young Landscape Architect. He said, when you get to be my age, don't forget to give back. It is time.  For the next 6 months, I have committed to writing twice a month on topics that interest me and that I have a certain expertise in. I hope you are interested, that you learn something but most important, that you share. I hope we can have a dialogue. Topics that interest me are of course design and landscape architecture, but also sustainability, resiliancy, storm water management, kayaking, painting, hiking, climate, alternative energy, WEW!!! Well I think you get the picture, I love the outdoors. I want to know all I can. So, this will be an adventure; a Journey in cyberspace. Thanks for your interest.  I'll be back to you soon. Jane

...
...

Sustainable Site Design and Landscape Architecture

 

Official logo of dala - Didona Associates Landscape Architects, LLC