The gardener's eye

The Gardener's Eye

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Beauty and Death at Federal Twist

James Golden of Federal Twist, a "New American" garden in Stockton, NJ, calls this the "Edgar Allen Poe Season" in his garden. It is the end of the season where death in the garden is omnipresent. Federal Twist looks its most beautiful at this season; although I can't say for sure because I have only seen it in late October. I visited James on my way home from the Perennial Plant Conference a couple of weeks ago. These pictures were taken around noon, a difficult time to get good shots, and they don't do the garden justice. For a better look at Federal Twist in autumn, check James' photographs from an October 3rd post. James is becoming quite an accomplished photographer as well as gardener. I had the good fortune of visiting Federal Twist with Ben Pick, a young gardener who has been an intern at Great Dixter in England and Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, PA. James walked Ben and I around the garden as we talked both plants and design.

Ben Pick, a current Chanticleer intern and former North American Christopher Lloyd Scholar at Great Dixter, and James Golden in front of the skeleton of what was once a Japanese weeping cherry tree. James left the remains as a decaying sculptural element in the garden. James often makes very unconventional choices in his garden that make it unique and a very personal self-expression, the kind of garden that appeals to me the most.


  1. I've been fortunate to have visited James' garden twice; my brother lives nearby on the other side of the river. My first visit was during the high summer and it was brutally hot, and the sunlight was terrible for photography. Last year I timed my visit with the Perennial Plant Conf. and the light was wonderful, as was his garden.

    1. I'm glad the expert photographer got the better light. I look forward to seeing your photographs which are always amazing. James' garden keeps evolving and getting better. I hope your post will show all the structural elements he has added since I was there three years ago. They have really enhanced the experience.



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