Book Review | The Wirtz Private Garden

“This garden is made for my camera” says Marco Valdivia. Unlike the Wirtzes’ commissioned gardens, this former kitchen garden was never conceived as a formal composition: a complete work of art. Rather, it is a working nursery in active use, a laboratory for continuous experimentation, in which plants are moved, transferred to other plots or to gardens in progress elsewhere.

Few landscape designers are more admired than Belgium’s Jacques Wirtz, as seen with the huge success of The Wirtz Gardens, published in the fall of 2004. The Wirtz Gardens surveyed 57 private and public gardens designed by Wirtz, many in collaboration with his two sons, Martin and Peter, in locations spanning the globe. Like the veteran art dealer whose personal collection one imagines to be stupendous, the volume raised the question of what Wirtz’s own garden looked like.

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