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The view from Federal Twist – James Golden – Lecture

Thursday 17 February 2022 at 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm

James Golden is a garden-maker of international repute whose garden,Federal Twist, has featured in The New York Times, Gardens Illustrated,Horticulture, Better Homes and Gardens, Elle Décor and several books.Monty Don visited Federal Twist in 2019 for the BBC series ‘Monty Don’s American Gardens’,describing it as ‘one of the great modern gardens’ and commented after his visit, “It made me rethink what a garden can be and do”. James has published in the Journal of the Society of Garden Designers and is known for his thoughtful commentary and design. He has been a garden blogger for 14 years ( and lectures widely including the New York Botanical Garden and Garden Masterclass. His book, The View from Federal Twist, is published on 28 October 2021.

Federal Twist is set on a ridge above the Delaware River in western New Jersey, USA. It is a naturalistic garden that has loose boundaries and integrates closely with the natural world that surrounds it. It has no utilitarian or leisure uses (no play areas, swimming pools or outdoor dining) and the site is not an obvious choice for a garden (heavy clay soil,poorly drained: quick death for any plants not ecologically suited to it).  The physical garden, its plants and its features, is of course an appealing and pleasant place to be but Federal Twist’s real charm and significance lie in its intangible aspects: its changing qualities and views, the moods and emotions it evokes, and its distinctive character and sense of place.

When creating the garden James made a conscious decision not to ‘improve the land’ and planted large, competitive plants into rough grass, experimenting with seeding to develop sustainable plant communities. He worked with light to provoke certain moods and allowed the energy of the place, chance and randomness to have its say.


Due to the continuing uncertainty regarding Covid-19 restrictions, the Friends’ lectures will continue to be through Zoom for the time being. This situation will be reviewed in the light of developments including the University of Bristol confirming that their lecture theatres are once again available.

All lectures will start at 7pm. The link to the Zoom lecture will be available for each lecture nearer the time, also from Friends enews. Please note that there is a limit of 100 people which will be on a first come first served basis with no pre-booking.

Join Zoom Meeting here

  • Meeting ID: 847 8809 0540
  • Passcode: 378786


Thursday 17 February 2022
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
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