Bold Romantic Gardens

Following the publication of Bold Romantic Gardens, Oehme and van Sweden were named “America’s most interesting landscape practitioners” by the influential landscape designer John Brookes. [1] London’s Daily Telegraph Magazine said the designers “have pulled up the American garden by its roots, and their revolutionary approach is gaining an international audience.”[2]

The Federal Reserve Board Garden, composed of native plantings in tapestry-like swaths that contrasted against the more rigid shapes of the building and hardscape, is considered their breakthrough project. One artist whose work they sited at the Federal Reserve, sculptor Lila Katzen, suggested in August 1981 that Alex and Carole Rosenberg engage the designers for their Water Mill, New York, property. The Rosenbergs did and the results created a sensation. Carole Rosenberg recalls that “newspapers and magazines began calling, [and] we realized we had started something new and special.” [3] The Slifka Beach House in Sagaponack, New York, and the Vollmer garden in Baltimore, Maryland, are other seminal projects.

1. Wolfgang Oehme, James van Sweden, and Susan Rademacher Frey, Bold Romantic Gardens: The New World Landscapes of Oehme and van Sweden (Herndon, Virginia: Acropolis Books,
1991), third cover.

2. James van Sweden, Gardening with Nature (New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2003), fourth cover.

3. “Carole Rosenberg’s Memorable Reflections, August 2010,”, last modified October 2,

Projects (4)