Digging Deeper: Power of Place at Manitoga, Garden & Home of Russel Wright

Digging Deeper: Power of Place at Manitoga, Garden & Home of Russel Wright

Credit Rick Darke

Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center

Sat, May 20, 2023

This Digging Deeper presented in partnership with Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center.

The Landscape Collection and Conservation staff lead an exploration of the "power of place" at Manitoga, the woodland garden and mid-century modern home of pioneering industrial designer Russel Wright and his wife Mary Wright. Formerly a granite quarry and logging site, the name Manitoga means "Place of Great Spirit" adapted by Wright from Algonquin language. He built his house and studio directly into the quarry walls and brought stone, wood, and plants from the property inside. The Wright's integrated vision blended the built elements and the natural landscape together so that each was enriched, enhanced, and transformed by the other. Just as the house is interwoven with the site, the hillside is connected by views to its larger context of the Hudson River Valley, and the visitors themselves are involved in an intimate and unfolding relationship to place. With a background in theater set design, Wright had an expert hand in slowly revealing the drama of the landscape. He observed how the light shifted through the trees, the spectacle of the changing of the seasons, how plant communities acted in concert, and the way the forest opened up here or there, to a clearing or to a narrow path where you felt leaves brush against your arms. In May, the highlight of the woodland gardens are the blooms of the native dogwoods and spring flowering ground covers. In its concept, design and management, Manitoga unites science, culture and nature with an ecology that is both human and spiritual. By employing the language of the forest to rehabilitate disturbed land, Wright demonstrated a sense of social responsibility and environmental sensitivity that continues to be relevant for both at-home and professional garden designers.

Manitoga, Garden & Home of Russel Wright
Garrison, NY

Date and Time:
Saturday, May 20
Two Sessions: 10-12 & 4-6