Posts Tagged ‘Eric Groft’

NY Ballet Gala

Peter Martins’ “Mes Oiseaux,” costumes by Gilles Mendel/Photo by Paul Kolnik

On Thursday May 10th, 2012, Oehme van Sweden Principal Eric D. Groft accompanied Barbara Slifka to the New York City Ballet Spring Gala at Lincoln Center.  Cocktails were served in the lobby and on the terrace, followed by a performance including the world premeire of Mes Oiseaux (choreographed by Ballet Master and Chief Peter Martins, with music by Marc-Andre Dalbavie) and the world premiere of “Two Hearts” (choreographed by Benjamin Millepied, with music by Nico Muhly). The last performance of the evening was the classic Symphony in C (choreographed by George Balanchine and music by Georges Bizet). The night culminated with a dinner and dancing. The Actress Natalie Portman was the Honorary Chairperson and the Gala Chairmen included Emily and Len Blavatnik, Charlotte Moss and Barry Freidberg, and Marie Nugent-Head and James Marlas.

See http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/11/new-york-city-ballet-spring-gala_n_1510688.html for more details and photos.

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Carex elata

Carex elata in bloom this week in an OvS-designed estate in coastal Maine (photograph courtesy Rebecca Hoffman)

While gathered around the lunch table with co-workers today, the conversation turned, as it so often does, to plants. Today’s conversation included a lament that straight species are frequently ignored by the nursery trade in favor of more showy cultivars. Setting aside discussions of wildlife value and attractiveness to pollinators, today’s discussion was about aesthetics. “Sometimes you just need the basics,” one co-worker announced.

Carex elata is an example of just such a plant.  Not to be outshown by its more widely cultivated chartreuse form, ‘Bowles Golden’, the straight species of Carex elata has found a welcome home in many OvS gardens over the years. Eric Groft and Wolfgang Oehme first happened upon the straight species decades ago at Holgar Winenga’s Garden Treasure Nursery. I vividly remember the fury of Wolfgang Oehme when a truckload including thousands of cheerily glowing ‘Bowles Golden’ arrived at a prominent federal project we were working on, instead of the specified straight species. “They look sick,” snapped Wolfgang as he ordered the plants returned. No intense yellow sedges here!

The straight species features graceful, slender, emerald-green blades. Clusters of deep brown seed capsules shoot like fireworks off the stems in mid-April. When planted in mass, Carex elata forms a dense waving sea of green by early summer.  The versatile plant performs well in sun or shade, moist or dry conditions. “It’s a miracle plant!” declares OvS principal Eric Groft. Carex elata demonstrates just how beautiful and dynamic the basics can be.

Native Range: Northern and eastern Europe

USDA Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Height: 18-30”

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade; normal to moderately moist soils

Carex elata

Seed capsules in mid-April mingle with Narcissus ‘Golden Bells’ in an OvS-designed walled garden on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

Carex elata

Carex elata planted in mass provides visual relief from the exuberance of an elaborate English border in an OvS garden on the Eastern Shore of Maryland

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On April 12, Eric Groft and Stacilyn Feldman joined Graham Gund, Laura Cabo and Eric Svahn of Gund Partnership for a design charette at The Pennsylvania State University.  The focus of the charette was to develop a distinct entry sequence for the forthcoming phase of the University Arboretum, and existing Dickinson School of Law, as well as to site the forthcoming structures at the Arboretum, which will include a Planetarium, Education Center and Conservatory.

Nearly twenty members of the Penn State faculty, facilities management and campus design staff attended the meeting, and contributed to the design process.

Team Seated

Laura Cabo directed the afternoon’s discussion and presented several program options and entrance sequences.

Laura Cabo

Laura Cabo

Everyone attending actively participated in the siting of the project components and worked together meet the program needs.

Team Standing

Team Standing

OvS is delighted to be part of this project team and looks forward to the coming months of collaboration.

During our visit to Penn State, Eliza Pennypacker, professor of Landscape Architecture at The Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, invited OvS Principal Eric Groft to visit the second-year design studios on Friday, April 13th.   The students’ work for the Spring semester focused on complete site design, from site analysis to siting structures, organizing site circulation, and responding to existing environmental constraints and opportunities.

Eric Groft and Ben Sereda

L-R: Eric Groft and Ben Sereda

Eric spent a morning in the Stuckeman Family Building studios, discussing each student’s project with them, reviewing their concepts, and discussing appropriate plants and species for the intended experience.

Eric Groft, Eliza Pennypacker and Emma Pritchett

L-R: Eric Groft, Eliza Pennypacker and Emma Pritchett

It was a wonderful morning for both the students and Eric – sharing open dialogue about site design and the importance of great plants in the landscape.  Thank you to Professor Pennypacker for the invitation!

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The Original House at Morven

On Saturday October 1, 2011, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) Principal Eric D. Groft attended the annual UVa School of Architecture Dean’s Forum at Morven Farm, the former estate of Mr. John Kluge. Starting at 4:30 at the Barns at Morven, an exhibit of student, faculty and alumni collaborative research and the resulting curriculum was on display. Cocktails were served at the Main House and Formal Garden and guests were allowed to tour the Japanese Garden and Tea House, featuring a cascading waterfall and lily pools. Dinner was then held at the Meeting Barn and Theater ( Mr. Kluge termed this structure his “fun barn” – doesn’t everyone need one?). Warren Buford, Executive Director of the School of Architecture Foundation welcomed and emceed the event. Speakers included Thomas H. Bishop, Foundation President and Dean Kim Tanzer.

Eric was accompanied by Jane Howland, the youngest daughter of former Professor (and Eric’s mentor) Benjamin C. Howland, along with faculty member Nancy Takahashi and her husband architect David Oakland. Other alumni at the event included E. Taylor Armstrong, Alan Dynerman and his wife Nancy Seybold, Mary Kay Lanzillotta and her husband Lee Becker, both of Hartman Cox Architects, Tim Leahy of Annapolis and David Haresign of Bonstra/Haresign Architects of Washington, DC.

In 2001, Mr. John Kluge gave the Morven Estate to the University of Virginia Foundation for educational and charible purposes. Located in southeastern Albemarle County, the 7,379-acre gift is valued in excess of $45 million and more than doubled the University’s holdings.

Dean's Forum

Touring the Grounds

Morven Exhibit

The Exhibit

Morven Gardens

Morven's Gardens


Warren Buford, Executive Director of UVA’s School of Architecture


Kim Tanzer

Kim Tanzer, Dean, UVA School of Architecture


Deans Forum

Dean's Forum Dinner

Dean’s Forum photographs by Andrew Shurtleff

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In August 2011, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) Principal Eric Groft was on site to bring the New American Garden to the shores of Carlin Bay on Lake Coeur d’Alene near Harrison, Idaho. Assisted by Jim Fink of StyleBuilt Construction for grading and hardscape and Aspen Nursery for landscape, the garden was laid out and installed. The hardscape included new decks and verandahs, stone terraces and paths using the local Cabinet Gorge paving stone, re-alignment of the driveway paved with a rainbow gravel, enormous slabs of the Cabinet Gorge stone placed along the shore, and the placement of “basking rocks” for sunbathing. The steep slope is traversed with a new 10% gravel path that will allow gator traffic as well as a Porters Rope to negotiate the steepest slopes from the house to the water’s edge.

The Lake Shore features the remants of enormous Cedar stumps up to 12’ in diameter, as well as a greensward of lawn for passive recreation. A new rustic outdoor shower, boathouse and tent platform are organized around a Cowboy Cauldron for outdoor fires and cooking.

The site is covered with towering Logpole Pine, Spruce and Fir trees. Perennials, grasses, sedges, ferns and ground covers were installed in large swaths to provide a lush backdrop to the rustic garden features as well as sustainable erosion control for the steep slopes that exceed 30% in some areas. In addition to the OvS regulars of Panicum North Wind, Senecio aureus, Pynanthem muticum, Rudbeckia maxima and ‘Herbsonne’, we also used the native Andropogon/Big Blue Grass, Boutelua/Blue Gamma Grass, Bergenia and Mahonia to naturalize the site.

Lake Couer d’Alene, just 30 minutes from Spokane Washington, tranlates in French as ‘Heart of the Owl’ and is an ancient glacial Lake stretching 25 miles and covering 30,000 acres, with a depth that is not documented! Please take a look at OvS in the Rocky Mountians in this remote and enchanting Northern Idaho panhandle location…

Coeur d'Alene landscape

Coeur d'Alene landscape

Cabinet Gorge stones

Coeur d'Alene home

Coeur d'Alene home

Lake Coeur d'Alene

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The LongHouse Reserve Garden Committee awarded Oehme, van Sweden & Associates the 2011 LongHouse Landscape Award on Saturday, September 17th at LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, NY. The award, given for the first time ever to a firm or group, celebrates the “powerful changes that OvS has consistently and continuously brought to the American landscape for the past five decades.” Prior recipients of the award include landscape architect Dan Kiley, American gardener and horticulturist Frank Cabot, and the founder of the Central Park Conservancy, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers.

OvS Team

L-R: Eric Groft, Wolfgang Oehme, Sheila Brady, Jack Lenor Larsen & Lisa Delplace

Following tours of private gardens in East Hampton, a dinner at the home of Alex and Carole Rosenberg in Water Mill and a luncheon at LongHouse, OvS Principals Sheila Brady, Lisa Delplace, Eric Groft and Founding Partner Wolfgang Oehme accepted the award on behalf of the entire OvS team.

Eric Groft

OvS Principal Eric Groft

As part of the afternoon’s events, guests enjoyed a panel discussion between Oehme, van Sweden clients Kris Jarantoski, Executive Vice President and Director of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Todd Forrest, Vice President for Horticulture and Living Collections at the New York Botanical Garden. The panel was moderated by Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, President of the Foundation for Landscape Studies, and previous winner of the LongHouse Landscape Award.


L-R: Kris Jarantoski, Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, and Todd Forrest

LongHouse Reserve exemplifies living with art in all forms. It’s collections, gardens, sculpture and programs reflect world cultures and inspire a creative life.

LongHouse brings together art and nature, and aesthetics and spirit, with a strong conviction that the arts are central to living wholly and creatively. Dedicated to quality and integrity, LongHouse programs encourage a broad concept of learning.

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OvS Group

The Group from OvS, South Franklin Circle, and Judson Services

In 2005, Oehme, van Sweden (OvS) began a collaboration with GUND Partnership on an 80-acre planned community for adults over age 50. The property, in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, was to be known as South Franklin Circle. Today, the community is thriving – with residents, activities and plant life. On September 20th, OvS Principal Eric Groft was the keynote speaker for the kick-off to the 2011-2012 South Franklin Circle Dialogue Series. Created as a forum to inform and inspire the community, this segment of the dialogue series offered residents of South Franklin Circle insight to the inspiration, design and plant selection of the neighborhood in which they live from the designer himself. Following the presentation, Eric fielded questions from the audience and signed copies of The Artful Garden: Creative Inspiration for Landscape Design. Eric was also able to walk the grounds of South Franklin Circle with Bill Fehrenbach, the Vice President of Project Development at South Franklin Circle and Cynthia Dunn, CEO of Judson Services. All were impressed the growth that the plants experienced since their installation in 2009.

South Franklin Circle

The South Franklin Circle Community


South Franklin Circle

A South Franklin Circle Residence

Eric Groft OvS

Eric Groft of OvS

Eric Groft and Bill Fehrenbach

Eric Groft & Bill Fehrenbach

Eric Groft OvS

Eric Groft at the book signing

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