A SUMMER SPENT UNDER THE OAKS

September 13th

Picture mist rolling over hills of wild flowers and fields of rye braiding together to create the stunning organic harmony that inspired the architecture nestled amongst oak trees. Taliesin is a world in itself—a sanctuary preserved in time emanating a calm serene beauty…captivating everyone who visits.

I first came to Taliesin at the age of 11 to participate in ‘Art and Architecture’ summer camp. This was where I was first immersed in Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophies and organic architecture laboratory, which eventually inspired me to pursue a degree in architecture. And this past summer, I returned—over decade later—to work as the seasonal gardener.

Working on the estate connected me not only to the beautiful native plants and countryside of the Driftless Region, but also to the Taliesin community. One of the most significant learning opportunities of my life has been collaborating with the architectural students in addition to the culinary program while working alongside the preservation team to restore the natural landscape. Burning and seeding prairies; reintegrating oak savannah back into the woods; managing the water quality; and eliminating the invasive species on the property are handful of the many projects I worked on. Life here is grounded in community. Everyone shares ideas while also making an effort to learn and work with each other.

Every once in a while, I will take a moment to close my eyes and spend time listening. The surrounding area is not only a visual feast, but also a symphony of sound. Wind sweeping through leaves, a choir of bird calls and the distant sounds of stories and thoughts being shared are its soundtrack. I believe Mr. Wright said it best, “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.” I will forever remember my time spent at Taliesin. —Written and photographed by Skye Larue, Taliesin Seasonal Gardener.