“Ed has been more than the architect of Pinecote (the name for the 64-acre Interpretive Center site). He has been its chief interpreter and ambassador, translating natural phenomena to visiting professors and wide-eyed school children. He has been a resident artist, capturing the patterns of light and shadow falling across Mississippi’s humid landscape and in his drawings and works. He has been a physical presence, as strong as a longleaf pine, radiating energy and enthusiasm, committed to one special place as one man can be.”
Ed Blake, ASLA, a youngish man (my same age--it's all relative), died suddenly this month, to all our surprise. Robert Brzuszek, who worked with him and also taught at Mississippi State University, wrote that Ed expanded and redefined the boundaries for landscape architecture. This big, visionary, iconoclast loved the earth and the living things thereon and seemed so filled with life. A supremely talented landscape architect, he lived a life crammed with plants and land and people, architects and builders and artists and thinkers and his own students. He also had a smile as filled with enthusiasm for ideas as for people, and a wide view of the world and of our place in it. I dubbed him Cosmic Ed.
We first met at the Crosby Arboretum, designed by Fay Jones. Ed had worked at Andropogen in Philadelphia, PA at one point, and worked with them on the exquisite development of this balanced, nuanced patch counterpoised between earth, water, and sky. For a time, he lived it.
Here are a few words I wrote in 1994, when he left his position: