She is a longtime landscape architect who has a Buckhead- and Highlands, N.C.-based landscape firm, Dargan Landscape Architecture, with her husband Hugh.
Her book, “Lifelong Landscape Design,” published earlier this month, walks people of all ages through the hows and whys of creating natural spaces in their homes and living a “stress-free existence,” Dargan, of Buckhead, said.
“If you’ve been in a hospital or stuck in an office, you really need to get away from these kind of dehumanizing environments and back to where you’re part of nature,” she said. “You can heal yourself on your own property by being in nature.”
Dargan said she discovered eight key components to healthy long-term living, which she details in her book, including, “Living with the Web of Life, Integrating Social Places, Freedom of Access, Energy and Activity, Live with Passive Place, Organize Horticultural Therapy, Need Stress Busters and Get a Healthy House.”
Staci Catron, director of the Atlanta History Center’s Cherokee Garden Library, said Dargan’s work is “classic and timeless.”“She’s trying to introduce a broader concept of activities that are healthy, that it changes as we change and evolve in different stages throughout life,” Catron said. “She’s giving all these examples of how you use your garden environment, be with kids, colleagues, friends and to just live a very positive life. She talks about spaces to have meals outside and how to have a healthy vegetable garden, … and how to get exercise for the body and also how to harvest those vegetables or fruit and prepare meals together.”
Dargan will speak at the library Oct. 24 at 4 p.m. The lecture will be followed by a book signing and a “high tea” at 5 p.m., according to Randy Jones, chair of the garden’s public relations committee.Soiree Catering, of Buckhead, is donating food made with “fresh locally grown ingredients,” Jones said.Wine and herbed teas will be served as well.
Habersham Gardens is lending the library bird baths, fountains and other vignettes typical of what Dargan might suggest for a home landscape design.
“The other thing I took away from her book is just living life every day and enjoying what’s around you,” Catron said. “We get so busy running from all our responsibilities to care giving and worrying about news and global politics, I love the fact that she sort of takes us back to look at the beauty around us and creating a environment and enjoying it. As trends come and go, Mary Palmer goes back to traditions that we know work, and that will be consistent and balanced.”