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Jens Jensen

Jens Jensen is a distinguished landscape architect. The Ewing couple who built and owned the residence commissioned Jens Jensen to design the landscape in 1927. He did further landscaping for the Ewing residence in 1932. His renderings of the Ewing landscape is now displayed on the lower level of the Ewing Manor.

Jens Jensen

Early Life and Career 

Jens Jensen was born in Dybbol, Denmark in 1860 to a wealthy farming family, and he went to agricultural school in Jutland, Denmark. He emigrated to the United States in 1884, and eventually settled down in Chicago, where he initially worked as a street sweeper in west Chicago's parks. His love for the natural environment motivated him to work with a Swedish gardener and thus gained abundant knowledge of native plants. Using his knowledge and skills of landscape architecture, he rapidly advanced the parks in the Chicago Park District.

Prairie style

Design Style 

Jensen used native prairie plants in his landscape design consistently. For instance, when designing the Chicago parks,he planted native perennials against the backdrop of native trees and shrubs, instead of repeatedly installing manicured flower beds. He transplanted wild native flowers from the surrounding prairies to replace the fragile flower beds in a corner of Union Park, and this corner eventually became the American Garden.

In 1913, Jens Jensen invited a group of influential friends to join him and form a conservation organization that later became Friends of Our Native Landscape. Due to their effort, various areas in Illinois became state parks, such as Starved Rock. Starved Rock is also where Jensen discovered the potentiality of incorporating redbuds, a native plant, in his designs.

Collaboration and Works 

Between 1910 and 1930, Jens Jensen worked with many prominent architects such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Maher and Albert Kahn. He also completed commissions for many prominent Americans, including the Henry Fords, the Edsel Fords, Julius Rosenwald, and Orlando J. Buck, the father of Hazle Buck Ewing. He was the designer of the Lincoln Memorial Garden on the shore of Lake Springfield, Illinois.

The Ewing Landscape

The Ewing Landscape

When designing the Ewing landscape, Jens Jensen employed his well known "praire style" design to create a gently curving pathway where one could view both sunrise and sunset. This "praire style" pathway complements Ewing's Channel-Norman style architecture. Jens Jensen also used native plants for the gardens. He arranged various native plants that he favored in his designs on the Ewing landscape, such as hawthorn, redbuds, maple trees, and crabapple trees.

2017-08-31T11:26:50.53-05:00 2017