For 30 years, a Buddhist monk has brought peace to Colorado landscapes

The Daily Camera
By Sandra Fish
January 23, 2004

The soothing sounds of water trickling. The rough texture of rock, an integral part of Colorado. The fragrance of soil and flowers.

For 30 years, Martin Mosko has blended such elements to create sumptuous settings in gardens in Boulder and beyond through his landscape design and construction firm, Marpa & Associates.

But Mosko's blending of the elements goes beyond simple gardening. He came to Boulder in 1974, a disciple of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a founder of Naropa University. Trained as a painter at Yale University, Mosko went on a spiritual search and took up gardening at Soledad Mission in California.

Today, Mosko is a Zen monk who teaches a class on Buddhism at Naropa while also designing contemplative gardens for homeowners and businesses. Wednesday, his company will receive two awards from Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado — a competition they excel at every year.

"They win, gosh, probably no less than two awards on an annual basis ... some years as many as six," says Kristen Sirovatka, executive director of the association. Last year, for instance, the firm won the grand award for a water feature and a merit award for xeriscaping. This year's awards for two Denver projects will be announced Wednesday.

Mosko and his partner, Alxe Noden, also recently published a book about the Marpa style: Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden.(Weatherhill, $40).