Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Garden

A slightly ineloquent excerpt from The Meaning of Gardens;

"Garden as Idea"

"The Garden has long served as a way of thinking about nature and about culture and how each influences the other. The garden has been viewed philosophically as the balancing point between human control on one hand and wild nature on the other. The garden has represented safety from the threat of wild nature or escape from barbarian outsiders. The garden has been nature-under-control, an idealization of what society believed that nature should be and should look like."

The Meaning of Gardens

Edited by Mark Francis and Randolph T. Hester

"Gardens reveal the relationship between culture and nature, yet in the vast library of garden literature few books focus on what the garden means - on the ecology of garden as idea, place, and action. The Meaning of Gardens maps out how the garden is perceived, designed, used, and valued. Essays from a variety of disciplines are organized around six metaphors special to our time - the garden muses of Faith, Power, Ordering, Cultural Expression, Personal Expression, and Healing. Each muse suggests specific inspirations for garden and landscape design."

In an attempt to find a coherent line for my work to follow, I am examining the Garden: it's origins and role as a social or cultural construction; bearing in mind the need of a culture to exert control over its environment and the psychological implications of a plot of nature, contained.

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