Most gardeners tend a small patch of land, growing what pleases them and whatever thrives in their climate. On a larger scale, gardens have become an art form and are a part of the creative tradition of many cultures. Here are a few examples of gardens as art.
Ikebana, an Ancient Form of Japanese Gardening Art
Ikebana has very old roots in Japanese culture. It is thought to derive from flower offerings on the altar made by Buddhist monks. Most gardeners pay close attention to the flower, but in Ikebana all of the plant is considered. Stems, petals and flowers are meticulously pruned to form a work of art with clear lines and form. The art of Ikebana is simple yet powerful, traits found in much of Japan’s culture.
The French Formal Garden: A Celebration of Symmetry
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries France became renowned for the design and construction of magnificent gardens. The most notable example of this school of gardening is the garden at Versailles. French formal gardens showcase the idea of symmetry and create visually stunning images by the careful planting and pruning of hedges, grasses, and flowers. The effect is a formal garden with harsh lines and bursts of color.
English Gardens Allow Plants to be Natural
English landscape gardens represent a departure from the control of plants evident in the French style of horticulture. English gardens are carefully planned but allow the plants more freedom to take on their natural shape, producing an organic and natural feel. The goal of an English garden is to present plants in a natural state, showcasing natural beauty rather than heavily shaped plants.
Three Example of Gardens as Art
These three examples show gardening as a true art form. Each style follows the same principles of other visual arts, using materials to explore form and function and manipulating plants in an effort to create an experience for the viewer.