Must a garden have flowers? Must it have trees and shrubs? Must it have plants at all?
I think most people would say yes. But consider England’s great landscape gardens. Some of those designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the late 1700s had few if any flowers. And what about that masterpiece of garden art, the Ryoan-ji garden in Kyoto? This garden from the late 1400s contains only sand, rock and small islands of moss.
Fifteen stones on white raked gravel make up the Ryoan-ji Zen garden in Kyoto. The composition is stark and, for me, was thought-provoking. Wherever I stood, I could not see all the stones at the same time. What inspired the designer to place the stones in that way? Many people have speculated on this question. Treatises have probably been written about the meaning of the stones and their placement. But whatever its meaning, the garden had a mysterious, almost hypnotic effect on me. And I believe my response was typical.
|Claude Cormier’s Blue Stick Garden is now installed on the lawn
near Estevan Lodge at the Reford Gardens in Metis, Quebec.
|A garden ‘plot’ from the 2008 garden festival at Chaumont-sur-Loire.
A witty take on an enclosed space. I wish I could remember the designer’s name.
Gardens can be whatever we want them to be.
|Traffic jams ahead?
These converging lines appeared on the lake a few years ago.