Friday, September 05, 2014

What is a garden?

The student's first port of call for a definition, Wikipedia, describes a garden as "... a planned space, usually outdoors, set aside for the display, cultivation, and enjoyment of plants and other forms of nature. The garden can incorporate both natural and man-made materials".

Some argue that gardens can be art, and should be criticised as such. Well, some gardens, anyway. Hopefully not ours. Our garden is to art as a toddler's playdough man with head toppling off is to the beauty of Rodin's 'The Kiss'.

Others subscribe to the view of the garden as an outdoor room, for relaxing and socialising.

However, over this summer, I have discovered that our garden is so much, much  more than any of these views of a garden.

It has been:
- a scooter track
- a pirate ship
- the home of the 'shadow monster'
- a minibeast safari
- a steam train track
- a diesel train track
- an electric train track
- a monorail train track (do you see a recurring theme...?)
- a zoo
- an aquarium
- the sea
- a bus route
- somewhere to feed and identify birds
- a place to dig for buried treasure (potatoes, carrots)
- a place to dig for worms
- a place to build a worm house from mud
- a place to plant a bulb and watch it grow and flower and go over
- a place to mop and hoover (don't ask..)
- a place to help Daddy drill and saw
- a place to pick an apple and eat it, and admire the little worm inside it
- a place to throw yourself into the grasses again and again, until the grasses are flat and it's bed time

So, what is our garden?

An outdoor room? Maybe.
A work of art? Definitely not.

An imaginarium? Most certainly.

That's what our garden is. What's yours?


VP said...

This is a very neat contribution to the 'gardens as art' debate HM.

To me those who seek to label the garden as art are diminishing it. It is far richer, immense and broader than that - your use of the word 'imaginarium' sums up my thoughts on the topic very well :)

Anna said...

An 'imaginarium' is a brilliant description HM. Your little man has the perfect concept of what a garden should be - a place for fun and happiness and for doing whatever you enjoy whatever age you are.

Outdoors said...

The flowers in your header photo look like colorful garden gnomes.

chloris said...

I wonder if you have read Rory Stuart's book 'What are gardens for?' He says they are for 'food, fun, and fantasising' I would add self-expression and escapism.
My garden is a playground too. But it is a playground for grownups, so no pirates or scooter tracks.

Sunita Mohan said...

I like the things your garden has been :)
As for my garden, I think it is a 'dreamarium'! :D