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What is a garden?

posted in General Gardening |

The word garden originates from the old German term “gart” which means ‘enclosure’. A garden obviously is meant ‘to enclose something’? Hmmm… let’s look at the dictionary.

Dictionary.com’s definition of a garden is…

garden
“a plot of ground, usually near a house, where flowers, shrubs, vegetables, fruits, or herbs are cultivated.”
garden
“a piece of ground or other space, commonly with ornamental plants, trees, etc., used as a park or other public recreation area: a public garden.”
garden
“a fertile and delightful spot or region.”

Looking at the definitions and the original German word there are a couple of noteworthy keywords;

  • plants
  • delightful
  • spot/enclosure

So a garden then is a place with plants that is delightful or beautiful. This must surely be the the distillation of the definitions above. Is this not why we want to garden? To create a beautiful place with plants.

So a better definition of garden which distills all other definitions could be;

garden
“a place with plants that is delightful or beautiful.”

Now we’re getting somewhere. We know there are plants that don’t require ground, so called air plants(the bromeliads), so ‘ground’ isn’t a requisite for a garden.

Today our gardens are extensions to our homes they are outside rooms. We play, relax, enjoy, cook, eat and entertain in them. We decorate our homes so it follows that we want to decorate our outside room, our garden. Many people have their homes designed, so too gardens. We design gardens for their purpose. We design and decorate our gardens by putting garden structures and plants in them to fulfill that purpose, this then is a garden.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so gardens therefore are infinite in variety;

  • In Japan, a garden might be the size of a casserole dish
  • For the ancient Chinese, a garden symbolized a way of life, epitomized by this proverb. “If you would be happy for a week, take a wife; if you would be happy for a month, kill your pig; but if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden.”
  • To you a garden may be only for growing vegetables as it was in the 18th century
  • Your delightful spot may resemble the typical English country cottage garden
  • Your garden may have lots of contemporary hard structures with lots of decking and patios and have only one or 2 plants in containers

These are all examples of a garden.

A garden will not fulfill its true purpose unless it’s beautiful. When your garden is beautiful it is a pure joy that you don’t get anywhere else. But to attain that beauty there is work to be done,… now that’s what gardening is all about.

Tags [gardening |garden |gardener]

This entry was posted on Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 at 9:26 am and is filed under General Gardening. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

There are currently 3 responses to “What is a garden?”

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