The History of Gardens
Believe it or not, there's actually a History of Gardens …
In early times, the Gardens of Persia served a unique purpose… Their walls shielded the inhabitants from the harsh desert climate ... Inside they would find a paradise of cool water, shade and fragrant flowers.
In Medieval Europe, Nature was unpredictable and could be extremely hostile… A Garden's walls could provide safety ... From that evolved the Cloister Garden ... which was believed to be the model for all of the Secret Gardens to follow.
The Renaissance and Baroque eras seemed to display the need for Privacy more than the need for Protection ... Secret conversations and amorous encounters could be concealed by tall hedges, creating a giardini segreti, or outdoor room.
"As early as the first century, the Roman statesman, Pliny the Younger was extolling the restful and refreshing atmosphere of his country gardens.
The scholars' gardens of China and Japan, away from the cares of the world, were intended to be conducive to contemplation.
And in early modern times, new urban populations relied on public parks for their experience of Nature. Though by definition, these were not Secret Gardens, they nonetheless provided a wholesome getaway for those living and working in crowded, insalubrious conditions.
Even today, overstimulated urbanites can find refreshment and solitude by walking through a verdant city park." from Secret Gardens, An Art Book and Engagement Book
It goes without saying that Gardens and Nature have served as inspiration for writers and artists throughout history.
"The earth laughs in flowers." e.e. cummings
"Each flower is a soul blossoming out to nature." Gerard De Nerval
Monet spent hours absorbed in the silence and solitude he found in the gardens he designed and cultivated ... he's know to have said,
“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.” Claude Monet.
Here are a few more of my favorite quotes about Nature ...
"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in tune once more." John Burroughs
“It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties, to know the sense of wonder and humility.” Rachel Carson
"Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands… A mountain, a star, the turn of a stream. There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world." Sydney Lovett
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