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have any of you ever considered studying garden history?


I have just completed an on line course in Garden History and I just wanted to say that it has really opened my eyes to garden design theory, history of gardens and in addition, informed me about countless gardens that I didn’t even know existed & now desperately want to visit!!
Part of the course work involved writing an ‘illustrated notebook’ covering gardens over the past 2000 years. Each section had to be written from 1 of the following approaches;
philosophy, social history, general history, art & architecture, religion, geography, construction & planting.
I really enjoyed the work, I find it almost impossible to say how much it has given me. I feel really well informed and I am now able to view gardens in such a different way. I always enjoyed the aesthetics of gardens but now they really ‘speak’ to me, telling me about the designers and how they thought about their work but also I now understand how the design reflects the period in which it was set and the way in which people were able to express how they felt about their lives and their world, in their gardens.
Gardens can inform us about so much and I just hadn’t realised that this was the case! I am now fuelled with enthusiasm for developing my garden as a way of expressing myself, instead of it being just a pretty place to be I want it to really speak to anyone who sees it!
I know I must sound like I’ve lost the plot (no pun intended) but I really wanted to share my thoughts.
It remains to be seen whether I have passed the course, if I have it will be the first stage of my masters degree so here’s hoping!
Sorry if I’m boring!

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I love garden history and really enjoy visiting old estates, trying to work out the methodology behind the landscaping. I have a very good book on the subject, but
can't put my hand on it this very minute. Will let you know here the title and author, as soon as I can.

15 Mar, 2008


I agree Karen - knowing garden history, you can get so much more out of an historic garden by knowing its context. And we thought garden fashions were a modern thing!

15 Mar, 2008


It has always been my take on garden history that ornamental gardens were for the wealthy and powerful, from Emperor Shen-ming to Nebuchadnezzer to Strabo to les Bourbons, and that for everyone else most "gardening" was vegetable gardening for food and herbs for the kitchen and the sickroom. I think the study of herbs and their effects was mankinds first science and it is still a subject for research today. Interesting that the beginning stories of most religions start with a garden.
I hope you will blog your garden history. I will look forward to reading it.

17 Mar, 2008

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