Saturday, February 23, 2002

Nature and Art in the Garden: A study of Attitudes to Nature and Their Projection on the Garden-Jill Cherry

As I read this article, I highlighted the first sentence. The idea that the garden embodies societal attitudes concerning art, religion, science and architecture is a theme that has resonated soundly throughout this course. What really is "nature"? has been the central theme of Env 321. We wrote papers on it. I wrote my paper on the idea of the garden as a cultural reflection and found, while researching it, that there is a wealth of information dedicated to the subject. Jill Cherry's article brings many of these ideas into focus and presents many of the disciplines of art, science, ecology and environmentalism as intertwined. Indeed, it is hard to classify the garden in terms of just one category. Many gardens fall into several. For example, the manicured botanical garden encompasses artistic, natural, ecological and conservation ideas within its borders. Jens Brockmeier spent two lectures describing the different ways in which gardens could be described, classified and interpreted. In many ways, this article is an extension of those lectures. The landscaped garden in the world of art. I agree with the author when she states that the beauty of the garden really is in the eye of the beholder, as evidenced by he numerous transitions the garden has gone through over the centuries. In some decades, the imitation of nature as closely as possible was the desired outcome, in others, the enhancement of the natural became the ideal beauty. It's interesting to see how each generation views itself; manifesting their ideas into their garden spaces. I doubt that a century ago, those doctors who prescribed time in the country to recuperate from illnesses would have believed that this notion would be carried over to the twenty-first century in office buildings. Greenery is a highly prized thing these days, in whatever shape it comes in. City streets, apartment buildings and airports are just a few of the places in which green spaces have invaded. Indeed, the trend these days seems to be towards a more natural appearance, a contrast with the more materialistic ideas of twenty years ago. The question I have, then, is what the garden of the future will look like? Will technology play a bigger role in the garden appearance? Will technology supercede art? Has it already happened?