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Global Green Thumb: English, French, and Japanese Gardens

Most gardeners will tell you that landscaping—not cleanliness—is next to godliness, especially when it requires precise thought and skill. From Versailles to Kyoto's Saihoji Temple, the art of gardening is a universal language.
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Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, England
Christchurch, Oxford, England
Beckley Park, Oxfordshire, England
West Midlands, England
Chateau de Villandry, Loire Valley, France
Chateau d’Angers, Loire Valley, France
Chateau d’Versailles, Versailles, France
Korin-in Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Tenryu-ji Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Saiho-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Photo: deejayhart | Daniel Hart on Flickr

Beckley Park, Oxfordshire, England

Whimsical mazes, like these topiaries, surged in popularity towards the mid-nineteenth century. They often served as illicit meeting places for lovers—hence their ubiquity.


 

Christchurch, Oxford, England

Landscape artists seek to create an idyllic pastoral scene, complete with rolling hills and picturesque architecture, like Gothic ruins or bridges. 

Beckley Park, Oxfordshire, England

Whimsical mazes, like these topiaries, surged in popularity towards the mid-nineteenth century. They often served as illicit meeting places for lovers—hence their ubiquity.


 

West Midlands, England

Private gardens had a huge influence on how public parks were created in the early-nineteenth century; we can see this influence in any of London’s major parks as well as New York’s Central Park.


 

Chateau de Villandry, Loire Valley, France

French gardens, or les jardins francais, are based on symmetry and imposing manmade order over nature, trimming vegetation into complex shapes


 

Chateau d’Angers, Loire Valley, France

These jardins often run on geometric planes, using east-west or north-south axes to offer an artistic perspective to the viewer.


 

Chateau d’Versailles, Versailles, France

Perhaps the most famous of all French gardens, the Palace at Versailles boasts elaborate fountains, mazes, and lakes. Louis XIV (the Sun King) used the 800 hectares to symbolize his absolute power over France and even nature itself.


 

Korin-in Garden, Kyoto, Japan

Unlike the rambling beauty of the English garden or the baroque form of the French garden, Japanese gardens are about harmony with nature, working with (not against) the natural surroundings.


 

Tenryu-ji Garden, Kyoto, Japan

Water sources must appear to be part of the environment, creating a serene and meditative space for the viewer.


 

Saiho-ji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Like ritualistic tea ceremonies, the art of Japanese gardening is shrouded in secrecy, passed down through the generations from sensei to apprentice.


 

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