Global Green Thumb: English, French, and Japanese Gardens
Photo: UGArdener on Flickr
Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, England
English gardens are presented as an idealized view of nature, inspired by landscape paintings.
Photo: audrey ahern on Flickr
Christchurch, Oxford, England
Landscape artists seek to create an idyllic pastoral scene, complete with rolling hills and picturesque architecture, like Gothic ruins or bridges.
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.
Photo: Four Seasons Gardens on Flickr
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.
Photo: Richard Parmiter on Flickr
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
Photo: Rozanne on Flickr
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.
Photo: carlos_seo on Flickr
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.
Photo: lao_ren100 (Loren) on Flickr
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.
Photo: Muchan5 on Flickr
Tenryu-ji Garden, Kyoto, Japan
Water sources must appear to be part of the environment, creating a serene and meditative space for the viewer.
Photo: k.sundstrom on Flickr
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.