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Garden as Play

[left:A child appears in the garden in this 1891 catalog from the B.A. Elliott Seed Company.] 

I have come to the end of Morris Brownell’s book on poet Alexander Pope Alexander Pope and the Arts of Georgian England.  What struck me was how slow the idea of ‘picturesque landscape’ evolved over the 18th century in England.

It did not happen over night.

Brownell writes:  ”Typically, the landscape garden has been seen as the plaything of men like Pope, Walpole, and Chesterfield, all of whom have been characterized as frivolous dilettantes and dabbling amateurs.”

The picturesque landscape evolved with men talented in the art of painting, poetry, architecture, music, and gardening. They found the picturesque garden in their playing with the idea of garden but also with gardening itself.

That gives me a sense of clarity on the picturesque I did not have before.

As today, people garden, people play in the garden, and discover what their style means in that process. It is nature  as art that comes to life in the process of discovering what the garden means.

The English created the landscape garden, also called the natural  or picturesque view, over a period of decades, and with the contribution of artists, poets, and architects. Many of them were also gardeners.

I like that feeling of discovery as I garden, playing as it were. What about you?


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