Last June, during my holiday in my own country The Netherlands, I visited Appeltern, a park where they have over 190 model gardens. Many of those model gardens are on the same scale as the average Dutch garden, which is about 60 to 80 m2, and they are meant to serve as an inspiration for people who want to create their own garden.
There are all kinds of gardens there from the romantic to the very modern. In this post you'll see some examples of the latter.
Here are rows of blue pots filled with Agaves. It's fine if you like Agaves I suppose, but is it really a garden? You can put rows of potted plants on your windowsill but that doesn't make it a garden, does it?
Another modern take on gardening where the main ingredients are concrete, steel, glass, and oh yes, some greenery.
Just suppose for a minute that this is your garden. How happy would it make you? There's gravel, a concrete table and benches, a fence and two types of planting: trees (all the same kind) and grasses (again with the same). Have you noticed how humongous that table actually is in this relatively small garden? And what if you'd like the sit in the shade and that table is in full sun? It would be impossible to move, unless you hire a crane every time you want to sit in a different spot in your garden. And what would you actually do in this garden if you're a gardener? Rake the gravel? Anything else? Well, no! So, is this a garden or a snorefest?
And how about this one? Where the lawn ends is where the garden ends too. So what we have here is a garden with a fence on 3 sides and crammed in the middle some platform thingy made of wood. Is this a garden? Discuss! ;-)
How about this one then. There's more plants in it and space to move around but what is that giant pointy headed snake doing there? The flat bit at the end you could use as a (non mobile) seating area but what about the front part of the snake? Children could use it to climb I suppose but what would granny and grandpa make of it? And it does take up rather a lot of space in what is once again a not very big garden.
Next door we find this garden with quite of lot of huge planters and 2 flower beds. But isn't there something missing? Where's the seating area? Where would you put the barbecue? Where would the children or pets play? Where is the bit of shade you need on a hot summer's day? Not the most practical of gardens, is it? It's fine to look at but not much else.
Now we come to our last garden. Is this a garden? Does it work? There are lots of plants about and flowers too. The theme is yellow (in case it escaped your notice) and personally I like it. It looks great, it has a nice (and mobile) seating area, it provides some necessary shade, there's ample walking or running around space if you're a kid and for a gardener there is actually something to do and enjoy. But is it modern? Sure the chairs and table are modern and so is the awning and metal screen. But do you really turn a garden into a modern one by bunging some modern things in? In other words: it's a garden but is it modern? Discuss!
copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen
Gardens are all about anxiety and irritation and struggle. You can't build anything out of pacifism.