Imagining The Garden

Imagine a garden wherein an eye does fly from a leaf’s invitation into a petal’s inspiration. Whether you prefer painting a garden or gardening with an artistic eye is not Spring the perfect time to begin such imaginings?  “To create a little flower is the labour of ages,” said William Blake.  Before you begin your labor of love why not leaf through a book or two and explore the size, shape, color and form that your creation might take.

kubota-gardenAn avid gardener might consider what might be wrought from the daring paring of  The Artist and the Garden by Roy C Strong .   A broader perspective could be gleaned in Art and the Gardener: Fine Painting as Inspiration for Garden Design by Gordon Hayward.  For a more in-depth coverage of gardens as they relate to art and artists try The Garden:  A History in Landscape and Art by Fillippo Pizzoni and Dumbarton Oaks: Garden into Art by Susan Tamulevich.  Any or all of these books would set the stage for the beautifully illustrated Bold Visions for the Garden: Basics, Magic & Inspiration by Richard Hartlage or the lush Art of Flower & Garden Photography by Clive Nichols.

A painter, with a garden in mind, may take a notion to explore Alma Gilbert-Smith and Judith Tankard’s A Place of Beauty: The Artists and Gardens of the Cornish Colony or Nils Büttner‘s The History of Gardens in Painting.

impressionistgardenYou can go slug slow, flit like a butterfly, buzz like a bee or wing your way through such choice works as Artists Gardens from Claude Monet to Jennifer Bartlett by Madison Cox and The Impressionist Garden by gardener, author and photographer Derek Fell . But, be sure to take a lesson from the masters with books that are in a class of their own, such as these works also by Fell: The Magic of Monet’s Garden:  His Planting Plans and Color Harmonies; Secrets of Monet’s Garden:  Bring the Beauty of Monet’s Style to Your Own Garden; Cezanne’s GardenVan Gogh’s Gardens and The Gardens of William Morris by Jill Douglas-Hamilton.

Artists have long made their gardens the focus of their creative endeavors.  Artist/authors Deborah Schenck and Mary Woodin bring their ideas to fruition in Fern House: A Year in an Artist’s Garden and The Painted Garden:  A Year in Words and Watercolours.   So, before the last rose of summer withers and falls, spread a blanket on the grass, pour yourself a glass of rosemary lemonade, stretch out in a comfortable chair and begin to see how an “artist’s eye” shapes and is shaped by a planting’s possibility in artistsintheirgardens1Artists in Their Gardens by Valerie Easton. On another day treasure the shade of a tree while taking in the poems and stories found in Gardens of the Imagination: A Literary Anthology edited by Sophie Biriotti or the bounty of quotes in A Gardener’s Bouquet of Quotations compiled and edited by Maria Polushkin Robbins. 

In addition to these print sources, here are places to go where you can see how artworks can enhance a landscape and a landscape reveals its own changing beauty as a season bursts into bloom.walker-rock-garden

2 thoughts on “Imagining The Garden”

  1. What a lovely post, and a great introduction to that “other” gardening section. When folks come to the library in search of things on gardening, they often find themselves in the 600’s (630-635) where there is a sizeable, very useful section on how to grow various kinds of plants from peas to peonies. That’s where you go for the how, but for the why, it is always the section over in the 700s (712-717) that has the landscape architecture and artistry – all those gorgeous coffee table books with pictures of great gardens from all around the world. Then there are the little gardens popping up in the 800s – you have those too! Excellent, & thanks!

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