Stephen Harmer Lecturer garden history
What goes around comes around
This simple title sums up modern garden design. I have been known to say that there is not a great deal in garden design that in same way shape or form has not been done before; be it 3000 years ago or within the last few hundred years. The case in point is the pyramid constructed by Diarmuid Gavin for Chelsea this year.
Yes the pyramid uses less space on the ground so can be used in urban areas, and it would encourage communities to work together to produce food but what was not discussed was the pyramids role in garden design in ancient Egypt. The pyramid was symbolic of a sacred mound, the land emerging out of the water and would have had a garden in front of it containing date trees and plants providing shade.
Another historical garden theme inspired Thomas Hoblyn at Chelsea this year. He took his inspiration from the Italian renaissance for his garden, or did he? In the interpretation material produced it is stated that Villa Lante and Villa d’Este were the inspiration, but these gardens were really baroque in style and had moved on from the original renaissance concept. His garden it was explained had moved away from the ‘’flamboyance and decadence’’ of the renaissance, which really was not a part of the first Medici renaissance gardens but was certainly part of the baroque period in Italy and in France.
That being said, again we see the emergence of old historical styles proving that they still have relevance in modern garden design, which can only be good for garden historians.