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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Gardens: Bringing Beauty and Comfort to Our Lives, Part 1 of 3

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Gardening was first recognized as an art form in Europe in the sixteenth century, when it became a symbol of the “ideal republic,” evoking images of the Garden of Eden. Supreme Master Ching Hai, a keen gardener Herself, has praised the joy of gardening on many occasions saying this in a gathering with our Association members in France: “In your house, if you have land, even a small garden, you cultivate something for yourself, also. And in case something happens, you always have something to eat. Very simple to grow food. The food that can sustain you doesn’t have to be expensive and difficult. It’s not much, of course, but it’s so nice to eat your own food!”

The English landscape garden, which is sometimes just called the English garden, emerged in the early eighteenth century. The renowned landscape architect Lancelot Brown, who is often credited as “England’s greatest gardener,” designed over 170 parks, many of which survive to this day. One such famous garden is at Hampton Court Palace, near London, which was once home to His Majesty King Henry VIII.

Sir Chambers designed Europe’s first Chinese garden at the Kew Gardens, which was formally founded in 1759, and adopted as a national botanical garden in 1840. Kew Garden is now a top London tourist attraction and London’s largest World Heritage Site. The garden is also home to the world’s largest collection of living plants.

Another famous, historic botanic garden in the United Kingdom is the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. In February 2020, thousands of people watched the garden’s moonflower cactus (known scientifically as selenicereus wittii) bloom, in what was possibly the first time in the United Kingdom. The cactus, which naturally grows high above the Amazonian rainforest, usually blooms at night for only an estimated 12 hours.

London-based architectural firm Boano Prismontas has produced a standalone structure called “My Room in the Garden,” which is like a modern version of a garden shed, but is intended for work or relaxation, instead of storage, which most garden sheds have traditionally been used for.

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