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A Guide to Gardening in Other Cultures by Cleo Gib

A Guide to Gardening in Other Cultures by
Article Posted: 01/05/2016
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A Guide to Gardening in Other Cultures


If you are a typical member of a Euro-American culture, you have likely heard of the biblical story of the Garden of Eden. This idyllic place has trees and animals, and a couple of gardeners named Adam and Eve. Eden is one of many ancient gardens referenced in textual and artistic sources. Other gardens, like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which was supposed to be one of the wonders of the ancient world, are also referenced by poets, scholars, and bards of old. These gardens have developed as symbols of humans either mastering nature or working in cooperation with it. Every culture has these sorts of ideal gardens, which are symbolic and may or may not be actual places. This article will give you some background in how gardening and landscaping factor into several world cultures. With these examples, you can incorporate elements when you hire landscaping companies in Duluth or design your own ideal garden.

Landscaping in Japanese Culture

One of the cultures most famed for having beautiful and meaningful gardens is the Japanese. Japanese culture and religion, especially Zen Buddhism, are concerned with balance: between the world of humans and the natural world, between wet and dry, and between earth and sky. When you walk into a Zen garden, you will notice the order and peace of the arrangement. Unlike European gardens, Japanese gardens aren't ostentatious. They fuse elements of water and earth, ground and plants, without much pomp and circumstance.

Some of the unique aspects of Japanese gardens are the ponds and carefully pruned trees. Bonsai is not a type of plant or tree, it is actually a method of pruning trees and shrubs in a container. Some gardens will have bonsai on pedestal, showing the careful cultivation and balancing of the plant to sit well in its habitat. In Japanese gardens, ponds can have koi fish and a variety of water-bound species of plants. Many Western gardeners have adopted some of these well-known elements to infuse their own gardens with the beautiful simplicity that Japanese culture is famous for.

Trends in European Gardening History

European gardening is very different from Japanese or Asian gardening in general. French and English gardening are the most famous of the various European types. French gardens became popular first, perhaps reaching its zenith during the construction of Versailles palace and gardens. Later, the trend of monarchs and aristocrats having elaborate gardens spread to England. During this early period, Western gardens began incorporating lawns, fountains, symmetrical walks, hedge mazes, and lush flower beds. Rose gardens were popularized in England, while ostentatious fountains with large marble fountains (partially in imitation of the Roman style) could be found from Spain to Italy.

Today, gardens at important landmarks and in many individual gardeners' homes still borrow from the European style. Keeping similar elements on each side of a walk, putting in bird baths, and cultivating lots of species of roses all borrow from the history of gardening in the West.

How to Incorporate Other Garden Cultures

When you plan your own garden, by yourself or in consultation with landscaping companies in Duluth, you can take some of the elements mentioned, combine them, and ultimately create something all your own. As long as you have a practiced eye, you can take plants and yard elements from several cultures. Of course, Japanese elms and roses can work marvelously together to create a yard you can be proud of. You can research Japanese ponds and streams if you want to vary your elements away from the floral and plant types alone. With all of this consideration and research, you are sure to end up with a yard you will be proud of.

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