Mundula / An Investigation of the Significance of Wilderness in Western Culture through Garden Design

An Investigation of the Significance of Wilderness in Western Culture through Garden Design

Author: Silvia Maria Mundula

Supervisor: Alessandro Rocca, Professor

Research stage: Initial doctoral stage

Category: Paper

Affiliation: Politecnico di Milano

Introduction

The idea that wilderness, by which I mean untamed nature, is becoming extinct 1 has its roots in the Romantic period, 2 and constitutes a starting point for the interest in wilderness in many fields, 3 from the realms of science to those of mass culture. 4 This thought, however, exists in parallel with the concern engendered by the new kind of wilderness that is entering our cities. 5 Wilderness, in fact, is an abstract term which is based on cultural values and therefore is always open to re-evaluation. 6 The aim of this paper is to explore the diversity and resilience of different approaches to the project of the wild garden in western countries, to highlight areas of conflict and to pinpoint areas where more research is needed. The first part of the paper details the reasons for the renewed interest in the topic of wilderness, by exploring contemporary philosophical and ecological theories. The second part examines the theories of some authors between the 1980s and the 1990s, who questioned the relevance of aesthetics in landscape design discourses on sustainability and the role of ecology in landscape architecture. The final part provides some insights into contemporary approaches to wilderness in garden design, to identify practical theories and to open up a reflection for the wild garden’s future perspectives.

1. Wilderness and Gardening

Contemporary philosophical theories argue that the idea of nature must be rethought as something which is neither in opposition to the ideas of human beings and their culture, 7 nor in opposition to the idea of artifice. 8 Timothy Morton (2006) asserts that ecological thinking should be developed with no reference to the concept of nature at all. The traditional philosophical dichotomies between nature and culture and between wild and domestic are being rethought, and the idea of wilderness as untamed nature has become obsolete. The starting point is the Anthropocene crisis theory proposed by Rosi Braidotti, which has been turned into tangible projects, such as Anthropocene Observatory (fig. 1) by Territorial Agency, Armin Linke and Anselm Franke (from 2013 onwards) or The Anthropocene Project by Nicholas de Pencier, Edward Burtynsky, and Jennifer Baichwal (2018). These projects, indeed, document more expansive ideas of nature, and wild nature, recalling the concept of Fourth Nature introduced in the 1990s, which was transformed into an aesthetic reference for architects by the work of some photographers. 9 This change in landscape perception has been explored from the 1990s onwards by different authors: from ecologists such as Ingo Kowarik to architects such as Pierluigi Nicolin and Ignasi de Solà-Morale, who contributed to the definition of this concept by the use of terms such as terra incolta 10 and terrain vague 11 (fig. 2). This variation of perception about spaces such as the abandoned post-industrial sites, which went from being considered as ‘waste,’ 12 to becoming objects of fascination, certainly played a role in the history of the wild garden. But one could argue that the history of the wild garden itself played a role in this change of perception, as the interest in what is marginal in gardens is a theme which originated towards the end of the nineteenth century, 13 and maybe earlier. How do these themes, which are some of the issues brought to light by the Anthropocene crisis, influence contemporary garden design? And do contemporary wild gardens themselves contribute to changing the perception of these issues by users and designers? The idea of the garden as an investigative tool and as a reference for a post-human design method has its origins in the ideas discussed by Marc Treib in Meaning in Landscape Architecture and Gardens (2011) and by Julian Raxworthy in Overgrown: Practice between Landscape Architecture and Gardening (2018). Starting from Charles Jencks’s book Meaning in Architecture (1969), Marc Treib explores the subject of meaning, which, unlike in the field of architecture, was of little interest in landscape architecture and gardens until the 1980s. Treib argues that the meaning of gardens, as interpreted by critics, is also significant because it can situate a garden within the field of practice. This concept links to Julian Raxworthy’s argument. Raxworthy re-evaluates the practice of gardening within the context of landscape architecture, proposing a new model for landscape architecture based on gardening techniques, that he calls “the viridic.” The term “viridis” is the Latin word for green, virdent and growth, so “viridesco,” according to Raxworthy, is to landscape architecture what “tectonic” is to architecture. The wild garden pushes this concept to its limit, as the form of this garden emerges not only through gardening techniques, but, in particular, through gardening techniques, which are mainly concerned with the process of growth. 14

2. The Authority of Ecology in Landscape Architecture

Most landscape architects regard ecological science as an important source of principles in landscape design. According to Anne Whiston Spirn, in the last few decades “the authority of science” has been cited to augment “the authority of nature,” overturning the traditional role of nature. 15 In the 1960s, landscape design started to appropriate concepts from ecology, and this made a clear contribution to the discipline. However, what professor Spirn and other theorists talk about, is the fact that some designers used “ecology as the primary authority for determining the natural - and therefore correct - way to design landscapes.” 16 A number of authors writing between the 1980s and the 1990s, such as Catherine Howett, 17Anne Whiston Spirn, 18 Laurie Olin, 19 Mark Francis, 20 questioned the relevance of aesthetics in landscape design discourses on sustainability and the role of ecology in landscape architecture. This period, indeed, sets the reasons of my discourse, opening up to reflections about form, meaning and perception in gardens and landscape architecture. For instance, Whiston Spirn’s review of The Fens and the Riverway by Olmsted in Boston underlines the importance of aesthetics also in ecological design. 21 This new kind of water marsh, designed by Olmsted, not only functioned as a flood control reservoir, but also contributed to the definition of a new environment, which appeared to be a natural site, but was clearly a human construct. 22 This project, furthermore, seems to foreshadow the idea of urban nature. In The Granite Garden, 23 Spirn makes a comparison between the Fens and Riverway designed by Olmsted in Boston (1880s) and Columbus Park designed by Jens Jensen in Chicago (1916). These two projects were similar in appearance, as they both brought townspeople into contact with wild nature, but they were very different in meaning. 24 Jensen’s wild nature, indeed, just evoked his home landscape: “Every region should display the beauty of its local landscape: this encourages each race, each country, each state, and each county to bring out the best within its borders.” 25 Jensen’s vision recalls Willy Lange’s theory at the beginning of the twentieth century about the use of native plants and the defence of the landscape. 26 On the contrary, Olmsted’s wild nature was revolutionary: its wild aspect was totally in contrast with the prevailing formal and pastoral styles: the Fens and the Riverway, in fact, was conceived by Olmsted as a new type of urban space. Rather than a park, it was a landscape system. Whiston Spirn’s article, apart from remarking on Olmsted’s innovation in landscape design, sheds some light on the confusion around the use of nature as a model for landscape design. This topic is still an issue in the field of landscape architecture. The same themes are explored through the texts of more contemporary authors, such as Elizabeth Meyer and Danielle Dagenais. In Sustaining beauty. The performance of appearance (2008), Meyer highlights how landscape design practitioners and theorists deal with the ecological aspects of sustainability but without including the concept of beauty. When they mention beauty, it is usually meant as a superficial concern. Traditionally, indeed, there are three disciplines upon which sustainability is based: ecology, social equity and economy, but not aesthetics. “Can landscape form and space indirectly, but more effectively, increase the sustainability of the bio-physical environment through the experiences it affords?” She believes, indeed, that “the experience of certain kinds of beauty – granted new forms of strange beauty- is a necessary component of fostering a sustainable community, and that beauty is a key component in developing an environmental ethic.” 27

3. Wild Gardens

An increasing number of contemporary gardens evoke wilderness in different ways, some are projected according to certain processes, other have wilderness as their aesthetic ideal, as in the case of the courtyard of the BNF in Paris, designed by Dominique Perrault in the 90s (fig. 3). 28 Piet Oudolf, for instance, as a kind of spokesperson for the planting design movement, admits that, he prefers to speak of gardens which are inspired by nature and which aim to reproduce nature’s outward forms as naturalistic (fig.4). It is, in fact, misleading to speak of natural gardens because this contributes to creating confusion between the terms natural and organic. A first question arises: when the term aesthetics is taken to mean only the visual, 29 does this lead us towards a superficial interpretation of the idea of wild and wilderness? 30 However, Nigel Dunnett, another key figure in the planting design movement, remarks on the relevance of visual effects in planting (fig. 5). According to Dunnett, his work is about evoking nature. To evoke nature, one can be literal, producing a ‘taxonomic ecology,’ or one can think in terms of ‘visual ecology,’ as is the case with his work:

For me, it’s not about trying to re-create something that I might have seen in the wild. Instead, it’s about using the forms, textures, colours and aesthetics that reflect the way plants arrange themselves in natural plant communities.
(Dunnett, 2019, 15-16)

Despite the fact that Dunnett’s intentions are not purely ecological, his gardens are rich in biodiversity and wildlife, and only require low-resource inputs such as water, fertilisers and time. These gardens, indeed, need simple maintenance techniques such as coppicing, which are more common in nature conservation than in gardening, and make nature very appealing to the public, through visual effects, which include colourful essences. Dunnett mentions the concept of “ecological sensibility” to refer to the choice of vegetation which fits into the site in a coherent way. 31 According to Danielle Dagenais, Gilles Clément himself, despite being considered as the father of the trend in ecological landscape design, based his work predominantly on ethical and aesthetic themes, with reference to the history of garden art rather than to ecology. She argues that Clément, in his work, applied ecological theory in a second phase, after the practice. ‘Sensibility,’ indeed, seems to be a key concept in the design of wild gardens. A particular kind of sensibility was expressed in Vita Sackville West’s book about English country houses, whose architecture is fundamental in understanding the evolution of the English wild garden (fig.6). “There is nothing quite like the English country house anywhere else in the world.” English houses are not only situated in the country, they are part of it, being in harmony with the landscape to which they belong. A similar theme was expressed in the diary of Geoffrey Dutton, whose garden is described through the seasons in relation to the principle of marginal gardening, where a marginal garden is one which is “minimally differentiated from its surroundings, and so requiring minimal effort to make and keep up.” 32 The concept of marginality, however, has a different meaning in other types of gardens, which are outside the mainstream, physically or metaphorically, such as in the Dungeness Garden (fig. 7) by Derek Jarman (1988-1994), or in Le Jardin des Joyeux (fig. 8) realised by Wagon Landscaping in 2015 at Maladrerie, Aubervilliers. Furthermore, the word marginal evokes the idea of abandoned places. This was mentioned by William Robinson and became central to the work of Gilles Clément, however, with some differences: Robinson spoke about the under-utilised spaces of the pleasure ground, but without explicitly mentioning the idea of abandoned land, which is a central theme in Clément’s theory. Finally, the theme of marginality poses a question about the margins, that is, the borders, of the wild garden. The garden, in fact, in its etymological sense, is an enclosed area. But how do the idea of wilderness and that of enclosure coexist? What is the contemporary meaning of this enclosure in light of the current re-evaluation of the relationship between nature and culture (which has eroded the distinction between nature and culture) 33 There are various options with regard to the form of the wild garden. However, Clément says that in order to counter formality, he combines a formal style with an informal biological order. He declared, in an interview, that, even if curved lines (typical of the English style) predominate in gardens, he is fundamentally French. Behind the form of the “garden in motion” there is also a long history of garden design and culture. In Dagenais’ interpretation, in Clément’s garden in motion, wilderness is neither linked to an informal design nor to the choice of wild plants. The aspect that makes this garden wild is the way the materials and plants are used. 33 Clément’s interpretation of “the wild,” when he talks about wild plants, recalls “the wild” defined by William Robinson in The Wild Garden. However, also here there are some fundamental differences: firstly, Robinson wrote about the proliferation of wild plants, but with no reference to their apparent movement after their naturalisation in a certain place; secondly, “Robinson did not mention any intervention apart from the initial planting, while Clément talks about the sophisticated management the garden requires.” Dagenais’ article provides an innovative view of Clément’s work. This might be controversial, however it gives voice to the debate about the place of ecology in contemporary garden and landscape design.

Conclusion

To project a wild garden is not only to design an art form tuned to nature, nor merely to create a plant communities’ system, it is primarily to set up a particular perception of wilderness. The fact that certain gardens are able to express this feeling indirectly might contribute to modify people’s relationship with the environment.

Comme si la domestication des plantes devenait un acte de sauvagerie de la part de l’homme, qui contrôle non seulement leur développement mais également leur devenir et leurs possibilités d’évolution, en les soumettant à une sélection dirigée par la seule volonté humaine. 35

This paper opened up a reflection about the complexity of projecting the wild garden and about its role in the discourses about sustainability. The project of this kind of garden, for instance, can put some ecological principles into question. The idea of using exclusively native plants, indeed, is a very purist principle of the ecological theory proposed by the native plant movement, however, the maintenance of a garden wholly made of native plants is not so ecological in terms of resources. The determination of what is native inevitably suggests a broader reflection about concepts that resonate political. An effective representation of the diversity and complexity of the approaches to the wild garden should be drawn as a web, where conceptual, technical issues and case studies intersect each other (fig. 9).

Anthropocene Observatory: #4 The Dark Abyss of Time, Exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014), @ 2014 Anthropocene Observatory

Figure 1: Anthropocene Observatory: #4 The Dark Abyss of Time, Exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014), @ 2014 Anthropocene Observatory

Quaderns 212 (1996), containing the article “Terrain vague” by Ignasi Solà-Morales, Cover book

Figure 2: Quaderns 212 (1996), containing the article “Terrain vague” by Ignasi Solà-Morales, Cover book

Forest garden of the BNF, Dominique Perrault (1995), Photo by Chiara Pradel

Figure 3: Forest garden of the BNF, Dominique Perrault (1995), Photo by Chiara Pradel

Piet Oudolf Field, Durslade Farm, Bruton, Somerset, Photo by Jason Ingram, @ 2021 Jason Ingram

Figure 4: Piet Oudolf Field, Durslade Farm, Bruton, Somerset, Photo by Jason Ingram, @ 2021 Jason Ingram

The Barbican plantings, Nigel Dunnett (2015 – ongoing), @ 2021 Nigel Dunnett

Figure 5: The Barbican plantings, Nigel Dunnett (2015 – ongoing), @ 2021 Nigel Dunnett

Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle, Photo by Kurt Hutton (Kurt Hubschman) (1961), © National Portrait Gallery

Figure 6: Vita Sackville-West at Sissinghurst Castle, Photo by Kurt Hutton (Kurt Hubschman) (1961), © National Portrait Gallery

Derek Jarman at Prospect Cottage-Dungeness, Photo by Geraint Lewis, © The Geraint Lewis Photography Archive

Figure 7: Derek Jarman at Prospect Cottage-Dungeness, Photo by Geraint Lewis, © The Geraint Lewis Photography Archive

Jardin des Joyeux, La Maladrerie, Aubervilliers (2015), @ Wagon Landscaping

Figure 8: Jardin des Joyeux, La Maladrerie, Aubervilliers (2015), @ Wagon Landscaping

Parasteatoda lunata web, Neapolis, Siracusa (2021), ©️ Olimpia Cavriani

Figure 9: Parasteatoda lunata web, Neapolis, Siracusa (2021), ©️ Olimpia Cavriani

Jardin des Joyeux, La Maladrerie, Aubervilliers (2015), @ Wagon Landscaping

Figure 10: Jardin des Joyeux, La Maladrerie, Aubervilliers (2015), @ Wagon Landscaping

  1. “We define our era as the Anthropocene, by which we understand the geological time when humans are having a lasting and negative effect upon the planet’s systems” Braidotti, Rosi and Maria Hlavajova (2018): Posthuman Glossary, London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
  2. “The thing we call nature becomes, in the Romantic period and afterward, a way of healing what modern society has damaged” Morton, Timothy (2007): Ecology without Nature, Cambridge: Harvard University, p. 22.
  3. Brevini, Franco (2013): L’invenzione della natura selvaggia, Torino: Bollati Boringhieri.
  4. “La fascinazione per il selvatico va oltre i limiti plausibili dell’architettura del paesaggio, trovandosi nelle manifestazioni più diverse della cultura contemporanea.” Metta, Annalisa (2019): «Verso la città selvatica» in Annalisa Metta and Maria Livia Olivetti (Eds.), La città selvatica. Paesaggi urbani contemporanei, Melfi: Casa Editrice Libri, p. 22.
  5. Di Carlo, Fabio (2019) «Complessità e contraddizioni del selvaggio urbano» in Annalisa Metta e Maria Livia Olivetti (Eds.) La città Selvatica. Paesaggi urbani contemporanei, Melfi: Casa Editrice Libri, pp. 90-101.
  6. A reflection about wilderness must be framed through a specific cultural background because. As argued by Danielle Dagenais: “The words 'natural' and 'wild' are not scientific terms; they are part of everyday usage.” Dagenais, Danielle (2004): «The garden of movement: ecological rhetoric in support of gardening practice» in Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes 24 (4), p. 318.
  7. For contemporary philosophical theories about the idea of nature and the wild, contrary to common sense, see: Descola, Philippe (2004): «Le sauvage et le domestique» in Communications, 76 (Nouvelles figures du sauvage) pp. 17-39; Descola, Philippe (2005): Par-delà nature et culture, Paris: Gallimard; Berque, Augustine (2010): «Le sauvage construit» Ethnologie française 40 (4), pp. 589-596.
  8. Burkhardt, Lucius (2019): Il falso è l’autentico. Politica, paesaggio, design, architettura, pianificazione, pedagogia, edited by Gaetano Licata e Martin Schmitz, Macerata: Quodlibet.
  9. Nicolin, Pierluigi (1995): «La terra incolta» Lotus 87, p. 32.
  10. Nicolin, Pierluigi (1995): «La terra incolta» Lotus 87, p. 32.
  11. Solà-Morales, Ignasi, “Terrain vague” in Quaderns 212 (1996) pp. 35-42.
  12. Di Palma (2014) explored the relation between wilderness and wasteland: “At the turn of the nineteenth century, dichotomous ideas of wilderness as pristine nature and wasteland as ruined or defiled nature became fully codified in Western philosophy, literature, and art” Di Palma, Vittoria (2014): Wasteland. A History, New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 2.
  13. In 1870, William Robinson was one of the first gardener to point the attention on marginal spaces. Helmreich noted that Robinson situated his wild garden in the “underutilised spaces of the pleasure ground: along walls, stream banks, boggy areas, woods, etc.” see Dagenais, Danielle (2004): «The garden of movement: ecological rhetoric to support of gardening practice» Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes 24 (4), p 318.
  14. “Ideas of growth and change are now in the Zeitgeist of both architecture and landscape architecture in what I call ‘the process discourse.’ The process discourse refers to designers and theorists who see natural and cultural processes, described in scientific terms, as the source of dynamic design suited to a world that is different from the past because of flows of information, for example. The models of process they use generally come from nature. In architecture, morphogenesis and biomimicry seek to use parametric systems derived from nature to animate the inorganic. In landscape architecture, subfields like landscape urbanism look to ecology to develop instrumental ways of working with natural processes, such as hydrology, in the city” Raxworthy, Julian (2018): Overgrown: Practice between Landscape Architecture and Gardening, Cambridge MA: MIT Press. p. 3.
  15. “Frank Lloyd Wright defined nature as the physical manifestation of God, and therefore he used nature as a model to augment the authority of his design choices.” Whiston Spirn, Anne (1997): «The Authority of Nature: Conflict and Confusion in Landscape Architecture» in Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn (Ed.), Nature and Ideology Natural Garden Design in the Twentieth Century, Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, p. 250.
  16. Whiston Spirn, Anne (1997) «The Authority of Nature: Conflict and Confusion in Landscape Architecture» in Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn (Ed.), Nature and Ideology Natural Garden Design in the Twentieth Century, Washington: Dumbarton Oaks, p. 250.
  17. Howett, Catherine (1987): «Systems, Signs, Sensibilities: Sources for a new Landscape Aesthetic» Landscape Journal 6 (1) Spring, pp. 1-12.
  18. Whiston Spirn, Anne (1988): «The Poetics of City and Nature: Towards a New Aesthetic for Urban Design» Landscape Journal 7 (2) Fall, pp. 108-126.
  19. Olin, Laurie (1988): «Form, Meaning, and Expression in Landscape Architecture» Landscape Journal, 7, (2) pp. 149–168. https.//www.jstor.org/stable/43322829/ from June 23, 2021.
  20. Francis, Mark and Randolph T. Hester (1990): The meaning of gardens: idea, place and action, Cambridge Mass: MIT press.
  21. “As originally conceived and constructed, the Fens and Riverway were innovative models for public open space serving a variety of human needs and for the integration of engineering, economics, and aesthetics” Whiston Spirn, Anne (1988): «The Poetics of City and Nature: Towards a New Aesthetic for Urban Design» Landscape Journal 7 (2) Fall, p. 118.
  22. Olmsted's imitation of "wild" nature represented a divergence from the prevailing pastoral and formal styles, both of which were domesticated landscapes and abstractions of nature […] In this approach, Olmsted heeded the admonition of his contemporary, George Perkins Marsh (1864, p. 35) who advocated that “the task […] is to become the co-worker with nature in the reconstruction of the damaged fabric.” Whiston Spirn, Anne (1988): «The Poetics of City and Nature: Towards a New Aesthetic for Urban Design» Landscape Journal 7 (2) Fall, pp. 118.-119.
  23. Whiston Spirn, Anne (1984) The Granite Garden. Urban Nature and Human Design. New York: Basic Books.
  24. “The Fens and Riverway in Boston and Columbus Park in Chicago, for example, were built to resemble what the designers describe as the ‘natural’ scenery of their region, but the motivations that underlie them were quite different in important respects.” Whiston Spirn, Anne (2006): «Urban Nature and Human Design» Bulletin of the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C. 39 (Fall), p. 49.
  25. “Jens Jensen designed Columbus Park in Chicago to “symbolize” a prairie landscape. He made a large meadow, excavated a meandering lagoon, and planted groves of trees as a representation of the Illinois landscape: prairie, prairie river, and forest edge. All the plants used in the park were native to Illinois; they “belonged,” as Jensen put it.” Whiston Spirn, Anne (2006): «Urban Nature and Human Design» Bulletin of the German Historical Institute Washington, D.C. 39 (Fall), p. 50.
  26. Lange, Willy (1909): Gartengestaltung der Neuzeit, Leipzig: J. J. Weber.
  27. Meyer, Elizabeth K. (2008): «Sustaining beauty. The performance of appearance. A manifesto in three parts» Journal of Landscape Architecture 5 (spring), pp. 6-23.
  28. In this paper, projects are selected by the theme they reflect and not by historical criteria, however, they are all set in Europe and North America during the last two centuries, so that they share a similar cultural background. See Mundula, Silvia M. (2019): «The Fair of Nature. Wild as a Norm of Beauty in Gardens» in Madalina Ghibusi, Maryam Khatibi and Chiara Pradel, Scales of Interiors. Parks, gardens, objects, Madalina Ghibusi, Maryam Khatibi, Chiara Pradel Scales of Interiors. Parks, gardens, objects.
  29. “at a recent end-of-semester studio review at Harvard’s Graduate School of design, I felt compelled to correct a younger colleague’s dismissive use of the terms beauty and aesthetics. Like many landscape architects, he equated beauty and aesthetics with the visual and the formal, and in doing so rendered them inconsequential. His fascination for the performative blinded him to the distinctions between beauty and beautification or ornamentation. He did not think that beauty mattered, or realize that appearance could perform […] I have come to believe that the experience of certain kinds of beauty – granted new forms of strange beauty- is a necessary component of fostering a sustainable community, and that beauty is a key component in developing an environmental ethic.” Meyer, Elizabeth K. (2008): «Sustaining beauty. The performance of appearance. A manifesto in three parts» Journal of Landscape Architecture 5 (spring), pp. 6-23.
  30. “Horticulturalists and ecological landscape designers James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett have demonstrated how designs with Fourth Nature landscapes can create places that bring together natural, cultural and social aspects. They can look wild and abandoned, but do not have to. To be valued by the public at large, they say, such vegetation ‘must be strongly informed by aesthetic principles’, and ‘preferences can change through experience and learning’. In Germany, too, there are still challenges to the acceptance of Fourth Nature among the general public. This is evident in the case of the renaturalization of the Isar River […] they wanted ‘naturalistic’ curving riverbanks, and the design was revised.” Bakshi, Anita and Frank Gallagher (2020): «Design with Fourth Nature» Journal of Landscape Architecture 15 (2), pp. 24-35.
  31. “It can be the case of an intuitive sense of rightness and compatibility – a sort of inbuilt ecological wisdom. Choosing plants from similar habitats often results in them having similar adaptations, and this in turn leads to a visual coherence across a planting. And it’s at this level also that the essence of ‘naturalness’ comes in: the overall character of the planting and the arrangement of the elements to achieve the lack of rigid formality” Dunnett, Nigel (2019): Naturalistic Planting Design: The Essential Guide. Bath: Filbert Pr, p. 31.
  32. Dutton, Geoffrey (1997): Some Branch against the Sky: The Practice and Principles of Marginal Gardening, Devon: David & Charles, p. 10.
  33. “Giardino: Sfugge alle divisioni culturali. Il giardino, ovunque nel mondo, significa al contempo il recinto e il paradiso […] Il recinto protegge. Dentro il recinto si trova il «meglio»: ciò che si ritiene più prezioso, più bello, più utile e più equilibrante. L’idea di «meglio» cambia nel corso della storia. Conseguentemente, cambia l’architettura del giardino con la quale si traduce questa idea. Non si tratta soltanto di organizzare la natura secondo una scenografia rassicurante, ma anche di esprimere in essa un pensiero concluso dell’epoca in cui si vive, un rapporto con il mondo, una visione politica […] Non si intende dire che fuori dal recinto si trovi il peggio (in opposizione al meglio), ma che vi si trova ciò che è selvatico e ignoto, dunque l’inquietudine, la città a un tempo oppressiva e confortevole, il territorio degli incontri inattesi e degli scambi necessari, la mescolanza di doveri e divieti, la lunga serie di regole, obblighi e rapporti […] Fuori dal giardino si chiede alla società umana di sospendere un sogno per difendere una posizione sociale, o semplicemente per esistere. Dentro il giardino il logoramento esistenziale svanisce” Clément, Gilles (2013): Giardini, paesaggio e genio naturale, Macerata: Quodlibet, pp. 15-16.
  34. “It is in fact the garden where […] the evidence of work is least obvious. Nature seems to be composed of ‘that in the world which is produced spontaneously, without the intervention of man.” Dagenais, Danielle (2004): «The garden of movement: ecological rhetoric in support of gardening practice» Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes 24 (4), p. 318.
  35. Allain, Yves-Marie (2020): «Jardins naturel, jardins sauvages: une apercu historique» Jardins 9, (Le Sauvage), pp. 15-20