The way we view gardens and landscapes today is embedded in our cultural perceptions. As these alter over the centuries, so does our appreciation of plants, nature and their place in our gardens. So, the symmetrical formality of the 17th century garden which William Lawson described as ‘nature corrected by Art’ eventually gives way in the 18th and 19th centuries to styles more in harmony with the natural landscape. In the same way, the dahlia which starts as a rare exotic, becomes commonplace, falls out of favour and is now re-adopted as a fashionable border plant and cut flower.
This blog aims to explore garden history in its broadest sense, from garden design, the introduction of new plant species and traditions and folklore inspired by plants, to the prevailing fashions in gardening and the people who influenced these trends.
My quest happily coincides with the availability of rare texts in digital libraries. Over the last decade some of the rarest books from the world’s best libraries are now accessible by anyone who has an internet connection. This is a cause for celebration for anyone who has curiosity about gardens (or just about any other subject you can think of). I routinely search for inspiration at the Biodiversity Heritage Library, a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries and the Internet Archive, an American digital library and would encourage anyone to explore these resources .
Finally – thank you to everyone who follows the blog and to those who kindly promote it on social media – it’s very much appreciated.
copyright Planting Diaries 2015