What is gardening?
Since we have defined what a garden is, we now want to define what gardening is. Let’s check out the dictionary again.
- “the act of cultivating or tending a garden.”
- “the work or art of a gardener.”
What’s interesting about these definitions is that gardening is defined as both an ’act’ as well as an ’art’, a conundrum we need to explore.
The ‘act’ of gardening is something that anybody can do by following the cultivation instructions on plants they buy and by reading as much about gardening as they can. But if gardening is also an ’art’ then what is ’artful’ about gardening? Which part of gardening is the ’art’ part?
The essence of all ’art’ is that it is beautiful. It is exquisite, it is emotive and it brings joy. The stick figure created by a 3 year old is art just as the masterpiece that hangs in the museum. It doesn’t have to be of world class standard and in the echelons of art for it to still be art. As long as it is beautiful, emotive and brings joy. The child and proud parents will undoubtedly get joy from the stick figure drawing as people all around the world do of the masterpiece.
So you can follow the instructions on the packet of seeds and create something beautiful that is art. But there is no ’art’ to following instructions! That single plant is undoubtedly beautiful in it’s own right, but put together lots of plants and you could end up with a mish-mash cacophony that most definitely isn’t beautiful.
There is far more to just growing plants and cultivating them. Arranging them in a pleasing, enjoyable and beautiful way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so one arrangement and garden may not be beautiful to the majority of folk, but you generally garden for yourself and not for others. If you find it beautiful then your gardening has created a piece of art.
Of course in gardening, as there is in art, there are some general guidelines on what will help to create ’art’. Colours either complement or contrast. Perspective plays a part in your gardening as do structure, form and shape, which have general do’s and don’ts.
Your gardening will be better if you follow general garden design practices and you have a basic understanding of colour and perspective.
So Gardening is…
So we have got to the bottom of the conundrum of the ’act’ and the ’art’ of gardening;
- the ‘act’ of cultivating the plants and arranging them in a beautiful, emotive and enjoyable way
This definition brings us right back to what is a garden?;
- a place with plants that is delightful or beautiful.
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