Gardens are not only about beauty. They can also be about messages and ideas.
I first realized this when I saw a great design from the Chelsea Flower Show a few years back. One of the show gardens was called Peace is Special. In a simple courtyard, the artist put up three metal panels. At first sight they were a typical example of the trend many deco addicts were following: paint a simple wall in a strong bold color. However, as you came closer, you saw that the panels were punctured by bullet holes. In the midst of the Iraq war, this was a very strong statement without actually suggesting any contentious politic side-taking! Brilliant!
It is a shame the show not longer has images. The only photo I could find is here on Flickr.
Since then I have discovered the amazing ways one can rather easily “elevate” the simplest space and create a manifesto about the society or politics or any subject of interest.
Here are a few random finds to illustrate a trend I hope will continue to grow.
Richard Dhennin creates very unique almost art pieces, using structures to grow plants on. I love Richard Dhennin’s Green BarCode, proof a new gardening community is “talking” to the Blackberry generation, raised on ads and consumerism. His Barcode is an amusing and tongue-in-cheek message about society.
Another great example of a rather political message delivered very amusingly is this simple design. It screams “be prepared for the post-car society!”
Finally, even a tiny brick patio can be amusing. I just discovered The Times has a great blog. I loved the post on underground art. I would happily re-brand some of their finds “outdoor art.” Here a design that can say “don’t overwork!”:
Photo: Times Online
As with all art, it is in the eye of the viewer that the message takes its final meaning.
A manifesto garden is changing experience to have in one’s home…I’ll let you dream about the possibilities. I hope these designs also prove that it may not have to cost a fortune, just some imagination.