chapter  12
7 Pages

The tragedy of feminine planning and design

This chapter considers the inspiration that can come from sun, wind, materials, sculpture and the conservation movement. They were chosen as examples because, in the arts, it is so often necessary to look backwards before travelling forwards. English sundials have been inscribed with mottoes since the beginning of the sixteenth century. Mrs Alfred Gatty, a parsons's wife, gave the reason: What could be more natural to a scholarly and reflecting mind than to point the moral of passing time in a brief sentence which arouses thought. Technical considerations are important when choosing garden materials, but so are ideas and associations. Consider the concrete slab. It has wreaked havoc in modern gardens, because concrete is such a faithless material: it has the crispness of fresh snow when first laid, but deteriorates thereafter. Snow symbolizes virginal purity. Stained concrete symbolizes the ersatz horror of the 'concrete jungle'. Out of sight is the only proper place for concrete in gardens.