There is a well established link between gardens and art.
Throughout history, gardens and plants have provided the inspiration for some of the worlds greatest art – most obviously examples like Monet’s paintings of his garden at Giverny, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, or Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe.
Gardens can also be the settings for great art, where structures and sculptural works are set in the landscape, each enhancing the other to create something unique. Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona may be the greatest of these.
Perhaps, therefore, I should not have been quite so surprised, when I visited Edinburgh’s National Gallery of Modern Art recently, to see this art and gardens link exemplified again.
In this case it arises because the neo-classical gallery buildings (and there are two of them – Modern 1 and Modern 2), are themselves set in beautiful gardens.
Below, you can see my daughters relaxing in the retro Acapulco chair in front of the long border outside the cafe, which at the time of our visit was themed with the silver, blue and purple of alliums, Cardoons and Forget-me-nots.
There is also a picture of the a Euphorbia mellifera (bottom right), one of my very favourite plants and the largest example I’ve ever seen.
And another surprise – and a very inspiring one – were these allotments set in the grounds of Modern 2:
To complete the picture of art meeting gardens here is ‘Landform Ueda’ by Charles Jencks. Inspired by natural shapes found in nature and ideas from chaos theory, it forms the centre piece of the garden in front of Modern 1.
Martin Cole has been an avid gardener for more than 20 years and loves to talk and write about gardening. In 2006 he was a finalist in the BBC Gardener of the Year competition.
He previously lived in London and Sydney, Australia, where he took a diploma course in Horticultural studies and is now based in North Berwick in Scotland. He founded GardeningStepbyStep.com in 2012. The website is aimed at everybody who has been bitten by the gardening bug and wants to know more.
Gardening Step by Step has been cited by Thompson and Morgan, the UK’s largest mail order plant retailer, as a website that publishes expert gardening content.
Check out my comprehensive step by step guide, with plain language explanations and ultra-useful images and illustrations. This is for you if you love dahlias and want to the best out of the dahlias you grow.
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