The photographs I made at a local botanical garden recently got me to thinking about the joys of a secret garden, a place where a person can wall off the world and enjoy a space in their own way. Most Americans are unfamiliar with formal gardens of the type prized in England, where even a small space can serve as a way to experience the great outdoors.
I think part of the attraction of such places is their sense of secrecy, experienced both inside and outside their walls. In this day of rising surveillance in the name of personal safety, the independent person finds pleasure in not only having a means to separate themselves from such public view, but also be able to obviously show their means. What is more modern to the individual than a closed door and a Do Not Disturb sign? What is more modern to society than the collective agreement to honor such?
For me the classical image of this privacy in the great outdoors is the garden door, portal to a location providing unique benefits to the individual passing through. And while offering entry to those permitted, it serves as signal and deterrent to those not granted the privilege of passage.
Perhaps Americans need more private gardens as a way to recover our personal space and understanding of our need for it.