The Art of Perfect Gardening

There is a well-established link between gardens and art.

Throughout history, gardens and plants have provided the inspiration for some of the world’s greatest art – most obvious 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 matter 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.

Gallery 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, sapphire 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.

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