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My question possibly isn't the right place as it isn't practical, more philosophical than anything else, but I'll stick it here anyway. Im writing an article on the artistic nature of gardens. I was interested to know whether you consider gardening to be like art? Do you feel that you're the author, in much the same way a painter paints a picture? Or is it more of a craft, in which you simply appreciate nature?

Any comments much appreciated



I think it artistic. Designing a garden and 'painting' it with plants, as well as adding objects such as statues etc.


I would definitely say it is an art.  And like in art everyone has a preferred artist or style the same goes for gardens.  The great thing with gardens is its 3D and forever changing plus you get to lose yourself in it literally! I could go on and on but I won't bore you.

gardening is an ideal of nature but nature intensified and-hopefully-with the bad bits left out-because even the best gardens are so evanescent they usually survive only in memory-a private garden left to itself will vanish in a season-its structure may survive as a silent witness but its reality will go with the planting

 Yes, Mossy, I think that gardening is pure art.It engages all the senses, is creative and fulfilling. It is also frustrating and does not always turn out like the picture in your head. I speak for myself of course!


Eddie J

What a fantastic thread.

In respect of the garden that I am currently constructing for myself, I would definitely consider it to be art.

Our last garden was what could be considered a traditional cottage garden, and whilst it was stunningly beautiful, it somehow lacked individual flare and imagination.

The new garden which was an overgrown wilderness, has allowed me a blank canvas to explore my own imagination and creativity. Ideas are easy, construction is easy, but sadly the time and money to put it all together isn't!

I also need challenge, and even the sculpture shown above, whilst I have constructed them in within the space of the last year, I'm already bored of them and need to move and change them. To me any art whilst exciting when new, quickly becomes stale. This doesn't so much apply to plants, as they are ever changing, and hardly any day is the same. This in itself generates excitement and interest. Sadly I have to cut this short, but will add more later.

Yes, I would say that a garden is like art - after all you are looking at the complete compostion using colour and shape. Whether a gardener does it consciously or sub-consciously they will link colour and shape and size of plants , even foliage shape to give a balanced composition.  It gives people who would not necessarliy consider themselves 'artistic' the opportunity to be creative. The garden, with the changing of the seasons, has the added advantage of an ever-changing palette.

Just to see a buttercup close up or smell a honeysuckle or stroke a lambs ear, to feel the soil tremble between your fingers, to anticipate the spring in ones heart - is that not all art?

hmm that depends on your definitions of art and craft.  I'd say it's a bit of both, you need an eye and an imagination (art) but you also need the technical know-how (craft).

I study Art and although i do not practise this much now I see my garden as a painting in progress!  I love to create and develop my plants from the seed stage to the planting out and having knowledge of colour for me is the key to creating a harmonious garden.


yes definately an art and a skill to get 'right' whatever that bit  - creation in 3D, with the knowledge to know what it looks like when planted, but also in years to come, and without knowing what nature will do to play her part.  Great therapy too


I heard a quote on the Monty Don 80 gardens around the world that said, a garden is the only art-form we live in. I can hardly describe my love for gardening that goes beyond all my other hobbies and past-times as something that touches the soul and living inside it is my endless pleasure for eight-nine months of the year! I miss my garden desperately through the winter months; plants heal me when I am sad, I talk to my plants when I am tending them. Today, I carried some new plants around the garden in a bucket and when I asked myself why, I realised it was to introduce them to their new world. That sounds crazy but I truly cherish the space I have as something visceral and instinctive. Its artfully crafted, but knowledgeably tended. It's a living picture of my happiness!


I consider it an art as I take particular care when finding the right place for a new plant, somewhere that will not only show it off, but one where the colour of flowers and foliage compliment the surrounding plants.As a trained florist I find that lots of the principles of design in floristry are carried forward into the garden to make a harmonious effect. Lots of people do this in their gardens without knowing anything about design, just putting things together that look good.



Art is art, no matter what material you use.

Gary Hobson

The answer to this question depends on the person. It depends on the maturity of the person's perception of art, and of gardening.

If you ask someone who thinks that gardening is solely about growing potatoes, then the answer is definitely 'no'.

But if you were able to ask Monty Don, Simon Schama, or Carl Jung, you'd get a very different answer. And each of those people would probably have different reasons for saying that gardening is art.

Wintersong wrote (see)

I heard a quote on the Monty Don 80 gardens around the world that said, a garden is the only art-form we live in.....

Monty's 80 Garden TV series and book is packed with asides, and tantalising hints, about this question, as is his TV series and book about Italian Gardens.  Monty also made a TV series, several years ago, about the symbolism of plants. Though that was about the use of plant forms IN pictorial art, rather than the act of interacting with nature.

The answer depends on the individual. It's very curious that all of the people who have decided post replies on this thread might be classied as a 'certain type' of gardener. I suspect that many other gardeners will notice the title of this thread, and dismiss it. People react in different ways, both to the question, and to their own gardens.



Well, thinking about that quote again, I think you have to include Architecture and maybe go so far as haute couture clothing, so perhaps its not the best quote? But art most certainly is a way of thinking, a frame of mind, a sensory marriage. Its what makes us humans feel better in an otherwise abrasive world and if that means wearing wellies and being knee deep in a pile of muck on a rainy/windy day with the prospect of enjoying what is to come in the summer months, then you can keep your fancy fashions and sculpted buildings and super fast cars.

My version of heaven, is an endless field waiting to be created into a garden, without pests and diseases. See you on the other side! Of the field..gosh!

Gary Hobson
Wintersong wrote (see)

...I think you have to include Architecture ..

Just taking the single word Architecture, out of context.... It's worth pointing out that Architecture is an important element in the garden as art. What I'm thinking about is (back to Monty) the idea of ruined temples, ruined town walls, grotesque sculptures, etc. For some reason, a building is far more appealing, if it's been knocked about. Or very cleverly constructed so that it appears so.

Emma Crawforth

Hello all,

Like cloud8 I think of gardening as both an art and a craft. It depends on what you're doing and how you're doing it. I've been really enjoying Andy Sturgeon's blog series about the garden he's designing for Chelsea this year. He is without doubt an an artist at work.

Emma team


@Gary Hobson, indeed, and when we use hard surfaces to compliment or contrast within soft planting, I think we are not only being artistic but attempting to mimic nature in the formation of miniature (idealised) landscapes and whether you prefer the Zen garden or the tropical paradise. The art is not in the existence of such a scene, (that is copied from nature and you could appreciate from any static photo) but man's crafting of it into a personal form. Man becomes nature in his little corner of the world, existing equally in destruction as creation, constantly evolving and improving just like nature and art must involve crafting in order to exist in the first place, or else it is just the beauty of nature, but not art. Now I need to go and lay down, haha. 


I like to 'paint' pictures with plants so I would say art

Pam x