Palaces definitely have elaborate grounds, and Japanese botanical gardens have a calming solitude about them. I love the gardens in England, because everyone seems to have one, and they are all so lush with a seemingly endless variety of flowers. Trimmed hedges in the shapes of animals or people are also very creative and must take time and patience in perfecting such an art. Check out this blog, where they have named everything from the luxurious to the stunningly unique: http://blog.ratestogo.com/best-gardens/
My favorite is the central garden at the J. Paul Getty Center in Los Angeles. It is a superb example of a garden as medium for visual art and creativity. The design, created by an artist named Robert Irwin, plays on various elements including light, color, sound, and reflection. Water cascades and passes through a variety of textures and surfaces. Bougainvillea arbors play on shape and shadow (see image below). The approach emphasizes the aesthetic quality and value that plant life and gardening can offer humans.
On Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, there are two men (known to all simply as “Lewis and Little”) who have a small private garden that is the epitome of creativity. One is a sculptor, and they are both plant magicians. To experience their artistry is to feel like you have just had a tall glass of cold lemonade on a stifling afternoon. I just want to drink their garden somehow. Look at their online portfolio at: http://www.littleandlewis.com/garden.html
I agree with carly, the garden at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles in one of my favorite gardens to go visit. The shapes it creates is like a work of art even while being a fully functioning garden. To add to this,the museum’s design gives you the feeling of being in a garden that is suspended over the greater Los Angeles area.
In addition to this I would like to throw in my vote for another garden at a Getty Museum. This one would have to be the herb garden at The Getty Villa in Malibu, CA. The garden takes up a large portion of the property’s outer area. On a nice sunny day, the air is literally full of scents from all species of herbs. It is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Just to make sure, however, I believe reservations have to be made before the visit.
Photo Credit: http://www.tripadvisor.com/ReviewPhotos-g32676-d1067416-r32854309-The_Getty_Villa-Malibu_California.html#19811349
Permaculture food forests are typically very beautiful, if only for their lushness. Plants are placed in order to take advantage of their natural affinities. For example, nitrogen-fixing pants are planted near plants that enjoy lots of nitrogen in the soil around them. Plants that attract native pollinators, but are otherwise of little use value, are also chosen to increase the chances of pollination in a garden. See link below for more information.
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