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Gardens of the Gods

Christopher McIntosh (PPE, 1962)

Gardens of the Gods is an invitation to look at and create gardens in a new way—or rather a very old way that has been widely forgotten. Its theme is the garden as a sacred space, an outdoor temple carrying an intentional message: religious, mystical, poetic or philosophical. Christopher McIntosh reveals the basic elements of the visual language used to convey meaning in a garden: its form and proportions; the decorative features in it; and the plants with their symbolic or mythological associations. He gives examples of motifs most frequently used and most pregnant with meaning, such as labyrinths, grottoes, fountains, monoliths and sacred groves. The reader is then taken on a fascinating tour of the great gardening traditions of different periods and regions. These include the gardens of China with their moon gates and immortal rocks, the Zen gardens of Japan, the paradise gardens of Islam, those of Renaissance Italy, the landscaped parks of England, and some striking modern examples of symbolic gardens, such as the Tarot Garden of the sculptress Niki de Saint Phalle in Italy.

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