Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Around the World in 80 Gardens

I caught my first glimpse of these amazing and extraordinary places in the BBC series 'Around the World in 80 Gardens.' The program tours green spaces all over the planet and makes you look at how individuals, culture, indigenous plants and climate combine to create unique gardens. Italy, South Africa and Mexico are stops along the way.

So far Mexico /Cuba is one of my favourite episodes, featuring the surreal paradise created by a millionaire eccentric; the floating gardens of the Amazon; and an ethno-botanical garden.

The Ethno-botanical garden, Centro Cultural de Santo Domingo, in Oaxaca (pictured above) was slated to become the site of a hotel with sections paved over to become a parking lot, but due to the efforts of locals and the dedication of an artist-turned-gardener, this beautiful space was created instead.

Take a look at this clip on You Tube about the surreal gardens created in Xilitla, Northern Mexico, by the British millionaire Edward James. The photo on the right is merely a morsal of "Las Pozas," an obsession covering more than 50 acres and costing more than $7M. The jungle is reclaiming the sculptures throughout, adding a pagan note to a Dali landscape. Or is it subtracting what is surreal and making it real again? Without constant vigilance the man-made elements will soon totally disappear. What would future archaeologists decipher this to be?

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