Gardens are special places. Why?

What is it about gardens that makes them so special, and makes us feel so special when we’re there?   As I sat pondering my latest topic for a blog post and battling to knock down the walls of writer’s block (not an affliction I have too often as I am normally more than happy to share my opinion on most topics), I actually stumbled across this topic and it really made me think.

So, what is it about gardens that makes them so special to both gardeners and non-gardeners alike?

Het Loo gardens

Het Loo Gardens are enjoyed by thousands of people each year

I know we all have our reasons for why we like gardens and gardening but what is it specifically that draws us to them? Is it an individual aspect or something which covers many features?

People use many different reasons  to substantiate or explain their love of gardening and we also make some assumptions about what qualities are needed for a person to be interested in gardening or to profess to be a self proclaimed ‘Gardener’, almost as if applying a label to their passion explains the reasons behind it.

This, of course, isn’t something that we see extending to other passions or interest.  For example, you can be a music lover, or appreciate music but not necessarily be a musician or have any musical ability.

I started to think about how one becomes a gardener or becomes interested in gardening and whether this was an instantaneous thing due to an experience (as in that it’s hereditary per the old nature vs nurture argument) or if it was something that was built over time, a little like knowledge with bits and pieces gained over time, creating further interest to learn more.

Or perhaps it could be the simple motivation of having an interest or hobby and being recognised for the expertise developed in this area? There are also other motivations, some altruistic and some not, like improving one’s surroundings for enjoyment, monetary value, environmental considerations or to meet a specified need dictated by some other factor outside of our control.

Is it simply a primeval need to ensure the surroundings support our need for survival as Maslow identifies in his Hierarchy of Needs?

public gardens

The Keukenhof gardens are some of the most visited in the world

Well for me (and I think this will apply to a lot of us) as a self professed Gardener it has to be a combination of factors.

What is it that makes me think that the most relaxing holidays are times spent in resorts where gardens play a huge part of the experience? (See photos below)


hotel gardens

Gardens enhance this hotel in ways we can’t even describe.



Water Lily- lined walkways make this resort incredibly inviting.


holiday resort

Yet another lovely park-like setting in a holiday resort.

It is certainly not the monetary advantage. Whilst the hotel does look at this aspect when determining what their room rates are, and we know and are happy to pay for the experience, this isn’t the motivation for me.

Is it just the appearance of the lush tropical surrounds and aesthetics?

Well partly, but I think there are still other factors still at play.  Just being surrounded by plants in any nice garden setting seems to engender us all with a sense of positive energy (with maybe the exception of golf courses where frustration with a stupid little white ball can dominate your focus over the beautiful surroundings that line the fairways and greens.)

We know, appreciate and value the feel that a great garden gives a house, but why is it that when the scale increases (as we see with the French Chateaus and other large estates) that the garden’s importance and beauty seems to scale up proportionally in our subconscious?

public gardens

French Chateau with enormous gardens

Why is it that we feel drawn to parks for their greenlife and why is a day in the park an experience that almost every family can enjoy (all no doubt for different reasons or aspects)?

public parks

Public parks make it easy for many people and families to enjoy nature at no cost.

By coincidence this is also one of the few events a family can enjoy for little or no cost and something which we should defend passionately when developers or government look to reduce size or maintenance of our community parks.

Why is a house closer to the park more valuable than one further away? Like with a sea view or proximity to a landmark, a park / garden has a monetary input into the value of a property with no ownership entitlement, yet we are happy and accept this as part of a valuation when thinking about where we want to live.

Edith Wharton

The Gardens at The Mount, Lenox, Massachusetts

It seems that being stuck for a topic for a simple blog post has really opened some doors on thinking what is it about a Garden that we connect to, makes it special and why is it that if there is an absence of gardens or plants it leaves us feeling unfulfilled without being able to give one specific reason that applies to all as to why or what is missing?

Gardens and gardening fill so many different aspirations or needs in us all and I will have to think more on this. Now that I have asked myself this question, I want to know why is it that gardens appeal in different ways and generate different emotions for each individual and how does this influence our own desire to be classified as “Gardeners”?

For the moment all I can say is “Garden on Good People” and I am interested to hear your thoughts on what gets you gardening!


EDITOR’S NOTE:  To learn more about Phillip’s passion for gardening, check out our new Making Gardening Easy / Tesselaar You Tube Channel where he talks about some of his favorite new plants, including Sweet Spot Roses!



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