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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Gardens: Bringing Beauty and Comfort to Our Lives, Part 2 of 3

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The Italian Renaissance Garden emerged in the late 15th century at villas in the historic cities of Rome and Florence. One famous Italian Renaissance Garden is the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, near Rome. It is especially famous for its large profusion of fountains.

In 1495, His Majesty King Charles VIII brought the Italian Renaissance Garden style to France. French Renaissance gardens were designed to illustrate the Renaissance ideals of proportion, and to remind viewers of ancient Rome. The French Formal Garden was built as a symbol of magnificence and glory. Some of the most grand and famous French Formal Gardens are at the Gardens of Versailles, which are attached to the Palace of Versailles, the principal royal residence of France from 1682 until 1789.

In the early 18th century, the English Landscape Garden found its way to France, where it developed into what became known as the French Landscape Garden, and gradually became more popular than the French Formal Garden. In 1761, Rousseau published his novel “Julie, ou la Nouvelle Héloïse,” in which he described a perfect landscape where people could be true to themselves. The following year he wrote, “Everything is good when it leaves the hand of the creator,” further explaining why he believed that gardens should model natural landscapes. One famous French Landscape Garden is Rousseau’s namesake, Parc Jean-Jacques-Rousseau, located in Ermenonville, in Northern France.

We can see that gardens have a long history in the European continent, but how about in modern society? Urban gardens are a great way to make cities more sustainable and more pleasant places to live in, and they are rapidly increasing in popularity, especially in Western Europe. Roof space, which has often been left unused, can be converted into “green roofs,” which produce food and offer people an opportunity to enjoy a more natural environment without needing to leave the city or even their own building. In central London, there are now 700 green roofs covering 17.5 hectares, and the trend looks sure to continue as more and more people discover the benefits that gardening offers to physical, mental, and spiritual health.

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