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A garden perfect to look at and to eat up

by Ida Sládková

A village garden surrounded by a wooden fence with a rambler, Vyšehradné, 2009A typical Slovak garden represents quite poor standard of living at the territory of Slovakia. It was developed out of spontaneous need to create home and was always closely related to natural medicine. Gardens were always close to a house and were built in a rural style. Floor-plans and composition of plants were always archaic. The garden maintained the elements of a monastery garden and functionality and types of plants of such garden. The purpose of a garden in a monastery was to have healing drugs, food and spices in this isolated religious world each season of the year. The clergy introduced flowers, fruits and herbs which were not typical for our territory at the countryside. Servants from vicarages came with new things to their households. A rural garden included plants that were used to feed people and livestock. Therefore, spices and medicinal herbs were part of the garden.
A rural garden had two parts – front and back. Vegetables were grown at the back part located behind outbuildings. The front garden with decorative plants was located in front of a house and is likely to be invented in the first half of the 19th century, when Biedermeier which popularised flowers flourished.
Women were in charge of the front garden. They brought flowers for their gardens from the households they worked as servants. This is the way how exotic plants such as oleanders, hydrangeas, peonies, tulips and lilies started to be grown in rural gardens. They were disseminated by exchanging and plant propagation.
A village garden had surrendered trends and remained as it was until the late 20th century when it was replaced by a garden hybrid, leaving traditional values behind. New rich groups of people building houses in the countryside have introduced landscape architecture into villages. Villages including the front gardens have been loosing its character. Exotic species have come to villages which have never grown in our territory. A new garden style was developed in few years which now reminds of a sample book of exotic wood and not of a specific philosophy garden. They have no relation to environment and tradition.




Further articles in the magazine Craft, Art, Design 03/2009:


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