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Some Of Our Favorite Fictional Gardens

A still from the Secret Garden film adaptation

From Gilgamesh’s Garden of the Gods to the Garden of Eden, cultivated green spaces have found their way into writing since the practice began. Recently, garden clubs across America have declared June 6th as National Gardening Exercise Day, a reminder that exercise in nature is more fun than hitting the treadmill indoors yet again.

Some of our favorite fictional gardens have been the sight of some serious exertion as well, both mental and physical. Check them out.

Kublai Khan’s Garden in Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino: In this strange and beautiful novel, Marco Polo sits in Kublai Khan’s garden and describes to the emperor the various, wondrous cities he has seen on his travels.

The garden itself is as magical as the invisible cities Polo describes. As he tells Khan, “Perhaps this garden exists only in the shadow of our lowered eyelids, and we have never stopped: you, from raising dust on the fields of battle; and I, from bargaining sacks of pepper in distant bazaars… Perhaps the terraces of this garden overlook only the lake of our mind.”

The Gardens in Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: This scandalous 1928 novel tells the story of Constance, Lady Chatterley, a bored and frustrated young wife who begins an affair with the estate’s gamekeeper. Lawrence’s novel was censored for its explicit descriptions of sex, but the garden details are racy enough in themselves.

Take, for instance, this brief snippet: “Yellow celandines now were in crowds, flat open, pressed back in urgency, and the yellow glitter of themselves. It was the yellow, the powerful yellow of early summer. And primroses were broad, and full of pale abandon, thick-clustered primroses no longer shy.” Whew!

Posted by Alexandra Edwards