Unlike the last 3 books I've reviewed, which have focused on native plants and gardening for wildlife, this book is more of a classic garden design book. And yet it's so much more than just that.....
The Inward Garden encourages us to make gardens more than just pretty places. In the beginning of this book, Moir Messervy describes a garden in this way, "...[A] garden means far more than just a planted place. It is a touchstone; a repository of memories that forms a place of joy in your life. A garden exists not only as part of your backyard landscape, but as a site that resides in your imagination, a collection of personally satisfying images that can be expressed upon your land."
Do you remember your favorite outdoor places to be as a child? Are you drawn to enclosures or promontories? What's your personal image of paradise? Moir Messervy guides us through these sorts of questions, showing us how our gardens can reflect our own personal histories and memories, our own personal inspirations. First, though, we have to THINK about these sorts of questions - and then we have to take the answers we've come up with and help them take shape within the parameters of our actual physical space.
There are so many components we can draw upon to create our own touchstone gardens: color, form, sound, light, plants, geometric vs. natural order, uniformity vs. variety. It's hard to keep track of all of the different possibilities, but Moir Messervy helps us think about each one in turn without dictating what is "right" or "better".
To a great extent, this book is a combination of psychological concepts and gardening, examining such classic themes as the sacred forest, a classic hut, the need for enclosure, thresholds, bridges, and gateways. Moir Messervy talks about journeys through our gardens, both mental and physical, with starting points, pathways, and destinations.
"...[P]eople garden in order to make something grow; to interact with nature; to share, to find sanctuary, to heal, to honor the earth, to leave a mark. Through gardening, we feel whole as we make our personal work of art upon our land."
The Inward Garden is a book to aid us in making our gardens into true personal works of art upon our own land. With ideas and passions to inspire us, this is a book that gives us a serious look at the kinds of gardens we can to aspire to create. The richness in this book is many layered and it invites us to return for refreshment and new inspiration again and again and again. I highly recommend finding a copy of this classic work and immersing yourself within it. You'll be so glad that you did.