What is the purpose of a garden?

The answer to that question is as varied as the individuals that keep gardens. A spot for meditation, a place to study horticulture, a retreat and therapy against the stresses of modern life��gardens are whatever we make of them. Throughout history, humans have endeavored to capture and tame a bit of Mother Nature by planting gardens. A garden can be many things, but common to all gardens is their structured and deliberate nature. Gardens are plots of land that are purposefully designed, populated, and tended. They include such diverse elements as plants, organic materials, decorative and architectural elements, and even living creatures. The size of a garden is more dependent on the aptitude and willingness of the gardener than on any prescribed notions about how big a garden should be. During the Edwardian and Victorian eras, highly formal gardens with neatly trimmed hedges, ornate fountains and statuary, and geometric lines were popular. Today, gardens that subtly mimic natural settings with abundant wildflowers, rippling streams, and native plants are the preference.

Starting your garden

Gardens require very little to get started, so almost anyone with space available for planting beds or even just a few pots in which to place plants can have a garden. The general requirements are an idea of what you want to plant, a few tools like a spade to dig with, and patience to wait for your plants to grow and to deal with weeds. While many homeowners plant gardens with nothing more than the desire to create an eye-pleasing display of attractive flowers, garden ornaments, and plants to care for and enjoy, a whole realm of recognized garden types exist. One very popular type of garden is the Japanese garden. There are several categories of Japanese gardens; all incorporate ideas of tranquility, harmony, and intimacy into highly refined designs full of symbolism. Gardeners in drought-susceptible areas typically plan xeriscape, rock, or cactus gardens that require little water to maintain. Xeriscape gardens use plants native to a specific local climate. Plants are grouped together according to their watering requirements. Watering methods such as drip irrigation are employed to minimize water loss. A growing trend among budget conscious gardeners is the vegetable or produce garden. Filled with a variety of plants like tomatoes, corn, eggplant, and pumpkins, these gardens are at once aesthetically pleasing and healthful.

For further information see the following article from HomeDoctor.net: Gardens & Outdoors.