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Gardening as a Sacred Art

Jeremy Naydler

128 pp.  
6 1/4" x 9"
Illustrations: 50 color illustrations

Floris Books


Published:  January 2012


  • “For many of us today, it is our gardens that provide our main intimate, daily contact with nature. The garden that we look out upon from a window, the garden that we walk through, stand or sit in, presents us with an immediate contrast with the experience of being indoors, inside the shelter and comfort of our houses. In the garden we see live plants growing, myriad animals—squirrels, birds, and insects—moving about, and it is the setting in which we witness the changing moods of the seasons and the weather. Life goes on in our gardens quite independently of us. There we feel the creative power of nature, to which we, too, owe our existence.” (from the introduction)

This beautifully illustrated book presents a unique history of how people have worked with nature throughout history. For ancient peoples, gardens were home to spiritual and divine beings. This idea that gardens were sacred places continued into the European Middle Ages.

Since the seventeenth century, however, nature has been seen increasingly as a physical resource to be exploited. Changes in gardening styles reflect this development, including the creation of grand garden terraces and landscapes such as Versailles, whose purpose is to impose human values, aesthetics, and order on nature.

More recently gardening has become a more conscious art form intended to enhance nature’s inherent beauty. Drawing on garden examples from ancient Egypt to Monet’s Giverny, Jeremy Naydler asserts that gardening can be regarded as a sacred art—a means of connecting human beings with nature and the Earth in a truly spiritual way.

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