WHY POPLAR AND NOT KAKI. PUZZLES, PLANTS, MEMORY AND STORYTELLING GARDENS

Published in Scientific Papers. Series B, Horticulture, Volume LXI
Written by Alexandru MEXI

Throughout the history of mankind, vegetation played a crucial role in mythology, philosophy, natural science and gardening. In what concerns garden design, choosing a specific species of plants served different types of purposes and helped to create magnificent storytelling landscapes. Associated with virtues, gods and goddesses, feelings and emotions, etc. plants defined almost every story behind garden design since the ancient times to the present day. However, sometimes, a garden was built around existing plants and this is why such particular examples of species of trees, shrubs or flowers became so much more important in the history and philosophy of a garden than those that were planted afterwards, according to a specific and predetermined pattern. One such example is represented by Queen Marie of Romania’s gardens at Balchik and their famous old bended white poplar (Populus alba), an ancient tree that had became one of the reasons for which Queen Marie decided to build her most renowned gardens at Balchik. Today however, the old poplar was replaced by a kaki tree (Diospyros kaki) and by this what may seem to be a minor modification, an entire part of the garden’s meaning was profoundly altered. To this end, the following paper aims to emphasize the importance of plant species in what concerns the story and allegories of gardens, focusing on the examples offered by the Balchik gardens.

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MEXI A. 2017, WHY POPLAR AND NOT KAKI. PUZZLES, PLANTS, MEMORY AND STORYTELLING GARDENS. Scientific Papers. Series B, Horticulture, Volume LXI, Print ISSN 2285-5653, 353-360.


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