Hortus Conclusus : The Enclosed Garden


Two new works installed in May and June 2014.

Hortus Conclusus - Turf Enclosed Garden.

We have a propensity to destroy, tame and shape wilderness. A primal drive in making gardens is creating reassuring enclosures. The Enclosed Garden or Hortus Conclusus symbolically protects from the wildness outside. The quiet center of the garden is entered circuitously. The virginal enclosure protects a valued object such as a specimen plant for contemplation. Christianity viewed the Enclosed Garden as a symbol of the womb of the Virgin Mary.

Commercial turf in 10’ x 2’ rolls, consisting of 90% Kentucky Bluegrass and 10% Fescue replaces meadow turf in an enclosed garden format. The pure turf is the garden pathway, and protects sections planted with indigenous plants found at I-Park. In the center is a local crab apple tree protected and contained by a 5 feet high steel cage. Over time the commercial turf absorbs back into the meadow, and indigenous plants including Shagbark Hickory and Milkweed will be transplanted to form the barrier structure of the enclosed garden.

Hortus Conclusus - The Forbidden Garden

The creation of an garden enclosure protected from wilderness is a persistent concept in landscape and garden design. The enclosed garden is entered tangentially. The center of the Hortus Conclusus often protects a special object such as a sculpture or rare plant.

But this particular enclosed garden is not enticing to enter. The five foot high steel trellised structure approximately ten feet square is situated in an open meadow. Transplanted Poison Ivy is encouraged to festoon the trellis. There is just enough room to enter the enclosed garden. There is always the risk of touching the poisonous plant. In the center is a particularly beautiful species rose Rosa Glauca - Rosa Rubrifolia.     

In the center of the enclosure is a single specimen of a Species Rose, such as Rosa Glauca.


A Planted Installation at I-PARK, East Haddam, Connecticut