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Gardening Is An Activity-the Art And Craft Of Growing Plants
Michael Sanford

Gardening is an activity—the art and craft of growing plants—with a goal of creating a beautiful environment. Gardening most often takes place in or about one's residence, in a space referred to as the garden. A garden that is in close proximity to one's residence is also known as a residential garden. Although a garden typically is located on the land within, surrounding, or adjacent to a residence, it may also be located in less traditional locations such as on a roof, in an atrium, on a balcony, in a windowbox, or on a patio.

Gardening also takes place in non-residential green areas, such as parks, public or semi-public gardens (botanical gardens or zoological gardens), amusement and theme parks, along transportation corridors, and around tourist attractions and hotels. In these situations, a staff of gardeners or groundskeepers maintains the gardens.

Indoor gardening is concerned with the growing of what are essentially houseplants within a residence or building, in a conservatory, or in a greenhouse. Plants grown in a conservatory or greenhouse may or may not require more exacting care and conditions than ordinary houseplants. Indoor gardens are sometimes incorporated as part of air conditioning or heating systems. Water gardening is concerned with growing plants adapted to pools and ponds. Bog gardens are also considered a type of water garden. These all require special conditions and considerations. A simple water garden may consist solely of a tub containing the water and plant(s).

In cryptanalysis, gardening was a term used at Bletchley Park during World War II for schemes to entice the Germans to include known plaintext, which they called cribs, in their encrypted messages. It is claimed to have been most effective against messages produced by the German Navy's Enigma machines

In China, for instance, farmers regularly set up outhouses on the roads to attract tourists to use them, furnishing the farmers with "night soil" (human manure) for use as a fertiliser. These methods make excellent use of calories and minerals and water, but of course violate the aesthetics of most Westerners, who would balk at using stranger's human wastes on their own gardens. There is thus some conflict between gardening for personal or aesthetic reasons, and for practical food-raising, even for one household.

The living wall is an unusual variant of a living machine and is effectively a vertical garden: water dripping down feeds a surface growing with moss and vines, other plants, some insects and bacteria, and captured at the bottom in a pool or pond to be recirculated to the top. These are sometimes built indoors to help cure sick building syndrome or otherwise increase the oxygen levels in recirculated air.

Gardening is considered to be an absolutely essential art in most cultures. In Japan, for instance, Samurai and Zen monks were often required to build decorative gardens or practice related skills like flower arrangement known as ikebana.

Social aspect

In modern Europe and North America, people often express their political or social views in gardens, intentionally or not. The Green parties and Greenpeace often advise their campaigners to call first on homeowners who have lush chaotic wild gardens, as these are deemed to be more likely to respond to the Greens' political message than those with AstroTurf or bluegrass lawns. No reliable statistics support such claims, but for many years, in the United States, there was a widespread belief that there was such a thing as a Republican lawn and Democratic lawn.

The lawn vs. garden issue is played out in urban planning as the debate over the "land ethic" that is to determine urban land use and whether hyperhygienist bylaws (e.g. weed control) should apply, or whether land should generally be allowed to exist in its natural wild state. In a famous Canadian Charter of Rights case, "Sandra Bell vs. City of Toronto", 1997, the right to cultivate all native species, even most varieties deemed noxious or allergenic, was upheld as part of the right of free expression, at least in Canada.

Gardening is thus not only a food source and art, but also a right. The Slow Food movement has sought in some countries to add an edible schoolyard and garden classrooms to schools, e.g. in Fergus, Ontario, where these were added to a public school to augment the kitchen classroom.
In US and British usage, the care, installation, and maintenance of ornamental plantings in and around commercial and institutional buildings is called landscaping, landscape maintenance or groundskeeping, while international usage uses the term gardening for these same activities.


Gardening for food extends far back into prehistory. Ornamental gardens are known in ancient times (the Hanging Gardens of Babylon), and ancient Rome had dozens of gardens. See the History of gardening article for more information, including a List of historical garden types, as well as a List of notable historical gardens.

About the Author: For more information on organic gardeningart please visit the organic gardening art resource center at


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