The twentieth-century garden is often a place of memory, born of nostalgia, meant to reconstruct the relationship between past and present in the act of representing it. This essay explores three types of recreations, restorations, and reconstructions of “Elizabethan gardens,” asking in each case what these recreations of old gardens were meant to accomplish, for both their creators and for their visitors, in engaging with a vision of a British past. It first examines American gardens that invoke the cultural and political ties between the United States and Britain, including American Shakespeare gardens and the Elizabethan Gardens in Roanoke, Virginia, constructed in the 1950s on the site of the first failed English colonization of America. The essay concludes with the reconstruction of a Tudor garden at Kenilworth in England, conceived as a restoration based not on our modern desires but on what is historically accurate. In each case, the designers and the visitors of the garden reach out to a past we dream is embodied in the stuff of the garden itself.
The full article is available at Project Muse
Image: Bust of Shakespeare in the Cleveland Shakespeare Garden. (Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation)