Tonight we read The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. My daughter and I admired the transformation of a dreary city - brown, smoky and people-less - into a green, bustling, and flower-bedecked world. The agents of change? A small boy and a garden. The new green world was not unlike a vision I had while writing Sacred Land, a world where every rooftop, empty lot, playground, park, and yard grew food, flowers, and herbs.
The painter and architect Hundertwasser had similar visions. From Wikipedia: "For Hundertwasser, human misery was a result of the rational, sterile, monotonous architecture, built following the tradition of the Austrian architect Adolf Loos ("Ornament and Crime"). He called for a boycott of this type of architecture, and demanded instead creative freedom of building, and the right to create individual structures. In 1972 he published the manifesto Your window right — your tree duty. Planting trees in an urban environment was to become obligatory: 'If man walks in nature's midst, then he is nature's guest and must learn to behave as a well-brought-up guest.'"
This is a housing development designed by Hundertwasser. It looks a lot like the city at the end of The Curious Garden!
I highly recomend The Curious Garden to any parent of a 3 to 9 year old. After reading it you could draw pictures of a garden city your child might design, plant flowers in a pot, design a new garden for your yard, research wind energy, or just compare and contrast the first illustration with the last.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Gardens Transform the World: Review of The Curious Garden
Written by Clea Danaan
Clea Danaan grew up in the Pacific Northwest; she now lives in Colorado. she is the author of five books relating to nature-centered spirituality and natural family living. She writes about nature mysticism, chickens, homeschooling, permaculture, and more. Her books have been published in more than six countries and translated into several languages, including French and German.