An early example of the break with tradition is found at the Cadbury Factory (1952), at Moreton in the Wirral (GB), an early industrial landscape. This was a cross between a private and public garden; one that could be viewed and enjoyed by both factory workers and the public. There were large sports fields, tennis courts, and an amazing water garden constructed in the new material of the 20th century-concrete. A series of nine basins with cascades separated the factory from the road; there was minimal planting as it was a composition of spaces and forms for the workers. It avoided the problems of high maintenance in gardens, always a major issue of traditional gardens. Jellicoe, the designer, believed firmly that a garden was a piece of art, rather than a display of plants. Years later he designed the Kennedy Memorial at Runneymede (UK) by using a woodland landscape as an evocative setting, he created a ‘garden’ that was full of meaning and emotion. This is perhaps the dividing line with the past, gardens became places of meaning rather than display; they were also becoming a more important part of public life.
The Museé du Robert Tatin, Laval(F), is a sculptors garden from the 1960s ; it stretches the idea of a garden as it is essentially a composition of buildings and sculptures rather than plants. The sculptures in The Avenue of the Giants are substitutes for trees. The ‘garden’ is full of symbolism and meaning; it is a composition of form and spaces, the primary component of a garden. In Surrey (UK), modern sculptures are displayed within a more traditional garden setting in the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Gardens. There is a broad range of new gardens by designers such as Eric Dhont in Belgium, as well as professional practices doing large scale public parks and urban spaces such as West8 in Holland. These can stretch the ideas of gardens and are often presented as living art forms. The Foundation “Museum Island Hombroich” (D) near Düsseldorf presents ten sculpture like buildings by Erwin Heerich within a wild parkland and meadow landscape; the underlying theory is based on a quote from Paul Cezanne where the experience is ‘art parallel to nature’. Nearby is the Langen Foundation, a minimalist landscape of six trees, sky, earth mounds and water-the same ingredients used by ‘Capability’ Brown 250 years ago to create the English Landscape Style. Schloss Dyck continues with the contemporary theme within its display gardens, but of particular note is the miscanthus garden, peppered with modern set piece gardens.
Certainly the largest scale, and least like a traditional garden, is the Emscher Landschaftpark (D). Lying between Duisburg and Kamen, the ‘park’ celebrates the industrial heritage of the Ruhr District. An ambitious project that has regenerated, not only the industrial sites, but it has been inclusive in terms of housing, commercial, cultural and recreational facilities. While the Landschaftpark Duisburg-Nord by Peter Latz is the best know, there are at least 18 other major industrial parks on the Route of Industrial Culture, plus a near infinite number of additional regeneration projects in the region. The ideas and work here has had an international impact and demonstrates how we can celebrate often ignored aspects of our heritage.
EGHN has purposely selected examples of contemporary gardens and parks that challenge existing ideas in the hope that these experiments will widen and bring new meaning and purpose to the idea of gardens. There is something unique about gardens that can be found in no other art form. ‘Gardens have special meaning. They are powerful settings for human life, transcending time, place, and culture. Gardens are mirrors of ourselves, reflections of sensual and personal experience. By making gardens, using or admiring them, and dreaming of them, we create our own idealized order of nature and culture. Gardens connect us to our collective and primeval past. Since the beginning of human time, we have expressed ourselves through the gardens that we have made. They live on as records of our private beliefs and public values, good and bad.’ (ix)
Prof. E M Bennis, Manchester Metropolitan University
for EGHN, 2006
(i) Marx, Leo The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America New York, 1964
(ii) Treib, Mark Modern Landscape Architecture: A Critical Review MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. 1993
(iii) Jacques, David Landscapes and Gardens in Britain 1930-2000 unpublished paper for the Garden History Society and the 20th Century Society, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 27-28 March 1998
(iv) Bennis, E Interview with Shepheard at his home in London, 17 Feb 2000
(v) Jellico, G & Jellicoe, S Modern Private Gardens Abelard-Schuman, 1968, S. 9
(vi) Crow, S Garden Design Packard, 3rd edition, 1981, S.10
(vii) Church, Thomas Gardens are for People 3rd edition, Univ. of California Press, Berkeley 1995 
(viii) Downs, Annabel (Ed) Peter Shepheard LDT Monograph No.4, London, 2004 from chapter In Opposition to God-wottery by E Bennis, S.113
(ix) Francis, M & Hester, R The Meaning of Gardens MIT Press, 1999. S. 2