what's real? what's natural?
The internet is full of photos of lovely gardens that are situated all over the world: the 'real' world, that is. Then there's another kind of garden, that you'll only find in cyberspace or in imagination. This is a kind of gardening that exists independently of the weather or wildlife.
UK surreal artist Richard Saunders created a topiary cat that magically has the ability to change size and shape, and crop up in all kinds of unexpected places. Some of these places are in the 'real' world. For instance, the garden the cat is in may be based on a photo, like the photo of Hall Barn in Beaconsfield, pictured above. Or the cat may actually be in a 'real' garden, like the image of it drinking from a lake in Painshill Park, Surrey, published on Saunders' Facebook page.
It is the talented Richard Saunders who decides on the garden or other setting for the cat. All we can do is access his web pages and admire, enjoy and comment.
But ... what if a garden is like a Tamagotchi? A Tamagotchi is a digital pet that needs to be actively looked after and fed as it grows from egg to adult. There are cyber gardens that grow and change and need to be maintained. I referred to a couple in a blog post I wrote way back in 2010, like iZen Garden.
From time to time I update the pages on this blog that list the plants in my garden. I insert the new (hopeful) additions and delete the names of plants that have disappeared or passed away to compost. Surely this is a digital form of weeding? Weeding that I can do at night, or in the rain, or when I'm too tired to go outside.
Of course I prefer being outdoors and in 'nature' whenever I can. But I think we have to accept that virtual reality is becoming more and more prominent. I'm aware of this every time I use public transport and see people absorbed in their screens, not looking out the windows at the passing trees or cloudy sky. So if they're not going to have an experience of the 'real' natural world, maybe they can at least experience a digital 'natural' world?
|Tamagotchis in garden, and Tamogotchis hatching|