Dossier: Paisatges sonors - Observatori del Paisatge

Introduction

This dossier presents a selection of websites on historic gardens, botanical gardens and institutions and organizations dedicated to gardens and gardening in Catalonia, Spain and the rest of the world.

According to the definition proposed by the Florence Charter (1981), drafted by the International Committee for Historic Gardens (ICOMOS-IFLA) and promoted by UNESCO, a historic garden is: "an architectural and horticultural composition of interest to the public from the historical or artistic point of view. As such, it is to be considered as a monument." In this sense, a historic garden is a small cultural landscape, modelled by human hand that has remained over the years until the present day, to which we attribute an important social, historic or artistic meaning. Above and beyond its synthetic definition, the Florence Charter gives historic gardens a transcultural dimension. In effect, historic gardens are: "the expression of the direct affinity between civilization and nature, and a place of enjoyment suited to meditation or repose. The garden thus acquires the cosmic significance of an idealised image of the world, a "paradise" in the etymological sense of the term, and yet testimony to a culture, a style, an age and often to the originality of a creative artist".

Catalan, Spanish and international legislation on heritage includes historic gardens under their highest designations of protection. This category generally covers three basic areas: private gardens, botanical gardens and urban parks.

Botanical gardens are institutions established for the purposes of research, conservation and the dissemination of plant diversity, so that they exhibit scientific collections of living plants. In accordance with this objective, which focuses on research and information, botanical gardens also generally house archive collections such as herbariums, specialized libraries and other museum-like collections related to botany or biology. Many of the most important botanical gardens in the world contain recreations of landscapes of different styles and eras, as well as buildings, palaces or other unique architectural features such as monumental glasshouses, which reflect their distinguished past and turn them into historic gardens.

All these different spaces, modelled and transformed to the utmost by human hand, in which the vegetation is the main element of their composition, represent a heritage that is intrinsic to our cities, moulding their landscape and contributing to improving the quality of life of their inhabitants. Gardens today are places with tremendous cultural significance and must be handed down intact to future generations. In this sense, the cataloguing, conservation and promotion of gardens to bring them closer to people is a really important factor in social cohesion.

Objectives of the dossier:

  1. To disseminate information on the historic gardens, botanical gardens and main parks of historic interest in Catalonia that have an active website.
  2. To gather, classify and put into order the key information on gardens around the world on the Internet, which is currently fragmented and widely scattered.
  3. To make it possible for users to make a straightforward query on the leading gardens of the world and the organizations and institutions involved in this sector.
  4. To provide a reference on the subject of gardens for experts and the general public alike.

Please note that we have only included the institutions, centres and initiatives that have an active website. Unfortunately, this criterion inevitably excludes other interesting information on the theme of historic gardens and botanical gardens that cannot be consulted on the Internet.

The Landscape Observatory encourages readers of this dossier to send their suggestions and feedback. This is the best way for us to improve the contents, which were not intended to be exhaustive.

This dossier has been prepared with the collaboration of Jordi DÝaz Callejo
 

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