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Shakespeare Garden for Houston--?


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I was reading the "Letter to Editor" in today's Chronicle. I agree with Kate Pogue that a Shakespeare garden would be a great addition to improvements at Herman gardens. Yes, It would blend nicely with the current Shakespeare festival.

Central Park in NYC is almost 4 acres and a great tourist draw. While I was living in New York-- I visited recreated gardens inspired by Mark Twain, Emily Dickenson and Monet.

There seems to be a trend for these gardens. I wonder if the idea of gardens of this type were actually discussed by Herman Park planners?

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I like the idea of having a Shakespeare garden - and other gardens of a similar variety. Where would you think this should be located in the park? (A map would be useful, but writing is fine too.)

To be honest, I doubt the Hermann Park Conservancy would be interested in the idea; their master plan has been in the works for quite a while. In my opinion, the only chance for something like this would have been in the under-development Centennial Gardens, but I suspect the design has been finalized.

But, that doesn't mean the notion of a Shakespeare Garden is dead. I'd still put together a proposal for the Conservancy. You never know. If that doesn't work, you can scout out other parks in the city for such a garden; I'm sure some park in the city core (where I suppose you'd like this to be placed) will be undergoing some sort of renovation in the coming years, and this could be part of it.

I think the thing to keep in mind here is that parks are designed and developed over a period of years; so, don't expect to have it done in the next months. But, if you're patient and diligent, you can probably facilitate this happening. Everything you see around you (that's manmade) is the result of someone conceiving of it and making it happen. For a Houston Shakespeare Garden, that someone could be you...

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Could someone explain what a Shakespeare garden is?

If you glance at the wikipedia page you'll see that Shakespeare gardens are strongly (and kitschily) associated with Lucia. They feature those plants, and only those, mentioned by Shakespeare, who took note of everything he saw in the fields around Stratford and had an encyclopedic knowledge of plant lore and superstition. I think Cleveland has a well-known one.

Shakespeare doesn't go too many lines without an herbal reference. Lots of pansies (also "Love-in-Idleness") which are a plot device in "Midsummer Night's Dream." And all the other plants mentioned by Ophelia -- daisies, rue, rosemary, fennel, columbines, violets -- and the weeds that she and Lear each made into garlands for themselves. Sad cypress, willow, crab-apples, yew, poplar. Roses, obviously, prominent in the history plays, Romeo and Juliet, and your own Twelfth Night, Subdude: "For women are as roses, whose fair flower / Being once display'd, doth fall that very hour." (Fortunately, according to the same source, "love is not love / which alters when it alteration finds.")

Hopefully no knockout roses ... nor, for instance, phlox, that fixture of the English garden, since it was imported there from Texas in the 19th century.

Side note: it was a Shakespeare fan determined to introduce every one of Shakespeare's birds to North America who released five starlings in Central Park (the starling receives a single shout-out, in Henry IV). Now there are an estimated 200 million, a terrible nuisance, vector for disease, destroyer of crops. A flock of thousands of them famously brought down a jet on takeoff in 1960, killing almost everyone on board:

http://en.wikipedia....ines_Flight_375

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