Gardens Endure in Baghdad | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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Gardens Endure in Baghdad

11/03/2009

bagdhad garden topiary

The New York Times published an inspiring and uplifting article titled Fanciful Gardens Emerge in a City of Tan and Gray over the weekend.  I read about it over at Stephen Orr’s blog.  I find it fascinating that even through invasion, bombings and utter destruction, many people in Baghdad still lived in their gardens, maintained them and loved them.  Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Gardens remain one of the few flourishes of public ornament on Baghdad’s otherwise brown streets, defiant displays of foliage amid concrete blast walls and security checkpoints. And in its middle-class neighborhoods, Baghdad is a city of surprising topiary sculptures: leafy ficus trees are carved in geometric spirals, balls, arches and squares, as if to impose order on a chaotic sprawl. The trees provide a startling counterpoint of color and contour to the uniformly tan and rectilinear houses and walls surrounding them.

“This is our kingdom, our home,” said Mohammed al-Khalidy, an electrical engineer, standing in his garden, where ficus trees carved like deconstructed snowmen flank the street.

gardens in baghdad

Mazen Hammad, a worker for the Ministry of Health, was quoted, “When the situation was bad, I took care of the garden more than when it’s good,” …. “When you take care of the garden, you forget the war. But when the situation is good, you’re too busy with work.” Do you think this applicable elsewhere? I certainly find my self in my garden alot more lately (rather than usually being in someone elses).

The New York Times article was by JOHN LELAND and was originally published on October 31, 2009.

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  1. louise garwood says:

    Yes, gardens connect us with and affirm our sense of ‘place’. With sky over head and ground under foot, our hands busy with the work of tending and caring for the earth, our hearts can then be at peace. I loved this article ,too.

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