1. Your insight into the garden and the fountain and its relation to paradise is wonderful, and it is fascinating to see how the cross related to the four directions/rivers is so universal in meaning. It can help us to see how the cross shape of the church building also signifies the world itself in that way, the world in its “extension” we could say. Thanks for this.

  2. Andrew. this is a very revealing article about planting paradise, something I have experienced in so many places, but never heard it articulated in such a clear and elevating manner as you have described it. The strongest experience I have in my memory was at St. Mary Magdalen Monastery on the Mount of Olives. The tension in Jerusalem was so heavy in October 2008, but when I passed through the gates into the monastery gardens it was truly a premeditated paradise for cats and birds and flowers and trees and nuns and pilgrims.

    Thank you,


  3. I really enjoyed this article, not just because I have been to the Cloisters in NY and loved it, and hope to someday see many of the other examples pictured — but because it was so enlightening to learn the historical and theological reasons for the walled Mediterranean garden. I have always loved these gardens, they are common among some of the larger Spanish style estate properties here, but now I know why I love them.

    In our back yard, a few years ago we ripped out all the grass and replaced it with a similar type of garden, with a small fountain in the center, surrounded by CA and Mediterranean herbs and perennials. Our garden was too small and oblong to do a cross in square, so we have rectangular beds and DG paths in between. At the time we did it, we wondered if we would regret having no grass in the back. But I have never looked back. My studio faces the garden, and I like to watch the birds flit around drinking the water from the fountain and feeding on the seed heads from the sage plants that surround it.

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