Spoken Garden

Metis, Canada

The Spoken Garden lies hidden among the trees. Following a winding path, the visitor comes to a clearing, formed by a circular bench. On entering the circle the visitor discovers a statue on a pedestal; the wood nymph Pomona, Roman goddess of gardens. Through a speaker in the pedestal, Pomona speaks directly to the visitor. She cites famous and infamous quotes about the art of the garden, from all times and all places; Francis Bacon, Voltaire, John Dixon Hunt, Robert Pogue Harrison, Marc Treib, Dieter Kienast and Piet Oudolf amongst others. The rich history of gardens and garden theory comes to the visitor through the words of Pomona, using the strategy of prosopopoeia by which a lost voice speaks from the garden to its visitors. The proposal connects the physical world of the built garden with the written world of garden theory. The Spoken Garden inspires the visitor what a garden is, what it can be and how it can be read.