Wohnen in der Gartenschönheit – Narrative vom Wohnen in/mit der Natur im 20. Jahrhundert


  • Nora Huxmann





In the early 20th century, the private garden as a garden of residence is set down in the German term Wohngarten – an opening of the privilege to inhabit gardens to the wider public. The journal Gartenschönheit, published by some of the most famous garden authors of the time, appropriately calls upon lay people as well as professionals, discussing a range of garden(ing) topics. There is a strong focus on actual work with plants and in the garden, but questions of residence are implicated in many contributions, including the use and layout of gardens as spaces of threshold between the private and the public as well as nature and culture, thereby negotiating aspects of health (hygiene) and ethics. The cultural subject is examined in the dichotomous situation of cultivating nature and being educated by nature in the garden – thereby developing narratives of healthy living in the outdoors. The essay at hand discusses these topics by means of several examples: The development of front page illustrations throughout the first publishing period of the journal (1920 to 1941), the way that work in the garden is omitted whilst being implicated and an analysis of the text-image-arrangements of an exemplary article, showing how the explicit discourse of living in harmony with nature always includes implicit moments of dominating nature.