I had my first garden design class last night: The History and Theory of Garden Design. Sound dull? I’m telling you – it was fascinating! I was nervous, I admit, because I have a history of nodding off as soon as the lights go out and the slide projector whirrs on, but I was alert as Bush in Afghanistan (oh, wait, maybe that’s a bad analogy. Bush, alert?)
Anyway, I promised to report back, so here’s a terminology tidbit from my class last night: ha-ha. Brits, bear with me.
Ha-has, or sunken fences, became popular in England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The top of the sunken stone wall was level with the garden, so that the view to the pasture beyond was uninteruppted, while still keeping out the livestock. Here is a sketch of a ha-ha, so named, apparently for the surprise expressed when someone came upon one! My instructor, Ron Rule, calls the ha-ha “the most important evolution in garden design.” Hmm.
The view from the other side of the ditch wasn’t so pretty. This article discusses the class implications of the ha-ha.