This blue marble

– and yet it spins

Follies

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hagapark-1Here up North, gardening is serious business and all about flowers. Perhaps a bench could be in order. Or, if one has courage, a teensy weensy fountain. Or, for the most brave: a little statuette.

Kings and queens, on the other hand, have larger gardens. Mostly parks. With lakes, forests, and hills. A little fountain or statuette would disappear in such a garden. Kings and queens also used to get quite easily bored – if there was no war going on that is. Or famine. One can only host so many tea parties in a park with the exact same landscape. And one can only re-landscape a park every so often.

The most trendy solution during the 18th century was “follies”. Buildings made for absolutely no need except for to look nice. Or for example to dine outside with a view over hill and lake bathing in the light of the setting sun. One could just have a table carried out – or one could build an oval gazebo in the backyard and paint the ceiling with flowers.

And if a tea party turns out to be a bearable pastime and a summer tent was needed, why not build a Turkish tent out of copper? Or host the party in a Chinese pagoda?hagapark-3And, folly of follies, should the king become utterly completely bored with his beautiful castle, well, how about building a little garden shed, with just two wings and about 30 windows, for the king to move into? A little like a boy moving into the empty toolshed in the back of the garden? The king of Sweden did exactly this. Gustav III lived his last summers in his “garden shed” – until he was shot during a Venetian style masked ball. hagapark-2(Royal Haga Park, Stockholm, Sweden; April 2016)

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