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While parking around the corner from my favorite coffee hangout, I noticed this garden in the front yard of a cottage. There are many such gardens in Berkeley, celebrating the luxuriant overgrowth of foliage. These "jungle gardens" (my name for them) are so wild that one is never sure that they were intended to look that way, or they are simply neglected. Neglect, however, when it comes to gardens which don't relay on artificial nurture, is not really neglect, but delegation of horticultural responsibilities to Mother Nature.
Monet's gardens in Giverny, Normandy, at least the wet parts, share the spirit of the Berkeley jungles. Blogger and software revolutionary Mark Bernstein has written about the distinctions and similarities between gardens and farms, parks and wilderness.
Dionysos, Greek deity of wine and wild women, was also seen as the god of wild vegetative growth, who wore a crown of ivy and carried a fennel stalk tipped with a pine cone. I think he would have felt at home in Berkeley's jungle gardens; maybe he still does.—JDL
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