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Wartime Gardens Symbolize Life

Jane Garmey, a writer for The Wall Street Journal, recently wrote a piece about Kenneth Helphand, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon. A little while ago, Helphand purchased an old stereopticon at a flea market. It depicted a scene of shelters in French military trenches surrounded by gardens. After a great deal of research, he discovered that gardens were often created in times of war. Gardens flanked the Western front during World War I, Jewish ghettos during World War II, German POW camps, Japanese-American internment camps in the U.S., and war-torn areas of Sarajevo. Today, gardens are sprouting up in the deserts of Iraq.

The gardens symbolize survival—life—in the most difficult of circumstances. They are "an obdurate refusal to give in to the horror of the hell so close at hand." In fact, Helphand calls them "defiant gardens."

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