Ask any gardener. We’ll tell you that gardens are real enough–made of tangible living material and soil. But they are also products of the imagination, like any art form. And they are cultural products. Just compare the typical American garden–diverse, open, slightly wild–to the gardens characteristic of (in order of increasing formality) England, France, Italy, or Japan, respectively. Each culture imbues its gardens with its own peculiar approach to managing reality.
Because, after all, that is what a garden is–managed reality. A constant balance between the natural and the synthetic, between what we infer the natural world to be and what we want it to become. Between the ungraspable chaos of the natural universe and the aspirational coherence of our human minds.