9. Hortus Incantans

Gardening as an Art of Enchantment

  1. Dan O'Brien PhD Research Fellow Associate Lecturer
  1. Eric MacDonald PhD assistant professor Fellow

Published Online: 13 AUG 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch9

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone

How to Cite

MacDonald, E. (2010) Hortus Incantans, in Gardening - Philosophy for Everyone (ed D. O'Brien), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444324563.ch9

Editor Information

  1. Oxford Brookes University, UK

Author Information

  1. University of Georgia, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 AUG 2010
  2. Published Print: 24 SEP 2010

Book Series:

  1. Philosophy for Everyone

Book Series Editors:

  1. Fritz Allhoff

Series Editor Information

  1. Western Michigan University, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444330212

Online ISBN: 9781444324563



  • the flower show;
  • Hortus Incantans - gardening as an art of enchantment;
  • garden as a setting, category of experience - political philosopher, Jane Bennett describing it as a momentary immobilizing encounter;
  • enchantment, combination of bodily responses and state of heightened sensory perception;
  • Dumbarton Oaks, fusion of nature and art - encounters in Dumbarton Oaks in Washington DC;
  • enchantment, an underappreciated theme - in modern European tradition of garden design;
  • Wharton's Italian Villas and Their Gardens - reacquainting modern readers with the “garden-magic” of Italian Renaissance villas;
  • gardening, an act of resistance - to a disenchanted, fragmented modern world, threading through Dumbarton Oaks history;
  • Dumbarton Oaks, site of enchantment - crossings, complexity and circuits;
  • cultivating enchantment - gardening, ceaseless “battle” between humans and nature


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Gardens and Enchantment

  • Dumbarton Oaks: A Fusion of Nature and Art?

  • Dumbarton Oaks as a Site of Enchantment: Crossings, Complexity, and Circuits

  • Cultivating Enchantment

  • Notes