Publicity, culture, disclosure, networking, public image

About the meaning: Most importantly, this card's name is potentially misleading. For what you need to picture when you hear "Garden" is not a snug little private garden. You need to picture a spacious municipal garden - a complex public park. Only then the card's meaning relates to its name!

Publicity / public media / society: First and foremost, the Garden represents publicity. It stands for the general public, for public affairs and opinions, public spaces (e.g. actual public gardens, streets, cafes etc.), public events - basically for anything which is public, accessible to all. And to me the Garden also represents the public media - radio and TV, and most importantly, the internet. The aforementioned general public, by the way, is made of people. Thus, the Garden also represents the whole of society, or at least parts of it: large crowds of people, big assemblies, meetings of big groups.

Mainstream / (sub)culture: Another dimension of the Garden's meanings is anything which has to do with culture - with the way of life (including general customs and beliefs) of a particular group of people at a particular time. Often, the Garden will represent the mainstream - popular culture, widespread thought. But depending on surrounding cards, it could also stand for sub- and even countercultures. All this sounds a bit theoretical. An example of how it could be applied to a reading is that sometimes the Garden seems to suggest that a querent is allowing their decisions to be guided a lot by what is considered mainstream, and is not going their individual way.

Publication / disclosure / exposure: Many readers interpret the Garden as the publishing of creative works (e.g. books). I personally have not found this applicable to many readings. Instead, I tend to see the publications the Garden may represent more as "disclosures". Along this line, the card can mean that we announce something - probably to not just a few select people but to everyone who wants to hear it. The Garden can mean that we let the cat out of the bag. For example, it can represent someone's coming-out - in the modern sense of the phrase. And it can stand, negatively, for unwanted exposure, or exhibitionism.

Networking / teamwork / complexity: Cultures are very complex entities whose individual members are highly interconnected; acting in concert to achieve manifold goals. This is why I often interpret the Garden as networking, or teamwork. The Garden can stand for concerted efforts, communal work, for things which are done collectively. More abstract, the Garden may represent anything which has a very complex structure.

Presentation / image-cultivation / reputation: Lastly, "public" can be understood as that which is presented to others. So the Garden can be interpreted generally as any kind of presentation, but also as a person who is a representative, and as image-cultivation. The Garden can stand for our public image, our reputation.

See also the annakblogs article >> So, is the Garden a positive or negative card?

About the Image: As I wrote in the introduction I think the title "Garden" alone doesn't make the card's meaning clear. So when I painted my Garden I made sure to leave no room for mistakes: I painted a very obviously municipal garden - a public park, accessible to all. Because society is made up of people, because networking is done by people, because when we make something public this means we present it to others, I didn't leave my park empty but peopled it with lots of tiny folks who are doing all kinds of park things: meeting and talking, sightseeing, flirting, feeding birds etc. Of course on the card the figures are so tiny that it's difficult to see what they're actually doing. However, the details on this card are not significant individually. It is only their presence as a whole which is important.
One thing I would like to mention though: the park's huge gate is open for a reason. It is open for the same reason the card's borders are "open" on one side, too: the card stands for that which is accessible to all.

Note: If you compare the card Garden to the card House you will notice that the overall design is similar. It is easy to imagine them both as part of one larger image. The House could for example be tucked away among the trees at the back of the park.

Like the Garden the House has little people in it, too. But in the House's case, because it represents home and family, there are only three - father, mother and child. And because it stands for privacy the gate is shut and the card's borders are closed all around.  
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