I took these pictures of fenced gardens earlier this year on a brief visit to the historic district of Colonial Williamsburg. I don’t see many white picket fences at home in Lancashire: dry stone walls are more our thing.
These fences seemed as much symbolic as functional: a way of staking a claim to an area; an imposing of some kind of order. The gates were unlocked so visitors could wander freely from one garden to another. In some places, they were low enough to step over.
Fences may have a practical purpose – to secure an area or stake a claim – but often they’re not exactly impenetrable, when I’d argue they become a symbol. We fence our gardens to turn them into special, contained spaces – our private sanctuaries, protected and set apart. Put bluntly, a fence implies ‘This is mine – keep out, or play by the rules!’.
On the day of our visit the springtime sun was scorching, unrelenting. The harsh contrast has given my iPhone pictures a slightly weird, almost painterly effect. On balance, I quite like it. I can almost sense the camera squinting, like its owner, in the sunlight. It brings back memories of the character of the day: a particular, heavy quality in the atmosphere we do not experience on a spring day in Lancashire.
For more pictures of symbols, visit the weekly photo challenge.