Purpose / Function
What is now considered to be the epitome of beauty and luxury that can be found in Lockhinge City, was originally a way to simply scrape out an agricultural foothold in wild swampland. The clever floating and submersible platforms that stretch out from the city proper were once the largest source of food and resources in the settlement's early days, and still provides the freshest sources of it in current times, though these are typically reserved for the wealthiest citizens. The lower class still relies on imported and swamp-sourced goods.
Originally, the floating gardens were a plain and orderly series of docks and platforms arranged in lines, rings, and clusters radiating out over the water. These were purely utilitarian constructions, and it wasn't until the last century or so that the gardens became mostly ornamental. Caretaking of the gardens have passed through several hands, until House Redhelm rose to prominence and became the primary caretaker, with various artists and groups being given permission to add or alter sections of the gardens over time. This shift began when the gardens moved from being managed by several disparate families and groups of farmers to being controlled by the city itself. The position of Lord Gardener was created, though the committee directly under this office does most of the actual decision-making, ensuring that multiple voices representing the needs and wants of the city's wide spectrum of citizens are heard. The first major change upon the unification of the gardens was to create a single, major loop of floating boardwalk, from which routes to the more distant gardens would connect. This loop was opened to the general traffic, which immediately turned the location into a sightseeing opportunity. Today, the main loop has become a grand, floating park, leading to smaller scenic and agricultural gardens.
The vast majority of the infrastructure is constructed from treated marshwood, along with elements of canvas, clay, and stone used to manage drainage and desired levels of buoyancy. The main boardwalk is the strongest part of the gardens, with the lanes wide enough for sightseeing crowds to still feel roomy, and the platforms locked so solidly together, has had many tourists wondering in certain areas whether the boardwalk beneath their feet is truly floating or rooted to static supports. One of the original visions of the sightseeing-version of the gardens was to make it feel as though tourists were walking through a dryground forest, but the effect was too successful. Tourists found the solid-feeling platforms and high walls of plantlife to be too much like home, so open vistas were created to view the open water and marshland beyond, along with the intentional inclusion of what had been considered primitively-constructed platforms buoyed just above the surface of the water.
Along with the general spectacle and debauchery of Lockhinge City, the floating gardens are what tourists look forward to the most. The majority of the gardens are free to enter, though they are closely monitored by guards and caretakers so that a peaceful and quiet atmosphere is preserved despite any crowds. Also, to preserve the gardens as being a desirable place for the city's own citizens to enjoy, outsiders are only allowed entry on certain days of the week, with the rest of the time open only to locals.