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Showing posts from August, 2011

Horti-Couture on the Western Fringe

It turns out, contrary to popular belief, that Chelsea Flower Show does not have the corner on cutting edge fashion. Sure, the stylish gentleman cutting a dash in white suit, white patent leather shoes, red snake-style belt and a flower-studded Astroturf titfer at Chelsea '11 made front cover of The Guardian's G2 section (as I recollect) but his horti-sartorial antics are just the tip of the iceberg*.
Last weekend’s trip to the western fringes of the empire, aka Green Man Festival, was delightful. I was charmed by the bicycle-powered Venus fly trap chasing a six-foot fly around site. And hats as sported by Mr Bloom of Mr Bloom’s Nursery**  fame, are the pinnacle of popularity. But it was the rather awesome creation above that got my Best in Show award. Mohican daffodils and ivy with an integral head-torch prove that horti-couture can combine style and function with insouciant effectiveness. (Thanks for the pic, Kenny!).
Like Glastonbury green fields writ large and set in specta…

The Burlesque Principle of Garden Design

This may appear esoteric even by my own standards but bear with me. I have a point, nay an academic principle to propound. And I have been thinking about this for a while.

Garden design is a bit like stripping*. The posh sort, of course, but getting your kit off nevertheless. In the same way that you don’t (so I am led to believe) see a lady walk on stage, drop her metaphorical towel, go ‘ta dahh!’ and walk off again, you want a garden to tease you a bit.

The concept is well known, garden rooms are ten a penny, but the comparative epiphany came when I recently visited a garden that needed a little mystery. It showed its, undeniably outstanding, best feature off immediately ...but then there was nothing much left to keep you hanging on. Really good gardens are the ones that keep you guessing. The ones that captivate, that go on and on with surprise views, distant temptations and sudden flurries of excitement and beauty. The ones that make you go ‘wow’ not just the once but over and over …