passer du sublime au ridicule
May 29, 2012
Walking back in the evening sunlight, a glimpse through large metal gates of a most traditional ( in the Italian style) garden – green, trees, simple clipped hedging, raked gravel paths and probably water somewhere – that was, oh so compelling, in simplicity on a hot summer evening.
An experience that was repeated the following day in Margon. Pretty building with plain sophisticated exterior spaces . . .
Clipped groups of laurier sauce form the structure of the parterres. Robinias rise up through for secondary height and scale. This form of edible, native bay gave its’ name to Laurens – by the Romans – and has a softer foliage than the native bay in UK.
The ‘bowling green’ is the central green space centred on the double staircases and terraces that emanate from the building. Other garden elements – potager, arbours, framed vistas, orchard and tree collection, pool, stream etc – have a place within the geometry of the site. Effective and appropriate and well restored with sympathetic materials. The sublime . . .
and now the ridiculous, to my way of thinking anyway. Nearby another well publicised garden, apparently constructed by the owners ‘love’ of the Villa Adriana near Rome. This garden however is built of concrete – some natural stone admittedly is evident (it was a quarry) but difficult to identify. I am also very fond of Villa Adriana but not in this pastiche reconstruction. Best left as it was and still is – a thing of beauty. This garden was heaving with family groups and ‘craft’ (can hardly call the stuff on sale, craft, but . . ) – seemed like the whole of Languedoc had decamped here at 6 euros ahead. Margon is free, the gracious owners who became guides for the afternoon, are not intent on running the property as a business, was relatively empty! So what do I know about what the general public expect and like from ‘open gardens’.
Similarities with the original Villa Adriana may be that extravaganzas happen here in the form of son-et-lumiere with flooded arenas as they did in Roman times near Tivoli.
It’s a mostly concrete landscape . . .
. . with a lot of hideous features. Showing my intolerance!
Go, my songs, seek your praise from the young
and from the intolerant,
Move among the lovers of perfection alone.
Seek ever to stand in the hard Sophoclean light
And take you wounds from it gladly. Ezra Pound Ité