Charleston – look, listen and learn

May 29, 2010

To Charleston to listen to Fatima Bhutto and William Dalrymple discuss the Sacred and Profane. Glad to have time to stroll around the garden beforehand and to note that this garden is probably looking its best at this time of year –  even more so in the early evening light. Birdsong in the air and cows making the right noises before milking time – Sussex at its best!  This  is a quintessential cottage garden and  is of a style that remains much sort after. The building was a farm house so the garden is naturally slightly grander and larger than a typical worker’s dwelling.

In many gardens at the moment, there’s a change between the spring and early summer plants. This is quite delightful if the colours work well, as they do here, where  the creamy, soft yellow and orange Erysimums are on the wane as the Iris sibirica buds thrust their blue torches skywards.

It’s been a great year for Aquilegias and many were to be seen at Chelsea this month which is a sure sign that they will be even more popular and so difficult to source  for next year’s planting.

A fabulous mix. This  garden is walled and, therefore, sheltered ensuring abundant growth of early summer plants. These form a complex tapestry that appears simple and achievable but, it isn’t either of these as this look  requires constant attention and good horticultural knowledge. It’s also a look that  works best with a degree of structure alongside that the floriferous mix can bounce off and look even better!  The bulbous box hedging splits the space here very well. It forms a secondary function too . . to house the quirky busts and sculptural items . . .

. . .  a  Bloomsbury bottom . . .  and an invitation to explore the larger garden beyond the walls . .

. .  just beyond the door in the wall, liked this golden hop scrambling over a light hedge . . . and a little further on someone has a go  at outdoor flower arranging . . . curious and creative . . .

. . . was taken with the layer of fig forming a fruitful fringe above the wall by the studio . . .

. . it was still quiet so the parking attendants looking sort of rustic could take some time out before the line of cars appeared around the bend.

Others relax and waited for the event. In the shop, just a few punters . . .

. . don’t know what Virginia would have made of this! Is this true fame?

Like some of the get ups that are often seen on the cat walk at this festival. But back to why we were all there – Fatima and Willie  had new books to promote – they read passages from these and talked individually about the rationale behind them. Their connection is a common  knowledge of Pakistan, India and religion in the sub Continent and the Middle East – culture, traditions, extremism and contemporary politics and, above all, corruption. Some interesting debate on first hand knowledge of the problems in Afghanistan too. 

On your breast lay
the deep scar of your enemy
but, you standing cypress did not fall
it is your way to die.

In you nestles songs of blood and sword
in you the migrating birds
in you the anthem of victory
Your eyes have never been so bright. From Poem of the Unknown. Golsurkhi

Listened and learnt  a little and came away into the dark hungry to learn more.

2 Responses to “Charleston – look, listen and learn”

  1. markDivall Says:

    Dear Julia,
    It is always interesting to hear what people think of the garden at Charleston, I very much enjoyed your comments and critique of the Festival, and photographs.
    The first picture of the garden looks particularly well balanced, all that is missing are the amazingly beautiful Oriental Poppies that have opened in the last two days. All the best, Mark Divall (Gardener)

    • julia fogg Says:

      Hello Mark, Thank you for your comments. Was at Charleston on Thursday with a Japanese deisgner who was blown away about the detail of the planting and maintenance. Like your dog, if it’s yours. BW,J

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