quiet time in the garden museum
July 28, 2011
Busy, noisy and joyful party atmosphere mid afternoon on the South Bank . Queues for all the activities, venues and amusements. Tourist groups and families on a day out during the holiday season mill around in an organic wave. Trying to move directly through is nigh impossible but my route went further along the river past the back of St Thomas’ Hospital and on to Lambeth and St Mary’s, now the home of the Garden Museum. From traffic, hordes of visitors and people trying to get to and from where they need to be, stepping into the church yard is a cleansing experience . . .
. . . peaceful! Mostly or wholly species introduced by the Tradescants – planted informally and in patterns in the knot garden.
The floral decoration at the entry seemed out of kilter with the rationale behind the museum but jolly and bright nevertheless. Two aims for the visit. Prime aim was to see the exhibition ‘Planting Paradise’ on certain garden projects by Tom Stuart Smith and secondary reason as a suitable venue for an interview which I think turned into a relaxed chat.
The exhibition focuses on 6 projects. I was immediately drawn to the drawings and images of Broughton Grange; a garden whiche made a strong personal impact on a recent visit. This is the bird’s eye view of that project; Tom produces these lip smackingly seductive visuals for his clients to explain the design in 3D. Usually they’re black and white although I think the Queen wanted to see some colour for the garden areas around Windsor Castle before giving the royal nod!
Just to show the diagrams that formed the concept for the design – molecular structure seen within the leaf of ash, beech and oak – the native species around Broughton. And below, concept into reality with his take on the traditional parterre.
Another project is a courtyard at The Connaught – water engineered by Andrew Ewing – quite exquisite and a ‘must see’ I think.
Mount St John project. The initial idea and the execution . . .
and the draft planting plan. There’s something fascinating for designers looking at other designers ‘roughs’ and I’ve added 2 of our roughs (concept mind mapping with a touch of Da Da and a 3D view drawn by AE) for the Centenary Border at Hilliers below. This work was discussed in our relaxed chat . . .
. . and finally, simplicity and effect with a well chosen combination by himself.
It sounded as if the Streets were running
And then — the Streets stood still —
Eclipse — was all we could see at the Window
And Awe — was all we could feel.
By and by — the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there —
Nature was in an Opal Apron,
Mixing fresher Air. Emily Dickinson