site

Creating landscapes and building gardens carries on through all types of weather. Certain processes are not possible when the ground temperature drops below freezing – this is well understood by all who work in this industry. We are now experiencing changes in the climate that mean we need to be aware of the effects of incessant rain as well. Last year, in the South East of the UK, spring stopped in mid March, summer didn’t exist and autumn was a washout. Winter was mostly wet – some days the temperature stayed below freezing and there have been light snow showers and one dramatic snow storm last week. Consequently, the ground is full of water. Gardens aren’t very important in the scale of things. Farming is much more important and times in that industry are tough. Flooded fields mean crops cannot grow and access is difficult. On this site in a rural setting, we have another problem that exacerbates the state of the ground. The original farm road of compacted rubble including building materials and layers of concrete was simply turfed over and the ground levels were not adjusted to take the water away sufficiently. It’s amazing what turf will grow on! The clients, who are being very courageous, were warned that their garden would look like The Somme . . .

drainage 2

water 2

water lying

. . . so jobs have to be dealt with while the new land drains do what they should do.   These contractors are cracking on with digging in gravel to break up the clay . . .

side

. . .  and some hard landscape work such as extending and renewing the brick terrace under the watchful eye of Liam.

terrace edge 2

Ryan drills the walls for vine eyes to support the stainless steel wiring for the climbers. Once done, the Grasses and Movement border can be finished by completing the neat gravel filled trench between wall and planting.  I’ll be unwrapping the climbers and attaching them to the supports myself. The chaps will finish up with final mulch. A corner of the new soft fruit frame shows top left.  Steve,  Andy and Ryan made the frame with chestnut poles – it’s waiting for the netting jacket.

ryan (2)

Capacious compost bins need a dark stain and a screen of buckthorn, species roses and Cornus ‘Winter Sun’.

steve (2)

Nick and Adam tackle one of the oaks. It’s a marvelous specimen – probably about 300 years old – and needs gentle attention before the buds swell even more . . .

lane

nick close up

nick + adam (2)

It’s been decided to pull off site at the end of the week, let the ground drain and return in mid April to finish off creating  gravel paths, prepping the borders and finally planting. By the way, these contractors have just one a big prize and since they’re working on 4 of our jobs at the moment. We’ve all worked together before – one of the projects is here.

machinery

Friendly faces surround this site!

photo old barn

The rain it rains without a stay

In the hills above us, in the hills;

And presently the floods break way

Whose strength is in the hills.

The trees they suck from every cloud,

The valley brooks they roar aloud–

Bank-high for the lowlands, lowlands,

Lowlands under the hills!

The first wood down is sere and small,

From the hills–the brishings off the hills;

And then come by the bats and all

We cut last year in the hills;

And then the roots we tried to cleave

But found too tough and had to leave–

Polting down the lowlands, lowlands,

Lowlands under the hills!

The eye shall look, the ear shall hark

To the hills, the doings in the hills!

And rivers mating in the dark

With tokens from the hills.

Now what is weak will surely go,

And what is strong must prove it so–

Stand Fast in the lowlands, lowlands,

Lowlands under the hills!

The floods they shall not be afraid–

Nor the hills above ’em, nor the hills–

Of any fence which man has made

Betwixt him and the hills.

The waters shall not reckon twice

For any work of man’s device,

But bid it down to the lowlands, lowlands,

Lowlands under the hills!

The floods shall sweep corruption clean–

By the hills, the blessing of the hills–

That more the meadows may be green

New-mended from the hills.

The crops and cattle shall increase,

Nor little children shall not cease.

Go–plough the lowlands, lowlands,

Lowlands under the hills!  Kipling  The Floods

glimpse

Some very enjoyable hours are spent researching enclosed gardens nowadays. For one researcher it is directly connected to an imminent installation, so the aesthetic;  and for the other, it is connected more and more to the 360 degree view of the plot being worked by the gardener, so the practical. A glimpse into one of the cloistered green areas at Val de Bénédiction Chartreuse in Villeneuve les Avignon offers up the expected box framed parterre – a warm berceau – a  14 C  space lined by cloisters but now the 21 C view that visitors expect. This is the church cloister bounded by chapter room, sacristan’s cell, shaving room and the church housing the mausoleum of Pope Innocent VI. It may have been an area for cultivating herbs . . . . a  ‘focal point’ – vase has been placed as part of the experience that is de rigueur now.

hortus

The feature look a a little out of place in the new setting but it’s a good reproduction of 17 C decorative finial from the entrance gate and posts. Pomegranates, melons and acanthus adorn the vase. This may be a copy of  the original by Franςois Des Royers, a local architect, sculptor and stone mason, who was invited to add similar touches. The monasatery grew richer, more influential and beautiful over the centuries until the Revolution.

niche

Long corridors offer up a peaceful and serene atmosphere. Any decoration is subdued but appropriate. Following a carving up into lots of the library and works of art including frescoes and the bad damage to the building during the Revolution,  the Inspector of Historical Monuments, Prosper Mérimée started the process of repair.

arch doorway

ceiling

support

The priest’s cells form a linear terrace on the right side of this cloister – Cemetery Cloister. The cells had a mezzanine sleeping area looking out onto a private walled garden, and across the Chemin des Chartreux to the Fort St – André,  high on the hill overlooking the new town, the Rhône and the old Avignon.

corridor with rooms

monks houses

The individual garden – hortulus –  has a raised level to catch as much sun as possible. A majority of the herbal plants had been introduced by the Romans but also brought back from The Holy Land by Crusaders so sun and warmth were a prerequisite in their growth and cultivation.

herbs

plan of certosa

The plan of another Certosa, Pavia, shows the uninterrupted rectilinear regulation of line and form. Inward looking and contemplative – nothing from the outside or larger world can interrupt. My thoughts on tending earth and growing plants are on the same level.

k garden

This was the area of the hortus catalogi, also part of the Cemetery Cloister, where plants were grown for food and healing. Grown in an ordered pattern, originally as a user friendly method of organisation,  with roots from ancient Muslim gardens.

hortus catalogi

long corridor

All circulation was through covered cloister walkways – repetition – harmoniously connecting functional spaces – inward views – geometric planes of light and shade – unified  – humility and piety – prayers offered up to save the human race.well

One necessary functional space was based round the water reservoir. The basin here built by Des Royers and covered later with an octagonal rotunda by Franque seems monumental and indicative of the power of the church . . . . so back firmly down to earth with Carol Ann Duffy:

Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child’s name as though they named their loss.

Darkness outside. Inside, the radio’s prayer –
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre. Carol Ann Duffy  Prayer

Some other posts on the research:

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/chronicling-the-day/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/quietude/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2012/09/18/land-of-the-saint-the-devil-and-the-monks/

https://juliafoggterrain.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/a-room-without-a-ceiling/

(refs: drawings from The Enclosed Garden Aben + de Wit; Captured Landscape K Baker)

shades of grey today

March 9, 2013

P1050435

Just a glance at something left from yesterday . . .  she’s not amused . . .  and onto the pier

bf157ab2b61a5fb31aca67dab533270f

. . . always looks beautiful in its decrepit state and many locals will miss it once dismantled and replaced with this:

1302336_drmm_hastings_canopy_view

Down at the stade, the low cloud hangs around the old and the new . . .

fish hut

jerwood 2

. . . some reflections from the sculpture on Winkle Island . . .

winkle

. .  conceived and constructed by Leigh Dyer. The main material – stainless steel – gleams out today below the snapshot view of  West Hill.

winkle 3

west hill

puddles

bells

Hurrying down George Street passed Bells Bicycles, I look up and then down . .

george st

stew

. . .  and then, once inside,  think how these might be cooked.

mussels 1

Decide too bring some colour to the end of a grey day  – cooked with coriander, cumin and turmeric – onward and upward.

mussels

Think of the storm roaming the sky uneasily
like a dog looking for a place to sleep in,
listen to it growling.

Think how they must look now, the mangrove keys
lying out there unresponsive to the lightning
in dark, coarse-fibred families,

where occasionally a heron may undo his head,
shake up his feathers, make an uncertain comment
when the surrounding water shines.

Think of the boulevard and the little palm trees
all stuck in rows, suddenly revealed
as fistfuls of limp fish-skeletons.

It is raining there. The boulevard
and its broken sidewalks with weeds in every crack,
are relieved to be wet, the sea to be freshened.

Now the storm goes away again in a series
of small, badly lit battle-scenes,
each in “Another part of the field.”

Think of someone sleeping in the bottom of a row-boat
tied to a mangrove root or the pile of a bridge;
think of him as uninjured, barely disturbed.  Elizabeth Bishop  Little Exercise

facade 1

facade 2

faacade

And acte 11 of the double post. At the Collection Lambert in the  Hôtel de Caumont to see:’Oriental Mirages, Pomegranates and Prickly Pears. Mediterranean Comings and Goings’

“In the present day the Arab world allows itself to be seen by the rest of the world via satellite, internet and the Twitter generation, yet it used to be described to Westerners by writers and artists that carried out long and gruelling journeys that sometimes took months or even years”.

poster

Mounted together – an antique cupboard containing  a small library of books by Ginsberg,  Bowles and others put together by Robert Rauschenberg alongside a video by David Claerbout. Enough said – inspirational balance.

antique cupboard

Also inspirational are the sketchbooks from Matisse and Le Corbusier. The low afternoon light floods the galleries . . .

blue room guard

gallery inside

blue room reflected

blue room sun

sun

. . . all around the exotic mix of the old and the contemporary.

roof vista

reflections

A staircase need never be just a staircase . . .

stairwell

stairwell 2

A classroom that most would want to play and to discover in . . .

classroom

class room2

. .  and then the exhibit/installation/artwork?? from the other side. I discover this is by Mona Hatoum, “Nature morte aux grenades”.

gallery outside

ring

A final piece  – very clever – the air from the fan interacts with the ring encouraging a mesmerising dancing movement.

ring 2

ring 1

Thank you to the artists:

Adel Abdessemed, Kader Attia, François Augiéras, Francis Bacon, Miquel Barceló, Yto Barrada, J.-J. Benjamin-Constant, Charles Betout, Étienne Billet, Jean-Charles Blais, Félix Bonfils, A. Bonnichon, Paul Bowles, Alexandre Cabanel, Auguste Chabaud, David Claerbout, Georges Clairin, Robert Combas, Géo Condé, Charles Cordier, Pascal Coste, Louis-Amable Coulet, Edward-Gordon Craig, André Réda Dadoun, Marie-Hélène Dasté, Tacita Dean, Édouard Debat-Ponsan, Émilie Deckers, Eugène Delacroix, Jules Didier, Jason Dodge, Isabelle Eberhardt, Emir El Qiz, Joseph Eysséric, Spencer Finch, Claire Fontaine, Théodore Frère, Eugène Fromentin, Paul Armand Gette, Nan Goldin, Douglas Gordon, Louis-Amable Grapelet, Zaha Hadid, Mona Hatoum, J.-A.-D. Ingres, Zilvinas Kempinas, Bouchra Khalili, Idris Khan, Anselm Kiefer, Jules Laurens, Le Corbusier, Henri Lehmann, Simon-Bernard Lenoir, Hamid Maghraoui, Henri Matisse, Théodore Monod, Moataz Nasr, Carlo Naya, Shirin Neshat, Jean Noro, Jean Nouvel, Yan Pei-Ming, Régis Perray, Pierre et Gilles, Isidore Pils, Walid Raad, Robert Rauschenberg, Michal Rovner, Charles Sandison, Moussa Sarr, Julian Schnabel, Pascal Sébah, Andres Serrano, Waël Shawky, Joseph Sintes, Djamel Tatah, Cy Twombly, Lawrence Weiner

vestibule

farewell

Check out an associated post here

I’ve lived beneath huge portals where marine
Suns coloured, with a myriad fires, the waves;
At eve majestic pillars made the scene
Resemble those of vast basaltic caves.

The breakers, rolling the reflected skies,
Mixed, in a solemn, enigmatic way,
The powerful symphonies they seem to play
With colours of the sunset in my eyes.

There did I live in a voluptuous calm
Where breezes, waves, and splendours roved as vagrants;
And naked slaves, impregnated with fragrance,

Would fan my forehead with their fronds of palm:
Their only charge was to increase the anguish
Of secret grief in which I loved to languish.  Roy Campbell, Former Life

Poems of Baudelaire (New York: Pantheon Books, 1952)

arch mus lapider nave

This is acte 1 of a double acte post.  At Le Musée Lapidaire where Medieval and Gallo-Roman sculptures of the Calvet Collection are housed, the experience is educational. The ecclesiastical building, a former Collège des Jésuites, sits on the main route into the historic centre of  Avignon. Visitors and locals stream passed to and from the stations probably unaware that a museum lies within. The building retains a confident aura although the use has changed into an environment for stone statues, friezes, funery urns and other ‘finds’ from earlier centuries. These are very beautiful in subject matter  – figures both human and animal – and in the craft of the execution.

arch mus lapider 1

arch mus lapider 2

arch mus lapider 9

arch mus lapidere 4

arch mus lapidere 5

The insect world and the botanic world are also treated with a sense of reverence as well as delight . . .

arch mus lapider. 7

arch mus lapider 8

arch mus lapider 3

arch mus lapider 11

arch mus lapider 6.

Pure compositions occur whether meant intentionally or just  in the accumulation of storage.

arch mus lapider 10

arch mus lapider composition

A short step across the street in Rue du Pourtail Bouquier, is another Jesuit building. Once a seminary, and then an officers’ hospital, and then a hospice, and now a hotel and restaurant with eye watering prices. Forgive the sarcasm . . . .

cloitre1

cloitre 2

. .  the mature trees and the surrounding built facades are one.

cloitre 3

As the sun swings round, a sense of theatricality and memory fills the courtyard. An art installation or is it merely items on their way somewhere? And old crafts, like the laying of pebbles, will never be the same again.

cloitre 4

composition

pebble finish

On to Rue Violette and the Collection Lambert . . .

lambert outside

facade 1

J’ai longtemps habité sous de vastes portiques
Que les soleils marins teignaient de mille feux,
Et que leurs grands piliers, droits et majestueux,
Rendaient pareils, le soir, aux grottes basaltiques.

Les houles, en roulant les images des cieux,
Mêlaient d’une façon solennelle et mystique
Les tout-puissants accords de leur riche musique
Aux couleurs du couchant reflété par mes yeux.

C’est là que j’ai vécu dans les voluptés calmes,
Au milieu de l’azur, des vagues, des splendeurs
Et des esclaves nus, tout imprégnés d’odeurs,

Qui me rafraîchissaient le front avec des palmes,
Et dont l’unique soin était d’approfondir
Le secret douloureux qui me faisait languir.  Charles Baudelaire  La Vie Antérieure

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