fist view

First glimpse of the harbour arm this morning down at The Stade and once passed the fishing boats the rainbow colours are left behind . . .

over the harbour arm 1

over the harbour arm 2

over the harrbour arm 3

. .  if I’d chosen B+W these images couldn’t be more graphic. Great turbulent sea.

detail

Even the puddles have a marine quality  – this one looks like a large turbot. Nipping into Sonny’s at Rock – a – Nore  turbot wasn’t on offer but no matter as his display looked mouth watering as always.

fish

rock a nore

Battling up the shallow incline of The Old Town High Street to see Drawings Inspired by Great Dixter Gardens which had some resonance with the bare bones of the stormy weather. Large charcoal compositions that ignore one of the attributes that Dixter is famous for – the variety of colour within the planting palette. So, a brave decision, but one that many are appreciative of.

34 old town high street

echo

Artist and gallery owner in deep conversation and an idea of the scale of ‘Echo’, the largest piece. Listen carefully and you might hear nightingales . . . .

paradise revisited

. . I rather like these shots where other pieces are reflected to form layered compositions. I also rather like it when our garden clients come along and make a purchase. Very good choice, James.

dixter

a thousand ways

It’s been a weekend devoted to gardens. And devoted to gardens with yew hedges that provide a still and calming presence. Yesterday was spent at Sissinghurst when we talked a lot about control. How to convey sense of place and mood when writing about gardens. How to describe the character of plants successfully. How to dig deeper and also how to edit. Today, there is no control and hence the choice of poem, but it was a close run thing with Robert Frost.

last

The sea awoke at midnight from its sleep,
And round the pebbly beaches far and wide
I heard the first wave of the rising tide
Rush onward with uninterrupted sweep;
A voice out of the silence of the deep,
A sound mysteriously multiplied
As of a cataract from the mountain’s side,
Or roar of winds upon a wooded steep.
So comes to us at times, from the unknown
And inaccessible solitudes of being,
The rushing of the sea-tides of the soul;
And inspirations, that we deem our own,
Are some divine foreshadowing and foreseeing
Of things beyond our reason or control.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow  The Sound of the Sea

shard

Meet under the canopy of  the Shard – this was the instruction for the students studying garden design masterplan (BA Hons Garden Design) and place and culture and masterplanning (BA Hons Landscape Architecture). New start to the term and new project site: The Borough, Southwark. Cold, windy and hard environment here with major works happening to London Bridge station. The Wikipedia  reference: Southwark is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book as Sudweca. The name means “southern defensive work” and is formed from the Old English sūth and weorc. The southern location is in reference to the City of London to the north, seemed appropriate to machinery machinations . . .

l bridge

l bridge 2

shard opposite

. .  just a glimpse of a tree and a tempting offer on a station poster.

kent

more london 2

We intended to cover a semi circle – radius of 1000m centred on the station with first stop at more london  . . black Kilkenny limestone defining the strong desire line . . . a busy ‘chunnel’ at 1pm on a working day. We talked about how the space would feel on a Sunday. We hoped/suggested that the students might make a visit then to note changes. I would if this was my major design site  . . .

more london1

more london 3

more london 4

. . .  some tumbling and some sitting about and some standing around on scaffolding. Great Fraxinus – they work better here than the more decorative birch . . .

potters field

prunus sargentii

Through Potters Field and on by the London City Mission, we crossed under the tunnels arriving at St Mary Magdelen Churchyard and then into Tanner Street Park. A group of Prunus sargentii were starting the fireworks display  of autumn but, these poor trees showed the detrimental effect on plants trying to cope with badly laid paving + kerbs – terrifying hard landscaping. Through Leathermarket Gardens and Guy Street Park and on southwards to Tabard Gardens (lovely, potential here for detailed design – hint, hint) then east to Merrick Square and slowing down, a bit, to enjoy Trinity Church Square. .

trinity square 2

trinity square

mint street

. . . through Mint Street Park, we came across this community garden – green roof building and plenty of info for interested visitors. And yes, the baby came too.

mint street 2

On passed Cross Bones Cemetery and the ‘site with most potential’ that is currently a car park prior to development, we swung left down Southwark Street and into Neo Bankside. Many smiles spread across faces here. Maybe because the end was in sight but most likely as this landscape was deemed attractive by those studying – the staff more sceptical, which is their rightful position when analysing landscape projects, . . . . we’ll be doing it all again with the MA students – click here for this. We covered the semi circle ending at Tate Modern – another potential site – in just under 3 hours. So, looking forward to hearing and seeing the group survey presentation on this area, reading the A3 document and getting stuck into individual masterplanning at 1:500. All by the start of December – no pressure, of course.  Exciting site will produce imaginative designs. And the poem, well for me it’s about not being precious about the past, allowing some respect  but, mainly welcoming the future.

neo bankside

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:

places, and names, and where it was you meant

to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother’s watch. And look! my last, or

next-to-last, of three loved houses went.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,

some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.

I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster.

—Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture

I love) I shan’t have lied. It’s evident

the art of losing’s not too hard to master

though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.  E Bishop  One Art

fruit 1

We took the students to RHS Wisley to engage with, absorb and discuss end of summer planting as part of Advanced Planting Design module. From the fruit mound, we gazed across acres of orchard trees and marveled at the excellence of management and good house keeping that was on display. The dusters must be out at dawn to buff up the fruits on Malus ‘Bloody Ploughman’ . .

malus bloody ploughman

. .  scanning down the glasshouse borders, more commonly referred to as the Oudolf borders, the bleached heads of Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’  make striking and graphic statements at this time of year.  And at close quarters, this upright grass looks glorious with Persicaria ‘Firedance’ . . .

oudolf borders 2

oudolf borders periscaria firedance 2

calamgrostis

. . . a sweeping brush stroke of Calamagrostis brachytricha – soft + tactile – forms yet another layer in a composition of  form, habit and texture. Mass planting of echinacea, upright dark cones standing proud now, flows like a stream back into the woodland.

oudoulf borders echinacea 1

oudolf borders perovskia close up

More C. brachytricha displaying its silky plumes that contrast well with the darker thistle heads of Eryngium giganteum.  There’s a great sense of power now in the character of shrubs like Cotinus – a dramatic last burst of visual ‘fortissimo’  – while the fingers of Perovskia ‘Little Spire’, also in their last flourish, demand attention in a more ladylike and willowy manner.

border 2

hitchmough planting 2

In the perennial meadow, where the planting mix has been defined by James Hitchmough, we recognised Silphium perfoliatum, daisy heads on tall stems ranging away over lower planting in this interesting gritty landscape. We were a tad stumped however, identifying the architectural seed heads in the image above. Neither members of staff had a clue!

hitchmough planting 1

On Battleston Hill, a forest of gums caused discussion  . . .

gums1

gums 4

. .  as did carpets of much smaller things. Even without the added bonus of flowers, cyclamen is a winner with foliage that is nigh perfection.

cyclamen

The following day, a trip to Great Dixter , without the students although encouraged to visit, to see Conifer (L) and Miscanthus (R) perform in the annual Dixter Dachshund Day. They did well. Thanks Perry? or is it Adele for the facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.563475030367660.1073741834.152726031442564&type=1

conifer   miscanthus

Signs of the changing season here too . . . .

dixter 1

dixter sun flowers

. .  but the dynamic structure of this garden is never masked by the seasonal planting . . .

dixter compost

dixter structure 6

. . .  the one compliments the other.

dixter structure 2

dixter heleniums chrysanthemums

Here the fruit is integrated with the decorative planting. Some of these pear trees are very old and make a charming knarled lattice frame through which to view other areas.  And, the cotinus in the Long Border, is behaving just like its relation at Wisley as one would expect.

dixter long border

dixter exotic 1

In the Exotic Garden, there is abundant growth this year. Carefully squeezing down the narrow paths is like a voyage of discovery . . .

dixter exotic 3

dixter exotic 4

. . .  so good to see Mrs Oakley Fisher, once more, and still in flower too. It’s all about the plants, of course.

dixter exotic 5

dixter exotic 6

Out in the late amber afternoon,
Confused among chrysanthemums,
Her parasol, a pale balloon,
Like a waiting moon, in shadow swims.

Her furtive lace and misty hair
Over the garden dial distill
The sunlight,–then withdrawing, wear
Again the shadows at her will.

Gently yet suddenly, the sheen
Of stars inwraps her parasol.
She hears my step behind the green
Twilight, stiller than shadows, fall.

“Come, it is too late,–too late
To risk alone the light’s decline:
Now has the evening long to wait,”–
But her own words are night’s and mine.   Hart Crane  In Shadow

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