April 5, 2016
A follow on post from this. And to set the scene: rivers of salvias – masses of Salvia ‘Amistad’ and S. uliginosa in late summer run riot through the planted areas around the park and the two areas of the festival site. Just wanted to acknowledge a couple more of the temporary garden installations that worked well. ‘À table’ – the theme of an edile table which recurs and never disappoints – to share a meal in the form of a garden party but, here, seated on benches with carnivorous plants suspended as lights over the long refectory table packed with old species of edibles,produced by pollination, so unsuitable for large scale cultivation – black tomatoes, purple peppers, violet cauliflowers and climbing spinach . . .
. . . the planting, edging the garden, reverts to the ever popular flowery mead style.
‘Cuisine Africaine’ showcased edible plants and seeds from the African bushveld required for the survival of human, insect and animal life.
Centre stage in this garden was a spectacular metal and wire wrapped sculpture – a homage to the significance of the Boabab tree in this landscape – the canopy offering shade for villagers and travellers. A place to meet, to rest and to eat under. Leon Kluge built a good garden.
Farfugium japonicum, an evergreen ligularia, looking resplendent in containers in the hospitality area. An extremely French look – but beware as this plant needs copious watering grown like this.
In the Prés du Goauloup, a large flat area of landscaped park adjacent to the festival site, some of the garden installations from previous years have been relocated; many are Chinese . . .
. . . the red ribbon of ‘Carré et Rond’ or ‘land and sky’ integrates the contemporary concept of storm water management with the philosophical ideas of the link with man to water in traditional Chinese garden. Designed by Yu Konglian for the 2012 festival.
I find this poplar group very pleasing and, equally interesting, is a site specific installation by Chris Drury called ‘Carbon Pool’ – a magnetic spiral of felled cedar lengths capturing some of the Goualoup Park secrets and appearing to drag them down into the earth.
New planting of Liquidambers make a seasonal frame.
Selected existing mature trees are partnered with sculptural but also practical landscape elements . . .
. . . leaving the festival but looking forard to the next event. views across the Loire river beyond the fiery Rhus – a willow and poplar landscape just losing the green and softening to yellow.
I have built a house in the middle of the Ocean
Its windows are the rivers flowing from my eyes
Octopi are crawling all over where the walls are
Hear their triple hearts beat and their beaks peck against the windowpanes
House of dampness
House of burning
The airplanes are laying eggs
Watch out for the dropping of the anchor
Watch out for the shooting black ichor
It would be good if you were to come from the sky
The sky’s honeysuckle is climbing
The earthly octopi are throbbing
And so very many of us have become our own gravediggers
Pale octopi of the chalky waves O octopi with pale beaks
Around the house is this ocean that you know well
And is never still. Guillaume Apollinaire
Ocean of Earth to G.de Chrico.
April 5, 2016
Prevarication – that’s the problem or is it an excuse? Or plain laziness? Anyway time to acknowledge a garden that was, but is now gone. A little explanation: ‘The Savage Garden’ designed by 4 students from University of Greenwich landscape architecture/garden design course was selected to form part of the 2015 International Festival of Gardens at Chaumont on the Loire. The design was edited by Jamie Liversedge – senior tutor – with just a little help from me and built by students and Jamie + myself. Here he is talking about the garden . . .
. . . and the image above shows the site last April just before the opening of the festival – all other images show the garden in September just before the closure. The theme was ‘collections’ and the selection jury including Maestro Patrick Blanc defined the collection to be plant based. Le Jardin Sauvage – tropical, a jungle, somewhere to get lost in, a refuge, where wildlife inhabit the overhead canopies, where Le Douanier Rousseau would have felt entirely at home – was a challenge not necessarily to build but to plant. The plants required time to envelop the site even though we selected some large specimens but over the time span of the festival, the growth of the planting was successful. The expectation was achieved. An angled route over crushed broken tile lead through lush foliage highlighted with brilliant flower colour across a bridge and under rusty steel arches – red was important in the colour palette from early on in the design stage. A few images . . .
. . . Mina lobata clambers over the steel reinforcing bar arch structure with a dark tender pennisetum covering the ground.
Cannas, hedychiums and begonias eventually came to the party. It looked good and the festival staff and visitors appreciated the concept and the finished result.
Another garden that caught my eye (really the best in the festival, for me) Le Jardin du Teinturier – a dyer’s esate probably in Marrakech – where the utilities of plants and the pigments extruded from berries, stems and roots were shown in a cinematically installation. It was perfection – well ordered, inspiring and beautifully designed . . .
. . . striking berries of Arbutus.
The gardens were eclectic in character under the umbrella of a given concept – always thought provoking and surprising. ‘Réflexion d’un Collectionneur’ – a garden based on nature in a garden around a museum or gallery where the visitor views without knowing what lies beyond. Enticing – paintings or mirrored panels show the world behind the viewer. Is it a secret garden or a museum collection? Whatever, it was very clever.
Carnivorous plants were centre stage in a few gardens and this perforated screen shown below in Le Collectionneur de L’ombre was pleasing – a collection of ferns needed shade. The poem, well, a jungly romp with Spike Milligan that conveys the fun aspect of Le Jardin Sauvage. To follow a few more images and words on other parts of the festival.
On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
and the monkeys all say BOO!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping!
And the tea pots jibber jabber joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang
And you just can’t catch ’em when they do!
So its Ning Nang Nong
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning
Trees go ping
Nong Ning Nang
The mice go Clang
What a noisy place to belong
is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!! Spike Milligan
March 12, 2016
A jaunt out above the gorges to see if the new seedling growth of the ferula is showing and, yes, frothy and fresh in tone, carpeting the ground around the forebears which are still strong but wonderfully light to hold as the stems are hollow now . . .
. . . young ferula growth here mixed in with low, lime green euphorbia, but the taller Euphorbia wulfenii also claims attention. A black-eyed form and perhaps crossed with others to form E. x martini . . .
. . . Iris pumila – in papal cloth and in soft yellow – stop me in my tracks, not only to admire visually but, also to avoid squashing them where they sprout through the stony path.
By le Castellas and at Table de Lecture de Paysage, the view forces the eyes to lift up away from studying up from studying the minutiae on the ground to this tableau – the river Gard flowing in a cup shaped curve; a quite splendid panorama . . .
. . . as it enters from the west beyond Russan and beyond Anduze . . .
. . . and as it moves to the east flow under Pont Saint – Nicolas and then under Pont du Gard before entering the Rhone. Some folks do other physical and challenging pursuits here but I just gaze.
How the tiny narcissus occupy this terrain and how enjoyable they are . . . so it’s eyes down again and especially when the path becomes a solid sponge like form of limestone. Perhaps it’s more like walking on a giant food grater.
Then again the view demands attention. Pont Saint-Nicolas and surroundings can only be enjoyed from this high aspect – there is nowhere to park nearby – hurrah.
Back in Vic, Commune de Ste Anastasie, grave stones neatly placed on the church wall face a flowering Rosa banksiae – my first this year on March 4th- and a wall hosting Umbilicus rapestris – great texture contrasts.
The poem reads like an old song or fairy tale to me – but no claim is made on this landscape but just simple grateful appreciation.
walking by the waters
down where an honest river
shakes hands with the sea,
a woman passed round me
in a slow, watchful circle,
as if I were a superstition;
or the worst dregs of her imagination,
so when she finally spoke
her words spliced into bars
of an old wheel. A segment of air.
Where do you come from?
‘Here,’ I said, ‘Here. These parts.’ Jackie Kay In My Country
December 21, 2015
Been quite lazy on the blog front but then it’s good to take time out and breath. These two sitting outside Patisseries Orientales in Boulevards des Allies looked relaxed about life too. Saturday morning in Uzès means MARKET and although having been here a few weeks now, it is my first visit. My trustworthy confidante advised that a trip to Friday’s market in San Quentin is more authentic and cheaper – she’s right as always – but under murky skies, the market stalls along the Boulevard and in Place aux Herbes glistened like jewels and it was sort of fun . . .
. . . fleurs turned into chou-fleur and magnificent frisées.
Wandering back down Rue Grande Bourgade where solanum continues to flower, I was grateful to this gentleman as he completed the composition – if only there was some sun and therefore some shadows.
A vine over an entrance at 32 is most sculptural and well managed – reminds me of a Pekingese fringe. And yes, the tantalising mimosa came home. Just checked and 4 years ago I was here with important beings.
Le soleil est toujours riant,
Depuis qu’il part de l’orient
Pour venir éclairer le monde.
Jusqu’à ce que son char soit descendu dans l’onde
La vapeur des brouillards ne voile point les cieux ;
Tous les matins un vent officieux
En écarte toutes les nues :
Ainsi nos jours ne sont jamais couverts ;
Et, dans le plus fort des hivers,
Nos campagnes sont revêtues
De fleurs et d’arbres toujours verts.
Les ruisseaux respectent leurs rives,
Et leurs naïades fugitives
Sans sortir de leur lit natal,
Errent paisiblement et ne sont point captives
Sous une prison de cristal.
Tous nos oiseaux chantent à l’ordinaire,
Leurs gosiers n’étant point glacés ;
Et n’étant pas forcés
De se cacher ou de se taire,
Ils font l’amour en liberté.
L’hiver comme l’été.
Enfin, lorsque la nuit a déployé ses voiles,
La lune, au visage changeant,
Paraît sur un trône d’argent,
Et tient cercle avec les étoiles,
Le ciel est toujours clair tant que dure son cours,
Et nous avons des nuits plus belles que vos jours. Racine
The Sun is always laughing,
since he moved from the East
to come light up the world.
Up to what his chariot is down in the wave
of mist steam sailing point heaven;
Every morning an unofficial wind makes all naked:
so our days are never covered.
And in the height of winter,
our campaigns are coated with
flowers and evergreen trees.
Streams meet their shores,
and their fugitive naiades
without leaving their natal bed,
wander peacefully and are point
captive in a prison of Crystal.
All our birds are singing in the ordinary,
their throats being point iced;
And not being forced to hide or shut,
they make love in freedom.
The winter and the summer.
Finally, when night has deployed its sails,
the Moon, in the changing face,
appears on a silver throne,
and holds circle with the stars,
the sky is always clear as long as takes its course,
and we have most beautiful nights that your days.
September 19, 2015
Say it in English or in French – this post is about the placement of items in an attractive manner – some to tantalise, attract in the hope of a purchase or just please in the aesthetic sense – whoever arranged these knows instinctively that the viewer will appreciate the effort. But maybe some compositions have been arrived at haphazardly . . .
. . . it’s a quiet morning in Les Halles in Avignon so an opportunity to take in and admire the arrangements and compositions inside and also outside . . . ..
. . . as it’s Tuesday the unoccupied fish tank becomes an installation in its own right and rarely seen.
Outside in Place Pie, this figure was for investigation . . .
. . . even more eccentric from the front.
Ah, all so eclectic.
July 17, 2015
Just a few fleeting glimpses of up above . . . ‘a glimpse is much harder to pin down’ Howard Hodgkin.
And, down on the ground, from a few hours in Uzès. Basalt setts inlaid in the stone to give subtle definition – a pleasing aesthetic.
Old and new – skills and craftsmanship – and atmosphere.
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round. Margaret Atwood
June 6, 2015
France still closes down at lunchtine 12-2pm. Quite civilised and to be respected. Very pleasant sitting in Place de l’Eglise in Fontvieille – a small town that appeals more and more . . .
. . . wandering around the old streets, intrinsic compositions can be seen, admired and recorded.
A garden of pots – well tended plants, all thriving and with somewhere to sit and admire them . . .
. . . and a green roof, which some might say is just ‘les mauvaises herbes’.
Mûrier platane foliage on neatly managed trees shading a small modern square – very inviting – and just close by, in contrast, spreading branches of an ancient plane tree form a ceiling by the quarried stone face of the old town wall.
In the château gardens, now the town park, all ages are catered for. The home of Alphonse Daudet, the writer, now a museum dedicated to him and his work – most notably “Les Lettres de mon Moulin”. Water courses run through the parkland where holm oaks and pines cascade over lauristinius and broom providing a simple vegetation matrix
Following one walking route (there are many others to Les Baux, to San Remy and to Eygalieres) around the top of the town, the landmarks are three windmills named after their owners – Tissot-Avon (2 owners), Ramet and Ribet also called St Pierre and also also called Daudet’s mill with sails completely restored.
rather fell for it and the whole area of Les Alpilles.
J’ai dans mon coeur un oiseau bleu,
Une charmante creature,
Si mignonne que sa ceinture
N’a pas l’epaisseur d’un cheveu.
Il lui faut du sang pour pature.
Bien longtemps, je me fis un jeu
De lui donner sa nourriture:
Les petits oiseaux mangent peu.
Mais, sans en rien laisser paraitre,
Dans mon coeur il a fait, le traitre,
Un trou large comme la main.
Et son bec fin comme une lame,
En continuant son chemin,
M’est entre jusqu’au fond de l’ame!…. Alphonse Daudet L’Oiseau Bleu